Jerry Katz
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Highlights #626

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Sunday, February 18


SEEKER wrote:"However, what I do not understand is the suffering
of innocent children who die young. What purpose does it serve?
Surely everything has a purpose? And what about the genocides?
What about Hitler's gas chambers?"

What is the meaning and purpose for all that?

I feel both awful and honored to have to be the one to suggest
to you that you consider that indeed everything does NOT have a
purpose. Would you be willing to consider that the only meaning
anything in this life has is the meaning (you individually
and/or we humans collectively) 'make up' about it? That's what
humans do -- we are meaning-making machines.

Life is indeed empty and meaningless. At first this may seem
like bad news, some nihilist or black hole philosophy. Far from
it -- I am a visionary and optimist! Understanding the profound
empty and spacious nature of all phenomena, one is then free to
act completely in the present moment and live into possibility
(cause it's all empty/space). A very creative and generative
situation indeed! You may eventually understand that this is
very good news!

Once one deeply and profoundly understands the empty or spacious
nature of mind and phenomena, this liberates one to be truly
present to What's Happening -- not caught in the unconscious
projection of meaning or story onto that person, situation or

So this experience/understanding of the empty nature of
existence completely frees one to create consciously, unbound by
the limited little 'stories' and interpretations (meaning and
purpose, as you call them).

Truly this understanding gives access to great possibility and
creative vision and manifestation. And the nonattachment and
'not taking things personally' that is necessary to create
compassionately in a way that benefits many beings. The kind of
courage and vision that, say, a Martin Luther King,Jr. or Gandhi
or Nelson Mandela manifested.

Perhaps you could begin by #1 investigating the nature of your
own mind. Can you find your mind (heart/mind)? If you think you
can find it -- tell me, what location and qualities does it
have? Also, who or what is it that is aware, and who or what is
it that is aware of the awareness? Then, #2 begin to observe and
notice your 'Story' (an interpretation made up after the fact)
as distinct from 'What Happened'. When you can start to
uncollapse these two and distinguish them for yourself, this
creates a huge access to understanding the spacious, empty (and
creative) nature of mind. Think blank canvas (or better yet,
mirror -- but that is trickier, and yes, mind is like that!)

Capice? Hope this helps.



Omkara wrote: The so-called 'mystical realizations' are phoney
-- forget what you may have heard. The 'goal' is to get 'you'
out of your own way, if you see what I mean? "Nonduality" is
intensely practical.

Dear Omkara, I don't know what you mean by 'mystical
realizations'. Less than two months ago I was a hard core
agnostic! If not for a 'mystical experience' which completely
changed my way of thinking I would not be on this list. Here is
what I wanted to post before but did not have the guts to do so.

---------------------------- A month or so ago I had a mystical
experience, while staring at my computer screen, deep in thought
about something I had read. I do not remember now what exactly

All I know is that my life changed completely after that. The
next day or two I felt incredibly happy. I remember a couple of
days after that experience somebody damaged my property and I
could not get even a little angry or concerned! My neighbours
watched in disbelief as they were expecting an angry outburst!
The most radical shift?... My sex life... from over indulgence
to zero indulgence! [Good bye to all those sex sites!]

Now, every waking moment that I am free and am not too tired I
am devoting to the study of 'mysticism', 'gnosis', non-duality,
whatever. Can somebody please direct me to websites where I can
read others mystical experiences. [So that I can understand mine
better]. I would be delighted if anyone can share their mystical
experiences or give me advise as to what to do next.

[By the way, I found Terry Murphys articles about Enlightenment
and Mindfulness on the Allspirit website very useful. Which is
how I found my way to this group.] --seeker


Hi Seeker,

I was talking about your original message, don't you remember
mentioning it?

By "mystical realizations," I mean something with an "air of
mystery." Enjoy the sense of mystery since this is apparently
something new to you, but that will fade. What seems mysterious
at first usually doesn't remain that way (at least in my

'Spiritual experiences' are just that, they are like signposts
or pointers (and keep you interested, it was like that with me
too), but they don't last -- so it isn't worth getting addicted
(in fact, the moment you begin to 'expect' such experiences,
they will stop happening).

Changing your way of thinking is a beginning I suppose, but
'nonduality' really has nothing to do with changing thinking
(that would fall more in the realm of psychology or

Really, it has more to do with losing the attachment to thinking
altogether, of trancending thought and (get ready for this)
seeing that all seeking is futile. "Spiritual experiences" are
fine, but don't think they are going to "change you." Inquiry
into the experiencer (you) is all-important, not the
experiences. Inquire as to who you are or what you are.

Oh by the way, I've been on this list since early 1999 and I've
met atheists, agnostics and theists... all 'interested in'
nonduality. It has nothing to do with belief in God (or lack of
any belief). Buddhism is very much agnostic, some sects of
Hinduism (both 'dualistic' and 'nondualistic') are theistic...
none of it matters. "God" is an interesting concept, but what
about you? Are 'you' an interesting concept? :-)

By the way, please have the guts to post whatever is on your
mind here. This list can take anything... Jerry (the one who
started the list) doesn't like personal attacks, but anything
else is 'fair game'. Please feel free to speak honestly, openly
and authentically here without fear of censorship.


Beloved Omkara,

Thanks for being patient with me.

What is the aim of this inquiry as to who I am and what I am.
Assuming I succeed and discover who I really am. What then? Is
it the end of the journey or I have to 'stay' in that state [if
it is a state] as long as I can? Are there stages of self
discovery or once discovered is it the end of the road?

Does it mean no more rebirths? Or is it just discovering the
secret of 'life after death' which everybody will discover when
they leave this body anyway? What I am trying to ask is, is it
some kind of achievement?


Beloved Harsha, Many thanks for your article. If I follow Ramana
Maharshis method what do I achieve ... understanding? Mystical
experience? Are there stages or grades of spiritual growth, of
enlightenment? Is it as simple as he puts it? Spending more and
more time in that 'Root Truth' and being aware of it all the
time? Is it like mindfulness or heedfulness? Are there no other
requirements? Do all the other 'qualities' appear from the
above? Or can any ill-mannered-bully, for example, achieve the
above? To put it in another way does a persons personality,
morality, etc. change after enlightenment?

"This practice accomplishes everything that needs to be

Can you please expand on this?


Dear Seeker

Your own urge and energy moves you in a particular direction.
You are prior to which ever direction is taken. Having a sense
of duty towards friends and family and others need not be
resisted. It is there and presents no conflict with the present
moment. I have said that you are not in the Now, You Are the

You are on the right track Seeker. Sometimes it is not clear
whether we are running or being chased in our dreams. Are we
being chased because we are running or are we running because we
are being chased. It is difficult to know while the chase is on.
When you accept the fear and stop completely and look, you will
find out. To accept the pain and the fear and the uncertainty in
the present and still to remain aware of your nature is the
practice. All this is possible only due to Grace. God said to
Moses, "I AM THAT I AM." In Christianity it is said that we are
made in the image of God. So one can say that everyone has that
"I AM THAT I AM" in them as an Alive Divine Spark of God. That
is the root Self-Remembrance. If one can stay with that, it is
more than enough. Somewhere I read that when one takes a step
towards God, God takes all the other steps. Probably even the
first step one takes towards God is only God's doing. So in
essence God takes all the steps. It's a free ride.


Arjuna An ordinary man. A hypnotherapist. A family man with two
children. A student of Poonja's. Then nothing. Q. What do you
mean by 'Coming home to yourself'? A. We have all kinds of
experiences. Any experience that you have can be categorized as
either a thought: “I am one with all things, or as a feeling
state: ecstasy is a feeling state, boredom is a feeling state,
bliss is a feeling state,– or as a physical sensation: an
exploding energy in the belly is a physical sensation, a glow of
love in one’s heart is a physical sensation. All these
experiences, however spiritual and wonderful they may seem, are
all fleeting. Anything that is mental or emotional or physical
has a beginning in time and hence has an ending in time.
Although spiritual experiences may be very alluring and
appealing, sooner or later they are frustrating because they
disappear just as they appeared. There is something more than
that which is not so dramatic. You could say peace, but not a
peace that comes and goes you discover a peace that is
underneath all activity. You could say silence, not a silence
which is interspersed with noise, but a silence which contains
all noise. You could also say vastness, not a vastness which is
opposed to limitation, but a vastness which contains all
limitation. When you discover that, it is more a realization
than an attainment. It’s the realization that who you are is
always silent, peaceful, unlimited, unborn, undying. This is an
awakening to who you already are, when this awakening comes
about through inquiry into your true nature it’s more of a
homecoming than an experience. It’s more of a relaxing back into
what was always the case, and in this realization there is
relief. There is an undeniable knowing that this is who I am,
not something I am experiencing.


What to do next? Hang onto your hat!! are obviously on the
fast track, slippery slide!! A month ago and now you are here
and know of Arjuna. Tho I would agree with Tim that mystical
experiences are not "it", they may still be useful..even Tim
(Omkara) admits to a sort of grace that appears, as it did to
you, opening one's eyes. I would only say that whatever you may
think you are, prepare to abandon ship.

Love and welcome here, enjoying your posts.


When students wanted to learn of Tao, they sought out the
guidance of wise elders. Learning was not formal. The ancients
accepted any student they felt was sincere. Perhaps there was a
simple conversation under a tree or a quiet invocation touching
a rock. Then the younger one merely walked with the older one.
The students wanted to see Tao. By pointing out animals and
trees, leading the way through tiger-filled mountains and
flower-covered valleys, fording icy rivers, and crossing
sun-scorched deserts, the ancients showed the way of the world
in its limitless variety.

What was so important about this method is that the ancients
trusted their students to see. They trusted their students'
perceptions. They didn't say, "Learn Tao from my words." They
didn't say, "You are incapable of seeing Tao." They didn't say,
"You can only gain Tao through elaborate rituals in temples."
Instead, they simply let their students live and travel with
them, and they knew that the students would see Tao in the wind
and mountains, trees and rivers, animals and people. The Tao
wasn't inaccessible. The real Tao was the everyday Tao.

The idea that each of us can be directly spiritual is radical.
Most religions are based not on teaching adherents to be
directly spiritual, but in persuading them to trust in the
intercession of ministers or priests. The problem with this
approach is that we cannot gain access to spirituality except
through the medium of fallible human beings. The example of the
traveling students shows us otherwise: if we want to see Tao, we
need only open our eyes and trust what we see.


Siddhartha Gautama was lucky. He was lucky he only saw a sick
man and a dying man.

What if he had seen a child dying of AIDS? What if he had seen
an inconsolable child with 3rd degree burns? What if he was
haunted by all those pleading eyes following him in the
children's wards? What if he had witnessed the wretched
condition of street children in Africa?

Would he have followed the path to Nirvana? Or would his anger
have exploded [with enough power to destroy a thousand worlds]
at seeing the dark side of God?

I am sure there is an explanation for all this! In the mean time
let me bury my head in the sand of mystical experiences. Hey! I
did not create this world! Enlightenment for the luckiest and
let the devil take the hindmost, right?

Don't get me wrong ... this a cry for help, for an explanation.
It is just that my ego likes to dramatize everything. [And I
thought that I had got rid of that idiot!]


Sure, as long as there is seeking for
an explanation, there is an apparent
reality to the one gaining the explanation.

As long as there is the belief in explanation,
there is reality, the sensing of reality,
and the making sense of reality.
There are the emotions to continue the
one who has, finds, discards explanations,
emotions like "it's not fair", "what a let-down,"
"I'm angry about this state of affairs", etc.

You know, the one who says, "sure I could
give this up, but then I'd just be complacent
and uncaring, like those phoney advaitins
and meditators."

What is the "space" of neither caring nor
uncaring, where no explanation has ever
been, and no explanation has ever lacked?

What happens when sense and reality
aren't two, and there is no making sense
or not making sense of anything?


The question to ask, for me, is not what the meaning and purpose
of extraordinary suffering is, but, What is the ultimate
division that I harbour and what are its manifold expressions
and how are they reflected in the universe? Before trying to
explain what I see, I need to see what I see.


It is the seeing what I see,
how it reflects the division
that is "me" --
and how it is being seen
at all - that is "tricky" ;-)




Hi Omkara,

Thanks for responding. I liked the example of transcending self-
image. It seems that the definition of transcendence, then, is
observation with detachment. Is that correct? So when you say
"To transcend a concept is simply to see it as concept," you
don't mean to abolish the concept, but to detach from it.

"Concepts are inherently dualistic, because there's always an

I guess I'm confused about this. My definition of a concept is
something like this. Take a table, for example. There are all
kinds of tables, different sizes, shapes, colors, etc. But I
have an abstract generalized view or thought of what a table
looks like so that when I see any table, I recognize it as a
table. It's the concept of table that allows me to do that.
Where is the anticoncept, the anti table?

One other small thing, which perhaps doesn't affect your
argument much is that of saying that objects are concepts. Under
my definition above, a single table (object) is not a concept.
It is the abstract, generalized thought of table that is a

One more thing is that I sometimes wonder if concept is really
the correct word to be using. Perhaps there simply is no exact
correct word in the English language. Well, I don't know, but if
you have time, I'll appreciate your input. It looks like you're
making a lot of posts today, so if you don't want to spend the
time, it's ok.




If you want to hear the mountains,
do exactly as I say.
There are rules to things like this.
And I tell you that many
have come this way more than once
and have not heard them yet.

You should leave Lima early.
The flight at five will get you there by six,
before the morning fog wraps Cuzco thick.
When that first crest of snow caps rise
you'll feel the thinness of your breath.
A quiet ache settles in the chest.
Do not stop for Indian trinkets.
Drink the coca tea and then go straight to bed.

At four you rise to start again,
this time by train.
But do not think that you are almost there.
The ride will take six hours:
the switchbacks laced with waterfalls
and clustered sheep. Sit on the left
to see the Indians wrapped in layered rainbows,
black bowler hats and braids,
spinning llama yarn outside their homes,
the widsom of their people lost
except when kings return in dreams
and speak about the stones

At the base of Machu Pichu
there will be five hundred tourists
bursting from the train,
like subway riders in a city rush.
Step aside and let the others push.
Look up to the right
and see the cavern homes where mothers nursed,
and children scattered ants for play.
Listen to the river rushing madly to you;
listen to the rising of your own breath.
There are no other sounds.

There are no birds. No chatter here.

When you can feel the pulse beneath your feet,
then start the climb, the way you must, on foot.
You are the silent stranger coming to this time.
And all the mountains are waiting.
Through a thousands years of solitude,
they have all been pressing toward this moment,
of your coming, of your coming.


Susan Dane



Practice is love. Not something to be captured and cultivated,
it grows and blossoms naturally. Practice is nature.

Apathy hooray! Apathy in the sense of numbness is a good sign.
It is approaching and nearing apathy in the sense of not caring
which can be a very open and generous and light hearted space.

There is not a third element that migrates between understanding
and delusion, but there is understanding and delusion.

Hi all, nothing to say.

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