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Issue #1415 - Monday, April 28, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Image by Ben and Diana    

Mary Bianco

In the 21st century, we now know that there are over 100 billion galaxies in the universe and each galaxy contains 200 billion suns.  

"Our own sun, relative to Earth is a gigantic thermal power plant; but relative to our galaxy, the Milky Way, it is a tiny luminous point of medium brightness that would be hard to find in the outer arms of the spiral.  And this point of light is orbited by a tiny blue speck, hundreds of thousands times smaller, on which a very strange species roams of late, regarding itself as very big and important." -Gerald Staghun, U.S. Physicist  

"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena...On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. Thousands of religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher and politician, every superstar and leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." -Carl Sagan  

"And speaking of a "mote of dust", can you imagine how small atoms are? Atoms are so minute, that it in order to count the number of atoms in one drop of water, it would take the entire population of planet earth (approximately 6 billion people) counting continuously for 10,000 years." -Isaac Asimov  

"But what's 10,000 years compared to the age of our universe?  If the fifteen-billion-year lifetime of the universe was compressed into one year, dinosaurs would emerge on Christmas Eve; flowers would arise on December 28th; and men and women would originate at 10:30 PM on New Year's Eve.  All of recorded history would take place in the last ten seconds of December 31." -Carl Sagan  

"In these last ten seconds, we've come a long way. Just a few "seconds" ago, we communicated with smoke signals, Now, we can place a phone call from a plane flying over China to a jeep in Colorado, or click on email from a penthouse in Manhattan to a mountaintop in Maui.  And we can barely imagine what's to come! But whatever it is, the most important thing to say will be the same as it always has been..."                                    

"Peace on Earth; good will to all".  -Victor Zurbel  

"Statically, the probability of any of us being here is so small that you'd think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise." -Lewis Thomas, Physicist  


Lewis Thomas reminded me of this: "To live fully and be wise, may mean to be comfortable with wonder."  

For more on wonder see the following flash movie:  

Al Larus

I am happy to say
I only push a button

adding nothing, taking nothing away,
here is a picture from a crowdy day


Vicki Woodyard

The Hubris Hotel  

I had an interesting experience down at the Hubris Hotel recently. It's
hard to put into words and the graphics would escape me completely...but
here goes.

I was getting high on writing--thinking that I was doing it. There was a
computer and a pair of fingers and so I made assumptions. That night I
had a dream in which God appeared. He was playing a blue Fender guitar
and singing...."down at the end of lonely street...Hubris Hotel." I woke
in a sweat. Hubris, didn't that have something to do with an overinflated
ego. I needed to get out my tire gauge and see if my head was getting too

I looked up hubris in the dictionary. hubris n.  

1. Exaggerated pride or self confidence often resulting in retribution.  

2. Overbearing presumption; arrogance.  

In what way was I courting hubris? Easy. I was catching goldfish in God's
pond and not telling him thank you. These words that flit through the
water don't belong to me. I just think they do. When I start thinking
that I can feed them, I always overdo it and a bunch of beautiful
thought-fish from God go belly up. I am self fish. Forgive me, God. I
will try to do better tomorrow.

Over in the corner I see an angel warming up the doghouse bass. Elvis,
hubris....I got rhythm...but it ain't mine.

Vicki Woodyard  

Gene Poole

Years ago, I had a very vivid dream. It gradually
became 'lucid', until at the end, it was utterly real.

In the dream, I was a teenager, standing in the
midst of a milling crowd. The crowd of people
were muttering and dissatisfied.

I was doing a 'job', of signing 'autographs' on
papers and giving them to those people.

I noticed that I was standing near  the base of
a statue, but I was so busy that I did not have
time to look at the statue, which was high
above me, on the raised stone base.

Some  of the people were arguing with me, but
I could not understand their language. They
were  unhappy, but continued to reluctantly
accept the 'autographs'  that I was creating.

Finally, I looked up at the statue.

There, many feet above me, was the actual
living 'Superman', cape floating in the breeze,
hands on hips.

He was looking down at me, with an expression
of concern and disapproval. He was looking
directly at me, and I was suddenly struck through
with a deep feeling of shame.

I realized that I had been signing autographs
for 'Superman'!

I became weak and disoriented, and plopped
down on the steps at the base of the 'statue'.

I was astonished... how had this happened, that
I had 'showed up' and was signing autographs,
for a Being who was so far above and beyond me?

What was the meaning of this ridiculous situation?

The crowd began to mutter threats, demanding that
I resume signing autographs, but I saw the utter
futility of even attempting to resolve the situation.

It was then, that I awakened from the dream. I
was literally sweating in shame and anxiety.

Over the years, I have thought about this dream
and what it could 'mean'. Why had I had this dream?

Maybe the others, could not see that the 'statue'
was actually alive, and not merely a chunk of
bronze. But even if that were the case, what possible
justification could there be, for me signing
autographs for a superior Being?

I continue to speculate about this. It seems  to
be  an endless source of insight for me.

Thank you, Vicki, for your continuing

Mazie Lane

Hello Vicki, Hello Gene.

Great dream stories you shared. Something similar but different happened in a dream that I had back in the eighties, early eighties. During this time I was meditating regularly and deeply, doing Kriya Yoga via Paramahansa Yogananda’s teachings. I was also enjoying the lift of the leaf and smoked weed as regularly and as deeply as I did meditation. But I was terribly conflicted because I had heardGuruji’s disciples, his monastics who carried on with SRF after he left his body, speak against it, saying it would destroy will power, concentration and and a host of other less than desirable little destructions. So I devised a plan whereby, whenever I smoked I wouldn’t think of Guruji. I pushed him out of mind and I thought that I had managed to free myself up from guilt, you know, no one sees, me no one knows and if I don’t allow them in then I will be safe to do as I please.Yeah, right. I had a dream which found me inside a small, aluminum shed smoking weed. I thought,"Cool, I found a great place where I won’t be seen and Master will never know that I’m smoking this herb. So I lit up, delightedly. I felt an intense energy behind me, a piercing overwhelming sense of someone’s presence. I turned around with the smoking ‘gun,’dangling from my hand and there was Yoganandaji, looking at me, staring right through me with an intensity that leveled me. He never said a word. Didn’t need to. I got it. I was mortified and ashamed at first, until I realized he wasn’t there to chastize me about smoking, he just wanted me to know that there was nothing he did not know about me and there was nowhere I was that he was not there too. Man oh man did I get a lesson. I had conveniently, in my own guilt and blame game, forgot that he had told me before in meditation, standing around and in dream vision, "I am with you always." Do i hear Bob Marley wailing his resurrection song?



By the time we got to Yasgur's farm, we were overloaded

By Chris Bohjalian, 4/27/2003

I was in third grade in 1969, and so my principal memories of that year revolve around Little League baseball and a teacher who kept a television set in her classroom and upon whom I thus had a powerful crush. I was not oblivious to the reality that the world was shifting that year -- I wore a copper-colored peace medallion to school, and most of my parents' Saturday-night dinner parties were raucous affairs that seemed to be but a highball away from someone suggesting they shuffle their driver's licenses like playing cards and start swapping spouses -- but I recall only vaguely the seminal news events of that year: Neil Armstrong's arrival on the surface of the moon. Woodstock. The Tate-LaBianca murders. The New York Mets. And, of course, the continuing carnage in Southeast Asia and the nation's increasing disgust with the war in Vietnam.

All of these moments in history (and then some) appear in Joseph Freda's coming-of-age novel set in the summer of '69, ''The Patience of Rivers.'' Most are viewed from the perspective of 18-year-old Nick Lauria, a high school graduate savoring his last summer at home before heading to the State University at Albany, which means, alas, that most also come with an appropriately vintage soundtrack. Steppenwolf, Marvin Gaye, Zager and Evans, Johnny Cash, Paul Mauriat (remember ''Love Is Blue''?), the Doors, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Fifth Dimension, and Strawberry Alarm Clock all appear in the first two-thirds of the novel. When that massive rock concert looms only a few miles away in what was farmer Max Yasgur's fields -- the concert we now call simply Woodstock -- they are joined by Santana, Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix . . . and . . . and . . .

You get my drift. It's all a purple haze to me now.

Nick's family lives on the Delaware River, where they run an extensive campground for tourists. His parents started the business with his father's friend, Ted Miles, and now it has grown to the point where they also rent canoes and camper-trailers, and offer trail rides on a dozen horses. A variety of different elements are conspiring to force Nick to grow up. There are the letters he receives from his friend Felix, a young infantry soldier in Vietnam. There are the comely teenage Van Vooren sisters, who live nearby and have a tendency either to dive naked into the river when Nick and his best friend, Charlie Miles (Ted's son), paddle past in their canoes, or who view double-entendres involving the Hershey chocolate kiss as the height of sophisticated sexual banter. And there is the tension between his parents and Ted over how to run their business, and the increasing likelihood that among the investors Ted solicited to build the establishment is a developer with links to organized crime.

The tale, set largely in the months before Woodstock (''the Summer of the Perpetual Buzz,'' Nick has christened it) and then during the four-day festival itself, offers all the staples of most coming-of-age novels: Nick's parents' marriage is in trouble, he must navigate the myriad cliques that define the social worlds of most teenagers, and he (and, thus, the reader) spends massive amounts of time almost having sex before finally losing his virginity to a woman who is smart and beautiful and wise -- and, happily, more experienced than he.

As Freda demonstrated in his first novel, ''Suburban Guerrillas,'' he has an admirable eye for idiosyncratic detail. Sometimes that eye is apparent in this, his second effort, especially when he is describing Nick's mother's affection for the horses, or the nuts and bolts of running a family campground. More often, however, in ''The Patience of Rivers'' he offers a mere compendium of the sights and sounds of 1969 -- and, given the material that 1969 left him, with far too little irony. The results are passages like these:

''Nick swung the MG into the fishing access with gravel spraying and Iron Butterfly hitting the drum solo.''

Or this: ''Nick wasn't the only one to pick up the vibe between Eva and Charlie. Cecie Van Vooren stepped in to drape her arm around her sister's shoulder.

'' `Don't listen to her, Charlie,' Cecie said. `From what I hear, those freak chicks at Columbia will sleep with anybody.' ''

Or this: ''The inside of Lucas's bus was painted with wacky cartoon characters: Wile E. Coyote chasing a joint-smoking Road Runner, Daffy Duck with a Beatles wig and electric guitar, Mickey and Minnie Mouse balling and grinning out at the audience. Mr. Natural, of course, truckin'.''

Of course. By the time I was finished, I think I must have smelled of incense and peppermint (and patchouli -- there's a lot of patchouli in these pages, too).

Nevertheless, Nick is interesting and charismatic, and in the end he proves to be the kind of person in whom it's worth investing a little time.

Moreover, it was nice to get a sense of what I missed that fateful summer. I may not have been old enough to attend Woodstock, but at least I know now what kind of vibes the freak chicks were sending.

The Patience of Rivers
By Joseph Freda
Norton, 351 pp., $24.95

Chris Bohjalian is the author of eight novels, including ''The Buffalo Soldier,'' recently published in paperback.

This story ran on page E7 of the Boston Globe on 4/27/2003.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.



Sunday Express - The Art of Self Discovery

Enlightenment is a joke!

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Seekers on the spiritual path are curious to know about Enlightenment. What is Enlightenment? I say, ‘‘Enlightenment is like a joke!’’ It is like a fish in the ocean searching for the ocean.

Once upon a time, there was a congregation of fish, who got together to discuss who among them had seen the ocean. None of them could say they had actually seen the ocean. Then one fish said, ‘‘I think my great grandfather had seen the ocean!’’ A second fish said, ‘‘Yes, yes, I have also heard about this.’’ A third fish said, ‘‘Yes, certainly, his great grandfather had seen the ocean.’’

So they built a huge temple and made a statue of the great grandfather of that particular fish! They said, ‘‘He had seen the ocean. He had been connected with the ocean.’’

Enlightenment is the very core of our being; going to the core of our self and living our life from there.

We all came into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our innocence. We were born with silence and as we grew up, we lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts and as time passed, we moved into our heads.

Now the reversal of this journey is enlightenment. It is the journey from the head back to the heart, from words back to silence; getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Although very simple, this is a great achievement.

Knowledge should lead you to that beautiful point of ‘‘I don’t know.’’ The purpose of knowledge is ignorance!

The completion of knowledge will lead you to amazement and wonder. It makes you aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood. One can live life as fully in its completeness, in its totality.

Enlightenment is that state of being mature and unshakeable under any circumstances. Come what may, nothing can rob the smile from your heart. Going beyond the limited boundaries, and feeling ‘‘all that exists in this universe belongs to me,’’ is enlightenment.

Unenlightenment is easy to define. It is limiting yourself by saying, ‘‘I belong to this particular place’’, ‘‘I am from that culture’’ or ‘‘I belong to this religion’’.

It is like children saying, ‘‘My dad is better than your dad,’’ or ‘‘My toy is better than your toy.’’ I think most people around the world are stuck in that mental age group, just the toys have changed. Adults say, ‘‘My country is better than your country’’ or ‘‘my religion is better than your religion.’’

A Christian will say, ‘‘The Bible is truth,’’ and a Hindu will say, ‘‘The Vedas are the truth. They are very ancient.’’ Muslims will say, ‘‘The Koran is the last word of God.’’ We attribute glory to something just because we are from that culture, not for what it is.

If one could take credit for all that exists throughout the ages and feel as though ‘‘It belongs to me,’’ then, that is maturity. ‘‘This is my wealth because I belong to the divine.’’

The Divine, according to time and space, gave different knowledge in different places. One becomes the knower of the whole universe and can say ‘‘all the beautiful flowers are from my garden.’’

The whole evolution of man is from being somebody to being nobody, and from being nobody to being everybody.

Have you observed that young children have that sense of belonging that oneness, that innocence? As we grew up we lost that innocence and became more cunning. The innocence of an ignorant man has no value, and the cunningness of an intelligent man also has no value.

Enlightenment is a rare combination of innocence and intelligence, having words for expression and, at the same time, being very silent. In that state, the mind is fully in the present moment. Whatever is necessary is revealed to you in such a natural and spontaneous way, you just sit and the song of the nature flows through you.


R. K. Shankar
I Am list

aniththaveLi yinbichchai yaRRAnA yAnmA
thaninbit Riruththi thanaiyuR - Ranisamun
thannoLi yARkudan thannuL viLakkenath
thannuLE thAnoLirvan RAn.


" 1)  With the 'inconstant outer happiness craving' having ceased,
  2)   transforming (it) into the Love of the Self, attaining to the Self,
  3)   incessantly by the Light of the Self,as 'a lamp within a pot',
  4)  within (one)self(!) alone, 'He, the Self' will shine."


of Sri Bhagavan's Tamil Atma Bodha Verse 51

Yours in Sri Bhagawan
RK Shankar

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: