#4754 - Friday, November 9, 2012 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- #4754 - Friday, November 9, 2012 - Editor: Jerry KatzThe Nonduality Highlights http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights/This is Remembrance Day weekend in Canada, Veterans Day in the U.S. Such days are held in countries across the world on November 11, or at different dates. Read about Remembrance Day around the world here:I thought I'd remember a veteran or two of the nonduality scene in the last 15 years. One of the great contributors was the website sentient.org, which started in the early 90s as a bulletin board, if anyone remembers those. They preceded the popularity of the internet (although the internet was around at that time, it wasn't easy to use). Remember bulletin boards here:When the owner of sentient.org, Peter, died a few years ago, the domain name was purchased and the original website was taken down. However, you can still visit the old website via the Wayback Machine. Take a look:
To be sure, we all have a great deal to learn from each other. However, the process of subtle arrogance and self deception in the spiritual arena is perhaps the most damaging of all illusions. I am a Buddhist, or a Yogi, or a Pagan, or a student of the Fourth Way or the Kaballah or some other mystical or ecclectic school, and I imagine that Christians are at least somewhat deluded. Or I am a Christian, perhaps a Catholic or an Evangelical, or a Course in Miracles student, or a Muslim, or a Jew, and maintain some pretense that my version of God or Love is somehow more accurate than theirs. But in fact, when we think Jesus said so-and-so, or The Buddha taught thus-and-such, we might ask ourselves, How would I know, and why am I repeating this? If we face it sincerely, it is hard to avoid the discovery that all we are doing is trying to justify our own opinions and their connected feelings, perhaps seeking to be tied in with some powerful authority figure(s) which is fortified by our own conditioning. So we each have our private and group stories about things, and continue to surreptitiously elevate ourselves and put each other down.
But in fact, there is no private liberation or salvation. (Where is the one separate from the rest, to be saved, except in some mental fiction?) Of utmost importance, finally, is putting an end to this devious and hurtful process of spiritual ego, of imagining theres some kind of competition, and that theres someone who has to defend his or her particular spiritual turf against others. If you stop using your transient body or your thoughts or feelings as points of reference, it will be obvious that there is no someone and there are no others. That whole thing is a paranoid fantasy, a pathological delusion, in this case in the name of whatever religion to which we happen to subscribe. So lets call a spade a spade: God, the Absolute, does not belong to anyone, nor to any particular group.
(So why pay homage to a limited god?)
Furthermore, Enlightenment, Self Realization, does not belong to anyone either. (In fact, everything belongs to Enlightenment. So why pay homage to a limited enlightenment?) Although it may occur in virtually any context - Buddhist, Christian, Yogic, Sufi, Hindu, Fourth Way, Muslim, Taoist, Jewish, Wiccan, 12-Step work, shamanistic, agnostic, scientific and so on, Spiritual Awakening, the Realization of Emptiness, the Tao, cannot be owned. How could That which is infinite be possessed by any religion, tradition, path, lineage, teacher, or hierarchy, all of which are limited? Is God a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim? Is Enlightenment controlled by Buddhists or Yogis or Hindus? How could That which is formless be made to conform to any set of assumptions about liberation, past or future? (If you still find yourself resisting that possibility, you might ask yourself how you would know, one way or the other, and what motives are tied up in thinking about it in any specified way, for or against. Why maintain beliefs or disbeliefs at all?) Is truth a really a matter of subjective opinion? Is not truth, if that word means anything at all, an ongoing process of careful observation and uncompromised, undefended honesty?
Its time we stop pretending, subtly or overtly, that our particular group is superior in some way. Thats a hidden way of saying, Im superior, (and therefore not inferior). Lets bring our woundedness, our childhood fears and hurts of inferiority, covered over by the pretense of individual or collective superiority, to a total and absolute halt. Completely. Now. If we need to weep, then lets weep together. And let those tears of shame be tears of relief, tears of joy, in finally putting down this burden of trying to defend and justify what we have imagined ourselves to be. What doesnt exist doesnt need to be defended. It never did.
Particularly in recent years, many of us have had very powerful awakenings, but these experiences, in and of themselves, do not mean that much unless we allow ourselves to be transformed, completely, by what we have discovered. If we try to use them to validate our religious and peer identities and opinions, with our various secret and subtle motives and perceptions so shaped, we corrupt our awakening, and are already entangled in delusion. (And when we make ourselves or our group or our path or the teacher weve identified ourselves with special, we make ourselves separate.) The most any spiritual institution can do is to support and celebrate what is already real and true without reservation.
Full awareness, peace, freedom, clarity and joy can, and do, only exist now. If any of us still find ourselves suffering from the symptoms of ignorance, divisiveness or competition, that is to say, fear, envy, anger, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, jealosy, self-loathing, guilt, depression, loneliness, despair, or confusion, it is because we are still negotiating with God, still negotiating with Truth, still negotiating with Love, still negotiating with Freedom, still negotiating with Serenity. The pain is none other than the agony of lying to ourselves about what we want more than anything else. It is like finally finding the lover we have always longed for, but holding back in terror of losing that love.
Why put this moment off? That which you seek is That which you already are, and always have been - you are not separate, you cannot be separate from the Absolute, from Infinite Consciousness Itself. If you dare to stop pretending that you and your life are based on some mental version of things that arises out of memory, you will find out beyond any doubt! This is not some kind of wishful thinking or grandiose mental trick. Rather, with total and unflinching sincerity, with no psychological defense or self deception whatsoever, search your heart and find out what you permanently are, what youve been all along. Find out if there has ever been a separate Other. If you discover there never has been an other, is there one now? Could there ever be? Why pretend anymore?
If you dare to give your heart, your soul, your mind, your body, and your life, unconditionally, to what you discover to be true, you will know an infinitely deep and abiding peace that has never been even a breath away. This bliss, this tranquility depends on nothing, and It is not capable of ending. Furthermore, it doesnt make a bit of difference what youve ever done or not done. You can put an end to the battle. Yes, thats correct, just walk right out of the war, right now. All you have to do is surrender, absolutely and completely, not to me, not to some authority figure, or some organization or institution, but surrender only to your own deepest Purity.
God and your own Unbounded Love are not different. If you truly give yourself up completely, it will shock your whole system. It will suddenly dawn on you,
Oh my God, what a fool Ive been! What was I thinking?
Then the absolute insanity of giving yourself to anything else will become apparent. Why wait? Why put off your own complete and total liberation? In your innermost and outermost places, in every single moment, Love waits for you everywhere. Is there really something else you would rather do? Is it possible that the thing that you fear the most, the thing that you avoid the most, is what you truly desire the most? It cannot abandon you. Even if you choose to ignore It, betray It and walk away, It is always closer than your next breath. Suspend all opinion and debate, and find out for yourself.
Henry Kono: As a young man Henry studied with the founder of aikido constantly asking himself the question "What is o'sensei looking at"?
He laughed when he noticed the answer.
freedom is when you have no choice
you simply move as you must without thought or decision
traditionally the hara or center is said to be two inches below the belly button
this is a misunderstanding
the center is wherever the attention is placed
everything the entire universe revolves and arises from this true center
attention is the natural result of the idea of a self falling away
attention happens spontaneously and easily
wherever you place your attention
leave it there and do not let it wander
the rest will follow naturally
time and space disappear in the movement
there is no doer only the movement
when you are attacked
get out of the wayEditor's note: Apparently Peter himself, the founder of sentient.org, composed the following:
Many people have the Great Vehicle Root Nature, but there are also many people who lie. Having cultivated without success, such people claim to have the way. Though they have not certified the fruit, they claim to be certified sages. Bodhidharma
Quite often this little site receives email from someone writing to say that they are enlightened. The letters usually run something like this: After years of hard work I found my master and awoke in her presence. I am now filled with light and joy. Everything shines. I am done with worry and pain. That is over forever. I do not know what I will do next, but finally I understand. It is all so funny. Now I am done.
We are always filled with joy to hear that someone is happier than they were. Yet it is our own small experience that true awakening may be rather different than the release and emotional catharsis so many describe. And different too from mere understanding. This lovely poem by Hafiz, translated and transliterated by Daniel Ladinsky speaks beautifully to this:
Ten Thousand Idiots
It is always a danger
When they begin
To believe and
As if the ten thousand idiots
Who so long ruled
Have all packed their bags
And skipped town
Nothing needs to happen. Happening is a trick of the light - ephemera only. Love is never ending, filling and overflowing forever. Why try to impede its flow with the concept that you are awake, or need to be. If Truth can be attained, it can also be lost. Surely that which can be gained or lost is mere ephemera? True awakening, therefore cannot be about gaining new ideas, concepts, understandings, states, perceptions, epiphanies. Perhaps instead it is an unsophisticated state of affairs - a simplicity where nothing more needs to be added. True awakening is what occurs automatically every morning before you arise. But we choose to ignore it, foregoing freedom in the obfuscating belief that there is something more to be attained.
Very few people know anything about Peter. My own communications with him were sparse. He didn't say much to me back in the days when I was starting nonduality.com and saw his site as a model for mine in some ways. (I wanted a brand of nonduality that was freer, more communicative, and more welcoming. More nondual, essentially. Okay, more cluttered and crazy, too.)
Whereas sentient.org was inspired by Ramana Maharshi and was selective regarding who was included on the list of awakened people, mine would be inspired by life itself and include almost everyone who spoke in a self-realized way. Mine was, and still is, a "big tent" approach to nonduality, as someone (Greg Goode?) once termed it.
However, Vicki Woodyard writes about her interactions with Peter in her very fine book, Life With A Hole In It: That's How the Light Gets In:
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I hope you all have a peaceful Remembrance Day weekend.