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#2936 - Monday, September 24, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nondual Highlights
I would like to let our loyal longtime readers know that a number of new readers who have recently signed-up for the Highlights after listening to the interview on Coast to Coast AM.
Speaking to the new subscribers, this is a great place to continue your investigation into nonduality. You are about to meet many extraordinary people and writings. If you want to chat about nonduality, also join the Nonduality Salon: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NondualitySalon/
Deep gratitude to Rollye James for an intelligent and brisk interview on Coast to Coast AM. (formerly The Art Bell Show) http://www.coasttocoastam.com/
Thanks to everyone who was a part of it: the audience, the callers, Rollye, the staff of Coast to Coast AM, and the affiliate stations. What a tight and professional operation they have!
Thanks also to Dustin for hanging with me during the interview and bringing donuts and coffee. His presence was a joy and his advice and comments during breaks added fun and life.
It was an excellent experience.
In this issue I am featuring people and topics I talked about or mentioned on the show: Cee, The Matrix, Byron Katie, and Eckhart Tolle.
The Way of Knowledge
Excerpt in which Cee talks about practicing the enquiry, Who am I?
To Do or Not to Do
There has been some confusion spawning from a few modern day teachers of Advaita Vedanta that teach "there is nothing you can do." This has spurned in some people a lazy and ineffective "method" of spiritual practice. Let us spend a moment to clear up the confusion. The Way of Knowledge recommends effort in practice as long as there is any semblance of an ego. The inquiry should be practiced until complete and perfect enlightenment at which time spiritual practice falls away spontaneously.
It is true that there is a real ego that is a performer of actions. And it is true that the perfect nondual Self is not an entity that can partake of action. As you delve into inquiry, freedom and happiness become natural. You may discover that right actions are occuring without much effort. You may find that there is no one doing anything. There is simply no doer. Is the body itself actually performing actions? The fleshy body of blood and bones certainly has no power of its own. Is there someone or some thing inside or outside the body who is the performer of actions? As you become more adept at the inquiry there may be a relinquishment of attachment to doership.
Similarly, you may find that there is no one thinking anything. Where exactly is the one who thinks? Hidden in the brain somewhere? Who thinks "your" thoughts? If you find no thinker, do you still exist? Of course. To know there is no particular entity causing your thinking is liberating indeed! If thinking goes on, so what? Don't think twice about it. To be free from thought is a tremendous relief.
Still, there should never be confusion over what to do. The practice of inquiry is simple and straighforward. You should put in great intention and effort toward your own liberation and enlightenment. Do not let the statement, "Who you really are is beyond doing and thinking," be an excuse to avoid the work of disassembling the false identity. Just because the ego turns out to be unreal, is no excuse not to examine the ego. Who performs the enquiry? The enquiry itself will answer the question. The inquiry starts out as a doing. It is an effort made by the one who seems to be in bondage. If you assume you are somebody, you cannot avoid the effort of spiritual practice. You make a heroic effort until you understand real Existence without a single doubt, until you are utterly free.
What starts out as doing ends up as _being_. The inquiry, "Who am I?" ends up as Existence - Consciousness - Bliss, pure Being. Real Existence has no actor or action. Once realized, it is understood that there was no action taken, the entity who thought they were not enlightened never existed, and no time was involved. "Being" is spontaneously revealed. _Until then, do practice!_
From Tim Gerchmez:
I saw the movie "Matrix," which definitely is based on
some nondual concepts (the first "popular" movie I've
ever seen that I can claim was based on aspects of Eastern
philosophy, which goes to show how these concepts are now
penetrating Western society very rapidly).
In one of the scenes in the movie, there is a dimension shown consisting only of blank white space, the "potential" area for matrix programming .
Well, I made an interesting meditation out of this. First, I envisioned myself in a 360 degree pure white dimension. This could be compared to bodilessly floating in the dead center of a ping-pong ball. I made the mental image as clear as possible. No matter where I "looked" (up, down, left, right, anywhere), there was only whiteness, and of course nothing for the eyes to focus on, so looking around there was no sensation of change of viewpoint at all. No depth perception either, because there was nothing to focus the eyes on. Just pure whiteness.
Soon after this, I changed perspectives, and I *WAS* the white dimension. Allowing myself to BE this dimension, I found myself in contact with something deeply Divine in myself. I began to alternate between the viewpoint of "myself" within the dimension, and *being* the dimension itself.
After a while (I don't know how long), I allowed myself (as the white dimension) to consciously say "I AM." This propelled me into a state of Samadhi/SatChitAnanda. The bliss was so powerful, I was up all night last night because of it. Gotta get some sleep, or I'm gonna have to leave this body prematurely due to exhaustion ;-)
the greatest value of the movie "The Matrix" is in
introducing nondual spiritual concepts to those who have never
encountered such possibilities before. The action draws one into
the story, and the concepts are then free to penetrate the mind.
The central theme of the movie is "Nothing is as it
seems." Is this not also one of the central themes of
If even one "average" person walks out of this movie with a slight change of perspective, it is of infinite value.
"favorite" scene in the movie had nothing to do with
the fight scenes. It was when Keanu Reeves was talking to the
child who was bending the spoon "with his mind." The
child said "Do not try to bend the spoon. It is not the
spoon that bends. It's the self that bends."
But did you not find my meditative experience interesting as well? :-) Perhaps it was actually quite ordinary... but it's rare that mere mental visualization has such a powerful effect.
I wish the filmmakers had had the courage to take the movie one step further. Rather than Neo awakening in some far future, as he did, I would have liked to see him awaken to the PRESENT. I would have liked to see Morpheus point to the burned out city and say "This is what our egos really are. This is where we really live." Neo could have been an Avatar, and Morpheus and the others enlightened masters.
In "The Matrix," there's a scene where Neo is taken to a formless place of blank whiteness, and told that this is the place where all matrix programming springs from (or something like that). To me, this blank, formless whiteness perfectly represents Brahman, Self, Sunyata, "That emptiness from which all things spring." I've even discovered that meditating on such a blank, depthless, formless, utterly silent white field is a useful technique for me (and so have actually taken something from a movie that is useful in a spiritual context!). A place such as this represents what we really are - formless, featureless, nameless, empty, pure consciousness.
Less than two weeks after I entered the halfway house, my life changed completely. What follows is a very approximate account.
One morning I woke up. I had been sleeping on the floor as usual. Nothing special had happened the night before; I just opened my eyes. But I was seeing without concepts, without thoughts or an internal story. There was no me. It was as if something else had woken up. It opened its eyes. It was looking through Katie's eyes. And it was crisp, it was clear, it was new, it had never been here before. Everything was unrecognizable. And it was so delighted! Laughter welled up from the depths and just poured out. It breathed and was ecstasy. It was intoxicated with joy: totally greedy for everything. There was nothing separate, nothing unacceptable to it. Everything was its very own self. For the first time I it experienced the love of its own life. I it was amazed!
In trying to be as accurate as possible, I am using the word it for this delighted, loving awareness, in which there was no me or world, and in which everything was included. There just isn't another way to say how completely new and fresh the awareness was. There was no I observing the it. There was nothing but the it. And even the realization of an it came later.
Let me say this in a different way. A foot appeared; there was a cockroach crawling over it. It opened its eyes, and there was something on the foot; or there was something on the foot, and then it opened its eyes I don't know the sequence, because there was no time in any of this. So, to put it in slow motion: it opened its eyes, looked down at the foot, a cockroach was crawling across the ankle, and it was awake! It was born. And from then on, it's been observing. But there wasn't a subject or an object. It was is everything it saw. There's no separation in it, anywhere.
All my rage, all the thoughts that had been troubling me, my whole world, the whole world, was gone. The only thing that existed was awareness. The foot and the cockroach weren't outside me; there was no outside or inside. It was all me. And I felt delight absolute delight! There was nothing, and there was a whole world: walls and floor and ceiling and light and body, everything, in such fullness. But only what it could see: no more, no less.
Read the rest here: http://www.thework.com/KatiesExperience.asp
-- There Are No Mistakes
No matter how much you have achieved here, unless you know the
living truth you are like a seed that has not sprouted and you have
missed the true purpose of human existence.
And even if your life has been full of suffering and mistakes, it takes only this knowing to redeem it and retrospectively endow the seemingly meaningless with profound meaning.
If all your mistakes have taken you to this point, this realization,
how could they have been mistakes?
"I am not what happens, but the space in which it happens." This knowing, this living truth, frees you from identification with form,
from time as well as from a false, mind-made sense of self.
What is that space in which everything happens? Consciousness prior to form.
~ Eckhart Tolle The Diamond in Your Pocket (Foreword)
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