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Archive 2
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January 5, 2000: Is Satsang Phony?, by Jerry M. Katz and Greg Goode
January 6, 2000: This is Not An Apple, by Phil Burton
January 7, 2000: Dichotomizing Assumptions and Overlays of Maya, by Jody and Dan
January 8, 2000: Helen Dhara Gatling-Austin 1998
January 9, 2000: Gong, Shower, Awareness, by Skye Chambers
January 10, 2000: The Ghost in the Garbage Pile: A Tidbit from the Bony Fingers of Old Hag
January 11, 2000: Cause and Effect, by Terry Murphy

January 14, 2000: Within It No Darkness: On Karma and Enlightenment, by Terry Murphy and Dan Berkow
January 15, 2000: Slippery Insubstantial Guy Slips Away!, by Melody Anderson and Andrew Macnab
January 16, 2000: Undue Attention on Barry
January 17, 2000: Criteria to Fine Dust, by Gene Poole
January 18, 2000: All Out Sonny and I
January 20, 2000: Bhakti Analysis, by Michael Rosker, introduction by Greg Goode

January 21, 2000: The Deepest Secret, by Skye Chambers
January 22, 2000: Invisible Leadership: Igniting the Soul at Work, by Rob Rabbin

January 5:
Is Satsang Phony?
by Jerry M. Katz and Greg Goode

Jerry writes:
Why do all these Satsang people sound the same? The same pacing. The same pausing. The same eternal tone. The same, 'You see'. The same little humor. The same 'in the moment importance'.

Why do I feel like I'm being sucked into something? Why do I feel the current Satsang movement is no different than any religious movement with their intonations and rituals and fulfillment of expectations?

Where is the unpredictability? Where is the rebellion? Why do I have to turn Vartman off and listen to the hum of my computer if I want to hear something real?

As a boy required to attend synagogue I felt stifled. I felt more alive and in touch with life when I departed the synagogue. Somehow I had the insight that just being alone in the day's sun was as religious and spiritual and Godly as it gets.

Now I have that same feeling with Satsang. It's bullshit. Just listen to Vartman. You know anyone can say anything they want with that pacing and tone of voice and it will sound spiritual and wonderful. Using Vartman's tone, try saying the following:

"I'm going to sue your ass in court ... you see ... you slimy stinking good for nothing bastard ... you piece of human garbage, you are the lowest form of human existence ... you see ... you horrible ..."

And don't you hate it when you're reading transcripts of Satsang and you come upon the clue-in: [laughter]. I hate that. Just let me read the transcript and I'll decide if it's funny or not.

So what's my point? Nothing holds. Reality is not to be found in Satsang with all its good feeling and relaxation and mellowness and truth. Reality is not found. It is known to be here and now. You see.

Greg Goode writes:
Dear Jerry,

Very good points. For many people, they have to go to lots and lots of satsangs before they see that they don't really have too. Same as any other practice, even when satsang is stated to not be a practice :-) I myself see the satsang phenomenon as a hilarious divine comedy.

One reason that so many sound alike is that many come from the same line of teachers. Papaji has perhaps the most in the West (maybe Osho has more).I first saw Vartman's info on the Papaji website called, you'll see pictures and notices of those who are sharing what they got from Papaji. One person told me that Papaji had "officially authorized" 17 people to share satsang in the West. They have authorized others. I myself was authorized to share satsang in this same way, by Michael Rosker, who was authorized by Moksha, who was authorized by Prasad, who was authorized by Papaji.

Here's a quote from that Papaji, according to which there are more than that!

...he sent out thousands of what he called "ambassadors". And so now there are literally thousands of "official" ambassadors, each one sharing, in their own way, what they received from the Master Poonjaji."

And there's even a link to send mail so you can be added to that page as an ambassador carrying Papaji's message:

In general, there are lots of satsang cultural conventions I've seen and been told about by world-traveling satsang attendees, including:

-The measured, spiritual vocal delivery
-Lots and lots and lots of hugs
-The competitive locking of eyes to see who sees the most of the Self in the other person (a great friend of mine is the U.S. national champion!)
-The well known Lucknow Disease of avoiding the "I" word in speech
-The assumption on the part of some teachers that anyone sitting in a satsang can be given advice and told what to do because they are seeking

Most of this There's lots more too!


January 6:
This Is Not An Apple
by Phil Burton

Vedas and Upanishads describe reality as: Being-Consciousness-Bliss. It is said that all-that-is is Consciousness.

All language is based on difference and thrives on negation. What does this mean? To say "what something is" is limited to saying what something is not. "Apple" does not communicate a real "apple" but negates all that is not apple. We call it an "apple" because it's not a pear, etc.. The essence of "apple" is a whole experience of "appleness" and cannot be set in words or verbal definitions. Mind, which distinguishes, is a sense which acts on the same limitations as all other senses taken seperately. E.g., "seeing" the apple is seeing only the shiny red surface, but missing the pulp and the seeds and the core. Every sense (seeing, hearing, thinking, tasting, and so forth) perceives a surface.

To "define" an apple it would be necessary to see it whole. It would be necessary to take into account all of its causes and its interconnections with the ecosystem. The whole of anything is the Whole of reality. Everything is a "cause" to everything.

Sri Nisargadatta, asked about God, described God as the "totality of manifestation". In all my reading I have not found a better or more evocative description. But the thing about descriptions is that they invoke something in the one who inquires and investigates. They invoke a kind of cognitive empathy which enables a similar perception. Don't just take someone's word for it: see through those words: SEE!

"All is Consciousness." Analyze this on a verbal level and it is meaningless. But see it whole and it is consciousness speaking to consciousness. The very doubt brought to bear on it is consciousness. It's a way of saying: "Give your attention to Attention!"

Eat your apple!


January 7:
Dichotomizing Assumptions and Overlays of Maya
by Jody and Dan

Jody::I know quite a few folk that expect that upon realization, their sense of themselves as individuals will be permanently obliterated, as they will then come to know that "all is one." This is in fact not true, at least not in every case of realization, and in fact not in a single case of realization that I've come to know.

Dan: The belief in obliteration of individuality, the attempt to stop being an individual, is a distortion and involves an "inner contraction" based on conceptualizations that set "good" against "bad". On the other hand, the ending of belief in a separate individual is an opening into true individuality (uniqueness). This moment is expression of uniqueness. The ending of attachment to beliefs about a self that one "should" be or "must" be (whether a "oneness" self or a "material" self) is the shedding of a straightjacket that prevents true individuality, that is, which limits the expression of uniqueness emanating from presentness.

Jody: I've observed in my exploration of online discussions that some folk have a tendency to develop intellectual models of nondual being and then adopt them as their "reality" when in fact they've only applied yet another overlay of Maya.

Dan: Yes, and one might get caught in the Maya of believing that one is fighting Maya, and is being liberated, when in fact one is maintaining and promoting a self-satisying belief system (in which perhaps one even believes one is "losing the ego").

Jody: While reality can be *said* to be nondual, it is *us* as beings that *are* nonduality. The container of social experience will always be dual. People attempt to deny the dual nature of social existence in order to make it fit their ideas of nondual reality, when in fact all they've done is applied another concept and layer of hindrance between themselves and their realization.

Dan: An interesting perspective here. I see your point. Social experience then is not true experience, but is the continuation of past forms, memory images, concepts, beliefs, and culturally imposed expectations. To participate in social experience as you've described it is to contend with unreality. Duality is nonduality when viewed without dichotomizing assumptions. Social experience, as you appear to be discussing it, is, itself, the acceptance of dichotomizing assumptions. So, perhaps one can engage in the realm of dichotomizing assumptions (social interaction), without making those assumptions one's own, and without fighting against them by promoting "oneness" beliefs that are actually another form of dichotomizing.


January 8:
Helen Dhara Gatling-Austin 1998
(contributed by Terry Murphy)

I Never Knew

Take off the backpack
Lie down in the long grass.
Pull up the blue sky-blanket.

So many years of Dharma practice,
Straight-spine diligence, straining toward
This hillside.
Just this.

Lie down in the long grass.
Let the earth take you.
Deer tracks and horse dung
and the eye within the eye,
revolving and luminous.

I never knew this.
Did no one tell me?

I remember my Zen master in the interview room,
"Trust yourself," he said. "Just be yourself."

I think his meaning was this:

Take off the backpack,
Lie down in the long grass.
Let the sky take you.
Breathe space
into space
into space.

I never knew there was this much light!


January 9:
Gong, Shower, Awareness
by Skye Chambers

Hi Skye,

I've been interested in Goenkaji for some time but have never done the program. Could you give us a few words on your own understanding of the approach and perhaps something on your experience of the practice?

Thanks, Larry
Hi Larry,

Happy to be of service.

During the 9 days of sacred silence (in my case with 70 people), no meeting of eyes, no reading, tv or radio, no entertainment none of the usual external entertainment one starts to experience sensory deprivation and strong esp and psychic hallucinations appear, annoying at first. On the last day of sacred speech, which by the way is like an enormous dam of love bursting we literally ran into each other's arms, hung off our bunks into the wee hours, going over the amazing experience. All had experienced these strong psychic hallucinations from being deprived so unexpectedly. I just ignored them.

My most prominent impression during and after the retreat, other than the amazing waves of peace and serenity i felt, was that we are SO MUCH stronger than we ever realize, Jan knows this. Because it does become a TORTURE! We were meditating in total silence from 5am till 9pm and the monkey mind/body plays all sorts of tricks to try and tempt you to stop!! catch the plane to Bali, anywhere, anything is better than this :-)

Three times a day Goenkaji joined us for 1 hour periods, guiding our mediation and giving dharma talks. He entered from a side door sat on a dias in in the lotus position in front of us, females one side of the hall, males the other so as not to divert attention at any time.

On the first day "GONG" 4AM! shower, we are quite rested and not in need of much assistance, so the meditation begins with the buddha's technique of concentrating on the breath, as it flows out across the little triangle between the nose and mouth and to bring ones attention back there constantly whenever our thoughts have carried us away again.

On the third day "GONG" 4AM! shower, we are to meditate on a circle at the top of the head. We all burst out laughing - oops - at the end of the day when he comes out and says "feels like little ants running around up there doesn't it".
He also explains that today and tomorrow may become really hard to endure and the mind will try to find excuses for why we should not continue. But it is not wise to get up off the operating table with your guts open, we will bleed psychically everywhere, so just press on. And sure enough it became harder.

On the fourth day "GONG" 4AM! we are to meditate on each and every portion of the head, for we are unable, like experienced yogis, to feel the whole body down to the toes, as though a bucket of water had been dropped from above. We all nod when he says at the end of the day "bet you couldn't feel this part here or there" etc and it was so, we are blind to much of our own body. That fourth day is grueling because we also begin the 1 hour 3 times a day sitting without moving a muscle. Wow that's a challenge, one really competes with oneself now. When one gets an itch or the limbs start to burn from constant unrelieved pressure, nothing can be done about. At the end of each hour Goenka comes through his door to release us. All eyes have been glued to that door for the last half hour praying for his entrance to relieve us from our pain. Hilarious. Though not at the time.

On the fifth day "GONG" 4AM! shower, we are instructed to meditate on every minute portion of our upper limbs, which of course is not easy and the grueling 1 hour 3 times a day sitting, continue now till the end of the 9th day. On the sixth day, the lower portions of the body.

On the eight the whole body.

On the 9th i began to feel a vibration just outside the skin which seemed to vibrate so fast it is still?? Some sort of a bliss body? It felt like bathing in rays of sunshine and i felt so alive and aware of myself and everyone around me. I had learned so much. Now i refuse to believe myself, whenever i cry "i can't" anymore. We can, but it was tough, for this sensory overloaded 20th century child.

The vegetarian food was exquisite, males and females dined in separate rooms facing a panoramic vista of blue blue eucalyptus mountains, ahh how the marvels nature mesmerized us. After the fourth day all heavy grain food stops after lunch and the evening meal consists of fruit only.

I could go on forever, but that is how it affected me.
Naturally others spoke of different effects, some none at all. A pregnant woman and her 10 year old attended and she and we were all astounded that her child had been able to sit patiently through every meditation throughout the whole nine days!

At the end of the retreat one pays only for what one got out of it. Payment is not compulsory. But many must have been contributing over the years because the retreat is looking gorgeous, zen gardens and all.

We are reminded all through the retreat, that this intensive is only the preliminary and to continue meditating now on our chosen path for whatever length of time suits us, each day.

One returns home after such an event, rather spaced out.
The body, everything, awareness is so alive, its quite disturbing. Ones normal energy outlets during 9 days silence have been dammed and the urge to party and communicate is very strong. That night i experienced the most beautiful sensual sex in my whole life. I called it zen sex, because without any movement at all the body was exploding like a symphony of fireworks. It was like "don't move don't move"
ahh what amazing bliss and love.

Here's the link to learn more about the communities


January 10:
The Ghost in the Garbage Pile: A Tidbit from the Bony Fingers of Old Hag

Hello, all dears:

Regarding "triggers" and their effects gradually fading: one of the phrases around the pile is "shining the flashlight of awareness" on them." And i see the effects of the trigger, the "echoes,"the neurotic reactions, the ego patterns/conditionings, the "kleshas,"as the witch in the Wizard of Oz. When i shine the awareness flashlight on the witch, it is like throwing a bucket of water on her; she puts her hands over her eyes, screams, "Arghhh..." and dissolves into a puddle.

Now, sometimes the kleshas are so deeply embedded that it takes a lot of bucket tossing, but each time their power is less and less, and eventually they fade altogether, Ding! Dong! The Witch is dead!!

And if they do raise their bony skeletons from the grave, their power only comes from any attention i give to them.

Apparitions The parts of me that have died often moan at their own demise and even raise their bony heads to attempt a ruse - make me believe they are still alive.

But now I realize they no longer have power.
If I pay no heed to their ghostly rattlings they will soon fall back into their graves - less able to rise again - for their only life is granted by my attention.

So, for old woman, it is the Mindfulness, the moment by moment Awareness, shining that ole flashlight, that does the trick - certainly not tryin' to get the trigger to stop triggerin' by talking to it, "hey, stop that, you are making me feel...." wooeee, that sure was a waste of time for this old bag.

It seems so simple, that i used to run around trying something more complicated, surely there must be more to "do," i thought, but i found there was nothin' to "do" except watch them kleshas at their play, to take full responsibility for them, knowing that frettin' about whoever/whatever did the triggerin' was missing the target, only the effect it was having in me needed a wash down. And the power of that effect was greatly diminished when it was caught in the Mindfulness beam, or got drowned by that ole Awareness bucket.

And i ain't seen a bony finger gesturing, "Come 'ere, my pretty, heh, heh..." in a long time. ,^))

So, that's all.

love, oh


January 11:
Cause and Effect
by Terry Murphy

I think that it is crucial for anyone who really wants to have even an intellectual grasp of anything approaching nonduality to realize that the only way to understand the buddhadharma or Truth is to recognize that there are both absolute and phenomenal views to be accounted for. Thus geat masters often teach in terms of paradoxes, eg 'love your enemies' or 'he who seeks to save his life shall lose it, while he who loses his life shall preserve it.' In buddhism, what is taught to a person is entirely a matter of skillful means, or what is appropriate to that person at that time, and generalized expressions may always be regarded as 1) right, 2)
wrong, 3) either right or wrong, and 4) neither right nor wrong.

'Cause and effect' or karma was preached about by the buddha, as was rebirth, because these were generally regarded as realities by the simple villagers he spoke with. On other occasions, in more sophisticated company (such as I presume NDS to be), the absolute views of dependendent co-arising of phenomena and the absence of self were discussed.
It should be obvious, despite the mental gymnastics of uncounted generations of buddhist dualistic 'philosophers', that if there is no self, then there is no rebirth. I'm not even going to bother arguing this point.

But I think it could be equally obvious, that if all 'things' dependently co-arise, there is no karma or 'cause and effect' either.

What I haven't seen discussed specifically on this list, but what seems to me to be the essence of nonduality, is that dualism is built-in to thought and speech via *language*. 'Things' are only thought of as existing because they are named; in actuality everything is one great cosmic egg; Ram Dass (Alpert) once put it, 'The smallest particle in the universe is the universe.' There really are no things. (All philosophical problems are simply mistakes involving taking language literally, as the later Wittgenstein's work claims; but that is another post.)

Cause and effect is similarly a matter of regarding things or events as being actually capable of being abstracted from the universal flow, as though there were some real self who could influence events. While science and task-based thinking is based on this sort of assumption, it is strictly a matter of convenience and effectiveness that makes us use such 'laws' as that of 'cause and effect,' and it is best to realize that they are not actually 'true,' but provisional and phenomenal. (To reach the) conclusion that this so-called 'law' is invariant and cannot be gotten around is strikingly out of harmony with the basic 'absolute' tenor of the rest of his discourse.

The first koan that Mu-mon put in his famous 'Gateless Gate' was the well-known "Mu", but the very second involved just this question of whether karma affected the enlightened or not. Being a koan, it was not designed to take sides on the matter, but to illuminate all sides. Here the salient issues are 1) is karma ('cause and effect') valid? 2) can the enlightened escape being bound by it? and 3) how does the buddhadharma, or teaching of the Truth, deal with this issue?

Pardon me if I once again re-post a letter previously written on the subject (which, in the forum it was posted, proved highly controversial, but I imagine will scarcely create ripple among this crowd of non-conformists - no offense intended - )


Karma is the law of cause and effect. Like reincarnation, buddhism inherited the idea of karma from the brahmins. To the Indians of those days these ideas were simply taken for granted. The buddha, being a practical man, came up with the 'middle way' in order to balance the conventional experience of the phenomenal world (samsara) with his enlightened view of the essential world (nirvana). Actually, reincarnation makes little sense in relation to the doctrine of anatta (no self); and karma makes little sense in relation to the dependent origin of all things.
Zen, in its typical manner, grabs both sides of the incompatability and throws them together, as the Zen middle way, in the form of a koan. Everyone knows the conventional, phenomenal world. Zen is concerned with satori, or kensho, the actual experience of the essential world, which few are consciously aware of. Ultimately, the phenomenal world is delusory; 'ultimately, not one thing exists' (Hui Neng). The zen master 'knows' this, but all beings need to know before the zen master, one with all beings, can be completely free. So there is 'teaching,' in order to liberate all beings, this liberation being the aim of existence and the destiny of the human race, the summit of evolution.

The zen master has no karma, because he is free of delusion, free of identification with the illusory phenomenal world. There is no karma because there are no things, no individual beings; no causes, no effects, only the dependent origination of everything at once. In truth none of us have karma, and all of us are enlightened. Samsara is nirvana, form is emptiness. But the illusion cannot be dismissed so easily, it has to be seen through, and to bring that about Zen uses what it calls, 'turning words.' Koans in general take something from the phenomenal world and marry it to the essential world, trying to shake the mind loose from attachment to empty phenomena. When the monk asks Joshu (in the first case of the Mumonkan), 'Does a dog have buddha-nature,' both Joshu and the monk know that everything has buddha-nature, and simply saying 'yes' would not be liberating, would not be a turning word. So Joshu says 'Mu' which means no, or nothing. With this Joshu is pointing to the essential world, where there aren't any dogs who have a separate existence, where all is buddha-nature.

Zen deals with the subject of karma most famously in the second case of the Mumonkan. An old man confronts Hyakujo (the master who was famous for saying 'a day without work is a day without food'), and tells him a story. A long time before, the old man was Zen priest, and was asked the question, "Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect (karma) or not?" He answered "He does not." For having given this answer, he had spent 500 lives in the body of a fox. He asked Hyakujo to say a turning word for him, and asked the him the same question, "Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?" The master replied, "The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured," which answer liberated the old man from his fox body. When mumon comments on this koan, he says that the old man had spent those 500 lives in a state of grace, that is, in a state of having no karma. It is clear that the original answer to the question was correct, and the old fox was actually enlightened. Nonetheless, Hyakujo's answer indicates that the truthfulness of the answer only obscured the meaning of karma for the original questioner. Zen masters who are merely obscure are known as foxes or fox-spirits. Mumon writes the verse:

Not falling, not obscuring, Two faces, one die.
Not obscuring, not falling, A thousand mistakes, ten thousand mistakes.

The one die has six faces, two of which are the phenomenal world and the essential world. The enlightened do not fall under the law of karma, but the law cannot be obscured by them either, if they want to avoid 500 lives as a fox.

It requires both answers to make this koan, and both are correct. In truth there is no karma, no good and bad, no enlightened and unenlightened.

But the effects of karma are nonetheless felt by most people, and it does them no particular good to tell them karma doesn't exist. It is similar to saying, 'samsara is nirvana' and expecting people to be satisfied with their samsaric experience. Or as though Joshu had answered yes instead of mu. In practice, we create our own karma by doing things we know in our hearts to be wrong. Karma is our way of punishing ourselves. Have you noticed that most of the bad things that happen to you, you bring on yourself? That's karma. Our conscious minds try to get away with things that our unconscious minds know are wrong. Because the purpose of life is to unfold spiritually, our unconscious minds bring about circumstances which 'teach us a lesson.' If we consciously hurt others, we unconsciously hurt ourselves; if we do someone a good turn, we get to do ourselves one.

The enlightened are beyond all this. The fact that the world exists only for the purpose of spiritual development is evident to them at all times; they have no unconscious. The enlightened can doing anything they want, but they don't ever want to do anything self-indulgent or bad for the sake of self-gratification. While the unenlightened follow rules and do practices, the enlightened do anything that furthers love, without reference to rules or morality. This enables them to spontaneously do the right thing, without pausing to make moral judgments and decisions.

Christianity is very similar. Jesus supplanted the ten commandments with the one rule of love, and made it clear that he was adding to the law, not subtracting from it. Love is a greater morality than simply obeying rules designed to curb a natural tendency to be selfish. Children and the unenlightened need rules of behavior they can follow, but masters make their own rules, they are 'a law unto themselves.'



January 14
Within It No Darkness: on Karma and Enlightenment
by Terry Murphy and Dan Berkow

D. I wonder: How can there be a disagreement, if there is no "you" proposing anything and no "me" proposing anything?

T: If there is a difference between our views, it perhaps involves this idea of simultaneously discriminating and transcending. Do events have their consequences? Or are there no events, and no consequences?

D: If there is a seamless nondivisible reality at work here, what is the need to form a view about this? Once we engage in that exercise, I can only see it as free expression of energy and love.

As far as simultaneously discriminating and transcending, yes - I agree, that is a difference in how we were speaking of the situation. My words come from here: there are events and there are not events. As there are events, we can discuss karmic repercussions or consequences. As there are not events, we are not contained by cause and effect realities.

As the world is seamless, no discussion of cause and effect or karma pertains. As the world has differences, and we act perceiving differences, in the practical world of human interaction we can discuss cause and effect and karma. To be simultaneously aware of both realities, without there being two realities, is what I was expressing, although I'm not sure the words I used conveyed it perfectly. The One reality, subsumes and includes the other reality (time and consequence), and this for me is transcendence.

It doesn't negate time and karma, it subsumes and transcends that world. Thus, ultimately, nothing is split or divided. However, being infinite, we can act "as if" there were a world of time and phenomena. In other words, you and I can write these words as if there were such a thing as forming a view, and there will be repercussions to how we view each other's words - and at the same time - no views are formed, no repercussions are concerns.

T: Does time really exist,

D: No thing "really exists", no time "really exists" - but time is perceived to exist, and we communicate in that "realm" - the realm of words and thoughts - "as if" time exists

T: or is it true that there is no time, only the unfoldment of Now?

D: The reality of no-time cannot be described - "the unfoldment of Now" is probably as good a description as any - if any were possible.

T: Is there simultaneously a phenomenal world and an absolute, essential world, or is the absolute world the True one, and the phenomenal world a convenient illusion which is used by the enlightened and uses the unenlightened?

D: Part of the problem is that I was using your words about "the enlightened" and "the unenlightened" whereas I wouldn't speak this way myself. It's an artificial distinction and leads to the problems coming up here. There is only Reality. The "phenomenal world" is itself Reality, when seen as Infinity; however - interpretations bound to phenomenally perceived distinctions, that is "objectification" considered a reality, without awareness *as* Reality, lead to erroneous imbeddedness in thought-processes as reality. To say this simply, everything is perfect as is, yet everything needs work, particularly identifications with thought-processes as being "for a self". Being is perfect, with becoming, work is needed - and Being is becoming. The work involved in becoming involves awareness of karma; that if I do this, that will result.
At the same time, there is no "I", no doing, no result, no separation between now and then. No one becomes enlightened. Enlightenment works on us so that we provide an opening for enlightenment to operate, for the Timeless to work in time. Simultaneously, there is no time. Words are a clumsy vehicle for what is multidimensional and timeless.

T: I can say to you that karma neither exists nor does not exist. *In essence*, there are no actual discrete events that may be truly abstracted from the flow of universal energy; on the other hand, *in practice* it is useful to regard certain inputs as being causally related to certain outputs.

D: Your saying this resonates with me and, at least as perceived from here, confirms the words I spoke previously. We live "in Truth" because we "are Truth"; we interact in the world in practical ways. Being is universal, becoming is particular. Being is becoming.

T: I can also say that karma, like ego, is a genuine illusion, a self-created prison for many people who constantly punish themselves for imagined sins, and keep themselves down. If one truly knows the absolute truth, does one really need to view things in terms of cause and effect, or personality? Is the enlightened view ('transcendence') a dual awareness of both seamless whole and events with consequences, as you appear to claim?

D: Well, it came across in words that way. The "dual view" is simultaneously one view - so there's no interference between time and eternity, karma and seamless all-at-onceness. In answer to you here, if one truly knows the absolute truth, there is no one knowing anything, only "pure knowing" with no separation of knower and known - thus there is no enlightened view or unenlightened view. This "knowing" isn't an awareness of a doer, so no karma pertains.

There is a perspective oriented to a body, a culture, and a time and seeing that simultaneously there is no perspective, no culture, and no time. If there were no body, you couldn't type this, if there were no culture, we couldn't use these words, if there were no perspectives, we couldn't have this discussion. There is cause and effect here: you type, words come up. If you typed different words, the message would be different. Your words have an effect - this is "karma". At the same time, no typing occurs, there is no perspective, logic and karma *ultimately* don't pertain. So *ultimately* karma is perception, perception depends on perspective, and perspective doesn't pertain. Your words and my words are exchanged, but Reality remains the same before, during, and after this exchange. No view is formed and none is sought.

T: I don't think so, dan. I can sign that paycheck, I can press down on the accelerator and make it on down to the airport to pick you up, without ever varying my continuous awareness that reality is a seamless whole and Now is the only time.

D: This is fine, yet as in your story - the post is a post. The paycheck is a paycheck. Don't sign it and you don't get paid. Drive drunk to the airport and you may get in an accident, perhaps kill someone in the other car. This person who was killed has relatives who will grieve that death. Tell the judge you're enlightened, living in reality as a seamless whole, and karmic rules don't apply to you.
See what difference that makes to the judge. See what difference that makes to the grieving family. Because there is awareness of consequences, I don't get drunk when I drive to the airport. I don't claim that karma doesn't pertain to me, although *ultimately* it doesn't. I have respect for the family that would grieve the death, and don't tell them that they don't exist because phenomenal reality isn't real. This is the point I have been attempting to put into language - and it seems to me the basis for whatever "disagreement" there appeared to be in our views.

T: I may appear to 'others' as an Actor performing an Action, but may myself only be aware of everything happening interdependently with everything else in an utterly choiceless unfolding.

D: What you say here seems on target to me, essentially. Yet, as there is no one there to make a choice, choice or choicelessness aren't categories that seem to pertain. There is no one there being aware of anything. Once you say that you are aware of everything happening in a certain way, there is a "someone" who has an awareness of "something" which has some kind of quality (e.g. interdependence). Because there is awareness of things happening in a certain way, there can be the thought to write, there can be speech and thought. There can be writing. In Reality, no one is doing the writing - from what I understand of your position, we agree on this.

T: I'm not sure that you are not kind of mushing together the absolute and the relative into a meaningless hash.

D: LOL - you give me powers I don't possess. After all, no one is here who could do anything to the absolute and the relative, let alone superhumanly make them into a meaningless hash. The relativeness of relativity is the Absolute. The Absolute doesn't dwell somewhere other than here. There is a plant on my desk. The texture of the leaves is the Absolute. The color that my walls are painted is the Absolute. The desk is the desk and the computer is the computer. This is the Absolute. Am I saying that the Absolute is a computer, and is a plant - no, not at all. Am I mushing together the Absolute and the relative - no, that can't be done. Yet, there is nothing apart from the so-called Absolute. Whatever we happen to be labelling as phenomenal reality or relativity is nothing other than Absoluteness.

T: We may have an intellectual grasp of the philosophical advantages of monism while personally actually experiencing ourselves as individual egos. If you experience "one person's seeing" as "interactive karma" in a really existent "'realm of interaction'"; in other words simultaneously experiencing personal ego and intellectual knowledge of some notion of universality, then we might be sounding similar but actually be worlds apart.

D: How can we be worlds apart when the world is seamless? Your stance seems to contradict itself. If there is no "you" and "me" how can there be any personal experiencing of ourselves as individual egos? How can there possibly be a "me" experiencing a really existent realm of interaction that isn't there?

T: Again, the reality of 'karma' is a psychological sense of justice, or sin-and-its-consequences, which is almost universal at a certain stage of human development.

D: I see karma as the mutual arising of phenomena when understood in the thought-realm of perceived actions and consequences of actions. It's a perception that all events are interwoven in utter order, an order that includes everything that we perceive as "random". Ignoring or avoiding this order because you think it doesn't pertain to you is the "stench of enlightenment", at least as seen from here.
Problems associated with this stance occur in antinomian religious groups, and there have been many, only a few of which we've discussed recently on this list. It's not uncommon for leaders of these groups to claim themselves to be beyond karmic consequences, to be God incarnate, beyond the reaches of time or karma, or when Christian, to refer to themselves as being in a state of grace where human laws and understandings don't pertain to themselves or their actions. My expression was an attempt to show why such endeavors and philosophies tend to go astray, how they miss an aspect of reality - how such groups can bear fruit that doesn't taste good. To say there is no such thing as karma is true in terms of pure awareness, who one really is. But to say there is no karma as one interacts day to day is often the philosophical refuge of one who is intent on blindness about the hurts others deal with. I'm not saying this is true of you at all - I'm philosophically addressing the point in a way that confronts its shortcoming in the world of day to day human interaction.

T: Just as people powerfully feel that criminals should be punished for their actions, they similarly judge and punish themselves, using their own unconscious behavior to modify their own conscious behavior. The 'unenlightened' are not consciously aware that they are doing the best they can for the sake of all sentient beings, though in actual fact they are. When they become aware that they are actually doing their best for all beings, that they are infallibly designed that way and can't do anything else, any inner need for self-punishment falls away and 'karma' as a psychological reality no longer applies. Just as ego is transcended and realized to be an illusion, so the sense of oneself as a sinner in need of punishment is realized to be an illusion as well. Continuing to maintain these illusions once they are realized to be such is delusion.

D: I find your statement above to be very clear. It fits well with my perception. Thank you for stating it so clearly. My resonation here is real to me. I see you stating very well what I meant to say when I spoke of the "enlightened one" as encompassing and transcending the entire world of karma. The "enlightened one" doesn't destroy karma, but transcends it. This is equivalent, in my view, to seeing that all beings are actually working toward the enlightenment of all beings, or "doing their best for all beings". However, seeing this, really, will be evidenced by fruits of compassion. Compassion includes awareness of temporal things, such as how to use language, cultural meanings, etc. This is why I said the "enlightened one" would operate in time while not being in time.

If there were not awareness of karma, the enlightened would, without any discrimination about repercussions, do whatever they felt like doing - and I agree with you, "they" don't do this.

Yes "they" do! :-) They have no awareness of karma at all, and do whatever pops into their minds, without thinking. This is why *siddhis* operate, because without any thought, with any breaking of the connection with the infinite, the enlightened spontaneously reflect the harmony of the cosmos.

D: You seem to imply that thought is bad, that being able to reflect negates Infinity. You seem to dichotomize people again, into the enlightened and unenlightened, with the enlightened never having a thought and manifesting siddhis, while the unelightened think and don't manifest siddhis. This is the kind of dichotomization that I don't find useful, and I'm happier with your statements that don't rely on such dichotomies. I think it's this dichotomization that underlies the "disagreement" you initially noted. It contradicts your previous statement that *everything* is manifesting the order of the cosmos perfectly.

People who act on whatever pops into their head are impulsive. You seem to equate impulsivity with no-mind. No-mind is no awareness of a separate self, and thought associated with nonawareness of a self tends to be focused toward immediate issues, then dropped when not needed. Nonetheless, I agree that spontaneity manifests universal order, that no thought is needed to behave in perfect accord with the cosmos, and karma has no "real" application to the "enlightened."

T: Rinzai says ('The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi,' trans Burton Watson, p44):

"Followers of the Way, you take the words that come out of the mouths of a bunch of old teachers to be a description of the true Way. You think, 'This is a most wonderful teacher and friend. I have only the mind of a common mortal, I would never try to fathom such venerableness.' Blind idiots! You go through life with this kind of understanding, betraying your own two eyes, cringing and faltering like a donkey on an icy road, saying, 'I would never dare speak ill of such a good friend, I'd be afraid of making mouth karma!' "Followers of the Way, the really good friend is someone who dares to speak ill of the Buddha, speak ill of the patriarchs, pass judgment on anyone in the world, throw away the *Tripitaka*, revile those little children, and in the midst of opposition and assent search out the real person. So for the past twelve years, though I've looked for this thing called karma, I've never found so much as a particle of it the size of a mustard seed."

D: Obviously this is Zen teaching, which is fond of negating precious assumptions, intending to provide direct access to enlightenment. No system is perfect. Drawbacks of Zen are an anti-philosophical philosophy (leading to hundreds of thousands of texts showing why texts aren't needed), overemphasis on the self to achieve no-self (leading to exhortation, recrimination, bullying applied to a self that isn't there), and a ritualistic reliance on paradox. Having said this - I enjoy Zen stories very much and thank you for posting this and others. Clearly, Buddhist writings could be cited ad nauseum on the other side, showing that karma is considered an established and vital aspect of the Buddhist darmha.

Zen is the only Buddhist school I've found with teachings that negate karma and rebirth. The Tibetan school is based on these concepts. So, it comes down to what is useful, what works. Does saying there is no karma, and Love will spontaneously provide at all times work? Perhaps for some, certainly not for others. I wanted to show that awareness of karma can be useful, at least in dealing with practical "worldly" realities. Is there great value to the teaching that Love is All, the no knowledge is needed, that spontaneously the Way will manifest? Yes, I believe so. I find myself essentially in agreement with you concerning *ultimate* reality. The question I raise pertains to how best to voice that awareness in the world - the world that includes logic, time, and consequences, as well as transcends these.

Without awareness of karma, they wouldn't care about any apparent beings being hurt (or any apparent beings learning anything either) because they would see no existing beings. So, why do they teach, and why do they interact compassionately? Because they see karma, at the same time they see no entities suffering from karma.

They see the illusion of ego, and the consequent operation of 'karma' as a psychological effect, a delusion. Very real to the suffering being, yes; this 'cannot be obscured.' But entities and karma canot be separated, they go together as causes and effects do; if there are causes, there must be effects. If there are no entities to have karma, there is no karma to have.

Dan: You say this well. I am essentially in agreement with you here, although I worded it differently. The karma, seen from an *ultimate* perspective is unreal. That is why there is no one suffering from it. Yet its effects on perception in the phenomenal world are real. That is why there can be said to be karma, and why teachers teach and interact out of compassion. No karma - no compassion needed.

Dan: Transcendence is to see that from the first not a thing is, and yet, simultaneously see that "this is". To see that there is no cause and effect, and simultaneously, actions have repercussions.

Terry: Pardon me, my friend, but this just sounds like nonsense.

Dan: Pardon me, my friend, but how do you know this "nonsense" isn't the spontaneous manifestation of Love, which as you say is always operating perfectly for the well-being of all? Well, if what you say is true, then how "nonsensical" could it be?

T: What is a 'repercussion' but an 'effect'?

D: I don't know - you tell me. I never said a repercussion was not an effect. You seem to miss my point. My point was "not a thing is" and "this is". There are no events, and this occurs. There can be no karma *ultimately* and karma *relatively*. Remember, it was you who said karma cannot be said to exist nor not to exist.

There is no "me", yet the perception of a "me" is real to "him" and to "her," and how they see "me" behave (and experience "me" to behave, will affect "him" or "her"). This is true even though there is no "him" or "her". All is perception, there is no perceiver and no perceived object, and love functions in this perception with awareness of the ripple-effect of actions.
My inferred conclusion as I read your perceptive and thoughtful writing is that sometimes the actions of one who is aware may appear paradoxical, yet the reason for the paradox is that the love expressed is transcendent of norms, not confined by norms, but comes from recognition of the entirety of karma as a whole, from being the entire pond, all of the ripples, and yet expressing simultaneously as a particular ripple interacting with other particular ripples.

Terry: The whole pond with all its ripples is the universe of dependent origination, where everything depends on every other thing, where a kingdom may be lost for the want of a horseshoe nail, and a typhoon in the sea of japan may be traced back to the flapping of a butterfly's wing in the amazon river basin.
In practice, however, I do not deny that if you go out and shoot someone, you are likely to get busted.

Dan: It's not only that, Terry, it's that "you" are going to "cause" a lot of grief for a lot of "people".

T: But even then, to apply single causes to single outcomes is simplistic.

D: I agree wholeheartedly. Events are overdetermined. But in the practical world, try dealing with people who have no sense of responsibility, no concern about the consequences of their actions, and behave toward "others" as if there were no "others" there to have feelings or reactions!

T: Confucius comments on the first line of the second hexagram of the I Ching:

"A house that heaps good upon good is sure to have an abundance of blessings. A house that heaps evil upon evil is sure to have an abundance of ills. Where a servant murders his master, where a son murders his father, the causes do not lie between the morning and evening of one day. It took a long time for things to go so far. It came about because things that should have been stopped were not stopped soon enough."

D: Quite so - call it karma (which never belongs to one isolated individual), call it the unfolding of Now considered from the perspective of Time, or don't call it anything. The truth is, we use language and thought, so we call it something, we reflect on it, we throw the I Ching, or read a book about antisocial behavior. Human beings use thought and language to understand and respond to events in terms of their view of situations and feelings. *Ultimately* Reality can't be understood in these terms.

Dan: There's no way around it: how this can occur is a great mystery!

Terry: I suppose you could say that our intuitive, natural abilities to be in harmony with the universe, which are similar to those of every other aspect of creation, living and non-living, are a 'mystery.' But only to the logic-chopping, practical, imaginary false self.

Dan: I meant "mystery" this way: totally and completely unknown and unknowable - completely beyond logic. And yes - this refers to the "little self," not the Big Self. And yes - the little self, poor fellow, ultimately doesn't have a leg to stand on. But this Big Self, doesn't he know without any entity being there, doesn't he manifest perfect Wholeness with no effort - now if that's not mysterious, what is? To me, the sense of mystery and awe is a great gift, along with peace and simplicity these are wonderful gifts of the Spirit. Gifts from no one to no body. Like Love.

Dan: It transcends logic without destroying logic, just as it transcends karma without destroying karma. Karma and logic are the same thing: awareness of cause and effect perspectives. Karma and logic continue to function, are used when their framework is useful, and simultaneously are seen in no way to define the nature of "ultimate reality".

Terry: As you wind it up here I quite agree, and could have stated it in practically the same terms as you have. It just doesn't seem mysterious to me. Our practical, task-oriented, tool-using skills coexist with our intuitive, natural identity with the universe. I guess my perspective differs in that I regard the latter as Real and the former as an illusion at best and a delusion causing great suffering at worst.

Dan: Okay I'll buy that. How about this - nothing is unreal. There is only what is real. Infinite universes manifest from this point. .
Nothing manifested anywhere is unreal. There is no delusion to combat. Seeing delusion is the only delusion there is.

T: To see the phenomenal and the absolute as equal or in some sort of harmonious balance is a dangerous view, tantamount to regarding god and the devil as equal powers and granting negativity equal say in what you do. It is just this granting of autonomy to the ego which is the essence of delusion and the cause of suffering.
Consider light and darkness. You can turn on a light, and darkness instantly vanishes. But darkness has no powers of its own, you can't turn on the dark, the dark is simply the absence of light, it has no qualities of its own. This is what nonduality is all about, there are "not two" substances in the world, it is a world of light only. The Absolute is True, and phenomena are a convenient illusion, to be used but never given power over us.

Dan: Of course, nonduality has "within" it no darkness that needs to be combatted. That is what is so difficult about it with regard to orginary thinking and morality. Any darkness that is shadow of a light, is Light in nondual view. No outside, thus no inside. No separation, thus no negation, thus no affirmation. Thus, perfect Peace. Thus, no possibility of "us" disagreeing ever. You say "black" and I say "white". No disagreement.
Only Love.

T: Jesus, the great nondualist, explicitly rejected karma, considered absolute by the rabbis, and embraced forgiveness.

D: The rabbis in no way considered karma absolute. No way, Terry. It is for this reason that the Day of Atonement is considered the greatest Jewish holiday. It is a day of universal atonement (at-one-ment) and universal forgiveness. The rabbis didn't like Jesus's presumption of authority to tell them what is "true", particularly didn't like the way he claimed revelation as his source of truth.
He undermined their whole established socio-political system. But his views about forgiveness are an extension of views expressed in traditional Hebrew teachings - only carried to a more universal and Total Beingness.

T: How could we be forgiven if karma were absolutely true? Taoism embraces forgiveness, and buddhism does as well. Karma is a fetter, and justice may be tempered by mercy. Logic won't get you to heaven.

D: Karma isn't a fetter. Karma is the justice that is tempered by mercy, the law that is transcended through Love and mutual forgiveness. Remember, Jesus also was said to have said, "as you sew, you shall reap." "I have not come to end the Law, but to fulfill it.


January 15:
Slippery Insubstantial Guy Slips Away!
by Melody Anderson and Andrew Macnab

Melody Anderson: Already this morning I had been noticing how difficult it was to read yesterday's replies to my posts, and how much I want *out* from under this child-like expression of hungry or needy child.... and how much I want to write something to the list that would 'wow' people, or at least give an answer to something instead of asking these questions. Damn how I hate this feeling of appearing to others as 'less than complete', or of 'lagging behind' the rest of the team!

Andrew Macnab: I'm not surprised that there's someone like that living in "Melody", there's someone similar living here in "Andrew". He's a rather slippery and insubstantial guy, when I look directly at him he kind of fades away. If I try to grab him he slips right through my fingers, like grabbing at smoke. He's always trying to get somewhere but he doesn't actually ever go anywhere. His biggest concern is what beings he calls 'other people' are thinking about him. These 'other people' are smokelike slippery insubstantial beings like him. No matter what he hears from these 'others' he's never happy for long.


January 16:
Undue Attention on Barry
(contributed by Bruce Morgen)

Oz was fascinating. We spent the 2 weeks a little south of Brisbane on an undeveloped section of the beach listening to Barry (Long) for a couple of hours per day. I went walking on the beach nearly every day meditating on the sensation, how delightful. My biggest concern was keeping enough cash on hand for mangoes.

Went north to Cairns for a few days, rain forest trips etc, then spent 5 days in Sydney. I’m more oriented towards nature than cities, but Sydney was very interesting.

I might even consider going back to Oz to see Barry again. Especially if he’s at Cabarita Beach again. He’s in his mid 70’s and warns that although healthy at present, a 5-6 year struggle with cancer could take him at any time.

I have no doubt that he is realized. But of course the expression of God filtered through any personality is limited. And he emphasizes as much by warning that one must become independent of authority as soon as possible in many different ways.

His approach, his comments, are exceptionally creative. For me he’s an extraordinary source of inspiration especially in terms of metaphysical insight. Yet, I do not feel in anyway that visiting him has suppressed or redirected my own individuality.

Our eyes meet briefly many times during the course. And I usually felt an indescribable quickening of awareness, an upwelling of sensation/energy, an expansive leap beyond mental association with limitation. But the same happened, for example, on unexpectedly seeing the full moon rising over the ocean. So I certainly don’t want to place undue attention on Barry.

My personal practice continues to evolve. My usual technique of recognizing & negating identification with limitation is still required. But more & more it seems that all that can be done is to take a small shift into subtler focus, awareness of the subtle energy of the body, the usual heaviness or substance of the body is refined into subtle energy, especially coursing upwards from the chest/solar plexus, sometimes this energy leaves awareness completely separated from association with senses / thought. Sense awareness & thought may continue but are seen as if from a very great distance, a distance so great that the observer could NEVER associate itself with anything external.

Mysterious and indescribable! For a while I was thinking: I can enter this by putting attention on the solar plexus (as Barry describes in some book, a kundalini yoga approach), or by stilling thought directly (a neti-neti Gyana Yoga approach) which is superior? Which is best for me? But, alas, such thinking implies effort or distance to be covered & there is no effort in Being.

words fail....


January 17:
Criteria to Fine Dust
by Gene Poole

Michael: Can a person seek challenges, disruption and crisis subconsciously?

Gene: Moving through life with 'patches'/compensations for (assumed by normal standards) 'failure' is this very form of seeking. This action is continuous and produces effects...

Michael: How does the subconscious mind fit in with the concept of awareness?

Gene: In that 'realm' are stored the 'buffered' information which are the criteria for valid-invalid, good/bad, productive/nonproductive, etc. A person comes to represent those criteria, and acts as though those criteria are valid. These criteria are the challenge, the dare, which is the above-mentioned action of seeking. Overall and over time, refinement may take place, as all criteria are ultimately replaceable/disposable.

Awareness OF this ongoing dynamic of error-checking (the interplay between consciousness and criteria) can free one from the assumed necessity of taking it seriously. Thus is born a higher-level routine of error-checking, and so on, ad infinitum. The challenge is to exist with (over time)
exponentially fewer critera for error-checking, always becoming aware of the birth of higher-level routines of error-checking as 'mere activities of consiousness', leading to 'no criteria for Being'.

Michael: How do feelings and emotions fit in with the concept of awareness?

Gene: Such phenomenon can be understood as the product of the interaction of consciouness WITH specific criteria; the dangers inherent to holding ANY criteria are thus easily represented by such feelings and emotions. Such can be seen as yet another error-checking routine in action; the problems arise in the interpretation, of what is as neutral as the 'engine-check' light on the dashboard instrument-display of a car.

Sensory perception is mirrored to the hypothalamus, which dictates emotion. If sensory information is not 'raw', the (buffered in the 'subconscious') biasing criteria will entrain the resultant neurohormonal products into a form which reflects the distorted sensory information; this distortion, projected as 'what is seen', is meant to act as a goad to keep us in balance. We are attracted to harmonious 'states' and repelled by chaotic ones. Problems arise when (introjected) criteria define the value of any state; the goal is to allow a return to the 'natural' or 'original' empty-of-criteria condition. In this condition, all data is accurately reflected, producing feelings which are an actual accurate reflection of what is being perceived. The peace (lack of aversive feelings) resultant from this condition, are the self-reward of 'bliss'.

Michael: Feeling like my heart is going to jump out of my chest, like my solar plexus is churning...what does this mean?

Gene: Conflicting critera are producing a storm of neurohormonal/endocrine products; the search for balance follows/is concurrent with this experience. When we stray to the right, the red light comes on; when we stray to the left, the blue light comes on. Neither-light-on means on-course; on-course enables clear-light illumination, VIS, neither red nor blue. This is a repicturing of the essential, built-in navigational power of the Human Being; peace is the criteria for maintenence of direction. This is 'why' we love peace.

Michael: I admit that expressing feelings is new to me and many times produces pain and suffering inside me after I verbalize them or just write them down as I do now.

Gene: Thank you for applying for higher-level error-checking.

Michael: Could this be a result of energy stirring up inside me and producing an out of balance effect as far as my inside and outside world?

Gene: 'You' are refining introjected criteria, to find a 'valid' you. What will you eventually find?

Michael: How does one know when they have experienced "awareness"?

Gene: This is when 'you' recognized that 'you' are the only criteria, over, above, and independent of any criteria; this is when you are free of any criteria. It is also when you glimpse the possibility of this; that to be independent of any criteria is to be self-generating on no grounds whatsoever.

Michael: How do you, on this list, define bliss?

Gene: See above discussion of 'no-error' signals produced by low-level error-checking routines (the 'subconsious' and its self-balancing activities of seeking).

Michael: How does bliss feel in the world of relationships?

Gene: One facet I can report, is the peacefull awareness that there is nothing wrong with something being wrong. It is the awareness of abiding in the dynamic balance of self-balancing; it is further, the heartfelt desire to extend this awareness, in relationship.

Michael: What is the cycle of awareness, consciousness and bliss composed of? Is there a standard? Or is it different for each personality based on their own "stuff", which they have inside them?

Gene: Presumed 'self', when validated by criteria, is always at threat; no (defined) self exists when no criteria are held. Leaving behind criteria, over time, is represented by this cycle you mention. The movement 'left-right-center' is always happening, and is represented in every facet of our experience. It is a completely neutral, and unstoppable, mechanism for survival. It will eventually crush ALL criteria to essence; going 'with' it is bliss, fighting/resisting is only possible when criteria are held. Any held criteria will be ground to a finer and finer powder in the mills of the gods; it is all 'grist for the mill'.

Michael: I don't even know why I am asking these questions...I am aware that I am asking them, I am aware that feelings and emotions are stirring up in me strongly as I write them.
Tim has been a big help to me in understanding surrender. I guess I have to experience surrender to really understand it.

Gene: It is necessary to ask such questions; by these means are the higher-level error-checking routines spawned. We are built in such a way that this is all inevitable; and it is good that we see that something is wrong, and it is good to see that seeing what is wrong, is the possibility of continuance. It is also good to recognize the essentially automatic nature of all of this, and to step out of it's way. It itself, never needs fixing.


January 18, 2000
All Out Sonny and I
contributed by Andrew Macnab

RIDDLE: What do the following have in common?

Insult and a loony. Annually sod on it.
Loony, anal nudist. Lousy and not nail.
Until and as loony. Unload on nastily.
Us and notionally. Annoy in lads lout.
Unload on saintly. Loony in an adults.
In sod to annually. Stood in annually.
Annual loons tidy. Annoy lout island.
Unload saintly no. In Satan on loudly.
An adult, loony sin. Loony and in a slut.
Sod into annually. Lout and nosy nail.
Lout and in as only. Only unload saint.
Anal loons untidy. No! nastily unload.
Undo saintly loan. Nosy and in all-out.
Sun notional lady. Annoy on as dull it.
Nationally. Sound. Lout annoys in lad.
Lout and sly anion. Undo sly national.
Odious, tall nanny. I, annually sod not.
Silly and on an out. Annoy insult load.
Is an only and lout. Sunny and tail loo.
No! annually sod it. Lout load as ninny.
Ninny as adult loo. On a dull it annoys.
Disloyal noun ant. Lousy land on an it.
Anal loony in dust. Old ninny as a lout.
On insult on a lady. Annually do to sin.
Is not. Annually do. Lusty and in a loon.

ANSWER: They are anagrams of Nonduality , and they come from the Anagram Genius


January 20:
Bhakti Analysis
by Michael Rosker
Introduction by Greg Goode, Ph.D.

Michael Rosker had about 15 years' sincere and devoted experience in various charismatic and bhakti paths, and later, came to the advaita/non-dualist path. I asked Michael to offer some insights based on his long experience. In a nutshell, he says that these paths, as they are sometimes practiced in the U.S., *can* involve certain excesses that harm someone's self-esteem, and might even depend on a previous lack of self-esteem in the new devotee.

Since Michael pretty much hit just the high points in his essay below, I'll fill in some details. He began the spiritual search in the late 70's because of health problems. Over the years, he has been a very faithful devotee of at least 4 famous schools with charismatic leaders. He also spent time with a few individual gurus, while not as charismatic as other teachers, nevertheless combine a bit of advaita philosophy with bhakti practices and psychotherapeutic recommendations, or sometimes, just plain psychological manipulation. During this time, about a decade-and-a-half, he experimented, doing things like:

-all kind of diets: ayurvedic, macrobiotic, yogic, raw foods, blood-type, vegan, vegetarianism, high-protein

-banging his left shoe on the ground to make the spiritual or physical problem go away

-stopping having sex with his wife

-on retreats, digging 4-foot holes in frozen ground in mid-winter, then immediately filling them back up

-meditating 6 hours a day

-chanting several thousand rounds a day to a personal, very human guru

-never seeing the sun except on his way to work

-losing about 50 pounds (now he's healthier than ever, but still skinny!)

For Michael himself, most of the time on these paths, he was miserable, angry, or depressed. But for the last 2 years, he has been investigating non-dualism. This started when he met a teacher who talked to him person-to-person, as a peer, as though nothing needed fixing, acknowledging that he's not a child, not broken, etc. With this great shot in the arm, Michael's investigation continued until it came to the end of all questions, the end of all answers. Now he's very happy, a loving and radiant presence. People go to him for support, healing, help of all kinds, and love. There's lots more to say, as Michael's a very good friend. But I'll stop and let his essay speak for itself. --Greg Goode, Ph.D.

Bhakti Analysis, by Michael Rosker

What is it that would make an intelligent, successful and educated person abandon even his most fundamental common sense and accept a philosophy or code of living that in any other situation would only be described as stupid? In the bhakti tradition as it has been transplanted in the U.S., that is exactly what has happens. Normally, after spending a lifetime fortressing oneself into a self imposed prison of self-indulgent misery one comes across an experience of no limitation. After which, of course comes the compulsion to have this experience to be permanent. The old way of living, in comparison has become intolerable. At this point one is likely to turn to a number of spiritual paths that make claims to fulfill this longing. Since this newly born spiritual aspirant has no experience in the metaphysical world, he is likely grant spiritual teacher liberties that he would not normally even consider. From then on one could spend years banging their left shoe in the dirt or prostrating themselves before a number of 8x10 glossies. Or chanting every morning in Sanskrit, "If the Lord Hari is angry, then the Guru protects you. But if the Guru is angry with you, then no one can save you." This might all done in the name of "purifying the mind."

But surprisingly enough, I haven't come across one legitimate case where this has actually taken place. What it does do however, is to create a new group of "low esteem children" who blindly follow whatever mommy or daddy guru tells them. Now this is not as grim as it seems. There are indeed wonderful benefits from this type of surrender. What I've discovered from many bhakti's is that for the most part they seem to have some "healing your inner child" agenda going on. Where this is concerned there can be some great healing taking place. One can begin to feel the love, acceptance and protection that had not been established early in life.

Currently, there is no provision in the Bhakti charter for graduation to adulthood. If at some point in the aspirant's evolution these belief systems come into question, he will be told one of many quasi poetic, remotely metaphysical buzzwords to squash any attempted escape. One of these might be "It is only the Ego that wants to know," or "It is beyond the mind." Since low self-esteem is one of the prerequisites for becoming a Bhakti, it will be difficult if nearly impossible to extricate oneself from this self-deception on one's own steam.

In my own case, it took the help of a spiritual teacher named Francis Lucille. This was the first time, after many years of earnest seeking where someone of unquestionable realization had sat and spoken to me as an equal. I remember after one of his talks, him sitting next to me on the rug, talking for a half-hour while everyone else was socializing around us. The experience was one where I couldn't be sure who was contributing what in the conversation. It was literally contiousness speaking with itself. I remember exclaiming aloud at the end of that evening that I had indeed become an adult Now, this recognition was only the first step, enabling to walk on my own two feet. There still was the task at hand to weed through the many layers of misunderstandings and inferences that maintained the jail cell I called Michael. Fortunately for me, I came across an experienced gardener who had the insight to see beauty hidden behind the overgrowth and had patience enough to yank them out of the ground, without disturbing the flower.


January 21:
The Deepest Secret
by Skye Chambers

We are all way beyond glorifying dis ease, confusing it with holiness or using it as a learning process for the personality. There is no longer any point or necessity in using it to prove to oneself (or others) the strength of ones inner life, no need for such crutches.

From the words of Gangaji; who is helping me out of my ignorance, as you all are.

"The great gift that Ramana offers you as his own Self is to be still. To not look to the mind as the reference point of who you are, mind being “thought" mental thought, physical thought, emotional thought, circumstantial thought. To be still. What can be said about what is revealed in stillness?
Nothing has been said that can touch it. Much has been said that points to it. Words such as enlightenment, realization, Self, Truth, God, Grace—all of these words point to that.
The moment they are conceived as some “thing” they point away from that. And then you begin this ridiculous practice of comparing yourself with someone else. All in the hopes of reaching something, or leaving some-thing. And these all based on the idea that you are some “thing”.

"Who you are has no need of, no desire for, no fear of either ignorance or enlightenment. You are free of these concepts. Ignorance points to not realizing that. And enlightenment points to realizing that. But the moment you cling to any concept of ignorance or any concept of enlightenment as reality, you are already in the experience of ignorance again. You see how subtle the workings of the mind are? How subtle?

YOU ARE NO “THING” AT ALL! Everything that appears, appears in you, because of the vastness of the mystery of you. When you identify yourself as some “thing” something mental, something physical, something emotional, something circumstantial and you believe this identification to be real, you overlook the reality of the vastness of being who you are. It is so utterly simple. This is what has held it as the deepest secret.

So all of your strivings, all of your practicings, all of your comparing, all of your taking notes on, is realized to be worthless. In this moment of realization of the worthlessness of that, there is ultimate freedom. If there is the slightest clinging to that as worthwhile, as worth something, there is once again being caught in identification.
The opportunity for the mindstream that you have identified as yourself, the opportunity is, in the midst of that, to real-ize you are that animating force that gives the mindstream its apparent power. This can be realized immediately—in simply being still. You will never realize it by searching for it in thought. You may have intellectual understanding, and I would say you all have this intellectual understanding, but you aren’t satisfied with that, because you will never be satisfied until you embrace yourself, the truth of who you are. Luckily you will never be satisfied. You will not settle for second best. Luckily.
This is the greatest gift—this gift from Ramana, through Papaji. This opportunity to stop, midstream, to stop, and recognize who you are. All discussion before that and after that is worthless, is some mind game. Maybe beautiful, maybe horrible—but worthless.


January 22:
Invisible Leadership: Igniting the Soul at Work
by Robert Rabbin

A Book Review by Shirley Bell

(Softcover/218 pp., Lakewood, Colorado: Acropolis Books, 1998, $14.95)
reprinted from the current issue of

An interesting, remarkable and visionary book. The author, who is also a business consultant in the spiritual mode (which these days really means caring about people and their potential, offering ways of acquiring greater self-knowledge as a prerequisite for change, and nurturing all living things, including the planet), pays particular attention to values (especially vs behaviour), the need for awareness, the disturbing growth of soullessness, the fundamental role of silence, the need to hold one's personal truthfulness sacrosanct, and the vital attributes essential to leaders across the spectrum in the 21st century.

He eschews models, paradigms and patterns (although he is not above using the latter two descriptively himself). He is fierce, frank, intuitive, convinced and always entertaining.

If I have to select a specific something from this thoroughly worthwhile book, it is one of his discussions on values, which he embeds in an anecdote from his corporate experience.

Invited by a company president to assess the expression by the staff of corporate values in day-to-day activities and interactions, he refuses to view their ‘corporate values documents’ or subject staff members to surveys or questionnaires. Instead, he chooses to use his ‘mute assessment tool’; that is, for three days he walks around keeping his own counsel and watching people work. After that, he is able to tell the president what their actual values are, based on the way they conduct themselves in the course of their work.

‘(This),’ he says, ‘is the true values document: how people behave... (these) are their values-in-action, which are the only values worth paying attention to. To superimpose a set of idealized behaviours on top of our actual behaviour is a sure way to institutionalize hypocrisy.’

... it is pure nonsense to think that what we say and what we do are two separate things which must be brought into proximity... We might think that our real values are what we say they are, but that is a delusional conceit. Our real values are expressed in our actions, in what we do and how we do it. Our actions never contradict our values: our actions are our values. (p. 87)

When we fail to live up to the values we claim are ours, the reason is that these are not our real values at all. Our real values are manifested in what we think, say and do. ‘If we want to know what we value, then we have only to watch what we do and how we do it...
We act from what we are.’

If there is a flaw in this warmly recommended book, it is that the writer—in company with many other writers in this genre—makes it appear too easy: self-knowledge; focused attention; perceptions about what is truly valuable; insights that come as much from experience and practice as from ‘Eureka’ moments; holding personal truth inviolate; understanding silence; evolving one's intuition; honouring all things great and small, animate and inanimate; offering practical, humane, deeply spiritual leadership; serving life... This is not following a path; this is blazing a trail. And blazing a trail is one of the greatest challenges in the world: stimulating, creative, life-giving, lonely, heroic... but never easy.

Not everyone starts from the same place. We have to take account of this and warn that the path is long and hard. Otherwise, many quickly feel inadequate to the challenge and—not realising that they are sharing a common experience—give up too soon.

—Shirley Bell

For further information about Robert Rabbin, visit his website at:



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