11 March 2014

The Complexity of Spiritual Teachings; the Simplicity of Self-Realization


I watched your BATGAP interview with Deeya and Rick Archer and found it very interesting.  One topic that you and Rick discussed that has continued to be on my mind is whether there is a universal truth that all spiritual teachers and traditions try to point to or if it is more chaotic.  I know you emphasized the differences in your experience between all the spiritual paths and teachers you came across on your timeline, and the fact that in your experience there are very different kinds of awakenings.

This idea has been swimming around my mind today because it seems to conflict with other teachings, who always talk about "one awareness".  I know Rupert Spira, who I just attended a retreat with, often says there are 6 billion worlds, but one awareness.  He often communicates that awareness is what doesn't change, the "spacelike, knowing presence" that permeates all seeming objects (and eventually reveals itself as those objects as well).  Lester Levenson also said, "Truth is that which doesn't change".  

I was wondering if you could provide more explanation if those statements hold validity in your experience, or if you disagree with Rupert and Lester in that regard.  I know you have said in past emails to me that there is not necessarily one truth, but that seems to conflict with the idea of nonduality itself, and also the quotes of the above teachers.  Could you provide any more explanation?

Thanks Edji,

Ed’s Response:
Look, each teacher has his or her own personalized message.  Robert was a little different from Ramana, but both are a thousand light years from Tony Parsons or Tolle.

Zen is different from any Hinduism and most other schools of Buddhism.

One awareness means nothing.  Consciousness is very deep and these people usually mean awareness of what is on the surface of Consciousness, such as our perception of the world, relationships, or our bodies, rather than of the Self, or the Witness, or emptiness or bliss.

Consciousness is too complex, deep and intense to be grasped in its entirety by any one person or lineage.
For example, I have been involved in spirituality, meditation, following teachers, etc. for almost 60 years.  On Facebook or the Internet, most teachers have less than a dozen years of experience and decide to become teachers.  They maybe had one or two breakthroughs and think that is that.

But I wandered from teacher to teacher and practice to practice many decades, and until a dozen years ago, felt I didn’t have a clue as to what it was all about.  I had had a no-self awakening to unitary Consciousness, and had gone beyond Consciousness altogether to the Absolute.

I could then speak for hours about Zen awakening, about Empty Mind, about the various types or stages of emptiness, about the Light of Consciousness that illuminates the Void, and about Kundalini.  I could talk about the recognition of Self as in psychotherapy, and the use of spirituality to avoid loneliness or too strong emotions.  But I did not feel I had a clue.

Then one day (actually over a period of months), I realized the Self, or I should say, I, as self, realized myself as Self.  You have to read my free book on my website to understand this fully.  But after this, FINALLY I knew something with unshakable conviction.  I knew myself.  Since then the Self continues to teach me about aspects of Consciousness that I had been unaware of as a constant unfolding.

But Consciousness is far more vast and deep than the neo-Advaitins with their simple “newness” or “no-separate-self” can begin to fathom.  They acknowledge no depths to Consciousness, it is all here and now on the surface, no need or possibility of going deeper, but blame all problems on the mind, and if you just intellectually see that mind creates your problems, you are free.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. They are tip of the tongue sages.

Out of this outrageous complexity I have chosen to narrow my teaching focus just to Self-Realization and how to get there through loving introspection and loving others.  That is all I teach.  I could talk for ages about the rest, but I find the act of Self-Realization as taught by Ramana, Robert and initially Nisargadatta, to be the fastest and most explosive change that can happened to a person, and with the added benefit of being the kind of awakening that best benefits mankind as a whole because it emphasizes being a separate Self in the world, allowing you to love and take care of all other sentient beings who also partake of that same Self.

it is not just going beyond life and death as in primitive Buddhism’s idea of Nirvana and the Arhat, but more a taking notice of the suffering of others and bring them a clarity about who and what they are through direct experience.

But the neo-Advaitin and Buddhist ideas of no self, no Self, and no separate self completely block a person from Self-realization because they are not open to the possibility of finding a self or Self within.

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