18 April 2013

Francis Bennett:

What is the true goal of all spiritual practice? It is to bring the ego, with all it's suffering, all it's fear, hatred and delusion, to a final end. Then only the Self remains, who's essential nature is infinite Being-Consciousness-Bliss! 

Ed's Response:

Francis, is it time now to inquire deeply as you suggested we do together yesterday? 

I have to disagree that the goal of ALL spiritual practice is to bring the ego to an end.

Nor do I understand what anyone on FB means by the word “ego.”  Almost everyone on FB uses the term, but I have never found an ego inside me, nor an I, nor have they offered a definition.

Psychologists have offered incredibly complex theories about the "ego" with includes its executive functioning to coordinate all activities of the person, put things in order, as well as providing the basic abilities to cope in the world. But what do you mean by the term? Mind?

You say the ego suffers, has fear, hatred and delusion. But what is it?  Can you define it?  I think a lot of people would call it all of our shoulds, oughts, should nots, must do ideas that cause us concern.  But these are only thoughts.  So by ego, don’t we sometimes mean conscious conflict in our minds, between what we want and what we should do?

Or by ego do we mean the mind that measures, judges, and figures out what clothes to out on in the morning and make a checklist of activities to perform during the day?  Again, this is the executive functioning of mind, thoughts, not a separate ego-identity.

Then you state a premise that when the ego dies, Self remains.

How do you know that?

Are you stating your ego has died and only Self Remains, therefore you know from firsthand experience both what the ego is experientially, that it has ended, and now you are the Self?

Or, is that something you have read, that when the ego ends, the Self remains?

Are you stating Self is the totality of our consciousness, both the objects in consciousness as well as that which is aware of the objects, without the conscious presence of thinking, or of an ego entity?  And by Consciousness are you suggesting the “here and now” beingness of the neo-Advaitins versus the levels of Consciousness of Ramana and Nisargadatta?

Where to begin?

Could we not say the problem is not the existence of the ego, but our identification with psychological conflicts as they arise rather than an identification with the substrata of consciousness, whether the superficial beingness of here and now, or a deeper awareness of the Subtle, Causal, and deeper levels of Consciousness where the divine might be found?

For me, it was my experience that the longer and lovingly I attended to the sense of I Am, the happier, and in fact more blissful and ecstatic I got. Also, I was able to feel more love and more internal relaxation until at one point there was an explosion of the “divine” within me, that was experienced by a small me as the Other, as God.  In other words, the small I, which could be called ego, as sense of personal presence, was suddenly graced by a vision or explosion of God within, which was felt to be an infinite presence, and after a time, both the small and infinite presence merged.  And, I no longer identified with the small-shit problems of everyday life  because I felt the presence, power and purity of God as myself.  I identified with presence, not the body, mind, ego, problems, emotions.  They were all still there, but I identified with now with the presence of sentience, of life and Shakti (internal energies, bliss, love).

But is this experience proof that this presence is infinite, and in another post you said it was eternal? But just because it feels that way, how do you know otherwise than this feeling that the Self is eternal?

I have had this experience but I do not know it is eternal.  I might have faith that I am eternal, but I have no proof.

Indeed, Nisragdatta and his teacher, Siddharameshwar, state the sense of presence, the so-called self, disappears when you die and only the Absolute is left, which is the unknown, unknowable, unmanifest witness that posseses the power to know Consciousness.  Only Consciousness is touched by death, but not the observer, who is unkowable and a vast mystery.



    Dear Ed Muzika, What you describe at the end of your comment sounds very, very similar to my own experience. Years and years of very fervent devotion to Christ preceded a deep and direct revelation that what I always thought of and experienced in little glimpses as, "the presence of God", was actually none other than my own simple presence , the "I am" that was ALWAYS here and now. Somehow I just hadn't noticed this truth before! This presence was/is "God" and was/is essentially, pure bliss and love. Though all my concepts of God fell away that day as much as concepts of "myself" did. I was swimming in such an ocean of bliss and love that I barely spoke for 4 or 5 months after this happened. I am still since then in a constant state of bliss that never really has abated.

    Perhaps it has become more familiar and just my normal state, so there has been some adjustment to it and a greater ability to function again normally in the work-a-day world. What you say about "ego" is completely true in my experience also. There actually is no entity called "ego" to be found. What we call, "ego" is really simply an idea of "me" based on past experience and projected into an imaginary future..

    When this revelation that God's presence was and is my own sense of presence here and now dawned on me that day in Church, this conceptual sense of "self" was seen through and faded into the illusion it always was. It was like an experience of it "falling away". I saw very clearly that it always had been no more than an idea And yes, what was left was simply this holy presence that I would call, "the Self".

    I realized that this Self of pure presence here and now, was/is what I always had been and am. All these various levels of "seeing" happened in a lightening flash of an instant and were clearly seen, but without words. It was like the thinking faculty just simply "turned off" and pretty much remained turned off for 5 months or so. When it returned, there was no sense of identification with it. None of this was based on beliefs I came to from reading books. It was a very vivid, direct experience that was living and known NOT just "believed in". And the clear seeing of this has never left me since that day. It is as clear in this moment as it was then. I am sure that my description here is woefully inadequate and inaccurate because my sense is that none of this can really be described accurately in words.

    For months I couldn't put it into words at all. And I am sure that it would be easy to take issue with many of the words I post here on fb. They are never really accurate , even to me. It is no wonder to me that people like yourself, that know so much more about Advaita philosophy than I, can quite easily poke holes in my posts! I hope the spirit of them somehow points to this Reality, even though they are very inadequate words. If you watch the interview I did with batgap, I think this revelation I had would probably come across more clearly to you from my presence on film along with the words. I think a lot of my pointing works for people, not just because of the words I use, and sometimes even in spite of the words I use...because this Presence just seems to flow very freely and strongly now through this body or organism, as if this human life is now a container for it or a vehicle so to speak. Love and thank you for your interest,~francis


  2. Yes Francis, we share similar experiences. Mine flowed from 40 years of meditation on emptiness, the Void, which left me empty, and then an “accident.” I fell in love with a person. This love was so big, so ecstatic, so blissful and sustained for so long that it liberated the Self within me as an incredible internal explosion of immense power, incredible love and billion candlepower white light. This for me was God, because it was far grander, far beyond anything I had ever experienced. I dropped to the ground feeling divine grace. I was like the smallest ant before an elephant. Nothing, just worshipping the power of my Lord, my Goddess. I wanted to just be dust at her feet, to have her tread on me, to put me in service to Her, forever, the divine feminine.

    By the years of meditation I had grown empty, a perfect vessel with no concepts, no understanding, no mind, until a woman approached me as her teacher, laid her head on my shoulder and surrendered. My divine child, my Radha, my Kali came to me and the Shakti was awakened until finally the Goddess was revealed.

    Now all women, in a sense, serve as representatives of the divine to me, objects of continuous worship that serve constantly as reminders of the One Self, God that resides in us all, all the time, everywhere.

    Yes, I am that divine Self, but I am also a human as my Beloved constantly pointed out and points out my faults in her many eyes.

    At first there was a second sense of presence, as in you. The sense of I Am as a living being, as pure sentience. Then the divine Self was like a huge spiritual sister, behind and besides me at every step, and I was happy. The Shakti continually worked through me as presence with a power to influence without words. Energies that were sequentially blissful flows of an internal substance that felt like both electricity and a very spiritualized and pure water, which when bottled up in the throat chakra stopped flowing, became bottled up until my whole body felt like it would explode in ecstatic embrace with my Beloved, the divine feminine.

    Even now these energies contine unabated, but constantly changing. They are a regular part of my experience, which recently have transmuted and I can now affect the world with those energies. I have learned how to use them to heal people. I can feel their disorders from within and often they get well. Another embodied divine feminine showed me how to heal. Also, day by day, week by week, and month by month I get happier and happier. It feels like an ordinary human happiness, nothing divine or ecstatic, that co-exists alongside all the internal spiritual energies and miracles.

    Dear, dear Francis, this is why I have appreciated what you have written, but your writings have borrowed too much from the current and very shallow neo-Advaita terminology and ideology, and your Truth is buried under a message you are delivering in the wrong language: Advaita-speak.

    Instead speak of your own experience and how to get there. Speak of love, devotion, service and surrender, not of an ego that does not exist, or of Nowness, hereness, oneness, etc., which sounds so empty and dull compared to the ecstatic embrace of the divine, and the awakening of the Shakti within. This is all I was pointing to. You were using the wrong model of speaking to convey your presence. Instead, speak of the divine who is also the Self, Shakti and Shiva, as well as the entirety of each of us worlds. Love you Francis!

  3. "Then only the Self remains"


    My god I mett and read so many people who pretent such words but 99,9 % of them are polished parrots. Oh my god what a joke.
    To be honnest with you I strongly believe they realy don't know what they talk about. If so they would not talk bs like that.

  4. Hi Ed,
    I'm kind of a newcomer to all this, but I first learned about the ego after stumbling upon "The Power of Now" last year on my wife's Kindle. Even though before I did not have much interest in spirituality, I could not get enough of Eckhart Tolle for a little while. (Funny, she never even finished the book, even though I urged her to a few times.) I also saw that the ego seemed a big topic among other spiritual teachers. But eventually nagging questions began to pop up about the ego and Tolle's concept of the pain-body, which somehow are likened to separate living entities within us, yet somehow are not us, not to be identified with. I wondered "If the ego or what appears to be the ego that keeps raising its ugly head is not me, where does it come from? It's obviously a part of me or I would not be experiencing it. If somehow we are the universe or whatever, are these things somehow outside the universe?" So I've drifted more and more away from Tolle and discovered Robert from seeing a few if his quotes on FB. Now I'm about a third of the way through your book. I never even heard of Advaita until seeing a guy complaining about Tolle last month on FB, calling his stuff neo-Advaita and how he basically just keeps making more and more money from it (which I also sort of questioned in the back of my mind). Wasn't sure why that guy was making such a big deal about it, but now it seems to become more and more clear. I haven't read much of Robert's satsangs, but it was really helpful to me where he responds to someone talking about those who may appear to be going the wrong way by saying "These people are going through whatever they have to go through."


  5. Tim, a lot of us are like math teachers who see unripe teachers of the day proclaiming 2 + 2 = 5 and other silly stuff like that. There is no accuracy or depth to the teachings, and people who follow such teachers are apt to waste a few years, or give up altogether because that path does not go very far.

    So, what do we do, say "All is well, and everyone gets the teacher they deserve," or do we point out the fallacies of what they teach? To me the latter is the obvious choice.

  6. Francis ED and Tim
    This is such a beautiful 'sharing' of love in all its guises'two masters sharing their love publicly for us to imbibe of.
    A "beginner"with a spiritual thirst an earnestness that demands and shall be satiated because he has been led here to the creme de la creme of teachers who know so much about Love and are not afraid to share it !!
    The words I read I comprehend yet it is the feelings the waves the subtle energies I perceive and Am that can only be described as bliss that overjoys me!
    Francis when i read your words it is like a symphony of humility,wisdom and Love - and i want to fall on my knees literally.How can mere words create such a reaction in someone so far away? I laugh at the answer "I don't know" and wrapped in those words I have never felt more safe or more sure or more Loved -thank you all so very much.
    much love maggie