Profound? Obvious? Confusing? Meaningless?
No matter what you might think of this blog post title, I reply: Yes, Yes, Yes, and...Yes.
In other words, I agree with you. I take this stance because I like the one-sentence statement that popped into my head a week or so ago, stimulated, I suspect, by the Buddhist books I've been re-reading lately.
So it doesn't really matter how anyone else looks upon I never was, so I always will be. Those words resonate with me, because they seem absolutely true.
Let's examine why I say this.
I never was points to the absence of an enduring, unchanging self or soul. This holds not just for me, but for everybody. So says Buddhism. So says neuroscience.
Thus I, and you, and everyone else are an ever-changing process, not a standalone entity. We are part of life, of nature, of the world, of the universe.
Certainly, we exist. Yet we don't exist in the sense most people see themselves -- as a being continuous with the baby that was given our name, and with all of the ages we experience until we die.
I never was that sort of being.
What I've been, and what I am today, is a swirling eddy in the stream of life that maintains a certain shifting shape, a certain fluid substance, but isn't in any sense a life form of which it can be said, "I am _____."
There's nothing to fill that blank. You, me, everybody, we are only an ephemeral collection of qualities produced by the seamlessly interconnected web of nature that not only surrounds us, but is us.
That's why I always will be. Because I never was.
If I'd been something that exists all on its own, my death would mark the end of that thing. (Again, there is no evidence of an enduring self or soul, so death is the last word of life's final chapter, not the beginning of a new plot line.)
However, since I never have been that sort of something, an island unto itself, I always will be. Not as me, of course, since the entity with my name attached to it is finite.
Rather, I always will be in the sense of what I already am, as we all are: nature, the natural world, reality.
I realize that this won't seem to be good news to those who believe in a form of life after death where human consciousness persists much as it is now. But I don't see I never was, so I always will be as either good news or bad news.
It simply is what appears to me to be the way things actually are, truth.
The only reason someone would be dismayed at the thought of not continuing to live after their body takes its last breath is if they feel they are something that can't die. And that's a fantasy, not reality.
The beauty of Buddhism, and also of modern neuroscience, is how doing away with the illusion of self/soul eliminates the sense of unfairness, or wrongness, that we humans will die one day.
If we never were the independently existing beings that we wrongly take ourselves to be, then death isn't the loss of anything that ever was. Since we always are changing, with no fixed center to our being, dying is the final change among countless other changes.
After that, our atoms are recycled into other entities. The world goes on. And so do we, in the only way that is possible -- as all that preceded our birth, and as all that follows our death.
I mentioned that it is Maharajiś birthday today..
My thought was something like you say here...
Where..what..does that idea..of me..or you or Maharaji..
What does it all mean :)...
Everything changes all the time every second and further byond so...
We are..and we are not..
Posted by: s* | December 12, 2020 at 12:26 AM
We have no existence because everything that changes is unreal.
Only the ONE remains. Not you, not me.
That is enlightenment. The end of seeking to “be”.
You cannot “be” because you have wrongly identified with the body or the soul.
You therefore have the perception that
“I am going to die”
So to save yourself you seek a guru to take care of you
But no guru can save you because “you” can’t be saved
Hence Buddha said “there is no saviour - not even me”
Posted by: Osho Robbins | December 12, 2020 at 04:54 AM
In deep meditation upon Shabd, you become attached to something that already existed..it's in the body, but few attend to it, or can stay focused on it. Yet, doing so takes one away from themselves, and into this experience of something of nature, a force of nature within you. And yet, because you are a part of nature and nothing more, and nature is within you, gives you life and one day the body will be exhausted, and that life force will no longer be in the body.
Unlike experiencing nature on the outside, this is much more intimate, a real connection between your persona, and your actual, physical self, and the energy that is within it which drives it. though that outer experience can get you in touch with the inner one. The force of life, which science can not yet reproduce, only manipulate it's form, is in all living things, and maybe in inanimate ones. Certainly they also contain atamic energy. They are not entirely energy-less.
The force, the power of creation behind all things, it's not only in you, it is what you are made of. You are the same, no different.
As you experience that other force that is within you, and which you can witness also in nature, behind all things, then you become less. Or your awareness and experience of your personality, of all the things your physical senses report, evaporates. And yet you are still experiencing, only something wholly different, and yet part of everything. This attachment to that unseen force, but which you can either subjectively or objectively experience, is, functionally, practicing death, leaving this world, leaving your awareness of this place. Yes, you become numb to the body. But you are entering a higher experience.
The question of whether that experience persists after your body is dead is a good question, because when you experience it, you are already part of that permanent force, regardless of the condition of your body. Your body's normal sensory input is hardly part of that experience anymore at all. You've left it behind, or at least much of what you perceive to be the experience of being alive.
When you melt or merge into that force within, an experience you have in this body, does it persist after the body is gone? Is our experience limited to this physical body but not to the force of life within it? Are we separated from that force of life that this body is merely a part of? Never to actually be part of this creation? Hardly. We are a part, and can't deny it. All physics says we are a part of this creation.
You are in joy, a part of something universal, and you see that universal force of nature behind everyone and everything. It's a great way to live. And as for death, there is no nobler way to die than in devotion to the force of life, in intimacy with that ecstatic force within. But what dies? Does you capacity to experience here die? Yes, all your senses.
But what happened when you merged with that higher force that is a part of all nature, and seems to be eternal. Is she just a lover that you once knew, now distant and far? Or is she really YOU?
It was here before you were born, it will be here and experienced by others, after you die. How close can you get to that? Can you merge with it? Are are you forever relegated to watching her but never merging with her?
Are you your body? And if so, can you become one with the force of life within it?
If the body is real, than so must be the force that gives it life. That force, however mysterious, is just as real.
So long as life created you, and not the other way around, there is a relationship to life that is, at least, witness to something eternal. It is part of you. Maybe you can get closer to it. In that ecstacy, leaving all else behind upon death is a joyous wish. Maybe a joyous reality. But one thing is certain. That eternal force of life is as real as any form of life here. All life carries it...or It carries all life.
Posted by: spence tepper | December 12, 2020 at 09:17 AM
There are three main classifications of Buddhism:
1. Theravada (also known as Hinayana, the vehicle of the Hearers)
A great deal of Buddhism seems to be wide open to interpretation. What about Nirvana? Enlightenment? The Tantric deities and Mahayana devas?
The early Buddhist scriptures included all kinds of god-like creatures.
So, how to explain this apparent contradiction?
I don’t think the original Buddhist texts were atheist in nature. Although, admittedly I’m not proficient in Prankrits or Sanskrit, they seem to indicate that enlightenment is a state which brings awareness to one’s true nature which is beyond any form that a physical being or deva or causal being takes. Ultimately, the Oneness is a state where there is no need to describe a ruling power such as God. There can’t be a King without subjects. When all have merged into one there is no God. But what does that really mean when Science teaches us that energy in our material world cannot be created or destroyed?
And with that interpretation I don’t see much difference between Sant Mat and Buddhism.
Why would enlightenment lead one to transmigration. From Nirvana to a gnat?
Posted by: lala | December 13, 2020 at 09:11 PM
I believe Atheism, Buddhism, sant mat, Christian mysticism, etc., can all be forms of religion (in most cases they are actually practiced in a religious manner whether people want to admit it or not). And by religious I mean, in the modern day sectarian sense. People tend to have very rigid beliefs about who’s right and who’s wrong. We all rely on teachers but not sure it’s imperative to have a very specific type of teacher. Scriptures and books, our understanding of the natural world and experiences teach as well.
I’m not an intellectual but I strive not to be ignorant. When people start dumbing down an enlightened concept or mystical path, they usually wind up with a sect or religion that divides people. Humans seem to have an innate default setting for separateness and it all begins with separation from each other.
Typically intellectuals are associated with higher learning and rational thinking. But people can rationalize anything. So being rational doesn’t necessarily make you right. Reason is neither right nor wrong, it is merely a tool. However, being ignorant always leads to erroneous thinking. Being ignorant simply means you’re not open to the truth. Ignorant is the result of actively ignorant. Uninformed is different. So, there’s always something to learn or gain a deeper understanding of that theoretically should lead to universal truths.
Not advocating any one particular philosophy here, just saying we are so far from having a birds eye view of even the most basic knowledge that has been passed on from generation to generation since the beginning of our species, that perhaps we could stand to open our minds a little.
No one is 100% right and no one is 100% wrong. We all have something to learn from each other.
At the highest level of any mystic or enlightened path, a God doesn’t exist at all. At the highest level all energy, “souls”, spirit, essence is essentially connected and the same and there is no superiority. However ignorance leads people to start believing they are victims. You certainly don’t need to be an intellectual to understand the true nature of your being but superstitious, ignorant, fearful, powerless thinking will definitely encourage the belief in some sort of divine power that judges and punishes people. When in fact, it’s our personal conscience that “judges” us. The karma you experience is based on your own beliefs about what is right or wrong. Which explains why psychopaths and sociopaths can seem to get away with things without experiencing negative consequences for much longer than a more evolved conscience. Our conscience isn’t always programmed properly. Our conscience is meant to keep us from causing harm. It is meant to teach us that all life forms are the same at their core.
I think people should stop demonizing the intellect and try using it a little more. You don’t have to be a genius to understand that there is nothing superior or inferior at the highest level of consciousness or enlightened thinking.
But people “hate” God (and rightfully so) because they have created a God in their mind that goes around punishing humans and committing all sorts of arbitrary acts of destruction. We do that. WE do that. Their is no God. Their is only an equal Divine essence in all beings. Nothing else matters other than the ability to actually see that and understand what it truly means to be connected.
Posted by: lalala | December 14, 2020 at 03:25 AM