Jerry Katz
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Highlights #582

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Tuesday/Wednesday January 2-3


L: Hi everyone, happy new year, new day, new moment, new now, non-now.
I was wondering if anyone knows where I could find some words of wisdom
on the difference between awareness and emptiness.

G:Sure, Larry.

There is no difference.

L:>By emptiness I mean no self, a simple negation, nothing there.

G: "Nothing" is far short of emptiness.

L: > A lot of time awareness is said to be empty because it is
ungraspable, but it is also life itself, all this, including point of
view, which is actually not this.

G: If it is not this, what is it?

L: >Some buddhists call this buddha nature or basic goodness. But what I
'm trying to ferret out is what is going on with no self itself.

G: If you ask yourself (which you have done), you will have the

Not-knowing is the answer; that is the essential property of awareness;
that is why, the perpetual questions.

As you may suspect, emptiness is 'hungry', 'questing... '

L: >Maybe we don't really know what we mean when we say I exist.

G: If we say 'exist', we are also saying 'not-exist'. This is the
linguistic trap of duality. To escape this trap, imagine non-separate,
bi-polar 'objects, each pole the extreme opposite of the other;
hot-cold, true-false, etc. Opposites are never separated, but may
appear (to beginner's mind) to be so. Neither are opposites to be
'united', never having separated.

Now, apply this to 'emptiness' and 'fullness'.

L: >We can understand intellectually that we are only an assemblage of
elements but I suspect there is a hidden belief that there is some
unnamable something inside here which is me.

G: An assemblage of points, clustered by will only. If the will to
cluster points is lost, each point moves equidistant to each other
point. Only consciousness has the power to cluster points; it is called

The hidden belief could be more accurately defined as '(unexamined)
assumption'. It is a hunger for ideal form, but because of constantly
changing/cyclic conditions, the ideal is never attained, yet the hunger
is specific. Life-threatening anorexia is an extreme example of this
hunger for ideal form.

Another name for this specific hunger is 'desire'. "Desire creates the

L: >The one we are doing all this for.

G: ... Is the one who is doing.

L: >Of course there isn't; there's nothing there at all, hence no self.

G: Back to polar objects; of course there is something here, but we see
only what is visible to us. We do not see the invisible 'emptiness',
which is also here. So without 'graphic evidence' of 'one', we assume

Self is the shadow of no-self, which is real.

L: >Somehow this erroneous belief is dissolved and a wonderful feeling
of emptiness arises.

G: yes.

L: >Isn't this different from what people are talking about when they
are talking about awareness?

G: Depends, which people. And what they say. Awareness is the hungry
vacuum of absolute space.

L: > I think this business of emptiness is getting short shrift and
should be looked into more thoroughly, mostly because, I think, the
belief in existence is somehow hidden. But I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

G: Making belief conscious is the first step to restoring emptiness to
its original pristine state; the next step is to allow the belief to
run without ceasing, to the point of the 'reductio ad absurdium'. All
beliefs are essentially self-cancelling, if fully developed. Anyone can
verify this.

Terry's recent discussion of the 'uncertainty principle' is relevant
here, also. Typically, people have the 'hubris' to assume the role of
'doer', and thus define what happens, as being a product of 'doing'.

In 'reality', everything that 'happens' is actually a powerful yet
forgotten (by humans) language, which self-reveals _by its own context_
what it is communicating, and to whom. The binary (dual) nature of all
things, is merely an aspect of the grammar of this language. We may
consider 'duality' to be, a form of punctuation.

Our human use of language, is a remnant of our potential, and a
harbinger of our possibilities.




Sitting with the 'discomfiture'....with the aid of a little
creative imagery....I find that it says, "I'm afraid".

I discover I'm afraid..... that the 'emptiness' which surrounds me now
is that same 'empty place' I used to split off to when I would be raped
as a child.

I always knew that I had 'split off' as a child during those
times.....having very few memories of the 'act' itself. Tonight I
revisited that place...just put my big toe into that space.... that I
used to visit when I split away from the 'reality' of my life. It was a
place rightly named 'the void'. A place absent any sounds, absent any
thoughts, any feelings....absent any light.

It was like being in a dark box.

Touching that place again I realized what all the tears have been about
these past days: tears of fear that asks: is that all that's left for

I associate that dark box with Hell. And I'm scared to death that Hell
is the Emptiness that awaits me. >



Beloved Melody...

Entering the dark box while dropping interpretations
of it from one's past experience can be revealing.

I once judged this darkness as the wrong place to be
since the truth is supposed to be about light, right?
I was in a mode of recognizing and stripping away all
my assumptions, and as I did this regarding darkness
I was surprised.

I do the same for other boxes of all sorts.

Since you have developed the skill of "sitting with"
I am certain there will come a time... perhaps now...
when sitting with your dark and empty box will
become an avenue of relevation for you also.

with all love,



All feelings are flows of energy and, let's face is, K. can act as a
powerful de-stabilizer, rooting up more than can be handled

Either one is the witness, unaffected, or the flow of energy has to be
redirected, for instance by engaging oneself in creative work or
selfless service. But there is a threshold for the level of anguish
that can be accepted as a witness - when exceeded, there is no choice
but the application of redirection.

What causes the interpretation of "bad" feelings is that because
subconscious issues are "burned out", energy is "freed" and as a
phenomenon, that is not different from losing a loved one - then, a
flow of energy suddenly gets blocked - often that cannot be
differentiated from energy becoming "freed".

As an analogy, the knowledge of the nervous system and how painkillers
work, will not increase one's "private" endorphin production - only
being loved and taken care of will do so (redirection) but a lack of
that leaves no alternative than the painkillers.

Love, Jan



Xan, you wrote, in part:

"{perhaps now... when sitting with your dark and empty box will become
an avenue of relevation for you also."

Early this morning that 'dark box' became a 'dark man' in a dream I had
just before I awoke this morning.

In this dream:

I had just stepped outside of my tiny house and was walking on the
grass beside it, when a very dark skinned....very 'black' saw
that my door was opened and walked inside.

As I saw him enter I shouted for him to get out, but he ignored me and
entered anyway.

I could see thru the window he was rummaging thru my things, so I
started screaming for help. I couldn't believe he was doing this so

Guys started coming out of their houses nearby with rifles drawn, and
with that, the black man stepped outside and drew his own gun
...pointing it directly at me, as if daring me stop him.

For a few seconds there was a 'stand off', but finally he dropped his
gun and allowed the 'rescuers' to take possession of him.

As he was being taken away he started nodding towards the house,
telling me there was something in the house. I immediately knew it was
like a bacteria of sorts and knew that if was left there, it would
certainly kill the baby I was carrying in my womb.

I was in such a panic.....that a man would plant a deadly
bacteria.....would purposefully try to kill an unborn life.....and I
immediately began considering how I could find and remove that

[At that moment my alarm clock rang. And as I sat up and re-played the
dream quickly in my mind ( so as not to lose it ), it occurred to
immediately that I may have jumped to conclusions about this black man.

I had first assumed he was there to rob me, and then assumed he was
trying to kill my gestating baby. But what if he were there trying to
FIND that bacteria??

I also realized I had jumped to the *conclusion* that he was trying to
end the life of my unborn child.

What if he was rummaging thru my stuff....trying to find the disease
making an attempt SAVE my baby?

Just as I had associated that 'dark box' with Hell, I had associated
this 'dark man' as Evil.

I can not only hear the rather obvious guidance in this, but it gives
me pause to consider just how quickly the mind jumps to conclusions,
and how we tend to act with such *certainty* that we can read the
intent of another.

I see that * coming to conclusions* about an 'other'....whether it be a
man, or a 'box',

....whether it be done consciously, or unconsciously,

is simply an act of fear and 'self' preservation.

Once more, this 'fear of death' confronts me.

love, Melody



Melody, You have not asked for dream interpretation, but I want to
share with you my *first response*.

The black man is not what you are afraid of but your fear itself. It is
brazenly in control of your inner home and your stuff, and when you
martial your strength against it, it threatens to kill you. In fact it
has left its invisible microbial weapon to destroy your innocence.

Truth is, fear never killed anyone by itself. The most it can do is
control and threaten and make you feel bad.

There is no substitute for ceasing to run and to fight, for turning to
face the images of fear and loving them. They are really only masks
over the purity of your own sweet essence.

with love



When you inquire of yourself, 'What's really going on?,'
the stories the mind makes up start to get dissolved.
Just let it go deep enough.
Put compassion onto aspects your own life,
let tenderness take down the shields
that mind puts up out of fear.

Then just be with what remains.

-- Neelam
New Years Intensive
Ojai 1/1/01
(contributed by Xan)




Dear Sahajman,

don't go. I like the way you spell.

I particularly like "menopasual". What a great word.

I've been for far too long caught up in metaphysical speculations,
wondering about causal phenomena. Now I can relax, and go metacasual.

My girlfriend is post menopasual
but I'm feeling rather metacasual
My stress levels used to be haphasual,
But now I am most metacasual
I hope I haven't offended you Sahajual,
'cause I can see that you are unusualasual
I don't know how to end this poetic homagual
So I'll just repeat the word menopasual.

:Love, Mark
ps "before Darth"?


Dear enlightened and very deep people,

Please do not flood my mailbox with questions about your romances and
relationships, menopasual issues, and whether you will get laid in the
near future. Although I am omnisicent and know the answers to these
things, I prefer not to be bothered by these trivialities. Thanks.
Otto, thanks for introducing me to this list, but since i reside
permanently on the 101st level of realization and most people here are
barely at level 1.5, I will be sighning off.

Good luck everyone. There is hope. I guess that is easy for me to say!

Sahajman (the all prevading one).



For a long time I thought that to 'experience my nothingness' was, that
as I looked inward, there would be nothing. As long as I felt
something, I wasn't 'there.' Then I experienced seeing that all the
things that I thought I was were really nothing. This felt more
interior. So I realized that my nothingness was looking out and seeing
all my personalities as really nothing. This feels more like the dark
night. It seems to be the difference between standing on the
circumference of a globe or on the surface of the earth and looking
inward to look for nothing whereas from the innermost center all the
nothing is 'out there.'

I think this goes along with when I realized that there wasn't
something 'inside' which was going to wake up but an 'awakening to'
life occurs.


Hi Ed,

I am not real sure what is bothering you but it has the 'feel' of
trying to accelerate with one's foot on the brake.

This is how I see it. Most of us can reach a place of absolute
stillness in meditation. When we stand up and open the door, so to
speak, all hell breaks loose. It is very difficult to take with us into
ordinary life that meditative stillness. As soon as the body begins to
move, images are released, the mechanism kicks in and we are fast
asleep. I suggest that thinking that we can take it with us is in fact,
exactly, what prevents any possibility of it happening. What we can do
is watch and in the watching (as impartially as possible) everything
gets revealed sooner or later and in the revealing, stillness returns.
This time with a huge smile.

Love, Marcia


I was in a group for twenty-five years. One of the unique vocabulary
phrases that we had was.....

"I have been this way ever since I was stabbed."

This one came about because once a woman showed up at our doorstep with
the 'story' that her particular personality manifestations were because
when she was very young she was stabbed and it caused all sorts of
fears and so forth. The truth is that what she said was true. It was
also true that she had a stake in it being true and it had become a
crutch used to explain anything she either didn't want to hear or do.
The reason that it became part of our vocabulary was the absolute
universal applicability to everyone. Everyone has a story, subtle,
gross, or any other way. In fact, I would hazard a guess that this very
story is our grist for our own mill. At some point, it becomes
imperative for the evolving soul to see that it's 'story' is exactly
what it has to sacrifice on the cross of the horizontal axis of linear
time and the vertical axis of eternal being.



Hello Marcia,

What you say here is true in many instances, though not always. Often
what we describe as supreme self confidence, may be a person abiding in
the still point. Apparently, the "great" painters, dancers, musicians,
and athletes find their strength and power in the still point of
consciousness. It comes with intensive training and discipline; when
that still point is reached they are able to be totally spontaneous. I
notice it may happen when shooting a picture, or playing the piano, or
open to healing of self or others, or in face to face dialog. The most
difficulty for me in finding still point is when writing, as in the
present situation, where the pressure came up full force because of the
intensity to make sense of my thoughts. Its one area where I most need
to find still point. The problem goes back to a traumatic experience in
high school. Thanks for responding.



Philip Novak's "The Vision of Nietzsche" - some quotes -

"In reality there has been only one *Christian*, and he died on the

"The life of the redeemer was nothing else that *this* practice - his
death too was nothing else.... He no longer required any formulas, any
rites for communicating with God - not even prayer. He settled his
accounts with the whole Jewish penance-and-reconciliation doctrine; he
knows that it is through the *practice* of one's life that one feels
'divine,' 'blessed,' 'evangelic,' at all times a 'child of God.' It is
*not* 'penance,' *not* 'prayer for forgiveness' which leads to God:
*evangelic practice alone* leads to God, it *is* God! - What was
*abolished* with the Evangel was the Judaism of the concepts 'sin,'
'forgiveness of sin,' 'faith,' 'redemption by faith,' - the whole of
Jewish *ecclesiastical* teaching was denied in the 'glad tidings.' "The
profound instinct for how one whould have to *live* in order to feel
oneself 'in Heaven': this alone is the psychological reality of '
redemption.' - A new way of living, *not* a new belief..."

"The 'kingdom of Heaven' is a condition of the heart - not something
that comes 'upon the earth' or 'after death'...The 'kingdom of God' is
not something one waits for; it has no yesterday or tomorrow, it does
not come 'in a thousand years' - it is an experience within a heart; it
is everywhere, it is nowhere..."

"This 'bringer of glad tidings' died as he had lived, as he *taught* -
*not* to 'redeem mankind' but to demonstrate how one ought to live.
What he bequeathed to mankind is his *practice*: his bearing before the
judges, before the guards, before the accusers and every kind of
calumny and mockery - his bearing on the *Cross*... And he entreats, he
suffers, he loves *with* those, *in* those who are doing evil to him.
His words to the *thief* on the Cross contain the whole Evangel. 'That
was verily a *divine* man, a child of God!' - says the thief. 'If thou
feelest this' - answers the redeemer - '*thou are in Paradise*, thou
are a child of God.' *Not* to defend oneself, *not* to grow angry,
*not* to make responsible...But not to resist even the evil man - to
*love* him...

aloha, terry


melody wrote:

"And even though the feeling of being alienated and rejected by others
for my 'bad manners' was painful at times, the force of the energy
moving thru me would allow me to express no other way AND to be in
integrity with this 'body-mind system' at the same time.

"And to simply 'blame' this change in expression and heart on menopause
would be a very big mistake."

terry: I have heard menopausal women speak this way before, boys, so
watch out! and walk softly. To start, please forgive me, Melody, for
speaking precisely of what you explicitly say is not the root of the
problem; chalk it up to a rant if you like. I promise to give you a
poem at the end which does apply.

I remember living through my mom's menopause, and now I have lived
through my wife's. I could write a book on the subject, but let me
briefly encapsulate the core idea that I have about it. (I could write
a book on the male 'mid-life crisis' as well, but that's another story;
those men who know what I am talking about are as grateful to be
'post-midlife-crisis' as most older women are to be 'post-menopausal.')
I think of menopause as a liberating thing. Women, it is well known,
have many more hormones than men. We share testosterone of course, but
men have a much higher dose, and thus the infamous 'one-track mind' of
the male. Women have, notably, oxytocin (which Ken Wilber talks about)
and numerous others. Observe women and you can see how helplessly young
women fall in love, and are so often taken advantage of. One may
observe how totally devoted they are to their children, and how like
virtually every other mammal they are in this respect. The very
paradigm of love in human life is that of a mother; the buddha
recommended that we all treat each other as a mother would treat an
only child, for example (and what a beautiful idea, one I use for
meditation more than any other single saying by anyone). If you observe
children, you can see that they have it figured out before they can
talk that mom will love them no matter what, but if they want dad's
love they had better behave. If you observe adolescent children
(especially girls) getting along (if it can be described that way) with
their menopausal mothers, it is amazing the levels of hostility that
can be reached before everyone comes to their senses. Of course the
menopausal mom still loves her children, but no longer is this love fed
so intensely by specific hormones. Men who love women (and I count
myself among their number, shamelessly loving women more than I love
men) are amazed and delighted with the love that they possess, so much
greater than that which is in the male heart. What we have to work at
so effortfully, and can find only in the depths of our hearts and souls
(heart-mind, if you like), women have without effort, like breathing.
Comes menopause and these hormones which contribute so much mammalian
root brain love to the female psyche begin to diminish. The kids know
it pdq and harass their poor moms; they know they are missing something
and don't know whence or why, but they sure blame mom for it, and of
course it isn't her fault. When I say that it is liberating - doesn't
it seem like most of our painful difficulties are liberating, once we
have made it through them? - I am referring to the fact that hormones
*make* us feel things, and love which comes from the heart and soul is
'freely chosen' so to speak. That there are so many more male saints
than female saints is not simply a matter of patriarchy; men have to
work much harder at it and women are *expected* to be saintly. The
differences between post-menopausal women and men of the same age
narrow significantly, as they begin to compete on a level playing
field. Women, newly freed from being bound to love by hormones can now
find true spiritual love without the confusion introduced by hormones.
It is a hard time for them, bouncing from unaccustomed coldness to
unaccustomed tears; having an understanding mate and children
(especially daughters) is a wonderful thing, and going through it alone
is very tough. I don't think there is anything of 'the war between the
sexes' in this view; women are greatly blessed by nature with so much
more love than men have, while men are blessed with freedom from an
early age. Men who love women and women who love men are twice-blessed.
The premier sign that the human race has reacher or is reaching
maturity (fully evolved status) is women being enlightened in larger
numbers and showing men the way to brotherhood, defined as living
together harmoniously. The signs of this that I see I find greatly

The poem is by Hafiz, of course. The vast majority of hafiz-readers
live in the east, and most of them use hafiz' Divan (collected poetry)
as an oracle, much as we might use the I Ching, the Tarot, or Runes.
Bibliomancy is the technical term, and they just turn to a random page
to read the answer to their question. For melody, here is a poem, and I
hope it comforts you; even if you resent my remarks, I hope you know
that old Hafiz only wants to help, and he knows everything and his been
everyone everywhere.

*Tired of Speaking Sweetly*

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"

Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.


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