Category Archives: Gurus/Teachers/Sages

#5180 – Start Your Own Group – Spiderman – Enlightenment Slavery

Edited by Jerry Katz

Today, Wednesday, March 5, on Nonduality Talk Radio: How to Start and Run an Independent Nonduality Meetup Group Wherever You Are and Whoever You Are.

My guest will be co-founder of our Nonduality Satsang Meetup in Nova Scotia, James Traverse. Nonduality Satsang:

We’ll be taking your calls at 902-494-2487

The show is on from 12:30 to 1:30PM EST. You may listen at

The show will be archived at by 9PM EST.


Brendan McCarthy writes…

Hi Jerry, here’s the great 60s comic book character Dr Strange explaining non-duality to a befuddled Spider-Man (referencing the occult path – the ‘crossing of the abyss’ is the magickal version of ‘enlightenment’). From FEVER, a Marvel Comics series from a few years ago.

Dr Strange abyss

Dr Strange matches


This interview

inspired me to write this:

Enlightenment or self-realization has to be seen as rare and scarce in order for it to be economically viable. Enlightenment is worth something when it’s “caught,”, “captured,” “gotten.” Because then it can sold. And in order for enlightenment to retain its value, its scarcity has to be reinforced. You have to constantly be told it’s rare and that one person is enlightened while you’re not. Have you fallen for that spiritual system? Are you falling for it? Consider that enlightenment culture is much like the pharmaceutical industry in which you have to be ill in order for the industry to thrive. Yes, the enlightenment industry requires you to be unenlightened. The “cure” for this culture? Well, of course it’s what enlightenment is all about, knowing who or what you are, that’s all. But notice how you’ve been so conditioned to think that someone else, for example, Mooji, knows who he is and that you can’t possibly know who you are to the same degree that he does. That perceived difference is what enlightenment culture uses in order to survive. But it doesn’t have to. If you are aware that enlightenment culture or nonduality culture is an art of expression, and nothing more, then you can enjoy it and engage within it. But if you buy into the scarcity concept and put your time, money, and energy into getting something, you have fallen for a made-up, false economic system that sees enlightement as a commodity. In that situation you are a slave and the “enlightened ones” are the slave owners.

-Jerry Katz

#5176 – Pete Sierra and Vimalasara Mason-John

Edited by Jerry Katz

Interview with Vimalasara Mason-John


Alternatively, listen on Soundcloud and use the following time cues to access the tracks you want to hear:

0:00 – 4:40 What is nonduality. The label of being a Buddhist, its use and limitations. Paradox and ambiguity.

4:40 – 9:42 Suffering, nature of. Who’s to say one person’s suffering is more extreme than another’s? Vimalasara’s sufferings as stories.

9:42 – 13:06 What it means to have one’s voice. Vimalasara speaks about the group she leads. “How am I going to live my life in this moment?”

13:06 – 15:53 The loose ends in one’s life, that is, the activities that don’t apparently “feed one’s soul,” or that are unpleasant at a deep level. Dealing with conflict and confrontation. Getting caught in stories.

15:53 – 19:22 Waking up, staying with unpleasantness. Thought and identification. A current confrontation broadly described. Email vs face to face communication via Skype video, for example.

19:22 – 26:04 Loose ends re-visited. Voice of self-hatred arising. Having choice on what to pay attention to. Bringing kindness to consciousness of loose ends.

26:04 – 36:56 Teachings explored in the nonduality community. Jerry’s stories and encounters with teachings. Starting online nonduality and its objective. Liberation Unleashed and Scott Kiloby mentioned.

36:56 – 39:24 Scott Kiloby’s work discussed, and addiction. Mental health diagnoses.

39:24 – 50:40 “Is it possible to be addicted and to be enlightened?” Do enlightened people have any unwholesome thoughts, considering that unwholesome thoughts have an impact on the next moment. Practicing and not practicing. Taking the practice of meditation deeper and deeper.

50:40 – 59:57 The art of interviewing. Jerry is asked to recommend books. Vimalasara asks Jerry what he thought of her book. Accessibility of Buddhist and other teachings these days. Nonduality undoes itself.

59:57 – 1:06:44 Nondual Christianity and other religions. Buddha nature. Passive nature of traditional Christianity and prayer and Vimalasara’s childhood experience in a state in which she feared for her life.

1:06:44 – 1:14:52 Our projects and the work we do as practice. Addressing the question of what to do with one’s life. Nature and role of being a teacher.

1:14:52 – 1:25:50 (We’re having lunch and tea while chatting, so some sounds of enjoying food and drink!) Vimalasara’s sangha group and building a leadership team. Leadership. Our groups. (It is stated that Adyashanti’s motto for his work is, “Speak truthfully,” however that’s not true! Last I saw, it was, “Do what’s most true.”) The recording ends abrubptly. We continued to chat but it was not recorded.

Vimalasara is the co-author of Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction



Nonduality Talk Radio, featuring Pete Sierra and Vimalasara Mason-John:

Nonduality Talk Radio, hosted by Jerry Katz, may be heard every Wednesday from 12:30 to 1:30PM EST at Want to be a guest on the show? Write me.

#5171 – Vimalasara & Bullying, Colin Drake & Gratitude

Dr. Valerie Mason-John

Valerie Mason-John (Vimalasara) is a contemporary Black British author, performer and conflict resolution trainer born in Cambridge, 1962. Mason-John spent her childhood ‘in care,’ i.e. in foster homes and childcare facilities, including the Barnardo’s Orphanages in Britain with the exception of a short time spent living with her mother in her early teens. She dropped out before receiving her undergraduate degree in the eighties, but has continued to pursue post-graduate education and training into the present. Since the early nineties, Vimalasara has worked as a writer, performing artist and lecturer. More recently, Mason-John received a teaching certificate, and currently conducts seminars in anger management and conflict resolution.

How can we stop bullying in the world? Over 60 % of kids say they’ve been bullied at school, and for every one ‘successful’ suicide there’s over 100 attempted suicides. A survivor of bullying, Vimalasara Mason-John uses her expertise as a bully doctor and personal experience, to suggest that bullying does not have to be part of every day life. In this gritty, moving and powerful talk Mason-John gives a clear message, that our ‘stinking thinking’ can be the cause of bullying. And when we bully ourselves we will bully everyone around us. She outlines a course of action we can take to work with this global epidemic.

Award-winning author Dr Valerie Mason-John works as a Bully Doctor for several School Boards in Canada. Her books include Detox Your Heart, working with anger, fear and hatred. Valerie co-edited the first national anthology of African Canadian Poetry, The Great Black North, published in 2013. Demeter Press has published her most recent novel, the North American edition of her award winning novel Borrowed Body, 2013. Her new book is Eight Step Recovery — Using the Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She lives in British Columbia.

Here is Vimalasara’s TEDx talk:

Vimalasara is currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is stopping by tomorrow, Sunday, to meet and talk. If we record our conversation, I’ll share it here.



 by Colin Drake

‘Gratitude is heaven itself’ – William Blake

One of the outcomes of Awakening can be an overwhelming gratitude for life, friends, partners, the world … in fact just about everything. Which at first may seem somewhat surprising as when one is identified with, and as, Pure Awareness (the source, ground and dissolution of all manifestation) then who is there to be grateful to whom, for there is no separation … However, for me gratitude arises spontaneously at times, even producing tears, and is the source of great joy … ‘heaven itself’.

This is not surprising when one realizes that gratitude, grateful, and gratify (thus gratification) all come from the same Latin root ‘gratus’ which means ‘pleasing or thankful’ (OED). Thankful being defined as ‘pleased and relieved’ with a second definition as ‘being grateful’. So gratitude can naturally stem from the pleasure and relief that occurs on Awakening, when one discovers that truly no separate self exists and all of the imaginary psychological burdens, accumulated by who we thought we were, are seen to be of no weight.

That is not to say that they cease to exist in the mind, but that they cease to trouble us as they are seen to apply to a non existent object. In fact as soon as they seem to assume any weight, causing unnecessary mental suffering, this should be a wake-up call to the fact that we have ‘nodded off’ again and have re-identified as a separate object. This is simply overcome by re-investigation revealing that we are the Pure Awareness in which they appear …

John Wren Lewis, in his celebrated interview with Caroline Jones (on ‘The search for meaning’) rates gratitude very highly and even suggests that fostering the feeling of gratitude can lead to Awakening. This may be possible by investigating it and its causes (as given above) but I find investigation of one’s moment-to-moment experience (see appendix) to be the easiest way to (re)Awaken. Put simply, in this context, just to see that there is awareness of the gratitude arising and that, at the deepest level, one is that Awareness.

Thus gratitude is an outcome of Awakening and a very important one at that for it gives a feeling of joy and can foster the realization that one is not separate from the Totality of Being … Consciousness, Awareness when at rest and Cosmic Energy when in motion. This method of realization and the ‘knowing’ that it produces is classically called the path of Jnana Yoga … that of knowledge.


There is another way to experience gratitude as being grateful to this Totality (God, The Absolute, call it what you will) whilst maintaining (an appearance of) separation. This allows one to enjoy the grace, and love, of This as the Beloved, which is the path of Bhakti Yoga … devotion. The ultimate aim of this path is total self-surrender, leading to the same outcome as Jnana Yoga, but is juicier (although slower) in the enjoyment of God as a person with whom we can have a relationship and thus enjoy the communion one can have with ‘another’.

One may adopt many different approaches, or attitudes, towards God. Sri Ramakrishna explained five of these as:

Santa,the serene attitude… It is like the devotion of a wife to her husband.

Dasya, the attitude of a servant towards his master. Hanuman had this attitude towards Rama.

Sakhya, the attitude of friendship.

Vatsalya, the attitude of a mother towards her child. This was Yasoda’s attitude towards Krishna.

Madhur, the attitude of a woman towards her paramour. Radha had this towards Krishna. The wife also feels it for her husband. This attitude includes the other four.[1]

The bhakta, the devotee, prefers to remain separate so as to experience the bliss of the Personal God. The ultimate realization sought for on this path is known as savikalpa Samadhi

the first stage of transcendental consciousness, in which the distinction between subject and object persists. In this state the spiritual aspirant may have a vision of the Personal God, with or without form.[2]

Thus as a devotee one can experience gratitude in the meaning of ‘feeling grateful towards’ God – The Beloved.


Interestingly there is a method through which the Jnani, the nondualist, can also experience gratitude to, and love for, the Beloved. This is a method, given earlier, which I call ‘Love Loving Itself’ whichis a practice for ‘sensing’ the Absolute, through which the lover – Pure Awareness, consciousness at rest – and the beloved – the manifest universe, Cosmic Energy, consciousness in motion – can ‘know’ and love each other. Thus the Absolute, consciousness in both modes, can know and love Itself. The starting point for this is the realization that that the body/mind is an instrument through which Awareness can sense, contemplate, experience, engage with, act in, enjoy and love the manifest world … see the appendix. This process is the lover beholding and loving the beloved. From this can stem gratitude (in the sense of being grateful) for the beauty of, and joy in experiencing, the beloved.

In the same way, by using the mind (a facet of manifestation, the beloved) to investigate Awareness (the lover) the beloved can ‘know’, feel grateful for, and love, the lover. This completes the cycle of The Absolute (Consciousness) ‘knowing’ and loving Itself in both modes at rest and in motion. Thus in this practice gratitude can occur in both modes identified with Pure Awareness, the lover, and with the mind, a facet of the beloved.

This identification with the mind is to be only temporary, seeing it as an instrument of the beloved, rather than what we are at the deepest level. For the beloved, Cosmic Energy, is ever changing and ephemeral, whereas Pure Awareness in which all movements arise, abide and subside, is changeless and eternal. Also, it can be readily seen that the flow of thoughts, mental images and sensations (mind/body) come and go in, and are ‘seen’ by, That.

[1]The Gospel of Ramakrishna, tr by Sw. Nikhilananda,1942, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Centre, New York, p.115

[2]B. Usha, A Ramakrishna Vedanta Wordbook, 1971, Hollywood, p.70

Colin Drakes ebooks and hard copy books are fully described and available at

#5170 – Gale McCray & Charlie Hayes on Nonduality Talk Radio

Edited by Jerry Katz

On Nonduality Talk Radio yesterday Gale McCray spoke about his experience at a week long retreat with Scott Kiloby at the Kiloby Center for Recovery. We spoke about the nature of addiction and … baseball!

Charlie Hayes was my next guest. We talked about his car racing career in which he experienced freedom beyond the mind/body and how the end of his racing life transitioned into a new search for freedom.

Listen to the show:

download link:

Here’s Gale McCray‘s classic The Last Inning, which will be loved by any baseball fan:

Charlie Hayes’ books are available here.

and here’s Charlie…


#5169 – Video Interview with Andrew Macnab

Edited by Jerry Katz

2014-01-26 21.10.41
photo: Andrew is second from right. Photo taken a few weeks ago at Nonduality Satsang.

Andrew Macnab is a carpenter living in West Dublin, Nova Scotia. He was an early member of Nonduality Salon and in 2000 attended the first independent nonduality retreat, held in Rhode Island. We talk about a lot of different topics in what I believe you will find to be a delightfully plain style.

Some of the more popular tracks, I believe, may be about Andrew’s stroke and how his identity winked out, at the 15:00 mark. The discussion on Dogen beginning at the 40:11 mark. Our chat about the sacred stopping place, at 1:18:19. Andrew’s description of the wildlife on his property, beginning at 1:30:00.

Pick a track and watch!

Topics and Tracks

0:00 – 3:20 Introduction to Andrew and topics of discussion.

3:20 – 7:17 Andrew’s work as a carpenter. Working on old homes and their construction. Things found.

7:17 – 8:45 Creative aspect of carpentry.

8:45 – 15:00 Stumbling into nonduality online. Nonduality Salon. Bow hunting. Living in nature. Meditation practice and loss of identity.

15:00 – 26:14 Suffering a stroke and further experience of loss of small self. How life was perceived afterward. Physical recovery. Canadian medical system. Andrew’s current diet.

26:14 – 31:50 Eating meat, agriculture as big business. Andrew’s interest in gardening. Wood stoves.

31:50 – 35:27 Going to the retreat in Rhode Island in 2000 and the value of being with others.

35:27 – 40:11 Andrew’s inquiry to Naropa in the 80s. Studying graphic design.

40:11 – 52:20 Doing translations of classic texts. Recent translation of Dogen discussed in some detail. Zen.

52:20 – 57:47 Andrew’s dogs.

57:47 – 1:05:20 Integration of the wordless and the word, the materialistic and idealistic. Andrew’s feelings about his writings done in the late 90s. Nonduality Salon.

1:05:20 – 1:18:19 Upcoming Nonduality Satsang meetup and question of human conflict. Integration re-visited. Remembrances of meeting in person. Perspectives on time. Online vs in-person behaviour. The nature of argument.

1:18:19 – 1:27:25 Stopping at a sacred place on the way to Rhode Island. Reasons for Chogyam Trungpa moving to Nova Scotia.

1:27:25 – 1:30:00 Bringing silence to Nonduality Satsang.

1:30:00 – 1:42:30 Pair of foxes on Andrew’s property and other wildlife including birds, otters, and crows.

1:42:30 – 1:52:17 Nature of these and other nonduality interviews. Andrew’s current activities.

1:52:17 – 2:10:27 Social aspect of carpentry, especially doing home renovations for extended times. School recess. Nature of play in humans and animals.

2:10:27 – 2:21:22 Cigars. Final words on this and that.

Andrew Macnab’s early writings are at