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Ascetic Discipline

Subject: Ascetic Discipline


Roger Adams writes:

|I am not an ascetic. Are you identifying yourself as an "euphoric"? 

Nope.  I'm a tantric monk.  I weave things into a sort of unity.  I weave
euphoricism(indulgence, enjoyment) with asceticism (restriction,
discipline).  Sometimes I employ one, sometimes the other.  I figure they are
both part of the same path but they seem different to me.  Kali says that
pleasure and pain are the same experience seen in different ways.  I don't
understand this, but I walk the Middle Path between the Hot Rails.

|euphoria is defined as a feeling of well-being or elation, I would much more
|identify with euphoria than with asceticism. 

This is interesting to me.  Your words seem to focus on discipline to an
extremity, and this is why I called you an 'ascetic', no disrespect intended,
though I am very tired of the negligence of euphoricism.

|An ascetic is one who practices
|strict self-denial as a measure of personal and esp. spiritual discipline.

I imagine that you do have discipline, though not as strict.  So you engage
asceticism but you don't identify with the classic stereotype of jnana yoga.
My comment isn't about the stereotype but about how your words come across
as focussed upon restriction without being balanced by indulgence.

|That is not me. A feeling of euphoria comes with the path I follow. Asceticism
|to one person may be a pleasure to another. 

Yeah.  I'm not talking about what feeling you derive from your path, though
I'm VERY glad to hear that you are 'following your bliss'.  Your point about
'asceticism' is well taken.  Mine is a quite particular meaning and applies
within the realm of 'practice'.

|> I see you doing the former.  
|This is a false perception.

YOUR assertion is that it is a false perception.  I know what I've seen.
I may be projecting it onto you, but I perceive it.  It isn't as though
I'm seeing things that aren't there, as far as I can tell.  My pointed
questions and expostulations are meant to underscore places in which I
find extremity and unbalance, and perhaps to inspire closer examination.

|I use the term "non-path path" to cover various non-dual paths or paths
|that don't like being called paths :-).

Tricky.  I'm still not sure I understand it, but I like it.

|> What does the word 'wisdom' mean to you?  How do YOU recognize wisdom when
|> you see it?  How do you know you are seeing it when you recognize it?
|I use my intuition to determine when I am seeing wisdom or not and/or
|recognizing it or not. Wisom is light. It dispels darkness or ignorance.
|As to what is darkness and what is light, light brings one closer to God
|and darkness takes one away. What is God? Love. Bliss. 

Here is an example of the extremity which I've perceived before.  In this
paragraph it makes itself known through metaphor and the participation in
a traditional symbol-system which plays down the value of the feminine and
the subconscious mind.  (WHAT? :>  I'll explain.)

Within what I call the 'ascetic aspects' of major religions there is
quite a great preference for the metaphor of 'light' or 'Light'.  I really
do understand that this is a metaphor and that you are not being literal
here.  My point is that in the study of dreams, psychology and mythology
one may arrive at some very general assertions about the nature of symbology
in the common mind of human beings and that certain associations seem to
hold regardless of the original intent of the speaker in many cases.

Here you epitomize a very wonderful concept, 'wisdom', by associating it
with 'light'.  Now on the surface this is a very wonderful model.  We need
light to see.  Things which are associated with it (warmth, life) are
quite important to life-processes, etc.  Yet if we continue this association
within human experience we can see its extremity and bias.

Light is associated with waking consciousness (the conscious mind) as well
as thought and daytime.  This relegates darkness to the subconscious, often
emotions and nighttime.  Add to this the tendency to associate light with
the masculine (sun-god-masculine/moon-goddess-feminine) and Creation,
especially within Western culture) and you have yourself a very dangerous 

This is precisely why I focus so strongly upon Kali, who is the epitome
of Darkness (some say Her name MEANS 'black'), the intuitive or subconscious
elements of the psyche, emotions, and the feminine.  It is the ascetic 
train of association which I see so STRONGLY promoted by traditional
religions, East AND West.  As far as I can tell this is a symptom of
a global patriarchal surge which is only now receding in power.

Now when I hear people describe things within this framework,
criticize indulgence as a means of liberation, and even partially imply
that this world is 'just a place to learn' or some sort of 'vehicle'
for 'soul beings', then I tend to lump it all into a big pot that
I call 'misogyny'.  As I think I've said I've consistently seen a
devaluation of the body, the material (mater/mother) as something
which is not perfect in itself, which must somehow be purified or
purged in order to 'stop reincarnating' (inhabiting pieces of meat).

I'll continue to speak out strongly about this, as does my dedication
call for it, and I hope that you'll assist me in seeing past any
projections I may have mislayed upon you.  So far you claims that
you don't conform to my admittedly skewed usage of the term 'ascetic'
are unconvincing to me, though I am very glad that you are catholic
and at least not overtly oppressive in your approach.

Perhaps now you can beter see where I'm coming from.
Also note that how _I_ would prefer the metaphor you describe to be
revised is associating Wisdom with light and Compassion with
darkness.  This allows us to understand the very valuable nature
of darkness, even while it is at times quite a painful and limiting

|You again seem to be referring to me as an ascetic and yourself as tantric.
|You may be right about yourself but you are wrong about me. 

Well, we'll see.  Now that you know more about what I'm saying perhaps you
will reconsider this statement.  Perhaps you are right.  After all, if there
is no lasting you, then you can hardly be 'an anything'.  That does not
preclude an over-emphasis of discipline in this newsgroup, however. I
sometimes wonder if all this emphasis has to do with a feeling (either
self- or other-generated) that you (and/or Bill, my other adversary :>)
are not disciplined enough and feel a need to 'teach' it because (as
Richard Bach has so astutely observed) it is what you most need to
learn.  I know I do this upon occasion, though I'm attempting to
watch for signs of this in my behaviors.

|What you consider
|self-denial or self-torture may be pure contentment for me. BTW, I do not
|sleep on a bed of nails ;-).  

Obviously we have different ideas about asceticism and perhaps even about
euphoricism.  I hope that this exchange will go some distance in allowing
us to see mre about ourselves and one another.

|The approach in all paths varies depending on
|the person. Even within a path like I follow, one person may be devotionally
|oriented, another may be jnana oriented, one person may like to think of
|God as Mother, another as Father, another as beyond any form, etc. There is
|no uniformity or self-torture. I think you over-react to paths that seem
|to involve discipline. 

I'm sure it must seem this way.  I think I don't over-react to paths
which INVOLVE discipline so much as expressions that paths are COMPRISED
of it, and without a very important focus on learning to enjoy the world
as it is.

|If I want to do a classical guitar recital at Carnegie
|Hall, I would find myself practicing a lot quite naturally and unforced 
|because it pleases me to be ready for the recital. Like Krishnamurthi said,
|when love is awakened or is present, discipline comes naturally and unforced
|and is not peceived as any torture or unpleasant sacrifice which is why in
|one of his books, he advises people to select an occupation that they love.
|I have chosen a path that a love.

I really love this paragraph.  I think that over time you shall see that
I am not adverse to discipline so much as that I react strongly to an
imbalanced focus upon it.  I think that Krishnamurti's comment about
discipline is a VERY important one and find that far too often people
use a rhetoric which enforces or promotes an UNnatural discipline from
without.  This is what I mean by 'oppression', especially when it derives
from some organized effort or from someone who seems to represent an
organization or tradition.

I think t's wonderful that you have chosen a path that you love, Roger.
I think I can say the same about my own (and, perhaps with a bit of
different meaning than yours, one that I also fear).

|> I prefer you do as you want, actually.
|> That is what 'Do what thou wilt...' means to me.  I don't tell you what
|> you should do.  You don't tell me what I should do.  We respect each
|> other's lives and paths.  Pretty simple and pragmatic.
|I fully agree and always have.

Then I consider you a Thelemite! (one who lives by the Law of Thelema)

|> |> What is the
|> |> worst that will happen by knowing we have free will and then putting
|> |> ourselves into our moods completely, beingin them with consciousness?
|> |
|> |Perhaps murdering someone out of anger is possible if one allows oneself
|> |to be lead by their emotions without any discriminative intelligence. 
|> Murdering someone out of anger is not being very conscious.  To really
|> do it right one would put oneself in the anger, then plan, methodically,
|> how one was going to kill the other person, feeling the pain of the
|> victim and all their relatives.  
|> other Demons who kill for pleasure.  They are Ming the Merciless.  They
|> must do their job with perfect intent, much like a Samurai.  Watch the
|> samurai.  How graceful, how unrelenting.  When anger overcomes them the
|> perfect warrior withdraws does not strike the fatal blow.
|What you asked was, what is the worst that could happen if, by knowing we
|have free will, we totally immerse ourselves in our moods, such as anger...

Yes, BEING IN THEM WITH CONSCIOUSNESS.  An important qualification.

|at which point one imagines someone under the control of anger and thus
|capable of murdering... 

Well, I meant it as all one statement.

|then you say "being in them with consciousness"
|which you seem to take as not having anger at all. 

I don't think I ever said that it means not being angry.  I take 'being
in them with consciousness' to mean attempting to fully realize the pain
which drives our feelings of fear and anger (and love and kindness???
I'll have to think about those two), and being completely attentive 
regarding any effect our actions may have in the experiences of others.
I hope you now see that the two things are not really incompatible but
that 'murder' would probably be somewhat prohibited by this consciouness
because we would have to reflect rather deeply.

I am sometimes saddened that killing should be seen as a 'bad thing'.
We must each kill to survive (directly or indirectly) and the Samurai
and Karma Yoga traditions (as well as that founded by Sun Tzu) are
quite beautific, though somtimes dreadfully frightening.

One of the benefits of a focus upon a wrathful deity (as is Kali) is
that She also challenges me to come to understand the 'dark side' of
human nature.  Our brutishness, our willingness to become adversaries,
our sometimes inexplicable cruelty - these are all natural, as I understand
it, though perhaps arising within rather specal conditions (such
as when we feel endangered, when our resources dwindle, when we have
disempowered ourselves, etc.).

|...You see, at the moment of anger, before you are
|able to become mindful of it and thus perhaps see the anger disappear, you
|may have a weapon in your hand and a person nearby to use it on. I don't
|think everyone has a Samurai's ascetic control over his/her emotions that
|she/he can refrain from killing, at least until after the anger is gone.

Therefore without such a discipline perhaps society ought prevent people
from having such lethal weapons through regulation and restriction.
A society may do this with itself with very profitable results.  

However, condemning or voiding anger simply because it MIGHT lead to
violence which we don't want is very detrimental to our experience of
life, as I see it, and will only lead to repression and the release
of such emotions by self-destructive activities such as the focus upon
discipline and/or self-mortification to the exclusion of being able
to enjoy the world and other, more extreme violence.

|Therefore, the worst that could happen, is a murder committed out of anger,
|in answer to your question.

Yes, and I think this 'worst' is quite natural and in no need of
condemnation.  Perhaps as a society we may wish to attempt to prevent it,
and I'm sure that moralism and emotional repression is one effective 
social meansto do this, yet I say here that it is not the best way,
and leads to violence in the end anyway.

|> What if I say:
|> IMHO, you are an idiot.
|It's a tad bit better than without the IMHO ;-).

Well, just so y'all know, I don't think that about you.  I think you are
a very intelligent and caring person with whom I am very glad to grapple.

In _The Book of the Law_ (from which 'Do what thou wilt...' in the form
I know it comes) it is written:

"As brothers, fight ye!"

This advice I take to heart here in this newsgroup (and in others).

|The IMHO is a courtesy to those folks who rather not hear me make statements
|without the IMHO. I agree that it is obvious that we express our opinions
|but not everyone sees it that way; 

Agreed, though I don't really understand it as anything other than an
emotional pacifier for people who are stuck on literalism and prone to
believing everything they read. :>

|they may see me as making statements
|as if they are infallible truths, which I have no direct realization of,
|and so I like to be careful. I won't water down my remarks in deference
|to those who disagree with me, but I will qualify my remarks as being
|opinion when I feel it appropriate to do so - in the spirit of "do what
|thou will" :-).  

I respect you greatly for this attitude.  I share your value of these things
and also find it of value to place IMHO in various permutations within
my writings (using 'I think', 'as far as I know', etc.).  Stating things
categorically can lead to hypnotizing myself into believing them, and
I don't want to start down that horrid path. ;>

|To answer your question, I don't think your use of the
|IMHO makes you any less judgmental etc. ;-) so you might as well leave
|it off. :-).

I shall, and I shall never call you an idiot, my friend.

|> I agree that it may seem like baby and bathwater.  I would ask, why does
|> 'better' depend on 'worse' for its existence?  Why does beauty require
|> ugliness to exist?  Is a baby defined by its bathwater? :>
|Who said it was? Not me. You are after the wrong windmill here. :-).

I think you've avoided the question, given that you were the one who
used the phrase to categorize my 'tossing out of the whole better/worse

|> Well, you are following your intution.  Your intuition told you that your
|> Yoga teachings wre right for you.  You did not choose it.  Your intuition
|> chose it for you.  Ne c'est pas?
|Nope. I and my intuition are one.

Now that IS fascinating.  So you told yourSELF where you were supposed to
go or what to do and now you're following your own dictates?  Sounds very
lovely to me. :>


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