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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Nisargadatta, Ramana Maharshi
Posted by: newagesurvivor ()
Date: March 28, 2009 07:55PM

I've had terrible trouble with advaita philosophy. Reading about it and reading a little bit of Nisargadatta's 'I am that' did serious damage to my emotional side. So the best thing to do would be to deal with it with purely analytical reasoning, I think.

I think they use very confusing language and concepts in advaita. Very big words like 'absolute truth', 'the fact that nothing exists', 'you were never born so you can not die', etc. Which is very confusing when you think about it, because for the thinking mind it seems to suggest that a) nothing exists so nothing matters b) nothing exists so if you think you do exist you are just wrong c) nothing exists so practically everything you know is just a great big lie or some wicked dream (from which you're supposed to wake up and realize that you are god or something, that god being non-existing since nothing exists, to confuse you even more – and so where is the end of this line of thinking: it would be ultimate solipsism, far worse than any philosophical solipsism). This is my experience with 'I am that' by Nisargadatta.

I couldn't read the book but a few pages at a time. Then I would spend the rest of the day crying and thinking about suicide. Sometimes reading it caused me spending my days in suicidal thoughts for weeks if not months. I'm lucky to have survived that. But I'm still suffering from its consequences and trying to figure it all out. What happened to me? What was done to me? Why would anyone do anything so horrible to another fellow human being? There is great sadness in me because of that terrible fact. And these evil-doers claim to be enlightened, claim to know the ultimate truth and claim to be able to explain the unexplainable. What are they actually doing? Causing great damage (I AM living proof of that FACT, by the way).

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helpme2times
Thanks for reminding me about "I Am That". Maybe I will take a look through it and try to find some of the contradictions.
Could you do that? Would you please do that?

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: March 28, 2009 09:25PM

Goddammit! This is the very point I am driving at: We are either done with this bullshit, or we are not. I personally am done. I only wish I could have gotten back the THOUSANDS of dollars on the tapes, seminars, literature, web purchases and everything I used to follow the newage (think the word SEWAGE) lifestyle. In any case, I suggest getting rid of all the materials, in whatever way you see fit, and move in a totally different direction. Especially, if you have doubts about your sanity or thought of suicide or depression. Sometimes, when injury (whichever kind) occurs, we need to see a professional before we do anything else. That may be indicated, in these cases.

I have a whole new library, that I am building, while I simultaneously read everything I can on this site and others like it. Here is a quote from a fantastic book, by Carl Sagan, titled The Demon Haunted World (just think about THAT title for a minute), which is subtitled Science As A Candle In The Dark. (yet another thing to think on for a minute). It sums up the whole book, in my opinion. I purchased it used, for only a few bucks, too. Think on this quote:

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Page 269, paragraph #3, The Demon Haunted World:
Some Eastern, Christian and New Age Religions, as well as Platonism, hold that the world is unreal, that suffering, death and matter itself are illusions; and that nothing really exists except "Mind." In contrast, the prevailing scientific view is that the mind is how we perceive what the brain does; i.e. it's a property of the hundred trillion neural connections in the brain.

Which would you rather entertain; the thoughts that make you want to freak out or die, or the information that inspires awe about the physical world that we inhabit? In my opinion, Carl Sagan is a hero of critical thinking, and perhaps one of the last vestiges of a 'dying breed.'

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Nisargadatta, Ramana Maharshi
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 28, 2009 09:28PM

Hi newagesurvivor,

I just tried to go through "I Am That" and very quickly felt stressed. VERY stressed. I had to put it down immediately. I don't think I can do what I offered. Sorry. Maybe someone whose mind hasn't been as damaged could do it at some point.

I can totally relate to what you say about your emotions in connection with reading "I Am That" and with Advaita in general.

You know what? I'm thinking that in most photos I've seen of him, Nisargadatta looks kinda crazed. Hmmm.

I'm really starting to wonder if there's any such thing as a good guru.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 28, 2009 09:38PM

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quackdave
Goddammit! This is the very point I am driving at: We are either done with this bullshit, or we are not. I personally am done. I only wish I could have gotten back the THOUSANDS of dollars on the tapes, seminars, literature, web purchases and everything I used to follow the newage (think the word SEWAGE) lifestyle. In any case, I suggest getting rid of all the materials, in whatever way you see fit, and move in a totally different direction. Especially, if you have doubts about your sanity or thought of suicide or depression. Sometimes, when injury (whichever kind) occurs, we need to see a professional before we do anything else. That may be indicated, in these cases.
Indeed I avail myself of professional help. I'm pretty sure it's helped save my life.

While I can see your point about getting rid of all the materials, I am not ready to do that. Actually it strikes me as a form of denial. I don't want to "look the other way". That doesn't feel right, at least not for me.

Maybe the way to go (again, for me) is to bring one of these Advaita books along when I have an appointment with my therapist and slowly and carefully evaluate it with her.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita and A Course in Miracles
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 28, 2009 10:06PM

I just came upon a critique of "A Course in Miracles" and want to include it in this thread, since I recall someone mentioning that when Byron Katie was in rehab, they were doing the Course in Miracles there. Could be that's where Byron Katie got at least part of her approach.

Also I know plenty of people on the Advaita trail who have done or attempted to do the Course. (I tried and thankfully failed miserably many years ago.)

It's based on nonduality.

Here's a link to the critique of the Course:

[[url=http://www.faithfreedom.org/Articles/sina31214.htm]A Course in Miracles or in Brainwashing?[/url]]

I was particularly struck by something the author said re the "scribe" of the Course, Helen Schucman:

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. is a psychologist who was an acquaintance of Hellen Schucman. He gave a eulogy at her funeral. Fr. Groeschel wrote:

"This woman who had written so eloquently that suffering really did not exist spent the last two years of her life in the blackest psychotic depression I have ever witnessed."

Who knows! Maybe that psychotic depression was the result of her awareness of being a hoax and her pang of conscience for defrauding people. Something she could not easily get out of.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Wayne Liquorman
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 28, 2009 10:46PM

I've never met Wayne Liquorman in the flesh but I did read his books and so would like to take a look at what he is "offering"...

I already mentioned in this thread that Wayne blithely referred to suicides in connection with his "teaching".

Wayne's website is the loftily titled Advaita Fellowship.

[[url=http://www.advaita.org/]Advaita Fellowship[/url]]

On the home page, there is a quote featured. I believe it's from Wayne's teacher, Ramesh Balsekar.

"All there is... is consciousness."

To parrot Byron Katie, "Is that true?"

Wayne regularly gives talks in Hermosa Beach, CA and elsewhere. This very weekend he is giving a workshop in NYC entitled "The Living Teaching". The workshop is relatively cheap as far as these things go. $20 for the intro talk on Friday and $80 for the Saturday and Sunday "Going Deeper" part. (Going Deeper? WATCH OUT for that!)

It says of Wayne in the PDF brochure for the NYC workshop:

"Wayne teaches ancient Advaita (nonduality) in a modern style that is uncompromisingly direct and intuitive. It is a teaching that connects you to BOTH your heart and mind. BOTH are essential for living. Come discover the wisdom of BOTH."

In October he's giving an 8-day "retreat" in Costa Rica. Ahem.

In the January '90 newsletter featured on the website, Wayne says:

Hello my loves,

The Living Teaching is built on the principle of investigation. True Faith is understood to be sighted rather than believed. It arises naturally out of the Understanding of the nature of What Is. Within the Living Teaching, faith and Acceptance are bound together. Whatever you look deeply into may lead you to confront The Mystery that lies at the root of everything. Faith is the profound Understanding of what truly Is.

Deep looking happens through a variety of channels. People we call Thinkers, look primarily with their intellects. People we call Feelers look primarily with their hearts. People we call Doers, look primarily thorough their deeds. People we call Yogis look primarily through their breath and bodies. The Living Teaching embraces and enfolds all these channels. The Living Teaching can be understood as the river from which all the separate channels break off and to which all the separate channels inevitably return.

Wayne


All those words... is he actually saying anything there? Seems like a lot of hot air to me.

Why couldn't I see that before?!

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: March 28, 2009 11:00PM

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helpme2times
I'm really starting to wonder if there's any such thing as a good guru.

Excellent point. Personally, I think you're on to something there. One question a person might ask is: "What exactly do I need a 'guru' for, anyway?"

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 28, 2009 11:08PM

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quackdave
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helpme2times
I'm really starting to wonder if there's any such thing as a good guru.

Excellent point. Personally, I think you're on to something there. One question a person might ask is: "What exactly do I need a 'guru' for, anyway?"

qd
It was always because I was searching for a way to relieve my pain/suffering. A seeming solution was offered that on some level "resonated". In my desperation I would screen out any red flags and focus on what rang true.

It's pretty simple once you boil it down.

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Charlie Hayes et al.
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: March 28, 2009 11:53PM

Good self-analysis. I occasionally ask rhetorical questions, for the sake of discussion. A great mentor of mine used to say it was always good to ask, "Where did you get your information?" A little questioning and critical thinking can go a long way.

Hopefully, this conversation will help someone else; or perhaps many people who need to stop and think. This one thing, that you wrote, is so important that I have to repost it here:

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In my desperation I would screen out any red flags and focus on what rang true.

What happened, as it does to many, is we bought into the idea that we needed 'fixing'. This idea was brought to us by people who claimed to just happen to have the "cure" for what ailed us. In contrast, what we are doing now, is the true "bettering" of ourselves with the casting off of the rather stinky ideas that we formerly bought into.

qd

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Re: Abuse in the Name of Advaita - Nisargadatta and "I Am That"
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 04:53AM

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newagesurvivor
I've had terrible trouble with advaita philosophy. Reading about it and reading a little bit of Nisargadatta's 'I am that' did serious damage to my emotional side. So the best thing to do would be to deal with it with purely analytical reasoning, I think.

<snip>

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helpme2times
Thanks for reminding me about "I Am That". Maybe I will take a look through it and try to find some of the contradictions.
Could you do that? Would you please do that?
Hi again NAS,

I was able to go through "I Am That" for a little while this afternoon. I will share a contradiction or two, as well as some things he said that could make a person feel crazy!

Regarding God...

On p. 36, Nisargadatta says, " God is not running the world."

However, on p. 44, he says of the world, "God is my devotee and did all this for me."

But then on p. 83: "If the world is false, then the plan and its creator are also false."

Regarding the concept of karma...

On pp. 511-512: "Karma, or destiny, is an expression of a beneficial law: the universal trend towards balance, harmony and unity. At every moment, whatever happens now, is for the best. It may appear painful and ugly, a suffering bitter and meaningless, yet considering the past and the future it is for the best, as the only way out of a disastrous situation."

Yet on p. 339, here is a Q&A he engages in re karma:

"Q: What I am is the result of my karma.
M: What you appear to be, you are not. Karma is only a word you have learnt to repeat."

On the same page:

"Q: Did not karma compel me to become what I am?
M: Nothing compels."

And here are some crazy-making statements:

p. 153: "...my Guru made me see that birth and death are mere ideas."

p. 339: "You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body."

p. 84: "...deny existence to everything except yourself."

p. 226: "All illness begins in the mind."

p, 253: "M: Realize your real self and even drugs will have no power over you.
Q: You smoke?
M: My body kept a few habits which may as well continue till it dies. There is no harm in them."

p. 50: "Distrust your mind, and go beyond."

p. 37: "When you believe yourself to be a person, you see persons everywhere. In reality there are no persons, only threads of memories and habits."

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