|Dr. Robert Puff|
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#1093 - Monday, June 3, 2002 - Edited by Jerry Katz- Home: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
posts from NDS list
Nonduality owes its ancestry to these guys. This is a
romping good story, if you've got the time and
inclination to discover it for yourself.
More at http://www.parmenides.com
I was first introduced to Parmenides through a novel by
Phillip K Dick, entitled VALIS. I was intrigued enough
to do some library research (pre-internet days) , most
of which material can now be found on the web.
Here are some links...
From The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
excellent collection of links from about.com:
the adventurous, here are some specific links which
may actually lure someone into reading some of the
excellent novels by Phillip K Dick:
Paperback - 241 pages Reissue edition (July 1991)
Vintage Books; ISBN: 0679734465
The first of Dick's three final novels (the others are
_Divine Invasion_ and _The Transmigration of Timothy
Archer_). Known as science fiction only for lack of a
better category, "VALIS" takes place in our world and
may even be semi-autobiographical. It is a fool's search
for god, who turns out to be a virus, a joke, and a
mental hologram transmitted from an orbiting satellite.
Transcendence in VALIS and Elsewhere:
those who delight in decoding da code...
of the several spelling errors in this page...
'casual' should be 'causal', etc)
An interview with PK Dick:
"Philip K. Dick - How To Build A Universe That Doesn't
Fall Apart Two Days Later"
experience reading my first PK Dick novel was
entirely consistent with what I now 'understand' as
'nondual realization'; this was brought about by reading
UBIK, in 1975, while I was attending college.
a note to those who have lost a cat or a loved one
to death; VALIS may have special meaning.
Phil Dick died in 1982.
If you can find any of his books in their earlier
editions, they are all collectors items, and can be sold
for substantial price.
If the reader is under the impression that I am
suggesting that there is some benefit to be gained by
reading the works of PK Dick, I confess that to be the
And BTW, click here to see the Yahoo! page which
promotes the new upcoming soon to be released film
'Minority Report', which is adapted from (of all
things!), a novella by Phil Dick:
" It is all alive "
Frame from Waking Life
Last night I rented a new DVD called "Waking Life"
Waking Life is a movie that explores the nature of
dream and reality. I had heard it described to me as a
"Jungian" movie but it isn't that. It is a NonDual
movie. It pushes and pushes towards the dissolving of
boundaries. At one point the lead character - who is
dreaming - is in a theater, watching a movie in which
the two characters discuss the nature of film and
reality and then turn into clouds!
Explore the website here:
The question the main character pursues throughout the
movie is, "How can I wake up?" He discovers, you see,
that he is in a dream and every time he wakes up he is
dreaming that he woke up.
Oh yes, this film is an animated movie. Watching the
sheer beauty of the animation always gives us something
wonderful to look at and gives the film maker a great
deal of creative license to illustrate the ideas the
characters are presenting. The film was shot on a
digital video camera, then animators converted every
frame to animation, preserving the sound track but
having a great deal of fun with the images themselves.
At the end, the main character encounters a man playing
pinball who, it turns out, is the director of the film.
The director starts to tell a story from the life of
P.K. Dick and then the director says, "Well, if you
really want to wake up, why don't you?" At which point
the hero find himself outside his childhood home where
he slowly, gently lifts into the sky and floats off,
higher and higher.
Waking Life is a movie that stays with you.
This morning I woke up and lay in bed for a while. It
was Monday. I thought of all I had to do: get up, wash
face, take vitamins, make coffee, defrost bagel, go
downstairs and get paper, eat breakfast and read paper,
shower, shave, get dressed, and meet the workday. It
seemed infinitely wearisome. But then I finally did get
up and the day started to unreel on its own accord.
Surprises kept happening. I had cereal instead of a
bagel. I did last night's dishes before getting the
paper. I found time to do a bit of yoga to stretch my
In other words, the day unreeled just like a dream,
beyond volition. This is waking life. Things just keep
happening. There is no need to keep up an illusion of
control, nor is there a need to keep up an illusion that
it is happening to anyone in particular. Yes, you
continue to feel emotions and experience things like
pain and pleasure, loneliness and happiness, backaches
and heartaches, but these are just happening too and
will keep on unreeling with everything else. If you
watch long enough they all turn into clouds in the end.
Open Presence As a concept, enlightenment is elusive.
One must let it be 'without knowing.'
By Toni Packer
From "The Wonder of Presence" by Toni Packer. (c) 2002
by Toni Packer. By arrangement with Shambhala
Publications, Inc., Boston, www.shambhala.com.
Someone asked, "Does it really matter if we 'wake up' or
A little while ago I took a walk up a hill. What a
delightful morning! Warmth and coolness were present at
the same time. Gentleness pervaded the air, and birds
were singing everywhere. Wet, sodden shoes passed by the
croaking pond where tiny little skimmers crisscrossed
back and forth on the surface of the water, leaving
their ever so delicate tracks. On the big upper field
several deer were grazing. Looking up at the intruder,
their long white tails twitched a little as we looked at
each other. Then they kept on grazing. Colors dotted
the sun-drenched field, and blooming grasses were
swaying in the breeze. The fragrance of wild roses
filled the air. If you had walked along with me this
beautiful morning, we both would have laughed at the
question whether it matters if we wake up or not.
Had we been caught up in anger, worry or frustration, we
wouldn't have laughed. We would not have seen the
lovely vibrant field. We have so many questions. Whence
do they arise? Are there deeper motives to our
question? Can we wonder about it and look? Someone
asked , "Is there such a thing as ultimate, complete
and total enlightenment?" Are we really asking, "If
there is such a thing, can I get it?"
Where does wondering about complete and total
enlightenment come from? And from where does wanting it
arise? And the frustration about not getting it? Doesn't
it all come our of our deep inner discontent with
ourselves, with others, and with the world? Sometimes we
can't even say what it is that causes it; we just feel
painfully out of sync. There is an inner
meaninglessness, a feeling of hollow emptiness. Not the
emptiness of vast open space, but a feeling of nothing
of value inside, feeling lonely, cut off from happiness
and alienated from people. There may be the fear of
abandonment, or feeling unloved. All of these things are
going on in human beings.
Out of the desire to fill up the inner depletion and
find lasting contentment may come questions about
enlightenment, and with them the yearning to find
meaning and not feel isolated from everything and
everyone. The brain creates endless concepts and
fantasies to alleviate the inner suffering.
If we become increasingly transparent to these movements
of thought and feeling, we will realize that inner pain
is not dissolved by conventional ways of dealing with
it, materially or spiritually. Money, position,
acquisitions or relationships have not brought lasting
contentment. Religions beliefs may provide illusions of
security and support, but for many of us they simply
have not worked. We have wandered from one belief system
to another, attracted by promises of salvation,
liberation, or enlightenment, but real hunger for truth
and clarity can be stilled only with genuine food. The
discursive mind is capable of throwing up doubts and
skeptical questions at any time. Maybe we suddenly find
ourselves in quiet openness, a profound stillness
without any feeling of lack. Then thought comes in and
begins to wonder: "Will this last? Can I get it back?
Was it real? Was this enlightenment or is there more? It
doesn't seem enough." Thinking about a past moment of
freedom immediately sows the seeds of doubt by asking,
"Is this all there is? It can't be! There must be a more
convincing experience than what I just had!" Thoughts
grow like clinging vines that choke the living presence.
Truly being here is being unknown, unknowable,
unadorned. Being here is absence of doubting or
affirming thoughts about myself. It is the absence of
me! Thoughts that arise about me are just thoughts, with
their enormous power to obscure clarity.
Is it our task to find out whether or not there is total
and complete enlightenment like the Buddha proclaimed?
I always liked the Buddha's sayings: "I truly attained
nothing from complete, unexcelled enlightenment, and
that is why it is called complete, unexcelled
enlightenment." No-thing, no one to attain it, spaceless
space, no one there to occupy it. Just alive presence
with the evening star in the sky. Dying to all the stuff
imagined and clung to about oneself - what I am, what I
was, what I will be, what I could be, should be...
Can we see all concepts as concepts with deepening
clarity and wisdom? Not immediately lurching toward
something promised in the future that has its sole
existence in thought? Can we clearly discern what
constitutes thinking and what is actually present right
here without needing to think it? Can we discern it
The open windows, fresh air touching the skin, bright
sunshine everywhere, all kinds of twittering sounds,
crows calling and breathing, pulsating life! Caw, caw,
caw, caw...Sensations throughout the body, breathing,
beholding it, not the words, but the aliveness of it
all. Can we realize now that "complete unexcelled
enlightenment" is a concept?
You may sincerely object, "How can I know for sure that
enlightenment is just a concept? Maybe it is real. Lots
of enlightened teachers have told and written about it.
So - shall we then ask together: "What is enlightenment
beyond all concepts?"
Let us delve profoundly into this question, not asking
for other people's descriptions of experiences, not
looking for promises, not expecting to know for sure,
but questioning out of not knowing, inquiring
meditatively, deeply, darkly, until we don't know
anymore what is "enlightened" or "unenlightened"! In
silently wondering deeply without knowing, the
conceptual world is left behind. Are we going into the
question in this way?
All too often our yearning for something to alleviate
the inner suffering gets in the way of deep inquiry.
Rather than asking, "What is enlightenment?" can we
question our inner feeling of insufficiency? We have
tried to fill it with fantasies of all descriptions,
with entertainment, acquisitions, achievements,
relationships, spiritual searching, and solemn vows -
anything to fill the aching void. But have we ever
really explored it directly, unconditionally?
Becoming conscious of it in or out of retreat, can we be
with the ache of emptiness, not calling it by any name?
Let all labels fly into thin air and stay with what is
here, discomfort without calling it discomfort. Staying
here with what's indefinable. Not resisting, not
fighting, not looking for anything else. Just letting
what is here be here in its entirety, physically,
mentally, totally. Letting it be without knowing. Not
becoming the doer for or against it. Just this quiet
presence in the midst of the silence of chaos. In this
there is an unfolding transparency. It happens when one
sits patiently, silently, unconditionally. By "sitting"
I simply mean being totally with what is here. Not
moving away or toward something else, just remaining
with the whole thing - an intense presence that includes
all the bodily sensations, breathing, wind-storming,
raining, sunning, birding, coughing, fans humming -
everything right here, all at once, without a seam.
Observing thoughts coming up, emotions about to be
triggered, physical sensations arising and more
thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations unfolding and
abating - being with it all. There isn't any place to
escape to. Everything is here without separation.
Let thoughts come up, let them reveal themselves for
what they are and disappear. It all is the stuff of
dreams, traces from the infinite past. Thoughts may
trigger fear, but fear too can become transparency. When
it arises, here it is. Let it be. Don't call it by name
- labels attract memories and reactions from the past.
No need to have any feelings about it - they too are
empty. Fear is an unavoidable occurence in our habitual
self-centered consciousness. We can not possibly live
the illusion of a separate me without experiencing fears
about what may happen to it. But illusions and dreams
can also be seen as just dreams and illusions, even
though they can arouse tremendous inner turbulence in
the form of horror, agony, or pleasure. It is all part
and parcel of human consciousness manifesting as
separate me and you.
Sitting quietly, watching things come up time and time
again, a tape may be playing: "Is that what meditation
is all about? I don't want to spend the rest of my
meditative life watching endless repetitions of
garbage." But the important thing is not what is seen
but the quality of the seeing. When a person asks, "Is
watching the comings and goings of thoughts and emotions
all there is to meditation?" I say that it all depends
on the quality of the watching. Is it consumed by
judging, by feeling guilty, ashamed, or impatient? As
those mental movements occur, see them for what they are
and don't be disturbed by them. That is choiceless
awareness - no separate watcher occupying center stage.
The inner show is simply displaying itself on its own
and needs no particular audience, no applause or
rejection. Let it all happen as it is happening in the
infinite space of open presence.
Is choiceless awareness just another dream, a new
illusion? Thought can turn anything into a concept by
thinking and dreaming about it. See it when it happens
and don't be fooled by it. Choiceless awareness is not
an illusion. It is here for human beings like you and
me. Tranparency unfolds on its own, revealing all there
is as it is, in utter directness and simplicity, without
need for a director.
Actually, awareness is here even during times of
darkness. Presence never goes anywhere. This is not a
dogmatic statement but a simple fact that each one of us
can come upon. See the cloud, the darkness! Hear the
wind! Feel the breathing! Smell the flowers! Touch the
swaying grasses! Clouds, wind, thoughts, breathing,
fragrant flowers, and grasses change all the time, but
seeing is here without time. Even though doubts may
obscure it, it is here the instant the mind stops and
every cell of the body opens to hear and see and be.
No need to bother one's head about what has been said.
Being present is all of oneself, not just the head! We
are this entire living creation from moment to moment
without a break. Walk innocently through the fields,
into the woods, along the ocean beach or in the city
streets with the sheer joy of aliveness, its infinite
movements and sounds and fragrance - the love of it all
without making a thing out of it!
Are we here?
tombstone, flush against the ground, curved like ribbon--
stone letters cut like tree branches: "TO MY DEAR FATHER"...
japanese false cedar,
spider no bigger than a sesame seed
an elegant bird's white-tipped tailfeathers,
a pair of light brown mourning doves...
Just now, as I'm typing this,
Joanne calls from Seattle,
"I have something sad to tell you," she says,
"Lou died on Thursday."
(random visit to a cemetery, beloved old man's death,
Spent the afternoon
highlighting sacred geometry
by sprinkling glitter
on spider webs.
She didn't seem to mind,
did an eight-legged dance.
She's fat and pregnant
and according to my two witness eyes,
I saved her once before
from a whirlpool in my shower
while getting clean,
she'll tell her children about me.
I don't know why I love them either
but I bless them, growing
in their mother's ball.
They don't know it yet,
but they're destined to continue her progeny,
in her image
in this web of life,
So fertile and intertwined
In honor of It
I do a two-legged dance
in her eight winds
down the very drain
I once saved her from.
|Dr. Robert Puff|