Dis-identification

Dis-identification can still see identification but identification cannot see dis-identification. No-Mind can see mind but mind cannot see No-Mind. In identification one is not aware of being identified, but in dis-identification one is still aware of the possibility of identification. Jean Klein used to say “that in order to know who one is, it is first necessary to know what one is Not”. Just to say that there is no Not doesn’t cut it. Talley ho.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Earworms and Meditation

EARWORM6A few years ago sitting and chatting together after a Satsang Meditation one of the guests brought up the subject of earworms.  I suggested that the earworms were asking for attention in order to be released. I find that often we say something with much truth in it but don’t really listen to it ourselves. This time I did listen to what had been said and began to consciously explore this earworm phenomenon. You know earworms, we’ve all experienced them; usually bits of a song that just keep repeating themselves in the mind, and they become really pesky because they won’t leave us alone.

So I decided to pay more attention when one next appeared and found that if I gave it full attention without either singing along or rejecting, it very quickly evaporated. It seemed as if a piece of consciousness had gotten unconsciously attached to a bit of music. And that the only way to release it was to make that piece of unconscious consciousness conscious. It works, at least for me, and it works every time. If it doesn’t it is telling me that I have not given full attention and when I do, poof! It is important to note here that we are not to do anything with the earworm itself. It is the unconsciousness that we are dealing with.

I suspect you have already guessed where this is going and yes, you are right. This is the whole story of watching the mind, exactly the same. We let the comings and goings of the mind appear without either singing along or rejecting them, we make the unconscious consciousness that is tangled up in the impressions of the mind conscious. And again, we are not to do anything with the thoughts themselves but it is our own unconsciousness that we are transforming. And the transformation happens by itself; as J. Krishnamurti has said, “seeing IS transformation.”

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Becoming vs. Longing

It is important to know the difference between becoming and longing. Becoming has to come to a standstill but longing has to fully blossom. Becoming is moving away from our Self and longing is moving into our Self.

There are those who for the sake of ending Becoming quash Longing. This is criminal.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

Jean Klein: Master of Listening

klein2The last time I saw Jean Klein was in 1996 in Santa Barbara, California. Amido and I had gone with him and his wife, Emma, to see the parade downtown. We had spent the weekend helping to care for Jean and giving Emma a break. Jean had had a stroke and was also suffering from dementia, although suffering is not the right word; I couldn’t find another. He really didn’t seem to suffer though it was clear that the conditions were affecting his body/mind.

Enlightenment with dementia, not two words you expect to experience together. Jean said he was not the mind. I found myself thinking, although unreasonably, that it would not be possible to have dementia with enlightenment. But if we are not the body and not the mind why should that be so? We know that Ramana Maharshi suffered from cancer. J. Krishnamurti’s bodily sufferings are well known. But the mind suffering, somehow that seemed different. So it was a good experience to see, from the outside anyway, enlightenment with dementia. The body, the mind were both suffering from the stroke and the dementia and yet sitting with Jean or just being around him was as before. The lightness of being that was Jean was always present.

In fact I received the strongest teaching, the sharpest Zen stick from Jean during that weekend.

I first came to know about Jean Klein when a friend dropped by my new age music shop, Mysterium, in Boulder, Colorado. He handed me a copy of I Am and offered to leave it with me. After reading the back cover I immediately accepted.

What you are looking for is what you already are, not what you will become. What you already are is the answer and the source of the question. In this lies its power of transformation. It is a present actual fact. Looking to become something is completely conceptual, merely an idea. The seeker will discover that he is what he seeks and that what he seeks is the source of the inquiry.

Even before Osho left his body I had become deeply interested in self-inquiry, in advaita. I was reading Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Maharshi. Some shift had happened. Up to that point meditation consisted of awareness focused on phenomena, sensations, thoughts or feelings, but now awareness was turning on itself. This felt to be the beginning of “inquiry,” and inquiry seemed to be the entire teaching of Jean. Also, it was compelling for me that here was a Westerner who was a living master.

Discovering that Jean lived part of the year in Santa Barbara I immediately made contact with the organization and was informed that a weekend workshop would be taking place in Joshua Tree, California, in a couple of months. Amido and I participated in the workshop. Later we also attended one of his weekend gatherings in Santa Barbara. Soon we were making arrangements for Jean to come to Boulder.

During the question period in the Boulder workshop I asked Jean, “So is it this, more and more subtle?” He responded, “I would say less and less conditioned.” Through the years I have found that statement to be extremely significant.

For me the most important word in Jean’s teaching is “listening.”  He uses it in much the same way that Osho uses “witnessing.” Do you notice how similar the two words are?

We cannot precisely say what this listening is, because it is not a function. It is without intention. Being free from intention also means being free from concentration. In both we are looking for a target, looking for a result, but in listening we are simply open, directionless.

In listening there is no grasping, no taking. All that is listened to comes to us. The relaxed brain is in a state of natural non-function, simply attentive without any specific direction. We can never objectify listening, because that would mean to put it in the frame of space and time. It is listening to oneself.

In listening to oneself there is no outside and no inside. It is silence, presence. In this silence-presence there is a total absence of oneself as being somebody.

In listening we are not isolated. We are only isolated when we live in objects, but free from objects we live our essence where there is no separation. In listening there is not a you and not another. Call it love.

Jean Klein – From The Book of Listening, page 130

One night during his stay, Amido made a beautiful pasta dinner which we took to where Jean and Emma were staying. Over dinner we had some time for gossip. Jean said that he had once looked into one of Osho’s books, I Am the Gate, and read where he was talking about Hitler. Osho says that “Hitler was a vehicle for other forces. . . . He was just a means: he was used.” Jean strongly objected to Osho speaking of Hitler in those terms. Jean had helped Jews escape from Germany during the war.

In those days Poonja was very well known in the advaita circles. Jean didn’t seem to have a very high regard for Poonja, but he didn’t say why. He told us that Poonja had once stayed with him for some time in Europe. A couple of years ago I ran across the following account of one meeting between Jean and Poonja in David Godman’s book Nothing Ever Happened.

Meera [Papaji’s second wife]: It was a sort of dinner party that was attended by Papaji, Jean Klein and a small group of students from each teacher.

David [Godman]: What happened?

Meera: The disciples of the two teachers got into a debate about the teachings of their respective Masters, but the two teachers themselves kept mostly quiet. Though Jean Klein taught self- inquiry there was a lot of difference between
his and Papaji’s approach to liberation. Afterwards Jean Klein advised all his students to stay away from Papaji, telling them he was a dangerous man with a dangerous teaching. He came up to me (Meera, Papaji’s defacto wife)
afterwards and told me directly that I should leave Papaji because I would be in great danger if I stayed with him any longer.

Jean Klein’s character seemed to undergo a strange change that evening. There was a hostility and a rudeness in him that I had never seen on any of our previous meetings. He seemed to see something in Papaji that made him afraid. He wouldn’t say what it was, but he did go out of his way to tell all the people there that for their own safety they should have nothing more to do with Papaji. It was a very strange response because he had previously seemed so calm and self-assured. I was very disappointed by his behaviour and by the meeting in general. It was not a success. 

After the weekend Amido and I drove with Jean and Emma to Rocky Mountain National Park which he enjoyed immensely and commented several times on how young the mountains were.

The next year we again invited Jean to Boulder. This time he came with Leif a longtime friend. We were having a difficult time finding the right space to put Jean up and Maitri who was working with the American teacher Gangaji came forward and said he could stay in Gangaji’s mountain house. Gangaji would make other arrangements for herself.

On the day after the workshop I received a call from Maitri asking if it would be possible for Gangaji to have a meeting with Jean and so it was arranged. At the end of the meeting Maitri phoned to tell me how much Gangaji had enjoyed the meeting. Leif said Jean too had enjoyed meeting Gangaji.

By this time Amido and I were already planning to sell our house in Boulder and move to Crestone, Colorado. Because Crestone is such an alternative spiritual community, we thought it would be wonderful to arrange a workshop there with Jean.

By the summer of 1995 we had sold our Boulder house, bought a house in Crestone and began scouting out venues for Jean’s workshop. Baker Roshi had started a Zen center and that was one possibility.   A suitable building that was part of the Aspen Institute was another possibility. Before we settled on a site Jean had a stroke and it was clear that he was not going to be coming to Crestone, probably not taking any trips and certainly not to 7,500-foot elevation Crestone.

We received a call from our friend Sundro, who had been with Osho as well as Jean, telling us that he had returned from spending some time in Santa Barbara helping out after Jean’s stroke. He told us Emma could use any relief that could be offered. Amido and I made arrangements to go for a weekend and off we went.

Despite the circumstances it was a remarkably intimate time with Jean. We were a small group,  a friend of Jean’s who was his caregiver, Amido a nurse, Emma, myself and of course Jean.

One afternoon I had taken Jean out on the patio to sit and enjoy the sunshine.  I was sitting with my eyes closed when Jean said to me in a very loud voice, “What do you want from me?” It was startling because Jean was always so soft spoken, often described as having the demeanor of a European gentleman. So to hear him speak so loudly and sharply was a shock.

I had been in some subtle way begging for his bliss. There was a part of me that was reaching out to receive, rather than diving into myself. I was going to him with a begging bowl and in that moment, with that Zen stick, I could see very clearly and returned home in myself.

Emma and the aid reassured me that it was just the dementia speaking, but for me it was not. It was just what the doctor ordered and I was grateful.

Saying goodbye to Jean after the parade, with my hands held in his, gratitude overflowing and the light of awareness shining bright I bid him farewell.

– purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

For more posts on Jean Klein look here.

The Nameless One

An ancient story:

Once there was a Master who understood the ways of mind better than most, who understood the myriad ways that his disciples could destroy his teachings after he was gone. He did everything he could to insulate the teachings from distortion and calcification.

Nearing the end of his life he created a device in order to allow the great battle over his name to play out within the first generation of disciples. One of his last teachings was about the essential nature being that of no-name/no-form. He dropped his name completely. But this created problems for those who would continue to publish the books and recordings of his years of talks. So he allowed himself to be referred to as the “The Nameless One.” And soon there was great work in changing all the books from his old name to being authored by “The Nameless One.” Soon his disciples would chant in great fervor, “hail to ‘The Nameless One.'” From a distance one could not but help to see the irony. Certainly it was much more difficult the closer one was.

After the Master left the body the situation slowly began to change. Little by little there began to appear cracks within the unity of his community. For utilitarian purposes the organization that was charged with carrying on the work of publishing his teachings was forced into the absurd position of copyrighting the name “The Nameless One” in order to preserve the integrity of his talks. Otherwise anyone would be able to publish whatever they wanted in the name of “The Nameless One.”

And slowly over time those within the organization began to believe in the actual existence of the name “The Nameless One” which they were trying to protect. They wanted to also trademark “The Nameless One” so that no one would be able to do anything in the name of “The Nameless One” without their permission, all the while failing to see the absurdity of the situation.

Having been schooled in awakening by the Master, the disciples were not ones to dutifully abide by the proclamations of the organization. They now began to argue, question and challenge the authority to control the use of the name of “The Nameless One.” Within no time there were court cases and great public debate all concerning using the name of “The Nameless One.”

Soon there even developed discussion and debate over the meaning of “The Nameless One.” One camp proclaimed that it meant “the One without a name” and another camp declared that it meant that “there is no name for the One.”

Over time these divisions became more and more pronounced. There were even personal attacks on the character of each of the camps. And each camp sincerely believed that they were doing what the “The Nameless One” would have wanted them to do.

This great battle went on for years without pause until one day without explanation a few of the disciples in their meditation saw the absurdity of the quarrel. And in those moments of insight the entire conflict just disappeared. Slowly, slowly this awakening began to spread throughout the community and soon the lawsuits disappeared, the hostility towards each other evaporated and the members were once again pursuing the realization of their own “Nameless One.”

In the following generations the divisions never arose again having played out so completely within the first generation of disciples. Oh, what a genius this Master was.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

The Seeing I

Before, there was a “me” and I was totally identified with this “me”. There was no separation at all. The me and I were one and the same. I felt that I was the “me.” There was no experience of I that was not “the me”.

Through meditation a seeing has arisen which is separate from the “me.” Let’s call it the “seeing I”.  This “seeing I” can watch the me, see its arising and see its dissolving. There are moments when the “me” is absent and yet the “seeing I” remains. The “me” is seen within this seeing. And yet many times this seeing still gets entangled with the “me” and only the “me” is present. And then, a remembering and the “me” is once again seen by the seeing.

It becomes clear from watching this changing landscape that that the “me” is not necessary when the “seeing I” is present. And it also becomes clear that there may come a time when no “me” exists at all and only seeing.

But for now it is a time for watching all the ins and outs of the “me”, a time for watching all of its comings and goings. And the more there is seeing these comings and goings, these ins and outs of the “me” the more the “seeing I” is present.

-purushottama

See related post Awakening Before Enlightenment.

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.

The Invisible Man

When I was a kid I used to love the movie The Invisible Man. I must have seen it 5 or 6 times, probably even more. I mean the one filmed in black and white, most probably the one from 1933 with Claude Rains.

Not too long ago I stumbled upon the most amazing discovery. I don’t think I have ever heard or read anyone speaking about this fact. In meditation, I discovered that my body cannot see me, neither my foot nor my hand, not my torso or even my head. I can see them. I can perceive my body with my eyes closed but it cannot see me.

I can also see my mind working. I can see thoughts. When I say see, I mean perceive. I can see thoughts but as far as I can tell they can’t see me. If they can they must be using some other media because I am tied up looking at them. I can even see my feelings. Emotions show up and I can see them but I remain unseen by them.

Of course this makes me want to look a little further and when I do, I see that it is the same when I perceive what I had considered to be anyone else. When I look at their body, or see their ideas or even sometimes catch a glimpse of some emotion passing over them, I realize that these things cannot see me. I remain in the background.

It isn’t much of a leap to realize that when I look at my wife Amido, I am seeing all of those things but they are not seeing me either. And it is clear that they also do not see her. So I too cannot see Amido and she cannot see me. It’s pretty hard to objectify someone if you can’t even see them.

Wow, I am the invisible man and it seems that you, most likely, are too. But don’t take my word for it have a look for yourself.

-purushottama

This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.