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About blackfence

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  1. Exploring the many meanings of ego in nonduality

    That’s a nice koan . It depends on from which side of the gateless gate the question comes...
  2. Exploring the many meanings of ego in nonduality

    Sure, but this is part of the sravana-manana process: listening and contemplating. I agree with all that, though of course there are many angles from which one could speak. The question of who realizes is why Sankara in his Upadesha Sahasri advocates for the concept of chidabhasa— a reflection of the light of consciousness on the mind. Neither mind nor consciousness realizes but the reflection — “That,” if anything, is what “is ignorant” and thus “realizes.”
  3. Exploring the many meanings of ego in nonduality

    I believe it is useful to discern these two functions, because these are often confused in the spiritual literature. For the seeker, it's useful to understand the ambiguities that come out in this word, and their interrelationship. The preservation of self-image is what, by distracting the mind, prevents the recognition of the real nature of the witness. And this is a psychological phenomenon that can be observed. At the same time, the real nature of the freedom from this attempted preservation is in recognizing its questionable existence -- because whether it exists is in turn dependent on who it is that is noticing this preservation. So that there is a kind of chicken and egg situation, where the existence of the problem is rooted in the assumption of its existence. Seeing this can help free seekers from the notion that they must be perfect mentally in order to progress, or that the way in which enlightenment purifies the mind is that there is an absence of negative thoughts in the way in which that absence is understood pre-realization.
  4. Through self-inquiry and surrender, we orient towards the thought that is the base of all other thoughts... the thought that isn't a thought, that is our Self. Its vast impenetrable space is that against which all other thoughts dash themselves and evaporate harmlessly. Orienting towards that, we realize that there is nothing but that orientation, effortlessly and always. In this video I talk about the nature of this unthought thought, its position on the border of the timed and the timeless, and its feel.
  5. Exploring the many meanings of ego in nonduality

    Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for the tip regarding the light! I'll have to do that for my future videos.
  6. What is the meaning of ego? The word has many different and complicated meanings in the spiritual literature. Is it the sense that I am? Is it the emotions and fantasies connected to the self-image? Is it identification with these? Is it simply any kind of desire at all? In this video, I go through some of the possibilities and their implications…
  7. Ramana Maharshi's version of self-inquiry, without a doubt. Focusing on the fact that "I know that I am" and trying to locate where it comes from, while noticing that any object that you are aware of cannot be the source of that "I feeling" -- for example, the I cannot come from the head because you are aware of the head, and you cannot be what you are aware of.
  8. Swami Chinmayananda is always entertaining, but I really dislike the idea that we get what we deserve. It's quite unfair. I much prefer the idea that it is all god's will, but that we need not be touched by it for one second (indeed, we ARE never touched by it for one second) if we simply look deep into the "I" and find out who we are.
  9. The Evolution of a spiritual douche bag

    And what's your solution?
  10. It's an interesting question if, when someone follows the logic and 'experience' of non-duality/Brahman/Nirvana/the Tao all the way through... when the mind is therefore rendered silent -- when egoic desire is 'defeated' because the ego itself cannot stand in the face of the Truth -- how 'decision-making' and motivation works. This has long been a vexing question. I'd like to pose a hypothesis: that there are two kinds of decision-making. Let's call them the common-sense version and the spiritual version, which is highly counterintuitive and really anti-common-sense. The common-sense version examines normal human aims: health, well-being, happiness, peace in both the individual and society, etc. And it tries to figure out what the best means to those ends are, and attempts to execute on those means. It is fundamentally instrumental -- meaning that it's about accomplishing certain goals. The spiritual version is not really decision-making at all. In the mind's silence, we can say that something else manifests. In the space of absolute effortless and 100% relaxation, in that creative space, in that primordial soup, lightning flashes and something appears, though at unpredictable times and in unpredictable ways, but -- intelligently. So if we admit in this way that action still goes on even among and by the 'enlightened,' then the question is: upon what basis? The answer is: that the basis cannot be named. There can be no story, however complex or nuanced, however peaceful or 'good,' that accurately captures the enlightened one's conduct. As soon as one touches that question the mind again goes silent. One cannot have both the mind and not the mind. One cannot be the Tao and also the person. Both the Tao and the person -- that distinction -- disappear in the silence that is the real Tao. The Tao that can be named, isn't. So there is a wholly different way of going about things, one which avoids labels, names, goals, programs, categories, distinctions, and yet which acts intelligently, and yet in a way that cannot accurately be described or planned for. What description or planning happens itself is the result of these trans-rational indescribable forces. And the real kicker is, of course, that this is always true even for the so-called unenlightened minds... they are all of them in that mode alone. In the end, there is only a single version of decision-making. All the rest is imaginary.
  11. Greatest Daoist masters?

    Other than Lao Tzu and Zhuangzi, who are the greatest of all time? Any who lived in the 20th century? Any living now?
  12. The HOW and WHY of it all

    This just seems like yet another crass materialist philosopher. It seems to me that the pure physics notion of time is far less interesting than the mystery of time subjectively experienced.
  13. The HOW and WHY of it all

    They're actually quite different. The Rig Veda admits ignorance and looks at it struck with wonder... you were suggesting the question is incoherent and/or pointless.
  14. The HOW and WHY of it all

    The Rig Veda had this to say on the topic thousands of years ago:
  15. The HOW and WHY of it all

    I'm not familiar with her... I see that she's the Egyptian goddess of order... does she have something to do with paradox, too?