Friday, December 20, 2013

My Experiments On Sensory Deprivation By John LeKay

My Experiments On Sensory Deprivation 
By John LeKay
(Excerpted from the author's Book: “A Glass of God” (Under Publication))

[John was kind to post his article at this Blog on "Sensory Deprivation Tank And Induced Samadhi" in July 2011. But within a few months, he had withdrawn the write up as he suspected that it could lead some of the readers to unwanted experiences and even dangerous situations if the experiments were carried out under unsupervised conditions. 

Chris Hebard (Stillness Speaks) made the significant observation that the discoveries made by John were rarely available in the literature to a Seeker.   The popularity of his article can be gauged from the fact that it received over 1200 hits to date. Readers keep visiting this Post  even today. So I requested John for a revised version of the article.  He has been kind to share here a few Excerpts on this subject from his forthcoming Book, "A Glass of God."  

I very much suggest that our esteemed readers interested in studying the effects of sensory deprivation to please do get in touch with John (at this e-mail) before embarking on any trials with the Desensitization Chambers on their own.

I express my sincere thanks to John and hope the readers will be benefited by the studies made by him -- ramesam]

My Experiments On Sensory Deprivation 

By John LeKay

Kindly Note that any Experiments with Desensitization Chambers should not be  attempted  unless one is a very experienced meditator and is carrying them out under the guidance of an experienced teacher.  

The technique using a sensory deprivation tank described here Should Not be practiced for more than an hour at a time.]  

Sometime in 1988 I read a book written by Dr. John C. Lilly about the experiments he conducted on sensory deprivation. Not long after that I purchased a sensory deprivation tank for myself. At the time I had been conducting experiments on the practice of deep meditation and the state of samadhi, so this made perfect sense to me.
John Lekay

The sensory deprivation tank is designed to isolate the mind and body from all known forms of external stimulation: tactile, auditory, visual, and olfactory stimulants. The blackened out soundproof chamber eliminates touch and pressure on the body. Floating horizontally in 800 lbs. of Epsom salts and water solution negates the effects of gravity and pressure. The salt solution temperature and the outside body temperature are both 94.5 degrees, thus eliminating any need to adjust to the salt-water solution. As a result of total deprivation, one is induced into a deep meditative state of consciousness.  

What I immediately discovered was that it was possible to deprive the visual sense totally by extinguishing light, but it was impossible to do a similar thing with hearing. Even when one is placed in a completely soundproofed chamber with no external sounds, one will still experience auditory sensations such as one’s own breathing movements, as well as occasional rumblings of the stomach. In addition, the skin could itch from the Epsom salt solution or have a burning sensation if one had just shaved or had a cut or irritation.

I remember my first experience of opening the door to the white tomb-like box filled with two feet of water. I sat in the water and closed the door, laid back and began to float. After a few minutes, I could see white flickering dots appear in my mind’s eye. As I began to relax, pictures and images appeared as if I was watching a movie. These were my thoughts passing by, coming and going, some in color, some in black and white. I did not attempt to interrupt the flow and just allowed anything to enter my mind. While doing this I had flashbacks from various times in my life, some going back to my earliest childhood memories and beyond.

During the 80s and early 90s I spent countless hours in the samadhi tank. At this point, I was able to immediately put myself into deep states of meditation in which all physical sensations completely disappeared. I felt like a naked astronaut floating in infinite space. It felt like being pulled into a magnetic field and into a hole filled with light. The experience was immensely blissful and, in fact, became quite addictive. I wanted to repeat the practice as often as possible because when I first dissolved into this light, all sense of boundaries and time seemed to disappear and a peace and white light and bliss filled my entire body. It felt as if my muscles and bones were disintegrating from the internal massage of the white light, and the sound of my breath was all that remained. It felt as if I was in my mother’s womb again, and then this disappeared as well.

Sensory Deprivation Tank

Once, I suddenly realized that I had been in the tank for six hours. I cracked open the door to the tank and that light that flooded in was nearly blinding. I looked around my art studio (where the tank was situated) and was struck by the vibrancy and intensity of the colors of my paintings and artworks. Everything appeared to be energized with life. Even the sounds of my footsteps seemed louder than usual. It was like walking out of a movie theater after a matinee on a bright summer’s day, although magnified a hundred times over. Getting acquainted with gravity after floating for so many hours in silence and pitch-black darkness can be disorienting.

Afterwards, I began to think about the similarities between the womb and the tomb; about how, in some ways, birth and death are the entrance points to rebirth and transformation. In reality, they are one and the same; it’s just a matter of perspective.

At times, it felt as if my skin and the usual sense of me were being stripped away. At first this was beautiful, but then it shifted. It left me feeling very vulnerable and unsettled because my defenses were gone. At the same time I became much more uninhibited and felt a cold detached depersonalization that led to some confusion.

The aftereffects of the sensory deprivation experiments left me in a rather unpleasant state in which remnants of my unconscious shadow began to the surface. It was as if the shadow self had been amplified in some horrible way and all of the contents of the unconscious were being thrown at me at once. Everything felt absolutely futile and meaningless. I would look out at the world and it all felt empty, cold, and useless; quite a contrast to the beautiful high I had felt while in the tank. All roads seemed to lead to either nowhere or to an abyss of some kind. Inside the tank had been blissful and at times absolutely amazing and beyond words, but that blissful state would inevitably change after a few days once I am back in my dismal day-to-day reality of the time.

The polarities could be shocking and quite extreme. Once while in the sensory deprivation tank, I went into a black vortex that opened up into light, and it felt as if I were being pulled and absorbed into it. I disappeared for several hours. When I came out, it felt as if my flesh had been ripped off and my mind left completely exposed. I felt more like an apparition, like an ethereal form of energy with no physical body. There was a disconnect that lasted a week or so. I one day remember walking around Soho in Manhattan and feeling like I was already dead, as if I were outside myself, watching myself walk down the street. I felt very detached, like watching a character in a film. It was one of the strangest feelings I can ever remember, because I felt like I was looking in from the outside. I remember experiencing that everything was connected; however, a subconscious internal conflict remained that would not allow the integration. 

This is one reason I wouldn’t recommend sensory deprivation for more than an hour at a time, unless you are an experienced meditator or you have the guidance of a teacher.

Wishing All Our Readers
Seasons Greetings and
Best Wishes For a Happy And Prosperous
New Year

Friday, November 22, 2013

Relishing The Experiencing Of The World Moment By Moment

Relishing The Experiencing Of The World Moment By Moment
By Mario Burgos

[Mario Burgos is a young man of thirty but speaks with the wisdom of a sage. Though he did not have a background of any specific system of spirituality, he has been pursuing Self-inquiry by exploring the nature of senses and perception, using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). He currently holds a job in the Investments sector. I am grateful to Mario for kindly sharing his experiences and findings from NLP at this Blog.
Mario lives with his wife Lourdes Davila in Punta del Este, Uruguay, and will be happy to answer any questions.  He can be reached at: e-mail – -- ramesam

In Spanish: Mario Burgos es un joven de 30 años, pero que habla con la sabiduría de un sabio. Aunque no proviene del ámbito espiritual, ha estado trabajando en el auto-conocimiento, explorando la naturaleza de los sentidos y el proceso perceptivo, usando herramientas de Programación Neuro Lingüística. Actualmente, Mario vive con su esposa en Punta del Este – Uruguay, dónde trabaja en el sector de inversiones. Estoy muy agradecido por su gentileza en compartir su experiencia en este Blog. 
Mario estará encantado en responder preguntas, para lo cual puede ser contactado en el siguiente e-mail:]

Relishing The Experiencing Of The World Moment By Moment
By Mario Burgos

I am not a teacher. I keep asking questions and perceive life in a different but simple way. I am not pretending to be nothing and nor I am trying to convince anyone about anything. My native language is Spanish and I apologize if what I express here is not adequately clear.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is the study of the structure of subjective experience, of how we think and experience the world, with a special emphasis on the process of perception through senses.  NLP considers the human individual as a whole body-mind system and it has applications in many areas, as a tool
Punta del Este
for changing patterns of behavior.  However,  I consider that the real value of NLP is not in changing patterns. Trying to change the patterns could in fact be a distraction.  Instead, I suggest that we can submerge in a deep exploration of the limitless subjective experience without trying to change anything, because the exploration itself is the most interesting and fascinating action of self-discovery. Unexpected changes do come about effortlessly just as an effect of intense perception.

At the moment, Laura Martinez, who has been my teacher of NLP, and myself are investigating about the nature of subjective experience, in order to develop a deep and interesting approach to open our perception and explore the subjective experience without any method, beliefs or content.

Smelling the “Second by Second” Field:

I see that Energy is active here, and that is the “Field of Existence.”  I´m not speaking about theoretical concepts. But it is about the activity that goes on second by second.  Each second, the energy is renewing, emerging totally new, being born afresh.  Everything is changing each moment. The chair seems to be static but is constantly shaking, vibrating. Matter is being created in this moment, in this very second, and also in the next second, now, here, there, always .  The energy I’m referring to, is not separate from you. It includes your body, your mental activity. Every moment, life is appearing.  An extraordinary energy is flowing from the inside of all atoms.

If we consider the statement that “The absolute existence is acting in all time and space” to be true, it would obviously mean that it has to be happening also at THIS VERY SECOND HERE. 

The above understanding has tremendous implications. It is not an idea as a thought in the mind. It is also not being poetic and writing beautiful sentences. I literally mean that every second the reality is being created totally anew. All the energy of the whole existence is acting right now with tremendous speed and intensity, generating and regenerating again and again, always anew. It is present as the energy of the Existence.  This sounds to our mind like science fiction, maybe lyrical, idealistic. We deny this radical worldview.

But we can “smell” this field, we can taste it and feel that something is happening here.  The Great Mystery of Life is here. What is the source of this extraordinary movement of life that is always emerging from nowhere? What is this “nowhere field”? The dynamic process of life didn´t appear some day in the past and then kept moving. It is a movement emerging every second, and before any second.  All the atoms in your body, earth and universe are being born afresh and anew. You can feel this energy flowing.

What is the actual implication of saying that in each second, and in every second, in the moment you are reading this article,  “the reality” is appearing and disappearing ?

We can´t change anything in this immediate second. It´s not possible, there´s no time to conceive, to formulate a thought. As ‘whatever is’ makes its appearance, there´s no space for an outside thought in this field. After all, a thought needs time to develop, and therefore will be separated from this moment. It can´t be fresh and alive in the current field of existence.  Besides, if you are suffering or feeling unhappiness in this second, it´s not a problem, the very next second all the existence is regenerated, new and alive. Always afresh.  Infinite energy is available again, and again.

The only Action that is possible in this second is “the immediate seeing”. And that seeing is always happening, some part of you is seeing, even when you dream, in the presence of the dream, there is seeing. Can you remember a moment in your life when seeing did not happen? And you can also look in Nature. Look at a spider, if you try to reach the spider, it will be very sensitive, alert and it will move. Plants and flowers are also alert, they look for the light.  All Nature is Seeing, Sensitive, Alert. So the art of immediate seeing in the second by second field, it´s not a new ability you have to learn, it´s already there. Can you just let the seeing happen without you interfering? 

Forget  the “Now Philosophy Concept”

When I first started to notice this, I felt very light and free. I was not carrying weight in the “second by second field”. I was calm enthusiastic, and talked about this with some close friends. They were all “understanding” what I was saying and told me “Yes, I Understand. This is Living in the Now like Eckhart Tolle and New Age philosophy”.  But I am not making an intellectual inquiry. I am not stirring up any emotional surge. I am plainly looking into the Existence Field.  When you see this, you feel it in your guts, it´s an obvious revelation.

Forget the “Now Concept”. It has been repeated so much, that even when I write these lines, it feels loaded and boring.

Like experiencing Sex - it´s not watching a movie or reading about it. Sex can´t be the concept of sex. Sex is lived in the existence field. When you feel hungry, you know it on the existential field, and eat. It´s not a strange and unknown field, it´s obvious!

The gap in everyday life

I have been living this experiencing particularly since a few weeks.  I am too clouded yet by the ME. But when I look in retrospective, it seems that a few months ago, I used to feel heavy and tense and my living was mechanical as if on “automatic pilot”.   

It´s very clear that some months ago, the days used to start and end with nothing happening in-between. Time flies away quickly living on automatic pilot.

Now, I am Present here, peaceful, enthusiastic, a lot happens every day and I know that the sun will keep shining, always new, second by second.

(In Spanish) 

Saboreando la experiencia, momento a momento

Programación Neuro Lingüística (PNL), es el estudio de la estructura de la experiencia subjetiva, cómo pensamos y experimentamos el mundo, con especial énfasis en el proceso de la percepción a través de los sentidos. PNL considera al individuo como una totalidad (Sistema Mente – Cuerpo) y tiene aplicaciones en áreas muy diversas como herramienta para cambiar patrones de comportamiento. Sin embargo, considero que el verdadero valor de PNL no radica en cambiar patrones, sino en facilitar una profunda exploración de la experiencia, sin contenidos.  De esta manera, los cambios suceden sin intención ni esfuerzo, como consecuencia de un profundo cambio perceptivo.
Actualmente, junto a  la Psi. Laura Martínez, estamos desarrollando una profunda y fascinante investigación acerca de la naturaleza de la experiencia subjetiva,  que facilita la apertura de la percepción  a través de un enfoque muy fresco, basado en la exploración empírica, sin contenidos.

Percibiendo El Campo del Segundo

La realidad puede parecer estática, pero está vibrando, sacudiéndose, segundo a segundo. Cada momento, cada segundo, todo está cambiando. La energía se renueva, las células del cuerpo se renuevan.  Todos los segundos,  interactuamos con una enorme corriente de “energía-información”, una corriente imparable de millones de estímulos que llega a nuestro cerebro a través de los sentidos.  La materia no es estática, tiembla. El cerebro, es un verbo, no para de procesar. Cada momento, la vida aparece. Una energía extraordinaria emerge desde el interior de todos los átomos.
Si consideramos verdadera la afirmación de que “La existencia absoluta, está presente en todo espacio y en todo tiempo”, obviamente implica que en este mismo segundo y en todos los segundos, por más simples que puedan parecer,  hay una enorme energía manifestándose.
No parece sencillo entender racionalmente este inmenso proceso energético, perceptivo, pero podemos olerlo, saborearlo,  experimentarlo. El gran misterio de la existencia, está presente en este segundo, es “ESTO”. 
¿Cuál es la fuente de este extraordinario movimiento que llamamos VIDA? ¿Cuál es la fuente de este proceso imparable que emerge, emerge y emerge cada segundo,  por siempre y desde siempre? ¿Alguna vez se ha detenido? ¿Puede detenerse?   La vida no apareció un día hace millones de años y luego siguió moviéndose, sino que emerge cada segundo, ahora mismo. La  vida nace, nace y nace, cada segundo, cada nano-segundo.  Es un movimiento emergente.  La física nos dice que todos los átomos de nuestro cuerpo, del planeta, no son los mismos que hace un momento atrás.  Todo es nuevo. Toda la energía de la existencia está disponible.
No podemos cambiar nada por nuestra voluntad en este segundo inmediato.  No hay tiempo para formular un pensamiento. No es posible formular nada en un segundo. No hay espacio para los problemas en el campo del segundo, y si los hay, sabemos que el próximo segundo, inmediatamente, toda la energía de la existencia estará disponible nuevamente. Todo ha cambiado, todos los átomos, el mundo será diferente.  Sin embargo, los hábitos mentales parecieran extenderse en el tiempo. Esto es parte de nuestra ignorancia. Incluso podemos llegar a percibir que si muriéramos hoy,  nuestros problemas seguirán existiendo.  ¿No es esto ilógico? ¿No será parte de un error en el procesamiento de datos?

La única acción posible

La única acción que es posible realizar en el campo del segundo, es la “percepción inmediata”.  La mirada inmediata.  Y esa percepción, ese darse cuenta de lo que está sucediendo, siempre está presente. Incluso cuando soñamos, en el presente del sueño, no dejamos de percibir. Algo está viendo, escuchando, sintiendo.  ¿Puedes recordar un momento de tu vida en el que no hubiera percepción? ¿Dónde está esa parte que percibe?  Y si observamos la naturaleza,  podemos notar que si nos acercamos a un insecto, una araña, esta responde inmediatamente, nos está midiendo, hay gran sensibilidad. Y las plantas, están alerta, crecen buscando la luz. Toda la naturaleza está alerta, es muy sensible, pura percepción inmediata.
El arte de la observación, de la percepción inmediata, no es algo que tengamos que aprender,  sino que ya está sucediendo “a pesar” de nosotros, a pesar de todo “el contenido” con el cual nos distraemos, nos deslumbramos.  No hay que hacer un esfuerzo para desarrollar el arte de la observación inmediata, sino todo lo contrario, porque todo esfuerzo entorpece, nos aleja del campo del segundo. La observación inmediata emerge, cuando nosotros no interferimos. Ya está sucediendo, siempre.

Olvidemos  los conceptos “New Age”

Cuando esta percepción, comenzó a ser evidente, me sentí muy libre de todo peso. Ya no tenía sentido cargar tanto peso en el “Campo del Segundo”.  Sentí un gran entusiasmo, no exaltado,  muy sereno, y hablé con algunos amigos cercanos sobre ello. Muchos me dijeron “Claro, esto que experimentas es  “el aquí y el ahora”, como del que habla Eckhart Tolle y la filosofía new age en general”. Pero aunque respeto a Tolle, reconozco que “el campo del segundo”, no es un concepto, no se puede comprender intelectualmente, no hay concepto correcto o incorrecto, sino que solamente se puede acceder a él a través de la experiencia. A través de la percepción inmediata. La información que surge allí, no es conocimiento, sino Reconocimiento. No hay lugar para la duda, lo que allí reconocemos, es pura certeza.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Wisdom Tree - A Film On Non-Duality

The Wisdom Tree - A Film On Non-Duality

The Wisdom Tree is an intriguing and inspiring lyrical poem expressed in a film medium and executed with a neat breath-taking finesse. It depicts the mind-blowing modern day advances in Science, Art and Philosophy, that are not only erasing the rigid walls of separation amongst them as distinct fields but also pointing out to a compelling convergence of these diverse strands with the ancient Indian and Eastern mystic thought processes which highlight the Oneness of All things.

The young Director, Sunil Shah, succeeds in projecting the Non-dual message in a very convincing and captivating manner through a story woven around the lives of three ordinary people – a scientist, a medico, and an FBI agent – and the travails they had to face in a world of jealousy, competition and criminality, a mindless rat-race that is at once gripping and also exasperating. Adding spice to the story in a cinematic way is the determined investigation by the dedicated trio into a mysterious car accident and a potential danger to the human species itself. The picture is supported by a melodious musical score, striking visual effects and competent technical values.

The 2 hours and 12 minute drama is the result of over five years of research and study by Sunil Shah in writing the story and a further three years in the making of the film. And most befittingly, the movie is being premiered on 25 Oct 2013 during the Science and Non-Duality (SAND) Conference this month in San Jose, California, USA.

Sunil was born and brought up in Mumbai, the most cosmopolitan city of India. He is a Computer Software expert by training with about a couple of decades of working experience in corporate America and has a few patents in computer algorithms to his credit. He, thus, combines within himself the Indian tradition and a knowledge of the Western technology. Yet he has a deep interest in various art forms and the Eastern Mysticism. His passion in making this film is his zeal to communicate the philosophical implications and the mystic significance of the exciting advances in modern science (Quantum Physics, Neuroscience, Math etc.) to the public at large. And one can undoubtedly say that the outcome is a thrilling and deeply thought-provoking experience to all, the technical-literati as well as the lay individual.

Sunil and his wife Renu Vohra (one of the Producers of the film) live near San Francisco, California, USA. He can be reached at: sunil at thewisdomtreefilm dot com

A 4:26 min Trailer of the Film can be seen at: The Wisdom Tree Film - Trailer 

The Story in Brief:

For several years, Steve Hamilton, a self-conflicted quantum physicist has struggled to uphold and prove a ground breaking theory that had ended his mother's career when she proposed it years ago! Now, Steve's research too is in jeopardy when a mysterious car accident leaves him in the throes of death! A chain of events brings Steve together with compassionate but unwavering neuroscientist Dr. Trisha Rao and anguished FBI Agent Mike Parker, as they all get drawn in to an intensifying mystery. However, not in their wildest dreams could they have foreseen what lay ahead!

Before long they're engulfed in clues snowballing from science, art, music, mysticism; and oddly, through a bizarre set of coincidences, from their own past, present, and even future! As they struggle to interpret a multitude of hard-to-comprehend events, every answer evokes a set of new questions. Caught in the maze, the tranquil Trisha not only steers them through a longwinded ever-deepening mystery, but also helps Steve and Mike overcome their deep-rooted fears and guilt. However, this transformative spiritual journey also brings about a realization that the incident with Steve was merely the tip of an iceberg — the more worrisome, imminent danger lay in that the people of this planet are imperiled! In this story of personal redemption, if they can unravel the enigma, not only may they guide — and, thus save — the human race, but they may also chance upon the most profound and far-reaching discoveries ever!

About The Film:

This slow-paced, contemplative sci-fi, in a New Age mystery, is a journey spanning intriguing artworks attuned to ethereal music. A haunting background score, coupled with carefully sketched cinematography and subtle sound design, add novel dimensions. The film heavily relies on — and attempts to bind — theories and doctrines, as well as hypotheses, from science and math, music, art, philosophy, mysticism, spirituality and intra-disciplinary possibilities, to create an engaging whole.

(Yogavasishta compares the reality of the visible world to 
an external wall painting that is washed away by repeated rains)

Friday, September 20, 2013

The World is a Dream in The NOW

The World is a Dream in The NOW
By Fred Campbell

[Fred’s like any ‘guy-next-door.’  But his friendly and unassuming simplicity hides a wisdom that is the ardent pursuit for many a seeker.  He has a remarkable story to share.  I was fortunate to get to know him at a Non-duality group which meets every Sunday at a private home in Bellevue, WA, USA.

Even as a young man, Fred was deeply philosophical. Hardly did he cross his twenties, when some strange “experiences” gripped him and changed his worldview. Though he studied architecture and finance at the University of Washington, he discovered that his heart was not in either of these urban-oriented vocations.  He was drawn to living close to nature and working for the betterment of humanity. So he chose a line of work that facilitated his spiritual quest in finding a meaning to his uncommon “experiences.” He was very hesitant to start with, but has finally consented to recount at this Blog his Non-dual experiences (if we can call them to be “experiences”) that can’t be, as he says, really captured in words. I am grateful to him for this lovely and affectionate gesture.

Fred lives with his wife in Seattle, WA, USA. He can be contacted by e-mail at – ramesam.]

The World is a Dream in The NOW
By Fred Campbell

"It is not true that Infinity will be Infinite only when would-be finite experience fades away. There is only the Infinite Being I Am -- and where I Infinitely Am, there is no finite experience to fade away. To assume matter must be laid off or risen above, would be to start with matter, not the Awareness I Am. The Pure Awareness I Am can't lay off materiality, for I have none, Now – Peter Dziuban

First, the background in brief:  I felt disenchanted with the pedantic character of the Educational system soon after my graduation. Deeply attracted by the natural elements, I moved to the rural woods for several years. I lived a simple "back to the earth" life in the 70's, with my focus on becoming increasingly self reliant.  I actively participated in those days in numerous counter cultural activities – anti-war, civil rights, gender equality and environmental awareness. After spending life in this way for many years, I entered the traditional working world, accepting a job with an agency that promoted housing for disadvantaged people. I worked in this field for over three and half decades.  Much of my effort was focused during this time on providing and preserving affordable housing, with an emphasis on energy efficiency and promoting research into alternative energy systems and housing/health issues.

My philosophical and spiritual quest kept pace all through my educational and professional career. Beginning in the 70's, I explored a variety of so called new age modalities, including progressive psychology approaches and Eastern spirituality that had become relatively new to the West.  In the 80's and 90's, I spent time with a local group and various retreats around the teachings of J. Krishnamurti.  Those groups were focused on a dialogue approach. My interest in the increasing confluence of science and spirituality led me to helping start a local Institute for Noetic Sciences (IONS) group. Over time, I studied a great number of Non-dual teachings, including those of Eckhart Tolle, Wei Wu Wei, Jean Klein, Rupert Spira, and others.

When I was 21, a strange sense came over me. While preparing for dinner with my family, long before I had any exposure to any spiritual teachings, somehow it struck me that all experience is in this ‘moment,’ not a moment in time but the only moment ... “NOW.”

It seemed that experience is very much like a dream, where the dreamer finds activities and objects within the dream to be very real. A whole believable history spontaneously presents itself. Something appears to come out of nothing. Even so called "memory" appears in the now, providing meaning-making interpretation of what appears to be happening now. In the sleeping dream, there is a very real sense of being chased by the tiger, even though the apparent reality of the dream proves to be nonsense when awake.

Similarly, it seemed to me this waking state, with its apparent history and meaning, may only be spontaneous appearance manifesting as a dream.

I described this sense to a few people, some of whom looked at me as if I were crazy. Years later, when attending Krishnamurti dialogue groups in Seattle and California, I again described this sense. And again, even among folks interested in so called Non-dual teachings, it clearly did not resonate. For over 30 years, I had never met anyone who found this experience or sense to be valid or even interesting.

Ten years ago I met a long-time teacher of the Course in Miracles at a silent retreat put on by a couple of local Non-dual teachers. When we were able to break our silence, I described to her this sense. To my surprise she told me the Course describes reality in a similar way. Later I learned this sense I had decades earlier was consistent with some advaita teachings.

This odd sense of reality continues to show up to date. When it does, it seems clear this moment, the only moment, is in fact the so-called "big bang" of the original universe. A whole universe of apparent objects, space and time presents itself together with meaning-making conceptual notions, including the sense of "me" ever fresh and new. It's as if arising within the ever present timeless now, holographic-like experiencing takes place, bringing an impression of time and space dimensions. Even that's not quite right because in timeless presence there is nothing that "takes place". It's simply here/now.

Memory, embedded in this presence and not of the "past", is no more "real" than all the believable "causes" that apparently led that tiger to chase me in the sleeping dream.  

If in fact all appears here/now, how could there be birth or death? After all, they’re both events in time. How could there be change or, for that matter, any experiencing where there’s something experienced? This doesn’t suggest there is nothing real about our claimed experience; just that its reality is not what we typically believe. It suggests that our perceived experience appears within the timeless presence of NOW and, therefore, has no independent objectivity. The dream is conceptual meaning (thought) apparently expanding the ever present now to encompass a universe of time and objects.

So, does any of this have any significance regarding day-to-day living? Or is it just so much conceptual gibberish?

Seems to me it is simply intellectual conjecture if limited to considerations of the mind. It may, however, touch on something beyond mind. It may give pause to habitual identification with that to which mind brings meaning. In the midst of seemingly very palpable experiences, there may be a concurrent sensing or knowing of the timeless essence in which this apparent time-bound experiencer and its experiences appear.

Some may dispute whether the experience I've described is in fact consistent with the essence of Non-duality. No matter, for, the point for me is simple. This sense of reality noted here, together with deepening understanding of Non-duality, brings home a distinct sense that this life, this apparent reality (as described by the mind), is not at all as it appears to be. It seems increasingly clear that, as Rupert Spira points out so well, the substance of our experience, this knowing or aware-ing, is not only the ONE reality but also the only "thing" experienced. And it all appears here/now ... neither in time nor space.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why Do Realized Teachers Fall sick?

Why Do Realized Teachers Fall sick?

Question:  Why do even Realized Gurus fall sick?

ramesam:  Let us be clear in our understanding about a couple of things from the perspective of Advaita.

The disease and illness you observe in any person (realized or not) occurs in the body of the man.

Whatever you call as the ‘so called realization’ does not happen for the body. There is nothing like a realized body and an unrealized body. All bodies are the same in the sense that they are all modulations of the one Thing that IS.

The ‘collapse of the sense of separate self’ is generally described as realization. In other words, it is the absence of the thought of a “separate me” (ego) claiming ‘ownership’ to some of the things that exist around and ‘doership’ for the actions that happen. Thus the body of a fully realized man will not have a claimant of ownership. It will be a free floating entity like any other moving object in nature.  It’s a different matter that you may continue to refer to it as the Guru’s body. ('Fully realized' means the sense of a separate self never returns and he/she is ceaselessly abiding as brahman). 

Now, all bodies are within the illusory world, and hence they have only a finite life because they are subjected to constant change. There are six types of changes that a substance in the world goes through. They are: birth (jAyate), existence (asti), development (vardhate), modification (vipariNamate), decline (apakshIyate), and death (vinasyati). You may call some of the stages (modification/decline) as illness or sickness.

One may say that the above explanation does not really answer the question because the argument is circular.  It is observed that all things in nature are subjected to the above stated six types of changes. So to turn around and declare that the body, therefore, is subjected to decay through illness does not satisfactorily explain it.

So let us look at it in a different way.

The body is sustained by food and therefore, we may take it that the body is made from the food stuff one consumes.

You procure the raw material for the preparation of the food - cereals (rice), lentils, vegetables, spices etc. from the market. Suppose you leave them as they are. How long can you store them? Can you preserve them permanently? No.

Next you/your wife cook them, add spices etc. and convert them into edible food. How long can you preserve the vegetables etc. you brought from market even after converting it as food?  Maybe for a few more days or if you pickle them for some more months.  After that they rot.

Just as you converted the raw material to food, your body changes the food into various tissues and organs (blood, bones, skin, flesh etc.). By this conversion, the raw material you started with gets preserved for some years. You may do any conversion, but the starting material like vegetables, rice etc cannot be preserved in a good condition for ever. They will not last; they have to rot and decay.

In order to maintain the body, everyone (including so called saints), eat food. Therefore, the body which is made of food will have to ultimately rot. You call this rotting as “disease.”

There are different ways by which this rotting occurs. So the bodies of different people rot in different ways.

The moral is when you start with an impermanent material, does not matter whether it is a conversion through cooking or change into the body organs of a holy man, that starting impermanent material cannot be saved from disease and decay.  

Question:  When the gurus know that their body is an important vehicle to enable them to do better things for the society, why don’t they keep it healthy and alive?

ramesam: From the Advaita perspective, there is brahman only and there is no-thing else.  Therefore, brahman being All, brahman does not need a 'body' as a vehicle!
It is an unnecessary assumption that brahman requires a body to do things.

Take your TV screen as an example. You find a character in the movie doing things, running around, helping or harming other characters. You call it alive and active. There is, say, a big stone nearby or water flowing in that scene. You call these to be ‘not alive.’  But all these including the character ARE in truth TV screen only. The screen is taking the shape of the character or the stone or water at those specific pixel positions.  Does the screen need that particular image shape to do anything? Taking the stance of the screen which is the only thing that really exists (relative to the movie) does any action take place at all? Is it not the unchanging screen sitting there permanently, irrespective of the action in the movie?

In the above comparison, the body is like a character on the TV screen. The real "you" are the actual screen. If the character picture thinks that it has to do the things, is it correct? It may be correct from its own perspective. It may think that it has to help another character picture on the screen. But if you imagine yourself to be the screen, you will know how far the pov of the character picture is real.

So being alive or dead is a categorization from the limited perspective of the character on the screen. In truth, neither the character nor its form is required for what goes on the screen. The screen takes different forms and shapes from moment to moment, from pixel position to pixel position. It is the arrogance (ego) of the character to think that it (its form = body) is required to take any action / to help or harm other in the movie.

Such arrogance comes to a man because of 'mind.'

Mind is a thought which claims 'ownership and doership' as "me and mine' for some of the things that go on.  It’s like the ego of the character in the movie. The movie character thinks that it owns its shape and it is the one who is taking the actions!

A truly ‘realized’ teacher knows that (s)he is the screen. All things happen as modulations of the screen from moment to moment. He does not take any action and his body does not matter as it is just a transient shape at the moment.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Why do people talk so much about themselves and Why we 'hear' inner speech in our heads?

Why do people talk so much about themselves?

"The ability to communicate—with almost anyone, about almost anything—has played a central role in our species’ ability to not just survive, but flourish. If you’re like most people, your own thoughts and experiences may be your favorite topic of conversation.  On average, people spend 60 percent of conversations talking about themselves.

Why, in a world full of ideas to discover, develop, and discuss, do people spend the majority of their time talking about themselves? Recent research suggests a simple explanation: because it feels good.

In an initial fMRI experiment, researchers compared neural activation during self-disclosure to activation during other-focused communication. Three neural regions stood out. Self-disclosure resulted in relatively higher levels of activation in areas of the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) generally associated with self-related thought. The two 
remaining regions identified by this experiment, however, had never before been associated with thinking about the self: the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA), both parts of the mesolimbic dopamine system.

These newly implicated areas of the brain are generally associated with reward, and have been linked to the pleasurable feelings and motivational states associated with stimuli such as sex, cocaine, and good food. Activation of this system when discussing the self suggests that self-disclosure, like other more traditionally recognized stimuli, may be inherently pleasurable—and that people may be motivated to talk about themselves more than other topics.

In a follow up study, answering questions about the self always resulted in greater activation of neural regions associated with motivation and reward (i.e., NAcc, VTA) than answering questions about others, and answering questions publicly always resulted in greater activation of these areas than answering questions privately.  Importantly, these effects were additive; both talking about the self and talking to someone else were associated with reward, and doing both produced greater activation in reward-related neural regions than doing either separately. These results suggest that self-disclosure—revealing personal information to others—produces the highest level of activation in neural regions associated with motivation and reward, but that introspection—thinking or talking about the self, in the absence of an audience—also produces a noticeable surge of neural activity in these regions. Talking about the self is intrinsically rewarding, even if no one is listening.


Why we 'hear' inner speech in our heads:

Whether you're reading the paper or thinking through your schedule for the day, chances are that you're hearing yourself speak even if you're not saying words out loud. This internal speech — the monologue you "hear" inside your head — is a ubiquitous but largely unexamined phenomenon. A new study looks at a possible brain mechanism that could explain how we hear this inner voice in the absence of actual sound.

In two experiments, researcher Mark Scott of the University of British Columbia found evidence that a brain signal called corollary discharge — a signal that helps us distinguish the sensory experiences we produce ourselves from those produced by external stimuli — plays an important role in our experiences of internal speech.

Corollary discharge is a kind of predictive signal generated by the brain that helps to explain, for example, why other people can tickle us but we can't tickle ourselves. The signal predicts our own movements and effectively cancels out the tickle sensation.
And the same mechanism plays a role in how our auditory system processes speech. When we speak, an internal copy of the sound of our voice is generated in parallel with the external sound we hear.

"We spend a lot of time speaking and that can swamp our auditory system, making it difficult for us to hear other sounds when we are speaking," Scott explains. "By attenuating the impact our own voice has on our hearing — using the 'corollary discharge' prediction — our hearing can remain sensitive to other sounds."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Reboot The Story By Vincent Flammini

Reboot The Story by Vincent Flammini

[Vince Flammini is not unknown to our readers.  (The earlier Post is here ).  He has been keeping the shutters down at his blog site, Just Rest, for some time. He felt that there were many people disseminating so much of Non-dual stuff already and so he went into a silent mode.

I am happy he is active again under a new format.   He is orienting now his Non-dual insights and wisdom to benefit everyone more directly as a Consultant and Counselor with a down to earth approach.  His teaching will focus on equipping people in the 'everyday' life with actionable tools that prove to be 'practical and useful for daily living'.  He has a new Web Site up and working (at least the important navigation buttons do).  The site is well-designed to look simple but attractive, spacious and unintimidating.
I am grateful to Vince for his ready consent to let me reproduce here his latest write up. He is magnanimous to add:   "... use anything that I write, with or without attribution. None of it is really mine anyway! I just want to help people find more satisfaction and ease in their own life - it makes for a nicer, kinder planet."  Here is 'Reboot the Story' - his advice to Joe - on the benefit of rebooting ourselves -- like we shut down the computer and restart it when we find it locked up in a loop. Vince can be reached at:  -- ramesam.]

Reboot The Story by Vincent Flammini

I had an interesting conversation with a client recently – I’ll call him ‘Joe’. He is a really bright, accomplished man who has everything in the world going for him, except…

Like the rest of us, Joe has his spots that are sticky for him – covered with Velcro – you know, those places where everything sticks and hangs us up? Joe’s Velcro pretty much carpets the area of romantic relationships in his life. He can get very stuck in his thoughts about what a current partner thinks or doesn’t think about him as well as what that person’s actions might mean about him. The last few times I’d seen Joe, he felt upset and was suffering over a relationship. Joe was caught up in a lot of thinking about the relationship: Was it really good for him? Did the other person feel the same about him as he did about her? Why did he continue to put up with the inconsiderate behavior of the other person? Was he addicted to relationships? Was he codependent? How was this related to his unfulfilling relationship with his father? Should he hang around and see if the relationship would work or should he call it quits? Was he doomed to these kinds of mistimed relationships for the rest of his life? Was he the problem?

While the variables might differ (it might not be relationships for you but maybe it’s money or kids or work or sex or meaning or in-laws or, or, or…you get the idea) we can certainly recognize ourselves in the way Joe’s mind continues to spin and bubble. In telling the story of the relationship, Joe was attempting to find an answer. Trying to find an answer to a problem in our usual, habitual thinking is like trying to find your socks in the refrigerator. No matter how hard you look or how many containers you move, it isn’t very likely you’ll find them there.

The reality is that our thinking is usually a mess (more about this in another article!). Imagine that each thought is a tree in a forest. As we walk through the forest looking for the right trail, we keep bumping into more and more trees – after a while, they all begin to look the same. That is equally true for our own thinking. To paraphrase Einstein (badly), looking for a new understanding to an old problem amongst all of our old, habitual thinking – the very thinking that ‘produced’ the ‘problem’ in the first place – is almost always a losing proposition. That is exactly what Joe was doing. And, not only was Joe looking for a new tree amongst all of the ‘old growth’ he was also planting MORE trees and then wondering why he kept running into trees!

A thought occurred to me as I listened. I asked Joe what would happen if I stopped him in the middle of his work (it is very complex, exacting, and detailed) to ask him about this issue? He stopped for a moment and reflected and then said, “I would need to reboot. None of that thinking would be in my awareness at all and I wouldn’t be feeling upset. But, I know that once I started thinking about it, I would have to find where I left off in the story and then reboot and I would start feeling miserable again…Oh my God, this is all a story I’m telling myself and I’m suffering as a result of my own story!? I’m creating my own suffering with all of this!?” To say the light went on is an understatement. Joe had been feeling a good deal of anxiety and suddenly said, “It’s like the movie just ended and the lights have come on. I don’t feel any anxiety right now. It feels like it all just drained out of me!”

What is happening in us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from cradle to grave is exactly what Joe realized in that moment. The principle of Thought comes to life via the principle of Consciousness. We mix the two and create our moment-to-moment experience of life. It’s what we’re all always doing – playing a movie in our mind and seeing it as real – that is the nature of the interplay of Thought and Consciousness. Seeing this can save us from a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Does this mean that Joe will never get caught up in his movie about relationships again? Not at all. We all get caught up at times. However, once we have realized it in real time, our natural wisdom takes over. We end up on a learning curve that takes us deeper and deeper into really seeing how our moment-to-moment experience is constructed, and though we might get hoodwinked by the movie now and then, we won’t stay fooled forever.

Added on June 22, 2013:

Question:  Often times even on "Reboot", the same line (thought) comes back  - like a broken record - and one is stuck again.  What if the system is not digital but an old phonograph?

Vince:  Yep. That happens, too. Still just more thinking. What difference does it make if it's the same thought? I'd wager that even thoughts that repeat don't repeat constantly. There is always other thinking in the mix. But, even if not, the dynamic is the same - another thought appearing in nothing... and disappearing in nothing ... and appearing in nothing ... and disappearing in nothing ... ad infinitum...

Resting back as 'nothing' provides immense relief regardless of the size, shape, thickness, color, smell, feel, intensity, or frequency of the particular thought. This 'No-thing' is our birthright - who we are - what we are - our natural state of wisdom/intelligence/being. I have found that people with whom I’ve worked diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) still benefit significantly when they see this.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dealing With That Uncomfortable Feeling of "Hurt"

Three Sages Advice On Dealing With That Uncomfortable Feeling of "Hurt":

Question:  How does one who understood Non-dual Oneness manage 'relationships' with others in the mundane day to day world -- especially in situations of annoying actions/words; avoidable remarks, unfair judgments etc. of 'others' and the inevitable reactions they produce within one's body? 

Even if we justify or explain away  all such things to be nothing but another manifestation of Oneness, all of it looks to be a drain on energy!

Peter Dziuban:  

What has been most helpful "here" is first, to recognize that anything that appears to be done/said in that way is done out of ignorance of who they really are.  And that seeming ignorance is no fault of their own.  The behavior isn't condoned, but the apparent individual isn't condemned for it either.  Then, all you can do is forgive and be Love.  That's all. 

Eckhart Tolle: 

How do I respond to another's pain-body (hurting me)? (7 min)

Rupert Spira:

How to Deal with Abusive situation - some one attacking verbally or behaving in a hostile way (4 min):

If someone said something that is hurtful, it helps finding who you are:(13:40 min):

Crumbling the 'cookie' that covers up the uncomfortable feeling (about 12 min):

Friday, March 22, 2013

Teaching The Truth And Nothing But The AbsoluteTruth

Teaching The Truth And Nothing But The Absolute Truth

There is neither dissolution nor creation, none in bondage and 
none practicing disciplines. 
There is none seeking Liberation and none liberated. 
This is the absolute truth.  
– Gaudapada Acharya (7th Century C.E.)

"A Taste of Death - Thirty Days with UG in Gstaad,Switzerland"   was the title of a small book that Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, a popular Movie Director in India wrote almost a couple of decades ago. It described his experience of spending a month with the anti-Guru Guru, Mr. U. G. Krishnamurti. [UG left his body six years ago on this day (22 March).]

Actually no one can experience 'death.'  For death is a non-entity. A pure imagination of another imagination.  This another imagination is what "I", "you" and every one is.  

This imagination thinks that there is a "me" in here, it has some definite  well-defined describable and identifiable attributes – a name, a form, a qualification, a set of likes and dislikes, a 'will' to do things, a birth, an age and life (in one word a ‘personality’).  It is happy wallowing in the imagination of its possessions, ownership and doership. It is scared all the time that this imagination may “end.”

But “end” it must, because all imagination is nothing but a “thought.”
No thought is permanent.  Thought is like a vibration. It comes and goes. 
It is always on the move. It is itself the movement. It has only a limited time (life) span.

The “ending” of the thought in a way that it does not come back is called as “death.”
“Death” is the end of the ‘personality.’

So the ‘person’ is dead scared of death. And the 'person' in the personality has developed all sorts of ‘tricks’ to avoid his/her end, the inevitable death. One of those tricks is a continuity by believing in after life, rebirth, ‘spirituality.’

It is said about UG that he “scarcely offers hope, his candid statements seem to show many the mirror. He has therefore been referred to as 'the anti guru', the 'un-guru', the 'seer with no solutions', 'the thinker who shuns thought'.”

UG once said :  “People throw questions at me like they would stones at dogs. Like the dog, my response is also to bark. I am merely barking, which you translate into meaningful language.”


Imagine that you have, instead, the words of a loving tall fatherly figure and not the scary ‘bark of a dog.’ Imagine that he is tenderly holding your hand and taking you on a long walk explaining to you how your very questioning, your very anxiety to continue yourself as a ‘separate entity’, a person,  creates a world out there separate from you.

Peter Dziuban in Plano TX, Aug 2011
(Pic. Credit: Bart)
Then you would have got an idea of Peter Dziuban, a truly tall towering personality amongst Non-dual Teachers, both metaphorically and literally.

And do you know  the word ‘peter’ shares the same root as ‘pitr’ in Sanskrit meaning father!

[Past Posts on Peter's Teachings:  See here,  here and here .]

Peter is preparing a series of short self-help Manuals that can guide the seeker in understanding the Non-dual Oneness that "you already are" through "Gedanken experiments" one can perform for oneself.  The first one titled "Simply Notice" is expected to be out soon.


Hilde is my friend I am proud of. She had a taste of her ‘death’ when Peter conducted recently one of his very rare six-day long retreats.  No wonder, she finds it very difficult to describe her experience. On my insistence she has this to say:        

Hilde at Peter's Intensive
"Not sure why it is so difficult for me to put the Non-dual topics into words, maybe because it doesn't feel adequate.  However, I have been putting down some thoughts on my impressions of the Intensive. 
This was the first time to attend a retreat like this - 6 days!  It was an "intensive" where the topics all flowed back to the major theme of "This is Life's Life".  Peter went through many different descriptive terms and ideas to dissolve separation and duality:  Historylessness, Timelessness, and Distancelessness,  We did a good amount of “undoing” the illusions that are taken as reality.

The discussions truly centered around Life itself  -- How can it be stopped?!  It cannot be!  Thought cannot keep Life from Being itself totally and fully.  This point was expanded upon in a number of ways, for example, with distancelessness , there is nothing between Life and Itself.  Although Life extends everywhere, it is still Right Here.  That is so powerful!  

Also, the historylessness of Life was pointed to.  Because Life is NOW, aliving as this aware presence.  And with timelessness, there is no past, even as what appears to have been  centuries ago in time, does not exist . 
And this one….What a relief!  There is no separate person that needs to "get it', or who is separate from this Life.  There is only this Life Living Itself unstoppably and inescapably. 

What has really stuck with me since returning home is the point that nothing can or needs to be done by the individual to either get more Presence or become more Present.  The tendency to believe that thoughts can push away Presence or that searching for Presence needs to happen just does not hold any water!  How can Present Aliveness be blocked by thoughts, feelings, circumstances?  It cannot.  Any kind of duality/separation cannot impede Life.  Something that keeps coming up since the retreat is to continue practicing the suggestion of reversing the perspective of “me” observing from the vantage point of the body to looking from outside toward the body and environment.

Every one of the participants was very clear and added a lot with their comments and insights, so it really was a group get-together.
There is a lot more to talk about for a six day intensive.  Would highly recommend listening to some of the recordings that are available!”


Peter  has been so kind and benevolent to share freely links to some of the tapes of the recorded conversations that happened during the retreat. (Please see the Note below re: the links).

Peter gesticulating  All That Is is the "Now"
(Pic. Credit:  Bart)

Please Note: 

Peter regrets to inform that effective 29 Apr 2013 the links to the audio tapes are not anymore available owing to some technical problems.

We are fortunate that his Talk (32 min) on "Softness of Life" at Science and Non-duality Conference 2012 is available here from May 2, 2013: