The ‘Tombstone Exercise’: Have You Lived From The Heart?

Nityaprem considers what ‘living from the heart’ means for him and wonders what it might mean for SN readers.

One of the things I came across recently was the ‘Tombstone Exercise’. This is a simple thought experiment where you imagine you have heard that you’re going to die in a year’s time, and you’re asked what text you would like to have on your tombstone. It’s a question that confronts you with whether you are happy with the way you have lived your life.

For me, the question it raises is have I lived enough from my heart? I’ve done some good things, some difficult things, fulfilled some ambitions. On the career front I haven’t left much undone. But on the personal front, there has been a certain sparseness to my life. Even when there was the opportunity to create a family, I ended up not doing it and instead lived alone for many years.

Even more so, it causes me to ask myself if I even understand what it is to live from the heart? You could say it has to do with relating, and ultimately with those special moments which make a relationship ‘heartful’. It has to do with trust, being open, exploring the areas where you are most vulnerable. Those are the things which, when they are shared, create a vibrant togetherness.

When I look at Osho, I wouldn’t want to be like him. I’ve loved him as a wise grandfatherly figure, a deeply trusted spiritual guide, and now I find out he is as flawed as my real grandfathers. The thing I can’t help but recall is him saying any relationship between him and a sannyasin is one- sided, exists from the side of the sannyasin but not from his. How can you live from the heart when you cannot relate?

I think there are spiritual figures who can relate — like Ram Dass, who later in his life cared for his elderly father. He was a very heartful figure, and more a teacher than a guru. It speaks to his enduring popularity that late in life a community formed around him in Hawaii to take care of him.

The other thing I feel compelled to write about when considering living from the heart is control. The only way I know how to live is with the mind in control, and then consciously listening to the impulses of the heart and responding to them. My heart likes cats, for example. It also likes babies. And mountains. I’m not an impulsive person, not easily spontaneous, I tend to plan and strategize. So living from the heart is not easy for me.

Do you feel you have lived from the heart in your life? What do you think the Tombstone Exercise would show about you?

 

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76 Responses to The ‘Tombstone Exercise’: Have You Lived From The Heart?

  1. swamishanti says:

    NP, your ‘tombstone exercise’ sounds interesting.
    Tantrics have traditionally meditated on and fully accepted both death and sex.
    Acceptance and awareness of death can be helpful to recognise the transitionary nature of this world, the ‘maya’.
    Consciousness expanding towards the deathless.
    Tantric sadhus will meditate amongst the corpses in the cremation ground. This helps them to towards the transcendental.

    You wrote:

    “When I look at Osho, I wouldn’t want to be like him. I’ve loved him as a wise grandfatherly figure, a deeply trusted spiritual guide, and now I find out he is as flawed as my real grandfathers. The thing I can’t help but recall is him saying any relationship between him and a sannyasin is one-sided, exists from the side of the sannyasin but not from his. How can you live from the heart when you cannot relate?”

    I wrote something similar a while back but basically what I would say is this:
    If you go deeply into meditation, sooner or later you will come across heart. Everyone likes talk of the heart and of love, but when it happens it is not an intellectual happening but rather an unconditional love.

    In the East the power of sound vibration has been known for millennia. There are certain sound vibrations, mantras, which can resonate with an open the heart centre in human beings.

    ‘Om’ is such a mantra, and it is always placed at the beginning of all other mantras. Chanting ‘Om’ can have a very powerful effect. I have been present in various groups where Om is chanted to evoke the heart vibration.

    Before I went deep into meditation, I remembered a short phase of chanting the Tibetan Mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’.

    I found that beneficial, and also unexpectedly that opened my heart a bit too at that time.
    NP, if your heart was really open, you would perceive Osho in a very different way. Personally, I have never seen him as a father-figure, nor grandfather figure, someone to be followed.

    But the more I got out of meditation, the more gratitude I felt towards Osho, and I could see that his words and teaching on meditation are spot on. He knows his stuff, and was one of a kind, an enlightened master who was able to just teach meditation in a clear, accurate and powerful way, without any of the trappings and unnecessary fear trips of religion.

    As far as judging him as being flawed is concerned, it is really going to depend on what you consider as flawed.

    I wouldn’t take Erin’s story too seriously, after all, you have not heard Osho’s take on the matter, and, there will be other women who will likely give very different perspectives if you were to hear their stories or views on the matter.

    • swamishanti says:

      Inspiring music from Caitlin Welsh.

      ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’:

      https://youtu.be/sEN3JDmNj70

      From the album ‘Laxmi’s Dream’ which I would highly recommend.

      The cd can be found here: https://caitlinwelsh.com/earth-spirit-music/

      • swamishanti says:

        Back to the thread topic.

        The greatest principle of Sufism is: ‘Ishq Allah Ma’bud Allah’. (God is love, lover, and beloved).


        ‘Ishq Allah Ma’bud Allah’.
        ‘The ocean refuses no river’:
        Caitlin:

        https://youtu.be/0UkKXyTfX0Q
         
        “ The Sufis say that the reason of the whole creation is that the perfect Being wished to know Himself, and did so by awakening the love of His nature and creating out of it His object of love, which is beauty. Dervishes, with this meaning, salute each other by saying, ‘Ishq Allah Ma’bud Allah’ – ‘God is love and God is the beloved “. 
 from   “Volume V,  Love, Human and Divine”, p144


        • Klaus says:

          Recommended reading:

          ‘The Alchemy of Happiness’ – Al-Ghasali
          Describing his own inner journey to God, starting as a Muslim, then adding Sufi practices.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alchemy_of_Happiness

          • Klaus says:

            Al-Ghasali stresses that the actual experience and realisation of the states step-by-step is more important than “the elevation of the words into concepts” (which might lead the practitioner astray…).

            Coughcough.

          • Nityaprem says:

            I read the Wikipedia page, Klaus, it seems interesting that Al-Ghasali mentions abstinence…

            “God has sent on Earth a hundred and twenty-four thousand prophets to teach men the prescription of this alchemy, and how to purify their hearts from baser qualities in the crucible of abstinence.”

            It seems to have been the ancient world’s preferred method, from Buddhist monks to the Christian ones. I didn’t know there was a Sufi tradition that went that way as well.

            • satyadeva says:

              I suspect such a path would be impractical these days, NP, we’ve gone way too far into the so-called ‘lower’ realms, so that we’re all more or less ‘sexually loaded’. What seems to be required is to unite sex with love rather than renounce sex altogether. Easy to say, far harder to manage….

            • swamishanti says:

              Christianity, and its offshoot Islam, and Buddhism (at least non-tantric forms of Buddhism) preached abstinence from sex. At least the later forms of these religions.

              Nevertheless, the founder of Islam himself took thirteen wives, one of them was older than him and one of them was just nine years old.

              As far as a Buddha’s love life is concerned, abstinence from sex is not necessary.
              Celibacy may be useful on certain phases of the journey, but for a fully enlightened one such as Osho, the sex energy has finished its work of opening the higher centres.

              • Nityaprem says:

                It’s interesting then that the Buddha himself seems to have stayed celibate after his enlightenment, as did his monks and nuns obeying the rules of the vinaya, the code of conduct for monastics.

                My own experience is that abstinence lends an extra energy to the spirit, a kind of heightened awareness happens. It kicks in after a few weeks of celibacy, and could be mistaken for a feeling of restlessness.

                It’s not a bad thing, to live your life with periods of celibacy included.

                • swamishanti says:

                  I have also found conservation of sex energy useful for meditation, Nityaprem, and healthy.

                  As far as Gautama the Buddha was concerned, he appears to have taken the traditional vows of celibacy when he became a seeker, a renunciate, and then stuck with that after enlightenment.

                  However, the story goes that when he returned to visit his wife (who he had abandoned years before), she asked him angrily why he couldn’t have attained enlightenment at home, and he had no answer for that.

                  Of course, there is also the possibility that he was not actually entirely celibate after enlightenment – or even before. As we have only the stories of Buddhists written later. He was a wondering sadhu, and it is possible that he did indulge himself at some point.

                • swamishanti says:

                  Osho did also encourage periods of celibacy in certain individuals if he considered it helpful for them.

                  From Patipada’s account of the period at the castle with Osho in New Jersey:

                  “Two days later, I was called in to see him again. By this time, I could not believe anything that was happening to me anymore. Everything was so far beyond my wildest dreams…that my dreams could not even carry me to the places I was visiting.

                  I walked in his room and he told me to close my eyes. He moved his hands around my body – not touching my body but only touching the air around the body. He then touched my third eye. He told me to open my eyes. He began telling me that my sexual desire would be leaving me soon and that I could help it move by feeling a white light moving up from my sex centre out through the top of my head. I was flabbergasted. I was shocked. The last thing in the world I wanted was for my sexuality to leave me. What was happening to me? I didn’t say anything to him…looking back I am sure my thoughts were being transmitted like a stereo system on full volume. He told me that I was doing beautifully. Before I left, Bhagwan said to me that if I ever needed him, I should send a message to see him.”

                  Prem Patipada – ‘Forever is Not Long Enough’

    • Nityaprem says:

      It seems to me, SS, that you’re taking Erin Robbins’s story pretty seriously if you feel every post needs to make extensive reference to it. I’m happy to just let every individual sannyasin give it due consideration.

      But I think the idea of the Tombstone Exercise is about something different. It asks you to make a serious attempt to see if you’re happy with the guiding principles by which you’ve lived your life, a one-line summary for your life.

      Me, I noticed that in different periods of my life there were different themes developing. Early on, things were in the theme of the imagination, every book I read was like a new world that would open up to me. I had a very rich inner life. Later I discovered I loved making things, which connected me to the world of work.

      This all comes back to doing what you love, whether that’s reading, making software, ceramics or working on yourself through the spiritual search. So in some ways you could say I have lived from the heart, although there are other aspects where I haven’t done so well.

      • swamishanti says:

        NP, I have not taken Erin’s story seriously at all.
        I mentioned it because it seems like a big deal to you, and how you perceive Osho.

        ‘Erin gate’ has finished. Perhaps someone nwill point out errors in how she has related it at some point, who knows? Who cares? Time to move on to more important topics and better pastures.

        Recently I have been reading a very interesting book by Prem Patipada, ‘Forever Is Not Long Enough’. Patipada was one of Sheela’s ‘gang’ at the Ranch, who was involved in the criminal activities.

        Patipada returned to the Ranch, and later to Pune Two. I knew that Osho had asked her to apologise for being aware of and involved in the criminal activity and for not coming forward and alerting him or others earlier.

        I had read that discourse but, reading Patipada’s account is very revealing, she describes being pushed into a mindblowing satori which lasted for several days, whilst Osho was focusing his energy and fire on her in Buddha Hall and delivering his Zen hit.

        According to Patipada, only Indian friends could sense that something deep had happened to her afterwards.

        • Nityaprem says:

          Swamishanti, you are such a hoot with all the stories bigging up the Indian influence. I think Erin deserves respect for coming forward, it’s good that this stuff is made public.

          • satyadeva says:

            Is Erin the only woman to have revealed this sort of story?

            • Nityaprem says:

              Well, Hugh Milne in his book ‘Bhagwan: The God that Failed’ discusses Osho’s sexual encounters with female disciples, citing several conversations without naming names from the Bombay time prior to Poona 1. He talks of being warned by people in the street that “his guru was not the right guru, and had sex with female disciples.”

              It seems to have been well known at the time, although Osho became more secretive about it after the move to Poona.

              • swamishanti says:

                I don’t doubt that Osho was having sex with some of his female disciples, for me that has not been an issue. As we discussed before, he was very open about that, even telling the world press in Oregon. There were no complaints at that time.

                I see absolutely nothing wrong with an enlightened man/woman having sex with a disciple, in fact I believe it can be potentially helpful.

                There is no need for an enlightened one to remain celibate as all of the higher centres are open. Nisargaddata Maharaj was relaxed enough to visit a Bombay prostitute for sex, a fact that shocks innocent North Americans with all of their Christian conditioning, who view Nisargaddata as a model saint.

                Osho wanted his ‘new man’ to be loose and natural.

                As we discussed before, Subhuti mentions the issue in his book, and wrote that he spoke with two women who enjoyed playful sex with Osho.

                Being secretive about his sex life, at least up until the Ranch, would have been the most sensible thing to do in Osho’s case. There were literally thousands of women who would have wanted to be sexually intimate with him, and naturally he did not want to create jealousy or any hassle.

                The other thing is that, as testified by many women who were physically close to him and saw him on a regular basis, he was not a man who was full of lust, he lived in the moment and most women actually believed he was celibate. They felt safe in his presence.

                He was not a slave to the body, yet was not against enjoyment.

                Hugh Milne’s book was not all untruths but contained lies and distortions, and also appeared to have been partly ghost-written.

                He had been offered a deal by the US authorities and became an agent, and the editor of the anti-Rajneeshpuram propaganda machine at the time, ‘The Oregonian’, Les Vaitz, had a hand in the book. Milne was later sued for content in the book.

              • Nityaprem says:

                My impression was that Hugh Milne’s book was told as he remembered the facts, with little, if any, embellishment. I’d suggest forming your own opinion by just reading it, if you’re interested.

                • swamishanti says:

                  I have already read it, NP, many years ago. And I also know that he worked as an agent for the US authorities and Tom Casey, the chief of the INS, in charge of the mission to get Osho deported and Rajneeshpuram destroyed as soon as possible, flew to England especially just to meet Hugh Milne after he had left the Ranch. Tom Casey also approached other sannyasins who had left and offerede them deals.

                  There are records in the FBI files of ex-sannyasins who were now US agents, some of whom were tasked with going back to Rajneeshpuram. Although the exact mission they were given isn’t clear. Deeksha also worked as an agent. Sheela’s fourth in command, Vidya, was known to have ended up working as an informant for the US authorities. For more, read the book, ‘Was Bhagwan Shree Poisoned by Ronald Reagan’s America’, by Sue Appleton.

                  Many sannyasins who lived close to Osho have pointed out some of the innacuracies and lies in the book.

                  The US authorities were extremely concerned about Osho becoming too popular at the time. The CIA offered mercenaries cash to assassinate Osho at the Ranch. I would suggest reading Max Brecher’s ‘A Passage to America’. Later the CIA spent a lot of energy trying to prevent Osho from starting a new commune on his World Tour, following his group around the world, even bribing one country, Uruguay, whose President was about to grant Osho permanent residence.

                  Osho’s plane and his small group were greeted with armed police at most airports they stopped at, because Tom Casey had sent memos around the World describing Osho and his small group as “armed terrorists” . Of course, they were not armed and were nothing of the sort. Osho had exposed the crimes as he became aware of them and was responsible for putting Sheela in prison!

                • satyadeva says:

                  I recall suspecting a couple of guys I came across at the Ranch at the summer festival, ’83, of being ‘agents’. I’d say they were in their 30s, dressed in the ‘regulation’ attire, but wearing no mala, and overhearing their conversation while on a boat trip on a lake it very much seemed they were ‘outsiders’ pretending the opposite, which was just obvious to anyone with a bit of sannyas experience. Of course they might have been there for the ride – the promise of ‘free sex’ etc. – but I had a gut feeling they were ‘spies’, up to no good.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  I find it surprising, SS, that you’re so involved with the ancient history of who did what. It doesn’t seem very spiritual to bear grudges.

                  I just read Hugh Milne’s book and find that the sections where he is reporting from memory sound authentic. And some of the things he mentions such as the nitrous oxide have been confirmed many times.

                • swamishanti says:

                  I don’t bear any grudges towards Hugh Milne. I felt sorry for him that he got the doubts he did, but I have no resentment towards him at all. At least he had his catharsis and got his anger out, whereas other ex-sannyasins who think it was all a con like to hang around and keep complaining for years.

                  Yes, I do find the history interesting. I would suggest reading ‘Life of Osho’ by Sam. A bit outdated, but still a good book:
                  https://www.enlightenedbeings.com/pdf/life_of_osho.pdf

                  I like the way Sam points out Osho’s deliberate publication of himself under the influence of nitrous oxide, calling a photo-shoot and including the line..’I have to pretend to be enlightened..’ a classic Gurdgieffian device. Sannyasins and readers of Osho’s books will be well aware of Osho mentioning masters creating various ‘devices’ to clear space around them, often referencing Gurdgieff. Yet this was the first book on Osho that I am aware of that specifically mentioned that incident.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Sam, aka Paritosh, the author of ‘Life of Osho’, was one of the founders of Sannyas News, together with Parmartha and Dharmen, all of whom are sadly no longer with us.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  SS, I meant the whole thing of who was an agent for who, and what person was leading what agency, which should have been obvious. Most of them are retired now, and I don’t think people care about the peripheral details.

                  I was just responding to SD’s question about Osho’s sex life, and Hugh Milne’s two paragraphs about Osho’s early reputation as the ‘sex guru’ are relevant.

                • swamishanti says:

                  It was Paritosh who told me about this site. That was back in 2000, and the site was really very different indeed.

                • swamishanti says:

                  Nityaprem,

                  Osho’s reputation in India as the ‘sex guru’ was absolutely nothing to do with any rumours of Osho having sex with his disciples as Hugh Milne implied.

                  Actually, the yellow press coined the phrase after Osho gave a series of talks ‘From Sex to Superconsciousness’ in Bombay in 1968.

                • swamishanti says:

                  A book I enjoyed was ‘In the Eye of the Hurricane – the Inside Story of a Disciple’s Journey’, by Devakant, Osho’s bodyguard.

                  Another guard, Buddha, is said to be currently writing a book, according to his loveosho podcast.

    • Let the gossip about Osho become gospel. I’ll take seriously a jew who speaks of sexual abuse when he/she will start to mention the brit milah.

      MOD:
      Veet Francesco, what is “the brit milah”, please?

      • Nityaprem says:

        Yeah, but VF, what is gossip and what is gospel anyway? Some of the gossip about Osh0, like how people in Poona were encouraged to think of his psychic powers, doesn’t seem worth promoting to gospel, while some of the other things we are only now finding out may have been more true than we thought at the time.

        In the end it’s all just words, and words are often untruthful. A lot of mankind’s troubles stem from people telling stories seeking to gain advantage in some way.

        I’m reminded of Ramana, who said the most powerful teaching he had was in silence, and that he spoke only to those who could not hear his silence.

        • NP, don’t make too many investments in celibate masters, one day you might get scandalized to find that they were taking big cumshots, discovering all the nuances about right- or left-handed ways.

        • Yes, NP, my opinion is that when I am in a state of grace, joyful, energetically fluid, going inside, into the mystery, even for me many other secondary phenomena become possible. When the container expands to accommodate the content (beauty / wisdom / truth) it becomes difficult to distinguish between gossip and gospel, what is divine from what is worldly.

          Who is Osho? I do not know. What gave him an orgasm? It’s his business. I just participated in a collective process of liberation, empowerment, awareness, etc. all of this seemed to have Osho at the centre of it. But there is also the possibility that he was only, or, at the same time, the periphery (container), when in certain historical moments the collective consciousness pushes for a profound existential request to be fulfilled. Then perhaps the role of the Master is “only” to recognize and encourage that process that he has already experienced individually…

          This does not mean that his senses are no longer solicited by life or that his mind does not flow in the background, with all its software, cultural and familiar, as happened before the awakening, because a complete resetting would mean deleting many things starting from the language, for Osho one of the places, not only object, of gospel. But since in addition to deep demands we have even more superficial ones, we will never all agree on good or bad taste, on who plays the role of the Masterm in the matter of eroticism.

          If he decided that he had no reason to reset that particular software, perhaps it is also due to the hypocrisy of those who thought of gratifying him without giving him reason to suspect that there was a different software with which to orient his libido…think of the shock for a middle-aged Indian born in the 30s if a disciple asked him that she loved wearing the strap on, and thinks of her disappointment when he mediated by offering a handjob from behind.

          To me, if a Master met my sexual tastes, I would be happy to have my cock sucked.

      • It is the masculine equivalent of infibulation. A barbaric, but unofficial, practice in the Muslim belief system about how to make women invulnerable from sin.

        In Italy this practice is prohibited while the other is official and celebrated in the light of the sun… i mean of the menorah.

  2. satchit says:

    And what would you like to write on your tombstone, NP?

    Something like, “He tried to control life, but he failed utterly”?

    I think you should allow yourself some ‘crazy’ thoughts, something like, “Erin deserved what happened to her.”

    • Nityaprem says:

      Let’s see, maybe “his passion and imagination led him to make things that were enjoyed by millions.” Or maybe, “he tried to plan life, and succeeded too well.”

      What about you, Satchit?

      What use would such crazy thoughts be? At least the truth can bring clarity to the past and help rectify the future.

      • satchit says:

        For my tombstone this would be fine:

        “He had much fun in his life, but it did not help him to survive.”

        NP, I have the impression that you are not really happy.
        Maybe you suppress dark/male energy.
        Having dark, crazy thoughts would balance this a bit.

        And because you are experienced in watching thoughts, there is no danger in this for you.

        • Nityaprem says:

          Lately I have been going through a tricky period, not sleeping that well, it is true.

          Whether I have been suppressing male energy I am not entirely certain. Maybe it would be good to do some more gibberish, just to free up whatever needs to be freed up.

          • simond says:

            Reading much of Satchit’s comments is quite enough gibberish for you, NP. Don’t be taken in by his sly judgments of you and others.

            His degree of certainty on most matters perfectly expresses how clever he is at being smart and wise.

            Ask him to quantify any point, to explain his ideas, or to be humble about what he doesn’t know and he will tell you to have a bit more “fun” or be open to your “crazy thoughts” or most repetitively to describe his comments as a “joke” when he’s asked to justify or explain himself .

            Alternatively, he will reply that your “heart” isn’t open enough – just another clever ploy to send doubt into you.

            It’s all a game to him, all just mindful playfulness. Not unlike the sly devil of the Christian Bible, whose purpose is always to instil self-doubt and confusion in others.

            I see right through him. Whether he is aware of this side of his character I can’t fully say, but the effects of his type of mind is utterly poisonous. My gut feeling is that he knows only too well how his devious mind works.

            To be sure like the devil, he will deny everything and try to turn it all back on me.

            • simond says:

              Reading an earlier comment from Satchit, wondering aloud how you “may suppress dark male energy”, is a further example of how he invites you to join his ‘club’, where we can express the very energy he values and needs.

              Whereas I’d say there’s no need to express dark male energy, that’s the energy that goes round forever, instilling doubt and unhappiness.

              In contrast, you, NP, express vulnerability, a real questioning mind, a subtle innocence, a delight, a wonder at life, and in and about others. You’re brave, willing to ask innocent questions.

              The contrast with Satchit is that he only knows how to instal doubt in others, to talk about “fun”, to quote meaningless koans that appear to show us his wisdom.

              There is no truth in any of it. It’s just a disguise after a disguise.

              • Nityaprem says:

                Well, I shall consider myself warned about his nefarious schemes and methods then! I may be a bit innocent, but am not usually a fool.

              • Nityaprem says:

                I would love to hear if you have anything to say about the article, @simond.

                • simond says:

                  You asked, Nityaprem, whether I have lived from my heart and to comment on this ‘Tombstone’ experiment. I had avoided making any comments, partly as I was on holiday when your piece was posted, but also I had no real initial connection to the question.

                  However, it is worthy of an exploration and I’m happy to provide my pennyworth.

                  With regard to the tombstone and what words I’d want written there, I have no desire for a tombstone at all. I’d prefer my ashes were thrown to the wind. In terms of how I would look at my life, knowing I was to die in a year or tomorrow, this is a question I do look at with a regularity.

                  It always pins me to seeing how I feel in this very moment. Do I feel regret or wish I’d done this or that? If for any reason my mood is unforgiving I do feel a sense of sadness that I’ve knowingly and unknowingly avoided difficult decisions. I know I’ve been dishonest many times, I’ve betrayed my truth, lived in fear.

                  This sadness is most often momentary as I also recognise that all of this behaviour was also part of the lessons I needed in order to grow. So my present state of mind arose out of all the mistakes and mishaps of my past. It was unavoidable and I can’t blame myself or live with regret for my actions.

                  As a consequence of recognising this, I feel fine, I feel no sense of regret or pain. If there is any lingering sadness I know that this too is just an overload of reflection on my part. I let it go. There is a knowledge within me always guiding me to acceptance or surrender, even if there are times when it’s challenging.

                  With regards to the question as to living from my heart. It’s not one I really consider. It seems a rather eastern term, one that Osho may have played with at times. My emotions have led me astray. My needing and longing, my desire for justice, my desire to be loved, my awful misunderstanding about the power of emotions has been an essential part of my journey. It’s been a long, arduous process to learn about emotions and to discover the limitations of Love.

                  The idea of living from my heart seems rather fanciful. If it means by being open, honest, vulnerable, able to listen, able to drop one’s opinions then I’m able to embrace the concept in more detail.

                  I’ve more commonly seen it used as a means by which we are somehow asked to be more sweet and gentle or generous; yet to ask us to do this without applying our minds and our intelligence to any question has never worked for me.

                  Why, for example, should I be kind or generous, heartfelt, forgiving or kind to those who are acting (either consciously or unconsciously) in a destructive manner to me or to someone else? Whilst people talk of a place of unconditional love, it seems an impossible task to me. It’s just theory. Yes, people experience a sense of oneness in their meditations or on drugs, but these are experiences, they come and go. There is no one who lives in a state of oneness in any lasting way, whatever the so-called masters tell you. Osho certainly didn’t, did he? He wasn’t heartfelt and sweet, he rose to anger and to a sexual need in the same way as you or I do.

                  You also mentioned that the only way you know how to live is with the mind in control. This is the function of the mind. I use as much intelligence or will to put it in its rightful place, as the servant of a higher truth, not as my master. It takes a lot of practice!

                  Thanks for asking difficult questions, Nityaprem. It takes courage and vulnerability to ask of others, to listen and to think for oneself. Most people follow the crowd, follow their guru, all the time taking in more beliefs and structures by which they can feel safe and in the known. You’re going against such robotic minds.

                • Nityaprem says:

                  simond, that’s a very insightful piece of writing. Yes, the robotic minds are not easily moved to introspection or vulnerability by confessing their uncertainties. But you never know when someone will experience a moment of clarity.

                  You talk about the limitations of love. It’s interesting because I have been making a list of my passions in life, and i have been coming to the conclusion that that has almost always been what has motivated me, while reason and fear have stopped me from doing things.

              • satchit says:

                Ah, the Reverend is back!

                Did you make holidays with the twelve apostles?

                Yes, maybe you can save his soul from the power of evil.

            • Lokesh says:

              Satchit “clever”? That’s a good one.

            • satchit says:

              Good sermon, preacherman!

              I wonder why you apply as Daddy for NP. As far as I remember he has already one.

              • satyadeva says:

                Perhaps you haven’t noticed that NP willingly invited Simond’s comments, Satchit (June 28, 9.11pm, 9.15pm)

                • satchit says:

                  Perhaps you have not noticed, SD, that the Rev. started preaching already before invitation.

                  Look 28 June 6:23 and
                  28 June 5:55.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Perhaps you have not yet realised, Satchit, that childish name-calling is hardly an adequate response to such detailed, rational criticism?

                  Or is it that you’re just too lazy, too complacemtly stuck in your ways to bother? I swear I just heard you muttering, “Easy is right!”….

                • satchit says:

                  Where did you find “detailed, rational criticism”? You make me laugh, SD.

                  He simply jumped in a communication between NP and me and had his fun. Basically the matter was not his business.

                  As a moderator you should see both sides, is it not?

                  Tell him, he shall stop writing “Sachit”, maybe I stop calling him names.

                  Who is childish here?

                • satyadeva says:

                  Look in the mirror, Satchit: You’re behaving precisely as predicted (June 28, 6.23pm).

                  And btw, this is an open blog, there’s no such thing as ‘private’ communication here. If you post something anyone can respond.

                • satchit says:

                  I see you are a bit bored and want a bit of fun, when I look into mirror, SD.

                  Predicted by whom?

                  Certainly anyone can respond. And anyone can say the response is crap.

                • satyadeva says:

                  You’ve justified Simond’s critical points.

                  But don’t worry, relax, the tennis has started….Easy is right, after all, isn’t it?!

                • frank says:

                  Pleading that he was having a private conversation on a public blog is characteristic of Satchit`s doltish lack of intelligence which runs so `wild and free` that it swamps every aspect of his cretinous contributions here.

                  This guy tries to hide his imbecilic dullness of mind and spirit by coating his excrementally fatuous and inept posts with the honey of parroted `spiritual` sayings in the hope that it will make him look more smart.
                  It doesn`t.
                  He fails every time.
                  The result is that he just further reveals himself as progressively more ignorant, asinine and shallow. In short, the guy is caught in an infinite regress of stupidity.

                  On the positive side, he is a reminder of how the lure of pretending to be spiritual by tossing off cliches can be irresistible to many saddos who simply have nothing interesting or worthwhile to offer.

                • satchit says:

                  SD, do you really think I bother what Simond predicts?

                  He wanted me to be self-critical.

                  Something like “Oh, I should not have written this to NP. This with the “dark male energy” was not good! Sorry.”

                  How stupid is this?

                • satyadeva says:

                  Self-critical? You? Utterly nonsensical, Satchit. I reckon a lengthy ban for Simond is the only proprtionate response, don’t you?

                • dominic says:

                  Satchit gets tombstoned, that’s pretty grave!
                  Finally, he knows something you don’t….

                • satchit says:

                  You should be more serious, SD.

                  Is self-critical not always related to the past that one should have done things differently?

                • satyadeva says:

                  Ok, Satchit, if you really want a bit of “serious”…

                  Being self-critical is not necessarily always related to the past. But maybe a more appropriate term is self-aware, from a willingness to look at critical remarks and see whether there might be at least some truth in them? Even if one does this privately, in secret as it were, with no intention to admit anything to anyone else, least of all one’s ‘critics’.

                  Although then, of course – IF sincere – eventually one would have to look into this wish to not give anything away, which might be a fear of appearing or of being ‘weak’, to others and also to oneself, and hence feeling ‘defeated’, even humiliated.

                  All good, dirty old painful-to-the-egoic-self’s-self-image stuff, but many have had to be pressured, ‘broken down’ in heavy groups, or by life itself, to reach that point of open awareness, unable, because unwilling, to get there on their own.

                  I don’t know, you might well be similarly afflicted (but I don’t expect you to admit it).

                • satchit says:

                  SD, I don’t think being self-critical and being self-aware is the same.

                  Self-critical includes having doubt about oneself and judging oneself about right or wrong.

                  Self-awareness means just being aware of one’s doing, without judgement.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Ok, Satchit, that’s a fair point, so let’s substitute ‘using discrimination and discernment through self-awareness’ for ‘self-criticism’. The point is, though, that the process of seeing your self as it is requires self-honesty, which necessitates seeing the effects of one’s beliefs, attitudes and actions.

                  One may not like to judge these as right or wrong, the very concept of ‘judgment’ might be anathema, considered ‘unspiritual’, but nevertheless one does have the facility to discern such consequences (for oneself and/or others) and decide whether they’re worth holding on to or dropping.

                  Without such powers of discrimination there’d be no self-consciousness, so no foundation for ‘living the spiritual life’, and no such thing as ‘personal growth’.

                  Nothing revelatory about all that, surely, it’s pretty basic stuff, isn’t it?

        • Nityaprem says:

          Satchit, when you say, ‘it did not help you to survive’, do you mean:
          1) Fun does not help you to earn money?
          2) A joke, because ultimately no one survives?
          3) AQ serious comment that fun does not help?

          When I think back to the things that make me happy that I have done them, they are often concerned with earning, making or appreciating beautiful things. Fun tends to be quickly forgotten. Or are we talking about sex rather than plain fun?

          • satchit says:

            It was 2) A joke, NP.

            But fact is also that fun is related to the heart. No fun – No heart. If things are too serious, life becomes dry.

            So for me it is never a question of success in the outside world. If you move with the inner you can be a beggar and be happy.

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