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Nondual Highlights Issue #1112 Saturday, June 22nd, 2002

The 'I' casts off the illusion of 'I'
and yet remains as 'I'. Such is the
paradox of
Self-realization. The realized do not
see any
contradiction in it.
Sri Ramana Maharshi

Edited by Christiana Duranczyk

Highlights Home Page:

Painting: Agnes Pelton's Stargazer

Ed note: My personal Saturday highlight was attending our dear friend cee's first satsang in her lovely new
Berkeley center/home; and meeting Mazie Lane and Bob {hrtbeat} O'hearne who were also quite present.
Tonal notes linking in silence, twinkling eyes and living heart.


Bob O'hearne submitted to [email protected]

The Heart of Relationship ~Adyashanti

Awakening to the truth of perfect Unity, means to awaken from the dream of a personal self and
personal others to the realization that there is no other. Many spiritual seekers have had glimpses of
the absolute unity of all existence, but few are capable of or willing to live up to the many challenging
implications inherent in that revelation. The revelation of perfect unity, that there is no other, is a
realization of the ultimate impersonality of all that seems to be so very personal. Applying this
realization to the arena of personal relationships is something that most seekers find extremely
challenging, and is the number one reason why so many seekers never come completely to rest in the
freedom of the Self Absolute. Inherent in the revelation of perfect unity is the realization that there is no
personal me, no personal other, and therefore no personal relationships. Coming to terms with the
challenging implications of this stunning realization is something that few people are willing to do.
Because realizing the true impersonality of all that seems so personal, challenges every aspect of the
illusion of a separate, personal self. It challenges the entire structure of personal relationships which
are born of needs, wants, and expectations. It is in the arena of personal relationships that the illusion
of a separate self clings most tenaciously and insidiously. Indeed, there is nothing that derails more
spiritual seekers than the grasping at and attaching to personal relationships.

The revelation of perfect unity reveals the true impersonality of all relationships. The ego always
interprets "impersonal" as meaning cold, distant, and aloof. However, "impersonal" simply means not
personal, or void of a separate me and a separate you. The mind cannot comprehend of a
relationship without separate entities. Much as a character in a dream cannot comprehend that all
other dream characters are simply manifestations of the same dreamer. Yet when the dreamer
awakens, he instantly comprehends that the entire dream, and all the characters in it, were none other
than projections of his own self. In the dream there is the appearance of separate, personal entities in
relationship, but upon awakening one comprehends the impersonal (non-separate) Self that is the
source of all appearances.

To deeply inquire into the question "Who is another?" can lead to the direct experience that the other
is one's own Self-that in fact there is no other. However, I have seen that for most seekers, even this
direct experiential revelation is not enough to transform the painfully personal ways they relate. To
come to this profound transformation requires a very deep investigation into the implications inherent
within the experiential revelation that there is no other. It is in the daily living of these implications that
most seekers fail. Why? Because, fundamentally, most people want to remain separate and in
control. Simply put, most people want to keep dreaming that they are special, unique, and separate,
more than they want to wake up to the perfect unity of an Unknown which leaves no room from any
separation from the whole.

There is a powerful tendency in most spiritual seekers to avoid probing deeply into the implications
inherent within profound spiritual experience and revelation, because these implications are always
threatening to the sense of a separate self, or ego. It is the implications inherent within profound
spiritual revelation that demand the transformation of the apparent individual.

Inherent within the revelation of perfect unity is the realization that there is no other. The implications of
this realization reveal that in order to manifest that unity in the relative world, one must renounce the
dream of being a separate self seeking to obtain anything through relationship with another. Indeed,
personal relationship appears to happen in the relative world, but in reality, all appearances simply
arise as temporary manifestations of a unified whole. In the relative world these appearances are in
relationship, but not as separate entities. Rather, they are the play of the one Self projecting itself as
apparent entities in relationship to one another.

As long as you identify yourself with the projection of separateness, you will continue to deny that you
are the Source of all projections. When you truly and absolutely awaken to this fact, and comprehend
the overwhelming implications inherent within this awakening, you will continually experience that all
apparently personal relationships are in truth nothing other than the play of your Self. To realize that
the personal me is an illusion born of false identification with the body, thoughts, and emotions, brings
a profound sense of freedom. This is fundamentally the realization of emptiness, of what you are not.
But contained within the realization of emptiness (formlessness) is also the realization of what you
ARE. In the most absolute sense you ARE this conscious emptiness which is the source of all
appearances (existence). But you are the appearance as well. Not just one part of the appearance
called "me", but all of it , the entire whole. This is the challenge, to let your view get this vast. To let
your view get so vast that your identity disappears. Then you realize that there is no other, and there is
nothing personal going on.

Contrary to the way the ego will view such a realization, it is in reality the birth of true love. A love
which is free of all boundaries and fear. To the ego such uncontaminated love is unbearable in its
intimacy. When there is no clear separating boundaries and nothing to gain the ego becomes
disinterested, angry, or frightened. In a love where there is no other there is nowhere to hide, no one
to control, and nothing to gain. It is the coming together of appearances in the beautiful dance of the
SELF called Love.

To the seeker who is sincere, an experiential glimpse of this possibility is not enough. If you are
sincere you will find it within yourself to go far beyond any glimpse. You will find within your Self the
courage to let go of the known and dive deeply into the Unknown heart of a mystery that calls you only
to itself.

I am the rest between two notes -- Rainer Maria Rilke

~ ~ ~ from Transmission of The Flame Jean Klein

Is consciousness the only reality ?

~ Consciousness is the only reality.

But in psychology they divide consciousness into
subconscious and superconscious; is that just a trick of
the mind ?

~ Yes, a trick of the mind . There is only consciousness.
Consciousness expresses itself in objects. When you
see that every object flows out from consciousness ,
then there are no more "objects" , there is only
consciousness. The object loses its objectivity the
moment it refers to consciousness.

But the collective consciousness of Gustav Jung , is that also
the same, or is it an invention of Jung ?

~ There is only consciousness , there is no division, there is no fraction. In this consciousness different
qualities appear , but these qualities are different only in proportion. Just as there is no difference
between the black body ,the white, the yellow , the red. On the physical plane it is the same body , the
same lungs, the same liver , the same hate , the same love, the same jealousy , the same fear ,
everywhere . It is only a question of proportion . Looking for distinction is only trade by the mind.
Looking for all this division is only the survival of the "me" , the "I". When you discover that the "me" is
an illusion , all psychology goes in the lake.

viorica weissman [email protected]
image Cymatics

[email protected] (Katie's new book is ... Loving what Is: Four Questions That Can Change your Life)

(ed: apologies for the length, this was too enjoyable a read to edit down)

Sacred America By Roger Housden

Excerpts from Chapter 18 (about Byron Katie)

On through the dry country I go, through Prescott, past Salome, past dozens of trailer parks with folks
out to pasture, on over the border to Desert Center (a gas station and a grocery store) to the hot and
dusty backwater of Barstow, California. I am here, en route to LA, to meet Byron Katie, one of those
rare individuals who, struck once by the spiritual equivalent of lightning, has never been the same

She hardly seemed a likely candidate for the visitation of grace. She had lived for decades in the
thrall of money and power, had made and lost fortunes in real estate deals, let her kids wither in drugs
and alcohol, had sunk into fits of uncontrollable rage. An obsession with food brought her to a weight
of more than 200 pounds, and then to a half way house for women with eating disorders in LA.

Early one morning she was lying on the floor of her room when a cockroach crawled over her foot.
She stared. She saw the cockroach as part of herself. She saw her foot move in reaction, her hand
move, her body rise. In that instant she was animation observing itself. She saw the bed, and, as if
she were watching an ancient dream, became aware of the belief she held that she was not worthy of
a bed. In that moment, through her perception of it, the belief dissolved and she knew it was alright to
lie on the bed. She had no way of distinguishing between where she ended and something else
began. She was the All, and the All was her. It was 1986, and Katie was 43.

When her family came, she could see straight through their names and labels to who they were. Her
hands, her husband, children - suddenly everything was one body, adored and loved in this present
moment without any reference to either past or future. Her entire structure for perceiving reality as she
had known it had gone. For three years Katie was in a state of continual revelation. Yet she was " a
woman from Barstow," as she is fond of saying. " Women from Barstow don't know about spirituality
and religious traditions." She had never studied religion or done any form of spiritual practice in her
life. " We would only read about gurus and such things in the funny papers," she says. Yet what she
did say, spontaneous and simple as it was, could have come from any of the great mystical

"To act without thought is divine," she would murmur, "unknowing is everything, there is no time or
space, only Love, and I am Love. Attachment and the perception of loss is the only death. Life springs
forth as we let go of attachment. What I am is a complete and total love that has never left this One".

The virtually cellular change she went through on that floor in her room left her radiant, and stayed.
From then on, even in the half way house, people started dissolving in tears in her presence. Yet she
felt she had nothing to teach or even say. Word got round, and back home in Barstow people started
turning up at the door for what they called healing, though Katie would not have said she was doing
anything. People would ask what she did, and she'd say she didn't know. She didn't know why these
people came, but they came, so it must be good. From that first moment in the half way house, she
has recognized that what is - whatever It is - can be nothing less than the highest order of good and

One regular visitor to her house in those early days was the wife of an LA policeman. She came just
to be in Katie's presence, without knowing why. Her husband eventually tried to forbid her to go, he
was so afraid of losing her, but she came anyway. One day he followed her, burst into the house and
ordered his wife to leave. He threatened to burn Katie's house down. Katie listened to him quietly, and
asked," How can you hurt me? You can wreck my house. It isn't my house. Take my house. It's yours."
The policeman burst into tears and she held him in her arms. He had heard the truth.

And now here am I, another stranger turning up at her door. Several houses are on the lot, perhaps a
dozen people living here now to administer the organization that has grown up around her in the last
several years. I have arranged to spend 24 hours with the community. When I arrive I see two women
in the hall leaning over a stack of audio cassettes.

"Just let's change it to say there is no copyright and people can duplicate them or use the tapes for
whatever purpose they like," Katie is saying. A woman in her fifties, she wears a flowing dress and
has her hair pinned back in a clip. She looks up, her face utterly open,as if she were saying, I am here
to serve you. Or not even that, just, Here I am. I tell her who I am, and it does not appear to register; I
imagine she doesn't remember speaking to me on the phone. Yet without a second's hesitation she
stops what she is doing and leads me through to a conservatory that gives onto the garden. There is
an immediacy about this woman, an utter simplicity and directness of movement, that leaves the air
clean of any trace of motive. What I feel in those first few seconds is the presence of a being who isn't
being anyone - not a teacher, a wise person, or anyone with anything particular to tell. It feels both a
relief and strange at the same time.

We sit down, and she asks me if I would like to do The Work. I falter, having thought I was the one who
was going to ask the questions. She explains that almost twelve years earlier, not long after people
started seeking her out, she began to see how the projections people placed upon her could only
serve to promote her as some kind of spiritual celebrity - yet she knew that she as a person could
never help anybody. All she could offer people was a radical perception, an entirely new way of
seeing, one that she had come to in her own experience. So she honed her own realization down to a
process of four questions that challenged people's perception of reality. These questions she calls
The Work, and she began inviting people to use The Work to heal themselves. Their healing, she
smiled, was not her business. It was theirs.

What Katie saw on the floor of the half way house was that we create our reality with our own beliefs,
and that the most tenacious belief we have is that we are a separate entity in a world of separate
entities. Our personal stories of hope and fear keep the illusion of separateness intact, and we
genuinely believe that who we are is the drama of that story, its ups and downs, successes and
failures, its search for God, truth, happiness, the perfect partner - at the same time believing other
people's stories. Just like a Buddhist would say it, I thought, listening to her. Except Katie has no
knowledge of Buddhism, or any other ism.

She created The Work by retracing her own thought processes during her time of revelation. She
would be abiding in the absolute awareness of The One Life that lives us all, and a thought would
come in from her past beliefs to suggest the contrary. One day she was in a mall. A 90 year old
woman walked in and Katie became her, took on her smell, became aware of her own skin falling
from the bone. She could see herself through the old woman's eyes, and knew there was no
difference between them. The thought came in, I can't live this way, followed by the realization that I
am living this way.

Her awareness would become the rocks, the sky, other people; she traveled through everything,
became everything. Once her awareness went into a bird, and the thought came, but I don't know how
to fly. The question followed immediately, can I really know that? And she flew on as that bird. For
Katie, there is no story that we are not, even the story of a bird flying. There is only one life living us all,
and only our limiting beliefs prevent us from seeing that truth.

A radical teaching, the kind you find in ancient yogic texts. Nothing less than the undoing of everything
we think we are, we think the world is, life is; the return to what is there before thought, belief, and
language divide up the world. Not a return to the unconscious merging of the infant, but to a condition
of awareness which knows existentially the one life living us all. Yet Katie says none of this, teaches
nothing, as such. She gives you The Work and invites you to perform the operation on yourself.

She asks me to think of someone I am having difficulty with in my life, to make a statement about
something that irritates or saddens me, and to ask myself if it is really true. How can it be true that my
partner and I are going our own ways? I ask. It certainly feels that way. We have sold our house, said
our good-byes; I have come to America, she is in England. Yet our love continues as ever. It is as if
the force of destiny has pulled us apart to follow our own myths. She looks at me, and smiles from
somewhere far, far down. Then she says, "Hopeless," and smiles again. " Is it true that there is
someone else who is or ever was your partner? How can you really know that is true? It is your belief
that she was your partner. Without that belief, you might realize there can be no arriving or leaving." I
sit for a moment opposite this woman who seems literally to ripple with joy, so much she can barely
contain it. She is totally there, utterly without effort, pouring a love from her eyes not for me alone but
for everything.

She asks me a third question. " What do you gain by holding the belief that she was your partner?"
And then a fourth: " Who or what would you be without that belief?"

"Free", I laugh, "I would be free, free of an object by which I try to identify myself, give myself firm
ground to stand on. I would be free to let life move through me without trying to hold on to it or push it
away. And I would be closer to that same person than I could have ever dreamed of."

"No-one has ever done anything to you, honey," she says, gazing upon me with an infinite tenderness.
"We all do everything to ourselves, and we do it with our beliefs. They are your beliefs, no-one else's. I
am not saying you haven't parted from each other. What is, Is. I am saying it isn't what you think it is,
and nobody is ever creating the story except you. The Work helps you see through the fabric of your
own beliefs, through the layers you put onto reality, onto what Is. It allows you to lose control and that is
the doorway to revelation. Can you even say it's a beautiful day and really know it's true? Without
those conditions, we can know ultimate intimacy. The judgment, the construct that we put on reality
sticks to it like velcro and dampens the very intimacy we are seeking through our descriptions and

There she goes again, I thought, paraphrasing the essence of Buddhist teachings without knowing it.
Non-attachment is the deepest form of intimacy, they say. Except she talks about velcro, uses the
language of everyday America. She was moving on already, saying that until we drop our story we
don't even breathe without a motive, every breath coming from fear. When we drop our story there is
no longer a world, no existence - who is there to exist? - no other worlds, no angels or devils. The
Work, she says, is trickery, a trick to enable you to experience your own awareness of self beyond the

"Without The Work," says Katie, shaking with laughter, "I'd have nothing to say. The point is that
through The Work, you say it. I don't have a message; for me, even to say the sky is blue is to speak
dishonestly. I ask what your message is.

"Who is this woman before me?" I find myself wondering. In her presence, it is true, I can feel my own
story slipping away - not for anything she says, not even primarily because of her Work - but because
she seems to be a sheer reflection of the innocence that is prior to word and concept. Katie is
childlike, but with a fiery knowing that pares away my postures, both subtle and obvious, of who I like
to think I am and what it is I think I am doing. I can feel that she simply doesn't connect to any aspect of
my identity; yet she is wholly there with me, her attention pouring over me undiluted. In this gaze which
sees me through and through, I am aware of feeling returned to a deep restedness, the peace that
comes from knowing there is no-one to be, nothing to hold up any more, at least, not in this moment.

We walk out to the garden, and she shows me the buildings, five of them, that house the offices, the
people who live with her, a meditation and meeting hall. Back in her paranoid days, she used to own
eleven houses on the block, part of a desperate attempt to control the neighborhood. It didn't work, of
course, she laughed, she got more out of control than ever. For hours we talked, Katie a fountain of
energy, unaware of time, food, or schedule.

People would come up to her as we spoke to ask about some administrative detail, to know what to
say to someone on the phone, to arrange a meeting. Whoever it was, whatever they needed, she
would turn the full beam of her attention on them until they had what they wanted. I was amazed to hear
that she was expecting two hundred people the next day for a weekend retreat, this woman who was
strolling around with me like she had all the time in the world. Which she did.

People came to live with her not because they were chosen, but as they turned up, and according to
availability of space. Years ago, in the beginning, people would ask what she did. She didn't know,
she said. Come live with me, do what I do. People would always think it was some kind of doing, so
she told them to come and see for themselves. The people with her now manage her schedule, run
the office, dispense her tapes, and seem to 'get' that Katie doesn't actually 'do' anything at-all to be
who she is. Maybe that's why they laugh a lot.

Katie's life is dedicated to going wherever she is asked, providing there is space in the diary, which
is rare these days since she has invitations from all over the world. She never charges, but offers The
Work on a donation basis. What I notice as we stroll around is that she seems to say yes to everything
and everyone. Isn't there ever a place for no, I wonder.

"Yes, no, same thing," she says. " What we are looking for is integrity, the truth of the simple heart.
That's what I'm married to. I go and do The Work wherever I am asked because people suffer. If you
suffer, I have an interest. That's it. If you care about it, I do, because I know it is an illusion. I lived that
illusion for 43 years, and I found a way through it. Someone who is tired of suffering can hear what I
am saying and will do The Work for the love of truth."

We would have turned to the matter of love anyway, though with my own story so close to the surface,
it was bound to emerge sooner rather than later. Katie is unequivocal. There is only one way you can
ever join anyone, she asserts, and that is in awareness.

"You experience what is usually called love with someone who is a reflection of your own
wonderfulness." She seems to smile with her whole body. "Someone who is agreeing with you. As
soon as they stray from that role, then love goes and we try everything we can to fit them back into the
place that we like. What you love, then, is your own story of the other. Connection, joining, marriage,
all those things are about your own nature, nothing else. If you were clear you would be happy living
with Frankenstein.

"I can hear the truth of it, clear as a knife slicing through an apple. Yet I feel a tension, too, between the
truth and the wish to hold on to my own story anyway, some mad attachment to the drama of my own
suffering. If there is only one awareness, I say, that must mean the end of sexual desire, which needs
a sense of other to arise."

"When my husband, Paul, would ask me if I wanted to make love", Katie responds, not even a hint of
self consciousness, "I would say, I don't know, touch me and we'll find out, every moment is a deep
surprise. My own experience is that I have no interest, but if I say that, people can make a dogma out
of it. So I say, inquire, ask the question: is it true you have no sexual interest? What do you get for
holding that belief? There's no formula, no better or worse. It's none of my business whether I have a
sexual desire or not. It just is, or it isn't. But I don't, that's my experience."

We have been talking for hours, the sun has gone down, and I realize I am hungry, not having eaten
since early morning. Katie would have gone on all through the night, oblivious of food, sleep, or any
other natural calls. Yet when I ask if there might be some food in the house she stops, totally giving
herself to that, handing me things out of the fridge, warming soup. Everything is organic now, her old
junk food days long gone.

Over dinner I ask her about evolution. The whole story of Western civilization is founded on the idea of
progress, the gradual development of our knowledge and intelligence to the point of having a society
founded on wisdom, moral intelligence, and the power of justice. The ideal of America is wholly
founded upon this view, as is the dream of an evolving spiritual democracy. Yet Katie has more of an
Eastern eye, one that sees existence to be cyclical and repetitive.

"No, nothing is going anywhere, that's my experience," she says when I ask. "Nor do we go anywhere;
we are already. You know, I work with a toxic waste corporation with branches in Dallas and Chicago.
I ask them how they think they can clean up the planet if they don't clean up their own minds.
Everything begins and ends with us, and the bottom line is, What Is, Is. Everything else is a story
about what is. Your life is a story about what is. All the issues we get excited about are stories we lay
over What Is. The highest truth, if you can bear it, is that God is What Is, and I mean all of it. I see no
darkness anywhere, and I know people find that hard. At the same time, it doesn't mean you don't
care, that you don't respond to suffering. I am moved to respond to suffering at the root. That's all I
know. That's why I go where I am asked."

I am astonished to learn that Katie is invited into large corporations, yet people in the most unlikely of
settings seem ready for what she has to say. She tells me she has just been invited to speak to 5,000
United Steel workers, an endangered species now, who fear for their jobs. These kind of men are the
backbone of America, they support home, church, and country, they are the original good guys. All
they have done is work, play their expected part, and now they don't feel heard; they are confused
about their place in this changing world. Katie will do with them what she always does, use The Work
to stop the mind, investigate, and try to cut through that confusion.

I am beginning to wilt now, with so much to absorb from our hours together, but she jolts my attention
when she goes on to say that just the previous week she went to a prison in Texas, where there was
only one white prisoner among 300 inmates. The prison psychotherapist had invited her to come and
do The Work. When she started, she could get no eye contact with any of them. An hour later it was

"I'd ask them what was not okay in their world." They'd tell me about their wife cheating on them. I'd
say, "Your wife is meant to be loyal, is it true?" We'd go through the inquiry, and they would start to
see the death of a sacred belief, one they would have killed for without a second thought. The reality,
I'd say, is that it happens. "How can it not be true? As long as you fight with Reality, you are going to

"Another thing. When I went in there, they were all innocent. When I left, some of them were guilty -
they were acknowledging that they were the ones who had got themselves into prison, not society, not
mom or dad, not the system. We are the ones doing it to ourselves. We are always going to have a
story, that's what our life is. If you have a good story, I say keep it, just be a witness to it and let it roll
on without a motive. If you are in a nightmare, then better to wake up, since you are the only one

As we close up the dining room and bring an end to the night, she adds one more thing. The prison
pastor came up to her as she was leaving, said how inspired he was by what happened. But was
there a place for Jesus in this, he asked, with more than a trace of concern. She looked at him and
said yes, there was a place for everyone. He was visibly relieved.

The next morning I join Katie and the community for a couple of hours in the meditation hall for their
daily session with The Work. This, I realize, is where the glitches of community as well as personal life
get ironed out. The sound technician can't find the usual music, and when he apologizes, Katie says it
is good we don't have it. Everything is good for Katie if it is happening. She speaks with people one
after the other, facing with them their projections onto others, their avoidance of their own stories and
their creation of them.

After the session she asks me if I would like to meet her husband. She and Paul have their own house
on the property. She explains how difficult her sudden change had been for him, how he would wail
that he had lost his wife, that he had been abandoned. All these years he had held on to that story, she
says, though now he has acclimatized to it. She hasn't tried to affect his story through The Work,
because it is all he has, he loves it, and he wants to keep it.

It might sound as if she were unfeeling, speaking of her husband this way; yet I sensed it to be
compassionate wisdom. She could not leave the place she had fallen into by some mysterious act of
grace (or misfortune, depending on your point of view). She could not do other than be truthful to it. At
the same time, she could not change anyone else, nor could she have any wish to. She has 'gone,
gone far beyond,' as the Heart Sutra says. You may fall suddenly and without apparent reason through
the net of time and space to the condition she lives in, but you cannot evolve to it. You are there or you
are not there. So however much she may or may not want her husband to join her - and from where
she is, it wouldn't matter either way, except to relieve his suffering - she would be crying in the wind
upon deaf ears.

She assures me Paul is always happy to tell his story, so I follow her into their house to find him sitting
in a chair reading the paper. He is a large man with a large belly held in with a big belt, soft eyes in a
ruddy face. The kind of man you might expect to find in a no-frills town like Barstow. He is 70, Katie
had told me, some fifteen years older than her. After she has introduced us I ask him what it is like to
live with this extraordinary woman. He exhales, half laugh and half sigh, and says it was like getting a
divorce and then living with the same person.

"Everything we used to do and enjoy together has gone," he says, sighing again. She was the love of
my life. I thought I had found what I wanted, and now she is gone. I used to have a drinking, smoking,
fishing, hunting buddy, and I've lost them all. She would wonder why I didn't do The Work - what do you
expect, I was pissed off with The Work, it took everything away from me. It even took away my chance
to care for her. Now she is self sufficient, and others look after her needs. But you know, I put up with it
now because I watch all the people and see the difference in them in the time they stay here. She
does a great deal to help people, and I'd be selfish to feel any other way. But it's a weird thing, having
to stand in line now to hug your wife. Really, that's what I have to do."

I'd find that difficult, I tell him. I am amazed he is still there with her. Nowhere else to go, he says, and
anyway, he loves her. She loves him, he thinks, but just like she loves everyone else, which isn't quite
the same. Still, you just have to accept life as it is. They have a funny relationship, for sure, he says.
He will drive her to LA, some three or four hours away, and say two words. The car is her quiet time,
almost the only time she isn't with a crowd. If he dwells on it all too much, he gets depressed and
scared. Then, he says, looking at me with a gentleness you would never imagine coming from a bulk
like his, he will go fishing. He'll sit there all day and watch that pole and suddenly it's dusk.

What a fine man he is, I think, moved and grateful to hear his story. It all sounds so unfair, but who is to
say it should be any other way. It can't be any other way, since this is how it is, at least until it changes.
His sadness stirs my sadness, even so.

As we leave Paul to his paper, Katie says it might be fun to take a walk in the desert for a while,
continue talking there. I don't believe her, it is mid- morning and her group will be arriving in the next
hour or two. I can't stay myself, since I have an appointment in Studio City. As I am about to leave this
secular American equivalent of a great Indian or Buddhist sage, she sends me off with one last shot
from the hip.

"You know, I don't pray because I already have everything," she says, looking at me again with those
fathomless eyes. " But if I did, it would be, God spare me from the desire to be loved and

Wham! If anything is the teaching, it is that. Byron Katie is so undeniably what she talks about. If she
were in India, she would be hailed as one of the masters of non-dualism, in the lineage of Ramana
Maharshi, the great sage who died in the 1950's. (He also woke up spontaneously while lying on the
floor, though under much more normal circumstances.) But she isn't in any lineage. She just
happened, out here in the desert. No accident, either, that she is a woman. In America, it often seems
to be women who are cutting through established forms and making new tracks of their own. And
these women seem more naturally free of the need to be teachers, to establish a hierarchy in which
some know and others don't.

Katie's everyday language, her lack of any religious baggage, her utterly individual experience of
awakening, exemplify an emerging form of quintessentially American spirituality: one founded not, like
so much of the New Age phenomena, on a new and more exciting set of beliefs, or on wishful
thinking, but on the radical experience of Being. There can be no better antidote than this to the
American obsession with Doing.

Copyright 1999 by Roger Housden
Katie's site:


Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.

Eric Ashford [email protected]

It is not far to the heart of love.
It is no distance at all.
A million dreams away
yet only an instant of recognition.

The Beloved of your dreams
has dreamed you into Herself
and now needs you to wake up in Her.
She asks only that you exchange
your dreams for Hers.

For once in this life
give up pretending that it is your life.
If you think too much about dancing
your feet lose their wings
and with every step you tread water.

You cannot think your way into Love,
There is no door to walk through.
You are booted and suited for this life
like a bridegroom for his wedding day
and the bride is every form of beauty.

She is veiled from you if you judge Her.
It is your dreams that make Her ugly or distant.
Just give up on wanting
to take Her out for a drive.
Those hands on the steering wheel
belong to an other.
Those thoughts you cling to
cannot live in your head alone.

One day if you give up on your notions
of self or no-self,
being this or being that.
You will hear a wonderful sound.
It will be the tinkling crash
of all your beliefs falling apart
as the Beloved rings your bell
just for fun.


Another new book of interest: The Ultimate Understanding by Ramesh S. Balsekar

~~ May you week be graced with the gentle tug of living freshness.

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