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Highlights #1225 - Saturday, October 12, 2002 - Editor: Christiana

Art: Fred Casselman The Seed


My Own Individuality

Question: I want to follow my own individuality, is this in
conflict with your work?

Umi: There is such a strong belief in the West that you need
to be in control, and this is misunderstood to be your
individuality. Therefore, you talk about 'your truth' or following
some guide or some inner voice. But these are creations of
the mind. The mind creates that which will maintain its
control, and individuality is one such strategy. The truth is,
you are unique -- but not in the way that you believe. The way
you believe is purely a personality, a persona, a mask,
something that has been given to you. You were not born
with good manners, you were taught these. You were not
born with certain behaviors, these you copied from others.
You were not born with dreams, these were introduced to
you by others. The word personality comes from the Latin
word persona, which means actor's mask. Everything that is
unreal, that is a mind creation, that surrounds you, that
covers you, is your personality. And all this prevents you from
being who you really are, from being your uniqueness. And
you have no idea what this uniqueness is. Your personality is
a collections of behaviors that you have developed since you
were born, as a strategy for survival. This is not who you are.
Your automatic behaviors are not yours, they are purely
habits. Once when the river was flowing high, people came
running to Mulla Nasrudin and told him "Your wife has fallen
in the river. You have to save her! Run fast!" Mulla Nasrudin
ran fast and jumped into the river, but then started to swim
upstream. All the people standing on the bank started
shouting, "What are you doing? Your wife must be floating
down stream." Nasrudin shouted back, "What are you talking
about? I know my wife, she can only go upstream!" This is
personality. This is living in the mind. Only when all this is
dissolved, can your uniqueness emerge, only when this
cover of personality dissolves, can this uniqueness emerge,
and then there will be a flow, and the flow is only down
stream to the ocean, to the Whole.

Love Is Not An Emotion

Question: Is love an emotion?

Umi: Love is not an emotion and love is not a feeling. Love is
the very foundation that creates life. It's the very source and it
is the end. Without love there is nothing. All of Existence
emerges out of love and returns to love. Love manifests in
many forms. When love manifests through the body it
becomes sex. It becomes the possibility to merge and
disappear, to be lost back into the source. This is the first
step on the spiritual ladder. When there is no ego this can
lead directly to the source. When love manifests through the
mind it becomes what we call love. Now there is the
possibility of poetry, music, a song of delight, an expression
that can touch the very core of all. When love manifests
through the spirit it becomes prayer. An opening, an
expression of deep gratitude, a dance of oneness. When
love manifests thru the unknowable, through that which is
beyond understanding, it becomes enlightenment....the
fourth. Buddha called it Turiya, which means the fourth. There
is no word for it, so it is simply called the fourth. It is that
which cannot be made into a word. When love manifests in
the fourth, there is only love. Love has returned completely to
the source. This is the journey. This is the beginning and the
new beginning.


[email protected]
Umi's latest book
Enlightenment Guaranteed: Zen, Bodhidharma, and Who Are You?

Brian Perkins

Holding on to emptiness

The flawless jewel was back in the palm of my hand. I was
looking at it and vowed never to take my eyes from it again.
How do you hold on to emptiness? Believe me you can - if it
is important to you. You hold on by continually looking at it.

How do you look at emptiness? You close your eyes and
look at the darkness on the back of the eyelids experiencing
its stillness, its balm. (This is best done in bright sunlight)
That which sees this velvet darkness is who you really are!

It is not the perfect selfless state but it is a reference point, a
standpoint from which you resist the subtle wiles of
doubt.The simple passage of time is a great ally in this
fight.It builds confidence as the hours and days pass and still
the jewel is in your sight.


The experiences I have related so far all had a very real
sense of "I" about them; "I" had an empty mind etc. I had
loved reading about the 'Absolute' standpoint taken by
Nissargadata in his book "I am That." but it didn't mirror my
own subjective experience. A few years later,as ever still
pre-occupied with making it stick, I went for my usual early
morning run. An insight revealed itself which shook me to the
core. I was alone...... for ever. This terrified me. I couldn't
shake it off. I couldn't unsee it again. I took a bus into town.
From the upper deck I looked down to see a mailman
delivering mail. It was a bright sunny day. He had left his bike
by the garden gate and strode up the path to deliver the mail.
He was whistling. He didn't have a care in the world. How I
longed for his innocence! In town I walked past a bingo
parlour. Music was coming from a juke box and I found
myself drowning in the gaps of silence between the sounds. I
was that silence and I knew that nothing would ever touch me
again. This was an unexpected and unwanted development.

The terror lasted several weeks and didn't subside
completely for many months. I lived by the words "A journey
of infinite miles begins with a single step".

Through a process of engagement and involvment in a world
I now knew to be a dream, I slowly acclimatized to this new

12 years on

... the emptiness is still there ... the ego is still there and
affecting behavior, but at arms length ... it is no longer a
reference point ... life has become ordinary again ... just
gently observing the ordinary rhythms of life is more than
enough to excite and fulfil ... ...there is a deep sense of not
knowing ... not so much the sublime spiritual state of not
knowing, that I was led to expect ... more like the
"my-God,-what-was-that-all-about?" state followed by
OK-maybe-I-don't-need-to-know ... and there is a
discernable flow to events. ... applying the truths of life in
everyday circumstances, and through trial and error, forging
a seasoned understanding.... inviting the process of
enlightenment, not demanding it.

being loose and natural (Tilopa)

doing the next obvious thing (Suzanne Segal)

abandonment to Divine Providence (Jean-Pierre de Caussade)

don't avoid anything that comes! ... don't invite anything that
you don't need! ... attend to circumstances as best you can,
and forget about it! (Papaji)

allow things to take their own course .... the whole day long
stay unconcerned, as if you are too ill to attend to them

... doing ordinary things ... facing up to the practical
difficulties of life ... shopping ... cooking ... going to the gym
... sleeping ... being sick ... ageing ... reflecting ... seeing
what happens.

... or these words** from an Indian housewife, Surendra Kaur

"Be free of thoughts, be free of the mind, and be free of any
idea. Then there is nothing left. You leave your shoes outside
when you go into a room. You leave your body behind when
you die. In this present moment, take leave of everything you
have and everything you can think of. Walk away from them
all and be free. It's very simple and very beautiful".

** from Nothing ever Happenned...David Godman

What is emptiness?

With closed eyes, the eyelids dissolve into a deep warm
blackness that contains infinite pixels of light, like distant
stars. Through the back of the head flows a river of void
which meets the blackness. It is impossible to describe
because it has no centre, no attributes. Nothing moves.
All is still. Nothing exists but this.
Awareness arises out of this--awareness of awareness.

Thought arises as a spectre and if it is given attention, there
is a temporary forgetfulnessof the background
void.Seconds, minutes or hours later thought subsides and
again there is awareness of awareness. Remembrance of

Before the shift, thought arises like a flood and demands
constant attention. It is opaque and obscures the void.

When the sun shines on closed eyes, the pixels of light in the
blackness become peach coloured. It is the vision of the
child in the womb.

The empty mind exposes the world as an infinite mirage.

Emptiness is Form. Form is Emptiness.

Empty Mind 2

A Billionth of a Second after the Shift The ego/mind - what
remains of it - runs for cover - leaving the brain totally thought
free. It has been dispaced from your subjective centre. When
it emerges and appraises the situation it finds that its heart,
the vortex of energy which wants to 'become', has been
mortally wounded. It cannot immediately retake the centre
but it can respond in an insistent way. It can become a
'finder'. It can become 'blissed out'. Or generate great fear
and terror. This explains Suzanne Segal's initial terror.

This explains Bernadette Robert's initial terror.

There is nothing that the newly awakened empty awareness
can do about this wall of extreme emotional feelings. All it
needs to do is wrap its arms around itself, cling to itself,and
be aware of itself, as its only reference point. Self has found
itSelf. Self has found its unmoving Self. It needs to resist the
temptation to attach negative significance to the presence of
terror or positive significance to the presence of bliss. It
needs to bear with and and not buy into that sublimated form
of ego which loudly insists - I am a 'finder' - I am enlightened
- I am special etc - even though, at the time, it very much
seems to be factually true.

The stark contrast between two states of consciousness just
a fraction of a second apart will inevitably bring a reaction.
But that's par for the course. What did you expect? A life
change of this proportion without major difficulties in
adjusting ? No! that myth belongs to the past! It's becoming
common knowledge now that the ego survives this shift
albeit in a mutated form.

The passage of time will slowly reveal fluctuations in the
feelings and moods proving that they originate from ego,
proving they have nothing to do with You. The passage of
time will erode your new exalted descriptions of yourself.
They were just instinctive ploys by ego to cling to its life.And
they are shockingly untrue. (They were firmly in the realm of
the relative - relative to an illusion!)

The ego will die on the vine with the simple passage of time
and a judicious use of sadhana. Particular attention needs to
be given to the places in the human physiology where ego is
unnaturally stored eg. bad posture, tense muscle tissue,
restricted joint movements etc. The shift has the power to
sweep away refined thought which had obscured your innate
emptiness, but not to sweep away gross chronic hiding
places for ego.

A few common sense precautions are necessary, but these
should swing into operation naturally if your spiritual
preparation has been comprehensive.

< a promising new website intent on exploring opening dialogue

"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of
soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee
of truth, then inquire." - Friedrich Nietzsche

From their intro:
In one way, LiveReal is a small band of elite and highly
trained individuals (sixth grade, at least) . . . on a noble
mission to rid the world of all the annoying, unpleasant, and
sometimes downright nasty forms of unnecessary human
suffering (such as anxiety, depression, bad relationships,
bad self-help books, too many diet plans, utter
meaninglessness, the day-to-day rat race, occasional bouts
of mid-life crisis (no matter how young you are) . . . and other
things like that.

This small but merry squad of rebels are, in six words: 1) just
2) trying 3) to 4) figure 5) things 6) out . . .

In yet another way, LiveReal is even more simple: it's just a
few folks who are looking for answers ("Why am I here?"
"What am I doing with my life?" "What's the best way to
live?" "What's the point?" - and so on) - and, in search of
these answers, are fearlessly (well, we're fearless at least
some of the time) exploring frontiers of thought and mind and
backing away from everything that's phony.

Jan Sultan [email protected]
Ann Faraday - fire all gurus and transpersonal psychologists

In psychotherapy, I would hope for a radically new approach
to those who suffer from inner emptiness. Instead of working
towards filling that void with new purpose, direction and
meaning, I would aim to assist sufferers to go even deeper
into Empty-ness and discover its true nature. I would actively
discourage all ideas of inner-journeying towards wholeness
or paths to enlightenment. These serve merely to postpone
happiness here and now, and they build up the self-illusion.
In the spiritual domain, I would fire all gurus and
transpersonal psychologists who use stage-by-stage models
of self-development ( explaining experiences like mine as
fifth level transient nirvikalpa samadhi - or whatever). And I
would like to see the term Self with a capital S:
Self-actualisation, Self-realisation, Self-transcendence -
expunged from psychological and spiritual literature,
reserving the word strictly for the empirical self of everyday
life. It is the whole obfuscating concept of self which needs to
be transcended, for in my experience there has never really
been any self to transform, actualise, realize or transcend.

JP [email protected]

Exposed to the diversity of approaches and expressions
towards a nondual view and state of consciousness found on
NDS and in my own explorations - I see more clearly now
that some humans prefer Emptiness over Form.

Some prefer the dryness of eyes that no longer can weep -
the clear space of silenced emotions that no longer arise -
the dissolution of all bodies, personal history, feelings,
phenomenon. Even love is seen as abandonable.

Could these humans be saints of Emptiness?

So many ways - all perfect for each one experiencing each

Are there many kinds of saints?

Here is a view:


"What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a
remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that
possibility is.

I think it has something to do with the energy of love.

Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of
balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve
the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I
do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself,
for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a
man setting the universe in order.

It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like
an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track
is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular
arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves
the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and

Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a
seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape.
His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the

He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted
shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men,
such balancing monsters of love."

- Leonard Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966)

Sacred Balance - new series by David Suzuki

For Canadians... and hopefully soon CBS will broadcast this
in the USA.

Fascinating new series entitled Sacred Balance begins
tonight; with interviews and live chat with David Suzuki

Sophisticted and very interesting website

Check out games based on series. Try "Looking Up"

Al Larus [email protected]

Snipped from Act five, Scene ten in Peer Gynt by Henrik

So unspeakably poor, then, a soul can go back to
nothingness, into the grey of the mist. Thou beautiful earth,
be not angry with me that I trampled thy grasses to no avail.
Thou beautiful sun, thou hast squandered away thy glory of
light in an empty hut. There was no one within it to hearten
and warm;- the owner, they tell me, was never at home.

The spirit is niggard and nature lavish; and dearly one pays
for one's birth with one's life.- I will clamber up high, to the
dizziest peak; I will look once more on the rising sun, gaze till
I'm tired o'er the promised land; then try to get snowdrifts
piled up over me. They can write above them: "Here No One
lies buried;"

Elizabeth G Wells [email protected]


First you have to give yourself the right to be.

Just as you give the ant on the sidewalk the right to be.

You don't have to become somebody or something. Or
unbecome somebody or something.

You have the right to be.

That is the first and last step.

I am.

The "body cum this sense of being" appeared and it will

That is obvious. All you have to do read the obituary columns
in the news paper.

So what!

"I am" is here and now, not yesterday or tomorrow.

Life is now.

"I am" is the sign post for that Life.

That is what you are. Life.

What is wrong with that?

What you seek is what you are.


Gangaji card:

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: