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Issue #1544 - Thursday, September 4, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Detail from 'The Whirling Dervishes' by Jean-Leon Gerome, French. Oil, 1899. (Contributed by Ben Hassine NDS)  

Michael Read  

Response to a letter from Russel.  

Russel's words are in quotes and italics.
Michael's words are in bold.  

dear russell,  

as editor emeritus of the ndshighlights list i find your
letter of some interest. of course you're puzzled and feel
like something is missing. that's the way seekers usually
feel. It is an honest feeling. you know what I'm talking
about here. that tiny nagging suggestion that what you feel
you so very need is just there, slightly out of reach.

"I'm puzzled by something in all the stuff on enlightenment
that I have looked at on the Internet. I know this is not a
discussion group but despite this I submit the following."

as someone who has been known to refer to his own self as the
only truly enlighted being in the entire universe i don't
mind exercising a little hubris and allow a response to flow
outward from the ever expanding now of just being here. just
a little trick i learned, sort of by accident. ha!

"Something's missing. Most if not all the material I see is
about how to gain enlighenment."

all you really need to understand is the zen ox-herding
story. don't read it as if it were somebody else's story.
read it as if it were your own.

"(And I know this is badly worded - it isn't something you
gain - more something false you lose.)"

nothing is gained or lost.  

"Personally I feel the attraction. I'm pulled to this as
everything I read about it makes so much sense to me. But my
wife doesn't understand (sounds like I'm talking to my
mistress!). She wants to know how it will affect my life in
the world practically and also specifically our relationship,
as she isn't following this path. Good question I thought.
And one I can't answer myself. I can make guesses but the
more I thought about this the less satisfactory I found my
understanding. So I have compiled a few points and questions
below and would appreciate if there is anyone reading this
who can throw some light in this. And maybe some more

well, that all depends on what kind of jerk you become as you
get caught-up in "your" path. really serious spiritual
seekers can go through some fantastically phsycotic episodes.

"Assume in the discussion below I am newly enlightened."  

as a dear friend of mine has been known to say - and i
paraphrase - 'enlightenment is that moment that you realize,
the only thing that has ever made you sad and miserable is
you. '
  "What was I thinking!"  

"1. If I lose my sense of individuality who am I talking about
when I say "I"? "I love you". "I agree to do ....". "This is
my bank account and you've overcharged me". Am I playing a
game here? Do I stop using the word "I" except to mean my

well, you won't be or become any better than the folk around
you. that's fer sure! listen, there is no need to become a
"creeping jesus" - so to speak. the game of life and bank
balances does continue. unless you decide to join a hermatige
or a monastary and take vows folk will still say "hey you!"
and you'll be the one who turns around.

"2. If I don't have any personal wants or needs anymore, what
gets me out of bed and decides what I shall do today / at any

the simple fact that there ain't no free lunch ought to do

"3. Further to 2. if, say, I make an arrangement with a friend
to go bowling. Come the time to go, why should I go? Maybe
I'll go - or not. I don't need to go to prove my ability or
man(/woman)hood or anything else. I might be content just
sitting at home enjoying the succession of moments. Do I go
to avoid annoying my friend or to avoid getting a reputation
for unreliability (which I wouldn't care about). If I get a
reputation for unreliability will it start to alienate me
from some of my current friends? Perhaps I never go bowling
again. Or play basketball / golf /tennis / etc."

heck, do whatever. sit around in a state of catatonic bliss
alla time. who cares? <grin> i've been know to go bowling,

4. Maybe I need to change or abandon my job. Ok this seems to
be obvious as my whole outlook will change."

mere statistics predict that people will change jobs a
certain number of times during their lifes. plus or minus 5%

"5. But what do I do with my life? Do I naturally become a
teacher/guru? I would have thought that this isn't the only
calling - presumably I can other things which I would "want"
to do. (But I don't have any wants!). I'm not looking for a
job to "do good" as I don't have any sense of good and bad -
it's just all as it is."

so what's wrong with being a good guy - hey? and you gonna
wanta eat - ain't ya? and see 3

"6. If I look at love as an impersonal love what does this
mean for my relationship with my wife? Further if I wasn't
with a partner when becoming enlightened, how would one come
to be with me? By random chance? If there's no personal love
could I have a meaningful relationship with just anyone who
walks into the room or is there something which would make a
particular person special to me?"

if you think love is impersonal, you no doubt walk around
with your hoof in your mouth a lot - i would think.

do you think that this thing called enlightenment is
something impersonal? the universe has jacked you around into
thinking that there is something you so very much need. and
there you are - feeling hung out to dry. well - shit! and the
guru's and monks and mystics of all stripes keep telling you
that you are already IT! what a riot and a calamity, hey?
<wicked silly grin> what a disaster! ha ha and HA!

"7. On a more mundane level, can I watch a movie (other than
the Matrix) or TV entertainment? Presumably it wouldn't be
possible to mentally put oneself in the position of the
film's hero as most people apparently do when they watch. Can
I suspend my disbelief to be entertained? As I don't need
entertainment maybe I never watch films or TV again."

no, you must watch nothing but the matrix, matrix animations,
and all the old sci-fi on tv. sorry, just another of the
secret silly rules of all us truly enlightened ones.

"8. Similarly do I watch the news on TV or read the newspaper?
Isn't 99% of the news irrelevant in reality? It is what is,
and most is just another form of entertainment."

go at least a month without tv or the papers. don't discuss
tv. or the news either for that matter. or even think about
what may be on tv. then ask this question again.

and if you want to be entertained - play the mandolin  

"9. I presumably don't drink alcohol. No going to the bar with
mates then. Also no drugs. (This bit was easy)."

too bad, jerry was going to buy us all a round of Gran'
Marinier and corona corona's to puff on. would you prefer
juice? ok!

"10. How do I choose what to eat?"  

your body knows what it needs. basically anything that you
aren't allergic to is ok. there really isn't a special heaven
for vegetarians. however, vegetables are really good for
physical health and well being. nothing wrong with feeling
right. but one need not become too sensitive to taking life
as food or, you'll start to hear the low slow screaming of
the carrots as they boil....

"11. Do I bother to do anything which is "good for me" like
eating vegetables or taking exercise? I'm not looking for any
results - I'm perfect as I am. Do I not comb my hair or
appear well dressed as I don't need to make an impression on

no, do everything that is bad for you - doh!  

"12. Do I change/ditch my car? Am I concerned what it is doing
to the earth?"

you decide - that's all  

"13. Do I try to persuade my wife / family to change something
they are doing? Like not being aware. Or watching soap operas
while I am in the room

what makes you so special that everybody gotta do what you
say? hmm... no sirree. basically, when one starts to feel
like they want to get their family to follow the so called
'path' and to wake up, they themselves are fearing to change
and to follow the changes that do come.

"14. Do I go to my friends funeral? Or do I tell people
his/her life is in the past and now irrelevant."

no life is irrelevant. not yours. not your friend's. not
mine. not even a bug's. that's part of the beauty of it all.
life is what fills the void, you see? <smile>

"Do you see the problems? Has anyone written about how their
practical life in the world changed as a result of


well, i did write a lot of bad poetry off and on for a few
years. as to how any given person's life will go - milage
varies. there really is peace that passes all understanding i
will say that with no uncertainty. no matter how shitty
things may and do get...the peace is there and i still laugh
when i'm happy and cry when i am sad and peace is there what
a nice deal...


The Delusion of Appearances

From 'The Diamond Sutra' (The Buddha)

Subhuti, someone might fill innumerable worlds with the seven
treasures and give all away in gifts of alms, but if any good man
or any good woman awakens the thought of Enlightenment and
takes even only four lines from this Discourse, reciting, using,
receiving, retaining and spreading them abroad and explaining them
for the benefit of others, it will be far more meritorious. Now in
what manner may he explain them to others? By detachment
from appearances-abiding in Real Truth. -So I tell you-

Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

Ekaku Eric

" Ma principale profession en cette vie, estoit de la vivre
mollement, et plustost lāchement qu'affaireusement. "

"my main occupation in this life, is to live it nonchalantly, and
rather loosely than busily"

(Essais de Montaigne, T. III, p. 294.)

Jan Barendrecht

How are you doing?"
"Very well, regularly, i am one with the universe"
"What when you're not?"
"Then i am one with my other thoughts"                       

The voice spoke "i am that".
"How can i be that when i hear this?"                      

Profusely perspiring, going uphill:
"I can't keep up with that any longer!"
"Why then do you carry along an empty, heavy bottle on your back?"
"The bottle contains dear memories of experiences in the void"                      

The i from the nth shell asked "who am i?"
"Silly question" the i from the (n-1)th shell responded.
The (n-2)th i exclaimed "who is asking who am i !?"
The (n-3)th i, baffled, remained silent...
"Error! You just have been disconnected!"
the (n-4)th i reported, "contact god or your service provider".                      

Eric Paroissien  

5 absolutely identical shells (do you know how often this happens)
talk to each other:
- look there your odd shape, how ridiculous!
- come on, if i was as hard as you i would mary a roc!
- hey guys relax, you're using the whole water getting excited like
- look who's talking, with the silly orange tongue dangling out!
- <with a mysterious grin> i guess i am the only one containing a
- you don't know, it is impossible to know what's inside shells!
- cool off please, it's getting hot in here!

[meanwhile the heat is raising in the sauce for a delicious dish
of "coquilles st jacques" (scallops in shells)... bon appetit!]


Walt Whitman. As if having a conversation
 with his soul, he recalls,

I mind how once we lay, such a
transparent summer morning,

Swiftly arose and spread around me
the peace and knowledge that pass all
 the argument of the earth.

Ben Hassine

Rimsky Korsakov - Cherubic Hymn  

You can find this (and other Russian music streams on the same site) here:    

Good night seekers and finders,   Ben.  

Jan B.   has Russian music too  


Discovering Nisargadatta Maharaj, by Dr. Lakshyan Schanzer. My name is Lakshyan Schanzer. I have been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation since 1971. I am also a psychologist and practice a meditative approach to psychotherapy. This is my first writing about my experiences with Nisargadatta Maharaj. -more- click on 'Discovering Nisargadatta Maharaj'


Yes, yes, yes!  I so agree with you.  My favourite is also the
Yogi Bhajan tea.  It tastes so wonderful, and as it's brewing, it smells
heavenly, doesn't it?  I put milk in mine, do you?  It is the only herbal
tea that I do put milk in, though.  I can smell its sweet aroma as I type
these words.  So, I guess I will sign off for the night and go have a cup of

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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