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#2214 - Thursday, July 28, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Hi. This issue features Gabriel Rosenstock, Vicki Woodyard, and Jim Dreaver. The selection from Jim is from his mailing list. Directions are included if you want to receive a couple mailings per month from him. He's a very clear writer, as you'll see. --Jerry
Gabriel Rosenstock It is too clear and so
it is hard to 'see'
A dunce once searched
for a fire
with a lighted lantern ..
Had he known ..
what 'fire' was ..
He could have
cooked his rice
~ Zen Flesh, Zen Bones ~
~ Trans - P.Reps & N senzaki ~
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We are all trying to get
back into the garden, but we don't have a hand
stamp. Lord knows we need one. Why didn't we think of getting it
stamped before we left the place? I was taking a bath this morning
(some of my best thinking happens there) and it struck me that the womb
and the garden are one and the same.
We are ejected from the paradisical womb and find ourselves in the
world. We think we are of it, but that is a sheer impossibility. It
hurts, so we want to get back home. Going in utero again is not an
option, but perhaps we can coccoon at home. You know, get just the
right mattress, snacks and electronics. Somehow HH Gregg does not seem
to be the right place to purchase paradise. Some prefer the catalog
approach to Eden....whatever. It ain't gonna work.
Some seek Eden in mental nonduality. They take daytrips to the place
and spend all day fiddling with their fig leaves. Poison ivy is
everywhere and no one will give you a lift when you need to go see your
mother. Notice I didn't say "want to." That is just too darned normal.
I met a man once who said he could give me a backstage pass to the
garden. That way I could see God up close and personal. He would be
taking off His makeup after the show and I could get my picture made
with Him. I took my digital camera but God never showed. I guess God
is like Jerry Lee Lewis or George Jones. They are incomparable
performance artists, but you have to put up with their occasional
Okay, some of you are ready to draw and quarter me for comparing God to
Jerry Lee. Hey, I'm just a writer. There is one more way that we might
be able to return to the garden. Seems to me that Shakti Gawain wrote a
book with that title. I never read it. Anyway, here's the deal. You
might not believe this, but I have it on good authority that we really
Now you are asking me, "Then how come I'm so miserable?" Good
question. You are miserable because you are asleep. But like the man
dreaming he was a butterfly, you may be just dreaming that you are
asleep. Oh, dear, I am getting in over my head.
I hope by now that your attention is beginning to wander so that I can
end this essay quietly. You see, I don't have any answers or backstage
passes. Would you like a really good macaroni and cheese recipe?
The Buddha taught that there were three fundamental laws, or tenets of life, and the first of them is the law of anicca, or impermanence, which is that everything is always changing. The seasons come and go, day turns into night, the climate changes, our body grows and matures and then, like all living things, begins eventually to wither and die. We cant stop change, and to resist it causes suffering, or dukkha, which is the Buddhas second law.
So, when you see the truth of this, you dont hold onto things, onto forms. You dont keep insisting that things be a certain way. You learn to flow with the ups and downs of life, to take action when you need to, and to wait patiently when patience is what is required.
Theres a story I read once, told by Achaan Cha, the Thai Buddhist master who was Jack Kornfields teacher. I forget the exact wording of the story, but it had to do with a beautiful crystal, or glass goblet someone had given him as a gift. As he held the goblet up and admired it, he told the students around him that for him, the glass was already broken.
When they asked what he meant by this, he said that one day, a year from now, or ten years, or a hundred years, something would probably happenan accident a fire, an earthquake, or someone would just drop the gobletand it would break. Because he knew this, it meant that he could appreciate the goblet, he could enjoy using it, without any attachment. He had already said goodbye to it, so every day that it was in his possession was a blessing.
Wisdom is seeing the big picture, seeing the inevitable unfolding of events. Its looking ahead, andto use a very practical expressionvisualizing the worst-case scenarios. Then you are prepared. If the worst-case scenario does happen, you can take action to deal with it. Its not that you obsess about what happens in the future, but you remain aware of and open to the possibilities. You honor the past without clinging to it, you keep an eye on the future without obsessing over it, but all the time your awareness is grounded right here, in the present.
The third fundamental tenet that the Buddha taughtand the three of them are inter-relatedis the law of anatta, or no-self. He said that the self we take ourselves to be doesnt exist, except as an idea, a concept, in our mind. This is pretty much the same teaching that Jean Klein gave me, and it is the understanding that is communicated in all the great enlightenment traditions.
It is the attachment to notions of self, to the idea that I am this or I am that, to the whole inside-our-head drama called me, myself, and my story, which creates the resistance to change. You know what I mean. It is the fixed positions people take and cling to for security, whether its a personal belief, religious belief, a political belief, a cultural or national belief, or something else. Everything is always changingthe anicca, or impermanence the Buddha spoke ofand here we are, desperately trying to cling to some part of what is inevitably going to change. It is this clinging, this resistance, which in turn results in dukkha, the suffering.
But the real cause of suffering is the primary clinging, the clinging to an idea of self, to this idea that I am somebody, that I am my personal history. Let go of that, see that it isnt even realwhich I call the core insight, the insight of insightsand you are free. Then you live without needing to cling to any concept of self. Then there is no struggle with self esteem. Youre not holding onto any image of a self that needs validation or approval, that feels pleased with itself on some days, and hates itself on others. Then there is no more suffering. You always feel good inside, because youre in touch with the underlying goodness of life.
Don Juan, Carlos Castanedas teacher, put it this way: I used to have a personal history, but then, like smoking and drinking, I saw that it was no longer necessary, so I dropped it.
Stop reading and think about that for a minute, the notion of dropping personal history. It is very freeing. As it begins to happen, an enormous weight starts to leave youthe weight of the past. Then you open up to the deeper silence that is here now. You open up to the creative power of being itself.
Then you can flow with the endless changes in life. You can embrace change and use it to your advantage. Then you dont have to prove yourself to anyone. You dont have to defend yourself, because no matter what anyone says, you dont feel attacked. Every moment is fresh and new.
Then you can set about doing what you came here to do. You can set about writing the new story of your life. You can use thought in a conscious, creative, intentional way. You can pursue the goals that matter to you. You can begin to realize your dreams.
ŠJim Dreaver, 2005
Sat July 16, 3.00 pm5.00 pm, Palo Alto Satsang
Jim will hold the second in a series of
monthly satsangs, third Saturday of each month, in Palo Alto at
the home of Srikrishna. $10 donation.The address is 1873 Mark
Twain St, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Tel is 650 - 321 9918
Directions: From SFO, take 101 South
towards San Jose (or) From San Jose, take 101 North towards SFO.
Exit Embarcadero West towards Stanford University, leave 3
signals (St. Francis, Greer, Louis). Turn left into second
by-lane (100 ft. before the 4th signal at Newell Rd; no traffic
light or Stop sign at
Mark Twain St.; first by-lane is Bret Harte. The house is on the left.
Wed July 20, 2005, 7.30 pmSatsang in Sebastopol, CA
Kirtan (Sacred Chants) by Taravali
There is a transmission that occurs in satsang (sharing of truth), an immersion into the energy of silence, stillness, and presence. After a short meditation to soak up this energy, we engage in a dialogue that explores the teaching of liberation, and that is focused and transforming, often playful and humorous, and always unconditionally loving.
What becomes clear is that we are not our stories, not our beliefs, not even the separate I or me thoughts. Rather, we are the consciousness, or awareness, that is the source of everything. Once we finally get this, we are freed from everyday human sufferingfrom self-doubt, anxiety, negative emotions, and personal reactivity.
It usually takes a number of years of intensive inner seeking to see through the illusion of the psychological/emotional self and fully awaken to our true nature. However, by coming to satsang regularly, it is virtually assured that you will enjoy longer and more frequent periods of authentic clarity and inner peace, as well as a renewed sense of passion and purpose.
$10 donation. Location: 7737 Healdsburg Ave. Email Jim at [email protected] for directions, or call (707) 829-9551.
Satsang in Sebastopol is held every third Wednesday, same time, same location.
Esalen InstituteDec 11-16, 2005
Jim will again be teaching at Esalen, a 5 day retreat on The Art of Awakening. Contact www.esalen.org (but wont be listed on Esalens site till August).
A private session with Jim is a unique opportunity to spend time with someone who embodies and lives his message. You will be invited to look deeply into yourself, to the stories, beliefs, and images you still cling to, and that prevent you from realizing your full potential for clarity, inner peace, and joy now.
Private sessions generally last an hour and are conducted in person or over the phone. Affordable fees. Call 707-829-9551, or email [email protected].
Before I just couldn't understand your message about letting go of my "identity". All I could do was say, yeah, but how do I let go and if I'm not my "identity", who am I? But now, as a result of our session, I could literally feel things shift in every fiber as I saw that "I" was not real. I am simply awareness itself, before any concept of I, me, and mine". Ive been seeking for seven years, and now, here it is. Awesome, huh?
--Ann Smith, Homedale, Idaho
Jim Dreaver, a native of New Zealand, a Vietnam veteran, and a former chiropractor, was a student of Western Advaita Vedanta master Jean Klein for many years, and now teaches in the same nondual tradition. He is the author of THE ULTIMATE CURE; The Healing Energy Within You (Llewellyn), which focuses on accessing the deep spiritual energy that is the source of all healing. His most recent book, THE WAY OF HARMONY (Avon), is a practical guide to integrating awakened consciousness into work, relationships, and daily life.
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