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| Self Realization and Enlightenment|
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|Hi I am new to this forum and believe in going right for trouble. I have read some things on this forum and the web about such notions as SR and Enlightenment. First of all SR has nothing to do with education or anything to do with the mind. It is not about how sparkling your personality is. It is not about your having discovered that since you can argue anything you are therefore a 'man'/are an adult. The reason I almost never come around yoga forums is because they remind me of the nonsense found in yoga classes where everyone is smiling and talking about how evolved they are and how great their meditation was. I never saw a bigger bunch of liars. (I know this by the answers they provided my guru year after year not learning or experiencing a blasted thing of any value/if they had they could not possibly have uttered such garbage - and repeatedly over the years! And likewise contrary to what I am likely to find on a yoga forum I have found sources that actually DID have some sort of a clue.) |
To discuss SR you need to first know what meditation is and I can assure you I would be very much surprised to find even a single person on ALL these forums that did. Without concentration there is no meditation plain and simple. You do not meditate riding the bus, listening to music and laying down daydreaming. Further, if you have figured out how to generate alpha waves that is not samadhi. Meditation is not fun and is in fact the hardest thing you will ever do because to meditate requires sustained concentration and that requires years of relentless practice controlling your mind. ALL yoga techniques are for that single purpose (concentration). For that matter so is all austerity in religion.
Meditation is not fun or easy and if you think it is -good clue - you are not meditating AT ALL.
Yoga does not have a monopoly on God. When someone in a religion - and all they can think about is God and all else distasteful, they may acquire the necessary concentration leading to meditation/contemplation and samadhi. There are many ways to achieve concentration but having talked to hundreds of students of every sort in the Washington DC area for years it is clear that most of them are highly deluded and pretty funny to boot. So are people on yoga forums for the most part.
My background is in Satguru Subramunia Raja Yoga/Sivananda/Richard Hittleman/Vivekananda and Vishnudevananda as well as years of practice in Kundalini Yoga. I don't agree with most of the students in these either only their founders.
Enlightenment? You can count on your FINGERS the number of people that have ever walked the planet that have ever achieved this. It is AT LEAST as hard to get from SR to Enlightenment as it is to get to SR and the odds of you getting to SR I estimate to be between 1 and 10 million to 1. SR is a lofty goal only sought and not expected to be achieved.
On the internet it is like this - 'if you half believe I am SR, I will half believe you are'...... it is about stinky politics. If you are popular enough that constitutes how spiritual you are. Pretty funny. I was on a yoga forum for a long time and learned how little people know about yoga except their teacher who is one page ahead of them in some book. SHOW me who is going to delineate the difference between raising Kundalini and Samadhi. Is it necessary to raise Kundalini to have samadhi? TELL ME why it is some people have success with mantras and others not. Go ahead. Tell me about the breathless state and how pranayama works. Tell me how you get psychic powers and why most people do not have them. Tell me why human love is folly. Thats my world. I studied directly under gurus for years. If you have been doing yoga for years, what sort of psychic power have you acquired? Or is it that these powers are just metaphors since -after all - you don't have them and have been practicing for years?......
|Hi Mike, |
I'm not sure what you are trying to say with your post other than that you are angry, know more than the rest of us and internet forums are stupid. If there are specific topics that you would like to discuss with members of this forum, please be more clear about what they are so that there can be more dialog and less monolog. The free exchange of ideas is a wonderful thing and it would be nice if you could join in.
|Hi Jim, |
I couldn't get the point of this post.
Location: Somewhere in the Mountains of Western NC
|Hey Mike and first of all...welcome to the forum. |
I certainly relate to everything you said. I've been where you are. I too spent many years in a Tibetan monastery, a small one, here in the states and saw exactly what you are talking about. It used to drive me nuts until I came to a resolution. That resolution is Tolerance, Acceptance and finally Compassion. If you can see this for what it truly is, then not only do you release all the judgement and distaste for ignorance, you begin to become of assistance, just by being in the world, living the example, etc. Have you ever noticed that once upon a time you were in their shoes too??? We've all been there, observed and witnessed the phenomena that you are talking about. That is why compassion is so very vital to our practice and is the very essence of our success, the success of others....but most importantly...the success of mankind. We are in a spiritual crises, globally. Even my guru used to say, "we are either going up or we are going down". I finally realized that the monastery was a learning place. Those "yoga" people were there for a purpose, to learn about themselves and they were just a reflection of me and you. We all mirror each other. So, if we are in conflict about it...then we need to examine this part of ourselves to see what needs to be addressed. You're absolutely right...meditation and yoga is a very difficult task, that is why we have a guru to guide us. My husband always says this, his guru told him that "hinduism or hindu culture is like a spider web, once you get caught up in it, it is never ending". It's never easy to embark upon the spiritual path, but it is necessary, there are so many layers that needs to be cut through....remember the story about Manjurshri and the 2-edge sword.
Great discussion here. I hope you can hang around and discuss it with us. Take care.
|I don't know much about yoga, but I can do math. If the odds of obtaining self realization are about 10 million to one, that means we can expect about 600 people on the planet to have achieved it. Of course, that includes all the infants, all the people who have never done meditation or yoga or anything else. So we probably need to narrow the numbers even more. |
If you are right about it being just as hard to get to enlightenment once a person reaches SR, then there is only a very, very slight chance that anyone on the planet has reached enlightenment.
Furthermore, its fairly well accepted that the living population now outnumbers the number of the dead. In other words, there are now more people alive than have lived and died throughout all history. As a result, if your numbers are right, then the number of people who have ever reached enlightenment is maybe as high as 1000, but probably not even that high. And as a result, the chances of there having been even one person to reach enlightenment is very small. Given your odds, it would be truly extraordinary for there to have even been more than 2 people ever to have made it.
Now here's my question: if only one or two people have gotten there, (and even that might be optimistic on this view) then what do the rest of us think we are talking about when you speak of enlightenment?
|Self realization and enlightenment are ideas, not actual states. |
If you are not personally self realized or enlightened, they are only ideas to you. If you believe that others are self realized or enlightened and that they live in these states, this is still only an idea, prompted by their words, your projections or by your imagination. (You have absolutely no way of knowing whether someone else is or was self realized or enlightened unless you are too.) You may, of course, believe anything that you want and filter out everything that does not agree with that belief until it really does seem to be the "truth".
Insane people truly believe that they are sane; that is their insanity.
Edited by jimg 2008-11-28 1:48 PM
"Now here's my question: if only one or two people have gotten there, (and even that might be optimistic on this view) then what do the rest of us think we are talking about when you speak of enlightenment?"
SR at best. That is why there are so many gurus in sex scandals and running around with 90 Rolls Royces etc. I mean even if you are not SR and there are not many gurus around to begin with but tons of yoga teachers - wouldn't it be in your ego's interest to somehow lead yourself and your teacher to believe they know more than they do. Who you rather tell someone is your teacher - someone 3 pages ahead of you in a yoga book or someone SR or worse yet Enlightened? Seen it all before - in spades at many yippee-dippie Washington yuppie-duppie functions from everything from shamanism to reikei. Don't waste a lot of time thinking your teacher knows more than they do they just don't.
Here is how this typically goes. You come into class and socialize and stretch and the teacher might say a few quotes by say Patanjali. Then maybe you may meditate which just means closing your eyes and daydreaming. Opening them 20 minutes later and since you don't want anyone to realize you were just daydreaming you smile like the rest of them but anyone that actually has had a samadhi is not fooled for a microsecond the whole class teacher included are full of bull. The teacher wants the students to come back and wants to feel they were successful teaching them/earned their money so the teacher is as optimistic as possible - all the while having been trained by the students what they need to hear to 'feel good about themselves.' So we find such garbage as 'guided meditation' where we all daydream the same thing. The teacher feels good about themselves. The students feel good about themselves. Not a speck of meditation has taken place but you will hear all these students humorously talking about how advanced they are - more like been doing it for years and still as clueless as the day they started. Everybody feels good about themselves and nobody has done one iota of meditation.
I am not saying the knowledge of hatha yoga and pranayama etc is not valuable. But all those things are for the single purpose of concentration in yoga. They are not the goal. They are the means to the goal.
As far as the chances of becoming SR in this life are so small, why bother is because whatever progress made in this life brings you that much closer in the next life (yes, you CAN and in fact DO take it with you when you go). And for all the person knows they may make rapid progress having done yoga in past lives. Like some people have a musical ear from reincarnation. That's why. The main reason I posted at all is to say there is a big difference between SR and Enlightenment. To emphasize if you are not concentrating you are simply wasting your time and you can call anything you like meditation but is not without concentration and third to emphasize the fact that consciousness is not a synonym for mind. (If I see a tree, I am not a tree. If I think the thought of a tree, I am not the thought of the tree either). The specific and only purpose of yoga is detachment (literally) of spirit from matter (senses and mind). No meditation takes place while thoughts exist. (you are in your mind). Detachment of consciousness/our awareness from that which it is aware of - thoughts/mind or senses. That is what Freedom (Kaivalya/Moksha/Mukti) MEANS. Daydream meditation means you as consciousness are attached to thoughts and there is no meditation at all. Meditation flows out of concentration and concentration ALONE. It is for this very same specific reason people have no psychic power either. When awareness is detached from thoughts and the senses it is free to turn inward on itself to discover its real Essence. To discover we are immortal indestructible souls that were never born and cannot die.
I hear you Cyndi but from my perspective a compassionate lie is a lie nevertheless. Yoga is about truth and deluding yourself that you are meditating without concentration is just exactly that - delusion. From my perspective people have to be told. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. You want to know what 'worst' is? How about some teacher telling me they have been practicing and teaching yoga for 30 years. I asked them what sort of powers did they acquire in that time. They assurd me the powers Patanjali talks about are only metaphors. If they were real they would have them. Worst because not only have they deluded themselves for 30 years but their students. Their students students on and on and on. Today I spend a large part of my day in advanced mathematics and physics trying to understand general relativity and quantum field theory. I have found that there - there are people looking for what is true and that is what yoga and God are about. Even if they are atheists at least they do not delude themselves. I find their frankness a refreshing breeze.
|Hi Mike, |
I can't say I disagree with what you say in your post but if you don't like the BS of the yoga world and forums why bother going there? Just let them be.
As for your point that meditation is only concentration of the mind is only half true.
Meditation up to a point is concentration of the mind but for a meditve state to be maintained the mind has to drop away.
If there is concentration then there has to be a mind to experience the proses of concentration.
So you haven't moved away from the bridge (mind) between the spirit and world.
So if you think meditation is only concentration then all you will ever experience is a mind that is concentrating.
Not anything that is freeing you from the mind.
| *sigh* I do try to not feed the trolls here, but ok, now that the conversation is started... |
I too have a serious dislike of hippie dippie pseudo yoga. So I don't do it, don't study it and don't endorse it. Don't know anyone who claims to be enlightened, self-realised or anything of the sort. I don't try to mislead my students that I am able to do much more than start them on the very beginnings of a long and challenging path. I accept that, other than knowing somewhat more than my students about how to perform asanas and pranayama, I am indeed not much more than three pages ahead of them in a very large and comprehensive book. I strive to be humble about that.
However - I do not go to public forums (or anywhere else, for that matter) and insult all others who practice or teach yoga in order to attempt to make myself appear more knowledgeable or wise. A self-righteous, self-aggrandizing "yogic-er than thou" attitude? Yeah, I can do without that.
Yes, there is a lot of BS, hypocrisy and snake oil sales in the yoga world. The yoga world is the same as every other "world", made up of people with all their flaws and potential. There is also a lot of good stuff going on. You seem to be preoccupied with what is wrong with the current practice of yoga and with your own adolescent fantasies about psychic powers and being superior to others.
Yoga in America and Canada today has a lot more to do with finding balance and with physical, emotional and mental health than the search for imaginary states like self realization and enlightenment or imaginary powers. Like it or not, Yoga has become mainstream, despite the lip service to Patanjuli and others. Whether it is Patanjuli, the Bible or the Koran, they are all part of the our superstitious mind's need for some kind of certainty in a dangerous and ever changing world. Clinging to old books or ancient beliefs will not make the world less dangerous or stop change. In fact, much of the danger in the world today is caused by people clinging to old books and ancient beliefs.
There are no higher states, no life after death, no secret or magical words, numbers, techniques, pills or formulas. This is it; right here; right now. This is all there is. If you let go of your childish fantasies, you can start really having joy in this process that we call life, instead of being maimed by the desire for that which isn't. Nobody ever finds the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because it doesn't exist. Once you accept that, you can start to really enjoy reality.
|Commiserate. I don't buy any of the above. Jimg is the most deluded of all/is the worst case I described above. We are not all the same. And if we were the above words used would not have been used. You people basically TELL on yourself. Something you will hear again but not here. It reminds me of the guy that is shown in a playboy cartoon that has crabs saying 'Lets all go jump into the bathtub together!' -as in if I can inflict you with my disease/dumb you down to my level we will be equal. Like I said, that is exactly why I don't come around these goofy forums. Good luck and goodbye.|
Location: Somewhere in the Mountains of Western NC
|Best wishes and good luck to ya Mike. Hope you find what your seeking.|
|What SR I do have came as a gift of grace I think. It is like a big picture but all the small details have not been worked out. At any rate, this is the only place I can even begin to talk about it (since I live in middle U.S.). Everyone else is into a Bible Realization. I do not have a yoga class to go to but I think I would find more kindred spirits there.|
|This is such an interesting discussion. I too hate people who just do the things for the sake of show off.|
Is there something wrong with amusement?
What do you do Mike when you are enlightened?
I think you will be happy seeing the children playing in the park.
I'll bet you like it.
|after SO MANY years of practice I hope you can cultivate some friendliness, joy, compassion & indifference. |
that does not mean accept hypocracy. it does not mean that yoga is a weight loss program. it does not mean it is about aromatherapy, low lighting and pastel colored studios.
hopefully our practice helps us know where we are and helps us to go deeper.
as Sri Krishna reminds us, 'no step taken on the path, is wasted. no progress is ever lost.'
|Some people believe that enlightenment happens at once, but others feel that it comes gradually. If it happens gradually then someone can tell what it will be like when he gets there since he is feeling more of it as he gets closer. |
I feel that there is at least one enlightened person on the planet at any given time. Once someone has gotten there, there is no need to be on the planet anymore except to help others. So only one is needed to help others.
I feel that the best book on describing this state of enlightenment is the Ashtavakra Gita: The Song of the Self Supreme. On this site about Enlightenment, it has a link to this very small online book so you can read it. It also has lots of information about the highest happiness from many different sources including top psychologists, the Dalai Lama, Aristotle, a Harvard medical professor, Eckhart Tolle, yoga on Wikipedia and the Katha Upanishad. Plus it defines what enlightenment is using something that psychologists have discovered and researched.
|dear ginko, enlightenment can come gradually or all at once. |
thank you for mentioning the ashtavakra gita
I think –“people often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates”. No one born famous or respectable, it’s just that how he created himself and how others are going to appreciate his ways. And this whole thing is possible through the self –belief. So believe yourself always, because there is only one person who knows you thoroughly and that’s only you.
|You yourself are the leader, the master, the guru, the teacher, the pupil as says Jiddu Krishnamurti.|
|What a topic )) |
It is enough consolation for me to know that there are other people who are working on this personal and abstract issue.
I often feel frustrated when I look around me and see people doing yoga (or other ordinary mundane things, for that matter) and wondering if any of the inner turmoil and struggles that I felt and think about ever crossed their minds.
Listening to "normal" conversations that seems to have nothing to do with my spiritual questions makes me feel alienated, separate, detached, even antisocial.
But in my better moments, I realize that every person is on a spiritual path, and the thing is about life - you only get to experience them one at a time. I wouldn't ever know the depth of someone else's journey of SR or enlightenment, I wouldn't ever know what other people experienced in their meditation. SR or enlightenment is already difficult to elaborate in itself, and I guess trying to compare one with another's would be like impossible.
To think about it - is "enlightenment" the most important thing on earth? Somehow that word sounds misleading to me. What is enlightenment anyway? Does it benefit people? Is it supposed to give people powers?
When I struggle with myself, in my meditation, what makes me feel sad is that I don't have enough love and compassion for myself or other people. I still feel angry, or afraid, or filling up my head with judgement. I want to love my body, yet I don't spend enough time taking care of it, forming positive images about it, strengthening it to its highest potential. I haven't practiced enough love, and the concept of enlightenment just seems too far.
All I can do is keep on moving, making myself a better person one step at a time.
And I'm glad that I'm not alone!
|Hi Lazue, |
You said "I haven't practiced enough love, and the concept of enlightenment just seems too far."
You cannot practice love. You can only remove the obstacles to love and let it happen. You cannot make it happen.
You are correct. "Enlightenment" is a concept. It is a concept that exists only in the mind as it is created by the mind.
Live your life with your body, mind and spirit in the real world, not in the world of concepts. Concepts are illusions and what causes suffering.
|Wonderfully said, Jim! |
Everybody is perfect and only thing to do in life is to let go all unnecessary things, habits, attitudes,behaviors. That liberates.
|Just a thought... |
lighten-up, throw light on, en-lighten. When more and more things come into your awareness you are closer to reality. You realize who you really are and who or what you aren't. You realize the illusions you had about the world. From death to sleep to drunken-drowsy to awake to fully aware. From sub-conscious to conscious to super-conscious. From animal nature to human to divine. When your conscious unites (yoga) with the subconscious. When you become one with the universe. When you go beyond the mind. When thoughts seize and silence prevails. When you go beyond pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes. When you have no desires. From buddhu to bhuddha.
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