Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:


Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page

Nondual Highlights Issue #1770 Saturday, April 17, 2004 Editor: Mark

Liberation, enlightenment, is completed when there is no more identification with body, thinking or feeling: when someone has understood that 'the world' is nothing else than a way of thinking, and that thoughts are nothing but Consciousness, than the Essence, Knowingness. When someone has really understood that thoughts cannot understand anything because a thought is nothing more than an object, and when someone has come to experience that there is no such thing as personality, then the deep silence in which all thoughts dissolve, and thus also the world, breaks through.

Whoever has come so far with the directions of a competent instructor needs to do nothing else. In the beginning the silence might be colored by the absence of thoughts: it is like when a painting that has been hanging somewhere on a wall for many years is removed; one day the person who lives there takes the painting down and you come in. What do you see? At first you don't see the wall, you see the absence of the painting.

That is what it's like with this state of silence; at first you were hindered by thoughts: by the feeling that's gradually becoming vaguer that you were a thinker, then thoughts and feelings disappear, and now you notice their absence. The accent is not on the silence yet, but on the absence of the other things. But now you only have to wait, you only have to make your self open to the Unknown.

Gradually the symptoms of the great harmony arrive. A deep feeling of peace, of warmth, a feeling that everything is good, arises from the heart. This feeling that comes and goes, is not the absolute, not the Unknown, but it is a manifestation, it is like the first rays of dawn coming over the horizon.

Then you have to find the right attitude; vague feelings of I-ness, of personality, that still exist have to be allowed to dissolve in these soft feelings. You need not so much surrender (that still sounds too active), but you have to allow it to fill you; you have to allow – desire without desire - that this soft feeling takes the place of whatever little trace of personality that is still there.

Above all, you must not allow the personality, the automatic habits, to be in a hurry, to desire that it has to happen now. As long as there is any notion of 'now' you are still caught in time – therefore in the mental - and the realization can never take place in the mental – you have to be constantly aware of that. So, you need only allow that warm, soft feeling to wash away the last traces of the personality, blown away like a light feather in an almost imperceptible sigh on a still evening.

Then the complete emptiness breaks through. Much has been said and written about this emptiness in all the great and living spiritual traditions, sometimes in a poetic way, sometimes in an almost clinical-philosophical manner, but again and again the theme returns.

'The use of a bowl depends on its emptiness' says Lao Tzu. A full bowl can no longer be used for something else. And so it is when thinking and feeling are filled with other things, that they cannot be filled by the Unknown, by the Essence. Therefore one must take care to be always 'empty'.

In the beginning this can only happen for short intervals, (even though no time exists in this situation and one cannot speak of long or short), but slowly but surely the emptiness installs itself in us even when we are busy with our daily tasks. We don't tackle problems any more with all kinds of notions, we no longer trust in our knowledge, our memory or experiences, but we approach them empty and naked. Everything else happens by itself: initially to our great surprise it appears that the world takes care of itself; the right idea comes at the right moment, we don't know from where, but we have no worries about that anymore. Actions happen virtually effortlessly because there is no one any more who is carrying them out; the Zen Buddhists say that the work does itself.

- excerpt from "absent" by Wolter Keers in
Amigo, No. 0, September, 2001.

More here:

- Image by Mary Bianco, found in the NDS photo section.

everything objective
depends on the subject
nothing objective
has a life of it’s own

all mind forms depend
on who has them
everything (even the notion of god)
depends on you

- cee from her book
What to Know Before You Die

Available here:


How does a part of the world leave the world?
How can wetness leave water?

Don't try to put out a fire
by throwing on more fire!
Don't wash a wound with blood!

No matter how fast you run,
your shadow more than keeps up.
Sometimes, it's in front!

Only full, overhead sun
diminishes your shadow.

But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.

I can explain this, but it would break
the glass cover on your heart,
and there's no fixing that.

You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout
on you, be quieter than a dove.
Don't open your mouth for even a cooooooo.

When a frog slips into the water, the snake
cannot get it. Then the frog climbs back out
and croaks, and the snake moves toward him again.

Even if the frog learned to hiss, still the snake
would hear through the hiss the information
he needed, the frog voice underneath.

But if the frog could be completely silent,
then the snake would go back to sleeping,
and the frog could reach the barley.

The soul lives there in the silent breath.

And that grain of barley is such that,
when you put it in the ground,
it grows.
Are these enough words,
or shall I squeeze more juice from this?
Who am I, my friend?

- Ghazal (Ode) 2155 from Rumi's Diwan-e Shams, translated by Coleman Barks and posted on Sunlight

What Was Told, That

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

- Rumi "What Was Told,
That from The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems, translated by Coleman Barks and published by Harper Collins

- image by Michelle Angel

More of Michelles work here:

Do you think that you can clear your mind by sitting constantly in silent meditation? This makes your mind narrow, not clear. Integral awareness is fluid and adaptable, present in all places and at all times. That is true meditation... The Tao is clear and simple, and it doesn't avoid the world.

- excerpt from
The Hua Hu Ching

Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself -
And there isn't one.

-Wei Wu Wei, from
Ask the Awakened


"Things just happen to be as they are, but we want to build them into a pattern, laid down by the structure of our language. " Nisargadatta, p. 376

Once one needed a thorn
to removed a thorn buried in skin.
Now one needs a doctor,
an assistant, an office, a needle,
a bandage, a bill, payment,
debt, divorce from the land
where the thorns still grow,
but will be annihilated in
the course of "development," leaving
the once admired crimson roses
to decay unnoticed to soil.
Desire, roses, suffering, fear gone.

- Grow, a poem by Jan Haag, inspired by Maharaj Nisargadatta.

  This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, spiritual, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

More here:


- Image by Michelle Angel

The Reality is You

What brings you here to me is that you want to 'reach reality'. Who is this 'I' that wants to reach reality? Is it this body complex, this psychosomatic apparatus? And are you sure that reality will accept you? And how will you reach it, is it by taking a high jump or perhaps by a rocket or through a mental leap? And where exactly out there is this reality, and what will it do for you, that you are so anxious to reach it? Don't you realize how funny all this is? The truth is that this entity which you think you are, based on this body complex and consciousness is totally false. When you see the false as false, then what remains is true. That which was prior to this body and consciousness, that which is everpresent... that is your true identity... that is reality. It is here and now. It is what you really are... the relative absence, the absolute presence. Where is the question of reaching it? You are the reality. Be it.

The desire for freedom, which arises in the heart of the seeker in the initial stages gradually disappears when he realizes that he himself is what he has been seeking. But if this desire continues to persist then it implies two blocks. It assumes the presence and continuance of an entity wanting 'freedom', whereas for a phenomenal object there can be no question of freedom because it has no independent existence, and so can never be separated from the total functioning of the manifestation. And it also assumes that reality can somehow be captured at the mindlevel, trying to capture the unknown and unknowable within the parameters of the known. But that is impossible.

When the impersonal consciousness personalized itself by identification with the sentient object, thinking of it as 'I', the effect was to transform the 'I', which was essentially the subject, into an object. It is this objectivizing of pure subjectivity, this false identifying of the unlimited with the limited, which can be called bondage. It is from this entityfication that freedom is sought. Liberation, therefore, can be nothing other than the immediate understanding that self-identification is false. The situation can be likened to a five year old girl who has been decked out in fine clothes and lovely ornaments. The same child three years earlier would have either ignored the fine clothes or would have accepted them as a nuisance forced on her by the doting parents. But now, after the conditioning that she has received, the child cannot wait until she can go out and gloat over the envy of her little friends who don't possess such fineries. What has happened between infancy and childhood is exactly that which is the obstacle to your seeing your true nature. The infant, unlike the child, still retains its subjective personality and identity. Before the conditioning, it refers to itself by its name, not as 'me', functions naturally as part of the total functioning without seeing itself as a separate personal entity, an object posing as a subject? Personal entity and enlightenment cannot go together; indeed there is neither entity nor enlightenment... under­standing this deeply is itself enlightenment. Freedom is the unshakeable knowledge of your real nature; it is the total negation of entityness.

Once it is understood that an entity is merely a conceptual notion, then what follows is a reintegration into universality. Then you just watch life 'being lived', realizing that relatively speaking, you as manifestation are but a puppet being manipulated in a dreamworld. When you apperceive this intuitively, spontaneously, thoughtlessly, then this itself will be the awakening from this Maya-dream. Having understood that there can never be any individual entity with independent choice of action, then how could 'you' entertain any intentions? And in the absence of intentions how could there be any involvement with Karma? Then, you become perfectly aligned with whatever happens, accepting events without any feeling either of achievement or frustration. Such living would then be non-volitional living, an absence of doing and deliberate non-doing, going through your allotted span of life wanting nothing and avoiding nothing, free of conceptualizing and objectivizing. Then, when this phenomenal life disappears in due course it leaves you in absolute presence.

- excerpt from
The Non-Dualistic Teachings of Sri Nisargadatta, compiled by Al Drucker, Prashanti Nilayam, June '87

More here:

top of page

Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: