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 Deifing the "still small voice" and intution

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:01 am

First topic message reminder :

http://edge.org/conversation/the-marvels-and-flaws-of-intuitive-thinking

So I am starting this new topic.... what is this "still small voice" that is often used in spiritual circles. How we deify, glorify "the still small voice," deciding that one of the voices in your mind is God, the Cosmic Buddha, the TRUTH.... and the practice of seeking out these inner voices and making that a focal point of your spiritual practice. This goes hand in hand with denying and even demonizing rational / logical thinking and analysis. And the excessive confidence we place in our inner stories that the mind constructs based on little or no evidence. People have great belief and faith based on little evidence. It is the suppression of all doubt, of all ambiguity, all rational thinking.

Certainly at Shasta, starting with Kennett's lotus blossom period, the emphasis on listening to "the still small voice" became a dominant aspect of the religious practice. This concept overwhelmed conventional Zen practice, creating what we have called the Church of Kennett.

The concept of "the still small voice" comes out of the Old Testament, the mythology / story of the ONE TRUE GOD who talks to his chosen people and they obey -- and the jewish prophets connect to this deity, they hear his voice and instructions and follow his words. This deity, God, Jehovah - is mostly related to as a voice, as instructions, as specific directions that must be followed. Yes, every so often there is a burning bush or a pillar of fire, but mostly this deity comes through as a voice. The Buddha, the Zen tradition, did not teach that we should find and listen to any voices in our minds. Just the opposite actually. It taught the end of all voices, all mind constructions, all projections, all stories.

Connecting to this "God", this divine, and listening to this voice - is a common practice in western religion as well as new age circles. Finding and connecting to this God, this deity, this higher self, that has a particular voice and point of view, channeling this voice, asking this voice questions and getting answers, common religious practice found all over the world. But what is it? We try to listen to our intuition, our inner knowing, but what is this?

There are so many current examples of this kind of religious thinking. There is a series of books -- Conversations with God -- great example. This fellow says he is talking to "God" and channels thousands of pages of dialogues with "God" and makes millions of dollars, selling books and giving workshops and seminars. Other people channel other divine entities, deities, angels, ascended masters, presenting these voices and dialogues as divine instructions. The new age section of the book store has literally hundreds of examples of people channeling divine beings and voices.

As I left Shasta, Kennett was dialoguing with the "Cosmic Buddha' dozens, hundreds of times each day, asking the "cosmic buddha" what truck to buy, who she should vote for, when she should go down to San Francisco, what to do - in literally every situation, even the most minor. And she asked that everyone around her also participate in this practice of asking this cosmic buddha, of listening to these voices, and making sure we all got the same "answer." Setting aside this extreme situation -- and it was extreme, even bizarre, we can reasonably ask what it means to make listening to the "still small voice" or the "voice of the eternal" the central aspect of spiritual practice. And what does this have to do with dharma, zen, the teachings of the Buddha?
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Stan Giko



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:09 pm

Hi, Mike/Chisan,

I`m not saying my meditation is " a form of thinking".

I`m not really clear what you mean by "form of" either. We all know that
meditation is supposed to be neither trying to think nor not to think. I guess
you`ve got something else in mind.

I was comparing Dogen`s commentary re `reaching for a pillow` with listening
for or to `the still small voice` and saying that to me they point to the same
thing. As it`s allegorical , I don`t hear voices nor look for pillows The
commentary actually referred to training not meditation per se. Not that there`s much difference.

I don`t regard meditation as formal sitting only as one would expect but I
don`t try to deny thinking. Thinking happens and only then do I notice it.
All the senses seem to work like this and what a relief. I don`t have to
initiate every single experience in my life and it`s therefore possible just to be.

However, If I am reading a sutra say, and there is something I can`t quite
understand, my mind seems to come to a stop as I struggle for an answer.
part of the struggle may be letting go of `struggling`and using every sense I
have to find the `answer`.

It`s a bit like being thrown into deep water unexpectedly. Somehow you will
come to the surface. What is it that lets you know how to do that ?

I could say to you.... Mike, tell me right now, Why do you train / meditate ?

If you can`t tell me instantly, What is your mind doing in that moment ?

Have you heard of that Christian book ` The Cloud Of Unknowing` ? I see that
as the full length feature version of `The Still Small Voice` !

At one o`clock at night, that`s my best straight, non slippery answer to your
question.

May I ask you a question Mike ? Why do YOU train ?

Take care, Stan.
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Stan Giko



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:16 pm

GLORFINDEL.....You little so and so !

You nearly had me going there ! You can get a man worried you know.

You`re a sneaky dude. People could think we`re working a double act.

Look forward to seeing you back in the arena....er, on the forum.

Catch you later, Stan.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:52 am

Stan sorry I could not back to you earlier I tend to go to bed and get up very early
Answering your question meditation is the natural thing to do
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Stan Giko



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:13 am

Hey Howard,

That`s weird ! Yes, I was joking when I said " Just as well Jiyu didn`t say.....".

I had to read the first part of your post again to make sure I hadn`t got you
wrong or that YOU were joking.

Anyway, I had to go rooting for that saying as I remember Jiyu doing a lecture
on that topic. I found it in `Roar of the tigress 2` page 198.

It transpires it was from a commentary by Dogen on an original saying by Dogo.

SOooo....If it`s good enough for Dogo, Dogen and Jiyu, it`s good enough for
me. That`ll teach me to put words into other peoples mouths ! It took me
ages to find it.

I`ll refer people to Dogen if they`ve got a beef with that one.


Winter`s setting in and I bet you`re busy trying to keep people warm. Season
for the big bucks ?

Thanks for that connection Howard. I quite like it.

Stan.
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Ol'ga



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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:39 pm

Michael said:

Stan are you saying your meditation is a form of thinking?

and again:
meditation is the natural thing to do

So is thinking, is it not?

Luv,
Ol'ga
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:27 pm

Any time you say what meditation is, a trickster (or zen teacher) gets to jump out and say that very description is evidence of some attachment. Don't believe me...go on..try it again. The same results in different flavours happens every time unless you're alone.
Meditation Teachers don't even go beyond Zen kindergarten until they master that little number. Think a zen teacher is avoiding you, just try defining what meditation is out loud within their hearing range. Works every time.

I think we should start a new thread titled "How to have fun with zen masters"

Anyways, I'm off topic again.

The correct response to a definition of meditation is with a wise look (a toughie on the Internet) followed by the sage dispensing of what meditation is not. 10 full points for reaffirming ones smuggery with a couple of bonus points thrown in for coincidentally being correct.

When people say meditation is a natural thing to do, they are sometimes just saying it's what they do when there is nothing better to do. It's one of those answers that even zen nit pickers can't touch.

My favourite definition of meditation is just the instructions on how to do it because it's so effective in moving it all out of the ego arena.

Have a good weekend everybody.
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:03 am

Hi Olga yes you are allowed to think
Zen is a great religion as it is not passed on intellectually or realized through thought processes.
Zen is passed on heart to heart,and gradually realized through the practice of mindfullness or awareness.
Glimpses of greater awareness allow our practice to mature to awareness and unity within our daily lives,of normal living.
I would like to say more but my mum has woken up early today and needs some help

The main case at the end of the teisho is Dogen's koan

http://www.mro.org/mr/archive/21-1/articles/dogens300.html
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 26, 2011 4:58 am

:-) Hi! Just a quick fly past...

Any "Zen" that does not permit dharma-vicaya (examination, investigation, search of phenomena) is not a Buddhist Zen. Dharma-vicaya is an aspect of right understanding, and one of the 'factors of enlightenment' (listed after mindfulness); I think it would be a very unusual person indeed who could manage to go far in their training without it.

The process of dharma-vicaya is also simultaneously to be treated as an object of right mindfulness, i.e while one is in the process of doing it. For deep investigations, where one turfs up stuff of which one has been unconscious, one needs the stability of right mindfulness, plus right intention/resolve and right effort. (Right intention/resolve comprises 1) intention/resolve to give up and let go of unwholesome states, 2) intention/resolve of non-ill will/goodwill (including toward oneself), and 3) intention/resolve of harmlessness/compassion (including toward oneself). “Unwholesome states” are connected to covetousness, hate (including toward oneself), and delusion/mental dullness (i.e dulling oneself). Right effort is for the non-arising of unarisen unwholesome states, the abandoning of arisen unwholesome states, the arising of unarisen wholesome states, and the maintenance of arisen wholesome states.)

If one has been used to a daily-life practice consisting solely of the clarity and stability that comes automatically from mindfulness, the prospect of deeply penetrating dharma-vicaya can be disturbing and one may wonder if it is not a backward step in ones training....

On that note of suspense, I will have to buzz off. (Send all questions to CMH!) (-:
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:59 am

In all the worlds of life and death we meet again Anne. You have an amazing ability to always make me smile and laugh, you are always 100% Anne, but then who else could you be?
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:27 pm

Following a Dharma talk during my introductory retreat at SA, in which the "discriminative" mind was defined as a problem, I asked the teacher (roughly), "How do you get through a day of work without needing to evaluate the relative merits of different courses of action? Doesn't the obvious need to choose one course over others suggest that discimination, telling one thing from another, is utterly necessary?

The teacher gave what I thought was a terrific answer, which I now can only paraphrase: You see, you use the discriminative mind whenever you need it, and you bend your whole attention to your work in order to make the best choices that you can. The problem is that the discriminative mind has a way of becoming involved in your abiding when you truly don't need it, and then tends to create likes and dislikes, and thus potential suffering, where you could just be present in what is.

If that is what they teach consistently at SA, then it's hardly as anti-intellectual as all that.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Thu Nov 03, 2011 11:05 pm

Dan, well said! (And good to see you posting again!)

I think that the "discriminative mind", in SA/ OBC parlance refers, primarily, to dualistic thinking. This is very different from the essential process of discernment, or dharma-vicaya, that Anne refers to.

RM Jiyu certainly recognized the importance of discernment (in contrast to dualistic thinking), but, in my experience, tended to down-play it. I would propose that it is time to bring it back, through a more thorough understanding--and recognition--that right thought has nothing to do with dualistic thought.

I would propose that we can discern essential distinctions, without turning them into opposites, by allowing non-dual awareness to make use of the intellect, without being used by it.

Duality is a presumption of fundamental opposition or oppositness or separation. Non-duality is a recognition that "all is one--and all is different". Anne's reference to "dharma vicaya" is the recognition that we can (and must be able to) recognize the distinctions between the "all is different", from the perspective of the "all is one".

These are a lot of words for talking about something that is very simple. It is, in essence, just a matter of learning how to think non-dualistically.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:54 am

Thanks Kozan.

I think you're pretty much on the money.

But I confess that I don't quite recognize a difference in meaning between discernment and discrimination, except for the obvious fact that the latter term has a negative connotation from its use in common phrases such as "racial discrimination". Does that encourage us to (ahem) push discrimination away, and we *actually* should avoid avoiding it?

Oh, my mistake, by "discernment" you mean "wise discernment"! Well, Reverend Master, that helps to identify the desirable, and I'll get right on wanting that! Very Happy

And with sincerest respect to Anne's knowledge of the Dharma, (reckless concatenation and fornications of various teachings follows ad nauseam...)

You can point all you want to, I ain't lookin at no freakin' moon.Cool


Last edited by ddolmar on Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:03 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : angle brackets don't work...who knew?)
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:55 am

Dan, you wrote:

"But I confess that I don't quite recognize a difference in meaning between discernment and discrimination..."

Good point. The definitions of these two words share much in common.

Discrimination adds the nuances of: "to divide" and, "to show partiality or prejudice".

Discernment implies "keen perception or judgment, insight, acumen".

(Both quotes from my copy of Webster's New World College Dictionary, fourth Edition).

Nevertheless, my use of the words are biased by my purpose--which is simply to make the point that thinking itself is not inherently dualistic.

We can think dualistically--and divide our perception of reality into a succession of opposites. Or, we can think holistically--and use our ability to discern distinctions (which is essential in its own right) as a way of recognizing the unity that lies beyond both.

If we are not able to embrace discrimination within unity, then I think that "unity" just becomes another form of reductionism.

Your additional comments, Dan, seem quite interesting; but I'm not sure what you are referring to.
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:07 am

Making a little light fun is all, trying to twist the Dharma up in a knot.

Or at best, use a little Socratic inference to underline how you can't so easily get away from desire and avoidance by just identifying better and worse frames of mind. Kinda seems like the Dharma/Sangha is saying "non-dual thinking is important, except when it comes to states of your own brain, how you think about things, in which case we have definite and strong opinions about how things *ought* to be that you should want (desire, there we go again!) to adopt."

But that explanation pretends to a more serious purpose than to razz the next RM to whom one can put questions ("Thanks, Master, for giving me something new to pull towards me or push away!"), which is about as deep as I feel like going, lately.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:13 pm

Dan, you wrote:

"Kinda seems like the Dharma/Sangha is saying "non-dual thinking is important, except when it comes to states of your own brain, how you think about things, in which case we have definite and strong opinions about how things *ought* to be that you should want (desire, there we go again!) to adopt."

Excellent point! I think that even the best teaching can also be used for institutional ends (e.g. ...why you should adopt our (party line) beliefs for the sake of your spiritual practice). I don't mean to say that religious institutions in general, or the OBC in particular, should therefore be avoided--far from it in fact--but simply that awareness of the dynamic that you point to is so important for the sake of spiritual practice itself.
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:41 pm

:-) Hi Dan!

I don't know if this has anything to do with what you were expressing above but one is, in a sense, always 'chosing' something, doing 'this' or doing 'that'. So, for example, a choice can be (to pull from the above "reckless concatenation and fornications" of traditional Buddhist teaching on the Noble Eightfold Path) to aim toward maintaining right effort or (if you know that the foregoing choice exists) not so aim. To actually think, "Hmm, yes, I would like to do that" (as a practical effort rather than as "Wouldn't that look good on me!"), does that look just like duality? Perhaps at the outset, and one may want to flow 'choicelessly' on; but actually in the latter, one has just made another choice: one has not escaped and put oneself above the opposites.

Perhaps useful questions are: will this choice reduce suffering, will it facilitate clear-seeing? And from that: is ones understanding of non-duality big enough to accommodate deliberate choice and preference? One of the exploits of the renowned oozlum bird comes to mind...as it may often do in Buddhist training! Wink

In first deliberately taking the step of resolve and making that choice, one might feel an uncomfortable sense of 'me' and think, "Oh, help! Self!" (or "Have I fallen out of non-duality!?"; see above) but this may be no more than mistaking sensations, thoughts and actions for a 'self'; in shadow, a rope got mistaken for a snake but it won't bite.

Of course, I may be totally gibbering and have missed completely what you were wanting to say... My post doesn't seem to have anything to do with the topic of the thread but that's nothing new for me!
drunken I think I will now scarper like that paradoxical old bird and leave all questions in the capable hands of Kozan! (-:
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:29 am

Well 100% Anne, you talk of the subtleties of self and other. The thin layers of ego, I feel at one with the universe,I had a good meditation,I let go of my thoughts,I have trained myself,I have polished the mirror so it reflects the dust, I have a mirror mind,I have had a kensho,My training is sincere.
I remember 1970 at the Tathata retreat, a well documented retreat, we went into Gloucester every 3 days for a break, and did kinhin round the cloisters of Gloucester cathedral. During a pause Bill Picard said to me as the bell tolled, Mike can you hear the bell? let your mind go with the sound, Easy eh!


Dogen's Bendowa is being here now; Can you practice it Mike? Put your Gatas on and let your mind go.
A friend of mine yesterday,in the middle of dashing back and forth with her son to the hospital,glimpsed my home altar,nestled in between books, paper, drawings, etc ,took a sharp breath and smiled and simply said serenity within the chaos,as our friend in the Teisho hints at, to be aware of awareness,is not 100% zen
I liked what you say Anne if it means anything, it did make me smile
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:17 am

No, Anne, that's perfectly on point with respect to my comments...there ought to be some point at which non-self is differentiated from automaton-like choice-free living*. That point is not easily identified (by me), but you've sketched in a couple of street signs in the right neighborhood. So I think.

Kozan's extrapolation is also very perceptive, drawing a functional line from my snarky no-escape duality to institutional smileys (and frowns). I hadn't seen it, but it's obvious, and very economical. Now let's get it in the hands of those who want to cede their "still small voice" to the holy party line.

*Regardless of whether or not we have "free will"--a philosophical problem which I sort of hope that no one here thinks is solved (it's a terrible bore to argue about anyway)--we certainly possess faculties of choice. Thus even if the outcomes of our dilemmas are inevitable results of our brain, biochemistry, and environment, the fact is that we have dilemmas, while automata of course do not.

Chisan beat me to it, but I'm tired and need to move on for now. Bendowa...heh, a lot of words get used for a teaching that's so immediate and self-evident and simple to experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:11 pm

Not sure where to post the essay below, but under the general concept of listening to the voices in your head and declaring one or more of the voices divine or god or angels or the cosmic buddha.... this essay fits here.

I have also been thinking a lot recently about religious myth making and storytelling, how us human beings love to create spiritual heroes, and what is generally referred to as hagiography. Stuart Lachs has written a lot about Zen hagiography. Also, the book - SEEING THROUGH ZEN by John R. McRae is a brilliant analysis of Chinese Zen myth making. Most of what Zen followers take for history and truth about the lineage, Bodhidharma, Hui-Neng, Rinzai (Linchi), the history of the lineage - are mostly and in some case entirely myth, fabricated for many different reasons over a thousand years in China and then later transplanted to Japan. I might write more about this at some point - fascinating topic -- but McRae makes the great point that even though it's not "true" it is even more important. There were undoubtedly great teachers, awakened sages, as well as amazing insights as we see in the Platform Sutra, the teachings falsely attributed to Rinzai and Bodhiharma, but the history and stories and what actually happened is a far messier brew that what was written for popular consumption. More on this later.

Here is the essay on Joan of Arc which gets into the power of myth and charisma and personality and how we love our stories. We do love our stories, much more than reality.

January 5, 2012 - NYT - essay
Joan of Arc: Enduring Power
By KATHRYN HARRISON

JOAN OF ARC was born 600 years ago. Six centuries is a long time to continue to mark the birth of a girl who, according to her family and friends, knew little more than spinning and watching over her father’s flocks. But type her name into Amazon’s search engine and you get more than 6,000 results. France’s national archives include tens of thousands of volumes about her. She has been immortalized by Shakespeare, Voltaire, Twain, Shaw, Brecht, Verdi, Tchaikovsky and Rubens; more recently, her life was fodder for the CBS television series “Joan of Arcadia.”

What is it about Joan of Arc? Why is her story of enduring interest more than a half a millennium after her birth?

By the time Joan of Arc was 16 and had proclaimed herself the virgin warrior sent by God to deliver France from her enemies, the English, she had been receiving the counsel of angels for three years. Until then, the voices she said she heard, speaking from over her right shoulder and accompanied by a great light, had been hers alone, a rapturous secret.

But in 1428, when the voices pressed her to undertake the quest for which they had been preparing her, they transformed a seemingly undistinguished peasant into a visionary heroine who defied every limitation placed on a woman of the late Middle Ages. The least likely of military leaders, Joan of Arc changed the course of the Hundred Years’ War and of history.

Joan said she sheared off her hair, dressed in male attire, put on armor and took up her sword at God’s behest. She was feverish in her determination to succeed at what was, by anyone’s measure, a preposterous mission. As Joan herself protested to her voices, she “knew not how to ride or lead in war”; and yet she roused an exhausted, underequipped and impotent army into a fervor that carried it from one unlikely victory to the next. She raised the siege of Orléans by defying the cautious strategies of seasoned generals to follow inaudible directions from invisible beings.

Illiterate and uncouth, Joan moved purposefully among nobles, bishops and royalty. So intent on vanquishing the enemy that she threatened her own men with violence, she herself recoiled at the idea of bloodshed. To avoid having to use her sword, she led her army carrying a 12-foot-long banner emblazoned with the words Party of the Kingdom of Heaven. Witnesses said she was luminous in battle, light not glinting off her armor so much as radiating from the girl within. Her enemies spoke of clouds of butterflies following in her wake, a curiously beatific report from men who said she was in league with the devil.

In the aftermath of combat she didn’t celebrate victory but mourned the casualties; her men remembered her on her knees weeping as she held the head of a dying enemy soldier, urging him to confess his sins. Her courage outstripped that of seasoned men at arms; her tears flowed as readily as any other teenage girl’s.

After a series of victories, Joan suffered the reversals her voices had predicted. Captured and sold to the English, and shackled in a dank cell for more than a year, Joan was put on trial for her life. For refusing to renounce the voices that guided her as deviltry, Joan, 19 years old, was burned at the stake before a jeering crowd, her charred body displayed to anyone who cared to examine it. Thirty years later, in 1450, a Rehabilitation Trial overturned the guilty verdict that condemned her to death; the 19th-century rediscovery of the transcripts from both trials resulted in her canonization in 1920.

Like all holy figures whose earthly existence separates them from the broad mass of humanity, a saint is a story, and Joan of Arc’s is like no other.

The self-proclaimed agent of God’s will, she wasn’t immortalized so much as she entered the collective imagination as a living myth. Centuries after death, she has been embraced by Christians, feminists, French nationalists, Mexican revolutionaries and even hairdressers. (Her crude cut inspired the bob flappers wore as a symbol of independence from patriarchal strictures.) Her voices have been diagnosed retroactively as symptoms of schizophrenia, epilepsy, even tuberculosis. It seems Joan of Arc will never be laid to rest. Is this because stories we understand are stories we forget?

Joan frustrates efforts to reduce her to mortal proportions. What can explain what her voices told her, whether directing her movements in battle or scripting answers to her inquisitors. And what about her reputed clairvoyance, accounts that her touch raised a child from the dead, her ability to direct the wind to fill her stalled boats’ sails?

We don’t need narratives that rationalize human experience so much as those that enlarge it with the breath of mystery. For as long as we look to heroes for inspiration, to leaders whose vision lifts them above our limited perspective, who cherish their values above their earthly lives, the story of Joan of Arc will remain one we remember, and celebrate.

Kathryn Harrison is writing a biography of Joan of Arc.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Jcbaran wrote:
Not sure where to post the essay below, but under the general concept of listening to the voices in your head and declaring one or more of the voices divine or god or angels or the cosmic buddha.... this essay fits here.

Regarding Joan of Arc specifically, however her interior life is interpreted the fact is she did extraordinary things and so has an extraordinary story. That's different than the need some have to make stories "larger than life" because they find daily life mundane.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:23 am

It's been a long time since I've looked in here I guess. What a funny thing to pick apart...the "still, small voice." Of course it can be used and abused because that's what people do and that's what other people encourage them to do, often as not. But what people do with the still small voice has nothing to do with the voice itself. It is. With or without human interpretation or even, I imagine humans at all. Haven't heard it? I'll bet you have. Man, that voice is everywhere. Howard, you are still nailing it. So refreshing.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:05 pm

rather than a "funny thing to pick apart" - i would say that is a "fun" process to question -- your voices, your gut, your instincts. Why not? I have trusted my gut in many situations and sometimes, good results, sometimes not so. There are various voices inside my brain - and i no longer see any of them as special. Our guts and voices are not trustworthy at all. Nor is our "heart". We can listen to our gut, our heart, our voices -- and we can question them and see what makes sense. Also, fun to question our "certainty" while we are at it. We can tend to think that deep feeling = truth. "I know this with every fiber of my being." Fibers can tell all kinds of tales. Fibers can be random. enough of this babble.....
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:20 pm

This passage is from my friend Jay Michaelson's book, GOD vs. GAY: The Religious Case for Equality. He is talking about gay rights, but this section is all about trusting your gut or feelings, so i thought it applies to this discussion. Jay is a major gay religious advocate and actually a very serious student of mindfulness, wrote a book on Jewish nonduality. I bolded a few sections.

"Notwithstanding all the commonsense advice to "trust your gut," I want to suggest that our guts are not trustworthy at all, and must instead be tempered by love. All animals have gut reactions after all. Only humans (and perhaps a few others, in more unlimited ways) are able to reason beyond them. Our guts will always be primitive: lots of men will always want the biggest club to beat their enemies with and the prettiest women to have sex with. Many women want the biggest men. This is nature. But it's not the sum total of humanity. We are blessed with the ability to rise beyond our gut reactions - as some religious traditions put it we have sparks of God within us. (Or, some neuroscientists put it, we have prefrontal cortexes that can mediate the impulses of the amygdala.) And we all know from experience that you can feel something in your gut, and still be wrong. We've all trusted someone who turned out not to be trustworthy, and believed things "traditions" told us (e.g. white are smarter than blacks, men are smarter than women) that turned out to be factually and morally wrong. The process of educating the moral conscience, of growing up religiously and ethically, is, in large part, the process of applying love and reason to what we think we already knew. Love teaches us how to think justly.

"Really, what is this "gut" that is suppose to lie beneath our rational minds? Does it really exist? Of course not - it's just a word to describe a certain feeling. Some feelings feel deeper, other shallower. But there is no connection between those feelings and reality. So let's not dignify gut reactions with any kind of value.


"This is how moral progress takes place, I think. We learn to stop trusting gut reactions that are based on falsehoods we've been taught. And it is one of the gifts that are national wrestling with the question of equality for LGBT people gives to each of us. This is an invitation to be uncomfortable, because discomfort is a sign of growth; it's a sign that you you've reached your learning edge where assumptions may be challenged and difficult lessons may be learned. If religion has taught us anything, it is, that there is value in transcending our basic instincts - and that includes that snap judgements all of us make all the time. At first, and maybe for a while, these corrections along the course of moral conscience may not feel right. But they are the defining marks of humanity. Love demands them.

"Even our introspection must be subjected to introspection.
For example, ex-gay guru, Joe Dallas, writes that when he was living a gay life and going to a gay church, he believed "what i wanted to believe instead of what I truly believed," which was that homosexuality was wrong. But how does he know the difference? Didn't he stop and wonder why one belief seemed "truer" than another? That the anti-gay myth seems "truer" because it was drawn into him for twenty years? No, he just assumed that if something feels true, it is true. Well,if we all operated like that we'd still be riding segregated buses to separate and unequal schools. If Dallas were truly being introspective instead of rushing to judgement (no doubt based on fear), he would see that, actually, he's believing what he wants to believe after all. On some deep, psychological level, he wants to believe that his sexuality is sinful. I don't know why. Maybe sex scares him. Maybe he's actually bisexual. Or maybe the idea that homosexuality is wrong is just what he was taught for years, and it's more comforting for that to be okay than for his sexuality to be. Whatever the reason, he's not escaping from "what I wanted to believe" - he's indulging in it.

"There is no substitute for a careful discernment process when it comes to questions like these. Personally, meditation is my primary way of doing so, as I've written about in my other books. Prayer is another way. so are the exercises of St Ignacius of Loyola, or spiritual direction or the process of spiritual discernment. I like to think of all of these as technologies - as tools, meant to help us see more clearly and act less rashly. At the very least, they will help us wean away from the notion that what feels right is right."
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:37 pm

Josh, I don't think you are wrong, I just think your arguments against the existence of a still small voice are limited and limiting. I haven't read every post on these three pages so forgive me if I misunderstand your position, please. It is true, you cannot trust your gut, nor can you trust your emotions, your opinions nor your intellect. All that stuff can change. But it is also true that you cannot penetrate into the heart of the Divine with your intellect, it will not take you there. Nor will it eliminate the reality of that which is.

Certainly many of us have convinced ourselves out of fear, or ego or desperation that we have heard that voice in one way or other and been mistaken, but that doesn't mean there is no voice to be heard, nor that many many people have heard it (in one way or another). If I told you I had heard that voice, what would you call me? Nuts? A liar? A fool? Would you tell those who say they have heard that voice or conversed with the Divine that they are at best..mistaken? Really? You got that one pegged down tight? I don't think so.

Just leave a little room for more.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:40 pm

Not sure how to express this other then in a very simplistic way, but, when we talk of "gut feelings", we may just be thinking with the brain, acting out what the brain tells us to do and dismissing the "hara", which may tell a completely different story (the larger picture). In other words our understanding of something may be true, yet when seen through the larger all encompassing lens a different picture with all sorts of varied complexities emerges; still, we cannot stay frozen in perpetuity and have to go forward in one way or another, with whatever the current state of our understanding happens to be. This is a conundrum of epic proportions and wonder if this is what RMJK meant when she termed the little phrase "I could be wrong", which later regretfully seemed to be used to justify in a much broader way a variety of ill mannered behavior.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:41 am

Regarding "gut feelings" I think the concept of thinking that Nobel-prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman puts forth in his recent book "Thinking, Fast and Slow" may be useful.

He argues that we have a System 1, which is our intuition, the things we know automatically and expertly, and our ability to "shoot from the hip," System 1 is easy to invoke and use, and it's what we do with automatic tasks. Think of how you can drive from work to home without paying any attention to what you're doing. Suddenly you arrive and you wonder where was your mind all this time...

We also have a System 2, according to Kahneman, which contains our analytical skills and judgment. System 2 is invoked in a wide variety of places in life (should I have the chocolate cake or an apple for dessert? what's 13 times 7? what is going on at work that seems to be causing dissonant thoughts within me?). It is relatively slow, and deliberate, and unfortunately it easily tires.

When things don't go as expected, you get the "something is different and I must pay attention" signal from System 1, and System 2 awakens. So, when you're a witness to (unexpected, new) bad behavior by a superior, for example, it is only natural for your analytical skills to go to work, in order to either rationalize that behavior or else figure out what you're going to do about it.

But if you do rationalize it the first time, then when that bad behavior comes around again, you're prepared with a rationalization, whether it is "crazy Dharma" or "that's how he gets the best out of everybody". System 1 can manage those events by itself. That works fine until there are too many facts contrary to your rationalization, your System 2 is pinged too many times, and it eventually concludes that people are getting hurt or, actually, the tantrums are counter-productive.

So I think that, in Kahneman's concept (although I'm extrapolating beyond what I've read now), "gut feelings" and the "still small voice" are sometimes that important instinct to start analyzing what's going on, because something in the world isn't what you previously thought it was. In other words, while the experience of such an alarm bell is quite automatic, the thought process that it is inviting you to undertake is not.

Using System 2 can be very scary--sometimes you don't like the conclusions you intuit are "just around the mental corner"--and it's more difficult than your auto-pilot setting. You can suppress thinking about certain things, or "put them on the back burner", where they can sit for a very long time if that is your inclination. Then you may need to have that little "gut feeling" (signaling that your auto-pilot isn't doing an adequate job) many times before you buckle down and start doing the hard(er), sometimes terrifying, work of updating your model of how things are.

At other times, your "gut feelings" seem to be just System 1 doing what it wants, puttering along on auto-pilot without effortful analysis. This gets you in trouble when you really should have thought carefully about your options. So the discerning question might be something like "is this gut feeling or intuition that I'm having an indication that I need to think carefully about something, or is it an invitation to NOT think?" In other words, when you have an intuition about an important matter, maybe the first thing you should do is engage the rational mind (System 2) in order to conscientiously decide whether the intuition is trustworthy and useful.

It seems to me that "consulting the cosmic Buddha" might be a religiously-oriented way of analyzing which course of action would maximize goodness and other desirable outcomes (System 2, though I wonder if "what maximizes goodness?", without reference to a divine being, wouldn't be a more direct question). But asking Buddha could also be an excuse to shoot from the hip (System 1), rather than doing the real mental work that would otherwise enhance the solution.


Last edited by ddolmar on Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:20 am

The still, small & perhaps imagined voice????

Existance seems to allow for the experiences of both self and non self.

Hanging on to the descriptions and values of either is just the experience of hanging on.

Letting go of the descriptions and values of either is just letting go.

The choice of hanging on or letting go is the practise..

As both self and non self are an experiential communication,

my meditation is simply being open to hearing either.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:49 am

Howard,

How is non-self an experiential communication?
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:02 am

Howard--There is no mirror in non-self...with what can the experience "communicate"? Razz

(Maybe that's not at all what Henry's asking. Then I'm asking.)
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:40 am

Hey Henry,

I thought of asking Howard the same question but couldn`t be that cruel !

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:50 am

Stan

What a novel and thought provoking idea. It. Never occurred to me to not be cruel to Howard. Food for thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:33 am

Henry,

Thought so !

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:51 am

If there is no mirror in non-self (and there isn't) then communication is at that point with Everything.

I am not convinced that letting go of everything is the point, though Zen says differently. Maybe, let it go but don't throw it out? Don't clutch, kind of a catch and release affair so it's still left alive and vibrant. (I should write a poem to the Heavenly Trout.)
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Nice to see you here Polly.
My experience with letting go is substantially different from throwing something out. Letting go is just not continuing to carry it. Active rejection or throwing something out is really just another way of continuing to carry it....And speaking of that....

Henry
Quote...How is non-self an experiential communication.

There is the usual perspective that each of has looking out from the centre of our world. Mirrors are popular here as a confirmation of our our own sense of identity. It's what I call self.

There is also a less common perspective that seems to be unidirectional and not limited to our single point in existence but is so communal as to be identity free. Mirrors are pointless here. I would call this non self.

Both are experiential & communication.
The first manifests as the experience of boundary's between self & other.
The second manifests as the experience of how illusionary those boundary's are.

My previous post was to point out that worrying about such definitions, deifying them or trying to set them in stone was of dubious value. To constantly question everything is wonderful if it allows you to be open to everything. To constantly question everything however becomes stiltifying when it's only used to confirm a preheld answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:06 pm

Howard

How is communication essential to no self (from your assertion that no self is communication)? I can understand that communication is essential to experience of self, as self implies other, and even choosing to not communicate involves the existence of communication. However, I can't figure out how no self and communication are bound together in an essential way or equated as your assertion suggests.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:45 pm

HENRY's quote...
How is communication essential to no self (from your assertion that no self is communication)?
I can't figure out how no self and communication are bound together in an essential way or equated as your assertion suggests.

My word... Experiential - adjective - Pertaining to experience.
Your word Essential - Being part of the essence of something.
Different animals

I never thought or said that communication was essential to no self. I stated that it's an experiential truth. What ever you have experienced of no self was an experience of what lies outside the boundary's of a self created reality.


Communication by definition is a process by which meaning is conveyed.
How is the experience of no self not communication?.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:54 pm

"How is the experience of no self not communication?"

Communication implies from here to there, or from me to you, or from God to Moses, etc. With who is the non-Self communicating?

The wave that realizes it is ocean does not communicate with the water. (Oh that's so spiritual!scratch )

--Butter, butting in.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:32 pm

The non-self is in communion with everything because the state of non-self is the state of oneness. It's like communication expanded exponentially. Well...it's ineffable actually.

What, isn't it cool to be spiritual? I think it's cool.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:05 pm

by the way, last night, the episode of the TV show, THE SIMPSONS, was on point..... Homer is in crisis because he is wetting the bed and he starts talking to his inner voices which oddly speak about karma and dharma..... I LOVE THIS SHOW..... you might be able to find the episode on HULU or some other prime time on demand video system.

Over the years, we have seen Homer talking to his angelic voices or his demon voices, hysterical. The Simpsons has addressed more spiritual issues honestly than any show on television. Lisa Simpson is a Buddhist and sometimes meditates. My old friend, Matt Groening, created the show. Just saw him at the TED conference. 500 plus episodes. Anyway, last night's episode addressed listening to our inner voices.... with a huge giggle.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:14 pm

in terms of listening and hearing, here is a short tale:

Once Patrul Rinpoche [Abu] was living with us disciples on this side of the hermitage. Every day at dusk, Abu would do a meditation session on the training of sky gazing, stretched out on his back on a new woolen on a piece of grass the size of himself.

One evening, while he was lying there, he said to me, “Lungchey, did you say that you do not know the essence of the mind?”

I answered, “Yes, sir, I don’t.”

Abu said, “Oh, there is nothing not to know. Come here.”

So I went over to him. He said, “Lie down as I am lying down and look at the sky.”

As I did so the conversation went as follows:

“Do you see the stars in the sky?”

“Yes.”

“Do you hear the dogs barking in Dzogchen monastery?”

“Yes.”

“Well, that is meditation.”

At that moment, I arrived at the certainty of realization within myself. I have been liberated from the fetters of “it is” and “it is not.” I had realized the primordial wisdom, the naked union of emptiness and intrinsic awareness.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:40 pm

Ah. The point being that you, along with Homer Simpson, have moved beyond all that silly stuff like inner voices and intuition and a relationship with the Divine, and have reached the state of primordial wisdom, I presume.

Tell me, do you think St Teresa of Avila was just a nut case? Was Julian of Norwich schizophrenic perhaps? Or was she just a "huge giggle"? Are those mystics throughout history just a hoax? Was Rumi coo-coo? Was Thomas Merton delusional? Countless saints and sages from Christ and Krishna to Mother Teresa, and just your average Joe as well, have testified to the presence of guidance or comfort or love, in the form of a voice or a vision or a strong inclination that has directed their path, soothed their anguish or saved them from peril. Do you know that the percentage of people who called in sick (or well) at the World Trade Center on 9/11 was so far above average as to be unprecedented? And you have concluded that it is all "a huge giggle'?

Wow.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:15 am

Polly and Howard,

I think I would put it this way: There is the reality of no self, in which there is no communion and communication. Everything is everything and nothing; nothing is everything and nothing. There are no separate entities to commune with anything. The sense of communication and communing with the whole, with everything, is when mental constructs and boundaries begin to reconstruct themselves. At that point there is the sense of communing with the whole, but that in itself is a mental construct. It is the subtle beginning of coopting the reality of no self into an experience or possession of self.

I think those subtle mental constructs that exist prior to and after the recognition of the reality of no self, may have something to do with the voices we've been discussing. I'd like to bring that up later.

PS I'm of the opinion that all is subject to a huge giggle. It keeps us from getting to pompous and from things becoming so sacrosanct that they can't be questioned. Everything can be questioned. Kozan once said that everything can be questioned except our innate integrity. I'd throw that in the pot too!

Another thought to Polly: While all those saints and spiritual folk might give us reason to investigate what they posit as true, the fact that they thought it true does not prove it true. Some of those folks thought the world was flat and no doubt made many other errors. Some of the saints may have been far worse human beings than the writers of history let us in on. Whether we like it or not, we're largely stuck with being lamps unto ourselves.
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:11 am

Hi Henry,

Respectfully disagree on every point.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:40 am

Polly

Perhaps you would do me the honor of enlightening me as to why you disagree with e erything I wrote. Even my wife finds some small tidbit to appease me with.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:13 am

Henry,

" There is the reality of no self..".......Really ?

How do you know ? How can a "no self" exist on it`s own and, how do you get to see a " no self" ? I wonder if you`re feeling `not yourself` today ? Is that even possible ?

Are you saying that " we`re largely stuck with being lamps unto our selves " or
our "no selves" ?

If " There are no separate entities to commune with anything", no subjects and objects, What subject sees this object of "no self", to know it exists ?
How do you remove your self from the whole equation ?

It`s like the theory of having to go "beyond the mind" or have "no mind" to
be enlightened. I`ve never heard of anyone being enlightened and having no
mind.

I would have found it hugely useful long ago, if somebody would have given me
a definitive explanation of `Enlightenment`. the only street cred word that can
compete with the `God` word these days.
Whilst we`re at it, explanation of `Self Realization` or `Kensho` would have
been great. It seems you can have a hundred schmenshos and still be as
ignorant as a dog if understanding is not there.
"Ignorance" is another one.....ignorant of what exactly ? and if there is no
self, who`s ignorant anyway ?
Just to get the last one in,.....how come nobody ever gets to be enlightened ?
If it exists, why is it bad form to admit it. If it doesn`t exist, why are we all
bothering with this training business ?

Then there`s what you said to Polly regarding Saints. Are they a lower order
of spiritual beings ? How many Saints equals an enlightened being ?
And yes, All "Spiritual Folk" may not be perfect but then, what`s spiritual
about spirituality ?

I would agree that " All is subject to a huge giggle" including as you said " our
innate integrity".....provided you giggled from the position of "no self"

Consider, A Howard who has an infinite capacity for consuming beer. Every
time you fetch yourself one, he drinks it ! How many beers would you buy
yourself, instantly to be drunk by Howard, before you stopped giggling ?

I suspected all this `loose talk` may come up when I recently read one of
Bills posts. In it, He agreed with Daizui that," the appropriation of a state called "no-self." This is a scam that has come to us from the East, and we in the West were all too ready to buy into it."

I thought that was a very sage and pertinent observation. I was surprised
when nobody picked up on it. Looks like this one is going to run. Perhaps a
new thread on " No self" may be in order ?

Either way, I`m sure Bill is more up on this topic than myself. So all questions.
......

I think I`ll have a beer actually....it`s been a long time.

Stan.


sorry about the formatting....I`m useless at it.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:38 am

Stan

I offer my apologies for my ignorance but will forge ahead with this attempt.

Pure awareness exists without a focal point of self. No one experiences awareness. It just is. The sense of someone experiencing awareness is a construct that is not essential to awareness but is constructed and dissolves within awareness. Awareness without a focal point of self is often referred to as no self. Certain mental constructs exists, so self exists. The constructs dissolves; so self dissolves. All this occurs within awareness which appears to be fine with either. Now me: I'm greedy for one or the other, depending on which I'm greedy for.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:17 pm

Henry

Thanks for sharing your definition of self /no self.

I am left with the impression that they must be some agreement to take off odd/even days just so there's no uncomfortable moments with both showing up at the same dinner in the same dress.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:16 pm

The secret is to phone beforehand to avoid the embarrassment.

Actually though, it seems less like one or the other and more like the wave and the ocean. Still, I don't see how a quick call could hurt.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:24 pm

Henry,

I offer my apologies for my ignorance also.
Not wishing to be picky, but....

If no one experiences awareness, and yet it can be known, would you say that
awareness is conscious and thus experiences itself ?

Stan.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:13 pm

Oooh, I like that last sentence, Stan.

Henry, I thought one of the reasons for marriage was to find someone who agrees with you at least once in awhile. It was one of mine, anyway. I'll try to answer you better later, I need a nap. Post-prandial drowsiness has struck
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:15 pm

I love this conversation!

Stan, I would say that awareness is, strictly speaking not "conscious" of itself, but can become, (and always is) aware of itself. (Stan, excellent questions by the way! I like them all, but especially, "what's spiritual about spirituallity?" Nothing, I would say.)

(Edited to add: In my reply to Stan above, I was playing off the double meaning of the word "Nothing" and intending both meanings (I do love paradox). I do not mean to say (re Polly), that it's not cool to be spiritual!)

To spring-board from what Henry has already pointed out: Awareness becomes aware of Awareness itself, whenever awareness relaxes back into itself. Awareness reflects awareness infintely. No-self is, of course, not something that exists, It is the experiential "shock" of awareness without the customary content of the self-construct (ie the 5 Skandhas...).

In a sense, I would say that unbounded Awareness endlessly reflecting Awareness is the original "basis" of communication (re Howard). Within manifested existence this is perhaps also the inherent basis for simultaneity in Physics: the recognition that paired sub-atomic particles, no matter how far apart in space, communicate their spin direction to each other instantly.

Since awareness is not a thing and doesn't "exist", our mind-body-self doesn't have anything "objective" to grab onto when talking about or seeking awareness--not even as a form of consciousness. Nevertheless, it is, of course, always, that which is our most imediate experience.

Kudos to Henry and Stan for questioning my concept of "innate integrity". My original proposal was woefully incomplete. By innate integrity, I was attempting to point to the innate integrity of empty awareness itself--and therefore, the innate integrity of the whole of existence, including our mind-body--not to be confused with what we think our mind-body-self is! So, questioning everything, including what we think constitutes innate integrity, is (indeed) essential.

Polly, while I agree with the many ways (that many have pointed out, beginning with Josh) in which the voice of the ego, the voice of sub-personalities, or the voice of the shadow, can be mistaken for the still small voice, that doesn't mean that we don't all have access to the "voice" of innate wisdom, within the ground of awareness. I think that it is referred to as "the still, small voice" precisely to (try to) differentiate it from the many other raucous voices that may claim to be it! Good for you for pressing the point!!

And Stan, I fully agree with Bill (and Daizui) about the appropriation of the state of "no-self" and the concept of "enlightenment", which have all too often been used for institutional scams. I think that this is the pitfall of institutionalized religion itself--which arises (IMO) as soon as the institution forgets that it is ultimately nothing more than a form of delusion, no matter how useful it may sometimes be, in some respects. Responding to Bill's post was on my list; like many items on my list, I never quite got around to it ;-)


Last edited by Kozan on Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ddolmar

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:37 pm

"What, isn't it cool to be spiritual? I think it's cool."

Polly--I think it's cool as long as it doesn't demand of us to affirm things that we aren't in a position to know, such as the disposition of our "souls" or karma or the Vajryana "indestructible drop of water" after our earthly deaths.

In other words, so long as our determination to assert spiritual matters as fact is "proportional" in some fashion with the genuine evidence that we have, then I think it's cool.

And I certainly didn't mean to imply that anything about this conversation wasn't cool. To the contrary...talking about our subjective experience of non-self in meditation is absolutely worthwhile. I've had at least the faintest taste of that experience, and have good reason to believe that others here have had a lot more (because of the time and effort they've devoted to their practice, and the many things in common they report).

Very interesting convo, yet again, everyone.--dd
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:50 pm

DD, excellent points above. I didn't think you were mocking the conversation, rather mocking yourself. Which of course is your prerogative. I was just giving one for the Gipper. Anyway, I like it when you sound all spiritual.

Oh Henry. A lot of it is just semantics. All I can go off of is my own personal experience, which doesn't require all that many words and is also pretty private. But I have a hard time not defending something I have experienced when I hear it discussed in terms of "a huge giggle". That is not to say that I'm not aware that mirth is a part of the spiritual experience, but that is entirely different from mockery, which was the intent of the initial introduction of the term "a huge giggle."

In the rare times when I have been shifted to no-self I felt something I would describe as communion with all things that were within that awareness. We all rejoiced together, or rather, rejoicing is what we were. That's my experience. No amount of descriptors can touch it. It's the old"you can eat the orange or you can talk about what it must taste like." I don't have a lot of time for the discussion of what it tastes like. I won't go into my experiences with the still small voice because they are too private but they were real. Or I am psychotic, take your pick. However, I am not going to question those things. Those are the only things I am not going to question. The things I have experienced for myself, the gifts I have been given. All I have for those is gratitude. But I can't stand by and hear them denigrated or sniggered at without standing up. Just can't. Not that you were doing so, Henry, not at all. But the whole tone of the thread has seemed to be that even Homer Simpson's got it figured out better than someone who thinks they know of the still small voice, and you know that had to get my dander up. I hate sneering.

Yes, we must be a light unto ourselves but I cannot assume that there aren't folks out there now and in the past who have traveled infinitely farther and deeper than I have, and that I can learn from them, or at the very least, respect them. Yes, I do question them, believe me, after the OBC I know how to do that. But I'm going to bow to the Dalai Lama, I'm going to listen to what Jack Kornfield has to say, and I am going to delight in the Interior Castles of St. Teresa of Avila and not feel silly doing it. So that's about all I have to say. Sorry if I offended you Henry. I wasn't very diplomatic or very thoughtful either.
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:07 am

"All I can go off of is my own personal experience, which doesn't require
all that many words and is also pretty private. But I have a hard time
not defending something I have experienced when I hear it discussed in
terms of "a huge giggle". That is not to say that I'm not aware that
mirth is a part of the spiritual experience, but that is entirely
different from mockery, which was the intent of the initial introduction
of the term "a huge giggle."

In the rare times when I have been
shifted to no-self I felt something I would describe as communion with
all things that were within that awareness. We all rejoiced together, or
rather, rejoicing is what we were. That's my experience. No amount of
descriptors can touch it. It's the old"you can eat the orange or you can
talk about what it must taste like." I don't have a lot of time for
the discussion of what it tastes like. I won't go into my experiences
with the still small voice because they are too private but they were
real."

Exactly the reason I'm rarely on these forums. Polly, I understand perfectly.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:53 am

Polly,

I am not at all offended. I'm glad you thought it worth your time to share your perspective, which I truly respect. My own experience is limited and I far from feel that I'm a deeply spiritual person whose views supercede anyone's on this site. There are those with a devotional bent and those with a more scientific one. On one side we can be easily duped into codependency, on the other we can shut ourselves off from things that are possible or real because foolish people have misused them. What the path is for each of us is perhaps the great mystery, which can only unfold step by step, as far as I can see. I feel very much like a stumbler and bumbler, though the cohesiveness of my words may provide a different impression. I don't mean to mislead, but only express my understanding as best I can.
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