By Sara Eisenberg
Oh keeper of earth and heaven
oh owner of our souls
build us a home in a wide meadow
and a boat for the narrows...
(Change of Heart©, Music and Lyrics by Jason Shulman)
This is a momentous time in the life of A Society of Souls. The Foundation for Nonduality has launched its website. Jason is hard at work readying a lifetime of writing for publication. The 4-year curriculum is being taught in Manhattan and Boston. Twenty-one students have completed their first year of a new two-track teacher training. And a Community Advisory Committee made up of graduates of the US and European schools is wrestling with the unfolding of renewed and new paths for building community among graduates, students and friends, bringing the healing balm of the nondual out into the world.
All this change has led me to plumb twenty-one years of memories since I first entered the community, and to feel into themes, patterns and rela-tionships that continue to unfold. I found I had an uncharacteristic prompting, almost a compulsion to delve into our community history, to construct a chronology of our young lineage, to place myself within it, to invite you to do the same.
(See - Page 3)
Where in this history do you find yourself seated? suspended? in motion?
TIME As you read through the timeline, note events that came before your entry into the community, and those that have unfolded since. Where and how do you feel connected, in relationship with parts and with the whole of the community? Revisit the unfolding of your own commitment and engagement as they have ebbed and flowed over time.
ORAL AND WRITTEN TRADITIONS: Consider how the teachings of ASOS have until now been transmitted essentially as an oral tradition: a four-year healing training which uniquely provides no manual of techniques. How we receive nourishment and engrave the teachings in our bodies through shared meditations and practices. How the rigor of our oral tradition combines with trustworthy experimentation and creativity to create a rich and dynamic brew. How further changed, enriched and enlivened the tradition grows as Jason publishes more and more of his work, and as we continue to carry it into our daily lives and spheres of influence.
We stand listening, attentive to a call to continue unfolding our community
Something about the refrain from Change of Heart - “a home in a wide meadow and a boat for the narrows” has always touched me, and pulled at me as I was working on the timeline. I went looking for the CD. As I listened to Jason’s voice, it came to me that our lineage of nondual teachers and teachings is our “boat for the narrows,” a carrier-wave of wisdom that we ride out into our daily lives. The “wide meadow” is the endlessly intelligent and creative field in which we labor, and the “home” is what we build together as we commit, receive, and embody the teachings as best we can.
It seems to me that as a community there is a new level of strength, trustworthiness, and ferment in the field; that our distinctive embodiment and vivid connection are secure and safe; and that we stand ready to infuse the nondual into new creative engagement and encounters in the full pitch of the marketplace, even as as we draw new students into the school.
As we honor Jason as teh founder of our lineage, and as we more fully incarnate as a community, we do well to recall...
how Jason wrote about lineage at the time of his own Dharma Transmission in 2003. Shma. Listen.
....being in lineage means that I receive endless help from those who have gone before, those who have fallen and gotten up - since both activities are the essence of human life and that, taking my place in this lineage, I do the same for others.
None of this is new to me...What is new is that now I can accept support...What has changed is that now I am human enough not to be alone, not to need to be alone any longer.
That realization brings me closer to people and lets me teach in a more tenderhearted way, not as someone who has earned his position by hard work only, but as someone who has finally fallen into the arms of the other, committed to being completely human, to be completely awake.
May we each and all together, be so blessed.
Note from Sara: Brenda contributed extensive dating of events and other details to the skeletal timeline I was able to construct from my own journals, computer files, and the ASOS website. What follows are excerpts
from the five-page document.
Abbreviated Timeline Many years Jason pursues his own explorations, then responds to
colleagues’ requests for him to teach 1993 1st 3 year class ASOS in US, with apprenticeship system for
teacher training 1997 1st Annual Graduate Seminar; 1st Ray of Connection published 1999 Impersonal Movement I; Jason & Arlene teach together for the first time 2000 1st presentations of work by graduates at Graduate Seminar 2001 Impersonal Movement II 2002 4th year of curriculum offered 2003 Work of Return 2003 Jason receives Dharma Transmission from his Zen teacher 2004-08 1st Formal Teacher Training 2004 Annual All-School Meeting replaces Graduate Seminar 2005 The MAGI Process 2006 1st Advanced Study Group 2007-08 Community Development Committee 2008 1st European class 2010 Brenda receives Dharma Heir Transmission 2011-12 4th year becomes standard in US and Europe 2012 Eileen and Jeff receive Dharma Transmission 2012 Brenda teaches her 1st 4-year class as Lead Teacher 2012 Last publication of Ray of Connection. 2014 Eileen & Jeff teach their 1st 4-year class as Lead Teachers 2014 The Foundation for Nonduality is formed to house The Jason
Shulman Library. Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is formed to support The
Foundation. 2015 New dual-track Teachers’ Training, to teach the 4-year NKH
curriculum, and “to bring NKH principles, along with specific
exercises and modified lectures to corporations, businesses,
educational institutions and other organizations or groups of