31 May 2015



My recent brush with the hard sciences in an attempt to confirm or disconfirm an underlying identity between our inner subjective and observable world, and our outer observable world, as well as the "laws" that underlie relationships within external observables, such as quantum mechanics, has led me to adopt a new attitude towards creating a science of spirituality--a rigorous discipline as opposed to comfortable beliefs that make us feel good.

From this point of view spiritual concepts that do not have any observables, or potential observables attached are useless impediments to finding truth. 

Concepts such as Kali, God, Chi, Shakti, Kundalini, resonance, entrainment, Self, self, ego, Shiva, Christ Consciousness, karma, rebirth, spiritual evolution, non-dual, Sahaj Samadhi, no-separate-self, etc., need to have some repeatable experiences or predictions associated with the use of that term, otherwise we are filled with a melange of concepts that are just unverifiable beliefs rather than truths to live by.

Most of these terms have their early origin in tribal and naturist folktales of three to five thousand years ago, folktales that were invented to make people feel they understood the world to a degree and made them feel more comfortable and at peace.

Kali is a delightful concept used to describe certain feminist traits ascribed to the universe itself, but how is it used by people today?  It is used as a comforting symbol to make us feel we have grasped by mind and heart some small truth about the universe or life or death.  But have we?  Of course not. We just have an idea that makes us feel certain emotions, or a sense of peace through understanding.

The problem with any new science of spirituality is to define "observable."

In outer science we can define exactly what an observable is: what instruments are used, what energies, what frequencies, what weights and measures.

With the inner sciences we speak about inner observations that are not generally accessible to all, but are found through certain kinds of "experiments" such as methods of meditation, self-inquiry, prayer, chanting, drugs, silence, Shikantaza, Koans, etc.

Now, different "brands" of spirituality have different methods of exploration and therefore should be expected to reveal different observables.

For example, Soto Zen emphasizes a meditation called Shikantaza, or just sitting, not letting the mind focus on any one thing.  In its rigid sitting, the attention gets global, embracing everything, until the boundary between inner and outer world disappears and you have pure, non-dual awareness or consciousness.  The world over time, becomes brighter, more alive, and one's sense of self becomes more attuned to the external world.

On the other hand, we have monasteries where Christian monks practice silence, various types of prayer, worship, thinking about surrender, visualizing Christ--whatever.  And what kinds of experiences can we generalize are the results?

In Soto Zen, one rarely hears about Self.  Self does not exist in a non-dual world. Nor will you hear about Witness, the Absolute, etc.

Rinzai Zen, on the other hand, tends to be more focused on direct teaching about the nature of reality and human existence through the use of the Koan system of about 25,000 original and checking situation conumdrums, such as, "What is the sound of one-hand clapping," or short stories of ancient confrontations where the monk is asked to demonstrate the meaning of certain pertinent elements of that story.

The result are monks that are far more action oriented and not much given to pondering the meaning of phrases, philosophies, etc., but who find language untrustworthy, and instead lead to life led from the gut by intuition.

Then we have the naturistsic spiritualities of shamnisms various forms, and Toaism.  We have spiritual entities, spirit guides, spirit possessions, magic, alchemy, potions, astral projection, etc.

And we have my favorite, Advaita as explained by Nisargadatta's teacher, Siddharameshwar who posited four levels of consciousness: body/world; Subtle Body (thoughts, images, energies, emotions); Causal Body (experience of non-existence, non-knowing); and Turiya (the body of I-ness, Self, Satchitananda, the ground of beingness underlying all other bodies, AKA the Atman)). Beyond these four phenomenal  bodies lies the Witness, the Absolute, the subject which lies entirely beyond Consciousness which Nisragadatta calls the Self.

I make the distinction more clear by calling all levels of our phenomenal existence centered around the experience of a core self, the Manifest Self, while I call the noumenal witness the Unmanifest Self, the pure subject. In the end they are seen as being the flip sides of each other.

The point I am making is that different religions and spiritual disciplines explore vastly different sets of observables often sharing almost nothing in common. 

There is not just one Truth that all masters from these differing disciplines adhere to.

However, just to meet a lesser definition of a path or discipline, we just need to propose there are sets of potential observables that one can be made aware of by following certain practices, such as Shikantaza, self-inquiry with its many variations, prayer, Koans, Tantra, etc.

A first step then towards a science of consciousness would be to list all the potential observables each discipline reveals, and what practices or methods are required to experience those observables.

Lastly, we need to list the belief systems associated with religion or discipline, however relevant or irrelevant they are to the actual observables.

With this approach which presumes a great deal of effort by many people working in concert, we would really have a handle on a science of spirituality, and the overall nature of consciousness, or at least its limits, its explored universe of discourse.

Of course my own emphasis is on Self-awareness, one's own experience of personal existence, of the I-sensation, and how that fits in with our other inner experiences, such as emotions, internal energies such as Chi and Kundalini, my awareness of the Witness, thoughts, etc., and how they relate to the world, which itself requires another great deal of investigation.

30 May 2015

My Self, as I perceive it, is difficult to describe. Words are too poor. I could describe it as feeling life or Life Force within me--pure beingness. But it is also almost experienced as a separate "other," as Krishnmurti described it, yet I know it is me.

It has incredible energy, dancing, turning, moving, and when I look within, in my subjective inner space, it is an amorphous white light expending from below my belly to my neck and fills my gut and chest. 

But it's boundaries are always changing, sensitive to me and to the world, sending filaments of awareness into the world around,feeling it from my heart.

I identify with it.  It is I.  It is me. It is me more than my body is me.  Emotions pass through it leaving ripples in the light and energy field.  Feeling myself is pure delight.  The constant circulation of energies and light is fascinating to behold and even more fascinating to feel.  I need no companion because I know myself.

Besides that core of Self, around me is my sense of presence that fills the space around my body and extending into the room like an electromagnetic field sensing the room's own sentience.

But for the life of me, I cannot see how the world can be a projection of the Self. Yes, the Self is visual, the Self has a tactile sense and emotional feelings.  But even after 45 years of no-self and unity experiences my basic state is still that of a separately embodied Self, and I wish that all separately embodied Selves could get to know their own Self, for when they do, everything changes. It is the same Self of everyone.  It is divinity itself.

So, I as witness can observe the world, the human Ed with his body, mind, and emotions, and the Self.  Conceptually they can be separated, but experientially they are one experience.

When the mind, I as mind, turns its attention towards the external world and then the internal, there are similarities, but I cannot perceive any direct mapping or mechanism of one into the other.

But then, who actually believed that such connections can actually be felt or intuited.  It is just as likely as that which lies prior to Consciousness, which includes both the internal and external worlds, is the author of both worlds, that is why we have the similarity that we do have between the two, and thus the basic structures will never be directly observable, they can only be indirectly inferred based on experience, hypothesis, experiment, and proof.

29 May 2015

Just because everything happens in the now, does not mean it does not take time to explore and understand what is happening in the now.

Exploration of the now through introspection and meditation reveals vast inner dimensions that open when the inner world is made the object of our attention which are not evident upon just cursory attention.

The same with the external world.

You can attend to it as Krishnamurti advises by being highly attentive to it alone without the intermediary of thought and conditioning, which gives the external world a new rawness, a new boldness, and great beauty.

Or, we can explore the external world in a million ways with a million disciplines such as physics, chemistry, geography, sociology, anthropology, genetics, neural sciences, medicine, zoology, oceanography, astronomy and cosmology, metalurgy, ornithology, geology, and forestry.  Millions of ways and methods exist to explore the world and all take time and thinking.

Yet many, many, gurus of the stupid eschew mind and the value of thought in exploration of either the outer or inner world and say all searching and exploration take you from a place of peace and rest.  So they say, "Just stop thinking and exploring, and just be," as if that sentence alone helped anyone stop doing anything or solved any problem.  It doesn't.  It just sets you on a new course towards the goal of doing nothing, and I saw what that did for Robert's Sangha.  It resulted in a deadening of interest in the external world as well as the internal world.

For other New Age or neo-Advaita gurus it can mean an intense focus on external world experience in the now, or internal world experience in the now but without the time-binding glue of understanding.  Mere observation only creates a duality and makes it impossible for any experience to be entered in the Self---our subjective heart of hearts, our essence, our vulnerability.

Thus the crux of my teachings is focused on how to allow experiences into our hearts, where it moves us, sweeps us away, caresses us, touches us deeply, magically, tenderly.

Keeping this state of tenderness is the hardest thing for most.

28 May 2015

Many spiritual traditions speak of one non-dual experience.  If there is no separate self witnessing experience, there is only experience. Generally they to not speak of a difference between inner and outer experience despite the fact our inner, subjective worlds are private to us, while the collective public world is "out there" and is measurable, with laws of science, motion, etc., all of which can be described and measured.

Strangely, many of these same unity-experience people will say we create our own public or outer world based on our internal beliefs and attitudes.  Some even say the external world we live in is really a "projection" of our inner world.  The outer world is a proection of who and what we are.  Absolutely none of these people can speak to the question of who is projecting (conscious or unconscious), how is the projection accomplished (what are the mechanisms), and how real then is the external (public) world?

Certain Advaitins hold that there is no external world, there is only us, either as one unity experience, or us as witness, which creates a duality between witness and the witnessed, which could be either the internal/external world, or just the external world.

You see, there is such loose thinking here that everything stated in such generalities just does not make sense.  If the external world is in any way connected to our internal world, what are the mechanisms? Does the term "projection" really mean anything?  What is projected, the external physical world somehow comes out of our inner world? That chair in the corner of this room was created by me?

How on earth can I create an external world?  How could I do this? How could all that vast external space and world come out of me, as when I look inside, I see/feel nothing like what is in the external world. If I am creating the external world, how am I doing it?

Science says there is an external world which we perceive through our senses and they speak to the complex mechanisms of light, sound, touch, odors, and tastiness are the way we perceive that world based on nerve impulses caused by external objects impinging on our eyes, ears, nose, etc.  There is a whole science that explains how our bodies and minds perceive the external world.

Anyone who claims that the external world is created by us, especially created by our ideas and attitudes, need to posit explicit mechanisms so that this theory is helpful in any way, or can lead to predictions of any sort.

I have seen them present no theory other than we create the world we live in, and we can change our external world by changing ourselves--somehow.

Often they mean our attitude and mood can change what happens in our external world.  That is, if we are positive thinkers, somehow our external world will better in some general way. Better how?  Happier? More productive?  More money and sex?  More possessions?  Bliss?

They do not go into detail nor present a theory about mechanisms.  So whatever they say is just a useless, unprovable, pep-talk: think positive and you will be happy, productive, inherently lucky, and wealthy.

They would say there is no need to look within to fnd a self, because there is no separate self; even a cursory 3 minute investigation proves there is no inner self.  They would say further that just looking for a self or seeking truth in the external or internal creates a tension that is inherently stressful and prevents happiness and rest.

So they say, "Do nothing; just be who and what you are."  Of course this goes against 3,000 years of Western Philosophy that said, "The unexamined life is not worth living," and the Greeks who said, "Know thyself."

It also goes against the great Eastern traditions of Buddhism, where Vipassana, Mahayama, Theravadin, with complex methods of meditation, created dozens of generations of spiritual masters and monasteries. Ditto the Advaita of Shankara, the Hindu and Buddhist Tantric traditions, Confucian exploration of the moral, Christian and Muslim mysticism, etc. None said there was no need for intense spiritual effort. For most finding their truth of their own Self was the only thing that mattered and they spent most of their lives to find it, unlike the bevy of New Age twenty-something gurus who know only showbiz spirituality.

Krishnamurti, of course, rejected all those traditions, but recommended an even more difficult path, one where you needed to become extremely attentive, globally aware of everything, and disbelieved any theory taught to you.  You were the single explorer and had to shed all that you have been taught.  His was not just a sitting around and doing all that you did before.

But these new teachers are saying, "Be dumb; do not explore; do not look within; do not seek out gurus. I this way, you will be complete and happy." No wonder they have a large following; they speak of instant spirituality requiring no effort. It works for a while, but after a few months or years they see it was immature narcissism.

21 May 2015



The high point of my career in physics was in 1962 as a sophomore at Western Reserve University, later changed to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where I had a full scholarship in physics. At that time I had a physics guru in the department named Joseph Weinberg who had been black-balled by Senator McCarthy, who suspected Weinberg of being Dr. X who leaked to the Russians, information from the Manhattan project which allowed them to build an atom bomb in 1949.

Joe was brilliant, and like me, was able to destroy the credibility of any actual physical experiment just by standing near it. We both shared a distain for experimental physics and the results. In fact, in both High school physics and freshman physics at WRU, my lab experiment results never were what they were supposed to be.

I had self-taught myself General Relativity, tensor calculus, and Riemannian Geometry, and in 1962 taught tensor calculus to incoming fellows who had summer felowships to study under Gerald Tauber, who was the department’s expert in cosmology and relativity. Joe was mostly a quantum physicist who used to regale me and other students with tales of directing battleship cannon fire using slide rules during WWII.

But I doubt he had ever been on a battleship, as he was a protégé of Robert Oppenheimer, and was a mathematician on the Manhattan project which Oppenheimer ran during that same period of time.

1962 was near the low point of General Relativity research as Einstein had just died 7 years before, and his last 20 years was spent mostly in seclusion at Princeton. His peers thought Einstein was lost in a dead end of creating a Unified Field Theory to bring electromagnetic theory into General Relativity. Little effort was being expended on Relativity or cosmology, as most everyone was exploring quantum mechanics because that is where the money and interest was: atom bombs, H-bombs, nuclear energy, particle theory, etc. Relativity research was mostly dying, and there was little interest in it in our physics department.

The big breakthroughs that resulted in string theories, brane theories, and Hawking’s research on black holes were still a decade or two away. Since not much was going on in this area, and the department was not much interested in Relativity, spacetime, cosmology, etc., I gradually lost interest and moved on to study economics, seduced the elegance of Keynesian economics, the bane of all conservatives who would soon embrace Friedman’s monetary theory and later the trickle down economics of Ronald Reagan that has effectively destroyed the vitality of America’s economy by shifting wealth to the top 1%, leaving not enough money in the economy to support the consumerism necessary to sustain a manufacturing economy. This, along with the horrible trade deals such as Bill Clinton’s NAFTA free trade legislation (and the upcoming Obama new trade legislation), has broken America’s economy.

However, I did learn one thing from both fields: there was really nothing there! There is no "truth" in these theories.  That real truth is found by going within.  This is a discussion for another time and place. Here I am stating a case for developing a science of the inner worlds we each share.

In both fields many, many very bright people spent an inordinate amount of time speculating, hypothesizing,and mathematizing these speculations. For them, it was all about imagination and speculation based on physical intuition, and then mathematical manipulation of field theory equations, such as imagining the shape and energy/matter density of the universe, and plugging in parameter values in field equation matrices. That is, there were few observables to check the rampant imaginings, allowing for all kinds of unchecked or uncheckable worlds. 

(This leads once again naturally to the question of why mathematics used to explain the world, actually explain so well?  Is it that the structure of the way we perceive also structures mathematical intuitions and logic?)

This was the result of the dominance of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with its Einstein Field Equations and the necessity of making simplifying assumptions in order to come to exact or even approximate solutions. For almost 100 years physicists and mathematicians have been fighting over reconciling physical laws, such as Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory and equations, quantum mechanics and its laws, with the “truth” of General Relativity, then later attempts to subsume Relativity within a larger Unified Theory, such as string theory.

Really, there was very little there but imagination and mathematics, and once in a while a predictable outcome which then refocused interest in a new theory of the week that was heralded to be a coming breakthrough that would explain everything in the world. Hawking had even stated in the late 1970s that the search for the knowledge about everything could be had by the end of the century.

Could it be that imagination about the nature of the universe and time, in fact explained how we experienced space and time?  That mathematics told us as much about the structure of ourselves as it told us about the world?  Is it built not only into our DNA so-to-speak, but into how we perceive the world, and perhaps ourselves?

If you look into it deeply, what one sees is that physics has two languages: mathematics and physical intuitions expressed in terms of visual models such as Einstein thought experiments about the identity of gravity and acceleration, his so called-elevator thought experiment. It also has the precedent of established truths of physics that usually challenged the current models, such as the problem of extending laws of thermodynamics, well established for a century, to black holes, which created the famous tussle between Hawking and Susskind.

Physics is all intellectual speculation mixed with ways to express its speculations in terms of mathematics and in terms of expressed physical intuitions.

Against the results of such ruminations, each “solution” hopefully predicts something measurable by experiment or observation, such that the “real world” is compared against the theory. Sometimes as theory will lay fallow for 30 or 40 years because it did not generate any testable observations when originally formulated.

In other words, most of modern theoretical physics from early quantum mechanics and most of Relativity has consisted of attempts to simplify or make solvable complex equations, which when solved by making assumptions, creates models of space-time, or of quanta, continuous or discrete space and time, etc., which then can be tested against observations in experiments or astronomically. Even if observations failed to verify, even that could be explained away as insensitive instruments, or else a new variable could be thrown into the equations to explain what was observed.

Physics was very, very messy from the 1980s on really because of the lack of observables. It was all talk, equations, yelling at each other, and a great lack of observables. And when the observables began to come in hot and heavy through satellite data and Hubble among others, the storms that swept through physics went through the roof because there was so little there that was anticipated, and so much data results that were totally unexpected.

There are literally thousands and tens of thousands of physical theories that have come and gone, based on observations, simplifications of boundary values on tensors, simplifications on assumptions of the distribution of mass and energy throughout a galaxy or the entire universe, and quantum principles. Theories arise, have their day in the sun, then fade as observations provide no proof or no observables are predicted.

There is no rigorous science anywhere. The mathematician Hilbert had attempted to create such a rigorous mathematics in the 19th Century, called the Hilbert Program, which was to require all mathematics to be provable based on a set of axioms agreed upon in the beginning. Nothing would be regarded as “real mathematics” unless it had this logical basis.

Kurt Godel, one of Einstein’s closest friends proved there were always an infinite number of exceptions within any such “real” mathematical schema, of demonstrably true theorems that were not provable within any given set of assumptions. This destroyed the Hilbert Program, but also allowed mathematics the freedom to escape the bonds of rigid logic, and science could add any fanciful variable to make equations balance.

(I was very fortunate while at Case Western Reserve to have three graduate students in philosophy as roommates including Judson Webb who knew more about Godel's Theorem than anybody wanted to know. Judson's intellect was like a huge, inpenetrable mountain, infinitely dense, and usually plodding in his exposition of theory.  But if you got him going, and had him speed up his pace, listening to him was like listening to Bach in the flesh.  My hair actually stood on end, feeling the bliss of celestial music as his impeccable logical mind just rolled on and on. This was true mathematics, not the stuff peddled by the physicists.)

The assumptions, the simplifications of equations in order to reach solvable sets of equations, the ad hoc adding of variables to make the theory fit observations make the whole endeavor subject to derision.

In my opinion, the whole purpose of theoretic explorations in thought and mathematics is to predict something in nature that had not been seen before. Without that, theoretic physics is intellectual masturbation.


I say yes!

To escape all the useless infighting found in a hundred years of physics, it is better to focus research first on the observables and leave the theorizing and building binding scaffolding until later. Comparing brain based theories of Consciousness to idealists’ theories of Consciousness opens the way to endless theory argumentation and speculation. We should first focus on exploring our inner worlds directly, through observation, meditation, self-inquiry, and self-experiments. Everything begins with the subject, the I, the me, the observational perspective, gradually ferreting out not-me from the me experience,and perhaps later experiencing new phenomena and bring them into the I-sense and watch it grown and expand.

Physics deals with space, time, and all the observables in space and time. It deals with the structures found in space, like curvature and whether space is continuous as it appears to us at the level of human observation, or is it discrete, packages of space and time, not unlike a particle.

Then it deals with objects from sub-atomic particles, which are now legion, to atoms, to molecules, to planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, and the distribution of such throughout spacetime and what these things mean.

So, spirituality has three things in common with external science in terms of observables: space, time, and observables.

Science uses two modes of language to state it case: mathematics and physical intuitive speculations expressed graphically or in ordinary language

Now science deals with external space and external objects that is shared by one and all, while spirituality mostly deals with one’s inner world of emotions, inner energies, internal feelings of our bodies, and our separation from other observers and then the observation of more exotic things, like God, grace, the I-sense, unity consciousness. 

External science assumes there is one common external world (this world as opposed to the many alternative realities predicted by string and brane theories), while spirituality generally accepts that each of us is the sole observer of our own autonomous and localized viewpoint delimited by our skin, versus someone else’s experience within their own skin. Our subjective worlds are legion, yet we can look for similarities if not identities in our separate and individual worlds of experience and discourse.

Within this inner and separate universe of each of us, what matters is this: what is the nature and are the structures, if any, within our separte experiences of emptiness and time?

We can also then explore similarities of the observables within the container of inner or “imaginal” space, from emotions and moods, to memories, to visualizations, to thoughts, to energies variously called chi, Kundalini, Shakti, meridian, etc., out of body experiences, the experiences of physical pain in illness and injury, humor, depressive features, grief, joy, bliss, confusion, desires and impulses, and finally meditative states like Sahaj Samadhi, unity experiences, the causal body, Nirvana, and ultimately the Witness supposedly prior to Consciousness..

All of these have been experienced by some people and not others. The inner and outer world experienced by one person may be entirely different from another’s. 

Science says there is only one common external world and they struggle to better understand that one world, while a spiritualist may say that while we all share identical sentience variously called beingness, the Witness, the subject, etc., (which unifies us in the small sense) the objects experienced, or the experiences themselves are entirely idiosyncratic to each specific individual, and perhaps to their location in the one common external universe..

That is, each of us lives within our own subjective universe, and look out into the common external universe, the rules of which are defined by Newtonian or Einsteinian mechanics universally.

However, we come to two problems when comparing an inner science to external science: 1. what is the language of inner science as opposed to mathematics and thought experiments about physical intuition; 2. how is it that our inner worlds differ so much between people?

We are not equally sensitive to inner phenomena. Some people are exquisitely sensitive and aware of emotions, others may almost totally lack emotional awareness (we call these Republicans). Some are aware of inner emptiness, the Void of Zen, others are not. Some are aware of an inner light or transparent clear light associated with the opening of the Third Eye. Some are exquisitely aware of the feeling of their bodies from within, and others, not so much at all.

Some of us are acutely aware of inner energies that vary from a slight tingling in the extremities, to violent shaking, to the various intensities and durations of ecstasies and bliss. Some feel the Kundalina “snake” rising in their spines. Some feel Chakras. Most people don’t feel either.

We have to realize there exists this variability of sensibilities and sensitivities regarding the experience and thus reality of various inner phenomena. We also have ro realize that various spiritual practices, from the endless variety of meditations, the various practices of self-observation and self-inquiry, practicing chanting, japa, etc., can lead to experiences most people don’t experience. There are explorers of the inner world, who by using various types of meditations and perceiving energy practices, open up inner worlds for exploration that are entirely real for them, but not within the observation space of others. 

These may or may not be verified through testing or observation. So far, for example, there has been no major study using double blind methods and a large sample that proves the effectiveness of energy healing, such as Reike or Quantum Touch. What we have are a lot of ad hoc and separated incidents of healing or the failure to heal, that has not proven healing at any rate better than the placebo effect.

Therefore I propose the following:

The emphasis for spiritual exploration (of self and Consciousness) and discussion should be what has been or can be perceived or experienced by different observers using different self-investigation techniques from meditation, to self-inquiry, to auto brainwave investigation, flickering light frequencies, on the experience of emptiness and of time, and perhaps even drugs..

Then, we can begin, or it can begin in parallel, the investigation of what exists internally, such as recognizing the differing experiences of emotions, visualizations, thoughts, memories, healing energies, chi, Kundalini, and the experiences of the body from within and how that varies based on our meditation practices, beliefs, and health.

The language we should use is NOT mathematics in any form, but descriptive language as devoid as possible of theoretic baggage such as God, generics such as Shakti, Kali, or the Void. All these terms initially have too much theoretic or theistic baggage that would hinder understanding in the long run.
We might each describe how we experience the void within, and how our experience of emptinesschanges over time based on meditations practiced, observations, and guided inquiry. I suggest we use as a basis for starting our inquiry, accepting a text, or set of texts by Buddhists who have specialized in investigating emptiness and time such as in the text Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness (Link removed. 

(I just removed the link to this text.  Max looked at it and found mostly theory. I looked again. I remembered it wrong.  It is actually a Buddhist polemic, and very little is devoted to actually experiencing emptiness directly.  It is about the Buddhist theory of emptiness.)

There are many Buddhist texts that describe these multiple emptinesses based on observations of emotions, and also theories about perception itself, or the reality, or lack thereof, of the observables, such as continuous or discrete time. Zen spends an amazing amount of energy exploring the void and inner and outer observables.

Look at Amazon and find books about the experience of emptiness including those by me and Bernadette Roberts.

Let us concentrate first on how various inner explorers actually experience emptiness, and leave alone for now their theories about what those experiences mean in terms of the reality either of the emptiness, the observer, or of objects within the emptiness.

In this way we are following Einstein by focusing on the nature of spacetime itself as opposed to the objects in spacetime. There are other approaches, but my intuition is there is a lot to be found here by focusing on the experience of inner space and inner time, and then talk about conjectures about what these experiences mean when we generalize or in terms of “reality.” Let us stick to observables as much as possible and not get lost early into speculations of what they mean.

Also, psychologists have been investigating emotions and self for over 100 years from Freud and Jung, to the object relation theorists, which would be separate tact to take as a line of investigation in order to come up with a better understanding of the inner world, or our subjectivity, and then to find a better understanding of the relations between out inner experiential world and the outward observed world, and lastly, to the speculative worlds of theoretical physics and mathematics.

A third approach would be a similar experiential investigation of energy workers of their own experiences of energies, and begin to catalog them.

With this as a base, we can also more productively explore the various kinds of alleged awakening experiences and various meditative states, such as Sahaj Samadhi, various non-dual states of unity, the experience and meaning of Zen Kenshos, the experiences of embodied spirituality of Christ and Muzika, the experiences of No-self, the experiences or descriptions of any state prior to Consciousness, and any new understanding of the nature of Consciousness and its relation to awareness or to an ultimate Noumenal Witness.

What would really assist in understanding of Consciousness and ourselves, is not a lot more funding of research studying Consciousness as being an artifact of the brain, but studying in from the inside, and assuming for research purposes that the “one universe” outside, which science explores, is also an artifact of our Consciousness, and the structures of our inner space, time-sense, and rules of thinking, as well as externally applied mathematics and the science found in the one common universe, as well as the speculative universes of scientific imagination, are really the subjective structures comprising who we are. That is how the left brain operates as opposed to the right brain.

Maybe eventually we will discover the subjective rules of our inner world mirror the mathematics and logic of the external world.  This would be one remarkable discovery if true.  Self-realization and many new gates to knowing ourselves would probably also be opened.

I want to open the door to a re-exploration of the experience of Self and God, or the world and spacetime in ways not done in 500 years in spirituality so that we understand ourselves as the center of the universe as easily and readily as we understand ourselves to be tiny blobs of protoplasm floating around in an infinite physical universe. That infinite universe also floats around within the consciousness sphere of all sentient beings.

From a scientist. It is right on.

Dear Ed, I agree it is a sad state of affairs now, especially in the "spiritual" world. I made my living in science where every bias, every idea and every pet theory was questioned. Very tough on the ego but very conducive for reaching the truth. Scientists however are not generally interested in spiritual matters and tend to be hyper intellectual with a very weak and hidden "feeling" side. They sometimes can't feel anything and can have no emotional connection to people.

The spiirtual marketplace of today is almost completely free of thinking. Very little questioning is going on. Only following and worshiping. People are sometimes being lead by thinly veiled egotists or leaders that are very insecure. You have to be very careful nowadays. Questioning is very much forbidden in spiritual groups, like it is in most dysfunctional families. 



20 May 2015

The past 110 years since Einstein published a set of papers outlining his Special Theory of Relativity has been an intense period of intellectual warfare among some of the greatest minds of our times: Einstein, Heisenberg, Oppenheimer, Wheeler, Dirac, Weber, etc., etc.

The battle consisted of competing ideas about the nature of space, time, gravity, quantum mechanics presented in competing papers, at conferences, in competing for funding, sometimes in acrimonious disputes, but often friendly.  They fought, drank together, smoked together, traveled the world to be in each other's presence and talk neutrons, gravity waves, bosons versus femions, balck hole evaporation.  They went to study under Penrose or Wheeler, or Eddinton, why between academic pursuits they worked developing radar for the British defense of the island from the Germans, or before that, like Scwartzchild, died in the trenches in WWI after theorizing about event horizon's and singularities.

These were exciting times for the entire world and for them.

No one spoke on Facebook telling them they were foolish for thinking, searching, trying to understand, to know. No one said just "just rest in yourself and be happy."  Most died however, forgotten and mostly in security because once past 40 or 50, they stopped adapting to new ideas, new data, and dismissed evidence that show they may have missed the boat defending an old theory that no longer seemed true.

Their competition was of the mind, yes, but the results were of understanding and a scientifically advancing world.

This also was the case 1,000 and more years ago when great teachers such as Shankara argued Advaita against other Advaitists, Buddhists, and all other comers.  This war of competing religions, competing insights, competing truths, competing methods continued is the same sorts of "conferences" and debates between traveling Zen teachers, Taoists, Shintoist, Confucists, at universities throughout Asia, for another 500 years.

That stopped hundreds of years ago.  Most of these teachings ossified into the deadness we have now.  No competition, no debates, no discussion, no nothing.

Such is it today.  Nothing going on in spirituality.  No big debates betwen various teachers.  They avoid each other and only talk to other teachers that share the same ideas or or to their students, or write books.

Many are like the elderly physicists and mathematicians slowly evaporating preserving their legacy.

And students?  Where are they, those who burn for real spiritual knowledge and to know themselves?  Instead, we have tens of thousands who quote dead masters.  There is no life here.

Francis Bennett considers all that disagree with him as immature, non-integrated, unbalanced. Chetanananda, much as I love him, has built an empire around himself, surrounded himself with a phalznx of adoring students and protectors.

Chidvilasanda still runs her evil little empire and interacts with no one but worshippers, while former Muktananda swamis fawn over her, or stay far away from her clutches.

The last of the great Zen master's of the 60s died with Sasaki Roshi and his teaching dying under a cloud of orchestrated moral triviality trumped up by the new feminist takeover of political correctness.

Even Robert Adams was afraid to say much for fear of being persecuted by moralists and people of little minds and small of heart.  Thus his teachings are sort of bland.

Where are the great spiritual teachers today? The Dalai Lama?  Don't make me laugh.  Sakya Tensin, the sexually perverted if he is still alive?

We are in a period of spiritual cowardness and of barren earth with no fertilizer to make spirituality grow.

Where are the teachers with courage?  Where are the students who are not politically correct martinets? A world of cripples up and down the line, who do not fight evil and injustice, and just want to stay safe.

Does anyone out there have an original thought besides a quote?  Are there any who burn for truth of Self, or for anything?

I know a few heroes and heroines, but they are in the area of animal rescue, shelter reform, animal welfare and animal rights, where they put their bodies between Japanese whalers and whales, where they confront baby seal pelt killers in Canada putting their lives in peril.

But mostly animals get the short shrift.  Few care enough even to stop eating meat.

Where are you heroes?  Where are you caretakers?  Come, show us what you are made of.  Loudly announce yourselves.  Knock loudly on the doors of evil doers demanding that they show themselves.  Expose evil despite Obama's war on whistle blowers and journalists.

Of course, I forgot Manning and Snowden who do have the right stuff.

18 May 2015

There is no "True" knowledge until you have the pure, uncontaminated knowledge of the Self. Before that there is only symbolic knowledge, third hand knowledge learned from textbooks, or second hand knowledge learned from one’s own experience.

But knowing the Self is entirely different; it is the pure knowing of the sage where you realize the identity of Self and Knowledge.

This is not a state of realization that can be gained through awakening of the Kundalini or Tantra. It is not obtained through the Not-Knowing of Zen, or the emptiness of Buddhism. 

It is 100% opposite to neo-Advaita.

It is an entirely different path.

In this path one just listens to the truth of Self, both of the Manifest Self, which is mostly ignored by Buddhism and neo-Advaita and is the sense of the divine awareness/consciousness within, and of the Unmanifest Self--the Witness prior to Consciousness.

Then you let the truth sink in over time and begin a long period of self-inquiry with observation and with feeling within for the sensation of I-Am, of I-exist!

Then, one day, for whatever reason or whatever trigger, you experience the Manifest Self of God embodied in you, which leads inevitably to the realization of the Noumenal Self that witnesses all this: that one who lies prior to Consciousness.

Once you have tasted this true knowledge of Self, the discovery of your identity with God as embodied Self, and the world, and the Witness, everything changes.

Confusion vanishes; certainty takes its place; every moment you know who and where you are. God is in you and you are in God. Emptiness is in you, and you are in emptiness. Bliss is within you, and you are within bliss. You become as solid as Mt. Everest. Unmovable even while moving.

17 May 2015

I am mad again. Once again I am hungry for knowledge, not of my of my perceived Self, the I-Am and that with which it identifies, nor of the Witness beyond Consciousness. But now I am mad--hungry--to understand the relationships between my inner perception of my Manifest Self, the external world that I perceive, and the world as explained by theoretical physics--the world of general relativity, quantum field theory, brane theory, etc.
My intuition is there is a connection. Not the one that every other spiritual teacher points to by saying there is only one experience because there is no separate self, or there only is Shakti, or only God. These tell me nothing except giving me a name. Everything is one = everything is God = everything is Shakti, etc. No real information exists in these sentences.
A hunger for knowledge for example, of the nature of space as experienced inside myself, the inner emptiness, the space around me in my everyday world, and the space portrayed by field equations and Riemannian Geomtery in General relativity and the folded dimensions of Quantum Mechanics.
The mysterious thing is that physics describes the universe in terms of equations, mathematics, which appears to be able to describe the universe and predict physical phenomena as a test of the reality of that mathematical model, such as a nuclear bomb. Why? Why is it that God appears to follow or be mathematics, while psychology and our inner worlds no not?
This is so wonderful! My mind is hungry again to know everything, and the reason is, like Nisargadatta I have tasted what pure knowledge--Truth--tastes like upon Self-Realization. I "feel" more deeply into existence than 50 years ago when I studied Einstein's universe. I am now better equipt, and not being in school, I can follow my own ways.


Lots of quiet the last few days. Sitting in the early morning cool breezes, I feel compelled by the fullness of being alive to drop even more deeply into myself.

The simplicity yet immense textured sensation is breath taking for me. There is nothing else I want, no place to go, absolutely nothing to say .... although I feel like singing....and do ...Sri Ram Jai Ram ...Jai jai Ram...

I've been walking the hallways in my building at 3 am .... so silent the air presses on my eardrums. I'm in flow .... no one in charge ...yet the body moves and eats and sleeps .... and feels happy....content. lol ... my body never feels content...

I've had several thinking jags ... anxiety stories suddenly erupt ...catastrophizing... I feel all the stages of it coming on .... so there is space to choose to turn away, or cut out the next step. I get a queasy sick dread whenever I do that, but I know its a hollow dread ... it tries to get traction ... but there isn't much energy in it. If I don't feed it quickly shrivels.

I have spent an amazing amount of time in my life scaring myself into helplessness and sickening angst. I am so fed up with this cycle. I still do it around abandonment, I'm still clinging to that identity .... yet I know it now from a different perspective.

There are holes appearing in my existential nausea. I can't tell you, Edji, how incredibly empowering it is each time I even brush against my worst fear ... And come out of it tiny bit more alive.

I'm not flowing fully in the river of bliss, but every mote of increased sentience is a wonderment to me. It doesn't matter what pain and worry and fear I still have ...


I love you, Edji, and I thank you ... step by step ... everything you have taught me is true and is working for me ... jeez how wonderful is that !!!
Your rock head student,
Syndria ... (my love light is burnin' ... whoohoo ...lol)


I think almost all mental mental diseases, from garden variety neuroses, to severe personality disorders, paranoia, manic/depression and schizophrenia, can be CURED if only people allow themselves to feel the wounds and defenses around the wounds which prevents us from feeling them in the first place, allowing for a dissipation through incorporation. It is brought into I Am, my awareness of my live existence; in effect, it is the epitome of identification. I take everything into my heart of hearts, and thereby love everything because I love myself.

I remember feeling a lot of paranoia for many years after my father died when I was 14. I realized then the end can come quickly and without warning. But I realized after a while that the dread that made me expect terrible things, as you say, is hollow. It is not a precognition of correct intuition that apocalyptic events were about to happen. Such is true of most scary emotions; there is nothing really there. Therefore go into it and take its power back into your conscious existence.

14 May 2015


Hi Ed

I recently left a comment but felt compelled to write you directly.  

About 3 years ago, I first started reading your blog and your teachings resonated deeply in me.

I went out and gave Jimmy a lot of cat food, attempted to stay with the I-thought for a while but got stuck on my usual methods of meditation (concentration meditation and vipassana) and thus gave up.

At this time i really got into listening to devotional music as well.  I would lay on my back on the cool tile floor with headphones on and let go of everything else.

I also have a bad back, and laying down like this was the only thing that brought relief.  One day, however, the pain was severe, and even laying down like this did not help.  In agony, I called out to the ??? and immediately a bright white light came from within and the pain was instantly relieved! I could barely believe it.  Accompanied with this experience was a bliss of unimaginable quality that stuck around for days.

I was inwardly inspired to do something, but what that was I did not know yet.  I did not have to wait long, however.

I began reading intensely about Jesus and His life of service.  I felt I needed to do the same.  So one day, i cooked up a couple pounds of chicken and got in my car and gave the food to the several homeless people in my area.  The bliss came back, and it inspired me even more.

I was unemployed at the time, so I had free time up the wazoo.  I continued my little feeding program.  One day, I asked one of the homeless guys if there were any others doing what I was doing, if anyone else was serving them and he said yes.  It was a small shelter/feeding program in the next city over, so I went to pay a visit.

I just went in there and introduced myself and asked if they needed any volunteers.  And they did.

Within a few months of serving everyday, the director offered me a paid position which I accepted.  I worked with the homeless with mental illness, advocating for them to get housing and whatever else they needed.

But after a few months, I began to become depressed and so badly, my boss requested I go see someone. 

I was diagnosed as bipolar and by second opinion, schizophrenic.  I stopped all meditation and became a medicated zombie.

I ended up losing the job as well.

Fast forward a year and some months--the medication no longer zombifies me and I feel a lot better. 

My desire to continue my practice has become strong again, but I don't want to go down the same path of concentration, I want to be free.  I realize now that that is what I have always wanted.

How do I begin with self-inquiry without getting sucked into my old methods?

Your guidance and comments are supremely appreciated.


Don't look within.  Don't observe.  Instead FEEL within for the sense of I, the sense that I am alive and I exist.

Listen to sacred music a lot.  Muktananda style and Krishna Das are very good.

As you are looking for the I-sense, and emotions come up, don't just observe them but take them into your heart.  Make a home for them in your sense of I.  Accept the feelings; love them.
Depending on your medications, you might want to gradually cut the dosage, but ask your treating physician.  Medications such as Zoloft, Prosac, Lamyctal,  will "level" moods and emotions, and much decrease their reality and intensity leaving you a bit lifeless. 

If you are taking anti-psychotics, such as Thorazine, they will zombify you, and after a while, you won't feel like you are a zombie from inside, but you will remember a time when feelings were more alive and real. Antipsychotics are superstrength tranquilizers, and really screw up one's ability to feel within.
On the other hand, duloxetine 30mg does not cut the intensity of feelings so much.

Manic depression is a frequent official diagnosis for many into spirituality, and the mood swings can be do to opening one's heart to deeper feelings, as opposed to to the diagnosis of manic/depression for someone not tuning in to their insides.

The key is to stay away from Vipassana-style observation, and get into feeling.  Learn how to bring the bliss of chanting into your heart to "lighten" you, but it also teaches you how to bring emotions into your heart.

Emotions and openness are gateways to the Self.

Your "spiritual" experiences of the past show you have talent in this area.  Just keep going with confidence.

10 May 2015


The vast majority of all psychopathology and human suffering occurring in the West is due to alienation from a full experience of one’s own self.  

Exceptions to this rule are victims of severe physical or mental trauma, debilitating disease, head trauma, starvation, and living in high risk environments.  However, even in these latter cases, suffering would be much relieved through a process of self-recovery leading to total Self-Realization.

There are many levels of self that must be fully experienced in the process of increasing self-knowledge leading to control and removal of inappropriate anxiety, sadness, depression, grief and fear.

The most important level of self that has to be experienced for people in the West, is a full experience of one’s emotionality.  EVERYONE has degrees of emotional blindness due to upbringing, environment and emotional trauma suffered in childhood through early adulthood.  The effects of these traumas have to be worked through and the resistances to full emotional awareness and expression themselves have to experienced and integrated.  Once the resistances, for example, to feeling love for another, or feeling sexual attraction for another, or feeling depression or grief, are fully experienced through practical and easy-to-learn methods, then the underlying impulse or emotion can be fully experienced and the energy of that full emotion experience is added to the self.  

The self becomes more integrated, larger, more capable of enduring negativity and using it to find and reown deeper and deeper layers of self, adding increasing areas of self-awareness and growth, and most of all, self-knowing.  The ability to be self-aware increases and one finds one’s own self-experience to be as interesting, exciting, and energizing as any external experience.

As we progressively reown our emotionality, we become more centered and powerful, more certain of oneself during every moment of daily existence, and also more creative.  Increasing familiarity of who you really are as opposed to your ideas of who you are, or your ideals of who you think you should be, make you less divided to yourself, and an integrated self—a full experience of who you are as a human being within a family and societal matrix—just makes you more powerful, increasingly powerful and integrated, and this integration leads to increased creativity. Just as a master chess player or professional tennis play can tell you, the more you know of the subject of chess or tennis, the more powerful, accurate, and creative your game will become.  Just so with self-knowledge:  The more you know yourself, the greater your personal power and creativity.

Self-knowing after the emotional body level has been thoroughly explored and known is much, much easier.  You can more easily master your body by truly knowing it and its limits.  You can master and destroy addictions.  You will be many, many, levels more powerful and sure of yourself in dealing with the opposite sex, your boss and coworkers, and to them, you will seem to “glow” with an energy, an outgoingness of personal honesty and deep self-disclosure.  You will have no fear of personal disclosure on any level and no longer have any need to hide anything from any other person, unless a situation absolutely requires it. 


This level of self-exploration is not for everyone, but it is essential for anyone who wants to know his or herself at every level of complete self knowing.  Here the seeker will be taught appropriate meditations, methods of self-inquiry, self-visualization, different levels of no-awareness and no self-experience underlying one’s experience of the world and oneself as a human in that world.  

In a sense, most who enter this world will consider it to be one of magic, exhilaration, energy healing, flows of prana, awareness of flowing Shakti and the Life Force.  
This is an immense region of self, and not necessary for exploration for most, but only for those who love self-exploration.

Lastly, there are the deepest levels of self, which at this level deserve the use of a capitalized Self instead of “self,” denoting the human and personal self.
These two deepest levels of Self have various names.  The first is called Self-Realization, or realization of the Manifest Self, the self of the Life Force itself, the raw experience of sentience, of being alive.  This is the I Am state of Abraham’s God, and of Jesus.  This is the state of identify with your Life Force itself, the divine in you.  This is the realization that God and you are like two peas in a pod—identical, just the form varies depending on your body and its tiny separation from God: you are in a manifest form of a body and God is not except as He/She is experienced in you, in your heart of hearts.  You and God are one.  Hindu’s call this Krishna Consciousness or realization of the Atman.  Christians call it Christ Consciousness, or God realization.

This is the layer of Self that gives full knowledge of your existence, your power, and the experience of ecstatic love, both for others and for yourself. It includes the basic experience of Knowledge itself and culminates in what Hindus call SatChitAnanda, or Knowledge of one’s own existence, experienced in deep bliss.  

Existence/Knowlede/Bliss.   If you have been a seeker all your life, it is this you have sought: the full experience of the Manifest Self as Knowledge, of unbounded existence, Self-knowing the fullness, joy, and bliss of your existence.

Again, there are appropriate types of meditation and external modalities used to explore this divine-in-you level of Self.

Lastly, as one grows older and physical and mental powers decline, one my wish to fathom the last layer of Self: the Unmanifest Self or Witness.  This Self is the non-existing Non-Consciousness side of the Manifest Self.  It is this level of Self that is aware of the world and your Manifest Self within the world.  Hindus call this paraBrahman, and it is entirely beyond Consciousness or human existence, and as such, it is not touched by life or death, by sword, fire or water, and not touched even by Consciousness.

You can never know it as an object of your knowledge, because the witness lies before knowing.  The witness principal lies before knowledge itself.  The Witness is that which knows, feels, experiences, loves, and gives life its awareness.  This is the ultimate state, the final state.

Yet one also learns that both of these True Selves, the Manifest Self and the Unmanifest Self or Witness, are one.  They are flip sides of the dichotomy of knowing and unknowing, and together make up the Alpha and Omega of existence, experience, and life both human and divine.

However, I teach all my students not to yearn for the final state of the Unborn Witness too soon.  And instead, if so motivated to go deeply into self-searching, to stop and spend a lot of time at the level of the Manifest Self of God realization, for at this level life is happiest, the most exhilarating, and you are at your most powerful and can really make an impact on the world if you so choose.  And, at this level you have already mastered mastered and integrated the level of human emotions, suffering, and desires, and there is immense power in you that prevents a knee-jerk running from suffering or any kind of distress.  From this place of power you could say the world is at your feet because the world and what it has to offer is rather trivial compared to your own experience of the divine within.

All this will be taught to you step by step, if you so desire and you persist.  This is not instant enlightenment.  It is a recognition that your Self is enormously complex, deep, and mysterious, and an effort to fully discover and become your fullness of Self requires time, perseverance, and discipline.  Few are expected to even want to go all the way.  That is why I emphasize the level of exploring one’s emotional body, as mastery of this level alone brings more peace than you thought possible, more power to live fully and openly as a human, and an easy mastery of anxiety, fear, and sadness/depression as these are the first emotions/moods that most people describe having difficulty with.  Depending on your own level of psychological damage you have already experienced that has led to symptoms and dysfunctions in this area, it can take months to several years to reach a good level of integration on this level alone.

But not even one minute of such self-exploratory self-investigation is wasted.  Every minute adds to your ability to draw closer to yourself and to your Self, which is the Self of all.

09 May 2015


Hi Edward, I've been loving your posts, your honesty is exhilarating!

We've had some developments at the Ashram which you most likely have heard about.

Because of the backlash of hate speech in social media against Swamiji, the organisation, Shiva School of Meditation has sadly gone into liquidation.

Those of us who have stayed have continued to do the work our beloved Guru has taught us and have greatly missed his Satsang. Last week, after a month’s break we had a wonderful private Satsang.  It was not our intention to incite those who have left; we kept it small and did not publicize it so as not to cause reaction.

Of course, this event got out and a lot of ugly reaction followed, including a cowardly attack on the ashram grounds on Tuesday night around 2am. All the beautiful statues were destroyed, gardens trampled and the ashram residents left terrified. Someone even entered one of the kurtirs, opening bedrooms and slamming doors as they exited.

A question has arisen for me, are these perpetrators Victims or terrorists? They are full of hatred and violence and want nothing more than to destroy Swamiji and the incredible teachings that have allowed his devotees great transformation. My heart feels sick at the lengths some are going to.

I have known quite a lot of victims of crime in my life and never observed the level of malice or self righteous vitriol coming out of these people's minds, straight into social media.

I'm reminded constantly by something you said "there is no place for morals in spirituality" It's opening my mind up in so many ways observing this situation and trying to see it as a divine play, which of course, it must be. Love Z.

Ed’s Response:

Dear Z, Amazing!!! Shocking!!!

If anything, it proves Shankarananda was doing something right to provoke such hatred and animosity.

The world is accustomed to a certain degree of light and darkness, and when someone upsets that balance, they are attacked and often destroyed.
Look at Osho. Look at what happened to Krishnmurti's organization after
he died and to my own teacher's.

My own teacher, Robert Adams, use to say, "I have to be careful about what I say, or I would be destroyed."

To My Sangha:

Sw. Shankarananda was never a revolutionary.  He was never provocative. Always low key, sardonic, and a showman.

It just goes to prove if this could happen to him, it could happen to any teacher.  Imagine what could happen around a really revolutionary firebrand teacher who also talks about removing morals from spirituality and adding politics?  Anyone know anyone like that?

Sometimes Shakti has a way of putting one of its proponents of light off-balance to lead them in a new direction.  Shankarananda has two choices: fade away in obscurity and well-deserved retirement in Ausatralia, or return to the U.S. and start over.

I have invited him to join me the Phoenix where we could raise some real hell.  I told him that I live on a golf course where I can see zombies and malevolent ex-students coming from 300 yards away.  A few other of his and my friends and former Siddha Yoga followers live in Phoenix.
Few know that he and I were born just days apart a few hundred miles from each other.

Come on Shankarananda, come here and we’ll raise real hell!