Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Moment With Martin

File under: Notable Quotes

As we were prowling the internets looking for noble spiritual teachers to savage with our superficial analysis, we came across a statement by Martin LeFevre we only found one thing to knock about:
The mind in meditation is like a laser effortlessly boring through all the strata accumulated in content-consciousness—not only from one’s own life, but also from the lives of all the previous generations within one. Through that opening the light of the cosmos pours into one, and one participates, however briefly, in the infinite intelligence beyond thought.
"Infinite intelligence" is just another idea to describe the indescribable.  It's an anthropomorphic gloss and the only blemish on an otherwise excellent essay. For example:
Spiritual development is the easiest thing to pretend, but meditative states are much harder to fake. Any bright man or woman can put on wisdom robes and pass himself or herself off as a guru. There’s an entire industry of such charlatans in the West now, eager to sell you their books, DVD’s, retreats, or whatever.

The ‘enlightened’ ones always teach people how to get from here to there. ‘Becoming’ sells, especially with regard to enlightenment. But no one ‘attains illumination,’ since there’s nothing to reach as an end.
There ain't no "there" to get to, folks. It's always here. But teachers like the O-so-presently-popular Eckhart Tolle are still selling you a way to get there. Why would they do this if they know there isn't any getting to a there that isn't? Because you still want to get where you've never not been, and they are almost as deluded as you thinking they've got some way to get you there.

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33 Comments:

At 3/14/2008 1:57 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody wrote: "There ain't no "there" to get to, folks. It's always here."

What's always here?

"There" = the ability to perceive the fact that "It's always here." So the baddies are saying the same thing as you. It's just semantics.

Jody, you should start an advaita blog. When you say advaitalike stuff it helps me.

You could outdo the baddies, instead of wasting time attacking the baddies.

Otherwise, can you recommend a good advaita blog?

 
At 3/14/2008 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is true that, in the sense that realization is realizing who we are and have been all along, there is no there to get to. But, there is a path of getting from being solely identified with the egoic I/me story to not being solely identified with the egoic I/me story. The "there" is the removal of occluding egoic nonsense. The path to that "there" is what those teachers are selling.

 
At 3/14/2008 8:59 AM, Blogger jody said...

you should start an advaita blog.

Martin, this is an advaita blog, insofar as it's Vedanta that I'm working from. I use the example of certain gurus to demonstrate just how far from nondual truth their image is pointing.

 
At 3/14/2008 9:18 AM, Blogger jody said...

The "there" is the removal of occluding egoic nonsense.

Too bad they're piling it on in dumptruck loads of "spiritual" ego, which is every bit as occluding as anything else in a person's head.

 
At 3/15/2008 3:38 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody wrote: "I use the example of certain gurus to demonstrate just how far from nondual truth their image is pointing."

So you inform us that The Guru is pointing x degrees and y miles away from The Truth.

So you are calibrating illusion rather than pointing to The Truth.

I'm reporting Jody to Guruphiliac.

 
At 3/15/2008 8:26 AM, Blogger gregory said...

yeah, but there is no it that is always here, either

 
At 3/15/2008 8:56 AM, Blogger jody said...

you are calibrating illusion rather than pointing to The Truth.

Isn't the calibration of illusion already pointing to the truth?

 
At 3/15/2008 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here you go again with the Eckhart misrepresentations.

Eckhart specifically says (literally!) that enlightenment is not something one can achieve; there are no logical steps that lead to it; it is not a future state one can aspire to, etc, etc.

At least do the bare minimum and read a teaching before you knock it.

 
At 3/15/2008 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never read any Tolle, and I've only watched the first webcast of him and Oprah. But, judging from the oprah.com message boards, there's a lot of misunderstanding going on. For example, a common theme people are picking up is the idea that the ego needs to be destroyed.

Oh, and on the Oprah message board there was a topic, warning people to be aware of false gurus. It was posted by... Swami G.

 
At 3/16/2008 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>"Oh, and on the Oprah message board there was a topic, warning people to be aware of false gurus. It was posted by... Swami G."<<<


LOL! talk about ironic!
I always think of Swami G as the Rodney Dangerfield of the spiritual circuit...."Hey, I can't get no respect"...lol.


seen too much

 
At 3/16/2008 9:16 PM, Blogger Ben There said...

Anonymous -

It's not surprising that there is alot of misunderstanding in regard to Tolle's message. The message, being what it is, is a strange fit for the Oprah demographic. That's just my opinion of course but just think about it. For 95% of these people this is their first exposure to this kind of thinking. It's understandable and not a reflection of Tolle.

Also, to the author of this blog, I'm the "anonymous" who has been chiding you about dissing Tolle.

(Took the time to create a blog so I can finally comment on other blogs without being 'anonymous'.

 
At 3/17/2008 1:27 AM, OpenID somabile said...

On Tolle:
I'm glad I first heard of him at a time I was already getting hip to why I was always getting attracted to and feeling disappointed by spiritual daddy figures - which is clearly because I have daddy issues (and mommy issues). Now, those are unavoidable for human beings, so I try not to get worked up by seeing masses of people reenacting that whole drama again and again (and again). It's sad, and ridiculous, and inevitable; what you do about the whole show depends on your temperament. My attitude is "well, let's fix my issues as best as I can then"; Jody's is to write smart and funny things about them (Hi Jody, occasional reader (link from Boingboing), first time commenter, nice to meet you).

On Lefevre:
Interesting. I'll read some of his columns. I'm bothered by that 'mind like a laser' bit though. That doesn't sound like the kind of mind I'd like to have over for a visit.

 
At 3/17/2008 9:44 AM, Blogger jody said...

Hi Jody

Hey, Somabile.

It sounds like you've got a good handle on yourself and why folks flock to these spiritual daddies like Tolle. He can repudiate his special status over and over and yet he's still the classic space-daddy, with all the ideological damage that comes wrapped in these types.

LeFevre is using common language to point at what is indescribable. That's the whole problem. The common language is riddled with assumptions of supernatural power, like being able to know everything, etc. When you come to see yourself as the basis of all awareness, that awareness has absolutely no content other than it's own existence. You end up knowing that you know that which knows itself as itself. There is no subject involved in that knowing, thus, there is no information contained other than the knowledge of pure existence. Yet folks come off believing they'll "know" stuff, thus creating a big, fat plug of occlusion that sits between their conscious awareness and their eternal truth as the Self. Like many in his business, LeFevre's trying to help ends up just putting that much more distance between a person and their own nondual truth, imo.

 
At 3/17/2008 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Yet folks come off believing they'll "know" stuff, thus creating a big, fat plug of occlusion that sits between their conscious awareness and their eternal truth as the Self."

Hi Jody,

What about believing that they'll naturally gravitate to a vegetarian diet or that they'll have kundalini body movements and spontaneous mudras? Is the association of phenomena with self-realization also a big fat plug of occlusion? Does eating steak impede awakening? Does awakening impede eating steak?

 
At 3/17/2008 1:18 PM, Blogger jody said...

Is the association of phenomena with self-realization also a big fat plug of occlusion?

Absolutely, simply because any "phenomena" associated with self-realization are nothing more than cases of mistaken causality.

Self-realization has nothing to do with anything other than self-realization. Any "manifestations" of anything, regardless of the nature of the "phenomena," have no more to do with self-realization than a 90-pound weakling would on an NFL offensive line.

Does eating steak impede awakening? Does awakening impede eating steak?

What you eat has as much to do with who you really are as my dog's ass.

 
At 3/17/2008 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What you eat has as much to do with who you really are as my dog's ass."

3/17/2008 1:18 PM

Add also 'And who you eat it with' There was a Jew from Nazareth got killed for having such opinions, back in the day.

 
At 3/17/2008 8:16 PM, Blogger jody said...

There was a Jew from Nazareth got killed

I doubt messing with the Rabbis about what to eat had all that much to do with his fate.

 
At 3/18/2008 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody,

You are right. It was his anti-authoritarian views that caused the Empire to take him out. But no doubt he would have agreed with your views on diet, as in it's what comes out that defiles, rather than what goes in.

 
At 3/20/2008 2:21 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody wrote: "Isn't the calibration of illusion already pointing to the truth?"

No.

It reinforces the good guys vs the bad guys illusion.

It's better to point out what's wrong in my seekerish or non-seekerish thinking, than decribing the illusions in some guru's thinking or actions.

We can go chasing baddies forever. That's probably the number one distraction!

Satan divided the world into goodies and baddies to keep us fighting each other, rather than enquiring together what is true or false.

 
At 3/20/2008 8:18 AM, Blogger jody said...

It reinforces the good guys vs the bad guys illusion.

I call it pointing out the sincere from the scamming.

Satan divided the world into goodies and baddies

Martin, this is patently ridiculous. You are yourself a victim of your Satan for holding this view.

Seeing the world in terms of what helps or what hurts me, including who helps or who might hurt me, is simply survival behavior. It has nothing to do with anything except animals trying to stay alive in a world where some animals are trying to eat you.

 
At 3/20/2008 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody,

On seeing the world in terms of survival, will you eat me, or will I eat you (see any Werner Herzog movie) is something I have been thinking about. Conditioning and DNA leaving me wounded, in a sometimes one down position, always ready to fight or fly.

Transcendence for me is no longer looking for rescue from some Guru or God but facing the fact that I am alone and gotta deal with whatever I have stored up to date. Scares the crap out of me.

Reading your blog makes it a little more fun. Thanks

 
At 3/20/2008 9:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

I am alone and gotta deal with whatever

In one regard, absolutely. However, if you see the universe as your Mother, if your Mother was an extremely hot dominatrix who tends to do outrageously crazy things all the time, with no guarantee that She's going to save you from anything, it makes it all a bit easier to deal with.

 
At 3/20/2008 11:21 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Jody said...if your Mother was an extremely hot dominatrix who tends to do outrageously crazy things all the time, with no guarantee...

...Jody, in one stroke you have described Semblance's momma and Betty and Yomamma all at onst!

 
At 3/21/2008 1:23 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody,

When I wrote, "Satan divided the world into goodies and baddies...", I meant that people who (in their ignorance) wanted power were following the divide and rule strategy of getting us to fight each other by making goodies chase after baddies.

Instead of judging people as baddies, we should work together to figure out what's true and what's false.

My view is that gurus who believe they are special are victims of illusion, and we should help them and us be free of that, which Guruphiliac partly serves to do. But judging them as bad is just another illusion.

The issue is illusion. If we are to be angry at anyone or anything, we should be angry at illusion, not gurus.

It's hard to do. We see gurus deluding people and naturally get upset. But if we are liberated from illusion, we should be able to point out their illusion without falling into creating another illusion by saying (or implying) that the deluding gurus are bad.

The deluding gurus are deluded, not bad.

Mind you, I've never seen a guru who is liberated from illusion and living out his or her potential in an attractive way.

So maybe non-deluded/non-deluding gurus are non-existent.

 
At 3/21/2008 11:24 AM, Blogger jody said...

When I wrote, "Satan divided the world into goodies and baddies...", I meant that people who (in their ignorance) wanted power were following the divide and rule strategy of getting us to fight each other by making goodies chase after baddies.

Again, that's an outgrowth of survival behavior. If you've got a problem to deal with, break it up into smaller pieces. There's nothing Satanic about it.

Instead of judging people as baddies, we should work together to figure out what's true and what's false.

You are a victim of your own dualism. Like it or not, there are bad people. There's plenty in the world who feel what I'm doing is bad, and there's plenty of folks I see as doing bad.

My view is that gurus who believe they are special are victims of illusion, and we should help them and us be free of that, which Guruphiliac partly serves to do.

Gurus are more likely to be fully aware of the delusions they employ as marketing tools. Some are self-deluded, many are little more than criminals, of the set that I deal with here.

But judging them as bad is just another illusion.

Your Pollyannaesque fairy tale notions of the world are noted, and rejected.

The issue is illusion. If we are to be angry at anyone or anything, we should be angry at illusion, not gurus.

It's much more ludicrous to be angry at something you cannot change than at something you might be able to change.

if we are liberated from illusion, we should be able to point out their illusion without falling into creating another illusion by saying (or implying) that the deluding gurus are bad.

I'm starting to see that your problem is illusophobia. The world isn't the problem, it's the world. It's always been fucked, and always will be.

The problem is the idea that realization can fix anything. It can help, on an individual, case-by-case basis, but the world will always be a sort of messed up place, the fairy tale hopes of some notwithstanding.

The deluding gurus are deluded, not bad.

Put it in a childrens' book, Martin.

Mind you, I've never seen a guru who is liberated from illusion and living out his or her potential in an attractive way.

Sounds like you need to reset your obviously erroneous expectations about realization.

So maybe non-deluded/non-deluding gurus are non-existent.

I'd say your ideas of gurudom are grossly inflated by the standard ideas about realization this blog seeks to remedy.

 
At 3/22/2008 3:45 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody,

Bad people are created by the survival mode of thinking in terms of "us vs them", which belongs to the past. The past was bad because our species was establishing itself here. Now things are improving. Now it’s time for us to flower and bear fruit. Don’t judge the future by the past.

The best way to change people is to remove their illusions, rather than judging them.

Your idea of realisation seems to be of a very low order. Personally, I think the real thing means a radical change for the individual inwardly and in their actions. It’s not some little adjustment. It’s not just a minor change of gear. It’s radical.

There are some little experiences along the way.

Have you mistaken one of those little experiences for Realisation?

Are you sure you have arrived?

 
At 3/22/2008 9:34 AM, Blogger jody said...

Now it’s time for us to flower and bear fruit. Don’t judge the future by the past.

Skipping down the primrose path,
I hope and pray my fantasy to last.

My head has become full of flowery little dreams,
And when I arrive, they'll burst forth from the seams.

The best way to change people is to remove their illusions, rather than judging them.

As you are demonstrating so well at the moment, folks hold on to their illusions with hands in a death grip.

Your idea of realisation seems to be of a very low order.

ANY idea of realization is one of low order.

Personally, I think the real thing means a radical change for the individual inwardly and in their actions. It’s not some little adjustment. It’s not just a minor change of gear. It’s radical.

Dream, dream, dream... dream, dream, dream, dream...

There are some little experiences along the way.

They have no more to do with realization than if you were mass murdering all along the way.

Have you mistaken one of those little experiences for Realisation?

No, but I seem to get my dog's ass confused with them a lot.

Are you sure you have arrived?

I'm sure my ass arrived in my Herman Miller Aeron chair this morming.

 
At 3/23/2008 1:04 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Jody wrote:

"Skipping down the primrose path,
I hope and pray my fantasy to last."

Liberation is more than what you think it is.

Be ready for a big surprise.

 
At 3/23/2008 3:43 PM, Blogger jody said...

Be ready for a big surprise.

You're looking for a battleship to appear on the horizon when the truth is merely an ant crawling on your shoe. Your expectation has the effect of stuffing your head full of rose-colored tissue paper. All you can see is what you believe, preventing you from knowing a truth that may as well be sitting on the end of your nose, that's how close it always is.

 
At 3/24/2008 1:12 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

"All you can see is what you believe, preventing you from knowing a truth that may as well be sitting on the end of your nose, that's how close it always is."

Yes, reality is close.

But it's also BIG.

After all, painful illusion is attractive for a reason.

 
At 3/24/2008 10:34 AM, Blogger jody said...

it's also BIG.

Like I said, you tragically scan for the Titanic when your answer is a tiny speck on your shoe. Believing nondual truth to be big only occludes, as it's absolutely nothing of the sort.

 
At 3/24/2008 7:03 PM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Birth

Jody,

Life

Death

The Universe

Eternity

God

= BIG

 
At 3/24/2008 7:05 PM, Blogger jody said...

= BIG

It's the ant on your shoe, Martin.

 

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