What is Nonduality
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BEING A housewife, closeted within the four walls of the kitchen amid pots, pans and ladles, dishing out culinary delicacies for family, friends and relatives need not always be drudgery. It can end up in something as creative as getting together a 162-page anthology of poems, as Parvathi Vaidyanathan's `Kichenette Soul' will show.
The `By-the-stove-pondering by a homebound woman on Life, Meditation and Spirituality' has been published by Grow books. Ms. Vaidyanathan attributes the inspiration for her book to her Guru, Swami Akshara, who encouraged her to drop "scribbling on bits of paper and get them on to e-mails which took shape as a book." she says.
She says that waking up at around to transcribe her Guru's tapes on to computer files were her most meditative moments. "Before each day when my family wakes up, although I was with my pots and pans, all the creativity happened."The collection of over 110 poems on topics ranging from the market place to mindscape has been published in a paperback edition.
Santosh, a II Year BBA student, has done the page setting and cover design.
Priced at Rs. 55, it will soon be available in leading bookstores. Phone: 2847 3836/9840 438438.
The message below, a letter from
Robert Redford urging concerned
Americans to protest President Bush's plan to open the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge to massive oil development, was sent to you by Mark Otter
No one voted on Election Day to destroy the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. But President Bush is now claiming a mandate to do exactly that.
Congressional leaders are pushing for a quick vote that would turn
Even worse, they are planning to avoid public debate on this
devastating measure by hiding it in a must-pass budget bill.
Please go to the NRDC Action Fund website
(http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/) right now and send a message telling
And please forward my message to your friends, family, and colleagues.
We must mobilize millions of Americans in opposition as quickly as
Don't believe for a second that the president is targeting the Arctic
Refuge for the sake of
at the pump.
President Bush knows full well that oil drilled in the Arctic Refuge
would take ten years to get to market and would never equal more than a
paltry one or two percent of our nation's daily consumption. Simply put,
sacrificing the crown jewel of our wildlife heritage would do nothing
to reduce gas prices or break our addiction to
But if the raid on the Arctic Refuge isn't really about gas prices or
energy security, then what is it about?
It's the symbolism.
The Arctic Refuge represents everything spectacular and everything
ecological serenity . . . a vast stretch of pristine wilderness . . .
an irreplaceable birthing ground for polar bears, caribou and white
It is the greatest living reminder that conserving nature in its wild
state is a core American value. It stands for every remnant of
wilderness that we, as a people, have wisely chosen to protect from the
relentless march of bulldozers, chain saws and oil rigs.
And that's why the Bush administration is dead set on destroying it.
By unlocking the Arctic Refuge, they hope to open the door for oil, gas
and coal giants to invade our last and best wild places: our western
canyonlands, our ancient forests, our coastal waters, even our national
This is the real agenda behind the raid on the Arctic Refuge and the
entire Bush-Cheney energy plan: to transfer our public estate into
corporate hands so it can be liquidated for a quick buck.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) admitted as much when he said
this battle over the Arctic Refuge is really a fight over whether energy
exploration will be allowed in similarly sensitive areas in the future.
"It's about precedent," Rep. DeLay said.
I take him at his word. If we let the president and Congress plunder
the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for the sake of oil company profits,
then no piece of our natural heritage will be safe from wholesale
Please go to the NRDC Action Fund website
(http://www.nrdcactionfund.org) and tell your senators and
representative they have no mandate to destroy the Arctic Refuge. Then please be
sure to forward this message to as many people as you can.
And thank you for speaking out at this critical time.
NRDC Action Fund
from A Course in Consciousness,
In the meditation for July 24 in A Net of Jewels (1996), the sage Ramesh Balsekar says,
"The very existence of the manifestation depends on its being perceived. Space and time do not otherwise exist. When the sense of presence as consciousness is not there, there is no manifestation. The only truth is BEINGNESS, here and now."
And in the meditation for August 26, he says,
"Whatever is happening is always happening only in the mind that perceives it."
We shall talk about two different types of mental processes. Perceiving is the simple appearance of movement in Consciousness. Movement in Consciousness is perception itself, and it has no separate parts. On the other hand, conceptualization is the process of separating and naming. This requires intellect (a concept), and consists of mentally separating part of the movement from the rest, and giving it a name. Thus, all concepts are characterized by name and form, so conceptualization fragments movement into separate concepts.
All words are concepts, thus all spoken or written communication is conceptual. This entire course is conceptual but it points to what cannot be conceptualized. As an example, we shall distinguish between movement in Consciousness, or phenomenon, and Consciousness-at-rest, or Noumenon (discussed in the next section). These are not real distinctions because Consciousness is undivided, and thus are examples of conceptualization.
As we may say that movement in Consciousness is an appearance in Consciousness, we may also say that the manifest (phenomenon) is an appearance in the Unmanifest (Noumenon). We can conceptualize further by using the terms, the manifest, the manifestation, phenomenality, and phenomenon almost interchangeably, with slight differences as determined by the context.
A concept can be "external", detected by one or more of the five "external" senses such as hearing or seeing, or "internal" like a thought, feeling, emotion, or sensation. In Section 1.1, we made a distinction between the concepts of "objective reality" and "subjective reality". We said that objective reality is external to, and independent of, the mind and can be observed and agreed upon by myself and at least one external observer. Subjective reality is internal to the mind and can be observed only by myself. (We also said that certain mental phenomena can be considered to be objective if they can be verified by an external observer.)
The concept of objective reality rests on the assumption, introduced in Section 1.1, that there exist observers who are external to me, and who can confirm my own observations. From childhood, we grew up without questioning this concept, so it sounds very natural to us. But now we shall see that this so-called "objective reality" is no different in principle from "subjective reality" and is not reality at all, but is nothing but a concept. This may begin to make sense if we stop to consider that, not only is objective reality supposed to be external to, and independent of, my mind, but so also is the "external" observer whom I depend on to confirm my own observations of objective reality. However, the external observer who communicates with me is not in fact independent of my mind at all, but is part of my subjective reality, i.e., is an image in my mind.
Reality is what is, without conceptualization. However, objective reality is only a concept and cannot be proved. Even though it is useful for communication, for health, and for survival, it does not represent Reality, and therefore it will bring suffering if it is taken to be real. Suffering comes because it defines external observers as being objects that are external to me, so that logically I am an object that is external to them. Thus, it defines me as being part of their objective reality, which means that I am separate from them. As long as I identify with a separate, objective me, I will be unable to realize my true nature and I will suffer.
Another problem with defining myself as an object is that all objects change in time, i.e., they are all temporal, so they all appear and disappear in time. Am I willing to accept that my true nature is purely temporal? As we stated above, the concept of objective reality has physical survival value. But it has only passing physical survival value, because everything in "objective reality" comes and goes, and nothing in it survives.
We have defined "subjective reality" as that which can be observed only by me, with the intention of including in it all of my subjective experiences, namely, my thoughts, feelings, emotions, intuitions, etc. As discussed above, it is clear that there is no intrinsic difference between this subjective reality and the objective reality that we have previously defined, since all "external" observers are only images in my mind. "Objective reality" becomes nothing but an appearance or image in my mind just as "subjective reality" is. All mental images come and go, and this is as true of the images of "objective" objects as it is of "subjective" objects.
The world in my mind is the only world that I can perceive directly. All bodies and other objects in this world are nothing but images in my mind. (The concept that there are no other minds than mine is a statement of solipsism, first proposed by the French philosopher, René Descartes, 1596 - 1650.) If I accept the concept that other minds contain their own individual worlds, (a metaphysical assumption that cannot be proved), there are as many worlds as there are minds.
On page 96 of The Wisdom of Nisargadatta (1992) by Robert Powell, the sage Nisargadatta Maharaj says,
"All exists in the mind; even the body is an integration in the mind of a vast number of sensory perceptions, each perception also a mental state ... Both mind and body are intermittent states. The sum total of these flashes creates the illusion of existence."
and on p. 201 of I Am That (1984), he says,
"Learn to look without imagination, to listen without distortion: that is all. Stop attributing names and shapes to the essentially nameless and formless, realize that every mode of perception is subjective, that what is seen or heard, touched or smelt, felt or thought, expected or imagined, is in the mind and not in reality, and you will experience peace and freedom from fear."
In Section 4.3, we introduced the concept of Einstein locality, now to be referred to simply as locality. Since space-time is nothing but a concept within each mind (see Section 14.1), locality is also only a concept within each mind. Now we ask, if each mind contains its own world, how can these minds communicate with each other? In other words, we know that a person in my mind can communicate with another person in my mind, but how can a person in my mind communicate with a person in your mind?
In Section 5.2 we introduced the concept of nonlocal mind but without relating it to nonlocal Consciousness. In Section 6.5 we saw that the consciousness of all local observers is really nonlocal Consciousness. If it were not nonlocal, minds would have no means of communicating with each other. Thus, we see that communication between minds occurs because Consciousness is nonlocal, even though worlds are separate and individual.
We know that individual worlds are highly correlated with each other because many of the same objects and events appear in different minds. Thus, both your body and mine may appear in my mind as well as in yours, but the images in my mind are different from those in yours, so the bodies are different. The way we know they are the same bodies is because of nonlocal communication between us.
Nonlocal communication between minds is experienced as an interpersonal connection which transcends verbal communication (see Sections 5.2, 5.6). This is most clear whenever ego conflicts between minds are not so strong that they obscure the nonlocal connection, such as in many parental and filial relationships, sibling relationships, close personal relationships, support groups, therapy groups, and meditation groups (see Section 14.2, Chapter 16).
If minds were not nonlocal (see also Section 9.4), many disagreements between them could never be resolved because minds that are separate necessarily have different experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. Hence, wars between religions, political ideologies, nations, and socioeconomic classes would be inevitable.
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