Author Topic: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.  (Read 2494 times)

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile



1. The Divine Dwells with in you, as you.
    The Divine Dwells within me, as me.
    If I mistreat you, I mistreat myself.
    If you mistreat me, you mistreat yourself.

2, A Western woman of Indian ancestry tells me that her Guru is the Self. She greatly respects Sri Ramana Maharshi, but
has no particular devotion to Him or to any other awakened being. I listen closely, but my mind is quizzical.  Later, I make
these notes: The world is full of endlessly changing, individual  expressions of the Self.  Since the Self is universal, timeless
and beyond anything that I can conceive, I feel the need for a realized human being to be a 'guide or go-between.'  Otherwise
the Self remains too much of an abstraction. In other words, not sufficiently grounded in everyday experience. If the Self is too
abstract, I will have trouble discerning my projections and superimposition. In order to develop an integrated 'universality' I will
need to attend to the "particular". I will need to be both non dual in  my attitude and personal.

continued.

Arunachala Siva.       
     
   
       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 01:35:30 PM »

3.  Today, I remember young Westerners in Tiruvannamalai who keep repeating the words 'I am the Self' or 'I am the unceasing
perfection of Brahman'.  Sometimes, going too fast on their hired motor bikes, they spray the roadside beggars with grit and dust.
I am judging them. I am adding a dose of self judgement, because I don't approve of my own criticism.  But the question recurs:
Is there a tendency for Westerners from this question. Sri Ramana invites me to maintain awareness "I am the Self". He ecncourages
me to see through the dream world of individualism and to experience  the life of universal communion. But he also cautions against
the mere repetition of phrases.  I don't think that Sri Ramana wants me to be so preoccupied with the ultimate level of discourse
that I 'by pass' the world of relative or conventional truths.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 08:16:45 AM »

4. Larger numbers of Westerners are visiting Tiruvannamalai.  We are attracted to "the spiritual" because it opens up a realm
that is beyond the conceptual.  But without some interest in theology and philosophy (and the distinctions that both of these
disciplines explore), "the spiritual" can descend to a preoccupation with pleasant experiences.

I am not exempt from being a consumer of so called spirituality.  The motor bike of my own self preoccupation is capable of
spraying metaphorical grit in the faces of others.  Another memory: In a restaurant, a man exhales cigarette smoke in my face.
He declares, "I know I am Brahman.  I know that you are Brahman."  If the man is saying in effect that what is unchanging and
imperishable is Reality with a capital 'R', when I concur. But the hard, conventional truth is that there is no existential identity
between the souls of most of us and the soul of (for example) Sri Ramana. It is not always helpful for Westerners to freely
adopt the language of Vedanta.  We have our own traditional linguistic system:  Our conditioned assumptions cannot simply
be laid aside when we encounter an older system.

continued.....

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2013, 10:12:00 AM »

5. It was fun to visit the roadside temple of Dakshinamurti, near the Asramam entrance.  The faithful priest breathes more than
his share of dust and fumes from intemperate motorists.  Sri Ramana joins with Mister Eckhart (died 1328) in asking me not to
be over attached to any particular symbol or ritual, since the divine transcends our limited categories and systems.  But communion
with others (Holy Communion, as the Christians say) requires symbols, signs, and rituals. These rituals can be either formal or casual.
Either way, they are important in the creation or recreation of a living spiritual culture.

continued......

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 09:22:16 AM »

6. After staying near Sri Ramana's Asramam for two months, life back home in Australia seems to lack any dimension of depth.
Most Australians have justifiably rejected ideas and images that were once regarded as 'Christian' but in fact were historically
conditioned.  In addition,  Australia is one of many countries still recovering from a mechanistic model of the universe. And as for
our government.... well, it takes little interest in ethical values until the news media or private charities bring abusive situations
to public awareness. It appears that Australia is led less by its three tiers of government than by business interests that wants us
to be nihilistic hedonists. Large numbers of young people are encouraged to become addicted to alcohol and to gambling. How
do I know this?  I can walk in four different directions from my office and find a "Bottle Shop'. Just a few years ago, there were none.
But rather than dwell on such things, I will remember some of the people who work at the Asramam.  They experience everything
as openness, everything as compassion. Without words, their faces say: "I am inseparable from All.  There is no anxiety."

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 10:45:29 AM »

7. The following story was told by a devotee of Sri Ramana, the late T.M.P. Mahadevan.  Once upon a time, there was a man who
over identified with the phrase "All is Brahman".  Faced on a narrow road by an approaching elephant, the man reminded himself,
'I am Brahman.' This elephant is Brahman. How can Brahman bring harm to Brahman?  But the elephant had not filled her head with
Absolute Truth to the exclusion of conventional truth. She remained faithful to her evolutionary heritage. She trod on the man.

We need the language of differentiation. Otherwise,  we cannot lovingly participate in our world of individual manifestations. We
need to be mindful of both nitya (in this senses, ultimate truth) and lila (in this sense, relative truth), which Sri Ramana
radically described as a dream world).  Tiruvannamalai gave me this impression: pilgrims born in India tend to get the balance right.
Whereas the pilgrims born in the West, can tend to lay personal claim, perhaps too readily, to claim of absolute truth. If we can step
aside, as it were, and witness what our brains are doing, we may find we are merely collecting a set of notions. Perhaps, Sri Ramana
wants us to see and to surrender to what is going on, right now and here, rather being controlled by ideas and concepts.

*****

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 08:57:26 AM »


8. A fundamentalist is someone who prefers to overlook the history, the context and the intention of his or her favorite scriptures.
The result is an exaggerated focus on absolute-truth claims. Fortunately, most of us sense that we need the grace of discernment.
We try to locate a balance between ultimate truth and conventional truth.  In the West, Meister Eckhart is important for articulating
such a balance. He opposes the 'Christian ego', with its insistence on being 'right' or in presuming to 'possess' the truth.  He desires
that our true identity (which he treats as an ultimate truth) should emerge from the falser identity (which he treats as a conventional
truth).  Boldly, Eckhart attempts to write from the point of view of the ultimate truth, as part of his theological  strategy.  He implies
that the so called false identity does not possess inherent existence. He seems  to be in agreement here with Advaita Vedanta.
Nonetheless, Eckhart maintains that each particular manifestation is an individual center of consciousness within the embrace of the
universal consciousness.  Both sides of the paradoxes need to be kept in view.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 08:48:49 AM »
continues....

9.  A friend sends me a greeting card.  It says, "A busy mind is a sick mind.  A slow mind is a healthy mind.  A still mind is a divine
mind."

Tiruvannamalai is a town in which the dimensions of 'form' and 'formlessness' are still permitted to cavort in harmony.  Therefore
a kind of stillness can exist, even behind much outward noise.

This is scarcely the case in bland Australia, a nation now rather smug in its misunderstanding of all religion.  For the most
part, Australia has lost any semblance of balance between 'form' and the 'formless'.

***

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 10:31:25 AM »


10.  From an Advaitin perspective, it could be said that Ramana is the I AM (aham asmi) of Brahman. From the perspective
of the Gospel of John, it could be said that Jesus is the I AM (ego eimiin in Greek) of 'the Father'.  Can I say that Jesus and
Ramana (in their bodies) were nama rupa or the external name and form of that which is unnameable and formless?  This
does not deny their individual, particular uniqueness.

An awareness of the I AM arose in the West from two main sources. First, there was the early understanding of the Hebrew
people that the divine identity could be articulated as the I AM.  Second, there was the Christian understanding that our human
identity is inseparably linked to participation in the divine identity.  Eckhart was one of many Christian thinkers who expressed in
non dual terms our participation in the divine.

Eckhart followed a traditional  view that the realization of 'oneness' involves the integration of each facet of personality. Neither
Jesus nor Eckhart would have used the words 'psychologically whole.'  But perhaps that is what they meant, in part.  Without
'wholeness' i is not possible to extend genuine, unconditional love to other people.  There is a passage in the Gospel of Matthew
(Mt. 7:21) in which Jesus is represented saying: "Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but
only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." An extended interpretation of this passage might include the idea that I
cannot surrender to the life of love without transcending the fears (for example) that hold me back from full participation in what
I regard  as the non dual Consciousness (or the Unconditional).

*****

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 08:54:52 AM »


11.

Grey water;  Fresh water.
Sour Land; sweet.
Each sings I AM,
Sings a prayer of identification,
not of request.

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 01:07:58 PM »


12. In the mansions of the sacred, there are differing perspectives that serve to create and decorate different rooms. Yet, the rooms
are interactive; they are linked by open entrances and exits. If, at one stage in history, some rooms are over emphasized what they
took to be absolute truths, today they recognize that truth  is perspectival.  Westerners (in particular) once forgot that they are not
the objective observers of a separate world which they experience. Even today, perhaps a minority of us share the intuition that we
have an outward form that is based upon a formless but inseparable dimension.

continued....

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 10:17:26 AM »

13. On its own, a desire to be 'spiritual' is not necessarily a mature desire. Are there unresolved issues from my younger years?
If so, I will need to combine a desire to be 'spiritual' with a desire to reach emotional integration. In Australia there are scandals
in the Christian church.  A number of priests have by-passed their own deep seated emotional issues.  In consequence, they
have mistreated children.  The phrase 'spiritual by-passing' has entered the language. It describes a situation in which a spiritual
life is pursued to avoid issue of emotional immaturity.

****

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2013, 10:10:14 AM »

14. To face the 'knot' of anxiety....to experience the integration of my fears within the light of Sri Ramana, Eckhart, Jesus!
It is said that each of us has three bodies, in a manner of speaking: our emotional body, our mental body and our physical
body.  Each of these bodies tends to have three clinging 'knots' that obscure the true identity of the 'I'.  Potential 'knots' that
hinder the emotional body are anger, fear and grief.  In Tiruvannamalai,  I met an American couple, who emphasized that the
emotional body cannot be approached in a purely intellectual way. In order to move beyond the anxieties that have harmed me
since childhood, I need to name and to accept the relevant emotions.  I need to be aware of the on going effects on my body of
these emotions. For example, there will be tension in specific parts of my body when I am fearful of displeasing a key person in my
life.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2013, 09:28:15 AM »
15.  When  particular fears in my mind are blended with their specific bodily manifestations, I reach what is called a
'felt perception'.  In other words, I am gradually integrating my understanding with my lived-experience.

When I was a child, I tried to make use of prayer to manipulate an outcome.  But now that I am supposedly 'more spiritual'
I can make another kind of mistake. I can desire 'deep experiences' by reason of my latent egocentricity. Experience can then be
over emphasized at the expense of understanding. Through divine grace, the knowledge of my true identity is still being established.
In this respect, I remember these American friends saying, "enlightenment is the gradual integration of knowledge and experience.'

*****

Arunachala Siva. 

Subramanian.R

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43540
    • View Profile
Re: A REFLECTION IN SIXTEEN PARTS - JAMES CAHARLTON - ADVENT 2012, M.P.
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2013, 09:16:13 AM »


16.  On the way to being lost in the Silence, it is not appropriate for me to continually assert such absolute truths as 'I am Brahman'
or 'I am the Self'.  It could be more important that I 'do the truth' in conventional, individual terms (even though I am not the ultimate
'doer').  Along the way, my mind will be transformed. I will begin to see into my true nature.  I won't need to repeat formulaic phrases.

There is perpetual paradox.  I participate in both individuation and community.  I am part of the Many within the One. And if my
prayers are to be 'true', they will not be 'individualistic', although they might be personal.  Master, we come with open hands.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.