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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #370

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Michael Johnson asked:

I have heard the saying, You are pure as the driven snow.
And just wondered if anyone has ever seen driven snow?

David Hodges:

Yes...I grew up in New Hampshire, where the wind-driven
snow would produce huge snowdrifts. Snowdrifts were great
places for we kids to tunnel in and make play houses.

I don't know if there is any other kind of driven snow
besides wind-driven. And I don't know why driven snow would
be any purer than new-fallen snow, which, to my mind, is
the purest snow there is.

Michael: I agree that new-fallen snow does seem to be the
purest. I grew up in the South, Tennessee, and as such,
have not experienced much snow at all.

Jerry: A few years ago I was working the graveyard shift
and got off work at 7am. A foot of snow had come down and
it was early Sunday morning. I trudged home several blocks
through the residential, tree lined streets. The roads were
hardly driven over. The trees, sidewalks, and front steps
were thick with the year's first snow. There was no wind
and stillness all around.

Larry: I remember being in NYC once when it snowed so much
the whole city stopped. I walked down the middle of 5th
avenue from Central Park to Greenwich Village.

Ed: I drove home through the mountains after a skiing trip.
It was early morning and a driving snowstorm had blanketed
everything pure white. It was intensely bright so I wore my
rose colored ski glasses. What a way to see the world!!


Continuing the discussion on Free Will:

Mark Otter

The discussion of free will can become a distraction, a
non-helpful spinning of philosophical wheels, if one
doesn't attend to the work of attention and clear seeing.
Of course, that distraction may be an activity of free
will, or simply a predestined working out of kharma.
Hmmm.... From here, actively choosing love seems the
sensible thing to do regardless of the mechanics of its



my view on free will We are born into this world with the
god given right of free will. We value the right of making
our own choices. And as long as we can't see the outcome of
those choices we will continue to have free will. But if we
increase our mental awareness, we will be able to see the
outcome of the choices we make. So understand that our
willingness to give up our freewill must come first, before
we can really be free.


Tony O'Clery

In my honest opinion free will doesn't exist. Whether one
believes it is previous karma or not. The illusion of
choice exists, so we may gain the fruits of actions, that's
all. It is all in the dream anyway.The decision that we
make was always the one we had already made.

So whether one believes that the action is due to previous
karma or to the non existent idea of time. The result is
the same. It can only be that way for really nothing


Greg Goode

Or, as Michael Roach the Tibetan teacher once told me
"Those who believe in free will are determined by their
karma to do so."


Greg Gooded responds to Gloria Lee

GLORIA: How would you explain the view that "nothing" ever
happened.. since I gather you do not mean to deny existence
or physical world quite so literally? How does advaita mean

GREG: Actually, the physical world is the first to go!!
Some day I'll tell you about a class I had long ago where
if you wrote paper in support of the physical world, you
could never get above a B!

The view that nothing ever happened. What does advaita say
about it?

I'll go at it advaita-like in 2 ways. One from the great
advaita philosopher Krishna Menon, and one from scriptural
advaita, esp. Mandukya Upanishad. The first is simpler.
Sorry if I'm making it too complex or heady.

You ask,

"If we cannot cause or change can we change
this karma which you say our previous actions caused in the
first place?"

Both teachings below are direct-path advaita, whose
non-progressive approach is very similar to the Southern or
"Sudden Enlightenment" school of Ch'an, a la Hui Neng and
Ta Hui. That is, in both these traditions, there is no
"mirror polishing" or changing of karma that need (or can)
take place. By the way Gloria, Gaudapada was familiar with
the Madhyamika Buddhist tradition, and with Nagarjuna's
great Treatise on the Middle Way. He's often accused of
being a crypto-Buddhist!!

Back to nothing ever happened --

1. Krishna Menon explains it in terms of objects collapsing
into Consciousness/Knowledge. The mind, body and world are
made up of (and can't be indendent of) sense objects,
feelings and thoughts. These sensations, feelings and
thoughts are all objects of knowledge, and thus are not
independent of knowledge. The knowledge aspect cannot be
denied. But if the objects are never independent of
knowledge, then knowledge is not knowledge *of* the
objects. Knowledge doesn't go out and reach or contact the
objects. The objects then aren't objects at all, but pure
knowledge itself. So there is nothing that ever could have

2. The statement that nothing ever happened -- it is a
statement that Papaji made well known. The statement is a
compression of the famous Ramana quote (I don't have it at
hand, sorry) about there being no enlightenment, no seeker,
no sought, etc. Ramana's famous phrase is actually a
paraphrase from the sloka from the Madukya Upanishad with
Gaudapada's karika:

II:32 There is no dissolution, no birth, none in bondage,
none aspiring for wisdom, no seeker of liberation and none
liberated. This is the absolute truth.

The explanation goes along these lines. The external
physical objects are not independent of the mind. They are
basically mind-stuff, and never appear unless the mind is
appearing. This is familiar, as there are lots of spiritual
views consistent with this.

But what does Gaudapada say about mind-stuff? By showing
how the mind is never a cause or an effect of any arising.
If nothing causes an arising or manifestation, there's no

There is a prolonged argument in the karika about there not
being any causal relations. Basically, causality makes no
sense because the cause is just as dependent on the effect
as the effect is on the cause, and they both appear (in the
cause/effect relation) simultaneously. Those who believe in
the reality of any part of the manifestation believe that
things get reality because they are caused. It is thought
that the cause confers reality on the effect. But the cause
is not a cause until the effect appears. Therefore the
effect is the cause of the cause (IV:14). If the cause is
not real until the effect makes it into a cause, then how
can a cause, which is not real, confer reality on the
effect?? If the cause is not real, then how can it bring
about the effect?

If there is no cause and effect, then the mind never enters
into causal relations (IV:27)

Here are some various quotes about the mind and
cause/effect from Gaudapada:

III:15 (The scriptural statements regarding) creation as
illustrated by examples of earth, iron, sparks, etc., or
otherwise, (only) serve the purpose of (ultimately)
explaining the unity (of Jiva and Brahman). (Really
speaking) multiplicity does not exist in any manner.

III:43 If it be remembered that everything is the unborn
(Brahman), the born (duality) will not be seen.

III:48 No Jiva is ever born. There does not exist any cause
which can produce it. This is the highest Truth that
nothing is ever born.

IV:22 Nothing, whatsoever, is born either of its self or of
another. Nothing is ever produced whether it be being or
non-being or both being and non-being.

IV:26 The mind is not related to the (external) objects.
Nor are the ideas which appear as external objects,
reflections upon the mind. It is so because the objects are
non-existent and the ideas (which appear as external
objects) are not separate from the mind.

IV:27 The mind does not enter into causal relation in any
of the three periods of time. How can the mind be ever
subject to delusion, as there is no cause for any such

IV:28 Therefore neither the mind nor the objects percived
by the mind are ever born. Those who perceive such birth
may as well discover foot-prints (of the birds) in the sky.

IV:56 As long as there is faith in causality, the (endless)
chain of birth and death will be there. When that faith is
destroyed (by knowledge) birth and death become

IV:76 When the mind does not find any cause superior,
inferior or middling, it becomes free from birth. How can
there be an effect without a cause?


Gene Poole

Denial is taught by example; the ways of the parent/culture
become the ways of the child. By paying attention to inner
disturbances, such as those brought about by the behaviour
of denial, we have an opportunity to go beyond the criteria
of culture.

It is well to observe just how the behaviour of denial,
which is so 'close to home' as to be overlooked for its
very closeness, ramifies into the major conflicts which we
assume are 'outside of ourselves'. We define what we
perceive in that way, as 'the condition of the world'. Our
cultural dramas (the World Dream) demand that we act as
though such perceptions are accurate, when in fact, they
are 'merely' our own compounded projections. Our
culturally-enforced participation in this synthetic
'virtual reality' guarantees that we will always have
access to 'circumstances' which serve to enforce our
overlayed identities; by means of 'going along with the
crowd', we become one of the crowd.

It is the product of our unknowing misgoverning of our
personal 'energy ecology' which seems to be evidence that
the world is indeed 'out to get us'; the 'slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune' are much more impactfull, when our
immunity has been sapped by the behaviour of denial.


Matthew Files

The perfection of the human being is perfection in human
terms. This is not a limitation of form but the perfect
form of form. The traditions tend to suggest or imply that
the transcendence of all forms is the ultimate existence or
state of being. But the Truth of existence itself, is
nondual Reality. There is only God, only this Great Process
of Divine Evolution. This is a given fact of all existence,
regardless of form, or not-form. There is no distinction
between a human being, a frog, a platypus, a lump of iron
ore and a Gryswilviz in terms of the essential fact that
there is only God. Non- dual Realization, or the Awakening
to the truth of already present and eternally True
Enlightenment (retroactive of course to the Begining,
whenever the heck that was) or the complete assumption by
the Will of God is perfect in Essence, but not in form!
This realization, this Awakening, is the Male aspect of the
polarity of all things. It is the realization and ultimate
fulfillment of the Yang or masculine nature of the being.
But it is not the ultimate fulfillment of the Yin, or
feminine aspect, which is indicated by all form, all
manifestation, all turning to, as differentiated from
radiating out as.


Gloria Lee

If I am not "being presence"- however and whatever is the
most true way I know to be this - then I am reduced to
calculating effects, imagining to control outcomes,
becoming nothing other than a manipulator of either others
or myself. Yet when I am true to my being, whatever
consequences that brings are still better than being false.


Dear Dave,

Your descriptions of the way you experienced this Beeing
and Treeing and the way your senses transformed when you
pretended to be deaf.. it evoked a memory in me of having
read something like it, tho it was quite sometime ago. I
finally found the passage, it was written by Helen Keller.
If only all could see and hear as well as she.....

~~~~ I have often thought it would be a blessing if each
human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at
some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make
him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the
joys of sound.

Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover
what they see. Recently I was visited by a very good friend
who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, and I
asked her what she had observed. 'Nothing in particular,'
she replied. I might have been incredulous had I not been
accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became
convinced that the seeing see little.

How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour
through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who
cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me through
mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass
my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch,
or the rough, shaggy bark of a pine. In spring I touch the
branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first
sign of awakening Nature after her winter's sleep. I feel
the delightful, velvety texture of a flower, and discover
its remarkable convolutions; and something of the miracle
of Nature is revealed to me. Occasionally, if I am very
fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel
the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to
have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open
fingers. To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy
grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
To me the pageant of seasons is a thrilling and unending
drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips.

My hands evoke sight and sound out of feeling,
Intershifting the senses endlessly,
Linking motion with sight, odor with sound.
They give color to the honeyed breeze,
The measure and passion of a symphony
To the beat and quiver of unseen wings.
In the secrets of earth and sun and air
My fingers are wise;
They snatch light out of darkness,
They thrill to harmonies breathed in silence.

Helen Keller

Melody Anderson

When I am chest area feels like a
screen door. I can feel the movement of energy thru it. And
not only a 'movement' of energy, but it's like a filling
up, and a lifting up of ....[there is not other way to
describe it, other than]... Love.

Very often though that area gets closed up, and I never
notice it when it closes. I only notice.... looking
backwards...I generally don't notice until I have just
cleared a blockage (denial) and I notice [undeniably!] the
rush of energy moving thru it....and then (until it closes
again) it's like a screen door with a spring breeze moving
thru it.

So when that area is closed I have to look to other areas
of my body for cues ....which are cues of denial....such as
a repulsive feeling in the stomach, or muscle tension
generally....or even more subtle cues of facial expression
and body posture.

If not for watching these body disturbances, I would not
know I was denying. No way.

I'm curious, Gene, if you are familiar with the EFT

I was introduced to it yesterday and from what I've read so
far, it seems very promising.

I have been opening to the idea of ending my 'hibernation',
and opening a hypnotherapy practice once again, and in this
'considering', I began to explore the web for what is new
in the field since I left it. It was in that search that I
discovered EFT, short for Emotional Freedom Technologies.

The technology is based on: "The cause of all negative
emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system."

And the 'work' involves simply tapping the end points of
the major energy meridians (as in accupuncture) when one's
attention is fixed on the 'inner disturbances'.

It takes only a minute to 'run the routine'.

If this works as well as the independent testimonies I have
read suggest, the marriage of this system to the work of
'ending denial' promises to be an exceptional one.

If you're familiar with it, I'd love to hear your take on

I downloaded the manual from a rather extensive website

and will try 'running some routines' on myself and see how
it goes.


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