Monthly Archives: April 2010

Nonduality proved in the laboratory

One of the descriptions of nonduality says that things appear to be highly individualistic while, at the same time, being non-separate. That is, things are separate and non-separate at the same time.

Quantum physics has now demonstrated this paradox…

And it’s all because of a tiny bit of metal — a “paddle” about the width of a human hair, an item that is incredibly small but still something you can see with the naked eye.

UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Cleland cooled that paddle in a refrigerator, dimmed the lights and, under a special bell jar, sucked out all the air to eliminate vibrations. He then plucked it like a tuning fork and noted that it moved and stood still at the same time.

Read the entire article.

The experiment puts to rest Lao Tzu’s claim that “those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know.” Or at least it requires re-interpretation of what Lao Tzu said. Turns out you can do both at the same time. Understanding that things both move and remain still, can help in understanding nonduality, religion, and metaphysics, which is to say that it can help you understand yourself: “Who am I?” or “What am I?”

On applying mindfulness practices to the care and maintenance of toddlers, by Dustin LindenSmith

The following was published in the Halifax Shambhala Banner Newsletter, April 2010:

On applying mindfulness practices to the care and maintenance of toddlers

by Dustin LindenSmith

I’ve been a full-time, stay-at-home dad since 2004; first with our daughter who’s seven, and now with our two sons, 2 and 3 years old. With both of our boys now firmly in the terrible twos, I’ve found myself questioning if I’m destined to keep any shred of my sanity by the time they reach school age.

Many toddlers require nearly constant supervision. They’re quick to shun their basement playroom full of safe toys, games, puzzles and train sets, choosing instead to empty the kitchen cupboards and drawers of the most breakable and delicate contents; to relieve the filing cabinet of its most important papers; or to raid their sister’s doll house and toy chest of her most prized treasures.

Child-proof drawer and cabinet locks no longer pose a challenge. Even our upper cupboards are accessible now they’ve discovered how to use the lower drawers as stairs to reach counter height. Cooking raises distinct challenges; I’m constantly on the watch to avoid potential cuts or burns arising from their sudden, unexpected appearance at the cutting board or stovetop. As beautiful and inquisitive as they can often be, they’re also indefatigable and incorrigible; nearly all of our verbal instructions to them are ignored as a matter of course. My wife and I refer to them not infrequently as our pair of Tasmanian Devils.

It is exactly these qualities which remind me that rearing children can be a most fruitful spiritual practice. I realize that the greatest frustrations in my day-to-day life arise from my children not acting according to my expectations. Even when my expectations are reasonable — say, not climbing directly onto our gas-fired stovetop to investigate the contents of a boiling pot — these boys still manage to dash them just by acting upon their utterly normal, curious impulses. When they erupt in a screaming tantrum because I’ve yanked them away from the computer keyboard which they’ve just decorated with a permanent marker, I have come to understand that their angry outbursts are a natural response to what they perceive as an unwanted and abrupt halt called to their ordinary investigations of the world around them. In their minds, I am the one with a problem — not them.

Meditation and mindfulness practices help us to train our minds to accept our lives just as they are in this moment; even the stuff that apparently drives us crazy. The wisdom of extremely young children is that they always live inherently in the present moment, never concerning themselves with what happened an hour ago or what might happen an hour from now. Whenever I successfully align my own expectations with that kind of time frame, I find myself instantly living more harmoniously with my sons.

I turn my attention regularly to my breath and on bringing my awareness back into the moment. I can imagine what it must feel like to be them: to be surrounded by giants who have complete control over their every move; to be forcibly removed from the only activities and places they haven’t yet fully explored; and to have little or no language skills with which to express their true desires at any given moment. When these glimpses of realization occur, the compassion I feel for them stops me in my tracks. It makes me squat down to their level to find out what they really want at that moment. It makes me realize that I can hold off on washing these dishes for a few minutes to play a short game with them. It reminds me that I can even let them help me measure out the ingredients for that night’s meal, accepting that I’ll need to do more clean-up than usual after the fact.

In short, I need to suspend my own expectations for the way I think things should be, replacing them with acceptance for the way things are. It’s a profound spiritual teaching, and I didn’t even need to go on retreat to learn it. I just happened to pick it up in my own kitchen from my very own toddler gurus.

Dustin LindenSmith is originally a jazz tenor saxophonist by trade, but he also worked as a market research consultant and an IT project manager throughout his 20s and early 30s. Born in Regina and raised in Calgary, he studied music at McGill
University and settled happily in Halifax with his wife in 1996. He has been a student of yoga and Eastern meditation for 15 years.

Dustin partnered with Jerry Katz to bring nonduality to “the
people” prior to the advent of and the Nonduality Movement over the Internet.

Beyond Lucid Dreaming and Waking

While it is fascinating to dream lucidly, that is, to be aware that you are dreaming and to be able to manipulate your environment — whether sleeping or awake — it is not a recognition of your natural self. It’s a recognition of your cool self.

The natural self, the Self, is stillness. It is dreamless sleep and dreamless waking.

Instead of trying to experience a lucid dream, upon lucidity in a dream, be still. There’s nothing to chase, nothing to manipulate. Carry this stillness to the waking world, to the greatest extent possible. In this way you will come to your natural way of being.