Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day
HIGHLIGHTS #1315 - Friday, January 10, 2003 - Editor: Gloria Lee
"What we do to the
lives and lands of others may ultimately determine the fate of
~Guaraní shaman, Pa'i Antonio Moreira
Steve Toth Buddaway
The earth is fluent in life
Trees don't go around bragging
about how they make weather
You have to watch the clouds
forming above them & wonder
There are secrets the trees keep
though their silence thunders
The earth doesn't want the sun
to shine everywhere
so it covers itself with leaves when it rains
Love lives in the sun
Love lives in the shadows too
When you humans were being
driven from paradise
it was your own minds that did the driving
Your fall was from life
to the knowledge of life
but the plants & animals didn't go along
They're living in paradise still
Meanwhile the earth has learned to read
It has eyes that are reading these words
It has a mouth
right under your nose
When you cut the trees
the floods come
The water isn't absorbed deeply
when it rains
where the trees used to be
It stays on the surface
& runs off like a thief
with the top soil
The life's work of many a life washed out
I may be dumb
but I'm using the same words
Love makes us listen
even when we don't
know the language
Vanishing Forests, Endangered People
An old Indian stands in the rain in
northern Argentina, amid the charred ruins of his
village. His name is Pa'i Antonio Moreira. Over his thin sweater two strings of
black beads crisscross his chest like bandoliers, signifying that he is a ñanderú, a
shaman of his people. They are among the last few Guaraní Indians in this country,
part of a cultural group that once inhabited a forest stretching from Argentina to the
Amazon. Now only remnants of that forest and its creatures and people are left.
The night before, government men in
forest-service uniforms torched the
community's village. The l,500-acre tract of semitropical woodland where they
lived is only a few miles from Iguazú Falls, the biggest waterfall in South America.
Once sacred to the Guaraní, Iguazú is now overwhelmed by tourists. Moreira's
village was burned to make way for yet another hotel. The next Indian village to
the south is also gone, swallowed by the waters of a new reservoir. The villages
beyond that are no longer surrounded by black laurel and ceiba trees, which
sheltered the deer and tapir the Guaraní once hunted, but by silent forests of
Monterey pine, imported from California and planted by a nearby paper company
for its superior fiber content.
The old shaman's kinsmen huddle
around a fire, while the embers of their homes
hiss and sizzle in the rain. The people descend from a stubborn band of Guaraní
who refused to be evangelized when Jesuits arrived here 400 years a go. Moreira
tells us that these ills curse the Guaranís world because white men ignore the true
way of God. Only the Indian, he says, remembers how God intended the world to
be. Then why, we ask, has God allowed the white man to triumph, and the Indian to
suffer? He gazes at us from beneath heavy-lidded eyes filled with loss and compassion.
"The white man hasn't triumphed," he says softly. "When the Indians vanish, the
rest will follow." [...]
"Finally, we stood with
Professor Bedrich Magas of Chile's Magellan University at
the tip of the Americas, looking out toward the growing polar ozone hole. Magas
reminded us that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had recently
discovered destructive chlorine over the northern United Statesjust like that which
was found over Antarctica only a few years earlier. It was a disturbing reminder of
the warning of the Guaraní shaman: What we do to the lives and lands of others
may ultimately determine the fate of our own."
The Other Syntax
So-Called Soul-Searching Questions
Whenever I tried to ask
any of them for help, they outright refused to have
anything to do with me. They all argued that, without the necessary energy on my
part, all they would do would be to repeat themselves, and that they didn't have
time for that. At first, I found their refusal ungenerous and unfair. After awhile,
however, I gave up every attempt to probe them, and I simply enjoyed their
presence and their company. And I realized that they were, of course, totally right
in refusing to play our favorite intellectual game, that of pretending to be
interested by asking so- called soul-searching questions, which usually have no
meaning to us whatsoever. And the reason they have no meaning to us is that we
don't have the energy to do anything about the answer we might hear, except to
agree or disagree with it.
Pg. 213 BEING-IN-DREAMING Florinda Donner
MJ Gilbert Along the Way
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
The surest sign of spiritual progress is a total
lack of concern about progress. There is an utter
absence of anxiety about anything like liberation
and a sort of hollowness in one's being, a kind of
looseness and involuntary surrender to whatever
- Ramesh S. Balsekar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
"A Net of Jewels"
Ramesh S. Balsekar
Advaita Press, 1966
"Winter in Maine" painting by Jeff Belyea
Alan Watts on Nature of Consciousness
So then, just in the same way as you don't know--you don't focus your attention--on how you make your thyroid gland function, so in the same way, you don't have any attention focused on how you shine the sun. So then, let me connect this with the problem of birth and death, which puzzles people enormously of course. Because, in order to understand what the self is, you have to remember that it doesn't need to remember anything,just as you don't need to know how you work your thyroid gland.
So then, when you die, you're not going to have to put up with everlasting non-existance, because that's not an experience. A lot of people are afraid that when they die, they're going to be locked up in a dark room forever, and sort of undergo that. But one of the interesting things in the world is--this is a yoga, this is a realization--try and imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up. Think about that. Children think about it. It's one of the great wonders of life. What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? And if you think long enough about that, something will happen to you. You will find out, among other things, it will pose the next question to you. What was it like to wake up after having never gone to sleep? That was when you were born. You see, you can't have an experience of nothing; nature abhorres a vacuum. So after you're dead, the only thing that can happen is the same experience, or the same sort of experience as when you were born. In other words, we all know very well that after other people die, other people are born. And they're all you, only you can only experience it one at a time. Everybody is I, you all know you're you, and wheresoever all being exist throughout all galaxies, it doesn't make any difference. You are all of them. And when they come into being, that's you coming into being.
You know that very well, only you don't have to remember the past in the same way you don't have to think about how you work your thyroid gland, or whatever else it is in your organism. You don't have to know how to shine the sun. You just do it, like you breath. Doesn't it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex thing, and that you're doing all this and you never had any education in how to do it? Never learned, but you're this miracle? The point of it is, from a strictly physical, scientific standpoint, this organism is a continuous energy with everything else that's going on. And if I am my foot, I am the sun. Only we've got this little partial view. We've got the idea that 'No, I'm something IN this body.' The ego. That's a joke. The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention. It's like the radar on a ship. The radar on a ship is a troubleshooter. Is there anything in the way? And conscious attention is a designed function of the brain to scan the environment, like a radar does, and note for any troublemaking changes. But if you identify yourself with your troubleshooter, then naturally you define yourself as being in a perpetual state of anxiety. And the moment we cease to identify with the ego and become aware that we are the whole organism, we realize first thing how harmonious it all is. Because your organism is a miracle of harmony. All these things functioning together. Even those creatures that are fighting each other in the blood stream and eating each other up. If they weren't doing that, you wouldn't be healthy.
So what is discord at one level of your being is harmony at another level. And you begin to realize that, and you begin to be aware too, that the discords of your life and the discords of people's lives, which are a discord at one level, at a higher level of the universe are healthy and harmonious. And you suddenly realize that everything you are and do is at that level as magnificent and as free of any blemish as the patterns in waves. The markings in marble. The way a cat moves. And that this world is really OK. Can't be anything else, because otherwise it couldn't exist. And I don't mean this in a kind of Pollyanna Christian Science sense. I don't know what it is or why it is about Christian Science, but it's prissy. It's got kind of a funny feeling to it; came from New England.
But the reality underneath physical existence, or which really is physical existence--because in my philosophy there is no difference between the physical and the spiritual. These are absolutely out-of-date catagories. It's all process; it isn't 'stuff' on the one hand and 'form' on the other. It's just pattern-- life is pattern. It is a dance of energy. And so I will never invoke spooky knowledge. That is, that I've had a private revelation or that I have sensory vibrations going on a plane which you don't have. Everything is standing right out in the open, it's just a question of how you look at it. So you do discover when you realize this, the most extraordinary thing that I never cease to be flabbergasted at whenever it happens to me. Some people will use a symbolism of the relationship of God to the universe, wherein God is a brilliant light, only somehow veiled, hiding underneath all these forms as you look around you. So far so good. But the truth is funnier than that. It is that you are looking right at the brilliant light now that the experience you are having that you call ordinary everyday consciousness--pretending you're not it--that experience is exactly the same thing as 'it.' There's no difference at all. And when you find that out, you laugh yourself silly. That's the great discovery.
In other words, when you really start to see things, and you look at an old paper cup, and you go into the nature of what it is to see what vision is, or what smell is, or what touch is, you realize that that vision of the paper cup is the brilliant light of the cosmos. Nothing could be brighter. Ten thousand suns couldn't be brighter. Only they're hidden in the sense that all the points of the infinite light are so tiny when you see them in the cup they don't blow your eyes out. See, the source of all light is in the eye. If there were no eyes in this world, the sun would not be light. So if I hit as hard as I can on a drum which has no skin, it makes no noise. So if a sun shines on a world with no eyes, it's like a hand beating on a skinless drum. No light. YOU evoke light out of the universe, in the same way you, by nature of having a soft skin, evoke hardness out of wood. Wood is only hard in relation to a soft skin. It's your eardrum that evokes noise out of the air. You, by being this organism, call into being this whole universe of light and color and hardness and heaviness and everything.
Mace Mealer Illuminata
A number of Dharma protectors
stopped by my dreams the other night,
all blood and fire and fangs.
But when I went to get my fears
to pay them, I couldn't find them!
I can tell you,
it was somewhat embarrassing!
So I invited them in, and we
had cocoa with lots of marshmallows
and played cards most of the night.
It turns out I knew most of them
from the old days, so we told stories
and had a grand old time.
It seems they had been spending
a lot of time using the old
lookaway dodge back home
to distract certain ChiCom gentlemen
from the existence of some
precious young ones who had
pretty serious destinies to see through.
It brought back memories to see
them though, some had even
been brought around by Paddy.
Before dawn they had to go,
but we promised to keep in touch.
As they were leaving I got to thinking,
these guys are just kids!
Just how frigging old am I?
and then I "remembered,"
It's no wonder
I creak when I walk.
And then I woke up,
Matthew Files NDS
More from my newest
hero Ken Wilber:
K.W.-Anybody can say *All things are one*, *All sentient beings
possess Spirit*, *All things are part of a great unified Web of
Life*, or *Subject and Object* are nondual. Anybody can say those
things. The question, do you directly and actually realize that? Are
you speaking with any sort of awakened authority, or are these just
words to you?
Interviewer- What if
they are just words? What does it matter?
K.W.- Well spiritual realities involve not merely statements
about the objective world, but also statements of subjective facts,
interior facts-and for those statements to be true when they come
from your mouth, you must be directly in touch with those higher
interior facts or else you are not being truthful, no matter how
*correct* the words might sound. It is the subjective state of the
speaker, and not the objective content of the words, that determines
the truth of the utterance.
has to do with seeing how precious things really are."
Al Larus True Vision
In the wonderland of
you will get just what you want,
a smiley on the front.
At least sometimes, it seems.
Under the orange
sticks of the sun
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again
and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands
of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---
there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---
each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.
~ Mary Oliver ~ Web version at www.Panhala.net/Archive/Morning_Poem.html
top of page