In terms of teachers saying things that trigger me (!), there are two instances over the last few weeks that stand out.
One is from the Center for Sacred Sciences, where a teacher indirectly talked about the Big Mind process as a way that could only reinforce a sense of separate self. Another is from the intensive last week, where the senior instructor talked about Atma Vichara – the “who am I” inquiry, as being a dead end and waste of time.
When it comes to the Big Mind process, one of its beauties for me is its inquiry into all the many aspects of the divine mind, from how it shows up specifically in our human lifes to its transcendent aspects – and how we through this process realize that there are all these aspects, and none of them has an inherent I. There are all of these, and there is no separate I anywhere. It is all just happening. They are all just the temporary play of the divine mind. The I is the whole of it, or we could say nowhere.
And when it comes to Atma Vichara, it is indeed a dead end. We cannot find any separate I, not any I as a segment of what is. And that is the whole point! We look and look, using the idea of a separate I as a filter, and cannot find anything. Something may look promising for a while, for instance our human self, aspects of our human self, or the seeing itself, but none of these pan out. So we are left with nothing, and a realization of selflessness. Again, all of these are the play of the divine mind.
How is this a lesson for me?
One is that any teacher or teacher views the world in a limited way. At the very least, they do not have personal experience with all approaches out there and may still talk about them as if they had authority in that area.
Another is that this tends to trigger something in me, and that is fuel for inquiry. I obviously have a position here, something to defend. I want to make this position right and any other wrong. And that itself comes from unexamined beliefs. It prevents receptivity and from seeing the truth in what is said – even if that truth, as it appears for me through sincere inquiry and exploration, may be different from how it was initially expressed by them.
In terms of Big Mind, it helps me explore its weaknesses in its current incarnation, although it changes so quickly so even these insights are just temporary. In terms of Atma Vichara, it may help me refine how I do it for myself.
If I do turnarounds on the statement he should not put down Big Mind/Atma Vichara, they become…
- I should not put down BM/AV (I should apply it myself – they are useful tools for me right now)
- I should not put down them (for those statements)
- I should put down BM/AV (yes, see their strenghts and weaknesses in a more balanced way)