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Dustin LindenSmith

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"Spiritual evolution doesn't necessarily correlate with how many hours of meditation you're doing"

This Nondual News article contains excerpts from a 1995 interview with nondualist Lex Hixon (website | book page) conducted by Suzanne Taylor (website), as I understand it, not long before his death.

This is my first exposure to Hixon, but he nails down some good stuff about the difference between relative and absolute reality, and about the perils of attuning too much attention to either one of them.
On the current state of humanity and on whether or not we're about to destroy ourselves through violence etc.

Even if the earth would be totally blown to pieces, heaven forbid, consciousness itself would not be destroyed. But, o­n the second level -- I call them the ultimate and the relative levels -- o­n the relative level, every single human being counts and is irreplaceable. Every time a person of good-will is destroyed by the negative forces in the world, we suffer an irreparable loss, so that we suffer a kind of destruction of humanity that is going o­n all the time.
On how much we should be concerned with the relative level of consciousness as opposed to the ultimate

Relying o­n Buddhist insight -- and I tend to rely o­n traditional teachings rather than o­n my own bright ideas -- we should be careful to be concerned equally about the relative and the ultimate, and that's a difficult balance to keep. So, for instance, when someone says that we're just about to peek over the mountain range into the New Age and there will be a totally different way of doing things, and we won't have money and competition, that is, I would say, a failure of concern about the relative.

We need people to take responsibility to bring these two positions together. There's nothing more depressing than someone who's always harping o­n the relative. Many social radicals are this way. Yet, o­n the other hand, there's nothing more debilitating than someone who's always referring us to some grand vision, without a deep sensitivity to relative concerns.
On the role that formal spiritual practices and disciplines should play in our lives

Spiritual evolution is really an attunement with intrinsic clarity and lovingness of consciousness. It doesn't necessarily correlate with how many hours of meditation you're doing and whether you're living in a monastery. There have been awakened people throughout history who have developed ways of life and methods by which people have been able to accelerate their spiritual evolution, which are to be respected and cherished, but we should get away from the idea that the application of technique is the point.
(x-posted to nonduality)

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vyus November 2nd, 2005
problem i find is that people use quotes and anecdotes like these as an excuse not to meditate at all -- and many seem very improbable to have revelations otherwise. the bastards.

iamom November 2nd, 2005
Heh heh -- by "people," do you mean me? Because if you are, you're probably right -- I'd much rather take the fool's easy path to liberation, especially if it doesn't involve a lot of heavy-duty meditation and stuff. :)

I'm glad you mentioned this, though. I'm such a proponent of mundane, non-satori enlightenment experiences that it's easy to discount the value of regular meditation practices; especially for how much they can help to calm a restless or distracted mind and allow one to develop a true sense of clear seeing.

Having said that, I'm also not convinced that any revelation per se is necessary as a precursor to an enlightened lifestyle. I'm guessing that there are a lot of people out there leading simple, unfettered lives who have just as much of a handle on enlightened clear awareness as the proverbial monk on the mountainside; they just don't know that there's a name for their centered state of mind, or that thousands of people are sitting in meditation halls around the world trying to reach that state. Those people, the ones who are ignorantly enlightened, are the lucky ones, I think!

vyus November 3rd, 2005
I didn't mean you specifically. I have the impression that you do make solid attempts at practice.

It seems to me -- and this is me intellectually thinking here, rather than speaking from a point of enlightenment -- that yep, just simple mindful living, taking this life as it is, as it arises, is what it's all about. There probably are folks that are there without putting names to it.

the more I discover about the different sects of Buddhism, the more I identify with the ones that emphasize that actively searching for enlightenment keeps one from achieving it. subtle ego, all that.

skygypsy November 5th, 2005
taking life as it is, as it arises, this is just a form of meditation, yes? not traditionally-defined formal meditation of course, but actually could be viewed as an extension of sitting meditation put into practice?.... like chewing gum, patting one's head and stomach, and walking at the same time ;)

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