I am taking the seven steps again, being extremely thorough. I keep being led back to these teachings. It is the only thing that actually makes any sense that I have ever followed. So I have a question and a dilemma. I am at the body identification level. I understand completely that even after arms, legs and some organs are gone or replaced I would still exist. But then I come to a wall. The wall is the brain. Its hard to say I would still exist even after the brain has gone. How do I reconcile that? I can see that I can still exist with most of those parts but then the brain makes it difficult for me to get past. I don't know if this makes sense. I just feel like I am located in the brain and that if that were to go then I would be no more. Is this something that will get reconciled the further I move along the steps or is this something that needs to be reconciled before I can move to the second step? I'm a little confused. G.W.
THE BRAIN VS. THE "MIND"
The brain is natural and normal and required throughout the manifestation. It is required for normal and natural functioning (Actually, the body can also continue to be a body even if the brain is in a comatose state, but that is not the issue here.)
Your wall is not the natural, elemental brain. Your wall is the unnatural mind, which has evolved into something that is now among the non-Realized masses most unnatural and abnormal; therefore, it is not required for nisarga, natural abidance, and is - in fact - a hindrance to natural living.
The purpose of the "arms-legs-organs exercise" is not to suggest that you become brain-less (though seekers are most certainly invited to become "mind-less" by reaching a "zero concepts" state). The intent is to allow the seeker to realize this: "that which knows it is" is not the body. Nor it is the mind. It is the consciousness that knows it is.
The human body for 14 million years or so has had a brain, originally the size of one cup. The "mind" is a small part of the brain that is capable of storing and retrieving information, intended as a tool for survival. The "mind" is a fairly recent development in the lengthy evolution of the brain, which is presently about 3.5 cups in size.
The "mind" is just as capable of storing and retrieving lies as facts ... as capable of storing misperceptions based in falsehoods as understandings based in facts.
Now, it is only the "non-mind" portion of the brain that is intent on aiding and abetting survival, but the "mind" is intent on destruction.
Originally, the brain determined all behavior, all actions. Now, among the masses, the "mind" does that, driving thoughts and words and deeds with its subconscious influences and robbing persons in the process of both freedom and the ability to make conscious choices.
Consider all of the implications of this fact shared by Spinoza: “[People mistakenly] believe themselves to be free because they are conscious of their own actions but are ignorant of the causes by which they are determined."
As an example, consider this scenario:
Someone drinks alcohol throughout the night and the next morning awakes with a hangover, feeling miserable. The brain sends a message, trying to abet survival and the person says, "Oh my gosh! I feel horrible! I'll never do that again." By five PM though, after a day of stress and tension and some physical recovery from the earlier symptoms of alcohol poisoning, the mind sends a message:
"You know, when you're stressed and tense, alcohol has helped relieve the stress and tension and helps you cope with all of 'the negative stuff' in your life. If you have one or two drinks, you'll feel better." And the cycle begins again because nowadays, the influence of the nonsense-filled "mind" overrides the influence of the would-be-constructive brain in controlling behavior.
It is the intent of the non-duality teachings that the seeker be freed from the destructive influence of the "mind," allowing the original natural condition to be restored so that the constructive, survival-oriented part of brain is once again in charge of determining actions.
[Of course if the use of brain-damaging drugs and alcohol and other brain-cell-injurious-and-cell-killing substances have taken a toll, the user's options become more limited.]
Understand: the brain - and all of the parts of the body - are rooted in the elements; the consciousness is rooted in the Absolute; the mind is rooted in conditioning, programming, domestication, acculturation, and brainwashing.
Here are the salient points:
1. This present "you" is just a composite unity consisting of an elemental plant food body, air that is circulating in and out of the elemental body, and conscious-energy that is temporarily manifested in the plant food body.
2. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, so what remains post-manifestation is distributed thusly:
a. the elements return to the universal pool of elements;
b. the air returns to the universal pool of air; and
c. the conscious-energy returns to the universal pool of energy (a.k.a., "the Absolute").
3. That energy, when originally in the pure, Absolute field of energy, was called "Awareness."
4. Manifested, it is called "Consciousness" and soon loses its originally "pure" property as a result of programming, conditioning, etc.
5. Upon returning to the Absolute, to the vast pool of Absolute energy, it is again called "Awareness."
6. Awareness is not aware of because it is not manifested in a body as consciousness and in a body with a brain that allows for conscious-of-ness.
Simple. Keep it that way.
Abide under the auspices of the brain, if the brain is healthy. Be free of the content of "the mind" (which is nothing more than a storehouse of all of the ideas and concepts and beliefs and falsehoods and myths and superstitions that "they" have dreamed up over the millennia and that the masses in any given culture think are true though they are not and that "they" passed down to you and that "they" - the ignorant and insane - are repeating all around you every day).
THE "ACTUAL 'I'" VS. THE FALSE "I"
As for the "I": seekers are advised here to never again use the word "I" to refer to anything other than the manifested consciousness. Either the consciousness speaks, or there is the belief that a persona - a false image that has been assumed as an identity - is speaking.
And the consciousness that speaks is either the pure, unblocked consciousness or the blocked consciousness that, as Spinoza said, is "ignorant of the causes by which actions are determined.”
So your letter should have said this:
This speck of consciousness is taking the seven steps again, being extremely thorough. The consciousness keeps being led back to these teachings. It is the only thing that actually makes any sense. So this speck of consciousness has a question and a dilemma. This blocked speck of consciousness is identified with the body rather than seeing that I am nothing more than a temporarily manifested speck of conscious-energy and rather than understanding that the body is nothing more than earth elements that are cycling to maintain the body in which I - the consciousness - am presently manifested.
This speck of consciousness can understand completely that even after arms, legs and some organs are gone or replaced that this speck of conscious-energy would still exist because energy can cycle but cannot be created or destroyed. This speck also understands that a plant food body does not last and cannot last because all that comes together on this planet will eventually come apart (as proved scientifically and factually by the Second Law of Thermodynamics).
But then this impure, blocked speck of consciousness comes to a wall. This blocked speck believes that the wall is the brain.
It's hard to say that a speck of energy could still exist even after the (elemental plant food) brain has gone, but I must understand that the conscious-energy is manifested in every cell of the body, not just in the brain. Of course the elements must return to the universal pool of elements because elements cannot be created or destroyed. And sure, the conscious-energy must be released when the elements are no longer joined in a configuration that is presently called "a body," but that energy cannot be destroyed, so it will last though the specific body will not.
So actually, it is not hard at all to say that the body elements will return to the pool of elements and that the energy will be released back into the pool of energy, is it?
Now it is seen that there is nothing to reconcile that could not be understood with an understanding of the principles taught in a 4th grade basic science class, is there? Maybe I would understand those basic scientific facts if I had read my assignments and done my homework and looked at the teacher more than I looked at Betty Lou. (Ha.)
[Do not feel alone: A new national survey commissioned by the California Academy of Sciences and conducted by Harris Interactive says that the people in the U.S. are unable to pass even a basic science literacy test. A National Science Foundation study showed that "the average American does not understand even the most basic scientific principles." A report released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that people in the United States lag behind most other developed countries when it comes to science education. The US ranked 29th, behind countries like Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Liechtenstein, and ahead of only nine other countries.
P.S. Don't know where Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Liechtenstein are? Again, no need to feel alone: 45,000,000 U.S. citizens - as weak in basic geography skills as they are in basic science skills - cannot find the United States on a world map. The few that might want to find "Who or What I Truly Am" cannot even find on a map where they truly are.
Don't want to go back and take several years of science all over again? No problem. Just understand the simple points being offered herein. Moreover, the ultimate problem does not involve as much what persons do not know as what persons think they do know, namely, all of the "acquired knowledge" - a.k.a., "learned ignorance" - that has been accumulated along the way.]
To continue with the letter the way that it should have been written:
This speck of consciousness can now also see that the body will NOT exist post-manifestation in any form because all of the elements that make up the parts are going to return to the universal pool of elements.
Of course, the blocked speck of consciousness believes that it is the brain that is making it difficult for me to get past the identification with the body instead of seeing that the actual "wall" is the "mind" that has been filled with nonsense as a result of programming, conditioning, domestication, acculturation, brainwashing, learned ignorance, and an absence of an understanding of even the most basic scientific facts (which Maharaj said could explain and support these teachings and this simple understanding).
I - the blocked consciousness - don't know if this makes sense; however, if the consciousness were not blocked, I would know that this makes no sense at all. I - the conscious-energy - just feel like I am located in the brain instead of knowing that the conscious-energy is omnipresent, in all.
I - the blocked consciousness - do not see that if something like a brain (which is nothing more than earth elements that have come together temporarily) were to "go," that I - a speck of conscious-energy - would still be. Oh, wait. I just contradicted myself. I said earlier that I understand completely that even after arms, legs and some organs are gone or replaced that I would still exist, but now I'm saying that I just feel like I am located in the brain and that if that were to go then I would not exist anymore.
Hell's bells. I AM energy. Of course I (the conscious-energy which is now speaking) will be forever because energy cannot be destroyed. But the body in which the consciousness is temporarily manifested cannot last forever and it will return to the pool of elements when the elements that have come together will eventually come apart.
Is this something that will get reconciled the further I move along the steps, or is this something that needs to be reconciled before I can move to the second step? I think there is an "I" that can be confused when the fact is that the consciousness that is temporarily manifested in an elemental plant food body called "G.W." seems confused because it is blocked from understanding what could be understood if I had learned some simple scientific facts early on;
but I do not understand those simple scientific facts because they were never learned in elementary school and because a great deal of other "knowledge" (a.k.a., "learned ignorance") has been placed in a mind that now contains an entire conglomeration of non-facts that cause even the simplest and most basic facts to be blocked and thus not understood by the brain.
So there you have it. (Am I still, "Dear Floyd"? Ha.)
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(QUOTATIONS AND POINTERS dealing with NON-DUALITY, ADVAITA, NISARGA YOGA and more)
(Note: Contrary to what you might read, every quote in this book is identified by its author or speaker)The work contains quotations and pointers not only from scores of non-duality books and talks but also offers non-duality pointers that have appeared in works of non-fiction, fiction, classic literature, and movies.
The book include the following:
The offering of non-duality quotations and pointers by category and subject matter but from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj exclusively.
Quotations and pointers from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj that discuss nisarga yoga and nisarga living.
Quotations that other seekers / readers have indicated that they found to be significant.
A section with an arrangement of non-duality quotations and pointers by category and subject matter. The rationale: when offering non-duality quotations, some collections provide key pointers that are offered in no particular order, but here the approach is to group pointers according to subject matter so that a seeker dealing with "body identification issues" can find quotations addressing body identity while a seeker dealing with "being free of the influence of the mind" can find quotations and pointers that offer information on that topic. Other subjects in this part of the book include personality, the child ignorance or no-knowing stage, the two types of witnessing, the Absolute, the Void or the Nothingness, and many more.
Miscellaneous non-duality quotations and pointers which are relevant to Advaitins and that have been offered by philosophers and sages and seers of truth from various periods, including Plato, St. Francis of Assisi, Desiderius Erasmus, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Richard E. Lingenfelter; Robert Burton, Daniel H. Boorstin, Gary Zukav, E. Bayda, Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, Brad Thor, Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.; Nelson Mandela, Immanuel Kant, Bruce Lipton, Clive Cussler, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, Lewis Thomas, Max Planck, Heinrich Hertz; the bands "Pink Floyd" and "The Beatles"; and others.
Non-duality pointers that have appeared in the non-fiction writings of Ralph Klein and in the works of such scientists as Barbara McClintock, Erwin Schrodinger, Fritjof Capra, Niels Bohr, David Bohm, Neil deGrasse Tyson. Also, there are selections from the works of Marvin Kaye, S.H. Sharp, Paul Krassner, Ken Kesey, Russell Brand, G.I. Gurdjieff; and a variety of examples of the non-duality messages that are contained in the body of Native American wisdom as well as non-duality pointers that can be found in the book "ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS" (a.k.a., "the A.A. Big Book").
An offering of non-duality messages that have appeared in the fictional works of Jack Kerouac, Michael Connelly, Mary Shelley, Victor Hugo, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Abraham "Bram" Stoker and others as well as quotations with the non-duality message as offered in film with a list of over thirty movies that are based in non-duality, including The Matrix (Part One), The 13th Floor, Inception, The Truman Show, Dark City, Existenz, Avatar, and many more.
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( QUOTATIONS AND POINTERS dealing with NON-DUALITY, ADVAITA, NISARGA YOGA and more)
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FREEDOM FROM BELIEFS (Believers, Non-Believers, and "No-Belief-ers")
The full explanations are also available in the books in the author's collection that explain in detail all of the non-duality, nisarga teachings offered here:
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From the I to the Absolute
Consciousness / Awareness
From the Absolute to the Nothingness
The Final Understanding
The Advanced Seekers' Series in paperback
The Two Meditation Guides
What BLISS Is and What BLISS Is Not
Why You Must Be Empty If You Would Be Full
When Reality Is Overlaid Upon the Relative
Freedom from Shifting Between States of Happiness and Unhappiness
The Blissful Abidance Series (6 books) in paperback
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(1) Why NISARGA YOGA in addition to the ADVAITA TEACHING?
(2) Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and His Evolution
(3) A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
(4) Going Crazy / Going Sane
(5) The Final Fifteen Topics Discussed by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
(6) The Non-Duality Pointers Offered by YESHU'A ("Jesus the Christ")
(7) William Shakespeare the Advaitin
Overcoming the Fear of Being Totally Independent
I AM THAT (vs. "This Is Who I Think I Am")
The Essence of the Teachings
The Relative Results of Returning to "The Child Ignorance Stage" or "The Child No-Knowing State"
There Is Nothing That Is Personal (Including You and Including God)
Lessons in Non-Duality from Travels in South Africa
The Path to Freedom vs. the Path to Misery
Instability / Insanity: What the Advaita Teachings Can (and Cannot) Address
PROGRAMMING, CONDITIONING, DOMESTICATION, AND ACCULTURATION
Your Original Nature
The Ultimate Sickness, The Ultimate Medicine
Going Crazy / Going Sane
There's No Such Thing As "Peace of Mind" (There Is Only Peace If You're Out of Your Mind)
Freedom from Beliefs (Believers, Non-Believers, and "No-Belief-ers")
A Twelve-Step Journey to SELF-Realization [Kindle]
A Twelve-Step Journey to SELF-Realization [Paperback]
A Guide for Working the Twelve Steps (In the Manner Used by the Founders)
The Twelve Steps and Advaita / Non-Duality: A 21-Day Plan for a Psychic Change
Finding Real Love in An Unreal World
Casting Light on the Dark Side of Relationships
The Myth of Death
What Happens When I Die?
The Twice-Stolen Necklace Murders (Non-Duality) [Kindle]
The Board of Directors of Wars (Non-Duality) [Kindle]
The Board of Directors of Wars (Non-Duality) [Paperback]
Living Within Your Means
How Your Personality Type Shapes Your Spending Habits
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