Editor: My name Jerry Katz
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Bill Dana is a renowned and even legendary comedic writer and performer whose work spans the 1950’s to the present day. He is best known for his character Jose Jiminez. I’ll do my best to remember one of his visual sketches. It features Dana dressed as a surgeon with a female surgical nurse alongside him. Dana and the nurse are seen gazing down upon what is apparently a patient lying upon a table, however you cannot see the table or the patient. Throughout this entire sketch you only see the upper bodies of the “surgeon” and the “nurse.”
Dana says to the nurse, “Scalpel.” She efficiently hands him the scalpel. He apparently makes some maneuvers with the scalpel, though you can’t see what he’s doing. “Scissors,” he says next. She passes him the scissors and he again keeps busy doing something with the scissors. “Sutures.” She passes the sutures and, seeing how stressed Dana the surgeon appears to be, she wipes perspiration off his forehead. “Scissors,” he commands. With a look of concern, she hands him the scissors. After a moment of maneuvering with the scissors, Dana finally announces, “There. I’ve sewn the hole in the sheet, now let’s do the surgery.”
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This brings up the inquiry of the day: “Sewing the hole in the sheet, or doing the surgery?”
Beyond that, there’s self-inquiry, which looks toward that out of which the trinity of the sheet, the hole, the body arise.
These two attentional modes — one psychological, the other based in awareness itself — seem to characterize much of the nonduality movement.
I recommend downloading and then listening.
Chuck Hillig was my guest on Nonduality Talk Radio on May 14, 2014. We talked about what led up to Chuck writing his first book in 1977. We discussed his other books, as well. Chuck spoke about his work in psychotherapy and the nature of creating dream solutions for dream problems. Download/listen at
It is easy to be deceived by thoughts.
Thoughts are like bed-time stories told to
little children to put them to sleep.
To be awake, be without thoughts.
Notice that during your search for the thinker of thoughts,
the thoughts, one by one, march away into nothingness,
and what is left is the enquiry, “where is this thinker?”
Any answer to this question is a lie.
Any verbal, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc.
answer is a story about this thinker.
The absence of all stories is the only direct discovery.
It could be called silence, but don’t even call it that.
Just dwell there, where there is no thinker and don’t call it anything.
Get used to this thought-less or thought-free way of being.
Thoughts will come back; “is it time to pick up my son?”
But there is no issue.
The enquiry is not to get rid of thoughts, certain thoughts
are natural and practical to functioning–
some thoughts are troublesome, often the ones surrounding
fear and deep seated anxiety– but more specifically–
the enquiry is to get rid of the thinker.
Or more accurately, to look for the thinker–
and discover that there is not an actual thinker of thoughts.
A bug in the system
Our view, our perceptions
are already Nondual,
are already direct and immediate.
Are already just happening,
and just noticed.
They are already known for what they are.
Are already totally welcomed and accepted.
As this is what is happening.
Our perceptions and views, thoughts and feelings
do not need permission or
acknowledgment to do what they do.
Which is just appearing the way they do.
It is what is happening.
The apparent person is in no way needed or necessary
for any function to take place the way it does.
Like with babies, young children and with animals.
Things, life is happening just fine.
The person is an after thought.
A bug in the system.
A virus which has put a apparant screen between
the perceptions and the cognizing function.
And calls this Me.
Happening after the fact.
Out of sync.
And this is also noticed.
There is only Nondual perception
or if you will this mysterious happening.
As This is all there is.
This includes always All,
it is the totality.
And in This and as This
the dance of life plays out.
A person centred existence is
an aberration of perception as
in reality nothing is ever separate.
Balancing Worldly Life and Nurturing The Spirit
by Colin Drake
Many of the people I encounter are stressed or tired and it is well known that stress and depression are on the rise in the western world. In fact the modern mode of life seems to consist of a continual round of acquiring more to better our ‘standard of living’, or a constant search for distraction and entertainment. Not only that but when one’s ‘standard of living’ is threatened people react in the most extreme manner, as the recent ‘austerity riots’ in Europe demonstrate. There seems to be an expectation that ‘things will continually get better’ in terms of comfort and material goods; whereas, as the world becomes a ‘global village’ and manufacturing continues to move to countries with the lowest wages the ‘standard of living’ in the western world is bound to decline as this slowly evens out across the globe.
However, if you look at many tribal cultures or eastern countries where spirituality is highly prized, and part of day to day life, you find a completely different picture. For the people seem to be happier, less stressed and more integrated in their daily living. There is much less emphasis placed on the acquisition of ‘things’ and in many tribes there is no personal ownership but everything is shared. Unfortunately this situation seems to be deteriorating as they are (over)exposed to western culture.
Which makes me ponder the whole western paradigm of achievement, acquisition, unnecessary deadlines and incessant busyness. For not only does this wear the body (and mind) out but it tends to make reflection and insight rare, even when time is set aside for contemplation and meditation. For I know that if I am really tired I find it impossible to concentrate, stay one-pointed, or devote my mind to a single train of thought. Even just relaxing into Awareness is more difficult for this does require some degree of alertness, staying identified with This, and the tired mind tends to wander aimlessly or fall asleep.
What is required is a balanced approach in which one takes care of worldly needs and leaves plenty of time (and energy) to nurture the ‘spirit’. To aid this approach a simple life is very useful, for the more complex is our situation the more time and energy is devoted to the former, leaving less time for the latter. This does not entail renouncing the world, or our enjoyment of it, but just not letting it dominate us and fill us with care. Actually life is much more enjoyable when one is not tired, or exhausted; so excessive chasing after material wealth, possessions, power, status etc., is counter productive leaving us unable to fully appreciate the benefits of our efforts.
One’s approach to this whole question is, as usual, highly influenced by how we identify ourselves, how we define what we ‘are’ (in essence). For if we identify ourselves as separate individual beings (in a universe of such) then:
we tend to expand our concept of self-identity to include an imaginary self-image consisting of our physical appearance, mental ability, status, occupation, position in society, family situation, achievements, lack of achievements, ambitions, hopes, fears, memories and projections into the future.This naturally leads to feelings of separation and isolation; separation from our fellow man and the world we live in. Which further engenders feelings of insecurity, and fear. We tend to combat these by trying to improve thisimaginary self-image, by attempting to ‘better ourselves’, achieve more – knowledge, possessions, power, fame, etc. – polish this self-image and generally build ourselves up. This tends to make us live in the future and stops us living fully in the present moment. The other side of this coin is to live in regret as to what might have been, self-loathing, melancholy or nostalgia and yearning for the past. This, once again, stops us seeing ‘what is’ here and now, either by making us live in the past or by the mind spinning on our failures and lack of self-worth.
In this scenario one naturally gives too much weight toself-image, wealth, status, achievements etc., and is liable to spend too much time (and effort) on these allowing too little left to enjoy life and nurture the ‘spirit’.
Whereas if one discovers, by investigation, that at a deeper level one is not separate but an expression of Pure Awareness (Consciousness at rest) in a mind/body of cosmic energy (Consciousness in motion) then one’s whole paradigm is changed. This is easy to do, see appendix one, but must be cultivated by repeated investigation until identification with (and as) This becomes established. Following from this is the realization that one is an instrument (and manifestation) of Consciousness, through which This can ‘know’ Itself when in manifestation (when in motion as the material universe) and when at rest as Pure Awareness. This is also easy to realize, see appendix two.
From this follows the natural conclusion that we need to divide our attention between ‘knowing’ (engaging with, acting in and enjoying) the world and investigating the deeper level of Pure Awareness to ‘know’ This better. This latter is never ending as there is always more to be discovered for what is being investigated is infinite! Nor is this limited to set aside periods for contemplation, or meditation, for insights may occur at any time during the day if one is relaxed and alert. Naturally if one is stressed, or physically tired, these are unlikely to take place. Even when one is engaged in enjoyment and distraction (entertainment) insights are more infrequent. For instance, when we recently spent eleven weeks travelling in our campervan across Australia (to Broome and back) I was not inspired to write a single article … although I did manage a few poems. We had a wonderful time but my mind was too involved with the minutiae of life ( and relationship, Janet and I being together 24 hours a day), and enjoying the natural world as it unfolded, to delve any deeper into the question of Pure Awareness and how further discoveries enhance the quality of day to day existence.
Since I have returned, and have had plenty of free time, articles seem to occur at an increasing rate as more ideas pop up, and questions are being asked. I am still keeping our ten acre farm (of macadamias) clear of the ever intruding lantana and rain-forest, looking after three old vehicles, maintaining our eighty year old farmhouse, ensuring that our self-provided services (solar electricity, water tanks and septic system) are all functioning, and running our (very) small business – the pottery, which used to generate all of our income when hand made items were in fashion. But now that I have much more time I read, think, write and even watch TV more than I did.
I recently read a poem by Rumi in which he recounted the tale of a Sufi sheikh who died after telling the town judge to give his inheritance to the laziest of his three sons for:
Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it,
Because they continually see God working all around them,
The harvest keeps coming in, yet they
Never even did the ploughing!
This doe not imply that we should just sit back and expect everything to come to us for as I said in my earlier article on The Kingdom of God:
That is not to say that our physical needs do not need to be taken care of and we have at our disposal a wonderful instrument to achieve this – the human mind, our onboard computer. All that is required is to have faith in this to take care of our needs, provided we do not identify with it … and then ‘all things shall be added unto you’. For this too is an aspect of (movement in) the divine presence that permeates all of existence, but being ephemeral, as are all ‘things’, it is not the Absolute (unchanging) Reality – Pure Awareness – Consciousness at rest.
Which means that we do not need to over-accumulate wealth and possessions as a hedge against the future, just have faith in this wonderful expression of Consciousness – the mind/body – to take care of itself. For, once again from the same article:
The mind also works much more efficiently when misidentification, as the small self, has been overcome and it is not distracted by self-concern, -interest, -aggrandizement, -loathing, -promotion, -survival, -security, etc… Which gives us even more reason for having faith in ourselves and our ability to cope with the complexities of modern day living, provided that the self that we are identified with is Pure Awareness (The Self) and not the mind/body as a separate object.
So I urge you all to awaken to the truth that we are all expressions and instruments of Consciousness, and as This have faith in Its ability to take care of us. In this way we will live a more balanced existence between our two functions of experiencing (and enjoying) the world and investigating the nature of the One True Self (Pure Awareness). This will also be greatly helped by simplifying one’s existing, which is easy after awakening as one tends to enjoy everything one does (and has) rather than chasing after particular pleasures and ‘things’.
Colin’s books are available at www.nonduality.com/colindrake.htm
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Here is a new review of ‘A Light Unto Your Self’ by Ramaji, the author of1000 – The Levels of Consciousness,and a Map of the Stages of Awakening, for Spiritual Seekers and Teachers
Here Is Some of the Best Spiritual Advice on the Planet By a Non-Duality Master!, April 19, 2014
This review is for: A Light Unto Your Self (Paperback)
This book is rather unique because Colin covers a wide range of territory while sticking to his non-dual guns. By wide range of territory, I mean he responds in each separate chapter to real life questions that most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, have had in terms of this whole non-duality thing.
For example, how does non-duality relate to The Secret and the whole mind power manifestation thing? How does the “there is nothing you can do” advice work (or dos it work at all)? What if the study of non-duality has led me into existential despair and a sense of powerlessness? (I personally went down that road). What about free will? Will non-duality help me with my anxiety? and so on and so forth…
this book is like a “hit parade” or high quality gourmet buffet of profoundly useful topics, relevant for those of us — meaning most of us — who must deal with the so-called “real world” and have to work for a living, deal with people, raise families, experience intensely painful feelings and the like. Frankly, I cannot even think of even one other book that cuts so wide a swathe in the non-dual book universe. Furthermore, he is able, apparently without effort, to generously, brilliantly and precisely respond to all of these issues from all of these people with enormous compassion. Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! Like all of his books, a classic that sets the gold standard. Thank you, Colin!
Colin Drake’s books are available at www.nonduality.com/colindrake.htm