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#2814 - Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz   The Nondual Highlights -  

One: Essential Writings on Nonduality:    

I wrote two book reviews over the last couple days and they make up today's Highlights. One book is An Introduction to Awareness, by James M. Corrigan, and the other is Life Without a Centre, by Jeff Foster.    

Life Without a Centre: Awakening from the Dream of Separation by Jeff Foster link:  

The Nondualist Next Door  

A Book Review by Jerry Katz  

Free of arrogance and of taking offense; free of the attitude, "I'm enlightened and you're not;" free of an air of superiority or celebrity; ordinary, pleasant, Jeff Foster is the nondualist next door.

Jeff talks directly and without compromise about `this'. `This' is form. It is not only a special form such as a statue of Buddha, or the world's largest diamond. It is also a crumb on the floor. The values you place on a crumb, a diamond, and a sacred object, are `this'. This is `this'.

But that's not all. `This' is not separate from the "Nothingness that contains all things," as Jeff says. Jeff does a brilliant job of reminding us of what `this' is and of its non-separation from Nothingness. In this regard, Jeff writes:

"Truly, everything is a manifestation of unconditional love. It is all One Mind, it's all God, it is Nirvana, it is Consciousness, Oneness, The Kingdom of Heaven (call it what you will) - ALL of it. The sacred and the profane, the living and the dying, the fear, the guilt, the pain, the compassion, beheadings in Iraq, mass starvation, bodies being ravaged by cancer, the search for enlightenment, the frustration at `not getting it', paying bills, feeding the cat, stroking the cat, being bitten by the cat, EVERYTHING! (Okay, so I could do without being bitten by the cat....)"

Although Jeff says in the beginning of the book that "no methods are laid out," instruction is given. Jeff writes, "Perhaps it's a question of noticing - right here, right now, and in every moment - how the mind wants something more, something else, something more than just this." ... "Simply notice the movement of thought, pulling you into a future moment where you will be `enlightened.' Come back to the present moment. Who is the one that wants enlightenment?"

The above sounds like instruction in inquiry, which is a method or practice. The instruction is repeated elsewhere. In fact, the book is a call to the reader to notice the ever-happening slightest movement elsewhere, so that the absoluteness of the instant is recognized with open eyes.

At another place in the book, Jeff confesses, "There is no self to realize; there are no enlightened individuals."

This is how every sage talks. They tell you there is no self to realize and at the same time give instruction on how to realize. Whether it's Jeff Foster, Tony Parsons, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, or whoever, they all do it. But as Jeff says, "...even the search for oneness .... is simply an expression of oneness... ."

As we read the descriptions and declarations of `this', as we take Jeff's instructions on how to pay attention, we start to see ourselves as `this', as an immediacy. That's the effect the book has. The floor we stand upon, the floor that we call `me', starts to give way. In the opening cracks we see the Nothingness out of which `this', out of which `me' arises. This is a quietly powerful book that leads you to the plunge into Nothingness. link:        

An Introduction to Awareness by James M. Corrigan link:  

From Archaelogy to Metis: A Walk to Nonduality A Book Review by Jerry Katz

James Corrigan writes on his website, "I have not studied with any particular teacher, although I have researched, and continue to research, many different philosophical and spiritual systems. ... [I] went back to school to get a PhD at age 50 so that I could engage people on a philosophical level -- for that after all, is what I am talking about." Corrigan studies in the philosophy department at Stony Brook University in New York. His prior full time work was designing and developing computer software for Fortune 50 companies.

The purpose of this book is to turn the reader's view of reality toward the nondual. The author says, "There is a fundamental assumption behind this work: that our difficulties are all indirectly caused by the way we view ourselves and the world around us, and that this must change if we are to survive, prosper, and find happiness once again."

This book is a philosophical presentation of the teaching of nonduality. James Corrigan uses a refined language to describe Awareness, one that establishes a position of strength from which to make judgments about world and self. The terminology includes archaelogy (not archaeology), apodictic, animadversion, omnific, surjectivity (and subjectivity), and others. These terms are available in a glossary, a wise and very useful inclusion at the back of the book.

Even the term "is" is included in the glossary and discussed within the book in a way that demonstrates the author's sharpness of consideration:

"Thus the statement `Awareness is real' can be interpreted as meaning: That which is necessary and non-contingent is presence for that which arises from it. The pitfall in this way of thinking is, as always with Awareness, to find some implication of separate existence in the above statement for Awareness. The difficulty with the copulative verb `to be' points up a very significant problem in delving deeper into Awareness. Language and discursive reasoning are inapplicable beyond a certain point. It is fine to talk abstractly about the concept of awareness; it is an error to do so about the real Awareness."

Further description of this book can be given by showing how this terminology comes together:

"Our habitual dichotomization of the mind and the body does not hold in the surjective view of reality in which Awareness animadverts, bringing into being and giving rise to consciousness of, that which it animadverts upon. It doesn't matter if this focus is a thought or a rock." ... "Awareness animadverts the world, including the framework and structure of it, spatially and temporally." ... "It is disconcerting to hold that the phenomena upon which Awareness animadverts exist, but have no separate reality and are not founded upon some substratum apart from Awareness."

Not disconcerting to those with Understanding, but to those who have lost happiness, who see things materialistically or physicalistically, and create lives and communities of difficulty and essential poverty. Ultimately, this book addresses ethics and reformation of consciousness, and calls for understanding the wholeness of reality.

While this book is pure philosophy, Corrigan makes note of the limitations: "Philosophy has been little more than a propagandizing of positions for at least the last two thousand years because each philosopher had an end-point in mind when they began the construction of their system. That is the nature of reasoning itself. It is always goal-directed. Poetry is therefore a much better vehicle for the `Love of Wisdom' that philosophy purports to be. How then, do we find the truth?"

How do we find truth? Well, answers are found throughout the book. In words that are relevant to philosophy itself, Corrigan points to the discovery of truth: "...thinking is a type of phenomenon that arises due to the activity of Awareness and not due to some phenomenal aspect of the world -- that which Awareness gives rise to. That is, it is not something that supervenes upon some aspect of the world. Nor is there any foundation for positing something separate and apart from Awareness itself. If we assume the form of the world in which matter and mind are two separate and distinct classes of being, then we must deal with where and how Mind arises. If we do not make any such assumption, but instead attend to what it is that does occur 'in reality,' and what the source of these 'occurrences' are, then we have no such dualistic problem."

An Introduction to Awareness is a philosophical walk toward an understanding of nonduality. Energized by metis, this book will fully change the world view of one who feels contained within a dualistic reality. link:

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