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Highlights Pt. 2, Fri., Nov. 19

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  • umbada@xx.xxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxxx.xxxxx)
    JUDI You can spend the rest of your life praying at the edge of a cliff thinking that you are going someplace, to some ultimate nirvana or God that will
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 20, 1999
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      JUDI

      You can spend the rest of your life praying at the edge of a
      cliff thinking that you are going someplace, to some
      ultimate nirvana or God that will relieve you somehow of
      your ignorance and suffering, but which is actually nothing
      more but the demonstration of your lack of realization, your
      lack of 'intelligence'. Boo-hoo, so what else is new?? Do
      you see what I mean? If you really want to realize
      something, really get smart, realize what you are doing, and
      what your life has been about up to this point. Stop
      seeking now! See, and therefore undermine, what it is that
      you are doing, what you *are*, which is and has been, a
      'self'-ish game of looking for a payoff, a way out of
      ignorance and suffering - which is in fact suffering
      itself. What it comes down to is that it is your life, you
      can spend continuing on as you are now, seeking in
      ignorance, or you can decide to get smart right here and
      now. It's your choice. This is sober waking up stuff, this
      is not an intellectual or feeling matter, no matter how many
      emotions you can generate about your predicament. Good
      luck, I wish you happiness.

      _____________________________________________________________

      CHRISTIANA

      Melody wrote: "It seems I can apply nondual principles
      anywhere else except when it comes to my own child. Is
      there a middle road?"

      Hi Melody..

      Here is what I can offer. The Eye in the Center of
      relationship seems to perceive most clearly

      when I discern between:
      common sense and projected expectation
      concern and fear
      my outer child and my inner child
      Authentic and conditioned voice
      passivity and surrender
      a good choice and the right choice and.. when I listen to
      the guidance which passes between our hearts.

      I have been sculpted by my children. They have taught me to
      listen deeply and then listen even deeper. They have taught
      me to speak my truth but recognize that it is only mine,
      then listen to theirs. They have taught me that their
      guidance comes from the same source as mine...
      the great existential leveler. They have taught me
      humility, reverence and gratitude. They have taught me that
      love survives countless tears in the heart's fabric.

      There has been much written this week which can be read
      through the moniker of 'parenting' (in fact you could
      substitute 'parent' for 'therapist' in Dan's interesting
      post and see the mirror he offers)..
      weaving here..

      Ben: So I ask you again in a different way how you stay
      centered in the silent stillness wherever you go?

      xan: Awareness itself is effortless.

      Dan: This is exactly what makes the Middle Way so difficult
      to grasp.
      It's not a Way that can be followed, it's not a something
      that can be understood.

      "For me, the important thing is to notice these emotional
      tendencies that might be termed "search" and "escape" or
      "desire" and "fear". An additional challenge of Buddhism is
      its assertion of compassion. How can "compassion" (or love
      in Christianity) be asserted if there is no "essentialism"?

      Tim: What is 'love' or 'compassion' that is void of
      commitment?

      Dan: Buddhism points us in a direction where
      conceptualization doesn't "fit" anymore, where ideas about
      self or not-self don't "get it".
      Similar moments can occur in therapy (although the aims of
      Buddhism can be considered somewhat different) - when a
      person reaches an instant where the old concepts don't work
      and new concepts are not in place."

      "A unique and valuable aspect of counseling is that it
      provides an ongoing dialogue as a means for
      self-examination, a unique kind of mirror is provided
      (hopefully with compassion). In fact, counseling can be
      done from a nondual perspective, in my opinion and
      experience. A nondual perspective means being able to
      resonate with persons, be able to recognize the "shared
      ground," as well as the ways that "illusory concepts" can
      affect lives."

      "Therapy in some ways can be viewed as an encounter in a
      bardo-realm."
      [The landscape of parenting!]

      "Therapy that works leads a person toward greater balance,
      awareness of how they direct energy, ability to notice the
      consequences of thoughts and feelings; often there are
      positive effects from releasing distorted self-thoughts,
      such as self-blame, over-responsibility, guilt, negativity
      toward self and others. Good therapy enhances openness,
      supports questioning, and is compatible with spiritual
      awakening, although its focus is definitely more "worldly".

      "Therapists simply provide a service. They don't have the
      power to "make" someone into anything. The people I work
      with are clients and I'm a consultant."

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      may the knot release gently..
      love, Christiana

      ----------------------------------------------------------

      FREEHEART

      Don't have teenagers yet, however the question certainly has
      come up round here. My short answer about 'our kids' looks
      at this as one of "being".

      The two extremes are: 'I have an absolute duty to help
      them...' or, 'Allowing them to find themselves, by
      themselves.'

      I do not see any convenient middle road.

      What is "being", what is being a parent? In both, knowing
      and separating the chaff, personal garbage, from the
      non-personal experience of being is primary. And then I am
      as honest with the other, as I can be. This "honesty",
      seems to hinge upon purity of completeness of step one.

      After that I understand I have given all I can, it is no
      different than here with the adults, we chose our own
      teachers, and experiences. The Sum is enlightening, A
      parent, but a small facet.

      Is it too much to accept, that we are given exactly what
      we've all asked for, and never more than we can hold?

      ------------------------------------------------------------------

      BEN

      Hi Melody!
      As the step father of a teenager (who I love as my own), I
      would like to take a crack at your question. Being a step
      dad, I get to have a unique perspective, and I have noticed
      that I have fewer expectations than my wife, her family, and
      her ex hubby. I think that there are several reasons for
      this.

      Reason number 1 is that I have no genetic connection to the
      girls (15 & 10), so when they do something that on the
      surface appears stupid or wrong, I do not consider it a slam
      on the family ancestry or heritage. Sometimes, I kind of
      snicker :o) Bad Ben! This means that I can step back and
      treat the girls like I would any other person who I dearly
      love.

      I stand a better chance of being listened to because I am
      not dealing with the situation as the "father image." We
      can cut the role playing and get straight to heart of the
      matter. The communication and interaction is not a
      controlling one, but one where I am telling them what I am
      seeing and how this translates in my experience. This helps
      to explain why I think it is a loving action that I am
      taking even though she (the teenager) does not see it that
      way. (Know that I am dealing with a retro rocketed, nitro
      burning, hormone laden ego that is gearing up for a full
      frontal attack from the direction of who she thinks she is
      if I cop a role as dad.) I ask the teenager her side of the
      coin, and if the circumstances are not dire, we negotiate a
      mutual agreement, and I establish consequences if the
      agreement is broken. (I absolutely follow through despite
      all emotional appeals if the agreement is broken - loving
      detachment.)

      In other words, I don't ACT ON the initial thought. This
      opening allows me the room to reverse any initial nuclear
      reactions on my part. This gives both of us much more
      flexibility. There is spaciousness. It takes us out of
      roles. If I come on hard as the "mean old step daddy" (yes
      I make this mistake despite all this wonderful talk), then
      it is funny how quickly she takes on the "you don't
      understand me you old fart" and "you have never been my age"
      role.

      This leads into the nondual parenting that I have read in
      portions of Jean Klein's book "The Ease of Being." I
      enjoyed this book very much! I recommend it. First of all
      he says that we must first accept ourselves as our real
      nature. Once we do this, he says that we lose the impetus
      to strive. So first, we have to see our part in the play,
      and feel how the body tension, and psychological roles kick
      in. He suggests that we have to first see, hear, and feel
      how we are trying to be a somebody (mother, father, doctor,
      nurse, provider, leader, etc..). So in essence we see our
      stuff, first. No blame. We just see it and are with it.
      And when I am wrong or overreact I apologize rather than
      have this controlling relationship with who I think I ought
      to be. I reserve the right to say "I was wrong." Parents
      can be wrong. We are allowed. Freedom first!

      This might sound silly, but I have noticed that there is an
      ownership that appears in families. Like when I called my
      Dad to tell him that I entered a treatment program for
      alcoholism, he said whilst crying "your an Ames and you will
      come out of this on top." Of course, it was surrender and
      being totally defeated by my own ego not being an Ames that
      marks 11 years sober and the wonderful life I lead. At any
      rate, it was his own invested point of view that caused him
      to frame the situation in this way. It is how he dealt with
      me, and it is why we had a bad relationship for years. Much
      better now.
      Another story, for another time.

      Reason number 2 - "The Tough Nut" This is if you have a kid
      like I was. If my parents gave me latitude, then I did
      everything I could get away with behind their back. If my
      parents came down hard, then I found a way to sneak around
      them albeit in limited freedom. Despite very "street wise"
      folks, I just got better at the art of deception. I was
      hell bent, and all they could do is minimize my impact at
      home until I was on my own. In this case, this was the best
      they could do at the time. The lessons were going to come
      from a direct encounter with living.

      The girls know that there are certain behaviors that
      represent a definate crossing of the line, especially the
      teenager. I have brought them up, and we have discussed
      them. I have told them that if they give me no choice I
      will clamp down on them hard not because I want to, but in
      the interest of love, peace, and freedom in our home. We
      have a very peaceful home! I spell out the consequences of
      each thing clearly, and I tell them that I will execute
      without fail. I have learned from being the tough nut that
      the most loving thing can also be on the surface the most
      distasteful. I hate being limiting, but I will." Haven't
      had to very often. Maybe once or twice a year. I am very
      fortunate so far.

      So inside this boundary of extreme behavior which is where
      most of the stuff that I encounter, there is allowing for
      mistakes on both sides. And when I live in the moment, and
      the moment says "I am pissed", then I try to take a break
      before engaging. When I don't, then I apologize like
      another human being, and it gives us all much more freedom
      from the overhead that goes along with the parent head trip
      and trap. If I am living in my head, I am hanging out in a
      bad neighborhood!

      I never ever realized it until I was adult age, but all I
      ever wanted was to be accepted for who I was irregardless of
      who I appeared to be on the surface. In the day to day
      piddly stuff, I just wanted Love without having to pass a
      test! When that didn't happen, then I decided to take
      matters into my own hands. This was bad news and led to
      years of dysfunctional behavior.
      Thanks to some very loving people, I found out that I had to
      be first in line for this acceptance of self on a surface
      level. They just loved, accepted, and allowed me into it.
      As I have developed, I now realize that I AM. And I AM much
      more than the surface level definitions, although I do
      forget to remember.

      I apologize for the length of this response! I present it
      in the spirit of service and love for your consideration.

      --------------------------------------------------------------

      TIM HARRIS

      Generally speaking, I find that if we guide their paths and
      not choose their paths we can eliminate the tension
      created. This tension leads to a shut down of communication
      all together which is 'not'what is needed.

      Children start 'very' nondual and their choices are
      obviously for the moment only. Don't worry, they grow out
      of this :o)... The key I believe is to demonstrate a
      nondual perspective in the specific moment when things are
      moving away from centeredness and they can 'observe' this
      rather than preparing them 'before' they can see what 'may'
      happen (which they object to because 'they know' and are not
      stupid) or chastising them 'after' it happens where it can
      not be changed.

      Ultimately, their life decisions are their's and, as far as
      I am concerned, that all important connection of
      communication and keeping those lines open should be the
      focus of the parent. You can do much more if you are
      talking and they can talk to you.

      I use a story about a master carpenter teaching an
      apprentice to build a house. The apprentice gets angry and
      upset and yields to his urges to do it his way...
      just like the master carpenter did when he was
      apprenticing... "but it was different then" says the master
      carpenter... but we know otherwise... :o)

      Teach them how to 'use' the 'tools' don't build the house
      for them. They will learn how to build soon enough when the
      building inspectors (other) come around.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------

      XAN

      Dear Melody

      I resonate with this issue of yours. I have two sons who
      are now in their early and mid-twenties and I still face
      this in myself although they are 'out on their own.'

      I see it as a conflict of what I have learned through
      cultural expectations with what I know as the inherent
      capacity of children to learn and express in their own
      ways. In the U.S. there is a great emphasis on personal
      value as the ability to produce and achieve along certain
      lines. As parents we are urged to begin the pressure to
      achievement even in infancy (or womb) with 'stimulating'
      experiences. With ourselves we are ever watchful of
      expectations for our own performance as parents.

      As I see it, what we can be more watchful for is the
      wholeness which is the essence of each of us and which is
      already performing exquisitely. We humans have glorified
      our intellect and our abilities in technology, but who of us
      could produce the intricacy of a galaxy, a physical body, a
      world? The same intelligence, love and creativity that is
      manifesting - living through - our universe is living
      through you and me and our kids.

      The *illusion* is that we are separate from this conscious
      life force and somehow must manipulate ourselves into being
      .... what?

      The challenge is to *surrender* to that - beginning with
      cultivating trust in this life power and withdrawing our
      trust in the lesser powers.

      Personally, I never felt I was "raising" my sons. The
      family was something we were doing together, although my
      responsibility and role was quite different from theirs.

      Fortunately for all of us, my sons had little to zero
      tolerance for expectations that were out of synch with their
      nature. They caught me so many times that I learned to
      catch myself at it - and just stop. It probably helped that
      my boys were never in public school and did not get much
      caught up in that part of the cultural programming. These
      days I support them in any way I can in what they want to
      do. We are partners.

      I am confident that as you look more closely into yourself
      you will find you already have a heart-knowing of what is
      the most supporting way you can be with your son at any
      moment.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------
      JUDI

      Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort
      from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend
      to God's kids.
      After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.
      And the first thing He said was: "Don't"
      "Don't what?" Adam replied.
      "Don't eat the forbidden fruit," God said.
      "Forbidden fruit? We got forbidden fruit? Hey, Eve...we
      got forbidden fruit!"
      "No way!"
      "Yes way!"
      "Don't eat that fruit!" said God.
      "Why?"
      "Because I am your Father and I said so!" said God,
      wondering why he hadn't stopped after making the elephants.
      A few minutes later God saw his kids having an apple break
      and was angry. "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?"
      the First Parent asked.
      "Uh huh, " Adam replied.
      "Then why did you?"
      "I dunno" Eve answered.
      "She started it!" Adam said.
      " Did not!"
      "Did too!"
      "DID NOT!!"
      Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was
      that Adam and Eve should have children of their own.Thus the
      pattern was set and it has never changed. But there is
      reassurance in this story. If you have persistently and
      lovingly tried to give them wisdom and they haven't taken
      it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble handling
      children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake
      for you?
      Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get
      a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: Take two
      and keep away from the children.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      MELODY

      As I read thru your responses I found myself shaking my
      head, thinking sure, sure, I know this....realizing that on
      a different day, I could have offered similar offerings to
      someone else. But this week my world seems to be crashing
      in on me.

      My son's bringing home an 'F' in chemistry this last week on
      his report card (the same son who tells everyone he wants to
      be a marine biologist!) was the the 'capper' to a week of
      shattering illusions.
      I knew the 'F' was mine, and that Joseph had paid a big
      price in gifting it to me.

      These past few days, in addition to other 'self' images
      being shattered, I am forced to see how what I *believed*
      to be true about my parenting... and how I have actually
      been parenting are more often than not...inconsistent.

      I *believed* that I had been the parent many of you
      described in your responses. But my son helped me to see
      this week where I was not. I must say, I can't remember
      ever feeling such a failure. To know that I have caused a
      loved one to suffer, albeit unintentionally, causes more
      pain than I can describe.

      Judi talks often of the need for heartbreak.

      Funny, that the heartbreak I'm experiencing this week, has
      nothing to do with my response to what other people have
      done to me, but rather the heartbreak of seeing my very own
      self in the light of day.

      I feel like Humpty Dumpty in a thousand pieces today.

      Yes, I know that those thousand pieces are not 'me'...
      I know that intellectually, anyway. But today, I'm feeling
      quite devastated.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------

      BRUCE

      Vishnu cannot do his work until Shiva is finished.
      Many a forest depends on lightning-kindled fire for its
      renewal. When ones self-image as "good parent," "decent
      person,"
      and, ultimately, "sincere seeker" falls away in an
      augenblick, the way may well be cleared for something
      utterly new, something literally unimaginable. Nothing in
      our introspections, our careful studies, our meticulously
      managed lifestyles has the sheer, sudden, spontaneous power
      of that lightning bolt, that unexpected, unbidden immolation
      of all we so smugly assume is who we are.

      Joseph will somehow survive that "F," Mel, and so will
      whatever there is of you that is incombustible, that which
      abides eternally, world without end, amen.
      ------------------------------------------------------------

      MIRA
      Dear Melody, Thank you for your open heartedness about
      parenting and feelings of inadequacy. Seeing expectations
      in the light of day, can be very cleansing.

      But this cleansing process, is often one of a broken heart.
      Many times we carry around expectations and projections of
      'how it should be', without ever noticing it or recognizing
      it as an expectation. When confronted with these kind of
      situations, especially in the role of a parent, these
      unnoticed tendencies can come to the surface and can be
      seen.

      If we are willing to see those tendencies, willing to see
      our own self constructed ideas of 'how we should be as a
      parent', and our inadequacy of living up to those
      expectations, then these situations can be a very liberating
      vehicle. Parenting is not about meeting some imagined goal
      and term, but somehow, (unconsciously?), we may carry them
      around nonetheless.

      I do not have teenagers (yet), and I am still to experience
      that part of parenting, so I guess I still have a lot of
      learning to look forward to.
      As a parent, I do have one certainty though: I may be
      completely wrong about everything. This is a certainty that
      the mind just cannot deal with, because it leaves it empty
      handed. It leaves only beingness in charge. The mind may
      be worried and wonder, think, and ponder, while tip-toe-ing
      on the scale of opposites of right and wrong. But
      beingness, including *being* a parent, only *is*. It is
      upon this beingness that the whole scenario of parent and
      child resides. Without this beingness, there would be no
      scenario for any worry, or any effort, or any success, or
      any failure. It is this primary beingness that permits me
      to act, and then proceed to judge this act as 'wrong' or
      'right'. This fundamental undercurrent exists within every
      situation, and/or vice versa: it is every situation, that
      exists within this fundamental undercurrent.

      When I stop looking through the filter of 'how I would like
      to see the scenario evolve', I can rest in this beingness,
      and just let the interactions evolve, including my own part
      in it. This doesn't mean that my part as a parent is any
      easier. Situations may demand certain actions that I may
      not like at all; it is just so different when acting from a
      place where nothing can be avoided, nor needs to be
      avoided. It is different when life is lived openly to every
      challenge it has to offer, and fearlessly bungy-jump into
      the present situation, only to find, that what I am, is
      indestructible. That what my child is, is indestructible.
      And that the roles we play, and the settings for this
      relationship, do constantly evolve and change.

      Oh yes, I do get angry at my kids! When they need an angry
      mum, that anger is my gift to them!

      They tend to give me an impossible time at the grocery
      store, they mess up my house, they continually destroy
      everything I sort of value, they lack any basic respect for
      my privacy, they hardly ever say "thank you" when they
      receive something. So, yes I do get furious. When I hear
      someone say that 'conditioning' should be minimized, I
      disagree whole heartedly. I am 'pro' conditioning. There
      are certain basic rules that I value, and believe contribute
      to our ability to peacefully share our space as inhabitants
      of this earth.

      But still, amidst all of this, I am willing to be completely
      wrong about everything, and correct myself when necessary.
      I really don't know if my way is a good way, neither do I
      care to know, because this is the way it *is*, and that is
      good in itself, regardless of my opinion Looking through my
      filters, I may view myself as doing the right thing.
      Looking through your filters, you may view me as doing the
      wrong thing.
      Whatever the outcome, whatever the judgement, it is always
      based upon a preconceived idea of 'what it should look
      like'. It takes courage to be willing to view oneself as
      doing the wrong thing. It may break every last piece of the
      shell. But believe me Humpty Dumpty, there is a treasure
      inside that shell that can only be found when breaking it.

      Thank you again for your openness, In deep appreciation, I
      wish you love and courage.

      ______________________________________________________________
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