Salon (/ \) Highlights
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Highlights Issue #1017
Saturday, March 23, 2002
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Phil Serveido http://www.heartspace.org/
From his travelogue and photos of Aranachula and Ramana's ashram
One of the most
auspicious things to do in Tiruvanamalai is to
circumambulate Arunachala mountain, most auspiciously three
times or more (I walked it twice, once in a cab!). There are two
paths around the mountain, the inner, on mostly dirt paths, and
the outer, on the roads of Tiruvanamalai. Taking the heavily
travelled (by big trucks) outer road is difficult and potentially
dangerous, so many try it at night. My second circumambulation
was on a hot day on the inner path. The mountain is deceiving -
I could never tell how far along I was on the path, as the
mountain always looked the same. Along the way, one may run
into various shepherds and goat herders watching their flock.
The inner path was once very dangerous, before the mountain
and the surrounding areas were denuded of their wood. You
could run into deadly snakes or even a tiger in lush jungle that
was here previously. My only danger was from foot blisters, but
they were doozies! (You are supposed to circumambulate in
bare feet, but not for this tenderfoot).
A submission by Jan
Your Ego Image
Your subconscious mind
re-creates, from moment to moment,
your sense of identity as a particular person. It is very fast. You
may not be aware of it, for you experience already the result
which is the ego-image. You experience constantly a recreated
image of the person you think you are. This image allows you
relate to your situation in the world. This image revolves around
your wellbeing, sense of pride, fears and hopes, your security
and happiness. That is how you are being recreated from your
subconscious computer program. That is fine, but is it really
you? Is this image through which you identify yourself really
you? You are not this which you think you are! You are that
which you don't think you are! The ego image is just an outer
layer, a superficial shell, a shadow of your real self.
Holding onto the ego image is the
cause of suffering,
incompleteness and isolation. One lives in a cage, locked in the
mind. If someone lives in a prison all their life, one does not
want to leave this prison. One holds desperately onto a false
sense of security; this is death. When a bird is born in a cage,
it will not fly out even when you leave the door open. One gets
easily addicted to bondage and slavery. We are the race of
slaves, slaves of the mind. That is what we are. Now we rebel,
breaking away from the inner prison. In esoteric Christianity,
there were some schools propagating that the body is the
prison of the spirit. However, it is not the body which is the
prison, but the mind. Even if you are out of this body, you
remain a slave of the mind. How to get out of the mind? That is
But as you meditate, as you
breathe you expand into something
deeper. As you are relaxing into the space of non-reference, you
move away from your ego-image. You are dissolving into the
openness of Being. Within this space of non-reference, you still
remain but beyond any crystallised ego-image. Here, you exist
in a new way. That's why you don't know who you are anymore,
for you are unable to translate this experience through your
past concepts. You are in a state of not knowing.
You may even experience fear of
entering this void because you
have the feeling of losing yourself. But in truth, you are not
losing yourself. On the contrary you are gaining yourself. The
unreal dies so the real can be born. The unreal does not want to
die, that's why it holds onto its past sense of identity. But
when you see clearly how unreal this past sense of identity is,
you let it go. It is not even a matter of courage but rather
understanding. If you wish to be afraid of something, it is only
this ego-image to be feared. That void into which you surrender
is absolutely safe, for it is made from peace and love. It is the
original womb of life, the domain of Truth.
Memories of bliss
and Byron Katie's "Work"
From Katie's "Work".. the deconstruction of ideas with four questions
"This past week I heard the
tape where Hans did the Work on a
peak experience he had. If you aren't familiar with it, he had an
experience of "Nirvana" or whatever, and he hadn't let go of it
for 40 years.
Boy was that a gift to me. I did
the work on an
experience I had in 1996 and haven't been able to let go of. It
was eye-opening to see how I clung to it like a dead lover and how I thought
nothing else in life compared. I'm seeing how I've clung to
specialness as a result of this experience. I see how religions
are borne of this. I see how arrogance and separation are
created as a result of what the mind does with this type of
experience. Talk about the ultimate pleasure. Talk about how
trying to get it back is pure pain and futility.
Glad to be okay with me right now as man sitting on chair."
"The Work is merely four
questions. It always leaves you with
less of a story. Who would you be without your story? You
never know until you inquire. There is no story that is you or
that leads to you. Every story leads away from you. Turn it
around; undo it. You are what exists before all stories. You are
what remains when the story is understood." - Byron Katie
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who or what would you be without the thought?
Phil Serveido's journal
and more photos of Aranachula
Ramana ashram is
located at the base of Arunchala mountain,
and it one of the most together places in all of India. There is
no charge for staying in the spartan but clean guest quarters,
but they do expect some kind of donation. Ramanaramam is
teeming with wildlife, most of them in monkey form. They are
fairly docile for wild creatures, tamed by the force of the place,
but they will steal you blind if you leave your door open. And
they're so damn cute!
I woke up this morning and
realized this: I may not be
all-knowing not by a long shot, and certain no saint - there's
still many a desire arising now and then (and I can be easily
smitten by a pretty face), and there's surely room for more
purification - amazing the kind of crap that flows through my
mindstream. But I am no longer confused - the weight of
bewilderment the gut-wrench of perplexity and the burden of
problem-ism have unwound in the heart and released in the
belly, removing the veils and walls to allow access to the
Pristine View. How this has happened is a matter of grace and
intention, but mostly good fortune. Though I'm not liberated for
sure, this life and the world has been inexorably changed in the
radiant exposure of the nature of all things. January 15, 2002
I came often to
Skandashram, (Ramana's first cave) and his
photo is of the tiny inner chamber. I took this without a flash
and opened the shutter wide to get enough light for the picture,
and the camera moved a bit. Additionally, the spiritual force in
that chamber is one of the most intense and potent places I've
ever felt on this planet. It is like stepping into a pressurized
chamber, the force of spirit is almost crushing at times. Just
thinking about it now rekindles that force for me.
When the oppressive
madness of egoity dissolves, thought of 'I
and other', and 'us and them' lose power and recede, and a
most wonderful healing occurs: the spiritual cataracts
preventing clear perception are erased, opening one to the View
of Pristine-ness and the heart is cleansed in joyful equanimity.
All beings then becomes one's sangha, sharing in the same
wonder of basic Awareness. The entirety of existence is one's
church, The innate wisdom of primal awareness is one's Guru,
and utter simplicity becomes the mode of being. December 22, 2001
Dan Berkow on [email protected]
The living teacher is closer to me than skin is to my face.
Here is one who animates all the
teachers with whom
individuals have contact.
Dan is also in a
challenging dialogue with
Gary Merrill on [email protected]
Its simple in that there is no
'chooser' and hence no choice in
the conventional sense. The 'choosing' is not determined or
non-determined. 'Determination' being a mechanical repetition
of a formula called one's own. Its natural for the 'organism' to
know the difference between pain and pleasure, but can't
separate its 'self' from this, can't stand back, can't determine
its self. Without 'me' it can only be one way.
Michael Read on [email protected]
Having heard that the truth lies
within, many turn the search
within. There they find the beliefs and concepts of the mind
presented like some living picture show. How fascinating it is.
So much is offered as the answer. So much personal drama
unfolds that the seeker is often captivated by the images and
emotion he deems it real, that he has truly found the essence.
The truth he believes is that all the experiences, the visions,
the emotional states, and so on are the truth.
Thus the seeker finds something
to declare, something to
defend, something to depend upon. What they have is nothing
more or less than a more elaborate picture show - all created
from asking the right questions of the wrong source.
To ask the mind for the supreme
answer is like asking the
village idiot to become the king. Though the results may be
humorous. No good comes of it.
Yes, look within. Look at what
the mind offers and let those
offerings go. No, no, no. Do not get caught up in the visions, in
the ecstatic states of emotion, or the guilts, despairs and
miseries. Let them go.
Yes look within. Neither
accepting nor rejecting what the mind
offers, simply look. You will be caught up from time to time in
some elaborate fantasy, but that is only normal. These
fantasies all tend to unravel almost of their own accord.
Continue to observe.
Though you may be tempted with
infinite knowledge, infinite
power understand even these as illusion, as fantasy. Let go.
Yes, the gateless gate is within.
The doorway that you will pass
through is there. Ah, when the portal is discovered, Dear Friend,
do not hang onto the doorframe, don't plant your feet on the
jamb and then pride yourself on your discovery.
Step through. Meet yourself. Life is good.
Greg Goode on [email protected]
(for complete text, see msg 1759)
The Anatomy of the Witness State
There's another phrase I use for
witness state - the "serial
stream." When it truly hits, and not just as theory, then it's the
sweetest thing that ever happens. It is when the mind, body
and world are no longer experienced as such, and no longer
believed to be such. The mind is not seen as the experiencer of
thoughts. The body is no longer thought of as the experiencer
of sensations. The mind and body are no longer experiencers,
they themselves are *experienced*. It used to be thought that
the mind and body experienced the world. Now it is seen that
they are themselves part of the world of experience.
Atmananda and jean Klein's
direct-path analysis, carefully and
deeply done, really helps here. What I see is not the essence of
me. For as that thing comes and goes, I am still here, regarding
its passing. This includes the mind and the body (so easy! "My
mind is sluggish till that first cup of coffee." If it's the mind I'm
seeing, then I can't be seeing with the mind. The seer must be
Since the mind and body are seen
as experienced, they
obviously do not occur as thoughts or sensations. For thoughts
entail the identity of a holder of thoughts, and sensations imply
the identity of an experiencer of sensations. Whereas in the
serial stream, these very holders have vanished into peaceful
stream of experience.
All experiences are seen as
peacefully arising and falling. If one
has studied advaita, one might pick up a certain language to
describe this, saying that it is Consciousness against which
these things rise and fall. Like Jean Klein and Atmananda say,
consciousness is the background. These arisings are the
never says "no" to any arising. It accepts
everything in loving peace and non-resistance, with no
from an interesting new book
Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings Thomas J. McFarlane Editor
It is in this striving after the
rational unification of the Manifold
that it encounters its greatest successes, even though It is
precisely this attempt which causes it to run the greatest Risk
of falling a prey to illusions. Albert Einstein
If there is even a trace of this
and that, of right and wrong, The
Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all Dualities
come from the One, do not be attached even to This One.
Stodart spent six year in a
meditative process which
yielded this stunning series of paintings. To view them and
other powerful works go to
erratic energy and desire prevents him from
seeing the continuities of his existence. He feels isolated and
desperate for control. Disenchanted and confused, he begins to
look for a way out of his isolation. A new vantage point appears
and he finds himself in the company of a sage.
of paintings was inspired by Dragon's Play, by Charles
Belyea and Steven Tainer. It tells the story of a monkey and a sage
as they journey from isolation to nonduality. The journey unfolds
through twelve stages, which I have called markings."
symbolic ways of suggesting the Ground beyond all
names and forms. This Ground beyond all names and forms is
behind everything that exists and supplies everything with the
possibility of being. They are like the tinkling anklet of the
female dancer whose dancing weaves the visible pattern of the
world. Author unknown
"The deeper the
dissolution of 'reality', the more the picture
loses its symbolic content. The reason for this lies in the nature
of the symbol and its function. The symbol is an object of the
known world hinting at something unknown; it is the known
expressing the life and sense of the inexpressible. But in merely
abstract paintings, the world of the known has completely
vanished. Nothing is left to form a bridge to the unknown."
Carl Jung Man and His Symbols
"Everything exists only
because it has a purpose. The moment
that purpose has been accomplished, everything disappears and
existence is manifested as self-existing Self." -- Meher Baba (1894-1969)
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