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Archive 11
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August 2, 2000: Buddhism in J.D. Salinger's 'Teddy', by Tony Magagna
August 3, 2000: Selections from 'The Way to Love', by Anthony deMello
August 4, 2000: Benevolent vs. Wrathful Deities: Understanding the Double Bind
by Gene Poole, with commentary by Dan Berkow, Ph.D.

August 7, 2000: Reality and Manifestation, by Wei Wu Wei
August 8, 2000: Long Day's Journey Into Night, by Eugene O'Neill
August 9, 2000: The Subtle Gateway, by David Hodges
August 10, 2000: 226th Chorus, by Jack Kerouac
August 11, 2000: Interview with Timothy Roi Diers, Part One
August 14, 2000: Name Points to Nameless, by Sharon Hart
August 15, 2000: Email List vs 'Real People', by Christiana Duranczyk
August 16, 2000: Do Not Test Your Mantra, by Harsha
August 17, 2000: On Bhakti, by Greg Goode and Gloria Lee

After relating his own hypothetical death-scenario..., Teddy asks, "What would be so tragic about it, though? What's there to be afraid of, I mean? I'd just be doing what I was supposed to do."

August 2
Orange Peels And Apple-Eaters:
Buddhism In J.D. Salinger's 'Teddy'

by Tony Magagna
from
www.salinger.org/

In J.D. Salinger's short story, "Teddy," the title-character, staring out of a porthole in the ship cabin he is sharing with his parents, muses aloud:

"Someone just dumped a whole garbage can of orange peels out the window....They float very nicely....That's interesting....I don't mean its interesting that they float....It's interesting that I know about them being there. If I hadn't seen them, then I wouldn't know they were there, and if I didn't know they were there, I wouldn't be able to say that they even exist....Some of them are starting to sink now. In a few minutes, the only place they'll still be floating will be inside my mind. That's quite interesting, because if you look at it a certain way, that’s where they started floating in the first place." (171-72)

These observations, seemingly out of proportion to a simple can of kitchen refuse being tossed into the sea, reflect a strong Buddhist influence on Teddy's thought (and on Salinger's). The way in which Teddy describes the orange peels as appearing in front of him, and then, moments later, beginning to sink out of view - out of existence - points to the Buddhist idea of impermanence; nothing lasts forever - those things that we perceive, and even our own lives, are only temporary occurrences which will, with time, vanish. This passage also reflects the directly related Buddhist belief of non-existence, which teaches that physical existence - whether of self, or time, or even orange peels - is an illusion. Buddhists hold that the materiality of the world only exists within earthly, and therefore false, perceptions; in other words, we fool ourselves into thinking that we, and everything around us, exist in any physical sense. Thus, when Teddy remarks here that the orange peels only exist in his mind, as well as later when, upon leaving the cabin, he states, "After I go out this door, I may only exist in the minds of all my acquaintances....I may be an orange peel" (174), he is, in a Buddhist sense, quite right.
This scene is fairly brief in the context of the story, but in its reflection of Buddhist influences, it is indicative of the story as a whole. Throughout Teddy, Salinger relates several Buddhist principles and philosophies through the characters', and especially Teddy's, statements and actions. The strong influence of Buddhism is apparent even in some of Salinger's basic decisions in constructing and framing the story.

One such decision is Salinger's choice (a tendency in many of his stories) to create and relate the story of his characters without any sense of history. In Teddy, the story opens with all of the key characters aboard an oceanliner, but there is little, if any, information as to how they got there. There are references throughout the story to bits and pieces of biographical information (i.e. Teddy's father is a radio-actor, Teddy makes tapes), but in fact very little. The reader has no sense, really, of where these characters came from, or where they are going. It is as if, like Teddy's orange peels, the characters only came into existence at the point in time when the story begins, and that they will cease to exist the moment it ends. Again, like the scene with the orange peels, this strict focus on the story's present, with no sense of past or future, clearly reflects the Buddhist beliefs of impermanence and non-existence.

Another, and perhaps less abstract, Buddhist influence on Teddy (and Salinger) lies in the structure of the title-character himself. Throughout the story, Salinger portrays Teddy as a genius, a seer, a religious figure, and even a teacher of teachers; the catch is that he's only ten years old! This portrayal, coupled with the references in the story to reincarnation (188), is reflective of the Buddhist (Mahayana particularly) belief in reincarnated rinpochets, or religious figures, and is a product, perhaps, of world-events occurring around the time that Salinger wrote Teddy. During the early 1950's, much of the world's attention was focused on the newly Communist China and their struggle for control of Buddhist Tibet. The spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet at the time was the Fourteenth Dalai Lama - a teenage boy who had been recognized as the reincarnation of the great religious leader since before the age of six. Salinger would certainly have been aware of the Dalai Lama, and the Buddhist belief in child rinpochets, and likely, along with the rest of the Buddhist aspects with which he imbued this story, applied this principle to the figure of the ten-year-old Teddy. Thus, from this Buddhist perspective, it is not entirely strange that such high, especially religious, esteem is given to a young boy.

Within the events of the story itself, and through the actions of the characters, Salinger also relates a great deal of Buddhist philosophy. One such philosophy is the Buddhist tendency to refrain from any form of materialism, whether of the self or of objects. This practice relates, of course, to the beliefs, as mentioned before, of impermanence and non-existence; if objects, including the self, are not real and will only be around for a limited time, then they can have no true value that can be accumulated and flaunted. In Teddy, however, many of the characters, through their actions and affectations, are portrayed in quite the opposite fashion; they are materialistic, narcissistic, and egocentric. Brand names, evidence of material culture, pervade the story; a suitcase is not simply a suitcase, but rather a Gladstone, and Mr. McArdle's (Teddy's father) camera is not simply his camera, but his goddam Leica (172). Clothing also seems to be described in lavish detail as evidence, along with such affectations as the way characters walk and speak, of narcissism. Even the way in which Nicholson smiles is shown by Salinger as indicative of his egocentrism: His smile was not unpersonable, but it was social, or conversational, and related back, however indirectly, to his own ego (184).

Teddy, the epitome in the story of Buddhist ideals, on the other hand, is characterized in an entirely opposite fashion; he has no such materialistic or narcissistic accoutrements. He apparently, much to the chagrin of his father, has no sense of the value of material objects; he uses his father's Gladstone suitcase as a stool, and allows his younger sister to tote the camera around the ship as a plaything. His clothing also sets him in stark contrast to the other characters in their Ivy-league apparel (Nicholson) and their gaudy uniforms (the ship's crew): He was wearing extremely dirty, white ankle-sneakers, no socks, [oversized] seersucker shorts...[and] an overly laundered T shirt that had a hole the size of a dime in the
right shoulder (167). Even Teddy's affectations - the way in which he acts - are of a Buddhist nature. Unlike the other characters, whose methods of walking, talking, and smiling highlight their narcissism, Teddy behaves with such concentration on whatever he is doing, that the materialism of the world around him seems to fall away. An instance of this is when the boy is reading over his journal, as if only he and the notebook existed - no sunshine, no fellow passengers, no ship (179). In such a way, with a seeming take-off of the Buddhist Heart Sutra, Salinger successfully sets Teddy apart from the rest of his fellow passengers as one who, having been greatly influenced by Buddhist philosophies, can see through the materialism and egocentrism of his environment.

Another Buddhist principle that is brought to bear in the story through Teddy, in contrast to the other characters, deals with attachment. In the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, it is taught that life is suffering, and that suffering is caused by the desire to reach out for, and grasp onto, people, objects, experiences, emotions, etc.,
which, as has been illustrated, are impermanent; thus, when whatever illusion someone has become attached to ceases, that person experiences a great deal of suffering. In Teddy, the title-character observes how his parents, and seemingly everyone else around him, are so caught up in emotional attachment, but he cannot understand why: "I wish I knew why people think it's so important to be emotional....My mother and father don't think a person's human unless he thinks a lot of things are very sad or very annoying or very - very unjust' (186). Such emotional attachment, which for Teddy is incomprehensible, even leads him, in his journal, to proclaim how quite sick he is of poetry (180), because, as we learn later, "[Poets]'re always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions" (185). In contrast to this apparently Western-world poetry, and further demonstrating Salinger's Buddhist influence, Teddy quotes two Japanese haikus as examples of non-emotional poetry; both haikus are by Basho, a famous Zen poet.

Teddy also applies this idea of emotional attachment to people's fear of death in the story. As with the entire concept of emotion, Teddy cannot understand why the people around him, including his parents and even professors of Religion and Philosophy (193), are so afraid of death and dying. After relating his own hypothetical death-scenario (which, depending on one's interpretation of the story, may be a prophecy), Teddy asks, "What would be so tragic about it, though? What's there to be afraid of, I mean? I'd just be doing what I was supposed to do (193). Teddy goes on to recognize that, of course, his parents would be quite upset if he were to die, but that's only because they have names and emotions for everything (194). This statement clearly relates back to the Buddhist belief that suffering is caused by desire and attachment - Teddy's parents would suffer if he died because they are attached to him and do not accept the Buddhist principle of impermanence. In this previous example, Salinger, by moving from the everyday issues of materialism and emotion into the much more weighty realm of death and people's relationship towards dying, takes his Buddhist lessons in Teddy to a much higher, philosophical and religious level. These more ponderous issues, including the above speculations on death, come to bear in the story in a lengthy conversation between Teddy and Nicholson, a professor and fellow passenger on the oceanliner. In this discussion, Teddy (and thus Salinger) presents Buddhist principles in a very unique way - by packaging Buddhist belief in Judeo-Christian imagery. This perhaps reflects Salinger's own views on Buddhism; though he is clearly, and strongly influenced by Buddhist philosophy, Salinger himself is not Buddhist, but rather brings the teachings of Buddhism to bear in his Judeo-Christian heritage and environment. Another reason for this meshing of Eastern and Western philosophy could easily be that Saling! er felt, when writing Teddy, that his audience would not be terribly receptive to a simple recitation of Buddhist tenets.
America in the 1950's, though becoming far more familiar with Buddhism and Eastern thought, still looked rather warily at new modes of spirituality: as Teddy says to Nicholson, "it's very hard to meditate and live a spiritual life in America. People think you're a freak if you try to (188).

No matter the reason for this syncretism of Buddhist and Judeo-Christian principles, it is quite clear that Salinger embraces such a mix in the language and imagery of Nicholson and Teddy's conversation. Nicholson continuously uses biblical language while talking to Teddy, even when referring to seemingly non-Judeo-Christian experiences. For example, Nicholson, when referring to Teddy's belief that he was an Indian seeking enlightenment in a past life, calls the fact that Teddy (as the Indian meditator) didn't reach final Illumination because he met a lady and became disinterested in meditation, a fall from Grace (188). Teddy himself speaks from within this syncretism, telling of his moment of enlightenment in terms of God, instead of Buddha-nature: "I was six when I saw that everything was God....My sister was only a very tiny child then, and she was drinking her milk, and all of a sudden I saw that she was God and the milk was God" (189). This experience in itself - realizing that all things are connected and the same - is very Buddhist, but by referring to the interconnectedness as God, Teddy is drawing together Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Outside of the simple Judeo-Christian language used to relate Buddhist beliefs in this conversation, by far the most significant example of a syncretism of Eastern and Western philosophy in Teddy, occurs when the
title-character is explaining to Nicholson the need to get out of the finite dimensions (189) of life. This idea refers to the Buddhist principle of nonduality, which relates to the aforementioned philosophy of non-existence. Nonduality is a very complicated (at least to Westerners) way of thinking, which denies any attempt to place dimensions, both relative and specific, on objects. This mode of thought is essential to the Buddhist belief that nothing truly exists, for if we can say that an object is big and white, as opposed to small and black, then we give that object an identity which, from a Buddhist perspective, it does not have. In order to deal with how complicated it is for most Westerners to think in this fashion, and to explain why logic, the main barrier to thinking nondualistically, is the first thing you have to get rid of (190) in order to see the real world, Teddy (and Salinger) relates this very Buddhist principle through the Judeo-Christian tradition of Genesis and Original Sin. He asks Nicholson:

"You know that apple Adam ate in the Garden of Eden, referred to in the Bible?....You know what was in that apple? Logic. Logic and intellectual stuff. That was all that was in it. So - this is my point - what you have to do is vomit it up if you want to see things as they really are....The trouble is...most people don't want to see things the way they are. They don't even want to stop getting born and dying all the time....I never saw such a bunch of apple-eaters." (191)

In such a way - by drawing together the Buddhist ideals of nonduality and escaping finite dimensions in order to see true reality, with this fundamental Judeo-Christian image - Salinger, through Teddy, is able to create in the minds of his readers a distinct relationship between the two seemingly disparate religions. He is able to show that, in the same way that Buddhists believe that there is a barrier - logic - in the path to ultimate enlightenment to the true nature of reality, those of the Judeo-Christian tradition believe that when mankind's original ancestors sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, we all lost the purity of Paradise. By having Teddy relate that logic - the Buddhist barrier - came from that forbidden fruit, Salinger draws the people of both sides together in the common goal of ridding themselves of the apple's curse.

Perhaps this, then, is Salinger's true goal with Teddy. By relating Buddhist philosophies and principles in the story, and thereby awakening his readers to the dangers of materialism, egocentrism, and emotional attachment, Salinger is trying to help us escape the finite dimensions of life, and to think outside of the box. We do not have to be Buddhist, or Jewish, or Christian in order to open our minds to a new perspective. As Teddy says to Nicholson, who asks him what he would do to change the education system: I'd try to show [children] how to find out who they are, not just what their names are and things like that...I'd get them to empty out everything their parents and everybody ever told them....I'd want then to begin with all the real ways of looking at things, not just the way all the other apple-eaters look at things (195-96). Maybe, then, we are Teddy's hypothetical pupils - Salinger's real ones - meant to cough up our own piece of the apple, in order to see the orange peels.

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To walk away from the world of human beings as the prophets and the mystics did is not to walk away from their company but from their formulas.

August 3
Selections from "The Way to Love"
by Anthony de Mello
contributed by Victor Torrico to the
HarshaSatsangh list

"Is there any way to know that what you are in touch with is Reality? Here is one sign: What you perceive does not fit into any formula whether given by another or created by yourself. It simply cannot be put into words. So what can teachers do? They can bring to your notice what is unreal, they cannot show you Reality: they can destroy your formulas, they cannot make you see what the formula is pointing to; they can indicate your error, they cannot put you in possesion of the Truth. They can, at the most, point in the direction of Reality, they cannot tell you what to see. You will have to walk out there all alone and discover for yourself.

To walk alone---that means to walk away from every formula---the ones given to you by others, the ones learned from books, the ones that you yourself invented in light of your past experience. That is possibly the most terrifying thing a human being can do: move into the unknown,
unprotected by any formula. To walk away from the world of human beings as the prophets and the mystics did is not to walk away from their company but from their formulas. Then, even though you are surrounded by people, you are truly and utterly alone. What an awesome solitude! That solitude, that aloneness is Silence. It is only this Silence that you will see. And the moment you see you will abandon every book and guide and guru."

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To learn how to abide the persistent presence of the double-binding control-artist is indeed a high calling!

August 4
Benevolent vs. Wrathful Deities: Understanding the Double Bind
by Gene Poole, with commentary by Dan Berkow, Ph.D.

In my practices, I have noted the clever use of helpful metaphor, especially in the task of describing the undescribable, or at least what is difficult to describe to those of limited experience.

One such 'metaphor system' is found in Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism). I refer to the statements which refer to variou
'Deities', most of which are classified as either 'benevolent' or 'wrathful'.

(Our beloved "Jehovah" is course, both benevolent AND wrathful; and he is the source of the crazymaking 'double-bind' which is so pervasive in our history and our world-dream culture; I hold that without His 'help', there would be little problem with schizophrenia, bipolar, etc. )

Eventually, the practitioner of Vajrayana will eventually 'tumble to' (realize) that what is being discussed, in the topic of Deities, has a lot to do with how we perceive 'ordinary people'; the realization is that it is humans (among other entities) who are being discussed as being either benevolent or wrathful.

This realization is usually held in denial, the expectation being that there 'really are (invisible spiritual) Deities' which become visible as a result of long and dedicated practice. What happens instead, is shocking, a real hair-raiser; the practitioner sees these entities, these Deities, as dwelling in and Being human individuals. This includes everyone; your mother, child, wife, friend, etc.

This perception, if it comes unbidden or unexpectedly, can result in major 'freaking out' of the perceiver; a person suddenly SEES a 'demonic' or 'angelic' aspect/presence in the person to whom they are relating. This event does occur, and is one of the compassionate reasons why the Tibetan Buddhists include this information in their cosmological teachings.

I offer this information as compassionate caution to all readers.

Beware of the impulse to react to perceived 'evil', and equally, beware of the impulse to follow perceived 'good'. A deep study of the universe as seen by Vajrayana will fully inform you of the inherent traps and hazards to be found in our basic spiritual infrastructure; specifically, the impulses of AVERSION and its polar opposite, DESIRE.

You may note, if you look carefully and dispassionately, that among the population of self-identified followers of various spiritual paths, that there is shame attached to desire, and yet VIRTUE is attached to aversion. People speak with pride and passion, of what they 'abhor', and yet they speak little of what they desire, having accepted that desire is a flaw.

In the universe of living humans, life is movement, and all movement has momentum. Given this state of given movement (the gift of life itself), reactions and choices result in changes of direction of movement, at a given momentum.

True and factual spiritual teachings take these factors into account. Given our pre-existing movement and momentum, we are always 'going to somewhere' and 'going away from somewhere'. Skillfully transmitted (shared) teachings point to this movement as the chief factor of WHY we should beware of both aversion and desire.

The aversive impulse is to move _away_, while the desire impulse is to move _toward_. Persons who are unconscious of this basic reality of human design principle, are very easy to manipulate; simply present them with a symbol which is aversive, and they will move away from it. If at the same time, a symbol of desire is presented, they will move toward it. It is quite easy to manipulate most people in this way; this is how the entire world-dream system of governance/control is enacted.

Wrathful Deities are generally considered to be symbols of aversion, and Benevolent Deities are considered to be attractive (desirous). According to Vajrayana, we have little choice but to continue to inhabit realms shared by deities of both natures, but also, we have the choice to react to them, or not.

'Not-reacting' to Deities is difficult, but it can be done, and is called 'abiding'.

The textbook teaching example of this human dilemma is found in the so-called 'Tibetan Book of the Dead', which (in proper translation!) leads us to understand that the dilemma of the newly-dead person, is not at all different than our dilemma as living persons; that being, the never-seized choice to abide, rather than react, to perceived 'good and evil'.

One who seizes this choice of abiding, will perceive the whole universe swirling about them, each particle DEMANDING recognition, respect, worship, fear, or desire. The cacophony of contradictory voices will become overwhelming, the impulse to move will become very powerful. The choice to abide, must be long-cultivated and firmly in place, to survive this powerful challenge. That is why, in Vajrayana, the teachings are presented early and in digestible metaphorical form; it is to give children the chance to learn abiding (non-reaction) as a major, life-enhancing choice.

In the inner teachings of Vajrayana, it is stated that the reactive movement is what keys into existence, the very reality which is the perfect outpicturing of the inner assumptions of the person reacting. That is to say, that as the universe of attractive and repulsive Deities swirl about us, that we will inevitably 'see' a familiar moment, and it is that tiny 'snapshot' which becomes the seed from which our entire reality grows. In this way, it is said, we are able to materialize our personal universe, and then to begin seeking 'good' and avoiding 'evil' in that self-created reality. And make no mistake; this elf-created reality is as 'real' as real can ever be. It is not a shimmering, self-evident mirage. It is as real as anything can seem, to a human Being.

Of note among 'wrathful Deities' is the bleeding control-artist known as the 'Double-Binder'; it seems that a majority of people are helpless against this form of temptation. However, there is no compelling reason to leave abiding and enter reaction. For this purpose, I present the following...

LEARN TO UNDERSTAND THE DOUBLE-BIND PARALYSIS:

Here are common examples;

"You are an idiot."

"You are an idiot :)"

Note your reaction to each statement.

"Shut up and go away."

"Shut up and go away :)"

Note your reaction to each statement.

The 'Double-Bind' is applied for several reasons, and is blatantly manipulative behaviour:

_1 Overt hostile acts or speech automatically expose the motives and nature of the one acting-out; to disguise, one pastes a smile. "Smile when you say that".

_2 Double-binding is ruthless control; it inflicts paralysis by trapping between aversion and desire, but is only effective against the inexperienced and unsophisticated. A threat delivered with a smile, is still a threat. When one is confronted with a threat, one wishes to run away, but if at the same time, there is a smile, even a mock-smile, one may be undecided as to what course
of action to take.

_3 Double-binding is done by those who have no other alternative; double-binders, as a broad class of people, were raised via double-bind control tactics, and thus know no other way of behaving. Such individuals are to be pitied, but also carefully avoided until the skill of abiding is firmly in place.

_4 Individuals who apply double-bind control to others, are desperately lonely, yet in terror of actual human contact; typically, intense drama follows such individuals, and they bring it with them always. Violent events occur; fire, flood, injury, and other 'acts of God' are regular events in the lives of those who practice this ruthless form of fear-based bondage.

_5 Double-binders, living exclusively in an self-created universe of CONTROL, inevitably struggle with others for control and dominance; there are precious few moments of equanimity, to be found in continual power-struggle. The double-binder has a ready menu of blame close at hand; no act which they commit, can be classified as 'wrong', for all of their acts are done 'for the good of others'.

_6 Sentimental mock-love replaces actual empathy and compassion, as the expression of the double-binder; love becomes a veritable fetish, rather than a literal reality. Because it is inherently false, sentimentality cannot be maintained without constant reinforcement, and the best 'source' of reinforcement is found in power-conflict with others. Living a lifestyle of control is guaranteed to be a rich source of conflict, and each conflict is exploited to reinforce the identity of the double-binder as 'good'. This is of course done by the method of making the other 'bad'.

_7 The double-bind control artist will always avert attention away from what they are really doing, by donning the mantle of virtue, as they aggress upon others. In the private logic of the control artist, it is plain that those who offer opposition, are 'against what is good' and thus 'deserver what they get'.

It is up to everyone to simply avoid playing the game of the double-binding control artist; if ignored, they will protest that they are unappreciated for the good that they do, and will also point with alarm to those who oppose them, to rouse the 'rabble' to actions against those who are the targets of control. If ignored, they will begin to tearfully protest, to ask if their good is not seen, and to be understood to be active agents of 'good', striking fear into the closed hearts of those who would get away with being 'out of control'.

Overall, the double-binder NEEDS opposition, and they are sure to arouse it by their words and acts. This need is really for the purpose of maintaining an identity of 'virtuous', while indulging in blatant aggressive acts of paralysis and control over others. Predictably, words are spoken which point to the evil of others, and how the existence of those 'evil others' stands as justification for 'strong action'.

Double-binding is, in a sense, the ultimate test of our ability to abide. On the face of it, it is silly, the acts of a stupid person who cannot see; yet, by sheer persistence, it is itself a thorn in the side of everyone. To learn how to abide the persistent presence of the double-binding control-artist is indeed a high calling!

Now, back to the Vajrayana ideal of the wrathful Deity. In the inner teachings, wrathful Deities are to be seen as the same as benevolent ones, all Beings being the same Being. But, until this is an ongoing practice, it is only an idea. Firm abiding is the place between aversion and desire, and is also the place of choice. Reaction is the incessant movement between aversion and desire, and is the realm of hell.

The double-binder is one who lives in hell; as such, they perform a certain service, as do other criminals, in that we are invited to live in hell with them, or to choose otherwise. The criminal craft of the double-binder is the art of camouflage, but for those with penetrating insight, 'good' is not an effective disguise for 'evil'. Neither good nor evil are sufficient reasons for moving out of abidance; yet, the choice to do so is always available.

If one who is subject to the chaotic fires of hell wishes to boil the pot, it is simply their choice to do so; it is also choice to allow that swirl of the universe to keep right on swirling, as it always has and always will. From this chaotic brew will emerge those who can abide the boiling, no matter the constant admonitions of those who would have us set ourselves against those identified as 'evil'.

"Resist not evil".


Commentary by Dan Berkow, Ph.D.

The prevalence of psychotic disorders is approximately the same across cultures, a finding that intrigued me many years ago when I ran across those statistics. And depression is considered to be a world-wide epidemic, according to the U.N.

Conceptualizable as an interaction of genes, biology, family, culture, and thought-forms that is transcultural; disorder within order, order with disorder, our human condition.

Thanks, Gene, for your insightful comments about aversion/desire and the use of double binds.

How about these double-binds: you're organized (to be disorganized). you're alive (to be dead). you're here (you ain't). you've a body (you're bodiless).

Yes, LIFE destroys me with a smiley face, "gives" to "take away" with a smile.

Call it YHVH, call it Mandala, the wheel turns; I'm strengthened to be destroyed; the attempt to destroy me, awakens me.

If I *am* both apparent sides of all double-binds, no double-bind holds me.

I awake - my double vision has led to dissolution of the prison with no sides. The benevolent and wrathful dieties are shining.

*****

Speaking (further) to the topic of double-binds ...

The double-bind was considered by Bateson as a relationship pattern that assisted development of schizophrenia.

The double-bind is considered to assist development of hypnotic trance by hypnotherapists of the Ericksonian persuasion.

So: If I'm good at double-binding, I maintain control, you become uncertain, open to suggestion and, if it's strong enough, paralyzed (entranced, bewildered, or catatonic).

The double-bind can involve discounting a meaning via a meta-meaning, as:

I harm you, because I love you.

Or,

Because I love you, you disgust me.

or Bateson's famous example of a hug that is given stiffly with distance, the nonverbal double-bind.

or, related, and a bit more subtle:

Your feelings are unreal, my ideas are what you feel.

Now, there's a certain double-bind that is popular among sorcerers, magicians, and some spiritual types:

Because I know nothing is real, whatever I say is real is so.

Who is being hypnotized by that one? The sorcerer, the universe, or the imagined audience?

How about in military campaigns: Create disorder for the sake of order. Hate for the sake of love.

In spiritual circles, an excellent double-binding technique:

People who attack are egoic. I attack your ego because I'm nonegoic.

Now, *that's* a pretty mesmerizing technique. No wonder it's so popular with so many "enlightened" controllers.

No doubt I can benefit by understanding the double-bind. I can learn to handle those who use such techniques in interaction with me. Additionally, I can learn that the double-bind I've used on myself allowed me the impression that I took a form (and led to the impression that I then could be involved with other forms that attempted to double-bind me).

Intriguing that I would double-bind myself with the formula:

I am aware of myself being

The essential double-bind that allows the construction of myself as self-contructing is the situation in which I notice myself objectifying myself by noticing myself.

Yes, it's all magic, all a double-bind, all a show without an audience.

Even awareness is a double-bind: I am aware because my awareness tells me I'm aware.

Even no-thingness is a double-bind: No-thingness is what is, because no one knows that no-thing is.

I love learning this, because the show is awesome and intriguing. Now, I don't have to be caught by it.

More by Dan Berkow, from September 27, 2002:

Double-bind communication often matches a verbal message with a
contradictory nonverbal message. But it can also match two
contradictory verbal messages, one which is the content and one
which is the way that the content is delivered. For example, if I
am saying "this is the way it is," but then, in the way I am
telling you the way it is, contradict myself, there is a double
bind. Thus, if I say, "everything is about love," and in the
process of telling you about that, manage to put you down in a
subtle way, perhaps by inferring that you are missing out on
knowing or feeling this, there is a double-bind. The double-bind
is used to hypnotically induce a situation in which one person is
too confused about the rules to organize an effective response,
and the other person seemingly achieves the upper-hand, being in
control of how the rules have been defined and used.

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We are brought up to believe that in all cicumstances we should 'do'. Rather than face inaction we spend hours drinking spirits or consuming narcotics. Therein we are reagents only: we 'do' but we know not how to BE.

August 7
Reality and Manifestation
by Wei Wu Wei
from FINGERS POINTING TOWARDS THE MOON Reflections of a Pilgrim on the Way WEI WU WEI ( Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958.)

Aspects of Not-Being. I

It is less what one is that should matter, than what one is not.

To acquire knowledge should not be our first aim, but rather to rid ourselves of ignorance - which is false-knowledge.

The qualities we possess should never be a matter for satisfaction, but the qualities we have discarded.

If Charity (compassion), Simplicity, and Humility are desirable as attributes that is because they depend upon the elimination of qualities that have been discarded.

* * *

Behind the Conditioned is the Unconditioned. Behind Being is Not-Being. Behind Action is Non-Action (not inaction). Behind Me is Not-Me. 'I am Not-I, therefore I am I': the Prajnaparamita Sutra said it a thousand years ago. Transform 'I' into 'Not-I' and then 'Not-I' will become 'I'. Only God is 'I' (I am only 'I' in so far as I am God
or the Absolute, i.e. my Principle).

Does not one of our elementary errors lie in imagining that we 'do' things, for it seems to be equally probable that things 'do' us? We believe that we perform an endless series of actions, but the truth may be that an endless series of actions performs us. We think that we manipulate events, but are we not rather manipulated by events? We think we go to meet that which we experience, but that which we experience may come to meet us. It is perhaps an illusion that we 'live': we are 'lived'.

Take Life as it comes,' we say - that is be aware that it is life that comes to us and not we who go to life.

What we call 'life' is only things that happen. The patent (acquired) personality reacts to 'life' with states of mind. The latent personality should be unaffected by 'life': it need not 'do' and is content to 'be'.

The Buddha-nature is the unconditioned nature.

It is not for us to search but to remain still, to achieve Immobility not Action.

We only exist in the instant: we do not exist as a continuity, as we suppose. Our apparent existence from day to day, year to year, is an illusion; but we exist in each instant between the ticking of the clock of Time, each instant not one of which are we quick enough to perceive.

* * *

Action and Non-Action. I

Non-Action on the plane of Being becomes, by articulation, Correct-Action on the plane of Existing.

Correct-Action may be anything from violence to what we regard as inaction - for inaction is inevitably a form of action.

The majority of our actions are Incorrect-Action. We are mad monkeys eternally doing unnecessary things, obsessed with the necessity of 'doing', terrified of inaction, glorifying 'doers' almost uncritically, regardless of the havoc they cause, scorning 'non-doers', equally uncritically, blind to the prosperity that follows in their wake, the former being the normal result of what is Incorrect-Action, the latter being the normal result of inaction that is Correct-Action.

But what we regard as action is really reaction, the reaction of our artificial and impermanent ego to the non-ego, to external events. We react from morning to night: we do not act.

That, I think, is the explanation of the Taoist doctrine of Non-Action. Explanation is necessary because translation from the Chinese ideograms does not reveal the difference between Non-Action that is noumenal and inaction that is phenomenal.

The dynamism of inaction in a given circumstance can be greater than that of action in the same circumstance. Inaction that is dynamic requires vision and self-control - for action is easier to us than inaction. It is the dynamism of inaction that identifies it as Correct-Action.

* * *

We are brought up to believe that in all cicumstances we should 'do'. Rather than face inaction we spend hours drinking spirits or consuming narcotics. Therein we are reagents only: we 'do' but we know not how to BE.

Correct-Action should be normal to the man who has realised his state of Satori, for his ego, dissolved or integrated, is no longer in a position to react. In consequence all his actions should be Correct-Action.

But Correct-Action must be possible to us also in both its forms. Action based on affectivity, positive or negative, action based on reasoning, dependent upon the comparison of the opposites, and thereby relative, involving memory, manifestations of the illusory ego, is unlikely to be correct - for they are not action but reaction.

It would seem, therefore, that Correct-Action can only be spontaneous - the product of the split-second that outwits the fraud of Time.

Note - The term 'Correct-Action' is an approximation only, as would be the French 'l'Action Juste'. Two additional terms could follow it in brackets in order to develop its meaning more fully. These words are 'necessary' and 'real'. One may read, therefore, each time, 'Correct, Necessary, Real Action', and 'Incorrect, Unnecessary, Unreal Action'. But the more technical term 'Adequate (and Inadequate) Action', when understood, is still better.

* * *

The dynamic inaction referred to above is a form of Adequate-Action which on the plane of Being is Non-Action. But negative inaction, which is a mode of our habitual action, and which is reaction, partakes of the unreality of that. Both action and inaction, in our normal forms of manifestation, are on the plane of phenomena and have no real existence.

There are, therefore, two forms of Action, real and unreal, each of which has an aspect which we regard as inaction.

* * *

Wei Wu Wei website: www.weiwuwei.8k.com/index.html

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For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!

August 8
Long Day's Journey into Night
by Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, was written in 1940 but it was not released until 1956, after the playwright's death. It's not an upbeat play. But the following passage does strike a high note. --Skye Chambers

The younger son, Edmund, speaks about Seeing and meaning and freedom;

"You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail in the white moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfilment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!

It was a great mistake, my being born a man. I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a little in love with death!

"...stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!" No good reason indeed! It's always available to Seers. It may not always be ecstatic, but it's always Here. We are strangers to each other as human beings. We are never at home as human beings. We don't belong. But as This, it all belongs to (each of) us. We are the Host, and at Home! Anytime! Anywhere!

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I rehearsed again the steps to get up there to that web, but couldn't sustain it, and came out of the journey. My first physical reaction was to notic how HOT it was in my room

August 9
The Subtle Gateway
by David Hodges
from his
Personal Journal

The bodies reveal themselves more and more. I am not the physical body. This year, through yoga and dynamic breathing, knowledge of the energy body has become available, and I perceive it outwardly as a glowing egg that roughly approximates the physical body, and inwardly as a sense of being able to travel the energy pathways of the body. The soul body separates easily from the energy body. That is, in meditation, once the energy body is in consciousness, the soul easily travels up and out via the back of the head or the 3rd eye and can then travel about the astral realms, or stay close to the physical/energy body, as desired.

Now I have discovered that, with the help of a guide, (my personal guide appears and is always willing to help) a gateway is revealed that leads upward to an even vaster, freer vehicle that I suppose is the subtle body (but the terms aren't important). Tonight I found my own awareness joined there with the awareness of all the "gifted" people I know, that is, all those who are open to inner knowledge. And as I enjoyed this super-collective-consciousness, I realized with a start that the Sages were here too - Ramana Maharshi immediately came to mind, also Nisargadatta...This revelation of their living presence in this sublte web of awareness set off waves of kundalini energy in my body which only stopped when I needed to breathe. But breathing brought me back to the energy body and to everyday awareness.

I rehearsed again the steps to get up there to that web, but couldn't sustain it, and came out of the journey. My first physical reaction was to notic how HOT it was in my room. Was it my own body's heat from all the k energy, or was it the heat of this summer night?

When I got on my computer I noticed Harsha had posted a piece entitled Wisdom Eye and the synchronicity was obvious. Harsha said, in part:

A True Guru knows no Time and Space. The Self Reveals It Self from Within. Listen. Remain aware. Be utterly indifferent to the clever words, miracles, and magical techniques that promise salvation. If you have the courage, open your wisdom eye and see clearly what attracts you to such things and people. What is it that they have to give you that you do not have? Question seriously and honestly and go to the root of your hopes and fears. There are many active marketers of "wisdom." Understand that, like you, they have their own challenges and suffering. With compassion for them and for others and one's own self, one should keep one's vision utterly, totally, and completely pure. It means that you should not give in to the attraction of confusion and compromise in seeking the Truth.

Do not settle for anything! Do not settle for anything - until there is nothing left to settle for.

Let your effort be absorbed in peaceful Self-awareness. There is absolutely nothing else to be done.

Nothing given,

nothing taken.

See the sights,

be not mistaken.

You have everything you need.

Think not that you must awaken,

now or later for heaven's sake.

Know only this for certain,

That You Are Already Wide Awake!

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And the sun is the delusion Of a way multiplied by two

August 10
226th Chorus
Jack Kerouac (from Mexico City Blues)
contributed by John Metzger

There is no Way to lose.
If there was a way,
then,
when the sun is shining on pond
and I go West, thou East,
which one does the true sun
follow?
which one does the true one
borrow?
since neither one is the true one,
there is no true one way.
And the sun is the delusion
Of a way multiplied by two
And multiplied millionfold.
Since there is no Way, no Buddhas,
No Dharmas, no Conceptions,
Only One Ecstasy--
And Right Mindfulness
Is mindfulness that the way is No-Way--
Anyhow Sameway--
Then what am I to do
Beyond writing this instructing
Poesy, ride a magic carpet
Of self ecstasy, or wait
For death like the children
In the Funeral Street after
The black bus has departed--
Or-- what?

--- Mexico City Blues J. Kerouac

Or- what?......Well, you could see if Big Brother has any records on you.
www.policeguide.com/cgi-bin/criminal-search (link no longer functions)

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...I ask people to tell me something about themselves that they have not memorized from a book, a teacher, or any other source. Because all these teachings are indirect information memorized.

August 11
Interview with Timothee Roi Diers

The following is from an interview with Timothee Roi Diers which appears in a forthcoming book published by Sagewood Press titled, "Dialogues with Emerging Spiritual Teachers" by John W. Parker. The projected release date for the book is September, 2000. For more information on obtaining a copy of the book, e-mail: [email protected], or write to: John W. Parker c/o Sagewood Press, 1631 Trailwood Drive, Ft. Collins, CO 80525 USA. Reprinted with permission.

Q. What is your impression or insight about the popularization of meditation or meditation techniques as a means of gaining a deeper sense of reality or enlightenment? How do you see it now that you have gone into that experience and have had other experiences since
then?


A. If one is looking for a conditioned peaceful life, then those practices have benefits. If we are stressed out and we use a meditation practice, whether it is on the breath or whether it’s on a mantra, we may have a feeling of relaxation since the scattered attention has now been placed on an object of focus. But it’s conditioned, because one needs an object to hold the attention on, and to create an object you need the mind. After the three-month retreat had ended I was surprised to find that there were people who had repeated this retreat many, many times. And I thought, "How could that be? How many times does it take to be on a retreat with that intensity before one reaches the so-called goal of enlightenment?" Self-realization is beyond any practice, otherwise it’s conditioned.

Q. It kind of goes along with what a famous Buddhist Master once said in the statement: ‘There is nothing which can be attained is not idle talk: it is the truth. You have always been one with the Buddha, so do not pretend you can attain to this oneness by various practices. If at this very moment, you could convince yourselves of its unattainability, being certain indeed that nothing at all can ever be attained, you would already be Bodhi-minded. Hard is the feeling of this saying! It is to teach you to refrain from seeking Buddhahood, since any search is doomed to failure." On the other hand however, there’s the biblical statement, ‘Seek and ye shall find’. Can you help us understand the meaning of the word ‘seeking’ in each of these cases, and how it fits into the context of no intention, or no effort in realizing liberation?

A. I cannot find anyone that can do any seeking. Who is it that is even separate to search? I can speak to people about looking for a teacher, looking for a practice, investigating, observing the mind, but at some point one will find there are absurdities in even these. Is there anyone who chooses self-realization? How can intention even come to play? To have intention one starts with the idea that ‘I am bound’. It’s the same with choice. It starts with the idea that ‘I am not free’, therefore I’m choosing something that would be better for me, which is in the field of time because I project that somewhere along the road in the future, that by doing something, by investigating, that I will be liberated. And since self-realization is beyond time, those ideas are completely irrelevant. All it can do is fatigue us, so at some point we give up all those ideas that we are separate from the Divine. Call it surrender or grace.

In our dreams at night we can practice meditation, focus on the breath, and we can practice self-inquiry. What is the difference from that and doing it here? When we wake up in the morning and realize it was all a dream then we realize the futility of doing all that practice. Isn’t it possible that in this waking state we may also be doing the same?

Q. It might be a little bit difficult for people to understand what you just said in saying that there really is nothing to do and there is nowhere to go because we’re already in that enlightened condition. But yet a lot of people don’t have that realization, they can’t cognize that or they can’t realize that in their own daily lives. How would you help us to understand that particular situation?

A. Life will show this to you. The resistance that one has will finally become fatigued. If an "enlightened" individual and a "non-enlightened" individual both moved their hands, would the energy that moved one be more ‘divine’ than the other? Truth does not discriminate. Nothing is excluded.

Q. Even untruth?

A. Both are creations of the mind. There isn’t anything we can say or do or feel that’s outside of divinity.

Q. It’s like saying that something (to use an analogy) that’s part of the ocean is separate from H20?

A. Yes.

Q. And yet the mind is part of that also. It’s just that it’s in a limited form we could say?

A. Thoughts, suffering, non-suffering, non-thought, they’re all contained within it. There is nowhere you can go to escape truth, to go outside of Beingness. The only way one can seem to do it is to create a story that says, "I am not complete." Sometimes I use the analogy of the sun. If the sun is burning, one can look on the outside perimeter and see little flames moving out and coming back in. Now is that flame separate from the sun? Of course not. It is the sun. The only way that flame can say it’s separate is to make a story out of it, and identify with the form, with the height, and with the movement of the flame moving back and forth. It is the same principle with the waves on the ocean. The only way the flame cannot be the sun is through a dream; to say, "I am not that." Now what can that flame do to be the sun again? Well, really nothing. It just drops away. Nothing’s even changed. It’s always been the sun.

Q So it’s that identification with the flame or with the wave that is causing the forgetfulness of the H20, or the essence of the fire itself?

A. Do not even reject the identification, since in doing so one enters truth and untruth, right and wrong. You are not in control of your life, not even in creating and dropping the story. There is an intelligence beyond the mind.

Q. Maybe you can help us understand what the concept of ‘enlightenment’ is. There seems to be a lot of confusion
and many definitions in these times about the term‘enlightenment’. What does ‘enlightenment’ mean to you?


A. Every teacher and every student will have a different definition of enlightenment or self-realization. There cannot be a concise definition because it’s beyond words. Words are only metaphors of something. There are certain words that can symbolize. In India they say, "I am That", or "Isness". What does that mean? It is absurd in the West. But those are some words that can come close. If I say ‘God’, then that has so many definitions and mental images. So sometimes one can say ‘Is-ness’ or ‘That’ and be instrumental. What do I feel it is? Well it’s certainly not anything that happens. It’s not in time so there’s really no enlightenment. Enlightenment is not a verb and it is not a movement. Without using the memory how can you know that you have gone anywhere?

Q. Some say that through silence alone one can realize enlightenment. Others say it’s through action alone. How can we cut through this dichotomy?

A. Allow everyone to follow their own path. What difference can action or non-action have on your Essence? In a sense none of them are relevant. Certain personalities are more inclined to do physical work and service, which in India this path is called Karma yoga or in Buddhism it is sometimes expressed through the Bodhisattva teachings. I believe the Bodhisattva vow states that one should not become enlightened until the whole world does so. This may be a beautiful idea but it is mixed with intention and postponement. That is why I ask people to tell me something about themselves that they have not memorized from a book, a teacher, or any other source. Because all these teachings are indirect information memorized. Your Essence will not be touched whether you sit or move.

Q. Ramana Maharshi, who was a famous Indian saint once said, ‘That which is not present in deep dreamless sleep is not real.’ Can you shed some light on the meaning of this statement?

A. In the waking state and in the dream state there is a constant illusion of movement, and with our identification with this there is an dissatisfaction which results in restlessness. And yet, even though each state seems very different from one another, there remains something untouched, which some may say is awareness or consciousness. This is the only thing in one’s life that is constant and unchanging. But beware not to memorize this, or it becomes another philosophy.

Q. In sleeping, it appears that there is a separation between witnessing the world and directly participating in it. If there is anything beyond this realization, what would it look like? How would it best come about?

A. Please explain that to me again.

Q. Basically what I’m asking is that we have relative states of consciousness or awareness which are waking, dreaming and sleeping. And we also have the witnessing state of consciousness or awareness itself which appears to be separate from the world and yet directly participating in it. There’s a separation between relative states of consciousness, and the absolute state of awareness itself. Is there anything beyond this realization of that separation, and what would it look like; how would it come about? If there is non-separation in unity, how does that come about between the relative states of awareness, (waking, dreaming, sleeping) and that ‘awareness’ itself if there is no separation?

A. So the apparent feeling of the relative truth and the witness being separate from that?

Q. Yes as being a constant ‘awareness’ you might say. And the relative states of consciousness are constantly changing. That which is ‘awareness’ itself is never-changing. There appears to be a separation between the two because they cannot possibly be ‘unified’ if one is non-changing and the other is constantly changing. Is there something beyond that realization, that dichotomy between the two?

A. The witness itself is unchanging. There is only the appearance that phenomena shifts and changes, because we use the memory to compare and contrast. The mind is no more than images or sounds that appear to be happening in the present. And in that moment of memory we may say something happened twenty years ago or five seconds ago. Yet neither is true. There is no time in the ‘now’, because the past and future are only projections. And if this is so, then does anything change or happen?

What I speak of is very, very simple. I find that when we spend a lot of time and energy investigating the different "states" it becomes philosophical. I’m not interested in any "state." There is only this moment and if what one wants is absolute peace then it cannot be dependent on anything, not even investigation, not even thinking there are different "states." "States" have to do with hierarchy. I have no interest whether people see auras or have "spiritual experiences". Investigating chakras has nothing to do with unconditional peace.

People can spend their whole lifetimes under practices and investigation. And peace itself is immediate and simple. It’s the idea that spirituality is complex that gives people the illusion that it’s difficult. If we are complete already, then why do we have to know anything about the dream state, or any waking state? I’m not really even interested in speaking about any of those things. Other people have done an excellent job in doing that.

Copyright 2000 Sagewood Press
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction of this quote in whole, in part or in any form

Timothee resides at Madhuban, an extraordinarily beautiful locale in Eastern Australia about 30 minutes from Byron Bay, to which the reader may find she or he has a calling.

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Nothing can happen independent of the whole of Totality. So the whole mesh moves and vibrates as a single unit without regard for any of the individual constituent nodes. And all events are contained in this movement. All events are this movement.

August 14
Name Points to Nameless
by Sharon Hart

Sharon Hart has been guiding people to Instantaneous Awakening and Deepening since 1993. Sharon has a clear and gentle Presence which points potently and compassionately to the Truth. She easily recognizes in people the Magnificent Radiance which is one's True Nature. She has a gift for being able to unravel ego knots of misidentification which often limit people from living life in the Truth of Being on a daily basis. Contact Sharon at [email protected]

This article describe the basis for Sharon Hart’s Quantum Dialogue - that is the eradication of misidentification through the Light of Consciousness. Name points to Nameless.

As we begin to intellectually grasp concepts associated with non-duality, oftentimes the “spiritual aspirant” will shun one’s own name as a perceived identification as object. To the extent that name is taken to point to some grouping of personalities or conditioned sub-personalities comprising the individual entity, this action can be taken to reflect a degree of understanding. However this viewpoint is from the lowest level. There is a higher level of understanding from which to view the significance of Name.

Generally speaking, we are given a name at birth that remains with us throughout life (and ultimately beyond the death of the individual body-mind). These Names are given from a collective and deep intuition that who you are does not change. There is the recognition there that from infant to child to adolescent to adult, that aspect does not change. The Love in which these names are given, points to the recognition that this aspect is One and the same for all of us. So, even though body, mind, personality, etc are continuously changing, Name points to that aspect which does not change - pure Consciousness, the One, the Nameless (ultimately neither named or nameless).

Viewed in this way, your own name is as powerful a mantra as any. This is beautifully put by Tennyson in a letter to R. P. Blood:

"... a kind of waking trance, I have frequently had, quite up from my boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has generally come upon me through repeating my own name two or three times to myself, silently, till all at once, as it were out of the intensity of consciousness of individuality, the individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being; and this is not a confused state, but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life … I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the state is utterly beyond words"-?

By associating Name with the body-mind entity or personality (and a host of other “normal” human activities), one attempts to impress the eternal on that which changes and is temporary. In the same “breath” one superimposes death on the deathless (this is a mistake and error of extraordinary proportion). This activity, which takes many forms, can be said to be the source point of all bondage and suffering. But this is merely an illusion since the Changeless cannot be changed nor can It be made to die. This is misidentification (with a capital M if you like).

There is another way of looking at this that may be easier to relate to, however it should be kept in mind that the more detailed these concepts become, the less directly that they point to the ultimate Reality. There is also the danger that because these concepts are more easily related to and understood, there may be a tendency to cling to them, and thus objectify That which cannot be objectified. In which case one has merely returned to the starting point. The intent of these concepts is to free one of concepts, not solidify new ones. With that qualification, let us begin.

From the standpoint of the absolute Reality, there is no space, no time, no objects (gross or subtle). That Awareness is unaware of itself in the sense that there is no other background from which to make any distinction. There is only Consciousness. From the standpoint of the space/time-bound mind, space-time was created so that perception of thoughts (subtle objects) is made possible through extension in time and perception of objects (gross objects) is made possible through extension in time and space. But from the standpoint of the Absolute, nothing ever happened since the Nameless is devoid of these extensions (or limitations). In this “creation” there is the apparent split between subject and object in which all perceiving is made possible.

And so, “things” are experienced by distinguishing what they are not. So we have duality - the awareness of “things”. If one of these “things” were to become permanent, the awareness of it would be extinguished with time. And so, duality is change, guaranteed and fully warranted for the lifetime of the individual. “Things” are more keenly discriminated by their opposites, so the experience of a “thing” comes with its opposite in some time and form (if you examine your experience you will find instances where they come together - inexplicable dimension and dynamic range of form and feeling). And so, duality is the experience of opposites, also guaranteed and fully warranted for the lifetime of the individual.

As a child matures, he/she develops or is taught identity as an individual. The very fact that this must be developed points to the Truth of the matter. In this development, the pure function of perceiving is replaced by the concept of a perceiver and that which is perceived. As identity progresses, the sense of separation is reinforced until the concept of an independent doer of actions becomes rather firmly implanted. At some point along this path, the child/adolescent “buys off on” this concept or “state of affairs” and makes the decision to play this game with the world in spite of a still operational intuitive function that registers illusion on the computer screen. Regardless of whether this decision is made in an instant or over years, the vast majority of us forget it. And so involvement in life story develops into life struggle as the game is replaced by a superimposition of and on Reality (misidentification with a capital M). This is all so very natural (or unnatural depending on the level of your view).

Now what happens? At the core of our Heart is a longing/desire for the eternal and for happiness. Ultimately these two are the same. As a result of the misidentification (with capital M), the search for happiness manifests outwardly in the world of objects. The house, the car, the wife, the kids, the job, the vacations … and so on become the objects of the desire for happiness. Even the search for Understanding and Enlightenment is no different. When an object of desire is acquired and enjoyed, happiness is experienced. But in this happiness there is no one that is happy; there is just happiness. A most care-free and enjoyable condition. But as that happiness fades you come back and say it was me that was happy (and the cause was the object). Happiness is Being, not being or becoming or getting any thing. It is everyone’s experience that this object-derived happiness is temporary. And so, like an addict, the search goes on for that next object of happiness or pleasure. The me/mind then decides what that next object will be. We ignore the fact that the happiness derived from the object points directly to the Source of Happiness that is the Self (there is no such thing as happiness quanta that emanate from the object to the individual). One is already that Happiness and no amount of searching/becoming/getting can replace it. The eye cannot see the eye and the Seeker is the Sought. This is Realized when the concept of a me and the illusion of independent doership are eradicated in Truth.

The longing and desire for the eternal manifest in a similar way under the condition of misidentification (with capital M). Nobody wants to die. Everybody wants eternal happiness. And nobody wants eternal suffering and pain. Under the condition of misidentification, however, the eternal is projected or imposed on all of that which changes (ie: the mind, body, personality, world, …). Intellectually, of course, everyone will admit that they are going to die. But even in this simple admission there is the underlying intuition that this dying business just simply is not the case. Yet our actions speak otherwise. We always want something or other not to change. We will work unceasingly to try to ensure “things” don’t change in a world that is guaranteed and warranted to change continuously. We attempt to build security and eternity out of a world that is insecure and temporary in nature. And all of that in the face of the fact that we already are That which is changeless and eternal.

There has never been a doer of deeds. Many deeds have been done but not by doers. There are many actions, but no actors. Or as Wu Wei put it, “NOBODY HAS EVER DONE ANYTHING, but innumerable actions have been performed”. Many individuals have intuited this to varying degrees. Einstein refused publicly to take credit for the illuminations that led to his published theories. He recognized that the illusory individual (a concept) was not capable of such realizations, the source being unknown. The me that was the individual called Einstein did not cause or receive the realizations that led to the translated theories. The most that can be said is the body-mind called Einstein was the functioning agent through which these realizations were translated (or through which the actions took place). There was never a doer there and Einstein knew it. This points to Grace. The Understanding referred to here is the realization that there is no doer, that all there is is Consciousness, and that nothing ever happened.

This is the complete and final absence of the me concept (or illusion). In the absence of a me that could have ever done anything, the only explanation for the event is that of Grace (the illusion cannot rid itself of the illusion). But the concept of Grace is nothing more than a pointer itself to That which cannot be described, conceptualized, named, thought, or experienced. The I cannot see the I, and the Seeker is the Sought.

There are many ways to conceptualize non-doership that can effect a transcendence of the sense of separation and a kind of surrender to What Is. This acceptance, in the ultimate, is completely open and unqualified. Picture the Universe and all “things” as connected in a nodal mesh of many dimensions. “Things” include all gross and subtle
objects (thoughts, feelings, ideas, concepts, etc.). Any event involving a “thing” effects every other “thing” through that nodal mesh that connects every “thing” to every other “thing”. So the mesh network or Totality itself operates as one in which the operative phrase is “you pull a blade of grass and you shake the universe”. In other words, nothing can happen independent of the whole of Totality. So the whole mesh moves and vibrates as a single unit without regard for any of the individual constituent nodes. And all events are contained in this movement. All events are this movement.

Now, if this nodal mesh of Totality is likened to a machine made of nuts, bolts, washers, levers, belts… etc, it can be seen that the individual parts cannot have independent volition. If they did, the machine would fly apart and be no more. The machine is so vast that the mind cannot comprehend the operation of Totality so it appears that “things” are chaotic, disconnected, and independent of one another. And from this appearance, springs the notion of individual doership and illusory control and volition. If it happens that you are reading these words, it is not because you chose to do so. It is an event in Totality that is “dictated” by every other “thing” in Totality. Likewise, the conviction that one is not the doer just happens, and no amount of personal effort on the part of the illusory separate entity can bring this conviction about. There never has, is, or will be a doer of anything. There is only What Is.

When one identifies Name with individual personality, one identifies Self with the body-mind. As such, Consciousness has identified itself as an object among objects in the illusion of separation. The characteristics of the one are imposed on the other in a neat switcheroo. This occurs in the split mind which can only perceive objects. And so the individual is identified as the one that everything good or bad happens to. Add to this the fact that the individual is not the doer, and you have a most potent brew for pain, suffering, bondage and limitation. And all based in illusion and misidentification (with the capital M). By the definition of illusion it is unreal just as pain, suffering, bondage, and limitation have no basis in Reality. The only bases they have are as pointers to the Absolute. Rightly understood, then, pain, suffering, bondage and limitation are doorways and vehicles to the Absolute.

The basic bottom line in Quantum Physics is that nothing exists in the apparent universe separate from Consciousness. In other words, Consciousness is the unknown but determining factor in all that appears to exist. And this, from the subatomic level through to the greatest heavenly bodies in the universe. This puts primacy and origin with Consciousness and none other. Nothing can exist outside Consciousness. If this is understood and felt deeply then you are taken to the Absolute where there is no differentiation and there is no distinction. At this level it is seen that Self is none other than the Source of all apparent existence in the same way as described by Sages - that is, objects are mere reflections of the Light of Consciousness (or if you like: Nirvana and Samsara are One). Reflections of and in Consciousness. Analysis of these words will produce nothing. Understanding what they point to is All.

Let’s drop down a level or two from that last heady paragraph. Even a deep intellectual understanding of the above is likely to produce fertile ground for this Understanding to take sprout. If Consciousness is really all there is then where is fear? If you get a glimpse of “No Fear”, then the train is on the right track. If all there is is Consciousness, then nothing is unknown because nothing exists outside Consciousness. “Wait a minute”, you say, “you just got through saying that Consciousness is the unknown factor in all that appears to exist”. “Yes”, I say, “and you are That”. When this is deeply understood, there are no more questions. The eye cannot see the eye and the I cannot see the I.

Many have asked “how can you measure this Understanding?” The Understanding is not measurable because it is always a whole and All. And yet there are many references (by Sages as well) to level, clarity, pureness, etc. This can only be addressed in an analogy. Consider a large holograph in which the image is sharp and clear. If you break off a small piece of the hologram, the image still appears in full but it is less sharp and clear. If you draw the analogy to Understanding, then all Understanding is always of the Whole. This is a very important analogy because it implies that the Whole is always in the apparent part. This means that your experience is always of the Whole - not of some “thing” separate from other “things”. This further implies that if you fully, and without reservation or qualification, experience any “thing”, you are taken to the Absolute. The experience is a consummation where there is no judgment, no expectation, no analysis, no thought, no reserve, no memory, and no-mind. It is the utter and complete surrender to the What Isness of the Present Moment. Any experience will do. It might be pleasure, pain, deep thought, taste, smell, sound, touch, a beautiful scene, an ugly scene, or even the deep contemplation of your own Name. If you are fully surrendered to or consumed by that experience, then you are consumed by the Whole and taken to the Absolute. In that surrender and consummation you have given up your concepts of the present moment for Existence as the Present Moment. And That is All.

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You speak of lists vs "real people in real proximity", and I find, in the most real way, for me I see no difference... . ...the dance of the hypothetical and the yielding to the real occur continuously no matter which forum we find ourselves within.

August 15
Email List vs.'Real People'
by Christiana Duranczyk, with Marcia Paul and Jerry Katz

Jerry: The list is the list is the list. I try not to do too much to it. It's a place where a person can come and be tested and pushed, but nobody should be abused. It's not an easy place, always. But I know that people who spend time here find that any other 'spiritual setting' is a piece of cake. If you can make it here you can make it anywhere. This place forces one to find equanimity or to split the scene. In any case, a break from here is always good. I try to make weekends list-free.

Marcia: Perhaps you mean to say any other spiritual list is a piece of cake. After all, this is a mail list. I don't consider a mail list where we don't even meet in person is much of a threat to one's ego structure if that is what you mean by 'making it.' It is squiggles on a computer screen. Real people in real proximity is much more real.

Christiana: Several times you have inferred that this list is somehow not real for you, as community, as teaching mechanism .. merely squiggly lines.

Each time, I have internally noted how this appears so differently for me. Gene has often asked us to investigate if we are real or hypothetical. It has taken me time to begin to understand what this question points to. After 20 months of being *here* and the rather awesome internalized echoes of where I meet the spectrum of energetic words spilled into this *place*, I have observed the following:

* There is a significant difference in the movement of, what I think Gene means by "hypothetical" (which I have referred to as surface heart), from that of the "real" (or Deeper Heart). I have always known this, yet it was known within the singularity of my own individual container. Entering here is a form of entering a collective container. Each variant voice, met within... either as sympathetic or antipathetic movement... has been like a single instrument playing alone suddenly finding itself in a full orchestra with harmonics and dissonant notes all of one piece. The hypothetical.. assuming this is what we refer also to as, egoic structure.. has learned more to yield it's assumed movement of leaning only into it's own image. This yielding has occured as a direct consequence of the internalized met tonal and atonal notes of where each squiggly line has been known and dissolved within. Meeting such a plethora of positions, has resulted in the neutralizing of the charge of any position. So the "hypothetical" daily becomes more a balloon losing air. And as I observe the dead air being released, it is always subsumed by fresh air.

You speak of lists vs "real people in real proximity", and I find, in the most real way, for me I see no difference. Sure, there are other facets of knowing which are absent in this way of being with each other, yet the core movements.. the dance of the hypothetical and the yielding to the real occur continuously no matter which forum we find ourselves within.

The "threat to the ego structure" seems to necessitate a willingness to allow this to occur. I honor that for you this has occured in "real people" exchanges and do not mean to contradict your experience. I merely want to give voice to, that for me, it has occured very vibrantly as I allow this list energy to move through and dismantle the shell of me.

** The second piece seems to relate to whether the list as "community" is also a hypothetical. While it may be quite true that from the lens of the personal, much can be projected into such a community, it has also been my alive experience, that we are meeting on living currents; and communion and direct knowing occurs in language which needs no squiggles.

I have recently been in a variety of "settings" and what is most alive is never the sounded language. This is true for me here as well. I also have listened, in such settings, to voice which echoed mine a few short years ago. That this voice is silencing within me is no small thing. The day that I left town, Xan posted a response to a post of mine. She asked " What is the simplest way you could say this". I thought about that on my trip and what kept occuring is.. observing movement... observing the movement which is a lie and what arises in its place. Yesterday, with Rob Rabbin and a small gathering, I found myself saying that life now feels like a continuous entry into a parted Sea. It opens before me, closes behind me and the lifeforms on the surface and surrounds are noted, yet have lost their imperative call... their compelling movement.

Such is the Grace of this place for me. And *you* are a very real and most appreciated facet of this Grace.

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I thought that whenever I have not done the homework and I recite the Gayatri, the teacher never calls on me and I am protected. But how do I know that teacher may not call on me today whether I recite the Gayatri or not?

August 16
Do Not Test Your Mantra: A Story from Childhood
by Dr. Harsh K. Luthar (Harsha)
with Gayatri Japa and Its Meaning, by Ram Chandran

Thank you Sri Ramji for your post (given below after my story). This comes at an opportune time as on HarshaSatsangh, there has been some discussion of mantras. I am reminded of my own childhood and will share the following story.

Hindus are taught the Gayatri at an early age as soon as the child learns to speak. This is the first mantra that I remember hearing and memorizing when I was around 3 or so. It is held in much esteem of course and is said to bring knowledge, wisdom, and purity. It is also meant to increase intelligence and offer general protection as well. I had deep faith in Gayatri and my first attempts at meditation consisted of simply reciting it over and over again with a focus on the forehead. I used the Gayatri mantra for everything, even for escaping punishment at school when I did not do my homework!

One day, when I was around 11-12 or so, I had not done my homework when I went to school. I wanted to test whether the Gayatri was effective or not and so I made the following experiment. I thought that whenever I have not done the homework and I recite the Gayatri, the teacher never calls on me and I am protected. But how do I know that teacher may not call on me today whether I recite the Gayatri or not. So I decided not to recite and to experiment to see what would happen.

Well the teacher asked all children who had not done their homework to come out in front of the class. I sat in my seat pretending that I had done my home work. The children who had not done their home work were taken care of first. They were beaten by the teacher using a cane (this was typical in India of the 1960s). After the teacher satisfied himself that everyone who had not done the work had been thoroughly beaten and was sobbing appropriately and repenting he started randomly calling on the rest of us. I was sitting there pretending I had done my homework and not reciting the Gayatri as this was my experiment to test the Mantra. The teacher was calling on other students for a while and I thought I was escaping. About 15 minutes before the class ended, the teacher called on me! I was quite stunned! Stammering, I confessed that I could not answer as I had not done the work. The teacher then asked me why I had not come out earlier to accept my punishment for not doing my homework. I had no answer to that.

The teacher decided to make an example of me and called me in front of the class. For the next 15 minutes, I received quite a beating from the teacher. He decided to give me triple that of the other students and used his hands as well to slap me repeatedly (as if the cane was not enough by itself)! On top of the physical pain, the humiliation was quite bad.

I learned many lessons that day. One of them was "Do not test your Mantra!" :-)

~~~~~~~

Gayatri Japa and its Meaning
by Ram Chandran

Hari Om:

Those who belong to the Yajur Vedic Traditions, observe today, Gayatri Japam. Yesterday was the Upakarma day - the first day to begin the study of Yajur Veda. This tradition has been observed from the Vedic time period and is widely observed by the followers of Yajur Veda Traditions. This year, the Upakarma day was the same for the observers of both Rig and Yajur Vedic traditions. The Gayatri Japam is typically recited for 1008 (or 108) times. The Upakarma and Gayatri Japam are considered most important for unmarried youngsters who are entrusted with the responsibility of learning the Vedas.

Gayatri Japam and Meaning
=========================

Aum bhoor bhuwah swaha,
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasaya dheemahi
dhiyo yo naha prachodayat.

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain
and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the
Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

Word for Word Meaning of the Mantra Aum = Brahma ; bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ; bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ; swaha = embodiment of happiness ; tat = that ; savitur = bright like sun ; varenyam = best choicest ; bhargo = destroyer of sins ; devasya = divine ; dheemahi = may imbibe ; dhiyo = intellect ; yo = who ; naha = our ; prachodayat = may inspire ; Meaning of Gayatri Mantra

Rishis selected the words of various Mantras and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power through their utterance. Gayatri Mantra inspires wisdom. Its meaning is that "May the Almighty God illuminate our intellect to lead us along the righteous path". All the problems of a person are solved if he/she is endowed with the gift of righteous wisdom. Once endowed with far-sighted wisdom, a man is neither entangled in calamity nor does he tread the wrong path. A wise man finds solution to all outstanding problems. Only those persons who do not think correctly find difficulty and take wrong steps due to foolishness. Chanting of Gayatri Mantra removes this deficiency. The teachings and powers incorporated in the Gayatri Mantra fulfill this purpose.

Hindus believe that righteous wisdom starts emerging soon after the recitions (Japam) of this Mantra is performed. Try chanting the Gayatri Japam silently and attain the eternal peace!

Om Peace! Om Peace! Om Peace!

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Whatever you love, you become.

August 17
On Bhakti
by Greg Goode, Ph.D. and Gloria Lee

Greg Goode:
For me, my devotion is towards Amitabha Buddha, and I pay respects to Him every day with chanting, incense, circumambulation and other offerings, etc.

Amitabha's main story is told in two Mahayana sutras from the Pure Land School of Buddhism -- the Shorter and Longer Sukhavati-vyuha Sutras (the sutras on the Display of the World of Bliss).

Briefly, these sutras are narrated by Shakyamuni Buddha and tell of the grace and saving power of Amitabha Buddha (the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life). Eons ago, before Amitabha was a buddha, he was Bodhisattva Dharmakara. With the help of a buddha of the distant past (Buddha Lokeshvararaja), Dharmakara was inspired to practice for the salvation not only of himself, but of all beings. He practiced for eons and created a "Buddha-field" called the Western Pure Land, where all beings can practice to perfection, and will not retrogress into samsara unless they choose to do so from a Bodhisattva vow to save all beings. Dharmakara made a series of 47 vows on his path to Buddhahood. These vows amount to Dharmakara's refusal of Buddhahood for himself until all those who desire unsurpassable awakening and remember his name are reborn in his Pure Land.

To me, this is a magnificent set of vows and wonderful movement of Grace. The vows' fulfillment is also magnificent. Because of Amitabha's effort and the grace of previous buddhas, Dharmakara is now Buddha Amitabha. Therefore, according to the sutras, all his if-then statements have been fulfilled. So it is NOW the case that all who have faith in these vows and sincerely desire unsurpassed awakening are able to achieve it, without fail! That is, through Amitabha's grace, our awakening is guaranteed, actually already the case. The Pure Land, according to one's interpretation of the sutras and commentaries, can be interpreted either as noumenon, or a land of phenomenal bliss of all kinds.

Gloria Lee:
Dear Greg,

Thank you for sharing this beautiful example of bhakti. The stories of Budddhas and Bodhisattvas are very inspirational whether one happens to consider oneself part of that religion or any religion. On the retreat, you gave us a beautiful experience of this walking and singing chant, and it reminded me of how the sense of worship and awe is missed when we lack a fellowship that supports this activity, however it may be expressed. As a child, my heart became devoted to Jesus mostly thru singing, and no matter whatever has changed my thinking and views of religion, that devotion remains unchanged. To me, Jesus was calling for this Pure Land when he asked that "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." There are so many ways and thru so many forms that Grace does touch us, indeed this very company of the sages here is one of them. Another way bhakti may be described is simply, "Whatever you love, you become."

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