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Issue #1391 - Thursday, April 3, 2003 - Editor: Jerry   Home on NDS:  

  from A Course in Consciousness   Dialogue in Consciousness 

1.  What is the difference between a concept and Reality? 

a.  A concept is a result of conceptualization, which is the process of separating and naming. 

b.  Conceptualization is a process learned in early childhood.  The infant does not conceptualize because its intellect is undeveloped.  In contrast, the sage has a well-developed intellect and conceptualizes but sees that separation is an illusion.

c.  Conceptualization appears to fragment Reality (Wholeness) into separate objects so that It no longer seems to be whole.  However, Reality remains unchanged by it.

d.  All objects are concepts.

e.  Without conceptualization, there are no objects (e.g., in dreamless sleep, under anesthesia, in samadhi).

f.  No object exists since separation, being only a concept, does not exist.

g.  Reality is absence of separation. 

2.  What is meant by true and untrue concepts?

a.  Since Reality is absence of separation, It cannot be conceptualized or perceived, and It transcends all concepts.  Therefore, no concept can be Reality (but it can be true, see g and h below).

b.  A belief is a concept to which the mind is strongly attached.

c.  A belief that cannot be verified by direct seeing is always subject to attack by a counter belief.  Therefore, it must be constantly reinforced by repetition of the belief.  Blind, unexamined, purposeful adoption of a belief is called faith.

d.  Example:  A material object by definition is separate from other material objects.  Therefore, material objects are nothing but concepts and do not exist.  The belief that material objects are real is constantly reinforced by materialistic culture, and can be sustained only by a failure to see the distinction between objects and Reality.

e.  Although concepts cannot be Reality, they can point to Reality. 

f.  A pointer is an invitation to see directly the distinction between a concept and Reality. 

g.  If a concept asserts or implies the existence of any object, it is untrue.  If it negates the existence of an object, it is true (but not Reality).  A true concept can be a useful pointer to Reality.

h.  Example:  The concept that material objects do not exist is true, and is a pointer to Reality.

3.  What is the world (the universe)? 

a.  The world (the universe) is the collection of objects consisting of the body-mind and all other objects. The world appears to exist in time and space.

b.  However, time and space are nothing but concepts: 

c.  Time is the concept of change.  Since all objects change, all objects are temporal concepts.

d.  Space is the concept of extension (size and shape).  Since all objects are extended in space, all objects are spatial concepts.  

4.  What is it that is aware of the world?  

a.  Awareness is what is aware of the world.

b.  Awareness is self-evident.  It does not change and has no extension.  Therefore, Awareness is not a concept or object.

c.  All objects appear in Awareness and are Its contents.

5.  What is meant by transcendence? 

a.  Transcendence is not a concept or object and neither exists nor not exists. 
a.  Example:  Awareness is real and transcendent. 

6.  What are You? 

a.  You are not a concept or object.  Direct seeing shows that You are not the body-mind.  Rather, You are Awareness of the body-mind.

b.  The world and the body-mind appear in You.

c.  Since Awareness transcends the world and the body-mind, You neither exist nor not exist. 

7.  What is the I-object? 

a.  The I-object is an assumed entity that results from identification of Awareness, which is real, with the I-concept, which is unreal.  It seems to exist, but direct seeing shows that it does not. 

8.  What is it that makes other objects seem to exist? 

a.   The seeming existence of the I-object makes other objects also seem to exist because, like all concepts, the I-concept is dualistic. This means that it appears in a dual pair, e.g., I and not-I. 

9.  What is the personal sense of doership and responsibility? 

a.  The illusory I-object carries with it the illusory personal sense of doership and responsibility.

b.  However, there is no doer, no thinker, no chooser, and no observer.

c.  Therefore, You can do nothing and You are responsible for nothing.  Thus, if something is supposed to happen, it will.  If not, it won’t.

10.  If there is no doer, how do things happen? 

a.  Doership is a concept that assumes that causality exists (“I can cause this to happen”).

b.  However, like every other concept, causality also does not exist. 

c.  Since all objects are nothing but concepts, everything that happens is also nothing but a concept.  

d.  Everything that happens happens causelessly (spontaneously).

e.  Even if objects existed, it is easily seen that no putative cause could ever be isolated from the rest of the universe, so it could never act alone.  Therefore, the entire universe would have to be the cause. 

f.  Because the I-object and causality are nothing but concepts, so is free will.  It too does not exist.

g.  Like all other objects, God is nothing but a concept, and does not exist. 

11.  What is suffering? 

a.  Suffering is the desire/fear dualism (i.e., where there is desire, there is fear, and vice versa) plus all the other emotions that derive from desire/fear.

b.  Suffering results from identification of Awareness (You) with the I-concept, making the I-entity seem real.  With the illusory I-entity comes the sense of personal doership and responsibility, plus the illusory existence of all other objects.

c.  Identification makes all objects seem real, desirable and/or fearful. 

12.  What is awakening (enlightenment)? 

a.  Awakening is disidentification of Awareness from the I-concept and therefore also from the concepts of personal doership and responsibility.

b.  With awakening comes the awareness that there is no person or entity to do anything.

c.  Consequently, there are also no other objects.

d.  Since there is no I-object, there is no person that can desire or fear.  Also, since there are no other objects, there is nothing to desire or to fear.  Thus, there is no suffering.

e.  With awakening also comes the awareness that Wholeness has never been affected by either conceptualization or identification. 

13.  What can you do to awaken? 

1.  Since direct seeing shows that there is no doer, there is nothing that you can do to awaken, and therefore you have no responsibility for it. 

2.  Since all practices happen in time, and awakening is intemporal and happens outside of time, no practice can bring about awakening.  

14.  Does this mean that there is no hope for the sufferer? 

1.  Definitely not.  There are many practices that can reduce suffering.  However, like all other actions, they are never done by a doer since there is no doer.  Therefore, if they are supposed to happen, they will.  If not, they won’t.

2.  Any practice that leads to direct seeing can be a pointer to Reality.

3.  Example:  To verify that there is no I-object, look inward for it and see that there is none.  See also that everything that happens happens spontaneously, so there is no doer and there is no responsibility. Therefore, You cannot be affected and You cannot suffer.

4.  Example:  To verify that objects do not exist, look at them and see that, without the concept of separation, they cannot exist. Therefore, they cannot affect You who are the Awareness of them.

5.  When you go inward, identification weakens and suffering diminishes.  The more time you spend inward, the better you will feel.

This page last updated January 20, 2003.
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Effectual, Fervent Prayer…of Jedediah Combs

By: C. Keith Young, Raconteur

There once was a staunch, crusty, old circuit-riding preacher by the name of Jedediah Combs, who was called upon to take on a new section of the county. Although there had been many a preacher-man before him, it seemed no one could last any amount of time at all. When Jedediah received his commission, the elder warned him of the main reason for the others’ early exit: Big Jack. “Don’t you worry none, brother elder,” said the Preacher. “As the Good Book says, ‘The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man gets the job done, every time’.”

As the preacher headed up into the hills, he began to hear one horror story after another about Big Jack. Not only was Big Jack a moonshiner, he was just plain mean. The further the preacher trudged on up into the hills, the worse the stories got from those who’d had run-ins, or knew someone who’d had an unfortunate ‘crossing of the ways’ with Big Jack. Each time, the preacher would saddle up and ‘fare ye well’ the worried tale-teller with his favorite phrase, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man gets the job done, every time.” Finally, one day, while Jedediah was sitting on the ground lunching on a raw turnip, out from behind a blackberry thicket stepped a big, burly, nasty-looking mountain man. The preacher knew immediately who it must be. “Air you Big Jack?” said the preacher. “And whut if I am?” said the mountain man, stepping up so close the preacher could smell the hard liquor on his breath and see the tobacco stains in the corner of his lips. “I’m a lookin’ to pray for his soul,” said the preacher. “For the effectual, fervent pra…”

Just then the mountain man whipped out a butcher knife the size of a small machete, waved it in the preacher’s face, and said, “Then ye’d better start prayin’ for yer own soul, for I’m Big Jack, and I carve up nosy preachers.”

The preacher quickly rolled to his knees, folded his hands underneath his chin and said, “Big Jack. I’m an unarmed man. You won’t mind me taking a couple minutes in prayer before you begin, will ya?”

Big Jack was so surprised the preacher didn’t take off and run like the other ones, he just laughed a big, sleazy belly-laugh, started cleaning his fingernails with the butcher-knife, and snorted, “Yeah, go ahead. I kin wait.”

With that, the preacher began to pray. “Oh, Lord. Why Thou hast chosen me to be the ‘messenger of grace’ and the ‘angel of Death,’ Thou knowest. Thou knowest that when I was set upon by Jake Gibbons, the fiercest wrassler and bear-hunter in the county, that upon him laying his hands on me, Your Spirit came upon me mightily, and lo, these many years, I have regretted paralyzing him from the neck down for the rest of his miserable days. And Thou knowest also that when I was forced to defend myself against Murderin’ Bill Henry and Snake Oil Simpson, with only my bare hands and a rusted railroad spike, that I promised ye, upon their broken and mangled bodies, I would never again put another man to such a slow, agonizing demise, but be sure to get it over with, quick-like.” About this time, Jedediah slipped out from underneath his overcoat a long, rusty, railroad spike, which he held high above his head, and then he continued.

“O Lord! if it must be your irresistible, divine will that this be the day that Big Jack’s bloated, disemboweled body be fed to the maggots and vermin of this wild and untamed land, so be it.”

Without so much as an “amen” the preacher suddenly bolted up into the air, hollering a wild, bloodcurdling scream that echoed up and down the hills, and hit the ground slashing the air back and forth with that railroad spike. Then he crouched down like a she-bear on the kill, and snarled, “All right, Big Jack. Let’s get it on!” But when he looked around, Big Jack was nowhere to be seen. As a matter of fact, for the rest of his circuit-riding days, that preacher never laid eyes on Big Jack again - which just goes to show you what Jedediah Combs knew all along: “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man (armed with a rusty railroad spike) gets the job done, every time.”

Traditional tale retold by C. Keith Young, 2002.

Author Information:
Name: C. Keith Young, Raconteur

There are in the Middle East today two challenging ideas: old and new. The old ideas will vanish because they are weak and exhausted. There is in the Middle East an awakening that defies slumber. This awakening will conquer because the sun is its leader and the dawn is its army.

In the fields of the Middle East, which have been a large burial ground, stand the youth of Spring calling the occupants of the sepulchers to rise and march toward the new frontiers. When the Spring sings its hymns the dead of the winter rise, shed their shrouds and march forward.

There is on the horizon of the Middle East a new awakening; it is growing and expanding; it is reaching and engulfing all sensitive, intelligent souls; it is penetrating and gaining all the sympathy of noble hearts.

The Middle East, today, has two masters. One is deciding, ordering, being obeyed; but he is at the point of death. But the other one is silent in his conformity to law and order, calmly awaiting justice; he is a powerful giant who knows his own strength, confident in his existence and a believer in his destiny.

There are today, in the Middle East, two men: one of the past and one of the future. Which one are you? Come close, let me look at you and let me be assured by your appearance and your conduct if you are one of those coming into the light or going into the darkness.

Come and tell me who and what are you.

Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; is the second, then you are an oasis in a desert.

Are you a merchant utilizing the need of society for the necessities of life, for monopoly and exorbitant profit? Or a sincere, hard-working and diligent man facilitating the exchange between the weaver and the farmer? Are you charging a reasonable profit as a middleman between supply and demand? If you are the first, then you are a criminal whether you live in a palace or a prison. If you are the second, then you are a charitable man whether you are thanked or denounced by people.

Are you a religious leader, weaving for your body a gown out of the ignorance of the people, fashioning a crown out of the simplicity of their hearts and pretending to hate the devil merely to live upon his income? Or are you a devout and a pious man who sees in the piety of the individual the foundation for a progressive nation, and who can see through a profound search in the depth of his own soul a ladder to the eternal soul that directs the world? If you are the first, then you are a heretic, a disbeliever in God even if you fast by day and pray by night. If you are the second, then you are a violet in the garden of truth even though its fragrance is lost upon the nostrils of humanity or whether its aroma rises into that rare air where the fragrance of flowers is preserved.

Are you a newspaperman who sells his idea and principle in the slave market, who lives on the misery of people like a buzzard which descends only upon a decaying carcass? Or are you a teacher on the platform of the city gathering experience from life and presenting it to the people as sermons you have learned? If you are the first, then you are a sore and an ulcer. If you are the second, then you are a balsam and a medicine.

Are you a governor who denigrates himself before those who appoint him and denigrates those whom he is to govern, who never raises a hand unless it is to reach into pockets and who does not take a step unless it is for greed? Or are you a faithful servant who serves only the welfare of the people? If you are the first, then you are as a tare in the threshing floor of the nations; and if the second, then you are a blessing upon its granaries.

Are you a husband who allows for himself what he disallows for his wife, living in abandonment with the key of her prison in his boots, gorging himself with his favorite food while she sits, by herself, before an empty dish? Or are you a companion, taking no action except hand in hand, nor doing anything unless she gives her thoughts and opinions, and sharing with her your happiness and success? If you are the first, then you are a remnant of a tribe which, still dressing in the skins of animals, vanished long before leaving the caves; and if you are the second, then you are a leader in a nation moving in the dawn toward the light of justice and wisdom.

Are you a searching writer full of self-admiration, keeping his head in the valley of a dusty past, where the ages discarded the remnant of its clothes and useless ideas? Or are you a clear thinker examining what is good and useful for society and spending your life in building what is useful and destroying what is harmful? If you are the first, then you are feeble and stupid, and if you are the second, then you are bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty.

Are you a poet, who plays the tambourine at the doors of emirs, or the one who throws the flowers during weddings and who walks in processions with a sponge full of warm water in his mouth, a sponge to be pressed by his tongue and lips as soon as he reaches the cemetery? Or have you a gift which God has placed in your hands on which to play heavenly melodies which draw our hearts toward the beautiful in life? If you are the first, then you are a juggler who evokes in our soul that which is contrary to what you intend. If you are the second, then you are love in our hearts and a vision in our minds.

In the Middle East there are two processions: One procession is of old people waling with bent backs, supported with bent canes; they are out of breath though their path is downhill.

The other is a procession of young men, running as if on winged feet, and jubilant as with musical strings in their throats, surmounting obstacles as if there were magnets drawing them up on the mountainside and magic enchating their hearts.

Which are you and in which procession do you move?

Ask yourself and meditate in the still of the night; find if you are a slave of yesterday or free for the morrow.

I tell you that the children of yesteryears are walking in the funeral of the era that they created for themselves. They are pulling a rotted rope that might break soon and cause them to drop into a forgotten abyss. I say that they are living in homes with weak foundations; as the storm blows -- and it is about to blow -- their homes will fall upon their heads and thus become their tombs. I say that all their thoughts, their sayings, their quarrels, their compositions, their books and all their work are nothing but chains dragging them because they are too weak to pull the load.

But the children of tomorrow are the ones called by life, and the follow it with steady steps and heads high, they are the dawn of new frontiers, no smoke will veil their eyes and no jingle of chains will drown out their voices. They are few in number, but the difference is as between a grain of wheat and a stack of hay. No one knows them but they know each other. They are like the summits, which can see or hear each other -- not like caves, which cannot hear or see. They are the seed dropped by the hand of God in the field, breaking through its pod and waving its sapling leaves before the face of the sun. It shall grow into a mighty tree, its root in the heart of the earth and its branches high in the sky.

Khalil Gibran

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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