|Dr. Robert Puff|
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#1909 - Thursday, September 2, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Featured is Part 12 of 13 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://tinyurl.com/4nxfq
Also featured is a sampling from Common Ground, a Western Canadian magazine of spirituality and activism.
And there is another installment of In Nonduality Salon, highlights of the early Nonduality Salon list before The Highlights was created.
The Sacred Mirror: Nondual
Wisdom and Psychotherapy
Jungian Analysis and Nondual Wisdom
by Bryan Wittine
Bryan Wittine, Ph.D. is a Jungian analyst in private practice and on the faculty at the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco. He has been active and influential in other areas of academia, authored numerous papers, and lectured around the world. His spiritual training is most notably in Vajrayana Buddhism and Christian mysticism.
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"This chapter is about the journey in Jungian analysis of a spiritual seeker named 'Jenna,' who longed to know God. It is also about a defensive process I call 'psychospiritual splitting,' which nearly derailed Jenna's quest. Finally, it is about our analytical relationship and a nondual understanding of spirituality; both of which were central to her journey."
Such splitting is described by the author: "In our naivete we approach spiritual practice longing to attain liberation, but in doing so we neglect to care for our sacred manifestation, the conscious and unconscious aspects of our physical bodies and personal psyches. This leaves us practicing a dualistic spirituality that perpetuates the split and leaves us feeling enfeebled and adrift, lacking creative energy, and hiding our shadow behind inflated spiritual feelings and beliefs."
Healing the split requires the recognition and addressing of the two modes of development. There is the vertical path of spiritual awakening and the horizontal path of individuation. The latter involves transformation of the shadow or wounded elements of personality and the actualization of the individual's gifts and talents. The nondual approach encompasses both modes or paths.
Wittine cites specific difficulties associated with psychospiritual splitting. "First is the tendency to use images of God to compensate for unmet childhood needs; second is the potential for ego-inflation if we identify with these images." These tendencies drive our traumas and wounds deeper into the unconscious. "Often it is only by suffering a profound dark night of the ego that we let go of our inflated self-images, reclaim our wounded parts, and begin to realize our true identity as the formless Self beyond all images of God. The formless Self might then use our illumined and individuated personality as a vessel through which to radiate the love, wisdom, and power of our true nature out into the world, into all the activites of our daily life."
The author discusses his understanding of Jung's notion of the Self. Though Jung spoke in different contexts about the Self, the author bases his understanding upon that context which is "a psychological restatement of the ancient Vedantic notion of the Atman." Atman is our 'true I,', our ground of being, the divine within, and is identical to the universal ground -- Brahman -- from which all proceeds.
The Self communicates to the ego-consciousness via dreams and visions. While none of the distributed imagery is the Self, if it is taken as guidance we could come to surrender to the Self as formless awareness, which would take our journey beyond the duality of ego and Self. "There is a seamless continuity between ego and Self. The paths of transcendence and individuation come together as we realize the Self in its formless radiance, prior to and beyond all images, expressed as and through our sacred individuality, which becomes the lens through which compassion, wisdom, and power pour forth into our relationships and the world."
The bulk of this chapter is the author's work with a severely split client known as Jenna. Her spiritual life and history are revealed; dreams are analyzed; and the transference relationship between Wittine and Jenna is extensively analyzed with Jenna's dream image of the spirit-man serving as the symbolic cornerstone. "In terms of the development-enhancing transference then, the spirit-man is an image of grounded, quiet, holding strength, qualities she needed from me to work through her feelings of defectiveness and relax into the basic ground of her own true Self. If I could embody these qualities to some degree, our relationship might help her realize the spirit-man within herself, a calm, holding presence that supports the unfolding of the whole of her individual being as well as her true nature."
Jenna's dark night of the ego is described and the change in her spiritual orientation that arose. "An important benchmark of this period occurred when she asked me what kind of meditation practice might suit her now that she had no interest in visualizations." Wittine informed her of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. Jenna acquired a copy of Who Am I? "As she lay on the couch she sometimes followed his instructions and posed to herself the question 'Who am I?' The upshot of this was simple and direct. Jenna became more fully aware of awareness itself as the pure presence that witnessed whatever arose in her mind. This left her feeling far more at peace with her child-self and forgiving of her disapproving mother, abandoning father, lover, and students. She also found forgiveness for herself for acting out her shadow-needs with her lover. Finally, Jenna realized that peace and forgiveness were actually attributes of her essential Self."
I'll conclude this summary with a portion of the author's conclusion and summary: "Psychospiritual splitting might be resolved through an approach to inner work that honors both transcendence and individuation. When practiced with nondual understanding, Jungian analysis might contribute to such an approach. From this perspective, images of the Self may be used as guides on how to conduct our lives and as symbols of essential attributes that are ready to manifest in the psyche of the person."
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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://tinyurl.com/4nxfq
Common Ground is an independent
publication, 100% Canadian owned. It is Western Canada's biggest
and best-loved monthly magazine dedicated to health, wellness,
ecology and personal growth.
Here are some selections from the recent and past issues as pertain mainly to spirituality.
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Dadi Janki, Wisdom Keeper
An extraordinary woman of wisdom
comes to Vancouver on September 23 after an absence of 10 years.
A member of the United Nations prestigious Wisdom Keepers,
Dadi Janki is an 88-year-old spiritual lighthouse who travels the
world speaking at international conferences and sharing her
wisdom with world leaders and the community at large.
Born in India in 1916 she survived poverty, war and severe illnesses. A spiritual leader, Dadi Janki seeks not so much to change people but to model spirituality. Having risen above the restrictions of culture, gender and a lack of formal education she has dedicated the last seven decades to serving humanity.
Dadi Janki will be appearing in Vancouver September 23 at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, Hamilton and Dunsmuir, 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Special guest performances by Rita Costanzi and Denzal Sinclaire. Admission is free. Tickets required. Contact the festival box office at 604-257-0366 or visit
Following are some of Dadi Jankis words of wisdom excerpted from three of her books.
Become spiritually attractive
A spiritual path is like a school. Not a regular school where you learn ordinary skills, but a spiritual school where you learn the skills of spirit: like how to remove flaws in your character, or how to remain unaffected by the negative influences around you.
Some people think that if they follow a spiritual path, they wont be able to cultivate their individual talents. However, what kinds of talent do people really need nowadays? To remove ones own ego is a great talent; to love others is another.
If you can deal with your own ego, then your own anger can be resolved. This goes a long way to resolving external issues too. With your own ego out of the way you will be able to handle anything! Otherwise its just the same old thing - you versus me, yours versus mine, etc.
If your friends and relations do not choose to accompany you on your spiritual path, why should you chase after them trying to get them to change? They wont listen anyway, no matter what you say. A better approach is to focus on your own change process. A river doesnt urge people to drink its water. People are naturally drawn to it, provided its waters are pure, free-flowing and sweet. In the same way, become so spiritually attractive, everyone will want to join you, naturally.
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Breaking down, breaking open
UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young
Our ego often has great plans for
us. Like a child playing with a doll or an action figure, ego
creates our identity, and then sends us forth into the world to
live out the vision it has created unlike a movie producer and
director, ego would like to set the stage, write the script and
have all the actors speak their lines as written.
Unfortunately, in life we do not have the same control as the child over his game, or the director over his movie. The other actors in our lives are simultaneously playing roles in many other movies, perhaps even trying to direct a few themselves. There may even be a master director, overseeing all of the productions. All the worlds a stage, Shakespeare wisely noted. Like a hall of reflecting mirrors, our lives may consist of stages, within stages, within stages, and at each level, our stages overlap and interconnect with the stages of others.
It is easy to see how infinitely complex the whole thing becomes. Imagine a circus performer trying to keep multiple tops spinning. Ego tries to keep its spin on every stage on which it plays a part. Is it any wonder that by the time humans reach mid- adulthood, stress, anxiety and depression reach near epidemic proportions? Increasingly there is a growing awareness that we do not have the control we thought we had.
That awareness may come as a result of the emotional exhaustion created by trying to stay on top of everything. More often, it comes in the form of a crisis - a loss or major disappointment. One of the productions on one of our stages takes a devastating turn. We may lose one of our lead actors, through death or dissolution of a relationship. A role we have played for many years may suddenly be denied us - a job layoff, children leaving home, even retirement.
One of egos roles has been irreversibly altered: one of the tops stopped spinning.
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by Eckhart Tolle
How quick we are to form an
opinion of a person, to come to a conclusion about them. It is
satisfying to the egoic mind to label another human being, to
give them a conceptual identity, to pronounce righteous judgment
Every human being has been conditioned to think and behave in certain ways - conditioned genetically as well as by their childhood experiences and their cultural environment.
That is not who they are, but that is who they appear to be. When you pronounce judgment upon someone, you confuse those conditioned mind patterns with who they are. To do that is in itself a deeply conditioned and unconscious pattern. You give them a conceptual identity, and that false identity becomes a prison not only for the other person but also for yourself.
To let go of judgment does not mean that you dont see what they do. It means that you recognize their behavior as a form of conditioning, and you see it and accept it as that. You dont construct an identity out of it for that person.
That liberates you as well as the other person from identification with conditioning, with form, with mind. The ego then no longer runs your relationships.
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Making the mind an ally
by Mark Schneider
This exploration of inner space,
the mystical experience, they wrote, is biologically,
observably, and scientifically real. And all thats required to step into the vastness
of the human mind is a quiet room, a good guide, and an open heart.
It would be hard to find a better guide than Sakyong Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche, a
41-year-old Tibetan meditation master and spiritual director of Shambhala International.
(Sakyong is a traditional Tibetan title meaning Earth protector.) On May 7, the Rinpoche
will speak at Vancouvers Chan Centre about his new book, Turning the Mind Into an Ally.
He exudes an extraordinary physical presence, which is hard to describe. Maybe it is the
many years of intense meditation practice. It could also be the way he moves with a
cougar-like gracefulness that belies his muscular frame. This lama is a superb athlete, a
serious marathoner, an expert horse rider, and a weight lifter with a linebackers
biceps. Not your average, cave-dwelling yogi. Born in India, he grew up as the son of
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, one of the first Tibetan lamas to bring Buddhism to the west,
and the man who created Shambhala International.
It is an enormous enterprise publishing the glossy Shambhala Sun magazine, operating
Naropa University in Colorado, and coordinating the activities of 150 centres in 20
countries. One of its teachers, Pema Chodron, has become a world-famous author in her own
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has crystallized all this effort into one simple question: We
all agree that training the body through exercise, diet and relaxation is a good idea,
but why dont we think about training our mind?
For Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, training the mind - and the beginning of the inner journey -
starts with listening to ones mind-chatter. You can be sitting on the bus, worrying
about something and have no idea life doesnt have to be this way, the ruggedly handsome
Rinpoche told me. Your mind is running you. Its like a wild horse. All its trying to
do is to be happy. Its trying to ease its own pain, but it cant do that because, and
here he takes in a big lungful of breath, it lacks wisdom.
And there it is, the wisdom thing. The Sakyong, along with Buddhist teachers for the
last 2,500 years, have all proclaimed the same message: If were embarking on this
journey wed better have a clear idea of what is real, and not just rely on the contents
of our thought-filled minds.
In Nonduality Salon
Highlights from the early Nonduality Salon list
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Here's another question: Doesn't one have to be a really
good Dualist before becoming a great Nonduelist?
the greatest nondualists ARE really good dualists. where
do you think we learned this stuff, from some nondual guy
working in silence? Whatever we learned from the silent
one, we can't speak. So we learn from the dualistic one,
or become one ourselves. We're playing. Who deals? Why?
J (grabbing chips with his left hand)
~ ~ ~
Those awakening are sitting on the edge of the bed, looking back at the sleeping one,
looking up toward the face of the awakened one.
What is done day to day, moment to moment, out of deep relaxation in the present moment,
is authentic, right, and sound.
~ ~ ~
Before becoming conscious of K., I had a recognition of "something" that never could be
cloaked by even the most impressive manifestations and siddhis of K. , so "loosing track"
was impossible. Disappointed in relations by the mere fact of observation, the "sexual
component" of K. was interpreted as just a sign of "work in progress" and never have I
been aware of the "feminine" aspects of K. , many relate to. Because at that time I was
an atheist, ignorant of meditation and K., one might say my perception wasn't influenced
Purohit Swami comments that one can conquer tamas with rajas and rajas with sattva. Once
sattva has been attained, sattva has to be conquered by ever more refined sattva until
the gunas are dissolved into their source which is liberation.
So the name of the game with K. is called purity and I found this to be true. There are
so many books on K. that a search-engine or a search at Amazon will flood you with
information. I doubt that the summary of worthwhile books would differ from: "purity,
tamas: principle of inertia (including fear, confusion, despondency, grief, etc.)
rajas: principle of action (including passion, greed, violence, lust etc.) sattva:
beingness, principle of sheer existence. As a guna ("strand" or "quality"), it has a
binding effect, to joy and knowledge.
~ ~ ~
... at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement
from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point,
the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the
T. S. Eliot
. Except for the point,
the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the
And except for the duality there would be no awareness of the dance...
which brings me to the question of:
"but they bear on our suffering as a
civilization and relate to speculation on what a nondual community wouldbe like.
It is food for reflection,"
That is, can we ever know what a nondual communicty would be like? As soon as
you "know" it, it has become dual. It may be that the only food "here" is dual.
You got to eat that stuff just in order to communicate. Consequently there can
be no such thing as a nondual communicty. However, there can be a community of
Homo novus (those who have mutated out of the sapiens shell of duality-fixation,
and into the new-birth-consciousness of
non-duality-infant-on-the-way-to-integration-being). [At least that is the
dual-theory of the non-dual posibility. Of course we who have been there Know,
at the timeless time there is no such evolution since What is It that is
evolving? Yet It seems to want to play the game of form, So here We-we are, in
some form pretending to be who we are not in a "spiritual" hide and go-seekee.
We Know of course there is nothing to seek, nowhere to go, and no evolution,
even of consciousness. But what a vapid world without duality. Let the games
begin, and lo...there was light and dark, male and female...and so let's all
suffer the exqusite pain of duality, of forgetting who we are and
remembering...for there is no game without duality and suffering, without the
exquiste and divine tortures of the soul and body, in the "World." ]
You don't really want a nondual communicty do you? Is that a seeking like a
science that always only approximates the "truth" and never arrives? If so, then
of course this is to be desired, as it guarentes the continuance of the game.
The purpose of the game is never to arrive, at least in any permante sense,
otherwise the game is over.
But as someone has suggested here, a group of nondual beings may not be much
different. (I separate these into Homo sapiens and Homo novus types). The games
seem often to be more subtle (I am using that in both ways <g>) but games they
are. And that's fine. I am perhaps here just to see what a few Homo novus type
games may here be played rather than the more common sapiens variety...and of
course the hybred.
~ ~ ~
There is ambiguity over the meaning of a nondualist; my proposal is to call a
practitioner of the nondual path a nondualist and one "arrived" at the singularity a
"singularist" or a "singularian". As it is a new word, no misunderstanding is possible.
I think you have just coined a mighty fine word... "singularian".
Meanwhile... back at the nonduality saloon:
Nondualists... trudge along the old 'trail',
seeking 'reality'... behind 'the veil'.
Singularian... is already here!
So barkeep... please, another round of beer.
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