27, 1999 -- A
A number of readers with ongoing kundalini activity have written
to us recommending a book called A
Farther Shore: How Near-Death and Other Extraordinary Experiences
Can Change Ordinary Lives by Yvonne Kason and Teri Degler.
It's out of print, but we just learned that Barnes and Noble is
selling the hardcover edition at liquidation prices (62 percent
off). Order it here.
December 18, 1999
Many thanks to Sundeep Baldota for publishing links to Jinendra
Swami's poem Pilgrimage
to Self on his Yahoo club website, EnlightenedOnesInIndia.
That's where we first heard about it.We like it so much we've reproduced
December 17, 1999
Big search engines have been probing our website all week. It feels
like burglars are invading our house, opening all the drawers, and
reading our personal mail, but then again, I guess that's the idea.
People told me it could take as long as two months before we showed
up on search engines, but GoTo.com started listing us a couple of
days after we applied. Let the record show that Goto found us fastest.
Our first flurry of hits came in today after Jerry M. Katz announced
us on the Nonduality
Salon's mail list. Thanks Jerry. :)
I guess today is our birthday because our domain name just went
out over the web. Now you can get here by typing "Realization.org"
instead of "184.108.40.206." Maybe I'm prejudiced against
numbers, but it looks like an improvement to me.
To celebrate, I just paid a company to register us with 1500 search
engines. As my grandma used to say, what good is a website if nobody
can find it?
Oh dear. This poor little baby website isn't even an hour old yet,
and already its stern momma -- that's me -- has assigned three bone-crushing
tasks to it.
First off, this site is going to remind people that the purpose
of meditation is enlightenment. It will tell them that if they want
to meditate to relax or reduce wrinkles or improve their tennis,
that's fine and dandy, but they might as well do it in a way that
brings them closer to the ultimate prize.
Second, this website will remind people who want enlightenment
that they have to meditate or surrender or do something to
make it happen. (Sorry, spending money on videotapes does not
count as "doing something to make it happen.")
Third, this website will help rationalize and universalize
techniques for getting enlightened.
This third point is probably unclear, so let me explain. Almost
every important discovery of humankind has spread throughout the
entire world. The phonetic alphabet, for instance, was invented
in or near Phoenicia, but today it's used everywhere. (All right,
the Japanese are holding out, but you get the idea.) Iron smelting
was invented in Turkey, the zero in Babylonia, gunpowder in China,
vaccination in England, Big Macs in the United States. Today they
are worldwide. This is what I mean by "universalized."
Now for the other word, rationalization. That's what happens when
we apply modern science to ancient technologies. Here's an example.
Aspirin is very old. Closely related chemicals are found in willow
bark, birch bark, wintergreen, and dropwort. Effective medicines
were made from these plants for thousands of years. We don't know
exactly how this was done, since most of the people who used these
plants left no records, but they probably followed a recipe like
this one for a medieval English salve:
[Place] the concoction beneath an altar, [sing] nine masses
over it, [boil] it in butter and mutton fat, [throw] the remainder
into running water and finally [smear] the product over the patient's
feet, head and eyes.1
In the 1800s, German chemists decided to improve the excellent
old medicines made from willow bark. First they extracted the active
ingredient and named it "salicin." Then they realized
they could omit the altar from the recipe without reducing the drug's
efficacy. It turned out the prayers could be safely omitted as well.
Finally they synthesized a better version, one that dissolves in
water, is cheap to manufacture, and doesn't irritate the stomach.
They called it Aspirin (capitalized because it was a trademark of
a particular company).
That's rationalization. Scientists took something excellent and
made it even more excellent.
So far as I know, every great invention of humankind has been universalized
and rationalized except for one: yoga, the technology of enlightenment.
(I'm using the word "yoga" in a very general sense.)
By the end of the eleventh century it had spread from India to
the rest of Asia, so it's partly universalized, but it never got
rationalized. And half the globe is still waiting for it.
Let me stop a minute and make clear that I'm not criticizing traditional
methods. I think they are wonderful. Like I just said, yoga is one
of the greatest inventions in history. It's belongs on the list
of absolute all-time greats along with fire-making and language
Let me also make clear that I'm not saying the traditions need
to be Westernized. This isn't about East and West. It's about antiquity
In fact, it seems to me that Easterners are doing more than Westerners
to rationalize the old enlightenment traditions. For example, look
at the scientific research being done or promoted by Vivekananda
Kenda Yoga Research Center and Maharishi
University of Management. If anything similar is being done
by Westerners, I'd love to hear about it. (Maharishi University
is in the United States, but it was founded by an Indian.)
What would it mean to rationalize these wonderful old technolgies?
In this interview from Enlightenment.com,
Dr. Charles T. Tart suggests one place to start:
One of my dreams -- that I don't know if I'll ever see
this in my lifetime -- is that we just take the next 100,000 people
who go into various spiritual paths, test the hell out of them --
every psychological test that we've got -- we've got to use them
all because we don't really know which ones are really most relevant,
and we'll check on them every five years. Then maybe some day you
would come to me with a question like that and I could say, "take
these tests," and after I've scored them I could say, "look, from
purely empirical knowledge, whatever you do don't do Zen. Your type
has a 30% chance of psychosis with Zen. But Sufi dancing, 0% chance
of psychosis, although a strong chance of not much satisfaction."
I'd love to be able to give that differential kind of advice, and
I hope some day we do the research that will do it. But we're a
long way from that now, unfortunately, so you find a path that has
heart, check your own motivation, and try to learn from it.
How can a penniless baby website like this one contribute to such
an ambitious project? One way is to make observations, the foundation
of science. In other words, we can print articles that meticulously
describe experiences of meditators and enlightened people. Our featured
article this month, "The Day
My Kundalini Woke Up", is the first one of this type. We
plan to publish more in the future.
Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Would you like to write an article for us? We're looking for
contributors. Please take a look at our submission
guidelines, then send queries and articles to email@example.com.
1. Quoted from here
on the website of Drugstore News published by Lebhar-Friedman,