Wednesday, February 06, 2013

SKEPTICISM AND QUESTIONING IT ALL: The Prerequisites for Clarity, Freedom, Peace and Happiness, Part Two

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F.: Skepticism and questioning were originally two of humankind's most-regularly-employed tools for survival. Now that the brain has been bastardized with a programmed and conditioned "mind," the original survival tools have been abandoned. Consider two examples of the way it was: 

1. Grandmother - a "Cherokee Medicine Woman" - was the epitome of skeptical awareness. When we walked through the forest surrounding her cabin, she took the most gentle steps, modeling the way that she and generations before her could walk in total silence, moving through the woods without breaking so much as a small twig. 

On a few occasions, she was observed as she walked right up next to a grazing deer, completely undetected, almost close enough to reach out and touch it. She could approach hawks that were sitting on limbs just overhead without frightening them away. She could anticipate a copperhead lying across a trail in a spot of sun, and she awakened that ability in my cousins and me. The trademark of Grandmother and her ancestors was awareness - quiet awareness - bursting with complete alertness. But they were also skeptical as they moved through the forest, ever aware of any potential threats that might be lurking in a bush.

2. Last week, during a Skype session with a man in Australia, today's topic arose and he shared what he had witnessed when he spent some time in what he called "The Bush" with "bushmen." The term "bushmen" is Australian, used to identify the indigenous peoples (the "Aborigines") who live and travel in the wilderness, especially in "the outback." They have defied the odds against surviving in Australia's harshest lands despite whatever obstacles nature may have put in their way for 40,000 years (or possibly far more). 

Aboriginal people learn about their environment early on and first-hand, as was the case with Grandmother, so children are soon able to identify the characteristics of animals, plants, sources of food and water, weather patterns, and the dangers of The Bush. They are inherently vigilant but also are taught in ways that hone those innate skills of vigilance, awareness, attentiveness, alertness, watchfulness, and, yes, caution without being fearful or hyper-vigilant. They are not among the masses that now walk about in their sleep without ever questioning anything that they have been taught or anything in their environment that might represent a danger.

A lack of those skills was the main reason that many early Europeans and explorers died when they first came to Australia. The wise Aborigine was never unaware of what was going on around her or him. If a noise was heard in the bush, it was not ignored. Immediately, the brain would process and determine if the sound could be ignored or if it required further investigation, questioning, inquiring into, and examining. 

Should there be any reservations about accepting such noise as meaningless? Some sense of wishing might rise into the consciousness, something that said, "I do not want anything dangerous to be there," but that did not stop the inquiry. 

What had to be determined was this: "I might wish for that, but will it assist survival to accept on faith alone the belief that there is nothing to investigate? Would it be wise to believe whatever makes me feel safer or more comfortable or more reassured without investigating?" 

Relatedly, author Laura Cococcia shared her observations as well as some provided by Shermer when she wrote the following: 

"To describe why humans are evolutionarily programmed to believe unquestioningly in what [Shermer] calls 'active agents' even when we cannot see them, he asks us to imagine a distant human ancestor walking a plain in Africa. Perhaps she's enjoying a blue sky and a sunny day, until she hears a suspicious noise in a bush but can't see its source. Now, she must choose a course of action based on the question, is the noise just the passive wind, or is it a dangerous predator, an active agent with the intention to attack? What she chooses to believe might very well save her life, or end it. 

"This decision, Shermer says, is a crucial one. Should the ancestor believe it's only the wind when really a lion is lurking nearby, the potential for disaster is high. However, if she believes it is a lion and proceeds more cautiously when in fact it is only the wind, the only cost to her well-being is, perhaps, a little self-deception -- cautious self-deception that, when practiced, may actually save her life under similar circumstances in the future."

Again, the wise - who are moving through the relative existence with the clarity that comes with being fully awake - use inquiry to determine if what is being witnessed is "a-'snake'-in-a-rope" or, more dangerously, "a-'rope'-in-a-snake."

So, to the pointer offered earlier: skepticism and questioning were originally two of humankind's most-regularly-employed tools for survival. Now that the brain has been bastardized with a programmed and conditioned "mind," the original survival tools have been abandoned. 

Now, around the globe - where 97% of persons polled claim to be affiliated with one religion or another - children for the most part are not taught to be skeptical or to question ("the stay-away-from-strangers" admonition being an exception rather than the rule). In most cases, they are programmed to have blind faith over skepticism. Rather than being encouraged to doubt what they are told without proof or evidence, they are punished if they question so-called "authorities" (be the authority a person or a "holy" book). 

Cococcia said, "It takes almost no effort to make a child believe in Santa Claus. Step one? Put some presents under a Christmas tree every year. Step two? Tell the child that Santa Claus put them there. Result? You've got a Santa-believer on your hands." 

She notes, "Shermer asserts that belief is the natural human state, and that it is science and reason that seem unnatural to us" and she notes that the skeptic "pulls away the curtain that divides us from our understanding of why we are prone to believe ultimately illogical, at times fantastical, things. 

"Santa Claus, and his mystical compatriots the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, are cultural as well as psychological phenomena that serve as apt examples of our propensity for self-deception. Of course, 'self-deception' might seem like a fairly heavy-handed term to use in describing the average 5-year-old's belief in Santa Claus. [Right. Initially, they are being deceived by others; they will later deceive themselves. f.h.] 

"So let's extend the metaphor, as Shermer does, back to our ancestors. As a little girl, the ancestor likely learns about the dangers of the savannah as her consciousness develops, as her brain makes connections that help to make logical sense of the world. She begins to understand that cause-and-effect, if-then thought processes, or lapses thereof, can lead to survival or extinction. Beliefs born of patterned thought take hold, and eventually leave a legacy in her 21st century progeny that states, 'It is more prudent to believe wrongly than not to believe and be wrong'." 

And that is the subconscious mantra of the sleepwalking, unquestioning persons who are trapped in ignorance: "It is more prudent to believe wrongly than not to believe and be wrong." And it is the conscious mantra of some as well, such as the man who warned, "Floyd, I'd rather believe in God and die and find out that I was wrong than to not believe and then die and find out I was wrong and then spend eternity in hell. But that's the course you're on, Mister."

Such is the state of the consciousness when blocked or when bastardized via programming, domestication, conditioning, acculturation, brainwashing, and indoctrination. 

Such is the state of the consciousness when the threat of immediate punishment looms if one questions authority. 

 Such is the state of the consciousness when the threat of future punishment looms if one questions dogma or spiritual teachings or "holy" writings.

Such is the state of the consciousness if one has a fear of questioning the obvious incompetency and failure of a supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful god (or gods and goddesses) who cannot or will not use His (Their) power to make available a war-free, torture-free, disease-free, corruption-free, hate-free, murder-free, genocide-free, insanity-free, ignorance-free planet. 

So chaos and misery and suffering are now the "norm" on the planet since the survival tools of skepticism and questioning have been eliminated and replaced with duality-based beliefs that now generate widespread war, torture, disease, corruption, hate, murder, genocide, insanity, ignorance, and a planetful of persons who are walking about in their sleep rather than being vigilant, awake, aware, attentive, alert, watchful, cautious at times, and willing to question the nonsense they have been taught rather than accepting - on blind faith - all of that nonsense as fact

Please enter the silence of contemplation. 

(Note: Online Internet Course now available at a discount. See details above.) [Received from Mac, 10/17/12]: "Glad to see the online teaching offered at a discount. Hopefully, more who are ready will be able to take the course. For me, the course was the beginning of the unlearning that led to the trip to the lake for a retreat and the understanding." 

SHIFTING THE FOCUS FROM THAT WHICH DOES NOT WORK TO THAT WHICH DOES, Part One




A "movement" or "shift" happened here that added another parallel to the many parallels in terms of the phenomenal "experiences" and the noumenal revelations that "Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj" and "Floyd" share in common. (Many visitors over the years have said that they also shared the same parallels with "Maharaj" and "Floyd" as well.) In the case of "Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj" and "Floyd":  





1. both grew up in very poor families 2. both moved to populated areas to seek employment opportunities 3. both exhibited business skills that led to their opening and operating many businesses and to their having a large number of employees working for them 4. both succeeded financially 5. both became attached to accumulating 


6. both married and had a family 7. both were initially religious 8. both moved away from organized religion and became interested in "spiritual" matters, finding and following the teachings of a big name teacher (or, in "Floyd's" case, many big name teachers) 9. both had highly religious wives who were quite displeased with the shift away from religion and toward "spirituality" 10. both began to feel empty in spite of all of their "spiritual seeking" and in spite of all of their accumulated "spiritual knowledge" 

11. both began to de-accumulate after both saw that they could survive quite well on a fraction of the income they had been making 12. both had wives who were unhappy when the de-accumulation stage was entered and both had wives who became unhappy about their husbands' focus on non-duality and who blamed their unhappiness on no longer having a religious husband (The facts be known, in both cases the unhappiness involved the fact that their husbands were no longer interested in - or willing - to work 80+ hours per week and that their husbands were no longer interested in accumulating wealth and possessions and providing the rich lifestyle to which their wives had grown accustomed) 13. both eventually came to see that the religious and spiritual states were also ego-states, and both saw that there are far more steps on the "path" to complete after reaching the religious and spiritual steps and after playing those roles which are the third of seven steps on the entire "path" 14. both "lost" their wives (one via "death," the other through divorce) 15. both accelerated their seeking 

16. both entered into the "forest dweller stage" 17. both Realized 18. both began to de-accumulate even more 19. both began sharing the teachings 20. for years, both answered questions in whatever order those questions were received, though both said that the movement from identification with the false "I" / "I's" involved an exact, step-wise manner of moving along a "path" that involved "going back" in the same (but reverse order) of the way they "came in" - that is, the way that the manifestation happened and the way that the consciousness was blocked through seven stages that resulted in their becoming identified solely with their false personas, with the content of the "mind," and eventually, with the body. But the most significant awareness that finally came to both after years of offering satsang and after having answered thousands and thousands of questions was this: After years of "Maharaj" offering satsang in his loft, and after years of "Floyd" offering satsang in meeting halls and in his home and via what one site visitor called "Floyd's electronic loft," this fact became obvious to both: "Maharaj" came to see in the 1970's and into 1980 and 1981 that his approach was not working and "Floyd" finally came to see the same. 

21. Both saw that many who heard the teachings are not going to understand (Maharaj reporting that "only 1 in 100,000 are going to 'get' this" understanding) 22. both soon saw that even more than expected of those who heard the teachings were not going to understand (Maharaj modifying his "guesstimate" and reporting that "only 1 in 1,000,000 are going to 'get' this" understanding) 23. eventually both saw that even far more than expected of those who heard the teachings were not going to understand (Maharaj eventually concluding that "only 1 in 10,000,000 are going to 'get' this" understanding). And the failings were not the fault of seekers. A "one -in-ten-million" estimate is proof that satsang was not working for most seekers, and the evidence here lately is proof of the same. 

Both "Maharaj" and "Floyd" invited seekers to focus on the exact, step-wise "path." Yes, during satsang, "Maharaj" sometimes alluded to the steps while discussing them in no particular order - but he never once laid out the steps in the exact order in which they had to be completed. That was not his teachings style or approach. 

Therefore, another movement or shift is happening here spontaneously after reflecting on the more than two decades since the teachings were first offered here and looking at the results of Maharaj sharing pointers in his loft and looking at the results of "Floyd" sharing pointers in this electronic loft: Looking objectively at his results, Maharaj's satsang method of sharing - in the end and by his own admission (only "one out of 10,000,000") - did not produce the intended outcome. 

Looking objectively at the results here when using an "electronic loft" satsang method of sharing has not produced the intended outcome nearly as often as any of the three "face-to-face" methods used with seekers by which they have been led through the seven steps in order. Here, the body is growing older, of course. Mahasamadhi could be taken today, or it could be taken in twenty years. 

Obviously, that cannot be known. But the decision here has been made that whatever amount of the relative existence remains shall be spent in sharing the teachings in the ways that have been seen over the last 20+ years to be the most effective methods. 

Looking back over the list of those that have truly received the understanding, it is seen that Robert R. read all of the books, then took the online Advaita course and then completed some face-to-face Skype sessions to receive the final clarifications required. It was seen that Mac read all of the books, completed the online course, and then attended a retreat where he was guided through the seven steps. Mac said that the online course work inspired him to attend the retreat in order to be able to receive the final "pieces." It was seen that Andy Gugar, Jr. read all of the books, then came here for a retreat and was taken through the seven steps in order, and then returned once more for the final clarifications required. After reviewing the shifts that happened with him after attending two retreats, he reaffirmed this past week his commitment to helping spread the non-duality, nisarga understanding as presented here. As a result of seeing what has "worked" during the last 20+ years of sharing the non-duality understanding - and seeing what had not "worked" as well - changes will be made. 

SHIFTING THE FOCUS FROM THAT WHICH DOES NOT WORK TO THAT WHICH DOES, Part Two 


In "Part One," examples were given of seekers that were led to Realization not by satsang but by following the various protocols outlined farther down this page which provide the understanding in the step-wise, orderly, required fashion which moves seekers along a "path" that is as prescribed by Maharaj ... "going back" in the "reverse order" by which the consciousness manifested and became blocked. 

 However, conversations with some that just read the majority of the books have revealed that they certainly seem to have grasped the understanding and Realized as well. As a result of seeing what has "worked" during the last 20+ years of sharing the non-duality understanding - and seeing what has "not worked" as well - changes are being made. There are seven specific steps that happen when awareness-energy is "pulled" into a cycle of manifestation. When that energy manifests as conscious-energy, that formerly pure and unadulterated energy becomes "corrupted" (or "blocked" from seeing clearly) via programming, conditioning, domestication, acculturation, and brainwashing. Soon, there is a belief in the not-Real as a result of seven degrees of separation from an understanding of the Real. Using the method that was also employed by his contemporaries - a method which focused on offering non-duality pointers via satsang - Maharaj addressed questions in the order in which they were received. He might receive a question from a seeker at the third step and his reply would include what amounted to an invitation to move to the fourth step. The next question might come from a seeker at the first step, and the reply would include an invitation to move to the second step. The information offered to the second seeker would seemingly contradict what was offered to the first seeker, so visitors who have come here for decades have asked questions which showed how confused they were by the fact that Maharaj's statements to each visitor in his loft were "level-appropriate" yet were provided in no precise order, resulting in what seemed to be an inconsistent message. So the process overall was confusing in that seekers were told to follow the "path back" in the same way that they "came in," except in reverse order, but pointers were not given in a specific, step-wise order at all. Maharaj did recognize the seven steps that are taught here, but by offering the teachings in an order that was dictated by the order in which questions were received from seekers who were at different steps on the "path," the result was this: a pointer about moving beyond the fourth step might be followed by a pointer about moving beyond the first step, and that pointer might be followed by a pointer about how to move beyond the sixth step. The same was done on this site for seven years. The result is a collection of 1,800 or so essays discussing almost every non-duality topic that can be discussed, and the search button on the top right side of this page will now allow seekers with a question about a specific topic to find an explanation. That method, however, will never provide the manner in which the seven steps on the "path" must be transmitted and received in order to Realize Fully. An objective study of the history here of more than twenty years of offering non-duality pointers reveals this: seekers that were given pointers in the exact order in which they needed to receive them were the ones that Realized. 

They read the books, then they completed the online course and / or completed seven Skype or telephone sessions or came here for a retreat (or watched the downloadable DVD version of an actual retreat, available below). 

Some found that which they were seeking by reading the author's book that deal with non-duality subject matter. Via all of those venues, the steps are taught in their proper order. The essays available on this site will remain for those interested in searching for a discussion of a particular non-duality topic without charge, but the focus here until mahasamadhi is taken is going to be on offering the teachings in the step-wise fashion that has been seen to work. 
 
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    Compliments of Andy Gugar, Jr.,
    the following eBooks are available without charge for you or for friends:

    I.
    "GOOD vs. EVIL?" or "IGNORANCE, STUPIDITY, and INSANITY?"

    The content of this eBook deals with one of the most common but erroneous beliefs that the non-Realized masses cling to and which they will fight about (and even kill over), namely, that there is a planet-wide duel going on between “the forces of good and evil” in the universe.

    Either (1) the ancient view is spot on: that the "ills of the planet" are rooted in evil people, in people not being religious enough or spiritual enough, and are caused solely by bad morality; or, (2) the "ills of the planet" are rooted in ignorance, stupidity and insanity and "being good" or "being moral" does not put an end to ignorance, does not eliminate stupidity, and does not treat insanity in any way.

    II.
    "THE VISION"

    Comments regarding the free eBook entitled “THE VISION”:

    “My thanks to you and Andy.” – Andrew “Mac” McMaster

    “Thanks so much for the book! And, by the way, it is brilliant and the most effective pointing that you have done. It has served to help clear the remaining blockages.” – Stan Cross

    “Greatly appreciate having “THE VISION” added to my Henderson resource library that is situated on the right side of my bed for easy access! Eternally grateful for what was received and what was given.” – Robert Rigby

    “‘THE VISION’ is such a well-written, condensed version of the Nisarga Yoga approach to understanding and enjoying Reality that I feel it can serve as a must-read ‘meditation guide’ for all earnest seekers.” – Andy Gugar, Jr.

    III.
    "Sapolsky, Maharaj, and the Non-Dual Teachings"

    Dr. Robert Maurice Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist; a professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University; a researcher; an author; and a Research Associate at the National Museums of Kenya.

    There is much that a non-dualist or Advaitin or Nisargan can relate to by comparing and contrasting what Sapolsky reveals about the way certain troops of baboons live in Africa with the way that humans abide all around the globe.

    This 152-page eBook catalogues the common, non-dual message shared by Sapolsky and Maharaj and reveals the ways that Sapolsky’s scientific research supports the non-dual pointers offered by Maharaj.

    IV.
    Seeking

    In “PART ONE” it will be seen that most persons on the planet are not seeking, and most will never seek, but for those who are seeking, most will face several obstacles:

    In “PART TWO” of this book, it will be seen why many criticized Maharaj for “changing his message in his later talks.” It will be seen that the changes were not about changing the message per se as much as about changing his methodology as he experimented with one version of the Ultimate Medicine after another in order to try to find an effective means for addressing the Ultimate Sickness.

    He tried a religious version of the Medicine, a Spiritual version of the Medicine, and finally settled on a version which addressed to Sickness at its core . . . at the mental and emotional level.

    V.
    "THE MOST DANGEROUS BELIEF OF ALL"

    “Dangerous” is a term that can only apply during the relative existence, but of those who do commit suicide, for example, how many shoot themselves in the foot over and over until they “bleed out”? None. They shoot themselves in the head. Why? In order to try to stop the noise - to try to stop the chatter of a thousand monkeys – to stop the noisy mind which is the area that stores the ideas, notions, concepts, mind-stuff, etc. which drives them into the depths of insanity.

    And what are those ideas, notions, concepts, etc. called, collectively? "Their beliefs." The irony? They are not their beliefs at all. They are the beliefs of “others” that were set in place via programming, conditioning, etc. and which persons then think are their own.

    And what are those beliefs rooted in, and what reinforces those beliefs and convinces persons that they are sacred and worth fighting over and even sometimes worth dying for? Blind faith.

    This 337-page eBook discusses those issues in detail.

    To read any or all of the free eBooks, please double-click the "FREEBIES" link at the top of this page