Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Burning Out

Kang said...

Well, this is very nice. Of course, you don't need my support on this, but what the hey, it doesn't hurt, does it?

Actually, I don't think there is anything I would add to what you've said here. "Releasing the core identification with the feeling of 'I' ". Indeed!!! Brilliant.

So we must (ironically) view these developmental apologists as immature, mustn't we? But that implies that they will mature into enlightenment, which would give credence to a developmental view. Or is it more accurate to say they are a phenomenon of maya? I support the latter. One continues striving toward a mirage as long as there is hope that it will quench our thirst. When the contrary is realized, all striving and willful developmental progress come to an end.

That brings up another question that came to mind while I was reading your entry. There must be some operative notion in these developmentalists that "free will" is true, that they can choose or not to engage in the process. Oh, it is all nothing more than elaborations on the feeling of "I" after all, isn't it.

It all becomes moot once that root is recognized and released.

Broken Yogi replied:


It is nice to get feedback, especially of the positive variety!

You're right that there's no sense in considering the developmentalists as "immature". They are just going down a particular path of seeking that suits them for karmic reasons. It's a samskara is all. I'm of the view that virtually all paths of seeking are pretty much the same, and all of them eventually burn themselves out, and reveal their inadequacy. At that point, they begin to fall in on themselves, and that's when this core practice of feeling and releasing the "I" sense comes more and more into consciousness, and begins to crowd out everything else. So it's not as if there's a particular path of seeking that is closer to that than any other path. We can "burn" out while seeking beer and cigarettes just as well as while seeking higher stages of consciousness. And many realizers have basically jumped off at that stage. I was corresponding with a guy at Ramanashram recently who pointed out that the saint who actually made tiruvanamalai famous 4 centuries ago waa a thief and general bad guy who suddenly just threw it all away and went down the non-dual path to realization. Similar stories hold=s true for some of the great mahasiddhas of the past.

Papaji used to say that the spiritual path you take up, the practices you take on, are completely beside the point, what matters is the intensity of your desire and need for freedom. It's that impulse that actually carries you through to realization, not the path. Eventually, all paths end up at self-enquiry, not because that's the developmental peak, but because when everything else falls apart, that's all that's left. It's at the bottom, so to speak, of everything.

So Wilber I would say is really not doing so bad in that sense. True, his developmental model is wrongly conceived, and it simply won't get him to enlightenment, but the intensity with which he pursues it speaks well for him.

Papaji used to practice devotional worship all day long, doing the Ram mantra 100,000 times a day, until one day he just couldn't do it anymore. THe words wouldn't come, he couldn't even think the thought Ram. So he went to Ramana for help, explained the situation, and Ramana asked, "How did you get here today?" Papaji said he took the train from Madras. Ramana asked, "Where is the train now?" Papaji said, "It's gone back to Madras." Ramana said. "It's the same with your mantra. It's taken you as far as it can, and now you don't need it anymore, so it has gone away." Ramana then gave him the most basic instruction in self-enquiry, and in a flash Papaji realized the Self. He said later that it was obvious that his practice of mantra and devotion had actually done nothing for him in itself, it was just the sheer intensity with which he engaged it that brought him to the "end of the line".

So I don't think that we can really look down on anyone's search. Some seem more ridiculous than others, but none get to the goal. Only the intensity that results in complete frustration with the path of seeking gets one to the door, and only enquiry into one's self-nature opens the door. But we can of course become completely disenchanted without our seeking at any time. One need not wait. But complete disenchantment is indeed necessary. That's why I say the "developmental" path, if you could call it that, for non-dualism, is a negative one, the dropping away of all things, all levels and ideas and conceptions, all seeking, not the fulfillment or the integration of them. Unless of course one conceives of integration itself in purely negative terms, which I don't think Wilber does. The old Hindu/Buddhist view of all levels and attainments as simply vasanas or samskaras is the correct view, and enlightenment is the nirvanic ending of all such things, which is the same as simply practicing radical self-enquiry or self-surrender.


Anonymous said...

You know, I don't know that much about the details of Wilberism. I wouldn't allow my mind to be that polluted. But my impression is one of extraordinarily rajasic egotism, an acquisitiveness beyond bounds in which the essential error remains invulnerable.

He is identified with this term, integral, as if he is adding some new and unique impulse to the party. Good lord, Hinduism has been appropriating influences for ages, but if there is such a thing as a Hindu ego it is unchanged by all that. Is this anything but a sophisticated egoic strategy for continuation and hoped-for immortality? Clothed in "new hope for humanity" no doubt.

"Integrity" means wholeness or completeness in the first place. You cannot add anything to wholeness, so Wilber does not at all appear to be functioning with integrity.

But of course, I criticize my impression of Wilber and not Wilber himself, who I do not know. I do believe, though, that he is a great obfuscator who is by no means clarifying anything that he did not muddy up in the first place. He is pissing in the river and calling it yellow.

Anonymous said...

The other thing is Wilber doesnt give himself a chance to burn out. He keeps changing his material, keeps changing the people he hangs out with, keeps adding new products to his endorsement list.

Plus all the hectic routines of running a blog, responding to critics, etc.

There's no chance to 'settle' as they say in Zen or burn out and discover boredom. If you always add yet another gadget or celebrity to your people-zoo, there's no chance to burn out.

That is a lot different than repeating one mantra thousands upon thousands of time while living a simple lifestyle as Papaji (by your account) was reportedly doing.

Must mention I met a guy who had been a biker, had shot up both heroin and speed.

He told me one day that he realized that the drugs just bored him. He knew what would happen.

So he stopped. He didnt consider the withdrawal symptoms that big a deal.

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