The Way of Being | A Journey—Topic Essay: Templates for Realization
Anil Mitra, Copyright © November 2, 2019—February 16, 2020
A JOURNEY IN BEING
The document has two templates which are the sources for other documents. Editing should be done here.
2. Any document with the templates should point here.
There is a range of approaches to living in this world—the aim here is to be representative, not comprehensive; here is a short list of which only the bold items are a current interest. The primal ways of life; the religions of the East, especially Hinduism (especially Yoga and Advaita Vedanta) and Buddhism; the Abrahamic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; and a range of secular / modern approaches, for example Secular humanism, existentialism, a range of psychotherapies and psychoanalysis, and a range of other experimental / more or less ad hoc approaches—for example on ‘how to live life to the fullest’.
Buddhism—A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, C.A. Moore and S. Radhakrishnan, 1957; and my memory.
Secular humanism—Secular humanism (Wikipedia) and my memory.
The elements of an approach may include—
A philosophy, metaphysics, cosmology, and psychology.
This defines the world in which we live according to the approach. It defines
condition and aim of living. It may include afterlife, eternal destiny,
spiritual and divine being or beings.
Phases of life
Community and involvement.
For The Way of Being
For living in the world, the real metaphysics reveals the approaches of Yoga and Buddhism to be robust. For living in the immediate and ultimate as one, Advaita Vedanta is robust—and real metaphysics gives it foundation, realism, elaboration, and a path. Real metaphysics does not reject the Abrahamic religions but finds their cosmologies and paths (i) less robust as real (ii) having symbolic value in emotional and material terms.
Some elements of the traditional and modern ways are embedded in the templates. Readers may supplement the templates according to inclination and temperament—which is encouraged to be subject to reason.
While the traditional and modern ways have value, for The Way they are seen as supplements to be regarded as experimental. Perfection in this world according to the traditional-modern ways or individual internal criteria are valuable but it is always essential, in terms of values stemming from the real metaphysics, to keep such experimental notions of perfection in balance with being on a path to the ultimate.
Traditional and modern ways are seen as resources for The Way and its discovery under the real metaphysics. Perfection according to the ways and individual criteria are useful but seen as experimental, subject to values from the real metaphysics, and should remain in balance with being on a path to the ultimate.
The template is adaptable to a range of
1. Life stages and situations,
2. Orientations to the nature of self and universe,
3. Everyday circumstances,
4. Individual vs shared activity, and
5. Special activities and explorations.
The adaptation can be made by selecting
1. The elements,
2. The order,
3. The emphasis,
4. The timing, which may be explicit or written in, and
5. To balance structure and its abandon to favor a fresh outlook and approach.
Rise early-dedication-affirmation, review, realize (reflect-write on the way and yoga-exercise-share), exploration, evening renewal and community, and sleep early.
Some details under the numbered items are examples of possibilities.
1. Rise early (before the sun), dedication to the way and its aim; affirmation of the universal nature of Being; morning reflection (in nature).
Dedication—I dedicate my life to The Way of Being; to living in this world and the ultimate as one. The Way or Means—To shared discovery and realization of the way under emergent reason in its pure and pragmatic dimensions. The Path—To shedding bonds of limited self so that I can see the way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force—and so moving toward positive light; and to realizing the ultimate in this life and beyond.
(In the dedication and affirmation, ‘I’ may be changed to ‘we’.)
“That pure unlimited consciousness—transcending all principles of form… that is supreme reality. That is the ground for the establishment of all things—and that is the essence of the universe. By That the universe lives and breathes, and That alone am I. Thus I embody and am the universe in its ordinary and most transcendent form.”
2. Meditative-contemplative review of priorities and plans—the day, life, the path or way.
Reflect on realization, priorities, and means; employ simple reflection, (calming) meditative emptiness (Shamatha) for re-orientation of purpose and energy, contemplative or analytical meditation (Vipasana) to see what is essential now and in other time frames (see ‘experimental yoga’ below for details).
3. Realization—work and relationships, ideas and action, yoga-exercise-meditation-share in practice and in action, tasks and meals. Other activities or ‘engagement in the world’ (—e.g., languages, art).
Experience as conscious awareness in all its forms (receptive or ‘attitudinal’, pure thought-emotion, and ‘actionable’) is fundamental—it is the place of meaning and our Being. One does not transcends experience (one does transcend one’s experience in life and in merging with greater Being) but yet there is perfect knowing. Experience is key to yoga in two ways—as a direct path to higher experiential Being and via knowledge and action as a platform for transformation.
4. Tasks—daily and long term; meals. Attitude—an element of realization; light; yoga in action.
5. Physical activity… exercise and exploration of the worlds of nature and culture for experience and inspiration.
Beyul—a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is travel and being in nature, sometimes to remote places, in search of extended experience of self and the ultimate, with openness to inspiration.
Experience traditions for learning and impact on identity.
6. Evening rest, renewal, review, realization, network, community, tasks, preparation and dedication for the next day and the future, sleep early.
A source for the dimensions is the document Experience and its dimensions. For further information see system of human knowledge… (doc) and its supplement (doc). In a journey in being-outline.html see § A system of the world and § Templates > § Site sources.
The universal template addresses the dimensions of Being (experience and experienced)—
1. Pure—psyche and world (experience and experienced); relation and change (interaction and process).
2. Pragmatic—world as psyche (experience), nature, society and civilization, and the universal (and unknown); with interaction and dynamics (human relations and action).
The aim of The Way of Being | A Journey includes realization of the ultimate in and from the immediate.
A many faceted problem faces us. Let us describe it together with approach to resolution.
Essential concepts will be seeing the truth, rational-emotive living, yoga*, secular tradition, default secularism
1. How to see the truth. From the seeming finite, it may be hard to see how the ultimate-as-demonstrated is true, let alone achievable. An approach is not just rational seeing but rational-emotive living.
Rational-emotive living. To see the truth of the
ultimate a first step is to review the demonstration and its heuristics. The demonstration
itself may be affirmed simply—“Because there are no constraints in the
non-manifest (void), the manifest (universe) is necessary. Necessity of just
the empirical universe contradicts the symmetry that is the essential
simplicity of the void. Therefore, of necessity, the real universe is
realization of the greatest possibility.”
3. Yoga. Yoga is of mind and body emphasizing mental and physical exercise and exposure to nature and culture—in practice, action, and world-community. The meaning of ‘Yoga’ is at most suggested by tradition. Important as tradition is, we recognize that its self-definition is its essential limit.
Absent a final metaphysics, the intensional notion of Yoga must be open; but given the metaphysics the intensional meaning of Yoga is reason—i.e., the real metaphysics itself. From the real metaphysics—especially the limitlessness and essential ever freshness of the variety, peaking, and dissolution of Being—the extensive meaning of Yoga is and must be ever open.
4. The secular tradition to the present day. Secular knowledge and technology of transformation and exploration—for individual and world-community… as detailed in § A system of the world in a journey in being-outline.html.
This template employs and covers the dimensions of Being and phases of human life. It is adaptable to a range of foci corresponding to different interests. Though they may do so, it is not intended that an individual should or shall undertake action in all dimensions and details.
The template is adaptable to a range of personal orientations, contexts of sharing, and life stages and situations.
The adaptation can be made by selecting the elements, the emphases, and degrees of shared versus individual endeavor.
1. Being—Dimensions (a) Pure Being… (an aim), Being as if timeless and without restriction to place in the present (b) Community—a spiritual home and sharing community (‘Sangha’).
Detail. Everyday process bridges the immediate-ultimate. Vision retreat. Explanation. Being in and search for home and universal yogic connection is important. Home and community are ground. Home is a place from which to look out on the world with wonder and invitation to the real. Community ought to be supportive of truth and development in truth, encouraging yet critical, not steeped in either secular or transsecular limits of vision or dogma. Normative truth in Sangha or community leads to truth and transformation of persons; and real truth of enlightened and transformed persons gives back to normative truth in Sangha.
2. Ideas—Dimensions (a) relation, knowing (as relation to the world) (b) acting.
Detail: Reason; art. Explanation. Ideas are the first place of Being, significance, and action; and are instrumental in realization.
3. Becoming—Dimensions: nature, psyche, and their interactions; immersion in nature as a place of Being and catalyst to the real. Effect on culture and understanding of the universal.
Detail: Nature as ground for the real and renewal (in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*)—focus on nature as gateway—e.g., as in Beyul: quest for the real (in The way of being-essential.html*) as in Tibetan Buddhism; the focus is nature as gateway. Explanation. Nature is inspiration on multiple counts—an essential place and image of Being, catalyst to meditation and ideas. Life in nature exemplifies Being. What is the be-ing of animals? Nature is a path to the real. Meditation (yoga) is an intrinsic way to centered and transformative attitude in this world, and shedding limitations (bondage) of self and growing into universal life.
4. Becoming—Dimensions: civilization and society (culture and its dimensions; instrumental and immersive politics and economics). Contribution of culture to understanding of the universal. Institution is a twofold aspect of this phase—(i) accessing the range of social and cultural institutions of society (ii) building specific institutions for realization and community.
Detail. See Instrumental modes of transformation (in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*) for a shared approach to transformation, community, civilization and population of earth and universe). Intrinsic and instrumental thought (social-political-economic philosophy—see politics and cultural economics.html) and action—(i) meditation is guide to action and shedding bondage of self (ii) the system of knowledge is a guide to comprehensive secular and transsecular elements of local through global action. Explanation. Civilization is vehicle for and path to the real.
Detail. A dual approach to transformation of psyche and civilization. What is a good attitude and approach? (i) Awareness of self and limitation—and acceptance and openness toward it; but to openly aim at the highest in this life and beyond (and their interaction and recognition of the poverty of exclusively secular and exclusively—dogmatic—transsecular approaches). (ii) Cultivation of the attitude in meditation-yoga-practice. (iii) Laying out dimensions, levels, and foci of action. Dimensions of the world (psyche, nature, society and civilization—secular and transsecular, the universal): see system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html for systematic detail. Levels: individual to universal. Foci: assessment of problems, opportunities, and targets of action—see § Challenges and opportunities in Journey in Being-detail.html. (iv) Action in the context of and by community or Sangha; there is no limitation of Sangha to just small scale or spiritual communities.
5. Becoming—Dimension: artifact (technology, especially as enhancing Being in the universe). ‘Civilizing the universe’—i.e. universe as peak consciousness via spread of sapient Being.
Detail. Artifactual Being as realized Being (find ‘artifactual being’ in system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action.html*); and as adjunct (science and technology of advanced civilization on the way to the ultimate; use of computation and networking in realization—as adjunct and as independent identity). Address of pain via modern medicine and therapy, supplemented by what is good in the traditions, is important to individuals and realization by civilization—either in part or in whole. Explanation. Artifact has potential as Being, reservoir of our Being, and auxiliary in our search for intrinsic and instrumental Being (e.g. the spread of ideas and civilization).
6. Becoming—Dimensions: universal, unknown.
Detail: Transformation aimed at the universal. Catalysts—dynamics, catalysts and catalytic states.html* (on catalytic transformation), ways (in the realizations-resource version.html*: on religion as a source for transformation), in everyday process, and renewal, knowledge, technology, developed-deployed in transforming Being-civilization. Explanation. The path to Being. Where secular and transsecular paradigms visualize completeness or impossibility of completeness, there is neither completeness nor impossibility. This action is on the way to the ultimate.
7. Being—Dimension: universal… the aim.
Detail: Being in the universal.
Rise before the sun.
Explanation. Rising at 4am or earlier gives me a sense of the special-ness of the world and my enterprise. Then there is a whole day of light after essential project work is done.
Dedication. I dedicate my life to The Way of Being—to shared discovery (ideas) and realization (action and choice); to shedding the bonds of limited self and culture and so to see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force (opening to the real in individuals and the world); to realizing the ultimate in this world and beyond (inner-intrinsic and instrumental ways in the dimensions and elements of the real).
Explanation. In a static world view the idea, e.g. in meditation, is sufficient to the best identity with Being and is best in interaction with shared action. In the dynamic view of The Way ideas and action are essential to realization. Meditation to overcoming the limits of self, especially closedness to others and the real, may be catalytic. To shedding the bonds of limited self (overcoming ‘demons’, ‘neuroses’) in balance with realizing the ultimate—the balance is good—all one without the other is far from optimal.
Shared affirmation. That pure unlimited consciousness that is all Being alone is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—that am I. So I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
Explanation. Ritual reminder of truth. I experiment with alternatives and supplements.
The Dedication is a modification of the third step of twelve step programs. The affirmation is a modification of a quotation of Abhinava GUPTA from Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition, 2 ed. (2013), by Christopher Wallis.
Review and meditate on realization and immediate priorities and means.
Explanation. The meditation need not be ‘formal’. The extent of the review depends on need. An accumulated burden of personal expectation and planning is occasion for extensive review. A change of ‘scene’—a visit to my favorite town or a week spent in my favorite mountains—is really conducive to review of my life and my projects.
Realization. Work and care. Ideas, writing, networking with the young and the established; shared action, transmission, experiment: everyday process and universal process. Days for renewal. Other activities, e.g. languages, art.
Tasks. Daily (morning); meals; select andor regular days for long term tasks.
Experimental yoga, general—relation to the real, postural.
Explanation. ‘Experimental’ includes building upon established practice and uses of practice. Experimental meditation, focus on spaciousness, freeing from ego-fixation, ultimate in-itself-and-the-present, continuity of meditation-action-Being. See the supplementary conceptual outline-essential.html* for a range of meditations from centering to being-in-the-universe.
The meditative aspect of Yoga—from A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, S. Radhakrishnan and C. A. Moore—which in line with the experimental attitude is suggestive. See the quote above beginning “The special feature of the Yoga system…”
Exercise. Aerobic: in nature; and photography.
Explanation. Having gotten up early, even in winter there is time for as much as four hours of this activity. I like to get some good aerobic exercise—but it is best for me when I combine this with other activity. I often ride my bicycle in local farm and backcountry roads. The marshes, slews, farmlands, skies, and an immense range of birds where I live are amazing.
Note. These personal details are intended as illustrative examples.
Evening. Rest, renewal, meditation, realization, and community. Evening tasks, preparation and dedication of the next day and the future. Sleep early.
Explanation. If I have energy and time, I work on projects—especially The Way. I like to meet people at a local coffee house—especially for conversation. I like to do preparation for the next day that saves precious high energy morning time. If I feel it right I like to do a twenty minute meditation. I may watch a DVD. I am winding down.
reason, yoga, and the identity of all fundamental approaches to knowledge, be-ing, and becoming
experimental yoga, experimental reason, reflexivity*
The phrase ‘experimental yoga’ implies that we are not taking yoga in any received sense. Rather discovery of true yoga and reason, not just received practice, is part of the practice.
We have seen that in their expansive senses, yoga and reason are identical (if ‘reason’ is extended to mean critical imaginative interaction of feeling and cognition in action, then there is identity between yoga and reason.). There is a tendency to regard yoga and reason as complete to regard them authoritatively. There are of course and definitive aspects in that some elements are established and that instruction ought to begin clearly and simply. However, at root yoga and reason remain incomplete, indefinite with regard to detailed goals and methods. Some aspects are as follows.
Though often presented as such, no system of yoga-meditation is ultimate in means and goal.
1. An original meaning of yoga is ‘yoke’ (to the ultimate, the real, i.e. Atman to Brahman). Two phases or kinds can be recognized (a) Shamatha or emptying and focus and (b) Vipasana or analytic meditation.
2. Yoga-meditation involves the whole being or MindBody (supra categories, east or west, e.g. manas-citta- vijñana or emotion-perception-thought-will-body).
3. Yoga is reflexive—in which all elements and levels of MindBody cross and self interact, e.g. it is reflective on its own process (includes meta-yoga), is therefore experimental with regard to means and goal. Reflexivity allows and encourages open, experimental, and reflective interaction of all elements of MindBody and process. It is critical-imaginative and feeling-cognitive.
4. In this extended sense, yoga is the way—and synthesizes east, west, and the elements of The Way of Being.
5. Its ‘goals’ include the ultimate and the immediate—in Vedanta it is being-on-the-way-to-the-ultimate… in Buddhism it is sometimes the quiet that allows space of mind; the great and the little—‘application’ may be made to enhance the quality of any endeavor or finding the mental space to solve ‘life’ and technical problems; enjoyment of reward and duty—understood as whatever points to the ultimate (and allows that we may be ignorant of the same and so ought to consider cultural imperatives).
6. Yoga is opening up to the infinite and the infinitesimal.
7. In incorporating existential thought, yoga may employ reflection on death as transformative. The aim is to recognize the reality of death; that it is real; that it is not absolute; that awareness of it is a source of what is important in this life; that determining one’s death, even if inexactly and only probably, is orientation to the real—the criteria being enjoyment and usefulness; that beyond death, individual eternity collapses to a moment; and that death is gateway to merging of all identities in ultimate Identity.
The Vedanta of Indian Philosophy speaks of ultimate identity; yoga, understood broadly and experimentally, is its means; the view of the universe of universal and individual identity and their relationship (and their identity) derives from Vedanta. Buddha speaks of enjoyment of the path, a middle way between pain and ecstasy; pain must be attended to via local means but its ultimate address is in understanding of and being on the way to the ultimate (which in Buddhism is to be achieved in an immediate life, for original Buddhism eschews ultimates beyond human experience). The earlier discussion of enjoyment, ecstasy, and pain derives from Buddhism.
Exploration of other traditions, e.g. the Tao, and the idealist metaphysics of Hegel, Heidegger, and Sri Aurobindo may be worthwhile. There is a sense in which ideas alone are trivial; rendering them in life, Being, and action is essential—what makes the ideas ‘true’. The real metaphysics of The Way renders the metaphysical systems of such authors trivial even where true—the real metaphysics goes beyond the systems to the ultimate; but it is demonstration that is crucial for it obviates the need and occasion for metaphysical contortion—and it enables paths to the ultimate.
Some further traditions worthy of exploration are the Siberian and North and South American Shamanism.
The Abrahamic Religions have excellent insights and messages; however their cosmology and principles of thought are not close to the logos as understood in The Way. There may be some affinity with the Aeternitas of Thomas Aquinas.
Also see conceptual outline-essential.html*
Purpose of the yoga-meditations
The many purposes support a single main purpose—the identity of Atman as self-spirit-consciousness and Brahman as Universe-Ultimate-Spirit-Consciousness.
Two aims or foci are (a) Being—in identity—meditating, seeing, vision; and (b) Becoming—within that identity—contemplating, acting.
The many purposes include:
Some yoga-meditations to work on
Gates to Buddhist Practice (see the references in conceptual outline-essential.html*): Parts III. Refuge and Bodhicitta, IV. Foundational nature, faith, death…), and V. Guru yoga, the great perfection, nature of mind.
Everyday life as spiritual practice
A typical but flexible set of activities. Dedicate-affirm-relax-focus (see below) tailored to: (i) Rise (ii) Review—the day… and life-death-Brahman-birth (iii) Realization projects (iv) Yoga-meditation (v) Food-chores (vi) Exercise-nature-meditate-photography (v) Evening—realize, network, prepare.
Meditation on Being—i.e. on life – death – life. (1) Death as relative—as gateway to the real in universal life. (2) Death as absolute—as motivation to the real in this life. Contemplate the thought ‘LIFE BEGINS WITH DEATH’.
Contemplating and overcoming the ‘poisons of the mind’
Attachment and desire / anger and aversion / Ignorance
Add, improve, and order
Contemplating the four thoughts of Chagdud Tulku’s Vajrayana
Contemplating the four thoughts (Vipasana), cutting, and Shamatha (relaxation)—precious human existence / impermanence / karma and rebirth / ocean of suffering
Shamatha, cutting, vipasana
Vipasana—overcoming inner constraint due to judgment—being equal on the inside and the outside—optimize with regard to overcoming vs. achieving.
Work with negativity in thought and emotion
Uncover my prejudices and resentments see patterns of behavior and resenting, meditate on these without judgment—to accept etc: fourth step-for internet.html.
Dedication to The Way
Dedication—I dedicate my life to The Way of Being: to shared discovery of ideas and realization in action; to shedding the bonds of limited (dualist) self so that I may see The Way so clearly that even in difficulty life is flow over force; to realizing the ultimate in this life and beyond.
Affirming identity of Atman and Brahman
Affirmation—That pure unlimited consciousness that is all being is supreme reality. That is the universe—its life and breath—and that alone am I. And so I am and embody the self-transcending universe that is all Being and has no other.
Visualizing and conceiving Atman is Brahman
Self = universe (Atman, spirit = Brahman, eternal and ultimate consciousness)—(a) as Being (b) as process.
Ideas to action to learning to ideas; and planning
Ideas into action into learning into ideas.