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#1639 - Sunday, December 7, 2003 - Editor: Gloria  .    

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth,
beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest,
the very highest heavens. This is the Light that shines
in our heart.

--Chandogya Upanishad

  "It is very difficult to explain this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. The individual feels the nothingness of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and the world of thought. He [the experiencer] looks upon individual existence as a sort of prison and wants to experience the universe as a single, significant whole"
--Albert Einstein

"We could say that meditation doesn't have a reason or doesn't have a purpose. In this respect it's unlike almost all other things we do except perhaps making music and dancing. When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point. And exactly the same thing is true in meditation. Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment."

-- Alan Watts (as quoted in Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart, 1993)

  Mazie Lane  - HarshaSatsangh

Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart
which safely exists in the center of all things?
His giant heartbeat is diverted in us
into little pulses. And his giant grief
is, like his giant jubilation, far too
great for us. And so we tear ourselves away
from him time after time, remaining only
mouths. But unexepectedly and secretly
the giant heartbeat enters our being,
so that we scream ----,
and are transformed in being and in countenance.

~ Rilke, "Heartbeat" - Translated by
Albert Ernest Flemming

"Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem,in my opinion, to characterize our age"

- Albert Einstein.

Ben Hassine - NDS

You are the world - short Krishnamurti video    

mediaplayer format (Note: click on view, then full screen, to see better)

  Jan Sultan - Advaita to Zen  

There is no attainment and no cultivation
of original nature. You are Consciousness,
not a farmer! Why work for that which you
already are? Do not mentate, do not stir a
thought. Trying to get out of superimposed
bondage, which is the notion that you are
separate from Existence, you will land in
superimposed freedom.

- Papaji


Summary-The personalities of people who are involved with spiritual practices like prayer, meditation and ceremony are shaped by the altered-state experiences their spirituality creates. The part of the brain that manages our states of consciousness, the temporal lobes, is a little busier in these people than most, producing personality traits that appear over and over among spiritually oriented people. 

[ Note: An excerpt follows, which is not an endorsement of this point of view, but the whole article gives a context for how a study of brain activity explains these phenomena. It may be of interest..or not.]

Our states of consciousness are managed in the temporal lobes of our brains. The temporal lobes do all sorts of things including language, long-term memory storage, emotional reactions, perceiving spatial relationships, and music. Smells are interpreted here, as well as patterns, whether these are patterns in time or in space. Most importantly, the human sense of self is maintained here, in all its guises including our feelings of self-worth, and our sense of being an independent person. [...]

Another obvious effect is that as the left 'self' begins to lose its mastery over the individual, the person is more and more likely to 'feel' their way through situations, rather than thinking about them. One study found that people who experienced altered states frequently were unable to follow scientific, 'linear' reasoning.

Still another effect is that, because each time the right-self intrudes on the left, the left-self loses a bit of its control, and because the left is normally dominant, the effect is that the person's self esteem (while they are in normal states) goes down. As near as I can tell, it stays that way until the person's normal states are adjusted so that they then have a permanent 'baseline' state that allows their right-sided 'self' to emerge in all circumstances.

Until this happens the person can suffer from 'the dark night of the soul', which can come as moments when they doubt their self-worth, or as long periods of melancholy. More often in my experience, such people respond with a specific coping strategy. They become 'holier than thou.' In these cases, spiritual practitioners will respond to comments from others with 'spiritual' interpretations.

You missed your bus? You weren't 'meant' to be on it. How have you been lately? There is no lately: there is only this moment. The person you were attracted to isn't interested in you? Give your love to Jesus. I seem insensitive? I'm only sharing my truth in this moment. You're angry about something? It just shows how are attached you are. You're offended by something? That's just your ego coming out.

In extreme cases, such people have an answer for everything they don't care to hear, and each answer shows how 'spiritual' they are, and subtly 'puts down' the other. Its just not possible, for one who is 'holier than thou', to feel beneath others. This type of person won't be free of the inner turbulence that an extra-active amygdala creates, they just won't feel that they are lower than others. Because we are such linguistic beings, we are very sensitive to words that we don't like. An easy way to cope is to have a stock of things to say that invalidates whatever the 'other' has to say, and to do so in a spiritual-seeming way. If they are successful, they can become gurus or teachers in their own right.

Now, gurus (or masters or satgurus, sufus, tzaddiks, roshis, growth group or workshop leaders, priests, or a ministers) often don't like to be 'defined' or 'labeled' or 'categorized', but there's a category that seems to invite them in. Its a term from primatology, the study of our closest living evolutionary cousins, the primates. You know. Monkeys and chimpanzees. Gurus are dominant or alpha individuals. Within their community, the guru is the boss. He (forgive the sexist pronoun) usually calls the shots. He disperses the donated resources, and if the tradition doesn't include celibacy, to be his romantic partner is a 'position' of some prestige. All other conditions being equal, the guru will be more successful at passing on his genetic material than the disciple. If you become a guru, your self-esteem will automatically rise. You've become the alpha person.



  Zen Oleary - TrueVision  

Here a just a few of the many photos I took while travelling in Thailand from Bangkok up to the Mekong River area & Golden Triangle and across into Myanmar (more to come)

  Jan Sultan - Advaita to Zen  

Bodhidharma came from the West and just pointed to
the human mind, to show its nature and enlighten
it. That was undeniably direct and economical, but
when seen with the absolute eye, it is already all mixed
up. There is no choice for now but to make some
medicine for a dead horse.
This mind that is simply pointed to is precisely what
the Buddha could not express in forty-nine years of
lectures and talks. It is extremely rarefied, extremely
subtle; few are able to find the true pulse.
This mind cannot be transmitted but can only be
experienced in oneself and understood in oneself.
When you get to the point where there is neither
delusion nor enlightenment, you simply dress and eat as
normal, without a bunch of arcane interpretations and
lines of doctrine jamming your chest, so you're clear
and uncluttered.

Ying-an (d. 1163)

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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