#3951 - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- #3951 - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
I was interviewed for Non-Duality Magazine. The interview is here:
I'm including a selection from it.
NDM: Can you please tell me about your awakening, how and when this happened?
Jerry Katz: In anyone's spiritual biography you can identify turning points, moments when truth is stumbled into. Those moments could take the form of a sudden awakening, or a question, or a realization of some kind. You stumble into those moments. You can't plan for them to happen and, you know, stop off for a sandwich on the way to experiencing the stumbling. There's nothing linear about stumbling into truth. If it was linear you would see the stumbling block and walk around or over it and never stumble. It is said in the Kaballah that the stumbling block is in your hand. It's not separate from you. You stumble upon yourself.
For most people there is more than one stumbling. I call them initiations. I had several initiations into my true nature as "I Am." They occurred between the ages of 7 and 10. I knew they were important and meaningful but I never knew how to live life with them. So I forgot about them until around age 25, when I revisited them. What got me to revisit them was dissatisfaction with life and the sense that there was something more meaningful I needed to find out about. It was clear that I needed to investigate my early initiations into "I Am."
I spend a couple of years writing about my early experiences, feeling them, investigating them from different angles, and wanting to be stabilized as this "I Am." After about two years, in 1977, that stabilization happened and was marked with the spontaneous utterance, "There is only one day." Everything was seen as one day, or perhaps you could say one moment; in today's language you could say I was living in the now. However, in my words it was as though there was only one day.
The one day feeling lasted for about ten years and then it gave way to an immediacy of awareness as the "I Am" itself apparently dissolved.
Another way of talking about this progression is to say that I started out aware of awareness, then there was the sense that I was awareness, which was aware of me, and finally there is only awareness.
So that's a story of awakening. There is still everyday life, problems, limitations in expression and ability; or is there?
NDM: When you came to this Self realization, that you are "I Am", were you studying the Kaballah, or anything else like Vedanta, atma vichara, or Buddhism and so on?
Jerry Katz: As a boy between ages 7-10 the initiations into "I Am" were spontaneous and beyond and outside the influence of any practice, reading, or exposure to ultimate spiritual teachings. Around the age of 25 when I started to investigate "I Am," I read a number of books. The works of Osho (Bhagwan Sri Rajneesh), and Da Free John (Adi Da) were especially helpful. I studied Science of Mind and the correspondence course offered by the Self-Realization Fellowship of Paramahansa Yogananda. The latter two helped me to discipline day to day living, which was important for being able to focus on "I Am."
NDM: Then when you finally realized that you are "only awareness". At this point what kind of a vasana load did you have?
Jerry Katz: There's no realizing that you are only awareness, even though to talk about it one might say, "I am only awareness," or "There is only awareness." It is enough -- it is too much -- to say there is only awareness. To say anything beyond a variation of, "There is only awareness," "There is only this," further diminishes the statement or confession of what is.
Having said that, there was and still are habits and negative psychological states. They are not so extreme. Most importantly it is realized that are not me. Still, one must live responsibly in the world. To exercise a bad habit and to dismiss it by declaring, "Well, yeah, it's bad but it's not me," is an abuse and neglect of discipline.
I am sure that having experienced the "I Am" conditioned me early on toward a life of simplicity. Even though it was not until the age of 25 that I began to investigate my sense of "I Am," prior to that the initiation into "I Am" exerted an influence upon my life. That's what initiation is all about: it is a deep penetration of truth at a cellular level. Compare initiation to a so-called aha experience. The latter is more superficial and activates an energy which tends to burn itself out quickly or which gets channeled toward seeking and self-improvement rather than resting in knowing. However, aha moments are useful in living effectively; it's important to have realizations about the nuts and bolts of day to day living.
NDM: Can you please explain the difference between sense of being awareness and finally only awareness?
Jerry Katz: The difference is that in the former there is a fascination with awareness which is sparked by a seeming distance from it, a distance which from time to time disappears, much as the clouds move away from the sun and it is said that the sun comes out. The sense of being awareness is like the sense that the sun is going to come out. "Only awareness" is recognition that you are the sun, a recognition that burns away any forgetting that you are anything else.
Read the entire interview here: