I was thinking, related to the line of thinking from the previous article, about several issues I’m having with the ideas I expressed there.
The first is in regard to the concept of spiritual growth by expanding the domain of self into the domain of non-self; basically, including things that are “other”. I didn’t explain what I meant by that, and I think I should, because most people will not find it intuitive.
I think the easiest way to explain this is if I say it’s the opposite to “cancel culture”. In the “cancel culture” of the contemporary Marxists, you basically never argue with the “enemy”. You just recognise that the “enemy” fits into the pre-defined groups that need to be destroyed, or at least “excluded from polite company” until their physical destruction becomes practical – you call them something-ist, and then you try to prevent them from talking or existing. The irony is that those cancel people justify their behaviour with the argument of compassion, but I will return to that later. For now, what matters is that cancel culture deals with non-self, with “other”, by separating it decisively from “self”, and designating it for destruction. This is exactly how one should behave if they want not to grow spiritually, because such an approach builds impenetrable walls around “self”, where “self” is good, and “non-self” is the evil Nazi enemy of all that is good and proper, with whom there can be no compromise or understanding.
Compassion, as I conceive it, means to understand that it could be you in that “non-self” entity position, and when you are skilled enough in yoga, you can extend your area of “self” to engulf either a person and an object, and think and feel from their position, and if their understanding is flawed, you bring it to correct understanding by introducing proper arguments that improve thinking, and you apply yoga to the disturbances of your mind – because it is now your mind, since you expanded the definition of Self to engulf it – and process the karmic impurities that are now your own. This, of course, is dangerous, because if your own spiritual core isn’t very firmly established in dharma (and by that I mean initiation into vajra and a prior experience of samadhi) you can quite literally “lose yourself”, and I don’t mean that in a good way, but in a psychosis and spiritual destruction way. In yogi terms, such process of expansion of self to engulf “other”, is very close to the definition of samyama, where for instance samyama on a tree means to exist as a tree, in a sense where you don’t think about a tree as a human would, but you “feel compassion” with a tree to the point where you exist and feel what that tree exists and feels. I used to practice this quite extensively, by sitting on a bench under a tree from late afternoon to deep night, and doing samyama on a tree, being the tree, learning to first calm my own mind completely, and then expand my perception, identity and range of “self” to engulf “other”. I was basically in the process of initiation into vajra at this point so I had both the ability and maturity, and I wouldn’t recommend this to beginners, because they either won’t be able to do it, or, even worse, they will be able to do it, but it will overwhelm them to the point of serious imbalance. Basically, one should achieve perfection of self first, then expand perfection outwards. Not having achieved perfection, work on that until you do, and abandon other silly ideas. I’m defining “perfection” as the ability to enter the state of samadhi at will, and feel its aspects in any direction of consciousness. Examples of this are, for instance, the ability to “bless” food; I would do it by entering samadhi and expanding consciousness/awareness/perception outwards, to food, where I would feel it within self and as a structure within the mind of God, so to speak. If I felt any karmic impurities or disturbances, I would do kriya to release them until all was at peace and depth. I would then proceed to eat food.
This is the process I call “compassion”, and here we arrive to my second issue; that of semantics. It is obvious to me that the words people commonly use, and the same words when used in literature of Yoga and Buddhism, have vastly different assumptions and meanings, which is fertile ground for all kinds of misunderstandings. When people commonly use the word “compassion”, they mean emotion, and it’s hardly a subtle one at that. When I use this word, I mean entering samadhi, and directly feeling the “other”, as self but with different body/mind/circumstances, and while compassion as it is commonly understood implies agreement and unity of emotion and thought, yogi compassion doesn’t exist at all at this level. There is no emotional exchange, and there are no own thoughts, because those are interference and disturbance that stands in the way of direct perception by means of samyama. When a yogi “feels compassion” with someone, it means “to exist as”, or “do samyama on that someone”. It doesn’t include thinking and feeling emotions; sure, thoughts and emotions do arise as secondary aspects of identification, but they exist in the same way in which two fluids would exchange heat and kinetic energy when mixed; it’s physics, not an emotional exercise. It means to become “other” karmically, and to solve those problems from that “other” position, while at the same time retaining the perspective of dharma, and “enlightening” the joint karma by application of yogic effort. Compassion, essentially, starts from the position of dharma, “spoils it” by engulfing karma of “non-self” and making it the karma of self, and then applying the force of dharma to, metaphorically, “compress” the chaotic, turbulent karmic substance, feeling suffering, and doing kriya to release, which would be the thermodynamic equivalent of releasing the excess heat. Eventually, a state of peace is achieved, where the greater-self entity is in the state of dharma, devoid of disturbance, and in the high-energy state (which is comparable to the state of physical matter where the atoms are close together, a solid or something even denser). So, when you see mentions of “compassion” and “suffering” in Buddhist literature, have in mind that those words don’t have the same meaning one would associate with them in common speech. It’s the same with the word “love”, which is used by everyone and could mean anything, which is why I find it contaminated and useless. As an anecdote, I once heard small children saying how love is the most important thing, and I was initially shocked, because I know how children are inherently incredibly selfish and completely unable to feel empathy, so what would they possibly know of love? I then understood that they don’t mean love as something they feel or do; it’s how they feel when others feel and do something towards them, when they feel safe, included, accepted and cared for. This, in turn, creates the idea that one loves you if they do everything you like, and exactly your way, which is an incredibly selfish way of perceiving others. How is it at all possible that people say that God is love, when it is obvious that God is as far from this spiritual state as one can imagine? I thought about this, and the conclusion I came to isn’t simple, because the statement that God is love is really an over-simplification of statements that were made by the actual saints who actually experienced God. The saints didn’t experience what a child would assume by love – the feeling they have when their parents care for them. Sure, there is one aspect of it – being completely understood and known, being accepted and part of, but there is more to it; as St. Theresa of Avilla described the feeling when an angel pierced her heart with his spear, and she felt pain so terrible she couldn’t bear it for even a moment, and so delicious she wanted it to last forever. This feeling of terrible power, that is wonderful beyond dreams, and at the same time both accepting and judgmental, because it carries implications – you need to act of that in order to be of that, so to speak. In order not to reject God, you need to affirm your belonging to God by acting the way God would act, both in the world and beyond. So, you can say it’s “love”, but honestly, a word that can mean anything to anyone is hardly of any use at all, and the danger of misunderstanding is greater than the possible utility of conveying a meaning.
I’m having similar issues when using the words people think they understand, but they truly don’t, for instance the word God. When I say the word “God”, I touch samadhi. When people think the word “God”, who knows what rubbish they think; the only thing I’m certain of is that it contains very little in terms of a transcendental component; it’s mostly misconceptions accompanied by frustrations and resentment. To me, God is the deep transcendental reality from which I raise up thoughts and words, and this manifestation of thoughts, words, deeds from God is dharma, as I understand it. Dharma is the state in which thought, action and deed arises from brahman, without disturbance.
So, basically, if a common person thinks they understand what a saint, avatar or an enlightened person is saying, just because they use words that have a commonly understood meaning, they are most likely wrong.