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Re: Andy: change and growth/Jody

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  • Andy
    ... wrote: Andy: IS there actually transformation? Can one transform from what one is into what one is? Jody: No, but one can transform and be
    Message 1 of 123 , Nov 30, 2003
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      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "jodyrrr"
      <jodyrrr@y...> wrote:

      Andy: IS there actually transformation? Can one transform from what
      one is into what one is?

      Jody: No, but one can transform and be aided in life by the
      transformation. Also, look at the lives of various saints and you
      will see they generally endured quite intensive periods of
      transformation (as individuals) in their lives.


      *****How does one who is not awake know - with absolute certainty -
      that he/she is conversing with one who is awake (e.g., saints, sages,
      zen masters)?


      Andy: Consider: if you believe you can't see, and therefore conclude
      that you are blind, and then someone turns the lightswitch on and you
      now can see...was there any transformation (other than the light
      coming on)? You thought you were blind (because you couldn't see).
      That was the "state" of things for you. However, in actuality, you
      were not blind (that was a misunderstanding arising from thought).
      You could see, but there was no light to allow that seeing to
      happen. So, in turning on the light, was there transformation? That
      is what awakening is all about: a realization that there was nothing
      to transform into. That what was being sought was always, already
      Right Here Now! Perhaps something was lifted, but that
      which "thinks" it was transformed is exactly what was already, always
      There.


      Jody: Very good. I agree that no transformation is actually
      necessary. However, transformation is what happens in a spiritual
      practice, and those who come to understanding usually do so in the
      context of a transformational practice. The connection is only
      apparent, but it is also very consistent.


      *****I think what we are speaking of here is stories, spiritual
      mythology, the pop culture of "enlightenment." You seem married to
      the notion that some ... transformation ... happens. From what to
      what, I wonder? What is transformed and into what does the
      transformation happen?



      Jody: The connection between transformation and understanding is
      only apparent, but you cannot deny that those who have come to
      understanding have *usually* done so from within the context
      of a spiritual practice.


      Andy: Is this an assumption? I know it is common (popular)
      knowledge: those who have come to understanding have *usually* done
      so from within the context of a spiritual practice. But is it so?


      Jody: Yes. In most of those I believe to live in understanding,
      there was a period of spiritual practice and the accompaning
      psychological transformation before their experiential understanding
      dawned.


      *****Ahhh. So you acknowledge it is a belief. We only believe
      things that we don't know to be true. ;-) Seriously, though,
      consider this: what would Jody be like without any beliefs, notions,
      concepts? How would life function/operate then? These mental
      constructs about "how things are" amount to a prison cell: there is a
      certain amount of safety there, but no freedom. ["So often times it
      happens/that we live our lives in chains/And never even know we have
      the key." -- "Already Gone" by the Eagles]



      Andy: Perhaps there are many who have come to this understanding who
      have not done any spiritual practice, about which we know nothing?

      Jody: That may well be true.

      Andy: Maybe they embody this understanding "naturally," without
      effort?

      Jody: Perhaps. However, in those I've come across myself, there was
      usually a period of sadhana that occurred beforehand, and that
      sadhana resulted in various degrees of personal transformation.


      *****And what is the litmus test which you apply to these ...
      personages ... by which you determine that they are "realized"?


      Andy: Maybe, to some, the understanding is so...natural, commonplace,
      that they do not speak of it (and thus we would miss them in any
      statistical collection about who used spiritual practice
      successfully)?

      Jody: That could be true.

      Andy: Maybe awakening happens ... spontaneoulsy (as in "spontaneous
      remission") in some, with no preparation, no forethought, and, being
      so, they don't even know it is "spiritual" and do not talk of it to
      anyone?

      Jody: Who knows? If they aren't "spiritual" folk telling us about
      it, we'll never know, will we?


      *****Having one's apparent safety nets withdrawn is scary and
      threatening. What if there are NO "spiritual" folk? Consider: Jody
      finds person X to be Awake and Andy finds person Y to be so. Person
      X and person Y disagree on how to "achieve" awakening. Who is right?

      Perhaps you can explain what you feel happens via transformation?
      What a "spiritually realized" person is?

      See...I don't think there are any of these. I think there is
      understanding and confusion. Period. There are stories about how
      life is (or should be), and there is Life. The stories are born of
      Life, but they are not Life.

      As my old zen master used to say, "Trust yourself, Really BE
      yourself, and you will meet it, everywhere."

      Or, as the zen poem goes,

      You can describe it, but in vain,
      Picture it, but to no avail;
      You can never praise it fully.
      Stop all your groping and maneuvering.
      There is nowhere to hide the true self.
      When the universe collapses,
      It remains indestructible.



      Jody: True spiritual understanding is almost always preceded by
      massive personal transformation (growth through change.)


      Andy: Again: this is how such things are consensually perceived and
      agreed upon. I wonder if that is not simply part of the "story."

      Jody: This is how things have been observed directly by myself. But
      I must agree that there could be many examples of understanding
      that have occurred completely outside of anything we might
      call a "spiritual" practice.


      *****Tell me about your observations. Exactly what did you observe?


      Andy: change implies time and I wonder if time is really "real"
      (Hahaha!!!). If there is only Now! then over the course of
      what "time" does change happen? If there is only Now! and Now! and
      Now! (despite the mind's - and society's - assertion that time is
      linear: past, present, future) ... if all there is an immediate
      Now! ... then over the course of what "time" does change happen?
      Does not change require the positing of a past (I was this way
      before)...and if so, what is this "past" other than memory?

      Jody: Observation of transformation is called change. Now A. appears
      > different than now B. That is change.


      *****Such observation only occurs in thought, via memory. Once A
      happens, it is over with. To observe a transformation into B can
      only happen within memory, where A is now held. Transformation is a
      story, told in thought. (But it is a *very* convincing story! It
      sure seems real! I recall the first moment I saw on television one
      of the jetliners crash into the the World Trade Center: I thought I
      was watching a movie it appeared so life-like.)


      Jody: We may come to know ourselves as the eternally changeless, but
      we seem to endure quite a bit of change before coming to that point.


      Andy: Yes, I would agree: we "seem to endure" ... but "seems" is
      not "is." ;-) One is fantasy; the other, actuality.

      Jody: Not fantasy, memory. We can revoke memory's reality by saying
      it's not what "is", but that doesn't make it fantasy any more than
      telling a story is fiction just because it's a story.


      *****A story may, in fact, be a fictional account.

      In any case....you are operating out of the assumption that memory
      is "factual." You apparently believe in the reliability of memory to
      tell you what happened. Unfortunately, that is not how memory
      operates. There is selective perception, selective recall, and new
      memories overlay old ones, creating a new, updated "story." Some of
      the old story persists, so that Life can function (it would be pure
      chaos, otherwise). But much of memory is a fictionalization.

      And hey! that's all we are anyway: memory. ;-)) Cling to it, and
      you've got your concepts, ideas, notions, of "how things are,"
      and "how I am." Let go of it and you've got...freedom, not your
      ideas about how things are, but what is.
    • devi@pacific.net
      ... Patanjali. ... formed. ... devi: i have it on order from the library, i ve already read about four or five commentaries, most from indian scholors, i m
      Message 123 of 123 , Dec 17, 2003
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        > If you like the study of the mind, Eglaelin, You might try Georg
        > Feuerstein's translation and commentary on "Yoga Sutra" by
        Patanjali.
        > It is the basis of Raja Yoga. It is very systematic and well
        formed.
        >
        > Love,
        > Bobby G.

        devi: i have it on order from the library, i've already read about
        four or five commentaries, most from indian scholors, i'm actually
        thinking about offering study groups in my area..
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