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  1. 27 points
    This is going to be a difficult thread to write, because something of the most profound nature happened to me last night. I can offer no proofs other than a re-telling of my experience. As DB's, we can inadvertently get a little competitive, as evidenced by the occasional spats on the threads - but I ask you to set ego aside as I relate this. I offer this as a glimpse into what we all want here - enlightenment. About 7 months ago I moved to the Palm Springs, CA area after my husband died. The grief I experienced for over a year seems to have honed me in some way; like going through a fire and having the extraneous burned off. In the complex that I live in, there is a place I go daily to walk the dogs. I met the people who live right there because they have a dog that looks exactly like mine. We struck up a friendship. Unknown to me, the man in the duo is a Bujinkan master. He goes to Japan regularly to hone his incredible skills under Masaaki Hatsumi. He is a well known teacher of this incredible ninja martial art in the U.S.. and other parts of the world. I asked if he had videos online, and he indicated that there were several on youtube. I starting watching his videos and those of Masaaki Hatsumi. What I saw in them amazed me. It is the Dao brought into the physical. I recognized it immediately and confirmed it with him. Captivated for some reason, I watched them over and over - couldn't get enough. He gave me a study manual (much spiritual and psychological as well) and I've been reading it carefully. For some reason, this tying together of the Dao as a philosophy and the Dao in form (Bujinkan) was what I needed to see. I've talked about self-realization on this forum for a long time. Apparently I didn't know what it really was. I've walked the path of AA for 38 years and in working the steps, one removes layer after layer of shadow within - both through acknowledgment of the flaw and making amends for things done in the past. I knew I was on the path to self-realization (I used to go to Manley Hall lectures in Hollywood and the seed was planted early in me, in the 1970's). My association with TDB's has been just about the most instrumental vehicle for furtherance of this path because we come from so many points of view, and yet there are truths that lie at the bottom of these points of views, or paths, that are universal. After a while, rough edges and firm opinions within us are eliminated here. In addition to the study of multiple religions to the point of transcendence of any particular path. So, last night. I was walking the dogs before going to bed and I stopped and looked at the stars for a few moments. I was hit by a jolt of energy, seemingly coming from the stars, that I've never experienced in my life. I immediately thought about Saul on the road to Damascus, how he was hit by a jolt, from my old Christian days. I felt a little snap in my heart or brain, like someone snapping a small twig. Something unblocked. Immediately after being hit by this jolt which felt like an inner gulp of realization - not anything of the brain - I heard a voice in my head that said 'I AM an enlightened being'. I immediately felt energy rushing out of me, going in all directions. I started to tremble. I have been a proponent of the I AM consciousness for 20 years, ever since studying The Impersonal Life by Anonymous. Within this consciousness we realize who we really Are. But I know today that I had never taken the actual inner gulp of self-realization that I took last night, where I actually experienced it. At once, my whole essence had no fear, no discomfort, radiating warmth, and an overall feeling of love for everything. The realizations continued when I got home. I jotted them down so I could tell you about them today. First realization: There is a responsibility with enlightenment. It is our purpose as enlightened beings to act like an enlightened being, in speech and deeds. It doesn't matter what we do with it, on how big or little a scale. We are the torch bearers, the frequency holders. - We are all enlightened beings. Every single one of us. But it's not until we get that gulp of realization that we really are that we truly feel the truth of the matter. No doubt remains. No questions, no measurement of yourself vs. some master or fellow poster on the Bums. You know in your entire persona. Today I woke up with the thought 'I am an enlightened being' on my mind, first thing on waking up. The glow remains with me. I offer this experience to hear from others who may have gone through this, or as a little roadmap for what is no doubt coming for you too.
  2. 20 points
    Hard Light guru Mark Griffin took mahasamadhi October 24th, 2018. i don't know who hangs out around here these days, but i didn't see that anyone had posted the news, so i thought i might do so. Mark was a Godsend to me. here's a copy of something i shared on Facebook a week and a half ago: the first time i ever experienced true, deep spiritual intoxication was with this man. it was my first meditation intensive with him. i was late because of all the road blocks in San Francisco, and that made me frustrated. that wasn't the energy i wanted to walk in with, but i was already late. Lee Schwing was the lady sitting at the registration table (bless her!), and she just gave me a smile, checked my registration, and welcomed me in. my mind was scrambled. i HATED being one of the only black people there and having to be the late guy. i also hated feeling so agitated; it made me feel as if i had failed before i even arrived. so i walked into the room and the first meditation session had already begun. as i quietly made my way to where i was going to sit, Mark looked up at me, made brief eye-contact with me, smiled, then went right back into meditation. that was it. that was all he did. i had never met this man before, but with that small gesture, all of the tension left my body. all the agitated chatter in my mind just stopped. my shoulders relaxed and dropped, and feelings of love gently poured into me until i genuinely felt as if i was falling in love with this man. and the thing is, i was! it wasn't some romantic or sexual thing, but my experience of Mark was literally love at first sight. that day i reached a meditative depth i had never experienced before. a day or two later i was still processing what had occurred at the day-long intensive. confusion and doubt came flooding back in, wondering if some hypnotic trick had been played on me, trying to dispute that what had occurred that day was even possible. i was already familiar with subtle energy and healing transmission through the hands and whatnot, but the magnitude of what i had experienced, and the context (with it all beginning with a brief smile) was just on another level. so i just kept looking for reasons to doubt & dismiss it. that's when it happened. suddenly, like an eruption, i was overcome with with this incredible, intoxicating, energizing love-bliss. it was better than any mushrooms i had experimented with in my 20's. it was pure, no distortion or nausea, just heat radiating through my back, and electricity buzzing through my teeth. this lasted for about 3 days, rising and falling in waves, but present the entire time. the truly mystical events that occurred during all of this i will save for myself and my students. FB is not an appropriate place for my complete truth. i became a sincere student of Mark. i grew so quickly. so many spiritual teachings and beliefs that i thought were nonsense proved themselves to be legit. and that has been my approach: to believe only what i can experience or discern for myself to be true, reading through scriptures more for confirmation rather than information. checking my direct experiences with the writings of those who came before me. it has been an amazing journey! and it all really began with this man. thank you SO MUCH, Mark Griffin. i'll see you soon, Big Brother. Om Namah Shivaya.
  3. 14 points
    Qi Gong practiced properly is everything Indian Yoga is (as opposed to Western "Yoga"). The quality of the teacher and the practice is not nearly as important as the approach to it. If it is for personal power and health - the quality of the teacher and the practice are minor items - personal power and health are relatively easy things to come forward with in even the most mundane of these practices. If you think reading and studying will take you far - they will - they will at some point take you to the understanding that you need to put the books on the shelf and begin practice. In practice you will find that you misunderstood everything you read - but you will begin to see a glint of the real teaching. Hopefully you will not forget that you misunderstood a great deal initially - and begin to see that holding on to ones "understanding" is not helpful - it is willfulness. Initially it is difficult to fathom "years of practice" and hard to see an extra 2-4 hours to be found in ones day. Yet when you have tasted the way - time will lose its way with you. "years" are a projection There is no miraculous recounting of what is possible that is remotely capable of transmitting what IS - all the books on earth are simply a door mat that says Welcome.
  4. 14 points
  5. 13 points
    Jung’s observation puts me in mind of an insightful quote from Dag Hammarskjöld: “God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.” Spirituality for me means discovering who I am and allowing myself to manifest in the most spontaneous and authentic way possible.
  6. 13 points
    It's been about a month since my mother passed away. It was surreal. I almost got killed the day after by an angry semi truck driver that tried to drive me off the road as I drove up to get her belongings from the nursing home. I had grown distant from my mother over the last few years, but a couple months ago I found out she was dying from cancer and reached out to her to make my own amends. I was able to do all of that, which made it that much easier when she finally did pass. So this is the thing, I don't believe in heaven or an "after life", nor do I believe we can without a doubt prove that reincarnation exists. I'm agnostic at best, maybe I lean a bit more towards the atheist side, however, I don't grieve for her. The reason being that I know, regardless, she's not suffering and she was suffering. People can argue the "sanctity of human life" but until you see someone suffering immensely you don't realize how much of a blessing death can be. My greatest and only regret, was not being there at the end. I didn't want her to be alone in that moment, not because I wanted to spend those last minutes with her, but because I didn't want her to die suffering and alone, I wanted her to know she had people that loved her at that time. Again that's my only regret, and If I could've been there I would've, however I had surgery the week before she passed and was still suffering from complications. The night I found out she had passed there was an odd peace. It's hard to explain, a bit of sadness, but more of an emotional silence. I loved my mother, but my time as a Taoist/Buddhist/hindi/etc. has taught me that even though I think she's gone, she's not really gone. She may very well never have been here in the first place, so putting the time and energy into grieving for her does nothing to bring her back and does nothing to ease my own suffering, nor does it somehow quantify how much I cared for her, so if I am truly being compassionate towards her and myself, then learning to let her go and let myself move on should be my goal. So, how was this different from my father's passing? Well he passed when I was much younger (twenty-one) and I had only just begun to read about Taoism. Attachment was the norm and compassion, especially towards myself, wasn't something I really understood. I was devastated when he passed. I had been living with him at that time and had actually argued with him the night before. My greatest regret at that time was that I thought he had died thinking I was angry or hated him. In retrospect I realize that he knew better. However the memory of those emotions, of that feeling of loss, comes back even now, which is strange, because he was also dying from cancer, he just never told anyone, and you would think I would feel relieved for his passing. So the difference, I guess, is that knowing my place in this world and my relationship to other people has allowed me to accept this as not a loss, but a blessing for my mother. Whereas my still undeveloped mind was unable to accept the death of my father, due to my inability to understand the nature of death at that time. Both deaths were blessings, and if anyone suffered from those deaths, it was not my parents, but their loved ones, and of course, me. Oh that's the other thing, both my parents passed away from lung cancer. You can guess what habit I gave up. I just thought I'd share, because this is one of those universal experiences and I thought maybe these observations might help someone else.
  7. 13 points
    Look back at your day and find what might have triggered a strong negative emotional response in you. Odds are that is rooted in bad behavior you had to endure sometime in the course of your day. I was flying back from San Francisco to Chicago earlier this week and after the plane took off, an elderly gent sitting next to me, managed to cut a chunk of skin off his right wrist (caught on the seat somehow). The flight attendant was right behind us, and prepping to sell food items. The old gentleman was so frail (and later we found out taking a connecting flight from his long travel from Sydney Australia) and tired that he couldn’t even call the attendants for help. I called out to the attendant a few times and he turned around and snapped at me “wait your turn! I will be right with you!!”. I pointed out, it’s not for me, please attend to this gentleman’s injury. All was well but I realized the way the attendant reacted when first approached, left an imprint in my mind. I actually experienced pain from his aggressive reaction. I wonder then, how many times has an irritated retort from me had a similar effect on others? Did my words and manner of delivery negatively affect others? Odds are, yes. While we cannot undo what has passed, we can and should be mindful of our speech and manner of delivery. Approach the world around us with gentleness and loving kindness, for are we all not cut from the same cloth of awareness ?
  8. 12 points
    For me, spirituality points to my inner essence, my state of mentality regardless of external conditions.
  9. 12 points
    By request, I've created a new topic to discuss this: Steve A great piece of wisdom from the tradition I follow: The superior practitioner takes full responsibility for everything that occurs in her life - 100%. The mediocre practitioner takes partial responsibility. The inferior practitioner blames everyone but himself. Bindi Full responsibility for abuse suffered, for the devastation to self and family from war, for destruction of home and family from natural disasters? Mudfoot Full responsibility for how I react, over time, to those traumatic events? Steve Yes Best to start working with this under more manageable conditions at first. We tend to jump to extreme examples and challenge this principle as it does seem a bit outrageous at first blush. It takes quite a bit of stability and realization to apply our spiritual skills and learning to such horrific circumstance but yes, even then. The rationale is that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how horrible, no matter if they are totally out of our control, all we can ever do is manage our own response as best we can. We can always try to make the best out of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. In that sense we are always fully responsible. Bindi Though I wouldn't have questioned statements like "all we can ever do is manage our own response as best we can" and "we can always try to make the best out of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in," I just didn't read your statement in this light. Taking 100% responsibility for everything that occurs in my life makes me think of taking 100% responsibility for any and all situations I'm part of occurring, responsibility for creating all experiences, maybe it does mean this still, or it doesn't? Steve Yes, it does mean precisely that - taking 100% responsibility for everything. This is a very deep teaching from the tradition I follow. It is not easy, it is not something most people ever achieve in their lifetimes, even dedicated practitioners, but that's what it means. That's the way we're asked to engage with our practices and our lives. It's very important to be honest with ourselves about this. In the West, we find it very difficult to look at ourselves as inferior or even mediocre. It's painful and embarrassing. It's not as difficult in the East. If we try to practice at a level we have not reached, we will only be frustrated and fail to make progress. I'm mediocre at best but I'm making progress. The interesting thing is that the more comfortable I become with this, the more liberated I feel - very counter-intuitive. The first statements you quoted above are a good and comfortable place to start. As we start to push a little further from that comfort zone, we can look at how we play some role in nearly everything that happens to us. If we are victim of a natural disaster, how did we get to the place where it occurred? We chose to visit or live there, for example. If we are mugged, it is a place we chose to visit, and so forth. We can always find an example of how little choice we have in a given circumstance but those extreme examples are best approached once we've made some progress with more accessible situations. We start with easy examples and gradually build our "muscles." It's important to not look at this as blaming oneself. It comes from a different culture with different values. This is related to the concept of karma, not the Abrahamic concept of sin and guilt. To take it a step further, these teachings are from the Dzogchen cycles which are intended to bring us to direct realization of non-duality and to integrate that fully into our lives. Following such a non-dual realization, we directly see and feel that we are not separate and discrete individuals but rather manifestations of a continuum, a wholeness, with a profound connection to everything and everyone around us. That's referred to as the awakened heart. We experience ourselves at a much deeper, more pervasive level. In that context, we truly are 100% responsible for absolutely everything that happens and that realization can be as much a part of daily life as driving to work. I'm just a beginner on this path but I've seen and experienced enough to be convinced that there is deep truth here worth pursuing - for me anyway. It is certainly not for everyone. The way I suggest to work with this is a bit light-hearted and playful. Focus on day to day situations in our lives, there are plenty opportunities there. No need to look for extreme examples. They can wait for now. See how it works for you. If it doesn't feel right, let it go. It's only helpful if it feels right and makes some sense. If it creates conflict or bad feelings inside, I think it is best to leave it alone, especially if you don't have an experience guide to help navigate the tricky parts. Bindi I can just see how this might be a useful philosophy to follow, though for myself I find it too broad right now, and unnecessarily challenging. I prefer to deal with dysfunction within myself as I come across it, and maybe when all of that is resolved I might understand the truth of ultimate responsibility, or maybe I will find another truth altogether. Steve I think your priorities are in the right place. I also think your approach is already building a relationship with this idea. One last thing about it, for me it takes the form of a practical instruction more than a philosophy. I think there is a difference there KuroShiro This deserves its own thread please. Can you please copy and paste these last posts to start a new thread? Jox May you share which tradition do you follow?
  10. 12 points
    Maybe spiritual cultivation is a little like investing in the stock market. Everyone is trying to find the perfect system when most would be better off forgetting systems altogether and focusing instead on simple principles. Take virtue, for instance. While ethics can get unbelievably complicated, simply considering what the right thing to do is and doing it puts us way ahead of the curve. If we add a little kindness to basic decency, the foundation is set for spiritual development. Everything works better in a body that is relaxed and healthy so that`s something to work on too. Exercise, diet, some sort of strategy for dealing with stress. Positive relationships with friends and family. These kinds of things aren`t what`s usually meant when people talk about spiritual systems but the underpinnings of a good life are the underpinnings of good spiritual development. The best system in the world won`t take you very far if you`re a chain smoking criminal enmeshed in a hostile custody battle for your alienated kids. First things first. To me, the idea of a system implies component parts. First you do this, and then, when condition XYZ is reached, you do this other thing. Trying to follow instructions in a book like Taoist Yoga is harder than putting together modular furniture from IKEA. And that`s saying something. If the goal is enlightenment or immortality perhaps such complication is necessary. But most people would benefit greatly from taking one simple thing and exploring it in depth over a few decades. Take a basic standing practice like "standing like a tree." A practice like that deepens and develops over time. Who among us has taken standing like a tree all the way? Have any of us gotten all there is to get from simple standing? I doubt it. So many things are like that. The inner smile. Watching the breath. I suspect that getting to enlightenment or awakening doesn`t take great cognitive skill. What it may take is great endurance in the face of boredom. Many of us already know a system that could potentially take us to enlightenment. Some of us know many such systems. And yet we`re still looking because looking is fun. Spiritual development, as ultimately rewarding as it may be, is often physically and emotionally uncomfortable. Not fun. (Note: These are just my opinions as someone who claims no particular enlightenment or awakening. Fact is, I could do with a good deal more spiritual discipline myself. I do however like to share my thoughts and often do so instead of practicing. Take with salt.)
  11. 12 points
    I see a lot of dislike on here for gluten, grains, dairy, and other foods that supposedly cause inflammation, so I wanted to see if my health would improve if I cut out all meat, all dairy, and all grains from my diet for 3 weeks. I’m a man in his early 20’s. No health issues. I was also completely celibate during those 3 weeks. I had a lot of vegetable smoothies (not eaten raw, as it’s bad for the stomach and spleen qi), a lot of hot soups, lots of spinach, kale, carrots, and fruit. All organic and freshly brought. To ensure I didn’t lose too much fat, I used coconut yogurt, coconut oil and olive oil (all organic) in my foods wherever possible. There is nothing really much to speak of apart from during this diet, diarrohea was common (I had it 3 times, and I barely ever have it usually), it was much tougher to get sleep, I felt much weaker and after the second week I was starting to really want some nice high-carbohydrate foods and meat. i went to see a chinese medicine doctor during the end of my diet. Apparently my heart was very yang, my kidneys were very, very yang, my liver (wood element?) was running out of fire (or something along those lines, I can’t remember exactly), and almost all organs were deficient in yin. He recommended I come off my diet immediately, so I did. He didn’t recommend any herbs as he thought my body would be better suited to consumimg yin foods rather than medicinal herbs, so he gave me a list of foods I could eat and recommended I sleep before midnight to better replenish yin. When I came off this diet, I had some cereal, some bread, some pasta, and I felt fine. It felt good for my body. Some people on this forum claim bread and grains are like poison for the body, but that wasn’t my experience at all. Also I recently watched the news about one of the world’s oldest men. He said the secret for his old age was porridge every day. Yet so many people here think eating dairy with grains (cereal) is the worst thing ever. Didn’t do him much harm! However, it was very cleansing for my body. My skin looked much better, and my gut feels cleansed and refreshed. I won’t be doing it again though.
  12. 11 points
    NeiDan specifically means inner alchemy and has the specific goal of creating the 'pill' or elixir within the body to achieve immortality. It comes out of a tradition within largely Daoism (though also some other systems) and focusses on certain key ideas which were first elaborated in text called the Cantong Qi (sometimes Zhouyi Cantong Qi). Dan means pill/elixir and NeiDan is distinguished from Waidan which is external alchemy i.e. the use of substances/herbs and so on to achieve immortality eg. lead, sulphur, mercury etc. The Cantong Qi quotes from the LaoTzu and even more from the YiJing (as a way of validating its claims) - but neither of these is actually a Neidan text - more they supply a world view in which Neidan functions, a context if you like, and it also refers the substances of external alchemy but used symbolically for the energy systems of the subtle body - so the text will talk about lead but mean a quality or state of internal energy and so on. The processes of alchemy like purification, sublimation, distilling and so on are also used to signify internal processes. Nei dan specifically departs from using deity practice. Whereas previous traditions might rely on spiritual entities interacting with organs say, the Cang Qi refutes this practice. However what is retained is the idea of harmony and synchronicity of internal processes and cosmic cycles such as the sun, moon and Big Dipper etc. So the qi system regulates to the hours, days of month and so on. This is important, so you can discount any practice based on possession and so on. Qi is a universal term in Chinese philosophy as are yin/yang - and are used in different ways in different systems. So just the inclusion of qi or qi breathing and so on is not enough to make it a Neidan approach. It has to specifically deal with how to create the pill and then to achieve immortality. There are many schools within this tradition which use different symbolism - some is the same but just with different terms - but there are variations - so this may also until you unlock the key to how those terms are used be a source of confusion.
  13. 11 points
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirituality has the whole topic covered. Here's the opening paragraphs....... For me, spirituality is the inner essence of true religion. It's unfortunate that this central aspect has been virtually lost from the contemporary meaning of religion because of the disconnection of the mainstream religions from underlying spiritual reality. Hence the very notion of religion has become toxic for many people. This is unfortunate as this observation from Carl Jung makes clear.... “Of all my patients past middle life, that is, past thirty-five, there is not one whose ultimate problem is not one of religious attitude. Indeed, in the end every one suffered from having lost that which living religions of every age have given to their believers, and none is really cured who has not regained a religious attitude, which naturally has nothing to do with creeds or belonging to a church.”
  14. 11 points
    Words are difficult in this discussion as they are both inadequate and very much emotionally charged as well as misleading. Love is a tough word to use within a general conversation. Mind is so diminutive that using it in these expansive dialogs is almost childish. And then there is that fact that experience varies from the "thinking" that this is mostly rainbows to those thinking they understand something at a high level and yet they are far below the mark. We can also see conceptualizing taken out of context and translations from those that were quite well intended and did a great job but used words that are based on only a mild understanding. Channels and meridians are very specific until they are not - the channels specifically can be somewhat whispy to vibrant and well defined - but these are only in the bodies that have not transformed a great deal - though they may have been in many many years of practice. At some point the channels become quite large and tubular - very full and bright. This is an interim stage and does not last too long. Then they will fuse and become one energy field - this field still has within it the Channels but they are far different. This includes the former "Micro Cosmic Orbit" which rose to great prominence and then also becomes one with this greater field. While great structures may already have been both above the head and below - before this happened and after - a great deal of energetic growth is still to come forth. The head region must undergo a great deal of unfolding after the fusing of the fields - this supercedes any notion or experience of the "opening of the 3rd eye" and other previous openings in the head. The head will feel the unfolding taking place and the great powers of the unified field work with and upon this. As the head area - (and considerably beyond its physical "boundaries") is prepared for what is to come - considerable work/practice is required as residuals of willfulness and other held qualities must fall away. Then in the "final" progressions the Great Column of the back opens - and connects to the head - this is not a "massive" kundalini arising - it is far beyond that - it is the establishment of the full Kundalini energetic column - some 8-12" in circumference (though it does not have a clear boundary and is considerably larger in field than 12") and it is now "ON" all the time. This then expands "bifurcates" into the heart field filling it in a uniquely specific event. Not long after this the field drops down the front of the head and bodies. The new field is extraordinarily papable and sustained - it is very strong and calm and though it becomes a "common" element in one's overall energetics - this is now the sustained base awareness of the subtle bodies. The Great Center Pole is more vibrant than ever - it though is more of a center of energies surrounding it - it is gut, heart and head - seated in the astounding base, the magnificent base from which the others in chorus join above and below - the power of which is unimaginable and beyond time and space - yet fully in touch with every toe and hair. The Heart center's are many - they unfold so many times that a false acceptance of them is premature to the point of certainty. The word love is so far from the mark - it is so much more closely aligned with never-ending compassion and objectless gratitude and boundless spontaneous creativity. And this is not centered in the Heart - it is centered within the whole and its center is boundless. - As the Heart Center is filled - it is impregnated as though with blood - it actually feels like it is being inflated with blood that is only slightly warmer than the surroundings - it is large - fully from side of chest to side of chest and the size of a large family sized pizza. This is far different from earlier sensations of a warm heart center or the heart center to the slight right of center. It is entirely different from the full opening of the Heart Chakra and also the Opening of the heart center to the right of it. It is massive by comparison. The Center is only clarified as One with the base "supporting" like a great tree - the Head and Heart are not higher and they are lost without the base. Becoming lost in the Head or Heart is losing ones self to the delights they have in store. A circle cannot have a top without a bottom - our highest nature cannot be known without the bedrock of Being - concentration on head or heart is an interim step but it may become a dungeon - perhaps a saintly one or a sages courtyard - but a dungeon none the less. In full prominence it is hard to walk - it is difficult to "do" much more that BE in Presence. It is a disabling Grace grounded in a boundless vastness - extraordinarily physical and unlimited.
  15. 11 points
    Hello all, I used to post here regularly, back in 2010-11. I'm happy to see so many familiar cool bums still around, and wanted to say hello. I left here in order to make time to create a science-of-consciousness documentary, collaborating with my neuropsych prof dad. I've interviewed nearly 50 top philosophers and neuroscientists in the field, and I've even published my own peer-reviewed cognitive science paper, an anatomical theory of consciousness. All of that is wonderful, but I'm far from done with my doc. I'm turning 50 in a few weeks, and am happy to report that I'm still break-dancing weekly, as well as my all my other dance events. My life-long bad back is pretty much completely healed, and I'm in my best physical health of my adult life. Those are the headline good news. But it's been more complex, as well. I've had my most satisfying romance during this time, but also my most heart-breaking loneliness, when it didn't work out. I'm happy with how much I've learned about brain function, but I still haven't learned how to get most people in the consciousness field (or the press) to read my theory paper. I think I've embraced all of my life, including the painful feelings, more than ever before, but that doesn't mean it's delivered me to some utopian place, where I'm always joyful, no matter the circumstances. My job and life are good, but I also struggle with the dissatisfaction of not yet accomplishing my dream (the doc). In other words, I'm still on my path, not quite the path that I imagined back in my Bum days, but still searching, still exploring. There's a lot more I can say about the last 7 years, and my theory of consciousness, but I wanted to keep this OP short, say hello, and say more only if people are curious. To those I knew, like Steve F., Marblehead, thelerner, Manitou/Barb, Kate/Birch, Scott/Blasto, Stigweard, Dawei, Apech, 3bob, Everything, et al, I'd love to hear what you've been up to. Much love.
  16. 11 points
    Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is in poor physical health and likely to soon transition. He has been one of the most important sources of authentic Dzogchen teachings in the West and has directly or indirectly touched many of our lives. I'd like to share this Long Life Prayer for him, recently written by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ་པོའི་ཞབས་བརྟན་གསོལ་འདེབས་སྨོན་ལམ། Long Life Prayer for Dharmaraja. འགྱུར་མེད་དབྱིངས་ལས་གཡོས་མེད་ཆོས་ཀྱི་རྒྱལ། ། དགོངས་རྟོགས་མཐའ་དང་བྲལ་བ་ནམ་མཁའི་ཀློང་། ། འཕྲིན་ལས་ཐོགས་པ་མེད་པའི་ནོར་བུའི་འོད། ། དུས་མཐའི་མུན་པ་སེལ་བའི་རིན་པོ་ཆེ། ། Unwavering Dharma King, from the unchanging space of your knowledge and realizations beyond limit in the expanse of the sky ( Namkhai ), Your enlightened activities are the constant shining Jewel ( Norbu ) Banishing darkness for all times, O Precious One (Rinpoche) འཁོར་བའི་ནད་གདོན་འཇོམས་པའི་བདུད་རྩི་སྨན། ། ཐར་པའི་ལམ་གྱི་བར་ཆོད་ཟློག་པའི་གྲོགས། ། མ་རིག་སྨག་རུམ་གཞིལ་བའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་འོད། ། ཞབས་པད་བརྟན་ཅིང་མཛད་འཕྲིན་མཐར་ཕྱིན་ཤོག ། You are the medicine which eliminates disease and obstructions, You are the friend who clears away obstacles to freedom. You are wisdom’s light, removing the darkness of ignorance. May you live long, and completely accomplish your enlightened activities. མི་མཐུན་རྐྱེན་ལས་སྒྲོལ་བའི་སྟོབས་ལྡན་ཕ། ། ལུས་སྲོག་ནུས་པ་གསོ་བའི་བྱམས་ལྡན་མ། ། ཉམས་རྟོགས་བོགས་འདོན་བསྐྱེད་པའི་དགེ་བའི་སྤུན། ། ཞབས་པད་བརྟན་ཅིང་མཛད་འཕྲིན་མཐར་ཕྱིན་ཤོག ། You are the powerful father who frees us from negative circumstances You are the kind mother who nourishes our body and life force. You are the Dharma brother who supports and increases our insights and realizations May you live long and completely manifest your enlightened activities. རྟག་ཏུ་ཉམས་མེད་སྙིང་གི་ལྡུམ་རའི་དབུས། ། བཅོས་མིན་དད་པའི་མེ་ཏོག་དཀར་པོ་འདི། ། བརྩེ་ཆེན་ཆུ་ཡིས་གསོས་ཏེ་ཁྱེད་ལ་འབུལ། ། ཞབས་པད་བརྟན་ཅིང་མཛད་འཕྲིན་མཐར་ཕྱིན་ཤོག ། In the unblemished garden of our heart center, This white flower of genuine devotion, Is sustained by the water of great love; this I offer to you, May you live long and completely manifest your enlightened activities. ཀ་དག་གཡོ་བ་མེད་པའི་ཀློང་དབྱིངས་ན། ། ལྷུན་གྲུབ་འགག་པ་མེད་པའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྒྱས། ། འོད་གསལ་རྫོགས་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་གདམས་པ་སྤེལ། ། ཞབས་པད་བརྟན་ཅིང་མཛད་འཕྲིན་མཐར་ཕྱིན་ཤོག ། In the space and expanse of unwavering primal purity The spontaneous presence of continuous wisdom increases And there you spread the message of clear light Dzogpa Chenpo, May you live long and completely manifest your enlightened activities ཅེས་དུས་མཐའི་རྫོགས་ཆེན་རྣལ་འབྱོར་པ་ཆོས་རྒྱལ་ནམ་མཁའི་ནོར་བུ་རིན་པོ་ཆེའི་སྐུ་ཚེའི་ཞབས་བརྟན་གསོལ་ཞིང་མཛད་འཕྲིན་མཐའ་རུ་ཕྱིན་པའི་དྲི་མེད་སྨོན་ལམ་འདི་ཉིད་གང་གི་ཞབས་འོག་པ་བསྟན་འཛིན་དབང་རྒྱལ་གྱིས་ལྷོ་ཀོ་རི་ཡའི་རྒྱལ་ས་སོལ་ལ་འགྲུལ་བཞུད་སྐབས་(༢༠༡༨།༩།༡༧) གསོལ་བ་ཕུར་ཚུགས་སུ་བཏབ་པའོ།། །། This is our sincere prayer. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche Composed in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, on the occasion of my journey there, on September 17, 2018. Translated September 21, 2018 by Steven Goodman
  17. 11 points
    Nice photo essay with notes (pdf download): http://www.parallelozero.com/images/stock/download/32d35042e03172bb476a2d62880af5d72111dd95.pdf One featured hermit combines Taoism with Christianity and likes speaking to animals. Uncoincidentaly enough he’s a Franciscan ...
  18. 11 points
    As per the title. Just needed to get that off my chest.
  19. 11 points
  20. 11 points
    I was pondering aspects of problems as a person gets deeper into meditation, stumbling blocks that turn into pits. As synchronicity would have it, I found an article in the Atlantic about the Dark night of the soul. The very subject I was thinking about. Here's the article- https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/the-dark-knight-of-the-souls/372766/ and here's a couple excerpts. For some this is a catastrophe and wondering about thoughts of members. " "I started having thoughts like, 'Let me take over you,' combined with confusion and tons of terror," says David, a polite, articulate 27-year-old who arrived at Britton’s Cheetah House in 2013. "I had a vision of death with a scythe and a hood, and the thought 'Kill yourself' over and over again." Michael, 25, was a certified yoga teacher when he made his way to Cheetah House. He explains that during the course of his meditation practice his "body stopped digesting food. I had no idea what was happening." For three years he believed he was "permanently ruined" by meditation.." ".. he finally felt awake. But it didn't last. Still high off his retreat, he declined an offer to attend law school, aggravating his parents. His best friends didn't understand him, or his "insane" stories of life on retreat. "I had a fear of being thought of as crazy," he says, "I felt extremely sensitive, vulnerable, and naked." "..Psychological hell," is how he describes it. "It would come and go in waves. I’d be in the middle of practice and what would come to mind was everything I didn't want to think about, every feeling I didn't want to feel." David felt "pebble-sized" spasms emerge from inside a "dense knot" in his belly. He panicked. Increasingly vivid pornographic fantasies and repressed memories from his childhood began to surface. "I just started freaking out,.." The articles find that this dark phenomena happens across the spectrum of meditative practices, appearing more in the most intense retreats. Treatment can take 6 months to 3 years to never. Having close access to a experienced teacher can prevent or help, but that is not the case in most seminars where students outnumber teachers 20,30,80(?) or more to one. In truth few have experience taking people down from this, and no amount of reasoning, philosophy or quotes tends to be a magic cure. To me, the best thing is preventing it in the first place. ie when things get strange or too heated, slow down or stop. Long walks, talks with friends.. ground and normalize. Yet, there are fruits to the dark night of the soul.. people can come out of it stronger, or ruined in a nihilistic 'everything tastes like dust' psyche. Glenn Morris who'd take people through Kundalini-esque experiences put heavy emphasis on staying happy, saying energy moves better through a happy system. This goes beyond New Age thinking. Imo, doing heavy duty meditation (& energy work) you have to be on the positive side of neutral. Because our conditioning our culture pulls us towards darkness. The average western has seen countless (10,000's) of murders, rapes, disasters on TV, and ofcourse real life in the paper. Our consciousness pooh poohs it and turns the page, maybe a deeper part of us does not. We have to be positive just to keep at neutral. Probably very positive cause its a rough nasty world. Otherwise entering the void, the darkness sucks like a black hole and we may not have the pull to escape it. So, that's the bad news. The good news is the cure is enjoying the world. Friends, family, good food, fresh air, blue sky, childrens smiles, a toddlers crooked walk. The world is full of every day phenomena of things going right. Learn to appreciate them. Smile when you can, in life and meditation. In the practice of The Secret Smile, one of the aspects is humor. Not just ha ha humor but seeing the foibles of the world with sympathy.. loving compassion. We laugh at sitcoms because of the foolishness displayed, we need enough space to gain some of that. It also helps to do some work that improves the world, be it charity at home or at large. Thoughts are fine, but imo like our psyche's the world and its problems small and large need a push in the right direction. A little consistent work, smiles, some hours, a donation, it all helps.
  21. 11 points
    This darkness that people experience after plenty of meditation is a necessary part of the path, and it is one of the primary aspects of meditation. Of course we wish to practice non thinking, and of course thoughts and memories will surface anyway. These are often the very thoughts and memories that people keep busy to suppress, they don't want to self examine, so the self examining comes during periods of mental quiet. These dark thoughts and memories will not stop until you work through every single one in your entire past life. Castaneda had a way of dealing with this. When you get to one of these dark memories just take a big inhale, turn your head to the side (I can't recall which side but I think it was to the right) exhale and let it go. I don't think a person can completely switch off their thoughts until they have covered all events of their past life. This is seeing your dark side and it is an essential part of progressing along the spiritual path, and it is true that there is more darkness in people's awarness these days, but you've got to go through it if you want to get to enlightenment. It takes guts, ruthless self honesty, and a stiff upper lip to face the music, and the music must be faced. The fact is that a lot of people don't have the guts, self honesty, or persistence that it takes, so what's to do? You can give them their pacifier and advise they stop meditating for ever or for awhile so then it's a dead end. A lot of times they realize it's because of the meditation so they'll stop their meditations anyway. There is no easy solution. You just need to know that this is how you work through your karma; to feel remorse, not only for your own dark side, but for everyone elses, is how you work through your karma. You need to know that eventually you will get through it and then there will be more peace, you have embraced your dark side and love yourself anyway, with clarity. Those who avoid it will be forever stuck in hell. It's also true that a person can begin feeling a little crazy, and they realize that they actually have been crazy all along (thinking too much is a form of insanity), and they then realize that everyone else is crazy too, then they realize it's not all that bad. You have to go crazy before you can get sane, you have to go through hell before you can get to heaven. There are no short cuts. Joseph Campbell speaks of this, he says that many myths from all over the world are similar. The hero of the story enters some dark cave of fear and battles some monster, when he comes out the other side he is a changed person and a true hero, a leader. It's the way it is, go for it.
  22. 10 points
    I am posting the following portion of a PM from Limahong at his request and with his permission: Hi All, Thank you very much for your very kind words. I 'left' TDB in the sense that I had deactivated myself and I had sounded out my last TDB post. I am doing it again ~ differently now... I am still a TDB member but on a silent wu-wei mode. I am definitely going to enjoy myself as a silent spectator at TDB. For instance I am now seeing Daemon in a different delightful light. I am still with TDB in spirit ~ humming this... [Legend : True Love = Love for Taoism, Loch Lomond = TDB] I am taking the low road in search of my "wu-wei 101" - through death and rebirth. Take good care - One + All. - Anand
  23. 10 points
    Have the shortest best day ever
  24. 10 points
    I think modern qigong (taiji included under that) isn't a workout. People who exercise tend to look better, so qigong practitioners should simply add real exercise into their routines. They should do a balanced routine of non-intense cardio and resistance training. With qigong, there's not mind training and the cultivation of goodness like Buddhism has. So if a qigong practitioner were to add Buddhist training to their practices, they'd end up radiating that personable warmth. Or any other kind of cultivation of love, kindness, compassion, etc, would do basically the same thing. If you practice being warm toward others, you will end up being warm toward others...you are what you practice. It's actually important to cultivate such things intentionally when you open up energetically, because your field and energy is increased compared to others. A normal person thinking the typical negative thoughts that we all have from time to time has less negativity than a practitioner who is thinking those exact same thoughts. So, there's an imperative to elevate ourselves as we advance...or else we get negative results. Speaking of being open energetically...I think there's too much focus on feeling sensations and having experiences, rather than genuinely cultivating healthfulness. I prefer more physical types of qigong, and think ones which cause strong qi sensations (aberrations of the nervous system) and/or cause a disconnection of qi or spirit from the body can be damaging...my view is that health is when the spirit is embodied, and the person feels perfectly normal. Some practitioners might think that feeling abnormal from practices is a sign that things are working, but I think it can potentially be a sign of the cultivation of abnormality. Imagine, on the other hand, if you were feeling a little bit off and then you did practices that made you feel good again and restored you...at least personally, that's more of what I'm interested in.
  25. 10 points
  26. 10 points
    The more I cultivate the more I lose interest in reading. The first to go was fiction, which I had been a voracious consumer of since a child. However, now its also non fiction and writings on religion, philosophy, and meditation. Now I have firmly found a path and am no longer searching for a “way” any longer, but wondering if anyone else experienced this phenomenon as well. Being a life long reader it disturbs me a bit, but what can u do?
  27. 10 points
    If we are sitting at a table enjoying a beer and a gathering and suddenly someone presents in front of you your favorite desert done to perfection - must you wait until you desire it in order to immediately take it in - the beauty, the smell, the wonderful immediacy of it being suddenly presented? Nothing in Awakening and an ever Enlightening Presence disallows for experiencing - in fact - the experiences are far deeper and more subtle. And with far less critique. Genuine experience unfettered by fear and obstruction and willfulness. Do not put the cart before the horse with concepts far from the mark - concepts are always in past and time. What you can know is that meditation will help every aspect of your life. And as you move from trying to meditate to meditation - it is a synchronicity with Divine Essence. Sex is fine before and after Awakening- and there is nothing wrong with it - but if by chance it falls away from your mind and craving it will not be a feeling of loss - you will have simply moved on. Trying to comprehend the incredible saturation of gratitude and extraordinary aliveness and unimaginable grace and vast energies from concept is to diminish the cosmos to a brittle grain of sand. In essence the Buddhist and the Daoist and all truth does not disagree - it points the way in many shimmering patina’s that catch the eye of each beholder uniquely. The idea of imparting with words the higher nature of the Awakened presence is always a futile but courageous endeavor. When you open the door to a striking sunrise - do you need to have desired it to be in the present with it? If your wife gives you a quick hug and spontaneously it finds you in bed - was it not possible that this was simply a beautiful coupling and nothing contorted or subjugated? A monks way and a householders way have often very different dogmas - but the pointings in essence are the same - even if they appear polar opposites. Often polar opposites are simply the same thing from a different side. Some of your concepts have come from those that have newly awoken. Words that have been put to paper long before abiding has taken place and even in some cases descriptions from “experiences” but not actual abiding Awakening Presence. Their is a reason ever enlightening Enlightened Masters do not go about Awakening students and followers - for nearly all are still too entranced to walk the thin bridge to abiding if suddenly awoken. Even those that reached abidance from such premature action would often lose themselves to residual habituation but now have far more access to harm themselves and others. You ask: “Isn’t equanimity the most you can enjoy in an Enlightened state of mind?” Possibly - but the Awakened and unfolding Enlightenment of a so called Enlightened Master is not a state of mind - it is abidance in Presence - Divine Essence. Equanimity is IN the cessation of inertia’s - it is the stillness of the ungrasp beingness - unbound Presence. Equanimity is not a final throttling of all feeling - it is not a leadened caging of desire - it is not the destruction of spontaneous creation. Abidance in the ever unfolding Presence of Awakening Enlightenment is not achieving some flatline brainwave - the brain is not the seat of Being - though the physical brain of one unfolding in Presence is a well lit and colorful organ to behold.
  28. 10 points
    I can't "Like" your post because I disagree with your observation but I do understand where you are coming from. There is a side (restricted) conversation going on right now concerning what you have presented. Yin and Yang will alternate over time; sometimes more Yin, other times more Yang. The concept is "good will". When we make a post are we trying to be helpful or hurtful? I would immediately respond that we should try to be helpful. But from who's perspective are we going to judge "helpful"? And if only helpful comments can be made then this would be a form of censorship, wouldn't it? Dao follows a natural flow, We too should follow our natural flow. Sometimes something someone else says will irritate us. But maybe that person was really trying to help but because of the baggage we carry around with us we see what they said as being harmful. True, members will come and go. Well, except for Marblehead. That doesn't say anything directly about DaoBums. All it indicates is that one member has decided to move on. American society has become more confrontational lately. We will see that from the Americans who post here. But I think we are still holding very well to t large and diverse membership here and as I mentioned a few days ago, I find it inspiring to look at the "online user" list and see that there is more than one page of members on line at the time.
  29. 10 points
    It is happening because you are trying to bypass rather than clear the underlying desire. The energy will just spill out in other emotional forms.
  30. 10 points
    Can't think of a book off hand, but lately, observing water run down the gutters of our street to the drain, brings a simple, potent lesson on the experience of dao. Just sit and observe. Be present. Just be. Water flows downhill and can generate great force without mind, without effort, skill, training or intent. It carries along whatever it encounters... leaves, litter, dog turds, jewelry, live insects and dead bodies of birds, without revulsion or covetousness. in this, a palpable experience of dao... for me.
  31. 10 points
    My experience is that it's a paradox. It is "both and" - not "either or." There's no need to exclude duality, or anything for that matter. Duality is part of it, too.
  32. 10 points
    @ Lightseeker The problem might be that you are essentially asking the same thing over and over again. You want power or control over other people, and preferably in a magical and cost free manner. Now even apart from ethical questions most spiritual paths involve a diminishing of egocentric concerns and behaviour. So from a spiritual perspective you want to move in a completely wrong direction. Should we help you get into that kind of trouble?
  33. 10 points
    Thank you my friends... i am sorry I stoped posting. honestly, I was tired of the arguing. i simply have focused my life on the way of Taoist Practice - and now for the past 9 years actively teaching in Japan. I feel the main point overlooked by those exploring Taoist Methods is the process of refining and purifying the Heart. Too much focus is put on the fascination of Qi Powers, Technique, and also Political Ranking. Purify and Simplify the Heart -- uncover your original state of sincerity. this is an important foundation for making Internal Progress... all my best, dao zhen
  34. 10 points
    imagine a movie of the sun, with its rays shining outward imagine that movie played backwards, with the rays returning to the sun now place that movie at the niwan, and run it on loop inhale, light returns exhale, light returns do not flex the niwan, keep this light and shiny
  35. 10 points
    Hi ~ I was gone for a while, now I'm back. Hope life is well for everyone! Warmest regards, rene
  36. 10 points
    It occurred to me last year that you cannot heal pain without first feeling pain, cannot heal suffering without first suffering yourself. With this understanding I have let myself feel, richly and deeply, for perhaps the first time since I was a young child. I flung open the gates, unlocked the portcullis, and let what was outside come in. At first it was liberating, exciting even. Then, as the months carried on, it grew increasingly painful, ultimately terrifying. I began to experience panic attacks. This was completely new to me! This week, perhaps exacerbated by the extreme heat that blanketed my region, I felt something in me break. Perhaps break is not the correct word. I felt something inside me give way, and in giving way I learned something about myself that I never realized. I cannot do it alone. I need others. This may sound obvious, but it was not to me, far from it. I've always been stoic, a real stiff upper lip kind of guy. I've always felt that I could reason my way through life, through all challenges before me. And I always looked down upon the emotional and saw them as weak. I was wrong on both counts. Reason and stoicism do not make you strong. Emotion and feeling do not make you weak. It is the balance that brings strength. It is the balance that heals. The road is long and the trek is hard. I still feel pain and the pain still carries suffering, but I feel I have finally crested the hill and I can see the blessed water in the distance.
  37. 10 points
    People are mystified with or annoyed at people who have woken up making statements like “all you need is to be silent/still” or “nothing needs to be done”. For those who have spent years trying to “get something” - energy, grace, etc, is an assumption that they are somehow incomplete and will be fulfilled when they “get some thing”. Years of toiling, practice, austerities, thinking pile on. But mostly there are moments of experiences of “bliss”, a glimpse here, a taste there, and the elusive “awakeness” keeps playing hide and seek! But there really is nothing to “get”. There is a lot to give up though. The reason is simply because there is nothing one gets from the “outside” that wakes you up. In a sense no one really was asleep, so no one wakes up. What goes away is the mistaken identification and sense of bondage. All that is needed is simply that — give up the mistaken notions of bondage and simply trace the culprit back to its source. The culprit is the mind, and the 10,000 things it creates. It seems so hard because it calls for a type of undoing that is counterintuitive. The mind likes to do this and that. It’s job is to solve problems and subdivide one into many. So simply letting it be seems like the hardest thing to do. But all is needed is, to not get swayed by its fluctuations. Just keep watching it and trace it back to its root. Feel free to discuss the points raised here. Happy awakening
  38. 9 points
    My initial experience of awakening was completely unexpected, completely unlike anything I'd ever read or could have anticipated, and yet I somehow knew precisely what had transpired. I felt it deep in my bones, no room whatsoever for questions or doubt. On the other hand it was also disorienting, particularly in trying to carry on with my family and professional life. The lack of conceptual context created sort of a cognitive dissonance between the discursive "me" and the abiding nature. Reconciling and integrating the self-awareness with mundane responsibility and obligations became challenging at times. Priorities changed but I wasn't ready or willing to give up my family and professional obligations. I knew there was room and validity for both the relative and absolute. Years later I encountered a teacher who was able to help me with that integration. The beauty is that it happened almost completely non-verbally and non-conceptually. I came to him looking for help contextualizing and integrating my experience. He told me almost nothing in words but his manner, his openness, his warmth and genuine caring caused something in me to click in a very profound way, bridging the relative and absolute through openness of the heart.
  39. 9 points
    They are bodily fluids not some super duper energy potions. Do your thing and don't worry about yin and yang fluids worry about getting the job done properly.
  40. 9 points
    I've been consistently visiting this site since 2005. Every once in a while a longer term member will make this same observation - that the place has changed in a bad way. I just say: look to see the good here. Is there anything new to learn? Are you still interested in the various subjects discussed here? Could a new subject be added into the mix, which no one has discussed yet, but which you're enthusiastic about? Are there new members who could use your help? Longer term members are potentially a resource of information, usually due to having more experience in the subject matter here. Can you learn something from the fresh perspective that new members bring? Is there some subject you might have previously ignored, but which is now becoming more apparent? I've always viewed this forum as a jumping off point for learning, where we can find tidbits of information about something...let's say we see someone talking about Sufism, and it strikes us as seeming interesting...then we can go do our own research, find a lineage, get some real experience for a number of years. And our discussions can benefit from it...as a result, more accurate ideas can be shared with the bums, so that we all help each other out. Our learning becomes more efficient and effective. We get on better spiritual paths. We learn how to be healthier. We improve our lives, and the world around us. If there are people who are negative, perhaps their behavior will improve simply from being here and seeing how the long term bums operate. Or they will get on a path that transforms them, so they no longer feel the need to be rude. For the record...there was never a time when the forum was civil. If we're thinking the forum has changed into a really unpleasant place, perhaps that's just because we've personally become a more pleasant person and are suddenly more aware of the world we were already living in, and how different from it we've become.
  41. 9 points
    isn't it against the Daobums rules to agree with each other?????
  42. 9 points
  43. 9 points
    The light is awareness and attention which is nearly always turned outward towards the "outside" world. Turning that light around means to focus our awareness and attention inward.
  44. 9 points
    There are so many possible reasons for why this may tend to happen. Them being fraudulent is one idea. Another is that they are speeding up their own evolution, so they really just burn out faster. Along those lines, if they're on a spiritual path, they may have had to go through a lot in life, and life experience can take its toll. It could be that some methods are taxing to the cardiovascular system (not in the same way as healthy exercise), so they get heart disease. Maybe when it's cancer, it's due to heat buildup from practices not having an outlet. Could be that they'd have been far worse off if they'd have done nothing, and they needed to learn and practice their arts in order to stay alive as long as they did. There are many more things we could think of other than this. I think it'd be fair to say that a practice is life shortening if the same phenomenon happens to everyone in the lineage - the teacher and all the students. If the teacher lives to 56, and some of the long term students end up living to 99, then we can't say the system is at fault. About judging the veracity of teachings based on the practitioner's physical appearances...I want to believe there is some truth to the idea that beauty is the result of cultivation, and that it's inextricably linked with wellness - that people who do the right things in life end up getting good results, and that it shows. On the other hand, I think if we look at people who cultivate themselves in terms of wisdom, kindness, intelligence, courage, etc...they don't end up looking like models. If we look at the lives of gorgeous people, are they looking so good on the inside? I've known some beautiful women, for instance, who were horrible human beings (not that the inner and outer are always opposite of each other). It's hard to say what the truth of the matter is.
  45. 9 points
    I had glimpses of waking throughout my decades of seeking. Briefly opened windows onto the raw potent, simple beauty of it. That which is... then gone... back to searching... where did that come from? Who has it? Can they give it to me? Every time the bellows shifted, the glimpse would pass and I'd be back to 'seeking it'... seeking everywhere but here... seeking with desperation... with all my power, all my strength, all my mind. Seeking in others, from teachers, from books, from places in nature, seeking it from the right dietary restrictions, from the right soaps. But always somehow sure that I needed something outside of me to show me, to unlock in me the truth. Seeking always to achieve something external, to grasp something that I always assumed was 'out there'. I perceive so clearly now how that very seeking was what impeded the simple realization. Rather than seek elsewhere for that which already abides... within. Release. Be. Strip away, release and let go of every notion, intention, thought and seeking impulse. What remains is... it. The very act, impulse and desire of seeking occludes the realization of what is... When utter spiritual and physical exhaustion led me to completely surrender and give up, in suicidal despair. While lying in complete quiet and solitude, in the midst of one of the greatest cities of the modern world. When I had released all notions I previously held... all desires, all concepts of should and shouldn't... When I had release everything... one thing remained. I am aware. This is it!
  46. 9 points
    Thanks for the topic steve. Recently, in January, I crossed over another level of understanding on this topic. Lying in hospital, hovering on the line between alive and crossing over for several days as my blood went septic from the posioning due to the ruptures in my colon... I had the full experience of my own responsibility for all of it. Every bit of it. It was beyond just mere mental understanding... I experienced my responsibility in my bones, in my very blood. It was one of the single most beautiful, bouyant and empowering moments I've ever experienced. Empowering as well... because the moment the cascade of understanding really bloomed in my awareness... the palpable sense that I had put myself there and thus, could also pull myself where I was drawn next... to health, or to the other side... I was no longer a helpless, poor me, streaming about in the river of fate. When I claimed complete responsibility for being there, for the experience and the results... gratitude such as I have never known, opened up within and without... saturating me. For a long while, I had been growing in the experience that just because I experience pain and horror and loss, does not mean I am suffering. Now it's just the way it is. It's as clear and natural as the beard on my face. My wife is currently in and out of hospital. They have no clue the causes, or the cure. She's hovered near death as well and I look at my 12 year old son, our home with three cats and all the things reflecting our 29 years together and I accept all of it. Yes, she is in pain. Yes this digs deep into my personality. But I am not suffering. I am present. I am here for her, offering healing, offering presence, just... being. Connected and loving. Bouyant and clear. Fully sensing and accepting my responsibility in all of it. It's remarkably freeing. So bouyant. Hard to describe with words if you're not in it. I understand when others even get upset hearing such things... i used to as well.
  47. 9 points
    Yes Best to start working with this under more manageable conditions at first. We tend to jump to extreme examples and challenge this principle as it does seem a bit outrageous at first blush. It takes quite a bit of stability and realization to apply our spiritual skills and learning to such horrific circumstance but yes, even then. The rationale is that no matter what the circumstances, no matter how horrible, no matter if they are totally out of our control, all we can ever do is manage our own response as best we can. We can always try to make the best out of whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. In that sense we are always fully responsible.
  48. 9 points
    Looks like I scored just two out of a total of eight points. Darn! Are there any masters interested in taking on a 52 year old male, with above average intelligence (but only just barely), a carniverous diet and a boatload of samsaric attachments? Please PM.
  49. 9 points
    The basis of left and right in Daoism is found in the Loshu square: East South West East North West The first thing that you need to realize about the above square is that direction wise the position of 'one" is North, thus "nine" is South, "three" is East and "Seven" is West. The Left and Right here is derived from the orientation of someone sitting in the North at "one" "and facing south toward "nine", thus East corresponds to left and West to right. This magic square is considered to be the cosmic pattern of the Earth, and is used everywhere from Feng Shui to the floor plan of Daoist Temples. The North is considered to be the direction of the sacred, and with "one", the origin of all, in the North, thus in the North is where the Cosmogenic Gods of Daoism are seated in Temples, facing South, their left sides toward the Eastern, Yang side of the Temple and their Right sides on the Western, Yin side of the Temple. There are a lot of other attributes to directions that add to this, but this is the basic pattern, and I don't have time for fuller discussion. I hope this is helpful. ZYD
  50. 9 points
    I have experienced this exact thing...it was so intense that I actually became delusional, and wound up in a couple psych wards for a few days at a time back in 2011. You seem to be doing a little better in comparison, and asking for help is a good thing. Luckily, I know the way to solve this problem! What really helped me get past this was Dr. Amit Sood's "Attention Interpretation Therapy"...specifically, the attention training aspect of it. I'll explain how to do it in this post, but will give some additional info, too... So...the Buddhists have a practice that's basically the same called shamatha, or calm abiding meditation. They would say to use either a "pure" or "impure" "external support". An external support means something that you pay attention to outside of yourself, like a picture for instance...that's in contrast to paying attention to something inside of yourself. "Pure" means a symbol of enlightenment, such as an image of a bodhisattva, and "impure" means anything else, such as an image of a tree. So for attention training, you'll want to use an "impure external support". You basically just want any object to turn your attention toward. I prefer to just call it the "object of meditation". It sounds less judgmental, and in actuality it works better. As a side note, I think any object that trains the attention is "pure" automatically. What Dr. Sood points out in his books is that it's easy for the mind to get distracted when it's only paying attention to one thing...so he recommends to look for "novelty" in the object of meditation. For instance, you can notice one thing that's new which you didn't see in it before. Because that's the case, I liked to use detailed objects...like a bush where there are many different leaves blowing in the breeze, or like a single leaf from a tree held up close, or an orange, or a picture of a mountain range with a lot of details you can focus on. So for the meditation, you spend 5-10 minutes gazing gently at the object of meditation, noticing new things about it. The point is not to go crazy trying to find new aspects of it to look at...the point is simply that your attention is being directed toward the object. It's simply training the attention to go where you tell it to. In training the attention, the higher brain centers are activated and as a result the mind basically self heals. Currently, the mind is a little bit fractured in that it's not filtering out useless information, like random people's conversations, or the energies around advertisements or social media. Your mind is queuing into things that it doesn't really need to, and perhaps it will even start doing what mine did, which was attempt to create meaning from the various "synchronicities" (aka, coincidences) that can happen...connecting the dots where there is in fact zero actual connection. When it does that, I call it "magical thinking" and it's something which ends up being diagnosed as "delusion". Besides meditation, a big part of healing the mind is to recognize any delusions and forget about them. Such storylines can keep one wrapped up in an erratic state of being, which prolongs the healing of the mind. Best to have no mind, then the brain has a chance to heal itself...versus the mind being wrapped up in any kind of drama or intense emotional experience. So what we have now: meditate as described above for 5-10 minutes at a time (could be twice a day, could be more...with this type of meditation, it's not bad to do more). Secondly, try to recognize and forget about any delusions. Next, you should take care of your lifestyle... The body and mind have needs in order to self heal. They need to sleep at night, and they need to have nutrition. Sleeping at night should start before midnight, and last for 8 hours. Nutrition should be 3 meals a day, breakfast taking place within the first hour of waking up...and each meal should have protein. Meat is good but not in excess. Skipping meals or having ones without protein is a sure fire way to have the body and mind start malfunctioning. Same with going to bed way past midnight, like let's say at 3 am...if you do that you're going to be lacking in some important foundations of health the following day. For healing the mind, the system needs to be working optimally! There should also be some exercise and enjoyment...like the equivalent of 45 minutes to an hour of walking outdoors in a day. Something that is kind of strange which helped me during the roughest time was watching the tv show Psych...it worked because it was lighthearted and made me laugh sometimes, and it wasn't something that my mind tried to read too much into. I could also use it as a time to pay attention to novelty, basically meditating while just relaxing watching tv. Rest and relaxation are as important, if not more so, than getting adequate movement. So yeah, those are the keys to healing the mind, in order of importance: The right kind of meditation. Dropping delusions and having "no mind". Good sleep. Proper nutrition. Rest and relaxation. Adequate movement. Oh yeah, and a final note about meditation... Focusing is not the goal for training the attention. We don't want to cultivate "hypervigilance". The goal is to release the mind by bringing attention back to the object of meditation. It's not to become more intense in our control, but actually to become more freeflowing in our demeanor...while also having the filter which naturally blocks out information that isn't relevant. The meditation works, and doesn't require anything else other than paying attention to the object of meditation...the results will come naturally and don't require any effort other than in doing that. Best of luck and please report back if the problem resolves.