Sunday, March 22, 2009

my story and all about me

You know in case it escaped anyones notice this 'I' has aspirations to become some kind of a meditation teacher. I was reflecting on this this morning and how it seems to be one of my central ego-identifications.

I can trace this all the way back to when I was 16 and getting very into Transcendental Meditation (TM). After feeling intensely lost and separate I suddenly found something which made perfect sense to me and provided a pathway to travel and friends along the way. It was clear to me that I wanted to become enlightened and, when the time was right, to also teach meditation.

Of course I didn't, and still don't, really know what enlightenment is but at least I had a feeling that this was the right direction to take and a rational concept of what growth in consciousness meant. A concept which went something along the lines of releasing all of the internal crap that was making me miserable and keeping me separate, and similtaneously getting tuned up with the cosmic intelligence and all of the wisdom, power and peace that that entailed. When I say power, I mean using ones full potential rather than just getting by on the measley 10% or so they say we are using of our brains capacity.

So that whole TM journey is a story in itself which I won't go into now. Getting back to my aspirations as a teacher. Now these rantings on this blog are a reflection of my own journey of trying to gain and express some clarity on these matters; and it may be that some persons might find something of use, something of interest, something which resonates for themselves amongst it all or not as the case may be. But I was looking into it this morning from the perspective of what is in it for 'me'? What juice is my ego getting out of holding onto and pursuing this self-concept?

I took a pen and paper and started drawing it out. The first thing that came up is that it can give me a sense of self-worth, a sense of contributing something helpful to others. Seems harmless enough but the lack of cleanness and the ego comes in from basing my sense of self-worth upon something I do rather than naturally just feeling enough within myself regardless of what I do or don't do. In other words, ones sense of oneself to be based upon simply Being rather than having some kind of gun against my head based upon 'my doing' and 'my achieveing'.

Not only that but in perhaps seeming to help someone else in their own journey, or expressing something well and getting good feedback, that is feeding my own ego and helping me to feel good about myself. Then comes pride and pride comes before a fall. So I identified that beneath this seemingly innocent desire to help others is the not so innocent desire to help myself. On the one hand to prop up a lack of self-worth and on the other hand giving me a feeling of false pride, both of which stem from self-judgement, and fear of judement from others, that I am not already intrinsically enough as I am.

Of course the egoic 'I am' is never enough (I'm diverging into spiritual metaphysics here which necessarly entails borrowed knowledge and speculation upon my part); the inherent nature of the ego is that it is always full of cravings and aversions. Seeking pleasure, avoiding pain and all the time creating misery. That's the point; the ego-self will never bring us lasting fulfilment; it is not capable of this and isn't meant to, despite it's best efforts.

Lasting fulfillment comes from within, not from any situation or circumstance in this world no-matter how carefully arranged. Now once we get onto this inner-fulfillment aspect then our situations and circumstances in this world may change to reflect this inner-fulfillment back to us, but as long as we mistake the world as being the source of happiness then we will always be on the merri-go-round of chasing our own tails.

I read a good analogy the other day in a book by Sadhu Om; he says, 'as long as we seek to chase our own shadow it will always be running away from us and slipping through our fingers. When we start to gain wisdom and seek to move towards the sun instead then our shadow will always follow us with no effort on our part.'

So, the egoic 'I am' does a good job of creating suffering for us until such times as we begin to move back towards our own source which is the True 'I Am' of the Self. Then the mind becomes our servant rather than our master and although we still have a personality we are no longer bound by it, and in all likelihood it will have gradually become a wiser, more balanced, version of our former selves.

The other main thread which came up in this investigation was that being a teacher might provide me with a livelihood in this world. Now aside from any issues over whether or not 'spiritual teachings' should ever be charged for I was looking into what ugly stuff lurks beneath the surface of this again, apparently innocent desire.

In a stream of deepening consciousness it came as :

financial security giving a general sense of security
based on a sense of insecurity, lack of trust and greed

insecurity and lack of faith come from a fear of letting go of 'me'
this 'me' gives me a sense of 'self', familiarity, security and hope (that one day I will get it right)

so I am afraid of 'no-self', of losing 'my-self'
what does this 'self' give me?

the 'self' gives me a story and the possibility of a heroic overcoming of fears and short comings
no story equals no glory

what is this 'glory'?
jubilation, adulation, celebration
a temporary good-feeling, a high

but then it becomes the 'same old story' and no more 'glory'
so I always need a new story and eventually I'll have a 'multi-story'

'multi-stories' need a lot of maintainence and upkeep
a lot of time and energy to maintain the 'multi-story'

wouldn't I be more happy with a simple dwelling?
a simple life could be a good life
that's another story

who's making up all of these stories?
'I am'
from whence does this 'I am' arise?

from the Stillness of 'I Am'
I Am that I Am
I Am Awareness, Being and Bliss

I Am clarity, stability and peace
I Am whole as I Am
I Am


  1. Hi Shiva,

    I have the same desire to be a teacher, so I know what that’s like. And I too see the obvious ego-pitfalls that go with it. I think if one remains one-pointed on becoming a pure instrument for God then teaching is less likely to be an obstacle.

    The best teachers I’ve met are the ones who happily admit what they don’t know and aren’t trying to convince me about their spiritual achievements.

    I was at a satsang last week with a very ethical and humble teacher and he was saying that there is still a very strong tendency to think, "Yes, I've got it!" Another very authentic teacher told me that after he got enlightened he was very arrogant and it took him 10 years to overcome it.

    One guideline is to wait 12 years after waking up before teaching. If my memory serves me right, Osho woke up in Sri Aurobindo’s ashram and nobody knew about it for 12 years.

    A guideline is to wait until one is "anointed and appointed by God". Then if one's dharma is teaching, it would be a sin to abdicate the responsibility.

    I figure the way to be a good teacher is to be a good student. And by recognizing that God is the only teacher, then humility and obedience are sure to follow. Joel Goldsmith’s book “The Art of Spiritual Healing” is good in this regard. He makes it clear that “It is not I, but the Christ in me that doeth the work”.

    Just last week, I was wrestling with anger at the guy who runs the satsang that I go to. Like many Advaitins, he has forgotten what it is like to be in unenlightened shoes and hasn’t much to offer that is really practical. So I was feeling angry and irritated for about two or three weeks (!!!) until I had a Voice Dialogue session which cleared it all way.

    I was stuck in my Seeker sub-personality and it was over-shadowing me and causing me to be very shitty and arrogant. Thankfully, Voice Dialogue snapped me out of that anger and bad attitude. Since then I’ve had a much clearer perspective about that part of my personality that is always seeking and never being. Voice Dialogue is amazing stuff because it takes what we know in theory and gives practical results – ie we know when we are identified with something, but just knowing that isn’t always enough to snap out of it.

    Still enjoying your posts. They're a good inspiration for self-inquiry - thanks!


  2. Hi Andrew,
    thanks for the sage advice - I'm glad that I'm not the only one in a similar boat!

    the voice dialogue sounds good - I must look into that. I have found writing out the contents of the mind based around a topic/fear/attachment to be very helpful. Then tracing it back with stem questions such as 'and that is bad because....'(atibb?), 'is that true?......'(itt?) and 'what is true?.....(wit?).

    I picked up on this this mainly through the work of byron katie (which i find to be a very potent tool) and also some processing work which Sarita introduced to me taught by an organisation now called 'More to Life'

    it's all very helpful I find. ultimately there might come a necessity for going 'cold turkey' with thinking but along the way I think acknowledging the relative reality of the mind, the power we give thoughts over us sometimes, and dealing with it with processing techniques like this to help loosen the knots can be very very helpful.

    thanks, keep on truckin

  3. Sometimes I sit quietly
    Listening to the sound of leaves falling
    How peaceful the life of a monk is
    Detached from all worldly matters
    So why do I shed these tears?

  4. hi mike, thanks for the verse, so why are those tears shed?
    hi andrew, I don't think that osho woke up in aurobindo's ashram. as it happens I was there today. nice energy at the samadhi shrine.

  5. Some might say the monk was feeling the weight of loneliness and hardship that a spiritual life brought. Others might say, he could feel the suffering others create for themselves in their attachment to wordly matters.

    The verse was written by a Japanese Buddhist monk around the 11th century. So I will never know for sure.

  6. Yes, it's all about layers.

  7. maybe they were tears of mirth?

  8. maybe he was sitting on a tack?