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sean, November 26, 2004 in General Discussion
"I" is the problem
-some Zen guy
Thank you for a very interesting article. Actually I found it very comforting.
The experiences that he talks about, seems to me to be viewed with "buddhist glasses". And maybe if you are being trained in this tradition those pleasant and unpleasant reactions will arise due to method, world-view and transmission. In my own experience, the way you describe such experiences, and how much you let them influence you is a matter of 1. Language, and how much you believe in the connections between language and reality 2. Sense of self as a thinking subject (specifically) 3. Defining sensuous experience as real.
The point he makes is very, very important: Find a guide or master of teacher that has walked all the way, or, that knows how to put these things in their place. If you are on your own, or if you are close to a community of feel-gooders and I-am-a-spiritual-person type practitioners only, you will definately be left to your own devices when facing the actualization of turbulent or expanding energies. Find something hard-core. But going through a more deep purification and transformation doesn't need to set you up in a potential psychosis-invoking situation. It's also a matter of putting the suffering you are experiencing in perspective. THe best way I found was just to see how ridiculous it was for me to think that all my pain was so important, when I am so fantastically insignificant in this endless universe. Better to expand my perspective and let my body/emotions be, and indentify with my true nature, which has no fixed location. Then I usually start laughing, because I realize how seriously I take myself: "Mr wise-ass"!
The last 3 days I have thought I was going abit mad. My emotions was very strong for no reason, and all these paranoid thoughts flared up. It lasted for a while. Then I had some strong reactions during my practice and it eased off. Now I look back and know that if I hadn't taken it so seriously it wouldn't be an issue at all. So maybe take refuge in a sense of humor?
Serious fellow, going through very real deep transformation. Getting through such work is genuinely harrowing, there is no getting around that fact. Its not just a matter of a better attitude, or taking a no-self approach, (while obviously those are important). Excellent post!
We've had a couple "Is the dark night of the soul really necessary?" threads.
I've tended to poo-poo them as unnecessary in today's world for a few reasons: our paradigms are less hard core and easier to move past and our methods are superior and we know about self pacing and dealing with kundalini type issues. Hopefully (?) we are carrying less baggage in general that has to be transformed and the atmosphere of the planet is more conducive to spiritual evolution and our paths are being articulated in more uplifting and happy terms.
But then again, my progress has been extremely modest compared to St John of the Cross, etc. so I really can't say for sure and it sounds like brother Cam is going through a crazy processing cycle right now, not all of which is pleasant.
I think the problem most people face is that we're not in touch with our higher self, who actually signed up for the spiritual course we find ourselves taking! The false ego is always feeling at odds with the impulses coming from the true self.
We each signed up for different "courses" - some are more challenging than others, and challenging in different ways. Some people experience the depths of life experience as if swimming in deep waters with a lot of resistance. The dark night of the soul is just the resistance that we experience, and we have to go through that in the process of embodying the truth. On a higher level, that resistance is a divine gift, because we transform our consciousness in the process of overcoming it.
Some people seem to swim in waters with less resistance, and they may not need to have those deeply transformative experiences in this life. Especially people of my parents' generation (in their 70's-80's now), are not working so intensely on opening their astral bodies, and don't generally go through the deep personal development that many of us do.
They had trials and tribulations for sure, but more in terms of external life experience, not so deeply internal as my path has been.
thank you sean for your reflections esp this section:
"I found having my sense gates fully open becomes ever so pleasant as I cultivated equanimity, which I found is a consequence of relinquishing grasping and aversion. In fact I found the unpleasantness (suffering) I experienced was proportional to the amount of grasping, or aversion, that I was engaged in. I have thus found relinquishing grasping and aversion at every moment is now the core of my practice, and consequently I have found equanimity emerging, increasing and pervading my life."
SO very DIFFICULT!
i second hagar on humourous sense, but my pers exp is, the deeper, the higher..i laugh best with those who ive seen really dark
"stille vann er grunt".