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Daniel A. Detwiler

The I AM meditation for day 51

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I just finished the I AM meditation for day 51. It was an extremely powerful experience. From the instant I heard the speaker's voice I felt safe in some profound way. He moved at a slow pace during the meditation and each comment or question took me deeper into and experience of awareness. I had very few thoughts  but strong responses to being the I AM, the eternal consciousness. I was moved by the statement that all that comes into awareness is not me. I am the consciousness aware of the idea or thought or topic. I know this is a more Hindu thought but it blends into the Buddhist ideas of consciousness. I did not want to open my eyes when the recording ended. It felt so wonderful being where I let it take me. Daniel

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What a beautiful experience this sounds to be Daniel. Thank you for sharing. I remember having a similar experience when listening to a meditation by Rupert Spira - this sense of being able to sit with the simplicity of being without having to add any descriptors, any roles, and qualifiers to the raw sense, 'I AM'.

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Hi Gillian, just back from a two mile walk in the park on a gorgeous day. After lunch, I listened again. Same profound response. I am so glad Sean has this in the course. Different things work for different people. This works with me. Coincidentally, I discovered Rupert Spira on Youtube. I had listened to him several times over the past few weeks. He is known for the Hindu emphasis on I Am:  consciousness is all; things present themselves to it. To me this is so freeing. Somehow we/I are part of consciousness and all those thoughts and feelings are ephemeral phenomena. That signals a liberation to me. Thanks for your kind response. Daniel

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On 10/9/2020 at 12:51 PM, Daniel A. Detwiler said:

Coincidentally, I discovered Rupert Spira on Youtube.

I'm right there with you watching Spira on Youtube. I find both his talks and meditations very liberating and touching. Glad to hear his words and way of being resonates with you as well 🙂

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It is interesting to know that physicists are working on the nature of consciousness as well as philosophers and others. Last night on youtube I watched a presentation that summed up four published papers reasoning that consciousness has quantum qualities and works on the brain in certain ways. They are tipping towards an independence of consciousness that relates to the brain but is distinct from it. I think that the next 50 years will see a revolution in our understanding of consciousness. Daniel

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I’m tossing out my vote for consciousness being totally manufactured by the organism basically to serve it in considering alternative responses to presenting scenarios and also for anticipating approaches to possible future ones. To me, this has the advantage of being more immediate to experience and less speculative, not that we can know the answer now. From a Mindfulness perspective I think it might be a good practice to examine what these views get going in us and what leads us to gravitate to one answer or the other, considering each is speculative. In my meditation group I had a person ask me out of the blue after a guided meditation what I thought about there being “a fourth dimension?”

I basically asked, “Of what, are you suggesting a dimension of universal consciousness?”

His eyes lit up and he said, “Yes.” When I told him we don’t know and cannot know, an interesting question from a mindfulness perspective would be what gets going in us that prefers a particular viewpoint, he rolled his eyes in disgust and never came back! I thought to myself how we identify with viewpoints and cling to them in ways that promote divisions and hostility! 

From the perspective of inclusivity, I believe either view can be a resource on a beautiful spiritual path. I tend to believe that we tend to project unexamined rationalizations onto others and the universe in ways that cause troubles for ourselves and others, so whenever in doubt I assume that is a good starting point. In whatever ways we are all interconnected and interdependent.

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Thanks for sharing this David! I'd love to dive into this a bit...

I absolutely think that coming back to curiosity about why we gravitate towards particular viewpoints is crucial. In spiritual communities, this can easily go unexamined, but spiritual beliefs deserve the same level of mindfulness and curiosity as any other sorts of beliefs. We can attach ourselves to spiritual philosophies or ideas just as much as anything else.

I am also curious as to how you define consciousness. From my perspective, I don't see consciousness as something manufactured by the organism, but perhaps that is because my understanding of consciousness is simply the ability to be aware. It feels to me that this arises when we are born. Animals and plants are conscious too, and I have also heard that there is another school of philosophy (can't remember what it is called at the moment) that believes everything holds consciousness - rocks, minerals, and all the rest.

So I guess from this understanding, it is difficult for me to see that consciousness is created by the organism. It feels more that it is created by consciousness itself maybe? The universe? Something I find difficulty giving a name to for sure.

Let me know your thoughts on all this 🙂

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Hi David, First, I value the posts you make. I hope you continue your comments from your own point of view.  I agree that we are interconnected and interdependent. I also agree it is important to examine why we might be attracted to one spiritual path or another. I will share a preference of my own:  please look into quantum physics. There are a lot of quantum physicists that are following data and its implications in their scientific work. One is Brian Green. His data suggest String Theory is a viable explanation for the universe. His data suggest that the universe is part of a multiverse connected somehow by "strings" of energy. This theory postulates that there are between 9 and 11 other dimensions which humans can't experience. This may seem incredible but currently, with the unaided human eye we can not see ultraviolet light, but it exists. I have waded into this information on quantum physics for the last two years and many of my earlier beliefs have been challenged. I do want to mention that four physicists in refereed scientific journals have published data suggesting that consciousness may well exist independent of the mind but works through the mind in humans and perhaps other sentient beings. I feel humbled when I read or see videos of these people presenting their data. They surely could all be wrong. They would all admit that. However, some of them may be correct. There are many more fundamental discoveries of quantum physics which are not doubted but quite shocking at first encounter. Those are beyond what I want to say here.  I agree that assumptions about a philosphical base of a spiritual path can be related to why we might choose one over another. I love Buddhism and Buddha for the positive social impact we all can have following his ethics. I follow mindfulness for that reason. However, the Hindu  concept of the Atman, the "real" spritual self appeals to me as well. I can hold these differing ideas of self and not mind that they disagree. I am more inclined to Buddhist Vispanna meditation and plan to stick with it. I expect and hope that there is room in your life for a seeker like me. Daniel

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Yes, Daniel, you seem to be speaking from the beautiful heart, the beautiful spiritual path, not the one projecting something extra-special about "me" to grip tightly. From my perspective, all we have are these six senses to discern our place. They are limited, in some respects not as sensitive as other living creatures that, for example, perceive ultraviolet or infrared light. Yet, we have this tendency to believe ourselves to be the "crown of creation" or as ushering in the means of the universe to become aware of itself and optimize its true nature. I ardently believe this reflects something likely very beautiful in our nature that really gets distorted through the lens of self, through "anthropomorphizing" you might say.  Such a big word to reflect our self-importance. Sometimes I ask myself, "What is the place of the trillions of bacteria and other microbes that help compose "me" in the exalted self?...that cause this body to bloat and rot when drained of life? I don't know, but it has a way of making me feel very humble.

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11 hours ago, Gillian Sanger said:

I am also curious as to how you define consciousness. From my perspective, I don't see consciousness as something manufactured by the organism, but perhaps that is because my understanding of consciousness is simply the ability to be aware. It feels to me that this arises when we are born. Animals and plants are conscious too, and I have also heard that there is another school of philosophy (can't remember what it is called at the moment) that believes everything holds consciousness - rocks, minerals, and all the rest.

I will not even make such an attempt! As for consciousness being the ability to be aware, I would differ and say that consciousness has the characteristic of being aware of awareness, a reflective quality. There obviously are simpler examples of neural responses to stimuli or chemically mediated responses in plants and inanimate things. But, as far as we know, those things lack awareness of the fact and cannot reflect on them or their qualitative impact. I like thinking about the subconscious or unconscious that might still meet a definition of consciousness except that we are not conscious of them! I prefer a definition of consciousness that deals with what of which we are aware from a phenomalogical perspective. Just me.

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Hi David, thank you for  seeing Gillian and I  as people on the spiritual path as you clearly are. You, Gillian and I may have various ideas about consciousness but we are all open to learning more. I read that beautiful poem you  sent us the link to. Poets so often capture truths that ordinary prose doesn't. I found it quite meaningful. Thanks for letting us know you are on retreat. May the experience be only good. Daniel

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Hi Gillian and David, Gillian and I had watched some you tube videos by Rupert Spira. So far I believe I am correct about some things he is saying. The most important is that everything is AWARENESS. He posits a grand awareness. The relationship of this pervasive awarenss to awareness in a person is not clear in all aspects to me yet. I think he is saying that when people are aware they participate in the grand awareness. I can see some logic to that. My continuing question is what are WE?. I think he would say "Awareness experiencing". That reminds me of the (very old) Baltimore Chatechism of the Catholic Church of my childhood. The question "Why did God make us?" The answer: "God made us to know him, love him and serve him in this world and the next". Surprisingly, that answer might just fit with what I think Ruperrt Spira thinks. There is only Awareness (God) and we participate in his life. I always feel uncomfortable when an approach leaves out my seemingly real life. However, I am going to keep listening to Rupert to try to understand how he conceptualizes the lives of individuals. I think the answer is:  we have awareness and it is part of the grand awareness. Our task is to recognize we are part of that. Rupert is a poet and a writer and a potter of beautiful ceramics. He certainly does lots of activities. He is married with a daughter. What I would like to find out is; what is the purpose of our lives and modes of expression. Why do we seem to be independent if there is only awareness. Does the Grand Awareness benefit from our activities? Deep thoughts. Daniel

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Lovely reflections. Thanks for sharing @Daniel A. Detwiler!

On 10/21/2020 at 1:59 AM, Daniel A. Detwiler said:

That reminds me of the (very old) Baltimore Chatechism of the Catholic Church of my childhood. The question "Why did God make us?" The answer: "God made us to know him, love him and serve him in this world and the next". Surprisingly, that answer might just fit with what I think Ruperrt Spira thinks.

It is interesting to draw the parallel between non-dual teachings and religious notions of God. The more I've explored my own spiritual practice, the more I start to understand what God can mean in the most universal sense. For a long time I perhaps feared or misunderstood the term 'God' and yet I think I am opening up to it or coming to understand it in a new way - not in a religious sense, but rather understanding it to be some mysterious divine energy that is in each cell, each bone, each animal, and so forth. The je ne sais quoi of consciousness maybe. Does this make sense?

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That makes total sense to me. I am with you that the term "God" can and does mean so much more than only in a religious formulation. In the story of Moses having the call from God to go see the pharoah, Moses says something like "whom shall I say sent me?"  The famous and seemingly inscrutable answer was "Tell him 'I Am" sent you". While the Jewish people feel their unique status as the people of God, that name is universal. I think God, tipped his/her/its hat by that name. Generations later, with our minds broadened we can hold different meanings for "I Am". Exactly how that essence is in us or we are part of it, I am not sure of. However, there seems to be a real relationship with consciousness/being/the divine/God.. Tara Brach speaks of the "loving presence' often when she is describing consciousness. I love that term and think of consciousness often that way. We are on the path of understanding, it seems. Daniel

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