Sunday, January 24, 2016

Discernment and Surrender

Sunday January 31 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of Michael Singer's new book The Surrender Experiment.  I have mentioned this book in several recent talks. In this book Michael Singer gives many examples of discerning the guidance being provided by life and then surrendering to that guidance, even when it went against his own preferences. Not always clear in the book is the answer to the essential question: how do we know when we are being given guidance by life, and when is the apparent guidance being directed by my own ego? How do we know whether it is truly thy will or more my will? 

Discernment and Surrender

What can we do to assist the process of discerning God’s will?
Ask for guidance. Do not assume that you know the right answer. It is essential to ask with absolute humility and openness to being shown the way.
Willingness is essential. This willingness to be shown and to follow through with action is the meaning of surrender. It is definitely possible to recognize the need for an action that is not appealing or even goes against our own best judgement. Even if we receive guidance but do not wish to follow, waiting is usually ok. When a particular action is ‘suggested’ repeatedly, it is probably wise to follow it. This process does not negate the thinking mind or undercut the role of reason, critical judgement or thinking in the usual sense. However, if we are not willing, we will not be able to see what is being revealed. Willingness benefits from a comfort and even eagerness to dwell in ‘not knowing’. Not knowing is your friend. The mind that knows is closed. Adopt the perspective of not knowing. Learn to be ok with uncertainty. It is a myth that we should know what we are doing all the time. Only those who are closed can always know or believe they know the truth. A closed mind knows programming and belief, not revealed truth. We are looking for revealed truth. Programming and belief is already known and very limited in its power and effectiveness in the world. Therefore, we must remain open and frequently dwell in a kind of uncertainty. Learning to tolerate this Cloud of Unknowing is a large part of the spiritual path. We are always searching for the revelation of the Will of God. This searching must be accomplished without fear, doubt or anxiety. It is more like a watchful waiting. There is no effort to force an outcome. This waiting is actively passive. It is neither active nor passive. It is open, curious, receptive.
When in doubt, it is often good judgement to wait. Wait in the not knowing. Expect to know but recognize and accept when you don’t know. Try to be content with not knowing. When the time is right and there is a need, what is next will be revealed.
How can we discern the difference between what my conditioned mind wants and what God wants? It is not always easy or clear. There are certainly no rules. To recognize it requires trust, intuition and surrender. Usually, however, God’s will is not very subtle or hard to recognize. It tends to be insistent. You will notice yourself repeatedly revisiting an idea or plan of action. If something repeatedly occurs to me without obvious external or internal prompting, it is a safe bet I am being guided. Once you recognize the guidance, try to relax and carry through with it to the best of your ability. Avoid doubt or any other kind of worry or rumination as much as possible. Worry is merely your thinking mind doing what it does best. It is not helpful and is really just a bad habit. Observe the worry and then try to lose interest in it and ignore it.
The indicated action that is revealed is a ‘next’. Try to stay present and attuned, always open to further guidance. Recognizing and carrying out guidance skilfully requires understanding and practice. These skills will develop over time, as with anything else. Remember experiences where you felt guided in the past and review the outcomes. Usually you will see that things went well, often much better than you could have ever imagined. While the indicated action might engender fear to the self-identity beforehand, there is often a feeling of relief and ‘rightness’ afterwards. Try to maintain awareness of this entire process. We all have this ability inherent in us as human beings, although some appear to be naturally more at ease with the required letting go of perceived control.
Eventually this other way of knowing becomes second nature and is mostly effortless. Interruptions in the flow of awareness come as conditioned beliefs and habits are triggered. This eruption of conditioning and fear is not a problem. Rather, it is an opportunity to become more aware of unconscious programming and release it. In other words, it is an opportunity to become more free and clear. Everything that appears to be a problem will yield to a calm and present awareness.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spiritual Discernment and the felt sense of being

Sunday November 1 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of the felt sense of being mentioned in the last talk. We will also begin to explore and describe other tools and methods in addition to the felt sense that are helpful in identifying the guidance that is being continuously offered by awareness or life itself. This guidance is always freely given and available at all times. How do we not see it or feel it? This talk will be about learning to accurately recognize this invaluable assistance and discern the difference between my will and thy will at any given moment. 

The next talk after this Sunday will be Sunday December 6 at the same 2 pm time. During this talk we will review Michael Singer's new book The Surrender Experiment.  I mentioned this book in the talk this past Sunday. I want to give everyone some lead time for this discussion so that you have the opportunity to read or listen to the book. Below is the description on Amazon:
"The Surrender Experiment is now a New York Times bestseller! From the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Untethered Soul comes the astonishing true-life story about what happens when you just let go. 
A thriving spiritual community on over six hundred acres of pristine forest and meadows in Florida, a cutting-edge software package that transformed the medical practice management industry, a billion-dollar public company whose achievements are archived in the Smithsonian Institution, a book that became a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah favorite, and a massive raid by the FBI that would lead to unfounded accusations by the U.S. government—how could all of this spring from a man who had decided to live alone in the middle of the woods, let go of himself, and embrace a life of solitude? But this man had made a radical decision—one that would unwittingly lead him to both the pinnacle of success and the brink of disaster. 

Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, tells the extraordinary story of what happened when, after a deep spiritual awakening, he decided to let go of his personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. As Singer takes you on this great experiment and journey into life’s perfection, the events that transpire will both challenge your deepest assumptions about life and inspire you to look at your own life in a radically different way."
If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Perception is All

Sunday October 25 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of the role of perception in understanding our world. Here is a quotation from one of the authors' of the study linked below: "One of the study's authors, Dr. Christoph Teufel, from Cardiff University, said: "Vision is a constructive process - in other words, our brain makes up the world that we 'see'. It fills in the blanks, ignoring the things that don't quite fit, and presents to us an image of the world that has been edited and made to fit with what we expect."

Not only is vision a constructive process. All of our sensory organs, including taste, touch smell and hearing work in a similar manner. The world we perceive to be real is essentially created by our sense organs interacting with our brain. Our world is both 'out there' and 'in here'. In this talk and discussion we will consider the implications of these ideas for our understanding of reality and the world in which we live. I would also like to encourage you to listen to this broadcast from Radio Lab which I heard on NPR.

This broadcast is a fascinating discussion of how language shapes perception.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Constellation Work on Sunday, September 13

Below is a description of the next Constellation Work led by Margot Ridler. Those who have participated in previous Constellation workshops have often reported significant gains in understanding the roots of perplexing and longstanding problems. If you are interested in attending, please email Margot (see below).

Michael

Join us for another great adventure of Constellation Work on Sunday, September 13  

You may not know this but your present-day challenges might be a direct pointer to unresolved issues from either your own life or your family/ancestral system to which you are tied to via your birth. Living truly free in life, as well as fully embodied spiritual awakening rest upon the complete release of all our programmed ways. 

Our ordinary thinking mind is a very limited tool to utilize when it comes to releasing our programming. Therefore, being led by the infinite, all-encompassing Knowing Field that constellation work provides access to, allows the reasons for our challenges to come to light so that true healing and release can be possible. For instance:
A couple's relationship problems might be connected to a miscarried child they never grieved.
Life threatening illnesses or reckless behaviors could be tied to an unconscious wish to die.
Feelings of guilt might be linked to our ancestors who abused and exploited other people. 
Children acting out could reveal the disrespect and anger parents feel for one another.
Chronic anxiety might be connected to aborting one's child many years ago. 
....the list of these kinds of unconscious connections is endless.

Constellation work is a powerful tool that offers the potential for quick and lasting change whereby our habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting might stop seemingly miraculously, allowing us henceforth to live with more freedom in our lives.  

It is my pleasure to offer you the opportunity Sunday August 16 to participate in the magic of constellation work. We have extremely limited seating. Please reserve your space early. We will have time for four people to set up a personal constellation. If you are interested in a personal constellation set up, please reserve your space by emailing me. Thanks.

Date: Sunday September 13, 2015
Time: 1 - 6 pm
Location: Binghamton, NY 13905
Reservation is required for all participants.  
Please email me by clicking here
Or send email to this address: TGLIEEB@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Constellation Work

See below for an invitation from Margot Ridler to experience constellation work. Margot will be in the area for another 6 weeks or so, so if you are interested in exploring this work, consider attending.  I have found constellation work to be extremely interesting and powerful. It definitely provides an additional and helpful perspective for understanding the origin and assisting in the alleviation of emotional difficulties.  Michael


Constellation Work and Releasing Binding Vasanas
Vasanas is a Vedic term for what we call programming, relating to the many ways in which our automatic, habitual, and unconscious beliefs, thoughts, and feelings keep us trapped from knowing who we really are and living truly free in life.

If you seek spiritual awakening or enlightenment, your present-day challenges and difficulties are often a direct pointer to unresolved issues in either your own life or your family system to which you are linked via your birth. The various issues you are dealing with reflect the Vasana load you are carrying. Living truly free in life, as well as fully embodied spiritual awakening rest upon the complete release of all Vasanas. 

Our ordinary thinking mind is a very limited tool to utilize when it comes to releasing Vasanas. Getting in touch with no-mind - the all-encompassing, limitless Knowing Field - allows the actual source of our challenges to be brought to light so that true healing and release can be made possible. For instance:
A couple's relationship problems might be connected to a miscarried child they never grieved.
Life threatening illnesses and reckless behaviors could be tied to an unconscious wish to die.
Feelings of guilt might be linked to our ancestors who abused and exploited other people. 
Children acting out could reveal the disrespect and anger parents feel for one another.
Chronic anxiety might be connected to aborting one's child many years ago. 
....the list of these kinds of unconscious connections is endless.

Constellation Work is an amazing tool to quickly reveal the source of Vasanas, facilitating a lasting release, whereby habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting may vanish miraculously. Often people are immediately freed from their previous challenges, thereby allowing them to live more freely in their lives.  

It is my pleasure to offer you the opportunity Sunday July 19 to participate in the magic of constellation work. We have extremely limited seating. Please reserve your space early. 

We will have time for four people to set up a constellation. If you are interested in a personal constellation set up, please reserve your space by emailing me and letting me know. Thanks.

Date: Sunday July 19, 2015
Time: 1 - 6 pm

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clearing Vasanas

Sunday May 31 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of how to recognize and be free of conditioned, automatic patterns of thought, belief, and feeling. Traditionally in Advaita Vedanta and classical Buddhism these patterns have been known as vasanas.
Vāsanā is a behavioral tendency or karmic imprint which influences the present behavior of a person. It is a technical term in Indian religions, particularly Buddhist philosophy and Advaita Vedanta.
Past impressions, impressions formed, the present consciousness of past (life) perceptions; the impression of anything in the mind, the present consciousness formed from past perceptions, knowledge derived from memory, the impressions remaining in the mind; thinking of, longing for, expectation, desire, inclination. (All of the above from Wikipedia).

For our purposes, let us think of vasanas as any thought, behavior, or emotion that is the result of conditioning and programming. The corresponding understanding is that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions can arise from either vasanas or from the free movement of Mind in the world through the form of a particular person. These free and spontaneous thoughts, acts, and feelings are unconditioned and therefore impersonal. This free movement is acting or speaking from no mind or the Self, as the source of such actions is unknown. It is known, however, that such acts are not ‘mine’ as they do not arise from ‘me’. It is possible and desirable to learn to recognize the difference between actions originating from ‘emptiness’ and those originating from conditioning.
It is useful and important to improve the quality of our daily life to allow increasingly for the free movement of the Self through us. By becoming aware of and learning to not feed or indulge our conditioned beliefs and reactions, we can improve our ability to be present for our life. This talk will focus on becoming aware of our common and persistent vasanas. We will also discuss understandings and practices that facilitate our ability to become progressively free of such conditioning.
With the emergence of various levels of awakening, there is the spontaneous, effortless disappearance of many vasanas. However, it is my experience that the deeper the awakening, the harder it is to recognize the remaining blind spots in our self. The willingness to recognize the emergence of these blind spots almost always requires a preexisting (prior to awakening) deep commitment to a spiritual tradition which recognizes the necessity of continuous practice and humility after even the most profound awakening. The alternative is to maintain an honest openness to the emergence of conditioned behavior. The easiest and most effective way for this openness to occur is through interaction with a living teacher who has been through every stage of this journey.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited.





Thursday, May 14, 2015

You are not 'the doer'.

Sunday May 17 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the concept of the "doer". In our recent exploration of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Ramana noted that the idea of the doer was the essential "poison".  Obviously, poison is a strong word. What did he mean? We are taught from earliest childhood that we have a self identity that is in charge of our behavior. This self identity is known as "I". It is who we think we are. All of our troubles and suffering in life follow from this primary misunderstanding about who we are and how life operates. If we are not this doer, then who or what are we? In this talk and discussion, we will explore the path to coming to know who you really are. We will also continue our discussion of the "Who am I?" practice.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Discussion of Talks with Ramana Maharshi

Sunday May 3 we will meet at my office  in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the book: Talks with Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness, published by Inner Directions in 2001. Here is a link to a free download of the book: http://www.dasglueck.de/download/maharshi/talks_with_sri_ramana_maharshi_complete.pdf
Do not be put off by the size of the book. Only read if you are drawn to do so. Here is a link to an excellent, brief, clear description of the self inquiry practice taught by Ramana Maharshi: http://realization.org/page/topics/self_inquiry.htm.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Discussion of: Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sunday April 19 we will meet at my office at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the book  Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana MaharshiThis little book is a series of questions proposed by a student of Ramana's in 1902. It can be downloaded for free here: http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/downloadbooks/whoami_all_languages/Who_Am_I_English.pdf

This is a link to an excellent website of material on Ramana Maharshi: http://realization.org/p/ramana/ramana.html

In this talk we will explore what Ramana taught about the practice of Who Am I? We will have the opportunity to practice this questioning together during the talk.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Discussion of the book Annamalai Swami: Final Talks edited by David Godman

Sunday March 29 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the beautiful little book: Annamalai Swami: Final Talks (2006), edited by David Godman. Annamalai Swami was one of the devoted disciples of Ramana Maharshi, and trained with him from 1928 until Ramana's death in 1950. This book is a transcription of talks given by Annamalai in the final 6 months of his life, ending in October 1995 at the age of 89. In the book he responds to questions from students, and in the process gives a very clear understanding of the perspective taught by Ramana to him. It will be an interesting and helpful discussion for anyone interested in self-realization. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

No-mind

 Sunday March 15 we will meet at my office at 2 pm for meditation followed by a discussion of the meaning of the term no mind.  I will refer to The Zen Doctrine of No-Mind by D. T. Suzuki, originally published in the US in 1972. This book is a commentary and explication of the Platform Sutra of Hui Neng. In this book Suzuki gives a very good description of no-mind. However, those who do not already have a very solid experiential realization and recognition of this awareness would have a very hard time understanding it from just reading the book. I consider no mind awareness to be the fundamental understanding and expression of awakening manifest in daily life. Although these terms may seem unfamiliar and the subject matter arcane, this talk is for anyone interested in the direct experience of self-realization. 
No-mind
No-mind means that the mind is free of constructions, creations, conditioning, and obstructions. Seeing (the truth), Knowing (what is needed in the moment), and Acting (with freedom, power and effectiveness) all occur simultaneously. The mind as we ordinarily understand it is full of concepts and notions.

The mind of no-mind is aware, alert, present, and attuned to what is real in this moment. It sees clearly and directly what is real without addition or subtraction. The ability to see clearly and directly implies the action of no-mind. In this clear, direct seeing, knowing and acting also occur. These processes are not separate in time or space. There is no deliberation or uncertainty. Nor is there second-guessing, evaluation, or criticism. We all have this ability naturally.  Everyone has experienced it repeatedly in their life. Because it happens 'outside' of time and space, the ordinary thinking mind does not notice it or sometimes even remember it. We do not earn it by our actions or efforts. It is freely given, inherent in all human beings. Just as we cannot ‘lose’ it, so we cannot ‘find’ it. It has never been lost. Wherever we are, there it is. It is our true nature-our birthright.

It does not need to be learned or cultivated, although we have become highly skilled at not noticing it. Consequently, it may be necessary to have the no-mind accurately described and pointed out in order to help us ‘remember’ what we have always known. Recognition and remembrance are important in the realization of the no-mind. The no-mind is represented in Christian thought as ‘surrender to the will of God”. No-mind is the same thing, exactly, that is meant by this absolute, unconditional surrender. It is what Jesus meant when he said-“Not my will, but Thy will be done”.

To recognize It is a ‘not-doing’. There is truly nothing whatsoever to do to be or become what you already are. “Be still and know that I am God” expresses this understanding perfectly. Thus, thinking from no-mind is no thinking.  Acting from no-mind is no acting. There is no one who thinks or acts. It does what it does. “The wind bloweth where it listeth” is the King James version of this profound truth. The more modern translation (New International Version) of this passage from John 3:8 is: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." The mind cannot grasp it. To Know it, the requirement is to die to who you currently believe you are and be reborn in the spirit.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Emptiness in Action: No mind awareness in daily life

Wednesday night I will give a talk described below to the Binghamton Buddhist Meditation Group. All are welcome. 


  • Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    7:30 PM to 
  • First Congregational Church

    30 Main Street, BinghamtonNY (map)
  • side door, upstairs, down long hallway
  • This talk will address my current major interest in exploring the taste, look and feel of emptiness as it is embodied by each of us individually. 
    The regular meetings of the BBMG often include Dharma talks, discussion of spiritual topics and life issues, questions and answers, practical instructions for various forms of Buddhist meditation, chanting practice, and a variety of short prayers. The group is non-sectarian and open to people from all traditions and lineages of Buddhism. Those who are not Buddhists but wish to learn how Buddhist teachings and practices might enrich their own lives are also welcome to attend.
    This meeting is free of charge and open to everyone; all levels of practitioners are welcome. We start with 20 minutes of meditation. Beginning meditation instruction is provided for anyone who needs it; if you would like to learn the basics of meditation, please arrive a few minutes early.  For more information, please feel free to contact us at bbmg.sangha@gmail.com

Saturday, November 29, 2014

December Silent Meditation Retreat

The upcoming silent meditation retreat with Francis Bennett, Margot Ridler and I scheduled for December 12-14 is approaching. We are going to have an excellent turnout, with over 30 people committed to attend so far. The retreat is still open for registration, and if you have not yet indicated an interest in attending, it is not too late. We originally had a cut off date for the reduced fee of $350 of November 20, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to invite any who wish to attend to pay the reduced fee until December 1. After that date, the fee will increase to $395. This fee is all inclusive, and includes 2 nights lodging, 6 meals, individual meetings, constellation work, etc. It is open to anyone who is seriously interested in spiritual awakening. 
 For those who are not familiar with Francis, below is a link to a recent interview Rick Archer conducted with Adyashanti and Francis on his site Buddha at the Gas Pump:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New video on Vimeo

Below is a link to a new video with Mark Scorelle. We are discussing the new book he co edited:

The Short Path to Enlightenment:Instructions for Immediate Awakening by Paul Brunton.

The audio quality of the talk is not great, but you can understand us. I double as audio/video engineer, which sometimes works out, sometimes not so much. The book is wonderful and well worth a read. Paul Brunton is the English writer who introduced Ramana Maharshi to the West. He went on to awaken to his true nature, and write prolifically.

https://vimeo.com/109272486

Monday, October 13, 2014

Attachment to Emptiness reposted with new comments

“This Sense World too is Enlightenment”  
Hakuin Zenji’s Chant in Praise of Zazen
In his 4/10/2013 webcast, Adyashanti addresses in a beautiful, clear, and direct manner the allure of emptiness and the need to move through this stage of enlightenment. Adyashanti speaks of the attachment to emptiness. The spiritual path is limitless, and every single step along the way has potential pitfalls. These difficulties arise in the form of attachments or aversions. I have spoken of the attachment to emptiness as dwelling in the ‘cave of nonduality’. Once the silence and peace of this absolute emptiness is experienced, it can be enticing, particularly to those who have experienced enormous suffering and trauma in this life. In emptiness there is no separation and hence no suffering. If the goal is the end of suffering, then emptiness is your ticket. Without the sense of self-identity, there can be no suffering as there is no separation. No separation means there is no comparison of what is with what isn’t. Without this comparing process, nothing is seen as lacking. There is neither joy nor the absence of joy. There is no passion, no desire, no fear, no pain of loss, no excitement, and no despair. Obviously meaningful relationships of all kinds are avoided or diminished, as relationships have typically been a source of suffering. The same can be said for all other forms of engagement in the world. Responsibility is avoided like the plague. The internal experience of emptiness is of a quiet contentment. People who have arrived at this deep, internally focused peacefulness appear emotionally flat to those not in the cave. There is often very little externally focused activity of any kind. Very little productive work is accomplished. Effort of all kinds is strenuously avoided as a sign of ego-based striving. A telltale sign of the depth of attachment to this stillness and emotional numbing is the ferocious response that occurs when an attempt is made to arouse them from their slumbers. The cave of nonduality is a deeply restful way station for the weary spiritual traveler, and abiding there a while is understandable and beneficial. The problem is mistaking a stage of the journey for the end of the journey. After a deep spiritual realization, it is normal, even predictable to land hard in the cave of nonduality. Many years can pass quietly as the seeker rests, mistakenly assuming that the journey has ended. From my observations and experiences, it is almost impossible for the person (who no longer believes themselves to be a person) to recognize how stuck they are without some external assistance. This is where a trusted teacher who has successfully exited the cave and reengaged with the messy, unpredictable ordinary world is not only invaluable, but usually absolutely necessary. The discontent that drove the seeker to pursue self-realization with the passion required to awaken to an aspect of their true nature has ceased. Extinction is the nature of nonduality. There is no internal dissatisfaction left to motivate movement and action. What then is the motivation to leave the cave and reengage with the world of suffering and chaos, of desire and lack? The only motivation I can find is a deep sense of compassion born of the experiential realization of both unity and separateness. Although my personal suffering may have ended in the cave of emptiness, a quick peek outside reveals an entire world of hurt. The instant that we wade into this morass of suffering, previously hidden attachments and aversions are activated and available for attention and release. As long as we stay safely within the cave, we can fool our self into thinking that we are ‘done’. As long as meaningful engagement with life and real responsibility are carefully avoided, we can maintain our carefully cultivated inner state of peace and contentment. The avoidance of engagement becomes the spiritually rationalized default setting. How can reengagement with the messy world be a good idea when it activates so many unresolved conflicts? This can be an especially delicate time for the spiritual aspirant who, having finally found peace, is asked to surrender it. Many are called but few are chosen. If there is a willingness and access to accurate teaching, the rested seeker may gather up their few remaining possessions and begin the longest and most arduous portion of the path. The ordinary world of duality is engaged, but now it is intuitively understood from the aspect of emptiness, making all experience radically different. One of the last and most difficult attachments that must be released is the attachment to emptiness. The full engagement with ordinary life that is ultimately realized is beautifully depicted in the tenth ox-herding picture, where our fully liberated sage is completely at home in the world, demonstrating absolute freedom embodied as an individual and unique human being. 
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Blogger Joseph T. McMahon III said...
Thanks for this well written article.
September 25, 2014 at 7:48 PM
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Blogger Tony Daniels said...
Strictly speaking, there can only "appear" to be an attachment to emptiness. Any kind of attachment requires a subject as the knower who attaches to and identifies with an object as the known. This is duality. Emptiness as a direct knowing, when the personal "I" dissolves, can have no such subject/object relationship because it stands alone and is untainted by mind and objects of perception. In the case of genuine self realization, and by that I mean when the cave of non duality is recognized as your true nature, if there follows less interest in relationships and a disengagement with the world, then so be it. This is covered extensively in the traditional teachings. Ramana Maharshi was a prime example of someone who spent many years in solitude and is recognized as a great sage representing just that practice and philosophy with which you identify. Why is this such an issue for western thinkers who seem to want to both live in the cave and continue to cling to the world? The meeting and synthesis of eastern spirituality and western psychotherapy is not adding to knowledge and understanding, but causing confusion.

The truth is that there are as many ways to live in the world as there are realized beings. Some prefer a reclusive lifestyle while others prefer to be active in society. Self realization is to know that this emptiness, this silent unbounded, undifferentiated awareness is your true nature. It is both empty and full and expresses itself naturally and spontaneously from unity to diversity through mind, body and world, but without attachment in the egoless state. It is not extinction. It is sat chit ananda. It is effortless and choiceless. To be established in that silence is the end of seeking. But something continues to expand and grow as an infinite expression of the silence within. And that is reflected in whatever way you choose to engage with the world. Once you have found peace, you can never surrender it as you suggest. True realization is irreversible.

But for those who have not become permanently established in the Self, there can be times when there is a sense of being stuck, being emotionally dry, numb, lethargic, disinterested, but still with the element of fear, anxiety, insecurity and attachment, even though it may feel like you are staring into the void of what you think is non dual awareness. It is likely to be some discomfort as a result of the purification process of your sadhana.This is what I suspect you have observed in some. If the cave is without bliss, the journey is not yet over.
September 28, 2014 at 5:57 AM
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Tony  
  This is an excellent comment. Thank you. Your second paragraph expresses  my view perfectly. You add here a perspective that is true and was not addressed in the original post.I also like and agree with your third paragraph. I tend to think that this unintegrated nondual phase of the awakening process often resolves on it's own as integration proceeds with or without any particular effort or practice, although I think a deliberate spiritual practice (sadhana) , especially working with a teacher as I mentioned in the original article, is very beneficial. The problem I see is that so many now are coming to some degree of realization without the support/structure/benefit of a traditional spiritual belief system or teacher who is established deeply in the nondual realization, and has thoroughly integrated this realization into their ordinary life. I see people who have had a genuine, deep realization, but are unable to freely and spontaneously express/demonstrate this awakened awareness in their daily life. Even that is not really a problem, except perhaps when they attempt to teach this limited perspective. Without support, it can be very difficult to recognize the remaining blind spots (vasanas) in one's own realization. At the same time, all teachings and practices will eventually need to be released, as there is nothing whatever to cling to or believe. 
I disagree, however, that the addition of the perspectives of western psychotherapy doesn't add knowledge but does cause confusion, My experience is that the insights of western psychology add immeasurably to the embodiment process, and to the identification and release of unconscious, automatic programming. These psychological insights, methods, and practices represent a major contribution from the West to the accumulated wisdom of the East.  From my perspective, no one is completely free of programming, and we all could periodically use assistance with recognizing where we are still blocked. Living freely in the world is not the same as clinging to the world. Living in the cave is not usually the same as full realization. I am drawing a distinction in the original post between a profound realization and it's full embodiment. You may not recognize this distinction, but it fits my observations. I have no interest in judging how anyone who is truly free lives their life. As you suggest, life lives through such a person. If they leave the cave and immerse them self in the ordinary world, so be it. If they remain at home in the cave, so be it.There is no longer anyone to make decisions, yet decisions are made. This is a mysterious process that I call living from no mind awareness. I have addressed this topic in other blog posts and especially my talks on Vimeo.
Part of the difficulty may be in the somewhat different forms of expression of Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism on this matter.  I sense the apparent differences in our perspective are really very minimal. Thanks again for your thoughtful observations.  Michael