Amazing post! I continue to be so impressed by your total grasp of the pitfalls of buddhism and other similar emptiness based approaches. And your writing is so clear.
I practiced thervada, mahayana, and vajrayana buddism for too long. Vajrayana is the closest to what you are saying here but in comes with a lot of tibetan cultural baggage, not necessary for practice. I dont think many of the current exponents are fully realized either.
As part of this practice I had a realization where I became the void, totally vacuous and without any human or feeling of a living entity. It was like deep space, zero warmth, zero gravity, cold and chilling, devoid of humanity or life. It was not a place of life. I realized later it may have been temporary part of the mansion (as you say) but it convinced my heart that this void is not a place I want to reside. It was not the space of sentience as you put it. It was more like Shiva without Shakti. I think the danger is that buddhism can drive you to that place. Unless the realization comes with sat/chit/ananda it could be a trap. The heart sutra reminds me of that place.
I found the heart by inner feeling as you state above. Inner sensing of energies, shakti, kriyas, etc where the byproduct of the inner feeling of the heart. Inner feeling of the heart is like bhakti without an object as the heart can only be the basis or subject. All of which you have stated very clearly.
Ed, I have read and studied Jung, Buddhism, Kashmiri Shaivism, Vedanta, various psychologies to try to understand what "I" was "experiencing". None of these truly captured it all and were just partial understandings or were not well transmitted by existing exponents/teachers.
I feel you have captured it all for me and I thank you very much for it. You will be getting my donation soon!
Syndria Mecham Wow. Beautifully articulate response. It's wonderful to witness when someone really gets you, Edji. Bob is right there with you.
Sometimes it takes years of ardent practice that comes up aching and barren, to be ripe enough to recognize the depth of your teaching.
I hope that more new students, young students have the intuition to come to you early, Edji, and save themselves years of intellectualizing spirituality and losing heart in dryess.
Aspects of Buddhism and Advaita have become so mainstreamed, that the whole spiritual scene seems much more cooled off, mindful, witnessed .... psychologized and contained ... even politically correct.
Edji, you're throwing a lighted match into all this cool correctness. It may start slowly, but I think the heat and light will begin drawing students like moths to a flame. Let us all burn up in the surrender !!!
Modern Western spirituality of the last 50 years is notable for its orientalization, and the downplaying of emotions, turning them into just a variety of forms in the field of emptiness, giving them no import.
But emotions are energies that when released are added to the experience of Self. Self grows through witnessing, then accepting, then immersing, then absorbing those lost energies into our sense of Self--the Manifest Self which is energy, knowing, sentience, and bliss.
The West had a lot to offer with Christianity and Sufism which combines devotion and love with an openness to suffering as a portal to Self.
The other area that the West added is the psychology of Self, with analysts like Klein, Kohut, Frankl, Fairbairne, Winnicott, and my favorite, Harry Guntrip, and lastly a mentor of mine, James Grotstein, who all turned my onto the experience of Self. Klein and others talked about the development of Self, failures in Self-development, etc.
But they set the stage for a new, Western religion of Self in utter contrast to religions of denial of both the Self and of the world.