Talking about the whole process

 

I am very grateful for the Center for Sacred Sciences here in Oregon, and have gotten much out of the retreats and individual conversations with a couple of teachers. At the same time, I notice something I have heard from others as well. They talk about the journey to God, and not within God. At least in public, they talk about only a part of the process.

I can imagine a couple of reasons for that strategy: It’s simpler, at least on the surface. And they leave out a few things, including dark nights, that may scare people off from getting involved.

At the same time, I see several possible drawbacks:

(a) It’s a misrepresentation of the process. And since many students are familiar with other teachers/teachings, they know it’s a misrepresentation of the process. This invites a lack of trust. What else do they hide? Do they know about the rest, or not?

(b) They leave out several phases which could give a better understanding of the process as a whole, including the one they do talk about in public – the initial phase.

(c) Talking about the journey to God only may set up awakening as (i) a goal, (ii) either/or (binary), (iii) only sudden, and (iv) better than unawakened.

(d) They may lose folks who have been through the gate – either stably or temporarily – and look for guidance of what’s after.

(e) They implicitly treat the students as children, unable to discern, unable to deal with complexity, unable to take care of themselves, someone that needs to be protected against themselves.

And I see several benefits from talking openly about the whole process, as many do these days:

(a) It’s a fuller and more honest representation of the whole process. It invites trust.

(b) Talking about the whole process gives a fuller understanding of what it’s about, including what the initial phase – the journey to God – is about.

(c) It shows that it’s an ongoing process, and ongoing unfolding. An opening or awakening is one of many milestones, and not a goal and not necessarily “better” than what’s before or after in time.

(d) Their approach is more attractive to people who have been through the first gate.

(e) Students are treated as responsible, and able to discern and take care of themselves.

What about their two possible reasons for choosing their strategy? For me, it’s simpler to include it all, also because the whole sheds lights on each phase. Also, I prefer transparency and knowing what I am getting into. (And in my case, there wasn’t any choice.)

Some thoughts for me to look at:

Their approach belongs to a different culture / time.

They are dishonest. Misguided.

They treat students as children. They do people a disservice.

They only talk about the journey to God and not within God.

Note: The journey to God is the initial phase, the journey to recognizing everything as God. When this has been recognized – either stably or temporarily – what follows is the journey within God. When there is a temporary opening or glimpse, it’s a journey within God because somewhere there is a recognition – even if it appears mostly as a memory – that all is God. When it’s a more stable awakening, it’s a journey withing God since all is – for the most part – recognized in immediacy as God.

Note 2: Some of the teachers I know about who talk about the whole process: Adyashanti, Byron Katie, Hameed Ali (Diamond Approach), integral folks.

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– journey to, don’t talk about journey within
— benefit: (a) simplify (apparently, on the surface of it)
— drawback: (a) misrepresent reality, (b) sets up awakening as a goal, either/or, only sudden, etc. (c) don’t prepare folks for what’s after/within, (d) may lose folks who have been through the first gate, to some extent, and look for guidance for what’s after, (e) treat students as children, unable to discern, take care of themselves, need to be protected against themselves
– talk about it more honestly, real
— (a) more realistic image, expectations, (b) see it’s an ongoing process, unfolding, w. awakening as just one of many milestones, (c) attract/address people who have been through the first gate, (d) treat students as responsible, mature, smart, able to take care of themselves

thoughs: they are dishonest, they are misguided, they treat students as children, they do people a disservice,

 

– css, talk about process up to awakening, not after (journey to god, not within god)
– disservice, misguided, (a) sets up awakening as a goal, either/or, idea of aw as (only) sudden etc., not as a milestone in an ongoing process (b) doesn’t prepare folks for what’s after/within, (c) may lose folks who have passed through the first gate, and look for guidance for what’s after.
– also, have people teach right after awakening, not after a long process of training/maturing (as in most/many traditions)

………..

draft…..

I notice some ambivalence about CSS, our local center here in Oregon. I am very grateful they are here, and have gotten much from retreats and conversations with teachers. And at the same time, there are things about their teaching that seems a little off for me.

One is that they only talk about the journey to God (before initial awakening or opening), and not within God (after/within awakening or opening). I understand that they think this will simplify it to students, and yet it also seems an approach that belongs more to another culture and/or time.

Here are some drawbacks: (a) It misrepresents reality, (b) it sets up awakening as a goal, as either/or, only sudden, etc., (c) it doesn’t prepare folks for what’s after/within, (d) they may lose folks who have – to some extent – been through the first gate, and look for guidance for what’s after, (e) they implicitly treat students as children, unable to discern, unable to take care of themselves, someone that needs to be protected against themselves.

If they instead had talked about both the journey to God and within God, as many today do, I see several benefits: (a) It gives a more realistic image of the process, more realistic expectations, (b) people get to see it’s an ongoing process, an ongoing unfolding, with awakening/opening as just one of many milestones, (c) it provides something for, and attract/address, people who have been through the first gate, (d) it treat students as responsible, mature, able to take care of themselves.

Some thoughts for me to look at:

Their approach belongs to a different culture / time.

They are dishonest. Misguided.

They treat students as children. They do people a disservice.

They only talk about the journey to God and not within God.

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