28 August 2012
27 August 2012
Some Unconfirmed Information about Amma
Someone sent me a link to a discussion group about Amma yesterday, which contained a letter written by Gail Tredwell (Gyatri), who was Amma’s personal assistant for 20 years until 1999, when she left for various reasons. This led me to Gail’s blog post in both French and English which lead me to a recent article in the Rolling Stones online magazine.
Generally I would ignore such information, as I was involved with Muktananda during his years of scandals, with Maezumi and sasaki during their years of scandals, Seung Sahn and Thien-An during their scandals, and I find what scandalizes most people around gurus does not move me in the least to trust them less, nor their ability to help their students. However, I post this hear only to generate some prudence. If anyone wants to comment and set this straight, please do so.
What is described here, however accurate or inaccurate, mostly involves her leading students and not Amma herself, although Amma too, does not come away unscathed, and that which directly involves Amma is not nearly so unfavorable.
I really don’t know the truth, but post this information here is as it is only a small fragment of what is now viral on the Internet.
Almost every one of my teachers was involved in some “scandal” or another, and these situations had no influence on how I felt towards them. I trusted my own feelings with each, including with Robert, where I saw everything that happened.
Remember, gurus are also human no matter how ‘evolved” or not, and if they do not act like you think Ramana acted, that alone is not sufficient grounds to reject them. Follow your own heart in these matters.
Thirty years ago I was engaged in dialogue with the leading transpersonal researchers of that time, Ken Wilber and Dan Brown among others. The debate was whether there were developmental phases that an individual passes through before they could “transcend” the ‘ego’.
For decades Freud and the self and object relations theorists, like Winnocott, Guntrip, Kohut, Klein et al, had postulated that the infant and child passed through phases or developmental “crises” on the way to developing a cohesive sense of self.
The transpersonal psychologists opined that those who have successfully developed a “healthy” sense of self, can later evolve to a point of self-transcendence, oneness, etc., as manifest in persons like Ramana Maharshi. Later, Wilber latched onto Adi Da, who talked about different stages of transcendence.
All the transpersonal theorists were of the opinion that the developmental sequence, the crises and resolutions were sequential, and you could not “skip” a step. That is, you had to have developed a strong ego, or secure sense of self (they are different in concept), before you could transcend the ego and successfully and permanently become enlightened.
I disagreed, believing, based on my own experience, that there was no ego, no I-entity, so how could it evolve? What I felt evolved, was not the ego, but various sub processes that were supposed to comprise the ego, such as the ability to learn a language or mathematics, the abilities to cope with stress, as well as the development of various ego defenses, which were actually processes that directed attention, awareness of the developing person’s consciousness. That is, consciousness itself was evolving and creating the individual, not the other way around.
I held at that time that much of spirituality in terms of beliefs and practices, were actually defenses against uncontrolled emotions and fears, conscious ways of avoiding the human condition. In this way, I agreed with that portion of the transpersonalists’ viewpoints. That is, spirituality, self-investigations, meditation, japa, prayer, belief in God, etc., all really could be defenses against feeling unwanted, frightening, disabling emotions and fears, and such practices, without a secure self would never result in awakening.
I do believe that identification with either the “witness” or with the various states of emptiness and Voids are so easily turned into defenses against being human.
Among our Sangha there are at least five people who, because of their dysfunction upbringing, did not find sufficient love in their lives, and thus turned to God for their source of love. Some often talked to God as a person, or Jesus, and began to feel the love of this inner entity they regarded as more real and permanent than any parent or any human could ever be, and often this attitude and belief persists until the end of one’s life. The entity takes on an inner existence and one loves oneself through this inner, divine object, that is “permanent” and transcendent, and thus absolutely safe and secure, that is, until the inevitable Dark Night of the soul where one loses one’s faith in that inner, permanent object.
It is so much more difficult to love a real, living being, because nothing is guaranteed with such a love, or such a dependency and neediness. God is so much more reliable, and Jesus too, because so many people share our belief in both, or Buddha, or someone who lives on after death. That is, God and Jesus, Buddha, etc., are accepted, institutionalized existences that gain credibility through their wide acceptance.
People and animals die. People can betray you by either dying physically, or their love for you will die and someone else, more beautiful, smarter, richer, “better” will come along and take that love of you away and be given to another.
Some people want absolute security before they will love deeply, but there is no such security anywhere.
When my cat, Satchitananda (Satchi), died of kidney disease after a 6 month battle in 1997, I became lost in an endless depression that lasted 4 years of so. Robert died that same year which exacerbated my depression, and only an experimental medication for depression brought me out of it in just a few weeks in 2001. After 6 weeks I was free of depression, but also over the subsequent years I discovered I was “free” of ANY strong affect. The antidepressant acted as a mood “modulator,” that prevented depression, but also prevented joy or even strong love. It was only after getting off that medication that it was possible to come alive, for I was also lost in the Void and witness, in peace, rest, but with no excitement.
So, what I have learned is that nothing in the human condition is secure, safe, permanent. Those who I love the most, whether animal or human, can leave at any time, through death or change of mind.
And, to really “benefit” from the gift of having a human body, heart and consciousness, we must not fear to love another totally, completely, 100% even though they may leave tomorrow. To fail to love because that love is risky, means our love will always be truncated. We must be willing to love and lose rather than to not love, or only love in secure situations, otherwise there is so much held back, and though we may feel open, we have only opened 80% or so, and then we close down so quickly at the slightest sign of even potential abandonment.
My life until maybe 1980 was one love affair after another, but only a rare one stayed. There would be great love, but then the lover would go away. Part of it was who I chose to love. It was so easy for me to fall into love with a woman or an animal, but I found such mutual openness very rare in humans, but common with animals. I also heard from my therapist of seven years, a great genius of the mind and emotions, Eric Reitz, that when there is such wide emotional openness, the relationships usually explode and dissipate in an excess of emotional intensity. The more usual relationship is where one lover loves the other more completely and intensely, and the successful relationships are where the roles of most loved change every so often and a balance is achieved.
I have been really lucky in the last few years to have found people who are capable of going deeper into love and openness without so much running, and I invite all of you to try to do the same within our Sangha and among yourselves with the loved ones in your life.
Because, unless you are fully capable of tolerating intolerable emotional pain, intolerably intense love, intolerably intense feelings of risk and insecurity, intolerable fears of loss, intolerable distrust, intolerable jealousy, intolerable sadness, and intolerable fear of death, stoically, from a security within oneself, you will never, ever be free.
To this end, meditation helps to “grow” one’s inner sense of emptiness that acts as a huge container for the fearful dragons of death and dissolution, of intense feelings, and as a conduit to allow them to increasing pass through your existence, easily, without sticking and hurting so much.
I will speak to this truth increasingly from this day forwards.
25 August 2012
ONLINE SATSANG TODAY!
22 August 2012
Words and concepts are the clothing of God.
I see a thread of truth in everything everyone says.
In every story there is an underlying truth.
Every name is my name; they give form, shape and color,
And they are the only thing I can share with another,
Bereft of them, I see my own nakedness.
18 August 2012
ONLINE SATSANG TODAY!
14 August 2012
Yet, I felt a strong movement in me to act on the issue of the worldwide abuse of animals for food and fur, as well as pure sport. I felt guilty I have not done more.
I think it is time that We Are Sentience and our Sangha, to get behind ending meat eating by developing a long term plan for ending meat eating, animal testing, the fur trade, etc.
I will have people meet with me with ideas to develop such a plan.
Some ideas are to:
Start taxing meat, as cigarettes were taxed, on ecological grounds, the damage they do to the environment. Make it a progressive tax. That is, each year there is an additional tax that is to be spent in several ways: To detoxify the environment; to subsidize ranchers who want to go out of business; to subsidize private industry food manufacturers to develop new and tasty vegetarian alternatives to meat, that can give the same protein and other nutrients as supplied by meat, and taste like meat, so that meat eaters don't feel "robbed." These foods can also be subsidized at the retail level to bring down their costs, as often vegan prepared dishes cost much more than actual meat-added prepared meals.
Centralize data on all research regarding the negative health effects of meat. I have seen several lately, but there should be a central place to publish this information.
Add warnings about the deleterious effects of meat on all retail foods containing meats.
Have advertisements on television, as with smoking, about the negative health effects of meat eating.
Have you noticed, you never see videos of how animals are slaughtered on regular or cable television. You can find this on Youtube and other places, but never on mainstreat TV. The meat industry is VERY sensitive to such images going to mass audiences, and either they object to TV stations, or the stations suppress the videos themselves as too awful or offensive to air.
Many people really don't want to see images of such suffering caused by their own meat eating, fur using, or the use of other animal products. They even attack Facebook people who post such images as offensive, when the worst offense is that they do nothing.
If we join together an offer people a leading voice to end this continuous assault on our open hearts, on our consciences, maybe we can end meat eating within the US, or mostly end it, not in our lifetimes maybe, but within this century, then we will have done something that Robert Adams and Ramana would have been proud of.
12 August 2012
ONLINE SATSANG TODAY!
11 August 2012
09 August 2012
06 August 2012
Likewise, so many on Facebook speak about love, but it always seems a bit academic in presentation, such as Rumi quotes, or generic pronouncements, such as "I love all my FB friends." Love is just an idea, it is an imagined conceptual state, sometimes a memory of love, and the person is not really in a state of love, but standing within a concept of "I want to be loving." Rumi takes them close to an experience of love, but love without a real, specific object.
When push comes to shove, with real feelings of love arising for a specific other, and real feelings of neediness and dependency arising for that other, in many of us, a trapdoor snaps down as a protective filter to guard us from the pain of loss and abandonment. The love connection never really happens due to a fearful closing down so that only a "straw-full" of love and attachment passes between two lovers, including that of teacher/student.
I had a conversation with a dear friend this morning who had an interesting observation, about which I feel is truth. She said that the newborn baby is hard wired to shout to the world for its support. "Feed me! "Hold me!" "Comfort me!" The infant exclaims.
Gradually the infant grows up and separates from the dire neediness of the infant, even rebelling from it to reach a valued autonomy.
But she said, and I agree, in us, as adults, there is another kind of neediness felt, almost identical to the neediness for mother, and that is neediness for Self or for God. But, ironically, both Self and God are most easily found in our love for another, whether Guru, lover or a cat, or in Ramana's case, love for a mountain--Aranuchala.
It is so much easier to love another than to love ourselves because really, we do not know ourselves, we do not perceive the Self or the godhead within us. But when we love another with total abandon, foolishly, madly, completely, we immediately grasp that that love we feel for the object, guru, lover or cat, is I. I Am Love! Love and I are one!
At this point, I and Self are one; I Am Self.
As we talked we came to the conclusion that this neediness for God, for Self should never be forgotten and never is transcended. That is, as long as we are in a human body form, the needingness for Self and God, and the need to worship that Self and God in another always continues. We should pray that that neediness remains forever, for it keeps us humble with an attitude of servitude, swimming within an ocean of grace.
Siddharameshwar in "Masters of Self-Realization" makes it quite clear that devotion towards others after realization is what makes the Self happy. Devotion is needed continuously after realization, just as Ramana worshipped his mountain. This may sound "dualistic," but Ramana worshipped a place, Siddharameshwar said we need to be devoted towards others, and Nisargadatta worshipped his guru. The Self discovers Itself and worships itself through our love of others, real, specific others.
01 August 2012
Does the I-Sense ever disappear for good? I recently attended a Vedanta retreat with James Swartz and during the retreat, the I-sense dissappeared and there was only awareness, and right now the energy is on top of my head. The watcher has gone and I feel like a hollow being. Empty but who reacts to the world.
I asked James about it after my experience and he said that the I-Sense is what they call Jivatman in Vedanta. It is the bridge between the Subtle Body and the Self. At some point, the perspective shifts and you see the world as awareness. There is no I-Sense anymore. He calls the energy on top of my head the crown chakra.
Is this consistent with your experience? I asked my former teacher, Anadi/Aziz Kristoff and he says that this state of nothingness is not the end. One needs to connect to the Being.
I would be interested in hearing your perspective. Attached is a picture of me and James after the retreat.