Jerry Katz
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Highlights #930

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12/25/01 Wednesday

Dear family and


excerpt from Eckhart

Q.] What is the greatest obstacle to experiencing this reality?
A.] Identification with your mind, which causes thought to become
compulsive. Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but
we don't realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it
is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding
that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. It also
creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.
We will look at all that in more detail later.
The philosopher Descartes believed that he had found the most fundamental
truth when he made his famous statement: "I think, therefore I am." He had,
in fact, given expression to the most basic error: to equate thinking with
Being and identity with thinking. The compulsive thinker, which means
almost everyone, lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely
complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects
the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind. Enlightenment is a state of
wholeness, of being "at one" and therefore at peace. At one with life in
its manifested aspect, the world, as well as with your deepest self and
life unmanifested - at one with Being. Enlightenment is not only the end of
suffering and of continuous conflict within and without, but also the end
of the dreadful enslavement to incessant thinking. What an incredible
liberation this is!
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels,
images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true
relationship. It comes between you and yourself, between you and your
fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is
this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness, the
illusion that there is you and a totally separate "other." You then forget
the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and
separate forms, you are one with all that is. By "forget," I mean that you
can no longer feel this oneness as self-evident reality. You may believe it
to be true, but you no longer know it to be true. A belief may be
comforting. Only through your own experience, however, does it become
Thinking has become a disease. Disease happens when things get out of
balance. For example, there is nothing wrong with cells dividing and
multiplying in the body, but when this process continues in disregard of
the total organism, cells proliferate and we have disease.
Note: The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly,
however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not
so much that you use your mind wrongly - you usually don't use it at all.
It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This
is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.

Q.] I don't quite agree. It is true that 1 do a lot of aimless thinking,
like most people, but I can still choose to use my mind to get and
accomplish things, and I do that all the time.
A.] Just because you can solve a crossword puzzle or build an atom bomb
doesn't mean that you use your mind. Just as dogs love to chew bones, the
mind loves to get its teeth into problems. That's why it does crossword
puzzles and builds atom bombs. You have no interest in either. Let me ask
you this: can you be free of your mind whenever you want to? Have you found
the "off" button?

Q:] What exactly do you mean by "watching the thinker"?
A:] When someone goes to the doctor and says, "1 hear a voice in my head," he or she
will most likely be sent to a psychiatrist. The fact is that, in a very similar way, virtually
everyone hears a voice, or several voices, in their head all the time: the involuntary
thought processes that you don't realize you have the power to stop. Continuous
monologues or dialogues.
You have probably come across "mad" people in the street incessantly talking or
muttering to themselves. Well, that's not much different from what you and all other
"normal" people do, except that you don't do it out loud. The voice comments,
speculates, judges, compares, complains, likes, dislikes, and so on. The voice isn't
necessarily relevant to the situation you find yourself in at the time; it may be reviving
the recent or distant past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations. Here it
often imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes; this is called worry.
Sometimes this soundtrack is accompanied by visual images or "mental movies."
Even if the voice is relevant to the situation at hand, it will interpret it in terms of the
past. This is because the voice belongs to your conditioned mind, which is the result of
all your past history as well as of the collective cultural mind-set you inherited. So you
see and judge the present through the eyes of the past and get a totally distorted view of
it. It is not uncommon for the voice to be a person's own worst enemy. Many people
live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and
drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as
of disease.
The good news is that you can free yourself from your mind. This is the only true
liberation. You can take the first step right now. Start listening to the voice in your head
as often as you can. Pay particular attention to any repetitive thought patterns, those old
gramophone records that have been playing in your head perhaps for many years. This
is what I mean by "watching the thinker," which is another way of saying: listen to the
voice in your head, be there as the witnessing presence.
When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge. Do not
judge or condemn what you hear, for doing so would mean that the same voice has
come in again through the back door. You'll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I
am listening to it, watching it. This 1 am realization, this sense of your own presence, is
not a thought. It arises from beyond the mind.
contibuted by Jan Sultan


> Going beyond 'I am', which is conceptual, perhaps we can say then that
> the understanding is no understanding, because I cannot know myself
> actually only conceptually, as if at a distance. Gary Merrill

Hi Gary,

I would agree that there's no 'understanding' and no 'myself' to know.
There is 'only' I Am and then beyond I Am. I Am is made into a salad by
the human mind and from that all confusion arises.

Lately I'm working in the field of mental illness, specifically
schizophrenia, so I'm seeing things through those glasses. In relation
to the I Am, human beings are highly schizophrenic. Their thoughts are
disorganized, they experience delusions, hallucinations, emotional
unresponsiveness, apathy, withdrawal, "the inability to connect an event
with its source into a complete and whole memory." The quote and
information are from <>.

If you read the above web page and view it from the perspective of the I
Am, it's clear that most people are spiritually schizophrenic. And I
don't mean 'schizophrenic' in popular sense of split personality. I mean
it in the sense of not being connected with reality, being confused,
withdrawn, paranoid. See the definition in the link above.

> If this is the case, and we will never know :-), then it could be said
> that everything we say is in violation of the teaching:-) endlessly so
> :-)

I see neither a 'we' nor a disconnect from I Am, so I'm not seeing
violations, only variations. Having said that, it's possible we're
'knowing' the same thing but choosing different reference points.
Merry Christmas!


Hi Jerry,
snip The quote and
J> information are from <>.

J> If you read the above web page and view it from the perspective of the I
J> Am, it's clear that most people are spiritually schizophrenic. And I
J> don't mean 'schizophrenic' in popular sense of split personality. I mean
J> it in the sense of not being connected with reality, being confused,
J> withdrawn, paranoid. See the definition in the link above.

Perhaps we can say that all problems are relationship problems and to
be well adjusted means to be stable, within the norms of one's
culture. Of course, we don't really believe in these norms and we
become actors playing the part of ourselves, not knowing ourselves.
Some manage this better than others. Looking at the world as a whole I
guess this works for about 20% say who are functionally successful and
the rest are in trouble, though when its nationwide I guess that's
'normal' too.

It seems like part of this 'seeking' is one of gaining understanding or
insight so that we can find that we are really home and not alienated so.

J> I see neither a 'we' nor a disconnect from I Am, so I'm not seeing
J> violations, only variations. Having said that, it's possible we're
J> 'knowing' the same thing but choosing different reference points.

What I meant was that it may be impossible to ever know 'anything', to
ever know the 'self', if there is not two. All there is, is this observation of 'something',
just the formulation, always the bridesmaid and never the bride. As
this too is an observation it could be totally wrong, and it is
totally wrong if nothing can be said. On the other side of the coin
there are all these wonderful and awful expressions, the drama of
being someone, the suffering, the pleasure, the beginnings and
endings. This story and drama of a 'player' the 'known one'. That
there is this drama is all well and good and there is no choice but to
play. Hopefully there arises perspective, that the 'player' is only an
illusion and not so self important therefore. This reminds of the old
expression again of being in the world but not of the world. The I am
but beyond the I am.

There is thus a certain sanity of not being anyone, contrasted with
the extremes of the paranoia of being someone in trouble and the temporary success of
the well adjusted 'successful'.

J> Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and all fellow NDS ers too!


"stillpointed" <Ed> wrote:
> >>
> Can one be a Realized Being without fully understanding human
> nature?
> >>
> >Michael:
> Nope. And, let's drop those capitalizations. :-)
> Realization does not take away humanity. In due course
> the so called path must and will encompass all
> there is about being a human creature.
> >
(E) Yes, Michael, and that leads me to the point I wish to make.
The understanding I am reaching for concerns the present
militaristic geopolitical situation and its historical implications.
Simply put, the current atmosphere is not optimal for most people,
including us, perhaps. Yet, in history and in human nature is the
capacity and hidden knowledge for optimal renewal.

(M)The present geopolitical situation is the same as it has always been.
Except of course now we have mass media and 'instant' communications.
We also have war making and destructive capacities never before
dreamed of, at least in the last few thousand years.

Wars and rumors of wars. hmmm... Sound familiar? I once asked, when I
was a teenager, my foster Mom why there were wars. The best she could
come up with was that war helped to control the population. Let's see
there were 2 billion of us in 1949 when I was born. Now, there are
over 6 billion of us. I guess we didn't wage war very well. :-)

As far as human nature goes we are like the other mammals and
creatures who have an inborn need to gain and defend territory. We
want and even seem to need to keep the other guy out of our garden.
To that end we erect warning signs and even create laws allowing us to
defend our garden to the death - preferably the other guy's not our

From the biological imperative of territoriality we have the same
basic political system that the ancients did. It's us against them and
life hangs in the balance.

So. How do we overcome this current state of affairs and reach, if not
the optimum state, at least find balance? By learning everything we
can about ourselves as animals and as something that can actually
think logically and with compassion. And it ain't easy!

(E) My quest would account for the dynamic cycling of "war and peace"
so as to facilitate the renewal of the optimal. It seems to me this
might begin by a spreading awareness of self-peacemaking. What I am
leading up to is that realized individuals, who comprehend the
capacity and knowledge of human nature to optimize, could facilitate
this renewal of peace and freedom. Sure, there's a bit more to it
than that. :)

(M)For certain there is a whole lot more. And a whole lot less too.

Using history we see that folks like Jesus and Buddha didn't wave
a magic wand and change all of humanity into sterling examples of the
optimum human being. From all accounts either of those guys could have
done it in an afternoon. Poof! - end of game! :-) Or, the begining of
a new game - perhaps.

So. There are some folk (just because this is a great and intricate
play) yes, there are some folk who want to become enlightened just so
they can have a big hand in saving the world. Ever felt like you may
just be the next big messiah on the block?! :-) Well, a lot of folk
have that feeling from time to time. It passes.

So. Do awakened folk work to help and, if so how do they do that? Is
that what you are asking? Well, one way would be to buy a great big
motorcycle and drive around with a sign on your back that spells out
BE NICE! Or, maybe not. :-)

The tricky thing about being awakened is that all one sees is god or
the so-called higher self or the entire manifested and the
unmanifested and all that. So, who is helping who? And, one cannot
avoid helping - but gently gently. Can't even force another
manifestation to see that it is really the unmanifested!

Tricky? Yes! But, fun? Oh, definately!

(E) And...if it doesn't work we can always go back to killing each
other. :-)

Not today, thank you kindly. Don't want to be late for supper!

> Ed... abiding in the inner smile. <s>

smiling with you - michael

...............michael, i really liked the rest of the post, but if
all one sees is god or the so called higher self, thats a pretty far
distance from being awakened.
...............bottoms up old chum,

how would you know? :-)
or did you get hung up on the words? :-)

ciao - michael

Hi Jerry, passing along this essay:
found here:
Couple more things on schizophrenia here. John

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Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: