#4406 - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - Editor: Jerry
I spent four days at the Science and Nonduality Conference
(the SAND) in San Rafael, California. Flying back to Nova Scotia on WestJet, the
view offers crisp constellations, the northern lights, and rare shooting stars.
I don't know the names of the constellations, and the northern lights are
carrying on for so many hours I've lost interest. But a shooting star means
there's nothing to forget when there's only the surprise of the
SAND is a conference of constellations, lights, and shooting
stars. That's the stuff we're made of. That means SAND is also a community.
When people ask me about the Conference I tell them I'm interested in the
sense of community that is generated, because I feel that that is how the
teaching of nonduality is honed, made available, and disseminates.
in the life of the email forum Nonduality Salon, I guess it was the late
90s, I proposed the concept of the hologuru: the community as guru,
teacher, guide, friend, source, muse; container of lights northern, southern,
eastern and western.
This, the third SAND, was the best one. It's hard to pinpoint why it
was so good this year. It felt "rounded out" somehow. Peter Fenner used the word
"mellow". It's one thing to create that feeling with a dozen people, but to
generate it with 500 is a different level of achievement.
James Traverse describes it this way: "The blessing of SAND is that there
is an endless number of beautiful people to meet and experience and each is a
fascinating jewel of Indra's Net - it was a truly breath-taking privilege to be
in the presence of such beauty, integrity, honesty, humility, dedication, truth,
joy and uninhibited Love."
James Traverse is my neighbour and friend. We flew together, both gave
talks, and shared cabs and a room. What we didn't share was the same
experience at SAND. If you talked to each of us separately, you might think we
attended different gatherings. That speaks to the
Conference's complexity and richness. We agreed we'll be back
Besides James, I spent quality time with a few other people whom I
wish to acknowledge and thank:
Maurizio and Zaya whose love energy drives everything.
Closer-than-close friend, former editor of the Highlights, and main
nondual squeeze Christiana Duranczyk.
Long time Nonduality Salon and Advaita Academy contributor
Dhanya for bringing me into her fresh and beautiful home in San Rafael and
preparing perhaps the best meal I ever ate while bringing me up to date on her
travels, adventures, and the world of traditional Vedanta.
My publisher Connie Shaw from Sentient
Kathy from our Nova Scotia Nonduality Satsang Meetup group.
Puppetji, whom I met at the elevator and even got
mentioned in his appearance.
Chuck Hillig and Jeff Foster.
Author Sam Avery (we sat on the bench outside and smoked cigars together,
therefore we are bonded for life).
Prema Akasha (who also did a delightful job emceeing my panel discussion
and other sessions. Too bad she doesn't smoke cigars.)
The people who graciously agreed to appear on my panel: Jeannie Zandi,
Bentinho Massaro, and Kenny Johnson. Benjamin Smythe also agreed to participate
but he got sick and couldn't make it.
Rick Archer from Buddha at the Gas Pump.
Rob Schwartz from East Bay Open Circle.
Another Jonathan (sorry I don't recall your last name but we chatted a few
times during the conference and you had questions for Rick Linchitz).
Chuck (darn it, another last name I can't remember, but I enjoyed meeting
you a couple times).
Scott Kiloby, Peter Fenner, John Prendergast, Unmani, David Loy
East West bookstore, which runs the SAND bookstore with great care and
the artist Prasanna.
the volunteers, the technical people.
the small audience that saw my stand-up comedy act on open mic
I met lots of other people including several readers of the Highlights: Hi
and thank you.
The biggest thanks goes to each one of you who attended my talk on Albert
Blackburn and the panel discussion that I put together. Deep bow to each
one of you. I also thank those who wanted to attend but could not due to
conflicts as there were several concurrent talks and other obligations people
I also want to thank the young people I talked to, the college and high
school kids. I'd love to see a big gang of young people next year. They'd
have a ball and add a whole different kind of energy to the conference.
I saw many talks and loved to see the interest and passion of the speakers.
I can't say one stands out over the others as I appreciated each speaker for
what he or she offered.
There's so much I didn't do and so much I didn't see and so many people I
didn't talk to that it's ridiculous. However, I have always felt that abundance
is its own message. There should be even greater abundance, like a city that
cannot be fully explored in many lifetimes because there is so much happening
and change constantly happening.
Also at my age I tend to forget, so if we had a conversation and I forgot
to mention you, please remind me so that I can acknowledge you. Fact is, with
some people you connect with their eyes and spirit and not their name tag and
there were many people I met in that category and you know who you are.
The SAND is as intriguing as the northern lights, as eternally wondrous as
constellations, and as rare and startling as a shooting star.
In the next Highlights issue I'm going to publish James Traverse's
impassioned description of the Conference. I'll gladly publish notes on
your experience if you'll send it to me.
Last note: SAND Europe is happening at the end of May 2011 in
Amsterdam. I'll post details as I receive them.
Thank you for your interest.