#4954 - Fri/Sat, June 21/22, 2013 - Editor: Dustin LindenSmith
- #4954 - Fri/Sat, June 21/22, 2013 - Editor: Dustin LindenSmithIn Wednesday's issue, Jerry excerpted an article from Colin Drake called "Loving What Is" which made me think about a recent family visitor. Among his several idiosyncratic and/or antisocial traits, this individual enjoyed letting a ripping fart go at the end of most meals, irrespective of the meal's location or the company with whom he was dining. His speech was routinely profane; he told ribald, offensive jokes in the presence of children; and he enjoyed making sharp, mocking insults to various family members relating to their dress, a dish they might have prepared, or an opinion they might have expressed during conversation.Understandably, several from our group were shocked, dismayed, or insulted at numerous intervals throughout this individual's visit.It was interesting to watch how everybody reacted to such effrontery on a regular basis. I ended up being the behind-the-back confidant of several family members, who would each come to me in private with salacious details of our guest's most recent faux-pas. Some of the family were so upset or angered by his behaviour that they wanted to confront him in public, somehow outing him as an insolent jerk and shaming him in front of friends and family. Others just withdrew to a different space when he entered the room. Family reactions truly ran the gamut.During a rare moment of quiet time, my 11-year-old daughter looked up from a book she was reading on the couch to say,"Daddy, I don't understand why everybody is so upset about Jack's behaviour while he's here. It's not like they're actually being injured by the things he says, you know? Like, nobody's really getting hurt just because he's being so weirdly rude and stuff, right?"Exactly, I thought. "No body" is getting hurt, here. And besides, there is no thing here in the first place! If I could have given any advice to my family members, it would have been this: "Ask yourself who is really hurt by this individual's behaviour. If your answer is 'no one,' then how about we just drop the mahout on all this business and enjoy this individual's time with us?"Heh heh -- wouldn't it be nice if we could do that in Syria today, too? So long as I'm dreaming, I'd really like a Porsche 911.-----Instead of presenting an older Highlights today, I've decided to highlight a piece of writing Jerry Katz posted recently on Nonduality.org and which he also presented in person at a recent Nonduality Satsang here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It's a tidy little piece he wrote that lays out a nice metaphor for understanding nonduality. Please enjoy.
The Superman Concept of Reality
by Jerry Katz
So I’m sitting in a restaurant and Superman walks in wearing his cape and tights and a shirt made in Bangladesh with a big s on it.
He walks toward the counter and moves so fast that by the time he takes a seat he has put on ordinary clothes and taken the form of a guy named Joe.
A moment later Superman — moving faster than a speeding bullet (which we know he can do, as we’ve learned from the comic books) — assumes the form of another guy, Bill, who is sitting a few seats away at the same counter.
So yeah, Superman is moving so fast that he is going back and forth, pretending to be Joe and Bill, two ordinary guys inhabiting planet Earth, two guys with lives.
I go and sit between Joe and Bill. I ask Joe, “Hey do you know who you really are?” Joe ignores me and gets aggravated about something he reads in the newspaper.
I ask the same question to Bill who responds, “Good question.”
“Have you ever considered that Superman is actually pretending to be you?” I ask.”
“Maybe Krishna. Or Allah. Or God. But if you want to call it Superman, be my guest,” Bill says.
So I say, “How come Joe over there doesn’t have a clue?”
“Well,” Bill says, “How do you know for sure he doesn’t? And why would it matter? His lack of awareness of what he is doesn’t change anything. Nor does his awareness of what he is change anything. He is what he is. He’s Superman, as you call it. He’s absolutely nothing other than Superman.”
Now a third form of Superman has appeared at the counter. I lean toward her and ask her if she knows who she really is. She says she’s searching for the way to be who she truly is. Bill looks at me and raises his eyebrows as if to say, “You’ve got a live one there.” Meanwhile Joe is aggressively slapping the newspaper with the back of his hand and calling something or someone a bastard.
The woman, who introduces herself as Doris, says that what she really is, is a bliss-being, not this everyday world with all it’s problems. She says she’s had glimpses of her bliss-being during fasts, acid trips, sex, sudden appearances of rainbows, and in various other experiences.
“Would you say you’re this bliss-being right now?” I ask.
“No I’m not. I’m a bliss-being on a higher plane. Right now I’m having breakfast, then going to my lousy job.”
I don’t say anything else to Doris. Bill and I exchange looks which say that there’s no difference between Joe and Doris. Seconds later the look changes. It’s a look of indifference. Judgement gives way to indifference as we remember that Doris and Joe are only Superman playing roles, pretending to be something else. There’s no need to get involved in their apparent struggles.
“And who are you?” Bill asks me.
“Whoever or whatever walked into this restaurant in a Superman costume and created you, Joe, and Doris.”
“It gave you a glimpse of its nature,” Bill offered.
“Yes. But why?” I ask.
“No reason. It could happen to anyone, anytime. If it’s named and owned, it becomes something called higher consciousness or mystical experience or spiritual insight. It might get packaged as evolutionary destiny or used as the theme for a self-improvement book. Some call it grace, too, which isn’t such a horrible term, but it too comes out of ownership and naming of an experience.”
“True,” I say. “In reality it’s only another event, like Doris’s lousy job.”
“Actually it’s only Superman.”
“Yeah, right. It’s so easy to forget.”
“Well, that’s Superman too.”
“Yeah. See? I forgot again.”
“That forgetting and reminding is called the nonduality game,” Bill says.
“It’s not a bad game.”
“No it’s not, but it doesn’t change anything,” Bill says.
“What’s there to change when it’s all Superman?”
“So why do anything?” Bill asks as a challenge.
“There is nothing to do. It’s all Superman. See? I remembered.”