The Way of Being | A Journey—Topic Essay: Templates for Realization
Anil Mitra, Copyright © November 2, 2019—March 25, 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.
The material in this section and related specific material in the templates needs to be combined here and edited.
Aim—to find and integrate what is valuable to the way.
A short list (bold items are current interest)
1. Primal ways—the experienced world and its hypothetical causes are not split.
2. Eastern, especially Hinduism (particularly, Yoga and Advaita Vedanta) and Buddhism (four truths, eightfold way of realization).
3. Abrahamic religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity (symbolic truth, Christian message), and Islam.
4. Secular, modern, e.g. Secular humanism, material, existential and approach from Being, psychotherapies and psychoanalysis, other experimental and ad hoc approaches—for example on ‘how to live life to the fullest’.
Primal—Make Prayers to the Raven, Richard K. Nelson, 1983; my memory.
Hinduism and Buddhism—A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, C.A. Moore and S. Radhakrishnan, 1957; my memory.
General and Christianity—The Fifth Dimension, John Hick, 1999.
Secular humanism—Secular humanism (Wikipedia); my memory.
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.
Community and involvement.
For The Way of Being
For living in the world, the real metaphysics reveals the approaches of Yoga and Buddhism to have robustness. 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. These may be supplemented according to inclination and temperament—which is encouraged to be cultivated from experience, in imagination, and subject to reason.
While the traditional and modern ways have value, for The Way they are seen as supplements to be regarded as experimental and subject to reinterpretation, redefinition, and enhancement. 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 resources for The Way and its discovery under the real metaphysics.
Perfection according to the received 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, 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.
Bracketed items are suggestions; details under the numbered items are possibilities. Personal details are illustrative.
1. Rise early (before the sun), dedicate to the way and its aim; affirm the universal nature of Being; morning reflection (in nature).
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 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.
Explanation. 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. This overcoming and realization are interdependent; one without the other is not potent. An adaptation of the third step of twelve step programs.
“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.”
Explanation. Ritual reminder of truth. I experiment with alternatives and supplements. An adaptation of a quotation of Abhinava Gupta from Tantra Illuminated, Christopher Wallis.
2. Meditative-contemplative review of priorities and plans—life, the day, the way.
Reflect on realization, priorities, and means; employ simple reflection, (calming—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 the discussion of experimental yoga).
Explanation. This meditation may be unstructured. The extent of the review depends on need. An accumulation of expectation and planning may occasion extensive review. A change of ‘scene’—a visit to my favorite town or a week spent in my favorite mountains—is conducive to review of my life and my projects.
3. Realization—work, care and relationships—networking, ideas and action, experimental and structured yoga-exercise-meditation-share in practice and in action. 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. Though we do not transcend experience, there is perfect knowledge (we may transcend personal experience in life and beyond in merging with greater Being). 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.
Explanation. Here, Yoga refers to the Indian system in which yoga, the concept, is merging with the universe in its peak of Being (‘Atman’, or self, becoming ‘Brahman’ or universal identity; the idea is said to be ‘yoking’ to Brahman); see the quote above beginning “The special feature of the Yoga system”. Yoga is experimental in building upon established practice and uses of practice. It is essentially experimental in that the final aim and means of yoga is never fully realized—the concept is given but the object is not. Experimental meditation, focus on spaciousness, freeing from ego-fixation, ultimate in-itself-and-the-present, continuity of meditation-action-Being.
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.
For nature: 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. Nature photography.
For culture: experience traditions for learning and impact on identity.
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.
6. Evening rest, renewal, review, realization, network, community, tasks, preparation and dedication for the next day and the future, sleep early
Explanation. If there is time, I work on projects—especially The Way. I like to meet people for ideas and conversation. I prepare for the next day, which saves precious high energy morning time. If may meditate. I may watch a DVD. I am winding down.
The universal template addresses the dimensions of Being (experience and experienced)—
1. Pure—psyche-world (experience-experienced) as one; but as if psyche and world; 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 pure dimensions are absolute. The pragmatic are relative to culture.
The aim of The Way of Being | A Journey is—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 difficult to see how the ultimate-as-demonstrated is true and achievable. An approach is not just rational seeing but rational-emotive living—living fully with ‘mind, body, and heart’.
Living with mind, body, and heart. 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
Yoga is of mind and body—and emotion or heart—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
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.
The universal template employs and covers the pure and pragmatic 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 (i) Pure Being here and now… 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 (i) relation, knowing (as relation to the world) (ii) acting.
Detail: Reason; art.
Explanation. Ideas are the first—and final—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.
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”—T.S. Elliot.
The explanations are absorbed to the template.
reason, yoga, and the identity of all fundamental approaches to knowledge, be-ing, and becoming
There is a plethora of terms and concepts surrounding knowledge and its methods—argument, logic, rationality, reason, understanding. Pedantics love the fine distinctions and their endless analyses. However at root there is one idea—let us call it yoga or reason.
experimental yoga, experimental reason, reflexivity*
The phrase ‘experimental yoga’ implies yoga is not taken 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 MindHeartBody (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.
Some sources for Yoga
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*
The meditations below are detailed in their purposes but 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 Being—in identity—meditating, seeing, vision; and Becoming—within that identity—contemplating, acting.
Some sources are (i) 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, and (ii) works on Tantra (see the references in conceptual outline-essential.html*); see tantra-outline.html.
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.