Women and Self-Realisation in the School

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
Alban
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Postby Alban » Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:35 pm

bella wrote:Alban, if your questions were directed to me and not just general questions to be considered, I suppose I find them a bit patronising. Yes, I've thought about it, and yes, I've questioned my own belief in it.


They were neither directed at you, nor patronising, as has been demonstrated by the very keen discussion following it.

bella wrote:My understanding is that...


...and as Bonsai pointed out, there as many definitions of self-realisation as there are believers in it. If you're happy with what self-realisation means to you and are happy to try and attain it at every available opportunity then that's ok. I just asked the question - it's a good thing to stand back and take an overview once in a while - right?

bella wrote:There's no universal evidence for God, or for Paris Hilton's cultural value either, but somehow these ideas keep being sustained too.


I agree about God, but it should come as no suprise as the implication of what I was saying is that the SES is essentially a religion - despite what they claim.

And it may have been a flippant comment, but actually Paris Hilton is just another person and as such has just as much cultural value as any one of us.

Basically, it's up to people what they believe in - if they choose to believe in God or self-realisation or anything else, then that's their business. I just wanted to point out that we were all talking as though self-realisation was a given constant rather than a personal interpretation of a state of being...people talk about "Love" in the same way.

Alban

AntonR
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Postby AntonR » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:05 am

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a different guest
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Postby a different guest » Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:21 am

I think this is what Keir, Alban and Bonsai are referring to in their posts. Self realisation is not a dogma or creed. It can't be locked into a fixed position.


But is that the SES view of self-realisation? That it IS some sort of locked-in recognisable thing that is to be strived for. I remember one comment (perhaps in The Secret Cult) about how Mclaren was looked on in awe as 'the most "realised" person...'

Given that a lot of what the SES seems (to me) to be much about class and status, then it would follow that their notion of self-realisation is flawed.

sorry if this doesn't make sense - threa thread is a bit 'beyond' me as well. :)
Relatives with long-term involvement in the SES / SOP/ SoEP

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Ben W
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Postby Ben W » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:09 am

Back in Tasmania. Watched the full moon set this morning over water and mountains, the sky tinged pink with the almost risen sun. An amazing sight, though I was so absorbed in this thread I missed the moon disappearing down behind Tinderbox Hills.

This site is a wonderful place. An inspiring group of people engaged in dialogue on an amazing range of topics.

I suspect the concept of self realisation is at the heart of the SES experience for most. It is an intensely personal issue, but at the same time, as NYC hints, the inter-connectedness of everything makes it a common issue. Rather than contributing to this thread in a Euclidean manner, I offer a stream of consciousness.

- We see through a glass (very) darkly. All of us looking for/at the same thing, but seeing it differently.

- Do not accept the constraints that science attempts to place on us.

- Personal enquiry is more valid than any other kind.

- The answers are no more than just out of reach - but not necessarily any more attainable for that.

~~~~~

Pull back the strings and release.
The arrow flies off
Leaving behind the bow and the solid ground.

The air rushes around,
The target is ahead.
As it reveals itself in greater detail
It is unrecognisable
And never any closer.

It is not the goal,
It is not the journey,
It has no start nor end.
An eternity contained within
The flutter of a feather,
A universe held in a space smaller than the tip of an arrowhead

~~~~~

A year before my natural father died I spent a week with him in Bangladesh - his home. We travelled around the country and visited his ancestral village. We hung out in his bedroom. We talked and talked - sharing things which a father and son usually do not talk about - relationships, infidelity, the conception of children (including me), his experiences with my mother. We talked about life and death and his own beliefs on the subject. I asked him what he believes happens after death and he replied as follows:

A ball rolling along the floor contains energy. The ball hits the wall and stops. What happens to the energy? It still exists, but it is no longer contained within the ball. It is hard to say where it is, but it is certainly no longer the same as it was.

~~~~~

There is some part of us which is not the body, nor the mind. It does not own things, it does not have emotion, it does not think. It finds expression through our physical condition.

Everything we experience is defined by our senses, and organised through language. There is no such thing as colour or sound, not in the physical world, nor in any other world.

Peel back all the layers and what is left?

~~~~~

In response to your original question Bella - I did not understand from your question whether this was something you yourself have heard within SOP and are investigating independently, or whether it something you have only heard about on this board.

~~~~~

Such a beautiful thread - you are all such beautiful people

~~~~~

The weather has turned - a lovely morning (and a 12Km run along beaches and thorugh bushland - leaving me with a sore knee) gave way to a dull afternoon, a rain-sodden twilight, and now a fierce wind whipping across the bay and through the trees. The only light outside comes from the lights of Hobart and Blackman's Bay - stretched around the horizon. Inside the fire glows and the dishwasher purrs. Elise is reading Pride and Prejudice for the umpteenth time, Sara (my mother) is pottering in the kitchen.
Child member of SES from around 1967 to around 1977; Strongly involved in Sunday Schools ; Five brothers and sisters went to ST V and St J in the worst years

Daffy
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Postby Daffy » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:00 pm

Ben, can I please have some of what you are smoking?

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Fri Apr 14, 2006 2:43 pm

AntonR wrote:I think this is what Keir, Alban and Bonsai are referring to in their posts. Self realisation is not a dogma or creed. It can't be locked into a fixed position.


I have an idea that indeed self realisation is not a dogma or creed but SES and St James have tried to turn it into a dogma and you have to do a lot of work to dispell the bollocks before you get to the concepts that are really tried to be conveyed.

To go back to the original subject of the thread, throughout my time in St James and SES there was a very unequal view conveyed about men and women and they certainly like their traditional roles.

I certainly cannot believe that being male or female improves or limits your chances of enlightenment.

Anton I don't understand your comment about this discussion being at the core of all belief systems. From what I understand of christianity and judaism there is no view in these belief systems that has anything similar to self realisation. This too is a bug bear of mine about the SES. They claim to be consistent with all religions but in christianity and judaism there are no concepts of self realisation and many other things that they tout.

Bonsai

Jo-Anne Morgan
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Postby Jo-Anne Morgan » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:11 pm

I'd just like to pick up on some comments made by CeliaR and NYC.

NYC wrote: No one ever told me to my face that women must be reincarnated as men before self-realization could happen, but there's a conservative Brahmanical interpretation of advaita that teaches it. I'm not familiar with the text you mention, but Chapter 9 of the Baghavad Gita could be interpreted that way.

NYC, are you referring to the following verse in Chapter 9?
'For even the children of sinful parents, and those miscalled the weaker sex, and merchants, and labourers, if only they will make Me their refuge, they shall attain the highest.'

I took that to mean that Krishna was saying to Arjuna that, contrary to his prejudices, women and the lower castes could attain the highest through their own efforts.

CeliaR wrote: It was quoted to us that Jesus had said of Mary Magdalene 'I will make her male'. This came from one of the Essene gospels, I think St Thomas or St John - will find out.

I think this is from the following verse in the Gospel of Thomas:
Simon Peter said to them:
Let Mary go out from amongst us, because women are not worthy of the Life.
Jesus said:
Behold I will guide her Being, in order that I make her male that she, like you, shall become a living spirit. For every person who transcends being woman or man shall enter the Kingdom of the heavens.

Again I take that to mean that Jesus was negotiating the prejudices of the day and saying that women are as worthy as men and are able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Or am I being too optimistic?

Actually, picking up on Bonsai?s point, maybe the kingdom of heaven in Christianity is the equivalent of enlightenment or self-realisation?

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Ben W
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Postby Ben W » Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:00 pm

Thanks Daffy.

Normal service has now been resumed.

(However for the record that was done on one glass of wine plus copious amounts of sea air.)
Child member of SES from around 1967 to around 1977; Strongly involved in Sunday Schools ; Five brothers and sisters went to ST V and St J in the worst years

AntonR
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Postby AntonR » Sat Apr 15, 2006 3:41 am

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ross nolan
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approaching enlightenment

Postby ross nolan » Sat Apr 15, 2006 1:44 pm

Thanks for the backhand compliment Bella ("Starting to feel like Ross ") or was it an example of empathy? (or even mind reading prescience perhaps )

Surely at least some of you must concede the reality of philosophical understanding -- as in the EMERGENCE of a kind of knowledge that only comes about from a focussed examination of something that is otherwise only known superficially -- the thousands of man years of studious contemplation by intelligent individuals has to have SOME kernel of valid wisdom to it and by definition cannot be communicated in a one liner or to someone with that "Paris Hilton" level of cerebral depth.

(when living in the US in the early 70's I was left apalled at the superficiality of the popular 'comedy' series "Laugh In " where a sort of 'Rubiks Cube' wall of shutter doors opened at random with some celebrity uttering a 'smart' one liner joke then dissappering again with canned laughter spliced in -- some of the 'contributions' to this forum come over in the same vein. Showy but empty ; at least the SES seems to have begun with some realization that there IS possibly more to life than just the daily grind and flippant surface level inanities.

The SES dogma looks to have bogged down somewhere in a contempt for any modern (less than say 400 years old) philsophical thought and for the procedures of philosophy (verification at least) with the diversion into turgid Vedic writings that are full of untranslated words that have Western equivalents but look more mysterious for having capitals all through them or massive length.
The bible was able to be put into readable English without seeming to have to resort to italicized Aramaic or Greek on every line and is intelligible at least in it's conveying of ideas -- why not the Vedic texts ?

Not all esoteric teaching is neccesarily bullshit or deliberate deception as seems to be implied by several postings -- at least you can eliminate some of the most blatant by application of simple logic and consistency with the principles involved (you cannot base truth on lies for example)

Wittgenstein makes for an interesting 'internal discussion' in reading his works -- I am currently working through "Wittgenstein flies a kite" which is an illuminating account of his transition from being an aeronautical engineer to becoming a philosopher (in effect) and uses practical examples to illustrate the role of semantics in formulating thought itself --
in the real world the proof of actual understanding is whether your predictions of the behaviour of nature are born out by the facts -- the most arcane 'mind games' are embodied into such things as GPS receivers for example -- quantum and relativistic effects that are only possible by making philosophical hypothesis about the very nature of the workings of the mind and the actualities of the whole universe.

Compare to many of the 'venerable' Hindu philosophies that seek to reach great depths of understanding by ultimately renouncing all contact with the physical world even to the extent of going naked and relying on begging (or charity) for food -- refusing to participate in the 'illusion' of reality in effect but looking like total self delusion as opposed to realization to the great unwashed.

How is it that "practical philosophy" seems to result in the same sort (if not degree ) of withdrawl from the world of real things and human involvement, ingenuity, progress etc and takes over the whole lives of people who then neglect families,children ,society, their own cultural and intellectual heritage and ultimately the evidence of their own eyes ? (including the mental health and happiness of their children )

Is it philosophy or sophistry if it has no fruits to show and appears to be only focussed on an individual self obsession ?

As Ben Wheaton eloquently conveys with his Tasmanian sojourn -- there IS a heightened state of human awareness experienced at certain times and this demonstrates that the human mind is capable of higher levels of perception -- the concept of "peak experience" is well known to sportsman and adventurers amongst others and IS the 'real thing' -- the drug induced or even trance induced variety is the false 'high' and it is a bit insulting to credit Ben's heartfelt writing to such reasons .
(I did the overland in '79 Ben and have trekked,hitched and ridden over a fair bit of Tassie so I can perhaps appreciate your expressed feelings as genuine )

The Bhagavad Gita is not a comic and the Vedic texts and epic poems are amongst ,if not THE, longest pieces of writing in existence so it is stupid to expect a two or three paragraph 'condensation' of their meaning but it should be possible to subject the writings to some critical analysis in light of modern knowledge and in plain English .

(for example the SES belief that "Deja Vue" is a proof of instants of "waking up from the illusion" and evidence for memory of past life rather than simply a trigger event recalling a memory or the left brain and right brain dichotomy (which also helps explain some aspects of the "talking to yourself" aspect of thought rather than the postulate of an "observer" etc )

The question has to be raised that if the SES is not (to use Australian lingo "Fair Dinkum" ie really genuine ) then what is it ? -- the teachings are so lacking integrity that it has to be presumed that there are ulterior motives and agendas -- if so what ?

The putting down of women and subjugation to men hints at some possible explanations -- certainly the more primitive (that non PC word again) societies and religions tend to create beliefs that favour men over women and relegate them to more menial tasks (such as many African tribes where men sit around doing little whilst women cart water, pound grain etc -- ditto for New Guinea natives, South American, Aboriginals ,village Indian etc derived from Hindu sources -- in Buddhism women are not allowed to enter some temples or perform various rituals and are at a lower level to men also -- the Western socities are an exception to some degree in this respect.

What does it take to recognize false 'wisdoms' and what do long term 'students' of Advaita or other Eastern teachings expect to get out of it ultimately ? ie a blinding self realization of something 'transcendent' or just a fatalistic acceptance of the illusory and futile nature of 'this' world with a hope that being recycled will improve things ? They certainly sacrifice a great deal in it's pursuit so maybe can describe the motivation for doing so .

No one- line 'answers' please -- reading is not difficult or time consuming in comparison to writing or thinking so please take your time and add something of substance and, hopefully enlightenment.
Skeptic

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bella
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Postby bella » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:09 pm

How is it that "practical philosophy" seems to result in the same sort (if not degree ) of withdrawl from the world of real things and human involvement, ingenuity, progress etc and takes over the whole lives of people who then neglect families,children ,society, their own cultural and intellectual heritage and ultimately the evidence of their own eyes ? (including the mental health and happiness of their children )

It's a conceit when it happens. I don't have a problem saying that. It's presented through the school as the way of the Householder, which means you continue your normal interactions in the world, and don't neglect your duties to pursue personal benefit, or exclusive benefit for the school. It's repeated that the school is the practice court, the world is centre court.

The rub comes when people actually could spend an extra hour or two a week, but feel "put upon" or servile. Nobody except the person in question knows whether it's a "No! That's MY time" reaction, or whether it's a reasonable refusal. I have no problem refusing time requests when necessary, but increasingly often, it's not asked. My tutor has recommended I skip residentials when there have been a few weekend things in a row, and I haven't spent enough time at home. Chittani has commented on this as well - the time demands are becoming less draconian and blinkered, and more empathetic.

Ben - my original post was in response to a few comments I've read on this board. I hadn't heard that position before in the school, and my school leader described the position as false, misinterpreted or misinformed when I asked him about it. Which was nice, because I hadn't come across it either.

for example the SES belief that "Deja Vue" is a proof of instants of "waking up from the illusion" and evidence for memory of past life


Never been exposed to this either, like...ever. Over-zealous tutor, over-active explanatory gland, whatever. Ross, please explain just who told you that the feeling of deja vu was evidence of past lives, and who told you it was proof of "waking up", as well as the context of the discussion. Thanks.

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Postby ses-surviver » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:19 am

AntonR wrote:Strangely, the SES (and the Study Society) went to HH Shantanand Sarawati for knowledge and he gave them what they wanted, all the dry stuff. However, HH was a Shaivite, a devotee of Shiva, he had a devotional side, as all Shankacharyas' are. They sing and chant praises to Shiva, they are devotional. The SES (and the Study Society) didn''t want any of this, this is the Bhakti Yoga, the water of life.

Very interesting.

In my time in SES, it was presented, by a number of tutors, that the devotional angle was catered for in the school through the 2nd line of work ... and I guess also .. in the tasks of looking after the tutors and senior members of the school.

However for someone like myself, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic, this seemed an incomplete explanation and though I enjoyed the 'service' side of 2nd line of work, there is a part of me which likes the old catholic paraphernalia of candles and devotions to all sorts of Saints of this and that, which older members of my family (mainly female) used to practice. I suppose that also the practice of meditation and reading of the scriptures are devotional to a degree, but I guess that maybe I was still hung up on the practices of the religion I was brought up with.

Mind you, singing hymns to Hindu Gods would have taken a bit of getting used to .. on a number of levels. I really didn't enjoy the 'sounding' groups that we took as a precursor to Sanskrit and if they were an indication of the singing talent on offer, ....

Alban
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Postby Alban » Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:50 pm

Ben W wrote:- Do not accept the constraints that science attempts to place on us.


Science in it's purest form seeks to explain not to constrain. I don't think we should turn away from something just because science cannot explain it - let's face it, we know so little, there is plenty to be discovered and then explained.

Ben W's Father wrote:A ball rolling along the floor contains energy. The ball hits the wall and stops. What happens to the energy? It still exists, but it is no longer contained within the ball. It is hard to say where it is, but it is certainly no longer the same as it was.


This is a perfect example. Science explains how energy is dispersed in terms of heat, light, sound etc, but what we don't know is exactly how much energy that ball has. If we don't know it exists, how can we measure it?

I am very interested in Energy as a concept. I personally feel that there are whole spectrums of energy that we as a human race have not been able to quantify yet. For example, people talk about spiritual energy, and while this means diferent things to different people, scientists (as far as I am aware) are not able to measure this. [this is a whole debate in itself]. But scientifically, I don't see why we should draw a line between physical energy (which we can measure) and spiritual energy (which we can't). To me, it is all the same thing.

I think it was NYC (apologies if not) who was talking about realising the air about her was just a load more molecules whizzing about similar to the ones more densly packed materials. I have been thinking about this for a while but while that side of is explained by science, what isn't explained is the energy causing them to whizz about in the first place.

Ben W wrote:There is some part of us which is not the body, nor the mind. It does not own things, it does not have emotion, it does not think. It finds expression through our physical condition.


I would argue that "it" could well have emotion and could think, alternatively, they could just be other attributes of whatever "it" is. We know emotion is a powerful thing, but we can't measure it scientifically, but it is definately an energy form. Similarly, "thought" is obviously an energy process, and while we can measure physical brain activity, I'm sure I am not alone in believing there is a lot more to it than that.

So, when you think of "it" as being just another bunch of energy, then you start to ask yourself how much more there is out there / in there / around there.

Ben W wrote:Everything we experience is defined by our senses, and organised through language. There is no such thing as colour or sound, not in the physical world, nor in any other world.


Well...it's all energy, but we are "constrained" by the language of science in articulating it.

Ben W wrote:
Peel back all the layers and what is left?



...more layers, made of the same stuff?

Just a theory!


Alban

rachelS
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Postby rachelS » Sun Apr 16, 2006 8:26 pm

I haven't been keeping up with posts of late - busy with work etc - but I was interested in this idea about women not being able to be realised. I remember being told by our tutor on several occasions that women could reach realisation only through obedience to a husband, or if they had no husband, through obedience to the school. On one residential we were encouraged to make a vow in which we promised obedience to the husband and the school. This was made before the rest of the group and there was pressure on those that were not keen to make it. It all seems quite ridiculous now but it was life and death stuff in those days. Of course, all this obedience stuff gave the tutors enormous power.

AntonR
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Postby AntonR » Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:52 pm

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