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Jerry Katz
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Nondual Highlights Issue #1954 Tuesday, October 19, 2004 Editor: Mark


One evening I returned to my hermitage from a walk in the hills, and I found that all the doors and windows of the hermitage had been blown open. When I left the house, I hadn’t secured them, and a cold wind blew through the house, opened the windows, and scattered the papers from the desk all over the room. Immediately I closed the doors and windows, lit a lamp, picked up the papers, and arranged them neatly on my desk. Then I started a fire in the fireplace, and soon the crackling logs brought warmth back to the room.

Sometimes in a crowd we feel tired, cold, and lonely. We may wish to withdraw to be with ourselves and become warm again, as I did at the hermitage sitting by the fire, protected from the cold, damp wind. Our senses are our windows to the outside world, and sometimes the wind blows and disturbs everything within us. Many of us leave our windows open all the time, allowing the sights and sounds of the world to invade us, penetrate us, and expose our sad, troubled selves. We feel so cold and lonely and afraid. Do you ever find yourself watching an awful TV program, unable to turn it off? The raucous noises, explosions of gunfire, are upsetting. Yet you don’t get up and turn it off. Why do you torture yourself in this way? Don’t you want to close your windows? Are you afraid of solitude - the emptiness and the loneliness you may find when you face yourself alone?

We are what we feel and perceive. If we are angry, we are the anger. If we are in love, we are the love. If we look at a snowy mountain peak, we are the mountain. Watching a bad TV program, we are the TV program. While dreaming, we are the dream. We can be anything we want, even without a magic wand. So why do we open our windows to bad movies and TV programs, movies made by sensationalist producers in search of easy money, movies which make our hearts pound, our fists tighten, and send us back into the streets exhausted? Who allows such movies and TV programs to be made? Especially for the very young. We do! We are too undemanding, too ready to watch whatever is on the screen, too lonely, too lazy, or bored to create our own lives. We turn on the TV and leave it on, allowing someone else to guide us, shape us, and destroy us. Losing ourselves in this way is leaving our fate in the hands of others who may not be acting responsibly. We must be aware of what kinds of prgrams do harm to our nervous systems, our minds, and our hearts, and which programs and films benefit us.

I am not just talking about movies and TV programs. All around us, how many lures are set there by our fellows and ourselves? In a single day, how many times do we become lost and scattered because of them? We must be very careful to protect our fate and our peace. That does not mean shutting all our windows, for there are many miracles in the world we call ‘outside.’ Open your windows to these miracles. Look at any one of them with the light of awareness. Even while sitting beside a clear, flowing stream listening to beautiful music, or watching an excellent movie, do not entrust yourself entirely to the stream, the music, or the film. Continue to be aware of yourself and your breathing. With the sun of awareness shining in us, we can avoid most dangers - the stream will be purer, the music more harmonious, and the soul of the artist completely visible in the film.

Around us, life bursts forth with miracles - a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.

Have a look at the apple tree in your yard. Look at it with complete attention. It is truly a miracle. If you notice it, you will take good care of it, and you too are part of its miraculousness. Even after caring for it for only a week, its leaves are already greener and shinier. It is exactly the same with people who are around you. Under the influence of awareness, you become more attentive, understanding, and loving, and your presence not only nourishes you and makes you lovelier, it enhances them as well. Our entire society can be changed by one person’s peaceful presence.

Our minds create everything. The majestic mountain top, brilliant with snow, is you yourself when you contemplate it. Its existence depends on your awareness. When you close your eyes, as long as your mind is present, the mountain is there. Sitting in meditation, with several sense-windows closed, you feel the presence of the whole universe. Why? Because the mind is there. If your eyes are closed, it is so that you can see better. The sights and sounds of the world are not your ‘enemies.’ Your ‘enemy’ is forgetfulness, the absence of mindfulness.

- Thich Nhat Hanh, from
Essential Writings, edited by Robert Ellsberg, posted to awakenedawareness by Ben Hassine

I've always loved friends of the Way,
Always held them dear.
Meeting a stranger with silent springs;
Greeting a guest talking zen;
Talking about mysteries on a moonlit night;
Searching for truth until dawn,
The tracks of our inventions disappear,
And we see who we really are.

- Han-shan, posted to DailyDharma

Bluebirds & Things

We speak often
in dreams
connected as we are

by a thread
that winds around
the universe

when a deer walks
in a forest in Kerala
or a sea lion snuffles

on a rock or
a tiger pads at
the water's edge

the eardrum
of the world
vibrates this web

we're woven into
like spider's prey
& we whisper

people songs
made with words
while crickets

rub thighs together
& howler monkeys
laugh themselves

off branches and
we dream talking
of bluebirds & things.

Zen Oleary, October 19, 2004, posted to SufiMystic


across the lake
the tree a nest
the nest an egg
inside the blue

the heartbeat of the galaxies
a promise and a key

each step observed.
each land and sea

how nothing ever ever
did not come on through

this narrow lane

how nothing ever ever
did not pass

this empty handed thief

to imagine he's
been asking 'who am I?'

makes me laugh,
makes me cry

with a hammer hitting carefully,
on who can he
rely to be

A fragile jar
so utterly
and plainly obsolete.

this one and only
thought of it?

- Al Larus, link posted to AdyashantiSatsang

Suppose you know the definitions of all substances
and their derivatives,
what good is this to you?
Know the true definition of yourself.
That is indispensable.
Then, when you know your own definition, flee from it,
that you may attain to the One who cannot be defined,
O sifter of the dust.

- Rumi, from
Mathnawi V:564-565, version by Camille and Kabir Helminski, Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance, Threshold Books, 1996, posted to Sunlight

The play of concepts is endless. Concepts about the body, the mind, spirit, universe, cosmos, big bang, small bang, how the world came into being, shiva, shakti, etc.

And then there are concepts about concepts, and thoughts about the nature of thoughts!

What to do? The questions are thoughts and the answers are thoughts.

And thinking about questions and answers requires thoughts.

What to do?

Nothing to do.

The quicksand of concepts entangles one more and more, the more seriously one takes them. It is the stuff of religion, philosophy, spirituality, great writers, great thinkers, great teachers, great leaders, etc.

The presumption to understand, teach, and help others to improve themselves reveals the unrelenting grip of the ego.

But the ego is not bad. It is something natural. It arises as a natural condition.

The wise say, that, "I am the doer" notion is bondage.

The real method to self knowledge is simple.

To go to the root of the ego or the mind, one needs to become aware of one's complete helplessness. That takes time. That takes spiritual maturity. To feel truly that not my will Lord but thy will be done. In doing so, the surrender can take place and one can naturally do what one is destined to do.

If by Grace, one can bring the awareness upon its own essence, to see and feel its own essential being, that is all that needs to be one. That is all that can be done!

In this awareness, one can stare at the originating point of thoughts and feelings and symbols and visions which rise in it, and see itself as the source, not as a thought but as a well of being that perpetually springs forth in itself and dissolves in itself never losing its inherent quality of naturalness, sat-chit-ananda.

It is the essence of simplicity. Pure Being. That is what Sri Ramana taught. To be aware of the "I AM" as feeling/awareness. That is the direct practice. To be simply aware of yourself.

Spiritual practitioners seek complex and glamorous practices leading to rich experiences and knowledge. This is good as well. All according to one's inclinations.

But there are some who have consumed enough knowledge and enough experiences and lose the desire for any of it. Spontaneously, the directness of one's own awareness manifests as one's own self. One's Own Self is the Self of all. One Heart. Same Heart. All Heart.

Love to all

- originally posted to HarshaSatsang on October 31, 2003, and reposted to MillionPaths by Gloria Lee


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