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

 #1681 - Sunday, January 18, 2004 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

Something inside me has reached to the place
where the world is breathing.

'The Kabir Book'  Robert Bly, posted by Gill Eardley


Mary Bianco - NDSN   NASA photo captures sacred


Those who never look beyond the symbolism that is at the core of every religion and faith known to us miss the heart of the realities being described or celebrated. From the earliest mists of prehistoric humans down to today our spiritual beliefs and utmost longings have expressed themselves in a rich and varied tapestry of images, metaphors, and allegories.

Take the cross — which predates formal Christianity by many millennia — or the fish, or, as in the case of the ancient Egyptians, even the lowly dung-beetle, the scarab.

Many are unaware of the significance of this sacred insect. The point is that, for the Egyptians, this beetle spoke of the only-begotten or "born of one," the eternal son of the father-god. They believed the beetle was its own progenitor without the aid of partner or mate.   St. Augustine, indeed, identifies the Christ with "the good scarabaeus" — Bonus ille scarabaeus meus, non ea tantum de causa quod unigenitus .... "My own good beetle, not so much because he is only-begotten (God); not because he, the author of himself, has taken on the form of mortals; but because he has rolled himself in our filth and chooses to be born from this filth itself." (The truth is that in the Bible "only-begotten" really should be translated according to this symbolism, i.e. "begotten of One.")

What's most important, however, is that each phase of our human evolution has produced its own relevant symbols as well as treasuring those from the past. Which raises a particularly crucial question for moderns: What symbol or symbols now flow from our unconscious, collective mind to express the sacred today?

There are plenty of new, secular signs and symbols — the TV set, the ubiquitous cellphone, the trappings of wealth and celebrity, or the almighty dollar itself. But, what speaks of the holy? What moves us with universal, soul-shaking, conduct-changing power? What expresses in a totally fresh way our relationship with the divine, ourselves, and with one another?

One icon, one transcending image towers above all others at this hour — not the cross, not the steeple, not the minaret, not the dome, nor all the sacred books of all the faiths. It is the image of the Earth itself as portrayed by the NASA photo of the planet taken from outer space a few short years ago. A huge reproduction of it should hang prominently in every place of worship, of every creed, denomination, faith, sect, or "ism."

There are no borders in that world. There are no divisions. Meditating on it leaves all claims by this group or that to have a monopoly on God's truth exposed as absolutely silly; or, even worse, perverse. It speaks transformingly of one God, one world, one brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity. It trumpets both the beauty and the fragility of our sacred trust in being given stewardship of such a miracle. It convicts the sins of arrogance, avariciousness, indifference, and injustice wherever they are rampant. It evokes a reverence and awe beyond that contained in any temple or shrine. By it, the Great Spirit speaks.

In fact, I'm surprised nobody, apparently, has yet thought of making this symbol into a pendant or other ornament as has been done with cross and crucifix — and the scarab, too.

What this symbol has spoken most potently to this writer about is our desperate need now for a cosmic spirituality that expresses its inner meaning for our species. Here are seven simple principles expressing how I see this cosmic spirituality:

1. The entire cosmos is the manifestation of Divine Mind — every molecule, every cell, every creature, every rock, tree, mountain, planet, blazing star, whirling galaxy and universe of galaxies.

2. We are all an integral, interconnected part of the whole cosmos and our own inner world is a holograph of the cosmos within us.

3. One basic datum underlies every religion under the sun — the principle of Incarnation. The Word or Logos, God's self-expression made manifest, has given the light of its divine spark to every mind/soul coming into the world. Christians call this the Christ or "Christ in us." Other faiths have many different names or modes of expression for this same inner reality.

4. Every religion whose ethical core is summed up by the word "compassion" or "loving-kindness" to all other creatures, without exception, has a vision of the truth and is a valid "way" to transcendence.

5. No one faith or religion, whatever its claims, alone has The Truth.

6. True cosmic spirituality is steeped in, flows from, and derives its most powerful analogies and metaphors from the natural world — from the tiniest bit of dust, to our globe, to the spiralling stars above.

7. The fundamental aim of cosmic spirituality is radical moral/mental transformation, personal and societal.

TomHarpur  is a theologian whose focus is on cosmic spirituality. His Web site is

Additional articles by Tom Harpur

Alan Larus  

I went to a hotel
at the tip of Denmark
where for more than a hundred years
 each evening through the summer
the crowd gathers for red wine
at sunset

They rise in silence
and afterward applaud.

Such a silly thing to do
I thought
until this evening.


more photos here

Mary Bianco - NDSN    I

nternet Flash Movie, at  Recalls King’s Warnings Against the Ravages of War.  

The internet flash movie excerpts Dr. King’s April 4, 1967 speech at Riverside Church in New York City and overlays his words with images from the Vietnam War and the current Iraq War. A loop of a Tupac Shakur song provides a musical background. Over images of war abroad and poverty at home, Dr. King’s voice tells viewers: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”


Practice of Meditation

Dogen (1200-1253)

Truth is perfect and complete in itself. It is not something newly discovered; it has always existed. Truth is not far away; it is ever present. It is not something to be attained since not one of your steps leads away from it.

Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.

What is truth? The truth is the reality of mind which is formless and pervades the ten directions. It is being used presently right before your eyes, yet people do not trust it sufficiently, so they accept terms and expressions, seeking to assess Buddhism conceptually in the written word. They are as far away as the sky is from earth.

The slightest movement of your dualistic thought will prevent you from entering the palace of meditation and wisdom.

The Buddha meditated for six years, Bodhidharma for nine. The practice of meditation is not a method for the attainment of realization-it is enlightenment itself.

Your search among books, word upon word, may lead you to the depths of knowledge, but it is not the way to receive the reflection of your true self. When you have thrown off your ideas as to mind and body, the original truth will fully appear. Zen is simply the expression of truth; therefore longing and striving are not the true attitudes of Zen.

[ continues at:  ]

Gill Eardley - Allspirit Inspiration

The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you've gotten
the fish, you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists
because of the rabbit; once you've gotten the rabbit, you can
forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning; once you've
gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I
find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word
with him?

~Chuang Tzu
(Translated by Burton Watson)

Viorica Weissman - HarshaSatsangh

Maalok: Surrender to God or the Guru is rare in today's times. But you have mentioned that in your life quite often you simply had to surrender. Could you give some incidents from your life that illustrate the feeling of surrender to destiny?      

David Godman :    

We all think that we are in charge of our lives, that we are responsible for our well-being and the well-being of our dependents. We might acknowledge at a theoretical level that God is in charge of the world, that God does everything, but that doesn't stop us planning and scheming and doing. Sometimes, we find something we can't control - a child may be dying of leukemia despite the best medical treatment - so we turn to God and ask for divine intervention. This is not surrender, it's just more doing. It's seeking an extra resource when all the traditional ones have failed.        

Surrender is different. It's acknowledging that God runs the world every minute of every day, that He is not just an extra resource, a deus ex machina, that one turns to in times of need. Surrender is not asking that things be different; it is acceptance and gratitude for things being the way they are. It's not a grit-your-teeth stoicism either; it's the experience of joy in God's dispensation, whatever it might be.        

About twenty years ago I read a Christian book entitled Thank You God. Its basic thesis was that one should continuously thank God for the way things are right now, not petition Him for things to be different. That means thanking Him for all the terrible things that are going on in your life, not just thanking Him for the good stuff that is coming your way. And this should not just be at the verbal level. One needs to keep saying 'Thank you, God,' to oneself until one actually feels a glow of gratitude. When this happens, there are remarkable and unexpected consequences. Let me give you an example        

There was a woman featured in this book whose husband was an alcoholic. She had organized prayer meetings at her local church in which everyone had prayed to God, asking Him to stop this man from drinking. Nothing happened. Then this woman heard about 'Thank you, God'. She thought, 'Well, nothing else has worked. Let me try this.' She started saying, 'Thank you God for making my husband an alcoholic,' and she kept on saying it until she actually began to feel gratitude inside. Shortly afterwards, her husband stopped drinking of his own accord and never touched alcohol again.        

This is surrender. It's not saying, 'Excuse me God, but I know better than You, so would You please make this happen,' it's acknowledging, 'The world is the way You want it to be, and I thank You for it'.         When this happens in your life, seemingly miraculous things start happening around you. The power of your own surrender, your own gratitude, actually changes the things around you. When I first read about this, I thought, 'This is weird, but it just might work. Let me try it.' At that point in my life, I had been having problems with four or five people whom I was trying to do business with. Despite daily reminders, they were not doing things they had promised to do. I sat down and started saying 'Thank you Mr X for not doing this job. Thank you Mr Y for trying to cheat me on that last deal we did,' and so on. I did this for a couple of hours until I finally did feel a strong sense of gratitude towards these people. When their image came up in my mind, I didn't remember all the frustrations I had experienced in dealing with them. I just had an image of them in my mind towards which I felt gratitude and acceptance.        

The next morning, when I went to work, all of these people were waiting for me. Usually, I had to go hunting for them in order to listen to their latest excuse. All of them were smiling, and all of them had done the jobs I had been pestering them for days to do. It was an astonishing testimonial to the power of loving acceptance. Like everyone else, I am still stuck in the world of doing-doing-doing, but when all my misguided doings have produced an intractable mess, I try to drop my belief that 'I' have to do something to solve this problem, and start thanking God for the mess I have made for myself. A few minutes of this is usually enough to resolve the thorniest of problems.       

When I was sixteen, I took a gliding course. The first time I was given the controls, the glider was wobbling all over the place because I was reacting, or I should say over-reacting, to every minor fluctuation of the machine. Finally, the instructor took the controls away from me and said 'Watch this'. He put the glider on a level flight, put the controls in the central position and then let go of them. The glider flew itself, with no wobbles at all, with no one's hands on the controls. All my effects were just interfering with the glider's natural ability to fly itself. That's how life is for all of us. We persist in thinking that we have to 'do' things, but all our doings merely create problems.       

I am not claiming that I have learned to take my hand off the controls of life and let God pilot my life for me, but I do remember all this, with wry amusement, when problems (all self-inflicted, of course) suddenly appear. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I found myself in the middle of a publishing drama that seemed to be utterly insoluble. It was such a mess, I didn't even try to talk to all the people involved. I went instead to Sri Ramana's samadhi, put the manuscript in front of it, and explained what had happened. I thanked him for the drama and added, 'This is your responsibility, not mine'. I had my eyes closed when I said this. When I opened them, an old friend was there, offering me some chocolate-chip cookies, something that had never happened before. I took them as Ramana's prasad. Later that day the problem was solved in five minutes. All the protagonists (who had been immovable antagonists the day before) came together and the work was completed amicably in record time.  

  Daily Dharma  


"Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as  the result
of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we  like it or not,
there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from  others' activities. For this
reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness  arises in the context of our
relationships with others. Nor is it so remarkable that our  greatest joy should come when
we are motivated by concern for others. But that is  not all. We find that not only do altruistic
actions bring about happiness but they also  lessen our experience of suffering. Here I am not
suggesting that the individual whose  actions are motivated by the wish to bring others'
happiness necessarily meets with  less misfortune than the one who does not. Sickness, old
age, mishaps of one sort or  another are the same for us all. But the sufferings which
undermine our internal peace  anxiety, doubt, disappointment these things are definitely less.
In our concern for  others, we worry less about ourselves. When we worry less about
ourselves an  experience of our own suffering is less intense. 

"What does this tell us? Firstly, because our every action has a universal dimension, a 
potenial impact on others' happiness, ethics are necessary as a means to ensure that  we do
not harm others. Secondly, it tells us that genuine happiness consists in those  spiritual
qualities of love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness and so on.  For it is these
which provide both for our happiness and others' happiness."
~His  Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama 

From the book, "Ethics for a New Millenium," published by Riverhead.   

  John Metzger - NDS    


                The universe is a womb of Exuberant
              Fertility ( Asvhaghosha ) at base an incon-
              ceivable silence and purity and emptiness---
                Existence is a frown on Avalokitesvara's
              pure brow---a cloud in the clear mind of
                Avalokitesvara has made himself into
              all things, he made himself into blades
              of grass, cars speeding down the road,
              toy lambs, the sun, old trees once young,
                Why did he make himself into a Womb of
              Exuberant Fertility? He made himself into
              someone asking that question---
                 He is exuberant ( as you can see ) when
              a man is stomping another to death with
              his shoes,---when a Bodhisattva Awakened
              Hero listens to the Inconceivable Silence.

                   Why did Avalokitesvara make himself
               into Picasso, pictures, light bulbs?---
               Exuberantly he even manifested Whys,
               Wherefores, and I-Dont-Cares, all the
            attitudes in this great 10-Dimensional movie
           in Crystal Reality---
         He invented the words real and unreal---neither of            
           which means anything---
        Throw yourself into the fray, all of it is Exuberance---
      He made Self, which is so hard to disengage yet he makes Self lose Self every day------ Exuberantly he sees that there is no Self---Reincarnation is refleshing of New Selves from the Old---They are all the same Self and the same No-Self
     ---Ah it's Simple---Avalokitesvara is both man and woman---is the tree, the chopper and the chopping, exuberant ----------
  Avalokitesvara is death, pain, lamentation, despair---
is life, poetry, pleasure, joy, happy-thoughts---
is at base Neither---
Avalokitesvara  is the Holy Ghost who magically emanated the world from the Exuberance of his Perfect Bliss in Golden All Now----
--"be mindful of the vision before your present eyes"-----
it's all the Holy Hero---------------------------------------Mind is the                                                                                Builder---from
henceforth, this
moment on, build it
with your mind----------
  Oh human being, your previous "setbacks" were when
you didnt realize that you had built it with your mind---
Cold Comfort?
  Avalokitesvara and his Womb in his Exuberance is cold comfort for the self---   The mist rain mountains bespeak it---
Like imaginary blossoms in the sky which appear only to be in the sky he magically breathed forth these Living Selves, these Sentient Beings, and let them to twinkle on and off like cosmic particles in the sky, in the air---
  The very last fogshroud ridge do bespeaketh it---does bespeak the selves everywhere---incarnated in loss, lust, mystery and misery--- Re-incarnated
in traphood's self estapular coneroign---All one mighty action taking place in mind the builder---Whalen told me: "You see the red sun
   falling through the leaves?
  It's your fault!"---John Cassidy said
"You know why I'm so happy?
   Because I'm sad"


The moss, the rain, the tossed ferns,---the empty space of the sky, the concept of empty space,---all a ridiculously exuberant dreamed-up beliberated deliberate bleak reality formed for loss in upyards of the fray-----------
                   sicka the fray
                   sicka shoes
                   sicka sicka
                   sicka the blues
                Sic me Rover
                   I'm goin Over
                   I'm goin over
                          the other
                                    We find it hard to disengage from self but once it's done the thing is won
                                           Victory is One
Avalokitesvara Buddha
Write Thy prayer
In thy hand                                                        
Upon the page
Of Sacristan
Upon the page of meanings
Upon the page of empty paper
Upon th'insubstantial page
Upon the Erasure---erase
The race, the fray---O Lord Me.
Purify my longings, point to Thee
--Make me shut up the Book of Innisfree---
Make me disappear
Make me You
I am You
  I am
    of the Universe
      for now
   in my mind
( as I go along
singing by the hedge
the song of Exuberance )
  excerpt, some of the dharma, Jack Kerouac  

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: