After attending the most recent Dave Oshana online event, “Re-Parenting: Fixing the Mess that Your Parents Gifted You (Resolving Ancient Love Problems)”, I asked my wife: “Did Dave get enlightened on his last trip to the US?”
Dave is already enlightened and so of course I was making a joke, though not without purpose. Outside of retreats, Dave has never seemed so enlightened to me as he did during this event. He was on top of his game. Maybe the change was partially in me, after my one-month trip to the UK to energetically support my sister with her recovery, which was like a kind of extended Oshana retreat without Oshana. But I think something has also changed observably in Dave.
Normally, Dave’s online events tend to be unstructured, full of digressions and jokes and unfinished points, and I almost always find them unsatisfying at a purely intellectual or informational level. Not so this time. The event had all the focus and cohesion of a two-and-a-half-hour power-point presentation. It covered all the primary areas of Dave’s “teachings,” by which I mean, everything pertinent to human existence. A bold claim, I know, but I think this event could serve as a template for an entire book about what enlightenment actually is and how to reach it, and one that would be almost wholly free of spiritual jargon (I don’t think Dave named “the transmission” once). But that’s for a future project.
Speaking of scribe dharma (or karma), by some odd case of prescience, I decided before this meeting to take notes, something I have rarely if ever done before for an online event. Because of my foresight, I am now able to re-present some of the highlights of the talk, which I will then attempt to weave together with my own recent insights in London, during the period I was absent from this blog and the podcast (as some of you may have noticed). What follows is only a loose summary based on those notes; it is not an attempt to recreate the experience of attending the event, which is beyond my capacities within the current time frame. If you want to have your own experience, either sign up for a replay of the event, or sign up for the next Dave meeting, and hope for the best.
Dave began this event by stating that his job, above all else, is to relax our nervous systems. This is because we have all had our nervous systems disrupted by adverse formative experiences (beginning inside the womb), and because the disruption affects everything our nervous systems are hooked into, starting with our internal (and external) organs. And our nervous systems, healthy or not, are the foundation of all our perceptions. He invited us to observe our nervous systems in the present moment, and to consider the degree of disruption along a scale of extremely disturbed to undisturbed.
Our nervous systems are affected by varying degrees of pressure, both outer and inner, and this pressure relates to what we hold onto, and what we let go of (experientially speaking). At any given time, the many areas of our nervous systems are in a state of contraction or release; relaxing them allows for: a) letting go; and b) improved perceptual and cognitive performance.
When our nervous systems are contracted, they are holding onto past experiences, and those trapped feelings cause us to generate projections onto reality. These projections not only perpetuate tension within our nervous systems, they also prevent us from receiving what is happening around us, in any given moment, from noticing and responding to all of the information coming into our nerve endings, all of the time.
Dave spoke then about ideas of spirituality that include not having thoughts, emotions, or sensations (or sexual responses). He declared these ideas ridiculous and insisted that the only problem with our thoughts, emotions, and sensations is when they “go retrograde,” when they come back on themselves. At this point our nervous system begins fighting against itself. In the optimal state, being alive is a multidimensional experience consisting of thoughts, emotions, sensations, intuitions, and perceptions, both inner and outer. What we are seeking, all of the time, is a full experience of love: for every nerve ending and brain cell to be seen, accepted, and loved by existence. The message of life we are seeking is simply this: “It’s all good, and it’s going to get better.”
A shocked nervous system can’t receive this message, however, because it carries unprocessed trauma which creates a gap in the circuitry of our being, a gap we try ceaselessly to fill (as in the Freudian example of oral fixation: a baby denied or robbed of the breast that grows into an adult constantly looking for oral gratifications). Because of this trauma-generated gap, the things we think will satisfy us, never do. Consequently, when we experience a lack of these things, we may start to experience a new kind of satisfaction.
This closely echoed my experience in England, when I spent a month more or less focused on supporting my sister, and consequently had to put my own life (and the moment-to-moment quest for gratification) on hold. Since I was no longer focused on my own desires, but responding to cues outside of me, I think my nervous system was much more in “letting go mode” than usual. This meant I was receiving unusual amounts of information, guidance, and validation, and hence a deeper kind of satisfaction.
Sometimes the less we have (as Dave said), the greater our sense of aliveness becomes. Enlightenment is not about more, but less.
Me attending the Dave event (my wife was inspired to take a snapshot)
Reparenting is a matter of feeling our needs and recognizing that our parents, either in the past or the present, could not and cannot fulfill them. Using his favorite metaphor of food, Dave pointed out that the point of eating isn’t merely to stimulate the tongue but also the stomach, for the whole body to feel good. Likewise with love. The definition Dave gave of love was: “That force or energy or atmosphere that allows something to develop to its natural potential, in nature’s rhythm and nature’s time.”
He mentioned then the three treasures that every living thing is given: awareness, energy, and life purpose. Our goal is to let our life force lead our lives rather than parental programming. Parental programming pertains to an “anti-life program” installed in our minds. We have the option of separating our life force from our family line, to become independent from, but also reciprocal to, our family.
This also echoed my experience in London. Because of the unusual circumstances (crisis), I felt I was released in some way from the limitations imposed by my sense of being someone’s brother, uncle, or family member. As a result, I was freed up to transmit love and caring (as opposed to “mind-ing”) in a new way. By serving the life force rather than family conditioning, I was experiencing the love of my soul: both by receiving it, and (by becoming increasingly aligned with it) by transmitting it.
Dave described himself as a network repair engineer whose job is to help us link up our everyday bodily awareness to the awareness of the infinite, and allow our nervous systems to experience everything they are capable of experiencing. When the cells of our bodies are no longer talking to us in this way, we are at the mercy of what other people tell us. Our parents enter the picture as psychic usurpers, interstitials, intermediaries or middle men, coming between ourselves and our life force. By installing a guilt-script inside us, we learn one thing above all others: how to make ourselves feel bad.
Dave compared this guilt-script to a perverted Bodhisattva principal that prevents us from giving ourselves permission to access our life force. A healthy nervous system, on the other hand, is non-hierarchical and is wired up for the give and take of love. The right way is like the sunshine: plants aren’t forced to grow, the sun doesn’t tell a sunflower to get out of bed and get to work. It only shines. A relaxed nervous system is like a flower that opens to the sunshine.
The parental image, on the other hand, prevents us from coming home to ourselves. It functions via a combination of the parental programming in our minds with the shock installed in our bodies. The two work hand in hand with each other. The compulsive movements or mannerisms (as I described in a previous blogpost) which we all make are a distorted form of body language, or “Babel,” that forces us to leak our secrets. Our nervous systems are constantly trying to tell the story about what happened to us, and since our nervous systems are all communicating with one another, like trees with roots connecting under the earth, we are all electrically interconnected—a living network.
The first sense we need to get with, then, is our sense of the life force energy. All other impressions are secondary. Our concepts about “people,” especially, are part of the original parental programing that branded us and that comes between us and life. Our mother and father, at best, were conveyers of mother-father love, drawn from the reservoir of a pure parental love that seeks neither to take nor to hold itself back. As we tap into that original source, the mother-father love comes into us, and it naturally comes out of us; regardless of our surface behaviors, it flows outward to those in need.
(This also perfectly encapsulates my experience with my sister, and of the nature of soul love.)
Towards the end of the meeting, Dave spoke eloquently about how our life force energy is talking to us continuously through our nervous systems—like a pianist playing a piano. By separating from our parental programming, we are able to connect to the pure parental energy that exists outside of the material world. Our ancestors are trying to work with our life force energy (though there are good and bad ancestral influences), and we can also connect to them and work with them. On the other hand, we can also bypass our ancestral lineage and go direct to the original source, which is the human spirit.
Dave wound up by reminding us that we have an animal body, one that, only a few thousand years ago, was living wild in the forest, without a roof over its head or electricity, eating berries straight from the bushes. We still have all of that natural wisdom and ability within us to draw upon. We only have to stop certain behaviors to reenter our natural state of being.
During the first couple of weeks of my time in London, my sister was still in the hospital and I was living in her house, taking care of her cats, and meeting with her friends. Essentially, I was transposed from my life into hers. After the first few days, I fell quite severely ill with intense body nausea, so ill I could barely move. After a couple of days, I realized that my sense of being unable to move was at least partially in my mind. I had no will to move, because my physical state was so awful that my usual sense of mental volition (which is hooked into the endless quest for satisfaction) had been neutralized.
I decided to get up anyway, to act as if I were not ill. I showered, did some laundry, and went for a short walk in the football field nearby. I didn’t stop feeling terrible, but I realized that I didn’t feel any worse than when I was lying down, doing nothing. I also realized that it didn’t require any more will power to act than not to act. Both were equally within my power physically, and both were equally unappetizing to my mind. I began to wonder if enlightenment might be a bit like this; or, more precisely, if I might be experiencing what my body actually felt like to my soul (experiencing the toxicity of parental programming, for example). Was I learning to let my life force move me, rather than my mind, my false identity, or my will?
During this period, I had a number of dreams that seemed to signify some sort of awakening. Below is an audio clip of one of them. It will not make much sense to anyone who hasn’t had similar experiences, however (and perhaps not even to them), so feel free to skip it.
At this time I also recorded some insights that correspond, in unexpected ways, with Dave’s event, several weeks later. This confirms my sense at the time that my own “process” (or mission) in the UK was somehow sync-ed up with Dave’s in the US. For those who prefer to go to the horse’s mouth, here’s an audio clip. Below I have made a partial transcript.
My constant experience in London (though it’s really everywhere) was: “How is this person lost, and how can I help them to be less lost, or to be more aware that they are lost?” That sounds quite compassionate and benign, put in this way, but it may also sound something else. And it is something else, namely, how I am relentlessly looking for the ways in which a person is getting it wrong. The point of comparison is not exactly myself (but of course it really is, because I’m the only point of reference I have), but me in relation to Dave. “That’s my point of reference, what’s yours? That’s my orientation.”
Not that Dave is my orientation (I don’t conflate those two things directly), but what Dave has helped me to recognize. But it is very difficult to separate the two. Central to that is the rarity of what Dave embodies, the subtlety of that orientation: how easy it is to get it wrong and not know it. Because presumably there are many lesser or counterfeit versions in proximity to the real.
In London I became aware of how so many people (and it’s probably symptomatic of desperation) are emphasizing the ways that they’re getting it right, their belief that they have found their orientation, though they wouldn’t say it that way. This is so general that it’s almost invisible, even meaningless to talk about. But I think it would become more and more meaningful, and visible, if one were to truly find one’s orientation, because then one would see the ways that others had not.
This has to do with how people cling to (their belief in having found) some kind of orientation. The paradox of Dave—and this is liminalism—is that his orientation is observable in his lack of a need for any orientation. That’s it in a nutshell. He is absolutely on track, it seems to me, and the evidence is that he’s not clinging to anything, or asserting anything, as evidence of who he is or where he’s going. He’s just on his way there. He’s already there, but that being there is also being on one’s way somewhere. That’s the thing that people don’t have, and it’s a delicious irony, because for me to try and reorient them by sharing my orientation would of course invalidate it, it would neutralize my very intent, by trying to do something that can’t be done, by trying to tell something that can only be shown.
It’s the Tao that cannot be spoken, and yet, one can speak about the Tao while being in the Tao, even though the speaking isn’t the Tao. When the two come together, something remarkable happens, but even with Dave that’s rare. With Dave, it’s really just watching his body, which is him, his life force, and observing, if possible, the enjoyment of being. That has a quality of checking for inauthenticity, for me—“How authentic was that move?”—and waiting for the frisson of pure authenticity, rather than something diluted, slightly filtered, or not quite coming through.
It’s a question of tuning in, tuning in, and then getting a throb of a signal. Presumably, this has less to do with what Dave is doing than what’s happening for me. Dave is there as a resonator for me to tune my instrument better. This is a weird thing to observe, because it’s like a tuning fork that is there to tune things, but in order to be able to function as that, it has to calibrate itself by listening to the things that are both out of tune and in tune. So it is all about discernment—having someone to attune oneself to who is mostly in tune makes it that much easier to tune that instrument: because it’s a more consistent point of comparison.
If one doesn’t know if one’s instrument is out of tune, or the thing that one is trying to attune oneself to is out of tune, that can be impossible. One can’t recalibrate either. When one is with somebody who isn’t really themselves, one isn’t able to be oneself either, and that creates a negative feedback loop: the noise just increases until, at a certain point, one has to disengage.
My sister needs to find experiences—transmissions—to retune herself to, with, and against. That’s what we all need, because we’re all brain-damaged. We need to let it happen, and socialization prevents it from happening. This presents another weird paradox: what we need to happen is to get free of socialization but, if it wasn’t for socialization, we wouldn’t need to get free because we would always be in tune. But then we would be animals, so we have to retain some degree of socialization. There is this transitional, liminal period, which takes thousands of years for humanity but a lifetime for human individuals—if they’re lucky. And if they are Dave, then they’re really lucky and it’s only half a lifetime. But most humans would be damn lucky to accomplish this in a lifetime, to become fully attuned to the life force and to nature, while remaining socialized beings.
One thing about being in London: the difficulty of it is inseparable from the opportunity of it. Because I’m English (this is my social group), every encounter is a particularly rich opportunity for tuning the instrument and observing the ways in which it’s out of tune. It’s confusing though, because we are trying to use instruments as tuning forks for tuning instruments to. You can tune an instrument by using other instruments, but not if they are of tune. We’ve got a whole planet that’s full of human beings that are instruments that are out of tune, and there are no tuning forks. You could say trees and nature and animals are tuning forks, but as far as other human beings go, they’re not tuning forks, they’re other instruments. So our best chance is finding another human being who’s completely in tune, because then we can simply match it. But in the absence of that, we’ve got trial and error.
It’s very intuitive a process, because one’s sense of being in and out of tune is impaired because one’s whole life has been out of tune; but there’s still an instinctive sense of tune, and of course, with another person, one becomes more aware, not just of their tuniness, but also of one’s own. One is finding the right mirrors within which to see oneself, but one is also seeing the imperfections in the mirror while one is looking for one’s own imperfections. One is learning to distinguish between distortions in oneself that one can then correct—or that dissolve for being seen—and distortions in the reflecting object itself, which may also then dissolve in the other person, as a result of being seen. And the more they dissolve, the more clearly one can see oneself, the more clearly one can see one’s own distortions, the more they dissolve, the more the other can see themselves in us, and so on.
It’s a remarkable process, and it’s amazing to consider that this process, poetically described above, is more or less what we have now, and that it is looking more and more like hell on earth. People are having to gaze into each other’s reflections and see monsters there. And not being able to look but not being able to turn away, not being able to converse, we just keep smashing into each other, creating more and more shattered mirrors.
To round out this blogpost, which I realize is very rough and rudimentary but which I hope serves a purpose, I came away from Dave’s last online event feeling inspired, enriched, and excited, and not only (or even primarily) for myself, but for those who Dave may finally be reaching. My impression was that Dave is ready for “the big-time,” which is to say, to reach a wider, more skeptical and secular-minded audience. I think he has achieved a new level of condensation, coherence, and streamlining (transmission) that gives his info-delivery package an unprecedented punch. I find it hard to imagine anyone with any degree of awareness, discernment, or genuine interest in life, truth, or meaning not being deeply moved by this latest presentation.
Of course, I am thinking specifically of my own readers and listeners now (you), who may or may not have a particular degree of discernment, but also a rather skeptical, overly intellectual (or at least word-and-information-based) bias. I think you will be impressed, swayed, inspired, by Dave’s most recent package, but I am also aware that part of my reason for thinking this is that I found it unusually satisfying at a mental level, and food for thought is not what Dave is interested in providing. Or indeed what is of most benefit to anyone who is sincerely seeking freedom.
On the other hand, I do feel that many of the people I reach or encounter are lost without orientation, and that, when it comes to Dave, they are pretty much clueless. And if you are clueless, then that is at least partially because I have failed to present you with the sort of clues you can receive and respond to, that you can easily follow to the necessary body of evidence that will interface with your particular nervous systems, and provide you with the loving download you are, I am convinced, so sorely seeking.
Boston/NYC Noon – Minneapolis/Chicago 11am
Edmonton 10am – San Francisco 9am – Honolulu 6am
Mumbai 9:30pm – Tel Aviv 7pm
Next Day: Brisbane 2am – Tokyo 1am – Bali/Hong Kong Midnight
25 thoughts on “Calling All Nervous Systems to Inter-Planetary Tuning: Dave Oshana on How to Finally Get Some Satisfaction”
Thank you Jasun.
I attended this event. I am deeply grateful that you have articulated the essence of what was felt in such a clear way, and for providing insights into your own experiences. Blessings to you.
Thank you so much Jasun!
I attended this event also. I was wishing for some sort of transcript of this jam packed Dave event! At the replay I tried to take notes but just couldn’t keep up. Trying to listen with my mind , transfer the mind processed info to my hand for note taking and taking off In to experiencing, I just couldn’t keep up! Your blog of the event is a wish fulfilled. I agree, the event would make a great book and workbook.
I recall Angela but not a Hugo – maybe you are here incognito?
Good to get positive feedback from the “choir” – & one vote for the book project. Still waiting to hear from the previously unconvinced or “clueless” – are they any more clued in by this latest…?
Hugo was there, courageously, since the video meeting was between his 2-5am, but not a time to switch on bright lights and wake the house (it’s that late where I am now).
Thanks for the meeting “leak”. My own notes list is skimpier:
“Conception pressures; womb life; fluid, life-force and waves; nervous system calmer; network engineer; animal natures; connecting consciousness to bodily awareness; pleasure now; gut sensing; overwhelming eye-rolling food; ancestral programs transfer, becoming free and more…”
I was moved offer 2 video replays. The price of these artisan efforts has been halved for this week, in line with your shop’s ethic.
The next live online video interaction, Sunday 27th Oct, will be a full-on Ego/Squid routing. Your readers may witness what you described about your Winter Retreat experience, paraphrased ‘bloodied chick chased around a burning omelette pan’ – reminiscent of dreamscapes collapsing in Inception.
I’ll be there….( as the song goes)
I invite all my readers come & see me squirm
(I recall Hugo now, turning over twice in his sleep)
I must admit I find Dave’s approach to be a strange mixture of ideas. Some of it is of value such as the body aspect, but other aspects seem to veer off in a rather new age mysticism direction. I have suspicions about a person when they are giving spiritual advice that brings in things like ancestor influence. This has nothing to do with enlightenment whatsoever and is nothing but more conceptual fluff. The parental influence aspect is also dubious because it is teaching people to think in the wrong way. We need to move away from these kinds of conceptual ideas about our selves, not mire ourselves in self analysis regarding our parents influence etc.
Enlightenment is like a symphony, there are many elements that must be pulled together. It isn’t just the body. There are many people teaching “energy work” but that is not of itself enough. We practise action and observation of the body in order to perceive that which moves the body, which is the unconscious, which is free of conception and therefore eludes the intellect. We moderate our thoughts so that we don’t feed the unenlightened self. We moderate our emotions so that we don’t feed the unenlightened self and we moderate our desires so that we don’t feed the unenlightened self.
The thing that we think of as ourselves in the unelightened state is not the thing that becomes enlightened, it is the thing that is transcended. Feeding it keeps it alive wereas not feeding it takes the old self to it’s demise. Therefore have thoughts neither for or against things whilst observing the body and it’s actions and move towards that thoughtless enlightenment. Put yourself between the for and the against and transcend the deluded thought-mind.
IOW Andrew, a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind?
@Andrew: Ironically I found your post to be heavily-laden with concepts, some of them all-too-familiar, as well as with something else (finger wagging at the moon?)… ancestral influences may be conceptual fluff to you but not to others; didacticism about what enlightenment is telegraphs direct experience without much to back it up besides spiritual concepts; juxtaposed with an impatience for psychology spells out s-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l-i-t-y as a means to avoid unpleasant thoughts, feelings & sensations. Exactly what Dave is so refreshing in his ability & willingness to expose in all its empirical nakedness, and counteract with his gusto in going all the way into that “stuff” you deem of no import. Where there’s fruit, there’s roots.
@Dave O “IOW Andrew, a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind”?
Nah Dave you misunderstand the very nature of the mind. There is a non-conceptual side to the dualism that observes thoughts, emotions, sensations etc. Without this non-conceptual element which we could call pure awareness, the unconscious or suchness there is no perception. Enlightenment is a movement in to this non-conceptual awareness, but because it is non-conceptual you cannot enter in to it at the conceptual level. It is manifesting right in front of you at this very moment but you fail to see it for what it is because it has no characteristics and no conceptual element. When you say “a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind” you fail to realise that it is possible to operate from a point of view where even the concept of nothing doesn’t prevail.
What is it that observes thought? If that which observes thought also had thoughts would there not be two of you? There has to be an observer that is without thought and an object that is the thought itself. The observer is pure awareness or suchness.
Zen says “A single thought at once misses it”.
A person who enters in to this state does not become dead to the world, on the contrary they are “in” the world to a degree the unenligthened person cannot comprehend. Their intelligence is direct perception and has no need to go through conceptual thinking to comprehend things.
Wondering how asking “a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind?” indicates misunderstanding “the very nature of the mind” especially when it is not incongruent with your last comment to me. I sought to discover whether you prescribe “a diet of nothing” after reading your first comment on this page.
Andrew G.: “Nah Dave you misunderstand the very nature of the mind.”
“Ironically I found your post to be heavily-laden with concepts”
Well of course it is, a person can’t open their mouth without indulging in concepts.
“as well as with something else (finger wagging at the moon?)”
Theres nothing to wag at ultimately, thats conceptualisation.
” ancestral influences may be conceptual fluff to you but not to others”
You’re too intelligent to believe that.
“didacticism about what enlightenment is telegraphs direct experience without much to back it up besides spiritual concept”
Theres a difference between trying to explain things and actual practise and perception. They can be completely at odds with one another.
where’s the popcorn-munching smilie?
I am wary to come between this clash of didactics with embodiment, being too eager to see what happens when top-heavy meets soul-rooted. But I have an ongoing fascination for claimants of enlightenment whose way of communicating seems the very opposite of reality-oriented, open-hearted, or undefended. There is a podcast I did a while ago with Jed McKenna-follower (or stalker) “Tano,” whose assertions of enlightenment were to me, indistinguishable from the barbed wire defenses of a beleaguered super-ego. It’s surprising how common this seems to be in “spiritual” circles, and central, I think, to what makes Dave’s “work” (or my attempts to support it) so slow-going, like wading through toffee treacle to get to the real honey. I would suggest that Andrew chill out and drop the didactics, if he wants to learn something, except it’s apparent he didn’t come here to learn. So instead I’ll say, Knock yourself out: Dave needs a warm up for Sunday’s squid-wrestling, so let the games begin!
Though Andrew made several unnecessary put-downs, unwarranted by fact or truth, to segue into sectarian preaching, I am open to the possibility that he may have deeply realised something, and so will not retort in kind: “Nah Andrew you misunderstand the very nature of the mind.”
The real “work” online on Sunday will be done cam-to-cam, where subtle body language reveals more about the speaker than camo-a-camo (carefully chosen camouflaging words), so be sure to be well-lit, naked and full HD.
Thanks for your reply Dave, I don’t like hostility and arguments that get out of hand either. I wasn’t putting you down with the “Nah” comment it was said more in weary resignation than as a putdown, mainly because I’ve had that “a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind” argument thrown at me before and I can see the error in it. When there is no conceptualisation, there is no conceptual mind, there is only perception.
Keep up the body work, I have never disagreed with you on the value of physical activity. I used to practise Tai Chi myself for the very reason that it takes the mind away from the conceptual and in to the actual.
“I’ve had that “a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind” argument thrown at me before”
When someone directly makes a profound claim, I have an interest in checking it.
In asking the question “a diet of nothing for the conceptual mind?” there was no apparent “argument” or “misunderstand[ing] the very nature of the mind”.
I was seeking to get clearer about your claims and position. Your replies have not answered the question but made communication, around an already complex and complicated subject, more tenuous.
You might not want to take the conversation further, I am not sure if I will invest the time either. But I am motivated to classify you better, since I have started to move from wondering to doubting if your words, experience, knowledge and manner are congruent with what I experience to be true. I am open-minded but not believing everything.
Do you disagree that there is a “conceptual mind”?
By referring to “the unconscious”, if you do not mean “the unconscious mind” then what do you mean?
I think we are terribly, terribly at crossed purposes here. I actually don’t advocate a “Spiritual” path as such, more a retreating from error approach, but my approach sees certain spiritual principles as valid whereas you seem to view them with suspicion. To use the intellect in an attempt to enlighten oneself is akin to a man in a hole digging downwards in order to free himself. He’s working against himself. You may not like that principle and I could turn it on you and accuse you of egotism for rejecting it, which is something you do, but if it’s true, where are you?
It’s not individual psychological problems that prevent enlightenment it’s the whole human psychological makeup, the system itself. If enlightenment were purely a matter of balanced psychology then a well adjusted “normal” person ought to find it very easy, but they don’t, they find it perplexing in the extreme. That’s because they haven’t grasped certain important principles, namely that the more they use their intellect the further they take themseves from enlightenment. This is the perennial problem, the great mystery.
Contrary to what you seem to think, bringing the mind under control is anti-spiritual because there is no longer any cleaving to erroneous “spiritual” ideas. It is a process of elimination of “ideas about oneself” and assumptions that this current self is important or is your real self etc. It is our implicit assumption that our self is of terrible importance that is part of the problem. This is why people balk at the idea of bringing their thoughts under control, because they see it as annihilation of the self and it’s therefore the opposite of egotism. What they don’t realise is that there is something observing their thoughts that actually is them but it’s free of conception. When it is entered in to, it illuminates the body and senses and dissolves the psychological framework that the person previously thought of as themselves. The person is then free of all conditioning circumstances. This is what Zen means when it says “Cutting off thoughts, we cut off concurrent causes”.
When you talk about lack of open heartedness, that is because I am discussing a particular aspect of the process and my approach is to be as clear as possible. That doesn’t mean I don’t advocate compassion and humility. On the contrary, a person will find it terribly difficult to bring thought under control without a large amount of humility. The mind must be soft not hard. As zen says, “Softness triumphs over hardness”.
“Do you disagree that there is a “conceptual mind”?
By referring to “the unconscious”, if you do not mean “the unconscious mind” then what do you mean?”
I tried my best to explain that the mind exists in a dualistic state. The conceptual mind is an illusion created by the interplay of the unconscious (pure awareness) and phenomena that arise within the unconscious. These phenomena include thought, matter, heat, light etc. The awareness perceives but it is free of conception. The conceptual mind is an illusion created by the perception of thought phenomena arising in the pure awareness. The unenlightened person mistakes this thought phenomena for the self not realising it arises out of something that is in a state of non-conception.
This is what Zen is referring to when it talks about “thinking without thinking”. There is something that “knows” but is free of conception. You could think of it as a kind of intuition but it’s more that that.
Zen also says “Prajna unknowing knows all, prajna unseeing sees all”.
Prajna means the knowing or direct perception of the unconscious. It’s sometimes called wisdom because it knows without going through the abstract thinking process. If you find this difficult to conceive of, ask yourself what happens before a though arises? Does something indeed “think without thinking”?
In the end we can discuss this until the cows come home so I’ll drop out of this conversation because it will become endless repetition. You and Jasun have your own views and I only comment when I think someone has got things wrong in some way, not merely to critiscise but in an attempt to be helpful.
“In the end we can discuss this until the cows come home so I’ll drop out of this conversation because it will become endless repetition. You and Jasun have your own views and I only comment when I think someone has got things wrong in some way, not merely to critiscise but in an attempt to be helpful.”
I wonder how often you comment and then bail? In this case, I don’t mind the conversation ending because you have repeatedly misunderstood and mischaracterized my position, and have fought with a straw man’s windmills. Even a cursory review of my work would reveal the opposite of your misrepresentations. For example, I do not promote controlling anything, including one’s mind, as a way to Enlightenment. I had hoped to understand you better, but perhaps this is as far as it can go.
@Andrew G. or no one
My latest article posted last Wednesday and at the top of the list on my homepage and linked from today’s live online event indicates my position about what I thought we could call the “conceptual mind” as way to bridge ideo-loogies.
“I spent several decades, as a spiritual seeker, fruitlessly trying to control my Ego, at the recommendation of my spiritual teachers, who never satisfactorily defined what the Ego is or how to find it. In fact, they never defined any of the spiritual terms, except by using more terms that were never defined. Possibly, because their “understanding” was not grounded in actual experience.”
>I only comment when I think someone has got things wrong in some way, not merely to critiscise but in an attempt to be helpful.
Note to self: pointing out to others when I think they are getting it wrong is probably not the best way to be helpful.
There is a quote from a 17th century Japanese warrior and philosopher called Miyamoto Musashi that I find particularly credible:
“Never be late with respect to the Way of the warrior. Be useful to the lord. Be respectful to your parents. Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of man.”
Although I know almost nothing about the guy, something tells me he was much more interested in living a life of service to his fellow human beings than he was in contemplating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The older I get, I am now 61 years old, the more possibility for good I see in the former over the latter.
For anyone interested, my web search found the following reference for Mr. Musashi:
Great blog Jasun. I feel it captures the essence of the some of what I experienced with Dave in New England. Tuning is a way of describing the transmission that keeps coming up for me. I am pretty sure Dave reached a new level of enlightenment in the US mostly as a result of his smoothie preparation…and relative to the intellectual masturbation above, while that Tao says that naming is the origin of all particular things, i am intrigued by the origin of non-particular things. Much better theater.
Maybe Mike H. prefers Noh Theatre. Hoho!
“Smoothie preparation” (a reference to profound daily event on par with the Japaense tea ceremony) segueing into “intellectual masturbation” might give a Confucian message.
hi Mike – glad to dropped by even if to unwittingly provide an opening for DO’s body-centric double entendring; seems this blog is now serving as a two-way bridge between Dave’s thang and my own, a healthy and desirable development from my point of view.
For the last few days, I’d been preparing to jump into the enlightening discussion here. However, I was inscrutably interrupted by having a dream last night involving you riding a horse through my San Fernando Valley neighborhood.
Actually, you must have come to visit me because I gave you directions from my home here in Van Nuys to travel North, which may indicate that you were intending to go home to BC which lies due North from me in LA.
I watched you ride to the corner intersection, take the right turn to go North, but then, you changed your mind and you started riding the dark brown horse in a circle, made one revolution and then started traveling South. I followed your progress somehow, perhaps I was watching you from a drone camera.
You were riding South toward Studio City, which means eventually, assuming you kept to your southerly direction, you would be going “over the hill” as we say here (over the transverse Santa Monica Mtn. range) to descend to Beverly Hills or West Hollywood,.
But I also noticed that you were not a lone cowboy, not a Clint Eastwood as High Plains Drifter, i.e., the only horseman traversing avenues filled with cars and trucks and no other horses. I realized that you were actually leading an entourage (or was it a posse?) of others, but they were all driving cars.
I came to that realization because I recall feeling worried about you being struck by a car but then as I watched your progress, I saw that the cars behind you were part of your posse or entourage. So perhaps you were storming Hollywood. (You were definitely not being a tourist!)
That’s where the dream ended. Later in the morning, I was trying to figure out why you were riding a horse. At first, I wondered if it was my cheeky autardic sensibilities making a rebus-like visual pun: “Hey look, Jasun is riding a Horse-ly!” Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!
But such autistic glee was fleeting and so I quickly gave up interpreting the dream. However, all of a sudden, a miracle happened! Or at least a great synchronicity which I believe will help you to interpret my dream instead.
I was channel surfing on cable-TV and happened upon the ending of the 2011 film “Cowboys and Aliens”. And there you were, riding off into the cloudy sunset on your dark brown horse. You, being the Daniel Craig character who was the amnesiac outlaw saving the West from the aliens, but actually losing the girl because she sacrificed herself to blow up the aliens in the rocket ship.
So, what was the name of this amnesiac outlaw character played by Daniel Craig? Jake Lonergan! (If that surname is a play on the name Lohengrin, then I must needs dub you as Jake Lohengrin, the son of Parsifal and a Grail Knight riding on your Horse-ly – which is so much cooler than being pulled by swans in a boat.)
(Here is a pic I found from the movie. Pretty close to my dream image!)