|Dr. Robert Puff|
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#1887 - Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
This is Part 2 of the review/summary of The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, edited by John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila Krystal.
Information about this book is available at http://www.paragonhouse.com/catalog/product_info.php?authors_id=218&products_id=315 A
lso in this issue I'll continue the In Nonduality Salon series, which covers the highlights from emails posted during the first nine months of Nonduality Salon, a span of time during which there were no Highlights.
The Sacred Mirror
Chapter 2: Nonduality and Therapy: Awakening the Unconditioned Mind
by Peter Fenner
Peter Fenner, Ph.D., was an ordained monk who now offers courses, workshops, contemplative dialogues, retreats, and counseling. Information may be accessed through his website, http://wisdom.org. He has written several books and articles.
Fenner is very clear about the nothingness of nondual therapy: "...we know that there is no such thing as 'nondual therapy.' What makes nondual therapy unique is that it doesn't exist!" At the same time he devotes the bulk of the chapter on a structure for the nature and ways of therapy. Here is the outline of that structure:
THE HALLMARKS OF NONDUAL THERAPIES
-- The unconditioned mind is introduced and discussed in the context of therapy
-- The unconditioned mind as the "ultimate medicine"
-- Resting in the unconditioned mind is a state beyond suffering
-- A homing instinct toward the unconditioned mind
-- The unconditioned mind reconditions thought patterns and emotions
-- Living in the here and now
-- "The experience of the unconditioned mind is cultivated in the midst of our everyday existence."
-- The union of love and wisdom ("The capacity to identify is love. The capacity to disidentify is wisdom. Both arise simultaneously and without any conflict.")
OBSTACLES TO EXPERIENCING THE UNCONDITIONED MIND
-- Our attachment to suffering
- The habitual need to be doing something
-- Needing to know
-- The need to create meaning
-- Fearful projections about the unconditioned mind
PRACTICES THAT PREPARE AND SUPPORT THE CULTIVATING OF NONDUAL AWARENESS
-- Observing and acknowledging the presence of fixations
-- Discovery of a place free of strong desire
-- Tuning into the present so that there is "completion in the moment"
-- Opening "to the full force and richness of our conditioned existence."
-- Developing serenity
-- Resting in healing-bliss
DISTINCTIVE GUIDELINES FOR NONDUAL THERAPY
-- Holding a space of pure listening and speaking
-- Facilitating "the natural release of fixed beliefs and frozen emotions by creating a space that is free of all pressures to change or be the same."
-- Deconstructing fixations through the Madhyamika system
-- "Naturally arising koans ... as tools for deconstructing our habitual ways of thinking."
-- Using "checking questions" to assess the quality and purity of the unconditioned experience
-- Dancing in the paradoxes of nondual logic
Nondual therapists spin this talk about the nothingness of nondual therapy while formulating approaches and guidelines to nondual therapy. According to Fenner, the nondual therapist "uses the teachings and embodied presence of nondual masters as a model for how to manage our own evolution and thus make a powerful healing contribution to others. The model is based upon the healing capacity of the unconditioned mind. The common element in nondual approaches to therapy is a focus on awakening an experience of the unconditioned mind for the therapist and client, and the ongoing cultivation of this experience."
What is key is that the therapist is not merely applying a set of guidelines for nondual therapy in the course of carrying out a profession, but that the therapist acually lives from the nondual disposition or the unconditioned mind. Living that way, it's no problem doing what Fenner has done: pointing out the nothingness of nondual therapy while listing explicit guidelines and suggested practices. First and last, nondual therapy is a "psychology of nothingness," as Dan Berkow says later in the book. Therefore, while strategies and guidelines for nondual therapy are given, what is known to the nondual therapist living in the neither existent nor non-existent now is all that can be known or done: nothing.
~ ~ ~
The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy, edited by John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila Krystal. Information about this book is available at http://www.paragonhouse.com/catalog/product_info.php?authors_id=218&products_id=315
The Krishnamurphy poems were first
published in Irish (Gaelic) and appear here for the first time in
by their creator, Gabriel Rosenstock.
It's in the water
but it doesn't get wet.
an egg in a duck.
I didn't think that one up, says Krishnamurphy.
I don't do riddles:
everything's a riddle if you ask me,
the egg, the water, the duck,
myself. This wee poem. (The one before
and the next one).
As previously noted
Krishnamurphy does not compose riddles
But he's the smartest of all
When it comes to the answers:
A heron standing on one leg
A bodhrán -
Irish hand-drum to you -
The sea anemone
Jein, says Krishnamurphy
There's a word in German
not taught in schools
and that word is Jein.
It is a type of composite -
Ja and Nein.
Yes and No (Nes and yo).
To answer the question,
'Is this a poem?'
Say Jein! Do you like me?
The Heart of the Universe
Get to the heart of the universe, says Krishnamurphy.
How? ask the disciples.
Understand, says Krishnamurphy,
Understand that you are not the heart of the universe
And the heart of the universe will reveal itself to you
said the dentist to Krishnamurphy.
'I could not be more open!'
The dentist experienced samadhi.
The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy
Krishnamurphy discourses on Advaita
That is what is meant by Advaita.
The hen? The egg?
Not two. No.
The egg is an extension of the hen.
Everything is an extension of God, of the One,
Myself and Saddam Hussein
We are closer than brothers
There is not a whit of difference between us -
Couldn't possibly be. Ever.
Arabac is Gaelic
Gaelic is Arabic.
Every vowel and consonant
Every sibilant is God's breath.
No language ever died
Or ever will
No person or wren ever perished
When you understand Advaita
You will understand the nature of all things
Every poem ... Cock a doodle doo!
Hey! Did you hear?
I'm calling you!
Krishnamurphy is Pregnant
'I am heavy with a poem,'
says Krishnamurphy to the faithful.
'You will all have to act as midwife
and bring it into the world.'
'But - '
The faithful were astounded:
'Where is your womb, in the name of God!?'
'In all of you,' says K.
Krishnamurphy in Love
I'm in love!
I'm in love!
I'm in love, says K.
Who is she? the disciples ask.
Over there in the corner!
A cat? exclaim the startled disciples.
And the other one - look!
The cat was staring at a mouse.
What bird just went by? asked K.
I'm in love with her.
Is there no one whom you do not love?
None at all.
What about the devil?
He most of all - if he exists -
Is is need of love.
The disciples did a little dance of joy
And were joined by the cat, the mouse, the tit
And Old Nick himself).
In Nonduality Salon:
selected posts from the between August, 1998, and May, 1999
Gene Poole writes:
Letter of appreciation
Thank you for creating the website for my writings.
It has occured to me that your efforts are unique; that it may be that what
you are doing is unprecedented. To make the effort to grow from a seed,
that which would be the body of evidence of the reality of the "I Am"
experience, including not only the past masters and their famous words, but
also the realizations of any person.
To include the evidence of the struggles and the grace which supports them,
to gather not only the ripe apples which fall from the tree, but also the
leaves, branches, and trunk, and finally, the ground in which the tree
grows, all stated variously, from every angle of experience.
To tolerate what is not traditional, to search for words which accurately
describe yet are common, to acknowledge the need of the ordinary person, to
gently pick the lock which makes exclusive that which is always included,
to collect and collate every voice which speaks...this shows real love.
Thank you and Bless you, Jerry.
Thank you kindly, Gene, for your most graciously spoken and generous
I just enjoy hearing all the different ways people describe their
understanding of Truth when it comes from one of the nondual
As a kid I always felt that inwardly I was no different than any of the
spiritual giants. I don't mean in terms of genius, might or leadership,
but in understanding, in plain awareness of God. And so I could never
buy into any religion. I always knew the essence of religion was within
and nowhere else. The geniuses of religion could be my teachers and
guides, smarter, wiser, stronger, infinitely more charismatic. But on
grounds of awareness we could be equal, and that is all that matters.
In the spiritual realm, people can understand awareness, Truth. They may
not be masters of it, able to impart it with a glance or to awaken
Kundalini energies and all that. But they can understand. And they can
communicate it. That communication, to me, is worth hearing. There are
many struggling to know it.
I do not see the people listed at my website as different than me. Their
voice is mine. When I recognize that voice, I acknowledge it.
~ ~ ~
by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
~ ~ ~
Ladies and Gentleman, I bring to you our very own Niren:
I think our difficulties arise in that gap between
"knowing about truth" and "being truth". Someone said " There are
nowadays professors of philosophy, because there were once philosphers.
It is admirable to profess, because it was once admirable to live." I
like to ask "what if" I did have an answer..then so what?
Imagine you could discover "why"..does that change the "what" of any
experience? So whatcha gonna do? For starters, you cannot go wrong, by
looking deeply into what you ARE experiencing..
Your good questions are what keeps the list going. This is a good place
to ask them. I doubt you wandered in here by mistake. Just look at all
the great posts you have already inspired. Still your one good question
is worth more than all our so called answers.
What calls and speaks to you? What signs along your road seem useful
directions? What do you already know? The bells of truth that ring and
the lights that beckon are useful aspirations.
What's it gonna take to wake you up ..if you are immune to an urn of
It may be useful to remember there is unconscious resistance at work or
even to wonder what it may be about to some extent. Too much delving
into why and seeking psychological reasons for every little thought is
also a good way to make yourself more crazy. If it feels like too much
of a struggle..it is.
Why let some spiritual busybodies nosy in to disturb your sanctuary with
their silly advice? Even via email. I mean you can listen to music and
read books for diversion..who needs Walmart??
If we turn the very spirituality which COULD save us from ourselves into
yet another competitive striving...the spiritual olympics..we may as
well all sit around and watch those late night infomercials on how to get
rich in real estate or get rid of wrinkles. What IS the difference?
~ ~ ~
Five Great Vows (Maha-vratas) of Jainism:
Compiled by - Pravin K. Shah, Jain Study Center of North Carolina
Right knowledge, right faith, and right conduct are the three most
essentials for attaining liberation in Jainism.
In order to acquire these, one must observe the five great vows:
1. Non-violence - Ahimsa
2. Truth - Satya
3. Non-stealing - Achaurya or Asteya
4. Celibacy/Chastity - Brahmacharya
5. Non-attachment/Non-possession - Aparigraha
Among these five vows, non-violence (Ahimsa) is the cardinal
principle of Jainism and hence it is known as the cornerstone of
Non-violence is the supreme religion (Ahimsa parmo dharma). It is
repeatedly said in Jain literature,
"Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment,
torture, or kill any creature or living being."
According to Jainism all living beings, irrespective of their size,
shape, or different spiritual developments are equal. No living being
has a right to harm, injure, or kill any other living being,
including animals, insects, and plants. Every living being has a
right to exist and it is necessary to live with every other living
being in perfect harmony and peace.
Nonviolence in Jainism is not a negative virtue. It is based upon the
positive quality of universal love and compassion. One who is
actuated by this ideal cannot be indifferent to the suffering of
Violence of every type should be completely forbidden. Mental
tortures by way of harsh words, actions, and any type of bodily
injuries should also be avoided. Even thinking evil of some one is
considered violence in Jainism.
Practically, it is impossible to survive without killing or injuring
some of the smallest living beings. Some lives are killed even when
we breathe, drink water, or eat food.
Therefore, Jainism says that minimum killing of the lowest form of
life should be our ideal for survival.
In the universe, there are different forms of life, such as, human
beings, animals, insects, plants, bacteria, and even smaller lives
which cannot be seen even through the most powerful microscopes.
Jainism has classified all the living beings according to their
There are five senses; touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
five senses - human, animals, birds, heavenly, hellish beings
four senses - flies, bees, etc.
three senses - ants, lice, etc.
two senses - worms, leaches, etc.
one sense - vegetables, water, air, earth, fire etc.
It is more painful if a life of the higher forms (more than one
sense) are killed. All non-vegetarian food is made by killing a
living being with two or more senses. Therefore, Jainism preaches
strict vegetarianism, and prohibits non-vegetarian foods.
Jainism explains that violence is not defined by actual harm, for
this may be unintentional. It is the intention to harm, the absence
of compassion, and the ignorance that makes an action violent.
Without violent thought there can be no violent actions.
Non-violence is to be observed in action, speech, and thought. One
should not be violent, ask others to do so, or approve of such an
Anger, greed, fear, jokes, etc. are the breeding grounds of untruth.
To speak the truth requires moral courage. Only those who have
conquered greed, fear, anger, jealousy, ego, frivolity, etc., can
speak the truth.
Jainism insists that one should not only refrain from falsehood, but
should always speak the truth which should be wholesome and pleasant.
One should remain silent if the truth causes pain, hurt, anger, or
death of any living being.
Truth is to be observed in speech, mind, and deed. One should not
utter an untruth, ask others to do so, or approve of such activities.
Non-stealing (Achaurya or Asteya):
Stealing consists of taking another's property without his consent,
or by unjust or immoral methods. Further, one should not take
anything which does not belong to him. It does not entitle one to
take away a thing which may be lying unattended or unclaimed. One
should observe this vow very strictly, and should not touch even a
worthless thing which does not belong to him.
When accepting alms, help, or aid one should not take more then what
is minimum needed. To take more than one's need is also considered
theft in Jainism.
The vow of non-stealing insists that one should be totally honest in
action, thought, and speech. One should not steal, ask others to do
so, or approve of such activities.
Celibacy / Chastity (Brahmacharya):
Total abstinence from sensual pleasure is called celibacy. Sensual
pleasure is an infatuating force which sets aside all virtues and
reason at the time of indulgence. This vow of controlling sensuality
is very difficult to observe in its subtle form. One may refrain from
physical indulgence but may still think of the pleasures of
sensualism, which is prohibited in Jainism.
Monks are required to observe this vow strictly and completely. They
should not enjoy sensual pleasures, ask others to do the same, nor
approve of it. There are several rules laid down for observing this
vow for householders.
Non-attachment / Non-possession (Aparigraha):
Jainism believes that the more worldly wealth a person possesses, the
more he is likely to commit sin to acquire the possession, and in a
long run he may be more unhappy. The worldly wealth creates
attachments which will continuously result in greed, jealousy,
selfishness, ego, hatred, violence, etc. Lord Mahavir has said that
wants and desires have no end, and only the sky is the limit for
Attachments to worldly objects results in the bondage to the cycle of
birth and death. Therefore, one who desires of spiritual liberation
should withdraw from all attachments to pleasing objects of all the
Monks observe this vow by giving up attachments to all things such
Wealth, property, grains, house, books, clothes, etc.
Father, mother, spouse, sons, daughters, friends, enemies, other
monks, disciples, etc.
Pleasure of Five Senses:
The five senses are touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
Pleasure and painful feelings towards touch, taste, smell, sight, and
They have the equanimity towards music and noise, good and bad
smells, soft and hard objects for touch, beautiful and dirty sights,
etc. They do not eat food for taste but for survival with the
intention to continue to progress spiritually and ultimately to
Non-possession and non-attachment are to be observed in speech, mind,
and deed. One should not possess, ask others to do so, or approve of
Jainism has laid down and described in much detail these five great
vows for the path of liberation. These are to be observed strictly
and entirely by the monks and nuns. Partial observance is laid down
for the householders with an additional seven vows.
Sailor Bob (Adamson) -
A most respected advaita teacher from Australia will be in our area and many of us are looking forward to this rare opportunity to be with him. He is a student of Nisargadatta and spent time with him in his 'home' in Bombay.
Sunday afternoon August 29, 4 PM till 5:30 6 PM
Monday evening August 30, 7 PM till 8:30 9 PM
John Kilbourne is taking the lead in organizing this program for us.
$15 each evening, or $25 for both evenings
The home of John Kilbourne and Kyra Walsh
1907 Lincoln #3B (please notice the correction of address)
Evanston, IL 60201
Email: [email protected]
The illumination of consciousness
goes beyond simply having subjective knowing and doing nothing
about it. It is necessary to objectify the subjective knowing, by
allowing that illumination to shine of its own accord by becoming
a beacon and preventing others from losing themselves within the
seduction of their own physicality. It is this form of objective
activity where consciousness initiates its own pathway to
eternalize itself. And that is the purpose and direction of your
existence, which you either do or do not. The choice is always
yours. And no one interferes with that choice.
If the agnostics altered their attention from mind function production to the purity of consciousness they would discover what lies beyond the physical, and there discover a first cause. If atheists focused upon the substance of their own consciousness they would discover what they now deny exists. The separation of mind and consciousness is a gift, allowing each to establish directional integrity and alignment of their freewill without coercion of any kind. Experiencing that separation as unity establishes a personal confirmation that no one anywhere can remove. It is the essence of Zen, the bedrock of all mystical experiences - the personal discovery of your creator source. It is an illuminating-connective experience of pure consciousness as who you are, with no mind functions moving. That subjective knowing creates direction. Embedded within that direction the purpose of your existence visually unfolds. It is all self-contained from the very beginning. It simply is a matter of removing your self-created veils to expose it.
Consciousness is formless, but you give it form with your mind functions. Consciousness is ageless, but you create the circumstances to make that agelessness eternally yours. Consciousness is genderless, as you now see the canvas of each and not the picture upon it. Consciousness is colorless, but you expose the canvas as pure color by creating a resonate picture upon it. This emerging picture is then recognizable as the Substance of Absolute Consciousness, which is the substance of your canvas. The canvas of consciousness contains your new emerging Identity, created by your own effort. And that new Identity is who you are, and will always be. It is your exposed personality picture-Identity that is now recognizable in a pure spirit environment. Your purpose and direction has always been impersonally embedded within consciousness, it is simply a matter of making it personal.
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