Robert Adams outlining a wonderful path to Self-Realisation

This is a beautiful and instructive post from Robert Adams outlining a wonderful path to Self-Realisation. It was originally put together and posted by someone else on Facebook but I thought is was such a nice post that I’ve blogged it here for the benefit of you all.

The essential points below are:

1. Do not attempt to change whatever is happening.

2. Instead adopt an attitude of love, forgiveness and mercy throughout your daily life

3. Don’t worry too much about the body, mind and world or whatever experiences arise. No need to suppress either, just let things be and occur by themselves as much as you are able to. Allow life to take care of life.

4. When you are filled with love and forgiveness and mercy, perform self-enquiry again and again. This practice is emphasised below with instructions on how to do this.

5. Rest in the resultant Silence and allow yourself to ‘become’ That, watch yourself become more joyful and less concerned about thoughts and the world. Soon you will realise there is only That 

Now read the words from Robert Adams below. Take your time to read it properly as there are some beautiful variations of the teachings which are very potent. I think it’s really worth spending a few days or weeks just reading this, absorbing the message and actually practicing it. But, as always, do what feels right for you.

 

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Robert Adams:

You come under the law of karma […] when you believe you’re not awakened, you’re not free, you’re not liberated when you react to person, place or thing. […] I know there are many people in Advaita Vedanta who tell me, “Well you know Robert karma does not exist. Only the Self exists. Only effortless pure awareness exists. So why are you telling us about karma?” In truth you have to look at yourself and ask yourself, “Have I experienced pure awareness? Have I experienced absolute reality? I can’t afford to put on an act. It will only go against me.” […] So while we’re on the path to liberation we have to be very careful what we do with our lives. Every little thing is karmic. It is only when you awaken, when you are liberated that none of this exists. This is why I tell you so often, “Do not fool yourself.” Look at how many times a day you become angry. You feel cheated, you feel exploited. You feel something is wrong someplace. You feel depressed. You go and do something to cause this condition to stop and whatever you do you’re accruing karma. There is only one way to overcome this. And that is to forget about the world, forget about your body, forget about situations and go deep within yourself inquiring, “To whom does this come? Who is experiencing karma?”

[…]

Karma seems to be real and you’re affected with it all day long. Whatever you do, wherever you go you’re always affected by karma. It is karma that moves your body. It is karma that makes you do things. It is karma that causes situations to come into your life. Do not try to change a condition. Do not intend to change the situation. For you may appear to change it but this is only an appearance. It will come back again in full force. There is only one way to get rid of it and that is to transcend it by forgiveness, mercy and love. And as you practice forgiveness, mercy and love you inquire,

“To whom all this is coming to?

Who is experiencing these things?

Who is going through all these things?”

And again you will discover the I-thought,

“I am. I am going through all of these things. I appear to be going through karma. I appear to be suffering. I appear to want to get even with someone.”

You’re beginning to realize it’s not you. It is the I. Which is only a thought. Just knowing this alone makes you feel good. For you begin to see that you are free. You are bright and shining. You are sat-chit-ananda, nirvana, ultimate oneness.

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It is the I that appears to have the problems. You separate yourself from the I, by self-inquiry. And then you can go further by inquiring,

“Where did the I come from?”

You never answer that question. By inquiring that is sufficient. And you will find that you’re in the silence, the void. Just by going this far you will feel better than you’ve felt in years. You will feel such joy and such peace. This has nothing to do with enlightenment. But you’re going to feel joy and peace. More so than you ever felt before. Just by inquiring,

“Where does the I come from?”

The reason that you feel such joy and peace is because you begin to realize that you are not the I. You have absolutely nothing to do with the problems of the I. It is the I that feels anger. It is the I that feels pain. It is the I that feels rejection. But you ask yourself,

“What have I got to do with I? I have absolutely nothing to do with the I.”

Therefore again you ask,

“Then where did the I come from? Who gave it birth? What is its source?”

And you keep quiet. A feeling of total love will overpower you. For you’re learning to sit in the silence.

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That’s the most important point. You want to get to the place where thoughts do not bother you, where things do not annoy you. Where there are no problems and there are no solutions. Where there is no good and there’s no bad. You want to get beyond duality and rest in the silence. Many of you are getting a glimpse of what I’m talking about right now, as you rest in the silence. You’re not thinking about it, you’re not trying to analyze it, you’re not trying to make it happen, you’re just resting in the silence. Perfectly still. All of a sudden thoughts come up again. You start over again. You begin again. You inquire,

“To whom do these thoughts come?

Who is thinking these thoughts?

I am?

If I is thinking these thoughts then it has absolutely nothing to do with me. It appears to me as if everything is attached to the I. All of the emotions, the fears, the frustrations, it’s all attached to the I.”

Again you say,

“Where did the I come from?

What is the source of I?

Who gave it birth?”

You never attempt to answer. You sit in the silence.

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Some of you are beginning to feel how good it is to sit in the silence right now. The mind is completely empty. The fears are gone. There is nothing left to tell you anything. You are quiet, still. Thoughts pop up again. It makes no difference if they’re good thoughts, bad thoughts or in-between. The whole idea is to empty the mind of all thoughts. You inquire again,

“Who is thinking these thoughts?

I am?

Who am I?

What is the source of I?

Who gave it birth?

Where does this I come from that is giving me all this trouble and keeps thinking and thinking?

And bringing up to me all these morbid thoughts, all sorts of happy thoughts, all sorts of thoughts.

Where did this I come from?

What is its source?”

And again you enter the silence. Where everything is totally still. Where there is no movement. The vasanas have disappeared. There is just perfect stillness. You’re beginning to discover something very interesting. You’re beginning to discover that you´re able to sit in the silence for longer and longer periods without thought. It’s taking longer and longer before a thought comes to you.

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Yet you are not falling asleep. You’re feeling a peace that you’ve never felt before. You’re beginning to feel an all encompassing love. You begin to experience that the whole universe is an emanation of your own mind. And what you have done is you have pulled the entire universe into your heart, everything! All of the galaxies, the milky ways, the planets, the earth with all of it’s manifestations, everything has vanished. That’s total silence. […] […] When you’re sitting in the silence and the world is still available to you that is not silence. That’s a false silence. The true silence is when the whole world, the whole universe, people, places and things have all disappeared. You have pulled them back into the heart centre. That is the true silence. For there is no longer anything to think about. Everything is gone. There is just the void. The beautiful precious void. And you’re beginning to sit in that void, in that silence for longer and longer periods. When you come out of it the world appears to you again but it’s different. It begins to be different for you. You no longer look at the world in the same way. You no longer see the universe in the same way. You begin to feel everything as an image. You see images on the screen of life. The images keep changing, changing, changing but the screen is always the same. And something begins to tell you that you are that screen. You have always been the screen. Unchanging, absolute pure reality.

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But you are not free yet. This comes and it goes. Little by little the thoughts come back again. You begin to feel anger again but less than you did before. You begin to have less interest in your body. The things about your body that used to bother you stop bothering you, stop annoying you. People no longer make you angry or frustrated. This happens little by little. And you can’t wait to practice again. When you are by yourself and you’re not disturbed you sit down in your favorite chair and you begin to inquire,

“To whom do these thoughts come?

Why they come to me. I still feel thoughts. Maybe less than I did before but I still feel things,”

you further inquire,

“who is the I that feels these things?

Where did the I come from?

Who gave birth to this feeling I?

What is its source?”

And now you begin to feel that the I is only a thought. It is one of the thoughts that you’ve been thinking about all these years called the I-thought. Yet everything is attached to it and you keep seeing it and thinking about it. But now you’re inquiring,

“To whom does it come?

Who’s feeling it?

What is its source?”

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And you go back into the silence. Now every time you get into the silence you feel better and better. You feel lighter and lighter. The world again, the universe they’re getting sucked into your heart. The whole universe has gone. All existence has disappeared. Including yourself. There is nothing but the silence.

(long silence)

(…)

Om … shanti, shanti, shanti, peace.

— The above is taken from Robert Adams Collected Works, Talk 136: The True Silence

 

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Ramana Maharshi: Is renunciation necessary for Self-realisation?

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Visitor: Is renunciation necessary for Self-realisation?

Bhagavan: Renunciation and realisation are the same. They are different aspects of the same state. Giving up the non-self is renunciation. Inhering in the Self is jnana or Self-realisation. One is the negative and the other the positive aspect of the same, single truth.

Bhakti, jnana, yoga — are different names for Self-realisation or mukti which is our real nature. These appear as the means first. They eventually are the goal.

So long as there is conscious effort required on our part to keep up bhakti, yoga, dhyana, etc., they are the means. When they go on without any effort on our part, we have attained the goal.

There is no realisation to be achieved. The real is ever as it is. What we have done is, we have realised the unreal, i.e., taken for real the unreal. We have to give up that.  That is all that is wanted.

Visitor: How has the unreal come? Can the unreal spring from the real?

Bhagavan: See if it has sprung. There is no such thing as the unreal, from another standpoint.

The Self alone exists. When you try to trace the ego, based on which alone the world and all exist, you find the ego does not exist at all and so also all this creation.

(The above excerpt is from Day by Day with Bhagavan, page 87)

Tom’s comments:

Here in the above passage we find three central facets of Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings.

1. Firstly the non-self must be given up or let go of. By non-self, it is meant everything that is perceived. This includes the entire mental realm of thoughts, feelings and imaginings as well as the so-called physical world of the body and objects – i.e all experiences. This is the way the term is used in classical advaita vedanta. By given up it is meant do not be attached, or let go of all appearances. Allow all to come and go in your being.

Initially this renunciation or letting go is something you do, a practice, or as he states above, ‘the means’. Eventually this becomes natural as the habitual tendency (vasana) to identify with the non-self is dissolved through the practice (sadhana). At this point, when the vasanas have been removed, this is realisation.

2. Secondly Bhagavan then reminds us that realisation is not something to be attained. Realisation is who we are, it is our very nature, it is always and already here, so why do we need to attain that which we already are? (We don’t!). We just have to give up the wrong ideation we have, namely the fixation on the non-self and taking ourself to be the body-mind. When we give up everything, the only thing we lose is our illusions, that which is false. That which is real, the Self, can never be lost, and it is ever-realised.

3. Thirdly, when Bhagavan is asked about how the unreal can come from the real, bhagavan states in reality the unreal never was. The self alone is. Here he briefly describes his teaching of self-enquiry, namely that when you try to find the ego, you cannot find it. He then, in very concise form, states that the appearance of the world is dependent upon the false belief in ego. When the ego cannot be found and has been seen to be non-existent, you also realise that the world too is non-existent, that the entire thing is an illusion. This too is realisation! This too is renunciation of non-self! This too is jnana, bhakti and yoga!

Of note, the first point I mentioned above dealing with removal of vasanas is the purification part of the teaching, in which we let go of non-self or ‘the world’ (including the mind and body) through spiritual sadhana (practice), at least initially. Points two and three refer to what I call the insight aspect of the teachings in which the unreal is seen to be false or non-existent. These two aspects of the teachings go together beautifully, with insight naturally leading to renunciation (letting go of non-self/abiding as self) and sadhana enhancing insight and abiding as self and removing the vasanas (habitual tendencies) towards ignorance (of self) and taking hold of non-self.

 

Stay uninvolved

Below is a post I wrote on Facebook for which I ended up receiving a fair bit of criticism. I also received a lot of praise too. For this post I’ve focussed on the criticism as this is where the discussion lies – at the end I have added some of the criticisms, questions and clarifications from other readers that arose from this post. What do you think?


Your job is not to get involved with life. Stay out of it. Don’t get involved with the drama. Don’t get involved with life.

Allow the body and mind to do what it needs to do to get by, survive and be healthy. Take care of your responsibilities. No need to get involved. No need to identify as the images/appearance we call the body-mind. Allow the body and mind to come and go as it pleases.

The temptress Maya will try her best to get you back and involved you in her (evil) ways. She will try to seduce you with many things. These are your tests. You success will be judged by how well you are able to stay uninvolved.

Thoughts will come your way and give you apparently convincing logical and robust reasons why you must enter life and become involved with life’s ways. Maya tries to draw you back in in many ways. She is very convincing but ultimately has no actual power unless you concede your power to her.

Through all of this, your job is to just be. Relax. No need to push anything away. Allow all to come and go in this illusory and divine play that is supposedly our life. Allow maya to fill you up and run straight through you, you remaining totally unaffected, unaffected and uninvolved.

Only if you are able to overcome Maya’s seductive ways are you considered eligible and worthy for Self-Realisation. Walk bravely and survive this test through non-involvement. Only then are you deserving of receiving That Peace beyond all conditions which is already Your True Nature. It is already All-That-Is. In reality, there is only That.


Q: What is wrong with maya?

Tom: she is perfect as she is.

Q: …Including one’s drive to engage with it fully, coming full circle…

Tom:  It depends on what you mean by engage with it fully, but the ego usually doesn’t want to hear these teachings and instead tries to cling to the life it thinks it has. In that sense, continuing to engage with life can be a great way to stay stuck in illusion and suffering. It’s why all the great traditions say look within and consider the world to be empty. They are pointing out that running after worldly things and ‘engaging with life’ will never lead to the fulfilment the heart desires.

By the way, ‘perfect as she is’ means there is no need to ‘get involved’.


Q. Won’t this lead to spiritual bypassing?

Tom: If there is no supression/repression (of emotions), and things are allowed to arise naturally and be felt, there will be no emotional bypassing. Rather, what needs to be healed will rise to the surface, what needs to come out will come out 


Q.  I absolutely agree with you… but the whole challenge is about practising the “wisdom” … I fail miserably!
Tom: You cannot fail if you sincerely try. Just relax, be happy and allow stillness to arise.

Comment: Wonderful. God’s light shines through you! Ironically, I just read this by Robert Adams:

Let the world do what it does. Do not judge it. Do not condemn it. Do not love it. Do not hate it. Observe it. Watch it. But leave it alone. As you lose attachment to this world. The attachment to what we call God grows and grows.

Find your self. Look to yourself. Dive deeper, deeper within your self. Try to understand who you are by diving deep within yourself. Do not look to the universe. Do not look to things. Look to your Self. Only you can know yourself. No one can really help you.


Q. So no social involment? So no opening of the heart, no kindness, no empathy, no compassion

…remembering what said once Ch. Namkhay Norbu : “There is no difference between a Buddha and a herd of pigs”. Very deep insight, indeed, but when he is sick he goes to see the doctor. It is not selfish, it is, of course, for the transmission of the sacred teachings. So things are important without to be important but still are important without being important. Last words of Hassan I Sabba, the chief of the assassins (Haschishins) : “Nothing is real, everything is allowed”. What about playing freesbee with the good boy? 🙂 Freedom of choice, freedom of feeling. Just a matter to do one’s own thing. There will be volumes of sharp reasonnings proving that one is right and volumes of as sharp reasonnings proving that one is wrong.

Tom: Nice one. One post cannot capture everything, of course. There are many facets to this, so it seems. Opening of the heart, kindness, empathy and compassion all arise naturally when the ego is not. They are all natural manifestations of the natural state. As you mentioned Namkhai Norbu, let me ask you: are the 6 paramitas ultimately different from rigpa/dzogchen?


Comment: Nonsense! If “there is only That,” then passionate involvement is also That. You’re advocating for a dualistic paradigm while claiming to represent nonduality. Can’t have it both ways. The only way this position does make sense is if we interpret “stay uninvolved” non-literally. That is, we interpret it to mean that we always know “there is only That” even while we’re in the midst of passionate involvement in the world.

Tom: You make a good point. Initially it starts off dualistically – eg. be still, be uninvolved, let go, etc. These are all things for a ‘separate self’ to do. And this is how the spiritual search always starts. Then it can progress to ‘know you are that stillness’ or ‘know there is only that and all this is that’. This is the insight part of the teachings. Then from that knowing, relaxation emerges and stillness deepens. This is the purification part of the teachings, something often missed out in many contemporary expositions. Then eventually all is given up and any notion of ‘you’ disappears. This is surrender and being consumed by the divine. At this point the very idea of a teaching, such as my post above, is a joke. How can this ever be taught or put into words? Yet this is how the story apparently goes: from duality to non-duality, then realising that too was illusion 

Q.  I like that way of looking at it. Thanks, Tom. I suppose the trouble with a declarative-style post on Facebook is that people at every stage in the story will see it, and it may not be appropriate for all.

Tom: Yes, I agree, thank you.


Q. Bollocks. During my professional life I got totally involved and was very happy, while I also loved my wife, played tennis and golf and downhill skiing, travelled, enjoyed my dogs.So no.

Tom: This post, like all teachings, is a finite expression at a single point in time, and although I concede it is written in directive language, it will not be right for everyone. If what you write above works/worked for you then great. I am genuinely happy you have had/are having a nice life.


Q.  I have to be passionate about feeding my children and getting them into school. It won’t just happen if I stay “uninvolved”.  (Do you have children?). But similarly, on some level, I have to be passionate about transcending duality (as much as a drowning man wants air, Nisargadatta and others have said). So this passion and need for involvement are not unnecessary. Passion itself is a divine expression, whether it be to advance a worldly aim or to advance beyond the world.

Tom: My advice is to experiment with this for yourself. It’s easy to say things like ‘we need to be involved’, and of course this is true on one level, but that is approaching the words from an analytical/thinking point of view instead of taking them as practice instructions (or a suggestion as how one can practice).

Instead try to put the words into practice and see what happens. Experiment with the above. You will (perhaps) find that outwardly most everything carries on as before. You still do the school run, you still may have political views or meet up with and interact with society and your loved ones. Or perhaps many things will drop away (this often happens).

But at the same time we start to find a peace that lies amidst everything. The school run, once so tiring and grueling, suddenly becomes much easier (I do have children btw!). It can start quite small, but suddenly life starts to get easier, things start to flow. We may not understand why, but peace starts to infiltrate our life.

As peace comes in, we relax and let go. Whilst being totally uninvolved in life, we are simultaneouly in the thick of life. The appearance of the body continues to act. It’s like magic really. I hope that makes sense.

This is not philosophy or something to think about, but a call to action: to let go of and release our sense of restricted self and let go of our negative habitual tendencies and addiction to both thought and the world. As we let go, we start to see that the belief that we are the body-mind is an illusion, our minds attain natural calm and peace dawns. Life becomes a play of the Divine and we cannot but surrender to Him (Her/It) perpetually in Gracious Stillness. Namaste 

Q. I do see what you’re saying Tom. Is it what the ancient texts call “act without being attached to the results of your actions”? Because I think that might be a clearer way of expressing it than saying “stay uninvolved” – which opens itself up to misunderstandings and unnecessary objections.

Tom: Try it and let me know if there is a difference.

Q. Thanks for the clarification. I can see how being uninvolved with thought, or uninvolved with habitual tendencies can be helpful. But not so sure about “uninvolved with life?”. There are many who are uninvolved with life who are certainly not uninvolved with duality.

Tom: Sure. As I said, the teaching is not philosophically complete, nor is it intended to be. Instead, if you resonate, try to implement the teaching as much as is practical for you and your life. I’ve just added the phrase ‘Take care of your responsibilities.’ to the 2nd paragraph following this discussion. Many thanks to you. Ironically, the teaching is born through interaction 


Comment: This idea is completely unintegrated with ordinary human life in the world….and an awakened life need not be and ultimately cannot be…especially at this point in history where so much suffering calls for the mindful response and even skillful activism of people who live in presence.  Sorry, But this is not a good post Tom. Very misguided, disappointing and even harmful.

Tom: Hi XXX, thanks for speaking your mind on this, something I welcome very much. It would be helpful to me if you could explain what exactly you found to be misguided, disappointing and harmful and why. Many thanks.

Comment:  the idea that we need not or are somehow spiritually better off to not be engaged in life and the implication that ordinary life is somehow not “really real” and so unimportant enough for us to simply ignore……is a grave though quite common, misconception about what an awakened life looks like.
It is true that living in constant anxiety about life is not helpful and calls us to a deeper discovery of the surrender that is already within us….But being truly and unconditionally PRESENT to life also means allowing a skillful response to life to arise in our hearts and to function and act through us. And in some cases, this response to life is very active and engaged.

You seemed to be saying that the best approach is to not care anything for everyday phenomenal life in the world and to remain unengaged …..At least that is what I took away from your post. And from my perspective that is really encouraging irresponsibility and a rather insensitive attitude. And I am sorry, but that is harmful Tom. 

Tom: I hear what you are saying here, and it can sound like that when thought about. However when it is practiced it can be quite different in reality. My experience is that when life is approached with this attitude, a deep letting go can take place, peace dawns, and engagement with life by the body-mind may very well happen (or may not). As the ego is effaced, clarity and love arise in its place and these acts quite naturally by themselves when required. This is not the sentimental love, but something else…The clarity that can arise through this kind of practice is really quite astounding and the ego can be revealed to be totally illusory. Such freedom here!

The non involvement I talk of is mainly on the level of the mind and doesn’t necessarily preclude a busy involved life, although it may for some. I don’t recommend reliquinshing family or responsibilities in general. I also value ethical principles such as the golden rule, sound physical and mental health and often recommend counselling and professional help where applicable – I’ve found these not only improve one’s quality of life, but greatly enhances and quickens the spiritual journey: ie. the letting go of egoic and addictive tendencies and insight into no-self comes much more easily. I hope that clarifies my position.

Comment: Thank you…..that really does clarify your position and I appreciate and agree with that completely. For some reason I did not take this away from the original post and that is why I responded as I did.


Comment: What you are saying Tom is a complete misunderstanding of Vedic Text my dear brother. Consider this text: “The Lord is the seer, and the EXTERNAL ENERGY which is seen, works as BOTH cause and effect in the cosmic manifestation. This external energy is known as maya or illusion, and through her agency only is the entire material manifestation made possible.” (Srimad Bhagavatam) Krishna also calls it “My Yoga Maya” To deem Maya evil is surely mistaken, as Maya is considered the chief power of the Lord itself! It is the dynamic aspect of God.

At the same time I resonate with what you are trying to say: Mainly, stay uninvolved with the intense impulse to manipulate, coerce, and squeeze this dynamic aspect of God into a narrow self-serving vision.

Tom: Thanks for your comment and also for your later comment trying to see where I am coming from on this – much appreciated. I don’t think what I am writing is a misunderstanding of the vedic texts, but it is only part of the deal (a very important part for most) that is being stressed here. This kind of writing emphasising tyaga and vairagya is found throughout the vedic texts dealing with self-realisation (ie. the jnana kanda) and is an essential part of their methodology. In vedanta and buddhism there are many scriptures repeatedly saying how vile the body is and how we should turn away from the world. This, much like parts of my post, is rhetoric to drive the point home. It is not to be taken as philosophical truth, rather a guide to practice, and very helpful it can be too. Yoga Vasishtha talks about this in detail, as do more recent Jnani’s such as Ramana Maharshi. Shankara states this attitude is a pre-requisite for liberation as does the Srimad Bhagavatam that you yourself quoted from. See here for an example: https://tomdas.com/…/20/the-ultimate-means-to-liberation/

In fact, indifference to the world is the flipside of turning towards God, at least initially. Later on (much much later on for most), when the ego has been eschewed, all is seen to be One, but at that point there is no need for a teaching as all has been seen to be One and resolution has been ‘achieved’. But if we start saying all is one without negating the ego-world or turning towards the divine aspect, then all we have is an ego claiming all is one: suffering continues and the true depth insight never dawns. This is one reason why renunciation is so valued in all the scriptures of the great traditions of the world. My personal experience is that sharing this style of teaching allows the divine to pour in much more readily as the attachments have been wonderfully effaced. Ramana talks about this here: https://tomdas.com/2015/08/19/is-the-world-an-illusion/

I’ve always loved the gospels and I’ve been collecting some quotes of Jesus recently. I know you have affinity for the gospels too, so I hope you don’t mind if I add them here. Consider Jesus when he says the following in the Gospels – why does he say the following if all is God, if all is already One?:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15-17 or

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and EVEN HIS OWN LIFE, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26 or

“So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Luke 14:33 or

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23-24) or

“Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”James 4:4 or

“He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.'” Matthew 16:23 or

One day Jesus invited a man to follow Him and become His disciple—but the man refused. He said he would follow Jesus later, but first he wanted to go bury his father. Jesus responded, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead” Matthew 8:22.

So, if all is one, why did Jesus value renunciation to such a high degree? His renunciation is much more extreme than suggested in my post, and he embodied an extreme renunciation in his life.

If you read it, what I have written above in the OP is not much different to practice instructions such as ‘be still’, or ‘be the witness’ or ‘surrender everything to the feet of the Lord’ or ‘rest as the I AM’. Blessings to you 


Comment: Hi Tom, in your elaboration above (thanks to various comments being placed) you demonstrate in my opinion a thorough understanding of how teachings work and a willingness to apply what is necessary when it is necessary – skillful means.

Wouldn’t you agree, that one of the ‘pitfall hallmarks’ on the spiritual journey is for a traveler to become overly identified with the particular part of the process they are in and when insight in that phase happens then there is the belief or assumption ‘this is it’ and then a focus which is exclusively on that tends to happen and inevitably any sharing becomes critical of anything different thinking ‘that’s not it’.

My view is that when this happens, it’s a display that someone’s ‘current truth’ has become the teaching without the holding of a broader perspective of what a teaching really is, what teachings really are – a process, requiring different means at different times along the way. It’s blatantly obvious that many different teachings say different things, even within a single teaching there are often many seeming contradictions, and yet, in practice they often act in unison supporting each other, dovetailing into one another, and taking over where another left off. The attitude amoung teachers and teachings would be better one of universal brotherhood where the whole is seen as needed and supporting the growth of everyone including the teachers and seekers.

If criticism of a teaching is lobed, it’s often because there has been a projection by the critic whereby the teaching pointers have been interpreted to have the intention of conveying ‘a truth’. And as I see it, what you are saying in the initial post, as far as I can tell having regard for your broader teaching, is not conveyed with the belief that it is ‘truth’ but with the understanding of how teachings work and what they are. If someone says it’s invalid it’s most likely because they have made the mistake of mistaking a concept as ‘truth’ (their interpretation and mistake of what you’re saying, and in my assessment this dynamic is forced to happen when they are mistaking what they are saying as ‘truth’).

Every concept has its opposite concept.

If it’s all seen as a bunch of concepts and not ‘truth’, then who cares what other people put forward as a teaching, it’s not truth, it’s part of a very magical and mysterious transformation process in which there is undoubtable trust if one has been ushered through it, this even if occasionally we slip into forgetting this and being critical of other teachings.

This issue of mistaking concepts for truth is not an issue confined to the narrow topic of teaching but rather runs deep all the way to the core of our mistaken self identity which is why I felt compelled to comment here, as well as to support what I feel is a very good teaching coming from an impressive understanding.

Keep it up, I know how much time it takes to compile such thorough responses and it’s a testament to you given you also have a family with young kids and full time job as an MD.

Well done Tom.


 

Spiritual Liberation – Some Basic Practice Instructions

still waters.jpg

Take your time with each of these, really take your time with them…

1. Do not get involved with life. Allow the body-mind to look after itself. Allow everything to come and go.

2. Relax and be still.

3. Do not take yourself to be a person, a body-mind. Here the questions ‘Who am I?’ and ‘From where does ‘I’ arise?’ can be useful initially, as can the assertions ‘I am not the body-mind-world’ and ‘I am That’. Relaxation and stillness are also useful here.

4. To rest in that state where one is aware but no ‘I’ thought arises is stillness. In time resting here will lead to realisation, but there must be no thought of realisation as this itself is a disturbance, a distortion.

5. Know that all is nothing,
Everything is nothing,
Nothing is here…
There is only That…

…not even That.

 

The Natural Path to the Natural State

Lake calm new zealand meditation nonduality

Through the mind being increasingly more still, all is revealed, naturally and directly, non-verbally and non-conceptually, beyond any set of words or stock-phrases.

We don’t need to wrestle with ideas and questions such as:
– Is there a separate self?
– Is the world an illusion?
– Is everything really me?
– Do I survive after death?
– Am I really not the body?
– Is there free will?
– Are all these teachings actually just ramblings of self-deluded people? (It’s not impossible!)

All of the above is just ego-play, the mind perpetuating itself.

Through being still, as the thoughts lessen and lessen, the distorting veil of the ego lessens and its illusions are naturally seen through. Insight pours in all by itself, insight simply being the recognition of illusion for what it is, and the falling away of illusion.

All practices eventually take us to this stillness, so do what you need to do to be still. Often uplifting, blissfull, loving, positive and invigotating practices and techniques are needed first to root out negative tendencies (tamasic vasanas), and soothing calming practices are needed to calm passionate activated energies (rajasic vasanas) prior to allowing yourself to be still. Do what you need to do to allow stillness into your life.

Any teachings that have given you lasting benefit just bring you to this stillness, even if just momentarily. Through repeated prolongued immersion in stillness, the tendency to identify with the body-mind reduces then, after much time, eventually disappears, and with that the belief in the solidity of the world and other people also disappears, as does the notion of subject-object and time. This just happens by itself.

No need to take my word for it. Just be still and find out for yourself. Let go of belief in the ‘me’, the body, the world, the future, the past, etc, allow all thoughts to gently settle down and let go of all thinking. No need to push anything away or supress anything, just allow yourself (the ego-mind) to die…all will naturally work itself out.

Of course you will not find discover anything new or realise anything: the ego-illusion, the centre that is seeking – that will simply end. This is not about gaining new special knowledge or a new insight into reality, so if you are not getting special experiences/understanding or don’t appear to be ‘making progress’ through being still, don’t worry, that’s perfect. This is about the end of the ‘me’ that is seeking all of that.

Also, don’t underestimate the tenaciousness, endurance and pervasiveness of the ego. Even when thoughts do not appear to be consciously present, the ego is still fully there, dormant and in seed form, ready to sprout, just like in deep sleep. Therefore the stillness, even when thoughts appear not to be present, still needs to be be further deepened and the sadhana (spiritual practice) still needs to be continued until there is no individuality-duality left. A superficial absense of thoughts will not do. If this seems too difficult or daunting, don’t worry – just start, just start! What at first appears difficult or even impossible becomes easy with repeated attempts and practice. Take the example of a child learning to walk, ride a bike, swim or speak a language.

What remains when the ego/’me’ is gone can’t be put into words, and cannot be understood by the ego/mind. Thinking that this can be put into words such as ‘all is one’, or ‘Atman is Brahman’ or ‘there’s nobody here’ or any other set of words is seen to be false and just more toys for the ego. At the same time, it can be seen what these words may be trying (and failing) to point to.

So, no need to figure any of this out – that is more ego – instead be still. No need to cling to insights or words or knowledge or experiences – that too is more ego – instead be still.

Do not try to be still – that is just more activity, more ego. Seeing this, just allow everything to be as it is, not in order to get something, as that too is more ego.

Seeing the ego is always trying to gain, and intuitively non-verbally seeing this is just an unnecessary waste of energy, the ego can spontaneouly be let go of, for no reason, and not supressed, but just allowed, and in that the egoic drive has been removed, and this is being still. You need to try it and experiment to find this out for yourself.

Just like unplugging an electric fan, the blades of the ego-fan may appear to turn for a while, a good while, but no need to try to stop the blades rotating – that is more ego-effort and causes more issues – just be still and the ego-thoughts will naturally slow down when it is ready, just like the electric fan blades eventually stop by themselves when the power is taken away.

The other thing is don’t get stuck in a trance, a static feel-good state of mind. That is also another play of the mind looking for escape and pleasure. Stillness is not a trance, it’s much gentler than that – it’s the natural state. Try, experiment and practice and you will find the way, not by sitting on the sidelines thinking about it, but by actually doing it.

In summary: be still, all will be revealed.

Which means nothing will really be revealed, just the illusion/illusory seeker will die. The illusion-free state, the egoless state, the non-dual state, which of course is not a state, is the natural state.

If this is confusing, don’t worry. The words are never it. Instead just be still. Actually do it. Again and again forget everything, let go of your thoughts and thinking, bring yourself back to stillness, become nothing, let go of it all, be still.

This is the natural path to the natural state.

Wishing you peace.

Does Karma really exist?

Robert Adams Advaita

The following is by Robert Adams:

Does Karma really exist? I know that you can say, “No it doesn’t.” But as long as you believe that you are a body and mind, as long as you feel the world to be real, you cannot fool yourself. Do not lie to yourself. If the world perturbs you, if people bother you, if things annoy you, if you are reacting to conditions this means that you believe you are a body going through these experiences. And as long as you are going through experiences you are in karma. You are experiencing the karma that put you here as a body. It is only  when you have realized the self that there is no karma.

Therefore do not go around telling people that there is no karma, it will give them license to do anything they like. Feeling there is no retribution, there is no effect for their deeds. This is not true as long as you believe you are a body. For there are laws of the universe that respond to your actions. Karma means action. And as long as you believe you are the actor you will have to experience the results of the karma.

So in this particular life you are experiencing the results of not only the karma of this experience but of previous lives. Previous lives also come into effect whenever you believe you are the body.

There are only two ways to destroy the karma.

One is to inquire, “To whom the karma comes? Who is experiencing this karma?”

And the other way is to surrender completely to God. Totally surrender your life to God. God is within you as you. You therefore surrender everything to the self. Thy will be done. You begin to see that as long as you have God to surrender to, you need not worry, you need not fear. Everything will be alright.