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 | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#2508 - Monday, June 26, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

A question:  If we simply dropped all of our concepts and "thoughts" about everything including self, ego, others, karma, Dzogchen, Buddhism, teachings, teachers, empowerments, paths of practice, techniques etc., and simply took refuge in our non-conceptual Presence of Awareness, what issues would remain needing to be clarified?    

Jax on Dzogchen Practice  

Intelligent practice always deals with just one thing: the fear at the base of human existence, the fear that I am not.

And of course I am not, but the last thing I want to know is that.

I am impermanence itself in a rapidly changing human form that appears solid. I fear to see what I am: an ever-changing energy field...

So good practice is about fear. Fear takes the form of constantly thinking, speculating, analyzing, fantasizing. With all that activity we create a cloud cover to keep ourselves safe in make-believe practice. True practice is not safe; it's anything but safe. But we don't like that, so we obsess with our feverish efforts to achieve our version of the personal dream. Such obessive practice is itself just another cloud between ourselves and reality.

The only thing that matters is seeing with an impersonal searchlight: seeing things as they are. When the personal barrier drops away, why do we have to call it anything? We just live our lives. And when we die, we just die. No problem anywhere.

-- Charlotte Joko Beck,
in Everyday Zen

    In traditional Buddhist texts the five energies of Lust, Aversion, Torpor, Restlessness, and Doubt are called "Mind Hindrances" ...because they obscure clear seeing, just as sandstorms in the desert or fog on a highway can cause travelers to get lost. They hinder the possibility of us reconnecting with the peaceful self that is our essential nature. They confuse us. We think they are real. We forget that our actual nature is not the passing storm. The passing storm is the passing storm. Our essence remains our essence all the time.

Five different energies seem like a limited menu, but they present themselves in an infinite variety of disguises. Ice cream sundaes are different from pizzas are different from sex, but fundamentally they are all objects of the lustful desire....Grumbly mind is grumbly mind; sleepy mind is sleepy mind; restless mind is restless mind; doubtful mind is doubtful mind.

The fact that it's in the nature of minds for storms to arise and pass away is not a problem....[It] helps in keeping the spirits up to remember that the weather is going to change. Our difficult mind states become a problem only if we believe they are going to go on forever.

-- Sylvia Boorstein


  "The particular skill required is that it must be a state of total relaxation which is not distracted or dull. It is not an objective experience of looking for the mind or looking at the mind. On the other hand, it is not a blind process; we are not unaware. There is seeing without looking; there is dwelling in the experience without looking at the experience. This is the keynote of the intuitive approach."   "While the mind is poised in the state of bare awareness, there is no directing the mind. One is not looking within for anything; one is not looking without for anything. One is simply letting the mind rest in its own natural state. The empty, clear and unimpeded nature of mind can be experienced if we can rest in an uncontrived state of bare awareness without distraction and without the spark awareness being lost..."    

Ven. Kalu Rinpoche

by Jax on Dzogchen Practice    

Guerrillas in the Garden
Neglected London Plots Beautified on the Sly

By Alexandra Topping
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, June 22, 2006; H01


At a few minutes to 11 on a recent balmy night in East London, a black Ford crawled along the dimly lighted street. The suspicious driver rolled down his window to quiz a young woman by the curb. "What are you doing here?" he asked. The reply came quickly, cheerfully. "Gardening."

She was one of two dozen men and women gathered at a long-neglected public flower bed about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. Under flickering street lamps in the bleak urban landscape, they spent the next four hours transforming the block with pitchforks and spades, fresh soil and plants.

These are London's Guerrilla Gardeners, a fast-growing force of renegades who are breathing life into neglected and timeworn pockets of open land across this vast metropolis.

Similar grass-roots movements are long established in New York, Philadelphia and, on a smaller scale, Washington. But the idea is relatively new to Britain, where people are more likely to wait politely, if vainly, for their municipalities to fix up the public open land.

What makes the British version particularly odd, though, is that it is done under cover of darkness, reinforcing the idea that this is rebellious and illicit. The guerrillas work at night to avoid run-ins with authorities, some of whom may not take kindly to trespassers working on land that is not their own.

The movement was started two years ago by Richard Reynolds, 28, a freelance advertising executive and passionate gardener who first tackled the wasteland around his high-rise apartment in the Elephant and Castle neighborhood in south London. He tells of setting his alarm for the middle of the night and attacking the littered flower bed on his block. He planted vibrant red cyclamens and cordylines, the latter chosen because they were "evergreen, strikingly sculptural, and they echoed the pattern of the spiky metal burglar-preventing fence at the top of the wall."

Soon he was enlisting the help of friends to mount more ambitious raids and, thanks to regular blogs on his Web site ( ) and interest from the British media, Reynolds found he was welcoming more people on every dig.

Today, the Guerrilla Gardeners number more than 1,000 and counting. Reynolds continues to fund most of the plantings himself, but also receives donations from supporters. He tends towards hardy, drought-resistant plants because they won't need much maintenance. A favorite choice is lavender: "It's wind-resistant, drought-resistant, sweet-smelling, floral, honey-bee attracting." Two or three times a month Reynolds sends a group e-mail informing his troops of the next dig's secret location. A select group of the guerrillas comes armed with tools, and sometimes plants, but Reynolds is always at the vanguard, handing out gloves and trowels and directing operations.

Like a lot of big cities, London has its attractive parks and squares, but residents also live with open space that is neglected, trashy and a blight on the urban environment.


Later that evening, the risks of moonlit gardening were exposed. Around 2 a.m., while Reynolds was doing maintenance work on another site, two cops pulled up. "We've had reports that someone is stealing plants from this traffic island," they said. "Yes, young dandelions mostly, officer. Is that okay?" he replied. One look at the roots and they drove off, an example of the "supportive blind eye" that the authorities have taken to the guerrillas' nighttime antics.

The stealth gardening movement is spreading to other cities, such as Brussels; Erie, Pa.; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Reynolds's ambition is to record 100 acts of guerrilla gardening across four continents by Sept. 1; he has 75 to go. His Web site proclaims the group's rallying cry: "Enlist, and let's fight the filth in our public spaces with forks and flowers."



Links to related organizations within the USA:

American Community Gardening Association 

Garden Web - "The Internet's Garden Community"

Trust for Public Land - Land conservation is central to TPL's mission.


top of page