Re: Owls and Vultures (to Jerry S)
Jun 08, 1996 03:08 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker
>The reading and studying is all part of the Path, but it,
>by itself, is not enough. Sooner or later, the dog
>chasing its tail (and this too is a phase that must be
>gone through) will realize what it is doing.
Reading and studying *by itself* will eventually have
to end, as you say. But it does not stop, it's just
that there are other changes going on in a student,
other inner processes that are engaged.
As a general rule, I'd expect the refinement and development
of the mind to continue along both intellectual and
mystical lines. There may, for some individuals, be a period
of barrenness of mind, where such activities cease, but
these periods would eventually come to an end.
>it is true that one must experience real love in order to
>understand it, and experience real compassion before the
>teachings really start making sense.
Yes. Experience of the higher qualities or virtues like
compassion is necessary, and simply having ideas about
the qualities does not give one understanding. And an
inner awakening along various lines is important for
the true significance of the teachings to be appreciated.
>Without actually being compassionate on a daily basis,
>the teaching of the bodhisattva is only an intellectual
As is true of any of the higher qualities. And there are
two levels to living the qualities. First is a deep,
heart-felt inner experience, something that is real,
genuine, life-gripping in nature. Second are actions on
our part to give concrete expression to these qualities
in outer life. Without the concrete expressions, we're
making reservations for a *very long* devachan.
>And the whole point to jnana yoga is to reach the
>crisis point or catharsis where the realization dawns
>that the human mind seeking after truth is like a dog
>chasing after its own tail.
I'd agree that there's eventually a realization that
we have to try other approaches to find truth. The
ordinary process of thinking about things is not enough.
This doesn't mean, though, that the thinking process
isn't useful in understanding and explaining the
insights that may come in a flash. The mind is still
useful in the process of finding truth. It's just that
we don't mistake the mental words for the truth itself.
Instead, the mind is used to give intermediate expression
to truth, before we communicate it to others in our
words and deeds.
>Only then will consciousness be able to bypass the mind
>itself (manas) and look within to the higher planes
The principles are all inter correlated. Atman and
Buddhi may unscroll, in serial order, as we come into
existence or depart existence, but while in life, the
actions on any principle affect all of the others
directly. The mind does not stand, I think, in the
way of accessing Atman or Buddhi. We don't "bypass"
the mind, but rather learn to end some of its maya
creating, reality-slaying activities.
>>If I were making an analogy, I'd make it the owls
>>versus the vultures.
>No problem. The ancient Egyptians used the vulture
>as the primary symbol for motherhood and thought they
>were self-created. The vulture symbolizes self-expression,
>which is exactly what I feel is the purpose of life.
>So, while owls read and study over creativity, the
>vultures are busy doing it.
Self-expression is important. But not of "self" as
the personality, the petty bundle of opinions, personal
wants and needs. Rather, an expression in one's own
individual way of transcendental qualities of the
spirit, qualities of higher planes, noble virtues,
grand ideals that would otherwise remain inexpressible.
>(I can twist analogies around too <g>)
True. It's ok to do when having fun. It's another
thing when there's an element of egotism or spite. <sigh>
>> Early this century, for example, there was a
>>scientific theory that waves like light needed a substance to
>>propagate through space. This was called "ether". Leadbeater
>>picked up on this theory and his writings embraced it.
>You, like everyone else, keep picking on CWL.
I didn't call him anything. It's easy to bring him
up as an example of mistaken links to science that has
been outmoded, since his materials are so old.
>Yes, there is no "ether" in the sense in which it was
>originally described. But today's science now knows for
>certain that there is no such thing as empty space or a
>vacuum. Space is filled with "plasma" or "virtual particles"
>or "fields" and so on.
At normal temperatures, I'm not sure if space (of this
plane) is completely filled with particles. And when
you consider something as a wave rather than as a
particle, it may be hard to pinpoint a position for it,
although one way of thinking about a wave, like light
coming from a star, is the surface of a sphere that
grows forever in size, approaching infinity.
At near-absolute-zero temperature, space does become
filled with particles. This is with the Bose-Einstein
condensation, where the speed of the particles is nearly
perfectly known (a speed of zero due to the cold) and
the location of the particles becomes so fuzzy that they
overlap their neighbors. I recall reading that this was
experimentally verified last summer.
>I think CWL intuitively knew that space couldn't be
>"empty" and picked up on the latest scientific evidence
>at the time. Even though there is no ether, CWL was
>right about no vacuum.
But space is not a "place" nor a "container" as we may
think of it in the west. It is more like being-ness
itself. External things are created, moment-by-moment,
by the "space" behind them.
>I wonder what he (and HPB for that matter) would have come
>up with, if he had known about Bell's Interconnectedness
>Theory let alone quantum theory?
With each advance in knowledge, we can benefit from the
richness of metaphor and analogy provided us. Pure space,
though, is still intangible. We like to think of things
like "the curvature of space near a black hole", but there
is simply no "thing" that we can call space. What we really
observe about a black hole in space is the bending of
light, etc., due to gravitation, and we could graph it the
effects as though light still moved in a straight line
but space itself was curving. But this is simply a graph,
a metaphor for the behavior of light, and has not really
dealt with space per se.
>>Another problem with Theosophy failing to take on and find wider
>>value with people is that there seems to be widespread rejection
>>of the spiritual-intellectual approach. It is possible with this
>>approach to have *real* experiences too.
>I think that I, and the other wolves/vultures would
>really enjoy hearing some examples of these experiences.
>This would probably help bridge the gap that now seems
>to exist between us.
It would be possible to write about them at times, but sometimes
it deals with intangibles and may seem somewhat mystical, or
may be useless to talk about, being subject to misinterpretation
and false claims by others. Sometimes it may deal with long term
changes in the nature of the self, and not immediately apparent
to the experiencer, because not being a specific experience, and
because not have one's old self side-by-side the new one, for
purposes of comparison. As for myself, I feel more prepared to
discuss the approach in general terms, talking about what it is
and offering it as useful ideas to consider.
>I do not reject the spiritual-intellectual approach,
>and I have already told about my own jnana-yoga experiences
>and how James Long helped me to stop and smell the roses.
>So I am saying that jnana-yoga is a real valid path, based
>on my own experience. But jnana-yoga, and the spiritual-
>intellectual path are not intended to keep us reading and
>studying for lifetimes, but only up to the moment of
>catharsis or what is today called a "spiritual emergency"
>(the DSM-IV acknowledges this, at long last, and largely
>due to Ken Wilber and others). Thus I see it as a step
>along the Path, and have never tried to denigrate it. I am,
>rather, simply trying to encourage those on it to move along.
Study and jnana-yoga is a step along the way, if it's the
primary focus of someone's development, until he ripens and
readies himself for something more. And I'd agree that there
sometimes come bifurcation points in life where one's old
order ends and one is subject to new cycles ... But the
flowering of the mind continues, and is never put aside. It
just becomes a tool for expression yet higher experiences.
And when I talk about the spiritual-intellectual approach,
I'm talking about these higher experiences, this *something*
that comes after making breakthroughs and moving beyond a
brain-mind reading of the literal writings of Theosophy.
>> Hence, we hear
>>lots of talk of some psychic vision or out-of-the-body experience
>>as "real experience" and inner experiences of the other kind as
>>the "fantasy" of people with mere book learning and "no real
>>experience". Or we hear that the fruits of meditation are "mere
>>imagination" whereas psychical sight is actual experience, and not
>>equally-subjective and possibly hallucination, the visual
>>equivalent to imagination!
>Well, I can only speak for myself, Eldon. I have never
>tried to deliberately induce a psychic experience, but I will
>admit that sometimes they come upon me unaware.
Life is full of experiences, and we deal with them as they
come. The important distinction that I'd make, though, is between
experiences, where we see, hear, touch, smell, and interact with
others (on this on another plane), and our inner states and
flowering, a richness of inner wealth that we brings to the
experiences. One person could gaze upon a scene with dull
eyes, deadened heart, and a sluggish, dimly-lit mind. Another
would gaze upon the same scene with penetrating eyes, burning
heart, and brilliant mind! We have two people with the same
"experience", but entirely different inner states. It's the
inner states, I'd say, that the true difference is to be found.
>My own feeling, as you know, is that all experience
>is valid, and all experience tends to support and validate our
>worldview. Any experience that can't be assimilated, must
>either be ignored--a psychic disaster--or we have to adapt
>our worldview--not an easy or pleasant experience either.
>When Bjorn says that he has met Jesus, I believe him, albeit
>I doubt that it was the same biblical personage that began
This is why the Mysteries exist. They deal with wisdom that
does beyond our experience in the world. We aren't in a
position to assimilate much of them. To understand the deep
occult truths, we have to step aside from our external
conditioning, and look at things *differently*. This can be
done *inside*; we don't have to externally become "wolves"
and outcasts in society.
>And I have never denigrated meditation, for which
>I not only have high regard, but I consider it mandatory.
>I also take Jung's position that there is no such thing as
>"mere" imagination. Imagination is the mechanism that
>makes all magical experiences (and all life is magical)
Yes, meditation is important. And so is imagination. But
I'd say "mere imagination" when it is entirely subjective,
disconnected from the external world and the way that
actual life works, like in low-grade daydreaming. Or it
would be "mere imagination" when it is used to simply
reinforce prejudices and preconceptions, and as a barrier
to realizing truth, rather than as a tool to refashion
oneself to better realize truth.
>> Were it not for this *denial*
>>of reality to non-psychic inner development, I think we'd have far
>>less disagreements on theos-l.
>Here you are obviously speaking from your own
>perspective. I would say that the other side of the coin is also
>true--if it were not for this *denial* of all psychic reality, I think
>we'd have far less disagreements on theos-l.
Yes, less denial brings more agreement. But I've never denied
psychic reality, just, in many cases, it's objectivity. I'd
consider it as subjective in the same sense as dreams are,
with experiences arising out of one's own elementals, out of
the contents of one's own psyche, and not as a direct line to
truth nor proof that one has "real experience" and is worthy
of guru status.
>I have never complained about the spiritual-intellectual
>approach, and am a living example of how jnana-yoga can actually
>work (at least to some extent, I hope). But when you tell people
>to ignore psychism when it comes to them, I think that this is
>wrong, albeit it is exactly G de P's own methodology. I simply
>don't agree with G de P on this one. The story of Gopi Krishna
>is an excellent example of what can happen to someone who
>meditates and rouses Kundalini when unprepared for it. We
>need to help people become prepared, to avoid this kind of
Purucker's statements regarding down playing the psychic were
directed to esoteric students, to people serious about treading
the path, and with some sign that they were actually serious
about doing it. They would not apply to "joe sixpack". Again,
advice on spiritual matters is personal, and cannot be given
in a way that applies to everyone.
>I suspect that less messages on the dangers of psychism
>(which I don't deny per se, but feel are overrated), and
>more on its mechanics and control, would also help end the
>conflict on theos-l.
The only *serious* danger that I'd always tend to warn people
against would be any attempt to do things with kundalini.
As to the rest, the worst that someone can do is to become
deluded, living in a self-created dream and weaving a world
of fantasy about themselves. This is harmless, until they
pass off this smoke in place of the fire of the spirit.
(Note that I'm speaking of what I see as the danger of the
psychical, and not stating that every theos-l psychic is
that way. I'd expect the same when someone is warning others
of the dangers of the intellect. Simply being involved with
the mind, I wouldn't feel slighted, like I was automatically
included in the warning.)
>But we will never come together in any meaningful
>way if we can't openly discuss any and all subjects. So, even
>at the risk of flames, please don't feel that you can't write about
>psychism on theos-l. Yes, your response is apt to be some
>opposing viewpoints. But hey, that's what its all about.
Differing views can be discussed; that's fine. It only gets
bad when things get nasty, and the personal attacks start
flying. It's possible to ignore them, like water off a duck's
back, for a time. But sustained negativity, over an extended
period of time, is like any other type of abuse. Eventually
a battered partner needs to get out of a negative relationship.
I suspect that some subscribers have caught on to this quicker
than most, and have quickly departed with few scars to show
for the experience. This is one of the reasons that I think
we've had such a high turnover in subscribers ...
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