ENLIGHTENMENT: REFLECTIONS ON SELF AND NO SELF Charles Day* www.DesMoinesMeditation.org charlesday1@mchsi.

com Buddha’s teaching regarding “no self” or “no soul” has been one of his most frequently misunderstood teachings. The following observations reflect different ways in which I have grown to appreciate this unique and precious teaching. Read them with a nonjudgmental heart and mind, open to experiencing the glimpses of enlightenment, the peace that surpasses understanding, which Buddha and the mystics of all religions agree accompany true realization of what is meant by no self or no soul, also known as selflessness, egolessness, emptiness, Buddha nature, Christ Consciousness, unity, union with God, ground of being, or the oneness without an opposite. Enlightenment is known by many names, generally depending on the faith of the individual experiencing it. Buddha offered a precise roadmap, prescription, or set of guidelines called the Noble Eightfold Path for cultivating selflessness and overcoming suffering. He presented them as guidelines, not commandments, to facilitate the psychological and spiritual growth that leads to enlightenment or, more accurately, to the realization of our already enlightened self-less nature. The eight steps or practices are Right (Skillful, Wise) Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration (1, 2). These practices are traditionally broken separated into three categories:
(1) Wisdom Training: Achieving insight into the universal suffering,

impermanence, and delusion of a separate self that are inherent characteristics of reality, and overcoming the greed, anger, and delusion that are the root causes of all suffering (Right Understanding and Thought). (2) Ethical Living: Engaging in speech, behavior, and work that are skillful, appropriate, and beneficial to oneself and others (Right Speech, Action, and Livelihood).

(3) Mind Training/Practices: Applying the effort, discipline, and courage

required to think wholesome rather than unwholesome thoughts and to attend mindfully to moment-to-moment sensory and cognitive experiences (Right Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration). Buddha said that practicing ethical and mindful living can lead to happiness and tranquility, but full enlightenment and the end of suffering is attained only when the illusory nature of self is understood, not just as an inspired and rational idea, but is personally and directly experienced at a level of profound intuitive or transcendental wisdom. Only then is the belief in the existence of a fixed, enduring, permanent, independent, or autonomous entity called a soul, self, ego, or personality irreversibly experienced as illusory, irrational, illogical, and contradictory. Mindfulness, awareness, and “seeing clearly what is” are essential to spiritual growth, according to Buddha, and are impeded by denial, repression, rejection, or resistance of any kind to any experience. Accordingly, Buddha taught us not to deny whatever sense of a permanent self, ego, or soul we may have learned to believe in but to recognize it as a mere conceptual belief with no substantive reality. This, he said, will reduce suffering by enabling us to let go of and transcend the attachments and identifications associated with this sense of a separate self. It will also facilitate the realization that this sense of self and all other mental and physical phenomena are impermanent, insubstantial, and interdependent. It is not easy, however, to let go of the judgements, values, opinions, attitudes, and roles we have become attached to and cherish as our self, our ego, as who we are, as the essence of our personality, which we've been taught to experience as independent and separate from other beings and everything else. The Relative Self Is A Good Idea While pursuing the ultimate realization of the illusory nature of self and, indeed, even after, it is perfectly appropriate, useful, and convenient to think of having a “relative” self or "egoic operating principle," a term used by Thich Nhat Hanh (3) and Eckhart Tolle (4), that enables us to function in what is called relative reality or the reality of the dualistic experience of separate beings and separate physical and mental objects. Our relative self is everything we think of as I, me, myself, my body, my mind, or my

ego. This includes our physiology, our history, our memories, our stories, our hopes and expectations, our values, our intellectual, emotional, and personality characteristics, and whatever else we define ourselves as, identify with, and attach to. Namely, what we think of as the self is simply an assortment of learned conditioned response patterns which, in fact, are continually changing as the result of the ongoing interaction of our internal genetic predispositions and potentialities, our previously learned experiences, and our present physiological, neurological, and psychological conditions as these interact with each other and with continually changing external circumstances. The spiritual path has been described as a continuing process of discovering not who you are, but who you are not and always thought yourself to be. The relative self is who you think yourself to be. It is not who you are. Who we really are at any given time is simply an individuated momentary psychophysical expression and manifestation of a complex, interdependent, and continually changing universe. More about this later. Teachers have talked in different ways about how our manifest relative self is part of an interrelated, “interbeing" universe that is continually unfolding as a result of preceding and interacting causes and conditions. Interbeing is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh, whose book, No Death, No Fear, is an exquisite commentary on the notion of “no self” from the perspective of the continually changing, interconnected, “interbeing” of all phenomena. Nothing is born and nothing dies, he says. Things are simply continually changing and being transformed (3). This interconnectedness is emphasized also by Rabbi David Cooper, author of God Is A Verb, an excellent book about the Kabbalah and mystical Judaism. “The mystic,” he says, “knows that an untold number of variables interact to influence how our days will flow in the dance we call life. The way things happen, opportunities that present themselves, how we react, our very thoughts are inextricably interwoven with our relationships, families, friends, associates and the unknown forces that surround us” (5). And Eckhart Tolle, in his contemporary classic, The Power of Now (4), refers to the “fiction” of “little me” as the critical impediment to living in the here and now. Life has always and will always exist only in the timeless,

eternal now, he says. Only when we transcend our obsession with the fictional self that identifies with our past stories and future desires will we be able to embrace the moment-to-moment changing reality of an enlightened life that is lived fully in the now. Hindu mystics Ramana Maharshi (6) and Sri Nisargadatta (7) refer to the relative self as the “little” self, with a lower case “s,” in contrast to the “real” Self with an upper case capitol “S.” Christian mystic Thomas Merton (8) and Centering Prayer Founder Thomas Keating (9) call it the “false” or “exterior” self, as contrasted with the “true” or “interior” self. And traditional Western psychology uses the term “ego” to refer to the relative self, in contrast with the “transcendent” self, the term used in the transpersonal psychology movement by founder Abraham Maslow (10), by contemporary author and philosopher, Ken Wilber (11), and by other contemporary psychologists and philosophers. The relative, conceptual, false, or little self or ego, by whatever name it is called, refers to the ordinary, conventional, conditioned experiences of the physical and mental forms (body and mind) with which we identify in order to distinguish and separate ourselves from and relate to other beings and objects. This ordinary sense of self is such an alluring, practical idea and so strongly and persistently reinforced by parents, teachers, others, and ourselves that we become attached to it and to the many personality attributes and roles that we associate with it. The illusion of a separate and independent self is persistently reinforced by the repeated use of the pronouns I, me, mine, he, she, his, hers, they, theirs, it and its. These pronouns repeatedly reinforce the sense of separateness, doership and ownership, leading to the attachments that obscure the ever-changing, connected, and selfless nature of everybody and everything in existence. “Selfless” or "no self" means without a separate, independent, or autonomous existence. The Buddhist notion of “emptiness” has been used to describe the basic nature of phenomena as empty of self or empty of an independent existence. Our Ordinary Senses Distort the Way We Perceive Reality Our psychophysical and neurological makeup severely limits the ability of our ordinary senses to perceive the reality of the connections between all phenomena. We do not naturally see or feel the swirling molecular and

subatomic structures that constitute our body and connect it with the ground, air, persons, nature, and the entire cosmos around us. We do not experience our cells continually changing from moment-to-moment or our body undergoing a complete change of these cells every seven years. Nor do we feel our stomach transforming the food we eat or producing a new layer of mucus every two weeks in order to avoid digesting itself. The expanding research in psychosomatic medicine, psychophysiology, psychoneurology, and psychoneuroimmunology, as well as the abundance of psychological studies in sensation, perception, cognition, and behavior over the past century are all testimony to the complex and intricate interdependence of body, mind, and environment. Only by artificially amplifying our ordinary senses with binoculars and telescopes, magnifying glasses and electron microscopes, and other scientific instruments, are we able to perceive the awe-inspiring complexity and organization of this underlying, ever-changing interconnectedness of creation and ourselves as part of it. We continually make the mistake of thinking that we are separate from rather than an integral part of that which we observe. Relativity theory, quantum mechanics, and subatomic physics, according to physicist Frijov Capra (12) teach us that everything that exists can be reduced to interrelated energy patterns taking different forms. This underlying energy is continually changing, can never be destroyed, and can only be transformed. And what is perceived depends upon and is affected by the observer. Long before science validated it, the mystical traditions recognized this continually changing interconnected nature of the universe and our body and minds as manifestations of it. It has been said that science is finally catching up with the observations of historical mysticism. Psychological and spiritual traditions both emphasize the importance of developing a mature and coherent sense of a separate relative self or ego in order to live appropriately and comfortably in everyday life. From the standpoint of spiritual growth, the experience of a reasonably integrated relative self is considered necessary in order to be able to observe, understand, and transcend it. Twelfth century Zen Master Dogen said: “To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.

To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others” (13). We have learned to think, analyze, decide, judge, and compare. And we take pride in our ideas, attitudes, points of view, opinions, values, and decisions. And the extent to which we become emotionally involved in defending them is an indication of the strength to which our sense of self, our identity, and who we think we are has become attached to them. We become upset when others disagree with us when we fail to realize the insubstantial, conceptual nature of our ideas and theirs, and that our self or their self that defends them is itself just another mental construct or idea. We needlessly defend, protect, reinforce, and isolate what Zen philosopher Alan Watts calls our “skin encapsulated ego,” failing to recognize its connectedness with all phenomena and its continually changing character. It is delusional to believe this sense of self, which is impermanent, insubstantial, interrelated with and interdependent upon everything else, is also a fixed, nonchanging, independent, autonomous entity in exclusive control of itself. Yet we do just this all the time. All Concepts Are Misleading Buddha pointed out that all of the following statements are misleading: "There is a self. There is no self. There is both a self and no self. And there is neither a self nor no self." They are misleading because they are all concepts, constructs, or ideas existing only in the dualistic mental realm of manifestation. They have no substantive reality. When we separate our experience into different thoughts, persons, and objects in order to function in the mental and physical world of duality, we obscure and forget the reality of the scientifically validated interconnectedness of all matter and energy. Moreover, from a spiritual standpoint, we obscure and forget what the mystics agree is ultimately the inexplicable and inexpressible nature of the transcendent, nondual, unmanifest reality. The experience of this nondual reality – what I call a glimpse of enlightenment - has been referred to as “Moksha,” “Liberation,” and “Realization” in Hinduism; "Nirvana," “Satori,” and “Enlightenment" in Buddhism; “Supreme Identity” in Islam; “The Peace that Surpasses Understanding,” “Union with God,” “God,” and “Salvation” in Christianity;

and simply “Spirit,” “Unity,” “Oneness,” “Ground of Being,” or “The Mystery Behind It All” in philosophical or secular terms. Spiritual growth is a process of learning, not to deny, our conditioned response patterns but to recognize, acknowledge, and transcend our conditioned experiences of separation and duality in order to experience the mystical oneness and unity talked about by the ancient and contemporary sages and saints of different spiritual and wisdom traditions. Ken Wilber, author of several texts integrating the physical and social sciences, ecology, philosophy, and spirituality, calls this experience “One Taste” to indicate its commonality across the wisdom traditions, however it is articulated (14). The inherent paradox of diversity within unity and unity within diversity is understood and accepted when this “One Taste” is experienced. And everything is perfect, not in the comparative or evaluative sense of being right or wrong, just or unjust, but perfect because it could be no other way then the way it is, which is simply the natural expression or culmination of all the causes and conditions preceding it. What is, is. These spiritual descriptions are, of course, only conceptual “fingers pointing to the moon” and need to be transcended in order to experience what they point to. Just as a finger is not the moon, these explanations or concepts about “no self” are not the same as the realization or direct experience of this reality. And paradoxically, in the highest spiritual experience, the ordinary and transcendent, duality and nonduality, manifest and nonmanifest, ignorance and enlightenment, emptiness and fullness, self and no self, soul and no soul, God and his creation, or God and man are neither separate nor different from each other. They are simply alternative ways of perceiving or expressing the same underlying reality within the framework of a relative, conceptual, and dualistic universe. Pairing them as contrasts or opposites is a conceptual convenience created by the relative self, an egoic operating principle, to help organize experience into categories that facilitate functioning in the manifest universe of forms and relationships. Conceptualization and all thinking is always dualistic and insubstantial. When that dualism is transcended, comparisons, judgements, opinions, and differences are seen as mere conceptual illusions to which we can so unwittingly become attached that

they cause suffering for us and others. They don't disappear with enlightenment, but our attachments to them are substantially lessened or disappear entirely. This is reflected in the classical Zen saying: "The Way is not difficult for those not attached to their preferences" or for those who do not cherish their opinions. Or as sometimes expressed, the way is not difficult for those not attached to preferences for their preferences, which acknowledges the inevitability of preferences and emphasizes that it is the degree of attachment to them that matters. There is no mystery. God is all and all is God. Samsara is Nirvana. Everything that is, is, including the illusions about it. What is, is. Zen expresses it this way: "Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water, and go to the bathroom. And after enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water, and go to the bathroom." Or as Alan Watts said in his book by the same name: This Is It. (15). Enlightenment does not change reality itself, only the way in which we experience and think about it. We are all already enlightened. Paradoxically, even when we experience ourselves as unenlightened or only partially enlightened, that experience itself is an expression of full enlightenment. There is only the expression of the timeless now as perceived and experienced by each of us. There is only “what is”, it has always been that way, and it will always be that way. . Karma and Rebirth Are Metaphysical Speculations Buddha was raised 2600 years ago in the Hindu/Brahman/Vedanta spiritual tradition, and his teachings included much of what he learned. His unique contribution was his teaching regarding the illusory nature of an “atman” (soul or self), which the Vedic scriptures say is a fixed and enduring entity that precedes and survives the death of a body and transmigrates or is reincarnated into other forms. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism also believe in an independent soul, an individual’s unchanging essence that is reborn after death into heaven or hell, where a better or worse life is presumed to continue. But, according to Buddha, it is impossible for such a soul to exist as a fixed, independent, or enduring entity since the body, mind, and other phenomena are interdependent and continually changing. In his teaching about rebirth, Buddha deviated from his own caution to avoid metaphysical speculation. Just as matter cannot be destroyed but

only changed or transformed, so it is for mental phenomena. The body is transformed from moment-to-moment, including after death—from an egg and sperm to a fetus to a developing body to an aging body and finally after death into a decomposing body. And, the mental or “karmic” consequences of the learned wholesome and unwholesome intentions underlying one’s thoughts, words, and deeds, are reborn from moment-tomoment in this life, and according to Buddha, into future lives in human or other forms. What is reborn into another life, however, is not the fixed entity of an unchanging self or soul that transmigrates from body to body on an earthly, heavenly, or other plane of existence. Rather, what is reborn into another form are the karmic tendencies, which have been continually changing as a result of our actions in the past and present and which remain at the moment of death. Buddha used the term “rebirth” rather than “reincarnation,” to emphasize the continually changing rather than fixed nature of what is reborn. In Buddhist metaphysics, which by definition are beyond scientific verification, rebirth is said to continue until all remaining karmic tendencies are eradicated in the highest state of enlightenment when all desires and aversions have been extinguished and there is no longer any residual sense of an independent self to desire anything. These are, of course, mere conceptual and intellectual ideas beyond the recognized direct experience of most of us. Our Personalities Are Unique Recognizing the illusory nature of a separate self does not nullify the personal attributes or beliefs about ourselves that we associate with it. These beliefs, like the belief in the existence of a self or soul, are themselves simply expressions of the unfolding universe, which result from the interaction between previous and present causes and conditions. We are unique individuals, and we do differ in our experience and expression of patience, courage, perseverance, wisdom, compassion, humility, anger, sadness, fear and other personality, intellectual, and emotional traits. We differ in our experience of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In whether we persevere or give up when frustrated. Whether we feel free to make our own choices. Whether we feel responsible, accountable, in control of our own destiny, and master of our own ship, or whether we feel

victimized, helpless, and without choice. Whether we blame others for our misfortunes or credit them for our successes. Whether we see the glass as half-full or half-empty. Whether change is perceived as frightening or challenging. Whether we believe in free will, predestination, luck, fate, destiny, or Karma. Whether we insist upon being in control and “doing it my way,” whether we “let go and let God,” or whether we feel powerless and "surrender to a higher power" or to an unfolding universe. Whether we believe man is made in the image of God or God is made in the image of man. Or whether we belief in a God, and if we do, how we experience and define him, her, or it. And in the manifest world of psychological duality all our personality attributes and beliefs coexist with the presence in some degree of their opposites in our unconscious. Carl Jung refers to these unconscious elements as the individual’s “shadow side.” The entire universe exists in everyone but manifests itself differently through each person. It has been said that God looks through seven billion pairs of eyes. These physical, psychological, and intellectual differences between us result from the different causes and conditions, inherited and learned, to which we as individuals, as individuated expressions of the whole, have been exposed. The more we identify with and get attached to the different features of our personality, intellect, emotional and physical makeup, and the more we experience our self as separate from rather than an inseparable part of a unified whole, the more we limit our ability to change, adapt, and grow psychologically and spiritually. On the other hand, as we grow spiritually, our personal traits and conditioned response patterns do not disappear. Rather, we become increasingly less dominated by and reactive to them, less identified with and attached to them. We are increasingly able to let go of and transcend them whenever it is appropriate and beneficial to do so. To the extent we remain attached and can not let go, we have difficulty experiencing the compassion, lovingkindness, altruistic joy, and equanimity – what Buddha called the four divine virtues - that accompany the realization that everyone and everything is interrelated with, affects, and is affected by everyone and everything else.

We are an intimate and integral part of rather than separate from the rest of reality. Unfortunately, our cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, educational, national, and familial conditioning reinforces our cognitive and emotional identification with our unique individual and group differences rather than with our shared unity and the interconnectedness and interdependence of these differences. Separating Self and Other Was the Original Sin Original sin has sometimes been interpreted as referring to the experience of separation of self and other, the creation of the subject-object relationship. This sense of separation is seen as the origin of our universal feelings of loneliness, alienation, existential angst, incompleteness, and the nagging question, “Is that all there is?” Buddha said the same thing. His First Noble Truth is that suffering is universal, and his Second Noble Truth, emphasized by the Dalai Lama, is that suffering is caused by the illusion of a separate self. Reality is a unified whole unfolding as life. Even our thoughts and our words do not belong to us. Thoughts, like sounds, simply arise in the mind. Mark Eptein’s book, Thoughts Without a Thinker, makes this point very poignantly (16). In beginning to think a thought or speak a sentence, we don’t know how it will end. Yet the words flow spontaneously and coherently. Similarly, in listening, we usually understand, though we may have never before heard what was said. Buddha said it this way: “In seeing there is only the seen; in hearing there is only the heard; in sensing, there is only the sensed; and in thinking, there is only the thought.” It may be useful, but it is not necessary to posit the existence of a self that hears, sees, senses, or thinks. We do not live life, but life lives through us. Our various attachments and identifications—indeed, all our experiences— are mere expressions of an unfolding universe, and it is illusory to feel that we either are or are not in control. It is clearly beneficial if we have developed and if we help our children develop a mature relative self or ego that experiences a sense of responsibility and self-control. But we should remember that spiritual growth, enlightenment, and surrender to the mysterious unfolding ultimately lead to insight into the illusory nature of any truly autonomous responsibility or control.

As realization dawns, we learn to pretend, to “act as if” we are the doer, the speaker, and the thinker, as if we have “free will” and are accountable for our actions. There is will or intention, according to Buddhism, but it is not really “free” because the experience and expression of it depend on the causes and conditions to which a particular person has been previously exposed. Some learn to feel that personal intention, motivation, or will is the major determinate of their choices, actions, and their consequences, while others feel helpless, victimized, and at the mercy of fate. As we grow spiritually, we learn to play roles, to make choices, and to take life seriously, even while transcending its illusory and dualistic nature. As Robert Frost said, “The work is play for mortal stakes” (17). In realizing this, we suffer less. Lovingkindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity Arise with Wisdom There is no need to worry that enlightenment or realization of the illusory sense of self will lead to dullness, apathy, indifference, insensitivity, passivity, pessimism, fatalism, or withdrawal from the world. On the contrary, according to Buddha, the enlightened wisdom and surrender that recognizes the illusion of self is accompanied by the spontaneous emerging of the natural qualities of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. As previously indicated, he called these qualities the Four Great or Divine Virtues. They can be purposely cultivated, and they arise spontaneously with spiritual growth. They include the natural sprouting of all those positive qualities that we may have been striving so hard to develop, such as creativity, humor, acceptance, joviality, humility, and a general “joie de vive.” The experience of a separate self is replaced by an experience of loving interconnectedness or interbeing. Selfishness is replaced by selflessness. Joy and peacefulness increasingly permeate everyday life. And compassion and lovingkindness motivate selfless actions to reduce the obvious physical and mental suffering in the everyday world. Suffering is no longer compounded, intensified, or prolonged by an illusory self that complains and worries about it, wishes it would go away, and blames it on oneself, others, or God. We learn to recognize and let go of

such thoughts and feelings when they arise as merely mental concepts, ideas, or wishes that when indulged only increase suffering and when resisted only persist. And we naturally take the appropriate actions to minimize and, when possible, end the suffering that remains, without expectations regarding the results, and seeing clearly and accepting calmly the reality of whatever presents itself to consciousness from moment-tomoment. We realize and accept that what is, is, with equanimity, the peace that surpasses understanding, and often with blissful joy. It is important to remember that all of these comments are mere intellectual concepts or ideas that can impede rather than further spiritual growth if attached to as just plausible or inspiring beliefs. As fingers pointing to the moon, they need to be intuitively grasped and transcended. According to Buddha, the diligent practices of meditation, mindfulness, and ethical living are the primary means for transcending the illusory sense of self and gaining insight into the unsatisfactory, impermanent, and interdependent, selfless (no self or no soul) nature of our being and the dualistic universe in which we live. Who Am I? Who Are You? Who Are We, Really? If there is no separate self, soul, doer, or thinker, and these are just insubstantial conceptual notions to which we unwittingly get attached and, as a result, suffer, who then are we? Mystics have said that we are the unchanging, nondual, infinite, eternal, and formless awareness or pure consciousness out of which the manifestations of body, mind, and any sense of self continually arise and disappear, along with and dependent upon the dualistic world of time, space, and form (18). Life is really nothing but a cosmic dream, a game, a dance, a play of consciousness. In this play, we are simultaneously the actors, the directors, and the playwrights. And compassion is manifested naturally as “the willingness to play in the field of dreams, even though you are awake” (19). For most of us, spiritual growth is a slow, intermittent, and sometimes difficult process that requires courage, effort, and commitment. For some it may even be frightening and painful, as reflected in the notion of a dark night of the soul. But the mystics of all spiritual traditions universally acclaim the ultimate benefits. Becoming enlightened or realizing one’s

already enlightened nature is a process of learning to live a life that sees clearly and accepts calmly whatever is, that what is, is, from moment- tomoment without its being marred by unnecessary or inappropriate judgment, analysis, commentary, decision-making, or other reactivity. It is a life increasingly filled with blissful equanimity, the peace that surpasses understanding, a life in which all feelings, thoughts, words, and actions are increasingly spontaneous, appropriate, and beneficial for oneself, others, and the universe. It is a life in which we want all beings to be happy, healthy, harmonious, and peaceful. Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, magnificently expresses the difference between the beginner and the Saint’s experience of this spiritual journey in his poem, Tripping Over Joy (20). He begins his poem by asking the listener or reader a rhetorical question, answers it, and then comments on the listener. TRIPPING OVER JOY HAFIZ What is the difference Between your experience of existence And that of a Saint? The Saint Knows That the spiritual path Is a sublime chess game with God And that the Beloved (God) Has just made such a fantastic move That the Saint is now continually Tripping over joy And bursting out in laughter And saying, "I surrender!" Whereas, my dear, I am afraid you still think You have a thousand serious moves. _____________________________

1. Gunaratana, Bhante Henepola, Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness,

Wisdom Publications, 2001 2. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Broadway Books, 1998 3. Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear, Riverhead Books, 2002 4. Tolle, Eckardt, The Power of Now, New World Library, 1999 5. Cooper, Rabbi David A., God Is a Verb, Riverhead Books, 1997 6. Maharshi, Sri Ramana, Be As You Are - The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Goodman, Penguin Books, 1985 7. Nisargadatta, Sri Maharag, I Am That, Acorn Press, 1973 8. Merton, Thomas, The Inner Experience – Notes on Contemplation, edited by William H. Shannon, Harper Collins Publishers, 2003 9. Keating, Thomas, Open Mind, Open Heart, Continuum Publishing, 1992 10. Maslow, Abraham, The Farther Reaches of Human Behavior, Penguin Books, 1972 11. Wilber, Ken, Integral Psychology, Shambhala Publications, 2000 12. Capra, Fritjof, The Tao of Physics, Shambhala, 1975 13. Yokoi, Yuho, Zen Master Dogen, John Weatherhill, Inc., 1976 14. Wilber, Ken, Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, Shambhala, 1995 15. Watts, Alan, I Am That, Vintage Books, 1960 16. Epstein, Mark, Thoughts Without a Thinker, Basic Books, 1995 17. Frost, Robert, “Two Tramps in the Mud,” from The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Henry Holt, 1969 18. Nisargadatta, Sri Maharag, I Am That, Acorn Press, 1973 19. Flickstein, Matthew, Swallowing the River Ganges, Wisdom Publications, 2001 20. Hafiz, “Tripping over Joy,” from I Have Heard God Laughing – Renderings of Hafiz, David Ladinsley, et al, Sufism Reoriented, 1966 __________________________ *Charlie Day may be contacted at (515) 255-8398 or charlesday1@mchsi.com or 3100 Grand Ave., Apt. 4F, Des Moines, IA, to discuss this essay, meditation, Buddhism, sitting groups, retreats, and spiritual experiences. 8-4r5-12