Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.

Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:55 am

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
---Philip K. Dick

I have been finding this to be true, and I admit it is disconcerting: No matter what I do, no matter how numbed-out I might make myself, and no matter how much I 'tune-in', up to this point the 'nature of reality' that surrounds me, and so terribly drives everything, almost ridiculously senslessly, continues to be precisely the same from day to day. Believing it or not, it doesn't go away.

I am beginning to doubt it will ever change. I am also beginning to doubt I will ever get from it any 'ultimate satisfaction', and therefor have become quite suspicious of any smiling face that emerges from it, always seeming to want to sell me something, in one way or another, some product, some merchandize, to sweep me up in its plan. This dammed 'reality', therefor, comes at me like the ultimate philistine, which philistinism I must reject to maintain my self-esteem, and yet I am constantly on the look-out for bargains, and I still have the sense that there shall emerge from the fog of this world someone with a genuine smile, not an advertising smile, who knows the way through this difficult territory.

So, one day follows another, and in a general sense each day is as drab as the one before it. True, it is altogether possible to focus on almost any phenomenon or any process [of Nature] and become overawed...inspired even. But let's just say that emotionally the flavor of life [sometimes] is like a hot, still, tired afternoon where everything seems too tired to move. A dog barks in the distance. It makes no sense to go anywhere. The rains are months away, the roads are dry and choked with dust.

How is it that, if these are the conditions of 'reality', that the story of the 'exploding metaphor' still captures my thoughts, still hooks my hopes? You move along the roads of life, and can you really say you know where you are? [please explain therefor]. If you are really somewhere, where are you really? You know you are in this place because, no matter what, every day you wake up in it, and every day it is exactly the same. But where are you, I really want to know? I submit that no one, in fact, can actually locate themselves, and that this idea of 'locality' is non-different than the constant questioning as to Who Am I? [Who Am I and Where Am I?] Generally, everone moves around me as if they are in a dream, and no one knows who they are nor where they are. [In a significant sense we are not really 'in reality' we are in our psychology, so that there are nearly as many realities as there are living beings, and is that another story?].

And yet---I think we have to put this on the table---I have this sense that, every once in awhile, I come across an unusual object, an out-of-place person [say, a laughing Black man with a crutch who stands smiling on one leg in the middle of a field] an anomaly, a sign, something like an invisible wind that moves the surface of the water, and if I only look slant-eyed at this 'object', whatever it is, I get an odd tingle in my solar-plexus, the anomaly excites some awareness, some sense that something far beyond 'reality' [the world] is speaking to me, wants to make itself known, or could even guide me along for some space of time, OR if I could get my hands on it, would ExPlodE in an indescribable way, raining down meaning (I don't know how else to describe it).

Maybe its different for you, but for me one of the only things I have to go on is the 'exploding metaphor' and all it connotes, and the promises it sets upon the paths that crisscross 'reality'.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Diebert van Rhijn » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:25 am

Alex Jacob wrote:some sense that something far beyond 'reality' [the world] is speaking to me, wants to make itself known, or could even guide me along for some space of time, OR if I could get my hands on it, would ExPlodE in an indescribable way, raining down meaning (I don't know how else to describe it).


You seem to be pushing the envelope a bit. Know your limits and cherish them at times.

When noticing, mostly subconsciously, what could also be called a higher order sign of 'the Real' it can indeed affect one as you describe. It's not only raining down of meaning though, it often rains down destruction too, destruction of everything going against it: our carefully crafted world of meaninglessness (compared to reality itself) whose main function and activity is to exists against the odds, against the real. All fool, all trick. So your black man and his stick can become the alien, the invader and the terrorist, just as well a messiah, a prophet or mere telling sign of doom or promise.

You could take this further though, out of the dreamlike subconscious fog you seem to prefer. But who doesn't?
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:44 am

One can never push 'the envelope' too much, unless one is unstable in mind, or physiologically weak. No matter what are the 'shifts' that one experiences, one always wakes up to the same world. And just by that fact, we know it as 'reality'.

This is juxtaposed with the notion of Ultimate Reality which, I admit, I do not understand. Is 'ultimate reality' different than the reality I wake up in every day, the one that we know because it is constant? (From now on this is the only subject in which I will engage. When they took the affairs of the world away, it is all I am left with!)

I've never had anything like a raining down of destruction, nor anything apocalyptic, except perhaps many years ago when I had a particularly powerful 'end of the world dream' that shook up my psychological reality. I assume you are being dramatic...for effect.

'The Black man standing on one leg' is Eleggua, the mercurial spirit, who always comes when called, either sooner or later.

Out of the subconscious fog? Am I indeed in some subconscious fog and didn't know it? A super-conscious fog sounds like a better fog, how do I get to it?
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Carl G » Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:15 am

Alex Jacob wrote:"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
---Philip K. Dick

I have been finding this to be true, and I admit it is disconcerting: No matter what I do, no matter how numbed-out I might make myself, and no matter how much I 'tune-in', up to this point the 'nature of reality' that surrounds me, and so terribly drives everything, almost ridiculously senslessly, continues to be precisely the same from day to day. Believing it or not, it doesn't go away.

Why are you fixated on the idea that reality should or even can "go away." Why would you want it to? Why would you think numbing out would lead to that happening? Or tuning in?

Now, as far as being precisely the same from day to day, I know what you mean. I have experienced that sensation. Sort of a feeling of being on a treadmill. And I don't like it either.

I am beginning to doubt it will ever change.

One's own reality can be shifted and sort of steered. It isn't easy to do sometimes. Sometimes it is pretty much impossible. When it is impossible one has to just go with the flow. Later, opportunities will present themselves.

I am also beginning to doubt I will ever get from it any 'ultimate satisfaction',

The quest for this, certainly an understandable desire, is a trap, of course.

and therefor have become quite suspicious of any smiling face that emerges from it, always seeming to want to sell me something, in one way or another, some product, some merchandize, to sweep me up in its plan.

Ah, the allure of the world, a constant companion of the pilgrim even as he plys the straight and narrow. But, in delving into this bill of goods, does he find satisfaction other than the momentary and transitory kind, but doesn't this actually serve to reinforce him to his path?

This dammed 'reality', therefor, comes at me like the ultimate philistine, which philistinism I must reject to maintain my self-esteem, and yet I am constantly on the look-out for bargains, and I still have the sense that there shall emerge from the fog of this world someone with a genuine smile, not an advertising smile, who knows the way through this difficult territory.

Well, there are helpers available, for others have trod before us, leaving signposts, and also whispering to us from the beyond.

So, one day follows another, and in a general sense each day is as drab as the one before it. True, it is altogether possible to focus on almost any phenomenon or any process [of Nature] and become overawed...inspired even. But let's just say that emotionally the flavor of life [sometimes] is like a hot, still, tired afternoon where everything seems too tired to move. A dog barks in the distance. It makes no sense to go anywhere. The rains are months away, the roads are dry and choked with dust.

These are actually the winter doldrums where I am. It is probably wise to not expect too much from this time.

Wait, you're in the southern hemisphere?

How is it that, if these are the conditions of 'reality', that the story of the 'exploding metaphor' still captures my thoughts, still hooks my hopes? You move along the roads of life, and can you really say you know where you are? [please explain therefor]. If you are really somewhere, where are you really? You know you are in this place because, no matter what, every day you wake up in it, and every day it is exactly the same. But where are you, I really want to know? I submit that no one, in fact, can actually locate themselves, and that this idea of 'locality' is non-different than the constant questioning as to Who Am I? [Who Am I and Where Am I?] Generally, everone moves around me as if they are in a dream, and no one knows who they are nor where they are. [In a significant sense we are not really 'in reality' we are in our psychology, so that there are nearly as many realities as there are living beings, and is that another story?].

It is easy to sail about without ever finding one's bearings. It is possible to find one's bearings and then lose them. Of course the place to find them, in the great scheme of things, is in one's center. I AM.

And yet---I think we have to put this on the table---I have this sense that, every once in awhile, I come across an unusual object, an out-of-place person [say, a laughing Black man with a crutch who stands smiling on one leg in the middle of a field] an anomaly, a sign, something like an invisible wind that moves the surface of the water, and if I only look slant-eyed at this 'object', whatever it is, I get an odd tingle in my solar-plexus, the anomaly excites some awareness, some sense that something far beyond 'reality' [the world] is speaking to me, wants to make itself known, or could even guide me along for some space of time, OR if I could get my hands on it, would ExPlodE in an indescribable way, raining down meaning (I don't know how else to describe it).

It is best to establish other means independent of miracles and let the miracles come of their own and serve as reinforcement only. Other means for motivation than the big emotional event. Other means than the earthquake that brings sea change to the world.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Carl G » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:47 am

Then again, Alex, maybe you're just putting us on.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Shahrazad » Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Carl,

Wait, you're in the southern hemisphere?
He's actually in the Northern Hemisphere, but only by a few degrees.

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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Carl G » Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:06 pm

He's actually started a thread and then run away from it, maybe to the southern hemisphere.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Tue Feb 26, 2008 11:23 pm

“To dream of an eagle in a high place...is good for those who are starting on some great undertaking.” (The Book of Destiny, p 249)
_______________________________________________

Emblem 21. A philosopher or geometrician stands in front of a wall upon which he is drawing a circle with a large pair of compasses. He is constructing this using some geometric rules from a circle with a square within a triangle. Within this central circle are a naked man and woman. On the ground in front of him are a protractor, a set square and a tablet with geometrical diagrams. He may be attempting to square the circle.
_______________________________________________

Run away? Me? 'I am constitutionally incapable of running away!'

The mundane world has been ripped out from underneath me, like someone kicking away the ladder, and I am left hanging here [somewhere I am hanging], trying to get a leg up to the portal that leads to 'ultimate reality'. I think a little more mercy & compassion are called for, Carl.

Diebert warned of an impending catastrophe and lo! it has come to pass! I am with the Guide who has a mandala face divided into four quadrants and we stand just before a narrow crack leading from the low hills with view of the sunny plains & cities of the lowlands and swamps up into far more difficult and demanding mountains. Somewhere 'up there' I feel the presence of a menacing black bird so huge that he shields the Sun, but I know I must make it to the top, and I must stand before that bird...

Because I am a man (and a manly-man at that) it falls to me to define the terms of discourse, to explore and to map a territory, to scout a whole metaphorical region and report back on what I have seen so that, in a minor facsimile of what you say, I too may 'whisper from eternity'. Back at the womb-ranch, of course, the girls giggle flirtatiously, shave their private parts, stare longingly at the horizon from windows with gauze curtains. To them and to the whole phenomenal world I am become a cold, northern wind! If I had a horse I'd call him Son of Thunder...

So, I sketched out a map, a simile, and it is the best that I can come up with. That's what it seems like to me. I am located in this world of flesh & bones and yet what is 'me' does not feel to me to be of the same stuff. No, my consciousness is 'epiphenomenal', spiritual! It arises [I think] from within the material stuff [or does it merely inhabit the material stuff?] and is forced---forced I tell you!---to make a home on a completely insubstantial platform where no 'sane' person would ever build, and this is what I call reality: that which, failing to 'believe' or 'disbelieve' in it, remains the same from day to day.

Do I refrain from building [here, as if there is some other here, a 'there' which is more 'real'] because I am a coward? Am I a Caesar or a miserable, effete Schopenhauer, 'running away from life'. I stood on the precipice, Carl, and like some Injun up in the Dakota Hills, I screamed my question into the winds that course over the world! Basically, what always happens, is more or less the same: to insist, to 'storm heaven', to really put your foot down, is a call to the spirit mercurius who will always answer, sooner or later, but the answer is always in the form of a map of myself, in alchemical format, with situational references, with flaskes & tubes & beings of mythology & unlikely juxtapositions & Vital Emblems & arcane diagrams of spiritual nerves with symbolical references, potent allegories, earth air fire & water & always the sound of a mercilless wind blowing at altitude. But with all that [and so much more] the only locality I know is that of Reality, and if I believe in it or don't it is what always remains the same...
________________________________________________

Emblem 42. At night under a crescent moon a woman walks along a path which goes over a bridge across a river. She holds a bunch of flowers in her right hand and a bundle of fruits in her left. She is followed down the path by an old man wearing spectacles, with a lamp in his left and a walking stick in his right hand, who places his feet in the footprints left by the woman.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:34 pm

Well, once again I fall...flat on my face. And while the bug-eating dilemna gets headlines, and our local heavywights wheel in the artillary, I guess I am left to square my own circle, in a manner of speaking. Someone, anyone, quick: Tell me a story!

Well, I got one. It is from the Pre-Enlightenment Cycle of Edifying Stories whose origin know one knows since they are part of an eternal cycle. All local geniuses: put on your Thinking Cap and prepare for a story that provokes and stimulates evolution (no, you drooling fool, that's the Dunce Cap! Try to learn to distinguish them...)
__________________________________________

Since Uncle Rabbit was so crafty and clever and in contest after contest showed Uncle Coyote that he knew so much more about Enlightenment (which includes: Truth, Courage, Honesty, Logic, Masculinity, Wisdom, Perfection, but not necessarily in that order), the story got round to the King of Animals---the Presiding Spirit of the Place---and he ordained that Uncle Rabbit be apprehended, dead or alive!

All the animals of the Genius Forest got together to consult, and one said:

---We should go and wait for him at the River of Enlightenment because he'd bound to come and drink there.

And so down to the River of Enlightenment they went, to lay in ambush. But Uncle Rabbit---and for this he has such looooooong ears---heard everything from behind a stump and he got to thinkin'....

Without hesitation, he went to town, went into a cobbler's shop, and stole a pretty little girl's shoe that the cobbler was working on, and he escaped with the shoe on the Royal Road out of town...

Soon, along came a man with a gourd full of honey slung over his shoulder, and Uncle Rabbit laid out the shoe in the middle of the road.

As he passed the man saw the shoe

---What a pretty little shoe! If it had it's mate I'd take it quick as a wink!

And he kept walking.

Well, as the man passed, crafty Uncle Rabbit took the shoe and scampered ahead of the man. He saw the man coming along and put the shoe out in the road again.

---Hey, here's the other one! I'm going to go back and get the first one and then I'll have the pair!

So he sets down his gourd filled with honey to lighten his load and runs back to get the other shoe.

And this was exactly what Uncle Rabbit was waiting for. Just as the man turned back, he opened the gourd and poured the honey all over himself.

Over in the forest, the forest floor is covered with dry leaves fallen from the trees. Uncle Rabbit rolled over in the leaves so that all the leaves got stuck to his fur. And down he went to the River of Enlightenment!

When he got there, all the animals of the Genius Forest just stared at this wierd new animal that approached, and they asked:

---Who the fuck are you?!?

---I am the King of the Leaf Swirl! said Uncle Rabbit.

And all the animals of Genius Forest lined up in two rows and paid hommage to him as he drank from the River of Enlightenment.

And that was the trick that Uncle Rabbit used to drink freely from Enlightenment Waters...

Now, I wasn't there and didn't see it, but I swear it's true!
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby samadhi » Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:24 am

Alex,
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
---Philip K. Dick

I have been finding this to be true, and I admit it is disconcerting: No matter what I do, no matter how numbed-out I might make myself, and no matter how much I 'tune-in', up to this point the 'nature of reality' that surrounds me, and so terribly drives everything, almost ridiculously senslessly, continues to be precisely the same from day to day. Believing it or not, it doesn't go away.
Okay, you're suffering.

I am beginning to doubt it will ever change.
No, reality will never change. You don't need to wait for that anymore. Your relationship to it however can change in any moment.

I am also beginning to doubt I will ever get from it any 'ultimate satisfaction' ...
Ultimate satisfaction? Lol.

... and therefore have become quite suspicious of any smiling face that emerges from it, always seeming to want to sell me something, in one way or another, some product, some merchandize, to sweep me up in its plan. This dammed 'reality', therefore, comes at me like the ultimate philistine, which philistinism I must reject to maintain my self-esteem, and yet I am constantly on the look-out for bargains, and I still have the sense that there shall emerge from the fog of this world someone with a genuine smile, not an advertising smile, who knows the way through this difficult territory.
Waiting for someone to do it for you smacks of Christianity, wouldn't you say?

So, one day follows another, and in a general sense each day is as drab as the one before it. True, it is altogether possible to focus on almost any phenomenon or any process [of Nature] and become overawed...inspired even. But let's just say that emotionally the flavor of life [sometimes] is like a hot, still, tired afternoon where everything seems too tired to move. A dog barks in the distance. It makes no sense to go anywhere. The rains are months away, the roads are dry and choked with dust.
Very poetic. But I suspect you are identifying with a mood rather than describing the way things are.

How is it that, if these are the conditions of 'reality', that the story of the 'exploding metaphor' still captures my thoughts, still hooks my hopes? You move along the roads of life, and can you really say you know where you are? [please explain therefore]. If you are really somewhere, where are you really? You know you are in this place because, no matter what, every day you wake up in it, and every day it is exactly the same. But where are you, I really want to know? I submit that no one, in fact, can actually locate themselves ...
Your question seems to imply that we SHOULD be able to locate ourselves, as if there is some kind of absolute locality. In fact you are HERE and NOW. What else do you need to know?

... and that this idea of 'locality' is non-different than the constant questioning as to Who Am I? [Who Am I and Where Am I?] Generally, everyone moves around me as if they are in a dream, and no one knows who they are nor where they are. [In a significant sense we are not really 'in reality' we are in our psychology, so that there are nearly as many realities as there are living beings, and is that another story?].
Um, yeah, that has been said for about the past 2,500 years, hasn't it? But I guess it's always a shock to realize it for oneself.

And yet---I think we have to put this on the table---I have this sense that, every once in awhile, I come across an unusual object, an out-of-place person [say, a laughing Black man with a crutch who stands smiling on one leg in the middle of a field] an anomaly, a sign, something like an invisible wind that moves the surface of the water, and if I only look slant-eyed at this 'object', whatever it is, I get an odd tingle in my solar-plexus, the anomaly excites some awareness, some sense that something far beyond 'reality' [the world] is speaking to me, wants to make itself known, or could even guide me along for some space of time, OR if I could get my hands on it, would ExPlodE in an indescribable way, raining down meaning (I don't know how else to describe it).
Sure. Awakening is always possible in any moment.

Maybe its different for you, but for me one of the only things I have to go on is the 'exploding metaphor' and all it connotes, and the promises it sets upon the paths that crisscross 'reality'.
Good. So pay attention to that. Paying attention to what interests you will always take you to the next step.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Thu Feb 28, 2008 9:31 am

Well, sometimes samadhi, I personally have my doubts about the conclusions that the experience of both suffering and futility provoke. It doesn't take much looking to see, and see pretty clearly, that almost all pursuit of pleasure and well-being---what I called 'building in a place only a fool would build'---is never going to provide ultimate satisfaction, and then there is the very simple fact that before too long everyone gives up everything in death. But, looking into that fact, one is still compelled to live one's life, to amass what one needs to amass, to look after this and to look after that, to go here and to go there. I feel that I have seen a good deal of 'disease' in much of the avoidance of life that attends 'spirituality', and this has been in my case one of the reasons why, when I need sobriety, I recoil from 'spirituality' with all the Eastern scent, into the basic and long-standing Jewish attitude, which is quite distinct from all that. In some senses it seems to me that the Jewish attitude is more or less stoic, accepting 'futility' but always asking that you try, at least, to do something useful.

It seems pretty obvious that there is one predominant school of thinking on this list. You could go about defining what the list is by eliminating what it is not. It is not very Christian (in the quite exalted, in my view, sense of what that can mean: an honest, mature, realistic Christian faith is a real achievement, despite the way it gets slammed so often here). Another dimension to the list is a sort of boyish, intellectual, mathematical, 'logical' spiritual attitude which does not at all seem tested to me, and often seems frail, shallow, like it could collapse at any moment. Then, there are the Buddhists, and I suspect (though I may be wrong) that this is your orientation. The recognition of suffering and the opening to a path, to an attitude shift, to 'awakening' that is the beginning of 'getting better'. (Along that line, it is interesting to me and I just found this out, that in Spanish one name for a priest is 'cura' which literally means 'cure', and that this 'universal religion' saw itself and represented itself as a 'spiritual cure' to the sufferings of paganism and pagan activity). It seems though that buddhism (always a sort of neo-buddhism) is a sensible counterpoint to Western materialism and scientism, and the fact that it does without almost any personalist element seems telling to me. That doesn't mean that I don't like it, it is just that it has never attracted me too much.

So anyway, before my mishegoss with storytelling and other madness gets out of hand, and in the spirit of honesty---and also as an artist who admires his own matrix and tradition---allow me to say that you noted suffering, as I think did Carl, and this leads to the pointing in the direction of a 'cure', and I think that most of the denizens of this list will readily offer their view of the Why of suffering, and an Ethic in the face of it.

An awareness of suffering is part and parcel of the work and the offering of the best artists, it seems to me. I mean, how after all would you describe Dostoevsky, for example? (The Russians are by and large always my favorites when it comes to seeing and describing 'reality'). Or the fine humor and the compassionate sensitivity of Chekjov? I guess it would be at that point, and with these artists and philosophers as a reference, that one could come up with a substantial apology for Christian religion and 'praxis'. The only reason I bring it up is because I think the Buddhist response to the reality of suffering, and that of the Christian and the Jewish (far more intimately tied than is assumed) is distinct from what the Eastern religions recommend, and their effect and activity in our cultures have not always been so good, in fact they have, in my opinion, been rather bad.

After you've had the Vision, what road do you take? Where do you put your energy? What are the things you need to 'do' when you have an 'experience of awakening'? One may be 'awake' (and what is awake in one moment, in one point of one's life, might not at all be awake in another: the generations come and go, each one grabs ahold of the exotic eastern religions, and each one comes up with...a new and original interior decoration scheme, a series of external doo-dads and attitudes and sometimes just trips, and in so many instances...the effort just collapses).

Is it enough to note suffering, to be able to recognize it, to give it a name? Sanatana Dharma describes an 'eternal religion'. What is that? Do we actually know?

Also, 'knowing where you are' means knowing the nature of the place; which means understanding the underpinning, the metaphysic; and only if you have plunged these questions and really examined them (beyond 'hobby spirituality' and spiritual new clothing), can one really know what one is to do in the place one finds oneself. There are many different, and contradictory, desriptions of this place. 'You are here, what more do you need to know?' can be answered in many different ways. And yes, it does seem to me that we SHOULD be able to authentically and really 'locate ourselves', and it also seems to me that locating ourselves is not easy. I don't think 'locating' comes about through purely rational reasoning, that is, mathematical thought. The sort of knowledge that stands in the background of spirituality and the religious impulse is not very substantial knowledge. It is often shadowy intimations from a nebulous realm where little is 'absolutely clear', is often deeply allegorical. So much depends on hunches and insubstantial intuitions, doesn't it? Youngsters often seem to jump into religious certainty, but I don't trust youngsters too much, having been too much of one, and remaining one still, myself).

"Sure. Awakening is always possible in any moment."

I don't know what is 'possible' and what isn't. You can also get saved by Jesus or join the Hare Krishnas. That might mean a great deal, or it might be a detour. How do you ultimately decide? What if all the criteria for deciding is peculiar to a moment, but is not 'eternal'? Maybe you make assumptions about what 'waking up is' and what the awake do? (I am just asking questions BTW).

Thanks to you and Carl for responding.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby divine focus » Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:27 pm

Alex Jacob wrote:And yes, it does seem to me that we SHOULD be able to authentically and really 'locate ourselves', and it also seems to me that locating ourselves is not easy. I don't think 'locating' comes about through purely rational reasoning, that is, mathematical thought. The sort of knowledge that stands in the background of spirituality and the religious impulse is not very substantial knowledge. It is often shadowy intimations from a nebulous realm where little is 'absolutely clear', is often deeply allegorical. So much depends on hunches and insubstantial intuitions, doesn't it?

They are only insubstantial when their value or usefulness goes unrecognized. It's only shadowy and nebulous because we are used to relying on the mind exclusively, and the mind enjoys a clear-cut reality where things are absolutely what they are. It has to be this way, or else the mind could never focus on any single question. It may remain somewhat nebulous, as everything is not crystal clear and completely known, but as experience is gained with these intuitions and impressions they become less shadowy and more trustworthy. You will trust yourself more on all levels, including intellectually. The nebulousness of reality, from a mental point of view, will no longer be a threat; the mind will still enjoy its clear-cut reality while being informed by intuitions from the nebulous realms. It will not be as clear mentally as it was hoped possible, but this will not matter because it will be clear on a different level and the mind will feed off of that clarity of perception. The mind may not have all the answers, but it will be trusting from experience that the answers will be available when they are most needed and revealed when they are most useful.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Thu Feb 28, 2008 10:13 pm

I do believe I understand what you wrote, DF, most people I think can refer to this sort of experience. They are either aware of it, more or less, or their whole existence is informed and directed by invisible guides that they never actually 'see'.

The view that you expressed is the very essence of a mystical relationship to a nebulous metaphysic. In that nebulous other there is a Voice, and Intelligence, which guides through subtle hints, through 'whispering'. I don't deny that this is 'the way it is' (it has mostly been like that for me and still is), I only restate that this is deeply problematic insofar as each person 'hears' in a very subjective sense, and directs themselves accordingly. All of our knowledge of things spiritual is of this sort: it comes from a shadowy and insubstantial realm, and is filtered through our own consciousness into more or less specific ethical practices and choices.

Also, it is not 'reality' that I refer to as nebulous, it is all of our ideas and intuitions about where we come from and where we are and what we are to do in this brief span of time. We have no definite knowledge about the metaphysical nature of the place, and so much depends, if you will, on experimentation with an existential Ouija board. Who is there to hear? In what context? In what 'temporal modality'?

Again, though I do understand what you are hinting at, on another level I might say that what you have principally described is in the 'language of psycho-babble'. It is fun to write it, it makes all the sense in the world, and is purely insubstantial, except to you and to those who share your agreements. Do I have a problem with that? Well, yes. In a sense I do. And that is what I expressed in my post. Will Jesus guide me through it? I have faith that He will. ;-)

We do not have a 'real' way to 'locate' ourself within our reality. And if we do, it is because we have internalized a Story about it.

[We will of course go into that as we explore, and analyse, new tales from the Pre-Enlightenment Story Cycle...]

And when our focus turns to a negation of participation in Life because we are 'laying up our treasure' in insubstantial voices that guide us, I think that not only does that point to a problem but it is a problem. Something that needs to be looked at. But looking at it takes you to the core of the metaphysic. And in that sense it is the difference between actually being in the world or being only partially in the world.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby divine focus » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:51 am

Again, though I do understand what you are hinting at, on another level I might say that what you have principally described is in the 'language of psycho-babble'. It is fun to write it, it makes all the sense in the world, and is purely insubstantial, except to you and to those who share your agreements.

:D Yes, it was a description from the mind's point of view, as if the mind would actually see things "objectvely" apart from the clarity of subjectivity. It may not be "substantial" as being a profound mover and shifter of perspective, but as a description of the functioning and relationship between the mind and the Voice, it may be of help to those mentally-focused who are in the process of familiarization with this Intelligence, in validation of their experience. It is not necessarily unnatural for those such as myself to have a more "technical" or "psycho-babblic" interpretation of experience.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby samadhi » Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:59 am

Alex,
Well, sometimes samadhi, I personally have my doubts about the conclusions that the experience of both suffering and futility provoke. It doesn't take much looking to see, and see pretty clearly, that almost all pursuit of pleasure and well-being---what I called 'building in a place only a fool would build'---is never going to provide ultimate satisfaction, and then there is the very simple fact that before too long everyone gives up everything in death. But, looking into that fact, one is still compelled to live one's life, to amass what one needs to amass, to look after this and to look after that, to go here and to go there. I feel that I have seen a good deal of 'disease' in much of the avoidance of life that attends 'spirituality', and this has been in my case one of the reasons why, when I need sobriety, I recoil from 'spirituality' with all the Eastern scent, into the basic and long-standing Jewish attitude, which is quite distinct from all that. In some senses it seems to me that the Jewish attitude is more or less stoic, accepting 'futility' but always asking that you try, at least, to do something useful.
A spirituality that avoids life is necessarily going to be limited in application. Certainly you can find that out there if you look for it. Nevertheless, there are some who teach non-avoidance specifically. You can find them if you're interested.

It seems pretty obvious that there is one predominant school of thinking on this list.
I'm not sure what your "list" is referring to, but I'll assume it is about spiritual avoiders.

You could go about defining what the list is by eliminating what it is not. It is not very Christian (in the quite exalted, in my view, sense of what that can mean: an honest, mature, realistic Christian faith is a real achievement, despite the way it gets slammed so often here).
The Christian faith as practiced certainly has avoidance built in. Jesus supposedly does the heavy lifting. There are some of course, like Mother Teresa, who do (or did) plenty of heavy lifting themselves. But we're talking in general here.

Another dimension to the list is a sort of boyish, intellectual, mathematical, 'logical' spiritual attitude which does not at all seem tested to me, and often seems frail, shallow, like it could collapse at any moment.
Like QRS? Seems fair.

Then, there are the Buddhists, and I suspect (though I may be wrong) that this is your orientation. The recognition of suffering and the opening to a path, to an attitude shift, to 'awakening' that is the beginning of 'getting better'.
Buddhism has a lot to recommend it but there can certainly be avoidance there too.

It seems though that buddhism (always a sort of neo-buddhism) is a sensible counterpoint to Western materialism and scientism, and the fact that it does without almost any personalist element seems telling to me. That doesn't mean that I don't like it, it is just that it has never attracted me too much.
Okay. The non-personal nature is actually quite a plus when you see what personal worship has done to most other religions.

So anyway, before my mishegoss with storytelling and other madness gets out of hand, and in the spirit of honesty---and also as an artist who admires his own matrix and tradition---allow me to say that you noted suffering, as I think did Carl, and this leads to the pointing in the direction of a 'cure', and I think that most of the denizens of this list will readily offer their view of the Why of suffering, and an Ethic in the face of it.
Sure.

An awareness of suffering is part and parcel of the work and the offering of the best artists, it seems to me. I mean, how after all would you describe Dostoevsky, for example? (The Russians are by and large always my favorites when it comes to seeing and describing 'reality'). Or the fine humor and the compassionate sensitivity of Chekhov? I guess it would be at that point, and with these artists and philosophers as a reference, that one could come up with a substantial apology for Christian religion and 'praxis'.
I've read both but it was too long ago to actually discuss them now.

The only reason I bring it up is because I think the Buddhist response to the reality of suffering, and that of the Christian and the Jewish (far more intimately tied than is assumed) is distinct from what the Eastern religions recommend, and their effect and activity in our cultures have not always been so good, in fact they have, in my opinion, been rather bad.
First, Buddhism is an eastern religion, the predominant one in fact, so I'm not sure what you are distinguishing it from. Second, you would need to elucidate more on the effect and activity in our culture before drawing the conclusion that it hasn't been good. My take would be that Buddhism’s effect and activity has been quite small compared to the western religions.

After you've had the Vision, what road do you take? Where do you put your energy? What are the things you need to 'do' when you have an 'experience of awakening'? One may be 'awake' (and what is awake in one moment, in one point of one's life, might not at all be awake in another: the generations come and go, each one grabs ahold of the exotic eastern religions, and each one comes up with...a new and original interior decoration scheme, a series of external doo-dads and attitudes and sometimes just trips, and in so many instances...the effort just collapses).
The effect of an awakening is always individual. Trying to make it into a religion results in nonsense like Christianity where supposed "good works" become mandatory. Awakening isn't about following someone else's rules. It is about knowing who or what you are. What you do with that is up to you.

Is it enough to note suffering, to be able to recognize it, to give it a name? Sanatana Dharma describes an 'eternal religion'. What is that? Do we actually know?
You seem to be making an assumption about suffering. Find out who you are before deciding what you need to do about it.

Also, 'knowing where you are' means knowing the nature of the place; which means understanding the underpinning, the metaphysic; and only if you have plunged these questions and really examined them (beyond 'hobby spirituality' and spiritual new clothing), can one really know what one is to do in the place one finds oneself.
What there is to do is not about where you are but about who you are.

There are many different, and contradictory, descriptions of this place. 'You are here, what more do you need to know?' can be answered in many different ways. And yes, it does seem to me that we SHOULD be able to authentically and really 'locate ourselves', and it also seems to me that locating ourselves is not easy.
You would need to define your terms before we could have this discussion. What do you even mean by "locating yourself"?

I don't think 'locating' comes about through purely rational reasoning, that is, mathematical thought. The sort of knowledge that stands in the background of spirituality and the religious impulse is not very substantial knowledge. It is often shadowy intimations from a nebulous realm where little is 'absolutely clear', is often deeply allegorical. So much depends on hunches and insubstantial intuitions, doesn't it? Youngsters often seem to jump into religious certainty, but I don't trust youngsters too much, having been too much of one, and remaining one still, myself).
Indeed. Awakening is not graspable. That is the first thing anyone with any understanding arrives at. Religions have been making rules about it for millennia, but saints remain few and far between. Rules obviously don't take you very far. Many teachings point to surrender but very few people are actually interested in surrendering. Most people want more control, not less. That's why rules seem to proliferate yet never accomplish their purpose.

sam: "Sure. Awakening is always possible in any moment."

alex: I don't know what is 'possible' and what isn't. You can also get saved by Jesus or join the Hare Krishnas. That might mean a great deal, or it might be a detour. How do you ultimately decide? What if all the criteria for deciding is peculiar to a moment, but is not 'eternal'? Maybe you make assumptions about what 'waking up is' and what the awake do? (I am just asking questions BTW).
When I say awakening is always possible, I am only pointing out that a path is always available. The fruits of that path depend on you more than anywhere the path is actually going. In the end, all paths only take you back to yourself, because that's what there is, you. Who are you? Who you are, you are right now. That's why awakening is always available.

I liked what divine had to say about the intuitions. People want to grasp at it and it simply cannot be done. That's why there needs to be some surrender. But since people in general want more control and not less, trusting intuition is the last thing they want to do. People will paint such spirituality as blind faith. And it will be for them. But it doesn't mean those in that place have no idea where they're going or what they're doing.

Again, though I do understand what you are hinting at, on another level I might say that what you have principally described is in the 'language of psycho-babble'. It is fun to write it, it makes all the sense in the world, and is purely insubstantial, except to you and to those who share your agreements. Do I have a problem with that? Well, yes. In a sense I do. And that is what I expressed in my post. Will Jesus guide me through it? I have faith that He will. ;-)
Right. The language of surrender means nothing to you, it's simply psychobabble, as you put it. You are interested in more control, not less. So you will go on seeking control in any manner you are able to grasp, understand and implement. You are free to do that. Yet you already see it doesn't work. But you continue to insist that the answer must lie in that direction. All I would say is that as long as you think that, you will act accordingly. No one is going to prove to you that surrender is what is needed. That will never happen. You have to see it for yourself. No one can do it for you. In the mean time, you can continue to write essays about why awakening is so insubstantial and nebulous and can't someone just tell you what to do. A lot of people are frustrated. But not frustrated enough to give up control. That's just how it is.

And when our focus turns to a negation of participation in Life because we are 'laying up our treasure' in insubstantial voices that guide us, I think that not only does that point to a problem but it is a problem.
Again, you are referring to the cultural expression of spirituality. There are teachers who talk about non-avoidance. If you want one of those, here is a good one ( http://www.thework.com/thework.asp ).

Something that needs to be looked at. But looking at it takes you to the core of the metaphysic. And in that sense it is the difference between actually being in the world or being only partially in the world.
Right. That's why avoidance won't take you where you want to go. You are not there to even begin.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:32 am

"Right. The language of surrender means nothing to you, it's simply psychobabble, as you put it. You are interested in more control, not less."

[Just for the record, though I certainly appreciate the conversation, I am not writing and opining---or testing, or doubting or probing---because I am looking for some sort of 'cure', an answer to my 'problem'. I seem to be evoking the psychologist in some of you. Also, something about authorship. If I write things, I may shift and accentuate elements of the presented persona. Trust me, it is me who is writing here, but I am not presenting some sort of absolute me. One might be able to do that in very personal relationships, if there is a great deal of trust and confidence. But in cyberspace? I appear here and I write here for my own reasons. You may, or you also may not, ultimately know what those are. I assume that the same is true for you-plural.]

No, the language of surrender means everything in the world to me, and yet I know too that we cannot simply surrender ourselves to just anything that happens to pass through our consciousness. When 'Auntie Mabel' shows up on the Ouija Board you have got to interrogate her a little bit, or even a lot. I personally think that one of the first rules of 'spirituality' (in the sense that it is akin to spiritualism) is that 'the magician does not give himself over to anyone'. I didn't take issue with the 'psychobabble' (and I wasn't criticizing it, just noting it) because I am incapable of 'surrender' or sensitivity, but more because I think one of the major problems for people lies in the issue of 'surrender'. Surrender often turns out quite terribly for so many individuals. And especially when it comes to religion. To be truthful, in the climate of today, you'd have to be a fool to 'surrender' to anyone.

I don't think we exist to 'surrender', and I would change all that language around and say that we might be better off making strategic alliances with ideas-potencies with which we feel kinship.

The long and the short of it is not that I don't understand the cultivation of intuition, the 'receptive state'. What I am expressing is different.

"I liked what divine had to say about the intuitions. People want to grasp at it and it simply cannot be done. That's why there needs to be some surrender. But since people in general want more control and not less, trusting intuition is the last thing they want to do. People will paint such spirituality as blind faith. And it will be for them. But it doesn't mean those in that place have no idea where they're going or what they're doing."

Maybe speaking about 'most people' is not such a good idea. People who have initiated spiritual life are not 'most people' they are more a 'select few', and there is a way for that select few to converse, and make sense to one another. We can certainly bounce ideas back and forth and, perhaps, use something gleaned to improve our own 'spiritual relationship'.

I submit that the average unprepared person, who does not have a strong base in ideas, in the handling of concepts, in both allowing ideas to have influence and in resiting the influence of ideas---meaning, to have a developed ego---is not much use in the conversation of 'the select few'. The people who get ahold of spirituality, who get a handle on it, often turn out to be powerful influences in their environment. By the very nature of what they do, they pull, guide, bend---and let's put it quite clearly: they manipulate people in the world around them. The woman whose work you linked is certainly doing just that, don't you think?

This average person is bounced all around the terrestrial pingpong table by potencies that 'handle' power. It is no less true in the so-called 'spiritual world'. For that reason, one so very strongly needs a strong base in oneself, and for that reason I think the whole idea of surrender can certainly be interrogated.

"That will never happen. You have to see it for yourself. No one can do it for you. In the mean time, you can continue to write essays about why awakening is so insubstantial and nebulous and can't someone just tell you what to do. A lot of people are frustrated. But not frustrated enough to give up control. That's just how it is."

You sound a little bit like a cleric! Edging me toward 'faith'. If I'd only take one more little baby-step! If I'd only trust!

Please read what I write a little bit more carefully, and again, I am not writing here because I seek counceling! It is true I have all sorts of hidden and mysterious motives that no man may know, and additionally I am interested in provoking good conversation that also is germane to the stated purposes of this forum. (It is the least I can do when I critique Poison for the Heart so mercillessly!)

Thank you for the link to The Work and Byron Katie. I do find value in the content of such ideas.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby David Quinn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:26 am

The title of this thread really should read: "Tired of Poetry, On lookout for Something Different."

Or rather: "Enamoured with Poetry, Not looking for Anything Different." At least that would be truthful.

It is the poetic possibilities of "Ultimate Reality", as a dead concept, which you have grown tired of. Not Ultimate Reality itself. Of that you have no inkling.

A poet's relationship to Ultimate Reality is like a horse's relationship to music. Something about the notion excites him, but all he can do is bray. Uncomprehendingly.

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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Alex Jacob » Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:48 am

You have too little faith in horses, David. ;-)

;^P

But, you are right about 'Ultimate Reality'. I have no idea what it is!

Nevertheless, I hobble along, doing the best I can.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby samadhi » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:31 am

Alex,
Just for the record, though I certainly appreciate the conversation, I am not writing and opining---or testing, or doubting or probing---because I am looking for some sort of 'cure', an answer to my 'problem'. I seem to be evoking the psychologist in some of you. Also, something about authorship. If I write things, I may shift and accentuate elements of the presented persona. Trust me, it is me who is writing here, but I am not presenting some sort of absolute me. One might be able to do that in very personal relationships, if there is a great deal of trust and confidence. But in cyberspace? I appear here and I write here for my own reasons. You may, or you also may not, ultimately know what those are. I assume that the same is true for you-plural.
Understood.

sam: Right. The language of surrender means nothing to you, it's simply psychobabble, as you put it. You are interested in more control, not less.

alex: No, the language of surrender means everything in the world to me, and yet I know too that we cannot simply surrender ourselves to just anything that happens to pass through our consciousness. When 'Auntie Mabel' shows up on the Ouija Board you have got to interrogate her a little bit, or even a lot. I personally think that one of the first rules of 'spirituality' (in the sense that it is akin to spiritualism) is that 'the magician does not give himself over to anyone'.
Surrender is not synonymous with laziness or stupidity. It doesn't mean you don't need to do your homework.

I didn't take issue with the 'psychobabble' (and I wasn't criticizing it, just noting it) because I am incapable of 'surrender' or sensitivity, but more because I think one of the major problems for people lies in the issue of 'surrender'. Surrender often turns out quite terribly for so many individuals. And especially when it comes to religion. To be truthful, in the climate of today, you'd have to be a fool to 'surrender' to anyone.
You don't surrender to a person. No one is going to do it for you. You surrender the idea that what needs to be done is something you, as an ego, can do.

I don't think we exist to 'surrender', and I would change all that language around and say that we might be better off making strategic alliances with ideas-potencies with which we feel kinship.
First, it is an idea that is surrendered, not an entity. And certainly, there are as many ways to do that as there are people to do it. But there is no way to do it and maintain control. This doesn't mean you shouldn't go with what interests you. But perhaps you shouldn't do that and complain about it at the same time.

The long and the short of it is not that I don't understand the cultivation of intuition, the 'receptive state'. What I am expressing is different.
Well, I didn't get that from your post.

sam: I liked what divine had to say about the intuitions. People want to grasp at it and it simply cannot be done. That's why there needs to be some surrender. But since people in general want more control and not less, trusting intuition is the last thing they want to do. People will paint such spirituality as blind faith. And it will be for them. But it doesn't mean those in that place have no idea where they're going or what they're doing.

alex: Maybe speaking about 'most people' is not such a good idea. People who have initiated spiritual life are not 'most people' they are more a 'select few', and there is a way for that select few to converse, and make sense to one another. We can certainly bounce ideas back and forth and, perhaps, use something gleaned to improve our own 'spiritual relationship'.
Of course. If you want to bounce ideas, bounce them. I am doing no less.

I submit that the average unprepared person, who does not have a strong base in ideas, in the handling of concepts, in both allowing ideas to have influence and in resisting the influence of ideas---meaning, to have a developed ego---is not much use in the conversation of 'the select few'. The people who get ahold of spirituality, who get a handle on it, often turn out to be powerful influences in their environment. By the very nature of what they do, they pull, guide, bend---and let's put it quite clearly: they manipulate people in the world around them. The woman whose work you linked is certainly doing just that, don't you think?
It depends what you mean by manipulate. She certainly isn't just using people for her purposes. But yeah, she has a pretty big influence, as does anyone who is in touch with an authentic spirituality. Authentic spirituality is very attractive, although certainly not to everyone.

This average person is bounced all around the terrestrial pingpong table by potencies that 'handle' power. It is no less true in the so-called 'spiritual world'. For that reason, one so very strongly needs a strong base in oneself, and for that reason I think the whole idea of surrender can certainly be interrogated.
Surrender isn't blind, it isn't lazy and it isn't a short cut. It isn't about giving up the mind, it is about accepting its limitations.

sam: That will never happen. You have to see it for yourself. No one can do it for you. In the mean time, you can continue to write essays about why awakening is so insubstantial and nebulous and can't someone just tell you what to do. A lot of people are frustrated. But not frustrated enough to give up control. That's just how it is.

alex: You sound a little bit like a cleric! Edging me toward 'faith'. If I'd only take one more little baby-step! If I'd only trust!
I guess there is a bit of preacher in me. But the very first question if you were serious might be, surrender to what? And no one can answer that for you. It always comes back to trusting yourself, not me or anyone else.

Please read what I write a little bit more carefully, and again, I am not writing here because I seek counselling! It is true I have all sorts of hidden and mysterious motives that no man may know, and additionally I am interested in provoking good conversation that also is germane to the stated purposes of this forum. (It is the least I can do when I critique Poison for the Heart so mercillessly!)
I understand. If I talk to "you," just take it to be whatever group you were positing as professing the ennui you so eloquently described.

Thank you for the link to The Work and Byron Katie. I do find value in the content of such ideas.
She is an original.

And as an aside to David, spirituality isn't cynicism or condescension!
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby David Quinn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:32 am

Alex Jacob wrote:You have too little faith in horses, David.

The Houyhnhnms, of course, were Swift's way of lampooning the human race and its stupidities and airs. Quite an intelligent book, really. You feel like you are reading the thoughts of a human, which is rare.

The less said about Mr Ed the better.


But, you are right about 'Ultimate Reality'. I have no idea what it is!

Nevertheless, I hobble along, doing the best I can.

As long as your ignorance keeps stimulating the poetic impulses, that's all that matters, I suppose.

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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby David Quinn » Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:37 am

samadhi wrote:And as an aside to David, spirituality isn't cynicism or condescension!

Not according to the generic rules you follow, no.

What one person might see as cynicism or condescension, another might see as glorious truth. It depends on your disposition.

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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Unidian » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:49 pm

"Glorious Truth" doesn't dump on people because they don't share your (disordered) temperament.

And if you were any kind of Zen teacher (rather than a Quinnanentics teacher), you'd know that it's only when people become good and well tired of concepts like "Ultimate Reality" that they have any chance to shift into a direct experience of reality (no capital R or other concept-based qualifiers).
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Dan Rowden » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:15 pm

Why did you capitalise "Zen"? Because it's a proper noun?
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Unidian » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:18 pm

It's a grammatical convention.

"Zen" has to be thrown out in the end as well. But it's a useful pointer, provided one follows its advice and doesn't pile on any more words and concepts than are necessary.
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Re: Tired of Ultimate Realty, On lookout for Something Different

Postby Dan Rowden » Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:25 pm

Same for "Reality" or "Ultimate Reality".
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