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#1564 - Monday, September 22, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

There have been some fine discussions on NDS. I've tried to capture a few of them in this edition.  

Raven's Bread: Food for those in solitude  

In the hermitage of non-duality, the solitary contemplative
does not pit solitude and aloneness against the many things
of this world. He knows that the very situations which may
distract him and call for his attention are at root the same
as his contemplation. He knows that the distinction between
"real" and "unreal" in an artificial duality of thought. It
is all Real. Yet he also knows that actions and affinities
have consequences and that some of these consequences serve a
happy, meaningful life and some do not.
Contributed to NDS by John Metzger  

John, thanks for sharing that. I appreciated the excerpt you gave
from the newsletter and how it relates to ongoing conversation here
at NDS. The simplicity of it was so striking. I have often felt this
aloneness, even in the company of other people; it was affirming to
see this aloneness addressed so frankly and directly. That was an
important piece for me, as it is not often that being alone is
affirmed as a valid option.

One of the authors in the newsletter discusses the difference between
being alone and the wish for/fear of being alone. That piece sticks
with me...

As regards the ability to be alone, I think a pretty close
correlation can be made to 'being quiet'. Being quiet in conversation
can be scary; it places one in a position of uncertainty as regards
the other person. It takes courage to leave blank spaces in
conversation, to not immediately fill it up with questions or
statements, but to allow something unexpected to emerge. It is the
blank spaces in conversation which provide space for the unexpected
to emerge.

Last weekend, the family went to visit some caverns in Townsend,
Tennessee. At one point on the tour, the guide had us all sit on a
bench while she described the vast cavern in which we sat. She warned
us that she was going to turn off all the lights, remain seated, and
suggested that we all remain quiet, so that we could hear the
underground stream and hear the immense quiet of the space, and
appreciate just how totally dark it would be. She said she loved to
sit like that in the cavern; that she thought it was very peaceful.
Well, as soon as she turned out the lights, several of the people on
the tour began exclaiming how dark it was, making noises and
exclaiming about the echoes, and in general filling up that vast
space with their emissions. It is striking that even when some are
prepared for silence and listening, it is very difficult for them to
do it.

Eric P.  

i like this one nina,
it's a reason why, like many boys, i am a sci-fi fan, movies like
lost in space or solaris, where the little me is plunged in a deep
atmosphere of lead-sealed absolute silent darkness;
my first attempts at meditation when i was a buddhist was to imagine
that i was descending, breath by breath, into the unlimitted
darkeness and silence inside my belly with a slow 19th century
i realize this space of absolute darkness is always present when one
swims on the very quite waters of a vast pristine bottomless black
lake in the mountains.
this is were my fear lies
(this is the truth)
eric p  

Eric Freeheart  

I like this eric, this truth of where you are.
I think so many carry this 'fear', and what do
they do with it?

Today I dropped my daughter off at her school,
and proceeded to watch, silently, the other
parents and children arrive. So much anxiousness,
rush and fear, adults and children. Those eyes
I could 'catch', regardless of outward silence,
contained such violence, thinnly veiled.

One child, smiled, and complemented her fellow
classmates as they filtered in. She said, "goodmorning,
Ruiz, your hair looks particularly fluffy this morning."
"Hi Sarah, can I help you with anything."

What is it you are afraid of, deep within, Eric P?

I Love You all, and the silence is deafening -
from Here.  

Eric P.  

hi eric suzy q,
i love the way you walk,
i like the way you talk,
not afraid of fire or earthquake, or wild dogs, or violence usually,
i am afraid of invisible slow ennemies like cancer, aging, being
stuck forever in a trap, in a hospital bed, and while you mention
the kids...
i'd endure all my fears without hesitation if i could spare them harm;
i realised this recently, but why is it i wouldn't do this for other
or would i?
eric p

Eric Freeheart  

What is fear but cancer itself?
You WOULD do it for your kids, and all
of our Kids. Just DO IT.

or, die of cancer untill...

Love is beyond fear,


I read an article recently in which the cultural differences
between "White Europeans" and "Native/Aboriginal" people in North
America were discussed.  There was a quote from a Native elder,
sometime in the last century (have forgotten who and when - sorry)
that went something like this:

"The Whites, they are always talking, and if they are not talking
they are staring, peircing with their eyes, ready to pounce with
their words.  They do not know how to be silent, how to be still."  

Eric Freeheart  

Urugaton, Dear Friend,


may I answer, respectivefully, as an Indian, clothed as an Aryan?

My eyes DO pierce, yet perceive. They terrify those without
silence, those that chatter, incessently, from fear of silence.

Forgive my interruption, I only ask what keeps You
hidden, alone, from Me.

The bald eagle sees more than the white devil knows,

eric the red  


Thank you.

Fear of silence is fear of life.   

It is the incessant chatter that keeps One hidden
from the Other. 

... And yet here we are aren't we?  Going on and on...  :)

The "pleasure of expounding" can be so very irresistable as we turn
from contemplating the vastness and look into the eyes of another. 


scuba-diving gets close to this.
where the only sound is the breathing through the regulator and the
beat of the heart.
go deep enough and miracles happen.

Eric P.    

dear joyce,
 scuba diving is probably a universal experience of meditation at 
 for the first time i hear my breath, and i have to intentionally 
 when i was a mad gurdjieffian, i tried several times for hours to 
tape my nostril with band aid and leave but a tiny chanel to breathe



I still have scars on my shins from running through the sage brush at
night.......blindfolded .....ala Don Juan.

If I remember.......I called the "power-walk".

(my wife had a different name for it)

Masked and Anonymous

Bob Dylan's Elegy for a Lost America is the only motion picture I have seen so far in this millennium that seems to have a clue about what is going on in America. Moviegoers will get it or they won't. Great pains have been taken to ensure that they won't even see it.

It is a tale of almost unbearable sadness and loss. When Dylan sings "I'll Remember You," as electrifying a performance as has ever been caught on camera (all the songs are performed live, there's no lip-synching in this movie) you feel that he may well be singing not merely about a person but also about that "lost America of love" that Ginsberg mourned in "A Supermarket in California," a work that in its visionary aspect and intensity "Masked and Anonymous" resembles. (Its ultimate antecedents are of course Shakespeare's history plays.)

When Dylan's character, Fate, is reunited with his lost/doomed love (Angela Bassett, magnificent in the role), she endeavors with great tenderness to console him for his losses, and without a word Dylan manages to convey that Fate's grief is inconsolable. It is a scene of considerable beauty and delicacy.

Dylan's performance has been called "inscrutable." But who else could have played this role? There are people who find his songs inscrutable as well, and I suppose arguing with them would be as pointless as trying to answer "Tom Friend's" interview questions. (These days, anything an idiot can't or won't bother to understand is "incomprehensible" and "inscrutable.")

The most daring (and intriguing) line in the film slips by almost unnoticed: moments after Jack Fate is arrested for a sudden act of violence committed by his sidekick Bobby Cupid (Luke Wilson), he thinks to himself, "Sometimes it's not enough to know the meaning of things. Sometimes we have to know what things don't mean as well. Like, what does it mean to not know what the person you love is capable of?"

Nina NDS

one-minute vacation

Surely you can spare a minute to clean your ears? Take a one-minute vacation from the life you are living.

One-minute vacations are unedited recordings of somewhere, somewhen. Sixty seconds of something else. Sixty seconds to be someone else.

For example: Late afternoon river traffic on the busy, busy Buriganga, in
the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh: as heard from a leaky
rowboat. Commuters, haulers, trawlers; dredging, building,
wrecking, remaking: all in hazy golden light. ... the business of communal life reasserting itself.  


In listening to numerous soundclips from this site, I am amazed by
the collector's diligence. Intentionally or not, what he has done is
presented a meditation on sound.

It is one soundclip after another, with a rhythm of selection, a wait
to download, a listening, and an ending. Soundclips arising and

We assume we are distinct from the sounds he has gathered - I have
not been to Nepal and know nothing of the origin of those sounds.
However, while listening to deep sea gurgling noises from an
irrigation cistern in Nepal, it struck me that it is not so different
from the chatter, clicks and electronic hums of my workplace, or the
howl of the damp wind around the corner of the this tower, or the
organic series of pops of window glass expanding and contracting
between the difference of interior and exterior temperature.

In the listening, I become that sound, and all else drops away. It is
quite a phenom, and part of the reason why I think his site is such
genius. In listening to those clips, it is quite possible to take a
vacation, a vacation from one's present place, from one's current
dilemma, from the preoccupation of nearly every moment. One is moving
from an incessant internal chatter, to listen to a different sort of
chatter, a chatter which is neutral.

Now, what if, instead of requiring a soundclip to take that vacation,
one could simply turn one's perspective in such a way that the
incessant internal soundtrack were a novelty, something worthy
of 'listening to' in the neutral way one might listen to yaks snoring
on the grassy slopes of some Nepalese mountainside? It is a vacation
you can take anytime, anywhere. Portable downtime.

The Zen of Weeding  

An hour passes, then another. There is no world beyond this
third of a suburban acre and the rhythm of pulling up

By John Powers, Globe Staff, 9/21/2003  

I am sitting cross-legged in the middle of my front lawn on a
sunny Sunday afternoon, listening to Beethoven or somebody on
my headphones and digging out crabgrass one blade at a time.
I could have done it the easy way back in April by spewing a
bagful of pre-emergent killer granules from my spreader, but
what with rainy weekends and more pressing business, the
season got away from me.  

Now the only solution, except to let nature take its unruly
course, is to get down and dirty. Sweat is dripping onto my
glasses. A blister is rising on a couple of fingertips. My
adductor (or maybe it's the abductor) muscles are cramping.
Something has crawled up inside my shorts and bitten me on
the back of my thigh.  

And yet, I am blissfully content, locked in and Zenned out,
having crossed the line beyond which drudgery becomes luxury,
like the luxury a toddler has of eating a bowl of Cheerios
one at a time and putting the world on hold.  

Plucking hundreds of weeds individually is a tedious, almost
mindless chore that is supposed to have gone out with the
19th century. Yet there is a profound simplicity and clarity
and sensuality to it that I've come to find irresistible.  

Weeding requires the one thing most endeavors don't allow us
these days: time. Time to get down on our hands and knees and
run our hands slowly and thoroughly through the grass and
among the flowers and do one uncomplicated but productive
thing a thousand times, week after week for the better half
of a year.  

An hour passes, then another. A large plastic trash bag is
filled, then another. For once, there is no world beyond that
which I can reach with my grimy hands.  

A couple of months ago the weeds were dandelions, hundreds of
them sprouting in the rototilled side yard that had been
waiting . . . and waiting . . . for me to lay down a new
lawn. I plucked the dandelions one at a time, too, taproot
and all. I could have sprayed them, of course, but that would
have meant giving up a rare chance to slow my metabolism down
to plant level and inspect my surroundings in microscopic

I've lived on this third of a suburban acre for nearly a
quarter-century, and yet I've rarely taken the time to check
out what's sharing it with me. Besides a vast assortment of
insects that reside on my property (given the bug-to-human
ratio, I appear to be residing on theirs), there's a
bewildering variety of flora, most of which I couldn't
identify until I set about uprooting them.  

Getting down and dirty is a humbling experience, if only
because it reminds me that life -- and nature -- goes on
without me whether I do anything about it or not. The grass
grows whether or not I'm around to care for it, and if I
don't fill in the bare spots, something else will.  

The seasons progress on their own schedule, and if I fall
behind in my landscaping duties, the landscape moves on
without me. Weeding gives me the satisfaction of bringing
order, however momentary, to one small corner of the cosmos.
With pruning shears in hand, I can even reshape that corner,
trimming an overgrown bush, balancing a lopsided flowering
tree. If I have time and vision and fertilizer enough, I can
create my own backyard arboretum.  

For now, though, the crabgrass and dandelions and the random
fuzzies and spikies that sprout and spread here and there are
as much as I care to deal with. I have the time and patience
to unearth them one by one, but I do have my limits. A few
hours of locking in and Zenning out is marvelously

But come October, I will not rake one leaf at a time. Nor,
come February, will I shovel one flake at a time. There is,
after all, only so much simplicity and clarity and sensuality
that a man can stand.  

Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
Contributed to NDS News by Mary Bianco  

Jan Sultan

The Fictional Self's Need for Enemies - Eckart Tolle  

A further characteristic of this fictional self is that it
cannot sustain itself in the prolonged absence of conflict or
strife. It needs other people and situations with which it
can be in opposition, because to be in opposition to
something strengthens our sense of self. If I have enemies,
my identity is strengthened. And this applies, of course, to
both a personalized sense of 'me' and a collective sense of
'us' our tribe, our religion, our nation. In both cases, it
is through enemies and conflict that the self defines itself,
that it can declare itself 'right'.  

This need for enemies is part of the insanity of normal human
consciousness, which has afflicted us for many thousands of
years. It lies at the root of the continuous violence,
warfare, and conflict that you see when you open a newspaper
or history book. I always recommend people read twentieth
century history, because of all the periods of human history,
surely the twentieth century is the maddest of all, in terms
of suffering inflicted by humans on other humans. Any visitor
from outer space who looked at that century would have to
conclude that there is a strong streak of insanity running
through the collective human psyche.  

The madness of the world is not just out there; the root of
the madness lies in every persons mind. Of course, it takes
on more extreme forms in certain people and less extreme
forms in others. An extreme manifestation of insanity is the
terrorist who kills thousands of people, including himself.
How can he do that? How can a person inflict suffering and,
seemingly, not feel anything? How is that possible? It is
possible because the terrorist has conceptualized a large
group of people -- the other religion, the other tribe, the
other nation -- as the enemy. And once he has made labels and
judgments, he no longer sees them as human beings. He sees
only the mental concept that he has created, the mental
labels that he has attached. The moment you do that, whether
collectively to a tribe or individually to another person,
you have desensitized yourself, and you no longer sense the
aliveness and the reality of that other human being.  

Donoso: So you've killed them before you have killed them.  

Tolle: Yes, that's right. But, before one condemns the
terrorists, one needs to see that terrorism is only a more
extreme manifestation of the same dysfunction that exists in
everyone. And that's a sobering realization. It also means
that you can't make the terrorists into an 'enemy' anymore.  

Toombaru   "A further characteristic of this fictional self is that it
cannot sustain itself in the prolonged absence of conflict or
strife. It needs other people and situations with which it
can be in opposition, because to be in opposition to
something strengthens our sense of self."  

Teachers sometimes talk about the fictional self as if it
were real: and then develop a theory on how it came about and
what it needs to survive.  

The fictinal self could not "need enemies". It is fictitious
and could have no needs.  

The fictional self and the resulting conflict with the
"other" arise together are a mutually co-dependent process
and cannot be separated.  

One does not need the other......they are the other.  

Eric P.  

a good one, thank you;
eckhart tolle teaches at a level where dichotomy is an improvement
from the excruciating anarchic forces of the mess of daily greed
where one imperious need follows another without rest for the poor
if they could just sort it out for a while, even under a false
then a more purely nondual teacher could enter the game...
for example, a more imperious, anti-social desire, as an excellent
powerful nondual teacher :-)  

Jeff Belyea  

Ah, nice distinction
Eyes and heart that
See and feel the need for
Clarity with compassion
Bridging the gap for those
In excruiating pain who
Feel no relief from anarchy
Hearing rote tales of illusion
Giving Love precedence over
Pride of intellect
The peacock posturing
Of the paradigm of
Nonduality is as
Mythical as the parting
Of the Red Sea
No you no me?   Just me,   Jeff

Gene Poole  

Well said, Toomy.  

You know, people sit at the feet of Tolle,
and listen to grand fairy tales, characterized
as 'true information about spiritual life'...
but what are actually, myths starring...
the listener!  

Yes... what more compelling tales can
be told, or sold?  

It is indeed ironic that the 'Sultan of Quotes'
posts an a quotation, which purports to
dispel a  myth, which it instead, supports!  

Ha ha ha...  

The technology of belief:  

_1  If it is real, I need not believe in it  

_2  If it is not real, I am a fool to believe in it  

_3  I do not believe in belief <chuckle!>  

Eric P.  

"So the need to debate, argue, correct another, ridicule, etc. on
these spiritual groups comes from the need to strengthen our
fictional selves! Some of us may pretend to be 'self-realized' but
the childish needs of our fictional selves are very apparent for all
to see. So watch what you write!"  

did you not wonder why so many people read and so few write on a list?
not because those who write have more important things to say or
because we have a bigger mouth...
but a constant little voice says:
watch what you write!
be careful!
don't make a fool of yourself!
you are worth less than the others!
oh gosh! why did i write something so stupid!
better hidden than ridiculed or aggressed!  

people have a thousand reason for not expressing culture,
thank you for strengthening this little idotic voice further
(i don't you won't read this anyway)  


"A further characteristic of this fictional self is that it
cannot sustain itself in the prolonged absence of conflict or
strife. It needs other people and situations with which it
can be in opposition..."
interesting......Tolle's use of the word 'need' here.
As if he is suggesting that
the fictional self can have

first inclination was to ask "how could
something that doesn't
exist, have if it
did exist?
I suspect, Tolle may be
defining "fictional self" as:
that which has no
independent existence, but yet
believes it
And that's the
crux:   the  believing.
It is in the believing
...... in the activity
of thinking
about  ones independent existence...
....that a sense of "I
need" arises.
Just as it is in the
thinking about  ones
goals in life.....ones
beliefs, ones ethics...
one's ideas about 'how
things could be if____',
that a sense of "I am ____"
becomes fortified
Perhaps Tolle is saying
that a fictionalized self
conflict in order to
in much the same way that a
dentist would "need"
patients in order to
continue referring to  himself
as a
If someone trained in
dentisty stopped seeing
patients, and (more
importantly) stopped thinking
of himself as a
where would be the "need"
to be identified
as one?  

Jeff Belyea  

Hi Melody -  

think you're right on
the fictional button with
what he is trying to

As I read the portion that
you left to respond to, the
"cannot sustain itself in
the prolonged absence of
conflict or strife" popped

This would seem to be the
inner dialogue that believes
in the conflict and strife
and its assumed role that
puts it in a never-ending
battle to solve the conflict.  

Yet, it is fictional, and if
in the absence of prolonged
internal chatter it cannot
sustain itself, what happens
to the fictional self?  

Meditation is an attempt;
often successful, to quiet
this internal conflict and
strife, and when the
meditator sees that she
has identified with a
fictional self in a fictional
soap opera...  

voila; a return to
natural enlightenment.  

Authentic. Loving. Being.
Good morning,   Jeff  


Yes.  Perhaps in
much the same way as a dentist and the
resulting root canal with a
patient arise together and are a
mutually co-dependent

"One does not need the other......they are the other."
Rotting teeth can give rise
to the existence of a patient,
a dentist, and 'root canal'
in much the same way as
'believing in......' gives
rise to the existence of
someone 'pro', someone
'con'....and the conflict
between the two.


'It would be difficult for any large audience to swallow
undiluted- non-dualism..... and who would buy a book that
told them they really didn't exist?"  
Don't exist as the separated 'individual' so desperately
maintained against all comers.  I hate to even start this,
it's such a can of worms, but here something is, however defined,
sitting here typing.   I

refer us all back to message #77571.  Just for an example,
to whom does this apply?  

"Emotion which has been sublimated (pushed away)
still exists, and as a secret storm, batters and bends
though [sic] processes... the one who experiences this,
sees the debris flying, sees the buildings topple and
explode, but does not see the 'causative agent'... the
sky looks clear... no clouds... no rain... and that is
because the storm is hidden from view (the emotion
is sublimated... trapped, under pressure)..."  
IMNSHO, the brilliance of Buddhism is its delineation
of the mechanisms of construction and maintenance of
the illusory separative identity.  

Isn't the Tolle quote speaking to (a) exactly one of the mechanisms
by which it's maintained?  Create a 'self' buffeted by all 'other'
seen as foreign to it?   And also (b)  what i call a boringness of neutrality.  This is an
aspect, i think, of the fear of extinction.  "Who would i be without
my (melo)drama?"  As often as we're told it's 'sound and fury,
signifying nothing' the state of the planet seems to indicate
we haven't quite 'gotten it;' wouldn't you say?  

Also, there's this tired horse of mine i apparently never
stop beating:  Every one of us here worked hard to understand.
I have a resistance to ex post facto dismissal of all the pointers
absorbed along the way.  A tenderness for baby steps, perhaps.  

You two will know this is not disagreement;  i love climbing with
you to the rarefied air...  


"It would be difficult for any large audience to swallow
undiluted- non-dualism..... and who would buy a book that
told them they really didn't exist?"   It's a little tricky.
The way Tolle and others write
appeals to a certain level that
subtly perpetuates the sense of
identification, but, at the same time
has the potential to loosen it somewhat.  

I am very grateful to everything
'spiritual' that has been presented
to me, throughout my life...even
if some of it, no matter how subtly,
was reinforcing the sense of self.  

Of course, one might say that those
things could have diverted me, and
just added more layers....
you know what?  who knows, who cares.  

It's all part of the game, dance, play.  

The levels of spiritual illusion
do get subtler and subtler...
the veils get thinner and thinner..  

losing all control of a 'me' of a sense of
identification, is not always so easy....
can be quite terrifying, and will do anything
to hold on, including grabbing at straws.  

Daily Dharma  

"Even this body should be recognized as a ball of foam,
Like those of all these beings now on earth.
In a hundred years they will certainly not be,
Since everything born eventually dies.

Just as your own life span will come to an end,
In places like markets, crossroads, guest houses,
All of these crowds of diverse beings will be scattered."

                  ~Kunkyen Longchen Rabjam

From the book, "Essential Tibetan Buddhism," by Robert A.F. Thurman,
published by Castle Books.

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