Jerry Katz
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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #243

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A wow of a first post from a newcomer!!

I am fairly new at this but would like to say hi and get some feedback from you
anyone. I have never been a spiritual seeker. I started reading a book on
in December, 1999 in order to improve my uni marks. The first exercise was to
teach me to stop thinking.

After 10 days I was suddenly hit with an amazing wave of knowledge and
understanding of some really amazing things. Money no longer matters. Nothing
a problem. I feel a bit isolated a times because it would be nice to relate to
someone who understood what was going on and wanted a friend not a student.

Because I wasn't actually looking for this knowledge I feel very graced. I am
my body, mind, emotions. I have no choice in anything done by these, I am just
an observer...

I am no different from anyone else so I guess it was just my time?

I don't have a spiritual guru though all the sites say it is a good idea. I'm
not really
sure where to go from here. I know that everything is exactly as it is meant to
and all is and will be perfect.

Talk to me please. I am a bit lonely even though life is so very beautiful now
there are no judgements.

Love Annie
([email protected])

Bruce replies:

It is quite comon to seek
out something in the way of
a "sanity check" in the wake
of as remarkable a perceptual
transformation as yours. For
me (pre-Internet) it was a
few books, for you perhaps
NDS may fill the bill.
Whatever awaits, welcome!

Dan: Hi, Annie. You know the old saying, "it's lonely at the top."
Spiritual truth deepens aloneness, and many stories refer to this,
including ones I like, such as Moses, Jesus, Gautama, Ramana, Krishnamurti.
As awareness realizes itself as truth, dependencies begin to drop.
As has been discussed on this list recently, one moment of "dropping"
doesn't mean no further dropping. An eternal movement of "dropping,"
beginningless and endless in scope "opens" here. The quietness
deepens, and identifications dissolve. The former ideas of one being
contacting another being also dissolve. This doesn't mean there is
no relationship, it means no relationship of one being with another.

There is no dependency on how others phrase the truth, there is no
need to look for agreement from others, there is no need to state
the truth - it is everywhere the only thing evident in all things.
When I write about truth here, my words evaporate as they are typed;
meaning is so transparent that nothing can be conveyed. My perception
is that opening to this, although apparently "effortless" and "inevitable,"
is much less "easy" than some may portray. What makes it less
than easy is, as I see it, is that what I presumed to be reality turns out
to be nothing more than projection to deal with anxiety. Meditation
turns out to be sitting with my anxiety, in stillness. There is
beauty in this, but there is what may be termed "courage" involved
to watch one's self and one's reality disintegrate (although, at
the same time, nothing changes).

This is eternal truth, a journey into letting go, a leaving of "what
was", what Plotinus termed a "flight of the alone to the Alone".
The beauty of stillness, the unknown, and emptiness is also aloneness.
-- Love -- Dan

Roger Isaacs introduces the Advaita Shuffle dance craze:

From the "What Is Enlightenment?" publication Volume 1, #1, Jan 92:quoting
Andrew Cohen

The Advaita, or non-dual teachings, are widely considered the highest
teachings. When their depth and subtlety are not fully understood, they
can be misinterpreted and misused.

The "Advaita Shuffle" can be used skillfully at the right time by a
spiritual teacher to temporarily stop the mind and thereby reveal the
beginningless and endless ocean of being, usually obscured.
Unfortunately this technique is frequently used as a way to deceive
oneself and others when the user is placed in a position of threat,
challenge or difficulty.

[exchange with Ganga deleted along with most of the article, the usual
"Who's identifying...? Who's judging?" etc..]
This exchange illustrates the impossibility of having a rational, mutual
inquiry with someone who is stuck in the Absolute viewpoint. It defies
all common sense and logic. Prolonged exposure can even lead one to
doubt one's sanity. Ganga is continually answering any question with
further questions about who the questioner is. Superficially this may
seem profound, but in a mutual investigation it can all too easily be
used as a smokescreen to avoid any real inquiry whatsoever. The "Advaita
shuffle" enables a person to use the Advaita teachings of non-duality to
"Advaita away" conflicts, disagreements, or uncomfortable aspects of
reality. The attention is drawn away from the actual content of the
discussion and put back on the questioner himself. This excerpt also
shows how proponents of the Advaita view can be so fixated on the
Absolute position that they regard any form of discussion as a descent
into the relative, and a manifestation of ignorance. In this way, all
desire and possibility for investigation, learning and change are

Andrew Cohen and the editors at WIE.
Greg adds some more steps:

Thanks for reprinting this. This insight is valuable, and is Andrew
Cohen's greatest contribution to advaita teaching!

By the way, "in other news," not everyone considers Advaita the highest
teaching. Tibetan Madhyamika considers advaita-type non-duality a very
high teaching for the very adept. But not for the highest type of student,
since advaita grasps onto inherent existence of consciousness. According
to Madhyamika, the highest type of student doesn't need to be taught
non-duality, but is ready for what they call the highest teaching,
emptiness and compassion.
Harsha (apparently chaperoning) soon leaves to powder his nose in the mirror:

And thank you Sri Gregji for bringing in the Emptiness Shuffle. And since it
comes alongside with the Compassion Shuffle, it is no doubt totally supreme
in the hierarchy of shuffles! :--).

Mirror Mirror on the Wall!
Who is the emptiest of them all!
The highest one, the one supreme!
The best shuffler among all who seem,
to know the shuffle steps so well
Who moves in such stillness
that He cannot tell
where the dance begins and ends.

Harsha returns to explain historical appeal of styles of dancing:

This is hilarious Roger. Look at it this way. Everyone is shuffling one way
or the other. Whether it is the Advaita Shuffle or the anti Advaita Shuffle,
the Yoga Shuffle, or the modified Advaita Shuffle or the Tantra shuffle or
the Neo versions of various shuffles. Whether it is the guru shuffle or the
student shuffle, and whether it is the intellectual shuffle or the emotional
shuffle, or the bliss shuffle, shuffling happens. Any point of view on which
type of Shuffling is best will quickly lead to an opposing view. The central
question always is "Where do I stand." To Know Where One Stands One must
Know One's Own Self. Well, if you are always shuffling and watching other
people shuffle and trying to decide which is the most competitive shuffle,
then the question, "Where do I stand" cannot capture the attention and hold
your interest and is of limited value. In such a case where is the harm in
shuffling? Any type of shuffling will do. Shuffle away.

Roger protests, insisting the steps DO matter, he calls for a judge:

Advaita Vedanta is one of the 6 systems of Indian Philosophy. Nyaya, the
science of reasoning, is another, Advaita is NOT superior to Nyaya, they are
both essential & are complimentary systems. The most practical example of
Nyaya in our world is court room procedure, i.e. the rules of reasoning
followed in the court room.

"Cavil" is a particular style of FALSE reasoning where during discussion
about an issue, an opponent avoids the question at hand and replaces it with
another issue: the shuffle. At this point a judge would respond saying
something like: "out of order!, address the original question please! or
I'll throw you in jail!!"

Do you expect to distinguish between illusion & reality in your personal
spiritual quest when cavil is accepted in place of discrimination?

Petros attacks reason saying even asking the question "How?" is sign of
identification. Bullshit!
Dan cuts in here:

Dan: Good points, particularly if you're expecting a discussion to
lead to truth. The judge can tell you you're out of order, and restore
sanity. (I'm biting my tongue right now to keep from asking, 'Who is
the judge?") Seriously, we reach a place when no discussion can further
lead to truth. Discussion of truth leads up to that point, and at that
point alone are the questioner, question, and answer.

To see truth as dependent on words, or expressions of opinion, would
be to distort the nature of truth. Nonetheless, our words can
assist with discovery of truth, and you're right that obfuscation,
distraction, or repetition of rote formats will not assist discovery.
If discussion does turn one "back" to oneself, it's important that
such discussion be "in tune" with the questioner, rather than a rote
presentation (that never will assist 'turning to self').

I propose that the full truth isn't debatable, won't be found in a
courtroom, and doesn't depend on either sanity nor irrationality.
If you say that I'm doing some kind of shuffle to avoid expressing that
truth clearly, I would say I'm doing my best, but I realize we each
find that truth according to our awareness, and not based on someone
else's description.

Thanks for bringing up these issues, Roger, as I agree discrimination
is important. I am glad you are questioning ways that truth is presented,
and calling attention to formulaic responses. However, I agree also
with Petros, that for some teachers, there is a good reason that they don't
get overly descriptive, stick to a few key points, and turn questions
back to the questioner.
-- Love -- Dan
Roger continues for now with his claim that Harsha's step would do away with

Reason is limited, however, let's agree that it can be a path to God for
some provided a particular angle is taken. Let's not deny reason because
doing so robs life of wholeness.

Love too is limited, at least in the sense that humans typically confuse
egoic need with higher love. Shall we deny love because the typical human
experience of it is limited?

Just as reason always fails to capture the essence of God, so does beauty.
Because no sunset or work of art, or scene of nature fails to capture the
totality of God, shall we also deny beauty?

Fine with me if your preference is too see the cosmos as beyond description.
I believe this is one of the essential viewpoints. However, please
acknowledge that others must attempt to describe that which is beyond
description. Is this community mature enough to embrace diverse views?

Harsha, if your post is an attempt at smoothing over disagreement, then
thank you. However, you seem to deny the usefulness of reason, and so I

Are you confusing (if I may be presumptuous) the concept of God as infinite
& unknowable & indescribable, with a procedure of investigation using reason
(Nyaya philosophy)?

Yes, God as indescribable is, IMHO, a valid perspective, infact an
absolutely essential perspective.

However, this does not invalid reason. Reason is also an absolutely
essential tool for gaining knowledge. We can't function in the world without
it. And, for some, it can be a way to God.

There are traps in the way of Love: for example when love is tainted by self
interest and thereby fails to expand to the supreme. There are traps on the
way of Reason, for example, one may get stuck in a particular view point &
operate out of the pattern of memory.

An analogy about diversity: if one's heart expands in the fullness/wholeness
of light, who can deny? But we know that light is both particle(parts &
division) & wave(wholeness). What you see depends on what you look for or
what you are attuned to. While celebrating wholeness(wave), we must also
acknowledge the perspective of division(particle)? Otherwise our wholeness
is limited?!

Reason & Love are just two different colors in the rainbow. If those who
prefer one deny the other...well... our cultures have been doing that
endlessly with horrific consequences.

Harsha, you eloquently express expansive feeling here, and I would be
incomplete without that warmth, I must have it. Perhaps our task together is
to fully appreciate & unite Love & Reason. Outwardly Love (expansion) &
Reason (contraction) are opposing, perhaps only in the heart of living
consciousness can they be united.

My sincere attempt here is to NOT attack the personality or Being of Petros,
but rather to point out 'cavil' or false reasoning. And the same goes for
that revered teacher Gangaji.

God is within, It is certainly not confined in ANY _external_ personality,
such as Andrew Cohen, Gangaji, Jesus, Buddha etc. And God can never be
confined to the words or discourse of any one personality. All external
personalities are limited, and so recognizing, let us laugh joyously
together at our external limitations, and look within to the unlimited.

I gotta get some work done now!!

Harsha hums along:

Thanks Roger I agree with much of what you said. Reason is an essential tool
and is needed. I was not really defending Petros or anything like that. Also
I was not really attacking you. I was simply indicating the comical side of
the competitive shuffle (the competing spiritual philosophies). Frankly what
you say makes a lot of sense Roger and like Melody I feel honored by your

Bruce put a song up here a while back (Oh Lord Oh Lord my intentions are
good, Oh Lord Don't let me be misunderstood). I sing that quite a bit
because it is a catchy tune.

Petros takes a spin on the dance floor:

Roger (having basically said: "You call that dancing?") inquired:
> Are you hypocritical in attempting to prevent the
> inquires of
> others? As when you say the question "How?" indicates an identification?
> "you certainly aren't doing it": would it be loving of me to stand idly by
> while you attempt to convince the world that reason (asking "How?" or
> "Why?") is useless?

Petros demonstrates his basic first step:
To paraphrase a popular book -- Everything I Need to Know I Learned Before I
Was Born.

The questions 'How,' 'Why,' 'Who,' all break down the same two ways

If used by the mind, they solicit an answer in terms of the mind -- a word
or a list or a technique. Thus they are simply part of the endless

If used to bring an end to the mind, they solicit no answer at all. Only
silence. In this case, they serve their function to its logical termination.
In this case, one has completed the first step and can move on to action in
the world. (Notice I say the 'first' step, not the 'final' step as some
might say.)

I hope this clarifies things. I think we're talking in two different
directions. You're asking about action in the world, which for me can only
come after the termination of doubts about self/other. That's the part I'm
interested in.

At last, the longed for legendary neutral "judge" appears in the form of yet
another brave first poster. Refusing to rule, the case is dismissed:

From: Anatta <[email protected]>

As my initial post to NDS, I'd like to explore the issue of taking sides.

Earlier I read the exchange between Roger and Petros, reflecting the
"conflict" between Andrew Cohen and Gangaji. Which side are you on,
rational inquiry or Self Inquiry?

People, being people, are competitive and like to be King/Queen of the
hill. People react to challenges and muster their allies and analyze
"threats" to their hegemony. And everyone loves being Right in an

Realizing Self is not primarily a philosophical issue, though much has
been and can be written about it, making it seem to be a hot topic in the
philosophical forum. Self-Reality is actually the beginning and end of
philosophy. As the beginning: here I am -- why am I here, how shall I
live, why is the world so messed up? As the end: the only ultimately
important question is unanswerable.

Reasoning ends when the fragility and evanescence of this life is
understood in all its implications. Death erases everything. What was
important yesterday has been swallowed by oblivion. The very urgency of
death implies that I may never "get" what I was asking for. Indeed, I
don't know if, five minutes from now, I'll be breathing any longer.

Self Inquiry is not a "school" or a point of view. It is way beyond even
being a topic of discussion. Nonduality is not a perspective among
others. It's not even a bone of contention. Either the real meaning of
mortality --death-- has been understood, or not. Once the understanding
is there, then the whole context changes.

This is not to say that Nonduality or Self Inquiry are irrational.
Rationality is *If ... Then* therefore it is the most logical thing to
come to terms with what-is-the-case. Buddha and Ramana both were
articulate and rational. And Socrates, the great Athenian master of
dialectic, was enlightened (imo).

So what exactly is attained in an argument? Why take sides? Really I
don't care who Papaji's real successor is -- Gangaji or Cohen. Why is the
question taken so seriously anyway? "Who is asking?" -- is that question
serious or flippant?

"How?" A living truth seizes one: it's like God grabs you by the nape of
the neck and forces you to realize you just shat on the carpet. Face
that. Dead ideas always want to know how. A dead idea has to have other
dead ideas around it to give the false impression of being meaningful.

But I don't mean to take sides here ...

Love to You,
Ladies choice:

For me, the key to asking any question....
regardless of whether it begins with "why"
or "who", or "how" ......seems to be in
pursuing it with one's full attention.

It's so easy, though, to get caught up in
distractions. And then the question to be
answered is "What do I focus
initial question, or the distraction?"

Even then it seems to me it matters very little
what one chooses to focus on, as long as one
gives it one's full and undivided attention.


Xan:~ Not picking on you, Melody, but you bring up an
important point in this thread with Roger and Petros.

I agree that ultimately it doesn't matter what one
focuses on because all objects of focus are within
the same dimension of the temporary, limited and
therefore illusory. The questions "how" and "why"
are within that closed system.

If the question "who" appears to be of similar quality
then the question has not been recognized as the
only one that can reveal the essential nature of
existence as opposed to the manifest expressions
of existence.

Once the Who is known questions of how and
why take a completely different position, being
useful for things like how to cook wild rice or why
is the sink stopped up. Philosophical how's and
why's become humorous if considered at all.

For instance, it becomes obvious that love requires
no accompanying instructions. It is maintaining the
universe quite well with no understanding or decision-
making from us. It is in surrender that we become
increasingly used by love.

When the "who" is not known as totally and absolutely
different from objectified existence questions and
considerations seem valuable and meaningful. When
Who one is in essence is remembered and valued
above all else (in this world of values) everything
else falls into place or falls away - including questions.

much love
Roger: Truth has many different colors. Any issue must be addressed from
multiple sides in order to gain anything similar to a holistic perspective.
For example love & truth will have different perspectives. Can we as a group
explore the different perspectives without getting stuck in our individual
preferences? >

Please know I have no personal issue with you at all.
There is a difference in understanding:

Truth may *have* many colors, but Is Not many colors.
Truth/love is quality-less, undifferentiated and unvarying.
It has no sides - that is what non-dual means.
It has no multiplicity. It is not a collection. It is One.
This cannot really be known as long as ideas
about it are treasured. It is not an idea.

Unboundaried pure consciousness is in no way
the same as a holistic perspective. In It there are
no perspectives; no mind at all which could have
them. It is simply whole, eternal and undefinable.

Jan B. gets the last word:

When it comes to questioning, one is lost already; it is possible to ask "who
the one observing (the one who is observing) the one who is questioning why"; a
kind of nested procedure without end.

Nonduality can be far simpler: After a recognition of one's real nature that
makes it impossible to identify with mind-body anymore, Kundalini will burn
every obstacle, whether virtue or vice (and finally Herself, as symbolized by
the snake eating its own tail), that hinders the uninterrupted "experience" of
Sat_Cit_Ananda. No questions, no answers, no dialogues, no philosophies, just
Peace (and a talent for Reiki :>)

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