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#3271 - Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -     


Nirvana Means Extinction I Am That I Am, Part Two  

with Stephen H. Wolinsky  

Read more about this video and order at  

A review by Jerry Katz  


This is the second of three DVDs in the I Am That I Am series. The first one focuses on the teaching of Nisargadatta Maharaj as understood by Stephen Wolinsky.

In the opening sequence of this DVD we see one after another the photos of Nisargadatta, Gurdjieff, Alfred Korzybski, Wittgenstein, Jacques Derrida, and Wolinsky. This tells the viewer that Wolinsky is bringing together the teachings of the others. It also suggests that Wolinsky stands on his own as a teacher and thinker.

The teaching in this video belongs more to Wolinsky than anyone else. The frames we saw in the first video, featuring quotations by Nisargadatta Maharaj, now bear quotations from Wolinsky himself.

However, Nisargadatta lives in this video through the sutra that he spoke and which infected Wolinsky: "Fluids come together and the I Am appears." Wolinsky's work is the processing of that sutra toward emptiness and form, at once, and through such themes as linguistics, quantum physics, biology, Yoga, Buddhism, Advaita.


Stephen Wolinsky treats nonduality as deconstruction. Anything else is a soft nonduality tripping on beingness, the I Am, consciousness, God, etc. While many teachers set forth a soft nonduality - you almost have to, and Wolinsky himself does - it is best kept on a short leash attached to the dog house of deconstruction. Wolinsky speaks of post-deconstruction, actually, or deconstruction of the "I," death of the "I," or extinction.

Death of the I, nirvana as extinction, are the bottom line themes of this film. Wolinsky brings 2500 years of spiritual tradition and philosophy to collapse the I. Without the I, Wolinsky notes, all systems fall apart. There's nothing to transform. That's where this DVD takes you.


The nervous system abstracts information and transduces it. That is, there is mostly emptiness. The nervous system omits the emptiness so a solid world is seen and known. It also transduces as it abstracts, changing noise to sound, sound to words, words to meaning.

Wolinsky repeats in different ways that existence is an abstraction of nothing. Abstraction is a way to organize chaos. He says, "The I and all language and what it means, occurs through the abstraction and transduction process. Hence all language and the truth or falsity of what it claims is a linguistic metaphoric representation of nothing."

He also says, "Prior to the abstraction and transduction process, there is no I, me, or mine, and hence no location, organizing or creative source, or starting point for psychology or spirituality.


Yoga: one of most important teachings or realizations is that there is no doer.

Quantum physics: "The I with its concept of volition and free will and intention arises through a nuclear exchange," says Wolinsky.

Linguistics: "There are no ready made ideas outside of language." Ferdinand de Saussure.

Buddhism: Nagarjuna's dependent origination says not only is there no separate self or soul, but everything arises as one substance, as a fluid motion. Nothing arises independently, Wolinsky explains.


In one of several meditations, Wolinsky asks you to put on a quantum lens (which sees almost all space and an occasional particle) to look inward rather than out. He guides you (roughly quoting): "Get a sense of the I as emptiness. Get a sense of the witness as condensed emptiness. Notice what occurs if the witness of the emptiness and the emptiness are made of the same substance. Witness the emptiness. Condense some emptiness to a thought such I love myself. Now thin out the thought to emptiness. Let the emptiness condense and form I hate myself. Have them both as the same emptiness."

The meditations are deep and persistent. This is how you can experience nonduality, or go beyond experience.


One track is a talk given in Santa Fe. Wolinsky reviews all the themes of this DVD, repeats some teachings and stories, and includes insights into the personality of Nisargadatta and how he was a very direct and not a popular teacher.

I found interesting the material on student-centered vs. teacher-centered spirituality. The former is concerned about the students, sending them where they need to be. The latter tries to build-up the teacher and his organization.

Wolinsky makes the point that this work is about finding out who you are not, not about healing or making your life better. It's not about making a better mirage.


He answers basic questions: Is there God after post deconstruction? If there is no karma, is there destiny? Is this teaching nihilism? Who you are if nothing perceivable or conceivable? Why are we here? What is enlightenment? Who am I?

Wolinsky uses the teachings from the film to answer these questions, thus is it a useful addition.


There's a potential spoiler here so I won't say much. Wolinsky asserts that spirituality is about finding out who you are. On that path, he says, avoid any system that is not willing to deconstruct itself. Teachers might say the same about students.


If you learn most easily through visual and audio cues, by all means get these videos from Neti Neti. Or start with one. Or visit the Neti Neti site and view a sample first.

I don't think there's any question that if you watch one of these videos, do the enquiries and meditations, and simply listen, that "who you think you are" - the "I" -- will thin quite a bit. Wolinsky is very effective. You may even want to take a workshop with him.  

~ ~ ~  

Nirvana Means Extinction I Am That I Am, Part Two  

with Stephen H. Wolinsky  

Read more about this video and order at

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