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October 02, 2010


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Dear Brian,
Suzanne Segal died from a brain tumour.It should not be ruled out that her entire experience could have been due to this.There is an article on her at wikepedia.
Stephen S Fine

Stephen, I'm not sure if the brain tumor makes any difference. I suspect that Segal would have said that the tumor also was part of the Vastness.

I note on the Wikipedia page that she felt less in touch with the Vastness as the tumor progressed. This could argue against it being in a part of the brain that produced her experiences. (Or maybe a mild tumor acted differently from a large tumor.)

Dear Brian,
Indeed,your point is an excellent one.Her disease does not detract from the message she seemed compelled by cicumstances,which she had no control over, to give.
I have read her book several times and each time her story fascinates me.The ideas of no doer,no ownership
always resonate with me.Yet feeling and intelligence do seem to be part of the Vastness.
How does one bring this message into an ordinary life and how can one equate "evil" with the Vastness are for me difficult to understand.
All the best

Hi Stephen,
Good post. It seems very difficult for new seekers
to understand this concept. With all the ambiance
of so many Gurus and all the excitement of all
so many promissed inner experiences.

The self (WHO), wants to wax itself with God
and spiritual attainments. Many years down the
seekers path, a person begins to realize that
all paths fail.

The person gets stuck in one method or another
and simply hopes something will eventually happen.
If nothing happens, they can depend on their Guru
for salvation anyway.

Then doubts creep in. One Guru to another. One
method, or another.

No way out of the circle.

When folks with a tendency toward introspection first begin to question the nature of "Reality", there is a sort of uneasiness about the thoughts that begin to form. Up is up, down is down, black is black, white is white, alive is alive, dead is dead, pleasure is pleasure, pain is pain.
Why? What for? Who or what is formulating these questions?
Perhaps the root of the questioning occurs when the brain sort of "recognizes" the impossibility of survival on an indefinite basis. It's very existence is purposed toward survival, but it is composed of elements that are themselves transitory in nature.

It seems likely (to me) that one's perspective on "Reality" is primarily a function of brain chemistry. Ms. Segal's "collision" with the "infinite" just happened to occur while her brain retained enough of it's functionality to support the organism. She died at the bus stop - her brain did not acknowledge the fact (so to speak) for many years.

Existence itself is "Reality", which already is equivalent to the unbounded condition which is euphemistically referred to as "infinity".

That's what my brain says - to no one.

I only am as all beings, I only exist as all appearances.I am only experienced as all sentience,I am only conceived as all knowing.

Only visible as all that is seen, every concept is a concept of what I am. All that seems to be is my being, because what I am is not any thing.

Being whatever is phenomenal, whatever can be conceived as appearing, I who am conceiving cannot be conceived, since only I conceive, how could I conceive what is conceiving? What I am is what I conceive;
Is that not enough for me to be?

When could I have been born, I who am the conceiver of time itself? Where could I live, I who conceive the space wherein all things extend? How could I die, I who conceive the birth, life, and death of all things, I who, conceiving, cannot be conceived?

I am being, unaware of being, but my being is all being. I neither think nor feel nor do, but your thinking, feeling, doing, is mine only. I am life, but it is my objects that live, because your living is my living.

Transcending all appearance, I am immanent presence everywhere and nowhere, because all that is - I am, and I am no thing.


You wrote all that needs to be said...

OK, I need to get back to inflating one of my tires.....Roger

To easy to dismiss Seagal's experience as a product of brain cancer.Could have been her pregnancy ? But what type of brain cancer ?What was the progress of the cancer?How many years between her awakening and her unsuccessful attempts at getting the right diagnosis (brain cancer)And does that jive with the pathophysiology of cancer of these types.Any other people with her cancer in the same region have the same experience ?Nondual"awakening" doesn't seem to correlate with pathology unless the selfing mind is the cancer we are talking about

Yes, the universe is vast, but I revel in my individuality, in the feeling of my finger touching that sand, the sun in my (yes, MY) face, in my thoughts, in the fact that I have a unique personality that I bring to the human experience. Why would I want to obliterate that, 'transcend' that, and be empty?

Life is meant to be lived.

Grace - you have no choice but to revel in your individuality. To point it out is akin to belaboring the obvious.
You may not want to obliterate your individuality, but it will be obliterated just the same - naturally. If you are constantly mindful of that fact, then there is no problem you cannot face.
If you have any problems, that is.

When that time comes (when I'm dead) I'm fine with it. I see no need in becoming an amorphous blob with no individuality, unaware of being, at the present time. Meditation is seriously boring, I like being out in the world experiencing it, see no reason to hide from it.

I was going to post a link for you to Jill Bolte Taylor's TED.com talk on her "stroke of insight" but I see you have mentioned it in previous posts. She does such an admirable job in that video of describing an experience that sounds similar to Segal's. If Segal's tumor put pressure on parts of her brain the way Taylor's did, and it changed shape/pressure over time, that might explain why the "vastness" faded. Also, the other side of the brain may be rewiring to try to compensate.

If the oneness/vastness these people experienced was a result of brain trauma, and is the same as described by mystics and sought after by their followers, that makes it no less amazing, nor the paths teachers offer any less worthwhile -- they are worthwhile or not on their own merits.

If we have two brains, being able to choose to access them, being familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each, and learning to use them well and avoid their drawbacks would be even more amazing.

We have such a hard time understanding these things and communicating them to others largely because we don't have the language for it -- how can we? language starts from shared experience, and these experiences are rare.

I found the most intriguing aspect of Segal's testimony was what she didn't write but which was added to her book as a prologue. namely that at the end of her life, the identification with her limited body-mind 'self' resumed. I.e. the realisation that no self exists only the cosmic empty oneness of 'vastness' was NOT permanent nor absolute, which to my mind demonstrates a basic fallacy of the neo-advaitist philosophy. Karma's gonna get you whatever you think or believe about it. And that is said to apply to all whoever and however highly 'realised' they/we become.

Hi Chris,
You may learn something from this.


By the way Chris, does your leg itch ?

To Mike W. I don't understand either of your references (‘Pinocchio’ and ‘leg itching’?). Can you explain?

The bigger picture remains that Segal's narrative ¬¬ as I understood it was that her alleged spontaneous and random realisation had no ‘self’-related cause. Her resulting awareness that there is no 'one' or ‘individual’ lead her to believe that there is nothing to 'liberate', and thus no practice to be performed to achieve what cannot and need not be 'achieved', etc., etc. The basic idea being that the illusion of an individual 'self' is transcended in its own sweet time in its own sweet way. All paths, practices, performances to achieve this are therefore actually hindrances as they perpetuate an illusion of duality and 'self'. The ‘reality’ being suggested is that all our actions, emotions, and their repercussions are therefore non-binding once this reality is experienced as there is nothing (no thing) to which reactions can be bound. Thus no merit, no gain, no loss, no pain, etc., etc.
I'm suggesting that 1.) the end of her own life appears to contradict this. She did AGAIN BECOME CONFINED TO A LIMITED SELF, one that experienced pain and suffering some of which were the results of her previous 'limited-self' experiences*. (*If I remember correctly it was suggested that she experienced considerable mental distress, confusion and disorientation as a result of what she thought were her own repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse).
Another apparent inconsistency that I noticed in her narrative is that 2.) despite claiming her experience of the vastness was totally unrelated to any action or effort on her part she also wrote that she had previously accepted the philosophy of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and had practiced TM meditation very assiduosly and intensely for a number of years prior to her Paris 'bus-stop' experience.
Any thoughts on these two points?

If your leg does not itch,
you are not Chris Crookes.
You are someone else.

The real Chris stated recently,
"Though it remains an indisputable fact that neither Pratap,
nor Jaimal ever adopted Radhasoami nam in so sectarian and so absolute
a fashion as did the followers of Saligram."
end quote

Jaimal named Beas satsang, RADHASOAMI Beas

Jaimal did not name Beas, Sat Nam Beas Satsang.

The name Radhasoami did not exist until
Salig Ram started his new religion.

Jaimal adopted Salig Ram as successor
and attended his satsangs,
where he learned the new faith from
Salig Ram, its founder.

A wonderful book. What i came away with was :

Which path to liberation
does not matter
in the least. What you
think or believe or
practice makes no difference.
What you are doing to
achieve liberation is an
effect and does not cause
it to happen. The real
happening is the burning
behind the scenes that
cares not one whit what
contortions it produces
in the world of form. The
inclination to be liberated
is a fire. Ashes of practice
may or may not result.
Practice is only an attempt
to make the journey sit ok
with the world while you
burn away.

" The real happening is the burning behind the scenes that cares not one whit what
contortions it produces in the world of form."

---"Silence is the backdrop to noise; it is always there in the background. With noise we break the silence but still the silence remains behind the noise. Silence permeates all of creation, behind the noise it exists. Another word for silence is “peace.” We need not add anything to our lives to have peace; all we have to do is remove the noise, and peace is there waiting for us in the silence. Silence has a rich, thick presence that exists in stillness. It is the fabric of the moment, the eternal now. Silence is the nothingness from which all things come."

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