Jerry Katz
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Highlights #520

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Thursday November 2nd


>Ed: I have often wondered if there wasn't some significant
> divide between those on this list with children involved
> in the education system, and those who had no children.
> It seems to me as a parent concerned with the pressures
> my daughter faces in memorizing information, following
> strict schedules, and meeting standards, that there isn't
> a stronger world dream pressure to deal with by parents
> than those who are not parents.
> What do you parents have to say about this, and to what
> extent do you non-parents enpathize with this issue?
> Wondering parent
I do not think that there is a stronger "world dream pressure" for
parents to deal with than non-parents. The "world dream pressure" as
you call it is the same for every one. Like living at the bottom of
the ocean the pressure is the same for all. We just all deal with
that pressure differently and have different capacities to keep from
being crushed by it. The strongest role models for children are
adults in their environment, usually parents, so if we are looking to
find a way for our children to deal with the "world dream pressure"
then we need first to look to ourselves to be examples. I have been
fortunate with my girls (21+13)in that we raised them in a communal
setting where they had other adults than just the two of us to choose
from for role models. We home schooled them till they were 13, raised
them as vegetarians, have no TV, introduced them to meditation and
devotional practices, have travelled widely with them to europe and
india, they have studied classical ballet and aikido, and are both
exceptional artists. But all this is just experience / form. The most
beneficial thing in terms of the "world dream pressure" has been for
them to live amongst people who are committed to piercing the
illusion of separation, the identification with "me". That kind of
thing is just picked up by them through "osmosis".


>>>Ed: What concerns me, and I don't think it was addressed by
>Marcia was: knowing that to be caught in the world dream
>is to suffer, and for the child to be seen by the parent
>as separate and suffering, what thoughts, if any, arise
>in the parent to address that issue?

The way i look at it is that just by the fact of incarnating we are
all caught by the world dream. Another name for the world dream is
identification, or the illusion of separation. And it is painful to
see our children suffering the illusion of separation. All humans
suffer this way no matter what the form of our lives. The most
beneficial thing we can do for our children is to Work to pierce that
illusion in ourselves. Seeing our own children suffer is a good
stepping stone for the developement of Compassion toward all sentient
beings.If perhaps you are wondering whether just madly loving them is
enough,it isn't.




My feeling is that if I can connect with my child and be
real with my child, that is all that there is. All that there is
is what there is in the moment. It doesn't seem like there
is a problem to be solved. I can be with my child.

I think there is going to be suffering whether I am caught
in the world dream or not. I think what changes is that it
is not personal anymore. I see just how universal it really
is. To be concerned about the suffering of one's child
is so very common. All parents feel this. You can put the
clothes on it of "world dream" but it is plain old fashioned
unconditional parental love.

All I can do is to live my life. My children are a big part
of my life.


>... do you talk about "this stuff" with your children?
> Ed

I do sometimes. My son and I have talked at length and
he has read several books I recommended and we have
worked with the application to his life. I can talk straight
across with him. The middle child watches me and comes
to me with relationship issues. She considers me uneducated
on world issues and goes to her father for help with homework.
She has joined a rather fundamentalist church but I still use
the gospels. I talk to her about the inner meaning. I talk
to her about the exoteric meaning that she is learning and then
we talk about the inner meaning and other ways to see with
the heart. She is quite popular at her church for coming up
with unique ways of seeing the gospels in action. The youngest
is an actress and super creative. We sit back together and
watch life as it flows and exchange impressions of the multiple
and varied levels. Both girls say they don't want me to analyze.
What they want which they don't say is for me to be with them.
You know hang out. They want me when they need me. What
I am finding is that they don't want me to tell them anything.
They want me to be with them. I don't know how to say it any
differently. It is the difference between telling them how things
are and sharing my life with them. In the sharing they see how
things are. In the sharing is the telling.

My husband tends to be more judgmental. They put up
defenses almost immediately. Don't talk me. They go
to him if they need help especially if something needs to
be fixed or if they need help thinking about something
especially for homework.

It seems to me that kids needs to get an identity before
they can sacrifice it.



yes we do talk about "this stuff" at times.Though usually just very
loose and informal, slipped in around dealing with everyday life
things. Kids don't need to be fed ideas about what "IT" is all about,
ideas just clutter things up. Most of the time (specially in the
teens) they just say "don't talk that spiritual stuff to me dad" and
role their eyes. But since words are the least part of communicating
it doesn't bother me too much, cause i can see what is taking root.
Then at times, when they WANT to know, the talking is wonderful. Kids
can smell a "preacher" a mile a way. And a hippocrate at two miles.
Now my eldest has friends who are getting interested in spirituality
(buddhism,yoga and such) and they ask her questions, cause they know
that she knows something, but she says to me she can't explain things
very well even though she grew up in the environment. And i tell her
thats ok, she has it in her body, she can learn the language of it as
she needs.


How long does it take
to recover
from what ails?
But a single instant
in time
this very moment
and another
and yet more
as many single instants
as your heart desires
or you mind demands.
That is called

Tony B.


Announcing a new eclectic online magazine on spirituality, based in Nepal

Love, Sarlo


Dear Andrew,

Awareness is extremely "deep".
There is no end to it.
As a "thinking being" we are
limited by our thought-constructs,
including constructed sense of "meaning".
This doesn't mean thought is erroneous.
It means that Awareness transcends
thought - even while thought is occurring.

The word Awareness is just language,
it could be the word God, or "isness",
or no-thingness...

There is indeed a truly amazing "mystery",
not the kind of mystery that can be
figured out, although figuring things
out is an aspect of its "doing".
But beyond figuring anything out is
its full "doing/being", what some have called
its "action without doing". This is
instantaneous, so nothing to be figured
out or not figured out.

It is more amazing than enlightenment,
more amazing than ending suffering -
those are only aspects of what it is.

This entire universe is "assembled"
in and as "Consciousness".
Infinite births and deaths arise
in and as "Consciousness".

Look, I don't know what we're dealing
with here.
I don't have a clue.

I just know it's totally mind-boggling.

-- Dan


Dear Dan,

As the sutras say, thinking is one of the senses. Thinking is limited to what
can be
thought, as seeing is limited to what can be seen, hearing to what can be
heard... But
at the same time there is no limit to what can be seen heard or thought. The
are ways for Being to reveal itself. There is a play going on, of concealment
revealing, of hide and seek, and Being hides in beings. It is a love story.



Hey Andrew -

Dig it.

The senses aren't sensing anything.
No one is using the senses.
So what are the senses?
Just "energy-awareness".
The senses aren't reporting anything.
The senses aren't connecting with each other.

There's just one sense.
And it's ... you guessed it ...

Dig it!

-- Dan



...Awareness is
nothing but shit itself.
It transcends shit by
fully being shit.


Our new poet Laureate, the active young 95 year old gardener and poet,
Stanley Kunitz, wrote the following, in the 70's, after losing some long
time friends and relatives.

The Layers

I have walked through many lives
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled t look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it.
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes

What do you make of this cryptic quotation Kunitz gleaned from a
dream, and which he admits to not having understood? And what kind of
"litter" is he talking about?

To me, the answer is that we cannot rely on the tangible for our
ultimate well being. For that which sustains us is always in the
subtlety betwixt and between all things: the "litter" is thingness,
tangibility, intensity, the "knowable." But only between the layers of
so called certainty, in the indefinable space, that lace without a face,
that grace of ineffable trace, without a base.

That ever present and forever evanescent, invisible tree of
unspeakable bounty:

The fruit of

Infinite Subtlety.


Ah, a very beautiful poem, sky. Although he never outright says what it is, the
litter is compatible with the images of the abandoned campfires, the scavenger
angels, and the wreckage. But more than things are left behind, the tribe of his
true affections is gone, and the heart's feast of losses might also include that
he is not who he was, either. Along with the tangible, leaving those other
lives, some his own, suggests that only this very "being" survives.

By saying as he turns that every stone in the road is precious to him, he gives
a very strong affirmation of appreciating the present moment, to live in the
layer of now not what is left over. The layers also suggests sedimentary rock,
and the milestones which are the eras left behind in one's life, but also that
next chapter in his book of transformations is yet another layer. The poem also
has that lack of definition which conveys the subtlety you mention, with similar
images suggesting without saying exactly, so that one is free to fill in the

I find significance in the fact that this voice spoke to him in his darkest
night. He may even attribute his will to go on, his strength to that message he
received. The "art to decipher" might be applied as much to the next phrase
following it about the next chapter. This line itself is another way of shifting
layers, of being betwixt and between.

Thanks, do I pass?


Thanks to Gloria and Sky for a very edifying discussion of poetry. It takes
me back to my not-so-long-ago poetry workshop days, when we grad students
would sit around discussing - some would say ripping apart - each other's

Gloria, your explication of the poem was wonderful, sensitive, thoughtful.
Sky, thanks for appreciating and posting this poem. I could be wrong, but I
don't find that "Infinite Subtlety" in Kunitz - not to say it isn't there,
just that I don't read him that way. To me he is always pretty
straightforward on what he says, including in this poem, which is a
meditation on life and loss. As such, and in other poems of his, Kunitz
excells at writing the poetry of the old man. This is a special and much
revered (by me) category of poetry that includes King Lear, the haiku of
Basho, Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich", and so on. Old men have this
Saturnian capacity for muttering deep truths within their aged depths, and
this is just such a poem.

If Kunitz were in my poetry workshop I would tell him to lose the images in
the last few lines. "the book of transformations" and "I am not done with
my changes" turn the pathos of the poem into bathos. I.e., the intense
emotion becomes cheapened, a platitude about "changes" like a 60's folk song.

But in the main the poem is powerful, dignified, full of emotion. The "slow
fires" and the "abandoned watch camps" and the "scavenger angels" I think
are an allusion to the Civil War, or perhaps more specifically to the
Battle Hymn of the Republic, in the lines from that song:

"I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps
l can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps
His day is marching on. "

But also he talks about a "tribe", and a tribe that is "scattered",
probably referring to the 12 tribes of Judah. So we get an image of an old
man walking down the lonely road of his exile, the wreckage of his past
burning in the background like the Cities of the Plain, the Angel of the
Lord swooping about dangerously overhead, and then, Old Testament like,
God, or at least a voice, speaks from the clouds ("nimbus-clouded") and
gives him an oracular message about how to live.

This, in my humble opinion, is where the poem should end. I think Gloria
and Sky have caught the various shades of meaning of the word "litter" in
the context of the poem. Sticking still with the context of the poem for
the word "layers", we can think of the layers of feathers in the angels
wings, the layers of sediment that go up to make up arcgeological history
on battlefields, the layers of feeling and emotion, memory and loss that
fill the bottom depths of an old man's heart.

Another "Old Man" poet, William Butler Yeats, has a different take on the
"litter vs layer" theme. For him the litter IS the layer. Here is the last
stanza of his poem "The Circus Animal's Desertion":

"Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart. "

Thanks again for the great discussion!

Speaking of William Butler Yeats, here is a short poem of his that some of
you might enjoy:

My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man, in a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.

While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.




A favorite of mine from college days by William Butler Yeats:

Went something like?

"When you are old and gray and full of sleep
and sitting by the fire
Take down this book and think of the soft look
your eyes had once and their shadows deep....."


When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.

And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

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