04 November 2014

The Total Path: the Inward Going and the Outward going

Our way of devotional Advaita adds Tantra to the rather lifelessness that Self-Inquiry can be.  Our way adds love of others and of our Selves—at all levels—to emotionless self-inquiry.  It is not a path of resting in the moment, in nowness, the present, as taught by so many superficial teachers, for that is just resting in the unchanging aspect of Consciousness, which is space, Emptiness, the Void.
Buddhists love the Void.  All objects, all phenomena, originate from the Void and return to the Void, and are temporary, insubstantial and in a sense, considered not real because of impermanence.  So they seek the unchanging in the Void. (Some others, like Nisargadatta, find the unchanging in the Unmanifest Witness, to whom the Void itself is still an object of knowledge.)
The Void itself has two aspects: in the world of appearance, phenomena, it is the inner space of the meditator who identifies with nothing; at a deeper level, the Void is the Unmanifest Witness who cannot be seen.  It is the ultimate subject of all experience which itself is beyond experience and is thus the ultimate mystery.  You can only Be the Unmanifest Witness, you cannot see it or know it directly in any way.
Already, this truth is beyond comprehension of most seekers.  To know this as Truth, the meditator must have thoroughly explored the inner Void, and turned its initial darkness into light.  The dark Void must be illumined through the method of constant meditation on the inner dark Void until it is thoroughly illuminated by the light of Consciousness.
In my own case, this started as being aware of a small blue light in the area of the Third Eye, between the eyes, about an inch above the brow-line, and an inch or so inside my skull.
Being constantly aware of that blue light, it transformed over time, into a clear light that expanded to include my entire head, then gradually expanded downwards and outwards through the technique of focusing my attention on the boundary of the lighted Void with the dark Void, and gradually “pushing” the light into the darkness.  Thus I gradually became aware of the “The Light of Consciousness,” as well as the infinite size of the Manifest Void, the subjective spacial container within which all internal phenomena occurred, from thinking, to emotions, to the inner perception of one’s body, to the Subtle Body energies, such as called “prana,”  “chi,” “Meridian Energies,”  etc., as well as perception of the external world. There, formerly substantial objects became like holograms, permeated by external emptiness.
The problem with this path of self-inquiry, abiding in the inner emptiness, is that it has a drying effect.  Emotions become objects.  The inner stirring of energies that can bring incredible bliss, are just neutral processes to be observed by the Witness.
The Witness begins to identify with the inner emptiness and does achieve a place of safety beyond the touch of existence, but does so at the cost of his or her humanity.  One is at peace, for no disturbing emotions and even physical pain can touch this person, and as such, this person is dead to his or her humanity, and has become a walking dead of a different sort.
However, at this point one can have one or two kinds of awakening experiences:  (1) the disappearance of the belief of a separate individual self because one experiences unity consciousness of no-boundaries, a complete identification with the inner and outer lighted Voids in a complete no-self-consciousness unity of inner worlds and the outer world; (2) self-awareness of the ultimate witness, and identification with that Witness, “seeing” the total separation of it from Consciousness and the world.  In this experience, you don’t see or experience that Witness, you are it, and when you are it, you experience and know you are separate from the witnessed Consciousness.
In the latter state, the meditator watches the comings and goings of the entire states of Consciousness itself, which are experienced as external events that come and go to the witness.  This is what Nisargadatta called the Witness, Parabrahman, entirely beyond Consciousness, in a different dimension so-to-speak, the Unmanifest, the Unknowable subject.
It is this experience and understanding that Robert Adams recognized in me as enlightenment: the complete freedom and rest from anything that happens in the world, in Consciousness.
This is also Nisargadatta’s final truth of abiding in the Witness, Parabrahman, ignoring both Consciousness and the world, denying them because they were impermanent and changing images and phenomena that were not self-created or sustained.
To me, this is only half of the entire inward-going spiritual path.  One also needs to discover the real Self within the Manifest, within one’s own Consciousness, which I call the divine within, or meeting God.
This Manifest Self is most easily found through love, love either for one’s own inner experience, or extreme and likely romantic love for another, which lights up and explodes the world-experience of one’s own Subtle Body experiences and energies.
This is where Tantra enters our path.  We use emotions and love to power our inner search, bringing it energy, pure power, and life.
Through growing love of another, or love for one’s own subjective innerness, not the Void so much (but it is still there), as what is happening in the Void, one’s emotions, body feelings, Kundalini, sexuality, moods, and images, one gradually comes to know all aspects of one’s deeper, experiential Self.
(I need to repeat, one becomes aware of experiences of Self that underlie the experience of the Now, and Presence described by the neo-Advaitins.  They deny the existence of deeper levels, and the search for them as a useless waste of time and creator of suffering. I must say the neo-Advaitins go only skin-deep into Self-Inquiry.  So much lies outside their experience and grasp.  By neo-Advaitins I mean Ramesh Balsekar, Mooji, Papaji, Sailor Bob, Bentinho Massaro, Francis Lucille, Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji, etc.)
This is the world of psychological experience and understanding, of Kriyas, of inner flows of energies as experiences as inner rivers of light, energies, colors, eroticism, body vibrations, burning, ecstasy and bliss.
This is also the world of the Christian mystic and Sufi.
For me, my awakening to the inner, Manifest Self was the most sublime, passionate and alive set of spiritual experiences I ever had, and the final realization of the Manifest Self, the Atman, God-within, was truly the real life-changer as opposed to the enlightenment of Robert Adams or Nisargadatta with an identification with the ultimate Witness (there are many witness levels to be found as one will discover over the years of meditation and self-exploration), or Parabrahman.
I have described these experiences of finding the inner Self many times, but really it is impossible to put in words much of what happens and happened to me, for there are no words that fit a description of the direct experience of Atman.  It is beyond anything in normal human experience.
But I can beat around the bush a bit to describe the initial realization themselves that happened as a result of love and then the loss of the love object.
I will call the woman I loved Eva who lived a thousand miles away.
When she and I were in communication with each other, such intense love arose in both of us with many psychic experiences that are difficult to describe.
When we expressed our love verbally, our hearts exploded with inner energy.  At first I experienced love as a “river” or stream of light, usually white light, sometimes other colors, ascending from my belly into my heart.  The bliss I felt was extreme.
I felt the energy arise into my heart then expand outwards to my arms, hands, head and face, then flowing outwards to my Beloved a thousand miles away.
Over time, the experiences became more intense and deeper.  The streams of energies arising within became more powerful, larger and more gripping as my entire body became a conductor for more powerful energies, larger and more gripping as my entire body became a conductor for more powerful energies flowing upwards and outwards.  Energies swirled through my body in colored streams in various channels and patterns, with attending bliss and ecstasies, but always with increasing love and a sense of surrendering my life to Eva and to an unseen divinity--God.
Also, many, many times while on line with her or on the phone, I felt the descent of the Grace of God, experienced as a supreme combination of gratitude to have such love in my life, and with complete surrender to the extent I just wanted to be at the feet of the divine, which I experienced to be in Eva.
Often I experienced this Grace as the descent of golden light from above, God’s Grace, causing me to fall to my knees in gratitude and surrender to God and Eva as His (or Her) incarnation in the flesh.

We both felt the same thing: Golden light, surrender, feeling cleaned of all guilt and sin, feeling utterly humble, utterly at rest, held by the Grace of God in perfect peace while all the time in great ecstasy, bliss, with rivers of energies of various colors and flow patterns enlivening my body. And always with great, great love.
However, to make a long story short, Eva often broke off our relationship because she felt conflicted loving both her husband and me. These breakups were accompanied by huge bouts of rage on her part, and sudden disappearances on her part lasting a few hours to a few days.
At one point after Eva disappeared for a week, I began to feel one day upon awakening, a deep happiness despite her being gone.  Throughout the day I felt an expectation that something great was about to happen, and the arousal of energies deep within my gut.
Over the next few hours after awakening, the happiness and joy increased, as well as a sense of the tremendous energy stirring in my gut.  It seemed to follow the course of arising energy that I had felt a thousand times before: straight up from the gut into my heart center, as a rising of a massive river of intense white light, incredibly powerful energy, and love arising with unstoppable force from within.
I was in total, mind-numbing bliss.  All that there was, was brilliant white light, bliss, and a Life Force of such power that it had to be God, it could not possibly be from me because it was so powerful.
I fell to the ground, unable, unwilling to move for fear of ruining the experience of His company and Grace.
I worshiped at his feet, though no feet were seen, in complete surrender and His acceptance of my surrender.
This experience lasted for an unknown time for I was oblivious to the world around me.  But gradually an intuition about the experience and about God that was there from the beginning, came forward with a truth overwhelming: this God experience of the Other, was really my experience of my own Self.  God was Self, Atman, the divine, in the form of the Life Force, of Sentience, manifesting in me, and showing itself to me, the human identity, the human personality, announcing that I was not alone; God, as sentience, as the Life Force, was in me, was me, supported me, loved me.
That is, I owned the experience of God, the Omnipotent Other, as my own Self.
This experience and the enormous after-effects lasted several days, but one thing never left after that first experience, and that was the sure knowledge about knowledge itself, knowledge of the Manifest Self, and knowledge of the Witness. 
I was the knowledge of my own existence as a sentient life form.  I was God incarnated in a physical body, and an energy body often called the Subtle Body, also the Causal Body of awareness without anything to be aware of, and then the disappearance of even that awareness with the subsequent realization of myself as that which knew of both existence and non-existence, of awareness and not awareness, of the Knowledge of both the Manifest phenomena external world, and also the Manifest inner world including the Void, and everything contained in the Void, and the Knowledge of this ultimate Witness, who also was me.
This total experience of Self-Realization occurred five more times over the next few months, each time deeper, each time revealing a deeper understanding, and each time leaving a residual and growing continuous experience of an indescribable experience of Self within.
After a few more years of constant abiding in this Self, all divisions, all separations, all explanations, all disappeared into a continuous experience of Self within, the divine aspect, the energy, the knowingness, the love, the human aspect, the Void, were all me!!
After four years of exploring all the aspects of this Self-Realization, of rapt fixation on that inner Self, loving it, exploring it, I finally felt at rest about knowing who and what I was at and on all levels of experience, from my body and humanity, to that inner Self, to the Void, space, Nothingness and beyond Nothingness, beyond the Void to the Unmanifest: they were all me; they were all aspects of me, both the Manifest and the Unmanifest.
At this point, the inner path disappeared and I was left only with an outer path: returning to the world, to ordinary mind, love and devotion for others, and a deep desire to help all beings, saving them from suffering, physical, emotional, spiritual.
This required a new kind of search for knowledge, which is a search for ways to help others, either teaching them how to discover their lost humanity and emotions, or to heal their bodies from physical disease and suffering, to using psychic powers to change the world, to helping others to the most effective ways of discovering their own Self.
Now this is the path I took because of my relationship with Robert Adams and many previous years of Zen practice.  It was a direct line to the Unmanifest Witness via a long time spent exploring Emptiness, the Void.  Then I was awakened by love to the Subtle Body, bliss, and Self Realization of the Manifest Self.
One does not have to follow my path as I led it.  Instead, one can follow a path of loving self-inquiry, going inside, locating one’s sense of existence which I call the I Am sensation, abiding there through accepting and loving it and through loving others, as loving them teaches us that they are only triggers of our love and not the love itself.  You are the love itself.  That is your nature.  And it is only by witnessing that extreme love in your own self that you begin to realize that that love is you; it is your creating, not the man, woman, or guru you love.

This is the path Nisargadatta took and is also the path his teacher, Siddharameshwar, recommended: a path of guru-worship, love, devotion, which allows you to see clearly that love and devotion in yourself, and with which at some point you begin to identify as your deeper self, which finally gives way to a Self-Realization set of experiences such as I and Nisargadatta had which gives you knowledge and bliss, which then transforms into an identification with the Witness, who is apart from all existence and the Absolute observer, Parabrahman as opposed to the Atman.

In this way, the Atman is always available to you, even after your primary identification is no longer with it.  But if you travel the path from the beginning that assumes no self, individual or divine, like most of Buddhism and the neo-Advaitins, you may never encounter or experience Self-Realization of the Manifest Self because you do not believe any self at all exists.  This kind of realization is totally lost as you can wander in the Void or stay in the Absolute forever, until your body dies, and not progress one inch.
In the end, I wish for you to become both a loving saint, and an impersonal Jnani, folded into one, with both sets of Self-Realization: realization as the Manifest Self, the I-Am sensation followed backwards and downwards in the deepest level of Consciousness, Turiya, which permeates and supports the other levels of the other bodies, such as the Causal, Subtle, and physical, and also interpenetrates the sleep, waking, and dream states, as well as the Unmanifest Witness.  Turiya is the unifying process that brings the entire Manifest experience together.

Eventually, one will also see/feel/know that the Unmanifest, Parabrahman, is also one with Atman, the divine incarnation of you.
At this point, Self-Exploration is complete, and you reenter the world of mankind with primarily an ordinary-mind experience of the world, but also the constant accompaniment of the experience of the divine sentience within that is also you—your source and sustenance. Of course, if you are so driven, you can continue to explore within on ways of using energies and psychic powers to change the world.
At this point I want to state my gratitude to two women: Eva who helped me to Self-Realization, but who was unable to sustain it for herself, and to the one I call the Seer, who showed me the way to better experience and understand the energies and powers within, and all the Manifest worlds without, subtle worlds beyond ours but which touch us. 

To both these women I owe undying gratitude and wish them the best.

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  1. Dear Ed ji,
    I loved this post of yours! :D :D :D
    Umm..I have nothing very serious or wise or academic to say about this! :P
    Hope you are very well!
    Love you!

  2. So great text, Edji! So, so many thanks to you

  3. Dear Ed,
    You sure opened up my eyes and heart.
    Many thanks and gratitude.
    Rock on.

  4. Ed, that was a fantastic post. One of the best i can remember. But to be fair, you are wrong with Mooji. The guy is legit, and has no relationship with Neo Advaita at all. He´s of the Nisargadatta kind, and one of the few "famous gurus" who always talks about That which is beyond Consciousness.

  5. The really important distinction between Devotional Advaita and neo-Advaita is not whether the subject is within Consciousness as proposed by Ramana, or outside of Consciousness. It is whether a Self exists within consciousness, either a personal self or a divine Self (Atman).

    I know Mooji has a poor time dealing with emotions in his students, so I assume he does not assign a very high place to the personal self, emotions, and maybe the Atman. I don't know.

    1. Yes, the one video from a few years ago that you called our attention to via a link to a Satsang he was giving showed the awkwardness he had in dealing with one woman student's suffering. His tactic of overplaying the humor in it wasn't exactly too cool. And what one sees in other videos is a certain kind of "sterility", of treading on "safe" territory where emotionality is concerned though I couldn't fault him for attempting him to address the confusion emanating from several students whose minds have led them astray. But just that in itself isn't enough even as it may be a first step in Self-Realization.


  6. Dear Ed, this is the first time I have ever commented on a blog! I need to say I agree with you wholeheartedly
    about the limited realization of abiding in the quietism of I AM. I have seen this in buddhist schools that emphasize insight meditation. Some yogi's appear unable to negotiate life and don't do a lot of work in the world. They seen to only want to reside in meditation and not be disturbed. I think they are depressed. I have to admit I also have fallen into the same trap but life did not allow me to stay there. I had to move on. It is too rarefied a state to be called 'life' or living. It seems more about death and a lack of joy. It seems to me to be a temporary resting place or a place to resort to when deep rest and recharge of the Self is necessary.

    Are you not putting more emphasis on bhakti yoga and seeing the manifest god in all? Residing in I AM allows one to see oneself as the Self but does not appear to allow seeing others (no matter what there degree of realization is) as the Self. So unless there is a realization that the whole world and everything in it is God, realization is partial. What do you do if the whole world is God? You can only do what is Willed otherwise work in the world is ego. One does need to be a sacrifice to the world. Very hard and very Christian. I find it an odd place to be after a lifetime of eastern mediation and philosophy. You seem to be saying this as well?


  7. If i remember correctly some students of Papaji (or David Godman himself, correct me if i am wrong) said that before Papaji died he said that NONE, not as single one was fully enlightened or awakened under him.

  8. Hey Edji, Great post. Great summary. Charging forward. Love, Matthew

  9. Edji - Many thanks for summarising the teachings. This is very inclusive and accepting. One important learning from here is that the 'nowness' is merely a beginning (vs the end) - somewhat like a basecamp to accilmatise. The climber must march on to scale new peaks, going through rough terrain, storms, beautiful views etc. Explore it all!