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#3378 - Thursday, December 11, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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Walt Whitman: Living the Paradox of Nonduality

In Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, he begins Song of Myself:

I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease … observing a spear of summer grass.

These lines describe the paradox of nonduality and how to live.

The paradox is that while we are the same — “every atom belonging to to me as good belongs to you.”   — everything is distinct: “observing a spear of summer grass.”

And how to live through the paradox? Whitman says "celebrate … lean and loafe."

“I … invite my soul,” Whitman says. The soul is the paradox. It is who he is. Paradox is “myself.” “I celebrate myself.”

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