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Highlights from Wed, Oct. 13

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  • umbada@xx.xxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxx)
    MARTHEART: In my experience it seems to be my separate self or ego that fears. Perhaps it knows it does not in reality exist. I mean, not the kind of real
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 1999
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      In my experience it seems to be my separate self or ego that
      fears. Perhaps it knows it does not in reality exist. I
      mean, not the kind of real fear, such as going near the edge
      of a rooftop or reacting to other danger, but of being
      embarassed, etc.


      There's a fear of annihilation, death, ultimate loss, which
      presents a barrier. It is as real as stepping off a cliff,
      a plunging sensation in the pit of the stomach. I'm
      wondering how if the separate self does not in reality exist
      it can feel this fear. I know this is another approach to
      the question "Who am I ?", that's where I'm at right now,
      finding approaches to the question "Who am I ?" It can't be
      dismissed with a nonanswer like its a paradox or its a
      mystery, maybe so, but that does not satisfy.



      Did you ever try the question "WHERE am I". To me this is a
      question that resonates much deeper than "WHO am I". To me
      "The Where am I" leaves me no escape. "I" am unfindable.

      The above is just for your guidance, I fully understand that
      it works differently for everybody.



      Is the statement that there is "no separate self" known as a
      fact or is it just something that is reiterated as a nondual
      party line?

      I once wrote, under an alias, something to the effect that
      thoughts and emotions are natural functions that are no more
      "personal" than the weather. If there is fear, it is rooted
      in animal defensiveness. When some turbulent emotion
      arises, it is helpful to use the analogy of a rainstorm.
      There is nothing personal or "self" about a rainstorm.



      It's a gift that doesn't come so naturally to many. And to
      those to whom it is natural, the gift, at one time bare, had
      become wrapped in so many layers of fear-paper, that a great
      effort is needed to bare it once more and to keep the paper,
      via some static electricity of the psyche, from being
      attracted back to it.


      The wrapping paper is printed with fascinating horror
      stories and lurid pictures, and you can get so wrapped up in
      the paper that you forget all about unwrapping the gift.



      Nothing is destroyed yet nothing can exist in the presence
      of the nondual one. Is there anything more dangerous?


      Yes, indeed. And everything is destroyed, everything is
      called into question in the presence of the nondual One.
      Everything is placed at risk, everything is thrown into the
      upheaval of rebirth, yet the nondual One remains serene,
      empty, tranquil. "The Garden of Eden is a very dangerous
      place," Carlo Suarez.


      The nondual One seems very much like a tax collector.



      Many traditions postulate the existence of Grace operating
      prior to Realization. Grace is Self. It is like Gravity.
      Always Present.



      So funny, I used to think I was somebody and going someplace
      else I think?? :-)
      What was I thinking anyways?? And don't anyone bother
      telling me either. :-)


      Myth of the Black Sheep.

      "The tale relates to a shepherd and his flock of sheep.
      To the latter the shepherd takes on the aspect of a
      beneficent being, indeed of a beneficent god. He
      continually addresses himself to their welfare and he
      employs what can seem to them to be only supernatural and
      unimaginable means to assure their safety and to rescue any
      of their number who may have the misfortune to wander away
      and become lost or to fall into some other jeopardy. He
      leads them to shelter against the cold and he provides them
      with the food and other requirements necessary for their
      existence. He takes very good care of them, much better
      care indeed than they could assure for themselves. It is
      therefore no source of wonder that they should look upon him
      as genuinely concerned with their welfare and enter- tain
      toward him feelings of grateful awe.

      The shepherd himself, however, has purposes in relation to
      these sheep of which they are unaware. These purposes would
      much astonish the sheep if the latter were to know of them;
      they are con- cerned first with a supply of wool, and later
      with a supply of mutton.
      In fact the sheep have somewhat seriously mistaken the
      shepherd's motives, for his care of them is occasioned
      primarily by consider- ations that the wool should be thick
      and useful for human (not animal) protection and that the
      meat should be well-nourished and tender when it is finally
      brought to market. These values, held by the shepherd and
      the real causes of his behavior, relate to matters entirely
      beyond either the knowledge or the comprehension of the
      ordinary sheep.

      The ordinary sheep, as can be seen at a glance, is white.
      He and his fellows, as alike as so many peas in a pod, make
      up the vast majority of the sheep population. But very
      occasionally at long intervals there appears an unusual sort
      of sheep whose pres- ence can also be noted at a glance, for
      this is a black sheep. The black sheep is both more
      skeptical and far cleverer than the or- dinary member of the
      flock and, while taking care to present an appearance of
      conformity in his daily sheeplike behavior, he is all the
      time directing his attention toward little anomalies which
      seem to contradict the general views held by his
      companions. The annual shearing, for instance, is certainly
      done at a time of year when the sheep will be least
      discommoded by it; yet it really seems a strange proceeding
      and, upon serious reflection, one that can scarcely be
      thought of as motivated primarily by a concern for the
      sheep's' com- fort. The black sheep also speculates upon
      the problem raised by the unaccounted-for disappearances of
      his compatriots just when they have reached their manifest
      prime; and he explores various hypotheses in an endeavor to
      explain to himself these peculiar happenings. Many a black
      sheep never arrives at any satisfactory conclusions upon
      these questions before his own turn at the butcher's comes
      around but very, very occasionally some unusually clever
      specimen contrives to see what he should not see or to
      overhear a conversation at which he is not presumed to be
      present. And thus he learns the secret.

      We may imagine his consternations as the truth becomes known
      to him. The situation is not only a shocking surprise, it
      is also so contrary to established opinions and convictions
      as to overturn them completely. Every seriously held
      life-view concerning sheephood is destroyed at a stroke.
      And supposing the sheep to experience some feeling of
      solidarity with his paler brothers, we may next ima- gine
      his concern to share with them the information he has dis-
      covered regarding their desperate circumstances. A large
      propor- tion of the black sheep who have by some chance
      reached this posi- tion, do not proceed beyond it, for
      hastily to blurt out the dreadful news not only arouses the
      disapproving incredulity of the other sheep but is
      calculated likewise to bring matters to the attention of the
      shepherd. There is a ready means at hand to quash such sub-
      versive activity; it consists in a premature trip to the
      slaughter- house, inevitable later in any case for this
      remarkable fellow who is both too clever and yet not quite
      clever enough.

      Still, at very long intervals indeed, there does occur a
      black sheep of such outstanding acumen that he avoids this
      pitfall, too, and is thrown back upon the most sober
      consideration of what to do for the best. Such a sheep has
      lost his peace of mind once and for all; and he soon comes
      to realize that in his extremity nothing will suffice except
      to add an equal degree of courage to the intelligence which
      has brought him to his present pass. To remain where he is,
      is certain death, even (in his own conditions) a sort of
      deliberate suicide. But what then is he to do? It would be
      difficult enough to escape the watchful eye of the shepherd
      and , even if such a miracle were accomplished, where could
      he find fodder to keep himself alive or shelter from the
      winter which he likewise knows will surely come? All these
      necessities have always been provided for him; he lacks any
      knowledge himself as to how to go about obtaining them.

      Would it perhaps be better to forget the whole thing, to
      enjoy a life in many respects obviously suited to sheephood
      and to resign him- self to the fate which will overtake him
      only a little sooner than properly, in any case? And so,
      finally, we may imagine in what straights our sheep
      struggles with these alternatives.

      At the end of the fable we are told of the black sheep which
      came to a final decision. Having waited interminably for a
      possible op- portunity, that black sheep disappeared one
      dark night from the fold and could not thereafter be found.
      It had escaped....

      The black sheep's secret is this: that our lives have
      nothing to do with our personal aspirations or desires; that
      we are born and live because death must follow life; and
      that in death we pro- vide a kind of food required in the
      economy of the Universe, which nothing else can provide.
      The wool and mutton of the Myth are our literal physical
      bodies, in which during life certain purely physical
      substances are accumulated, quite unconsciously upon our
      part, substances that, when automatically released at our
      deaths, will furnish ingredients required by the cosmic

      These substances are altogether physical in character but
      they belong to the realm of physics rather than to that of
      chemistry; their nature is electromagnetic."


      Who does not identify with the black sheep?
      This sheep will not survive if s'he remains a sheep, without
      the protection of the shepherd, this sheep's a goner, short
      of transformation, the sheep transmuted into another, the
      sheep's dead without the herd and the protector.

      There is no shepherd (that's my unfounded statement).




      And yet I found myself waking this morning knowing that
      nothing is right, nothing is true, anything we've said,
      known, realized, is part of a cobweb. That goes for
      everything that can be named or unnamed; it goes for the
      greatest sameness/stillness known in our most close-to-death
      moment. It goes for everything we all know and we all know
      we know together; it goes for our deepest moment of truth;
      it goes for Ramana's true knowing; it goes for Christ's
      resurrection; it goes for the most silent moment of the
      universe; it goes for the absolute ultimate reality too:
      that they are cobwebs and I have to shake my head free of
      all of it. None of it, spoken or unspoken, will hold up
      half a billion years from now. And makes me realize I'm
      just a creature trying to understand. I don't trust anyone
      who knows, and that includes God.
      We think we know that which will not change, but do we?
      With the slightest doubt, a trillion universes are created.



      The Pathway of Nonduality

      Chapter 4

      Parmenides and His Vision (concluded)

      Q. It seems, however, that Parmenides depicts Being as a
      sphere, while Gaudapada speaks of Brahman as infinite,
      bodyless and beyond categories that belong to manifestation.

      A. This is right as far as Gaudapada is concerned, but to
      understand Parmenides it is necessary to get into the spirit
      of his vision rather than dwell upon the face value of his

      In ancient Greece the figure of the sphere was considered
      the symbol of perfection, of completeness, of unity, etc.;
      whereas all that was indefinite, formless, vague, nebulous,
      etc. was considered to be lacking in perfection and devoid
      of unity. Roundness gives us the impression of 'fullness',
      of self-sufficiency, of completeness as well as harmony and
      beauty, and as completeness it transcends all categories and
      all temporal and spatial empirical determinations. It
      stands for the pure metaphysical quality of the self-shining
      Being and its ideal circularness can 'extend itself' as far
      as the infinite because it represents the emanation of the
      Pole-point or of the centre, always identical to itself.

      Thus, when one wished, for example, to speak of things in
      terms of perfection, unity, fullness, stability, etc., one
      referred to that 'yardstick of measurement' represented by
      the sphere. Plato too -- like the Upanishads -- speaks of
      Being as a shining Sun. These are empirical or analogical
      images the true value of which must be sought in the
      metaphysical dimension.

      Parmenides speaks also of 'round truth':

      "You must learn to know all things, both the immovable
      spirit of the well-rounded truth, and the opinions of
      mortals wherein there dwells no legitimate credibility."

      Now, were we to interpret literally the expression
      'well-rounded truth' we would come up against a logical
      absurdity. But, if we enter into the spirit of Parmenides'
      thinking, of his day and of Tradition, then all will appear
      to be clear to us. 'Spherical truth' gives us the idea of
      perfect truth, of perfect knowledge, of an indubitable truth
      of such stability that nobody may shake or destroy, as
      against the truth of men which is instead simple opinion and
      therefore nebulous, vague, non-definite truth and unstable

      Here are a number of karikas by Gaudapada which require no

      "Now I shall speak of That which has no limit, never born
      and which is in constant equilibrium, and hear how it is
      impossible for anything to be born, though it may seem to
      have been born."

      "The creation which -- with the aid of the examples of
      earth, gold, sparks, etc. -- has been explained in various
      ways, is simple mentioned to generate the idea (of unity),
      but certainly there is no multiplicity."

      "The dualists affirm the birth of what is non-born. But how
      can what is non-born and immortal become mortal?"

      "The immortal can never become mortal, nor the mortal become
      immortal because there can be no change of nature."

      "It is on account of maya -- with the exclusion of every
      other possibility -- that this Non-born may differentiate.
      If differentiation were real, then the immortal would become

      According to Parmenides, opinion (doxa = representation,
      what appears to be true; sensory perception) is an erroneous
      vision of man 'in which true certainty does not dwell', and
      which makes Being seem to be generated and multiple.

      According to Gaudapada it is avidya, which can also be taken
      to mean sensory perception (simple projection, opinion,
      mental representation), which makes appear things that are


      "Some researchers hold the birth of a thing already
      existing. Others, instead, hold the birth of what does not

      "A datum which already exists cannot be reborn and a datum
      which never existed cannot come into being."

      "If a person believes that a positive, immortal entity can
      come into existence, how can he hold that the same immortal
      and unchangeable entity can yet maintain its immortal

      "By the word nature is meant what is permanently acquired or
      is intrinsic or innate, what is not produced and what is
      unchanging in its essential characteristics."

      "Cause cannot be born of an effect with no beginning; on the
      other hand an effect cannot be born of a cause without
      origin, because a thing without cause certainly has no

      "The unreal cannot have the unreal as its cause, nor can the
      real be born of the real, nor can the real stem from the
      unreal, nor, finally, the non-real from the real."

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