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#2856 - Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - Editor: Gloria Lee
If you read the front page
story of the SF
Chronicle, you would have read about a female
humpback whale who had become entangled in a
spider web of crab traps and lines. She was
weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that
caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had
hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her
body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone
Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an
environmental group for help. Within a few hours,
the rescue team arrived and determined that she
was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive
in and untangle her ...
They worked for hours with
curved knives and
eventually freed her.
When she was free, the
divers say she swam in what
seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to
each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged
them, pushed them gently around-she thanked them.
Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful
experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope
out of her mouth says her
eye was following him the whole time, and he will
never be the same.
~ ~ ~
May you, and all those you
be so blessed and fortunate.
to be surrounded by people
who will help you get untangled
from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.
I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit.
posted by Steve to SufiMystic
The Little Creature in the
I pulled in my line, took the bait off the hook and threw it overboard; a feast for the denizens below. I had a good day fishing and proof was the ample string of flounder I pulled into my fourteen foot aluminum boat. The sun was just about to set and there would be plenty of light for my thirty minute return journey to the harbor just south of Duxbury Rock, where I had a small cottage near the water. I pulled up anchor; I was about seven miles from shore on vast Chesapeake Bay. I was the only craft in sight. It was late summer and soon the tourists would return to their winter lairs and I would return to my usual fishing grounds, much closer to the shore that these summer days were heavily laden with ski-doos, sail boards and water skiers.
I started up the ten horsepower Johnson Seahorse that I have been using for the last fifteen years. I love that old motor. I had bought it used and had spent many wonderful hours mechanically transmuting it into a quiet and reliable engine. It had enough power to plane out my light-weight boat and it would also idle down to a slow put-put allowing me to trawl for bass in the spring. This evening I left the throttle at medium speed not wishing to hurry through an exceptionally picturesque sunset. I pointed the prow of the boat directly into the big orange sun which was just about to dip into the distant shore while projecting infinite patterns of multi colored light onto the reflecting water. The air was balmy and I could taste the humidity and smell the land in the light southwest breezes that frequent the eastern seaboard in the summer. The sea had a slight chop which played a musical rhythm on the aluminum prow as my small boat cleaved through the colorful, sunset-dappled bay.
I pulled up the peak of my old Baltimore Oriole baseball hat, sat back and was enjoying the light salty air when I suddenly noticed that I was not alone. Directly starboard, no more than fifty feet, I saw an intense stirring of the water and before I could think, the head of a whale, larger than my boat, surfaced with a bellow of sound and a spout of water high into the air. The sound it made was liken to someone striking something deep and distant and evoked images of ancient sunken sea vessels creaking eternally in Davy Jones' Locker. I felt I had heard those sounds somewhere before, but where or when I couldn't remember.
As if it had come up for just a look around, the head then submerged. Its body followed in a graceful arc like a giant porpoise at play, so gently, hardly making a wave, until at last a huge two-forked tail appeared about ten feet across; it reflected the sunset and almost playfully slapped the water - creating a giant prismatic spray - and dipped below the surface. The creature was many times the size of my boat yet there was nothing hostile about it. Aside from the fact that it behaved in a gentle manner there was a feeling of friendliness that was so unmistakable that even in the presence of such an enormous animal I could not possibly be frightened; I felt as if it had known I was there and didn't want to alarm me.
Once again it emerged very slowly, this time its entire body came to the surface, and it began to swim alongside my boat, keeping a respectful distance of about fifty feet, moving at the same pace that my boat was moving, obviously as much aware of me as I was of it. As I could now see the full length of its body I was astonished at its size. I will swear, and most of my fishing chums think I exaggerate, that it was at least fifty feet long, easily four times the length of my boat, the top of its head rising high out of the water. It was dark gray; but it was resplendently clothed by the setting sun casting shimmering yellow, red and orange shafts of blazing color down the length of its water-shining body. I could make out a large eye that twinkled with yellow and orange from the sun. It seemed to be looking at me. It could have been smiling.
The animal would spout water every 20 or 30 seconds, and when it did, it made those deep clunking distant sounds that somehow seemed so familiar to me, and which continued to elicit mental images of ancient ships creaking in deep ocean currents. The water would splay high into the air in a cascade of sunset gold. As I was downwind from the creature, the breeze would blow across its head directly toward my boat and I could smell the reek of the breath of this gigantic sea being. It smelled like a powerful distillation of everything that had ever lived in oceans, which added a further dimension to my maritime visions evoked by its percussive, echoing utterances.
The sun became enormous in the west. Plumes of clouds colored by every variant of yellow, orange and gold, wisped by the warm southwesterlies decorated the sky. Sol's lowest edge sunk into the flat forested Maryland shore. I idled down the Johnson so that it put-putted slowly and quietly, and did not fail to notice that as I slowed my boat, the whale had also slowed. I focused my attention on the creature that had become my companion this kaleidoscopic evening. I gave my full attention to it. I didn't want to miss anything. I concentrated on the sounds, the smell, and the beauty of its movements, and as I did I became more and more aware of the intelligence of its spirit and the unmistakable vibration of joy that emanated from it. I felt the hair prickle on my head; sensations of energy raced up my spine, and I experienced the most profound feeling of love and kinship with, and from this animal of the deep.
As we traveled slowly side by side and the sun dipped further into the distant purple shore, I sensed that I was merging with the consciousness of the whale, that I was becoming the creature as he was becoming me - that we were somehow sharing each other's awareness. It was a delicate, unmistakable psychic connection. As I sat in my little boat put-putting into the sunset, I could actually feel the sinews of his body trembling with power, yet so light and so easy to maneuver. I sensed his perceptions of the Universe. I became his mind. I attained a relationship with the earth and the oceans of the world that I as a human had not even considered. I knew of the ancient depths from which I had arisen - I was that creature of the sea.
I was actually looking out through the eyes of the leviathan. I could see the departing sun, the liquid sea, the flowing clouds and me in my little boat. I was permeated with the most intense love and enjoyment of life, of life's pervasive intelligence, its noble truths and complex, ephemeral beauty. I was filled with the most pervasive optimism. This was much more than a predominate feeling, it was the essence of my whale-energy and power that coursed through my whale-being. I was ecstatic with the poignant uniqueness of the blazing passing moments and was especially overjoyed by the unexpected company of the little creature in the shiny boat who seemed to know and love me and who recognized and shared my delectation of this unique sunset.
I looked at the little creature in the boat where I sat with my peaked Baltimore Oriole hat that I owned for ten years, my green shirt and ancient khaki fishing pants. But that appearance was like a reflection on a bubble; surrounding that, beneath that, emenating through that, was the most amazing structure of light patterns and force fields that extended in all directions. When the little creature in the boat took an inbreath, the entire structure of energy around him seemed to contract inward toward the center of his being, and when he breathed out, multicolored energy patterns radiated from his body of light into the surrounding structure of energy. At the same moment I could actually physically feel myself - the man - breathe. I was there too in the boat. I was looking at the whale and I was the whale looking at me. There was no place, just an amazing lucid awareness of the utmost clarity. The whale, the sea, the sunset and myself seemed to be integrated into an underlying structure of energy; we had formed some kind of equilibrium of light and awareness.
However long it took for the sun to disappear below the horizon I remained one with the consciousness of the whale. There was no measure of that time nor any reckoning of what was exchanged between us. Then a moment or two after the sun had vanished from sight the connection was broken, the whale dipped its enormous head into the water and gently submerged. My friend was gone, and I was put-putting my way back home in my aluminum boat in the deepening purple dusk.
Perhaps I am overly poetic when I say I had become the whale, but how else can I explain the memories that remain with me of places, smells, and visions of the darkest depths of the sea, the recollections of so many sunsets in bays, harbors and estuaries in places that I as a man have never been, and the dreams I often have about endless ecstatic melodies that reverberate the oceans from one end of the world to the other, bringing joy to the living sinews of the planet.
If I had not actually been the whale how could I remember the love in his heart that he felt for me. He looked at me with such affection and recognition that he raised my estimation of myself beyond my human dreams. He saw me removed from my earthly bounds, not a human with limitation and weakness, but a magical radiance, pausing for a few moments to share the ecstatic bliss of a sunset with a fellow being in the eternity of creation. I had never sensed myself like that, until I had become him, and had seen with the light of his consciousness the little creature in the boat.
from "The Blue Planet"
In a Dark
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or a winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
~ Theodore Roethke
Mazie, posted to GardenMystics
The kingfisher rises out of the black wave
like a blue flower, in his beak
he carries a silver leaf. I think this is
the prettiest world -- so long as you don't mind
a little dying, how could there be a day in your whole life
that doesn't have its splash of happiness?
There are more fish than there are leaves
on a thousand trees, and anyway the kingfisher
wasn't born to think about it, or anything else.
When the wave snaps shut over his blue head, the water
remains water--hunger is the only story
he has ever heard in his life that he could believe.
I don't say he's right. Neither
do I say he's wrong. Religiously he swallows the silver leaf
with its broken red river, and with a rough and easy cry
I couldn't rouse out of my thoughtful body
if my life depended on it, he swings back
over the bright sea to do the same thing, to do it
(as I long to do something, anything) perfectly.
~ Mary Oliver ~
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