Digest: July 3, 1999
- This is a digest of the 'best' posts of July 3, from the
Nonduality Salon. Relevant URL's are at the bottom of this
post. In this Digest you'll meet Aleks and read of few of
her posts from a deep heart; the one on Grapes of Wrath is
especially stunning, in my opinion.
Also there is a report from Petros who is 'on the road' and
gives his report of Satsang with Neelam, which he wrote at a
cybercafe in Hollywood.
Five or six nondualists take on universal sorrow. And a few
other gems will be found in the jewel box.
The universality of that kind of pain.
It is global. The entire planet was covered in this
mass of suffering. She was groaning from the weight
of it. All of her children moment by moment birthing,
dying, wave after wave of suffering both on the in
breath and the out breath. This was her breathing.
At that moment I was closer to mother earth than
her breathing and as a mother I could feel her
children's suffering and the sorrow it brought to her.
All I wanted was to help her. So sorrow is.......
"doing us" "being us" - *is* our knowing,
experiencing, feeling -- exactly as we *are.*
Ivan: Yes, I also feel that there is universal sorrow.
The fuel in form of suffering, that somehow binds
man to madness.
Xan: Yes. This is the Core Wound we were
talking about a little time ago, and that
Saniel Bonder addresses. The essential
grief over the imagined loss of our Self
and in that, the loss of communion with
other life forms - each other.
This delusion of separation is madness
and its distortions show up in many ways.
Dan: I felt moved by Marcia's expression of an awareness of
suffering. To me, this is not to be dismissed as an
illusion, or simply
the mourning of an illusory loss. Because it isn't "just an
illusion," no religion has, or ever will have a "final
answer." Because there is no final answer, there is only
moving through... The peace is in the present awareness.
Genuine compassion addresses suffering with empathic
resonance. Dismissing the suffering as "illusory" brings
comfort to the one who considers self beyond suffering, but
no assistance to the "deluded" one who believes he or she
suffers. Thus, terming suffering illusory, although an
attempt to express nonduality, breeds duality and distance
in practice. Thus, the distance between the "untouchables"
and the Brahmins. The one who has lost a child, the
thousands whose lives are rent by wars, those who suffer due
to malnutrition, and on and on... consoling oneself that
none of this really "exists" is only satisfactory to a point
-- beyond that point we recognize ourselves as participants
in the situation, doing the best we can....
Ivan: Yes. Sorrow is real -- real energy -- that may be
-- words are failing me -- but dam real... No matter how
mistaken or not
people are, the effects, the results are all around us.....
TimG: A question for all involved in this thread: Where do
you put your attention?
The Astavakra Gita states "As you think, so you are." By
"universal sorrow" or "the core wound" of humanity, which
can never be
remedied except through the abnegation of ego, you place
something without an "external" solution. Why?
Perhaps instead of discussing this "universal sorrow," it
might be a good idea to discuss changing ourselves... as J.
Krishnamurti has said often, "We are the world, we are all
of humanity." Change yourself, and the world will change to
Marcia: I would say that most of us don't put our attention
anywhere for more than a few seconds at best.
We think we do and that is the biggest illusion of
all. Our attention is sucked into everything almost
every second of our lives.
I work with putting my attention on the sensation in
my body and the coming and going of my breath.
I would much rather be able to really feel than to think.
Not feel in the sense of all my petty grievances and blaming
but feel as a living, breathing person in touch with all my
humanity and compassion. I want to feel the sorrow of
a mother who loses her child. I want to touch the wounds
of the wounded. I was to give water to an aging man.
I want to be alive. I want to share in the birth of a child.
By the way you can't remedy the core wound. It is life.
TimG: Life is not a wound. Life is wholeness, pure
Divinity, Satchitananda. It's sad that you feel that life
itself is a wound.
A life with no history. No mission or
Damned scary stuff.
No history = no agenda = no (psychological) fear
Talking about androgynous masters, it is necessary to meet
them. The following is from a web page:
"Shunyata (sometimes 'Sunyata' or 'Shunya') is one of the
most unusual people in this book. He never advertised
himself and always said that he was not a teacher. He came
from no lineage and left no successor. Yet he affected many
people (while making no effort to do so). One of them
compared him to a Chinese landscape painting in that he
implied so much more than he said."
For the rest, please go to
The following was posted as a humor piece in response to
something Tim G. had written. The reaction it received was
warranted. And something positive has come out of it: Some
amazing posts by Aleks; see especially the one on
Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. I'm only including the first
few lines of my original post:
Hi this is Howard Sternanda. I'm telling you, you've never
been to satsang until you've been to lesbian satsang. In the
studio Shri Mata damata da wuts da mata...
greetings from queerville.
i'm a lurker on this list from time to time, and enjoy the
humor, the truth and *that* which we all are here.
i'd like to know what the post above was about. i mean, if
there is going to be a discussion about gays, lesbians,
transsexuals and bisexuals it could be informative and not
just a joke. seriously, many mystics for ages have been
homosexual--including many of the people that are quoted on
this list. and there is an interesting nondual topic in
the fact of androgyny.
humor sometimes perpetuates hate-- well intended or not. i
hope this was not ill intended. nonduality as a way of
perceiving is an end to racism, classism and homophobia,
and we're not really funny. we're here. we're queer. and
sister aleks, jr.
no, "i " cannot be offended. no need to apologize.
when it comes right down to it, we all know that
i am not male
i am not female
i am not gay
i am not not-gay.
but as a person who lives in the world, i do things. one of
which is to be a little voice for the marginalized forms of
god who walk among us. duality is one of the reasons that
this brand of humor is "funny." i just make it my business
to point out the separatism where i see it arise.
understand that we can only laugh at ourselves. and i
understood the big cosmic joke a long time ago. the truly
funny thing is it was my forced separation from my spiritual
community because of my homosexuality that caused me to look
inside for what was real. so i am grateful for being an
"outsider." alone, alienated, my heart opened up and there
is unquantifiable peace and love.
i am an adult, and i love my self --i have spent years in
solitude, and have achieved a peace that i cannot and would
not attempt to put into words. however, there are suicides
amongst the younger marginalized folks every day. some of
whom don't "get" the joke. how "innocent" were the kidding
remarks that led to the columbine and springfield
tragedies? i speak in love for the dead, the unborn, and
the innocent who are facing a world which tells them they
are not welcome to participate equally. one of the big
ways this message is conveyed is through "innocent" words.
words. if we must use them, we must stop for a moment
before putting them out there.
is all i am saying.
it cannot. reconcile. words cannot. reconcile.
there is nothing to change.
there is only the self.
but words can point the way in
to being the self.
the same marginalized communities that hear words of love,
need words of truth.
one day they need no words at all.
instant enlightenment is rare-- many need words and
but they are
just words and phrases.
to you who are truth, as i have expressed in previous posts,
it has been interesting to note the number of mystics and
realizers that emerge from the marginalized of society. i
speak to you as a homosexual person, but do not wish to
limit a discussion along these lines to a specific
marginalized "group," but wish to include all outsiders.
There's a wealth of evidence and writing, and a myriad of
approaches, so to narrow it down and to dive right in , i
offer a few seeds from John
Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." I choose this book, as i
think it may be one that most are familiar with.
A nondual reading of this book suggests a spiritual
migration from concern for individual ego to a realization
of the *one.* The *that* which lasts. The migrants are
outsiders. They are stripped of identity, and must shed
tradition and even their own definitions of sin and
holiness. It is my opinion that a divine unity is
portrayed in these characters, and that this is what
Steinbeck was trying to convey. in terms of "oversoul," he
out-emerson'd the monistic emerson.
check out Casy, the former preacher. he has realized his
own hypocrasy in the church and turned to nature, where he
finds the formless god:
"'Maybe,' I figgered, 'maybe it's all men an' all women we
that's the Holy Sperit--the human sperit--the whole
shebang. Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part
of.'" (p. 24)
Casy is an outsider. His separation from his community is
self directed, but it is from a sense that he doesn't
belong. here is Casy's expression of his "unification:"
"There was hills, an' there was me, an' we wasn't separate
no more. We was one thing. An' that one thing was holy."
in them there hills, a "guru" is born. He tells Tom Joad
that "there ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. there's
just stuff people do.." (p. 24) Tom is an outsider. Not
just a migrant, but just out of prison. He learns from Casy
and begins to realize some stuff for himself, even defending
Casy like a good devotee. Casy tries to tell a service
station owner why he thinks everyone's moving, and the owner
dismisses Casy, saying , "Yeah, but what's it coming to?"
(p.138) Tom, in defense says:
"Casy tries to tell ya an' you jest ast the same thing over.
. . . You ain't askin' nothin'; you're jus' singin a kinda
song." (p. 138-9)
Tom realizes the unreality of the song, and eventually
carries on in the
spirit of Casy's vision. The migrants, in short, become a
collective soul here in steinbeck's vision:
"For here, 'I lost my land' is changed; a cell is split and
splitting grows the thing you hate--'we lost our land.'"
and from that grows?
there never was any land.
there is only the self.
anyone who is excluded is at risk. at risk of sadness,
self-destruction-- or better
at risk of finding the true self.
The above is a brief look at a rich, rich book. Words that
had great reverb
Hardship, ignorance, random acts of nature, and hatred shove
some of us out the door, off of our land, out of religious
orders and on and on. The way we choose to "see" these
events can change everything.
Look out: you see the "perpetrators", and you give strength
to their words and acts. you eat them. you become them.
Look within: here is that which always is. always was.
that which is
beyond words but annihilates suffering. eat blessed
nothin! become nothin.'
and that nothing is everything.
Can somebody call you a name?
I must first ask, "Who am i?"
What is it that lasts when seeming all has been denied to my
i suspect that a great number of *seekers* have been shoved
out one door or the other. i'd like to, from time to time,
drop in with some fellow
outsiders-- those who found their way inward to the truth.
'cause i care.
i wish to share the grateful heart with all.
the androgynous individual has been seen as sacred in
many societies and cultures. embodying fertility and power,
unity within one body. seen as including both sexes , but
the native americans continue to revere the "berdache,"
basically a male
shaman in drag, although revered in a more limited way than
in the past.
androgynous individuals are given, in some cultures, very
special spiritual functions which are seen as necessary to
the survival of the group. (on a practical, survivalist
note here--imaging if 10 percent of the population, in other
words all the homosexuals) got up this morning and decided
to have a couple of kids. how would our planet sustain
it's interesting the amount of homophobia that comes from
institutions, although this is, relatively speaking, a
development. i would guess this stems in part from the
conformity that has become so important in our society.
anything different is seen as "wrong."
i have to think sometimes, that it is disturbing to people
not to be able to easily classify everything. i must say
that, as a 40 year old woman who looks like a twenty
something guy, and who is called "sir" on a regular basis,
there is an extreme discomfort level in this confusion on
the part of the perceiver. my appearance is in part due to
biology-- there are people who are born with different
chromosones than your average male/ female, and i know many
who are true hemaphrodites. most of whom won't even talk
about it, it's such a stigma, even to some extent in the gay
community. but this topic, and your statements lead me to
believe you interested in the internalization of
male/female, which is something that interests me even
more. after all-- i am not this body. (but, have to admit
that being called "sir" has a certain charge of societal
power to it that i just don't get from "ma'am"-- anyway:)!!!
) but what are the qualities of male/female
unified/transcended? is it quantifiable? i think you may be
dead-on with saying it is "existence itself." i do think
it's something we can discuss, or at least "prattle"
consider the transsexual, who feels they are in the wrong
sexed body. would this be a person who possesses divine
traits, but due to societal pressure has been driven to self
alteration? i know it goes deeper than this, but from my
point of view, the body is not ultimately important. open
minds can have this discussion, and i feel confindent that
there are many of those here.
what is this male and female that contain and transcend a
godlike power? i often hear statements about men being
rational and women being emotional-- about men being warlike
and women being nurturing. do you think there is any basis
for this, or are these more societal constructs? men are
physically stronger in upper body tasks. women have the
potential to have more lower body strength, but women have
to "work out" eight times as long as men to achieve the same
muscle mass. as far as qualities-- i know some men who have
possess what --imho-- are the worst of "feminine" qualities,
and some women who become "nightmare" men. what do you
think is shiva/ shakti??-- because, i agree, i think that is
the key to this discussion. i agree about Krishnamurti,
and others, like yogananda. .. to me it isn't so much an
appearance thing, but a quality which "i " project on them.
but what is it, this androgeny?
sounds like we could get into a discussion about tantra as
well, something i, truthfully, know little about. look
forward to hearing to any reaction, if any, or not.
happy independence day. again. :)
love to all,
The following was sent by Petros (Peter Lima):
I'm typing this from the CyberJava cafe on
Hollywood & LaBrea. The meter's running so I'll be quick.
I attended the Living Satsang day in Ojai with
Neelam. Neelam is truly a wonderful woman. She is very
open and helpful with her teachers. As many of you
know, Neelam is a disciple of Poonjaji (Papaji.) She
rents a small house with a garden in Ojai which she
shares with her husband Ashoka and an assistant, Nirvan.
About 15 people participated in the living
satsang day which consisted of sitting meditations, movement
and some work around the house and in the garden. (I
volunteered to type in some boring legal stuff on
the computer, as well as to revise a written
interview with Neelam.) Lunch and dinner was prepared by
participants and Neelam. In the evening there
was an open discussion about finding some sort of more
permanent location for building a spiritual
community, which Neelam is very much interested in. We
tossed a lot of ideas around but no decisions were
reached. (I suggested that an island would be really neat,
but Neelam asked how are we supposed to get people
But I said it was to keep people from *leaving*,
ha-ha . . . )
Last week I had the privilege of seeing Ammachi
(Ma Amritanandamayi) in L.A. at a hotel convention
center. She is quite a powerful and loving presence. She
did not speak but sang with the disciples at one
point. To be honest, I was a little annoyed as there
were several people offering lengthy testimonials
about Ma's wondrous miracles and the influence She had
on their lives. These testimonies were quite boring
to me -- sort of like being in church. I don't need
to be "sold" on Ma, especially when she's sitting
right there in front of us. I would have preferred
silent satsang just having her darshan, but oh well.
Thursday night I attended satsang with Sri Mataji of
Sahaja Yoga. She initiated about 300 people into her
version of kundalini yoga. She called it 'self
realization,' but what the heck. Sri Mataji received
a commendation from the Office of the Mayor of Los
Angeles (Richard Riordan) for her many years of work
for human rights.
In a couple hours I will be going to see
Sri Sivaya Subramuniswami at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore
on Melrose. Subramuniswami, despite his Sanskrit name, is
American who was one of the first Westerners to
bring neo-Vedanta to the U.S. back in the 1960s, and
now has a thriving ashram in Hawaii. He founded the magazine
"Hinduism Today" and has written many books, most
recently the huge _Dancing with Siva_. I hope to have
a chance to ask him why he feels it is necessary to
completely adopt the Hindu lifestyle and ritualism in this
Still in the process of talking to the folks at
Bodhi Tree about using their annex for satsang later
this month. I am also going to be getting some
headshots and hopefully obtain agent representation in order
to get work as an extra. The main goal is simply to get
a little exposure in preparation for more extensive
teaching and counselling work.
I now have a cell phone and Sprint nationwide
digital service. As soon as I can get a cable and
cellular modem I will be able to access my e-mail more
regularly and will have more updates at that
time. These cybercafes are expensive.
Time to take a long stroll on the deserted beach... out in
front of the Salon.
Close enough to still hear the 'music', without the 'din' of
( /\ ) Namaste,
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