Highlights, Friday, Nov. 12
- These are the highlights from the Nonduality Salon for
Friday, November 12, 1999, from cross hairs to butt prints
and everything in between...
The idea of cross hairs may seem violent and attacking to
you, but the day you get your own self right in those cross
hairs will be your lucky day. Out with the old, in with the
Nonduality does not appear. That's why it is nonduality.
What appears is just verbiage and an occasional pretty
You make an excellent point.
It's quite paradoxical to words.
Nonduality appears to an individual who has no existence in
the Nonduality that has no appearance. The individual is
then free to express This, which is not expressible.
I ... see the formation of images of self and others, not
only as accounting for conflict and social division, but
inspiring much rejoicing, awesome creativity, love and
To me it is the imposing of our personal images on others
that bogs us down. Personalities free to bloom unjudged are
as innocent and varied as a field of wild flowers.
I once had a really huge desire to make someone
*listen* to what my heart is sharing, but that desire is
shrinking more and more every day, thanks to a great extent
to this list, and for those of you who refuse to hear what I
say. Kind of funny, isn't it? Life's a mystery. <s>
yes this is fading for me too, though i still yearn to have
what i communicate from the *heart* be *felt* as such.
So much misses the mark via e-mail words and gets received
by the intellect only.
Actual life is so much more precise. There we have vocal
tones and subtle unconscious gestures directing cupids
arrows directly to the heart.
Life's a mystery alright.
All I want is to be free to hold nothing, All I want is to
be free to be fully and fearlessly with whatever is
occurring here and now
I commit to being open to the meanings I am generating, to
be allow the meanings to be
Yes, this was my affirmation too, in my 'Illusions of
Duality' post, but it was interpreted as sounding like some
sort of idealistic wish list and being "very defensive about
some supposed "nondual line".
In actuality my sense of nonduality is acutely enhanced by
accepting what is occurring here and now. I experience life
more fully by this holding nothing as separate, as more or
less precious, be it personal or nondual. I come from a
species of consciousness who are studying the energies of
'allowing' with loving endeavor. A species of
consciousness, no more or less precious than those studying
the energies of suffering.
This classic piece from Thomas Merton in Seeds of
Contemplation might be meaningful. It was written in the
40's and he uses 'men' instead of 'people'.
"I wonder if there are twenty men alive in the world now who
see things as they really are. That would mean that there
were twenty men who were free, who were not dominated or
even influenced by any attachnment to any created thing or
to their own selves or to any gift of God, even to the
highest, the most super-naturally pure of His graces. I
don't believe that there are twenty such men alive in the
world. But there must be one or two. They are the ones who
are holding everything together and keeping the universe
from falling apart."
In the Jewish religion it is said there are 16 people who
hold up the world. Whatever. Let the other 14 fight it
out. They can sign up for this list. To me, the point of
this way of looking things is that it's very hard to see
what is. But if there are one or two or 16 people who see
what is, then a portion of us must also see what is. That
would be the holistic interpretation of Merton or the Jews.
A small portion of us is free. And spiritual life is the
opening to that part of us that is free, that in fact keeps
the universe from falling apart.
Letting go of struggle and fear is necessary, yet this
involves its own struggle with the kind of attention
required to do that.
Judgement is one of the primary functions of ego-mind that
holds the illusion of duality in place. But, you must know
that, at least as a concept.
Another way of saying this derives from the 'Power VS Force'
"A person becomes susceptible to any force which that person
It is indeed possible to actually see and understand that we
are 'power', and that use of force is an unwise expenditure
of one's power. This is an understandable relationship
between 'abiding awareness' (that is, awareness which
'sticks around', does not go away, does not wildly
fluctuate) and the consequences of unwise reaction to
Abiding awareness is able to see that everything that seems
to happen, is happening in a continuum of self-referential
reflections. Abiding awareness sees that all of this
apparent activity, this movement, this ebb and flow,
constantly creates itself by referring to itself.
It is possible for abiding awareness to reinforce itself, by
the act of abiding. This is the same as stabilizing in
non-reactivity as a way of Being. So stabilized, the
'difference' between the self-creating, self-referential
movements, and the nature of abiding awareness becomes more
and more clear.
Soon, it becomes apparent that any expenditure of power
(so-done by the application of force) involves what could be
considered to be a 'sacrifice' of power, as power (abiding
awareness) is manifested, by choice, as force.
Abiding awareness abides by virtue of the 'act' of abiding,
and this 'act' is non-reaction to the impulse to expend
power by converting power to force. Thus conserved, gifts
of power as _force_ may be skillfully given, perfectly
timed, as a gift, to awaken another. This kind of
intervention is ruled _only_ by compassion.
Great Power results from wise regulation of reaction;
abiding awareness abides, as a result of wise conservation
of power. Great Power may choose to gift to 'lesser power'
(awareness which has not yet learned what leads to Great
Power, eg, the deliberate non-reaction which results from
cultivated non-attachment, which leads to abiding), lessons
which will lead to an understanding of compassion as the
highest power. This gifting is indeed an intervention.
Compassion transcends all imaginings of harm or benefit.
Compassion is what is going on as the 'project of
civilization', as Dan referred to it. As the Greatest
Power, compassion leads, and all lesser powers follow. In
this Rhumba-chain, which undulates through human history,
compassion is in the lead, and the reactive users of force
bring up the rear. Reactionary ones feel the 'crack the
whip' sensation at the end of the line, and desiring more
control, try to fight their way forward. Inevitably, as one
moves forward toward the beginning, the effects of
compassion become more pronounced; in this way, is a system
of refinement in place, which includes everyone.
MELODY AND JAN
Melody: Would we be feeling such regret, without a sense of
guilt? Is not 'guilt' ego centered?
Jan: Not necessarily; suppose you are walking on a path in
the woods, don't see a beetle and crush it. Whatever the
"explanation" for this (karma, guilty of being not
attentive, ignorance), you crushed a creature and it doesn't
feel good. Guilt is said to be ego-based when there is the
sense of "I am the doer"; when this sense has left one still
wouldn't feel good overlooking the beetle and crushing it;
the feeling would be the same, the interpretation (I am
guilty) is absent.
Of course the example is imaginary; when the sense "I"
becomes weak, one appears to have a sixth sense that will
prevent one from accidentally crushing little creatures.
Melody: We talk so often here of surrendering 'ego'.
What would it mean if we were to surrender our collective
sense of guilt? What would we lose?
Jan: The brick wall of defenses from behind which both
attacking and hiding seems easy...
Melody: What are we afraid of? I ask this sincerely.
What are we afraid this says about 'us'?
Jan: The "I" could be called the potential to conditionally
enjoy and suffer.
Losing the sense of "I" is the ultimate fear as it leaves
nothing to defend and nowhere to hide. During this process
of severing all links with the "I", one can feel insecure,
nervous and for some one can become an "open book". Pain
can be felt more intense but "reverberation time" will
...my main point is that any steps in the direction of
articulating a social or "mahayana" nonduality could be
something totally new and would probably coincidentally
facilitate an appreciation of nonduality in a broader
what do you guys think?
This is a good idea Larry - but what's wrong with mahayana
itself? It has a sophisticated non-dual philosophy that
integrates compassion into its vision of emptiness. The
Dalai Lama writes books about its ethics.
It is not advaita, there's no background of sat-chit-ananda,
but there are many practicing Mahayanists who take social
issues seriously. There are "engaged Buddhists," as you can
see from picking up any issue of Tricycle Magazine. How
I think that an emphasis on social issues in *advaita* on
the other hand won't be popular, at least it hasn't proven
to be so far. Andrew Cohen has tried to build the notion of
behavioral norms into his notion of nondualism, but it
hasn't made him too popular with some others who are
attracted to nondualism.
On the other hand, in many advaita teachings, there's a
certain attachment to the absolute, to doing nothing, to
practicing quietness or non-doership. Not as a way of
purifying, but as a way to make Silence true.
But just because there's nothing real to do, no others, and
no suffering -- doesn't mean we don't help others and help
appease suffering. To think that this is paradoxical
combination is impossible or nonsensical is to be attached
to nirguna Brahman, to the noumenon, to the absolute.
I think what you're saying here, Larry, is very important!
BUTTPRINTS IN THE SAND
(the Sequel to Footprints)
One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
the footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore.
But then some stranger prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat,
But Lord, they are too big for feet."
"My child," He said in somber tones,
"for miles I carried you alone.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait."
"You disobeyed, you would not grow,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you, on your butt."
"Because in life, there comes a time,
When you must fight and you must climb.
When you must rise and take a stand,
Or leave your buttprints in the sand!"
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