Friday, July 24, 2015

Volume 3 Issue 6

And Then the Spirit Recognized the Spirit in Matter

Andreas Tille CC BY-SA 3.0 ( via Wikimedia Commons

Hello everybody.
Well I’m the storm.
Acknowledge blue group,
Which means I would be straight.
Primitive house perspective. [Vision of Lydia smiling sweetly, as the young adult she is now, one of the children we partly raised.]

What is the nature of the soul from the standpoint of house evolution?
Discuss the ramp.
I don’t know if you recall it.
It’s direct and it’s personal;
I would say pageantry.
This is transformation.

Can we go burning in the house?
You were probably correct in the course of the Law.
Some Gods are missin’.

Soul evolution is our operation.
It can be their focus for the future,
Their laid in next life. [This line and preceding one came at the end of a dream and were describing a pride of lions, what the dream was about.]
Daddy, [voice of Mugu, the youngest in our house, 16]
I wanna tell yah,
Yesterday not late.

I advance students
In this yoga,
Providing actually
A flashlight.
Do you wanna block
I got it clean,
No kidding.

[vision of a fixed-type chair in front of an open bedroom door in the small living room of our home, with a copy of a VAK reduced format edition of Questions and Answers by the Mother on the seat of the chair, 1957-1958, though I couldn’t actually see the title and volume, just knew them because that’s the one I’m reading now. Our late housecat Toni was eating in her bowl on the right side of the chair facing it.]
Give everyone a book:
The Mother’s
Art Teacher.

An Audience Song

by Donny Duke

Poetry enhances
Our little corner of life’s room.
It’s what we splash on our faces
To get the stories out.
You would contradict this song.
That’s the mystery.
And we look at an iceberg.
It roses from the ground.
Underneath it stalls in light.
A brief ocean
Has rounded in our ears
The equity
Of a larger see than ours.
Alimony this payment
To that stuff in us
At noontide’s sing.

I’ve rounded poetry.
You hear the contradiction?
It’s a blistery see
With what ails yah,
The exuberance
Of a state of being
Laughing at the stars.
It’s a transaction
Between you and sight
That calls all what you don’t see
Into play.
I measure my life by it
One poetry at a time,
A poet in my room
Attended by verse itself.
You are my audience
Lines of poetry.
What people there
The contradictory note,
The flowers of which I speak.

From First From Within

A column dedicated to exploring the role of dreams, voices, and visions in the integral yoga. 

by Douglas McElheny

The dream I want to share is very similar to the one in my last article because it features a contemporary spiritual teacher, offers specific guidance and had a strong connection with an outer event.  The spiritual teacher in this one though is the Mother.

In this dream I’m in my bedroom.  There are other people and dogs there including Rosie.  Everyone leaves but Rosie.  I want to be alone so I walk her to the door and send her out closing the door behind her.  But when I turn around she’s standing there again.  So I send her out the door a second time and turn around and she’s standing there yet again.  This clues me in that this must be a dream so I try passing my hand through the wall but it won’t go.  So I see if I can jump higher than normal and I do with my hands passing through the ceiling a little bit.  The dream starts to break up so I close my eyes and ask the Mother to take me somewhere beautiful.  I’m in blackness but I feel myself traveling.  At one point I can feel something wrapped around my leg that feels kind of wiry for lack of a better word.  After a time I feel whatever it is unwrap and when it is gone I open my eyes and I’m in a beautiful area with open spaces and trees with big beautiful flowers.  White flowers if I remember correctly.  Then it starts getting dark and I start to get nervous but then decide to just let it get dark.  Then the stars come out and though it’s dark I don’t feel anxious or afraid.  I start walking around and I see an apparition that looks like the Mother come out from behind some trees.  I call to her and try to touch her and I start crying.  And then she’s fully there.  We’re on the ground on a blanket and I ask her if I can ask her a question and she says, “Of course.”  I ask her “How do I find my soul in a dream?”  She looks up and says something like “Follow them.”  I look up to see some white birds resting up in the tree above us.  While wondering what this means I wake up.

The day following the dream I went for ride in my kayak.  At one point I came out of a little side creek that was roofed in by mangrove trees and decided to just let myself drift for a minute and rest.  Looking up at the sky I saw the biggest flock of turkey buzzards I’ve ever seen.  Usually there’s no more than ten or so but in this flock there were at least fifty.   They weren’t circling either like they usually do but flying around pellmell in all directions.  Then I saw there was a small flock of eight or so white pelicans flying in formation amid the chaos.  They maintained their formation despite the horde of buzzards swooping and veering around them.  The birds seemed very tranquil in the midst of all this and I felt a soothing sense of peace enter into me as I watched them.  That peace lasted for about a half an hour or forty-five minutes afterwards I would estimate before it started to fade.  If I remember correctly a little bit still lingered as I was sitting on the dock and mentally made the connection between what I had seen and the Mother pointing up at the birds in my dream.

So now I guess I’ll move on to saying what I took from this but don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to my conclusions.I think what’s most important in the dream is the question I asked and the answer which was actually revealed in waking reality.  Though the question was “How do I find my soul in a dream?” at the time I looked at the answer more in terms of negotiating the waking state and cultivating a ripeness for reaching the soul in a dream.  Put simply the message I see here is “Stay in formation,” or you could say keep your focus or your concentration or your aspiration, amongst the buzzards of disturbing outer events trying to provoke a reaction in you as well as the chaos of your own unruly thoughtsand emotions which are always trying to carry one away.

The same idea though could be applied to maintaining concentration in the dream state because it takes concentration to maintain that traveling state in the blackness that I described in the dream above.   Usually I wake up or enter dreamless sleep though sometimes, like in this case, I was able to make it consciously to another dream. Another possibility though expounded on by my fellow Chipmunk Press contributor Donny is that you can arrive at your soul through that traveling space as well.  If your interested to read more about that then check out Donny’s essay on where he describes that experience.  Following that line of thought I should point out that in Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem Savitri the title character has to pass though numerous realms of inner experience before she reaches her soul.  In light of that it seems possible to me that in my journeying in the dream experience above perhaps I was headed toward the soul, completed a leg of the journey so to speak.

And then of course there’s Rosie and the thing that was wrapped around my leg.  Dogs seem to often represent lust and sexual desire though I’m not sure if that’s the case here.  I can’t remember what was going on at that time in my life to say for sure if I was trying hard to throw sexual desire “out of my room” so to speak.  Regardless it’s something I’m trying to get out of my room that keeps coming back.  I would wager the thing wrapped around my leg represented the same issue and it’s a good sign I got free of it and was able to reach the dream sequence with the Mother.

I think I’ve dissected the dream enough and should now address some other questions the reader might have.  You might be asking, “Well what is the soul anyway?  And why would I be looking for it in dreams?”  The truth is can’t answer the first question since I don’t know.  The reason I asked the Mother that question in the dream is because Iwas and still am looking myself.  Still though without making an ass out of myself I think I could state generally that the soul, or psychic being as it’s called in the integral yoga, is the divine or eternal portion of a man.  Beyond that I’d refer the reader to the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.1 As for why one would look for it in the dream state, my belief is that the soul is more accessible to us in dream because you’re already one step closer to it than when you’re awake and completely externalized.  In fact, a whole system of Tibetan dream yoga was created in order to take advantage of the sleep and dream states in order to access and dwell in ‘primordial consciousness’.2

The next question the reader might be asking is why would finding the soul be desirable?  Well in the integral yoga one of the goals is for the soul or psychic being to ‘come forward’ so to speak and govern the mind, life and body, turning them toward and making them pure instruments for the divine life.  Here I’d like to share a quote from the Mother about how this can happen:

Generally one has a series of experiences of identification, very intense at first, which later gradually diminish, and then one day you find that they have disappeared. Still you must not be disturbed, for it is quite a common phenomenon. But next time—the second time—the contact is more easily obtained. And then comes a moment, which is not very far off, when as soon as one concentrates and aspires, one gets a contact. One may not have the power of keeping it all the time, but can get it at will. Then, from that moment things become very easy.  When one feels a difficulty or there is a problem to be solved, when one wants to make progress or there is just a depression to conquer or an obstacle to be overcome or else simply for the joy of identification (for it is an experience that gives a veryconcrete joy; at the moment of identification one truly feels a very, very great joy), then, at any moment whatever, one may pause, concentrate for a while and aspire, and quite naturally the contact is established and all problems which were to be solved are solved. Simply to concentrate—to sit down and concentrate—to aspire in this way, and the contact is made, so to say, instantaneously.

There comes a time, as I said, when this does not leave you, that is, it is in the depths of the consciousness and supports all that you do, and you never lose the contact. Then many things disappear. For instance, depression is one of these things, discontentment, revolt, fatigue, depression, all these difficulties.  And if one makes it a habit to step back, as we say, in one’s consciousness and see on the screen of one’s psychic consciousness—see all the circumstances, all the events, all the ideas, all the knowledge, everything—at that moment one sees that and has an altogether sure guide for everything that one may do. But this is bound to take a very long time to come.3

If you’re like me and you’ve reached the point where you realize how lost and ignorant you are and what a blundering instrument even the most sharpened human reason is then the soul coming forward starts to look pretty desirable.  Finding the soul in a dream isn’t the same as it coming forward but it seems to me that making a first conscious connection with it in dream would help to facilitate that process.

But one of the problems I have not just with finding the soul, but with accomplishing anything in the sadhana is getting the vital to come on board in a sustained way.  As you might imagine after I had this dream I had a short sadhana rally and I also had another in the process of writing this article.  For me though the vital enthusiasm in rallies like this fades away or is engulfed in some kind of upheaval after a while

So this brings me back to where I ended my last article with the problem of how do you get the vital to commit itself fully to the spiritual endeavor?Here I’d like to share a quote from the Mother on that subject.

Naturally it is very difficult to establish a constant contact between the most external physical consciousness and the psychic consciousness, and oh! the physical consciousness has plenty of goodwill; it is very regular, it tries a great deal, but it is slow and heavy, it takes long, it is difficult to move it. It does not get tired, but it makes no effort; it goes its way, quietly. Itcan take centuries to put the external consciousness in contactwith the psychic. But for some reason or other the vital takes ahand in it. A passion seizes it. It wants this contact (for somereason or other, which is not always a spiritual reason), but itwants this contact. It wants it with all its energy, all its strength,all its passion, all its fervour: in three months the thing is done.

So then, take great care of it. Treat it with great consideration but never submit to it. For it will drag you into all kinds of troublesome and untoward experiments; and if you succeed in convincing it in some way or other, then you will advance with giant strides on the path.4

Like I pointed out last time you can ask the Divine to change the vital and be patient with the process meanwhile doing your best not to let it drive your thoughts and emotions in negative ways.  Here though the Mother brings up the idea of convincing it.   That would mean persuading it and that’s something everyone does at times.   I’m sure everyone has had the experience of the vital getting into a panic and telling ourselves to calm down the same way you would with another person who’s in a tizzy.  Everyone has probably also had the experience of getting fed up with the vital and telling it to shut up.  So I think it clear that a person could get more proactive about convincing the vital.  But how should one go about it?  I’m not sure but if I have any success I’ll be sure to share the insight.

Notes and References
     1. A fellow named A.S. Dalal has put together some great compilations of the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother one of which is titled The Psychic Being
     2. There are a number of books on this subject but one I like is Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation by Alan Wallace.  The term ‘primordial consciousness’ is what he uses in his book.
     3. Collected Works of the Mother Volume 6: Questions and Answers 1954, pgs 33-34.
     4. Collected Works of the Mother Volume 5: Questions and Answers 1953, pgs 257-258.

Help You From the Rearview Mirror
(This article was originally published on the website  The Awakened State to an audience unfamiliar with either Supermind or the Integral Yoga.)

By Donny Duke

Who’s Driving the Dreambus? (2009) That’s an insightful and inviting title for a film that interviews some of the people in contemporary non-duality spirituality (Advaita) who say or are said to be Awakened: Tony Parsons, Jeff Foster, Timothy Freke, Genpo Roshi, Gangaji, Toni Packer, Amit Goswami, and Guy Smith.  It’s described by the filmmakers as “a feature-length documentary exploring life's most profound mystery, 'Who am I?'”

Explore that mystery it does, and from an extraordinary perspective: a rare station of consciousness experienced by people from all faiths and all cultures down through the ages, hence panhuman, one considered spiritual or elevated because it’s beyond the ego, a state ontologically hard to define and equally difficult to divine who’s actually there and who’s just able to sound like they are, difficulties that have been a major source of debate and division in spirituality since the beginning I’d imagine because we’re talking about realization, here called Awakening.

While the film does explore the ontological question, the latter question of which of those interviewed is in that state and who is not this film does not bridge or even discuss. Only the title suggests it, asking, from one possible interpretation, which one of those interviewed is driving the dreambus, that here meaning something in the neighborhood of the bus to Awakening, in other words, who is Awakened? And when you interpret the title as asking is there anyone driving the dreambus (if anyone’s really there in the driver’s seat at all), dreambus here meaning this dream of a body and a world, neither does the film bridge existence, nor, in my view, even the spiritual path.

According to those interviewed there is no spiritual path (or anything else: you, I, or the world) because everything is one, or it just ‘is’, some mystery we cannot hope to penetrate. For us staring fruitlessly at that impenetrable mystery, it boils down to a nullity of everything in oneness or ‘isness’, and in fact when your consciousness is seated there you experience that nullity, and you no longer have a self-reflective consciousness, no I or inner chatter, hence Silent Mind and no-self it’s also called, and it’s as though you live in the infinite vast because there are no objects in your consciousness and no boundaries between you and everything else save the body and some little sliver of something never in view.

It’s quite a shock to go into the Silence, what it’s called in other circles, and if you visit that place if only for a moment your whole view of things shifts to that ‘nullity in oneness’ when you return to normal mind, so convincing is the experience, like you know it’s the background of everything, or so it seems, a pure undifferentiated consciousness, basic raw awareness and nothing else, the One, who doesn’t from that perspective even appear aware, since all sense of God and soul vanishes too with the loss of a self and a center.

If this really were the ultimate place in consciousness and oneness we can get to and dwell in, in all infinity and beyond, in all the universes and what’s bigger than universes, then I’d say mainstream science is on the right track with its reductionist materialism, reducing everything to material process, meaning that everything is the result of that, consciousness too just the interaction of chemicals in the brain and spinal column. And I’d say that because it amounts to the same thing as science in saying consciousness has no higher purpose, no intent in it or beyond it except that which hapless creatures such as ourselves put in it, creatures that in reality do not even exist: in other words, meaninglessness, where nonexistence is supreme.

However, in that station itself, and here’s the difficulty of seeing beyond it, there is that peace that passes understanding and in most cases, not all, an unbounded joy not dependent on outer circumstances. Attachment and desire are no longer a problem because they don’t arise.  Contentment in nothing and the sheer freedom that entails makes not only ego consciousness but also any other possible station appear a state of bondage, and so it’s understandable if you’re there or have been there to feel that there’s no station beyond (because there’s nothing here in the first place!).

Experientially, though, at the fullest manifestation of the station described above, at its deepest in emptiness and silence, which none of those interviewed seem to have experienced or to even know about, not only the mind shuts off but the respiration and heartbeat too, and, if conditions are right, you feel at the base of the spine something like a rocket blasting off (the kundalini smote stark awake), a rocket that appears to take the seat of the consciousness up out the top of the head. I say appears because I aborted the ascension when I experienced that deepest state of Silent Mind (you can read a brief description in a published essay here:

Based on that experience and ones where I did go into the regions (or chakras) overhead, though not from the Silence, and what I’ve read of others’ experiences, it stands to reason it’s from that deepest emptiness that you go up out through the crown chakra to either leave phenomenal existence in Nirvana, if that indeed is the case (I suspect it’s not so final), or go up into the higher self, or Supermind as it’s called in an Indian yoga. It depends on where you’re orientated to go, on your soul’s orientation, not your mind’s choice.

Like being in the emptiness, this is not iffy business, and there’s no guessing involved. You go out the top of your head, all your awareness, and see from there, hear from there, have no feeling of being in the body below you other than seeing it down there inhabited by the little self shut up in its little prison, though this describes an unmanifested Supermind several meters above a little self on the earth plane. What position it has in relation to the body when it’s manifested is beyond my knowledge, but, according to the Integral Yoga, the full manifestation would mean a divinized body and earth too, what the hope of the New Age and of the kingdom of heaven on earth hint at, though supermind is beyond heaven and the cosmic Gods, beyond the confines of the cosmos. You can find a detailed description of that experience here:

In that higher self you do experience an individual existence, though it’s egoless like the Silence, know yourself as the true individual that is evolving little selves through Time, that line of many lives you ride above, bringing them to it, an individuality based on oneness, the One, but here it’s aware, not a nonexistence as it seems in the emptiness, though it’s still an ever impenetrable mystery.You know yourself as a symbol of That, as if it has impossibly provided a driving car of timelessness in Time to bring all to it.

One in the essence of consciousness means, if you really are, that you see and act at multiple poles of experience at the same time, have an all-vision of everything happening and all-being of everything that exists, or have some concentric degree of that like in Supermind, and you can see through anything you look at, for example see through whatever roof or ceiling separates you from your little self, seeing the essence or nature of anything that meets your gaze. The utter stillness, peace, joy, and compassion for all are no longer grounded in emptiness but in fullness unimaginable, fullness of being.

Nor is this the ultimate station of consciousness, what you know seeing from Supermind because you’re pointed more up to the regions above than down to the little I, unlike the cosmic Gods, who are primarily concerned with little lives like ours. There’s no end to the evolution of consciousness. From Supermind you go to ever more all-encompassing stations of consciousness all the way to the One, to express in a linear fashion what isn’t linear, which, as it appears from this ‘one pole of experience’ at a time existence, you can never get to but only are always becoming. In Supermind itself, however, you are the One, and that there is an ever more all-encompassing seeing of the ‘all at once’ does not negate either your being or becoming, contrary to non-identity described above where you aren’t the One or anybody else for that matter.

In no-self you only see oneness and live in its vast store content with your see, and, also in contrast to Supermind, you’re both in the body and in the one pole of experience existence, though without an ego or any other sense of self and identity. Another contrast is in the emptiness you’re in a blissful ignorance unaware and unconcerned with either life after death or the past and future, as those interviewed repeatedly point out. According to the Integral Yoga, that has as its foundation a knowledge based on many experiences of the higher self and not only on one as I have, in Supermind, however, nothing is unknown to you, though you might have to bring something into view if it’s not, and you live in the now of the eternal moment, in undivided time, which is a seeing of the past, present, and future at the same time, what can only be possible when you move, live, and have your being in multiple poles of experience simultaneously, naturally.

I’m not a fan of New Age spirituality, but I give it credit for keeping this hope alive, this ancient and hidden knowledge of who we are up top, albeit confusedly. Contemporary spirituality as a whole laughs at New Age thought, but it cannot see out of that box of emptiness, due to such an influence of Buddhism, particularly Zen, on spirituality today. In fact,  it’s often said, by those interviewed and others similarly minded, that seeking is fruitless because you’re already there (but ask yourself this: is it manifested yet?), and so spiritual practice, if it’s admitted at all, is centered on mindfulness and/or meditation, stilling the thought, not identifying with the I or any separation or distinction.

If you practice Avaita, or non-duality spirituality, you may or may not think, read, eat, exercise, or whatever, in a way that’s conducive to that mindfulness, but chances are you probably do. You don’t, however, as rule accept divine or spirit aid, the guidance of your soul, the help of your animal powers, use sequent number, synchronicity, power spots, and significant calendar days such as full moon, your birthday, the solstices and equinoxes, or even give serious attention to dreams, visions, and inner voices (all of which I use avidly). Here too New Age spirituality saves us from putting to sleep completely the ways and means of ascension, although at the same time it has everything thrown together in such a pell-mell fashion it’s not easy to choose between what helps and what definitely doesn’t.

Even to go into that place at the top of mind I’ve called the emptiness and the Silence (there are so many names for it, attesting to its panhuman existence) you need all the help you can get, and so how much more so to get to Supermind, or, to say it differently, not only to get to that emptiness but through it to the fullness of Supermind, to be orientated there. The trick is to be able to discern what help is natural to our individuality and humanity as whole in a divine transformation and what is not or frivolous.  It’s tricky, like walking a razor’s edge, because when you begin to open the inner consciousness so many things come flooding in it seems pointing to your heights, not only the all too plentiful purposeful distractions orchestrated by powers hostile to divinity, but also “distractions in gold cuffs” my muse (the muse of poetry) calls them, because they can also be divine distractions, like getting sidetracked from your own divine transformation with Jesus, Krishna, some other divine name, or a divinely inspired book, though avoiding all the distractions, divine or undivine, in no way precludes an indispensible, integral, and unconditional surrender to the Supreme, without which a divine transformation isn’t possible. Nor does it preclude using and adoring some divine name as your guide to get there.  They just wouldn’t be the goal.

If, however, you are content with gold cuffs and the cosmic Gods (“the story Gods” in my muse) and want nothing more than to draw ever nigh to some divine person, have no drive to exceed the human formula and go up into Supermind (who would also be coming down to you), then you’ll be in good company and on hallowed ground, but just make sure it’s your soul’s choice. A good question: where would aliens or channeled entities fit into all of this? Or, I should ask, do they?

So far this may seem like just a bunch of philosophy, but shot through it are brief descriptions of my personal experience (which is by no means exhaustive), else I couldn’t describe what I’m describing, and so it’s more the result of experience than thought, hence engaged philosophy.  Though we all have our personal truth, our uniqueness in Spirit, that silent empty station of consciousness is at the top of everyone’s mind, since it’s truth in its most basic sense, meaning simply what is, not a name or ideal to believe in, and everyone has a higher self above them, as both become visible when you reach them with the seat of your consciousness, your awareness. In other words they exist independent of belief.

You don’t have to take my word for it; see for yourself if you are able. I didn’t believe in Supermind before experiencing it, had no idea it was even there. I did know about the emptiness, but upon experiencing it I found it to be as ineffable and hard to describe in language as mystics for thousands of years have said it is. Nothing really prepares you for its hard to bear intensity.  For reasons that probably has to do with enabling me to see out of that box of emptiness, seeing something’s beyond it, I first experienced Supermind and then a year later the Silence (several times since that initial supramental experience I’ve gone overhead some distance, though not yet again to that height). Even having seen what’s above it beforehand, that emptiness was still overwhelming.  I greatly needed spiritual aid.

After the Silence I was devastated. I had seen that the world is an illusion and a cheat, myself included, and so there was no reason to continue spiritual practice, or even school for that matter (I was studying Classical Greek in the university at the time). In fact, there was no reason to do anything except wait for death as comfortably as I could. If I would’ve stayed in the Silence, while adjustment to it would be difficult, it would’ve been much easier, since you are like I said content, and so the meaninglessness is just that, nothing at all. It’s hard to give the picture of my utter despair because it wasn’t depression; the peace from the experience lasted weeks.

About two weeks after the experience, as I was on the verge of stopping everything, sadhana, school, what have you, I flung myself on my bed one afternoon and was enveloped in flaming vision. It happened without any trigger. All was in storm at sea at night, and a purple sky was sending down lightning bolts on water just a slightly different shade of violet than it, water that was mad with waves. Riding on the waves not the least bothered by the storm was a young Caucasian woman on a white horse dressed in traditional American Indian buckskin, not as a squaw but as a warrior. As I looked into her eyes I found myself looking through innumerable eyes at the same time, hers included, not all eyes there are but saw as she saw through all the beings like her, and it was as though they were one being seeing and experiencing existence through all those many eyes, though each one was its own distinct personality acting on its own scene, which was in identity-unison with all the rest. Just a flash that seeing was, and then I was back behind my own eyes looking at her again riding so expertly that storm. She looked at me and gave me a smile that held within it all I hold dear about love, and she said, in a line of poetry I lost, something like, “Nirvana expresses itself through the forms.”

The vision vanished just as quickly as it had appeared, but it put my whole world back in place. It used the word Nirvana for That because I was studying Buddhism at the time, and voice and vision uses what you know and believe in. To interpret what she said I was told that existence is not meaningless because the One, or whatever you want to call the Absolute, expresses itself through existence, or samsara as the Buddhists would call it. In other words, these symbol lives and worlds are real because That is behind them, what they are in reality. So the world and its inhabitants and all above it are a living symbols and not illusions, and that makes all the difference in the world.

That woman on the horse was a representation of my Supermind, what became apparent to me afterwards, whose nature is expressed in the symbols of the vision, i.e. a rider of storms, feminine in a masculine role, and ‘Western’ or ‘White’ but dressed in the life of native or tribal culture, all of which is proving to be my basic nature also, of this little self too. Though at the time I called her (them) the Nirvana people, because I was using the symbols of Buddhism, all those many eyes were the one Supermind, something I only glanced at when I was in Supermind so briefly I was there and such a shock it was just to see through everything as I did. At the time I had no name for it, as I was years from encountering the Integral Yoga, and I just called Supermind ‘who I really am’.

When I was able to integrate the experience of the Silence with that of Supermind, in my understanding, I left Buddhism’s ideal behind, though its thought and technique to get to the emptiness are unparalleled, which I yet use, since that no-self is a way station on the way to the Truth Consciousness and must be experienced and surpassed. Also a good question: where does God fit into the picture?  I think I might venture to answer that one. Supermind is the first rung on the ladder of God above or beyond the universe, in other words, God.

Now, after saying all this, I can go back to the beginning and say that there is no spiritual path, not because all is one and therefore negated, but because all is One and at the same time the path to return there, and that’s a supreme positive. So life itself is the spiritual path, afterlife too.  Existence is that whether we realize it or not. We evolve despite ourselves, although we can certainly speed things up conceiving of for convenience sake a spiritual path.  And while on that path there are check points, like emptiness and Supermind, as well as other things, the soul change (surfacing the soul) for one, they aren’t the destination, just take you closer to it, and so they hold no all-importance, and making them the goal is as much of a trap as ignoring them altogether, believe me, but it is good to know of them, since your understanding and not only your heart take you forward on the path, and what the mind sees it can identify with, like what the soul envisions creates a world or a universe.

So relax, though you are God like many think, maybe even yourself, you’ll only know yourself God when you can see through innumerable eyes at the same time, and you would also have superpowers.

As far as the question of being Awakened or not, I think the film in question gives a good picture of how different that is from being in ego consciousness when it shows that not as a philosophy but as a radical change of consciousness on the part of those interviewed. Are you there?

(Author's note: Many would believe that, among the criteria for seeing Supermind, being of sound moral character would be important if not indispensable. While being in a state of purity, at the very least, does seem to be one for entering the spiritual consciousness, referred to above by what is described as Awakening, Supermind is inscrutable, and now that it has been established on earth by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, because it's based on oneness and not morality, because its action is to have you harmonize your eye or arm if one offends you and not pluck it out or cut it off, how Overmind would achieve goodness, at least the lower tier we are more in touch with, Supermind would be inclined to manifest in general humanity also among those considered the worst sinners, work on the bottom strata of us as well, the problem children, so as to untie the knots that keep even those of us on or near the top strata, like those interviewed in the film, those indeed Awakened, from divine transformation, since we are indeed one, in our goodness and our evil, something that has not even come into our concept of oneness so far we are from realizing its reality. I would refer you to a great French writer, seer, inmate of the ashram, and teacher at the ashram school, Archaka and his Images of the Future, the English translation.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Volume 3 Issue 5

The Passage You

Original Sin
(It bears mentioning that I went to the Samadhi after writing the poem an inwardly asked where to put the poem, and I heard my muse say, "to the question in Sri Aurobindo's room: are you there?")

by Donny Duke

In a sunny corner of remote earth
The bite of it all
Challenged orthodoxy.
This was in Nature’s plan.
Green-gold it moved.
This conducted harmony
Operating on discords –
Not a packaged plan,
Neither from the stars.
It brought in cities beyond the universe.
We bask in its revelry –
A riot of God
On lone isles of trust.
Wonderful it wore shoes.
Naked impulse did not light its lamp.
A renegade
It brought all to bear on noontide.
Light held its room.
“Yes,” we sing in darkness’ lair.
“We deliver anthems
Without knowing on which we rest.
It came to us unclothed,
And we saw nought but sin.”
What distance orthodoxy
From all that abounds in this place.

                                                Waiting under the canopy
                             Sri Aurobindo Ashram
                             Mother’s birthday 2015

From First From Within
A column dedicated to exploring the role of dreams, voices, and visions in the integral yoga. 

by Douglas McElheny

In this article I’d like to share a dream that featured Christian contemplative author Bernadette Roberts.  The dream is interesting for a number of reasons the first being that I was actually with Bernadette at the time.  In addition the dream offered specific guidance and had a very strong and obvious connection to an outer event.

For those who aren’t familiar with her, Bernadette is the author of a number of books that I think have value for any spiritual seeker and not just Christian contemplatives.  Her first book The Experience of No-Self is a thought provoking account of entering into and adapting to what is referred to in the integral yoga as the spiritual consciousness and her second book The Path to No-Self appears to me to be an account of what Aurobindo and the Mother called the psychic transformation or at least something kindred to it.

At the time of the dream I was actually in California attending a two and a half day retreat given by Bernadette on Christian mysticism.  While I was there I had a dream I was in an apartment with Bernadette and she wrote “Trust God” on a chalkboard.  I don’t remember on which of the two nights I had the dream but on the morning of the last day I went to the small chapel at the retreat center to sit in silence with Bernadette and the rest of the retreat attendees.  After the session was over I felt impelled to pick up the hymnal in the pocket in front of me.  Inside I found a small card that on the front had a painting of Mary holding baby Jesus who is pointing to her glowing red heart.  Below the painting was written:

O Immaculate Heart of Mary, true model of every holiness, give trust to become saints!

Then I flipped the card over and found this prayer about trustwritten on the back:

Prayer to Our Lady of Trust

Drawn by our need for your help in the many trials which engulf us, we come to your feet, O Virgin of Trust, to pour out to the heart of a mother our hopes and our failings.

Although it is our duty to strive for perfection, our mortal bodies make the path difficult, and the enemies of our souls continually attack, while everywhere we are enticed to leave the difficult way known only to a few travelers.

And all the while our suffering, our interior weakness, and temptations press to torment us.  We feel faint and sad, which means one thing:  distrust – in ourselves, in our ideal to become saints, in the means to attain it.

But your motherly look which follows us, and your Immaculate Heart which your Son points out to us open our souls to a new feeling:  confidence in your help.  We want it, O Mary; we beg you for it, O sweetest Mother.

When sin entices us, stay with us and be our strength; when mediocrity absorbs us, do not leave us; when the ascent to the perfection of the Father makes us weary, whisper a word of help, O Mary; Trust!

If we listen to this word of yours, the way will be easier, the goal closer, and our confidence more certain that we shall attain sanctity.

So repeat this word often: Trust.  Repeat it to us and to everybody. O Mary, because all people must become saints.  Amen.1

Just before lunch on that final day of the retreat Bernadette asked each of us to capture in one sentence the most important thing we felt got from the retreat and to share it with the group during the last session in the afternoon.  When it came my turn to share I said, “The need to trust God.”  After I said it I looked to Bernadette to hear her comments.  The first thing she said was, “It’s hard to do.”  She spoke a little more and I’ve forgotten most of what she said but one thing that stuck with me was that, “You have to put your foot out there, to make decisions, to take chances and understand that however it turns out that’s what God wanted for you.”

After Bernadette had finished commenting on my sentence we moved along to the next person so they could share theirs.  There was time for discussion later and I thought of sharing the dream and finding the card but an opening to do so didn’t seem to come up.  So even though there was a part of me that was chomping at the bit to talk about what had happened I didn’t try to force myselfinto the flow of the discussion; it was clear to me my main motivation was to show off to the other retreatants.   It would have been interesting though because dreams aren’t something that figure at all in Bernadette’s writings and I got the impression (admittedly perhaps wrongly) from a comment she made at the retreat that she didn’t attribute much of value to dreams.  I’ll always have to wonder what she would have thought of a dream like that paired with such an amazing outer synchronicity.

When I left the retreat to return to Florida that card with the “Prayer to Our Lady of Trust “ came with me.  It now holds a spot on the corner of my altar along with a small image of St. Jude2 that serendipitously came my way about eleven years ago.  Image wise they’re the only non-integral yoga items on my altar.

So now two years later I’m still learning how to trust God.   Bernadette’s right, it is hard to trust God, but why is that?   I mean He’s always going to act in my best interests so why not trust?  I think the answer is that while my mind can intellectually understand the idea that God will always act in my best interests, the vital in general can’t get there.   I say in general because it does have moments or spurts of trust but they don’t last.  I think the main reason for that is the vital’s afraid its needs won’t be met.  It’s also in the habit of reacting to and resisting things and this sort of trust and surrender is a passive thing and requires a poise that’s foreign to it.  There may be other factors too I don’t see clearly but the real question is how do you get the vital to change?  Can you do anything else to convince it other than just doing your sadhana as best you can and asking the Divine to work on the vital so that it can let go and turn to and trust the Divine?   It’s starting to look to me like that’s the case and you just have to have patience and faith and bear with the process, accepting that the vital is where it’s at the moment but doing your best not to let it take control and drive your thoughts and emotions.  My mental being (when it’s clear) can trust God now and I can continue trying to keep myself centered in that part of myself.   It’s easier said than done but what else can one do but bravely carry on?   I’ll end with some advice from the Mother who said:

The things we cannot realize today we shall be able to realize tomorrow.  The only necessity is to endure. 3

Notes and References
       1.  This prayer was written by a Bishop named Guglielmo Giaquita who founded the Pro Sanctit Movement in 1947. Bishop Giaquita (according to the Pro Sanctity website though Wikipedia says something else) also shares the same birthday as me, June 28th.
      2. For those who didn’t know St. Jude is regarded as the patron saint of hope and lost causes.
      3. Collected Works of the Mother Volume 14, pg 174

You Still Hold Your Breath?
(This is the 2nd essay on human unity sent anonymously around Auroville some months back. The first is in Issue 4)

 by Donny Duke

     We don’t come with an operator’s manual, in fact are born into a world where we are just different enough from the rest of Nature to entertain the thought we are not even a part of her, lording it over the other inhabitants of our planet as we do, as it seems our right to do, able as we are to make even Nature accommodate us, abandon her own plans and provide for us our daily bread and take from her as much of her as we want to build our towns and cities, though often too we stand before her in terror as do the other species, when, by whatever agency, fate, divine retribution, chance, she raises up her sun-eclipsing and star-blotting head and shows us in no uncertain terms we are not yet masters of her or even yet of ourselves, since that destroying hand is just as often our own as it is the earth’s, the wind’s, the water’s, or fire’s.  That it’s just as often our own hand that destroys us, either the nation-destroying hand of an army or the community-destroying hand of a wrongdoer, that latter more often the liar than the killer, since it’s the former that most often leads us, is what makes it so apparent we don’t as yet have much of a clue as to what we are, where we’re going, or how to get there – that we don’t have an operator’s manual.

     Oh there are countless collections of writings and teachings that claim to be such a manual, and usually we have little or no choice but to adopt one or the other as our guide, the one our family and/or our society holds to be the one, that limited choice more to do with the fact we, just like the individual members of any social animal species, define ourselves by our family and society than it does with them forcing a manual onto us.  The thing about it is, though, if you examine just about any manual (let’s call it a system), it has you put it on like one would a wardrobe of clothes, or a habit really, though it need not be religious nowadays; the proponents of science now ask the same donning.  What I mean is you adopt certain, tenants, beliefs, postulates, methods, practices, and we can continue, which may or may not involve you investigating them as to their truth-value, truth being, again, what’s actually going on here, though here up to this point has meant the outer world.  Rare to nonexistent is the system that first has you explore the inside of yourself and allows you to then build your own system based on what you found there, on your own personal inner truth.

     That would lead to utter anarchy most would say, but say there is within us not only common ground, but also a shared identity, as I proposed in my last essay, and in your inner exploration you discovered that unity, then however long it might take, or however much chaos you caused (not to say you’re not responsible for whatever harm you gave that might’ve entailed), you would eventually be able to make that unity the ruling principle of your life, and, since you are a social human animal dependent upon others for your survival, you could not but help to communicate that in both word and deed to your immediate society at the very least, and, if it does nothing else, based on the truth-value of such a communication, it would give a viable hands-on hope to your community.

    I also suggested last time, though I didn’t elaborate as I will now, that to change the world, in this case make human unity (which by its very nature entails a union with all things) as real in the outer world as it is in our inner life, you couldn’t start with ‘the world’ but would have to begin with a community or a selected group of like-minded communities, notwithstanding the existence of the World Wide Web, which is yet in its infancy and more concerned with buying and selling than bettering humanity and threatens to become more a source of population control, a means of maintaining the status quo, than revolutionizing human life.  Ideally you’d begin a pilot community mandated with such a realization, and it would have to be given such a mandate by someone who discovered that unity inside themselves, and the founding of the community was a result of communicating that realization; else it just wouldn’t work, for obvious reasons.  Auroville is such a community, composed of many smaller like-minded communities, and was founded by such a person, and so believe it or not, to have realized this somewhere upon the earth, we are halfway there.

     No matter what the current state of affairs in Auroville – the whole place could erupt in one big brawl, every single man, woman, and child coming out into the streets and just going at it tooth and nail (if you wanted to imagine the worst state of affairs) – and still it would be Auroville, the pilot community founded to realize human unity founded by someone who found that unity inside themselves.  It doesn’t matter how far you go from the ideal; the ideal is still the ideal, and any falling from it would be necessary to any realization of it, and when you’re dealing with such an ideal as human unity (how many other ideals have to be realized to realize that single one? It’s an umbrella isn’t it?) you can expect to fall from it farther than you think it’s possible to return to it, but if you understand that’s not possible, never being able to return to it, then you’re on your way.  It’s just simple arithmetic.  There has to come a point, though, where that ideal spirits every decision anyone makes anywhere in the city; I mean, when it comes to the forefront as the work your city is to do, as opposed to mere survival, a place where Mr. and Mrs. social animal human live in a large collective to make survival easier, what cities and towns are in essence anywhere on the globe.  The question is, of course, how to make such a giant leap in evolution, or really, and this is putting the problem in the pan, how do you get each individual in the city to make that leap?

     It is precisely here you need that operator’s manual, the one that doesn’t add shirts, pants, hats, belts, shoes and whatnot to your wardrobe but informs you about what your wardrobe naturally contains in terms of who and what you are, where you’re going, and how to get there.  To use another analogy, when we started this grand adventure called humanity, which I will greatly simplify for the purposes of this analogy, we were near-naked apes surrounded by raw earth, invisible wind, fresh and salt water, and wild fire when it happened naturally.  Though we didn’t have reason then and maybe not real language yet, I’ll imagine a moment we did and tell such a person that out of those basic raw materials they could light the night like unto day, glide on and under the sea, fly through the air and out into Space, hear and see instantly the people and places remote from them with just the push of a button, and you get the picture.  Would they believe me?  I could only try and convince them based on what I had seen with my own eyes, and though many would scoff at my declarations, because of the truth value of my words there would be some who would feel something inside of them agree with what I was saying, people particularly attuned to truth, that, again, what is actually going on, in this case, what inevitably will happen.

     We of this modern material era are like those near-naked apes in terms of what is possible with the raw materials of consciousness and what we have made with those materials, which is just enough to get by as self-aware half-animals on a planet rolling through Space around a burning star that will eventually burn out, which it to say next to nothing, unless you count the ability to wonder as a significant step forward in terms of realizing the potentiality of consciousness.  The proponents of science as the only system that can arrive at truth would.  Other than the millions who’ve adopted some system of truth not founded on the potentiality of consciousness itself, what’s naturally in our store to discover and develop, but founded upon a name or a book that has chosen certain elements of consciousness to the exclusion of the whole, often twisting the elements chosen just enough to take them out of the realm of actual truth, like telling that near-naked ape they could make honey out of sand and airplanes out of water, few there are who seek to discover and develop out of consciousness its potential.  The founder of Auroville was such a person.

     This is at once Auroville’s greatest asset and its main source of conflict.  When you have such a person as that as the one who set the community’s guidelines, gave it its mandate, put it on course, someone who, in terms of exploring and to a certain extent realizing the potentialities of consciousness, went so incredibly far, where exactly is the line that separates those who are exploring what’s in their own ‘wardrobe’ of consciousness and those millions who adopt a name and/or a book and limit their seeking to them?

     To continue with our near-naked ape analogy, it was her who came and told of the wonders that could be made from earth, wind, water, and fire, having herself seen these things firsthand, and the people in Auroville, not only permanent residents but its many if not most of it guests, even scores of people living in the Tamil villages inside the city, are the ones in the analogy who heard the seemingly wild declarations and felt something inside of them agree, since they are particularly attuned to respond to truth.  It was not herself she said would be made out of those basic elements, neither her words nor image; it was ships and submarines, jets and spacecraft, radio, television, and the internet, and so much more.  In Auroville it’s human unity.  That doesn’t mean her words on the subject of Auroville and what it’s to realize are unimportant.  You got to figure they’re more important than anyone else’s on the subject.  That’s only natural.  What will realize human unity, however, is not adding a single thing to what our wardrobe of consciousness naturally contains, not a name, an image, a book(s), or what have you, else you create conflict that is not the kind conducive to unity.  If it’s true human unity is the truth of us, what we are just ignorant of because we are largely or exclusively concerned with the outer world and material things, then the task is to discover it and make it a reality in the outer life as it already is in the inner.

     Now, I am a disciple of the Mother, hook, line, and sinker, and she has mastered me, and now when I stand before her in dream I blubber like a small child, unable to get over the fact I’m in her presence, and she’s allowed me, though I’ve been before her in dream off and on for the past 15 years, never feeling anything like that until relatively recently, though it would be misleading if I didn’t also mention that sometimes in such dreams she’s refused to see me, though dreams where I find myself before her or waiting to see her aren’t what I intend but what I find myself in every now and then when I become lucid in a dream, since she is my divine teacher, who I call on for help and confirmation, who my psychic being has chosen, though she’s neither my God nor the image of the divine I use for devotion; it has been her that’s taught me to use no name or image as such an object, to love God as the who behind all contacts and the mystery beyond all things, though at this point if she wanted me to fall down at her feet and wash them with my hair I would, but that’s a child’s desire, and she would have me grow up.  I go into such detail because it’s precisely here where the waters with the Mother are so muddled among us.

     Some months ago I became lucid in a dream, and almost immediately an opening appeared in the ceiling of the place I was in, showing a whole other reality above, a different firmament, wonder-splashed with colorful stars and planets and a Space not dark and void (if you’re familiar with this gateway in dream, it’s a way to go overhead; I mean your seat of consciousness).  I rose up a little off the floor but felt a heavy drag (it’s not until you’re able to get through the opening that the seat of your consciousness actually rises and no more effort on your part is required), and feeling such a drag and not feeling all that energetic, not wanting to spend the effort required to rise, I just dropped it, the attempt to rise, and the opening closed, and I went about to have some fun with the dream, do some magic, easy things like that.  I sort of flew into another room, which was a large spacious 5 star restaurant in a hotel, and on the other end of the room I could see the Mother at one of those small cooking stations among the tables dressed in cook’s whites, and so I went up to her, but as I got into her presence I started crying like a baby and couldn’t stop crying, but she didn’t pay it any mind, only told me, as she was cooking a hearty meal of beef and potatoes, and as I cried and cried, that she too had played with dreams a lot when she was younger, had even been taken over by a Hostile once, but that she learned to use such power as waking in dreams wisely, use it to go up or in.  As I walked away from her I realized she’d mastered me, and I felt resentful, but I had to admit it wasn’t all that bad, was in fact a good thing, and then I awoke in my bed.

     That dream represented for me the point I finally, definitively, subordinated my ego to something bigger than myself, what I thought I’d already done (you always do), and after that, though difficulties were by no means eliminated, a host of things became much easier, not the least of which was making human unity, which I’d been seeing in inner exploration for years, an outer reality, what is now in my hands and spilling out onto this page.  It wasn’t the Mother that did it; it was surrendering myself to something larger than myself in the truth sense of large, not something I declared based on a momentary swell of emotion that soon spent itself, not something I adopted as a belief of what I should do that I then tried to live up to.  That made truth real to me, not the dream, the ego surrendering, though as evidenced by its resentment it’s not yet an utter and total surrender, when it abdicates the throne completely, when it joins its little ring no longer.

     I saw through inner exploration the truth of the larger, saw it so much and so many times all doubt was removed that it is indeed true (though if it’s a spiritual experience, where you actually go out of the ego and in identity experience the larger, it only takes one time), and because it’s what I know not merely what I believe in, it makes no difference how far away from it I fall, coming back is always inevitable, since it works your change from the inside out, not as we normally think from the outside in, the change going on even when we go off and elsewhere, albeit then it works hidden, though our sincerity and intention play no small role in how long it takes.  Of course if we didn’t go off and elsewhere it would happen much faster, and in fact it’s the measure of our sincerity that’s the measure of our change, and it’s our constant remembered intention that is, over rites, rituals, practices, and abstinences, its quickening agent, what you eventually learn is what buys you the ticket, since, looking at change from the outer perspective, it’s what you think about that determines what you say and do, the whole air about you, and when you learn how to continually concentrate on your intention in whatever activity you do, something that becomes possible when enough inner change occurs, you have in your hand the lever of change itself, which, on the community level, something to my knowledge not yet in consideration as a possibility anywhere yet on earth because of the general ignorance of the potentiality of consciousness, is where, as I mentioned, the intention, for you human unity, spirits every decision any person who has reached the age of reason makes in the community.  Once that is accomplished, human unity is within your grasp, a pilot light that can ignite humanity.

     It can’t be understated, though, that it takes a great deal of inner change to change the outer just a little bit, whether that change be of an individual or a community, something that continually baffles us in regards to the way we actually change, concerned as we always are with pressing immediate circumstances and hence focus all of our efforts on a change in behavior first and foremost, baffled to such an extent it’s a common adage among us that ‘people don’t change’.  They do, when it’s a change in consciousness, which, by its very nature, works from the inside out, which is why beginning with inner exploration to see evidence of the larger, seeing it and allowing it to begin to work its change, as opposed to adopting some ideal of the larger and forcing your outer reality to immediately conform to it (unless your outer reality is on fire figuratively speaking and would be destroyed otherwise), would be more in line with the truth of us, how we indeed change, though that’s not to say your outer is indifferent and doesn’t do what it can to help bring that larger out into its reality, sincerity and intention being, as I said, the measure and handle of our change.

     An ideal such as human unity, when it also includes all things, has such truth-largeness, though it’s impersonal, and its teaching you in dreams and the like is more abstract than a person standing there giving you instruction.  When we are talking about bringing out into outer reality something that can at times even go against our own instinct to survive, something we as half-animals have to put first over our own preferences and pleasures, we’re talking about the hardest thing a person can do, what only love can do, what the ideal human unity is in its most basic sense.  Whether you realize that ideal with the help of the Mother or some other realized person, or just go the impersonal ideal way, if you’re in Auroville, someone called to live there, in the city of human unity, you have to learn how to love humanity, every last one of us, and that’s personal.

     What I said in the first essay I repeat now.  That unity is alive and well on the inside of us and becomes more and more apparent the more you become conscious of your experience during sleep, what amounts to inner exploration, since that experience is for most people an expedient doorway into the inner waters.  (It would also bear mentioning that if you’re a resident of Auroville, whether you’re particularly drawn to the Mother or not, you might encounter her, since she is yet the guiding force behind your community, its inner leader, but her ways are inscrutable, and she might not honor rank and might give audience to the least among you.)  If you do that exploration with the same group of people you conduct your life with, the people you think about the most, who think about you, then seeing the inner connection is so much easier, like seeing neon lights on a dark street, and from there it’s not a hop, skip, and a jump to seeing the shared identity, but if you do go deeper, always deeper, years deeper, it shows itself to you, since it’s the same thing as discovering who you indeed are.  If Auroville as a community begins this inner exploration, starting with the newborn and newcomer, with the ideal of realizing human unity as the reason to do so, not an a priori stance in that you don’t yet ‘believe it’ and need to see it firsthand before you do and thus know it as your own inner truth, your inner connection and unity with all things, you would have a hands-on approach to the ideal.  And once it’s in your hands, you see it’s already there in your heart: I love you.

Looks Like This is the Place
(a poem written for because the site didn't post either essay on human unity, and neither did it post this poem, which I tried to put as a comment. It's not only written to that site but to all in Auroville and the ashram who did not make the essays available to be read)

Edited that title
Doin’ an unofficial guide.
You did not honor.
Everything’s gotta be secular.
A visit paper
Came out of nowhere –
Hello there.
This was in the middle of your own conversation.
Can’t let anyone else speak.
Oh boy,
I could be a killer.
You know what’s wrong with this country?
Tied to a chain
Our recital,
The one we sing human progress.
Believe it or not I sing it,
But you’ve censored me.
That is exactly what I worry,
What I want to break,
That doggone chain.
Figured out what that chain is?
Is that our kind of people?

(If you'd like to read more of my poetry and prose, my personal blog is A Collaboration With the Unknown)