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Daniel A. Detwiler

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Posts 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

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  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.

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  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

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  4. 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

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  5. 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

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  6. 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

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  7. 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

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  8. 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

  9. 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

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  10. 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

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  11. 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

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  12. 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

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  13. 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

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  14. I appreciate your comment Gillian. Thanks for the mention of the book that was useful to you. I am continuing to pursue mindful eating. I get better at doing it with each meal. Really tasting the healthy things I am eating leads to much more satisfaction. I can easily drift off into thoughts but I am improving at recognizing that process and calling myself back to being mindful of my meal. Daniel

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  15. My first response is that I could use more mindfulness in all of the areas mentioned. One I currently am working on is mindfulness of eating. I am using the program Noom for weight management. The program is based on cognitive behavioral and positive psychology. I have been documenting every meal for three plus weeks. Here's one important thing I learned. Even though I now prepare meals, plate them, have water with them and sit down to eat them, after the first bite I psychologically go somewhere else. Lost in thought describes the experience. At some point, I become aware of that and try to reorient my attention. It fails. Next, my plate of food is gone. I don't remember how anything tasted, whether it was satifying or quite how I got to the end of eating what was on my plate. Because, I carefully chose what to eat and the amounts, I know I "ate well and enough". That works to prompt me to wait 20 minutes for the feeling of satieity. Once it occurs, I recognize I don't need to eat until the next meal. However, I don't experience any of the tastes that occurred during my "thoughtful diversion". I have set simple goals: at least stay present for the first thing I eat, or the first part of the meal. I will work on trying to stay mindful in stages. This is a lifelong habit. Family meal times when I was a child were horrible. Always filled with anger, stress and control. I think thoughts and eating quickly were survival skills. Nonethe less, I am not at that family of origin, I am in my own home and family which is totally for the better. Being mindful is about the only way I can think of to break this lifelong tendency. Daniel

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  16. This is a comment based on my experience in what I thought was the safest kind of training:  one on parenting techniques. It was a structured programs with modules to learn about communication and some group sharing of ideas that worked and those that didn't. For 90 % of this small discussion (not therapy) group things went well. I had not pre-screened clients. Big mistake! Unbeknownst to me, one member had bipolar disorder under control with medication and physician management. There was no topic that was appeared to be upsetting to that person. Nor did that person report distress. However, after about the 4th session she had to be hospitalized for a bipolar episode. Her family thought that just being in the group was too stressful though she never reported that to me or any member. That taught me the importance of some kind of pre-screening; an interview or background application that asks about past difficulties, trauma and history of treatment. I don't intend to teach mediatation, but if I did, pre-screening would be the first thing I did. Individual teaching or teaching done after consultation with a therapist seeing the potential mediatator is something I would use. These are only my ideas. I respect all other opinions. Daniel

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  17. There was a quote from John Kabatt-Zinn on Day 70 of Mindfulness Exercises. He said that while mindfulness is said to be at the "heart of Buddhism" it is not about Buddhism but simply about concentration. However, there is a real danger in divorcing the two. Mindfulness is being used, reportedly, to improve the ability of sharpshooters to kill their "targets" by armed forces. I realize those targets are probably trying to kill those who shoot to kill them. Somehow, there is still a violation of anything Buddha would ever have wanted for Mindfulness to help with by this type of use. If it is only concentration, nor morality involved necessarily. If it is to contemplate ways to remedy unsatisfactorisness, or suffering in life, there is a set of ethics attached. So, be aware that divorced from the Buddhist ethics of loving kindness, compassion and equanimity "just concentration" can be effective and deadly. Daniel

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  18. Hi Gillian, I did check out Rupert Spira's website. There is a talk I could join on October 29th. However, I have had two bad experiences with using my credit card overseas. One was in the United Kingdom wherre Rupert is. The other through some unknown route went to India. Bottom line, a rash of charges I never made and two new credit cards in about 3 months. So, I'm too burnt by those experiences to try an international charge again. I loved the idea. My plan now is to check his podcasts and youtube programs for any discussion of the role of the individual person. It will take a while but whatever I learn this way I will share. Daniel

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