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  1. This is what the ego ultimately wants: happiness and completion. It is the whole purpose behind seeking. To find lasting perfect happiness and completion. But the ego (feeling of being separate) can never get it. See, the ego's whole existence is to feel separate. And thus it's whole function is to seek for happiness and completion. When there is no feeling of separation, it means there is no ego. And then seeking doesn't make any sense. As long as there is an ego, completion is impossible. Because ego is the feeling of not being complete. And that makes the seeker unhappy. Because he strives for something he apparently doesn't have already. The seeker says: "I want completion. I want happiness.", thereby apparently creating a separation between the apparent separate self and completion. It is ironic somehow that the seeker is by it's own fundamental nature in it's own way to find happiness and completion. It can never get it. But when the seeker has fallen away, then what is left is just completion, is just wholeness. And then happiness can appear, but not happiness happening to someone who feels separate. It is appearing for no one and is not personal anymore. Another irony is that the seeker now understanding that is seeking to get rid of the seeker, which is just another form of seeking.
  2. Hm... I don't know. Just don't become too dogmatic. Leo has some videos about the topic. Wow, looks lovely. It is a Sakya tradition monastery. I do not know much about the Sakya tradition, but if you are drawn to it, why not?
  3. Not meaning to offend anybody, but reading through this forum's section I can't help thinking that it would be the best for many people here, if they followed a certain tradition or school in order to "come closer" to enlightenment and to really develop spiritually. I don't think that this unaffiliated "do it yourself" approach is good for them. It would be much more effective and less time wasting, if they followed a certain tradition or school - not saying that they should be closed-minded. What the most effective school is should be decided on a case-by-case basis. For some it is Rinzai-Zen, for others Soto-Zen, for others again Advaita Vedanta, or Theravada, or Tibetan Buddhism or Dzogchen, or Bön, or some form of Hindu Yoga, whatever... But many people need guidance and a qualified (enlightened) teacher. There are some other people, like Leo for example (there are some others on this forum, too), who do not necessarily need to follow a single tradition / school. They are smart and "awake" enough to try the "do it yourself" line. By following a school / tradition I do not mean to just watch some youtube videos and read a few books of that school / tradition, but to really become part of a community (sangha) and to deeply integrate it into daily life. Otherwise those people will die having wasted their life by twaddling. I really don't want to sound arrogant with this posting. It is just an observation and a suggestion for some people here, that they should do it if they want to make great progress.
  4. Leo talked about paranormal phenomena and psychic powers in his latest video. So I thought about posting this quote out of Peter D. Ouspensky's Book In Search of the Miraculous, Chapter 13. It describes Ouspensky's telepathic experiences he had with his spiritual mentor Gurdjieff. Decide for yourself if this is credible or not: "I think it was at about ten o'clock that he [Gurdjieff] called me, Dr. S., and Z. into a small separate room. We sat on the floor "Turkish fashion" and Gurdjieff began to explain and to show us certain postures and physical movements. I could not help noticing that there was an astonishing assurance and precision in all his movements although the movements and postures themselves did not present any particular problem and a good gymnast could have done them without exceptional difficulty. I had never had any pretensions to the role of an athlete but I could imitate them outwardly. Gurdjieff explained that although a gymnast could of course do these movements the gymnast would do them in a different way from him and that he did them in a special way with muscles relaxed. Afterwards Gurdjieff again passed to the question why we could not tell the story of our lives. And with this the miracle began. I can say with complete assurance that Gurdjieff did not use any kind of external methods, that is, he gave me no narcotics nor did he hypnotize me by any of the known methods. It all started with my beginning to hear his thoughts. We were sitting in a small room with a carpetless wooden floor as it happens in country houses. I sat opposite Gurdjieff, and Dr. S. and Z. at either side. Gurdjieff spoke of our "features," of our inability to see or to speak the truth. His words perturbed me very much. And suddenly I noticed that among the words which he was saying to us all there were "thoughts" which were intended for me. I caught one of these thoughts and replied to it, speaking aloud in the ordinary way. Gurdjieff nodded to me and stopped speaking. There was a fairly long pause. He sat still saying nothing. After a while I heard his voice inside me as it were in the chest near the heart. He put a definite question to me. I looked at him; he was sitting and smiling. His question provoked in me a very strong emotion. But I answered him in the affirmative. "Why did he say that?" asked Gurdjieff, looking in turn at Z. and Dr. S. "Did I ask him anything?" And he at once put another still more difficult question to me in the same way as before. And I again answered it in a natural voice. Z. and S. were visibly astonished at what was taking place, especially Z. This conversation, if it can be called a conversation, proceeded in this fashion for not less than half an hour. Gurdjieff put questions to me without words and I answered them speaking in the usual way. I was very agitated by the things Gurdjieff said to me and the things he asked me which I cannot transmit. The matter was concerned with certain conditions which I had either to accept or leave the work. Gurdjieff gave me a month's time. I refused the time and said that no matter how difficult what he demanded was I would carry it out at once. But Gurdjieff insisted on the month's time. At length he got up and we went out on the veranda. On the other side of the house was another large veranda where the rest of our people were sitting. What transpired after this I can say very little about, although the chief things happened after. Gurdjieff was speaking with Z. and S. Then something he said about me affected me very strongly and I sprang up from my chair and went into the garden. From there I went into the forest. I walked about there for a long time in the dark, wholly in the power of the most extraordinary thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it seemed to me that I had found something, at other times I lost it again. This went on for one or two hours. Finally, at the moment of what felt like the climax of contradictions and of inner turmoil, there flashed through my mind a thought following which I very quickly came to a clear and right understanding of all Gurdjieff had said and of my own position. I saw that Gurdjieff was right; that what I had considered to be firm and reliable in myself in reality did not exist. But I had found something else. I knew that he would not believe me and that he would laugh at me if I showed him this other thing. But for myself it was indubitable and what happened later showed that I was right. For a long time I sat and smoked in some kind of glade. When I returned to the house it was already dark on the small veranda. Thinking that everyone had gone to bed I went to my own room and went to bed myself. As a matter of fact Gurdjieff and the others were at that time having supper on the large veranda. A little while after I had gone to bed a strange excitement again began in me, my pulse began to beat forcibly, and I again heard Gurdjieff's voice in my chest. On this occasion I not only heard but I replied mentally and Gurdjieff heard me and answered me. There was something very strange in this conversation. I tried to find something that would confirm it as a fact but could find nothing. And after all it could have been "imagination" or a waking dream, because although I tried to ask Gurdjieff something of a concrete nature that would have left no doubt about the conversation or his participation in it, I could not invent anything weighty enough. And certain questions I asked him and which he answered I could have asked and answered myself. I even had the impression that he avoided concrete answers which later might serve as "proofs," and to one or two of my questions he intentionally gave indefinite answers. But the feeling that it was a conversation was very strong and entirely new and unlike anything else. After one long pause Gurdjieff asked me something that at once put me all on the alert, then stopped as if waiting for an answer. What he said suddenly put a stop to all my thoughts and feelings. It was not fear, at least not a conscious fear when one knows that one is afraid, but I was all shivering and something literally paralyzed me completely so that I could not articulate a single word although I made terrible efforts, wishing to give an affirmative reply. I felt that Gurdjieff was waiting and that he would not wait long. "Well, you are tired now," he said at last, "we will leave it till another time." I began to say something, I think I asked him to wait, to give me a little time to get accustomed to this thought. "Another time," said his voice. "Sleep." And his voice stopped. I could not go to sleep for a long time. In the morning as I came out onto the little terrace where we had sat the evening before, Gurdjieff was sitting in the garden twenty yards away near a round table; there were three of our people with him. "Ask him what happened last night," said Gurdjieff. For some reason this made me angry. I turned and walked towards the terrace. As I reached it I again heard Gurdjieff's voice in my chest. "Stop!" I stopped and turned towards Gurdjieff. He was smiling. "Where are you going, sit down here," he said in his ordinary voice. I sat with him but I could say nothing, nor did I want to talk. At the same time I felt a kind of extraordinary clarity of thought and I decided to try to concentrate on certain problems which had seemed to me to be particularly difficult. The thought came to my mind that in this unusual state I might perhaps find answers to questions which I could not find in the ordinary way."
  5. I am not talking about the mind, I am just talking about the physical body. This of course includes the brain. What is the brain viewed just as a physical entity?
  6. 1. If you were "your" body it wouldn't make any sense to refer to your body as "your" body. If it was your body then there would have to be something that is in possession of a body. Consequently you cannot be your body. 2. You have to define more specifically what you mean by saying "I am my body". Are you a specific part of your body or your body as a whole? If you are a specific part of your body, then what part exactly? So this means you are not the rest of your body? And where would be the boundary exactly? If you were your body as a whole, then what would happen when parts of your body are removed? What if your arms and legs are removed for example? Would that mean there is no you anymore? So you see you are neither a part of your body nor your body as a whole. The idea that you are your body is made up by your mind. 3. If you were your body then then this would mean that your body, your flesh and bones, can philosophize, solve complicated mathematical questions, put up complicated physical theories like the theory of relativity, create beautiful art and music and so on. Since this is not the case you can't be your body. Think about it.
  7. Trying to find a Buddha or enlightenment is like trying to grab space. ~ Bodhidharma
  8. It depends on the practice you are doing and what you want to achieve. If you just want to calm down your mind a bit 5 minutes are enough. If you want to reach really deep states then have to do it for at least 30 or 40 minutes. And of course the circumstances (loud / quiet - peaceful / hectic - dark / light) and how well trained you are matters. A zen master can reach deep states within a few minutes for what a beginner will probably need hours if he reaches it at all. In the end you have to find it out for yourself. Define what your goal is. Enlightenment? Then 5 minutes certainly are not enough.
  9. Read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's "The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep" for example. There you can find quite a few exercises for sleep and dream yoga, which is similar to what is taught in the west as lucid dreaming. Doing formal meditation prior to sleep has the disadvantage, that you can fall asleep easily. So it's not that effective.
  10. Pursuing higher consciousness doesn't have to hurt necessarily. The way you describe it sounds like while are you are meditating you are able to quiet the mind to some degree and after that you are lost in monkey mind again and take the thoughts seriously. Although it is quite speculative to suggest something by just reading a short post, I would say that it might be quite helping to not make meditation into just a formal thing, which you do for like an hour or something, and then don't do it for the rest of the day. Just relax, become quiet and let everything pass like clouds whenever you feel like it. Secondly don't try to avoid things, not even "your" ego. Often it is resistance that creates suffering.
  11. Seeing how much bullshitting, gossiping, pointless talking and so on is taking place is a good sign of a beginning awakening. Nice.
  12. It is already wrong to say that it is "your" reality. You could say so if referring to individual perception in an impersonal way, but personalizing reality creates an illusory view. What then tends to happen is that you personalize "other's" realities, too. You could say "other's reality" if referring to individual perception in an impersonal way, but personalizing reality of other individual creates an illusory view. When it is seen that the "own" individual experiencing is impersonal it is seen in other people, too. And there can be a sense that all is ultimately the same consciousness, which just went into "other" forms so to speak. But as long as reality is personalized by the mind, and it does so compulsively, it cannot be seen really. Secondly, there are many many many things you can't perceive. You cannot perceive radio waves, infrared waves, nuclear radiation, ultrasonic waves and so on and so forth. Nevertheless these things do exist. Nuclear radiation can kill you quickly. So it's existence can't be denied. It is the same with other peoples thoughts, emotions and so on. You can't say they don't exist, because you just say you can't perceive them.
  13. You mix some things up here. I do not say to not accept the ego, to get rid of the ego or to deny a part of oneself. And I don't know what mix you are talking about. I have only described the terms you asked people in this forum to describe. Or do I overlook something? Now, yes there are people on the "spiritual path" who want to get rid of the ego and start to deny parts of themselves. I don't promote that, nor do I think this attempt is healthy. I don't even think it's effective or even possible to become enlightened through that. So in a nutshell I agree with what you're saying. I just haven't said anything else. One point though: when you say that you (who is you?) have harmonized with your ego (is your ego something different from "you"?), then "you" have harmonized with an illusory appearance. That is not an allegation or a call to do something different. It is just descriptive.
  14. Ego death and ego transcendence are wrong ideas or at least sloppy descriptions of what "happens" in enlightenment. Enlightenment is the realization or recognition by no one and everything so to speak that there is no and never has been a real ego from "the beginning of beginningless time". So it is not an ego death, because there is no and never has been an ego that could die. Enlightenment goes "backwards" through the life story so to speak. And of course enlightenment has nothing to do with "ego transcendence", because there is no and never has been an ego to transcend. Putting it into other words, in the form of recognition we are talking about there just happens what happens, but the experiencer and the experienced are not two. There is no A (experiencer) and B (experienced). There is an "AB" (which cannot be grasped intellectually), which is both real and unreal.