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#2563 - Thursday, August 24, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Philosophy, Following a guru, and Film. Three different exposures to the teaching of nonduality. One from Plotinus, another is a satsang report of Premananda, and the third is a newspaper article about a new film based upon a Charles Bukowski novel.
-- a beautiful read!
Plotinus, ,Sixth Ennead, 9th Tractate, 10
10. But how comes the soul not to keep that ground?
Because it has not yet escaped wholly: but there will be the time of
vision unbroken, the self hindered no longer by any hindrance of
body. Not that those hindrances beset that in us which has veritably
seen; it is the other phase of the soul that suffers and that only
when we withdraw from vision and take to knowing by proof, by
evidence, by the reasoning processes of the mental habit. Such logic
is not to be confounded with that act of ours in the vision; it is
not our reason that has seen; it is something greater than reason,
reason's Prior, as far above reason as the very object of that
thought must be.
In our self-seeing There, the self is seen as belonging to that
order, or rather we are merged into that self in us which has the
quality of that order. It is a knowing of the self restored to its
purity. No doubt we should not speak of seeing; but we cannot help
talking in dualities, seen and seer, instead of, boldly, the
achievement of unity. In this seeing, we neither hold an object nor
trace distinction; there is no two. The man is changed, no longer
himself nor self-belonging; he is merged with the Supreme, sunken
into it, one with it: centre coincides with centre, for on this
higher plane things that touch at all are one; only in separation is
there duality; by our holding away, the Supreme is set outside. This
is why the vision baffles telling; we cannot detach the Supreme to
state it; if we have seen something thus detached we have failed of
the Supreme which is to be known only as one with ourselves.
Satsang report: Meeting Premananda
[Editor's note: Premananda is John David and not to be confused with the controversial Swami Premananda.]
Meeting Premananda was like a revelation for me because what he told in Satsang was exactly what I believed about the world and life and truth. I had never really been to a Satsang before and had no idea what it was all about. That was probably very lucky because as Premananda usually says: These meetings are about Nothing. Nothing being the same as everything and in fact being the source of everything was very clear to me. When I was a teenager, I discovered a place that I called my Inner Paradise Garden, a place deep inside where there was nothing but white rose petals no people, no world, no thoughts, nothing. It was very still and very beautiful and it felt completely relieving to be there. I could always go there whenever I felt like it, and in fact this Inner Paradise Garden felt like a real home, more real than the world out there, because it was always there, and it never changed.
There had always been one question: If everything and everybody is not real then what am I? As it seemed very unlikely that I was the only thing that actually existed, it suddenly made perfect sense to me when Premananda said that I also didnt exist. It had just never occurred to me before.
Premananda came to Karlsruhe because my best friend had invited him to give Satsang in her healing center. All of a sudden most of my friends started to go to his Satsangs and travel with him. There just wasnt any question of continuing or not. It just happened.
When he started his first Inner Sangha Group in Germany, the three centers were Karlsruhe, Nürnberg and Leipzig. Most of us came from these three cities, and Premananda started to travel all over Germany from these three.
I went to his weekends, and when I first experienced the Original Face Satsang, a very beautiful silent Satsang, he took a picture of me. That picture looked so stunningly beautiful I could hardly believe it was me. Premananda said: This is what you look like when you let Lin go. My name was Lin. Very impressed, I said: Oh, maybe I should let her go more often! and he replied: Well, maybe you should let her go forever!
On one of the Leela Weekends in Nürnberg, we did a very nice exercise about trusting existence, which involves people singing your name very gently and lovingly and holding you while you just relax with your eyes closed. When it was my turn, everybody sang Lin, Lin, Lin and all of a sudden it became very clear that letting Lin go forever would include letting that name go as well. So when he later asked if anybody wanted a new name, I said yes. He gave me the name Leela, divine play, which I like very much.
Some months later, at Premanandas Arunachala Retreat in South India, I had become one of his secret agents of divine play by just being very open and playful with everybody and everything. After some time Premananda said he decided that I needed a promotion and promoted me to Leela Devi, Goddess of divine play!
A little later I went on a holiday on the Canary Islands where I sat on the rocks for two weeks doing Self Inquiry, an ancient method of quietening the mind by asking Who is doing this? and Who is me?. This Self Inquiry was considered to be the most direct way to self-realization by Sri Ramana Maharshi, a very famous Indian Saint from Arunachala, South India. Premananda passes on this ancient wisdom in his Satsangs by focusing on Self Inquiry and its benefits for people who want to know truth.
Just before the holiday I had bumped my head very hard on a steel window frame and suffered from concussion. Then on the island, staying alone all day and doing Self Inquiry constantly, it was the most peaceful and blissful time. Out of all that, I suddenly realized how my whole life had been a huge lie. That was especially true for my relationships and sex. Making love never worked for me. How can we make love if we ARE LOVE? It seemed completely disgusting that I had always made love and never talked about how much I hated it.
All of a sudden I could see that what I really wanted was ONEness, the oneness of everything. And for this oneness, no doing was necessary. And certainly no making love. This discovery was so incredibly relieving it felt as if a huge rock had just dropped off my shoulders and my whole being. All that remained was pure bliss. I called it the Cosmic Orgasm. It just lasted and lasted and needed no effort at all. Then the next night everything changed.
Since I was a child, I had always had a very strong desire to die. My family and friends didnt find that very funny, so they sent me to many therapies until finally that desire had become less important. It had even stopped coming for some time. But during that night it came back stronger than ever. I was lying in bed, completely in bliss and peace, and all of a sudden a huge blackness nearly overwhelmed me. This desire to die and to finally leave all this bullshit behind got so strong I thought Id really die.
Very surprisingly it was no drama at all. There was a moment of surprise like Wheres all the drama gone? Why isnt there any fear or despair in all this blackness? But just a second later it was so clear: this whole desire for death was nothing but the desire to awaken! To get rid of the whole story NOW! And boom, there it went. This whole thing called my life completely disappeared in that moment and didnt come back ever since.
Premananda and Self Inquiry become more and more famous in Germany and the word spreads that this trick which he likes to call the golden key really works. Several people around Premananda woke up recently thanks to Self Inquiry.
At the moment, our Open Sky Satsang Community develops in the Southern Blackforest where Premananda has set up his base in Germany on a very beautiful horse farm. About 20 people between the ages of 2 and 89 from all over Germany have decided to give up their old lives and start anew together in a Satsang Community. The only aim of this Community is to live together in Authentic Love and awaken. Premananda will go on travelling from there, giving Satsang in Germany and around the world where there are people who are really interested in truth and who really want to wake up.
LOVE and LAUGHTER,
Premananda Website: http://premananda.de
August 24, 2006
BY DAVE HOEKSTRA Staff Reporter
Writer Charles Bukowski is buried on a hillside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean in San Pedro, Calif. The small headstone says "Don't Try."
Since Bukowski died of leukemia at age 73 in 1994, grave site visitors have tried to decipher what that means. The Matt Dillon film "Factotum" sheds light on the dark Bukowski persona. "Factotum" also stars Marisa Tomei and Lili Taylor as Bukowski's ribald gal pals. It opens Friday at the Landmark Century.
The film is based on the 1975 Bukowski novel about his alter ego Henry Chinaski, who slides from one job to another (factotum; a man who never had a job he liked and never kept a job he had) along with excerpts from Bukowski books such as The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship.
In "Factotum," Chinaski takes on jobs that include stops in a bicycle supply warehouse and a pickle factory. He applies to be a newspaper reporter but ends up as a maintenance man, polishing the newspaper's gaudy "Vision of Peace" statue. Chinaski searches for honesty and worth in the American workplace. He strikes out.
Dillon plays Chinaski close to the vest. The actor's sense of time and space creates a rhythm heard in Bukowski's prose as well as the writing of his mentor, John Fante. Toward the end of the film, Dillon narrates in graveled tones, "If you're going to try -- go all the way -- otherwise, don't even start.' ... There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter; it's the only good fight there is."
Dillon, 42, has the props to ride the rugged Bukowski path. In 1990 he played a drug addict in Gus Van Sant's "Drugstore Cowboy," and in 2000 he narrated the 11-hour, 10-CD release of Jack Kerouac's On the Road.
"I had reservations about the [Bukowski] role in the beginning," Dillon said in an interview from Los Angeles. "Even though I was familiar with his work and had read most of his novels and short stories in my early 20s, I stopped reading his stuff in the mid-'80s. My thinking was, 'That was a guilty pleasure, now I have to go read serious writers' -- only to find out that he is as important an American writer to me as anybody I've read."
Under the direction of Norwegian filmmaker Bent Hamer, "Factotum" reflects Bukowski's primal nature. After a long night on Skid Row (the film was shot in Minneapolis, not Bukowski's Los Angeles stomping grounds), Chinaski gets out of bed to vomit. He returns to the bedroom to have a cigarette. His favorite soul mate (Taylor) follows him to the bathroom to vomit.
"I don't think your average American filmmaker would be able to get away with some of the things Bent got away with," Dillon said. "There would be too much pressure to allow a scene to play out for five minutes without a cut, without moving the camera. That's very unusual in mainstream American films. Jim Jarmusch is a filmmaker who does that. I never felt rushed in the character, and that was important. You often work on films and the director says, 'Let's pace it up, let's pick up the lines.' A lot of the moments that came are because Bent was never worried about that. He wanted the film to find its own rhythm."
One of Dillon's favorite scenes in "Factotum" was a visit Chinaski makes to his father's house. When Bukowski got into trouble as a child, his father forced him to disrobe. The young Bukowski would be beaten by a razor strap. This stress resulted in the boils that covered Bukowski's body for the rest of his life.
"Bukowski's  Ham on Rye covers a lot of that ground," Dillon said. "I understood that. But at the same time this wasn't just a scene about a father and his son having this antagonistic relationship. There's something else.
"In the big picture, it's Hank rejecting everything his father represents: conformity, mediocrity, security, authority. I've read that scene in books, but what happened to that rebelliousness? I don't mean in some 'Rebel Without a Cause' way, but that anti-socialism doesn't exist anymore. The world is spread so thin and it is so confused, I don't know what the last frontier of anti-socialism is. You know? People stick earrings in all parts of their body. Everyone is desperate to be anti-social. That moment was refreshing to me because I hadn't seen it in a while -- go ahead, kick me out, I don't care. Throwing caution to the wind."
Bukowski's widow, Linda Lee Bukowski, assisted Dillon with his role. Dillon also lunched with Barbet Schroeder, who directed the 1987 film "Barfly" with Mickey Rourke playing an over-the-top Bukowski. (Bukowski fan Sean Penn offered to play him for $1, but the plan hit a snag when Penn insisted that Dennis Hopper direct. Hopper had brought Bukowski's "Barfly" script to Penn.)
Dillon said, "I remember liking 'Barfly' when I saw it, but I had my own perspective on Bukowski. Actually I stopped reading Bukowski about the time 'Barfly' came out."
Dillon continued to read Kerouac and the California beats who preceded Bukowski.
"I do see a parallel with Kerouac and Bukowski," Dillon said. "There's an archetypal artist hanging in the abyss. Hank is an existentialist. The individual takes precedent; and that is Hank, an unapologetic drunk. He defines who he is. That's what I liked about the character. It's something admirable, the sacrifices he makes to live the life that he lives. A lot of it is also choice. He doesn't try to stop drinking, he doesn't try to stop gambling, he doesn't try to save his job. It reminds me of what's engraved in his tombstone."
For a road trip to Bukowski's grave site, visit www.blogs.suntimes.com/hoekstra/
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