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The journey of a seeker - My story

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The journey of a seeker - My story
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5/16/17 5:16 PM
Hello everyone...

Here is the story of my spritual journey: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/the-journey-of-a-seeker-my-story/

The post starts from how I viewed life in my early childhood, clouded by the irratational beleifs that I had.. Then I explain how my spiritual search started. I have written about evey significant event that happened along my spritual journey. I have talked about the spiritual awakening that I had in 2014 and what followed after. At last, I have also put the concept of spiritual enlightenment in a scientific perspective and tried to explain it using the terminology of academic psychology.

It is a very long post. But since it goes like a story, I beleive it will be easier for you to read. I am looking forward to your comments and questions...

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/16/17 6:45 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Very good. I enjoyed it, thanks.

If you want my comments: The transformation of 2014 I would call an "awakening." The journey between awakening and enlightenment is, so I understand, one of removing the remaining vāsanā-s or kilesa-s or whatever you want to call them. The long period of suffering after the awakening I would call a "dark night."

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
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5/16/17 6:54 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Thank you very much Derek... I appreciate it.. emoticon

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 5:10 AM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
An enjoyable and inspiring read. Glad to know you took an unbiased stance on Osho and Sadhguru.
Can you please tell what is your current practise like? Did you get introduced to these Insight practices of Budhha? Did you read MCTB by Daniel Ingram and tried to map yourself? All the mapping system explanied in depth in the Dhamma circle, should help you progress from here. How do you plan to progress from here?

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 11:57 AM as a reply to tamaha.
Goutam:
An enjoyable and inspiring read. Glad to know you took an unbiased stance on Osho and Sadhguru.
Can you please tell what is your current practise like? Did you get introduced to these Insight practices of Budhha? Did you read MCTB by Daniel Ingram and tried to map yourself? All the mapping system explanied in depth in the Dhamma circle, should help you progress from here. How do you plan to progress from here?


Thank you Goutam...  These days I practise mindfulness whenever I need rest from my thinking. Most of the time I spend time in learning and research on scientific basis of enlightenment,so my mind is usually absorbed in critical thinking most of the time.. However, I don't feel any need to pursue a practise for personal fullfilment... I am no longer searching for 'enlightenment' because the searcher is dissolved.. But I do see that there is still scope for growth. I see a clear difference between before and after July,2014. Before, my search was to end my suferring and get lasting fullfilment for life. But now, I am trying to learn how to live the life after awakening and make more sense of it. I also see that the awakening I went through is not the ultimate peak of growth but only a shift in the perception of reality which in turn gave me an optimal level of well being and peace that every person is searching for.

I am not sure about MCTB by Daniel Ingram but I have heard his name before... I would love to read more about it. I will look it up. I was introduced to Buddhism and Zen by the books of Osho. Are the insight practises By Buddha that you are talking about is something different from what is followed in traditional buddhism? 

I am also thinking about approaching the whole thing about spiritual enlightenment with science... I think scientifc research can more precisely answer these questions 1) What exactly happens in the brain during awankening and how is a brain of enlightened person different? 2) How can we create a scientifically precise spiritual practise by applying the techniques prescribed by all the major traditions..

This kind of research will require a collaboration with psychologists, neuroscientists, even quantum physicians and the people who claim enlightenment. It cannot be accomplished by a single man. After doing years and years of research, I think a scientific progress on this subject is possible. I have another article on my blog regarding science and enlightenment here: https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/the-theory-of-enlightenment-by-scientific-method/

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 12:32 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Shanmugam P:
This kind of research will require a collaboration with psychologists

My essay on a psychological understanding of awakening is chapter 14 of my free ebook, here.

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 12:56 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
I really enjoyed reading your story. You might find The Mind Illuminated interesting. It's a popular meditation guide written by a neuroscientist. The subtitle is "A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness".

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 1:02 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2:
Shanmugam P:
This kind of research will require a collaboration with psychologists

My essay on a psychological understanding of awakening is chapter 14 of my free ebook, here.

Thanks Derek.. Sounds interesting.. I will definitely read it

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/18/17 1:05 PM as a reply to Matthew.
Matthew Horn:
I really enjoyed reading your story. You might find The Mind Illuminated interesting. It's a popular meditation guide written by a neuroscientist. The subtitle is "A Complete Meditation Guide Integrating Buddhist Wisdom and Brain Science for Greater Mindfulness".

Thank you Matthew.. I just looked up the author of this book. I came to know about him from another thread in this forum.. Looks like he has a lot of interesting things to say.. I saw that he also has a blog on his website with a lot of useful articles.

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 1:39 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Shanmugam P:
Before, my search was to end my suferring and get lasting fullfilment for life.

Interesting. So you mean, you don't suffer now?
I am not sure about MCTB by Daniel Ingram but I have heard his name before... I would love to read more about it.

Daniel Ingram is the founder of this forum and his MCTB is available for free in PDF versions.

Are the insight practises By Buddha that you are talking about is something different from what is followed in traditional buddhism?

I don't know about traditional Buddhism but most of them here follow Vipassana/ Mindfulness/ Insight meditation. There are various lineages under Vipassana. Daniel has written this book in what he calls a 'cookbook' approach to enlightenment. He claims to be an Arahat ( the one who has completed the Buddhist path) and says enlightenment is an attainable goal. May be you should read that book.


1) What exactly happens in the brain during awankening and how is a brain of enlightened person different? 2) How can we create a scientifically precise spiritual practise by applying the techniques prescribed by all the major traditions..

I am very much interested in this too.

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 1:42 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2
My essay on a psychological understanding of awakening is chapter 14 of my free ebook, here.
Can you please tell what you mean by Christian Meditation.?

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 2:01 PM as a reply to tamaha.
Goutam:
Shanmugam P:
Before, my search was to end my suferring and get lasting fullfilment for life.

Interesting. So you mean, you don't suffer now?
I am not sure about MCTB by Daniel Ingram but I have heard his name before... I would love to read more about it.

Daniel Ingram is the founder of this forum and his MCTB is available for free in PDF versions.

Are the insight practises By Buddha that you are talking about is something different from what is followed in traditional buddhism?

I don't know about traditional Buddhism but most of them here follow Vipassana/ Mindfulness/ Insight meditation. There are various lineages under Vipassana. Daniel has written this book in what he calls a 'cookbook' approach to enlightenment. He claims to be an Arahat ( the one who has completed the Buddhist path) and says enlightenment is an attainable goal. May be you should read that book.


1) What exactly happens in the brain during awankening and how is a brain of enlightened person different? 2) How can we create a scientifically precise spiritual practise by applying the techniques prescribed by all the major traditions..

I am very much interested in this too.

I still feel physical pain and challenges in life. But it is not misery... It is not personal anymore.. There is a great difference in how I used to react when it comes to challenges in life before and after my transformation.. Before transformation, I was usually like every other person, stuck in hedonic treadmill. Contentment and peace was not my normal state of being. But now, it is not the case.. In other words, there is no conflict inside me.. The struggle between the actual self and ideal self is gone.. I am not looking forward to anything in the future for contentment and a sense of being complete.. It is hard to exactly put it in words... To explain in a different way, there was a burden of 'me' that I was always carrying in my head before. But now, I feel like I don't exist. Even in the body, I feel weightless. Essentially, this transformation was a complete freedom from 'me' as an individual.

Thank you for providing the details...  I will check it out..

You can check out my blog for a list of books that I have recommended, which were written by neuroscientists who did research on meditation, spiritual experiences and awakening...
 

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 5:42 PM as a reply to tamaha.
Goutam:
Derek2
My essay on a psychological understanding of awakening is chapter 14 of my free ebook, here.
Can you please tell what you mean by Christian Meditation.?

Usually I mean specifically the Christian Meditation of Fr. John Main. This is explained in the second part of chapter 9.

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 6:25 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2:
Goutam:
Derek2
My essay on a psychological understanding of awakening is chapter 14 of my free ebook, here.
Can you please tell what you mean by Christian Meditation.?

Usually I mean specifically the Christian Meditation of Fr. John Main. This is explained in the second part of chapter 9.

Derek... I just went through the 14th chapter of your book. It is well written and interesting.. You have talked about "“born-again” experience..  That concept is in Hinduism as well. It is called  'Dvija' which means twice born. It means that the person is born physically the first time and then spiritually the second time when he is awakened.. But these days it has just become a ritual.

I have a question about 'self-loathing'... Doesn't it produce more guilt and make the person more split instead of leading to awakening? I really doubt that self-loathing was actually prescribed as a method for awakening by ancient christian mystics (I don't know much about christian mysticism, so I could be wrong). I wrote an article on my blog regarding repentance and how it might have been mistranslated from the word 'Metanoia': https://nellaishanmugam.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/repentance-and-metanoia-a-bible-question/

You have also mentioned Eckhart Tolle as an example. But Eckhart said that he was depressed, and I don't remember that he specifically said that he felt guilty as a sinner and was self-loathing. Even if it is true, making it as a path for awakening is actually going to be like going through hell for people. A teaching that goes like "repent, feel guilty, hate yourself so that you will feel depressed that will pull you to the verge of suicide" sounds very uncompassionate to me.

Am I misunderstanding what self-loathing is? 

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 6:51 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Thanks, Shanmugam. It's good to find someone to discuss these subjects with, as I don't often get the opportunity.

By self-loathing I mean just self-hatred, the kind of thoughts that attack the worth of the personal self. (Of course, you and I both know that the personal self is not really there, but that is another matter.) I agree that in small quantities, self-hatred is damaging. In overwhelming quantities, though, self-hatred can sometimes lead to a sort of implosion of the ego. This is what happened to Eckhart Tolle.

I also agree that teachings that encourage people to think badly of themselves appear to lack compassion. But rightly or wrongly, such teachings have, in the past, been one strand of Christianity. And in some circumstances, they have produced born-again experiences. The best large-scale example is the "First Great Awakening" that took place in America in the 1730s and 1740s. In particular, there was one famous sermon in 1741 titled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by Jonathan Edwards. You can read about it on Wikipedia if you are interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinners_in_the_Hands_of_an_Angry_God


Also, I would point out that life itself can sometimes appear to lack compassion in the way it teaches us. Adyashanti calls these harsh teachings "Fierce Grace" in one of his books.

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
5/19/17 7:10 PM as a reply to Derek2.
Derek2:
Thanks, Shanmugam. It's good to find someone to discuss these subjects with, as I don't often get the opportunity.

By self-loathing I mean just self-hatred, the kind of thoughts that attack the worth of the personal self. (Of course, you and I both know that the personal self is not really there, but that is another matter.) I agree that in small quantities, self-hatred is damaging. In overwhelming quantities, though, self-hatred can sometimes lead to a sort of implosion of the ego. This is what happened to Eckhart Tolle.

I also agree that teachings that encourage people to think badly of themselves appear to lack compassion. But rightly or wrongly, such teachings have, in the past, been one strand of Christianity. And in some circumstances, they have produced born-again experiences. The best large-scale example is the "First Great Awakening" that took place in America in the 1730s and 1740s. In particular, there was one famous sermon in 1741 titled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by Jonathan Edwards. You can read about it on Wikipedia if you are interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinners_in_the_Hands_of_an_Angry_God


Also, I would point out that life itself can sometimes appear to lack compassion in the way it teaches us. Adyashanti calls these harsh teachings "Fierce Grace" in one of his books.

Thanks.. The information about "First Great Awakening" sounds interesting.. I will take a look.I agree that life sometimes appear to lack compassion... 

RE: The journey of a seeker - My story
Answer
6/2/17 1:34 PM as a reply to Shanmugam P.
Just wanted to make a couple of updates...

1)In the article 'The Journey of a Seeker' I didn't cover what happened in the three years after transformation. I have written a new post that covers that: Enlightenment - Is it a Myth or Real?

2) A couple of people who read the first article told me that I am trying to find faults with or judge Osho and Sadhguru.. So, let me clarify something...

There is a difference between making a judgement and making an observation.If a nurse checks your temperature and notes it down, she makes an observation. It is as simple as that. If you read the article carefully, you will see that I have only made my observations about Osho and Sadhguru and haven't really judged them. My intent for the whole article is just to list the observations that I made on my own transformation and observations I made on others who claimed enlightenment. The intention is just to show what changes after enlightenment and what doesn't, thats it..

I am trying to collaborate with other people to create a scientific explanation of enlightenment and a scientifically recommended path to attain it. So, I have taken a role of a scientist. Science has it own rules.. When I play that game, I have to go by the rules.. But many people get offended by science.They show a prejudice towards it because science doesn't accept their beliefs.But that is so silly, because 'science' is not a person to whom you can show prejudice. Science is just a systematic approach with its own rules to acquire knowledge. If you try to join a cricket team which already has 11 members and 2 substitutes, you obviously won't be able to join the team. You don't get offended because of that, as you know the rule: A team can only have 11 members... 

The whole life is just a game.. When you play a game, you just have to follow the rules.. This is also an attitude that people must take on the path to spiritual awakening. Once awakened, you understand that the whole life is a game, a play, a 'leela'...