Thursday, December 20, 2007

Self-examination in the First Person

One of the difficulties I have writing this blog is that I am so accustomed to responding to others, it is hard to simply think for myself, and write about what I really care about. My long experience in Adidam required me to think along certain lines, and to constantly respond to both Adi Da and his whole community of chattering practitioners in a manner that constantly compromised my own integrity in both thought and action . The Daism Forum helped break me from the spell of Da, and allowed me to think for myself, but I became bound instead to a constant dialog with people who were not pursuing the same goals or interests or outlook. As a consequence, I could seldom speak as freely as I wished, and pursue the lines of enquiry that genuinely interested me, at least in my writings there. I may have seemed at times to be highly outspoken and opinionated, but my writings were constantly circumscribed by the particulars of the dialog, and who I was speaking with, and responding to. I seldom initiated a dialog there, but in general only responded to others. This left a gap in my participation there that I think has had consequences, just as being in Adidam had consequences.

The consequence in both cases has been an inhibition of the development of my own thinking and feeling. Of course, I haven't limited myself to the forums, and have pursued all kinds of ideas and spiritual practices of my own. But I haven't written about them, and since writing seems an important part of my self-development, that omission seems important. Even more importantly, my addiction to those dialogs seems to indicate an emptiness in myself that I have been trying to fill, using a source and method that can't possibly be fruitful or fulfilling. Conversation with others is of course important, but I think it is secondary, and unfortunately I think I have made it primary, simply by default, whereas what I have neglected as a consequence is the conversation with myself that really is fruitful and fulfilling.

So I resist writing on this blog, I think, not so much because of the personal exposure it brings, but because it requires a commitment to self-examination, and self-development, that is not bounded by others. I have very much enjoyed the forums I've participated in, but I think I've allowed myself to be limited by them as well, in part because the constant give and take helps distract me from myself, from the hard work of self-examination and facing up to oneself that can only be accomplished by myself, in relation to myself, in cracking the nut of self. That kind of distraction has not really served me well, I now think, and it is time to make a few course corrections.

So this blog, if I do it right, will reflect what I care about, and think about, and feel, and not necessarily what any readers out there will care about. I may be entirely wrong about so much that I present here it won't even be funny, but I think I need to pursue my own wrongs as much as my own rights. It's not that I don't welcome feedback as such either. Already there's been quite a few good comments. I could respond to them, but I just don't know that I want to allow this blog to become driven by the dialogs I might enter into with readers and others who respond to what I say. I don't want to be limited by having to explain myself to others in a manner that I think “works” for them, or makes sense to them, or allows for a dialog to proceed in some sensible manner. I may not proceed in any sensible manner, or at least not sensible to anyone other than myself, and maybe not even to myself.

Nor do I really want to be limited by any outside authorities. I will probably be examining various scriptures, Gurus, and various spiritual writings. I've even thought of doing regular book reviews. But I don't want to be defined by such things. One question that intrigues me is, “what is Brahman?”. If I had begun a thread on the Wilber Forum about this, we'd get quite a few opinions, and scriptural citations, and a long list of the various traditional arguments that have been pursued historically about this question, and then a lot of bickering and backfighting that could be both amusing and productive in a certain way, I'm not trying to knock it. People have lots of interesting things to say about the subject, I'm sure. Yes, fine and well, but I don't really care about that. I want to know what Brahman is - directly, in my own experience, my own consciousness, my own being and life. That's what counts to me. The rest is secondary. Now, it doesn't mean that secondary issues aren't relevant or important. I think they are. But they are secondary, not primary, and I don't want to become distracted by secondary issues to the detriment of what is primary.

When I ask myself what is Brahman, I don't look to scriptures, I look to my own experiential being and life and consciousness and awareness. What here is Brahman? When I say “I am Brahman”, why does that resonate and become meaningful to me? Because it does, and I'd like to pursue that matter further. What some scripture might say about that could be helpful, but it's only helpful if it provokes the direct finding of Brahman, the knowing of Brahman, and if it doesn't, then who cares? It might help someone else, to be sure, but if it doesn't help me, it's not very consequential to me. Many things which help me may be of no consequence to others, and I expect that few readers will care about my pursuit of these things. Except, perhaps, to the degree that I'm pursuing them at all, which may be interesting in its own odd way. I don't know if this blog will really be directly meaningful to anyone, unless, to some degree, it simply inspires people to make their own enquiry, and pursue their own truths, in their own way.


Anonymous said...


For what it's worth, I think you're moving the right direction if you curtail your internet debate activity and use the time and energy for something more creative and productive.

I wish you all the best in your endeavors.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Anonymous said...

There's a great line in a U2 song that goes,"Did you come to play Jesus to the lepers in your head? "
St Francis, my namesake, is reputed to have become enlightened at the very moment that he kissed the leper that had, just ealier, repulsed him.

Anonymous said...

Dude! I'm glad to see some movement on this blog. I mostly broke my old forum habits as well. Who needs the argument and agita? But occasionally I've lurked and today I clicked on this link again. Our old discussion has fallen out of first place. Finally! ;-) Hard to believe it's been a year.

Naturally, you've written about several interesting things lately. You don't say you discourage response, just that you may not reciprocate. For myself, I think it's hard to find a reason to write unless it is a conversation. Either your audience is imaginary or there is actual dialogue. Which is preferable? I find that the former has not worked for me yet. I would guess that you will find the dialogue is what drives you as well.

But dialogue is like keeping company, isn't it? Best to eliminate the bad and cleave to the good company. In the ashrama of the recluse, though, what is there to say about company? One neither welcomes nor denies it. I guess that's in line with not turning off comments on the blog.

Anyway, what IS Brahman? Ha. It seems to me that if you had not already "looked to scriptures," you would not even think of asking that question. So the question is a movement of conditioned mind, thought. To unconditional existence, what significance could such a movement have? It brings to mind the saying, "God is no respecter of persons." Is Brahman a respecter of enquirers? Is gravity a respecter of people who jump out of airplanes?

Another interesting topic you touched upon is "emptiness." You wrote, "my addiction to those dialogs seems to indicate an emptiness in myself that I have been trying to fill, using a source and method that can't possibly be fruitful or fulfilling."

This sense of "emptiness" brings to my mind Ramana's many sayings that "You are always experiencing the Self." In my liberality, I would call emptiness, the Self, and Brahman the exact same thing, all implying unconditionality, together with the impossibility of permanently covering it over with conditional mindstuff.

I think enquiry is spontaneous and revelation is also spontaneous. There is no time. Brahman won't satisfy you; it will obliterate you.


formerly kang and other handles. I will come up with a new one in due time.

gniz said...

Hey BY,

You and I tangled (briefly) at Lightmind, and i've always read your posts there with great interest. Just wanted to say that this newest series of blog posts from you are really honest and interesting.



Anonymous said...

hey broken,

it's interesting seeing what people are up to now with the demise of lightmind. i suspect some of us will turn to our blogs. that may be a good thing.

(p.s. i'll bet three two anandamayakoshas that "eminem" is theos. :-)