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 #2025 Sunday, January 9, 2005 Editor: Mark


Q: How to maintain the thought that all is Brahman in the midst of worldly activity?

M: When the harmonium is being played there is a constant note that is called the
sruti. Along with that, other notes also come out. If the ear is fixed on this note that is constant, then while listening to the other notes, that original note cannot be forgotten. Actually, that first note gives strength to all the other notes. So, the principle to understand is that the first note is the adhistana (substratum) while the other notes represent worldly activities. During worldly activities if (awareness of) the note of the adhistana is continuous, whatever is spoken is then done with the authority of this adhistana note. But an ordinary man does not keep his attention on the first note, the adhistana . He merely listens to the subsequent notes. The jnani keeps his attention on the first note. Sukdev (a sage of ancient India) used to keep such attention and maintain his awareness of Brahman. When the attention is fixed properly on the first note, the effect of the other notes will not be felt.

- excerpt from
The Power of the Presence, Part One, edited by David Godman

Look here, my son! He who has forgotten his true nature is alternately born and dies, turning round and round in the unceasing wheel of time, like a feather caught up in a whirlwind, until he realised the true nature of the Self. If he comes to see the individual self and its substratum, the Overself, then he becomes the substratum, i.e., Brahman, and escapes rebirth. Should you know yourself no harm will befall you. As you asked I have told you this.

- excerpt from
Kaivalya Navaneeta (The Cream of Emancipation) - posted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman

Chapter Two:

Awareness Watching Awareness
Practice Instructions:
Description Z:

Shut your eyes.

The progression of the practice
over days, weeks, months, years:

Awareness Watching Awareness.

Awareness Observing Awareness.

Awareness Aware of Itself.

Awareness being aware only of Awareness.

Awareness being Awareness.

Awareness Alone.



with no suffering or sorrow.

- posted to awarenesslovebliss


In response to the email ‘Motivation to Practise’ a student writes:

"This topic interests me, too. I agree - one spur is the desire for truth, which becomes quite acute when one's world view has been turned upside down as mine has.

There is an urgent need to re-stabilise 'the world' - all the inconsistencies I am left with now just have to be resolved if I am to be at all comfortable!

Reward is also a potent motivator. With the realization of no self, no phenomenal world, comes immediately the much stronger realization of the equality of everything (everyone) and a lessening of anxiety about one's own being.

So there is the reward of a certain freedom from oneself and of the precious quality of everyone and everything, which is love. As I become more involved, these feelings become stronger, and as they are pleasant, they are their own rewards."

Shenpen replies:

That is true.


"Finally, there is plain curiosity. What is Life and how does it come and go - or does it? So far any continuity I intuit is so far from any personal continuation as to be quite useless as solace about my living forever.

This realization brings with it its own solace in a different way from what I thought before (total extinction) because I do have a funny feeling that something goes on.

This confusion is also a spur to find out, to work out a system (which you have told me not to try!) or at least get the satisfaction of understanding in some other inexpressible way!"


I think that you are touching on something very profound there.

I have just been reading two books by David Bohm, "Wholeness and the Implicate Order" and "Unfolding Meaning". He was a physicist and he proposed a view of the Universe very much on the lines that I am teaching - so it’s a good place to look for some conceptual underpinning of what we are talking about.

He says: "By simply becoming aware of the question the answer was already there. You see the new idea was already in the question, right? So you can ask, where does the facility to be aware of the questions come from, and perhaps that is the nature of awareness".

He talks about meaning being capable of indefinite extensions "you can have meanings of meanings" maybe meaning is what life is. A change of meaning is a change of life - consciousness is meaning'.


"The reminder about the power of adhistana (blessing) during the retreat coupled with what I feel about not being entirely separate from anything else begins to explain the power of crowds and to confirm what I am doing by going to church here in the village.

There I am in company with good-hearted people living in a way and for values I greatly respect. I felt they needed support, and I also feel I am supported by them, who welcome me knowing I am Buddhist."


That sounds really good.


"I went to the doctor who suggested counselling. At first I had thought I should be able to deal with this through meditation but realised that the fact is, I am not managing as happily as I need - having someone else listen, hearing her suggestions and practising them, has indeed helped!

She was very interested when I told her I was Buddhist and meditated and (I feel) has amended her suggestions to suit this."


That all sounds very positive. I think counselling is often a good way of working with someone to become more aware of what is going on within oneself. There is a very good book, "Focusing", by Eugene Gendlin that talks about what it is exactly that brings about changes.

It’s to do with the way we focus our awareness. If a person is focusing in this way then the therapy can succeed and if they are not, it won’t. You can tell more or less right off whether therapy will work by whether the person is focusing in this way or not.

It’s a very simple and unpretentious book but it is really talking about the way one focuses in meditation. It’s very interesting.

- Shenpen Hookham, Buddhism Connect

More here:

Love Untitled 28

I climb over the distractions
of the day to get to you,
and they are many, these

rusting hulks of former years
that litter the roadways,

these landfills of memory
and intrusions of other people
who appear as ghosts,

transparent in sunlight,
who yet demand words and
attention and hold me in time.

I have endless night dreams where
I am here trying to get there,

only I can’t describe either place and
am lost in city streets and crowds
who rush past as if I were invisible

till I become so even to myself and
I wake breathless and clutching air

and whispering your name.
Some days you appear as a mirage
at the end of a summer road,

this shimmer of love and delight
who recedes with each step I take,

who entrances me ever further into
this love, this madness that entangles,
this heaving ground under my feet.

I am eating grass like some lost dog
starving in abandoned lots

sniffing down new green shoots,
tearing into them, yet they are never enough
until somehow, transformed, they are.

Zen Oleary, January 8, 2004, posted to truevision

Is the heart the place between this branch and the next, to use the analogy of the monkey?

If you agree to let go of the branch you are clinging to without catching hold of another, you fall into the heart. You have to accept dying, letting everything you know slip away, everything you have been taught, everything you possess, including your life or at least everything that you think at this stage is your life. This requires daring. It's a kind of suicide.

Is it really like that? For example, do you remember the moments that preceded your recognition?


Was it like that?


Thank you. Before that did you have any idea what was going to happen?

Yes and no. Yes, because I felt the invitation. No, because up until that point, I had only known relative happiness, relative truth, relative knowledge, and I could not have imagined the absolute, the ineffable. The self is beyond all concept, all projection. It is why we cannot steer ourselves to it under our own steam and must wait for it to solicit us. But when it invites us, we must say yes joyfully, without hesitation. The decision belongs to us, the only decision in which we truly have a free choice.
One of the reasons I postpone and do not make myself available to the invitation is my fear that my life will be radically changed.

Oh, yes. It will be.

My family, as well?

Your family, too. Everything will be changed.

I am afraid that some people will leave me and be replaced by others.

I can assure you that you will regret nothing.

Is it possible to have received the invitation and to have refused it?

Yes, you are free.

Will I be invited again?

Yes. Be ready. Be available. You are available when you understand that there is nothing that you can do on your own to get to the King. When you acknowledge your total powerlessness, you become an empty room. As soon as you become an empty room, you are a sanctuary. So the King can enter, take the throne and grace you with immortal presence.

- Francis Lucille on Advaita

More here:

top of page