Category Archives: Jerry Katz, writings

The Evan Gattis Story: A Milestone

The Evan Gattis story reaches a milestone. He has gone from high school baseball star, to suffering depression, to quitting baseball, to discovering nonduality, to finding out his true nature, to getting back into baseball, to playing professionally. His story is best told in this Sports Illustrated article.

Last night his team, the Houston Astros, won the World Series (advance to 9:22 if you do not wish to watch all the game’s highlights). Winning the Series is every baseball player’s dream and few achieve it.

Gattis does not make a public display of nondualistic claims and confessions as do Jim Carrey and Prince Ea. Some day in a book or movie he may do so. Or not. Meanwhile there’s more to come. He’s only 31 and has more years to play baseball.

Atlanta Braves v. Washington Nationals

Photo: Evan Gattis

Let the Scene See You

Let the Scene See You, an article I wrote on photography and nondual view has been published in Paula Marvelly’s The Culturium:

A LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER enamoured by a scene might enquire, “Do I feel the landscape ‘sees me’ even while I see it?” Or, “Do I hear, see, taste, recognize the true nature of ‘me’ in the landscape?”

Thirteenth-century Christian mystic and philosopher, Meister Eckhart, wrote, “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me.”

The eye through which I see a landscape is the same eye through which the landscape sees me.

Please view and read the entire article at
https://www.theculturium.com/jerry-katz-let-the-scene-see-you/

#5307 – What Is the Satguru?

What Is The Satguru?

brilliant-owl-camouflage-15

It’s not hard to see what one actually is, but sometimes you need someone to point it out to you. You may be looking right at it and not see it. It hides in plain sight like a camouflaged owl.

You can be taught everything about the owl. You may be shown pictures, videos, you may study its anatomy, physiology, and behavior. But if you can’t see the owl in the tree right in front of you, the essential discovery is missing.

You’ve probably experienced a situation where, for example, a friend sees an owl in a tree and even though you are looking at the same tree you cannot see the owl.

Your friend tries to help you see it: “See that large branch, the third from the top? The one with the remnant of plastic bag stuck to it?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, now follow the branch from the tree trunk.”

“Okay.”

“See the first branch coming off the large branch and sort of pointing downward?”

“Okay, yes.”

“Now follow that branch down until you come to the second clump of leaves. Ignore the first clump.”

“Think I got it.

“On the second clump of leaves, some of them are kind of orange in color, see that?”

“Yes.”

“Just to the left of that orange cluster, half behind some green and some of the orange leaves, is the owl. See it?”

“No.”

“Just look.”

“Oh. Geez. Yeah. There it is. Why couldn’t I see it?”

“It’s hard to see sometimes.”

The owl was always there, you just couldn’t see it. The owl represents your true self. It’s always there and you know it’s there.

The guru shows you the owl in the tree. Now you can hang up its picture, see it in your mind’s eye, place its form on your altar, remember it, allow its image to comfort and guide you.

The satguru goes a step further and removes any subtle separation between you and the owl. Wherever you look is the owl. The looker is the owl. When there is only the owl, how can there be an owl?

owls-being-cute-18

Robin Williams Passes Away – Interesting Memorabilia

robin70sautograph

Photo: Robin Williams in the 70s

Meeting Robin Williams

by Jerry Katz

Back in 1975 I tried stand-up comedy for about a year. I mostly performed on Sunday nights at the Improv in West Hollywood. Sunday was open-mike night and if you wanted to perform you had to line-up outside the Improv. The first 12 or so people in line would get to perform. You had to get in line around 6pm.

Once we have about a dozen people in line, we didn’t want to stay there until they let us in at 9pm, so we would write our names on a sheet of paper according to our place in the line. We would then go our own way and get back in line around 9pm according to the list.

On one of those nights, for some reason, I kept the list of names and when I re-discovered it, I saw that one of the guys who signed it became very famous. Robin Williams, who passed away today: Continue reading

I see your true colors

In the old days of TV you’d get a lot of static. You might have a station with a show you wanted to watch but you had to view it through static. So you might change the channel to watch a show you didn’t like as much but at least the picture was clear. There was value in the clarity itself. For one thing, seeing that there was such a thing as a clear picture let you know that the static wasn’t the nature of picture. The picture was inherently clear. The static was a function of the TV set. Satsang is like switching to a clear channel. In color! -jk

Psychiatry, Society, Industry, Economics, and Nonduality

Okay, we know how to celebrate nonduality for its diversity and wild freedom. Now we need to back up a little and focus on some of its niches, specifically nonduality and society, and nonduality and psychiatry. Because we can get lost in the celebration and forget that there are some untapped areas.

We’ve got the arts, sciences, psychotherapy, religion, even humor, pretty well covered. Western philosophy, literature, yoga, sexuality, and maybe even sports have some momentum to them. Ecology, which has deep nondual roots, seems to have stalled in the nonduality arena.

Addiction recovery is getting excellent coverage and Gary Nixon leads this effort, running what is essentially a department of nondual psychology at the University of Lethbridge in Canada.
Gary exemplifies how one person can establish nonduality within a traditional university located in a community with zero roots in nondual thought. I mean Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada isn’t exactly Marin County, if you know what I mean.

But mostly, in my view, the “economic, social, or industrial infrastructure (quote from Wikipedia under Society)” needs coverage, as does the field of psychiatry. I’ve been in touch with some people in these fields. Maybe there needs to be an international conference on Psychiatry, Society, Industry, Economics, and Nonduality. PSIEN. This is where the rubber meets the road. Enough celebrating.

The Significance of the Nonduality Movement

Where is the nonduality movement — whose Eastern-inspired, Western roots go back to the late 19th Century — going? In my view it’s on the way to becoming less exotic and less spiritual and more ordinary, in the same way exercise and healthy eating have gone from being viewed as “kookie” to ordinary and widely accepted. But the significance of the nonduality movement is that it means living from the poetry — the honest madness — rather than the anxiety — the dishonest normalcy — of our lives.

Comment or Like on Facebook

The Only Two Guides You Need in Your Pursuit of Nonduality

Pursuing nonduality? In the old days you had to do Google searches, join email forums, read books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, go to satsangs, make pilgrimages to see gurus.

All that has changed. Now you only need two guides.

1. Facebook.
2. MeetUps.

Have a question about the reputation of a teacher? Want to know whether nonduality will affect your relationships? Ask your friends on FB. Want to hear the latest utterances of some enlightened dude or girl? Facebook. Want to chat with the hottest guru? Want to post your own confessions about the nature of reality? Want to know who’s who and who’s doing what? All you need is Facebook.

For your offline experience, no need to travel far to see a sage or guru. Attend a local nonduality MeetUp group. If there isn’t any, or if there isn’t one to your liking, start one.

Facebook and MeetUps are the only two basic guides needed for your journey to nonduality.

If there’s a third guide, may I suggest the place where the vision for popular nonduality found a home: Nonduality.com

-Jerry Katz

What Is Nonduality, Really?

Nonduality today consists of a wide array of expressions on themes of oneness, interconnectedness, non-separateness, and paradox. These expressions are found in many fields of knowledge and endeavor: science, psychology, religion, spirituality, martial arts, poetry, music, art, literature, communication, education.

The desire to awaken often leads to a search and the discovery of some form of nonduality.

The purpose of my work in nonduality is to provide many opportunities for discovery. It considers nonduality as both a practical tool for more effective living and a pointing to what is. My work also includes the deconstruction of nonduality, and the deconstruction of deconstruction.

In other words, there’s both something to nonduality and nothing to it. Out of some colors of existence something is fashioned and it is called nonduality. But what is nonduality, really? Knowing what it really is, there is laughter, enjoyment … and another email to open!

-Jerry Katz

Beyond Lucid Dreaming and Waking

While it is fascinating to dream lucidly, that is, to be aware that you are dreaming and to be able to manipulate your environment — whether sleeping or awake — it is not a recognition of your natural self. It’s a recognition of your cool self.

The natural self, the Self, is stillness. It is dreamless sleep and dreamless waking.

Instead of trying to experience a lucid dream, upon lucidity in a dream, be still. There’s nothing to chase, nothing to manipulate. Carry this stillness to the waking world, to the greatest extent possible. In this way you will come to your natural way of being.

The Nonduality Movement: Part Four

Hi Jerry,

I think with the advent of the internet, the overall scenario has indeed changed. If we think of it, some centuries ago, anyone interested in non-duality would have to search a living “teacher”, for most did not read or write. Till a few years ago, one had the option of reading books. But with internet, and mainly these forums, there is this opportunity to participate actively in a dynamic that was unavailable before. Where would I meet others to discuss these matters just a few years ago? Where would I be able to look more deeply into the hidden nature of the sense of ego that is revealed in these exchanges?
So…. this “new” environment certainly must make some difference. Or perhaps none, if it only leads to more entertainment to escape from the implosion.
-geo-

The Feminist (Women’s) Movement changed consciousness even though many influenced by it didn’t bother to study academic papers or to read the significant books or attend meetings. The message of the Feminist Movement about equal rights hit home on everyday fronts: voting, pregnancy, the workplace, relationships, lifestyles, politics, ecology. The Feminist Movement is a model for giving structure to the nonduality movement, as far as looking at it in waves and describing each wave and looking at the movement in terms of scope, social change, and effects on religion, science, and other disciplines.

I see the Feminist, Eco-Feminist, and Nonduality Movements as merging more fully. But it would be helpful to define the Nonduality Movement so that it can more easily fit into these other movements. Ken Wilber has somewhat of a movement going with the Integral Institute and the Integral way of looking at things.

A person could ride the Nonduality Movement on the backs of Intergral Theory, or quantum theory, or neo-advaita, or Sufism, or as a Catholic monk, or as a new ager, or as nothing. Primarily, the message of nonduality becomes known, accepted, debated, refined, altered, and then one lives life with a deep and serious valuing of that message which can be worded in different ways.

My objective is to declare that there is a Nonduality Movement and to begin to describe it. People can see it, especially those who have been on the internet for a few years.

If I were creating a panel discussion on the topic of the Nonduality Movement, who would people like to see on it?

The Nonduality Movement: Part One
The Nonduality Movement: Part Two
The Nonduality Movement: Part Three

The Nonduality Movement: Part Three

The New Nonduality: The Nonduality Movement

Jerry Katz

In these times, both traditional and neo-Advaita exist in the matrix known as the new nonduality and they spread throughout the matrix thus creating what I call The Nonduality Movement.

The New Nonduality is in fact The Nonduality Movement. It is a matrix made up of every field of human endeavor. What moves through it, thus creating it, is the teaching of nonduality (usually along with a form of the word nonduality).

The word “nonduality” or one of its forms — nondual, nondualism, nondualistic, nondualist — serves as a marker revealing the movement.

I was interviewed a few days ago by a woman who, in preparation for the interview, googled “nonduality.” She told me that she thought there would very little about the topic and that it wouldn’t be hard to prepare. However, she was overwhelmed by the choices. I told her it wasn’t always like that. Had she done the search more than ten years ago, the pickings would have been too slim to prepare for such an interview.

Comparing the search engine results for the word nonduality now and yesterday, it is clear that the teaching of nonduality has “moved.” It has diffused.

My eyes these days are on The Nonduality Movement in Western culture. We have seen the movement happen on the Internet. It began in its most direct form in the latter part of the 19th Century, which is when we find the first uses of the forms of the word nonduality. Prior to the Internet, there were many gurus and teachings that have advanced nondual teachings, yet one couldn’t say for sure that there was ever a Nonduality Movement during those decades.

We are in the midst of The Nonduality Movement. It means that the teaching of nonduality, in one form or another, through its diffusion, propagation, circulation, is finding everyone who is open minded about human potential and about who they truly are and why they are alive. That audience consists of the spiritual mainstream and everyone else who questions what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and what is behind what they are doing.

My thoughts are somewhat scattered on this topic, however they are coming forth as blog entires. Perhaps they’ll be made more coherent in the near future.

-Jerry

The Nonduality Movement: Part One
The Nonduality Movement: Part Two

The Nonduality Movement: Part Two

The Nonduality Movement: Part Two

Read The Nonduality Movement: Part One

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “movement” as “A course or series of actions and endeavours on the part of a group of people working towards a shared goal.”

I don’t think a movement has to be as intentional and organized as the OED implies. For example, while the anti Vietnam War movement was intentional and organized, the Beat Movement was about freedom and being in the moment, rather than intent and organization. However, the Beat Movement was more of a meta-movement since it informed other movements, including the anti Vietnam War movement. This is from the Wikipedia article on the Beat Generation:

…the Beat Generation phenomenon itself has had a huge influence on Western Culture more broadly. In many ways, the Beats can be taken as the first subculture (here meaning a cultural subdivision on lifestyle/political grounds, rather than on any obvious difference in ethnic or religious backgrounds). During the very conformist post-World War II era they were one of the forces engaged in a questioning of traditional values which produced a break with the mainstream culture that to this day people react to – or against. The Beats produced a great deal of interest in lifestyle experimentation (notably in regards to sex and drugs); and they had a large intellectual effect in encouraging the questioning of authority (a force behind the anti-war movement); and many of them were very active in popularizing interest in Zen Buddhism in the West.

In 1982, Ginsberg published a summary of “the essential effects” of the Beat Generation [35]:

* Spiritual liberation, sexual “revolution” or “liberation,” i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women’s liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism.

* Liberation of the world from censorship.

* Demystification and/or decriminalization of cannabis and other drugs.

* The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form, as evidenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other popular musicians influenced in the later fifties and sixties by Beat generation poets’ and writers’ works.

* The spread of ecological consciousness, emphasized early on by Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, the notion of a “Fresh Planet.”

* Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization, as emphasized in writings of Burroughs, Huncke, Ginsberg, and Kerouac.

* Attention to what Kerouac called (after Spengler) a “second religiousness” developing within an advanced civilization.

* Return to an appreciation of idiosyncrasy as against state regimentation.

* Respect for land and indigenous peoples and creatures, as proclaimed by Kerouac in his slogan from On the Road: “The Earth is an Indian thing.”

The Nonduality Movement is associated with promoting those values, though it is beyond promoting any values at all. Therefore, the Nonduality Movement is even more of a meta-movement than the Beat Movement. The Nonduality Movement is also more accessible than the Beat Movement was. It’s not defined by a handful of people, by coolness or being “in,” or by a literature, a music, a political stance, a lifestyle, or by a style of any sort, or by anything I’ve yet to identify. It is admitted not only that nonduality cannot be defined, but that it does not exist. Yet there is a movement founded in nonduality.

Where and how can the Nonduality Movement be identified? I’ll consider that and other questions in future blog entries.

-Jerry Katz

“Show me the paradox!” The Nondualist Phone Call

Question: “In Sri Nisargadatta’s talks the world is only in the perceiver’s mind. So would the person I am perceiving also be aware of me perceiving him?”

Answer: The question, as far as enquiry goes, is, “Who is the ‘me’ perceiving him or anything else?”

The “me”, like the world, is in the perceiver’s mind.

If it should become seen that the world is in the mind, then the questions of “me” and “him” dissolve in that seeing. There is only what is arising now and it is what it is.

All things are made of the same “stuff”, yet all things appear individualistic. The question of how things interact becomes moot at the point of seeing that all is exactly what it is in this instant. All questions dissolve in that moment.

Still, from the point of view of parapsychology and quantum theory and other disciplines, it is an interesting question about how perceivers are aware of each other. I don’t have all the theories and studies at hand to relate or summarize, nor are they the point of this response.

There is the day to day way of addressing questions, in this case by talking about parapsychology and quantum theory. And there is also the absolute way of addressing questions, in which questions are revealed to dissolve into that out of which they arose, like a wave out of the ocean.

Nisargadatta is sometimes “day to day” and sometimes absolute in his responses. Questions dissolve into the Absolute and get addressed at the day to day level, both.

The answer to the question is that there is no question, no “me” asking the question, and, at the very same time, there is an interaction between perceived and perceiver that quantum theory, parapsychology, psychology, physics, sociology, and other disciplines study and address.

There is no answer and there is an answer. Discussions about nonduality are presentations of paradox. Where the materialist (you and me?) calls out, “Show me the money!”, the nondualist gets on the phone and shouts, “Show me the paradox!”

Are you watching a movie of a blank screen?

Perhaps you think you see the blank screen upon which the movie of your life is projected.

However, it might be another movie … of a blank screen.

Here’s another anti-definition of nonduality:

Defining nonduality is like making a movie of a blank screen and casting it on a blank screen.

Don’t think too much about the metaphor. Just realize that there is an offset between the movie of the blank screen and the raw actuality of the blank screen.

Nonduality: Definitions, Non-Definitions, Un-Definitions, and Anti-Definitions

There are endless definitions, non-definitions, un-definitions, and anti-definitions of nonduality. They are all pointings to the nondual.

I like to say that nonduality means there are not two things, so no things are separate. Yet things appear distinct, separate, and highly individualistic.That’s paradoxical, crazy, humorous, and not the case. But it’s a definition you can sort of “get.” It gives the mind something to chew on. It’s a definition with traction.

Just minutes ago I heard Peter Fenner on a video say that nonduality is “going beyond existence and non-existence.” There’s no traction with that definition. It’s “way beyond the mind,” Fenner says. It’s a different way of defining nonduality; it’s more of a non-definition. But it’s a pointer.

Dan Berkow has said that “defining nonduality is like adding legs to a snake.” That’s an un-definition.

Kenneth Madden recently gave this anti-definition: “Non-duality or Advaita then becomes the last refuge of the individual who is under threat. It is fodder for the mind. It becomes the new, best concept in town as it were.”

Stephen Wolinsky, at the last Science and Nonduality Conference announced cheerfully and insistently to a large audience, “There’s no such thing as nonduality!” Another anti-definition. He says the same thing on the video I mentioned above.

So there ya go. For another hundred definitions please visit http://nonduality.com/whatis.htm

Start with a definition you can “get” but don’t settle for it. Question it. The consideration of definitions of nonduality is itself a form of inquiry, a spiritual practice.