Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Totally Irresponsible Rumors of the Apocalypse

I've heard some spicy rumors about the coming apocalypse that can't possibly be true, and therefore must be spread like wildfire throughout the internet as quickly as possible. I know I'm doing my part.

A good friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, has a friend who is apparently an internationally renowned doctor, who shall also remain nameless, who has worked with and has contacts within some of our national security agencies, which will themselves remain nameless, who have told this doctor some highly disturbing stories about what the near future holds for this semi-precious little world of ours.

To establish this doctor's contacts' bonafides, my friend told me that the doctor had been warned shortly before 9/11 to stay out of New York on or around that day. At first, this seemed a red flag for crackpot theorism, for which I have only marginal tastes. It sounded as if the inference was that this fellow's contacts in the government were in on the 9/11 attacks, which I consider a true sign of crackpot mentality, and I was inclined to dismiss entirely anything related to such notions. However, in talking with other friends of mine this information could have a much more rational explanation. Namely, it has been established through the 9/11 commission and the accounts of people like Richard Clarke that the US intelligence agencies did indeed have advance warning through foreign channels of the general danger of some kind of terrorist attack, likely in New York, and likely right around the 9/11 date. That was part of the scandal - that such warnings were known of within the government, but not taken seriously enough to prevent the attacks. So it's possible that this doctor's contacts were merely basing their warnings to him on this insider information, rather than from knowledge of some kind of nefarious plot within the government to create a faux attack on the US.

All of which is simply a long way of saying that maybe there's a tiny bit of credibility to what was passed along to me. But maybe not.

So what's the message? Oh, nothing short of a warning that a major biological attack is on its way, related to the possibility of an Avian flue pandemic in the offing. This doctor has apparently been told by his contacts in the security agencies, the same ones who warned him about 9/11, that there is an unnamed group of individuals, associated with an unnamed government, who have developed a lethal biological weapon which they are set to deploy in the relatively near future. According to these people, the warnings about the potential for Avian flu mutating to a human transmission vector and causing a worldwide pandemic is merely a smoke screen for the real threat, which will be a humanly design bioweapon which will cause even more widespread death and mayhem than Avian flu could be expected to account for. The message is that the Avian flu is itself some kind of artificially induced infection that is not likely, in itself, to become a serious disease, but which will give cover for the real threat that will be unleashed on the world. In other words, when this greater pathogen is released, people will think it is Avian flu, and not suspect that it is actually of human origin. All of which is so that people will not realize who is behind this Dr. Evil plot and take action against them.

And who are these people? Not named. The usual suspects could be trotted out: some secret division of maniacs within our own intelligence agencies, Al Qaeda, the Iranians, crazed apocalyptic Saudi billionaires, Dick Cheney, Hillary Clinton, fiendish Nazi scientists, fiendish North Korean scientists, fiendish Fijian Gurus resembling Marlon Brando, you name them.

The idea is absurd, the rumor utterly irresponsible for me to repeat, but this is of course the internet, so what better place to report the absurdly irresponsible? It's not like anyone is going to fact check me. I don't give it much credibility at all, but then again I'm in a perfect situation to survive just such a plague - living in a remote area of Northen California far from the maddening crowds. Others are not so fortunate. Nonetheless, one of my children goes to college at Berkeley, about as major a disease vector as one can find, and another is going to UC Santa Cruz in the fall, and I'm not planning on changing those plans. However, let's just say that if I hear that some major disease outbreak is reported somewhere in Asia anytime soon, I will probably have them come up here for a while just to be safe. And maybe invite a few friend to stay as well.

As it also happens, there are similar rumors travelling around the Adidam community. Not about this disease idea specifically, but apparently Adi Da himself has been recently warning his devotees that a major readjustment in the world is coming down the pike over the next few years, and that people should move out of major metropolitan areas and head for rural areas, particularly, as it happens, the Humboldt County area where I now live. At present there's only a tiny Adidam community in this area, but apparently that may change soon. A minor invasion may be in the works. Or so I hear. Could get amusing around these parts.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Knowing consciousness

I grew up as an uncomprising athiest. I delighted in telling my mother, who believed in the Church and Jesus, that the Bible was a fairy tale, that Jesus never existed, that God was a figment of the imagination. This in spite of the fact that as a child of about 7, while playing in the backtub while my mother had Christmas carols on the record player, I had this sudden shiver of energy up my spine, bursting into my brain, and suddenly I seemed to "see" myself listening to Jesus preach, and feeling as if in some other life I had known Jesus personally.

Even so, I was confirmed in my atheism by everything else in my experience, including my exposure to Christians. At the age of twelve I decided to see what was up with it, and read the Gospels with an open mind. There were things about it that I thought appealing, and other things I found repulsive, but my conclusion was that it really had nothing to do with God, and couldn't possibly provide any direct knowledge of God. I put the book down and thought of how God could possibly be known or proven. I thought about what I did actually know for certain, and the only thing I could think of was that I existed, that I was aware, that I was conscious. So I examined that for evidence of God. I simply meditated on my own awareness, my own existence. In a few short moments I had a simply but stunning "revelation". It wasn't dramatic, it wasn't full of meanings or content, it was just the simpe understanding that because I was conscious, God must exist, that God was inextribably intertwined with my own awareness, and that my awareness was imperishable, undeniable, and not threatened even by death.

In a certain sense, everything in my spiritual life since then has been an elaboration upon that simple moment, and a struggle to accept it as real and true, and just that simple, rather than tied into a tremendous vortex or people and events and ideas. If I had simply had faith in that most basic understanding, I could have avoided a tremendous amount of trouble, including my long involvement in Adidam. But if it hadn't been Adidam, it might have been something else similarly distracting, such as the Christian Church itself. The basic problem is that I felt weak in myself, and rather than looking to my own conscious awareness for the answers, I looked to sources outside myself, including many that had vested interests in keeping me from doing what was most needed. But all of that was simple a result of a lack of faith - lack of faith in the power of my own awareness, the power of consciousness itself, and a search for that power elsewhere.

This is the theme that I strayed from time and again, and yet somehow consciousness managed to keep pointing me back to itself, often in very painful ways. It still does, and I still stray, but it's keeping me on a shorter leash, and I am at least beginning to cooperate with it more directly than I did before, and understand what its purposes and methods are. Consciousness is basically an animal tamer, guiding all our stray impulses back to the source, so that we are fit to live in the house rather than out in the wilderness. It's a "civilizing" process. If we think of ourselves as a world peopled by all kinds of wild creatures, spiritual practice is the process that makes a civilized society out of all these beasts who are fighting with one another. They learn to keep still and quiet, to stop complaining and bickering, and simply to sit in peace beside the fire. Then we are able to live in peace in our own home, the heart. All that is nothing more than the knowledge of consciousness.

Blog plans - Self-enquiry and self-examination

As readers may have noticed, I've been a little inattentive to this blog lately. In part it's because I haven't quite figured out what I want to do with it, or if I want to do it at all. I'm settling down, in my mind at least, on two basic projects. One involves an ongoing consideration about the practice of Self-enquiry. The other involves answering a question Hatley posed not long ago, which is how did my practice evolve away from Adidam. I think I need to answer Hatley's enquiry first, to give some perspective on my interest in Self-enquiry and non-dual teachings.

Answering that second question will make me go back pretty far into my life, and at least touch on my involvement with Adidam. I don't want to get into a full account of my Adidam experience simply because that isn't what I care about anymore. I look upon it as a karmic involvement that seemed necessary at the time, but no longer does, and so I am looking instead at the threads of spiritual practice that were present before, during, and after my involvement with Adidam that are now the focus of my practice. For a time the two seemed to coincide, and I presumed for many years that Adidam was the greater rope of which these other threads were merely a part, but now I feel that they simply co-existed for a time, and were bound to separate - that Adidam was just a frayed thread that didn't go anywhere, and now I am simply returning to the core impulse that was always there, but which I didn't notice because I was so concentrated in the Adidam meme.

One thing I'm going to get into is a series of "visions" that I had many years ago, which at the time I always tried to interpret in terms of Adidam and its purposes, but which now I see quite differently. This may be amusing - visions usually are - but they have a particular meaning and purpose behind them which may be particular to me as an individual, and yet seem also to have some sort of larger import as well. They are the kinds of psychic events I could never forget, and which always seemed to "work" on me for years afterwards, even now, representing to some degree my own internal struggles with spiritual understanding. As I parted from Adidam these visions came back to me with increasing strength, nagging at me that I needed to understand and appreciate them better. So I'll put these out there, at the risk of ridicule, because I think they help give a sense for how my leaving Adidam helped right my spiritual practice, rather than the opposite, as so many who leave Adidam are told. I'll try to explain what these things mean to me, and maybe others can help with their input as well, because I know my understanding is far from complete.