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Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor

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Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/18/19 10:44 PM
This book here - https://www.stevenmtaylor.com/books/out-of-the-darkness/

It is a super interesting read, being full of case studies of people who became enlightened after intense suffering. This isn't something we hear of very much, and I can't think of another such collection (if anyone knows one then please say).
Losing your job, getting cancer, jumping to your death, being an alcoholic, divorce, drowning, war, work addiction and general misery and affliction - all can induce a quieted mind and a loss of self, and for some people is the best thing that ever happened to them. At least that's what they tell Steve.

It seems like you can cram years of Dark Night suffering into a few seconds of surrender to the inevitable (please don't try this, I'm not responsible for your mangled body if you try the quick and dirty route).

One of the most interesting things about this is that according to Taylor's research, and his general anecdotal impressions, there are more people becoming enlightened in this seemingly random and painful way than in all the traditional contemplative ways combined. Think Eckhart Tolle, who is included in the book.
I'm not a statistician, so I don't know how sound his research techniques are. Maybe a bigger and more thorough survey would give a different picture. Argue about that as you will.

All that stuff about the seeker getting in the way, abandon the seeker... etc ? Well, it could be that, indeed, not being any kind of a seeker is a definite boon to finding. Traditionalists shouldn't lose heart, though, plenty of finders find by traditional methods. And it may be that people following the contemplative path get further along the insight map than people who don't. Or maybe not, can anyone know yet ?

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 4:44 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2... according to Taylor's research, and his general anecdotal impressions, there are more people becoming enlightened in this seemingly random and painful way than in all the traditional contemplative ways combined...
I once met a lady who awakened through a bad divorce. She got one big perceptual shift out of that. I also know a man who told me he never had the usual sense of self, that I was speaking about to a group of newcomers. There's also a photobook, A Kind of Rapture by Robert Bergman, that Shinzen Young describes,

"...Its this huge book of photographs (indicates a large size) and I start to look through these photographs. These are all portraits and I'm freaking out because its very evident to me what this book is about and I had never seen a book like this, ever... (The author) went through the rust belt of United States, the old decaying cities, photographing street people, who for whatever reason, usually a combination of hard life and physical, and mental illness, had been thrust into a no-self state, in other words, people for whom the blows of life had driven them to a rapturous no-self experience. He went around the country looking for those kind of people, catching them at the moment when they manifested non-ego, that their hard life had taken them to. You know, if you see one or two pictures like that it doesn't have an impact like that but if you see 50 pictures like that, picture after picture after picture, then it hits you, what the whole thing is about...."

From:
https://youtu.be/HGmU1oVroLM?t=1499

One thing that is very problematic is the definition of awakening or enlightenment. I don't know how Steve Taylor defines it but I've seen really definitions of enlightenment. Someone like Shinzen Young, though, probably knows what he is talking about and can see it from a photo, to some degree at least.

In the early days of Open Heart Bhumi Model, when I was very enthusiastic about it, I analyzed literally thousands of people, checking whether their primary sense of self had dropped off. In my experience, whether in public places or meditations centers, there wasn't much difference in terms of attainments, although of course the general vibe of city street and practice hall are very different. So, I cannot say if Taylor is wrong or right but what I do agree with is that traditional contemplative ways do not work very well in this sense.





RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 5:51 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Well, it could be that, indeed, not being any kind of a seeker is a definite boon to finding.

My experience was exactly this, but not from having a life-changing event but from long practice. The seeker eventually has to go. To die. To been seen through.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 6:58 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hi Kim, thanks for taking time to write that out, couple of great stories there. Who'd have thought it, a whole photo project about it ?! Shinzen confirms that few people know about this aspect of spirituality, which makes me wonder if I'm in a bit of an intellectual ghetto. Maybe stuck in an identity as a seeker.

Can you really tell from a photo, and are those people really that easy to find ?

Steve Taylor doesn't go into great detail about the differences between levels of awakening (which is his preferred term), and it's not always clear that his case studies are describing the same thing, so from a map point of view there may be several stages being described, I couldn't say. But some of them certainly sound like higher paths and as good as anyone's awakening.

I just bought a Kind of Rapture.

Listening to Shinzen's anecdote on the homeless guy who seemed 'part of nature' also reflects my reading on the noble savage, uncivilization as an enlightened state.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 6:44 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Asking a fine grained question, does it die or get seen through ? People seem to differ on this.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 9:54 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Asking a fine grained question, does it die or get seen through ? People seem to differ on this.

It was seen in an instant, THE instant, laughed at out loud as the most obvious fucking thing ever. After that it's just ridiculously obvious and not something I think about until someone brings it up, like here.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 11:52 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2:
Hi Kim, thanks for taking time to write that out, couple of great stories there. Who'd have thought it, a whole photo project about it ?! Shinzen confirms that few people know about this aspect of spirituality, which makes me wonder if I'm in a bit of an intellectual ghetto. Maybe stuck in an identity as a seeker.

Can you really tell from a photo, and are those people really that easy to find ?

Steve Taylor doesn't go into great detail about the differences between levels of awakening (which is his preferred term), and it's not always clear that his case studies are describing the same thing, so from a map point of view there may be several stages being described, I couldn't say. But some of them certainly sound like higher paths and as good as anyone's awakening.

I just bought a Kind of Rapture.

Listening to Shinzen's anecdote on the homeless guy who seemed 'part of nature' also reflects my reading on the noble savage, uncivilization as an enlightened state.

I've had a bit of a photo project going on the past 5 years. I have over 500 photos of people at different stages. In our sangha, it's part of the method, that is, mapping stages in both nonverbal (bhumi analysis) and verbal manner.

Shinzen Young is rinzai zen fellow. Rinzai school happens to be very particular about reading students in nonverbal manner. I am not surprised it was him who said that attainments can be seen from photos or without the person saying anything. But there is a lot of variety in attainments (whether they are analysed through a photo or in person) and this takes a lot of training. I'd say when you've tuned in with a hundred people, then you start to notice that there are differences. With few thousand repetitions, you know the art of reading well.

Just last week, I saw a rather famous spiritual teacher discuss about awakening/enlightenment/nonduality in a very confident way but it was apparent that he didn't have a coherent understanding of vipashyana or it's outcome as discussed in buddhism.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 3:12 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Asking a fine grained question, does it die or get seen through ? People seem to differ on this.

It was seen in an instant, THE instant, laughed at out loud as the most obvious fucking thing ever. After that it's just ridiculously obvious and not something I think about until someone brings it up, like here.


Oo I could do with a good laugh like that. But is it different from hysterical or euphoric laughter in other circumstance ?

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 3:23 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Yeah, if we can recognise the presence of emotion and self on someone's face, why can't we recognise it's absence ? Women are probably, on the whole, a bit better at this.

Thanks for your input.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/19/19 4:14 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
But is it different from hysterical or euphoric laughter in other circumstance ?

It's the laugh you have when you see that you spent years traversing a long, long road only to find out the objective was right next door the whole time.

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/23/19 12:21 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
But is it different from hysterical or euphoric laughter in other circumstance ?

It's the laugh you have when you see that you spent years traversing a long, long road only to find out the objective was right next door the whole time.
What do you think of Dr Taylor's view that enlightenment is more likely to occur via suffering than via a deliberate cultivation ?
Would you bet on a follow up study confirming or denying ?

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/24/19 5:06 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Sounds like an interesting project how is it going ?

I got the book today, and I wouldn't say it was immediately apparent that I'm looking at enlightened people, and I may have been primed to think of them in a certain way now, but there's definitely an intimate quality and directness.

These are a few of the portraits, do they look enlightened to you ?
https://www.therobertbergmanarchive.org/photo-color-portraits.html

RE: Out of the Darkness by Steve Taylor
Answer
8/24/19 5:00 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Well, it could be that, indeed, not being any kind of a seeker is a definite boon to finding.

My experience was exactly this, but not from having a life-changing event but from long practice. The seeker eventually has to go. To die. To been seen through.

I was just assuming these were different ways of saying the same thing, but actually having something die, or seeing through it, are totally different things.