|What Am I? Galen Sharp
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In this issue...
--a quotation from the movie "
-- an article, Pure and Simple Being, by Harry Liantziris. Harry writes, "...the formation, construction, or emergence of identity occurs within language."
--a plea by Hanumanji in which he says, "So please please please... a message to all teachers and seekers, sober up out there."
--"It always amazes me the way small actions in life, become so meaningful to someone somewhere." That's a snippet of a conversation between Josie and Sharlene that I picked up while listening on the party line.
Pete sends the following:
"Give up, just quit, because in this
life, you can't win.
Yeah, you can try, but in the end you're just gonna lose,
big time, because the world is run by the
oh, you don't know the
House... down the hall... Ms. Mullins, she's the
the Man ruined the ozone, he's burning down the Amazon,
and he kidnapped Shamu and put her in a chlorine tank!
And there used to be a way to stick it to the
called rock 'n roll, but guess what, oh no, the Man ruined
that, too, with a little thing called MTV! So don't waste
your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome
'cause the Man is just gonna call you a fat washed up
loser and crush your soul. So do yourselves a favor and
just GIVE UP!"
- Jack Black as Dewey Finn in "
PURE AND SIMPLE BEING
by Harry Liantziris
Who we think we are is a life-long
production that occurs within a field of language, knowledge and
power. Paradoxically, this field pre-exists the very formation of our identity. On the one hand, it
is commonly thought that we express ourselves through language. In a sense, this is the case
because we do acquire and produce language as a way of self expression. And yet, because this
expression of who we are (our identity) takes place (emerges) within this field of
language/knowledge/power, it is also logical to say that this same field produces us (our very
sense of self). As a result, we could say that language/knowledge/power produces the linguistic,
epistemological and experiential beings that we become. In other words, the formation,
construction, or emergence of identity occurs within language.
It seems that we are perched on horns of a
dilemma. Do we express ourselves through language or
does language express us? Similarly, do we acquire and produce language or does language acquire
and produce us? Now because this field of language/knowledge/power pre-exists the formation of our
identity then on the one hand it looks as if we are simply spoken into being. Therefore, where is
there room for a notion of agency and of language acquisition? In fact, where is there room for a
speaker, an acquirer, or a doer of language who then uses it to express who and what they are?
But once again, we can also argue that we do speak, acquire and produce language as a way of self
expression. Is there not simply an I who picks up language, like picking up a tool, to then
express what it is? In short, do I not think, speak and do? I would suggest that instead of
attempting to resolve this paradox by taking an either or stance we see it as both and
neither. That is, we both express language for ourselves and are the very expressions of it.
Putting this differently, we are both the producers and the products of language. Moreover, I want
to point out that we are neither. What I am initially proposing is that there is a kind of language
acquisition and production without anyone actually doing the acquiring and the producing. Likewise
this would mean that there is a kind of speaking without a speaker, learning without a learner, and
offcourse teaching without a teacher.
As Friedrich Nietzsche says in The Genealogy of Morals,
it is only the snare of language (of the
arch-fallacies of reason petrified in language),
presenting all activity as conditioned by an agent the subject that blinds us to this fact
But no such agent exists; there is no being behind the doing, acting, becoming; the doer has
simply been added to the deed by the imagination the doing is everything.
Trapped in language, and its conventions
that constitute the subject as the thinker and the
that is, the conceptual, experiential, and linguistic reference point called the I, the I can
not see that what appears to be happening is a kind of thinking without a thinker, doing without a
doer, and being without anyone to be. And yet, like Nietzsche, we have not followed this logic to
its natural conclusion. Now when we do so, we will see that because there is no thinker to do the
thinking then there is also no thinking to be done. After all, we can not have one without the
other, which in this case means that we have neither. So not only is there no thinker, or no doer,
but neither are there any thoughts, or anything at all to be done. What this all points to is the
simple truth that because there is no one to do anything and nothing to be done then all there is
is just to BE!!
NOTHING but PURE and SIMPLE
To All So-Called Spiritual Seekers and So-Called Guides,
The present spiritual environment and
particularly the neo-advaita craze is somewhat troubling to
me. Let's sum it up in one short sentence for simplicity's sake: No matter what, shut up and return
return return to That which is the Eternal Undying True Witness - and Poof...If you haven't already
realized it - You Are That!
OK OK OK. BUT WAIT A SECOND PLEASE
If we take a look at the picture from a
spiritual evolutionary perspective - which resembles (but
not mirrors) Nature's evolutionary development, we can intuit rather easily that the whole process
(however mysterious it may appear to be) is COMPLETELY IMPERSONAL, COMPLETELY RANDOM (as far as the individual ego should be concerned anyway) and COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR HANDS!
Aha - the truth can set you free, but did
you feel it - yah it really stings the ego doesn't it.
That's right everyone - nothing to do with you, your apparent efforts and beliefs, or your
so-called teachers. Imagine for a moment we humans (actually all sentient beings) are caterpillars.
OK, I'm a slippery hairy ugly mofo. The evolutionary objective is butterflies and possibly Pure
Light or Consciousness at some point down the line. And there are of course various stages from
mini-caterpillar to butterfly and perhaps on.
So here we are people! We're in it - part of
a really long game - and we're not at all important to
the BIG PICTURE! So let's go on a retreat. Hi teacher, oh you're a butterfly and I'm a caterpillar
- boo hoo. My friends and husband are mini-caterpillars at best - boo hoo. The teacher repeats like
a broken record - hogwash - you are Pure Light or whatever the formula is these days.
My favorite is meditate on I Am Thatness and
the like. Funny how they don't say I don't
really...can't really know what this is all about. It's all random and beyond me or you. There is
no practice, mantra, so-called satsang or darshan, or other devices that can or will change that
fact. No no. That doesn't create popular inspiring communities and sell books does it. That doesn't
leave much place for a teacher does it. OK OK OK ... Back to the point
The whole thing is one big very mysterious
evolutionary process - and we are all a part of it, but
that's where the personal ends. Actually it's entirely impersonal and beyond our limited perception
(even so-called enlightened perception I would suggest) So if it helps you to think that you are
now a caterpillar headed for butterflydom, so be it. If it's comforting to think your teacher is
now a butterfly, so be it.
Truth is though, no Guru, Saint, Yogi, Sage
every did anything. They were simply naturally selected
to participate in the next evolutionary step - like a field of yellow flowers that for some reason
is starting to reveal some yellow and purple in a few cases.
Do you freak out about that? No, it's nature
right. Same thing here - impersonal natural evolution.
Teachers realize (at least authentic ones) that they are the future if you will, and they really
really want to help the caterpillars discover the same. But truth be told, they can't do (and have
never done) a single darn thing!
Nature is doing that and no teacher (or very
very few) can predict which caterpillar is next and
why...forget the why completely. So please please please... a message to all teachers and seekers,
sober up out there. Come back to earth. Come down from your exciting, sexy, fantastic ego-induced
trips and just sit with the idea that you are a yellow flower in a field of yellow flowers. In some
spots there are yellow and purple flowers. So what right?
OK - now stay with that image. Not fun
right. Not exciting right. Not stimulating? Perfect - that's
closer to the truth than you've ever been so live with it.
Take care all you caterpillars, butterflies, yellow flowers and yellow-purple flowers.
Heard on the Party Line: Josie and Sharlene
>this reminds me of a man i met. he delivered
>pizza to my door. he saw i was making some
>art and showed me his head under his cap.
>shaved on the back of his head were two
>tiny footprints. i was in awe. (snip)
>i have not forgotten the love in his eyes.
>or my gratitude that i was able to share
>the image with his family.
Thank you for sharing that story.
It always amazes me the way small actions
in life, become so meaningful to someone
somewhere. I think we hesitate to
do enough small things thinking there are just that.
To follow the heart in what we do or say.
How many feelings of intuition are ignored
through the fear of appearing crazy at that moment?
And yet, later we regret not doing just that very thing?
Being known as one who has more guts than brains,
receive many strange looks. And yet, in
daily life is there is laughter and smiles hidden within everyone.
yesterday I salvaged two 6 foot sets of top kitchen cupboards
and 40 cupboard doors by stopping by a
in town. And they were old enough to be made out of real 3/4 inch
plywood. A little bit of manual labour, and I have plenty of new storage area.
It's amazing what a pleasant exchange can do.
People are basically friendly and helpful if you drop the fear
of talking to those you don't know.
And following your basic instincts.
Basic instincts are still the best guides and teachers around.
>i just returned from a provincial forum
>where i presented in another far away
>community. i drove with a police officer
>and an outreach worker. all of us had
>significant anniversary memories triggered
>by passing through that community and
>shared with each other. there is such beauty
>in being real, in being able to inspire
>others to keep connecting and collaborating,
>and in simple moments when we can reflect
>on ways life has touched us. when we can
>simply be with the truth that life does
>touch us. and the willingness to be present
>opens up the same grace for all we are with.
Absolutely. Wonderfully shared and received.
Thank you Josie.
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