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#3133 - Friday, April 11, 2008 -
Editor: Jerry Katz
Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
A book, a movie, a teacher, a poem.
THE ADVAITA WORLDVIEW:
God, World, and Humanity
by Anantanand Rambachan
Reviewed by Rodney Stevens
With The Advaita Worldview, Anantanand Rambachan--Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota--has produced an erudite yet inviting work, one aimed at articulating "a personal interpretation and understanding of the [Advaita] tradition."
Refreshingly, Rambachan neither pontificates nor wallows in Vedic ephemera. Rather, he targets the heart of matter, clearly conveying that "Brahman...as awareness, is the source" of all existence. While he--and I'm only presuming here--may not yet have full recognition of Brahman/Presence/Awareness, he points to subtleties that are sorely missed by lesser scholars.
He notes, for instance, that "the fundamental human problem, articulated in Advaita, is self- ignorance. The existence of the self (atman) does not have to be established by the use of any means of valid knowledge...since the self, as awareness, is self-revealed." So it is our own everyday awareness that--though "self-revealing and immediately available"--is overlooked by seekers the world over. To perceive this presence is to see or to know what Rambachan calls the nature of awareness.
Laudable, too, are the writer's expansive chapter notes, his in-depth explanation of ananda (which, though widely-translated as "bliss," he rightly renders as fullness or "limitless"), and his engaging material on Sankara, "the foremost systematizer and exponent of Advaita."
There are, however, a number issues on which I disagree with the good professor. His occasional statements and inferences that recognizing one's inherent clarity is difficult, that it takes time, and that it requires considerable "self-control" are clearly not what I have come to know. Awareness is closer to you than your own breathing, and it is ever-present. Indeed, it is beyond time! It is simply a matter of seeing what is being pointed to.
Still, THE ADVAITA WORLDVIEW is a fine scholastic introduction to "the understanding of Self."
THE ADVAITA WORLDVIEW can be ordered directly from the publisher (http://www.sunypress.edu/details.asp?id=61315) or at the following Amazon link:
Rodney Stevens--who lives in Columbia, South Carolina--awakened to his true nature through the works of John Wheeler. Stevens can be contacted for talks and workshops at:
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A conversation about self-judgment...
I was working with a client the other day, on the phone, who said that he had fewer commitments in life now and less that he had to do, to busy himself with, yet still his mind was often on overdrive.
At some point he would notice when he was in his head, being run by his thoughts, and then he would be more present, maybe counting his steps, or his breath. A short while later, though, he would find himself swept up in his thoughts again. They usually had to do with thinking he needed to be more productive.
Then he would judge himself for not doing more, and sometimes a feeling of anxiety would arise. He admitted that from boyhood, he had been programmed to believe that men were the providers, and they should be productive.
I encouraged him welcome the fact that he noticed when he was in his head, because it was showing him where he was not yet free. Be easy on yourself, I said, especially when the tendency to fall into thoughts of self-judgment arise.
Thats your story, I told him. Youve been conditioned to think you need to be productive your whole life, and when you take some time for meditation and contemplation, you feel guilty. The story you tell yourself creates the emotional contraction that you call guilt.
I paused. Then, after the welcoming, when you have identified the story that is making you feel guilty, let it go. See that you are not the story. You are what sees. So, relax into the seeing, the awareness that is your true nature. Breathe. Be very present, with the feeling or emotion, but without going into your head, without telling yourself any new story.
Then just wait patiently, as you continue to be present. The energy will soon shift, and so long as you dont go into your head, youll experience a new sense of well-being. Then you can think about being productive, but in a new and creative way.
to walk down to
thing on earth
A.A. Ammons, contributed by Z
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