#5206 – Interview with Ramaji

ramaji1
photo: Ramaji

Ramaji’s main mission is to spread practical non-dual teachings about the Heart on the right, Amrita Nadi and Self-enquiry meditation in the Advaita enlightenment tradition of Sri Ramana Maharshi. Ramaji facilitates the non-dual spiritual awakening of the casual seeker and serious student alike via delivery of the RASA (Ramaji Advaita Shaktipat Attunement) non-dual transmission. He delivers RASA in person and long distance to groups or one on one over Skype. The RASA transmission takes only a few minutes, yet its spiritual benefits can last a lifetime. Physical distance makes no difference.

Based on his own experiences, Ramaji has clarified and streamlined Self-enquiry for the West. Ramaji strongly encourages meditators to arrive at the thought-free state. By dwelling in and abiding as the thought-free state, the Self is realized.

http://ramaji.org

Listen/download: http://nonduality.net/16april2014_ramaji.mp3

Or listen here: 


Ramaji tracks:

0:00 – 7:21 Introduction to Ramaji. Ramaji talks about how his book started and the nature of levels of consciousness. Compares his work to that of David Hawkins. Some spiritual biography. Function of empathy.

7:21 – 14:22 Some of the people rated and their scores. Value of this work in getting a handle on assessing nonduality teachers. David Hawkins’ ratings compared. Nature of Ramaji’s evaluation process. Receptivity to “mental density” or “outer protective layer,” or “mental armor.”

14:22 – 22:49 Ramaji gathering date on evaluations. Characteristics and features of different ratings levels with associated experiences described. Perfection of duality as it is at level 1000.

22:49 – 25:10 Nature of level 1000. “Everything is I.” Universal I-consciousness. It is all myself.

25:10 – 28:54 Mission to get everyone to level 1000. Value of RASA discussed. “I am kicking spiritual butt with this RASA thing.”

28:54 – 32:15 Value of the great desire for enlightenment. Be honest with yourself. Enlightenment has to be your passion. Main problem is indifference. Value of meditating a half hour a day toward achieving world peace.

32:15 – 38:37 The world as thought, corporations and the military as only thought based. All the masses have to do is start meditating and that would de-couple them from deep conditioning. Identification softens with meditation and space opens in our thought patterns. However, the masses are in a trance and kept in a trance by corporate advertising. “People think the world is real … and then torture themselves with it.” Being a human being: feel free, loving, peaceful.

38:37 – 45:27 More levels discussed. 500′s, nature of. Average person is 210. Spirituality starts at 500. Serial killers are below 100. Dictators are below 200. 300: Tanya Harding. 400s are scientists, wealthy people. Bill Gates = 524. Oprah = 582. Above 628 you’re living in non-doership, you can do whatever arises which may appear to come from a low rating level.

45:27 – 48:10 Potential for abuse if someone pretends they’re established in non-doership. Charles Manson mentioned. People rated 1000 are impeccable regarding abusive behaviour.

48:10 – Jerry asks, “Ramaji, should people believe you?” A new level of purification after enlightenment, which is a function of non-doership.

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1000_Cover_for_Kindle

www.amazon.com/1000-Consciousness-Awakening-Spiritual-Teachers/dp/1497433401/

Excerpt from 1000: The Levels of Consciousness and a Map of the Stages of Awakening for Spiritual Seekers and Teachers,  by Ramaji
Higher Is Not Always Better

The transparent energetic clarity revealed to me by the LOC
1000 person who is “lost in the Absolute” has no parallel in
lower LOC levels. At the same time, since there are many “X
factors” in the delivery of satsang, it is entirely possible that an
enlightened teacher at a lower LOC may be presenting just the
right quickening of consciousness for his or her students.
It is natural to assume that “higher is better.” What matters
most is the “chemistry” between the two of you.

A higher LOC would be better for the teacher for their own
sake, but it is entirely possible that a teacher with a lower LOC
will be better for you. They may be easier to understand.
Best-selling author Deepak Chopra (LOC 562) is not yet
established in non-duality, yet his teachings have been a great
help to many. The consensus is that Chopra has made great
contributions to the modern non-duality movement.

As an educator, Chopra is hard to beat, but more advanced
and sophisticated students know that there is unparalleled
value to being in the presence of one who is established in
non-duality. In that case, Jeff Foster (LOC 678) and Scott
Kiloby (LOC 754) are examples of accessible compassionate
teachers who are well integrated in their realization. Likewise,
both Gangaji (LOC 1000) and Francis Lucille (LOC 1000) offer
liberating wisdom in a loving supportive context.

Even though I returned to Ramana Maharshi (LOC 1000) and
Nisargadatta Maharaj (LOC 1000) for clarification of many
subtle yet critical points, Ramesh Balsekar (LOC 764) was the
perfect guru for me in 1989. Ramesh’s message, down to the
exact words the he spoke in person to me, was precisely what
I needed to hear. The alignment itself was what mattered.
My conclusion from my spiritual initiation with Ramesh
Balsekar is that the LOC of the teacher is not the most critical
factor. Obviously, you want him to be stabilized in non-
duality. The “transcendental” attunement between your
awakened guru and you, the sincere disciple, is the key.

The purpose of this book is to elucidate apparent differences
between teachers in their presence, behavior and message.
When the facts are laid out, it appears that guru misconduct is
much more likely with teachers in the 600s and 700s.
The classic forms of misconduct are very familiar to us. Four
big areas show up again and again. They are abuse of power,
abuse of money, abuse of drugs and abuse of sex.

Of course, these are the same exact areas that exploitation,
misconduct and abuse can be found in worldly contexts like
politics, sports, business and entertainment. The guilty party
is usually a man, but not always. Women seem to be less
prone to scandalous behavior, but then they are not as likely
to be in a position of authority where misconduct is possible.
There is no simple explanation for this problem. In the case of
spiritual teachers, it is possible to come out too early publicly
as a teacher. In theory this should not make a difference, but
in practice a major awakening takes time to stabilize and
integrate. Coming out a few months or a few years after your
breakthrough into non-duality could be counterproductive.
There is no hard and fast rule about this. It is more a case of
“By their fruits you will know them.” Most people are not
even remotely prepared for being in a position of authority
where sex, money and recreational drugs may be made
available without the conventional rules or limits. Much like
the people who win the lottery and proceed to ruin their lives,
too much of a good thing can easily turn out extremely bad.

After a sage is ensconced in this position of authority, it will
be the rare teacher who decides that he or she needs to step
down and take a break. Usually a crisis needs to occur before
such an action takes place. Even then the sage may deny any
wrongdoing. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure. That means wait until you’re ready.
To use traditional language, in the LOC 800s sages and above
a purification process has taken place that the teachers in the
lower non-dual LOCs have not gone through. This includes
deeply buried emotional traumas but is not limited to that.
The progression from the lower non-dual LOCs to the higher
non-dual LOCs on up to LOC 1000 is not just a matter of going
higher in consciousness. The final stabilization in the Absolute
is a full resolution of the world and the other. Love has been
fully integrated into the path. When you are a teacher at this
level, the student you are teaching is your very own beloved
Self. The evidence is strong that impeccable purity is more
likely to be found the higher you go on the LOC scale.
Highly revered masters like Ramana Maharshi and
Nisargadatta Maharaj were impeccable in their behavior as
well as in the clarity and effectiveness of their non-dual
message. They represent the gold standard to which the
majority aspire but to which only a minority attain.

“Self-realization” has been used to describe an absolute
separation between the “realized” and the “not realized.” The
evidence does not support this idea. Parallel to the evolution
of life on earth, there is unfoldment over time and integration.

Progression upwards in the non-dual LOCs means that the
mind becomes more and more attenuated until, at LOC 1000,
it finally disappears. It can be argued that the mind continues
with the difference that it is no longer a problem for the sage.
Either way, the mind as such is gone. Now there is Silence,
and in this Silence, thoughts may or may not arise.

To attain enlightenment and get established in non-duality is
one thing. To live as a human being who compassionately
embodies the truth “All is my very Self” is quite another.
If the apparent other human being in front of you is indeed
you, if they too are this Buddha Nature, then surely the last
thing you would dream of doing would be to hurt, harm, limit
or confuse them. After all, you are only hurting yourself.
In Buddhist circles, this challenge has been posed as “Would
you do this [act of misconduct] to someone you know for sure
is a Buddha?” Christians may ask “What would Jesus do?” The
answer is obvious in both cases, yet misconduct continues.
Clearly, these forces run very deep. Non-dual awakening does
not mean that every twisted knot of the subconscious has been
burned through and resolved. It does not mean that terrible
traumas from past lives and this life have been handled. One
of the gifts of awakening is that now you are in a position to
dig up and resolve submerged conflicts that the empirical ego,
when it ran the show, would not let rise to the surface.

At the “top of the mountain,” life is service. If everyone is your
beloved Self, then the ongoing daily suffering of these others
is your suffering also. There is no room for selfish behavior.
You live for the realization of all beings, for they are you.

Because you love yourself without limits or conditions and all
is your Self, this is inevitably true. How this will look to others
cannot be predicted. In your heart of hearts, you will know
that you are on an authentic path of compassionate love.
The teacher of non-duality is a doctor for the deeper soul. All
of us who seek to minister to the spiritual needs of others will
do well to remember the words of the father of modern
medicine, Hippocrates” “First do no harm.”

To rework a familiar discussion, at issue is not so much if the
teacher is “halfway up the mountain” or even “half-baked.”
The concern is whether they are integrated and capable of
profound and consistent love, service and sacrifice on a day to
day basis. The dynamics of teacher-student relationships,
including the tricks and traps as well as the rewards, are
lucidly covered by transpersonal psychotherapist Mariana
Caplan in her book The Guru Question.

~ ~ ~

Order 1000 at www.amazon.com/1000-Consciousness-Awakening-Spiritual-Teachers/dp/1497433401/

#5205 – Interview on Non-Duality Yoga with Jay Rossi

On Nonduality Talk Radio, April 9 2014, Jay Rossi was my guest. Jay teaches Non-Duality Yoga in Nottingham, U.K. Co-hosts James Traverse and Mandee Labelle, both yoga teachers in the non-dual mode, added depth and dimension to the conversation.

Jay’s excellent website with videos, books, and articles is kashmiryoga.com/

Listen/download at nonduality.net/9april2014_jayrossi.mp3 or below:


Track descriptions:

0:00 – 4:20 Introduction, casual chat, nature of spaciousness, exploring yoga.

4:20 – 8:04 Jay Rossi introduced. Jay describes bringing students into open awareness and the spacious feeling via changing attention and the resultant release of tensions and contractions

8:04 – 13:09 Jay and James talk about limitations of focusing too much on core strength of the body. Importance of breathing. Problem with over-intellectualizing physical exercise.

13:09 – 14:46 Significance of vibrational nature of the body and organs.

14:46 – 18:20 Feelings and emotions addressed. The body held as an idea. Looking at one’s experience. The body as a mirage.

18:20 – 25:04 Jay discusses his background and studies and how he got into yoga. James shares his journey and shows how their path is parallel in many ways. Jean Klein and Douglas Harding discussed.

25:04 – 29:29 How their teaching of yoga has changed over the years. Presence. Abiding in the open space as a way or teaching that can affect the students even if they are not aware of it.

29:29 – 33:40 Jay leads the listener is an exercise of spacious yoga. “Is it my hand or is the hand in my awareness?”

33:40 – 36:19 Power of Jay’s exercise discussed. Understanding and substance discussed.

36:19 – 40:16 Mandee joins us and she and Jay talk about relationship with Francis Lucille and what they learned.

40:16 – 46:16 Jay talks about a relaxed, light, loose, playful approach to yoga, and what bores him. Mandee and James contribute. Jay tells a couple of stories comparing seriousness and playfulness.

46:16 – 51:00 Mandee, James, and Jay engage in some intimate yoga shop talk, as they are all yoga teachers. Jay talks about his new book.

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The Direct Path of Kashmir Yoga: The pure Zen of yoga

by Jay Rossi

from kashmiryoga.com/articles.htm

“Any technique or system keeps the person in the vicious circle, because it is trying to heal what is fundamentally an illusion.” Jean Klein

When we were very young children we were just pure being, no sense of identity at all, and though the child cries because of the need for food, it is just an expression of simple crying because hunger is happening.

Then what seems to happen is there comes a moment when the child looks into the mirror and the parents tell the child, “you are Christine” and that the face in the mirror is them. Then comes the first contraction of energy and consciousness, as we become at that point a separate person, and therefore comes an embodied feeling that the skin is our limitation, our boundary with everything else outside and separate from us.

From that time there is a sense of loss with a deep longing to return home to that sense of childlike wonder and expansion. The whole idea of making your life work, of clearing your chakras, perfecting asanas, drinking, drugs, forgiving your mother, are attempts to return home.

The real problem with searching and seeking is that it fuels the separation. In fact from my observation the more bodywork and yoga you do as an individual the more energy gets compressed.

You see the individual needs a target, a journey, a path, a place to going the longing to return home. But this sense of loss can never be found through techniques or meditations, in fact there is nothing that needs to be done because an apparently separate entity can never draw itself nearer to its own end.

We actually live in two dimensions; we are here in form and space or awareness.

Space is actually what you are, a spacious awareness.

Life to me is the dance between form and space, the bridge.

When you look around you now as you read this, there are objects, things and the space filling the room, and there is your own space observing.

Objects and space make up everything, yet every object at its quantum level is also space.

No-thing or space is not merely nothing. Nothing, in fact it is a wonderful healer and is critical to the health and the balance of our nervous systems

Scientists have discovered that when a person attends to the space around objects or within their own bodies, the brain responds immediately by dropping into a whole brain synchronous alpha state.

A very relaxed, yet alert state.

The brain when attending to space has nothing to grip on to, or make sense of, to objectify. Space sometimes can be the only true intelligence, ‘not knowing’ is a powerful energy field. Sometimes magic arises from allowing stillness to speak.

The wonderful news is there is no technique we have to learn, it’s simply just a re-directing of attention. Spaciousness or presence is our natural way of being.

I’m not suggesting that we become zombies and just be open space, non individuals, letting life throw us around. I’m not suggesting that at all.

The personality continues, maybe an even more colourful personality, but everything becomes new each moment. Fears worry, anger can still arise but there is no one who takes possession of it now. So it doesn’t anchor, stay home, it simple falls back into nothingness.

So what happens when you come to a Jay Rossi’s Kashmir yoga workshop?

I am not teaching you anything you don’t already know inside, just simply a rediscovering of what has never left you. We meet in space, there is no you or me in space, but a oneness. Spaciousness is really what you are; emptiness is already fully present in you.

Yes we use breath, asanas to assist in the exploration of what’s most natural to you. We enquire and attend to facts, exploring bodily sensation and breath.

The goal of our exploration is not a relaxed or healthy body or even a more sensitive body but to know the perceiver of the body.

Usually health and vitality arise much more when all the energy that has been compressed by getting stuck in form has been liberated into the totality by our enquiries and explorations. You may discover your vibrational frequency changes with space because we free ourselves from being stuck in form.

Students have said these Kashmir workshops are liberating because tension seems to melt away. The tension of thinking I am inside a small, separate ‘body thing’ melts as I enjoy being once again boundless, airy and light, full of energy and full of the world. You can allow your energy to fully expand to its natural dimensions.

The experience of fundamental Openness is very natural and familiar; just as we were when we were children, spontaneous and relaxed, creative and very playful.
You see really what’s happened is consciousness is liberated.

“I myself have no idea or sensation of my body being limited.
Whether my eyes are open or closed, I am everywhere, expanded in space. I cannot say how many meters or how far this expanded body stretches.” -Jean Klein

Ramana Maharshi, the great Indian sage was acknowledged by Zen monks, and the highest yogis in India as a great teacher. Trusted by millions of people in India as one of the greatest mystical teachers of the century said that liberation, (which is the seeing who you really are) is the easiest thing in the whole world.

However let’s be honest here, most yoga practioners & teachers have no real interest in awakening, or finding their true nature. They may want to heal their back, or relax more or increase their flexibility, or increase their energy and let’s face it that can still be a rewarding practice at a certain level.

Such people are not really interested in surrendering to this available ever present ordinary, openness, beingness. The individual is very clever in creating avoidance in very subtle ways because the nature of the seeker is to seek to be separate, to look for the next book, or technique or teacher.

Your central reality is spaciousness, presence and is direct, and as simple and natural as breathing and it’s very ordinary. It is usually not filled with bright lights or ecstatic states. It’s just very ordinary but absolutely wonderful and can change everything.

We discover in this approach the secret is really an open secret, it’s always been there and available all the time, it’s just been covered up by an idea of separation. We are not importing anything new into our lives or yoga practice except a re-direction of attention.

The Kashmir approach has its origins in the remote valleys of 8th century Kashmir and differs markedly from the well-known practices formalised by Patanjali. Dr Jean Klein bought this approach to the west from India in the 1960s having lived in India for a number of years and studying the Kashmir approach there. I studied with Dr Klein & his most senior students Francis Lucille & Eric Baret for the last 16 years. I have explored, questioned and expanded this approach to make it very accessible to the complete beginner & the most advanced meditator or yoga teacher.

Jay Rossi

Further reading:
Yoga of the Ancient Kashmir Tradition, by Jay Rossi: kashmiryoga.com/products.htm

 

Transmissions of the Flame, by Jean Klein
Both available at Amazon UK, USA

#5204 – On not medicating for ADHD and on parenting

Issue #5204 – Sunday, April 13th, 2014 – Editor: Dustin LindenSmith

My first article today is a compelling read on the pharmaceutical treatment of young boys resulting from ADHD diagnoses, which are on a steep incline in the US. The article is written by a senior editor at Esquire named Ryan d’Agostino, who contends that some boys are being drugged “simply for being boys.” He lays out a lengthy case involving many statistics, then shines a light on a certain kind of medication-free treatment modality for ADHD conceived by psychologist Howard Glasser called “The Nurtured Heart Approach.”

In Canada and locally, anecdotal reports from many teachers seem to indicate a higher incidence of seriously challenging boys to deal with in their classrooms. I’m also personally aware of certain teachers simply burning out or going on medical leave because of the severe acuity of the stress they face at school each day related to kids with serious behavioural issues. That’s a pretty sad thing in itself.

http://www.esquire.com/features/drugging-of-the-american-boy-0414

By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD. Millions of those boys will be prescribed a powerful stimulant to “normalize” them. A great many of those boys will suffer serious side effects from those drugs. The shocking truth is that many of those diagnoses are wrong, and that most of those boys are being drugged for no good reason—simply for being boys. It’s time we recognize this as a crisis.

Admittedly, the “Nurtured Heart Approach” sounds like heavy flakery on the surface. It gets more interesting later in the piece when d’Agostino describes how Glasser shapes the dynamic in a weekend therapy group he runs with unmedicated ADHD-diagnosed kids. He describes how Glasser thought of flipping the regular system of rules on its head:

The problem with the positive rules was that there didn’t seem to be a very good way to teach them. The old rules were mostly taught when children broke them. If the rule is “No hitting” and one kid hits another, you’d teach the child the rule in that moment. “What you just did was wrong.” You’d tell him to go sit in the corner, or go to his room, or apologize. But in those moments, everyone’s upset. The kid who got hit is crying, the hitter is angry and scared, and the grown-up is amping up the authority. The offending child gets all the attention. The rule doesn’t stick.

Still, Glasser saw that kids seemed to like “no” rules because they’re clear. The line of transgression was definite. He had an idea: What if he told the children how great they were when they didn’t break a rule? It would be like a video game. When you do something great while playing a video game—when you simply do what the game expects—you get points and you get to keep going. When you go out of bounds or break one of the game’s rules, no one yells at you or reminds you what rule you’ve broken. You simply miss a turn or lose points. And there is no grudge once you pay the fine. As Glasser wrote in his first book in 1999, Transforming the Difficult Child, “When the consequence is over, it’s right back to scoring.”

Glasser later had a sudden insight into a new way to approach rules altogether.

And so he thought, What if a child was sitting quietly, not bothering anyone, and you went out of your way to congratulate him on that, very specifically, by telling him how proud you are that he’s not hitting anyone, not screaming, not throwing toys, but just sitting quietly? What if you gave a child the equivalent of points—what if you thanked him or hugged him—for not putting his feet on the couch? How would he respond to that?

He’ll like it, it turns out.

“I started accusing kids of being successful for not breaking rules. Nobody ever in my professional career had done that,” he says. “All of a sudden—and it was as weird as it could be—I knew I was speaking to some level of a kid’s soul. I knew it was nourishing them in some way. It was like me weeping at Michael Davis’s house. In my professional career, no kid had ever been told they were successful when it came to rules.”

Continue reading

#5203 – Maja Apolonia Rodé on Running a Nonduality Group

“Buddha, my heart; Dharma, the language of my heart; Sangha, where the language of my heart is spoken”…

Interview with Maja Apolonia Rodé on the topic of starting an independent nonduality meetup group.

Time cues and tracks with Guidelines for running a nonduality group:

0:00 – 5:53 Introduction to Maja: www.premaspace.com. General topics introduced. Maja describes why she is interested in this project: supporting dharma-flowering in the world. The idea of the teacher at the front of the room perpetuates the idea that the knowing is outside ourselves and that others don’t have the ability to express it. In a small group each person can practice speaking truth and listening to each other beyond the words spoken. That’s the living dharma that speaking and deep listening, and that is cultivated by Adyashanti and some other teachers.

5:53 – 13:00 Maja speaks of doing her own dharma and supporting others. The nature of guidelines for nonduality groups as holding a container, that support mutual opening and appreciation. Review of the themes in the first five minutes of this interview. The guidelines are for allowing freedom not restricting or neutralizing freedom. Comparison to a mandala. Guideline: sit in a circle or around a table rather than as in a classroom.

13:00 – 23:21 Guideline: Begin the group out of a real desire, a sincerity, earnestness. Guideline: come to each other with sincere curiosity rather than knowledge. Guideline: Use meetup.com to manage the practical aspect of organizing your meetup and attracting guests. Or create a Facebook group, which is free. Guideline: form a core group; suggestions from Maja. Guideline: meet with regularity, for example every two weeks. Core group compared to regular members.

23:21 – 27:41 Element of community is missing in our culture. These groups as associated with community. David Hodges discussed: http://outermostvillagegreen.com/. Guideline: consider that your group is perceived as community. The feeling of community can be a reason for attending these groups. Maja expresses this: “Buddha, my heart; Dharma, the language of my heart; sangha, where the language of my heart is spoken”: We have a need for all three and all three come into play in the circle, the group.

27:41 – 40:33 Thoughts on all the independent nonduality connecting in some way so they feel they’re part of a bigger community, a true community brought together by “the glue of love.” Various nonduality groups mentioned. Cities around the world that are hot spots of nondual interests. Adyashanti’s groups mentioned and listed on adyashanti.org. Jerry’s website mentioned: http://nonduality.com/meetup.htm

40:33 – 48:18 How do you introduce nonduality to people who are new to the teaching? Use of videos of teachers. Fort Lauderdale nonduality group mentioned. Maja describes value of using videos and accessing established teachers. Guideline: find a short video of a nonduality and watch it with your group as a theme provider. Jean Klein’s suggestions to start discussion groups. Guideline: Adyashanti’s suggestion to speak from your own experience. Adya gives more guidelines in his book The Way of Liberation, which are posted below.

48:18 – 52:41 Speaking from your own experience, elaborated upon. “I’m curious about your experience and I have the knowing of my experience and I can express that with authority,” Maja says. Guideline: Everyone’s responsible for their own awakening and for how they’re holding the space for other people. Hold each with respect. Guideline: Respect each other. People might apply their authority of awakening to authority in other fields such as relationship or another’s spiritual path, therefore respect for the other as Buddha is an essential guideline.

52:41 – 1:00:20 Welcoming people, nature and importance of. Maja’s experience with Adyashanti’s organization and attendance and involvement at retreats. Nature of welcoming at an Adyashanti retreat and how it is expressed within all the varieties of interaction at the retreat. The nature of interviewing with and without notes.

1:00:20 – 1:07:38 Purpose of this project on forming nonduality groups. When a discussion gets off track. “What is track?” Maja asks. What is the circle or group about? Guideline: Be clear about the circle’s or group’s intent.

1:07:38 – 1:14:33 Guideline: David Zinn’s statement on the importance of describing your group: : “The key to making Meetup work I think is the way you describe the group you are trying to form, putting together a clear description/mission statement. This is a kind of an exercise in clarity which helps put into words the intention and direction of the group. Just taking the time to write this up might be very revealing in understanding what your real motivation is to start and run a group, and this is how people will ultimately become interested enough to stop by.” Maja mentions group of her friend in Boulder and how she started it by expressing herself in a letter of invitation to people she knew. Guideline: Each attendee could write a statement of group’s purpose and of their purpose. Guideline: at each meeting two or three people can talk about why they are there and something about their history. Guideline: Be aware that leadership and socialization qualities are helpful in starting and running a group.

1:14:33 – 1:21:10 As a leader you’re preparing a space and welcoming people into it and that sets the tone. Maja describes the cultivation of the container of silence for Adyashanti’s retreats. Guideline: Welcoming attendees is very important and can be expressed in many ways and at every point of interaction. Maja tells a story of how to throw a great party and how it applies to running a group. Guideline: make every guest feel welcome.

1:21:10 – 1:30:31 Center for Nondual Awareness mentioned. Maja talks about the importance of asking good questions that inspire authentic communication. For example, “What’s been on your mind or in your heart recently and why is it important to you?” Other great questions cited. Guideline: Ask great questions that inspire authentic communication. Guideline: You can start each meeting with a favorite quote contributed by an attendee.

1:30:31 – 1:39:58 Maja asks Jerry what is talked about in his group. Importance of sitting in silence. Guideline: sit in silence at the beginning and end and at various points during a meeting. The interview turns toward that silence. Using a talking stick, even to invite silence, presence. Guideline: Use a talking stick. You could pass it around at the end of the meeting so everyone has a chance to speak as they do at the Auroville meetup group.

From The Way of Liberation, by Adyashanti, which may be downloaded here: http://www.adyashanti.org/library/The_Way_of_Liberation_Ebook.pdf:

The following are guidelines for The Way of Liberation study groups to embody. They are meant to reflect an attitude of mutual openness, compassion, and support.

1. Study groups should be safe and compassionate environments in which to explore, share, and put into practice The Way of Liberation teachings.
2. All study groups should be free of charge, unless the group is renting a space to meet in.
3. No one should act as a teacher or try to dominate a group.
4. When someone is sharing their experience, do not judge what they are sharing. If asked for, give feedback by speaking only from your own experience. Do not try to be the teacher.
5. Everyone who comes to a meeting for the first time should be given a copy of these guidelines. If a study group does not follow these guidelines, I suggest you either stop attending it or form your own study group.

Visit Jerry Katz’s web page on how to start and run an independent nonduality meetup group.

 

#5202: How neurologist John Kitchin threw it all away to become enlightened through rollerblading

Issue #5202 – Sunday, April 5th, 2014 – Editor: Dustin LindenSmith

“I’d say that before Slomo I became the typical, institutionalized educated Western man…and frankly, I intended just to work myself on into oblivion, and get old and die… But now I experience myself like the tip of a great iceberg of consciousness.”

That quote comes from the beginning of a video “Op-Doc” released last week on The New York Times website by filmmaker Josh Izenberg. The film tells the story of a 69-year-old doctor named John Kitchin who turned his back on a lucrative professional career in 1998 to become “Slomo.” Slomo refers to a slow-motion style of meditative rollerblading that Kitchin developed along San Diego’s beachfront walkways. Izenberg’s 16-minute video documentary is beautifully shot and edited, and today’s entire issue is devoted to it.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000002796999/slomo.html

John Kitchin was raised in a prominent North Carolina family and became certified in neurology and psychiatry after medical school. Early in the documentary, he describes the feelings of spiritual malaise he experienced during the middle third of his life. By all outward appearances, he was extremely wealthy and happy, with a large mansion and exotic cars in his garage. But he knew something wasn’t right. With a soft, Southern drawl, he explains:

“I reckon what I’m talking about is my experience in the middle part of life. A large part of it is a grinding affair—working away, having a family, making the whole thing happen—and at the end of it, most people are pretty worn out. They don’t believe in God, they don’t believe in anything beyond this ephemeral existence that we’re in now. Their attitudes are cynical; they’re what we call in America “assholes,” and I was one of them.

“It occurred to me as I was driving to work and I had a lot of reports to dictate that day, that I was still shovelling shit, which had been the way I started my life on a dairy farm. If I look back on it, I’m just thinking, this is the most absurd and stupid way to get through a life that a person could ever dream up, but we’re all being pushed on to do this.

“And then I had the opportunity to… stop.”

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