Forum

Guest  

Welcome Guest, posting in this forum requires registration.

Pages: [1]
Topic: via negative
weallone
Member
Posts: 19

Reputation: 0
via negative
on: January 9, 2011, 07:47

It seems to be a common oversight, whereby we assume our positive statements and our efforts at understanding and explaining the unknown are true and factual.


Yet, we see that via the negative approach, we are undone in and by the unknown. So we use terms like Love,Consciousness,Truth etc. and struggle to communicate what is so elusive to the machinations of language and thought.

It is a frightening prospect to realize that all that you think you are and stand for, all your so called Wisdom and all your clever insights, are but dust in the wind.


Although we enter the so called spiritual Path with a definite plan and goal, we find ultimately that seeking security in identity, however subtle, is the "ball and chain" that keeps us on the positive path.


Via the negative, which we must ultimately come to if we are at all serious in this matter, there is no security at all. No subtle soul that gets transformed into light etc.. but only the giving up of assumptions and ideas as the surrender to what is, the living life energy that we don't seem to know much about.


Just another brick in the wall

LivingLife
Member
Posts: 7

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 10, 2011, 15:56

I wish my vocabulary,logic, and reasoning were better so I could decipher with some form of confidence the true entire meaning of your post.


moller
Administrator
Posts: 68

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 10, 2011, 18:21

Hi Weallone.


Thank you for your great post. I hope my understanding of it resonates with what you were trying to communicate. If I miss the mark, please help me out. Below I will try to follow your insight as your post unfolds and perhaps attempt to add a few points here and there.


WEallone: >>It seems to be a common oversight, whereby we assume our positive statements and our efforts at understanding and explaining the unknown are true and factual.>>


(M) Indeed! Probably all spiritual traditions of mankind have made this mistake. They somehow could not be contented with the fundamental mystery of that which thought cannot explain, and so invented metaphysical (beyond the physical) theories about their version of the 'Truth' (such as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Atman, Consciousness,etc) totally losing sight of the fact that we are simply human beings, who have to sort out our problems for ourselves in the here and now.


These theories have all been presented as revelatory truths, (positive statements about the 'beyond') rather than seen for what they are: creations of our fertile imaginations.


>>Yet, we see that via the negative approach, we are undone in and by the unknown. So we use terms like Love,Consciousness,Truth etc. and struggle to communicate what is so elusive to the machinations of language and thought.>>


(M) Yes. Exactly! When we use all these big terms, we believe we know exactly what we are talking about, yet, we have absolutely no sense of the truth to which these terms point. In the process we neglect (and even negate)the simple truth of our everyday living. That is, who we really are outside of the bounderies of the ego, how we function, how we deceive ourselves, in fact, how far our living reality operates from the simplicity of the present).


>>It is a frightening prospect to realize that all that you think you are and stand for, all your so called Wisdom and all your clever insights, are but dust in the wind.>>


(M) Yes. The problem with the ego is that it tends to turn everything into its own territory. Whereas Insight and Wisdom always manifest in states where the ego or self-absorption is not present, the ego soon gets hold of these, store them into memory to be displayed to self and others as signs of spiritual progress. But such memory-based wisdom and insight are as dead as any past experience. What is important is not to hold onto insights to give the ego more to identifiy with, but rather to discover the nature of the state which made these insights possible. Then we move, as J. Krishnamurti used to say: 'from insight to insight, and not from insight, to memory and the recall of these insights via memory'. Once recalled, the insight has lost its transformative value.


You are perfectly right. The moment the insight or wisdom gets attached as an elaboration of the ego, they are as you say: 'but dust in the wind'. When we remain open to the state of being which facilitated the insights in the first place, then I feel we are on the right track.


>>Although we enter the so called spiritual Path with a definite plan and goal, we find ultimately that seeking security in identity, however subtle, is the "ball and chain" that keeps us on the positive path.>>


(M) Yes. Absolutely! Only the separate self-sense needs to seek and find security through identification. This is all it could do in its endless quest to overcome its false (self-created) sense of separation. (This I also pointed out in my post: The Ghost in the Machine 2). All seeking is directed towards the positive – the affirmation of the ego's false sense that it is integrated into the totality of life. Naturally this leads to great confusion and self-deceit. As you say, it is the very stuff which keeps us tethered to that which prevents our free being from revealing its natural order.


>>Via the negative, which we must ultimately come to if we are at all serious in this matter, there is no security at all.>>


(M) Yes. No security. As I said there is only improvising as we go along in an intelligent and caring, loving way as possible taking care that we remain informed not from memory and social conditioning, but from insight and intelligence.


>> No subtle soul that gets transformed into light etc.. but only the giving up of assumptions and ideas as the surrender to what is, the living life energy that we don't seem to know much about.>>


(M) Yes. It is indeed true that the wise person knows a little less everyday, while the fool gains knowledge everyday. Then there comes a point where even the notion of 'giving up of assumptions' stop being of interest.


At this point we move from the field of 'not knowing' to the truth that we 'cannot know', in any ultimate sense the truth of anything whatsoever. This is where we enter the path of Direct Experience, as I try to describe in my book.


moller
Administrator
Posts: 68

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 11, 2011, 09:25

Hi Weallone.


In my reply to you yesterday, I might not have given sufficient attention to your notion of :'via negative'. Although it makes immediate intuitive sense to me, I would like to explore this with you a little further. Again, if I miss something (or for that matter, the whole point you may be considering here) please fill me in.


First of all to my understanding there are two kinds of 'negative' approach to this human/spiritual enquiry. I am sure you are aware of the so-called 'neti-neti' (not this, not that') approach which appears to have its origin in Indian philosophy. Here they use the negative approach to come to the positive. They say Ultimate truth is neither this, nor that. And they arrive at what they presume to be Ultimate Reality by following the 'neti-neti' approach. That is, they use an analytical process of coming to the Ultimate Truth by clearly defining what it is not.


The argument goes something like the following and rests on a question: Is my hand, the bird, the mountain, the car, the street – in fact anything I can sense in any whatsoever, Brahman? Clearly it is not, because if my shoe is Brahman, then what is my sock? So my shoe cannot be Brahman, God, the Ultimate, neither can my sock. So they carry on saying to themselves that nothing in and of itself is the Ultimate. No concepts the human mind can imagine or create is adequate to describe in any positive sense the Ultimate.


And when the student finally arrives at the point where it becomes clear that the Ultimate is not anything in our field of human experience, the Ultimate becomes apparent. This Ultimate cannot be described in any way by using words and concepts, as these have limited meaning. So all the human mind can say about the Ultimate, is that it is 'neither this, not that'. In this way, their argument goes, the Ultimate becomes apparent and stands out beyond concepts as the only Reality.


This, briefly, in my understanding is the 'via negative' way of Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and some other Yoga paths. It always starts with the assumption that there is indeed some kind of Ultimate Truth (Brahman, Consciousness, Atman etc), and then proceeds to prove its existence by classifying everyting human (i.e experience, thought, feeling, emotion, physical sensation, observation etc) as being not the Truth. What remains at the end of this 'enquiry' is then supposed to be 'Truth'.


I somehow sense that you were not referring to this approach in your understanding of 'via negative'. My feeling is that you were rather more interested to sensitise your readers to the kind of Buddhist approach which states that there is suffering in the world, and in order to overcome this suffering we need to discover for oursleves the causes of this suffering.


This is also my own understanding of the 'spiritual' path. We need to discover all the subtle forms of self-delusion, ego-escape, ego-fulfillment, ego-defences, the power of conditioning and social construct within our psyche, our ready acceptance of authority, what it is within us that makes it possible for us to be so readily deluded and controlled by our political, philosophical, religious, spiritual masters. What it is we suffer and what we could do about our suffering.


None of these have any 'positive affirmative' content. It is an arduous undertaking and as you so correctly point out, only if we approach these matters with an openness of heart/mind which always starts from the beginning as true students of life,can everything which is rigid within us and which feels the desperate need to remain in the clutches of identified reality, become undone by resolutely remaining in the spirit of the 'unknown'.


True enquiry never knows where it is going. It improvises as it goes along, not to come to anything definite, but as a movement from insight to insight. It is a movement from the field of known identification into the relaxed sense of exploring without having to come to conclusions, ultimate truths or any fixed points.


In this we learn to move along with life – life, which in itself, does not know the reality of its next move. The thing remains wide open. And in this openness there is freedom for fearless exploration, emotional risk taking and deep self-enquiry.


weallone
Member
Posts: 19

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 14, 2011, 12:07

Accurately interpreted, and beautifully explained,you have a wonderful ability to put into lucid detail, what is very difficult to articulate… what is obvious, is that you have done your "Homework" and you are walking where no footprints guide you…which seems so rare today.


Just another brick in the wall

TenthMan
Member
Posts: 20

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 15, 2011, 18:06

Hi Weallone!


I ditto what you said regarding Moller's ability to usher in greater lucidity and clarity by using well chosen, experience based words and phrases and logic! Speaks to being and resonates with it because it's being spoken by being!


moller
Administrator
Posts: 68

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 16, 2011, 12:44

Hi Tenthman and weallone,


Thanks for your kind words. I am delighted to hear that my attempt at interpreting weallone's valuable post found resonance with both of you.


What we share here is for all of us, and I must say I find it somewhat sad that so few of the many readers of our posts care to bring their own thoughts, experiences and insights to our Forum. But such seems to be the lethargy pervading our modern human spirit. It is as though there is no urgency, as though the 'house is not on fire'. As though we can really afford to distance ourselves conveniently from the things that matter most – especially self-knowledge and self-transcendence.


Meanwhile the wolrd is falling apart around us, and our much vaunted individualism is being usurped by the powers that make it their business to control us and drive us into serfdom.


To resonate with what I have described, is to share deeply with me the meaning of the words we use to communicate. As Tenthman so beautifully put it: 'from being to being.


Let's keep this little flame of sanity and clarity alive.


TenthMan
Member
Posts: 20

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 16, 2011, 19:19

Beautifully, truthfully, factually, and succinctly well put! No extraneous words! :-))


I recently re-read your book "Spirituality Without God". I started highlighting things that really stood out to me and I often found myself thinking that I may as well have highlighted your entire book!


I'm pretty sure you're familiar with Da Avabhasa's (Da Free John) question he used to pose to himself as mentioned in his first book "The Knee Of Listening" which as "Avoiding Relationship?" I think I know what he was referring to, but what seems more to the point for me is posing the question, not so much verbally out loud or even mentally, but having it be in the background of one's awareness (so to speak) as an ongoing watchfullness (for lack of better words) as "Creating Relationship?" The reason being that when relationship is created/generated then a sense of twoness comes into being (i.e., "me" and "that") which, if I understand what you're saying about Direct Awareness, prevents Direct Awareness.


In other words, being "at odds" with *what is* creates/generates a "me" over and against and opposed to "that", which is a false (but taken to be actual) division or separateness. Whereas, being "at evens", then the sense of an independently existing "me" disappears (or doesn't arise) thereby leaving *this* as is only…which is the case whether the "me" sense pops up or not!


Comments please!


Thank you ahead of time!


weallone
Member
Posts: 19

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 18, 2011, 13:35

I know I am speaking out of turn, and Moller will always point out any error that I may indulge in, but to add to this discussion , i shall add my 20 cents worth.


I think Da was referring to our inherent relatedness, that is prior to thinking and self, and used "avoiding relationship?" as a tool to assist in relaxing attention away from habitual and compulsive thought.

Thought by it's very dualistic nature, can only try to construct a relationship based on separation, projection and identity -ie, "you and me".


I think real,true relationship can not be created. we are all simultaneously appearing as this unitary life expression whether we think about relationship or not, therefore relationship is already the case. When we try to label and philosophize about it, and call it Advaita etc..we end up tricking ourselves with thinking once again.


I find your last paragraph "in other words"…etc. beautifully stated.


Just another brick in the wall

TenthMan
Member
Posts: 20

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 18, 2011, 17:14

Hi Weallone,


My sense is that yes, Adi Da was using the words "Avoiding Relationship?", as you said as a way of "…referring to our inherent relatedness, that is prior to thinking and self, and used "avoiding relationship?" as a tool to assist in relaxing attention away from habitual and compulsive thought."


To my way of thinking, relationship always implies at least "two or more…hence division or separation. Then, as I'm sure you well know, any effort to get into relationship with "not two" based on the (false) notion taken to be a conviction is not only futile…it is unnecessary…but not until realized to be so! :-)


Maybe I'm just nitpicking or quibbling, but I don't think it's possible to experience having a relationship with oneness, unity, wholeness, etc. It's sort of like "If everything is black…then nothing is black!" :-)


weallone
Member
Posts: 19

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 19, 2011, 04:54

Yes ,i feel you are on track with the view that we cannot have a relationship with wholeness. It seems as if we have to be unraveled in our separateness for wholeness to use our life expression as it intends, despite our notions of wholeness and spirituality.


The difficulty seems to be that we would like to experience wholeness, would like to tell others about it etc.. but for wholeness to really be the state of our life expression, we, as the experiencer cannot be.

And rare is the one who can truly perceive and relinquish the intricate subtleties of self deception, with it's myriad tentacles of identity.


Just another brick in the wall

TenthMan
Member
Posts: 20

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: January 20, 2011, 01:14

In regards to what you wrote…"And rare is the one who can truly perceive and relinquish the intricate subtleties of self deception, with it's myriad tentacles of identity"…I sure don't lump myself into that category. Not sure how anyone could deliberately dissolve themselves without reinforcing the "dissolver"! Sounds about as futile as yelling at an echo to go away! :-) Sort of like the person who wants to attend their own funeral! :-)


monk
Member
Posts: 3

Reputation: 0
Re: via negativa
on: February 3, 2011, 07:05

There are of course Via negative in all of the established faiths, for example in Christianity, with the Orthodox Apophatic Theologyl, The Cloud of Unknowing , etc.


As Molller wrote, many, if not all, of them, turn out to be devicesto arrive at and present one with some absolute truth or a set of doctrines concerning such truths.


monk


TenthMan
Member
Posts: 20

Reputation: 0
Re: via negative
on: February 10, 2011, 18:03

I remember reading something many years ago by J. Krishnamurti where he said that there is the "via positiva" and the "via negativa" approach to finding "Truth".


He firmly stately that Truth/God/Beauty/The Beloved/Love, etc cannot be discovered, found, come upon, or be attained (let alone possessed) by intentionally pursuing it through any method or strategy. That "It" had to be "backed into" (for lack of better words) by discarding through choiceless awareness, clarity and insight what is false or not the truth, beauty, and so on.


If my understanding of what "K" was saying is accurate, it seems to be in complete resonance with what Möller and others here are also saying.


Pages: [1]
WP Forum Server by ForumPress | Lucid Crew
Version: 1.8.2 ; Page loaded in: 0.023 seconds.