Some books that changed my life, in no particular
“The Road“ by Cormac McCarthy. This book talks about
the bleakest possible survival scenario, 10 years into a nuclear
winter. The centerpiece of the book is the relationship of a
father and son, trying to survive and retain their humanity in the
process. Some have also pointed out that it is a dire warning of
what a total ecological collapse would mean. It made me cry like
no other too. It doesn't placate the reader with explanations,
just immerses you in the story. The language is beautiful too,
almost biblical. While I was reading, I kept thinking, "I'm so
glad not to live in that world."
"Neuromancer" by William Gibson. Cyberpunk at it's
finest. A gritty, high-tech sci-fi noir. Talked about the internet
before such a thing existed in any advanced form.
"The Hand-Sculpted House“ by Ianto Evans, et al. The
book that introduced me to many of the concepts of natural
building and the philosophy behind it. It was an ecological
awakening for me. It's mostly about cob building but many of the
techniques can be used in other building methods as well. A
"Earthbag Building" by Kaki Hunter and Donald
Kiffmeyer. This book finally introduced me to my own personal
favorite building method and gave me the knowledge necessary to
build my own extremely inexpensive, extremely strong house.http://asustainablelife.info/pictures.html
"The Humanure Handbook" by Joseph Jenkins. This book
explains, in extreme detail, why composting our crap is the only
sensible use of all of that organic matter. In the US and most
modern countries, we are extremely wasteful of water and organic
matter. Using the methods in this book, we can way lessen our
destructive impact on he planet. I can't suggest it enough to
anyone who cares about the planet or would like to.
“The Light Behind Consciousness“ by John Wheeler.
This book helped explain, in a "country simple“ way, how we are
already conscious and that we don't need to go seeking mystical or
any other experiences to be complete. This, coupled with a couple
of calls to John, helped point this out.
“The Zen Teachings of Huang Po." After immersing
myself in the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, these teachings
helped cut the attachment to any of those or other concepts about
the nature of reality. The message? Divisions are conceptual and
all there is is Buddha-mind (awareness and all of the forms it
appears as). This is revealed when concepts are no longer mistaken
for truth. Good to clean out the cobwebs.
“Animal Farm" by George Orwell. All you need to know
about politics is a very small volume. "All animals are equal but
some are more equal than others."
"As It Is“ by Tony Parsons. My introduction to
non-duality and a true mind blower. It had such an effect on my
psyche at the time that I felt like it was written in lightning!
Wednesday's Nonduality Network Talk Radio show may
be heard here:
James Traverse and Dustin LindenSmith are guests
with Jerry Katz. James Traverse describes the extraordinary
spirit, the people, and various sessions of the recent Shanti Fest
in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The opportunity for authentic experience.
Culmination in ecsatic dance described. "Extraordinary
manifestation of peace." Audio clips of om chanting, a gong bath,
the music of Suryachandra. The meaning of Om. The gong bath
Dustin speaks about raising children as the most
spiritual practice there is. Stopping the fight against the way
things are. Connecting with the child "at an emotional level at
the moment based on what's happening at the time without trying to
do anything or change anything." Avoiding emotional difficulty
through eating. Value of living in the world rather than becoming
a "monk" or prior to spiritual involvement. Life as the greatest
teacher. Quote from Tolle: As Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth,
"while the child is having a painbody attack, there isn't much you
can do except to stay present so that you are not drawn into an
emotional reaction. The child's painbody would only feed on it.
Painbodies can be extremely dramatic. Don't buy into the drama.
Don't take it too seriously. If the painbody was triggered by
thwarted wanting, don't give in now to its demands. Otherwise, the
child will learn: 'The more unhappy I become, the more likely I am
to get what I want'" (page 106). Dustin also talks about his tenor
Life slammed me into the wall of suffering on a
daily basis. I was the Cauliflower McPugg of Suffering. I lost
every fight. TKO was my middle name. Flocks of birds were flying
over my head everywhere I went. Not only that, they went “splat”
all over my nicest clothes.
I got up in the morning only to be sent spinning
into the wall before I knew what hit me. I was up for the
challenge. “I will not give up. I will not give up.” That was my
subconscious mantra. My Manager, and I capitalize that, thought I
had something. That if I just kept going, I would become a real
And so the months and years went on. I did nothing
but do what the Manager told me. I was a female fighter, which is
not that common. I begin to suffer fainting spells and my ears
rang so loudly they sounded like a heavenly choir. I saw stars
that were so beautiful. I begin to hate to struggle up off the
The Manager kept arranging fights that took me up
against the toughest fighters there were. At one point my eyes
were so tightly shut I had to use a white cane to cross the
street. He never let me quit. I begin to hate Him. I had long
since quit trying to persuade Him to let me retire. He had not
lost faith in me.
Then one night I had a dream. I dreamt that the
Manager said, "It's time for you to quit." It felt so good. Maybe
I would have time to heal, to be out to pasture and able to smell
the cow patties. Let’s face it. I obviously couldn’t smell;
fighting had ruined my nose.
In the dream, the Manager was holding an iMac
keyboard. “This is how you are going to fight from now on,” He
said. I have decided that people like you are not who I need in
the ring. You never became a winner but you kept on fighting. I
have been watching you develop stamina. If you have nothing else,
ya got that in spades.” I could have sworn I saw a tear in His
“So what’s up with the keyboard. Do I have to fight
“No, all you have to do is work out on it every day.
It’s your sparring partner. The more you work out, the stronger
you will get. And you, My Precious One....I still have great hopes
When I woke up, I felt that something had changed. I
could fight where I wanted to fight. I could fight in my own way.
The Good Fight. The fight that counted. Not only that, I would be
making TKO’s against what had kept me on the mat for my whole
life. Oh, the Manager knew me. He knew my stubbornness, my will to
succeed, my intrinsic desire to please. He just wanted me to
realize that it could be used for Him instead of for myself.
The first thing I did was write this essay. I
punched the keys with my fingers wrapped in tape. I played the
music from Rocky in the background. I ran up and down the steps of
the QWERTY keyboard. I did an air fist pump and the crowd roared.
They wanted me to win. I typed on and on and on. The Manager had
pulled it off. I shoulda trusted Him all along. He had made me a
What if we always already are the wholeness, the fullness, the aliveness.What if, even if we do not feel it, are already whole and complete. What if you could trust this message because it resonates with something inside of you
And because the one saying these words inspires confidence.
And an unshakeable permanence unheard of in this world of shifting shapes filters down through the
What if because of this trust in the message a bridge is build between what is and what appears
And one follows naturally the way back home.
What if it only takes the allowing The consideration that it is possible Entertain the possibility.
My recipe for Chai. Start with a very big pot of
water. Put in the following ingredients. Lot of fresh ginger, just
shredded. Four to five cinnamon sticks (maybe more). Lot of black
pepper (not for everyone). Lots of Fennel seeds and Anise seeds.
Many whole Cloves. Cardamom seeds. Bring the pot to boil and let
it simmer on low for ten minutes. Add loose black tea and or green
tea or both to the mix. Let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Pour
through strainer in a large cup. Add Soy milk or Rice Milk (for
vegans like me). In Indian Chai, cow milk or goat milk is added.
Sweeten with sugar, honey, or stevia. There is really no need to
sweeten it in my view. Drink slowly. In this picture, I am at the
Nova Scotia Arunachala Ashram. Dennis Hartel is sitting next to me
reading the paper while I drink some Chai.