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#3783 - Thursday, January 21, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights -      

"There are such helpers in the world, who rush to save anyone who cries out. Like Mercy itself they run toward the screaming." --Rumi   posted to Facebook by Nathan Spoon  

Nonduality and Haiti  

From Dede

Dear Scott,
On CNN the events in Haiti unfold, while in my garden a rose unfolds in it's
fragrant beauty... and all is well. On the same planet at the same moment these
two things arise. From a non dual perspective how is this seen? How can resting
as awareness help the woman wailing for her only son buried beneath the fallen

From Scott

It won't.  That is why I donated money to the relief efforts.  :)   I'll answer this another way.  Resolving the separation issue provides a peace that passes all understanding, and resolves issues surrounding personal suffering and fear of death.  That does not change the fact that someone who is pinned under a house after this earthquake is experiencing intense pain, difficulty in catching the next breath and whatever else, and may be terrorized by the thoughts of future suffering and death. 

The world as it appears, with its earthquakes, suffering, etc, is the only world we know.  Life goes on in every way.  Everything is as it is--birth, death, suffering, taxes.  Although there can be a seeing that separation and suffering is illusory, it doesn't take away the pain felt as a house lands on the body.  It doesn't take away the fact that when I see someone hurting, I want to reach out and help.  For that, it's good, in my view, to donate money to relief efforts.

-------   From Michael

When you made your donation to the Haiti relief efforts, did you think you
were helping someone? I'm not trying to be cute, but truly trying to
understand. If nonduality teaches that there are no separate individuals,
then from that perspective there is no wailing woman, no injured and dying
people, no people suffering from lack of food and water. Instead, there are
only appearances without substance, right? Isn't Awareness perfectly being
those appearances? So from that perspective, what is the motivation to
change the appearance of suffering, if in fact there are no separate
entities to be suffering?

From Scott

Hi Michael.  Instead of a long-winded answer, let me quote a famous spiritual teacher whose name I will not include because some like him and some don't (and it's this message that is important, not the messenger).

"In the realization of enlightenment you realize there are no others to save, and then you vow to save them all. 

That's the paradox."

Let me just add that this is not about a belief that there is no self.  It is a seeing.  And so with no separation, it's like an arm moving to help a leg when it's bleeding.  It's automatic.  The arm does not say, "But there is no separate leg, it's all one body."  It just reaches down to help the leg stop bleeding.  No questions asked.  What else is love supposed to do?

-------   From Michael

Then if -- as you say below -- pain is being felt, people are hurting,
people are being terrorized, in what sense do you mean "suffering is

It seems quite empty to say "suffering is illusory" at the same time that
you point out instances of what appear to be great suffering.

From Scott

"Suffering"-the way I use that term-has a specific meaning.  Perhaps I should have clarified.  The root of the word suffer is "to carry," as if to carry over in time.  Pain appears.  Sensations are uncomfortable.  Terror arises.  To suffer is to carry that over in time, as if there is a person suffering in time, in a story.  This is what makes people feel as though they have "had a hard life."  They are carrying things over in time.  Even saying, "I've had a bad or a good week," is carrying over.

To say suffering is illusory is to say that our real identity is not found in thought.  Time is thought.  To make an identity out of the notion of a person carrying things over in time is to suffer.

To see that everything is a temporary appearance of awareness, and not happening to a time-bound story is to be free of suffering in time. 

Obviously if there is a belief in a separate self, there is a great fear of death, a sense that the world consists of separate things, and a carrying over of the past.  When someone is suffering as a person living in time, their suffering seems very real.   I don't want to downplay that. 

To see that there is no self does not mean that one is free of pain, sensation, discomfort, pleasure.  It means there is no more storytelling around those things.  No carrying over.  It's not personal.  
-------   Even seeing that stories are not real is sometimes not enough. This is why, in my view, it matters very much how you relate in the world and in relationships.  It is not enough to say there is no self and no other.  How one moves in the world when it is really seen that there is no separation is where the rubber meets the road, in my view.  How one relates to others and reacts to situations is the tell tale sign of whether there is a recognition.  Really clear words pointing to non-duality are a dime a dozen and don't necessarily reveal that stories have been seen through.

Scott Kiloby posted to OAStudyGroup

    "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me,
I  was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.  

Then the righteous will answer him, saying,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'  

And the King will answer them,
'Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"

(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)


Each of Us Has A Name  

Each of us has a name
given by God
and given by our parents

Each of us has a name
given by our stature and our smile
and given by what we wear

Each of us has a name
given by the mountains
and given by our walls

Each of us has a name
given by the stars
and given by our neighbors

Each of us has a name
given by our sins
and given by our longing

Each of us has a name
given by our enemies
and given by our love

Each of us has a name
given by our celebrations
and given by our work

Each of us has a name
given by the seasons
and given by our blindness

Each of us has a name
given by the sea
and given by
our death.

~ Zelda ~
  (Trans. by Marcia Lee Falk in
Beloved on the Earth, ed. by
J. Perman, D. Cooper, M. Hart, and P. Mittlefehldt)

Please consider:    

International Red Cross and Red Crescent   Doctors Without Borders

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