About Vol 1, Issue 1

Welcome to Undivided Journal: Issue 1!

(Scroll down for a complete Table of Contents)

Overview of Content

Nondual Teachers and Teachings

The first article is “Be Who You Are: an interview with Jean Klein” by Stephan Bodian – a nondual teacher, psychotherapist, author, and former student of Klein’s. This interview was originally published in 1991 and comes with an updated introduction. Jean Klein was an influential pioneering European master of Advaita Vedanta with a Kashmiri flavor who deeply touched the lives of many European and American students, myself included, until his retirement in the mid 1990’s.

In “Revealing Nondual Awareness” Peter Fenner, a Buddhist teacher and scholar, introduces us to his unique approach to unveiling nondual awareness with his listeners, first skillfully differentiating it from any content of awareness, “cleaning” it, and eventually collapsing the distinction between formless and form. His article even includes some helpful diagrams that track this process!

Contemplative Essays

We begin with Dorothy Hunt’s “A Mirror Beyond Ideas” – a wide ranging essay that uses the mirror metaphor to explore the impact of approaching psychotherapy free from identification with any thought or belief system. Hunt, a nondual teacher and long-time psychotherapist, invites us to see and move from that which is naturally undivided.

In “Therapy Without a Therapist: Nonduality, Healing and the Search for Wholeness” teacher, author, and former astrophysics student and psychotherapy trainee Jeff Foster asks fundamental questions about who is doing the healing and what exactly is it that needs to be healed in the practice of psychotherapy. What happens to the ritual of psychotherapy when we no longer take ourselves as therapists and when we realize that our clients are already whole?

I originally wrote the final essay in this section – “Knocking from the Inside” – for the newsletter of a Buddhist friend of mine, briefly tracing the history of Advaita Vedanta, describing nondual perception, and looking at how the emergence of nondual awareness relates to issues such as the fear of annihilation, clients’ functional resilience, and a psychotherapy that goes beyond the repair and improvement of the self.

Clinical Theory and Practice

Our section starts with Will Friedman’s “Inquiring Into Reality: A Twelve Stage Clinical Protocol to Deconstruct Non-Adaptive Self-Judgments, Including Beliefs, False Identities, Roles and Stories ” and the short accompanying side-panel “The Felt Sense of Awareness Itself.”Friedman, a California psychologist in private practice and student of nondual teachings, has developed a practical and comprehensive deconstructive protocol to use with clients that builds upon Byron Katie’s well-known “The Work” and my own adaptation of her approach to psychotherapy.

This section closes with a theoretical piece entitled, “Toward a post-Cartesian Science of Nonduality: UnScience, Dzogchen, and Einstein’s Folly” by Ken Bradford, a psychologist, adjunct professor at JFK University, and long-term student of Dzogchen. Bradford questions whether, “findings generated by the scientific method and worldview lead us to or enhance our understanding of nondual awareness?” He suggests that our confidence in the knowledge of empirical science for this purpose is “over-rated if not misplaced.” He proposes instead, “a post-Cartesian contemplative scientific approach that shifts the terms of engagement from the contemporary dialogue between empirical Science and nonduality to an experiential science of nonduality.”

Audio & Video

One of the great advantages of an online journal, in addition to its interactivity, is that we can offer audio and video files. The audio section begins with an hour long talk that I gave at the 2009 Conference on Nondual Wisdom and Psychology entitled, “When the Bottom Drops Out: Exploring the Groundless Ground in Psychotherapy.”

Our second audio offering is an original song “Out Beyond Ideas” by the poet-songwriter, teacher, and scientific researcher John Astin.

Our first video offering is by Diamond Heart teacher Sherry Anderson who has made a profoundly beautiful twenty-three minute video using striking images from original artwork accompanied with narration to portray “A Woman’s Descent to the Sacred.”

Using an entirely different mode, the ground-breaking German philosopher of consciousness, Thomas Metzinger, is featured in an hour long talk (posted on You Tube) that he gave sponsored by the UC Berkeley Graduate Council entitled, “Being No One: Consciousness, The Phenomenal Self, and First-Person Perspective.”

Our final video offering is a short excerpt from a talk entitled, “The Experience of No-Self ” by the contemporary nondual teacher from a Zen background, Adyashanti, again found on YouTube, that approaches the same subject as Metzinger’s talk from a different angle.

Graphic Art

This section includes three evocative cut paper works by Dan Scharlack, an artist, MFT intern, and student of nondual teachings.

Poetry

Our poetry section begins with a new untitled poem, again by Dan Scharlack, which begins with the lines, “There is a heart that has never been broken.” John Astin follows with his 2008 poem entitled “Long Before We Ever Tried.” Jeannie Zandi offers “All of This for Nothing” and we end with Gary Rosenthal’s “Original Mind.”

Book Reviews

Alan Jacobs begins with a brief review of “The Book of One” (2003) by Dennis Waite to write a longer important and provocative essay entitled “Advaita and Western Neo-Advaita” that has been reprinted from an August, 2004 issue of “The Mountain Path.” In it he suggests that many self-proclaimed awakened Western teachers of nonduality are really teaching “Neo-Advaita” and misleading their students by watering down down the essential truths of classical Advaita in order to make them attractive to the western mind.

Richard Miller reviews Thomas Metzinger’s seminal The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self (2009), whose video can be viewed in a prior section, along with Ego: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of an Enlightened Humanity (2011) by Peter Baumann, founder of the Baumann Institute, and writer Michael Taft. Both books investigate the experience and understanding of the ego in the light of the latest findings from neurophysiology and also explore possible human evolutionary trajectories.

I also review American Veda (2010) by Phillip Goldberg which comprehensively surveys the impact of two hundred years of Indian Vedanta-Yoga thought and practice upon the U.S.

Dissertations of Note

Undivided brings attention to four noteworthy doctoral dissertations in psychology, two from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and two from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, on the subject of nondual awareness, by Michael Costeines, Michal Fire, Arvin Paul and Tami Sattler. Abstracts are reprinted with the accompanying dissertation in PDF format.

Joining a Larger Conversation

I envision this journal as a small part of a larger conversation that Consciousness is having with itself. Please feel free to participate and enjoy the conversation! All of the offerings in Undivided are available to you to post comments and converse in writing with other readers, listeners, and viewers. In addition, most of the written articles are open to blogging with authors for at least two months after their initial publication. I would love to hear what you think and feel!

– John Prendergast, Editor-in-Chief


Volume 1: Table of Contents

1.  Editorials
2.  Nondual Teachers and Teachings
3.  Contemplative Essays
4.  Clinical Theory and Practice
5.  Audio
6.  Video
7.  Graphic Art
8.  Poetry
9.  Book Reviews

About John Prendergast

John J. Prendergast, Ph.D. is the editor-in-chief of Undivided: The Online Journal of Nonduality and Psychology, the senior editor of two anthologies on the subject of nondual wisdom and psychotherapy – The Sacred Mirror (with Peter Fenner and Sheila Krystal) and Listening from the Heart of Silence (with Ken Bradford),  and has been a student of nondual teachings since reading the works of Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj over thirty years ago and then studying with the European sage Jean Klein from 1983 until his death in 1998 and with Adyashanti since 2001. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at CIIS and a psychotherapist in private practice in San Rafael. He also leads several private self-inquiry groups. Please see www.listeningfromsilence.com for more information.

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One Response to About Vol 1, Issue 1

  1. Rizky says:

    A very provocative essay. Thanks for that Jeff.I would have to drisgaee with you pretty foundationally, however. Whilst I’m sure that the position you’re advancing can be useful to bring to the therapeutic dynamic in certain situations (or to some degree in all situations), insofar as you are suggesting that this should be the general stance, and that this is what the Advaita teaching is pointing to, i think you are mistaken.It is an all too common misunderstanding that Advaita Vedanta negates the empirical world of name and form; the relative, conventional, or whatever else. Your argument is predicated on this assumption. Just because the atma or Brahman is all that is and exhausts what is that, in other words, everybody is always already whole and complete it is mistaken and problematic to treat the person and their ego’s as non-existent and irrelevant. You may call it paradoxical, and from a limited perspective it is, but IT IS the person (the jiva) who is the one that has to be able to recognize that they are the atma, and that recognition is dependent on the body-mind of that jiva. For all practical purposes and what we are talking about here is practice the jiva is a jiva until he is no more.Consequently, the psychological and physical situation of the jiva is crucial with regards to its capacity to recognize that they are infact the atma. As such, it is most certainly necessary to integrate a disintegrated ego, and to quiesce a dysfunctional body, in order that the conditions in and through which it is even possible that that jiva can have that recognition are manifest. This is why even in the most cognitive of Vedanta gurukulums, there will still be an emphasis on meditation, yoga, devotional practice, and following dharma. More appropriately in the west, however, with our Cartesian/Freudian heritage, there is therapy inclined on integrating the ego. But both have the same goal and are in many ways overlap. One might say one has to take care of and relax into the dual before one can recognize the non-dual’ cue therapy. These are, of course, dualistic practices, but it is simply a lack of appreciation of the subtlety of the Advaita Vedanta position to think them unimportant. They are in fact crucial. I would appreciate any comments you might have on this.Warmly,James

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