#1673 - Saturday, January 10, 2004
Nondual Highlights Issue #1673 Saturday, January 10, 2004 Editor: Mark
Music: whaletalkers26.wav from http://www.whalesong.net/archive.htm
Q. But what does that notion do to the idea of karma, reincarnation and the Law of Cause and Effect? Aren't they real either?
A. Karma and reincarnation exist only as long as there's an illusion that there's a separate and individual "self" who is the so-called do-er.
In other words, if you consider yourself to be the "causer," it naturally follows that a "you" will then be obliged to "hang around" in order to receive the full effects of the so-called "causes" that you've, seemingly, set into motion. Without a separated "self" actually present to experience these phenomena, though, the idea of karma and reincarnation is unsupportable.
How does that follow? Well, if all separation is only illusory, then who is it that's actually being "reincarnated," anyway? Or, for that matter, who is it who's ever really "died" in the first place in order to be "reborn" again?
Q. So are you saying that all of mankind's past history is really only a part of this great illusion, too, and that none of it ever really happened!?
A. Well, there's only one so-called "movie" playing on the "Cosmic Screen," and that's the very "movie" that you believe you're experiencing at this very moment.
When you watch a movie, for example, did the offscreen events that are referred to by the characters really, in fact, ever take place at all? But, you see, the dramatic story on the screen is greatly advanced (and enhanced) by the viewer's willingness to pretend that those offscreen events did, in fact, actually occur. But "It" (as the movie) is always fully present in its absolute totality...right here and right now. In short, this really is IT !!
Q. Yes, but then what about the future? It almost sounds like you're saying that I shouldn't try to do anything about it.
A. No, I'm not suggesting that at all. For example, if you really feel moved to save the whales, help the poor, stop AIDs, etc., then go ahead and completely throw yourself into it 100%. Don't hold anything back! The "you" that you think you are, though, is not really the "do-er" of any of these actions. Consequently, this "you," then, need not concern itself with the results of these "actions" that you're feeling so compelled to, seemingly, "do." In Truth, by playing ALL of the so-called "parts" in the cosmic drama, Consciousness is really "doing" it all.
Q. But are you saying that I shouldn't care how things work out?
A. Actually, I'm just suggesting that you play out your role in the Cosmic drama with complete gusto and passion. However, you can best remain truly detached from what shows up for you only if you give up your idea about what "working out" looks like. In truth, things will neither "work out" nor will they not "work out." They will only BE whatever they will be.
If there's any overlay of what "should" be happening on top of what actually is happening, then it's only a manifestation of the ego-self getting caught up in its own delusion that it (and it alone) is the true source and the "do-er" of these actions.
The irony here is that, even though it doesn't really matter what you "do" in your role, it still seems to be very important that you go ahead and, seemingly, "do" it anyway. After all, the dance is best honored when the Dancer (Shiva) really dances the dance!
But remember that It's all only a dazzling "play" that's unfolding like the ever-changing colors of a cosmic kaleidoscope. The very nature of the Consciousness that you are is to "BE" what It is .. by pretending to, seemingly, "become" what It's pretending to not be.
Q. So, are you enlightened?
A. Well, if any and all divisions on the Cosmic Screen are only illusory, then how is any individual enlightenment even possible? In other words, what separate being is really "there" to be enlightened (or, for that matter, to be un-enlightened) in the first place?
- Chuck Hillig from The Way "It" Is, published by Black Dot Publications, 2001.
Interconnectedness -- as doctrine and as experience -- is a source of comfort and inspiration for most Buddhist activists. If all things are related to each other, then work on behalf of one worthy cause often supports work on behalf of other worthy causes. Joe Gorin kept asking himself where he could contribute most effectively; eventually he concluded that "each struggle for justice is a part of every other one, so it makes little difference where I go after my time in Guatemala is over."  In practical terms, saving rainforests may not help to save whales, but saving rainforests may indeed help to protect indigenous peoples. The task for globally oriented activists is to identify the meaningful connections.
For veteran practitioner-activists there is a steady current of "results" in one's inner life, however external outcomes are reckoned. When all else fails, the sense of forward movement on the path can provide sufficient justification for continuing one's work in the world. Alan Senauke articulates this assuredness:
Often I feel discouraged by the overwhelming tide of violence, nationalism, racism, and all painful divisions we create between and among us. But the work of kind words, nonviolence, mindful breaths, and quiet sitting has its own core of steel. 
Maylie Scott describes one of the ways that her presence at the Concord Weapons Station has contributed to her spiritual understanding:
From the first time I went out -- Christmas of 1987 -- it was very clear to me that the community there was not really based on results, although it was dedicated to stopping the weapons from being exported. The site is the basis of a community witness. . Seeing the trucks pass and knowing what's happened -- both on the site and as a result of the weapons themselves -- you fall into a meditative response; you recognize something. 
Since the boundary between "inner" and "outer" is porous, any achievements in the inner realm yield benefits in the outer realm. Whenever Scott or others "recognize something," they are somehow changed; and they further believe that in changing themselves they also transform the world.
The sense of efficacy in the spiritual realm is not experienced merely as a compensatory source of solace for political frustration or failure. Spiritual power is believed to achieve its own results in its own ways. Thus a group of Buddhist demonstrators bearing witness at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site recited a ritual dedication as part of a ceremony they created. It concluded:
All merit and virtue that may have arisen through our efforts here, we now respectfully turn over and dedicate to the healing of this beautiful sacred land and to all beings who have been injured or harmed by the weapons testing on this place, so that the children of this world may live in peace free from these profane weapons, and thus may have their chance to realize the Buddha's Way. 
- excerpt from: Practicing Peace: Social Engagement in Western Buddhism By Kenneth Kraft, published in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Vol 2, 1995
In the last decade or so ethics has experienced a revolution, as the parameters basic to ethical debate since ancient Greece have been transformed. Until quite recently, the problem of ethics has been what binds us human beings together: how to relate to other people, or to society as a whole, without using or abusing each other. Today the issue of ethical responsibility has broadened to encompass the whole ecosphere. The crucial question has become how to relate to all beings, not only animals and plants but also apparently non-sentient "beings" such as tropical rain forest systems and the ozone layer. In spite of distractions such as the debate over "sustainable development" (an oxymoron?), the suspicion continues to grow that what is involved is much more than merely the need to preserve "our natural resources." Lynn White, Jr., one of the first to consider the philosophical implications of the ecological crisis, realized that the issue is fundamentally a spiritual one: "Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not. We must rethink and refeel our destiny."  It is becoming obvious that what is required is nothing less than a fundamental transformation in the way we have understood the relation between ourselves and the earth.
At the heart of this issue, we are also beginning to realize, is the self. The ecological problem seems to be the perennial personal problem writ large: a consequence of the alienation between myself and the world I find myself "in." "The same dualism that reduces things to objects for consciousness is at work in the humanism that reduces nature to raw material for mankind."  In both these dualisms, the self is understood to be the locus of awareness and therefore the source of meaning and value. But this devalues the objective world, including all of nature, into merely that sphere of activity wherein the self labors to fulfill itself. The alienated subject feels no responsibility for the objectified other and attempts to find satisfaction through exploitative projects which, in fact, usually increase the sense of alienation. If so, the meaning and purpose that we seek can be attained only by establishing a more nondual relationship with the objectified other: in ecological terms, with the earth which is not only our home but our mother.
The reason why we have trouble is that we have a body. When we have no body, what trouble do we have? Therefore: he who loves the whole world as if it were his own body Can be trusted with the whole world. --Tao Te Ching, ch. 13
- excerpt from Loving the World as Our Own Body: The Nondualist Ethics of Taoism, Buddhism and Deep Ecology By David Loy
Lilly of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star
By CHARLIE HOPKINS
In the undertow of evening I am settled around myself.
Those who have lived long enough to keep quiet
should be listened to.
In the valley between my shoulder blades I sing to my Self
where a river is running underground.
I am always kneeling.
I kneel to the one who knows but will not speak
the first word that sets these worlds in motion.
Every man is alone and every woman is breathing in the gulf
with schools of mullet in her tidal hair.
All night long the left hand feels in the dark for the right.
Shivabalayogi is my Guru. Carol is my wife.
This is all I know.
The angel of the Lord is flying again
over the Cascade Range and Hood River Valley.
Wings made of fire drop light into undergrowth.
I am a standing flame.
My fingers matchsticks all struck at once.
I am the river in the Douglas fir
the living water rising through root and trunk
taking in and giving out breath.
You are above me spread out as breath and as the prayer of breath.
Shivabalayogi I am kneeling to you.
Carol I am kneeling to you.
Poem copyright 2001 Charlie Hopkins
Charlie Hopkins is a wallpaper hanger and devotee of Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. He lives in Hood River, Oregon. All his poems and prayers are addressed to his wife, Carol, but she doesn't mind if others read them also. Carol is a Vedic astrologer and counselor.
A teenager pitched a rock through my window. So now, my occupation is gathering rocks in the adjacent lot. I never seen so many rocks. I have gathered already two wheelbarrows of rocks. I don't blame the teenager, I blame the rocks. Stones like to fly and they ask children for a ride.
It has been interesting. They are so dissimilar, those rocks: So many sizes, and colors, and textures. The lot is like a city of rocks. Some look native to the soil, others are foreigners who arrived long ago from God knows where. A few are very smooth and round and hefty- good stones to throw. You can tell they came from some river or shore. Others are jagged and evil looking, they have the looks of killers rocks. I wish they would talk to me, but rocks are very snobbish, they only talk to geologists, or kids.
Kids and stones go way back. The beginning of their love affair is lost in time. It was probably a child who threw the first rock to an animal. And it was to this child that the stone whispered a message now lost. A message and a promise of fruitful partnership- of weapons, and power and cities and roads, and kingdoms to come.
Yes, we became really human when we began fashioning rocks to suit our needs. We shaped them and they shaped us. So when I lift my wheelbarrow full of stones I feel like a Sumerian. And the Zen Garden boulders left behind wink wisely in the sun.
-Submitted by Pete to NDS:
You are not the Doer
You and I are not doers. We're really not. This is one of the last dominoes to fall when you are trying to wake up. Arguments against this theory abound, obfuscating the clear light of the principle.
I am not typing these words into the computer. Well, of course I am. Actually, "I am" is typing these words into the computer, but "me" is not. "Me" doesn't have a clue. " Me" is "I am" dressed up as" Vicki the typist."
I try hard not to intellectualize what I know to be true. I get tired of reading esoteric blah blah about enlightenment. These fingers pointing to the moon are not typing, you might say. Everything is typing and that is the simple truth. Everything backs up everything and nothing is excluded.
Martian rocks and argyle socks are excellent typists when they need to be. So are newborn pups and coffee cups. Whatever needs to be done is done by the All. When you run out of tape wrapping a package, the universe runs out of tape and has to go to the store. That is why gurus talk about cultivating the higher virtues, like thrift. Ramana Maharshi didn't waste a scrap of food. We all know that. If he had eaten at Chili's, he would have taken home part of his dinner in a styrofoam box.
The day I discovered that I was not the doer was when my husband blamed me for burning dinner. "Oh, no," I chirped, "the universe burned the dinner."
"Well, the universe doesn't have to clean it up," he said. He frowned at the charred skillet and I knew that I had found a real reason to believe in the theory of not being the doer.
This may not be what you were expecting to read, but the universe is not always a very good writer. If you are dissatisfied enough to want to argue with me about this theory, the universe will be happy to hear what you have to say. And by the way, the universe likes chocolate-covered doughnuts but they tend to make it fat.
So, let's recap, shall we? There is no doer and the universe is a trillion pounds overweight. They may find no life on Mars, but they will find a rather large double chin. When they figure out how to get it a health club membership, all of us will have to go.
Yours in clear understanding,
Vicki Woodyard (on NDS)
A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing.
Zog landed at night in Connectitut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golf club.
-Submitted to NDS by Al Larus
This perspective below in poetic pandering for possible applause or
boo-hooks hanging overhead, is a play with the Player, a persona
honest sonnet capped with what Lal-Ded reputedly said,
"It is God who yawns and sneezes
and coughs, and now laughs.
Look, it's God doing ablutions!
God deciding to fast, God going naked
from one New Year's Eve to the next.
Will you ever understand
how near God is
My ego is my pal.
We swing in Northern Cal.
From in-between the standard mean
of swinging between anything,
I swings with Niz in ego-biz,
by being everything that Love can bring
and being nothing, Wisdom winged...
To the moon pointing I,
Ridin' high on ego's sly
fat cat falalala head...
There's nothing ego "oh no!" dreaded,
There's nothing ego "gimme!" headed...
My ego is my pal.
We sing from Northern Cal.
We slip and trip
and call out yip
we clip the edge and cantor foul,
but man oh man and wow oh wow,
We always gets that sacred cow...
A Moooove on now,
We cuts him up and stitches up
the little ego wine-filled cup...
My ego is my pal.
We palm press with Allah.
We sit here sketching skits with Ish
a Wara wooing for Arjuna,
"Everyone is now in tune-a"
with a Luna laughing Howl.
My ego is my pal.
The night sky doesn't complain
when the stars appear, so what's all
the gloomy bother over thoughts and such?
Some teachers claim that
the mind is the enemy, but
this one has been a good friend.
When I wake at dawn
the mind's there to play, at
night it lulls me to sleep.
When it does what it does
there's no problem at all, unless
I imagine there's somebody there,
in which case you'd only be
speaking the truth if you claimed
"It's all in the mind!"
- Submitted by Robert O'Hearn to AdyashantiSatsang