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 Nonduality Highlights each day

How to submit material to the Highlights

Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3310, Sunday, October 5, 2008, Editor: Mark

Dear Holy Flames -

Last week I spent the day raspberry picking with my daughter's fourth grade class, and as we sat for lunch with a few of her friends, some boys were rambunctiously kicking a soccer ball very close to us picnickers. At some point the inevitable happened: a boy kicked the soccer ball firmly into Emma's back. It was startling, but clearly not painful. "Who did that!!?" cried Emma. "Who did that!!?" echoed a few other girls. Pretty soon at least 12 individuals were either hunting for the evildoer, denying that evil was done, denying Emma's hurt and shock, or denying that they were the kicker. I said, "What's important here is to find the bad person!" Sophia looked at me with a grin. Earlier that week she had said to me, "Mama, I love when two people bonk heads at once - then there's no one to blame!!" I asked her, "Why do you think people blame each other, Sophia?" She replied, "Because it makes them feel better for a little while."

I had a sweetheart once who used to sayat the first sign of an impending blamefest, "Someone's going to be bad here and it's not going to be me!" There is little that expresses the delusion of duality more than the phenomenon of blaming. The illusion of the separate self is kept in place by feeling bad, cast out, cursed, wrong, worthless - basically not part of blessed creation. Any of us who feel separate are carrying this to some extent as the bedrock of our reality, most often far below our conscious awareness. When we feel separate and bad, we have been taught to try and become good, or avoid being bad through lots of externally focused effort, rather than be with those feelings as they arise. This is at the heart of the blamefest, where instead of taking space to each feel what hurts, we attempt to assign blame to the "other," while attempting to defend our own innocence. It's as if we're playing badness hot potato, trying to throw the hot potato off of ourselves and onto the other. All we care about in those moments is to not be left as th bad wrong one, because even the tiniest mistakes have become identified with "being bad" within our psyches.

And if you find yourself reading this and feeling bad, and starting to blame yourself for all this, hold on! Was it our idea to be conditioned, pointed in the wrong direction (i.e. externally) to find our wholeness through effort when we were born with a sweet knowledge of it to start with? No. So if you're feeling bad, drop into your body and meet it at the sensational level and refuse to kick your fictitious self around the block.

When we feel whole, we can make mistakes, do embarrassing things, be wrong, not know the answer, and not have our worth as humans on the line. We can kick a soccer ball into a girl's back and say, "Gee, I'm human, sorry about that. How are you?" instead of denying we did it or denying that it hurt her. When we feel bad and separate, and aren't aware of those feelings, we are left working very hard to avoid anything that will throw us into those painful felings. We've basically forgotten (or been conditioned out of) that feeling is an option. That being with is an option.

Sophia once told me that she didn't like to cry at school, not because of being called "crybaby", but because she said that if people saw that she had feelings, they would go about trying to find the bad person who had hurt her. She said that she didn't want her friends to be made bad or get that kind of negative attention, that she just felt hurt in relation to someone and wanted to have her feelings, not have them condemned. But she didn't know how to have her feelings and keep her friends from being identified as bad or at fault, so she decided to stop having her feelings visibly. I notice over and over in groups of children, that when someone gets hurt, all attention goes to finding out who is to blame. And this includes the available adults. Very little attention goes to allowing the hurt person to have their feelings, and no attention of that sort goes to the person who apparenly caused harm or hurt.

Our hearts have been hurt and then frozen over. In the heat of blame, we don't feel our hearts - we are in survival mode. The way out of the blamefest is to reclaim the tender land of the heart, to say "Ow!" at the first sign of hurt and to refuse to blame one's self or the other, to refuse to throw ANYONE into the dumpster over who is right or wrong. It is to take the focus off of finding the bad person and put the focus on the hurt and feelings of pain from which the entire paradigm rises and elicits warfare. The truth is there are no bad people - there is simply the bubbling of existence and creation moving through these bodies. Sometimes we do things that hurt others. Sometimes others do things that hurt us. It is pushing this hurt away, refusing to be with it and instead putting our attention on identifying oppressors and victims that reinforces the sense that we are separate, and pushes the final reckoning with the bedrock of badness further into the future, borrowing ths moment's relief against the debt of our pain.


I remember the first time that the bloodlust of blaming and making Sophia's dad bad lost its steam. I was halfway through a sentence that decisively proved that he was clearly the bad one when I stopped and said to him, "I can't do this to you and I can't do it to myself. Please let's not do this any more." I actually felt the pain of making the dear human being who had fathered my child into "The bad one." The temporary relief that venting blame on another gives us is actually not worth throwing the reality of our shared wholeness and innocence out the window - but this doesn't occur to us until our hearts are so tenderized that to cause pain is as painful as to incur it.

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our

I have come into this world to see this: all creatures hold hands as
we pass through this miraculous existence we share on the way
to even a greater being of soul,
a being of just ecstatic light, forever entwined and at play
with Him.

I have come into this world to hear this:
every song the earth has sung since it was conceived in
the Divine's womb and began spinning from
His wish,

every song by wing and fin and hoof,
every song by hill and field and tree and woman and child,
every song of stream and rock,

every song of tool and lyre and flute,
every song of gold and emerald
and fire,

every song the heart should cry with magnificent dignity
to know itself as
God: for all other knowledge will leave us again in want and aching -
only imbibing the glorious Sun
will complete us.

I have come into this world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
an unkind
men so true their lives are His covenant -
the promise of

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of
because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh
we can wound.

- Hafiz

- Excerpt from Jeannie Zandi's monthly newsletter

You can be added to or removed from Jeannie's newsletter e-list by emailing
[email protected].  Archived newsletters are available at .

Jeannie Zandi: "Everything is Welcome Here," excerpt from Never Not Here:

top of page