Advaita / non-duality

Solomon Katz: The Meaning of Life… God is never distant, absent, or other

Head ShotAs a ray of light shined through a prism diffracts into a spectrum of color, the Eternal Light, when shined through the body, diffracts into the spectrum of the five senses and world perception.

The purpose of life is to abide as the Eternal Light which, when shined through the body, projects the world. However, when the Eternal Light identifies with the body through which it shines it becomes an ego, mis-taking itself to be that distinct body/mind through which it shines, separate from the world which it perceives as outside and other, as if the perceived world and its actors were not themselves projections of the Eternal Light.

The ego, the separate entity which goes by the name you are called, then becomes involved in its stories, the drama of life, the drama of desire directed toward objects of the world. To abide as the Eternal Light – this is the process of spiritual awakening – attention must be withdrawn from preoccupation with the temporal story lines of desire that comprise the mind and ego. Attention comes to rest in its source and fundamental nature as the Eternal Light. Then it can truly be said that, “God is never distant, absent, or other.”  God is all there is; All God All the Time; it is Never Not God.

The mind is the locus of preoccupation with the world and thus the locus of suffering. What remains when the mind, ego, and suffering are abandoned into the purity of stillness? Joy and delight in the beauty of the Eternal Light and its manifestations. But this joy arises, again, with stillness of mind. Stillness requires a renunciation of everything that is not the Eternal Light, and so amounts to supreme devotion to Truth, at the expense of worldliness and illusion. When the mind is purified of all content only the Eternal Light remains.

How do we know that this is the purpose of life? Because, while preoccupied with the world and desire directed toward the world, there is a feeling of unease. Something feels out of sorts. I am seeking something that the world of impermanence never can provide. The feeling of unease abates when the natural condition – what in the East is called sahaja – is restored. In the natural condition the feeling of unease, of being out of sorts is finally relieved. I have returned home. Like a carpenter’s level, the bubble is finally aligned perfectly to center, to the Heart. Anything other than home – the Heart, the natural condition, sahaja – will feel off; incomplete and unsatisfactory.

The meaning of life, then, is not something that I know as an object, it is experiential. I am the meaning of life. And the paradox is that this meaning is both entirely at hand, as close and self evident as existence itself, and entirely transcendent in being pristine, beyond all content. I am, and I am beyond all particulars. Not this particular body/mind that arises at this particular time in this particular world appearance. Not the details of this particular movie, but something transcendent and absolute: I am emptiness and fullness, nothing and everything, boundless, timeless, and yet as close as close can be, as close as this moment, as intimate as this moment and yet vast, for when the mind is empty of stories, nothing remains to obstruct the natural state of the Heart which is completely full… with love.


A child of Holocaust survivors, Solomon Katz was fluent in the Jewish tradition and biblical Hebrew at an early age. His interest in meditation led him to Asia where he lived as a Buddhist monk in Myanmar and Sri Lanka. By the time he returned home and began doctoral studies, he had spent three years in periods of silent meditation retreat.  At Harvard University he earned concurrent graduate degrees in world religion and psychology. He trained and held a clinical faculty position in psychology at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of  “Beauty as a State of Being,” winner of several book awards, and the forthcoming “Where Time and Story End: Verses on Eternal Truth.”  He lives in Harvard, Massachusetts where he and his wife raised a family of four beautiful girls, many animals, and many fruit trees planted over the years at which he loves to gaze, often with the teachings of Ramana Maharshi in hand.

Copyright © 2018 Excellence Reporter

2 replies »

  1. Dr.r. Katz has transformed my broken heart over my only son sudden death.I have come back home/heart from the ego of his death.Through working with the doctor I have taken his teachings and began awake.


  2. Dr. Katz is one of the most amazing human beings on this planet. A true teacher, a kind, gentle spirit. Thank you for your contribution to the world.


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