It's finally done! I ended up self-publishing (for now) as 8 publishers weren't interested -- only 3 of them having the decency to say so (the other 5 still haven't replied after months).
- see http://shalomplace.com/view/godandi.html for order options.
I consider this to be something of my "opus magnus" -- the culmination of years of reflection and study. It will be foundational for a book on kundalini and Christianity that I will be writing during the next year or so, as it will provide the anthropology necessary to situate kundalini in a human, spiritual context (open to grace, psyche and body).
Thanks to those of you who provided feedback during the writing process. I will be sending you the pdf copy soon.
Congrats Phil, that is really awesome, I'm sure this book will be of great help to people.
Congratulations, Phil. I know it's a huge amount of work to get a book into publishable state.
Moved Reply: "God" when you really get out there does not have an ego or a programming concept of self. God just is. And if you attempt to approach God closely without being in a just is state then God will define Himself as your "I am" and you will know that you are "God". One's Ego is a trap when one attempts to approach close to "God" to know Him.
Moved Reply: Well, Tucker, if you insist on calling an Ego a "programming concept," then have at it. Here's a link to my book, with the first a free preview of the first three chapters. You'll see that I have a different approach.
Also, I have no idea what people mean by "programming." Is that like beliefs? Is it presumed that these are innately flawed or delusional? How would that be different from formative beliefs? Would a person without "programming" wake up each day as a tabla rasa, needing to learn language, culture, etc. all over? I'm guessing that you and others who speak of "programming concept of self" mean that there is some unhealthy attachment to dysfunctional or life-limiting beliefs, and that would indeed be a problem.
As for God . . . Christians believe that God per se is undefinable mystery and we also believe that God has revealed Godself to us as Father, Son and Spirit. Also, the standard for Christian understanding of ultimate human destiny is the risen Jesus, whose memory and loves are intact in his risen state, who still answers to "Jesus" and introduces himself as such as well. There is no teaching from him about God being simply "that which is" but God, for him, is loving Abba, personal, relational. It remains to be seen how advaitan states of consciousness can be reconciled with that, especially if they are posited as final, permanent states as Hinduism and Buddhism seem to imply. Abishiktananda went very deeply into this issue experientially and his writings are illuminating, but I don't think he ever came up with the answer.
So, for me, I go with Jesus and what he has revealed, and one can posit a transformed, redeemed body, psyche and spiritual dimension of human nature from what he has revealed.
Phil this topic has 285 views ! Yea!
Phil, I have been participating on this message board of and on for years and I do know what you believe and how it is that you feel about things. And I do know that you do not agree with or accept in any way shape or form with what you see as my definition of "ego". But you see there are two realities and they do not mix as concepts. And both exist and are right as concepts. I do not disagree with anything that you are saying in your books or beliefs because in their reality they are correct in my beliefs.
Now with that said, apparently the other reality that I am also exploring is the Christian "Apophatic Tradition". Who knew ? I did not know that what I am exploring had also been explored by other Christians and that it also had a tradition. The know ledge of this is a gift that your have given me that I am going to have to research or look into closely. "Mystical experiences where non-reflecting, non-conceptual consciousness predominate," are exactly what I am attempting to talk about and I am not saying in any way shape or form that that type of mystical experience or any type of mystical experience for that matter is necessary for anyone to have a relationship with "God". All I am attempting to do is to say that that is what I am doing as a old mystic that has been at this for years. The fact that other Christians have had explored this and that there is even a tradition I find extremely exciting!
Phil you are a gift and you know way more about this stuff than I do and you are right, I am just a tad loony which I apologize for again as I have in the past. I have never been a part of a tradition and now there might be a Christian tradition that labels me. Maybe ? I have to go look at this!
Love you, tuck
Moved Reply: Oh people you have such an interesting conversation here...
Ego. i guess it's something i Should know about after being about done with theoretical part of, what in North America would probably be phd in clinical psychology.... however, i have no clue of it. and i'm also skeptical about psychology in general when it comes to spiritual topics.
actually i see a contradiction between psychology and spirituality. in my understanding in psýchology best is a well adjusted human being but for instance Krishnamurti said that "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." Truth is more important than adjustment.
and when psychology uses the term ego, it is having an earthly point of view. and it is figured out and understood from the mind, not from elsewhere. and what i have understood, spiritual understanding comes from elsewhere.
but maybe it is more like this in yoga and buddhism and i have exposed more to that.
Moved Reply: Quote from Wikipidia:
Negative theology has a place in the Western Christian tradition as well. The 9th-century theologian John Scotus Erigena wrote:
We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything [i.e., "not any created thing"]. Literally God is not, because He transcends being."
When he says "He is not anything" and "God is not", Scotus does not mean that there is no God, but that God cannot be said to exist in the way that creation exists, i.e. that God is uncreated. He is using apophatic language to emphasise that God is "other".
Yep that is exactly what I have been trying to say ! But that is the other world, there is also the normal world and it has a whole other set of rules! Phil I have tendency to see all living things as "biological robots" and our human brain as a very sophisticated computer. And how we see and interact with this physical world depends on the programming we pick up as children and during other time in our life.
But that is just the way that I look at things and it has nothing to do with whether I am right or wrong when it comes to others and their beliefs. They can be right also as far as I am concerned. There are many learned people that agree with you Phil and who am I to say that they are wrong just because I, who am nobody, see things a bit differently. But just for fun, keep in mind that they now have computer minds that you can not tell from a normal human's mind. At least relative to personality and social interaction and it is going to get worse.
I just had to post this negative theology thing to share the production of endorphins that I am experiencing. Thank you Phil, I never knew there was a Christian tradition to what I am exploring as a mystic.
and again, love you, tuck
Thanks Bear , it is nice to have other people throwing things out there once in a while. Love, tuck
Moved Reply: Glad to hear you're learning more about Christianity, Tucker. That's one of the things I hope this Board can help with.
Re. all the commentary about Ego, etc., I absolutely will not be saying anything else about this topic to anyone who has not read at least the first three chapters of my book, God and I: Exploring the Connections Between God, Self and Ego. This topic has been my "life's work," in a way, beginning with my doctor of ministry project in 1995 and continuing to this day. The understanding of Ego I articulate isn't merely psychological, nor, less, "earthly," and it absolutely does entail spiritual understanding.
The first three chapters are FREE!
- See http://www.lulu.com/shop/http:...roduct-22982442.html
Also, I will most definitely be able to tell if you have actually read and understood what I've written. Do not expect me to engage any more in this discussion if you have not.
Of course. Just to clarify — it’s not that discussing BR and/or ego and/or self are bad in themselves. It’s just that we’ve been over this ground so many times already that the old-timers are unlikely to want to contribute.
quote from book:
That is because the consciousness that is Self permeates and interacts with the organism in many different ways, some of which we still do not understand.
This is as far as I have gotten today and I am quoting this small piece of it because it mentions what I am and have been studying as a yogi mystic. Self's relationship with the physical and how it interacts with the physical is my world .
Phil I understand what you are saying in this post and I do not actually disagree with any of it. My approach to things at this point in time is mechanical. There is a mechanical aspect to things. But that doesn't mean that you are wrong. Not at all. Because the way that you are approaching things is real also and just as valid. There is not just the negative tradition, but there is also the positive tradition and one needs to approach things from both to get true understanding. I do not no how to approach things from the positive tradition even though I consider it truth. It is just like approaching things from the mechanical is also an aspect of things. And I do not know how to approach things the way that you do anymore. There is something twisty going on in my personality that I haven't gotten solved yet.
In my younger days everything was the way that you present it and I had a wonderful, positive, and close loving relationship with God. And then about fifteen years ago all hell broke loose in my life. The experience even though everything worked out in the end and I am in somewhat of a better place though physically limited I lost my relationship with a loving God. I love Christ Jesus and He is my beloved master, but His Father not so much. I don't hate Him, I just have no fond feeling for Him and I do not trust Him. I trust Christ Jesus, but not "God". Christ Jesus was with me through it all and without Him I never would have made it. The experience has caused me to be broken and all I have left is my yogi stuff, my love for my wife and my love for Christ Jesus. The only way that I can approach "God" is through negative theology (no qualities).
So anyway Phil, I do not disagree with the reality that you are presenting, it is just that I no longer know how to exist in that reality. To me everything has become mechanical except for my master Christ Jesus. Maybe some day I will work my way out of it if I live long enough. Phil I probably shouldn't be on your message board, but it is the only place that I have to interact with with others in a social and intellectual way. I am the only one that is trying to keep this message board alive and I probably shouldn't be doing that, It is just that if it goes I am going to be lonely . And there is me being selfish.
Moved Reply: Tucker, you are just getting started in the book. Later chapters will describe how the Ego-God relationship matures and deepens to a zone I call Self/God, where apophatic mysticism becomes more the norm. The Christian mystical tradition has all kinds of ways of speaking of this deepening, and of the "dark night" experience you're alluding to.
From what you've shared through the years, it seems you're unfamiliar with these teachings on dark nights and contemplative spirituality. I'm familiar with this personally as well, and even though my writings might seem dualistic and intellectual to you, I do know what non-dual states are and spend considerable time there each day. What I've also discovered is that the Ego can emerge and subside as needed, but it's not the false-self structure that so many define it to be. The Ego becomes transformed and purified on the spiritual journey and one comes to consciously and rationally participate in the spiritual life. That's certainly what we see in Jesus, is it not?
Keep going with the book. I appreciate your taking time to read through it and provide some comments.
Ok, I finished the three chapters. First, I do not think of your writings as dualistic and intellectual. In the realm of "reflective" your writings are genius and a gift to others. When I read your writings it amazes me how learned you are and how you must have to really dumb things down to talk to others like me . I have been out of academia for so long that I forget that it does exist and that it has an interesting language that I use to be quite good at. And I have spent years on message boards trying to talk to normal non academic type people so I am out of the habit of using academia language. And the first thing that I do after just throwing something out and they respond to it, is to try to understand how they define things and then discuss things using their definitions and concepts. Which sometimes takes a bit of time and a bit of jostling back and forth. Talk to me long enough and I will begin to make sense, because I will begin to understand the person's language so to speak and then talk to them using their way with words.
As for the three chapters what I have read of what you have published I do not disagree with what you are saying. And I do have to admit that I do have a better understanding of how you define things and how you conceptualize the concepts that are being discussed. "The Ego becomes transformed and purified on the spiritual journey and one comes to consciously and rationally participate in the spiritual life." Phil we would have to define spiritual life and spiritual journey for that statement to mean what you mean for it to mean. "The Ego becomes transformed and purified," According to your definition of Ego, yes it does ! And you also say, "I've also discovered that the Ego can emerge and subside as needed," Me too ! And you also said, "but, it's not the false-self structure that so many define it to be." This is where things start to get interesting in our discussion Phil !
But I can not discuss this with you because of the "false-self structure" that you seem to be presenting and that this "false-self structure" is separate from the concept of Ego as defined in your book. Or is this "false-self structure" the stuff relative to the Ego that is transformed and purified during the spiritual journey the Ego is compelled to make? And then you say that, "I talk about that in the rest of my book." Which if I do not purchase I am not going to be able to discuss any of this stuff with you.
"It seems you are unfamiliar with these teachings on dark nights and contemplative spirituality." Maybe , but I have read what some of the Catholic mystics have said about dark night stuff. And you would probably have to define (your definition of) contemplative spirituality for me so that I know what it means to you. And I feel closer to you knowing that you are also exploring non dual states! Exploring non dual states and "Self's" (and I using your definition of Self) relationship to the "organism" or "physical body" is my life at this point in time. And actually this topic originally was an attempt to share with others (non yogi) how to manipulate the autonomic nervous system with one's conscious mind (you call "Self") in simple ways. And people seem to like to feel good, so welcome to the world of endorphins ! But at the same time learning how you define certain concepts and words, and how you approach certain things or concepts is absolutely critical if I am going to participate on the message board with out getting into trouble.
I don't think that winging it and figuring that things will eventually make sense like they usually (but not always) do on other message boards that I have been on is going to work anymore Phil. And I think that the main problem over the years is that I have been winging it relative to understanding your language or how you define things.
I will look into buying your book so that I can learn your language and you don't have to teach it to me post by post . I think after I am done reading your book that we are not going to disagree, but that we are just defining things differently and that these foundation definitions are creating chaos in our discussion. But if we can use your definitions we can probably have some very interesting discussions.
Moved Reply: Phil, where do I find the book for sale ?
Moved Reply: Tucker, just as we don't say that it's a bad thing to have a body because it gets cancer, we shouldn't say it's a bad thing to have an Ego because it attaches itself to unhealthy beliefs. It seems you are still viewing the Ego in terms of the latter, and I guess it's hard to get that out of one's mind.
The key passage in my book is at the bottom of page 44:
"For purposes of this work, I am proposing that 'Ego' be used in reference to the experience one has of Self in its reflecting and intentional engagements."
So as long as one has a Self (which is always, if one is alive, as explained in Chapter 2), then one will always have an Ego when they engage duality (which really exists!) reflectingly or intentionally. That's the essence of Ego, sort of like the essence of the body is that it is the place where physiological life goes on -- a definition that tells us nothing about whether the body is strong, weak, beautiful, ugly, healthy, sick, white, black, etc. So the Ego also becomes "formed" and can attach to certain beliefs and adjectives, which doesn't in itself make it a false self if those beliefs and attitudes happen to be true. You can have an "authentic Ego," or inauthentic one -- an Ego largely preoccupied over Persona concerns (p. 49).
So, chapter 4 goes into how the Ego becomes inauthentic in its quest to try to compensate for woundings of non-love. Chapters 5 and 6 go into how the Ego can be healed to it becomes an authentic agent of the deeper Self. Chapter 7 goes into the Ego - God relationship; Chapter 8 follows this to its root in the Self-God zone, and even has some commentary on non-theistic approaches to doing so.
This is a work informed by and in dialogue with a number of academic disciplines, but also recommending specific practices and inner work. We used it in our spiritual formation program at the retreat center where I work.
You recognize the importance of defining terms for effective dialogue, and this book was my contribution unto that end. So relax, enjoy . . . It might even help you understand better the similarities and differences between the yogic and Christian pathways you journey.
Here's the link to the full book, which is available in paperback, hardback, and digital formats.
Moved Reply: i also read those few chapters. first i thought to disagree with the importance of ego but then it becomes different when you wrote now about authentic ego.
i guess it is very much a matter of how to define the terms.
without knowing how you continue, by conditioning i would mean the time when the baby is dependent on her caregiver, and later when providing feedback to the child "good girl", "bad girl". we develop through the environment's feedback. conditioning would also (in my mind) refer to evolutionary conditioning when not being accepted by the group could mean death. As Osho wrote or said, "The greatest fear in the world is the opinion of others, and the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.”
Moved Reply: That's addressed in chapter 4 of the book, bear.
Yes, it's very much about how one defines terms, which is what I have undertaken in my book. Thanks for giving the sample a read.
I disagree Bear . A little bit of fear is healthy and a good thing when it comes to people because as a group they are dangerous. I don't think that you need to be a sheep or that you need to be a lion, what you need to be is whatever it is that you need to be at the time. And what you are calling conditioning I am calling programming. But they are both the same thing.
Well Phil, I ordered your book (paperback), it should be here before Christmas. And I am glad that you told us what this book means to you and some background on it, because it is nice to know about and to be able to share this important experience with you. And congratulations Phil!
Usually, the publisher fills an order within two weeks or so. Thanks for the purchase!
As the years go by I understand less what is meant by the loss of self in non-dual circles. 12 years ago I had some temporary states in which I felt like I wasn't there but for some time now I experience myself as all that I experience, as if I was seeing, hearing, feeling only myself, my soul, and, paradoxically, I feel quite normal in terms of personal identity. I don't have any doubts of my existence, of the fact that I'm not God etc. The only strange thing is to think of material things because they don't seem to be "out there" anymore.
In Christian tradition we talk about self-denial , cross and death in terms of attachments , pride and selfishness, but I don't think that we should get rid of ego or what Tucker calls programming (why do we have to compare our living organism to computers? Those are traditionally called habits and dispositions in philosophy).
On the other hand, St.Teresa in the 7th mansion says that in transforming union the soul forgets about itself so much that it seems to her as if she didn't exist. Beautifully put. But to forget the self is not the same as to not have the self. Jesus was.speaking about his soul and self, he had an ego in Phil's sense!
This is the intermediate stage described in William Samuel's A Guide To Awareness And Tranquility (1967).
Later, he presented a further stage in The Child Within Us Lives! (1986).
However, William Samuel's later stage is quite different from BR's final stage. As you know, BR distinguishes between the initial "no-ego" event and the final "no-self" event (using "ego" and "self" in her senses, of course).
It is as though, after a certain point, there are multiple possible directions for human psychospiritual development.
In all of this, one needs to distinguish between experiential and philosophical accounts. It's one thing to say that one experiences no separateness from other things, but quite another to say to reach pantheistic or monistic conclusions about this. This blurring the lines between the two affirmations is often the problem.
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