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Daniel A. Detwiler

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Everything posted by Daniel A. Detwiler

  1. Your description of happiness really rang true Rachel. I especially loved hearing your enjoyment of your daughter dancing. Beautiful! I have a granddaughter who dances and I share your sentiment. I am very happy when I laugh. My wife and I had our two grandchildren for a weekend recently and we played a hysterical board game in which each player choses a totally inappropriate response to a life situation described on a card. We all laughed until we cried. It was fun to share a slight "breaking of the rules of social interaction" with them in a safe situation. Because none of us would EVER say these things it was delicious to hear them come out of our mouths. My body shook with the joy and fun of it all. Those moments of pure fun made us all really happy. It was bodily, mentally and emotionally releasing. Also a moment of acceptance. We loved it. Daniel
  2. I appreciate your responses Gillian and Rachel. I am continuing to feel relief from the burden of anger. To let it go as both of you have described does something very good for the one who lets it go. Having some understanding that the other was/is wounded is easier with time as my own wounds from those negative encounters yield to healing. Compassion and acceptance are the beautiful qualities that you mention that allow us to move on. It feels enhancing to respond with them rather than anger and hurt. Thanks again.
  3. I had a tough experience in the last few years with an autocratic person. I was a leader in a program and that person led another. When my group and I advocated for a change to a topic that involved both groups, that person went wild. That person communicated in a way that was dehumanzing. After my last enconter I was literally in a state of shock.That person organized an attempt to turn a common community against us. It ended in a stalemate. I resigned to recuperate from the withering attacks. Then, a new leader from our group and other new members attempted interaction again. Same wild and savage response. The response was so strong and irrational again,that no one, even in that person's own group stood with them. When savage and wild didn't work anymore that person resigned in fury. That person no longer had any power to use as a weapon. It has taken two years. I now can see how damaged that person must have been as a child. I can see how their power went unchecked life long making it seem like a workable style to them. With use of the loving kindness meditation over months I am just about able to recognize that that person was caught in a web of reactions their whole life. Now, I am able to breathe air and let that person breath too. I feel free to be the person I truly am because I have some idea of how that person became that dictatorial way. My inner peace, even when that person crosses my mind, is intact. I now recognize that being engaged in those memories depletes me. I am letting them go. It has been a long road but if I am not at foregiveness ,at least I am at tolerance. That feels like a victory for understanding. It is the outcome of time,and reflection on what made that person as they are, that got me to peace. Daniel
  4. I think cultivating acceptance, contentment, patience and purpose is an excellent idea. It strikes me that they are all corner stones of a positive and healthy way of being. May you continue your success in doing so and have wonderful experiences. Daniel
  5. I recently commented that I liked the teaching of the monk swami Sarvapriananda better than his lay counterpart Rupert Spira. I noted that I liked that Swami was steeped in the ancient sages and their wisdom. Actually, I feel the same way about Buddhism. I love when Jack Kornfield or Joseph Goldstein reference ancient texts and stories about Buddha. Like Swami S. they convey the stories to illustrate the ethics of their beliefs and the chants and somewhat devotional nature of them. For me, mindfulness is at its fullest embedded in the Buddha and his teachings. Joseph Goldstein is especially skillful at going through the Buddhist Suttras and explaining them. At my age of 73, I notice I am increasingly inclined to grasp more about the ultimate nature of and reason for life itself. What is all of this about? I ask myself. This could seem odd to others, but I am increasingly comforted by videos of near death survivors or retunees as they call themselves. I have heard every day kind of people, Catholic priests, neurologists and just recently an orthopedic surgeon describe the same thing: engulfment in the absolute brilliance of white light with the purest unconditional love enveloping them. A life review with no judgment and a chance to see things from the view of others with whom they have had bad experiences to enahance their compassion. The final lesson: return and love everyone and everything. For me, this gives a purpose to my life and a direction to follow. I also understand "enlightment" much more concretely now. Not only does it give the widest and deepest understanding, it is the actual baptism into the light of love. Daniel
  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. Hi Gillian, I watched both of these videos and they are equisite! I like thinking that a beautiful experience comes after death. I am also getting more comfortable thinking of (or recognizing?) that after all I am simply consciousness. Consciousness that experiences through this mind, this intellect, this brain and this body. I am into day 23 of the FitMind program which comes after completion of the 100 days program. Today, the leader had us focus on the consciousness behind our eyes. He posed the question "Who is it that sees through your eyes?" In the old days when mindfulness and meditation were new that question scared me. Now, not as much. It still feels like to admit I am consciousness is something that takes a leap; the kind of leap when you step into the not well known willingly, like bungee jumping off a bridge. If you can do it, the exhilaration is reportedly magnificent. Fear transforms into delight. I want to compliment Sean on designing a course which prepares the student for the deeper side of meditation after 100 days of preparation. Daniel
  9. I really loved this film. Thanks for sharing it. Daniel
  10. 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 🙂

  11. I am glad you found it. My admiration for the excellent scholar and teacher that Swami S. is just grows. He is an engaging person. I still remember the question I was going to ask Rupert Spira "What do humans and indeed all of creation "get" out of being a thought of consciousness/God?" Rupert and, I believe Swami S. indicate that we, the created thoughts, are the ways consciousness/God has to know about itself, through us" A rebellious streak in me wants to say with a very snarky tone "Isn't that nice for Consciousness/God!. It found a way to know itself". I wonder "What does creation "get" out of this? To my American mind, full of concern for justice and equality, this seems one sided. We go through all of our ups and downs just so Consciousness/God can know itself? I can't tell you how much better I feel know that I have let out those feelings of unfairness and injustice! I am going to switch tones completely here: I have watched many videos about near death experiences. About one in five seem real. The others seem some how made up to get attention. There are now national organizations who meet to discuss and it seems, brag about, their NDE's! Among the videos, however, are some with a description I can relate to. In those, time and space are the horizon of a field they stand in. There is a hint of golden light in a twilight kind of sky. These people feel that all of space and time are present. The Golden light is the Being of Light. They report and most of the NDE people also do, the feeling of complete unconditional love from that Being of Light. They might see a vague outline of the Being but nothing more. One was a Roman Catholic Priest. He saw and felt something far beyond any doctrine. No angels, saints or others. Just absolute love and welcome from the light. This appeals to me as it might indicate that complete love awaits after death. That, would be a pretty good payoff for being the means through which Consciousness/God uses us to know itself. Anyway, that's where I am at this point. Daniel
  12. Hi Gillian, while I would bet that the one you sent covers virtually the same topic, it is not the one I watched. However, when I opened this one among other Swami S. works listed on the side, I found the one I did watch! The exact title is "Practical applications of Vedanta" Swami Sarvapriananda, Vedanta Society, April 24, 2016." I recommend searching for this specific one for several reasons. Swami S. starts the talk by reviewing the impact of Swami Vivikananada(sp?). Swami V was, I believe, the swami who brought Advaita Vedanta to New York in 1895. Swami S. says how powerful he finds the talks of Swami V. Guess What? This talk is a direct line to that power. Swami S. sees, hears and feels it all and communicates it with warmth, kindness and humor! It is what some Christian religionists would say is "getting the WORD" . It feels fully developed and authentic. I hope you can find this specific talk. Daniel
  13. Hi Gillian, I just finished watching Swami S. in an older youtube done when he was even younger. He lectures at the NY vedanta society. In this talk, called, I believe "The practical Approach to Vedanta" Swami is at his best! He compresses all of Advaita Vendanta into one lecture. I truly recommmend this one! I loved the line "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are a spiritual being having a human experiences." That is as close to a one line capsule of the belief of Advaita Vedanta that I think anyone could produce. I have to admit, his brilliance, his use of colloquial American phrases and his mastery of the languages of India make him such a terrific speaker. I am going to give myself pause from watching him. Why? His magic is working. I am having a harder and harder time not believing that Advaita Vedanta may actually be correct! Daniel
  14. Hi Gillian, I would recommend Swami Sarvapriananda's youtube video on Adveita Vedeanta and his one on Maya. The first describes what Advaita Vedanta is and the second focuses on the meaning of the world we live in, which is somehow an apperance of the eternal Atman, the God or the True Self. I am glad you asked me to recommend a video. I had to think seriously about which to recommend. That spurred me to think what I enjoy about Swami. I had already shared that he is younger but deeply aware of his philosophy, could be funny and is joyful as well as serious when he needs to be. Today, it all came together, he is a brilliant scholar besides these things. I went to a college, now university, filled with brilliant scholars. I adored them and respected them. My major professor at SIU-Carbondale and the chairman of the Department of Higher Education were brilliant scholars as were the two directing Pediatricians I worked with in the Department of Pediatrics. It is clear that I am having a very positive transference reaction to Swami. I love his dedication to learning. He is a true master of Advaita Vedanta. So skilled, that he can admit all the challenges to it, value other philophies and religions in their particular quests and have his ear on popular culture. Quite a person. I prefer Buddhist philosophy and psychology but their scholars have met their match in Swami Sarvapriananda. Daniel
  15. One thing I do is to ask myself what that part of me is trying to achieve through that negative response. For example, If I found myself really defensive in a conversation I might later review and sort through what I was trying to do by that defensiveness. Your thoughts, feelings or bodily reactions may tell you something about that. I found that I become defensive if I feel attacked in some way. Sometimes, the problem is my perception is off. Other times I found I was reacting to a controlling attitude I picked up from another person that reminded me of a time when I felt helpless to respond. The inquiry gives some answers. Tara Brach describes a process of naming the feelings or thoughts that you dislike in yourself and letting them know that they are a part of your experience. Neither being aversive to them nor clinging to them. It is a tall order but works somewhat with me. Finally, talking to a therapist or trusted person can be helpful. Daniel
  16. The quote and the picture are amazing. Thanks for sharing them. Daniel A. Detwiler
  17. Thanks for your response, Jeff. I didn't know that the question had been posed to him. The source I read related to some perusal of Buddhist texts that described what they called the "murky" ideas about what happens to the enligtened one after death. I don't think Buddha worried about it. If I understand correctly, he was just happy to break the cycle of reincarnation through enlightenment and was content with that outcome. I can understand why that might have been "enough" for him. Daniel
  18. Hello Gillian, David and all forum members, I found a fascinating site called Buddhism Stack Exchange. On it Buddhist's and others knowledgeable of Buddhism answer questions submitted by people. They offered an excellent distinction between Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism. Those philosophies disagree about elements of consciousness and its purpose. However, what I especially liked is that the scholar recognized that both philosophies and practices admit to a "something else" behind this world of sensory experience. What it is called differs. I found that a uniting kind of experience. I love Swami Sarvapriyananda. What I love is that he is filled with great joy. To me, the joy of the Buddha flashes out from his smile. I also like that he sings the beautiful blessings found in his own tradition. Even translated they are totally beautiful. He is a young sage. While I prefer the Buddhist ideas, he shows the beautiful side of an enlightened being. He is joyous, realistic, aware and happy with his life. That enduring smile of the Buddha is not found only in Buddhism. Back to the Buddhism Stack Exchange: all participants have to sign a code of ethics before posting. They promise not to distort anything and not to engage in condemnation of differences. That makes me trust them much more. I plan to pose questions to the scholars about Buddhism and anticipate great answers. One final note, I have often wondered what Buddhism might say about the state of an enlightened one after death. One answer from another source (not Buddhism Stack Exchange) said that Buddhist thought about that state is "murky". The author said that it appears that the enlighteed person after death may become something like energy. I was delighted with that idea. In another post I am going to share some of my thinking about what that might mean. Daniel P.S. The swami always says this prayer: Om, may you lead us from darkness to light, lead us from the unreal to the real, lead us from death to immortality. Om Shanti (peace), Shanti, Shanti. Beautiful
  19. My very best wishes to you Jon Petur. Daniel
  20. Hello Gillian and other forum members, I just watched another fascinating talk by Swami Sarvapriyananda. This was on youtube and was listed as being from 3 days ago. He gave beautiful metaphors for Awareness. He calls Awareness the Witness. It witnesses our body and our mind. However, it is neither of them. The Swami described Awareness as light. Light illumes all no matter how pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad. However, light does not stick to what it illumines; it is not a substance. Another description: Awareness is like a colorless crystal. However, put a colorful red rose behind it. Look through the front of the crystal and" you will see the crystal is appears red. However, it is still colorless and looks that way again when you remove the rose. Awareness itself does not change. Another example, Place a colorless glass filled with water just in front of one filled with orange juice. You will see two glasses of orange juice. However, the one with the water is still colorless. The Swami said the thoughts, perceptions etc. of our brains are witnessed by Awareness but they are separte from it. Sensations, pains, pleasures of the body are witnessed by Awareness. Humans say "I am happy, sad etc." We say " I am confused, stressed worried etc." Awareness is the detached witness to what humans tell themselves or feel. So detachment exists always for Awareness. The deepest I Am is witnessing what the body and mind say and feel, but it is not mind or body. Again, I find this liberating. I believe it is worth meditating on the deepest I Am which witnesses us but is not us. It seems the deepest I Am exists in us as well, always present, always witnessing. I am not quite sure how, but this dovetails with Buddhism in the way I think of it. The not self seems to be the body and mind. Moving to liberation from them may mean we econter the deepest I Am of Awareness and Consciousness. Rupert Spira was recently asked if his approach differed from the sages of Adveita Vedanta and he said s"no" He admitted his style of teaching used different words or metaphors but that self inquiry was his key teaching as it it for the sages. I like Rupert very much. However, after watching enough of his workshops I can say that, for me, he moves way too quickly. One poor woman was in distress, she reported, when in one day all of her Catholic upbringing and thoughts of God now seemed wrong. To me, that indicates moving way too fast. I like the Swami's approach better. He also recognized that developing this awareness is harder for people of the world than for monks whose only job is to study and meditate. The Dalai Lama said something similar in a video I saw of him. I enjoyed their compassion for those of us in the world. Daniel A. Detwiler
  21. 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.

  22. 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 🙂

  23. 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

  24. Hi David, I agree with you. I requoted John Kabat-Zinn, (see my earlier message). My point is: mindfulness is much more than concentration and it comes with ethics. Just so you know, I don't want the sharpshooters killed either. Daniel
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