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December 27, 2020

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Very nice post on Zen.
I like the śimpleness´
Very much.
Thank you Brian.
_/\_

thanks

Zazen attempts to eliminate thoughts. But that goal is flawed because, as science demonstrates, it is impossible to turn thoughts off altogether. The thinking brain cannot turn itself off. So this old method really needs a little scientific updating.

The brain's ability to consciously attend is actually like electric alternating current. We are consciously aware in what appears to be a continuous stream but is actually a series of beats of consciousness. Between those beats we are unconscious. In total we are unconscious more than we are conscious. The most obvious example is watching a movie. You are watching a series of still images with a completely black screen between them. But all we see is the illusion if movement. We are neither fully conscious enough to see each still image nor to see the black screen between images. This is basic neurological functioning.

What you can do is calm the mind, reduce its compulsive ideations, focus on imagery that has calming conditioning to it, or create that conditioning through practice.

What you will never do is stop thoughts. It's a dog chasing its tail.

What you can do is learn not to worry about them by attaching your mind to another string of thoughts.

The brain is doing more work all the time than you can possibly imagine. Trying to shut all that down is a fool's errand. The more distractions you eliminate, the less habituated the conscious brain is of lower priority stimulus. This is why physical pain appears more acute at night, when other stimuli is lessened.

If you are serious about calming down, that is already built in. It's called the Relaxation Response and you can trigger it through any number of means: mantra repetition, autogenic training, focus on imagery, etc. Put your mind on something else.

If you are serious about deeper states where you become entirely unaware of the physical body, in a place of complete bliss, that is simply becoming conscious between the beats. Trauma can do that momentarily. And so can disciplined practice. That requires a much more dedicated practice. You still have thoughts though. But these are apprehended one at a time. Each beat enjoyed as a complete whole. A single moment that lasts as long as you stay there. That's a whole other thing. For that the brain has to be reconditioned. You must condition the brain to support that, not try to shut it down. It already has the mechanics to do this built in and no one has ever been able to build over that. Instead learn to discover these mechanisms, not compete with them.

Spence, you have an incorrect view of Zen meditation, zazen. The goal is not to eliminate thoughts. The goal is to be at ease with thoughts, as with everything else. The goal is not to be carried away by thoughts, emotions, perceptions, or anything else. The goal is to let things naturally arise and fall away.

Domyo has a podcast that you need to read or listen to. As she says in the introduction to it, you are not alone in wrongly believing that zazen is about stopping thoughts. All you need is some education to cure yourself of this false belief. Here's the podcast along with the introduction. The lesson for you is do some research before saying things that aren't true to avoid spreading falsehoods.

https://zenstudiespodcast.com/meditation-and-thoughts/
---------------------------
Non-meditators, beginners, and long-time Buddhist practitioners alike tend to believe meditation is all about stopping our thoughts. This is a serious misunderstanding, and, sadly, keeps many people from embracing the practice of meditation. It’s very important to understand the true purpose and function of meditation, because the vast majority of us find it impossible to stop our thoughts, at least through willful effort. Thank goodness the benefits of meditation don’t depend on us doing so! Even the rare person who has the mental control to suppress thoughts for periods of time finds this is not really the point of meditation.

In this episode, I talk about why we long to be thought-free. Then I discuss how meditation is not about stopping thought, but instead is a practice of diligently and repeatedly turning our attention to something beyond thought, thereby realigning our whole being. Meditation requires diligence and determination, but also patience, humility, and faith.

Hi Brian Ji
The author writes
“When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece.”

This is the exact opposite of what happens. When you attend to a thought, even to "put aside" that thought, it expands. Now you have a battle, all unnecessary.

When you return to another thought you have entered into, the rest of creation disappears. Can we even call that a thought?

Again the author writes
"As soon as we set up a goal, we are separated from it. In our minds, we create an “I” who is striving on the meditation seat to achieve some state we do not currently have."

Again, false. As soon as we set up a goal, we become part of it, and our goal becomes part of us. We lose a part of "I" and become part of the goal.

You've put the goal into your tea, and drinking one sip at a time, it enters into you and becomes part of you. And you lose a part of yourself to it. Make sure it's a good goal!

Meditation is like that. Repetition of focus of any kind will do, but of course it is easier if you love the object of your Repetition. If you love your Volkswagen focus on that purely. It will take you about as far as Zazen, also. You can experience a Volkswagen Samadhi.

Don't confuse the noise with choosing an object. The two are different paths. In time the object chooses you.

I only suggest that theory should be supported by science and practice. Practice can be interpreted exactly as the author writes. Or as I wrote. We are talking about similar events but have a different take on them. Which interpretation may create more problems? Which yields fruit? The one that is more accurate.

There isn't one train of thought in meditation. That's a mistake the author makes. As if you were one point of consciousness watching one dusultory train of thought. This is a long standing error due to lack of understanding of how the physical brain actually functions. Your brain is operating on several tracks at any time. There are several "brains" within your body. And you are connected to all of them, but largely unaware of most. Becoming aware of more of them isn't greater distraction to be avoided.


It's just part of your development of consciousness. When those thoughts are understood to bethings you forgot or have avoided, that are very important, or solutions to problems that had mystified you, you will begin to understand that eliminating thoughts isn't a functional goal. It may be the last thing you actually want.

Perhaps. Meditation is really about receiving the right thoughts, the higher thoughts, the ones you had ignored before but which are really a box of jewels. That had to do with where you point your attention.

If I drive down a road to a destination and see all sorts of things along the way, that's not to be avoided. It's part of the journey.


@spence
Zen has a whole different view of the spiritual path.
Zazen Shikantaza is in line with that view.
It is very different from other spiritual paths.
The first thing to understand is that there is no space between
1. What IS now
2. Enlightenment

What you seek through meditation is not a distant goal. It’s not even something to strive for.
There is no goal. The idea is to simply BE. Not be anything specific. Simply BE, which is easy.
But we have for so long chased goals and tried to be something specific that simply BE seems difficult
The zazen Shikantaza is based on how to simply BE.
Don’t seek a goal. The moment you seek you create a split between who you ARE and what you seek.
Now you are unhappy because the goal means you are incomplete. Something is missing.
Zen says nothing is missing. All is here now. There is nothing wrong with you. In fact there is no you - but we won’t go there at this time.
The method is to learn to truly RELAX and LET GO.
Not to attain anything. Create no distance between what IS
And what you apparently seek.
Seek nothing is another way of stating it.
Those who seek will not understand because the seeking has become normal to them.
In zazen you are not seeking anything.
You are accepting thoughts. You are allowing without chasing.
You are relaxing.
Zazen is no different from zen itself.
You cannot seek enlightenment.
You don’t make the grass grow by pulling at it.
When the season comes the grass grows.

Hi Osho
You wrote
"Don't seek a goal."
That's a goal.
It is impossible not to have a point of focus. But it is very possible not to be aware of it.

Why not uncover what's inside you rather than reject it?

You wrote
"In Zazen you aren't seeking anything."

You are seeking to not seek anything.

It's like trying to wipe the rain off your coat while your are standing in the rain. But hey, if you've wasted a few decades on one practice why not waste a few more on another?

Not an efficient process.

You might as well enjoy a guided meditation to take your mind off other things. And enjoy another form of denial. If you are serious pain, denial can be an important stage. But integration is always there waiting for you. The cost is simply to own who you are and what you are, the good, the bad and the ugly. Then transcendence comes naturally, like breathing. You don't say stop breathing. It is natural to breath. And it is natural to grow.

If you don't want to go anywhere at all, then you need not practice.

But the truth there is a path for your own progress. We can all learn more about who and what we are. I say own it, don't deny it. There's no lasting happiness in denial.

You will never lift yourself up in the air tugging on your own bootstraps.


If you sit still, here in the now, you will not have less thoughts.
You will become aware of more. But if you are lucky, what comes through will raise you higher.

Some of those things are very important, some are unimportant.
You will still have up decide which when choosing not to attend.
Your consciousness IS attention.
When you choose NOT to attend you are rejecting a part of yourself. The thought came from you.
You cannot actually detach from yourself. But you can uncover, welcome back, and integrate into the whole being that is your birthright. Because it's all parts of you.
All those thoughts you are trying to disassociate from all come from you, Osho, and no one else. Let the flower bloom, and then enjoy the nectar found deep within it. Even in its darkest recesses.


@ But zazen isn’t ordinary effort; it’s more about not doing than doing.
@When you realize you’ve been doing (thinking, striving) all you can do is not do.

‘All you can do is not do.’

Building platforms - don’t judge the process.

[ Author: “When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put
aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece.” ]

@ This is the exact opposite of what happens. When you attend to a thought, even to "put aside" that
@ thought, it expands. Now you have a battle, all unnecessary.

I would agree, if by "attend", you mean to engage, analyze, dwell on a thought.
However, the author only says "be aware of it". That's a minimal connection,
one that hollows out a hidden thought's power over you. A light shining in the
darkness dispels it.

Hi Spence
Welcome dear friend once again to a dialogue between two viewpoints.
Been a while since I was here.
I will start with a video of Osho the guru of crazy zen wisdom.
Zen was a central part of his way of life.
Here is an example. He is addressing “belief systems”
The question says “what about the belief system that doesn’t believe in belief systems”
Notice the answer.
https://youtu.be/FWEhqST0Dyk

It’s not about denying
It IS about the “embrace all of who you are” that you mentioned
The good, bad and ugly. Then all three disappear and you realise they never existed at all. They were perceptions. Self created divisions
It is possible to be unaware and deny.
That is very different from transcendence
Transcendence requires awareness and presence. It is a process of witnessing.
It has no goal.
“It has no goal” is not a goal
It is the absence of seeking
It is being content with what IS.
This is not some mumbo jumbo.
I will reference a video of EST
By Werner Erhard. He created a four day process to get you to “nothing”
They specifically denied any connection to anything you can relate it to.
If someone said “this is like enlightenment or zen or zazen” they would say “no - this is EST - all comparisons just create more concepts and we are here to destroy them all”
Their method was radical but it worked.
They confronted the participants by shouting at them and calling them assholes.
One thing they said was “you don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground and you’re a bigger asshole because you claim to know”
The point was this:
“The way you have figured it out. The way you think it is, what you FEEL is true - is not the truth. It is just the way it SEEMS to be to you. It is your perception only. The truth has no allegiance to your perception”
Getting this over to the participants was a process that took around four hours before it “hit home”
In the video he confronts someone by saying “as long as you realise that YOU have put a point of view together that does not reflect what I am saying”
We do this all the time in life.
We don’t understand - but we claim to understand. That claim is false. We mistake our understanding for the reality.
They would say “understanding is the booby prize”
Understanding is a trap because we easily mistake the understanding for the thing itself.
If I understand zazen I can easily mistake the understanding of it with the practice of it. I can claim I know. That claim is false.
But the moment this is stated, now people cling to “not knowing”
Now they seek to “not know”
There comes a moment of transcendence where “not knowing” and “not seeking” simply happens. No discussion is necessary
In EST they called that “getting it”
It’s something that happens by itself.
You are simply going through the training and suddenly it happens. You didn’t seek it, you didn’t create it. It happened.
Then you understand that it was not an intellectual thing. No amount of thinking or discussion was going to get you there.
So in EST they would say that you have to go through the training before you can appreciate what it is. No amount of debate can replace that. Because at best you will get a concept.
“Never mistake a memo for reality”

Hi Osho
I understand the love of Zen. But it is an old system that is being used to describe a very limited experience.

You wrote, "There comes a moment of transcendence where “not knowing” and “not seeking” simply happens. No discussion is necessary"

That is a single lovely moment: relaxation. But what are you seeing then? What are you hearing? Where is your body? The brain isn't inactive. It may be calmer, but it hasn't achieved awareness, which is the basis of understanding.

This is part of the misunderstanding between an old practice being reinterpreted, retrofit to a very limited experience, and a physiological reality that is part of real Zen, not the modern packaging.

When the conscious mind is relatively calm, in that quiet moment the brain becomes more sensitive to physiological and neurological activity which, before, it was completely unconscious of. Activity the brain normally suppresses from conscious awareness. So that moment of stillness and happiness is an opportunity.

If you say "nothing is seen, nothing emerges" then I'm sorry but the waters are still too stirred up, too churned up. So that nothing can be seen below the surface. That may be a mind at a level of relative peace, but not still enough to become aware of things going on that in fact you are connected to. It isn't a still mind at all. A still mind, a learning mind, an aware and awake mind, active though balanced, sees straight through to the bottom of the lake. And there is a lot going on there.

So I'm trying to make a point addressing a principle of Zazen by calling it old, but it's just misunderstood, and the modern misunderstanding and teaching about it does not even bear out with what modern brain physiology and functioning teaches us.

Whatever new take there is going to be about Zen can't ignore or contradict what we have already learned from science if it is truthful. The two must corroborate if there is any truth in them. When you quiet the mind, other stimuli and brain activity that normally runs in the background comes to the foreground. If you just want a moment of peace and happiness any good guided imagery can suffice. Much less work.

If you are trying to learn more about what is inside you, and who and what you are, that is a different effort. For that you may need different tools. Since we are not aware of all that, there is a goal. But the Zen part is that you don't have to go anywhere to find it. It's inside you. You are it. But to become aware of it, that is where some effort is essential. And the result is that you see more stuff, not less.

An open mind sees all kinds of new things all the time. You can never find an end to learning. In that sense the journey is a real journey. It's at least a thousand miles of relative growth and movement. And it begins with a subtle step. It begins right when you step away from your current position. From where you are. The first step away from your current place of thinking. Yes, how contradictory, that real progress is moving away from where you are. But the beauty of taking those steps forward, away from your old thinking, is that you take yourself with you. Nothing real is lost.

quote from above:

START OF QUOTE
[ Author: “When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put
aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece.” ]
"@ This is the exact opposite of what happens. When you attend to a thought, even to "put aside" that
@ thought, it expands. Now you have a battle, all unnecessary.

I would agree, if by "attend", you mean to engage, analyze, dwell on a thought.
However, the author only says "be aware of it". That's a minimal connection,
one that hollows out a hidden thought's power over you. A light shining in the darkness dispels it."
END OF QUOTE

This is exactly the issue. Explaining is not easy. It is not even east in person. If this was a LIVE class with everyone present in the same room even then it is not easy.
How can I possibly know what you are doing in your mind when I say "Set the thoughts aside"
All I have is the words you describe it with and those are subject to interpretation.
So you might conclude (as Spence has) that
"Don't seek a goal" is itself a goal.
or it could be because of the way I have worded it.
perhaps it might be more accurate to say
"simply BE and LET WHAT HAPPENS HAPPEN" and not use the word GOAL.
because the moment I use the the word goal - the notion of a goal is immediately present.

It's like saying "Don't think of a PINK elephant"
the listener hears this as
"Don't think of WHAT? - oh a PINK elephant - okay let me see what that thing looks like first - Ah Yes - a PINK elephant NICE - Yes - Now I know what it is that you don't want me to think about. Excellent - well done to me. Okay so let me now REMOVE this thought of a PINK elephant. Oh Shit - it doesn't go now. Oh fuck - now I am really screwed because I can't get this bastard PINK elephant out of my mind now - and it all YOUR fault for mentioning it. BEFORE you mentioned it I never ever would have even thought of it."

So now you are caught in a whole thought process of TRYING to remove the pink little bastard elephant from your mind - and it's PISSING you off. No wonder you're all stressed after an hour of meditation. It's those pesky bastard thoughts that are the cause of the stress.

So the new Zazan Shikantaza comes along with a new approach. But because you have spent your whole damn life removing pink elephants you will naturally mis-interpret what "set aside means"
to you it means "remove the bastard pink elephant" even if you have to take a scalpel to it.
So nothing changes. The same stress - the same struggle.
Zazan Shikantaza means NO STRUGGLE.

The issue is even worse if you have done RSSB meditation for a number of years where they have stressed that "meditation is a struggle - fighting with the mind is a struggle"

Zazen Shikantaza - is not the same process.
it's a letting go - let it be. No effort. No struggle.

Maybe a person needs a practical workshop where the issue is handled in person as it happens - so the point of LETTING GO is communicated correctly because unless it id first understood - there is not much chance of doing it correctly.

Here's the video I referred to earlier
https://youtu.be/w9qOvEHvph4
8 mins into the video he is showing a participant that
"the viewpoint you have put together is YOURS - not the reality as it is"

Zazen is Good for Nothing

Short video (8:14)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T-Z1WoFXkk

"the viewpoint you have put together is YOURS - not the reality as it is"
Yes, Osho, but that is true for all of us. Whether we like it or not each of us creates our own path, our own rules. We are living in our own biological and psychological prison, living with this constructed persona.

Even Erhard. He tried to tell people this by bullying them. So they just learned his rules, not their own way of seeing. Which they already had. They just hadn't owned it yet.

He thought that by being a bully he had a greater truth. But you can't fight your way into heaven. You can't shame people into really growing up. You just shame them into thinking shame is a way to grow. And so all those people, following Erhard's model, become bullies. You were bullying people blindly, now you are ashamed and begin shaming people. It's still bullying.

I was raised, for a few years as a boy, on a spiritual, free love commune of peers. My mom set up and ran the commune, ten acres in Topanga Canyon in the late sixties. No one was "in charge" of the place, just tasks distributed. Tasks people asked to do. If something needed to be done, you stepped up and did it. No fanfare. Everybody worked.

We didn't need nor have a bully to teach us anything. Solitude did that. We searched for who and what we were in solitude. It was all on each of us. What is within requires a quiet, nurturing atmosphere. Where we can do our true work. An Ashram. What is within is the Truth. Maybe that's one of the reasons Sant Mat and Maharaji and Gurinder appealed to me. They don't want sycophants. But for some people, it's all they can be. It is their effort to worship a truth they want but are distant from. Gurinder can be a bully for those who need a bully. I never needed that. You love the bully who shames you into seeing a truth, then you hate and reject the bully. And get all upset how horrible they were, and then find another. It's a game. Erhard played it well for a $500 admission fee per person. People paid him to play that game. They were numb, didn't know which way is up. So they paid him to scream at them "Up is this way, stupid!"

People love Trump because they love a bully. A bully frees them of responsibility. A bully appears to have a clue. That is why, however sensible the bullies' message may seem, their abuse is another message also, with equal, if unspoken, power. " I had to bully you because you are so stupid". Wrong message. The bully is actually clueless. And eventually you must reject the bully and accept yourself instead. You can hate the bully, you can thank the bully, but that relationship must end. Since that was never an issue for me in Sant Mat, I didn't need to go through all that.

No amount of bullying affects me at all. Zero, zip. Not impressed. Doesn't work. And the guy you see as a bully I never saw him that way. And the guy you think has a handle on truth is absolutely in the dark.

@spence
What you call “bullying” is nothing of the sort.
A bully hurts you for his own benefit.
Werner is not hurting the person he is working on. He is freeing them from the trap they are in. He is using what works most effectively. The person has agreed to the process.
Yes, his method is not comfortable because comfortable doesn’t produce results.
He gets the person to take responsibility

@spence
https://youtu.be/_Pa709VaoRg
this illustrates his method or working
and it's far from bullying.
He says "Hey kid - you're stuck in bad stories
- but they're only stories"
Now she can see the point of his apparent bullying.
He was confronting her to bring out the truth that she is where she
is in life because she wants people to feel sorry for her
He SHOWS her (not just tells her) that she LOVES the attention she gets
when she says "I am an orphan"
She has to LET THAT GO in order to be a non-orphan
so then she says "I am NOT an orphan - not really" because it was just
a label and SHE kept the label in place and felt like a victim.
If he "bullies" her out of that state - so she can finally see that SHE has created the trap - that is commendable. I don't think any amount of meditation or introspection is going to get that result because it will be HER who is sitting there and she has already made up her mind that she is a victim.
So Spence, if you call that bullying - then I highly recommend it.
It is a means to an end. It is not bullying to destroy the person.
its designed to get them to TAKE responsibility.

I don't know about you, but I would rather hear the uncomfortable truth
than a comfortable "Ah - poor you - you had such a hard childhood"
The comfortable one keep you stuck where you are.

At 1:00 into the video - he is confronting her to get her to express her truth
which is that she felt like filth. Then instead of saying "sorry for upsetting you"
which a normal person might say - he says "Yes - that is exactly where you're at" - no apology - instead he firmly places the responsibility of her shoulders.

The point is that the past is the past - you CANNOT change it.
but the ONE thing that is in your power to change is the way you relate to it - you can remain a victim - or recognise that YOU are playing the victim because you get a benefit from it (in this case - people feel sorry for you)
The choice you make determines what your experience of life will be like.

He gets her to see that SHE makes it hurt - the past cannot hurt her unless she ALLOWS it to by playing the victim.

Then Werner admits it - "YES - I am ruthless" and he explains why.

Then - look at the results - people get FREE - they could see what they were doing in their mind that kept them in a prison of their own making.

Only once you can clearly see that YOU created the prison can you walk out of the prison - because the door was never locked. If you have to get bullied into seeing that - I am all for bullying. The means justifies the end. The end result is what matters.

at 4 mins in - notice how the exact word used becomes important to get the message over clearly - he is concerned with the word "REAL"
then he gives the main "takeaway"
"There are things called REALLY FEEL
and there are things called REALLY THERE
Your FEELINGS are not related to REALITY"
You live your life based on what you FEEL is true / real.
but that is just what you MADE UP - it's not REALITY.
It's your STORY - the story you made up"
This frees you once you "get it" - which was what the four days were all about - "Getting it" was a code phrase for "Realising"
which is very different from an intellectual conclusion

Hi Osho
You wrote
"Only once you can clearly see that YOU created the prison can you walk out of the prison -"

No, Osho. You didn't create this prison. You were placed here. In this time, place, with this environment, conditioning, parents, brothers and sisters. You didn't create yourself.

But you certainly participated.

Erhard, like Fritz Perls, used the approach that he had been subjected to.

It's a common military approach. Tear you down, destroy your persona, your identify, then build you back up. It's a cult-of-personality approach. Replacing one guru with another. When instead you can learn to hear the child within yourself and respect that child rather than shame it into submission.

That child holds the key to the regions.

We should learn to listen to them, to honor them. We should learn to play not fight.

Hi Spence
You wrote
“ No, Osho. You didn't create this prison. You were placed here. In this time, place, with this environment, conditioning, parents, brothers and sisters. You didn't create yourself.
But you certainly participated”

Placed by who? And why?
A fictional God?

You and I did not create the “circumstances or the environment or the specific events”
Those events happened (like the woman who was placed in an orphanage)
But the INTERPRETATION and the MEANING is most definitely our own creation.
We decide what it means and a victim says “I am an orphan because my parents put me in an orphanage”
That may be factually correct but being a victim and living as a victim all my life is MY OWN choice and my own self made hell.
What Werner did was show her that SHE is creating the notion that “I am an orphan” and that it is a story she has made up because she loves the attention she gets. She wants to play the victim and he is showing her there is another way to live. You can simply step out of that box because the box is a construct.
But she thinks it is real because to her it FEELS real.
Hence Werner says
“There are things you REALLY feel
And things that are REALLY there”
And they are not the same

Werner created a system which freed people from their own self created traps.

Thousands of people including many Hollywood personalities testified to the effectiveness of the training.

Landmark still does the same but in a much milder form and it’s a lot less effective

Hi Spence
You wrote
"Only once you can clearly see that YOU created the prison can you walk out of the prison -"

No, Osho. You didn't create this prison. You were placed here. In this time, place, with this environment, conditioning, parents, brothers and sisters. You didn't create yourself.

But you certainly participated.

Erhard, like Fritz Perls, used the approach that he had been subjected to.“

This is why the est training was delivered as an intense 60 hour training. The end result was enlightenment or “getting IT” which he guaranteed because of the way he conducted the training.

Arguing or disagreeing was not an option. If you get hung up on an opinion you cannot move on. His extreme methods meant that “missing it” was impossible.
He stayed with Osho for a while, he studied zen, Scientology, mind dynamics and the Silva method and then created his own unique training.
At the end of the training they tell you to forget everything they taught you because none of it is truth
Truth has to come from you. What they did in the four days was deprogram you from the false beliefs that are ruining your life. They don’t replace them with new beliefs. They leave you empty.
They tell you that life is empty and meaningless.
You created meanings and that was your trap.
All you are is a stimulus - response robot.
They have a huge focus on
What is, is and what isn’t isn’t.

Hi Osho
You wrote
"Truth has to come from you. What they did in the four days was deprogram you from the false beliefs that are ruining your life."

Your first statement is correct. The second is untrue. They replaced one fantasy of self with another, more glowing one of a liberated self, and indeed that is how cults work. Bars of iron are merely replaced with more attractive bars of stainless steel. You weren't deprogrammed at all. One program simply overwrote another.

As a behavioral therapist by training it is clear to me that they were teaching you many things : you are ignorant and need the severe back hand of an authoritarian who controls every aspect of your life for those hours, in order to be "free". And submitting your entire life to them, including when you eat and drink, when you go to the bathroom, etc, to them "frees" you.

It's just the Stolkhom Syndrome packaged "for your own good". Victims may gravitate to it, but behaviorally it is actually reinforcing more victimization. Understand what is going on, and don't fall for the pretty words.

Then you can say you actually have achieved some liberation from ignorance.

Until you find that living child inside yourself, which is a solo journey, except for what is in you to help you, you are still in darkness, and can fall under the unfriendly influence of a foreign, external, power, in this case Erhard, which, incidentally, isn't his real name.

@ Werner created a system which freed people from their own self created traps.
@ Thousands of people including many Hollywood personalities testified to the effectiveness of the training.

I don't doubt their testimony. But the self created traps will go on
without awareness of the hidden thought patterns creating them.

Deep mindfulness offers an alternative to uncover them.
Cheaper, more accessible, humiliation-free.

@dungeness
Do you really think that after 60 hours of intense training there will be no awareness?
The traps of the mind are created by the mind so the mind itself is not going to be able to free itself as it IS the trap

Hi Spence
You only have an unfounded opinion, based on your own belief.
You would have to go through the process in order to make an accurate assessment.
There is a book called the book of est which describes what they do. It is written as if you were right there in the room.
Telling you that your life is empty and meaningless cannot be replacing a belief with another belief.
I agree it CAN become another trap if you join and become a member and start to think this is the new solution. But that is optional
For a person who just attends - it frees them.

@ Do you really think that after 60 hours of intense training there will be no awareness?

No, I didn't say that. But the mind will create other traps... subtler, more submerged, and
intractable. What will the long-suffering Erhard attendee do in the aftermath of his 60
hours in hell? The mind will again be up to its old tricks. Does the sufferer just wait to
endure more sessions of public humiliation? Pray the torturer allows a few bathroom
breaks?

@ The traps of the mind are created by the mind so the mind itself is not going to be able to free itself as it IS the trap.

So what did Erhard use to come up with his insights? Magic? Seriously, the mind that
torments you can also correct its nasty behavior once awareness exposes it. That's
why mindfulness is helpful. The mind's habits and programming are daunting so the
mystic says the only force strong enough to free you is the awareness that arises
from consciousness itself.

Here's a quote from the book - specifically about the fact that you can't get what 'est' is about from a book:

'Oh, you've read a book about est?" asks Michael, moving to the front of the platform.
"Yes. It was a good book with many intelligent criticisms, especially of est's analysis of the mind. In fact the book made me more interested in taking the training. Now what it said..."
"Richard," interrupts the trainer mildly, "you've read a book about est. So have dozens of others. Three-quarters of the people in here have read articles about est. Great!

But this training is an experience, not a book.

If Werner thought he could do the same thing in a book he'd do it. Instead of working eighteen hours a day' he could relax at home and rake in the royalties. You've read a book and you've got all the answers.

Great! est doesn't have any answers. You've read a book and you know all the intelligent criticism of est's intellectual belief. est doesn't have any beliefs. You've read a book and you know what I'm going to say before I say it. Great! It doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

We could let all you turkeys read every printed word of the training rap before you took the training and you know what would happen? Everything that's been happening. This training isn't answers, ideas. IT'S EXPERIENCE! IT'S EXPERIENCE HERE AND NOW IN THIS ROOM! Werner once said that the trainer could read from the telephone book off and on for four days and still the trainees would get it. It's the EXPERIENCE of being in this room, with these people, and getting what you get! That's the training.

Hi Osho
Have you gone through the sixty hour seminar yourself?
With Erhardt?
When?
What happened?

Hi Spence
The answer is NO. I was interested but it was no longer available by the time my booking date came along.
What I did do instead was attend
1. Life Training
2. Landmark Forum (the est successor) - with very similar processes - just not so "in your face" and no shouting - a much milder experience.
3. Insight seminars

All of these are based on the same principle of experiential learning. You go through the exercise and you determine what it means for you. Your mind in constantly evaluating.
one example
I did the "advanced landmark seminar.
They state the objective at the start
"The objective of the seminar is to WIN
There are only TWO outcomes: WIN or LOSE.
The WAY that you WIN is that everyone signs up to the next seminar."

They take questions; Groundrules are set and the seminar starts.
Every so often the seminar leader asks the group
"put up your hand if you are winning - and if you are losing"
various hands go up.
He then explains - you only WIN when EVERYONE signs up.

I then go up to the stage - uninvited - while the seminar leader is speaking
He says "What are you doing? this is against the groundrules"
I say "Yes - I know - but I have something important to share that cannot wait and I put up my hand and you ignored it - so I am taking this to the next level - I am making sure I get heard"
"Okay" says the leader - "Go sit down and I will call you back shortly"
I went and sat down and he called me after a few minutes and himself went to the back to the room to observe.
I went on stage and said.
"We all have a HUGE problem and NONE of you can solve it.
Here it is: I am NOT signing up to the next seminar.
AND
nobody can convince me because my mind is already made up.
That means we have all LOST and cannot win.
so - what are you going to do about it?"

Someone shouts out "We don't need him"

to which I replied: "Buy to DO need me to sign up in order to win"
"You don't win just by signing up - EVERYONE has to sign up and I refuse"

I then sat down in my chair.

The purpose of the advanced seminar was to take the people beyond
"I am okay, jack"
either EVERYONE was okay (WIN) or EVERYONE wasn't (LOSE)
Most people sat there happy that "I have signed up and asked a few others to sign up - so I have done my bit"

However - that is delusional - because "YOUR BIT" is still not good enough.
You have to get EVERYONE on board to win. Not a single person can get left out.

What this illustrated to people was just how concerned they were with ME.
as long as I have done the right thing - it's okay
but the seminar was designed to take you out of yourself and take responsibility for the WHOLE classroom - for EVERYONE.

A bit like the world problems now - like global warming etc.
Each country is saying "I am doing my part"
but "Doing your part" is not enough because if we LOSE - everyone LOSES
regardless of how much you did.

What you get from these seminars cannot be had by discussion.
It's an experience you go through and even trying to describe what it is like is futile. An experience is an experience - it cannot be given to another by words alone.

@dungeness
Werners techniques were taken from lots of sources
Read the book of est to get an idea.
At the moment your objections are based on just your opinions without any basis

Anyone can just have an opinion about anything. All opinions are valueless unless based on some expertise.

If I want to learn carpentry I would value the opinion of a carpenter not a bricklayer or a layman with no experience.

Opinions are everywhere
Everyone has an opinion
But unless the person knows or is an expert, the opinion has no value.

Werner was recognised worldwide for his contribution to human excellence
Some of his ideas were used in the Harvard business school.
This was not some nonsense he made up as you appear to think

Here is Werner talking about the hunger project which he initiated and john Denver made a song about

https://youtu.be/Zf08xZeSzAg
Watch the last 3 mins where he says that each of us can make a huge difference to the world
If we don’t let the excuses stop us
The three excuses
Why me?
Why here?
Why now?

Anyone who makes a difference by stepping up and playing his part is living his life as it was meant to be lived.
Werners message was that we can all make a difference .
The hunger project was about eliminating hunger worldwide and raising awareness about it.

@dungeness
https://youtu.be/mMeXmFVq6cY
Werner is talking about happens in the 60 hours.
The audio is not good so you have to turn up the volume

Something happens in the training that can’t happen in Meditation
You can’t run away or avoid it
You have to face what you tend to run away from in life.

In meditation it’s a very different experience of relaxing and letting go if you also zazen.
Mantra meditation is different and doesn’t give the same results.

I came across this

https://youtu.be/mahAeGpktdA

At 1:29 onwards it’s about
“i have nothing to teach you. You discover for yourself”
And then ruthless compassion
Hear it from Werner himself instead of holding the opinion that he is some kind of out of control bully.
Nothing could be further from the truth

@ Werner was recognised worldwide for his contribution to human excellence
@ Some of his ideas were used in the Harvard business school.
@ This was not some nonsense he made up as you appear to think

Osho, your supposition about my opinion is incorrect. I spoke to the
effectiveness of mindfulness in dealing with the traps of the mind. That
technique has stood the test of time and is celebrated for proven benefits.

Yes, at the same time, I criticized techniques of bullying and humiliation
to engender behavioral change. Others far more knowledgeable have as
well. A prestigious degree or stardom is no guarantee an approach isn't
flawed or magically lift it above criticism. Timothy Leary and Richard
Alpert were professors at Harvard. They had support too, including some
of the scientific community, until the dangers became obvious.

@ But unless the person knows or is an expert, the opinion has no value.
@ At the moment your objections are based on just your opinions without
@ any basis.

But you're expressing an opinion. Moreover as a "non-expert" too. As a
non-expert, I believe an arrogant, dismissive assessment suggests an
inner bully is active in all of us. So does diminishing others' opinions
as having "no value" or without any "basis".

@Dungeness

first of all take a look at this
http://www.laurenceplatt.com/wernererhard/

and watch this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMeXmFVq6cY

If you study some of these resources and partake in some of the same type of seminars, (like Insight seminars, Life Training, landmark forum) then you would be in a position to comment.
I would not consider you a "non-expert" any longer.
You would have at least some experience of what we are discussing.

That is very different from someone who simply voices an opinion without any enquiry into the subject.

Werner is now considered an authority on the subject as he has spent his whole life studying and writing about it and delivering lectures on it.
As you can see from the first link - it's a huge topic.

Hi Osho
You wrote
"They state the objective at the start
"The objective of the seminar is to WIN
There are only TWO outcomes: WIN or LOSE."
Sad. So sad. You already won with each breath. You already lost thinking others who disagree with you are losers.

No. Life is not that dichotomy. Writing your goals down at the beginning of the seminar and putting them in an envelope.... It's not about achieving your goals. Didn't you say that also?

I'm glad this kind of narcissistic approach that asks people to enslave themselves to a single way of thinking promising material gain wouldn't work in many other cultures.

Yes I did attend the first hours and walked out. The hours I saved were worth far more than the lost cash.

Yes, several of my class mates were Erhardt cultists.

Yes, I had a good Manager in my employ who was an EST graduate and became a Landmark facilitator. A nice guy who thought the world revolved around him.

It's a cult, Osho. And it works for some people. But it replaces one kind of indirect thinking, natural thinking where we are all equals, all the same with a linear approach to becoming better than other people, and that can only work for someone who thinks the world revolves around them and they know better than most other people. It's still a childish way of thinking.

The victim is no more ignorant than the bully.

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