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FROM A SITE VISITOR: First off, thanks for your blog. I thought about some things you write about when I went to see the movie Doubt. I thought about how doubt had to come before I was willing to question anything. Before that, I never had any doubt at all that everything I was told by my preist and my parents was completely true. But I still have a few concepts lurking around back there that need to go. And just when I think they’re all gone, one will show up. Any advice? Please keep up your blogging. Chris
UPDATE FROM CHRIS: I have been tracking the thoughts or concepts that are coming up -- even jotting down a note abvout what they are when they come up and youre right -- there is still a lot of duality to them Things my mom used to say, all the old adages that dad taught us that made me think he was wise when he was really just repeating things he heard, and yes some guilt around what the church taught that I thought I got rid of but haven’t I’ll keep reading the posts Thanx Chris
F.: In that case, consider: among seekers that received religious programming but later hear these Advaitin-based pointers, years can be spent trying to reconcile Christ’s Advaita pointers with the Torah-based pointers which he continued to offer to those at the wet charcoal stage. Therefore, there is something to be understood before moving on any farther.
[UNDERSTANDING THE ADVAITIN TEACHER’S STRATEGY TO AVOID CONFUSION OVER SEEMINGLY CONTRADICTORY POINTERS: Before you move on, understand why these teachings are often so confusing. But first, to clarify for recent visitors and to avoid the bewilderment that comes because of the manner in which the teachings are typically presented by Advaitins, consider the strategy that a teacher will use with different seekers at three “different places on the path”:
wet charcoal: describes the condition of a person being so asleep that it is impossible to light the fire of enlightenment; dry charcoal: those seekers who understand some of the teachings—if they are taught properly, the fire can begin; gunpowder stage: those with much understanding—only a few more pointers are required to set off the spark and then all nonsensical beliefs and concepts will be exploded away and freedom will come.
Years can also be spent trying to reconcile the words shared in the book I AM THAT, or any other book of transcripts from teachers. One day responses would be offered to a seeker at the beginner, wet charcoal level. The next day, a seemingly contradictory pointer would be offered to a seeker farther along the “path.” All very confusing, yes? The same happens with questions submitted here.
One seeker wrote to say that he has gone back to the beginning of the archives and is going to read those from the start to the present. The caution to him is the same: confusion can come if it is not understood that postings are level-appropriate, geared to the level of the seeker. A different answer might be offered the very next day to a different seeker, and that can be confusing if the reader does not understand “level-appropriateness.”
That is why retreats are offered, and why the seven steps are offered in a volume that can guide one through the steps in the exact order in which they must be completed, and why other formats are available for the teachings to be presented in the exact order necessary for the Full Understanding to happen.
E-mails still arrive from seekers at the various levels and are answered on this site with level-appropriate responses that might seem to contradict earlier answers to a seeker farther along the "path."
Too, the later talks by Maharaj really did contradict much of what is shared in I AM THAT. Those later talks were direct and nisarga-based, ignoring all of the literature-based teachings that were so popular in India during the days when he first began offering satsanga in his loft. The call later on from Maharaj was to ignore all “holy” writings and to find what You already know.
But if the courage to doubt and to question manifests, that might lead to freedom from ignorance, programming, conditioning, acculturation, and domestication. That allows for freedom itself to manifest; then, the manifesting of freedom allows the unsteadiness of fear and desire to go and allows a steady peace to come.
Several seekers are currently enrolled in the online Advaita course. Part One includes the reading of SPIRITUAL SOBRIETY and IT’S ALL BULLSHIT. Since they contain a series of relative-oriented propositionalities, what could that have to do with the Advaita understanding?
It is really quite simple. The content is not about attacking the BS in this and other cultures. The content is a challenge that can be used to gauge whether or not the readiness has truly manifested.
The intent is to determine if the seeker is truly ready to forfeit attachment to all of the subjects addressed in those books, including “patriotism,” “accumulation,” “religion,” “nationality,” “respect for the authorities,” and all of the other cows that have been accepted as “sacred” by virtue of acculturation.]
Now, back to the topic of doubt that you raised: the seeker need not begin the “journey” with an agreement that it really is all BS. If she/he can at least accept that most of the examples in those books are BS, then a movement farther along the “path” can commence.
If that test is passed, then the seeker is indeed set to move forward, because the willingness to question, and to eventually question it all, is a prerequisite for moving along the “path” to Full Realization. Thus, to review so far:
a. To move along, you must be willing to question it all, especially the concepts that you accepted only because you considered someone to be an authority or because they instilled in you a desire for something or a fear of something.
b. You must find WHO is concerned with the concepts that are lurking back there. Find which roles the concepts are supporting and find what new personas are being generated by beliefs and ideas and concepts you have been taught.
c. For a time, focus on the I AM only.
d. Over the next days, find the not-YOU’s.
e. Over the next days (or weeks or months) after YOU see all of the not-YOU’s you’ve accepted as identities, try to focus on the YOU. Meanwhile, more explanation will continue. Please enter the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)
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