Jerry Katz
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Highlights #941

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01/06/02 Sunday



Everybody living from 'Who they really are' - Douglas Harding

Well, before I try and answer that one, let me get something out of the
way. I don't use the word enlightened anymore; it's a buzz word, it's a
word which is a very, very tricky one, and I don't say I'm enlightened and
you're endarkened. I do not say that. In fact, I don't feel that way. I
don't feel myself to be enlightened in a world of endarkened people. That
distinction is not real for me, it does not feel like that. I meet people.
I don't think 'you don't see what I do'. It is the last thing I think and I
swear that it is my experience and you see-the way I think of other people
vis--vis myself-they and I living are living from the same place, in the
same way and in the same fashion.
All of us are living from who we really, really, really are and we couldn't
do otherwise. And if they wish-and certainly most people wish to overlook
this fact or to ignore this fact; of what they're looking out of, of who
they really, really, really are-it doesn't prevent them living in that
place, and so one cannot feel enlightened or superior to them at all. It's
just that I happen to be interested in observing what I'm looking out of,
interested in making this 180 U-turn to be awake, not only to the object
as object, but to the subject as object. In fact, I'm not content with
one-way looking but with two-way looking, but other people have the right
to delay that. Why should I really feel superior to all that?

Douglas Harding

..... I know. I think he's just immersed in this world and he has no
escape. Not escape -it's the wrong word- he has no peace, no stillness at
his center. He imagines he hasn't -because he is- he is that. This is not
an achievement. This is what he is. Everyone of us is doing it, doing it
right, living it from who we really, really, really are - everyone of us is
doing it right, but he is not cashing it. It's like having a million pounds
in the bank and thinking you are a pauper - and writing no cheques on it.

Douglas Harding


Q: Papaji, you recommend that we don't read books about awakening because
it just creates the preconception and expectation of what awakening will
feel like, taste like, of what it will be like. What then do you hope to
convey about it in an interview?

PAPAJI: I don't recommend that you read any sacred books or books about
saints. When you read a spiritual book, you will probably like some part of
it. If you read it and like it, you store it in the memory. Later, you sit
in meditation, trying to get freedom. You want to be free, and you have a
conception of freedom which you have acquired from your books. When you
meditate, this preconceived idea will manifest and you will experience it.
You forget that what you are experiencing is something that is stored in
your memory. What you get is a past experience, not enlightenment. The real
experience is not an experience of a past memory. The mind deceives you
when you meditate. The mind is always going to deceive you and cheat you,
so don't depend on the mind. If the mind wants or likes something, don't
listen to it. Whatever the mind likes, dislike it. Memory means past. When
you meditate, you are trying to execute a plan which is in your mind: 'I
have to arrive at the place I have read about.' Your later experience is
therefore preplanned and that is what you get, because whatever the mind
thinks, it manifests.
When you have a thought of samsara, manifestation arises. This is your
thought, your wish. That is why the world manifests. It looks so real to
you because you have faith in its reality. Once you experience that Reality
is somewhere else, you will reject samsara instantly. You will have a very
new, very fresh experience. Each moment will be new. You will not
experience it with the mind. Then there will be no mind, you will be all
alone. This and this alone is called 'experience'. I won't use the word
experience again because all experiences are planned from the past. It is
not really going to be an experience, it is going to be a very direct
meeting. For the first time you will meet That. You will go to meet It
after denuding your mind, after denuding all the concepts of the mind. You
have to go there undressed. Undress everything. Be nude. Even denude
yourself of the nudity. Do you understand? The chamber of this Beloved is
so sacred, this is the only way you can enter. If you want to meet your
Beloved, go there. Who stops you? Do it now itself. It is so simple. To
dress up takes time. To undress is much easier.


After fifteen years at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Father Louis
Merton began to realize the complexity of his earlier desire
for sanctity. Becoming a saint for him meant, in some ways,
to realize the we are fools for Christ's sake. He wrote about
the following is from the Merton list:


this maturing realization in 1958 to his New York friend,
Catherine de Hueck Doherty:

"After so boldly advertising to the world that I was out to
become a saint, I find I am doing a pretty bum job of it...
But it certainly is a wonderful thing to wake up suddenly in
the solitude of the woods and look up at the sky and see the
utter nonsense of everything, including all the solemn stuff
given out by professional asses about the spiritual life: and
simply to burst out laughing, and laugh and laugh, with the
sky and the trees because God is not in words, and not in
systems, and not in liturgical movements, and not in
'Contemplation' with a big C, or in asceticism or in anything
like that, not even in the apostolate. Certainly not in
books. I can go on writing them, for all that, but one might
as well make paper airplanes out of the whole lot."
(Catherine de Hueck Doherty, September 18, 1958)


To me, the key to this paragraph is the phrase 'wake up suddenly'. If
that happens in any setting, whether it's the woods or at the desk, he
could have written that paragraph.


Laura Johnston Randolph

I'm looking for a book to read that attempts to describe the Absolute in
terms of spirit,space, time, matter etc. Does anybody know of a good one?

Goswami. Or any of Tarthang Tulku's books, which are available in most large bookstores.

Good hunting.

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Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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