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Issue #1306 - Wednesday, January 1, 2003 - Editor: Jerry

from The Illuminated Prayer: The Five-Times Prayer of the Sufis
Coleman Barks, Michael Green

from A Course in Consciousness, updated December 29, 2002

Chapter 24.  Acceptance:  Disidentification from resistance

24.1.  What is acceptance?

In the meditation for December 20 in his 1997 book, A Net of Jewels, Ramesh says, "It is only resistance that transforms the eternity of the present moment into the transience of passing experience as time or duration.  Without resistance there is only eternity."

Acceptance is not a practice (see Chapter 19).  Being transcendental, acceptance is always present, but it is revealed only when resistance no longer conceals it.  It is the final disidentification from all doing and all resistance.  Without identification, there is no resistance to whatever happens, so life is naturally free and peaceful.  With identification, there is resistance to whatever is deemed to be unwanted or undesirable, so life is a struggle.  A spiritual practice, even a practice of acceptance, can reinforce resistance instead of weakening it if it does not focus on disidentification.  The inevitable result will be an increase in suffering rather than a decrease.  Such is the case with most of the practices that are taught by the various religions and spiritual systems.

The struggle ends when resistance ends.  This is called surrender, but "I" cannot surrender because "I" itself is the problem.  Thus, no practice can end resistance because "I" is always present in it, but a practice that focuses on seeing what identification is can weaken it and thereby reduce the suffering.

24.2.  If there is resistance, life is a struggle

"I" results from identification with the concepts of doing and choosing (see Section 11.2).  Seemingly separate from "I" is the "other", the conceptual world (see Sections 11.1 and 11.2).  Whenever they appear, resistance and suffering also appear because "I" is always in conflict with the world.  Resistance is a thought or feeling that always resists something, be it a thought, feeling, sensation, perception, or action.  As a result, this imaginary, nonexistent world seems real.  

Resistance stems from the judgment that what-is should not be the way it is, and from the belief that there is something you can do about it.  (Judgment is not the same as evaluation, which does not involve a judgment about what should or should not be.)  Resistance is always present whenever victimhood is experienced (see Section 11.4), whether the victimizer is thought to be the body, the mind, others, life, God, or whatever.  It powerfully activates the thinking mind (see Section 11.6), and obscures the truth about yourself (see Section 22.3) by clouding your awareness of it.  However, whatever happens---thoughts, feelings, sensations, actions, and perceptions---must happen.  What-is cannot be other than what it is.  Therefore, if resistance occurs, it is because it must, and if disidentification occurs, that also is because it must.  But before suffering can end, it is helpful to understand that it is identification that is the problem.  Whenever it is present, so is the feeling of imprisonment or enchainment.

Because there is no doer, your peace cannot lie in thinking that you can resist either what is happening or what is not happening.  It can only lie in seeing that there is no you that can do anything at all (see Sections 21.3 and 22.2).

Whenever pain, poverty, sickness, danger, or ignorance are present, the body-mind may react to try to change, eliminate, or defend against them, but if there is no resistance, there is no suffering because there is no thinking mind (see Section 11.6).  If resistance is present, the thinking mind is present, and the same conditions and reactions will entail suffering.    

Resistance and suffering are nothing but  deeply conditioned habits.  The suffering of others is no justification for your suffering.  If it were, there would never be any end to it.  Suffering ends when resistance ends, and resistance can end at any time regardless of the degree of suffering present. 

24.3.  Resistance, desire/fear, attachment/aversion

Resistance encompasses the attachment/aversion dualism, and this in turn is based on the desire/fear dualism.  But whenever there is desire, there is fear also---the fear of losing or not getting---so both halves of both dualisms are actually fear-based (see Section 11.3).  Fear is always present whenever there appears to be separation, so a fear-based life is the bane of those who think they are separate.  Fear is equivalent to suffering, and it stems from the belief that you can change what-is so that you can get what you want.  Thus, fear is based on the sense that both "I" and other objects are real.  Both must disappear if fear is to disappear.  

A particularly difficult desire/fear dualism to deal with is that associated with survival (see Section 11.3).  Many people feel a consuming stress associated with making a living and insuring the survival of self and family, yet this stress is no different from any other.  All depend on the feeling of personal responsibility (see Chapter 15), and this feeling in turn depends on identification with personal doership.  In fact, in any moment any body-mind may or may not survive, but survival never depends on a personal "I".  

Without identification, there can be concepts (see Sections 9.1 and 11.1) but there can be no objects (see Section 11.2).  This is easily seen during meditation (see Section 23.3).  With identification, objects seem to arise, along with the attachment/aversion dualism.  Attachment is fear of the loss or unattainability of something that is thought to be real.  Aversion is fear of the presence of its polar opposite. Thus, fear is present in both.  A grievous but common misunderstanding is that fear is necessary for efficient functioning, but in fact, it is an enormous obstacle to it, and, in addition, realization of transcendental freedom and peace is impossible as long as fear is present.  

The following table lists some familiar examples of attachment and aversion: 

Any concept may be present at any time, but, if there is no identification with it, there is no fear so there is no suffering.

Whenever one desire is satisfied, another always replaces it.  Thus, one suffering is always replaced by another, so suffering can never be ended by satisfying desire.  

Everyday life as we know it could not exist without fear/desire.  Even entertainment depends on it, from the ancient Greek comedy-tragedies to today's love-hate-terror dramas.  To the fearful, the thought of life without fear/desire might itself seem fearful. However, fear of the absence of fear/desire is based on the concept that you are determined by your fears and desires.  But this cannot be true because, as we have already seen, there is no you (see Section 22.2).

In the meditation for September 22 in his book, A Net of Jewels, Ramesh says, "Feelings and emotions are all based on duality. So long as they continue to dominate one's outlook, duality will continue to have a firm hold, excluding the real holiness, the wholeness that is UNICITY."  However, this does not mean to suppress feelings and emotions, because suppression is resistance.  Rather, it means to disidentify from them.  

24.4.  Resistance ends when identification ends

Identification with the I-concept makes fear/desire seem real.  Then separation, the body-mind, and everything else seem real also (see Section 11.3).  These are all nothing but mental images, and are as ephemeral as are all mental images (see Sections 9.1 and 11.1).  This we must see if disidentification is to occur (seeing this is disidentification).

If disidentification is to occur, it may begin through enquiry (see Chapter 22):

Look and see that . . .

. . . there is no "I" to do anything,
. . . fear/desire is nothing but a mental image in Awareness,
. . . the body-mind is nothing but a mental image in Awareness,
. . . people are nothing but mental images in Awareness,
. . . all objects and experiences are nothing but mental images in Awareness.

What-you-are will become apparent when you see what-you-are-not (Section 22.3):

Look and see that . . .

. . . You are not an "I", object, person, experience, or other mental image in Awareness,
. . . You are never responsible for any thought, feeling, or action of the body-mind, nor for its health or survival,
. . . You are Awareness, the only Reality there is.

These practices can be epitomized as follows: 

Focus on nothingness or nonexistence,
and see that no mental image is real, nor can it affect You;


Focus inward, and see that . . . 

. . . You are not a mental image, nor can You be affected.

Before disidentification is complete, there may seem to be a doer doing these practices.  However, the practices themselves show that there is no doer.  By doing so, they tend to put the thinking mind into abeyance (see Section 11.6), and thus to relieve resistance and suffering while allowing the working mind to go about its business.  After disidentification becomes complete, resistance and suffering will both end.  (Other practices for disidentification are given in Chapters 20, 21, 22, 23.)  

24.5.  When resistance ends, life becomes natural and easy

To live without resistance is to live naturally.  In the meditation for June 27 in his 1997 book, A Net of Jewels, Ramesh says, "To live naturally is to live as a mere witness, without control and therefore without mentation, want or volition, uninvolved in the dream-play of  life and living."  

Instead of the word acceptance, Francis Lucille uses the word welcoming, which he defines as "benevolent indifference".  Both words, acceptance and welcoming, imply more than pure indifference.  They also imply the transcendental love of the Self for the Self as discussed in Chapter 16.  As quoted there, Satyam Nadeen says, " only definition of love is embracing whatever is, just as it is, and only because it is---without conditions that it be other than what it is".  Therefore, Love and acceptance are equivalent to each other.  For more about Love, see Chapter 25.

This page last updated December 29, 2002.
Comments?  Questions?  Send them to me at
[email protected] !

from Panhala
"Live with skillful nonchalance and ceaseless concern."

-- Prajnaparamita Sutra

The Other Syntax  

Three Precepts of the Art of Stalking

1.  Everything that surrounds us is an unfathomable mystery.

2.  We must try to unravel these mysteries, but without ever hoping
to accomplish this.

3.  A warrior, aware of the unfathomable mystery that surrounds him
and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place
among mysteries and regards himself as one.  Consequently, for a
warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means
being a pebble, or an ant, or oneself.  That is a warrior's
humbleness.  One is equal to everything.

Carlos Castaneda

Richie from Being One

Some Improvements in Hell

An engineer died and ended up in Hell. Soon, he became dissatisfied with the level of comfort in Hell, and began designing and building improvements. After a while, they had flush toilets, air conditioning, escalators. The engineer was a pretty popular guy.

One day God called to Satan and said with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in Hell?"

Satan replied, "Hey, things are great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

God exclaimed, "What? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake--he should never have gotten down there in the first place. Send him back up here."

"No way," replied Satan. "I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him." 

God threatened, "Send him back up here now or I'll sue!"

Satan laughed and answered, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

John Metzger

David Hodges:  Highlights #581

Here are some old Japanese Haiku about New Year's (translations by R.H. Blyth):

The Great Morning
Winds of long ago
Blow through the pine-trees.
-- Onitsura

(The "Great Morning" was an ancient Japanese term for the morning of New
Year's. )

New Year's Day:
The beginning of the harmony
Of Heaven and Earth.
-- Shiki

New Year's Day;
Nothing good or bad,-
Just human beings.
-- Shiki

That is good, this too is good,-
New Year's Day
In my old age.

New Year's Day also
Has come to its close,
With the sounding bell.
-- Hakki

New Year's Day;
Whosoever's face we see,
It is care-free.
-- Shigyoku

The First Day of the Year:
I remember
A lonely autumn evening.
-- Basho

New Year's Day:
The desk and bits of paper,-
Just as last year.
-- Matsuo

New Year's Day:
My hovel,
The same as ever.
-- Issa

New Year's Day:
What luck! What luck!
A pale blue sky!
-- Issa

New Year's Day
I do not hate
Those who trample on the snow.
-- Yayu

The dawn of New Year's Day;
How far off!
-- Ichiku

The first dream of the year;
I kept it a secret,
And smiled to myself.
-- Sho-u

The smoke
Is now making
The first sky of the year.

[Blyth's commentary on this last haiku is: "No smoke, no sky; no sky, no
smoke. But Issa does not think this. He knows, somehow or other, that the
smoking rising and forming the first sky of the year has a meaning that can
be expressed only by pointedly saying nothing about it."]

All quotations are from Haiku Volume 2: Spring by R.H. Blyth. Tokyo: The
Hokuseido Press, 1981

-- David  

The Great Morning
Sends rainwater
For the coffee. Slurp!  


David Hodges  

Thanks for posting these. I remember compiling these a couple of years ago. It reminds of how quickly New Year's Days succeed eachother. I might say with Issa,

New Year's Day:
My computer,
The same as ever.

The one about smoke making the first sky of the year took on new literal meaning for me last night. I went out with some friends to New Haven's First Night festivities, which included fireworks on the green at midnight.

It was a misty, foggy night, and the smoke from the fireworks hung in the air and obscured the tall buildings around the green. It was quite lovely and a great vision for the first moments of the New Year!


David Hodges

I saw Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, on Sunday.

I have to admit I love the Lord of the Rings and I have the books. I read
them through during college. The movies are wonderful, faithful
adaptations. I think one of the things I love the most is know that Tolkein
invented the languages first and starting writing the books as a way to
develop the languages.

What is interesting to me is the lack of religion in the saga. There is no
overt mention of deities (that I am aware of) though there are plenty of
magical beings like the elves.

There is plenty of Good and Evil but none of it is Absolute. Even the Evil
Lord Sauron is vulnerable. While the forces of Good in these books often
seem to be on the run, hounded from forest to cave to swamp, they do prevail.
People tried to inject Christian allegory into these tales but Tolkein
would have none of it.

Gandalf, perhaps the most potent being in this story, also has his
limitations. He seems to be able to call into play great supernatural
powers when he needs them, yet he doesn't seem to be able to move rapidly
from place to place (relying on Shadowfax for that) or to be able to keep
from being imprisoned in Isengard for a time.

In this latest installment, the Two Towers, the most interesting character
is Gollum. He contains all the contradictions within him, the greed and
lust for the ring, but also loyalty and treachery, loneliness, fear, all
the rest. The actor who portrayed him deserves an Oscar (though I
understand the film actually shows a graphically rendered version of his
body, but based on his real movements.)

Anyway, unlike The Matrix, I don't find a lot of philosophical grab-handles
in this film, to take hold of for discussion or rumination.
I would say, at its heart, the reason these stories are loved is because
they are about the process of enobling....a number of ordinary folk (plus a
smattering of elves, kings, and wizards) get drawn into a struggle against
their will and rise to the occasion and overcome their adversity.

I read somewhere that the Lord of the Rings is the only Quest narrative
where the object is to get rid of something (the Ring of Power) rather than
to find something.

Mark Otter


It seems to me that the ring is a symbol for the "world-ego", as
discussed by Stuart Wilde in "Whispering Winds of Change".  I just
started reading it, so I'm not in a position to recommend it, although
as of page 22, it looks to be a fun read.

Mr. Wilde writes "The process of the ego and the external
manifestation of power unfolds to a majestic pattern of predictability
when you track it back through history, so much so that you can
closely predict what will happen next.  Follow me, if you will, and
I'll paint you a picture of how history unfolds to a specific pattern,
how the ego is currently in a noose, and how we are poised just a
split second before the rickety chair upon which this whole illusion
balances may be kicked away by reality, honesty, and truth.  If you're
a bit of a scamp, this kind of stuff is a lot of fun!"

I suspect I'm a bit of a scamp, as I'm enjoying Mr. Wilde's writing
style enormously thus far.

Well, it does seem a bit of a goofy game - create the illusion(s) of
separation, fear, and death and then try to solve the problem by the
use of force. One ring to bind them; one super power to control them.
Hasn't this been the game of "world domination", played for centuries?
And hasn't each "successful" empire died from within?  I find the
ending of the Lord of the Rings saga most interesting. Well, the third
movie hasn't come out yet, so I don't want to ruin the ending for
those who haven't read the books, but it does seem like ego death to
me.  And it's no surprise that it's the humble folk who have little,
but are willing to sacrifice it for the good of others, who take on
the quest.  Gandolf can't solve the problem because he has a fair
share of the very power that corrupts in the first place.  The Elf
queen (what's her name?) passes the test when she declines the ring.
Only Frodo and Sam can carry the ring to its destruction and even
they, humble as they are are almost caught up by the ring's power. And
in the end, it's... oh yeah, I don't want to give away the ending.
hee, hee.

Love, Mark
ps the death of the "Planetry Group Soul"'s ego. Has an interesting
ring to it, huh? (sheesh)

from NDS News Service  

A peaceful inner self can help bring spirituality into the outer world, author says



Once upon a time, Claudia Horwitz was a burned-out activist. Now, she is a spiritual activist.

Twelve years ago, Horwitz felt completely wrung out. When she stopped and took a look at herself, she saw that she had been neglecting her spiritual side.

"I was a very burned-out activist paying very little attention to my spiritual life," she said.

And she saw that her disregard for her spiritual health had played a significant role in her burn out.

As part of her healing process, Horwitz turned to such spiritual practices as meditation and yoga. Finding her internal balance gave her a new understanding of the relationship between spirituality and social activism.

from NDS News Service

Religious games can prove enlightening

In playing Sect: The Religious Party Game, the first person to land on enlightenment wins.
The full article will be available on the Web for a limited time:

(c) 2001 kansascity and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Mark Fowlkes
Alice's Restaurant

David and company,   I have just posted 2 photos to the Alice's site, in
the photo section.


They are all VERY fine lacquer kodansus, or incense
chests, the photos coming from a Sotheby's and a Christie's auction
catalog.The 1st pic is of a rather large-for-the-type Kodansu, made
in the late 19th cent., by Koma Nagafusa, a famous lacquerer of the
time.As is typical, this has 3 drawers inside, graduating from larger
at bottom, to smallest at top.The surfaces, inside and out, are
rendered in the finest types of gold lacquer (makie), with a scene
from the 23rd chapter of the Tale of Genji," The First Warbler".
Scenes from this particular chapter were very popular on lacquer
incense items, as far back as the Muromachi period.The following
quote is the reason for this;"The scent of plum blossoms, wafting in
on the breeze and blending with the perfumes inside, made one think
that paradise had come down to earth." The phrase"perfumes inside"
here refers to the incense burning in the palace, and blending with
the heavy scent of plum blossoms in the crisp, cold air, with patches
of snow still on the ground.This incense cabinet comes from the March
31st, 1993 Sotheby's auction catalog.This was expected to bring
ninety to one hundred thousand pounds sterling! The dimensions are 10
7/8" by7 -7/8" by9-3/4", making this a larger example of its type.

The next photo, 4 kodansus, are all much smaller than the previous,
and much more typical of the genre. They are all done in fine gold
lacquer with pure silver mountings, like the big one above. The
smallest one in upper right corner is 3-5/8" by2-5/8" by3". The
largest, in the bottom right corner is 5-1/4" by 2-3/4" by4". These
all have drawers inside, 7 in the case of the largest one, 3 for the
rest, which is the normal #. These are from the September 17th, 1997
Christies catalogue, and were expected to go for $2000.00 to
$8000.00, priced SINGLY, not for the group.

As you can see, wealthy Japanese used to but exhorbitant sums of
money into their incense paraphenalia. New ones, made today, of this
quality, would cost much more than these auction prices, believe it
or not. Now, David, here is what I would like from you: where and
when and how were these kodansu used in the Kodo ceremony? Am I right
in guessing that they were for storing or containing fine aloeswood,
at some stage in the Kodo process? If so, precisely when and how? Due
to their high cost, these Kodansu may not still be used in Kodo, or,
are they, David? I hope everyone enjoys these beautiful incense
items. I'll be adding more soon. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Mark Fowlkes, Atlanta

(editor's note: there has not been a response posted to Mark's questions. They will be posted here. --jk)  

  Al Larus NDS  

New Year's Day.

a stone on the shore.

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