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NDS Highlights for Sunday, January 7, 2001

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  • Mark W. Otter
    Andrew told us about an article in the NY Times: There s an article in today s NYTimes online about the contemporary artist Wolfgang Lieb and art as a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2001
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      Andrew told us about an article in the NY Times:

      There's an article in today's NYTimes online about the contemporary
      artist Wolfgang Lieb and art as a spiritual practise.

      " THE German artist Wolfgang Laib is very sure that art is a mystical
      experience, and that it has the capacity to change mankind. He says so
      at every opportunity, quietly and insistently. And his work makes the
      point with astonishing modesty ..."

      "...Mr. Laib has constructed one of his signature corridors for the
      viewer to enter. It is reminiscent of a portal in an ancient Pyramid,
      except that it is made of beeswax blocks. Like others he has made, the
      corridor is so claustrophobic and cloyingly aromatic that the senses are
      stupefied into standing still for a moment, disengaging from the daily
      scramble.

      In other works, using pine, hazelnut or dandelion pollen that he spreads
      on the floor, he has created evanescent geometric forms that, like dust
      motes, are in constant motion, shifting too subtly to be caught in the
      act. He has built miniature mountains that appear monumental, mounded
      rice on brass plates, assembled tiny houses of rice and wax, and poured
      milk into rectangular stones to form white pools that look as solid as
      marble..."

      The article is at


      http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/07/arts/07WALL.html?pagewanted=all

      You have to register to get access to the site but it's free.

      andrew

      Steven and Omkara discussed (of all things) nonduality. As usual, I've
      erred on the side of being redundant so that it may be reasonably clear
      what each is responding to:

      Dear Omkara...

      ...you wrote:

      <snip>

      > The real question is, how much are you willing to allow 'everyday
      life' to conform with the deeper knowingness? It might even involve
      dramatic changes such as taking a different job, radical changes in
      schedule (slowdowns) and things like that. Atmosphere is everything.
      ----->

      S: I agree that allowing 'everyday life' to conform with the deeper
      knowingness is indeed the challenge. What I have been learning is that
      if one is TRULY rooted in nondual awareness then it has become clear
      that one is NOT in any way shape or form defined or determined by the
      content of one's consciousness. That means that 'whatever' one may be
      experiencing at any given moment, one is not swayed from that absolute
      perspective.

      There is a trap for the seeker to protect one form of experience over
      another. "If things are quiet and non-challenging then I can experience
      my true nature." This, in my opinion, is not freedom at all, for then
      one is dependent upon 'circumstances' ... internal or external...for
      one's view to remain nondual.

      Rather, by being true to the IMPLICATIONS of the nondual view one has
      had and REFUSING to allow one's conviction that "I am free" to be swayed
      by the comings and goings of internal and external experience, one may
      indeed find that one is FREE... free means unattached and
      self-sustaining ... THEN one can "do" THE RIGHT THING ... whatever that
      may be... rather than doing that which would either protect the
      experience of non-duality OR protect the EGO to feel safe.

      Admittedly, I am referring to the phenomena we all seem to experience of
      being pure awareness on the one hand and then in some sense an
      "individual doer"... admittedly philosophically contradictory ... yet
      the mystery of consciousness seems to provide these paradoxical states
      in all but the most extreme cases of non-body aware souls such as
      Ramana.

      Of course, as you indicate, doing "the right thing" just might include
      changing jobs or circumstances or whatever ... but because it is "seen"
      to be RIGHT rather than because it is necessary to protect one's
      "state".

      I disagree that "atmosphere is everything" ... YOU are everything,
      regardless of atmosphere. If you are dependent upon atmosphere, you are
      most decidedly NOT FREE.

      This, at least, is my challenge. A teacher I have found who is so very
      misunderstood is Andrew Cohen... whose absolute stand is in the place of
      teaching how it is possible to resolve the life of the individual with
      the infinitely vast view of nonduality. From my perspective he speaks
      with uncanny authority both on the nature of the nondual perspective and
      on how one who has realized this view experientially nontheless is in
      some other sense an individual making choices ... and so "How Do I
      Live?"... but for me, his view is not "How Do I Live" meaning moral,
      ethical rules ... but rather "How Do I Live" so as to protect and
      nurture that most precious perspective I have seen and am truly defined
      by.

      I am truly enjoying this interchange with you!!

      With love, Stephen

      Omkara responded:

      Hi Stephen,

      --- In NondualitySalon@egroups.com, "Stephen Levinson" smLevinson@r...
      wrote: I agree that allowing 'everyday life' to conform with the deeper
      knowingness is indeed the challenge. What I have been learning is that
      if one is TRULY rooted in nondual awareness then it has become clear
      that one is NOT in any way shape or form defined or determined by the
      content of one's consciousness. That means that 'whatever' one may be
      experiencing at any given moment, one is not swayed from that absolute
      perspective.

      O: That's what I've heard. Since it isn't in "my experience" (at least
      not to the extent described by others, or in the way "I perceive it"), I
      can only take it as a surmisal right now.

      In other words, it's "head knowledge" that this supposed "absolute
      perspective" is "absolutely imperturbable," and will remain so, unless
      or until it becomes "experiential knowledge." And the UNLESS should be
      emphasized: **I cannot live for some future happening!**

      The trap ("for me") is in trying to force or pretend something not
      experienced, to accept what others say as "the truth" as The Truth (how
      do I even know I'm interpreting "their truth" correctly?).

      Anyway, "it's all good." That at least is experiential. Whether or not
      there is some sort of permanent, unbreakable peace, IT REALLY DOESN'T
      MATTER TO ME. This detachment may or may not be the peace so many speak
      of... I don't know and am content not to know.

      If circumstances arise where this detachment may be tested, then that's
      good too. Actually, circumstances *DO* arise, even though I live a life
      of (mostly) inactivity. Doing "as occurrence" is impossible to avoid. So
      the tests come rather frequently here.


      S: There is a trap for the seeker to protect one form of experience
      over another. "If things are quiet and non-challenging then I can
      experience my true nature." This, in my opinion, is not freedom at all,
      for then one is dependent upon 'circumstances' ... internal or
      external...for one's view to remain nondual.

      O: Sure, that makes full logical sense.

      S: Rather, by being true to the IMPLICATIONS of the nondual view one
      has had and REFUSING to allow one's conviction that "I am free" to be
      swayed by the comings and goings of internal and external experience,
      one may indeed find that one is FREE...


      O: Yes, one may... have you?

      S: I disagree that "atmosphere is everything" ...

      O: You stated that you find "the necessity to use thought (or to think)
      to be problematic" I was responding to that statement when I said
      "atmosphere is everything," not speaking in general terms. In other
      words, if you find the necessity to think to be problematic, then
      arrange your life so you don't have to think, or have to think less. In
      my view, this would give you more time to spend just BEING AS AWARENESS,
      and (perhaps) give that a better chance to stabilize.

      I'll revise my statement: "Atmosphere can be important."

      S: I am truly enjoying this interchange with you!!

      O: As am I... it's nice to find someone honest, nonjudgmental to
      discuss with... I spend 99.5% of my time alone and silent (by choice).

      Love,

      Omkara (Tim)

      Steven continued the conversation:

      Dear Omkara (Tim)...

      I sense in your words a longing for (if possible) a state of ineffable
      peace that is unbroken. Perhaps this is my misreading. In any event,
      what I want to share with you is something I've been learning ...(I have
      also longed for some eternal blissfulness.) And in that longing has been
      the "declaration" that how I FEEL is the "thing" of it all. The most
      important aspect of my reality. And given the fickle nature of emotional
      states, this longing has always been thwarted... often!

      What I've been learning about all this is that the content of my
      emotional state is OF NO VALUE in determining WHO I AM... and that
      rather it's the vision and experience that I am the one AWARE of all
      these states that is critical.

      The experience then becomes one of being the container or witness of all
      phenomenal experience ... emotional and "physical" and all ... and there
      comes a sort of detachment or steadiness which (this is hard to explain)
      that seems to surround all the experience with a "buffer zone" of ...
      what, peace??? ... language fails here... One experiences I AM THE
      STILLNESS out of which all this noise I'm aware of emanates.

      Then the content of one's external environment and the content of one's
      internal emotional/mental states begin to FADE into the background of
      one's awareness and lose the bite they once had. It's like being in a
      room with a TV set on ... One can focus on the TV and then it's ALL ONE
      IS AWARE OF ... or one can be with whatever else is going on and then
      one can become (almost) oblivious to the TV set. Ever notice how you've
      been driving for miles and weren't aware of all that you were doing to
      manage the vehicle??

      So then the idea of being FREE begins to have some experiential value...
      at least it has for me ... and I feel so much less the victim of my
      surroundings and so much less needful of manipulating them in order to
      control my inner state. BECAUSE MY INNER STATE IS BESIDE THE POINT.
      Liberation takes on a new meaning... rather than a steady blissfulness:
      a detachment from the need to be in any particular emotional / mental
      state in order to BE OK. And this, I admit, brings with it it's own kind
      of peace. But a peace that can surround and coexist with fear, anxiety,
      whatever. Strange????

      That's why I'm discovering that what the great teachers have said is
      literally true ... ENLIGHTENMENT IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT !!! Strangely,
      NOTHING CHANGES except the perspective you have on WHAT IS. And then you
      see that you've always had it!!!

      With love, Stephen

      Omakara responded:

      Dear Stephen,

      > Dear Omkara (Tim)...
      >
      > I sense in your words a longing for (if possible) a state of
      > ineffable peace that is unbroken. Perhaps this is my misreading.

      It is. I accept and embrace fully "That Which Is." Whatever this may
      be, this is Truth, this is Beauty, this is contentment.

      I do not long for what is not Now. This Moment is fulness.. it is
      enough.

      ...And enough said.

      Love,

      Tim (Omkara)

      Marcia entered the conversation:

      S: So then the idea of being FREE begins to have some experiential
      value... at least it has for me ... and I feel so much less the victim
      of my surroundings and so much less needful of manipulating them in
      order to control my inner state. BECAUSE MY INNER STATE IS BESIDE THE
      POINT. Liberation takes on a new meaning... rather than a steady
      blissfulness: a detachment from the need to be in any particular
      emotional / mental state in order to BE OK. And this, I admit, brings
      with it it's own kind of peace. But a peace that can surround and
      coexist with fear, anxiety, whatever. Strange????

      M: I am wondering if being aware of the transitions between states is
      germane. Being present as the state changes from one thing to another. I
      am particularly thinking about emotional states. I have found that the
      few times that I have witnessed the transition from one emotional state
      into another are the times that I have felt most present to myself. What
      do you think?

      Marcia


      Gene and Jerry exchanged comments:

      G: Hi Jerry, you wrote:

      J: I'm sitting here in the early morning (for a Saturday) and savoring
      your sensibilities of space, emptiness, stillness. How can anything be
      known by anything? The richest knowing is the last moment of balance
      before the tightrope walker plunges into the abyss. The deepest knowing
      is the scream on the way down -- OM -- through the emptiness.

      G: Indeed, that is of moments, one of the most intense. Perhaps
      similar to plunging into the abyss of 'petit death' of orgasm; an
      expansion of awareness, which precedes blissful oblivion.

      To contrast oblivion to bliss... what is this? Perhaps, our emergence
      into awareness at birth, is the reverse of this order, oblivion into
      bliss, is what follows the generating orgasm of bliss flowing into
      oblivion?

      Perhaps these are two distinct realms, one of oblivion, the other of
      bliss; and perhaps it is our fate, to endlessly go between these two,
      compelled to leave the one for the other, again and again?

      To draw up another from the realm of oblivion, is to enact the passage
      of one more into the realm of bliss, but the realm of oblivion seems
      limitless, while the realm of bliss may seem to be conditional.

      Indeed, it is our study, to learn the unconditional nature of bliss; it
      is not earned, no matter how sought, but forms itself, the very
      substrate of Being. Yet, this same substrate seems to be interchangeable
      with oblivion; so much so, that we know the way to bliss, by seeking
      oblivion, and the way to oblivion, by seeking bliss.

      The details tend to fall by the wayside, as either pole is closely
      approached.

      ==Gene Poole==

      Victor updated us on his project at Highland Place:

      As can be seen from this missive I am apparently alive and well and
      still on the planet!

      For those who may not know, Highland Place is hoped to be a sort of
      teaching place and retreat center where friends can meet in a setting of
      unusual beauty. The first order of things being to erect some sort of
      pavilion to shield from the elements. This will be a massive 30 x 20
      foot structure that will be similar to a pavilion or picnic shelter
      which will allow use from the Spring through Fall seasons. This
      overlooks a valley, meadow, river and mountains. Camping will be
      available as well as very reasonable hotels and motels for those who
      like the amenities.

      Highland place is located on fifty acres of 1/3 meadows and 2/3
      woodlands with the mighty Cowpasture River on the property alongside the
      meadow. It is located in Highland County, Virginia in the suburbs of the
      town of Head Waters, population 42. (smiling)

      The site hase been graded and leveled by Donnie Botkin. Chuck Neeley and
      crew have been here this week and should finish sawing and stacking the
      lumber to be used in construction. It will dry over the Winter and then
      be used when construction starts in the Spring around March or April.

      HarshaSatsangh has .jpg photos of Highland place at their website. To
      look at them go to this URL: http://www.egroups.com/group/HarshaSatsangh

      Then subscribe and go to the Highland Place folder within the Files and
      select the various photos. There is also a Progress folder within the
      Highland Place folder for more views.

      May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.

      Victor

      Dan and Sarlo offered us some relief from seriousness:

      Sarlo wrote:

      I believe i've got it:

      ["is" <=> "is not"] => all logic is based on assumptions that have
      nothing
      to do with reality, therefore resistance is futile. Take me to your
      leader.
      Fizzle! Sput! Awwwwk!

      D: Okay.
      My leader is a gigantic squid
      who formed the universe
      by squirting multicolored
      ink into space.
      I think you'll get along just fine.

      Welcome back, thanks for your blessings ...

      And gracias for yours ...

      Dan

      Ed continued the discussion of activism:

      Still Point Activism: A Radical View?

      What might be considered radical by this view is in seeing the activism
      as a movement in society raising consciousness in the masses to the
      level of those who abide in the still point of awareness. The movement
      is simply activated by the presence and understanding of still point
      awareness in everyday, face-to-face dialogue.

      "When all is quiet, utterly still, as if the whole world has stopped,
      time has stopped, all movement inside has stopped, you have come to a
      still point. That still point is the goal of meditation. And out of the
      experience of that still point within you everything else arises as a
      by-product: bliss, love, compassion.... All that is beautiful, all that
      really makes you meaningful, all that gives you music and poetry, all
      that makes your heart dance with joy, all that transforms your life from
      misery into a celebration." ......OSHO

      Ed

      Omkara shared some images and writings with us:

      Dear Group,

      Check out my folder in the 'Files' section for lots of neat stuff:

      http://www.egroups.com/files/NondualitySalon/Tim_G/

      By the way, almost all of the file space allotted for the community is
      used up. I would encourage everyone to delete old files to free up some
      space.

      Love,

      Omkara

      Jerry solved the space problem:

      Hi Tim,

      You can upload things to the newly created Nonduality Salon Intranet
      site at <http://www.nonduality.intranets.com>

      Hopefully I've set the preferences correctly so that anyone can enter
      the intranet as a guest and be able to add and read documents. They
      offer 25 megs.

      If no one's interested in using the intranet site, at least it's an
      interesting option to know about. I use it at my job and it's handy and
      works well.

      Jerry

      And then, finally, I think Chuck said it for all of us...

      Thanks for "nothing" jerry. <smiles>

      enjoying the void dance,

      Chuck
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