Still_Waters

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  1. Edward Selim Michael - The Law of Attention

    My spiritual mentor and I initially had a very stormy relationship but, as time passed, I discovered that she was invariably correct in both her words and her actions. Let me share one of my first "incidents" with my spiritual mentor. When I first met her, she made the "Question everything" statement that I mentioned earlier. Having been raised Roman Catholic with an "infallible Pope" whom I did not consider to be very "infallible", that statement piqued my interest. She then gave me a meditation book. At that point in my life, I was NOT an experienced meditator. However, I read the whole book within a week and returned to her with questions. When I told her that I had read the whole book and had questions, there was a long, uncomfortable (for me) silence after which she looked directly at me and asked, "You read the whole book in one week?" I could feel myself getting tense at that point and slowly started to withdraw as I anticipated a "quiz". I hesitatingly responded, "sort of". She then followed up with another question, "...and you practiced?" I was getting more and more uncomfortable with those questions and , once again, responded hesitatingly, "sort of". She then looked directly at me and said, "Practice. Only then can you ask questions. Now, you may leave." You can imagine how furious I was as I resolved never to come back to such an unwelcoming guru. From that point on, I used to visit the ashram ONLY when she was NOT there because I liked the people at the ashram. Finally, after practicing, there came a point when they could not satisfactorily answer my questions and referred me to her. I initially rejected that advice by saying that I didn't like her. Inwardly, however, I knew that there was no way I would subject my bruised ego to that humiliation again. However, as I thought more and more about that, I decided to take their advice since there was nothing to lose even if she responded similarly once again. With some trepidation, I approached her when she returned to the ashram from abroad and was completely blown out in a very positive way. Having practiced for some time, her responses were so enlightening and so on target that it marked the beginning of a very long and productive relationship but not without some turbulence due to my intellectual and egotistical nature at that time. (LOL) That's how it all started. The key point is to PRACTICE. Without practice, there is really nothing to discuss except theory and my spiritual mentor was primarily inclined to point to direct experiences and avoided conducting long conversations about theories whenever possible. LOL PRACTICE is indeed the key. Because of my spiritual mentor's interactive style, she had few disciples. She would always say, "I am not here to entertain you but to point you to direct experiences so that you can become lights unto yourselves". In a book written about "Living Women Saints of India", she was portrayed as the "No Nonsense Yogini". That remains an apt description of this truly remarkable woman.
  2. Edward Selim Michael - The Law of Attention

    It's really good to hear that Selim Michael has been an inspiration to you and to others. I was similarly impressed by his writings, and am wondering whether your post suggests that you actually met him and practiced under him. If so, it would be interesting to hear some of your special personal stories while practicing under his guidance. As for your comment to "get yourself a living teacher if you must have a teacher", I searched the world for a living teacher and, upon finding her, I practiced under her guidance for over 30 years. Even now, I wouldn't trade her for any of the others, including Selim Michael. Each aspirant is unique and that is most assuredly a factor in choosing a guru or being called by a guru. While you are correct that an external guru is not absolutely necessary and that there are indeed "people realizing enlightenment all over the place", I have discovered that many of the so-called enlightened ones "all over the place" lack substance and are merely a composite of quotable quotes with little or no direct experiences. When one stills the mind, the colors/lights come naturally and the subtle vibrations manifest equally naturally as they draw one closer and closer to the Source. However, to call the natural manifestation of lights and sounds "enlightenment" is questionable at best. As you probably know, even Selim differentiates between enlightenment and liberation. In addition, there are various levels of enlightenment as the Reality reveals itself in the proper moment(s). Even Selim talks about the many "enlightened ones" who are actually quite deluded and stuck in a very comfortable, smug "spiritual rut". I am reading my second Selim book, "Obstacles to Enlightenment and Liberation", with the intention of using it as an additional checklist to identify any lingering "spiritual ruts" into which I have become "stuck". In any case, I would like to hear more about your own personal light and sound meditations as well as the direct inner experiences leading to your realization.
  3. Edward Selim Michael - The Law of Attention

    I just received my second book by Edward Selim Michael (Obstacles to Enlightenment and Liberation) and he's quite direct with his opening statements. "It must be noted that currently, in the West and even in India, most seekers have only a superficial understanding of what spiritual practice really involves. It is common to hear beginners speaking of 'felicity (Ananda) or 'devotional love' (bhakiti) as if the simple fact of using these words were sufficient to come to experiences these out-of-the-ordinary states". I too have noticed this when I try to speak to those who present as "spiritual people" but actually lack depth and direct experiences when one tries to go past the lofty sounding words and theories. From the little that I've read thus far in this book, I can readily see some habits and tendencies in myself that require attention even after having practiced for over 30 years under a widely revered sage.
  4. (This was initially posted in the Buddhist section, but probably is more appropriate in this section.) I was recently introduced to Edward Selim Michael by a very spiritually-insightful Jewish woman who has hosted Quaker and Buddhist groups for as long as I have known her. I recently finished reading Michael's book, "The Law of Attention: Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance". He clearly states that the aim of the book is "direct inner experience" and that is what attracted me to him. My own spiritual mentor of over 30 years once said, "Question everything, even what I say... and, if a teacher can't point you to the direct experiences, then go elsewhere". Edward Selim Michael seems to be such a being who points one to the direct inner experiences. I just ordered another one of Michael's books, "Obstacles to Enlightenment and Liberation", because he warns against getting into comfortable, familiar ruts and I plan to use his book as a checklist to see what tendencies I may have that could be holding me back. Michael seems to be a man who has been there and not just some one pontificating grand theories and quoting the masters but one who speaks from direct inner experiences. I wasn't sure where to post this topic but decided to post it here because, despite his yoga/meditation inclinations, " It was to Buddhism that he felt closest, but as his teaching was based on his direct experience, he did not hesitate to quote Christian, Hindu, or Sufi mystics." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Salim_Michael To get the discussion going, I will include without comment a few quotes from his book, "The Law of Attention: Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance". (Note that I have replaced the masculine word "he" in the quotes by "one".) 1. "The aim of this book is to help seekers arrive at recognizing, through direct inner experience, their higher nature and the after-death state, the state from which they originated and to which they will return on leaving this form of existence." 2. "Without perhaps realizing it, one will then start to sleep inwardly again, thinking that one is still working by being merely satisfied with the intellectual knowledge and memory of certain limited spiritual experiences one may have had in the past." 3. "If, during meditation, this luminous expanse of consciousness becomes adulterated and diluted in the slightest degree with one's habitual state, it will then inevitably cease to be Truth." 4. "It will be readily evident to one who has practiced meditation seriously and has had enlightenment that what was right and necessary at the beginning of one's quest will no longer be right or practical later".
  5. I was recently introduced to Edward Selim Michael by a very spiritually-insightful Jewish woman who has hosted Quaker and Buddhist groups for as long as I have known her. I recently finished reading Michael's book, "The Law of Attention: Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance". He clearly states that the aim of the book is "direct inner experience" and that is what attracted me to him. My own spiritual mentor of over 30 years once said, "Question everything, even what I say... and, if a teacher can't point you to the direct experiences, then go elsewhere". Edward Selim Michael seems to be such a being who points one to the direct inner experiences. I just ordered another one of Michael's books, "Obstacles to Enlightenment and Liberation", because he warns against getting into comfortable, familiar ruts and I plan to use his book as a checklist to see what tendencies I may have that could be holding me back. Michael seems to be a man who has been there and not just some one pontificating grand theories and quoting the masters but one who speaks from direct inner experiences. I wasn't sure where to post this topic but decided to post it here because, despite his yoga/meditation inclinations, " It was to Buddhism that he felt closest, but as his teaching was based on his direct experience, he did not hesitate to quote Christian, Hindu, or Sufi mystics." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Salim_Michael To get the discussion going, I will include without comment a few quotes from his book, "The Law of Attention: Nada Yoga and the Way of Inner Vigilance". (Note that I have replaced the masculine word "he" in the quotes by "one".) 1. "The aim of this book is to help seekers arrive at recognizing, through direct inner experience, their higher nature and the after-death state, the state from which they originated and to which they will return on leaving this form of existence." 2. "Without perhaps realizing it, one will then start to sleep inwardly again, thinking that one is still working by being merely satisfied with the intellectual knowledge and memory of certain limited spiritual experiences one may have had in the past." 3. "If, during meditation, this luminous expanse of consciousness becomes adulterated and diluted in the slightest degree with one's habitual state, it will then inevitably cease to be Truth." 4. "It will be readily evident to one who has practiced meditation seriously and has had enlightenment that what was right and necessary at the beginning of one's quest will no longer be right or practical later".
  6. Deep meditation

    As one stills the mind, one's breath slows down quite naturally and effortlessly. I no longer practice breath control but have shifted attention to observing the mind. Mindfulness of the breath, however, is a "natural sedative" which relaxes beginners and makes them more conducive to meditation. Mindfulness of breath therefore does have obvious value. Let me share a story with you regarding the breath. Many years ago, I was in the steam room at the gym wearing only my bathing suit. When the steam became extremely hot and everyone left the room, I decided for some reason to meditate on the heat and went into meditation. I cannot say how long this lasted but I can say that I was completely oblivious to the intense heat. When I came out of it, the heat had subsided and there was a large number of people surrounding me, including my friend Chip. He said that, when they re-entered the steam room and saw me, I was sitting motionless like a statue. They could feel no breath coming out of my nostrils. My stomach was not showing any signs of expansion and contraction normally associated with breathing. Chip mentioned that he waved his hand in front of my face but there was absolutely no reaction whatsoever. He indicated that people were afraid to touch me for fear that I might go into shock since my state was completely alien to anything they had seen before. Just when they decided to contact the front desk to determine how to proceed and to assess whether medical attention was needed, I came completely out of it totally normal and refreshed. It is said that, by watching the breath, it slows down and the mind slows down with it. However, Ramana Maharshi once said that pranayama exercises merely "torture the nose". I've noticed that if one focuses on the mind and the mind alone, the breath patterns reflect the activity of the mind and "stop" (at least to outward appearances) quite naturally.
  7. Base as awareness, Watch the mind

    Well put. Identification is indeed a major issue to address.
  8. Base as awareness, Watch the mind

    It is interesting that condition 3 (Abiding as awareness but many thoughts and emotions flow naturally , with no attachment to them ) is your prevailing condition now, as that is the first exercise in the yogic thought-observation meditation technique.
  9. Base as awareness, Watch the mind

    Which of the three conditions applies most to you, or does that fluctuate ?
  10. Meditation sickness and related deviations

    I have seen a lot of "A-Z schedules" and they always struck me as being unnatural and full of potential self-fulfilling prophecies. Fortunately, I stayed away from such "level teachings" as they seemed off-target as soon as I was exposed to them. My own teacher NEVER predicted results of meditation practices. Practices were generally "open-ended" so to speak and specific to the individual since each individual is unique. It quickly became clear to me that, if some one expected to have a particular sensation or experience, they would eventually cause it to manifest as a self-fulfilling prophecy. You presented the phenomenon with great clarity. I am fortunate that my spiritual mentor steered me away of a lot of the problematic practices being discussed on this thread.
  11. Meditation sickness and related deviations

    I can see this happening and really appreciate your comments and the description of your own personal experience.
  12. Meditation sickness and related deviations

    I had never heard of "meditation sickness" before so this article was very interesting. In my formative days, I would sometimes meditate for 8-9 hours on a weekend when I wasn't working but it was more akin to the thought-conception and discursive-thought associated with the first jhana in the Buddhist Satipattana Sutra as questions were being resolved. Upon resolution, this dissolved into thought-free stillness and equanimity on that specific subject. Then, at some point, I moved on to sleeping meditations ("conscious sleep") and walking meditations (pure alert awareness) and here-and-now meditations in waking life while working out specific issues in the here-and-now. I never got into those long empty stoned-out sitting meditations as they did not seem useful nor did I go into meditation with expectations of specific results. Then I read something from the Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi that "sitting in meditation for prescribed intervals at specific times is only for the merest of spiritual novices". That caught me by surprise initially but I understood. Fortunately, I never developed "meditation sickness" as described in that article and discussed in this thread. It's all very interesting and I'm glad that, somehow, I avoided these malpractices.
  13. Is any of this proven or real?

    It is indeed true that "pretty much every religion dangles some sort of supernatural carrot to entice its followers to partake in it". Many religions also throw in the threat of hell and damnation to throw fear into the hearts of those who do not choose to partake in it. They foster greed (for a heavenly reward) and fear (of punishment). Those are not particularly good qualities to cultivate. I agree with you that one should look past those hollow promises and "come to perceive the glaring truth of actuality (what we really are)". I enjoyed reading your insightful post.
  14. Is any of this proven or real?

    Very good advice!
  15. You raise a very good point there --- a point that I hadn't really pondered much about the value of the "lineage" system. Well said.