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Still_Waters

Edward Selim Michael - The Law of Attention

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(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".

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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.
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