söndag, mars 23, 2008

Thought-flowers and thought-gardens

My spiritual search has once again taken a new turn. I suddenly realized what a great metaphor flowers are – flowers, trees and ice-crystals. Buts lets stick to the flower-metaphor. I was thinking about thinking, about how often thinking in nondual spirituality often is degraded to an almost evil and sinful activity. Lets take Eckhart Tolle as an example, you often hear him say that humanity, as the next evolutionary step, is going to evolve beyond thinking. Until now, humanity for thousands of years (I think….or is it hundreds?) have been completely identified with their stream of thoughts, believing thoughts to be something real, and therefore humanity has suffered, and created a culture that is more and more insane. He talks about the last century where such unimaginable numbers of people have been slaughtered by their brothers and sisters, mainly as a result of the technological revolution in the weapon industry. And how did weapons become so advanced, and why did we use them. Well, Tolle gives some simple answers. It’s because we believe in our thoughts, because we are completely identified with our thoughts and all the resulting emotions of fear, anger, hatred, shame, blame etc, etc.

I have to admire Tolle for making such a simplified interpretation sound like something that makes sense. And I have to admit that it actually makes some sense. It does, but there is something missing in all this and I believe I have started to get a sense of what it is.

A few sentences by Ken Wilber in the book “The Marriage of Sense and Soul” that I listened to yesterday gave me a hint. He was talking about the retroromantic impulse, about Rousseau and the noble savage, and how that is a thoughpattern that goes on even today in many New Age movement, the eulogizing of prerational cultures – for example the Mayans or the Inkas. What they often forget is that all these holy cultures, living in harmony with the universe as they did, actually sacrificed children, kept slaves and had no idea about the ideals of the enlightenment – FREEDOM, EQUALITY, and BROTHERHOOD for all human beings. Pretty interesting stuff, but the key for me was when Wilber delivered one of his favourite metaphors - I cant remember the exact phrase right now, and since its an audiobook I cant look it up – but its about Oak trees and Acorns.

Some people wrongly believe that an Acorn is more whole/HOLY than an Oak tree, more integrated. They try to make all the Oak trees become like Acorns again. They preach that Oaks shall from now on find their acorn-ness. … being an Acorn is to live in harmony with the universe, but being an Oak is to be lost in …not in thought like humans … maybe lost in branches and leaves.

Wow, there we go, there is the line –

The problem with Oaks is they are lost in branches and leaves. They have lost contact with the Acorn they in essence are.
Compare that to
– The problem with Humans is that they are lost in thoughts and feelings. They have lost contact with the newborn child in themselves. The child that dwells happily in a state of no-thought – just pure being – the essence of what we are.

I think I now start to track what is missing in Eckhart Tolles teaching, or at least doesn’t make sense to me. He talks about the coming flowering of human conciousness, how this flowering is going to manifest itself WHEN humans stop to identify with their thinking, and stop believing their thoughts are real and actually mean something. Sometimes Tolle even shares a future vision of a society where people are silent and don’t think so much, a culture of silence and immersion in BEING.
This is a strange part, at least the way I receive and interpret his core message.
Without the capacity to think AND BELIEVE in our thoughts NO ONE would have been able to read and find Mr. Tolles books to be of any value. What if everybody thought, these words are just words and they lack any intrinsic reality, these words are nothing but some symbols created out of the electric activity in the brain of Eckhart Tolle. The book A New Earth is full of “…sound and fury signifying nothing…” (Shakespear)
I do find Tolles simplified model of the formless vs. form, timelessness(The Now) vs time, to make sense. There is a formless dimension, no doubt, a dimension we can never touch with our thinking. Tolle is absolutely right. I also believe that this formless dimension of reality is something we need to be in touch with in order to obtain real wisdom and the way we can let the light, the beautiful and unimaginable light and intelligence of the formless shine in our life is to learn how to sometimes step back from our thinking and find ways out of the prison of mind. Different ways to freedom that are described in detail through all the worlds’ contemplative traditions. And here we are, talking about mind/thinking as a prison. WHY???
Well, its only natural. That is what I feels like, everybody who has been meditating knows what “being lost in thinking” means.
But for me this is a dead end!
I think its time to find a new language for thinking – at least for me. To say like Tolle, that thinking is indeed beautiful, thinking has to be honoured, is not enough – far from enough. Thinking becomes the new evil, the new devil, firmly situated right inside our skulls. What a horrible way to se ourselves.
I think we can start to see thinking and concepts and philosophy like timeflowers.

Wow, what a beautiful new word – TIMEFLOWER –

Lets take the Integral Theory by Ken Wilber like its exposed in one of my favourite books – Sex, Ecology and Spirituality – as an example. Of course this can be viewed like a prison of thought. Of course it can actually become a prison of thought because its deceptive. Every theory is deceptive for the spiritual seeker since it can prevent you from touching the formless. A beautiful theory can cut you off from your longing for the formless and the risk is that you once again start believing that form is all there is.
But what if we see clearly that form never can be more than one aspect of Truth? What if we see it so clearly that we don’t have to remember it. Could a beautiful theory be a trap even then?
I don’t think so. If we se form emerging out of the formless, if we see the oak emerge out of an acorn, if we see philosophy emerge out of a baby, then thinking can never more be a problem.

To see a philosophy emerge out of a baby like an oak emerges out of an acorn and a flower emerges out of a seed.
That’s the key. That’s my key.

Nobody believes that a flower is true. It’s not true, it’s beautiful. And the same applies to thoughts and concepts. They are not true, they are beautiful. They are the flower of our minds. Inside our skills dwells, not Satan in form of thinking, but the most beautiful garden you can imagine. And every garden is unique. The question can never more become what garden is true, the garden of Eckhart Tolle or the garden of Ken Wilber. The question doesn’t make sense. Both are beautiful. And what is it that is beautiful? Its all the timeflowers. Why do I call them timeflowers? Because the flowers are thoughtforms and thoughts are time. Without time no thoughts. That’s The Power of Now that Tolle speaks about. And he does it beautifully. In the Now hides the timeless, the formless, the source of all forms, the ground of being out of which every form, every timeflower emerges, the ground into which every form, every timeflower disappears, dies.

Today I am going to contemplate this. That all my thoughs are timeflowers. They are not obstacles, distractions, things to avoid, things to watch out for. They are beautiful. The electric activity inside my skull is not something that has to be looked through, its not something that has to be questioned. It’s a Garden of Timeflowers. And that garden can never be True. It can be beautiful. And not seeing the beauty of a great theory is to be only partially awake. You can be awake to the formless light that shines through every form, and that awakeness is what Tolle and Oprah are currently promoting in humanity. But why miss the beauty in thoughts.
Maybe Tolle thinks that the beauty of thoughts are as deceptive as a beautiful women, trying to seduce you and make you forget all about silence and being. I don’t agree. How can you honour the acorn if you don’t honour the Oak?
You can't! And thats what is missing with the teaching of Eckhart Tolle - a teaching that is otherwise beautiful. Its beautiful even without that flower. How can every garden contain every flower. No, life is full of thought-gardens/time-gardens which makes life a truly beautiful journey.

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lördag, mars 22, 2008

Am I a “Meditation Addict”?

People who were addicted to narcotic substances before starting a meditation practice, say meditation does not create addiction the way they experienced their drug did. I guess that has to be taken account of when I now start exploring if I am a “Meditation Addict”.
What if there is nothing noble about my so called “spiritual path”. Interesting to notice that a word for alcohol in fact is SPIRIT. Wow, I have have never seen that so clear before.

Its always been obvious to me that meditation and mindfulness in some sense aims at changes in consciousness – exactly the same thing as with all kinds of substance abuse.
Let me say upfront that I am not going to propose that meditation can be dangerous in any way. I don’t believe its dangerous. Is it healthy then? Many people say it is

Meditation as workout for awareness/attention.
If you see attention as a muscle meditation could be a good way to exercise that muscle. But are there not other ways to practice that would give you other benefits – I think of anything really that requires concentration. Because meditation and concentration are on some level related. I say on some level, since the kind of meditation I have in mind, vipassana / zazen etc does not involve effort, which I guess is what suggests a relationship to drug abuse. Whereas concentration always involves effort, using mental energy to drag attention back to the object of concentration, such effort are not allowed in zazen. – move your attention very gently back to the breath /body etc and just notice that you got lost in thought. Just notice it, that is all you need to know, don’t judge yourself and say you are a bad meditator, no, just notice, and if you happen to judge yourself, notice that too, quite effortless.

Wow, effortlessness is the keyword in meditation. No wonder its addictive…. You should not try to attain anything (I am talking of zazen inspired meditation here), you should not expect anything. It’s the exact opposite of the arduous everyday life filled with expectances and things to attain. That’s where mindfulness comes in… you can actually extend your practice to everyday whereabouts like cleaning, washing the dishes, well, in fact to everything. Not having to attain any future goals sounds like sweet music to my ears. Why? Am I tired of this life? Sick and tired of doing the same things over and over again, striving for future goals only in order to fail or get disappointed when reaching the goal didn’t deliver up to my expectations. Tired, tired, tired….

Is it so? I feel like I have no choice here but being completely honest with myself on everything concerning this spiritual path of mine. Where is this path full of meditation and mindfulness leading me?
Am I becoming a better person or am I escaping the responsibility to become so. Do I have a responsibility to improve? Am I not going to die anyway. Maybe I get Alzheimers before that, so that everything I have acquired goes down the drain. A complete waste of effort. Why try to learn anything when you are going to forget it anyway?
- Oh, come on, take yourself together, don’t think along those lines, its not good for you. You should think empowering thoughts.
- Why? See, this is also something that makes me so tired of this existence. You should and should not ad infinity. Would it not be a huge relief to let go of all these shoulds?? That is I think one of the reasons people abuse drugs. They know its not good for them or others but the need to free themselves from what is expected of them is so strong. They are sometimes willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING in order to get that high. A moment of release. A moment of OK-ness. Everything is ok right now. That feeling is for some people worth more than anything, more than family, loved ones, friends, community, money, security, long life …

But I have found a better way, an activity that lets me be there, in that space of ultimate ok-ness every day, several times a day if I want to, and that activity is meditation.
Ultimate ok-ness is addictive. I can promise you that, if you have never tried, think twice, because it could lead to lifelong addiction…

I should tell you that I write this way, drawing things to the extremes, in order to make things more clear to myself. Don’t take what I say too seriously. Of course I can see that there are other benefits of meditation and mindfulness. I could ramble on about all the benefits for hours and hours.
But wouldn’t that be boring? I always feel drawn to going deeper. I cant stop myself there. Of course I could but that would require effort and EFFORTLESSNESS is my thing. And that I share with drug addicts. That’s the connection I want to explore here.

I also want to really look close at what Eckhart Tolle are suggesting me and other spiritual seekers to do, and what consequences that might have. Mr Tolle is telling us to surrender future. Sounds like one of these spiritual slogans / clichés. But slogans are being repeated over and over again just because they sound fancy, it sounds kind of cool, - surrender future – different from all the boring wisdom we are used to - like "our children are the future". "We have to take care of this earth and each other in order to create a better future for our children". How cool is that? It’s not cool at all and it just puts a tremendous responsibility on us. Do we want that? Don’t we rather have some fancy, cool wisdom that relieves us from all responsibility. Wisdom that makes us feel great.
Surrender future, live in the now, be here now, - sounds spiritual but could as well be used to promote a hedonistic lifestyle.
Well, my exploration will continue. It’s a circle of thought, that hopefully takes me a bit deeper every day. So I can as well stop right here. Time for breakfast.
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fredag, mars 21, 2008

My embarrasing spiritual search

We human beings are trapped in duality, in ego, in suffering for as long as we live. It becomes more and more clear to me now. We might play the role of a liberated person (in spirituality it means someone who is no longer trapped in duality and therefore is free from suffering). …. Strange … It really sounds strange, it’s what I have believed in for years now, I can see when that trip started, it all started December 2002 with listening to a soundclip by Osho on the webpage http://www.osho.com/ Then one thing led to the other, retreats with Nukunu etc. But what has been the driving force in my seeking during these years, it sums up to more than five years now, my driving force has not been realizing my true nature, no, it’s been to escape from suffering.
Spirual seeker – Name = Björn – Driving force = CERTAINTY to avoid suffering. Why not use that model by Anthony Robbins – the six human needs – where the first need is certainty – certainty to gain pleasure and AVOID PAIN. I really haven’t come very far. I mean there are five more needs, five more driving forces, each one more noble than the preceding one. I could as well list them here. Together with some small commentaries from me –

1. Certainty – to avoid pain and gain pleasure

2. Variety – the fear of boredom.

3. Significance – being unique and special.

4. Love and connection – fear of being alone, the need to be needed, to merge with a partner, friend, group etc.

That’s the basic needs. The ones that only revolves around the ego, around me, my life, my needs, my story. Robbins calls them basic needs. Then comes two more needs which are less egocentric.

5. Growth and development – when you are done with the basic needs, life is not only about surviving anymore. You can start to expand, open up to new perpectives

6. Contribution – the fruits of human existence. You can finally let go of yourself and reach out to other people, not in order to get something from them, something that will meet the first five needs. No, now you are finally ready to be there for the other person. Now you are ready to make a positive change in this world. Not many people come in touch with this need in themselves, this powerful force within. We are too occupied with ourselves and our problems.

With this in mind, it’s quite pathetic to see that most of my spiritual trip has been about meeting my first and most basic need. Oh, that hurts to realize. And I blush when I recall how I have valued MY SEARCH and MY REALIZATION…. Embarrassing.

It’s all been about ending suffering. Sounds like I have a miserable life, wrong, I have a great life, relatively seen. My problem is mainly, I don’t actually know what it is, but lets say its about existential angst. – the burning question – why am I here, what’s the damned purpose, I am going to die anyway. Rebirth is also pointless. Why???
A big why. Its like a raving hunger for answers to the big, undefined WHY. And I cant get enough answers. I have collected so many answers over these five years that it’s ridiculous to go on collecting more answers. It’s a joke.

Hahahaha

My spiritual search has been a joke. And I wish that laughter … hahahaha… had been heartfelt. No, its embarrassing. That’s all.

torsdag, mars 20, 2008

Tolle should change the Title of A New Earth

Why not change the title from

A New Earth
- Awakening to your life's Purpose

to

A New Life
- Surrender to your life’s Suffering

Now millions of people all over the world watch Oprah talk about the book – A New Earth – with its author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. And most of them, hundreds of thousands wake up, or at least believe they wake up. I don’t mean to question anybody else’s experiences, I just want to report how this process called awakening was experienced and still is experienced by me and clarify what it means and what it doesn’t mean (for me… of course).

Waking up hasn’t made me special in any sense, I remain the same “bodymind”. Maybe some things have improved, others have become worse, but I don’t think that actually has anything to do with the awakening. Come on, let’s face it, most of us wants to awaken in order to feel better, to be relieved from suffering. That was the case for me, I wanted to experience bliss, openness, etc. I wanted to escape from all the pain that is part of this bodymind. I didn’t want to deal with the messed up person I am, so I wanted to TRANSCEND IT. Go beyond, a word often used by Tolle. B E Y O N D. It sounds fantastic, taste that word, …. What is to be found beyond the ego? Oh, there must be Peace and Openess and Love and Oneness and all the wonderful things we long for. Must it not? When we listen to Eckhart we certainly get that impression, at least I do.
But what if there are things we don't long for?
What if going beyond the ego means that we will have to experience more pain? Tolle often refers to Jesus, or at least his own interpretation of the new testament. You get the impression that Jesus in Tolles eyes was a great spiritual teacher, a truly awakened being. Ok, lets assume Jesus was awakened like Tolle and soon the rest of humanity … thanks to Oprah...
What was life like for the awakened person Jesus Christ?
Was it blissful, was it full of peace?
No. I dare to answer that question with a clear NO.
It was so full of suffering and pain that we don’t wish that for our worst enemies. He was crucified and he cried out, - Father, why have you abandoned me?
Whatever that exclamation means, it can’t mean that he was at peace. Can it? It can of course mean anything you want it to mean, but my “non-theological”, amateur-like, interpretation is that he suffered. He suffered like hell!!
What is my point here, what am I aiming at?
I absolutely encourage anyone who feel the urge to awaken to try to do so. But on that path is a huge trap, right at the beginning, a trap that I fell into. Fact is I am still not out of it. But I can see the clear sky up there, climbing up the slippery walls …
What am I talking about? Well, I am currently reading a book by Mariana Caplan called - Halfway up the Mountain, Errors of premature claims to enlightenment - . I like the subtitle about premature claims to enlightenment, I can foresee that Oprahs programs will result in quite a few premature claims to awakening … (just so that there will be no misunderstandings – I really appreciate what Oprah and Tolle are doing, I mean in order to encourage people to take the first step It would be stupid to mention all the traps that lie before the seeker. But its not my ambition to encourage anybody to awaken, neither is it needed any longer, Oprah and Tolle takes care of that.
What about the book Halfway up the mountain by Caplan? A few lines in that book made me wake up from the awakening. Got that? Buddha said that life is suffering. Period. I guess the waking up many people experience reading A New Earth by Tolle is nothing more that changing one dream for another more peaceful dream.
All these great epiphanies like – oh, I can not be my ego since I am aware of it, ... oh, I am that infinite space in which everything arise and disappear. … Mmmm, that feels great. Experiencing the witness behind all your experiences for the first time is a completely new acquaintance, it’t like falling in love – falling in love with an entity inside your psyche sometimes called The Witness. When then somebody you trust and respect, like Oprah for instance, tells you that the Witness is your true nature, and that this true nature is infinite and timeless and the same for everybody, so that means we are all ONE and you go, Wow, that means I will never again be separate from anybody, never again feel alone, never again be afraid of anything, because all the things I was afraid of before are JUST FORMS and I am the FORMLESS ONE AWARENESS behind all these forms that are quite illusory anyway, just a play of form that means nothing, nothing to be afraid of, nothing to cling to, nothing to wish for, nothing that can make you suffer anymore.
And that last goodie, that lottery win, that incredible reward is the trap.
NEVER HAVE TO SUFFER AGAIN.

I was there. I felt that. I was absolutely convinced I would never again have to suffer. I will tell you what I think that condition means. It means your brain chemistry is playing you a trick, similar to what happens when you fall in love. No more, no less.
Buddha said that life is suffering, not that Joes life is suffering. He didn't say that if you meditate and do all the right things you will be relieved from suffering. No, waking up is to see that there is NO WAY OUT. That realization brings about real surrender.

I know this is what Tolle is pointing to, I don’t want to be unfair and accuse him for not being clear on this point, I just see that what he does in the Oprah show is encouraging people to take the first step. And I can think of no other spiritual teacher that could do that better. He is perfect because he manifests the opposite of what people associates with the abusive Guru, greedy for power, money and sex. Corrupt Gurus are something that holds people back from eastern spiritual teachers, and has done so ever since the days of Osho Rajneesh, Sai Baba and others.
But Tolle looks so harmless, there is something nerdish over his appearance, something that allows us to relax. And I think he is the way he appears to be. There cant be any desire for power, money and sex in that man. I know you shouldn’t be too sure of anything, but I would be very surprised. People are always hungry for a new Messiah, but we haven’t dared to believe in that for quite a while, well, 20 years is not much in a bigger time perspective. Maybe its time for a new Messiah for the 21st century, and the name of that Messiah will be Eckhart Tolle. Why not? I think it’s a good Idea.

But back to the suffering. Will this New Earth of Tolle be filled with people that don’t suffer anymore?
Interesting question. There is this mentioning of A CHANGE IN CONSCIOUSNESS that will bring about such a big change in the human race that we could be seen as a New Human Being. A Humanity that isn’t identified with our thoughts anymore. That sounds great. Free from thoughts, and since emotions follow the thoughts, we will be free from emotions also. Not meaning we won’t have thoughts and emotions anymore, but according to Tolle, we will think less and BE more and most importantly, we will not be identified with thought forms - we will be IN the world but not OF the world. We will change from “Human Thinkings” into (or back to) “Human Beings”. A nice play with words, but I guess this is very appealing to many people on the earth right now.
When I think of it Tolle has put himself in quite a predicament and I am very curious to see how he will manage himself out of it. I don’t pretend to understand these things better than Tolle, I don’t have a clue as how to put these things into words. Tolle often, on his CD:s, talks about SURRENDER.
I think SURRENDER should be the keyword for his teaching because he over and over again talks about the Power of Now, and how there cant be any future in the Now. Well, the now gives space to our thoughts about future, in Tolles teaching the future is nothing but a concept, an empty thought, a chemical dance around the synapses in the brain. The future doesn’t really exist. He is clear about that. But what about this awakening project, and the New Earth, if there is no future, what does it matter if we get a New Earth??
What I like about Tolle is that he is fully aware of the absurdity of talking about the NonDual, the timeless and formless in a language that is constructed for duality, time and form. He often starts giggling when the absurdity becomes too obvious. So actually his main point is SURRENDER. Because when you surrender FUTURE you surrender everything. But he can not allow himself to be very clear about that, because what is the point with having millions of people watching you and then make them scared and angry. Completely pointless. Mr Tolle has to give them hope, hope of a New Earth, and what is he doing then? He is giving them future, the exact thing he often says we should surrender. And surrender, what is that actually?

Surrender is a term often heard in spiritual circles. It can mean many things. Often its about surrendering to a Guru. It’s like giving up, but the difference is that you give yourself away to something that is greater than your person, you ego, your will etc. Like Jesus says, - Not my will but Yours be done, meaning Gods will.
Surrender is something very beautiful but strange in our culture. We are taught to be strong and stand up for who we are and what we want. Surrender is the opposite. It’s about realizing that you are just a small human being living for a glimpse of a second on this earth and you don’t have a clue what to do about it. You don’t know why you are here, what its all about, (not really, you pretend to know by adapting different cultural viewpoints). You cannot see the purpose even though you love to paraphrase statements like - the purpose is to be of service to the people I meet, - the purpose is to contribute to a better world with more joy and peace and playfulness.
Wow, that sounds nice. But what about getting old and sick. What about losing loved ones? Whats the purpose of that? We don’t have a clue, nor do we have a clue how to relate to the fact of our own coming death. But we love when people tell us what our purpose is. And that is exactly what Eckhart Tolle does, the undertitle of A New Earth goes, Awakening to your life’s purpose. Oh my God, don’t we love to hear that?!
And when are we going to awaken to this purpose? Well, in the future, a future that don’t exist. Ok, I know that Tolle is aware of the problems with words although he masters them better than any other spiritual teacher, obviously, since he can reach so many people.

Back to my journey. For me it’s all about SURRENDER right now. I am not going as far as surrendering the whole concept of future, like Tolle suggests we should do. No, but I am willing to surrender to suffering.

A New Life
Surrender to your life’s Suffering

That is in my opinion the real benefit of Tolles Teaching and the one that is hard. I don’t know if you can do that until you have tried and failed enough times.
I have realized that no matter how high you fly you inevitably will fall down into this little bag of skin and bones with a computer up in the scull that runs the same old suffering-programs over and over again and there is NO ONE who can remove these programs or shut of the computer unless you kill yourself or get killed or die of old age or by an accident or by a disease. That’s a fact.
People can look you in the eyes and tell you that they have attained permanent peace and happiness and really believe that. Well, check back after a year, two years, five years, and you wont be surprised to find them deep down in suffering. Overwhelmed by feelings of nothing meaning anything and so on. Cause that is the price you have to pay for freedom, nothing really means that much anymore and that’s a scary part. You think you are insane and feel alone in a world full of people running around believing every little matter actually matters. At first it’s comical, then it’s a tragedy, a comical tragedy, then it’s just sad. Empty and sad. (that’s my experience).

But then, after living for a while with this empty sad feeling, I came to the next phase. Since the notion of me being a separate individual no longer was that relevant or interesting, (I mean, I do care about not getting run over by a bus or something) I suddenly realized something else. Or rather felt something else. Since I was no longer separate from other people (at least not in that contracted fearful way, there are no black or whites on the path) I was not separate from other peoples pain and suffering. This might sound like some psychiatric dysfunction, not being able to protect myself from others feelings, confusing others feelings with my own, …. NO, its not a dysfunction, (I hope) Its something else. It’s waking up to the realization that LIFE IS SUFFERING.
Suffering is not a collection of feelings that I own inside my body, something I can call MY suffering. THERE IS NOPERSONAL SUFFERING. To believe otherwise is to be deluded. We are one human race, sharing this time on earth, and if anything would be dysfunctional, it would be this – BELIEVING THAT SUFFERING IS PERSONAL.

That is why I say that it’s a trap to believe that the awakening will relieve you from suffering. It will open you up to suffering. I mean, why would Jesus Christ tell his truth even if he knew he would have had a much more comfortable life as a carpenter, why would he bother himself with speaking the truth?? That didn’t relieve him from suffering. On the contrary.

So where is my path leading me from now on. Suffering can also be used as a fuel, a fuel you need to contribute much more than you could do before. Because my life has to be about contribution. But with what can I contribute? I don’t know. That is another thing I realize has to be let go of. The need to know, the need to understand. Back to - Not my will but Yours be done - Part of the inevitable suffering of living in a body is not knowing, not understanding, being confused, building and protecting conceptual constructions. Fearing that reality might tear down your understanding. Protecting yourself from reality. Selecting the things that fits with your expectations and understanding. And then complaining over a life lacking adventure and excitement. It is a tragedy this existence. But its absurd and funny as well. A crazy show. With the words of Shakespear –

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hourupon the stage
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot,
Full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

I agree.
And that is what we fear most of all. That’s what we resist with every ounce of our being. LIFE HAS GOT TO MEAN ANYTHING …
Yeh, it means suffering. And here we are starting to play hardball. Prepare yourself for a tuff ride. This is where spirituality begins. All the rest of spirituality is nothing but consoling lies that protects you from LIFE.

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söndag, mars 09, 2008

Putting the Ego on Diet

For almost a year I read and practiced almost exclusively the teaching of Eckhart Tolle. I can remember thinking that this is all I need, nothing more can be added to this teaching that I need. And then what happened?
I moved on.
Why?
Maybe it was the need for variety. I got bored with hearing Eckharts voice when listening to the CD:s. I got bored with reading the same things over and over again. I wanted to understand more. I think that is the main explanation why I moved on to other teachers. The need for more - more understanding, more information

More, more, more, more ….

And what in me is in need for more?

The ego.

So the ego in me started to investigate into itself. I think as a strategy for survival. Som kind of Ego-defense. I came across Integral Theory and Ken Wilbers book and guess what I found? …. More …
I learned that the ego has to be transcended but not excluded. I adapted one of Wilbers mantras – TRANSCEND AND INCLUDE
Wow, that was all my ego needed to hear. The ego could be included, it could avoid destruction. Now it was allowed to stay in charge. My ego became so happy, it was ok, it was included, participating, honoured.
And my egos "intellectual understanding" of nonduality grew. It had a great time.
But then I heard Ken Wilber say you have to pick a spiritual practice AND STAY WITH IT. And he added a saying – chase two rabbits, catch neither.

That was about half a year ago and I remember thinking. Ok, Ken Wilber is NOT a spiritual teacher and his writings is not a spiritual teaching. Wow, that was a revelation. And then I began to notice that he is very clear about that – he is the mapmaker - not the guru. He helps seekers fit their path/teaching into a broader cultural context. And I guess that was what I needed. Not only my ego but the whole seeking process that’s going on in this bodymind called Björn. In order to stop identifying with my ego I needed these maps by Ken Wilber. But the urge for picking a teaching and sticking with it has grown stronger since then. And now it has reached a climax.

And I have picked a teaching.
The one by Eckhart Tolle.
And I will do all the practices for at least one year. And during this time I will not read or surf the internet for other teachings with two exceptions:

Ken Wilbers and Adyashanti.

I have one teaching and only one and that is Eckhart Tolles. But then I have a map which helps me integrate Tolles teaching in a broader cultural context. And finally I have a place to go when my ego needs a little variety and that is Adyashanti. Well, not only because of my egos need for variety, it’s also because I love what comes through Adyashanti and the way he interprets it.

Now I know something I didn't know a year ago. I have to face boredome. I have to WALK the talk and that is not exciting at all. It's hard work. It demands discipline. And finally, this year is not going to be interesting. My ego is from now on on a diet, a spiritual and intellectual diet.

Andra bloggar om: , ,

lördag, mars 08, 2008

A good map is easier to leave behind

The NonDual Spiritual Teachers tell you the same thing over and over again – The Truth is not to be found in the Mind. Period.
Ok, so that means my consciousness has to somehow transcend Mind. I’ve got that by now. But what I have found out is that it does matter what the conceptual Map in the Mind looks like. If we don’t have a good map it’s going to be much harder to transcend it. This insight has given me a new perspective on what the NonDual Spiritual Path is all about. Truth is not to be found in the map, in the concepts in your head. Truth with a capital T, meaning absolute truth, not relative truth with a small t, is not to be found within the domains of conceptual thinking. That is indeed clear to me by now. But if you don’t work hard on making the conceptual map better, you will have a hard time transcending it. You might get glimpses of a nonconceptual dimension but you will soon fall back into mind. Not by choice, but because NonDuality is so filled with paradoxes. I don’t think we can ever escape the paradoxes, we have to live with them, but the better map we have, the easier it is for us to transcend mind and dwell in nonconceptual awareness for longer and longer periods of time.

This is in short my personal twist on Integral Theory as laid out by Ken Wilber. This doesn’t mean Integral Theory is the only or the best conceptual map for the spiritual search, it’s the one that fits me.
It just struck me how obvious this have become to me. As I found the right heading for this post I came to think of a metaphor
- Let's say you are in a city for the first time and someone tells you to get rid of your map as soon as possible and start to look at the actual city, wouldn't you be able to do so much sooner if the map was clear and accurate. I mean, the whole point of the map is to get some kind of overwiev so that you can find your way home every night, so that you won't have to spend hours trying to find your way to the busstation...

There are so many spiritual teachers who tell you that the map is not the territory, and then leave you with no map at all, or a lousy map that is impossible to navigate by. Almost all of the teachers of NonDuality are guilty of this - giving you a lousy map. They give you many good pointers that give you glimpses of the NonDual, they deserve credit for that, but you can't use what they teach because you cant integrate it with the rest of your understanding. Eckhart Tolle and Adyashanti do in my opinion offer better maps than the others, but I could not do without Ken Wilbers maps.

You already have a map created by you culture, upbringing and education, and in order to become free of that map, it has to be upgraded and integrated with all the NonDual pointers. Ken Wilber can help spiritual seekers with just that. I am so grateful I came across Integral Theory.

Andra bloggar om: , , , ,

onsdag, mars 05, 2008

What a Team! Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle.


This is so amazing! One of my favourites among contemporary spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle, is suddenlyl able to reach an incredible amount of people with his teaching, thanks to Oprah. Read about the biggest ever online event that took place 3/3 -08. Over 500 million people logged in to participate in what they call an online class. I am really thrilled by this. I mean, Tolles first book, The Power of Now, reached the bestseller lists thanks to Oprah, but this thing is bigger. I am so happy, not that the person Eckhart Tolle, gets so much public attention, but that his teaching now has a real chance to make a difference. I have read Tolles books and listened to countless CD:s - I love Tolles approach, his humour and clarity, but Oprah added a new energy to the teaching that was, in lack of a better word, awesome...

You can download the first of ten classes for free on Oprahs homepage. This is so great I have to rub my eys to make certain I am not dreaming this up.

söndag, mars 02, 2008

Unconditional love is also Unconditional Freedom.

This nameless, formless something that I wrote about yesterday has many names in NonDual Spirituality. Sometimes it’s called the Groundless Ground, sometimes The Absolute. Other teachers/teachings call it The Unconditional. I think that is one of the best pointers for me, because it addresses the matter of care vs. carelessness. The Unconditional is sometimes said to embrace and love everything, no matter what. At first that sounds very sweet but when you think about it you start asking – what about cruel thoughts and actions? What about a cold, hard and closed heart? What about injustice? Does the unconditional embrace and love even these negative aspects of the manifest world??
Well, apparently it does… What a shock!
The Unconditional Love that sounds so sweet also has another aspect, and that is Unconditional Freedom. That’s an aspect of The Unconditional that the spiritual teacher Nukunu often speaks about. And Freedom is not sweet – it’s scary. That’s why people turn away from the Unconditional and hide in the Dream called “real life”. Real Life is a very safe place because there are all the same old problems, conflicts, struggles that we are used to, even comfortable with. We are so used to complain over what a terrible place this world is. What if we stopped getting frustrated and paralysed over all the injustices and cruelties that are going on all the time everywhere? That would mean something incomprehensibly strange, probably wrong ...
Freedom ought to be wrong because allowing, embracing and even loving that which is wrong means you don’t care … it has to mean that. It means that you have to love Hitler and Pol Pot and Stalin and Saddam Hussein. And if you care about other the world and other people you have to react against anything and anybody that’s wrong and take action to make it right.
Is it really so?
Not at all. We are free to do anything! We are even free to judge and punish and get revenge. Of course we are also free to take action and try to make things right. We are free to care and free not to care. That fact is that this Unconditional Freedom has nothing to do with either care nor carelessness. It’s a completely different dimension.
Okay, you might ask, what’s the point of entering a completely different dimension if we want to make this dimension better. Wouldn’t that be an attempt to escape.
No, not at all. It’s like saying that the linguistic dimension is unnecessary. Let’s try and solve problems the usual way, by using our fists. Why talk?
It’s the same with the Unconditional. Why meditate? Why become still inside and start to listening, really listening to the other person, not in order to find arguments and try be right, but in order to really understand and feel the other persons perspective. Listening, deeply, passionately, silently … That is a portal to the Unconditional Dimension and most probably, as an offspring of that, a better world.

lördag, mars 01, 2008

Silent, listening, embracing, accepting

Something is back there, behind your mind, behind your senseperceptions, feelings, thoughts, actions, there is something back there, behind your mind that is watching you, listening, registering, silently, silently …
It’s absolutely still, the mind can never ever percieve it, never imagine what it’s like, but it is there, in the background, behind you, … The Buddha in you …. This something does never interfere, it allows everything, every stupid thought, every stupid action, it embraces it all. Silently. You can almost sense it, but never more than sense it. It is the subject behind your ego-identity. Your ego is just a silly object, dancing one of all these stupid, funny and sometimes beautiful dances that egos get involved in. This something, this nameless, formless silences embraces every move, allows every move. You could say that this background silence something is unconditional love, it never leaves you. It’s always there holding you in it’s embrace. Allowing everything, loving you, caressing you no matter what you do.
This mysterious something is something that your mind can sense. And the beautiful thing is that it can sense it in other people too. The next time you meet someone, look for this mysterious Buddha in him or her. It’s there in everybody and the thing is that the Buddha in you can connect with the Buddha in everone you meet. It can connect in silence, in unconditional love.

Andra bloggar om: , , ,
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