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About the Knee of Listening

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited April 12 in General Banter

As an aside from other practices I was reading Da Free John’s book The Knee of Listening. In it he describes his personal spiritual journey, from his early years in the seminary to his time with the Indian guru Baba Muktananda, going into great detail about his own spiritual experiences. He ends it with an epilogue titled “The Man of Understanding”, which finishes like this...

Since no one understands, how could they notice him? Because there is only understanding, he is beloved, and no one comes to see him. Because there is only truth, he is likely to become famous. Since there is only joy, he will not be remembered. Because you have already understood, you find it necessary to touch his hand. Since you love so much and are not understood, you find it possible to touch his ears. He smiles at you. You notice it. Everything has already died. This is the other world.

It seems to me that after such long descriptions of quite esoteric experiences, he is becoming cryptic in order to express a change in evolution in his thinking, which for a long time wasn’t present, you could see that even through his experiences of these great other worlds through this shakti energy his desire to see more was unaltered. But even after coming out the other side, describing the shahastrar chakra coming off his body, with his emphasis on understanding I think he has missed the point somewhat.

Have you ever contemplated that in reading a book, some measure of the experiences it describes become your own? It is a question of undergoing, of passing through what is imparted, of imagining yourself through that lens. So understanding is not totally irrelevant to growth, and through reading you can accomplish a certain measure of things. It is an experience, not merely a question of knowledge. But it is still unreal, books can impart lies and imaginings as well as truth. So this second-hand experience can never be totally trusted.

You can immerse yourself in the literature of the mystics, gnosis, as a step on the way to becoming a man of knowing. But in the end you have to walk the path, if you truly want to reach somewhere.

Shoshin

Comments

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Everyone has his or her own way to express life i it's myriad forms, in it myriad states.

    Peace to all

    ShoshinlobsterKerome
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited April 12

    @Kerome > You can immerse yourself in the literature of the mystics, gnosis, as a step on the way to becoming a man of knowing. But in the end you have to walk the path, if you truly want to reach somewhere.>

    Seems right to me. And if the our real need is simply to be where we are and where we have always been, we must still walk the path or never get there.

    Shoshinlobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    In a way this book has made me rather depressed. I’ve put a lot of effort into reading about the mystics and so trying to learn from them, and this book seems to show a completed mystical journey, and it turns out to all be temporary and in the nature of coming and going. The only thing that was left was ‘understanding’. By reading it and imagining myself standing in the writer’s shoes I’ve experienced a little of what it was like, and it hasn’t left me with a good feeling, now that I’ve had a chance to digest it.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    In a way this book has made me rather depressed. I’ve put a lot of effort into reading about the mystics and so trying to learn from them, ... and it turns out to all be temporary and in the nature of coming and going. ... By reading it and imagining myself standing in the writer’s shoes I’ve experienced a little of what it was like, and it hasn’t left me with a good feeling, now that I’ve had a chance to digest it.

    Why not?
    Surely you have come to terms that nothing is permanent, everything is transitory and ephemeral; even the Buddha passed, and had a beginning, a middle and an end? Surely, the important thing is to dwell in the Present moment and extend the experience, the understanding and the Mysticism?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Yes you are right @federica, it is nothing to be surprised about, and it is in accordance with dhamma. But I had hoped to achieve more, to get away from transitory experiences and to find out some hint of a direction to move in. Instead this whole thing has felt like a battle was fought around my head, it has worsened my tinnitus, which doesn’t feel like a good thing.

    I did some searches about Da Free John on the forum, and came across an old post of @cinorjer in which he describes meeting him. He didn’t think much of him, so perhaps I should just try not to let it affect me.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 13

    ('Do' or 'Do Not'... there is no 'Try'... ;) )

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    ('Do' or 'Do Not'... there is no 'Try'... ;) )

    Hmm, perhaps I should content myself with the mysticism of Star Wars

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There's a lot to be said for it...

    That, and the Matrix... you know... "There IS no spoon"....

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Kerome you can learn how to think and how not to think. From any source. Because deep down we know mundane truths and more absolute truths. Children and experience teach us. Crazy people. Our craziness and our sanity. To be a mystic or a spiritual person we must be prepared to listen to the great teachers. Not self proclaimed faddists. Flavour of the month. Persuaders. Promoters.

    We must in a sense be committed to The Truth. For she needs us. Always.

    Keromehow
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I’ve spent a little time coming back to this, I think this book was to some extent a turning point because it shows an endpoint to the spiritual journey. If you follow a real guru and you have a series of real experiences, what a lot of seekers are after, then this might happen to you. Which is a very sobering thought.

    But the mere fact that one might actually be sobered is an indication that one might have been about to be pulled into a kind of enthusiasm, a dreamy high. The relationship you have with dreams is quite important, sometimes dreams can be positive and enervating, and at other times they can be delusion.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    But I had hoped to achieve more,

    There's your problem right there...

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Bunks said:

    @Kerome said:
    But I had hoped to achieve more,

    There's your problem right there...

    Yes it’s true, I had a goal in this spiritual life. I’m not sure if I am rid of it yet. In a way reading this book is very good for people with goals, because it leads you to consider what happens after you reach your goal and the beautiful experiences are all over.

    Bunks
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