« I respond to a B.S. comment about my 52 years of meditation | Main | Awareness doesn't require a subject who is aware »

June 24, 2022


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

All the intellectual gymnastics and academic philosophizing to try bring the intellect to realize the simplicity of the notion

To lose oneself, and become an other being.

if i have a "self or soul" i am making it personal. i.e. MY
this presupposes there is a ME to take ownership

if the "me" is illusory
meaning that
its a perception
of a separare self, an ego
the soul or self is not separate
not mine or yours

so the notion of attaining a region or gwtting to enlightenment becomes meaningless because there is no separate self or soul that needs to merge or find peace or enlightenment


there is no goal, nothing to seek

the notion of "we don't exist" is not literal.
of course we have a physical existence
that is not even up for debate.

do we exist beyond this as a "separate" entity is the question that needs to br addressed

"do we exist beyond this as a "separate" entity is the question that needs to br addressed"

Hello, Osho Robbins. Nice to see you back in these parts!

Do "we" exist beyond our physicality? I think that question has, indeed, been addressed already, and entirely satisfactorily. (Not necessarily conclusively, because there's always scope for further nuance, and indeed even paradigm shifts, as science progresses; but unlike in times past, that question is no longer a mystery.)

The answer's obvious. It's both a Yes and a No.

Yes: Because we do have a sense of self that, for instance, a table doesn't; and as far as we know an amoeba doesn't either. (Does a bat have a comparable sense of self? I'm not sure of that answer. That indicates a great area for further research, that question.)

And No: Because that sense of self is simply an emergent property of our physicality, that evolution has equipped us with; that and nothing more. (Might that sense of self be replicated with AI, for instance, or maybe individual senses of self preserved in computers and suchlike so that one may approach immortality of a kind? I suppose that's another unanswered question, that indicates a solid avenue for research.)

But in the sense that these questions used to be posed in times past, by the likes of Ramana and Nisargadatta and indeed the Upanishads, I think the whole thing is passe, a done deal.

"No-self meditators are akin to people lounging on a beach, cool drink in hand, lounging under an umbrella, idly feeling the sand move beneath their toes, watching the sun go down over the ocean. Self-centered meditators are akin to people who make sure they complete an intense workout every day in the hotel exercise room even though they're supposedly on a vacation."

Haha, that's a great analogy. (Wait, was that yours, or were you quoting? Either way.)

Me, I'm afraid that I do a bit of both kinds, despite agreeing 100% with your POV. The beach thing, absolutely; but mixed and matched with a bit of the rigorous workout thing as well.

Might the latter slough off entirely one of these days? Possibly, let's see! For the time being I continue to persevere, if that's the word.

The idea that there's a soul to save and a long, loooong journey to complete can be a burden. As one long-time satsangi friend commented about RSSB initiates, "so many of them feel they have this gigantic problem." The problem is that they are here, the inner worlds are there, and the distance to Sach Khand is disparagingly immense.

Reading Chogyam Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism introduced me to the idea that looking at spirituality as a journey has its pitfalls.

Of course, ideally, the satsangi of a journey path does not care where he is on the journey, as he's put all faith in the Master/God to such an extent that worries about the state of his soul are no longer an issue.

It's also may be worth noting that the anatta concept has its own pitfalls.


Do we have to do what he does?
Can we do what he does?

And what is the difference between HIS way of talking about his [inner] experiences and others here in the pub;oc domain?

And.. it is just an example ...hahaha

Sir, i am sure now you are a very very confused person.

@ Garfield [ Hume argues, when we use the word self, there is nothing to which it refers: we are nothing more than bundles of psychophysical processes -- changing from moment to moment -- who imagine ourselves to be more than that. ]

IMO a mystic would challenge Hume's reductive description "nothing more than
bundles of psychophysical processes.". Hume and the "imaginer of a self" are,
after all, both circumscribed by the same transitory psychophysical processes in
reaching their separate conclusions. Arguably, they could both be wrong or
misled by these same processes.

The mystic asserts all that is really known are the hints of consciousness itself.
We're suddenly aware of being aware. It lifts you from confusion. It shines a
light in the engulfing darkness. Consciousness is the most powerful, pervasive,
revelatory force in the universe. When you wake from a dream, even without
external clues, your consciousness informs you. Thousands won't be able to
convince you otherwise. Why? Because consciousness brings before you the
memory of falling asleep. Without it, you go on sleeping. You remain trapped
in a "psychophysical" prison where you forget falling asleep. You confuse lies
for truth.

This consciousness is where we can step free from Hume's "psychophysical"
prison, where we must start, then persevere to find the truth. Mystics offer
one such path via mindfulness and devotion.

It’s human to engage in the development/creation and attachment to the idea of being a separate personality/character/self/I from our flow of inter-related happenings in now-ness.

I can see a pre-conscious drive that is inherent within an evolutionary progress of the human species.

Such a drive sees the mind/body complex as what we would think of as self.

This may have something to do with, whatever it takes to survive in order to replicate the gene pool.

Maybe, this drive is related to a fear of death or non-existence.

Fear like all other human emotions is transitory and is dependent on causes and conditions.

The fear of non-existence can only be conquered when it is realized experientially that there is no separate self that exists in or of itself.

That said, as humans we have this evolutionary process, from which has evolved, a subconscious and conscious process that is capable of overriding such fear.

When there is no sense of self within any human experience, who or what is capable of being fearful.

"I can see a pre-conscious drive that is inherent within an evolutionary progress of the human species.

Such a drive sees the mind/body complex as what we would think of as self."

..........Roger, you comment set me thinking: You know how Creationists do this thing, where they point at something like the human eye, and ask you how on earth might something as complex as this ever come to be in the absence of a Creator God? Well, obviously the philosophical answer to that is that positing a Creator God solves nothing, because it only puts in place an even more complex Being to be explained away, than the less complex eye. And that's a perfectlly satisfactory answer, too. But then, another way to go about explaining things to said Creationist would be to actually show him how different animals actually have different gradations of "eyes", starting from rudimentary light-catching membranes that can only tell light from dark and nothing else, and gradually to more and more complex eyes.

Well, thiests and theist apologists often tend to latch on to consciousness, that still not fully understood by science thing, to park their God of the Gaps in. And while the philsophical argument, above, can do duty here as well, and just as satisfactorily; but, and again as above, another way to go doing this might be to try to dissect this consciousness thing in animals, and maybe see if we might not build up a similar hierarchy of actually evolving consciousness. Sure, that's a great deal of work, that weighs in heavily on both neurobiology as well as anthropology, a whole new field of work maybe: but it seems a fascinating area to focus research on.

To my knowledge no such work has been done yet. (And I spent five minutes googling just now to run a quick-and-dirty further cross-check, but nothing came up.) If I were an evolutionary biologist --- which unfortunately I'm not! --- this is where I'd be looking at.

Thanks AE for your comment,

Yes, there is and will be further ongoing research, hopefully providing new and meaningful information.

There are times when I feel there is information, that ends up being the Word Salads, the Noise, that I tend to .... or prefer to avoid.

Keep up your great comments, I always enjoy them ..............

Arun, I'm frequently confused. Like, currently I'm trying to figure out how to get oil drips off of our asphalt driveway after being left by a truck used by workers at our house. Tried WD-40, then rinsing, which is supposed to work. But so far it hasn't. Am about to try this approach again.

But you must be talking about something I said in this blog post. I'm curious. What am I confused about? I felt totally clear-headed when I wrote the post last night. Please share. If I truly should be confused, help me add to my everyday confusion.

Appreciative Reader, the beach/exercise room analogy came from my own brain. Which isn't copyrighted, so feel free to use the analogy (or is it a metaphor?) as desired.

Simple Green and a scrub brush?

"Always spot test on asphalt surfaces. Simple Green is not compatible with all asphalt sealers."

Unami, good suggestion. But I read the reviews for Simple Green on Amazon and found that the only mentions of asphalt was that people found it didn’t work on oil stains on asphalt. I just did another round of WD 40. It’s helping, but slowly.

Just brainstorming.

WD-40 is my goto for grease. If my fingers get dirty from messing with my bike, for example. I use it on a paper towel to wipe vaporized cooking oil off the IKEA cabinet above the stove. It's also good on adhesives, like loosening price tags and removing the sticky residue.

How about paint thinner? Would it harm the asphalt?



I must be very cynical. My first reaction was that the monk took a perfectly good cave and ruined it for everyone with a kitschy statue and gate. Now no one else can enter and experience the peace and shelter it had given him. It was a selfish act disguised in humility. He made it all about him.

When Spence plead to take serious the experience of those in a life of humble introspection and observation, was that who he had in mind? Is the monk more in contact with inner reality or inner delusion? People are thirsty for miracles and easily confused. Halfway though the video was an ad for a mousy guy selling courses to men on how to save their marriages through Jesus and Bible inspired masculinity.

Speaking of lubricants, I once watched a televangelist tell a story. He was late for something critical, and his car wouldn't start, so he opened a can of motor oil, poured it over the engine ritually to "anoint" it and prayed. Miraculously, the car started.

Eagles. Crows. Vultures too.

When we spend too much time focused on ourselves, even for the sake of self-improvement, we become self-centered.

But when we focus on ourselves in the context of others, we start to see the connectedness of everything. We begin to see how much we need each other. And that’s a really, really good thing.

@ Umami

The browser I use has an ad-blocker.

The video was just an random example I picked yesterday when a member of the family passed by, to show him something about that monk, that is considered a holy man in his community and who, in his "previous life", was an Australian atheist professor.

MCS on telling a story about the relationship between two people, a rich king and a poor farmer and god started out by making the wife of the poor farmer,saying ... Do you remember that man, that said, he was a king ....

It was not WHAT MCS said but HOW he said it that told a story of humility and wealth.

The reason for me, to put it here was the way of HOW this monk speaks about his experiences in relation to others in the public domain.

If I had seen the video as it was seen by you I would never have put it up.

Do forgive me .. :-)

"Relax: no need to find your self, because you don't have one".

Exactly, it's pretty obvious - once you start looking for one.

Ha! Well, forgive me for being a rabid dog!

@ Umami


A couple of years ago I have gone through a;; his videos on Youtune that tell the strory of his life how he transformed from an atheist western professor into an almost childlike monk.

Listening to his voice is as listening to an elder telling stories around a fire....grand ma as a skilled story teller,[ peace be upon her soul if she had one]

The monk speaks as we are used to un the family .. when somebody speaks, he is only free to put his visions, ideas etc on the table, without any hint, suggestion that others have to do something with what he puts on the table. He has the freedom to put things before the others, he has not the freedom using his words, to "touch" an other sitting at the table. The other guiests can take from the food whatever they want and how they want and digest itas they deem fit.

In short ... it is all about mental freedom.

In my family this monk would be praised for having mastered the art of freedom to such an degree.

Abd ... that is how I remebered MCS.

And ...

I am quit well aware that it is possible to attribute a complete other meaning and value to what I described above.

In the eyes of the friends of Yamun too, what was dear to him was not worth his attention in the eyes of his good friends that had is welbeing at heart

Hey Sonya
I came across this the other day when looking for the book Buddhism and Ecology (Batchelor and Brown, Eds). It’s a pdf excerpt from chapter three written by Stephen Batchelor. And while it points to a somewhat ‘Awakened’ view, I think its got a lot in it and nicely compliments what you Brian and others are saying:

“The Buddhist vision of reality is often spoken of in terms of absence. Insight is not only the discovery of something previously unknown and unsuspected but also the amazement that something you had always taken for granted has fallen away. You find that it is no longer necessary to uphold the fantasy of a solid, lasting self; reality works perfectly well without one and, in fact, this self has only ever managed to get in the way and cause trouble. The fear that denial of the self would give us no ground to stand on is realised to be in itself groundless, like the discovery we make as children when we find we can swim and are, at that moment, freed from the terror of drowning. Thus the instinctive insistence upon a separate self is seen to provide an utterly false sense of security; for in an undivided world everything miraculously supports everything else”.

Blessed are the cheese makers!

"Blessed are the cheese makers!"

.........Indeed! Words of the kind you've quoted, Tim, from Batchelor, continue to fill me with an utter wonder --- even this more cynical (realist?) version of me that I've found myself become, and that same kind of wonder that would thrill me in younger days when I'd read from the Upanishads, or even from the (classical and later) philosophers --- wonder, as well as hope, at the prospect of eventually attaining to the kind of first-hand realization that these ancients must necessarily have exerienced, in order to so authoritatively, and so persistently (through not a year or two, nor even a century or two, but literally millennia!) reference their own inner insight in those remarkably prescient terms, and in the complete absence of the scientific breakthroughs that we rely on today to arrive at those same truths.

Hello, um.

Saw a portion of your video, and read your comments around it.

You're right, different people can view the same thing at different angles. For instance, I did find some truth in umami's POV, even though his POV is something that didn't occur to me and wouldn't, I'm sure, have occured to me had I not read his comment. So, not to take away from your own take-away from the monk, but here's how it struck me:

Actually his labor of love reminded me of those sand mandalas, that you may have read about, that some Vajrayana monks spend many hours crafting, painstakingly and expertly, only to calmly get up at the end of it and sweep it all away. Those sand mandalas are both magnificent expressions of, as well as lesson in, the inexorable transience that permeates each and everything in us and around us. That's kind of exactly what the monk's work struck me as.

Except: It's that, only if he performs his self-appointed task in that spirit and with that understanding. I'm not sure he's doing that. A general sense of gratitude is a fine thing, but his, from what I heard him say (in the short portion of the video that I watched), is directed at the person of the Virgin Mother, and he seems to see his act as an expression of devotion particularly to the Virgin Mother. So that all it amounts to, in that case, is a bunch of superstitions, albeit mellowed down into gentleness by the gentle personality of the monk and his years.

On the gripping hand though: In the ultimate analysis, we're all dead, whether or not we realize the transience and emptiness of existence or no. And, while having realized that transience and emptiness might make living itself easier, it won't affect us after death at all, since nothing can do that; and the monk's superstitions seem, at least in his specific case, to have brought him to gentleness, and calm, and acceptance, and peace. Those are good enough tools with which to navigate through life until death relieves us of life. As such, I'm not sure there's any point in pointing fingers at his giving in to superstitions, given that those latter seem to make him happy, and hurt no one.

Police remove security officers from RSSB Dera:


"Ten personnel deployed to protect Dera Radha Soami Satsang Beas, nine of Dera Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthan, Noormahal and six to guard Shahi Imam Punjab, Mohammad Usman Ludhianvi have also been withdrawn."

In a related story, one of the persons who had security withdrawn -- Sindhu Moose Wala, a Punjabi rapper apparently -- was shot dead the next day.

As is usual with Indian journalism, details are sketchy. No reason was given for why these individuals had government security details, or why these details were withdrawn.


The wonder has always been about humans, what they are, not so much what they do but how they do it.

The how tells something about who they are, what is inside them what is not spoken of... it has its beauty of its own.

It has always been a pleasure to watch crafts men, artists etc that have mastered their trade, at work, how they move their bodies and how the speak about what they have mastered.... they are not into you or me but into THAT

They all have certain things in common ...I do not like to attach words to it .. but it is related to things like, contentment, lack of strive, lack of impressing others, gratitude ... a general resting in what they are doing ...or to compare it with a zen monk that pours tea in a cup ... is is not the ceremony itself but his body that tells the tale.

There is a backer that appears on TV now and then showing how to make this or that artisan bread. Often one can see the man, looking with the sheer wonder of a child, looking into the machine how the dough hook mixes the ingredients together.

After all these years of practice, his coming to name and fame, he operates still the same freshness of attention and awareness that can be observed in playing children.

So it is not what is played but how it is done.

So much words for a simple thing ... hahaha

"They all have certain things in common ...I do not like to attach words to it .. but it is related to things like, contentment, lack of strive, lack of impressing others, gratitude ... a general resting in what they are doing ...or to compare it with a zen monk that pours tea in a cup ... is is not the ceremony itself but his body that tells the tale.

There is a backer that appears on TV now and then showing how to make this or that artisan bread. Often one can see the man, looking with the sheer wonder of a child, looking into the machine how the dough hook mixes the ingredients together.

After all these years of practice, his coming to name and fame, he operates still the same freshness of attention and awareness that can be observed in playing children.

So it is not what is played but how it is done.

So much words for a simple thing ... hahaha"


Ah, ok, I understand, um.

You were referring to the flow thing, that comes from practiced expertise. So that it wouldn't have mattered if instead of a monk trying to decorate his cave for the Mother of God; but simply a godless atheist artist simply drawing artistically done graffiti inside a cave but with the same depth and contentment. I agree, that kind of thing is a pleasure to experience, as to some degree we've all experienced I'm sure, in our own lives.

Ha ha, as you say it did take a great deal of words for you to get your meaning across! (If only we were telepathic, and could directly mind-read instead of having to resort to speech, eh?!)

@ AR

<< ..... and could directly mind-read instead of having to resort to speech, eh?!)<<

That was how I was raised.
"Hand me that "thing" ...

You had to know to whom it was spoke and what the "thing" was

Just an example .... hahaha

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.