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#1215 - Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - Edited by Jerry


from SufiMystic list

"I wish others can speak of what Nisargadatta recommended to
seekers who could not stay in his pressence and who did not have a
guru to sit with. Are we to believe that he never hinted at a
practice that would allow the seeker to continue, away from the
Guru, towards Self-realization." --Cornelius

The problem often lies in the goal more than the absence of
means. "Progress" toward enlightenment, something which is
instantaneous, is an illusion. Nonetheless we can have faith in
our fundamental enlightenment, and practice.

The concept of a 'shovel,' or spiritual tools, is not without some
merit. In buddhism, the idea is to maintain a condition of
'mindfulness' at all times. We know we are mindful or on track
with this when the mind presents us with a continuous series of
insights. So mindfulness may be regarded as method, and insight
as the fruits of this method (remembering that these words are
only expedients, and you must get the idea for yourself of what
these things - Dharmas - are all about.

If mindfulness is what we want to maintain, then 'falling asleep'
is the problem, and being asleep is the condition that we want to
awaken from, through insight and the practice of mindfulness. So
we meditate, read the sutras, and so forth. All these are
'shovels' for digging out our treasure, part of our spiritual
toolkit. To this end one may develop a personal collection of
'spritiual alarm clocks,' various ideas or methods which tend to
wake us up, rembering that monotony tends to put us to sleep and
variability tends to enliven us.

Virtually anything can be used as an 'alarm clock' in this manner,
depending on the individual. Perhaps you have a fault that you
want to struggle with; say, you get angry at a coworker or your
wife in some pushbutton way. If you can observe the same negative
behavior occurring every time a certain set of circumstances
comes about, you can fixate on that behavior and resolve to
observe it carefully - not necessarily change it, because
mindfulness is our aim, not behavior modification. Then this
event, this recurring anger, becomes a spiritual alarm clock and
makes us mindful of ourselves whenever it occurs. Of course, even
without the effort of behavior modification, enough observation
induces a degree of mindfulness that causes us to alter stupid,
button-pushing behaviors, and we need to find another alarm clock
to keep us awake.

Gurdjieff referred to our less than mindful condition as
'mechanical,' and recommended the process of 'self-remembering'
(what sufis know as *dhikr*). So there is nothing new about the
above suggestion, but it is by no means a spiritual platitude,
but a practical activity, genuine 'practice.' And there are many

The important thing is to avoid the idea of 'progress,' which in
Zen can be referred to as 'polishing a brick to make a mirror.'
Simply maintain ordinary mindfulness. Avoid mechanicalness,
day-dreaming, sleeping through life playing tapes of yourself
responding to life, what Joyce called "rite words in rote
behavior." Stay awake, be mindful, and everything around you will
appear to be a constant unfolding of insight. When you are there,
you will know it; when you feel that you are not, have faith and
keep practicing mindfulness, watching your feelings and thoughts
as they change one into another. And don't get bored and fall
asleep - keep inventing new alarm clocks, and attacking the most
obvious examples in your own life of mechanical behavior by
aggressively observing how they come about.

Surely there are others here who can recommend practices they find
useful in maintaining or enhancing simple awareness?


from NDS and other lists

fox thanks for the laugh
friendly even toothless still
ultimate sheep's fear
in its frame of mind called 'zoo'
foxes game called 'peekaboo'


from The Other Syntax list

He said that the value of the new seers; method of teaching is
that it takes advantage of the fact that no one can remember
anything that happens while being in a state of heightened
awareness. This inability to remember sets up an almost
insurmountable barrier for warriors, who have to recollect all
the instruction given to them if they are to go on. Only after
years of struggle and discipline can warriors recollect their
instruction. By then the concepts and the procedures that were
taught to them have been internalized and have thus acquired the
force the new seers meant them to have.

The New Seers
Carlos Castaneda




Nothing knocks
(And rocks)


In a box

--j katz

from Being One

Jim and Mary were both patients in a mental hospital.

One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool,

Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sunk to the bottom of
the pool and stayed there.

Mary promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and
pulled Jim out.

When the medical director became aware of Mary's heroic act he
immediately ordered

her to be discharged from the hospital, as he now considered her
to be mentally stable.

When he went to tell Mary the news he said, "Mary, I have good
news and bad news.

The good news is you're being discharged because since you were
able to jump in and save

the life of another patient, I think you've regained your senses.

The bad news is, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself with his
bathrobe belt in the bathroom.

I am so sorry, but he's dead."

Mary replied "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry.

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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