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1754#1754 - Thursday, April 1, 2004

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  • Jerry Katz
    Apr 3, 2004
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      #1754 - Thursday, April 1, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
      Highlights Home Page and Archive: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
      Letter to the Editors: Click 'Reply', compose your message, and 'Send'.
      All the editors will see your letter.

      Lynn and Gene Poole
      I AM living in a strange world, and nobody can see what I see. I think
      that God or IT or something is trying to communicate with me. I see
      coincidence and synchronicity that I can't explain and wonder if God
      communicates with us through the fabric of reality. I wonder if I am
      God...if *MY* Will is God's Will. I wonder if I have any control over
      my life...who controls who? And do WE (you and me) control EACH OTHER?
      Is everything happening because it's *supposed* to happen? Is there a
      Divine Plan? Did I WILL it to be this way? I worry if everything is
      going to turn out okay. My therapist thinks I'm crazy. I'm on
      psychiatric meds! lol
      Gene Poole:
      Yes, 'God' or 'It' IS trying to communicate with you.
      'Problem' is, 'you' are 'out of phase' with it, until you (actually,
      really) realize that you are 'It'.
      Being 'out of phase' does not mean, that you are the echo of IT; 'out
      of phase' means, that 'It' does what It does (which includes producing
      'you'), regardless of whether or not you are paying attention; 'It' is
      autonomous, and 'you' are not autonomous.
      Humans... strongly desire to be autonomous, but the 'I' of the human
      that so desires autonomy, is entirely _idiosyncratic_. That is a
      property utterly absent from 'It'.
      Humans... want to 'have their cake and eat it too'... they want to BE
      the universal AND the idiosyncratic, AT THE SAME TIME, so that there
      can be a disgusting and sentimental 'APPRECIATION' of 'IT', by what is
      'not IT'. Do you see this terrible contradiction?
      You are experiencing... more directly and raw... what everyone
      experiences, but YOU are unable to bury it, with the same success of
      everyone else; you expect and WANT to make sense of what you
      experience, while the 'others' are forcing themselves to be content,
      with the 'great mystery'.
      To bury it, so as to be able to 'appreciate' other things (what other
      things???) is called 'sublimation'; and everyone has, deeply, this
      'existential terror'; some 'authorities' equate this TERROR with the
      'fear of death', but no; it is much more than MERE FEAR OF DEATH.
      Here, Lynn, is the ULTIMATE QUESTION:
      I suggest to meditate DEEPLY on this question!
      Please reply to this letter, when you have done so, to your own

      Excerpts from "The First Instant", by Gilbert W. Schultz
      "All that you know, is this First Instant.     The 'knowing' itself is this First Instant.
      You never actually deviate from it, for there is nothing apart from it.
      It is the unmediated awareness of Being and non Being. 
      All 'comings' and 'goings' arise and fall in this presence of the First Instant.
      You are this First Instant.
      Looking through the mind it appears as the 'razors edge'.
      Looking from open awareness (where you are actually seeing from),
      it is the vastness of unbound wakefulness.
      Rest in this openness, this natural stateless state of being"
      For anyone that has not read 'Sailor' Bob Adamson's book "What's wrong with right now - unless you think about it ?"
      I suggest that you do so, for it is a unique series of 'pointers', spontaneously expressed in ordinary language.   It is transcripts from meetings with 'Sailor' Bob, where our true essence is uncovered.
      I can vouch for his authenticity as a teacher, because his direct influence has eliminated all doubts and brought me fully into what I call the first instant. 
      Through talks with Sailor Bob Adamson, I resonated and recognised the natural non dual essence that is all that there is. 
      Something grabbed me and drew me in - a subtle recognition or stirring - like an ember deep within the heart of a seemingly dead fire, when a gentle breeze blows upon it, starting a glowing, it ignites into the flame of knowing which burns away the 'seeker', along with the search and left me as I AM.
      That same knowing was already with me as it is with you. 
      It didn't need to be transmitted or learned or acquired, only stirring, (subtle energy) like the coals in the fire.
       If you live with the expectation of becoming 'enlightened', then you have been definitely and unequivocally misinformed.
      What is commonly known as enlightenment is actually with you right now, it is your natural state.
      The ignorance or the 'denial' of this fact is an 'obstacle' seemingly preventing a realization of its natural presence.  However, the natural state, being natural, is not affected by realization or non realization.
      It is beyond the dualistic realm of ordinary 'mind content'.
      The non re-cognition of it is simply due to an identification or fixation with mind 'content' which has arisen from a one way 'looking out' accompanied by an ignorance of 'within'. However, this boundary between within and without is only a concept and a way of looking at things.  Pure seeing is not divided and is omni-directional.
         The psyche, the senses, are habitually turned out towards the world of appearances through a conditioning brought about by an involuntary imitation or apparent assimilation of influences around us. You have been seemingly filled with concepts from 'others' and this has been the condition of inheritance for 'common man'.
      Whether a belief is right or wrong can only be another opinion. Fact is fact, is fact.  This 'conditioned mind' and its 'beliefs' are actually insubstantial and they collapse upon investigation.
      Any fear of that 'collapse' keeps the mind busy with its structures of thought support.
      Of course, there is no such collapse as such, it is more like a cloud vaporizing. By ignoring your natural state, you have inadvertently, yet only seemingly, bound yourself 'in' erroneous concepts.
      They actually appear 'in' you and are not binding at all.
          With assistance from the 'one who is free' of the conditioned mind, an investigation can take place where in, all erroneous beliefs are cleared away. This may appear to take 'time' just as the 'seeming' accumulation of conditioning has appeared to take 'time'.
      (Time is mind ) When 'time' disappears, the natural state is pristinely evident as your own true nature.
      This is immediate and direct knowing - pure awareness.
      Enlightenment or pure awareness (true nature) is timeless.
      Throughout all the ages, there have been those who 'know'. Their words, directions and instructions are simple enough. Nothing is actually imparted and the so called 'transmission' is just a concept.
      Just simple directions in how to make this investigation within the scope of your own awareness is all that is needed. A simple process of the elimination of all concepts including the primary concept of
      'I am', brings one to the undoubtable fact of open awareness (It is already open).
          So called 'teachers' that promise enlightenment through elaborate 'practices' and 'methods' are themselves misinformed.
      The true Master holds a 'mirror' in which you see yourself.  In pure seeing the 'Master' and the 'Seeker' vanish.  Seeing - knowing remain as the ever present actuality.
      The 'seer' and the 'seen' dissolve into pure seeing - knowing.
      They may all continue to re-appear, yet the substantiality of the 'objects' which they appear to be, is  clearly known to be awareness and nothing else. Thus, the true meaning of 'One without a second', reveals itself. 
      You are That.
          The infinite web of subtle energy runs throughout (is) the whole manifestation - there is no 'entity' anywhere.
          No one to claim ownership of even one atom, let alone a body or mind.
      As Nisargadatta says: "You have taken yourself to be something that you are not"
      As 'Sailor' Bob Adamson says: "Relax and be what you are".
                                    from the new book "The First Instant"  

      Vicki Woodyard
      Satsang with Elvis
      Going down into the depths is healing; no matter how hard it may seem.  Normally, we descend mechanically, causing ourselves to fall under the spell of negativity and gloom.  Once we choose a conscious descent, everything is instantly transmuted into light.  The truth becomes as clear as aqua waters--we are everything.  No more dividing, depressing and destroying.  We can begin to unite, uplift and recreate.

      I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee and watched Elvis rise to fame. He was a polite young man who never forgot where he came from.  I was watching a program on PBS about him tonight.  "He Touched Me" is full of hymns that make me cry.  Before I know it, the depths have overwhelmed me and the tears are flowing.  I have to stop, blow my nose and remember that I am the Self in all beings.  It is that simple and that difficult.  It must be done.  It is the basis of all spiritual work.

      Simplicity is such a healing agent.  We are moved by Elvis Presley's devotion to the old gospel tunes.  We must stand by the Self that we are, descending into our spiritual roots. And oh, it is hard to do.  The little grave where my daughter lies buried is in Memphis, too.  The last time I visited it, the sun was shining and we were at peace with her death.  How incredible that we have survived this long without her.  I often feel like an empty shell.  I write and write about simple spirituality and how we must face our suffering. I never want to do it.  Never.

      I also say how tired I get of sophisticated nondualism; the kind that turns you into a snob.  It is easy to sit in satsang with people who have never really suffered.  But those of us who have must tell it like it is.  My friend Peter says he gave up on satsang long ago and now has it with his cat, Alex.  I understand where he is coming from.  He says that, in spite of himself, he has becoome bigger than the sky.  When he writes me, it is to remind me of the sweetness of the living moment.  When the tears slip down my cheeks, I must wake up, allow them to be there and know that there is only the Self.  It is a must-have realization.

      Vicki Woodyard

      When the identity
      meets face to face
      with the unknown
      for the showdown,
      and digs in its
      recalcitrant heels,
      resisting merging
      and dissolving

      right into it.....

      Burn, baby!
      Burn alive!
      Get scorched and writhe in pain

      In the inferno

      Jerry Katz
      This is a review I wrote for the book Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, by Jed McKenna. You can find out more about the book and order it at http://wisefoolpress.com.


      But if you are ready, step into Jed's world.

      In Jed McKenna's first book, Spiritual Enlightenment - The Damnedest Thing, we met Julie Meyers, a New Age journalist assigned to interview Jed for a magazine. In that book the female J.M. begins by asking questions a good journalist would ask. Then almost imperceptibly the questions take on the nature of personal inquiry. She becomes a student of the male J.M.

      At the end of Damnedest, Jed reveals this about Julie: "She is visibly processing herself into a new level of awareness and the only way I can help is by not interrupting. This is it -- the First Step. ... In a few years I'll ask her how the enlightenment thing is working out and she'll say, 'Real good, thanks. Really getting a kick out of it. You?' But that's still a ways down the road."

      In Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment it is two years later and Jed is literally "a ways down the road," sitting at the sidewalk table of a little cafe in Montreal. Julie approaches Jed and asks,

      "'So how's the enlightenment thing working out for you?

      "I look up and smile. 'Oh, real good, thanks. Really getting a kick out of it,' I recite. 'You?'

      "'Oh, same, yeah. Real pleased,' she says."

      Non-separation, or "not-two-ness," is the hallmark of nonduality. Julie is Jed and Jed is Julie. Jed gives the taste of nonduality to the reader through direct teachings, demonstrations of how he goes about life, and in more subtle ways, as illustrated above. He even plays with the boundaries of his own identity. Who is Jed McKenna? I don't know anyone who knows him. Are the events he describes fact or fiction? The answers are contained within the books. They hinge on an understanding of the Break-Out Archetype, described briefly below.

      While Jed is using literary means to give the taste of nonduality, he is giving practical means for experiencing it at two levels. One level he calls Human Adulthood, and he doesn't spend much time on it. The other level is enlightenment.

      Where enlightenment might be a rare occurrence and beyond anyone's control, Human Adulthood is available and can be willed. Human Adulthood is release of egoic bonds and opening to Grace, the will of Allah, as in "not mine, but Thy will be done." To effect the movement toward Human Adulthood, McKenna recommends a combination of Spiritual Autolysis and fervent prayer. He says, "(Human Adulthood) isn't an enlightenment thing in particular. It's more a human thing, but it certainly has parallels to the larger awakening process, and it's a precursor to enlightenment; a prerequisite."

      Although Human Adulthood isn't discussed much in the book, it's mention has a memorable impact since it's not only achievable but every person's responsibility.

      The book's themes of Human Adulthood and enlightenment achieve a practical dimension with the method of Spiritual Autolysis. Chapter Eight of Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing is dedicated to the topic. Jed says, "It doesn't matter where you start. You could start by using Ramana Maharshi's query, 'Who am I?' or 'What is me?', and then just work at it. Just try to say something true and keep at it until you do. Write and rewrite. Make it cleaner and cut out the excess and ego and follow it wherever it leads until you're done. ... It's a process of discrimination, of unknowing what is untrue, of progressively stripping away the false and leaving only what is true."

      According to Jed, one who is driven to undergo their brand of Spiritual Autolysis until it is done, represents the Break-Out Archetype. He discovered in reading Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, that Captain Ahab fulfills and defines the archetype. McKenna lists several characteristics of the Break-Out Archetype. They include monomania, the sense of standing alone and having lost a significant part of oneself, no thought of the fruit of one's actions, being driven and not merely drawn, inability to swerve or be swerved, the embracing of one's madness, knowing the truth of one's reality. There are many others listed which are exemplified in Moby-Dick. A one-page summary of the novel at http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/mobydick/summary.html captures the fire and drive of the archetype.

      Jed points out that he, Herman Melville, and Julie belong to the Archetype along with Ahab. Jed implies, via extensive quoting, that U.G. Krishnamurti, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman also belong. Many others are quoted, serving not only a literary purpose but also to teach the reader to "hear" the voice of the Break-Out Archetype, if it isn't already known.

      Since there are four Break-Out Archetypes in Jed's books, if follows there could be an equal number of identifiable Spiritual Autolysis events. There are three levels of Spiritual Autolysis happening in Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment: Julie's as presented via her journal entries; Herman Melville's as expressed through his "journal" known as Moby-Dick, and Captain Ahab's autolysis expressed through his search for the white whale. There's a fourth autolysis, according to Jed's confession, and it is his first book, Spiritual Enlightenment - The Damnedest Thing. The literary grace with which these autolyses are layered throughout the two books, generates the potential for a fifth autolysis, which is at the level of the reader and which could lead to Human Adulthood or enlightenment.

      In the front pages of Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, which are normally reserved for excerpts from glowing reviews, is only a two-page letter from an anonymous woman in Seattle. She writes in part, "Do you realize that if people do as you suggest that their lives would be ruined? ... What you call enlightenment I call a horrendous nightmare." These are the reactions from someone who had a glimpse of the breakdown of the boundaries that keep her separate from others and from nature. She couldn't handle it. But if you are ready, step into Jed's world. It is intelligent and powerful.




      Mary Bianco
      NDS News

      Now and Zen: Meditative quasi-Buddhist parable inspires the sound of two hands clapping
      Celestial Seasons
      by Michael Atkinson
      March 29th, 2004 2:20 PM

      Seo Jae-kyung and Ha Yeo-jin
      (photo: Sony Pictures Classics)

      Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring
      Written and directed by Kim Ki-duk
      Sony Pictures Classics
      March 31, Walter Reade
      April 1, MOMA Gramercy
      Opens April 2



      s there such a thing as a Buddhist film, and if there were, could you watch it without tumbling into a stupor? For all of cinema's meditative potential in the right hands, it's safe to say that having your eyeballs Rolfed and your attention targeted by movies is the antithesis of authentic transcendental experience—by the same token, enlightenment isn't something you can photograph. This doesn't stop Korean filmmakers from occasionally trying to express the struggle toward inner purity: Bae Yong-kyun's Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? (1989), for one, achieved a kind of soporific beauty. Kim Ki-duk, known here for the symbolic-fishhook stomach-flipper The Isle, grabs this ironic disconnect with both hands in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring, and ends up with a meta-Buddhist fable, entirely concerned with the quotidian of work and human vice, and in total thrall to the philosophy's poetic juxtapositions.

      All the same, this utterly lovely film hard-sells an audiovisual ideal of meditational tranquility that could produce some converts as well as tourists to Kyungsang; the hackles of the devout might also stiffen once they learn that Kim invented most of the rituals and totems himself. (He was, he says, raised as a Christian.) Like The Isle, the film focuses entirely on a shelter floating on a lake—in this case, a hermitage on man-made Jusan Pond, surrounded by lush woodland. The shrine is inhabited by a wizened monk (Oh Young-soo) and his grade-school-age protégé (Kim Jong-ho); with each of the five seasonal chapters, anywhere between 10 to 15 years pass.

      The arc belongs to the boy (embodied in the last, grown-up chapters by the director himself), for whom everything turns out to be a koan-esque metaphor for human folly and life's resulting tribulations. After the tyke impishly tortures small forest creatures by tying stones to them, his mentor ties a rock to the boy's torso, a physical trial that recurs and, as in Dogville's penultimate affront, suggests both self-destructive burden and entrapment. As the years pass, the ordeals escalate, but neither the old man nor the filmmaker passes judgment.

      Buddhist slummery this might be—the characters obey decorative doorways, including an often flooded gate at the lake's entrance, as if there were walls around them, another parallel to the von Trier film—but the brutal tension between spiritual righteousness and impulsive gratification is clear and affecting. Name a Christian film that does as much. (All right, Diary of a Country Priest and The Last Temptation of Christ. That's about it.) Of course, Spring, Summer . . . is decadently gorgeous, and its cyclical construction is fearsomely neat. But Kim's tone has an ancient simplicity, something like the fundamental eloquence of a silent film or an enduring children's book. And his images have a surrealist integrity: the swimming frog dragging a stone, the monk painting sutras with a mewling cat's tail, the prodigal monk chopping through a frozen waterfall, the Magritte-like woman masked by a scarf arriving to abandon a baby, that same infant crawling across the ice searching for his mother. Far from a maxim-expounding sermon, the film is a fresh spring of irrational visual pleasure.

      The Movie website is very rich and descriptive: http://www.sonyclassics.com/spring/shell.html



      Chris Damitio

      I'm going to get married in a few days...

      Okay, so maybe you guys have secretly thought
      that I might be insane...here is your proof...I'm
      going to marry Susan in a few days. It's so
      insane i can hardly believe it myself but it is
      true. She is wonderful, no doubt about it. We had
      dinner last night and as if I was living some
      sort of dream, I heard myself ask her and then I
      heard her say yes...I had to stop for a second
      and really look at her..then of course, I had to
      tell her about all the shit I've done in my life,
      that I'm probably carazy, that I'm probably the
      poorest white guy she will ever meet, that I have
      no idea what will happen...and she looked at me
      and said..I don't care about your money. I don't
      think your crazy, and if you did those things in
      the past, it doesn't matter...So then we went ot
      her parents house. They live in a very poor
      complex in shanty houses. I brought them an
      electric fan as a gift. They loved it. I asked
      her fathers permission...he was shocked but
      happy. Her mother, a beautiful old woman smoking
      a cigar while she sat on a rough hewn table,
      simply nodded and smiled. Susan and I will be
      married sometime in the next week. Now just in
      case you think this is a very light decision, I
      want to point out that in the Philippines when
      you marry a woman, you marry the whole family.
      And the other caveat...divorce is illegal in the
      Philippines...so this is for life...no getting
      out... I don't have much money..enough for a few
      months rent and to pay for the wedding
      expenses...I really need to find a way to make
      some US dollars here...There is no way to tell
      what will happen...I'm very happy, and we're
      trying to figure out how to make all of this work
      out...so there you have it kids...I'm nuts...and
      better yet, I'm happy about it...



      Chris Damitio's Rough Living.... great links,
      reviews, photos, and more


      Can you handle Rough Living?