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#1730 - Saturday, March 13, 2004 - Editor: michael


    Your Head In The Tiger’s Mouth Consciousness is all there is. So "who" is to know or seek "what"? All there is, is the impersonal functioning of Consciousness, or God, reflecting within itself the totality of manifestation. Live life making decisions and accepting the consequences as if you have free will - knowing it is Consciousness seeking, doing, living, deciding...   Ramesh S. Balsekar  

Head space. We live in our heads. Our sense of identifty is wrapped up in our thoughts, our beliefs, our hopes, our fears, and our expectations. Our minds seem an endless source of thoughts. Our thoughts effect our emotions, our feelings. Our sense of well being or not being so well is often founded on whatever thought(s) we are giving attention to in the moment. Happy thoughts seem to lift us up in spirit and sad thoughts seem to weigh us down.   Sages such as Ramesh S. Balsekar tell us that Conciousness is doing it all; in a rather impersonal way. Thus, one might tend to think that there is no joy or bliss to be found by anybody. Why? Well, Conciousness (God) is doing it all. In other words we are suffering under the delusion that we are somebody. Impersonal functioning of Conciousness doesn't leave much room for you and I. Or does it? Implied within the above quote is the message that we are not the "who" or "what" no, we are the Conciousness that is doing it all.   The seeker after enlightenment or awakening or realization (or whatever term one prefers) is perpetualy caught on the horns of a dilema. On the one horn are the sages who say that the seeker is already what is sought. The other horn informs the seeker that he or she is a separate being; somehow apart and individual from Conciousness. What happens then, when the bull tosses its head? Ah, the Tiger's Mouth awaits!   In this edition I've included the headless stories of D. E. Harding, Greg Goode, and Vicki Woodyard. There is also some food for thought and something to warm the heart.   as ever - be well,   michael  

D. E. Harding (1961) On Having No Head- Zen and the rediscovery of the obvious. London, Arkana.

The best day of my life- my rebirthday, so to speak- was when I found I had no head. ...

It was when I was thirty-three that I made the discovery. Though it certainly came out of the blue, it did so in response to an urgent inquiry; I had for several months been absorbed in the question: WHAT AM I? The fact that I happened to be walking in the Himalayas at the time probably had little to do with it; though in that country unusual states of mind are said to come more easily. ...

What actually happened was something absurdly simple and unspectacular: just for the moment I stopped thinking. Reason and imagination and all mental chatter died down. For once, words really failed me. I forgot my name, my humanness, my thingness, all that could be called me or mine. Past and future dropped away. It was as if I had been born that instant, brand new, mindless, innocent of all memories. There existed only the Now, that present moment and what was clearly given in it. To look was enough. And what I found was khaki trouserlegs terminating downwards in a pair of brown shoes, khaki sleeves terminating sideways in a pair of pink hands, and a khaki shirtfront terminating upwards in - absolutely nothing whatever! Certainly not in a head.

It took me no time at all to notice that this nothing, this hole where a head should have been, was no ordinary vacency, no mere nothing. On the contrary, it was very much occupied. It was a vast emptiness vastly filled, a nothing that found room for everything - room for grass, trees, shadowy distant hills, and far above them snow-peaks like a row of angular clouds riding the blue sky. I had lost a head and gained a world.


Discussion proved almost invariably quite fruitless. "Naturally I can't see my head," my friends would say. "So what?" And foolishly I would begin to reply: "So everything! So you and the whole world are turned upside down and inside out..." It was no good. I was unable to describe my experience in a way that interested the hearers, or conveyed to them anything of its quality or significance. ... Here was something perfectly obvious, immensely significant, a revelation of pure and astonished delight - to me and nobody else! When people start seeing things others can't see, eyebrows are raised, doctors sent for. And here was I in much the same condition, except that mine was a case of NOT seeing things. Some loneliness and frustration were inevitable. This is how a real madman must feel (I thought) - cut off, unable to communicate.

From:  "skiplaurel" Date:  Sat Mar 13, 2004  8:11 am
Subject:  On Having No Head

(ed. note: "Larry" is Vickie's irreverent spirit guide and "Ruin" is the stck pony that Larry rides)  

On Having No Head

There has been a terrible accident. Larry and Ruin were heading home after
satsang. From what the police can tell us, a blue Ford Mustang rear-ended
Larry. No one was hurt, but Ruin's head came off, leaving Larry only a stick to
ride. Those of us who love Ruin were devastated. We were not sure what to do.
We couldn't send him get well cards because he couldn't read. We couldn't send
casseroles because his digestive system had been disconnected from his mouth.
How do you let a stick know that you love it? I thought about Douglas Harding's
briliant book "On Having No Head." I could visit Ruin and Larry and read aloud
from it. I lost no time in finding the book and hightailing it over to Larry's.

Larry lived, where else, in a trailer park. It was a lovely one with little
Toto-like dogs waiting to be blown away. Red geraniums spilled from goose
planters and wagon wheels were growing out of the dirt like fine landscaping

Larry's trailer was an old Airstream. I knocked at the door and Larry let me
in. He had obviously been crying. The accident had shaken him up, but more than
that, his best friend lay in two parts on the sagging corduroy couch.

Silently I approached the motionless horse. Tears were welling up in Larry's
eyes as he said, "He's not long for this world." I thought to myself that he
wasn't long, period. He had never been more than two hands high and without his
head, he was definitely a minature pony. His head lay on one cushion and his
body further on down the couch. I sat between the two Ruins and wished I had
gone to veterinary school, or at the very least--to a doll hospital.

Larry said, "Guess he's not good for anything but the glue factory."

That was it! I asked Larry if he had some wood glue and he did. We operated on
Ruin right away. Without rubber gloves or sterilization, we put Ruin's head and
his body on the kitchen table and performed crude surgery. Re-attaching the
head to the body was a risky procedure, we knew that. However dangerous it was,
it had to be done. Otherwise, Ruin would have no quality of life at all--not to
mention Larry.

Hours later, Larry and I came to. (We had fallen asleep after the re-attachment
was complete.) We raced into the kitchen, where Ruin still lay on the kitchen
table. Would he be able to ride again? I put my hand on his neck and the glue
had held. I turned to Larry and said with emotion, "Would you like to ride him
around the room...but carefully?"

Larry lifted Ruin off the table and took the reins in his hand. I, overcome with
emotion, could only watch as they galloped around the green ottoman. It had all
been worth it. I guess I wouldn't be reading from Douglas Harding after all.

Vicki Woodyard            Wisdom is ever
       the gentle province
       of compassion.
       For there is no wisdom
       outside the heart
       or learning more profound
       than love.
       An aspiration to knowledge
       apart from compassion
       is without peace.
       Just as an aspiration
       to peace,
       without compassion,
       is unknown.

Love Thyself
Swami Chaitanya Keerti, Osho Rajyoga Meditation Centre, New Delhi

''Relate with others, but relate with yourself also. Love others, but love yourself also. Go out! - the world is beautiful, adventurous; it is a challenge, it enriches. Don't lose that opportunity! Whenever the world knocks at your door and calls you, go out! Go out fearlessly - there is nothing to lose; there is everything to gain. But don't get lost. Don't go on and on and get lost. Sometimes, come back home. Sometimes, forget the world - those are the moments for meditation. Each day, if you want to become balanced, you should balance the outer and the inner. They should carry the same weight so that inside, you never become lopsided."

From Osho: A Sudden Clash Of Thunder

Know, understand, and accept yourself if you have to understand others better, advises the author as he unravels the mysteries of the human soul.

 Have you ever wondered why do you exist? How did you come about? Was there any need for you to exist? You are such a miracle! These are quirky questions that have no real answers. But the fact is that you exist - whether anybody wants it or not, whether you can fulfill certain roles or not.

 You are a mystery for existence. You have been given this life to live, to create, to celebrate - to do everything that is possible. Don't you value this significant opportunity? Or are you not bothered at all?

 Most people live their lives as if they are not bothered at all. Life is there, it is taken for granted, and it is wasted in routine, in unawareness. Such a valuable treasure, and it is not valued at all.

So, when you wake up in the morning, pause for a while, and meditate before you are caught up in the whirlpool of activity. Feel grateful that life has given you one more opportunity to live it differently. Feel grateful that in spite of everything you have been doing, existence is still interested in you and wants you to continue.

 Have reverence for existence and love for yourself. Existence loves you and needs you. Let your love reach every cell of your being and energise it. 

Before you start showering your love on others, begin with yourself. It is always easier to love others than oneself, because one keeps finding faults with oneself and always feels inadequate. But do you understand that you are present in existence because existence wants you to be there - the way you are.

 Existence imposes no conditions on you. It loves you unconditionally - whether you are a sinner or a saint. It accepts as you are - in your totality. The sun, the moon, the stars, and everything in nature accept you. Learn from nature and accept yourself.

 When you wake up, just wash your face and look into the mirror. Look at yourself as if you are looking at your beloved, or at a child. Let your heart speak from your eyes and look with wondrous joy at who you are. For some moments, forget everything and be with yourself. These are the rare moments when you can pour all your love at yourself and feel blessed.

 This is a meditation to create a new rhythm in your life. Remember: such a lovely beginning will certainly make you love everybody. You will breathe love. Your very vibe would be that of love. The magnet of love will work wonders - you will get back love a thousand folds. There can be no other more powerful meditation than love. Love Is God.   The Antikythera Mechanism

A True Mystery of the Ancient World

Nonsense and pseudo science run rampant in our world. Claims of conspiracy and extra natural phenomenology replace the proper use of rational inquiry to examine the unknown. Often, the creation of a pseudo science mythology is easier and more profitable than performing the needed research to discover a historical or physical fact.


What is the nature of consciousness? Is it limited to humans? Does free will exist? Read on for one scientist's view.

The Electric Brain

How does a three-pound mass of wet gray tissue (the brain) succeed in representing the external world so beautifully? In this interview with noted neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinás of the New York University School of Medicine, find out how the rhythm of electrical oscillations in the brain gives rise to consciousness, and how failures in this rhythm can lead to a variety of brain disorders.   with thanks to Sarlo for pointing to this page

Brother Theophyle walks the path

Theophyle at The Zoo Fence

How to Live Forever Right Now
Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman invites everyone -- no matter what your religion -- to awaken to 'infinite life.'
Interview by Lisa Schneider
Robert Thurman was personally ordained by the Dalai Lama in 1965, making him the first Westerner to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Robert ThurmanHe still holds the first endowed chair in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies, at Columbia University. Author of the international bestseller "Inner Revolution," he is co-founder and president of Tibet House U.S., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. Thurman's latest book is "Infinite Life."

You've been called the "Buddhist Billy Graham" and a "Dharma-thumping evangelist." What do you think the people who refer to you this way are getting at?

I am not an evangelist in the sense that I'm trying to get people to be Buddhist. But I believe every liberal academic -- not liberal in the sense of liberal vs. conservative, but in the sense of liberal arts -- is an evangelist for wisdom. Is an evangelist for decency and compassion and ethics. Wants to educate people to live a better life and to be better persons, to be more kind, more wise, more intelligent, and to understand the world better. .

Buddhism means awakening, so I am an evangelist for awakening. I agree with the Dalai Lama that it doesn't mean becoming a Buddhist; it means becoming an awakened Christian, an awakened Jew, an awakened Muslim, an awakened Secularist Humanist. But awakened meaning understanding what's going on, being kind to others, which is a source of your own happiness after all. I don't mind being accused of being an evangelist for wanting to help people awaken to that.

The Buddha's first noble truth is "life is suffering." How do we overcome suffering?

The Buddha was referring to the suffering of unenlightened living, which means the suffering of self-centeredness and disconnection from others, shutting yourself off in a world of narcissistic self involvement.

The minute you awaken to the cause of suffering, which is your self-preoccupation and your self-misperception, your ignorance, then you'll begin to have a happy time. And the more you awaken to your interconnection with others, the more free of suffering you'll become.

The whole Buddhist path has to do with altruism and loving your neighbor, just as Christianity does. Christianity doesn't mean I love Jesus and he will save me and Jesus will love my neighbor. Christ says, You love your neighbor.

In God We Trust
United States | 16:35 | Jason Reitman

avg user rating

As Robert reads the words "In God We Trust" on a quarter, he is pulverized by a speeding truck. Upon his arrival in purgatory, Robert learns he is going to hell because he mowed the word asshole into his neighbor's lawn, shipped a box of vomit to his ex-girlfriend, and didn't get enough points in general. However, fate gives Robert a second chance and he escapes back to Earth. Now, he must score the points necessary to gain entry into heaven or die trying as the minions of purgatory use everything they've got to to stop him.  with thanks to Jody

Monday, January 20, 2003

Identity, The Self, and the Snare of Significance

Why don't we know who we really are? Why are so many of us limited to the idea of being a person instead of understanding ourselves as limitlessness itself? Such questions are especially perplexing given the fact that we've never been anything else! What exactly is
Maya's veil, this trickery that has us seeing snakes instead of ropes?

The process of identity forms the crux of the problem. We identify as the individual person we know ourselves to be. We have always known ourselves as this individual, and as much as we've changed over the course of our lives, we've always been just us. It's all we've ever known, and that's a clue to who we really are.

However, the
sages tell us that we are not individuals at all, that we're never born and that we won't die either. A sensible person might not make much sense of this, but the sages insist it is so. Somehow, something that is not born and never dies gets born into a life that ends in certain death. It's as if the unborn gets stuck in being the born, like a child getting stuck playing with gooey bubble gum.

What we call "the mind" has evolved to do many things. It could be argued that one of its most important functions is to rank, to prioritize and label experiences and memories. We learned very early in our evolutionary history that some of our neighbors were stronger, and some were downright dangerous. If we wanted to survive we had to remember who to look out for and who to ignore. In essence, we learned what was significant. So the mind came up with a way to mark memories with varying levels of significance, and thus identity was born.

Significance, the mind's function of ranking memories with attached emotion, is the cause of identity. We (as individuals) are what we find significant, with the idea of being an individual person at the very top of the heap. This "idea of me," as
Ramakrishna called it, is actually just a thought, but because it is the most significant thought in our heads, it clouds our perceptual capacity and we miss the truth that's as plain as the nose on our faces.

The reason it's missed is this: who we really are is perfectly insignificant. We rest in ourselves in every moment, whether we are awake or asleep, shining deep within our hearts. The mind has evolved to see the significant (that which brings comfort or hardship) and ignore everything else, so how can we expect it to see the constant yet unmoving, silent presence of what is often called "The Self?"

We can't.

This tragedy is further compounded by that fact that almost all of so-called "spiritual" culture makes who we really are to be the most significant thing in the universe. We are led to believe that there's nothing greater than "The Self," that all the worlds arose because of it and that the entire universe rests on its being. That may well be true, but when the mind factors in and marks the inferred significance of this, it effectively eclipses the truth. We may as well have just blown off our foot with a shotgun!

What can be done about this? Perhaps not a whole lot, but if we endeavor to realize that what we are looking for is who we are right now, we might not waste so much time seeking something big and mighty and glorious -- that is, significant. We might do a bit better to seek out the small and quiet and quite unglorious, for that's much more akin to the wholly insignificant yet constant presence of this most significant of truths: we are all the One, The Self, right now.

Brother Theophyle at The Zoo FenceBrother Theophyle at The Zoo Fence

  More Theo at The Zoo Fence     Theo's friend Rabbit with thanks to Greg

No Separation

Years ago, there was lots and lots of vigilance in my life. Before and during spiritual seeking, I wasn't badly suffering or in pain or unhappy with circumstances in life or stuck in dysfunctional patterns. Instead, I felt a deep sense of loneliness, alienation, lack of fulfillment, and a strong yearning from the heart and mind to know "What is it all about? What is the purpose of life? What happens after? What are all these mystical truths that are spoken of? Where is fulfillment to be found?" I was very vigilant about it.

Going back 30+ years, I tried many, many different paths, from Ayn Rand's icy "Rational Selfishness" to the strictness and ecstasy of Born-Again Pentacostal Christianity. Years later, this all settled down to an intense inquiry.

For about 5 years, one question kept itself rooted in front of me. "What is the core of me?" I couldn't help it - I'd ponder this in every spare moment the mind wasn't engaged in something else. It was a sweet and relentless yearning. I really wanted to burrow into the deepest secrets of this. After a few years, the question refined itself. "What or where is this choosing, willing entity that seems to be in evidence?" "Is that the me?" "But where is it?"

The answer came one day while I was reading a book about consciousness. I was standing on the Grand Central subway platform during the evening rush hour, and the answer came. It didn't come as a conceptual statement like "It is ABC." Rather, it came by way of the world and the body imploding into a brilliant light, and the willing, phenomenal self thinning out, disappearing in a blaze of the same light. No separation was experienced; no time or space was experienced, yet I knew myself as the seeing itself. All "willings," "desirings," "thoughts" and other mentations were deeply experienced as spontaneous arisings in awareness, happening around no fixed point or location. And it wasn't personal. Not only the entity "Greg," but all apparent personal entities dissolved.

Out of nowhere, lightness, sweetness, brightness, and a fluidity of the world became qualities of everything, and became one with all experiences. My long-standing question had vanished along with what I had believed was "me." There arose resiliency, joy, and an untouchable happiness.

This experience uncovered the realization that without the conceptual structures that make things seem real, there is no presumption of a separate center. There is no suffering and no basis for suffering. There is no feeling that things should be different than they are. This is a sense of peace far beyond what happens when we get what we dream about.  

Brother Theophyle walks the pathTheo working on spiritual issues

Brother Theophyle at The Zoo Fence

"The Divine Beloved is always with you, in you, and around you.  Know that you are not separate from Him." 

Meher Baba with thanks to Vicki and her iMaculate Swami


“Swami Z makes a shambles where shambala used to be.”

Satsang With Swami Z

The doorbell rang before I had opened both eyes.  It was the Home Depot man.  I let him in and we sat down at the kitchen table.  “I want to build an addition on the back of the house,” I said.  “Big enough to have drop-in satsang.”  He looked at me like I had just spilled some brains out of my head and he was going to have to pick them up.

“You know--drop-in satsang.  Kick off your shoes and stay awhile satsang.”

He decided to let that comment let it fly over his head.  “How big do you want it to be?”

“Big enough for  the universe and small enough so it won’t be overwhelming.  Swami usually manages to pull this off.  Surely you can do the same.”

Unfortunately Swami wandered in at that point, pulling his ratty red cardigan closed.  He had a notebook in his hand.  “Look what I found, Vicki,” he said, “my satsang notes from the seventies.”

I considered changing my mind about the whole deal.  I groaned, grimaced and got the picture.  Swami would be doing his reverse-Swami thing on a regular basis.  Let’s listen in...

“I’m not a spiritual teacher,” intoned Swami in a mock-serious way.  "I’m no one in particular.  I just happen to (and here his voice grew very conspiratorial).... know.”  He assumed a mock importance and offered his hand to me as he said, “This is one of my star students.”

What could I do but keep the charade going.  “Yes, dear Swami, I reverence your wisdom and your ability to keep your schtick in place no matter what.”  The Home Depot man couldn’t have cared less. He obviously knew loonies when he saw them.  “Okay, I’ll draw up a plan and get back to you.”

“Good, good,” I said, ushering him to the door.  When it closed behind him, I began to cry.  “Swami, I can’t do it.  I’ve aleady changed my mind.  I’m writing us back the way we used to be.”

He looked almost real as he said softly, “Would that were possible.  Would that were possible.”  But he didn’t say that.  I deleted that sentence and chose to have him say this, “Cheer up, kiddo, I’m about to make some cookies.”


emptied of thought

filled with being


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