Monthly Archives: October 2008

Deconstruction: Part Two – The Motives for Deconstruction

Deconstruction is the undoing, the “taking to pieces” of the false self or the sense of the separate self. Life itself deconstructs the sense of the separate self. At some point a person surrenders to what life gives and takes, and this is known as mellowing. Probably everyone experiences the effects of life’s deconstructive power, whether or not they are spiritual.

The teaching of nonduality calls for a deeper deconstruction, a deconstruction of the one who is mellow. If one has a spiritual practice, life can serve as the deconstructor. You do not need anyone to break down your “ego” or false self. Still, some people function as active deconstructors of the false self. You may meet them online, in person, in books.

Try to understand why a person is deconstructing. If there is a false self that is to be deconstructed, it doesn’t matter what the motive is. However, you may want to align yourself with a deconstructor whose motivation works for you.

People try to deconstruct the false self for any one or combination of the following reasons:

  • to demonstrate deconstruction
  • to teach deconstruction
  • to advertise their skill at deconstruction
  • to release their own stress
  • as a porcupine uses quills
  • to show-off their ability to deconstruct
  • to abuse or attack another person
  • to celebrate deconstruction
  • to deconstruct deconstruction
  • to help an individual, as in a guru/devotee, therapist/client, artist/audience relationship.
  • When one is living in the flow of nature, are they living with motives? Life is lived and actions are assigned motivations so that humanness might be understood.

    Deconstruction: Part One – Introduction

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to deconstruct means “to undo the construction of, to take to pieces.” The OED defines deconstruction as “The action of undoing the construction of a thing.”

    Deconstruction, when used in nonduality, means the undoing of the false self, the undoing of what remains when the false self is undone, and the undoing of the undoing.

    What is the false self?

    The false self is the sense of not being enlightened, of being a struggling entity, of imprisonment, of not being free. It is the sense that you can break out and become free, the sense that you can take life by the horns and become a winner, an enlightened being, a success. The false self is all that and all it conjures up. If you come upon definitions of the false self they usually describe it as the sense of personal doership and of being a separate self.

    Hallmarks

    “Separation” is the hallmark of the false self. The hallmark of nonduality is nonseparation.

    Building edifices seriously

    Nonduality includes the building of edifices: the books, the teachings, the websites, the thousands of nonduality blogs, the conferences, the temples, the traditions and the rituals associated with them, are constructions. Lots of edifices. Their purpose is to contain and pass along the teaching of deconstruction of edifices. Like mandala paintings in sand, or sculptures made on the beach out of sand, the builders of these edifices know that what they are building is down, deconstructed, almost as soon as they are built. They work with seriousness while taking not a grain of their work seriously, that is, they work/play with joy. Joy, or play, is being serious while not taking anything seriously. Existence is called the play of consciousness. The work or play of nonduality is joy: doing things seriously while taking none of it seriously. Because, what is there to “take”? Only edifices are to be taken, and they are down, deconstructed, almost as they are built.

    I’ll continue this in Part Two with observations on the motives for deconstruction by people you meet in the world of nonduality.

    The Story of a Holy Trinity

    The story of being awake is as insubstantial as the story of not being awake. I don’t like to breathe life into that dynamic of being awake and not being awake, but here is a story:

    When I was 7 years old I valued the sense of I Am. The spontaneous utterance was, “I am I am and I am I am.” At age 30 it became a permanent knowing and the spontaneous utterance was, “There is only one day.” At age 45 I was sitting on a rock and the I Am dissolved and the utterance was, “I have arrived … lighter … unscarred.” Those utterances still play on like a holy trinity. The utterance now is existence itself.

    An aspirant needs only the sense of existence, or God. Value it and live from the valuing of it, instead of going to a place where someone talks about valuing it and lives from valuing it.

    Who are these people?

    Once in a while I get a letter from someone who is representing someone else. The impression they’re trying to convey is that the person they’re representing is so spiritual, so sacred, so delicate, so much on a higher level, so busy, and so much coming from “another perspective,” so rich perhaps, that they can’t be bothered to deal with me directly.

    I won’t be following-up on those kinds of relationships any longer.

    Slipping Nonduality Into the Drink of Civilization

    Greg Goode, author, philosophical counselor, teacher, speaker, was one of the featured guests at this past weekend’s Boulder Dialogues on Nondual Awareness, in Colorado. I was not a featured speaker but did have the opportunity to address the gathering for a few minutes. Greg writes elsewhere in this blog…

    October 15, 2008
    Dear Jerry,

    It was great to see you at the Boulder Dialogues on Nondual Awareness this last weekend. I still remember with fondness the conference we organized back in the mid-90’s. It might have been the first non-teacher-centric nonduality conference ever.

    Anyway, this last Saturday, you gave an impassioned talk on spreading the word on nonduality by creating tiny 30-second elevator spiels on nonduality. I’ve already begun to do that. And it’s working.

    Warmly,

    –Greg

    I want to tell you a little about the Boulder Dialogues and what I said to the gathering.

    The Boulder Dialogues

    Greg was one of six featured speakers. There were also a few dozen guests, of which I was one. I don’t want to say much about the meeting until it begins to appear in public. For now, I’ll say it was a beautifully conceived and conducted project put on by a man with a track record of very successful creative endeavors.

    Greg was a masterful featured presenter. At one point, he was emotional, laughing, crying, demonstrating his broad love of life. An instant later he used precise language to stop one of the other guests in the tracks of deconstruction. I hope they catch it in the editing, because that’s what practical nonduality is all about, allowing life to flow by applying diamond hard attention to what arises or presents itself.

    The Elevator Spiel

    The elevator spiel, or 30 second speech, that Greg talks about in his letter above, was described in a recent blog entry. I’ll repeat part of it:

    How to Bring Nonduality to the Streets
    October 2, 2008

    Nonduality may be brought to the streets by use of the word. When you use the word nonduality, someone may ask what you mean. Create a 30 second explanatory speech.

    Here is a version of a 30 second speech explaining nonduality: “You know when people talk about being one with something? Being one with your work, being one with nature, or being so close to someone that you feel at one with that person? Nonduality means to be at one. Nonduality goes deeply into the idea of being at one with someone or something.”

    Create your own 30 second speech. It has to come from you. Tailor it to the person you are addressing.

    Perhaps the briefest elevator speech was told to me by a 21 year old female student at Naropa University, who I met at the gathering. She explains nonduality to her non-spiritually inclined parents as “beyond good and bad.” She says they get it.

    The power of the word “nonduality”

    At the Dialogues, I basically repeated the blog entry above. I also added that the word nonduality (or nondualism, nondual, nondualistic) has power.

    First, the word is new, fresh, and untainted by loose-end connotations, such as the words Zen, consciousness, or spirituality are. Its meaning strikes at the bottom line of life and is healing to all things and the world.

    Second, the word is a key that unlocks research tools, Google, for example.

    Third, the word nonduality is a portal, opening to every field of knowledge. For example, see the list of nondual perspectives.

    Fourth, it is a magnet. Once a person hears the word nonduality, it becomes a magnet drawing attention to other appearances of the word. As well, the user of the word becomes a magnet for others who are sensitive to the appearance of the word “nonduality.”

    Fifth, the word “nonduality” is a “red pill.” Recall that in the movie The Matrix, Neo was offered either a blue pill or a red pill. The blue pill would have returned Neo back to his dream world whose unreality he sensed but did not understand. The red pill would have awakened him to who he really was, which would have begun his journey through life and to the source.

    The word “nonduality” could work as a red pill if you value its meaning enough to follow it as deeply as you can. When Neo was being given his choice of pills, his teacher and mentor, Morpheus explained to him:

    This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes…. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more….

    Write a 30 second spiel on what nonduality is, and slip it into the drink of civilization, today.

    Thanks to Greg and others at the meeting who expressed support for this form of action in the world.

    In other words, be open about your interest in nonduality. That’s all it comes down to. I used to keep nonduality as my Internet secret and never talked about it in public. I’ve come out. It is time to do that, I would like to suggest.

    Is Writing about Nonduality Prattle or Is It Singing from the Heart?

    An Avadhuta is a liberated soul, one who lives in the realization of the Self. The Avadhuta Gita is a text of extreme advaita or nonduality: “There is no you, no me, nor is there the universe. All is verily the Self alone.” Authorship is ascribed to Dattatreya, a legendary figure who is seen as an incarnation of God.

    Out of the eight chapters, 4, 5, 6, and 7 end with the same verse (there are slight differences). Here are two translations from the final verse of Chapter 4:

    “In Self, there is no spell, no talisman, nothing to learn, no prosody to study. Swimming in the sea of oneness, Avadhoota Dattatreya sings in his delight of a pure heart, the grandeur of truth.” (Avadhoota Gita, with English translation by Shree Purohit Swami. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, New Delhi, 1988.)

    “There is verily no versification where one knows nothing. The supreme and free One, absorbed in the consciousness of the homogenous Being and pure of thought, prattles about the Truth.” (Avadhuta Gita, Song of the Free, translated and annotated by Swami Ashokananda. Sri Ramakrisha Math, Mylapore, Madras, 1988.)

    Negation: Nothing to know, no knower

    Each verse begins with a statement of negation: “In Self, there is no spell, no talisman, nothing to learn, no prosody to study,” says one translation. “There is verily no versification where one knows nothing,” says the other.

    Fusing these two verses and the earlier verse — “There is no you, no me, nor is there the universe. All is verily the Self alone” — this portion of the verse could be paraphrased to say that there is nothing to learn and nothing to be known, as there is no knower.

    Confessions of Nonduality

    The second portion of each verse is a confession of nonduality: “Swimming in the sea of oneness…,” declares one translation. The other says, “The supreme and free One, absorbed in the consciousness of the homogenous Being and pure of thought….”

    Initially, knowledge and the knower were negated. Now the condition of nonduality is confessed. The first translation prefers the term “oneness.”

    Using the terms “absorbed,” “homogeneous,” “pure,” the second translation seeks a description that, in comparison, is more exact and intimate, closer to a description of non-separation or “not-two-ness.”

    Singing in delight, or just prattling?

    The third portion of each verse describes the nature of talking about nonduality: The one translation reads, “Avadhoota Dattatreya sings in his delight of a pure heart, the grandeur of truth.” The other is, “[Dattatreya] prattles about the Truth.”

    One translator speaks of singing in delight of a pure heart and the other speaks of prattling. The translator who uses “prattles,” says in a note, “The transcendental Reality cannot be adequately spoken of. Whatever Dattatreya has been saying about It can only be prattle.”

    What does it mean, to prattle?

    The Oxford English Dictionary says

    [< PRATE v. + -LE suffix 3. Compare Middle Dutch, early modern Dutch protelen to mutter, to grumble, Middle Low German pr telen, pr telen to chatter, to babble, to cackle.]

    2. intr.
    a. To talk in a foolish, childish, or inconsequential way; to chatter at length, esp. about unimportant matters. Now freq. with on.

    1532 T. MORE Confut. Tyndale in Wks. 533/2 So he dooeth but prattle & prate of feling fayth, without the feling of any fayth at all. 1557 Bible (Geneva) 3 John 10 If I come, I wyl declare his dedes whych he doeth, pratteling against vs with malicious wordes. 1594 T. BOWES tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. II. 118 Those that cease not to prattle and babble about vaine and vnprofitable matters. 1644 MILTON Areopagitica 16 They must not be suffer’d to prattle as they doe, but must be licens’d what they may say. 1692 J. LOCKE Some Thoughts conc. Educ. §35 He had the Mastery of his Parents ever since he could Prattle. 1722 D. DEFOE Moll Flanders 237, I talk’d to [the pretty little child], and it prattl’d to me again. 1778 JOHNSON Let. 15 Oct. (1992) III. 128, I never said with Dr. Dodd that I love to prattle upon paper, but I have prattled now till the paper will not hold much more, than my good wishes. 1833 C. LAMB Pop. Fallacies xii, in Last Ess. of Elia 256 The children of the very poor do not prattle..there is no childishness in [their]..dwellings. 1866 W. D. HOWELLS Venetian Life xvii. 252 The barber here prattles on with a freedom..respected by the interlocutory conte under his razor. 1920 D. H. LAWRENCE Women in Love xxi. 316 They talked and prattled at random. 1990 Esquire May 162/3 He’ll merely prattle on about how unimportant money is.

    The nature of prattle: the heart and authenticity

    There’s no argument that whatever is said about Self, or It, is prattle. However, can prattle be sung in the delight of a pure heart? Yes, as poets have for thousands of years, or as a child does: “I talk’d to [the pretty little child], and it prattl’d to me again.”

    Can prattle bear authenticity? Again, the Oxford English Dictionary provides an answer: “He had the Mastery of his Parents ever since he could Prattle.”

    Here, then, is a suggested fusing of the third sections of the two verses: “Avadhoota Dattatreya prattles in his delight of a pure heart, about the Truth.”

    A paraphrase of the entire verse

    “In Self, there is nothing to learn, nothing to express or confess, nothing to know, and no knower. The free One, swimming in the sea of Self, absorbed in the consciousness of the homogenous Being, and pure of thought, prattles in his delight of a pure heart.”

    What’s your paraphrasing? Leave a comment.

    How to Bring Nonduality to the Streets

    People learn about nonduality “on the streets” (i.e., in places other than the Internet) through word of mouth, magazines, live appearances by public speakers, books by Eckhart Tolle and other popular teachers, and radio and TV shows featuring teachers of nonduality.

    Nonduality may be brought to the streets by use of the word. When you use the word nonduality, someone may ask what you mean. Create a 30 second explanatory speech.

    Here is a version of a 30 second speech explaining nonduality: “You know when people talk about being one with something? Being one with your work, being one with nature, or being so close to someone that you feel at one with that person? Nonduality means to be at one. Nonduality goes deeply into the idea of being at one with someone or something.”

    Create your own 30 second speech. It has to come from you. Tailor it to the person you are addressing.

    If you have an idea for a 30 second speech on what nonduality is, leave it as a comment.