What is Nonduality
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Issue #1854 Saturday, July 10,
2004 Editor: Mark
your thoughts lies the eternal bliss and garden of infinite
delights and excitement you have been seeking. But don't think
- Kir Li Molari, quoted on medit8ionsociety by Bob Rose
Part of a conversation between Steve Toth and ts on SufiMysic:
Thanks. I went throught this experience of losing wishful thinking & knowing for sure I was going to die. In fact it made me feel like I had already been given to death. Time slowed way down for a while. It was so slow in the morning each moment seemed like a great effort just existing. I looked at everything & it all seemed the same. Concrete, tree, bird, human being. There was no advantage to being any of them. Existence seemed like a sick joke. But then I got used to it & got my sense of humor back. I also started writing again even though there was no place to publish. I didn't care about that any more. One thing that shocked me was that I realized that I had gone many years denying that I was going to die. Oh course I knew rationally that everyone dies. But way down deep inside I thought I would get out of it somehow. Incredible but true. I thought I would talk or slip my way out even though this makes no sense. And I see the same thing operating in the lives of many of my own friends. This is a good exercise. Give everything away. Your thoughts, values, favorite chair, books, words even body. Someone or something else will be using it all before long.
This can be depressing or liberating.
it can be overwelmingly depressing ...
right up to that point of total surrender/acceptance.
once stripped of everything ...
naked on one's knees ...
face to face with the Infinite ...
one has nothing left to lose ...
nothing to carry 'round.
the load is lifted.
freedom to Be.
You cannot deliberately progress towards an open state, you can only see clearly that you are in a blocked state. So, you let your body- mind slowly become more open to your conviction that you can attain nothing. That you are going to die in total stupidity. You may die in the very next moment, so there is no time to reach anything, to achieve anything. In sadhana you live with the feeling that you are going to die the very next minute; thus, you no longer make strategies and you just do things for the sake of doing them. If you think that you will die within two minutes, what do you do? Nothing. You don't call anybody, you don't think of anything, you just totally enjoy seeing, feeling, smelling, listening to the last seconds of your life, the beauty of life.
- short excerpt from an interview with Éric Baret, Montreal, September 20, 1999 posted on AdyashantiSatsang by Robert O'Hearn
Life without a reason, a purpose, a position... the mind is frightened of this because then "my life" is over with, and life lives itself and moves from itself in a totally different dimension. This way of living is just life moving. That's all.
As soon as the mind pulls out an agenda and decides what needs to change, that's unreality. Life doesn't need to decide who's right and who's wrong. Life doesn't need to know the "right" way to go because it's going there anyway.
Then you start to get a hint of why the mind, in a deep sense of liberation, tends to get very quiet. It doesn't have its job anymore. It has its usefulness, but it doesn't have its full-time occupation of sustaining an intricately fabricated house of cards. This stillness of awareness is all there is. It's all one. This awareness and life are one thing, one movement, one happening, in this moment-unfolding without reason, without goal, without direction.
The ultimate state is ever present and always now. The only thing that makes it difficult to find that state and remain in that state is people wanting to retain their position in space and time. "I want to know where I'm going. I want to know if I've arrived. I want to know who to love and hate. I want to know. I don't really want to be; I want to know. Isn't enlightenment the ultimate state of knowing?" No. It's the ultimate state of being. The price is knowing. This is the beautiful thing about the truth, ever-present, always here, totally free, given freely: It's already there. That which is ever presently awake is free, free for the "being."
But the only way that there's total and final absolute homecoming is when the humanness presents itself with the same unconditionality. Every time a human being touches into that unconditionality, it's such peace and fulfillment. In your humanity, there's the natural expression of joy and love and compassion and caring and total unattachment. Those qualities instantly transmute into humanness when you touch into emptiness. Emptiness becomes love. That's the human experience of emptiness, that source, that ever-present awakeness.
For the humanness to lay itself down-your mind, your body, your hopes, your dreams, everything-to lay itself down in the same unconditional manner in which awareness is ever present, only then is there the direct experience of unity, that you and the highest truth are really one thing. It expresses itself through your humanity, through openness, through love. The divine becomes human and the human becomes divine-not in any "high and mighty" sense, but just in the sense of reality. That's the way it is. The only price is all of our positions. The only price is that you stop paying a price.
- The Only Price an excerpt from a talk given by Adyashanti, posted on AdyashantiSatsang by Mazie Lane
Living the Inspiration of Sri Ramana Maharshi
A dialogue between David Godman and Maalok, an Indian academic now teaching in America
Maalok: Ramana Maharshi has had a lasting influence on your life. For those of us who don't know much about the Maharshi, could you please share some of the salient aspects of his life that have influenced you deeply.
David: About two or three times a year someone asks me this question, 'Summarize Ramana Maharshi's life and teachings in a few words for people who know little or nothing about him'. It's always hard to know where to start with a question like this.
Let me say first that Ramana Maharshi was one of the most highly regarded and widely respected spiritual figures that twentieth-century India produced. I can't think of any other candidate who is as persistently held out to be an example of all that is best in the Hindu spiritual tradition. Everyone reveres him as the perfect example of what a true saint and sage ought to be.
How did this come about? While he was still in his teens Sri Ramana underwent a remarkable, spontaneous experience in which his individuality died, leaving him in a state in which he found his true identity to be the Self, the immanent and transcendent substratum. It was a permanent awakening that was truly remarkable because he had not previously had any interest in spiritual matters. He left his family home a few weeks later, without telling anyone where he was going, and spent the remainder of his life at the foot of Arunachala, a holy mountain and pilgrimage center that is about 120 miles south west of Chennai.
After a few years there - a period in which he was largely oblivious to the world and his body - he began to attract devotees because there was a spiritual radiance emanating from him that many people around him experienced as peace or happiness. This, I think, is the secret of his subsequent fame and popularity. He didn't get a reputation for being a great sage because of what he did or said. It came about because people, who arrived at his ashram with all kinds of questions and doubts, suddenly found themselves becoming quiet, peaceful and happy in his presence. There was a continuous, benign flow of energy coming off him that somehow evaporated the mental anxieties and busy minds of the people who came to see him. He didn't ask people to come. People just came of their own accord. A 19th century American author once wrote that if you invent a better mousetrap, even if you try to hide yourself in the woods, people will beat a path to your door. People beat a path to Sri Ramana's door - for many years he lived in very inaccessible places - because he had something far better than an improved mousetrap to offer; he had a natural ability to induce peace in the people around him.
Let me expand on this because this is the key to understanding both his state and the effect he had on other people. When he had his final experience at the age of sixteen, his mind, his sense of being an individual person vanished forever, leaving him in a state of unassailable peace. He realized and understood that this was not some new experience that was mediated by and through his 'I', his sense of being an individual person. It was, instead, his natural state, something that is there all the time, but which is only experienced when the mind and its perpetual busy-ness is absent. By abiding in this natural and effortless state of inner silence he somehow charged up the atmosphere around him with a healing, quietening energy. People who came to see him spontaneously became happy, peaceful and quiet. Why? Because Sri Ramana himself was effortlessly broadcasting his own experience of happiness, peace and quietude in such a way that those people who were around him got an inner taste, an inner flavor of this natural state that is inherent to all of us. I should say that this power was not restricted to his physical vicinity, although it did seem to be stronger there. People who merely thought about him wherever they happened to be discovered that they could experience something of this peace simply through having this mental contact with him.
So, having given that background, I can now answer the question: 'Who was Ramana Maharshi and what were his teachings?'
Sri Ramana Maharshi was a living embodiment of peace and happiness and his 'teachings' were the emanations of that state which helped other people to find and experience their own inner happiness and peace.
If all this sounds a little abstract, let me tell you a story that was passed on to me by Arthur Osborne's daughter. In the 1940s their house was a kind of dormitory for all the stray foreigners who couldn't find anywhere else to stay near Sri Ramana's ashram. A miserable, crabby women appeared one evening, having been sent by the ashram. They put her up, gave her breakfast and sent her off to see Sri Ramana the next morning. She came back at lunchtime looking absolutely radiant. She was glowing with happiness. The whole family was waiting to hear the story of what happened, but she never said anything about her visit to the ashram. Everyone in the house was expecting some dramatic story: 'He looked at me and this happened,' or 'I asked a question and then I had this great experience.' As the lunch plates were being cleared away, her hosts could not contain their curiosity any longer.
'What happened?' asked one of them. 'What did Bhagavan do to you? What did he say to you?'
The woman looked most surprised. 'He didn't do anything. He didn't say anything to me. I just sat there for the whole morning and then came back for lunch.'
She had been just one new person sitting in a crowd of people, but the power coming off Sri Ramana had been enough to wash away a lifetime of depression, leaving her with a taste of what lay underneath it: her own inherent, natural happiness and peace.
Sri Ramana knew that transformations such as these were going on around him all the time, but he never accepted responsibility for them. He would never say, 'I transformed this woman'. When he was asked about the effect he was having on people, he would sometimes say that by continuously abiding in his own natural state of peace, a sannidhi, a powerful presence, was somehow created that automatically took care of the mental problems of the people who visited him. By abiding in silence as silence, this energy field was created, a field that miraculously transformed the people around him.
Your original question was, 'Why has Ramana Maharshi influenced me so much?' The answer is, 'I came into his sannidhi and through its catalytic activity I discovered my own peace, my own happiness.'
- Submitted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman
More here: http://www.davidgodman.org/interviews/al1.shtml
Oh happy day when in your presence, my ruler,
I shall die!
When near the sugar-treasure melting like sugar
I shall die!
Out of my dust will grow a thousand of centifolias
When in the shade of yonder cypress in gardens
I shall die.
And when you pour into my goblet the bitter
drink of death,
I'll kiss the goblet full of joy, dear,
and drunken I shall die.
I may turn yellow like the autumn
when people speak of death,
Thanks to your smiling lip: like springtime
and smiling shall I die.
I have died many times, but your breath
made me alive again.
Should I die thus a hundred more times
I happily shall die!
A child that dies in mother's bosom,
that's how I am, my friend,
For in the bosom of His Mercy
and kindness, I shall die.
Say: Where would death be for the lovers?
Impossible is that!
For in the fountain of the Water
of Life -- there I shall die!
- Ghazal 1639, from Rumi's Divan-e Shams Translation by Annemarie Schimmel Look! This is Love - Poems of Rumi, Shambhala, 1991
- posted to Sunlight
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