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

Nondual Highlights Issue #2768, Saturday, March 24, 2007, Editor: Mark

When we talk about the witness in our verse,
we talk about you.
A pure heart and a noble demeanor
cannot compete with your radiant face.
They will ask you
what you have produced.
Say to them,
except for Love,
what else can a Lover produce?

- Rumi, posted to MillionPaths

Excerpts from Adya's catalogue just mailed out

The quest for enlightenment is the quest for truth or reality. It's not a quest for ideas about truth - that's philosophy. And it's not a quest to realize your fantasies about truth - that's fundamentalized religion. It's a quest for truth on truth's terms. It's a quest for the underlying principle of life, the unifying element of existence.

In your quiet moments of honesty, you know that your are not who you present yourself, as, or who you pretend to be. Although you have changed identities many times, even in the course of one day, none of them fit for long. They are all in a process of constant decay. One moment you are a loving person, the next an angry one. One day you're an indulgent, worldly person; the next a pure, spiritual love of God. One moment you love your image of yourself, and the next you loathe it. On it goes, identified with one self-image after another, each as separate and false as the last.

When this game of delusion gets boring or painful enough, something within you begins to stir. Out of the unsatisfactoriness of separation arises the intuition that there is something more real than you are now conscious of. It is the intuition that there is truth, although you do not know what it is. Truth that has absolutely nothing to do with your ideas about it.

A great Zen master said, "do not seek the truth; simple cease cherishing illusions."

Seeking truth can be a game, complete with a new identity as a truth-seeker fueled by new ideas and beliefs, but ceasing to cherish illusions is no game; it's a gritty and intimate form of deconstructing yourself down to nothing. Get rid of all your illusions and what is left is the truth. You don't find truth as much as you stumble upon it when you have cast away your illusions.

But you can't stop seeking just because a master said to. Seeking is an energy toward something. Spiritual seekers are moving toward God, nirvana, enlightenment, whatever. To seek something, you must have at least some vague idea or image of what it is you are seeking. But ultimate truth is not an idea or an image or something attained anew. So to seek truth as an objective is a waste of time. Truth can't be found by seeking it, simply because truth is what you are. Seeking what you are is as silly as your shoes looking for their soles by walking in circles. What is the path that will lead your shoes to their soles? That is why the Zen master said, "Do not seek the truth." Instead, cease cherishing illusions.

To cease cherishing illusions is a way of inverting the energy of seeking. The energy of seeking will be there in one form or another until you wake up from the dream state. You can't just get rid of it. You need to learn how to invert it and use the energy to deconstruct the illusions that hold your consciousness in the dream state. This sounds relatively simple, but the consequences can seem quite disorienting, even threatening. I'm not talking about a technique here; I'm talking about a radically different orientation. This is not a little thing. It is a very big thing, and your best chance of awakening depends on it. "Do not seek the truth; simply cease cherishing illusions." And if you are like most spiritually oriented people, your spirituality is your most cherished illusion. Imagine that.

Question: It is elusive. What shall I meditate upon?

Bhagavan: Meditation requires an object to meditate upon, whereas there is only the subject without the object in vichara. Meditation differs from vichara in this way...

Question: Will vichara alone do in the absence of meditation?

Bhagavan: Vichara is the process and the goal also. "I am" is the goal and the final reality. To hold on to it with effort is vichara. When spontaneous and natural it is realization.

To enable the sahdaka (seeker) to steer clear of possible doubt, I tell him to take up the "thread" or the clue of "I"-ness or "I-am"- ness and follow it up to its source. Because, firstly, it is impossible for anybody to entertain any doubt about his "I"-notion; secondly whatever be the sadhana (practice) adopted, the final goal is the realization of the source of "I-am"-ness which is the primary datum of your experience.

If you, therefore, practise atma-vichara (self-inquiry) you will reach the Heart, which is the Self.

"I exist" is the only permanent self-evident experience of everyone. Nothing is so self-evident (pratyaksha) as "I am." What people call self-evident viz., the experience they get through the senses, is far from self-evident. The Self alone is that. Pratyaksha is another name for the Self. So, to do self-analysis and be "I am" is the only thing to do. "I am" is reality. I am this or that is unreal. "I am" is truth, another name for Self.

- Ramana Maharshi, excerpted from One - Essential Writings on Nonduality, edited by Jerry Katz

There are no shoulds.

I can tell you what I do. I notice. I notice what happens, I notice when I seem to be moving/acting from love, I notice when I seem to be acting from delusion. Just noticing is enough. Noticing when you lie. Noticing when you are cruel. Noticing when you are generous and loving for no other reason than it is your nature. And surrendering it all to the All, to whom it belongs.

- Jeannie Zandi, posted to adyashantigroup

Question: Than I can dispense with outside help and by mine own effort get into the deeper truth by myself.

Bhagavan: True. But the very fact that you are possessed of the quest of the Self is a manifestation of the divine grace. It is effulgent in the Heart, the inner being, the real Self. It draws you from within. You have to attempt to get in from without. Your attempt is vichara (inquiry), the deep inner movement is grace. That is why I say there is no real vichara without grace, nor is there grace active for him who is without vichara. Both are necessary.

- Ramana Maharshi, excerpted from One - Essential Writings on Nonduality, edited by Jerry Katz

While the mind is centered in the body and
consciousness is centered in the mind,
awareness is unattached and unshaken. It
is lucid, silent, peaceful, alert and unafraid,
without desire and fear. Meditate on it as
your true being and try to be it in your daily
life, and you shall realize it in its fullness.

Mind is interested in what happens, while
awareness is interested in the mind itself.
The child is after the toy, but the mother
watches the child, not the toy.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj from I Am That - Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to AlongTheWay

The world with all its wonders is nothing.
When you know this, desire melts away.
For you are awareness itself. When you
know in your heart that there is nothing,
you are still.

- Ashtavakra Gita, from The Heart of Awareness: A Translation of the Ashtavakra Gita, by Thomas Byrom, posted to AlongTheWay

top of page