« Shocking tale of a punch in the face at a RSSB meeting | Main | Ten reasons why Radha Soami Satsang Beas is a cult »

September 14, 2019


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

U Tejaniya is a Buddhist teacher who favors a practice of just watching the mind. An interesting fellow who came from a sort of wayward past and who also dealt with clinical depression. https://ashintejaniya.org/about

First of all I would change sentence in one of your paragraphs:
It should read:

For thirty-five years I practiced a mystical meditative practice that involved considerable effort via repeating a mantra, sitting in a particular posture, and adhering to various other rules (such as ideally meditating for 2 1/2 hours a day, which I did for many years, and not punching random people in the face under the pretext of seva just because your ego has been hurt.

Well, now that the sentence has been changed we can continue.

The eyes of awareness section.

From my understanding it really means to be the witness, simply watching and observing life as a passive witness, and this includes your own actions.

From that state:
Nothing or wrong or right.
Nothing of any significance happens.
It’s all a passing drama.
There is no separate self left to relate the events to an individual viewpoint.

Then life becomes a series of events.
Each event has certain properties
1. It is NEUTRAL in nature
2. It has no significance
3. It has no meaning

All significance and meaning is created from the ego which is always asking various questions:

1. How does this affect ME?
2. Is it beneficial to me? Okay great, then it’s a GOOD event and I like it
3. Is it detrimental to me? Fuck, this is BAD, REALLY BAD. I don’t like it.

So the moment the EGO (which IS who I am from my normal viewpoint) gets hold of an EVENT - it attaches MEANING to it and then it collapses the event and the meaning into one thing.
Instead of saying “this neutral event happened and then I attached this meaning to it”, The way we perceive it is:
This EVENT happened and it MEANS xyz. We attach the meaning to the event as if it is a characteristic and a property of the event. The two are no longer separate.
So now it appears that WRONG things REALLY do happen in the real world
When in fact that is just a perception based on the “I”

Let me relate this to real life.
I purposely added that sentence to Brian’s paragraph above to make a point.

That whole incident of getting punched in the face was an EVENT.
It was NEUTRAL like all events.
Neither good nor bad.

In fact nothing to write home about.

Nothing to write to Brian about even.

But wait a minute, didn’t I write to Brian?

Yes, and that too can be observed by the witness. The witness still acts. But not from good/bad.

Hence I seek no outcome.
Outcome or result only exist from the “I”

As soon as you step into the “I” the witness is gone. Well not “gone” but in the background while the ego takes the reigns and says “fuck me - this is really really bad and something needs to be done”
The witness smiles. Nothing can be done because nothing is wrong
Even forgiveness is not needed because nothing was wrong in the first place.

From the viewpoint of the witness, nothing is EVER right or wrong, no exceptions.

The punch in the face is not an exception

Financial fraud is not an exception

There are NONE

From my comment above:
“Nothing or wrong or right”
Should be
“Nothing is wrong or right”

Hi Brian Ji
Nice. There is our consciousness, and there is our awareness.

As you rightly point out, people consider our awareness level as a quality of our level of consciousness. And they consider consciousness the sum total of what we are aware of.

Normally, when we consider objects and ideas we are completely merged in that and not conscious of our own level of awareness. We are focused on the object or the concept. That object could be our mind and its awareness level. But in either case we are then connected to the concepts in our mind. Not the aha of sheer awareness, where we recognize awareness of both object and ourselves viewing object, and the environment we are in viewing both object and ourselves. And even the point of time our focus is in, amidst a background of a larger expanse of time.

And this effortlessness isn't concentration. A part of the brain is concentrating, but we are now aware of that and other parts of the brain connected to the environment. That is a stage closer to direct perception.

Concentration can help you get there. Repetition or imagery can help, but at some point you become aware of two thoughts at the same time, then an expanse of input all at once. That latter, higher executive level is reached because the task thinking level is fully occupied.

You will notice in the instructions you provide that they do in fact require dedicated focus. For example a slow, deep breath. That is all focus and control. The word "Notice" can be replaced with "focus on". Real 'Notice' isn't an instruction and happens all on its own.

Amy method of focus is driving the motorcycle. Awareness is enjoying the view as you drive.

And higher awareness is viewing yourself on the motorcycle enjoying the view as you ride, but seeing this from a higher vantage point. Higher still from every position. And higher still viewing this point of life and location outside of time.

I don't buy into any of this. It sounds good on paper but believing in it's as religious as anything else.

"let your awareness open to discover the background awareness that is already effortlessly awake"

This is leading you into a mystical belief in hidden phenomena and basically a second non physical brain, even if that isn't their intention. Why not say "take a deep breath and see what happens?"

Because telling people that what you see is what you get won't make Sam Harris and his associates and author friends rich and powerful.

I did like this sentence though "Simply rest as this wordless awareness, which is now aware of itself." Its similar to something obviously a lot of people say, but most importantly the One True God and exceedingly beautiful mind beyond all comprehension UG Krishnamurthi.

Naming a pattern we see in the web of phenomena may be a pan-human and pan-species act of apophenia, but i wouldn't take it as far as Osho and say anything is neutral. Zero sum maybe in the end, but not neutral.

Using sound as a simple 2 dimensional metaphor, there's no such thing as middle C. There's molecules moving at 440 hertz that the Mic diaphragm called our ear needs a name for. Same goes for anything else really. There's not necessarily a such thing as pain or pleasure.There's a chain reaction of brain chemicals. But neutral isn't the word I'd choose. And you can't overcome this reality of perception so naming or not naming sensations does you no good.

Hi Jesse
You wrote
"This is leading you into a mystical belief in hidden phenomena and basically a second non physical brain, even if that isn't their intention. Why not say "take a deep breath and see what happens?"

You may not fully understand how the brain works. There are areas that have specific focus on tasks, and other areas above that which manage those tasks. Our attention can be aware of any or all of those at one time, or unaware of most.

If you are an actor in a movie scene your focus is your lines and mannerisms., and responding in like tone to your colleagues, and the demands of your character and their place in the story at this moment.

If you are a writer you are focused entirely in the words and descriptions. Watching the actors your first interest is to be sure they got their lines right, but of deeper concern is whether they are getting the character right, and then that character 's dynamics at that point in the story.

If you are the director, sitting perfectly still so that you can be aware of every aspect of the scene... Lighting, costumes, actors, script continuity, etc... You are seeing it from that perspective. And higher so because you are asking yourself "is this moving the story forward or backward? Is this moment helping or hurting? '

If you are the producer you look at the scene constantly comparing to your inner standards for what you think the audience will like, and looking around, you are moment by moment guesstimating costs adding up for the production against budget and investor anxst. Is this scene worth, to the story, what we are spending for it?

Consider directors who write, act, direct and produce. They are highly disciplined, they view the scene being shot today from multiple levels simultaneously, moving from one to the other, while keeping one eye on the whole. The human brain can do this. But they are largely unaware of that as it is happening. Their focus is the film they are creating. They are aware of the details of the film from multiple perspectives.

To withdraw and see from all those levels simultaneously without the task demands of having to do or make anything opens up a view to the inner realms of the mind.

But mostly, this is healthy and helps integrate the functioning of the brain itself.

The more your instrument can track and measure cleanly upon several channels, the more information you have, the greater range of understanding, the more successfully you can act.

Spirituality may be connected in some way. But this is just optimization and Integration of brain functions, like having a great run, or row. It is purely beneficial.

Ok thank you Spencer for saying "objects we focus on" in 7000 words.

Just like the lump of recycled fecal matter and mud we call our bodies and brains, I may not know how a car works either, yet I probably drive better than most people. But maybe not since some guy was pissed at me earlier for expecting him to not trap me in the on ramp to die. He thought it was my fault. Had I been aware of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the awareness of the bodhi mind mirror I would have simply crashed, died and accepted that I don't exist.

What is implied by these spiritual nouveau types is that we can stop being us, and step back into a truer, purer self that looks at itself as if there's two people in our giant brains. But it's always 2. Not 3 or 4 or 9 steps back. In reality all that is happening is the first person perspective is changing its focus and theorizing about its origins which I don't care about.

As i said, they should stop trying to guide and simply say "sit and breathe. Watch yourself. What do you see." Without the guidance and religious auto suggestion, people will say "I see a wall in front of me. I feel myself breathing."

By comparison, mindfulness involves much less effort, since the focus is on attending to what is right before us, notably the breath.

I agree initially focusing on breath is easier than some mumbo-jumbo
mantra. Mystics counter though that when concentration deepens
the manta goes on automatically in the background. (Ideally, you
enlist your otherwise lazy inner guru to do it for you while you just
listen :). Ultimately, the mystic wannabe hears the inner sound* and
can follow that.

Mantra, postures, pronunciation, prescribed duration of the torture,
cultivating a "loving" attitude, etc. on are all just guidelines. Not hard
rules. They're there to engage the mind with its relentless stream of
thought... chaotic, mostly idiotic, outward.

But whether breath, or mantra, or various other forms of discipline are
used, if they expedite awareness, they're in the right direction. In the
end, I want the one that will catapult me into 24x7 total effortless, pure
awareness :)

* Audible life stream, Shabd, Kalma, etc

Its easy to practice mindfulness if living in a peaceful and safe environment. It would be entirely different if living in a country where people are suffering from wars, poverty, famine, hunger, terrorism, water scarcity.

My mindfulness is about being grateful that the country I live in is comparatively safe compared to so many others. I do get triggered when I know that so many around the world are suffering and others seem so very entitled and living such a wonderful life style. Where is the compassion?

My mantra whilst living a very simple life style is gratitude, gratitude, gratitude...

"Its easy to practice mindfulness if living in a peaceful and safe environment. It would be entirely different if living in a country where people are suffering from wars, poverty, famine, hunger, terrorism, water scarcity. "

Bingo. 100 points for pointing out that these are all leisure activities. 100 more points for anyone who notices that there are no mindfulness studies being conducted during wars, and when it's said that a "mystic" can or should be able to watch themselves from a 3rd person perspective as they're shot at is so laughably absurd and inhuman that it makes me wish the internet and pop-science would both go away.

But on the other hand, possibly I was right when I said that the flow state one gets into during a fight is the closest to mindfulness one could ever possibly attain, though the eminent scholar Georgy Porgy was quick to denounce my claim because "fighting is like bad man and people who do it are bad!"

It's very Khalsa-ist in a way. Anyone who ever heard the piece of music written by Guru Gobind Singh called jhagardhang nargadhan would get it. War was a meditation for the Khalsa. Sitting there trying to watch your breath sounds fake and ___ and useless to be honest. To alter your perception in profound ways I'm guessing you need physical distraction and life threatening risks. Or drugs. Or both.

You can watch men become temporarily enlightened on the spot when they're in that primal frame of mind. Indira became God by taking Soma and crushing his enemies. Sounds like the USA except we replaced Soma with beer.

Below is the Namdhari version of the Guru Gobind Singh piece of mindfulness war music. The Namdharis heretic pakhandis or whatever, but they do bani and bhajans way better than anyone else. 100 points to them. Who else wants 100 points?


Bingo. 100 points for pointing out that these are all leisure activities. 100 more points for anyone who notices that there are no mindfulness studies being conducted during wars, and when it's said that a "mystic" can or should be able to watch themselves from a 3rd person perspective as they're shot at is so laughably absurd and inhuman that it makes me wish the internet and pop-science would both go away.

How do you know what discipline and mindfulness are capable of?
It seems to me that it'd be especially effective at mitigating stress
during war or in any threat scenario -- real or imagined. I believe
mindfulness is increasingly being prescribed for PTSD for instance.

We're under siege by the mind and its disjointed, chaotic thought
stream virtually all the time. If not by fear and panic, then by doubt
and uncertainty. Mindfulness of any kind, even if it's undisciplined or
ad hoc, is a good thing. What's "laughably absurd" and defeatist is
the suggestion that some threats are so dire and overwhelming that
that you can't prevail and nothing will help. Only the deluded would

As well as being science based these six statements Brian quoted can be verified by ourselves.

(1) The mind is the brain in action.

Yes, the mind can be seen as simply information stored in the brain.

(2) There is no enduring, unchanging self or soul.

Indeed, the self is merely a construct we form from the accrued information our brains have experienced.

(3) Free will is an illusion.

Yes, our so-called choices are extremely limited being confined to automatic responses according to our conditioning. We have conditioned choices, there is no special entity that can exercise free will.

(4) We humans see reality through a species-specific lens.

Yes. Each species experiences the world differently. The way we experience our environment is simply the way we have evolved. Even our lauded ability to think is part of our survival mechanism.

(5) Consciousness is created by the brain.

Of course. There is no such thing (no entity) as consciousness. We are conscious only through the subject/object phenomena. The act of being conscious only arises through perception.

(6) All living beings exist in a web of interconnections.

Again easily observable. No doubt most of our conflicts arise from the mistaken thinking that we are separate, independent individuals - supported of course through our conditioned modes of thinking and beliefs.

Hi Brian,

Loch Kelly teaches in the Mahamudra / Dzogchen tradition, which arrives at a different conclusion regarding the Mystery than I gather you do. In particular, as the practice of "effortless mindfulness" deepens, one begins to discover subtler and subtler layers of conception in the mind, all the way down to the levels that construct so-called "physical reality." At that point, the mind becomes free of the illusion that physical reality can be responsible for the construct we commonly describe as "consciousness." This freedom comes not by inference, but by direct insight. One sees *how* the trick is performed, so to speak, much as one might in a lucid dream.

This in no way mitigates the mystery, but it does transform it. Before this revelation, the mystery is still bound up with the apparent reality, even if only subtly. Afterward, the sense of wonder comes into closer contact with the sheer "is-ness" itself, which had heretofore been misconstrued as a subject navigating an objective reality.

You might complain that these words come too close to trying to "explain" the mystery, as religions are wont to do. In my experience, they are not an explanation at all, but a pointer to a constriction that obstructs full immersion in the Miracle.

In any case, despite my differing perspective, I want to thank you for your words and your work. It is always a pleasure to meet a fellow wonderer.

Hey AP

Great post, if meditation is for anything, it’s for such realisations imo.

Mind you my somewhat limited perspective is more of a WTF rather than wonder and miraculousness.

It’s highly unlikely that insight into the mind’s workings in the way you present them could be found in any RSSB book, though I could be wrong.

Imagine if someone discussed such at one of the meetings! (RSSB that is). For those listeners not already asleep, there’d be plenty of ‘you lost me at effortless mindfulness’. By this time of course the speaker (particularly if it was one of those rough sangats like in the south of England :-)), would be ‘Oshoed’ out of the auditorium and into the carpark. Here, after a good phone stomping, the heretic would be given a ‘Liverpool Kiss’ - as a corrective to a malfunctioning third eye….

My understanding of the brain, from my studies in neuropsychology as a psychology grad student, are that neuroscientists are in rather widespread agreement that what we experience is not the physical world directly, but rather the results of the processing of - something - by our own nervous system.

What scientific experiment could you conduct to determine the ultimate nature of whatever it is that is stimulating our nervous system? It seems like there's a lot of beliefs being shared as to the nature of what that stimulus is. While I see a lot of beliefs, I haven't seen any discussion of scientific, empirical means of testing those beliefs.

Does anybody here have an empirical evidence that can help us determine the nature of that stimulus?

My own understanding of science, properly conducted, is that at its best, it is the most remarkable method ever developed for quantifying and modulating the results of that stimulus, but that it has nothing definitive to say about the ultimate nature of that stimulus.

Just to be clear - I'm not making ANY statement here, pro or con, about the nature of the stimulus. I'm not criticizing science (rather, my intent is to praise it in its most ideal form). Just asking.

Just a few quotes that I like... I'm not very good with words but do enjoy abstract painting :)

"There is no fixed physical reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of interpreting world views as dictated by one's nervous system and the specific environment of our planetary existence"
... Deepak Chopra

"We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain"
... Stephen Hawking

"Painting is the pattern of one's own nervous system being projected on canvas"
... Francis Bacon

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

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

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. 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.


Post a comment

Your Information

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


  • 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.