Issue #4741, Sunday, October 28, 2012
What is normal may be felt in the silent mind.
When thought is spent, the individual is no
longer a separate entity but gets merged in the
silent Consciousness as its intrinsic essence.
- Ramesh S. Balsekar from A Net of Jewels, posted to AlongTheWay
Inasmuch as it is necessary for the knowing aspect of life, or the soul, to
return at length to its original state of being, even so it is necessary for it
to experience first of all the life it created for the very reason that it might
- From The Teachings Of Hazrat Inayat Khan, posted to SufiMystic
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
and the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
T.S. Elliot from The Hollow Men, posted to The_Now2
In John, Chapter 1, it says:
"The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness apprehends it not."
And the light is? ... consciousness.
How much conciousness can I tolerate?
... it depends on how much I surrender myself to it.
I know it will tolerate me.
It's only me that can't tolerate my perceived mistakes,
my perceived errors, my perceived failures.
I say 'perceived', because they are only perceptions.
All is perfect, including my innumerable mistakes.
I had to fall countless times as I can learn to walk,
but I didn't give myself a severe haranguing every time.
And the 'me' is?
... an idea of who I am,
and that will always fall far short of my fullness.
The shadow, comparative darkness,
lurks in my recesses. It's afraid of the light.
It has to be gently persuaded to let go
of its clinging to that place of false security
under the bushel where the light can't shine.
... "Hey, my fearful, internal, shadowy little boy,"
I say to him,
"All is well, fear not, there's a beautiful satsang here,
a community of friends who lovingly embrace you,
let it nurture your light and dispel that hollow shadow
"Faith is letting that light shine in your internal darkness
with a feeling of confidence that all will be well
"And it will be."
From the light I come, to the light I return.
- posted to The_Now2
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air
a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either
on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we
are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a
blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes
of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
Love is bringing everyone by the ear to a place where reason cannot go.
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.
~ Dr. Paul Farmer
Each of us inevitable, Each of us limitless --
Each of us with his or her right upon the earth, Each of us allow'd the eternal purports of the earth, Each of us here as divinely as any is here.
~ Walt Whitman
(Leaves of Grass)
via Louise Christian on Facebook
"There is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quaility impossible to describe."
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
via Emilie Unkrich on Facebook
"Appearances never cease to be their original radiance. Unformed, form never had a substance to be grasped. The world is a continuum of meditation in the still stainless heart of no-mind."
~ Saraha, 'Dohakosha,' 8th C.
via Fred LaMotte on Facebook
All finite things reveal infinitude: The mountain with its singular bright shade Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow, The after-light upon ice-burdened pines; Odor of basswood upon a mountain slope, A scene beloved of bees; Silence of water above a sunken tree: The pure serene of memory of one man,-- A ripple widening from a single stone Winding around the waters of the world.
I enjoyed a few things about the conference this year. I always try to be aware of the overall tone or feel in order to gauge the directions of nonduality. Maybe what I perceive only reflects my own interests for nonduality, but whatever, here's what I picked up. I felt that the strong sense of community we felt last year was a culmination from previous years and that this year the sense of community shifted its focus from being for the sake of the community itself to being for the sake of society and the world.
In other words, it was as though people realized, "Okay, we're together and that's a great feeling. Now let's do something to help clean up some of the world messes." That sensibility has been present in all the SANDs, but I felt it was focused with a greater maturity this year. "Maturity" or "mature" was the word used by John Prendergast when we were discussing the feel of this year's SAND.
Join or start a nonduality meetup group
When I talked to people, my main themes were about joining or starting meetups wherever people live. A meetup is two or more people getting together to talk about nondual consciousness. I would typically suggest that people explore the website http://meetup.com, which makes it easy to find members and plan meetings.
I made a point of considering that showing videos of famous people need not be a big part of such meetups and that in fact they could stifle the growth of nondual community where one lives. It's important that a local nonduality meetup group be made up of local people. That demand connects nondual understanding with the geography, with the earth, so that a deeply rooted nondual community may form.
Right away I think of the Shambhala Buddhism community headquartered in Nova Scotia. Pema Chodron is the most famous person from that group. Shambhala is a significant contributor to the economic and cultural scene in Nova Scotia. But how deeply are they rooted here? I don't know, because they upped and left Boulder, Colorado in the late 80s at the command of their leader. What if the current leadership calls for another move to another distant location? The roots of Shambhala aren't deeply set in Nova Scotia.
I don't think you can have deeply set roots for nondual community when a mass of people who form that community could leave overnight. Deep roots come from ordinary people who are likely to stay because of ties to job, friends, family, and the land and culture.
That was my theme and message. Start or attend a nonduality meetup where you live and keep it local. Showing a video of a famous teacher ignores the soil of one's own community and the people growing out of it. We have formed community out of nondual gatherings online. Now we are forming nondual gatherings out of our local communities. That's the shift.
And I know some of you wonder what to do or talk about if you start your own nonduality meetup group. My suggestion is, don't worry about it. The people who attend want to talk. Just make sure you keep the discussion on the level of pointers to what always is. And know what's important in each meeting. If you start each meeting with a few minutes of silence, it is obvious that that's what's important. At our meetings I often say that there's nowhere else to go after the opening meditation and that just the being together is enough. Francis Lucille said essentially the same this weekend at SAND when he said, "Satsang is being together in beingness, not talking." Yet, yes, we talk. But keeping those values of beingness and silence, and always pointing to what is beyond the dualities, one can hold an intimate nonduality meetup. To hold a successful nonduality satsang or meetup, you don't have to be a famous sage nor do you have to show a video of one.
Nonduality and society
The other theme I talked to people about is related. It is the bringing of nondual consciousness to every element of society. That movement depends upon the preparing the soil of local community for the arising of deeply rooted nondual gatherings. In that regard, I talked to David Loy, Highlights reader Ray Gravineau (spelling?), and Julie Shearman. You know David as author of the book Nonduality and others. He's a brilliant speaker and organizer of nondual teachings. Ray is a retired money manager who insists that in order to see societal change, economists must absorb the teachings of nonduality. And Julie is an organization/project manager who understands how organizations communicate and who came to SAND with her husband Jonathan (who many of you probably know) from Australia. These are people seriously interested in seeing the color of nondual consciousness seep into the structures of our civilization. David even mentioned holding a conference on nonduality and society. At the very least we could hold a session on the topic at a future SAND.
A conversation I couldn't get going
I'm interested in a conversation on nonduality and psychiatry but I couldn't find any traction in that discussion. It could be a future session at SAND. Although that brings up another topic that the organizers Maurizio and Zaya might consider. SAND needs to keep stretching and growing. I know that's easier said than done. And my understanding is that there are going to be small SAND meetings that address specific themes. However, I don't want to see the conference get too comfortable with itself.
Maurizio and Zaya are the mind and heart of SAND and their house burned down in the midst of planning this year's conference. Yet the light of their love and spirit was never diminished. Did it grow stronger? Yes. Nothing can stop expansion of nondual consciousness.
A look back at turnings in the nonduality movement
Just for a moment I want to look back at key turnings in modern nonduality, because they might recapitulate your own journey through nonduality and help you see where it is going. In the beginning, the late 90s, it was a breakthrough just to form a small internet email list dedicated to nonduality itself without circling around a specific teacher or tradition, while respecting all speakers and traditions. Even at that level my interest was the people in the group rather than bowing down to a famous sage, although we did that too. But primarily we recognized that ordinary people could speak with authority about nonduality. That recognition would take nonduality out of the ashrams and out of the university departments of philosophy and religious studies and put the word nonduality right into the streets, right onto the sidewalks, right in the middle of the kitchen tables.
In 2003, blogging reached a peak of popularity and saw the word nonduality used almost too casually. I would sometimes quote those overly casual usages in the Highlights in order to show how the word nonduality was becoming the mainstream. In 2006, I believe it was, at a nonduality conference in Boulder, Colorado, I briefly spoke to the group urging people to use the word nonduality in their daily conversation. The point was that the word nonduality alone is powerful. Simply knowing the word could elicit a looking up of the word, and a looking up of the word opens a big and brave new world. The word can change lives.
About a year later I helped organize the first Science and Nonduality Conference and spoke about a "nonduality movement." I think people cringed at that suggestion as much as some cringed at the recommendation that we use the word nonduality in our conversations. However, this bears on something else I noted at the most recent SAND this past weekend. People are now talking about a movement in nondual consciousness as though it is clear and obvious. I don't have proof that that's the case, but people no longer cringe when you talk about a nonduality movement. I guess because they see the teaching spreading in such a way that it could be called a movement.
And now in the last few years we have seen nonduality become known through Facebook. And in-person meetups are another important phase of the nonduality movement. All that I've described here, from the first nonduality email forums to the calls for a conference on nonduality and society are part of the modern nonduality movement. That movement started in North American in the late 1800s with The Sacred Books of the East, Swami Vivekananda, and others, and it has continued unhalted ever since.
Where is the nonduality movement going? In my view it's going to further color real life local communities and then society and then everything else. The significance of the nonduality movement is that in the future we will live from poetry rather than anxiety.
I met and spoke to many wonderful people at SAND. I'll be featuring some in upcoming issues. And don't forget SAND Europe 2013 in Doorn, The Netherlands:
I made a horrible, Halloweenish misspelling in my previous issue, so I'm re-submitting the paragraph with the correct spelling in bold:
"The other theme I talked to people about is related. It is the bringing of nondual consciousness to every element of society. That movement depends upon the preparing the soil of local community for the arising of deeply rooted nondual gatherings. In that regard, I talked to David Loy, Highlights reader Ray Gribeauval, and Julie Shearman. You know David as author of the book Nonduality and others. He's a brilliant speaker and organizer of nondual teachings. Ray is a retired money manager who insists that in order to see societal change, economists must absorb the teachings of nonduality. And Julie is an organization/project manager who understands how organizations communicate and who came to SAND with her husband Jonathan (who many of you probably know) from Australia. These are people seriously interested in seeing the color of nondual consciousness seep into the structures of our civilization. David even mentioned holding a conference on nonduality and society. At the very least we could hold a session on the topic at a future SAND.
~ ~ ~
Looking forward to hearing more about this, Ray.
Nonduality meets the arts community in Manila, and although the description of the concept of nondualism could be better, what matters is that the word is being used and all anyone has to do is google it and ... it'll google them.
Blot Art Studio will hold a group exhibit titled “Nondualism” on Wednesday, October 31 at 6pm. This exhibit is curated by Wesley Villanueva and will feature artists, a mix of upcoming and experienced artists.
These artists are Benedict Abigan, Bobby Balingit, BK Calucin, Eleanor Giron, Veronica Laurel, Joee Mejias, Wayan Narra, AB Paredes, and Rommel Pidazo. The exhibit is composed of painters, book-artist, film maker, sculptors, and mixed-media artists, giving different interpretations and introducing new mediums that surpass the common genre of art.
We live in a world of dual illusions, a right and wrong, black and white. Nondualism is a concept that shatters the fragile shell of duality, taking the two different perceived things and looking at them as one and the same. This group exhibit challenges artists from different fields and medium to explore the neither nor idea that can free a person’s perception of things and the world we live in.
Blot Art Studio will not only feature visual arts but will also be featuring musical artists in the opening night such as Bobby Balingit at Ang Planeta ng Ngiti, Skies of Ember, Monochrome, Anhura, and The Sleepyheads. This event is supported by PULP Magazine as the official media sponsor.
Guests will have a chance to win Wolf’s Lair Tattoo Gift Certificates.
Thanks for latest. You ask where I stand. I don't know if I stand at all. I am Gabriel, a wingéd creature. Recently I watched a classic video of Segovia, the guitarist, playing in the Alhambra in the 70s. He talked about 'destiny' all the time. This was his destiny, to play the guitar. Forging his will was merely the shaping of his musical destiny, becoming the master player which his instincts inspired him to be.
My thinking (such as it is) is too fluid, too poetic, to actually come to the full stop which is implied in a stand. Freedom? Remember when the Americans refused to eat French fries and called them 'Freedom fries'? They give us such cause to laugh (and to weep), do they not, God love them! When it comes to freedom and the question of free will, I fall back on the insights which are covered by the Sanskrit term 'vasanas'. You and I are born with these 'vasanas', these qualities which colour our personality and give a peculiar flavour to our sensibility, our temperament, our tastes and inclinations, our great gifts and our weaknesses, our talents and latent abilities and so on. We follow these instincts as best we can. Much as I might admire the innate qualities of another, I will not follow the path of a molecular scientist or mountain climber. Nor will I follow your path, philosopher-poet. The path we walk is our path, none other. And I love straying from the path. I suppose I am attracted to the vacum state described here by Osho:
Sixty-six times have these eyes beheld the changing scenes of autumn I have said enough about moonlight, Ask no more. Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars when no wind stirs.
Meet your own self. Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide. As long as your urge for truth affects your daily life, all is well with you. Live your life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness is a most powerful form of Yoga and it will take you speedily to your goal. This is what I call nisarga yoga, the Natural yoga. It is the art of living in peace and harmony, in friendliness and love. The fruit of it is happiness, uncaused and endless.
via Along The Way
Self is what you are, You are That Fathomlessness in which experience and concepts appear. Self is the Moment which has no coming or going. It is the Heart, Atman, Emptiness. It shines to Itself, by Itself, in Itself. Self is what gives breath to life, you need not search for It, It is Here. You are That through which you would search. You are what you are looking for! And That is all it is. Only Self is.
via Along The Way
The most important part of the practice is for the question to remain alive and for your whole body and mind to become a question. In Zen they say that you have to ask with the pores of your skin and the marrow of your bones. A Zen saying points out: Great questioning, great awakening; little questioning, little awakening; no questioning, no awakening.
Every time I open my eyes I invite the world to take shape And every time the world takes shape I'm invited to open my eyes And see the world raw and naked
Holding out its hand Calling me into it's self Where I am taken into the Transparency of things and find myself transparent then Standing on the edge looking down And in to the dark silent pool in which the world is cradled And I am cradled there, held with all things And hold all things in myself Myself, not a thing in the world but This -here-Seeing In which the world opens, inviting and offering itself
And every time it is seen- It dies And in dying, holds out its hand again Asking to be taken in And every time I take it in I too die And in dying -am known As This Here - Seeing
Leaving the Science and Nonduality Conference in San Rafael, I took a cab to the airport in San Francisco. The cab driver asked me what nonduality was. Being aware of the conference, he said he had looked up nonduality in the dictionary but couldn’t find the word. I told him it wasn’t in the dictionary and said that it means we are all one in some way.
He then quoted a few lines of a poem. I asked if it was Rumi as it was very pure. He said he wrote it. “What happened to you,” I asked. For, clearly, there was a story behind those words.
He was a Muslim who had an enlightenment experience some years ago. “I saw something,” he said. Afterward, he was steered toward Sufism. He enjoyed telling me about his experiences and knowledge and we had the kind of open conversation that usually arises when two people have some understanding of this nonduality stuff.
“There is only one. It is all Allah.” “Yes,” I said. He said he prays five times a day but it is mainly the first prayer in the morning, when his head touches the ground, that he knows who he really is. “When you know that all this is Allah,” he said, “there is only prayer. That is what prayer is,” he said, “seeing that all is Allah.” We agreed that different religions have different names for what some call Allah. Only sanity passed our lips.
The cost of the ride came to $125 on his meter but he said to only pay him 100. I gave him 120. He got out of the car and we hugged, drunk on the wine of nonduality.
I enjoyed seeing many people at SAND. Highlights contributor Rashani had a table set up. I've seen lots of her art online but you really have to see it in person to appreciate it. Rashani does many things. As an emcee of the conference I had the privilege of introducing her as a singer of traditional Hawaiian song. The introduction read,
"Rashani was a song-gatherer for 25 years and sings in several different languages. She has offered concerts, councils, and retreats throughout the world since the early 1980s, bringing an indegenous flavor of nonduality into everything she shares. Rashani is the founder of a unique retreat center on the Big Island of Hawaii and is a prolific artist, carpenter, and gardener."
Issue #4741, Saturday, November 3, 2012
How you meet what you see is determined by who
you think you are and the level of wisdom that you
have gained, how deep your understanding dwells
inside the Self of Being.
- Mooji from Writing on Water, posted to AlongTheWay
There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of Spirit on the body.
Seawater begs the pearl
to break its shell.
And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild Darling!
At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face against mine.
Breathe into me.
Close the language-door,
and open the love-window.
The moon won't use the door,
only the window.
- Rumi, Ghazal 1888, from the Diwan-e Shams, in a poetic version by Coleman Barks from Like This, posted to Sunlight
We often think we need to find someone or some thing to fill us, to complete us,
so we can feel whole. But the truth is that there is no 'other' being or thing that
can do that for us because we are already whole. We are perfect just as we are.
Let's not put a burden on a spouse, or child, or friend to play a part in our lives
to make us feel better about ourselves. Instead let's learn to love ourselves, to see our
own perfection, our own wholeness, right now, right here, just the way we are.
- Karma Tsering Chodron, posted to DailyDharma
Meet your own self. Be with your own self,
listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in
mind ceaselessly. You need no other guide.
As long as your urge for truth affects your
daily life, all is well with you. Live your
life without hurting anybody. Harmlessness
is a most powerful form of Yoga and it will
take you speedily to your goal. This is what
I call nisarga yoga, the Natural yoga. It is
the art of living in peace and harmony, in
friendliness and love. The fruit of it is
happiness, uncaused and endless.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to AlongTheWay
Essence isn't a small thing, essence is an immense thing. The essence of
you is everything you ever see, taste, touch, and experience. Everywhere you go, every step you take, every breath you take is actually happening by the essence, of the essence, in the essence, and to the essence. All the rest is noise and chatter.
Issue #4749, Sunday, November 4, 2012
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone
is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary
yet almost nothing.
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it
lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
through the pale-pink morning light.
- Mary Oliver, from Why I Wake Early
A Thousand Mornings
All night my heart makes its way
however it can over the rough ground
of uncertainties, but only until night
meets and then is overwhelmed by
morning, the light deepening, the
wind easing and just waiting, as I
too wait (and when have I ever been
disappointed?) for redbird to sing.
- Mary Oliver from A Thousand Mornings
The Lightest Touch
Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.
In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
- David Whyte from Everything is Waiting for You
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.
I am the sum of all the landscapes I have explored, all the living memories of animals that sail inside of me and the people that I love.
The music of nature is everywhere if your ears know how to listen, but if you do not believe there is music, you will not hear it.
Under the ocean there is bliss—it is this, it is this, it is this.
I have just returned to the Namibian desert. What if through interspecies collaboration we could explore our shared imagination? We are accustomed to seeing stories through the eyes of human beings. That is why, in many of these images, the human eyes continue to be closed and the animals' eyes are open. It is the animals that gaze out at the world and tell us their stories.
People sometimes ask if I am fearful when I am in such close proximity to animals. I can only say that the only way that I’ve been ripped open is by having to leave behind elephant friends, orangutans, cheetahs, caracals, manta rays, or whales. But I would do every hello and goodbye over again as long as it meant that I would have a chance to share their stories. Animals help me to remember all the dreams I thought I had forgotten and remind us to dream as though we will live forever while living as though we shall die today.
If you are on Facebook staring at your computer screen with apathy and boredom, the cure for indifference might be to awaken your wild curiosity for how the natural world works. Mother nature does not have a happy ending because hers is a never-ending story. However, the human species may decide to end its own story on earth prematurely by continuing to make the same choices that it has been making since the industrial revolution. These choices are based on an economic model that depends on infinite resources and unlimited economic growth. That is a fairy tale. If we continue to believe these things we will suffer the consequences. We cannot change the laws of physics and it is a fact that there are now seven billion people crowded on this planet consuming resources at an unsustainable rate. Let us say goodbye to those who encourage us to live in delusion. Let us say goodbye to creating more environmental conferences where businessmen and politicians read speeches they did not write so they can agree yet again on maintaining the status quo. It is time to ask harder questions. We need a paradigm shift.
Welcome to the official artist page of the filmmaker and photographer Gregory Colbert.
Monday Evening, Dec. 3, 7-9 PM: Rhode Island College Adams Library -Fortes Room 600 Mt Pleasant Ave, Providence, RI 02908 Google Maps Link
Wednesday Evening, Dec. 5, 7-9 PM: Walker Center, 144 Hancock St., Newton, MA 02466 Google Maps Link
Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9: The Providence Institute, 18 Imperial Place -6A, Providence, RI 02903 Google Maps Link
Times & Ticket Prices: Monday: 7:00-9:00 pm - FREE and Open to the Public Wednesday: 7:00-9:00 pm - $20-25 (sliding scale- pay as you can afford) Friday: 7:00-9:00 pm - $20-25 (sliding scale- pay as you can afford) Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm - $70 (in Advance) / $80 (at-the-door) Sunday: 10:00am-1:00pm - $30 (in Advance) / $40 (at-the-door)
Contact: For questions about the venue and locale, please contact Julianne Eanniello julenlo@... 860-463-5576
Excerpts from an article that further brings nonduality -- the word and the teaching -- into the mainstream:
The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Waking Up at SAND12
by Mark Matousek
"We realized that we are at a dawn of a new spirituality, which is beyond the religious traditions, beyond dogma or any certain belief system," continues Zaya Benazzo, a Bulgarian-born engineer and environmental scientist who co-founded SAND [Science and Nonduality Conference] with her husband. "This new paradigm emerging in spirituality is grounded in cutting-edge science and consistent with the ancient wisdom of non-duality."
... SAND may be at the cutting edge of a revolution of consciousness in the coming century. Philosopher Ken Wilber, considered the godfather of the non-dual movement (and whose books Bill Clinton used to read on vacation), calls this imminent convergence "the marriage of sense and soul." Unlike traditional religion, which asks followers to take things on faith and bend to ideology and authority, non-duality is purely experiential, addressing the mystic awareness that we are all born with.
According to the folks at SAND, this non-sectarian, non-dual approach to awakening is the way of a more enlightened future free of religious quarreling and focused on human brotherhood, liberation, and the relief of suffering on this planet.
"Mystics describe their experience in many ways," says Maurizio Benazzo, who was brought up in Italy and worked as an actor, model and filmmaker (Short Cut to Nirvana) before embarking on the SAND adventure. "They speak of non-dual awareness as loving, open, and lacking any sense of separation. More than a feeling, the experience also conveys a deep and liberating insight into the truth of life, death, self and world. To see the turnings from the perspective of these non-dual insights is the beginning of a fuller, freer, happier life."
"Non-duality gives us a deeper understanding and experience of the interconnectedness of life," Zaya says in agreement. "We can no longer live as independent individuals driven by our egocentric concepts. We are all connected, with the stars, with one another, with all the species within and around us. We are a link in an evolutionary process that includes all, from the smallest particles to the largest galaxies. This process is the timeless dance of the cosmos that has been described by mystics of all traditions, the mechanisms of which now start to be explored by modern science. The non-dual approach will help us, as individuals and as a species, go beyond the myth of separation and be more in tune with life itself while having a momentary glimpse of the eternal dance."
Most of us long to join this dance. After breakfast, the Jungian stops to chat with an astrophysicist in the hotel lobby. They are joined by a priest and a Reiki master. A writer-poet approaches a Zen abbot to talk about the presidential race. For a moment, this feels like a taste of the future. We can only hope.
Finally, I guess I should say something about the U.S. Presidential election being held today. I don't think it matters who wins in this election. They're both running from an avalanche of change that no one can stop, and it doesn't matter who runs a little faster or who holds back more of the crashing ice.
Beautiful interview with Robert Rabbin conducted by Chris Hebard. Good to hear from Chris again. And Robert. Robert was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It had spread to his spine and pelvis but he seems to be free of cancer now and looks great. He talks about the changes that accompanied that shift.
We are gathered here today to speak about living our highest truth.
We are not talking about our individual, or personal truth, but rather the undeniable truth of our being. The truth that when you rest in true being, and I rest in true being, there is only one of us.
It seems we cultivate this understanding of Oneness in the hopes that it will transform our daily lives. For we all want to live in peace, we all want to be happy, it seems as though we all long to be free. Although The truth shall set you free, the words are only pointers. This truth is not just an understanding, it’s a way of being. It must be lived to be of value.
So many paths lead us to the understanding of oneness, and yet in our daily lives we appear to be separate. Separate from each other, separate from the world, separate from creation. So how do we live with this Divine paradox, where there is only the One appearing as many?
The method we will be exploring today is very simple. It is to live our daily lives in continuous remembrance of this divine unity, of this highest truth, And let true being shine forth, as it has always done. No longer obscured by the clouds false knowing. No one to search, no one to suffer, no one to pray.
~ ~ ~
The above was the introduction to the Monday, November 5, 2012, Nonduality Satsang, in Halifax, Nova Scotia:
Awakening Clarity now features the first chapter of John Wheeler's first book,
with this introduction by publisher Julian Noyce.
"Unusually for a teacher who has quite a substantial following, John has always kept up a full time career. His sharing of the teaching arises from a generosity of spirit. I personally know he has spent many hours in email correspondence or talking on the ‘phone with genuine questioners and also face to face at the low-key meetings he holds in Santa Cruz. His uncluttered and focused guidance has been credited with concluding the search for many people. My wife, Catherine, keeps up a presence on Facebook and tells me his name is often mentioned. He has the ability to keep the questioner focused and looking in the right direction. Alongside this, he is also a talented singer/songwriter and the editor of ‘Sailor’ Bob’s two books!"
From: Awakening to the Natural State; Chap.1 - Meeting ‘Sailor’ Bob Adamson
I had been on the spiritual path from my teenage years. For about thirty years I had been involved in various paths and practices, including Christianity, Theosophy, the teachings of J. Krishnamurti (I went to his talks in Ojai in the 1980s), Buddhism, Hinduism, and yoga. There were other paths and teachers also, too numerous to mention here. In my mid-twenties, I was introduced to Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj (through books on their lives and teachings). Something about those great Indian teachers of non-dual spirituality seemed solid and unshakable. I found myself returning to their teachings over the years, even though I can’t say I fully (or even partially) understood or experienced what they were talking about.
Along the way, I did the circuit of many of the contemporary teachers involved in non-dual spirituality. There was undoubtedly a benefit, but I was not fully satisfied for some reason. Either it was my confusion or something was not fully clear in the teachings being presented. Most likely the former! For some reason my destiny was to meet ‘Sailor’ Bob Adamson, one of Nisargadatta Maharaj’s Western students.
What I found was that there was only so much I could get from books and meditating on my own. The growth was there, but it was often slow, and I was not getting much direct experience. I vaguely felt that I was progressing, but if I honestly looked at my experience, I did not fully understand what the teachers were pointing to. Most importantly, my day-to-day life was not free of suffering. I knew the seeking was not over; something was missing. Had I not met Bob Adamson, the seeking might have gone on for decades, or at least until I met someone with a real understanding. Who knows who that might have been or when, but, barring that, I am pretty sure the seeking – and suffering – would have continued for a long time.
At one point, I met some Ramana Maharshi followers who had been on the path of self-inquiry for twenty or thirty years (and still working at it, I might add!). I was nowhere near their level of devotion, so it was pretty much out the picture that that approach would work for me. As I look at this now, it is not so much Ramana’s teaching that is at fault, but the mind’s inevitable tendency to turn any teaching into a practice. Practices, as I eventually learned, usually are interminable. This is because they are often based on false premises.
Intuitively, I felt that it was important for me to meet someone who had realized their true nature, someone whom I could trust, someone whom I could talk with in order to share my doubts and concerns. However, I was unsure which teachers were authentic; none seemed to resonate fully. I used to read Nisargadatta Maharaj’s dialogues frequently. I could not understand his teaching fully, given all the Hindu verbiage and translation issues (he originally spoke in Marathi), but I felt intuitively that he was a free being. Many spiritual seekers, through reading his words, can sense the genuineness of his realization, even if they do not always experience everything he talks about. I used to wonder if there was anyone still living who had met Nisargadatta Maharaj and had really got the experience of self-knowledge. After all those years of searching, I eventually stumbled across Bob Adamson. Something resonated strongly. Even when I read the pages on his website, there was a strong feeling of ‘maybe this is it’.
Just prior to discovering Bob Adamson, I had a vivid dream of Nisargadatta Maharaj, in which he was encouraging me not to give up the search for spiritual understanding. Shortly afterwards, I learned about Bob Adamson. Not wanting to miss the chance of meeting an authentic teacher (having missed the chance to see Nisargadatta Maharaj while he was alive), I decided to visit Bob in person in Australia. You can imagine my motivation (or perhaps desperation!) in going to Australia on the chance that he might be able to clarify my doubts and questions.
This is Remembrance Day weekend in Canada, Veterans Day in the U.S. Such days are held in countries across the world on November 11, or at different dates. Read about Remembrance Day around the world here:
I thought I'd remember a veteran or two of the nonduality scene in the last 15 years. One of the great contributors was the website sentient.org, which started in the early 90s as a bulletin board, if anyone remembers those. They preceded the popularity of the internet (although the internet was around at that time, it wasn't easy to use). Remember bulletin boards here:
When the owner of sentient.org, Peter, died a few years ago, the domain name was purchased and the original website was taken down. However, you can still visit the old website via the Wayback Machine. Take a look:
To be sure, we all have a great deal to learn from each other. However, the process of subtle arrogance and self deception in the spiritual arena is perhaps the most damaging of all illusions. I am a Buddhist, or a Yogi, or a Pagan, or a student of the Fourth Way or the Kaballah or some other mystical or ecclectic school, and I imagine that Christians are at least somewhat deluded. Or I am a Christian, perhaps a Catholic or an Evangelical, or a Course in Miracles student, or a Muslim, or a Jew, and maintain some pretense that my version of “God” or “Love” is somehow more accurate than “theirs.” But in fact, when we think “Jesus said so-and-so,” or “The Buddha taught thus-and-such,” we might ask ourselves, “How would I know, and why am I repeating this?” If we face it sincerely, it is hard to avoid the discovery that all we are doing is trying to justify our own opinions and their connected feelings, perhaps seeking to be tied in with some powerful authority figure(s) which is fortified by our own conditioning. So we each have our private and group stories about things, and continue to surreptitiously elevate ourselves and put each other down.
But in fact, there is no private liberation or salvation. (Where is the “one separate” from the rest, to be saved, except in some mental fiction?) Of utmost importance, finally, is putting an end to this devious and hurtful process of “spiritual ego,” of imagining there’s some kind of competition, and that there’s someone who has to defend his or her particular spiritual turf against others. If you stop using your transient body or your thoughts or feelings as points of reference, it will be obvious that there is no “someone” and there are no “others.” That whole thing is a paranoid fantasy, a pathological delusion, in this case in the name of whatever religion to which we happen to subscribe. So let’s call a spade a spade: God, the Absolute, does not belong to anyone, nor to any particular group. (So why pay homage to a limited god?)
Furthermore, Enlightenment, Self Realization, does not belong to anyone either. (In fact, everything belongs to Enlightenment. So why pay homage to a limited enlightenment?) Although it may occur in virtually any context - Buddhist, Christian, Yogic, Sufi, Hindu, Fourth Way, Muslim, Taoist, Jewish, Wiccan, 12-Step work, shamanistic, agnostic, scientific and so on, Spiritual Awakening, the Realization of Emptiness, the Tao, cannot be owned. How could That which is infinite be possessed by any religion, tradition, path, lineage, teacher, or hierarchy, all of which are limited? Is God a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim? Is Enlightenment controlled by Buddhists or Yogis or Hindus? How could That which is formless be made to conform toanyset of assumptions about liberation, past or future? (If you still find yourself resisting that possibility, you might ask yourself how you would know, one way or the other, and what motives are tied up in thinking about it in any specified way, for or against. Why maintain beliefs or disbeliefs at all?) Is truth a really a matter of subjective opinion? Is not truth, if that word means anything at all, an ongoing process of careful observation and uncompromised, undefended honesty?
It’s time we stop pretending, subtly or overtly, that our particular group is superior in some way. That’s a hidden way of saying, “I’m superior,” (and therefore not inferior). Let’s bring our woundedness, our childhood fears and hurts of inferiority, covered over by the pretense of individual or collective superiority, to a total and absolute halt. Completely. Now. If we need to weep, then let’s weep together. And let those tears of shame be tears of relief, tears of joy, in finally putting down this burden of trying to defend and justify what we have imagined ourselves to be. What doesn’t exist doesn’t need to be defended. It never did.
Particularly in recent years, many of us have had very powerful awakenings, but these experiences, in and of themselves, do not mean that much unless we allow ourselves to be transformed, completely, by what we have discovered. If we try to use them to validate our religious and peer identities and opinions, with our various secret and subtle motives and perceptions so shaped, we corrupt our awakening, and are already entangled in delusion. (And when we make ourselves or our group or our path or the teacher we’ve identified ourselves with special, we make ourselves separate.) The most any spiritual institution can do is to support and celebrate what is already real and true without reservation.
Full awareness, peace, freedom, clarity and joy can, and do, only exist now. If any of us still find ourselves suffering from the symptoms of ignorance, divisiveness or competition, that is to say, fear, envy, anger, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, jealosy, self-loathing, guilt, depression, loneliness, despair, or confusion, it is because we are still negotiating with God, still negotiating with Truth, still negotiating with Love, still negotiating with Freedom, still negotiating with Serenity. The pain is none other than the agony of lying to ourselves about what we want more than anything else. It is like finally finding the lover we have always longed for, but holding back in terror of losing that love.
Why put this moment off? That which you seek is That which you already are, and always have been - you are not separate, youcannot be separate from the Absolute, from Infinite Consciousness Itself. If you dare to stop pretending that you and your life are based on some mental version of things that arises out of memory, you will find out beyond any doubt! This is not some kind of wishful thinking or grandiose mental trick. Rather, with total and unflinching sincerity, with no psychological defense or self deception whatsoever, search your heart and find out what you permanently are, what you’ve been all along. Find out if there has ever been a separate “Other.” If you discover there never has been an other, is there one now? Could there ever be? Why pretend anymore?
If you dare to give your heart, your soul, your mind, your body, and your life, unconditionally, to what you discover to be true, you will know an infinitely deep and abiding peace that has never been even a breath away. This bliss, this tranquility depends on nothing, and It is not capable of ending. Furthermore, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what you’ve ever done… or not done. You can put an end to the battle. Yes, that’s correct, just walk right out of the war, right now. All you have to do is surrender, absolutely and completely, not to me, not to some authority figure, or some organization or institution, but surrender only to your own deepest Purity.
God and your own Unbounded Love are not different. If you truly give yourself up completely, it will shock your whole system. It will suddenly dawn on you,
“Oh my God, what a fool I’ve been! What was I thinking?”
Then the absolute insanity of giving yourself to anything else will become apparent. Why wait? Why put off your own complete and total liberation? In your innermost and outermost places, in every single moment, Love waits for you everywhere. Is there really something else you would rather do? Is it possible that the thing that you fear the most, the thing that you avoid the most, is what you truly desire the most? It cannot abandon you. Even if you choose to ignore It, betray It and walk away, It is always closer than your next breath. Suspend all opinion and debate, and find out for yourself.
Henry Kono: As a young man Henry studied with the founder of aikido constantly asking himself the question "What is o'sensei looking at"? He laughed when he noticed the answer.
freedom is when you have no choice you simply move as you must without thought or decision
traditionally the hara or center is said to be two inches below the belly button this is a misunderstanding the center is wherever the attention is placed everything the entire universe revolves and arises from this true center
attention is the natural result of the idea of a self falling away attention happens spontaneously and easily
wherever you place your attention leave it there and do not let it wander the rest will follow naturally
time and space disappear in the movement there is no doer only the movement
when you are attacked get out of the way
Editor's note: Apparently Peter himself, the founder of sentient.org, composed the following:
“Many people have the Great Vehicle Root Nature, but there are also many people who lie. Having cultivated without success, such people claim to have the way. Though they have not certified the fruit, they claim to be certified sages.” –Bodhidharma
Quite often this little site receives email from someone writing to say that they are enlightened. The letters usually run something like this: “After years of hard work I found my master and awoke in her presence. I am now filled with light and joy. Everything shines. I am done with worry and pain. That is over forever. I do not know what I will do next, but finally I understand. It is all so funny. Now I am done.”
We are always filled with joy to hear that someone is happier than they were. Yet it is our own small experience that true awakening may be rather different than the release and emotional catharsis so many describe. And different too from mere understanding. This lovely poem by Hafiz, translated and transliterated by Daniel Ladinsky speaks beautifully to this:
Ten Thousand Idiots
It is always a danger to aspirants on the Path
When they begin To believe and Act
As if the ten thousand idiots Who so long ruled And lived Inside
Have all packed their bags And skipped town Or Died
Nothing needs to happen. Happening is a trick of the light - ephemera only. Love is never ending, filling and overflowing forever. Why try to impede its flow with the concept that you are ‘awake’, or need to be. If Truth can be attained, it can also be lost. Surely that which can be gained or lost is mere ephemera? True awakening, therefore cannot be about gaining new ideas, concepts, understandings, states, perceptions, epiphanies. Perhaps instead it is an unsophisticated state of affairs - a simplicity where nothing more needs to be added. True awakening is what occurs automatically every morning before you arise. But we choose to ignore it, foregoing freedom in the obfuscating belief that there is something more to be attained.
Very few people know anything about Peter. My own communications with him were sparse. He didn't say much to me back in the days when I was starting nonduality.com and saw his site as a model for mine in some ways. (I wanted a brand of nonduality that was freer, more communicative, and more welcoming. More nondual, essentially. Okay, more cluttered and crazy, too.)
Whereas sentient.org was inspired by Ramana Maharshi and was selective regarding who was included on the list of awakened people, mine would be inspired by life itself and include almost everyone who spoke in a self-realized way. Mine was, and still is, a "big tent" approach to nonduality, as someone (Greg Goode?) once termed it.
However, Vicki Woodyard writes about her interactions with Peter in her very fine book, Life With A Hole In It: That's How the Light Gets In:
Issue #4755, Saturday, November 10, 2012
In order to rise
From its own ashes
- Octavia E. Butler, from Parable of the Talents
Once in a city in the Farthest West there lived a girl called
Fatima. She was the daughter of a prosperous spinner. One day her
father said to her: "Come, daughter; we are going on a journey, for I
have business in the islands of the Middle Sea. Perhaps you may find
some handsome youth in a good situation whom you could take as a
They set off and traveled from island to island, the father
doing his trading while Fatima dreamt of the husband who might soon
be hers. One day, however, they were on the way to Crete when a
storm blew up, and the ship was wrecked. Fatima, only half-
conscious, was cast up on the seashore near Alexandria. Her father
was dead, and she was utterly destitute.
She could only remember dimly her life until then, for her
experience of the shipwreck, and her exposure in the sea, had utterly
While she was wandering on the sands, a family of cloth-makers
found her. Although they were poor, they took her into their humble
home and taught her their craft. Thus it was that she made a second
life for herself, and within a year or two she was happy and
reconciled to her lot. But one day, when she was on the seashore for
some reason, a band of slave-traders landed and carried her along
with other captives, away with them.
Although she bitterly lamented her lot, Fatima found no sympathy
from the slavers, who took her to Istanbul and sold her as a slave.
Her world collapsed for the second time. Now it chanced that
there were few buyers at the market. One of them was a man who was
looking for slaves to work in his wood-yard, where he made masts for
ships. When he saw the dejection of the unfortunate Fatima, he
decided to buy her, thinking that in this way, at least, he might be
able to give her a slightly better life than if she were bought by
He took Fatima to his home, intending to make her a serving-maid
for his wife. When he arrived at the house, however, he found that
he had lost all his money in a cargo which had been captured by
pirates. He could not afford workers, so he, Fatima and his wife
were left alone to work at the heavy labor of making masts.
Fatima, grateful to her employer for rescuing her, worked so
hard and so well that he gave her her freedom, and she became his
trusted helper. Thus it was that she became comparatively happy in
her third career.
One day he said to her: "Fatima, I want you to go with a cargo
of ships' masts to Java, as my agent, and be sure you sell them at a
She set off, but when the ship was off the coast of China a
typhoon wrecked it, and Fatima found herself again cast up on the
seashore of a strange land. Once again she wept bitterly, for she
felt that nothing in her life was working in accordance with
expectation. Whenever things seemed to be going well, something came
and destroyed all her hopes.
"Why is it," she cried out, for the third time, "that whenever I
try to do something it comes to grief? Why should so many
unfortunate things happen to me?" But there was no answer. So she
picked herself up from the sand, and started to walk inland.
Now it so happened that nobody in China had heard of Fatima, or
knew anything about her troubles. But there was a legend that a
certain stranger, a woman, would one day arrive there, and that she
would be able to make a tent for the Emperor. And, since there was
as yet nobody in China who could make tents, everyone looked upon the
fulfilment of this prediction with the liveliest anticipation.
In order to make sure that this stranger, when she arrived,
would not be missed, successive Emperors of China had followed the
custom of sending heralds, once a year, to all the towns and villages
of the land, asking for any foreign woman to be produced at Court.
When Fatima stumbled into a town by the Chinese seashore, it was
one such occasion. The people spoke to her through an interpreter,
and explained that she would have to go to see the Emperor.
"Lady," said the Emperor, when Fatima was brought before
him, "can you make a tent?"
"I think so," said Fatima.
She asked for rope, but there was none to be had. So,
remembering her time as a spinner, she collected Flax and made
ropes. Then she asked for stout cloth, but the Chinese had none of
the kind she needed. So, drawing on her experience with the weavers
of Alexandria, she made some stout tent-cloth. Then she found that
she needed tent-poles, but there were none in China. So Fatima,
remembering how she had been trained by the wood-fashioner of
Istanbul, cunningly made stout tent-poles. When these were ready,
she racked her brains for the memory of all the tents she had seen in
her travels: and lo, a tent was made.
When this wonder was revealed to the Emperor of China, he
offered Fatima the fulfilment of any wish she cared to name. She
chose to settle in China, where she married a handsome prince, and
where she remained in happiness, surrounded by her children, until
the end of her days.
It was through these adventures that Fatima realized that what
had appeared to be an unpleasant experience at the time, turned out
to be an essential part of the making of her ultimate happiness.
- as collected by Idries Shah, posted to SufiMystic
Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
Malcolm Forbes, posted to SufiMystic
Irrational and blind,
Or fear looms,
Defiant and closed.
- Octavia E. Butler, from Parable of the Talents
Indeed we ARE that which we are looking for, when our seeking ceases...
What then prevents us from seeing this simple truth? Nothing but the misconception that 'we' can do something about it.
- Ramesh Balsekar
How can you face light without Being blinded?
How can one arrest the secret Of secrets
Without being dumbfounded And perplexed?
How can one undergo Transformation
Without being SHATTERED?
Issue #4756, Sunday, November 11, 2012
What if we never get what we want?
What if we can't? What if it isn't possible? What if wanting isn't "natural"?
What if the purpose of the agony of desire, is to grow beyond it? What if, it
could be ended what would your life look like without it? What if, when we get
what we think we want, there is a mechanism that prevents satisfaction from
being stable or enduring?
So many things come to my mind; if we didn't "want" would there be anything like
addiction? If we didn't desire would there be anything like jealousy? Envy?
Heartache? Disappointment? Emotional dependency? Approval seeking? Suffering? Or
on the lighter side if "wanting" were not behind us pushing with all its might,
would we need goals? Passion? Purpose? Drive? Or Ambition? And what would
life look like without them? Is it too scary to even contemplate, or take a
sideways peek at?
As the demands of learning something I am not naturally good at has ebbed, and I
am not stretched so gawd awful thin, I find a very interesting experience which
I could not have anticipated, for all the tea in China – as they say – to have
come, from the many months of solitude.
I feel little or no desire, toward anything at all.
You may not have the capacity to experience the sheer wonder of surprise, which
that fact engenders in me. Unlike a good many people, I have met over my nearly
six decades – who reported they "didn't know what they wanted", I have ALWAYS
known exactly, precisely, specifically, what I wantedÂ or at least that is what
my conditioned mind told me was true and I wanted it fervently, and with great
But now, I notice, that I do what is required of me and even what is expected
of me, with no resistance and no argument. I never look farther ahead than the
task precisely before me, and even as I strive to figure out air conditioning
equipment, and sit in rooms with over zealous and over competitive people I
merely do whatever is closest at hand.
I don't "want" anything from my job, not even a paycheck. It is more like I
understand that unless and until, I have taken the action that results in a
response, that a check will not be deposited into my account, and thus, I take
the actions and watch for the results. I have no other involvement in the job, I
do it with precision and commitment, mainly because I have an agreement in place
to which I am obligated. (My boss describes me as the most "dedicated" of our
new group), I assume that is because every time he sees me, I have made
significant strides in understanding and organization, but I am in no way
At Tuesday's meeting, sitting across from me was one of the youngest and most
earnest among us, who was talking to an older gentleman who is not doing well.
The older one said he thought his problem was he just couldn't get his "head
right", and the younger said "man, I know what your talking about but now, my
head is right".
The older said, "how so?" The younger said, "working for this company, man". His
zeal, fervor, and the gleam in his glassy eyes caused me to chortle, I couldn't
help it and I swear, I meant no disrespect. In sales team circles, it could be
said that he has "drunk the kool aid, man."
I chortled, not at his expense, but rather at the recognition of the young,
(myself included), who are taught to believe that the outer circumstances of
life, if manifested just right, if believed in just so, if worked toward with
dedication, if cared about deeply, will one day as sure as the moon follows the
sun produce happiness and ever lasting satisfaction. I chortled at seeing the
younger me, in him. And right behind that, I felt sorrow for the utterly
inevitable let down, he will sooner or later face.
Anyone over the age of 35, who has the will and the courage to tell themselves
the truth, knows that the outer realms cannot assuage the deep yearning we feel
for wholeness and completeness. Which is why, so many, are in so much pain, as
they round the bend toward middle age.
It's not, just that the dream will not come true, or if it does it will not
provide the connection we hoped and longed for, it's that the outer realms are
not real in any effective way, at least not to the part of us yearning to return
Many years ago, my Teacher had an exercise that he would often do, attempting to
explain the difference between the Real and the illusory. He would place a very
strong spotlight on a thick chain and hook suspended from the ceiling, which
then broadcast a very clear shadow hook and chain upon the wall. Then he would
take a metal bucket and attempt to hang it from the shadow hook and of course,
no matter how many times he would stoop and retrieve that metal bucket from
rolling at his feet, and return it to it's position upon the shadow hook, it
would not, and could not, be hung upon its projected hook.
Here is the lesson; every time, without exception, that we are looking to our
future for some hoped for goal to be realized, some longed for outcome to be
ours, we are projecting And just like my teacher's metal bucket, once we attain
or "manifest" our much-desired goal our bucket will not hold and it will role
away from us, lifeless and useless at our feet. The deeply stubborn among us,
will turn away from the lesson that The Loving One is trying to teach and pick
a new goal and begin again, ignoring the truth that the weighted metal bucket,
cannot and will not, hold to our shadow fantasies. a shadow hook upon the wall
and sadly, the only thing becoming successfully "hooked" is our mind and our
And in this way a life ticks by in the shadow realms, lost to itself, and
using the drama of believing, and willing, and visioning, and hoping, and
praying, and convincing others, that the grass is greener somewhere over there,
and that all that must be done is traveling just a bit farther, just a little
bit longer, just a little bit due North.
Here embedded in this believing, is the absurdity that made me chortle when the
younger man held to the notion that he had found the one true outer place, where
his mind could finally rest.
All the days of our lives we are like Dorothy in OZ, with our newly pinned
curls, gingham dress, and sparkly red shoes we click them together at the heel
and wish and hope and pray for a return home, to Kansas.
Discovering that there is no Wizard, just an old man behind the curtain pulling
levers and puffing smoke, is only the barest beginning of the long road home. It
is equally necessary to give up the hope that Kansas, the familiar and
understandable, holds the key either. It is necessary for full maturation to
bloom, for us to pull our expectations all the way back inside, to the point at
which we can win for ourselves the recognition that there never has been
anything "outside" for us to attain at all.
There is only and ever, the capacity to open ourselves afresh to the current
moment, to become willing to be vulnerable to the dying that is required at
every moment and in every breath, to honor the sheer implausibility of our
existence, and to rest in perfected trust.
You cannot win. Not now, not ever. There is no such thing.
If you can fully embrace that idea, it will release you from the bonds of the
conditioned mind and set you free. Free to trust Life, free to feel the truth,
free to see the simplicity, free to cherish the moment, free to truly live and
finally, to leave the shadow hook in the shadow realms. Once that is
accomplished, then the metal bucket becomes a useful tool for carrying water, or
building castles in the sand, or holding colorful marbles to play with, or
bringing seeds to singing birds, or holding nails to frame an abode or just a
simple vessel waiting, empty, and potentially useful, content in its
"bucketness" and striving for nothing more than what it is, for reasons unknown
We are not the Author, we are merely the players, some are buckets and others
brooms, some cups and others saucers, some low and some high, and how could any
of that matter? Even in the slightest?
Now, as my life matures and deepens, I see the necessity of examining my bucket
in close and loving watchfulness, the dull gray, the rolled wire handle, the
utilitarian value, the commonness, the usefulness, the emptiness, the lack of
glory and I am moved beyond words in gratitude and thankfulness, in acceptance
and recognition, in harmony and utility, in value and worth, and I say quietly
to myself "it is good."
Being here is not a difficult thing to accomplish. It is enough to breathe, and let go of thinking and planning. Just come back to yourself, concentrate on your breath, and smile.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
"In the immediate here and now we see the face of the Primordial Buddha abiding in our heart centre. Identify yourself with him, my spiritual sons. Whoever denies him, wanting more from somewhere else, is like the man who has found his elephant but continues to follow its tracks. He may comb the three dimensions of the microcosmic world systems for an eternity, but he will not find so much as the name of Buddha other than the one in his heart."
~ Lama Shabkar from The Flight of the Garuda
via Daily Dharma by Amrita Nadi
photo by Peter Shefler
Your True Nature is something never lost to you even in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of Enlightenment. It is the Nature of the Suchness. In it is neither delusion nor right understanding. It fills the Void everywhere and is intrinsically of the substance of the One Mind. Above, below and around you, All is spontaneously existing, for there is nowhere which is outside the Buddha Mind.
~ Huang Po
via Advaita (Nonduality, Oneness, One Love) on Facebook
The true Teacher removes all names and forms and concepts. The preacher adds them like a noose around your neck. The preacher clings to you like a vulture clings to a fresh corpse. The true Teacher will teach only to the extent that can be absorbed and then send the student away.
via Along The Way
"If you think I am having more fun Than anyone on this planet You are absolutely correct.
Is willing to share all his secrets About how to befriend Beloved .
Indeed, dear ones, Hafiz is so very willing To share all his secrets About how to know the Beautiful One.
I hold the Lion's Paw whenever I dance.
I know the ecstasy of your heart's wings When they make love against the Sky,
And the sun and moon Will someday argue over Who will tuck you in at Night !"
Jerry this simple article rings so true. Non-duality has become big business fueled by savvy marketing that generates big income for the “star teachers”. I hope that you print this other perspective from the archives of sentient.org. Many thanks for the link. You manage to keep us on our toes.
How to Awaken
This is what a friend wrote to us when we asked if there are steps that can lead to awakening:
There are no steps to awakening. There is no practical guide. This is not about studying for a test in school, whereby if you do all the right things you will pass. Don’t waste your time with steps and process. And don’t run from the confusion which remains when you do not know how to proceed. It is the abrogation of this confusion by scripture, holy practise, attractive gurus, and practical steps that so often obfuscates the opportunity for true, deep awakening. If you wish to awaken, whatever you believe that to mean, understand once and for all that awakening is not about achieving something. So…
Realize that awakening only requires your willingness. There is a story: In ancient Greece an old couple lived in a simple cottage. They were very poor; their lives had been hard. One day the Gods visited them. The old couple, bowed down, shaken, apologizing that they had no food, no wine, nothing to give their guests. Except their willingness to be attentive. This old couple, bent low with age, attentive. The Gods treasured their gift and loved them, blessing them with Their breath and Their joy.
Realise that awakening does not require finding a guru, a teacher. No one can tell you what is best for you, no matter how beautiful your teacher seems. Or how well the words resonate. It is easy to fall in love with the priests. It is easy to fall in love with faith. Forget the intermediary - give your passion to the breath of God within your own quiet heart. What matters is your own awakening, not that of someone else.
Realise that awakening is not about finding answers. An answer is something which satisfies previous conditioning and thought. Freedom does not require answers, it soars unhindered. Forget the questions and their pithy answers. Soar.
Realise that you will loose nothing by awakening. You will not lose your lover, your friends, your career, you will not lose your ability to think and reason, you will not lose your ability to do the laundry. You will not lose anything, except your suffering. Drop what you never needed, and be free.
Realise that awakening is not about happiness. Happiness, or sadness for that matter, are products of situation. They are temporary. Clutch only that which is permanent and everlasting, be that which never fades and is eternally new. Nothing else matters - let it all go.
Realise that awakening is not about sudden deep insight or epiphany that ‘burns your ego away in the fire of truth’. This is just psychology, despite its appearance of deep transcendent truth. The epiphanies, the ‘fires of truth’ are just more tricks of the mind. They are what the Buddha called the temptations of angels - much harder to see for what they are than the more obvious temptations of devils. You do not need an epiphany. Satori is by its very nature, transient. Instead, embrace the eternal; and be free.
Realise enlightenment is impossible. If you could be unenlightened one moment, and enlightened the next, then enlightenment would be bound by time, would be given substance by its opposite, would be dual, would be some ‘thing’ to be attained. You do not need to be something more. Forget the need and hope. Awake is what you are, not what you become.
Be willing to notice. Look at the stars, the wind, the romp of birds through the sky. Be willing to be free. Forget the sutras, the wise sayings, the path, the seriousness, the pain, the wars, the relationships, the imagined problems. Forget your objections. Hush for a moment; gently, with arms wide and open, notice the absence of anything but Life.
Be. Realize that only the ego wants to awaken. And be done with it.
~ ~ ~
The above was composed by an anonymous author and is found at
Galen Sharp is not the newest nondualist on the block, although he may appear to be so to those who have recently discovered these teachings. I've known about him for many years as he was one of the few people endorsed by sentient.org, which p
ublished the first list of nonduality teachers on the internet. His work comes out of a lengthy correspondence with Wei Wu Wei back in the 70s. He has a new book out, What Am I? A Study in Non-Volitional Living:
“Thirty years ago we thought that we were heading towards an ultimate reality of a mechanical kind.Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on
the physical side of science, approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.Matter is derived from consciousness, not consciousness from matter.” (emphasis added)
– Sir James Jeans
(Physics and Beyond by Werner Heisenberg).
Are you ready for an intriguing adventure into some new and virtually unexplored territory?As you can see from the title, this is a different kind of book about some very different ideas.It explores a variety of subjects such as science, philosophy, quantum physics and even some of the ancient masters in quest of a higher way of knowing the world and ourselves.And through the eleven Reality Meditations you will be able to examine your own mental mechanisms and find out how they really work, examine who and what you really are, and discover why you are here.
If you are a bit of a non-conformist this book may appeal to that.And if you like paradoxes and mysteries it will fascinate you also.In any case you will need a sense of wonder as well as a sense of adventure.For the point is not just to be different or mysterious, but to actually open our perception to a higher dimension.This is not just a figure of speech or merely a new metaphor for something conventional, but an actual realm existing at this moment along with the world we now observe.This New Reality is, of course, not new in itself.It has been spoken of and sought for thousands of years.It is, however new to most people.
Once you become aware of this higher reality you will also recognize others who have arrived before you.This is not some kind of elitist or superior group, though many have sought it unsuccessfully for that reason.Those who live in this reality may not even appear as anyone different to the general population, but you will know them.And, by the same token, you may attract some new friends.
My own transformation began when I started asking the same questions we explore in this book.I discovered that what I called reality was formed from a world model I was taught when I was young, and it wasn’t real at all.I also discovered that it was the reason behind my lack of fulfillment and all of my unhappiness and frustration.As you find this out for yourself and contemplate the Reality Meditations you will also begin to see the world differently and your mind will begin to operate in a new way – whole, unconditioned and spontaneous, the way it was meant to operate.
However, you must see this for yourself.You must look for yourself and discover it for yourself.No one can do this for you.
Your True Being is “all” of the One Pure Universal Consciousness which is directly known right here, right now.Investigate either illusion and it will ultimately lead you to the other.Therein lies the way to liberation and rest. Why include rest? You rest from effort.Because the sense of effort comes from the illusion of volition.For instance, when you have to do something it may feel hard or difficult to do.When this sense of effort disappears, you rest.
How Could They Be Illusions When They Seem So Real?
Individuality and volition seem to be unarguable, but you may discover a great secret if you temporarily drop your learned assumptions and open-mindedly examine what actually is here and now.These illusions are caused by the way thought works.The thought process works by comparing and discriminating among the spontaneous living flow of percepts in consciousness, and by making symbols to represent similar groups of perceptions.
We call these symbols “names,” “things” and “concepts.”A name then comes to mean an object, a “thing-in-itself.”Take, for instance, the idea of a tree.The flow of percepts within consciousness which we call a tree was an actual here-and-now experience, but the concept, the thought, the label “tree” is just a symbol, not the actual, present, living flow of percepts. It is a dead label, a vague mental image in memory.
What we conceive as “the world” is not really many separate things-in-themselves, but actually the present living flow of percepts in consciousness.From the moment we are born we hear the sounds that people use to represent what they are perceiving, the sound-symbols we call words.We have come to confuse these words with the actuality.At about eighteen months into our life we begin to get the “hang” of making these sound-symbols ourselves.And we soon get around to making a mental symbol for what is happening “here,” where we perceive everything.This is how the body-mind point-of-view becomes a “me.” Psychologists believe that this is a good thing, that we need a self-concept.That would be okay if we didn’t take it too far and identify with it as what we are, if wedidn’t accept that pitiful, limited, shifting, helpless, imaginary self-concept for our entire being.(But then, of course, psychologists would be out of a job.)
The trouble is, we don’t do this all by ourselves.We are constantly told in various ways that we are a “me,” an individual, a separate thing-in-itself.The world model we learn supports this belief.
This leads to the illusion that there really is an objective “me” which is acting and being acted upon.This is the illusion of volition, and fromthis comes a new kind of pain.In the beginning there was only physical pain, which is helpful and even necessary to keep the body safe and working.That is a natural pain.But now arises psychological pain, mental pain, to keep the conceptual “me” safe.This is an unnatural pain caused by the illusion of a “me” and the illusion that this “me” has volition.This is the illusion of “me” as an individual, objective, actor and doer.However, this “me” is only a concept, a name, a thought.A thought can’t think or act, so how could it have volition?
But this illusion, this perceptual mistake, does affect the thought process simply by being a basic concept in the belief system and world-view.Because the “volitional me” is such a basic concept it causes the development of a host of mental conditioned reflexes and actions required to save, protect and fulfill that “me.”
All the systems of self-improvement we will find, whether philosophical or religious, assume we must add to, fix up, save and improve this individual, volitional self.You’ve tried them and they don’t work or you wouldn’t be reading this book.This is because you were trying to fix the conceptual self which only exists in imagination and can no more do anything than your shadow can.This is like trying to “put new wine into old wine skins.”These kinds of teachings can only make things worse in the long run because they affirm the pseudo-self which is the problem to begin with.
These self-improvement schemes unhesitatingly accept this concept of a “volitional me” as real and put the burden of volition on the “me” to use their rules and principles to live right and to be successful.That is why they don’t liberate us.Because the “me” is itself only a thought it can’t think, let alone make decisions or act, either rightly or wrongly.This leads to feelings of helplessness, guilt and condemnation, because thoughts and actions simply follow the strongest urges or are inhibited by the strongest fears.But since the strongest needs have grown around securing, protecting and fulfilling the “me,” that’s what we do instead of following our altruistic, spiritual concepts.No wonder “living right” was so hard, so impossible.We may know what we should do, but the power to do it is another matter.We’ll discover more concerning this mystery in a later chapter.
Is There An Easy Way To Not Be Taken In By “Self- Improvement” Teachings?
The term “self-improvement” says it all.Any system, religious or philosophical that assumes that we are improving, motivating, freeing or saving our individual self,instead of simply seeing it as an illusion, is bound to make things worse instead of better.In short, beware of anything that assumes an individual self and volition – a self that needs to be fixed up or improved or “saved.”There is nothing to improve or to save.That pseudo-self is the life you must lose in order to find your true life.
We may enjoy the emotion and the positive feelings and the personal acceptance by the group to begin with, but the ultimate effect of following these systems will be to actually increase our bondage and leave us feeling more self-absorbed and even more helpless.
Awakening is more often than not blocked by pseudo-self, volition-based spiritual teachings which constantly point us in the wrong direction.It doesn’t seem to take much to misdirect us, whether this is just because of the way the thought mechanism works or whether there are other, more malicious forces at work.
. Even natural pain would not be as “painful” if we didn’t identify with the body as what-we-are.
To meet cheerfully whatever life brings is all the austerity you need. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The heart is comforted by true words, just as a thirsty man is comforted by water.
Version by Camille and Kabir Helminski "Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance" via Along The Way
Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart. Everything that moves, breathes, opens and closes, lives in the Self. This is the source of Love, and may be known through Love, but not through thought alone.
~ Mundaka Upanishad
Self is the indweller of all Beings, so love of others is Love of Self, your Self. Self is the greatest Love and the dearest of all lovers. Love is the attraction of Self to Self in Self. There is nothing besides this Love, this source of Joy. See your own beauty and you are this Indweller, this Love and the beauty itself.
"Innately, another form of wisdom--gnosis, transcendence, and wise unselfishness--is within us all. The ultimate form of wisdom is not something we do; it is our true nature and being. It isn't just knowledge, but it is more like our luminous pure authentic inner being. Can we tune into that? Can we trust that? That awareness is transcendental wisdom. We may or may not have a formal religious or spiritual affiliation. Most religious groups have only been around a few thousand years. But being itself--that mystical sacrament, that mysterious and sacred space, or infinite expanse of spirit--has been around much longer. Primordial being is what we call it in the Dzogchen tradition."
~ Lama Surya Das
From "Awakening the Buddha Within," published by Broadway Books.
One is all; all are one. When you realize this, what reason for holiness or wisdom?
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
~ Hermann Hesse
by Alan Larus
"We could learn to stop when the sun goes down and when the sun comes up. We could learn to listen to the wind; we could learn to notice that it’s raining or snowing or hailing or calm. We could reconnect with the weather that is ourselves, and we could realize that it’s sad. The sadder it is, and the vaster it is, the more our heart opens. We can stop thinking that good practice is when it’s smooth and calm, and bad practice is when it’s rough and dark. If we can hold it all in our hearts, then we can make a proper cup of tea."
~ Pema Chodron
by Alan Larus
Ride on love and don’t worry about the road! Because the steed of love has the smoothest ride.
It is LOVE that holds everything together, and it is the everything also.
Meeting the Light Completely
Even the long-beloved was once an unrecognized stranger.
Just so, the chipped lip of a blue-glazed cup, blown field of a yellow curtain, might also, flooding and falling, ruin your heart.
A table painted with roses. An empty clothesline.
Each time, the found world surprises— that is its nature.
And then what is said by all lovers: "What fools we were, not to have seen."
I've been feeling freshly conscious of an aspect of being human that's so constant and fundamental it seems weird to me that it isn't a subject of everyday conversation. It's simply this: that at the background of all my activities and interactions, behind all the containers I pour myself into from moment to moment, is my awareness of the boundless ocean of awareness itself.
I feel it as an amoeba-like latency, an unruly sea of infinite possibility, lurking in the back room - exciting, ominous, darkly beckoning. It conjures up the image Jonathan Franzen uses in his novel "The Corrections" of an impending thunderstorm: "big spiders in a little jar." Only the jar in this case is infinitely vast, the spiders correspondingly enormous. They huddle in the back room, waiting for the lid to come off. Waiting to leak or seep or sneak through some hidden cat-door and flood the room I live in.
With it is the chronic background anxiety that if I don't pour myself into this or that (read my book, clean the house, or at the very least think a bunch of thoughts), I'll fall into this ocean of shapelessness and lose all sense of definition. I'll be ejected from the safe confines of my predictable foreground world, where all the familiar experiences live: the sensations and tastes and textures that confirm my sense of who I am.
I live in this foreground world. I depend on it for my orientation, my ability to navigate through a day. It supports my belief that I am a separate, cohesive individual.
But I'm haunted by the knowledge that foreground can't exist without background, any more than weather can exist without sky. The existence of the one necessarily implies the existence of the other. Despite this, I restrict my attention to the foreground. I keep my settings on "busy."
Still, I'm haunted by implications. Something whispers that I'm only living half a life. And the half I'm living is coming way too fast. I'm on the down escalator trying to run up, but no matter how fast I run, I stay in the same spot - always a little agitated, a little lost, a little hungry.
What to do? The logical solution would be to check out the background. Be adventurous, explore this vastness that breathes so continually down my neck.
Easily said. Unhappily, when I do stray, accidentally or intentionally, into this formless background, I recall all too quickly what the foreground commotion is doing for me.
Issue #4762, Sunday, November 18, 2012
Is humanity ready for a transformation of consciousness, an inner
flowering so radical and profound that compared to it the flowering of
plants, no matter how beautiful, is only a pale reflection?
Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and
become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of
Can they defy the gravitational pull of materialism and
materiality and rise above identification with form that keeps the ego in
place and condemns them to imprisonment within their own personality?
The possibility of such a transformation has been the central message
of the great wisdom teachings of humankind. The messengers - Buddha,
Jesus, and others, not all of them known - were humanity's early flowers.
They were precursors, rare and precious beings. A widespread flowering was
not yet possible at that time, and their message became largely
misunderstood and often greatly distorted. It certainly did not transform
human behavior, except in a small minority of people.
Is humanity more ready now than at the time of those early teachers?
Why should this be so? What can you do, if anything, to bring about or
accelerate this inner shift? What is it that characterizes the old egoic state
of consciousness, and by what signs is the new emerging consciousness
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, posted to The_Now2
The Question of Being
Above the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi were written the words, "Know
Thyself." Jesus came along and added a sense of urgency and consequence
to the ancient idea when he said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
What Jesus is saying is that spirituality is serious business, with serious consequences. Your life hangs precariously in the balance, teetering between a state of unconscious sleepwalking and eyes-wide-open
spiritual enlightenment. The fact that most people do not see life this
way testifies to how deeply asleep and in denial they truly are.
Within each of our forms lies the existential mystery of being. Apart from one's physical appearance, personality, gender, history, occupation, hopes and dreams, comings and goings, there lies an eerie silence, an abyss of stillness charged with an etheric presence. For all
of our anxious business and obsession with triviality, we cannot completely deny this phantasmal essence at our core. And yet we do everything we can to avoid its stillness, its silence, its utter emptiness and intimate embrace.
To remain unconscious of being is to be trapped within an ego-driven wasteland of conflict, strife, and fear that only seems customary because we have been brainwashed into a state of suspended disbelief where a shocking amount of hate, dishonesty, ignorance, and greed are viewed as normal and sane. But it is not sane, not even close to being sane. Nor is it based in reality. In fact, nothing could be less real than what we human beings call reality.
By clinging to the mind in the form of memory and thought, we are held captive by the movement of our conditioned thinking and imagination, all
the while believing that we are perfectly rational and sane. We therefore continue to justify the reality of what causes us, as well as others, immeasurable amounts of pain and suffering.
Deep down we all suspect that something is very wrong with the way we perceive life but we try very, very hard not to notice it. And the way we remain blind to our frightful condition is through an obsessive and pathological denial of being - as if some dreadful fate would overcome us if we were to face the pure light of truth and lay bare our fearful clinging to illusion.
The question of being is everything. Nothing could be more important or consequential - nothing where the stakes run so high. To remain unconscious of being is to remain asleep to our own reality and therefore asleep to reality at large. The choice is simple: awaken to being or sleep an endless sleep.
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.
~ John Lennon
This issue is in memory of my precious dog, Willow, who passed quietly in her sleep at the foot of my bed early Saturday morning. She was pure sweetness and love every moment of her life. She welcomed the next door neighbor children home from school every day. Willow made nightly calls on another neighbor after her dog died and only stopped a year later when she got a new puppy. She just knew such things, she was that sensitive.They all came by here to say tearful goodbyes on her last day Friday.
Willow naturally had good manners and looked for ways to be helpful. When she noticed I didn't want the cat clawing at my desk chair, she would rise and put herself between the cat and my chair, every time, how ever many times it was needed, but gently. Nothing pleased her more than our walks down the hill to the garden. Well maybe a dip in the pond. Or a car ride to get ice cream cones, she liked vanilla best. Just to be with us was her happiness. There was never a trace of agression in her, she chased the deer just to the end of our yard, never on into the woods. Willow even loved all my cats and put up with the one who liked to lick her ears. Actually, we only found that Moses cat as a lost kitten because Willow heard his faint cries in the ditch on our walk. I think it was a happy life for her. One can say a lot about loving animals in general, but this particular being will live forever in my heart.
Willow, 2004- 2012
No Sense of Difference
by Ramana Maharshi
D.: Does one who has realized the Self lose the sense of ‘I’?
D.: Then there is not difference between yourself and myself, that man over there, my servant. Are all the same?
R.: All are the same, including those monkeys.
D.: But the monkeys are not people. Are they not different?
R.: They are exactly the same as people. All are the same in One Consciousness.
"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-- it was peace."
~ Milan Kundera
"Sometimes; said Pooh, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."
~ A.A. Milne
If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
~ Saint Francis of Assisi
Love animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble their joy, don't harrass them, don't deprive them of their happiness, don't work against God's intent. Man, do not pride yourself on superiority to animals; they are without sin, and you, with your greatness, defile the earth by your appearance on it, and leave the traces of your foulness after you - alas, it is true of almost every one of us!
~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea. He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry, he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He has promised to wait for me... whenever... wherever - in case I need him. And I expect I will - as I always have. He is just my dog.
Nonetheless, your hope in reading this blog, was probably that I provide you with some hope. Sadly, I think I’ve failed. My story is not of one of hope; it is a story of realizing that life is workable, it is a testament to the brilliance of possibility in the present moment. What does happen when you let go of fear and hope, or at least hold them with some degree of scrutiny, is that you can work with yourself without being caught up in the shame of not meeting your expectations. And this does not create laziness. Absence of hope and fear is where we stop projecting ourselves into the past and future and can be in the thick of it, where real work, real healing, can happen. I had a therapist tell me recently that only in letting go of hoping for something to be different and being with ourselves and our ugliness, our chaos, our true experience of the world, can people expect to improve from mental illness, because ironically, letting go of this desire for escaping our present into the future actually precipitates profound change. Right here, right now. Change can only happen in the present. Some things, it’s best to plan for, but psychological change – I’m afraid that I’ve found it doesn’t work that way. So, what does this change process look like, in my case?
Over time, I simply allowed and gently accepted who and where I was, and then in time, after letting go of the self-directed aggression of aspiration, my heart opened, and gradually, it became apparent that more important than my desire to be an artist of significance, was to help others. When you start directly working with your sense of equanimity, of unconditional acceptance of yourself, then it just happens. Surprise! When you part the clouds, there you are, beautifully imperfect and you don’t even care about your own plight, so much anymore because the focus has shifted, and it’s no longer all about you! And the world, they’re not perfect either, but because you no longer judge yourself so harshly, you naturally have compassion for them, thus taking healing to a higher level and moving it into the greater world. Suddenly, for me, after years of tumultuous emotions, and a few more of having none at all, I now feel something that is worth opening my heart for. And the more you open your heart, the more you leap into the abyss of not knowing how others will react or if you are going to get hurt, but the more alive and human you will become.
There is a morning inside you waiting to burst open into light.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
In Berg en Dal, Gelderland. by John Devitt from Nonduality Highlights on Facebook
When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
~ Joseph Campbell
What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
via Tao & Zen on Facebook
In Engaged Buddhism, Peace Begins with You By John Malkin
Thich Nhat Hanh, who originated Engaged Buddhism, in an interview with John Malkin.
Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, after playing a central role in the Vietnamese peace movement.
John Malkin: Many people have the view that happiness and enlightenment are things that happen only in the future, and that maybe only a few people are capable of experiencing them. Enlightenment can seem like a very unattainable thing.
Thich Nhat Hanh: Happiness and enlightenment are living things and they can grow. It is possible to feed them every day. If you don't feed your enlightenment, your enlightenment will die. If you don't feed your happiness, your happiness will die. If you don't feed your love, your love will die. If you continue to feed your anger, your hatred, your fear, they will grow. The Buddha said that nothing can survive without food. That applies to enlightenment, to happiness, to sorrow, to suffering.
First of all, enlightenment is enlightenment about something. Suppose you are drinking some tea and you are aware that you are drinking some tea. That kind of mindfulness of drinking is a form of enlightenment. There have been many times that you've been drinking but you didn't know it, because you are absorbed in worries. So mindfulness of drinking is already one kind of enlightenment.
If you can focus your mind on the act of drinking, then happiness can come while you have some tea. You are capable of enjoying that tea in the here and now. But if you don't know how to drink your tea in mindfulness and concentration, you are not really drinking tea. You are drinking your sorrow, your fear, your anger—and happiness is not possible.
Insight is also enlightenment. To be aware that you are still alive, that you are walking on this beautiful planet—that is a form of enlightenment. That does not come just by itself. You have to be mindful in order to enjoy every step. And again, you have to preserve that enlightenment in order for happiness to continue. If you walk like someone who is running, happiness will stop.
Small enlightenments have to succeed each other. And they have to be fed all the time, in order for a great enlightenment to be possible. So a moment of living in mindfulness is already a moment of enlightenment. If you train yourself to live in such a way, happiness and enlightenment will continue to grow.
g.. Realise enlightenment is impossible. If you could be unenlightened one moment, and enlightened the next, then enlightenment would be bound by time, would be given substance by its opposite, would be dual, would be some 'thing' to be attained. You do not need to be something more. Forget the need and hope. Awake is what you are, not what you become.
h.. Be willing to notice. Look at the stars, the wind, the romp of birds through the sky. Be willing to be free. Forget the sutras, the wise sayings, the path, the seriousness, the pain, the wars, the relationships, the imagined problems. Forget your objections. Hush for a moment; gently, with arms wide and open, notice the absence of anything but Life.
i.. Be. Realize that only the ego wants to awaken. And be done with it.
Dennis Waite comments...
This sort of stuff is misleading lots of readers. Enlightenment IS in time, IS of the mind, IS something that the ego wants. Of course it is! The point is that who-you-really-are is not the ego! Who-you-really-are is already unlimited, immortal, free etc. The problem is that the mind does not realize this. So it IS something to be attained. But it is not gaining anything at all. On the contrary. It is losing something – self-ignorance! This is why enlightenment is also called ‘realization’.
I am steeping myself in introversion today, for it is my natural state. I have come to see silence as the great awakener, the key to embracing the mystery of it all.
I eat a bowl of cereal and drink tea. I know that peace is here and now.
I see the newspaper inside its protective wrapper lying in the driveway. Golden wet leaves are piled softly around it. The news can wait.
The trees are now on autumnal fire and each leaf drifts into rustling dresses that bid me gaze upon them. The old-fashioned rake has gone the way of the Selectric Typewriter. I see leaves now as Post-It notes falling from God’s Calendar of Days. (The Man has a busy schedule.)
Squirrels are bonking people on the head with nuts, trying to get their attention.
These days people bow their heads, not in prayer, but over their iPhones or androids. Deliver us from inattention. Bonk!
God says, “You were dying from senseless distraction. I sent holy golden leaves, hard-shelled acorns....and still you didn’t get it. Look up. Look up!
And so I do. I look up and cast my gaze around this littered dining table at which I write. God knows I could use a good bonk!
Issue #4768, Sunday, November 25, 2012
Nothing stands in the way of your liberation
and it can happen here and now, but for your
being more interested in other things. And
you cannot fight with your interests. You
must go with them, see through them and
watch them reveal themselves as mere
errors of judgments and appreciation.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj from I Am That: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to AlongTheWay
Leave your existence to existence, stop caring for yourself
so much and let the universe care for you; it is the best
mother. There has to be some trust, not just belief, because
trust is intimate... something lets go to this invitation to stop
holding yourself and let's go to existence instead. The very
letting go will be observed in your presence.
- Mooji, posted to AlongTheWay
The purpose of Buddhist practice is not to 'renounce' our families or community, but to shed habits of self-protective clinging that prevent us from loving them more unconditionally, powerfully, enjoyably.
~ Lama John Mandansky, posted to DailyDharma
Nasrudin was telling one of his incredible stories.
"We do not believe you," said the listeners.
"I do not believe myself," said the Mullah,
". . . but try telling that in a story . . ."
If I told you truth about God, you might think I was an idiot.
If I lied to you about the Beautiful One you might parade me through the streets shouting,
"This guy is a genius!“
This world has its pants on backwards. Most carry their values and knowledge in a jug that has a big hole in it.
Thus having a clear grasp of the situation if I am asked anything these days I Just laugh!
via Tao & Zen on Facebook
He is here to teach You who We are, not who He is. When You worship the Guru, He has failed.
~ Fred LaMotte
via Tao & Zen on Facebook
via Tao & Zen on Facebook
Bob O'Hearn, a reader and past contributor to NDH, just sent me an article he wrote about spiritual teachers and sexual misconduct. Unlike some commentary on these incidents, Bob has spoken to the real source of these problems - our conflicted attitudes surrounding sexuality and spirituality. This also raises questions about how much cultural baggage any religion brings with it.
I have recently weighed in on a big scandal in the Zen world involving my old teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the latest in a steady stream of Roshis and Rinpoches outed for sexual misconduct. See http://www.sasakiarchive.com/
On Thanksgiving Week of 2012, one of his former students revealed in an internet message that Joshu Saskai Roshi, the venerable 105 year old founder and Zen Master of Rinzai-ji (a prominent Zen Buddhist Community in America), had been involved in extensive sexual misconduct with his female students. This particular Japanese monk has been most popularly known as the teacher of the famous singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. He arrived in California from Japan half a century ago, and proceeded to establish many Zen Buddhist practice centers across the country.
"...it is as though [Berit Ellingsen] is inventing a new narrative space all her own, where her deadpan, controlled language meets her concern with identity, metamorphosis, and non-duality. At its best her work attains the spiritual, but in a way that is unexpected and rare." -David Hodges
This issue features a freshly published review by David Hodges of Berit Ellingsen's new fictional work, Beneath the Liquid Skin.
There are some odd, alien, repulsive, nightmarish, sly, funny, fabulous, fairytale-ilike images in Berit Ellingsen's new collection of stories, "Beneath the Liquid Skin". This book sets up and detonates little depth-charges of meaning. You can't resist being pulled into Ellingsen's unique and vital imagination.
Ellingsen doesn't practice the art of the short story, she explodes the accepted state of the short story and mines its shards. Each of these stories, some no more than brief vignettes or prose poems, is so different from the others that you feel that Ellingsen is re-inventing the story genre with each with each and every outing. Like her artistic forbears Kafka and Borges, she is exploring new possibilities in fiction writing and showing more conventional authors the way it can be. She doesn't keep coming back and re-ploughing the same earth the way some writers do, nor is she forcing each piece into the kind of shape that a New Yorker editor would love. Rather, she is letting each story stand on its own as a work of art and as an expression that was the result of a successful quest to find a new form.
And yet, as different as each story is, the constant behind them all is her narrative voice. It is controlled, vivid, accurately descriptive, and packed with surprising images. Her imagery comes from the biological world, cityscapes, Cold War defections and online games, nightmares and dreams. Her voice gets in your head and you want more of it. This is especially true in "A June Defection", which could have become a full-length novel. "A June Defection" is as close as she comes to New Yorker short stories with their little epiphanies. But it carries her own special twist, as the ending is prepared like a trap that is sprung in the last sentences.
In other stories, like "The Glory of Glormosel" or "The Love Decay has for the Living", the authorial voice is very tongue in cheek. There is a sly humor that easily conveys the bizarre logic of dreams. On the other hand, the stories "The Astronomer and the King" and "The Tale that Wrote Itself" read like fables, and the narrator is the tale-spinner, who delights in entertaining and confounding the reader. And "Autumn Story" is a sad evocation of loss, told by a somewhat removed narrator who follows the character in the story who, much like the one in Ellingsen's novel "The Empty City", gradually empties out and seems to be fading away into nothingness.
If there is a theme that unites many of these stories, it is that of Identity. It is as if, after the collapse of the post-modern ironic consciousness in the wake of 9/11, a new kind of identity arose, which she explores in this book. This new kind of identity is more fluid, less rigid, quite apt to metamorphosize. Everything is mutable, including the self of an Antarctic researcher, the body of a Chef's lover, and the man whose lover turns into a shark. In "Sexual Dimorphism - A Nightmare Transcribed From the Sanskrit", a "female self" decides to change into a "male self", with strange results, but with a haunting refrain that reminds us of the mutability of the gods themselves. Again, as in "The Empty City", she treats notions of the Self and Identity not as fixed structures to be explored, but as notions that are liquid, flowing, ephemeral, and made to be deconstructed, melted down, re-formed into something bigger, wilder, more open to crazy possibilities.
It is impossible to pigeonhole Ellingsen's work into a genre or an influence.
You find modernism, sci-fi, fantasy, surrealism, magic realism, and straight short story art. At times it seems that she is verging on post-modernist meta-fiction, but her sensibility is too close to the bone to undercut her own narratives in that way. Yet it is as though she is inventing a new narrative space all her own, where her deadpan, controlled language meets her concern with identity, metamorphosis, and non-duality. At its best her work is attains the spiritual, but in a way that is unexpected and rare.
This is nowhere more evident than in her final story, "Anthropocene", and another story, "A Catalog of Planets". The latter story starts with the statement, "this planet reminds your atoms and molecules that they are mostly empty space". In very brief paragraphs, she presents the various ways that people are in prisons of their own making, and ends with a vision of true freedom.
The story "Anthropocene" takes a similar planetary perspective, but starts from the viewpoint of geology. I didn't really understand this story until I looked up the meaning of the title word. The Anthropocene is a scientific neologism for the human epoch on earth and its effect on the planet's ecology. This story is ostensibly about geology and a possible future if humankind continues down its current path. The constant refrain, as the narrator moves through time past to time future, is about a poison ore at the heart of the earth. The final lines jump to a statement that both sums up the entire book, and explains what the poison ore is:
"'You' and 'I' denote no one and no thing. They are simply chalk marks on the blackboard or letters on the page."
Ellingsen takes us on quite a journey through the stories in this book. Open it at any page and start reading and you will be enthralled. And wanting more.
"How many times would my self have to die before I realized it was not real in the first place?"
"That nagging dread of self-hurt didn't exist when I was dancing. I'd literally lose my self."
"I still believed my self was all there was. ... Look at the industry for self-image and the jobs it creates. ... The self is a projection which our clever brains create in order to cheat ourselves from the reality of death."
"I honestly believe the key to my success as an actor and my very progress as a person has been the very lack of self that used to make me feel so anxious and insecure."
"Here's a note to self: The cracks have started to show in our constructed world."
"We're not living with each other. Our crazy selves are living with each other and perpetuating an epidemic of disconnection. ... Let's not be freaked out by our bountiful nothingness."