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Highlights #418

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Sunday 23 July 2000


LINK from JERRY:

The following was posted to by M to his Bhairava list.
Photos of the Ashram are at the following address:
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery.fcgi?p=999&gid=16080&uid=11536

Also see M's web pages at http://www.nonduality.com/m.htm,
and the links there.

Having shared the experience of retreat amongst ourselves,
perhaps it is worthwhile to hear reports of about other
spiritual gatherings (not necessarily retreats, as such). I
have a greater appreciation for such reports, and maybe
others do as well. If anyone else thinks such reports are of
value, perhaps they can be sent to the lists.

Jerry
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
---


Namaste (Bhairava) List,

I am going to share some of the moments of
the week at the ashram this year, including Guru Purnima
and the ground-breaking ceremony on the new Ashram
property!

I arrived on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday and Wednesday were
spent acclimating myself to the dynamic stillness and the
early rises, usually around 4:00 a.m. By Thursday I was
musing to myself as I worked in the garden, that I was in
considerably less pain than normal, and that I would
certainly enjoy a walking stick to get me around during the
tough times that I had with the movement and pain.
Immediately after I mused this, I looked down at the large
bush I was pruning, and there under the bush on a concrete
wall about two feet high was a stick cut from a
tree--approximately four or four and a half feet high. It
was perfect in thickness and length, and was strong as
well. When I asked, no one in the ashram knew anything
about it at all, and so I had my walking stick. Thursday
morning was also a delightful chant of, among the other
daily chants, the Guru Gita with the Satguru,
Mahamandaleshwar Guruji Nityananda.

By Friday the atmosphere was charged for the weekend and
there were people pouring in from Australia, England,
India, South America and other parts of the U.S. The icing
on the cake with these types of gatherings is a rich
cultural experience. One night while staying in the barn,
myself and an Australian and a couple of others mused over
the differences in dialects in different English speaking
Countries. Delightful conversations like this always capped
the evenings in the Shakti filled barn loft where we
stayed. The nights in the Barn are magical times for me
each year.

Saturday was the intensive. Eight hours of chanting and
meditating with the Guru! What bliss! What expansiveness of
Awareness! If any of you had a strange experience or
feeling on Saturday, that is why, for I had you all in my
heart, and the Mahashakti has no limitations of time or
space, indeed She is the root of these.

Sunday was full of magic and surprises as we attended the
Yagna fire ceremony at the new property. The Yagna was
conducted under a tent on undeveloped land, so it was
important for rain to pass us by lest we wallow in mud all
day. Two days before the Yagna rain moved in, and the day
before it was to take place it rained a steady stream all
day, with more in the forecast for Saturday. A group was
formed to chant and meditate for these two days at the
property to invoke the Grace of fair whether.

What happened next was unbelievable.

The day of the Yagna, Saturday, we arrived at the tent and
began to chant the Guru Gita to start the ceremony, which
was to Lord Ganesh, the Shakti of God which is the Remover
of Obstacles and Lord of Categories, Arts and Sciences, and
also to Lord Vastu, the deity or Shakti of the earth. These
two were the chosen dieties in order to remove obstacles
and give a fresh beginning with blessings on the new
property, and to propitiate the spirit of the Earth,
seeking forgivenes for disturbing the land and asking
blessings. In fact, there are only a couple of trees which
have to be removed, everything else was able to be built
without disturbing a single leaf or plant. But the grass
and the couple of trees that are going to be disturbed are
taken very seriously.

And so as we began to chant the Guru Gita, a hole opens up
in the sky just above the tent. It got bigger as the
Brahmin priest chanted over the next hour nonstop, pouring
oblations into the fire. Beautiful is not the world for the
ceremony. It was truly magical. Afterwards, we moved down
to the site where the welcome center/office is going to be
to conduct the ground breaking puja/ceremony. As the
ceremony was being conducted, the clouds scattered, leaving
a five mile wide hole of blue sky just above us, while the
rest of the region was cloud covered and even raining in
spots. It was incredible. I even have a picture of the hole
in the sky, which I will post when I get some of the pics
scanned.

So then we retired to the dinner tent where we enjoyed a
delicious vegetarian supper, and then I coordinated the
dishwashing at the stream. We got the tough spots of food
of with ash from the cooks fire. Very simplistic and back
to earth...I have some great pics of that too. At any rate,
no sooner than the dishes where done and the major stuff
packed, then the hole closed up and the rain came. It was
weird.

Equally weird was the two events that happened to me that
day. At the Yagna, I poured myself into the fire, starting
with the gross elements and working all the way up to the
Shiva Principle. After the ceremony I was musing on whether
my misfortune of the last few months was about to change,
and whether a sign of it would be available. Then the
Brahmin priest thrusts one of the coconuts from the Ganesh
Yagna at me and tells me to take it. Now you have to
understand that coconuts are considered auspicious in
India, and if a holy man hands it too you, consider
yourself a blessed person! The other event that was equally
odd and beautiful was when I was musing on my mala. You
see, it broke that morning in the barn, and I was thinking
that the day was perfect except for my broken mala. As soon
as that thought passed through the mind, a yogi friend of
mine walks up to me and says "here, a late birthday
present" and hands me a beautiful new mala!

It was truly an unforgettable day.

The days left there at the ashram were spent basking in the
afterglow of the Shakti from the weekend whilst in the
company of the Sadguru...

Finally the day came to leave, and as I went to the barn to
get my things, one last funny thing happened. You see, I
had lost my sunglasses the second day after I arrived
there, and had looked everywhere. In the meantime I had
built a puja beside my bed with the coconut from the
brahmin priest and the Ganesh murti I had bought, along
with a picture of Bhagavan Nityananda. There beside the
puja sat my sunglasses on the open floor! I had turned that
area upside down, and could not find them, and yet here
they were in plain view now.

Afterthought: When I had bought that Ganesh murti I had
done so with the last of my money that I was going to use
to eat with on the way home, thinking that going a few
hours more without food was a small price to pay for the
murti. However, after the plane rose to cruising altitude,
I was amazed to find that they were serving a hot meal on a
2 1/2 hour flight, something not normally done!

Lastly, my wife called two days before I left to tell me
that she had broke her foot and two of her toes. She wanted
me to tell Guruji about it, so I did. As usual, Guruji
simply acknowledged that I had spoken with a gentle nod,
however, upon arriving home my wife and I were amazed to
find that at the bone specialists office the next morning,
they wanted new x-rays, and upon looking at them could not
find the break in the foot or one of the toes. Mysteriously
now there was only one broken toe and the bruising was
gone!

Sagurunath Maharaj Ki Jai
M


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BOB ROSE:

If you want to know The Answer,
stop asking the question.

Kir Li Molari

Bob Rose
Meditation Society of America
www.meditationsociety.com


HARSHA:
If you want to know the Answer,
never be afraid to ask any question!
Pursue your truth, until you see
that You are the Truth.
A spontaneous silence
is the fragrance of the Self.


DAN:
Harsha -
I enjoy very much reading
this, resonating...

When I say,
"What is it that being present
has always been present?"

Am I asking or answering -
is this a query or
a statement?

Who can say???

Only Silence,
Dan


JAN:
What is an answer but a response to a question,
what is an answer but a sequence of words and
what is a valid argument to one is but an excuse
for egoism to someone else.
Questions are revealing dissatisfaction and no
answer can change that. When no more questions arise,
that is "THE" Answer and no method or system can provide for that :)




DAN:
If you ask the question
fully and deeply,
then the question itself
is its own answer.

where the beginning
is the end ...

Silently,
Dan


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ED and GENE

NDS

From: "Ed Arrons"
Subject: Gene/ Ed, your remark

G: Nice, Ed. What you said, does mean something;
I am unsure what, but it rings true to me.

E: Typically the self vacillates between objective
duality and subjective nonduality according to the
degree of separation experienced. Within the swings
is noticed different points of identity according to
conditioned experience. At the very 'center' is a point
of non-identification, a 'transcendence point', which
is the key to Selfhood. <

E: Thanks for commenting, Gene. Attempt to clarify
the above follows. Perhaps you can elaborate on what
is coming through here from your own perspective.

In this view the self, moving consciously between its
everyday reality and inner subjectivity, reveals its
conditioned tendencies and 'self-formulated' intentions
through a variety of thoughts, feelings, and actions.
These expressions of self represent the different points
of identification derived through experience.


G:My experience is this: Similar to above, yet, I have both
perspectives at the same time.

My mind ('difference engine') continually (transparently) runs a
routine in which the one is overlayed upon the other; the difference
is clearly highlighted as being 'artifacts of my conditioning'.

At this point I have the choice of looking at the 'living products'
of my conditioning, or ignoring them. I suspect that this
self-examination routine is really not that difficult to set up, but
that the majority of people seem to have established an extreme
attachment to their own products of conditioning as the 'sine quo
non' of 'who they are'. This identification is what is replicated
forcefully whenever reality intrudes; this 'patching' procedure is
what makes it seem that there is a continuity of individual self.

What is really going on with this ongoing patching (fixing) of a
wavering identity structure, is the maintenance of something which is
the most ephemeral of all things, something which is purely an
invention, and which is dependent upon the expenditure of a vast
amount of energy. It is similar to the futile task of preserving a
block of ice on a hot day, by the act of using the body to shield it
from the rays of the sun, all the while fanning it and chanting
anti-melting mantras, etc. The real masters of identity-preservation
will put a chill on the entire surrounding area, for the sake of
preventing their rigid crystallized identity from melting,
liquefying, and eventually returning to invisible vapor. Those who so
indulge, are known as 'control freaks'.

E: At the midway point between objective and subjective
cognition is a place where no known experience or
identification occurs; it is an unknown 'place' since no
consciousness or sense of self can manifest there. It is
possible, however, that this 'site' could be a well-hidden
feed-through point for energy of a higher (order). Apparently,
liberation from binding identification and self could occur
at this point, yet little or no known attention seems to be
given to this possibility.

G: Yes, a good assessment. The 'corpus collosum' of the human
brain-anatomy corresponds to this crossover point. If we make an 'X',
this point is where the two lines intersect. If you look at the X,
you will see two arrows meeting at the junction; if you look at the
Star of David, you will see a similar figure, in which the two realms
have merged as one.

This is the 'transform point', and indeed, in that area, all energy
and information are 'neutral'. Our 'problems' seem to occur as
arisings leave the neutral zone; they are taken in hand and shaped in
such a way as to match the ongoingly-patched identity structure.

This point also corresponds to the region of consciousness which
joins/separates 'conscious awareness' from the 'unconscious'. It is
in this zone that the products of the unconscious arise, in their
pure form, only to be corrupted to match the pre-existing assumption
of 'who I am'. If one can relax about 'who I am', the arisings from
the unconscious become superb revelatory messages.

E:(Reminder: some points of identification are binding;
others are liberating in that they move consciousness
serendipitously closer to the midway [transcendence/
Grace?] point.)



G: Binding identification seems to include the activities of the immune
system, which is geared to sustain the physical body. Inner conflicts
(called neurosis) destabilize immunity, leading to calamity, which is
the attention-getting cue (from the unconscious) that survival
requires manual intervention. A lifetime of improper (but socially
rewarded) identification eventually neutralizes immunity, resulting
in deterioration and death.

I hold that Self-Realization is a natural occurrence, and that its
'opponent' is continual self-reward implicit in social identity. This
fierce addiction, defined as self-rewarding behaviour, is the product
of interior conversations between introjected social-control values
and the dependent (IE, helpless) infant which everyone has been. In
this manner, the past (familial) system of identity-confirmation is
developed and amplified into the automatic identity-patching
mechanism. This mechanism can be called the 'machine of looking
good'. Appearing to be "good" is the camouflage adopted by the infant
born into the psychotic world-dream.

If the above paragraph is understood, it becomes apparent that by
halting the interior conversations, the 'machine of looking good'
will be decommissioned. At that point, Self-Realization will occur,
as it now has no opponent.

Remember, Self-Realization is not a product. It is not compounded
from anything; it is 'always a possibility', ignored because of a
clamor in the foreground. If this clamor is eliminated, the
background (Self) becomes all that there is.

Hearing the sound of space,

==Gene Poole==

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who's an Ol Hag!'


GREG:
Mark just reminded me. It started at the retreat, and seems
to have been catching on. I'm suggesting the name Indra for
the beautiful lady who has called herself Old Hag.


GENE:
Indra was able to travel about
Through a web of Jewels without a doubt

Each node connected through reflection
All nodes connected, sheer perfection

This ancient vision has now come true
It is how this message comes to you

How is it that we have always known
Our nodes are connected as is now shown

By this internetwork sharing mode
Each person an interoperable node

Could it be that what will appear
Is our dream come true, as held so dear

Our hope and vision of "All is One"
Yet each may celebrate the fun

As ancient vision became this 'net
Our real network will appear as yet

Unseen by most but sensed by some
Each faceted jewel spinning in the sun

In empty space this network lives
Each facet precious jewel gives

Delicate spectral texture to
This network which is me and you.


Multi-Faceted,
==Gene Poole==

~~~~

Gene comments:

It may be true that women 'evolve' from reproductive-functional stage
to 'elder' or 'hag' stage. This is represented widely in the
literature of Feminism, and is hinted in various cultural mythologies.

'Old' is certainly a relative term, not an absolute one.

Perhaps it happens that a woman, upon the expiration of certain
reproduction-specific hormones, then manifests a consciousness less
centered in larval mating rituals, and more centered in
Being-consciousness. This would be an awareness of universal
concerns, rather than gender-specific issues.

Love, when bereft of reproductive thrust, is certainly closer to the
speculated 'unconditional' variety. The role of 'elder' seems to be
found here, in this less frantic territory, less cluttered by the
demands of immediate family, and thus free to nurture the extended
family, IE, all of humanity.

It seems that for humans in the larval stage, mating and reproduction
is an inescapable fate, with few exceptions. The 'old hags' among us
are perhaps, living repositories of the accumulated wisdom which
survives right on through age-specific concerns, to bloom like a
precious flower, rooted in the rich compost of a lifetime of
experience.


MELODY:
I have always loved her calling herself "Old Hag".

We live in a culture in which women in their 40's - 60's
are ashamed to get out if they do not have a body
or a face that either stirs and excites the sexual passions,

or that suggests she is still capable of bearing
healthy children.

By adopting the name "Old Hag", Amrita invites us
to look squarely in the face of an 'aging' reality to
discover a reality which does not change.....which
has no end.....which does not grow old.

I've always known she was not as old as she suggests,
and at the same time, I knew she was ancient,

and even then....I saw that she is timeless.

I will call her whatever she chooses to call
herself, but underneath I will whisper with
a smile, "Old Hag".


DAN:
Indeed, you've noticed the
breathtaking beauty,
the timeless knowing
that is this "Old Hag"
just as she is:
wisdom in every wrinkle
around her gentle smile,
truth shining brightly
in the void
between her stained teeth
...

and when a barren old woman
gives birth at midnight,
all doubt of her fecundity
is shattered.


MARK:
Ahhah! That's why I pronounce her name OOoooohhhhhhhh......

LOve, Mark


JERRY:
"Spiritually, ecofeminists are drawn to practices and
orientations that nurture experiences of nonduality and
loving reverence for the sacred whole that is the cosmos."

From Charlene Spretnak, "Critical and Constructive
Contributions of Ecofeminism," Pp. 181- 189 in Peter Tucker
and Evelyn Grim (Eds.), Worldviews and Ecology,
Philadelphia: Bucknell Press, 1993.

The entire article is at
http://www.runet.edu/~lridener/courses/ECOFEM.HTML

Also read the article at
http://www.runet.edu/~lridener/courses/ECOFEM2.HTML

In summary, ecofeminism is a movement that focuses
attention on the historical linkage between denigration of
nature and the female. It seeks to shed light on why
Eurocentric societies, as well as those in their global
sphere of influence, are now enmeshed in environmental
crises and economic systems that require continuing the
ecocide and the dynamics of exploitation. Ecofeminism
continues the progression within traditional feminism from
attention to sexism to attention to all systems of human
oppression (such as racism, classism, ageism, and
heterosexism) to recognition that "naturism" (the
exploitation of nature) is also a result of the logic of
domination. (19) Ecofeminism challenges environmental
philosophy to abandon postures upholding supposedly
gender-free abstract individualism and "rights" fixations
and to realize that human relationships (between self and
the rest of the world) are constitutive, not peripheral.
Hence care for relationships and contextual embeddedness
provides grounds for ethical behavior and moral theory.
Politically, ecofeminists work in a broad range of efforts
to halt destructive policies and practices and to create
alternatives rooted in community-based legitimacy that
honors the self-determination of women as well as men and
that locates the well-being of human societies within the
well-being of the entire earth community. Spiritually,
ecofeminists are drawn to practices and orientations that
nurture experiences of nonduality and loving reverence for
the sacred whole that is the cosmos.

Ecofeminism is a global phenomenon that is bringing
attention to the linked domination of women and nature in
order that both aspects can be adequately understood.
Ecofeminists seek to transform the social and political
orders that promote human oppression embedded in ecocidal
practices. The work consists of resistance, creativity, and
hope.

In addition to the philosophical and political aspects,
ecofeminism contains a spiritual dimension. The ecofeminist
alternative to the Western patriarchal worldview of
fragmentation, alienation, agonistic dualisms, and
exploitative dynamics is a radical reconceptualization that
honors holistic integration: interrelatedness,
transformation, embodiment, caring, and love. Such an
orientation is simpatico with the teachings of several
Eastern and indigenous spiritual traditions on nonduality
and the relative nature of seemingly sharp divisions and
separations. To refer to the ultimate mystery of creativity
in the cosmos--its self-organizing, self-regulating
dynamics-- spiritual traditions draw on metaphor and
symbol. Those may be female, male, or nonanthropomorphic,
such as the Taoist perception of The Way. Ecofeminists are
situated in all the major religious traditions, and most
see good reason for women to use female imagery in
references to "the divine," or ultimate mystery in the
cosmos. Particularly, in patriarchal societies, the choice
of female metaphors is a healthy antidote to the cultural
denigration of women. Those ecofeminists drawn to Goddess
spirituality appreciate the nature-based sense of the
sacred as immanent in the earth, our bodies, and the entire
cosmic community--rather than being located in some distant
father-god far removed from "entanglement" with matter. The
transcendent nature of creativity in the cosmos, or the
divine, lies not above us but in the infinite complexity of
the sacred whole that continues to unfold. Goddess
spirituality is not the sole tradition that contains these
understandings, and even religions that are somewhat
hostile to them are being persistently challenged by their
own ecofeminist members.


JERRY:
Dedicated to Indra and Nonduality Gods and Goddesses
everywhere...

Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Bob Dylan (1965)

My love she speaks like silence,
Without ideals or violence,
She doesn't have to say she's faithful,
Yet she's true, like ice, like fire.
People carry roses,
Make promises by the hours,
My love she laughs like the flowers,
Valentines can't buy her.

In the dime stores and bus stations,
People talk of situations,
Read books, repeat quotations,
Draw conclusions on the wall.
Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there's no success like failure
And that failure's no success at all.

The cloak and dagger dangles,
Madams light the candles.
In ceremonies of the horsemen,
Even the pawn must hold a grudge.
Statues made of match sticks,
Crumble into one another,
My love winks, she does not bother,
She knows too much to argue or to judge.

The bridge at midnight trembles,
The country doctor rambles,
Bankers' nieces seek perfection,
Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring.
The wind howls like a hammer,
The night blows cold and rainy,
My love she's like some raven
At my window with a broken wing.

-


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MELODY:

Hi Gene,

You wrote, in part:

G:
> At this point I have the choice of looking at the 'living products'
> of my conditioning, or ignoring them. I suspect that this
> self-examination routine is really not that difficult to set up, but
> that the majority of people seem to have established an extreme
> attachment to their own products of conditioning as the 'sine quo
> non' of 'who they are'.

M:
As I was reading this, I found myself agreeing -

saying, "Yes, THEY do"

When I caught that.....when I saw that I
was excluding myself from that category...
I had to really laugh.

I saw that in my agreement I was doing
exactly the 'patching' you describe below.

(continuing below....)


G:
> This identification is what is replicated
> forcefully whenever reality intrudes; this 'patching' procedure is
> what makes it seem that there is a continuity of individual self.
>
> What is really going on with this ongoing patching (fixing) of a
> wavering identity structure, is the maintenance of something which is
> the most ephemeral of all things, something which is purely an
> invention, and which is dependent upon the expenditure of a vast
> amount of energy. It is similar to the futile task of preserving a
> block of ice on a hot day, by the act of using the body to shield it
> from the rays of the sun, all the while fanning it and chanting
> anti-melting mantras, etc. The real masters of identity-preservation
> will put a chill on the entire surrounding area, for the sake of
> preventing their rigid crystallized identity from melting,
> liquefying, and eventually returning to invisible vapor. Those who so
> indulge, are known as 'control freaks'.

M:
I can not think of a better person to share this with.....
knowing down to my toes that you will understand
the spirit in which I share the following:

The analogy you give above (of the blocking the
melting of the ice) painted a picture very much like
the picture of my own movement these past weeks
....even months. It is not until I saw the picture
you painted above, that I then saw my own
picture described as follows:

The picture that comes to me of my own movement
these days looks like using a body as a screen to
protect....to help incubate....a bird's nest.

A screening away of the elements and forces of nature
that could sabatoge this natural 'hatching' process.

And those 'forces of nature' that I'm holding at bay
are the presence of other people. What I'm screening
away are 'friendships'.

When she offered her hand yesterday, and her
'friendship', I winced. My first response was
"No, not now!". And I knew right away that the
response was not personal to her in anyway. I
knew my response was "No" to friendships in
general.

And I sense that part of that response may come
from old conditionings, but even more so comes
from what you write below:

G:
> I hold that Self-Realization is a natural occurrence, and that its
> 'opponent' is continual self-reward implicit in social identity. This
> fierce addiction, defined as self-rewarding behaviour, is the product
> of interior conversations between introjected social-control values
> and the dependent (IE, helpless) infant which everyone has been. In
> this manner, the past (familial) system of identity-confirmation is
> developed and amplified into the automatic identity-patching
> mechanism. This mechanism can be called the 'machine of looking
> good'. Appearing to be "good" is the camouflage adopted by the infant
> born into the psychotic world-dream.
>
> If the above paragraph is understood, it becomes apparent that by
> halting the interior conversations, the 'machine of looking good'
> will be decommissioned.

M:
These words bring tears to my eyes.
You have explained to me my own behaviour
better than I knew myself.

Putting this together with the earlier "ah, ha!"
of how I have created a 'me' and 'them' duality

I can see that by doing so, I have succeeded
in creating yet another 'continuity of identity'
to be see thru.

Many thanks, Gene,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ANDREW COHEN ..

MICHAEL READ:

I just found out today that Andrew Cohen is going to
be at the New Renaissance Bookshop tomorrow afternoon.
The topic is Liberation in This Lifetime.


MANCHINE:

Seems like AC is getting around! Which is more than I'm doing... for
the moment.

Well, I get around like you, talking to people here and there, but
he's kind of stuck his neck out! Takes this shit seriously! What're ya
gonna' do?

Anyways, we're doing five workshops, following his opening here in
Chile, they're his themes, but, look at them... it's been interesting
seeing what we can do.

1. Clarity of Intention (Singularity of focus, or Nonduality in everything)
2. Responsibility. (Assume responsibility for everything we do.. Can't blame
others)
3. Face Everything, Avoid nothing. (Go the distance. Find the nondual
solution. Sometimes it's work!)
4. Truth of Impersonality (We are Self - Coming to that understanding,
Enlightenment is personal until it is realized that "we" don't exist)
5. For the good of all (How our knowledge of that can work through us)

I don't know exactly where he's really at, guess I'll know in October.
Read lots of stuff, pro and con. It seems strong either way! We've got
a great audience of 250+ people, with an interest. Smaller than NDS but,
it's a start!

P.S.
Any notes or feedback accepted!


JERRY:
Cohen's book, Embracing Heaven and Earth, goes through those
five tenets. The first one, clarity of intention, has to do
with looking deeply into simplicity until a simplicity is found
that is absolute. Then the trick is to keep one's attention there.
Now, how this gets translated into a workshop that scores of
people may be attending, I do not know, other than to take
the people through a guided meditation. I saw Greg do that
very effectively at the retreat. It can leave people with a
deeper taste of simplicity than they've known.

Looking through the other chapters describing the other four
tenets, I wouldn't know how to convert them into workshops,
but they would make very, very interesting ones. I'd like
to know how you guys pull it off. What's the trick to taking
a chapter in a book and making it into a workshop? I guess
you can take statements made by Cohen and, leaving them
incomplete, have workshop members attempt to complete them.
Then a discussion is led with an eye on what the 'answer',
according to Cohen or the workshop leader, is.

For example, in the second tenet Cohen says the most
difficult choice for a person to make is the one to be
responsible for everything he or she does. Some people may
remember that from Cohen's talk or his book, or simply know
it; but workshop attendees can be asked anyway what they
believe the most difficult choice is for a person to make.
They can be asked to identify choices they have failed to
take responsibility for. They can then be brought to the
moment of simplicity evoked in Tenet One in order to see
that assuming responsibility is the most simple act.

These are some elementary suggestions. Each tenet builds on
the earlier one. Once a person sees simplicity, it is
natural to take responsibility for everything one does. Once
one takes responsibility it is possible to understand the
third tenet of facing everything and avoiding nothing.
Facing everything and avoiding nothing, or paying deep
attention to everything, one is lifted toward the grasping
of the fourth tenet of the truth of impersonality, which
says there is no one having an experience. If there is no
one having an experience (of if one has fallen through all
experience as the result of deep attention to experience),
one evolves toward the truth of the fifth tenet, which says
there is no enlightenment for the individual, or that the
individual is everyone and the evolution of the whole is
take on.

Now, Dave, Cohen himself does not address the flow from
Tenet One through Tenet Five, as I have. I'm not sure why.
Also, I would emphasize that Tenet One, the return to
simplicity, is abidance, and I would consider going through
it in each workshop. In approaching any of these tenets, I'd
want my workshop attendees to go through that Tenet One
guided meditation. I'd also speak about abidance.

You might also want to add a sixth tenet or workshop called
HAHAHAH AND HOHOHO, which Michael could comment further
upon, and which would bring people back to tenet one through
a different door. Humor's important, obviously. It helps
keep the whole teaching moving through a person.

The effective workshop leader cannot merely speak for Andrew
Cohen, or as one who has studied Cohen's writings. The
effective workshop leader has to be able to take Cohen's, or
any spiritual teacher's, teachings, and stand for and as the
truth of them. The leader has to impart the taste of Truth,
and that really has nothing to do with the five tenets,
which are only tools the effective teacher uses to impart
the taste of truth.

You're in a position to impact some lives, Dave.
Effectiveness comes back to tenet one: absolute simplicity,
and tenet six, humor, in my opinion, and with liberal use of
those in each workshop, the attendees should be quite happy
and they will go home with a new way of looking at
themselves and the world, I'm sure. However, what happens
from that point? That has to be addressed as well. The
attendees can't merely be sent home. You might want to think
about how to provide for continuance.


MICHAEL:
Well, I didn't do any flute shopping. I had a lovely vegetarian
lunch at an Indian restaurant and went to hear AC talk.

Hooha! Andrew is a nice person. He is sincere and appears
rather unshakable in his viewpoint. He also has a delightful laugh.
He genuinely cares about people and wants to help.

I largely kept quiet during his talk and the question and answer
period. That is to say, I didn't speak, but I did almost fall
off of the chair laughing at one point. More on that later.

AC stated that he would discuss his new book for about 45 min and
then take questions.

What he talked about were his five tenents. I won't go into them
here. He says exactly the same thing on his web site
www.andrewcohen.org

The 'crux' of his focus was that he had developed these five laws
over the last fifteen years. Yes, he referred to them as laws.
Furthermore, any truly enlightened person HAS to agree that these
laws are correct. How could it be otherwise? (His words - not mine.)

One of his emphasises (sp) was on the point that the seeker has to
have an overwhelming desire to attain liberation. This is of course
emphasised by most if not all teachers and religions. (My words)

Where I almost fell off the chair was when he referred to the
'diabolical ego'! Earlier in his talk he tried to make a joke about
rape. He couldn't understand it when nobody laughed. He said it
must be something about Portland. Excuse me, I like a joke as much
as or more than the next gentle being, but rape? Well it must
have been the diabolical ego that thinks rape is funny. Sheesh!

Anyway -

AC, despite the lapse into failed humor, did often state that
there is only one conciousness a number of times. He would also
say that you, the seeker, had to do something to realize this
conciousness. More like, you have to do something to become
enlightened. There was never a mention of grace.

His message or teaching, if you will, was a mixed bag
of duality, non-duality, work, and responsibility. Because he
often repeated that the overwhelming desire for liberation
is so vital to the process, some may have been inspired to
open up thier hearts.

Overall, his mixed bag of concepts and insistance that his tenets
are the only real path may make him less than appealing to many.
His personality is somewhat guarded, though he exihibits an outward
fondness for people. He may be more dynamic in a longer workshop
environment.

This tour is mainly a book promotion. He said that he was doing
the West coast in a week. After the talk he autographed
copies of his book. I did not purchase one. I did take a moment
to shake his hand and thank him for his visit. When I shook hands
with him I noticed that his aura was lit up in the white and extended
out a few inches from his body. He was obviously quite pleased with
the afternoon's talk.

Would I want to become a student of his? In a word, no.
Does he have something of 'value' to offer? Of course, we all do. :-)

HAHAHAH and HOHOHO!

Peace - Michael

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