A note on toilets. Many people hate cleaning the bathroom-- more than cleaning any place else.
You're not alone. Everyone hates cleaning the bathroom. According to a poll by the Soap & Detergent Association, respondents ranked cleaning the bathroom as the worst household chore -- worse than dusting and vacuuming, worse than doing the dishes, worse than doing the laundry. One of out every three people hated wiping down the toilet more than any other chore.
(the following article is raw but humorous. Minus the Playboy and the cigarettes, my own bathroom looks like this much too often)
There's an interesting book, hard to read, but worth it by Agehananda Bharti, entitled Light at the Center:Context and Pretext of Modern Mysticism.
(Some of it is dated--he published it in the mid-1970s. He thought some groups such as TM were harmless, but these later turned into cults.
(Many's the time when Ive read this book in the bathroom. Any book I like ends up in the bathroom, because I cannot put it down. The book, that is. )
Bharati was born in Vienna, changed his name upon formal ordination as a Sanyassi in the Bharati Dasnami order, one of the ten orders which derive from Shankara (8th Century CE)
Bharati himself had had several episodes of nondual realization. He was also formally trained in languages, assessment of evidence, textual analysis, and became first a Sanskrit scholar, then an anthropologist.
Bharati tells us in Light at the Center, that the various peak experiences, in and of themselves, do not prove anything. People will interpret them according to their own social context and what belief system they happen to have.
And Bharati interviewed many people who reported such experiences. He noted that some persons didnt take their own bliss experiences at all seriously, didnt see any need to change their lives at all.
But Bhrati noted that if you live in a society that values such experiences, has a terminology for them, and audiences are in his words 'warm and receptive' and especially when reporting such experiences brings social prestige---its quite a different matter.
But even then, the experience doesnt prove anything. Bharati tells us that a lot of harm is done by the following assuptions all of which he found to be un true--and he had interviewed many who had such experiences, as well as having had them himself.
*Non dual or bliss changes nasty people into nice people
*Such experiences endow a person with infallible knowledge in all areas making them able to govern society, give financial or psychological counseling or pass examinations without having to study for them. (Bharati met at least one Indian student who said he wished he were a Knower as Bharati was, because then he could pass all examinations effortlessly!)
*Such experiences are permanent. Not so. Bharati found that one cannot talk about these experiences and have them at the same time. But its common for people to claim or hint they are enlightened 24-7, and that therefore everything they say or do is enlightened and therefore not to be judged by ordinary people. Not so.
Bharati found that one has to evict oneself from that experience in order to crunch it into words. But in some places such as India, there is a sort of heightened pious language used by folks on the religious tour circuit--they talk as if
they are enlightened at that very moment, though its not at all possible. Its expected of them.
The most damaging assumption is that these experiences make a person infallible and that they prove things.
Bharati, who appreciated his own bliss experiences, nevertheless stated that they didnt prove anything. To him (he loved music, too) such bliss experiences could be considered aesthetic. As he put it, you dont learn to love your neighbor by learning to play cello. Your music will give yourself and others pleasure and thats enough. But this ability to experience and give pleasure through music will not prove you are capable of running a society or group.
Aesthetic experiences, dont prove anything. So..Bharati's personal resolution was to put bliss experiences in with aesthetics, something to appreciate, something to enjoy, but that doesnt have truth value.
Bharati also noted persons with bliss experiences tend to far better in societies where religious dogma has not been centralized. He noted that Christian ecstatics had to be careful to use Christian motifs when reporting their experiences, or yes indeed, they risked trouble from authorities.