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  LETTERS

 

DECEMBER 1999
Letters to the Editor

 

Enlightenment: Contradiction
December 31, 11:44 PM

Are you folks asleep at the wheel? Your feature article of the month [Enlightenment: You're Already There!] says everybody is already enlightened -- there's nothing to get. But your link of the month [The Day I Got Enlightened] shows that enlightenment is waaaay beyond ordinary experience. Umm...isn't there a contradiction here?

James Burnett

Yes and no. --Editor

 

Enlightenment: Can It Be That Simple?
December 31, 2:01 AM

Thank you for the excellent article [Enlightenment: You're Already There]. I expect that you may get some argument over your views. After all, it can't be that simple, can it? My understanding parallels yours. I have come to know that what looks out of my eyes is the same thing that looks out of every set of eyes. It is, as the Buddha said, that. In other words, there is only one consciousness, one reality. We all share that reality. Only the clouds of ignorance keep us in bondage to our desires and false expectations.

Sincerely,
Michael Read

 

Muktananda Was a Fraud
December 30, 5:23 PM

Your site seems to present Swami Muktananda as a "yogi at the highest level" [in a book review here], and you recommend his autobiography. At the very least, you should include a link to the Leaving Siddha Yoga site so that people who visit your website can become aware of the evidence available that Muktananda might more accurately be described as a "fraud of the lowest order." If any of your staff members are associated with Siddha Yoga, or any other particular group, you should acknowledge that fact appropriately.

William E. Williams

Nobody at this website has ever been involved with Siddha Yoga. The book review to which you object is just that -- a book review, not an endorsement of Muktananda or his successors as gurus. We are aware of reports that Muktananda had sex with some of his followers (for example, see Liz Harris's famous 1994 New Yorker article which is on the website you recommend). We believe these reports, but we don't think they demonstrate that Muktananda wasn't an adept yogi. To us they suggest that adept yogis can be sexually active. --Editor

 

Kundalini: I Wouldn't Wish It On Anyone Else Ever
December 23, 7:50 PM

Some people experience a Kundalini rising... that is, the Kundalini energy, which is normally coiled at the base of the spine, rises through the spine and fills the head with light, sometimes exiting the head through the crown chakra. Following this, the K energy can go back down to the first chakra. This person may or may not experience other risings. The experience can be ecstatic or painful.

Others, like myself, have this same experience and then have ongoing Kundalini activity for years. For me, the process has been going on for over ten years. I am corresponding by email with someone who has been in process for twenty years. In these cases which are more often the rule than not, the energy continues to flow. The process can be painful and ecstatic or both. It certainly does change one's life and not for the better... at least, I know of no one who's had a rising that would wish it on anyone else ever. Presumably, it leads to enlightenment. However, I know of no one who has arrived at that stage of development even after years of Kundalini activity.

The shortest way I can describe it is to say it's like having 220 volts of electricity flowing through a body that is designed for 110 volts and for some of us that's 24 hours per day. Very little is known in the western world about Kundalini. What's worse is that many people think they know but don't know a damn thing. They think it's something to play around with like the person who wrote your article. Kundalini is a very powerful and real energy. And, just because the person who wrote your article hasn't had problems so far, doesn't mean that will continue. For his sake I hope it does but I doubt that will be so.

The most knowledgeable book about Kundalini is by Dr. Yvonne Kason who is a medical doctor in Canada. Her own K rose as a result of a near death experience and she treats people in K process in Toronto, Canada. Her book was published under the title A Farther Shore and has recently been republished under the title Farther Shores by Harper Collins in Canada. I understand that it should be available through Chapters bookstore online sometime this month. [It's available now from Barnes and Noble. --Editor.]

I'm not sure what your mandate is for your online newsletter but, it would be nice if you would publish some material that is knowledgeable on this subject since you have already presented the other side.

Name Withheld

 

Kundalini: Two More Good Books
December 25, 5:26 PM

I almost never read the alt.meditation newsgroups but today for some reason I decided to cruise through it and saw your post. If you would like a really good resource about kundalini, I suggest you read Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process by Bonnie L. Greenwell. This book resulted from her graduate thesis and has a lot of scholarly background as well as relevant practical information. Gopi Krishna has also published some autobiographical chronicles of his kundalini awakenings.

Kundalini experiences vary from person to person, and different practices vary as to their gentleness or aggressiveness. In general, if a person is making a conscious decision to try and raise their kundalini, it is probably best to have some sort of human guidance. However, a lot of these experiences happen spontaneously to ordinary people who never thought of themselves as spiritually inclined. Being a spiritual aspirant has nothing to do with kundalini rising in many cases and because of this, these people are left totally frightened, bewildered, or confused because they don't have a clue as to what is happening to them.

Dr. Stanislav Grof has tried to get the term "Spiritual Emergency" into the psychological diagnostics book (DSM) for years, claiming that many people labelled schizophrenic or psychotic are actually having kundalini or other spiritual growth experiences. He has written a book about this topic called Spiritual Emergency: When Personal Transformation Becomes a Crisis.

In terms of your writing about it, I think it is probably important to stress that if you are doing it for kicks, it is an unwise practice. If one desires to purposely work with it and raise it, it deserves respect. And along with that respect goes the responsibility of the aspirant to consciously understand (a) why they want to do it in the first place and (b) what the possible consequences are. As far as publishing articles about such a subject, I believe the most important thing to do is present the facts about what such an experience can be, give people sources for further information, and avoid making broad generalizations about it. Hope this helps.

Kathy Kost

 

Kundalini: Two More Good Books
December 25, 1999 10:56 PM

What a delightful new website! And how nice to be reminded of the Nonduality Salon, which I haven't visited for ages!

First of all, I don't think your article on kundalini was irresponsible at all. I wish that I'd found things like this article way back in the early 80s when my kundalini woke up. At the time, I don't believe I'd ever heard the word. I wasn't doing anything special at the time. Well, actually, I was sort of just waiting for Armageddon to arrive, after telling Jehovah to fuck off. I was busy raising my kids, rabbits, and chickens; gardening, generally enjoying life. I think I was sitting in a chair at the time, possibly watching "Days of Our Lives" ... but I do remember being thrown to the floor, and sort of pinned there. For starters.

It's interesting to look back and remember. To be honest, well... it was quite unsettling. Lasted for quite a few years. Might have ended up in some mental trouble, but being responsible for children tends to give one the ability to stay focused on the mundane details of everyday life. As it turned out, not having more information (such as your article) about the experience, I ended up somewhere I would have been better off not being in.

At any rate, I firmly believe that more information available everywhere, about everything, is the only responsible way to go. On second thought... let me qualify that statement. We don't need more information about how to build bombs, etc.

Well... my best wishes for your future!! I look forward to visiting here often, and will add a link on the page of "nice places to visit" I'm going to have at my own website, which I'd better get to work on and finish instead of bouncing around finding wonderful places here in cyberspace!!

Love & Hugs!

Sharon
http://members.delphi.com/sharon2000

 

Kundalini: The Article You Published is Valuable
December 22, 9:08 PM

[Was it irresponsible to print The Day My Kundalini Woke Up?]

I think the person who wrote the complaint to you didn't read the article very carefully. It states very clearly in the introduction that Gopi Krishna suffered terribly with his awakened Kundalini and cautions readers against this possibility.

I personally have had mystical-transcendent experiences of the sort the author describes -- a great variety of them, all lasting longer than a few seconds (but my Kundalini rose spontaneously, not through any intention on my part or through any practice designed to awaken it). I also continue to suffer a great deal from physical effects from the energies, which can be very hard on the body.

Yes, Kundalini can be dangerous, but so can anything else in life. I think the article you published is valuable in showing that Kundalini experiences are genuine, powerful, and transformative.

El Collie
Shared Transformation

 

Kundalini: Profound Gratitude to Spirit, Goddess, God
December 22, 8:43 PM

[Was it irresponsible to print The Day My Kundalini Woke Up?]

What to say? (Sharon tries to think of something intelligent :-).)

First, the author did include a disclaimer. When I wrote a kundalini article for Eye On the Web, later posted to the Kundalini list, the feedback was quite interesting. Bottom line is that there are as many opinions about K as there are those with experience with it.

As to my opinion, it's quite mixed when it comes to techniques for raising kundalini. My explosion (in June '97) was spontaneous. For the two months preceding I had awful unremitting back aches and my feet ached continually. I wondered if I were coming down with crippling arthritis. Then when the explosion took place, the pain vanished. (At least THAT pain. :-) ) And unlike your author, the effects were not gone in three days. They are still with me and have been for over 2-1/2 years now. Although they wax and wane, I am never without them.

I did nothing to "bring on" K. I didn't even know what it was. I had heard the word in passing, but only in passing, and had immediately jumped to the conclusion that this was a quaint myth...or more bluntly, superstitious hogwash. A few weeks after my explosion, I woke one morning with the word Kundalini in my mind. I went online and did a web search. The first page I found was Kundalini Signs and Symptoms. I had about 60% of them and I thought, "Uh-oh." Later that figure rose to about 80%. Two people I met through the K list later told me that their first inkling of what was up was a dream like mine and a web search.

So...would I recommend that people try to raise their K? No, I don't think so. But that's my bias -- be careful what you wish for. I think K will rise, if it should, in its own time. In the case of your author, raising it artificially didn't "take" did it? However, for those determined to give it a shot, I can only say "bless you and good fortune" because I know what questing is; I have done it all my life.

To better explain what it was like, here's an excerpt from my diary -- August '97:

"To recap. Kundalini energy has been moving in me for eight weeks now.

"This has been the most profound period of my life. I have been through hell, been granted bliss, had my life-long beliefs and ideas turned upside down, and had my libido activated to almost unbelievable heights. I have laughed, cried, grieved. I find now that I accept, or at least do not reject out of hand, all sorts of things that I could not have accepted two months ago. I have seen runes writ in lichen on a limestone wall, and seen them come to life and tell me what they meant. I have had reams of channeled material roll out of my head and onto paper. I have known love, loss, rejection, acceptance, grief, sorrow, and unbelievable bliss. I have had pain, headaches, a small K burn on my hand, burning along my spine and through my feet, itching, spinal tingles, crown chakra tingles, and so on. From all this there is one thing -- amazingly -- that I take from this experience: my gratitude, my profound and everlasting gratitude to spirit, Goddess, God for this experience."

Sharon [Webb]
www.fractalus.com/sharon

Freddie Yam replies: You're right, it didn't take. That was the first and last time anything like that happened to me.

 

Kundalini: Potentially Dangerous
December 23, 1999 11:02 AM

Kundalini is a potentially very dangerous energy to play with. The writer of the article certainly stated that, yet proceeds to tell of his experience and technique!

Kundalini, artificially aroused, can cause excruciating pain, emotional upheaval and/or insanity. There is a good reason why people are told to find a good teacher for kundalini work, or just avoid playing with it and let it rise in gradual manner through pranayama, yoga and mantric meditation.

The writer was lucky that he had a joyous experience.

So many people talk of kundalini awakening or rising when in reality, if Kundalini was fully awakened, or risen, one would attain instant enlightenment. You don't have a temporary experience.

What most people are reporting in their Kundalini experiences is a stimulation of the kundalini energy which released so kundalini vapors, in a sense, which can effect emotions, bring about physical sensations of pain or pleasure, etc.

Was it irresponsible to print? Well, we are all responsible for what we put out there. If someone does that technique and winds up with a horrendous experience that they don't recover from, what would you think?

One of the things this fellow did was lay on his back to do the technique. He's lucky he didn't do permanent damage to his spine. A straight, erect spine, unencumbered by pressure against the spine itself is what is recommended for meditation and other spiritual techniques, because rising energies can harm the spine if they cannot flow freely.

My personal opinion is that the article is potentially dangerous.

Namaste!
June
Reproduced from Kundalini@onelist.com by permission

 

Kundalini: You Can Still Sleep At Night
December 22, 7:22 PM

[Was it irresponsible to publish The Day My Kundalini Woke Up?]

No, because it isn't exactly clear how the author did it. I would have to see a video in order to duplicate his position, the pillows, and how he breathed and contracted various muscles. Second, most people wouldn't spend three or four hours a day for several days in a row trying to get this effect -- most people would quit after about twenty minutes (which is about how long most network tv shows are, minus the commercials, and for a good reason -- the limited human attention span). So, don't worry too much about leading people down the primrose path of kundalini awakening. I think you can still sleep at night. : )

Isadora
Reproduced from Chi-talk@onelist.com by permission

 

Kundalini: Sharing Something Sacred and Understandable
December 22, 6:40 PM

Glenn and I read The Day My Kundalini Woke Up together and both feel it is well written and responsible. You even have links to El Collie's assistance and other resources. Many people have spontaneous awakenings without knowledge and others are trying it on their own anyway. The author at least presented clear information and a method that worked for him without doing damage. Combined with the resource you mentioned, it seems like an honest person wanting to share something sacred and real understandable. It was nice to read.

Thanks,
Glenn and Tamra Temple-Morris
www.hoshinjutsu.org
Reproduced from Chi-talk@onelist.com by permission

 

Kundalini: Chances of Misdiagnosis Are Greater
December 23, 9:19 PM

There needs to be more information out there, not less. The chances of someone "forcing" a Kundalini awakening they're not ready for are far smaller than the chances of a doctor misdiagnosing a patient whose only ailment is Kundalini activity. Just my humble opinion. :)

Love,
Hunting Wolf
Reproduced from Kundalini@onelist.com by permission

 

Kundalini: Excruciating Pain Healed by Reiki
December 24, 1:24 AM

I started to learn meditation around 1985. All I knew at that time was to sit down, close my eyes, and concentrate my mind on an object. I did this almost every day without guidance from a guru, and without knowing why I was doing it.

Around the end of 1991 or '92, every time I went to some new place, I felt like I had been to that place before. Sometimes also I saw a vision of that place in the past. I felt that way almost every day for a year.

After that time until the end of 1997 nothing special happened. At the end of 1997, I started feeling an excruciating pain in my head every day (around 12:00 noon) and starting from 5:00 pm I had to lie in bed until the next morning. Every time I tried to sit down on my bed I felt the pain, and if I tried to get up from the bed I felt a terribly severe pain in my head and blacked out.

I suffered this way for about a year and a half. Every time I went to the doctors for a checkup, they found nothing wrong with my body and told me only that I needed to rest, but the pain continued.

In 1998 I bought a book about Kundalini and Reiki. From that book I finally realized that during this time my Kundalini had been waking up without my knowledge. From that point on I began to investigate Kundalini and look for a master for guidance. I had my Reiki initiation in early 1999 and one week after that, the pain was gone. Since then I can do my activities normally all the time.

Judging from my experience and information received from my master, Kundalini awakening is very very dangerous without guidance from a master (someone whose Kundalini has reached the sahasrara/crown cakra). I was very lucky to find a master before my condition became worse, because sometimes people whose Kundalini wakes up without guidance will become insane or have a very strong urge to commit suicide (due to the excruciating pain which they cannot tolerate for long time).

Kundalini awakening, if combined with Reiki Attunement under guidance from a master, is a very safe way to seek a higher spiritual level. Since September 1999, I have worked with my master (Aldhi Kristanda, 36 years old) whose clairvoyance and Kundalini woke up when he was seven years old. We have established a foundation called "Yayasan Kundalini-Siddhi" where we give Reiki Attunement combined with Kundalini awakening.

We established this foundation just to help other people, so they won't feel the same excruciating pain that afflicted me for so long.

My English is not very good, so I apologize for any mistakes I've made, and ask you to please correct them.

Yours faithfully,
Suratno, 32 years old

 

Kundalini: It's Not Epilepsy
December 24, 5:31 AM

'Ello! I have epilepsy, and this summer I had my first kundalini experience. It's a LOT different. At least my experiences.

I think Reiki boosted my development. But one of them (Reiki or k), or both, or something, boosted my epilepsy too. Big time.

Before this year I only had REALLY small seizures. Now... now I've even had a grand mal. So... it's a REALLY big difference. My epilepsy got a little worse after reiki, and after my k experience... MORE worse...

We don't really know (yet anyway) where my epilepsy is located, but it's light-related -- disco's are a no-no -- AND I have a scar in my brain -- hippocampus -- near memory.

Anyway, shaking is often related to epilepsy. Well, I shake when I get epileptic seizures, and I shook when I got the k-experience, but it was VERY different. With the k-experience my SPINE shook. Nothing more.

When getting seizures... well... I think you know what a grand mal looks like... Prior to this I had what the doctor called hearing "auras." (This now has NOTHING to do with auras.) Everything I heard just... got twisted somehow. This sounds a little vague to be epilepsy, but as I said, it has gotten worse.

When I had the k-experience, there was a doctor nearby, he diagnosed epilepsy as the cause of it. He simply thought I had gotten some other kind of seizure. I tried to tell him that this wasn't the case -- but sometimes doctors just won't listen to you... espcially when you're trying to tell them that they're wrong. Then I suddenly found an article on the internet that explained the symptoms of k, and everything that happened to me was right there -- and I knew what had happened to me.

Maybe you could print this? Maybe it would help others, if they saw the symptoms?

Kristian Niemi
Reproduced from Kundalini@onelist.com with permission

 

Kundalini: It Felt Like a Snake Uncoiling
December 23, 6:27 AM

My first experience with spontaneous kundalini took place five years ago today. Within a week, I was in a mental hospital. The second experience took place about 384 days after the first experience: coincidentally, the lunar year is exactly 384 days long. The second experience lasted for at least six months, with lots of bizarre activity.

In my original experience, it felt like a snake was uncoiling and moving up and out of the top of my head. The birth of Athena out of the top of the head of Zeus may have been one explanation that the Greeks used to describe the phenomenon.

I have never met anyone who advocates trying to raise kundalini by a concerted effort to do so.

There are a number of web and print sources regarding "bad" kundalini experiences. Shared Transformation provides archival information of their newsletter, which can help create some familiarity with poor experiences. A must-have book on spontaneous kundalini is Joan Adler's Arching Backward.

Bentov's Stalking the Wild Pendulum discusses the physio-kundalini syndrome and some side-effect health problems. Bentov's simple definition of spontaneous kundalini as a stress-release mechanism is one of the best definitions we have here in the west. (This is partly due to the fact that the kundalini energy is latent until some stressful event(s) cause this energy to "rise.")

Bruce Greyson, editor of the Journal of Near Death Studies, wrote in 1991 that there are many similarities between spontaneous kundalini and near death experiences.

The main thing I can stress is that anyone interested in the subject should look for ways to ground their experiences by reading other stories about the subject. I had to deal with about six different entity-like beings for a number of months. Carlos Castaneda's views on less-than-benevolent allies certainly helped me through. Good luck.

Tim McKee
Reproduced from KundaliniHeat@onelist.com with permission

 

Kundalini: Keep Up the Good Work
December 22, 8:57 PM

[Was it irresponsible to print The Day My Kundalini Woke Up?]

No way. From what I read of your magazine, it is a place to discover and read about awakenings, realizations, and enlightenment. Anyone who reads your magazine would understand this. It is geared towards adults on a spiritual path. You also linked at the bottom of this article, many wonderful websites that would tell of kundalini in more detail -- Harsha's papers, a detailed FAQ from Kurt, the Shared Transformation forum, among others.

The author of the article gave a few warnings that he admitted he ignored on purpose since he never follows directions anyway.

Yes, people can go insane from their kundalini awakening -- I did. My kundalini did not awaken because I read an article of "how to," but because I made my own decision to meditate and study to reach enlightenment, without realizing that it would lead me to a kundalini awakening -- which I had never heard of. Because of my own ignorant awakening, I think it is wonderful to see articles and links such as yours being brought to the public. Thank you!

I have been on the Kundalini list from 1996 until recently, and many of the subscribers that post are there because they had never heard of the word kundalini until after they searched and searched trying to figure out what happened to them. Any that know of the word kundalini, already knows of the warnings, or reads more articles or books about it, joins a list, etc, to know more. At that point, if they choose to follow another's path -- including Gopi Krishna's nightmare -- they do it at their own free will.

In my own personal opinion, when one is following diligently the path to God, Truth, and Realization, no matter if the path is ignorant, risky or just plain downright stupid, they will find what they are looking for. It is a win-win situation.

I truly feel you did your part, and have no need at all to feel irresponsible. Keep up the good work!

Love,
Tg Langston
Reproduced from HarshaSatsangh@onelist.com with permission

 

Kundalini: Like Riding a Moped in a Bicycle Rally
December 24, 9:53 AM

This is in response to your post to alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan asking for comments on the article, The Day My Kundalini Woke Up.

Uh, so what? Your author is apparently having some unusual energy and is inexperienced with yoga. He's getting some extraordinary flashes of conscienceless [sic]. Good for him. My point is; what's that got to do with anything? Feeling extraordinary is just another empty experience the poor guy is going to have to overcome now to get anywhere.

I can just hear Trungpa Rinpoche very solemnly telling this fellow to find the scariest roller coaster he can and ride it blindfolded until he vomits; his point being that it would have the same affect as this Kundalini awakening.

Yogi training is best left to those who will benefit from its results. If one wishes to benefit, they should undergo training in order to fully utilize the wisdom accompanying that experience. What Mr. Yam did is tantamount to riding a Moped in a bicycle rally.

Publishing the article will no doubt encourage a few more of the inexperienced to attempt the same, perhaps with the same results. They will then have to work all the harder to fully realize the illusion they have created for themselves, and work still harder to release it. If in your view, that's good, then your publishing the article was a good thing. I just don't agree.

Yours,
Tashi

 

Love That Loose Distance
December 22, 1999 3:54 PM

very nice, very nice, i especially loved the staff biographies ;-) I loved reading the articles, let me say i loved the way they were written! that loose distance. some time ago i was on a kundalini mailing list and stories like that came along quite often (unexpectedly for me in the beginning, if i may say, i'm talking about 1996 when the list started) and killing the ego... reading it made me wish to see and shake hands with the author...

Frans

 

Kundalini: People Could Die or Go Insane
December 22, 1999 9:18 AM

I think The Day My Kundali Woke Up is an irresponsible article. I have no respect for anyone publishing an article telling how to have a Kundalini awakening. Some people could die or go insane from such an approach. You don't know what you are playing with!

Name Withheld

The author of our article had an ecstatic experience with no bad effects of any kind. Other people, as you say, have terrible experiences. How many cases fall into each category? Do the benefits outweigh the harm? Are the different experiences really instances of the same phenomenon, or are people actually talking about several different things when they say "kundalini?" Until these scientific questions are answered, we see nothing irresponsible about publishing detailed information about specific experiences. If you will tell us about the experiences you have had that make you so concerned, we will gladly publish your story. --Editor

 

Kundalini: Dangerous and Disrespectful
December 20, 1999 12:35 PM

Your article The Day My Kundali Woke Up is irresponsible and disrespectful. Irresponsible because it contains dangerous information that could hurt people. Disrespectful because it reveals secrets that belong to sacred Yoga traditions.

Kundalini is no joke. It's not a play thing. There are good reasons why the knowledge of how to raise it, which you cavalierly disseminate as if it's nothing more than a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, has traditionally been given to seekers only after they are initiated by their gurus. This is the responsible way because the guru ensures that all the prerequisites are met, especially the student purifying the nadis so the Kundalini rises in the sushumna and not the ida or pingala.You didn't even mention the importance of purifying the nadis, but this is exactly what needs to be done to prevent the painful consequences that Gopi Krishna suffered from, that you lament at such length.

I hope this article is not indicative of what we can expect from you in the future. Sadly, I must say that you are off to a disappointing start.

Thomas McCann

Freddie Yam replies: I didn't betray any sacred yoga secrets because I didn't know any. My article described the experience of an untrained person with no esoteric knowledge. The fact that I could discover these "secrets" simply by observing my mind and body shows that they don't belong to particular traditions. As for endangering other people -- I'm not my readers' daddy. They can decide for themselves what's prudent.

 

Your Kundalini Isn't Awake, Just Sleeping Restlessly
December 16, 1999 1:07 AM

The experience that Freddie Yam wrote about in The Day My Kundali Woke Up is very interesting, but I am somewhat skeptical that it is really a case of the Kundalini awakening.

Normally shaktipat is required from a guru whose own Kundalini is fully active to awaken the Kundalini of a seeker. Perhaps Freddie's experience shows that his Kundalini is ready to wake up, not that it has woken up.

Mal Formato

 

Beautiful but Funny Looking
December 12, 1999 10:23 PM

I most sincerely thank you for the recognition of Nonduality Salon. Especially the work on the mailing list, which is done without any intention of receiving any recognition at all. We are there to work with each other and help each other and it is very hard work. Recognition is totally unexpected and appreciated.

Your magazine is going to be very successful. It is beautifully designed, extremely easy to navigate, in no way pretentious; it clearly states its objective; it is written for the people in ordinary language. It maintains a healthy sense of humor and freedom of expression.

Thank you again, and congratulations to you and the staff (they sure look funny!).

With love,

Jerry [M. Katz]
Nonduality Salon

We think Nonduality Salon deserves all the recognition it can get because lots of folks who don't know about it will be very happy to discover it. The list in particular is an amazing resource. As for looking funny . . . that's nothing, you should see the pictures of us without makeup. --Editor

 

Get Rid of the "I"dea
In reply to What Is Enlightenment?
December 13, 1999 6:31 AM

First, let's toss out the term enlightenment. Like the word "God," it has been abused for so long that it no longer has any meaning.

"Realization" will do for the purpose of this discussion.

So what is it?

Nothing at all unusual. A return from the unnatural state most of us live in day to day to a natural state of thinking and being. The loss of all ignorance. There is nothing gained in realization, and (although it may appear so at first), nothing lost. Anything "lost" was never "had" in the first place, only thought to have been had.

The main root of ignorance blocking knowledge of our true state is the "I"dea, as I call it . . . the thought "I am I," also known as the ego. What we call personality is a collection of memories, hopes, dreams and conditionings imposed upon us by a million sources (memory, conditioning, habits, society) . . . and finally after becoming habitual, our own minds impose the "I"dea on themselves. This sense of "I" is most fragile. It is like an early morning fog. The slightest sun shining upon it may blow it away. So it has to be constantly maintained, which is the main focus of most people's lives -- maintaining the sense of "me." Much of what is done is for that sole purpose, to keep erected the boundary that divides us from the vastness of Life and Love.

There are a million techniques, yogas, paths that can effectively remove the "I"dea. Choose one, choose them all, but the important quality is the one known as "earnestness." Ultimately, it really doesn't matter what is done to get rid of ignorance, because the motivation behind the doing is the energy that drives the process. The doing (various sadhanas and yogas) have little effect except to keep this quality of "earnestness" active and functioning.

The most pernicious element of the "I"dea is the "I-am-the-body" idea. That is why many Eastern yogas prescribe a course of detachment and dispassion. First, one has to get past being able to point to the body seen in the mirror and saying "this is me." Even logically, to consider the body as "me" is ridiculous, as the brain has been identified by science as the focal point of consciousness. This cornball notion of "body as myself" has to go.

Mind is often more difficult to get past. Science is our God in the West, and science tells us that consciousness begins and ends in the brain. It helps here to begin to see that the universe (world) springs from us, not us from the universe. We are prior to the universe. When we go to sleep at night, the universe ceases to exist, and upon awakening it springs back into being. There are other ways to get past the mind. Mind creates all ideas, and mind can eliminate those ideas. Habitual, ignorant patterns of thinking can be eliminated. The mind can be "purified."

Loss of ego is not the end of realization. Realization is the loss of all ignorance, and although ego is a major element it is certainly not the only one. Realization means that one rejoins Ground of Being entirely, not even identifying with it, but becoming Ground of Being (what one eternally is already). The mystery is in "being" and "becoming," which are reconciled completely in realization, along with the reconciliation of all opposites. Good and evil, white and black, happy and sad, hate and love, all of these are seen as identical in realization. Perception of subject and object vanishes, and only Eternal Relationship remains, relationship without subject or object. One dissolves in the ocean of love that lies at the very core of life, and dissolves permanently.

As for how realization occurs, it is entirely accidental. The mind can carry us to the brink, and keep us there, waiting. The actual "crossing" will happen when it is ready to happen. It cannot be forced or willed. The fruit will fall from the tree when it is ripe, not a moment before. And once it has fallen, there is no putting it back on the tree. Once dissolved in Being-Consciousness-Bliss, there is no reconstituting it. The body/mind continues by itself for awhile, uninhabited, until it perishes. When that happens, nothing has changed. The realized being might notice no change whatsoever when the body falls away, or perhaps only that a line of communication had been cut, or that something which seemed to be there no longer seems to be there anymore.

With Love,

Tim Gerchmez
The Core

 
 

New and Recent
October 2000


Showing Respect for Ramana by Elena Gutierrez. October 10.

The Gospel of Thomas translated by Stephan Patterson and Marvin Meyer. September 14

Sanskrit Language Texts compiled by Nadine Berardi. September 14.

Autobiography of an Indian Monk reviewed by Laura Olshansky. September 10.

Zen and the Brain reviewed by Gary Schouborg. September 7.

Prayer to My Guru, Sri Sri Sri Sivabalayogi Maharaj by Charlie Hopkins. September 6.

The Laser Swami by Thomas Ashley-Farrand. July 1.

How Will I Know If I'm Really Meditating? by John S. Anderson. June 30.

What Ramana's I-I Feels Like by Anonymous. June 12.

Self-Enquiry by Ramana Maharshi. June 9

Isa Upanishad translated by F. Max Müller. June 4.

Sexuality and Spiritual Awakening by Bonnie Greenwell, Ph.D. June 1.

Kena Upanishad translated by F. Max Müller. May 31.

Prasna Upanishad translated by F. Max Müller. May 30.

Sat-Cakra-Nirupana by Purnananda Swami. May 26.

Autobiography of a Monk by Shri Acharya Abhidhyanananda Avadhuta. May 25.

The Dance by Rev. Maureen Heffernan. May 23.

To Be and Not to Be: The Koan of the Ego by El Collie. May 23.

Aitareya Upanishad translated by F. Max Müller. May 21.

What We Learn in the Dark by Gary Schouborg. May 21.

Ellam Ondre by Vijai R. Subramaniyam. May 20.

The Way to Practice Vipassana Meditation by Sayadaw U Pandita Bhivamsa. May 20.

Finding a Teacher by Puran Bair. May 19.

Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. May 19.

Katha Upanishad translated by F. Max Müller. May 18.

I Need To Feel You Every Moment In My Heart by Charlie Hopkins. May 18.

Crest Jewel of Wisdom by Sankara. May 16.

Turning Blue: Natural Pranayama by Freddie Yam. May 15.

2000 Realization.org.