Enlightenment,Meditation and Alzheimers.

There are so many satsang people,teachers,awakened,enlightened and so on these days.literally thousands .
My question is this:
Does anyone know if any of these people are suffering from Alzheimers or any of the other forms of dementia?
I ask this in all seriousness, as it is statistically certain that some of these “enlightened” people will start to suffer from it at some stage.
I am interested to know what direction the disease would take in an “enlightened” person.Will they be aware that they dont know what is going on?or will they just drift into that mixed-up dream state and gradual diminishment of identity that goes with the illness,like every other sufferer?
Maybe i could expand the question to: what of meditators who have been or will be struck down with the illness?
And those who have practiced “self-inquiry”
What has happened to them?
Do they fare any differently than non-meditating(“unconscious”)folks to any meditators?

With cancer,it is possible to have a better journey or a “good death”as hospice workers put it,and enlightened people and meditators are reposrted to have managed this.

Is this possible with Alzheimers or the other forms of dementia?

Any ideas?

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76 Responses to Enlightenment,Meditation and Alzheimers.

  1. shantam prem says:

    I think Psychiatry was not that developed during Buddha’s or Jesus’s time. In Frank’s eyes, they will also be a fitting case of dementia!
    For sure, the way population of enlightend beings is getting mainstream, time is coming closer to have a deep study about these people. Moreover, those people also need to come under the loop, who became greedy to sit on the cold floor before such people.
    Who knows, Frank is on the wheelchair because of those childish days of doing nothing while sitting like a hen on Indian floor.

  2. Lokesh says:

    A couple of days back, I spent a pleasant afternoon with an 85 year-old friend. In his time he was a paratrooper, a geologist, a self-made millionaire, father of four children, global traveller and adventurer, a great womaniser, an acid-dropping hippy, an ecstasy freak, a coke head, an ayahuescero, spiritual seeker and a Poona One sannyasin, who had his mala taken away from him on the Ranch by Sheela. Later, he spent some time with H W L Poonja in Lucknow. 15 years ago he became bi-polar and ended up tranquillized in a locked psychiatric ward, a process he would go on to repeat several times. He refused to take his lithium regularly, even though warned by the doctors that he would damage his brain.
    Today, he has his moments and is very clear, other days he is a senile old man who forgets what he is doing and who he is talking to.

    I’ve remained friends with him during these difficult years in his life. It is a strange process to witness in a friend and calls into question what one’s relationships are actually based on. Are we all just meeting each other’s minds? I ask that because when the mind and brain break down it makes it very difficult to relate to anyone at all. During his manic episodes, I’ve looked at my old friend, who is in remarkably good physical health, even though he now chainsmokes, including joints, and think to myself, what a weird world we live in, where a remarkable man like this has been reduced to a sex-obsessed, senile, at times downright wicked, wreck of a human being who retains very little of what he once was in his long life. It is at once tragic but on the other hand the child in him is clearly visible and thus the wheel of life turns and goes full circle.

    It is quite rare to hear of enlightened people who fall prey to mental degeneration. Osho may have been one. I recently scanned through about twenty of Osho’s discourse vids, which spanned a twenty year period of his life. There is almost no comparing Poona One Osho and end of the ranch Osho…they seem like entirely different people. There is a definite slowing up and an increased need to refer to notes. Was his eyesight failing? Friends have told me that Poona Two was great. They also told me that many of Osho’s final discourses were downright boring and he rambled endlessly. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

    One of my sancturies in Poona One was Meher Baba’s little shrine on Bund Garden Road. I used to sit in there for hours reading the master’s books. Meher Baba worked a lot with masts, divinely intoxicated people who were completely out of touch with worldly reality. From what I can gather enlightened people can go completely nuts as far as normal society goes. I reckon a master can also lose it if his brain goes wonky and degenerates. Perhaps the enlightenment will somehow continue but to all intents and purposes an enlightened person, just like us, needs a healthy brain to communicate and function in this world. After all, are our bodies not earth suits? If we don’t have one of these suits we can’t be in this world. If the suit develops a faulty helmet you are in serious trouble, at least as far as this world goes…enlightened or not.

    • satyadeva says:

      I wholeheartedly recommend ‘Forever Today, by Deborah Wearing, who relates how her eminent musician husband, Clive Wearing, has coped with extensive damage to the part of his brain serving memory functions, which left him with a short-term recall span of just a few seconds.

      He suffered great anguish and has needed full-time care for many years, but a remarkable aspect of his condition is that he always overflows with love for his wife and also for the music he used to hugely enjoy hearing and playing, retaining his ability to recall and play pieces on the piano.

      In other words, he’s forgotten more or less everything except in the areas of what he truly loves.

      A very moving story, beautifully related by his wife, whose enduring love in tragically difficult circumstances is simply astonishing.

      • frank says:

        Yes, however much love comes through, it’s still tragic.
        “A great person, brought down by a character defect or twist of fate.”
        Isn’t that something like the classical definition of tragedy?
        I guess maybe Osho qualified.
        I mean,after provoking and picking a fight with god and just about everyone else,then ending your days with probably your own closest friend committing suicide and ending up stoned, babbling about black magicians trying to kill you….

        Tragedy is such a party pooper if you`re on a bliss trip!!
        Luckily, there’s always a bit of comedy in there too…however black.

        • roman says:

          What a wonderful post you have introduced. The character defect is a Christian interpretation. If you are being lectured on Oedipus Rex and how he suffered from hubris/pride and had to be brought down you are most probably being taught by a good Catholic. Pre-Socratic tragedy was to do with fate and this tortuous existence. Oedipus didn’t suffer from any flaw according to the Greeks. It was just bad luck that he killed his father and fucked his mother. The poor bugger tried to do everything he could to avoid it. In fact, he was a leader who had a right to feel good and proud.

          Christians love to use the tragic flaw bullshit. It was just bad luck. It could happen to anyone. The fragility of human existence. Life is cruel, but as ‘Freddie’ says in ‘The Birth of Tragedy’ get on with it.

          Read a nice book by Ruth Padel titled ‘Whom the Gods Destroy’. It’s a roll of the dice. When Osho left Oregon he had no idea that he’d be arrested in Charlotte. It was a sensible move to leave the ranch and prevent a Waco. He wasn’t fleeing the country, the plane didn’t have enough petrol to go much further. As we know, the best laid plans of mice and men go astray and he gets signed into Oklahoma prison or wherever under the name of David Washington and disappears for twelve days. I guess the bomb planted in the Portland courthouse was because Osho was too proud and had to be humiliated. The tragic hero with a fatal flaw. The ‘fucker’ had to be blown up. Luck had it that the bomb was discovered.

          We life in a world of irony and contingencies. Imagine if Lenin hadn’t been badly wounded and continued living, who knows what would have happened in Russia? Stalin certainly wouln’t have been in power. And if America hadn’t financed the civil war? Don’t you think Beatty’s Reds is a good film?

          • frank says:

            That’s a good point about the character flaw view of tragedy being christian.
            It’s a way of trying to control the tragedy by tying it up in a neat moral package.
            I suppose ideas of “karma” can do the same thing
            (and having an idealised image of a godman with no character defects probably doesn’t help).
            Dementia/Alzheimers doesn’t let you do that.
            It becomes obvious that no one can be blamed, or at least attempts to blame don’t work and that people’s behaviour ultimately can’t be neatly explained by psychological/moral ideas, however satisfying it can be!

            The twist of fate/roll of the dice view is far more wide open.
            And when you roll the dice, it really is out of your control….

            • roman says:

              Don’t we tend to forget the historical context? The complexity of things. Didn’t you say MacMurphy in ‘One Flew’ would have been recognised as a great teacher in India? ‘Chuddie King Ramana’ stayed at the mountain. He did influence me. Blissful moments, tittilation, but so what? Just experiences! As Leonard sings, ‘Sometimes happy, sometimes blue, we’ve so little time and we’re only passing through.’ Mac Osho got me moving. Not all beer and skittles, but can laugh at myself, whatever that is! Up cracking not cracking up.

          • bodhi vartan says:

            Roman says:
            “Oedipus didn’t suffer from any flaw, according to the Greeks. It was just bad luck that he killed his father and fucked his mother.”

            After the (ancient) Greeks were given their Pantheon, at some point they were also offered the opportunity to create a god of their own, the first man-made god. So they created Tyche (Lady Luck). You can see that luck plays a big role in the Greek psyche. The Greek word for Zeus is Dias, which means ‘Two’. Zeus is from zeugma (horse reins) and they always come in two too. The duality refers to the two halves of the brain that have to be reined in and balanced before the chariot can proceed.


    • roman says:

      A very moving post which perhaps can only be responded to in instalments.

      In reference to your friend, Kay Redfield Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Centre. She is also Honorary Professor of Poetry at the University of St.Andrew’s in Scotland. She herself suffers from manic-depressive illness and would have ended her life without the help of her psychiatrist and lithium. Her book ‘Touched with Fire – Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament’, according to William Styron (he’d know) shows that she is ‘among the few who have a profound understanding of the relationship that exists between art and madness.’ Jamison has written extensively on teenage suicide and points out that suicide prevention clinics should be set up for teenagers in the States. The United States being in denial when it comes to this problem.

      I think it is sad that your 85 year-old friend didn’t take the lithium. I have a sannyasin friend who has MS and he found an excellent psychiatrist a decade ago who worked out the right medication for his depression. He lives a very creative life and his MS isn’t an issue for him. Another friend who is a female psychiatrist deals with women who want to end their lives. She is on call for therapy and pills. These women have been badly abused and remind me of Parmartha’s recent post which deserves a longer response. My friend herself was in analysis before she started her work facing her own demons, which is why she can help these women. Her husband, who had early dementia, was a close friend of mine and wrote three novellas. He was a brilliant man, a generous man and the life of the party. With the onset of dementia it became increasingly impossible to communicate with him and he became abusive. It took us a couple of years to realise what was wrong. It was tragic but fortunate that he died of a massive heart attack whilst institutionalised.

      I’m obviously not adverse to Western psychiatry. When my life was falling apart I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a psychiatrist who had been through hell and could work with patients in a clinical setting and not just provide pills. In my case, I never needed medication and after a lot of painful but creative sessions my brain started to alter. We’ve all heard about the plasticity of the human brain and the research happening in this area. I was lucky because I had support and love, particularly from the woman I live with. Some years ago I had a major heart operation which put me on an artificial lung and heart for five hours, which also proved a transforming part of my life and became a gift.

      You are right, it is a strange process. ‘Are we all just meeting other’s minds?’ I’m not sure. When you bury loved ones and touch their cold bodies it is a sobering experience. When my close friend developed dementia it did become impossible to communicate with him. Lucky it didn’t go on for long. I’ll try to get around to writing some thoughts on the rest of your post.

      • lokesh says:

        SN is enjoying a long awaited renaissance, going by Roman’s comment and some of the other commentators, that is.
        I’m very happy to see that and hope this development continues. I think the possibility exists that SN can host an exchange of real communication, where useful and creative ideas on some of life’s deeper aspects can be explored. We have Frank to thank for this thread. Let’s keep ‘em coming and not forget to inject a wee bit of humour now and then to keep us all smiling.

        • roman says:

          Lokesh – Let there be songs to fill the air

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          • frank says:

            here`s one.

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            • frank says:


              The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

            • roman says:

              ‘The Last Hippie’ is a gut-wrenching piece which I read today. So Greg is seen as a ‘Holy One’ by Swami Bhaktivedanta, but he really is suffering from a brain tumour and needed neurosurgery, but it came too late. What a compassionate man Sacks is. He’s also been in therapy all his life. Is the film worth ordering?

              • frank says:

                I`ve no idea about the film.
                I just googled “the last hippie”.
                I read the story 10/12 years ago and it really stuck in my mind.
                Funnily enough, I told a lot of people about it, but they often thought I was taking the piss and just making it up to slag off eastern religion and deadheads!

                • diane tirith says:

                  I just had time to watch Sacks’s videos now. They are great, I love the “illuminated” hippie which wakes up to music.
                  Yes, music forever, this is an old one I like these days:

                  The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

                  And otherwise, for all those who think they are losing it:

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          • Lokesh says:

            There is a road, no simple highway
            Between the dawn and the dark of night
            And if you go, no one may follow
            That path is for your steps alone.

            • roman says:

              ‘Going to leave this broken down palace,
              On my hands and knees,
              I will roll, roll,roll.
              Just remembered that the palace comes out of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. An open palace for all the bumbs, hobos and and anyone who is an odd one in. Beautiful losers.

  3. frank says:

    I don’t particularly think of alzheimers/dementia people as divinely intoxicated.
    Rather,they have irreperable damage to the “helmet on their earth suit” itself, that seems to cause a kind of chaotic psychic disintegration that cuts the “wearer of the suit” off from genuine physical, social or ecological reality to become lost in a confused,fragmented semi-dream world.
    (loving presence around them can help them to some degree, so there is still “someone there”).
    What I was wondering was whether an “enlightened” person or a meditator could/would/will still shine a presence through that haze…
    That would be something really “beyond the mind”.

    • Lokesh says:

      Well, Frank, we have Pink Floyd playing the background music, ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond’. As for an enlightened person with senile dementia…I know what you are driving at, but I’ve never heard of a Buddha with Alzheimers. The idea of it makes me smile, though.

  4. bodhi vartan says:

    For the last few years before she died my mum had Alzheimer’s. It’s a pathology. What you are suggesting is that a good runner may fare better with a muscle degenerating disease. Alzheimer’s is a condition where the brain matter starts to shrivel and harden up. (Believe it or not, it ends up looking like pyramidal crystals.)

    They say that (inside) you go back to the time when you were the happiest. In my mum’s case, it converted a totally stressed-out individual, into a happy, singing one. For the first few years she would (now and again) snap out of it, and then she knew she was losing her mind, but after that she wouldn’t recognize anything or anybody. I suppose it’s not too bad for the sufferer, but it’s hell for the ones watching it.

    I have a couple of friends with autistic sons and there feels to be some similarity where the lights are on but the people are in different rooms. With enlightenment you can jump and in out of the mind at will. With Alzheimer’s it is like a name you can’t remember, times ten. Enlightenment is good psychology and Alzheimer’s is bad physiology. Any connection will be in the eye of the beholder.

    To hold back Alzheimer’s keep the brain active by constantly giving it new problems to solve and new challenges to overcome. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.


  5. bodhi vartan says:

    I personally feel that enlightenment is closer to autism (autism comes from the Greek auto – which means ‘self’). The autistic person is only concerned with himself (and his wishes) and is not interested in ‘you’ at all. Having studied autistic people, it appears that they are operating within a loop, and quite a tight loop it is too, that’s why it is easy to be seen. My feeling is that we are all (even us healthy ones) are functioning in a loop, but the loop is too wide to be seen (unless you are looking for it).

    There are two kinds of enlightened people. Masters (like Osho) are interested in teaching, but there are others who are happy in their bliss and are not concerned in passing it on.

    It is said that we are (more or less) all, on the autistic scale somewhere, so some of the enlightened ones must be on it too.


    • frank says:

      it`s quite possible that many of these “enlightened” people have had unusual neurological/biological conditions.
      Take Ramakrishna,for example. The people around him saw his acting like a woman and growing breasts as a sign of the presence of a female deity in him, they even reported that he menstruated.
      It is now known that these are well documented features of “intersex conditions”, as they are known. Some estimates of their prevalence in some degree is up to 1 in 2000 births.
      They were taken by Ramakrishna and his followers (Osho ran with the story, too) to be a specially divine happening.
      I am not saying: “Oh, he was just a regular intersex guy/girl.”
      Of course, he could well have been a visionary enlightened guy(/woman) who happened to have intersex condition…
      Still, the fact of the knowledge of the condition changes the unique divine super-natural magic element that has been ascribed to it, I would say.

  6. shantam prem says:

    Frank and Lokesh, you two gentlemen seem to be the exceptions. As it looks like you both can feel the soul flying yet firmly rooted to the common sense; perfect beings who play social drama with efficiency, yet deep meditators..
    I think without pretension you should declare, “Yes, we are the one. Living in the world, yet not belonging”.

  7. bodhi vartan says:

    Frank says:
    …take Ramakrishna, for example. The people around him saw his acting like a woman and growing breasts as a sign of the presence of a female deity in him, they even reported that he menstruated.

    Playing with the sexes is a common theme on the path. I don’t know if you are familiar with Genesis P-Orridge (and his TOPY work), anyway, over the last few years he has gone the whole hog and became a full woman. I can amply understand the notion but I also feel there is a level in maturity which goes beyond the identity of the flesh. It is too much like hard work to change the flesh, when all that has to be done is accept what is…meaning, to change the mind (instead of the flesh).

    Some years back I tried to run my life on moon-time by paying close attention to my feelings and how they were subtly changing with the phases of the moon. After a couple of months, I saw that ‘the female emotional states’ were like sea-waves, constantly going up or down, whereas my ‘normal’ (male) feelings are much more stable. I am probably stating the obvious, but it did feel uncomfortable and I stopped it.

    Wasn’t it Osho who said that all sannyasins are women? Hehe

    Frank says:
    It`s quite possible that many of these “enlightened” people have had unusual neurological/biological conditions.

    Personally, I don’t even like the word ‘charisma’, which implies something different from the norm. My feeling is that just like in any other human endeavour some would be better at it than others, and some would be masters (at playing god-men).


  8. lokesh says:

    This discussion inevetably brings up the ultimate question:
    Can cross-dressing speed up the process that leads to enlightenment?

  9. Parmartha says:

    Just wondered, does anyone here think they have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s?
    Sounds like it a bit !
    (Frank)ly, a preoccupation with such matters suprises me… I don’t think people get Alzheimer’s etc. if they have real life situations going on for them – like work, etc.
    Once when I was young I had a beautiful girlfriend who was a nurse, she made money cos she did not want to give up her life to the NHS, and after qualifying with my help as an SRN, tended people in the private sector with such degeneration. However, when I sat with her and them a few times, I always seemed to get a response if I started up a discussion about something beyond the trivial, and I do remember she was very surprised at this as she had often sat there all day in gaga land.
    Just a thought….

    • frank says:

      you`re right of course…
      Those terminally unemployed demented scroungers are a drain on society.
      Alzheimer’s, my ass…alz-shysters, more like.
      I say…kick `em out of gaga land, give `em a cold shower and put them on workfare.
      Bloody slackers!!

      • rajni says:

        Frank – I have been dwelling on your very intriguing introductory question, and, naturally, googling to see if the same question had been asked by others – and I found quite a few, usually blogs related to Tao or some form of Dharma-esque critique. One in particular listed pages of ‘stuff’ that happens to people as they ‘become enlightened’, including losing one’s memory. Some of this though was totally off the radar, and if I still had the link I would have posted it, but it got lost in the matrix somewhere.

        But what I did find was a link about research being carried out with meditators – we all know that studies have found that meditation can help brain disorder conditions as well as depressive illnesses – this study, though, suggests something interesting in the brain scans of people practising specifically non-dualist meditation:
        “All these studies suggest that there could be a striking similarity between the brains of meditators and those of people with dementia or depression….”
        So what does this infer??
        This quote appears towards the end of the last page – don’t panic, it’s not a thesis, only two pages. ; ) Here’s the link:
        More to say when I get my head around the ramifications.

        • frank says:

          Rajni, this reminds me of an extraordinarily interesting book that I came across some years ago, but now,absurdly, is out-of-print:
          “Hypnagogia”, by Andreas Mavromatis.
          He descibes three fundamental states of consciousness:
          3 hypnagogia, which is a “halfway” state between awake and sleep.
          Odd experiences of all sorts happen in hypnagogia.
          He explores and lists them…
          Ego-boundaries are lessened,
          Different frames of reference intersect in unusual ways.
          The border between “inside” and “outside” is distorted or entirely absent.
          Past,present,future get mixed or co-exist.
          Everyone passes through it every day, most noticeably just when you wake up or when you go to sleep.
          He explores this state.
          He finds that a whole host of experiences seem to have a lot in common with hypnagogia, phenomenologically and brainwave-wise…
          Psychedelic experience
          “Psychic” experiences
          all have similar characteristics.

          For example,
          Schizophrenics and dementia patients speak in what is described as “word salad” – a mash-up of concepts and words that either don’t make sense or make sense in an unusual way.
          “Frames of reference” intersect and overlap in odd ways.
          This is similar to what is experienced in hypnagogia.
          This is “dream logic”.
          Poetry works like this, other art, too.
          And comedy.
          mMditation takes you here. Inside and outside get blurred.
          Visionaries have the universe in their body.
          Psychics have premonitions, deja vu.
          It’s probably the aboriginal dreamtime.
          Psychedelic, well, `scuse me while I kiss the sky, is it tommorow or just the end of time?’

          The insane person gets stuck there.
          The sane person passes in and out rhythmically.
          But it’s essentially the same area, with some recognisable patterns.

          • frank says:

            As a meditator you are probably moving through the hypnagogic state on a regular basis.
            Especially if you start to nod off (of course you never do that!).
            In fact, the idea of whacking meditators with zen sticks to keep them awake has the effect of prolonging the visit into the hypnagogic state.
            In my view, this could be when you start to have visions, messages, flashing lights, unearthly sensations, satoris, feel Osho’s energy and all sorts of trippy stuff….

            • diane tirith says:

              A question for you, Frank:
              Ok for the different states of the mind and for different levels of awareness as well.
              This can be noticed every day on yourself and others.
              But do we really need “enlightenment” and “enlightened people”?
              The book, Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, that somebody quoted here, seems to do without this concept for Buddha himself.

              • Lokesh says:

                The idea that you ‘need’ enlightenment is ridiculous, because enlightenment eliminates the needer. The world could definitely do with a whole lot more enlightened people. During the last fifty years the popular notion that enlightenment is something to be got has spread in the West. It’s become the must have in a life where all one’s material needs are fulfilled. A golden carrot, dangled in front of the donkey. Osho was a master dangler, but he never declared any of his disciples enlightened while alive.
                My conclusion is that it is better to drop the whole idea and live a full life, wherein you engage with people in a positive way and endeavour to make this world a better place to live in, and leave something inspirational for the generations that follow behind you.

                • roman says:

                  David Hume, another Scotsman would concur. You may not agree with this quote from Hume but he would be one person with whom I’d like to share a meal. A portly figure with a giant heart, who upset a lot of religious nutters.
                  ‘For my part, when I enter most intimately into what I call myself, I always stumble on some particular perception or other, of heat or cold, light or shade, love or hatred, pain or pleasure, colour or sound, etc. I never catch myself, distinct from such perception.’
                  Treatise of Human Nature

              • roman says:

                Diane Tirith,
                I quoted Stephen Batchelor, who belonged to a Tibetan school founded by Tsongkhapa (157-1419) and who is considered to be one of the greatest Buddhist philosophers. Tsongkhapa’s path steers between the idea that nothing real exists and the view that ultimate reality is eternal and unchanging.
                Batchelor has spoken about leaving the order and training in Korean Zen. He married a Korean Zen nun and they now do their own thing. I watched some interviews on his website and I’ve a read a couple of his books. You probably know he looks at the original sources and feels that the idea of self is something we create. You become who you are through your actions and there is no unchanging essence.
                Interesting comment you made about Iris Murdoch.

              • frank says:

                “do we need enlightenment and enlightened people?”
                Well, I`m going to have to tick the “don`t know” box on that one.
                But I`m flattered you thought I might know the answer!

                • diane tirith says:

                  I am sure you could find an answer anyway but my question was more limited, I meant do we need the concept of enlightenment and of people that affirm to be enlightened, meaning if these ideas make sense to us, at this moment of time.
                  (This is to answer to Lokesh as well; personally what he says about living a full life is more than enough, besides being very very hard).
                  More and more it looks to me that “enlightenment” is a way of escaping responsibility and finding somebody to project on (don’t we all know that?).
                  And yes, I have read Batchelor’s book, twice, and to me it looks like he finally decided to go for a kind of buddhism more related to the previous idea of living a full life than to an enlightenment of any sort, and this is also his portrait of Buddha.

                • dharmen says:

                  Ultimately, concepts fail, they’re only devices so we can talk about it (enlightenment). Of course, you’re right, we don’t have a need for them, but I wouldn’t have wanted to have gone through my life without the props of a few concepts and affirmers of enlightenment.

                • frank says:

                  I see what you mean.
                  I would say “enlightenment” is well past its sell-by date.
                  The cosmic carrot looked tasty for a while till people started to realise that if you find yourself chasing a carrot it shows that you must be an ass.
                  I`m with Diane, Lokesh, Stevie Bachelor on this one.
                  Like MC Buddha say…
                  “Get a life unto yourself.”

                • frank says:

                  That’s it…
                  The spiritual sanctuary for donkeys who have stopped believing in chasing carrots and have learned to relax into their own asshood!!”
                  Patron saints…
                  Ramana Maharshi, Shakti the jenny, Dumbo the elephant and Francis of Ass-issi.

                • dominic says:

                  Hee-haw! Frank. Let us bray.
                  From an assaholic in recovery from all Ass-ended Masters.
                  How about a pen for muttonheads and all baaa-baaa jis for some satsang bleatings ?
                  Glad to hear you’re finally talking turkey about this (gobble gobble.)
                  Don’t know if we’re all ass lionhearted ass you are and ready for ‘cold turkey’.
                  Might be a cock and bull story.
                  What if there really is a bono fido Can-guru out there, cross it with my inner sheep or llama and I’d have a woolly jumper for Hari Christmas.
                  Sorry to rabbit in
                  yours Swami Cuckoo

          • Lokesh says:

            “word salad” Sounds like Shantam minus the vindaloo sauce.

      • dharmen says:

        Frank, you’re not proposing that some of us should actually work?! God forbid, lol, had enough of that stuff in the commune to last me a lifetime.

    • lokesh says:

      P asks, ‘Does anyone here think they have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s?’
      Only when I smoke a stiff joint of the local weed. I gave that up, for the most part, a decade ago. Smoking strong grass turns me into an absolute idiot. It completely blows my short-term memory out of the water. On the other hand, the music never sounded so good. Looks like sobriety is my curent form of intoxication and it wards off brain degeneration. So far so good.

    • diane tirith says:

      I used to have similar ideas, in the sense that smart, busy people don’t get Alzheimer’s and who gets it had the first symptoms already as young (i.e. was stupid). But then what about Iris Murdoch?
      And even better, what about Terry Pratchett? if there is an “enlightened” person, I mean intelligent, subtle and very busy, it is he. But he has still been diagnosed for Alzheimer’s. If you haven’t seen it, watch his BBC video about choosing to die, it’s a classic.
      Nowadays, I am more of the idea that it IS a physical condition, maybe coming from some kind of metal pollution or similar.
      So for now I don’t lick my yoghurt’s tops and hope for the best….

      • frank says:

        me too.
        for years,i thought alzheimers was a german beer…

      • satyadeva says:

        Re metal pollution (and other potentially catastrophic results of attempts to manipulate the weather) I recommend watching ‘What in the world are they spraying?’ (at youtube.com), which presents a chilling picture of aluminium poisoning – not through yoghurt tops (or even saucepans), but via whatever ‘they’ are deliberately putting into the atmosphere.

        I was sceptical yesterday, before I saw the evidence, thought it was probably yet another ‘conspiracy theory’, but I’m thinking the other way now.

        • frank says:

          I know someone who has alzheimer’s/dementia, who was a sheet metal worker.
          He worked with aluminium amongst other metals.
          A lot of metal dust around.
          I was amazed to find that the effects of aluminium poisoning are pretty much identical to those of dementia.
          So it’s (one of) the real possibilties, the metal explanation.

          • frank says:

            And it’s ironic (metal again) that at a time when the modern world is obsessed with cramming the memory with as much stuff from an early age as possible (early learning centres and other “helicopter” parenting obsessions)…
            that towards the other end of life, folks are losing their memories, also at an exponential rate….

            • frank says:

              Maybe mankind may not be crashed against the rocks of its sexual problems and failing will to live, as Osho interpreted the AIDS phenomenon with his predictions…
              but rather on the issue of identity itself….

        • Preetam says:

          Yes, not only Aluminium sprayed for weather manipulation. I will advise the many additives within food; it is without controversy that it has impact on the brain metabolism. There are voices saying that HAARP can be used possibly for having a mass impact because of metals which are added into food via chemical additives. Especially Iodine, which is a poison, is added under enforcement by Law, and because of a propagate iodine lack it has a really bad result for the whole body, and is cause for increasing Gravis disease and Hashimoto.

          In water, Fluoride is added, which has its own impact on the nervous system.
          Vitamin D has a strong effect on the Brain metabolism, and 90% have a lack of D in industrial countries. It’s not officially clear if the massive lack of Vit.D is another cause of Alzheimer’s and easy bone fracture in old age.

  10. lokesh says:

    When I went out for breakfast today, I noticed this lady about 70-ish sitting on a park bench near the local supermercado and she was sobbing her eyes
    out. I stopped and asked her what was wrong.

    She said, “I have a 32 year-old husband at home. He makes love to me every morning and then gets up and makes me pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit and freshly ground brewed coffee.

    I said: “Well, then why are you crying?” She said: “He makes me homemade soup for lunch and my favorite brownies and then makes love to me half the afternoon.”

    I said: “Well, so why are you crying?” She said: “For dinner he makes me a gourmet meal and wine and my favourite dessert and then makes love to me until 2:00 a.m.”

    I said: “Well, why in the world would you be crying?”

    She said: “I CAN’T REMEMBER WHERE I LIVE!!!!”

  11. roman says:

    Your words about identity strike a chord. Two views:
    ‘Who I am is unintelligble apart from the notion that I will cease, that what I am is something that is moving inexorably towards its end.’ Stephen Batchelor, atheist Buddhist.

    ‘You don’t have to be afraid of your destruction, because there is nothing to destroy.’ Ring Tulku, Tibetan Lama

  12. shantam prem says:

    Aha…I am in duality…
    My sannyas conditioning says, “Why not…When all are getting, why not me?”
    Middle-class Indian conditioning says, “Better to have flats in every big city of India. When all are getting, why not me?”

  13. roman says:

    I must admit the whole neuro-science stuff is interesting, but is it limited? A third person perspective trying to understand a first person perspective or consciousness.
    What would the neuro-scientists make of Sri Ramana, who was found in a temple and had only been visited by an elephant? The elephant later came to the ashram. Ramana said the following: ‘The elephant and I stayed together in the thousand pillared mantapam. Out of compassion for me, he has come here’. Ramana had close relationships with the local monkeys and a white peacock. There was a samadhi of a crow, Vali the deer and Jacky the dog. Ramana also had a 19 year relationship with Lakshmi the Cow. She, even as a calf, behaved in an extraordinary way around Ramana. Ramana wrote a final epitaph in Tamil on Lakshmi: ‘It is here recorded that Lakshmi the cow was liberated under the star Visakha, on Friday the twelfth day, on Friday the twelfth day of the bright half of Jyeshta, in the year Sarvadhari.’
    I guess the neuro-scientists have a lot of work ahead of them. Perhaps a few thousand years?

    • frank says:

      Yeah, I think neuroscience is limited.
      Being is immeasurable.
      No one can change that.
      If you want to lark around with monkeys, elephants and declare cows enlightened or go to a Grateful Dead gig and freak right out, you should be able to do it without having to worry about some egghead scientist following you around sticking electrodes into your backside and telling you how many brain cells you`ve just blown out!

  14. prem martyn says:

    For sale:

    Slightly unused, slightly unfulfilled life purpose for sale, received as gift from universe, some scratches and visibly tarnished surface, works ok, can’t remember what or who the present was for, still under guarantee for few years, will last a lifetime. Ideal Xmas game for 1 to multiple players.

  15. shantam prem says:

    “The idea that you ‘need’ enlightenment is ridiculous, because enlightenment eliminates the needer.”
    I wonder from where Lokesh got this Myth!
    Has he brought few enlightened ones under the psychological observation or it is just a cultural myth propagated by some kind of Neptunian Indians, from the time when there was nothing else to do but to admire the Nature, sitting in Lunghi!
    I can imagine, such past life Enlighteneds are running the computer software companies in their present life.

    • satyadeva says:

      But Shantam, it is indeed an absurdity for the ‘you’ that thinks it ‘needs enlightenment’ is the very entity that is to disappear in such a phenomenon.

      This sort of confusion reminds me of hearing claims like ‘I was so-and-so in my last life’ – with absolutely no insight or enquiry into just who or what is this ‘I’ that supposedly lives on and on in multiple bodies…As if this body/mind complex can possibly survive intact through death….

  16. bodhi vartan says:

    In the ancient Greek understanding, enlightenment was not a once-off event but something that happens again and again. And (Osho aside), from my experience it is more the latter. All seekers get moments of clarity. It is in the nature of the game. Non-seekers would have no idea what we are talking about. A real enlightenment would be foregoing the state of becoming. It’s really: this is it.


    • satyadeva says:

      From what I’ve understood (not from personal experience though, I’m a long-term wader-in-the-shallows) that’s surely the experience of most, Vartan, agreed. Although having a certain ‘realisation’ wouldn’t necessarily equate to ‘enlightenment’.

      As one master has said, “There are realisations and realisations” – various profound insights, at various levels…a gradual undermining of the ‘self’….

      In a way, Osho’s description of his own enlightenment could be misleading in that it might appear that it somehow ‘just happened’, without much previous ‘work’. Except the preparation in ‘past lives’, of course…But how helpful that idea is to us might well be debatable.

      • roman says:

        As you say, it didn’t come easy.
        ‘For one year it was impossible…just to keep myself alive was a very difficult thing, because all appetite had disappeared. Days would pass and I would not feel any thirst. I had to force myself to eat, force myself to drink. The body was so non-existential that I had to hurt myself to feel that I was still in the body. I had to knock my head against the wall to feel whether my head was still there or not. Only when it hurt would I be a little in the body…For one year it persisted. I would simply lie in the floor and look at the ceiling and count from one to a hundred then back from a hundred to one. Just to remain capable of counting was at least something.

        ‘My condition was one of utter darkness. It was as if I had fallen into a deep, dark well. In those days I had many times dreamt that I was falling and going deeper into a bottomless well. And many times I awakened from a dream full of perspiration, sweating profusely, because the falling was endless without any ground or place anywhere to rest my feet. My condition was full of tension, insecurity and danger.’
        (Joshi, ‘The Awakened One’).

        We know what happens next.
        There are many similar accounts by mystics from all over the world and throughout time as Sudhir Kakar, in his book ‘Mad and Divine’, points out. Brain chemistry, inflated ego, a breakthrough, a bit of everything, blah blah blah.

  17. Preetam says:

    “How fruitful may the smallest circle grow, if we the secret of its culture know.”

  18. bodhi vartan says:

    As we are speaking of altered states due to physiological quirks, sleep paralysis is probably the juiciest. We have a switch at the top of the spine. When we wake up, the switch closes and the body responds to the brain activity. After we go to sleep, the brain activity (dreams, etc.) has to carry on so the switch opens up to separate the body from the brain activity. If the switch closes during sleep, that’s when sleep-walking happens. Sleep paralysis occurs when the subject awakes while the switch is still open. The sensation of not being in control of the body is interpreted like something heavy is pinning the body down and thus stopping it from moving. Another weird aspect of the experience is that the subject feels that there is somebody else, or something else (often alien) in the room. Try the link below but also do your own research, as it is a historically fascinating subject.

    Sleep Paralysis

    The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.

    Ever heard of Alien Hand Syndrome? Don’t start me, I am a savant. Hehe.

    The video cannot be shown at the moment. Please try again later.


  19. bodhi vartan says:

    Lokesh says:
    “SN is enjoying a long-awaited renaissance, going by Roman’s comment and some of the other commentators, that is.
    I’m very happy to see that and hope this development continues. I think the possibility exists that SN can host an exchange of real communication, where useful and creative ideas on some of life’s deeper aspects can be explored. We have Frank to thank for this thread. Let’s keep ‘em coming and not forget to inject a wee bit of humour now and then to keep us all smiling.”

    I know exactly what you are saying. I have ten years experience of online forums and once they get ‘really interesting’ they get too-busy to be able to get one’s head around. The last fun-forum I was on, took eight years to get too-busy, but in the sannyas world that can happen in a month. (Plus we need emoticons.)

    I don’t know how to start a thread. I tried using the contact form, but either that is the wrong process or my subject wasn’t relevant enough. I wanted to ask the question: As sannyasins, do we have anything in common with each other?

    Love is not when we are looking in each other’s eyes but when we are looking in the same direction.


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