As I wrote in my first post (June 15, 2010) I want to use this blog for the discussion of the practical applications of spirituality in an attempt to better understand who we really are. Other topics like yoga, meditation, and astrology will show up on occasion.
I have had many incarnations in this lifetime (haven’t we all?) from school teacher to freelance writer to public access television to yoga instructor and astrologer. I guess you can say that the common thread to my life has been a search for truth and a need to communicate.
My degree is in chemistry, which I currently teach on the high school level along with trigonometry and pre-calculus. I am a certified yoga instructor (since 1994 through White Lotus Foundation) and have studied yoga philosophy, meditation and astrology for nearly 25 years. I love practicing and teaching yoga, continuing to teach adults as well as the students at my school. My study of astrology led me to Noel Tyl’s Master’s Degree Certification Program, which I completed with honors in 2003.
I did some freelance writing and public access television in the 1980s, which led to a position in the audio/video department at the National Headquarters of the Theosophical Society. I worked on videos for the Society’s “Eternal Quest” series as well as various audio projects.
In 2001, my spiritual seeking brought me to the study of the non-dualistic philosophies of Advaita Vedanta under the tutelage of my teacher.
13 thoughts on “About”
How wonderful to see you blog.
You write so well.
Consider me a fan and a follower.
Thank you for starting this.
You were a great help and inspiration!
Here’s a review of Nondualmind’s Blog…
I’ve just seen it – thanks so much Keith….
I just discovered your blog and noticed your interest in the connection between non-dual wisdom and the scientific idea of a holographic universe. Like you, I only discovered the concept of non-duality several years ago, but due to my background in science (theoretical physics and neuroscience) I felt compelled to try to understand it scientifically using the most advanced scientific concepts of our day. If you are interested in this project, I can send you a short article that attempts to minimize the mathematical technicalities and explain things intuitively, sort of the way Einstein understood general relativity theory before he discovered the field equations for the metric. If you’ve read Nisargadatta or Jed McKenna, and want to understand what they are talking about at a scientific level, you might find the article interesting. The whole thing makes perfectly good sense if we use science as the tool it is meant to be to help us understand the nature of what we observe in the world. What science can never do is explain the nature of the observer that observes the world. This becomes very clear once you understand the world along the lines of the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Once you no longer attempt to explain the nature of the observer, the whole thing falls into place, as as Nick Drake so beautifully sang: ‘Now I am darker than the deepest sea, just hand me down, give me a place to be’. You might know that Drake was inspired to write this song based on the The Doors of Perception by William Blake. He even refers to the idea of cleansing the doors of perception. This is exactly what Nisargadatta and Jed McKenna spend most of their time talking about. This is exactly the kind of realization that science points to if we use science as an appropriate tool. Anyway, I can send you the article if you are interested.
Thank you for your comments. Yes, if you could post the link to the article here, I would very much like to see it. I’m always looking for good material to help validate these concepts. Thanks again..
An abbreviated version of the article is published in Scientific God Journal at the link:
If you would like to see a fuller version, I can send you a pdf file.
Thank you! I’ve downloaded your article and looking forward to reading it. It’s not easy to find scientists who are willing to delve into the metaphysical, although the lines between the physical and metaphysical are blurred now…
It downloaded as 41 pages – is that the abbreviated version?
Yes, this is an abbreviated version. There is always more to say, although sometimes less is more. The other version says more about the nature of potentiality, along the lines of what you’ll find in Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and also more about the nature of truth realization, along the lines of what Nisargadatta or Jed McKenna have to say about it (as best as it can be scientifically conceptualized). This kind of scientific conceptualization definitely has its limitations, but what I’ve been amazed to discover is that non-dual wisdom can be conceptualized at all in a way that is consistent with science, although it requires a stretch of imagination to understand it. Not everyone will like this kind of an explanation, but at least its consistent, its coherent, and as best as I can tell, its complete. It also starts with something we all know to be true, which is that consciousness exists. As modern science tells us over and over again, everything else is uncertain.
As you say there are limitations to people’s understanding of non-duality because science cannot replace direct experience, which eliminates the need for analyzing and the stretching of the imagination. Striving for true understanding of that which is not physical in the physical is an exercise in futility. All we can hope for is that science continues to provide the empirical proof required by the mainstream. What people do with the information once they are presented with it will be another story. Right now, people don’t connect the idea of consciousness with the Absolute (God). Spirituality is a state of being, not a state of mind. I’m not sure most people understand that. What has to happen is a coupling of scientific knowledge with direct spiritual knowledge (experience).
I agree this is an exercise in futility, but then I tend to agree with Ecclesiastes that everything we can do in the world is an exercise in futility:
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun
And behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind
To fully appreciate this quote, it is necessary to understand that sun is a metaphor for Source, and wind is a metaphor for Spirit.
I also agree that the ultimate goal of any spiritual process is to leave behind all states of mind and reach a state of pure being, otherwise known as spiritual enlightenment or truth realization. I like the way Joseph Campbell describes this spiritual process as the hero’s journey, but I also agree with Jed McKenna that before you can make such a journey you have to know where you are going, otherwise you are bound to wander around aimlessly in small purposeless circles. The purpose of any possible explanation, which includes the most sophisticated scientific explanations we can come up with, is to use it as a map so that you know where are going. The other value that a good logically consistent argument serves is to use it as a weapon in your own process and your own battles with yourself, which McKenna describes as the process by which delusion is destroyed. The goal of this spiritual process is to reach a state of pure being. In that state of pure being there is no mind, there is no world, and there is no self. There is only one, and nothing else.
Returning is the motion of the Tao
It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back toward the great oneness
Never under estimate the tenacity of ego to survive and confuse us about the goal of the journey. We need every weapon we can muster in the war we fight with ourselves to destroy delusion. That assumes we want to travel in that direction and fight those battles. If we don’t, then we only kid ourselves that we are on the hero’s journey.
The article only serves a useful purpose if it is used as a map or as a weapon in our own processes. I guess it could also be looked at as a source of amusement if we are amused by such things. I would never claim it serves any other purpose. In terms of empiric proof for what we are discussing, we will never find that in any scientific argument or observation, or any other possible kind of explanation. Simply put, the true nature of an observer cannot be explained by what it observes. The observer itself must leave its world behind and make the journey back to its Source. Nisargadatta says this beautifully:
Discrimination will lead to detachment. You gain nothing. You leave behind what is not your own, and discover what you have never lost, your own being.
As you state, the ultimate goal is Enlightenment. But true enlightenment is not reached through the mind – never has been and never will be. You cannot “think” your way to Realization. It is only the removal of karmas which, like removing scarves covering the light of a lamp, uncovers the light of the Self. Yes, the ego is tenacious, but the only way the ego dies is through karma removal, which is achieved only through shaktipat sadhana. Shaktipat provides you with the roadmap you need to reach the goal of enlightenment. Once you receive shaktipat, which is described as God’s grace, will you be truly able to discover who you really are, which is pure consciousness.
Science, scripture, spiritual practices all contribute to one’s journey. They are not to be diminished in their value and, after shaktipat, they are better understood as pieces of the interconnected puzzle we call ‘reality.’
If you’re curious about shaktipat, check out Shivom Tirth’s books. I’m looking forward to reading your article and hope to start reading it this week. Even though I’m on summer break from school, it’s amazing how one’s day fills up.
Diana (aka Nondualmind)
I would only add that in a state of ultimate detachment or free fall, the mind disappears. If you read Nisargadatta or Jed McKenna or Osho or Eckhart Tolle, they all say this very clearly. If you read the article, it says the same thing. Every state of mind is a state of the world. The observer’s world disappears if the observer enters into a state of free fall. This may sound odd, but it is a natural consequence of living in a holographic world. The dilemma we face is how to reach that state of ultimate detachment or free fall. I agree with you it can only occur in a state of grace, which requires a surrender. How one comes to this state of surrender and grace is unique to one’s own life, and so no definite advice can be given, except to point in the general direction of the willingness to let go and accept everything as it is. In the Tao this is referred to as a state of non-interference with the normal course of things, and in religions as a surrender to God’s will. One advantage of a scientific description is that it spells out the nature of surrender as clearly as possible, or as Jed McKenna says, surrender follows naturally from clear seeing, or from seeing what is. The process of cleansing the mirror of the mind of the stain of an ego is a process of no longer seeing what isn’t. Nisargadatta says the sense of ‘I am’ is the polishing cloth. Osho says you are that to which you surrender. A state of grace is required, but that state of grace is earned through your own efforts. Nisargadatta speaks of earnestness while McKenna refers to this as focus and intent. You have to focus your attention on the process, since that is where you will also focus your energy. If you think of this process as a battle, along the lines of the Bhagavad-Gita, that battle can only come to an end with a surrender. The thing that fights the battle is the thing that is ultimately vanquished.