Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ru Ding

. Thought .
Originally uploaded by 3amfromkyoto.

Since my move, you may be disappointed to learn that I have had to discontinue my early morning radio broadcast from the bathtub. (15 minutes of caffeine induced insight that reached an audience of 4, if you include cat & dog. )

And it’s just as well. Apparently, there are other issues now. No “News of the World Report” to report, only the retort of my own personal issues with the Infinite.

Is this me coming up against what Taoist, B.K. Frantzis, calls “ru ding?Ru ding: the fear of the death of the ego that leaves one in shear terror? Frantzis describes his first encounter this way:

I was in Hong Kong, beginning to learn the old Yang style of Tai Chi Chaun when ru ding first struck me… It was late at night, at a still and quiet terrace on the Peak, where few people came after midnight…the park was quiet, and the moon and the sky felt as though they were descending downward, putting enormous pressure on every square inch of my skin, as I tried to life my arms with the expansive energy of tai chi…I felt as if Chi from the moonlight, stars, and sky penetrated my body against my will. My body and mind became immensely still, as though they had dropped into a bottomless abyss, even though I was doing the rhythmic slow motion movements…At the depth of the stillness, an overwhelming, formless fear began to develop in my belly…. Then it happened: an all-consuming, paralyzing fear seemed all at once to invade every cell in my body… I knew if I kept practicing there would be nothing left of me in a few seconds… I stopped practicing… and ran down the hill praying hard that this terror would leave me….

The ego, goes into a mortal fear when the false reality of being separate from the universal life force is threatened by your consciousness having reached an awareness of connection to everything in existence. The ego spews forth all sorts of terrifying psychological and physiological reactions in the body and mind to make meditators petrified of leaving the state of separation.

Frantzis says that ru ding is a stage each practitioner must go through. At a certain point, it is repeatedly encountered until you finally cease trying to avoid the pain, let go of all resistance, and let the ego disappear.

Though Frantzis is a Taoist, this annilation of the ego seems a Buddhist thing to me. Maharishi never taught of fear, pain, death. He spoke of the ego's expansion- the exact opposite. It was a step taken in the Light of celestial awareness. At a certain point, "Either I drop off or God drops off. Out of respect, we say, I drop off."

So experience, as always, seems determined by the path you take. Bernadette Roberts, coming from a Catholic tradition had a similar running, jumping in the car and fleeing that she recounts in her No Self writings.

The totally traditionless Eckhart Tolle, describes his experience when his ego finally let go in these words:

One night I woke up in the middle of the night, as I had many times before, in a state of even more intense dread and fear… It became so unbearable that suddenly the thought occurred to me, "I cannot live with myself any longer." That thought was the trigger for a transformation. The thought kept repeating itself many times in my head and then suddenly there was a stepping back from the thought and a looking at the thought. I asked, "Who is the 'I' and who is the self that I cannot live with?"

… it's almost as if a [Zen] koan spontaneously appeared in my mind. A koan's purpose is to destroy conceptual thinking because it has no answer on a conceptual level... At that moment the whole structure of the "unhappy me" and its pain collapsed because the withdrawal of identification was so complete. What was left was simply beingness or presence. There was still a moment of fear. It felt like being drawn into a hole within myself, a vast whirlpool, and a realization arose in my chest, "Resist nothing." That was the key. Then resistance was relinquished and I don't know what happened after that.

All I do know is that the next morning I woke up… I opened my eyes and everything was alive and new and fresh as if I had never seen it before. And I walked around and picked up things and looked at them. I was amazed at everything. There was no understanding of it. I was not even trying to understand anything. It was just so beautiful.

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