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Daniel A. Detwiler

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Status Updates posted by Daniel A. Detwiler

  1. I recently watched a dialogue between Swami Sarvapriananda of Adveita Vedanta and Rupert Spira who practices the Direct Approach to Adveita Vedanta. Both speakers and their moderator were always kind and respectful. However, as a life long reader of body language the only thing that kept hitting me was the sense of pain and disappointment on Swami S's face. It seemed clear to me that taking elements of Adveita Vedanta outside of their monastic origins was a difficult thing for Swami to endure. When Swami addresses a group, he talks with consumate knowledge of the origins of Adveita Vedanta through the centuries. He tells stories of past sages and their wisdom. Rupert Spira has none of that in his presentations. He works effeciently to help people realize that at the bottom of their human experience is the primal consciousness or awareness. It is like rapid enlingtenment. However, without a background of the ethics that go with it or the meditation practice to support it I am not sure what this rapidity brings to his listeners. They seem astonished or shocked by this discovery. I wonder if this feels like the gift Rupert hopes they will receive. Others will feel differently. For me, I will take a planful process of discovery echoing the footsteps of sages over quick enlightenment. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Hi Daniel! I am sorry - I am just seeing this now. Status updates don't always show up for me, but it looks like they are now appearing at the bottom of the forum homepage.

      Anyways, thank you for your reflections on this. I think there is value to both approaches and that different people will resonate with different ones (perhaps also at different points in life). I appreciate both. Some of Rupert's more direct teachings have really struck me in profound ways, such as one that explored insecurity in relationships. It sparked a beautiful shift in me, but I know that not everyone will react in the same way to his teachings (as you've mentioned yourself as well). 

      I also just want to point out that I love those words you've used - "echoing the footsteps of sages". Beautiful!

  2. I just finished the 30 day FitMind program which started at the end of 100 days of Mindfulness. I really want to thank Sean for including this program. I was ready for it and benefitted immensely. Having been a therapist, self awareness has been part of my life's work. With prior experience in that arena, experience in guided meditation, past work on relaxation and stress reduction, this program worked for me after the 100 days of preparation. I re-discovered and am re-discovering past succeses that had slipped out of my awareness. It feels good to have them back! Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Wonderful Daniel! Congrats on completion and I am so happy to hear that you benefited from it.

  3. Hi Gillian and forum members,  I did pause and reflect more on Adveita Vedanta and Swami S. Just recently I watched a few more of his youtube videos. There is no doubt about it, I like everything about this good Monk. He has a beautiful heart, a masterful intellect and a good sense of humor. That is not going to change. However, as I listened more I did learn that Swami S. and those in his branch of Adveita Vedanta believe in reincarnation. I uphold their right to that belief but it just doesn't work for me. Also, despite all of his presentations, the question i always have remains unanswered:  if we are the thoughts of the Brahman/Atman/God and the way that being gets to know something about itself, what do we thoughts get out of this? Apparently, when we realize we are part of god we become enlightened and get to live in peace and happiness. That is at least some kind of payoff. Actually, the outcome of Enlightenment for the Buddha had that same kind of impact plus it ended his reincarnations. I am not yet sure if they are thought to end with Enlightment for Adveita Vedanta believers. Buddhism and Adveita Vedanta are beautiful and offer many practices to enrich life. I suspect I am going to enjoy their understandings, use the practices and persist with my own ideas and hopefully develop them more. Daniel

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Lovely Daniel. Perhaps counterintuitive given what we're taught or assume about 'dark' and 'light', but I also connect similarly with a great vast darkness before my eyes. Upon reflection afterwards, it reminds me of outer space. 🌒

    3. Daniel A. Detwiler

      Daniel A. Detwiler

      Thanks Gillian. Outer space captures the darkness I am describing. I really appreciate that you shared that and also that you see some darkness without it signifying something unpleasant. When I thought about what I wrote I recalled something from my earlier experiences with hypnosis. I am comfortable being hypnotized and had a positive experience with being in that state for stress relief and to diminish anxiety. When I use a simple kind of self-hypnosis, (think heightened self relaxation with positive suggestions) I see a variety of colors. Purple comes after darkness and feels restorative. Then green, which feels like hope. Next, a vivid or electric yellow green that feels vivifying. Finally, with eyes closed and facing the light in a room or outside I see a deep, thick ruby red. Somehow, that one really brings a sense of wholeness and joy to my body and mind and feels like love. I don't always go through them in that order and sometimes it is only one color but I welcome and respect them all. To me they are indicators of being and states of being, each with their own message. I respect all of them. Daniel

    4. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      This is so beautiful! I love your reflection of the various colours you tune into. Lovely 🙂

  4. If a crystal ball could tell you anything what would you want to know? I would want to know why I exist? What is the purpose I exist? Does my existence mean something? Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Great question Daniel! I am going to have to sit with this as many questions are coming to mind but when I really think about them, I am not sure I want to know the answers.

      Hmm... Maybe I would want to be given a clue that would guide me in the direction I am meant to go in. Either an image, a word, or a symbol that would represent or shine light on my purpose.

  5. Hi Gillian, I had posted on the  I AM thread that I was intrigued by Advaita Vedanta and the Swami I watched on youtube. That is still true. However, I found a new Swami by the name of Sarvapriyananda who is more in depth. His series is called "The Ultimate Truth". For some reason, the "get their quickly" approach of Rupert Spira comes in second behind these Indian Swami presentations. They don't care that you understand quickly. This Swami also has great respect for all religions and can discuss their aims with respect. That really appeals to me. While Rupert Spira is headed towards the same goal, this approach works best with my thinking and my personality. This Swami still makes the case that "all is consciousness" for some reason I am not troubled by it when he expalins it. I will say I still have no answer to the question:  Consciousness seems to be happy thinking us up. What is it that we "thoughts" get out of this arrangement? My life is dominated by a wish for fairness. Being "just a thought in the mind of consciousness" doesn't seem quite fair to me. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Thank you for this lovely sharing! I have added his name and this series to my 'to watch' list (I've recently made a list on Evernote with all the teachers, documentaries, and books that are recommended to me as I tend to lose track!).

      I really like what you've written here, saying that the importance is not on understanding quickly and that all traditions can be discussed with respect. It's very true that different people and personalities resonate with different teachings. I will certainly give this Swami a listen 🙂

  6. Hi Gillian, I think I answered your question on Rupert Spira and Depak Chopra's interview by telling you where you could find the youtube series on Advaita Vedanta. Sorry for that. Depak interviewed Spira on his book "The Nature of Consciousness" in 2017. It is a brief interview. I just watched it. The Depak and Spira interview I watched was l"from two years ago" and it was on "Being Aware of Being Aware" Rupert's latest book. All that we think are things made of matter are described as 'local manifestations" of Consciousness. There is never a word about why  consciousness manifests itself. Does consciousness have needs? Does it want to experience? Why bother creating?  Maybe it is in Rupert's books that the question is answered. The Swami never asked that question. Neither does Rupert. Maybe it is supposed to be self evident and I just miss this point? Anyway, I will watch some more of Rupert's shows on youtube. If he never answers that question I may read his books. Daniel

  7. Hi Gillian,  During an interview of Rupert Spira, Depak Chopra mentioned the Advaita Vedenta on which Rupert's work is based. I found a 6 part series on you tube explaining those concepts. After the first one, I could understand the basic concept that Rupert is using and the mode of teaching he uses. The Swami, an older American man, said that the self inquiry is the method of learning recommended by the ":Rishies" either the people who wrote these ideas or the writtem ideas themselves, who or which developed these ideas. The Swami is a plain spoken man and I found it fairly easy to follow him. I suspect he will outline more about the relationship between the divine self as he calls it, and the individual person. It is both similar to and different from some Buddhist ideas. I am going to watch them all. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Thank you Daniel! Is that the most recent interview? I started listening but just got through the beginning. I will keep my ear out for that series when I get back to it. Many thanks 🙂

    2. Daniel A. Detwiler

      Daniel A. Detwiler

      Hi Gillian,I  The series was videoed six years ago. The title is "Discovering the Source of Happiness" produced by Arsha Bodha Center in Somerset, NJ. The Swami is Tadatmananda. I really loved this presentation. Bottom line for me, I think I understand the overall concept. Consciousness exists before all. Consciousness created all that is including the natural laws, matter and energy as well as space and time. For me the next part is critical:  there is no reason given for this creation. For an independent thinker that is really a bummer. However, I do like the explanation for the existence of all we experience in the material world. Everything is made of consciousness. The Swami explains that just like we dream, from our consiousness and to us it is real, Consciousness begets us as part of itself. I think it means we are all in the dream of consciousness. And,  as consciousness created us it will destroy us and restsart the cyclical process over and over again.  That is my take on this. It is disconcerting in one sense and oddly, reassuring to me in another. It appears consciousness dreamed us to have free will and make our own decisions and have our own awarenesses; that is just part of what it created us to have. So, we are free until the "Big End". We are supposed to be happy to learn this and to feel loved by consciousness. Sometimes that feels okay; sometimes it feels like we are a science experiment.  In college in the 60's my psychology professor quoted Sir James Jeans(sp?) who said "in the final analysis, were are all just an idea in the mind of God". He was a physicist. I think that is pretty close to what the Advaita Vedanta and its modern interpreter, Rupert Spira are saying. Daniel

    3. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Thank you for sharing this Daniel. I really resonate with your words, "It is disconcerting in one sense and oddly, reassuring to me in another." The mind and ego resists but something deeper rejoices. I will look this series up. Thank you. 😊

  8. If there was just one thing I could say to someone I loved today it would be "I'm listening". Really listening means I am open to my loved one and willing to understand. It means I can stop talking and let my love one be and feel heard. Itis relationship nourishing.

  9. The question I am responding to is what season describes me and my life.  At age 73 I wo uld say Autumn.  That season is often warm, sunny and filled with blue skies. The leaves which turn color here in Illinois are always beautiful. They have an earthy smell when piled up and a nice curnch when you walk on them. Later, the month grows colder. There are days which darken sooner and things turn colder towards winter. Indoor activities heighten with warm good, cider and mulled wine shared with friends. My life is in the stage of Autumn. I have plenty of good and warm relationships. Walking in the park on warm days is wonderful. I watch my grandson play flag football and marvel at his coordination and his height which surpasses mine. My granddaughter and her girl scout Troop is readying for the annual Scare Crow contest during the pumpkin fest at the arboretum.  Her dancing classes yield a more lovely and strong young woman. They are my harvest. As Khalil Gibran says " they live in the house of the future which you can't visit even in your dreams". They will reach it however, and carry me in their hearts with them. My spiritual growth continues. After growing up Christian their is room in my life for the Buddha, his ethics and practices which enhance my understanding of Christianity. Mindfulness helps me recognize that my energy is part of the vast existence of Consciousness which is known in loving presence. I lived a life of helping others. I didn't do things perfectly but I did things mostly well. While my wife and I have a lot to liive for and to experience I feel some increasing readiness for peace and I mean the final peace. When my time is over, I suspect I will welcome whatever happens or doesn't afterward. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      @Daniel A. Detwiler

      This was such a beautiful and touching reflection. Thank you so much for this. Do you mind if I repost this in the thread on seasons?

    2. Daniel A. Detwiler

      Daniel A. Detwiler

      Please feel free to share it on the seasons thread. Thank you for your lovely comment. 

  10. If I were a role model for millions of children I would not change my behavior. I would let children know that I live a real life. For the most part I am happy but I feel all the feelings which most other people have. I would let them know that I am not perfect and don't expect myself to be. I would encourage them to understand that just like they all behave well towards others most of the time but not all of the time, I live that same way. I would also let the children know that I do not like to live my whole life as if a camera is following me just like they wouldn't. I would say I need private time to be alone, with my own friends and family just like they do. I would tell them I want the freedom not to be perfect like they do. I would ask them to think of the good things I do and let me have privacy the rest of the time. If that lack of perfection is disappointing to them, I would remind them that no one behaves  their best all the time including them and their parents. Daniel A. Detwiler

  11. Hi Gillian, something really wierd is transpiring. I just got "day 33" of mindfulness exercises. Is it supposed to last longer than 30 days? When I tried to  listen to Sean's meditation I again got a message on a red screen from MSN saying "this site has been reported as unsafe".   Again,  I typed in that "I think this site is safe".  However, they would not let me open the site. When I first got this message on day 31 I could get to the meditation. Oddly, it was not by Sean but by some lady who did not identify herself. The next day 32, it was an old meditation by Tara Brach. Is this program more than 30 days long? Do other people besides Sean do the meditations? If not, I wonder if the site has been hacked. Please investigate and let me know. I will not be attempting to download anymore until I learn from you whether these are legitimate meditations from MindfulnessExercises.com. Thanks for any help you can give me. Daniel A. Detwiler.

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Hey Daniel,

      I'm just seeing this now. Member's status updates don't show up in 'unread activity' so I don't always see them.

      If you are signed up for the 100 day mindfulness challenge, it should indeed go beyond day 30. Do you know what it was that you signed up for from the website? I am going to pass all this onto Sean and get back to you! Thanks again. 🙂

  12. I just listened to Tara Brach on day 32 of mindfulness. In response to a question she commented that being with yourself almost necessarily involves being with yourself in a kindly way or with kindness. It calls into awareness loving kindness towards whatever is in the now. Tara often recommends that when there is something challenging we become aware of to say "this too" meaning I am aware of this also and recognize it with love as being with me now. Doing so often lets the "this" move on and frees a person for another now. Letting whatever the "this" is feel loving regard can become easier as we practice doing that. It can be easier to accept something moment per moment than trying to do so in some totally profound way. Daniel

  13. Hi Gillian, I would like to comment on the importance of a system of ethics behind mindfulness meditation. In the West we teach mindfulness meditation as a system on its' own. However, it comes from Buddha and his system of ethics. Those ethics include compassion for self and all other beings, loving kindness  self and others and equanimity , being nonreactive to name just a few. Unfortunately, if those who study mindfulness don't see it as part of a transformational set of ethics which predispose them to building a better and more accepting world it might just be a self improvement technique. There is nothing wrong with self improvement. However, continuing to have hatred of others, continuing high reactivity to differences and disrespect for diversity are really not compatible with the direction towards which Budda encouraghed people to move. I would encourage all students of mindfulness and their teachers to investigate the underlying system of ethics and to incorporate them or work on doing so in their daily  lives. It is not always easy but always necessary. Daniel A. Detwilertowards

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Hi Daniel,

      I absolutely agree with you. Mindfulness is only one component of the wisdom teachings of Buddhism and other ancient philosophies. Your comment makes me think of something similar with yoga. In modern society, we tend to think of yoga as being about physical postures. Indeed this is a part of it, but asana practice is only one of Patanjali's eight limbs. WIthin the other seven limbs we find key teachings relating to non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline, concentration, and so on. It is definitely very important to explore the whole realm of these teachings because you're right - otherwise it can become about self-improvement exclusively.

  14. In a real spirit of gratitude I want to thank Gillian for her sweet comment of my recent birthday post. I also want to let all members know that I feel lucky to be in such a thoughtful and sharing group. Thank you all. Daniel

    1. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      You are most welcome Daniel! 🥳

  15. I am responding to the question:  What area do you want to feel more gratitude for? I love bringing my attention to the now especially if I have started to think about old issues. They existed in the nows of the past, they are over unless I cling to them or am actively averse to them.  When I remind myself I am in the current now, those processes stop. I am free, safe and at ease. Thich Nhaht Han says "happiness is available"  with an impish smile. I take him at his word, repeat the phrase in a new now and feel the joy. Daniel

  16. Hi Jillian, I was concerned for the predicamente Sean found himself in. May I ask if he proceeded with the live stream and if so, how? 

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Daniel A. Detwiler

      Daniel A. Detwiler

      No, where do I find it?

    3. Daniel A. Detwiler

      Daniel A. Detwiler

      Is the september 2nd comment from Sean the last information we have? Daniel

    4. Gillian Sanger

      Gillian Sanger

      Yep, that is the last we have. So I am guessing the live stream did not happen (that's my interpretation anyway).

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