Teachings/teachers which do not stress purification prior to or after awakening tend to be the ones in which you get the abuse scandals and the crazy-wisdom teachings in the worst cases. In better cases the teacher may just be a bit of an asshole at times, which is not the worst thing in the world, and to be honest, who isn’t an asshole at times? We are all human, after all (apparently), but it is a matter of degrees. With sattva, the chances of being rude, ignorant, abrasive and uncompassionate vastly decreases, but of course can occur from time to time, usually without the teacher intending to be offensive. When tamas and rajas predominate in a teacher, the distortion will be apparent in the teaching and its energy, and the teacher will likely act out their egoic vasanas from time to time and cause suffering to themselves and others accordingly.
You can often sense the energy of a particular teaching from energy the group of long-term seekers who are keyed into that particular teaching. Some teachers attract tamasic seekers, others attract rajasic ones, and others sattvic ones. Of course it doesn’t always work exactly like this – these are just general rules.
Take in these teachings, and see if they are true for you.
The above text was taken from a longer article which explains this in more detail.
In Christ I Trust
He is with me
Always with me
My Constant Companion
Gazing at me
With constant Loving Gaze
Watching over me
In times of need
A Joyous Reminder
In times of joy
My love to You
My love to You
My adorations to You
How I love You so
How I love You
My Gratitude to You
You are innate divine power. You are naturally free. You are self-fulfilled: You need nothing to complete You.
Nothing can harm You. You, the essence, ever remain the same, unacting, unmoving, whole, unscathed and untouched.
You, pure consciousness, are one with everything and all-pervading, yet no individual object is You, the divine essence.
Discerning self from non-self, knowing this, realised your true nature as you. Then rest here, as the unacting, all-pervading, untouchable, self-fulfilled Self.
When this knowledge is firm, letting go of all thoughts, even thoughts of ‘I am That’, etc, simply be still and abide as the Self (ie. that which is denoted by ‘You’ above).
In the above lines, the first 3 paragraphs are when the teaching is verbally explained and listened to by the seeker (Sravana, which means listening in Sanskrit). This is the first step of the teachings in which the concepts of the teachings are delivered and explained by a teacher and thereafter retained by the seeker.
In the 4th paragraph the verbal teachings are contemplated (Manana in Sanskrit) by the seeker. This is the second step of the teaching and this eventually culminates in an experiential realisation or understanding of what the teachings are pointing towards. The conceptual understanding that occurs through Sravana has now been transformed into a direct experiential understanding through examining ones direct experience in light of the conceptual teachings.
In the last paragraph the verbal teachings themselves are transcended once the ‘I am the body-mind’ concept is no longer present, and the instruction is simply to remain as That (Nididhyasana or meditation in Sanskrit).
It is this last stage that leads to lasting fulfilment and the end of suffering through (1) destruction of the habitual tendency (Vasana in Sanskrit) to identify as a limited entity (ie. ignorance or avidya in Sanskrit) ie.the body-mind) and (2) destruction of the egoic tendencies to seek pleasure and fulfilment through objects (Vishaya Vasanas in Sanskrit), including subtle objects such as experiences and knowledge /understanding /insights /intuitions, all of which are transient and so never lead to lasting satisfaction or lasting peace.
When suffering is no more, this is also known as ‘understanding’ or ‘knowledge’ or wisdom (Jnana), and it is also the culmination of devotional love (Bhakti) and the culmination of the path of meditation or yoga. It is also known as Self-realisation or liberation (Moksha).
Questioner: Usually this understanding stays for a while and then again gets muddled or covered by personality and it’s needs. How do we keep going back to the clear state…Although there is nothing called going back.
Tom: This is not a trick question: what covers up the ‘clear state’?
Q. The personality and it’s story.
Tom: Does it really get in the way? If so, how? If not, how?
Q. It’s like a forgetting of the clear state and thinking of ourself as a personality and the story it carries. This is taken as real and suddenly we are captured by it’s momentum unless some teaching or saying re-points to the clear state again. There is forgetting of the clear state.
Tom: Exactly. There is your answer. The force of habitually taking yourself to be a ‘me’ or a body-mind is ignorance. Letting that subside or seeing through that is enough. Eventually the habit will reverse and ignorance won’t reappear. It never really appears anyway. Namaste.
Many claim that to advise any kind of practice is to reinforce the ego and duality, and is therefore a dualistic expression. Now there is much truth in this. However to use the same logic against itself, isn’t this in itself a duality, distinguishing between dualistic and nondualistic expressions?
Ask yourself, what is more important to you: concepts of duality/nonduality or the cessation of suffering?
Ultimately the ‘truth’, so to speak, is not to be found in concepts of any kind, and is not really truth at all but simply the end of suffering.
Many expressions can help towards this end, both so-called dualistic and nondualistic expressions. To think otherwise is to artificially restrict yourself and close yourself to the endless variety of ways life teaches and guides us home – the home we never really left – you could even say the home we always already ARE.
While there is nothing wrong with discussing teachings (it can appear to be very helpful depending on where the seeker is – although a duality is also implied in the very discussion) – to argue endlessly about conceptual teachings often implies an egotism that is attached to certain expressions (ie. teachings), and this too can be an unhealthy source of egotism and suffering.
So if you find yourself tangled up in teachings and seeking, a suggestion is to simply relax and be as you are, free from worry, free to worry.
Q. Hypothetically speaking, if you were to start seeking Liberation all over again, what potential mistakes would you avoid this time?
Tom: I would relax more, much much more, and trust my own intuition in Silence, knowing that I already know this, what I am looking for is already totally and fully known, not with the mind, but intuitively effortlessly ‘known’. It is nothing else but my very BEING.
In the original Sanskrit, the word translated here as ‘work’ is ‘karma’. In the the preceding chapters Krishna has taught Arjuna about spiritual practice during activities, ie. karma yoga, in which the mind is made calm during activities by various means.
Now, in Chapter 6, Krishna teaches Arjuna that eventually the path of work leads to the path of stillness, and it is through stillness of mind that one advances in yoga. The rest of Chapter 6 explains in more details how this is to be done.
Whilst everything is nothing but the Self and nothing is ever apart from the Self, the Vedanta texts often speak of abiding as the Self.
This means to still the mind so that it is undisturbed and lose any notion of being a separate ‘I’ or ‘me’. Here we just abide as pure consciousness or pure knowingness, devoid of thoughts and phenomena, devoid of egotism.
This is pure ‘knowledge’ beyond knowledge, direct ‘experience’ beyond experiences, the ‘peace’ that passeth all understanding, Silence, beyond words and chatter.
Question: Hi Tom, I can see that there is no self, but if there is not a doer, what do you do when is time to take a decision that seem to be very important, like calling or not calling a woman you like?
Tom: Thinking just happens when it is needed.
You can conceive of it this way: the heart is an organ in the body, and its function is to pump blood around the body. When you exercise, the natural intelligence of the body means that it pumps faster.
Now see the brain and thinking in the same way. The brain is an organ and (one of) its function is to think. When thinking is required, eg. when making a decision, the natural intelligence thinks out a decision based on the information available to it at the time. It happens by itself, as it has always done.
Of course, as with all skills, one can learn to make better decisions, and both learning specific techniques and having experience in making decisions can aid this process.
When we engage with egoic thoughts, we suffer. All egoic thought assumes the existence of a separate ‘me’ and aims to deliver pleasure, security or fulfilment to that ‘me’.
By simply seeing that thoughts themselves are empty arisings with no intrinsic self, and that they are non-separate from ordinary awareness which in essence is ever-unchanged, we have spontaneously transcended them. In that moment, suffering is no more. This is the way of INSIGHT.
Alternatively, we can simply ignore the thoughts. Sometimes it can be useful to focus on something else such as the breath, a mantra, the sense of presence, etc, in order to distract us from the thoughts. This is the path of PRACTICE. It is a coarser path, as the notion of ‘me’ as the practitioner is still subtly present, but for most of us PRACTICE is required during much
of our spiritual journey as the habitual tendencies are too strong and deeply ingrained to be abated by pure insight practice alone. Once through PRACTICE the thoughts become less strongly ingrained, INSIGHT becomes the more predominant focus of the path, eventually becoming spontaneous.
Often, PRACTICE and INSIGHT will go together, sometimes alternating, depending what is happening and what is required. Ultimately they fuse, as indicated by teachings such as ‘Be still’ or ‘Be as you are’ (Ramana Maharshi) and ‘Just sitting’ (Dogen), in which spontaneous non-egoic non-volitional INSIGHT-PRACTICE is implied.
The paradoxial thing is that throughout all of this, all there is is INSIGHT. There is no ‘me’, and there never was. Everything is LIGHT. Experientially, that is all there is!