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Wednesday, February 7

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  • umbada@ns.sympatico.ca
    These Highlights feature one conversation: the one on spiritual apathy. --Jerry Katz http://www.nonduality.com LYNN FRASER Hi everyone. I m new to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 9, 2001
      These Highlights feature one conversation: the one on spiritual apathy.
      --Jerry Katz


      Hi everyone. I'm new to the NondualitySalon. I was referred by
      my son Dustin. Would love to hear some discussion on this topic.

      "Spiritual apathy is called the monk's vice by Aquinas, as it
      was first recognized in monastic situations and continues to be
      prevalent in them. It is a failure to pursue the goals that you
      really want to pursue, a kind of lassitude about seeking the
      most important things you want. This vice's character is, I
      believe, very hard to understand, but I see it in myself and
      others all the time. That is, you love something good but you
      just cannot bring yourself to do what it is necessary to obtain
      it -for instance, to practice meditation consistently or to
      write the book you want to write. Spiritual apathy is also a
      very good example of the way some vices (as well as virtues) can
      lie so deep within a person that they are never manifested
      clearly. That is, people who suffer from spiritual apathy may be
      very active, but their frantic activity covers up the fact that
      they cannot pursue the goals they most want to obtain." Quote
      from Healing Emotions, Conversations with the Dalai Lama on
      Mindfulness, Emotions and Health, a Lee Yearly article on
      Virtues in Christian and Buddhist Traditions.

      I have had some experience with this in my own spiritual
      practice. An example - after I teach a meditation class is a
      great time for me to sit. My meditation at that time is usually
      deep and effortless as the vrittis are relatively settled and my
      awareness is already focused internally. I've observed that I
      often come home and eat something instead. Then I go to bed
      without meditating.

      I think it's root is fear. Of what? Taking responsibility maybe.
      Of success? As we learn to observe the thoughts, it's relatively
      easy to observe the ego working on an obvious level. Is this a
      subtle way to undermine our spiritual search? To keep us stuck?
      Why when we yearn for something do we sometimes get in our own


      What is interpreted as apathy could be the result of
      de-conditioning: If so, it will just continue and nothing has to
      be undermined.

      What is a "search" or "practice" without expectation? Pastime?
      Even from a pastime there is expectation... Undermining the
      practice, different expectation?


      First, welcome. Who cares? (couldn't resist) But seriously,
      where are you going? Perhaps the apathy is a relaxation of
      seeking... and being as the present. The vrittis are relatively
      settled, awareness is internally focused, is there a need at
      that point for formal meditation? The physical entity responds
      to its own requirement for sustenance and rest. I question the
      reality of any goal that is forever just around the corner. But
      at the same time there is always the rushing towards. So there
      it is, the real rushing towards the unreal and the unreal
      towards the real. A matter of points of view, one real, one
      projected. Which is happening now, and forever. 'Now' being
      real. 'Forever' being unreal. You write of fear, of success or
      of taking responsibility. But you are already perfect. There is
      no choice. Failure is impossible so is success. Tick tock is the
      clock responsible or not or neither or both. Now there is no
      such thing. If it is truly seen that there is no choice fear has
      no place to take hold. What is the root of fear?

      ps... there is a feeling of being on an edge, on the brink, in
      your post. Of what?


      Not much to say here, but I'll drop a couple clues...

      (1) What's normally considered a 'vice', may actually be a
      'virtue' in disguise....

      (2) The 'vice' described below depends entirely on the
      assumption that there is a goal to pursue...

      (3) It also depends entirely on the assumption that there is
      someone to pursue a goal, and that volition is possible...


      "To keep us stuck? Why when we yearn for something do we
      sometimes get in our own way?"

      Maybe you have to step even further back in your analysis. Why
      do you yearn for "something"? If there was no yearning, there
      would be no getting in the way?


      One could remark that a stone doesn't yearn either... Yearning
      could be interpreted as a sign of feeling separated, that
      separation disappearing when the object of yearning has been
      attained. And it is obvious that intellectual knowledge like
      "there is nothing to attain" won't evaporate that yearning...
      When yearner, yearning and the object of yearning become one,
      who is left to yearn?


      I hear Lynn asking about spiritual apathy in the context of her
      practice. I hear Lynn asking for discussion on a specific topic,
      spiritual apathy. Lynn is suggesting that its root is fear and
      that we may undermine our own spiritual search.

      I think this is correct, and ask, Why is it not desirable to
      undermine the spiritual search?


      Dear Lynn, Mark, Matthew, Omkara and anyone else sharing in this

      Seems to me like you are asking a real question. Spirituality is
      about the human condition and the problem of existence. It is
      ALL ABOUT VOLITION. The ONE that does not have volition, that
      does not yearn, etc. is not the one who turns to NDS for
      direction, comfort, maybe a little light and hope in their dark

      Is anyone trying to say that the Love which abides in the
      absolute ALL of its own beingness (or whatever jargon you want
      to use) is somehow not "adaptable" enough, not actually loving
      enough to simultaneously meet the human need--to comfort, heal,
      guide? Of course divine Love never leaves heaven for earth
      (metaphorically speaking) of course divine Love doesn't yearn
      and have need or experience self-division, but human
      consciousness does. And the miracle of grace is that this the
      dispersing of that darkened consciousness perceives this
      infinite Love (in St. Paul's words) "through a dark mirror"---as
      love meeting the human need.

      The fact that we often confuse our human wants for our human
      need, or that our idea of "need" the divine reality of it are
      often miles apart, does not annul the existence of need.

      Or are we going to get stuck at the abstract level of "Whose to
      say what that need is?"

      Intelligence tells us what the need is. Love tells us what that
      need is.

      Theory is great but it doesn't help us change the flat tire
      beautifully, get up and feed the baby at 2:00 a.m. I gotta go
      with William Blake: "Eternity is in love with the productions of
      time." That's the truly non-dual and the mysterious.

      The problem of being is existential. Anyone who is oblivious of
      the problem or has somehow managed to encase themselves in a
      surrealistic bubble that they mistake for "clarity" is confused.
      The question first posed re: spiritual apathy and self-division
      is a real question and a real problem.

      There is the other possibility of course---that the person who
      hasn't or doesn't face the issue of what I call the "divided
      will / divided love" in their own life, the person who no longer
      struggles with the problem articulated by St. Paul as "The good
      that I do I would not and that which I would not do, I
      do."--this person has somehow and joyfully managed to surpass
      Jesus himself, who on the Cross cried out from this same place
      of anguish---"Why hast thou forsaken me O Lord?" In that case,
      all I can do is congratulate them, or bow at their feet.

      Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep yearning. Keep loving. Sincerity
      will invite much more clarity for all of us than does doctrine,
      no matter how ND that doctrinal "correctness" might articulate


      Hello Lynn and Susan.. nice to hear from both of you.

      Your inquiry, Lynn, seems to have called forth the usual replies
      from this space.. from those (guys mostly) who speak from the
      One dimension.. eschewing any credibility of the
      multidimensionality of our human existence.

      I often wonder.. should I go elsewhere to speak of the human
      face? Elsewhere to know the fellowship of others who are living
      in the Venn overlap of both the human face, and the Heart of
      Being, which embraces and dissolves it? Elsewhere to speak and
      learn from the ways we are being taught to mature in the stream,
      through releasing of ideas which no longer fit. To be asked "who
      speaks?; who learns? and how can perfection mature?" are useful
      as examining levers of the focal point of bound identity; but
      also can elicit contraction as well as expansion.

      It seems to me, there is a certain imbalance in the
      righteousness of only speaking from the monotone voice of the
      'Self realized'. Though I have no doubt that there are, amongst
      this list, those who have realized Self, the tenor of the
      absolute is not always absolution (eg reconciliation) for those
      of us seeking nothing, knowing nothing, just simply living the
      vagaries of a life of attention... flowing, more or less
      encumbered, with what shows up. The reconciliation which leads
      to dissolution seems always, for me, through bringing all to the
      altar of the living heart.

      So.. I'll risk being wrong here and speak with you as a friend..
      as one who might sit with you over a cup of tea and look (by
      your side) at what is presenting as inquiry for you.

      Lynn said,

      "I think it's root is fear. Of what? Taking responsibility
      maybe. Of success? As we learn to observe the thoughts, it's
      relatively easy to observe the ego working on an obvious level.
      Is this a subtle way to undermine our spiritual search? To keep
      us stuck? Why when we yearn for something do we sometimes get in
      our own way?"

      You ask about apathy. I can't speak to "spiritual apathy", as I
      no longer know what that might mean. But I do know apathy and
      stuckness and the host of other ways the tricksters mind and
      emotions can obfuscate an essential current of clarity. I ask
      myself, what is it that I Am response-able for? "Success" as a
      Being benchmark no longer applies here. How could we presume to
      know what success would look like? As do you, I observe the
      thought patterns, and the measurements of success are always
      ones socially given, based on learned values. They have value in
      the world we buy our groceries, but hold no resonance in the
      expanse of living stream.

      Your question "is this a subtle way to undermine our spiritual
      search?" reads here as essentially the opposite of what this
      list is about. If I am reading you incorrectly, please let me
      know. I hear this question as spoken from a lens position of a
      self, intent upon a spiritual practice towards a goal of moving
      closer to whatever "spirit" means to you. And your inquiry is
      whether ego is undermining the essential intent, as laid out.
      The direction of those on this list, is to examine the very self
      which thinks it has anywhere to go to know 'spirit'. And
      furthermore.. to gradually or suddenly recognize the, rather
      radical, possibility that there is no self here at all.. merely
      an infrastructure of ideas/thoughts/emotions woven with such
      exquisitely subtle intricacy that it never occurs to pause and
      examine it's own realism. Once this turn, this pause, this (as
      Jan says) de-conditioning begins, infrastructures begin
      collapsing. As Tim says to Susan:

      "I 'hear you'... suffering is real enough to the sufferer. The
      sufferer may begin to question its own reality. The presence of
      the *sufferer* is the problem, not the suffering.

      Until the sufferer realizes its own fundamental nonexistence
      (not doctrinally, not conceptually, but directly and
      experientially), there are only band-aids to slap over wounds
      that never heal."

      While I recognize the truth spoken in this statement, I'd also
      like to suggest that there is a way of being with each other,
      through the transition (of de-construction) which can be
      compassionate The band-aids can also mature and need not be
      toxic to the process. We can be present in the fullness of
      heart, or space; as aid to the bands still contracting. We can
      meet the contraction of our selves or each other and listen to
      it's atonality in such a way that we surrender and allow it to
      be ingested into the spaciousness of the living heart. The
      foreground is subsumed by the Background of love, present Now.
      Gradually "the presence of the *sufferer*" is seen, not as
      "problem" to be obliterated, but merely as inanimate flotsam, no
      longer magnetically drawing forth animation.

      The ebbing of need for animation is what I am learning here.
      What is spoken rarer here is expression of the heart of
      containment. Tim says:

      "'Divine love' is what we *are*, not what we need."

      And while I wholeheartedly agree.. there is still here a human
      who is graced when this is met in living presence of another.


      Excerpt from Zen In the Art of Archery by Eugene Herrigel, tr.
      R.F.C. Hull

      Master- "You must hold the drawn bowstring, like a little child
      holding the proffered finger. It grips it so firmly that one
      marvels at the strength of the tiny fist. And when it lets the
      finger go, there is not the slightest jerk. Do you know why?
      Because a child doesn't think: 'I will now let go of the finger
      in order to grasp this other thing'. Completely
      unself-consciously, without purpose, it turns from one to the
      other, and we would say that it was playing with the things,
      were it not equally true that the things are playing with the

      "Do you know why you can not wait for the shot and why you get
      out of breath before it has come? The right shot at the right
      moment does not come because you do not let go of yourself. You
      do not wait for fulfillment, but brace yourself for failure. So
      long as that is so, you have no choice but to call forth
      something yourself that ought to happen independently of you,
      and so long as you call it forth your hand will not open in the
      right way - like the hand of a child."

      Herrigel- "For ultimately, I draw the bow and loose the shot in
      order to hit the target. The drawing is thus a means to an end,
      and I cannot lose sight of this connection. The child knows
      nothing of this, but for me the two things cannot be

      Master- "The right art, is purposeless, aimless! The more
      obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake
      of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and
      the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is
      that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you
      do not do yourself does not happen."

      Herrigel- "So I must become purposeless...on purpose?"


      I have found this book to be helpful re: goals and undermining
      them...etc... At the same time I am aware that there is some
      controversy around Herrigel.


      apathetically spiritual: been there, done that - hooie!

      It's a trick. Yup! A trick!

      god/universe/conciousness/brahma/totality by whatever name has
      tricked itself into being. Being what? Just being. Why? Just

      Pardon the silly language. But, the other day god itself came
      knocking on my front door. I let it in and offered it coffee. It
      said thanks but no thanks. What it wanted me to do was to stop
      telling people that everybody is already god.

      Well! I just told it to kiss my lily white ass! Now as you may
      well imagine, it started to get more that a little huffy!

      When I reminded it of the .0001% solution. It said, "Damn! The
      escape clause. Oh very well, go ahead."

      There you have it folks. We are already god.

      Have a good eternity!


      Peace - Michael
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