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Jerry Katz
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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3051, Sunay, January 20, 2007, Editor: Mark

Self-inquiry is not a path that leads you somewhere.
It is the path that stops you in your tracks
so that you can discover directly, for yourself,
who you are.

The power of stopping is indescribable.
In the moment of stopping,
there is no concept of anything,
yet there is consciousness.
Consciousness without concept
is naturally and inherently free.
In an instant, it is self-evident.
We are so trained to follow our concepts
that we even turn consciousness itself
into a concept.

In the timeless instant of recognizing
that consciousness exists
without any need of concept,
identification with concept falls away.
This is an essential experience.
What follows is the deepening recognition
that consciousness is free regardless of concept.
This is true freedom.

- Gangaji, from: The Diamond in Your Pocket, posted to The_Now2

The Novel of Life

When you read a novel, and you read about various characters, you may like some and not like others. Or when you watch a movie, think about your relationship with the characters. You might like them; you might not like them—but you're not finding your sense of self in them. You're not referencing your self-worth by the characters in a novel or when you turn on the TV. You just have your thoughts about them.

But imagine if you turned on your TV or you read a novel and you actually completely derived your sense of being and your sense of self from one of the characters. Immediately your perspective is very different, isn't it? Now your perspective has gone from something that's very vast to something that's very limited, seen only through the eyes of the character. Sadly, that's how most human beings spend their lives. They have this little character in their mind called "me," and they're actually viewing that "me" as personal when it's not.

The "me" is very impersonal, not meaning cold or distant, but just meaning without inherent self nature, in the same way that when you read a book, the characters are without self nature. They actually don't exist outside of your imagination. They don't even exist in the book, because the book is just words. And without someone reading the words and bringing it all alive within imagination, nothing even exists on the printed page. It's all within the reader, all the life.

When the Buddha talked about no-self, it was about the self that's an image in the mind being completely seen through, so that experience has nothing to bounce off of - then everything just is as it is. There's no secondary interpretation. Because the one that's interpreting, that's the one that's in pain. That's the one that suffers. That's the one that causes others to suffer.

The false self, the self that's an image in the mind, uses every experience to measure itself: "How am I in relationship to what's happening? Am I wise? Am I stupid? Am I clumsy? Am I courageous? Am I enlightened about this?" That's the movement of consciousness reflecting on an image of itself that doesn't actually exist. It's always measuring each and every experience and then believing in the interpretation of the experience rather than seeing "Everything just is."

Everything actually just is. From consciousness, even resistance just is. And if you resist resistance, that's just what is. You can't get away from it. You start to see that the only thing that goes into resistance or a story or an interpretation of what is - whatever it is - is this mind-created persona, like a character in a novel. When you read a novel, every character has a point of view. It has beliefs. It has opinions. There's something that makes it distinct from other characters. Our persona is literally this mind-created character that's always making itself distinct. So it always needs to evaluate everything against its preconceived idea.

There's another vantage point. The other vantage point is not only outside the character; the other vantage point is also inside the character. It's the ultimate vantage point that's outside, and it's also playing all the parts from the inside.

That's basically what it means to really wake up: we're waking up from the character. You don't have to destroy the character called "me" to wake up from it. In fact, trying to destroy the character makes it very hard to wake up. Because what's trying to destroy the character? The character. What's judging the character? The character.

So you leave the character alone. The character called you, just leave it alone. Then it's much easier for the awakening out of that perspective to happen.

You don't lose the character; you just gain the whole novel of life. It's not like you lose anything. You just gain the whole book. You gain the whole universe. As Buddha would say, "Lose yourself, gain the universe." It's not a bad deal. Or Dogen: "To know yourself is to forget yourself, and to forget yourself is to be enlightened by the 10,000 things," which means to see yourself everywhere. Wake up from your character, and then you see your self nature in all characters - not just one, but all of them.

So we don't lose anything. We gain all characters. We just lose the fixation, that's all.

- Adyashanti

Realization is already within us, within our heart center.

- Khenchen Palden Sherab, posted to SufiMystic

So many people ask the question, "After an awakening experience, what is next?"

The deepening into consciousness and a stable sense of awakening occurs naturally as one surrenders to the vulnerability that love brings. Complete surrender opens the space of Heart Consciousness, where the one surrendering is absorbed into love itself.

- Ramana

Feel the tenderness in this space? It's knocking on your door.

Your whole heart is welcome into this room. Your whole heart. You don't even have to know what that means from here. This knows. Your whole heart. Every bruised spot, every shut off spot, every singing spot, the whole heart.

We're here not just to glimpse ourselves as all that is. We're here to live it through our bodies in every moment. To let its sweet uncompromising clear sight move into every dark corner. And to ask it to, even though we know it's our complete undoing.

- Jeannie Zandi

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