Unbroken connection with Source
Once it becomes more obvious to us that any changes that happen along our spiritual journey are a result of a change in our cognitive function (a very broad functioning which pervades the whole life experience and is not limited to just thinking) then a whole load of spiritual belief will crumble.
The changes which happened for sages throughout time were all a result of change in their body/brain cognition.
I'm not just talking about a change in the content, but rather a change in the very foundation and structure of the cognitive process.
In practical terms this leads to the end of suffering and results in a continuous unbroken peace of mind. There is well-stream of subtle contentment and ease with life stemming from the recognition of ones unbroken connection with Source.
Peace for now
Happy New Year to you
In these 24 hours you will probably be wished happiness and will wish happiness on others more than at any other time in the upcoming year.
Maybe it's a good time, just for fun, to pause and consider exactly what, in practical terms, real happiness, for us humans constitutes.
I wish all of you a 'peace of mind new year'.
Peace for now
On the stroke of midnight
Have you considered the significance of, on the stroke of midnight consciously turning your attention inwards in acknowledgement of where happiness in the new year is really to be found.
Maybe this movement is much more on point and significant than setting resolutions based on the mistaken imagination that we're in control of the future and that our happiness is waiting for us out there.
And just maybe, it's no coincidence that our attitudinal priority in past years has followed what we prioritise at the inception - outward pleasure, pleasure, pleasure.
I'm not trying to be a wet blanket here, you don't have to be sitting in a closed eyes meditation (although for some that would be most fitting), you can still honour this commitment in the midst of the celebration of life at midnight by turning attention simultaneously inwardly as well as outwardly.
Register your inner stillness and silent formless Being while simultaneously witnessing the full participation of the body with all it's feelings together with all the other outer movement and phenomena, witnessing the whole experience with no distinction of inside and outside, as a big singular happening.
And notice the comfort and slight smile that come with remembering.
Peace for now
Without the light of Awareness limitations get re-inforced and not dissolved
Becoming aware of a thought pattern which includes in it an inherent uncomfortableness with oneself is not necessarily going to dissolve it.
However, that being said, not being aware of such thought patterns will almost certainly keep them in place.
So, recognising particular thinking patterns and recognising them as the suffering which we intuitively know is not our optimal state is essential if the patterns are to fall away.
So why not follow some pointers which describe suffering and it's underlying dynamics in simple practical terms and see if those pointers help you to see for yourself, based on an investigation of your own internal landscape, something which was previously unseen.
There are hundreds of recordings on my YouTube channel which speak directly to this point.
Pick one at random and I have little doubt it will talk directly to what is waiting to be seen.
Search Roger Castillo Satsang and see what life throws at you.
Peace for now
The total dissolution of what?
What is referred to in some teachings as your 'personhood' which is said to dissolve is specifically, and for good reason, referred to in this teaching framework as an 'attitude of doership and attachment to outcomes'.
In practical terms this attitude manifests as components in our experience which tend to be able to colour the whole thing a particular way. They are all pervading you could say, a set of thoughts and feeling which include in them an inherent uncomfortableness with ourself.
It is quite true that this attitude towards what happens in the flow of life can change radically, can dissolve completely. It's quite true that these particular beliefs get seen through and the structures they formed which are prior to that experienced as something quite concrete collapse like a house of cards.
And it's quite true that because experientially that was the only reference we had of ourself as a person that when it collapses it can feel like the 'person' has dissolved.
However, I encourage you to look more closely, to be more discerning, to be more curious and careful of the conclusions you draw and the conceptual description you allow to set in after this happens (especially if life keeps presenting these cautions to you, maybe it's time to be receptive to something new).
This new phase is important because it's part of the refining of this amazing process which is happening for so many of us.
I'm very happy to help guide this investigation from my own direct experience, in fact thats what I spend much time doing. And if you're open you'll come to see that what has dissolved is not the person, we are all people, the greatest sages were all people, before and after liberation, what has dissolved is a very specific way of relating to life, so attitude to life you could say.
The process by which the beliefs in doership and attachment to outcomes are undone is very varied and profound, often at times the process doesn't even reference or focus on these beliefs directly because what is need at certain times is to bring about other changes first. And, because these other changes are needed first, and they happen, we can sometimes get caught up in that change thinking that that's what it's really all about, the phase of awakening to what we could call 'oneness' or 'non-dual awareness' is a good example.
But why is that awakening really important? It's only important because it can be part of the basis on which the beliefs I'm talking about get undone and unbroken peace sets in. Would you really be interested in Oneness if it left you feeling as uncomfortable with yourself and with life, as before? I think not. What we are really seeking, and what can be delivered, is peace of mind in daily living.
In my own experience the most valuable teaching I received to push me past a stage of not being able to see I was still a person and that for all intents and purposes I had to live in a world that in practice is real, was the suggestion "let's now start to keep things practical", if we bypass this and remain fixated with certain esoteric explanations (which we believe are not theoretical but in fact actual, based on the experience we now have) then I can assure you that our thinking is very capable of taking us down all sorts of rabbit holes even after the most profound awakenings have happened.
Peace for now
Identification with name and form
Identification with name and form continues in the case of a sage.
Remember... that you exist.
Some things just aren't acceptable
It is the deeply ingrained attachment to pleasure which prevents peace of mind prevailing when biological anger arises.
Anger is pain (our attachment to pleasure insists that life needs to be pleasure, pleasure, pleasure in order for us to be complete) and therefore with this funky mix (pain and attachment to pleasure) - no peace of mind - instead uncomfortableness with oneself for getting angry and uncomfortable with the other for acting in a way which inspired us to get angry.
It is the same ingrained attachment to pleasure which can't see past the wrong notion that liberation will result in the end of anger.
And with attachment in place we either learn to not express our anger and create a mask or we express anger and then hate ourselves for it.
To love yourself means to not hate yourself. We won't like anger, it's painful after all, but no need to hate ourselves.
The deepest attachment to pleasure humans have is an attachment to love from the other - that we deep down feel will complete us, so you can see why our anger, or the other's anger, is simply not acceptable in light of attachment to outcomes/love.
Nisargadatta was the Master. He was the Master of getting angry, and the Master of moving on without attachment to pain, a pain that happened in the past.
Pure biological reactions, including biological anger and biological sadness are very different to psychological reactions of blame and grief which at their core are an uncomfortableness with oneself and can also be referred to as suffering.
Until attachment to outcomes has dissolved we may have never experienced what anger without the bitter companion of suffering feels like, this because, the guilt and blame infuse themselves instantaneously with the anger and then we just have to feel the overall uncomfortableness with oneself. However, when the accompanying suffering stops arising when anger or sadness arise than we can be really surprised at how transient and manageable pure biological reactions can be.
Who would have thought, if we are connected to our core, know ourselves deeply and love ourselves for our very essence, then anger is no big deal, it comes and goes and we remain, living ourselves and at peace.
So next time anger arises because of circumstance see if you can watch the anger arising as a biological reaction (according to your genes and up-to-date conditioning and the circumstance you find yourself in), you might even find yourself laughing at the behavior you've taken seriously for your whole life.
Peace for now
It's bad luck to walk under ladders
"It's bad luck to walk under ladders"
I'm sure most of us have heard this superstition before. I'm equally sure that many of us haven't given it much thought. And for those who have, the contemplation was probably limited to whether you should really believe that walking under a ladder will curse you or whether it's just crazy superstition.
Well, consider this, I propose that the likelihood that this superstition came into existence is less because of the witch-like cursing abilities of ladders and much more for practical reasons.
The fact is that we tend to bump into things even when we intend not to, and walking under a ladder with this tendency is not great for the men perched above or the people below.
Authorities tried to simply tell people to STOP WALKING UNDER LADDERS but the message just wasn't getting through, still so many unnecessary accidents.
So, some clever beaver, understanding how the human brain works after seeing the futility of just getting straight to the point, invented a story to get the job done better.
Now, this little story worked much better, it worked on the psychology in a way that brought about the change that was needed - who can complain?
You could have been one of the many that avoided walking under ladders simply to avoid the possibility of bad luck, mission accomplished. However now that the trick has been exposed and if you're capable of considering the argument and agreeing then you are far more equipped, and far more free, than before.
You're not likely to revert to walking under ladders either, you now know it's dangerous enough that a clever ploy was needed to be introduced as a result.
So having used critical thinking to take you past a previous belief empowers you. Your understanding is deeper and more complete now that you've gone past the story, you have more clarity, seeing things as they really are, right?
Spiritual teachings often employ similar tactics to the unlucky ladder story, in fact most spiritual teachings, taking over from main stream religion are almost in totality I've big creative story, designed to bring about a particular outcome.
However, there is a downside, very often the stories (which aren't described as mere stories or they wouldn't be as powerful) are taken as truth and often are never seen as stories.
And then you end up with a bunch of folks taking stories and their effects to be some sort of universal truth.
This is not a criticism of the stories or methodologies, frankly I think they are ingenious, exactly what's needed at certain points of the journey. Rather it's a reminder that there is always a need to question what we believe and to check whether what's in front of us, including the new states etc really confirm what we are told they prove.
So, as clarity dawns, we'll find ourself becoming more focussed, understanding teachings more, being able to accept the wide variety of teachings that are out there, because we understand that they are a methodology.
Asking yourself "why is a teaching saying this or that, what is it trying to achieve?"
Even a teaching which says that there is nothing to achieve is putting forward a story which is designed to achieve something, to bring about change.
"You are not a person" or "the world is not real" why is a teaching using that story?
If you look at the stories in the more direct paths, you can see how they are all trying to bring about changes which all ultimately feed into the resulting peace of mind in daily living. That's the point.
Don't you think that it's useful, and important as part of your deepening clarity, to become aware that, that's the point?
In practical terms, the deliverance of the spiritual journey is finding oneself able to live in this world as a human being at peace with oneself and at peace with the other regardless of circumstance, this really means living with a resting attitude of broad inclusivity of everything that happens, which is synonymous with, and equates to universal love.
And we'll find that when the age of peace of mind arrives it will be accompanied by the gift of critical thinking, and don't be fooled, critical thinking is not heartless, in fact it requires full connection. Any leap forward you've had on your path is because, whether you realize it or not, what came before delivered an enhanced capacity of critical thinking.
It's critical thinking which brings about the stopping of the thinking mind and the functioning of the attitude of the heart.
Peace for now
The significance of the word Mind and it's meaning
"The whole universe arises in Mind, is made of Mind and is recognised by Mind"
The assertions I make in the following paragraphs are directly correlated with a deeper knowing of yourself and therefore directly correlated with the potentiality of living life in unbroken peace.
For some the above explanation will be enough of an incentive to push past the next handful of introductory paragraphs which could sound a little "mindy" or intellectual to get to the heart of the post.
Our experience of the world and hence daily life is always, and always will be, an interpretion through a lens.
Each word in our vocabulary and what that word means to us is very personal. We may think that words have generic meanings however when we look closely at each word in our own personal vocabulary we'll see that we each carry our own definition for every word.
And, each definition we have can be changed at any moment. Take for example the word "mind", like all words there are standard definitions in dictionaries, and you, may or MAY NOT attribute the same definition to a word as the dictionary, and you, may or MAY NOT attribute the same definition to that word as the person next to you.
I'm just putting forward descriptions or concepts here, they are not intended as prescriptions or suggestions that we should be different, they are just descriptions of impersonal dynamics which arise as part of life.
Back to words and definitions.... and just because there are generally accepted standard definitions for words doesn't mean we personally carry the standard definition for each word, how could we possibly do so for all words in our language? This is an important nuance to recognise around our understanding that of words.
And furthermore, the standard definition is not appropriate for specific fields and discussions, so when we realise these nuances we can relate to our words more relatively and hold different definitions for various contexts, this makes us flexible, also makes us less critical if someone holds a different definition because we understand it's just a definition, it's not absolute.
It's also worth noting, as I mentioned above, that at any moment our definition of a word could get adjusted, maybe just by reading a post - new exposure.
The definition we hold of a word is formed by our understanding of what that word refers to and that understanding is influenced by many factors, but let's just say that in general our definition of a word is a result of our "exposure".
Our exposure to some areas of life is limited, and other exposures we have are not always balanced, detailed or refined even if we have plenty of raw exposure to something particular.
As a result the internal definitions/meanings we hold for particular words can sometimes be quite inaccurate - it's great for us to realise this.
Take the word "God" for example, on second thoughts, no, let's not go there today
The inaccuracy of the meaning of certain words we carry is then superimposed onto explanations we hear, this means we can easily miss the point.
A more troubling consequence of inaccurate definitions is that the inaccuracy in itself can actually prevent us from seeing what's right in front of us, this because, what we actually are able to see is heavily influenced by our intellectual definitions.
I can't over emphasize how important it is to come to understand the nature of language. This because language is interconnected and inseparable from our thinking.
If for example we don't see the relativity (opposite of absoluteness) of our words and definitions, or don't see the relativity of our observations and exposure from where our definitions come, then we simply won't be able to relate to our thoughts correctly either. We may actually believe our thinking to be absolute - very big mistake with drastic consequences.
So now, finally, to the word "mind". I think it's fair to say that we often interchange the definition of the word "mind" for that of "thinking", we asdume that "mind" is synonymous with "thinking". In other words we assume that thinking is the only function of mind and therefore interchange the two words.
For example "follow your heart and not your mind" or "the mind is the problem, you need to stop the mind"
As you can see in the above context, the word mind is referring to thought or thinking.
The mind is much more than thinking. Thinking is one particular function of the mind, however the mind does or includes much more than just thinking.
Let's introduce the word cognition, this too is a word often assumed to mean thinking, however I'd like to use the word cognition to denote the general function of mind rather than the specific function of thinking.
"All thought is cognitive but not all cognition is thought."
In this context, I'd like to assert that our entire experience is cognitive, what I mean by this is that our perception, our feelings and emotions even the sense of Being and the function of Awareness are all functions of mind.
At this point it's also worth noting that I'm not insisting that the "mind" and "brain" are synonymous with each other. Having said this, I'm not insisting they are not either, it is fair, from a particular perspective, to see mind and brain as interconnected however the point of this post is more about bringing attention to broader functions of mind, which may just lead to the experiential bumping into the aspects of mind that awakening is all about.
Awareness is a function of mind, Being is a function of mind, what we call sense perception is a function of mind, what we call perception of feelings, emotions and intuition are all functions of mind, and thinking in its various forms, functional thinking and psychological thinking are functions of mind.
Expand your definition of mind and that will allow there to be more awareness, right now, of everything which arises in mind, by that I mean the whole momentary universe including the body. This recognition will allow us understand, beyond thought, the mind better.
Appercieve the nature of mind and the descriptions and pointers in non-duality teachings will become known from your own experience.
Awakening is when the Mind becomes aware of itself. Liberation is when this function of mind remains constant and as a result the suffering which arose previously no longer arises as a function of mind.
That's why it's important to make sure your definition of "mind" does not just mean "thinking" but rather includes all aspects of the entire momentary experience of daily life, including sense perception, beingness, awareness, thoughts, feelings, emotions, intuition, and not as many but as a whole, or mind.
"The whole universe arises in Mind, is made of Mind and is recognized by Mind."
The nature of mind is Consciousness.
You don't need to worry about whether the mind in which the whole universe arises is the mind of God or the mind of an individual in an objective universe.
Either way the experience of life is always subjective. This is a big clue, recognize the subjective nature of life as an experience, or arising in mind (even though on the surface it presents as an objective reality), and then if this is subjectivity is recognized the "consciousness" which Advaita refers to as the "One Consciousness of the One Source" and the "consciousness" which various schools of Buddhism refer to as an "Individual Consciousness" will recognize itself and it will become irrelevant whether it is the Mind of God (One Consciousness of One Source) or the Individual's Mind (Individual Consciousness).
Peace for now