What is Nonduality
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Editors: Jerry Katz, Gloria Lee, Christiana Duranczyk, Michael Read, John Metzger
Highlights Issue # 1031
Thursday, April 4, 2002
Highlights Compiled, Edited, and Designed
by Jerry Katz
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from the Alice's Restaurant list
Good idea about the chat but how does it work ~ time
wise ~ for those of us in London, UK?!
Should have introduced myself before now. My name is
Amanda and I am a professional soapmaker using blends of
essential oils. I live in South London with my beloved
boyfriend Peter. I am interested in all types of incense
and that is the reason why I joined Alice's Restaurant.
BTW ~ how did you get the name? Very interesting! In the
soaping world I'm called Mouse ~ old nickname from a
former boyfriend ~ and I would like you to do the same.
Thanks very much for sharing your wonderful information
with this learner and lurker. I do love the Kohtoons
(hope I've got that right)!!
Hugs, Mouse x
Good Morning Mouse!
Perhaps considering your arrival we should rename this
place Maggie's Farm! what with early birds, night owls,
and one slightly obnoxious overweight pig by the name of
It is 3:21 am here in New Mexico (We are part of the
United States despite what anyone tells you. The 49th
State!) I say this at the peril of objurgation :)
It should be 10:21 am where you are.
That would make the Early Bird around 4 pm your time,
and the night owl around 4 am.
It is good to have you!
Alice's Restaurant is the name of a song by Arlo
Guthrie..."You can get anything that you want. . .at
He wrote another song called "I don't want a pickle. .
.just wanna ride my motor-sickle" I couldn't quite
figure out how to name the place about a
pickle--although it's not uncommon to find me in a
Abraham Lincoln said "You can please all of the people
some of the time, and some of the people all of the
time. but you can't please all of the people all of the
Old Abe wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier. .
.he left out "Some people you can't ever please!"
Arlo wrote another song: "Coming into Los Angeleeze,
bringing in a couple a keys" That one I never could
figure out. They don't have locksmiths in Los Angeles??
You have to fly keys in there?
But my favorite song is from Arlo's dad. It's called Los
"The crops are all in, and the peaches are rotting. The
oranges are piled in their creosote dumps. They are
flying them back to the Mexican border, to be called by
no name except deportees. Goodbye to my Juan. Good bye
Rosalita. You won't have a name when you ride the big
skyplane, all they will call you is just deportee. The
skyplane caught fire over Los Gatos canyon, a fireball
of lighting, it shook all the sky. Where are these good
friends, all scattered like the dry leaves? The radio
said they were just deportees."
True story! It really happened:
The New York Times of January 29, 1948 reported the
wreck of a "charter plane carrying 28 Mexican farm
workers from Oakland to the El Centro, CA, Deportation
Center.... The crash occurred 20 miles west of Coalinga,
75 miles from Fresno."
The agreement of 1947 [between Mexico and the U.S.]...
contained a novel provision which established amnesty
through deportation. Under its terms, undocumented
Mexicans who were sent back across the border could
return to the U.S. as temporary contract laborers;
during the life of their contracts, they could not be
again deported. In practice, employers often called
Border Patrol stations to report their own undocumented
employees, who were returned, momentarily, to border
cities in Mexico, where they signed labor contracts with
the same employers who had denounced them. This process
became known as "drying out wetbacks" or "storm and drag
immigration." "Drying out" provided a deportation-proof
source of cheap seasonal labor."
Woody was from my home state, Oklahoma, and he wrote
about the trials of Oklahoma farmers who migrated to
California when they cut the tall grass prairie and the
dust took over. I remember the dust storms as a child
(but then I remember when our Ice box was really cooled
by ice) Something that is hard to explain. The sky turns
red in the west, and before you know it you can't even
breath from the dust, even indoors!
I remember walking down a street in Los Angeles, and
this little girl pointing at me and giggling. She
covered her mouth with her hand. Her mother said, "Don't
laugh at the Okie's sweetheart. . .they just can't
afford nice clothes." I can't tell you what a great gift
that was to me.
How is that for contrast? Somewhere in the middle I came
up with Alice's Restaurant :)
new kid on the block
In these special accounts of 'awakening', it is noted
that the appearance of 'everything' changed to resemble
that of a movie.
This change can be analyzed to reveal that now, nothing
is taken 'personally'.
Identity (the process and product of identification) is
no longer elicited by what are apparent external events.
Apparent external events are experienced as the
behaviour of one big thing; no detail of events, is seen
as unique or to stand alone.
What I wish to speak of is the 'one big thing', to which
I referred above.
The 'one big thing' is The Vast Living Universe; it
DISPLAYS itself in a unique and peculiar way.
This DISPLAY is what we generally call 'reality', and as
you know, we are habituated to seeing 'reality' as
something which is 'out there' and made of pieces.
We are conditioned to see reality as fragments, and we
are then challenged to put these fragments together in
ways that "make sense"... according to whatever
'tradition' is presenting the challenge.
The 'western scientific tradition' has pulled ahead of
the pack of competing 'world views', and would have us
searching for the 'unified field theory' and the
'smallest building block of matter'. Western science
seems totally convinced (with a few notable exceptions)
that there is a 'findable key to understanding
everything', and if you look carefully, you will see
that this approach is no different than the majority of
'spiritual paths'. It is identical in fact, and shares
the same fallacies and pitfalls.
The 'issue' of there being 'one big thing' is this; the
DISPLAY of itself, is a language, and it is a language
which we are natively disposed to understand.
Throughout human history, there have been instances of a
person who 'heard' the language of the One Big Thing;
these people are now revered as 'prophets'.
Our total immersion in the One Big Thing is
unquestionable, yet, we are very preoccupied by the
little (derivative) languages which we use, to the point
of exclusion of reception of the Language of Reality
We are so blessed; each person who lives, is the focus
of the attention of The One Big Thing, but most people
are on the run, in denial, and actually terrified,
convinced that The One Big Thing is an invasive and
The One Big Thing 'arranges' special confrontations for
each of us, from the special dreams which we all have,
to spectacular UFO abductions, to encounters with living
photographs of a special person (Guru or Saint), to
conversations with a Burning Bush, to the wildest
'psychotic hallucinations'. Yet, we take refuge in the
'normal' and in the 'mundane', seeking to have our
hard-won identity validated by the 'worldly
authorities'. And such is the pity; there is no person
who can validate the experience of The One Big Thing,
except the person who experiences it 'first hand' and
'in real time'. And that person is you.
When we concede our nature and adopt social nature, we
give up our native position; we essentially abrogate our
birthright. Yet, as you know, this is done under duress,
at a very young age, by a very naive person, the child.
Our superficial condition may seem to change, but the
Prior Condition remains, a deep strata, untouched.
If somehow, the overburden of sedimentary learnings and
memories are lifted away (as by a sudden expansion of
self or 'immunity'), the Prior Condition asserts itself
in a flash... naivety is blown away, and Reality
instantly is recognized as 'The One Big Thing'; finally,
the meeting is taking place; the union is joined, and
the nature of human frailty and all trickery is suddenly
Now we are natives of this; now we are 'in conscious
relationship'. Now there is no doubt. The Vast Machine
which makes all of this, is now an ally, and I am It's
Greetings and blessings and deepest gratitude to you,
Gene. I can say there has been a meeting of the minds.
Meaning: No mind, no meeting, no meaning.
I have no experience with this "choice" you spoke of.
So, this imaginary issue may very well float around
until it's ready to pop, until I no longer identify with
it as an issue.
Story: I was speaking to another of being rejected from
a graduate school in my own city, and the possibility of
moving to a city that would represent a big lifestyle
change for me (something I had previously decided I
didn't want to do, although I was accepted to a good
program there). You know, it wasn't in the plan not to
have my pick of any school I'd applied to! I didn't
believe I'd be rejected, despite the small percentage of
applicants admitted to these programs here. Ha! Well,
it's so interesting, you know, life, the
unpredictability, uncertainty, the little intuitions
that lead inevitably to the next game square, that lead
nowhere in particular... So, I was laughing and smiling
about it, what the posibilities were looking like, how
they were different from what they looked like the day
before... and the other person pointed out what he saw
as my choice to see things that way, to go with the
flow. I said I didn't have a choice. He said, well, you
could be obsessed about this or that or the other thing,
blah, blah, blah. Gene: Isn't positing choice taking
credit for something "you" had nothing to do with?
More to the story: I'm content in this city, no itches
to move. But the thought of moving seems okay too. How
can there be a wrong road? I'd surely miss things, and
too, I'd have a chance to see the globby "unknown"
differentiate itself into... yet another display.
Here is something you wrote that touched me:
"...there is no person who can validate the experience
of The One Big Thing, except the person who experiences
it 'first hand' and 'in real time'. And that person is
LEONARD COHEN IN CHAT
from Yearning list
Below are some extracts from a recent online chat with
Leonard Cohen that might be of interest to some here.
John: How do you feel your experience of Buddhism has
influenced you and why is your experience of meditation
not reflected more in your songs?
Leonard Cohen: Dear John, A while ago I played the
record for two Zen monks. When it was finished they were
silent for some time. Then one of them said, "That was
as good as two weeks of session" (an intensive
meditation retreat). The other monk kept his eyes closed
and only opened them when I filled his glass. Then we
kept on drinking.
Walter: What does Christ mean to you?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Walter, Last year I tried to put it
"Was looking at the crucifix. Got something in my eye. A
Light that doesn't need to live And doesn't need to die.
What's written in the Book of Love Is strangely
incomplete, 'Til witnessed here in time and blood A
thousand kisses deep."
Alistair: How do you think your writing and music has
changed since studying under Roshi?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Mr. Sword, I've been studying with
Roshi for over thirty years, so it's hard to say. Roshi
came to the studio one night when I was recording New
Skin for the Old Ceremony. That was in the seventies. In
those days I was being written off as a morbid old
depressive drone peddling suicide notes. (Still am, in
some circles). Roshi slept through most, but not all of
the session. The next morning I asked him what he
thought. He said, "Leonard, you should sing more sad."
That was the best advice I ever got. Took a while to put
it into practice.
Jenine: Your music and words resonate with a place I
call home, your latest work even more deeply so. Is it
possible to share with us in this format some of the
recent discoveries you've made about "home" and how
these discoveries continue to shape your songs and life?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Jenine, Thank you so much for this
observation. Home Sweet Home. Roshi said you never lose
your home. He also said that home is not an object. It
is not fixed. Any perspective you have on your home is
the distance you are from it. Being at home is the
activity of not needing to look for a home, and not
needing to abandon a home. The mirrors are clear, the
shadows are past, the wandering heart is homeless at
last. I spent a lot of time at Roshi's home.
Hospitality. Drinking cognac with the old man - his
exquisite hospitality in the shack by the river - that
is, no hospitality just emptying the bottle into my
glass and filling my plate and falling asleep when it
was time to go.
Seth: You have such vivid Christian imagery in many of
your songs, and much of it is contrasted with the
selfishness of the "modern" individual. I was wondering
what's your take on the state of Christianity today?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Seth, I don't really have a 'take on
the state of Christianity.' But when I read your
question, this answer came to mind: As I understand it,
into the heart of every Christian, Christ comes, and
Christ goes. When, by his Grace, the landscape of the
heart becomes vast and deep and limitless, then Christ
makes His abode in that graceful heart, and His Will
prevails. The experience is recognized as Peace. In the
absence of this experience much activity arises,
divisions of ever sort. Outside of the organizational
enterprise, which some applaud and some mistrust, stands
the figure of Jesus, nailed to a human predicament,
summoning the heart to comprehend its own suffering by
dissolving itself in a radical confession of
Maurice: Does religion matter?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Maurice, Religions are among the
great organizing principles of humanity. It seems to me
they matter too much and not enough.
Jeroen: What do you consider the difference between the
inner feelings and what is being told to you a thousand
kisses deep? How are you able to really
hear/understand/recognize what is being told to you, a
thousand kisses deep, when you don't trust your inner
Leonard Cohen: Dear Jeroen, Great question. I'll try to
answer it. A Thousand Kisses Deep is that fundamental
intuitive understanding, usually wordless, which is
beyond opinion and belief. It is the unspoken conviction
that things are unfolding according to a pattern that
the intellect or the emotions cannot discern. This
conviction is accompanied by a loosening of the
unconditional affirmation that an individual entity
exists and that it determines its own fate.
Kevin: From listening closely to the lyrics on your new
album, you seem to take a less ironic and more direct
approach to your themes. Two major ones I notice a shift
in since THE FUTURE are your attitude towards death and
your inclination to write as one living in the Present.
To what extent do you feel your retreat as a monk
influenced you in your creative work, and if what I've
mentioned a part of this?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Kevin, Thank you for your attention
to my work. I've been studying with Roshi for thirty
years and the practice he has established has influenced
me deeply. I'm not trying to evade your question, but I
think it's easier for anyone but myself to speak about
how the various themes in the songs have developed.
Suss: Dear Leonard. Do you have any favorite books to
Leonard Cohen: Dear Suss, "Consciousness Speaks" by
Ramesh S. Balsekar.
Raphael: What words do you find yourself using now that
you didn't use before you went into the Buddhist
Leonard Cohen: Dear Raphael, horrible words like
"manifestation" and "the complete self"
Micky: Do you prefer to be recognized for your books,
your music, or your poetry?
Leonard Cohen: Dear Micky, I'm happy to be recognized at
Dig it - How do you know, FOR SURE, whether or not such
"relentless mystification of spirituality by others" is
not precisely that which "touched" you (and of course,
so many other "similarly interested bystanders"), so
many decades ago, when you first got sparked into action
to follow "this way you're now on"? Hey, remember, it's
been decades! Do you really remember (yourself, that
day, that hour, that minute, when you were "touched"?)
I'll wager, it WAS the "mystification of spirituality",
set against the "mundanity of normality", that unleashed
energies in you, that you first noticed right then,
couched in words something like: "Jeez, wow, that's
weird, interesting, hmmmmmmm...." (And the rest, as they
say, is your history...)
Another thing. "Mystification of spirituality" by others
is a sure sign of the HEALTH of the organism within
which we all share life. If people were not mystified by
spiritual matters (that is, they immediately understood
all, upon initial hearing), then part of the machinery
of Life would have shut down centuries ago. Striving for
that which is impossible, all the while believing it IS
possible, is what drives "thinking man's" ability to
THINK AT ALL.
Rather than wanting to "KILL" (reveal as phonies) all
the Faux Buddhas walking around, (you might see a wider
view and) silently thank them for their collective
confusion that provides a safe place for you to live and
breathe and have YOUR secret being.
For me, it was exactly this same mystification that got
me going many years ago. I wanted to know exactly
*where* that core of identity resided. So I snarfed up
the subtle-body teachings from different paths. And it
can be made supremely mystical and obscure! It can keep
you going forever. One person says there are 3 levels,
another says 5, another says 7, another says 9, another
says 49. Some say they're real, some say they must each
be achieved then transcended in turn, some say they are
coverings of our true nature, others say they are
illusory appearances in our true nature, and so it
goes... I do remember the excitement and fascination!
The architect's odd joke sure made me weep. Here is your
home he said to me One for daytime, one for sleep I
turned to him and cried: For heavens sake, I wanted
non-duality. He replied: Then sleep while you're awake
Jan, here's another example of a split house.
From Complexity and Contradiction (Venturi, 1966):
"I question the relevance of analogies between pavilions
and houses, especially analogies between Japanese
pavilions and recent domestic architecture. They ignore
the real complexity and contradiction inherent in the
domestic program - the spatial and technological
possibilities as well as the need for variety in visual
experience. Forced simplicity results in
oversimplification. In the Wiley House, for instance, in
contrast to his Glass House, Philip Johnson attempted to
go beyond the simplicities of the elegant pavilion. He
explicitly separated and articulated the enclosed
"private functions" of living on a ground floor
pedestal, thus separating them from the open social
functions in the modular pavilion above... the building
becomes a diagram of an oversimplified program for
living - an abstract theory of either-or. Where
simplicity cannot work, simpleness results..."
What is it that cries? What is it that stops the crying?
What is it that lives?
I had a friend say the crying is recognition that the
door is open. Another friend suggested, "know who
cries!". Me myself and I think that what is lives.
I was touched by someone and their search for knowledge.
The knowledge is just not enough sometimes because the
hurt and longing are felt deeper and deeper as the
seeker unlayers the the wrappings of the wound. That
courage to want to keep it fresh and bleeding because
there is some truth to know in the middle of the hurt,
the knowing of the hurt that is intense enough to
provide the focus to live very brightly.
You can hide the pain, dwell in it as a comfort, or just
know it. But know it deeply because then it is up on a
stage and I am in the audience next to myself amazed,
and you have touched me.
Love to you my friend
from Live Journal
father brothers uncles
waiting in the rain
waiting for the messenger
the horses whinny nervously
we must wait for the messenger to tell us that the ship
fell before we can move
raindrops falling off the smooth surfaces of lacquered
and the uneven surfaces of knotted plate
the sky is weeping
hands clutch hilts
father brothers uncles
What is Nonduality
Experience Nonduality via Yoga Nidra
Starting February 1, 2018, Nonduality.com will operated by James Traverse.