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Nonduality Salon (/\)

Highlights #377

Click here to go to the next issue.


if we love to be loved
and we love to love

jump in!
wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!
dive deep, straight

to the source
of this vast

love

deep
deeper

still!

luxuriate and wallow (my favorite word)

the glory of existence!

you know,
cee
_____________________________________________________________________

" Man's search is basically to be one with existence.
Separation hurts." --Osho

First one works to become one with family, one with peers,
one with community. When that fails, one's attention begins
to shift inward, as one works to become one with self.
--Melody

when that fails, as it must, then it could be said that we
are at the begining. --matthew

This is the divine comedy ... working to be what one
already is. --Xan

When all work and all trying stops,
we are what we are and what we have
always been and will always be...like it not...:)

Some like it hot,
some not...
And so it goes,
and so it is
in the isness
which we call life
when we are living it
instead of disecting it.
--Michael D. Johnson

____________________________________________________________________

The Divine is the love of being. First you must Know the
Divine – the love of Self.

This can only happen when the mind ceases censoring the
heart.

To realize the Divine within your own heart is to See its
reflection everywhere, in everything.

This reflection and the Seeing of it is dependant on the
Eternal principle in which they appear, and

You are That.

--Esther Veltheim (contributed by Michael D. Johnson)

_____________________________________________________________________________

Mark Paul Petrick and David Hodges

Your use of the term "dreary thought that everything is
predetermined" catches my attention. It was just that
thought that I found utterly conceptually liberating when I
first came upon advaita a couple of years ago. I'd been
regularly involved in meditation since the early 1970's,
taught it, lived the cult of self-improvement, growing to
higher states of consciousness, doing all of the prescribed
sadhanas to rid myself of stress, etc. etc. Unity was
something "out there" that could be achieved by "me" as an
individual, the enlightenment prize. But, what kind of
unity, or god, or source, or absolute, or nature is it
really if it isn't truly all-comprehensive and
encompassing, the "all there is, is consciousness". I
prefer my concept of unity to be total, and my notions of
self, me, growth, evolution, pleasure and pain to be
predetermined waves on a single ocean of Being. It's just a
concept. --Mark Paul Petrick

*****

Hi Mark, I utterly concur with you that "all there is, is
consciousness", and that there can be no unity or oneness
outside of this. So the idea of the separate "me" achieving
unity is impossible as if "me" could be outside of unity to
begin with.

No, to me the dreariness in the thought of predetermination
comes from the generational baggage I have from my
Calvinist forbears with their doctrine of predestination.
This brings to MY mind an image of some external sky-God
running a puppet show in which all of we sinners merely are
moved through our paces. I remember being taught in some
Sunday School or Bible Study years ago that God even knows
in advance whether or not we will be "saved".

Contrast this to other models. You describe a single ocean
of being with predetermined waves. I would describe a kind
of cosmic "Zero Point" from which issues in a constant
eternal Now a bubbling froth of continuous creativity. It
is senseless to think that my separate self or ego could
set itself aside from that froth and try to affect its
course. But it is equally senseless to think that there is
a separate masterplan or blueprint in some higher cosmic
awareness that knows what is going to bubble forth in the
froth at any particular time, isn't it? I would much rather
like to think that a liberated being might become some kind
of Heisenbergian surfer of the cosmic froth, skipping from
here to there and from time-point to time-point like a
boogie-boarder, perhaps by a kind of at-one-navigation of
what arises in consciousness as he/she goes along. Call it
predetermination if you will but its within an infinitely
vast menu of choices. But as you say, it's just a concept.

--David Hodges

P.S. Actually, if I read Aurobindo right, rather than a
constant Creativity, the great Process is more like a cycle
of Creation - Sustaining - Destruction, or cycles within
cycles within cycles of that creation - sustaining -
destruction. Perhaps those are the waves you describe in
the ocean of being.

*****

I do like the idea of chaos as it is described by modern
mathematicians, wherein there are phenomena which are
deterministic, but unpredictable. They tend to move near a
"strange attractor", but can never be pinned down in
advance. (free will, pre-destination; does it matter?) But
liking an idea and having an experience are not quite the
same thing. It feels to me that here I am and I am doing
what I am doing. However that works out will be however it
works out. There is no need to break it down further,
because it's fine as it is. As Jim Morrison said,
"Everything is broken up and dances". If the dance is a
whole, that whole is made of bits that interact. Both the
description of things as a whole and the description of the
whole as parts interacting are valid descriptions. Who is
describing? A bit that is dancing the dance of description.
That's fine too. I really don't know what the future will
bring. I really don't care much about the past. If typing
these words is what is happening, then so be it. There may
be bars, or there may not. If the bars are a problem, then
I am free to experience the problem of bars. It IS all
happening at the zoo, whether I believe it or not.

It's like you wrestle with it so hard that it hurts, and
then you admit that you can't get it, and a bubble pops,
and it's all just fine. bursting at the seems...
--Mark Otter

__________________________________________________________________________

Einstein, contribute by Andrew Macnab

"I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his
creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in
ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an
individual that survives his physical death; let feeble
souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I
am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and
with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure
of the existing world, together with the devoted striving
to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason
that manifests itself in nature." [Albert Einstein,_The
World as I See It_]

_____________________________________________________________________________


David Hodges on Journal Keeping, a new NDS activity:

Hi everyone, I recently got interested in a new online form
of self-expression. It is called "OnLine Journalling". It
is very simple. Using one of several free services, you
write entries to your own personal journal. You can write
as often or as seldom as you want. You can be anonymous via
use of a handle, or you can use your own name. And people
can visit your journal and read, and even leave comments.
It is a different form of self-expression than contributing
to a mailing list like the Salon. It is more personal, and
you don't worry about having to please anyone but yourself.
The site I am using (more on that in a minute) gives you a
little pop-up program so that you can make entries to your
journal whenever you want without having to go through your
web browser (although you can do that too.)

So I was mentioning this to Jerry yesterday and he
(synchronistically) had been thinking about journalling
too. We thought that if a number of Saloners starting
keeping journals, he could put links to them on
www.nonduality.com, and maybe have a daily "NonDual Journal
Entry" link.

We settled on http://www.livejournal.com, although there
are others (DiaryLand at http://www.diaryland.com and
Blogger at http://www.blogger.com are a couple of other
free services).

We have each started a journal which you are welcome to
peruse.

Jerry's: http://www.livejournal.com/users/umbada

Mine: http://www.livejournal.com/users/wandertheearth

-------------

highlights editor has added these additions: Melody
Anderson, http://www.livejournal.com/users/melody

Andrew Macnab, http://www.livejournal.com/users/rubiolio/

Christiana Duranczyk,
http://www.livejournal.com/users/starseed

Jody, http://www.livejournal.com/users/jodyr

Gloria Lee, http://www.livejournal.com/users/nirvana

-------------

So if you are interested, go to http://www.livejournal.com
and check it out, and then let me or Jerry or the whole NDS
list know if you start a journal that you want to share.

I am excited about the possibilities of this!

_____________________________________________________________________

I visited your journal and saw this on your page Melody :-)

"Melody Anderson has no friends defined. If you are Melody
Anderson, you can edit your LiveJournal friends so they
show up here."

Couldn't help smiling :-))))

LOVE Dutch

_________________________________________________________________________

"Who loves not wine, woman, and song remains a fool his
whole life long."

Martin Luther (via Andrew Macnab)

__________________________________________________________________________


Notes on the Nature of Vedanta Society

by Jody Radzik, with Greg Goode

Greg Goode:You mentioned going to the Vedanta Society
temple, enjoying the company of seekers more, despite the
socio-cultural differences. What differences are those?

Jody Radzik: Most of the members of the Vedanta Society are
of the mind that one must eliminate desire (as if this is
in "our" power) in order to be blessed with realization. In
fact, many have stated outright that celibacy is absolutely
necessary before realiztion can occur. Many of the
Ramakrishna Math swamis hold the same incorrect view.

They believe this because Ramakrishna constantly preached
of the dangers of "women and gold." What the VS devotees
don't realize is that Ramakrishna directed this teaching to
his younger male devotees and not to the householder
devotees, and that he did this for reasons Vedanta Society
members aren't prepared to deal with.

As a result, most members of the Vedanta Society hold
celibacy and asceticism in high esteem, setting the bar for
their lives much higher than they need to. The only thing
this gets them is pride in their renunciation, and the
expectation that only when they are as they imagine
Ramakrishna and Vivekananda were, will they be blessed with
realization. It also gets them a sh*tload of guilt when
they "backslide".

The difference between them and myself is that I've always
lived in and enjoyed the world, and that Mother has made it
exceedingly clear to me that She will bestow realization on
whomever She wants, despite their disposition as ascetic
wannabes.

Unfortunately, no one believes I know what I'm talking
about, except my guru. In the interest of maintaining the
status quo, he doesn't enter the debate, even though he
confirms my assertions as I'm making them.

This isn't to say that I don't get along with them. I do
for the most part. However, I've found myself in raging
debates, the whole bunch of them vs. me. I find this
situation quite enjoyable, but it seems to shatter their
quaint ideas about what the center exists for, and so in
deference to my guru I usually keep a lid on it.

Greg Goode: I used to go to the two centers here in
Manhattan, years ago. One thing I never asked, maybe you
know the answer. With their view of realization, is there
anyone in the organization (swami or householder) for whom
realization occurred? Swami Nikhilananda? Swami
Brahmananda? Also, is your guru there at the Vedanta
center?

Jody Radzik: I just got back from an evening with Swami
Bhaskarananda, who is visiting from the center in Seattle.
During his talk he spoke about a pure mind, and how such
was necessary for realization to occur. Afterwards I
mentioned that such an assertion makes realization
dependent on a condition, which refutes Sankara. I asked
what he meant by pure mind. He used the analogy of states
of matter. Water has forms as a solid, liquid, and gas. He
said the pure mind was like the gaseous form, it could
travel through the glass and become the Self. That didn't
really answer my question.

A little later someone posed the question of self-effort
vs. grace. The swami feel hard on the side of self-effort.
He maintained that it was by self-effort that grace comes.
Otherwise, we would all be realized just by wishing for it.
I decided not to mention that this makes grace dependent on
a condition as well.

I took the opportunity to trot out a metaphor of my own. A
baby comes into the world with awareness of the Self. Let's
imagine this takes the form of red contact lenses, right
out of the womb. The idea is that all our development
happens in the context of awareness of the Self, that is,
we are always seeing through red lenses. Therefore, we
*don't* see the red at all, because it has *always* been a
condition of our seeing.

Now as we develop, these lenses acquire faceting in the
form of learning and experience. When we decide to turn
inward, we apply self-effort in order to remove the
faceting. This would be the swami's pure mind.

Now, we've been totally successful in clearing away all the
faceting. What we're left with is red that we can't see.
Here is where grace comes in. It requires an act of grace
to remove the lenses, and until we see the lenses, we
cannot see the red. Furthermore, grace can occur to the
person whose lenses are still quite faceted, so that
realization can occur in the context of a less than pure
mind.

Swamiji brushed me off by saying that he could not accept
the analogy, as the lenses signified a defect in seeing. I
explained that this wasn't the thrust of my metaphor, but
left it at that.

A while later I asked Swami if he believed nirvakalpa
samadhi to be necessary for realization. He said yes. I
asked if he knew anyone personally who had experienced this
samadhi. He said he thought so, but that they didn't talk
about it. He said some of the senior monks show signs of
it, but that it is inappropriate to speak of it.

He also related that Brahmananda said that spirituality
doesn't even really begin until one has been blessed with
nirvakalpa samadhi.

I've been blessed to have taken initiation from a monk of
the Ramakrishna Order, and I'm quite convinced he's a
bona-fide, yet successfully hidden saint.

However, the implied ideology of the Vedanta Society needs
a lot of work. The concept of pure mind creates too many
expectations about what that would be, and what is required
to achieve it. A better term would be an "innocent" mind,
which is pure in a way, but not necessarily totally
unadulterated. Being the opinioned bastard that I am, I try
to make my critique known to the swamis I meet, all out of
respect and love for the Truth. They aren't used to hearing
critiques from the members, so it's nice to report that
they all handle it very sweetly, which says a lot about
them as people.

So, to get back to the question, the swamis do believe
most, if not all the original disciples of Ramakrishna were
realized, and they believe there are realized members in
their midst, although it is their custom never to speak of
it to anyone.

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