Edited by Jerry Katz
In this issue Joey Lott, Anamika, One The Magazine, and a Facebook discussion in which people tell about how they stumbled into nonduality.
Interview with Joey Lott
We talk about everything in this interview. Joey defines nonduality then talks about the nature of his suffering starting from when he was a youth and culminating in near death and near suicide. Then something shifted. We talk about that. Yoga and UFOs (and their relationship to nondual perspective) are discussed. There’s quite a bit on eating disorders. To say the least, Joey is a fresh voice. One of my favorite shows.
I am very happy to announce that my book titled The Best Thing That Never Happened is now available. The book is published by the wonderful people at Non-Duality Press. I have found working with Julian and Catherine Noyce to be utterly delightful. They are honest, caring, and attentive to the work.
I am very pleased with the book. If I must say so myself, it is quite a good book. But fortunately, I don’t have to say so myself because already I’ve received some very positive feedback from those who have gotten their hands on advance copies!
The book is now available in paperback through Non-Duality Press’s website here. And it is also available through Amazon in both Kindle format and paperback. I expect that it will also be available through other booksellers as well.
“Okay. Fine,” you say. “But what’s it about?”
The theme which motivated the book is that everything is included and that reality is seamless. Specifically, I wanted to communicate that the so-called personal story is just as welcome as anything else, but that it can be seen to be equally impersonal and meaningless to everything else. And so in the book I share lots of little vingettes from my experience and then leap into space/emptiness/aliveness-without-bounds. Hopefully it points to the freedom of welcoming it all as yourself, as pure boundless aliveness.
Moaning about shackles?
When Oneness is making itself felt within a human story,
it is often in the guise of a calamity:
a severe disease,
the loss of a dear one,
depressions which sends us into the pitts,
being laid off work.
And all this coming out of nowhere.
Ripping apart the well manicured borders
of our existence.
Suddenly confronted with the unknown,
the depth of the abyss.
And the agonizing knowledge that nothing in
our education, upbringing, in fact nothing
in our lives has prepared us for this.
Where to turn,
how to manage, control
this onslaught of debilitating
and terrifying energies and
Emptiness, This aware and intelligent presence
shakes itself just a bit to free itself of some of
the shackles which have covered up its existence.
As on a chess board, eliminate a few of the
personas we have identified with over the years;
the able bodied provider,
the good house wife,
in order to make room
for recognition to take place.
And yes this might feel painful and hurting
in the beginning, like loosing a skin,
and having to confront life in a vulnrable
and raw manner.
But heeyy why not look around in this unfamiliar space.
Look emptiness right in the face.
And we might find that suddenly we
are at home just then and there.
Who will moan about the shackles
leaving them behind, when
stepping through the prison door
~ ~ ~
The Summer Issue of ONE the Magazine is online now, including personal accounts of non-dual awakening from Miranda Macpherson, John Sherman, Vicki Woodyard and more.
Below is a taste from one of the featured stories, this one from John Sherman, who as a revolutionary agitator, saboteur, and bank robber in the 60s and 70s, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for two and a half years. Captured in 1981, he served over 18 years in federal penitentiaries. In 1994, in a prison in Colorado, he spent more than a year in the fully open awareness of spiritual awakening, which collapsed suddenly, leaving him bereft. Three years later, shortly before his release, he found true freedom by means of an extremely simple act of attention.
Here is an excerpt:
” . . . That year of blissful experiences was followed by a year in hell. I had fallen in love with one of the women visiting me, and eventually the affair ended, leaving me in abject despair. All realization I had thought I had attained, was lost.
In my utter disillusionment, I came to the opinion that all of it was bullshit and that I had spent that year in a state of denial and self-deluded bliss. I became convinced that I had caused the whole experience of peace and clarity to arise through the force of my yearning—because I was good at that sort of thing—and I wanted not to be taken in by it again. In order to ensure that I would not be taken in again, I had to prove to myself that there was nothing to what had occurred to me and that it was all, in the end, just wishful thinking. My firm intent became to rid myself of the idea that there had been anything authentic in that experience.
I no longer believed there was anything whatsoever that could be done to give anybody any real peace, yet I still had this deep yearning for an end to what I felt was the madness of being alive as a human being. I wanted to stop the yearning, so that I could get back to being as I was before and just live my life the best I could. I wanted to be rid of this idea that there was anything real to all the spiritual business.
I ended up in the hole again for going into the industries building and helping the supervisor there with his computers. Finally, in the hole, and in desperation, I turned to Ramana Maharshi, and I put all of my energy into the project of figuring out what it was he was asking us to do. I wanted to find an action that would either put an end to my torment or show me that the entire spiritual project was, as I suspected, completely hopeless after all.
Up until then I hadn’t had a lot of interest in the teachings of Ramana Maharshi and the story of his awakening. I thought that Ramana was too simple for me. I hadn’t been interested at all in his method of self-inquiry or the question, “Who am I?” I decided, however, that of all the teachers and gurus that I had had some acquaintance with, Ramana was the best one—precisely because of his simplicity—for me to go to and try to find something to do that would invalidate and prove futile the entire spiritual project once and for all.
While in the hole, I spent some time engaged in some other silly endeavors. I had read Ramana’s instruction to “find ego; grab it by the throat.” So I would often sit on my bunk and, with all the energy I could muster, I would try to find within me the feeling that answered to the name of ego, and I would say to it, “Die, die, die!” This silliness lasted for quite a while, until I realized, “This thing ain’t never gonna die!” And that make me laugh.
Then one day, while reading the biography of Ramana Maharshi by Arthur Osborne, I saw what he said about his own experience, when he had laid down on the floor and pretended to be dead, because he wanted to find out what remained when a person died. In the book, Ramana says that he realized that once everything was gone, the only thing that remained was the force of personality.
This statement sounded very bizarre and unexpected to me, since at that point, I knew that mind and personality do not exist. I decided that I would find a way to get the experience of the force of personality, the rock bottom, condensed sense of what gives rise to it. From then on, in every waking moment, wherever I found myself, I worked to try to find just that, convinced that it would prove impossible or irrelevant, and thereby free me from all hope . . .”
To read the full article, as well as well as other personal accounts, poetry, and art from a non-dual perspective, go to www.onethemagazine.com. Take a peek also at the Past Issues, where you will find a selection of other well-known contributors such as Jeff Foster, Gangaji, Francis Bennet, Joan Tollifson.
A Facebook discussion from https://www.facebook.com/groups/NondualityHighlights/ (you are welcome to join!)
General question to all members: How did you come to the philosophy of Nondualism/Advaita?
For my part, it was a leap made from 20 years of metaphysical beliefs when my chiropractor loaned me the book “Power vs. Force” by David Hawkins, then recommended the Conversations with God books by Neale Donald Walsch
Gaby Petris I don’t see it as a type of philosophy in the sense that you could find a section on it in a bookshop. For me it eventually folds the whole structure of thinking into itself. In that sense you could say you start coming to it the very first time you feel the sting of not being able to sum up the world definitively.
Dhanya Durga Moffitt After being a spiritual seeker for over 20 years of my life, which included doing some Theravadan Buddhist practices, as well as taking the Indian sage, Neem Karoli Baba for my inspiration, I happened to encounter Poonjaji (aka Papaji) in Lucknow in 1991. It was from him that I first heard the teachings of nonduality expressed. I felt that what Poonjaji was saying was true, but I didn’t know how to comprehend the truth of what he was saying for myself. About 11 years after meeting Papaji and seeking to understand what the words ‘nonduality’ or ‘advaita’ referred to, I meet a Vedanta teacher in Berkeley who pretty much broke the code for me. So that was my experience.
Jerry Katz Ever since I was about two years old I’ve consciously been fascinated that I am aware. Following that fascination and interest could eventually lead one to the teachings of nonduality. That fascination gives way to the impossibility of such fascination. In other words, it becomes no longer possible to say, “I am aware,” since there is no longer “I am.” What I’m pointing to is the falling away of the support system — the adherence to teachings and spiritual experiences — that allows one to approach and pursue nonduality. Now, when one starts to share these teachings, a support system has to again be accessed or constructed as the teachings are carried upon them.
Tony Cartledge I was looking for something that had no special lingo or elaborately embroidered tradition. Plain speaking and naked truths. The first time I read Jean Klein my brain breathed a big sigh of relief.
Gary Falk Somehow or other I came across a copy of “I Am That” and I never looked back. Before that I walked into a used bookstore on the Upper West Side (of Manhattan) and picked up a copy of Wei Wu Wei’s “All Else Is Bondage” and I never looked back. Oops, I said that already.
Katherine Mary Mizuhara GIN and Dr Hawkins i went from 200 to 450 consciousness level
Frank Dobner Long path of this and that…but “I” knew that there could be no steps to anything, nothing really to learn. The list of books and courses is boringly long.
Tim Gerchmez Thru meeting someone online who introduced me, i think it was Bruce Morgen (NondualitySalon Yahoo group, around 1998). Doesn’t self always initially get drawn in via others? “Other” is self’s primary interest, seems here. Once introduced tho, i started grokking notions such as ‘being alone’ & ‘looking out’, etc… real clarity came about here around 2008, at least as one reckons time…
Mike Jamieson Alan Watts, late sixties. The Book mentioned by high school civics teacher.
Dhanya Durga Moffitt Thanks for asking this question, Scott . I find people’s answers very interesting. Would love to hear from more folks. We may as well ‘talk story,’ as they say here on Maui. Whiling away our time in the dual world of experience can be very sweet
Matt Finch Read Tolle a few yrs back some of it struck a chord but carried on ‘suffering’ regardless- went through a period of law of attraction but got tired of trying to be positive all the time (so stressful)- a drunk accident resulted in a broken ankle…(damn ‘attraction’!) mental crash, divine openings and then I came across nirmala, adyashanti, joan tollifson online stuff- I felt at home instantly with non-duality. Tired of seeking- life is as is…