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#1403 - Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Malebranche's Maxim:

"Attentiveness is the natural prayer of the soul."
from Being One

  Native American Herbal Market  

A Hopi Elder Speaks
"You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour,
now you must go back and tell the people that this is the hour.
And there are things to be considered.
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader".
And then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said,
"This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. 
They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being
torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.  The elders say we must let go
of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes
open, and our heads above the water."

"And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this
time in history, we are to take nothing personally least of all
ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and
journey comes to a halt."
"The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!"
"Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. 
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in

"We are the ones we have been waiting for."
from Being One

Thomas Merrell-Wolff 
[email protected]

Wolff's meditative technique  

One place to start with Dzogchen is an excellent little book by Namkhai
Norbu called The Mirror: Advice on the Presence of Awareness. In
Dzogchen, nothing is to be suppressed or avoided in meditation. Not
sensation, not even thought. The trick is to maintain a presence of
awareness even while these objects of consciousness are coming and
going in the periphery. That's especially challenging with thoughts,
since normally we are so often caught up in them. Until one obtains
some degree of detachment from thoughts, Dzogchen meditation is
impossible to practice. That detachment is usually cultivated using
some kind of concentration meditation, such as focusing on the breath,
etc. Another way to cultivate it is Shankara's practice of discrimination
between the real and the unreal (i.e., between emptiness and form,
subject and object). That, of course, was Wolff's approach. He spent
many years doing that before he discovered and was able to practice
the meditative technique similar to Dzogchen that he describes in

Daily Dharma  

"Outside the freezing desert night,
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust,
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.

The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news inside here,
is there's no news at all."  ~Rumi

From the book, "The Enlightened Heart," edited by Stephen Mitchell,
published by Harper and Row.

I received my hard copy of Inner Traveler, the magazine of Meditation Society of America. The hard copy is a whole other experience from the online edition, which is excellent as it stands. It's like the difference between talking to someone using instant messenger and speaking to the same person on the phone. Same information, a whole other quality of transmission.   Check out the Inner Travel website:   Below is a letter I sent to Bob Rose, the editor:  


Hi Bob,  

I received the copy of Inner Traveler in the mail. Thank you very much. It was literally a heart opening experience. No kidding. How'd you do that? It's like Gangaji walking on stage. She generates a palpable psychic environment.  

I like the crisp photos as part of the magic.  



    1997 Festival Poster  

Exclusive to the Highlights...  

Michael Read reports on the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival, held April 10-13, 2003    

Here's what I saw:  

Off The Map with Laud Weiner (a very funny short)   Off The Map is the best movie to come along in a long time. The people are real, the acting superb and the story touches your heart. It will be released sometime this Fall. See it and you will thank me. Yup.   I was on the set construction crew. Who knew that foam and sticks could look so real?  

The Wild Dogs  

A dark convoluted story set in Bucharest, Romania. There are 200,000 dogs (yes 200,000) running wild on the streets of Bucharest. There are beggars and slaves and opportunists living stories of survival.  

Ah, I can't begin to describe this film. It won't get the recognition it deserves because so much of it is hard to watch. For example, the character Sour Grapes a beggar and slave whose legs were deliberately broken by his parents when he was a baby. His legs are so twisted that he is forced to walk on all fours.  

There is the pornographer sent to Bucharest by his boss because the women there do anything. He is told to get shots of small tits and hairless pussy...and comes face to face for the first time with the lowest depths of his industry and his life.   There is the diplomatic consultant and his wife and a beggar boy who has managed to avoid slavery despite the fact that he has no legs and scoots around on a roller-skate like contraption. This character steals your heart.  

There are about five story lines going on.  

The film was funded by a Canadian grant. The director went to Bucharest without a script, only a premise.   This is a very important film. We hide ourselves from the rougher side of life here in the West. In the former communist state of Romania the darker side of life is on full display every day.  

The 200,000 dogs are the legacy of the former communist regime. Who, decided that the proletariat should not have pets. The dogs were simply turned out onto the street. Now, the people of Romania are working to reclaim thier family and national heritages. To them the dogs are to be saved.  

Imitations of Life  

See this film. Here's a line, "Though infinity surrounds us, we percieve it through the window of our personality."  

Short Stories 3  

A collection of shorts starting with one about a Canadian hockey goalie who trys out for American baseball only because hocky has an off season. Yes, he plays baseball in his goalie uniform. Too damn funny!  

The shorts end with a disturbing look at the drug smuggling industry when an 18 year old high school boy is recurited to smuggle heroin into America. Chilling.  


A delightful film wherein the Iberian peninsula (Spain & Portugal) breaks away from Europe and drifts out to sea.   AKA Birdseye with the short L Ulitmo Pistolero  

A stupid/funny mocumentry on the American obsession with the small time crooks who somehow become legends. There is a lot of Fred Ward in this film who plays a sheriff obsessed with the kidnaping of a Swiss national in the States without a visa.   This is the first effort of two young directors, one Swiss one American. They had a great run in Swiss-land but are still trying to get picked-up in the States.  

Vera with the short Rokunga.  

Both these films come from Mexico. Rokunga is probably the most visually stunning short animation that you can imagine. Birdlike creatures fly and swim in a race to retrive an egg.  

Vera is a most intruiging study of death and symbolism. Shot in the caves of the Yucatan peninsula the setting is captivating as an old man crushed by a cave-in as he mines for gold lives out the symbolism of his spiritual life during his final moments.  

The Fast Runner  

This film wasn't open to the general public and was only available to the Pueblo folk for a special screening before the festival. Through a mistake in scheduling (mine) I was able to see this film. It was probably the best film of the festival.  

This film was funded by a Canadian grant. Shot in the NorthWest Territories by an all Inuit crew and written and directed by an Inuit film-maker, you at first may think you are about to see yet another documentary on indigenous people. As the story unfolds you brought into the lives of people who live thier spiritual understanding. You begin to see that the characters are not only people involved in a story of intruige and murder, they also each represent an icon, a spiritual principle embodied and acting out the drama of life.  

The film is available on tape and perhaps dvd. See it, you won't be disapointed.  

I had two different jobs for the festival. I started (we opened ticket sales on April 1) in the box-office selling tickets over the counter. The first two days we gave a dollar discount to the local folk. Tickets are $10 per show. We had them lined up from the back of Holiday Inn all the way out to the street. My station did about $2700 in sales and we did about $11,000 for the first 5 hours. We were only open from 2-7 before the festival. On the third they shifted me over to phones sales and the phones rang solid for 5 hours. We started with 6 lines but for some reason two of them went dead and we were down to four. I could barely talk by 7 pm!  

I had a blast!  

Once the festival started I shifted over to souvenir sales. You know tshirts, caps, posters, pens and raffle tickets. I was able to schedule my commitment to have all day Sunday to watch films.  

Basically, I went two weeks on about 5 hours of sleep a night. Meals consited of the odd slice of pizza, piece of fruit, half a sandwich and coffee all grabbed on the fly. A friend let me stay at his place in town.  

We had a volunteer party Sunday night followed Monday afternoon (4-12) by a screening of four of the films just for the volunteers. When the volunteer co-ordinator was handing out the passes for the party, she took me aside and asked me if I would like to attend the awards ceremony ( a $40 ticket) I said sure but... (I've been living on nickles and dimes these past weeks) She just smiled and slipped the ticket into my shirt pocket saying, 'Not everyone is getting this.' I guess I did a good job or something. <grin>   Ah yes, I had a blast! (being a workaholic for a great event)  

  Jan Sultan
Advaita to Zen

Enlightenment - Catherine Ingram


Q: What do you mean by 'it was done'? You became enlightened?
CI: Enlightenment is not a word I use. I prefer to call this a natural way of being, the most natural actually. Or just radiant presence or dear awareness, clear seeing. I don't use the word enlightenment because the term itself is very loaded. To many people it implies a kind of Big Bang after which you are eternally in a steady state called enlightenment. While in fact the actual experience is a kind of opening in spaciousness, here and now, which allows anything to come and go, with no resistance. It is not a state, it is just relaxing into a natural ease of being. It's already here. When people use the word enlightenment, it implies some point in time that you hop into or it happens to you and then you are there for ever more... I don't think this is a good way of thinking about it.

Q: Then let me put the question this way: with Poonjaji you realized your true nature?
CI: Yes, but what I saw was a recognition of something I already knew. I just hadn't been paying full attention to it. I hadn't given it it's due, it's importance, until I met Poonjaji. I didn't realize: this is IT. And then I saw it really was ~. And it became more and more IT, over time. Everybody has the potential of knowing and living in this vastness. Everyone has an awakened nature and is consciousness manifesting. It just has to do with what you are paying attention to. Some people are paying more attention to this ease of being. They are allowing their attention to rest essentially in this ease of being. Little bubbles on the screen may come by and sometimes they get a little attention, but that's about it. While normally people are lost in the bubbles on the screen; they focus on them. That's the difference. It is a switch of perception.

Q: A switch in perception which usually takes place as a gradual process?
CI: Well, it can happen totally instantaneously too. Some people recognize their true nature right away and that is where their attention rests from that moment on. But for many people it is a process of getting used to it. It is not a process of an occurring; it is a process of a consistency. It is a deepening and a slow relaxation into that recognition. .... It takes a moment to realize that the central problem is gone before you realize that all the other problems that were hanging on to it are also gone. The moment you recognize your true nature, it takes a moment to realize that all your problems were hanging on the central erroneous belief that you are somebody. When this belief is gone, all the problems are gone at the same time. To realize this is waking up fully from the dream.

Q: How did the process of realizing your true nature develop for you?
CI: When I first recognized this pure awareness, that nobody ever touches, which nothing ever sticks to, it was very thrilling to me. I thought that I would never again notice anything else. But the little bubbles, neuroses and all kinds of things came up again. They caught my attention for a little while. And then they fell away again and there was this spaciousness, vastness again. So on one hand I could say it has been a gradual process. But on the other hand I would say it has really gone quite quickly and continuously. And it still goes on and on.

Tony, Nina and Jan

Ahimsa Non-harm  

Namaste All IMO,

The teachings of ahimsa in India are not pacifism or complete non
violence. They essentially are about non harm and resisting violence,
otherwise one is complicit in harm. In other words measured violence
in self defence or against somebody attacking an innocent is expected
and doesn't violate ahimsa.....One is expected to defend the body
universe one occupies as it isn't ours anyway........ONS....Tony.

Interesting. On another list, there was a discussion about
ahimsa/himsa in which it was brought up that ahimsa in meaning is
closer to compassion/lovingkindness than non-violence, or avoiding
violence. There is a connection, somehow, between
compassion/lovingkindness and what you refer to above as 'measured
violence in self defense'... well, at least the two are not mutually
exclusive. --Nina

Hi Tony,

What can be observed with animals, is how easy differences develop when
for some reason, a population is divided into parts, no longer able to meet.
Man, having been spread over the globe, underwent changes too. One
example, Eskimos, able to synthesize vit C in the gut - a unique property
in humans. Another example, a Mexican tribe, adapted to a diet of mainly
cereal - unique too. What is violence to one subspecies isn't to another.
This shows well regarding the once abundant bison: some of what was left
was confined to Moise, Montana, 1909. When this is clear, it also is clear,
the stimuli to trigger acts of self-defense vary around the globe. The concept
of Ahimsa wasn't formulated in a way as to be (sub)species-independent.


Vicki Woodyard


Making Room For Enlightenment

I have been fascinated with enlightenment for many years, to the point of
bringing whole libraries into my house. It has only been since my husband's
illness that I began getting rid of all those books. The empty space has been

I used to stumble over volumes of wisdom stacked randomly in my head. Yet
those books weren't doing the trick.   Maybe I was just a slow learner. Maybe
God didn't love me.  Maybe I wasn't "ripe."  I had to laugh at that one.  I was
riper than was advisable.  Sometimes I was rotten to the core.

No, the Self can be neither ripe nor rotten, for it is imperishable.  The empty
space within is filled with impermeable peace.  The throw rugs of thought can
be removed.  The knick-knacks of knowledge can be swept up and put into a
box.  Then there is only silence.

This housecleaning of the inner self is an honorable thing to do. 
Spring-cleaning of the heart will take a little longer.  It hurts to admit that
we have never been able to handle our emotions, hard though we may have

Losing a child when she was only seven made me cling to heart things for far
too long.  I  had inner boxes of resentment at God for taking her from me.  I had
stacks of old love letters I wrote to her as I wept into my pillow each night.
How was I going to rid myself of such heartache?  The Salvation Army had
taken many of her clothes and toys; they clearly couldn't come for my heart's

The years went by.  I continued to yearn for enlightenment.  I found a true
teacher and collected spiritual knowledge on a higher level.  This was a good
and necessary thing to do, for he was telling me that the true self needs
nothing but God--that it is God.

Then one day he, too, died.  My heart was broken again; but this time I had
something to fall back on that was indestructible.  And it took up no space. I
saw with amazement that what he had given me had taken root outside of my
ego in the garden of grace.  It was blooming in a riot of color and fragrance.

I can't tell you how to get to this garden, for it has no direction. It lies
outside of time and space.  In that garden I found the spirit of my daughter and
all of those whom I had truly loved.  I also found the seeds of true knowledge. 
If I told you that they are within, you would ask me where.  And I would only
say that it is not where you "think."  It is where you "are." 

Vicki Woodyard






the physiology of intellect in Ramana Maharshi's enlightenment:

"When the mind, having pure sattva
 as its characteristic, remain
 attending to the aham sphurana,
 which is the sign of the forthcoming
 direct experience of the Self,
 the downward-facing Heart becomes
 upward-facing and remains in the form
 of That.

This aforesaid attention to the
 source of the aham sphurana alone
 is the path. When thus attended to,
 Self, the reality, alone will remain
 shining in the centre of the
 Heart as I-am-I."



the turning up is a term used about
the petals of the lotuses at the

here is the Amrit-nadi leading from
 the Crown-chakra to the Heart-cave
 down ward: after Enlightenment,
wich happens in the Crown chakra...
as E settles:

From No Mind I Am The Self.. David Godman

The experience of the Self #6

Q: Some people claim to have had
brief experiences of the Self. Is
thisvery common?

Saradamma: Many people
make such claims but I doubt if more
 than a few of them have had a genuine
 experience of the Self.

Because most people have never had
 a direct experience of the Self
 they think that blissful or peaceful
 states of mind are glimpses of the
 Self. The only real experience of
 the Self occurs when the
 mind enters the Heart.

 Imagine a cave with a fierce demon
 in it. If you go in to investigate,
 one of three things may happen: the
 demon may kill you, you may escape
 through the cave entrance, or you
 may break your head on the cave roof
 while you are trying to escape and
 die as a result. Taking the mind
 into the Heart-cave is a little like
 this. Either the Self destroys the
 mind completely, or the mind enjoys
 the bliss of the Self for a while
 before escaping to the brain again,
 or the strain of the experience is
 too much for the body and death

In the last case there will
probably be a rebirth in one of
 the higher worlds.

Most people who claim to have
experienced the Self have not even
taken their minds near to the entrance
of the Heart-cave. And even if the
 mind does go into the Heart, there
is still an 'I' which is experiencing
 the bliss of the Self.

The true experience of the Self
 only happens when the mind is
completely absent, either temporarily
 as in samadhi, or permanently, as in

Both of these experiences are very

It is very difficult to make the
 mind go into the Heart. Mostly it
is too afraid of its own death to even
approach the entrance.

The mental experiences of peace,
bliss and
stillness, which devotees claim to
experience usually, take place
outside the Heart. They are all in
the mind. People who think that
these experiences are the reality
of the Self are only deluding

Love, Karta



Talking Stick Wisdom    

"Home is oneness, home is my original nature. It is right here, simply
in what is. There is nowhere else I have to go, and nothing else I have
to become."

Tony Parsons

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