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March 08, 2008


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Great post full of insights.

However, I still have one note of difference.

"Wilber says that no system of meditation, Eastern or Western, encompasses modern understanding of how humans move between developmental stages or levels of consciousness"

Having read the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Vigyan Bhairava Tantra or even the Zen Buddhist postulates, I feel Wilber's contention is untrue. Much of what Wilber told has already been said by ancient logicians like Nagarjuna or the recent no-Guru "Guru" J Krishnamurthy.

Yes, we all have our "habitual ways of being" that are part and parcel of the "survival" reactions we developed as children. They are also a product of our religious and social conditioning as well.

IMO, if fail to acknowledge these so-called negative elements, they will continue to run our lives.

Now, getting down on ourselves or judging ourselves harshly because of them, I believe, only fuels them more.

The keys, IMO, are gentle observation, and compassion. Again, these are just opinions based on my own personal experience in dealing with my own stuff.


Deepak, Wilber is heavily into Buddhism and Nagarjuna, so I tend to believe him when he says that Buddhism and Hinduism also are tied to limited world views, just as every view is.

We all like to think that we've gone beyond dogmatism. But we can't see our own dogmatism. It feels natural to us, whereas it's super easy to see how prejudiced other people are. That's one of Wilber's messages that rings true to me.

Bob, gentle observation does seem to be key. You can't force yourself into a higher stage. Children naturally become less self-centered as they grow up and have more life experiences.

I like to think that this is true for adults also. However, it seems that often we get stuck at certain stages of development for various reasons.

To my mind, religion is one of the things that stick us, because it fosters a rigid way of looking at the world that keeps us enmeshed in a narrow conceptual framework.

The beauty of vipassana, as I feel it is,that emotions, feelings, thaughts or stillness comes and goes..and that gives space...it comes and goes it is not'mine'..
Awareness is a great help in loosen up as it were..
I enjoy vipassana at the moment very much,because of that.
It's all there..but we are in our middelpoint as an observer.
That gives peace..


Is there a difference between mindfulness practice and vipassana meditation.

Just curious...


I don't know the difference Bob,but I know that they are gonna tell more about some differences even in sorts of vipassana,there are so to say,differences about Goenka and others.
I don't know yet the differences,I think forinstance that Goenka is strict in the nessecesety of 10 days at a stretch while what I do is much more free in that.We just sit together once a week for 2 hours.
Further one does mediation at home.

Oh and yes mindfulness comes from vipassana.

Just because a person defends his religion does not mean he is dogmatic.

Besides I think that this "never-before, never-again" stuff that Ken Wilber is peddling is a hallmark of cult.

Ken Wilber is accused of being a cultist in the sense that he wants or desires a following.

He has not contributed anything new to the "spiritual" thought. If he has he should come up with it.

Just with a rehash of science and spirituality, he is playing to the gallery. Not acknowledging sources is a hallmark of intellectual dishonesty. Rubbishing all the past masters and past wisdom, saying that they lack something which I possess. Smells and reeks of another cult. Don't you think.

To know more about Wilber's cult status, read Falk's book -- Stripping the Gurus -- on the web.

"However, when I began to work more closely with these senior disciples it became clear that they were just as humanly flawed as anybody else. Maybe more so, because they considered themselves as being on a flawless spiritual path."

--It was funny when I lived on Kauai for awile to surf. My buddy and I were fairly recent initiates into RSSB and our neighbors were some young "starry-eyed" seekers (aspirants hoping to be initiated). Even though we were basically newcomers ourselves, these guys had us up on a pedestal. They got this idea that anyone initiated by a perfect master was spiritually advanced, and they expected our behavior to reflect the ideal of serene Buddhas in perpetual bliss, immune to petty grievances.

Well, one night my friend and I got into a raucous dispute about excessive foul intestinal gas (it was a small cabin). I decided that if he was going to stink up the place without regard for my olfactory sensitivities that he should receive an overripe guava in the face. My friend decided that a fistful of guacamole was an appropriate reply and the dam broke. Fruit was flying everywhere in our mini-war.

The seekers nearby heard the noise and came over to observe us behaving like college fraternity idiots. We were not the lotus posture sitting saints they thought we were, just a couple of dumb-ass surfers in a food fight. Their illusions were shattered and we were greeted the next day with smirks instead of deference.

How rapidly the great can fall.

One of them did eventually get initiated and became a psycologist with an obsessive-compulsive eating disorder. The other guy went a different route, became a wild pig hunter and was never initiated.

I hear you, tucson. In my RSSB newbie days I'd attend satsang in Palo Alto, California. Milton Monasch, who I recall was an insurance salesman, used to give the talks.

I remember going up to him after satsang and asking him how long he'd been initiated. "Six years," he said.

Six years! I wanted to kiss his feet. I assumed that he was intimately familiar with the spiritual regions and had gone way beyond the astral plane.

In retrospect I also remember this somewhat discordant story Mr. Monasch told. He was at a business meeting where the negotiations weren't going too well.

He walked over to the window and started repeating his mantra. When he went back to the table, the other side agreed to his terms. Wow! The power of simran!

I was impressed at the time. But now...

Great, even I was impressed by all these RS antics just before I was initiated.

It was only after I was initiated that I realised the ordinariness, vanity and foolhardiness of satsangis.

I believed in the power of simran,even in dreams it helped when there was a nightmare,I felt helped very much in dreams so it must be very powerful.Now I can't use the words in meditation,it makes my mind so tired,and it seems it stops my natural feeling of just openess in meditation.

hi all,
great post Brian, and I've enjoyed reading all your comments.

I am the son of satsangi parents who are anything but the dogma toting types. My dad never goes to satsang, and they're both basically very human, chill people.

When I was younger we went to go see the master, and instead of feeling deferential to satsangis, I actually couldn't believe the questions they were asking Baba Ji (like is it Ok for us to eat at pizza hut if we don't know if the crust has eggs). Years later, my wife said the same thing. "Yeah he makes sense, but why do you guys have to be told that--isn't it common sense?"

Depending on one's tendencies, it seems that sant mat ideology can lead to harmful results, like self-judgment for not remembering to do enough simran, and expectations that the master will pull strings in our lives, thereby not taking responsibility for our own actions. I've witnessed this mentality before. But I have also witnessed some very mindful satsangis who make me feel very much at ease and are quite peaceful to be around.

If there is any one thing that keeps me interested in the path, it is the meditation technique itself.

The sound current just makes so much sense to me.

Brian quotes:
"there is anger arising, there is anger arising, there is anger arising" – but all that will do is refine and heighten my awareness of anger as an it."

That is why the sound current makes sense to me. Once that middle state of awareness that Sita speaks of is reached, what is in that awareness? The mindfulness itself is very powerful, but the sound current as the literal highway to dissolving the self just makes intuitive sense to me. I can't seem to get rid of my crap, so why not just get up and leave it?

I think that the framework surrounding sant mat troubles me, but then again, who has built this framework? Does this framework really reflect the reality of the teachings, or just the collective delusions of satsangis? And I still think the meditation technique is extremely potent...

Wow, thanks Brian! This sounds really interesting. To be honest, I hadn't really kept up to date with Wilber's stuff since 'Spectrum'!!! :-o! I have read articles here and there, plus some really thought-provoking videos on you-tube (with brother Wayne?), and really enjoyed it.

What you have briefly commented on sounds fascinating, I think I will be buying the book to check it out!


Dear Adam, are you self initiated?
I tell you, I don't know anything for sure.
Maybe you are right about shabd meditation maybe not.
Even if I do other meditation I hear sometimes little bells ringing.
I think I heard this before initiation also.Ofcourse because of conciousnes that became more clear.
I don't know what is good,but the santmat doctrine is strange as I see it,very very strange.Only 10% can go back to the Lord says the guru.,Strange?????I think it is extremely strange,the others have to stay here.................again and again....
Sitting in meditation is sometimes enjoyable peacefull,also difficult at times.
Why are you so sure that the shabd is above everything,the crab as yoy call it,how do you know?

Dear Sita,

Yes I am initiated. I also don't know anything for sure. And you are right that the sant mat ideology is very strange indeed, but I question whether of not the master would endorse this kind of ideology or not. I simply do not know. A lot of people say stuff that gets spread around. I myself have never read, for example, the thing about 10% of souls.

My faith in shabd comes from my interpretation of various personal experiences, and not necessarily in meditation. Here are a few thoughts that convince me:

when you reach that vipassana state of awareness, you understand, with pure attention, that you are not what rises and falls away, and you disidentify with the ebbs and flows of the mind. This is a powerful meditation, and I believe achieves basically the same result as simran. But then what do you identify with? As long as the "I" is there, there is something else we are aware of as a reference. Through attending to something, we identify with it. So the sound current, which supposedly pulls our attention into states of being (I don't care what names you give them) seems like a logical phenomenon to attend to as a stepping stone to letting go.

Also, it makes sense to me to focus at the eye center, as it seems that our attention does really start in the brain and come down through the senses.

My dear Sita, meditation is sometimes enjoyable for me, but many many times I just struggle with the mind, which wants to obsess over every little thing, feeling frustrated afterwards.

I just don't think I can fully still my mind and let go of the "I" without attending to something that will dissolve my thoughts.
But you are right, that I only have these beliefs to guide me and know nothing for sure....

What I know for sure is that i sit here on my couch doing letters.
It is nice to to be where you are,there is deepness in that.
To BE there, also in meditation,to be where you are.Thoughts come and go,but let them and just sit there in awareness..
That gives more deepness than the expectations of santmat what they themself tell,while later they say one should have no expectations..

Change doesn't come outside it is inside morover people who change never show that change its my personal experience.

Sekak wrote:

"Change doesn't come outside it is inside morover people who change never show that change its my personal experience."

^^Then how do you you know they changed?

The one who notes rising and falling is also subject to coming and going

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