What is Nonduality
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THE NONDUAL DAILY NUGGET
May 23, 2000:
Personal History, by Gene Poole
May 24, 2000: The Projection, by Tim Gerchmez
May 25, 2000: Harsha Chants
May 26, 2000: Synchronicity, by Christiana Duranczyk
May 27, 2000: The Most Powerful Medicine, by Dan Berkow and Miguel-Angel Carrasco
May 28, 2000: The Whole Stack of Cards, by Dan Berkow
May 29, 2000: Success, by Allison Wonderland
May 30, 2000: Nagarjuna
May 31, 2000: Remain Undisturbed and Survival Won't be Required, by Dan Berkow and Christiana Duranczyk
June 1, 2000: Cable Repair, Vertigo and Nonduality, by Antoine Carre
June 2, 2000: A Few Simple Tricks, by Leon and the NDS gang
June 3, 2000: Personality and the Self, by Jody Radzik
June 4, 2000: The Flow of Life, by Melody Anderson
June 5, 2000: The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of the Buddha and the Goddess, by Rick Fields
June 6, 2000: Everything is Very Real, by Marcia Paul and Matthew Files
June 7, 2000: The Boy and the Sage, by C.R. Rajamani
June 8, 2000: Cable Guy to the Stars, by Antoine Carré
June 9, 2000: What is Nonduality?
June 10, 2000: Power, by Gene Poole
June 11, 2000: The Pathway of Non-Duality is Easy and the Burden is Light, by Pieter Schoonheim Samara
June 12, 2000: On the Road: A Selection, by Jack Kerouac
June 13, 2000: Nondualism, Yogas, and Personality Characteristics, by Greg Goode
June 14, 2000: Notes on the Nature of Vedanta Society, by Jody Radzik
by Gene Poole
started with a Bad Agreement, but I hope I can be
forgiven for conceding my nothingness, for at the time I
was but 2 years old.
Yes, I admit it; my impression was that I could escape 'their' wrath, by acting as 'they' wanted me to act. Little did I know...
Over the subsequent years, I found that the 'style' which I had adopted at home, was in serious conflict with the 'ways of the world'. Indeed, it seemed that wherever I turned, I was the target for all kinds of 'corrective measures', applied by various versions of 'them'. The only consistency, was found in the basic contract; specifically, that if I acted like they wanted me to act, I could escape their wrath. A bit less naive now, I realized that to escape 'their' wrath, I would have to act in a multitude of ways, all different, depending on circumstances of 'who' I was with.
Having boiled-down the essential agreement to this one line (act as they want, to escape their wrath), I found it fairly easy to escape wrath. Unfortunately, I also found that living in this constant state of compromise, left little if any happiness for me, aside from the feelings of relief resulting from escaping of wrath. I began harboring resentment in serious amounts; I also began to seek isolation, to be away from 'them', to avoid the taxing necessity of play-acting. I found little happiness in being alone, but it was better than risking wrath.
It was not long, before the pain of carrying multiple false-selves began to weigh very heavily upon me. By now, I was into serious avoidance, which itself led to accusations of 'irresponsibility', and thus to accumulation of wrath, and thus more resentment. Alas, I found myself within a spiraling vortex, being sucked down the drain, as it were. My reaction was to cling ever-more tightly to the straw of identity, thus to avoid drowning in that disorienting turbulence.
To counteract this life of agony, I found drugs. By medicating myself, I could have a time of peace, all for myself. This was a major revelation; I became a serious student of drugs, to the purpose of discovering which drugs could provide the greatest and longest-lasting peace. The public media was full of news of LSD, reputed to be a 'one-stop solution' to suffering of all kinds; naturally, I had to try it.
My first acid experience was similar to tripping over the top step of the Empire-State Building, and tumbling down the entire long staircase, all the way to the ground floor. It was too painful and disorienting for words to describe. Sharing my disappointment with a companion, I was told that I had encountered my own 'karma'; I was told that I could have a good LSD trip, if I did preliminary work of honest self-evaluation. I considered this advice, because it seemed nonsense to take a drug, hoping for relief of suffering, only to have suffering increased instead. It seemed to me that acid was too volatile to be used for the relief of suffering.
I eventually realized that self-evaluation consisted of comparing myself to something or someone. In this light, I sought those who were reputed to be the 'best', to which to compare myself. In this search, I eventually was told that Jesus is the best of the best, the standard by which all 'men' are to be judged. My next step was to 'become a Christian' of the born-again type. Upon receiving this status, I once again tried LSD. Unfortunately, I found myself confronted by satan. Needless to say, this was a terrifying experience; however, at the time, I saw myself as Christ, being tempted by satan in the wilderness. My self-evaluation had indeed worked; I was now Christ HimSelf. Certainly, I had overcome my karma!
Numerous LSD-trips later, I concluded that the whole thing was a tossed salad of confusion and delusion. Unfortunately, I was the one confused and deluded. And I was still 'acting like 'they' wanted me to act', to avoid 'their' wrath. I was still accumulating resentment. My only refuge was the secret island of identity on which I lived in isolation; it seemed to me that really, nobody was able to see me or visit me on my secret island. My safety had become a terrible aloneness. But at least I was safe.
Much later, I attended a lecture by a Toltec Shaman. He stated that our troubles begin upon the enactment of our first agreement. It dawned upon me that he was correct; I was even able to remember the essence of this first Bad Agreement, by which I had been bound ever since. Upon this realization, I was able to understand that my island of safety was an identity which was created as a refuge from the wrath of others. I saw, in a flash, that as long as I carried this identity, that I would be isolated, alone, miserable, confused, and sauteed in resentment. And I realized that any identity would be essentially similar, different by degree only.
Upon this insight, I resolved to let go of identity.
Letting go of identity necessitated the complete abrogation (cancellation) of ALL agreements, including the very first one. I discovered that the first agreement was made, for the purpose of adapting to parental 'values', thus to assure my acceptance as a member of family.
How can I describe the consequences of this letting go of agreement and identity? Suddenly, I was in a featureless neutral void. There was no stimuli of any kind. I had a very brief moment of disorientation; in that moment I felt myself spasmodically reach for the security of identity, an impulse which I cancelled as soon as I felt it arise. The resulting feelings were unfamiliar, but tolerable. I learned to breath, in that void-space; that was the most important thing at the time. I found that I had no needs of any kind. I found that I am essentially what I define myself to be; I found that I could ignore any arising impulse to define myself. I found my nature, which surpasses any identity. Identity was seen as "...leaves on a deciduous tree; they sprout, grow, wither and die".
Seeing the tree naked of leaves, I saw the underlying mechanisms which generate meaning; I saw mind. Looking more closely, I saw the roots of this mechanical tree, infiltrating globally, as is their nature to do; I saw nothing wrong with that. I saw that I am not the leaves, tree, roots, or globe. I saw that my nature is to contain or encompass or 'understand' or better, to 'have' all of that.
I learned the taste of myself, myself undiluted by any factors whatsoever. It is this taste which I now have, and if needed, can recall at any time. It is a taste which cannot be imagined, known only by experience.
I know that no matter what the taste one samples, that only the taste of self will be recognized. I know that each person, no matter how confused or deluded, will eventually experience this taste. I also know that agreements and identity are unnecessary, but that it may take a long life of experience to make this plainly clear.
No-one is doing anything 'wrong'. Errors or sins are evaluation and are themselves symptomatic of lack of void. No relief of suffering is to be found in other than void. Thought may be used productively if it leads to letting-go into void. Thought can be used like the oars of a rowboat, if needed.
Devoid of all meaning and metaphor, there is no conflict. Only memory can identify the absence of conflict; it is the finest of arts to remember conflict, without creating conflict. Joy is had, only by the same method; only memory makes joy relevant or important. The memory of joy, creates its opposite, unless this mechanism is understood.
It is possible to relate all of this in speech, devoid of style which implies implicit or explicit agreement; it is possible to relate this in the bare machine-language of neutral mind-machine. It is possible t o bring this forth from memory, and at the same time to allow it to remain flat information. Any depth seen, is meaning implied by the reader.
Void is limitless space with room for all. Void is my nature, and that is all I can say about it.
Identity is optional; mind is a tool; consciousness is what arises from the field of awareness which is my nature, which is void. All form arises from nothing and returns to nothing; awareness is the field in which form has its brief existence.
Awareness is antecedent of form, and awareness remains after form is gone. Memory is a factor of consciousness, which is used to retain form and to bring forth form from nothing. Identity is based in memory, and is a recurring form, created from nothing. Identity need not be re-created; essence of Being is void ("emptiness") and perfectly serves, devoid of identity.
Running on empty,
by Tim Gerchmez
It could be
said that everything perceivable and conceivable is some
sort of projection, very similar to a movie. Everything
is equally valuable or equally value-less, because
everything "exists" within the same unreal
In a movie, a bar of gold and a lump of manure have the same value, because they are just pictures. Likewise in this projection we call "life." There is *nothing*, absolutely *nothing* that exists or takes place outside of the projection. The idea of escaping or transcending the projection takes place within the projection, as do the concepts of realization, enlightenment, awakening, ad infinitum.
Touch, taste, smell, hearing and eyesight are all within the projection. So is every thought, every concept, every emotion, the body, the mind, and everything that takes place in the body and the mind. Anything you can think of is within the projection, including the idea of the projection itself. Lack of thought or "empty mind" is also within the projection.
There is nothing to do but to see the projection as projection. This seeing, of course, also takes place within the projection.
This post is not nihilistic, because the concept of nihilism is also part of the projection. Nor is it a statement of "extreme nondualism," because the concept of extreme nondualism is within the projection. Both dualism and nondualism, all opposites, are merely concepts within this unreal projection. Birth, death, life, all take place within the projection. Past, present and future are all part of the projection. Time, space and causation are within the projection.
These words disappear as they are written, taking with them their author, his "personal history," the world, the universe, and anything that can be conceived of as beyond the universe.
I got up this morning and wanted to sing for you all. Thanks for listening.
Please click on the following link:
(Editor apologizes if this link no longer exists)
by Christiana Duranczyk
sit in reflection of two occurrences of synchronicity. I
feel like sharing these stories. They passed across my
screen as I was standing within the flow of some of Dan's
words about receptivity, emptiness and interference.
Tonight, at the bookstore, four of us played our parts in a "sting" operation. A woman using a stolen credit card number was arrested. It would appear that whatever forces which conspire to produce unusually synchronous events were no longer in her favor. Two days ago a woman called saying that she had a broken leg and would like to buy some books
over the phone and then have a friend come in and pick them up. She gave a credit card number. As *luck?* would have it, a few hours later the *real* owner of the card came into the store and was served by the same employee who had taken the earlier call! Being astute, she noticed the name on the card and asked about the earlier order. The customer was shocked to learn that someone had used her credit card number. We still don't know how the first woman obtained the number. Police and banks were notified and we devised a system to get her signature and stall the transaction until the police came. The minutes waiting until the police arrived felt eternal. Apparently they have been trying to catch her for a while and her purse contained many false I.D.'s and numbers. The police then stayed with her in handcuffs for about an hour. None of us felt particularly good about any of this. But during the long wait, I could not help but wonder about the phenomenal occurrence of the real owner of the card happening to enter the same store and being served by the same employee. What are the odds on that?
This occurrence was juxtaposed by an equally stunning and much more satisfying event in my daughter's life. Having recently graduated (and also recently become engaged!), she has been working on a seismic project for the US Geological Survey. The project will be completed in August and she's been wondering whether to stay there (they'd offered her continued work) or to explore more challenging employment. On a *whim* she began searching the Internet for employment in the field of Geology (seeking work that does not involve the petroleum industry). She discovered not only a site for GeoTech jobs, but a job announcement which perfectly suited her education and experience. She sent off a resume yesterday morning; an interview was set up late yesterday afternoon; we spent the evening doing practice interviews; she interviewed this morning and was offered the job... starting tomorrow! (And they are willing for her to work part time until her other commitment is complete). Within 36 hours
her life course has shifted.
In both cases (for the owner of the card, and for my daughter) little had to be *done* except to follow the arising moment.
While these stories may be of a different order than Dan's below words, they nonetheless, seem to be manifest examples of this fluidity in motion.
Dan: " Experience is clarified similar to a radio receiver that reveals a signal in clarity when receptivity involves no interference.
Interference dissolves when there is no "me" bringing its worries, desires, preferences, and comparisons into the reception.
The interference dies out with no effort as it is seen in clarity as interference." <snip> " Emptiness is the signal, the receiver, and the receptive act, undivided. Emptiness then isn't any emptiness apart from signal, receiver, and receptivity, yet isn't signal, nor receiver, nor receptivity."
Thank you Dan, and thanks all for sustaining empty space. I have witnessed grace in motion.
The Most Powerful Medicine
by Dan Berkow and Miguel-Angel Carrasco
can be no belief that needs to be undone, for believing
that there is a belief that needs to be undone is equally
projection as is the belief that supposedly needs to be
MIGUEL-ANGEL: Hence follows, doesn't it?, that any belief is a projection, included the belief that any belief is a projection, and also the belief in this latter belief. Hence follows that truth is absolutely unspeakable, that no statement can be said to be true, included this one. Therefore, *truth* as commonly understood (correspondence between words and reality) is a misnomer, a chimera. Therefore, the word *truth* can only properly function as the subject of the verb to be, but of no other verb, and never as an object or complement. Therefore, I'd better shut up.
No need to shut up.
Feel free to talk every day
for a thousand years.
Nothing is said.
All is well.
It's powerful medicine to
see that no word has ever
corresponded to any
reality. The same medicine
works for concepts, images,
memories and emotional patterns.
One drop of this medicine is
like the most powerful acid,
burning away all pseudo-truth,
or a shot of electricity that
instantly fries non-entities.
And then it's such marvelous play,
It's unimaginable artistry, profound
stillness that creates/destroys
ever disturbing stillness.
Poof! A world!
Shazzam! Sound and light!
At the threshhold of the Unspeakable,
a tear in my eye becomes a universe.
At the doorway of the Unknown,
this faltering step is a dreamworld.
At the window of Opening,
the mist of doubt is shattered.
The Whole Stack of Cards
by Dan Berkow
stack of cards flew apart.
The structure was a series of
inter-related forms, locked
into each other, but lacking
Did a wind blow through the room, or
did gravity collapse?
Who could ever speak to this?
With no doer, there was no one to
knock down the cards.
Nothing was seen, no action taken.
The cards simply flew apart.
It might have been appropriate to make
a correct statement about the nature
of reality or unreality, at this juncture,
Except that the statement literally
couldn't be formulated.
A sense of humor seemed called for.
Putting one foot in front of the
other allowed walking to occur.
Although the universe died and was reborn,
no one noticed.
The dissolution and reformulation of
reality was undetected.
The most unremarkable thing of all
was the way the grass grew just
the same, the cars went by
on the street like before,
the sun rose in the morning,
and at night the temperature
Indeed, this is a universe of
ineffable, endless, intrinsic wisdom.
by Allison Wonderland
ends with the last breath, the last beat of the heart,
the last sight of the eye, the last... whatever. But it
is the time between the first and the last whatever that
determines one's success in life. I have often said that
the only real success is attaining a quality of life with
which one is comfortable. In the book "Zen and the
Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", the hero of the book
ends up sitting in a room holding between his fingers a
burning cigarette that is smouldering down till it begins
to burn his fingers, shitting and pissing on himself and
not feeling any compunction about anything. This is a bit
extreme but it is obviously an analogy that when one can
finally be comfortable in ANY circumstance, then one is a
success at living. There is an old proverb that says:
"A master can live comfortably in Hell." But
this also implies that a master, while he MAY be able to
live comfortably in Hell, would most certainly not have
to settle for that eventuality.
So in your life, living within the essence of what one is, is wise. Living within one's limitations is wise. Living within the confines of the society, culture, and at a level of quality that is acceptable is wise. To strive to be what one has not a chance of being is the way of a fool. To strive to be what one can never attain is foolish. But to approach with a sense of realism and then to successfully endeavor to do what ever one decides with, if possible, an excess of quality renders one at ease, at leisure, at pleasure, and thus a success in life. Spending one's time the way one wants to spend his time is success.
The one I behold,
The beholding itself
Do not connect with one another-
Just as I who desire,
The one I desire,
The desiring itself,
Do not connect.
We do not connect
Because we are not
Apart from one another;
We would not be together
If we were apart.
I am other than you
In relation to you;
I could not be your other without you.
Were I other than you,
Then even without you
I would be someone else;
I cannot be your other without you.
There is no otherness
In either you or me;
There is no me or you.
I do not connect with me
Nor do I connect with you-
No connecting, no
Connections, no connectors.
The philosophy of the Middle Way, or Madhyamaka philosophy, has sometimes been called the central philosophy of the Mahayana tradition. It has even been called the central philosophy of Buddhism in general. This alone is sufficient to give us some idea of its importance. The Madhyamaka philosophy has also been called the doctrine of emptiness (shunyata) and the doctrine of the non-self-existence, or insubstantiality, of things (nihsvabhavavada). The founder of this philosophy was the great holy man and scholar, Nagarjuna, who lived between the end of the first and the beginning of the second century of the common era. He was born in the south of India, of Brahmin parents. Biographers, however, tell us that he was an early convert to Buddhism. Nagarjuna was an interpreter more than an innovator. He took certain inspirations and insights from the sutras and the Abhidharma, reinterpreting and restating them in a particularly clear and forthright way. He is noted for his substantial literary works, which include not only philosophical works, like the Foundation Stanzas of the Middle Way (Mulamadhyamakakarika) and the Seventy Stanzas on Emptiness (Shunyatasaptati), but also works on logic, the practices of the Bodhisattva, fundamentals of Buddhism, and even works of a devotional character, such as four works extolling the virtues of qualities like the perfection of wisdom. This article continues here.
Remain Undisturbed and Survival Won't Be Required
by Dan Berkow and Christiana Duranczyk
Your dialogues with Tim, Jan and others are striking as many resonant chords as perplexing ones. The discussions on these topics have been so rich, that I hesitate to interject. Yet the taste of this is so close that it's flavor moves me to speak.
These dialogues of projection, memory and the 'gap' seem to be invoking within me a deep turning .. consequent of which appears also to be a deep churning. This sense of the 'gap' which you refer to, appears to hold the multidimentionality you also refer to. I sense that you speak from the spaciousness of the gap which contains, but is certainly not bounded by the apparently multidimensional gap I have heretofore known (projected?).
DAN writes: The projection is multifacetted and multidimensional, with one
level seemingly discrete from, yet ultimately interactive with other levels, such that each event is resonant with events on "all levels" - the "butterfly principle" of the projected reality, perhaps. What we are calling "levels" could also be called "boundaries", "spheres" or "realms".
CHRISTIANA: For many years I have worked with, observed and surrendered to this 'gap'. I have even used this as a benchmark for 'integrity'.. as in.. when all such 'levels' are integrated or aligned (much as the imagery of the hollow flute) then self surrenders itself as chalice... as vehicle Being lived. What arises as interference seems endless, yet years of practice, study, observation, devotion have yielded to an almost kinetic or magnetic sense of "True North".
Yet, I see now that there has always remained some residual memory-identity construct which you identify as... "mediated (divided) perception rather than "reality as such". You write:
DAN: Yes. The challenge is to notice that a collection of interacting projections is masquerading as oneself. The verification of this can't occur via usual knowledge, which is the reverberation of endless projections in a "private mental space" -- itself constructed via projection. So, how does "verification" then occur? A related question is, "how can no-thing possibly be deluded into self-defining as something via projections based no-where?" The answer to the first question, "Reality" is the converse to the answer to the second, "the persuasiveness of Unreality". This leaves a dissatisfying state of affairs in which Reality somehow can be persuaded (presumably by Itself, as it is All) to perceive itself as being less than it is. In Qabala, this is viewed as a contraction of Infinity for the sake of constructing a universe, which might be viewed as self-presentation of That which can't possibly present itself. Such "answers" being constructs themselves (as of course would be answers derived from physics) can only suggest what might be meant by "dissolution" of self-boundaries, when "dissolution" is equivalent to "being with no other" "as is".
DAN: "Intelligence" is evident in the organization of thought, but even moreseo in the ability of Awareness to use thought to transcend the limitations of thought, to dissolve the boundaries "projected" by thought. Once these boundaries are apparent as "unreal" as grounding for truth, Truth as boundless Reality *is*, the "what is" that Krishnamurti referred to when he brilliantly discussed differentiating the operation of memory which separates observer and observed from perception in which perceiver and perceived are not-two."
CHRISTIANA: I've been observing my mind 'contract' around a series of
questions and dissonant noise. . The process I refer to above has been a useful barometer for clearer operation within the mundane world. One by one, however, I seem to be perceiving the limitations of the boundaries you speak of. This appears to be a different aspect of perception for me. Previously, I seemed to need to perceive their levels in order to function with more integrity. They served their purpose. This newer perception seems to allow their dissolution... or perhaps, better stated.. a perception is appearing withinwhich there are no objects. I must admit, it is also accompanied by some echoes of restlessness. That there may be no "True North" is shocking to the core. Somewhere, something knows it is dying. As Jan said... this could be interpreted as 'keep dead'.
DAN: Remain undisturbed and survival won't be required. When there is 'no remaining to begin with', one is 'prior to beginning' with no beginning to remember or possible, and Silence reigns."
CHRISTIANA: From these words tears of recognition arise.
with deep gratitude for All appearing as you,
Cable Repair, Vertigo and Nonduality
by Antoine Carre
Dharma asked Antoine: When you "let go... to face the emptiness of the moment," can you do that at the same time as you are working on a cable repair? (Knowing you, I won't be surprised if you say yes. :))
I don't know Dharma if I can do it at the same time. It changes all the time, each moment is new :)))
But I can take the example of an experience that my work helped and helps me explore, that of vertigo. It is fascinating to observe the body express a pattern of fear when put in some situations of highs. From personal observation, the sensation of vertigo comes when I remain attached to the pattern of my feet touching the ground, when in fact they are not touching the ground, but the last strung of a ladder standing already on the roof of a house standing on an hill, etc...
Looking then at the horizon in front of me, and the small wire holding my latter and the cable wire on which I may work on, I found out with time, that the vertigo sensation would come if in my visual field I would give more signification to the ground, than to the sky, or the latter, or someone little moving down there, etc.. At one point all objet in the visual field, all do become equal, and the vertigo goes away.
But the Vertigo away, it becomes even more scarier, nothing is holding you to life. There is no more fear of putting your foot on the next rung on the ladder or directly on the ground 40', 50', 60' or 200' just next to it in the visual field.
I guess Vertigo comes when one comes to realize that each little action or movement carries all of life with it... And Vertigo comes to vanish when there is no one left to realize that each little action or movement carries all of life with it...
Antoine is a 'cable guy' and long time contributor to HarshaSatsangh, where this letter originally appeared. Also see Cable Guy to the Stars.
A Few Simple Tricks
by Leon and the NDS Gang
Leon: New to this list, I would like to ask for some help. Nisargadatta, Jean Klein, Krishna Menon and other (in my view) bona-fide Vedantins advise to hold on to the Witness, the Awareness, the Background etc. Watch the mind, register, don't judge. Watch the mind as if watching traffic in the street. Works quite well in "lab-conditions"for me, but the cool awareness gives way to "the committee in the head" in no time flat when I enter an argument, feel insulted, etc. No witnessing awareness there, just "I think....", "I'm hurt deeply by....", etc. When I want to wake up from sleep to catch a train, I use my alarm-clock. Anyone found the perfect "alarm-clock" to buzz when calm Awareness seems forgotten? Tricks to feed "the persistence to return to myself?". And please, keep it down to earth. I know Awareness is constant all the time, and through an ilusion seems "dimmed" by the "thinker and doer". But stil... Just need a few simple tricks...... Advise, anyone?
Try changing small habits to remind you: eg wear a watch
jewellery on the other hand. There are a hundred small habits like this you can change to remind yourself - be creative.
Focusing on the perceiving center, to me sounds like an
exersize for someone who has not yet arrived at your
level. It's an exersize to draw attention to the fact
that there is more to all this than meets the eye. You
know that already.
If this exersize is continued, it will amplify the attention to your ego, which is the source of the problem. What is needed now is to turn the focus to the source of the illusion.
2) Maintaining awareness is complicated for "everybody", but it seems like the strongest tool for maintaining it in "non-lab conditions" is something nobody can tell you. It's something that grace gives you. The focus in "you" as a perceiving center doesn't help now, that gets forgotten, when a stronger focus distracts you.
What's stronger than the distracting focus? The knowledge that what is happening is nothing, against the marvel of the fact that anything IS at all.
Anything in this picture, this existence, is a piece of the marvel. I can tell you that pain, embarrasement, disgrace are all pieces of this marvel that pale against IT's existence, but until you really see that, you won't remember it when you are challenged.
trick is to not judge the mind judging. The mind is going
to judge. It is possible to witness the mind judging
without judging it judging. Impartiality. Inherent in
your question is a hidden belief that feeling insulted,
argumentative, and so forth is who you really are. All
that is is believing what the mind is telling you. You
will feel insulted and argumentative. That is how your
machine is programed to feel itself. Pure awareness feels
like nothing. It feels empty. As long as you are feeling
a strong personal emotion, no matter what it is, you have
to just trust that you are asleep and act on it. Allow
yourself to feel it to the max but don't display it
outwardly. The tension between the yes of feeling it and
the no of displaying it will begin to really wake you up.
My father just died. I was beating myself up about how I didn't do this and I did that until I realized that I was still making it all about "me." Before he died it was all about "me" and how much I had to do and after he died it was all about "me" and what I didn't do.
What a racket. :-)
HARSHA: First of all, we need to be aware of what the problem is. Is it that emotions seem to cloud awareness and this is considered undesirable? Or is the problem that at times we feel anger, hurt, pain, and even hatred, and that we are not comfortable with those emotions being part of our persona, our projected image of a spiritually aware person or a person practicing awareness, witnessing and so forth? Perhaps the level of our discomfort with negative emotions indicates our spiritual growth in some way; or perhaps it just shows the nature and level of conflicting tendencies and thought processes going on in the mind. We want techniques, methods, tricks to help us gain calm awareness. And there are many techniques available in this free market. And yet what is the nature of any technique? In a gross or subtle form, every technique of meditation, every spiritual method, every mental trick to "gain something" is an avoidance of what we have and where we are. This avoidance reveals the nature of our pain and struggle. And that is OK. It is part of nature. Is where we are OK? Perhaps we can peace with our suffering. That is the window of opportunity always.
Welcome to the list, Leon,
I appreciated very much the heart from which you introduced yourself.
I not so long ago asked a similar question, and this is the essence of what I was shown,
1) Practice, practice, practice.
I am still unconscious (meaning 'habitual' )more hours a day than I am conscious, and yet those conscious hours are increasing more and more day by day.
The 'practice' itself is highly individual I suspect.... whatever facilitates the dropping away of past/future/I thoughts. (I'll repost for you something I shared a couple of months ago about a practice which can be really quite effective.)
The key for me is: once I realize I was sleeping, I don't spend time in guilt or admonishing myself or wishing I hadn't fallen back asleep.
Which is essentially my #2) - already stated beautifully by Marcia below:
The trick is to not judge the mind judging.
That really does seem to say it all.
Because the moment I begin judging the mind judging, I instantly fall back asleep.
KOEHOORN: practice thinking in the third person.
So: I am mad <--> there is madness; I am thinking <--> there are
GERCHMEZ: Here's a suggestion from Jean Klein (not his
"View your body as if it belonged to another, as if it were just another object in the environment. This will give you a degree of psychological freedom."
I would assume this could also apply to "view thoughts and emotions as if they belonged to someone else."
Dispassion is not a difficult thing to 'achieve,' but if not combined with clear seeing, it can result simply in a bored, dry and disinterested outlook, or even a "rebound effect," where dispassion gives way to a psychological rebellion.
MATTHEW FILES: there are no tricks, no short cuts, but there is sadhana. Awareness seems forgotten? Watch the mind, register, don't judge. You forget less and less as time goes on, that's all. A consitent meditation practice never hurt anything either.
Someone once suggested standing back when 'calm
awareness' is lost, and commenting inwardly, 'Hmmm, isn't
this interesting?' without trying to return to that calm
Something I've done is to inquire, at random times during the day, "Is this I Am?" It may serve to put you more permananently where you want to be.
We were speaking earlier of Osho's meditation techniques. They can help you get through blocks.
There are all kinds of things to do. How do you feel about Grace of
You might also be interested in Practical Hints for Self-Inquiry; it is freshly translated material, i.e., in the English language for the first time.
They'll try every trick in the book looking for the ever
elusive happiness. What can we say? Rotsa ruck! :-)
In fact when they run out of tricks in all the books, they make some up. :-) That gets really interesting of course. :-) And that's the way people spend their lives. Oh joy! It's the American way!! :-) And it says right there in the rule book, 'the pursuit of happiness'. Sheesh. Well, no wonder!!! :-) Excuse me while I laugh!
Oh my goodness.... goodnight everybody... sweet dreams, don't let the
bed bug ya. :-)
Personality and the Self
by Jody Radzik
What is the relationship between personality and the Self?
It cannot be denied that we are both, before *and* after realization. Even while one knows themselves as the Self, one must employ the conventions of culture in order to survive. Personality is the tool that gets the job done.
Personality is the limit of self before realization. That is, the individual jiva only knows that dimension of being. After realization, one knows that they are limitless Being. However, the personality remains.
It makes sense to associate personality with the mind, which also remains after realization. But personality is more than mind. There is something "personal" about it. Even after realization, it remains "us" too, especially to others.
Somehow, there must be a direct relationship between one's sense of themselves as an individual and one's knowledge of themselves as Pure Being.
After all, before realization, we are quite convinced on an almost visceral level that we are the personality. No matter how much mental wrangling we subject the concept of nonduality to, we are keenly aware of whether or not we know ourselves as Sat Chit Ananda.
It has been
said that personality somehow borrows its sense of self
*from* the Self, so it would appear that it is the
reflected light of the Self that makes the personality
"personal." Before realization, we are somehow
prevented from seeing the source of the
"light", from *being* It (in an experiential
way) even while we *are* It *always*. To be something but
to not know it because we think we are something else is
Maya's nasty little
trick, like Lucy pulling the football from Charly Brown.
The fact that we *are* the Self, realized or not, demonstrates just how close our sense of self *is* to the Self. That is, when we think to ourselves, "Who are we really", we can be assured that something in the response--something that we perceive in that moment--*is* who we really are. Maybe some folk have yet to discern it, but it certainly is there, in everyone, no matter how much "ego" they have.
So, we either have awareness of Self, or we are a hairsbreadth away from it. Some trick of the light has us seeing ourselves as something that isn't really there, even while without that something (our personality) we'd be doomed as organisms on this planet.
I just wish mine wasn't such a damn pain in the ass most of the time. ;)
The Flow of Life
by Melody Anderson
What if Life is served by my unconsciousness in ways we cannot begin to imagine or understand?
Is this not the question that underlies faith? Faith that, in our unconsciousness (or 'not knowing') that there is a greater Unfolding at play....that there is a Movement in Life which ...when surrendered to.....when enfolded into.....ends both suffering and doubt.
Yet faith can be replaced with knowing ..... in retrospect - in looking back
over the events of a day, or a month, or a lifetime....
looking with a wide enough lens.....one can see that one has always been
carried by the Flow of Life.
We just may not have recognized it at the time.
The question is, for me, what is it that inspires us to awaken to this Flow....to be conscious of it *this* moment....right here, right now, rather than waiting for that acceptance...and melting ... in 'retrospect'?
The first answer that comes to mind is that suffering ends. Yes. I have found this to be so. But surprisingly this is not my motivation.
Some mention service, and though that may be true as well, it doesn't strike a bell with me either.
Looking closely I see that this draw to be Conscious, for me, is more about Breath. It's about Living fully.
When I am Conscious, all the smells and colors and sounds and touches are so much keener.
When I am Conscious, there are no restrictions, no inhibitions, no fears or
When I am Conscious, my body moves delightfully, insightfully, even
When I am Conscious, there is no 'me', no 'you', no resistance... no 'work' to do!
This desire to be Conscious, when I get deep down honest....
is my most self-ish desire of all.
Funny, isn't it..... that such a selfish desire could lead to
it's own demise?
The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of the Buddha and the Goddess
by Rick Fields
(contributed by Andrew Macnab, originally published on WEEKLY WORDS OF WISDOM on the World Wide Web from Lama Surya Das)
Thus have I
Once the Buddha was walking
along the forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai,
walking without arriving anywhere or having any
thought of arriving or not arriving.
And lotuses, shining with the morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
Soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha.
When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking
eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider's web
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower
-- the Goddess appeared quivering
like a hummingbird in the air before him.
She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,
was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.
She was naked except
for the usual flower ornaments
Her long hair
was deep blue, her eyes fathomless pits
of space, and her third eye a bloodshot
song of fire.
The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:
"O goddess, why are you blocking my path?
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I'm not so sure where I go."
"You can go around me,"
said the Goddess, twirling on her heel like a bird
but just a little way away,
"or you can come after me
but you can't pretend I'm not here,
This is my forest, too."
With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.
"Perhaps we should have a chat,"
"After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality and "
"Not so fast, Buddha," the Goddess said,
"I am reality."
The earth stood still,
the oceans paused,
the wind itself listened
-- a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.
"I know I take my life in my hands,"
said the Buddha,
"But I am known as the Fearless One
-- so here goes."
And he and the Goddess
without further words
Light rays like sun beams
so brightly that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.
And then they exchanged thoughts
And the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle
And then they exchanged minds
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe that
And then they exchanged bodies
And then clothes
And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess arose as the Buddha.
And so on back and forth
for a hundred thousand hundred thousand kalpas.
If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess,
you meet the Buddha.
Not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness,
The Goddess is bliss.
The Goddess is emptiness,
The Buddha is bliss.
And that is what
And what-not you are
So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha,
the unsurpassed non-dual mantra. Just to say this mantra,
just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word of this
mantra once makes everything the way it truly is: OK.
So here it is:
Hey silent one, Hey great talker
Not two/ not one
Not separate/ not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey, And relax, Ho
Remember: You can't miss.
Everything is Very Real
by Marcia Paul and Matthew Files
The difficulty with rational, logical discourses is that they are all in the head. Round, and round, and round and......... one dimensional.
Where is the heart? And the life situations? We all eat, we brush our teeth, we feel lonely sometimes, and joyful at others. We get scared at funny noises. We have questions about what is right and how to do something.
MATTHEW FILES :
In other words we are human. Non-duality is true of all existence, of all manifest and unmanifest worlds. And then here we are, flesh and blood. Feeling, emoting, thinking, moving, sensing. All this talk of illusion, and impersonal reality is a mystery to me.(the way it is talked about, not the reality itself). Everything is very real, very tangible to me. I would never for an instant think that all the misery and suffering that i see just walking down the street is an illusion. Or that the beauty of nature is just a projection of mind. Ego is a very tangible "force" that needs to be worked with.Physical pain is quite real to me, as is eating, taking a crap, waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. Non-dual reality / enlightenment, is all there is, that is undeniable. Yet here we are, incarnated as human beings having to make peace with the also undeniable fact of duality. We all have "life situations" and need to deal with them and the dealing with them just so happens to be in the realm of duality. A life of suffering and ignorance is rooted in the assumption of separation. Piercing this assumption could be called awakening to already present enlightenment. However this awakening does not change, one iota, the fact that we exist in a dualistic world and must attend to it. What it does change is the way in which we relate, on all levels, to this world. Whether we have awakened to already present enlightenment or not, what we do does matter.
The Boy and the Sage
by Sri C. R. Rajamani
(contributed by Harsha)
author of this article, Sri C. R. Rajamani, presented the
following talk at the April 25th Aradhana program at
Arunachla Ashrama in New York City. He and his wife are
visiting their son, Dr. C. R. Ramakrishna, of Stony
I HAVE been a devotee of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi for over 55 years. I was in my early twenties when I first had His darshan. The event is still fresh in my memory not because I was at that age so mature, which I was not, but because of a very remarkable incident I saw on that occasion.
I went to the Ashrama in the early forties when the Second World War was at its peak and our own independence movement was also at its maximum intensity. I am not certain about the date or the month of my visit; it may have been December or January. I remember the season was quite cool. The summit of the Holy Arunachala was shrouded in dense mist and clouds. The morning air was crisp and pleasant.
It was in the original small hall, that is remembered by the early devotees with justifiable fondness, that I first saw Sri Bhagavan seated on a raised platform. A cast-iron charcoal brazier was radiating a comfortable warmth, and a pleasing aroma of the incense thrown into it at regular intervals was pervading the entire hall. About thirty people, comprised of men, women and a few young boys were seated on the floor facing Sri Bhagavan. None spoke or even whispered between themselves. What struck me was, no one showed even an inclination to talk. Some were meditating with closed eyes. The silence was
definitely not an imposed one.
Sri Bhagavan, his body luminous like burnished gold, was sparsely clad in his usual kaupinam and a small towel across his chest. He appeared to be occasionally dozing off and had to steady his head often. He frequently stretched his palms over the fire and massaged his long fingers. In spite of his apparent dozing, his eyes did not look drowsy. On the contrary, they were extraordinarily bright and alert. He was not looking at anybody in
particular, nor were his eyes roaming about the hall in idle curiosity. Although my first impression was not a very uplifting one, I felt I was in the presence of an extremely affable person with a lot of natural grace, at perfect ease and without any pretension whatsoever. I was, however, aware of an effortless peace in the hall.
I saw a white-skinned boy, a foreigner, of about ten years sitting a couple of feet to my left. Next to him was a white man, presumably his father. Further to my left, beyond the central aisle, was a white woman, whom I thought was the boy's mother. I then saw Sri Bhagavan's eyes alight on the boy for a brief minute. I thought it was just a casual look. The boy was all the time looking at Sri Bhagavan with a sort of fixation, as if on the verge of asking a question. But, no! He broke into tears. A cascade of tears came gushing out of his eyes. They were not tears of pain, for his face was radiant with joy. In temples, I have seen adults shedding tears in ecstasy, and had myself experienced that type of joyous outpouring on hearing a beautiful hymn or a moving melody, but I had never seen a ten-year-old boy from a far-off land exhibiting this type of beautiful expression in an extremely quiet and serene atmosphere. I could see that Sri Bhagavan's glance, though only resting on him for a brief moment, had opened in the boy's heart a veritable reservoir of pure joy.
I did not feel a remorse for my lack of receptivity that I ought to have felt. But I felt most fortunate to see a boy not even half my age showing such an alert sensitivity. The flat feeling I had experienced earlier was washed away by the joyous tears of another; I really felt blessed in an indirect way. Direct or indirect, blessing is blessing. Whenever I recall this incident, it creates a feeling of being very near to something truly Divine. Of course, I have had my own share of Sri Bhagavan's grace in my later years. I have also had some ever-fresh visions which I dare not devalue as creations of a fevered imagination for they have strengthened my faith in Sri Bhagavan. Some of them occurred decades after Sri Bhagavan's Mahanirvana. They have been firm confirmations of his continued Presence and
reassurances of his immortal words, "They say I am going! Where can I go? I am always here!"
Now, returning to that first day at the Ashrama, I learned that the boy had come along with his parents, both of them Theosophists. The Theosophical Society's world convention is usually held at their international headquarters at Adyar, Madras in December-January. Some of the people from foreign countries choose to visit Sri Ramanasramam at that time. The boy's parents arranged a trip to Tiruvannamalai, but he stoutly refused to go with them, as he was not in tune with conditions in India which can never be adequate when compared with the posh amenities of his native Australia. However, he changed his mind at the last moment and did make the trip. Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness. He shed tears for quite some time and later said to his mother, "I am so happy. I don't want to leave his presence. I want to be always with him!" His mother was most upset. She pleaded with Sri Bhagavan, "Swami, please release my son! He is our only child. We will be miserable without him." Sri Bhagavan smiled at her and said, "Release him? I am not keeping him tied up. He is a mature soul. A mere spark has ignited his spiritual fire." So, that casual look was a spark of tremendous power. Turning to the boy, He said, "Go with your parents. I will always be with you." He spoke in Tamil throughout, but the boy understood him fully. He bowed to Sri Bhagavan and reluctantly left with his parents, immensely rich with the newly-found spiritual treasure.
Cable Guy to the Stars
by Antoine Carré
I do prefer
installing cable modems than TV's, I do not have that
opportunity as much as before being called to work more
and more on the wider network. But I do enjoy them when
they come. People waiting for they modem to be install or
repaired are always there, compared to 20% absence for TV
installation or repair. And I did come to meet the most
fascinating people, doing the most fascinating things
with this equipment. Like this astrophysicist, living on
the top floor of the highest building in Montreal. His
central room was about 50 feet long by 15 feet. At one
end there was a huge sofa facing 50 feet away. The wall
turned into a giant screen. In the middle of the room on
the side 3 computers running full time, connected to the
screen also. He was calling about a problem with his
cable modem. After it got fixed he showed me his stuff.
He closed the lights, the room was dark as night, and logged onto the Hubbell telescope. Wow... simply wow...
He told me "since internet I do not need to go live near a telescope. I have the stars in my home, even better than I could see them with a telescope on this planet."
Having a screen like that and seeing the universe thru Hubble must be a fantastic experience, one of the best life in this universe can offer. :)
I have always thought looking into space at night when you can see the light of stars filtered through immense time and space is one of the most direct experiences of mysticism and non duality that everyone can have.
To me, the concepts of natural science such as astrophysics, nuclear physics and evolution have always been direct pointers to what the old traditions speak of, much more so than the standard type of Christianity here have ever managed to present.
What is Nonduality?
These are some of the most recent additions to the What is Nonduality web page, offered in no particular order, other than the one is which they were received.
Jan Barendrecht: Nonduality is easy - understanding that there is no separation. The joke is that unconditional happiness cannot be understood - not even experienced.
Shearman: "Non-duality isn't experienced.
All experience has a beginning and an end; one's real
nature hasn't. " This is from one of the definitions
on (the What is Nonduality) page and it's very close to
Hence the 'nothing special' teaching of Shunryu Suzuki. If one is hanging out for an experience, one is looking in the wrong place!
If you're committed to a life of meditation, you are constantly called to pay attention to what is here and now - the actual, not it's imaginary ramifications.
The human condition being what it is, this is very difficult for us. So we have to learn to give our undivided attention. There's your 'non-dual'!
'Non-dual' is from 'a' - 'not' and 'dvai' - dual or divided. Not-divided. Undivided. Hence when there is thought about 'me' and 'mine' , then naturally your attention is divided - between what 'I' want, and 'the rest'.
Very simple. But it takes a life of utmost commitment and dedication to realise it, to live from that simplicity. It takes a religious dedication, even if one foregoes the trappings. There is no pay-off for this. It doesn't, Anthony Robbins nothwithstanding, make sure all your bills get paid.
Tim Gerchmez: For
those who may have read my other definitions, it's
amazing how wordy they are, how full of concepts gleaned
from other sources like books, list members, gurus,
upanishads, scriptures, web sites, etc., ad nauseum. I
look at these earlier definitions and think "Who the
hell was that masked man?!?" :-)
Amazing how words become ancient museum pieces, moments after they are written. Really, they are old even as they are spoken or written. A week later they're like looking at dried mummies in a museum.
Nonduality is a "state" in which neither duality nor nonduality is perceived!
Nonduality is just This, Here and Now.
There is no such thing as duality or nonduality. That is nonduality.
Ed Arrons: Nonduality: Much ado about nothing.
Zenbob: Nonduality is about the evolvement of thinking without boundaries...seeing the universe in all things, coming to understand the totality of all things and the deep interrelatedness of it all.
Imagine that you are surrounded by all the
images of good and bad in you and your life. People,
places, things, beliefs, emotions, experiences, memories,
etc. Now imagine that you are not affected by any of this
and that none of this has anything to do with who you
This is a non-dualistic view of life.
This is also Enlightenment.
This is how ultimate Peace and Serenity is discovered. How you can live in the Flow all the time. This is
the True nature of the Universe, the Unified Field, God.
Al-Maqtul Bey: Just to get it out of the way, I'll start us off with the most elementary and generally agreed-upon definition of non-dualism. Also called monism, the non-dualistic perspective (I won't call it a belief or a religion, since it is principally a way that reality reveals itself to a perceiver) is the understanding that ultimate reality is continuous and singular, "all-one", and that we humans, as well as all of nature and the material world are continuous with each other as well as all things unseen. On that premise, it is felt that consciousness is continuous as well, and that the personal consciousness can be expanded into a complete identification with the ONE. From this point on is where we see the many divergent interpretations of non-dualism. Some people think that therefore one should make pooja here, take refuge there, dress in robes, burn incense and chant things. Non-dualism devolves into conceptual word games. Bound to language as we are, it is difficult to avoid these word games. When one goes to teachers, zendos, ashrams, retreats, etcetera, the game-playing is taken to greater heights. People judge the awakened-ness of each other by how well they are costumed, how well they've mastered the walk, talk, and poses of their particular game. I'm sure it's very distracting to constantly keep track of who's getting more favor from the teachers, who's ahead in the race for enlightenment, and who's not playing by the rules. I hope you recognize that these religion games will not quench your thirst for enlightened consciousness. It seems that those things ration out light in very small quantities, just sufficient to keep you wanting more. Why do people do it? Some teachers attained to some profound height or other, and decided to capitalize on it. So many eager people are looking for the express bus to attainment that these teachers can hang out a shingle, turn on the charm, and they will come.*****************This is not the path to non-dualism. Where's the path then? There is no path. It is "pathless" as J. Krishnamurti said. No teachers are needed, for it is already there. How many seekers expressed regret for the time spent chasing gurus when they realized that what they sought had always been right in front of them. Not even hidden. Well, maybe hidden by those over-wrought flights of fancy that one projects onto the world. It is when you give up the search that all the words and fantasies fall away, and the truth can finally wash the senses clear.
Ken Wilber: "Nonduality" means, as the Upanishads put it, "to be freed of the pairs." That is, the great liberation consists in being freed of the pairs of opposites, freed of duality-and finding instead the nondual One Taste that gives rise to both. This is liberation because we cease the impossible, painful dream of spending our entire lives trying to find an up without a down, an inside without an outside, a good without an evil, a pleasure without its inevitable pain.
Gene Poole: In my view (which I admit is radical), denial is violence committed against oneself. The automatic use of force against oneself brews an inner hurricane of contrary reactions; "A house divided against itself cannot stand". Nonduality is, in my view, the logical point of arrival, after all such aggressions against oneself have been halted.
Melody Anderson: Nonduality is the clear pool of awareness that remains once the 'white-water' of emotion (and emotional conflict) has ended.
by Gene Poole
A signal of 'go' or 'stop' occurs; if 'go' gates to destruction, those genes terminate.
If 'go' gates to success, those genes continue.
This learning is our method. We are the genes of success. We 'know' when to go or stop. For this great talent, we can thank not only the survivors who are our progenitors, but also, those who died in order to save us from their regressive tendencies.
This learning is our method; freedom is the 'ultimate go', with the proviso of wise stopping thrown in. Autonomy is thus built upon billions of bones of both survivors and failures; our independence is dependent upon this method.
Power is the reward for success; getting into the clear is the result of going and stopping intelligently. The flavor of power, and the result of increased power, stimulate more precise conformance with the learning of stopping and going. Incrementally graduated rewards of potency, condition towards more power; power enables more effective learning.
Power is for those who have learned our commonality; that is why 'compassion is the highest power'. Finding oneself on the plateau of power, defense is dropped, also leaving behind aggression. This is the favored position for those who 'learn as the way of Being'.
Superior operators cooperate with the desire of our genes; power is the floodlight which illuminates what is always here. Optimal functionality configures to invisible overparent role; gifting becomes possible, when wealth is unlimited. Still, as obedient to genes, gifts go to those whose learning trends towards this same plateau. This diverging bifurcation, biased as it is toward rewarding intelligence, speaks not to aggression. We see in this, the compassionate allowance of death for what is against life.
How does power behave? Higher sees lower, but lower does not see higher. Having seen anew, the graduate sees that there is more to see, and sees that seeing is dependent on conservation and garnering of power. Understanding that force is expenditure of power, force is conserved, and thus power grows. Growing power shows more to the seer; this strategy is for the growth of power, and for seeing ever more.
Expedient here-and-now conservation of force is called 'abiding'. Abiding, conserving power, allows seeing of abiding; this seeing leads to a geometric increase in power and thus seeing. At a certain point in this progression of abiding and seeing more, 'state of unity' is attained; this state is related more to physics than spirituality. State of unity allows simultaneous interoperability of source and product. Another way of saying the same thing, is to state that unity is the becoming one of the former (assumed) two. The power of the source is thus manifested through, and as, the product. Created becomes the vehicle of the creator!
Unity is the wedding of the physical world with the (assumed) spiritual; what was assumed to be asunder, is shown to have been non-separate all along. In this experience, substance (form) is shown to be insubstantial (empty), and emptiness (ignorance) is shown to be fullness.
"Form is emptiness, emptiness is form".
Unity shows a graduated non-progression; this graduation is time itself. Time separates spaces of knowing; personal history, assumed to be linear, telescopes to a flat plane of space, which is the simultaneous realization of all of my ancestors. I am the living experience of all genes; through my eyes they see the universe which they love, and through my communications, they alert those who still sleep, of the delights of waking awareness.
This goad, lovingly applied, is the subliminal trumpet of dawning. It reverberates against the walls of diversion, eventually cracking and rending them into the particles from which they were formed. Breath effortlessly subsumes nourishment.
Stretching up from our roots, we naturally reach toward 'heaven'. Embracing the emptiness of space, we know it as our fullness. We may exploit it in any manner we choose. But our choosing is calibrated by evolution into unity; lessons learned are never forgotten. That is why the freedom of space is reserved for those who have accepted the highest power, which is compassion.
The Path (Way) of non-duality is easy and the burden is light
by Pieter Schoonheim Samara
identity of the "I" sense with the impressions
of the mind is the result of takes and images and
impressions made by the mind in relation to the sense of
realness that permeates the "I" consciousness.
We are told that we are separate and that God is separate, and lacking any other idea, we cling to and identify with the ideas presented to the mind as "I" and build an identity with them accordingly.
But, as these ideas are inherently false and illusory like a mirage, and as the "I" is always without images and impressions, when the Truth is revealed, That which is True recognizes Itself and comes quickly to overcome the world of senses and ideas, images and impressions, as the sense of "I" is realized to be always abiding singly in Itself without any association to the mind.
With the realization of the Truth, the sense of doer and doing, of being an actor, thinker and so on fade and vanish.
The moon of the mind is no longer necessary to see even though seen in the clear blue sky of day, as the Sun of the Self has risen.
This truth is so completely apparent and transparent that, once "heard," ideas of duality fade quickly as being meaningless.Then, even non-duality becomes meaningless, as all concepts vanish entirely. One abides singly as all pervasive Self. (Lk 11:34)
Thus, it is not true that duality is easier for man to grasp or that non-duality is a higher truth that man has to be lead to. When That which is True "hears" Its Name ("I AM") described, It shines forth and that which is false (the identity and focus of attention the "I" sense to images) vanishes.
The Path of duality is extremely difficult, as the mind builds up an enormous internal conflict, where we are told there is a Supreme Being ("I AM"), Who is separate, and yet we, also grounded in the sense of "I am", with identities to "this and that", are trying to become closer (to this separate Being). We are taught that we are like 2 magnets of opposite polarity trying to become closer, and the effort to do so becomes greater and greater, until for some of us there is a "Satori" - a reversal of polarity where the Truth flashes forth for a moment, and the false teaching is for a moment exposed.
The Path (Way) of non-duality is easy and the burden is light, as the Truth is revealed from the onset, and that which is true outshines and quickly overcomes the false images before It, and we abide as the Singularity of the Self.
On The Road: A Selection
by Jack Kerouac
One night we talked on the corner of 47th Street and Madison at three in the morning. "Well, Sal, damn, I wish you weren't going, I really do, it'll be my first time in New York without my old buddy." And he said, "New York, I stop over in it, Frisco's my hometown. All the time I've been here I haven't had any girl but Inez -- this only happens to me in New York! Damn! But the mere thought of crossing that awful continent again-- Sal, we haven't talked straight in a long time." In New York we were always jumping around frantically with crowds of friends at drunken parties. It somehow didn't seem to fit Dean. He looked more like himself huddling in the cold, misty spray of the rain on empty Madison Avenue at night. "Inez loves me; she's told me and promised me I can do anything I want and there'll be a minimum of trouble. You see, man, you get older and troubles pile up. Someday you and me'll be coming down an alley together at sundown and looking in the cans to see."
"You mean we'll end up old bums?"
"Why not, man? Of course we will if we want to, and all that. There's no harm ending that way. You spend a whole life of non-interference with the wishes of others, including politicians and the rich, and nobody bothers you and you cut along and make it your own way." I agreed with him. He was reaching his Tao decisions in the simplest direct way. "What's your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It's an anywhere road for anybody anyhow. Where body how?" We nodded in the rain. "Sheeit, and you've go to look out for your boy. He ain't a man 'less he's a jumpin man -- do what the doctor say. I'll tell you, Sal, straight, no matter where I live, my trunk's always sticking out from under the bed, I'm ready to leave or get thrown out. I've decided to leave everthing out of my hands. You've seen me try and break my ass to make it and you know that it doesn't matter and we know time--how to slow it up and walk and dig and just old-fashioned spade kicks, what other kicks are there? We know." We sighed in the rain. It was falling all up and down the Hudson Valley that night. The great world piers of the sea-wide river were drenched in it, old steamboat landings at Poughkeepsie were drenched in it, old Split Rock Pond of sources was drenched in it, Vanderwhacker Mount was drenched in it.
"So," said Dean, "I'm cutting along in my life as it leads me..."
Nondualism, Yogas and Personality Characteristics
by Greg Goode, Ph.D.
Greg is editor of the Nondualism and Western Philosophers page and author of No Presence, No Absence.
Karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, jnana yoga, mantra yoga, kundalini yoga -- what do the various yogas have to do with inquiry into nondualism? If there's nothing to do, then why are there yogas? Because not everyone follows a nondual course of inquiry. Nondualism is descriptive, not prescriptive. By itself, it never prescribes any course of action. But if one is already on a spiritual path or desires to begin one, the yogas are there. The various yogas all have their own story to tell about liberation, and can be pursued on their own. But as nondualism sees it, the yogas tend to serve as ramp-ups to non-dual inquiry itself. Whether practiced in a phase of life before, during or after one begins nondual inquiry, the yogas assist by developing the character and making the person well-balanced. This in turn decreases the chance that attachments and personality issues will arise that sidetrack one's nondual inquiry. For example, there is often thought to be a tension between the approach of the head and the approach of the heart. An overly intellectual approach can err on the side of dry arrogance and can lack love. An overly emotional approach can err on the side of sentimentality and a proprietary attachment to the deity or guru. Ideally, a balanced approach avoids these extremes.
There are many kinds of yoga. A yoga is basically one's spiritual or developmental path. More formally, yoga is usually interpreted as union, whether union with God or a deity figure, or one's true nature, one's guru, one's higher self, or the Self that is the Self of all. Various yogic paths are discussed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Spiritual teachers around the world instruct students in what can be called various forms of yoga. Indeed, in the Hindu tradition, all religions and spiritual paths can be classified as one kind of yoga or another. Four of the most common yogas are karma yoga, bhakti yoga, raja yoga, and jnana yoga. The nondual inquiry is often associated with jnana yoga, and it tends to view the other yogas as preparatory practices for its own inquiry (actually many paths make similar claims about themselves!). Here are capsule descriptions of the four common yogas:
While most major spiritual traditions happen to offer a mixture of these yogas, it is often said that active people are drawn to karma yoga, emotional people are drawn to bhakti yoga, those interested in mystical experiences are drawn to raja yoga, and intellectual people are drawn to jnana yoga. That is, a person is often drawn to a path because her particular strengths are emphasized by that path.
But on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, none of the yogas is practiced in isolation. The actual path pursued by most people is usually a combination of activities, a mixture of these yogas, with perhaps one yoga predominating at a time. Even within a two-hour period, a person can sweep the floor in the meditation hall (karma yoga), sit down to meditate chanting the guru's name with love (bhakti yoga), fall into an objectless samadhi transcending body and mind (raja yoga), and then arise with a transformed experience of the eternal and the transitory (jnana yoga).
Advaita vedanta recommends the practice of karma, bhakti and raja yoga before one undertakes jnana yoga. In formal advaita vedanta, it is said that the karma-kanda (ritualistic form of Hinduism) precedes the jnana-kanda (non-dual inquiry). Advaita even outlines certain qualifications for the effective study of Truth. And advaita is not alone in this kind of recommendation. In Kabbala (Judaism's non-dual path) it is often said that the incoming student must be 40 years old, married, and have a bellyful of Torah. In Madhyamika, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, it is said that the student must never be exposed to the sublime teachings on emptiness without already practicing compassion. Not only that, but it should be that tears come to their eyes at the very mention of the word 'emptiness'. Age-old wisdom and experience has shown that the personality characteristics one gains in other yogic pursuits greatly facilitate the quiet mind and equipoise that allow the deep experience of one's self as Self.
The idea behind qualifications is not to bar or reject anyone from the pursuit of a nondual path. Anyone may enter at any time. But the qualifications are to encourage a quiet mind and balanced emotional outlook so that one can focus more effectively on the inquiry into one's nature. The happiness and liberation indicated by the great nondual world teachings are best realized when the only outstanding personal issue is liberation itself. If the mind is busy with other things such as the satisfaction of worldly desires or the attainment of emotional bliss states, then advaita will be derailed and co-opted to serve these other purposes. Liberation must be sought for its own sake (or for the sake of all beings), not as a means to another personal end.
Adi Shankara, in his introductory advaita text TATTVA BODHA (Knowledge of Reality/Truth) actually lists four qualifications for the study into the truth of one's nature. Basically, Shankara is recommending a well-balanced approach to inquiring into Truth.
Perhaps not. But quite often the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If the yogas are practiced in an unbalanced manner, the aspirant will tend to cultivate impressive strengths in some areas while developing weaknesses in other areas. The weaknesses can later arise as the squeaky wheel that turns, calling for attention just when the nondual inquiry is being attempted.
Each of the yogas emphasizes different aspects of the person with all its various strengths, weaknesses, and imperfections. Each yoga cultivates different personality qualities. By the time one has cultivated karma, bhakti and raja yoga, one has developed the equivalents of Shankara's four qualifications. For example, karma yoga cultivates a sense of selflessness, generosity, a moral approach in dealing with others, energy and a motivation to do one's duty. Bhakti yoga cultivates a sense of love, devotion, morality, generosity, gratitude, serenity and joy. Raja yoga cultivates moderation, constraint, morality, discipline, fortitude, meditation, concentration and confidence. Jnana yoga cultivates peace, sharpness of intellect, contemplation, joy, and the ability to see all as the Self.
The four yogas and their personality traits work in a sort of progressive and cumulative way, like Maslow's Hierarchy. Jnana yoga is easier if one has the personality traits from raja, bhakti and karma yoga. Raja yoga is easier if one has the traits from bhakti and karma yoga. Bhakti yoga is easier if one has the traits from karma yoga. All of the yogas interact with all the others, but the main cumulations are in the direction indicated.
How are these qualifications attained? According to advaita vedanta, it is by practicing the other yogas -- karma, bhakti and raja yoga. These paths cultivate the qualifications in the form of personality and character traits that help stabilize the mind for the pursuit of a nondual path. The more preparation one has had in these other paths, the more ready one will become like Ramana Maharshi's example of the dry wood, ready to ignite in a flash.
The links below will display a chart depicting karma, bhakti, raja and jnana yoga. Each yoga is briefly explained, along with its concept of liberation, the character attributes it cultivates, and the excesses that can happen if at some point that yoga is not balanced with the other yogas.
Yoga Chart (pdf)
Yoga Chart (png)
Yoga Chart (gif)
Notes on the Nature of Vedanta Society
by Jody Radzik, with Greg Goode
Greg Goode:You mentioned going to the Vedanta Society temple, enjoying the company of seekers more, despite the socio-cultural differences. What differences are those?
Jody Radzik: Most of the members of the Vedanta Society are of the mind that one must eliminate desire (as if this is in "our" power) in order to be blessed with realization. In fact, many have stated outright that celibacy is absolutely necessary before realiztion can occur. Many of the Ramakrishna Math swamis hold the same incorrect view.
They believe this because Ramakrishna constantly preached of the dangers of "women and gold." What the VS devotees don't realize is that Ramakrishna directed this teaching to his younger male devotees and not to the householder devotees, and that he did this for reasons Vedanta Society members aren't prepared to deal with.
As a result, most members of the Vedanta Society hold celibacy and asceticism in high esteem, setting the bar for their lives much higher than they need to. The only thing this gets them is pride in their renunciation, and the expectation that only when they are as they imagine Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were, will they be blessed with realization. It also gets them a sh*tload of guilt when they "backslide".
The difference between them and myself is that I've always lived in and enjoyed the world, and that Mother has made it exceedingly clear to me that She will bestow realization on whomever She wants, despite their disposition as ascetic wannabes.
Unfortunately, no one believes I know what I'm talking about, except my guru. In the interest of maintaining the status quo, he doesn't enter the debate, even though he confirms my assertions as I'm making them.
This isn't to say that I don't get along with them. I do for the most part. However, I've found myself in raging debates, the whole bunch of them vs. me. I find this situation quite enjoyable, but it seems to shatter their quaint ideas about what the center exists for, and so in deference to my guru I usually keep a lid on it.
Greg Goode: I used to go to the two centers here in Manhattan, years ago. One thing I never asked, maybe you know the answer. With their view of realization, is there anyone in the organization (swami or householder) for whom realization occurred? Swami Nikhilananda? Swami Brahmananda? Also, is your guru there at the Vedanta center?
Jody Radzik: I just got back from an evening with Swami Bhaskarananda, who is visiting from the center in Seattle. During his talk he spoke about a pure mind, and how such was necessary for realization to occur. Afterwards I mentioned that such an assertion makes realization dependent on a condition, which refutes Sankara. I asked what he meant by pure mind. He used the analogy of states of matter. Water has forms as a solid, liquid, and gas. He said the pure mind was like the gaseous form, it could travel through the glass and become the Self. That didn't really answer my question.
A little later someone posed the question of self-effort vs. grace. The swami feel hard on the side of self-effort. He maintained that it was by self-effort that grace comes. Otherwise, we would all be realized just by wishing for it. I decided not to mention that this makes grace dependent on a condition as well.
I took the opportunity to trot out a metaphor of my own. A baby comes into the world with awareness of the Self. Let's imagine this takes the form of red contact lenses, right out of the womb. The idea is that all our development happens in the context of awareness of the Self, that is, we are always seeing through red lenses. Therefore, we *don't* see the red at all, because it has *always* been a condition of our seeing.
Now as we develop, these lenses acquire faceting in the form of learning and experience. When we decide to turn inward, we apply self-effort in order to remove the faceting. This would be the swami's pure mind.
Now, we've been totally successful in clearing away all the faceting. What we're left with is red that we can't see. Here is where grace comes in. It requires an act of grace to remove the lenses, and until we see the lenses, we cannot see the red. Furthermore, grace can occur to the person whose lenses are still quite faceted, so that realization can occur in the context of a less than pure mind.
Swamiji brushed me off by saying that he could not accept the analogy, as the lenses signified a defect in seeing. I explained that this wasn't the thrust of my metaphor, but left it at that.
A while later I asked Swami if he believed nirvakalpa samadhi to be necessary for realization. He said yes. I asked if he knew anyone personally who had experienced this samadhi. He said he thought so, but that they didn't talk about it. He said some of the senior monks show signs of it, but that it is inappropriate to speak of it.
He also related that Brahmananda said that spirituality doesn't even really begin until one has been blessed with nirvakalpa samadhi.
I've been blessed to have taken initiation from a monk of the Ramakrishna Order, and I'm quite convinced he's a bona-fide, yet successfully hidden saint.
However, the implied ideology of the Vedanta Society needs a lot of work. The concept of pure mind creates too many expectations about what that would be, and what is required to achieve it. A better term would be an "innocent" mind, which is pure in a way, but not necessarily totally unadulterated. Being the opinioned bastard that I am, I try to make my critique known to the swamis I meet, all out of respect and love for the Truth. They aren't used to hearing critiques from the members, so it's nice to report that they all handle it very sweetly, which says a lot about them as people.
So, to get back to the question, the swamis do believe most, if not all the original disciples of Ramakrishna were realized, and they believe there are realized members in their midst, although it is their custom never to speak of it to anyone.