On Tue, Mar 15, 2022 at 10:58am, JAS wrote:
I’m writing to offer (to the GardenOfFriends.com website) this commentary from Jeff Foster.
It’s a bit long, but in regards to our group’s recent discussions about the Ukrainians, etc., it is (maybe) pointing in the right direction.
Love & peace,
_Life Without a Centre
Nonduality And Compassion
(aka ‘FEEDING THE STARVING CHILD’)
Somebody recently asked me:
“Jeff, in your latest piece of writing you talked about seeing a starving African girl on the TV, and that it was simply an appearance of Oneness. But how can it be Oneness? I mean, it’s okay for you to say that, you’re not starving, after all. But she is. Couldn’t “Oneness” just be a concept you’re using to push away or deny the reality of living in this world? A way for you to cope with the harsh realities of existence and suffering?”
This is a great question. Of course, this “Oneness” could so easily remain on a purely intellectual/conceptual level. It could so easily disintegrate into a belief used by an individual to block out or deny suffering: “There is only Oneness! Nothing exists! Nothing matters! There are no starving children in Africa! My mother didn’t die of cancer! Pain doesn’t hurt! I don’t need to eat, because there is no body! I didn’t punch you in the face just then, there is nobody here punching! And nobody to punch!”
Yes, this could so easily be taken on as a life-denying philosophy. But of course this is not what I am suggesting. For me, Oneness – or at least what the word ‘Oneness’ points to – is a living reality, not just a belief… although ultimately of course it’s just a word, and cannot capture the aliveness of everything. For me, Oneness is not a new religion or belief system, not a new ideology for the individual to cling to, but a clear seeing of life as it actually is, beyond our concepts about life, beyond our ideologies and religions, beyond all our second-hand knowledge.
You see, Oneness is not a dead thing. Oneness could include moving to feed that starving child. It denies nothing. It includes all possibilities. Well of course it does, it is everything. How could it deny any aspect of itself? It moves to feed that child, or not.
It is everything, it appears as everything, and yet it is no-thing in particular. Nothing and everything at the same time. It appears as wars, genocides, flowers, trees, cups of coffee, cars beeping their horns, everything. It appears as saints and sinners, starving children and overweight millionaires. It also appears as apparent individuals who can apparently do something about starving children.
Part of this freedom is that there appears to be free will.
I’m not talking about “coping” with reality and suffering. I’m not talking about using Advaita concepts to “cope” with life. Oneness IS reality, and it IS the appearance of suffering in the world. Oneness could involve moving to feed that starving child, if that is possible. Or not. I don’t know. I’m not telling you how to live. I’m just interested in reality beyond our ideas of it. Beyond even these ideas.
Reality is always already beyond our concepts about it. The mind will never catch up.