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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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Kozan
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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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Jimyo



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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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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:15 am

Josh,

People have the impression that your comments were meant to mock the experiences of those who have found inner voices or nudgings to be of profound help to them. From my perspective, this may or may not be your intention. Would you mind clarifying this?

Addendum to my comment to Polly:

I had said: 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.

Of course this excludes Howard.
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:25 am

My sincere thanks to Jimyo and Henry both; exposing ones own experiences to others is scary as all get -out.

Never fear, Henry, I don't so much stumble and bumble as roll around on the ground. Doesn't matter. And you just expressed yourself beautifully.

You're right Jimyo, you have been saying the same thing. Have we both been sort of saying "Hey, you can't talk about my mother like that!"? It's good to find our common ground.
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Howard

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:24 pm

Polly's quote...Hey, you can't talk about my mother like that!"?

Yes, you can question my mom's advise or whether I only heard her say what I wanted to hear but being called motherless is just rude. If you mock someone because they have a relationship with their Mom, all you are really saying is that you don't.

I think folks are more amenable to hearing what a speaker experiences than being told what to experience.

AND...

I think it's wise to hold everything as a question because if we really believe that everything changes then so must our answers. This means that the security and comfort I derive holding on to any answer is also the cause of my suffering. Nobody likes to hear that because it says our most commonly held needs are the very cause of our own suffering. Because of that, it's the questions and answers that can help me relax in the presense of chaos and discomfort that I most value.

PS ...Henry... Glad I can make you feel bigger. Regards to the Mrs.
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polly

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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:07 pm

Howard, I'm with you all the way...except...when holding everything as a question I still am hanging on to the mother as the one thing that, though it maybe changes as far as my understanding is concerned, is still always my mother. Is that a followable sentence?

So, I know nearly zero about God but I know that God is. I'm sticking with that, and my own experience, but not as a final answer. I don't know if there is a final answer so, yes, holding everything as a question pretty much works for me too, I guess, at least in terms of my own understanding. Maybe that was what you meant. It sounds as though you are saying that it's wise to stay open. Is that about it?
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PostSubject: Re: Deifing the "still small voice" and intution   Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:10 pm

"Regards to the Mrs."

I was going to go there, and then I realized that it was clearly Howard's ball.

****************************

"I didn't think you were mocking the conversation, rather mocking yourself."

Obviously, Polly, I misunderstood. You read me right.
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