Jerry Katz
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Highlights #577

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Thursday December 28th

Xan sent:

I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma.
I was just a kid.
I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her
on the day my big sister dropped the bomb:
"There is no Santa Claus," she jeered.
"Even dummies know that!"

My grandma was not the gushy kind,
never had been.
I fled to her that day because I knew
she would be straight with me.
I knew Grandma always told the truth,
and I knew that the truth
always went down a whole lot easier
when swallowed with
one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.

Grandma was home,
and the buns were still warm.
Between bites, I told her everything.
She was ready for me.
"No Santa Claus!" she snorted.
Don't believe it.
That rumor has been going around for years,
and it makes me mad, plain mad.
Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked.
I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store,
the one store in town that had a little bit
of just about everything.
As we walked through its doors,
Grandma handed me ten dollars.
That was a bundle in those days.
"Take this money," she said,
"and buy something for someone who needs it.
I'll wait for you in the car."
Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.

I was only eight years old.
I'd often gone shopping with my mother,
but never had I shopped for anything
all by myself.
The store seemed big and crowded,
full of people
scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.

For a few moments I just stood there,
clutching that ten-dollar bill,
wondering what to buy,
and who on earth to buy it for.
I thought of everybody I knew:
my family, my friends, my neighbors,
kids at school,
the people who went to my church.
I was just about thought out,
when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker.
He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair,
and he sat right behind me
in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat.
I knew that because
he never went out for recess during the winter.
His mother always wrote a note,
telling the teacher that he had a cough,
but all we kids knew
that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough,
and he didn't have a coat.
I fingered the ten-dollar bill
with growing excitement.
I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat.
I settled on a red corduroy one
that had a hood to it.
It looked real warm,
and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?"
the lady behind the counter asked kindly,
as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes," I replied shyly.
"It's ... for Bobbie."
The nice lady smiled at me.
I didn't get any change,
but she put the coat in a bag
and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat
in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write,
"To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it --
Grandma said that Santa
always insisted on secrecy.

Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house,
explaining as we went
that I was now and forever officially
one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house,
and she and I crept noiselessly
and hid in the bushes by his front walk.
Then Grandma gave me a nudge.
"All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
I took a deep breath,
dashed for his front door,
threw the present down on his step,
pounded his doorbell
and flew back to the safety of the bushes
with Grandma.

Together we waited breathlessly
in the darkness
for the front door to open.
Finally it did,
and there stood Bobbie.
Forty years haven't dimmed
the thrill of those moments
spent shivering beside my grandma
in Bobbie Decker's bushes.
That night I realized
that those awful rumors about
Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were:
Santa was alive and well,
and we were on his team.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukka to all!


> Then what? Like, are you going to stand mezmerised in the mirror
> forever?
> Chaz

~ Seeing ourselves is enough.
Eventually the seer is recogized
and there is no more standing
and no more mirror.



Marcia and Ed:

> This is how I see it. As I am in my ordinary sleeping state, I
> am run by life. I am not present to my life. I am not awake
> to life. Sometimes I remember myself and I am present.
> I know from this state of being present that it is possible
> to truly act, to make a decision and to carry it out.
> But as I am, I cannot stay present. I have no presence.
> In the state of not being present, the act is always begun
> prior to the decision to act. The decision comes as an
> afterthought to explain the action. That doesn't mean that
> real action is not possible. It just means that I am not acting.
> Marcia

Thanks for your response to "Nondual Activism", which I understood.

Would you kindly share your thoughts with this too?
In face-to-face dialog the full variety of attentional bodymind
signals and responses, not available to words alone, come
into play.

In *Nondual*, face-to-face dialog the respondents bring all
their attentional signals and responses into a mutual and
simultaneous singularity; the mirroring effect and resonance
of such mutual attention draws them through the still point
into the "light of pure awareness." The presence of mutual
respect and understanding becomes the residue of this

The limitation of discussing this on list can be seen in the light
of the face-to-face potential. It raises the question as to what
barriers, if any, do you see blocking this face-to-face dialog in
your own personal experience, or even if such experience has
been considered worthwhile?

In seeking a wider perspective, I have entered into dialog with
some local friends regarding the above questions as they might
arise in "real" world situations. These discussions will be shared
with the list and vice versa, hopefully creating a mutual
enrichment of perspectives.

Clearly, if taken to heart, this list can be a spawning ground
for a powerful movement of unconditional love. I hope such
an opportunity arises for all of us.


As the wider vision of nondual dialog becomes more clearly
and widely understood, a radical movement of face-to-face
dialog may rise exponentially in the phenomenal world. The
impetus simply springs from a mutual understanding of its

This potential is realized momentarily when "strangers" passing
each other on the street simultaneously become aware of each
others presence and a "knowing smile" is exchanged.

These 'passing' experiences of knowing, and its potential, may
open the way to fully mutual face-to-face dialog with others
when the opportunity arises. The next "stranger" you smile at
'knowingly' may be one of us. ;-)

When the movement is under way the "knowing smile" may take
on the meaning and spirit of a grassroots groundswell, of people
reconnecting unconditionally. All hail to the hundredth monkey.

As these exchanges take place more and more frequently the
movement, which may become known as the "SMILE", will
change the very nature of collective consciousness and society.

I wish all of you the BEST in your face-to-face dialogs.

I can feel it happening already...

<Ed>...with delirious joy :-)


John Metzger sent this:

In his journal entry for June 29, 1968, Thomas Merton comments on
his reading of the eighth-century Buddhist scholar Shantideva whose
writing described the inner work necessary to become a Bodhisattva:

"I am spending the afternoon reading Shantideva, in the woods near
[my] hermitage-the oak grove to the southwest-a cool, breezy spot on
a hot afternoon. Thinking deeply of Shantideva and my own need of
discipline. What a fool I have been, in the literal and biblical
sense of the word: thoughtless, impulsive, lazy, self-interested yet
alien to myself, untrue to myself, following the most stupid
fantasies, guided by the most idiotic emotions and needs. Yes [being
human] I know, it is partly unavoidable. But I know too that in spite
of all contradictions there is a center and a strength to which I
always have access if I really desire it. The grace to desire it is
surely there.

"It would do no good to anyone if I just went around talking-no
matter how articulately-in this condition. There is still so much to
learn, so much deepening to be done, so much to surrender. My real
business is something far different from simply giving out words and
ideas and "doing things"-even to help others. The best thing I can
give to others is to liberate myself from the common delusions and
be, for myself and for [others], free. Then grace can work in and
through me for everyone.

"What impresses me most-reading Shantideva-is not only the emphasis
on solitude but [his] idea of solitude as part of the clarification
[necessary for] living for others: [the] dissolution of the self
in "belonging to everyone" and regarding everyone's suffering as
one's own. This is really incomprehensible unless one shares
something of the deep, existential Buddhist concept of suffering as
bound up with the arbitrary formation of an illusory ego-self. To
be "homeless" is to abandon one's attachment to a particular ego-and
yet to care for one's own life (in the highest sense) in the service
of others.

A deep and beautiful idea [in Shantideva when he writes:] "'Be
jealous of your self and afraid when you see your self is at ease and
your sister is in distress, that your self is in high estate and your
sister is brought low, that you are at rest and your sister labors.
Make your self lose its pleasures and bear the sorrow of your fellow
human beings. [The End of the Journey. Journals Vol. 8., pp. 135]


Terry sent:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait
without hope,
For hope would be hope of the
wrong thing.

T. S. Eliot

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