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#1431 - Thursday, May 15, 2003

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  • Jerry Katz
    Issue #1431 - Thursday, May 15, 2003 - Editor: Jerry ... Ron Whenary Living Advaita Dear Steve, Thanks for your last reply and apologies for not replying
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2003
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      Issue #1431 - Thursday, May 15, 2003 - Editor: Jerry

      Ron Whenary
      Living Advaita
      Dear Steve,
      Thanks for your last reply and apologies for not replying
      sooner. I would just like to make a further comment in
      response to something you said in the last post ....
      "some believe that when you wake up, you have a still mind or
      are always in peace and bliss, and this is not true, thoughts,
      feelings, anger, emotions still come but you do not react to
      them in the same way as before. You do not get caught up in it
      as if it were real".
      My own experience of this is that there is a profound change.
      The fact that one does not get caught up as one used to, does
      have a positive effect on how one feels in terms of stillness,
      peace and bliss. The pre-awakened mind usually gets involved
      so much that there is no stillness, no peace, no pure
      enjoyment. The mind gets in the way of all this, with its
      endless grasping, reacting and busy-ness. When the mind is no
      longer chasing it's own tail like this it finds a resting
      place in simply Being. Then one can still be very busy in
      one's life, but there is always a standing back from 'personal
      involvement' - there is a detachment. With this detachment,
      the stillness and peace are not ruffled, and one is still open
      to enjoy the unexpected in life. And one can also be effective
      in one's actions. Anger, fear and all the other emotions may
      arise, but if one is really grounded in the awakening, they do
      not take hold in the way they did before - and they may not
      even arise at all.
      Having said all this, I don't think it is helpful to
      distinguish who is awakened and who is not. I am always aware
      that using terms like "awakened" and "awakening" does give the
      impression that one is awakened. The reader, listener or
      correspondent may therefore assume something that may not be. 
      Jean Klein used to be very clear on this matter. When the
      teacher takes himself to be a teacher and the student takes
      himself to be a student, they are playing some sort of game
      with each other - but the game is in duality. The teacher
      needs the student and the student needs the teacher.
      But, in my view, an awakened teacher does not have any such
      pretense about him or herself, and with such a teacher you
      never have the feeling that you have lost your own autonomy.
      Not only do they offer you awakening - they also give you
      freedom, which is your birthright.
      Kind regards
      Soul on the silver screen
      An international film festival comes to the Midcoast next
      week, as the 2003 Cinema of the Spirit festival premieres in
      Rockland and Rockport Wednesday through Sunday, May 21-25,
      before moving on to Edinburgh, Scotland in June and
      Sacramento, Calif. in December.
      The Cinema of the Spirit festival is intended to honor,
      celebrate and illuminate the global range of spiritual
      experience. Documentaries, dramatic features, classics and
      animated shorts, as well as live spoken and musical
      performance, all have a part in this annual festival.

      When Invention Paves a Path to Truth
      "To advance spiritually, artistically,
      intellectually, emotionally, often the best thing to do is
      absolutely nothing. To allow in stillness, silence, even
      boredom. To make a space for non-doing."
      The Portion
      But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for
      the land, a Sabbath unto the Lord; thou shalt neither sow thy
      field, nor prune thy vineyard.
      — Leviticus 25:4
      As a fiction writer, most often I get the germ
      of a story from a first line. But once in a while I find a
      story from a title. This happened in 1998. I was on a plane
      coming back from a conference in Tulsa, Okla., where my first
      published story, about some unexpected visitors at a Boston
      minyan, had won a prize. It had been a thrilling experience.
      Might readers, including non-Jewish readers, want more of
      these kinds of stories? Hopeful, buoyant, I furiously
      scribbled down potential titles on the back of the conference
      brochure. Somewhere over Ohio, sandwiched between "The Lament
      of the Rabbi's Daughters" and "The Sabbath Guest," came "The
      Shmitta Year."
      "The Shmitta Year"? A short story about the biblical
      commandment to let the land of Israel lie untouched every
      seventh year? It didn't seem promising. Yet about a year later
      a story began to assemble itself. Within two paragraphs I had
      my subject — the seventh year (now the title) — and my
      character, Boaz Deri, a 70-year-old secular Jerusalemite with
      an inexplicable attachment to the shmitta concept. My task was
      to figure out why. I believed, of course, that I was just
      writing the story of my invented Mr. Deri; in fact, I was also
      trying to puzzle this out for myself. What deeper meanings
      could anyone, real or imagined, Jewish or not, in Israel or
      the Diaspora, find within the enigmatic notions of the seventh
      Fortunately, I wasn't entirely at the mercy of Leviticus for
      background. In 1979-1980, a shmitta year, I was living in
      Jerusalem for the second of what would become a three-year
      stay. As part of a newly observant community, I bought only
      imported produce or produce grown on Arab-owned lands, because
      those were safely outside the prohibitions of the shmitta,
      despite the fact that there was a heter, a rabbinic
      dispensation (issued every shmitta year since 1910), that
      bypassed the prohibitions and permitted Jews to cultivate
      their own land and eat its fruits. Oblivious of the heter, I
      cheerfully bought peaches from Spain and tomatoes from
      Jericho, largely unaware that all across the country kibbutzim
      and moshavim, with a few exceptions, continued to plant and
      harvest their crops. It was, in short, relatively
      business-as-usual in my real-time seventh year.
      Not so in my character's. Thanks to that age-old literary
      dispensation for lying, poetic license, the Israel in which
      Boaz Deri lived observed the shmitta prohibitions countrywide.
      Tractors rested like sleeping dinosaurs in the fields, and
      grapes rotted fragrantly on the vines. Orchards burst with
      unpicked apples not far from where olive trees stood naked
      without their little sacks to catch the fruit. My fictional
      shmitta year was one of abundant excess and the constant
      heavenly reminder: Do not touch, but look what the earth can
      do. It's not that I set out to distort the truth; it just
      seemed the only way. How was I going to find out why my
      character loved the seventh year unless I put him smack inside
      a fully enacted one and watched for what emerged?
      What emerged was nothing short of radical. For the shmitta
      rules tell us: let go. Stop all the striving. Declare your
      fields and holdings ownerless. Risk starving, and have faith
      that all will be well anyway. Don't think beyond tomorrow. If
      you're worried about what to do all year if you don't work,
      says the Mishna, study Torah. Be free of the yoke of labor.
      Take spiritual sustenance.
      Dangerous, risky —if we stop engineering, even for a moment,
      maybe all will collapse — but there is a crucial upside. Rav
      Kook, in "Shabbat Ha'aretz," his treatise on the seventh year,
      wrote, "The great drive of life for growth and improvement
      needs to be realized by having a breathing space... a release
      from the general tumult of living." The poet John Keats
      referred to the poet's "diligent indolence," a state of
      suspended activity necessary for creativity. The writer
      Jonathan Rosen quotes Keats in an essay about his own writing
      life, and quips, "On days when I'm really diligent, I might
      even take a nap." To advance spiritually, artistically,
      intellectually, emotionally, often the best thing to do is
      absolutely nothing. To allow in stillness, silence, even
      boredom. To make a space for non-doing.
      It seems more Buddhist than Jewish, more Eastern than Western,
      for we are, most of us, anxiously arranging our lives every
      day. How can we afford to simply stop and let go? we ask. How
      can we afford to exist in that space of un-planting, of
      non-striving, of simply being and allowing whatever comes to
      Through Boaz Deri I discovered that shmitta radically turns
      that question on its head: how, shmitta asks us, can we afford
      not to?
      Joan Leegant teaches writing at Hebrew College and Harvard
      University. "The Seventh Year" will appear in her collection
      of stories, "An Hour in Paradise," to be published by W.W.
      Norton in August.
      A Familiar World
      The Other Syntax
      "When you see there are no longer familiar features in the world. Everything is new. Everything has never happened before. The world is incredible! Nothing is any longer familiar. Everything you gaze at becomes nothing! Things simply become nothing and yet they are still there." [A Separate Reality]

      Daily Dharma
      "Go back to sleep.

         Yes, you are allowed.

      You have no Love in you heart,

         Go back to sleep.

      His Love and his sorrow

         Are exclusive to us,

         You go back to sleep.

      I have been burnt

         By the sun of the sorrow of Love.

         You have no such yearning in your heart,

         Go back to sleep.

      The path of Love,

         Has seventy-two folds and countless facets.

         Your love and religion

         Is all about deceit and hypocrisy,

         Go back to sleep.

      We put ourselves in Love’s hands,

         And will wait for her bidding.

         Since you are in your own hands,

         You can go back to sleep.

      I consume nothing but pain and blood,

         And you the finest delicacies.

         And of course after each feast,

         You may want to take a nap.

         So just go back to sleep.

      I have torn to pieces my robe of speech,

         And have let go of the desire to converse.

         You who are not naked yet,

         Go back to sleep."


       ~~ Rumi

      R.K. Shankar
      I Am
      evvadai viRpiRi dhedhumadai dhaRkinRO
      vevvinbi niRpiRi dhinbinRO - vevvarivu
      thanniR piRidhaRivu thAninRA mOvadhu
      thannaip piramamenach chAr


      " 1)   In which attainment, is not any other to attain,
         2)  In which bliss, is not another bliss,
         3)  In which awareness-Self, other-awareness alone becomes (!)
         4)  That Self adjoin as Brahman."

      Translation of Sri Bhagawan's Tamil Atma Bodha verse 54

      Yours in Sri Bhagawan
      RK Shankar

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