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#3146 - Thursday, April 24, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Nonduality Highlights

In this issue coming attractions of three books I'm reading and will review. They span a hundred years of nondual confession and thought.


I just started reading James Stelzenmuller's new book, The Path of Awakening: A Guide to Spiritual Freedom. A lot of the book is devoted to the relationship with the true teacher. And since the book is about a path, rather than a leap, topics such as compassion, diet, personal relationships, and many others bearing on mindful living are covered. The book will be very useful for someone who feels a need to to straighten out their bearing in the world.  

I'll post a review next week. Meanwhile here is an excerpt:

"While many spiritual seekers are really seeking ego-
gratification, you will not get that from a true Teacher.
The Awakener cannot be bargained with, cannot be won
over with flattery, cannot be a source of ego fulfillment.
To the ego, the presence of a true Teacher is like sunlight
to a vampire and the ego cannot stand it. It’s like looking
into the sun, only infinitely brighter. You don’t look into it;
you are it. You look into it with your Being. The ego cannot
tolerate the brilliance of your true nature. You are not the
ego. You are absolute, magnificent, brighter than a billion
suns. Stop looking with the you that you know; start looking
with the you that you can’t see because you are identical
with it and don’t know who you are yet. The one that you
are is looking into the one that It is, and you are That,
looking into Itself."

— From The Path of Awakening: A Guide to Spiritual Freedom

Find out more about James at his website,



Another book I'm reading and reviewing is A Guide to Awareness and Tranquility, by William Samuel.

William Samuel never received the attention he deserved because he wasn't part of the Zeitgeist of the 60s or 70s as someone like Alan Watts was. Samuel was not involved in TM, psychedelics, Zen, the Human Potential Movement, the music of the times, war protests. He simply spoke as some of the neo-Advaitins of today.

William Samuel

Philosopher, Writer, Teacher

Every teacher, book, writer, practitioner, sage, guru or peanut vendor, by whatever name, title or label they go by, is an aspect of the Awareness (Identity) "we" are. We take the book from the shelf most likely to render a specific service at a given moment. Exactly so, we have appeared to go to the philosophy, teacher, church, friend, stranger or peanut vendor that has unfolded as sufficient for the moment--but that philosophy, teacher, church, friend or stranger is WITHIN the awareness WE are. So is the peanut vendor. We are forever looking at our Self......William Samuel

More about William Samuel here:


Another book in the pipeline is Sciousness, Jonathan Bricklin, editor. It is about the nondual teaching of William James. I have not yet begun to read this book. The following is from the page:  

Benny Shanon, Professor of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and author of The Antipodes of the Mind:
This collection is delightful. It brings together important texts from the later life of Wiliiam James, some of which are not very known, even in academic circles. Jonathan Bricklin's discussion of James is insightful, erudite and illuminating.

Product Description:
William James's notion of sciousness or 'pure experience' is akin to Zen tathata (suchness). Japan's renowned philosopher Kitaro Nishida, in fact, used James's concept to explain tathata to the Japanese themselves. As this collection of essays makes clear, Western practioners of Zen and other nondual practices need not be spiritual vagabonds. We need, rather, to claim our inheritance from the 'father of American psychology.'  

Very Brief Excerpt:  

James held that "pure and simple" consciousness, without a "self-brand" -- sciousness -- was not only a reality, it was the prime reality. For sciousness is not distilled from the "dual constitution" of subject-object consciousness (con-sciousness), like oil might be from pigment, but rather a "dual constitution" is added to it. --Jonathan Bricklin   So there was William James trying to push nonduality to a scientific audience back in the early 1900s.  

Here's another excerpt from the back of the book:  

Instead ... of the stream of thought being one of con-sciousness, thinking its own existence along with whatever else it thinks ... it might be better called a stream of Sciousness pure and simple, thinking objects of some of which it makes what it calls a 'Me,' and only aware of its 'pure' Self in an abstract, hypothetic or conceptual way. Each 'section' of the stream would then be a bit of sciousness or knowledge of this sort, including and contemplating its 'me' and its 'not-me' as objects which work out their drama together, but not yet including or contemplating its own subjective being. --William James   I would think that many have read The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James. I don't have a copy, but I most recall its powerful mystical descriptions and the sense of their validity and importance. That book gave many spiritual adventurers "permission" to further explore their spiritual nature. Now we come full circle, back to nonduality, with this new book by and about William James.  

~ ~ ~  

You can "search inside" Sciousness at

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