What is Nonduality
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Nondual Highlights: Issue #2885, Saturday, July 28, 2007, Editor: Mark
There is a channel between voice and presence,
a way where information flows.
In disciplined silence the channel opens.
With wandering talk, it closes.
- Rumi, version by Coleman Barks, Unseen Rain, posted to Sunlight
Silence is the sea,
and speech is like the river.
The sea is seeking you:
don't seek the river.
Don't turn your head away from
the signs offered by the sea.
- Rumi, version by Camille and Kabir Helminski, from Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance, posted to AlongTheWay
"...this capacity may be filled with self, or it may be filled with God. There is only room for one."
Surrender is the process of gradually emptying out the self identity so there is more and more room for God.
- Xan, responding to a quote from Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan on SufiMystic
When we are empty of ego we, too, can carry on in calm acceptance of life's varying events.
When we cease making prejudicial distinctions - gentle or harsh, beautiful or ugly, good or bad - a peaceful stillness will permeate our mind. If there is no ego, there is no agitation.
- Master Han Shan, posted to DailyDharma
Bill, I feel a bit clearer now on what I want to ask. I would like you to share with me some practical examples of what you are talking about. What you wrote does make sense to me on an intellectual level yet I think that knowing what you applied and what the resultant changes were would be most helpful for me to gain a real understanding of it.
Yes Joseph, and first though, something very important I want to say to you.
Are you aware of the very heartful vulnerability with which you have been sharing here today?
Are you aware that there is nothing...NOTHING... that takes greater courgage?
And what greater gift can one give to others than that?
I suggest that to be heartfully vulnerable before others is the greatest gift that anyone can give.
It is love.
So you are already doing it.
Now, as I turn to your request I would like to tell you first a bit about my experience with the "path with heart" just to give you an idea why that *is* enough, why it is absolutely huge.
I work in a residential treatment center for young adults that have just been released from a hospitalization for a mental health crisis. I work the night shift and only have a few hours of contact with the clients on any day I work. And yet in 20 minutes here, 10 minutes there, I see miracles of transformation. The amount of time I am engaged with any one of them is tiny. Yet I see miracles. How can this be?
As I see it I am speaking to them in a simple, direct, heartful manner. I have become very deeply grounded that way and am able to speak to them with a complete openness and clarity. I do get caught up in the emotions really, but am able to see through their "veils", to see *them* in a direct, authentic way that mostly they have not experienced much of. It is very simple really. I don't come up with much in the way of fancy answers (though there are insights that I do share with them). The magic comes from the fact that THEY FEEL SEEN. And it is riveting for them. A profound connection establishes between us... as if both are transported into a timeless place... and the communication that happens in that place is, so much of it, a speaking of silence... of deep waves of knowingness in which both are touched, in which both find communion.
As I see it, in that interaction what is happening is that as I come so fundamentally from my truth they, like a resonating tuning fork, come into alignment with theirs. It is not "me" really, that is connecting to them, it is Truth within me connecting with Truth in them.
So as I see it, in becoming authentically who I am, in really and wholly investing my life in that one thing, which means, as Jani's favorite (and mine too) quote says, to thine own self be true... in losing myself into that one complete commitment to honesty, to finding and being authentically who I am... I become one with Truth.
What could be more powerful than that?
What could be more transformative than that?
What greater love could there be than that?
That, at least, is my way, my path, the only one I know.
This next piece charts the path. Consider it a big picture outline.
The Path with Heart
1. We can live by the mind or we can live from the heart. We must choose. We cannot serve two masters.
2. Living from the heart starts with abiding in the heart. There is no greater way to love oneself than to abide in the heart.
3. We typically have a lot of wounds in our heart. By abiding in the heart these wounds come up and we can begin to heal. This is an arduous process, but it is what we must do to heal. It is having compassion for ourself to do this.
4. As our heart becomes less covered with pain and we continue to abide in the heart we become more and more able to live in the Now and to enjoy the sweetness of Now.
5. Continuing to abide in the heart and living in Now our heart opens up and Love begins to flow through us. As Love flows through us we begin to see with the Eyes of Love. When we see with the Eyes of Love, there is no judgement. We see the Divine in everyone.
The "leap of faith" is to live from one's heart. It is the path of transformation. In so doing everything changes. How we see, how we feel, how we be, it all changes.
And now a detailed guide on how to carry out an "abiding in the heart":
Abiding in the Heart
For abiding in the heart, I do not recommend concentrating on the physical heart, nor on any sense of heart "chakra" either.
I can tell you what has worked for me. Perhaps it will be effective for you.
My approach to the heart is to pay attention to my feelings. By feelings I mean something different than emotions, though emotions are related.
Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant and gotten a weird creepy feeling about the place? Many people tend to ignore such feelings but one can develop a sensitivity to one's feelings and learn to honor them. This is also called "listening to one's gut".
So the first step is paying attention to and becoming very sensitive to one's feelings. Some will find such awareness and sensitivity to feeling automatic and natural. For others it will not be. In any case, awareness and sensitivity to feeling is essential to "abiding in the heart".
The next step in learning to abide in the heart is paying attention to and becoming very sensitive to the feelings *within oneself*. These are feelings that arise more from within than in response to the environment. They can be feelings of apprehension, an ache in the heart, longing, etc. These feelings can be generally categorized as "deep feelings". In my case such feelings would typically be located in the chest area. What I am emphasizing here are feelings that have the quality of a *physical sensation*. There will typically be an emotional content aspect, such as "apprehension", but also a physical sensation, which will typically be in the chest area.
When these "inner feelings" arise, my practice has been to become very aware of the feelings. If possible get away from distracting external stimuli so one can devote one's attention to the feelings that are coming up. Begin to "zoom in" on the feelings. Go into it more and more until what was once a tiny bleep on the radar now virtually fills the awareness. Pay special attention to the sensations connected with the feelings. Sometimes these sensations might be like a subtle pin prick, or a kind of dullness, or an ache. The kinds of sensation I am referring to are subtle. I am not speaking here of gross muscular tension. In my case they are typically felt in the chest, but can also occur in other places such as the pit of the stomach, solar plexus, etc. And the real key here is that such sensations have a special *poignancy*. They are vague, amorphous, and generally unexplainable. The mind will want to go elsewhere. But the practice of abiding in the heart is to say "No" to the mind and to *go into* the subtly poignant feelings one may find arising within.
Looking at the emotions takes us off into the psychological content. That isn't what we want. The emotional aspect is important for identifying something we need to go into, but once it is recognized that something is "up", from that point it is the "sensations" of the feelings that are important.
Emotions are just thought that springs from feeling. Such "psychological content" can be endlessly spewed forth and gone into with no avail. The *cause* of the emotions, i.e. that from which the emotions spring forth, is the embedded encodings of feeling.
As we "zoom in" on these feelings the sensations start getting richer and more complex. As we continue to "go in" the feelings start to change as a result of more awareness, richer perspective, and insight.
It is as if we have "freeze-dried feeling" in our heart, but by bringing awareness to it a softening, a dissolving, and expanding begins to happen. With the expanding there is a seeing, a knowing, a deep apprehension of the quality and nature of the embedded feeling-stuff. As the embedded material is softened, expanded, and gone into the dross is burned in the light of awareness. We begin to feel lighter, more open, as a burden we have been bearing is released.
Note that it is not the embedded feelings that are what is important. It is as if there were a cave wherein you knew there was great treasure, but the passageway was obstructed by rocks, branches, and other debris. In this image, the cave is the heart, the treasure is the purity of deep feeling one comes to know by entering into the heart. The debris obstructing the entryway is the embedded feeling-stuff that must gone through and cleared in order to enter the wonder of the heart.
Through much deep practice with "inner feelings" there develops a sense of the "feeling center" where the inner feelings worked on tend to arise. We are now starting to develop a sense of the heart as a location for the emergence of feeling. At this stage we are truly "abiding in the heart". As this practice matures, we become more and more able to stay in our "feeling center" while engaged in our daily activities. We become more and more able, simply and always, to Abide in the Heart.
- Bill Rishel, posted to The_Now2
There is a thread from the heart to the lips
where the secret of life is woven.
Words tear the thread
but in silence
- Rumi, translation by Azima Melita Kolin and Maryam Mafi, from Rumi: Hidden Music, posted to Sunlight
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