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

#5081 - Sunday, November 10th, 2013 - Editor: Dustin LindenSmith

The Nonduality Highlights •

First, a correction from my last issue re Marianne Williamson's run for Congress: Several readers wrote in to correct my statement that Williamson had authored A Course in Miracles. She is referred to in this way so often in the media that I never before thought to question the writing credit until you all wrote to me. Thank you for the clarification.

For the record, the work was actually authored by New York psychologist Helen Schucman with the help of another psychologist named William Thetford.

Anyone interested in learning more about the origins of the book can refer to its Wikipedia entry:

On another housekeeping note, please accept our apologies if the formatting of some of our messages has become corrupted in transmission. Several technical issues related to this have been brought to Yahoo's attention since the recent roll-out of their new groups format, but not many of those issues have been satisfactorily resolved as of yet.

Several other readers have already written in to express how deeply moved they were by the story Jerry shared in yesterday's issue relating to the very sad series of medical mishaps that occurred to one of our readers. Thank you for those messages. Personally, I was quite moved by the peace of mind that this individual could cultivate in the face of such circumstances, directly as a result of their nondual insight and understanding.

The effects of climate change have been on my mind this week, and reports of many thousands of deaths possibly resulting from this week's typhoon in the Philippines immediately brought to mind for me an article that Gloria Lee recently excerpted about a Buddhist perspective on what was referred to as the eco-crisis:

Our economic system institutionalized greed.
Racism and militarism institutionalize ill will.
The corporate media institutionalized delusion.
Any personal awakening we may experience remains incomplete until it is supplemented by a “social awakening” that realizes the importance of responding to these institutionalized causes of widespread suffering.

Web reporter Jason Kottke wrote the following short reflection on a piece in The New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert on a recent leak of the latest IPCC report on climate change:

Kottke also references a 2007 article from The Guardian which outlined some of the disastrous scenarios from the then-latest IPCC report. From that article came this disturbing conclusion (and remember that this was from nearly 7 years ago, and the situation has worsened since then):

The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser role. Each paragraph of this report was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document -- that's what makes it so scary.

A recent article at Daily Kos digs into the question of whether or not the climate crisis can be meaningfully addressed at all within a capitalist framework:

The biggest take-home point for me from that piece has to do with how inherently wasteful the capitalist system is. It’s difficult not to connect the dots between the world’s growing obesity epidemic and the massive consumption levels of the earth’s finite resources, for example. The same goes for how much fossil fuel we burn;how much credit we use; and how much damage we’ve done to our physical world and the oceans, all in the service of maintaining our very high standard of living. 

Capitalism’s inexorable quest for constant, unending economic growth in every consecutive fiscal quarter has quite effectively cultivated a pathologically consumeristic society. It is becoming increasingly obvious to me that this pace of growth is not sustainable in any way, and that our relentless and blind pursuit of this growth can only be slowed by some sort of radical inner shift across wide swaths of society. No other obvious “external" solution to these issues appears to have been unearthed so far. 

Anyone following the news (or at least Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show) has no doubt heard about some of the recent videos and other revelations about the behaviour of Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford. Since this self-described populist (but admittedly buffoonish) mayor was first elected from the suburbs of Toronto to lead the recently amalgamated Greater Toronto Area, he has been the butt of many jokes from amongst the intelligentsia and elsewhere. Within the past year, however, a number of deeply troubling facts have been revealed about Ford’s activities, habits, and the kinds of people he spends the most time with (among them confirmed thugs, drug dealers, and criminals).

Once the police confirmed last week that they have indeed gained possession of a video which depicts Ford smoking crack cocaine, the media firestorm gained a LOT of momentum. Later in the week, a video emerged in which a profoundly inebriated Ford went on a violent rant about how he would kill a certain hated acquaintance with his bare hands. By the end of this week, half the globe seemingly knew of his name.

It is miles beyond doubt that this behaviour is unacceptable for the chief magistrate of any city, let alone that from Canada’s most populous and important one. However, with each new revelation I find myself increasingly overcome with sadness for the man. It is now very clear that he is quite ill, and that he suffers from a major addiction to at least alcohol, if not cocaine and perhaps food. The man is suffering greatly, lashing out viciously at those around him like a caged, injured tiger. The amount of stress he must be under right now from this constant scrutiny is nearly unimaginable, even if that scrutiny has been brought about by his own actions.

All I see when I look at photos of him now is a deeply wounded, suffering soul who needs immediate medical care and attention. I hope that his inner circle of enablers within his family and what few staff remain can bring some of that compassion to bear in order to facilitate his seeking appropriate treatment.

To quote again from a recent issue of Gloria’s:

Stop trying to have someone else's experience.
Stop chasing freedom or happiness, or even spiritual enlightenment.
Stand in your own shoes
and examine closely what's happening right here and right now.


And also from an issue edited by Mark Otter in May of this year:

When I observe some of our behavior, it really looks to me as if human beings want to suffer. Judging from the way we act, we do not seem to be truly interested in being happy... We seem to want to keep the painful experience of anger alive and close, and keep kindness and happiness at bay. We act as if we treasure suffering, so whenever we find it, we don't want to let it go.

... We are operating on the mistaken assumption of who we are is really this angry, disturbed person. But we do not have to be that person... At any moment, we have the option of being different; we can be a person who is not angry or disturbed. Let yourself be that other person - a person who treasures true happiness, kindness and tranquility.

—His Holiness 17th Karmapa, from The Heart of Noble, posted to DailyDharma  

May peace be with you. Or not. Either way, there is nothing underneath the appearance of peace that is not also underneath the appearance of suffering. 

OM shantih


top of page