Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nonduality Highlights each day

How to submit material to the Highlights

#3906 - Friday, May 28, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

The Nonduality Highlights -    

Gene Poole writes on the final episode of LOST.  

Notice of the upcoming Nondual Psychology Conference in Alberta, Canada.  


Much on LOST since the final episode;
this is one of my replies to a forum:


Good heavens. no pun intended.

One must grasp that all operations of consciousness occur with mathematical precision. Consequently, no `blanks' are allowed
within our personal narratives, our `life stories'.

One factor to keep in mind in analysis of LOST, as well as in our `real world', is this: Nothing occurs without an antecedent.

The chronic alcoholic and the psychotic `fill in the blanks' in their stories by a process called `confabulation'. It seems to me that this also occurs in our ordinary dreams. Much of the `nonsensical' factors of the plot of LOST are accountable by this means; each of the characters are frequently confronted by rather monumental `unknowns', and the process of confabulation manufactures `facts' which would (ideally) `explain' those unknowns. And quite naturally, the viewers are flummoxed by such confabulations, and lately, demand `logical answers'.

The discovery of the `hatch' and the `Dharma Initiative' serve that end; as one digs deeper into an incomprehensible `reality' (the entire life on the island), apparent `explanations' are discovered, but each lead only deeper into the mystery of the Bardo.

Jung might observe that the `hatch' and other (modern and ancient) underground features of the island, represent a necessary descent into the `unconscious' of the characters, notably Jack. In that realm (the unconscious) such fantastical events such as immortality, gods and monsters are to be expected; and each of those serves as pivotal ciphers in the mathematical unfolding of the reality of the Bardo.

Overall, the writers of LOST seem to have a reasonable grasp of the symbology of the human unconscious; eg, how each symbol exists only if it is useful and important, especially when serving as placeholders which (confabulation-wise) bridge the gap between the familiar and the unexpected and unknown.

Indeed, this same 'system' is at work in all of us right now. We choose to `believe' (faith) and also to want proofs (science) which will serve, at least temporarily, to `explain' the mysteries we all face. Jack's `character weakness' was his hidebound `faith in science', which was gradually eroded to nothing, by his final scenes. Locke served the role of seeker via his quest, and thus stimulated everyone to transcend their own inertia. But FLocke was the `finder' whose certainty matched Jack's; and thus is was appropriate the Jack killed FLocke, for certainty (the unchanging) is the enemy of evolution and change. By killing FLocke, Jack re-attained his own proper state, innocence.

Remember; mathematical precision as aided by confabulation. It does not seem like much of a good thing, until you figure that it is all we really have. The placeholders of imaginary antecedents are merely ad-hoc theories, which will mutate (magically, seemingly) eventually into a coherent `reality'. But we must keep in mind, what was revealed in the final episode; the reality we actually have may not be the one we assume.

The plot and characters of LOST are or were in no better or worse position, than we all are, right now. I thank the series writers for having the courage to avoid 'selling out' and to carry forward with the fantastical Dharma/Bardo theme to which we have been witness for the past several years.

The real heartbreak comes when we belatedly realize just how much of our stories we have `made up'. We hope, and blame, based on confabulated plot-lines. LOST has as none other, illustrated this principle in a manner as thundering as Shakespeare.




2010 Paradoxica Nondual Psychology Conference  
EXCITING NEWS: Announcing the first nondual psychology & psychotherapy conference in Canada. The Paradoxica Institute is hosting the Nondual Psychology (and beyond) conference June 17-18, 2010 at the University of Lethbridge in beautiful Lethbridge Alberta nestled in the coulees, and close to the Waterton Mountains. We want this to be a dynamic and transformational conference including powerful and insightful clinical workshops in addition to ground breaking presentations and energizing workshops.  Below is the Conference Program outline.  To register, please click on the PayPal link above.  Join in June's festivities as we celebrate and embrace the flowering of Nothingness together!

2010 Paradoxica Nondual Psychology Conference
June 17 & 18
Anderson Hall 100, University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge, Alberta

Presentation Program


Thursday -- June 17

9:00 a.m.  Opening

9:10 a.m.  Gary Nixon, Ph.D. University of Lethbridge, Alberta.  Surrendering At The End of Your Rope In The Nondual Journey:  Embracing Absolute Hopelessness and Total Failurehood.

10:30 a.m. Break

10:45  a.m. Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.  Psychologist, Pleasanton, California.  What's In Your Backpack? How Emptiness/Surrender is Seen in the Illusory, Empirical World and the Absolute.

11:45 a.m.  Lunch Break

1:00 p.m. Brian Theriault, MEd., C.C.C. Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Resting in the Eye of the Hurricane:  Transforming Trauma through Unconditional Awareness.

2:00 p.m.  Shirley Klippel, Ph.D., San Mateo, California.  The Celtic Portal to the Nondual Experience.

3:15 p.m.  Break

3:30 p.m  Marcia Rich, R. Psych., Ph.D. University of Lethbridge, Alberta.  Interweaving Pathways : The Significance of Shamanic Experience for the Nondual Journey.

5:00 p.m. Wrap up for day

Friday -- June 18

9:00 a.m.  Trent Leighton, Ph.D. Maniilaq-Indian Health Services, Kotzebue, Alaska.  Substance Abuse Counselling from a Nondual Perspective.

10:15 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m.  Jason Solowoniuk, MEd. University of Lethbridge, Alberta.  Nondual Psychotherapy and the Depressed Client.

11:45 a.m. Break

1:00  p.m.  Kyler Evans, MEd. Rising Phoenix Counselling, Lethbridge, Alberta. Accessing Your Birthright: Creativity, Nonduality, and the Pathless Path.

2:15 - 2:45 pm Break

2:45 - 3:45 p.m.  Coming to the End of A Nondual Conference: Closing Exercises and Sharing. 

3:45 - 5:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese Celebration (Sponsored by the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Lethbridge). 

In Order of Appearance:

Gary Nixon, Ph.D. is a transpersonal psychologist, and has been on faculty with the Addictions Counselling Program at the University of Lethbridge since 1998. Gary has been influenced by a long line of Eastern and Western nondual teachers such as Osho, Krishnamurti, Trungpa, Adi Da, Papaji, Nisargadatta, Adyashanti and the works of western transpersonal writers such as Wilber, and Almaas. Gary is passionate about the process of abiding in nondual being in everyday life, and has been facilitating nondual groups over the last ten years as well as maintaining a transpersonal psychology private practice. He is the Editor of Paradoxica: Journal of Nondual Psychology.

Title:  Surrendering at the End of Your Rope in the Nondual Journey:  Embracing Absolute Hopelessness and Total Failurehood.

This presentation will focus on the transformational opportunity that is available at the end of the journey for the nondual seeker of awakening.  The embracement of "rot", the acceptance of absolute hopelessness, and the relaxation into total failurehood are all pivotal opportunities for the former seeker to see through seeking in the realization that there is no where to go, nothing to do and no answer.  It is here a spontaneous surrender and illumination can take place and paradoxically the journey of abiding in nondual being which has been with all us all along can be embraced.

Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. practices as a journeyman psychologist, licensed since 1987 and in the field of Psychology since 1977, doing what works in honoring intuitive wisdom and the flow of Spirit in Pleasanton, California, in the East San Francisco Bay. This one still knows nothing, welcomes, surrenders and celebrates everything, purely engaging in being and doing what is loved. I am not here; only This, Being and now are here. No one in particular home, only Home. He is on the Editorial Board of Paradoxica: Journal of Nondual Psychology. Will welcomes feedback directly—email: [email protected] This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and the website:

Title:  What's in Your Backpack?  How Emptiness/Surrender is Seen in the Illusory, Empirical World and the Absolute.

In the movie Up In the Air, George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham, a corporate road warrior/downsizer who conducts employee firings for cowardly employers, gives motivational talks to corporate audiences asking, “What’s in your backpack?” Clooney’s character presents a backpack and asks his listeners to notice how it is filled with “necessities” as a metaphor for the meaning of life. He advocates carrying an “empty backpack” and ditching extra “baggage” in their lives, like possessions, family and relationships.

Near the film’s end, Clooney’s dispirited character cannot continue the charade and walks out leaving his backpack prop behind. The nirvana of “a relationship-free life” is revealed to be bogus, leaving him with no sense of who he is. Having experienced the joys and disappointments of relationships, he feels a gnawing emptiness that cannot be filled by an airline pillow or bag of peanuts.

In this context, we explore how emptiness/surrender is seen, both false and true, from within three levels/realms of reality—the illusory/dream, empirical/transactional world, and the Absolute. It is typically seen through the ego-mind’s lenses as a deadening, fearful existence culminating in annihilation. This illusory realm is projected onto the empirical world, given that in both realms nothing happens in the past or future, but rather in the present. Emptiness in the relative world can also be experienced as a springboard to awakening by honestly surrendering all that you are not, leaving purely all that you truly are.

Inside the Absolute, of which no one knows anything, everything is ultimate Truth, fascinating, whole and real. Emptiness is now revealed to be a vast empty fullness with nothing to surrender. What is left in the backpack?—nothing and everything, neither and both. There’s no backpack to carry, nothing to do, other than to look, listen, and enjoy the flow of life-energy.

Brian Theriault MEd., C.C.C. Over a decade ago, while doing personal trauma work with Gary Nixon, Brian experienced a profound shift in consciousness that radically changed the course of his life. Since then, he has been on a moment-to-moment paradoxical journey of awakening. Brian embraces a transpersonal approach in his personal life and in his clinical work with individuals in Stage II - III addiction recovery and trauma resolution work. He resonates with the profound mystical teachings of Osho, Lao Tzu, Zen and Nisargadatta Maharaj coupled with the work of western transpersonal psychologists, Ken Wilber, Gary Nixon, A. H. Almaas and Stephen Wolinsky.

Title:  Resting in the Eye of the Hurricane: Transforming Trauma through Unconditional Awareness.

Trauma occurs when, in response to a perceived life-threatening event, high states of arousal energy become bound-up in the body-mind due to the contraction/judgment of fear and terror creating frozen moments in time (Peter Levine). The coupling of fear and terror interrupts the natural discharge of pent-up energy and collapses all the other levels of human consciousness. A powerful thawing agent is the experience of relaxing as unconditional Awareness. Nondual psychology and the perennial wisdom traditions describe unconditional Awareness as a vast silence and absolutely still Presence unconditioned by form but seen as none other than form, unscathed by the impact of trauma and eternally available in the midst of moment to moment experiencing. By stepping into the eye of trauma with no judgment, the miraculous healing energy of unconditional Awareness can reveal itself and impart the wisdom of no escape, nothing to fear and no trauma; a Divine mergence and total release into what is. This presentation will draw upon Nondual psychology and elements of Somatic Experiencing through information, experiential exercises and discussion.

Shirley Klippel, Ph.D. began her journey in 1983 following a spontaneous nondual awakening that reconnected her to her Celtic heritage. She co-founded  Brookridge Institute, offering conferences in Consciousness and Addictions, obtained a Ph.D. in psychological and mythological studies, and is now involved in dual careers producing documentary films  and facilitating the Game of Transformation. Shirley’s research indicates that the ancient Celts were experiencers of nondual consciousness and her goal is to communicate this discovery. British born, she has lived in San Francisco Bay Area for many years where she maintains her “day” job as Director of Human Resources for a TV station.

Title:  The Celtic Portal to the Nondual Experience.

Surprisingly, I discovered through research into my Irish heritage evidence that Celtic consciousness equals nondual consciousness. Exploration into this Celtic portal was inspired by my own numinous experience in 1983.

The focus of this presentation is the introduction of a lost Western tradition of nonduality. Although the evidence may be fragmentary, what those ancient artists expressed through the sacred stones of Ireland and Brittany, on the backs of mirrors found throughout Britain and on tribal coins everywhere in the Celtic-speaking world tells us that they embraced both realities.  Commentary by art critics Andre Malraux and Ruth and Vincent Megaw are used to support my position as well as clips from an interview with Jody Joy at the British Museum.  In addition to the art, “I am” poems comparable to those voiced by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita by Irish and Welsh bards support my interpretation of the Celtic Worldview and its nondualism.

While both the West and the East had access to this nondual experience, different paths were chosen. The history of the West is one of the dominant culture, one of Cartesian dualism.  However, underneath, suppressed but not entirely eradicated, is the Celtic one of nonduality. Celtic consciousness - both ancient and modern - is best expressed by 19th century Breton writer Ernest Renan: “The essential element of the Celts’ poetic life is. . .the pursuit of the unknown . . .the race desires the infinite.”

This presentation is an adaption of a dissertation entitled: Celtic Siren: A Case Study of William Sharp’s Seduction Experience in which in Numinous Other is Understood and Interpreted. I discuss Sharp’s experience as well as my own as examples of the Celtic nondual experience and through this presentation attempt to win a place for this lost Western path to nonduality.

Marcia Rich, Ph.D. has worked as a private practice psychologist for 16 years. Working from an existential-feminist-transpersonal framework, she provides psychotherapy engaging the consciousness of mind, body, emotion and spirit. In the past 3 years, Marcia has been participating in Shamanic training through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and has been integrating Shamanic practice with transpersonal psychotherapy. More recently, she has joined the faculty of the Addictions Counselling Program at the University of Lethbridge, as an Assistant Professor, and is on the Editorial Board of Reviewers of Pardoxica: Journal of Nondual Psychology.

Title:  Interweaving Pathways:  The Significance of Shamanic Experience for the Nondual Journey.

This 90 minute presentation is both theoretically and experientially based.  Both the Nondual and Shamanic pathways are explored to reveal the similarities between the theoretical explanations and experiences of practitioners on either path.  Common struggles and barriers experienced by individuals on the nondual path are outlined, which may be worked through using Shamanic practices, revealing the significance of shamanic experience for abiding in nondual being.  An experiential based Shamanic practice will be introduced for participants to experience firsthand and share its relevance for their own nondual journey.

Trent Leighton, Ph.D. has spent his professional career dedicated to the development of a mental health model based upon the nondual realizations of the World’s enlightened and awakened masters. The evolution of this process has taken him through a wide breadth of spiritual and psychological teachings that have been “lived” in the lab of daily life and translated into effective counseling practices. After years of creating a successful private practice in New York City, Trent’s current focus finds him working with indigenous villages in rural Alaska applying the realizations of nonduality to those struggling with active addiction.

Title:  Substance Abuse Counselling From a Nondual Perspective.

Intersections between the myriad of psychological interventions and the Non-Dual teachings and practices of many spiritual traditions in the perennial philosophy are becoming increasingly common. One specific area in which this collaboration holds untapped possibilities is the proliferation of substance abuse and addiction that transcends cultural and socio-economic boundaries. To view the metaphysical premise of duality and separate selfhood as conditioned, non-obligatory activities and not literal, causal objects: provides a brand new horizon from which to approach the addict’s impulsive need to drink and drug. The unique vantage of non-duality, or Metanoesis, exposes an underlying “addiction” that is typically not addressed in most conventional psychological models. From Buddhism to Vedanta, there is a indefatigable message that not only are we not the separate pockets of subjectivity we are working so hard to sell, but that such an existential option is not possible in the first place. Coupled with sound counseling practices, this workshop will explore the relationship between the addicts need to get “high” and the defense of the false premise of duality and separation between subject-object that leaves no room for an ego to be anything, including “addicted.”      


top of page