Okay!

Back to business.

My longest podcast yet, I think, as I spill my backlog of inspiration into a new pocket digital recorder.

It’s all over for the holy guardian angel, as I engage in a pretty lengthy treatment of fundamental wisdom and the cross cultural core of contemplative practice, with a lot of detail from the buddhist perspective, how to become enlightened and what it means, the difference between understanding your story and understanding reality

…oh and something about getting talked to by an unknown intelligence. That was the point, after all, wasn’t it? It’s been awhile. I almost forgot.

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Direct Download: AUG-_daemons_and_how_to_live_with_them.mp3

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43 thoughts on “Augoeides Finale 3 of 3: Daemons, and how to live with them

  1. Um. okay.

    If I asked what sort of stuff was going wrong in your life that you feel the need to say things like that to strangers, would I get an answer? Even if it’s just for fun, I’d guess you probably aren’t a very happy person, with a lot of interesting things going on…

    I don’t really do this whole antagonism trading-negativity thing.

  2. Thanks for the advice mr. alchemical braindamage sir captain almighty motherfucker asshole faggot bitch of the entire super universe that doesn’t revolve quickly enough for me to explain everything to the point of creating worthless ideas that other fucked up people can try to explain through our distorted realities while stretching eight hours a day so we can feel like something has been accomplished like typing a sweet sentence like this one.

  3. I don’t think I gave you any advice. at least not you specificly. I was just wondering what might be bothering you. If you’re not comfortable talking about it, I understand.

  4. Yo labster.

    I scoped out that shitstorm myself yesterday once the baptists pointed me in the direction.

    On the one hand I’m rather intruiged and impressed anytime an occultist in these postmodern green meme saturated times is willing to take an actual moral position and make qualitative judgments. In that sense I think louv and his buddy have more stones than 99% of what’s crawling around the internet.

    on the other hand it’s clear they’ve both been fucked over by the same tradition, and painted it with a really really ( really ) broad brush.

    I can’t say anything about vodoun, cause I don’t know, but I am absolutely sure the kind of psychic parasitism they’re talking about exists, and the biggest conduit for it is the television. I don’t think you need to single out voodoo. evil kung fu masters and sith lords worm their way into every apple, and their favorite thing is to get you to throw the baby out with the bathwater. if you don’t join them, they’d rather you didn’t play at all. that’s how the counter-initiation works.

    Any attempt to take a torch to that rat’s nest is welcome, and we should all embrace the project of cleaning out our own backyard regardless. It’s not ALL good. And even if you make mistakes, it better to try and be wrong than not try at all. Fuck em if they can’t take a joke. Green meme universal tolerance famously evaporates in the face of strong judgements. Friends are not people who agree with you. Friends are people who respect you enough to disagree with you and hang around anyway.

    So while this particular debacle is kind of embarrassing for us all. It may catalyse some useful discourse. it’s too bad louv and friends have to become the pariahs of the magical internet to do it. But if it wasn’t them It would have probably ended up being me at some point, so good on em for saving me the hassle.

  5. I think there’s more to it with Louv – before getting bummed by the Loa, he got bummed by the Genii of the twenty two paths of the Qlippoth; and each time someone came in to ‘save him’. If you think what he’s said about Voudon is bad, you should see what he’s been saying about Tibetan Buddhism. He’s seriously lost the plot and has unfortunately fallen in with a retard who genuinely believes he has the best tradition in the world. Ever.

    Saying that, my own experience with Quimbanda wasn’t the best advertisment for brazilian/african traditions. I didn’t get touched up, but the ‘house’ was made up of the worst kind of ego-maniacs, who spent most of their time bragging about how ‘high up’ their spirits are in comparison to the pagans they knew. I was told that magical revelation was to be ignored, and that the spirits ran the show (and I never saw any magical result that a novice couldn’t do with a sigil, which sort of begs the question). The worst aspect of it all was the revelling in revenge; apparently one woman who said some things about the ring leader behind his back ended up blind in one eye and with a nice dose of leukemia, which everyone found hilarious.

    One thing I find very bizarre about Louv’s experience – he claims his HGA told him not to dick around with the Loa, yet he went ahead anyway, and his HGA could not protect him.

    This is fat bollocks. This is like your HGA failing to protect you from the Goetia, when the whole point of the K and C of HGA is to give you dominion ‘over every spirit of the firmament and of the aethyr’. I never doubted for a second that I was perfectly safe when I met the spirits at ‘the house’.

    And when he knew he was about to get fingered by a parasitic insect beasty, why didn’t he whip out a pentagram or two, like any good little novice would?

    Anywho, this sad sorry tale aside, I must say at least Louv feckin does something, which is more than I can say for 95% of the ‘told you so’s.

  6. oddly enough “jay cutler” (is that the bodybuilder or the football player) catalyzed discussion that brings us back to traditionalism. and i think i can even bring this back on-topic.

    with regards to voudoun, as it is practiced in Haiti and also in the Palo schools, i think that louv and his boy shivanath might be onto something. it’s worth remembering that one particular group of tribal descendants were out-right cannibals for religious purposes, so it’s also not surprising that a bunch of slaves from these people can overthrow their heavily armed captors using only pitchforks and machetes. but does it have a place in a latter day world where debt and economics, not the royal navy, hold you hostage? to continue such bloodthirsty traditions is inviting “psychic parasites” and “predators” indeed.

    but the means by which they brought this question forth require some serious criticism. it would be like getting assigned to debate against illegal immigration only to discover that David Duke is your team-mate. one poster offered a perfectly calm, reasoned, honest defense of her experience of voudon, acknowledging that there were dark aspects to it as practiced by many, and she was shown a definite disregard. one of the players on the team elsewhere makes a lot of blanket statements about buddhism in the same vein, that it is a fallen tradition, the implication being that Nath is the only way to go.

    But then I look at Nath, particularly one of his manuals to “meditation, magick, and tantra” and see that it is woefully incomplete. In my opinion he has made the mistake of confusing the jhana states with enlightenment, and it comes of in the writing and the posts, which seem to confuse content (regular life, astral parasites, the jhanas, etc.) with the process of coming to a better perceptual set. If anything, in my understanding the buddhists have done an excellent job mapping out even the most mystical-seeming content and pointing out that yes, even that bliss-state imparting psychic powers is part of the “Cacophony”.

    Which is exactly the point this podcast makes. Anyone, even a charlatan dowsing for gold, can have a mystical experience. But it’s still just content. And even acheiving tremendous concentratiion, psychich powers, etc., is still just content. And so far as I know the first individual to point this out, and to point out the refinements necessary to disentangle this from what you describe as the perceptual re-organization known as enlightenment, was the Buddha. Buddhism remains the most readily available means for getting to this source. Not Nath, which i suspect remains stuck labelling all non-conventional experience as “dhayana” “dharana” and “samadhi” depending on the degree.

    And *that* is counter-initiatory–when one tradition clears the waters, and then a self-appointed representative from another declares that same clarifying tradition to be “fallen”, and supports the earlier, less clear version implied as the only correct alternative, well, sounds like evil kung-fu masters to me.

  7. I’m not sure it’s fair to pick over people’s public statements to this level, but they must know what was going to happen, so I suppose one can try to get something usefull out of it.

    Jason Louv strikes me as level headed, professional and consciencious, with a bit of the postmodern dabblers disease by the sound of it.

    By his own admission he got seriously owned by a bunch of shit he should have listened to his own instincts to stay away from. He still feels raw over it and he probably ought to.

    personally I can’t imagine ever feeling like I could take on the cultural and historical resonance around vodoun. I’m white, priveledged by global standards, safe, none of my ancestors know anything about africa, slavery or spirit worship. The only reason i can imagine anyone like me even trying it is because it seems raw and authentic and vital in the same way black music always has to safe white people. That seems more than a little asinine to me, though. Music is one thing, but even there, the blues has a certain psychic resonance that bites people on the ass, how much more so when you’re dealing with the actual fucking voodoo magick? For someone like me to get my head around all that resonance of death, slavery, fear, revenge, bloodshed etc, would require me to become something very different, and probably not in a good way either. It’s not neccisarily evil, but I can see how evil people would thrive in it. Sure it’s all cultural relativism and all that shit, but think it through, for fuck sakes…

    as for shivanath and whatnot, that’s a little trickier.

    for starters i have no time whatsoever for this whole ‘ I’m being all provacative and crazy wisdom-y to push your boundaries ‘ bullshit. it wasn’t funny when i was doing it to people, and it wasn’t funny when people did it to me, and it’s not funny now. it’s older than the ark and it was stupid on the ark to begin with. It’s a cover for someone who doesn’t care enough to watch what comes out of their cakehole, and then needs to backpedal when they burn people. I can say that cause I did it. leave that ‘teaching’ to dead assholes where it belongs.

    the real root issue to this guy and his rantings, and i’m only speculating here, i don’t know the guy and i doubt i ever will… but this seems to stem from a basic misunderstanding of vedanta, or a misapplication of a correct understanding. maybe both.

    this whole nondual tantric sorcery ecstatic trip is grounded in the idea that the world is illusion, consciousness alone is real, consciousness is the world. that’s three step vedanta. full stop.

    what these kind of guys tend to do is go: ‘ okay it’s all the play of illusion, it’s nondual ecstatic energetic bliss, so I can do whatever i want and express my fundamental nondual freedom’

    which is fine, but they almost always conveniently forget the first two steps. you have to realise that the world is illusory, the play of sensory phenomena, break your attatchment to it, THEN realise oneself as pure consciousness, THEN you get to merge with the manifest world and play your ecstatic tantric play.

    You don’t get to skip to step three. IF you just skip to step three, you’re not enlightened, your not tantric, you’re chasing states, manipulating energy and trapping yourself in a false heaven of psychic powers and half baked sorcery. classic steinerian luciferianism.

    if you do penetrate the illusion, then yeah, go play cause nothing can trap you and no psychic parasite or bad scary insect lwa will bother you for a second. It’s just more flickering stuff. what’s the big deal?

    But if you skip to step three and rely on your badass magician trip and psychic powers to protect you from your own bad karma, and delusions, then you’re fucked because it’s just a case of who has the bigger stick, and sooner of later you’ll meet someone or something who does. If you’ve never seen through the game then where do you go from there? nowhere. then you’re really gibbled.

    that, and he appears to have the bad habit of taking other people’s doctrinal dogmas as historical facts, and basing arguments on them. of course people’s stories have holes and contradictions in them. That’s how this veil of illusion works.

    but i’m sure I’m taking this more seriously than it needs to be. so I’ll leave it at that.

  8. I wasn’t hoping to initiate a character assassination campaign–I don’t care about voodoo but I did see some fallacies made in the course of a public argument that I think we have autopsied pretty well. Zac, that’s what I was getting out with the three-step vedanta. Anyone can wield a big stick, and I think a lot of people confuse wielding that stick with actual wisdom.

  9. Very awesome episode. I like the bird sounds.

    You talk about the danger of being “stuck” in a story (if I recall correctly). I’m a bit confused by this. Personally, I’m drawn toward “mythologizing my experience,” which I equate with being about half philosophical outpouring and half fictional narrative. This whole process has been quite therapeutic, to an extent, and is very influenced by Jung’s “active imagination” exploration/exercise. At all times, though, leaving room for change/modification (ie, not keeping myself pinned to previous convictions/conclusions/etc) is a top priority.

    All that being said, I’m not directly aware of examples you were referring to (of folks being caught in growth-prohibiting stories), nor do I necessarily see myself as part of the “community” you were referring to. Though I still wanted to ask this in hopes of clarification/elaboration. Thanks.

  10. Yeah, the loud noise of the seaplane taking off from the inner harbor right at the start adds a certain something, I think.

    I guess what I was talking about is confusing the levels of understanding.

    99% of what i tend to talk about is a story based understanding of life, which is interpretive, personal, and rich with meaning and resonant mythologizing if you do it right.

    that’s a lot different than a fundamental insight into the basic sensory facts of reality, and if you confuse the side effects of one with the other, you end up with some real problems. instead of dealing with the reorganization of your perceptual life on the most basic level, letting go of self, permanence, cravings for satisfaction and whatnot, you turn that sense of fundamental dis-ease into a story about why you aren’t happy, why nobody loves you, or why there dangerous forces conspiring against you etc…

    the link to the ultra culture debacle is a great example of this: a couple of guys who doubtless have the begginings of fundamental insight and all the concomitant upsetting side effects, and they turn it into some paranoid narrative wherein they need to hold their online space sacrosanct against scary insect lwa and the internet voodoo posse.

    which is not to say the experiences they are basing this on aren’t real, but that kind of intense rigidity in their categories for things is a classic symptom of someone getting trapped in a story.

  11. Ok, I listened to your podcast.

    I’ve been reading Prometheus Rising so, intellectually, as opposed to “expirientially”I understand the whole thing about the observer. I will nit pick with you a little about using words like ‘self’ and ‘ego’ interchangeably, when other esoteric writers make a distinction between the two and use them to denote two different things.

    You say the distinction between “self” and “other” is an illusion. You talk about fundamental reality. I liked the part about making the diupostinction between “The story” and fundamental reality.

    But about this experience of non-duality or whatever, what do you think would happen if your body’s immune system was a non dualist and saw no distinction between self and other?

    Basically it would be like having AIDS. Your body would become one with every disease that happened upon it.

    So really to me, this experience held up to be the end all be all is like Spiritual AIDS. I think trying to achieve it is an act of aggression turned inward. So then by having this egalitarian way about you, you bring others into it, it becomes aggression turned outward and then people say “fuck you too”

    Don’t shake your head in disbelief, that people get pissed off that you want to give them AIDS and kill them. Its not recieved as an act of kindness.

    These “illusions” we all have about the nature of reality is what keeps us alive and healthy. The mind can’t deal very well with looking squarely at out total vulnerability that is our existence.

  12. I am not sure what “diupostinction” is that should read “distinction.”

    Also I just want to add, that I am not saying its appropriate to get on here and curse you out, but This kind of thing is powerful stuff and very threatening to a lot of people.

    Personally, I am not convinced this experience is the greatest thing since sliced bread that all these Buddhists and mystics and occultists say it is. But at the same time I am interested in it.

    But one thing I thing I object to is the idea that this experience is “Truth” and all objections to it are merely ignorance. That’s very haughty.

    I think its possible to have this experience and think its not the greatest thing in the world, not worthy of building spiritual paths around and millenias old traditions.

    Because really, we will all be dead someday, the ego will die eventually for everyone, Buddhist or not and what will persist is the fundamrental reality, so I figure why not put this off and enjoy life.

    I still think there can be spiritual paths that are positive, all embracing, as opposed to self abegnation and renouncing.

  13. Zac, About this little side conversation, about Voodoo, which I know nothing about, but I thought it was interesting what you said about your ancestors, that you don’t have african ancestors, only white ancestors.

    I am gad you addressed that. Because this is like this unspoken thing. I mean all these indigenous traditions get into talking about their ancestors and white people like to glom onto them, and then just not mention that part.

    You get into Pagan reconstructionism and there is some ancestor worship stuff there and then it gets this kind of an Aryan Neo Nazi stigma.

    What’s a white person to do?

    Personally, I have gotten in touch with some of my ancestors and I have a lot of Christian ones and I have some bad ass “blonde beast” ones from The Germanic warrior tribes that took over Europe, nobody wants to hear about them.

    But if you have some old apache shaman as an ancestor you can be all open about that.

    Its probably good to keep a lot of this stuff to yourself anyway, but really though, this Ancestor stuff is for real and you can have some pretty different groups of ancestors with competing visions. Nietzsche talked about people mixing races towards the declining periods of civilizations and how they have all these inner drives competing with one another. He was talking about different races of Europeans. But what he said was that in such people, there is so much inner turmoil that types of spirituality focused on extinction really appeal to them because they just want to have peace and go to sleep and return to the void.

    He also said occasionally people like this can get all the warring internal factions united and they can become a genius like Leonardo Di Vinci.

  14. Reffering to your comments on the podcast:

    Anyone who objects to fundamental insight has obviously never done it. And if someone objects to an experience they’ve never had, there’s really nothing you can call that except ignorance, by definition.

    Makes no difference to me whether they do or not, ultimately. There’s actually nothing abnegating or renouncing about it, anymore than is ‘negating’ or ‘renouncing’ the fact that the earth is flat. It’s the act of negation that you’re bringing to a halt.

    And thinking of it as spiritual AIDS is confusing the levels again. your immune system has no ego or sense of self as we think of it. It is already operating from a position of non self, ie; none of it’s energy is diverted into propping up a delusional center point. when the human personality does this it raises your stress levels and that is what compromises your immune system.

    and while it’s a good idea to just relax and enjoy life, most everyone has too much neurosis and delusion to actually do this.

    And this is not an exclusively buddhist thing, mind you. It’s appears in every culture, and plenty of people achieve it with little to no training at all.

  15. “So really to me, this experience held up to be the end all be all is like Spiritual AIDS. I think trying to achieve it is an act of aggression turned inward. So then by having this egalitarian way about you, you bring others into it, it becomes aggression turned outward and then people say “fuck you too”

    Don’t shake your head in disbelief, that people get pissed off that you want to give them AIDS and kill them. Its not recieved as an act of kindness. ”

    Hello Ted. My name is Alan. I have experienced what Zac is talking about. It was a lot of hard work, but I am more happy now than I ever was before this experience. I want everyone who has ever existed to experience it too. Including you. In fact, it’s the inevitable end point of the manifest universe that all things will experience enlightenment.

    So if everyone’s going to get ‘spiritual AIDS’ in the end anyway, why not just spread your cheeks now and get it over with?

    And you are Jay Cutler, aren’t you? You little sneaky beaky…

  16. All I would say, to finish, is that my stuff is aimed at people who already have an interest. This is a website. people come to me. I don’t stand on the street corner and say that everyone should do it. I know everyone would benefit from it, but that’s pointless to think, cause basically 90% of the human race right now can’t hack it and never will. At least not in this life.

    as for the ancestor stuff. I didn’t actually say I had no black ancestors, everyone does, ultimately. But I don’t know anything about that, and my black ancestors would be so far back in time that my understanding of yoruban roots of voodoo is essentially nill.

    In general I don’t really enjoy the idea of ancestor worship. If we could connect to archetypes of our heritage that empower us and guide us then great, but usually it’s a way to lock in features of the past that have little to no use.

  17. What with all the hubub over ultraculture, and the, erm, other thing, I’ve neglected to comment on yer podcast.

    So back down to business: all three finale podcasts (and if memory serves me correctly, the last of the HGA bunch) are humdingers. I really feel you got what you set out to do – the reinstatement and/or amplification of your ‘voice’. You seem to have that rare gift exhibited by the late OHO Mr. Robert Anton Wilson; the ability to approach an apparently ‘worn out’ topic from a completely new angle, usually by applying another seemingly disparate and unrelated subject as a lens through which to view it from. Ahem.

    And I know exactly what you mean when you say the fruits of your labour are the knowledge and conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel. I swear I didn’t write most of the crap on my site…

  18. Congratulations on finally meeting your angel, zac. Don’t know why but that bit at the end made me tear up a little. I guess because I know that of which you speak.

    I don’t know f. all about voodoo. Never done this fundamental insight practice stuff in any formalized way, but somehow I get the basic point you seem to be making. Glad to have you back in audio format. The seagulls are a nice atmostpheric addition, too.

  19. Well anyway Zac I have this long thing i kept trying to post and it never showed up and when I try to post it again it says its a duplicate.

    Weird huh?

    Well anyway, I wrote most of what I wanted to say on my blog. The thing is Zac I am not just trying to be a dick.

    I think I have had similar experiences as you, but I still kind of reject it as being the purpose of life. I have big objections with non duality.

    I think people waste their lives trying to experience oneness. But its not somthing you can seriously challenge people about apparently. Because they are all convinced that once you experience it, its just the greatest thing and you would never say otherwise.

    My idea is that spending your life contemplating non-existence is a waste. I think partly its useful but eventually you have to do what you were put on earth to do.

    I think trying to negate yourself in order to get past yourself so that you can see the Universe as it reallly is is just a mindfuck really. And its somthing Zen masters hold over people. That;s my opinion.

    But I guess all you can say is I don’t know, because if I knew I would be all positive about it and at peace instead or pissed off. But I beg to differ.

    But you are cool though. I enjoy a lot of your stuff. If I compliment you on what I agree with its boring, though.

  20. what you’re talking about in terms of non-dualism, is not what I’m talking about.

    a nondual realisation has no effect whatsoever on your purpose in life, or your functional playing out of things to do. none. zero. it neither obviates it or endorses it. some of the side effects might, but you can get the side effects from dropping acid or hyperventilating.

    I never said you were ‘ignorant’ in some pejorative sense. I said if you hadn’t had an experince, you are by defintion ignorant of it.

    If you have in fact had experiences like I’m talking about, then that’s lovely. But everything else you’ve been saying is content. And content is not what I’m talking about. And trying to relate the content to enlightenment is the kind of painfull confusion of levels that really fucks up people’s lives.

    If you think enlightenment means sitting around doing nothing, you’ve misunderstood what it’s getting at. It’s not the purpose of life. You could be perfectly enlightened and still have no purpose.

    the reason it’s impossible to be skeptical of fundamental insight is that it comes from the experience of the disappearance of the self that is skeptical. you can be skeptical of it after, but you weren’t there for it, so it’s still not possible.

  21. You say these things with such conviction, and then you contradict yourself. How can that be? How can you have total conviction and then contradict yourself?

    Its like you had this big long thing and were talking about your fundamental insight, collapsing the observer into itself, stopping everything untangling the heaps, and then you jump right into the Holy Guardian Angel in the last 30 seconds and say how your HGA was mostly talking to yourself trying to reach yourself, the part of you just spent al this time saying didn’t exist?

    Another thing is, you mention quitting your job, and how that may not have been a smart move because it didn’t change anything on a fundamental level.

    You know what that means? That means you are saying it would be better for your development (even though you don’t exist) for your life to suck!

    How do you know you aren’t going to attract more suckiness into your life now to enable you to get just that more rigorous with your fundamental insight practice?

    I think thats what will happen. That seems to be the prayer you just offered up to the Universe. Where does all this stuff lead?

    Personally, I don’t want my life to suck.

  22. I mean is that the goal, to have a suck assed life and then reassure yourself through realizing you don’t exist and that the fundamental reality is there all along even though your life sucks?

  23. Well, what I keep trying to tell you, and you apparently don’t get, is that this stuff operates on at least two different and unrelated levels.

    No, i don’t want my life, as in the things i do, from day to day, to suck, as you put it.

    But trying to adress that from a level of fundamental understanding is misguided, and vice versa.

    enlightenment will not make your life more fun and interesting, and having a fun and interesting life is not the same as being enlightened.

    the reason I set up these last three pocasts as three different levels is to adress morality/conduct, concentration, and fundamental wisdom and to get across that reality functions not as a flat plane of superficial understanding but as interelated levels. just like newtonian physics and quantum physics are both true but functioning independantly.

    If you insist on taking the most superfical understanding of what I’m saying, and constantly using inflammitory and provacative language every time you post, I can only assume you aren’t interested in actually understanding what I’m talking about, just instigating shit to confirm your own experience.

  24. “If you insist on taking the most superfical understanding of what I’m saying, and constantly using inflammitory and provacative language every time you post, I can only assume you aren’t interested in actually understanding what I’m talking about, just instigating shit to confirm your own experience.”

    No that is not what I am doing. Plus, I thought you could tell people’s ip addresses. I guess you can’t. But Jay Cutler is not me. I never post under any other name. I thought you would automatically know that.

    I am not trying to be inflammatory, I am trying to really pin down certian things. I guess I am walking a fine line here and have gone over it a bit. If I am too meek and nice, I will be boring and you will ignore me and not answer my questions. If I am too over the top, you assume I am just an idiot and have no idea what you are talking about.

    But really, I got what I wanted from this exchange just now. You just said it right there:

    “enlightenment will not make your life more fun and interesting, and having a fun and interesting life is not the same as being enlightened.”

    I want to have a fun and interesting life! I don’t want to be enlightened! You my friend have saved me a lot of time, I think. Hey, maybe I am a bit shallow. All I know is, I want to have a cool adventurous life.

    I get caught up in these spiritual endeavors and it really hasn’t gotten me anywhere. But part of me thinks “shouldn’t I be doing this?” Isn’t this the most important thing in life?

    But maybe for me its not. It doesn’t make me happy. It never has. It ends up making me put of fun things I could be doing.

    So that clinches it. Thanks a million. Seriously.

  25. Really, Dude, I am honest person. I never bullshit anyone. I am not bragging, but I am one guilless individual. Its hard to take I know.

    I am working on having more tact, I seriously am.

  26. I know you aren’t Jay Cutler. I’m pretty sure Alan knows you are not Jay Cutler. I never said you were. Alan was joking, which I thought was fairly clear as it is.

    But if I’ve managed to dispell any mistaken notions you might have had about enlightenment, then i will be pleased. concentration practice will make you happier, understanding your values will make you happier, but fundamental wisdom won’t in and of itself.

  27. “ ‘enlightenment will not make your life more fun and interesting, and having a fun and interesting life is not the same as being enlightened.’

    I want to have a fun and interesting life! I don’t want to be enlightened! You my friend have saved me a lot of time, I think. Hey, maybe I am a bit shallow. All I know is, I want to have a cool adventurous life.”

    Ted, ol’ buddy, hermano… you are suffering a case of the black & whites! You are seeing life, & most importantly yourself – & thus everyone else – with the contrast turned waaaay the hell up! You are missin’ the grayscales, let alone the full dynamic range of colors life that life is composed of. I guess what I am saying is… where did Zac say, exactly, that one can not be BOTH enlightened & have a fuckin’ sweet, exciting life? (Keeping in mind, of course, that even one whow appears to be leading a ‘charmed’ life has had there own dark nights of the soul… no one gets a free pass… and no one gets to whine more than anyone else. When it sucks for you, its the only thing that seems to matter.) Its just either one taken alone is NOT NECESSARILY indicative of the other… but they hardly need be mutually exclusive. That’s >>>my

  28. …take, at least… can’t speak for anyone else. Whether or not any of us manage to become either enlightened &/or lead wildly exciting lives is kinda up to the ‘individual’, their circumstances, & personal character all in a dynamic dance… You wanna dance to a spicy rhythm? Go to it, man. 😉

    (sorry for the split post, I musta made a funky html command soemhow)

  29. ted, I think you might be operating with too much of the “limited emotional range” and the “limited possible action range” of enlightenment in mind. The reason those came into being is because a bunch of panhandling monks who were enlightened wanted to get some more change thrown in their begging bowls. In the 20th Century this took the form of gurus making outrageous claims in the US because they discovered groupies and bank accounts. Phenomenologically the reason this is effective is, in my opinion, that a certain segment of Western society is so tension-bound that they haven’t taken a deep breath in months on a physical level, and are so confused in their finances (you’ll notice that bankers are always willing to offer advice) and the other day-to-day phenomenon that someone like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not the sitar guy, the guru) can make a fortune by teaching hyperventilation-as-a-means-to-inner-peace. the TM crew made a fortune out of just teaching mantra meditation. People would shell out hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a couple words and the instructions to repeat them over and over! Short form: you can make money with just a small amount of dishonesty, and this “enlightenment” game is how to do it.

    Second, the “limited range” models work because a lot of people are will to trade a lot of things to escape from their own “content” and the pain that is within the content itself. E.g., cancer will be literally painful and there is som conception that becoming “enlightened” will diminish the pain. The buddha died of dysentary and there was one arahut who committed suicide over migraine headaches–sure, he could hang out in the 9th jhana but as soon as he came out the pain would be back.

    Essentially, what a lot of people envision as the state of “enlightenment” is willfully and forcefully blocking out perceptions and avenues of experience. That’s not “enlightenment,” that’s delusion, and it will have a cascading, negative effect. I’ve seen it happen before. If you are thinking that enlightenment will dissolve the quality of your content, you’ve bought into the sham here. It’s perfectly fine not to want to be some mind-blown pseudohippie whole foods yoga addict who thnks ralph nader is the salvation for mankind and can’t so much as balance the checkbook (though sad to say i think that’s the wave of the future. unsafe at any speed, indeed.)

  30. Yeah, I think that’s part of it, but I think as I mentioned a little bit in the most recent post, My life purpose is heavily about establishing my identity. So relinquishing it before its fully developed is not something I should do I think.

    It feels really threatening to me and I am OK with that Maybe for other people it is a good thing. I am going on my knowledge of astrology and numerology, without getting too deep into it, and I am a lot deeper into it than horoscopes etc.

    But just to use an example of my astrological sign, which is Aries, Aries energy is not about relinquishing and becoming one with everything. Its about butting heads, standing apart creating boundaries. These aren’t all bad things. For me at least its good.

  31. …puts toe in water
    Blogs arent books, and have no middle and no end. Despite Zac’s purposeful attempt to construct an orderly blog-of-enlightenment, readers will drop in at various stages and respond to the day’s lessons without seeing the progression of ideas.
    – heck, I haven’t been here in so long … I’m still trying to integrate Systematic for the People and the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga …
    how firm a foundation?
    Non-duality and the rational mind will always be an overload to grasp. One of those great spiritual apparent contradictions: how can all be One, harmonious, inclusive, when we still suffer and witness daily destruction and division???
    What I’m discovering is how we misuse the rational mind to insist on distinctions (antidote: classic zen!) – Reason is needed for survival and making those critcal choices to progress in life. The rational mind is to serve us.
    Sadly, instead we become news-junkies, trivia buffs, sports stat freaks … and to top it all off the shit we spew out of our mouth, before we even know what we said, and are powerless to stop it!
    It’s just about one thing, Curley.
    (actually it’s 3, but they add up to 1)

  32. zac – finally getting through this, and chewing on it, I really enjoyed hearing these insights, got a lot from it, and the discussion here too. Ted has some good insights as well, and I appreciate his sharing them. Hope you dont mind adding my comments and personal take.

    Where does the term “content” come from? Is it from some school of thought, or your own? Linguistically, the word could also apply to the “fundamental” aspect of reality, but as I see what you’re saying, you are separating what I call the subjective, relative, “relational” bits, from the larger more objective “catagorical” principles.

    Funny, for a Buddhist, you don’t use the terms attachment & detachment very often, but this is so much what you’re talking about (and so valuable). I’m also interested that you cite the cause of suffering to “ignore-ance” rather than “desire”, which are different, but I suppose the axel and spokes to the wheel of illusion.

    Alot of what you say, goes along with where I’m at now – cleaning out the “heaps” I like the simile of “shelving” where our day-to-day rational mind is like a system of shelves, where we accumulate so many dusty nic-nacs in our rabbit-hole reality. Weightier things sink down deep, and require more effort to dust them off. And like the centerless false self you talk about, we are forever climbing up and down our library of shelves to catalogue it all.

    The concept of self-perpetuating “stories” – like dramas, or soap operas, is so great to understand. I’ve been stuck in this a lot. To combat this “ignore-ance” I’ve tried taking on more “response-ability” and can see things working out better as I seel the truth, and put off self-delusion.

    I couldn’t have done this without my zen training, and former meditational grounding. Jesus knew that taking up one’s cross (even before crucifiction) and dying, was a daily obligation for staying in the spirit.

    Here’s where I get what Ted is saying with the spiritual AIDS, and the tension with duality. I always resisted the strict Zen concept of “no mind” as a requirement for enlightenment. While I see it a invaluable tool & practical method to put down the limiting burden of the ego, and see things as they “rise and fall” in their true nature, it never occured to me that there wasn’t something more ultimate, than what gautama was willing to express in his supreme humility. We may “let go forever” but do we fall into nothing? Or are we fulfilled in ways only a man or woman or god can appreciate? Maybe we fall into the arms of a loving universe, which is our link now to the Unity we’ll find out more about when we transition.

    It occurs to me that there is no escaping duality in this life-time (but glimpsing that unity – the expansive non-self is greatly appreciated!) Emotions play a huge part in the creating dramas and stories, but they are also a fundamental force and very powerful one too which factors into our true self. For me the emotional aspect, puts a human face on the ultimate, and takes me on more of a Theistic path. My intuition says this is humanly warm and attractive, rather than the cool and dispassionate sense I get from most religion. What do you think emotions are ultimately?

    Maybe there is good in a certain “attachment” in our “detachment” – a focus on something other than a nebulous concept, or an abstract mandala which takes us away from our subjectivity and a more intimate, personal goal to reach for. I lived as a charsimatic chistian for awhile, and even before had my share of profound fruition experiences, but it’s hard to say what was forced or imposed or allowed to happen without the Holy Spirit’s stamp of approval. What I’m eager to find, is insight into the system of the macrocosmos.

    Anyway, these are some of the things I’m writing about, and would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks again for your “ministry” (I always figured you knew that about yourself … what you just learned … what the hell were you thinking before???) 😉
    -greg

  33. The term ‘content’ I’ve borrowed most directly from daniel ingram, but I’m sure it gets used lots in other places, although maybe not in the same way.

    the main thing, to perhaps sort out some of the unclarity, is to distinguish between the self evident details and interpretation.

    ” I felt a series of sensations, in the lower abdomen, that appeared and disappeared at a certain rate and frequency, that taken together communicated a sense of dis-ease, and suffering” is a bare observation of reality.

    ” I feel terrible and this means I am burning in the fires of sin, and I’ve done something wrong and i need to do something about it” is content, and a story.

    I think the buddha gets shortchanged on the level of profound loving mystical stuff that comes behind his words, becuase people get too caught up in the idea that he teaches you don’t , (or shouldn’t) exist and that all life is sufffering, which are both brutally distorted readings of what he said.

    I think his doctrine is so austere and apparently bloodless because he was appealing to reason and not mythology or emotions. He didn’t paint elaborate pictures of union with god and experience of the bliss of the infinite, because it didn’t help you do what he was talking about. He didn’t emphasise community or family life because he favored taking the private time to work out your own enlightenment over engaging with people and their emotional content, although a lot of that came later.

    If you do what he instructs, the love, light, community life, and active engagement with the world all come. But you need the understanding first, or you’re just lost in content.

  34. I just came across your website very recently and must applaud your art. It’s deep and it touches the quest which is dearest to my heart … spiritual alchemy “as it were.” I really enjoyed the Augoiedes series, as i just finished listening to all of them. I’m about to dive into systematic for the people.

    Keep up the amazing art. Keep creating as the Absolute dictates.

    I’ll reply with some more insightful stuff soon, but I’m gonna absorb some more of your work first.

    Although I do wonder: is it simply choice that separates self-chosen values and nihilism? Because if it is, then how does one who has looked into the Chaos/Void prevent the Chaos/Void from seeping too deeply into his own Being? Is it by simply choosing values that you can believe in, if only temporarily?

    My own perspective on this matter is similar to one I’ve heard you express on different matters: This ceases to be a problem when you stop treating it like a problem. As long as you believe in something enough at a given moment, and as long as you don’t need to deconstruct your belief and justify it in some unassailable way, then one’s values and morals – and especially one’s self-evaluation in terms of their values and morals – ceases to have a significance. i.e. it ceases to be a “problem” since there is no need for a “solution”.

    Archibald Leach

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