Thursday, January 21, 2010

THE MYTH OF PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. PART 3: – SITE CO-HOST: LOUISE STERLING

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In an October post, floyd said: “Understand that there is no self that needs protecting, but imaginary selves do seem to need many things to exist.” Applied to the personal development movement, floyd may have said: “Understand that there is no self that needs improving, fixing, healing, or developing, but imaginary selves do seem to need many things to exist.” Take that pointer into silent consideration, and if at any time you feel inspired to acquire, fix, evolve, deepen, develop and improve yourself, ask the more relevant question: WHO wants to acquire? WHO wants to fix? WHO wants to evolve? WHO wants to deepen? WHO wants to develop?

Understand – it is not so much the personal development movement and its emphasis on “improving the person” that we are deconstructing here. Rather, the myth of the personal development movement is offered as a pointer. Instead of dabbling in the external and the unreal, when the desire to improve or the fear of not being or having enough arise, the impersonal gaze can simply recognise and witness the pull of an imaginary self.

To re-examine an often-used teaching metaphor, imagine for a moment the cloudless sky. Perfect, white, “chocolate box” summer’s day clouds may float across the sky; or dark, rain-filled storm clouds may float by. Are the white clouds “good” or “positive”? Are the dark clouds “bad” or “negative”? Of course not – they are simply clouds appearing temporarily in the empty sky. The clouds are no different from the thought bundles that make up the imaginary selves.

The Advaitan Teachings tell You directly, You are the cloudless sky. You are not a cloud – neither a white, fluffy cloud nor a dark storm cloud. The clouds – whatever their attributes – appear in You. The clouds are fleeting, temporary, limited, constantly changing in appearance. You are permanent, constant, stable, limitless. Before the clouds appeared, You are the cloudless sky. While the clouds appear and float by, You are the cloudless sky. When the clouds disappear, You are the cloudless sky. Can the clouds harm or tarnish You? Can they improve You? Can they affect You in any way? Of course not. The very idea is absurd.

Now, to apply this metaphor to the personal development movement. Can You see that the teachers in the personal development movement are in the "Cloud Improving Business"? They offer You the allure and promise of permanent stabilization as the airbrushed cloud of your wildest imagination. WHO would be attracted to such a promise? Can You see now how these self-help marketers appeal to the desires of the imaginary personas?

You – the reader of this posting – what is it that You seek? If You are seeking for the freedom of Realization offered via nisarga yoga, use your discernment. Avoid distractions. It is not necessary to evaluate every offering, technique and teacher within the personal development scene. Instead, ask yourself WHO is attracted or interested? Locate and witness the imaginary self that senses lack and incompletion, and seeks to get and gain.

Read through the 1500 postings on this blog, and the transcripts of Maharaj’s dialogues with seekers in his loft. Anywhere, does floyd or maharaj advise you to search in the external relative world for teachers or techniques? Anywhere, does floyd or maharaj advise you to improve or develop yourself as a precursor to Realization? No. Instead, re-reading these texts, the invitation will be found again and again to be silent and to withdraw the gaze from the external and turn within. Again and again the invitation will be found to withdraw all false identifications – including with the identification as a human being, as evidenced by the two quotes below:

Floyd: Once it is understood that consciousness will witness purely if not blocked or contaminated or will witness inaccurately if blocked or contaminated, then no speck of consciousness and no temporarily combined set of elements and no circulating breath can erroneously believe that there is any such thing as having, gaining, losing, thinking, profiting, improving, beginning, ending, being born, dying, being reborn, being offended, or suffering misery.

Maharaj: You are not a kindergarten student of spirituality, so you must cease to think and speak as if you are a phenomenal object. You are the animating consciousness that provides sentience to the sentient being. But you are this consciousness only in manifestation. In truth you are that which is prior to consciousness itself. You are the pure Awareness. You do not need to be liberated. Liberation is a preposterous idea, for were you an object as you still think you are, then as an object you could never be liberated.

To be continued.

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

(For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – that guide You from the temporary fluctuating relative stance to abidance as Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog.)

Comments / clarifications may be sent to louise.advaita@gmail.com

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