4759#4759 - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- Nov 14, 2012#4759 - Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - Editor: Jerry KatzThe Nonduality Highlights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/
Galen Sharp is not the newest nondualist on the block, although he may appear to be so to those who have recently discovered these teachings. I've known about him for many years as he was one of the few people endorsed by sentient.org, which published the first list of nonduality teachers on the internet. His work comes out of a lengthy correspondence with Wei Wu Wei back in the 70s. He has a new book out, What Am I? A Study in Non-Volitional Living:
Here is an excerpt from What Am I? by Galen Sharp
Thirty years ago we thought that we were heading towards an ultimate reality of a mechanical kind. Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on
the physical side of science, approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Matter is derived from consciousness, not consciousness from matter. (emphasis added)
Sir James Jeans
(Physics and Beyond by Werner Heisenberg).
Are you ready for an intriguing adventure into some new and virtually unexplored territory? As you can see from the title, this is a different kind of book about some very different ideas. It explores a variety of subjects such as science, philosophy, quantum physics and even some of the ancient masters in quest of a higher way of knowing the world and ourselves. And through the eleven Reality Meditations you will be able to examine your own mental mechanisms and find out how they really work, examine who and what you really are, and discover why you are here.
If you are a bit of a non-conformist this book may appeal to that. And if you like paradoxes and mysteries it will fascinate you also. In any case you will need a sense of wonder as well as a sense of adventure. For the point is not just to be different or mysterious, but to actually open our perception to a higher dimension. This is not just a figure of speech or merely a new metaphor for something conventional, but an actual realm existing at this moment along with the world we now observe. This New Reality is, of course, not new in itself. It has been spoken of and sought for thousands of years. It is, however new to most people.
Once you become aware of this higher reality you will also recognize others who have arrived before you. This is not some kind of elitist or superior group, though many have sought it unsuccessfully for that reason. Those who live in this reality may not even appear as anyone different to the general population, but you will know them. And, by the same token, you may attract some new friends.
My own transformation began when I started asking the same questions we explore in this book. I discovered that what I called reality was formed from a world model I was taught when I was young, and it wasnt real at all. I also discovered that it was the reason behind my lack of fulfillment and all of my unhappiness and frustration. As you find this out for yourself and contemplate the Reality Meditations you will also begin to see the world differently and your mind will begin to operate in a new way whole, unconditioned and spontaneous, the way it was meant to operate.
However, you must see this for yourself. You must look for yourself and discover it for yourself. No one can do this for you.
But that is what makes it an adventure
The Two Illusions Obscuring Your Liberation
1. The illusion of individuality.
And, from the illusion of individuality arises;
2. The illusion of volition.
Your True Being is all of the One Pure Universal Consciousness which is directly known right here, right now. Investigate either illusion and it will ultimately lead you to the other. Therein lies the way to liberation and rest. Why include rest? You rest from effort. Because the sense of effort comes from the illusion of volition. For instance, when you have to do something it may feel hard or difficult to do. When this sense of effort disappears, you rest.
How Could They Be Illusions When They Seem So Real?
Individuality and volition seem to be unarguable, but you may discover a great secret if you temporarily drop your learned assumptions and open-mindedly examine what actually is here and now. These illusions are caused by the way thought works. The thought process works by comparing and discriminating among the spontaneous living flow of percepts in consciousness, and by making symbols to represent similar groups of perceptions.
We call these symbols names, things and concepts. A name then comes to mean an object, a thing-in-itself. Take, for instance, the idea of a tree. The flow of percepts within consciousness which we call a tree was an actual here-and-now experience, but the concept, the thought, the label tree is just a symbol, not the actual, present, living flow of percepts. It is a dead label, a vague mental image in memory.
What we conceive as the world is not really many separate things-in-themselves, but actually the present living flow of percepts in consciousness. From the moment we are born we hear the sounds that people use to represent what they are perceiving, the sound-symbols we call words. We have come to confuse these words with the actuality. At about eighteen months into our life we begin to get the hang of making these sound-symbols ourselves. And we soon get around to making a mental symbol for what is happening here, where we perceive everything. This is how the body-mind point-of-view becomes a me. Psychologists believe that this is a good thing, that we need a self-concept. That would be okay if we didnt take it too far and identify with it as what we are, if we didnt accept that pitiful, limited, shifting, helpless, imaginary self-concept for our entire being. (But then, of course, psychologists would be out of a job.)
The trouble is, we dont do this all by ourselves. We are constantly told in various ways that we are a me, an individual, a separate thing-in-itself. The world model we learn supports this belief.
This leads to the illusion that there really is an objective me which is acting and being acted upon. This is the illusion of volition, and from this comes a new kind of pain. In the beginning there was only physical pain, which is helpful and even necessary to keep the body safe and working. That is a natural pain. But now arises psychological pain, mental pain, to keep the conceptual me safe. This is an unnatural pain caused by the illusion of a me and the illusion that this me has volition. This is the illusion of me as an individual, objective, actor and doer. However, this me is only a concept, a name, a thought. A thought cant think or act, so how could it have volition?
But this illusion, this perceptual mistake, does affect the thought process simply by being a basic concept in the belief system and world-view. Because the volitional me is such a basic concept it causes the development of a host of mental conditioned reflexes and actions required to save, protect and fulfill that me.
Why Spirituality Hasnt Liberated Us
All the systems of self-improvement we will find, whether philosophical or religious, assume we must add to, fix up, save and improve this individual, volitional self. Youve tried them and they dont work or you wouldnt be reading this book. This is because you were trying to fix the conceptual self which only exists in imagination and can no more do anything than your shadow can. This is like trying to put new wine into old wine skins. These kinds of teachings can only make things worse in the long run because they affirm the pseudo-self which is the problem to begin with.
These self-improvement schemes unhesitatingly accept this concept of a volitional me as real and put the burden of volition on the me to use their rules and principles to live right and to be successful. That is why they dont liberate us. Because the me is itself only a thought it cant think, let alone make decisions or act, either rightly or wrongly. This leads to feelings of helplessness, guilt and condemnation, because thoughts and actions simply follow the strongest urges or are inhibited by the strongest fears. But since the strongest needs have grown around securing, protecting and fulfilling the me, thats what we do instead of following our altruistic, spiritual concepts. No wonder living right was so hard, so impossible. We may know what we should do, but the power to do it is another matter. Well discover more concerning this mystery in a later chapter.
Is There An Easy Way To Not Be Taken In By Self- Improvement Teachings?
The term self-improvement says it all. Any system, religious or philosophical that assumes that we are improving, motivating, freeing or saving our individual self, instead of simply seeing it as an illusion, is bound to make things worse instead of better. In short, beware of anything that assumes an individual self and volition a self that needs to be fixed up or improved or saved. There is nothing to improve or to save. That pseudo-self is the life you must lose in order to find your true life.
We may enjoy the emotion and the positive feelings and the personal acceptance by the group to begin with, but the ultimate effect of following these systems will be to actually increase our bondage and leave us feeling more self-absorbed and even more helpless.
Awakening is more often than not blocked by pseudo-self, volition-based spiritual teachings which constantly point us in the wrong direction. It doesnt seem to take much to misdirect us, whether this is just because of the way the thought mechanism works or whether there are other, more malicious forces at work.
. Even natural pain would not be as painful if we didnt identify with the body as what-we-are.--
To meet cheerfully whatever life brings is all the austerity you need. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj~ ~ ~Find out more and order What Am I? here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0987380613/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0987380613&linkCode=as2&tag=nondualitysal-20