|Dr. Robert Puff|
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#1895 - Thursday, August 19, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Featured is Part 6 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
There is also a letter from the Being One list featuring Jan Barendrecht and someone identified as P.
Finally I continue the In Nonduality Salon series, which features posts from the early days of the Nonduality Salon list, which were never before Highlighted.
Double Vision: Duality and Nonduality in Human Experience by John Welwood
John Welwood, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist in San Francisco. He is the editor of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and has written several books published by Shambhala and HarperCollins.
~ ~ ~
The theme of this chapter is stated in the following passage:
"Being fully human means
honoring both these truths -- immanence, or fully engaging with our humanness, and
transcendence, or liberation -- equally. If we try to deny our vulnerability, we lose
touch with our heart; if we fail to realize our indestructibility, we lose access to
enlightened mind. To be fully human means standing willingly and consciously in both
I'm going to offer my summary of this chapter as a series of quotations, rather than try
to transform them into my own words. I have the feeling this chapter could be pivotal to
the entire book and putting it into my own words will have to wait until the book as a
whole is reviewed. To remind the reader, I'm writing summary/reviews of each chapter from
this book as I read them. I haven't read the whole book yet!
~ ~ ~
"On the human plane, our lives evolve and unfold through the relative play of duality --
otherwise known as relationship. Indeed the central, defining feature of the human realm
is relationship -- the network of interactions with others that suports our life from the
cradle to the grave."
"The human realm serves as a bridge linking samsara -- the experience of separateness --
and nirvana -- non-separateness. That is why being human is a living paradox, and also a
field in which a vast range of feeling -- from unbearable sorrow to unthinkable joy -- is
"Nondual teachings that mainly emphasize the illusory quality of human experience can,
unfortunately, serve as just another dehumanizing force in a world where our basic
humanity is already under siege at every turn. What is needed in these difficult times
instead is a liberation spirituality that helps people recognize nondual presence as a
basis for fully inhabiting their humanity, rather than as a rationale for disengaging
from it. We need a spiritual vision that values and includes the central playing-field
where our humanity expressis itself -- relationship."
"To fully inhabit the human realm ... is to live in dialogue, in (Martin) Buber's view."
"It's essential characteristic is meeting and honoring the otherness of the other -- as
sacred other -- which allows a mutual alchemy to take place."
"To be yourself in Buber's sense means to find the deepest laws of your being, to let
your life find and carve out its true path, and to bring forth your innate gifts and
qualities in time, through your interchange with life in all its aspects."
"The conditioned ego, identified with roles and identities formed in the past, is
incapable of true relationship. Similarly, in timeless, nondual awareness, there is also
no relationship; there is only direct knowing, silent presence without involvement in the
polarity of self and other. So to be fully engaged in relationship, we have to step into
and inhabit our human form -- the person."
"How fully the suchness of you shines through -- in your face, your speech, your actions,
your particular quality of presence, your expressions of love -- is partly grace, but
also partly a result of how much you have worked on polishing your vessel so that it
becomes transparent to the pure being that is its ground."
"Individuation is the forging of a transparent vessel -- the authentic person who brings
through what is beyond the person in a uniquely personal way. We can thus distinguish
absolute true nature -- universal beingness, which is the same in everyone -- from
individuated true nature -- how each person expresses absolute true nature through a
unique path and a unique offering. Individuation is the process of bringing the absolute
into human form -- the "form" of our person, animated by our capacity for personal,
interrelational presence, embodied in the world."
"A purely immanent approach, such as Buber's, does not recognize the important role that
transcendence -- the capacity to step beyond the personal, dialogical realm into the
nondual, suprapersonal presence -- can play in human development. We need a more
comprehensive view that recognizes the nonduality of the transcendent and immanent,
absolute and relative, emptiness and form."
"Swami Prajnanpad ... provides an interesting example of what such a balanced nondual
view might sound like in modern times. He builds a liberation teaching based not on
transcending duality, but on attending more closely to the difference between self and
Swami Prajnanpad quotations:
"The feeling of being not separate emerges in the heart only by accepting what is
"All things are different from one another. This one is simply this, nothing but itself,
complete in itself, established in its own glory, unique. This is brahman, the Absolute."
"To judge is to compare; but everything being distinct an singular, there is never
anything to compare. Everything is incomparable, unique, and absolute."
Back to Weller quotations:
"Letting the relative be as it is ... reveals the absolute."
"...the absolute -- in the form of you and your experience -- is naturally revealing and
actualizing itself in and through where you are at each moment. This understanding also
provides a nondual framework for working with emotions and psychological blockages... .
The heart of this approach ... is what I call 'unconditional presence' -- learning to be
present with your experience just as it is. ... This fosters a natural unfolding in the
direction of truth, compassion, and liberation."
Spiritual bypassing: "When people try to bypass, or prematurely transcend, their current
psychological condition by trying to live up to some noble spiritual ideal (such as
nondual perspectivie) this does violence to where they are. And it strengthens the
spiritual superego, the inner voice that tells them they should be something other than
they are, thereby reinforcing their disconnection from themselves."
"To avoid spiritual bypassing, transcendent truth needs to be grounded in a willingness
to wade in and immerse ourselves in the stormy waves of immanence. We need to broaden the
terms of the equation that offers only a choice between samsaric, dualistic mind and
enlightened, nondual awareness. We need to include a third, intermediate term in the
equation -- the relational play of human experience, where evolution takes place as
heaven manifests on earth, infinity infuses finitude, and eterneity embodies itself in
"Opening to the full play of human experience allows for the possibility of a sudden
dawning of wakefulness... . This is a sudden dropping away of dualistic fixation,
allowing a direct and often abrupt entry into nondual presence."
"Our alienation and neurosis itself, then, when fully met, are the seeds of wisdom. ...
Only entering into (our human shortcomings and imperfections) and suffering them
consciously allows us to exhaust their momentum, move through them, and be done with
"This experience (of alienation, neurosis, imperfection) is not solid, fixed, or definite
in the way it first appeared to be. As it starts to flow, unfold, ripen, or release, it
reveals its true nature as the play of orginal wakefulness, embodied in human form."
Relationship as evolutionary task:
"The hard truth is that spiritual realizations often do not heal our deep wounding in the
area of love, or translate readily into skillful communication or interpersonal
understanding. ... Most modern spiritual practitioners ... continue to act out
unconscious relational patterns developed in chilhood."
"(Swami Prajnanpad) saw marriage as a particularly powerful litmus test of one's
development, because in it one is 'fully exposed...All one's peculiarities, all of one's
so-called weaknesses are there in their naked form. This is why it is the testing
Swami Prajnanpad: "Unless you are tested on the ground where you are fully exposed, all
those outward achievements are false. This is the point, and you have to grasp it
"(Human relationship) is a great wilderness in which humanity has hardly begun to find
its way. Developing more conscious relationships is an important next frontier in human
evolution. And this will require a capacity to marry nondual realization -- which
dissolves fixation on the separate self -- with careful attention to personal relational
patterns that block or distort the free flow of loving presence."
~ ~ ~
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
P. and Jan Barendrecht
from Being One list:
>after reading some books on advaita i am left with a ceasless
>irritation that does not seem to go away, advaita states that there
>is nothing to do and nothing to get rid of and nothing to improve
>since everything is included in the vastness!!! although all this
>rings true i am still left with the questionon how to live life?
That there is nothing to do merely indicates there isn't an entity
relating to events that could be labeled "doer". Humans didn't think
that way always, events like thunderstorms, earthquakes etc. have been
attributed to invisible gods, spirits (of the deceased) etc. and there's
no way to show one view is correct and the other incorrect with the same
ease as showing that boiling water produces bubbles.
P: >everything is as it should be. but if i take this priciple to heart
>then everything is okay. if i and everyone else were to live this
>way we would all live in ashrams just being. there would be no
>technology, there would be no self improvement, there would continue
>to be murder, anger, hatred, starvation, disease, etc... since this
>is all part of the vastness. and if this is all true then why should
>people believe in a work ethic to improve their standard of living,
>why should the well off try to help the poor, why is there war, why
>are there new medicines developed to help the sick etc...? since it
>is all part of the vastness.
Observing how the root of human greed is present in a squirrel, in
autumn collecting and storing (too much) food for winter, is quite
insightful. Linked with the observation of playfulness and curiosity
present in most animals, no questions regarding human behavior remain.
P: >even in terms of the personal self why should one ever investigate
>oneself? being left in the dark is also part of the vastness! why
>then should there be psychotherapy? we should let all people suffer
>in their ignorance and fear since these emotions are also part of
>the vastness? and of course there is no "I" anyways, so why be
Darkness only shows, after an impression of light. Regarding suffering,
there's quite enough already and much more than the world's therapists
can ever hope to lessen. Do i have to mention the climate that's running
away, the ongoing pollution like the spread of DU enriched dust or
mercury from coal burning power plants? Seen from a satellite,
hurricanes look like works of art - the same spiral forms showing in
galaxies. An event like a supernova can destroy an entire galaxy but
seen from a great distance, a work of art as well. But for the life
forms subjected to the event, it might be life threatening in more than
one way - the sense of "I" implies a frame of mind interpreting events
as "happening to ME" and responding accordingly.
P: >but then i ask myself isnīt this searching and living life in order
>to improve things also part of the vastness? isnīt trying to improve
>oneself and oneīs environment also part of the vastness? arenīt the
>desires for self satisfaction and altruism and self cultivation also
>part of the vastness? if everything is accepted as part of the
>vastness which includes all the dasdardly acts that humans inflict
>on one another and themselves, then why not this desire to improve
>things and oneself?
Vastness too is a concept that instantly shrinks to zero upon entering
deep dreamless sleep. Regarding habitat, man succeeded to destroy most
of the planet already and the damage is likely to be severe enough to
terminate life - as presently known on the planet.
P: >i feel i am falling into a depression! i admit that my life and my
>ideas steer my life and that alot of these ideas are based on fear.
>for instance i do not have to work as hard as i do, i do not have to
>educate myself, i do not have the possessions that i do, i do not
>have to try to undersand myself, etc... for according to advaita
>this is all self deception. there is no "I"! there is no doer! there
>is nothing to be done and nowhere to go! even the spiritual search
>is a deception because there is no one to search.
J: It has been said, man's present condition rarely allows understanding
the frame of mind of the authors of works like the Upanishads: the
cultural difference between the culture birthing the Upanishads and the
present one is unbridgeable.
The issue is the frame of mind where possession, sense of "I", doership
etc. is conceptual in the same sense that calling a hurricane "Nikita"
won't change its course nor its force.
P: >the question is
>then where to go and what to do? if all my ideas are taken away from
>me what should i do? i cannot wait for this realization to come
>before starting to live my life. it may never happen. the only
>answer is for me to continue to live in my self deception!
The phrase "there is nothing to realize"decoded for the present culture
should read, "without the conditioning of culture (upbringing and
education included) the notion there is something to realize cannot take
hold of the mind".
P: >but this
>seems unbearable! in a way i wish i never came into contact with
>this. i am left helpless! and yet now i am at this point! what
>should i do if there is no one to do? and would anything i do be an
>addition to the deception?"
The deception has been in upbringing, education, alienation from nature.
Most wild animals know rather well, in case of an accident, the game is
over. Wild animals are relaxed yet alert - stress lowers awareness which
can be lethal. Modern man is stressed to the limit and has no other
enemy (predator) than himself.
P: >even though i am emotionally distraught because of this and know
>that listening to this is the deception of listening to the mind, i
>still feel this, and this feeling is unbearable! i feel i need help
>and a spiritual friend to help me in this dilemna! i am sending this
>letter of to people who i hope can help and posting this as a
>general question to any who think that they can possibly help me
>even though i know the question itself and the possible help i might
>get is also part of the illusion of separateness.
The Buddha once remarked "be a lamp onto yourself" which in the present
culture is interpreted, everyone his/her "own" website, spiritual forum,
and whatever more that makes a difference. The ancient way yogis were
living (alone, mostly meditating in a cave) isn't a solitary life but
repairs the alienation from nature - eventually resulting in a frame of
mind infertile to notions like separation, doership, "I", self and
no-self. A disease of (false) notions, still running when there should
be quietude, can't be cured by pouring in more notions, the stilled mind
is free from notions unless a situation requires some for communication.
Calling a hurricane "Mao" only adds more noise to the already loud event
and the hurricane won't listen anyway.
In Nonduality Salon
The Highlights of posts from the early days of the Nonduality Salon list, before the Highlights began.
"Where's Jerry been for the last 40 years?"
looking at micro-biological reactions
thru microscopes of third eye
incarnations floating wistfully along
and hanging tightly and
above cosmic precipices
smoking cigars and cigarettes and
chewing the essence of
asked in dark corridors few choose to walk down
and fewer would understand the answers
asked by avatars for their own amusement
between roller coaster joyrides and laughing
laughing laughing at (other) souls and laughing
Jerry copies down the sayings
of the wise and
finds the wise asking him for
his answers and
I don't know.
~ ~ ~
Hi Rick. I like this. It sounds quite familiar.
Years ago, I was an attendee at a conference of educators. I actually won
an award for saying, "I don't know" at an appropriate time during the
"Not knowing" does not alter Being
Not-knowing is the doorway to seeing
Knowing can be the comforting breast
Upon which we suckle, ignoring the rest
Of the Universe Being as Big Set of One
Universal OneBeing... our Being is fun
Not-knowing is ticket to gate of Unknown
Not-knowing is asking that all shall be shown
Filling a void that cannot be filled,
Upon overflowing is the grace-bucket spilled
Emptiness-hunger is the state of not-knowing
Fullfillment is perfect hunger ongoing
~ ~ ~
I wasn't trying to get a reaction when I said, "I don't
response to the rhetorical question, "Where have you been these last 40
years, Jerry?". I was just saying that I don't adhere to any knowledge.
Well, I don't. I'm pretty good at taking a few books off my shelf and
finding what's relevant, and putting it down on paper. But there's
nothing ultimate about any of it. I don't remember any of it after it's
been written. It would only serve to nudge another toward greater
understanding. There was never anything more than that intended, and I
don't know if any of us wish to do anything more than that. Perhaps it's
the most and least we can do.
Truth is beyond books and words. It already exists. That is to be known.
~ ~ ~
I would like to change the name of this list to
Nonduality Salon. I feel
it will help to identify us as a real presence, as a gathering. It
confers a sense of location, purpose, and quality of communication, and
a sense of being an alternative to religion and traditional Guru/Ashram
activities, even while absolutely embracing them.
Over the next 20 years, I feel, self-realization will be guided mainly
by such nonduality salons. I -- timeless and empty -- humorously
proclaim this the first Nonduality Salon, and welcome the courageous
ones who are this Nonduality Salon. For as the Nondualism List, we are
quite harmless. As a Nonduality Salon, we may be perceived as a threat.
If I hear to no objection to the newly proposed name, I will make the
change in the next 2 or 3 days.
Best to all,
~ ~ ~
The gift of quoting, I have seen, is this: It requires you
yourself, not the problems or situation of another. It is isolating and
even a little cold, to be handed a quote, no matter how warm and
comforting it may be. But it throws you to yourself. It keeps you alone.
In my opinion, that's not always easy, but it's the only way to see
what's what. Solitude is necessary. There is both solitude and
socializing on these lists, so there is some balance.
~ ~ ~
The other night I drove down from my mountain home over to the
at Byron, Australia's most easterly point, to join some friends for
a satsangh gathering. Its a journey to get there, so I dont go very
often. Just sitting there, soaking into this communal being, dissolving into
the everpresence, was at once a very powerful and effortless
experience. I felt the falling away of all story and sorrow, and
found myself drowning in this peace. I left with this primordial
stillness in my heart, this jewel, and the world ... this great
shakti-business... lay at my feet, naked and beautiful.
I feel very thankful and humbled to share in this nonduality
For I understood that this gathering similarly offers a jewel, the
resplendence of Self, the simple radience of Truth. And however much
we stumble towards expressing This, the very attempt at doing so
brings much light into the world, reflecting this "endlessly turning
and burning diamond".
Rumi captures this with these delicious words...
"I lost my world, my fame, my mind. The Sun appeared and
shadows ran I ran after them but vanished as I ran Light ran after me
and hunted me down."
So I am a happy man in the world to be dropping in to the
salon, this great cyber cathedral of silence and laughter. And I for
one will be swinging from the chandeliers like a madman singing
....the joy ..the joy ...the joy !
with love, mic
~ ~ ~
Hey, Samuel, there's a project for you! It's a real project, I
name -- using poetic structure of some sort -- literally scores or
hundreds of religions! It would make a point, and you don't have to do
it all at once. It's there if you want to do it! It becomes pretty
overwhelming, though, when you consider the same approach can be taken
to races, skin tones, nationalities, etc. Suddenly you're Walt "Samuel"
Whitman, singing the joys of our varied backgrounds, natures, bodies,and
all of it followed by one long, eternal, anonymous, ever-mingling
confession of what is True and True and True and True.
Have you ever thought that this is how the who thing got
absolute unchanging undifferentiated intelligence (True) reflecting on
itself (True) and in that apparent gap between True and True the whole
There is a story my teacher use to tell from one of the Upanishads. Its
about a disciple sitting with his master and the master to illustrate a
point says, "Get a fruit from that bunyan tree." A bunyan is a big huge tree
and the fruit is of a size (here I am holding my hands apart for you to see
the size). So the disciple gets the fruit. The master says, "Break it. Now
what do you see?"
Disciple: "Many Seeds."
Master: "Fine, pick up a seed and break it. What do you see?"
Master: "It is from that hollowness that the whole tree has come up."
Here we are enjoying the gap in True and True and True and True. Looking,
trying hard to find myself I find no thing. Whenever I look closely at
something I find it has that same substance. All the world is held in that
embrace of True.
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