An Awakening

Over on Tom Stine’s blog, one of the commenters, Kevin, mentioned a book, The Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss by Vernon Howard. Tom had read it, describing it as odd but very helpful. The site in question includes a description of the author’s own awakening I thought interesting. There is one process of awakening but as many ways of experiencing it as there are people. I’ve not read the rest of the book but it seems to be available on-line from the link at the top of the page. The teachers he recommends are top notch.

Typically only advanced teachers talk about awareness watching awareness or more deeply, awareness being aware of awareness aware of itself. This is the actual mechanics of what is, beyond comprehension by the mind.

It immediately struck me that his technique does not account for the work he did to reach the point where he could be aware of awareness watching awareness. “If one is ready for it”, as Tom put it. That is rather a gap in understanding, though his book does apparently talk about The Impostor, his apt term for the ego. It may cover this but it’s worth being alert to. The teachers he prefers are examples who awoke spontaneously so have minimal tradition or background in techniques. Very much the KISS principle but best if you have some sense of Self and don’t have an intense mind. Reading Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj would be beneficial in any case.

I’ve always found it useful to share awakening stories. One never knows what may trigger the collapse of ones own illusion. Speaking of which, this is an old site I don’t think I’ve mentioned that includes several awakening stories: When I Awoke. Just remember, awakening is not the goal. It is the beginning.

Davidya

ADDENDUM: see Tom’s feedback in comments

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6 Responses to An Awakening

  1. Kaushik says:

    On the book (Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss), I read it about a year ago and at that time I found it helpful. The style is a little pushy. You’re right, the author does not take into account the pre-work for Aware of Awareness, but there is also another easier technique in the book which is similar to releasing. The description of the ego is very good. The author mentions he spent many days in 12-hour meditation. To me at that’s a scary amount of effort.

  2. Davidya says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Kaushik. I have a pile of books I intend to read and have been for some time(laughs). Supposed to be reviewing a really good one too. I don’t even imagine having time for another. Good to get some further review of it.

    As for 12 hour meditations, one simply has to consider the growth process. The key is balance. Expansion then integration. Excess meditation may (or may not) be fun but will tend to make you spacey. You need to alternate it with grounding activity or it won’t ‘stick’.

    Awakening does not take marathon meditation in a cave. Just one moment of complete letting go. Preparing for that moment – clearing, clarity, etc can take a bit of time. But its no less part of the process than the moment itself.

    A Satsang with someone very awake is more potent than months of meditation. They are that which we seek.

  3. Eric says:

    The study of the mechanism of awakening is so fascinating, especially when one realizes there is no “magic bullet” applicable to each individual. Like you, though, I enjoy reading accounts of awakenings. I sometimes feel it will be the reading of just such an event that will trigger my own once again.

    But back to techniques. Are they truly effective or are we awakened only through grace? I read (and try) so many different ones that I sometimes feel I am doing a disservice to myself. Is it useful to have a goal of transcending the ego if the conceptualization of that goal is OF the ego? And yet without a goal in mind, how can any progress ever be made? Confusing as hell (laughs). Your comments on this irony would be appreciated.

    Thanks for the links. I’ve started “Most Rapid and Direct Means to Eternal Bliss” and feel that it’s approach could be effective. Just what I need, another technique! (laughs) But it is what it is and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Please keep pointing and maybe someday, someday……….

  4. Davidya says:

    Hi Eric
    Interesting you say that. I’ve seen about 2 dozen people wake up when someone awake was describing waking. So there is the presence of a bunch of awake people, describing the process. But one never knows. One guru famously said you can awake from the smell of a rotting bus. Takuin woke with a car honk.

    The grace-techniques question is interesting. We do awaken through grace, but what is grace? Self moving within Itself. The person does not awaken, grace does to itself. What techniques do is prepare the ground so the grace can be experienced. In that sense, the techniques themselves are grace. (laughs)

    It’s good to find a practice that connects you with Self/silence and stick with it. It tends to work better then. But each of us have our own journey. I’ve had the same basic practice over 30 years. Only much later did I do anything else to clear the last impediments.

    We have to work with what is to get to what really is. (laughs) So we work with the ego to transcend it. My meditation is a mental technique. I use mind to transcend it. The goal is not important, it is the drive that creates the goal that draws grace and clears the way. The process is very simple – it is only mind that messes it up. 😉

    When you awake, it will not be someday. Ever. It will only be in the moment. Now.

  5. Davidya says:

    The discussion on Tom’s blog was more about the book than post. Tom decided to make a clearer statement about the book I’ve reproduced here:

    “On the whole, I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. It is poorly written. It contains a lot of basically worthless condemnation of the poor, much maligned “ego” that so many spiritual people are desperately trying to get rid of. The only part worth reading of the entire book, in my opinion, is chapter 6 and 7, in which the author outlines a process that he learned from Ramana Maharshi and one of Ramana’s disciples, Sri Sadhu Om. The process is a wonderful one. I will have more to say about it in a later post.

    But as for beating up the ego, and referring to it as the source of all suffering: it isn’t. Believing that you ARE the ego is the source of all suffering. All of spirituality, the entire spiritual journey, awakening, enlightenment, all of it, is just simply a question of identity. When you know what you are, at every level of your being, through and through, that what you are is the One, the infinite, all suffering is done. And you can happily enjoy whatever amount of ego that still hangs around as you move in and out of the world. Life becomes deliciously sweet.

    So, bottom line: forget the link above. Go buy Nisargadatta or Adyashanti. You’ll enjoy them much more. Namaste.”

  6. Davidya says:

    It’s also worth noting that Tom decided to close comments on most posts after this one. (laughs) He did observe that he gets a lot of spam and trash though, as popular blogs are prone to.

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