Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spirituality Forums: A fresh take from LM Cargill...



If you've signed up for any of the numerous FB groups on spirituality, you've probably noticed the endless bickering. I was just about to dump FB and clear away when I heard from an old friend.

We talked briefly about the state of communities, and he proposed to write a piece on it. There's been something missing in the spiritual community, and maybe we need to address it.

Without further ado, here's Cargill.  .............



Facebook is a Hot Mess of Spirituality


I'm sick of Facebook. I'm sick of forums.

And I bet you are too.

If you've been in Spiritual Facebook land at all, you'll know that there are a ton of groups devoted to no-self, advaita, nonduality, enlightenment, awakening, etc. etc. etc.

You'll typically find two types of conversations.

a) insert quotation or spiritual belief -> everyone agrees and says it's beautifully said

or

b) "I disagree with" insert quotation or spiritual belief -> everyone takes a position and starts throwing arguments

But either way, neither of these conversation threads are helpful. It's about agreement, or disagreement, but it's not a mutual pursuit of truth or betterment.  You're not looking to better yourself, they're not looking to better themselves, it turns into a flamewar.

And regardless of whether or not you've seen no self, egos get flared up.

These conversations are not conducive to anyone. They're a distraction from real searching. And if you haven't crossed the gate, they're not doing you any good.

The other option, is where things just get monotonous and robotic. It becomes procedural. 

Which ends up looking something like this:

a: I'd like a guide to see no self
b: I'll help you see it. here are some questions.
a: I believe the self is __x__
b: it's not because __y__. look.
(repeat as long as necessary)
a: I get it now! Thanks!
b: Congratulations. Will you stick around to help show it to others?


It's transactional. You're unliberated, you get liberated, and then you're supposed to help liberate others.

The problem runs deep, and it's structural. This sort essay examines how we can make these groups better.

##Why try to fix this steaming hot mess?

It's all in the game, right? Everything's perfect as it is, so just leave it alone.

Not quite.

Because you know, there are people that want to be liberated, folks that are genuinely trudging along in their quest for awakening. And they want help, and need help.

Is this the best we can do for them?

People want enlightenment. They just don't know how to ask for it and how to get it. It's our job to make it as easy as possible.

Put yourself in their shoes. Try to remember from before you woke up, and how hard you searched.

Imagine running into facebook groups or forums where it's all about which belief system you subscribe to, or which guru you study under. Where the conversation always devolves to petty bickering, conflicting ideas, or pulpit soapboxing. Where the mods are supposed to be awake, but they're the ones most full of ego.

Imagine that being the impression you get of awakening.

You'll either join in, and continue to perpetrate the error, or you'll run away screaming.

"Fuck those advaita people, they're assholes. The mystical ki power/ energy healing people are much nicer. They teach that everything is love, and practice compassion, kindness, etc. etc."

And they'll have every right to ignore you based on how you act.

As someone interested in genuinely helping others wake up, it's your responsibility to communicate in a way that is receivable by the other person. It's their responsibility to look, but it's your job to make it as easy as possible.

That's why this is important.


How can we fix the community?


The most common approach to fixing the issue, is to set up rules.

Often times, you'll see rules like:

  • no using abusive language
  • no comments that are constantly disruptive or off topic
  • no spam
  • no trolling
  • no advertising or selling

And these do work to prevent the most common abuses. These are good ground rules. I think everyone community should at the very least, have these rules.



Rules don't address the root cause


Rules act as a sliding scale.

The less rules you have, the more freedom a community has. But this invites folks who abuse "free speech" and turn the place into a pulpit, bullies, and egos that just want validation for their beliefs And you also get a lot of weird, erroneous thinking, that if left unchecked, WILL take over the group. You'll have a bunch of myths and errors being spread as if they were true.

On the other end of the spectrum, more rules and more moderation makes a place feel dead and empty. It becomes a nepotistic circle jerk where the only ones allowed into the club are those that conform, everyone else is banned. You're all just confirming each other's beliefs and status.

And ultimately it gives a small, elite, moderatorship all of the power. A community ends up becoming a dictatorship.

What was once a community of people who are brought together by a common cause, is now loosely held together by rules and common belief. It's not fun to stay there anymore.

And so guess what? We fractionate ourselves more and more. We break off into new groups, with a slightly modified rule set. And we just keep forming more and more groups that are essentially, cliques.

Like we're back in high school.

Why does it end up like that? Why do they feel like there's a lack of purpose.

The root cause is that the TYPE of communities that have sprung up, are broken. The problem is inherent in how we structure and set them up.



Communitiy of Interest


They don't work, because they're communities of interest. A CoI is a group defined by a few characteristics.

Namely, they are:

* A group of people interested in sharing information and discussing a particular topic that interests them.
* Members are not necessarily experts or practitioners.
* The purpose of the CoI is to provide a place where people who share a common interest can go and **exchange information**, **ask questions**, and **express their opinions** about the topic.
* Membership in a CoI is **not dependent upon expertise** - one only needs to be interested in the subject.

It's a flat heirarchy, which allows information to spread widely. But because information is disseminated, it's tough to wade through what's good information, and what's bad information. And because the two are difficult to distinguish, we humans skip to using the next best heuristic: which argument is most convincing.

Instead of being helpful hubs of information, our communities devolve into debates and arguments, where one group or another is attacked or belittled. And so it turns into a popularity contest. Eventually, Communities of Interest dissolve into a ton of little cliques and niches.

Which is what we see in spirituality.

Surely there's a better model.



Form Communities of PRACTICE

A new type of community has a tough job to do. There are four key areas that it can improve on.

We can improve the onboarding of new members. Not only should it be a welcoming environment, it needs to be an easier learning curve.

We also need to be able to respond to new questions, new types of needs as they come up and as the group evolves. A static community is a dying community. Can we address new questions after someone sees through the illusion of self? We need to be able to do that, or we'll lose members on the back end.

Every single liberator knows the feeling of "I'm saying the same exact thing over and over again." Look. There's no you. Look. It gets FRUSTRATING. And why wouldn't it? You can only repeat yourself so many times. We need to eliminate that.

A better community will be an innovative community. You can only talk about "There's No You" so many times before you're a one trick pony. It's the core of enlightenment, yes. But enlightenment doesn't exist in a vaccuum. Let's use it to address other problems and issues in this world. It's the most powerful insight we have for dealing with cultural narcissism, for example. Let's wield it to create small, meaningful changes. 

In short, a new community needs to:

  • Decrease the learning curve of new members
  • Responds more rapidly to needs and inquiries
  • Reduces rework and preventing "reinvention of the wheel"
  • Spawns new ideas

It allows us to teach faster, respond more quickly to evolving demands, reduces rehashing ourselves, and allows us to evolve new ideas. It's dynamic. It's free-flowing. In other words, it's a living, thriving community.

That's what a community of practice does.

  • A CoP is a group of people who are active practitioners.
  • CoP participation is not appropriate for non-practitioners.
  • The purpose of a CoP is to provide a way for practitioners to share tips and best practices, ask questions of their colleagues, and provide support for each other.
  • Membership is dependent on expertise - one should have at least some recent experience performing in the role.

Seekers of all kinds, be it spiritual enlightenment or truth, would benefit from this type of community. Let's make one.



If you wanted to learn how to take photographs...


And you joined an online community, and you ask "What's the best camera to buy?", you'll quickly be directed towards the search function. It's a common question, and it's been answered again and again and again. And that answer is, "Depends on your situation and what you need."

And if you picked a camera, and you start to take photos with it, you'd have more substantial questions like, "What does ISO, aperture, and shutter speed?" And there would be links to a comprehensive blog post or wiki entry that has a complete answer for you.

As you gain more and more experience and take more and more photos, you'd be able to ask more detailed, in depth questions. "How do I recreate a photo with this style? How do I take a photo with this effect?" And you'd get recommendations based on your equipment and what equipment you'll need, etc. etc.

Detailed answers for detailed questions. A community based on practice and experience. Practical answers, demanded by practical questions.

Instead of being a community to share opinions and ideas, it's a community to share expertise, tips, and best practices.

That's the kind of community we want to emulate.



A Community of Practicing Awakening


The spiritual community is a hot mess. Every thread devolves into debates and arguments, where posts or people are attacked. It's all posturing and pontification. And that's because it's a community of interest.

We need rules, but rules are not the answer to this structural problem. We have to build communities of practice. If we want better communities, we have to nurture our communities with practice and experience, instead of argumentation over conflicting ideologies.

A community of practice is built by practicioners, in order to share tips, tricks, and best practices, ask questions from colleagues, and provide support for each other. We can do that with our spiritual community.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


What do you think? If you like this post, reply and tell us how you think we can make the community better! We want to hear from you.



You can follow Cargill on facebook , where you can find out more about his upcoming step-by-step guide on awakening. 




photo credit:  colour me hot by bigheaddude2000 on deviantart

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Look! An Illustrated Guide

Here you have it.  The latest book from the folks at Liberation Unleashed....An illustrated guide on how to look.



LOOK! is available from Amazon.

From the description:


""LooK!-An illustrated guide to seeing what IS" takes us on a journey of discovery, points to the so-called 'gateless gate' and shows us how we might investigate the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. This self-exploration can lead us to question our most deeply-rooted beliefs and assumptions until we see for ourselves that life is an indivisible whole, and that separateness, including the "I", is nothing but an assumption created by thought. Liberation Unleashed is a global internet-based community of volunteer guides who strive to transmit the message that separation is only a thought, that there is no entity behind the word "I", and all one needs to do is to look."


Friday, September 12, 2014

Why You Should Believe What You Don't See

Imagine you're sitting in a room, 10x10.  It's a perfect box shape.  The ceiling is of unremarkable height, the walls a smooth texture.  Paint the room any color you wish, but sticking with gray or even white might be best as it's less distracting.

Sit in the middle and set the angle of your gaze straight ahead.


Now, Look.




Done?
 
Believe what you (don't) see.

It's that second step that's the toughest.  That's because it goes against everything ever learned and everything you'll read or hear today.  For just a moment, it will become clearly evident that there is nothing between the body and the wall.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch. 

Empty.

That's it.  All of the evidence of the truth of reality is right there and has been there all along.  It's rock solid and will never change.  You can bet your life on it. 

If you can remember just one instance where a separate self was witnessed, you can toss out everything I've just said and walk away with your 'self' in tow.  But if you can clearly see that the view has never, ever been obstructed, if you can clearly see that hearing, tasting, smelling, or touching has never been obstructed or interrupted, you can say that you've clearly seen the truth of reality.

You're seeing it now.  Is there a self blocking this blog post?

Love,
Delma

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A FishBowl of Freedom

Please don't come to me or any other 'guide' asking to help you see no self.  It's not that I won't try to be of some help, but, no offense here, I'm just not going to help You.

Most of the folks who contact me or any other guide are looking for one thing... to be a self who sees No Self.  Because then, they reason, they will be free.  The problem is that they're not willing, even after it appears that the selfing has been seen through, to make the final leap into seeing that they can never be free.  Sure, the first phase or two may have become clear... no doer, no seer, etc., but that last bit remains elusive.  And the last bit is to turn around to see who it is who just got Free.

That's when the scary bit comes in. 

Let it sink in.  You can never, ever be free no matter how many guides you go to.  You can never be free no matter how many facebook groups you join And you can never be free even if you see it so well that you are successful in guiding others. There is no graduation into enlightenment.

You may have read that paragraph and mentally agreed that it's true, even as you thought, "Oh, that's not me, that's not what I'm doing." 

But do you see that reflexive little thought right there?  It comes along pretty fast, and brings the You right back into the inquiry. 

So let's just say that little loop of thought is recognized as a trap and you're pretty sure you've seen through it.  Maybe you're gaining some confidence in the No You arena and have begun to talk about it with others.  On facebook, you post the most insightful soliloquies on the topic of reality. 

You still won't be Free.  It'll just be the You doing all of that. 

Nothing can never assert itself.  And let me rephrase that:  What is No Thing, what has no form and substance, can ever assert itself.  It's the You who does that.  And it's the You who began this journey that the You can't possibly finish.

Stop looking to get free.  As a last step in the inquiry, turn around to find out who or what has been inquiring.   When it's clearly seen that there can be no resolution or freedom for you,  you'll also clearly see why and how seeking goes on forever.  Then, when sadness, worry, shame and frustration, or any other negative emotion you expected to ease up or disappear shows up, the understanding comes that it was just the You who thought that they were going to go away.  It was just the You who wanted to be No One.


photo credit:  They Want to Control You by oO-Rein-Oo on DeviantArt

Thursday, February 13, 2014

You: The Collection



This exercise requires a pen and paper.

I'll wait.

Got it?  Ok....


Please list all of the things that make up You.

Once you've completed the list, note that they are attributes.  Categorize each item as a Physical or Personality attribute, then run through the following questions...

If it's a physical attribute, does it describe the self or the body?
If it's a personal attribute, does it describe the self or pattern of events?
Does the personal attribute actually list what others have told you about yourself, or patterns of behavior the body and brain has demonstrated? 
What were the factors in contributing to this construct called the self?
Is any of it unchanging?
If it is unchanging, then can there be a core and sustained self?  Look for that self now.
Is the list a collection of things you might say you ARE?  
Look back at the YOU that is supposedly has all of these attributes.  Can the YOU both HAVE the attributes and BE the attributes?

Are you part of an attribute?

Do you say you HAVE a body?  What is it that has this body?
Do you say you HAVE a brain?  What is it that has this brain?
Do you say you HAVE a heart?  What is it that has this heart?
Do you say you HAVE a soul?  What is it that has this soul?
Do you say you HAVE a spirit?  What is it that has this spirit?

Which item on the list is you?  Or are you a label for a collection of ideas?  What and where is the entity or unchanging being that the label points to?


Love,
Delma



photo credit:  Passion BW by WinterofWishes on DeviantArt 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Does "Just F'ing Look" Mean?



Hi Delma,
 
how to look to see there is no me?
I have read your blog posts about pointers, but that does not help. What do you mean when you say "Just f*cking look?".
 
Regards,
 
P


This comment was left here this morning, but I don't seem to be able to see it on the blog.  Fortunately, I get email notification and could still read the contents.  The commenter probably thought twice about his question and decided it wasn't a good idea to post, but it highlights something important.

Seekers are so muddled in thinking that they deceive even, and especially, 'themselves'.

I assume the commenter did indeed read the blog, and in doing so, he should have found several posts which explain exactly how to look.  He also should have found full guiding sessions in which "looking" is demonstrated, as well one of my most popular posts highlighted in the sidebar, titled, Dear Seeker or maybe Self Phone Logic.

So what's wrong here?

The construct that is YOU can't believe that what I'm pointing to is truer than what you've been taught and conditioned to believe.  YOU cannot suspend that mountain of belief for a even a moment to think that JUST MAYBE it's as simple as it is.  YOU want it to be more complicated, more sophisticated, more wondrous, more special, and more challenging, or more intellectually superior than it is.  YOU can't believe that years of tradition, effort, practice, and ritual can be trumped by simply looking.  YOU don't want to have wasted 10, 20, or 30 years of seeking.

It's ok, though.  It really is.  Because it keeps teachers in business, and seeking also keeps the precious 'you' going.  

Let me get to the point.  Let's talk about looking for the thing that's supposedly been carried around forever. 

Just look.  Just look.  Just look. 

Looking means regular, plain old, vanilla looking.  There's no hidden mystery, no special way to look, no magic tricks. 

It's what's NOT there that's remarkable. 

Look now.  What do you see?   Yes, that's right.  Everything in the view.  Not a thing is blocked, or in the way of seeing.  Well, then, ask yourself this, "Where's the controller of the view?"  Behind the eyes?  Ok, why haven't brain scans found it?  And why haven't they EVER found it?

"What?", you say.  "I cannot believe that that's IT.  Ridiculous. If that was really all there is too it, I should be seeing things in a whole new way!"

You see, that thought right there is the problem, and the self is sustained only within thought.

Get it?



Hope you come back commenter.  Or at least join liberation unleashed so that we can work on it.  Volunteers are there and I'm here, to demystify this.


With love,
Delma


photo credit:  Just be.lie.ve by masqueraide on deviantart

Sunday, January 19, 2014

How much do you know about your 'self'?




 
 
"Can you tell me something about yourself other than the information that you gathered, what you know?" - U.G. Krishnamurti

I like this inquiry more than infamous "who am I?" because that question presupposes a Who.  A better question asks what is left of the self other than collected concepts and ideas.  Is there anything left at all?


photo credit:  The Puppet Show by anggalanell on deviantart