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#1828 - Monday, June 14, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Dr. Greg Goode has started a practice in Philosophical Counseling.
Greg has had a long-time and highly respected presence on the nonduality lists. He is one of the founders of the extended online nonduality community, to which he has and continues to contribute significantly.
I've met Greg in person and have interacted with him online in various one-on-one and group situations for about 7 years. I'm pleased to recommend the keeping of Greg's company. He's one of the 'clearest' and 'lightest' personalities I've ever met.
Find out about Greg and his work, read his writings and what people say about him.
Sadhana Is A Peeling
Understand this truth; that all sadhana, including tapas, is not to gain anything, but rather, it is to remove Maya, remove doubt; remove the sense of duality, of desiring this and avoiding that; to be content. You can do sadhana 24 hours a day, but if this is not fully understood, it will be to no avail. All is within. All spiritual practice is the effort to remove the ignorance, the constant teaching that we have received from birth; that we are so in so that lives in such and such a place, and likes this, hates that, etc....All that we think we are is contrived. When we are born, do we come out saying "I am this, I am that"? No! We learn this as we mature. Everything we think we are is a learned identity. Underneath this learned identity, indeed, That which makes the learned identity possible, is the TRUE identity. This is what all sadhana is about, peeling away the years of learned ignorance, taming the monkey mind, and knowing one's own secret. The very nature of the mind shows us that it is not the heart of our being, for we are not the same at 30 as we were when we were 20; not the same at 40 as we were at 30, and so on. This is very telling; it shows us the fickle and ever changing nature of mind, and for the wise, it is the call to understand that which lies deeper within than the mind; that which does not change, which is Absolute.
''You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.''
Written by Jack Engelhard
Friday, May 28, 2004
First, the hard news at a glance. Bill Cosby, on May 17 in Washington, D.C., stunned a gathering of African-American notables when he declared that those who worship a culture that values sneakers over education are doomed. He was addressing, actually scolding, the blue ribbon parents of the be-bop generation.
The people were there at Constitution Hall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's (civil rights) landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which set the standard for equality in the classroom. Also, they were there to honor Cosby for his philanthropy. He has given millions to black citadels of learning.
If members of the NAACP and other distinguished guests expected comic relief from Cosby, they had every right to be alarmed. He gave 'em hell.
Still and ever the idealist, he gave smack mouth to minority parents who've found the American Dream but divert their eyes from the streets where the future is coming undone. Like this, on the rap generation kids: ''They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk. 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is.' ''
And this: ''And I blamed the kids until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads.''
But mostly this: ''You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.''
Those of us who weren't there can only imagine the gasps of chagrin. We are told that some people laughed, but that most were stone-faced.
As for me, no surprise at Cosby's politically incorrect chutzpah. Cosby has run a long (and mostly successful) road since the 1960s, and there was a moment when we met along the way. There is this one thing Cosby never lost in his travels, which has had a few bumps, but is of no concern for this remembrance, and the thing he never lost is this: his dignified idealism.
I knew Cosby. He never knew me.
The first-person narrative is important here, because I was on the outside looking in. I was born over there, not over here, and sometimes nobody knows it better than the kid with his nose pressed against the window. By way of (Nazi-occupied) France, then Montreal, then Cincinnati, I went to New York to find myself. The main point here is that the distance is more than geography.
Over there, we spoke in whispers. You never knew when all the king's men were listening and ready to haul you off, never to be heard from again.
America was the glory and the dream, and when I arrived, I found it, and still find it, just so. I remember how amazed I was when I saw people walking the streets speaking up and laughing loudly. What a country. Yes, what a country. No cynicism intended. So when I got here I was surprised that there was unhappiness in the land. (Compared to what I saw, America was a picnic. What's the complaint?)
Amid all the gold in the streets, there was RACE. No outsider will ever fully understand the racial divide. Or perhaps only an outsider can grasp the question, for while you are at omega, we are at alpha, so that everything is revealed to us upon a clean slate, and that can be an advantage. (The wisdom of innocent babes.)
When I left Cincinnati for New York the counterculture was just getting started. Black Power was up, the Establishment was down. Cops were ''Pigs.''
Vietnam was still just a whisper, but getting louder.
My first job in New York--we're back in the early toward mid-1960s--was counting money for Greyhound at the World's Fair. That went bust and I got something selling ties on Times Square. Quite a job for someone who still can't coordinate colors, but it kept me from starving.
Of all the coincidences, a buddy from Cincinnati stepped in and said there was a job for a doorman at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. I knew this much. No club was more famous than the Bitter End--Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, Wow! Wasn't this where protest humor and protest music got started? A few weeks later, I took a cab and got there, to Bleecker Street, the heart of all the action, just as a paddy wagon was blocking traffic. Lenny Bruce was being dragged from the Café Au Go Go and getting arrested.
This was all new business for me. I did not know that I had stepped into a cultural revolution, or perhaps an actual revolution. Advances for blacks and for women can, arguably, be dated from that time and of that place. At the same time, but at another place, California, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Mario Savio and his adherents were pioneering their own Free Speech Movement, all of which would later link up nationwide to form the Turbulent 60s.
So I got the job, ten bucks a night from Fred Weintraub who owned or co-owned the place, and there it was, as I stood my post at the Bitter End, the 60s parading before my eyes. On Bleecker Street it was always Saturday night. The place was mobbed from the traffic of cars and of people, but never ordinary people, except for the tourists, and even they donned sandals and came to be known as weekend hippies.
The transition had just begun from Beat to Beatnik, but all were Hipsters, and everybody was a poet with a poem or a singer with a song--of protest, always protest.
But there was no mistaking the excitement. The earth shook beneath the feet of marchers for civil rights and against the Establishment.
Wasn't that Allen Ginsburg, in from San Francisco, who just stopped by to ask me when Cosby's gig gets started? Is that Jack Kerouac right in front with Norman Mailer?
For sure. That's the thing about New York as opposed to elsewhere; if a guy looks like Norman Mailer, it is Norman Mailer.
Is that Edward Albee reluctantly signing an autograph for some ga-ga tourist?
I wish I'd had the guts to ask Ginsburg what he meant by ''bop Kabbalah'' in Howl.
In no time I became familiar with my surroundings. Across the street, at the Café Au Go Go, that was Lenny Bruce's place, when he wasn't getting arrested. Up the street, that was Bob Dylan passing around the hat for dimes and quarters at the Café Wha. A few blocks more, that was the Village Gate, where Richard Pryor was packing them in.
But my place, the Bitter End, staged the hottest action. I had Bill Cosby. Cosby was the headliner, even though he was really just getting started off his years at Temple University in Philadelphia. The opening card featured an act that drew few customers and even fewer chuckles. There was this girl and that guy who did something with a bass. They sang and told jokes. Between performances, the girl would stand outside, talking to Fred Weintraub, and lamenting her future. I was sure she'd never amount to anything. Joan Rivers.
But Cosby was the man. In his ordinariness he was different. He refused to go along. He refused to protest. He was too dignified. He was there at a time when comedy was not meant to be funny. Almost overnight, comedy had changed from a cigar up a guy's nose to a call for action.
Up the road, Pryor was regaling them with humor that pushed the edge of the envelope--though I'm not sure if that cliché was in vogue then. Pryor's humor was. Pryor was as edgy as it gets, and he was a genius. He scored. His deal was to dish vulgarity into our faces, to splash the dirt that divides us. He used the N word to provoke us, to wake us up against this nonsense.
Across the street, Lenny Bruce was doing pretty much the same, except that he was white, but he got away with it, not with the cops, but surely with Hip America. Pryor and Bruce were all about shaking us up, pointing out our differences, ridiculing our phony, hypocritical liberalism.
Nothing like that from Cosby. On the 60's agenda of rage and protest, silence from Cosby. Cosby never raged. At this moment when bombast was king (and why not?) Cosby mastered literary restraint. No flash for Cosby. He was too busy giving it plain, from the point of view of a man, just a man living a life, the texture of his skin of no consequence. Cosby's crowd came with women dazzling in fur. Pryor's crowd came with men dazzling in fur.
So what accounted for Cosby's genius? What accounted for the long lines that kept growing longer night after night? What accounted for all those limos pulling up? What accounted for the gusts of laughter inside the Bitter End? The man never gave a bad performance. He was always hilarious. How could someone so un-hip be so hip? How could someone so unoriginal be so original?
His humor was mainstream, almost homespun, certainly not daring. Or maybe it was, it was daring, going against type, an African-American doing ''white'' material at a moment in history when to be black was to be rebellious. That took guts, going up there and talking not about what divides us, but what UNITES us. (There's the genius.) You hate spinach, I hate spinach. You used that Chevy across the street for third base, so did I. You guys shattered your neighbor's window with a wayward backyard homerun, so did we.
You identify with all this if you were raised black, or white.
You identified with virtually all of Cosby's literature, and literature it was, for all his skits were finely crafted. No one-liners from Cosby, only set pieces, like short stories, but with a crackerjack punchline. No Seven Forbidden Words from Cosby. Nothing that would shock and amaze, and that is what shocked and amazed, that a man of such abundant talent would refuse to join the subculture of his peers, would never relent and sell his gifts on the cheap. He refused to plug into the Age of Protest.
But protest he did. So subtly. What he was saying was this: Hey, folks, look around. We are not different. We are all the same. Black, White, Who the Hell Cares?
He was never political, to my memory, and that made him political, if you accept Hemingway in that what is left unspoken is more powerful than what is spoken.
I still do not completely understand the racial divide. But I understand Cosby, and if I understand it at all, I understand it through Cosby. So, nope, I am not surprised that Cosby spoke up the way he did, now a generation later. By use of his special genius, his unobtrusive dignity, he continues fighting the same fight in the name of race, the human race.
Jack Engelhard's novel, "The Days of the Bitter End," is all about Greenwich Village, JFK, and the 1960s. He has adapted his book into screenplay form with Roger Paradiso of Greenwich Street Productions for a soon-to-be-filmed motion picture. He receives e-mail at [email protected]
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