Re Heschel’s “Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” (1971:7) “If amazement is a good thing why would we want to alleviate it?”

Some comments re Heschel’s,
“Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.” (1971:7)

A member of our One Garden group asked for comments on; “Assuming amazement as something good I want to enhance or amplify it not alleviate it.” (?)

As a question I’m reading that as, “If amazement is a good thing why would we want to alleviate it?”

COMMENTS:
It’s not the amazement that needs alleviating it is our spiritual hunger that needs alleviating – the hunger to be at-one – and to be free of the burden, and suffering, of egoic self.

Concepts, like food snacks, won’t satisfy us compared to the real thing, a proper spiritual meal – which is to rest as our Nondual self – to rest as awareness (substantially ) free of self.

The ‘snacks quotation’ relates to the ‘Citizens of two realms’ quotation. Here is a slightly longer version of the ‘Citizens of Two Realms’ extract’;

“The Search for reason ends at the known; on the immense expanse beyond it only the sense of the ineffable can glide. It alone knows the route to that which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither of them is amphibious: reason cannot go beyond the shore, and the sense of the ineffable is out of place where we measure, where we weigh.

We do not leave the shore of the known in search of adventure or suspense or because of the failure of reason to answer our questions. We sail because our mind is like a fantastic seashell, and when applying our ear to its lips we hear a perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.

Citizens of two realms, we all must sustain a dual allegiance: we sense the ineffable in one realm, we name and exploit reality in another.

Between the two we set up a system of references, but we can never fill the gap.

They are as far and as close to each other as time and calendar, as violin and melody, as life and what lies beyond the last breath.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion.

A saying not by Heschel is helpful “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” – (source unknown though many have used it e.g.Huston Smith)

My reading of Heschel is that he is describing the dual world as the ‘island of knowledge’ and the nondual as ‘wonder’ – the ineffable experience of the Whole, of Mystery – that another great mystic, Einstein, wrote about so beautifully;

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms— this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.” http://sciphilos.info/docs_pages/docs_Einstein_fulltext_css.html

Wonderment is the state we are in when, with selfing subdued, we enter the mystical, Nondual, state – the home of our true Self.

Wondering is the head process of philosophizing – and belongs to the dual realm.

Here is Heschel seeming to say that ‘wonder’ is ‘radical amazement’-l http://www.awakin.org/read/view.php?tid=1080

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JOAN TOLLIFSON: on how her teacher Toni Packer taught via questionings

With typically inspiring frankness Joan Tollifson has an article on how her teacher questioned her as part of her teaching of Joan;

Examples are;

“Habit has two parts, Toni says. There is the habit itself (finger biting, smoking, drinking, whatever), and there is the observer who wants to stop, who is also a habit. And there is the conflict, the battle between the desire to indulge, which is an escape from what is, and the desire to stop, which is also a movement away from what is.

Toni suggests that the only real solution lies in complete awareness. In such awareness there is…no intention, no judgment, no conflict, no separation from the problem, no self to be improved or fixed, no direction. It is open, relaxed seeing.

“Can we look carefully at this ‘me’ that seems to be the power behind making decisions, really go into it, trace this chooser, this doer, all the way to the root?” Toni asks me.

When we do that together, all we find is thoughts. Conflicting thoughts: “I want to bite,” “I want to stop.” It feels like a battle between “me-the observer” and “me-the addict.” But both of these “me’s” are images constructed by thought and imagination. What’s actually going on is just an alternating, conflicting series of thoughts. No one is “doing” them; they’re happening.

“I have to bite,” “I can’t stop,” “I should stop,” “I’m addicted,” “I’m an addict,” “I’m a terrible person,” “How can I stop?” “If I just get this one loose end, then I’ll be satiated,” “It would be unbearable to feel what I would feel if I stopped,” “I’m stuck, this is hopeless,” “It’s been going on for a long time,” “It’s out of control,” “I’ll never get free,” “I should be able to control myself,” “This is sick,” “I want to be healthy.”

“These are all thoughts,” Toni says. “Do you see that?”

“But some of them are true,” I reply.

“Are they?” she asks with electric intensity, her eyes closed, her hands suspended in midair, listening.

“Well, I am addicted. It is out of control,” I insist.

“Thought seems to be just reporting the facts, objectively: ‘I’m addicted, this is out of control.’ But are these really facts? Or are they ideas? These are very powerful thoughts, and every thought produces neurochemical reactions in the body.”

Whichever position has more energy in that moment wins out, Toni suggests, and then there is either the thought, “I’m good because I had the will power to stop,” or “I’m a failure because I didn’t have enough will power to stop.” Thought creates “me” who has “done” one thing or the other, and is “successful” or “unsuccessful” as a result. And then more thoughts about me quickly follow: “I’m on my way to enlightenment” or “I’m a hopeless case on my way to total doom.” Either of these thought-trains will generate a tremendous response in the body, either good feelings or terrible feelings, elation or depression.

“Do you see how all these powerful thoughts and the feelings they produce in the body all revolve around the idea and image of ‘me’?” Toni asks. “Do you see how it’s all thinking?”

There is rain falling outside the meeting room, trickling down the window.”

Go here to read this wonderful article – http://www.joantollifson.com/writing19.html

Scott Kiloby says; "Seeing through the story of self has been one of the greatest healing tools I’ve found. "

Scott Kiloby says that when he was younger he had various forms of illness, some labelled, some not defined, but now looking back he sees them as arising from his ‘story of self’;

I love particularly the first and last sentences here;

“Seeing through the story of self has been one of the greatest healing tools I’ve found. It worked better than most of the medicine I took that was prescribed by a doctor. And it was certainly more helpful than all the addictive substances and activities I used to try and medicate the emotional and mental suffering. Those were all merely band aids for a more pervasive cause of stress and dis-ease—the story of me. The story was really not about survival at all. It just seemed that way. The only thing that survives in the story is the story itself. As long as the story is entertained and followed, the story persists. And as long as the story persists, with its intense peaks and valleys of thought and emotion, stress happens in the body. Perhaps heart disease and cancer should be replaced at the top of the list of human killers with “the story of me.” Millions of dollars in health care costs could probably be saved each year by teaching people to rest in presence and let all emotions and sensations to be as they are, without stories and labels.

For Scott’s article go here – http://kiloby.com/writings.php?offset=0&writingid=379

For more information about seeing through the story, check out Scott Kiloby’s ‘Living Inquiries.’

Spiritual gems that came my way this week

“You must be emptied of that with which you are full, so you may be filled with that whereof you are empty. St Augustine.” ― David R. Loy, The World Is Made of Stories
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For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”- Matthew 18-20 – NIV
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“The intention behind each action determines its effect. Our intentions and our actions affect not only us but also others. If we believe that every intention and action evolves as we progress on our spiritual journey, then if we act consciously we evolve consciously, but if we act unconsciously we involve unconsciously. ”
– Alfred Huang, I Ching
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RP Loved this poem that I found here – http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/calendar/41 (A great site!)
A poem written by Mokasiya at our 2014, May retreat day;

The Farmer
is out planting corn
and i
am trying to write
the greatest poem ever,
unbeknown to him
and that cheese grater tractor
not a John Deere,
or the PTO
not a Personal Terrorist Operation
sounds like a dentist drill
that will not stop
grinding at the cavity
of misplaced words
unloved grammar
and rhyme
that i fail to plant,
that i cannot hear
that i neglect to find.
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Rupert Spira’s videos are here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/rupertspira
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“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe.

Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.”
~ Anne D. LeClaire

  • from stillnessspeaks.com

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Not reliant on the written word A special…

Not reliant on the written word,

A special transmission separate from the scriptures;

Direct pointing at one’s mind,

Seeing one’s nature, becoming a Buddha.

— Bodhidharma (?-526 A.D.)