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Jerry Katz
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#2630 - Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nondual Highlights  


photo: screenshot from Second Life    

    The movie The Matrix ( showed how reality is the programming of the mind and how enlightenment or waking up is deprogramming or the understanding of programming.   In the spirit of Halloween it could be said that our programmed "false self" is like the perpetual costume we wear.   Well now we have another entertaining way of learning about how reality is programmed and how false selfs are developed.  

The latest Matrix-like entertainment opportunity is known as Second Life. Dustin brought this to my attention. The following is from an article on Second Life at  

Second Life (SL) isn’t really a game. It’s a virtual world created by Linden Labs where you “walk” or even “fly” around a 3D graphical environment, interacting with avatars — computer representations of actual people who are also in the world. It doesn’t cost anything to join the action, but if you want land or posessions, you need to pay real money for them. And if you build up property or can create a cool line of clothes, you can make a business out of it that pays you real money converted from the game’s “Linden dollars.”  

This is from an article in Popular Science: 

I’m standing in an airy train station surrounded by rolling, wooded hills. Distant sounds of birds and trickling water reach my ears over a low buzz of chitchat from the people around me. They have come from all over North America to meet here, and now they’re lounging on couches and standing in sociable little clots. Ballerinas are talking to men in body armor, while guys in suits show off their dance moves to aliens and ladies with wings. I try not to stare.

Or rather, a digital version of me called an avatar tries not to stare. I’m sitting at my computer, and my point of view hovers about three feet behind as I use the arrow buttons on my keyboard to amble toward the street outside. Next to me, a blue elf and a towering woman in a black cape tap on invisible keyboards that hover in the air. I can hear the click of the keys, and cartoon speech bubbles near their heads reveal that they’re discussing computer programming.


"I’m sitting at my computer, and my point of view hovers about three feet behind as I use the arrow buttons on my keyboard to amble toward the street outside." Hey, that sounds a lot like Suzanne Segal's description of her condition of awareness following her instant collision with emptiness. Listen:

I lifted my right foot to step up into the bus and collided head-on with an invisible force that entered my awareness like a silently exploding stick of dynamite, blowing the door of my usual consciousness open and off its hinges, splitting me in two. In the gaping space that appeared, what I had previously called "me" was forcefully pushed out of its usual location inside me into a new location that was approximately a foot behind and to the left of my head. "I" was now behind my body looking out at the world without using the body's eyes. From a non-localized position somewhere behind and to the left, I could see my body in front and very far away.

Second Life allows us to get a new perspective on the world in which the "real you" could be called awareness itself and what you see is not out of the eyes of your character but it is seeing itself, headlessness, or the seeing of everything at once. 

The Second Life website is here: Second Life is an opportunity for having fun, interacting with other people, and creating real businesses. It also shows how we program lives and may nudge us to question why we program in certain ways and what programming is.

At some point we may look at our "real" life and come to see it as no more real than Second Life. Then we are seeing with a quality similar to what Suzanne Segal saw, as awareness itself. This is also known as headlessness. Suzanne passed away at a young age and was a babe. You might want to read her book: Collision with the Infinite:


photo: Suzanne Segal


And as far as using movies or computer worlds to understand our nature and reality, and as far as calling nondual chicks babes, this is all life. We are many things. I have always worked to bring nonduality to the people. There has been some success in that regard. Jay Michaelson has made the term nonduality a household word for readers of his publication, Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture: In his most recent article, Kashrut and Nonduality, Jay writes:

nondual spiritual practice must be all-pervasive. If you
suppose that God is only present in the pleasant stuff - on a summer's day but
not in a cancer ward, when you're feeling relaxed but not when you're tense -
then you've still making the same dualist error: God is here, but not there. In
fact, the best spiritual practice might be one that neither provides the allure of
the present nor the expiation of the difficult - but one which is utterly
transparent, colorless, and thus always available.

Read the entire article at

Nothing is outside the world of nonduality. It is up to us to see the world. Initially we see that we are a body with awareness. Very few people probably actually recognize that. Then like Suzanne Segal or the players of Second Life, perspective reverses and we are awareness seeing the body and the world. Then there is awareness alone.

The last step is the one that can't be talked about. The gateless gate leads there. Gateless because ... well ... cuz it's hard to imagine a construction worker getting up in the morning and saying to his wife, "Gotta go to work on that damn gate between the world and pure reality. Are my damn eggs ready?"

"Eat your eggs and..."

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