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577Thursday December 28th

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  • andrew macnab
    Dec 29, 2000
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      Xan sent:

      I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma.
      I was just a kid.
      I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her
      on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:
      "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered.
      "Even dummies know that!"

      My grandma was not the gushy kind,
      never had been.
      I fled to her that day because I knew
      she would be straight with me.
      I knew Grandma always told the truth,
      and I knew that the truth
      always went down a whole lot easier
      when swallowed with
      one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

      Grandma was home,
      and the buns were still warm.
      Between bites, I told her everything.
      She was ready for me.
      "No Santa Claus!" she snorted.
      Don't believe it.
      That rumor has been going around for years,
      and it makes me mad, plain mad.
      Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

      "Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked.
      I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.
      "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store,
      the one store in town that had a little bit
      of just about everything.
      As we walked through its doors,
      Grandma handed me ten dollars.
      That was a bundle in those days.
      "Take this money," she said,
      "and buy something for someone who needs it.
      I'll wait for you in the car."
      Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

      I was only eight years old.
      I'd often gone shopping with my mother,
      but never had I shopped for anything
      all by myself.
      The store seemed big and crowded,
      full of people
      scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

      For a few moments I just stood there,
      clutching that ten-dollar bill,
      wondering what to buy,
      and who on earth to buy it for.
      I thought of everybody I knew:
      my family, my friends, my neighbors,
      kids at school,
      the people who went to my church.
      I was just about thought out,
      when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker.
      He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair,
      and he sat right behind me
      in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

      Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat.
      I knew that because
      he never went out for recess during the winter.
      His mother always wrote a note,
      telling the teacher that he had a cough,
      but all we kids knew
      that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough,
      and he didn't have a coat.
      I fingered the ten-dollar bill
      with growing excitement.
      I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat.
      I settled on a red corduroy one
      that had a hood to it.
      It looked real warm,
      and he would like that.

      "Is this a Christmas present for someone?"
      the lady behind the counter asked kindly,
      as I laid my ten dollars down.
      "Yes," I replied shyly.
      "It's ... for Bobbie."
      The nice lady smiled at me.
      I didn't get any change,
      but she put the coat in a bag
      and wished me a Merry Christmas.

      That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat
      in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write,
      "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it --
      Grandma said that Santa
      always insisted on secrecy.

      Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house,
      explaining as we went
      that I was now and forever officially
      one of Santa's helpers.
      Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house,
      and she and I crept noiselessly
      and hid in the bushes by his front walk.
      Then Grandma gave me a nudge.
      "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
      I took a deep breath,
      dashed for his front door,
      threw the present down on his step,
      pounded his doorbell
      and flew back to the safety of the bushes
      with Grandma.

      Together we waited breathlessly
      in the darkness
      for the front door to open.
      Finally it did,
      and there stood Bobbie.
      Forty years haven't dimmed
      the thrill of those moments
      spent shivering beside my grandma
      in Bobbie Decker's bushes.
      That night I realized
      that those awful rumors about
      Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were:
      Santa was alive and well,
      and we were on his team.

      Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukka to all!


      > Then what? Like, are you going to stand mezmerised in the mirror
      > forever?
      > Chaz

      ~ Seeing ourselves is enough.
      Eventually the seer is recogized
      and there is no more standing
      and no more mirror.



      Marcia and Ed:

      > This is how I see it. As I am in my ordinary sleeping state, I
      > am run by life. I am not present to my life. I am not awake
      > to life. Sometimes I remember myself and I am present.
      > I know from this state of being present that it is possible
      > to truly act, to make a decision and to carry it out.
      > But as I am, I cannot stay present. I have no presence.
      > In the state of not being present, the act is always begun
      > prior to the decision to act. The decision comes as an
      > afterthought to explain the action. That doesn't mean that
      > real action is not possible. It just means that I am not acting.
      > Marcia

      Thanks for your response to "Nondual Activism", which I understood.

      Would you kindly share your thoughts with this too?
      In face-to-face dialog the full variety of attentional bodymind
      signals and responses, not available to words alone, come
      into play.

      In *Nondual*, face-to-face dialog the respondents bring all
      their attentional signals and responses into a mutual and
      simultaneous singularity; the mirroring effect and resonance
      of such mutual attention draws them through the still point
      into the "light of pure awareness." The presence of mutual
      respect and understanding becomes the residue of this

      The limitation of discussing this on list can be seen in the light
      of the face-to-face potential. It raises the question as to what
      barriers, if any, do you see blocking this face-to-face dialog in
      your own personal experience, or even if such experience has
      been considered worthwhile?

      In seeking a wider perspective, I have entered into dialog with
      some local friends regarding the above questions as they might
      arise in "real" world situations. These discussions will be shared
      with the list and vice versa, hopefully creating a mutual
      enrichment of perspectives.

      Clearly, if taken to heart, this list can be a spawning ground
      for a powerful movement of unconditional love. I hope such
      an opportunity arises for all of us.


      As the wider vision of nondual dialog becomes more clearly
      and widely understood, a radical movement of face-to-face
      dialog may rise exponentially in the phenomenal world. The
      impetus simply springs from a mutual understanding of its

      This potential is realized momentarily when "strangers" passing
      each other on the street simultaneously become aware of each
      others presence and a "knowing smile" is exchanged.

      These 'passing' experiences of knowing, and its potential, may
      open the way to fully mutual face-to-face dialog with others
      when the opportunity arises. The next "stranger" you smile at
      'knowingly' may be one of us. ;-)

      When the movement is under way the "knowing smile" may take
      on the meaning and spirit of a grassroots groundswell, of people
      reconnecting unconditionally. All hail to the hundredth monkey.

      As these exchanges take place more and more frequently the
      movement, which may become known as the "SMILE", will
      change the very nature of collective consciousness and society.

      I wish all of you the BEST in your face-to-face dialogs.

      I can feel it happening already...

      <Ed>...with delirious joy :-)



      John Metzger sent this:

      In his journal entry for June 29, 1968, Thomas Merton comments on
      his reading of the eighth-century Buddhist scholar Shantideva whose
      writing described the inner work necessary to become a Bodhisattva:

      "I am spending the afternoon reading Shantideva, in the woods near
      [my] hermitage-the oak grove to the southwest-a cool, breezy spot on
      a hot afternoon. Thinking deeply of Shantideva and my own need of
      discipline. What a fool I have been, in the literal and biblical
      sense of the word: thoughtless, impulsive, lazy, self-interested yet
      alien to myself, untrue to myself, following the most stupid
      fantasies, guided by the most idiotic emotions and needs. Yes [being
      human] I know, it is partly unavoidable. But I know too that in spite
      of all contradictions there is a center and a strength to which I
      always have access if I really desire it. The grace to desire it is
      surely there.

      "It would do no good to anyone if I just went around talking-no
      matter how articulately-in this condition. There is still so much to
      learn, so much deepening to be done, so much to surrender. My real
      business is something far different from simply giving out words and
      ideas and "doing things"-even to help others. The best thing I can
      give to others is to liberate myself from the common delusions and
      be, for myself and for [others], free. Then grace can work in and
      through me for everyone.

      "What impresses me most-reading Shantideva-is not only the emphasis
      on solitude but [his] idea of solitude as part of the clarification
      [necessary for] living for others: [the] dissolution of the self
      in "belonging to everyone" and regarding everyone's suffering as
      one's own. This is really incomprehensible unless one shares
      something of the deep, existential Buddhist concept of suffering as
      bound up with the arbitrary formation of an illusory ego-self. To
      be "homeless" is to abandon one's attachment to a particular ego-and
      yet to care for one's own life (in the highest sense) in the service
      of others.

      A deep and beautiful idea [in Shantideva when he writes:] "'Be
      jealous of your self and afraid when you see your self is at ease and
      your sister is in distress, that your self is in high estate and your
      sister is brought low, that you are at rest and your sister labors.
      Make your self lose its pleasures and bear the sorrow of your fellow
      human beings. [The End of the Journey. Journals Vol. 8., pp. 135]


      Terry sent:

      I said to my soul, be still, and wait
      without hope,
      For hope would be hope of the
      wrong thing.

      T. S. Eliot