Pentamental Ep.4 w/ Bill Klaus & Donald DeGracia

#21
Thanks, I'm down with McKenna. Much of what he conveys resonates with my intellect and core. I think he used the buddhist inquiry himself -- if his story is not just a metaphor.

Yet, it is quite removed from the 8-limb path of yoga :)

Me, I'm just chugging along, watching me....
 
#22
Can you clarify this statement?

I know several people who have been on the eight fold path of yoga for at least two decades and all they've gotten is lower blood pressure, limber body (sometimes with over-extended joints and associated problems), a bit calmer emotional state and not necessarily much else.

What is success? How does any form of yoga guarantee success? I'd like to find one :-D
Hi satyanveshi

Thanks for the comment. Patanjali speaks to your questions in the Yoga Sutras. The basic answer is that success is a function of what you put into it. Yoga cannot guarantee success, you can. I know it sounds cliche, but I know it from first hand experience from practicing lucid dreaming. One needs pretty much an obsessive attitude to make visible progress. This is also what Patanjali says about yoga (he says "mild, moderate, or strong" motivation, but it's the same idea).

In terms of what constitutes success in yoga, the very name tells you what you are trying to achieve: yoga. "Yoga" means "joining". The 3rd aphorism of the Yoga Sutras tells what this means: the seer rests in itself. The drop merges with the sea. Your personal consciousness merges back into the universal consciousness. That is the joining.

It is not easy to achieve this, in general. In fact, the steps required seem impossible on first hearing about them (I talk about it here and here). Remember, this all comes from India, and they believe in reincarnation. They claim it takes many lives to achieve the joining. Any progress you make in one life carries to the next, and so on. And it compounds. The more you do it, the better you get and what at first seemed impossible eventually becomes manageable. You don't expect a kindergartner student to do college work. It takes a long time and a lot of work, spread over many lives, if you take the Hindus at face value.

Why would anyone bother? I wrote a short book that explains why anyone would go on this path called Experience. The basic gist of why one would want to do yoga is very hard for most people to understand because they are not ready to embark on this direction in life. The basic gist is that there is literally nothing in life and existence that can bring satisfaction. Only by realizing this in some form or another would anyone want to do yoga. It is very rare for someone to realize this. Most people chase after things they think will bring satisfaction. Some people get these things, others don't. Then, no matter what, people die. Then the whole thing starts over again in the next life. If you don't believe in some form of reincarnation, then all of this will sound totally stupid.

It's no joke getting involved in yoga. Here in the West it's been turned into a cutesy form of exercise. The cute exercise stuff is NOT yoga. Real yoga is the next step your soul will take when it is done playing around here in what people in the West call "reality", which is not really reality, but just a fun house of mirrors that cause souls to chase after their desires until they eventually realize they are just chasing mirages in a crazy-house of images.

Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. You may or may not be familiar with these general ideas. If it is new to you, then it probably seems weird. Hope this helps with your question.

My very best wishes,

Don
 
#23
Thanks, Don. I've gathered as much in my own reading. It's always interesting to see what others define as success (and thus, implicit goal). Mine differ slightly.

I just jive with what Jed wrote in 'Enlightenment...' -- if the Consumer Report would do a rating on most paths, schools, gurus -they'd probably give a rating of F to most :)

And yes, enlightenment or permanent awakening may be accidental and yogic life may make one accident prone -- yet so do many other paths - and for some no chosen path at all.

Trickster makes this world ... :)
 
#24
Thanks, Don. I've gathered as much in my own reading. It's always interesting to see what others define as success (and thus, implicit goal). Mine differ slightly.

I just jive with what Jed wrote in 'Enlightenment...' -- if the Consumer Report would do a rating on most paths, schools, gurus -they'd probably give a rating of F to most :)

And yes, enlightenment or permanent awakening may be accidental and yogic life may make one accident prone -- yet so do many other paths - and for some no chosen path at all.

Trickster makes this world ... :)
Hehe...Tricksters! :)
 
#25
The basic gist is that there is literally nothing in life and existence that can bring satisfaction. Only by realizing this in some form or another would anyone want to do yoga. It is very rare for someone to realize this. Most people chase after things they think will bring satisfaction.
Don,

There are a lot of people who realize that existence cannot bring satisfaction. They are people who are suffering from depression, anhedonia, chronic pain, or other types of illnesses. Are such disabilities a "gift" that helps motivate people to get on the path? Is the path mostly full of people who are searching for a solution to these kinds of problems? Were the great teachers suffering from an illness? These questions are provocative but I don't mean to be antagonistic. I first conceived them when I began studying and practicing Buddhism. What do you think?

Also, what type of yoga do you practice and are there any on-line sources of information that describe the type of yoga you practice? Do any of your books describe your yoga practice, or provide information on how to practice yoga?

Thanks
 
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#26
In terms of what constitutes success in yoga, the very name tells you what you are trying to achieve: yoga. "Yoga" means "joining". The 3rd aphorism of the Yoga Sutras tells what this means: the seer rests in itself. The drop merges with the sea. Your personal consciousness merges back into the universal consciousness. That is the joining.
What is the use of joining? I believe the purpose of life is to have experiences that cannot be had in the spirit world so one can develop characteristics valuable to a spirit faster than can be done when disembodied. Once you are dead you won't have any problems joining, right? So why devote your life to it when there are so many other valuable experiences that can only be had while incarnated?

I meditate a lot, for my own reasons, but I am not a big advocate of trying for attainments through spiritual practices. I don't consider seeking spiritual attainments "better" or "higher" than living an ordinary life. I do advocate a moderate amount of meditation because I think it helps people to be calm and develop equanimity which allows them to live according to their spiritual values and cope with the difficulties of life. The great teachers tell us to love, and meditation helps us to follow that advice.
 
#27
Don,

There are a lot of people who realize that existence cannot bring satisfaction. They are people who are suffering from depression, anhedonia, chronic pain, or other types of illnesses. Are such disabilities a "gift" that helps motivate people to get on the path? Is the path mostly full of people who are searching for a solution to these kinds of problems? Were the great teachers suffering from an illness? These questions are provocative but I don't mean to be antagonistic. I first conceived them when I began studying and practicing Buddhism. What do you think?

Also, what type of yoga do you practice and are there any on-line sources of information that describe the type of yoga you practice? Do any of your books describe your yoga practice, or provide information on how to practice yoga?

Thanks
Hi Jim

Thank you for the intelligent questions. I do not think they are mean-spirited questions, but thank you for indicating explicitly that was not your intent. In fact, they are intelligent questions that any rational person should come to with a little reflection. I think both of your posts can be answered together because the questions, and therefore answers, are related.

The short answer is: it is shades of gray. By which I mean, having personal difficulties can certainly challenge a person's belief system. But in general, this is not why someone embarks on the yogic path. Look at the story of Buddha, who, on the surface of things had a perfect life: he was rich, a king, had every material thing anyone could want, was perfectly healthy, had a wonderful loving family, etc., etc. Why then did he reject all this and go on the path of yoga?

The answer is not easy to express because it depends on what level a person's thinking is on; again, shades of gray. Someone still enamored by the world, or someone who lacks the imagination and curiosity to deeply question existence will not understand why anyone would want to do this. And that is fine. The world is there for such people. In fact, the purpose of the world is for such people. Whether they have happiness, or suffer and overcome, or get challenged and win, or fail, or all the myriad other experiences the world provides, that is where such people are at. The yogic path means nothing to them, nor should it mean anything to them. It is like expecting a second grader to write a college thesis. And this is not meant to be a condescending view. It is not condescending to recognize that a second grader has different needs and capabilities than a college student. It is simply a fact.

It is the same with how people use the world. There are seemingly infinite ways to use the world, one of which is the path of yoga. When people become interested in this path, that means they are loosing interest in what the world has to offer. It doesn't at all have to do with physical illness. It is a much deeper thing than that. There is an emptiness, a uselessness, a futility, in all acts that the world provides. People caught up in the world cannot see this aspect of the world: it is invisible to such people. But some people do see this emptiness. That is what Buddha saw. There is something extremely deep and fundamental lacking in this world full of all its infinite diversity of experiences. When people realize that this super-important thing is missing, then they go try to find it. The methods to try to find it are yoga.

No, one does not "join" after they die. Obviously, no one alive can speak to what happens after we die. But there are many experiences that living people can have that can be interpreted as glimpses of what happens after death. Some traditions, such as yoga (and there are other traditions too) have very rich ideas of what happens after death. They generally agree that, in some sense, it is a continuation of what happened in this life. They use the metaphor of waking up tomorrow and continuing yesterday's activities. You don't radically change during one night of sleep. They suggest it is analogous with physical lives. Each life is a "day of being awake". Then you die (go to sleep), and stuff happens there, but it is basically the same you, maybe changed a little bit, and then you "wake up" again, that is, reincarnate, into a new physical life, and pick things up pretty much where you left off in the previous life. Of course, the details get more and more complicated the more you look into this, and that is one of the places you may begin to discover this emptiness, is in questions about life after life after life stuff.

So no, one doesn't get automatic enlightenment when they die. If you didn't care about enlightenment when you were alive, you won't care after you die.

To wrap up, one turns to yoga because nothing in this world satisfies them anymore. They see the emptiness of it. They want to fill that emptiness with something. In the West, this level of realization has been codified by philosophers called "existentialists". But they only recognize the problem, but they have no solutions. Yoga is a set of solutions.

I practice Patanjali's Ashtanga Raja Yoga codified in the Yoga Sutras. There is almost unlimited information about it. All you have to do is look. The more you look, the more you will find. It is shocking how much information is out there once one starts to look. In fact, it gets to be a jungle. My book Experience is designed to help people wade through this jungle. Another great article to help orient you is by SwamiJ. In fact, his whole web site http://www.swamij.com/index.htm is really excellent.

I hope this addresses your questions. Thank you for the conversation, Jim.

Best wishes,

Don
 
#28
It is like expecting a second grader to write a college thesis. And this is not meant to be a condescending view. It is not condescending to recognize that a second grader has different needs and capabilities than a college student. It is simply a fact.
I see it not as a second grader vs college student, but as english major vs history major. I don't see someone like Mother Theresa being any less advanced than anyone. There are plenty of advanced people who are living for others not seeking something missing for themselves.
It is the same with how people use the world. There are seemingly infinite ways to use the world, one of which is the path of yoga. When people become interested in this path, that means they are loosing interest in what the world has to offer. It doesn't at all have to do with physical illness. It is a much deeper thing than that. There is an emptiness, a uselessness, a futility, in all acts that the world provides. People caught up in the world cannot see this aspect of the world: it is invisible to such people. But some people do see this emptiness. That is what Buddha saw. There is something extremely deep and fundamental lacking in this world full of all its infinite diversity of experiences. When people realize that this super-important thing is missing, then they go try to find it. The methods to try to find it are yoga.

No, one does not "join" after they die. Obviously, no one alive can speak to what happens after we die. But there are many experiences that living people can have that can be interpreted as glimpses of what happens after death. Some traditions, such as yoga (and there are other traditions too) have very rich ideas of what happens after death. They generally agree that, in some sense, it is a continuation of what happened in this life. They use the metaphor of waking up tomorrow and continuing yesterday's activities. You don't radically change during one night of sleep. They suggest it is analogous with physical lives. Each life is a "day of being awake". Then you die (go to sleep), and stuff happens there, but it is basically the same you, maybe changed a little bit, and then you "wake up" again, that is, reincarnate, into a new physical life, and pick things up pretty much where you left off in the previous life. Of course, the details get more and more complicated the more you look into this, and that is one of the places you may begin to discover this emptiness, is in questions about life after life after life stuff.
How do you define joining? I didn't know that joining is the same as enlightenment. I agree you don't become enlightened when you die. I only read your post above and thought join meant experience connectedness / non duality, (which is not enlightenment). Here is one typical example from an NDEr which is why I think we experience oneness when we are disembodied.

http://www.near-death.com/stewart.html
The metaphor represented by the image I saw and perceived was absolutely clear and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that WE ARE ALL ONE. I comprehended that our oneness is interconnected by love and is an available, much higher level and means of communication than we normally use but to which we have access. This love is available to anyone who is willing to do the hard spiritual work that will allow us to open our hearts and minds and eyes to Spirit. I remembered the love I had felt in the presence of God and experienced a total sense of love for all existence as an interconnected oneness and a manifestation of God.

How do you define enlightenment? There are 21 different definitions here:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB Models of the Stages of Enlightenment

UPDATE: if the above link is dead, try here: https://web.archive.org/web/2015032...in/MCTB+Models+of+the+Stages+of+Enlightenment

But are you saying the same emptiness we experience when incarnated pertains in the spirit world and that is why one should pursue enlightenment, because death is not a solution to that problem of emptiness? That would make sense then for someone to start their search.

But I am not aware of one case of someone having an NDE or an evidential medium saying that anyone should start meditating or practicing yoga and pursue enlightenment because it will solve a problem we will have in the afterlife. My understanding of the afterlife from those sources is that we typically have a handful of incarnations and then move on beyond the earth school. Enlightenment doesn't seem to be part of the curriculum based on those sources.

Would you say every human soul eventually recognizes the problem of emptiness and wants to find a solution to it? Do you think they have to do it before they can stop incarnating on the earth plane?

So no, one doesn't get automatic enlightenment when they die. If you didn't care about enlightenment when you were alive, you won't care after you die.

To wrap up, one turns to yoga because nothing in this world satisfies them anymore. They see the emptiness of it. They want to fill that emptiness with something. In the West, this level of realization has been codified by philosophers called "existentialists". But they only recognize the problem, but they have no solutions. Yoga is a set of solutions.

I practice Patanjali's Ashtanga Raja Yoga codified in the Yoga Sutras. There is almost unlimited information about it. All you have to do is look. The more you look, the more you will find. It is shocking how much information is out there once one starts to look. In fact, it gets to be a jungle. My book Experience is designed to help people wade through this jungle. Another great article to help orient you is by SwamiJ. In fact, his whole web site http://www.swamij.com/index.htm is really excellent.



Don
Thanks I will have a look at the links.
 
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#31
Is it thought that attaining enlightenment through meditation, experiencing the center of self, will put the experiencer at a higher level in the afterlife, is that experience believed to be a way to skip ahead to the highest levels?
 
#32
Is it thought that attaining enlightenment through meditation, experiencing the center of self, will put the experiencer at a higher level in the afterlife, is that experience believed to be a way to skip ahead to the highest levels?
Funny you should ask. I am writing about this at the moment on my blog. The link is to part 4; it might help to read the first 3 parts:

https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/

But to give a short answer if you don't want all the details: If you have the experience at the center, there is no afterlife. You are done. Game is over. You won.

Best,

Don
 
#33
Funny you should ask. I am writing about this at the moment on my blog. The link is to part 4; it might help to read the first 3 parts:

https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/

But to give a short answer if you don't want all the details: If you have the experience at the center, there is no afterlife. You are done. Game is over. You won.

Best,

Don
Don,

I've been spending a lot of time at the swamij web site since you posted the link. The information there is very good. Thanks.
 
#35
Funny you should ask. I am writing about this at the moment on my blog. The link is to part 4; it might help to read the first 3 parts:

https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/
https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/
B. When one passes through the bindu, one becomes all things in Eternity. There is no longer individuality of any kind, only an overwhelming unity of being.
People might not understand what it means to lose individuality. It does not mean loss. It does not mean unconsciousness. It means expanded consciousness. It is more like remembering than forgetting.
 
#36
https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/


People might not understand what it means to lose individuality. It does not mean loss. It does not mean unconsciousness. It means expanded consciousness. It is more like remembering than forgetting.
Did you check out:

https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/

It's the Cliffs Notes version. You can also download the whole book from the post and get much more info.

Best,

Don
 
#37
https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/

But to give a short answer if you don't want all the details: If you have the experience at the center, there is no afterlife. You are done. Game is over. You won.
Don,

Maybe I am misunderstanding what I am reading but I don't see where the link says what you say it does. Could you help me out by saying which letters A-L in your blog post support your statement above.


Also, to clarify what I wrote above...

https://dondeg.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/the-yogic-view-of-consciousness-4-the-real-world-1/
People might not understand what it means to lose individuality. It does not mean loss. It does not mean unconsciousness. It means expanded consciousness. It is more like remembering than forgetting.

http://www.dondeg.com/metaphysics/Conquest_Of_Illusion.pdf
In that experience we are no longer the separate self, we are no longer what
we call ` we ' in our daily life. Not only are we our entire being, past and
future, in that sublime experience of eternity, but we are the reality of all that
is, was, or shall be, we are That.
...
 
#38
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman
"In Hinduism, Brahman is "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world", which "cannot be exactly defined". It has been described in Sanskrit as Sat-cit-ānanda and as the highest reality... According to Advaita, a liberated human being ... has realised Brahman as his or her own true self."

http://www.dondeg.com/metaphysics/Conquest_Of_Illusion.pdf
"In that experience [of Brahman] we are no longer the separate self, we are no longer what we call 'we' in our daily life. Not only are we our entire being, past and future, in that sublime experience of eternity, but we are the reality of all that is, was, or shall be, we are That."

http://www.near-death.com/stewart.html
The metaphor represented by the image I saw and perceived was absolutely clear and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that WE ARE ALL ONE. I comprehended that our oneness is interconnected by love and is an available, much higher level and means of communication than we normally use but to which we have access. This love is available to anyone who is willing to do the hard spiritual work that will allow us to open our hearts and minds and eyes to Spirit. I remembered the love I had felt in the presence of God and experienced a total sense of love for all existence as an interconnected oneness and a manifestation of God.

http://www.leslieflint.com/transcripts_marshall6p2.html
It is the development and it is the tremendous realisation that one must have eventually of how we are all linked and bound together and how actually the very fundamental thing that flows through us all, is the very essence which is of God. And so we gradually evolve more and more to God or become like him.

I do not refer to shape or form, I refer now to the infinite spirit which is the very life blood you might say of all humanity; where we lose in each other ourselves and discover that we are all in a oneness and in accord. And when we have this oneness and accord we reach a stage of spiritual development where we can be considered to be living in a form if you like of paradise because we are conscious of everything around and about us as being not only "us" but "all".​


How can we all be Brahman when we seem to be individuals and Brahman is everything?

Suppose you could go back in time and meet yourself at a younger age. You would understand all his faults because they were your faults. Your younger-self wouldn't be jealous of your accomplishments and attainments because those will be his in the future. This is a very rough and flawed analogy, but when you meet another person who lacks good qualities, think of that person as your younger-self. When you meet a person who has many accomplishments and attainments, think of that person as your older-self. There is no reason for enmity, jealousy or ill will of any kind. We are all Brahman. We are all one.
 
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#39
But to give a short answer if you don't want all the details: If you have the experience at the center, there is no afterlife. You are done. Game is over. You won.
Don,

I am still trying to find justification for your statement. The Brahma sutra says you will not return after attaining Brahma. I think that means you do not reincarnate on the earth. We know that some meditators and some NDErs continue their lives after realization, so we can't take "no return" too literally. We also know from NDErs and evidential mediums that there is a lot more to do in the afterlife than just incarnate on the earth, so I am wondering what you mean by, and how you justify "You are done. Game over." I realize there is some subtlety involved explaining/understanding things from the two points of view, the Absolute and the Relative but if you can justify/explain this statement I would appreciate it.
 
#40
How do you define joining? I didn't know that joining is the same as enlightenment. I agree you don't become enlightened when you die. I only read your post above and thought join meant experience connectedness / non duality, (which is not enlightenment). Here is one typical example from an NDEr which is why I think we experience oneness when we are disembodied.

http://www.near-death.com/stewart.html
The metaphor represented by the image I saw and perceived was absolutely clear and I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that WE ARE ALL ONE. I comprehended that our oneness is interconnected by love and is an available, much higher level and means of communication than we normally use but to which we have access. This love is available to anyone who is willing to do the hard spiritual work that will allow us to open our hearts and minds and eyes to Spirit. I remembered the love I had felt in the presence of God and experienced a total sense of love for all existence as an interconnected oneness and a manifestation of God.
What is the use of joining? I believe the purpose of life is to have experiences that cannot be had in the spirit world so one can develop characteristics valuable to a spirit faster than can be done when disembodied. Once you are dead you won't have any problems joining, right? So why devote your life to it when there are so many other valuable experiences that can only be had while incarnated?
Lester Levenson clarifies the situation, he states the problem of illusion is caused by the mind not just the brain. You still have your same mind after death. The quote I gave about the NDEr who seemed to experience realization must be an exception, maybe she was being shown realization or was being helped to experience it rather than experiencing it through her own powers.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/06/beyond-joy.html
...
Lester Levenson explains how he attained his realization in his book KEYS TO THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM Thoughts and Talks on Personal Transformation
...
The Relationship Between Mind and Body:

To know the infinite Being that you are, to know what it's like beyond creation, transcend the mind. The final state is beyond creation. It is the changeless state. In creation everything is constantly changing, and therefore the ultimate Truth cannot be there.

...

The thing that keeps us from recognizing and expressing our infinity is simply the mind, conscious and subconscious. If we are to express this infinite nature, we can do it only by getting behind this mind. When we reach the realm behind the mind we operate without thoughts, intuitively, and are in harmony with the whole universe.
...
The direction is to still the mind. Quiet the mind and you'll see your infinity right there.
...
The mind is the brain of the astral and causal bodies.
...
There's no mind in the physical body. It's the mind of the astral body that operates the physical body.
Realization involves the mind and not just the brain. You do not experience realization just because you leave the physical body.

Not everyone who goes to the afterlife experiences realization:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/06/direct-voice-medium-leslie-flint-what.html
Here is an example of what the spirit of George Harris communicated at one of Leslie Flint's séances:

Greene: When you passed over, you found yourself alive. Now, how did you think about things?

...

Harris: Huh! Much the same as being on your side as far as I can make out. There are certain differences, I suppose; course there are. We haven't got all the old worries and the 'eadaches we had like... well... finding wherewithal and all the rest of it.

Greene: Mmm.

Harris: And our life's very much in some ways the same - much the same. Same... As far as I've seen everything's just as solid, just as real. Got our houses and places and interests. Course, we don't have to go out to work. Nothing like that. I don't have to try and earn a few bob. Money doesn't mean nothing here. Money is no consequence at all. You are as you are and what you are.
...
I mean, I listen to these people from these other places. They come and they talk and they tell you this that and t'other but why should we give up... I mean, why should I give up a condition, as you call it, of life where I'm perfectly happy and perfectly content and I got all the sort of things that interest me. And I... as I say I'm quite happy building, helping others who, you know, were also in the building trade that was on Earth and we build and work together.
...
 
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