Sunday, July 31, 2016

Opening to Grace

Sunday August 7 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of opening to grace. What does it mean to be open to grace? Those who have awakened to their true nature recognize the power and importance of grace. Although it is important and necessary to make our own best efforts, in spiritual awakening the final step is taken by God, as David Hawkins once said. However, we can become more amenable to the workings of grace. In this talk, we will discuss specific ways of approaching life that appear to facilitate our ability and willingness to surrender to grace. We can learn to recognize the actions of the divine in our life and learn to trust and let go of our fears and notions of how life should be. This understanding leads to a gradual and progressive recognition of how limited our beliefs and perceptions are. As we learn to recognize the action of grace in our life, it becomes easier to let go of rigid and defensive beliefs and the need to be right. We lose interest in judging our self and others. Life becomes easier, more natural, with effortless and effective words and actions occurring spontaneously.
This will be the last meeting of the summer. Our next meeting will be in mid-September. If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Don't Know Mind

Sunday July 24 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of “not knowing”. In the primordial field of raw presence, only this. Seeing everything exactly as it is, without adornment, judgment, evaluation or anything that the mind can take hold of. The mind that knows is certain, seemingly secure, defensive. The knowing mind is  closed. It already knows, so it must defend what it knows. The unknown is a threat, since it could easily upend and deconstruct what is known. Learning to dwell continuously in the not knowing is the essence of enlightenment.  Since we know that enlightenment is our birthright and our true nature, what prevents the direct recognition of what is already here? Our attachment to our knowing is the root problem. What do we know for sure? Nothing, really. What we think we know merely creates resistance to what actually is. Yet there is a way of knowing directly and for certain that is always accessible. This direct knowing is the natural expression of the mind that is open, present, and quite-noiseless.

If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Reality. What is it good for?

Sunday May 15 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of Donald Hoffman’s TED talk “Do We see Reality as it Is?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYp5XuGYqqY. Dr. Hoffman is a cognitive psychologist/neuroscientist http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~ddhoff/. I first discovered his work in a recent article in The Atlantic  http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/ . The title of that article is The Case Against Reality. If you would like to come to this discussion, it would be helpful to watch the 20 minute TED talk and read the article.

I have been describing the nature of reality as directly perceived for many years. In this understanding, there is no objective reality "out there". Nor is there anything solid or substantial "in here". Many of you have heard me say that it is fascinating that all physicists and most scientists know beyond any doubt that nothing anywhere in the universe is actually solid or substantial. Yet very few scientists appear to draw the logical conclusion, namely, if it is true that nothing is actually solid, then Who or What am I, exactly? It is fascinating to realize that contemporary neuroscientists are describing a similar perspective of reality to the one first revealed experientially to me in 1982.

If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Infamous Stringdusters at Montage Mountain May 21



The Infamous Stringdusters http://www.thestringdusters.com/  will be playing at Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pa. Saturday May 21 at 4:45 pm. As many of you know, my older son Andy plays the resonator/dobro/acoustic slide guitar in this band. All of the five musicians are phenomenal, and they put on a show that is enormous fun. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy a live performance by the Dusters for those of us in upstate New York. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for decent weather. 

Alabama. Sweet home?



I love Alabama. I really do. My parents moved to Huntsville for 2 ½ years when I was in college. It was a great town, full of scientists. I worked the summer after my first year of college-it was the summer of '65- as a slave in a lumberyard In Huntsville. It was me and 25 black men, hauling sheetrock and other building supplies. I got along just fine with the men, and felt honored to be accepted by them. They worked hard and I valued their respect. However, the work was hot, dangerous, and dirty. Oh-and I got paid $1.15 per hour, with mandatory overtime on Saturday. I was a visitor to this life. My colleagues were stuck in it, with no visible escape possible. I went back to Vanderbilt at the end of the summer and doubled my GPA. I also ramped up my already heavy involvement in the Civil Rights movement.

The second summer I got smart and applied for a competitive position as a mathematician at NASA (!?!). I got the job and spent the summer wandering around Redstone Arsenal looking for Werner Von Braun and the other former Nazis who ran the American space flight program at the time. No disrespect to these German scientists intended. They saved our butts, not to mention our national space flight honor, from the Russkies. Lynyrd Skynyrd was on to something good about the state, or so it seemed. I must admit to losing track of Alabama for the past 40 plus years. Now I read this article and it appears the place has gone completely bonkers. Enough is enough. Come on, now! What are ya’ll thinking? 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Just Sitting

Sunday April 24 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of the primary meditation method that I call “sitting in awareness” or “just sitting”. I have also referred to this practice as “doing nothing, with no goal or purpose except sitting in open, receptive awareness”. This sitting, however, is alert-not drowsy or lost in thoughts or daydreams. One reason meditation is so difficult for most Westerners is that there is often a concern with doing it right, and a simultaneous conviction that one is not doing it right. A second common concern is that nothing is happening. It is very hard to believe that simply sitting in awareness is enough. The idea of no goal or purpose is important. Most of us have one or more very clear goals in mind when we sit in meditation. Having a purpose creates tension and self-criticism. That is why it is important to cultivate non-doing. Just sitting, nothing else.
This kind of meditation is often associated with the Soto school of Zen Buddhism, where it is called Shikantaza. Below is a description of this practice from Wikipedia.
(Chinese Zen) “Master Shengyen explains the meaning of the term in this way:
This “just sitting” in Chinese is zhiguan dazuo. Literally, this means “just mind sitting.” Some of you are familiar with the Japanese transliteration,shikantaza. It has the flavor of “Just mind your own business.” What business? The business of minding yourself just sitting. At least, you should be clear that you're sitting. “Mind yourself just sitting” entails knowing that your body is sitting there. This does not mean minding a particular part of your body or getting involved in a particular sensation. Instead, your whole body, your whole being is sitting there.
According to Merv Fowler, shikantaza is described best as, quiet sitting in open awareness, reflecting directly the reality of life. Shikantaza is often termed a goalless meditation in quiet awareness, not working on any koan, or counting the breath. It is an alert condition, performed erect, with no trace of sluggishness or drowsiness.”
In this talk, we will discuss this practice, as I understand it. There will also be several opportunities for brief practice periods during the discussion.
If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Discernment and Surrender

Sunday January 31 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of Michael Singer's new book The Surrender Experiment.  I have mentioned this book in several recent talks. In this book Michael Singer gives many examples of discerning the guidance being provided by life and then surrendering to that guidance, even when it went against his own preferences. Not always clear in the book is the answer to the essential question: how do we know when we are being given guidance by life, and when is the apparent guidance being directed by my own ego? How do we know whether it is truly thy will or more my will? 

Discernment and Surrender

What can we do to assist the process of discerning God’s will?
Ask for guidance. Do not assume that you know the right answer. It is essential to ask with absolute humility and openness to being shown the way.
Willingness is essential. This willingness to be shown and to follow through with action is the meaning of surrender. It is definitely possible to recognize the need for an action that is not appealing or even goes against our own best judgement. Even if we receive guidance but do not wish to follow, waiting is usually ok. When a particular action is ‘suggested’ repeatedly, it is probably wise to follow it. This process does not negate the thinking mind or undercut the role of reason, critical judgement or thinking in the usual sense. However, if we are not willing, we will not be able to see what is being revealed. Willingness benefits from a comfort and even eagerness to dwell in ‘not knowing’. Not knowing is your friend. The mind that knows is closed. Adopt the perspective of not knowing. Learn to be ok with uncertainty. It is a myth that we should know what we are doing all the time. Only those who are closed can always know or believe they know the truth. A closed mind knows programming and belief, not revealed truth. We are looking for revealed truth. Programming and belief is already known and very limited in its power and effectiveness in the world. Therefore, we must remain open and frequently dwell in a kind of uncertainty. Learning to tolerate this Cloud of Unknowing is a large part of the spiritual path. We are always searching for the revelation of the Will of God. This searching must be accomplished without fear, doubt or anxiety. It is more like a watchful waiting. There is no effort to force an outcome. This waiting is actively passive. It is neither active nor passive. It is open, curious, receptive.
When in doubt, it is often good judgement to wait. Wait in the not knowing. Expect to know but recognize and accept when you don’t know. Try to be content with not knowing. When the time is right and there is a need, what is next will be revealed.
How can we discern the difference between what my conditioned mind wants and what God wants? It is not always easy or clear. There are certainly no rules. To recognize it requires trust, intuition and surrender. Usually, however, God’s will is not very subtle or hard to recognize. It tends to be insistent. You will notice yourself repeatedly revisiting an idea or plan of action. If something repeatedly occurs to me without obvious external or internal prompting, it is a safe bet I am being guided. Once you recognize the guidance, try to relax and carry through with it to the best of your ability. Avoid doubt or any other kind of worry or rumination as much as possible. Worry is merely your thinking mind doing what it does best. It is not helpful and is really just a bad habit. Observe the worry and then try to lose interest in it and ignore it.
The indicated action that is revealed is a ‘next’. Try to stay present and attuned, always open to further guidance. Recognizing and carrying out guidance skilfully requires understanding and practice. These skills will develop over time, as with anything else. Remember experiences where you felt guided in the past and review the outcomes. Usually you will see that things went well, often much better than you could have ever imagined. While the indicated action might engender fear to the self-identity beforehand, there is often a feeling of relief and ‘rightness’ afterwards. Try to maintain awareness of this entire process. We all have this ability inherent in us as human beings, although some appear to be naturally more at ease with the required letting go of perceived control.
Eventually this other way of knowing becomes second nature and is mostly effortless. Interruptions in the flow of awareness come as conditioned beliefs and habits are triggered. This eruption of conditioning and fear is not a problem. Rather, it is an opportunity to become more aware of unconscious programming and release it. In other words, it is an opportunity to become more free and clear. Everything that appears to be a problem will yield to a calm and present awareness.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spiritual Discernment and the felt sense of being

Sunday November 1 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of the felt sense of being mentioned in the last talk. We will also begin to explore and describe other tools and methods in addition to the felt sense that are helpful in identifying the guidance that is being continuously offered by awareness or life itself. This guidance is always freely given and available at all times. How do we not see it or feel it? This talk will be about learning to accurately recognize this invaluable assistance and discern the difference between my will and thy will at any given moment. 

The next talk after this Sunday will be Sunday December 6 at the same 2 pm time. During this talk we will review Michael Singer's new book The Surrender Experiment.  I mentioned this book in the talk this past Sunday. I want to give everyone some lead time for this discussion so that you have the opportunity to read or listen to the book. Below is the description on Amazon:
"The Surrender Experiment is now a New York Times bestseller! From the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller The Untethered Soul comes the astonishing true-life story about what happens when you just let go. 
A thriving spiritual community on over six hundred acres of pristine forest and meadows in Florida, a cutting-edge software package that transformed the medical practice management industry, a billion-dollar public company whose achievements are archived in the Smithsonian Institution, a book that became a New York Times bestseller and an Oprah favorite, and a massive raid by the FBI that would lead to unfounded accusations by the U.S. government—how could all of this spring from a man who had decided to live alone in the middle of the woods, let go of himself, and embrace a life of solitude? But this man had made a radical decision—one that would unwittingly lead him to both the pinnacle of success and the brink of disaster. 

Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, tells the extraordinary story of what happened when, after a deep spiritual awakening, he decided to let go of his personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. As Singer takes you on this great experiment and journey into life’s perfection, the events that transpire will both challenge your deepest assumptions about life and inspire you to look at your own life in a radically different way."
If you are interested in attending the talk this Sunday, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Perception is All

Sunday October 25 we will meet at my office at 46 Riverside Drive in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of the role of perception in understanding our world. Here is a quotation from one of the authors' of the study linked below: "One of the study's authors, Dr. Christoph Teufel, from Cardiff University, said: "Vision is a constructive process - in other words, our brain makes up the world that we 'see'. It fills in the blanks, ignoring the things that don't quite fit, and presents to us an image of the world that has been edited and made to fit with what we expect."

Not only is vision a constructive process. All of our sensory organs, including taste, touch smell and hearing work in a similar manner. The world we perceive to be real is essentially created by our sense organs interacting with our brain. Our world is both 'out there' and 'in here'. In this talk and discussion we will consider the implications of these ideas for our understanding of reality and the world in which we live. I would also like to encourage you to listen to this broadcast from Radio Lab which I heard on NPR.

This broadcast is a fascinating discussion of how language shapes perception.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Constellation Work on Sunday, September 13

Below is a description of the next Constellation Work led by Margot Ridler. Those who have participated in previous Constellation workshops have often reported significant gains in understanding the roots of perplexing and longstanding problems. If you are interested in attending, please email Margot (see below).

Michael

Join us for another great adventure of Constellation Work on Sunday, September 13  

You may not know this but your present-day challenges might be a direct pointer to unresolved issues from either your own life or your family/ancestral system to which you are tied to via your birth. Living truly free in life, as well as fully embodied spiritual awakening rest upon the complete release of all our programmed ways. 

Our ordinary thinking mind is a very limited tool to utilize when it comes to releasing our programming. Therefore, being led by the infinite, all-encompassing Knowing Field that constellation work provides access to, allows the reasons for our challenges to come to light so that true healing and release can be possible. For instance:
A couple's relationship problems might be connected to a miscarried child they never grieved.
Life threatening illnesses or reckless behaviors could be tied to an unconscious wish to die.
Feelings of guilt might be linked to our ancestors who abused and exploited other people. 
Children acting out could reveal the disrespect and anger parents feel for one another.
Chronic anxiety might be connected to aborting one's child many years ago. 
....the list of these kinds of unconscious connections is endless.

Constellation work is a powerful tool that offers the potential for quick and lasting change whereby our habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting might stop seemingly miraculously, allowing us henceforth to live with more freedom in our lives.  

It is my pleasure to offer you the opportunity Sunday August 16 to participate in the magic of constellation work. We have extremely limited seating. Please reserve your space early. We will have time for four people to set up a personal constellation. If you are interested in a personal constellation set up, please reserve your space by emailing me. Thanks.

Date: Sunday September 13, 2015
Time: 1 - 6 pm
Location: Binghamton, NY 13905
Reservation is required for all participants.  
Please email me by clicking here
Or send email to this address: TGLIEEB@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Constellation Work

See below for an invitation from Margot Ridler to experience constellation work. Margot will be in the area for another 6 weeks or so, so if you are interested in exploring this work, consider attending.  I have found constellation work to be extremely interesting and powerful. It definitely provides an additional and helpful perspective for understanding the origin and assisting in the alleviation of emotional difficulties.  Michael


Constellation Work and Releasing Binding Vasanas
Vasanas is a Vedic term for what we call programming, relating to the many ways in which our automatic, habitual, and unconscious beliefs, thoughts, and feelings keep us trapped from knowing who we really are and living truly free in life.

If you seek spiritual awakening or enlightenment, your present-day challenges and difficulties are often a direct pointer to unresolved issues in either your own life or your family system to which you are linked via your birth. The various issues you are dealing with reflect the Vasana load you are carrying. Living truly free in life, as well as fully embodied spiritual awakening rest upon the complete release of all Vasanas. 

Our ordinary thinking mind is a very limited tool to utilize when it comes to releasing Vasanas. Getting in touch with no-mind - the all-encompassing, limitless Knowing Field - allows the actual source of our challenges to be brought to light so that true healing and release can be made possible. For instance:
A couple's relationship problems might be connected to a miscarried child they never grieved.
Life threatening illnesses and reckless behaviors could be tied to an unconscious wish to die.
Feelings of guilt might be linked to our ancestors who abused and exploited other people. 
Children acting out could reveal the disrespect and anger parents feel for one another.
Chronic anxiety might be connected to aborting one's child many years ago. 
....the list of these kinds of unconscious connections is endless.

Constellation Work is an amazing tool to quickly reveal the source of Vasanas, facilitating a lasting release, whereby habitual ways of thinking, feeling and acting may vanish miraculously. Often people are immediately freed from their previous challenges, thereby allowing them to live more freely in their lives.  

It is my pleasure to offer you the opportunity Sunday July 19 to participate in the magic of constellation work. We have extremely limited seating. Please reserve your space early. 

We will have time for four people to set up a constellation. If you are interested in a personal constellation set up, please reserve your space by emailing me and letting me know. Thanks.

Date: Sunday July 19, 2015
Time: 1 - 6 pm

Friday, May 22, 2015

Clearing Vasanas

Sunday May 31 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion of how to recognize and be free of conditioned, automatic patterns of thought, belief, and feeling. Traditionally in Advaita Vedanta and classical Buddhism these patterns have been known as vasanas.
Vāsanā is a behavioral tendency or karmic imprint which influences the present behavior of a person. It is a technical term in Indian religions, particularly Buddhist philosophy and Advaita Vedanta.
Past impressions, impressions formed, the present consciousness of past (life) perceptions; the impression of anything in the mind, the present consciousness formed from past perceptions, knowledge derived from memory, the impressions remaining in the mind; thinking of, longing for, expectation, desire, inclination. (All of the above from Wikipedia).

For our purposes, let us think of vasanas as any thought, behavior, or emotion that is the result of conditioning and programming. The corresponding understanding is that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions can arise from either vasanas or from the free movement of Mind in the world through the form of a particular person. These free and spontaneous thoughts, acts, and feelings are unconditioned and therefore impersonal. This free movement is acting or speaking from no mind or the Self, as the source of such actions is unknown. It is known, however, that such acts are not ‘mine’ as they do not arise from ‘me’. It is possible and desirable to learn to recognize the difference between actions originating from ‘emptiness’ and those originating from conditioning.
It is useful and important to improve the quality of our daily life to allow increasingly for the free movement of the Self through us. By becoming aware of and learning to not feed or indulge our conditioned beliefs and reactions, we can improve our ability to be present for our life. This talk will focus on becoming aware of our common and persistent vasanas. We will also discuss understandings and practices that facilitate our ability to become progressively free of such conditioning.
With the emergence of various levels of awakening, there is the spontaneous, effortless disappearance of many vasanas. However, it is my experience that the deeper the awakening, the harder it is to recognize the remaining blind spots in our self. The willingness to recognize the emergence of these blind spots almost always requires a preexisting (prior to awakening) deep commitment to a spiritual tradition which recognizes the necessity of continuous practice and humility after even the most profound awakening. The alternative is to maintain an honest openness to the emergence of conditioned behavior. The easiest and most effective way for this openness to occur is through interaction with a living teacher who has been through every stage of this journey.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited.





Thursday, May 14, 2015

You are not 'the doer'.

Sunday May 17 we will meet at my office in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the concept of the "doer". In our recent exploration of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Ramana noted that the idea of the doer was the essential "poison".  Obviously, poison is a strong word. What did he mean? We are taught from earliest childhood that we have a self identity that is in charge of our behavior. This self identity is known as "I". It is who we think we are. All of our troubles and suffering in life follow from this primary misunderstanding about who we are and how life operates. If we are not this doer, then who or what are we? In this talk and discussion, we will explore the path to coming to know who you really are. We will also continue our discussion of the "Who am I?" practice.
If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as space is limited. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Discussion of Talks with Ramana Maharshi

Sunday May 3 we will meet at my office  in Binghamton at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the book: Talks with Ramana Maharshi: On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness, published by Inner Directions in 2001. Here is a link to a free download of the book: http://www.dasglueck.de/download/maharshi/talks_with_sri_ramana_maharshi_complete.pdf
Do not be put off by the size of the book. Only read if you are drawn to do so. Here is a link to an excellent, brief, clear description of the self inquiry practice taught by Ramana Maharshi: http://realization.org/page/topics/self_inquiry.htm.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Discussion of: Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sunday April 19 we will meet at my office at 2 pm for 15 minutes of silent meditation followed by a discussion and commentary on the book  Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana MaharshiThis little book is a series of questions proposed by a student of Ramana's in 1902. It can be downloaded for free here: http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/downloadbooks/whoami_all_languages/Who_Am_I_English.pdf

This is a link to an excellent website of material on Ramana Maharshi: http://realization.org/p/ramana/ramana.html

In this talk we will explore what Ramana taught about the practice of Who Am I? We will have the opportunity to practice this questioning together during the talk.