Jerry Katz
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Highlights #839

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Monday, September 24


This is an edited version of a letter sent to me by
a friend. I edited out all the poitical/ military
commentaries because although both very funny and
pointed, what i decided to pass on is i think far
more relevent. ......matthew

There's nothing particularly profound or original
in this message I sent recently, but it does
document my own process about this. Response to the
attack on the US of September 11, 2001

The shaman who does not expect immortality, as well
as the one who does, is training to meet even her
own death with equanimity and resolve rather than
anger, fear, depression, indignation, etc.

Any disaster short of personal death is considered
by the shaman an opportunity to practice, such as
being in a car wreck, losing a close relative, or a
great disaster.

Feeling sadness and empathy over human suffering is
not identical to being a victim to what Gurdjieff
called "negative emotion". Learning to free oneself
of negative emotion was the prime directive of his

There is a famous Sufi story of a young dervish who
found an old dervish lying in the gutter, dying.
The dervish of some sects were sometimes homeless
beggars. The young dervish rushed to the side of
the old dervish, horrified, and asked what he could
do to help. "Don't be sentimental," replied the old
dervish as he died.

I don't think American shock is due to political
views or even real compassion for the suffering of
yesterday's victims. I believe the reaction of
Americans, including my own shock, is because when
we watched the WTC collapse we watched our world
collapse, our feeling of safety and stability. Now
we have to face the fact that in our world, at any
moment, buildings can be demolished and bombs can
go off. This is very traumatic for middle class
Americans, who in spite of rampant violent crime
have basically enjoyed one of the most stable and
secure civil societies in the world. It is a
completely normal human reaction to feel fear,
anger and depression at being threatened.

Alright. If you disagree with my emotional
analysis, I agree they also might be all wrong.

To a shamanic practitioner, that sort of analysis
would be secondary if not counter-productive
anyway. She is going to regard this kind of
national disaster as an opportunity to practice,
because the shaman is convinced that the best thing
she can do for her fellow beings is to evolve. The
shaman is going to resist being swept up in waves
of mass emotions that move through the population
at times like these. She is going to try to
navigate through the confusion and hysteria
remembering her true aim.

It is not bizarre to continue discussing the
remembrance of the miracle of Being or shamanic
teachings at a time like this. For a shamanic
practitioner, that is the whole point of the

Of course for someone who doesn't care or hasn't
understood anything about this kind of shamanism,
it will naturally appear bizarre- and we should not
make fun of people who are handicapped in this
fashion unless they are not around. For a shaman
practicing remembrance, now is exactly the time to
make a big effort to remember the miracle of Being-
which is the same thing as remembering oneself.


All that is present is nirguna brahman, nothing is
describable. A description of an object really has
nothing to do with the present experience, in the
present experience there are no objects.


In the present experience, there is
no present experience.
Any description is only an aspect
of this present experience, in which
there is no present experience.

Whether using the description "Nirguna Brahman",
"Saguna Brahman", "an empty box of cigarettes",
"a toilet being flushed" ... it's all
the same no-thing.

In other words, nothing has ever been
described, therefore descriptions aren't

The concept "nothing is describable" is
as meaningless as "things can be described".

Yet, I don't see any of the schools closing
down and deciding kids don't need to learn
to read and write.

Funny thing about that!

It's exactly because kids will wake up,
go to school, learn to say what a zebra is,
and how to slide down a slide -- and
later on how to type sentences into
computers -- that the "indescribable"
is far more than merely "indescribable" ...


Attributelessness being completely
attributelessness does not even have the attribute
of being attributeless.

An apple can be distinguished from an orange but
nirguna cannot be distinguished from saguna.



couple interesting things on the NDS bulletin



There is a point at which seeking isn't even
considered, the mind being embroiled in living out
its conditioning. There is a point at which there
arises a seeking and longing for what is beyond the
beckonings of an unfilling world.
There is a point at which seeking is seen to be a
joke... since You are It and have been all along.

I tend to be inclusive of all these points as they
show up in folks around me. And since I truly am
all of everything and no thing .... well.....



Dear Friends,

Many of you may know that Sri Arunachala
Aksharamanamalai (Arunachala Siva) written by
Ramana Maharshi at the request of devotees is
availabe to be heard as an MP3 file on the
following URL. It is recited by J. Jayaraman.

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