Tag Archives: spiritual

Double Head-Head

doublehead
doublehead

I once had a dream of having another head on top of the original, like an appendage emanating from the present noggin. In the dream I was told that I was using spiritual work to build this second head, the ‘double head-head’. Instead of using self-observation to see my present personality pattern, the pattern of experience built up through my present life forming what I called my ‘self’, I was engaging in a strange fantasy. I was manufacturing a second head, which I then ‘worked on’, rather than observing the original. This kept me safe. I didn’t have to actually face anything unpleasant about myself, for everything in this second head was created with the express purpose of keeping the ego intact and unassailed. This new head was all I really knew, it was ‘me’.

I could keep being ‘myself’ while thinking I was engaged in serious spiritual work. I could ‘see’ things about myself freely, for they would be recommended and okayed by the ego. The realization struck me that I had been doing this for decades, living in a false self-created ‘self’ that kept me a stranger to the relatively real me. I was a mystery to me, but not, apparently, to everyone.

After the shock of the dream, I began to look more closely at myself, hoping to catch glimpses of the double head-head, and how it worked. Listening to others when they offered advice or criticism began to hold value too. Group work suddenly held a new purpose. How did this work? Could I see it in others as well? How could one be so naïve?

Later, I came to understand what Alfred Pulyan had called the Ego1-Ego2 game, the ego splitting itself in two, and calling the separated part ‘ego’, thus keeping itself safe from scrutiny. And also Carl Jung’s work on the ‘shadow’, that hitherto mysterious dark side of which I was sure I was immune.

Working in an illusion serves the ego’s prime directive: survival. It feels threatened with annihilation when things such as self-observation and looking at one self directly are entertained. In order to survive, it creates an ‘ego2’, a second head, on top of itself.

This process has been going on all of our life. Many of our phobias, inferiorities, and grandiose imaginings about ourselves are only in this second head. Once we cut it off through self-inquiry, a form of productive thinking, we are free, free to begin the real work of facing the original head.

To give an example, we may feel we have something wrong with us, stemming from the negative criticism of a parent figure when we were too small to understand or protect ourselves. This may have given us a feeling of inferiority, for God as the parent has told us we are lacking. Later in life this feeling of something being wrong is what is answered to. We may be engaged in spiritual work to compensate for this: to fix our inferiority complex. In actuality, we are working on a fantasy, an incorrect idea of ourselves injected into us from outside. We may never have even begun to act on our innate positive potentials due to being sidetracked: trying to fix a false problem. Have we ever tried to find what we are, inside, without relying on what we have been told? Has this outside information kept us down, or inflated us with a grandiose expectation of things?

Living in our imagination will not set us free, for what we seek freedom from is our own false conception of ourselves. Take courage and patience, learn to look for the facts of your life, not the fantasy of the double head-head.

Bob Fergeson

Here’s the  Double Head-Head video:

Breathing Underwater Part 2

A talk about the benefits of stilling the mind:

link to the original Breathing Underwater video: https://youtu.be/2lVE64vZvVE

Text of the talk:

Hi Folks, I’d like to talk with you today about a meditation exercise, that I’ve mentioned and made a little video about in the past, called breathing underwater. To me this exercise, which could be called stilling the mind, placing our attention into the quiet, the stillness, so that there’s no movement of the attention. This can feel at first like you’re breathing underwater because you’re so used to allowing the attention to run free. We’ve been taught to let this attention run out into the world for two reasons: One is the adventure of it. You could call this entertainment. The ego wants to go out into the adventure of the world to entertain itself, to look at all the strange things out here, and to identify with them, put our sense of “I” into them, so that we think we’re the ‘doer’. To get back past that sense of doership to the real reality that we’re just the observer, we keep this attention still, we can allow the will of God to come forth. This is like a trick of surrender. We can’t surrender on purpose, that’s just another ego move. What we can do is keep the attention still. Another thing we’ve learned is to try to escape. To let the attention run out into the things of the world in order to get away from the bad feelings inside of us, that may have been put there in our childhood, through school, through being told we’re inferior, bad. This is unconscious mostly, it’s not our fault, but if we can still this escape mechanism, not try to fix it, solve all the little details of it with analysis, but simply to be still and watch it and see that it’s not us. This little attention thing is like a cursor on your computer. If you hold it still and don’t click on it, then things stay still and there’s silence. This is like I said, a strange form of surrender, and that we can let our mind be still, but the world still flows through. Then God’s will is manifest rather than ours. This can be pretty scary at first to let go, it takes a long time for us to have Faith, so we don’t think the world will either fall apart, or go nuts on us, if we don’t have our little will in there trying to control it every minute. This practice, the more we do it, the more we try to hold our breath, our attention, our will, the easier it becomes until we find we can do it without effort, and that the world goes on. It can go from being brief seconds to being minutes, of allowing God to take over, and we can just relax and sit back and watch the show.

Wisdom of Vicki Woodyard

“Nurturing the now is a way of living in the present with peace and optimism. You must yearn to return…to the living experience that you are.” – Vicki Woodyard

Vicki Woodyard has brought the fruits of her life and suffering into a teaching that is inspirational and a comfort to those in need. She speaks from the heart of wisdom, without pretense, a valuable rare thing in this age of non-duality spin doctors. Her path was one of finding inner wisdom through grief and loss. She has taken this suffering and turned it into spiritual gold, helping others to find their own inner teacher.

  • The first step should be into silence. Begin with the silent witnessing of your thoughts.
  • The next step is into surrender. Let the thoughts be there without fighting them.
  • Thirdly, admit that you need higher help. This will bring in the principle of humility  – Vicki Woodyard

Her latest method of passing on her insights is through a series of short videos. This very effective approach can almost immediately drop one down from the head into the heart, as we listen without argument or agreement. Here’s a sample:

She has a couple of Facebook pages she posts to, as well as her web site and a youtube channel:

Author Vicki Woodyard

Vicki Woodyard

Vicki Woodyard – Nonduality Now

Vicki’s Youtube Channel

A fellow Southerner and a teacher of integrity and patience, Vicki studied with Vernon Howard, who imparted his no-nonsense way of teaching to her.  I recommend everyone who is interested in finding their own inner wisdom, to give Vicki a serious listen.

This is a fine example of her insight put into prose:

“I am intensely fierce, a warrior. My teacher this lifetime was and is Vernon Howard, who taught the Work of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, esoteric Christianity. Christ was concerned with living the truth and letting the chips fall where they may. He counseled his disciples to shake the dust off their feet when encountering uninterested people.

The Work undercuts the ego at every opportunity, which is why it is never for the masses. The masses settle for church and social institutions, believing that by good works they can save the world. Vernon used to say that if you cleaned up a slum, it would recreate itself before you could turn around. How true that is. Charity begins within.

I believe in the power of the living truth to change me when I am ready to face it. Until I am ready, the truth will wait on me as long as it takes. Love is patient and kind.

It takes a lifetime to make any progress, a total dedication to seeing how bad off you really are. To see it is to be free of it. But no one stays free for long. It is an ongoing witnessing that must take place within one’s own consciousness.

If you are involved in the work of waking up, the older you get the better your life becomes. Why? Because you always get your spiritual gold. Your outer life is a reflection of your inner one, so a simple life is always best.

Simple living and high thinking is the phrase Yogananda used. To be economical on every level is to be simple. Just as you get rid of junk, you get rid of emotional disasters in your personal life. This requires a cutting away of worldly ties. The true way is not for the timid. There is always new ground to break and old ground that falls away.

A warrior, when afraid, remembers the truth within that will never desert him or her. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And we walk on, preceded and surrounded by the light.”

Vicki Woodyard

Dark Zen – A Guru On The Bayou

Ever wondered about the connection between Zen and self-knowledge? If you have even a glimmer of interest in these matters, this book can open a new dimension for you. This much prized knowledge is delivered via the friendship that develops between a lost young man and a Zen master.Dark Zen - Bob Fergeson-1

Nostalgiawest photographer Bob Fergeson has just released a new book, set in the swamps of Louisiana. Bob couches Zen lessons and a methodology for spiritual development into a simple story that allows the teachings to shine through. This book has something to offer the complete beginner and the more seasoned seeker – simple explanations of profound truths.

The book is available on amazon, in both print and Kindle editions. The Kindle version has full color photos taken by the author in southern Louisiana.

– Dark Zen in print

– Dark Zen Kindle –

 

Bayou Glory
Bayou Glory

Questions and Answers

To receive answers to important spiritual questions, questions that concern the inner self, such as ‘who am I’, ‘what should I be doing with my life’, we will need to use the appropriate method. Big questions such as these shouldn’t be put into the emotionally based associative thinking we habitually use, the kind of thinking we use to balance our checkbook or schedule the day. In answering higher questions associate thinking gets us nowhere. Being cast into the wrong realm, these questions endlessly spin around the brain in a negative feedback loop, tying up our mind.

For great questions, we need a different level of mind, something patient and insightful. There is a gap between our associative spin thinking, and the place of tension that can contain the great question; a quiet space in which to ponder. We find this space through meditation; practicing methods to strengthen and calm the mind. People who are really busy, with kids and careers, will tell you they don’t have time to ponder. If you were as busy as they were, they insist, you’d know this. But would they meditate 2 to 3 times a day, conscientiously, they will find sooner or later that they do have time to ponder. Most of our so called thinking, is actually an emotionally based form of worry, guilt, or anxiety; it doesn’t serve a valid function. Once you see this through self-inquiry and meditation, the worry and anxiety will begin to evaporate. You find you do have time to ponder. You begin to understand how to put spiritual questions to the inner self, the unknown.

question
question

We find great answers by putting our great question up against the unknown, and holding it there with attention. We wait patiently for the unknown to respond. It requires true patience and courage, for the answer may not come immediately, it’s not associative. The process takes a while. Maybe a minute, an hour, maybe a year, even longer. Sooner or later, if we keep the tension there, against the unknown, the Inner Self will be stressed to respond with the answer, bringing resolution.

This tension-based thinking is hard to do, for there’s often no immediate satisfaction. It requires being able to both hold tension and be patient. The tension and waiting serve to break the associative loop, putting the question instead to a higher source, something not in space and time. Emotional thinking and rationalization are on the mundane level, and have no access to matters beyond.

One caveat is that we may find we’re getting answers in this tension based thinking, but not to the questions we expect. Instead of our present question, questions in the background can be suddenly answered, for the tension, once created, will jump to the next question on our list, whether we’re conscious of it or not. This can happen because the questions we’re putting to the unknown may not interest the inner self, or we may not have put them in in the right form and need to rephrase and clarify them. Or, we may not be ready for the answer, we might refuse it.

Questions held with tension in a quiet mind draw to them the corresponding answers; a process of resolution. Patience, courage, and humility are key. Remember, we ask a question because we do not have the answer; we are admitting our ignorance, and are asking for release in a determined and humble manner.

-Bob Fergeson

 

20 Spiritual Tools You Can Use On Your Path

20 Spiritual Tools You Can Use On Your Path, by Ricky Cobb III

1. Humor as healing energy/remedy. “One thing you must be able to do in the midst of any experience is laugh. And experience should show you that it isn’t real, that it’s a movie. Life doesn’t take you seriously, so why take it seriously.” – Richard Rose

2. Forgetting yourself. Absorption in activity or concern for others.

3. Remembering yourself. Usually after a period of forgetting yourself. “I am” (Gurdjieffian) exercises, Harding experiments, Feeling into the body, etc. Move out of thinking and look or feel what is actually happening in and around you. Stop the imagination/daydreaming.

4. Put questions to the test. At the start, questions of finders can be helpful. Later, use your own questions. How can I test this out or find out if it is true or not? Test your ideas and beliefs. Compare and contrast the ideas and see if they match reality. Experiment and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or ask someone else’s perspective on something you always thought was true and hadn’t thought of to question.

5. Question everything. What you can’t see is what is too close to you to be seen by you. Therefore, what has been unquestioned is what is taken for granted or what you are unaware of or cannot yet see. What is seeing? What does the questioning? Distance can be gained by questioning what isn’t real. Reality withstands questioning.

6. Make it your own. Franklin Merrell-Wolff mentioned he made a modification of his own and that was a key. Give your personal twist to your practices, put yourself into whatever you do. Enjoy it, love it even. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in some way.

7. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. This path requires a small amount of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results). It might not be the 20th time but the 21st time you hear/see/do something that it takes effect or becomes clear within you. Sticktoitiveness.

8. Make a commitment to the Truth. The Essential part of you is already committed. Bring action to your commitment or make it real in some way.

9. Can’t choose between two seemingly equal choices? Pick one and go with it. Even if you fail you will have succeeded at eliminating a wrong choice.

10. Perception and perspective. As you see it so it is. See it good, it is good. See it bad it is bad. It is bad, because you see it bad. It is good because you see it good. Discover the connection between ideas of things and things ‘themselves.’ There are limits to this, of course, but you must discover where they are and how far they go.

11. The mind is like the body. It can be full or stuffed from over indulgence. Too many ideas can be like fat and cause sluggishness. Slow down rest in silence and quiet. Let the mind burn away what it has learned or is chewing on. Meditation, physical work or exercise where the mind is free to wander are good to allow this processing to occur.

12. Same goes for the body. Lack of exercise will cause sluggishness in the body as well as the mind. Exercising the body will allow the mind to be free. They are interconnected and a healthier body will lead to a healthier mind. By intentionally introducing stress to the body in a controlled manner with exercise, you will take life’s uncontrolled stresses better by being used to the body’s stress response. In fact, it may even make you more efficient and better able to respond to whatever is thrown at you. Willingly undergoing adversity is taking responsibility for life, good and bad. And you’ll feel better.

13. Acceptance. Relax in the present moment putting aside judgments, worries, and thoughts. Acknowledge the reality of what is, as it is what’s not false (like the worries). If you cannot accept something do what you can to change it if it is within your power to do so. If it isn’t within your power develop the power or pray to a higher power. Trust in your prayers or own ability or the specific combination of the two. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” -St. Augustine

14. Should isn’t always what is. What you think should happen and what actually does happen aren’t the same. Learn what your expectations are so you can drop them.

15. How? The answer to how is yes. From the title of a book I haven’t read. The title is enough. How? By any means be necessary. If it’s important you’ll find a way or means to make it happen.

16. Why….? Any why question can be answered that there is no why, only what is. This means that an answer to why wouldn’t be sufficient to change your being; it would only temporally satisfy your intellect. Go beyond thought or kill your mind by seeing between thoughts. What is there?

17. Intuit. Feel before you think. But don’t forget to think too! The combination is common sense or practical right mindedness.

18. Triangulate. Richard Rose’s Jacob’s Ladder and Herbert Benoit’s Conciliatory Principle. Study opposites and see where you are in relation. The point isn’t to find the middle spot between opposites and stay there but to back up the swinging arm of the pendulum to the still fulcrum point.

19. Don’t confuse levels. A Course In Miracles talks about confusion of levels. This would be like taking some spiritual advice literally without understanding it might refer to the absolute level rather than the relative level. An example of that might be the saying “nothing needs to be done” and so you interpret that to mean you don’t have to do anything. Doing still needs to occur but the problem is with the identification here. If you’re still a body and stop doing things that body will be in for a lot of trouble. Another example might be taking practical specific advice for you and confusing it as some abstract nebulous thing that must occur on a ‘spiritual’ level rather than on a relative ‘normal’ level. Use common sense about what your next step is.

20. Group-work. Work with others to be a mirror and allow them to be one for you. While there is no specific recipe or instructions one can follow to become enlightened (or find what you really are) and every path is individual and unique, specific to each person, you can still work together with your fellow seekers to compare notes, discuss ideas, provide support or warnings and give inspiration or suggestions to one another. It may save you time or trouble on your path.

 

Ricky Cobb III

http://www.whatisthislife.com/top-articles/120-20-spiritual-tools-you-can-use-on-your-path

TAT 2014 June Gathering

Stories of Discovery: Personal Journeys on the Spiritual Path

at Claymont Society, WV,  Friday through Sunday, June 13 – 15

Claymont

http://tatfoundation.org/june/tat_june_gathering_2014.htm

Featuring:

  Ben Rainey – Musician and long-time spiritual practitioner, Ben is a popular presenter at TAT gatherings. Read Gatha and The Scent of Longing for samples of Ben’s poetry.

  Francis Bennett is a spiritual teacher in the contemporary, non-dual spiritual tradition. He offers a blend of the Buddhist traditions he deeply studied, the contemplative Christian mystical tradition which he lived during his many years as a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk, as well as the Hindu Advaita-Vedanta teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Francis has worked in ministry in the area of pastoral care in the hospice movement and as a hospital chaplain. He tells the story of his spiritual life, and details his preferred spiritual practices, in his book, “I Am That I Am.” Please visit Francis’ site: http://findinggraceatthecenter.com

  Yoga and meditation instructor, Leesa Williams has been a long-time spiritual seeker who has been influenced by TAT, Linda Clair and Adyashanti. She currently teaches conscious relaxation at a local college and runs a self inquiry group in Lynchburg, Va.

  As one of TAT’s first members, David Gold worked closely with TAT founder and spiritual teacher Richard Rose and documented those years in his book “After the Absolute”. Following that period, Dave helped guide and mentor thousands of young people with the college-based Self Knowledge Symposium in Raleigh. In recent years, Dave worked directly with Spiritual Teacher Andrew Cohen and his EnlightenNext organization. While drawing on his life experience in business and family, Dave promises to engage those present as a lifelong seeker who recently became “an eternal finder.” http://davidrgold.com

  Rapport facilitator Michael Gegenheimer is an early student of TAT Founder Richard Rose and has presented at a number of TAT meetings and works with a local group in Columbus, Ohio.

  In his book, Psychology of the Observer, Richard Rose illustrates a retreat from the mind’s frailties through Jacob’s Ladder. Paul Constant will do a walkthrough of Jacob’s Ladder to illustrate Rose’s methods of finding our way back to our Source. For a sampling of Paul’s writings, visit http://www.searchwithin.org, or read some of his essays in the TAT Forum.

The registration deadline for the June Gathering is Friday, June 6th.

http://tatfoundation.org/june/tat_june_gathering_2014.htm

The Inner Ashram

Inner Ashram
Inner Ashram

To find a still place within that’s free from the drama of the working world is paramount in our attempt to contact intuition and higher thinking. Once we move out of the patterns of mechanical thinking, we must also leave behind the emotional motivators that cause them, and instead allow the questioning and intent of our spiritual search to come forth. Mechanical thinking will continue to assert itself if we try to solve spiritual problems from the level of mechanical emotions. A vector towards inner truth is the path out of outer reactive tail chasing. We can’t win the battle for control of our thinking if we try from the realm of the battle itself. A higher realm is needed, one of higher emotion than found in the jungle of life.

If we find ourselves afraid to do something because we don’t want to face the emotional reaction the act brings comes up in ourselves, this is a clue that we’re buying into the false world of mechanical reaction.  We imagine how we will react when faced with another person or circumstance and cramp up, remembering how we may have mishandled it previously. We become afraid to do what we need to do, for the thoughts of other’s possible offences raises our defences, and avoiding the situation altogether is added to the mix as well. Fight or flight, the law of the jungle, becomes our only mode of thinking, and the residual emotions from it linger throughout the day, long after the events are over. By the time we get home, we’re full of the unconscious but active vibrations our mechanical upset has created, leaving us in a state of inner turmoil. No wonder week after week goes by, and our spiritual vector remains just below the level needed for dynamic action.

A recovering alcoholic learns quickly that he can no longer associate with his former so-called friends and their negative thought patterns, called “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” in AA. The same may be true for us. The circumstances of our karma and lives may not allow us the freedom of the ashram lifestyle with it’s quiet seclusion, but we can find a place within that gives solace and room to think. Just the humble acceptance of the above quandary will bring help into our soul, and show us the path to inner freedom. This calm mind that can allow our vector to assert itself is found when we drop the pattern of the false self and move into neutral territory long enough to let our defences down, and listen. Move within to a place where reaction is no more, and watchful listening prevails. There you may feel a longing for even more stillness, a faint remembrance of something better, whispering a direction home.