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#3603 - Friday, July 24, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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  • Jerry Katz
    #3603 - Friday, July 24, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights ... I was interviewed by Mandee Labelle
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2009
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      #3603 - Friday, July 24, 2009 - Editor: Jerry Katz
       
       

       
       
      I was interviewed by Mandee Labelle on her radio show for Dalhousie University. Listen to it here:
       
      Saturday, July 25, we're holding what we call "nonduality satsang" here in Halifax at 1313 Hollis St. at 1PM.
       
      Nonduality Satsang is basically another form of the Highlights or Nonduality.com or Nonduality Salon email forum: That is, it's an open and free expression of nonduality. At the satsang, I'm going to recite a few lines from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself and show how they expose the basic teaching of nonduality. By way of preparing myself for that talk, I'm including what I plan to say here in today's Highlights. A briefer version was published in issue #3378:
       
      -Jerry Katz
       
       

       
       
      Walt Whitman: Living the Paradox of Nonduality
       


      In Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, he begins Song of Myself:

      (1)
       
      I celebrate myself,
      And what I assume you shall assume,
      For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

      I loafe and invite my soul,
      I lean and loafe at my ease … observing a spear of summer grass.
       
      (2)
       
      Houses and rooms are full of perfumes....the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
      I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,
      The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
       
      The atmosphere is not a perfume....it has no taste of the distillation....it is odorless,
      It is for my mouth forever....I am in love with it,
      I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
      I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
       
       

       
       
      An interpretation of the first verse:
       
      (1)
       
      I celebrate myself,
      And what I assume you shall assume,
      For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

      I loafe and invite my soul,
      I lean and loafe at my ease … observing a spear of summer grass.
       
      These lines describe the paradoxical nature of nonduality and show us how to live the paradox.

      The paradox is that we are the same or all one — “every atom belonging to to me as good belongs to you.”   — AND everything is distinct: “observing a spear of summer grass.”

      Poetically, it comes across that this paradox belongs to us, it is what we are.
       
      How to live the paradox? Celebrate. Lean and loafe and invite your soul. Your soul is your unfettered individuality (rather than your neurotic, stressed-out individuality)
       
      An interpretation of the second verse:
       
      (2)
       
      Houses and rooms are full of perfumes....the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
      I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,
      The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
       
      The atmosphere is not a perfume....it has no taste of the distillation....it is odorless,
      It is for my mouth forever....I am in love with it,
      I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
      I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
       
      In the second verse Whitman reveals once again that he likes individual things, duality, the shelves crowded with perfumes. From solitude to crowds, to the smells of life, humanity, and the world, Whitman likes it. However, he knows that if he lets his attention drop, he could be swallowed up by the concerns of man, worry, consumerism, desperation, and fear. He will not let that happen: "I shall not let it."

      While he says he likes the perfumes, he sings that it is the atmosphere that he loves. The atmosphere is nondual, has no taste, depicts our oneness or nondual nature. 

      To know the atmosphere is to know the nondual nature of reality. We hear talk of gurus stripping us of our egos, of standing naked before the truth, of shedding the veil that hides the truth. Whitman knows that to contact the atmosphere is to be natural, in nature — “by the bank of the wood,” where water meets soil, where man meets atmosphere — and “undisguised and naked.”

      Conclusion:

      These two introductory verses of Song of Myself reveal that the perfume and the atmosphere, oneness and individuality can be identified as separate ways of being. The contratradiction, the paradox posed by the two ways of seeing and being is resolved by seeing that the two ways are what one is. We are both nonseparate and highly individualistic. Such is "myself." The way to live out of that paradox, the way to live life, is to "celebrate myself." One who knows an ongoing joy and humor, even in the midst of problems, stresses, and challenges, know the paradox and celebrates it.

       

       

       

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