What is Nonduality
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The Nonduality Highlights
In this issue, Mark
responds to Z. James responds to Mark. Also two book reviews
written by Jerry. My next issue is on
Maybe it's like this:
Knowing, which is what we are, is like strong
light shining into water.The water can be very agitated but the light
is not contaminated by that agitation.It doesn't get wet
either. Anyway, we really do not do this stuff we seem to do. Our
deeds are really events like wind blowing or rain falling.You may say
that that is my opinion--well, look very closely at the process of
choice next time you are presented with somekind of fork in the
road.You may be astonished.
I rather like this
response, although I can relate to Nora's
As I see it, there are
(at least...)3 possible reactions to the
assasination of Ms. Bhutto.
1) A concern about
"my" future resulting from this situation... A
loss of stability in a crucial part of the world - a buffer between
the nuclear power of India and the apparently hostile country
Afganistan, and a nuclear power in it's own right - Pakistan. Hmmm...
could be trouble for me and my particular "loved ones."
2) A concern about
brink between democracy and potentially disastrous fundamentalism...
and how this might affect "me."
3) A concern about the
apparent "fight" between truth and nontruth...
The truth that all folks want the same thing - happiness, and the
nontruth that we all seem to have different ideas about what will
bring that about. It seems to me that this "fight" is very real in
this plane... Maya, and yet, quite silly on the plane of "truth..."
Okay, so I'm dividing
sake of argument.
So, for the sake of this hypothetical argument...
What if there is only the
truth that we are all love, and somehow we
appear to have become estranged from this? And what if the more we
seem estranged, the more intense our desire for "truth" and "love"
becomes? What if it gets so strong that we think that killing "the
enemy" is the only way to get back to that love and truth? Given that
premise, can we despise the folks who killed Ms Bhutto? (and if so,
can we truly say we have recovered from the premise...?)
I regret the assasination
of Ms. Bhutto, because I think she was
sincere in her desire for the democratiziation of
also believe that such democratization would be beneficial for both
know what is best for the world. Heck, I do not know what is best for
"Mark." (although I still think that if you send me money, I'll be
better off...) I just don't know. There are many examples of folks in
the past who have died, or otherwise sacrificed, which have lead to
better conditions. Martin Luther King, for example. His martyrdom
probably lead to better conditions for "people of melotin persuasion"
appreciation of his efforts. Jesus Christ's martydom might be argued
to have led to better conditions for some, although I feel I'm
stretching here... given the crusades and other abuses...
Perhaps each of these
"historical" events might be seen as metaphors
for ego death. If one can let go of one's personal goals, and come to
think in terms of everyone's success (and I include all living and
non-living beings here on Earth, and perhaps even elsewhere... in
this) then one will be able to take the whole picture into
consideration and at least hope for the best outcome "in general."
In that spirit, I
appreciate Ms Bhutto's willingness to be subjected
to the danger of assasination in the spirit of democracy in
I lament her death, but I also applaud her dedication. There is not
one emotion here as a result of her untimely death, but several. I
feel grief for her murder. I feel joy at her dedication. And finally
(although, that is such a weak word...), I feel disappointment at her
unwise decision to stand up at that particular moment. I also feel
distrust towards the official government of Pakistan, and disgust at
the mental orientation of Alquida, who seem intent on destroying so
many to accomplish something that appears here very selfish.
As all of these emotions
roil through my mind, I remind myself that
at the core of my being (and therefore at the core of all being...)
there is a silent, joyous, unspeakable sense of being that I seem to
have come into this life to rediscover; that answers all these
questions, albeit in a way that I cannot put into words.
I seek, more and more
often, to rest in that silence, and hope that
"everyone" else will too.
Love is self-actualizing and self-correcting... afterall it's Love.
Love acts - in the *winding* river of it's unfolding there is
functioning as feeling and all the other 'stuff' of life...
- mistaken identification with and as the manifestation rather than
the Source is the 'problem' (in Love it is not that there are no
problems - things happen - yet nothing is problematic as every
problem has within it its solution)
- the 'silent' understanding (the intelligence of the Heart - the
homeground of Love) that "I am THAT" is 'living' Spacious Awareness
wherein Love's self-correcting current flows without restriction.
Love (the reason for the season),
The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
by Alan Watts
The Carl Sagan of Nonduality
In 1966, Alan Watts
published a book near the end of which he
introduced the word "nonduality" to a mainstream audience: "The
unity, or inseparability, of one and many is ... referred to in
Vedanta philosophy as `non-duality' (advaita) to distinguish it from
simple uniformity." The Book is important for anyone who wants to
understand nonduality. The topics it covers are wider ranging than
what's seen in the current crop of more direct and lean books on
nonduality. He riffs on God, Christmas morning, American values,
spirituality, Dads, religion, social change, philosophy, death. He
calls in Blake, Bohm, Schrodinger, a gang of philosophers, a cut of
Alan Watts was the Carl
Sagan of nonduality. That is, he spoke
eloquently, plainly, quotably, and memorably about the essential
truth of his sphere of interest, which could be called nonduality,
truth, IT, That, or This, or Who You Are.
In the first few pages,
about to come down: "We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We
need a new experience - a new feeling of what it is to be `I.'"
Then he gets into it and
in paragraph after paragraph of explanation
call `things' are no more than glimpses of a unified process.
Certainly, this process has distinct features which catch our
attention, but we must remember that distinction is not separation."
get beyond the ego-feeling, I shall ask you why you want to get
there. If you give me the honest answer, which is that your ego will
feel better in the `higher spiritual status' of self-transcendence,
you will thus realize that you - as ego - are a fake."
Because of the quality of
explanation, I would say The Book is an
important and excellent book to add to your study of nonduality. I do
think there are moments when Watts enjoys hearing his own voice, but
I enjoyed hearing it too.
The Luminous Ground: The Nature of Order, Book 4
by Christopher Alexander
Feeling and Valuing Existence
This book is a free,
original expression of nonduality, or
non-separation, which is to say nothing is separate from existence.
If you love art, architecture, color, light, inner light,
incorporation of the tears and sadness of "the cares of the world,"
living a natural and open life, this book will show you how that love
meets up with the truth of your existence.
How can you
"feel" non-separation or nonduality? By knowing that
exist. This is your sense of "I" that Alexander speaks of throughout
this book. Or call it "I Am." Since everyone can know that they
exist, their most fundamental nature is this "I" or "I Am." Valuing
that you exist, valuing this "I" brings a sense of unity with all
people, their creations, their appreciations, their failures, sadness
and tears. It brings a sense of union with humanity.
This feeling of existence
is the crux of this book. It's not just
feeling existence, but valuing existence. It almost sounds silly:
"valuing existence." Such valuing leads to wonder that never ends and
all works being done as a gift of existence to existence, or to God.
It makes you focus on existence so that you create something that
communicates multiple layers of meaning, the totality of existence,
in a building or an artwork.
Religion, art, physics,
quantum theory, and mostly the "I," the true
you, come together in this unusual, delightful, beautiful to hold and
read, art book full of vibrant color photographs, pictures, and
If there is another
edition or another volume, perhaps some of the
more direct teachings of nonduality can be included. For example, the
words of the great Indian sage Ramana Maharshi turn one toward a
disposition most favorable for the understanding, absorbing, and
integrating of Alexander's confessions about art and existence:
"Existence or Consciousness is the only reality. If you enquire 'Who
am I?' the mind will return to its source (or where it issued from).
The thought which arose will also submerge. As you practice like this
more and more, the power of the mind to remain as its source is
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