Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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 #3729, Sunday, November 29, 2009, Editor: Mark

Longing is like the rosy dawn. After the dawn out comes the sun. Longing is followed by the vision of God.

- Ramakrishna

A man whose mind wanders among desires, and is longing for objects of desire, goes again to life and death according to his desires. But he who possesses the End of all longing and whose self has found fulfillment, even in this life his desires will fade away. As rivers flowing into the ocean find their final peace and their name and form disappear, even so the wise become free from name and form and enter into radiance of the Supreme Spirit who is greater than all greatness.

- Katha Upanishad

Human desire differs from animal desire in that it is at root insatiable. Man is characterized by a hunger for the infinite, for an eternity of life, love and joy which, whether he knows it or not, can be nothing other than God. Assuming that God exists, it will follow that God is man's true end, for the appetite of a living organism shows its function. The stomach hungers for food because it's function is to digest food. As physical taste and hunger may often be mistaken as to their true object, desiring nothing but caviar instead of a balanced diet, man is often mistaken as to the goal of his life, desiring wealth, power or physical pleasure instead of God. But his real appetite continues to be God, for which these lesser goals are always unsatisfactory substitutes. Those who set their hearts on finite goals are always discontented; they must always have more and more and more of what they desire, and failing this are frustrated and miserable. Profound contentment is only enjoyed by animals and primitives, in which infinite hunger has not been awakened, and by the saints and mystics who have realized union with God.

- Alan Watts

The real work belongs to someone who desires God
and has severed himself from every other work.

The rest are like children who play together until it gets dark
for these few short days.

Or like someone who awakes and springs up, still drowsy,
and then is lulled back to sleep by the suggestion of an evil nurse:
"Go to sleep, my darling, I won't let anyone disturb your slumber."

If you are wise, you, yourself, will tear up your slumber by the
roots, like the thirsty man who heard the noise of the water.

God says to you, "I am the noise of the water in the ears of the
thirsty; I am rain falling from heaven.
Spring up, lover, show some excitement!
How can you hear the sound of water and then fall back asleep?!"

- Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 586-592, version by Camille and Kabir Helminski, from Rumi: Jewels of Remembrance, posted to Sunlight

After the Meditation

Now I see something in my listeners
that won't let me continue this way.

The ocean flows back in
and puts up a foam barrier,
and then withdraws.

After a while,
it will come in again.

This audience wants to hear more
about the visiting sufi and his friends
in meditation. But be discerning.

Don't think of this as a normal character
in an ordinary story.

The ecstatic meditation ended.
Dishes of food were brought out.

The sufi remembered his donkey
that had carried him all day.

He called to the servant there, "Please,
go to the stable and mix the barley generously
with the straw for the animal. Please."

"Don't worry yourself with such matters.
All things have been attended to."

"But I want to make sure that you wet the barley first.
He's an old donkey, and his teeth are shaky."
"Why are you telling me this?
I have given the appropriate orders."

"But did you remove the saddle gently,
and put salve on the sore he has?"

"I have served thousands of guests
with these difficulties, and all have gone away
satisfied. Here, you are treated as family.
Do not worry. Enjoy yourself."

"But did you warm his water
just a little, and then add only a bit of straw
to the barley?"
"Sir, I'm ashamed for you."

"And please,
sweep the stall clean of stones and dung,
and scatter a little dry earth in it."

"For God's sake, sir,
leave my business to me!"

"And did you currycomb his back?
He loves that."

"Sir! I am personally
responsible for all these chores!"

The servant turned and left at a brisk pace ...
to join his friends in the street.

The sufi then lay down to sleep
and had terrible dreams about his donkey,
how it was being torn to pieces by a wolf,
or falling helplessly into a ditch.

And his dreaming was right!
His donkey was being totally neglected, weak and gasping
without food or water all the night long.
The servant had done nothing he said he would.

There are such vicious and empty flatterers
in your life. Do the careful,
donkey-tending work.

Don't trust that to anyone else.
There are hypocrites who will praise you,
but who do not care about the health
of your heart-donkey.

Be concentrated and leonine
in the hunt for what is your true nourishment.
Don't be distracted by blandishment-noises,
of any sort.

- Rumi, Mathnawi II: 194-223; 260-63, version by Coleman Barks, from The Essential Rumi, posted to Sunlight

top of page