This edition of Highlights is mainly dedicated to the
responses to two independently posed questions, one by Leon
and the other by Kriben Pillay of Noumenon Newsletter. I
hope you enjoy them. --Jerry
LEON ASKS FOR ADVICE
New to this list, I would like to ask for some help.
Nisargadatta, Jean Klein, Krishna Menon and other (in my
view) bona-fide Vedantins advise to hold on to the Witness,
the Awareness, the Background etc. Watch the mind,
register, don't judge. Watch the mind as if watching
traffic in the street. Works quite well in
"lab-conditions"for me, but the cool awareness gives way to
"the committee in the head" in no time flat when I enter an
argument, feel insulted, etc. No witnessing awareness
there, just "I think....", "I'm hurt deeply by....", etc.
When I want to wake up from sleep to catch a train, I use
my alarm-clock. Anyone found the perfect "alarm-clock" to
buzz when calm Awareness seems forgotten? Tricks to feed
"the persistence to return to myself?". And please, keep it
down to earth. I know Awareness is constant all the time,
and through an ilusion seems "dimmed" by the "thinker and
doer". But stil... Just need a few simple tricks......
Advise, anyone? Thanks, Leon.
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE:
ANTHONY: Try changing small habits to remind you: eg wear a
watch or jewellery on the other hand. There are a hundred
small habits like this you can change to remind yourself -
DAVE: 1) Focusing on the perceiving center, to me sounds
like an excersize for someone who has not yet arrived at
your level. It's an excersize to draw attention to the fact
that there is more to all this than meets the eye. You know
If this excersize is continued, it will amplify the
attention to your ego, which is the source of the problem.
What is needed now is to turn the focus to the source of
2) Maintaining awareness is complicated for "everybody",
but it seems like the strongest tool for maintaining it in
"non-lab conditions" is something nobody can tell you. It's
something that grace gives you. The focus in "you" as a
perceiving center doesn't help now, that gets forgotten,
when a stronger focus distracts you.
What's stronger than the distracting focus? The knowledge
that what is happening is nothing, against the marvel of
the fact that anything IS at all.
Anything in this picture, this existence, is a piece of the
marvel. I can tell you that pain, embarrasement, disgrace
are all pieces of this marvel that pale against IT's
existence, but until you really see that, you won't
remember it when you are challanged.
MARCIA: The trick is to not judge the mind judging. The
mind is going to judge. It is possible to witness the mind
judging without judging it judging. Impartiality. Inherent
in your question is a hidden belief that feeling insulted,
argumentative, and so forth is who you really are. All that
is is believing what the mind is telling you. You will feel
insulted and argumentative. That is how your machine is
programed to feel itself. Pure awareness feels like
nothing. It feels empty. As long as you are feeling a
strong personal emotion, no matter what it is, you have to
just trust that you are asleep and act on it. Allow
yourself to feel it to the max but don't display it
outwardly. The tension between the yes of feeling it and
the no of displaying it will begin to really wake you up.
My father just died. I was beating myself up about how I
didn't do this and I did that until I realized that I was
still making it all about "me." Before he died it was all
about "me" and how much I had to do and after he died it
was all about "me" and what I didn't do. What a racket. :-)
HARSHA: First of all, we need to be aware of what the
problem is. Is it that emotions seem to cloud awareness and
this is considered undesirable? Or is the problem that at
times we feel anger, hurt, pain, and even hatred, and that
we are not comfortable with those emotions being part of
our persona, our projected image of a spiritually aware
person or a person practicing awareness, witnessing and so
forth? Perhaps the level of our discomfort with negative
emotions indicates our spiritual growth in some way; or
perhaps it just shows the nature and level of conflicting
tendencies and thought processes going on in the mind. We
want techniques, methods, tricks to help us gain calm
awareness. And there are many techniques available in this
free market. And yet what is the nature of any technique?
In a gross or subtle form, every technique of meditation,
every spiritual method, every mental trick to "gain
something" is an avoidance of what we have and where we
are. This avoidance reveals the nature of our pain and
struggle. And that is OK. It is part of nature. Is where we
are OK? Perhaps we can peace with our suffering. That is
the window of opportunity always.
MELODY: Welcome to the list, Leon,
I appreciated very much the heart from which you introduced
I not so long ago asked a similar question, and this is the
essence of what I was shown,
1) Practice, practice, practice.
I am still unconscious (meaning 'habitual' )more hours a
day than I am conscious, and yet those conscious hours are
increasing more and more day by day.
The 'practice' itself is highly individual I suspect....
whatever facilitates the dropping away of past/future/I
(I'll repost for you something I shared a couple of months
ago about a practice which can be really quite effective.)
The key for me is: once I realize I was sleeping, I don't
spend time in guilt or admonishing myself or wishing I
hadn't fallen back asleep.
Which is essentially my #2) - already stated beautifully by
The trick is to not judge the mind judging.
That really does seem to say it all.
Because the moment I begin judging the mind judging, I
instantly fall back asleep.
JAN KOEHOORN: practice thinking in the third person.
So: I am mad <--> there is madness; I am thinking <-->
there are thoughts etc
TIM GERCHMEZ: Here's a suggestion from Jean Klein (not his
"View your body as if it belonged to another, as if it were
just another object in the environment. This will give you
a degree of psychological freedom."
I would assume this could also apply to "view thoughts and
emotions as if they belonged to someone else."
Dispassion is not a difficult thing to 'achieve,' but if
not combined with clear seeing, it can result simply in a
bored, dry and disinterested outlook, or even a "rebound
effect," where dispassion gives way to a psychological
MATTHEW FILES: there are no tricks, no short cuts, but
there is sadhana. Awareness seems forgotten? Watch the
mind, register, don't judge. You forget less and less as
time goes on, that's all. A consitent meditation practice
never hurt anything either.
JERRY: Someone once suggested standing back when 'calm
awareness' is lost, and commenting inwardly, 'Hmmm, isn't
this interesting?' without trying to return to that calm
Something I've done is to inquire, at random times during
the day, "Is this I Am?" It may serve to put you more
permananently where you want to be.
We were speaking earlier of Osho's meditation techniques.
They can help you get through blocks.
There are all kinds of things to do. How do you feel about
Grace of the Guru?
You might also be interested in Practical Hints for
Self-Inquiry; it is freshly translated material, i.e., in
the English language for the first time.
JUDI: They'll try every trick in the book looking for the
ever elusive happiness. What can we say? Lotsa ruck! :-)
In fact when they run out of tricks in all the books, they
make some up. :-) That gets really interesting of course.
:-) And that's the way people spend their lives. Oh joy!
It's the American way!! :-) And it says right there in the
rule book, 'the pursuit of happiness'. Sheesh. Well, no
wonder!!! :-) Excuse me while I laugh!
Oh my goodness.... goodnight everybody... sweet dreams,
don't let the bed bug ya. :-)
Kriben Pillay, editor of the Noumenon: A Newsletter for the
has invited members of Nonduality Salon to consider the
following question and to submit a response for possible
inclusion in a future edition of Noumenon.
You may submit your response to the list as a regular post
and, if there are any submissions at all, I'll package them
and forward the package to Kriben on behalf of NDS.
(Kriben Pillay): There appears to be two schools of thought
relative to the issue of free will. One is like J.
Krishnamurti's, which implies we have a kind of free will
which we can use to break through delusion, and the other
is like Balsekar's, which says there is no free will and
that all is pre-determined, even the desire to break
through. Somehow, my gut instinct tells me that Life is a
like an improvisation rather than being a fixed script, and
while I once had a powerful experience of being lived by
Life, it still felt like an improvisation, a potential
rather than a fixed plan. This also accords with quantum
physics. What is your view of this issue?
AGAIN, ASK AND YE... WELL, YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES... (the
rest of the responses will probably be in tomorrow's
MARCIA: To ask a question based on an either/or framework
is a dual question. The nondual position is not either/or
but both. We both have the possibility of free will and are
In a performance on a stage there are actors, a director,
and an audience. The actors follow a script, the director
has more freedom but is still bound by both what the actors
are capable of doing and what the audience wants as well as
the constraints of money, time and so forth, but the
audience is free to sit back and enjoy it all.
HANS: More important than the answer seems to be the
question if either possibilities can ever be proven. If i
have done something, how can i ever know if this action
arose from free will or if it was predetermined ? Why do i
want to know this ? To get a result out of it ? That would
make this question look like all other questions. But this
depends of course on the individual person that asks the
It seems almost impossible that everything is
predetermined, the possibilities of life being so
incredibly vast and innumerable and so interdependent. Life
is also or perhaps mainly about survival and the element of
*potential* seems somehow more suitable, more flexibel, an
adjustable factor. But the mind is only a tiny fragment of
the whole. How can this tiny instrument ever know ? It is
so limited, it seems almost arrogant to think that the mind
can comprehend such complexity.
JAN BARENDRECHT: There is a perspective that could be
satisfactory for both the proponents of free will and its
adversaries. There have been several experiments with
identical twins who were raised under very different
circumstances and surprisingly, their development was
remarkably similar. To arrive at such a similar position
when relative conditions are almost opposites, could be
explained as exercising a free will, whereas the fact that
despite these sometimes opposite conditions they
nevertheless "achieved" a similar position, could be
explained as destiny.
But the "governing principle" has to be seen in the
germination of tendencies (vasanas) that cannot be
suppressed in any way; whatever the societal resistance,
these "seeds" will germinate and flower by themselves,
whenever the "soil" is fertile. It is easy to see that the
feeling of hunger with the subsequent "desire" to eat is
such a tendency that is rooted very deeply and although it
can be made to shut up during a fast, in the course of
events it will return in a way that cannot possibly be
ignored (unless one stops drinking as well, which is a more
or less painless way of euthanasia for Jain monks).
Therefore, it is safe to call the mind a wishing tree: any
sincere wish, once done, will in the course of events
automatically be executed and there is no escape from it.
What is called "free will" is but the "work" to fulfill
this wish. An idealist, not knowing "how (s)he ticks" can
be quite convinced of having an "iron" will to achieve the
goal, as probably will the onlookers.
Of course the above goes for ajnanis, for whom separation
is "real" and their sincere wishes are always fulfilled, be
it one never knows "when" - it is the origin of prayer...
editor's note:Jan wearing Nonduality Salon tshirt:
DAN: Trying to find the best conclusion arrived at by one
or another supposed school of thought is like trying to
choose the best color to dye your hair. It leaves out the
option of naturally being without trying to conclude
Life is moving, moving, moving and who is trying to catch
the right view?
Life is still, still, still and who is it who is thinking
to make the right move?
MICHAEL READ: Who Dares to Ask?
I created space and all dimensions, realities and beings. I
animated them with Myself. Nothing else would do. There was
nothing else but Me.
The Mystery of You and I! Do enjoy it! Make choices if that
is your will. Follow your destiny if you can find it.
Live as if there is no tomorrow! The only goal is to be
alive. Open your heart to the treasure that is Me that is
You. We are One.
Do you believe this? Too bad. Do you deny this? Too bad.
Poor Baby wants it all! Oh, what will you do?
There is nothing else but Me. Understand?
DAN: Yes. The challenge is to notice that a collection of
interacting projections is masquerading as oneself. The
verification of this can't occur via usual knowledge, which
is the reverberation of endless projections in a "private
mental space" -- itself constructed via projection. So, how
does "verification" then occur? A related question is, "how
can no-thing possibly be deluded into self-defining as
something via projections based no-where?" The answer to
the first question, "Reality" is the converse to the answer
to the second, "the persuasiveness of Unreality". This
leaves a dissatisfying state of affairs in which Reality
somehow can be persuaded (presumably by Itself, as it is
All) to perceive itself as being less than it is. In
Qabala, this is viewed as a contraction of Infinity for the
sake of constructing a universe, which might be viewed as
self-presentation of That which can't possibly present
GLORIA: I have construed my projection of understanding
this "contraction of infinity" you mention along the lines
of a continuum of Being-Becoming, which is the whole "what
is." As Being supports and is inseparable from Becoming,
Being appears "dynamic" rather than static, the contaction
even may appear to be an expansive process, splitting the
whole into apparently diminished individual parts. (And
parts lends itself to the role in the play of this illusion
as well.) Either way it is moving and dynamic, not being at
eternal rest when and AS it appears in time. I can work
with this space/time aspect of existence defined as
illusion or Unreality vs Reality as you say above, but it
doesn't seem necessary to me to consider them as in any way
opposed or separate, simply "perceivably distinguishable"
is enough distinction for purposes of discussion. Why
constuct or perceive a duality of this? Why there is
Something rather than Nothing seems a moot rhetorical
question..why ask it? Indeed why ask why?
(I don't present my view here as in any way in opposition
to yours, but to provide some context for how my questions
arose, another way of looking at some of the same things
you say. I admit to having still some difficulties with
finding death imagery appealing or even useful to me. So
perhaps you can help me with this. How can I not exist, if
I am Being?)
I long ago understood all this simply as how Immanence and
Transcendence are both simultaneously (Now) occuring
aspects of God. Perhaps expressed by the light projection
metaphor in popular use here, Source projecting out towards
the screen (which is actually a mirror), reflecting that
same light back unto itself, still all is God including the
mirror, what else is there? So if our awareness is like the
mirror, we can appear to be going mainly in one direction
or another, out or back...but only in thought, depending on
if we are aware of becoming filled with and by God, seeing
God in all the creations surrounding us..or if we are going
neti-neti and transcending back into the Source, the All ,
the Nothingness of the Emptiness of God. As experienced
tho, this is seldom any clearcut, linear process of first
going out and then returning. (Are we all just addicted to
Becoming? Bunch of hyper, attention deficit kids on a
joyride spree?..what is so difficult about Being Still?)
God as Source is sharing his Being..within space/time we
may be viewed as like a time-share condo..this space for
We are the Nonduality Generation.