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#2855 - Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nondual Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights   One: Essential Writings on Nonduality: http://tinyurl.com/2blmhy  


    Nonduality Salon is a great and safe place to talk about nonduality. The NDS has been around for over 9 years and it's better than ever. We are perhaps the first community in the history of womankind to dare talk about nonduality authoritatively without a center: no sage, no teaching around which the community revolves. We're just people off the street who recognize that a sage and a teaching may be necessary, or may not, but we all go our own ways in that regard and no one pushes their 'way' on anyone else.   So if you ever felt like talking about all this nonduality stuff, join via this link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NondualitySalon. Also at that link you can read the posts without joining.   Here is a recent post:  

So much about mountains.  I've climbed hundreds of peaks over 6000
meters.  But the only peak to nearly kill me was a tiny one in desert
of only a thousand.  My younger, inexperienced brother was with me.
We'd each taken 4 liters of water with us, since the temperature was
well over 35 degrees C.  The last time I'd taken my brother to a
mountain was in the Tetons.  They're not that tall but his body just
is not built for that.  At only 3000 meters he lapsed into altitude
sickness.  So some years later, he begged me to take him up a
difficult climb, and this little desert mountain was near where he
lived, and I figured he'd be alright.  It was a mistake.  I could see
the beginnings of heat exhaustion on him as we worked our way up.  I
suggested we go back down but his pride wouldn't listen.  So I found a
cave of rolled boulders and we stayed in the shade there for a couple
of hours.  We were only a couple of hundred meters from the summit, so
against my better judgment on his insistence that he was as strong as
me, we continued up.  By now he'd drunk all his water so I gave him
some of mine.  I still had a couple of liters left. 

It happened half way down.  He collapsed, pretty much with a heat
stroke now, which is deadly.  I carried him to the shade of a huge
boulder.  He lay there with my water saturated shirt over his head,
panting and pasty.  I tried my cell phone but of course there were no
masts in the region.  My brother was not getting better but he had no
idea how serious the situation was for him, when he whispered for me
to go down and get a rescue helicopter.  I couldn't dream of doing
that.  Mountain lions abounded in the region, and anyways, my heart
would never have allowed me to abandon him in such a way, even for a
few minutes.  Going down that cliff was far harder than having climbed
it, since a three-point contact often was necessary.  So I put my
brother on my shoulders and began carrying him - a hundred meters at a
time - down.  Every cell in my body screamed death at me the further
down I went.  But to my brother, I calmly talked of joyful things.  I
even hummed to him sometimes, old Danish folk songs and eventually
sang the Hanuman Chalisa.  But every part of my body was in agony.
I'd now given all my water to my brother and recognized the beginnings
of heat stroke in me, but my mind was stronger because the only
motivation from every fiber of my being, was to care for this man at
any cost.  The last bit of the descent was the hardest, not because of
any incline, but because my body was toxic from the heat and
dehydration.  I'd taken a different path down than up since I'd
spotted a building with my binoculars, so we wound up a distance from
the dirt road and my car.  I literally crawled with my brother on my
back the last thousand meters at the base across the desert to the
building, which turned out to be abandoned.  But there was shade and a
well there.  When the sun set, I jogged to my car and got my brother.

I've actually had many such experiences.  As a college student ages
ago, I took several of these 1 credit phys-ed courses, mostly
backpacking and kayaking.  On the first weekend course, the teacher
took us up some mountains in Vermont on the Long Trail.  I had taken
my German shepherd with me, whom I'd trained to do lots of things,
including carrying a backpack.  On the first evening as we set up
camp, some girls raised an alarm because one was missing.
Unfortunately, most of the men on this trip were part of the college
football team and the teacher was their coach, so this trip into the
Green Mountains was just a beer bash for them.  In the state they were
in, including the teacher, they'd be lucky to find a tree in the
forest.  Night falls quickly in the mountains.  But I'd also trained
my dog to track, since at the time I was a volunteer with the local
police department.  When Dan, my dog, found the girl, everyone thought
I was a hero. For a twenty-year old, that's a neat feeling.  Two days
later, in a driving rainstorm and going up and down these beautiful
forest mountains to return, a girl slipped on a wet boulder crossing a
stream.  She sprained her ankle.  The macho teacher was under some
sort of time constraint.  He insensitively and *rhetorically* asked
the girl if she could make it down alright.  Of course, she acquiesced
in the face of his macho presence and that of the football players.
So he looked at me - a person he knew really nothing of - and asked me
if I could take the rear, make sure everyone got down alright, and
then drive the girls back to college.  I suggested we all stay
together and help her down.  But the girl didn't want to lose face and
went along with the teacher's idiotic power of suggestion.  An hour
later, my gut feeling turned out right.  A sprained ankle can often be
far more painful than a broken one, and she was unable to walk.  So I
got the other girls to help me with a drag-gurney with pine boughs.
That only worked for a while because of the terrain.  But eventually
we made it of course.  This was at a time when all these trails, even
the Appalachian trail, were very primitive compared to how they are
now maintained.  When we got back to college I hesitantly confronted
the teacher, and he just laughed the whole thing off, telling me I'd
earned a 4.0 for that one credit.  It shocked the hell out of me how
uncaring some people can be. 

The point I'm trying to make is that when one sets aside his own, even
 very good, agenda on any journey, up a mountain or any other activity
in life to care for another being, even if it's to participate here
and write, what comes back can be a billion times more exquisite than
any other sort of experience.  I don't want to philosophize too much
about the reason for that, since intuitively, not one of us could not
understand that at the level we are prepared to understand it.

By the way, many years later, when I was working in a tropical place
and had left Dan in the care of my younger brothers and sisters in a
more temperate climate, I instinctively took a flight north.  As I
drove into my mother's driveway, I saw Dan weakly raise his head and
thump his tail against the porch floor.  He died an hour later, and
all I could think of was Odysseus returning after his ten-year voyage,
and only his dog had recognized him.  I was pretty upset with my
family for having let Dan live untreated with heartworm for so long.
That dog holds one of the most sacred spaces in my heart, for he and I
had gone on endless trails together, at a time when I often went deep
into a dangerous forest, where Dan's only motivation around me was as
my guide and protector.  We often took no trail up the mountains,
allowing Dan to guide me.  His intuition for this service was uncanny.
 He cared for me deeply as I meditated for hours alone, never once
disturbing me but always keeping any approaching bear at bay with just
the hint of a single growl.  Sometimes I opened my eyes when he'd let
out these little grumbles, and a large animal would slip away behind
green or into the darkness, and he'd look up at me with these eyes, as
if to apologize for having disturbed me.  And so, my dog's greatest
joy in life was to care for another.

namaste,
ashoka

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