Jerry Katz
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Highlights #956

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: Friday, January 25


Hi it's me Valerie in Alaska - I was
'[email protected]'
- then went away to Mexico but got
chased off by the
jejenes (aka noseeums), then was in
Oregon for a month
approx., now am back and at the ol'
computer again.

While I was in Oregon I was
reacquainted with a dear man
who was the closest thing I had to a
father in high school,
and he had contracted Hepatitis C in
the small amount of
time he had abused his body in his
youth. He has always
been the *strong* one - a shining star in the nighttime -
and he has spent a lifetime working hard for a company and
raising 2 very sharp daughters to adulthood and owns 2
houses now. He went all thru AA and NA and has really
helped aLOT of people in his life. However, upon the onset
of this Hepatitis C, he was in so much pain he could not
work anymore and became housebound. His wife left him for a
married man and very vindictively said untrue things to the
doctors which made it neccessary for him to wait a year to
receive a liver. He was able to receive early retirement,
but still being housebound and in such bad physical shape
was not his style. I was priviledged while in Oregon to
have a short visit with him, and I had the most peculiar
feeling - I wish the visit could have been longer, but hey
- he was Richard - I expected him to thrive.

Here in Alaska everybody's on the rag - got 'Seasonal
Affective Disorder' or somethin - and tonight I thought to
call him because of ALL people, he's got a legitimate

well, the X-wife answered the phone and let me know that he
passed away last Saturday. He had been the strong one to
the end, she said, comforting the people there grieving for
him, letting them know he was ready to pass on, he had too
much pain, not being himself, ready to be with the Lord.

Where did he go? He wasn't all into Krishna or Hindu or
Buddhism or the Vedas or the Bhagavan. Heck - I wonder if
he was even a very good Christian - he was just a good
hearted, honest, down-to-earth kinda guy. I can't say he
wasn't even spiritual, because i didn't really know his
heart about his true beliefs - he just really didn't
practice or read much about it - maybe in the AA and NA he
discovered his Higher Power. But where do we go when we
die? Is it like a hologram - do we go where we *think*
we're going to go? Do we project our own realities when we
die? Or is there really another spiritual world somewhere
ready-made awaiting our souls when we've been good, and
another one when we've been bad? Is there one place for the
truly enlightened yogis, and another for the denser
'salt-of-the-earth' types? Do some souls, released from
their carnal bondage, just get to wander around in freedom?

I suppose I must sound simplistic to some (or all), as
these are age-old questions. But I just found out about the
death of one of my closest friends in my life so far, and
he wasn't that much older either - maybe 49 or 50. I just
want to know - where did my friend Richard go?


Dear Valerie,

In the immediacy of your loss and grief, it surely may feel
as if a chunk of your heart has been ripped away and left a
gaping hole. Whatever future scenario for Richard anyone
might project to comfort you, the cold fact is that it
would be second hand and subject still to your own criteria
of belivableness. What you do know first hand is how much
it hurts now that he is no longer here where you can speak
with him and touch him.

That immediacy of loss is something we all have first hand
knowledge about from experience. You will want to spend a
lot of time thinking about Richard and going over memories
of him and feeling your love for him as sorrow. Eventually
what remains is again feeling your love for him as joy and
gratitude for ever knowing him at all. You know he lives on
in your heart and in all the many lives he has touched. At
least one continuation of Richard is in how his way of
being in this world continues through them to others and
never really can end. For every life he has influenced
passes on his love and caring to others. This morning,
through you, Richard has spoken to all of us here. He has
affirmed once again those values his life exemplified.

Thank you for the gift of Richard, Valerie.

People who serve in AA are spiritual activists of the
highest order who demonstrate with actions rather than talk
about their beliefs. Many are anonymous saints, they save
lives. They offer friendship, welcome, and real help that
works for alcoholics and drug addicts. And it's free. That
they can do this without preaching or requiring any
particular religious creed or beliefs from those they help
is possible because they offer themselves as a living
example that AA can work. Last I heard their batting
average surpassed many expensive drug treatment facilities,
and even those programs usually recommend AA for followup
and maintenance of sobriety.

So would you rather have a friend like Richard or be handed
a book of religious beliefs? All these religions exist
primarily as a way of possibly producing someone like a
Richard. I would say he did indeed "practice" with the life
he lived. That he also suffered disease, pain, loss, and
betrayal without becoming embittered by them tells a lot
about the state of his heart and understanding. To the end,
comforting those who came to grieve for him. What is more
"enlightened" than that? So if God were running a pass/fail
system here, Richard would be a shoe in. But why would a
God be interested in grading anyone? No, he invites people
to celebration parties when the prodigal son returns home.

You asked: ? Or is there really another spiritual world
somewhere ready-made awaiting our souls when we've been
good, and another one when we've been bad?

A spiritual world would not be like a physical place, more
like a place in consciousness. Jesus said the kingdom of
God is right here and now, spread among men, and they see
it not. It sounds like Richard did see it. If he found
heaven right here, living within his spiritual awareness,
where else would he go? He was already home.

With love,


(What)you wrote is so vivid and moving that I
printed it out, mayhaps to inspire a painting or a poem
with such simple truth and thankyou for it. We here with
our armchairs and our computers and our philosophies are
quite the uppercrust, you know. Everywhere people are in
poverty, unemployed, starving, addicts, depressed, and in
the most unfortunate cases, at war and/or amidst violence.
Being able to discuss (or argue, ahem!) the fine points of
advanced spirituality is really quite the luxury! And
you're right - it's not the same, nor are the books the
same as actually being out there on the front lines living
those same philosophies and beliefs. What an excellent
point! The finger pointing at the moon is NOT the moon, or
how did that go? Perhaps by studiously discussing and
reading holy writs we acquire the fruits of the spirit,
that we might remember and be filled with grace when we are
actually called to show mercy or patience or overcome some
other challenge in real life. (then again - define "real
life") ...I haven't met many naturally born front-line
warriors such as Richard - didn't learn it from a book or
ever quote anybody (like me. i.e.). love from a frozen
world, valerie



The transcendence that Ed seems to be pointing to might be
best realized in a very private conversation.

When Gene speaks of peer-to-peer conversation, I wonder if
that needs to occur in small group or on a focused list,
and whether it can occur on an open list with others
yanking the conversation apart.

As I see it, it is all the same thing.

As to the issue of 'others tearing the conversation apart',
it seems this does not occur, if participants are actually
interested in continuing to interact. And this addresses
the issue of 'what is a peer'; we do not need to qualify
our peerdom, it is assumed. If anyone assumes differently,
such a one will 'stand out like a sore thumb'.

It seems to me, that there needs to be addressed, the
putative protocols of lists such as this.

Is Jerry's original vision for NDS what is happening here?
If not, is the deviation desirable, or is it fatal to the
purpose of this list?

Because a list 'is communication', the issue of
communication is IMO, always topical, as a constant issue,
at a level below the stated topic of the list. And I think
this what Jerry was addressing in his post.



speaking for myself,
kindergarten would be way too advanced.

forget all this krishna stuff.
forget your great experiences.
forget everything that comes to you
when you wake up in the morning.

trade krishna for knishes!

sit in a deli and gaze at the people
have a knish.
drink soda.
order a piece of cake.
sip coffee.
buy a piece of candy when you pay your bill.
go outside.
be there. be free. just be.

useless, hopeless, lost,



The tape plays out in front of our face.
But it seems so real, like in the movie Brainstorm.
I've heard myself say this before,
"But it seems so real"

I have a test, that fails me now.
If it's a dream and I want to be sure,
Levatate and fly.
I've shown myself, that this test does
not always work.
I can't fly, so it's not a dream,
and I wake up anyways.
Damn, I missed another one!

But when I dream, and take control,
I can do just about anything.
Fly, pass through walls,
even have sex with incredible babes!

Naw, but what more?
Go to dimensions, untold.
Yes, now there's something.
Detail, like here, untold detail.
Stuff I could never explain,
because it isn't physical.

Who's there in that dream?
I don't have a body,
and faster than light. No restrictions,
except.... it's not me in that dream,
and it's the same One that's in THIS

No doubt about it.
It seems so real,
all I have to do is ...... fly,
to prove it..

Love , love, love and Light,



The certainty that comes
with the sudden cessation
of conceptual thought
is that there is nothing
that has absolute existence
there is nowhere to stand
nothing to rely on.
Beliefs and visions
argument and philosophy
can't stand up to that.


There is no belief required, the certainty is that there is
no me and no god.

A vision of god coming alive in a picture is pure



Oh man, this is too much, one of those syncronicity things; at the same
Nina shares her pizza experience, I get an ecard from Bobbi! Bobbi is a
poorly paid, bored, unhappy pizza person friend of mine, but has his
eye on a rich
lady that stops in for lunch. I wish him well. John The ecard has

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