ardacigin

Why Talent Is Overrated in Spirituality (Shinzen Young Case Study)

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Posted (edited)

Many of us who are interested in spirituality knows about Shinzen Young and his skill in meditation. He has gone through some horrific intensities in Japan and done 100 days in isolation type of practices very early on in his meditation career. 

I've talked to Leo about him and he definitely acknowledges his meditation expertise. But Leo also told me that his insights in sensory experience, perception and materialism is still not fully matured. He also said that all spiritual masters have certain shortcomings and lack of insight into certain facets of awakening. 

I definitely agree with Leo on this. I think it is a wise claim about the nature of spiritual attainments. 

But if there is one thing you can learn from Shinzen is that his earlier experiences as a child is certainly a case study for people who think that spiritual talent is a big deal in this work. Especially that this idea that spiritual talent severely limits your rate, capacity and potential to grow spiritually regardless of how much you practice. This is not true. 

Here is Shinzen's early experiences as a child prior to meditation taken directly from his own article:

https://www.shinzen.org/meet-my-mom/

'I have very little natural ability or natural inclination towards meditation. In early life I was unusually wimpy, whiny, and fussy. Also, I was perennially impatient. On top of that, I had a proclivity to be destructive, including towards myself (when I’d get frustrated, I’d bang my head on the sidewalk). I was also pretty mean (just ask my brother).

I actually like for people to know what a poor meditation candidate I am based on the tendencies of my early life. I take it as a positive. If a person like me can be successful, anyone can be successful.'

Now, anyone who has this sort of childhood can peg themselves spiritually untalented.

Shinzen could have thrown in the towel and say:

'Fuck this Japanese meditation torcher. I'll go back to America and focus on my Buddhist studies. I guess I'm untalented spiritually. I won't get anywhere even if I practice hard. Stream entry is way above my pay grade.'

Imagine where he'd end up now if he made that decision back then. 

 This work is more about practice, diligence and effort than spiritual talent. Spiritual talent decides where you'll start initially. It also decides how joyful the process might be at first. But it can't decide where you'll end up as long as you apply effort and diligence.

Spiritual talent is one's degree of ability to attain both samadhi and spiritual insights (no-self, emptiness etc.) with relative ease. Some people's personalities, brain types and intentions are more in tune with spiritual attainments and high states of concentration. These people start at a higher baseline than other meditators.

Again, don't get me wrong here. I don't posit that spiritual talent doesn't exist. It is just not a show stopper considering the vast importance of diligence and effort. 

For instance lack of spiritual talent won't get in the way of stream entry - first stage of permanent awakening and God realization. But talent might play a larger role when we are talking about 'God-Head' insight attainments. ( as Leo talks about)

Since we all have finite time and energy, we can only practice spirituality so much. In these extreme circumstances, DNA can also get into the picture. So one's lifetime may not be enough for some of the extra deep insights Leo talks about with 5 Meo DMT. To experience these insights naturally, talent can be the deciding factor since it changes at what baseline do you start the path.

But I think before we worry about these sort of things, we should take steps one at a time. First, develop the fundamental skills of meditation. Then get to your first permanent stage of awakening. You don't need spiritual talent for none of these. Diligence and practice will get you there. 

Don't limit yourself. 

Edited by ardacigin

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1 hour ago, ardacigin said:

This work is more about practice, diligence and effort than spiritual talent.

Totally agree. A lot of effort and diligence has to be put in until it becomes effortless.

I think Leos psychedelic experiences kind of bias his view on how to reach high levels of mindfulness, happiness, awakening that persist in a sober state. IMO he is trying to make 5-MeO state or it's afterglow stick for good, feeling like meditation is just some "mechanical" method as he put it, while it's most likely never going to happen without hard work of meditation. 


Equanimity, Stillness, Non-Reactivity, Cessation, Emptiness, Void, Disenchantment, Nothingness

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Love, Joy, Infinite Goodness, Intelligence, Consciousness, Beauty, God, The Absolute, Divine Nature, Grace

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@ardacigin Very interesting and relatable, I’m curious, how do you define spiritual talent? Also, how do you define homeostasis? 


  Nonduality & Meditations         

Empty your head, fulfill your heart       

 

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Posted (edited)

36 minutes ago, Nahm said:

@ardacigin Very interesting and relatable, I’m curious, how do you define spiritual talent? Also, how do you define homeostasis? 

Spiritual talent is one's degree of ability to attain both samadhi and spiritual insights (no-self, emptiness etc.) with relative ease. Some people's personalities, brain types and intentions are more in tune with spiritual attainments and high states of concentration. These people start at a higher baseline than other meditators.

Again, don't get me wrong here. I don't posit that spiritual talent doesn't exist. It is just not a show stopper considering the vast importance of diligence and effort. 

Edited by ardacigin

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Enlightenment said:

Totally agree. A lot of effort and diligence has to be put in until it becomes effortless.

I think Leos psychedelic experiences kind of bias his view on how to reach high levels of mindfulness, happiness, awakening that persist in a sober state. IMO he is trying to make 5-MeO state or it's afterglow stick for good, feeling like meditation is just some "mechanical" method as he put it, while it's most likely never going to happen without hard work of meditation. 

I don't have that much experience in psychedelics compared to Leo. But I can understand how certain techniques like TMI and noting practices can appear too restricting and mechanical. From one perspective, they are. The psychedelic path might give that impression for some people. But it is mostly because the technique is not applied with expected results ( where you actually start to tap into psychedelic naturally).

Then the technique that reliably got you into that state will appear very different. Not mechanical as someone else can perceive. Similar to Leo's relativity insight, one's perception of mechanical and dynamic is relative. Relative to what? Relative to results one gets from using that technique.

That is why Leo really recommends the psychedelic path because it gets results. And Leo also uses psychedelics responsibly. That is very important. He integrates meditation with psychedelics. His insight wisdom comes from psychedelics mainly and he works on developing samadhi with insights in non-psychedelic meditation. At least, that is the impression he gives me. I think that is a solid path if you can balance the two properly. 

When it comes to techniques, people should do what works. I have my own preferences but I wouldn't force anyone to go through that path if they are not willing to do it. I might recommend and guide if asked but I wouldn't force people or declare a spiritual technique as VASTLY superior to others

 They all have advantages and disadvantages. They all can lead to dead ends if not careful.

 

Edited by ardacigin

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Just now, Nahm said:

@ardacigin ...and homeostasis? 

In what context, do you ask the question? Do you mean it as a scientific term or a spiritual one?

Homeostasis is inherently an egoic survival metric in spiritual terms. It is the ego's ability to protect its scope of shell. The more aware, awake and open you get, the less homeostasis you have. 

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2 hours ago, ardacigin said:

 This work is more about practice, diligence and effort than spiritual talent. 

I do agree but it's also a very dry take. It is equally about surrender and faith as well.

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What is talent, but a projection upon magic?

There was a question yesterday...”If I hit you in the head and you lose consciousness, how could you claim there is still consciousness?”  The assumption at play is that what was witnessed was actually the loss of consciousness, derived from the assumption something other than consciousness was initially “there” to begin with. When all that was actually “known” was sensation (maya: “hand touching”), and thought (maya: “person, hand, bat, action”). 

Then remains the “seeing of” movement / change (maya: space, time, physicality, separation, vision, other)....leaving all that was known was the seeing - but the knowing of the seeing is not knowing a separate thing of “seeing” at all. There is no evidence nor direct experience of separation between knowing & seeing whatsoever, sans the re-addition of maya, as projection of other. “These” are but the very same knowing/knower/known/seer/seeing/seen.

In this example there is what is directly experienced, and then the adding of uninspected meaning, creating an a priori assumption, that somehow within the movement is a separate individual which possesses consciousness and experiences the ‘loss of consciousness’, while the direct experience is : passing out, not passing out - or, knowing of maya, and knowing of maya - no actual experience of in between knowing and knowing, only a hindsight a priori assumption, a hindsight filling in of the blank, when there was, in actuality, no such blank directly experienced.

In the same sense, do you directly experience sleeping for eight hours at night? The direct experience is ‘fall asleep wake up’, and further, we can not even claim that as direct experience but rather, consciousness - consciousness. The blank filled in, is a thought about a blank filled in, not the filling in of an actual blank.  Consider, what is your maya of, ‘someone sleeping next to you’? And what is your maya of, you? That we routinely recreate phrases such as “making love” and “sleeping with her / him”, a priori... as pointers to bliss, is a heck of a pointer to actuality, or true nature of, non a priori self. 

35 minutes ago, ardacigin said:

In what context, do you ask the question? Do you mean it as a scientific term or a spiritual one?

Homeostasis is inherently an egoic survival metric in spiritual terms. It is the ego's ability to protect its scope of shell. The more aware, awake and open you get, the less homeostasis you have. 

The asking of that distinction can not actually be answered / satisfied by distinction, as still, only your distinction remains, (if that). Another way to express that might be I was not asking for reference to categories, but rather, what you hold as homeostasis. It is in maya, your distinction (if at all), and is your creation (if at all).

If a producer made a movie about Shinzen, and the movie articulated and portrayed Shinzen’s life & talents to such an amazing & astounding high degree, truly such an engrossing film, that for a while, you forgot you were watching a movie, “experiencing” vicariously... would you say the producer of the movie was insanely clever in making such a convincing movie, or that you are experiencing your own cleverness, in believing there is a producer, a movie, a you, a Shinzen, and a me saying this?

What is context, sans your distinctions / what is distinction, sans context ....And again then, what is homeostasis, un-categorically, without context / distinction?    Actual? 

What is this “ego”, which has abilities, which possesses scope? Which possesses talent?

Can you claim you’ve seen or actually experienced talent?  Can a distinction such as talent be held and also be understood in actuality, as the holder is “itself” an a priori distinction, believing to be holding an actuality, but has rather an assessment, one’s own distinction.

Is “the talent of another” not truly your own talent of illusion of other?

Is there this & that perspective, or is there perhaps the beginning of the uprooting of perspective?  

Is talent not your maya to dispel?

 

2 hours ago, ardacigin said:

Many of us who are interested in spirituality knows about Shinzen Young and his skill in meditation.

Is anything known to you about his skill of meditation? Or are you projecting an idea of yourself, via comparison, upon magic (“Shinzen”)?

 

 

 


  Nonduality & Meditations         

Empty your head, fulfill your heart       

 

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55 minutes ago, Nahm said:

there is what is directly experienced, and then the adding of uninspected meaning, creating an a priori assumption

Like a sneaky squirrel 🐿 

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@Nahm:o:x

Now I want to compliment you on your talent for writing and understanding but since you just explained that if I do that, then I didn't actually get what you wrote and therefore would be canceling out the compliment. 

So what are we all supposed to do now, just sit around in thoughtless awareness? 


Light on Earth The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.” - Rumi

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@mandyjw lol. No issues with compliments and thank you’s - and thank you, and likewise! Was just another pointing so to speak, that the “talent” which might appear, is indeed you in actuality, and ever-present in all things indeed, Beautiful. Breath taking. ♥️🙏🏻

@Serotoninluv 😂


  Nonduality & Meditations         

Empty your head, fulfill your heart       

 

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@mandyjw When you actually fully understand what @Nahm has written down know your ego is gone. Uses his snake mastergully. 🐍Hahaha. 

Love you all. 

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1 hour ago, mandyjw said:

@Nahm:o:x

 

So what are we all supposed to do now, just sit around in thoughtless awareness? 

You tell me Mandy 9_9


''Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, we are the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather''

- Bill Hicks

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2 hours ago, mandyjw said:

So what are we all supposed to do now, just sit around in thoughtless awareness? 

Develop your talents, obviously. Geez. 


  Nonduality & Meditations         

Empty your head, fulfill your heart       

 

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7 hours ago, SunnyNewDay said:

I do agree but it's also a very dry take. It is equally about surrender and faith as well.

In this training method, surrender and faith (effortlessness) come after making a lot of effort. Like Stage 7 in Culadasa's book. That is the paradox. Otherwise, surrender techniques have the potential to initiate a lot of monkey mind and distractions.

 

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The more I study and explore spirituality, the more convinced I am that spiritual talent plays a bigger and bigger role. I have met and talked with people who access crazy superhuman levels of consciously totally effortlessly without training. And these people can go deeper than those who practice for 40 years.

It's quite unfair and outrageous. This is like a dirty giant secret of spirituality and meditation which no one tells you about because they want to believe we are all equal.

Well, the truth is, we are nowhere close to equal.

My experiments with psychedelics back this up. There are levels of consciousness so radical that you will never access them if you lack the proper neurotransmitters.


"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." -- Rumi

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

The more I study and explore spirituality, the more convinced I am that spiritual talent plays a bigger and bigger role. I have met and talked with people who access crazy superhuman levels of consciously totally effortlessly without training. And these people can go deeper than those who practice for 40 years.

Without ANY training? Stream entry is possible and happens people occasionally without any training. But superhuman levels of consciousness without any training doesn't sound plausible to me. I wonder who these people are. What are their names? :) 

 

Edited by ardacigin

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@ardacigin I had glimpses of awareness of being in my Mother's womb and when being born. None of that was conceptual,  no sense of time or space, just purely observational. I remember while in the womb looking and like seeing through water at a fleshy wall in front of me. While being born moving through the super tight dark channel, getting stuck, struggling to breathe, and finally the blinding light and first deep gasps of air and crying. The experience was intense and traumatic to a degree. My Mom later told me she had long hard labor. Also, when I was still an infant I have vivid memories of the things and faces that surrounded me. When I look at the pictures where I was just a few days, weeks, months old, I can recognize those people and objects. 

This might sound strange to some, but perhaps it's a spiritual talent that I was born with? 

Later in life I got Self-realized without much meditation, it just happened while doing self-inquiry one day.

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