Hi Peter - I found the article below, and liked it. I'm interested to meet you in real life. Is it possible? If yes, when and how? I tried to understand from your website how exactly you work with people but unfortunately have not got the picture clear enough, so decided to ask you directly.
Thank you for your letter - and yes, it would most certainly be possible to meet. As for my work with people, this is something I do not advertise. Instead generally what happens is that individuals come across my writings on the web and write to me just as you have done. If they are resident in the UK they may then arrange to see me.
Others have, often after extensive long-term correspondence with me come from many parts of the world to receive intensive teaching from me over a period of one to three weeks - even without having met me face to face, without knowing what form my teaching will take, what types of experience it will introduce them to - or how these will impact them.
In brief however, my basic answer to your question regarding how I work is that I work solely on a one-to-one basis with individuals - yet in doing so individualise my teaching according to their personal background, knowledge, nature, desires, interest and key questions.
Each individual session can last anything from three to six hours, and involves both free and informal meditative dialogue, formal instruction in what I term 'The New Yoga of Awareness' and - last but not least - wordless face-to-face communication and 'transmission' of a most profound and initiatory character - as described in my books and site essays on the new forms of 'Tantric Pair Meditation' I have evolved and the siddhis employed therein (which I also teach to others if they wish).
The only conditions I impose if regular sessions with individuals are then agreed and arrranged are: (a) a commitment to further study of my writings and/or books (b) that each 'student' come to each session with a notebook and make a diary of their learning and experiences in the sessions (c) that they make sufficient time to meditatively recollect and digest the session - each of which can be very full, many-sided and intensive, and (d) that in the interval between sessions, they write me an e-mail in which they both share their experience of their last meeting with me and also formulate (in as precise and detailed a way as possible) whatever they feel are the key questions it has raised within them or left them with.
That said, the starting point of my work with individuals who write to me is always to ask them to write once more - this time saying more about themselves or sharing a brief biography.
In this light it would be very interesting to know some more about yourself - not least your age, educational background and work but also of course your spiritual interests and involvements and the particular background and focus of your interest in my work and the essay you referred to (on Mahamudra).
It would also be very helpful to me to know what other essays or blogs on the New Yoga website you might have looked at or studied. All this would help to give me an initial sense of you to meditate - after which I would, again, be most happy to invite you here for a first meeting at your convenience.
Such a 'real life' meeting or meetings would do far more to answer your question about how I work with people than anything I might or could write 'about' it. For the essential answer is that I will work with YOU - and not simply according to a pre-set agenda of any sort.
Thanks for your reply.
(1) I've not heard about you before, and found your works just a few days ago. I read several your articles, and liked what I read. I shared links to your work with some of friends of mine, so they can read it too. I was not surprised that you wrote about capitalism/socialism as well, and also recognized gnosticism in Marx.
(2) It seems to me that neither people know about your work nor you do anything to promote your work. Any reason for that? Websites are good start but that's not enough to make people know about your worldview. I used to meet many people who do not have knowledge you seem to have yet they go out there and work with groups of people (not just little few via the Internet). I understand that everyone has different strategy, and I'm just curious why you choose the path of obscurity. Or may be you've a plan already, and the gurudom and fame is just the next step? :)
(3) I read your article about Mahamudra and Zen. I liked that you spotted the confusions with English translations. Below I share few links that I'd be interested to learn your feelings about:
- David Loy
-Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
(4) Regarding my official/public bio. I'd prefer to leave all that stuff for the world of people (society); for me (and I hope for you), it's all just irrelevant. You can call me whatever you like. I work in IT support and have engineer education. 28 y.o., male.
(5) I've been studying mysticism in autodidact way for many years. Familiar with quite a few schools and teachers. Recently I've been reading some texts from psychiatry, and, oh boy, that's quite different perspective on what's going on. I admire their faith. They really do not even blink in believing that they cannot miss some bits here and there! :)
(6) My interest is not so much in your work (I recognize where you point anyway) but mainly in you. You're twice or more as old as I, and I wonder how I may look like if I'd follow the path similar to yours. :) I believe you have had an interesting life, and I'm interested to just put myself into space of such intelligent person, and see how I'll feel. I write this honestly, and I'm sorry if it sounds like offence.
(7) By the way, another thing that I'm surprised (and that's probably better to be left for the offline discussion) is: Where you've been all those years? It seems to me that you appeared in the Internet just a year or so ago (please correct me, if I'm wrong), and produced so much stuff in such a short period of time (like last 2-3 years, right?)... So I'm interested to know what was before that? What you've been doing for 20 or so years? If I'd be objective observer with only psychiatry perspective, I'd speculate that such pattern matches depression with recent swing into mania?
Thank you for you letter and also for the links the papers to the papers of David Loy, several of which I printed out for further in-depth study and meditation.
Thank you also for the questions you raised regarding the apparent lack of serious promotion of my work and its history - "Where have you been all these years?" !!!
These are actually very perceptive questions of a sort that no one has had the empathy or acuity to ask before, and which I therefore found most touching. They are perceptive because they go to directly the heart and central dilemmas of my 'life-work'. This is because they touch not only upon the existential history, context and situatedness of my personal life (and lives) but also touch in a very deep way upon the very essence of my work itself and the questions it raises and reflects in relation to today's world.
I can of course totally appreciate your initial puzzlement about the lack of "promotion" of my work, as well as your reference to "many people who do not have knowledge you seem to have yet they go out there and work with groups of people". Though this is also a question I have at least indirectly addressed in some of my essays themselves, I will take the opportunity - for our mutual benefit - of sharing something of the history and challenges I have faced in pursuing my life-work.
So that these can be placed in a larger context, I suggest you also take another look at my brief biography - to which there is a lot more I could share if we meet, relating not only to first beginnings of my work in early childhood but also the intent set up for it in the life-between-lives. This is something I was able to recall through the yoga of dreaming which I practiced from a very early age and which also formed the basis of also of my MA dissertation (completed in 1980) for the erstwhile London centre of Antioch University. This centre for wide-ranging and individualised study programmes in 'Humanistic Psychology' was set up by a prominent bioenergetic psychotherapist on the one hand and my supervisor during the course - an American philosopher called Steven Gans who had come over to study with Ronald Laing and train as an existential psychotherapist within the 'Philadelphia Association'.
The question of 'where I have been' publicly is of course a quite distinct one to the question of where I have been - and come from - privately and inwardly. As for the former question however, I first published articles (around 2003) in the Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis. Later I also published articles in 'Energy and Character – The Journal of Biosynthesis' - having received an expression of interest in my work from its founder David Boadella.
Neither of these journals were strictly speaking academic in the sense of being university-based. I emphasise this because one of the central difficulties of 'promotion' has therefore been my relation to academia. For not a single article I have attempted to submit to an academic journal has been accepted - principally by virtue of me not holding an academic position. Similarly, none the numerous and even well-known academics and authors I have written to, despite most carefully tailoring my 'self-presentation' to clear areas of common interest such as Heidegger or Kashmir Shaivism, has expressed any genuine sincere interest in my work of the sort I felt you yourself did.
It became clear to me that these were indeed essentially 'career academics' - ie individuals whose interest was not principally in Truth but rather in protecting their own specialist areas of knowledge or scholarship from intrusion by deep philosophical questioning of a very new sort; questioning that arose not just from a wealth of autodidactic learning and study but also from a life-time of meditational and experiential research. So despite the fact that one of my sites is www.heidegger.org.uk all attempts at contact with its counterpart in Germany met with stony silence, just as did my attempts to publish with the journal of Daseinsanalytik in Switzerland. And not a single 'respectable' or even 'New Age' journal has reviewed any one of my 13 books. I could devote an entire letter to outlining a litany of failed attempts to reach out and obtain a response from individuals, groups and organisations whom I thought - naively at the time -might be receptive precisely to what was wholly original in my work and therefore help promote it - rather than seeing this as a territorial threat, or simply dismissing it out of hand on the grounds that it (a) lacked the requisite academic or institutional credentials (b) transgressed, subverted or went beyond the terms of their particular universe of discourse (c) was not rooted in some officially recognised 'tradition' or authorised 'lineage' of 'spiritual teachers' - and, last but not least, sought to say something fundamentally new.
This left me with a critical and still-enduring dilemma. For as far as your valid question regarding "work with groups of people" is concerned, the many groups I would have dearly wished to reach out to - and actually reach and talk to directly through seminars and lectures - were blocked off to me by 'gatekeepers' of what I now think of as 'gated academic communities'. This situation left me with the sole option of aiming at and writing for potential readers within the the hugely diverse general market of marketised literature - books written for 'fame, name and gain' on the part of the authors and/or serving only as comfortable 'grazing' fodder for 'New Age' spiritual consumers or dabblers in different spiritual traditions. Here I confronted gatekeepers again - this time in the form of mainstream publishers, all of whom rejected my books either because they were too 'difficult' or 'different' for the spiritual consumers they were marketing too, or else through their lack of academic or institutional credentials - principally not holding or having held an academic position. The stark reality I thus faced was the monopolisation of knowledge and publishing on the part of professional or academic institutions and journals and with it, the contemporary tendency to marginalise the auto-didact and/or polymath - however learned and original - and particularly if they are not writing for the reader as academic, member of an 'in-group' or spiritual consumer.
Today I find myself ever more appalled at the marginalisation of thinkers and writers such as Ronald Laing and Ivan Illich, not to mention giants such as Heidegger, Marx and Freud - who have increasingly become mere figures of derision in the press or media and reduced to mere footnotes in the supposedly 'new' theories of whatever parasitic, secondary or tertiary writers are currently fashionable. An example is the latest fashion in psychiatry - 'Mentalisation Theory' - which, although its clearly derives its central insights from psychoanalytic theory almost wholly ignores - not least through sheer ignorance of it - the infinitely greater depth and richness of much earlier literature on psychoanalysis and object-relations (now seen as 'dated') and instead simply dumbs them down to 'fit the frame' in a way that causes least offence to medical-model psychiatry.
In such a context it has indeed been a long and great test of spiritual will and endurance to pursue my work in almost total isolation and intellectual 'quarantine' - having to write, proof and format books for PoD publication without any editorial help or promotional support whatsoever - and also without the lively encouragement and stimulation of any intellectual peer or institutional peer or student group. At the same time as I began facing this test I was also facing, for a long time another test - that of financially supporting myself as single father with two young sons. Thankfully I have a partner reasonably proficient in the IT side of web-site creation and book formatting - though site and cover design are yet another side of publishing and promotion that I have to make time to do myself, in addition to my writing itself. So another very simple answer to your question about lack of more promotion for my books is and remains quite simply time. To be researcher, scholar, thinker, writer, book author and editor, and designer of multiple websites is quite enough for one person - even with the necessary and invaluable technical help of another!!! And all that without being paid a penny - and hardly earning one!
But then my ancestry in this life is essentially German - and Richard Wagner's definition of 'a German' was "someone who does something for its own sake" - even if totally unpaid, unsupported and unrecognised. Such was also the nature of one of my first and most important older mentors - Michael Kosok - a genius whose work remains unrecognised to this day, who has one book self-published ('The Singularity of Awareness). This despite having had an academic position as a professsor of physics, and having at one time published several articles in the New Left journal Telos. These were articles which literally towered in their brilliance above everything else published in that journal before or after, and which - having nevertheless fallen into total obscurity and oblivion - I at one point gladly took it upon myself to create and dedicate an entire website to.
Heidegger wrote several times on how 'philosophy' - understood as "meditative thinking" but thereby also as truly radical thinking and questioning - is an offence both to 'common sense' or 'consensus' beliefs, and a heretical challenge to the unthought root assumptions of what he deemed 'the new religion' - the modern scientific world view - even wondering whether or not thinking as such would or could survive at all in the era of technology and financial and scientific calculation. That is why I sometimes compare my writings to subversive Samizdat written in a global capitalist culture (including knowledge culture) whose totalitarian nature is largely unseen. Indeed my first role model as a teenager was Karl Marx, who was also essentially an auto-didact without an official position, job or 'credentials'. His funeral, as you may or may not know, was attended by only eleven people. Yet at his graveside Engels made the prediction (one that would have seemed quite over-the-top at the time) that "His name and work will endure through the ages".
I myself am not hungering for gurudom or fame - one earns the status of guru through inner work and deeds and not by 'making a name' for oneself in the world. So I personally do not care a whit about my duration of my name as a guru or 'acharya' of any ancient tradition, Buddhist or Hindu. Yet I do care immensely about the good that could still come of what I name as the essence and essential truth of my world-view - 'The Awareness Principle' - were it only be recognised something as essentially and fundamentally new as the dialectically unified insights of Das Kapital and the 'meditative thinking' of Martin Heidegger.
I think daily of the profound potential significance of this Principle, not only in re-thinking more deeply and clearly so many different religious and philosophical traditions (from Hinduism and Buddhism to Marxism and Heideggerian thinking) but also in so many areas of real life affecting real human beings - as set out in my sites on the sciences, medicine, psychology, psychiatry, socialist politics, and in my numerous blogs and books.
At the same time I also concur with Heidegger's understanding that the essence of ancient traditions, Eastern or Western - that which is also most truly original to them in the philosophical sense - is something that approaches us not from the past but from the future - precisely as their still un-thought essence. That is why I emphase the primordiality of awareness in relation to both the pleroma of beings and the void or 'emptiness' of non-being, and why I see it as so important to recognise that the essence of 'emptiness' (Shunata) and 'non-self' in the Buddhist sense is that universal field of 'pure awareness' or 'absolute subjectivity' which the Shiva Sutras alone recognised as the very essence of self - rather than as the private property of a self. Hence also the importance of the distinction I make between any experienced self and what is ultimately the sole experiencing self - which is nothing but awareness as such in its univerality and singularity. That said, the experienced self is not the same thing as 'ego' or linguistic 'I'. Instead the ego is the illusion of a self or 'I' that it can stop the world and get off - and that seeks to objectify all subjective experiencing). In contrast to this 'ego' or 'I' the experienced self is itself a valid expression and individualisation of the experiencing self - one that should always be wholly and completely affirmed. There are no subjective experiences - and no subjectively experienced self - that are not valid - and that do not have their only subjective reality and meaning within awareness. No one can declare any subjective experienced self or reality invalid or lacking in reality.
This is no mere scholastic point in relation to the Hindu-Buddhist dialogue, but one of profound life significance. For me The Awareness Principle is that recognition which Buddhist philosophy strove to achieve in countless different ways in order to come to a new experience and understanding of the divine as something other than a being and yet the source and essence of all beings. On a personal note you might be interested to note that during my undergraduate philosophical studies at Oxford my interests centred not just on Marxist or Hegelian dialectics but also and specifically on Buddhist and Taoist dialectical logic. And just recently, in response to one of my correspondee students, I once again returned to the theme of Taoism after a decades-long abstinence. And as for my favourite country - no it is not India or even Germany but Japan - Kyoto in particular! So please do not tell my Hindu students, but I will confess to you the unstated secret of my thinking and approach to life - namely that it is in essence an entirely new articulation of Buddhism as well as Tantrism and Marxism!!! Paradoxically, that is also and precisely why I do not present or refer to it as such. For whilst I myself have just published a book arrogantly entitled 'What is Hinduism?', as a Heideggerian I would argue that the basic question of "What is 'Buddhism'?" or "What or who is 'Buddha'?" have not even begun to be addressed philosophically - rather than in a way that confuses philosophy with historioragraphy or scholarship. I am reminded here of Marx's saying "I am not a 'Marxist'".
But I would far rather discuss your thinking and its future - and that face to face - rather than continue writing about mine.
In your letter you wrote:
“My interest is not so much in your work (I recognize where you point anyway) but mainly in you. You're twice or more as old as I, and
I wonder how I may look like if I'd follow the path similar to yours :) I believe you have had an interesting life, and I'm interested to just put myself into space of such intelligent person, and see how I'll feel. I write this honestly, and I'm sorry if it sounds like offence.”
Far from taking "offence" I am delighted and touched that you allow yourself to be so honest in describing your 'interest' in this way. Indeed I have had an interesting life, one which I would also be delighted to share more of with you directly - not least given your age and given the fact that most of my other correspondees have been closer to my age than yours. Thus a meeting is something I would really look forward to - it would also give you a chance to quite literally 'put yourself into my space' and to see how I look - and that in more than one way.
You have, I believe, an innate 'intuition' for truth. If this is combined with an astute intellect however, therein lies the danger as well as the boon. You expressed this danger yourself most aptly:
“Recently I've been reading some texts from psychiatry, and, oh boy, that's quite different perspective on what's going on. I admire their faith. They really do not even blink in believing that they cannot miss some bits here and there!”
Quite so. So some words of advice from an old sage. Firstly, whatever your job, educational background and academic credentials - or lack of them - never stop studying, reading and learning. Never confuse true learning with institutionalised education or academic 'knowledge'. Continue to be an autodidact and to follow your own interests as studiously and as seriously as you can outside all institutional contexts. Above all concentrate on learning to feel and formulate your own most important questions and let these guide your studies. To quote Heidegger "Questioning is the piety of thinking." It is only through awareness of our own still-unanswered questions, including questions that to begin with are only felt but still unformed in words - that those questions will come to formulate themselves in words. And it is only through new questions that we come to learn anything new - both from external sources and from within ourselves.
Secondly, do not make (as I did for a long time) the same mistake that I see David Loy making. Clearly his encounter with psychoanalysis (not psychiatry of course, which is a completely different kettle of fish) opened up a whole new 'universe of discourse' for him - one which has evidently and positively enriched his writings on Buddhism. Be aware then, that you yourself will, if you persist in your search for truth, continue to encounter new and enriching universes of discourse. For that very reason however, never for a minute believe that just because you have visited those universes, you yourself haven't missed a lot more than "some bits here and there". And never either blindly follow or pass judgement on a giant - a master of wisdom - in the manner that David Loy and other such academic scholars and writers so often - and so casually - do.
When I speak of giants I am thinking specifically of Martin Heidegger. For I noticed a reference in one of Loy's papers to another one entitled 'A Buddhist Critique of Heidegger'. The very title of it is absurd - for this equivalent to something like 'A Mozartian critique of Beethoven'. First and foremost Heidegger sought to undo the whole idea of truth as something that is property of verbal propositions - a question of their 'correctness' or 'incorrectness'. Thus to question, however 'logically' or 'correctly', the correctness of this or that proposition of Heidegger, reveals in itself a basic ignorance and disrespect of Heidegger's entire way of thinking - and with it, his way of being.
My way of thinking too, has differences to that of Heidegger, but I would not dream of thinking that I could ever pass judgement on and surpass this giant in his most profound way of thinking - which is no mere set of philosphical propositions or assertions to be judged as correct or incorrect in comparison to Buddhism or any other philosophy. Loy's paper refers to Heidegger's most well-known work 'Being and Time' in particular - as if he has dipped into it directly or through secondary sources. It is as if Loy too believes he "cannot miss some bits here and there" - for I would suspect he is ignorant of the great respect that Heidegger held for Zen Buddhism and the influence that both Zen and Taoism had on his thinking - as expressed in his 'Dialogue on Language' with a Japanese philosopher.
Secondly Loy makes reference to one of Wagner's operas (Tristan and Isolde) to argue an intellectual point. As someone who has received more profound esoteric teaching from ‘dead’ composers (in particular Anton Bruckner and Richard Wagner) than from any living 'teacher', my gut reaction to this reference was to recollect that no 'Buddhist' I have actually met has seemed to me to have the necessary sensuality to immerse themselves in Wagner's music in such a way as to sensuously experience its metaphysical depths and messages. It took me myself 55 years to get inside Wagner's music - and in this way come to recognise him not only as a giant and master of wisdom but as psychologist greater even than Freud. Yet Loy seems not even to know, despite all his knowledge of 'Buddhism' that Wagner's music was decisively influenced by Schopenhauer - who in turn was a student of Buddhism and also had a strong influence on Freud himself. You may think yourself young compared to me.
To me, Loy, though older than me, shows a pre-maturity or even immaturity in his thinking by merely suggesting in his title that he has already plumbed and surpassed the depths of a giant such as Heidegger - something that could not be achieved in a lifetime - or even in principle - so radically different is Heidegger's way of thinking and being from his own. I may 'disagree' with this or that proposition of a sage such as Dogen/Dzogchen but I could not cease, even in a lifetime from appreciating and learning from the wordless spirit of his sayings and of his being.
With regard to Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati however - he is certainly no 'giant' in the first place!! The pages you sent me links to are instead a typical example of schematising metaphysics of a sort that does not even begin to question the meaning of its own terms, but simply assumes them as given - terms such as 'causal body' etc. Even to simply assume as 'given' that one can neatly divide consciousness into separable states called waking, dreaming and sleeping prevents one from even beginning to question the essential nature and interrelation of each and all of these states - which instead are just slotted into some larger diagrammatic schema employing further unquestioned terms whose meaning is also taken as given - and whose linguistic roots are completely ignored. Thus whole concept of 'causes' and 'causality' from which the term 'causal body' was created by 19th century theosophists is a Latin construct deriving from Roman thought - and can in no way be used to translate or interpret its counterparts in Greek thinking (arche) - let alone Indian thought!!!! Words and terms of the sort used on these pages are taken 'nominalistically' -as if they named separable things or entities - a misconception and misuse of language of a sort which excludes deep questioning thinking from the very outset and characterises both modern scientific language and the languages of New Age pseudo-science and metaphysics.
So my third piece of advice - be sceptical from the start of any theories, philosophies or world-outlooks ('scientific' or religious, esoteric or exoteric) that just make use of a certain vocabulary or terminology in a way that takes its words or terms as 'given' - not in need of any further or more fundamental questioning. Heidegger was known as 'the philosopher of the single word'. For his questions always took the form of what he called 'basic questions', of the form 'What is...?' (eg. 'What is 'soul'/'life'/''science'/'philosophy' etc). This alone is truly deep and fundamental questioning - philosophical questioning and not mere scientific or esoteric theorising or postulating. Thus it is ludicrous to ask, for example, whether or not God exists, or to simply assert that our bodies and the universe are pervaded by some sort of subtle energy or energies (under whatever name) without first of all questioning what is meant by the word 'God' and the word 'energy'.
The blindness of today's world consists of thinking that just because a word such as 'energy', 'stress' or 'depression' is in common usage there is and has always existed a 'thing' or 'entity' corresponding to that word - even though (like the three words mentioned) they themselves only have been very recently coined in historical terms - and that only in a very limited set of languages and cultures.
Finally, thank you for sharing links to my site with your friends. My most basic form of 'promotion' - not of myself but of the questions I have pursued - is to encourage people who find my work interesting or important to form reading and study groups of my books or create discussion blogs of my writings and sites. On the other hand, if there came a time when you thought your friends, present and future, were themselves a group I could "work with" I would be simply happy to meet them as a group for informal dialogue.
And coming back once again to your question about promotion, there is a lot more I could actually do in this direction with a bit of professional IT help - the aim of which would be designing and creating an integrated and searchable 'archive' site for all my writings, published and unpublished - most of which are still scattered around multiple websites.
Your email and the story you wrote confirmed most of the points I suspected. Not good... but well, it's what it's.
Academia is just another social institute/enterprise, and you (as any other mystique) is an alien for them: you are neither needed there, nor you have place in their system. I suspect, you won't be happy to be inside either.
The general population does not need your service too, for they'are incapable to see what you see, and neither you can help them to recognize their true nature and make them see what you see nor they want your help. If you persist with showing them that they have needs that you can address, they will thrown stones in you and burn you as they've been doing throughout all the history. Now, perhaps, they'll use medications, and then will kindly allow you - disabled - to sit on benefits.
I wonder how one can make living on all that if essentially there are so few people who can understand that (and thus enjoy) or who have time for all that. Incredible! May be that's why mystics historically were all wandering around as monks. Almost like starving
Anyway, whatever happens to you, also happens to others, and I'm sure each individual contribution creates together a substantial roar of vibrations that eventually will reach enough momentum to transform (as evolution) itself. This is just another temporary set back/regression before next leap over.
As usual, (1) two steps forward, one backwards; (2) transcending and rejecting first, and only then (when dysfunctional became apparent) including what was transcended but rejected. This does not mean you (or I, or many others) can have more enabled life now (by enabled here I mean to fly if you're a bird). But generations of the future probably will. I'm sure Marx, etc. will come back; just in different form.
I noticed that you put Dogen and Dzogchen together. Just in case you did not know, they're not really the same or even from the same domain. Dzogchen is sibling to Mahamudra, and they both came from the same parent. I sent you the link to Bon Dzogchen Teachings which is the best book on the subject I could to find. If you will have time, you may enjoy the descriptions of practices/instructions there (which, I believe, are quite unique, even comparing to Indian Tantra.). Mahamudra, in this respect, is more academic.
The reason I sent you Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati was because he's also created The (New) Yoga, and I thought you'll notice that and appreciate that not just you moving into that direction. I am sure many people do the same, and just do not go public. (Interesting
If you allow me, I'd like to share several thoughts that I noticed while I was reading your email and your articles in various places in the internet:
1 - You seems to be very passionate about philosophy, phenomenology, economical politology, etc. Indeed, there is no doubt that those people were talented (even, genius), and their work seriously helped humanity to grow. Yet I do not understand why both you and David Loy and John Searle and others keep reiterating concepts/worldviews of those people (or of their own). OK, I understand why David Loy and John Searle do that - because that's their job, and they're paid for that... but you?..
Let me explain, please. I am not accusing you nor I am trying to downplay the importance. I am trying to understand how the process works. It looks like that through years of reading and thinking, a philosopher absorbs many conceptual frameworks, and eventually he feels obliged, an urge to then build his own one. Presumably, this is needed to resolve a conflict, i.e. synthesising whatever he's got from the previous generations, including his own experience of animating those concepts and allowing the world to be coloured by those concepts. Perhaps, this is natural need/tendency of mind. I am trying to understand do we actually need to follow that tendency?
2 - Another thing is this: Do we really need to have heroes (that are always need to be dead, so we can filter/present them in whatever way suits us)? Do we really need to join existing tradition/structure or - if they do not allow us in - build new one, our own? If yes, where that need/tendency comes from?
3 - Why do we need explanations and belief systems for whatever happens to us? Surely, all thoughts/meme that we breath life into via repetition, can be left easily? Isn't that the whole point of The Awareness Principle? I read several blogs of you communicating with Australian man about Kashmir Shaivaism, and I recognize the need in human beings to seek someone with whom they can share the same worldview, their main conceptual framework. Why is that? Probably, memes need to reinforce themselves, or the person tries to connect so to not feel that alone? In the same way, you speak about philosophy or Kashmir Shaivaism, people on various forums protect their right to take medications prescribed by doctors! Ouch! I mean, I do not see difference between explanation of something as "psychosis" or as "memory from previous life" (or whatever technical terms are there). Dzogchen (and probably other mystical teachings) gives very clear directions how to handle all that without retreating to concepts.
4 - My favourite one: The need to teach, to spread knowledge, to share. This is again sounds to me like a built-in mechanism that just screams to be followed/executed, and whenever we do what the nature wants from us, we get rewarded with physical pleasure, emotional comfort, or something other that can be verbalized as "I feel more satisfied now, more full, more real. I know I'm needed. I'm here for a reason. Finally." So I'm curious: Does it sound reasonable to you? Have you noticed that in yourself? If yes, how do you deal with that? Here I'm remembering David Loy, and also another story about Zen master who could not die peacefully before his student had thrown his teacher's book
with notes into the fireplace.
5 - May be you have a list of your favourite books that can be used to study Marx, Kashmir Shaivaism, Advaita Vedanta, Heidegger, etc.? Let's imagine that there are young people out there that want to study those things from level 0 (I know that there are very few of them but still), and they have no clue what's the adequate/original source and what's the distorted re-telling. Based on your list, they can have a good idea of how to approach those subjects. If you can put that in the internet, they can reach it even after you're no longer capable to answer their emails. From my side, I can be the first user :)
6 - Regarding "something that approaches us not from the past but from the future - precisely as their still un-thought essence." I guess I understand what you mean. As for thesis there is anti-thesis, so for synthesis, there is anti-synthesis.
It's known as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involution_(esoterism)
7 - I've never been in India, Germany, or Japan. I looked at photos of Kyoto, and it looks too idyllic to be true. May be that's why Japanese works so hard (dying from overwork). That's how they can do not see it! :)
8 - The rest of your thoughts and points are more-less well understood, and I relate to most of what you wrote. Of course, I'll need a bit more time to get into some specific details; there are some moments that I'm jumping over but I'll return to them eventually.
9 - What you wrote in worldawareness.pdf is very similar to what David Loy writes about in the short article below. Not just on the surface but also in the depth. Not surprisingly, of course.
"Your email and the story you wrote confirmed most of the points I
suspected. Not good... but well, it's what it's."
Firstly let me say that I fully appreciate - indeed admire - the challenging but also stimulating social and emotional perspicacity of your comments, as well as the intellectual sharpness and the sober realism of your questions. On the other hand do I feel them tinged with a slight tone of cynical pessimism.
I fear that the "points you suspected" might have unfortunately been "confirmed" by a somewhat one-sided emphasis on limitations and constraints in my last letter. So allow me to seek to re-balance the picture I have presented so far on the basis of your numbered points:
“1 - You seems to be very passionate about philosophy, phenomenology, economical politology, etc. Indeed, there is no doubt that those people were talented (even, genius), and their work seriously helped humanity to grow. Yet I do not understand why both you and David Loy and John Searle and others keep reiterating concepts/worldviews of those people (or of their own). OK, I understand why David Loy and John Searle do that - because that's their job, and they're paid for that... but you?”
A perfectly valid and intelligent question.
I do indeed have a passionate interest in the subjects you refer to.
Firstly that is because I am a passionate and intense person - and most proudly so. The passion and intensity was brought about by choosing to be born into a family of refugees from Nazi Germany (my mother was a Jewess who was forced to leave Germany as a teenager and caretaker of younger children on the Kindertransport, whilst my father was politically active in the underground socialist and anti-fascist German resistance before being imprisoned (then managing to flee the country and ultimately ending up in England - where he was promptly put in internment camps in England and Canada as an enemy 'alien').
The second reason for my being "passionate" about 'giants' such as Marx and Heidegger, as intimated in my last letter, is that like them, I came to this life with a pre-intended task or life mission - with a job to do - and that precisely one of "helping humanity to grow". Part of this job involved and still does involve protecting historical awareness of their work (which in the case of both Marx and Heidegger centres precisely on historical awareness as such) in the face of an Americanised and therefore a-historical if not historically amnesiac intellectual and social culture. This historical awareness is not just a recognition that they were geniuses but (to speak of a Marx or Heidegger as merely 'talented' is precocious arrogance if you will allow me to be harsh here and smack your bottom!) but a recognition that, despite being 'dead' (ie alive and thriving on 'the other side') their thinking is more significant now than ever before.
The 'job' I refer to as a life task, which I chose for myself, required therefore not only the cultivation of a highly developed intellect, but also a most intimately, deeply and most personally felt historical awareness. Hence my pre-birth choice of parents, not least a father born in 1900 who had grown up in pre-war Germany and lived through 2 world wars. Like many other members of the so-called 'Second Generation' of Jewish and political refugees from Nazi Germany I found myself constitutionally unable to ignore awareness of suffering and continuing genocide in the world in the way my English-born peers (Jewish or non-Jewish) seemed able to do. I also felt a strong loyalty to and pride in the richness of a German-Jewish philosophical, artistic, political culture in danger of extinction - above all in its ethical values, as expressed by Martin Buber. All this in a situation in which Jews both in London (where I was born) England and worldwide now rejected (as Hitler had done) the very idea of a 'German Jew', as a result of which I found myself the object of prejudice from other Jews simply by coming from a 'mixed marriage' and having a Jewish mother and German but non-Jewish father (a reason for "race shame" in the view of both Jews and Nazis).
This is one reason why both my respect for, interest in and understanding of the German and German-Jewish philosophies and thinkers I have referred to was and is by no means 'academic' -either in nature, expression or purpose. Nor was it a question of "needing heroes" but of valuing what Germans called "the heroic spirit" in contrast to the purely mercantile or 'shopkeeper' mentality of the English. This was scorned in Germany before the 1st World War - which was seen by the Kaiser himself as a war for the protection of culture as such against mercantile English capitalism and colonialism and its superficial 'utilitarian' philosophies, a viewpoint which had historic roots had in a time in which German thinkers such as Schlegel understood Germany itself as "the India of Europe".
Thirdly, whilst the focus of your comment was, understandably, on the intellectual foci and themes of my work (phenomenology, philosophy, economic politology etc) I need to emphasise that my passion for them had and still has to do with (a) the radically new insights I have distilled from them over the decades and (b) the immense practical relevance of these insights (c) the immense fulfilment I have attained not only from creatively articulating and sharing these insights, orally or in writing, but also from learning to embody them ever more fully in my life not just in my work as a teacher, but in all my human relationships. That is why I must balance my reference to a litany of 'failures' with regard to the general 'success' of my writings, with an emphasis on the immense joy and satisfactions felt though having transformed the lives of so many individuals through them. This has come about through the ways in which I have always found not only to express but to embody what I teach and 'practice what I preach' in the very act teaching it - not only through the spoken word but through silence and my entire mode of embodied relating to others. That in turn is my understanding of the appellation 'Acharya' - a teacher capable of modelling and embodying what he teaches in the very act of teaching it, and for that very reason is able to teach or impart teaching in a way no other can do - being someone whose way of teaching, whether expressed through their bodily presence or most precisely choice of words - ultimately is the teaching.
I do understand what you are getting at when you write about your "favourite one" - "The need to teach, to spread knowledge, to share". Yet this sort of "need" is something quite different from the aware responsibility of acknowledging and committing oneself for a lifetime or lifetimes to follow an inner vocation - for this is no "mechanism that just screams to be followed" but requires the aware acceptance of an awesome responsibility, a responsibility for and to others that requires the most aware and assiduous cultivation, expression and embodiment of both intellectual and soul capacities.
Thus, returning to an earlier question of yours, whatever has been lacking in quantity of 'promotion' or 'recognition' of my work has been more than made up by what, for most people, will remain a literally inconceivable quality of depth and richness of one-to-one relational and meditational experiencing. This is the invisible yet most wonder-full side of my life and work which no amount of writing, to you or others can ever convey. To even attempt to convey it in writing would be like attempting to convey a uniquely rich and intense quality or instance of dream, sexual or musical experiencing purely in words- rather than actually playing my own soul music to others through the instrument or 'organon' of my own body or soul-organism. Then again there are the literally countless experiences of 'ec-stasy' and 'in-stasy' I have enjoyed and learned from through meditations and journeys of the soul engaged independently of direct work with people. I am not exaggerating when I say that the bliss and blessing of just one of these countless and most varied experiences would - and still does - suffice for me to feel my entire life as absolutely fulfilled and worthwhile.
And what on earth is wrong with the "physical pleasure, emotional comfort of something that could be verbalised as "I feel more satisfied now, more full, more real", and what to most people is an unimaginable degree, and with the additional pleasure, satisfaction, fullness and reality of simultaneously helping others to feel the very same intensity of pleasure,satisfaction, fullness and realness? For this is a pleasure, satisfaction, fullness and 'realness' of a most profoundly cosmic and divinely sensuous soul nature and nothing purely 'physical' in the conventional sense of this word. It is also a pleasure not merely of a privately hoarded "reward" but one that can, with the right capacities and sense of responsibility to do so - be shared with others and intensified through that very sharing.
To me health is the pleasure that comes of fulfilling one's deepest values and potentials through both expression and embodied relating - yet expressing these potentials and embodying these values not just for oneself but for others. Hence, again, the first definition of 'The New Yoga' that I ever coined was, in contrast to all those yogic traditions emphasising the Self and Self-Realisation alone: 'Meditating the Other'.
This is also why 'success' in 'spiritual' teaching for me is ultimately measured by the extent to which a student comes to a point in which, as a Self, they can revel and delight in a fundamental shift of life orientation and awareness - from Self to Other. This is what Martin Buber called 'The Turn' - 'The Turn to the Other'. I have found no other form or philosophy of yoga - old or 'new' - in which this quintessentially Jewish ethic has been incorporated and embodied, not through hollow talk of 'love' and 'compassion' for all beings but always in the specific sense that Buber understood it - as always a shift of orientation to a specific human other or specific others in all their uniqueness, and to a specific being, human or divine.
"Why do we need explanations and belief systems for whatever happens to us?" We don't. And yet we all have such explanations, belief systems - and fundamental values - whether we recognise and conceptualise them or not. The point of The Awareness Principle is absolutely not to leave thoughts and thinking behind but precisely to become more aware of the thoughts, beliefs we hold and the term and concepts we employ. Only in that way can we cease to be identified with them in an unacknowledged, unthought and unaware way. Only in that way can we leave them and be free of them. And only in that way can we also open a space of awareness in which wholly new ways of comprehending and conceiving the world arise - new comprehensions and concepts of a sort that are sorely needed in our world in order to free it from imprisonment in old ones - and that in the most practical of ways. Hence the links I include to my radical new approach to medicine (see attachment) and also the relevance of The Awareness Principle to mental health - soon to be published as book.
So though I of course recognise much commonality between my writings and those of David Loy - and like the thrust of his writing - what I miss in it are any sort of simple principles and practices of a sort that - without having to be couched, contextualised or encumbered by the language of any esoteric tradition such as Zen - have been quite revelatory to individuals and that can transform their everyday lives - period - within hours. I think for example, of the many occasions when my partner has reported introducing just a few basic precepts and practices of The Awareness Principle (for example 'The Fundamental Distinction') to her psychotherapy clients (even those who had "done" what they thought of as "yoga", "Zen" and "meditation") only to see their eyes widen with the freshness and simple but precise clarity of what they were hearing - and hearing from them in the next session how what they had been told or taught had totally altered their sense of sense and relation to others in the otherwise difficult situations which they came to therapy for. I am also left unsure by David Loy's writings just to what extent and with what intensity he has experimentally explored and experienced much of what he writes about in connection with Buddhist terms and concepts - how much his writing owes to his everyday living experience and awareness and how much just to scholarship and passionate belief. I am reminded here of the sadness and incredulity I felt upon reading how a recognised spiritual authority such as The Archbishop of Canterbury (I dare not think of the Pope) said he had only twice in his life had experiences that might come close to experiences of God. I am also reminded of a very high-level - and correspondingly robed - American Buddhist monk I saw walking by whilst visiting a Zen Temple in Kyoto. Just one look at his eyes, face and entire bodily comportment was enough for me to see that he existed purely 'in his head', and that (probably despite years of disciplined meditation) had no experience comparable even to those of my partner's clients - let alone my own students.
You are absolutely right however in thinking that "each individual contribution creates together a substantial roar of vibrations that eventually will reach enough momentum to transform". And yet whilst the roar is indeed both a necessary condition and basis of a world evolution of consciousness, it is not enough in itself - not a sufficient condition. For when its time comes there will be a pressing need for the most precise of new concepts and practices to be available, concepts and practices that are truly in resonance with that roar - and that can give genuinely new form to its transformative power. For otherwise that trans-formative power will once again be trapped and subsumed by old forms - by outworn symbols, terms, concepts and practices. That is why "the task of thinking" as Heidegger understood it is above all a preparatory one - that of preparing to meet the need when the time arises and the roar is heard and felt by all - the need for wholly new and more aware ways of thinking, precisely expressed. This preparatory role of thinking also applies not least to my own thinking - which is there to prepare the way for what is to come - so that when it comes it is not mis-guided or mis-led back into old and perhaps even more 'reactionary' or 'regressive' ways, paths, directions and frameworks of thinking.
There also need to be young 'fore-runners' along the new ways, paths and roads that have been laid - and who help lay them - for these will be the much needed new teachers and preservers of Truth in the future - which will also be characterised to begin with by even greater global ignorance and chaos. Hence the profound truth of the words of Martin Heidegger cited in my essay on 'World Awareness' describing what he foresaw in 1938 as "The Ones to Come"...
“…those strangers of like mind who are … mace bearers of the truth of be-ing, in which a being is uplifted to the simply mastery that prevails in every thing and every breath. The stillest witness to the stillest stillness, in which an imperceptible tug turns the truth back, out of the confusion of all calculated correctness … They reside in masterful knowing, as what is truthful knowing. Whoever attains this knowing-awareness does not let himself be computed and coerced ... With what must knowing-awareness of those who truly know commence? With actual historical knowledge - that is, with knowing awareness of the domain out of which future history is decided ... This knowing is aware of the hours of the occurrence that history actually builds. Our hour is the hour of going under. Taken in its essential sense, going under means going along the path of the reticent preparing for those who are to come ... Those who are going under in the essential sense are those who are suffused with what is coming and sacrifice themselves to it as its invisible future ground ... The epoch of going under is knowable only to those who belong. All others must fear the going under and therefore deny and repudiate it. For to them going under is only a weakness and a termination. Those who truly go under do not know gloomy 'resignation' ... nor noisy 'optimism' .. .Those who go under are the ones who constantly question. [For the] disquiet of questioning is not an empty insecurity but the enopening and fostering of that stillness which gathers the most question-worthy, awaits the simple intimacy of the Call, and withstands the utmost fury of the abandonment of Being... Seeking is never a mere not yet having, a deprivation. Seen in this way it is calculated only in view of the result attained. Initially and in actuality seeking is proceeding into the domain in which truth is enopened ... In itself seeking is futural and a coming -into-the-nearness of Being. Self-being is the find that already lies in the seeking, the secure lighting that lights up ahead of all revering, [and] by virtue of which alone we are open to the echo of the most unique and greatest."
from 'Contributions to Philosophy'
Another point of yours:
“Maybe you have a list of your favourite books that can be used to study Marx, Kashmir Shaivaism, Advaita Vedanta, Heidegger, etc.? Let's imagine that there are young people out there that want to study those things from level 0 (I know that there are very few of them but still), and they have no clue what's the adequate/original source and what's the distorted re-telling. Based on your list, they can have a good idea of how to approach those subjects. If you can put that in the internet, they can reach it even after you're no longer capable of answering their emails. From my side, I can be the first user :)”
This suggestion is a good in principle. I should emphasise however that there are clear but important introductions to Marxism, Heidegger and Phenomenology - written specifically for those with little or no prior knowledge of them - spread throughout my essays and books (not least 'The Awareness Principle', 'Tantric Wisdom for Today's World' and 'Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought'. At the same time all my writings on 'The New Yoga' are at the same time expositions of Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita - and a brief but thorough survey of the different sections (eg. Philosophy, Politics, Psychology) and specific essay titles on the Archive page of the New Yoga site (for example ('Marxism and Moksha' or 'The New Yoga, Advaita and Kashmir Shaivism', 'Heidegger, Yoga and Indian Thought) in will give indications as to which essays to study into with a view to finding out more about a specific thinker or school of thought. Then again, the 'Other Authors' section of the Archive has a translation of the Shiva Sutras and a complete introduction to Kashmiri Shaiva Philosophy by David Peter Lawrence - and the homepage itself has an entire ppt presentation devoted to citations from the Kashmiri sages. Seek and ye shall find! Many of my essays are also thematically grouped together in my books, which are all essentially anthologies of selected essays.
I would therefore strongly suggest you begin a process of working your way through one or more books and the entire library of materials on the site - though I dream of finding 'concordancing' software that would enable visitors to the site to search for key words or key names in all the texts. It is of course far easier - and more effective - to tailor recommended reading to an individual by meeting them and getting a sense of the current status of their knowledge and understanding of particular areas of interest, actual or potential. And having long experience as a teacher it is important to bear in mind that I could far more quickly and effectively introduce and explain various thinkers and philosophies orally - and that from a place far more attuned to your or other people's particular questions and interests - than through time-consuming writing of letter such as this (which like many letters I write to people living too far away unable to visit me even once or occasionally) has taken an entire working day of my time - time that would otherwise be devoted to further books I am preparing precisely for younger but intelligent people such as yourself. As for 'introductory' material on Heidegger that is even more difficult, since there are almost no secondary sources that are up to scratch (aside perhaps from George Steiner's biography of Heidegger). In contrast, with Marx one can make an easy start by printing out an on-line version of 'The Communist Manifesto'. But I will still bear your suggestion in mind. And there are indeed very excellent secondary sources on Kashmir Shaivism - including 'The Triadic Heart of Shiva' by Muller Ortega, and 'The Doctrine of Vibration' by Mark Dyczkowski. Yet these are sources I have also quoted extensively in my own writings.
There is however an unpublished draft book of mine called 'Dimensions of Human Relations' each section of which does give concise a 'O'-level introductions to one of the many major sources and influences on my own life work and thinking, including Karl Marx, the Jewish ethical philosopher Martin Buber, the founder of humanistic psychology - Abraham Maslow, the existential psychoanalyst and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, the independent British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, my mentor Michael Kosok, the biologist Kurt Goldstein and Heidegger himself. This small book I can send you if you wish. You might wish to Google some of the names it covers if they are unfamiliar.
All this said, I will, and have indeed already begun to seriously consider your most interesting suggestion to compile a list of my favourite books - those that have influenced my thinking most and could also be accessible to others.
Meanwhile the invitation to you to visit remains, as always, open. And if you sent me your telephone number and indicated suitable times, perhaps we could at least arrange a call. As for that potential visit, I stress again that this would allow me to share important and intimate experiential aspects of my life journey that I would not even attempt to do in writing - and that would, I believe, be in many ways much more satisfactory to you than even a host of long letters in answering the questions most important to you.
with best wishes,
Thank you a lot for your extensive reply! I read your email several times, and also read your article. I appreciate that it took you so long to write it, and I hope you had an interesting time writing it. I sent your article to my friend in Budapest, and we had an interesting discussion with him about it using Skype.
I agree that the best way forward is to meet off-line. That should be a more effective opportunity for direct conversation.
I'm also looking forward to the list of your favourite books. May be you can also include into that list what books you enjoyed on the subject of Advaita Vedanta?
The last question is - What's the best way to see your book offline? I prefer to open a book and browse it before buying... may be you know in what bookstores your books are available for access?
Unfortunately it is difficult to see my books off-line (though of course you will be free to browse them here). The best way to get an idea of them is to use the 'Look Inside' facility on Amazon. Below is a link to the first of several pages on amazon.com listing my books. Most but not all are also available for purchase from Amazon thus slightly reducing shipping costs - or else you can purchase directly from me when you visit.
Your suggestion to compile a list of books has been on my mind, but so also has been their relative degree of difficulty for readers unfamiliar with some of the authors - principally major philosophers. Nevertheless, I see no reason why I shouldn't begin to list some of the key thinkers and authors that have had the most powerful or indeed dramatic influence on my life and work, together with particular key works of theirs I would recommend starting with. As you will see I have grouped the books in 5 categories:
(A) 'esoteric' books
1. All the so-called 'SETH books' by Jane Roberts (of which there are now probably almost thirty).
In particular I recommend starting with a book called ‘SETH SPEAKS - the Eternal Validity of the Soul’
This you might be able to find in the 'Spirituality' section of a large bookstore or a small esoteric one. (note - the book is also full of italicised notes by Jane Roberts’ husband. I strongly recommend NOT bothering to read these).
This is one of the books which had the deepest influence on me. It is also highly accessible, and though it would be classed as 'channelled' material and is easy to read, there is, in my view as a philosopher, nothing else in its league. For a taste go search under 'Seth quotes' or 'Seth books' or go to www.sethlearningcenter.org/#books - ignoring the American hype (although in Seth's case it is actually justified - that's the problem with hype!)
2. Another book of Jane Roberts. This is also 'channelled' - a word I hate - but has a useful introduction by Seth which gives a profound understanding of how this term can and should be understood.
The book is called ‘The Afterlife Journal of an American Philosopher - the World view of William James’ (and also explains how the world views of great thinkers have an independent and evolving psychical reality).
3. You may be familiar with the life and books of Carlos Castaneda - of which there are also many - and those of his 'sorcerer' disciples, such as Florinda Donner. My favourites here are ‘The Power of Silence’ (Castaneda) and ‘Being in Dreaming’ (Florinda Donner). I have a particular take on Castaneda and on the nature of his life and work. Extracts of all Castaneda's books are available on-line at: http://www.prismagems.com/castaneda/
Karl Marx: I recommend starting with ‘The Communist Manifesto’ (available on and printable from the web) and also the opening sections of Das Kapital ie. ‘Capital - a Critique of Political Economy’.
Martin Buber. Two key works. Not just his most famous one: ‘I and Thou’ - but also two others: ‘Between Man and Man’ and ‘The Eclipse of God’.
Martin Heidegger. I suggest starting with compilations of his later essays. These are published under the titles ‘Language, Poetry, Thought’ and ‘Discourse on Thinking’.
Then again there are also some of his major works, in particular ‘What is Called Thinking’ and ‘The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics’ - just reading the first 23 pages of this long work would be enough.
Good secondary literature on Heidegger:
‘The Body's Recollection of Being’ by David Michael Levin and a short but most useful introduction to his thought in the form of the biography of Heidegger written by George Steiner
‘HARA - the Vital Center of Man’ by Karlfried Graf von Durckheim
(C) Other psychological and socio-critical literature
‘Focussing’ by Eugene Gendlin. A 'self-help' book with a difference:
written by one of the most significant thinkers of our time.
‘Working with the Dreaming Body’ by Arnold Mindell, a one-man phenomenon!
‘The Limits of Medicine - Medical Nemesis: the expropriation of heath’
by Ivan Illich. I believe this has also been published under the title ‘Medical Nemesis’ - but deals with a lot more than medicine.
The psychoanalytic books of Christopher Bollas, in particular
‘The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known’
The Divided Self by Ronald Laing, a psychiatrist and key figure
in the anti-psychiatry movement
Peter Breggin's damning work - for which he was banned from psychiatry:
(D) Crucial reading on LANGUAGE
Lakoff and Johnson: ‘Metaphors we Live By’
A revelation when it first came out.
Martin Heidegger:‘On the Way to Language’
Speaks for itself.
Gemma Corradi Fimuara: ‘The Other Side of Language, a Philosophy of Listening’and ‘The Metaphoric Process - Connections between Language and Life’. This woman is a brilliant and outstandingly original philosopher
Tim Murphy: ‘Representing Religion - essays in history, theory and crisis’
A very clear and readable introduction to 'discourse analysis'
(D) literature on Indian thought
‘Philosophies of India’ by Heinrich Zimmer - the classic work on this subject
‘Philosophy and Religion’ a collection of essays Indian philosophy by J.L. Mehta (1912-1988) whom I consider the wisest and deepest of INDIAN writer on Indian philosophy since Sri Aurobindo – and who also writes in the wisest way ON Aurobindo.
‘The Yoga of Power - Tantra, Shakti and the Secret Way’ by Julius Evola
‘The Triadic Heart of Shiva’ by Paul Eduardo Muller-Ortega (and other books on Indian Thought in the SUNY (State University of New York) series
Then again there are the translations of the Shaiva Advaita classics by Jaideva Singh(Siva Sutra / Spandakarika / Pratyabhijanahrdayam and Vijnanabhairavatantra)
These and many other works on Indian Philosophy and Advaita are available cheaply from www.exoticindiaart.com/book
Finally a recent work:
‘The Dimensional Structure of Human Consciousness’ by Samuel Avery
You will of course, be free to browse my library as well as my own books when you visit.
Thanks for the list of your favourite books. I will investigate the list in more details during the next week. I have not noticed any book from/about Hegel or Advaita Vedanta... Did you found them not relevant/interesting?
I've been steadily studying your materials from thenewyoga.org - and I have few questions but I want to leave it for the offline discussion.
As usual, your questions are both highly perceptive and helpfully provocative - perhaps more so than you know. I find this excellent.
"I have not noticed any book from/about Hegel or Advaita Vedanta... Did you found them not relevant/interesting?"
Quite the contrary. Rather these omissions came about more because I find them too relevant, too interesting - and still too challenging in nature - to simply refer to books on them.
Hegel was indeed my principal interest - indeed an almost obsessional preoccupation - whilst doing philosophy at University, even though this was 'politically incorrect' at the time, and Hegel was not even included in the Oxford philosophy curriculum. In fact at one point I was warned - of course in the most politely English and gentlemanly of ways - against even mentioning Hegel in my exam papers! That even though I regarded myself as a Hegelian at the time. And it was discovering just one journal article of his on Hegel entitled 'The Formalisation of Hegel's Dialectical Logic' that led me to write to - and thus first come to visit and meet - my erstwhile mentor, Michael Kosok. Last but not least, it is interesting that you put the question to me at a point in time when I am just beginning to reconsider and formulate anew my understanding of Hegel in particular.
So yes, I could have included Hegel's 'Science of Logic' in my list - not to mention Mike's writings unpublished as they are at this point except on my site archive of them (which are all to do with Hegel, whether explicitly or implicitly) and whose dialectics he transformed into what he called 'The Life and Science of Paradox'.
On the other hand I was aware of needing to 'draw the line' somewhere on The List, bearing in mind also the relative difficulty of different books and thinkers for the sort of reader you had in mind. The difficulty is not because the readers are stupid but because there are different degrees to which one can actually separate the works of different thinkers, and thus read and study them separately.
Heidegger addressed himself to what he saw as the still unthought questions that ran through the entire history of European philosophy - from Heraclitus and Parmenides, Plato and Aristotle to Kant and Hegel himself. But you will understand that the list was not intended as an undergraduate reading list in the history of philosophy - or even a list of every book that contributed to the evolution of my philosophy. Nevertheless, your question regarding Hegel has prompted the idea of preparing a 6th section to my list - entitled 'works on dialectics'.
This will not be too difficult.
As for Advaita Vedanta however, that is another question entirely. For just as Heidegger saw his work as an attempt to bring out the hidden and unthought essence of Western philosophy per se, so there is a sense in which the entirety of my writings on Indian thought is an attempt to understand how the nature, meaning and essence of 'Advaita' as such could be understood. Unfortunately, there is no thinker or author I have yet found who has approached the history and nature of Eastern and Indian thought - not least Advaita in all its forms - in the way Heidegger approached the history and essential nature of European and Greek thought. Thus here I can, I'm afraid, only recommend my own book 'Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought'.
You will have noticed also that I don't even list the writings of Gautapada, Shankaracharya (or even Abhinavagupta) as 'favourite' books. That is because, again, the still unthought questions they both arose from and conceal - are still hidden by the specific nature and terms of their language and discourse style. The nature of these questions would require a long essay - if not an entire book - just to articulate them, not least given what is, paradoxically, the strongly Buddhist rather than 'Vedantic' character of so-called 'Advaita Vedanta'.
I recall Heidegger remarking ('On the Question Concerning Technology') that an entire book could be written on the single term 'energy', the discourse around it and its Greek roots. Thus while I write much about how the meaning of the single term 'Advaita' as such can be understood, doing so in the highly original terms Mike Kosok taught me - as NEITHER a state of unity or non-duality free of all DISTINCTION or differentiation NOR a duality or multiplicity of SEPARABLE entities - but instead a state of what he called "inseparable distinction" - I believe the sole reference to Advaita VEDANTA in my writings comes in my piece introducing 'The Philosophy of the New Yoga' (see www.thenewyoga.org/intro_philo.htm ) where I briefly explain its difference to the 'Shaiva Advaita' of Abhinavagupta.
For these reasons as well as others I am glad you are continuing to steadily study the materials on The New Yoga site - and look forward very much to hearing your further questions.
After a meeting the anonymous correspondee in person Acharya wrote suggesting a name - ‘The Nameless Commissar’:
“I like ‘The Nameless Commissar’. Good choice. Accurate reflection. ‘Commissar’ captures well many aspects - the way of communicating, the well-understood responsibility and sensed power, the passionate energy. "Nameless" stresses that everyone is The Party, and The Party is in everyone.”
The following essay was sent to 'The Nameless Commissar' after meditating their joint meeting.
SAMIZDAT TO THE NAMELESS COMMISSAR
Where the formula ‘time = money’ rules, and an ever-faster circulation of commodities and money is the order of the day, necessary to protect the accumulation of capital against a declining rate of profit, then, as Marx noted, time itself accelerates – leaving less space for both awareness and thought. The result of this acceleration of time is a culture in which, on all levels, from the personal to the economic, political and ‘spiritual’ - action rushes blindly ahead of thought - both in reacting to current actualities or in order to seize upon, act on and actualise every conceivable possibility of both action and reaction. What counts as ‘thinking’ is reduced to accountancy – the calculative and exploitative actualisation of every available possibility and source of value in the fastest possible way.
The foundation of all Western ‘philosophy’ lay in Aristotle’s equation of the real with the actual. On the basis of this one philosophical equation nature and all its resources or ‘possibilities’ (whether in the form of ‘energy’ resources or genetic modifications) has now been reduced through global capitalism to a mere ‘standing reserve’ for the accelerated actualisation (Greek energeiea) of new commodity values through ever-enhanced technologies of production. Followers of ‘Eastern’ traditions, rooted as they are in cultures and economic forms long since destroyed – tend to be so preoccupied with their own traditions that they have not even begun to catch up with - to grasp the true essence - of with is now a globalised Western culture. If they had done so, they would recognise as Heidegger did that the historical transformation of Western philosophy into science, of science into the handmaiden of technology – itself the servant of commodity production and the accumulation of monetary capital - now threatens the total extinction of thinking as such. For from Aristotle’s equation of the real with the actual evolved another equation – the equation of the real with the measurable or countable (Galileo, Locke). Thus what counts as ‘thinking’ today is determined - even in the realm of ‘spiritual teachings’ - entirely by the countable, and by an accumulation of competing accounts of reality or ‘enlightenment’.
These accounts too, identify the real with the actual and the countable – whether in the form of an actually existing theistic God, or a countable number of believers, followers, students, web pages, book sales and donations etc. It is absurd to think that a Dzogchen or an Abhinavagupta can in any way be ‘counted on’ to have anything to say to about a world ruled today neither by religious theisms or spiritual non-theisms but by the atheism of science and the ‘Monotheism of Money’.
All the profound sayings and practices of the great sages pale before the silence and blindness that reigns whenever people today click on a spiritual website and fail to see the most obvious character of what is laid out before them. For though this may have the appearance of a variety of sacred texts or commentaries thereon, what confronts us first and foremost is a type of ‘in-group’ language, for example that of a particular ‘lineage’ which does not even begin to question the meaning of its own most basic terms (for example the term ‘enlightenment’). Thus a Tibetan Buddhist lineage may announce itself as the ultimate ‘path to enlightenment’ without questioning what ‘enlightenment’ essentially is or means. Instead there rules a type of ‘group think’ which simply takes this for granted, as well as assuming without question that ‘enlightenment’ is the ultimate purpose of existence and spiritual practices. An eerie silence reigns as to why this should be or when and how this usage of the term ‘enlightenment’ first came to be. There appears to be no recognition of the place of ‘light’ as a key signifier in both Christianity and modern physics (not just Eastern traditions!) just as the essentially European history, nature and connotations of the word ‘enlightenment’ are totally ignored.
What confronts us also on such ‘group sites’ is an invitation to sign up to one or more planned events or courses, to attend this or that centre, or purchase this or that book – in other words an array of calculatively planned events, activities or products whose ‘profound’ spiritual meaning is, like the very words used to announce and describe them simply taken as given and requiring no further thought. The transformation of spiritual teachings into ‘in-group’ languages and commodities within a global marketplace of such teachings evens out in advance all substantial questions and differences of thought. Thus the crassest and shallowest teachings can be promoted and sold alongside the most profound works of thought.
Today all spiritual teachings and communities are effectively placed on an equal plane by what is their true unifying essence – which is not spiritual content but (a) their sociological form as different types of unquestioned ‘group speak’ or ‘in-group’ language and (b) their economic form as commodities. Like books, the way in which different texts, teachers, writers and traditions are categorised, grouped and boxed into labelled compartments (‘Tibetan Buddhism’, ‘Zen’, ‘Tantra’ or ‘spirituality’, ‘philosophy’ etc) serves precisely to box them off from one another - prevent any given teaching being thought in more than one way – from the perspective of more than one ‘lineage’ or mode of thinking. Thus whilst there may be must be thousands of sites on Zen or Tibetan Buddhism, I have not found a single one devoted to looking at these teachings from the perspective of Marxist, Psychoanalytic or Heideggerian thinking – or vice versa.
To be sure, there are ways in which people nevertheless gain something from such teachings. Yet they do so without recognising that in doing so they fall under the general sway of what Michael Eldred has termed ‘The Gainable’ or ‘The Gain Game’ – whether in the form of economic or monetary ‘gain’ or personal or spiritual ‘growth’. Hence the huge numbers of people who go from one teaching, one guru or therapist, one New Age ‘workshop’ to another – all principally seeking some form of increase or gain – to get something more for themselves. Of course here is nothing wrong with this in principle. The problem – and the essence of ‘The Gain Principle’ – is that in seeking this ‘more’ what doesn’t ‘count’ for most people is how they gain this ‘more’ or even what it is that they gain, all qualitative differences evaporating in the name of the Gain Game.
So today it’s Zen. Tomorrow, next month or next year it is Reiki, Dzogchen - or even Kashmir Shaivism and ‘The Awareness Principle’ (or vice versa!). Thus in the very act of seeking to gain something ‘more’, what is reinforced is the invisible dominance The Gain Principle itself and of its principal value – which is not meaning but ‘more-ness’, or increase - whether of spiritual experiences, numbers of meditational centres, students and followers, or even the increase of knowledge itself - whether exoteric or esoteric.
In contrast, what Heidegger understood as thinking – that is to say, as “meditative thinking” rather than “calculative” thinking - does not let itself be measured or made accountable to the countable. Its task is not to promote planned and calculated action in reaction to current actualities. Nor is its task to actualise every present or ‘actual’ possibility as fast as possible. Instead its far greater task and challenge is to think through rather than merely react to the still unthought essence of our actual, present-day world. In doing so meditative thinking bring to awareness futural possibilities of a sort that - as long as action and even teachings of any and all sorts blindly races ahead of thinking itself - will remain completely unthought. As it stands, however the very notion of meditative thinking, though implicit in spiritual teachings of the past, has only recently been thought and brought to fore as a notion – in contrast to the unquestioned but often explicit assumption that ‘meditation’ and ‘thinking’ are not only different but indeed opposites.
Philosophies and teachings, ideologies and worldviews can be studied, spread and taught – whether as theories or practices. Yet these are not thinking itself but products of thinking. Thinking itself, whilst it can be practiced, is the one thing that cannot be taught as a theory or practice, for its never-ending task is to seek a reflective awareness of its own essential nature. Thus the question raised by Heidegger – “What is called ‘thinking’?” - will forever remain the primary question for thinking, just as the question ‘what is philosophy?’ will forever remain the primary philosophical question, and questions such ‘what is spirituality?’ and ‘what is science?’ will forever remain the primary spiritual and scientific questions. This circularity of questioning cannot be broken, side-stepped or substituted by any product of thought, any philosophy, ideology, teaching or worldview - ancient or modern, past, present or future.
We are always “on the way to thinking”, as we are always “on the way to language” (Heidegger), in particular we are on the way to a new language of thinking. Simply to rely on, rehash or redeploy the outworn terms and languages of ancient spiritual texts – however profound – is to avoid the challenge of finding a new and fitting language by which to think the true essence of what they can possibly say or mean to us in the con-text of today’s world. To assume that this meaning is self-evident and needs only be heeded and followed is simply to deny history – to deny the fundamentally different nature of today’s world in contrast to that of the great founders and sages of past traditions and their respective lineages.
Under the global reign of ‘The Gain Principle’ and its purely quantitative measures, there is necessarily both gain and loss, success and failure, winners and losers. The gainers and winners are seen as successful, the losers as failures. Yet without loss and letting go, how can anything qualitatively new be gained? Without failure, how can new and deeper questions come to light or new and successful learning occur? If measurable, calculable, countable gain is - in principle - what it’s all about, then the paradox is that nothing is essentially won or gained – indeed what increases is only the danger of everything actual and possible being lost and falling into oblivion. Today the international banking system is built and survives solely on personal and national debt (which far exceeds the GDP’s of all nations put together) and is dependent for it ever-increasing gains on the ruination of national economies, the downfall of whole industries and a consequent worldwide loss of jobs and income for the masses. Built and sustained solely on the increase of debt, impoverishment and loss of natural resources and human lives, the movers and shakers of ‘casino capitalism’ and the financial markets have now created a global economic crisis of such a scale, that no attempts at politically calculated ‘corrections’ of these markets, whether through regulation, controls, tax hikes or cuts in public spending, have the slightest chance of succeeding.
Everywhere we look, the era of total calculability in the service of The Gain Principle has turned into an era of total incalculability – economic and ecological, military and geo-political. Calculative thinking however, identifies the incalculable solely and purely with chaos – hence the endless yet futile attempts to mobilise new mathematical models (‘chaos theory’), new military strategies, new ways of medicating the masses, new ecological technologies or economic policies to bring this ‘chaos’ once more under control i.e., to render the incalculable once again calculable, predictable and controllable.
Yet The Gainable, built on The Countable and The Calculable, has become The Incalculable – a turning point of untold significance for the future of the human beings and the planet. Yet since The Incalculable is seen as a fundamental threat to the rule of The Calculable and The Gainable, an ever-increasing range of military and economic targets are calculatively sought out for the elimination of all incalculability. All this reactive and defensive action to restore calculability in the face of The Incalculable proceeds, of course, without any meditative thought as to the essence of this global ‘crisis’ - which is nothing essentially economic but is rather the ultimate expression and final nemesis of calculative thinking as such – taking the form of a decisive historic tipping over1 of The Calculable into The Incalculable.
“Fail again, fail better.” What I failed to describe in detail in our meeting was that my true life ‘mission’ was imparted to me many decades ago in and through an extraordinary experience on a higher plane of awareness. The message I received was that my mission was to be a ‘scout’ rather than a renowned or successful teacher. This meant writing and working in a quite intensive way with people to ‘scout out’ or ‘check out’ their receptivity to a truly new and original way of thinking. In order to do this ‘scouting’ as effectively as possible, I was to do my best to make even the deepest, most original insights and concepts as simple and ‘palatable’ as possible - rather like sugar-coating cornflakes in a variety of different colours.
Whatever I learned in this role as ‘scout’ for a New Thinking – not least through failure - would be psychically relayed to ‘One to Come’. Here I am reminded of a humble but touching series of remarks made in a recorded interview with Martin Heidegger. The interview – and thus the great thinker himself - can be seen and heard on YouTube, but the subtitled translation from the German is terrible - and not even properly synchronised with his speaking. So I offer my own translation here:
Where the destiny of thinking will lead, nobody knows. In 1964 I held a lecture in Paris which I did not give myself, but was delivered in French translation and spoken under the title: “The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking”. I see a difference then, between Philosophy … and Thinking in the way I understand it. This kind of thinking is [in principle] much simpler than philosophy, but in its execution much more difficult, demanding a new care-fullness of language and speech. Not the invention of new terms, as I once thought, but a return to the original content of what is our own language, yet grasped only in its unceasing process of decline. A future thinker who may be presented with the task of genuinely taking on this thinking that I seek to prepare [the way for], will have to adjust himself to a saying that Heinrich von Kleist once wrote. It reads – I have it in one of my notebooks:
“I step back from one who is not yet here and bow
- a thousand years in advance - before his spirit.”
Some further words from Heidegger on thinking…
“We are attempting to learn thinking. The way is long. We dare take only a few steps. If all goes well they will take us to the foothills of thought. But they will take us to places which we must explore to reach the point where only the leap will help further. The leap alone takes us into the region where thinking resides. We shall therefore take a few practice leaps right at the start, though we won’t notice it at once, nor need to ...
“[Yet] in contrast to a steady progress ... the leap takes us abruptly to where everything is different, so different that it strikes us as strange. Abrupt means the sudden sheer descent or rise that marks the chasm’s edge. Though we may not founder in such a leap, what the leap takes us to will confound us.”
‘Leap’ here is a translation of the German word Sprung (as in ‘a spring’ or ‘to spring’). Associated with Sprung are the German words Ursprung (translated as ‘origin’ but literally meaning ‘primordial leap’ or Ur-Sprung) and Ursprünglich (meaning ‘original’ i.e., stemming from a primordial ‘leap’ or ‘spring’).
‘Region’ means essentially the realm of the possible from which all actualities arise and in which they continue to abide or ‘float’. What comes to meet us in this 'region' (German Gegend) can only be encountered if we remain within the region and let it be as a region of the possible. Otherwise what comes towards us from it (German Gegend) can appear to us only as some actually present ‘object’ - the German word for such an object meaning literally something ‘standing before and against (gegen) us’(Gegenstand).
As cited in my book on Heidegger, Phenomenology and Indian Thought, John Anderson summarises the essential nature of the meditative thinking that Heidegger speaks of as follows:
“… it is a thinking which allows content to emerge within awareness, thinking which is open to content. Now thinking which constructs a world of objects understands these objects; but meditative thinking begins with an awareness of the field within which these objects are, an awareness of the horizon rather than of the objects of ordinary understanding. Meditative thinking begins with an awareness of this kind, and so it begins with … the field of awareness itself.”
For Heidegger however, such a thinking must issue “from the same place in the world where the modern technological world originated.”
“It cannot come about by the adoption of Zen Buddhism or other Eastern experiences of the world. The help of the European tradition and a new appropriation of that tradition are needed for a change in thinking. Thinking will only be transformed by a thinking that has the same origin and destiny.”
That “origin and destiny” is the Graeco-European ‘Occident’ - that “land of evening out of which the dawn of a new morning, of another world destiny can come.” Yet as the Indian philosopher J.L. Mehta points out:
“The thinking of the unthought of this imperishable Western beginning, however, is also the liberation of thought from its parochial mould and its meeting with the unthought of the other few, really great beginnings in history.”
The historical reality of other “great beginnings” of thought outside those rooted in ancient Greece are something that Heidegger himself later fully acknowledged - even whilst continuing to insist that whatever the importance of these other, Eastern or ‘Oriental’ beginnings in pointing us to and holding open for us different ways of thinking, they themselves could only be truly understood through a much deeper knowledge of the nature and evolution of Western or ‘Occidental’ thought itself. It is precisely such knowledge of European history and traditions of thought that is lacking in sites, teachings or books relating to Eastern traditions – whether Hindu, Buddhist, Tantric or whatever – even though such knowledge is vital for their own self-understanding in today’s world. For “The Task of Thinking” today is not merely one of turning from Western towards Eastern lineages of thought. Nor is the task of thinking one of simply exchanging the languages of Western thought for those of the East or Orient. Rather the central issue to be thought is the fundamental difference between the languages of Eastern and Western thought and the respective role that language plays in them – something that in turn implies an exploration of the essential nature of language as such and of the different way in which its nature has been understood – or not yet understood - in both Western and Eastern thought. Hence the importance of those works of Heidegger collected under the title: ‘On the Way to Language’ - which begins with a dialogue on language with a Japanese philosopher.
“Fail again. Fail better.” That said, even in quantitative terms - relative to the entire global population – there is an insignificant difference in number those who have never heard of a Dzogchen (just as an example) and those, for example who have never heard of a Heidegger - or of my work and The Awareness Principle. Then again, though many know the names of figures such Jesus and Buddha, Mohammed and Hitler, how many know anything substantial about them. Even in such narrow quantitative terms therefore, I do not see my work as a ‘failure’ – though I do see it as a resounding success in terms of quality, range and depth. If I have failed then, I have failed better than many, and above all fulfilled my mission as ‘scout’.
Throughout history there have been numberless teachers and teachings that have remained nameless and fallen into oblivion. One reason for this was that people had no sense of the modes of being, experiencing and thinking towards which these teaching and their practices could have led them. It was as if a teacher would attempt to interest people in new and higher modes of dream awareness in a culture in which no-one had ever recalled the experience of single ordinary dream and no one had the slightest sense of what ‘dreaming’ meant.
Similarly, few are interested in or attracted by the experiences made possible of the by the wholly original forms of tantric pair meditation I teach. Yet this is simply because – without practicing them - they have literally no idea of what can experienced through them, just as a person who has never recalled any sort of dream would have no idea of ‘lucid dreaming’. On the other hand, those who have risked engaging in these new pair-meditational practices have told me that the nature of the learning and experiences I have introduced them was wholly different to and vastly richer, deeper and more meaningful than anything they had received from any other teacher or tradition. Others have wondered why my book ‘The Awareness Principle’ was not flying off the shelves or selling in vast quantities – having found themselves in a state of such inner excitement, revelation and awareness bliss through reading just one short section of it that they were able read no more than that at a time - for to read more would have been ‘too much’ for them.
‘Too much’. That phrase, in a nutshell, expresses the true obstacle to the greater ‘success’ of my work in conventional terms. For even those who have been boundless in their heart- and soul-felt gratitude, to me and in their praise not just of the crystalline clarity of my teachings but of my way of embodying and transmitting them have eventually become afraid of me. This is because the more they have got to know both me as soul and the many dimensions of my work the more they feel both as simply ‘too much’ to take in - or even acknowledge – not least because they cannot fit either my person or my work and thinking into any conventional categories. There simply is no nameable tradition or framework into which it can be fitted or framed or even compared with. Thus having finally found that ‘more’ that they were always seeking for they begin to fear and step back from me.
I trust that, as ‘commissar’ you are more fearless and confident. And if you feel so strongly that there are many in Russia with the intelligence and awareness to not only recognise, but benefit from and support my work in all its originality, then my first measure of the truth of this message must be the messenger himself – whether he is indeed an example and embodiment of the message and not just its carrier.
In nature my work has the same subversive and original nature as that of a Marx or Heidegger. For just as Marx’s Kapital completely transcended the framework of all previous thinking on political-economy, constituting something fundamentally new – without any historical precedent - and just as Heidegger’s thinking undermined the assumptions of all previous philosophy, thus also offering also something wholly original and without precedent – so too does ‘The Awareness Principle’. It also shares with Marx and Heidegger the same subversive and revolutionary aim – the aim not of preserving but of shattering and destroying all existing notions of the ‘spiritual’ and ‘religious’ - freeing them from entrapment in the terms and symbols of all lineages and traditions. I am - proudly so - the ‘black sheep’2 of all gurus and lineages, and all those who need to rely on their authority or seek comfort in it. So I stick my fingers up at all ‘authority’ bestowed by lineage, and pity those who seek to drink its weak spiritual soup.
Yet that is here. There – beyond the Other Shore - my work is not only recognised by higher consciousnesses but has its own autonomous and living reality in the larger non-physical ‘multiverse’ of awareness – where it is fed by and feeds many souls, great and small, who are not only nameless but wholly invisible to us on ‘This Side’ of the portal of death. It astounds me that I have found almost no teachers besides Seth (not himself an incarnate teacher) who have the slightest clue about the nature of the life beyond lives, and the ‘multiverse’ of non-physical universes it leads into. Our planet and the physical plane as a whole is but the expression of one tiny portion of the multi-verse of non-physical planes and universes. The latter embraces countless other universes and dimensions or planes of awareness – and countless species of consciousness wholly different from our own and almost wholly unknown to us.
This multiverse is quite literally boundless in the incalculable opportunities for further growth, transformation, fulfilment and ‘enlightenment’ that it offers – ‘enlightenment’ of a sort which leads us far beyond what that word is taken to mean today, and what it was taken to mean in the past – not into a state of transcendence of all creative possibilities of consciousness but into an oceanic womb of infinite and ever-new forms of both consciousness and creativity, rising and falling in great waves.
Excess of spiritual wealth, like excess of monetary wealth, eventually breaks all plannable and calculable boundaries of The Gainable. The result is an implosion into a most fertile and creative ‘black hole’ – at the core of which lies that ‘singularity’ - ‘The Singularity of Awareness’ - which links us all, and is the source of all possibilities
All this said, I will of course explore the practical possibilities opened up by the links you sent me. So take this letter as a further but necessary attempt to find the kind of words with which the nature and purpose of my work and writings as a whole might (eventually) be summarised in a ‘cover letter’ for the sake of those you have suggested I write to. I see this task as one of setting out the full scope and significance of ‘The Awareness Principle’ in a way which emphasises not just my writings as texts or teachings but also the larger historical, cultural and global con-text and actualities to which they are a response – not least the actuality world in flight from thinking. To sum up: my work is essentially a form of resistance and my writings, including both books and letters, are like subversive Samizdat in our totalitarian culture of global capitalism, a threat both to its Big Lies and to many Lineages. I invite you to acknowledge your part in The Party of Resistance and join its path of questioning and bringing down old religious, spiritual and economic structures.
1. Michael Eldred, Capital and Technology (Kapital und Technik)
2. Seth, as quoted in my book ‘From New Age to New Gnosis’:
“There was once a god who was not a god – who was not a god, for you are dealing with legends. There was a god in ancient Egypt, and his name was Seth, and he was disreputable. And he threw aside establishments, and whenever other gods rose up and said ‘We are the truth, we are pure and we are holy’, this disreputable god stood up and, with a voice like thunder, said ‘You are nincompoops!’
… And so this god, who was not a god, went about kicking apart the structures, and he gathered about him others who kicked apart the structures. And they were themselves, whether they were male or female. Whether they thought of themselves as good or bad, or summer or winter, or as old or as young, they were creators. They were questioners.
And whenever another personality set itself up and said, ‘I am the god before you and my word is law’, then Seth went about saying ‘You are a nincompoop’ and began again to kick apart the structures.
And so you are yourselves, in your way, all Seths, for you kick apart the structures, and you are the black sheep of the physicians, and the black sheep of your mothers and fathers, and your sisters and brothers.
And yet, the mothers and the fathers and the sisters and the brothers listen, for they do not have the courage to be the black sheep, and they quail in the voice of the thunder that is so playful, though they do not understand it, for they equate loudness with violence, and they think that female is passive and the male is aggressive; and that war and violence must always erupt from the reality of mankind.”