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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #190

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GREG GOODE

For me, attending is no more.

But years ago, there was lots and lots
of attending. It was
like this - before and during
spiritual seeking, I wasn't
badly suffering or in pain or unhappy
with my life or stuck
in dysfunctional patterns. Instead, it
was a deep sense of
loneliness, alienation, lack of
fulfillment, and a strong
yearning from the heart and mind to
know "What is it all
about? What is the purpose of life?
What happens after?
What are all these mystical truths that are spoken of?
Where is fulfillment to be found?"

In a nutshell, the paths for me were two: devotional (bhakti
and karma yoga) thru Born-Again Pentacostal Christianity,
then later, a wide search and deep inquiry that was
primarily intellectual, but felt at the heart and body
levels as well. This message is about the second part...

Lots of what follows may seem quite heady and intellectual,
but believe me, the heart and body definitely got involved.
Part of it is that my education and training were as a
professional philosopher. There were hundreds of books and
many paths gone through.

This is where Christiana's point about attention comes in.
For about 5 years, I kept one question constantly in mind
(whenever the mind wasn't engaged in what was before it),
because I **REALLY** wanted to know the answer: what IS this
choosing, willing entity? One day while I was reading a
book by Ramesh Balsekar, standing on the Grand Central
subway platform, the answer came by way of the world
imploding and my phenomenal self expanding, disappearing to
merge with it. No separate independent entity was seen
anywhere. All "willings," "desirings," "thoughts," etc.,
were seen deeply deeply as spontaneous arisings in
consciousness, happening around no fixed point or location.
Not only the entity "Greg," but also *all* personal entities
dissolved, became appearances in consciousness.

Lightness, sweetness, brightness, and a certain fluidity of
the world followed immediately as sensory qualities of
everything, and became one with all experiences. There were
psychological aftereffects as well, like more resiliency,
more psychological peace and happiness. At the time, it was
really a non-event. Even now, it's not something I ever
noticed or thought about at the time, unless I'm asked and
then try to reconstruct it.

I do remember that people at work noticed, my friends and
parents noticed. I didn't have a real good intellectual
understanding of it at the time, and didn't seek one. I'd
never met anyone else to talk to about this.

This came at the "right" time too, because I was just going
through a break-up with a beautiful transsexual lady who
looked like Naomi Campbell, but who was monogamously
challenged. It was not difficult, where years previously it
would have been painful. We are now very close friends.
:-)

Then more attending. Another several-year constant inquiry,
but very light, almost with an aesthetic, playful, artful,
no-big-deal appeal. This time the inquiry was on the
dualism between the appearances and the background
consciousness that the appearances appear to - it was that
simple. By this time I knew lots of other people, satsang
teachers, etc.

I could sincerely say that "I am the background, because the
appearances appear to me," that was clear. I never ever
ever felt like I was a mind or a body or a thought or a
feeling of contraction in the chest or forehead.

But I didn't understand it. Why should the appearances that
rise up out of consciousness seem like something other than
consciousness? This continued for 2 years, constantly
arising (but no longer taken as "my thoughts, my inquiry") -
it just happened. Then one day, sitting at home reading a
book by Krishna Menon given to me by Francis Lucille, the
whole thing imploded.

The telescope collapsed. There was a burning savikalpa
samadhi for 90 minutes. It went away. Then the
object/subject, appearance/background thing just collapsed.
No separation or gap or dichotomy was seen anywhere, then or
since. No union or wholeness has been seen either. No
questions, no answers. All is unbroken, continuous, was
never different. The light, love and sweetness from before
was no longer part of discrete appearances as it seemed to
be years before, but rather the source and substance of
objectless knowledge itself. Talk of subjects or objects or
appearances (or anything) became a kind of enjoyable
make-believe, helpful perhaps in speaking with other people,
but that was it.

What do I do? If I had to come up with a word, it would be
celebrate. It looks like this. Work, ride a bike, lift
weights, eat, I'm dating a new lady, I write e-mail, have
satsang with friends, visit Francis Lucille, a beloved
teacher, who gave me the Krishna Menon book (he counts
Krishna Menon and Jean Klein among his teachers, too). I
was invited to teach this same kind of stuff at the yoga
center of friends in New York City's Soho, who also love
Francis. I am trying to learn to dance-skate, but am often
lazy. I am trying to learn more compassion and kindness.
For this reason, and for the beauty and simplicity, I
practice Shin Buddhism. There is a temple in New York.

-------------------------------------------

CHRISTIANA DURANCZYK

I'd like to share that I... had the privilege of meeting
Greg last summer. We met for a late dinner on a hot summer
night in New York City. Greg is wise and whimsical..
ordinary and powerfully nonordinary...charming and
disarming, and as is evident to all, living an integrated
life. It is such a treat to have these opportunities.

------------------------------------------------

GREG

And Christiana is quick-witted, widely intelligent, bright,
with beautiful eyes, the quality of being very *here* and
present, and loving and caring, deeply soulful and spiritual
all at the same time. She dropped into Manhattan on her way
through the NY area on family business, and we had a nice
dinner at a well-known Greek diner that had seen better
days. I value Christiana's presence on this list and on
this planet.

__________________________________________________________________

MELODY

Looking at my self
in the mirror

I see with a memory
of days past,

and with expectant eyes

wanting to hold onto
an image

of someone who never
really existed.

How painful to admit that

I am not seeing the beauty
of the One

but rather the discrepancy
between image and expectation.


To drop the expectation,
to let go of the memory,

is to stand face to face
with the present.....

with what IS.

Dare I?

Dare I see, I mean really see,
what stands before me now?

_____________________________________________________________________

GREG

Sedona Method - Lots of my friends are graduates or teachers
of this, and it is particularly popular with devotees of
Ramana Maharshi, Robert Adams, Papaji and the teachers
Papaji authorized.

It is a psychological method to "release" negative feelings
by seeing that they are dependent on other, deeper feelings
and beliefs. The deeper feelings are released, which
releases the more surface-level feelings, resulting in a
temporary feeling of clearness.

XAN

This is my spiritual 'immediate' family and this method (not
always named anything in particular) is well known to me so
I would like to say a little more about it.

The method is to simply be present with whatever emotion is
felt. I originally saw this as a new evolution of spiritual
teaching that is a truly spiritual (nondual, if you prefer)
answer to many people's emotional suffering and to our
society's excessive psychological focus. Then Arjuna Nick
Ardagh said he found references to it in old Dzogchen
writings. It is a way of healing emotional patterns and
wounds that leads not to just better functioning but to the
truth of Oneself.

I have noticed that people who do not have a strong
emotional nature often will say to those who do, "Just get
over it." to which a common response is, "I wish!" This
simple approach of being fully present works in the area of
emotion as "Who Am I?" works through the mental. Rather
than useless attempts to get rid of emotion, feeling becomes
a vehicle of self-realization. When the truth is accepted
inclusively, emotion becomes a delightful form of
expression, a servant, like thought.

Gangaji's way is to direct the person to simply feel and
then allow what is beneath to rise up to awareness.
Sometimes there are other layers of emotion. Feeling down
through the layers there is always ultimately the vastness
of peace.

Years ago a teacher of mine called the process "What's under
this?"

Nick's way is to be present to the feeling, then to increase
it to the maximum. The understanding is that whatever is
faced fully in awareness - no longer resisted - is
completed. He said when he first started guiding people
through this he told them there would be temporary relief
and clarity; but he has had numerous responses from people
which said the old emotional pattern never returned and a
sense of wholeness and freedom remains.

In the space created in awareness by the release of what had
been a preoccupation ...... Silence.

This is not to say I think we can Do our awakening.
As I see it Grace reaches us in any way it can.

GREG

Thanks xan. I find it is my spiritual immediate family (one
of them), as well. Most of my friends in New York are or
have been students of one of the feelings methods. For the
last several years, we've had about one teacher every two
months come to NYC from Papaji's lineage. The great
majority of the ones at the satsangs were Sedona graduates,
and out of this group, other friendships formed and went in
different directions. The vigilance that Gangaji and Papaji
speak of is very similar to what I hear about the Sedona
method. At least one teacher, Pam Wilson, gained
inspiration from Papaji, Ramana, Robert Adams and Neelam,
was actually a Sedona teacher but left the Method.

Thanks for giving sweet and clear voice to what might be the
largest and most popular form of face-to-face nondualist
teaching in the West. Many of the same teachers and
students travel to Europe as well. There are other feelings
method teachers based in Europe as well.

XAN

from Papaji:

Student: Are you saying that 'no thinking' is also a
thought?

Papaji: 'Thinking and no thinking are both normal functions
of the mind'. A mind that doesn't think thoughts, which is
free of the idea of no thought as well, can be called a
free-mind'. Thought and no thought exist in relation to
each other. They are both properties of the mind. 'No-mind'
is something else. It has no connection with anything.
When the mind is so undressed that it is free even of
no-thinking, there will be nothing left of mind. While
there is the mental state of no-thought, there is still a
place where objects can land; but when no-thought is thrown
away, leaving only 'no-mind', objects cannot land anymore.
In fact, in that state there are no objects at all.

XAN

Actually I had never heard the name Sedona Method before, or
any other name for it. When I began doing this myself,
after I gave up on processing all my 'stuff' oh so many
years ago, I called it "turn and face".

I have met Pamela Wilson in her satsangs here in Colorado.
She is a delight, with quaint and original ways of
expressing herself about awakening as the wordless.

Here are a few excerpts from a little book someone put
together from her words called, The Ocean, The Fish and The
Buddha:

-In the old days young men used to go into the forest, or
into some very dangerous place to prove their courage. This
is actually the most dangerous place: the heart. That's
why we talk about being lion-hearted. It requires the
courage of a lion to rest there.

-When failure comes, or fatigue comes, it's a blessing.
This is the humility that is required: to stand naked
before God, to say, "You're right. I am a failure at
doing." This is innocence.

- Words are just bones thown out for the mind, to keep the
mind busy while the grace does the work. Like dog biscuits.

- The body really is like a pet that we have. We should
walk it and we have to feed it, make it rest. If you had a
young child or a pet and it was really scared you wouldn't
judge it. You would just comfort it.

- Having a body is like being at a beach, just letting the
waves of peace ebb and flow, and allowing peace to be
welcome in the body. Peace is welcome here.

- Sometimes there's a desire to dive deep into the ocean.
So, like those pearl divers who wear very little so that
they can be unobstructed in their diving, just for a moment
could you set aside this form and dive into that presence
with your formless essence?

- So you're in the ocean and this fish called "wondering"
swims by. So enjoy the fish and just let it go. Your
business is savoring the moment, not wondering how to
catalog that fish. So just enjoy the feeling of the ocean,
the vastness.

- Love, like a sleeping beauty, lies in the heart. And
awareness is the prince that goes inside and kisses the
sleeping beauty. We take our awareness into the heart to
find love, and just one kiss, awareness and love, awakens
Truth.

- In this love affair it's nice to bring the beloved a
little gift - tiny. We sacrifice what is held dearest - not
a cow, not a camel, not a goal, but just a little bit of
individuality we give her as a gift. We hand her the castle
walls and defenses as our gift - a small trade.

-You have only one job to do. Actually two: relax and
enjoy.
It's a tough job but somebody's got to do it.

- We are designed to be delightfully imperfect. Any attempt
at perfection is not trusting the Beloved. So actually you
have three jobs: rest, enjoy and be imperfect.

- Grace prunes us like a rosebush.

- Like the phoenix a few feathers get burned in return for
immortality. A little suffering gets offered to the flame in
return for joy. It's a good trade. You'll never find that
deal anywhere.

- Satsang is really just a gathering of many mountains to
discuss their mountain nature.

- The jewel is always wrapped in that dark velvet of not
knowing.
___________________________________________________________________

ANDREW

"Finally, in my sixties, the meaning of the phrase "Don't be
deluded"
came to me unexpectedly. At that time I just danced about,
saying "Don't be deluded! Don't be deluded!" My heart
filled with gratitude. If someone had actually been about
to cut off my head, I would have considered it an illusion.
But I carefully thought it all through and returned to my
old self and to my various methods of practice. I still
can't stop treasuring this bag of dung. The thing that we
call existence is deeply ingrained."- Suzuki Shosan

TIM GERCHMEZ

Treasuring the body-idea is simply treasuring consciousness,
which is fine. Consciousness is something to be treasured.
I certainly don't subscribe to the "sack of dung" idea
proposed by Shankara 3,000 years ago, although I think this
whole idea has been taken out of context (viewing the body
as a "sack of dung" is simply a way to put the focus on
something more permanent). But nor do I subscribe to the
body as the focus, to the "Eat, drink and be merry, for
tomorrow we may die" idea. I deny the reality of the body
only in relation to "I." The body may or may not exist, but
it is not "I," it is not "me," it is not "mine." Pointing
to the body in the mirror, is only pointing to a body
amongst 7 billion other bodies. That which is pointed to is
not myself. That's all it comes down to.
_____________________________________________________________________

XAN

What an opportunity to look into the paradox of no-self and
expectations originating from false self! It would be
dangerous to assume our work is finished - of facing in pure
awareness our remaining fragments of identity.

All my foolishness arises in the Silent IAm. I would be
even more of a fool to turn a blind eye to it. I am
particular alert to the mind's capacity for self-deception.
It is a core element of my 'practice' to be vigilant in this
way. (Larry take note)

It is walking the razor's edge to be watchful for mind's
expectations, projections and judgements while absorbed
in/as Silent Heart. I find that willingness to see, and
seeing through my own bullshit leads to deepening and
expansion of awareness.

MIRA

Very well put Xan, I've heard you talk about this vigilance
quite often. It is a natural unnoticed practice that arises,
with a natural rhytm, like breath. The practice may be
unnoticed and automatic, but the bullshit comes to light, as
a result of this watchfulness. This willingness, to see the
bullshit and not hide from it, but to expose it, is an
invitation to bliss of being, every time again.

The experience of exposure however, is nothing like any kind
of bliss. It may even feel like a voluntary crucifixion.
To my imagination this mostly appears as a very unappealing
practice, but since it comes natural, there is no way to
evade it, there is no place to hide from it.

Nailing down yet another concept, another belief, another
idea, another formula, without holding out any kind of
prospect, without the promise of any kind of reward.

Yet, there is..... but not for me. It is giving up this
'me', that is the reward in itself.
Perhaps one would say: ***just cut the bullshit now***

____________________________________________________________________

JAN BARENDRECHT

a poem from Sahjo Bai, a Lady Saint:

I would give up Rama, but not the Master.
I do not consider God equal to the Master.
God sent me to this world,
But the Master freed me from birth and death.
God set five thieves after me,
But the Master saved my lonely soul.
God ensnared me with family ties,
But the Master removed my attachment.
God involved me in disease and suffering;
The Master made me a yogi and freed me from them.
God involved me in meritorious acts and deeds;
The Master showed me my real self.
God hid Himself from me;
The Master gave me a lamp and showed God to me.
God involved me in bondage and release;
The Master removed all my doubts about them.
I sacrifice myself to Charandas;
I will give up the Lord, but not the Master
_________________________________________________________________

DAN

Observing the capacity for self-deception is clarity.
Clarity is all that is.
With clarity as all that is, there is no effort involved in
self-observation.
There is only perception, not divided into a subject and
object.
Self-deception (reacting to an "object" or a "self")
is recognized as such instantly, and is thus instantly
transformed into clarity.
Performing this transformation each moment (as there is only
"this moment") is the "magic" of birth-death/Infinity.
Indeed it is the razor's edge where time meets eternity.
____________________________________________________________________

JAN

Acknowledging only the unmanifest is a folly; the beauty of
a flower isn't diminished by its transitoriness.

DAN

Such a beautiful flower we see here.
Loving its fragrance and fine petals.
It blooms for an moment, and that instant...
ah, that instant...
____________________________________________________________________

TIM HARRIS

The difficulty with 'icons' is that we place them 'before'
our 'eyes' then struggle endlessly in fear and/or desire to
look 'around' them. Whatever that 'symbol is' call it the
'veil'.

God, is 'all' that you are 'not' (the becoming of your being
and the being of your becoming) and, unlike 'other', God
does not stand 'before' you, he stands 'behind' you and 'I'
with 'him'.

I approached the mirror from behind and it was blackness. I
scratched at the mirror and it 'peeled' away and let some
light in that blinded my eyes. As I peeled 'more' I
realized that the 'looking glass' reveled it's 'self'
transparent 'before' me and my heart was filled with joy!!

=====

As I sit 'within' unconditionality and look out at that
unquenchable thirst named 'space', I wondered what could
fill it. Then it 'occured' to me.. 'only' unconditional
love could fill 'seamless' space and thus I fired a shot and
called it light. It was a signal, an sos, and to this day I
wonder: Did 'I' get through the barrier called you and me.
So, it is true, the light chases the dark from within but is
it enough to power 'this'... a simple word?

______________________________________________________________________

TIM GERCHMEZ

The universe arises in the mind (the perceiver). When in
dreamless sleep, the perceiver temporarily ceases, and with
it the universe. Upon awakening, the universe re-appears
simultaneously with the perceiver.
Thus, the universe is entirely dependent on the perceiver.
No perceiver, no universe.

One may argue that the universe continues while the
perceiver is asleep.
Which universe might that be? If your body is observed by
'another' while asleep, it will be seen to be lying still
and breathing slowly (or brainwaves may appear to slow down
on scientific instruments). This observation is happening
within the universe of he/she who perceives the sleeper. It
proves nothing except that with each perceiver who considers
themselves separate, there is a separate universe, in many
ways perceived quite differently. Many aspects of the
world-dream are common to all dreamers, and many are not.

___________________________________________________________________

ANDREW MACNAB

Under a small sky
enclosed by valley walls
like a painted dome
in a temple

I made a Beast of bones
Found where the ocean grinds its teeth
(the round rattling stones)
Bones cleaned by the fast black spiders
Bones with flight still in them
(horizon and the setting sun)
I joined the bones with stolen copper
Tendon ligament and nerve of wire
Bitter soft and red
I made eyes from tears
Teeth and claws from words
Sharp and strong enough
We wander together
Eating what it catches
At night it watches
With liquid eyes
While I sing
Again gently.
______________________________________________________________________

ANDREW

Waves are ocean playing and dancing.
They exist as...waves!

A wave does not need to deny its waveness to know that it is
ocean and nothing but ocean.

(editor's note: the above lines led to several posts between
Andrew and Tim Gerchmez, with others joining in. These are
the final exchanges.)

TIM

You are correct - to *say" that there is wave or there is
ocean is duality. To be only ocean is nonduality. Form is
emptiness, but how can emptiness be form? Emptiness is
emptiness. Form seems to arise from emptiness, but how can
it be so?

ANDREW

Logic can't go here. It's not a question of whether form is
real or not but that all form is emptiness, and emptiness is
form because emptiness is all, emptiness is form whether or
not form is real. Emptiness is everything real and
everything unreal. We're debating whether the world of
forms is truth or lie when what's important is what
underlies it, which is emptiness.

TIM

You're correct. It's been an interesting debate however,
and I haven't felt the slightest bit of "you're right and
I'm wrong" in it (refreshing!). This is the kind of debate
that, once in awhile, is stimulating to participate in. It
makes both participants and readers question, and is a good
reminder of what's important and what isn't. But it seems
this has been enough, and let's conclude with this post (or,
with your response, which I'll read but not reply to). I
have no interest in "getting in the last word." If you
want, be my guest :-)

ANDREW

Wave is the whole ocean over time.

TIM

Time is thought. They are identical, "1 = 1." The movement
of thought creates the movement of time, and vice-versa.
The ocean itself is beyond time, therefore beyond thought.
The waves on its surface arise within time (thought), and
subside again within it. Yet even time (thought) is the
whole ocean. The veil "covering the Absolute" remains the
Absolute itself.

Some people use that fact as an excuse to remain with
suffering, to remain in the limited realm of the wave (I'm
not accusing you of this). For that reason, I sometimes put
focus on the ocean rather than on the wave, even though the
wave may be the ocean, and even the gateway to knowing the
ocean. In order to understand experientially that the wave
is the ocean, one must venture beyond the limited boundaries
of the wave. Few people are motivated to do so. First they
have to trust that the ocean is there, and that if the wave
subsides they won't be left "high and dry," so to speak.

ANDREW

Wave is not only on the surface, that's why as wave moves
into shallow water it becomes taller and steeper, it extends
right to the bottom of the ocean.

TIM

It seems to me you're stretching the "wave/ocean" analogy a
little thin here, but it's all ideas. The reality lies
beyond. Ideas are only a bridge, at best.

GREG GOODE

Emptiness being form - this is the Buddhist way of looking
at it, and isn't really translatable into advaita-vedantic
terms. There's no analogue of background consciousness, of
nirguna Brahman in Buddhism (maybe in Dzogchen). Hence the
long-standing debates. Many Buddhists take advaitins for
eternalists, and advaitins take Buddhists for nihilists.
They agree, however, that entities such as small selves,
egos, schoolbusses and apples have no independent, inherent
existence.

Maybe Andrew can expand on this...

ANDREW

Or maybe not :^) For buddha there is no thinkable or
languagable ultimate. Just emptiness. Not dependent on
words.
Buddha holds up a flower when everyone was expecting a
speech.

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