Edited by Jerry Katz
My interest in nonduality meetup groups continues in this issue with three topics. One addresses a question from a reader regarding a possible “one world” nonduality forum.
The next article describes Mark Hovila’s long running but little known Seattle Nonduality Dialogues.
Finally I introduce a questionnaire I’d love to see answered by anyone involved in an in-person (not online) nonduality group. Please send your responses to me privately. I’m going to collect them and publish them as a free e-book for anyone who wants to start such a group or enhance their already existing in-person nonduality group. I don’t want to publish any of the responses in advance of the book, as I don’t want them to influence others responding.
A reader responded to the issue on creating local nonduality meetup groups:
… It seems to this lingering ego that this is an enormous population, fractured by teacher boundaries and there should be some way to bring this Global community together via the web. The local meet-ups can satisfy the immediate need of companionship/inquiry but it’s like a huge family without knowing for sure who the members are. All the Nonduality type websites could change this by coming together and creating one large forum. I guess?
Probably the best example of this universal coming-together is the Science and Nonduality Conference, but it only lasts one long weekend every year, and draws a small fraction of the people interested in nonduality.
The Facebook scene has lots of nonduality groups and fluid boundaries between them; that may be closest we can get to a “one world” nonduality.
Personally, I don’t see the need for unified, centralized nonduality community, and I don’t see things evolving in that direction. The teaching of nonduality, in my opinion, is better off being represented by as many perspectives, individuals, offerings, and groups as possible.
The harder nonduality is to grasp as a teaching and as a movement, the harder it is to identify and violate.
However, I don’t think it’s too difficult to get an overview of the nonduality landscape by identifying the key players, teachings, and traditions, and to locate the hubs of activity on the internet and in person.
Still, I don’t see all those factions coming together as a single forum unless it is a weekend event of some kind, a Woodstock or a Burning Man of nonduality: I do see something like that happening in some organic way some day. In fact, I think we may be unwittingly making a pilgrimage to that kind of gathering. I can see my generation, the baby boomers, going out in flames in the desert rather than die a slow death in bed with attendants and family members around them. Yes, sure.
Seattle Nonduality Dialogues
meeting since 2004
Quote of the Week:
How can I stand back and observe myself and the different situations that appear? In other words, how can I be a spectator and not feel involved?
You are not the doer, the thinker that rejoices and suffers. Take this for a fact and do not try to be a spectator, to be detached. The fact that you can recall your previous acts proves that you were a witness to them. So above all do not try to be a witness — this would only be projection, and would keep you in the frame of ideas and expectations. If you accept this a change will come about within you, probably without your even realizing it at the time it occurs.
The witness is only a crutch to bring you to understand that you are not a doer. Once you are free from doership there will be a change of axis and the energy once directed towards the object will shift to the subject aspect, to the witnessing. In the end all residues of subjectivity dissolve and the witness with them. You discover yourself as that in which the object and subject exist, but you are neither one nor the other. Then there is only living silence.
-from: I Am, by Jean Klein
SEATTLE NONDUALITY DIALOGUES has been meeting between two and four times a month since 2004. We are currently meeting on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Forest Park Towne Center, 17171 Bothell Way NE in Lake Forest Park.
We meet at the lower level of the mall, usually at a table between the escalator and Planet Fitness, or sometimes near the Rite Aid. Once a month we meet in the Lake Forest Park Library, which is also in the lower level of the mall.
We don’t have a set structure and we don’t have a leader. People bring up whatever they want to talk about. The meetings generally last about two hours.
Here are “Some Suggestions on the Nature of Dialogue” from the Krishnamurti Foundation of America which one of the attendees passed out at one of our meetings.
* Dialogue starts from a willingness to be tentative about what you know.
* The focus of dialogue is on what is rather than on ideas and opinions.
* You can participate by verbally or silently sharing perceptions.
* Dialogue is letting the issue unfold in affection and mutual respect.
* When a reaction arises, neither suppress it nor defend it, but suspend it in the mind and in the group, keeping it constantly available for observation and questioning.
* Dialogue is being together and seeing together in an unfolding relationship.
There are sometimes changes to our schedule. We suggest that you call in advance of the meeting or write us using the Contact link to be placed on the weekly meeting announcement list. Feel free to call or write anytime with any questions you may have.
for more information visit http://home.comcast.net/~hovila/site/?/home/
If you are a member of an in-person nonduality group and wish to share your views, please respond to as many questions that are applicable. Please include your name, the name of your group, and relevant links. Remember, this is for real life, in-person groups only, not online forums or Facebook groups.
How did your group start, why was it started? Who started it? Where and when?
Do you have anything in writing that describes your group in any way? Include links.
What is the structure of your meeting, or what are some of the structural elements? At a minimum, every group begins and ends. That’s the minimal structure. Other structural elements might include moments of silence, meditation, taking a break for tea and snacks, responding to a theme of the day, a presentation by a member, a reading of someone’s writing.
How long do your meetings last?
Do you have a core group, that is, two or more people dedicated to sharing the values of the group?
What is the purpose of the group?
How do new people find out about your group?
How do you distribute information, especially meeting times and places, to your members?
Is there a screening of potential members?
Is there a moderator? What are the duties of the moderator?
Is there a typical meeting? Could you describe it?
Do you make time for silence or meditation?
What are your core values?
Any house rules?
Any mission statement?
How freely or strictly do you use the terms “leaders”, “facilitators”, “teachers”?
What’s the most important aspect of your meetings? Where does the essential meaning rest?
How do moderate discussion when it gets off topic, when it gets too conceptual, or deals with the hypothetical? How do you keep focus? What is the focus?
What are the greatest challenges now and in the past?
How has your group changed over the years? As nonduality has become better known, and known through more and more voices, have you seen any changes in the quality or dynamics of your discussion and interaction?
Has answering these questions changed how your group might be run? Give examples.
Anything surprise you about answering these questions?
Any other questions that should be asked?
Please email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org