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Monday, February 25, 2002

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  • Jerry Katz
    JAN SULTAN AND MATTHEW FILES JAN: As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the golden chain
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2002

      JAN: As long as we follow a spiritual approach promising
      salvation, miracles, liberation, then we are bound by the
      "golden chain of spirituality."

      MATTHEW: .........and even if we approch a path with
      expectations,hopes, ideas about what it will be like when
      the "great understanding" bops us on the head, it is the
      same thing as the path offering promises.

      JAN: Such a chain might be beautiful to wear, with its
      inlaid jewels and intricate carvings, but nevertheless, it
      imprisons us.

      MATTHEW: ..........yes, just think of all the wonderful
      descriptions that ramana, and nisargadatta, (and many
      others)have given of "what its like".

      JAN:People think they can wear the golden chain for
      decoration without being imprisoned by it, but they are
      deceiving themselves. As long as one's approach to
      spirituality is based upon enriching ego,

      MATTHEW: .............and whose approach isn't? at least
      for the first 10-15 years or so. and thats's if you're
      lucky and have a little bit on the ball.

      JAN: then it is spiritual materialism, a suicidal process
      rather than a creative one. All the promises we have heard
      are pure seduction.

      MATTHEW: .............any description we hear about "what
      its like" or "how it is", where we go, "yes thats it, thats
      what its about", that's the seduction. that is ego
      promising the pay-off.

      JAN: We expect the teachings to solve all our problems; we
      expect to be provided with magical means to deal with our
      depressions, our aggressions, our sexual hangups.

      MATTHEW: ..............which is, come on admit it, the main
      reason 99.9% of us get on a spiritual path in the first

      JAN: But to our surprise we begin to realize that this is
      not going to happen. It is very disappointing to realize
      that we must work on ourselves and our suffering rather
      than depend upon a savior or the magical power of yogic

      MATTHEW: ...........what? work on ourselves? but the non
      dual dharma, says that there is no self to work on. and i
      believe that, and if i believe it hard enough it will
      become true, righ right?

      JAN: It is disappointing to realize that we have to give up
      our expectations rather than build on the basis of our

      We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the
      surrendering of me-ness, my achievement.

      MATTHEW: ............ah, but the little trick he leaves out
      is that "i" cannot surrender "me". sneaky bastard he was.

      JAN: We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment,

      MATTHEW: .............yes, look at me, look how i am
      progressing, closer and closer to enlightenment, abiding
      more and more in "is-ness". LOL.

      JAN: watch our disciples celebrating, worshipping, throwing
      flowers at us, with miracles and earthquakes occurring and
      gods and angels singing and so forth.

      MATTHEW: .............or at least having others tell me i'm
      brilliant, the words i say are so moving and inspiring and
      are creating so much opening and love in them.

      JAN: This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment
      from ego's point of view is extreme death, the death of
      self, the death of me and mine, the death of the watcher.
      It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the
      spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking,
      peeling off of layer after layer of masks. It involves
      insult after insult.

      MATTHEW: .................oh, you are at the point where
      there is no you to be insulted anymore? then you missed the

      JAN: Such a series of disappointments inspires us to give
      up ambition. We fall down and down and down, until we touch
      the ground, until we relate with the basic sanity of earth.
      We become the lowest of the low, the smallest of the small,
      a grain of sand, perfectly simple, no expectations.

      MATTHEW: ..............yah another tricky item here cause
      it is the very ambition he is adressing that says "yes, i
      want that simplicity".

      JAN: When we are grounded, there is no room for dreaming or
      frivolous impulse, so our practice at last becomes
      workable. We begin to learn how to make a proper cup of

      MATTHEW: ............what? a "proper" cup of tea? from the
      non dual perspective every cup of tea is a proper cup,
      right? right?

      JAN: how to walk straight without tripping. Our whole
      approach to life becomes more simple and direct, and any
      teachings we might hear or books we might read become
      workable. They become confirmations, encouragements to work
      as a grain of sand, as we are, without expectations,
      without dreams.

      We have heard so many promises, have listened to so many
      alluring descriptions of exotic places of all kinds, have
      seen so many dreams, but from the point of view of a grain
      of sand, we could not care less. We are just a speck of
      dust in the midst of the universe. At the same time our
      situation is very spacious, very beautiful and workable. In
      fact, it is very inviting, inspiring. If you are a grain of
      sand, the rest of the universe, all the space, all the room
      is yours, because you obstruct nothing, overcrowd nothing,
      possess nothing. There is tremendous openness. You are the
      emperor of the universe because you are a grain of sand.
      The world is very simple and at the same time very
      dignified and open, because your inspiration is based upon
      disappointment, which is without the ambition of the ego.

      MATTHEW: ...............don't you just hate these teachers
      who tell you it's all about not being special and yet their
      whole lives are about being special. jeez i hate that.

      ........visualize whirrled peas, ..........matthew



      Forward from Norbunet-For resident non dual scientists

      80% Conditioning 20% Awareness?

      Here is a great article from the NY Times on conditioning
      (brain activity trained through reward conditioning, or
      attachment) and awareness (in this case, dealing with the
      unexpected). While the anlaysis is very short in reading,
      it does relay the important fact of higher levels of brain
      activity when you are in the state of awareness VS the
      mundane state of conditioning. It makes it easy to
      understand why we use methods like shock (hedava) and fear
      (chod practice) as a way of experiencing heightened
      awareness. Need to get those brain juices flowing so that
      we can experience what we are missing!

      All the best!

      The brain's automatic pilot

      Sandra Blakeslee
      The New York Times
      Thursday, February 21, 2002
      NEW YORK
      Compulsive gambling, attendance at sporting
      events, vulnerability to telephone scams and exuberant
      investing in the stock market may not seem to have much in
      common. But neuroscientists have uncovered a common thread.
      . Such behaviors, they say, rely on brain circuits that
      evolved to help animals assess rewards important to their
      survival, like food and sex. Researchers have found that
      those same circuits are used by the human brain to assess
      social rewards as diverse as investment income and surprise
      home runs at the bottom of the ninth. . They found that the
      brain systems that detect and evaluate such rewards
      generally operate outside conscious awareness. In
      navigating the world and deciding what is rewarding, humans
      are often closer to zombies than sentient beings. . The
      findings, which are gaining wide adherence among
      neuroscientists, challenge the notion that people always
      make conscious choices about what they want and how to
      obtain it. In fact, the neuroscientists say, much of what
      happens in the brain goes on outside conscious awareness. .
      The idea has been around since Freud, said Gregory Berns, a
      psychiatrist at Emory University School of Medicine in
      Atlanta. Psychologists have studied unconscious processing
      of information in terms of subliminal effects, memory and
      learning, he said, and they have started to map what parts
      of the brain are involved in such processing. But only now
      are they learning how these different circuits interact, he
      said. . "My hunch is that most decisions are made
      subconsciously with many gradations of awareness," Berns
      said. . P. Read Montague, a neuroscientist at Baylor
      College of Medicine in Houston, says that the idea that
      people can get themselves to work on automatic pilot raises
      two questions: How does the brain know what it must pay
      conscious attention to? And how did evolution create a
      brain that could make such distinctions? . The answer
      emerging from experiments on animals and people is that the
      brain has evolved to shape itself, starting in infancy,
      according to what it encounters in the external world. . As
      Montague explained it, much of the world is predictable:
      Buildings usually stay in one place, gravity makes objects
      fall, light at an oblique angle makes long shadows, and so
      forth. As children grow, their brains build internal models
      of everything they encounter, gradually learning to
      identify objects and to predict how they move. . As new
      information flows into it from the outside world, the brain
      automatically compares it with what it already knows. If
      things match up - as when people drive to work every day
      along the same route - events, objects and the passage of
      time may not reach conscious awareness. . But if there is a
      surprise - a car suddenly runs a red light - the mismatch
      between what is expected and what is happening instantly
      shifts the brain into a new state. A brain circuit involved
      in decision-making is activated, again out of conscious
      awareness. Drawing on past experience held in memory banks,
      a decision is made: Hit the brake, swerve the wheel or keep
      going. Only a second or so later, after hands and feet have
      initiated the chosen action, does the sense of having made
      a decision arise. Montague estimates that 90 percent of
      what people do every day is carried out by this kind of
      automatic, unconscious system that evolved to help
      creatures survive. . Animals use these circuits to know
      what to attend to, what to ignore and what is worth
      learning about. People use them for the same purposes,
      which as a result of their bigger brains and culture
      include listening to music, eating chocolate, assessing
      beauty, gambling, investing in stocks and experimenting
      with drugs - all topics that have been studied this past
      year with brain-imaging machines that directly measure the
      activity of human brain circuits. . The circuits that have
      been studied most extensively involve how animals and
      people assess rewards. They involve a chemical called
      dopamine. One circuit, which is in a middle region of the
      brain, helps animals and people instantly assess rewards or
      lack of rewards. . The circuit was described in greater
      detail several years ago by Wolfram Schultz, a
      neuroscientist at Cambridge University in England, who
      tracked dopamine production in a monkey's midbrain and
      experimented with various types of rewards, usually squirts
      of apple juice that the animal liked. . Schultz found that
      when the monkey got more juice than it expected, dopamine
      neurons fired vigorously. When the monkey got an amount of
      juice that it expected, based on previous squirts, dopamine
      neurons did nothing. And when the monkey expected to get
      uice but got none, the dopamine neurons decreased their
      firing rate, as if to signal a lack of reward. . Scientists
      believe that this midbrain dopamine system is constantly
      making predictions about what to expect in terms of
      rewards. Learning takes place only when something
      unexpected happens and dopamine firing rates increase or
      decrease. When nothing unexpected happens, as when the same
      amount of delicious apple juice keeps coming, the dopamine
      system is quiet. In animals, Montague said, these midbrain
      dopamine signals are sent directly to brain areas that
      initiate movements and behavior. These brain areas figure
      out how to get more apple juice or sit back and do nothing.
      In humans, though, the dopamine signal is also sent to a
      higher brain region called the frontal cortex for more
      elaborate processing.


      Yes Joyce, thanks for posting this. It makes perfect sense
      in light of the fact that a deciding individual decidingly
      doesn't exist.



      Why Carry?

      Hafiz, Why carry a whole load of books
      Upon your back
      Climbing this mountain,
      When tonight,
      Just a few thoughts of God
      Will light the holy fire.

      (“I Heard God Laughing” – versions of Hafiz by Daniel



      Some time ago an article appeared with the title "It's a
      wonderful lie". It suggests there is an evolutionary
      advantage when deceiving yourself - it makes you a better
      liar, able to convince others too. Someone mentioned in the
      article goes as far as to state "the conscious mind is
      largely just a social front, maintained to deceive others".
      Truth, he argued, is stored in the unconscious, while the
      conscious is full of fabrication.

      Self-deception, when having sunk deeply in the habit-mind
      (like driving), could be called 'yet another face of
      conditioning' which gives another perspective on the
      implicit failure of seekership. Without self-deception, how
      many (and which) topics lose/retain/kindle relevance?

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