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#1815 - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  

Today's issue features posts sent to the Nonduality Salon email list in the past three days. It includes three writings by Vicki Woodyard. There is also one piece exclusive to The Highlights. Thank you for your letters and for your good wishes on our Fifth Anniversary. --Jerry    

Mark Otter

Hi Folks,

Today is Memorial Day, and I've been watching TV shows about valor
and service.  

While I only know a few people who have served in the
military, and they are still well, so far as I know, I thought I'd
share a memory anyway.

I remember being a high school student, between my junior and senior
years. I worked at a summer camp for the "mentally handicapped". My
first charge was a fellow who was in his mid forties, but with a
mental age of about 2. He was a sweetie pie. I remember one day when
we were at arts and crafts - perhaps 200 or 300 yards from the main
building where the bathrooms were.  John, my camper, started tugging
on my arm and was quite insistent. I did what seemed like my duty,
which was to keep him there at arts and crafts. He kept trying to
drag me to the main building, but I did my "job". Finally he gave up
and peed his pants. After, he seemed just as happy as he always did,
grinning and nodding his head.

I dunno, but I think many of us are too well trained to do what we
are asked to do, and not aware enough of what really needs to be
done. I'm grateful to John for showing me the need to pay attention
to other's needs and also for his steadfast cheerfulness.

May we all wake up to truth.

Love, Mark

P.S. Just to be clear, I don't mean by this post to denigrate in any
shape or form the service of our military man and women. I just mean
to say that duty is less clear and more deserving of attention than
it used to be here.

Jeanne and Gene (Poole) in dialogue

 Gene Poole offers some of his writing on
 a website:  

And 'whom' better to answer,
than 'meem'?

 Please forgive me if I at all change the
 meaning of what I read there, while
 attempting to understand it.

OK... in fact, it is expected
that every reader will hear
it somewhat differently.

 I understand him to be saying he has
 learned to 'tolerate' the dynamic field
 outside himself, differentiating this
 from acceptance.  That this tolerating
 is in the interest of making no 'move
 to correct' inner experience.

It is similar to disciplining oneself
to simply sit and tolerate someone
who is droning on and on about
a topic of little interest; but it is not
'tuning out' or inner distraction.

It is an ability to simply 'note' what
seems to be happening; if necessary,
at first, in the most basic of descriptive

A dog barks'   'A dog continues to bark; now the
distant siren is audible to my human

In fact, the entire array of sensory
'information' taken together, is a
rather powerful 'voice', whose message
we are immersed in, and call 'reality'.

But, to continue:  

 To accept implies approval or agreement.
 Tolerate implies merely allowing.
 Can allowing be a move...?

Does the bouncer move aside,
to allow you to enter the club?

If so, 'allowing' is indeed a move.  

Do you 'allow' yourself to breathe?  

If so, is that a 'move'?  

'Abiding' allows the chaotic turmoil
of the background to resolve into
a (more) coherent (meta-) pattern.

Abiding allows one to understand that
abiding itself, is included in the range
of possibilities which manifest as 'reality'.

Thus; 'abiding is no different than reality'.  

 What is the difference between allowing
 and resignation?

By definition, resignation implies
passivity. 'Allowing', as you have
observed, is not 'passive', but instead,
an 'act'.

 Can resignation be a move...?

Resignation is the end of moves; but
only insofar as we define 'moves' as

 "The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

"The mind is not a bucket to be filled,
but a dynamo which to start"
  -Voltaire (reputed)  
It is possible to simply observe
and to withhold reaction.

The degree of 'nonreaction' will deepen
with practice.

But this does not mean that any
information is lost. On the contrary,
consciousness, which (seems to be)
is designed for the express purpose
of processing the information of 'reality',
is finally able to detect the more subtle

And that, even in 'terrible' circumstances,
is beauty. But whatever you do, don't
reveal this vast secret.


Su Gandolf

I know blue jay   I

know blue jay
(well, we are anyway acquainted)
I know ocean--
She gives a worn, black stone
flat and sized just so,
fitting the cyst perfectly.
Horseshoe crab shell is drum,
is ancient salty smell, is eternity.

I know direction and loss of direction and
no direction,
I know space and blindness,
drunkenness and stupid joy, and shadow
kissed with sun.

But I am no good at my job.
They say you need conviction, or desire,
and  mine... is wrapped in seaweed, washed up on some distant shore
(or: flying now from one city branch to another),
written in a language lost in the speaking of it.

Vicki Woodyard


We are supported by paradox and not by ego.  Although we set out daily in our little ships of separations, we are buoyed by the great oceanic oneness.   We must do our duties yet remember grace.  No wonder we are half-crazy.  It is not such a bad thing to be half-crazy, for that means the other half is sane.  Paradox is not only a finger pointing to the moon, it is the fist shaken in anger that we can never reach the other shore.  As boatmen, we are doomed.  Only as the sea and all of its boats do we stand a chance.

Each week that goes by, I marvel at the resiliency of the mystery...of the paradox.  Suffering and grace are pulsing through my life like blood through my veins.  I spend time at the oncologist's with my husband and see such bravery.  All of us are brave who are destined to be in that room.  And yet, none of us are up to the challenge.  The chemo nurses are tireless and dedicated; yet nothing they can do will stay the hand of God when He says, "Enough."

Recently a neighbor lost the battle against her breast cancer.  She was buried on her birthday and someone brought a cake that no one felt like eating.  On the human level that is unbearably sad.  She left three children; her husband died of a brain tumor many years ago.  Her old house is being renovated; it stands gutted and empty.  Ducks and their babies parade across her lawn.  They are part of the paradox that supports us.  Workmen are feeding the babies from their lunchboxes and life goes on.

"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting," says Wordsworth.  In each day that we live, paradox offers the perfect solution to all of our problems.  The mystery of not being able to do is solved when it is seen that there is no one there.  It is just that one that felt no need to eat any cake.

Vicki Woodyard

~ ~ ~

The Thin Places  

Could I stop dreaming now....this dream that my
husband has cancer. Could I wake up and just
serve the living moment. Today we saw two doctors
and then I went to the pharmacy. In between we
had lunch. A nice young man was getting bacon
bits and cheese on his Caesar salad and I
remarked that it loo ked good. I asked for extra
bacon, just like he did, but forgot the cheese .
When we sat down to eat, the server brought a
tiny bowl of cheese to our table, thanks to the
young man. As he was seated behind us, I smiled
and said "thank you." If he ony knew how much I
appreciated that small gesture.

Someone I know just returned from the "thin
places" in Ireland. I was not familiar with that
expression so I Googled it up and read: "A thin
place is anywhere our hearts are opened," writes
Marcus Borg. "They are places where the boundary
between the two levels becomes very soft, porous,
permeable. Thin places are places where the veil
momentarily lifts and we behold (the "ahaah of
The Divine all around us and in us". (Borg's The
Heart of Christianity, 2003)

It is my feeling that when our hearts lie soft
and open the thin places are everywhere at once.

Vicki Woodyard    

~ ~ ~    

Setting thoughts on fire

I have amassed billions of thoughts during my life and I am trying to get rid of them.  This morning I started a huge bonfire and I am tossing old thoughts right in.  The flames are getting hotter and I am getting cooler.  My mind has been rid of its passion.  I am eating Twizzlers and watching it sizzle.  I have on old tennis shoes and blue jeans.  Something hot is happening.

By grace I have started to toss my thoughts away instead of letting them toss me away.  That old Zen expression of not letting thought toss you away is a doozy.  I have just stood up and hollered uncle to all of them.  Then I started the fire.  I have bags and bags of marshmallows at the ready.  Bring coathangers and we'll have a snack together.

Of course, I will change my mind.  You may see me tonight tiptoeing into hot ash just to retrieve some of my favorite ruminations.  They come in handy around midnight.  You are welcome to drop off thoughts of your own and let them be consumed in my fire.  Your thoughts are my thoughts, after all is said and done.  We are one in our lunacy, are we not.  Everybody talks about being one in spirit, but they don't like to dwell on mutual dumbness.  That would be tacky.

Vicki Woodyard      

Al Larus


For passers by, the fool was I,
played hide and seek
with nightingale
all week.

So he did sing;

The door is thin
and summer's short,
this rushing wind
will pull you in.

The sky above,
 is tall
with golden wings

And down below,
 they will come
one by one

I'd be there still.
 inside the grove

If not
I heard this call;

Its getting late
please come on home,
there's pancakes
in the stove.

Exclusive to The Nondual Highlights

I shared this piece a few days ago at a satsang retreat with Pamela and felt moved to share it here. love Josie      

Please Come Home  

Please come home. Please come home.

Find the place where your feet know where to walk

And follow your own trail home.


Please come home. Please come home into your own body,

Your own vessel, your own earth.

Please come home into each and every cell,

And fully into the space that surrounds you.


Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,

And your instincts and your ways and your knowings,

And even the particular quirks of your personality.

Please come home. Please come home and once you are

firmly there,

Please stay awhile and come to a deep rest within.

Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.

Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.


Please come home. Please come home.

And when you’re really, really ready,

And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please

come out.

Please come home and please come forward.

Please express who you are to us, and please trust us

To see you and hear you and touch you

And recognize you as best we can.


Please come home. Please come home and let us know

All the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.

Please come home, and let us know the More

That is there that wants to come out.


Please come home. Please come home.

For you belong here now. You belong among us.

Please inhabit your place fully so we can learn from you,

From your voice and your ways and your presence.


Please come home. Please come home.

And when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too,

For we too forget that we belong and are welcome,

And that we are called to express fully who we are.


Please come home. Please come home.

You and you and you and me.


Please come home. Please come home.

Thank you, Earth, for welcoming us.

And thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,

Touch of love for welcoming us.


May we wake up and remember who we truly are.


Please come home.

Please come home.

Please come home.


Written by Jane Hooper who died in June 2001, not quite fifty-one, after a three year journey with brain cancer. This poem was shared with her friends at Whidbey Island, Washington and published several times, quoted here from a section on presence in The Wisdom Way of Knowing by Cynthia Bourgeault.

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