« RSSB guru now faced with repaying $909 million in allegedly fraudulent loans | Main | Singh brothers' staying out of jail linked to $870 million owed by RSSB guru »

March 19, 2019

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Wow, I really needed to read this! I was just sitting in my room feeling anxious about a lot of pending deadlines coming up at work.

Surat Shabd yoga was very confusing to me. I remember from day one after getting initiated always resisting “the pull” to go up. It never felt right. And I never cared whether I did my meditation the right way or wrong way I just cared about putting my time in. I enjoyed it because it made me feel very calm and it would clear my head. Occasionally I would see flashes of light and different things but just never wanted that. I don’t know why... might have had something to do with my rebellious 20’s and certain hallucinogenics. Most trips were good but the last was really, really bad so I had no desire whatsoever to see or hear anything supernatural in my meditation.

I love meditation, though. I really do. It always felt good and still does.

I did Simran during meditation as a Satsangi but not during the day. And I didn’t feel guilty about that because the words always felt very strange. They felt like rocks in my mouth. But that’s just me. A lot of people talk about how much they love doing their Simran and they do it as often as they can each day. My husband is really big on Simran. He sits in meditation everyday too but has a harder time with that exercise. And that’s OK.

Other mantras feel better to me but I think that’s because they’re in my mother tongue and have such warm associations.

Anyway, thanks for this! It’s a nice break from the headlines.

Vipassana meditation is from the Theravada tradition so its quite old. Probably its much older than that still. Its premises are based on the fundamental dharmic teachings common to all dharmic paths. That is Seeing into the true nature of existence: impermanence, emptiness, unsatisfactorness. The three aspects of dukkha. Vipassana literally means "Seeing into" which in turn denotes a high degree of mental concentration. A one pointedness to achieve direct knowledge of sukkha-liberation from the these three aspects. Now how to achieve this concentration is a matter of methodology. Mantra\Simran or breathing. To concentrate on that inch of air before it enters your nostrils, or on hearing the repetition itself. Samatha in turn is calming the mind specifically through the breath.

Now. One may try calm the mind and then achieve insight. Or achieve insight and then the mind calms. Its a matter of practice. Iit seems you are talking about Samatha not Vipassana. Moreover, in moderd times Vipassana, as it has been re-introduced, is a practice which involves a 3, 10,20,40 days silent retreat in a buddhist settings. Its a vipassana retreat. So its actually going away from the world.
Your analysis of nada yoga vs vipassana is off the mark. Perhaps you meant to talk about nada yoga vs samatha. Traditionally Vipassana, both etymologically and in its emphasis on direct experience through concentration is the same as surat shabd. Whether this is achieved through breathing or listening is a matter of karmic pull. Samatha on the other hand is calming the mind by not giving any substance to any form or thought or practice. Also. Vipassana, samatha, zazen and all dharmic paths emphasise the outmost importance of a teacher.

Comparing surat shabd with vipassana, in order to distinguish which is best (quoting you "practice other forms of [trancendental] meditation [whose practitioners] are unable to reach" beyond beeing wrong, denotes a discriminatory mind.

Love & Devotion is @ the heart of surat shabd yoga. Surat's (the soul, the attention) is in love and in devotion to the Spirit that creates and permeates everything.

Baba-Ji generally recommends seekers to avoid all sorts of concentration on the breath.... so it seems to be, that simran and vippassana are not likely related..

@ Brian - why would you want to be attached to this illusion lol. It’s not real!

Tell me if it is in 2119?? Oh we won’t be here lol.

You kill it with your humouress posts😀

E, thanks for your comment. I just want to be sure that we're clear that vipassana meditation and mindfulness are very close to being the same thing. Concentration is something different, though mindfulness and concentration work together.. Here's some links along these lines. After them, I'll share a passage from the fourth link that I liked:

https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/questions/12420/what-are-the-differences-between-vipassana-and-mindfulness-meditation

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/teaching-yoga-and-vipassana

https://inward.nl/blog/mindfulness-meditation/difference-between-mindfulness-meditation-and-insight-or-vipassana-meditation/

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/mindfulness_in_plain_english_16.php

https://www.thecontemplativelife.org/vipassana
------------------
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is free from all these drawbacks. Mindfulness is not dependent on any such particular circumstance, physical or otherwise. it is a pure noticing factor. Thus it is free to notice whatever comes up - lust, hatred, or noise.

Mindfulness is not limited by any condition. It exists to some extent in every moment, in every circumstance that arises. Also, mindfulness has no fixed object of focus. It observes change. Thus it has an unlimited number of objects of attention. It just looks at whatever is passing through the mind and it does not categorize.

Distractions and interruptions are noticed with the same amount of attention as the formal objects of meditation. In a state of pure mindfulness your attention just flows along with whatever changes are taking place in the mind. "Shift, shift, shift. Now this, now this, and now this."

Arjuna, hopefully you're kidding. I ask, because I've known lots of RSSB devotees who really do believe that this physical world isn't real.

There's no evidence of that, actually. So that belief can lead to an unhealthy rejection of this clear and present reality, finding solace in an imaginary world of someone's imagination.

We have to deal with reality as it is, not as how we'd like it to be. That's Meditation 101, the essence of mindfulness. Which is a big part of the reason I now embrace mindfulness/vipassana meditation.

@E
Love & Devotion is @ the heart of surat shabd yoga. Surat's (the soul, the attention) is in love and in devotion to the Spirit that creates and permeates everything.

Hi E,

Just a few thoughts here...

“Soul” and “spirit” are the same thing. The soul can’t be separated from Spirit. The separation is an illusion. So, the idea that you need to travel through all these realms to realize that the soul and spirit are the same thing seems odd... a bit dangerous psychologically. It’s the false guilt imposed by your mind that makes you feel separate. Spending hours a day in a practice to reconfirm your self-imposed shame while trusting you’ll see another human to take you through all these “regions” until you get to the point where you realize you’re not separate from yourself seems rather bizarre.

I’ve known several satsangis who’ve described negative experiences traveling the inner regions. It seems those regions are more like lucid dreaming.

My phone just made a typo and put Lucifer dreaming instead of lucid dreaming. Glad I caught that! But it did make me think... you travel through all the realms of the mind to find your soul when you could have just started with that.


It seems what Satsangis are actually trying to do is astral travel.

‘The Men who Stare at Goats’ is a fun film... “psychic abilities” and “astral travel” have nothing to do with being a better person or becoming enlightened anymore than dropping acid or taking shrooms.

This is my opinion, it’s not a fact. But the idea that Surat Shab Yoga can take you to an enlightened region is not a fact either. It’s a group belief but not a scientific fact.

The biggest problem I have with believing you need a GIHF to take you to God is in the first part of this sentence. You need “God” in human form to take you to “God”?

Realizations & epiphanies. They happen in an instant.

@ Brian - yes I was messing .

This world is real for us whilst we are here- and then all that legacy of our lives is being buried six feet under becoming good for worms. Or we are burnt.

Who knows what lies in the end - that I do not claim any certainty (at the moment)

Sonya, great comment. What we're after is unity. After all, aren't almost all of our problems -- heck, maybe truly all of them -- arise because we consider ourselves to be separate beings?

I'm not denying that pain, hunger, thirst, fear, anxiety, sadness, and such exist. But we suffer most when we feel that we're captives in a world-jail that is unfairly causing us distress. Like you said, recognizing that the Jail Is Us, so to speak, leads to a relaxed acceptance that what there is, is also what we are.

How could things be any different, really? Aren't we made of whatever the world is made of? Don't we act in accord with how the world is causing us to act? It sure seems like reality is more like an ocean with many waves that aren't really separate from the ocean, than like a beach with genuinely separate grains of sand.

Searching for the ocean when you're already part of it is crazy. But that's what dualistic religions, mystic paths, and spiritual teachings would have us do. Right here, right now, we already have what we're looking for, if only we have the eyes to see.

Soul = God

In all scriptures & vedas

Jeeva = Soul + Ego

@Sonya
'I did Simran during meditation as a Satsangi but not during the day. And I didn’t feel guilty about that because the words always felt very strange. They felt like rocks in my mouth. But that’s just me.

So, you neglected deliberately - Of course This Power
is not your taste in your mouth

You can still try it

Jean

Whyyyyyy are there so many Satsangis on this Church of the Churchless blog??? 😱😱😱 My husband always calls it Church of the Godless. 😂

@ilanovich
I just read your post from the last post... a lot of times I forget to go back and read previous posts’ comments when I’m on to a new one.

All I want to say is you need to RELAX. No need to get so upset when you feel one of the minions has gone. There are so many minions more.

It’s like the missionaries have come to Africa. Isn’t there a Church for the Churchful site somewhere?

Actually, I enjoy differing points of views. My husband and his family ardently follow Sant Mat, their guru(s) and we get along fine.

As for my “pride” and “first world problems”, isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black? I don’t live in luxury or have millions of people bowing down to me every single day.

Leaving aside the supposed theological effects of these 2 meditations, I've found the mental/emotional effects of practicing vipassana vs. sant mat meditation to be markedly different. With many years of practice of each of these meditation modalities, I'm still not sure which one I'd say is "better" than the other. As many others have noted, vipassana sometimes leads to an unsatisfying emotional dryness. Others seem to thrive on it. I think the difference is that successful vipassana meditators (eg Dipa Ma, Dalai Lama, Goenka) strongly incorporate metta (lovingkindness) into their vipassana practice. I've spent time at a theravada buddhist center and wasn't impressed, as the longtime monks there all struck me as having rather grim personalities despite their years of seeing through impermanance.

I find sant mat meditation curiously grounding, though it too has its limitations. One limitation being that practice of sant mat meditation seems to require at least short term acceptance of certain aspects of sant mat theology and guru worship, and that can mess with critically thinking mind. Also, I've found the 5 names to be an exceptionally compelling mantra, and yet the effects of simran diminish the length of time they're practiced.

There are other meditation options that might be explored. I've found that the TM meditation has distinct benefits and it might be worth exploring for people who have problems with sant mat or vipassana. For one thing, there's no "work" in TM as there is with the other two meditations.

One thing more. Despite what Goenka and others might claim, vipassana as most of us know it is actually a recent development, as it's a streamlined approach to meditation that was popularized in Asia only a few decades ago. There's more to Buddhism than endless watching of the mind and body. To paraphrase St. Paul,if there's not love, then meditation is a waste of time.

Jean, the soul isn't God in Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. That would be heresy.

In the monotheistic faiths, there is a dualism between God and humans. Since I don't believe in God, I don't believe in that theology either. I just wanted to point out that the soul isn't God in all creeds.

It isn't even clear that Christianity accepts the existence of an eternal soul:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_in_the_Bible


It seems what Satsangis are actually trying to do is astral travel.
‘The Men who Stare at Goats’ is a fun film... “psychic abilities” and “astral travel” have nothing to do with being a better person or becoming enlightened anymore than dropping acid or taking shrooms.

Agree totally. The mystic's goal is to fully realize who
and what you are. Astral travel can't "take" you "there".
There is no "there".

Ishwar Puri, a modern mystic, says consciousness is our
essence. We don't go back and merge in the ocean.
We're already the ocean but, with our badly scattered
attention, buy into the notion we're really only "drops"
in it.

This is my opinion, it’s not a fact. But the idea that Surat Shab Yoga can take you to an enlightened region is not a fact either. It’s a group belief but not a scientific fact.

Agree again. Every spiritual claim remains a belief until
you confirm it experientially yourself.


The biggest problem I have with believing you need a GIHF to take you to God is in the first part of this sentence. You need “God” in human form to take you to “God”?

This is a tough to understand. I think the mystic explanation
is that, we've so completely lost touch with the truth of who
we are, we have to project another human being as the
conduit to receive it. Especially in the beginning.

Basically, all the GIHF does, is remind us we are God ourself (God="ocean", the "totality of consciousness") and to inherit
our birthright, you have to look inside, not outside. Not to
some GIFH on a velvet platform but to the one within you.

Realizations & epiphanies. They happen in an instant.

Agree once again. Particularly when we concentrate
our scattered attention back inside.

Vipassana “freed” me from Santmat.
It was soo good to just feel my real Inside trough Insight.
To see and feel undergo what is in me..just that in such a natural way.
Yes that was freeing.
I also saw my natural devotion..not to a “PLM “
but just the feeling of love.
But also the acceptence of sadness of doubd etc..
To hear..to smell to feel warmth,cold,tiredness,happyness..
Hearing birds and all sorts of things..
Walking meditation is a good thing too
Everything becomes very much alive.
Because of awarenes..

Both of these methods have great benefits. But what matters most is which method is really natural for you?

For some, being pulled within is very natural, and simran and Dyan help simply to clear away other stuff, though they are of themselves, a source of beauty.

When the mind wanders in Vipassana, you can look at the thought and see it dispassionately, and name it.

But at some point, naturally, the attention returns to the rising of the breath.

In Sant Mat meditation, when the mind wanders, we are told to gently return it to the repetition.

In both cases, the attention on the breathing or the attention on the repetition and imagery creates a focus of attention that leads to an expansion of awareness.

That expansion can be to our outward, or our inward surroundings.

The mind returning to that center is not an act on our part. It happens naturally. Our mind moves in natural cycles. There is a cycle time to how often and when the mind naturally returns to the center, all on its own.

And this begins with our becoming aware, not simply of the new thought, but of the fact that we are now focusing on something new.

If there were no natural mechanism, we would never know we are now focusing on something different than we were. All we would know is whatever we were focusing on at the time.

The very mind that pulls you out, naturally pulls you in. No effort needed.

In that sense, learning to be a passive observer is the key to advancement in both methods, and the reduction of cycle time.

And the expanded awareness of either inner or outer worlds.

"After all, aren't almost all of our problems -- heck, maybe truly all of them -- arise because we consider ourselves to be separate beings?"

Brian,

I wholeheartedly agree, almost all of our problems arise because we consider ourselves to be separate beings. We hurt others because of our own self endowed "special-ness" that makes us feel entitled to having more than others, and we suffer when others do the same to us. If we truly realized and respected our connected-ness to every other living thing, there would be no greed.

@Dungeness
You have a unique way of making your point.
:)

Necessity made us to think and follow the best of the salvation practices. Most of us may have followed the RSSB Guru commanded meditation and also life but disillusioned tried other means which may suit us.

But the promises RSSB makes and owes to their disciples may be much more than any other available means. The problem which has become an impediment to his followers is His mysterious approach to worldly affairs and also add to it a sluggish progress in the RSSB meditative practices which we ever hold dear than any of our acts or duty. Regards.

My brother-in-law and I are pretty close and he was initiated by GSD. He loves Gurinder to death. He finds comfort in Sant Mat whereas it only served to make me feel more separate from everyone including myself, if that makes any sense.

Unity is love. Feeling like your more special or more enlightened than another can only serve your ego. I’m finally over being upset by some of my negative personal experiences with the guru. I don’t envy him either. He’s very likeable when he’s not being all “judgey”. Satsangis say meditation is supposed to connect you with your guru and then your guru connects you with God. It’s so guru centric. Why do they claim you need a “Living Master” when the guru doesn’t initiate you, see your application for initiation or even know your name? My husband never even met his Master. I did but that’s another story.

The Living Master thing really perplexes me and that seems to be the basis of RSSB’s version of Sant Mat. That’s the be all and end all for them.

I have a lot of confounding thoughts about Sant Mat from time to time and that’s one of the top 5.

Hi Sonya

The Cusak clip is quite ‘out there’ and wackily funny. Never thought there’s a place you can visit that’s full of white unicorns - probably located on some internal dweep with the neighbouring one full of hansas. Ha Ha. Apparently you have to be a virgin to ride one?? Ah the purity of the soul…

Hey Jim read your link - I found it interesting, though after my first look the article seems to mix up soul with self-consciousness, consciousness and spirit. I remain of the view that soul represents something original and not in a separated state. I know this is all mental gymnastics but I’d still like to get a better handle on what soul is - maybe whatever it is is beyond words. Continuing with the theme however -

Jean - I like what you said - Soul = God, a non-dual thingamajig :-)
Jeeva = Soul + Ego - Okidoki.

I’m reminded of what Teilhard de Chardin once said ‘A physicist is an atom’s way of knowing about atoms’ (or something similar). Perhaps the Jeeva (Jiva) is the soul’s way of knowing about soul.
Meditation is a lot about realising that the ego part is ultimately illusory, so when this fully hits home everything becomes soul guided and the ego just a tool. But before such awakening the mind/ego has to get sorted via some process, so it (the ego) has an important role to play in the process of ‘getting over itself’.

BFN

@ilanovich
You’ve captivated me with your charm. Is that how you win over the masses?

@ilanovich
I definitely agree with you, Love is far more superior to intellect. Maybe we can just agree on that for now.

This is my understanding of meditation :- Whether from a Zen Buddhist perspective or a western psychological perspective, my inclination was and still is secular and not inclined to assign life or experiences to religious interpretations. My meditation is also secular. It is not confined to a half an hour or so of 'sitting practice' but to every aspect of my life. It stems from many years ago when driving. I looked into my rear view mirror and saw behind me a row of very vivid-green bushes. I had driven by them twice a day throughout the spring but being immersed in thought had not noticed them. I decided as I had a limited time in this world I'd pay more attention to this grandeur – this included the grandeur of my mind and its processes. This was the beginning of my – shall I call it – my awareness practice.

I kept many notes and soon realised that the source of the experiences and my interest in such matters had a common denominator – 'Me'. So I watched and saw that this 'Me'', this 'Self' had its origin amongst my thoughts. In fact, when I wasn't thinking about it, it ceased to exist. But, just as when protecting my body, when challenged in any way it would 'rear up' and defend itself. My notes were mainly about 'Who am I', or identity. I realised that the 'self' was a construct derived from thought, and that thinking had its origins in my life experiences. Self and mind were no longer mysteries but simply the result of the accumulation of experiences 'stored' in the brain as mind. From this vast store of information (the mind) a self naturally manifests.

I saw that where the self is assumed (and usually unconsciously) to be a real and separate entity, not only would it use information for its day-to-day living in the world, it would also 'latch on' to concepts that appeared to promise more than simple living. Perhaps because it senses its precariousness and inevitable demise it attaches itself to concepts, to beliefs that offer some sort of meaning and continuity that does not occur in real life.

It is quite feasible that in realising the illusion of mind and self as being mental constructs such freeing is enlightenment – blown all out of context and proportion to fit into various inventions to accommodate the insecurities of the mind/self.

Such is my meditation.

@Tim Rimmer,...you write,...Hey Jim read your link - I found it interesting, though after my first look the article seems to mix up soul with self-consciousness, consciousness and spirit. I remain of the view that soul represents something original and not in a separated state. I know this is all mental gymnastics but I’d still like to get a better handle on what soul is - maybe whatever it is is beyond words. Continuing with the theme however -”

Me: Glad you read what the spirits answered in the Spirits Book. They must know what they are! But soul in MY view, is a little different from how those Channeled spirits were trying to describe souls. To ME, ALL spirits, including those animating us now, were CREATED Eons ago, in the Dawn of timeless awareness, by the Only ONE Spirit, GOD, ( call God any thing that pleases you), but as each individual created spirit incarnated in to any physical body in The Wheel of 84, Charausi, TIME in Space Began for that spirit who became a soul, at its first incarnation. Now, every one of those spirit/souls became Eternal. There was no soul to possess ir contain Awareness of Spirit who created each spirit, until they became living souls.

Each innocent Created spirit, BECAME a “ living soul” as the “ Breath of God was breathed in to a body at birth” according to the Bible. From that Millisecond forward, Karma bagan for that, and each individual soul.

From there forward, you may continue the soul journey and answer to the soul puzzle by reading my Journey of my soul, right here!
https://eternaloasisofsouls.blogspot.com/2014/11/soul-convicts-wanted-dead-or-alive.html

Cheers,
Jim

I have this book of inspiration that was given to me by a friend and just happened to read this today:

Love
In honesty, is it not harder for you to say “I love” than “I hate”?
You associate love with weakness
and hatred with strength,
and your own real power seems to you
as your real weakness.
For you could not control
your joyous response to the call of love
if you heard it.

By not offering total love
you will not be healed completely.

Love always answers,
being unable to deny a call for help,
or not to hear the cries of pain that rise to it
from every part of this strange world.

The opposite of love is fear,
but what is all encompassing
can have no opposite.

**********
I don’t normally type out long passages from books but happened to find this one particularly uplifting. Especially the emphasis on fear being the opposite of love. I guess that’s common sense but sometimes people use fear to try and achieve a positive result, which never truly really works. At least not in a lasting way.


I'm a Vipassana meditator myself, so naturally I empathize with a great deal of what you say here.

However, what I find kind of off-putting is the mumbo jumbo that invariably surrounds this sort of thing.

For instance, in the article you've linked, the author/monk says : "It takes years, but one day the meditator chisels through that wall and tumbles into the presence of light. The transformation is complete."

Thus, at its core, Vipassana meditation is not so much simply a means for enhanced appreciation of the here and now, but a means of breaking through to something "higher".

And there lies the catch! Because until you do break through, you are to take this on trust. And in this, as far as I can see, Vipassana is no different than, for instance, the Surat Shabd meditation that your RSSB teaches. (Let me make my meaning very clear, by repeating: In this and this respect alone the two are similar, that both claim to be experiential, and both claims that applied practice leads to very dramatic breakthroughs, which claim you are to take on trust, often for long years, often for all your life.)

Mind, this is not necessarily a criticism. As I've said earlier in more than one comment on your blog, I remain open (and indeed hopeful) of there being a higher aspect to our mundane reality -- while of course realizing that this is something of a long shot, and rationally speaking not remotely likely -- and, because I remain open to this possibility, therefore I am quite willing to test this out myself. Hence my continued practice. (Well, that, as well as the fact that I find meditating both enjoyable and beneficial.)

So well, here I go, playing Devil's Advocate, and pointing out an essential similarity (similarity, specifically in the sense I've described here in this comment) between the Vipassana meditation I myself practice, and the Surat Shabd meditation that RSSB teaches.


Hello, interesting thread and post! I practiced Kundalini Yoga for 1 year (as taught by Yogi Bhajan who was an initiate of Kirpal Singh) and then I attend a Goenka Vipassana retreat. One day 3, my kundalini rose up and I had the breakthrough experience of emptiness. This is a huge deal, was totally unexpected and quite scary! But what I find so interesting is how all these philosophies and practices are essentially aiming for the same thing, 'enlightenment'. Goenka was Indian and Theraveda was aimed at individual enlightenment. Tibetan Buddhism on the other hand is much more complex and simple, depending on how one sees it. All I can say is, keep practicing! The experience of emptiness is indeed life changing, and can come in many ways, I guess. It doesn't need to take years, it needs 'grace', and that is something one cannot manufacture. I don't consider enlightenment to be a goal or endpoint, but a moment of experience beyond time that hopefully leaves a lasting impression. Remember, Gaia the earth is burning and asking us to wake up!

Any Way But For Liberation There is only one meditation that is Surat Shabad Yoga As Guru Nanak Said. Nanak Learn the Art of Dying While live So anyway if Any body want Liberation So Follow the Rssb Path And its Your Choice if you Want Reincartion i Lower Species .bye

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.