I received this via email, and since it seems to be an open invitation thought I would post it here. Seems like a great chance for those interested in supporting the publishing of this book, and the Big Mind process in general.
Dear Sangha and Supporters,
As you may already know, we’re offering a limited hardcover edition of my forthcoming book, Big Mind / Big Heart: Finding Your Way. These specially printed and bound books will be signed and numbered, and will only be available to those who order them before publication.
We are wishing to publish it ourselves, as the new Big Mind Publishing company. In this way, we will maintain full control of the editorial content and appearance of the book. My experience in having my work issued by other publishing companies has been that I have had to compromise my intent and style to please the publishers. In order to avoid this we are planning to raise enough capital for the printing, advertising and promotion, and other costs.
Our goal is to sell at least 300 copies to finance this project. As of right now we have sold just about 100 copies. So that we don’t have to go to an outside publisher, I would like to encourage you, if you haven’t already ordered one or more copies, to order now; or if you have already ordered a copy, to think about ordering additional copies as gifts.
The original deadline for ordering was the end of March, but since we haven’t yet raised enough to go to press, we are pushing the deadline forward to April 15th. We are only printing as many of these hardcover books as are pre-ordered. Afterwards it will not be possible to buy the book in hardcover; it will only be available in paperback. You can order by clicking the following link: Big Mind / Big Heart: Finding Your Way Special Edition
I am including here some short excerpts which will give you a taste of the book.
Strictly scholarly works on mysticism are of course necessary and useful, but it is still a relief to come upon a history of mysticism written by someone where Spirit has awakened to itself. It gives it a freshness, immediacy and clarity that is often lost in the more dry and exclusively scholarly works.
In going through the history of mysticism, from prehistoric to more recent times, he touches upon some of the highlights from many traditions, showing how they all describe the same realization of Spirit as emptiness and form.
(Brahman and Maya, Purusha and Prakrti, Shiva and Shakti, Sat and Asat, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Theos and Logos, Tathata and Samsara, Tao and Teh, the unspeakable Tao and the speakable Tao, El and Elat, Baal and Asherah, Yahweh and Chokmah, Haqq and Khalq, yang and yin, masculine and feminine, and so on.)
This lens gives the book a clear focus and message: there is one theme with minor variations from culture, tradition and personal flavor. It takes some of the many flavors of ice cream and shows that it is all ice cream. (If there is a minor drawback with the book, it is that it becomes somewhat predictable after a while, and that some of the interesting variations are downplayed.)
Still, highly recommended for its clarity, for its excellent overview of the history of mysticism, for its clear theme, and for its ability to inspire.
Say there is a fictional character, and you want to make the stories about him or her more engrossing for yourself. What do you do?
Pretending a fictional character is real
One way is to pretend the person really exists, to take the stories seriously and as reality. That way, you can allow yourself to go into it more fully, to put more energy, attention and interest into it than you otherwise would.
And that is exactly what many Sherlock Holmes scholars and fans do. They play what some refer to as The Game: studying Sherlock Holmes as if he was a real flesh-and-blood person, Dr. Watson his biographer, Conan Doyle his literary agent, and the stories themselves histocial documents.
Playing the game to bring out the richness of the stories
It’s a game. And it’s a game we play to enhance our appreciation of the story. When we treat them as real, we can justify spending a great deal more effort in researching the background of the stories and in working up explanations for the stories in a way that brings out their richness.
And so it is with our lives as well, according to many mystics and spiritual traditions.
This human self that there is so close an identification with, that seem as an I, that is taken so seriously, that appear so real, so solid, so true. This human self has no I in it anywhere. There is no I in the seeing of it, in the awake space it arises within and as. There is no I in the seen, in this human self and all its aspects: its sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviors.
There is no I anywhere in the seeing or the seen. There is only the Ground of empty awakeness the seeing and the seen arises within and as, with no I anywhere. There is doing, yet no doer anywhere. There is choosing, yet no chooser anywhere. This human self just happens, absent of any I. It lives its own life, as anything else in the world of phenomena lives its own life.
This self, as an I, as a separate entity, as a chooser, as a doer, is fictional.
And what makes it a more interesting and engrossing character? To pretend it is real. To take it as I. To have a close identification with it. To live as if it is separate from anything else. To see myself as it, and subject to birth and death, joy and suffering, health and happiness, gain and loss, and all the other ingredients of the human drama.
There is no drama without identification with this human self. And the drama is what makes it engrossing. It is what makes it interesting, at least for a while.
A new flavor of the game: seeking awakening
And then there is a weariness of this drama. A growing readiness to move on. For Ground to awaken to its own nature as awake space, as seeing and seen, absent of I.
There is a new flavor of the game, not much different from all the other flavors, and this one is called spiritual seeking and practice.
This and the other ones are all games where human self is taken as an I, and the new flavor is to try to have this I awaken. Which of course is impossible. This human self can never awaken, and there is no I anywhere anyway – only a temporary and mistaken identification as an I and this human self, but it makes for another interesting chapter of the drama.
A new game: this human self functioning in the context of realized selflessness
And then there is a significantly new game: Ground awakens to – or rather remembers – its own nature, and now the game becomes to allow this human self to live from this awakening, to mature, evolve, interact, experience, explore within this new context of realized selflessness.
It is a whole new section of the story, yet one that is no less juicy. And one that has no end, at least as long as there is a functional connection to human self.
I recently came across LibraryThing, an online service that allows you to enter books from your library, tag them, find similar lists from others, put a list up on your blog, and so on.
I found that it was very easy and surprisingly quick to enter books, and it is quite interesting to look at similar and overlapping book lists out there. It can also be helpful if I sometime in the future would want to replace lost books.
It puts our contemporary western society into perspective, and is a reminder that what we see today in countries with unrest, corruption and barely functioning legal system is what was here not too long ago (and still is, to some extent, especially in the US).
It is also a reminder that Spiral Dynamicsred (red in tooth and claw, power, late egocentric, here seen in gangs and organized and unorganized crime) eats Green (egalitarian, nonviolence, worldcentric, seen among sustainability folks, hippies, and political greens) for lunch, as Michael Dowd likes to point out.
Green is typically not the right tool to deal with red, and orange is barely so. As the story of New York shows, it took strong blue (law and order) to tame red. And then it can move on.
A. H. Almaas
The Void, Essence. The beauty of acknowledging and working with the seamlessness of human, soul and nondual levels, and of following one’s own process while being aware of parallels in many traditions.
Joel Morwood Talks. The beauty of clarity and finding parallels in many mystical traditions.
of Byron Katie, over phone and on my own. Unraveling beliefs, undoing the knots.
Big Mind process
Exploring the ways the mind works at personal and transpersonal levels, and seeing that there is no I anywhere in all of this.
Instructor training. Deepening and exploring being/soul level connection.
Catalyst for awakening. (Amazingly effective, in my limited experience.)
Facilitating myself and others, and taking classes/workshops at the PW Center in Portland. Unfolding the process behind, and finding the gifts in, symptoms (anything coming up as a disturbance or anything interest goes to).
I went to Powell’s bookstore in Portland today and asked for An Interrupted Life, the journals and letters of Etty Hillesum. The person behind the desk looked it up, and asked if it was about the holocaust. As I said yes, I noticed compassion and sadness come up for me, and how the atmosphere changed. I also noticed how much I like that experience of compassion and intimacy.
And I saw clearly how it all comes from a story.
Without the story, there is just clarity. Jesus and Hitler is the same. There is ruthless equality.
With a story comes compassion and sadness. People shouldn’t do those things to each other. It is so sad that such a beautiful young woman, with so many talents, had to die so young and in such a way. And so on.
It is a beautiful story in a way. And as I said, I noticed a great deal of attachment and comfort in the compassion it gave birth to. Yet, it is only a story. Only another delusion. Another veil.
Who wants to hear that? How can it be expressed?
At the same time, I see that conventional compassion has a content, a particular feeling associated with it. And transcendent compassion does not. Transcendent compassion, Big Heart, just acts. There is suffering and the desire of I in the form of you to be relieved from suffering, and it acts. It is the left hand helping the right. No hesitation. No dependence on any particular feeling. It is the ruthless equality of Big Mind appearing as love in action.
I just finished Theories of the Chakras by Hiroshi Motoyama, and it seems clear that the relationships between the Indian nadis, the Chinese meridians, the chakras, and our holarchy of being still offers many opportunities for exploration and clarification. I also see how Dr. Motoyama only includes the health aspect of the Chinese system, and largely leave out the spiritual – including Chinese yoga, and practices such as five element acupuncture. I am sure that is just from a lack of sources, yet it is also leaves a big hole in an otherwise very interesting and useful book.
Our Being – from nondual through to physical matter – is a seamless whole, whether we see it as our human self or the whole world of phenomena (both possible). At the same time, we are free to add an overlay of abstraction to it and differentiate out various aspects.
One of the functions of chakras, as Motoyama describes it, is to transform/channel energy between the various layers of our being.
During my initial awakening, there was a tremendous amount of energy puring in – including to the physical/body level. There was a tremendous capacity for activity and engagement in the world, including very little need for sleep. It was pretty clear that the energy came from the awakening (F7-F9 and nondual), and Motoyama identifies one of the possible mechanisms for how this energy gets channeled and transformed through the system – including to the physical body.
In Wilber’s framework, we can maybe say that the energy got channeled from F8 (subtle) and down through to F1 (physical body). There was little to resist it, as everything – all those levels – were brought more into awareness.
Over the last week or so, the name Wei Wu Wei has shown up “everywhere” for me. He has not been on my radar until now, so it is definetely noticeable and I take it as a nudge to explore his writings some.
He certainly have a way with pithy statements:
Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9 percent Of everything you do Is for yourself – And there isn’t one.
We do not possess an “ego.” We are possessed by the idea of one.
Experiencing life from “ego” is akin to sitting center stage at Carnegie Hall, eyes closed, listening to the performance through the headset of a pocket radio.
True humility is the absence of anyone to be proud.