Mighty Companions Presents
THE CORE OF ALL KINGDOMS: An Exploration of Non-Duality with
Hosted by Suzanne Taylor
November 20, 1993, Los Angeles, California
Lex and Suzanne (and Ramakrishna)
SUZANNE: Our circle has been in process for a long time, and now it seems we've taken a turn to a deeper place, where we can be in communion, where we can trust one another and speak for one another.
So here, tonight, we're in territory that's not so ordinary. In this deepening process we've been in, we've been attempting to name, identify, and understand a relationship among us that is more heightened than the one we previously enjoyed. This is only possible because we have a history together. Tonight we're continuing to move along this track.
I'm very aware of the fact that community is necessary. This isn't a new thought, original to me. The spirit of the day is that we are moving out of separation into community, going from rugged individualism into authentic group. Since 1975, I've been devoted to the emergence of what we might call conscious community.
In our modern world, we don't have what existed in other times: a dynamic, or an energetic, or an organization, or an organism where the sacred really lives -- something that isn't following some particular master or ancient tradition, but comes out of what underlies all true paths and energizes them and gives them life. I'm speaking about what might be called a carrying wave for sacred knowledge. In times past, mystery schools were that sort of thing. The Masons, when they were robust and full of juice, were also. In Journey to the East, Hesse writes about this energetic. And we hear about the Illuminati. There were forms in the past that we don't have now.
As we are awakening to our divine nature, new forms are in order. I am interested in what these new forms will be in the birth of profound, powerful, and useful ways that we can be together. Our new emergence group, which has recently started to define itself, is taking a step into something we can name. We are moving from being friends, and having history together into some new form, so we can say, "Oh, yes. That's what it is, and I'm part of that."
When L.A. experienced the recent wildfires, I was aware that there was no wisdom voice being expressed. If there had been such a voice, it could have been part of our disaster plan. We could have had people in the media helping everyone understand the forces and the possibilities we were dealing with, showing us a way to hold things within a wisdom perspective, so that everyone wouldn't just feel victimized. If our circle were a recognizable entity, we could be tapped for such service. We could be used. Not to mention how useful it would be for each of us to engage in real communion, with the highest ideals, to help each other birth ourselves as we want to be and are becoming. Having that kind of fellowship would be an asset for everyone.
This is a very specific kind of organism I'm speaking about, which does not now exist. I want to be on a team, with people who want to be extraordinary, in maximum service to the emerging consciousness. When the players say, "Yes," the drama begins. It has no plan; it designs itself as it goes along. The action is heroic as we bring out ever more realized states in one another. How about that? Can we let the play begin?
This will be a really personal process, not something big and public, but one at a time people will say, "Yes. I can do that." Each time it will be in a spirit of consensus, where it's not an argument over what the rules are. It will be a recognition that the way it is is the way it should be. One at a time, people will add themselves to the mix.
Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." I feel serious about the work that a small circle can accomplish. I'm happy to cultivate a small field that can become deeply aligned and really matter to humanity.
Last time Lex was here, we were dealing with mapping the dimensions. We were feeling like we could move out of the black and white of the dense physical world, on the one hand, and the non-physical world on the other, and start discriminating more shadings. I think mapping is what's up now. I think we can make good new maps of reality, which we will understand as our new myths. This small group of committed people then can go back to the world with better maps than we've had. Coming together outside any rigid format of the sacred, exploring what is underneath all the formats, and mapping how that lays out -- this is the work of our day.
LEX: Last time we met and talked together about the physical and the non-physical. It was a springboard to get us closer to where we really want to be, which is indivisible consciousness. As long as we identify heavily with what we think of as physical, we're going to experience divisions. So we explored the non-physical, and discovered that it is very close and very real, that even talking and understanding are completely non-physical, although they resonate inside what we experience as physical forms. This was a step.
Tonight, we absolutely must leave behind the division: physical, non-physical. We must look back and smile at the fact that we spent a whole evening talking about that division, realizing it was just a springboard. We must see clearly that there is no division between physical and non-physical. There is no division anywhere.
What we have to do tonight is become like the paper on which maps are drawn. We're not ruling out cartography. Some of us are capable of mapping non-physical dimensions, others of mapping physical dimensions. But, tonight is beyond mapping. Mapping is essential, but tonight we must reach the still point, the paper on which everything is drawn.
It's not a blank, in some negative sense of the word, but full of potential manifestation. It's a peculiar kind of paper: the writing and drawing emerge out of it spontaneously. It's not something that's written upon, but a radiant open space, which I call indivisible consciousness, from which all maps emerge.
Our spiritual sister, Suzanne, was talking about maximum service to the emerging consciousness. I'd like to propose tonight that being consciously at the still point, being at the very ground of all manifestation, is maximum service. Margaret Mead's vision of a small group does apply. I can feel that transformative power tonight, underneath the words that are coming through. If we could be attuned to indivisible consciousness, if we could simply be indivisible consciousness, at this moment we would be of maximum service to humanity.
It doesn't mean that we evade other responsibilities, as if to say, "This attunement is what we do. On the obvious level, we don't try to help at all." That's foolish. Everyone here has a rich set of their own maps, their own convictions, their own organizations, their own transactions. Non-dual celebration does not put restrictions on the members of the circle to do some things and not other things. Non-duality is freedom.
I am convinced that non-dual celebration is so purifying that we're not likely to have members of the circle who are engaged in deceiving, oppressing, or abusing. Non-duality is too purifying!
This is what the mystery schools of all cultures have tapped into: pure, indivisible consciousness, what Suzanne calls the underlying energetic. These schools and temples have been places where the sacred actually abides. President Clinton is in a Native American long house right now with presidents of Asian countries. But Suzanne's living room is a real long house. For twenty years, this has been a place where the sacred has visited. We're not presidents of countries, but we don't have to be. We may be even more powerful than they are unless the presidents realize non-duality. Usually sages don't become presidents. But, hopefully there's some sage potential in our current President.
Gatherings like ours are ultimately what have caused the President to be meeting with those Asian heads of state in a Native American long house. Because enough of these gatherings have gone on in our society, Bill Clinton got elected in the first place. We have to develop a new sophistication about what really changes culture. What is it that really awakens people? Is it definable projects? Or is it the in definable celebration of what we can call indivisible consciousness?
SUZANNE: I just want to check in with everybody. Do we need to do something to attune ourselves prior to this blah, blah, blah?
LEX: It isn't blah, blah, blah. It's just blah! Non-duality!
SUZANNE: Do we need to quiet down? Do we need to hold hands? Are we okay?
LEX: I think it's already happening.
LEX: That's the tenderness of Suzanne. We all appreciate it. She wants everything to be beautiful and everyone to be receptive. That's why we meet here. That's why this place is a long house. We could be meeting at a Holiday Inn, with hundreds of people from the "cutting edge," and I don't think we would experience the attunement we have right here, right now. Suzanne, it really isn't blah, blah, blah.
SUZANNE: I didn't actually mean it that way.
LEX: It's fun you said it, because then I could respond. Basically, non-duality is a continual correction of dualistic conceptions as they arise. It's a spontaneous process which, without judgment, playfully erases lines of division as they arise. You can't have a map without lines of division, certainly. Celebrating non-duality is pre-mapping or post-mapping. It doesn't negate mapping, because when you have a good map, there's the paper right behind it, giving it vividness and making it readable.
How to get to this conscious state of being the paper? We have to be extremely careful about the language we use here. There are no energetics, no dynamics, no structures in non-duality. These come later. If our structural social forms are consciously rooted in the celebration of non-duality, they can be more energetic, more dynamic, more kind, more insightful.
Our pragmatic American mind, or modem mind, thinks that if we don't build something with moving parts that somehow works and does, then we're not serving, creating, or even living. Non-duality doesn't have moving parts, yet it is maximum service. This fact probably requires a leap of faith for all of us. We think, "Are we just imagining that our tiny circle is engaged in useful service? Are we just imagining the power of non-duality because we want to be important?" I don't think so.
Let's leave the definition of non-dual reality open right now. It always will be open, but we're leaving it particularly open now. If non-dual reality were recognized as a living principle, consciously, by many circles it could generate immense, inconceivable power for transformation. Einstein, and other physicists, realized that you could split an atom and it would release vast energy. Of course, splitting an atom is the essence of duality. You couldn't get an image of duality more vivid than splitting an atom. Other scientists say, "Let's fuse atoms. Let's have fusion power." But that's also duality. You're jamming two things together.
In the light of non-duality, we don't want to split anything and we don't want to jam anything together. We just want to celebrate that beautiful indivisible consciousness, that radiant open space, which always is. Totally creative, totally receptive. And if that celebration became our fundamental principle, consciously, it is already the principle of Being, if we could make this principle conscious, it would have subtle effects on all our projects, the projects of millions of creative people throughout the world. These projects would go on. The celebration of non-duality will not bring everything to a halt, where everyone just sits in some contemplative state. That's why I call it non-dual celebration, because rather than worrying about structures, one should celebrate the ground of all structures, the possibility of all structures. That could be the most powerful way to resolve the disasters and conflicts that exist in the world and in the psyche.
To appreciate non-duality is not just sitting silently and thinking, or not thinking, but actively celebrating. Celebrating should be very human. That's why it's important to have delicious food, to make joyful conversation, to wear beautiful clothes. And it's a circle of non-dual celebration, which means that everyone must make a contribution to this celebration. Everyone without exception, to constitute a true circle, must celebrate the principle of non-duality, which is already functional within all awareness. We couldn't even have a coherent perception of the world without this principle of non-duality functioning flawlessly. It would be a mere chaos of sensations. Even perceptually, the principle of non-duality is functioning. We don't have to enter some other, mystical state of consciousness.
Tonight, I'll try to represent this principle consciously. As I said earlier, non-duality is a spontaneous correcting of artificial divisions which arise because of our various conventional and habitual patterns.
Someone asks a sage, "What is non-dual reality?" This mature human being answers with a question; "You say something - what is it?" The enquirer remains silent, and experiences at least a taste of non-duality. Silence is one powerful definition of non-dual reality. But unless we are quite advanced in our consideration of non-duality, silence would not be very dramatic. After a few seconds of silence, we would start thinking about our projects again, maybe very valuable projects; we might start considering how to save the rain forests. To remain in pure non-dual celebration is quite an art: something that we don't have in modern culture, as Suzanne says, in a very conscious way. We have many religious and political action groups. We have tremendous commercial activity. All these are maps. But what about the paper the maps are drawn on?
Rather than artificially going around our circle tonight, causing beads of sweat to spring from foreheads, why don't we just open it up? It's a circle of spontaneous celebration! It's important that we meet in a circle like this, not just as an arrangement of chairs, but spiritually feeling that it is a true circle, that we are each equidistant from the center.
VOICE ONE: It strikes me that what we're about here is not so much an inauguration but a recognition. Somewhere Rumi says, "We are the wine and the jar that pours." Castaneda says our notion of duality, our notion of separateness, is an illusion - that we are, in fact, an assemblage point in consciousness.
For instance, I was sitting here, watching Suzanne in profile. The Suzanne that exists in my mind exists nowhere else, because I have this particular angle on her. We all have unique perspectives; so we're all interconnected only by viewpoints. The view that exists in my mind is me, and your mind's view is you. But we are the same consciousness. We can keep tracing these connections of perspective back through time until we include the whole universe. So we all are the same flow of consciousness.
I know there are many lessons to take from this, but the one that comes immediately to mind is that negative emotions are simply invalid. For instance, all hatred is merely self-hatred. All resentment is only resentment of self. We are all those other conscious beings. We have to learn to respond to every stimulus out of love. Otherwise, we're just bashing ourselves.
LEX: Let's sit silently for a moment and consider what our brother is saying. He's unveiling non-duality as love.
VOICE ONE: Whatever you perceive as external, whatever you react to, exists only in your own mind. It's your own self.
VOICE TWO: So all division begins with division from our self?
VOICE ONE: Yes. I'm sitting here looking at you. You don't have that same view of yourself. The view of you in my head is me. And vice-versa. But it's one consciousness.
VOICE TWO: The minute I divide anything, I divide it from some part of my own self. I divide consciousness.
VOICE ONE: Yes. Our notion of separateness, our ego notion, is a useful tool, in many respects, but it's also a deception. It's true only from one perspective.
LEX: Is it possible now just to drop all this?
VOICE ONE: Yes, certainly it is.
LEX: But after we've dropped it, will the perspectives still exist?
VOICE ONE: One of my professors used to have a picture on his wall. If you looked at it one way, it was a black and white picture of Jesus, and if you looked another way, it was just an inkblot. I got to where I could sit there and just click back and forth.
LEX: Then my question is this: What about seeing it neither as an inkblot nor as Jesus? That's where we should be in our non-dual celebration.
VOICE ONE: In other words, shut down the internal dialogue and just let it exist.
LEX: Yes. Your remarks have been very helpful, because you've been talking about the way duality functions. It helps to become clear about non-duality by talking about the way duality functions. For instance, talking about love and the need to react always from the standpoint of love but, ultimately, in non-dual celebration, the word love is not applicable. It's not that non-duality is not love. But if you're teaching the way of love, you're teaching a particular moral, religious, or spiritual viewpoint. You gather people together and proclaim, "This is a group of love." But non-duality is free from labels. Maybe some one feels, "I am more a person of knowledge," and someone else feels, "I am more a person of love." But if you enter a circle of non-dual celebration, neither of those feelings are binding. Therefore everyone can continue to experience different perspectives and points of view. Everyone can sense that non-duality fits, like hand and glove, every temperament, every culture, every astrological configuration, every level of education.
You have been speaking as a sophisticated, educated person. But there could and should be persons here who have no formal education. Right now, there is a certain social configuration among the people in this room, which is normal. But in a genuine circle of non-duality, there should be some way of welcoming every different perspective and then dropping it away. That's why I asked you, "Do you think we can drop this?," and you immediately answered, "Yes." Duality can be dropped, and we can abide together in non-duality.
VOICE THREE: Do I understand correctly that non-duality is a total lack of attachment to outcome?
LEX: To view outcome and attachment to outcome as a mistake or an illusion could be quite dangerous, because we should be committed to all sorts of positive outcomes. We shouldn't retreat into a so called spiritual dimension where we say, "I'm forgetting all that now. I'm just going to abide in non-duality. I'm not going to be attached to any outcome." That would create duality between a spiritual dimension and a worldly place, between ecstasy and ethics. I think this is a false spirituality, a false Eastern spirituality.
The very sage persons, both men and women, that I've been fortunate enough to meet from different cultures, have all been extremely involved in outcomes. In fact, this non-dual celebration tonight will bring about many positive outcomes for ourselves and for our culture.
Maybe the word attached has developed a purely negative sense. Obviously, we shouldn't have neurotic attachment. But by attached, one can mean passionately committed. We must be that.
VOICE THREE: I'm confused about whether or not there's progress, whether there's defeat...?
LEX: We're not waiting for any historical progress. We don't feel it's necessary to wait in order to celebrate non-duality. Nor are we expecting a regression in history, a defeat. The beauty is that right now this non-dual celebration is completely perfect, regardless of personal or cultural history. We're all some what limited in the degree to which we can consciously experience it, but it's complete and perfect. This sounds a bit New Age, but we don't want to dismiss New Age thinking. We simply want to become more sophisticated than New Age thinking.
VOICE FOUR: My perception of our conversation is this: what is most important is what I am sensing and feeling, non-verbally or pre-verbally, soul-to-soul, in what I call the silence of the soul. We are listening from a soul level, and trying to articulate back out through personality and language the intuitions that we experience inside of us, in pre-verbal or totally non-verbal form. We are consummate map-makers and storytellers. However, the first rule you learn in mathematics and cybernetics is that the map is not the territory. The story is not the reality.
Whatever story or system we use to perceive the universe, these are tools, not reality. They are just map-making, storytelling systems that give us better ways of communicating to each other what we're experiencing, what we're striving for, what we believe in, what our passions are, who God is for us.
I'm sort of frustrated by the leap to verbalization.
LEX: Mm hmm.
VOICE FOUR: What we are really birthing is still at a pre-verbal level - what we are grasping for and trying to name. We are moving into becoming this, when it is really about being this. It has become either a definition, or a movement, or a community - or a way of being together that has rules or ways of defining it. For me, it is pre-effable; it is not ineffable. But we are not yet there. Maybe we weren't quiet enough with each other to let the silence of the soul speak through the enthusiasm of the personalities.
LEX: (to the person at the flip chart): Please write down, "Listening in silence from the soul's level," and, "Letting the silence of the soul speak."
VOICE FOUR: I don't know if any of that makes sense.
VOICE FIVE: It seems to me like a house without a door.
LEX: That is exactly what non-duality is: a house without a door. Please write that down, too.
VOICE SIX: There's no door and no walls, either.
VOICE FOUR: Completely integral. It's really the sound of silence that a soul makes when it's listening.
LEX: "Listening in silence from the soul's level" is enough. Let's leave aside the other super-mystical affirmations.
VOICE FOUR: But it's actually a subtle resonance. It is a kind of silence that's very different than an empty silence.
LEX: And this resonant silence can infuse language, too. Such speaking does not violate the silence of the soul's level, or, as I would say, the level of non-duality.
VOICE FOUR: This is part of the celebration, the desire to find words. There's a need to go back and listen to these words.
VOICE SEVEN: Yes. On the primal ground.
LEX: Being on the primal ground is essential. Your spontaneous vision of non-duality as a house with out a door is excellent. A Zen master might say, "Great, wonderful! You've passed the koan. It's a house without a door." Our other friend added, very beautifully, "It has no walls." These are genuine ways of speaking about non-duality without violating its silence or its integrity. Someone else might say, "This is just some weird verbal play you're involved in here." This person, too, might receive congratulations from the Zen master.
Non-duality can be silent listening or it can be what's happening among us now, which is the gentle clearing away of duality. We don't think of non-duality as iconoclastic, as arrogant, as creating a sense of philosophical or spiritual superiority. It's a gentle melting away, like mist melts away, of dualistic concerns, whether they're obsessive, selfish concerns or whether they're beautiful, noble concerns. Let it all melt away, and be established consciously on the primal ground!
Suzanne was sensing our need to go to silence. But true silence is tricky. You can lose it so quickly. If we sat for three minutes in silence right now, some of us would be able to listen from the soul's level for a while for thirty seconds, sixty seconds, two minutes. Then, gradually, some sort of articulation would come back. I think it's good to experience non-duality right within the speaking, the "enthusiasm of the personalities." We don't want to endorse any duality between meditation and non-meditation, between silence and speech.
VOICE SEVEN: There's a still point of beingness behind the speaker, behind the words.
LEX (to the person at the flip chart): "The still point of beingness behind the speaker..."
VOICE SEVEN: It's being rather than becoming. There's something behind the articulation of the sentence, which is the essence of how I experience Lex, or how I experience someone else, which is stillness.
There is personality and engaged consciousness, but there is also a place, which I call the witness, which is actually the place from which I observe myself being who I am in the world.
LEX: I have to leap in, now, as the principle of non-duality, very impersonally. We can't accept this division between witness and something being witnessed. We can't even accept the division between being and becoming. In the light of non-duality, everything is just pure beingness. The process of erasing duality is itself just beingness. Otherwise we would be establishing a duality between duality and non-duality. On the other hand, what you're saying is an important springboard, because many of us aren't very clear about that pure witness-consciousness.
In Vedantic philosophy and other traditions, it's very key to go to certain levels of meditation where you're the witness, just witnessing, looking at the earth from the standpoint of Pluto. But to persist in that practice would create the dualistic notion that what's really real is this witness. And all process, all that's out there, could then be regarded as separate or even as an illusion.
Now that you've spoken about it, we should dissolve this division between being and becoming, between witnesser and witnessed. Everything is beingness - rich, fluid, transparent. Non-duality is rich because it implies we don't have to stop becoming in order to start being. In other words, we don't have to say, "All right, enough mere talk. This is all becoming. Now we're going to sit silently and just be." We are just being right now. And people at the racetrack in Santa Anita are just being, also. Beingness is indivisible.
SUZANNE: I want to invite us to an intimate experience here, although there are some people not known to one another.
LEX: Non-duality is intimacy.
SUZANNE: None of the people in the room would be here if they hadn't resonated to the inquiry we're making. I want to say that, in order to bridge any lack of personal experience we may have with one another.
LEX: This is coming from your tenderness side, Suzanne, your wanting people to feel comfortable in every way. Yet non-dual celebration precisely does not rely on knowing about each other. Non-dual celebration creates a circle that has no identification with a particular tradition, like Zen or Vedanta, Christian Science or New Age thought, nor is it identified with persona or gender, while providing liberating open space for all these valuable structures.
Each person in this room may be involved in some religious or spiritual path, but as the celebration of non-duality is not a path, our circle must remain free from all these formulations. What people experience when they sit in zazen for seven days together, twelve hours a day, is a tremendous sense of intimacy. They haven't even said anything to each other, much less learned anything about each other.
This is the indivisibility of consciousness unveiled. If you think there's something you would like to know about the other person's background that would help you get more intimate, that's really assuming a division between yourself and the other person. I'm not suggesting that non-dual intimacy is going to supercede genuine personal relationship. I'm saying that it's very important to know that we come here only in intimacy, we think only in intimacy, we perceive only in intimacy, we breathe together with all life only in intimacy. Intimacy does not need to be created.
If Suzanne hadn't made her statement, I couldn't make this statement. Non-duality is dialectical. It has to work that way. Someone has to say what reality is, or say something about it, and then that has to be erased or made transparent by non-duality itself. That's the way non-duality spontaneously reveals itself. We're not rushing into words. Non-duality is itself bubbling up into words, and it's bubbling up as silence, also.
Some people haven't spoken yet. Since we're not performing the torture technique of going around the circle, where you can see it coming at you, please take a moment of silence and come out in words. Listen in silence at the soul's level and then make whatever verbal contribution you feel. Everybody here is absolutely distinct. Non-dual does not mean non-perspectival. That would be something frozen. Non-duality is fluid and supremely alive. All the infinite perspectives can remain and be enhanced by non-dual celebration.
VOICE EIGHT: We have a paradox: when we use language, we're automatically defining things as separate. To label something makes it separate, whereas we all recognize that it's not essentially separate. The dance and the floor are one thing.
LEX: I don't accept that language is just labeling. Again, you're speaking about the way duality functions. And it's helpful, because we have to go back and say, "Yes, you're right, language is a divider and a labeler." But when it's coming out of the primal ground, language is a perfect expression of non-duality. By the way, in non-dual celebration, one does not confuse the dance floor and the dance partner.
Our circle has made paradoxical statements tonight, like, "It's a house without a door and without walls," but also we've spoken together on a coherent, logical level. There's nothing illogical about non-duality.
VOICE NINE: I watch TV and know there's a cameraman at the other end. This is an opening for me to realize that experience is all contained in a wholeness. We look up at the sky and say, "The sky is blue," almost as if it's over there. Yet the fact is that the blue is actually touching me. There's simply nothing outside.
LEX: Is there anything inside?
VOICE NINE: What I'm seeing is that everything has the capacity to be included. That would mean there is no inside or outside. Yet we have the ability to hold different viewpoints. We can look at things this way or that and affirm, "We're free," because of the fact that it's all included. It's like we're totally expanded.
LEX: Men and women may have different modes of expressing non-duality. My wife, Sheila, told me about some recurring experiences she has had of non-duality ever since she was a girl, like her tongue becoming tremendously broad or standing under a great waterfall. When you say, "The blue is actually touching me," "We're free," or, "We're totally expanded," that gets closer to the feminine mode of expressing non-duality. I don't want to rule out more lengthy masculine explanations which hint about the nature of non-duality, but as Ramana Maharshi used to say, "Who asked you to think about all that?"
This is the way Ramana would bring people back to the blue touching them, just non-dual beingness, just indivisible consciousness. The tongue becoming gigantic inside the mouth is a strange feeling, like the house with no door, a feeling of non-duality. When Sheila was a girl, feeling like she was standing under a powerful waterfall, she was uncomfortable with the sensation. Now she has become a bigger vessel, so she doesn't feel uncomfortable with it. Becoming a bigger vessel means awakening to the open space of non-duality. Non-duality presents an infinite amount of space. It's not filled up by any thing.
The third recurring experience my wife reports is trying to rip a phone book. It is absolutely absurd. There's just no way she can rip it. It's unrippable. I've heard many terms for non-dual reality, like inconceivable, or ineffable, but unrippable is one of the most interesting.
Such non-logical formulation should be balanced against the kind of formulation that I've been giving, which might be, if I can say it playfully, a more masculine way of articulating. But let's not get into gender duality.
The way the Tibetans put it, there are three levels of teaching: outer teaching, inner teaching, and secret teaching. The secret teaching is non-duality.
We are now involved in the secret teaching. Not Madame Blavatsky's teaching. That was actually not the secret teaching but the inner teaching. All esoteric, arcane, occult information is inner teaching, not secret teaching. Secret teaching, in a certain sense, is absolutely not interesting to someone who's trying to gather more information, more exoteric or esoteric maps. That's why a Zen person might say that non-duality is very ordinary. Everyone lives it. It's everywhere. But at the same time, it's super-extraordinary, and the fully awakened sage is very rare.
The really extraordinary people are not necessarily those who are doing fantastic things out there, creating wonderful formulations. Really extraordinary people are those consciously established on the primal ground. There are many thousands of people in L.A. who are visibly aware of the primal ground, not just a few Zen masters.
VOICE FIVE: Can I offer a comment that might be considered outrageous. . . ?
VOICE FIVE: ...and inappropriate...
VOICE FIVE: When Suzanne does her thing that you call tenderness, I have a distinct feeling of irritation. It pisses me off that she's responding the way she is.
So, Lex, are you in the non-duality and I'm in the duality, because you can see the tenderness and I'm just irritated?
[Lex pauses for a minute in silence.]
VOICE FIVE: Well, I didn't get thrown out yet.
LEX: You weren't here in the first place in any separate sense that could get thrown out. Non-duality is very healing.
It's important in an authentic circle of non-dual celebration that someone would be so honest about their critical feelings. I'm sure everyone here is capable of being honest. When our friend said, "It seems to me like a house with no door," in a way it was a complaint. I accepted it as a beautiful expression of non-duality, but she may have been complaining, at least playfully. So complaints do come up, and complaints are definitely duality, until they are transformed into non-duality.
But who says there is anything wrong with duality? If we think we are committed to non-duality, and we say, "I hate duality," what are we doing? We're setting up a new duality. We are keeping our personal non-duality over here, and over there are people's dualities, or maybe our own dualities, and we're trying to make a sharp division. In a genuine circle of non-dual celebration, the nature of an evening might very well be sharing painful experiences, allowing them to come up in the atmosphere of non-duality and be released. The Tibetans say it's like the snake that uncoils by itself. The snake looks tangled up, but it uncoils by itself, effortlessly, in a second. Thus, apparent duality is called "self-liberated." Your negative feeling, by expressing itself in a conscious atmosphere of non-duality, is self-liberated. This doesn't mean that, magically, you will never be bothered by this again. But the fact of non-duality reveals that there aren't any ultimate tangles, and irritation or other unpleasant feelings can be just one more opportunity for non-duality to express itself.
Have you ever caught a fish, and then put it back? The fish lies still in one's hand, in shock, but the moment it touches the water, just like that - [claps his hands] - it's gone. It has re-entered the non-duality of its natural medium. Indivisible consciousness is the natural medium of human beings. When we're feeling frustration, separation and differences, we're not in our true medium. We're like a fish out of water. The moment we enter back into that non-duality, as we did in silence just now, there's instant life, instant freedom.
One could develop various therapies based on this principle of non-duality. It has many implications for many fields. But it's not magical. Magic enhances the duality between the way something is and the way I want it instantly to be by my power of manipulation. Non-duality is non-manipulation.
I'm glad you shared your frustration.
SUZANNE: The important thing isn't the question, "How can you think it's tender and she think it's irritating, and how do those go together?" Rather it comes to, "Can I accept that you think it's tender and she thinks it's irritating, and not be fractured by that?"
LEX: We are once again exploring the way duality works. But hopefully we haven't lost awareness of our underlying primal ground. A circle of non-dual celebration wouldn't spend too much time on this point - would just note it and then go back into non-duality, to speak figuratively. You can't really "leave" and "go back in."
It's important that someone politically and socially committed would say, "Hold on, there are people dying on the streets. We've got to have a gun law! The Brady Bill didn't pass the Senate. This is insane!" The circle would respond by honoring that passion and then re-enter non-duality. It's like a spiritual meeting where people are praying for others. You hold the silence together, which is the non-duality; then someone prays, which is the functioning of duality. Our sister was praying just now for some sort harmony to develop.
VOICE FIVE: He takes the poison and turns it into a potion.
LEX: We're establishing a circle that turns poisons into potions. That's exactly what non-duality does. Please write that down.
VOICE TEN: Is that how non-duality functions in relation to good and evil? By acknowledging and transcending both?
LEX: I don't think we should transcend good and evil. This is the misleading idea of the physical world being an illusion. I'm not going to transcend good and evil. What kind of a trip is that? I can see good and evil very clearly in certain cases, although many cases are fuzzy. I have not only an ethical responsibility but also a spiritual responsibility to name oppression and to resist it. So non-dual celebration is not exactly transcending.
VOICE TEN: Would dealing with good and evil, then, add to duality? Or is it a means to reach non-duality?
LEX: You might say there's no path to non-duality. It's a house without a door or a path. We're not dealing with means, here. We're not dealing with paths to or techniques for.
VOICE TEN: If you establish the premise that consequences matter, by definition, you are affirming duality.
LEX: I don't admit that. As I said earlier, everything is pure beingness. Therefore, no duality actually exists. We don't have to form a circle, hum Om, and attempt to generate non-duality, holding on to it for a few seconds before we plunge back into the terrible world of duality again. That's not the correct image. This whole universe, this whole beingness, including all its significant consequences and moral decisions, is an integral field of non-duality.
VOICE ELEVEN: I don't know what the hell you mean by non-duality. I thought I did until I came here tonight. I thought it meant we are one, or there is no multiplicity. I expected us to have a brain and spirit storm about what I thought was non-duality, and now suddenly, I'm hearing good and evil, you and me.
LEX: Your unsophisticated notion of non-duality is being transformed. If you went to hear Stephen Hawking speak, no matter how knowledgeable you were before, as the process unfolded, you'd begin to think, "I had no idea what this was really all about. This is more ungraspable than I thought."
VOICE ELEVEN: I thought non-duality meant non-multiplicity. That all is one.
LEX: That's a naive formulation.
VOICE ELEVEN: We've gone back to some very primitive, and easily rejectable, religious dualities: heaven and hell, good and evil.
LEX: Don't you admit that there are homes where kindness and understanding prevail as well as homes where people are torturing each other? There are heavens and hells, even on this earth. Non-duality does not claim these things are the same. The idea that non-duality is just the sameness of everything would be an extremely unsophisticated and escapist view.
You're a brilliant woman and a highly trained scientist. Why assume that I'm going back to something primitive? Maybe you're being taken further into a more profound view. Non-duality in Buddhist philosophy is sometimes translated as relativity.
VOICE ELEVEN: Oh, that I understand!
LEX: Please don't make the big jump, as if you now suddenly understand non-duality.
All of us should be hesitant about leaping in and filling up non-duality, or attempting to fill it, with our ideas about what it is.
VOICE ELEVEN: By duality do you mean opposites? Do you mean two?
LEX: Suppose you ask an artist, "By beauty, do you mean something pleasing?" You're asking an over simplified question.
VOICE TWELVE: I think there has to be a definition. Intellectually, I feel like we haven't spoken in a complete sentence this entire evening.
LEX: Our intellectual habits are dualistic. Part of a non-dual celebration is that one waits patiently for something to emerge like our friend was suggesting about listening from the soul's level of silence. Non-dual celebration is ultimately unformulatable. So when we ask, "Is it this? Is it that?," we are simply illustrating the way duality functions.
VOICE ELEVEN: I abandoned duality somewhere between age fourteen and nineteen.
LEX: I don't agree with you. Intellectually you may think you have, but I don't believe you have. Perhaps none of us have. It's the ultimate human attainment.
Every sincere person, such as you are, goes through the same evolution. They begin to question and attempt to abandon duality at about age fourteen. You're not special in that respect. That is human life. To understand duality more and more clearly is our maturation process.
One might imagine that there is special access to non-duality in childhood, but a child will yank a toy away from another child and bang him on the head with it. To romanticize childhood as some wonderful, conscious expression of non-duality is also a dualistic error.
As we mature, we find that awakening to non-duality really is human maturity. So you have been consciously maturing towards this understanding since age fourteen.
VOICE ELEVEN: I still don't understand what duality means.
LEX: That's good. Because, you see, we're not presenting a scientific explanation. We're not presenting a philosophical explanation. We're touching reality. We're touching blue.
VOICE ELEVEN: We're not even using a vocabulary I understand!
LEX: Sure we are. There are several English phrases on the board, over there. . .
VOICE TWELVE: But they're only words. Either we're talking about intellectual communication or we're talking about something that's happening on a cellular level or a soul level.
LEX: No, that's duality. Why separate intellect from cells or souls?
VOICE TWELVE: Okay. But I'm in a void right now. I'm not feeling any spiritual or intellectual connection to this conversation. It seems like you're not trying to create any specific communication or understanding on any level.
LEX: I would suggest that you're not used to non-dual communication and understanding. Most of us are not used to the atmosphere of non-duality. Most of us have the strong dualistic habit of immediately making a connection, immediately checking out what it is. We give ourselves five seconds or five minutes. Is it soul? Is it intellect? Whatever it is, we've got the definition almost instantly. This is the habit that we have to slowly erase.
I said earlier that I would try to operate as the principle of non-duality, which is always erasing distinctions and definitions. If you feel in a slightly erased state, that's all right, right now.
VOICE TWELVE: But the way you're speaking doesn't lead me to want to achieve this state.
LEX: That's good. Why should I attempt to attract you? Why should non-duality become another achievement? This is going to disappoint Suzanne, but we're not going to have a large movement here, with people flocking to the door to be part of a non-dual celebration.
We need the courage to present basic truth, which is not holding out some glamorous promise, "Get to this man, no matter what he charges. This is going to be the highest you've ever been." We're not enchanting or compelling anybody by eloquence or by miracles.
I suggest that you look at the experience you're having in a positive rather than a negative light. The fact that you're not feeling any strong attraction is good. The spiritual trips are all setting up romantic attractions. How about a teaching that is plain and profound, that doesn't create some tremendous dualistic pull? "We've got it over here. We've got the real treasure which doesn't exist where you are. We're at the end of the rainbow. Come on over."
VOICE THIRTEEN: One thing that keeps coming back to me, and I think I heard it correctly, is that you started out by saying that non-duality is a process.
LEX: It is revealed by a process but is not itself a process. There is a dialectical, dynamic, spontaneous clearing away of the notions of duality, as they arise.
VOICE THIRTEEN: That seems important to re-introduce here, because this is the movement that we're involved in right now. We recognize division and then go into non-duality. I can clearly see this process happening here tonight, over and over.
LEX: Turning poison into potion. There is a transmutation going on. We must transmute our drive for certainty, our drive for division, our drive for definition, and even our sense of already being there, that we are already beyond duality. All our experience as human beings at play will be enhanced by the realization of non-duality. Nothing is being truncated or removed.
Our sister was not thrown out for airing her frustration. A circle of non-dual celebration is not just everyone smiling, patting each other on the back, saying, "Well, we agree. We belong to the same club. We know what reality is. Now we can feel superior to other people, because we know." That would be very dualistic.
VOICE ELEVEN: I still don't know what non-duality is.
LEX: Good. Haven't you heard the Zen masters? They always say, "Don't know!"
VOICE ELEVEN: But we live under the dualistic categories of Hebrew-Christian society. We're all using its vocabulary.
LEX: Society everywhere manifests dualistic patterns. Don't blame Jewish or Christian society. If you were in a Buddhist society, you'd feel the same. The erasing process that we're experiencing, this transmuting process, has to occur in every society, as well as in every individual.
VOICE FOURTEEN: Let's talk about alchemy and transmutation.
LEX: We have to be careful about the term transmutation...
VOICE FOURTEEN: You used the word.
LEX: I know I did, but I used it advisedly. Our perception of reality is being transmuted, not reality itself. Non-duality already exists as pure beingness.
The main point is that beingness is not transmutable. There's nothing to transmute. But our sense of separate becomings, our sense of separate energies, needs to be transmuted. Not only our so-called negative feelings, but our so-called positive feelings need to be transmuted. But the notion of transmutation is just a springboard. We shouldn't dwell on it too much, as if we were alchemists working with energy. Non-dual celebration is definitely not alchemy. We are not working with energy. We are not even working at all, but celebrating.
VOICE ELEVEN: I use the word energy because it is the only vocabulary I have from my scientific training. I would be happy to get another term for it.
LEX: You will be able to get another term: indivisible consciousness. Scientists, ancient or modern, who look upon the universe as energy are fire worshippers. There's an understanding much more advanced than that.
VOICE FIFTEEN: The place that's now most interesting to physicists is called the back room state, which is the still point where everything is possible. I'm listening as closely as I can to this conversation. Concerning the maps and stories we create to describe the territory, it seems to me this beingness, this indivisible consciousness, is the actual territory.
My maps and stories are like waves on an ocean. I can see these waves. They're distinct. But they're still in unity with the ocean. They're constantly in a singularity, in a unity, and at the same time, there is a distinctness in the way I articulate my maps and stories, the way I place them into the world. Yet they're always indivisible oceans.
That's a paradox. The mind struggles with how to hold something that looks like it's distinct, but at the same time is always in wholeness, always indivisible.
VOICE SIXTEEN: I haven't any problem with that at all. The problem I have is how to find the vocabulary for explaining this to people who only see separate waves.
VOICE FIFTEEN: Isn't that wonderful?
VOICE SIXTEEN: Pardon?
VOICE FIFTEEN: Isn't that wonderful? Because that puts you in a place where your logical mind can't grasp it.
VOICE SIXTEEN: It also drives you crazy, because it places you outside the realm of your culture.
VOICE FIFTEEN: Maybe that's your entree into a whole other way.
LEX: Inadvertently, we are resorting to duality by thinking we are outside the realm of our culture, by thinking there is some whole other way.
The metaphor of the waves in the ocean is beautiful. The wholeness is always there. I don't think there are people walking around only seeing separate waves. All of us have that tendency, of course. We think we're Republican or Democrat, rich or poor. These are our waves. But our whole beingness is the celebration. Non-duality does not preclude that, either - of course we're on different paths and on our own timing, and we agree to disagree. But there's a soul ground that's deeper than that: indivisible consciousness.
VOICE TWENTY: Our meeting is not about where we are on the path, but digging down into the path.
VOICE TWENTY: Into the magma.
VOICE SEVENTEEN: You may have heard the saying that man has been trying for so long to find God, and now God is finding man.
LEX: It's always been that way. That's the rain coming up instead of down. In terms of your experience, this living magma is looking for us, is calling us into it, is drawing us ever closer. That's how you got there. A mysterious gravity. You didn't take this path or that path. You didn't use this method or that method. Non-duality is this intense gravity which draws us into it, and - why should we hesitate to say it? - which draws us in lovingly.
VOICE TWENTY: Do you think this is what was meant by the early Hebrews who proclaimed, "The Lord our God is One?"
VOICE SEVENTEEN: What we've experienced together here tonight is a sense of unity and warmth that is a higher order of existence than what we could experience if we stayed home and meditated alone.
LEX: More than a higher order of existence, this is the ultimate core of existence. There are different orders of existence, different kingdoms: the vegetable kingdom, the angelic kingdom, the human kingdom. But what we are touching here tonight is the core of all kingdoms.
VOICE TWENTY-ONE: (reading from Lex's first book, Coming Home: The Experience of Enlightenment in Sacred Traditions, first released in 1978): "Far from being inexpressible, non-duality is inevitably expressed by all languages and all images. The language of horse racing, for instance, expresses non-duality no less than the sophisticated philosophical languages of Vedanta or Mahayana. While some languages are more conscious than others concerning their grounding in primal awareness, none are more grounded than others. We are tempted to assert this, but such differentiation exists only from the relative standpoint and represents yet another attempt to grasp the reflected moon. Racing horses is as expressive of non-duality as sitting in meditation. A rose is not more evolved than an apple blossom. They both grow from the same soil according to the same fundamental principle, although they appear rather different. Similarly, the sage is not more evolved than the ordinary person. They both grow from the soil of non-duality. That is why sages so often insist that they are no more special than anyone else."
LEX: As I look back on this book, I am amazed at where I was then. I seem to have gone downhill.
OTHER LEX FEATURES:
Mighty Companions interviews Lex
Vedantic Light, written by Lex
Lex participates in the Mighty Companions Herringbone Project
Lex's Reflections on the Herringbone Project
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