Dr John Demartini

October 27, 2009

john-demartiniLast weekend I went to a seminar run by the very impressive Dr John Demartini. He has a method for collapsing our lop-sided perceptions so that we can see ‘what is’ rather than some infatuated or resentful view of the world.

Amongst many other things, he told us how bipolar, depression, schizophrenia and addiction come about and how to solve them. It would take me a long time to explain, but basically these states are caused by false perceptions and are resolved by changing those perceptions.

For example, John treated a young woman who had been addicted to heroin for six years. He found out that the addiction started when her parents divorced. This caused her deep grief. Let’s say this was a negative experience with a magnitude of -8. So in her attempt to to regain balance she sought a massively positive experience of +8, which she could only find with heroin.

John uncovered that she had a perception of how life should be. Deep down she clung to an image of a happy home with a white picket fence etc. When life challenged that ideal she felt a deep sense of loss resulting in grief. The feeling of loss continued as long as the perception was maintained.

She was infatuated with the ideal family home and could only see the positive attributes and no negatives. So John took her through a process of changing her perceptions. He asked to to come up with negatives/drawbacks about the family home. Of course, she was totally brainwashed into thinking it was all perfect and struggled to find any drawbacks, but eventually she comes up with a few: it would take a lot of time and effort and money to maintain, it would make other people jealous, the neighbours might be gang members, etc.

This process of examination caused her to link new associations in her brain to her fairy-tale image. She realized the real-world situation about her ideal family home – that it was not a purely positive scenario, but a balance of positive and negatives. Consequently, she no longer felt the same sense of loss and the magnitude -8 grief left her. She no longer had a need for a +8 high; so no more craving heroin, despite the suggestion that addiction is a physiological issue.

Schizophrenia would be +16 and -16. John told a story about a man who had a serious accident and got brain injury and subsequent schizophrenia. He found that the delusions of being Jesus, Atilla the Hun and Alexander the Great were in fact the only way he could deal with the overwhelming emotions that came with what he perceived he had lost from the accident.

His -16 shame was countered by the +16 compassion of Jesus, feeling trapped in a mental hospital was countered by the breakout-power of Atilla, weakness by the strength of Alexander. John worked with this man and balanced his perceptions and he was re-diagnosed with bipolar. After some more work he was re-diagnosed without bipolar disorder and was released from the institution and now has a regular job. So his schizophrenia was not a result of brain injury as shown on the MRI, but an inability to manage powerful emotions.

An other example, John pointed out how the Tibetan culture was infatuated with peacefulness etc and became disempowered and very yin. They attracted to themselves the very yang Chinese to restore balance and teach them about self-empowerment. I see this in a meteorological sense – a low pressure system draws into itself a high pressure system.

So when John’s method is understood and applied correctly, then the Tibetans will be deeply grateful to the Chinese for coming to them and restoring balance. When we reject some part within ourselves, like the Tibetans rejected aggressiveness, then the universe will bring it into our experience for us to love it and integrate it and be whole again.

The examples go on and on. And they’re really inspiring and they make a whole lot of sense to me. Not only that, but I saw it in action and had my own experience of it too. At the end of the process you’re left feeling a deep sense of gratitude and love for whatever happened, to those that did it and its consequences.

John says that when you recognize the perfection of whatever ‘bad’ thing happened to you and are so grateful for it and all the benefits it brought you, then you’d wish it upon your children. If you don’t feel this way, then you still resent it and you’re perceptions are still lop-sided.

For more information about this process read any of John Demartini’s books, particularly The Breakthrough Experience.

Higher States of Consciousness

October 24, 2009

About two weeks ago I was inspired to write about how individual will develops and becomes more and more aligned with the divine will. Two things occurred to me that caused me to pause.

Firstly, there is a lot to say about this and it would take a long time to write. To properly express what I wanted to say would take a lot of effort and a lot of time choosing the right words because it is a topic that is so easily misunderstood.

Secondly, I felt that it would fall upon deaf-ears. Any talk about development of consciousness and the greater expression of God’s will is easily shot down by the casual observer.

So I decided that instead of trying to express it in my own words I would find some words from someone more articulate. These kind of words can’t be found by looking for them, but I knew they’d pop up sooner or later – and they have.

Here is a clip of Adyashanti talking about the development of consciousness even when people think there is no-one for this to apply to. This kind of knowledge is thoroughly rejected by neo-advaitins, but is a core part of traditional advaita.

I’m in awe of how well Adyashanti expresses this point. I’d like to meet him one day.

Transcription of the above YouTube:

So this phase of awakening requires a real radical honesty – a real willingness to really look at how we literally unenlighten ourselves and how we bring ourselves back into the gravitational force of the dream state. And this phase as I said really requires a deeper sense of honesty.

Now as a spiritual teacher to get people to this state of honesty, or to suggest that they go there, can be quite difficult because there is a great tendency in the egoic structure to begin using a moment where one perceived reality as a reason to hide from all of ones inner divisions.

It is very common for people to come to me who have had some seeing of a deeper truth and I’ll start to suggest some of the things that I’m talking about in this talk and they’ll say, “But there’s nobody to do it. There is no person here. The ego and the person is an illusion. So there is really no one to even look inside. There really isn’t anything to be done.”

From the perception of awakening there isn’t a problem, even when things are a total mess. From the perception of awakening there isn’t a problem therefore there’s nothing to do. Therefore if you perceive anything other than there’s something to do, they would conclude, then you’re deluded.

This kind of person is very, very hard to get through and this is one of the real dangers of awakening – that we grasp at a lop-sided view of awakening. We grasp at the absolute view of awakening – and we deny anything else. And as soon as we grasp at any view we have gone blind to everything else.

And so as I said it can be very, very difficult for any spiritual teacher to get someone to stop holding on to their fixation in the absolute view. It’s hard to get them to see it’s actually the ego that fixates in the absolute view and literally can use the absolute view as an excuse for dismissing very unenlightened behaviour, very unenlightened thought patterns, very unenlightened or divided emotional states.

And so that’s why I say part of this journey, this particular part of the journey, is the willingness the sincerity to be really, really honest with oneself. Yes, there is the absolute view. It’s true there is no problem. It’s true there is no separate self. It’s true there is nobody to do what I am speaking about.

But I’m not speaking to the ego here. I’m not telling to ego it needs to do something or doesn’t need to do something. I’m not speaking to any sense of a separate self. What I’m speaking to is directly to the reality itself. Spirit is speaking to spirit here. Reality is speaking to reality. It may sound like I am talking to a person and directing a person but I am not. What I am speaking about here is inherent in the perception of awakening itself.

That which is awake always comes, moves towards, that which is not awake. That which is awake has no fear of that which is not awake. It doesn’t have any fear because it doesn’t perceive anything as separate or other than itself. That which is awake doesn’t even perceive delusion or the dream state as separate or other than itself. It sees that everything is itself, equally itself.

But also, in a very subtle way, but if we’re very honest it’s very noticeable, inherent within the truth of our being itself is a desire, of course to say desire is not really true, but I don’t know what other word to use. There is an inherent movement towards the releasing of any limitations, the releasing of any sense of confinement, the releasing of hate, ignorance and greed. The releasing of itself from the dream state.

So that’s the perspective that I’m talking about here. That’s where I’m talking from. This is where the truth of our being is not totally content until it has freed itself of its own misunderstanding, its own fixations, its own illusions. And to allow that to happen, as a human being, as the appearance of a human being, we have to be willing to be very honest with ourselves, while not denying what we have seen, we also have to see: How is it right here and right now, what in me can still go into division? What in me can still go into hate, to ignorance, to greed? What in me that can cause me to feel divided, isolated, to go into sorrow? Where are those spots in one’s self that are less than awakened?

Because that which is awakened in us is compassionate. Its nature is undivided, unconditioned love. So it doesn’t move away from that which is unawakened – it moves towards it. That within us which is awake doesn’t move away from our own contradictions and thought patterns and behaviours. It doesn’t move away from fixations. It doesn’t move away from pain. Quite the opposite, it moves towards it.

That’s why so many beings throughout time, the truly really enlightened beings, the fully awake beings, who have proclaimed and who you can feel in their energy field they know that everything is good – that all is well ultimately, even though things may appear to be a mess, that all is well that even the mess is well. But those very beings that perceive that, that perceive total unity, that perceive no need to change anything or anybody, see that everything is divine and perfect as it is, isn’t it ironic that are often the very ones that are actually tending to those who are suffering, to those that don’t perceive truth, to those that don’t perceive reality?

Now why would they do that if everything is perfect as it is, if nothing needs to change, if everything is holy and divine exactly as it is, if all is well even when all isn’t well, if that’s the only thing they realise, then why are they dedicating their lives to the welfare of others? What would be the point? Well there wouldn’t be a point. They wouldn’t be doing it.

I would suggest the reason that so many people who get that far in their own awakening end up dedicating themselves to the welfare of others is because without denying that view, which I would call the absolute view, they also haven’t fixated into that view and so they are open to perceiving something more. They’re open to perceiving the inherent compassion of reality itself. Yes, it is uninvolved. Yes, it never goes into conflict or upset about anything. But also inherent in its nature is unconditional love, unconditional compassion.

It is in the process of awakening all of itself to itself. And that view, that part of the picture, is going to be very hard to see if we fixate in the absolute view. If we use the absolute view to hide from our humanness. Because our humanness is divine and so our humanness also seeks to be really penetrated through and through with truth and with reality.

Quote from Sri Ramana

October 7, 2009

Effortless & choiceless awareness is our real nature. If we can attain that state and abide in it, that is all right. But one cannot reach it without effort, the effort of deliberate meditation. All the age old vasanas (inherent tendencies) turn the mind outward to external objects. All such thoughts have to be given up and the mind turned inwards and that, for most people, requires effort.

Ramana Maharshi – Teachings of Bhagavan pg 78

Beliefnet.com Quiz

October 6, 2009

Beliefnet.com has a very interesting multi-choice test that I just completed. It asks twenty questions about your beliefs and then matches these with major religions.

You can take the test here. My results are below.

I definitely identify with Hinduism the most – particularly Adi Shankara’s branch of Advaita Vedanta.

Next I identify with New Thought – especially the teaching of Joel Goldsmith, Emma Curtis Hopkins and the like. Many New Thought practitioners started with Christian Science but got sick of its unnecessary rules and dogma.

My Hindu viewpoint accepts all the schools and religions mentioned below as valid paths for deepening spirituality – especially Buddhism and Taosim. However, below the divided surfaces of Christianity, Islam and Judaism there are very powerful esoteric schools. One very wise yogi once told me that a mystic established in the Jewish tradition can be extremely powerful.

I don’t know much about Scientology but if it is anything like what is portrayed on the South Park episode about Tom Cruise, then it shouldn’t even be on this list. However, I have heard bits here and there that make me think that perhaps there might be some esoteric knowledge under their cultish exterior.

And if you are interested in knowing you political orientation beyond just left/right, then go to Political Compass.

1. Hinduism (100%)
2. Mahayana Buddhism (91%)
3. Neo-Pagan (87%)
4. Sikhism (78%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (77%)
6. New Age (68%)
7. New Thought (67%)
8. Jainism (64%)
9. Reform Judaism (63%)
10. Scientology (62%)
11. Liberal Quakers (59%)
12. Orthodox Judaism (59%)
13. Theravada Buddhism (57%)
14. Baha’i Faith (47%)
15. Taoism (47%)
16. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (46%)
17. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (44%)
18. Islam (42%)
19. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (32%)
20. Secular Humanism (31%)
21. Orthodox Quaker (29%)
22. Eastern Orthodox (27%)
23. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (27%)
24. Roman Catholic (27%)
25. Nontheist (19%)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (17%)
27. Jehovah’s Witness (14%)

When the Real becomes Unreal

October 3, 2009

It is said that when one realizes the Self the Real become Unreal and the Unreal becomes Real.

The unrealized seeker takes the world to be real and substantial. He credits the world with independent existence – separate from himself. He understands that he is born and will die while the world continues.

Picture 3aUpon realization all this is reversed and the seeker discovers that the world is actually unreal (maya), ephemeral and a mirage-like product of his own Self.

He looks back at other seekers and sees the drama in the mirage – its emptiness and meaninglessness.

However, when speaking to the unrealized seekers who ask for advice he has two options. He can talk from a masculine or a feminine point of view.

The feminine point of view sees the mirage as a divine play (lila) and empathizes with the characters, even though their world is entirely make-believe. The feminine view understands their pain and listens to their story, nurtures them and help them to grow to a point where they can realize for themselves the truth of their unreal existence.

This view understands that seekers are stuck in the mud and have to take a few more steps in the mud to get out of it. This approach is compassionate but temporarily perpetuates the dream and reinforces individuality to escape the muddy-mirage.

The other choice is the masculine point of view. This view is uncompromising, authoritative and impersonal. He states that there is no suffering, despite appearances. He speaks only the truth and will not indulge in the fantasy of the mirage-world. His approach is powerful, direct, rational and unyielding.

His method of stripping away false beliefs is not always gentle – it can be a little bit cruel – like a surgeon’s knife – but it is very effective.

The masculine school, like the military, is not a place for the weak and incompetent. This approach is not for everyone.

The feminine approach – like a mother raising children – takes the weak and incompetent and makes them strong, competent and fit for enlightenment. The masculine approach takes the competent seeker beyond the personal to the impersonal.

Both approaches have their time and place and discrimination is required for their appropriate application – but it is never a matter of right and wrong.

“And if you disagree with me, then you sir are worse than Hitler.” Greg Gutfeld, Red Eye on Fox.

Sri Ramana Maharshi: Who Am I?

October 3, 2009

ioh_08_bustSri Ramana’s whole teaching is contained in the short text Who Am I? You can download it here.

In this text Sri Ramana prescribes the Jnana Yoga path (Yoga of Intellect) which he says is only suitable for mature seekers – ie those who have the ability to keenly focus on their thoughts with discrimination (viveka) and dispassion (vairagya).

For those whose minds are carried outwards by thoughts, there are other practices that cultivate interiority, subtlety and concentration, as mentioned by Sri Ramana below.

Below are snippets from the text that highlight Sri Ramana’s view that self-realisation is the result of right effort. While the Self is without effort or struggle, realising the Self requires intense personal application.

The highest form of practice is giving silent attention to ‘I Am’ – as described by Nisargadatta in the post below. However, since most seekers neither understand the instruction nor have the capacity to ‘be still’, easier practices are prescribed that make the aspirant fit and strong for such concentrated effort.

10. How will the mind become quiescent?

By the inquiry ‘Who am I?’. The thought ‘who am I?’ will destroy all other thoughts, and like the stick used for stirring the burning pyre, it will itself in the end get destroyed. Then, there will arise Self-realization.

11. What is the means for constantly holding on to the thought ‘Who am I?’

When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “To me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent. With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source.

12. Are there no other means for making the mind quiescent?

Other than inquiry, there are no adequate means. If through other means it is sought to control the mind, the mind will appear to be controlled, but will again go forth.

Through the control of breath also, the mind will become quiescent; but it will be quiescent only so long as the breath remains controlled, and when the breath resumes the mind also will again start moving and will wander as impelled by residual impressions.

Therefore, the exercise of breath-control is only an aid for rendering the mind quiescent (manonigraha); it will not destroy the mind (manonasa).

Like the practice of breath-control, meditation on the forms of God, repetition of mantras, restriction on food, etc., are but aids for rendering the mind quiescent.

Through meditation on the forms of God and through repetition of mantras, the mind becomes one-pointed. The mind will always be wandering. Just as when a chain is given to an elephant to hold in its trunk it will go along grasping the chain and nothing else, so also when the mind is occupied with a name or form it will grasp that alone.

When the mind expands in the form of countless thoughts, each thought becomes weak; but as thoughts get resolved the mind becomes one-pointed and strong; for such a mind Self-inquiry will become easy.

Of all the restrictive rules, that relating to the taking of sattvic food in moderate quantities is the best; by observing this rule, the sattvic quality of mind will increase, and that will be helpful to Self-inquiry.

23. Is it any use reading books for those who long for release?

All the texts say that in order to gain release one should render the mind quiescent; therefore their conclusive teaching is that the mind should be rendered quiescent; once this has been understood there is no need for endless reading.

Nisargadatta Maharaj: An Indian Mystic

October 2, 2009

Picture 3When I met my Guru, he told me: “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am’, find your real Self.” I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon!

My teacher told me to hold on to the sense ‘I am’ tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am — unbound.

I simply followed (my teacher’s) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being ‘I am’, and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the ‘I am’ in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared — myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.

Picture 2My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense ‘I am’ and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense ‘I am’, it may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! Obedience is a powerful solvent of all desires and fears.

Give your heart and mind to brooding over the ‘I am’, what is it, how is it, what is its source, its life, its meaning. It is very much like digging a well. You reject all that is not water, till you reach the life-giving spring.