Comment on Lozowick
We keep this testimonials to how Lozowick is such a sweet guy. The use of the term ‘slave’ is significant.
Lozowick forever blew his wad when he wrote his book Spiritual Slavery in the seventies. That was how I came across him. He has since, I am told, disowned the book, but apparently not the assholel gurudom that went with it.
That book created an immense confusion in many people trying to sort out the question of the New Age and gurus. The book was an unforgivable lapse on Lozowick’s part, and all this apology for this asshole should be transferred to some consideration for those who were harmed by his idiocy.
Comment on Default Philosophic Enlightenment
26.11.09 at 3:35 pm ·
“Students of meditation may justifiably critique default philosophic enlightenment as too simple. Perhaps. But it can help to orient oneself in a field of New Age confusions that is almost without end.”
Actually, I think that is the best thing for most people. There are too many idiots like Wilber and Goswami (I think the Self-Aware Universe is one of the worst books I have ever read) trying to support their ideas with mystical claptrap. They unwittingly reveal the dangers of amateurs trying to interpret these traditions.
Schopenhauer was a funny surprise: out of the blue, and before the flood of gurus arrives to confuse everyone, he produces the clearest spiritual psychology of them all. It’s funny, he doesn’t quite grasp the notion of enlightenment, and doesn’t refer to it, instead getting specific about the overcoming the will!
Priceless. The point is that his system of transcendental idealism makes the best foundation for a spiritual psychology. All these pandits and gurus are incapable of it at this point. Look at the labored futility of junk produced by Wilber and Andrew Cohen.
I am suspicious: it is very profitable to keep people confused.
Comment on More on Pali tradition
26.11.09 at 3:08 pm ·
I can only say that “oneness with the universe” and “being in the Now” were never the goals of Buddhism (they were actually criticized in the early texts…I can’t speak for the Mahayana here). The tendency to equate those goals with Buddhism was mostly done by New Agers who are, almost across the board, entirely ignorant of Buddhist texts and history.
Some help can be given by reading Patanjali and the distinction he makes between awareness and consciousness. The point is that awareness, in and of itself, is neither subjective nor objective not that one is non-dual with the universe (as the Upanishads and Vedanta claim). The activities of consciousness are what are reified into an entity. The best translation is Chip Hartranft’s:
26.11.09 at 3:25 pm ·
“Disunion” would be more appropriate as a term than “merging” with regard to early Buddhism and Patanjali as Feuerstein notes:
Schopenhauer on death
MBFM’s puzzlement is not surprising, few New Agers are there who can talk about what they are doing. The reason is the confusion created by electic teachings that are not properly understood.
A sense of merging with the universe is not really what the issue of meditation should be about. In general, non-dual thinking has spread a kind of corruption into yogic teachers, and represents a kind of spurious distraction or decline.
The great irony is the the first “New Ager’ of them all, Schopenhauer, innocently depicted the reality of the situation before the coming of the flood of gurus, who have succeeded in confusing everyone.
It is worth studying Kant/Schopenhauer (but Kant is very obscure) to see the simple question that drives the whole search: the mind tends to get contracted around a space-time version of itself. Simply realizing that you are not this version of ‘yourself’ is the first ‘default philosopnhic enlightenment’.
It is not a ‘state’, a drug experience, or anything else at all.
Students of meditation may justifiably critique default philosophic enlightenment as too simple. Perhaps. But it can help to orient oneself in a field of New Age confusions that is almost without end.
Comment on More on Pali Tradition
21.11.09 at 10:20 am
James, thanks for this.
I dont have much experience in this area. But years ago, I heard an old hippie tell of how he dropped acid and went for a walk in the local park.
He said he had an experience of merging with the universe.
When he ‘came down’ he reported being so depressed that he coped by going on a two week methamphetamine run. When that ended, he was *really* depressed.
Here’s what puzzled me as a listener:
If he merged with the universe, how could he remember the episode?
If he totally merged, wouldnt he have had some sort of blackout or amnesia due to nothing of his ’self’ being left to recall the episode, let alone feel depressed at having lost access to it?
Unfortunately, I lacked the confidence to ask the question. He told the story as part of a lecture, and I did not know how to frame the question without sounding like some kind of smart ass.
But thats a matter that has puzzled me ever since:
Folks report these merger experiences, some even manage to create lucrative careers out of it.
But if someone has completely merged with the universe or the absolute or what ever one calls it–wouldnt it be impossible to remember, due to no trace of self being left behind to witness the merger and recall it afterwards?
Ive always wonered whether, if someone had a complete merger of self and ground of all being, it would result in amnesia or a blackout.
Or perhaps one could only recall it by a bit of observing self re-condensing as one EXITS the merger,as one loses it, rather than whilst in it.
Its a bit like seeing the stars in the night sky. Many of them no longer exist in situ because they’re burned out. What we see is the light from dead starts, just now reaching us.
Perhaps this is what hinders understanding. Perhaps the people who talk most of enlightement are talking of past experience, not present experience, as they could only catch a glimpse as they exited, precisely because their egoic selves were re-condensing, both making it possible to experience the departure of the merger and recollect it as it departed.
So folks earning fortunes talking of the power of Now, are talking of the power of a previous Now, a stale ‘Now’
Imagine being able to make a fortune convincing people that moldy sandwiches are fresh. But thats what these gurus are doing.
Another James comment on Pali tradition
19.11.09 at 7:53 pm ·
I don’t mean to give the idea that the Pali tradition is a monolithic entity as a lot of variation can exist within that fold. Personally, I’m not really a fan of the Abhidhamma (not to say that it isn’t interesting) or the meditation traditions that spring from it (i.e. Mahasi), but the link is useful enough. I usually use the Pali tradition as a reference point because it doesn’t view view samadhi states as anything more than mundane unlike other spiritual traditions and it has a theory of meditative states that you don’t find in other traditions (even the Upanishadic). For instance, you can easily discern that Ramana Maharishi is probably hitting what the Pali suttas refer to as the “base of infinite consciousness.” He said that his experience was non-dual but there is a very subtle perception of “I am” with regard to it:
“Jnana is given neither from outside nor from another person. It can be realised by each and everyone in his own Heart. The jnana Guru of everyone is only the Supreme Self that is always revealing its own truth in every Heart through the being-conciousness ‘I am, I am.’ The granting of true knowledge by him is initiation into jnana. The grace of the Guru is only that Self-awareness that is one’s own true nature. It is the inner conciousness by which he is unceasingly revealing his existence. This divine upadesa is always going on naturally in everyone.”
“Not even an iota of Prarabdha exists for those who uninterruptedly attend to space of consciousness, which always shines as ‘I am’, which is not confined in the vast physical space, and which pervades everywhere without limitations.”
“The four levels of rupa jhana and the four levels of arupa jhana, taken together, are called the eight attainments (samapatti), all of which come down to two sorts: mundane and transcendent. In mundane jhana, the person who has attained jhana assumes that, ‘This is my self,’ or ‘I am that,’ and holds fast to these assumptions, not giving rise to the knowledge that can let go of those things in line with their true nature.”
“The formless acquisition can result from any of the formless states of concentration — such as an experience of infinite space, infinite consciousness, or nothingness. Although meditators, on experiencing these states, might assume that they have encountered their “true self,” the Buddha is careful to note that these are acquisitions, and that they are no more one’s true self than the body is.”
“Finally, although the Deathless is sometimes called consciousness without feature, without end, it is not to be confused with the formless stage of concentration called the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. One of the main differences between the two is that the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness is fabricated and willed (see MN 140). The element of will, though, can be very attenuated while one is in that dimension, and only discernment at an extremely subtle level can ferret it out. One way of testing for it is to see if there is any sense of identification with the knowing. If there is, then there is still the conceit of I-making and my-making applied to that state. Another test is to see if there is any sense that the knowing contains all things or is their source.”
Comment on A Controlled Environment
19.11.09 at 10:22 am
Nemo, there is yet another avenue to explore.
Timothy Leary of all people, became fascinated, first with Gurdjieff stuff, which he utilized at his Millhaven ashram. (Turn Off Your Mind by Gary Lachman)
Later, Leary became fascinated with Aleister Crowley.
A very scary list of interests for someone who was so influential in the culture at large. He may have gravited toward Gurdjieff and Crowley so as to make sense of what he was experiencing, but that he chose these as his role models hints at a frightening lack of discerment on the part of such an influential person.
In addition to the Google citations, one can consult Lachmans book too.
The link is already on page one of the Google search MBFM provided!
The Gurdjieff Con » Timothy LearyNov 19, 2009 … Timothy Leary of all people, became fascinated, first with Gurdjieff stuff, which he utilized at his Millhaven ashram. …
www.gurdjieff-con.net/2009/11/19/timothy-leary/ – 58 minutes ago
Finished a speed-read of Stripping the Gurus, very interesting. I welcome the critiques.
However, as we look back on the past generation of New Agers, we see that ALL (??!) the major figures ended in scandal. We should be suspicous! It defies probability.
Remember the West is a monotheistic disguised totalitarian environment run by Christian (Islamic) occultists controlling Christian slaves, with its own occult monopoly. They don’t take fly by night Eastern gurus lying down.
There are a lot of jokers in the background chuckling under their breath: a complete wipe-out across the board.
Figures like E.J. Gold are just on the outside of that. They have a good time fomenting sex scandals.
You never see the Christian occult world. Never, ever.
Islamic sufism is a degeneted situation where the truth has leaked out, up to a point.
In this totalitarian environment you are not allowed any occult awareness of what is going on.
So a sex-scandal in a Westernizing guru doesn’t amount to much. There are far more dangerous possibilities, with disciples as victims.
All these people are getting blown to bits coming out of the trenches.
Consider that pseudo decoy, Aleister Crowley, with his vicious mania for occult war. Stay away from his phony materials, but consider his example and the obessive and predatory mania to attack and destroy spiritual figures.
All these gurus so-called never knew what hit them.
Falk has a new work in progress, and blog to go with it: http://spiritonthebrain.com/blog/
I click on the link and what do I find: comments on Wade’s useless book on the evolution of religion:
The Faith Instinct
I hope we won’t be treated to a history of religion from the Darwinian perspective.
Here’s a short bit on Darwinism by Wilber, with surrounding quotes from various people.
Wilber probably didn’t help himself by citing Behe, but to charge him with no understanding Darwinism is ridiculous.
The issue of half a wing is or is not fair in this instance, but Darwinists are incapable of grasping that they have a problem with the evolution of complexity.
Dr. Lane—who has taught Darwinian evolution at a universi¬ty level—then (1996) pertinently assessed Wilber’s apparent com¬prehension of evolutionary biology: Read the rest of this entry »
I de-pdf’d one chapter of the book on Wilber, attacking him for his views on evolution. But this attack backfires totally: Wilber had the presence of mind to see through Darwinism, and this attack explains something about what is going on with many New Age outlets (e.g. EnlightenNext) who have learned to be wary of dissent on Darwinism.
I criticized Wilber here already for being confusing on evolution, unfair, he is learning to evade the Darwin establishment.
Attacking Wilber for not being a Darwinists is a waste of our time at this point.
From his footnotes and bibliographies alone, Wilber seems omniscient….
And as with meditation, clean living and exercise, one feels so much better after reading a little Wilber…. Read the rest of this entry »
I think it would be appropriate to get and discuss Falk’s book here, but I need to make clear that my position is not that of academic psychologists who want to put a straightjacket on anyone who thinks Buddhism had something to say to humanity. These blurbs by people such as John Horgan force me to dissociate myself from this perspective.
But this is nothing new. We have been saying this all along.
But you won’t Sufi black magicians like E.J. Gold by sucking your thumb with clinical psychology.
Meanwhile, Falk’s book looks interesting. (Didn’t we discuss it here already?)
Armed with wit, insight, and truly astonishing research, Geoffrey Falk utterly demolishes the notion of the enlightened guru who can lead devotees to nirvana. This entertaining and yet deadly serious book should be read by everyone pursuing or thinking of pursuing the path of guru devotion.
—John Horgan, author of Rational Mysticism
Stripping the Gurus is superb—one of the best books of its kind I have ever read. The research is meticulous, the writing engaging, and the overall thesis: devastatingly true. A stellar book.
—Dr. David C. Lane, California State University
This gripping and disturbing book should be read by anyone who finds themself revering a spiritual teacher.
—Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine
Geoffrey Falk’s delightful but disturbing unmasking of religious prophets and preachers who command a vast following is a welcome contribution to the literature on the gurus and god-men of all religions.
—Dr. Narasingha P. Sil, Western Oregon University