Galen Sharp is not the new nondualist on the block, although he may appear to be so to those who have recently discovered these teachings. I’ve known about him for many years as he was one of the few people endorsed by sentient.org, which published the first list of nonduality teachers on the internet. His work comes out of a lengthy correspondence with Wei Wu Wei back in the 70s. He has a new book out:
Archive for the 'Gurus/Teachers/Sages' Category
Self-Unfoldment By Disciplines of Realization is built around twelve “Realizations.” Here are some excerpts from them:
“The Wisdom Religion teaches us that while in personality we are many, in principle we are one.”
“To attempt to live beyond what we know is dangerous. Not to live up to what we know, is equally perilous.”
“Do not permit yourself the extravagance of any useless expenditure of energy. Adjust to unexpected conditions. Let the expected and the unexpected be accepted with equal placidity.”
“In all your comings and goings, in your joys and sorrows, in your gains and losses, find the Law.” (The Law is another term for Truth, Reality, the Absolute, the unchanging reality, nonduality or not-two-ness.)
“Listen for the Law.” … “Let the mind be still; let the desires be silent; let the body be relaxed; let all the senses and impulses be hushed — and thus Listen. In moments of stress, when problems threaten, when all life seems out of key — Listen.”
“Learn to recognize all ideas as essentially formless, but perceptible inwardly as manifestations of the Law.”
“Of all the fables in all the world, we ourselves are the most fantastic.”
“There is no hurry, for there is no time. There is no delay. There is only a timeless mystery waiting for liberation — waiting and yet not waiting, for here waiting has no reference to time.”
“Appreciation demands nothing but the right to be silent and a little humble in the presence of a great good or a great beauty.”
“As realization extends throughout the departments of life the simple act of picking up something will become symbolic of all motions. First it will be beautified; a grace and harmony will be conferred upon action, and gradually coarse action will practically cease, all action being performed within realization.”
“Realization is the conscious understanding of the unity of life, and of the unity of the living Self with the deathless Cause which abides in the innermost parts of the world.”
You may purchase a pdf copy here
I was honored to be featured on Fred Davis’s Awakening Clarity blog:
I tell some more of the nonduality story there.
What I really like is Fred’s appreciation of his guests. His introductions to each featured person make his site unique. Fred’s love, amazement, and wonder for each guest not only comes through but one can imagine that it extends to every element of existence. And that may be the great hidden value of his work, which reminds me of what Neem Karoli Baba said, “Love EveryOne, Feed EveryOne, Remember God, Tell the Truth.”
This new article in the Huffington Post may be the first time Deepak Chopra has used the term “non-dual” in a high profile manner. Rather than the terms “nonduality” or “nondualism”, he speaks of “non-dual consciousness.” He realizes the term “non-dual” is non-friendly to most people, but that “consciousness” is familiar and vague enough to allow the reader to go to a comfortable and acceptable place “inside.”
This is why Chopra is a brilliant communicator to the general populace. He knows how to fuse the new and strange to the old and familiar. He knows how to lead people from the old to the new.
Rather than present the starkness/fullness of nonduality, about which nothing is granular, his teaching rests in what people can read about, learn about, feel, experience, get involved in, even worry about for gosh sakes, namely science, namely mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
By presenting the unknowable through the rungs of the known, he leads people to an understanding of nonduality. Few may know the falling down of the ladder that brings them to that understanding. Yet Chopra does what he is called to do, what any of us are called to do, which is to talk about what we can’t help talking about, which is Truth (or whatever you want to call it). We each talk about Truth in our own silly way, whether through essays, poetry, art, science, dance, sculpture, raising a family, selling insurance, etc.
Perhaps Chopra sees 2012 as the year of non-dual consciousness for the spirituality mass populace. Longtime readers of the Nonduality Highlights have not only known about non-dual consciousness for quite a while, we’ve even had a nonduality community online and in person since 1998. But Chopra isn’t talking about community. He’s speaking to individuals.
I wrote on nonduality.com that 2011 would be the year nonduality hits the mainstream: “Nonduality is headed to the major mainstream. When? I’m writing this in late 2010. It could be any day, literally. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the major mainstreaming of nonduality in 2011. ”
Gimme a break. So I was off by like four days.
Here’s Chopra’s article:
A New Year, and Possibly a New World
Posted: 1/4/12 09:10 AM ET
by Deepak Chopra
Conscious , Consciousness , Dualism , Healthy-New-Year , Human Consciousness , Medical Materialism , Non-Dual Consciousness , Non-Dual Materialism , Paradigm Shift , States Of Consciousness , What Is Consciousness , Worldviews , Healthy Living News
A New Year, and Possibly a New World
by Deepak Chopra
It’s fascinating, as time turns another small corner, to think of how worlds shift and collide. There is no evidence that a person as brilliant as Shakespeare understood that Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo had already revolutionized the human mind. The same thing may be happening now, and many brilliant people seem unaware of how our present-day world — meaning our conception of reality — may undergo a seismic shift.
I’m not thinking of fossil fuels and Arab uprisings, not even of the 99 percent as against the 1 percent. Upheavals in the outer world are secondary, in the long sweep of history, to inner revolutions. We may be on the verge of such a one. What makes me think so is a trickle of medical articles, now greatly expanding, that are proving troublesome to mainstream medicine. These articles sometimes deal with cancer, sometimes with antidepressants, sometimes with the dashed hopes for gene therapies that seem constantly out of reach.
What these articles have in common is that treating the body like a machine isn’t panning out. The next breakthrough in cancer or psychotherapy or genetically-related disorders may come from an entirely different angle than the workaday materialism that “of course” looks at our bodies as physical objects like any other. That “of course” is the mark of a settled worldview. God “of course” created the world in seven days and the soul “of course” was more important than the body, which was a temporary shell while the soul worked its way through this vale of tears.
When settled worldviews crumble, we have to reinvent the world. So far, there have been only three categories from which to construct reality from the ground up.
1. Dualism, which separates mind and body.
2. Non-dual materialism, which considers only physical things and excludes the spiritual, mystical and supernatural.
3. Non-dual consciousness, which traces reality back to mind and beyond mind to the very potential for mind.
Dualism no longer satisfies professional thinkers. Putting mind in one box and the body in another settles no questions about either. We are left with half a loaf, unable to say anything reliable about pure mind but also unable to connect the subtle way that the body responds to thoughts and feelings. Yet curiously, the average person is a flaming, if secret, dualist. We compartmentalize our lives in countless ways. God belongs on Sunday, the material world dominates the rest of the week. We treat our bodies sensibly, yet when a mortal illness threatens, it’s time to pray. This kind of compartmentalism is understandable, but in the long run it’s frustrating, as witness the countless people who feel anxious and empty in their search for higher meaning.
The same complaint could be aimed at non-dual materialism, but science, which is totally materialistic, has won a resounding victory on many fronts. Therefore, it’s an easy slide into believing that the scientific worldview must be correct. Non-dual materialism leaves no room for anything that cannot be turned into data. So it is incompatible with God, spirit, the soul and even the mind. The average person has bought into the notion, publicized constantly by the media, that the mind is the brain. After all, we can now watch the brain in real time as a person experiences love, faith, compassion and all other “higher” experiences that once belonged to the mind and the soul. But watching the brain at work is like watching an old tube radio light up when Beethoven is played. It would be naive to say that the radio composed Beethoven’s music. Yet just as naively non-dual materialists see no reason to look beyond the brain for an invisible thing labeled as mind.
This is the worldview that is crumbling while seeming to rise victoriously higher. Termites are silently chewing at the timbers. One notices this by being attuned to articles about the failures of the materialistic approach. Contrary to popular hopes, materialism cannot explain cancer or depression. It cannot tell you why talking to somebody can help your free-floating anxiety while tranquilizers may fail. Materialism sidesteps the mounting problem of side effects and the long-term damage to the brain from decades of taking psychotropic drugs. Materialism cannot explain what memory is, where it is stored on the cellular level, or why memories haunt us. There are many, many failures of this kind, and even in a field far removed from medicine like physics, peering into the void that gave rise to the physical universe has posed huge explanatory problems.
Which leaves the third worldview, non-dual consciousness, that is all but invisible on the scene. It has been invisible for a long time, certainly in the Judeo-Christian West, where only a handful of obscure names like Spinoza, Giordano Bruno, and Meister Eckhart flirted with the idea that all is one, and that “one” is consciousness. Today, some farseeing speculative thinkers in physics are coping with the possibility that we live in a conscious universe. A tiny handful of neuroscientists are grappling with the possibility that the mind controls the brain and not vice versa. It’s exciting fun to be part of this splinter group, especially if you relish the scorn of experts who inform you that “of course” you are completely off your rocker, a charlatan or a crypto religionist.
What the scorn masks is that “of course” will be thrown out the window if a new worldview takes hold. That’s what happened to the idea that “of course” God created the world according to Genesis. But the non-dual consciousness that was dominant 3,000 years ago in Vedic India cannot return as it once was formulated. The modern world isn’t about to throw science out the window. Instead, science must expand, so that we look at cancer, depression or the Big Bang and say, “Now I see.” (In particular, the mind-body connection with cancer needs exploring, as we will do in a later post.) A worldview succeeds when it explains more than the old one, when it opens people’s eyes and when it achieves practical results. In the next post, we’ll touch on how non-dual consciousness can do all those things.
To be continued
For more by Deepak Chopra, click here:
Discussion with James Traverse
Over the years how has teaching, doing, welcoming, action changed in quality or as processes?
It’s the Yogic journey. There has been the unfolding of James’s journey. I started Yoga looking for another exercise modality and because I was told there were lot of nice looking women in Yoga classes. Even though some of my reasons for entering Yoga were not the highest spiritual reasons, I very quickly felt something about the nature of the practice, the particular shapes we were doing, and the umbrella of Yoga. I understood, even though superficially, that there was a meditative aspect and a spiritual component that offered answers to the deeper questions of life.
I knew there were hints, yet initially I didn’t have any great understanding of what Yoga really had to offer. The teacher I studied with didn’t dwell on much more than the physical aspects for health and well being. It was wonderful exercise and I knew it had some penetrating benefits, but I didn’t know much more than that during the first five years of my practice.
Then on my own I started reading books and exploring ways of meditation and Yogic related forms of meditation. An understanding naturally evolved as I read J. Krishnamurti, David Bohm, and other texts popular at the time. I studied Iyengar Yoga for about fifteen years. There was a natural progression and improvement in my physical abilities. There were some parallel unfoldings of deeper meditative states and understandings of the spiritual nature of things.
The real understanding of the nature of being happened the instant I met Dr. Jean Klein. It seemed like all the work I’d done prior to meeting Jean Klein was preparation. The instant I met this man, on the very first meeting, I clearly saw that here is a representation of the true nature of being and I realized in the same instant that I had been exposed to this quality of being earlier in life in a relationship with my grandmother. She loved me unconditionally. The same quality of experiential being was present with my connection with Jean Klein. So a seed had been planted when I was very young with my grandmother and it fully flowered when I met Jean Klein.
There was a lot of challenge in meeting Jean Klein because the understanding I had prior to that was shattered. I had formed intellectualizations from all the understandings, the readings of all the sages, and the activities of Yoga. When I met Jean, there was nothing that I could intellectualize about what was offered or what he represented. There was a feeling space that to me was an unshakable truth. I could feel it and there was this knowing level of being that he represented and that was awakened in me when I met him.
That was the early 90s. It took another six or eight years before I would say I was established in this understanding. It wasn’t a big upheaval for me. I went through six or eight years of bouncing around in terms of the spiritual understanding and establishing the stillness that is the true nature of being and at the same time finding ways of functioning.
Intellectually I suspected there was an ease to this, but it wasn’t really happening for me for that period of time. And I was trying to teach Yoga and earn my livelihood. The conflict was that I had one foot in the physical camp of Yoga in order to make money, and in my heart I knew that this wassn’t what Yoga has ultimately to offer and what I wanted to offer to people.
How has all this changed over the years?
Some of it has to do with connecting with people in the nonduality scene on the Internet. I could chat with people and see they had similar circumstances to mine and they talked about nonduality. I had a chance to connect with people dealing with life in ways similar to mine and who had come to an understanding of the nature of being.
The change was that I came to a point where the clarity was that the only way I could perceive was to honor this truth that is nondual. I couldn’t any longer teach Yoga in the old way I had been teaching. At the same time, the old way has its merits in terms of the practical, functional way the body follows the laws of natural order. It’s not that I threw that knowledge away, but the orientation of how it would be presented was definitely changed in that I today feel, and for some ten years now, that the true nature of being has to be honored.
All of my life, my Yoga teaching and relationships of whatever manner are all based on that understanding, and that is the way I conduct things today. All the people I got to meet on the Internet are celebrated as friends and people with whom I can share this understanding, yet at the same time there are folks I meet in everyday life who have yet to come to their own understanding of the deeper questions of life and what the truth is for them.
As Real As It Gets
by Jerry Katz
Most books in the genre of spiritual awakening focus on the claims of the awakened state: “There is only consciousness (or God, love, awareness),” and so on. They invite the reader to see things as they are, not as they appear to be.
Sometimes an awakened author will speak about life before awakening, but not so often since it is seen as less than enlightened to appear as though attached to memories.
Rarely will the author reveal the shadow side that lurks after awakening: the unpretty impulses that continue to stir and surface.
However, Kenny Johnson tells it all. The Last Hustle is about life before awakening, awakening itself, and life after awakening. What is most valuable about this book is the distinction between the perception of things before awakening and that perception after.
Life before awakening was a loveless childhood, thieving, pimping, violence and years in prisons. With a firm grip on your arm he takes you into the bowels of places you would rather not go. But the grip is purposeful and you know where this journey is going.
His awakening itself was, like all awakenings, unique. It was prepared by remembered things spoken to him by his mother and aunt. It was developed by exposure in prisons to meditation, Yoga, Buddhism, the Black Israelites, and various conscious and intelligent men including a caring guard. It culminated in a connection with Gangaji and it — the awakening — happened when she visited his prison.
Life afterward was radically different:
“It is really humbling to come from the streets as one who brought destruction to everyone he met and now to find myself trying to bring as much love as possible to all whom I meet.”
“Just as I had come from the lineage of Iceberg Slim, The Magnificent Seven, Fillmore Slim, Minnesota Bob, and Sly Ryan, now I was in the lineage of Ramana, Papaji, and Gangaji.”
Though he would never return to crime after his final release from prison in 1997, Johnson still had to face episodes of anger, alcoholism, drug abuse, and their roots in poor self-esteem. He clearly shows that life after awakening includes directly looking at these arisings. Nor have shadow issues ceased in his life. He writes:
“I don’t know what a final awakening will mean for me, but I do know that Kenny Johnson is a far better and more content human being whose greatest desire now is to serve that awakening. He is no longer hustling and thieving, beating on women or giving the judicial system hell. He gets up each day and makes an intention to live a life of peace as best as he can and to try to guide others to do the same. Yet he’s also mindful and respectful that any moment he could re-experience all of the old anger, sadness, mistrust, delusion, and denial of the truth of his being.”
Often painful, often loving and spacious, The Last Hustle chronicles a full life and transmits a palpable sense that love is here and now and that it demands you face your life here and now. The Last Hustle is as real as spiritual books get.
Kenny Johnson has returned to prisons as an educator and spiritual guide through his organization This Sacred Space. His journey is highly worth experiencing.
Now Consciousness: Exploring the World Beyond Thought
by Albert Blackburn
Review by Jerry Katz (I will be speaking about Now Consciousness at the Science and Nonduality Conference, Friday, October 21, 2011.)
Albert Blackburn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1910 and died in 1987. He had a career in aviation as a pilot and owner of a flight school. He trained World War II pilots. Blackburn’s real interest, however, was exploring consciousness.
Blackburn was a member of the Theosophical Society from 1934 to 1944 and immersed himself in the study of auras, spiritual evolution, reincarnation, karma, kundalini. However, a conversation with Jiddhu Krishnamurti led to the falling apart of Blackburn’s psychological world and his entrance into the world of nonduality or Now-Consciousness. The conversation is recounted early in the book, the turning point being Krishnamurti’s questioning of whether Blackburn’s beliefs were true.
The rest of the book develops the teaching of Now-Consciousness, about which Blackburn writes, “[Now-Consciousness] is a nondualistic state in which the idea of the I and not-I does not exist.” He says it is the process of the mind coming to know itself.
The book consists of five essays written between 1944 and 1982. Each essay addresses Now-Consciousness from its own angle: from initiation into Now-Consciousness, from the psychology of Now-Consciousness, from a practical approach involving attention to thoughts, and through bold confessions.
Besides Now-Consciousness, here are the other major themes, each treated in different ways throughout the book:
Intelligence. Also known as awareness, consciousness, the Tao, or truth. Blackburn says, “Because intelligence is real, it can only be found through the negative approach. In discovering what is not, truth is perceived.”
Not-knowing. He writes, “Be in the moment of questioning, so awake, so aware that you realize you don’t know.”
Time. “This idea of time gives rise to the false ideas of postponement, spiritual growth, progress, a Savior, Gurus, the Path, and reincarnation as the ultimate postponement. These are given as excuses for our own inadequacy, in not being able to follow one thing directly to the end.”
The I-process. The I is the ego, the world we’ve created about ourselves that causes us suffering. It’s that way we are that we know isn’t our true self. Blackburn identifies several steps in this process of generating and sustaining the false self and shows how we cut ourselves off from intelligence or truth.
The Cycle of Perception. In watching the I-process we find that there is a magic moment before associating a perception with habits, memories, and conditioning. The ability to access this magic moment is now-consciousness and it unfolds in stages that Blackburn calls the Cycle of Perception.
Blackburn says, “The first thing is to become aware of what the mind is occupied with, its patterned thoughts, habits, and reactions. … Slowly you come into the cycle of perception or Now-Consciousness. And the oftener this state is experienced, the more you realize it is true life.”
Blackburn fits right into the current world of nonduality. He stood alone and encouraged others to do so. Although he acknowledges his teacher Jiddhu Krishnamurti, Blackburn claimed that his teachings were his own. As his own authority in these teachings, he was straightforward and eschewed the guru role and even the teacher role. He went where he was invited and held dialogues. He didn’t give talks, as such. These travels took him and his wife through the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Blackburn is also the author of Worlds Beyond Thought: Conversations on Now-Consciousness, which is also available as a series audio cassette tapes. Though his books and audios are not widely distributed or known in the Internet era of the last 15 years, they are still in print and distributed by his wife Gabriele through IdylWildBooks.com.
The Table of Contents is spare, however the topic and themes of each section and chapter are stated clearly. There is no index which would have been very useful in a book such as this where each main theme is scattered throughout the book. A proper index would gather and make sense of all those appearances.
I highly recommend this book for anyone exploring nondual spirituality or nondual psychotherapy. It is clear, simple, and straightforward enough to enhance your understanding of how we get lost in our beliefs, memories, thoughts, our words, and conditionings. He points to the “magic moment” when, instead of getting lost in imaginings of how we think things are, we turn instead to Now-Consciousness and get directly to the point and through to the end of whatever we are considering. That is, we learn to deal directly and fully with stressful situations and move on.
Peter Dziuban guides you in experiencing the immediacy of … this…
Now Consciousness: Exploring the World Beyond Thought
by Albert Blackburn
To me, the valuable characteristic of Now Consciousness is the universal availability for anyone. It can be experienced by rich or poor, in a palace or a hovel, by an intellectual or a simple person. It is the common heritage of everyone. Because of its simplicity, it is easily overlooked by the erudite.
It is the only approach to the experiencing of reality that is non-dualistic. Therefore the transformative results are not ego induced. What is discovered is true and uniquely understood by each in his own way. This truth becomes an intrinsic part of one’s nature and leads to right behavioral patterns. In this behavioral change, which so subtly comes about, one finds his or her place in the over-all fabric of life. It is a true uniqueness in which there is no competition or exploitation of another.
I have found that it is all too easy to reach conclusions about anything. Any conclusion or definite answer is a blockage to the ceaseless flow of life which gathers around itself other mental debris. This effectively brings to an end further insights into that particular subject. Therefore what I happen to be now observing is only my individual point of view. My findings may be of interest to others who are also seeking the true meaning of life.
~ ~ ~
The right question contains its own answer.
By discovering what is not true, there is the possibility that truth can flower in the space of not-knowing.
If we can see in any given moment what the facts are, there is no problem.
Truth finds no abiding place in the house of authority.
To believe anything is always to step away from truth.
Now-Consciousness is the perception of reality moment by moment.
~ ~ ~
Albert Blackburn wrote from the 40s through the 80s. He died in 1987. He was a very modern teacher. In fact, he didn’t consider himself a teacher and did not give talks. Rather he held discussions or dialogues and was invited around the world to do so, and always invited back. His teacher was J. Krishnamurti, but Blackburn stood alone and encouraged others to understand not him, but themselves.
To my knowledge, Blackburn’s work has not been widely disseminated in the current Internet era. However, his books are still in print and his wife Gabriele runs the publishing company, Idylwild Books.
Although you may find Blackburn’s books on Amazon and other online bookstores, they are used copies and overpriced (although worth every penny!). To pay the regular retail price, visit
I also recommend The Light of Krishnamurti, by Gabriele Blackburn, for the fascinating story of her life, including her time with Albert. It includes numerous photos of her, Al, and Krishnamurti, whom they called Krishnaji.