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Dustin LindenSmith

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Excerpts from the new book, "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing" by Jed McKenna

The last two Nondual Highlights have been fantastic. From Issue #2638 (which also contains an excellent Vernon Howard quote about the difference between thinking and awareness), Jed McKenna makes no effort to pull his punches in the following excerpt from the aforementioned book:
One millionth of one percent false is completely false. Everything in duality is false -- false as in not true, not true as in bullshit. There are not exceptions. Black and white, no shades of gray. Truth is one, is non-dual, is infinite, is one-without-other. Truth is dissolution, no-self, unity. There's nothing to say about it, nothing to feel about it, nothing to know about it. You are true or you're a lie, as in ego-bound, as in dual, as in asleep.
In Issue #2639, Jerry Katz describes Jed McKenna as an enlightened guy who runs an ashram. I particularly liked the climax of the following excerpt, in which McKenna reveals some secrets about how simple, non-mystical, and non-spiritual enlightenment can be. He does this by describing how he really spends most of his time, and by what his single chosen book would be if he were stranded on a deserted island. The whole excerpt below is well worth reading. It gives ready insight into how simple enlightenment can be.
"Which two or three dozen?" Mary asks, and it takes me a moment to realize that she's jumping back to my statement about which books would remain if I were more discriminating about the library.

"Oh, I'd want to be a little careful answering that," I say. "The reason for the books I'd choose wouldn't be that they are particularly enlightened or enlightening books, or even specifically on the subject of enlightenment. My choices would be based on what I feel is useful knowledge on the path to enlightenment, which is very different from enlightenment itself. In this light, I'd have a bunch of books and maybe some movies, too, because they're often a common experience we share and can provide interesting framework for highlighting certain issues..."

"Like what?" she asks.

I think about some of the movies I've seen in the last few years that most everybody would be familiar with.

"Well, The Matrix would be a good example of a movie I could get a lot of use out of. Total Recall, The 13th Floor, Blade Runner -- those are all good looks at the flimsy and even arbitrary nature of what we call reality. Joe vs. the Volcano is another one I'd use because of the parable-like view it takes of the death-rebirth process. There are probably a few dozen more if I thought about it. The Peter Brook version of The Mahabharata certainly. All the Mornings of the World would be a nice look at the teacher-student relationship. What Dreams May Come to demonstrate the relationship between thoughts and reality. Plenty of others, for different reasons. Harvey, just because."

I pause to consider and decide I'd better stick with general recommendations not too open to misrepresentation. I don't want to mention any books that would require me to include a lengthy disqualifier.

"As for books, besides the ones that you would all guess -- various versions and translations of the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching -- there'd be a version of the Mahabharata accessible to Westerners. The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Phillip Kapleau, Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein, The Razor's Edge by Maugham, Walden, Leaves of Grass, Emerson's essays, anything by Stan Grof, Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, and so forth -- all good for different reasons. There would also be a small collection of channeled material, some spiritual novels with a theme of rebirth..."

Almost everyone reacts at the same time to the mention of channeled material. The general response seems to be a mixture of suprise and disbelief.

"I find channeled material very useful and interesting, not just for teaching, but for my own understanding of the phenomenal world in which, as you can see, I exist just like anyone else. If you want me to be specific, I'd say I like Michael for understanding ego and personality structure. When it comes to personal reality, I like Seth. If I have questions about flow and manifestation and desire, then I read Abraham. I might be forgetting something, but those are the main ones I like. A Course In Miracles certainly has its moments."

"So those channeled entities were instrumental in your own...?"
"Oh, no, no, not really," I wave a hand dismissively. "It's more like, combined, they make up my user's manual for being a human on earth -- Being Human 101. This is why I want to be careful about this discussion. I like the books I mentioned, but I don't really look at them that often. Usually just when I have a specific question."

"So what do you read for amusement?" asks Mary.

"Besides Harlequin romances? I like Osho -- the enlightened guy formerly known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh." Some surprise registers through the group about this, which is quite understandable. If one equates enlighenment with sainthood, then Osho might come off as more of an anti-saint, especially if one has only heard the stories of murder plots and free love and power grabs and tax evasion and the ninety Rolls Royces. I like his teaching style. I like his take on Zen. I am in awe of his mind.

"And novels. I read a lot of fiction." I can see from their reaction that I need to say more. "All right, you got me. I spend a lot of time just killing time. I play video games, read books, watch movies. I'd say I probably blow several hours a day that way, but I don't see it as a waste because I don't have anything better to spend my time on. I couldn't put it to better use because I'm not trying to become something or accomplish anything. I have no dissatisfaction to drive me, no ambition to draw me. I've done what I came to do. I'm just killing time 'til time kills me."

This seems to have a quieting effect on the group. I suppose they hadn't considered the possibility that enlightenment was the end of a lot of things we don't normally think of as having ends. Finally, Mary breaks the spell by returning us to the discussion of books.

"What if you were stranded on a desert island," she asks, "and could only have one book?"

"Easy," I reply, "Calvin and Hobbes."

Everyone laughs. I close my eyes and lean my head back and everyone takes that as a signal to give me some peace. They talk among themselves but I am not listening to them. I'm listening to everything and nothing and feeling the light rain on my face and breathing the fresh night air, bringing it all the way down so it cleanses me and carries away the heaviness that builds up after long periods in character. I'm not tired or ending the evening, I just want to not hear my own voice for awhile. I want to pay attention to the rain and the breeze. I want to let one topic fade out so that a new and fresher one might come along.

from Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing
by Jed McKenna
(x-posted to nonduality)

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willowing November 12th, 2006
ok, it's a little too cool to see one of my photographs as your icon. :)

iamom November 12th, 2006
Thought you might enjoy that. It has been my desktop background for months, too. A high favourite shot of mine.

(Anonymous) November 13th, 2006
I love Osho. There is a managed propoganda by vested interests and fundamentalists but all intelligent people of Earth love Osho.
Osho is the future of Earth.

Thanks for sharing your artcile. It reminded me of Osho.

baal_kriah November 13th, 2006
I'm not at all impressed by this guy. Frankly, "You are true or you're a lie, as in ego-bound, as in dual, as in asleep." is as dualistic a piece of bullshit as I've ever heard.

(Anonymous) November 14th, 2006
Hi baal. From where did you pick this statement you mentioned?
May be you need a little bit first hand taste of Osho at


baal_kriah November 14th, 2006
The quote is taken from the Jed McKenna statement in the post above, which you perhaps haven't read that carefully. I'm sure that Osho himself would have disagreed with the notion that anyone "needs" him or his words. The disease of discipleship is the delusion of that "need".

(Anonymous) November 15th, 2006
discipleship is not needed for those people who are ready to be a disciple.

But discipleship is mandatory requirement for those who do not want to be a disciple becuase it shows that they are bloked by stone of ego and need to pass through it.

baal_kriah November 15th, 2006
Who is it who needs statements of mandatory requirements?

(Anonymous) November 16th, 2006
Anybody who needs to see the inner world of mysticism has to go through it.
I can not say about anybody else but for you i can say that you definitely need that mandatory requirement.

baal_kriah November 17th, 2006
What, in this respect, makes me differenrt from anybody else?

(Anonymous) November 17th, 2006
Because you do not understand a simple fact that your high flashing picture can hurt somebody's eyes. You have no compassion and just want to show yourself. You definitely need to be somebody's disciple so that you can learn what is humbleness.

baal_kriah November 17th, 2006
I have to take this as seriously as you mean it. You definitely need to get off your high horse and stop being so judgemental ;-) Good luck with that, Anonymous.

(Anonymous) November 20th, 2006
Thanks for not posting flashing pic. I appreciate it.
You are a good person. Sorry for being rude.

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