What is Nonduality
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THE NONDUAL DAILY NUGGET
April 14, 2000: Truth, by Todd Vickers
April 15, 2000: Only One Sky, by Melody Anderson
April 16, 2000: Zen Poems
April 17, 2000: Essence of Saadhanaa, by Saadhu Om Swamigal
April 18, 2000: Gurus, Teachers, and the Pull of the Heart, by Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
April 19, 2000: The Instant Prior to Nondual Realization: Bukowski's Chinaski
April 20, 2000: Perspective on Life: George Costanza
April 21 2000: The Wisdom of No Escape, by Pema Chodron
April 22, 2000: The Non-Dual Christ, by Pieter Schoonheim Samara
April 23, 2000: Looking at Clouds, by Tim Gerchmez
April 24, 2000: Parable -- The Crazy Man, by Richard J. Oddo
April 25, 2000: Wandering of the Heart, by Richard J. Oddo
April 26, 2000: A Course in Miracles: Excerpts from the first 13 lessons
April 27, 2000: Why Seek a Purpose of Life?, by Sandeep Chatterjee
April 28, 2000: Excerpt from 'I Am', by Jean Klein
April 29, 2000: Why Can't We Drop the Question?, by Hans Deunhouwer and Jan Barendrecht
April 30, 2000: Solipsism, or Non-Dualistic Materialism
by Todd Vickers
awareness that there is Truth that is unknown is divine
discontent. Usually our awareness is of experience and the
stories about those experiences. We build a concept of self
around this story. In one instant of no though, this story
disappears but, you still are.
I express myself for two reasons. First, to provoke direct inquiry into your Being. This is ot inquiry into experience or phenomena. Second, to expose what obscures the obviousness of Truth. I don't teach anything because I can't give you what you are have. Realize who you are and enjoy the freedom. I'm not saying "Don't partake of life." You are Being in all that life offers both pleasant and unpleasant. You are sensitive, so delight in life. All desire is the desire for Truth because Truth will eliminate the discontent. If you always seek experience to feed this hunger you will be disappointed because seeking is endless and will become a life-long vicious circle. Rather than looking to the very source that al experiences arise from (Being), one endlessly seeks more experience, thus the vicious circle called karma. Identification with material or spiritual experience is ego. Truth is not an experience, it's the formless source and witness of all.
One might say "If I embrace my discontent, I won't even want to live, I'll kill myself." This is not embracing it because the desire to kill oneself is the desire to avoid this discontent. Stop denying this hunger. The celebration of this hunger is bhakti, devotion, and ecstatic love of Truth. This is Tantra. You can give yourself to this inquiry. What is free in the midst of all that changes?
To hunt a monkey you secure a gourd to a tree and then place something shiny inside as a monkey watches. Then leave. The monkey wants the shiny object and will grasp hold of it and as his fist closes around the object it becomes too big to fit through the hole in the gourd and he is trapped. The monkey would be free if he would just let go but even as the hunter approaches he will not, thus he forfeits his life. The hunter is karma, the gourd is experience, the monkey is the mind, the object is identity and the grasping is desire. If you are identified
with experience then you are like this monkey.
The way to inquire is meditation, yet our awareness is diverted by the story of life or spiritual experience, this is not noticing the source. Music needs silence to be, but silence doesn't need music to be, and so it is with the mind and experience. DO NOT TAKE THIS SILENCE FOR GRANTED!
Even the worst pain can't take it from you, or the greatest joy. I am this nature speaking to you. I am suggesting you look and see who you are when there is no-mind. See that this so-called "I" is nothing but a concept of mind. I ask, "Who are you?"
Only One Sky
by Melody Anderson
his book, Only One Sky, Osho uses Sky as synonymous with
Awareness, and clouds as thoughts that obstruct our perception..
He says, "...and this is the way of a sannyasin: to remain like a sky, untinged by whatsoever comes and happens."
"And once you can see that thoughts are floating [like clouds], then you are not the thoughts but he space in which thoughts are floating, then you have attained to your Self-mind, you have understood the phenomenon of your consciousness. Then discrimination stops: then nothing is good, nothing is bad; then all desire simply disappears, because if there is nothing good, nothing bad, there is nothing to be desired, nothing to be avoided"
I was sitting at a high school baseball game earlier this evening, just as the sun was setting, and a marvelous cool breeze was blowing. There, sitting by myself with this book of Osho's, I read, and then tried his experiment:
"First stare into the sky; lie down on the ground and just stare at the sky. Only one thing has to be tried: don't look at anything. In the beginning you will fall again and again, you will forget again and again; you will not be able to remember continuously, but don't be frustrated, it is natural because of so long a habit. Whenever you remember again, defocus your eyes, make them loose and just look at the sky - not doing anything, just looking. Soon a time comes when you can see into the sky without trying to see anything there."
I loved this exercise, and this analogy. As I practiced 'unfocused looking' I was tickled at how much would 'catch my eye, or my ear'....like a singing bird, a butterfly, a great hit, and so on....and when they came, I treated them just like thoughts, and watched these events come and go. What was surprising was just how much one can see when one is not looking for (or at) something in particular. It was a great evening.
contributed by Gill Eardley
From 'Beyond Self:
108 Korean Zen Poems' by Ko Un
Jang Ku-Song the hermit was busy shitting
when he heard frogs croaking. It made him
The croaking of frogs on moonlit nights in early
pierces the world from end to end, makes us all
Look, if you've had your shit,
wipe yourself and get out of here.
*THE LOTUS SUTRA*
The Lotus Sutra. Ultimate reality.
you've been bashing me badly.
I'll cudgel you, bastard.
Take that too.
The Lotus Sutra dashed away.
Fields open wide, once the farmers
Shakyamuni held up a lotus
so Kashyapa smiled.
Not at all.
The lotus smiled
so Kashyapa smiled.
Nowhere was Shakyamuni!
Let be. Please, let be.
if you meet him?
Kill mother and father
if you meet them? Why kill?
Things made of clay all fall to bits
once soaked by monsoon rains.
Even Shakyamuni could never tame Ananda
but Kashyapa kicked him out and tamed him.
Throw away all you know.
Throw away all you don't know.
Then and only then one star shines bright.
*A SHOOTING STAR*
Wow! You recognized me.
Essence of Saadhanaa
by Saadhu Om Swamigal, a Great
Monk Disciple of Bhagawan Sri
translation from the Tamil by Shankar
Attend to 'these' in 'Self-Enquiry'
Poem 226 -- Attend to 'these' in 'Self-Enquiry'
resulting of sleep during
do not give up
(is) one aspect in experience,
that 'is' at the beginning of
'self-enquiry'. Give up
Poem 227 -- Experience the 'one inner consciousness' appearing between 'sleep' and 'wakefulness'
If sleep 'occurs'
Self-Enquiry), you 'sleep';
soon after waking up from
pointedly enter into the
Again pointedly abiding 'like
in that sleep', (and) waking
Experience the 'one inner
awareness', appearing between
these (two states).
Poem 228 -- Repeatedly & Tirelessly, Approach and Abide in the 'I am' Awareness
As you 'practise',
and 'being', in the enjoyment
of this ('I am') awareness
(between the 'waking' and
'deep sleep' states),
the 'sleep' that 'overtook'
(you) before, will 'slip
without allowing, the
'wakefulness' that 'clutches'
to (overtake and)spread,
again and again, without the
slightest (trace of)
'tiresomeness', approach (and
(the 'I am' awareness).
Poem 229 -- Abide in the 'Waking-Sleep' State of Awareness-Existence
'this one (state)' is not
Because there is 'absence of
thoughts', it is not 'even
Chit-Sat, Vast Form of Shiva
(is this state),
Without 'leaving' this 'Chit',
'abide' in 'that'.
Poem 230 -- Only
'Love' of and 'Attempt' at, 'Repeated Approach' to the Self, is
In (my) saying,
'again and again approach',
why (I) picked up (this matter), and stated,
as to who this 'Chit' was,
until the impression,
('rising' by) 'leaving' this (Chit), (and)
'removing' (us from our abidance in this Chit),
(it) appears (to be) like 'coming' (and) 'going',
only (to) love (and) attempt (to approach this Chit),
is the 'appropriate' pursuit.
Poem 231 -- Adjoining of the 3 States, to the Natural State of the Self, is no harm
When, because of
this habit (of Self-Enquiry),
the 'Natural State' of 'Existence-Awareness',
will 'always' be perceived, as the 'Inescapable Nature' (of oneself),
(then) even by the 'adjoining' of 'sleep', 'dream' or 'wakefulness',
(to the Natural State of the Self) there is no harm.
Poem 232 -- Abide in 'Self-Awareness' without even the Initiative 'I am trying'
For one 'leaning
and firmly abiding' in the endless 'self-awareness',
(In and) through the three states, (there is) 'only one state'.
Complete, without even the (mental modification of the) 'initiative' that 'I am trying',
that only is 'Abidance', (which is) Natural. Stay (in It).
Gurus, Teachers, and the Pull of the Heart
by Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
Anyone who has been
in the spiritual/religious field for any length of time will
notice that it is no different than any other field. There is
politics, intrigue, competition for attention among teachers,
gurus, etc. Everyone claims to have the superior way. Even in the
area of exploring the nature of the Kundalini Shakti (call it the
Holy Ghost or Divine Spirit), the competition is heated and
Over the last 25 years, I have seen many teachers and gurus ridicule each other and different paths, and their disciples of course take their cue from their gurus. Sometimes the criticism might even be justified from some point of view. But this is how spiritual business is done. This is how spiritual business always has been done. El Collie on the K-List, mentioned examples of healers who could not heal themselves. This is not uncommon. That is just life.
There is a long history of teachers and gurus hiding their own shortcomings and problems, sometimes serious, and acting as guides. Certainly, people can still benefit from their teaching although some may be misled and harmed as well. This is why it is important for spiritual aspirants to take some responsibility and familiarize themselves with at least the basic religious and Shakti literature which comes from the genuine spiritual traditions.
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Taoism and to some extent the Judeo-Christian traditions have been the main sources for me. But there are many other veins of knowledge as well. These are there for all and can be studied and reflected on.
The genuine aspirant cannot remain satisfied with endless intellectual questions and answers or endless psychic experiences through kundalini manifestations. But there are subtle questions arising from the longing of the Soul, such as (What does it all mean? Where is True Rest? What is the foundation of experience, any experience? Who seeks answers? Why are answers sought? Who asks questions?). If such questions do not trap one in the jungle of intellectual mumbo jumbo but are followed to the source, they can hint at the Pull of the Heart.
The Instant Prior to Nondual Realization: Bukowski's Chinaski
Here are a few selections, courtesy of member Matthew Files, from Charles Bukowski's Barfly: The Continuing Saga of Henry Chinaski. Thank you, Matthew. The selections are preceded by a review of the book as found on Amazon.com. Something about Bukowski's work has the taste of the moment prior to nondual realization, and he seems to write from nondual understanding.
[email protected] from Houston, Texas February 9, 1999
In a world of mush and juxtaposition Bukowski's work offers us a look at a world not many see or want to acknowledge exists. For it would be impossible to write about this lifestyle without actually living it. What thrills me about this poet is the fact that he was so successful in the mainstream sense of the word and he refused to change his lifestyle for the sake of his art - that is a quality not found in ANY art form today. Even the iconoclastic punk icons of our day are found on the cover of glossy fashions mags. Not Bukowski he went quietly about his business in the seedy side of town and in a quote from the movie "no one who could write worth a damn was ever comfortable" It is amazing that no one else has reviewed this work as Chinaski is a main character in many of Bukowski's works.
That girl enjoyed everything that bored me and everything that I enjoyed bored her. We were the perfect match. What kept us together was the tolerable and intolerable distance beween us. We kept meeting every day-and every night-with nothing solved and no chance to solve it. Perfection.
old grey-haired waitresses
in cafes at night
have given it up,
and a I walk down sidewalks of
light and look into windows
of nursing homes
I can see that it is no longer
I see people sitting on park benches
and I can see by the way they
sit and look
that it is gone.
I see people driving cars
and I see by the way
they drive their cars
that they neitheer love nor are
nor do they consider
sex. it is all forgotten
like an old movie.
I see people in department stores and
walking down aisles
and I can see by the way their clothing
fits them and by the way they walk
and by their faces and their eyes
that they care for nothing
and that nothing cares
I can see a hundred people a day
who have given up
if I go to a racetrack
or a sporting event
I can see thousands
that feel for nothing or
and get no feeling
everywhere I see those who
crave nothing but
clothing; they concentraate
I do not understand why these people do not
I do not understand why these people do not
why the clouds
do not murder them
or why the dogs
do not murder them
or why the flowers and the children
do not murder them,
I do not understand
I suppose they are murdered
yet I can't adjust to the
fact of them
because they are so
there are more of them
in the subways and
in the buildings and
in the parks
they feel no terror
at not loving
or at no
so many many many
of my fellow
when God created love He didn't help most
when God created dogs He didn't help dogs
when God created plants that was average
when God created hate we had a standard utility
when God created me He created me
when God created the monkey He was asleep
when God created the giraffe He was drunk
when God created narcotics He was high
and when He created suicide He was low
when He created you lying in bed
He knew what He was doing
He was drunk and He was high
and He created the mountains and the sea and fire
at the same time
He made some mistakes
but when He created you lying in bed
He came all over His Blessed Universe.
Perspective on Life: George Costanza
"The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A death. What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You drink alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating ........ then you finish off as an orgasm."
The Non-Dual Christ
by Pieter Schoonheim Samara
Could the Teachings
of Christ really centered in Non-Dualism? Is Christ in reality
the all pervasive timeless unconditioned Self, abiding as the
Heart of everyone, as Consciousness Itself? If Christ IS the
Truth, shouldn't His Teachings be examined to discover Who and
What That Truth is and abide as That, rather than to seek out for
remedies in this world? - as in
"Go first to God ("I AM") and all things will be added unto
you." Luke 12:31
There are many passages in the New (and Old) Testament, where, when the notion we are all separate beings, centered in our identities as thinking bodies, is put aside, one is surprised to find that most passages are apparently referring to Christ as being the Self, and likewise He speaks from the non-dual perspective. While in the Old Testament God states the Truth as "I AM THAT I AM", the West has diverted Christianity around Descartes' dictum: "I think therefore I am." From, the non-dual point of view, the first two of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20: 1-7) are extremely powerful non-dual statements, i.e., neither permitting images before the "I" sense, nor allowing the use of the subject "I" together with an identity to images. So, it is no wonder that in reading the words of Christ as non-dual, the statements come out as being also very powerful. The following are several quotes about Christ as the Self (the subject "I" Consciousness) of all
"All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." John I: 3 'In him was life, and the life was the light of men." John I: 4
"And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not." John I: 5
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that is born into this world." John I: 9
Here the creation is not only created by Christ, but also all creation throughout all time is a projection of the Conscious Principle "I", as "without him was not anything made that was made". Who Christ is said to be is Life, and that Life was the Light (Consciousness) of "every man that is born into this world." The darkness described is the mind, which cannot know the True and imageless Self, the All Knower, and cannot see the seer, which lights it. From these quotes and the quotes to follow, we will see that Christ is defined clearly as the Self of all, and that His Teachings are to redirect each listener that can "hear" Him, to purify the mind, or directly to enquire into and abide as the Self, or to admonish them to take their stand in the Truth and "abide in me", the Self. Quoting a few passages, it will become clear that these are statements from someone, who, having realized their Self, no longer has a sense of "I" in relation to the body or mind, but abides as and is "Consciousness Itself".
"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."John 3: 13
Here Christ states that this Self is always realized. In John 3: 14-21 Christ elaborates on this theme of the "Light" further, as do many other of his passages. When seen from the non-dual perspective, His passages are intensely strong, giving no ground for alternate ideas that there may be some reality to the world or some basis to the world or some alternate "Ways" or approaches. For example:
"I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life." John 8: 12
By comparison with the ancient sages and magi from the East, one might think from reading these passages that Christ always speaks as the Atman and of the Father as Brahman, or as the Self realized being One in relation to the All pervasive and timeless Self (the "I AM THAT I AM"). Christ states:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM." John 8: 58
One can see from the way Christ always refers to the Father, as the doer of the miracles and all that He says, that regardless of His apparent actions, that He has no sense of being a doer, that all He says and does just happens, because He abides in the Father. Consider the following passage, where Jesus is speaking to the Apostles in John Ch 14:
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh to the Father but by Me. (verse 6) If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from hence forth you know him and have seen him. (verse 7)
"Philip said to Jesus, 'Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.' (verse 8)
"To which Jesus replied:
"Have I been so long with you, yet you have still not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; therefore, how do you say, 'Show us the Father'? (verse 9)
"Believe you not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me he does the works. (verse 11)
"Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake." (verse 12)
"I and my Father are one." John 10: 30
Explaining how his Truth is in fact the Truth of all, Christ states in John Ch 15:
"Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. (verse 4)
"I am the vine, you are the branches...apart from me you can do nothing." (verse 5)
In John Chapter 17, Christ prays to the Father on behalf of the Apostles, that He sanctify them by His Truth, and that they might be one with the Father ("I AM THAT I AM"). Here, one can see that His state is always one with the Father. One is quite clear that Christs permanent abiding state, when He says "where I am", is unrelated to the world. He asks:
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: For you have loved me from before the foundation of the world." (verse 24)
The notion of Spirit, that He (Christ) and God (the Father) are one in Spirit also conveys the sense of the formlessness of Brahman (the Father), as well as our own Truth as spirit versus body:
"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4: 24)
Apart from all Christ's teachings of practices and parables about non-judgment (Mat Ch 7: 1-2; Luke 6: 37-42; John 8: 6-11), non-attachment (Mat 6: 40), non-anxiety (Mat 6: 25-34; Luke 12: 22-32), perpetual forgiveness (Luke 17: 4; Mat 19: 21-22; Mark 11:25), compassion (Mat 25: 34-40), humility (Mat 18: 4), and so on, which all relate to a discarding of attention to the world ("Take no thought for your life." Mat 6: 25), probably the most profoundly direct instruction Christ gave concerning the teaching of is non-dual Truth is from Luke 11:
"The light of the body is the eye: Therefore, when thine eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light...." (verse 34)
From the non-dual perspective, this is easily paraphrased as follows: The part of you that sees (the seer, one's Self) is your true light. Therefore, if you hold the seer (subject-"I") singly or exclusively (versus giving attention to thoughts and images) you will have illumination - or what some call the "enlightenment of the whole body". (This is similar to Gods First and Second Commandments werent clear enough in terms of having no images before the I AM.) And as to the Heart, which is the seat of the all-pervasive Self ("I AM"): "The wise man's heart is at his right hand, but the fool's heart at his left." Ecclesiastes 10: 2. And: "The pure in heart shall see God ("I AM")." Matt 3: 8. Anyone in the east, coming to a similar conclusion about Christ, might call the approach of Christ the path of "sudden realization", because his teachings are often in the form of commandments or statements giving no ground (room to maneuver). His approach permits no delays, no second chance, no outs, no remedy, no alternatives to the tribulations of the world. His way to God (the "I AM" of the Old Testament) is full of beatitudes and purity (Mat 5: 2-11), blessedness and love (Mat 6: 38-48). But those that oppose the Spirit "will never be forgiven" (Luke 12: 10, Mat 12: 32; Mark 3: 29) and "will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there is great suffering and gnashing of teeth." (Mat 8: 12;14: 50; 22: 13; 24: 51) The reading of the New Testament requires a constant coming to terms with Christ's life: His all knowingness of each person close or far away, now and in the future, how they will act, what will happen, when, and why; the constant ceaseless flow of power, where miracles fall from him, undirected. In the non-dualist texts, these are the powers described as God's, to be all knowing, all powerful, and so forth. In Revelations, Ch I: 8, Christ tells John:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending" sayeth the Lord, "which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
But what was special about Christ was the sense of awe-inspiring fierceness, the intensity of rock hard Reality that packed each moment, demanding ... commanding perfection of everyone, now. For example:
"Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."
"I give you a commandment: Love one another." John 15: 12, 17
"For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know his commandment is life everlasting." John 12: 49
As Christ repeatedly stated "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." Mark Ch 4: 23, again Mark 7: 16, etc.. This "hearing" is central to the entire non-dual teaching process, until the mind becomes still*, free of its focus on identity with images and the Conscious principal, the subject "I", one's True imageless and timeless Self flashes forth. *"Stillness of mind" means "Be still and know that I am God (I AM Ex 3: 14)." (David, Ps).
Probably the best summation of the possibility, potential, or promise that Christ represents to the Western world is in his following statement from John 16: 33.
"These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: But be of good cheer; I have overcome (conquered) the world."
Actually, not to see Christ as the personification of the non-dual Truth is to turn all He says into demagoguery, to make him into another "zealot" of the time, the founder of a bizarre cult, of strange rituals based in fanatical superstition and myth, a revamping of paganism in monistic form. It seems quite obvious though that if we can "hear" Him, Christ, ever abiding in and as the Father, may be one of the most profound Teachers of the non-dual nature of Reality and proof of its philosophy in terms of realizing the Truth of our own Reality as all pervasive Self!
Blessed am I In freedom am I I am the infinite in my soul I can find no beginning no end All is my Self
Looking at Clouds
by Tim Gerchmez
When I look at a
cloud, I am the screen onto which the image of the cloud is
projected. I am the unchanging background on which this changing
image appears. There is nobody who sees, and nothing external to
me. There is only a projection, and the screen. The projection
appears upon me (consciousness).
Could it not be said that the blank cinema screen is in fact the images projected upon it, as long as such images persist? Therefore, I am the cloud as well as the screen upon which its image is projected.
Ultimately, I am also the power (or light) by which the image of the cloud appears projected onto Myself. This I cannot grasp, however - how I can be both the changeless background upon which the cloud appears, and the changeless power which projects the cloud. Either the analogy falls apart at this point, or the perspective simply remains that of the changeless screen. There is no way to tell.
Either way, I remain what I am.
Visit "The Core" Website at http://coresite.cjb.net
Music, Poetry, Writings on Nondual Spiritual Topics.
Tim's other pages are at: http://core.vdirect.net
Parable -- The Crazy Man
by Richard J. Oddo
(from Sharing of the Heart)
There was a man who lived with lots of other people. Everyone there thought he was crazy, for all day long he would pry into everyone's affairs and ask all sorts of nonsensical questions. He pestered everyone unmercifully, thus they all wished he'd leave.
One day a young man came to the house and began asking lots of ridiculous questions; so one old man decided to speak up, for he felt they were generous to let one crazy man live among them, and they certainly didn't want another. So he said, "Look here young fellow, what are all these stupid questions you're asking; are you crazy like the other fellow?"
The young man replied, "Which person do you mean?"
"Why that loony over there wearing the fancy uniform," said the old man.
The young man laughed while saying, "You mean that you don't know that he is a doctor and that you are all patients in a sanitarium?"
Comment: For millenia there have been sane souls who are as spiritual doctors amongst a society of crazy people. The world fights, kills, hates and destroys, and calls this normal, while spiritual souls pester this crazy world with the ideas of brotherly love. Do not be swayed by society's norm and conform to its immaturity. Spiritual awareness is the strength to stand firm in the ideals of inner harmony, which must be expressed outwardly as love, peace and respect. Always remember that our destiny is freedom, and your spiritual soul is not to be denied.
Wandering of the Heart
Yosemite Wilderness ~ May 1981 ~
by Richard J. Oddo
(from Sharing of the Heart)
Situations appear in most everyone's life where fear captures their mind, but under certain special circumstances, when the mind is transfixed in intense conviction, fear can have no possibility of entering. Thus extraordinary events have happened where a person will either appear as a hero, or possibly as an incredible fool. One such event stands out clear in my lessons as a warrior, and my total concentration built such a powerful attitude of strength that no fear could possibly enter; even though I look back on the incident and can only shake my head in amazement, and wonder how I lived.
I arrived early, but the sun already shone bright and warm, on this clear, crisp day in May. Parking my van at Hetch Hetchy reservoir, I took the trail that leads into the Grand Canyon of the Yosemite wilderness. After passing many cascading streams and several pounding waterfalls, I left the trail and bushwacked a course into an area where few people ever venture. I had no special destination, but merely wanted to find a quiet spot to read and bask naked in the sun. I followed a pretty, little stream up into the mountains, and finally came upon a flat outcropping of rock, with my little creek winding amongst the rock, and a profusion of flowers nestled within the crevices. All the open areas were covered in a rich grass lushness, and my little paradise was surrounded by large bushes for a nice touch of secluded privacy. It was the perfect spot, so I removed my clothes, and made them into a nice cushion to sit on, and layered my pack behind me. I removed my book and an orange, leaving an apple in my pack for a later snack.
The book I was reading was of great importance to me at that time, for it filled me with great zeal and enthusiasm. Its main emphasis was on sincerity of intent, and if put into practise one gained great strength of determination, and could apply it into a demonstration of personal mastery. Because I was so focused into the power it exemplified, an event ensued that I can only relate verbatim and let the reader determine my sanity at that particular instant of my life's challenge.
About an hour had passed while I devoured the words of power, and I was so engrossed into their adventure that nothing else existed for me. But from behind me I heard a noise as if far off into a distant world I left. I dismissed the activity and continued my reading without a thought interrupting my concentration. But now once again I heard a louder noise that continued to demand my attention, and the noise was not far off, but right behind me. I was sitting in a half lotus position with the book in my lap, and the stream gently flowing inches in front of me. Without setting my book aside I twisted my head around to see what this audacious intrusion was upon my sacred ground. There two feet behind my back was the menacing from of a 300 pound bear tearing into my pack. The water container had been chewed and scattered, with my apple now in its mouth; and as I turned, our eyes met in a cold, hard glare.
My mind was completely filled with the power of determination, and thus the actions that ensued were set by my heart, with the raw nature of my animal spirit to set its course. As I turned and saw the powerful form of the bear towering over me, I immediately screamed out my warning of challenge to its intrusion. My outburst did not frighten my adversary, for it dropped the apple and grabbed my pack in its mouth, and headed off into the bushes at full speed, with me running after him shouting my challenge. A bear can run thru tangled, dense bushes much faster than a naked, gangling human, so I saw the futility of my chase after a short distance and stopped. Sure enough, the bear stopped its race and dropped my pack, and began searching thru it for the food it felt must be within it. I figured I would get my pack when he was done, so I ran back to my clothes and quickly put them on. Just as I was tying my boot laces, I glanced next to me and saw the apple that the bear dropped from its mouth. There was no other food in my pack but this apple, and since the bear's teeth marks were in it, it knew that the apple was back here, and any second it would be coming back for it. As these thoughts flashed thru my mind, sure enough the bear came crashing through the bushes at full speed straight at me. My fire was burning at full blaze, and I picked up the apple in my hand and ran as a maniac straight at the bear. We were but 30 feet apart, both racing at collision speed for an encounter of death. Split seconds passed by as eternity as we came foot by foot closer to our disastrous collision. At 10 feet apart my legs were racing and my arms flailing like a banshee as I brandished the apple he desired, and while at full speed I jumped in mid air to crash into the expected fur, claws and teeth of my adversary.
But powerful conviction has a strength of its own that sets fear in the heart of its opponent. For as I flew through the air, the bear slammed on his breaks and spun on its heels all in one step and began to run in the opposite direction back into the bushes. My momentum carried me to within a few feet ofits rear, as I continued my hysterical screaming charge, but he began to put distance between us. So before he could get too far, I raised the apple high into the air and flung it with full force, and bounced it right off the bear's butt, which didn't slow him down a bit as he continued at full speed through the bushes and out of my sight. All of which time I was jumping up and down like a raving maniac, screaming at the top of my lungs in victory of our battle. Sure the bear would have torn me to pieces if we ever would have collided, but my victory wasn't of superior strength, but of superior conviction. So on I danced and sang the glories this challenge of adventure had presented, and my spirit was so exuberant that at the moment flying would not have been out of the question. The adrenaline was flowing and my body electric, and all the previous years of my life did not last as long as those brief moments of courage, or should I say insanity.
But the play had passed and all that was left for me to do was get my tooth punctured pack, and walk back to my van. How glorious the world of freedom and challenge are, and once again I learned another lesson of the realm of the spiritual warrior. We are not ruled by our physical nature, it only sets limitation of expression. But those limits only apply within relative action, if the individual recognizes a validity to a preconceived concept of limitation. Where freedom, love and emotional aspirations are involved, then at any time we can rise completely above any limits we have self imposed, and extend those limits into new areas of consciousness.
The realization of a spiritual warrior is to set no limitation upon his experience of life, and thus always accept the challange that this moment of eternity presents. His spirit must reign supreme in his vigilance of conviction. Even the limitation of his physical nature will expand under the conditions where the heart rules supreme, for our animal nature also has unknown resources that can be activated under times of intense concentration. We are much more than the selfhood we have built through the ignorance of our concepts of limitation. We can rise into this higher light of spiritual integrity, and with respect and humility live within the power of our true capabilities, for we are the essence of God, and we need place no limits upon our true Self.
Note: other than this one incident, I have never had an aggressive encounter in all my eleven years of travels; just the opposite, for I have been blessed with a loving communion in all my experiences.
--Richard J. Oddo
A Course in Miracles: Excerpts from the First 13 Lessons
contributed by Xan
1. Nothing I see
means anything. Look slowly around you and practice applying this
idea very specifically to whatever you see. "This table does
not mean anything." etc.
2. I have given everything I see all the meaning it has for me. Remain as indiscriminate as possible in selecting specific subjects...
3. I do not understand anything I see in this place. The point of the exercises is to help clear your mind of all past associations. It is essential that you keep an open mind...
4. These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this place. Begin with nothing the thoughts that are crossing your mind. Use 'good' thoughts as well as 'bad'. None of them represents your real thoughts, which are being covered up by them. "This thought does not mean anything."
5. I am never upset for the reason I think. Until you learn that form does not matter, each form becomes a proper subject for the exercises for the day. "I am not afraid for the reason I think." etc.
6. I am upset because I see something that is not there. "I cannot keep this form of upset and let the others go. For the purposes of these exercises, then, I will regard them all as the same."
7. I see only the past. This idea ... is the rationale for all the preceding ones. Everything you believe is rooted in time. "I see only the past in this shoe, this hand, etc."
8. My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts. No one really sees anything. He sees only his thoughts projected outward. ... Your mind cannot grasp the present which is the only time there is. It therefore ... cannot, in fact, understand anything. "I seem to be thinking about _______
but my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts."
9. I see nothing as it is now. The recognition that you do not understand is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas. ... It is difficult for the untrained mind to believe that what it seems to picture is not there. This idea can be quite disturbing and may meet with active resistance in any number of forms. Yet that does not preclude applying it. "I do not see this computer as it is now." etc...
10. My thoughts do not mean anything at all. The reason the idea is applicable to all the thoughts of which you are aware is that they are not your real thoughts. When you have a basis for comparison you will have no doubt that what you once believed were your thoughts did not mean
anything. "This idea will help to release me from all I now believe."
12. I am upset because I see a meaningless world. You think that what upsets you is a frightening world, or a sad world, or a violent world, or an insane world. All these attributes are given it by you. The world is meaningless in itself.
13. A meaningless world engenders fear. Recognition of meaninglessness arouses intense anxiety in all the separated ones. It represents a situation in which God and the ego "challenge" each other as to whose meaning is to be written in the empty space that meaninglessness provides. The ego rushes in frantically to establish its own idea there, fearful that the void may otherwise be used to demonstrate its own impotence and unreality. And on this alone is it correct.
Why Seek a Purpose of Life?
by Sandeep Chatterjee
Silence is not
absence of speech
Silence is absence of thoughts
You cannot insult me, because I do not seek your respect in the first place.
I cannot fail because I have dropped the need for success.
Truth is unknown
and to know it, one has to die to the known.
How can you truly know Death?
Only by dying.
Where is Truth?
Searching will never succeed for when has
truth ever found by seeking?
In seeking the seeker is present
Don't seek but lose your self
He who loses himself finds truth
Life is an infinite mystery, therefore those who are filled
with knowledge are deprived of Life
Life becomes known only to the innocent, to those
whose intuition is not covered with the dust of
Do not seek nirvana as something opposed to Life;
rather turn life itself into nirvana
Do not strive for moksha (liberation)
rather allow all your actions to become liberating
Let yourself go completely
just like a boat floating on the river
You do not have to row the boat, just let it go loose
you are not to swim, just float, then the river itself
takes you to the ocean
The ocean is very near- but only for those who float, but do not swim.
Do not be afraid of drowning because that fear
makes you swim
And do not have a goal
for he who has a goal will swim.
Wherever one reaches, that is the destination
therefore he who makes God, Moksha, Truth his goal, goes astray
Wherever the mind is free from all goals
there alone IS.
Die so that you can live
When the seed is no more, it has become a tree
When the dew drop loses itself, the Ocean IS
Truth is like the sky: eternal, everlasting, boundless
Is there a door to enter the sky?
Then how can there be one to enter Truth?
If my eyes are closed, to me the sky exists not
The same holds for Truth
Opening eyes is the door to Truth
To close the eyes is to close the door to Truth
You become a slave because you are afraid to be alone
So you need the other, a crowd, a society, an organization
Fear is the basis of all institutions, and how can a frightened mind know
Truth requires fearlessness and fearlessness comes from sadhana not from
That is why all religions, institutions and organizations bar the path of
Do not confuse impatience with thirst
With thirst there is yearning but no struggle.
With impatience there is struggle but no yearning
With longing there is waiting but no demanding
With impatience there is demanding but no waiting.
With thirst there is silent tears
With impatience there is a restless struggle
Truth cannot be attacked ; it is attained through surrender.
Why seek for a purpose of Life?
If you seek you will never find because it is
eternally hidden in the seeker.
Life is without purpose
Life is its own purpose, therefore he who lives without purpose
Live! Isn't living itself enough?
The desire to have more than just life is a result
of not lived at all- and that is why the fear of death
What is death to one who is really alive?
When living is intense and total, who has the time for fear of death,
nay who has time for death itself.
There is a music which has no sound
the soul is restless for such silent music
There is a love in which the body is not
the soul longs for such unembodied love
There is a truth which has no form
the soul longs for this formless truth
Therefore melodies do not satisfy
bodies do not satisfy
and forms cannot fulfill the soul
But this lack of fulfillment must be understood properly
For such understanding brings about transcendence
then sound is the door to the soundless
the body becomes the path to the unembodied
and form becomes formless.
Excerpt from 'I Am', by Jean Klein
(C) 1989, Jean Klein (Third Millennium Publications)
(contributed by Tim Gerchmez)
basically two known approaches to truth, the gradual and the
direct. In the direct approach the premise is that you are the
truth, there is nothing to achieve. Every step to achieve
something is going away from it. The 'path,' which strictly
speaking is not a path from somewhere to somewhere, is only to
welcome, to be open to the truth, the I am. When you have once
glimpsed your real nature it solicits you. There is therefore
nothing to do, only be attuned to it as often as invited. There
is not a single element of volition in this attuning. It is not
the mind which attunes to the I am but the I am which absorbs the
In the gradual approach you are bound to the mind. The mind is under the illusion that if it changes, alters states, stops, etc., it will be absorbed in what is beyond it. This misconception leads to the most tragic state in which a truth-seeker can find himself: he has bound himself in his own web, a web of the most subtle duality."
Q: If I am perfect and there is nothing to do, why am I here, why this existence on the planet?
A: It is only to be knowingly in this perfection.
Q: But my lack of knowing belongs to imperfection so how can I be perfect? There is still ignorance to dispel.
A: Your use of perfection and imperfection are concepts, interdependent counterparts. The truth that is your nearest fundamental nature is beyond complementaries. In the absence of imperfection and perfection you live in your presence, your wholeness. Be it.
Why Can't We Drop the Question?
by Han Deunhouwer and Jan Barendrecht
HANS: Jan, how come
i *understand* what you are saying but i *am* not what i
understand. After reading numerous books over the past 30 or so
years (didn't count them, were a lot, but not the last few years,
simply because it serves no purpose anymore) the *I* is still in
place. I am not asking for an answer because no answer will ever
do. I am merely stating a fact. Although i noticed that the mind
is dicovering other spaces over the last 2 years, the *I* is
still there, shining as brightly as ever.
JAN: Understanding by itself doesn't accomplish anything. Some 30 years ago I was a lay in meditation, would have ridiculed concepts like Grace and humility. But being restored to life after having seriously said goodbye to everything, loved ones included, left an absolute disinterest for everything. The hardest part was showing gratitude although not feeling anything, for those who did their best to cheer me up, because a remark that all effort would be in vain would have meant a devastating blow to them.. My mind was a complete blank... This is very favorable for a spontaneous recognition plus subsequent interpretation.
HANS: I think it was Neo that said we are talking about air and yes i think we are literaly talking about air. Why fill our minds with useless thoughts. It goes without saying that i am not talking about normal day to day thoughts such as, where did i put my pants, where are my shoes, i have to go and do some shopping etc.etc. but about useless thought patterns repeating itself over and over again without any apparent purpose or meaning. Are there underlying unanswered questions that keep these patterns alive and kicking. This very much looks like a circle or a dog chasing his own tail. Funny though, i have thought this many many times and the question is still there, unresolved. So this makes me think : why can't we drop the question ? why do we keep on asking for an answer that isn't there and simply realize that THIS IS IT ?
JAN: The thought patterns didn't emerge from thin air: they were allowed to enter and to multiply. Just for the record, consider how thin "spiritual life" is when a few words can put someone off balance - only possible when the mind still has a strong influence. All sadhanas can but bring one to the point that whatever the mind presents, is met with equanimity and from that point on, the mental circus will be seen to calm down. Who is ready to dump the entire mental circus in one go? Self-enquiry is superfluous to a mind that neither clings nor rejects as "what is" will sooner or later shine by itself. The main cause for the mental circus is the idea that by thinking something can be gained - seekership in a clever disguise on a global scale.
HANS: Do we need this movement of thought to cover up the underlying silence ? or are those patterns simply recurring because they are imprinted as such in the brain tissues. Why do we get involved with socalled *spirituality* at all ? I am much more inclined these days to say that spirituality is just one of those famous inventions of our mind.
JAN: There are many reasons why someone takes up spiritual life; a rather powerful motive is utter dissatisfaction with the evanescent happiness from "worldly" pursuits. The underlying silence is overlooked in the same sense that the
presence of fresh air only becomes clear when suffocating due to a lack of it.
HANS: Why not simply deal with our day to day stuff ? The wondering wandering mind. It has to see for itself first that there are no answers because there are no questions.
JAN: The idea that thinking is beneficial, will give some positive result, is very tenacious. To me the self-enquiry, without a basic quieting down of the mind, is like trying to find the needle in the haystack while a sandstorm is blowing. The sandstorm has to quiet down first...
HANS: A simple intellectual awareness won't do, i am the living proof of that. The mind probably has to discover this for itself without intellectual interference. In short, the questions have to drop or better even the mind has to understand that there are no questions. I am looking forward to the day the mind discovers that. I stopped trying because seemingly there's only one thing i can do and that is create imaginary problems.
JAN: The intellect can clarify a few things but that isn't enough. It is overlooked that intellect is but a servant and that automatic thinking is the side-effect of the tenacious belief that thinking will bring an advantage. When a poll would be held on the question "how do you value thinking (0...9, 0=worthless, 9=extremely useful), the outcome would be close to 9:)
Solipsism, or Non-Dualistic Materialism
from 'Ask Grandpa'
(contributed by Gene Poole)
Dear reader, do you
really exist? Do I? What do we really know? Next to nothing,
that's for sure. However, I will pour balm on troubled waters,
because I have found a method in this specific wilderness. There
are other texts here in these Ask Grandpa pages working over this
territory, but I reckon I should write one extra under this
heading, to attract attention if for no other reason, because
word, "solipsism", does attract attention, but for the wrong reasons mostly.
To start with, "solipsism" means thinking about a lone self, "solus" meaning "alone", and "ipse" meaning "self". More to the point, it means thinking that the only thing existing at all is the own self, the isolated, thinking self, and that all else is an illusion, or better are parts, 'dreams' of that lone self. Nutty, isn't it?
To be absolutely frank with you, I think it is a perfectly sane and reasonable thinking, one which helps solving a lot of the tacky logical pitfalls on the road of thinking about thinking. If you don't mind, I would like to help you think too, by explaining it all. Here goes:
First of all, we should remove some common errors when thinking about solipsism as such. The main one however silly, really is this: if the world is me, my consciousness only, then what about you and your thinking? The obvious solution is that "you" simply doesn't exist separately, but only as part of my particular 'world-dream'. People have problems about such radical ideas, and cling to 'parallel worlds', several minds, and so miss (or don't really understand) the central idea in solipsism. Of course, if you are seriously thinking in a solipsistic way, or even just imagining how a solipsist thinks, you should be immediately aware that, in the world-image of the solipsist, everything is part of his unique thought. There can be no logical paradoxes about parallel phenomena, because if you think there are, then you don't think in a solipsistic way at all, only in a wishy-washy way about things you haven't cared to understand fully like most everybody else.
-- So, what's so wonderful about it, awkward and unnecessary as it seems to be? It is a wonderful tool to eliminate the warring hypotheses about realism versus idealism in philosophy, finally dragging itself up the ladder to the level of clearheaded clearsightedness, and pulling the ladder up after itself. You see, most philosophers, for the last two millennia at least, have been and still are quarreling about whether the world is actually there, the material machine we experience during working hours at least, or a bunch of 'ideas', something not material anyway. The two warring factions are called materialism and idealism. Idealism often after its most famous proponent is called Platonism. Religious thinking tends to be some form of idealism.
Solipsists normally are seen as idiots nobody takes seriously, a fringe phenomenon. How can solipsism be used to knock out the two main combatants then, keeping the entire field for itself? Solipsism is idealism taken to extremes, only one dreamy substance existing, that of ones own ego and its entire universe. Seen from "outside" it is nuts. Seen from inside it is a source of wisdom, practical, working, down-to-earth wisdom. In so doing it becomes fully congrous with a straightforward, non-dualistic materialism, 'naive materialism' as cocky sophisticates call it. That is the beauty of it. It suddenly emerges as a perfect unity, a fusion of two ways of incompatible thinking.
Materialism seems straightforward, but then most people find they have the mind-body dualism as a problem. You start running round in circles, biting yourself in the small of your back until you bleed to death. They shouldn't, because that specific problem arises from taking for granted that minds somehow are non-material (that is: idealistic ghosts in the materialistic cupboard). If you stay a sane, 'naive' materialist, realizing that the mind is a material machine in action, the brain PC writing to its screen, no dualism is perceived and all is jake. -- Idealism, straight and undiluted, is a ghastly, ghostly mirror image of materialism: you have a lot of minds around, and an external world of ideas to boot, but what
about interrelationships? Too many peas in that pod, I think. In both cases the trouble seems to be centered around the mixing of immiscible ideas, around notions about plurality in fact.
Now, if you for a moment follow me climbing the solipsist road to the top, looking around, what do you see? The normal world, exactly identical to the drab materialistic one of working hours at least, but you can have no mind-body dualism problem any longer, as all of it is a monolithic you, your thought, your dream if you prefer that word (poet, are you?). Idealism is pooh-pooh as well, as you and the world together is just one 'idea', one thought, one dream. So, you think, how nice: I can live, I even have to live in this one, undivisible world, and obviously I can toss a coin to decide whether I call it "solipsist" or " naively materialist", as they are fully congruent, phenomenologically fully identical, but clinically free from dualism, from any dichotomies.
That's it, friends. That is the cure for any ontological, any metaphysical, any serious philosophical ailments you might have contracted.
To sum it up, wrap it up: solipsism, fully applied, asymptotically approaches fully applied materialism, 'naive' materialism. Solipsism gives credence to naive materialism too, because it erases the 'naive' epithet from it. You can live a fully secure mental life in a physical universe without dualism, without conceptual quagmires. You have to think straight, and to do research into the secrets of the physical world, but you have a sound, solid mental platform to work from, and that is the best thing since sliced bread, believe me.
An afterthought: self-confessed solipsists are funny. They seem to think that by embracing this "religion", by becoming 'born-again solipsists' as it were, they have
wrangled unique powers from the Universe, powers to keep things existing, or to keep from existing, like some weird wizard. They seem to feel very cute and keen masters - of us, of the rest of us! Like some powerful Merlin, they can show or whithhold mercy, being emperors of the Universe, gods even. They sure as hell feel cosy. Oh my! They miss one tiny thing: that inside any dream you are at the mercy of the laws of that dream, and a prisoner of that dream to boot.
Also, a solipsists, sorry, the solipsist there can be only one, of course, and I won't tell you if it is me or you, whether dream inhabitants know they just are dream inhabitants or not, or if they have dreams about being solipsistsI very well (seen from your viewpoint) might be fully aware I live in your dreamt-up universe, but again, I won't tell you yes, the solipsist lives in one, undivisible universe (his or her dream), with its characteristics, its welter of detail, its laws of Nature, of physics, and he or she has to get to grips with orienting themself to it, surviving in it, and adjusting to those dream individuals in it they actually have no special powers over, all being features of the same dream.
In fact: a solipsist universe is totally identical with that drab 'external' universe you dread, with its alarm clocks, supervisors, angry wives, foolish husbands, and
irate bosses. There are as painful snowstorms there as in 'real' life, and rain wets you to the skin as enthuastically. Money is as hard to come by there too. If you don't behave, you and your precious universe disappear, poof (you die). -- No, solipsism has its uses only in tidying up any welter of silly ideas about ontology. Then you can forget about it, until you have to cure some raving idiot somewhere in your solipsistic world from the mental toothache of untidy ontology. You simply teach the wreck to imagine he is the solipsistic center of the world, although only you are so, of course. ( This is tricky, but you'll get around any snooty logical comments from him or her by telling the white lie that you just are a dream figment in his or her dream of existence and universe. -- Like I am, you know, just one of your universe's wraiths, but even such wraiths can have its uses. People say and write things to you also in dreams.)
Anyway: it always works wonders.