#1852 -Thursday, July 8, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
- #1852 -Thursday, July 8, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
Letter to the Editors: Click 'Reply' on your email program, compose your message, and 'Send'. All the editors will see your letter.A discussion about Sarlo's website: Sarlo's Guru Rating Service
at http://www.globalserve.net/~sarlo/Ratings.htmMark OtterHi Sarlo,
I just wonder if the idea of rating gurus, giving them rankings, is
not just another example of the great western game of competition?
If you want to have the right career, you need to go to the right
school - Harvard, Yale, etc, and work for the right professor - the
one with the largest group and the highest grant profile... If you
want to be enlightened you need to be the disciple of the right
guru. Travel to India, sit at the feet of Bhagavan Maharshi,
anything less is... well... less. I wonder if people who hear such
reasoning from well respected "spiritual people" might not get some
subtle idea that the way to acheive enlightenment is to
compete? "I'm more silent than you..." I have longer and better
sahmadis than you." Perhaps there is no such subtle thinking going
on, except in my mind, but I wonder...
I recently met a fellow who's into Gurdgieff and some other folks,
who he described as "supermen". I gather he spent some time with
these folks (sorry, I'm blanking on the names) Anyway, I took him to
a satsang of Pamela Wilson, and it looked to me as though he
withdrew his attention entirely from the proceedings, even walked
out partway through and sat in the outer room reading. I spoke
during the time he was in the room, and later upon recounting
something I'd said, he made it clear he hadn't heard it. When I
asked him about his opinion of the satsang, he said it seemed to him
to be "too easy", that people were relaxed and not being challenged.
He later sent me the peice by Aziz Kristof that we discussed
recently warning against pseudoadvaita, and in particular, against
the followers of Papaji. It looks to me that my friend's image of
spirituality is a very macho, highly competitive sport and frankly,
he strikes me as kind of unhappy with that viewpoint, albeit unable
to hear any other. I realize that I can't really know whats going on
in his mind, and I may be projecting it, but like I say, I wonder...
ps I am pointing to just one aspect of your list and site, and I do
not mean in any way to suggest that there are not positives. That
there are places online where one can find out about teachers and
become exposed to the kinds of concerns that folks have is in my
thinking, a very good thing. And there clearly are fakes and
charlatans out there preying on seekers, and your site and others
are probably very helpful in helping people avoid such traps. So
thank you for your service!
pps I'm curious to know your thoughts on whether a guru rating
service might,in some subtle way, impart the idea to readers that
enlightnement is a competition, and if so, does that help them
acheive enlightenment, or hinder them?Sarlo:
is>I just wonder if the idea of rating gurus, giving them rankings,
>not just another example of the great western game ofcompetition?
Ah! Yes, hi Mark, now i see. I thought you were talking about my
forum-list. Thanks for all your thoughtful feedback.
>Ifyou want to have the right career, you need to go to the right
>school -Harvard, Yale, etc, and work for the right professor - the
>one with thelargest group and the highest grant profile... If you
>want to beenlightened you need to be the disciple of the right
>guru. Travel toIndia, sit at the feet of Bhagavan Maharshi,
>anything less is... well...less.
Actually my site does not mean to suggest this, but i can see how you might
get that idea. What i am comparing is the odds that a random seeker might
find "success" with this or that guru figure, but the appropriateness of
this seeker with that guru will always be determined by personal fit, that
elusive je-ne-sais-quoi that cannot be analysed.
>I wonder ifpeople who hear such
>reasoning from well respected "spiritualpeople"
*AHEM!* Wash your mouth!
And then read my disclaimer. http://www.globalserve.net/~sarlo/Disclaimer.htm
>mightnot get some
>subtle idea that the way to acheive enlightenment isto
>compete? "I'm more silent than you..." I have longer andbetter
>sahmadis than you." Perhaps there is no such subtle thinkinggoing
>on, except in my mind, but I wonder...It is going on in plenty of minds.
But competition, like shit, happens. It is well established, way beyond
holier than thou. Any help it gets from me is less than a sunflower seed on
the icing on the cake.
Greg-san has shared some examples that are so prevalent they even have
LUCKNOW DISEASE - linguistic malady befalling seekers at Papaji's.
Characterized by never using the word "I" - to encourage one's self and
also show others that there is no one at home here. Instead, they would say
stuff like "This form is going to the rest room."
ADVAITA SHUFFLE - Conversational gambit. What Andrew Cohen accused Gangaji
of doing when she didn't want to talk about ethics and enlightenment.
Jumping to the absolute level at odd times. Like when the receptionist asks
why you were late for your doctor's appointment. "There's no one here to go
anywhere or be late for anything."
LANDING - Losing one's enlightenment. What Gangaji accused Andrew Cohen of
having done. Term used by those who think of enlightenment as a kind of
thing that can be lost. Something like claiming enlightenment and then
getting peevish and petty over who pays the tip at the diner.
NONDUAL POLICE - Those who badger others to use nondual terminology.
Whenever they hear someone saying something like "I'm going out for
coffee," they barge in: "WHO is going out for coffee??" Nondual police
want everyone to always be in constant Ramana-self-inquiry-mode.
THE EYE THING - Keeping eye contact with the other person as long as
possible. Whoever drops their gaze first is not as established in the
Beloved. Some blinking is OK, but not too much. The deeper into the Self
you are, the longer you can hold it. Used by many satsang teachers. One of
my friends can out-stare anyone. He kinds of drops into a Candida-mind-fog,
and hours can go by.
>I recently met a fellowwho's into Gurdgieff and some other folks,
>who he described as"supermen". I gather he spent some time with
>these folks (sorry, I'mblanking on the names) Anyway, I took him to
>a satsang of Pamela Wilson,and it looked to me as though he
>withdrew his attention entirely from theproceedings, even walked
>out partway through and sat in the outer roomreading. I spoke
>during the time he was in the room, and later uponrecounting
>something I'd said, he made it clear he hadn't heard it. WhenI
>asked him about his opinion of the satsang, he said it seemed tohim
>to be "too easy", that people were relaxed and not beingchallenged.
>He later sent me the peice by Aziz Kristof that wediscussed
>recently warning against pseudoadvaita, and in particular,against
>the followers of Papaji. It looks to me that my friend's imageof
>spirituality is a very macho, highly competitive sport andfrankly,
>he strikes me as kind of unhappy with that viewpoint, albeitunable
>to hear any other. I realize that I can't really know whats goingon
>in his mind, and I may be projecting it, but like I say, Iwonder...
The Gurdjieff effort / struggle types are not going to find a lot of common
ground with the nowhere-to-go crowd. It's interesting that he chose to go
with you. His motivation certainly might be a little suspect. But yes,
who's to say?
>Love, Markaspect of your list and site, and I do
>ps I am pointing to just one
>not mean in any way to suggestthat there are not positives. That
>there are places online where one canfind out about teachers and
>become exposed to the kinds of concerns thatfolks have is in my
>thinking, a very good thing. And there clearly arefakes and
>charlatans out there preying on seekers, and your site andothers
>are probably very helpful in helping people avoid such traps.So
>thank you for your service!Inasmuch as it can be of any real service, that's probably it, and
general-purpose articles on what to look out for on the Path, from many
sources. The "directory" aspect of it also has value but there are many
places to find such info. The rest is not to be taken too seriously, the
ratings themselves and the opinions masquerading as description. I
acknowledge the impossibility of value comparison.
>pps I'm curious to know your thoughts on whether a gururating
>service might,in some subtle way, impart the idea to readersthat
>enlightnement is a competition, and if so, does that helpthem
>acheive enlightenment, or hinder them?I don't think many, if any, will get the impression that enlightenment is a
competition. It seems basic to me that "I'm more all-one than you" cannot
be entertained by anyone with a lick of common sense, though unconscious
competitive tendencies will come out about various aspects which are deemed
important, like humility or longer, harder samadhis.
Admittedly, if people did get the idea of competition having value from me
then that would be a disservice. I try in various ways to discourage that,
especially in the disclaimer, but perhaps there are other ways i can
address that too, without sacrificing the delicate balance of
non-seriousness, mock-seriousness and information.
SarloMark OtterHi Sarlo,
I must say, I'm discovering that it is always very pleasant to
converse with you. Very clear.
I'm starting to see that I have not faired terribly well with
competition in my life and that I have a strong bias against it. And
yet, Darwin might suggest that it is not completely negative within
a changing universe. I think conditioned (and therefore blind to
global outcomes...) competition may well be a hindrance in the
uncovering of Self, as it requires an "other" to operate, but I
think I've recently been making more of a point of it than may be
helpful because of my personal issues. Your very clear response to
my post, as well as other recent developments in my life, has helped
me see this and I am most grateful. I enjoyed reading your
disclaimer and also the feedback, much of which seems
rather "competitive" (or combative...) to me... grin.
with great affection,
MarkSarloMark, what a sweetheart! Thank you and blessings on your
The feedback posted on my site is not all i get of course, but the
combative stuff is most likely more interesting than the supportive. ¿Why
is that? :-)
It is astute of you to notice that that combative feedback is also fairly
competitive. And my site itself has a significant personal competitive
element, which is rating my own master at the top. Competition is everywhere!
Love, SarloJan BarendrechtCompetition shows well: wild animals fight for food and mates. One rule is
that "bigger" is interpreted as "stronger" so the smaller animal often
avoids a fight by leaving the opportunity to the larger contender. But
smaller creatures can have properties the bigger animal is unaware of.
Awareness is both a key (to unlock "mysteries") and a power, able to
overcome eventual physical inequality.
Eurasian collared doves (ECDs) are quite smart and have learned that by
flying on my knees, hands or shoulders, they can outwit the physical
superiority of the temporary bullying ECD, hormone driven to defend a
territory for both access to food and a mate, at the cost of more fear than
the doves, not in that phase. Some former bullies (out of that hormonal
phase) know the issue so well that they behave like the common pet doves,
with the difference that ECDs still are in the wild and aware that
eventually they can get a full stomach without my aid.
This in turn attracts ppl, some take pics of the unusual scenes but others
want to know the secret. One man, after being told he should be aware of
unconscious movements, interpreted by all birds as a threat, responded by
saying he understood, and unconsciously made several gestures (again). So
the doves took off immediately and the man understood, understanding is
A little girl, charmed by the sight of doves landing on my knees and
shoulders, in my hands, wanted to know too what it takes to make doves
behave that way. I showed, not to move unless very slowly, and never to
throw bread, like humans are throwing stones. She said to understand and
threw bread - like humans are used to throw stones. Even the resident bully
ECD immediately took off. The girl was disappointed and didn't understand
what happened. But her mother did :-)
Awareness has no competition.HarshaIf nothing is wanted,
it matters not
whether you have what it takes.
Whatever it takes
to get whatever,
is itself completely false
and has no foundation.
And whatever you accomplish
can only satisfy some delusion
until the next one takes hold.
See where you are.
There is nothing else to do.
Love to all,
Harsha~ ~ ~Dear Friends:
People speak of visions and white lights and spiritual
and psychic experiences. These are beautiful things
and indications of meditative practices at some time.
Those who know the source that lights all experiences,
spiritual and otherwise, remain unmoved by such
Advaita Vedanta declares without compromise. Atman Is
Brahman! Thou are That!
With what white light or spiritual experience shall we
now be impressed?
Once Sri Ramana was asked about traveling to different
planes and having visions.
The Sage of Arunachala asked the questioner something
like, "What are you experiencing now and how is it
So we see that grocery shopping and satsangh are not
two different things. Each serves is purpose in the
moment. Satsang really means company of the truth or
Self. So we are always in Satsang.
All techniques fall at the feet of the Sage and become
May all beings be free from sorrow.
Love to all
HarshaAl LarusThis one's for you,pull the bucket
from the well,below the surfaceof the silent blue
between lakesand trees,
go seethe forestfor the leaves,then like a thief,
grasp a few
taking it all back home.
Editor's note: The photos in issue 1849 attributed to Sam -- a fine photographer in his own right! -- were actually by Al Larus. Apologies to Sam and Al. --Jerry
If you can watch this without smiling, you're really enlightened. If you can watch it with smiling, you're really enlightened.