Interview with Robert Wolfe - Living Nonduality
First of all, I would like to thank Robert Wolfe very much for this interview. I cannot express how much I have enjoyed reading his book, Living Nonduality. I would like to invite those who are interested, to visit Robert's website where his entire 444 page book is available to read for free as an ebook. Click here to visit Robert Wolfe's Living Nonduality website.
For quite some time, I have been fascinated by the subject of Nonduality. I'm not an author myself but I take delight in sharing nondual quotes, poems and other writings on my Simply This blog along with my nature photographs.
Interview with Robert Wolfe, author of Living Nonduality
Diane AZ: To begin, Robert, please tell me how you define nonduality.
Robert Wolfe: We have been conditioned to duality from the earliest days of our life, so in that sense we all know what duality is, don't we? Its most elemental proposition is that "I" exist, and all else in the universe is "not I". While making practical distinctions, such as day and night, hot and cold, north and south, etc., our conditioned awareness also expresses itself as a judgmental spectrum with negative at one pole and positive at the other. And it ingrains a habitual mindset, a thought pattern, based inevitably on this kind of division, and the desire, fear, and actions that arise from it. In other words, our dualistic viewpoint -- which we take for granted -- is at the root of our divisiveness, dissatisfaction, and conflicting values; in short, of our unhappiness.
For millennia, teachers of nonduality -- in enlightenment traditions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Vedanta -- have assured us that it is possible to transcend the limitation of dualistic awareness, and thereby live in an awareness of dualities absence, which turns out to be: harmony, contentment and equanimity. Non-dual, of course, means "not two"; so, nonduality is the condition of Oneness as a living experience; the transcendence of our dualistically perceived unhappiness.
Diane: Who or what was instrumental to your shift in perspective?
Robert: Ramana Maharshi is the nondual teacher most often referred to in Living Nonduality. There are also two short biographical sketches available online: The Absolute Enigma (the opening chapter of Living Nonduality) and Awakening to Living in the Moment. [see right sidebar]
Diane: How is life different from a nondual perspective and why do you share this?
Robert: The shift in perspective, which nondual awareness represents, is occasioned by the dissolution of the (separative) self-image -- the idea of who we think we are. When our typical self-centeredness dissipates, in this circumstance, we become even more acutely aware of the perceived "suffering" of others around us. Knowing now that such suffering is not necessary (the basic principle of Buddha's teaching), one will notice a natural instinct to want to share one's own discovery with anyone who has an interest in hearing about it. After all, what did any of the great sages do after their enlightenment: they were available 24/7 to be of assistance to anyone they could who genuinely sought inner peace. An interviewer once asked Krishnamurti, Why do you do what you do? And his answer basically was "compassion". With self-realization, one's values change; and, as a consequence, one's behavior changes. How would I characterize that change in general: a flowing through the organism of a creative, and benevolent, force that expresses itself in a generalized (rather than a person-alized) love. Ramana Maharshi said this: "A Self-realized being can not help benefiting the world. His [or her] very existence is the highest good." Whose "existence" is it but that of the Ultimate?
Diane: What are you working on now?
Robert: I write most days on nonduality and meet people in person who are inquiring into it. The next book to be published will be The Gospel of Thomas: The Enlightenment Teachings of Jesus. Karina Library has a preview website here: www.enlightenedjesus.com. People can also sign up there for release news. I'm also working on a new manuscript on the Hsin Hsin Ming, an ancient Zen poem on nonduality. No book in English that I can find has really explicated it yet for the modern reader. That should be published in 2011.
Diane: Interesting! I am so grateful for your response and will be sending you some follow up questions shortly. Update: Click here for Part Two of this interview.
Dear Readers, I invite you to read a short sweet sample monograph from Robert's book on my Desert Colors blog. Click here to read Yea, Listen to the Mockingbird!
Posted by Diane AZ at 9:53 AM