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#1619 - Monday, November 17, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
Michael Gosney <[email protected]>
Subject: Higher Awareness
This morning I read in the New York Times about how
the White House continues to withhold documents from
the federal commission investigating the 9/11 incident
<http://www.nytimes.com/>. Chairman of the commission
Thomas Kean states "As each day goes by, we learn that
this government knew a whole lot more about these
terrorists before September 11 than it has ever
admitted." They are on the verge of issuing subpoenas
and beginning a high profile courtroom showdown with
executive branch agencies.
A little later I received a forwarded email message
from my 75-year-old mother about Lisa Beamer, the
widow of Todd Beamer, one of the heroic
passengers who thwarted the mission of the hijacked
plane headed for D.C. on 9/11. Her account of a lesson
she was taught about the importance of the
(seemingly) small things in life hit a cord. (See
These two related info-bits gave me pause here on this
global-warming-induced, unseasonably warm Sunday in
Here we are in late 2003: we are living in the "end
times" that have been foreseen by sensitive and astute
observers for many centuries. This is the
turning point, the portal of transformation for the
globalized, internetworked human species. Will the
transformation be an "evolutionary bounce" (to use
Duane Elgin's phrase), where we transcend the
competitive, war-faring model of civilization into a
new integrated global culture of distributed
collaboration... or will it be a crash and burn
While attending one of the anti-war protests here in
San Francisco with my daughter prior to Bush's
invasion of Iraq, I came across the comic-book
format publication "Addicted to War."
<http://www.addictedtowar.com/> This highly accessible
and fact-packed 69-page booklet brings home the
reality of war and conquest as the foundation of our
modern American empire. It struck me that for all the
benevolent, evolutionary fruits of this empire - the
life-enhancing inventions, systems, schools of
knowledge - there remains a powerful life-threatening
force at work in every aspect of our society. We
are essentially a collective Luke Skywalker,
discovering, to our horror, that the "Axis of Evil"
itself - Darth Vader - is our own father. It's a
paradox that lies deep within our collective psyche:
the thrust of Western civilization to the Promised
Land brought with it a philosophy and tactical
strategy of deception and conquest. The 7th generation
of surviving Native Americans now looks with hope to
the prophecy of transformation in this time. And now,
in late 2003, the interdependent world community is
finally exhausted with America's worship of war - from
the Trade Wars against the Third World, to the Drug
War against the Human Rights of millions, to the World
War of ecological devastation, to the War on
Terrorism against ourselves. We are operating on a
fatally flawed foundation: the codes of civil and
corporate reality are obsolete and must be completely
We can move beyond the paradox. We have been, as a
tribe, working through the karma. Now, awareness alone
can transform us. Humans are connected by
more than the telephone, the Internet, and the
international banking system. We are connected by the
"innernet" of DNA-antenna-genes and resonating
memes: what we recognize as relevant, significant, or
"cool" can be transformative on a vast scale. It is
cool to be aware now. The leaders and institutions of
the prevailing order have let us down. We have no
choice now but to think for ourselves. To participate
in a reinvention of human culture and civilization.
And it is already happening, big time. The tools are
in place. The knowledge is accessible. Awareness - and
the actions that follow - will transform us and our
world toward a new level of complexity. A new order IS
To enjoy each day, as Lisa Beamer's touching story
conveys, is to be fully alive. Awareness of the little
things, those simple but profound manifestations of
divine creation that compose our everyday reality, is
what really counts in life. Certainly, this is a deep
truth, a core revelation of religious seeking: "chop
wood, carry water." But thanks to our emergent
noosphere - the sphere of mind that Teilhard de
- we are capable, in fact compelled to - a higher
awareness. Not only of our social reality, but of our
planetary and cosmic realities. This is the awareness
that will push evolution forward, take us up a turn on
the spiral. "Higher:" more encompassing, more complex,
more transcendent. Awareness alone will transform the
human species at this critical moment in history.
I hope the gross events of these days, the economic
and ecological troubles, the political and corporate
systemic breakdowns, the human misery... will
inspire a broader vision in us, a view from above. We
can see from the point of view of the Earth, which IS
us, that all life herein is a delicately balanced
dance moving up an ever-enfolding spiral; we can see
from the point of view of the Sun, the one Sol which
IS us, that our planetary system dances within the
Galactic plane of subtle energetic exchanges; we can
feel in this higher awareness realms of experience
that call to us, call us to rise above our material
grasping and virtual realities and power games...to
the cosmic life that is our true foundation.
------begin forwarded message--------
Lisa Beamer on Good Morning America -
If you remember, she's the wife of Todd Beamer who
said "Let's Roll!" and helped take down the plane that
was heading for Washington D.C.
She said it's the little things that she misses most
about Todd, such as hearing the garage door open as he
came home, and her children running to meet him.
She's now the Mom of a beautiful little girl, Mary.
Lisa recalled this story:
I had a very special teacher in high school many years
ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack.
About a week after his death, she shared some of her
insight with a classroom of students. As the late
afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the
classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she
moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and
sat down there. With a gentle look of reflection on
her face, she paused and said, "Class is over. I
would like to share with all of you, a thought that
is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very
"Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share,
love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us
knows when this fantastic experience will end. It
can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is the
Powers way of telling us that we must make the most
out of every single day."
Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, "So I would
like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on
your way to school, or on your way home, find
something beautiful to notice. It doesn't have to be
something you see, it could be a scent, perhaps of
freshly baked bread wafting out of someone's
house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly
rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the
morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls
gently to the ground."
"Please look for these things, and cherish them. For,
although it may sound trite to some, these things are
the 'stuff' of life.
The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy.
The things we often take for granted. We must make it
important to notice them, for at anytime it can all be
The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our
books and filed out of the room silently. That
afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home
from school than I had that whole semester.
Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and
remember what an impression she made on all of us, and
I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes
we all overlook.
Take notice of something special you see on your lunch
hour today. Go barefoot, or walk on the beach at
sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a
double dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is
not the things we did that we often regret, but the
things we didn't do.
If you like this, please pass it on to a friend. If
not just delete it and go on with your life! Remember,
life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
------end forwarded message--------
The Meatrix (flash movie). The lie we tell ourselves about
food comes from.
Eric P. i can't tell myself that there are
big corporate businesses out ther
who are gready and bad; i am greedy and bad, i demand loads of fresh
water, french nuclear electricity, immense roads to go to the beach,
planes to go back and forth to america (btw invitation still holding in
halifax for james' birthday party?); on the other hand i understand
that you don't mobilize people by telling them: "nasty punks, look what
your doing to your mother earth" i feel i am addressed like a kid when
i am told about the international armament industry, the japanese
eating whale, the profit on deforestation in malaysia, the jail system,
the asylums where we dump our elderly (3000 dead old guys this summer
in france from extreme heat and no assistance); i understand also that
we don't address much by hitting every individual's head on the
merciless wall of: "first change yourself and the world around you will
change" or "badness is in the eye of the beholder"; i understand that
this maximized approach means absence of communication for most people
(like any extreme language it saturates the mobilization circuit in the
nervous system and induces laziness or mendacity)... erhh... what is it
i was saying eric
Gene Poole Well said, Eric... I cannot
conceive that Jerry was laying a big trip on us, when he
posted that link. I think he thought the name 'Meatrix' was funny in
Jerry I posted it because there was some
humor but it was mostly informative
and an interesting look at a section of the world. It's a look at the
world. What one does with it is their concern.
Gene Poole True... including, turning it into
interpersonal political 'fodder'...
the old 'moral high ground' stance.
Jerry Eric seems to cut through the comment
on big business greed and its
short- sightedness by declaring, "I am greedy and bad," and he leaves
us with a sense of futility while informing us that he's pissed off
that the public is informed about big business and government
Gene Hmmm... Who among us, can deny
actually behaving as Eric confesses to do...
while at the same time, espousing ideals to the opposite?
Jerry Gene seems to agree with something Eric
is saying, though I'm not sure
what, as Gene encourages political extremism -- which would include the
makers and publishers of The Meatrix, I assume -- because it generates
forces that keep the military industrial machine spinning as a good top
-- upon which we are dependent in the living of everyday life -- should
Gene Heh heh... If we think 'Meatrix' and 'Matrix'... what is the machine?
Is it really the 'military machine'... the meat-processing
or is it, the machine that we all really are, at base?
s there a way to really separate those machines? It seems that
were all born, of the machine-like nature of the human... whose nature
was endowed onto the machines, made by humans, as an 'outpicturing' of
The 'machine world' of The Matrix is probably the most clearly
compared, to the nature of the human... and is clearly, directly
birthed from the human... and it is able to simulate 'sentience'...
even to the extent, of successfully replacing the identity of one human
in the 'real world'...
But, 'Agent Smith' falters, when he has a 'attack' of actual
and does not know what is happening to him...
Sentience in machines... perhaps this is the human, eh?
And, this is the machine that I refer to in my letter, to which
replies... the machine, once programmed, becomes unstoppable... and the
final prize, is to direct the powers of this machine... who, which
power-block, will 'finally' end up in control?
Jerry Eric implies there is nothing to be
done. Gene is adamant that there is
clearly something to defend and grow and which is a bringer of
blessings, and recommends we "look the other way." Or don't:
Gene If you hire a hit-man... will you stand
around and critique his work?
If that is your attitude, it is probably better to forgo the
experience... but of course, if the job you wanted done, requires
professional help, and you cancel your order, what are the
consequences? Do you order from Amazon.com, "World Dominance for
Jerry Where I'm coming from in an activist
sense can be noted in this quote
from my writings: "the nonduality of activists, as I deem it, is not
radical enough. It's not radical, period. Therefore it will not stick.
It will not change the world. The movement I'm spearheading which is
called Nondual Activism, is not out to change the world." It's not out
to do anything. So maybe I'm closer to Eric in all this, but at least
there is a structure to Nondual Activism. I want to elaborate on it and
discuss it in relation to how email lists operate, and hope to write
about that soon!
Gene If we admit to our needs, and discover
that others are actively moving
to frustrate our fulfillment, then, what to do?
Certainly, we know (or can know) that the entire ride is
but once feelings are had, conclusions are drawn, opinions are
expressed, taxes payed, officials 'elected'... the wheels turning,
commitments made... what then?
If we want 'betterment'... is not the first step, to examine
are in the present? Or do we proceed (as long as we shall live) on the
basis of passive acceptance of 'fate'?
But we can probably count on others to have the viewpoints
criticize in your letter; that is, that 'something is very wrong' and
that we are all guilty of not fixing it... and guilty of making it
worse, by letting it continue on and on.
Eric, you are correct; I too demand those extravagant
energy and environment-degrading processes. I am not kidding here. I
really mean it.
These days, when I fill the tank of my Van, and then drive on
roads, I do running calculations on the impact I am making. Every
gallon I expend, translates to something far more precious than mere
oil... I cannot deny, that I am expending great energy, and so, I try to make
it count. And that, is our mutual and near-universal conspiracy to cement the
western powers as the permanently dominant forces of this globe. Our
philosophy is: "If there is to be deprivation, let it be elsewhere".
And I am not kidding about that. My exhaust gasses eventually
end up in
Mexico City, because it is there that they will go unnoticed.
We literally cannot afford to lose; it is not just the loss of
convenience, it is the loss of the very ability to extract materials
and refine petroleum. We are really in a very tight bind; the only way
we can protect our access to energy and resources, is to expend them at
a faster rate; to not only out-compete commercially, to capture not
only the entire market but also the entire supply chain; and to
transform our precious resources into an unstoppable military talent,
expressed as the most potent and high-tech armed forces in history.
If we do not do this, and do it now, immediately (and there is
to stop and think; we have to think on the way, and act 'on the fly'...
), we will be forcibly displaced by competitors... those ones who are
hot on our tails, right now.
Thank God, that our closest competitors have no manners! If
not act like barbarians, if they did not kill our citizens, we would
not be justified in branding them as EVIL and condemning them to
immediate death. We have no choice, but to literally exterminate those
who have expressed plans of world domination; we must quench any energy
which would derail our own (said to be safe, benign, and good) valiant
ambition of global dominance. The 'spreading democracy' line is a
better cover than most others, which have been used, historically.
And that is good, because you just know, that we will need
powerful reasons to feel good about ourselves.
I hope I don't sound cynical here. I am not. I am gazing at
of a gigantic machine, which has been programmed and set into motion.
Its movement is not only inevitable, it is also inexorable. It is
bigger than any person.
The only means to 'stop' the motion will never be used, by
competitors are exactly as we are; they simply want what we have; they
want to control what we now control. Like us, they express high-minded
ideals; indeed, they claim they have orders directly from God.
Against this competition, we have little defense, but utter
ruthlessness. I can imagine a scenario in which everyone lives as one
big extended family, carefully husbanding resources; I can imagine how
world peace can actually occur. But the machine has motion, it has
purpose, it has momentum. It is a machine which will utterly obey, who
is at the top of the food-chain; and this is the ultimate prize... to
control the machine.
We now control the machine, and if you can imagine voluntarily
up control, of letting 'fate' manifest without our firm and exacting
pressures, you can also probably (I hope) imagine a global dictatorship
of incredible potency. If it were not for the nature of our
competitors, I could imagine (imagine) finding a way to share; but now,
sharing is not an option; ownership, utter dominance, under the banner
of 'democracy', is our only option.
So, as mightily as we attempt to exterminate our competitors,
also give equal effort to maintaining whatever shreds of actual
democracy we have remaining. If we do not do that, we will end up in
charge of hell... a hell of our own making.
We must protect and cultivate our nationalistic fanatics; both
right wings need special nurturing. If we lose those extremists, we
also lose the carriers of democracy, such as it is. We have every
reason to fly the flag high; we have every reason to give homage to
those who allow their lives to be spent, either suddenly in war, or
gradually over time, in service of our cause.
I know that what I am saying may sound strange to you; but it
pragmatism speaking. I do not want to have to stagger out of my hovel
every morning to find two sticks to rub together, to make the fire to
cook my cockroach steak. I do not consider myself 'spoiled' or
'decadent'; nor do I claim that I 'deserve' anything. I claim only to
be in support of a team of brilliant strategists, whose machinations
provide me with yet another day of central heating and easy car trips
to the supermarket.
Yes, this sudden burst of competition, which came out of the
to speak, on 9/11, has made this whole thing rather intense and
immediate, and it is not going away. There are no more 'brushfires' in
the bad neighborhood that the world has become; there is only the hope,
that the conflagration will be carried out on the soil of our
competitors. In this outcome, we are investing literally everything. It
is win or lose, do or die, literally.
So if you are saddled by the sort of idealism which would in
diminish our chances of coming out on top, please take the agnostic
position; please do not throw any monkey wrenches into out gears. You
have always benefitted from our conspiracy, you now benefit from it,
and you will continue to benefit from it, as long as you at least play
along in the role of agnostic. Please, look the other way as our armed
servants do our will. If necessary, believe a few good spiritual and
patriotic stories, to justify our enterprise. And all the while, please
count your blessings...
A very rare and special event is shaping up to take place in Malaysia: the visit of His Holiness Kyabje Trulshik Rinpoche, teacher of the Dalai Lama himself.
Today, Trulshik Rinpoche, 79, is a guru among gurus, and widely respected even by the heads of the Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu traditions. Outwardly, the Dalai Lama (who is of the Gelug tradition) may be the political and spiritual head of Tibet, but privately, he regards Trulshik Rinpoche as his teacher. As the spiritual guru for the Dalai Lama, Trulshik Rinpoche is one of the rare few who can impart empowerment to the Dalai Lama,'' explains Tan. ... In Buddhism, it is important for one to know who the teacher is. You cannot just download stuff from the Internet and start practising. You have to have a guru with the right lineage... ."-more-http://www.phayul.com/news/article.asp?id=4664
Romance as Practice
"To fall in love is to taste the energy of existence and non-existence! To fall in love is to go beyond the boundaries that we set up for ourselves. To experience the real meaning of a loving relationship is to live with impeccable verve in the sheer vividness of each moment." Ngak'chang Rinpoche
The two wings of Buddhist practice are wisdom and compassion. These words are often misinterpreted in a rather Western sense to mean being knowledgeable, and feeling sympathy, but this is only a small aspect of their real meaning. Wisdom is the quality of emptiness and refers to innate understanding; non-judgemental acceptance; openness. Compassion is the active quality of kindness rather than mere feelings not translated into activity. Compassion refers to actions which are exactly resonant with whatever is occurring, and which are not self-referential.
The distinctions are subtle but important. It is a misunderstanding of these terms, for example, that leads to some Buddhist people enduring abuse from their partners because it doesn't feel kind to leave. For a practitioner, compassion - appropriate action - does not mean being a door mat. If someone is beating you up physically or mentally it is not compassionate to allow them to imagine this behaviour is somehow acceptable. It may be a more appropriate and helpful action to leave. Of course, if one is an Enlightened Being one might chose to stay in an abusive situation for an enlightened purpose, because an Enlightened Being is not in any way damaged by such a situation. But for the rest of us, it just becomes martyrdom - and martyrdom is not a Tantric practice.
In Tantra the word compassion is linked to form - to communication, to appreciation - of people, of objects, of the entire phenomenal universe. If we do not have sufficient fire of appreciation, in terms of Tantra, then compassion is not possible, because it is the energy of appreciation that is transformed by Tantra into compassion. Even desire and lust - often perceived as negative emotions - participate in the same energy as compassion. Lust is simply self-oriented compassion . We lust after things and people because we see some quality in them that we appreciate; and that appreciation is a communication which connects us to things. Desire and lust are not 'bad' states to be denied or repressed, but potential resources of energy for transformation to compassion.
Emptiness is reflected in openness; the state of not-knowing; of being at some kind of juncture.We often experience reflections of emptiness when we lose something or someone. Wisdom does not therefore mean 'knowing about things' - in fact often the opposite. From the point of view of the unenlightened practitioner, the beginning of wisdom is recognising that we do not know; that our tight little definitions of the world actually count for nothing.
Wisdom and compassion can seem like elusive ideals to which we can only aspire; but in fact life presents us with a momentous and unparalleled opportunity for recognising and developing the practice of wisdom and compassion, openness and kindness: falling in love.
When we fall in love openness and kindness simply happen. When we are in love we do not have to think about how we can be kind. We simply do it. We buy presents; we look after our partner; we unhesitatingly drive miles to see them; we think of little things to please them and make their life happier; we call to cheer them up.
We do not have to think about how we can be open: we just are. We listen to our partner's point of view; we enjoy doing new things because they enjoy them; we are prepared to change; to let go of some of our cherished habits or ideas or possession; to be flexible; to give way; to trust.
We do not need to be instructed on kindness and openness when we fall in love: they are incited by our lust1. Samsara, in this instance, provides the means for liberation. This is because samsara does not function, even in its own terms. It is inconsistent and therefore occasionally it has to provide causes for liberation. If we want to secure the object of our desire then openness and kindness are mandatory. We see the response we get when we act in this way - it is self-evident. We know how we feel when our partner is open and kind to us. When we stray from openness and kindness we know exactly what needs to be done to restore it. Our desire is our motivation: openness and kindness are inspired by the neurotic state itself.
If as practitioners, we can recognise the qualities that are spontaneously manifesting themselves, then we can gain an intuitive understanding of wisdom and compassion. We have only to become aware of ourselves. We have been self-initiated into the practice of khandro-pawo. What sparkles through at this time is what maintains the 'being in love' once the neurotic desire has achieved what it wanted.
For some people, nothing more is needed. There are couples who have remained in love for fifty years and need no lessons in how to maintain romance. The more we enjoy our partner's happiness the longer this state lasts; the more neurotic we are, the shorter. However, eventually, for many of us, the fire of romance begins to wane. Why? Because in our neurotic desire for security we are continually driven to make our partner into solid ground. We invest them as our conceptual furniture in order to substantiate our existence. We make a commitment because we want to solidify the relationship - and then we are no longer inspired by our partner because we have made them into part of our own territory. When we first fall in love we have a heightened sense of appreciation of our partner, but as we become more committed we prioritise other things and our attention begins to retract.
Samsara does not just happen - we cause it to happen. We create samsara out of the non-dual state because we want to be dualistic; we want to be 'me'; we want to feel real. We need our partner to be an extension of 'me' and therefore we have to stop seeing them as 'other'. Through merging them with our surroundings and making them 'part of the furniture' we no longer need to sensate in way - no need to touch, smell, taste or even notice them.
Commitment can be an important part of a relationship in terms of allowing confidence and trust to grow; but it is also be the very point at which things begin to go wrong. It is useful for us to have confidence in our partner, and to be able to trust they are not suddenly going to pull the rug from under us, but the problems begin when we begin to solidify trust and confidence in our partner into security for me. The openness and kindness which were generated by neurotic desire are no longer maintained by this desire because it has achieved the position of security it craved.
At this stage, maybe we start to get a little critical. We start to suggest that perhaps our partner could change. Maybe they could stop leaving coffee cups all over the place, or stop humming tunelessly in the bath. Or wear some different clothes. Perhaps we even start complaining about them to other people - the sure sign of a relationship that is over (although people frequently cohabit in this state for many years).
Why? Because as soon as we accomplish our neurotic desire to make our partner into our security, we have captured them and made them into 'ours'. We find that what incited our desire when they were 'other' has somehow disappeared. This is rather similar to the hunter who adores the tiger so much he kills it in order to take it home and put it on his wall - in order to own it. However, he now finds that he does not own the beauty, grace and power that so enchanted him: he owns some dead meat. Or the photographer who tries to capture the thunderous majesty of a waterfall, and finds that all she owns is a piece of colourful card.
What seduces our senses in the 'other' will only seduce us as long as it remains 'other'. When we capture it and make it ours, it becomes just that - an extension of us. This is something we do over and over - with objects as well as people. Our desire is incited by some attractive item - the smell and silky smoothness of an expensive book; the soft purr of a powerful car; a bigger and better add-on for the computer; some gorgeous wallpaper for the bedroom ...whatever. We lust; maybe we spend hours poring over the catalogue in anticipation; we go back to the shop to gaze longingly. Finally we make the decision to buy, we await that wonderful moment of consumation, that supreme moment of joy when it becomes ours. Then it's actually in our possession...Bliss! And then, after a while, we stop obsessing about it. It starts to become rather ordinary - in fact there are now even better ones in the shops. And unless we are able to keep our appreciation alive and fresh, it gradually becomes part of our conceptual furniture, rarely noticed. We have other things to think about. Our homes and wardrobes are generally full of things we once lusted after, but which all failed to fill the void within in quite the way we hoped they would.
It is quite inevitable that anything we attempt to make into ground, security, territory, confirmation of our existence, will simply dissolve away - because form will always dissolve into emptiness. Moving towards something feels good - there is movement and activity; something is about to happen; form is arising from emptiness. But once we 'own' the form we can no longer move towards it: it is static, and eventually it begins to dissolve and disappear. At this point we generally either look for something new to move towards, or, in a relationship, where we don't want to cause pain by moving on, we attempt instead to manipulate our partner to change, to become a little different so we can experience movement again. Another turn of the wheel of samsara.
However, the Khandro Pawo teachings tell us that this is not inevitable. It is possible to make staying in love our practice. Practitioners of the Khandro Pawo Nyi-da Melong Gyud make a commitment to maintain our pure vision of our partner. To view our partners as one of our most important Teachers. To practice appreciation of everything our partner is and everything they do.
Appreciation in this context does not mean remembering to say 'thank-you for cooking the meal'. Appreciation is a vast practice in which we attempt to retain the magical delight we had when we first fell in love. It is not an easy practice, but it is simple: we just stop saying 'No'. Falling out of love is actually far more complex, even when it's quick. But openness and kindness are not complex practices.
We may occasionally do things which our partner finds difficult to appreciate, like forgetting their birthday. But if we are both practitioners, it should be possible to express regret at falling short of our Tantric commitments (as we continually do) and for this to be accepted without recrimination.
Sometimes we will have diametrically opposed views to those of our partner. But instead of approaching this difference from a position of fear and defensiveness in which we want to hang on to our view of things as some sort of solid ground, we approach it in a spirit of fascination. If we respect our partner and want our relationship to grow then change is inevitable. Diametrical difference challenges us to change and grow - but we both have to be willing to let go of our cherished solid ground and be open to switching our view.
When we allow ourselves to be intrigued by our partner's view; to really listen and make supportive comments, and our partner is doing the same, then an interesting situation occurs. A sense of wonder arises - a quality of inspiration, of trust and respect that makes difference interesting rather than threatening. Because we no longer have to fight for our own view, we become gentle. We begin to question what we really do want , and the situation becomes an open one which could go either way - ours or our partners' - or some new way may suggest itself. We have become open to engulfment and penetration by the 'otherness' of the other and can delight in this condition.
We have to realise that our partner will not 'meet our needs' in the sense of filling that aching void within (that requires another practice2). We will not maintain romance if we are constantly focusing on whether our needs are being met. We have to turn the focus away from us and towards our partner. In Khandro-Pawo practice we are actively seeking out the threat and challenge posed by the fact that our partner is different to us and has different ideas and different ways of doing things. We are actively seeking the challenge of those differences in order to appreciate them. In this way our partner is free to be who they are - and we are free to delight in their display. We have simply let go of our habitual pattern of making everyone and everything into some kind of confirmation of our existence.
This is not a comfortable thing to do, because we have to embrace insecurity and the fact that we do not own our partner. But the alternative is to observe the endless cycling of samsara in our relationships. The frenzy of falling in love; the cosy familiarity of commitment; the cooling off; the beginning of the end, the little criticisms, the little nagging - maybe even blazing rows - and the terminal stage before we start the process over again.
Of course, this practice cannot be one-sided. Both partners have to be fully and sincerely engaged in it for trust to grow. Each has to make the commitment not only to maintain a sacred view of their partner, but also to attempt to act in a way which allows their partner to maintain their sacred view of them.
In choosing to maintain our sacred view of our partner and to remain in love, we are learning what it means to maintain a sacred view of all phenomena - a practice which is fundamental to Vajrayana.
1 Obviously when we are attracted to and fall in love with someone there are also a range of psychological factors involved which add complexity. But here we are concerned with issues of practice rather than how and why we are attracted to certain individuals.
2 See Khandro Pawo Mirroring
© 2001 Naljorma Sel-zér
is suffering because we grasp and we crave. It starts young
and it never ends.
One of my first memories is our kitchen in Cincinnati, Ohio. My
mother had just given me my favorite sandwich in the whole world
peanut butter and marshmallow fluff on white bread.
I was thrilled until I noticed that my sister had the same sandwich,
only she also had banana slices in hers. From happy to miserable in
less than two seconds.
We grasp at money, stuff, jobs, people, and experiences. It makes us
There's a way out of the mess.
The way out is the Eightfold path, a path of moral living, aided by
energetic effort, concentration and wisdom.
Every single dharma talk, sutra, chant and teaching in the Buddhist
tradition relates back to these four truths."
~Parang Geri Larkin
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