The philosopher Thomas Nagel asked the question of
what it is like to be a bat. He went on to say that although we could know
exactly what a bat looked like and how it behaved – and although
we could know everything there possibly is to know ABOUT a bat we
could still never know what it was like to BE a bat. So what makes bats know what it is like to be a bat? Is it the kind of food they eat or the fact that
they have compassion for their fellow bats? Is it because they enquire into their battiness or
read about their bat nature? No, they know what it is like to be a bat simply
because they ARE bats. And this is the sense in which I know what I am
regardless of my appearance, behaviour or anything else. What I am is what makes the knowing of everything
ABOUT me fall short of what it is like to BE me. I have no idea what I am – I am indescribable - but
my being is undoubtable and unavoidable.
I have to admit that I don't get, i.e. understand
the whole 'satsang' thing and all the debates on duality and
non-duality. I've been into A Course in Miracles for over 20
years, and in the last 2 years was moved more into contemplating
and reading the practices of the Hindu sages.... really opened my
eyes and I see clearer now, but still.. I just don't get all the
debates... when I see that, at least speaking only for myself,
Spirit Within is leading me to see Self.... I am not one of those
who thinks "I know" what it is all about, so I am really open to
discussion on this! Thanks! Much love!
John Devitt A lot of ND discussion is the equivalent
of the theologians endlessly debating how many angels can dance on
the head of a needle. It's a game people play, till a more
interesting one shows up. Life itself continues to unfold
irrespective of whatever we think or say about it.
Tim Gerchmez The thinking/saying is an aspect of
life unfolding, of course... It's not like thought is separate
Jerry Katz One person's "debate" is another's "being
moved," and it's all this unfolding they're talking about.
Dhanya Durga Moffitt Dear Sheryl, Here's one bit of
information. I've been exposed to the teachings of nonduality for
quite a while, beginning in 1991, when I met Poonjaji in
Lucknow--and I was a spiritual seeker for twenty years prior to
that. So that's a lot of years.
In 2002 I met my current teacher, Carol Whitfield,
and then her teacher, Swami Dayananda, and through them I came in
contact with the very ancient teachings of Advaita/Vedanta found
in the Upanisads.
I love this teaching. It has helped me to understand
what nonduality actually is.
The practice of debate and discussion about
nonduality is very ancient, stretching back centuries.
There once an Indian sage, who was called Adi
Shankaracharya, who most likely lived in the 7th century. He wrote
commentaries on ten major Upanisads, and the Bhagavad Gita, as
well as composing many original supporting texts on the topic of
advaita. It is his commentaries and texts that are primarily used
in the teaching tradition in which I study.
Along with writing commentaries and original texts
and traveling around India teaching, one other thing Shankara
often did was to hold debates with various people who were
considered to be spiritual authorities of his time, and who may
have interpreted the words of the Upanisads variously.
There were at that time in India other schools of
philosophy who cited the Upanisads as the source of their
teaching, but whose philosophy wasn't really nondual. So Shankara
would hold debates with these people.
There were certain rules for debate. I think there
are four types of debates that one is advised not to enter into,
like don't bother to debate with anyone who isn't even interested,
don't bother to debate with anyone who just wants to argue and
isn't open to really listening to what you are saying. There are a
couple more, but I can't remember what they are. I guess I might
add, don't bother to debate with anyone who is out and out rude
(that would be one of mine at least. It may not have been
necessary in Shankara's day because he wasn't on the internet
So bottom line what I'm trying to say is that
debating or discussing may not be a bad thing, and in fact,
talking and debating and discussing nonduality with others is a
time-honored practice, stretching back thousands of years, right
back to the 7th Century and Shankara, (and probably even much
farther than that).
I've learned a lot in discussions with others over
the years. I've also pretty much learned when not to discuss, when
it isn't any use, or to see when a person just wants to argue. And
certainly because of the way the internet functions, there can be
a lot of incivility, as one doesn't know to whom one is talking or
what that person's motivation might be. Still it is interesting,
and for the most part I like it and on the whole feel I've
benefitted from it. Om!
Mace Mealer The miracle of conflict is resolution,
conflict being an aspect of two is thereby resolved into one. Some
might say this is resolution is rare, while some might say it is
patently inevitable, while others might posit that it is all rank
illusion . There are exactly as many views as there are minds to
hold them, but only one, I repeat ONE truth... maybe.
Jerry Katz: I was supposed to go to some kirtan
tonight and walked there and never went. Too mellow for me. I'm
heading out to karaoke with the beer and people like myself who
can't sing but at least sing loud and horribly. Makes me wonder
what I'm doing in the spirituality racket. I feel like an atheist
who builds churches.
Wayne Ferguson "There is much that is difficult for
the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much: but
the difficult and the most difficult are what its strength
demands. "What is difficult? asks the spirit that would bear
much, and kneels down like a...See More Selections from Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra,
Tim Gerchmez There's no reason to care if people
consider you 'spiritual' or not, unless you're in it to be
considered a certain way. Which would be especially ironic given
that advaita is about loss of self, dontcha think? . Enjoy the
karaoke (I like it too ). There's nothing "unspiritual" except
carrying around a self-image, in my view.
Mark K Lemon The mystery loves fun!
Amrita Nadi OMG Jerry! i can't read the other
comments, eyes bad now, but had to respond: Beer and karaoke can
be 1,000 times more spiritual than kirtan or chanting or pujas or
whatever has a label of being spiritual.. Now, you know that
darlin' and "i" know it cause i used to live on a garbage pile
with a raccoon eatin' out of a used pizza box, and we both got
friggin' enlightened! , , , and it's all been delightfully down
hill since then! Bars. beer. jazz. and watchin' damn fools
croaking at a mike . . . life is so great! Now, go young party
animal - you can croak almost better than anyone i know.. jes'
maybe stop labelin' stuff, ya know?
Tim Gerchmez ^ Yayyyy! Pizza lighty-mint is the best
Braying Jack Cass We all need our hobbies...
Amrita Nadi Tim dear: "Pizza lighty-mint" hoho! Join
me sometime, eh?
Tim Gerchmez Will do, if we're ever together in the
same area. The cheese gets kinda stringy when you download it,
even over a high speed line .
Amrita Nadi Stringy cheese is good. It's the sauce
and pepperoni that gets messy. But it's a date. i live in a cave
near a dumpster - i traveled uptown - lalala and got me a piece of
the pie lalala.. aha! we have desert!
Tim Gerchmez At the moment it's a big bowl of
Spaghettios with cheddar melted on top... Not a very 'spiritual'
food either, but I never did care for those sautéed yak's livers
that the Tibetans like... . My kitty-cat got a plate of people
tuna, too, and was happy about that.
Amrita Nadi happy cat is good. bring him with you.
This is my cat after a heavy spiritual day of karaoke.
Melanie Boothby live large. it is required at
Tony Cartledge If you still feel guilty, just bring
up 'All you need is love' or 'Across the Universe' or 'Tomorrow
never knows' by the Beatles at karaoke.