SAND 2018

SAND 2018

I’ll be speaking at the Science and Nonduality (SAND) conference again this fall. There was strong support to return.

I’m moving more in the direction of the second book I’m working on about the nature of reality. But the constraints of time mean I’ll focus on stages again, the evolution of the observer or subject side of the equation.

There is also the observed or object side and the layers of its construction. The kosha model is one way to look at that, from a more subjective view. A more object-oriented perspective outlines the stages of creation like that touched on in Creation in a Nutshell.

Finally, there is the least understood aspect – the process itself. The laws of nature or Shaktis that are doing the doing and creating the appearance of the world in every moment. The power and grace behind the flow of life.

The talk is called The Faces of Reality. This is the submitted description:

“There is one reality, but it is vast, multi-layered and profoundly comprehensive. Humans don’t have the mechanism to take it all in at once. Rather, we’re like a lens, focusing on this or that aspect of the whole. As we move through the 7 stages of enlightenment, our relationship with the whole changes and with it our perception and understanding of reality.

We could say reality is different in different stages of development. However, our perspective is also strongly influenced by our dominant guna or quality. Do we see the world as concrete and real? As an illusion? Or as a play of the Divine?

How does this impact our relationship with the one reality? What are the common variations in perception? How does this influence the variety of descriptions through the ages? David will explore the two parallel processes of consciousness and refinement in the path of spiritual unfolding.”

We’ll see if this outline holds up over the summer. 🙂
More news to follow.


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  1. R.

    I think your talks, past and on-going, will contribute a lot to the overall discussion among the “Awakening” community of experiencers, teachers, seekers, students, readers, listeners, viewers, etc.

    Paramount to effective discussion is a common agreement upon the definition, scope, and nuances of the terms being used and processes and states being described. In the larger community, currently there’s quite a muddle when many use the same term, for example “awakened” (though it applies to many terms), with vastly different meanings in mind.

    Your seven-stage awakening model presented at Sand 2017 (and described in greater detail in your writings) presents a clear and comprehensive framework that hopefully many will reference (and adopt) – facilitating clearer communications and understanding.

    At your SAND 2017 talk, you set what I hope becomes an additional standard: when someone asked you what level you were in – you responded directly — notably without a lot of the hedging and obfuscation which most teachers engage in when asked this. Given that knowledge is different in different states of awakening, how can a listener or student gain much clarity from a teacher or speaker if the state of the speaker is not made explicit (and whether the speaker is talking from direct experience — or has pieced together their view from what they have read or heard).

    At SAND 2018, by laying out a clearer set of defined terms for, and enumeration of the key elements of the structure of the vast expanse of and levels of reality, from observer and observed side, and underlying processes, you can contribute further to this important task of laying out a foundation of clarity, a lexicon to bring people together in understanding and descriptions of experience and levels of reality — and that knowledge and understanding of these levels is different in each stage of awakening.

    Best of success for your presentation(s), book(s).

  2. Thanks, R.
    Yes, that is part of the intent. First to express the underlying process that gives rise to all the variation in expression. Then to define terms to describe that. Currently there is a cornucopia of terminology and apparently contradictory approaches.

    It will take time to change as people have their teachings and terms they’re used to. But it is coming along. When I started to meditate, everything was siloed. People viewed others in different teachings with suspicion. Something like SAND couldn’t happen.

    In 2012, the idea there was stages was considered something of a heresy. Rick Archer organized a panel @ SAND to dissuade that. I didn’t think the cost to speak was worth it. The language is broadening into embodiment, further growth, etc.

    I used to use a specific terminology from a teaching but have broadened into more generic or more accurate terms. But that evolved over time.

    At some point, a standards board will arise and definitions will become more standardized.

    I should note the 7 stages model is derived from historical sources but brought into modern language and adapted to how its being experienced today. I’m just synthesizing.

    On the what stage question, its been tricky territory. Renunciate teachings have been dominant and questions about oneself were discouraged. Yogananda once famously said that anyone who said they were enlightened isn’t (because its not the me that becomes enlightened).

    But then, minds fill in the gaps and guess. I’ve found it useful to state, if appropriate, with the caveat that its not me that has achieved something and that there is still much possible. Esp. Unity+ is a near constant process of unfolding.

    Having a long interest in process, I’ve read stages models for years. Theres a lot of nonsense out there, cribbed together from sources of varied quality. When its all mind, it usually shows.

    Thanks. They’ve given me only 20 min so I can’t cover much but I’ve asked for an upgrade. I usually get 40. I’ve begun work on the next book on this topic but its a massive task to bring it all together into a cohesive way this brain can process and write down. (laughs) I’ll do better later when the project is further along.

    But yes, that is part of what I’m apparently called to do. And I’m now in a dasha (life) period that should see more visibility. We’ll see.

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