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#3009 - Friday, December 7, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Vicki Woodyard and Dhyan Dewyea are featured in contributions exclusive to The Highlights.
This is the Teaching
This is the teaching. You must be what you are. You have no choice but
to be what you are. There can be no more dissembling; shine your light.
This is what was said in the Bible. We need people in the here and now
who understand. It doesnt mean you are perfect; it means you are
honest. Honesty heals people. It gives them space to breathe and be
None of the steps you take or the stops you make along the way were
wasted. This is a universe of economy. No longer feel bad about
anything. When Christ said that the poor would always be with us, He was
saying that only wholeness heals. Once we take thought, we have fallen
into the trap of the divided mind.
Energy is the bottom line. Once you choose to be what you are, you
change what you are. Yes, paradox is a great teacher. Only the mind
argues against it. The final step on the path is to realize what you
are. You are pure energy, holy and profound. We are all emanating from
This emanation is effortless when it is consciously experienced. If you
think this is an easy task, you would be wrong. It takes a lifetime
committment to achieve emptiness. But the game is worth the candle. It
is the candle!
Dear Reader of Nonduality Highlights,
During a prolonged phase in life, I was involved with methods and techniques of self-development (some of which I have mentioned in the book): studying them, throwing myself into their exploration, practicing some of them as well as diving into their theoretical foundations and practical implications.
Increasingly, a lot of them integrated 'meditation' and 'spirituality' into the fabric of their system. In the course of it, all too often meditation was presented as a means to an end - as something that would be 'useful' 'for me': for enhanced creativity, more peace, a better body or a source of good ideas. In such understanding, assumptions about the 'I' are cemented as the focus is on them, and I believe that anyone who has a basic understanding of nonduality will agree that the concepts of 'I'-ness are what is clouding the recognition of one's nature.
Thus, based upon experience, I venture as far as saying that within the ideology of self-development there is a basic distortion of how the 'ego' and the spiritual reality of who we are relate.
No method can ever lead there, but it so happened that I experimented with a lot of them, before the dime to dropped. The following excerpt is posted with many thanks ... for making this site accessible.
Beyond the 'I' - Notes on Waking Up to Oneness by Dhyan Dewyea
Amazon.com link: http://snipurl.com/1uymx
Excerpt from Chapter 9:
Spirituality for Hire
The utilitarian trait of the mind
is predominant today, possibly more openly than in other times.
The Western culture of individualism focuses on the idea that
life is there for the purpose of a 'me' and its satisfaction.
When it finds itself in conditions that it deems unsatisfactory,
the 'I' wants to change the world and itself according to its
wishes, easily succumbing to the idea that this is a worthwhile
pursuit. Apart from the fact that this is a wheel that keeps
turning, and more is never enough, the ideologies which nowadays
promote 'doability' invariably have a component that is deemed
The Path of Discernment
Increasingly, I believed in the concept of personal development, the notion that if only enough self-limiting patterns were dissolved, a person's life would blossom into richness. Only in hindsight did it become obvious to what extent this belief in the notion of personal expansion had been influenced by a whole contemporary movement outside of me. The ideology of self-development was, and still is, in vogue.
From the context of meditation to which I had been exposed, I remember the saying that the best way of finding freedom is to get to the root of the mind, but it was still a mystery what was exactly meant by that. And if I could not be in no-mind, then at least it seemed better to strive for a mind that ran efficiently without any 'energy leaks' or 'self defeating patterns.' Within contemporary ideology there was no shortage of approaches that promised just that. My heartfelt intention was to investigate what worked and what did not. I may have heard talk of 'oneness' during that time, but it was of little interest to me. What was sought was a redemption that made life better by making the mind better, but I never quite succeeded in getting beyond all its unconscious and less-desired mechanisms.
Just recently I read Suzanne
Segal's autobiography Collision with the Infinite, in which she
describes how even in the mid-nineties in California, academic
psychology pathologized everything. Her therapists and colleagues
diagnosed the fact that she did not live from the 'I' perspective
as a neurotic problem that needed the remedy of psychotherapy.
Around that time, a profession called 'Coaching' emerged in the
US, and it may well be that its wider appeal was a reaction to
the tendency of psychology to pathologize. As far as I was
concerned, I was fed up with looking at what was wrong, and
finally wanted to look at what was right and healthy and
possible. Subsequently, after I signed up for such a coaching
training course, one of the first things we were told was that
psychology deals with the (hurtful) past and coaching with the
The basic tenet in
coaching: The 'I'
I did not question the underlying belief in an 'I' that should and could be transformed if only done right, with an appropriate method, and a great degree of insight into what was going on with a client. I became greatly invested in the idea of self-development, fascinated by its emerging techniques, and soon found myself caught in its ideological maze. What I call an ideology is a cluster or web of ideas that cloud perception and steer thinking and action. While models of reality psychological, astrological, and even the chakra model strive for a measure of empirical verification and a feedback loop between their hypotheses and observed phenomena, an ideology moves farther away from empirical data, not bothering much with empirical confirmation. It takes on the cloak of a belief system and sets up its own reality.
The exposure to key notions of the
self-development movement put me on a path that resembled a
tightrope walk between puzzlement and confusion on one side, and
trying to discern what was true on the other. This was especially
so because without exception, all techniques, approaches, and
methods that I encountered made claims towards being spiritual.
In fact, nowadays there seems to be even more of a crossover
between those who engage in self-improvement exercises while also
following a kind of spiritual path influenced by notions of
To say 'I am spiritual' equals the attempt of the mind to usurp territory about which it knows absolutely nothing, a grandiose gesture of posturing. This very basic distortion shows up in almost all of the self-development approaches. In the first place, it is the mind itself that distinguishes what is 'spiritual' from the 'non-spiritual.' The 'I' causes the apparent separation. Meanwhile, life is all-inclusive, and if anything, it is the mind and the 'I' that are contained in the great universal vastness and not the other way round. A plastic cup cannot contain the ocean. The very identification with the limited 'I' is what causes the perceived lack and consequent desire for something bigger, and the biggest prize of all is to be universal, eternal, divine. If the former is dropped, the gambit of the prize disappears with it, then there is only one whole.
As with other facets of the inner growth movement, 'spirituality' was established within the coaching program as a class bearing the same title. This sounded quite progressive, but like integral psychology, what was understood as spirituality was very general. Spirituality was whatever was believed, and whatever was believed belonged to the category. Spirituality was not seen as having anything to do with truth, and increasingly, I had an uncomfortable feeling that spirituality was being hijacked and made into an attachment of the ego by this and other methods of the self-development movement.
The basic purpose of coaching was taught to center around the questions "What do you want to have?" and "Who do you want to be?" If anyone resonates, in any way at all, with the understanding that asking the question 'who am I' is central to leading one out of illusion by stripping away all ideas of oneself and leaving one standing naked, it is easy to see that the starting point within coaching is incompatible with this understanding. The coaching activity is instead concerned with the qualities and possessions of the 'I.' It is about making the 'I' more important, more solid, more impressive, and pretending to give it success and fulfilment What is of interest here is the 'I' as possessor, the belief not only that 'you' can have success, but that it is the coach who gives it to you. At the same time, the motivation to enter coaching, from the viewpoint of a client, is a result of the reactivity of the mind to 'what is.' That mind wants to change things, and coaching is just another approach in a long line of attempts to have the world shaped according to one's desires. The longer I was exposed to those notions, the more it felt that they consisted of leading someone down the wrong path. One has to ask, therefore, if such coaching does not, at best, constitute a huge detour. By encouraging attachment to the temporal and propagating some future 'fulfilment,' it seems to contradict the perspective of a truth of being, the idea that the only fulfilment is in being itself. Seeking to improve one's life conditions may be an appropriate endeavor under certain circumstances, but I had a dim sense that the implicit world view of coaching institutionalized a running into dead ends at great speed and with blind excitement.
Beyond the 'I' - Notes on Waking Up to Oneness by Dhyan Dewyea
Amazon.com link: http://snipurl.com/1uymx
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