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July 25, 2006


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Dear Brian,
I believe I grasp your characterizations of "tune in" and "turn on," but I don't grasp how "drop out" (as illustrated/indicated [?] by the article) is to be understood. Might you give some further clarification? Robert Paul Howard

Well, Robert, I agree that "drop out" is more difficult to grok than "tune in" and "turn on." I Googled my way around the Internet for a while, exploring how others had used the term "mystical (or spiritual) drop out."

The Zen researcher, Austin, came up several times in reference to a statement that Zen seeing-clearly-now occurs when thoughts drop out of the mind.

Advaita and other mystic practices speak similarly. This seems to be different from tuning in or turning on, but maybe it isn't. Zen and Advaita point toward a pathless path, a sudden opening, a zap! that isn't this or that, tuning or turning.

As I've observed before (I think), Rumi said something like, "When you get to the other side, all you'll be able to say is 'I didn't know it would be like this.'"

Conceptions drop out like an elevator that suddenly snaps its cable when real reality makes an appearance.

Your Rumi Quote:

"When you get to the other side, all you'll be able to say is 'I didn't know it would be like this'."

I wonder if there is just one side to the other side?

I also wonder if it is some place one "gets to".

I also wonder if there is any one who really gets there just to turn around and remember it here and write: "I didn't think it would be like that"

Rumi is fairly cagey, unusually so, in this fragment: will it be different, or the same; and is that why I am surprised? We also have on good authority that “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

I love to quote from Donovan, “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is,” particularly daring for its state-of-being participle, dangling there, over the abyss.

The striving for enlightenment reminds me of the promise of heaven. If I act correctly, whether that has moral, dietary, or neurological implications, I will achieve… well, what do I want? What will the universe I experience be like when it is different?

I am glad to reject the idea that anything will change beside my orientation, that there is a promised land/head space in any of the books or lectures. The eternal is already happening. It is my confusion that leads me to decide this is not the perfect existence. I love my confusion!

Getting to learn, and feel, and sleep; all of us are in this, participating in the always-being-created. The surety that this life is not enough happens as the surety that there is no other way of being happens, simultaneously.

I got the message today that my now and your now, Rumi’s now and Meister Eckhart’s now, are the same now. What a wonderfully complicated confusion! I never need to know the end. I can’t ever point to, “this is my ignorance, and over there is where I had a spiritual experience.”

The language allows us the duality, but the menu is not the meal. All perceptions firing at once, all the tools in full swing, complicit in the, oh, you know… thingy.

I'm from the same generation as you, 1971 initiate. The problem with your writing and your lack of spiritual progress is that your ego has totally taken over and you’re mind is running amuck. You have what I call “Little Guru Syndrome”. You want to be the Guru; however, you are not the Master; you are the disciple. Please stop posting every thought that crosses your muddled mind and use that time for simran instead. In order to have a spiritual experience and hear the sound, you have to first actually attend to your spiritual practice; you have to be there. Some of us do hear the sound and have had spiritual experiences. But that doesn’t come from words or reading, it comes through spiritual practice, as a gift. Since you don’t have any personal knowledge of the path, only what you read in books, quit speaking on the subject. You obviously have no idea who or what your Guru is. Kind regards

Dear Friend, thank you for telling me so much about myself. That was a real gift. Wow! What a fool I've been. For so many years I've been trying to understand myself and the nature of reality from the inside of my consciousness.

Now I realize that all I need to do is attend to the wise advice of those like you, who, after reading what I write on my weblog, know me better than I know myself. Again, thank you from the depths of my unknowing heart.

That said, my out of control ego still can't resist commenting on your comment. Are you aware that I still spend most of my waking hours either in actual meditation, or attending to my simran (mantra)?

Also, are you aware that I spent 35 years attending in every detail to the mystic practice that you praise? I wasn't sure of this, because you said that I "don't have any personal knowledge of the path."

Hmmmmm. I was pretty sure that the person practicing for those 35 years was me. But it seems that I was wrong. Perhaps you could enlighten me as to who was having those personal experiences of the Sant Mat path, if it wasn't me.

It must be wonderful to know the truth about the cosmos as well as you do. I hope very much that you will share more, either through additional comment(s) or via an email(s) to me. There's so much I'm curious about.

Please, tell us who or what the Guru is. And tell us about your personal experience that has led you to this knowledge. Be specific. I gather that you have heard the sacred sound and have had spiritual experiences.

You shouldn't keep this gift to yourself. Enlighten we endarkened as to what we can expect when we are able to see the light.

I'm also curious about how you were able to write your advice to me about stopping writing every thought that crosses my muddled mind, focusing on my mantra instead. Do you have any thoughts of your own? Can you write while focusing on your simran?

I'd like to know how you do this, because no matter how hard I try, when I think about what I want to say, there always are thoughts in my head. Again, it must be wonderful to be able to set me straight on what I'm doing wrong without thinking thoughts yourself.

I mean, since you're so adamant about using every spare moment for repeating a mantra, I have to assume that you practice what you preach and wouldn't have taken the time to post a comment on this blog if this distracted from your spiritual practice.

Well, my last thought (damn! there I go again!) is that you're so far beyond me in mystical knowledge I feel deeply grateful that you're willing to speak with someone so deluded as me.

I look forward to the day when I possess the qualities of humility, love, and non-judgementalism that you so obviously enjoy in abundance. Sadly, that day is not yet here for me.

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