Monday, August 8, 2011

Pick a World and Live In It, Part I

Housekeeping Notes:

Let me offer warm thanks to my friend, Richard Lang, of for the lovely note yesterday.  Richard and I have been writing each other for a year, and as one of my long-distance teachers, he's helped stabilize conscious awareness here.  He is also a real gentleman. His site is almost certainly the best experiential website on the "Nonduality Internet".  I know of nothing else like it.  If you do, please drop a note.  Go here to give it a look:

Maurizio Benazzo of Neti Neti Media sent a very nice email overnight that contained, among other things, a second option for "virtual attendance" at the Science and Nonduality Conference coming up in California this October.  The Nondual News block elsewhere on this site already has info on how to participate with your actual human body during the event, as well as information on buying a DVD set of the event.  Maurizio now tells me that Neti Neti has also teamed up with to offer full programming either live, or on-demand.  Cost is $125.  Go here for further info:

A quick tip of the hat to Larry Coble for giving me consistent feedback on the site and for generally keeping my inbox warm.  The heat index is 107 degrees in Columbia as I write this, and Larry just dropped a cheerful saying note that he'd be out by the pool, so I needn't expect to hear anything more from him today.  We can all hate him together.

It's been noticed that AC sometimes shows up differently on different browsers.  We have to wade through yet more conditioning!  Ah well, it is what it is.  I use Firefox to lay out the blog, and Internet Explorer to post it (don't even ask), but I think it's fair to say that it is optimized for Firefox.  If you're not using that browser, it might be worth downloading it, not just for the sake of viewing AC, but because it's a great browser.  There's a link to download it right under the Buddha statue at the top of the right hand column.  I've not seen any discrepancies when AC is viewed through Chrome or heard of any with Safari, but certainly there are some with IE.

And last, let me say hello to our international visitors.  I see that we're getting visits from the UK, Australia, Germany, Canada, and even the Phillipines.  Welcome to clarity, my friends.

One of our most famous spiritual teachers said, "And the first shall be last."  That's the case with these Housekeeping Notes today, as I thank my wife, Betsy Hackett-Davis, for her sharp editorial skills.  I'd literally be lost without her.  She is also very good at keeping cats off my keyboard, which is a vital skill around this house.

Now to our official post:

Part I
This is going to be very tricky line of posts.  Let's begin at the beginning.  We could call this writing and reading of Awakening Clarity a practice, if we so chose.  As with any true practice, we are likely to have our difficult moments with it.  Our practice here is not about doing something in order to get somewhere else, or to succeed at something later.  No.  Our practice here is to be better right now about being where we already are.  Truly, words can be strong medicine. Let's talk about that.

There is a Sanskrit term, from the Advaitic teachings, called pratipAdya-pratipAdaka sambandha. It's unneccesary for us to try to pronouce it or even remember it.  Understandably, it is sometimes abbreviated as simply PPS.  That means it is a mouthful even for those who know more than we do.  I would like to tell you a little about it. This term speaks of a special type of knowledge imparted directly through language alone. I am hoping to impart this PPS, this type of knowledge via the language used in Awakening Clarity in general, and specifically with these posts on the "two worlds", meaning the relative and the Absolute.  This topic of cross-world living is rarely addressed, in fact I've never seen it directly addressed, but we will spend some time on it here.

I will capitalize the word Absolute so that we are very clear on what I'm talking about when I say that word.  When I use that term, you will know that I am talking about That Thing That We Cannot Talk About.  As the Tao Te Ching says right up front, "The Tao that can be spoken is not the Eternal Tao."  I do not use capital letters like this so very often, because we are always referring to the divine here on this site, and if I used capital letters every time we referred to that deeper nature we all share, we might end up with a page full of large letters and find that their import has been lost through their overuse.  But for these posts, for the purpose of a surer, cleaner clarity, we will use a capital 'A'.  This is the kind of precision I am talking about.  Little things are big things here.

Let me share something else with you in a brief, personal aside.  I was always an extraordinarily intense seeker.  I lived and breathed what I was doing for almost a quarter of a century prior to noticing the obvious.  I had one breakthrough after 10 years, and waited another 14 before another occurred.  If this is your fate, it pays to be intense, to be passionate about what you are doing.

However, if you were in the room with me, then I lived and breathed it on you.  It was a lot to take, a lot to be around for very long.  Still is.  I was a lot to take, I am sure.  Still am. Yet that intensity kept me moving. We say there is no progress to be made or lost on the spiritual path, and that is generally true, but it is not always true.  Let me tell you, I would absolutely have been Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's kind of guy: bold, relentless and provocative.  He was a hell raiser in satsang! He yelled and threw people out all the time.  He was a rascal.  He was my kind of guy.  Nisargadatta wanted to get the job done. 

But he was a hell of a lot better at it in person than I am.

This personal intensity, I have discovered, has remained here long after the seeking has left, meaning after my re-discovery of the obvious, which happened back in 2006.  And guess what?  That constant intensity makes me a pretty lousy one-on-one spiritual teacher.  My passion manifests itself as someone who is overbearing, arrogant, demanding, and impatient.  This is not what we are looking for in a spiritual teacher, you know?  Granted, it's not how I actually feel, but it's how I appear to feel. That's close enough.  People love the idea of a tiger in the jungle, but not in the same room with them.  I completely understand.  I wish I could do something about it.  I can't.  It doesn't work that way.  But I'm willing to be other than the way I am, so you never know about tomorrow.  For right now, though, let's stick with what is.  Believe it or not, it will shortly bring us back to pratipAdya-pratipAdaka sambandha.

Writing is my strenth, always has been.  Years ago, before I become a total lush, and long, long before I became a sober madman, I used to publish a lot of poetry in magazines; I loved the precision of it. I would agonize over a single word or line.  I'm good with words in print.  I love them; that's why I am a bookseller.  Plus, with the printed word I can say what I feel needs to be said, as I need to say it, and I can keep a computer between me and the reader.  No wounding, no conflict, no negative after effects.  Beautiful.  Clean.

You know, my little book company is the longest running employment I've ever had.  This is my eighth year.  That's very good for a guy who was a drunk most of his life.  My customers love me.  Yet I notice that for both that venture and this one, there is a computer between me and you, my "customer".  My guess is, that's exactly how it's supposed to be.  Must be, because I can see that's how it is.

About this PPS.  It is a type of knowledge passed along purely by language, purely by the writing and reading.  It comes through an opening between the worlds, so to speak.  It is not how-to writing, or why-to language, or even when-to language.  This PPS is "Oh-my-God-now-I-see-it,"  language.  That knowledge-within-the-words-themselves is what I am trying to impart with Awakened Clarity.  Coming here then becomes our essential practice.  We are doing it right now.

I have said what I'm about say previously on this website, but it bears repeating.  I have seen two men wake up while talking to me and they didn't even know there was such a thing as waking up.  They didn't even know it was available. That is PPS, transferred verbally, breaking through mental defenses like a howitzer.  Here, on the Internet, we will work with the written word, where we can draw from a greater strength and depth.  We are going to need those advantages.  After all, those two men I mentioned weren't encumbered by the notion that they knew a lot.  You are.

To be continued...


Larry Coble said...

Plato's Cave allegory comes to mind as I read this. Unchaining the prisoners, showing them the folly of their false perceptions, presenting reality within the cave, and then walking them out of the cave and into the sunlight. From there they view the cave and see the delusion in its totality. Thereafter they can never see the delusion as anything other than delusion.

I guess the question then becomes are they happy to have been taken from the delusion? Is their new reality beneficial? If they return to the cave what will be the experience? Can they look at or in the cave now without duality? Can they participate in the delusions with equanimity? Perhaps my fear that I will not give over duality is the brick in the wall that keeps me from walking outside.

Great post Fred. Continue to lead. I look forward to these postings.

Larry Coble said...

I wanted to make one more comment on the layout of the blog. Absolutely wonderful is all I can say as I scroll down the page and find treasure after treasure. The pictures of the many teachers, some of which many of us share, are inspiring. And yippee, a book list! Feed my addiction to walking the path! Just kidding Fred, I'd be reading this stuff regardless. It may be a small fetter but I'll put this boat down when I get to the other side, I promise. Cheers!