Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:


Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

Nondual Highlights- Issue #1562 - Saturday, September 20, 2003 - Editor: Christiana  

  Beliefs carry with them the illusion of presence or pre-sound existence and a point of reference or center from which this "self" operates. When Beliefs are deconstructed, the illusion of a self, in a particular location with a center, vanishes along with the illusion of a pre-sound existence sometimes referred to as presence. This leads to the "blankness" (which is not) that is prior to presence existence and absence of non existence. There is no perceiver; it too is an abstraction, a representation of nothing; the perceiver is NOT.  

Stephen Wolinsky p. 212 (see below)  

Bizarro cartoon submitted to NDS by Gyan  

Richard Thieme   

\Islands in the Clickstream: A Miracle by Any Other Name   

If any column is about "the human dimension of technology,"
it's this one, inasmuch as last week, my beloved youngest son
Barnaby had more tubes in him, more drips dripping, more
monitors flashing around him than a cyborg out of Terminator 3.

When I arrived at the ICU and saw, moving among the noisy
machinery, his still- pink hand, swollen and slow, as it reached
for my hand, I cried like a baby. In such moments the fragility,
transitory nature, and absolute value of life, all life, is

My son was riding his motorcycle on Highway 101 in California
when he came around a curve into stopped traffic. He hit the
back of a pick-up truck and flew through the air. When
paramedics arrived at the scene, there was no blood pressure
and they pumped him full of fluids and kept him as stable as
they could until a helicopter flew him to Modesto where they
scanned the damage and decided that a torn aorta was the
most critical injury. 

He went into emergency surgery to repair the aorta. They gave
fair warning that ignoring his badly broken leg might mean the
loss of the leg, that bleeding from his liver had to wait, that
staunching the blood flow to the spine during surgery might
mean he wouldn't walk again. There is nothing to do when they
read your rights but nod and sign off and get out of the way. 

They repaired the aorta. The liver stopped bleeding. They
operated on his shattered leg. They left alone his broken ribs
and a crack in his upper back. They removed the ventilator and
after a few days stopped the morphine drip. His vital signs are
good. There's a long road ahead but it looks as if he'll make it. 

Anyone who has been in an Intensive Care Unit lately knows
that it looks like Ridley Scott designed it. Machines breathe,
monitors regulate blood flow and drugs, cuffs flex and contract.
It's like a scene out of Bladerunner, with robotic friends
manufactured by canny engineers, friends that keep us alive. 

Among the tubes and flashing lights is the reason the
technology exists, the human soul in the machinery. Without
my son's beating heart, which continues to beat, thank God, the
high-tech devices would have no meaning. 

The prognosis according to one of the docs is "fantastic." A torn
aorta is fatal 85% of the time. With the other trauma, he said,
there had been perhaps a 1% chance of survival. 

My son can move his arms and legs and when he speaks it is
obviously still my son with his characteristic genius for insight,
understatement and humor. A devout Buddhist who has
meditated for long hours at the Zen Center and Tassajara
Monastery, he of all people can handle a view of a white wall,
watching his mind and its shadows move. 

We believe he will be OK and we are afraid to believe he will be
OK. The depth and intensity of our own trauma, sourced by
those telephone calls from hell, continues to linger. 

Most of the doctors and nurses use words like "incredibly lucky"
but some speak of a miracle and mean it. I hesitate to use that
word lest those who lost loved ones wonder what happened
when they could have used a miracle too. I do not pretend to
understand how it all hangs together or makes sense. The older
I get the more obvious it is that those who think they have a
clue do not have a clue and those who know they do not have a
clue have a shot at having a clue. 

But in and of itself, that my son is alive and himself, that he
will walk and talk and live, is a miracle by any name, whatever
you want to call it. 

Miracles come in many forms and during this hard time they
sometimes came as felt realities, palpable touches of the spirit.
When many people pray, express concern and love and are
aligned in a single direction, their energy is amplified. When our
consciousness is stripped of trivial concerns by the bone- deep
clarity of a crisis, it enables us to focus with a laser-like
intensity. When you feel those forces entering your awareness
it feels like thermals during a hang-glide coming up from under.
It feels like being lifted in a wave, like being a self-conscious
node in a network aware of all the connections, knowing the
pattern of the pattern of the web. 

Our gratitude is impossible to express in such moments
because it is absolute and words make everything relative. The
choice of people to be there for us is sheer gift and grace and it
is impossible to underestimate the impact of a kind word or a
prayer. The extremity of our need may magnify the felt power of
this unmerited benevolence but even in normal mundane
everyday life compassion and generosity of spirit are the glue of
the universe. 

Anyone who believes the universe only works bottom up and not
top down as well is missing some of the data. It begins and
ends with consciousness as surely as a network map includes
an image of the Big Picture as well as nodes feeling each other
out, knitting themselves together from all sides. When we
extend ourselves toward each other's needs we make a
connection, becoming something more for a moment but in fact
becoming only what we have always been, a singular being not
always fully aware of itself in all its particulars, alive in a
universe more like thought than stuff or maybe thought and
stuff at the same time. As I said, I really haven't got a clue,
just an inkling, an inkling made as bold as the brush stroke of a
Zen master on an empty canvas by a moment of transparent
clarity and utter terror. 


Islands in the Clickstream is an intermittent column written by
Richard Thieme. Richard Thieme is a professional speaker,
consultant, and writer focused on the human dimensions of
technology and work, "life on the edge," and discerning spiritual
paths for business and personal life. 

Subscribe at 

Islands in the Clickstream (c) Richard Thieme, 2003. All rights reserved.   

vvs to NDS  

Illusion is a word. All words are relative. All words have
different interpretations and different perception. There is
nothing right nor wrong with words. The Source moves our lips
and produces sound to mean a word. Good, bad or ugly , all are
from the source. The mind too is from the source , yet it is an
illusion (not real). To understand the illusion as an illusion and
enjoy the understanding is the source's playground.

Below are excerpts from a new book by Dr. Stephen Wolinsky:
Walden III: In Search of a Utopian Nirvana. This work continues
the direction of his recent books. These include two which are
extensions of his longtime encounter with Sri Nisargadatta
Maharaj: I Am That I Am: A Tribute to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj,
and You Are Not: Beyond the Veils of Consciousness; a three
volume series entitled The Way of the Human; and Quantum

A description from the back jacket: Using a six-pronged
approach, which incorporates Buddhism with Advaita-Vedanta in
the East and neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, and
Quantum Physics in the West, Dr Wolinsky, speaking through
the voice of "A" (a "Teacher"), answers our most essential
questions by deconstructing our most deeply held structures
and archetypes. 

p. 123  

The nervous system is the great illusioner. The nervous system
responds to certain stimuli through the senses; the brain
transduces (trance-duces) it and creates an illusion (trance) of a
self, which has choice, perception, a will, doership, and volition.
The key point to understand is that the nervous system omits
millions and millions of stimuli and selects only a very small
amount (less than 1%), and from that small amount the
nervous system constructs the "I", the perceiver, what the "I"
perceives, and what the "I" believes about itself and the world.

p. 124  

The Evolution of Self-Consciousness and the Illusion of Constancy -   

We could say that self-consciousness evolved for two purposes:
1) project an image of a possible future so the we, as part of
nature, could survive better, and 2) fabricate the illusion that
what "you" perceive is constant, stable, permanent, solid and
without the spatial gaps. Spatial gaps occur about 11 to 17
times per second. Consciousness fills in the gaps or space,
making the world appear solid, stable, and constant. This is
why the two most famous meditations in the last several
thousand years are 1) to "find" the space between two
thoughts, and 2) to "find" the space between two breaths.

p. 66  

What you see as reality are snapshots, there is
reality-space-reality-space-reality-space... snapshots. The illusion is
that one snapshot causes the next snapshot, which causes the next
snapshot, etc. In other words there is an illusion of cause and effect.
It is the personal consciousness, or what is called "self-consciousness"
which creates the illusion and links these representational pictures
into a coherent whole, which prevents us from seeing the hole or gap
or discontinuity between thoughts, ideas, and situations. This
in-between space is called "Bardo" in Buddhism, "discontinuity: by
Michel Foucault, and "dissemination" by Jacques Derrida. Nevertheless,
"you" can notice the "space" between thoughts or discourses and how
one discourse does not relate to another.

 Art: Fred Casselman, Gift of Grace

top of page

Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: