Monday, 6 February 2017

Obstacles and Their Cures: Part-4

The following may read like total BS to those who haven’t experienced any of it. Such events/experiences do not seem like natural and get classified as supernatural. But anything goes in the realm of the Mind, its all natural there. Anyhow, I don't claim the below as factual, it is all mysterious, if its your experience, it is a fact, else not. I do not have an extensive and in depth knowledge or experience in such matters, but have encountered enough weirdness so that I’m not anymore amazed if someone tells me about some odd thing that happened. I’m amazed, however, when someone tells me such things are impossible [1].

Paranormal phenomena: are a norm when your path is not so normal. By not normal I mean its trajectory goes via unknown or unknowable terrain of the Mind. When you encounter something that you do not encounter so frequently, it gets classified as paranormal. A smartphone is an example of a paranormal thing for an Amazonian tribal, who never encountered a modern man with a smartphone before. When you take up above kinds of paths, you are like that Amazonian tribal. Things are neither normal nor paranormal, you are either inexperienced or experienced.

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We have discussed physiological manifestations and purification of body, its borderline paranormal, it freaks you out successfully. Once you get used to it, its all normal. The first paranormal event a seeker may encounter is presences of all kinds. You can’t see them, but you can feel them. A meditator will often hear voices, some are hallucinations, some are not, so we are still on the borderline. There is no sharp boundary between normal and paranormal, as you must have guessed, mother nature doesn’t draw sharp boundaries. It becomes certainly paranormal only when you can see or hear them repeatedly and can often make them appear on whim. A meditator will hear knocking sounds, like a wall being hit with a small stick or like finger snaps. You can actually confirm that its not a hallucination, because you can open your eyes, get up and its still there and others can probably hear it too. It will happen exactly at the moment you are settled into a peaceful state of the mind. It brings you back, kills that state. And hence, we are dealing with such things under the heading of obstacles.

You may get scared and stop going into that room alone, or worse you may drop your practice. You will find that once you drop your practice, all weirdness stops. Makes you wonder. Second very common paranormal event is out of body experiences (aka Astral Projections). Experiences of leaving the body, being just point consciousness floating around, remote viewing stuff, being able to see through walls and seeing your own body sitting on cushion peacefully meditating, are very common experiences. Oobes can go wild, when you encounter humanlike entities and find yourself in strange worlds. For some, its fun, and its also a Siddhi (minor power), but for most, it’s a nightmare. It scares them like nothing and they drop the practice.

Some may encounter negativity, but its very rare, and is an indication that you are doing something stupid. Like attracts like. But it is enough to throw you away from the whole practice. Fortunately, many paranormal events are of a positive kind. Strange synchronicities are common. “Accidentally” you get exactly the book you need most, you meet exactly your kind of teacher, events magically arrange themselves to cause a highly improbable event that instantly teleports you way ahead on your path. Its not all bad. It becomes an obstacle if you let it affect your practice. You assume that your practice is of a wrong kind, and you give it up, you are too afraid to practice, or perhaps go in reverse and try to experience more paranormal because its fun, and remain stuck with petty paranormal stuff instead of going ahead. You’ve turned your extraordinary experiences into an extraordinary obstacle.

Why does that happen? For the same reason normal stuff happens. It is what it is. You are dealing with the Mindscape directly, you are editing it, making changes, adding things in it. Moreover your mind is more open and peaceful and less afflicted with fossilized beliefs (“this cannot happen” type). Mind is dissolving its old boundaries and barriers that it erected to keep you bound to the physical and to the Ego. You have already seen enough to know anything is possible in the realm of Mind. Its infinitely creative, malleable, responsive and mysterious. In your journey towards the Self, you are exploring thus far unknown territories of the Mind, you are digging tunnels in it, and occasionally some tunnel, some cavern takes you to an unusual place, a place you’ve never been before. It opens the doors to more, unless of course, you run out of there throwing your whole practice on the way.

How to deal with it? Best way is to ignore and carry on. Stuff happens. Your practice is more important, not the stuff, normal or otherwise. It doesn’t lasts, it comes and goes, or becomes normal because its an everyday occurrence, we easily get conditioned into it. If you are scared, know it well, knowledge kills the fear of unknown. If its irritating, try different things, like pausing the practice for a while, changing the place of practice, “purifying” the place with a strong intention or taking the help of someone else who has some experience and has stronger intentions. Lastly, other experienced seekers and teachers can help you if it becomes too messy.

If you encounter negativity, immediately re-evaluate what you are doing. Is there a better path? Is that practice unsuitable for you? Are you afflicted with intense anger, fear or lust? Is your practice directed at harming someone, meddling with nature or are you madly pursuing powers? As I said, like attracts like. Purify yourself first, don’t try to control or manipulate what is beyond your capability. We can only fix ourselves, this magic formula applies in paranormal conditions too.

If you find that you are hankering after paranormal experiences, know that your Ego has turned your practice into a cheap entertainment for itself. Something, from which you can learn a lot, has become an obstacle, its stopping you from learning now. You may encounter deities, guides or non-physical creatures of all kinds, they may offer help. Use them for your progress only if you think you are capable of that, else remember that the looks can be deceiving. It is entirely possible that the Mind throws a bone of paranormal that sends you off chasing it, to ensure its survival when it learns that such experiences easily distract you. It will do even the impossible to prevent its dissolution. Of course, you are not killing the Mind, you cannot, but it perceives your practice as a danger. Isn’t the Mind itself that is practicing? Yes, that’s the real funny thing. The higher parts of the Mind are trying to clean the lower parts (Ego etc). Its slightly convoluted, but not difficult to understand.

Minor Powers: aka Siddhis may or may not manifest on the course of your practice, and if they do, they generally end up being obstacles [2]. You suddenly discover that you can do something amazing which very few people can do. You run after it like a mad, and get engrossed in it, its novel, its fascinating, its fun. If the power is of a paranormal nature, the distraction is even more effective. By the time you are done playing with it, you will realize that you are stuck at the same point in your path since years and have accumulated a ton of consequences, fruits of your unusual actions that are waiting to bring unusual troubles for you. What could have been a fun learning opportunity has been turned into a major obstacle.

I’ve never seen an Ego that does not love power. That’s what an Ego wants, to be powerful, to be in control. It gets its agenda fulfilled even if it gets the slightest edge in the struggle for survival. It gives prime importance to powers. It also drops on knees before those who have powers, it gets to tastes their fruits just by licking the feet of a powerful person. Power corrupts.

We already have many powers, these are just the extraordinary abilities of the Mind, which we have discussed in depth before, we do not notice them because its “normal”, many people have them. They do not enchant us or give us an abnormal advantage in the race for survival, so we just ignore them. Extreme intelligence is one such power, sharp memory, strong attention, ability to remain uninfluenced by Egoic tendencies or emotions, artistic and aesthetic abilities, imagination and creativity, and many other such abilities are just minor siddhis that the Mind acquires during its evolution. If animals could talk, they’d call us miracle makers, the abilities humans have are amazing. Just that we have become habitual of seeing them around, and they no longer get classified as extraordinary powers.

People who can draw and paint or compose beautiful music are seen as gifted, we forget that it’s a mental power. People with very high intelligence, who are hyper imaginative and extremely creative are rare, but appear magical and extraordinary (Nikola Tesla or Da Vinci are good examples). People with extraordinary mathematical and logical abilities are also rare (e.g. Ramanujan), this gift can be seen as a minor powers, one can only dream of acquiring them. People with photographic memories are rare too, who can memorize entire books in hours and recite them word by word after 20 years, or recall everything they saw or did on any particular day of their life, they exist. We call them autistic savants, their minds are different, and hence brains are different too. It is considered odd, a psycho-neurological exception. However, in my opinion, they just possess minor powers.

We have already discussed some examples of minor powers that are somewhat more “non-ordinary”. Such as Oobes or sensing things etc. Another common ability a newbie seeker may get is the ability to sense the character or intention of a person. He may get highly attracted or repulsed by certain people merely by being with them for a minute. He may sense dangers before they happens, may get small premonitions etc. These are infrequent and impermanent. Some advanced seekers may develop mediumistic tendencies, can develop the art of auto-writing or channelling. Some get remote viewing abilities. Some get unexplainable abilities to attract wealth and beautiful women. Some get abilities to diagnose diseases or to cure them magically. Predicting future, ability to harm people from a distance, ability to read other’s minds and thoughts or to manipulate them, ability to stay awake in dreams, to astral travel and meet entities at will, ability to influence and manipulate people for worldly powers, so on and so forth, there can be hundreds of them. These are all minor powers [3].

Why do powers appear? We always had them. A better question will be – why did they disappear and we became so limited? The short answer is – to experience a limited human life, for various reasons. What you call powers is just gradual unveiling of what’s already there. Its not something new, our human limitations are new, an add on. They begin reappearing (or we remember them again, metaphorically speaking) as we reach nearer to our home, which is our Self, the infinitely powerful, creative and omnipotent no-thing. First realization that dawns is that the Mind is universal, our individuated minds are just disconnected fragments of it. The world, body and brain are artificial barriers that separate us individuals from accessing the universal extent of the Mind. Once you understand this, all answers to the paranormal fall into place. So for example, reading other’s mind becomes a child’s play because now you can access that part of the universal Mind, as your barriers are dissolving. You can heal others because the bodies are just mental structures in the megastructure called Mind, and you can manipulate any bodies as easily as you manipulate your own thoughts. As a home work, try explaining all those powers in the light of the fact that all is one, there is no separation.

How to stop them from becoming an obstacle? It is very important to ignore them and to not to act on the urge to use them. Sometimes you can’t help, its involuntary (say extreme sensitivity to people), but some powers can be controlled and their use for Egoic purposes becomes a certainty if you don’t know how harmful it all can be. These are much more than mere physical actions. If you meddle with powers, you are meddling with creation at a deeper layer. That action will produce consequences that are beyond your grasp, you won’t be able to see what that action is doing. Being ignorant, you go on using them indiscreetly, and the hidden consequences go on accumulating. I have no idea what fruits they can produce, but I’m sure you won’t like it. More importantly, mad pursuit and use of powers and their consequences will totally kill your practice. Forget about a clean and clear solution here.

If powers manifest, know them well, learn from them, they can provide direct experiences and deep insights and can help to actually progress rapidly on your path. They can be used for growth or to obliterate other obstacles and make life easy for you [4]. One needs to display a lot of maturity and wisdom to do that. We do not see rampant use of powers in physical world for this very reason. People who have them, know not to use them, not to make a magic show out of them, the consequences are not worth. Chances are that you will see some powers only after you reach an evolved state. If you see them at a fairly early stage, know that it is just a distraction thrown by the Mind to create an obstacle on your path.

Discussion on obstacles will continue in the next part. They come in limitless varieties.


[1] How’s it possible to know if something is impossible? You see? One can conduct experiments about something and arrive at a probability of an event happening. Say it never happens, so the probability is zero. But logically its not correct to say that the event is an impossibility. What if it happens in the very next experiment? How’d you know that it won’t? This is especially messy in the fields of subjective events, with none or very little objective evidence. Our usual physical criteria and logic fails here. Events are not possible or impossible, they are either probable or improbable. When you were a child, you saw that everything that is thrown up in the air, falls down, but one day you see a rocket launch. Till that day you were certain that everything falls down, you had thousands for such experiences, but then just one experience changes everything. When you stand on the edge of the known and unknown, the probability that you will have glimpses from the other side of the edge go up.

[2] Siddhi (Sanskrit: Skill, ability, accomplishment). See Patanjali for a brief introduction. Symbolically Siddhi is anthropomorphized and is depicted as one of the wives of the deity Ganesha, the destroyer of obstacles. Now you know why.

[3] Why do I call them minor, aren’t they extremely unusual? Yes, from the point of view of non-seekers they are nothing short of miraculous, but they are minor for a seeker. If you are a seeker, and have reached this far that you have encountered a few of them, or even have personally seen other seekers who display powers, you will know that this is only a start, what lies beyond is extreme, unfathomable. That’s what one would call major. Not the above petty stuff. So what lies beyond this? I do not know. If I knew and had major powers, I wouldn’t be here typing stuff for a blog. We are entering pure speculation here, so take it with scepticism. Examples of what I’d consider major powers would be – manipulating physical world at whim, making things appear or disappear, changing bodies, bi-location, conquering aging and death, making people appear or disappear, creating full blown universes, creating creatures in them and ruling over them, creating schools of learning like this one, and so on. Have I seen anyone do that? Never, but such powers are mentioned in literature, although we treat them as stories. And they will remain a myth for most of us. So lets worry about minor ones instead, they are major obstacles.

[4] This is a subject of debate. To use them for growth or not. If you do, you can be called a white hat seeker, you can hack the creation for your own good. But the Ego is a smart thing, it will convince you that some power is good for your growth, and will push you into an abyss of ignorance forever. What about the good stuff, like healing people? If you use powers to heal and such, and make a livelihood out of it, then you are in gray hat category. You are exploiting stuff that you should not, for survival purposes. It may not be harmful, but will end up wasting your time. Why heal? Isn't everything perfect? Isn't a sickness of someone for some reason? Moreover, these powers are subject to impermanence, they leave you sooner or later. Some people continue to fake them, as it is providing money and fame. This can surely backfire. Some seekers make pursuit of powers (major ones) and occult as their path (common in India). The reason is gratification of Egoic desires - wealth, greed, power, lust, revenge, causing harm, anything lowly etc. They are black hats and are surely a slave of the Ego. One can guess that the consequences will be worst possible, even if they momentarily gain some pleasures. Our goal is exactly the opposite - enslavement of the Ego, using it as a tool effectively and minimally during our human experience in this physical world and the body.

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