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#4857 - Friday, March 1, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #4857 - Friday, March 1, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz The Nonduality Highlights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/ ... Here s another really good article
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2013
       #4857 - Friday, March 1, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz

      Here's another really good article from Fred Davis's Awakening Clarity blog:
      Rating the Experts
      by David Lang
      My friend and teacher, Douglas Harding, used to say that before we see who we really are, we read the scriptures to see if we have got it right (‘it’ being our own spiritual experience), but after we see who we really are, we read the scriptures to see if they have got it right! Making the point that true spirituality is concerned with the question of our fundamental identity, he was emphasizing that ultimately only I am the authority on what it’s like to be me, and only you are the authority on what it’s like to be you.  Scriptures can be useful guides-on-the-side, but their validity should be measured against our experience, not the other way round.
      In this post, I invite you to exercise your own authority by seeing for yourself if some of the masters got it right. My proposal is that we test a few of their assertions by using some of what Harding called ‘experiments.’ Harding claimed that basic truths about our essential nature are as observable and verifiable as physical truths. If the sages claim that we are one with all things yet at the same time empty of all things, for example, or that we are infinite, or perfectly still, then we shouldn’t have to take those ideas on trust but should be able to verify them for ourselves, just as we shouldn’t have to take on trust the idea that a heavy object drops at the same speed as a light one. In both cases, spiritual no less than physical, we should be able to test the propositions for ourselves.
      One objection to Harding’s premise is that testing how fast two objects of different weights fall is easy to do—you can try it with a penny and a quarter—but determining if we are one with all things is incredibly difficult. The Buddha, for example, uniquely gifted and motivated as he was, nevertheless spent years, indeed, lifetimes preparing himself for the supreme moment of self-realization. We are not the Buddha—so goes the objection—and it would be both incredibly presumptuous and a huge mistake to believe that we are at this very moment and in this very place poised for enlightenment.
      There are two answers to this objection. First, how do we know we are not ready for self-realization? If it does take many lifetimes to reach readiness, isn’t it possible that we have in fact already spent those lifetimes (but have simply forgotten them) doing all the things necessary to prime us for the supreme moment? Our penny might be just about to drop. It’s worth taking a few minutes to look at who we really are, just in case, isn’t it? What can we lose?
      The second answer is even more radical. It is simply the claim that self-realization is easy, no matter who we are or how prepared we might or might not be. This brings us conveniently to the first of the assertions by spiritual masters which I am proposing we test. Ramana Maharshi, the preeminent twentieth-century Hindu authority on self-inquiry, said: “It is easier to see who you are than to see a gooseberry in the palm of your hand.” What could be easier than seeing a gooseberry—or the equivalent ordinary piece of fruit, depending on where you live—in the palm of your hand? Just about nothing.
      Was Ramana right? Let’s see by doing one of Harding’s experiments. Please:
      Point at your feet and notice your feet there.
      Point at your knees and notice your knees there.
      Point at your chest and notice your chest there.
      Point at your head and notice the absence—yes, the absence—of your head here.
      Nothing could be easier than that, right?
      Of course, I’m not asking you to imagine that if you pointed at your head you would see its/your absence. I’m asking you to take the time and make the effort (little as it is) to actually look. You know the analogy about the difference between reading the menu and eating the meal or between looking at a brochure on Hawaiian vacations and spending two weeks lying on white sand beaches sipping margaritas (I mean, juice…)? It’s true of the experiments, too. Just reading about pointing at your absence—taking it on trust or imagination—is nowhere near the same as actually seeing the absence of your head. It’s the looking that matters, not the idea or the image. So if you didn’t actually point and look before, perhaps you could do so now. There isn’t really much value in reading this essay without testing for yourself the propositions put forward in it.
      ~ ~ ~
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