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Direct Path Advaita Experiment

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Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/14/14 4:04 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Jason Snyder 8/14/14 8:09 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/17/14 5:31 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Jason Snyder 8/17/14 6:14 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Psi 8/17/14 6:37 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/19/14 5:42 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Karalee Peltomaa 8/19/14 7:11 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/20/14 5:31 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/20/14 6:50 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/20/14 2:55 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/20/14 11:47 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/20/14 6:59 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/22/14 3:59 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/22/14 6:33 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/24/14 7:23 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/26/14 3:13 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 8/26/14 3:16 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 8/31/14 10:17 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/7/14 1:51 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment goran c backlund 8/26/14 1:30 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 8/26/14 3:07 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 9/9/14 5:43 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/10/14 11:25 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 9/10/14 1:35 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/10/14 2:59 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment sawfoot _ 9/10/14 3:36 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment J J 9/10/14 4:03 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/12/14 1:06 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment J J 9/12/14 1:42 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/13/14 3:47 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment J J 9/13/14 4:38 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Mark 9/14/14 7:23 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Not Tao 9/12/14 2:07 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment J J 9/12/14 2:21 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 9/29/14 6:21 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 9/17/14 12:16 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 9/25/14 4:35 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 11/1/14 5:34 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 11/7/14 8:31 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 11/8/14 8:48 PM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Adam . . 11/9/14 11:12 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 12/28/14 8:41 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment Eva Nie 12/28/14 11:51 AM
RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment John Wilde 12/28/14 5:07 PM
Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/14/14 4:04 AM
As a result of this thread (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5567489), I've been remembering and reflecting on what was a very fruitful period of practice in 2006.

I find myself in a somewhat perplexing position. I can't intellectually accept a Consciousness Only model of reality, and can't imagine ever being able to. Nevertheless, the benefits I get from treating experience this way are profound and consistently repeatable.

Among them:

- Marked reduction in the feeling of separateness.

- Pervasive lack of friction: everything feels easier, more fluid, lighter, less clunky, less effortful.

- Greater aesthetic appreciation of forms, patterns and colours... like a mild psychedelic effect without the psychic side-effects.

- Feeling like I have more time to observe, absorb and respond to what's happening, with less pressure.

- A natural / unforced equanimity: upsets are fewer, and quicker to subside.

- A natural / unforced benevolence without moralistic or self-righteous overtones.

- An oddly wider perceptual acuity: both central and peripheral vision seems clearer and somehow more stable, higher res.

- More restful sleep (less confusing dreamlike ideation during sleep; fewer involuntary attempts to reason with half a brain).

- Feeling deeply rested and soothed on a psychosomatic level.

- A general feeling of easy, limpid alertness, as if there's plenty of calm energy, and nothing being frittered away uselessly.


These all seem like qualities that are well worth cultivating, even if they require some philosophical artifice. And I don't get these benefits from any other mode of practice. Maybe I'll somehow come to understand it in a way that makes sense intellectually too, which would be great. But if not, I can at least treat it as a kind of experiential art and/or therapy... and see where it leads.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/14/14 8:09 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
I too benefit greatly from this perspective and by doing direct inquiry experiments, although the scientific materialist part of me is still skeptical of the said paradigm. 

You might want to check out Bernardo Kastrup's stuff. I haven't read it (I plan to) but did see his interview on batgap. He seems to be making a respectable case that everything is in consciousness (although he rejects everything is consciousness). 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp8s_cAl2h4

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/17/14 5:31 PM as a reply to Jason Snyder.
Jason Snyder:

You might want to check out Bernardo Kastrup's stuff. I haven't read it (I plan to) but did see his interview on batgap. He seems to be making a respectable case that everything is in consciousness (although he rejects everything is consciousness). 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp8s_cAl2h4

Thanks for the link, Jason; I hadn't heard of him before. Based on the interview, his books would be pretty interesting.

I still can't say I'm anywhere near convinced by the notion of Consciousness Only / Mind Only as a metaphysical thesis, but as a way of treating experience it continues to be beneficial... and that's good enough for me at this point. (In general, treating all teachings as technologies rather than truths seems the most viable approach for me).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/17/14 6:14 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Yeah, I really can't say one way or the other. It seems to me that there are objects, and based on what we know, they were around way before humans lived to perceive them. But at the same time objects have only ever been and could only ever be perceived through consciousness...seems to be kind of a paradox. I'm with you that pragmatism is the key, use what works. Any truth will always be a paradox anyway. 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/17/14 6:37 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
As a result of this thread (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5567489), I've been remembering and reflecting on what was a very fruitful period of practice in 2006.

I find myself in a somewhat perplexing position. I can't intellectually accept a Consciousness Only model of reality, and can't imagine ever being able to. Nevertheless, the benefits I get from treating experience this way are profound and consistently repeatable.

Among them:

- Marked reduction in the feeling of separateness.

- Pervasive lack of friction: everything feels easier, more fluid, lighter, less clunky, less effortful.

- Greater aesthetic appreciation of forms, patterns and colours... like a mild psychedelic effect without the psychic side-effects.

- Feeling like I have more time to observe, absorb and respond to what's happening, with less pressure.

- A natural / unforced equanimity: upsets are fewer, and quicker to subside.

- A natural / unforced benevolence without moralistic or self-righteous overtones.

- An oddly wider perceptual acuity: both central and peripheral vision seems clearer and somehow more stable, higher res.

- More restful sleep (less confusing dreamlike ideation during sleep; fewer involuntary attempts to reason with half a brain).

- Feeling deeply rested and soothed on a psychosomatic level.

- A general feeling of easy, limpid alertness, as if there's plenty of calm energy, and nothing being frittered away uselessly.


These all seem like qualities that are well worth cultivating, even if they require some philosophical artifice. And I don't get these benefits from any other mode of practice. Maybe I'll somehow come to understand it in a way that makes sense intellectually too, which would be great. But if not, I can at least treat it as a kind of experiential art and/or therapy... and see where it leads.

Yes, this is a very interesting subject.  Maybe it depends on the definition of consciousness, and/or conscious states.  

First one assumes consciousness as the five senses , plus thoughts.
Then there is the consciouness of bare awareness and/or formless realms (consciousness without sense contacts)

Please correct me if I am missing something, I am always open to learn.

So if one goes by the above assumptions, one might say everything is consciousness, and how else could it be?

For instance, if one sees and object, one might state that the object exists, plus one can reach out and touch it, smell it, etc.
BUT, what really happens when one sees something?  Light waves hit the optical nerves, which are translated into siganals, that are interpreted into a visual image that is perceived WITHIN the mind.  And because all of this doesn't happen instantaneously, we are actually seeing in time delay, or seeing memories (kind of).

So, from my view, the reality is that when we see something, None of the experience is actually happening( for the individual ) outside of the mind.  So, one could say, in that fashion, everything is consciousness.

But, when one hits a baseball and watches it line drive into the second basemans's glove, it sure seems like there is a ball and a bat and all the other external components of 3 dimensional space.

If I remember correctly Schopenhauer said it is like two sides of the same coin, though he called it the Will, then what we have is a re-presentation of the Will.  (And I am no Schopenhauer expert, so I could be incorrect on his view, but it does seem he was big into Vedanta and Buddhism, though his ideas seemed to have mostly developed indenpendently, and he did name his dog Atman, after all)

Anyway, good subject, one worthy of contemplation, and how to gain wisdom (insight) from this, and then apply the wisdom to daily living.
If it works, and it seems to be the case, then it must be wholesome, and close to the Truth, regardless of words and definitions.
So, "talk" with y'all later...

Psi Phi

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/19/14 5:42 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
As a result of this thread (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5567489), I've been remembering and reflecting on what was a very fruitful period of practice in 2006.

I find myself in a somewhat perplexing position. I can't intellectually accept a Consciousness Only model of reality, and can't imagine ever being able to. Nevertheless, the benefits I get from treating experience this way are profound and consistently repeatable.

These all seem like qualities that are well worth cultivating, even if they require some philosophical artifice. And I don't get these benefits from any other mode of practice. Maybe I'll somehow come to understand it in a way that makes sense intellectually too, which would be great. But if not, I can at least treat it as a kind of experiential art and/or therapy... and see where it leads.

...

(In general, treating all teachings as technologies rather than truths seems the most viable approach for me).
Hi John,

Something that is very clearly articulated in Aro is that Buddhism is a religion of method, not of truth. And you can then go to consider all religions as methods, rather than as truths. And if look at it like that, then it seems to solve a host of problems.

But what if the method of your religion relies on seeing your religion as truth?!

So I recall discussing with you before your view that the world/life is "intrinsically good" (or something like that), which you articulated as a deeply felt belief. I sort of disagreed. But in some methods, such as dzogchen, seeing the world as good is part of the method, which produces some nice effects, just like you are suggesting seeing "Consciousness only" can produce some nice effects.
 
I am curious to know the method of your "philosophical artifice". Your linked post describes a sleep based practice, but that seems rather narrow. Could you tell us what else is involved in "treating experience this way"? And how the intellect doesn't get in the way?

ta

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/19/14 7:11 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Pardon me, I am following this thread and other threads and I keep seeing the word "intellect".   I don't want to throw this thread off and wish to clarify what that words means to you.

To get the idea of where I'm coming from, I have the created mind, which is what I am working to vanish, and I have what remains, which is analytical and can create and uncreate minds.   "Mind" therefore means to me the compulsive aspects.

For example when I sit and ask "what am I" I get an answer that bypasses the mind; or I get an answer that is from the mind -- usually some current identity I'm running with.

I'm thinking when you say "intellect" you mean the analytical mind that knows.   ??  In our household we call it being "connected up".

Thank you,
Colleen

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/20/14 2:55 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Hi John,

Something that is very clearly articulated in Aro is that Buddhism is a religion of method, not of truth. And you can then go to consider all religions as methods, rather than as truths. And if look at it like that, then it seems to solve a host of problems.

But what if the method of your religion relies on seeing your religion as truth?!

So I recall discussing with you before your view that the world/life is "intrinsically good" (or something like that), which you articulated as a deeply felt belief. I sort of disagreed. But in some methods, such as dzogchen, seeing the world as good is part of the method, which produces some nice effects, just like you are suggesting seeing "Consciousness only" can produce some nice effects.
 
I am curious to know the method of your "philosophical artifice". Your linked post describes a sleep based practice, but that seems rather narrow. Could you tell us what else is involved in "treating experience this way"? And how the intellect doesn't get in the way?

ta


Hey Old Saw. The only kind of truth I expect to find in religion -- or any other psycho-spiritual discourse or practice regime -- is insight into the way people operate... the way we think, feel and understand ourselves, how we relate to the world, what we project upon the world, how our experiences are filtered and distorted, how we selectively emphasise certain aspects of experience to turn into meaningful narratives, etc. And I prefer to do this consciously and explicitly for effect (where possible), rather than trusting in the ultimate validity of any particular model of reality or set of values.

This approach can teach something about the world, too, but it does it indirectly. E.g., if something previously assumed to be intrinsic disappears, well... it wasn't actually fixed or intrinsic after all... you were bringing it to the table all along without knowing it. (And what if most kinds of suffering are like that?)

I wouldn't say I have a "deeply felt belief" that the universe is "intrinsically good" (certainly not in a moral sense)... but I do know that, when experience isn't being occluded by confusion and distress of various kinds, it's the easiest thing in the world to be benignly intelligent and delighted by what's present... and what's present is literally beyond any superlatives.

I can't say the universe absolutely is any particular way. One can step outside particular perspectival constraints, but there's no way, even in principle, to step outside of perspectiveness itself... and never will be. (No "view from nowhere"). That's why I don't speak or think of these things in terms of absolute truths.

(Will get to the specifics of practice in a separate post).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/20/14 5:31 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Colleen Karalee Peltomaa:
Pardon me, I am following this thread and other threads and I keep seeing the word "intellect".   I don't want to throw this thread off and wish to clarify what that words means to you. (...) I'm thinking when you say "intellect" you mean the analytical mind that knows.   ?? 


Hi Colleen. I'm thinking of the ability to create and understand abstractions, to reason about experience, to create and understand models of what's going on, to think critically about the self-consistency of those models... that sort of stuff.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/20/14 6:50 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Colleen Karalee Peltomaa:
Pardon me, I am following this thread and other threads and I keep seeing the word "intellect".   I don't want to throw this thread off and wish to clarify what that words means to you.

To get the idea of where I'm coming from, I have the created mind, which is what I am working to vanish, and I have what remains, which is analytical and can create and uncreate minds.   "Mind" therefore means to me the compulsive aspects.

For example when I sit and ask "what am I" I get an answer that bypasses the mind; or I get an answer that is from the mind -- usually some current identity I'm running with.

I'm thinking when you say "intellect" you mean the analytical mind that knows.   ??  In our household we call it being "connected up".
It seems relevant to me - in one of the questions I am getting at is how can "the intellect" modulate "experience". But I must say I am confused. "Mind" can mean different things to different people, but I would give a broad enough definition such that it would mean it is impossible to bypass or vanish the mind, as all mental states are created - what remains is just more "mind"...And I think most people would equate "intellect" with the "analytical".

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/20/14 11:47 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hey Old Saw. The only kind of truth I expect to find in religion -- or any other psycho-spiritual discourse or practice regime -- is insight into the way people operate... the way we think, feel and understand ourselves, how we relate to the world, what we project upon the world, how our experiences are filtered and distorted, how we selectively emphasise certain aspects of experience to turn into meaningful narratives, etc. And I prefer to do this consciously and explicitly for effect (where possible), rather than trusting in the ultimate validity of any particular model of reality or set of values.
Or trusting implicit models of reality and practices - e.g. conventional reality, folk psychology, materialism - I think its worth considering it beyond codified psycho-spiritual discourse or practice regimes to cultural norms and assumptions.
This approach can teach something about the world, too, but it does it indirectly. E.g., if something previously assumed to be intrinsic disappears, well... it wasn't actually fixed or intrinsic after all... you were bringing it to the table all along without knowing it. (And what if most kinds of suffering are like that?) 

Yes, so that is Buddhism 101 isn't it…Suffering isn't the problem, it is our attitudes towards suffering that are the problem. 
I wouldn't say I have a "deeply felt belief" that the universe is "intrinsically good" (certainly not in a moral sense)... but I do know that, when experience isn't being occluded by confusion and distress of various kinds, it's the easiest thing in the world to be benignly intelligent and delighted by what's present... and what's present is literally beyond any superlatives.

Yeah, ok, I was paraphrasing from my memory, so perhaps an alternative formulation would be "our experience of the world is intrinsically good" (when not obscured…). But my point that this is still just a method, right? So when we use a method relating to confusion and distress it leads to a certain outcome (and experience). But I would conceive of an alternative method where you might not see confusion as confusion and see distress as real, leading to a chaotic and miserable experience of the present.
I can't say the universe absolutely is any particular way. One can step outside particular perspectival constraints, but there's no way, even in principle, to step outside of perspectiveness itself... and never will be. (No "view from nowhere"). That's why I don't speak or think of these things in terms of absolute truths.

Well, we do have science. It isn't absolute truth, and it always implies a perspective, but it does approximate truth and lack of perspective pretty well - but then this approximation of a view from nowhere leads to the same place (though perhaps different ways of thinking about the stances of "experience is inherently good" vs. "mind is all there is").
(Will get to the specifics of practice in a separate post).
Cool, look forward to it! 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/20/14 6:59 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

(Will get to the specifics of practice in a separate post).
Cool, look forward to it! 

Okay, first a couple of disclaimers:

This is not meant to be anything like classical Advaita Vedanta, nor a faithful adherence to the Direct Path teachings of Atmananda. It's just what I choose to do with them. Also, I treat all this as strategy to undermine the effects of implicit dualism; it's not metaphysics / ontology.

With that out of the way... here's one way to go about it:

Start with the notion that awareness is that to which all phenomena appear. Think of it as the unseen seer. Discover that awareness can never be a phenomenon. It can never have the properties of an object, gross or subtle. Yet its presence can't be doubted.

Next, discover that objects of awareness can't truly be distinguished from awareness itself. No such distinction is ever actually experienced. Objects are, in that sense, 'made of' awareness. (Again, not talking metaphysics, just talking about treating experience a certain way for effect).

This leads to the realisation that nonduality is not a special experience... it's actually inescapable. If you have a good close look at your everyday experience, you discover that it's already undivided, indivisible. Dualistic notions and inferences arise -- the notion that there's a central comprehender "in here" and a world "out there" -- but those notions, too, are [read: can be treated as] arisings in undivided/ indivisible awareness. And when the nonduality of ordinary everyday experience becomes clear, one can rest in it / as it. (Or not). And that's when the value of treating experience this way begins to become apparent.

And once all this is clear, the notion of awareness itself can be dropped, the scaffolding ideas can come down. There's no law against everything standing essentially undefined and undivided... and it does if you let it. (And there's also no reason to give up the ability to define and conceptually slice it up in any number of useful ways).

For me, the main value of doing this is that it makes explicit what I'm usually bringing to experience implicitly... and it helps to highlight how much of it is unnecessary and/or unhelpful. That's what this is really all about for me... not metaphysics, just this.

Also, regarding the "deep sleep" thing... yeah, it'd be pretty narrow if it was only about sleep... but it isn't. It's about discovering that the peace of deep sleep is actually the substrate of your wide-awake experience, once you know where/how to look.

*

On a somewhat related note, I like any teachings that point to an unfabricated substrate of experience, within which all kinds of fabrications are free to arise... or not.

Eg. I like this article by Nikolai at http://thehamiltonproject.blogspot.com.au/2011/10/yogi-experiment-riding-wave.html , which seems to be talking about a similar thing... or at least it's something I recognise in my own way.

"Just realize that awareness is happening by itself without any effort right
now. Drop that tendency to lunge on an aspect of the field
of experience and react to it. Simply realise that that is what the mind
is habitually doing. Watch how it takes no effort to be able 'to see'
with the eyes, no effort to be aware of 'seeing'. No effort to 'hear'
with the ears. Watch how the mind's ignorant tendency is there to cover
up that effortless 'seeing' with the idea that it isn't effortless. 'I'
must focus!!! This tendency leads to sectioning out phenomena and giving
them status over other phenomena,  fabricating one's experience,
fabricating one's own unsatisfactoriness."

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/22/14 3:59 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Thanks John, that is great (in my opinion...as it seems to me etc...)

A few thoughts: So I have read some Greg Goode (who I believe is a student of the guy that inspired you with this approach) and done some of the exercises. And 95% of what he says makes sense. But there are occasional points where he makes these leaps that only a philosopher could make, where he goes from A to B to C and then concludes stuff like that MIND IS THE UNIVERSE, or I AM INFINITE AND WILL NEVER DIE, or whatever, and I am like, whoah, Greg, no, dude, just, no....So anyway, going back to my question earlier, it doesn't feel like you have to adopt any intellectually dodgy stuff to get on board with the kind of practice you are describing here. So there isn't a problem.

Another thought: it feels a bit like "faking the funk"? Not in a bad way, just that you are deciding to "treat your experience" as though you are "enlightened"* Is there a difference?! I suppose some modes of treating experience can be more habitual or unwilled than others. 
Dualistic notions and inferences arise -- the notion that there's a central comprehender "in here" and a world "out there" -- but those notions, too, are [read: can be treated as] arisings in undivided/ indivisible awareness. And when the nonduality of ordinary everyday experience becomes clear, one can rest in it / as it. (Or not). And that's when the value of treating experience this way begins to become apparent.
Question: Any insight on how you deal with the problems with container metaphors? So in certain practices I struggle to go beyond feelings of boundedness - and it feels like a goal for me is to get a better handle of the non-spatialness of awareness. Language of "arisings in awareness" feels problematic, when arisings (in some sense) ARE awareness - so resting "as it" seems better than "in it"... 


* Note I just did 10 press ups as punishment for using that word. 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/22/14 6:33 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Question: Any insight on how you deal with the problems with container metaphors?


Yep. Any container you can find... isn't consciousness.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/24/14 7:23 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Another thought: it feels a bit like "faking the funk"?
Not in a bad way, just that you are deciding to "treat your experience"
as though you are "enlightened"* Is there a difference?!


I'm not enlightened, and I don't really know what enlightenment is. My personal vision of it, which I'd happily settle for, is an unconditional heart-satisfying gnosis, with something so excellent as its basis that only good things tend to arise from it. And my intuition is that everything we need for this is already here... but...

And practice consists of inquiring into the nature of the 'but'... and teasing apart whatever things seem to occlude the perfection that's already present. (I know you don't like that kind of language, and why, but it's a reasonable fit for my aims and efforts).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/26/14 1:30 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
I went through a long inquiry where I questioned the existence of an "external world". I even ended up writing a book refuting it. Here's my story:

http://www.uncoveringlife.com/awakening-story/

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/26/14 3:07 AM as a reply to goran c backlund.
goran c backlund:
I went through a long inquiry where I questioned the existence of an "external world". I even ended up writing a book refuting it. Here's my story:

http://www.uncoveringlife.com/awakening-story/

I refue your refutation - I refute it thus!

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/26/14 3:13 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
sawfoot _:
Another thought: it feels a bit like "faking the funk"?
Not in a bad way, just that you are deciding to "treat your experience"
as though you are "enlightened"* Is there a difference?!


I'm not enlightened, and I don't really know what enlightenment is. My personal vision of it, which I'd happily settle for, is an unconditional heart-satisfying gnosis, with something so excellent as its basis that only good things tend to arise from it. And my intuition is that everything we need for this is already here... but...

And practice consists of inquiring into the nature of the 'but'... and teasing apart whatever things seem to occlude the perfection that's already present. (I know you don't like that kind of language, and why, but it's a reasonable fit for my aims and efforts).
But you are enlightened! Or at least, what you say is consistent with the stance that you are already enlightened, there are just things that occlude your awareness of it that can teased apart. And its a stance that make sense to me. As for liking, I suppose it is a normative stance rather than epistemic, and I do quite like it, as it does draw on the heart. 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/26/14 3:16 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hi John,

Could you please say a little more about why awareness could not be another phenomena. It seems that people can have experiences where awarenesss goes (they seem to experience this as vanishing but for exmaple - they keep driving and get home). It seems like awareness might have the 3Cs too. 

Thanks. 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
8/31/14 10:17 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
Hi John,

Could you please say a little more about why awareness could not be another phenomena. It seems that people can have experiences where awarenesss goes (they seem to experience this as vanishing but for exmaple - they keep driving and get home). It seems like awareness might have the 3Cs too. 

Thanks. 

Hi Mark,

In context of the Direct Path, awareness is not any object or any phenomenon; it's that to which all objects or phenomena appear. Anything you can sense or feel or conceive is an object unto awareness, not awareness itself. Objects of awareness have properties, but awareness itself has no specific attributes at all.

(I'm not saying that's what awareness is; but that's how it's treated in the Direct Path).

When someone begins the Direct Path, they tend to mix up awareness with the sentience of the body-mind and conceive of awareness in those terms. One of the first steps is learning to distinguish pure witnessing awareness from any objective properties we could ascribe to it (whether those are gross or subtle).

In the Direct Path, Awareness doesn't have much to do with the appearance or disappearance of body-mind sentience. Awareness is the pure witness of any such comings or goings.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/7/14 1:51 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hi John,

I learnt of nirodha or cessations in this article http://www.psychologytomorrowmagazine.com/inscapes-enlightenment-and-science/ I think Daniel mentions these types of experiences too.

If I'm not mistaken Nirodha is at the "top" of the jhanna stack emoticon I wonder why there is not more discussion about this - would it not indicate that awareness/consciousness is not some fundamental property given that it disappears too (while the individual continues to behave normally) ?

It would be great to hear your thoughts on this - thanks.



 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/9/14 5:43 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
Presence and witness (in DP sense) are clearly not two.

Understood, but not fully lived.

Giving it time.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/10/14 11:25 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
Presence and witness (in DP sense) are clearly not two.

Understood, but not fully lived.

Giving it time.
In nirodha I have the impression (not experience) both go i.e. there is no experience/memory/consciousness/presence/witness. Or I'm mistaken ?

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
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9/10/14 1:35 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
John Wilde:
Presence and witness (in DP sense) are clearly not two.

Understood, but not fully lived.

Giving it time.
In nirodha I have the impression (not experience) both go i.e. there is no experience/memory/consciousness/presence/witness. Or I'm mistaken ?

Same as in sleep...though the direct path people might argue about that still. 

What I find interesting is that while in pragmatic dharma everone gets really excited about "blips" or "cessations" - but in some direct path approaches sleep (it seems to me) serves a similar function (in terms of gaining some kind of "wisdom"). And sleeping is a lot easier to achieve than those cessations!

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
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9/10/14 2:59 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
Mark:
John Wilde:
Presence and witness (in DP sense) are clearly not two.

Understood, but not fully lived.

Giving it time.
In nirodha I have the impression (not experience) both go i.e. there is no experience/memory/consciousness/presence/witness. Or I'm mistaken ?

Same as in sleep...though the direct path people might argue about that still. 

What I find interesting is that while in pragmatic dharma everone gets really excited about "blips" or "cessations" - but in some direct path approaches sleep (it seems to me) serves a similar function (in terms of gaining some kind of "wisdom"). And sleeping is a lot easier to achieve than those cessations!
It seems people who exprience cessations may also not loose some type of awareness/presence during sleep. Assuming that is true (I guess it can be tested in the future) then sleep is not the same thing. But I'm all for sleep!

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/10/14 3:36 PM as a reply to Mark.
Mark:
sawfoot _:
Mark:
John Wilde:
Presence and witness (in DP sense) are clearly not two.

Understood, but not fully lived.

Giving it time.
In nirodha I have the impression (not experience) both go i.e. there is no experience/memory/consciousness/presence/witness. Or I'm mistaken ?

Same as in sleep...though the direct path people might argue about that still. 

What I find interesting is that while in pragmatic dharma everone gets really excited about "blips" or "cessations" - but in some direct path approaches sleep (it seems to me) serves a similar function (in terms of gaining some kind of "wisdom"). And sleeping is a lot easier to achieve than those cessations!
It seems people who exprience cessations may also not loose some type of awareness/presence during sleep. Assuming that is true (I guess it can be tested in the future) then sleep is not the same thing. But I'm all for sleep!
yeah - that is what the direct path people might argue about - also having some awareness during sleep (not convinced myself) - but I wasn't saying they were the same thing, just that have similar/analogous functions - different ways at getting in touch with nibana.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/10/14 4:03 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
According to the "three blendings" idea found within the Six Yogas of Naropa, we experience the clear light of mind during waking while in:

1) Sexual orgasm (or possibly meditation)
2) Deep sleep
3) At death

This being the Dharmakaya.

The Sambhogakaya is experienced when:

1) In waking (during meditation) we wander from the clear light and the conceptual mind is aroused
2) When we dream
3) When we experience the after-death bardo

The Nirmanakaya:

1) When our meditation session ends and we enter daily life
2) When we begin to wake up
3) When we are reborn

Another relevant quote:

Sri Ramana Maharshi used to describe the Self as sleep with Awareness.

Sri Ramana Maharshi often would talk about the deep dreamless sleep state, and say the Self is like deep dreamless sleep with awareness.

In deep dreamless sleep, there is no perception of a world, or a universe, or a body or beings.

People say they just cannot conceive of a state with no world and no universe, and no bodies, and no beings, etc., however, they experience such a state every night when they enter deep dreamless sleep.

Sri Ramana says the Self is like deep dreamless sleep with awareness.

The ego is not aware of awareness in deep dreamless sleep.


http://www.albigen.com/uarelove/sahaja.htm

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/12/14 1:06 AM as a reply to J J.
James Yen:
According to the "three blendings" idea found within the Six Yogas of Naropa, we experience the clear light of mind during waking while in:

1) Sexual orgasm (or possibly meditation)
2) Deep sleep
3) At death

This being the Dharmakaya.

The Sambhogakaya is experienced when:

1) In waking (during meditation) we wander from the clear light and the conceptual mind is aroused
2) When we dream
3) When we experience the after-death bardo

The Nirmanakaya:

1) When our meditation session ends and we enter daily life
2) When we begin to wake up
3) When we are reborn

Another relevant quote:

Sri Ramana Maharshi used to describe the Self as sleep with Awareness.

Sri Ramana Maharshi often would talk about the deep dreamless sleep state, and say the Self is like deep dreamless sleep with awareness.

In deep dreamless sleep, there is no perception of a world, or a universe, or a body or beings.

People say they just cannot conceive of a state with no world and no universe, and no bodies, and no beings, etc., however, they experience such a state every night when they enter deep dreamless sleep.

Sri Ramana says the Self is like deep dreamless sleep with awareness.

The ego is not aware of awareness in deep dreamless sleep.


http://www.albigen.com/uarelove/sahaja.htm

Hi James, do they have an equivalent of nirodha ? Sri Ramana Maharshi implies there are memories of having no perception, so for example there is probably a notion of time, I don't think people having a cessation claim any memory of the duration etc (they figure the duration out based on where the cessation stops).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/12/14 2:07 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Hi John,

I'm going to admit that I haven't read this thread past your first post, and I don't even know if this will be helpful, but since the dilema you mentioned in your original post is fairly straithforward, I think I can give you a simple proof for "all is mind", even if it doesn't quite agree with the spiritual claims that everything that exists is consiousness.

The simple truth is that, even in a purely scientific and materialist worldview, everything that we experience IS mind.  Could you prove to yourself in any way that you aren't a brain in a vat rather than a brain in a human body?  The answer is no, because you ARE a brain in a vat.  The vat is the skull, and the inputs are eyes and ears and a tongue and some skin and a nose.  You are never seeing colors or hearing sounds, you're experiencing the simulation that the mind creates to make sense of sensory inputs.  What is actually stimulating those inputs is impossible to know directly.  You can only ever know the mind.

So it's actually irrelivant whether or not everything is consiousness because it's impossible to experience anything outside of consciousness.

EDIT: This is also a good agrument why there's no need to fear death.  You will never experience death.  If your body dies and your mind keeps going, then hey you aren't actually dead!  If you die and there is oblivion, then you simply won't experience it.  You could also say that this proves you are infinite and eternal - you will never know otherwise because if you end, there is nothing there to realize it was wrong.  Maybe it isn't true in reality - other people might know you are gone - but it will always be true in your experience, which is the only thing that really matters with this sort of thing.  Do you remember when you began?  I feel like I've always existed.  But then, in terms of my own existance, I HAVE always existed because it's impossible to remember NOT existing.  Existence, or maybe "experiencing", is completely self contained and timeless.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/12/14 2:21 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
This reminds me of a funny thought experiment found in Robert Anton Wilson's "Quantum Psychology".

The reader is encouraged to envision the external universe as existing outside themselves and as being infinitely large, accordingly the reader is encouraged to realize that their eyes "see" this universe, scrambles the signal and sends it to the brain, which then organizes the signals into a mental model of the outside universe.

Consequently it makes sense how the reader can stand up from a chair, because the reader can see the chair (first sensately) and then mentally know that the chair exists in space. Accordingly it is said that the reader never actually experiences the external universe, but only his mental model of it.

He is then asked where his head is, obviously the mental model of the universe exists inside someone's head, but if the head is within the mental model (which the reader can envision), then his head must be inside another, much larger, head.


The above is my rewording of the thought experiment.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/12/14 1:42 PM as a reply to Mark.
Hey Mark!

My bad didn't see this, I believe they do:

Within the Six Yogas of Naropa, there is a tradition called the four elemental dissolutions and the four emptiness dissolutions, at the moment of death; the elements dissolve one by one into each other. After the air element dissolves into the mind, the four emptiness dissolutions arise, the third dissolution, called: proximate attainment, ends with the cessation of consciousness, the fourth emptiness is an arising from that lack of consciousness and an experience of the clear light.

Relevant quote is here:





IIRC, the goal of the Six Yogas is to effect the dissolution of the winds into the central heart drop and effect a moment of "death", such that when one arises, one arises in the form of the deity.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/13/14 3:47 PM as a reply to J J.
Hi James,

If awareness "disappears" then it would seem fair enough to consider it another type of phenomena ? Obviously not the same as the other senses - but it might be imagined as a phenomena of "consciousness" or experiencing without the addition of the senses or thoughts.

I'm attracted this idea because it seems to explain how a system that has experience/phenomena could have an experience of consciousness without needing to posit some magical  consciousness "stuff". Of course it still leaves wide open the question of how phenomena arise - but explaining consciousness slots in with explaining how vision or other experiences arise.

 

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/13/14 4:38 PM as a reply to Mark.
Hey Mark,

I'm not sure if it would be a good idea to have this conversation with me, as I don't meditate regularly at all. I was merely providing textual references to questions that arose.

Regards,

James

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/14/14 7:23 AM as a reply to J J.
James Yen:
Hey Mark,

I'm not sure if it would be a good idea to have this conversation with me, as I don't meditate regularly at all. I was merely providing textual references to questions that arose.

Regards,

James

Thanks for the input James!

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/17/14 12:16 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Thoughts and feelings are becoming increasingly transparent and harmless.
(So's everything else).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/25/14 4:35 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
I think of samskaras as both imprints and seeds. Imprints of the past, seeds of the future (as in seeds of character and destiny). Samskaras can include inherited traits, instinctual passions, collective aspects of human and pre-human psyche, archetypes of the collective unconscious, imprints of significant life experiences, cumulative effect of all social conditioning, etc. This unique collection of samskaras is what makes me me, what gives me and my experience its particular flavour, while being made from the same generic human 'stuff' as anybody else.

I'm finding this a useful way of looking at myself and other people (and other beings generally). Some consequences so far:

- It further reduces the feeling of separateness or difference.
- Easier to be tolerant and understanding of other people and their stuff.
- Reminds me how deep the human condition is, and how it can't be skimmed over or bypassed.
- Offers a holistic view of human psychology, one that fits with how I actually experience myself and others.
- Gives me a better sense of which energies (or trajectories of destiny) to ride, and which to let go.
- Makes moral choice, moral causation, more explicit and real. (I do feel a sense of moral agency).

In short... a useful way of working with psychological, emotional and interpersonal aspects of all this (which is somewhat lacking in the Direct Path).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
9/29/14 6:21 AM as a reply to J J.
James Yen:
This reminds me of a funny thought experiment found in Robert Anton Wilson's "Quantum Psychology".

The reader is encouraged to envision the external universe as existing outside themselves and as being infinitely large, accordingly the reader is encouraged to realize that their eyes "see" this universe, scrambles the signal and sends it to the brain, which then organizes the signals into a mental model of the outside universe.

Consequently it makes sense how the reader can stand up from a chair, because the reader can see the chair (first sensately) and then mentally know that the chair exists in space. Accordingly it is said that the reader never actually experiences the external universe, but only his mental model of it.

He is then asked where his head is, obviously the mental model of the universe exists inside someone's head, but if the head is within the mental model (which the reader can envision), then his head must be inside another, much larger, head.


The above is my rewording of the thought experiment.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/d1/81/df/d181dfe8f4e0ac1f945df4bc65b94687.jpg

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
11/1/14 5:34 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Been reading "Light on Life" by B K S Iyengar (yoga teacher). After years of being fascinated by radical iconoclasts of one sort or another, it's great to encounter some down-to-earth, unglamorous, hardcore, traditional wisdom. I don't know if I've ever seen a more complete and well-rounded traditional path than this.

I wish I'd read this at age 21 and put it into practice earnestly; it's something one could grow into one's whole life. Just wasn't ready for it then. Had to explore a lot of dead ends, take a lot of wrong turns, and make countless unsuccessful DIY attempts to confirm what I'm reading in these pages now.

Although he teaches yoga, I think most people in the DhO would find much of relevance in it. If you can get past the cover shot...

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
11/7/14 8:31 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
A sketchy map of practice since starting the direct path:

(With some overlap...)

1) Purify view of the witness/background by distilling it from all phenomenal attributes.

2) Increasingly, the 'foreground' is seen to be saturated with the essence of the background, leading to diminished feelings of separation/isolation/limitedness/difference.

3) Background/foreground duality dissolves of its own accord (there being nothing fundamentally different on either side of the duality)... leaving pure, open, non-dual whatever.

To the extent that it makes sense to map this path, I'd place myself early in (2).

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
11/8/14 8:48 PM as a reply to John Wilde.
When I came back to the DhO nearly a year ago seeking suggestions for a new phase of practice, the last thing I expected was to settle into a path of long-term yoga and advaita practice. No one else recommended them either, so I guess it's a strange choice! But considering...

-- Both the ends and the means of actualism turned out to be non-viable for me.

-- I've known all the short cuts and the bullshit stances already, and they haven't ultimately satisfied.

-- I've been looking for something that recognises both: (a) the always-already present nature of what I seek; (b) the persistent work that needs to be done to clarify it, embody it, and live it well.

-- Special attainments without a foundation of strong psychological individuation, moral development and emotional maturity always turn out to be brittle and flaky...

So I think it's a good choice, and there's plenty here to keep me busy for a few years. So thank you -- Buddhists, actualists, eclectics and freelancers alike -- for helping me (albeit indirectly) to figure out what's what and where to go. May you all succeed in achieving what's best for you. I'll pop back in to catch-up / update next year.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
11/9/14 11:12 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
good luck, and if the impermanence of views and intentions leads you some other direction then that will probably be fine too :]

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
12/28/14 8:41 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
Practice is becoming more old-fashioned and less fancy, I guess. I've been practising yoga, and have started feeling the expected body-mind benefits -- lightness, suppleness, clarity, sukkha, slow-burning energy. Despite this, I'm not as interested in myself, and more conscious of the ultimately unsatisfactory nature of self-centred practice.

I'm also less convinced that choosing one path over another, or practising one way over another -- something I've spent lots of time ruminating over -- makes that much difference, fundamentally. While ever one is enslaved by pleasure/pain -- whether trying to maximise pleasure and minimise pain, trying to feel unconditionally happy, or trying to uproot the whole pleasure/pain system -- the problem is built right into the solution. The  rewards are meagre and fleeting, one is serving a poor master, and there's little chance of deep and lasting satisfaction. There's also a feeling that one's true destiny isn't being fulfilled. (My experience over many years. YMMV).

I would not have predicted this, but transcending pleasure/pain by subjugating it to something else as an act of devotion seems to be where life is taking me now. (The fact that really bad things have been happening to people around me, while I've been just fine and just trying to help as best I can, might have something to do with this). The beneficiary of this is not me (the pleasure-seeker / pain-avoider), but I feel that there is a more worthy beneficiary... which I can leave unspecified/undefined... which doesn't exclude myself.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
12/28/14 11:51 AM as a reply to John Wilde.
John Wilde:
As a result of this thread (http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5567489), I've been remembering and reflecting on what was a very fruitful period of practice in 2006.

I find myself in a somewhat perplexing position. I can't intellectually accept a Consciousness Only model of reality, and can't imagine ever being able to.
If you accept and hold onto the idea that you can't now and won't ever, then it is more likely to be true that you might not ever.  Good idea to watch the details of the assumptions you spend time regularly telling yourself in case your self programming might be limiting you.  However, IME, the real problem is not the need to blindly accept a new paradigm but instead of letting go of blindly accepting an old paradigm that has become rather ingrained.  Might want to work on just loosening your attachment to old assumptions that might not be accurate and then just see what happens from there.  At least for me, it does not seem to work well if try to force myself to accept something new, what works for me best is if I look very closely to my existing attachments to things that may be not true or in the way of new ideas, like assumptions, things I tell myself on a regular basis, etc.  Then just observe where the chips fall. 

Society mostly assumes objects are solid and reality is real, and so we are taught, but where is the evidence?  Physics shows that objects are made up of mostly empty space, no one knows for sure why they feel and seem solid anyway or how they hold themselves together.  At the smallest level, these particles seem more like probability waves or something even weirder, they appear and disappear as if by magic in a way we don't understand, can be two places at ones (totally proven by experiments), show spooky action at a distance (ie seem not to be affected by distance), and even more interesting, appear to change their basic nature according to observation by humans, see the basic double slit experiment  here: http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/21st_century_science/lectures/lec13.html

Here is a quote about the double slit experiment:
"If the physicist looks for a particle (uses particle detectors), then a
particle is found. If the physicist looks for a wave (uses a wave
detector), then a wave pattern is found. A quantum entity has a dual
potential nature, but its actual (observed) nature is one or
the other."

The quantum world is almost beyond comprehension in it's strangeness but also seem to mirror in many ways basic Buddhist philosophy.  Physics believes all of physical reality is built on top of the super freaky friday world of quantum physics, but yet somehow they also assume that none of that strangeness exists in the macro world at all and that instead, the entire macro world exists exactly as we seem to perceive it, all logical and ordinary.  To insinuate otherwise tends to illicit lots of handwaving and vague nervous statements by scientists about 'pseudoscience.'  But they cannot give hard data as to why such assumptions would be any more pseudoscience than their own assumptions about the macro world which are also unproven.  Their only evidence is that it seems that way and so it's 'obvious' but things have often not turned to be as they seem on the surface.  Many things that have seemed to be 'obviously' true have been hard to let go of emotionally, like how the stars do not revolve around the Earth and how the Earth is not flat.  Certain beliefs seem to be addicting such that any challenge to them tends to yield and emotional fear and defense response that is often not logical but often is QUITE vehement and stubborn.  My advice would be to look for these kinds of emotional assumptions and try to loosen attachment to them.  One way to do that is to try to blindly adopt a competing theory instead, which is I think often what religions are trying to indoctrinate people with, but that has never worked for me and instead I prefer to loosen up attachments and then just see where the chips fall from there.  And if I am not so attached to any specific outcome, I tend to see a lot more things and understand a lot more ideas and also I seem to enjoy the ride a lot more as well.  ;-P
-Eva 
.

RE: Direct Path Advaita Experiment
Answer
12/28/14 5:07 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
If you accept and hold onto the idea that you can't now and won't ever, then it is more likely to be true that you might not ever.  Good idea to watch the details of the assumptions you spend time regularly telling yourself in case your self programming might be limiting you.  However, IME, the real problem is not the need to blindly accept a new paradigm but instead of letting go of blindly accepting an old paradigm that has become rather ingrained.  Might want to work on just loosening your attachment to old assumptions that might not be accurate and then just see what happens from there.  At least for me, it does not seem to work well if try to force myself to accept something new, what works for me best is if I look very closely to my existing attachments to things that may be not true or in the way of new ideas, like assumptions, things I tell myself on a regular basis, etc.  Then just observe where the chips fall. 
.

Thanks for this, Eva. I agree, especially that "the real problem is not the need to blindly accept a new paradigm but instead letting go of blindly accepting an old paradigm that has become ingrained." The Direct Path did that: it helped to release me from the grip of some previously accepted (almost built-in) assumptions, and it did so in a more than philosophical way.... it brought a more sustained somatic-level feeling of release. But in terms of being a viable paradigm for understanding the world in the best possible way, and/or an expression of my deepest aspirations and values in practice... it wasn't, and isn't. So thank you for taking the trouble to share your thoughts with me, and sorry I wasn't explicit about having moved on a bit from there!

I could have created a new thread to reflect this, but didn't, because I don't intend to stick around. Although the DhO has been very generous and very tolerant of diversity over the years, I think it has gone so far in the direction of eclectic dabbling and debating that hardly anything remains of its original focus. Back in the day, there were enough experienced practitioners with a strong and thriving culture to tolerate a few dabblers and debaters on the fringes, but that's no longer the case. So rather than continuing to add to the problem, I'll do my thing elsewhere, and hope that the DhO continues to serve a purpose that isn't well served anywhere else.