The conversation below was prompted by the article “What is the point of living?” Sharing that conversation here, may bring some value for some.
Robert: You said “Any “Life teaching” is just theory until someone has experienced that teaching in his life. Then he can understand the teaching and verbalize it.” How do you know then that there is “no death” and that everything you mentioned is eternal? How do you know there isn’t a deity or deities that will exact punishment on those that did not show obedience to him/her/them and by not performing good deeds? Those are not concepts I personally buy into, but who knows? Certainly this doesn’t come from your own experience. It seems that your “I” is biased against certain religious beliefs, that there is something “wrong” in the way certain people live their lives and what they believe. In your words “However, that individual does not realize about his own immortality. That individual is unwilling to trust life and the experiences in it when is trapped in duality and the belief that “this is good and that is bad.” To me, that statement smacks of ego and duality. In fact the whole premise of non-dualism versus dualism seems to be unable to escape the latter, not unlike the desire to extinguish desire. All that being said, this whole messy thing called life is both wonderfully and tragically absurd to me. Thanks for your posts. They help me question the stories and concepts that I tell myself and hear from others. Peace out! 🙂
As an aside, living with the fear of death at any moment is very different than living with the awareness of death at any moment, which is a somewhat common spiritual practice in the East. The latter leads to a greater appreciation of life in the moment and a deeper understanding and acceptance of impermanence. One can realize more gratitude for every in breath and is less likely to take take “time” for granted.
Ananda: That “knowing” is not intellectual information, which requires logical, reasonable premises with scientific evidence.
Nevertheless, let me be “intellectual.” Let me use intellectual logic to answer your question.
The first law of thermodynamics “matter cannot be created neither destroyed, only transforms” may give an intellectual clue. If matter is not created, where Deities, God and so on come into the picture of creation? If matter cannot be destroyed, then what is the fear of those who could destroy it?
When we talk about consciousness, who has created consciousness? Isn’t consciousness already there and manifested through beings in a physical form?
Eternity deals with time. Logically, there cannot be a “beginning of time.” For then, we will need to find a “creator” and then who created that creator? This is the “chicken or the egg” paradox, which I had the chance to write about back in 2007 when I was enjoying the intellectual consciousness.
In the novel “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Luna Lovegood answers a question regarding the chicken or the egg by stating that “a circle has no beginning.”
That is known as cyclical time, which originates the concept of “eternal return.”
How do I know practically that the intellectual, informational stuff above is true?
By my own experience, of course.
I have experienced “fortune telling.”
I have experienced several times when someone has told me exactly what is going to happen in my “future.” One of those is my sister who has that gift.
How does she know about my future if I have not “done” it yet?
Some intellectual answers: Maybe she influenced me psychologically so I made that reality to be mine. Isn’t that logical? But when it is about relatives passing away or events not related with me personally, then I’d better find another “reasonable” explanation.
How about the devil telling her things? How about a deity punishing those people for their “bad” deeds? It is possible.
However, when I understand logically from all the stuff shared above that “my past is my future and my future my past,” then I could see how time is relative to a point of reference (the “I”) and how what we perceive as life is truly a movie which paradoxically “has been made” but it is being made “now” at the same time.
That is not logical. It is a paradox. Some may not be able to understand paradoxes for our educational system does not teach that but only logic.
The above is what some call predestination. We are part of that “movie” as individuals but as a Totality as well. Both at the same time.
I have other experiences confirming this, but obviously those who have in their experience the ability to remember previous lifetimes, cannot deny that experience for the sake of being “reasonable.”
Death is in our experience already, but most don’t remember it.
Anne mentioned in the last thread: “A while back, I had an amazing experience. I was sitting outside and the wind blew and these tiny flowers on a tree started falling like snow. It was so beautiful, I was enjoying the moment and All of a sudden time stopped and I became a part of everything…I was the wind, I was the flowers falling, and the tree…the whole universe.”
Isn’t that an experience which confirms that we may not only be that “I” which we perceive to be?
Isn’t that “I” the one who experiences death? But how it could be… if everything recycles, because nothing can be destroyed neither created?
Finally, there is “nothing wrong” in the way people perceive life. It is their perception, but I am sharing here “mine.”
Our language is dualistic and comparisons are unavoidable when trying to explain something.
Robert: To me, that statement smacks of ego and duality. In fact the whole premise of non-dualism versus dualism seems to be unable to escape the latter, not unlike the desire to extinguish desire.”
Ananda: “duality vs. non-duality” isn’t that perception duality?
What I am sharing here is not “non-duality” neither duality. It is easy to label these things to say : Ahhh! this is Taoism or Zen or Buddhism, or other thing… but I do not represent any religious beliefs or philosophical currents.
I am just sharing my experiences based on my consciousness that is all.
Robert: Reading your stuff and hearing your sharing feels a bit how I was when I first started reading Alan Watts. It was hard for me to understand. after letting things sit for a few years I found his book “The Wisdom of Insecurity” which I found to be very powerful, especially his statement that experience, I, and the present moment are all the same. So now I feel like I am a manifestation of the moment as is everything that exists. Hard to articulate but I’m feeling it. My understanding is that predestination is a religious term-there is even double pre-destination. This effects who gets to heaven and who doesn’t I believe, depending on the writer and denomination. To me, spirituality is a stripping away of the unnecessary, the stories, concepts, and labels that are “real but not true (Tara Brach)” and those that no longer serve us. Still, I’ve spent years delving into different notions of spirituality and spiritual worldviews. The result is I’ve had my head in the clouds trying to figure things out that I cannot. I need to be back on solid ground where I can relate to more practical (for me) rather than esoteric (to me) practices for living my life with equanimity, serenity, and love. The Stoics, I think are a good way to go.
Ananda: … That is Alan Watts’ way of saying “Totality.” “Oneness,” “we are all one,” or “I am the world, the world is I,” “interbeingness,” “we are all God,” etc. Note that any of the above “catch phrases” could be grossly misinterpreted by those who do not have the experience but just intellectual understanding. Generalizing, that is how a religion appears.
Predestination is just another concept, just like Heaven, sin, etc. When a religion makes a dogma out of an experience labeled with a concept, duality is brought and with that many misunderstandings. When we discover that we are not concepts, because “we are the now and the experience,” then those concepts are automatically and painlessly dropped.
To me “spirituality” is just another label which I don’t want to make a religion of. What matters to me is to live life with joy, to enjoy life… because if “I” am the “now”, and the experience; then… let that be a joyful “me.”
Anne: I had a near death experience in my 20’s which at the time I did not understand, but have had many years to process and think about it. I realize now that I feel fortunate to have had the experience and a “knowing” of what is is like on the other side. To know that we are consciousness and our soul is just in the earth suit (body) while we are here. When we die the soul leaves the body and returns to source, which I call God. We can call it (God) many different things but it is what it is…all being… All knowing…omnipresent and most importantly, unconditional love.
God welcomes you home, he…it…whatever, certainly does not want us to live by a set of rules to be “good” and “accepted”. And God certainly doesn’t punish anyone for anything. It doesn’t matter if you are baptized, not baptized or if you stand on your head…or do things that are unloving to any degree…God is love, unconditional love…he will welcome you home and based on my experience, he will ask you what you’ve learned. I believe we are here to learn, give and experience unconditional love.
I had a vision of my son 7 years before he was born. A flash of a picture of him at about 1 year old came to my mind. I didn’t know his name. I didn’t know when, where or how he would come, but I knew like I know my name and in the depth of my soul, he was my son. I KNEW I would have a son.
I have often wondered…how did I see him when he didn’t exist yet… I don’t have an answer. But I guess it goes with the all time is happening at once, past, present, future theory…”
Ananda: Many times confusion arises with so many “keywords.”
Consciousness, soul, God, body, me, I, omnipresent…
Reason says: If “I am a soul” how can “I” be omnipresent?
The paradox is that we are both the individual and the totality and all the concepts… Consciousness, soul, God, body, me, I, omnipresent.
Who am I? That is not the right question for we cannot define ourselves.
The question could be: What I am not?
Better yet, if there are no questions..
Concepts…. When in our deathbed, all that intellectual stuff will not do a thing to liberate us from fear or uncertainty. Do we know why?
That is what we will find out while living life in our own experiences. As Socrates mentioned: “to live is a preparation to die… “ and I should add that death is a preparation to live.
When you saw your son before he was born, you could have labeled that as a “miracle” but you didn’t… That could have been an “upgraded” label.
To confuse matters, we may say that time “is an illusion” intellectually we have created time, through our thinking.
Thus, time exists for our consciousness is entangled in the changes of matter by using the “I” as a referential point; or paradoxically, we could boldly affirm that time does not exist… it is an illusion.
Logically, we can say; but If time exists how is it possible for time not to exist?
Then I could affirm: Drop your logic. Throw it away and perhaps we could see something different from a different perspective.
It just happened that you were able to see what you had done before. Did you fast-forward the movie of life? No. It just happened.
Everything just happens when it needs to happen. There is no need for an “I” to do anything. The “I’ could do, but in that doing, duality will be experienced. The “I” searches for pleasure and because of that, the “I” finds sorrow. That is why some religions have ascetic practices avoiding pleasure, believing that pleasure is “bad.” Nevertheless, the “I” is the “culprit” coloring the experience.
Is that bad?
No. It just happens…
Life is a game. Some people think that they “lose the game” and others win and that turns around… but at the end, everyone is just playing a game.
Awareness may be just to see with appreciation this game called “Monopoly” with many players and many incidents that could happen while going around the board of life… and if it is a game, we may as well enjoy it !
Anne: You are really deep!
What do you mean we can’t define ourselves? or is the question defining ourselves to whom?
I can say Anne – you know…she lives in the USA, loves music, they call her peace-child….etc. or explain things about me, my experience that are unique to me and my life as opposed to anyone else, then you would know I was talking about Anne.
You said, “better yet if there are no questions.”
What? Its human nature to question…Our brains are wired for it.
But I guess I am more peaceful when I don’t question. Acceptance is a beautiful thing.
Ananda: The question defines the answer.
You said about me: “You are really deep!”
That is a definition, but in that definition in your mind; you don’t allow me to be shallow… and I am very shallow as well… For the mind, to be shallow and deep at the same time is “illogical,” unreasonable non- scientifical nonsense.
I am shallow, I am deep, I am fear, I am love, I am all the opposites at the same time and with the same intensity.
What I am not?
If I define something such as life or anything else, we could see that I am basically shutting down in my mind the opportunity for life or anything else to be different, to change… and life… changes.
Therefore, we could see the limitation of language, concepts and verbalized ideas, however; If I want to convey something using words, I must bear with that shortcoming. (that is why no scripture could be the whole truth.)
Whatever we think life is… is limiting, thus it is not the complete truth… but a static concept, a static thought and when we live with concepts we do not allow ourselves to experience the changes of life, but life is conceptually caged in a comfortable space in our heads.
But, didn’t I say that life is a game? Wasn’t that a definition?
Logically, Yes and No.
When thinking is not the driving force for knowing about life, then we can contemplate life and the answers will arrive without asking “logical” questions, the experience of being peaceful and not intellectual knowledge is what we look for at the end of the day… and there are not “this is the only way” paths for that is to be closed to what life could offer 🙂
When we have the consciousness of being separated from everything else as “individuals” only, then many things appear in a certain way to our understanding and consciousness.
For instance, the belief in “free will” is the support of that individuality. “I do things because I want.”
“God has given me free will.” “I get punished if I do not follow God’s rules,” etc.
Those beliefs are deep in our “normal” psyche.
Here is “I,” here is “God,” and there is “you” and everyone else. Separation.
Predestination is viewed as the denial of that individuality. In other words, “I am a puppet of destiny” rather than the “master of my own destiny.”
See the difference in both beliefs?
Why is that consciousness of individuality ingrained in us, if we could see that there is truly interdependence on everything that exists?
There cannot be a tree just by itself. A tree is interdependent with soil, water, sunshine, wind, birds, humans…
Do we see that life or destiny is “pushing” everything in a “togetherness,” which we fail to realize?
Why are our minds so caught up in defending that individuality at all costs?
That is called consciousness.
When any religion or philosophy manifests its ideas or dogmas through the consciousness of individuality, then; it does not matter how wonderful that ideology is… it cannot be complete… 🙂 Do we see why?
Because the reality of interdependence or Totality is not there.
Under that consciousness of Totality, the words “free will” and “predestination” are useless and meaningless.
Do we see that?
It is not “ME” deciding my mission in life. It is the whole, the Totality and that Totality is not separated from “Me” for “I am” that… 🙂
Even though every human being has a “different mission” externally as individuals, in “reality” all of those differences are interrelated just like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to make up a greater “reality.”
Therefore, the change in consciousness comes when we are able to integrate into that Totality, that is to be “merged” into that Totality.
Why do we need to merge?
Because we have this consciousness of predominant individuality.
So you are saying that individuality is false, an illusion?
Individuality is just a way to manifest our consciousness. It is not the only way, but for those who can only be conscious of individuality, that is their dogmatic “truth.”
To go beyond the mental grip of “free will” and “predestination” we may need to experience a different consciousness. At that point, we could be “I” but knowing that this “I” is related with “you,” is inclusive of that “you” rather than completely isolated.
Being conscious of our eternal nature, extends our awareness into the Totality, the Drama of life, the Tao, life, Universe etc. It is in that awareness how we can walk the path without being separated from it, that is being “one” with it, being “merged” with it… with God.
That consciousness of being just an individual is limiting an “unlimited” being.
As gyan becomes practical, the full understanding of it is not related with dictionary definitions anymore.
Disinterest means: “The state of not being influenced by personal involvement in something, impartiality,” or “lack of interest in something.”
When Baba says: “Have unlimited disinterest, ” many BKs reactions when hearing that may be:
“I really do not care about this “old, impure, tamopradhan world,” “the brothel,” “ hell;” it will be destroyed soon.”
That is a “body conscious reaction.” It is coming out of a basic understanding of a dictionary word.
Other BKs, will even go to extremes like “having disinterest of life, or work, of relationships, etc.”
Unlimited disinterest is not something created in our minds, it is a natural process of becoming more spiritual involved.
Let me explain this with an example:
When I was 10 year old, my interest was to play with toys. I used to play with little racing cars. As I grew older, “disinterest” became natural. Now, I do not dislike little racing cars or have “distaste” for them, I just have disinterest. They do not pull my attention.
Now, let us say that I was a 10 year old kid, still playing with cars and I heard my Dad saying: “ You should have unlimited disinterest in those toys, for school is more important to earn an income.”
At that point, to please my Dad; because I have so much respect for Him, I would even “raise my hand” when he asks: “raise your hand if you have unlimited disinterest for those little toys.” I would talk about how much “disinterest I have for those cars,” and how childish is to play with them… I will be “playing the game of having disinterested,” when in fact my interest in them still will be there. It just have been repressed.
See the game? It is self lying. It is lack of honesty.
We shouldn’t “practice” to be disinterested on something.
On the other hand, Yoga is like “growing up.” Feeling the spiritual side of us rather than just the corporeal, will bring a new understanding of things which are not related with language or the use of words. Language supports our body consciousness. That is why words cannot explain fully a spiritual reality.
In that new light, we can naturally feel that state when spirituality has more attraction, when the physical world doesn’t have the same pull.
Some like to call that “unlimited disinterest.”
I like to call it “growing up” spiritually.