#3787 - Monday, January 25, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee
Stanley Sobottka starting February 1stConsider yourself both privileged and lucky: Stanley Sobottka, Professor Emeritus of Physics from the University of Virginia hosts the StillnessSpeaks Open Awareness Study Group starting February 1st.
This is a rare opportunity to look through the crystal of non-duality from the perspective of Quantum Physics and Consciousness from a true expert: Stanley is Stanford educated and taught Physics at UVA for 32 years before retiring in 1996.
In 1991, Stanley encountered and was deeply affected by the book, "I Am That" by Nisargadatta Maharaj. In 1992, he realized that a credible scientific basis could be made regarding Advaita, or non-duality. Thus, Stanley came to develop the well known and much discussed curriculum, A Course in Consciousness, an invaluable resource when one attempts to reconcile advaita and western science.
In a change in format, Stanley will actually teach the first six chapters from his class entitled A Course in Consciousness. Questions will be directed to the chapter(s) assigned in the current week. Chapters 1 and 2 will be the subject of questions for that period. Those attending will be encouraged to explore how science supports the non-dual understanding.
Those who are fond of retreatswriters, ecstatics, parents with young childrenoften comment on the silence such time away allows. Silence becomes something present, almost palpable. The task shifts from keeping the world at a safe decible distance to letting more of the world in. Thomas Aquinas said that beauty arrests motion. He meant, I think, that in the presence of something gorgeous or sublime, we stop our nervous natterings, our foot twitchings and restless tongues. Whatever that fretful hunger is, it seems momentarily filled in the presence of beauty. To Aquinass wisdom Id add that silence arrests flight, that in its refuge, the need to flee the chaos of noise diminishes. We let the world creep closer, we drop to our knees, as if to let the heart, like a small animal, get its legs on the ground.
- Barbara Hurd, "On Silence"by Alan LarusThe pictures are from Geiranger and there are some old and tiny 'farms' in the fjords.
They had the advantage of being out of reach for the taxman and thieves as a part of the path has ladders and ropes.
Breaking Identification with the Pain-Body
"A person with a strong, active pain-body has a particular energy emanation that other people perceive as extremely unpleasant. When they meet such a person, some people will immediately want to remove themselves or reduce interaction with him or her to a minimum. They feel repulsed by the person's energy field. Others will feel a wave of aggression toward this person, and they will be rude or attack him or her verbally and in some cases, even physically. This means there is something within them that resonates with the other person's pain-body. What they react to so strongly is also in them.
It is their own pain-body. Not surprisingly, people with heavy and frequently active pain-bodies often find themselves in conflict situations. Sometimes, of course, they actively provoke them. But at other times, they may not actually do anything. The negativity they emanate is enough to attract hostility and generate conflict. It requires a high degree of Presence to avoid reacting when confronted by someone with such an active pain-body. If you are able to stay present, it sometimes happens that your Presence enables the other person to disidentify from his or her own pain-body and thus experience the miracle of a sudden awakening. Although the awakening may be short-lived, the awakening process will have become initiated.
One of the first such awakenings that I witnessed happened many years ago. My doorbell rang close to eleven o'clock at night. My neighbor Ethel's anxiety-laden voice came through the intercom. "We need to talk. This is very important. Please let me in." Ethel was middle-aged, intelligent, and highly educated. She also had a strong ego and a heavy pain-body. She escaped from Nazi Germany when she was an adolescent, and many of her family members perished in the concentration camps.
Ethel sat down on my sofa, agitated, her hands trembling. She took letters and documents out of the file she carried with her and spread them out all over the sofa and floor. At once I had the strange sensation as if a dimmer switch had turned the inside of my entire body to maximum power. There was nothing to do other than remain open, alert, intensely presentpresent with every cell of the body. I looked at her with no thought and no judgment and listened in stillness without any mental commentary.
A torrent of words came out of her mouth. "They sent me another disturbing letter today.
They are conducting a vendetta against me. You must help. We need to fight them together. Their crooked lawyers will stop at nothing. I will lose my home. They are threatening me with dispossession."
It transpired that she refused to pay the service charge because the property managers had failed to carry out some repairs. They in turn threatened to take her to court. She talked for ten minutes or so. I sat, looked, and listened. Suddenly she stopped talking, looked at the papers all around her as if she had just woken up from a dream. She became calm and gentle. Her entire energy field changed. Then she looked at me and said, "This isn't important at all, is it?" "No, it isn't," I said. She sat quietly for a couple more minutes, then picked up her papers and left. The next morning she stopped me in the street, looking at me somewhat suspiciously. "What did you do to me? Last night was the first night in years that I slept well. In fact, I slept like a baby."
She believed I had "done something" to her, but I had done nothing. Instead of asking what I had done to her, perhaps she should have asked what I had not done. I had not reacted, not confirmed the reality of her story, not fed her mind with more thought and her pain-body with more emotion.
I had allowed her to experience whatever she was experiencing at that moment, and the power of allowing lies in noninterference, non-doing. Being present is always infinitely more powerful than anything one could say or do, although sometimes being present can give rise to words or actions.What happened to her was not yet a permanent shift, but a glimpse of what is possible, a glimpse of what was already within her. In Zen, such a glimpse is called satori. Satori is a moment of Presence, a brief stepping out of the voice in your head, the thought processes, and their reflection in the body as emotion. It is the arising of inner spaciousness where before there was the clutter of thought and the turmoil of emotion.
The thinking mind cannot understand Presence and so will often misinterpret it.
It will say that you are uncaring, distant, have no compassion, are not relating. The truth is, you are relating but at a level deeper than thought and emotion. In fact, at that level there is a true coming together, a true joining that goes far beyond relating. In the stillness of Presence, you can sense the formless essence in yourself and in the other as one. Knowing the oneness of yourself and the other is true love, true care, true compassion."
Eckhart Tolleposted by Mazie Lane