dwai

"How hard or easy is it?" is an erroneous question to ask on the Spiritual Path

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The word "Spirit" means different things for different people, depending on their socio-cultural/ethnoreligious background. The word's root lies in the Latin word "spiritus" which means "breath". It is used in the context of "Life breath" -- that which animates the body. 

 

So, the term "spiritual path" should mean, the path by which one reconnects with, purifies, and strengthens their life-breath. This life breath has been called by various names -- prana, qi, ki, etc. 

 

How hard does one have to strive to reconnect with their own life force? That which animates them? 

Or conversely, how easy should it be to do that?

 

I find the same conundrum in terms of the "Self" -- how hard or how easy is not a correct approach to the process of "Self-realization". 

 

Papaji, the 20th-century non-dual master, a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi, would often ask his students --

 

"How far do you have to go, to be your Self?"  

"How hard do you have to try, to be your Self"?

 

Existing is the necessary and only condition to connect with the Spirit and to be the Self. "To connect" is also incorrect -- because if there was no "Spirit", one would cease "to be". 

 

So what IS cultivated in many of the spiritual traditions? Is it some substance that gets transmuted into "spirit"? Or is it essentially a process of dropping of the veils that obscure our true nature as this "Lifeforce" or "Spirit"?

 

Where does such a veiling occur? In the mind of course. So, is the cultivation therefore a process by which the mind is made to become transparent, such that the "Spirit" is recognized? 

 

Feel free to share your thoughts here :) 

 

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16 minutes ago, dwai said:

 

 

So,

 

"How far do you have to go, to be your Self?"  

"How hard do you have to try, to be your Self"?

 

 

 

Feel free to share your thoughts here :) 

 

Quite far.

Easy once you have gone the distance.

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3 minutes ago, natural said:

Quite far.

Easy once you have gone the distance.

What distance?

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Only as far as it takes.

Of course  YMMV.

But once you arrive no further effort required, beyond helping others ; )

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Finally cutting through is really just a simple perspective shift. Nothing changes but how you see things. It is really very easy to realize what you are... what is hard is letting go of the artificial process of "self" that obscures it. Letting go of your ideas about how things are in your life, and taking every opportunity to "actualize enlightenment" (as Robert Thurman once said) by simply resting the mind its own nature are what is needed. There is a moment where enough "veils" or obscurations are dropped, and enough training of the mind has occurred where you spontaneously see through the delusion. 

 

1 hour ago, dwai said:

Or is it essentially a process of dropping of the veils that obscure our true nature as this "Lifeforce" or "Spirit"?

 

Where does such a veiling occur? In the mind of course. So, is the cultivation therefore a process by which the mind is made to become transparent, such that the "Spirit" is recognized?

 

This. What you are calling the "Self" is the simple awareness that lies underneath mind and thoughts. It is present all the time but isn't understood for what it is.

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1 hour ago, natural said:

Only as far as it takes.

Do you mean distance in space or distance in time (as in duration)? :) 

1 hour ago, natural said:

Of course  YMMV.

But once you arrive no further effort required, beyond helping others ; )

 

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16 minutes ago, stirling said:

What you are calling the "Self" is the simple awareness that lies underneath mind and thoughts. It is present all the time but isn't understood for what it is.

That is correct. I like to call it Self — because there’s nothing more intimate than it :) 

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2 minutes ago, dwai said:

Do you mean distance in space or distance in time (as in duration)? :) 

 

Level of experience not quantity, but quality in as many as are required. 

Unique to each individual?

 

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16 minutes ago, natural said:

Level of experience not quantity, but quality in as many as are required. 

Unique to each individual?

 

How is distance a quality? And how is one “farther” away than another?

 

Maybe you mean to use another word?  

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It´s certainly possible to have a felt sense of not being inside yourself.  There´s even the idiomatic expression of being "beside oneself."  To me, anxiety is the experience of wanting to jump outside of one´s own body.  (The irony being that being outside oneself also produces anxiety.)  

 

When a spiritual practice is working for me my voice will go down.  This lower timbre of voice is associated with a feeling of comfort, ease, and peace.  There´s sometimes a feeling of resting into myself.  

 

Obviously, this distance I sometimes feel from the core of my being is an illusion.  In reality, I´m always me.  But it does take some work to actually "feel" like I´m me. 

 

Perhaps there´s a spiritual utility in realizing that I´m never far from myself.  That all the anxiety and dis-ease I feel can, at least theoretically, be let go of in an instant.  When a person is in the right space just knowing that can perhaps lead to an awakening of sorts.  But it´s also true that many of us are working in the spiritual trenches, engaging in a process of self-integration that can indeed take time.  

 

Just some thoughts.

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Hmm... words of course are feeble attempts at communication.

How many roads must a man walk before you call him a man?

 

How many cannonballs must fly....

 

Little Big Man to Custer:

"You go down there"

Custer: " Your advising me to go into the Coulee?

Little Big Man (LBM) Yes sir.

Custer (C) There are no Indians there, I suppose.

LBM : I didn't say that. There are thousands of Indians down there...

 

Is it up hill, flat, or down hill.

Cold, cool or warm or Hot.

Dry wet icy?

 

How many miles must a man

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1 hour ago, dwai said:

That is correct. I like to call it Self — because there’s nothing more intimate than it :) 

 

"Self" is as good as any other word for it... though some mix it up with "self". :)

 

Bows.

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15 minutes ago, stirling said:

 

"Self" is as good as any other word for it... though some mix it up with "self". :)

 

Bows.

Bows back :)

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I think “How easy or hard is it?” is a perfectly reasonable question, and my answer would be “Very hard”. The difference is between the idea that the Self is one realisation away vs the idea that there is a journey of consciousness from the lower dantian through the middle dantian to the upper dantian, and the multitude of issues that need to be resolved on the way for the energy system to operate efficiently and correctly  (perhaps similar to undoing the three granthis in Yoga). 

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Posted (edited)

Realization and Liberation are simultaneous to me.

 

Hard or easy?  Both.

 

Paradoxical in the extreme in my process.

 

Effort required?  Yes, but paradox.  Because effort the entire path that brought about waking seems absolutely necessary and it was undeniably, the chief and final impediment blocking realization.

 

Looking back, i unflinchingly realize my striving and efforts to realize were thoroughly blocking realization. 

 

Yet without the entire path would the moment of awakening arise?  Likely not.

 

and so...

 

Paradoxically, it wasn't until effort resulted in a catastrophic exhaustion and all effort finally dissolved utterly that true nature, raw beingness, awareness could be realized...

 

So effort was required and it was the last illusory blockage impeding realization.

 

TingSung

neti neti

 

And waking is dancing... is flowering.  Not a place occupied, nor a position achieved, but realization of what is... awareness.

 

A fluid presence, a silent stillness, whirlpooling an unfoldingness of the simplest raw presence. 

 

This awareness now. 

This. Is. It. 

This now, there is nothing else.

 

What greater practice is there than simple raw presence?  What greater truth abides than this awareness?  This Simple As Fuck, awareness.

 

 

 

Realization and Liberation seem simultaneous and after often get described as spontaneous and effortless.  It both is and isn't.

 

Paradox.

 

Words are not truth.  Actions are noise.  It cannot be spoken of without abusing it and cloaking it.  Like silence... it is broken when we speak its name. 

 

True Nature is so simple, so silently intimately familiar, it is nigh on impossible to perceive in the midst of 'any process'.  So hard.

 

Any flutter in the system masked the raw simplicity.

 

And yet, once realized, it is the easiest of all.  The simplest.

 

For me, it's a dancing of nigh on impossible and utterly effortless.  And the dance is ongoing... the unfoldingness in presence.

Edited by silent thunder
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Posted (edited)

Is wakefulness and sleep analogous to forgetting and remembering?  Here is a poem I like by Yuhuda Ahichai that some might find relevent to the themes of this thread.

 

.............................................................................

 

Forgetting Someone

 

Forgetting someone is like forgetting to turn off the light

in the backyard so it stays lit all day

 

But then it is the light that makes you remember.

 

Yehuda Amichai

Edited by liminal_luke
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12 hours ago, silent thunder said:

Words are not truth.  Actions are noise.  It cannot be spoken of without abusing it and cloaking it.  Like silence... it is broken when we speak its name. 

 

True Nature is so simple, so silently intimately familiar, it is nigh on impossible to perceive in the midst of 'any process'.  So hard.

🙏🏾
 

It’s funny that whenever “hard/easy” is brought about, they are considered to be in mutual exclusivity. The mind doesn’t like paradoxes...how can something be both easy and hard at the same time? 

 

Instead of difficult/easy, we should be looking to understand what is it we’re trying to realize.
 

Otherwise we can spend lifetimes trying to develop some magical substance/ability/power and not ever realize that what we were seeking was already us :) 

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There's a koan for that:

Some one asked Layman Pang if the practice of the Way was difficult or easy.

"Difficult, difficult," he said, "like trying to cover a tree in sesame seeds."

"Easy, easy," said his wife, "just touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed."

"Not difficult, not easy," said their daughter, "On the hundred grass tips, the ancestor's meaning." 

 

 

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On 5/3/2021 at 9:18 PM, liminal_luke said:

 

Is wakefulness and sleep analogous to forgetting and remembering? 

 

Forgetting and remembering from which perspective? The waker or the dreamer? :) 

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"How hard or easy is it?" is an erroneous question to ask on the Spiritual Path

 

While I acknowledge the truth of the OP, I'll offer an alternative perspective.

"How hard or easy is it?" is, indeed, a question that arises for many people entering or moving along the path.

Therefore it is valid, whether or not it has a straightforward or consistent answer.

In fact, questions which do not have ready or finite answers can be the best questions of all. 

Such questions are alive and full of opportunity. 

We can learn a lot from such questions, about ourselves in particular, provided we're willing to hold them without expectation.

Honoring whatever questions may come up is an important part of the path for me, no matter how ridiculous or inappropriate.

Viewing questions and experiences that arise as deficient or erroneous is an error, in my view.

Nothing is to be rejected, everything is allowed to be as it is.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dwai said:

Forgetting and remembering from which perspective? The waker or the dreamer? :) 

 

dwai,

 

Are these questions you´re asking because you don´t know the answer?  When I read your questions I assumed they weren´t actual questions but something more akin to a didactic spiritual tool.  (Perhaps I was wrong?) I felt myself shutting down a little bit in response, which I suspect was not your intention.  I might be uniquely sensitive to the question-that-isn´t-really-a-question thing but thought I´d let you know. 

Edited by liminal_luke
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1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

 

dwai,

 

Are these questions you´re asking because you don´t know the answer?  When I read your questions I assumed they weren´t actual questions but something more akin to a didactic spiritual tool.  (Perhaps I was wrong?) I felt myself shutting down a little bit in response, which I suspect was not your intention.  I might be uniquely sensitive to the question-that-isn´t-really-a-question thing but thought I´d let you know. 

I was hoping we could explore this topic in the context of your post as you brought up remembering and forgetting in context of waking and sleeping. I’d perhaps like to further categorize it as the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep — which is one of the several methods used for inquiry into our true nature. 
 

I certainly didn’t mean it as a challenge, but rather assumed that you have a grander plan in motion with that initial observation. I hope I didn’t inadvertently offend you. 

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On 5/3/2021 at 10:17 PM, liminal_luke said:

It´s certainly possible to have a felt sense of not being inside yourself.  There´s even the idiomatic expression of being "beside oneself."  To me, anxiety is the experience of wanting to jump outside of one´s own body.  (The irony being that being outside oneself also produces anxiety.)  

 

When a spiritual practice is working for me my voice will go down.  This lower timbre of voice is associated with a feeling of comfort, ease, and peace.  There´s sometimes a feeling of resting into myself.  

 

Obviously, this distance I sometimes feel from the core of my being is an illusion.  In reality, I´m always me.  But it does take some work to actually "feel" like I´m me. 

 

Perhaps there´s a spiritual utility in realizing that I´m never far from myself.  That all the anxiety and dis-ease I feel can, at least theoretically, be let go of in an instant.  When a person is in the right space just knowing that can perhaps lead to an awakening of sorts.  But it´s also true that many of us are working in the spiritual trenches, engaging in a process of self-integration that can indeed take time.  

 

Just some thoughts.

 

 

Ecstasy means something like standing outside yourself.

 

 

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On 5/3/2021 at 7:26 PM, dwai said:

The word "Spirit" means different things for different people, depending on their socio-cultural/ethnoreligious background. The word's root lies in the Latin word "spiritus" which means "breath". It is used in the context of "Life breath" -- that which animates the body. 

 

So, the term "spiritual path" should mean, the path by which one reconnects with, purifies, and strengthens their life-breath. This life breath has been called by various names -- prana, qi, ki, etc. 

 

How hard does one have to strive to reconnect with their own life force? That which animates them? 

Or conversely, how easy should it be to do that?

 

I find the same conundrum in terms of the "Self" -- how hard or how easy is not a correct approach to the process of "Self-realization". 

 

Papaji, the 20th-century non-dual master, a direct disciple of Ramana Maharshi, would often ask his students --

 

"How far do you have to go, to be your Self?"  

"How hard do you have to try, to be your Self"?

 

Existing is the necessary and only condition to connect with the Spirit and to be the Self. "To connect" is also incorrect -- because if there was no "Spirit", one would cease "to be". 

 

Or comes to realise all is Spirit? including yourself of course.  This I see as a non-dual realisation, in other words you are not trying to dissolve into it but more to realise that it is you and you are it.

 

On 5/3/2021 at 7:26 PM, dwai said:

So what IS cultivated in many of the spiritual traditions? Is it some substance that gets transmuted into "spirit"? Or is it essentially a process of dropping of the veils that obscure our true nature as this "Lifeforce" or "Spirit"?

 

Cultivation, as I understand it, occurs at every level - for instance conducting your life properly, being ethical, conscientious, respectful of others etc.  - is cultivation, as is energy working, as is open heartedness, as is insight.  So however, or at whichever level you choose to conceptualise it ... it is cultivation.

 

On 5/3/2021 at 7:26 PM, dwai said:

Where does such a veiling occur? In the mind of course. So, is the cultivation therefore a process by which the mind is made to become transparent, such that the "Spirit" is recognized? 

 

Feel free to share your thoughts here :) 

 

 

As Plotinus said (paraphrased) - first perfect the intellect and then take the flight of the alone to the alone.  

 

By intellect he didn't mean what we mean exactly but perhaps our own ability to shed light on our condition.  We work hard on the path ... but the realisation comes from what is beyond and we cannot compel it.

 

So we have 'the work' - but the result is up to God (or take your pick on the name you choose to give the ultimate).

 

PS.  I await Bindi to say we must make the alchemical child :)

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/5/2021 at 7:18 PM, liminal_luke said:

Is wakefulness and sleep analogous to forgetting and remembering?  Here is a poem I like by Yuhuda Ahichai that some might find relevent to the themes of this thread.

 

.............................................................................

 

Forgetting Someone

 

Forgetting someone is like forgetting to turn off the light

in the backyard so it stays lit all day

 

But then it is the light that makes you remember.

 

Yehuda Amichai

 

47 minutes ago, dwai said:

I was hoping we could explore this topic in the context of your post as you brought up remembering and forgetting in context of waking and sleeping. I’d perhaps like to further categorize it as the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep — which is one of the several methods used for inquiry into our true nature. 
 

 

No problem, Dwai.  I think I misunderstood.

 

What strikes me about the poem is that the light is on all day and no effort is needed to keep it going: it´s just ON.  To me, this is analogous to awareness which is always there, recognized or unrecognized.  I suppose we could also say the Awakened Self is always there, recognized or unrecognized, if that phrase is preferred.  The someone -- the light -- doesn´t need our effort to come into existence.  But we don´t always see it.  During the day time, when the sun is out, the light is obscured and we don´t make the crucial recognition.  Then at night it´s obvious that the light is on and it´s like, duh, the Self exists.  We remember.

 

I also like the idea that it´s the light inside me that is leading me towards the light.  It is the light that makes you remember.  The reason I´m interested in spiritual things is because I´m already attracted by some sort of glimmer, an intuition, of the light.  It´s already there inside me and my attraction to the light is not separate from the light itself.  If that makes any sense...

 

The awakening business is a bit above my paygrade as of the moment, but, for me, the metaphor of the poem provides a kind of aha moment.

Edited by liminal_luke
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