What is Nonduality
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Legends of spirituality may exist in books only. Today's famous spiritual teachers are also alive mostly in books and videos; they are hard to get close to. However, there are amongst the rest of us a large number of people who know of the Self. This book introduces a few of those people and speaks of how they met on the Internet. The purpose of this book is not to offer an alternative to scripture or the writings of Ramana, but to make them more accessible by seeing how others express nondual perspective and live their lives. The real power in this book is how people live their lives with nondual perspective. That's where the power in this book lies. That's also where the money is.
Include some of Chuck's columns helping people. Get into the people side of nonduality as well as the flowery verses side. Also talk about the list. Talk about childhood experiences. Talk about struggle. Let's determine what bases are on this field and make sure they are properly covered.
I would call a successful satsang one where people break
through into Self.
They return because there are still mind habits to be released/transformed.
There is deepening, and there is your own silence and shakti to be drawn on
by the next batch coming along.
As I see it the teaching
is for whoever shows up for it.
[email protected] writes:
<< > I think the guru is usually the most addicted of the bunch! See, he needs
> the fix so bad, he's become a "dealer" (dealer of bliss?) in order to get
> wholesale. >>
I can understand the cynicism, in a way, because there are all kinds of
teachers around. But I hope not everyone throws out the baby with the
bathwater. There is a role played by fully awakened ones that is in absolute
integrity and freedom.
There's always the opportunity for discrimination, which is not on appearance
of anything but on how it touches us from and into truth.
We see as we expect to see. We receive as we give.
By grace alone do we see beyond our projections and receive
<< From: Marcia Paul
My friends and I have been working with the theme
of false personality. This is the part of personality
which isn't even really personality. Personality is
the habits, opinions and so forth that are ingrained
in one but false personality is when image gets involved
and personality is compared to some image to see if
it measures up. It is just a framework. You can toss
it if you wish.
What are you calling "real personality"?
The habits, opinions, goals and fears of personality, where did they come
Is there anything in personality that is not comparison?
How prone are humans to identifying ourselves and each other by personality?
What role does identity play in veiling your essence?
When you experience Presence, is there any personality there?
We went around about 'form' a little while back.
Personality is form in thought and emotion based on memory
It has "I am like this" and "I am not like that." in it.
It has the familiarity of at least this lifetime.
But freedom will not be found in personality.
Freedom lies in Presence.
When curiosity grows strong enough people often want to know their own source.
Source/Presence is not learned, it is eternal, it is whole and undiversified
Personality is learned, it is temporary, it is a multiplicity in itself and
in comparison with others.
That's why personality - none of it - is "real".
People are fond of saying
There is no such thing as Realization
There is no such thing as Enlightenment
Why single them out?
There is also no such thing as words
movies and popcorn
little green frogs
rice and veggies
To me this non-existent non-process of non-awakening is
just too intimate to think about the fact that
it isn't happening.
Otherwise, why do I feel so grateful?
<< From: Marcia Paul <[email protected]>
I agree with everything you have said.
It is just a framework. You can toss it if you
The way I see it is that personality gets laid down
through imitation, reaction, and defense. But the
part of personality which is not even the person's
personality is where that personality is compared to
some consensus standards. You can look at it like
the outer and more inner layers of the onion skin.
The most outer layers are the most societal if you
will. That would be another way of putting it perhaps.
If I have learned a skill say and I use it to earn my
living with it is still personality and if I compare
my skill with others saying I am somehow better or
worse because I am "just a teacher" say then I am
entering the arena of false personality.
Yep. Personality is useful for living in this world.
But it's still false as an identity.
But there's nothing wrong with falseness.
It just won't set us free,
no matter how central to the onion it is.
Do we want a better
illusion identity or do we want the whole truth, real freedom? Acceptance of
our own bullshit can be a way of opening to our already established
perfection and purity.
I thought in realization
"I" would disappear.
Instead "you" do.
I keep running into my own idiotic solitary dance
and noticing all that seems to hold it in repetition
is the familiarity.
It's not doing anything for me but that.
Except, of course, shielding me from absolute freedom.
I'm drawn these days to the idea and presence of Natural self,
and unbiased relaxation into stillness - down in the belly of my body/mind.
After so many years of trying to get away from, or manage and control the
absurdities of my personal self it takes consistent work to catch myself in
those old habits and just stop. Like all awakening practice, a slight shift
in awareness releases my mind into this silent naturalness. One more step of
transformation - what believes itself to be what it is not, gives up little
I've come to recognize that when I get shaky and wierded
out a breakthrough in consciousness is just around the corner.
In my personal journey awakening and healing personal
negativity go hand in
hand. It wasn't until the truth of mySelf became more apparent that the
fearful and self-judging aspects could substantially begin to let go.
<< Tim Gerchmez wrote:
> I'm not convinced. At the beginning (6 months ago) when I was introduced
> to the nondual perspective, sadhana came naturally and easily. The more
> I've learned, the more difficult it has become. Lately it has become
> extremely difficult. This mind is too full of thoughts now; when it was
> relatively empty of knowledge, I experienced samadhi of one sort or another
> regularly. I have not experienced samadhi now for at least a month.
> "Practice" is suffering a great deal. I know too much. Words usually
> create duality, and maintain it. Only that which is utterly wordless and
> silent brings the nondual perspective.
St. John of the Cross describes this in Dark Night of the Soul.
I read it when I was going through something similiar.
It helped a lot.
Essentially he says that in the beginning one experiences blessings and
sweetness of Grace and often assumes this is a permanent state. However, as
one is captured in dedication, the dark night of purification takes place and
there is grief over the loss of the honeymoon days. A person in the dark
night is often excruciatingly aware of their human weakness - pride, fear,
judgements, etc., and frustration and longing for the pure love of Self are
St. John says this is done purposefully by God to strength and purify the
student, leaving nothing of the imperfections of human nature un-surrendered.
Tim G. wrote:
When confronted with a problem, instead of trying to "fix" it, or feeling
bad about it, or some other reaction, simply LOOK at it. Look at it
directly, straight in the face. Observe it from all possible angles, with
complete dispassion. Bring no reaction into the equation whatsoever.
Simply see and sound the problem to its depths, ALL of it, and say to
yourself, "Yes, this problem is here. I see it. It exists. It IS."
Truly acknowledge to yourself that the problem exists. Then: DROP the
whole thing! Completely!
I recommend this highly also. It allows you to be just the awareness of
mind stuff and not a doer/self-manipulator. I call it "Turn and Face".
I find that I don't even have to drop it when I look at "where it arises
There is an easing through that transforms, organically and effortlessly.
Ramana Maharshi taught, "Where is this thought arising from?"
as well as, "Who am I?". He also said being aware of the breath
can be as direct a way as self-inquiry because thoughts and breath
arise from the same place.
To cross a wide, flowing river an ant had
climbed onto the back of a water buffalo.
Half-way across the ant thought, "I don't like
having to be dependent." So he jumped off
into the swiftly moving water.
Non-dual theorists may tell you there is no river to cross,
but I am a pragmatist, not a theorist. I will do whatever
works to transform my awareness back to its natural
The question is, what do you want? If you want to
awaken to the wholeness of yourself you will welcome
whatever comes to you for that. If you want to main-
tain an identity that you are dependent or independent,
then that is the loop in which you will remain.
If you're not sure which of the people, practices, etc.
showing up for you now will take you there, stop trying
to figure it out and rest in your heart. The songs all say it,
your heart does lead rightly.
<< David Hodges wrote:
> Next, my daughter graduated from high school this week. The transition
> for her is equally a transition for me. She is my last tie to the town
> where I lived for 20 years so it was a melancholy ceremony for me, but
> mixed with joy for Robin as she moves on to George Washington University in
> the fall. Robin is a soul who is attracted to the causes of the
> underprivileged and politically downtrodden. She has done things like
> volunteer at soup kitchens and for Habitat for Humantiy. I am waiting for
> an opening to tell her about NonDuality. I don't know whether it will come
> tomorrow or in ten years but I am ready. Any advice? Should I wait for her
> to indicate the desire for a better spiritual framework for her spontaneous
> movements away from the personal or should I point her to it now?
Great to hear from you. I love to read your writing.
We have a son soon to be 21. He was born in a commune
and we had him sitting down trying to get in touch with
his body at four years old. Then we moved out and
he has few memories. As we were both very much
indoctrinated as children into the religion of our parents
neither my husband nor I wanted to force our kids into
anything. My middle child went out and found a church
of her own when she wanted that kind of influence.
Anyway back to my son. One day he was moaning about
some problems he was having. I said I could tell him what was
going on if he wanted me to. He said yes and I told him
what I saw. I gave him some exercises to collect his attention
and make observations. After a few days he came back and
asked if I had any books he could read. He has gone through
four now and he is giving it back to me now.
"John, why did you say you were going to drive the car to the
shop and then not do it?"
"Well, mom, one i said it and a different i was on board when it
came time to drive the car to the shop."
"Stop mom. Observe your state right now. You are not remembering
yourself." (This is right after he has backed into garbage can with my
Anyway all in good time David. :-)
When my sons were about 7 and 9 somebody
said in a workshop, "If you ask a young child,
'You know this light in here?' pointing to your
chest, they'll say, 'yeah?'. After a point if
you ask the kid, 'You know this light in here?'
they'll say 'huh?'"
I went home wondering if it was too late.
I asked them, "You know this light in here?"
They both said, "yeah?"
I wanted to help them stay aware of it
but didn't want to nag, so once a year,
in the fall, I'd say, "You know this light
in here, do you pay attention to it?"
They'd say "Sometimes."
A few months ago I was talking to the
younger son, now 21, about my ex-
perience of inner silence and he said
something about his. I asked him,
"How did you discover the silence?"
He said, "I can't believe you are
asking me that. The way you raised
us, I have never not known it."
When they were teens we used to
have discussions about science or
philosophy when there were often
opportunities to raise questions about
the nature of time/space, or conscious-
ness. Great talks!
Always it's worked out best if I just
tell them my personal experiences
now and then - just as they tell me
some of what's happening in their
lives. Though I often think there's
no way to describe my 'adventures
in wholeness', when it comes down to
it there usually is some simple way to
say what I am learning, unlearning, etc.
I find that allowing Divine Mother presence
in my beingness - with or without form -
yields full emptiness.
Empty of Things but full of Presence.
She is passionate silence,
the void that is also Life itself.
She is Grace,
that which reaches into the
darkness of illusion and
calls us home.
As I go along understanding becomes simpler and simply
surprising. How easy
it can be to shift awareness from
what I am aware of - sense impressions, thoughts, feelings -
to awareness itself. It's no more complicated than that,
yet because we have become complication itself simplicity
seems unreal and valueless. We have reversed everything
in the attempt to create meaning where it is not. We can
return to real meaning - simple beingness - by looking at the
values and identities we have made up, with detachment. Then
by looking at what is looking. Then by being that.
As for me,
the feeling of laughter
deep in my body
lets me know
The core wound could be called the core loss.
In that case it can be healed by finding what
was lost again - by knowing what we are.
It has happened to me.
Literally in a twinkling of
my eye, consciousness
shifted to the Everything.
<< I am thinking of my own freedom and how limited it is as a human being.
Can we really have any freedom at all? What are we really free to do? >>
We can have freedom when we discover what it is and where it already exists.
Thinking of it as the duality of freedom-limitation or freedom-bondage will
continue to go in the circles in which it has always gone. If you have the
aim of freedom to be your original Self, doing will follow naturally.
What you are in essence - not the body, mind or personality - is already free
and has never been anything but free. The rediscovery of that simplicity
feels miraculous in the context of our complex human existence.
For some people meditation or other practices seem to help. No one will know
for you what is best, and I suggest you try whatever you are attracted to in
a heartful way.
The most direct way is to accept the idea that your true self is not far away
in time or in space, but right here and now. Then you can ask, "Who am I?"
without any defining, verbal answer.
Your question may be, "From where do I arise?" or "From where does this
thought, this feeling arise?".
Your answer will be silent and subtle.
Someone a few days ago told
a story of "the Lucknow disease"
where followers of Papaji living
in Lucknow, India were tripping
all over themselves to make sure
their words didn't imply they
thought their "I " was real, or
I lived in a spiritual community
for a few years where there was
a "right" way to talk about the
transformation and awakening.
I got sick and tired of the whole
"right words" thing and vowed
to abandon it.
The way I see it is, the Self has
been using the "I" word all this
time when I didn't know what
I was, and now that I do know
what difference could it possibly
make how I talk about it. What
I want to do is convey the energy
and quality of this rediscovery
without having to hiccup and trip
everytime I say something.
We don't bug ourselves and
each other about our ways
of coming Home, so I invite
us all to de-bug about how
Here's to freedom of
as suffering is in the world,
addressing experience of the world as it is now is important.
-- As I am the world, I embody the world's suffering.
I am the deceit, the hypocrisy, the avarice, etc.
I agree that our waking up is our best contribution
to the situation. The movement of waking up is
discontinuous - the world is intent on things that can
be carried and continued. This is a demanding situation,
our full awareness is required...
We are together on this. I don't feel
the practice of neti-neti means we deny
what is in-the-face human experience.
For me it means, "What I have seen as
objective and apart from me is not so."
There is no this and that, there is only One
and I am all of it. I am the pain and complexity
of the one dreaming mind in miriad expressions
and I am the silent perfect love behind, within,
around all that - hidden and not hidden.
I don't know which "masters" you're referring to
but the ones I know of never suggested such
withdrawal. In fact, when people asked these
master what they should do, now that they have
remembered what they are, the answer was always
"Whatever you want to do."
This includes meditating in a cave for the rest of
their lives or working in soup kitchens; enjoying
the passion of life's involvement or absorbing
themselves more and more deeply in silent
As for me I'm learning to give up all 'shoulds' as
well as all anticipation of how it/I will evolve.
I came here wanting answers to my legitimate questions. The
teacher from Australia, whom many respect, recommended this List. Thus far
do not have the FOGGIEST idea what you guys are TALKING ABOUT!!!! cAN
PLESE TALK IN plaing ENGLISh, IF IT IS POSSIBLE???
You think you are a person with certain qualities, memories and
goals. That is only the surface self. What you are at the core is sometimes
called 'spirit' or 'soul'. This essence of you is silent.
It is not conceptual - it doesn't think. It has no boundaries or
distinctions and is exactly the same in everyone and everywhere.
If you want to know this for yourself, look for it in your inner nature, in
your inner inner heart. More than likely if you allow your curiosity to
remain, teachings, teachers, meditation practices and other experiences -
unpredictable - will show up. Because this is a whole new way of seeing
things it will take a while for understanding to grow. It may be most
helpful just to listen for a while.
I would like to ask about the value of
or need for a teacher and how this interfaces with
the 9 to 5 lifestyle I currently lead? >>
A truly clear teacher can be exquisitely valuable.
Whether you as an individual "need" one or not,
who's to say. You could check out some of the
teachers through the internet (search on 'satsang')
or through the many books available now. The
"right" one(s) would attract you with little doubt.
For me the discriminating factor is, does the teaching
say you can know your true self here and now.
These days growing in awakening does not require
changing your lifestyle. Many people are deeply
involved in Self rediscovery while having jobs,
The one who proclaims enlightenment with his tongue is lying.
One who proclaims he is not enlightened is also lying.
Contrary to human belief,
if it ain't simple
it ain't It.
This is how I discriminate in my own gradual
process. Am I trying and struggling or am I
allowing? Effort is the sign for me to stop
whatever I am doing in my mind and rest in
Self. Then whatever is done is done, but not
This is my experience of self-inquiry: The answer to the
"Who am I?" does not have a verbal answer. If you don't keep it as only a
mental process it can open your awareness to Silence - silent emptiness or
silent presence, however you experience it. Ramana also said one can follow
the breath as well as thoughts with the question, "From what does this
arise?" because breath and thought have the same source. I prefer watching
the breath because it lets my awareness be more relaxed and whole.
investigate your Silence many questions will be answered and some will remain
mysteries, until all questions fade away.
<< As I have more experiences of expanded awareness ( I believe), I am also
exploring a new kind of terror. If awareness confers a sense of oneness and
joy, a sense of limitlessness and absolute acceptance of the present moment,
then what is the point of the intellect and what purpose does it serve to
think thoughts beyond those which absorb the self into the present moment.
The one thing I seem unwilling to relinquish is an attachment to my
intellectual self. Does this make sense to anyone out there?
Welcome. The e-mail is the chat, in delayed time.
I loved what you said. If you want a great demonstration of people besides
yourself attached to the intellectual self just stick around a little while.
"what purpose does it serve to think thoughts
beyond those which absorb the self into the present moment."
I like this sentence very much and it serves to reinforce a point I was
making just today, blah blah blah.
Some one said, "The intellect makes a good servant but a really, really,
really bad master."
Recognizing oneness and joy
is much too simple for the intellect.
It's too simple for words,
and too simple even to talk about.
So I'll shut up.
New question: Now don't laugh! Please! How does non-dual
awareness work in
culture defined by duality? Seriously, how do you go to work, do a job, take
care of kids, do things defined by time, and external structure, thought
patterns and habits that are decidedly not nondual?
One moment at a time.
That which sustains the intricacies of the universe and of all life forms can
certainly manage our little lives, if we let it.
<< In any case, I will know what I need to know when
it comes time to make the decision. Thanks for letting me
get that off my chest.
But, in a larger sense, the question of awareness, which is spiritual, and
the fact that we motor around in these bodies, in a world, that recognizes
only bodies, is, it seems to me, fair game for discussion.
The truth now, please! How do you guys maintain a state of awareness
throughout the busy-ness of life in this world?
Awareness gradually increases with persistence,
relaxing into it more and more.
Also, I pray for help.
And I get it.
Kristie: What took its' place? or What do you do instead?
What took its place is
a sense of wholeness,
less focus in the head and
more presence down in my body.
Increased simplicity also.
Awareness of Silent Presence
all around and all within me.
More heart, deeper, warmer,
Waves of energy
with no names
What I do is pay attention
- to the habits of mind
and catch myself quicker
- to the Silence
[email protected] writes:
> > Can we who are walking our alone walk commune as we walk?
How could we not?
By expecting something else.
Thank you, Andrew dear
You described perfectly what I experience. And it has inspired
in me. If I have one gift to offer to the world, and to use to make a decent
living, it is my intellect, my experience and my insight. But to use that I
give up bliss. So, my question is: what do you do for a living? Do you do
work that requires analytical thought? If so, how does it affect your
serenity and joy? I keep asking this question of people and I keep feeling
stupid for having asked it. But I have discovered that I am afraid of joy,
feel like it is going to require me to give up something precious. I know I
must be viewing the terms and seeing the problem wrong....I'm hoping your
experience will help.
Have you considered that it is not your intellectual ability that is in the
way of bliss, but your identification as an intelligent person? All that
really veils our true identity is false identity.
You are the bliss of your own awareness and the silence of your heart. You
*have* intelligence, but it is not what you are. You may think you know this
already, but fear is always a sign of identification with something that is
not real and eternal and can therefore be lost. Since an identity of
qualities, intelligence being one, is not real its surrender would be your
With the freshness of simple awareness
I want fresh language.
The words "natural self"
keep coming to me
and feel so right.
The contrast of natural and unnatural selves
becomes more obvious.
It is unnatural to have ideas
about ourselves and each other.
Fear, guilt and antagonism are unnatural.
There is nothing natural in
contraction and resistence,
comparison and competition,
goals and plans,
desires and expectations,
or in suffering of any kind.
My unnatural, identity knows nothing of naturalness,
being the effect of ideas.
My natural self, being the effect of omnipresent Nature,
knows both itself and the unnatural in equanimity.
I truly rest and enjoy as my natural self.
The Natural is now
and always has been
full of Life without definition
and Love without object.
What a blessed discovery that one can let go, that all the strategies for survival and success we devised are unnecessary, unreal and can be undone!
If they didn't seem real
they would not be illusions
If they did not seem permanent
they would not be real
If they did not capture our attention
they would not be frightening
Illusions in our minds
and capture our attention.
If you'll look closer
It's solitary work
Just in time for
Well, folks, here I am again, out the other side of a 7-day satsang and
silence retreat. Gratefully there is no "retreat high", just more presence -
more wholeness. I could also say, more of less. I feel discombobulated,
taken apart and willing to hang loose while this newness settles in.
As my report I'm going to respond to Judi's comment below from my experience
of a newly evolving techology of transformation and awakening.
******* Well for starters, you can give up your whining?? How can you
realize anything if you're frustrated and feeling sorry for yourself???
For this you're gonna need a calm clear head. So whatever you must do
first, cry, whatever, get that out of the way first. Your problems will
there in the morning, fuck the problems. Life is full of problems, that
is never gonna change. This is about yourself, a dive into yourself. >>
This non-work/work that we are involved in is certainly a diving into
oneself. Self-inquiry. I have discovered it can be self-inquiry without a
question, not even "Who am I?"
It is a willingness to meet yourself in this moment just as you are. Who
meets what? You as awareness meets whatever is expressing in you Now. If
you are feeling sorry for yourself, then for a moment stop telling yourself
the story of it and just be with the energy of the feeling fully. If you
are resisting self-pity with some form of self management, then meet the
feeling of resistence. Meet fear, pride, sorrow or any idea with which you
are covering your feeling. Simply be present with your little self just as
you are and allow yourself to keep sinking deeper into the feeling or energy
or experience, and soon you find what is under that, and under that until -
low and behold - there you are! Surprised.
When there is nothing to be met there is Being.
When there is a Something there is Meeting.
We have tended to struggle with ourselves, thinking - "If I could only get
clear, these thoughts are in the way of my non-dual/whole consciousness, or
these emotions, or my mind is driving me crazy, or if I just had more time,
more money, or less kids, or less money, if I read more books or less
It is your awareness that is eternal. Everything else is a problem, then no
problem, then another problem. The only real problem is the idea of
something kept apart from Me - some story, something I don't want to feel,
some projected judgement on another, divisions into mind and heart, ad
As soon as I allow my attention to fully meet
whatever had been held separate
it is no longer separate.
In wholeness there is free movement of this mind/body expression. There is
freshness - no longer the same old stories, the same old familiar
constrictions and identities (vasanas). I am still myself but free to become
This is not a mental process.
It is too simple to be believed by the mind.
To go "beyond the mind" one needs simplicity.
To heal the wounds of mind and heart one needs inclusion.
To discover wholeness one needs meeting oneself wholly.
To have eternal life one needs this moment.
To have Self one must meet self.
I have witnessed with Gangaji and Arjuna Nick Ardagh, one miracle after
another of a "same old story" dissolved into stillness in this meeting of
oneself. An old guy went up front to sit with Gangaji during one satsang.
He said, "I know how to face fear, but whenever I face my fear of death I go
numb. How can I get to meet the fear?" Gangaji said, "How about meeting
this numbness?" The old guy's mouth gaped open. He began to sob and in the
next breath laughed outrageously, that big laugh of freedom."
I have no idea if fear of death or numbness will return for him, but I do
know this: Years ago I began doing what I called "turn and face", which was
just looking at whatever I was experiencing without suppressing, analyzing or
processing it in any way. That took me very far in deepening awareness.
Meeting is closer than that.
Welcome back. Thank you for your post....well
said...permission to "be"
whatever way one is...is very healing...and kind...and gentle....and EASIER.
I've always found the simplest ways work the best -
no matter what the task.
I've also found nothing needs to be pushed aside so the "real" consciousness
work can be done. Every apparent barrier becomes a gateway, when wholly met.
Here's my version of the creation myth:
Beingness was being - eternally.
Somehow, beingness, which we
now call love, began to vibrate
some of itself into waves we now
call sound, and somehow sound
vibrated on itself into waves we
now call light.
Love as sound and light serpentined
itself into complexities and, love
enjoyed the dance evolving itself
as music, color and movement.
Variations upon variations
erupted and merged and
imagined themselves, in the
flash of a moment. Then slowing
and slowing, a slow dance of
light and sound forms eased into
time and space and solidity.
Somehow, there became
imagined fragments - boundaries -
in the continuous flow of beingness
evolving as sound and light and joy.
Somehow, some of these fragments
enjoyed so much the uniqueness of
their own expressions that they clung
to them, resisting the unending
newness of the dance. In clinging
to their imagined individuality they
lost awareness of the whole and
began to feel lost from love beingness,
original sound and light, and even
enjoyment. The lost ones turned
against each other, wanting to find
blame for their loss, and they turned
even against themselves in their
confusion, fear and shame.
The lostness was seen by the flowing
dancers, and so they reached to
the lost ones in any way that could
be danced. Some flowing dancers
even learned to be lost so they could
dance more closely with the lost ones
back to awareness of being whole.
Lost one began dancing with
flowing ones, though some were
danced in a hidden way and did
not even know how they became
found whole again. No-longer-lost
dancers were watchful of their previous
habit of trying to dance while clinging,
so they could stop immediately when
they noticed themselves holding on.
Until all danced freely again.
continue with september