Monthly Archives: February 2009

How to Run a Nonduality Conference

One way the teaching of nonduality is becoming present in the real world, rather than strictly on the Internet, is through conferences dedicated to nonduality.

Very little has been done. Peter Baumann has run at least two private conferences, one at Princeton and one in Boulder, Colorado. Baumann, formerly of Tangerine Dream, works toward understanding how the knowing of nonduality is imparted.

Gurus do that imparting, and Baumann studies what they do, how they communicate, and he tracks the progress of their students.

His work is not widely known and, since it has recently begun, there may not be much to report.

Anyone with the energy, desire, and the means, can start a conference on nonduality.

If you are starting from scratch, you must approach the task with a plan. The first serious steps should not be about who is going to speak or give workshops.

The first steps are questions to answer:

1. Why do we need to hold it?

2. What do we want to achieve? Objectives. Mission statement.

3. What do we want our audience to go home and say about the meeting, apart from the fact that they had a great time?

4. What are the key messages we want our audience to remember?

5. What action do we want our audience to take after attending this conference?

6. Audience description: Who should attend?

7. When should the event be held?

8. Where should it be held?

These questions have been taken from two documents:

How to Run Your Greatest Conference Ever

How To… run a conference

From the latter paper:

Though one might feel that organising conferences is a daunting and thankless job, it is not true. In fact, on the other hand, the task is varied, challenging, and rewarding, notwithstanding the heavy work load. It is, therefore, necessary that the whole process is approached in a systematic manner.

The Fox and the Headlights

Once I was driving at night on a country road. My headlights shone upon a fox. It was frozen by my headlights. I, in turn, became frozen by the fox’s large and gemlike green eyes reflecting my headlights. For less than a second we were locked in entrancement. I slowed down and the fox ran off.

That’s what happens with spiritual teachers. You become locked in the headlights of their words, their reputation, their appearance, their charisma, their celebrity, and you stand there like the fox.

The guru, in turn, is fascinated by the look of his light in your wide and beautiful eyes.

What comes out of that is a mutual fascination and the need to keep the light interesting so that you’ll stay fixed and so that the guru will remain fixed to his light as reflected in you.

There are countless projections finding their ways to your eyes, going back outward, and returning again.

“You” are the fox and the headlight in an interplay that happens on countless levels, reverberates, and never ends.

There is nothing you can do. Nothing is happening.

Lucid Dreaming: Facing the Dark Areas

I’ve already written on entering the darkness when you are experiencing a lucid dream.

I want to repeat that the dark areas in dreams mark where the play of inner light ends. The play of inner light is known as dreams. If you lucidly enter the dark area within a dream, you will leave the dream and experience awareness itself.

You may note that there are protectors of the dark areas who direct you away from them. They can be ordinary people, wild animals, even gurus. Usually your own fear of the dark areas is sufficient to keep you away from them.

The dark area is prior to all light. The instruction to “follow the light at the end of the tunnel,” at your time of death, makes sense if you want to be re-born. Otherwise move into the blackest black (not simply a dark blue, for example) and you’ll be gone. You’ll know that at the time of death and, as in a dream, you’ll be directed away from the dark area and toward the light. You have to be strong at that point. Most are led directly to the black area or to the light or to some intermediate level without lucidity about what’s happening.

All dreams, all existence arises in the dark area. It’s a very small event, that arising. Brains have been evolved to make that incredibly small event incredibly huge. By being a lucid in a dream, or within any experience, you can see that. You can see what you are.

Nondual Nova Scotia

Something I like about living in Nova Scotia is that while there is strong presence of the nondual teaching here — Shambhala Buddhism headquarters and Gampo Abbey, Zen, the Ramana Maharshi ashram, Nidra Yoga, Celtic mysticism in the land and the music — there’s no sense of a popular culture of nonduality. There’s no nondual buzz. Nonduality isn’t breathing down my neck. There’s just Nova Scotia.