#5097 – Wednesday, November 27, 2013 – Editor: Jerry Katz

2013-09-04 13.29.53

photo: Dustin, left, and James, at CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax

Nonduality Network Talk Radio is on the air today from 12:30 to 1:30pm EST. Listen at ckdu.ca

My guests will be Dustin LindenSmith and James Traverse. Dustin will update us on what’s new in his busy life as a stay at home dad to three young kids, and as an observer of certain aspects of modern culture.

James will talk about his recent participation and attendance at the Halifax, Nova Scotia, Shanti Fest. We’ll play clips relevant to the Fest and conversation will be lively with us three guys.

A recording of the show will be available around 6pm EST Wednesday, at nonduality.net/27november2013.mp3

Here are relevant links for today’s show:

James Traverse’s Power of Here


We’ll resume taking/making on air phone calls next week. Meanwhile, if you have an audio clip up to 3 minutes of anything related to nonduality, send it to me and we’ll play it on an upcoming show. It can be music, talk, a poetry reading, a meditation, a teaching, a reading from you book, a comment about the show, a question, whatever you think is relevant.

Nonduality Network Talk Radio: Your show.




A Spiritual Teacher Named Willy

by Fred Davis

These days our spiritual teacher is an eighteen-pound Tibetan Lama named Willy. He is a two year old Lhasa Apso, and he exploded into our lives fourteen months ago to show us close up what a life lived in abiding enlightenment really looked like. He has done precisely that, and taken our hearts in the process. I would say “stolen,” but the truth is that we have given our hearts over to him freely, spontaneously, without his ever asking us to do so. We could not fail to love such a radiant spirit.

Traditionally, Lhasa Apsos were the guardians of Tibetan monasteries. Their job was to alert the monks and huge Mastiffs to the presence of outside intruders. I hear they did a really good job, and delivery men to my house would hasten to agree. From what I have seen, however, in between attempted attacks and burglaries, one would have to assume the fierce guardians spent a lot of time in lama laps and holy kitchens begging scraps from the cook. Everyone needs some time off.

Legend has it that when a resident monk died, his soul went to live in one of the monastery’s Lhasa Apsos. Something like that is clearly the case with Willy, and it would appear, that he has got himself a real lulu of a house-guest, not just a Lama, but a former Dalai Lama or something. You don’t get much clearer than Willy.

Naturally comfortable in the present moment, Willy needs zero adjustment time between changing events, locales, or laps. Whoever is around is a prize, and whatever is happening is absolutely wonderful. He never met anyone he didn’t love, although he does seem adverse to my sister-in-law’s cowboy boots. Maybe they’re someone he knew in his previous life.

What Is works for Willy, no matter what form it’s taking, provided that form is not a possum. Even the clearest of us have our personal challenges, and possums are Willy’s. Nonetheless, his experience of a possum is lived out vertically rather than horizontally. The beast is seen and challenged, there is a flash of teeth and the sound of a bark, but the beast is not actually attacked.

Once either the possum or Willy has been removed from the field of near-battle, Willy is content to let bygones be bygones, and quickly forgets all about it. I confess, however, that I have upon occasion found him sniffing at the trail of a formerly adversarial marsupial as though he was planning to hunt him down. I get it. I’ve been known to exhibit that sort of behavior myself. I’m all for making a big show of bravery once the coast is actually clear.

Willy has got meditation down pat. That dog can sit for hours and never complain about either his knees or his obsessions. He puts me to shame in both departments, but I can still soundly beat him out in the spiritual inquiry department, because Willy has no questions! Everything just is as it is; he wastes no time longing for, or fretting about imaginary alternatives. He knows that in the end there is just This.  THIS This!

In that same way, Willy never asks if he’s enlightened, or if he should be, or if he used to be, or if he will be again. He simply lives fully as whatever it is that he iswithout looking for either imperfection or lack in himself or the world.  Willy knows thatWhat Is represents the culmination of all that has ever been. There’s no understanding it, so he doesn’t try.

Willy has never once asked, “Why me?” in regard to his having been locked away as a child in a kill shelter, through no fault of his own, and given just seventy-two hours to either raise bail or die. I wasn’t there, but I’m willing to bet that he was living every second to its fullest while he was in the slammer. He wasn’t waiting for anything. And of course someone came to his aid before the clock wore down, finding great joy by bringing great joy.

Willy has never wanted to know why such a cute, sweet, innocent little dog such as he is had such a hard lot early in life. The vet said that he’d been treated kindly, but had come from a disadvantaged home, meaning they had more love than money. I think that’s a fair trade. When he first took over our house he had worms, a bald spot on his back, no hair on his belly due to malnutrition, and was more than a mite skinny. Yet he was as happy and grateful as he could be, because he was not comparing his lot or his life to anyone else’s.

If I had to use just one word to describe Willy, that word could only be Love. That Love’s expression are the Joy and Gratitude that erupt spontaneously and volcanically all day and all night. Even in its sleep that little body stretches and rolls, clearly intoxicated with the luxury of simply being alive, of simply having a body when nothing at all was due him.

Scratch his haunches, and Willy will strain upward to lick you in thanks. Kiss him and he will kiss you back—mind the tongue. Throw a stick and he will chase it joyfully. He’s not very good at bringing it back, but he is a marvelous chaser. Willy plays to his strengths.

So, can animals help to clear us up spiritually? Can they show us how to live in loving clarity on an ongoing basis? Oh yes, you bet they can!  And do. In fact, they willautomatically do so if we don’t resist them. Kind of like enlightenment, we have to want truth more than we do our victim story. If we do, then we will surely find it. Wecan’t not.

Over the past ten years, my two cats Henry and Dickens, have changed my whole outlook on and experience of the world. My guardian angel, Miss Betsy, mother and best friend to all of us, has given us a model of Goodness to admire and emulate. She has shown us Love in action.

And Willy? Oh my. His is one of the Hundred Thousand Names of God.


Colin Drake

Dear Fellow Explorers, Firstly I would like to welcome the recent buyers of my books from www.nonduality.com Here is a piece I wrote in response to a blissful day of sitting with Isaac Shapiro where we were exploring the (potential) bliss of embodiment.

Enjoyment or Renunciation?

 by Colin Drake

Many religions and spiritual paths have urged their followers to go beyond bodily pleasures, by renunciation, to achieve spiritual growth. Others have denigrated the mind as being only useful for worldly pursuits and of no use in discovering the Absolute Truth, instead lauding the state of ‘no mind’ where the thought process is suspended, or the various samadhis which are trance like states involving transcending the normal thinking process. However, I will argue that physical embodiment as an instrument of Consciousness is a wonderful process entailing the possibility of thoroughly enjoying its manifestation, the world, with all of the senses and nervous system bestowed on the human body. Moreover, the human mind is an amazing device, our onboard computer, which is quite capable of delving deeply into the nature of the Absolute Reality.

Much of the urge to renunciation is historical, stemming from eras when physical life was a lot harder than it is today and thus the possibility of physical enjoyment was greatly reduced. So much so that The Buddha declares that life is suffering and therefore:

Buddhism maintains that the main purpose of life is to overcome suffering. The Buddha stated that, ‘One thing I teach is suffering and the end of suffering. It is just ill and the ceasing of that ill that I proclaim’.[1]His primary teaching to achieve this was the Four Noble Truths (suffering, its cause, that it can be overcome and how to do this), described as ‘the most fundamental and basic teaching of Buddhism’.[2]The cause of suffering is craving and clinging, which has many aspects one of which is the sense of self-attachment, that is, attaching to ‘phenomena or sense objects as self or as belonging to self’.[3]To overcome this, Buddha suggested the Eightfold Path which centres on the concepts of anatta, no-self and anicca, the impermanence of all things. Once one has realized that there is no essential self and that all things are ephemeral and impermanent then there is truly no one to crave and nothing which is permanent to which to cling.[4]

However, he also realised that too much austerity is counterproductive and that the achievement of trance-like states did not result in awakening:

On discovering that aging, illness and death are integral in all human life he was deeply shocked and on seeing a sadhu who had renounced the world, in an attempt to transcend this suffering, the Buddha was inspired to do likewise. He studied under many teachers rejecting all of their techniques as capable of achieving trance states but incapable of giving liberation. It is said that, after six years of ascetic practices the Buddha realised the futility of these and, after taking a meal, sat under the Bodhi tree where he vowed to stay until achieving enlightenment.[5]

This resulted in him preaching ‘the middle way’ between renunciation and over indulgence, and the use of the noble eightfold path to overcome craving and clinging.

The teachers that he studied under would have been from the various Hindu (and possibly Jain) sects, many of which still champion the path of renunciation. This has also been promoted by Christianity and Islam which can be demonstrated by studying the lives of many of their saints. Even now the Catholic clergy is meant to remain celibate and there are many monasteries around the world whose inmates live in austere (and sometimes even spartan) conditions. The opposition of Christianity (and up to a point Islam) to bodily enjoyment is starkly shown in the following from Romans Chapter Eight:


For those who are living in the way of the flesh give their minds to the things of the flesh, but those who go in the way of the Spirit, to the things of the Spirit.


For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:


Because the mind of the flesh is opposite to God; it is not under the law of God, and is not able to be:


So that those who are in the flesh are not able to give pleasure to God.


For those who are living in the way of the flesh give their minds to the things of the flesh, but those who go in the way of the Spirit, to the things of the Spirit.


For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:

Judaism, on the other hand, has always taken a very different approach extolling its followers to enjoy life in the body:

This concept is supported in the Talmud, the Jewish book of law, which states that ‘every person will have to give an accounting for all the good things created on earth that he, or she, denied himself, or herself, from enjoying’.[6]Men and women, who are made in ‘God’s image’ (Genesis 1 v.27), are enjoined to participate and take pleasure in God’s creation. As Rabbi Benjamin Blech says: ‘God decorated His house so magnificently that Judaism believes He takes it personally if you don’t share His excitement and joy in everything He has put on this earth’.[7]

I suspect that the difference is that Christianity and Islam have always stressed the afterlife and that this life is purely a stepping stone to heaven (or hell), whereas:

In the Torah there are no explicit references to a “world to come” nor are there any statements referring to an individual judging of souls… Intriguingly by the time you get to the Talmud, approximately 1800 years ago, you find that most of the words used to describe the afterlife come from the Greek … Most Jews in the US – almost 85 per cent – belong to branches of Judaism which do not accept any sort of afterlife.[8]

Judaism also regards man as an ephemeral manifestation (from dust to dust), animated by the breath of God which is created as the servant (or instrument) of the Divine to enjoy and continue with His creation whilst caring for others who are also his servants.[9]

This ties in very well with the discovery that we are all instruments of Consciousness through which That can sense, experience and enjoy its manifestation as the physical world (Consciousness in motion, or motion in Consciousness). This realization can take place by directly investigating the nature of our moment-to-moment experience, which reveals that at the core we are Pure Awareness, Consciousness at rest. This investigation entails using the mind in a logical way to analyse experience and its components and many further discoveries can be made with such an approach when combined with insight and intuition. For evidence of this see the many articles which comprise my four books on awakening.

Once one has realized one’s essential identity then the world is seen with a clear mind uncluttered with existential angst and self-concern. Thus it can be perceived in its full glory with heightened senses which are unimpeded by judgements and evaluations. This leads to the true joy of embodiment where sensations, sounds, sights, aromas, tastes, emotions and feelings are deeply (and often ecstatically) experienced.

Compare this with the life of renunciation in which the world, and its experiences, are avoided leading to a stunted life, through which Consciousness does not avail itself of the full human experience. In fact I would suggest that rather than: ‘So that those who are in the flesh are not able to give pleasure to God’ preferable is its complete opposite: ‘So that those who are in the flesh are able to give pleasure to God’ or: ‘So that those who are not in the flesh are not able to give pleasure to God’. In fact one needs to give mind/body and ‘spirit’ equal importance and nurture them both. This is backed up by the Isa Upanishad which says:

To darkness are they doomed who worship only the body, and to greater darkness they who worship only the spirit. Worship of the body leads to one result and worship of the spirit leads to another. They who worship both the body and the spirit overcome death and achieve immortality.[10]

For as I say in Beyond The Separate Self:

A study of the world’s religions reveals two major themes concerning the purpose of creation and the function of humanity. It is suggested that the Absolute, consciousness at rest (pure awareness), created (or manifested as) the universe for Its enjoyment and so that It could know Itself. For when consciousness is totally at rest It has no objects to be aware of, and thus no form of experience is possible; so the only way for any enjoyment to occur is for the ‘potential energy’, latent in the Absolute, to manifest into cosmic energy and thus the universe. Then instruments are needed to ‘sense’ this manifestation, so that these sensations appear in awareness, which is the function of all conscious organisms.

As far as ‘knowing Itself’, It needs some form of mechanism, such as the human mind, which is capable of self-recognition; and this is what occurs when we realize our deeper level of being which is this pure awareness itself. For this realization appears in the mind and thus in awareness itself. Thus the human mind/body has the function of attaining self-realization and enjoying existence in order that the purpose of creation is fulfilled. This enjoyment of existence is greatly enhanced by seeing and experiencing the world ‘as it is’, that is by encountering it totally and directly rather than through the filter of the mind. This occurs only when we identify at the deeper level than body/mind so that the mind’s opinions, judgements, interpretations, etc. are seen for what they are, ephemeral thoughts coming and going in awareness itself. As one deepens one’s identification with pure awareness the mind stills and then the world is encountered directly, with ‘no mind’, and is experienced as it truly ‘is’. A Hindu term for the Absolute is Satchitananda, which can be translated as: Sat-‘what is’ (the manifestation), chit– the awareness of ‘what is’, ananda– the bliss of the awareness of ‘what is’.

In fact once one relaxes into pure awareness one can actually feel the bliss of embodiment through the sensations in the body, a subtle throbbing of the life force, and through that which is detected by the other senses. This bliss is present in every moment and can be detected by bringing one’s whole attention to the sensation in question, without any ‘second thought’ about the sensation and what it could mean or without relating it to any ‘story’ of oneself. This culminates into being totally in love with the whole of existence, a love where the beloved is always present as there is no separation between the lover and the beloved. The lover being the deeper level of pure awareness, consciousness at rest, and the beloved being the surface level of manifestation, consciousness in motion. In this contextSatchitananda becomes: Sat –the beloved, chit– the lover beholding the beloved, ananda – the bliss of the lover beholding the beloved.

The corollary to this is that when one achieves self-realization, recognizing that at a deeper level one is pure awareness, then this is the beloved beholding the lover. The beloved being the surface level of mind/body, the manifestation, realizing the deeper level of consciousness at rest, the lover. This completes the cycle of the Absolute using the mind/body to sense, experience, interact with and enjoy its manifestation, and also to recognize (or ‘know’) Itself.[11]

So to do justice to manifestation in the body we need to cultivate both body and spirit and this cultivation leads to experiencing the full joy of embodiment and of self-realization.

~ ~ ~

Colin Drake’s ebooks are available here.

[2]M.Choong , RELS305/405 Buddhism: A History, Lecture Notes, 2004, Armidale, p.11

[3]M.Choong, RELS305/405 Buddhism: A History, Lecture Notes, 2004, Armidale, p.12

[4]C.Drake, Humanity Our Place In the Universe, 2011, Tomewin, p.70

[5]Gowans C., ‘Philosophy of the Buddha’, 2003, London, p.18-19

[6]Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Understanding Judaism, Indianapolis, 1999, p. 56.

[7]Ibid, p.56.

[8]Rabbi Michael Levin, Jewish Spirituality and Mysticism, Indianapolis, 2002, p. 160.

[9]C.Drake, Humanity Our Place In the Universe, 2011, Tomewin, p.21

[10]Swami Prabhavananda, The Upanishads, 1968, Mylapore, p.4-5

[11]C.Drake, Beyond The Separate Self, 2009, Tomewin, p.113-115

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