The Myth of the Given – or, is object & subject fiction?

(12:53 Min)

A general look at the inner monkey, myth-takes, … asking, “Can the eye see itself? Can a camera make a pic of itself? Do you like to be objective? What do you see on your screen? And where are objects anyway?”
So let’s condition one another, get unstuck and find no separation anywhere… and look at ???

My Language – How to flow with life

8:35 Min.

A most interesting video by a so called ‘autistic’ person – truth is, she just communicates differently with reality than most of us do. To understand just let it affect yo, then after the first 4 minutes or so she gives an explanation…

Here is her text with the video:
The first part is in my “native language,” and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation. This is not a look-at-the-autie gawking freakshow as much as it is a statement about what gets considered thought, intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not.

Her website

To Our Eyes Only

I’m not trying to save the world or even myself for that matter.
I believe not in the necessity of saying anything to anybody.
I’m just – people… expressing, as birds are singing.

I feel myself to be part of this multiverse of diverse voices, vistas and felt-spaces that flow around – creating and being created in this mystery called reality.

I have no hope for a better future. Actually I don’t need a future at all – if there is future, now it will take care of itself. What is not will not become, nor will it ever happen – that is, after all, its nothingness.

My movement is the very movement of time itself – I am time… eternally now inhabiting these whereabouts here – me here, you there and they everywhere else (all these other ‘heres’ that I know of and not know of).
Being time, you are close, they always a bit further away – coming closer they flow into another you, even closer still becoming we… always becoming.

Who are you? I am being asked, and in the question I’m flowing into another way of being here, a questioned being. Never knowing who I am but in the question, an absence flowing into presence – and you.

You flowing into being there for me here
And I here becoming present for you there
– I, never being there, and you never being here; what makes you into you is being there, and me into me is being here. We always flowing into being for each other

Looking for where I end and you begin
I cannot find it – fuzzy limits
My ending and your beginning somewhere in between
Imagination drawing a line

I’m singing a song I’d like you to hear
And maybe, if you wish, to sing along
Not to join!
No, hearing you tuning in
I tune into you
Hearing one melody appearing
Floating around for some time
There’s no more need to know
where we end or begin.

This is not about finding the truth but fitting in more snugly
Into the flows and eddies and currents of everywhere, including nowhere
A revelation in as much as you care, and I care to see us revealed
Revealing as much as we care to reveal
Of what is revealing itself over there and over here
And somewhere between and beyond.

A free floating song
Fallible, diverse, incompletely
Always incomplete and eager to reveal itself
To Our Eyes Only.

The myth of Cause and Effect – Or, is it really the slap that hurts?

Most of us think linear when it comes to what happens in life: “My cheek hurts, because someone slapped me”; “And now I am angry, because I did not deserve it.”

Scientists, at least the overwhelming majority, are certain that consciousness is caused by the grey matter residing in our head. So in this view having a revelation, for instance, is just a matter of some neurons firing and sending chemicals to other neurons – they even have a word for the discipline studying divine, mystical or other spiritual states of consciousness; neurotheology.

I have just read a scientific article which again states this theory in connection to free will – in this view the free will is an illusion as conscious states which lead to ‘free decisions’ are all caused by the brain. In this view “free will” cannot exist because everything is determined; in this case by firing neurons interchanging chemical substances as well. (Not once in all this scientific literature there is a deeper consideration of what most of us actually mean by free will, but I’ll let that go this time).

So cause (neuronal activity) –> effect (conscious state).

It cannot be denied, without uttering nonsense, that to actually be angry and feel this anger one needs adrenalin, for instance. As it is quite impossible to make love to your beloved without the appropriate hormones moving in your blood. So there certainly is a deep connection between our state of mind and our neuronal-chemical state. And whoever had a friend or acquaintance who suffered a brain-stroke will know the shock that comes when the person has a very different character from before or doesn’t even remember one’s name or face.

So we do think: cause (stroke) –> effect (change of character).

But if we do actually believe this I do not see how we can truly believe that our conscious states – let’s say a satori or divine vision – are actually what they themselves ‘say’ they are: revealing our true nature or the divinity of being, for instance. We cannot have it both ways. The scientists saying that consciousness is an epiphenomenon are then just more honest than the rest of us still wanting to believe in free will, angels, spirits etc., and/or a consciousness that is uncaused.

Surely this is not my view. The setting or finding of causes and effects happens in accord with a great myth, the myth of cause & effect. Even though the cause&effect-myth is really helpful and practical in many ways, especially when it comes to actions and their consequences or our technically advanced society (click ‘publish’ and this post appears on my blog, for instance). But what we usually do not see is that we create the story, we often divine the causes working backwards from the effect that we have differentiated from the whole situation/context.

What I do not like about this myth of cause & effect is that it fosters determinism – and in the case of the brain and consciousness a very impoverished story that robs its believers of a depth and richness another story might provide. So I’m reinterpreting the ‘facts of life’ that my culture is continually shoving onto me, reinterpreting the stale story of determinism.

In the case of brain and consciousness it seems to me that the states of consciousness and the physical states of the brain are synchronically coincident. Actually only in the materialistic myth it makes sense to say that brain and consciousness are separate phenomena and one is caused by the other. Everything is unfolding in concert, it is ‘resounding’ with everything else. The kinds of differentiations that we have used so far fosters the kind of culture we have in this day and age: an ecological, economic and political disaster-prone time. When we look with the eyes of the deterministic myth at the mystery called reality, for instance, trees are ‘things’ and not living beings with – yes! – a consciousness.

So beings move in concert – sometimes cacaphonically, sometimes polyphonically and sometimes symphonically, to differentiate a few of the many ways of relating between entities, beings and the whole. And when one looks in the cause&effect-way one takes a slice out of this resounding story to, maybe, know what to do. But looking at it as if the kosmos (signifying ‘harmonious whole’) were a concert one rather asks, how to be, how to sound right now.

In the cause & effect world there are laws. In the world of kosmic concert there are repeating melodies, rhythms and rhymes… which is why I’ve come to prefer that myth over the deterministic one.

The Self is an Archetype

The archetype of the self is the ‘product’ of an evolutionary development – we do not have a self, it has us once in a while 🙂 …
By archetype I mean a kind of constellation that psyche and cosmos have in common; they express themselves both in what we call reality and what we call our psyche – but more than that archetypes develop in this relatedness and at the same time (in)form it.

Around 7000 years ago (an estimate that I cannot explain right now) the archetype of the self appeared for the first time; it differentiated itself out of the archetype of the clan – the birth of individuality, the individual that could stand up to the gods… maybe this archetype is the one the ancient Greeks called Prometheus.

It appears to me as if presently a ‘new’ archetype is coming into being; it seems that what I call “between-us” and “we-consciousness” is very much part of this new constellation in cosmos & psyche… I really don’t know, but at times it is very clear to me.
Self-realisation would be the historic and personal prerequisite for this new archetype to appear on the evolutionary stage we’re on.
In self-realisation the song of praise of body, mind and spirit as one is sounded, and a true identity is forming when the personalities (inner child, controller, seeker and also the wise one etc.) are ready to become part of the choir; yes, once in a while the can sing a solo, but only once in a while and always as part of the choir as a whole. Individuation then would be the ’rounding’ of the archetype of the self in our psyche which expresses itself also in all kinds of synchronicities as all archetypes are inside and outside…

Archetypes last – they are not to be separated or isolated from existence and being (like disincarnated souls), and they are deathless yet evolving. As in our individuation or self-realisation the archetypes of, for instance, the ‘puer’ (what we call ‘inner child’ nowadays), the controller (in astrology that might be Saturn) and so on surrender to and become part of the rounded self – they don’t dissolve or ‘die’ –  so in due time this archetype will become an organ of the now burgeoning archetype that I call “Between-Us”.

Why I left my spiritual teacher – vlog

Here I’m telling why I left my spiritual teacher, and a little bit about vertical and cooperative spirituality – and why we need much more of the second variety (ca 9:30 min)

The Lure of Cognition

As I was watching one of the I-I videos I downloaded a week ago I was again struck by the enormous cognitive slant in the presentation of the “self” – what the self is, who we really, really are…

Not that there is no talk about feelings. Not that there is no mention of the shadow, and all of that. No, all these ‘matters’ are mentioned and talked about at length sometimes. Nevertheless is is all this cognitive understanding that somehow gets on my nerves – I’m positively irritated.

Now that might be, of course, because I’m just one of these dumb guys – easily irritatable, fast in their judgement, and so on. Maybe. But maybe there is something to this: “I miss the feeling side of things.”
As if we knew what we are dealing with when we cognitively know phenomena. ..

So here is a question for you: When Adam knew Eve and she begot their first son Kain, what kind of knowing is meant there?

Well, I think it’s called “carnal knowledge” and making love is just a prt of it, I presume – I’m not English (my mothers tongue is German and I grew up speaking Dutch). So there is this cognitive knowledge which is what people at I-I are very good at, I think. And there is feeling knowledge which, in my understanding mind which deals with language, is more like an expert participation in what’s going on.

And then there is mystic knowledge. I think it fuctions in everyone as ‘intuition’ and comes into bloom when you’re into all kinds of spiritual practises of which meditation is the quietistic one. That’s the kind of knowledge that goes by the name of ‘revelation’ or ‘enlightenment*’ I think.

I simply wish that I-I could go more into those kinds of ‘presentations’ – but don’t ask me how, because I have no idea.

Moving beyond the Patriarchal Temptation

This article is to be published on a German magazine soon – please do not publish or copy to other sites or places. Once it is published, I’ll put it up here regularly… and take this note away. So until then, feel free to link or comment.

Vertical Spirituality and the Suffering it Causes

Let’s start with two examples for the suffering recently caused by vertical spirituality:
Ken Wilber is an intelligent theoretician of spirituality and also an enlightened practitioner living what he speaks and writes about. If you’ve read his diary-like book “One Taste” you know that he has indeed realized the level of consciousness that he describes in his books as the highest.
All right then: June 8, 2006 Ken Wilber throws up a appalling rant against his critics on his weblog.

The whole article here.

A Bold, Comprehensive, and Integral Strategy for the Middle East

I can only support this initiative with all my heart.

Hard Truths & Fresh Start:
A Bold, Comprehensive, and Integral Strategy for the Middle East
East Don Edward Beck, Ph D

The safest place in any crisis is always the hard truth. Distorted recriminations about the past and naïve idealism about the future can be just as blinding as the tear gas. Personal or political agendas, whether obvious or hidden, protect no one from simplistic suicide bombs or sophisticated air-borne rockets. The smell of cordite has a way of cleansing one’s filters, or at least focusing on what is real. Alas, we often refuse to deal with the hard truths until all sides lie bloody, exhausted, vanquished — having jointly destroyed the relationships and physical resources necessary to invent a better future. The mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes is too often a vengeful vulture.

But what are the ‘hard truths’ about the Israeli/Palestine crisis? What if we had the visionary minds and courageous hearts to address these core realities? Would a fresh start, one that transcends the current stalemate and repetitive cycles of violence, become a possibility? If so, what are its principles and contours? Who can introduce it? How might it self-organize into the mainstream?

Read the rest of the fresh start possible here.

The Dalai Lama about interdependency

“In today’s highly interdependent world, individuals and nations can no longer resolve many of their problems by themselves. We need one another. We must therefore develop a sense of universal responsibility… It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members, and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.”


Cooperative Spirituality… a beginning

Picture by lorretineChildren at play
The summer group from July 1st untill 9th is behind us now. It was the first group after I definetly distanced myself from the ‘vertical spirituality’ which is how I now call the way that I myself have been taking for more than two decades; and it was the first group in which we could experiment with the new ways and means and most of all a new perspective on experience and life…
The spiritual crisis that I passed through these last two months (and which brought forth the posting “Abuse in spiritual circles” in June) has flowered into what I now call ‘cooperative spirituality’ since it isn’t fixed on some individual or collective ultimate (like enlightenemnt for instance) but rather proceeds from the understanding that life can be a continual development of ever widening horizons in which we are all participating as co-creators appreciating and honoring (German “würdigen”) each other.
Therefor it is a deeply humane spirituality because it meets both the most divine of experiences as the divine in the other openly and compassionatly, without any bias. This is also based on the reckognition that I can only really meet others (men and gods alike) if I do not have an agenda, if I do not put them into some prefabricated structure in which one has IT and the other doesn’t (whatever IT might be).
The divine – or whatever one wants to call the ground of being (German “Urgrund”) – is inherent in all and everyone, it is immanent throughout. This is also a claim of vertical spirituality but it is hardly, if ever, put into practise. Yet in cooperative spirituality this goes without saying – due to the prime directive: Honor, appreciate (“würdige”) all beings and phenomena as they appear.
In the summer group this manifested as growing trust, and very, very deep experiences that we now could regard and inquire to in mutual respect and appreciation. And because we didn’t come from any prefabricated opinion or perspective or some spiritual teaching and point of view but rather supported each other in the art of dignifying inquiry and interpretation a great and hitherto unknown richness could unfold.
And we could see how this cooperative sprituality is also an emancipated spirituality in which one rediscoveres one’s own authority, power, love and intelligence and experiences that one can actually trust it. This shows the unending diversity as much as what connects us – the unity of being – and it also reveals the different poles of being human.
I learned how much a vertical spirituality protects against feeling my own vulnerability. Emptiness, not knowing, feeling powerless and vulnerable – all of this opens one to the present if one doesn’t strive for anything ‘higher’, if the journey doesn’t orient towards infinity but is open to the finite, impermanent and meeting the unknown in one self and the other.
And the beauty of all this is that none of the valuable experiences of vertical spirituality is lost – enlightenments, Satoris, catharsis, revelations, insights, realisations, unconditional love, streams of energy, experiencing beings of light, seeing auras. etc. all the true, beautiful and good is still there, and, or so it seemed to me, even with greater depth and intensity.
So with cooperative spirituality we can enter into the inheritance of the great vertical traditions (like Buddhism, Vedanta, Zen, etc.) without taking on their vertical, patriarchal top-down structures in teaching and being with each other.The transition is not always simple – one of my oldest students in the Czech Rep. said that he was irritated and even frustrated in the beginning by me not leading but much rather facilitating the seminar. But, he then added, what he had always wanted had now become a reality: a meeting from heart to heart and soul to soul, and a communion and communication beyond words, concepts and forms.

Abuse in spiritual circles

Following what goes on elsewhere on this world and the ‘integral Blogosphere’ in my German blog on June 12th I published a post called “Houston, we’ve got a problem”.
It is clear that abuse by spiritual leaders & gurus is a difficult topic; one that raises eyebrows and much more than that. And whoever raises this topic has got to deal not only with applause from all kinds of quarters that one surely doesn’t want it from, critique and stunning silence from quarters that one would like to have emotional support from, and the accusation that it is actually all about oneself and one’s immature look on things.

So let’s take it from the beginning: On my travels in the internet I stumbled on this piece of info “Cohen Collaborator Gafni Removed For Sexual Misconduct“. It is about Rabbi Gafni, a much celebrated spokesman of the Jewish Renewal movement, who also is in high esteem of Ken Wilber and prominently featured in his Integral Institute (I-I). The sexual misconduct (abuse) is not just one of these Internet-rumours, it is a fact that has been admitted openly by Gafni himself: He writes: “Clearly all of this and more indicates that in these regards I am sick. I need to acknowledge that sickness and to get help for it.” I find that courageous, and want to honor him for that.
What struck me, though, was that even now his work is still plugged on the I-I site with such works as “The Mystery of Love”, “The Ultimate Erotic Art” or “The Kabbalah of Surrender”. I don’t mean to say that theses teachings are not valid regarded on their own. But it does seem a bit – tasteless? Especially to the women who have been at the receiving end of the ‘misconduct’.

Also on the same I-I website there is a lengthy discussion about ‘integral ethics’ between Wilber and Roger Walsh which I found quite inspiring at the time I listened to it. So what then to think of Ken Wilbers reaction in his blog to the case of Gafni? It has ten numbered paragraphs. In #1 he says that indeed something happened that is not quite kosher. And in #2 he immediatly starts bashing the ‘mean green meme’ people for how they react pathologically. In #3 he says that Gafnis behaviour is pathological (something strange between the order of pathologies here, don’t you think?) to then says in #4 that Gafni has admitted to being sick in his letter. In #5 Wilber states that Gafni therefor is not fit as a teacher at the Integral Center until he has undergone therapy (which makes me wonder all the more how he is still fit to teach, for instance, “The Kabbalah of Surrender” at I-I). In #6 to #9 the therapy is thouroughly mentioned, and in #10 Wilber is saying that Gafni should nevertheless be allowed to write. And finally, in the very last paragraph of his statement Wilber finds words for the women, saying that his heart goes out to them.
I do understand, and appreciate Ken Wilber’s support for his friend Marc Gafni. Nevertheless it seems to me that mentioning these women only at the very end says something about ‘integral ethics’ in the practise of one of its proponents.
Maybe I wouldn’t have spent this much time on this happening if it wouldn’t have coincided with reading extended reports by former students of Andrew Cohen about his teaching-methods. Sure, ex-students can and will reinterpret what happened for them, once they leave their teacher behind, and not always fevourable. But what is astonishing is both the consistency of these renderings and the loving way in which most still regard their former teacher. These are, among others, stories (undenied by the defenders of ‘the faith’) of Cohen ordering senior students to slap others in the face as hard as they could for being ‘ego-ruled’ or other things that he didn’t see fit in his community, extorting great sums of money from people in deep distress, sending a student to a prostitute against his will, forcing a father to tell his teeange daughter about the sexual escapades of his mother from long years back to break her attachement to her, and so endlessly on. And all of this, you could have guessed, to help his students overcome the ‘ego’. (And Andrew Cohen is a good buddy of Ken Wilber who, remember, doesn’t have a problem in severly criticising the ‘mean green meme’ for reacting pathologically to the Gafni-incident; there does seem a great difference of ethical standards at work here which I, and maybe that’s my fault, have not found a way to reconcile).

And the story goes on: Wilber is not only criticised for being buddy-pal of Andrew Cohen but also by many others for flaws in his work. And recently he has greatly ranted “Wyatt Earp style” – his way of headlining his verbal bashing: The Unbearable Lightness of Wyatt Earp – against his critcs. Then he explains it away in “On the Nature of Shadow Projections in Forums” where he says (quite rightly, I think) that if something hurts us it is because there is a disowned part of us projected out there. But let’s look at this matter in a simpler way.

If I slap you in the face, and then say that you respond angrily because you project your shadow on me, than not only am I right, of course, because the anger is in you after all, but I am also being very nasty at the same time if I am an authority (rightly or wrongly) to you. Because deep down you know I’m right and are thus utterly helpless. The Wilber question is in this case, “Are you mature enough to get my lesson?” If you are, you didn’t need it. And if you aren’t, not only will you not get get my meaning this way but you will probably also be estranged enough to henceforth scheme behind my back to slap me back in some way.

Well, all of this looks confusingly (not convincingly!) abusive to me. I can’t understand this anymore. Here is Ken Wilber pleading for his friend Gafni: Give him a chance to rehabilitate. Then Ken Wilber has no problem whatsoever in supporting a guru that is very clearly quite violent in his teaching methods. And now he strikes out with verbal furor against his critics (punching some old friend, Frank Visser, wickedly hard who has the audacity to be a harbour to critiques of his work he doesn’t approve of – read Visser’s answer here) and then blames the people who cry ‘ouch’ for projection their shadow on his rant. (An insightful comment on the cultic attitude of Wilber in this regard here)
It is too early for any kind of conclusive learning from this situation for me. But it seems to be time to question the basic teachings where such behaviour comes from. As it looks to me these are the top 4 questions on my agenda:

  • What is the effect of the prolonged distancing of the observer (“I am not his body; I am not these feelings; I am not these thoughts; etc”), the prolonged ‘neutral witnessing’ of the phenomena inside/outside in a ‘mirror of pure consciousness’?
  • What is the effect of the ‘trans-ethical’ stance that regards all human values as merely relative, and only the Spirit as absolute?
  • Are so called higher levels of evolution (yellow, turquoise etc. in SDi language as used by Wilber and his adherents) right in using all kinds of violence to raise lower levels up to their standard?
  • Is the non-participatory nature of the ‘pure witness’ in situations and phenomena in ‘the world’ – which will eventually dissolve according to Wilber et al in non-dual One Taste – maybe a cause for the kind of abuse we have recently seen in the integral world of Ken Wilber?

Enlightenment at the Padmafarm

Yesterday Janshi, Madrina, Nirdosh and I visited the Padmafarm, where I had a talk (you’ll find the audio here in some time) and facilitated a mini-seminar of 4 hours…

In the first hour of the event we explored the non-verbal, subtle dimension, and in the 3 hours after a little break we did the “Heart & Mind Clearing Process”, a method that via Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis, Hal and Idra Stone’s Voice-Dialogue and Genpo Roshis “Big Mind Process” in my seminar-work found its present form.

When some weeks ago in Brno in the Czech Rep. I did this process in my seminar there a physicist was participating, and I thought it would be interesting to do this process according to empirical scientific rules. So I started by explaining my working hypothesis somewhat like this: “We are/have one Self that manifests in the world as different ‘personalities’ (or ‘sub-personalities’ in Assagioli’s language) or `perspectives’ (as I like to call it). These ‘personalities’ can be called forth or activated, and then you can see things in life from this point of view and speak as that voice, exploring being in the world.”

Then I explained the experimental protocoll by which we as a group of poeople – having activated this or that personality – would explore the world through these eyes (and how we would go about activating and deactivating these perspectives). And that we would mostly concentrate on questions surrounding these issues: “What do you do?/What is your ‘job’?” And probably also: “How do you see the worldand things?” And: “What do you do or what are you for the ‘whole’ Self?”

And finally I made a prediction because that is part of the empirical process as I understand it; you can only check the validity of a hypothesis if it will be verified through what happens in reality. My prediction was: “Most – or maybe even all – of you will be enlightened for at least one minute, and you will not only know this to be so but you will also confirm it publicly here.”

When I did this for the first time in Brno I was wondering if I hadn’t gone too far doing this, because maybe the expectations I awakend would thwart the process. But it functioned beautifully. So much so that the scientist said that my results (95% of the participants confirmed their – temporary – enlightenment, and the energy-signature was very deep and rich) were truly remarkable from a scientific point of view: “In ordinary physical experiments you don’t have such high percentages”

Strengthened by this and similar experiences since in my talk I predicted yesterday at the Padmafarm what would happen later at the mini-seminar. And again the prediction held. An there was another thing I could observe: persons that have a greater difficulty to activate the ‘personalities/perspectives’ are helping the entire group to go deeper into the active voice (including the enlightened one). A paradox I hope to research more in depth in the future.