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Re: Andy: change and growth/Jody

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  • jodyrrr
    ... One cannot know this with certainty if one is not awake themselves. ... I am (presently) married to the notion that *individuals* change in character, and
    Message 1 of 123 , Nov 30, 2003
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      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Andy" <endofthedream@y...>
      wrote:
      > --- 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)?

      One cannot know this with certainty if one is not awake themselves.

      > 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?

      I am (presently) married to the notion that *individuals* change in
      character, and that this change can be called transformation, and
      that those persons who have come to know themselves as they
      really are usually undergo something along these lines as the
      result of their sadhana.

      The change occurs in the psychological makeup of the apparent
      individual, and the result is a person who sees and reacts to the
      world differently than before. That is personal transformation.

      The awakening that appears to follow may well have nothing at
      all to do with this transformation. However, the seeming correllation
      between the transformation and awakening is there to these eyes.

      It's the old effort vs. no effort argument. You seem to fall on the
      no effort side, as is befitting of a person influenced by Zen ideology.

      I'm a person influenced by Vedanta and tantric shaktism, so I see
      a process through the lens I've adopted.

      They are both just stories we tell ourselves about how things are.

      > 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]

      Jody is as he is, with and without the beliefs, notions, and concepts.
      There is no difference between these 'two' Jodys.

      > 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?

      Who knows? We don't know they have this understanding because
      they don't, and therefore they aren't trying to tell us about it. Yours
      is as much a speculation as mine in this case.

      > 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"?

      A "je ne sais pas" notion based on an observed congruence
      in what they have to offer rhetorically.

      > 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?

      I don't know. Nor do I care. I've come to observe certain characteristics
      in folk which lead me to believe they know who they are, based on
      what I've come to understand. Others' mileage may vary.

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

      Intense psychological transformation breaks down attachment to
      personal identity. The 'floor' of individual identity is knocked away,
      leaving only the Truth, which is recognized in that individal's life.

      > 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."

      It's all story out here Andy. You may hold the conceit that your
      story about the story isn't a story, but it is.

      > 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?

      Certain persons who I believe to be awakened have related
      their life stories, and these were stories of personal transformation
      through sadhana as I have read them.


      > 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.)

      Everything that happens here is a story. Your story that it's a story
      is still a story. I choose to continue to work within the story framework,
      as that is the approach of my lineage and tradition.

      Please throw it over the fence if you'd 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.

      Of course. They often are, even the ones that are claimed as
      non-fiction. However, here in storyland (which is where Jody
      and Andy dicuss stuff), some stories mayb e true, and some are
      not, depending on where you are standing.

      Outside of storyland, all stories are fictional, yet that doesn't make
      them all not true with regards to the individuals telling them.

      > 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.

      Agreed. However, memory evolved to protect us by allowing
      us to mark what is significant to us in our life's surroundings.

      If I fail to remember that the lions will eat me, I'm not going
      to live very long. Today, if I forget the speeding semi truck
      will kill me, I may get killed crossing the road. As such, memory
      has its utility.

      > 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.

      Absolutely true.

      I would add that one can live in freedom, and yet still find
      utility in concepts, ideas, and notions,

      Especially here in storyland, where Jody and Andy trade and
      play with their own such concepts, ideas and notions. ;)
    • 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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