Sunday, May 31, 2009

Being, Knowing, and Sensible Footwear

I have very good leather to sell to those who wish to make shoes. --Gurdjieff

Here is a post from two years ago. Interestingly, in exhumining the corpus from that month, I see that I was experiencing a little disturbance in the force, or farce, depending on your point of view. I was having trouble blogging, which is just a side effect of trouble living, or at least living in the way I would like, which involves blogging every day.

Is that too terribly tautologous for allavus? It shouldn't be, because for the Raccoon, knowing can only flow from being. Detached from being, the things I write about would be worthless. They might have some intellectual content or some insultainment value, but qua religion, you'd be much better off going elsewhere.

I felt exactly the same way with regard to becoming a clinical psychologist. First of all, I never got into this racket because of any delusions of "healing" people. Rather, my motives were entirely impractical and therefore honest. In short, I was just curious. And if you are curious for a long enough time, they eventually give you this thing called a "Ph.D." But the bad news is, they kick you out of school. Now you have to deal with the real world. Unless you become tenured, in which case you can play in the sandbox of academia forever.

This wouldn't have posed a problem for me if my Ph.D. were in, say, chemistry or engineering, since those don't carry the burden of implying an ability to heal souls. But like it or not, I was now in the soul-healing business. However, most people have no business being in that business. For one thing, I'm not so sure it should even be a business.

In any event, I was pretty convinced that my getting into that business at that time was a kind of quackery, since I was just ducking my own issues beneath the water. I knew full well that I had a thriving population of my own mind parasites that I hadn't yet eradicated or brought to heel. I mean, I still did therapy, because it was nevertheless true that most people were crazier than me. On my worst day, it was still unlikely that a patient less crazy than me would walk through the door.

In this regard, I compared it to giving guitar lessons. Imagine that neither of us really knows how to play guitar. We're both taking lessons, except that I'm a couple of weeks ahead of you. Since I've seen the next lesson, I can always fake it by teaching you what I just learned.

When I started graduate school, I had fantasies about the transformative power of psychotherapy. As part or that, I initially idealized my teachers, as if they were the powerful soul-healers alluded to above. But gradually, reality eclipsed the fantasies, and I discovered that, with a few notable exceptions, these people were quite mediocre. I mean, they weren't bad people, but they had no business being soul healers. And yet, unlike me, they seemed untroubled by it. Indeed, for many, it seemed that getting a Ph.D. merged with their own narcissism, as if to say, "I am a healer, therefore I am healed."

Now, apply this whole scenario to the realm of Spirit. Yesterday a reader asked for advice about how to tell real teachers from the frauds. He was genuinely frightened that he might open himself up to a bad influence (probably meaning me!) that would damage his spiritual foundation. This is indeed a legitimate concern, as the world is full of false and destructive -- even frankly demonic -- "gurus" such as Deepak or Tony Robbins.

Here is part of my response: "I don't think there's any big mystery there. Just stick with people who are part of an orthodox tradition rooted in revelation. Once you understand the deeper principles, then you are inoculated against nonsense in other fields, such as science and philosophy. You can take what is good in the latter, and ignore the bad or metaphysically impossible, as I mentioned in today's post vis-a-vis Darwinism.

"One of the intrinsic problems of protestantism is that it broke away from the main stream of Christianity, which extends back to Christ and the apostles. Therefore, there's always a 'lone wolf' aspect to it. This in itself isn't necessarily bad, you just have to be very cautious about who you allow into your head and heart. The reverse problem can afflict orthodoxy, since it can become reified and dogmatic, and closed off to the novel. A Meister Eckhart can appear as a radical heretic in his time, only to later be revealed as arguably the greatest European man who ever lived.

"Jesus addressed this issue when he said know them by their fruits. One of the first fruits of your own genuine spiritual growth will be the ability to discern spirits. You will acquire a sixth sense that will tell you immediately if you are dealing with a person of authentic spiritual attainment, or someone who is 'just words.' The genuine saints and sages converge in the broad details, but more importantly, they are able to directly transmit their realization to the sympathetic and qualified disciple. It is a very physical (albeit subtle) sensation, one of joy, transparency, lightness, expansion, etc. As you grow in your own spirituality, you will naturally be capable of more depth, so that people who once seemed deep to you will now appear shallow. Which is fine. It takes all kinds to make world, and not everyone has the same spiritual qualifications."

Did this preface have a point? I don't know, but perhaps it is this: to "know them by their fruit" is to know them by their being, not their knowledge, the latter of which is so easy to fake. Remember the story of the student who went to study with the great rabbi -- not to find out what he "knew," but to "watch him tie his shoelaces." Bottom line: stay away from spiritual teachers who wear fancy loafers.


First of all, for a variety of scientific reasons I won't get into, I think the odds of intelligent beings on other planets are vanishingly remote. But even then, the idea that intelligence alone is sufficient to account for the humanness through which our intelligence is channelled is extraordinarily naive. Or put it this way: intelligence is necessary, but hardly sufficient, to account for our humanness. We are nothing at all like merely intelligent apes, but something else entirely.

In my book, I noted that humanness is an ontological station that is anterior to our having entered it. This is why, as we evolved into this space, it was not "empty," so to speak. Rather, it was quite "full," except that much of the information was implicit rather than explicit. It had to be unpacked and brought into being in the material world -- which we have been doing for the past 40,000 years or so. In the most general terms, we have been bringing the Good, the True, and the Beautiful into the world. Our attraction to these things can by no means be explained by (natural) intelligence itself, but is separate from it.

There was a brief discussion of this in yesterday's thread, where Will used the allegory of a village of of the blind: "One individual suddenly develops eyesight, the first villager to do so. Quite the revelation! This individual's spatial sense deepens beyond his previous imaginings. And the colors! He never knew they existed.

"Taking in the sky, he tries to explain the color blue to the villagers. In fact, he tries to explain the concept of sky to them. Bottom line, he can't. He might use analogies like, well, 'blue' is like a coating that you can't really touch, plus it's sort of 'cold-like,' not like ice, but like river water, etc. Some of the villagers might be intrigued with his analogies, but that's a far as it would go. Most would dismiss him, would almost have to dismiss him, as crazy. They simply lack the frame of reference by which he senses colors -- eyesight.

"Anyway, I think that genuine apprehension of God and the Divine Archetypal Realm, to the extent that humans are capable of such, is literally the activation of sense organ(s), that is, a 6th, 7th (and on up) sense organ."

I agree with Will that such higher sense organs would have to correlate in some way with the human brain, but that they can never be reduced to it. For example, let's say that neurologists locate that part of the brain responsible for recognizing artistic beauty. Would this prove that the differences in beauty between, say, a Thomas Gainsborough and a Thomas Kinkade are not really real? This is not as stupid as it sounds, for I guarantee you that in the next six months, if they are still in business, the New York Times will run another ridiculous article about some earthbound neurologist who has discovered the part of the brain responsible for religion, or awareness of God, or mystical states. What this proves is precisely nothing -- except perhaps that every interior has an exterior (in the manner described by Ken Wilber) and that Thomas Dolby was right: it is possible to be blinded by science.

In response to Will's comment, I wrote that that our brain architecture "comes into being simultaneously with an encounter with a particular world." Interestingly, the latest research suggests not only that human evolution is still ongoing, but that it can occur much more rapidly than anyone had realized. Thus, the future evolution of homo raccoonicus could occur over the space of a few generations.

In his summary of the latest research, Nicholas Wade makes a number of points that are highly upsetting to the psycho-spiritual left, since he leaves little reason to doubt that various human groups acquire traits and abilities that others do not. He cites many examples, one of which being the Jews who, pound for pound, have contributed more to human excellence than any other group -- even more so when you consider that they have also been the most persecuted group down through history (no coincidence there).

For example, although they represent far less than 1% of the world’s population, Jews have won 15 to 20 percent of the Nobel Prizes, and perhaps constitute an even higher percentage of the world's greatest comedians. On the other hand, the Palestinians have won exactly one Nobel Prize, and of course it was given to one of the most depraved and disgusting monsters who ever drew breath. And the Palestinian contribution to comedy, although considerable, has been entirely unintended -- e.g. the wild-eyed imams with their crazed Friday evening sermons, the comical s'allapstiq "work accidents" in which they accidentally blow themselves up, the frenzied "car swarms" in which they hope to retrieve a bloody finger or fragment of brain martyr. Israelis and Palestinians might as well be a different species -- which, in a way, they are. Not, of course, in any horizontal racial sense, but in a vertical sense. To say that one of them is more evolved than the other is a banality of the first rank, unless you are a rank leftist who doesn't believe in vertical rank.

Not only is this view not racist, but it is the polar opposite, for it means that ethnic traits are not fixed but subject to evolution, change and progress. But for some reason, the left doesn't like this kind of evolution. Rather, they argue that all cultures are equally beautiful and that any differences between them are arbitrary. Furthermore, if you argue that one culture is superior to another, you are a racist. Thus, the left habitually confuses race and culture, making it impossible to criticize -- and therefore help -- a dysfunctional culture without being called a racist. This is precisely what happened to one of the last great liberals, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who wrote so sensitively of the "tangle of pathology" afflicting African American culture. That all of his most dire predictions came to pass is of no consequence to the ideologically blinded "reality based community" -- the ironically named progressive left, another group that cannot evolve.

In any event, as I mentioned in a comment yesterday, it is clear to me that we are co-evolving the language to describe various "post-biological realities" as we enter into them. This is very much analogous to the early explorers of the new world, who all landed in different areas and came back with diverse and seemingly contradictory discriptions of the flora and fauna they'd found. At first, the descriptions of higher planes are going to be highly subjective and seemingly disconnected from the others, but as we increasingly colonize the space, we start to see how all the descriptions fit together. Certainly that is what I was trying to do with my book, and even more so with the blog, in part because I know that my neurology has changed as a consequence of repeated encounters with the Nous World. I see things very clearly now that were more shrouded before, just as I see things vaguely now that will presumably become clearer as I go. The spiritual world is perpetually "coming into view."

In the past, some atheists have complained that I am "bigoted" against them. Which is true, if you abuse the term beyond recognition. To me, a bigot is someone who discriminates against another based upon some insignificant difference, such as race. It is another thing entirely to discriminate against an ideology or belief system. In this sense, discrimination is the essence of intelligence. I discriminate against atheism because, one, I think it is intrinsically stupid, and two, I think it would be highly destructive if a significant number of people were reduced to its influence, instead of it remaining just a small club of eccentrics, misfits, and spiritually disabled losers.

And yes, when I say "destructive," I do mean destructive of the human being as I understand him. For it would mean the foreclosure of those supramental spiritual realities to which humans have unique access and that we are in the process of bringing into being.

Ironically, the atheist by definition does not understand my writing, and yet, objects to my ideas. The reverse is obviously not true: there is nothing about atheism that cannot be understood by a normal adolescent schoolboy. But one of the atheists asks, "Does anyone understand what this guy is talking about, because there is no content that I can discern. It is literally vacuous, and atrociously written to boot. From any rational perspective, it is empty and devoid of coherence or significance [and] preposterously boring."

Another one writes of my "lurid and vacuous prose" which is "completely and utterly meaningless when analysed, hermeneutically or otherwise." Furthermore -- or less -- "even Bob couldn't explain rationally what he means by it, yet one does not have to be a psychiatrist to understand what his real problem is. Gagdad Bob is just another pathetically feeble individual" and even a "true psychopath."

Another one confesses total ignorance of what I write about, but then, in typical atheist fashion, assumes that the ignorance resides in me rather than her. She admits that my writing is a "confusing mess" to her, and that "Honestly, I think Bob spends more time thumbing through a thesaurus than he does with actually trying to make his thoughts coherent. It seems to me he's more concerned with impressing people with his 'fancy' words than he is with people understanding what he's trying to convey. What's the point of writing for others in the way Bob does, when you end up making your readers incapable of understanding what you're writing? Perhaps his stringing together a bunch of those 'fancy' words gets people to think he's understanding the issues on a higher plane, and those who are easily led follow along like sheep, believing that they're just too stupid to understand someone with such supposed 'important' thoughts/feelings. His followers are led to believe they're in the presence of somebody really important and special."

And this one is also too funny to ignore: "Regarding the chances of reaching the 'Racoons,' it would be silly to argue that any of them would ever be convinced to abondon their belief in god. However they may come to realize that this person whom they occasionally refer to as 'Fearless Leader' (and who refers to his own son from time to time as 'Future Leader') is a gross, opportunistic narcissist who does not truly share their values."

Like the Palestinkians, their humor is always inadvertent.

Anyway, given that my writing is empty, irrational, literally vacuous, devoid of content, incoherent, and insignificant, how can it simultaneously be a dangerous threat to atheists? If it is literally devoid of content, then that means there can be no objectionable content. It's just crazy talk.

But again, as I have said all along, atheism is nothing more and nothing less than a frank confession of total ignorance of any ontologically real spiritual plane transcending the senses. It is simply the "final common pathway" of a spiritual failure to launch with diverse causes. Which is fine. If that's how they choose to live their lives, who am I to argue with them? I'm a liberal. I'm all for them squandering their liberty in any way they see fit. How can that pose a threat to them?

These are divisive times, both horizontally -- which is obvious -- and vertically, which is the true source of the horizontal strife, for cultural space is developmental time. As Will pointed out, "Obviously the most fractious time is when the outsiders [i.e., the vertical explorers] begin to expand in number and outreach. This is when the distinctions between old language and new would be most divisive. Attempts at conciliation between old and new would be inevitably, necessarily futile. Those of the old persuasion would have hope of becoming new -- should they so desire -- but the new can never return to the old status. They either eventually succeed in establishing newness or they are eliminated by the reactionary old."

Evolution is a harsh mysteress. I suppose it would be nice if atheists were capable of understanding my writing, but then they wouldn't be atheists. Hey, if the shoe doesn't fit....


julie said... "know them by their fruit" is to know them by their being, not their knowledge, the latter of which is so easy to fake.


Dougman said...

For one thing, I'm not so sure it should even be a business.There's gold in preaching the word of God. The god of the mega churches that is.
Mostly pain and suffering in learning and proclaiming the Truth.

Unseen disconnect

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes -- one of my wise teachers was asked if he recommended therapy for this or that problem. He responded, "Oh no, I'd never recommend it. I only offer it."

walt said...

Heh, similar approach taken in martial arts:

"Your teacher is not a coach. It is not their job to cajole you into practicing."

julie said...

I know that my neurology has changed as a consequence of repeated encounters with the New World. I see things very clearly now that were more shrouded before, just as I see things vaguely now that will presumably become clearer as I go. The spiritual world is perpetually "coming into view."

Again, indeed. Talking to my friend last night, who is slowly working her way through your book, I suddenly remembered how much work it used to be just to get through a single post with any kind of understanding.

...but the new can never return to the old status.

Now that I've gained that understanding, the thought of entertaining myself with many of the books, games and tv shows I did before is not just boring, but actually off-putting.

What's the point of writing for others in the way Bob does, when you end up making your readers incapable of understanding what you're writing?

The joke's on her. What happens here is that you make your readers capable of understanding, which is a very precious gift, indeed.

will said...

>> . . higher sense organs would have to correlate in some way with the human brain, but that they can never be reduced to it<<

Putting it another way, I think the world of divine archetype needs *channels* to manifest materially. The material human brain has certain areas that correspond in some way with our higher senses. Through this correspondence, these higher sense brain areas transmit the revelations of the divine non-material world into the material world. The source of the revelations, to be sure, is the divine. The material brain facilitates. It's the clearing house.

Another perspective: if we have "higher bodies" existing in varying "astral" states - to which our physical selves would be an outer layer, so to speak - they may serve as "concentrated brains" unto themselves. Then the more we could perceive our higher bodies in their flux, the more we could directly access higher wisdom - the material brain is bypassed, it's not needed.

Bizzy Brain said...

Have been reading your blog for some time now, and am stunned to learn you apparently believe in evolution? It takes a belief system bordering on insanity to believe man evolved from rocks.

Gagdad Bob said...

Not true. You cannot possibly have been reading my blog for some time, unless you haven't understood a word I've written.

julie said...

The material human brain has certain areas that correspond in some way with our higher senses. Through this correspondence, these higher sense brain areas transmit the revelations of the divine non-material world into the material world.

HvB touches on that fairly extensively (so of course, I can't find the relevant passages), discussing how not just sight, but all of our senses may come into play in experiences of the divine.

I wonder about the necessity of the material brain, though. Maybe at some level, it's not needed, but that strikes me as being on a par with viewing our material bodies as, essentially, merely meat puppets.

Maybe I'm way off track, but I've been thinking a little about reincarnation lately, and one thing I've come to conclude is that regardless of whether our souls come back for any number of do-overs, there is an essential being that must be lost from one life to another. If my soul were ever here before, I am not that person, and never could be. If my soul returns in the future, that person will not be me. Who I am is unique to this life and this material body. And I can't help thinking that if I were somehow able to transcend it, and to know the other lives my soul may have lived, it might do a serious violence to the person I am now. Ergo, in a very real sense this is the only chance we get.

Or to put it in indelicate Gagdadian terms, if my ass is to be saved, I hope it's this ass to be saved. I guess my point is that I don't think the material is necessarily irrelevant, even though necessarily lower.

But then, I could be completely wrong. Admittedly, I'm wading into the territory of that which is beyond my comprehension, and in all likelihood my ability to know within this life. Talking out my ass, in other words ;)

Anonymous said...

Ohgoody - SHOES! my fav. topic again:) but I don't need leather from Gurjieff to make my shoes. . . Nope, when I didn't have shoes I wore black fabric ballet-like style slippers. Thing is, when it rained whoever walked behind me could see the clean souls of my feet showing through the holes.
Yep, my father lost an office job because he didn't participate in honoring the communist party's May 1st parade.

Even more sensible footwear?
Ever made shoes from mud after the rain with a chorus of frogs a'singing and their ohso cute babies everywhere.

On a more serious tone -- and since you brought up Wilber's name -- to those who don't belive we have a spiritual body, or soul, I would say that they could, if they wanted to, check out KW's 9 Basic Structures of Consciousness. Each structure is literally a very distinct 'dimension'. Person whose worldview is not grounded in the 7th 'structure' is not yet able to comprehend there is such a thing as "soul", period.


Cassandra said...

" . . higher sense organs would have to correlate in some way with the human brain, but they can never be reduced to it."---Bob

"...I think the world of divine archetype needs *channels* to manifest materially. The material human brain has certain areas that correspond in some way with our higher senses. Through this correspondence, these higher sense brain areas transmit the revelations of the divine non-material world into the material world."---Will

"The higher does not stand without the lower."---Somebody

"Or vice versa."----Me

Isn't this the sacramental view of life, neither materialist nor Idealist?
Every sacrament requires a material object and act but cannot be reduced to matter. Likewise, the sacraments are not "just symbols" in the sense of being mere hints of a distant Reality. They aren't just signs pointing to the supernatural, but effective channels that make the supernatural Really Present.

Petey said...

Yes. Man is a realsymbol.

Cassandra said...

Julie--The orthodox Christian doctrine has always taught that there will ultimately be a "resurrection of the body," and NOT the per[etual immortality of disembodied souls. The Biblical accounts make it very, very clear that the resurrected Jesus, e.g., was incarnate and not a ghost, pure spirit. Our bodies will be changed...."spiritual bodies," "incorruptible flesh"...but there will be bodies.

This is weirder than I can imagine. OTOH, If the only way God can redeem and glorify Man is by making him into an angel....i.e. NOT Man...that would be even weirder.

Kinda like the sweater I'm knitting, which isn't quite right. I could "fix it" by turning it into a perfect potholder. Hmmmmmmmm........

Cassandra said...

"Man is a realsymbol."---Petey

Amen, you pithy little rascal.

Gazriel said...

I know exactly what you mean when you say 'knowing them by their fruits.' I have felt this intrinsic B.S. detector for a couple of years now, leading me (well before I had stumbled upon the Gagdaddy) to comment that Deepak's writing seemed tepid and lacked spiritual vitality. Of course now I fully see him for what he is; a blood-thirsty demon sucking the life-force from the universe.

Not having come to my Gift through the orthodoxy of traditions, my Soul has burst into recognition through practices garnered from two well-known authors, Thich Nhat Hanh and Eckhart Tolle. When it comes to their apparel, utter simplicity. Their transmissions of Stillness as well.

In both cases I have benefited greatly by listening to them speak on CD. With Eckhart it is "A New Earth," which is in constant rotation on my mp3 player, and with my dear Buddhist mentor it is "The Ultimate Dimension," a talk that is very slow, peaceful,insightful, and gloriously full of Nirvanic principles.

Now, neither of those two gentlemen offer the grandiose excitement of one espousing the Word (I personally think of de Chradin, who leaves me breathless), but their Presences are most certainly rooted in Being-ness.

As far as those who set off my natural quakery alarms go, I still like hearing them speak, if only in small doses. Adi Da is a good example of this. There was definitely Something missing in his style, presentation, and presence, yet at the very same time there was an Electricity around him. I find that facinating, that one I see as 'off' could still be Graced in some way. I need to offer myself some time to ponder that. It could be that the whole guru thing throws me for a loop; "I just don't dig on swine, that's all."

Speaking of simple presences, but in this case combined with the jaw-dropping complexity of Mind, I downloaded your interview from EnlightenNext (formerly WIE) the other day, Bob. After all this time spent reading your blog it was nice to sample the rhythms of the teachings in an auditory manner. It was like have a refreshing drink of water for the Soul.

Gagdad Bob said...

In the case of Adi Da, florid mental illness can be quite charismatic -- think of Brando, or John Lennon, or Richard Pryor, or so many others, who have a kind of charismatic vitality that spills out all over the place because of the absence of boundaries. Or perhaps they needed more robust boundaries because of the stronger essence.

Anonymous said...

To add to Julie's thoughts on reincarnation:

Probably the Julie that is here now is not so different from the Julie of past lives

The circumstances of one's life and the influences of parents and others do not define the self so much as you might think.

You can test this yourself: relive your self at age 4, just looking at a flower or an insect with a quiet curious mind. Now look at some natural object quietly today. Then compare the essential feeling of being or existing, then and now .

You will find them eerily similar. There is a "flavor' of "Julie-ness" that will not change over the course of years. You came in to the world already Julie, and will leave it the same.

The hyphen between the dates on a tombstone encompass a lot, yet paradoxically not much. Try to think back on your life and times, and as events recede they get emotionally flatter and less interesting. Then they are gone, and yet still you are the same. Sure, you are older and wiser, but the basic self is intact.

Probably there is not much to fear regarding obliteration or alteration of the self between lives.

Regarding the sensory/brain element of God detection brought up by Will--

There is another factor to consider, and that is that we are like workstations connected to a server. Some of the intimations from God are not due to our sense organs or anything to do with us. They are decisions made unilaterally by God to send something to us. A new program is downloaded directly into our database through mechanisms we do not understand, so to speak.

The reasons or timings for such things are completely inscrutable. That they happen is irrefutable.

Gazriel said...

I can see the lack of boundaries in Da for sure, and in the writings I have examined, which is basically just his autobiography, there is a needy-grasping quality to his realizations, not the mature masculine quality that emanates from Understanding. Nonetheless, having watched videos on youtube and experienced moments of tranquility that transcend normal modes of consciousness, I do believe there was something more than just charisma and pathology operating in his form.

So the question is, can the Holy Spirit Grace an indivdual (in eastern terms, the Awakening of Shakti) that is disturbed emotionally and psychologically and turn that person into an instrument that isn't quite a purified expression of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, but is still somehow a transformed and (partially) awakend person-even in sickness.

Not that I have any claim that Adi Da was exactly like this, you understand, but the notion intrigues me, mostly because I know from my personal experiences that God works in ways that go well beyond the duality of righteous and sinful. Delusional spiritual realization, like a Motherly awakening, is the idea, an effect of Descent in form.

Just food for thought.

will said...

Julie, you are right, now is the time - now is always the time.

If you think of reincarnation, physical pre-existences, in terms of vertical time, then all previous Julies are one - the totality of you. This one you is the entity that is always poised on the edge of eternity, ready to seize the time and take the plunge. Of course, in your incarnations you appear as aspects of the one-ness that is you, but not the totality.

Still, as you are now, you are that totality, even if some aspects are currently submerged and with other aspects previously submerged now highlighted. This totality unites all you's and transcends them - it's beyond personality, beyond the creaturely, as M Eckhart might say.

I think only this totality of you, the totality in each of us, can make the leap into redemption. It doesn't require that we literally remember our past lives and the personalities we were then, but I think we do have to become as conscious as we can of our own psyches, our own weaknesses, our secret strengths, our sacredness. In doing so, we eventually see the Light that shines through it all, and by this we transcend.

So it's this one-ness, this totality-beyond-the-material who is you, and she is the same entity who, say, 600 years ago lived near an Irish monastery, who is, by virtue of vertical time, seeking redemption even now as you do, and who will find it when you do.

Or so a reincarnation believer might say.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, I didn't even know Adi Da croaked last November... Just saw it on his Wiki page...

will said...

Julie, let me add that the person you are now, the personality and the persona, the mix of emotions, talents, etc., is utterly unique, never-been-done-before, one of a kind. Each of us is similarly unique in that respect.

That's the heartbreak of the material realm - when we go our temporary uniqueness is lost forever. Price we pay, etc.

But our real essential selves, our selves as we stand in vertical time, are forever unique.

Gagdad Bob said...

You can see a film of Da belowviating here (link at upper left). A rebuttal here.

Gagdad Bob said...

Good stuff on that latter website. He makes Queeg appear normal by comparison....

Gagdad Bob said...

Issues? You decide....

Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, Gazriel, I'm not trying to belittle your experience. There was a time that I too took him seriously back in the 1980s, because Ken Wilber spoke so highly of him, and I still had a lot of respect for Wilber back then. I read most of Da's major works, but found them boring, repetitive, and essentially void. Of course, back then I blamed myself, as I assumed he was the real deal. But now I would no more compare him to a Schuon or Balthasar or Eckhart than I would compare L. Ron Hubbard to Jesus.

julie said...

Thanks, Will - much food for thought.

will said...

Re: Adi Da, a.k.a. Bubba Free John -

I take it that these guys have/had achieved some measure of spiritual realization - maybe through Kundalini-raising techniques - and then warped the Light via their own base desires, which they had never conquered. The warped Light would then inflame their base desires. This has to end in insanity. These guys, be they Hitler, Manson, Jim Jones, and who knows, maybe a current national president, would retain some kind of low-grade charisma, and yes, it would be "electrical" ; it would incite, raise passions, deceive, hypnotize. It certainly wouldn't calm and clarify, awaken, as would the presence of a real saint.

Mysticism gone wrong goes really wrong. It becomes black magic.

Dougman said...

I just finished reading "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young.
Last week-end my Mother handed it to me, told me that her Bible class was discussing it but she had to stop reading it somewhere in the middle.

I'm heading over to the website now.

I recommend it, if only for the tears it can draw.


Dougman said...

Security problem at that site.
Somehow it redirects to the "Atomic Internet"

Good book though.

Dougman said...

Oops, my bad.
Don't use www in the address.

will said...

I didn't read much of Da back in the days, but I did get something out of what I did read. I think he was on to it, at least to a degree, but no more than others I read or studied, those like Murshid Sam Lewis or even Edgar Cayce, and none of those guys ended up declaring himself President of the Universe. Well, temptations loom large the higher you go. If you fall, it's a long way down.

Now I prefer mysticism that involves a jot more intellect and reason, and a lot less exotica, but I did get something out of those mystic stars of old, including Da.

Gagdad Bob said...

I guess I liked his autobiography best of all, the Knee of Listening -- it's a good spiritual yarn -- but it's hard to trust someone who mythologizes himself so much, and then keeps changing the story in subsequent editions.... I think you're right, Will -- perhaps the ingression of spiritual energies fried his mainframe.

To be perfectly honest, I did actually get a decidedly blissful transmission from him in November 1989, I believe it was, around the time of his 50th birthday... But it only lasted for a couple of hours....

Van said...

"For example, let's say that neurologists locate that part of the brain responsible for recognizing artistic beauty. Would this prove that the differences in beauty between, say, a Thomas Gainsborough and a Thomas Kinkade are not really real?"

Don't they wish (and ghastly to think that, yes, they do wish that). Again, they'd only be attempting to negate the existence of beauty, altogether, substituting only an ability to excite a particular set of neuronal coordinates, for what we foolish ones insist on calling beautiful.

IOW, again, they are not even wrong. There may be areas of the brain which typically serve different abilities, but then there are those cases where after a stroke or other injury, other parts are trained to perform those duties.

It also seems to me that locating higher funcitons in particular glands or areas, which only they could serve, would not only be materialistic, but would demote the rest of the brain and thought to auxillary 1st stage junk, discarded and disconnected from the finer areas... which I don't think synch's with how we can each experience the progressive deepening of our own philosophic and spiritual thought.

The higher functions and abilities become accessible to us, only as numerous prerequisite integrations and habituations of thought are made and established; in a similar manner as calculus becomes possible only after mastering lower level mathematics and algebraic understandings, or that Romantic Love becomes possible only after 'lower level' matters of friendship, consideration, decency and caring have become part of your mental and spiritual makeup. Of course brain scans will show activity in particular parts of the brain during particular thoughts and activities, but only because it has to occur somewhere... not because of, or only because of, a particular 'there'.

As with the contrast of Gainsborough and Kinkade, someone watching a time elapsed development of Gainsborough's painting would see the overall painting come into view and effect through the use of brushstrokes and colors, but it isn't just the strokes, shapes and colors which reveal it. A more clearly drawn and illuminated use of color found in a Kinkade painting may display more shapes and colors, but fails to reveal a tenth of what the other does, because there are successively higher artistic sensibilities present in the Gainsborough, which the Kinkade never establishes or ascends to.

That self protecting characteristic of Truth which preserves the higher reaches from those not yet capable of reaching it.

The higher the 'function', the wider and deeper the range of previous traits and abilities that are both drawn upon, and contribute to, activating the possibility of that higher function - it doesn't appear, until they both exist and work together, in order to make the possibility of holographically bringing it into being, possible.

It's my guess that the everyday features of the physical brain are sufficient for our highest development to take place upon, but it is our more extensive colonizing the trellis of its scaffolding (to smoothie up some metaphors) that is needed and which allows us to reach our higher possibilities... or not.

Van said...

Comment placard:"When you're depressed, it takes all day to get nothing done.. --The Sayings of Petey"

Long low chuckle of recognition.

ximeze said...

“Multi-cultural specialists, ultra liberal zealots, and college-tainted oppression liberators need not apply.”

a job annoucement from the website of one of America’s top inner-city public charter schools located in Oakland, California (no kidding)

Bob, are you doing consultation moonlighting for them?

ximeze said...

The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of economics. It’s a tragic romance, whose magic was killed by bureaucrats, bad taste and busybodies. P.J. O’Rourke on why Americans fell out of love with the automobile.

The End of the Affair

will said...

Even in Thomas Merton's conversion autobio, The Seven Story Mountain, I think you can discern a bit of romantic self-mythologizing and emotional orchestrating. And in his later years, Merton might have been a bit too gaga over Easternism, but still, he's worth reading, one can learn stuff. Of course, Merton never went bonkers in the manner of Da or the Bhags, he didn't live long enough to do so, even if he was on course to do so, which I don't believe he was. Catholic guy, you know.

We do have to examine our teachers as best we can, keeping in mind that they're going to fall short in some way. The keepers among them admit that they fall short. But I think even in the ones who eventually fall spectacularly, there's stuff to be learned.

Gazriel said...

So, I took a nap and it seems missed out on a great deal of action on a conversation I started. I guess that's what I get for being a slacker.

There is a lot to respond to, so I will go off the top of the noggin at first, then go back through and re-examine statements and questions.

So, one of the things that Gagdaddy said that really struck me in the identifcation chamber is that it is hard to take someone seriously who starts calling themself "the One From Above" and such non-sense. Even seen as an expression of language taken from Hinduism, which God-adizies folks left and right with the whole guru thing, Da took it a step further and called himself The Avatar, the One Who Has Unlocked The Potential For Stabalized God-Realization For The Entire Universe (he really loved capitalizing).

In The Knee of Listening he relates the tale of visiting Swami Muktananda over in India. Apparently this was the true beginning of his own idea of being a guru, as, according to Mr. Jones (his name at the time), the Swami actually confirmed his experiences of transcendence, in which he recognized himself as the Blue Pearl that arises in Space, a high-suble/low casual realm identification.

This validation stoked Da's confidence in himself as Master. But he kept experiencing states and having realizations that surpassed that which was described by the person he had chosen to be his guru. To me that is at the heart of what happened; when you present the idea that the guru is God, or at least God Realized, what happens when I objectively feel I have gone beyond his/her realm of experience? Well, hell, Buster, I must be God.

Of course my belief on the matter is that no man is God, that God is so far beyond the understanding of any limited and finite perspective that to say that I am God is to directly take away the Miracle of seeing that God is neither here nor there, that this Mystery is ever-present and constntly re-newing itself, therefore will never be understood with finality. The most amazing thing of Awakening is knowng that I don't know jack.

Anyway, another thing that I respected about Bubba Free John's little book was that at least he was honest in his pathos. Drugging, whoring, over-eating, all the while never losing faith that not only was there a Truth beyond the mind-derived sense of self, but that human beings can wondrously experience that. According to him, Fullness included even the darkness, which is maybe why Will likened him to Manson and the such.

But ask yourself this question; could you do something of questionanble morals, then still realize and experience that you are in the Love of God? Could you go to the strip club, have some tittes slapped in your face for a couple of hours, get wasted on Jager,then eat some Wendy's on the way home, all the while knowing the Truth is by your side? Would you be able to pray or meditate when you got home without an over-whelming sense of shame and guilt? Would that even be possible? (The strip club scene I described above really isn't even that morally questionable, at least not from the standpoint of a feminized American 20 something male.)

One last point on being fried by the Light. If that were the case, why would God keep revealing Himself to such a person? If Da had really gone completely off his rocker from the Force, why did he continue to express experiences of direct Realiztion up until he passed on? Was he just in delusion feeling Ecsatsy, Bliss, Freedom, Fullness, and Breathless Wonder? If that is the case, maybe his delusion was a Gift.

Gagdad Bob said...

They do allege that he was on a lot of drugs.

Vis a vis the titties, Jäger & Wendies, I'm with Schuon, who talks about virtue being consciousness of a plane of reality. If someone claims to be enlightened, but virtue is not an intrinsic radiation from it, then I no longer count the realization for much. As Schuon says, virtue is Truth prolonged into the horizontal, into the realm of action. In short, Truth without virtue is like Jäger with no titties. So to speak.

will said...

It is possible, I think, for a spiritually realized individual to pass through a den of iniquity and not at all be troubled or touched by the negativity therein. In fact, I think it's virtually mandatory at some point that the spiritual aspirant does so, even if the Theater of Negativity is within - maybe especially if it is within. Most extreme example of passing through a den of iniquity I can think of: Christ descending into hell prior to the Resurrection.

But yes, overall, virtue must be manifested and manifested directly, if not overtly. And this means that dens of iniquity must be avoided, obviously, save for the times when one must harrow them. Anyone who clings to and partakes of the dens while claiming to having transcended them is not to be trusted, not with the really big stuff.

ge said...

i too spent a bit too much time with 'great american hope' scorpion Da & his reading list---but consider it to've been a pretty decent survey of [the limitations of] eastern [mainly Indian-devotional] traditions... then 'arriving home' as i sense many here have in 'Eliot'ian fashion to Jesus esoteric Christianity as worthiest way of worship

will said...

I think one other factor to consider is that Da and the Bhags (and EST and Scientology and DePox) were/are basically Eastern in approach, ie., the emphasis is on *self*. Unlike the Christian dynamic, the Eastern emphasis on self means that virtue is going to take a backseat to demonstrable powers that establish one's enlightenment.

I think there's plenty to learn from the Eastern approach, but I always try to be aware that the emphasis on self can easily lead to a dangerously imbalanced perspective.

Gazriel said...

Bob said, "If someone claims to be enlightened, but virtue is not an intrinsic radiation from it, then I no longer count the realization for much."

Point taken, but that doesn't account for the fact that realization could be happening in the face of we would normally percieve as a virtueless life-style. If a person is in a wonderland of ecstatic experiences of a transcendent nature, breathless in what they believe to be the Joy and Bliss of Divine Consciousness, then is it possible that Truth is manifesting the delusion? At that point is it still delusion?

Which leads me to what Will said: "It is possible, I think, for a spiritually realized individual to pass through a den of iniquity and not at all be troubled or touched by the negativity therein."

I guess what I am saying is that, theoretically, because one realizes their onesness even with that negativity that there is no threat from it regradless, a non-dual realization that transcends and includes even the darkness. You hear the stories of Christ hanging out with the troubled souls and all, so it makes me wonder.

One last point on Adi Da. I saw a video of him in which he states that his normal experience of reality is what most people would term an altered state or transcendent experience. I have the intuition that because of this, combined with all of the adoration of his followers, he lost relational capacities and began taking himself waaayyy to seriously. This temporal relity is all just a great big Farce when seen from the intersection of Eternity and Infinity anyway, right?

In typical Boomer fashion Da did every practice imaginable to 'attain enlightenment,' then thought that he could lead others to the promised land when he saw that the Light was ever-present, not respecting the plan of the Big Guy and his evolutionary unfolding.

This is why my focus is upon simply feeling honored for my individual Grace of Awakening, while keeping the solid intention that I will be Graced once again by the ability to lead others to what is within, without, and beyond.

Love you all very much, and I mean that. Many blessings to all of you on this spectacular evening.

Gagdad Bob said...

I just want to say that I just scored a rare and out of print Blue Note CD for only ten bucks, when the next best price is $150, a price I wouldn't pay if I were a billionaire. I love the internet. I don't even know if I'll like the CD. Doesn't matter. It's the principle. Plus the thrill of the hunt.

julie said...


Gazriel, it's been fun watching the conversation fly today. I missed out on virtually all of that stuff, but it's good to see the perspective of those who've been there.

Gazriel said...

Oh, and for the record, I do not equate Adi Da with Jesus and the like. I just find the Da phenomenon facinating as I hold the intuition that there was and incredible bleding of Light and dark. (Disturbing stuff through those links.)

"Aknowledge the darkness, but indulge in Goodness," is what I say.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, Bob!
And very good comments. :^)

Herry said...

Thanks for taking the time to help, I really apprciate it.

Mason Shoes