Back in 2011 the essay Awakening Before Enlightenment came gushing out onto the computer screen. I was very reluctant to edit it much at all because it didn’t feel like my writing. It just poured out.
Now almost seven years later it seems like perhaps it is time for a check-up.
In the last paragraph it was written:
So here we come to the point that has been the fuel for this inquiry for all these years. Without exposure to the presence of an Enlightened Master and, unfortunately for some, even with, it is very easy to believe that the “awakening of the witness” is the end of the journey, is itself enlightenment. Some fellow travelers might very well believe that there is no ending of the mind, because that is the limitation of their own experience.
What is the landscape now at this time? What has changed?
Through these last years I have spent even more time exploring coming out of mind. I have experimented with many of Shiva’s 112 Meditation Techniques explained by Osho in The Book of Secrets. And with each I have discovered that same core that Osho points us to again and again, witnessing.
And it is from here that the mind is witnessed, that one sees all the ways to get entangled, and these are not just seen once or twice but again and again. But each time that seeing happens the strength of the proclivity is lessened. It becomes easier to come out, easier to let go of grasping, easier to remain with that which may be uncomfortable.
And yes, there do come more moments, and longer in duration, where one is without thought.
When thought subsides one is capable of exploring the region of feeling. Not feeling with a tour guide who is naming all the sights but feeling just in feeling. Feeling the very sensation of moods, sometimes the feeling of burbling, gushing raw emotion of some long forgotten happening.
And yes there also comes moments when all thought and feelings subside and one is left with only a sense of being.
And this sense of being, this wavering in the belly, is witnessed, is seen and in that very seeingness, when the seeing is total even that sense of being, that ripple comes to rest. In these moments there is “an ending of mind.”
Surely this momentary “ending of mind” is “samadhi with seed.” It is seed because the seed remains and because the seed remains it invariably re-sprouts. Nevertheless in this moment I am refreshed.
So now I can revisit the post and still say yes, for me, it is true that “awakening of the witness” is not “the end of the journey.” In fact it is the real beginning. The beginning of the end of “me.” And in this witnessing there is “a knowingness” that exists without any support. It is self-evident.
It is also important to emphasize that “the ending of me” does not come about by any doing on my part. I am not dissolving or evaporating my mind. Any such activity would only strengthen the doer, the “me.” The mind does dissolve, it does evaporate not because of any doing on my part, on the contrary it does so because in those moments I am no longer contributing to its survival. My energy is with that “knowingness.” And because I am residing at home (in those moments) there is no energy feeding the “me.” And I am perfectly happy to let all of the un-entangling, all of the exposing, all of the evaporation proceed without any interference and bask in the moments of “now-here” that appear on their own.
Pratima, satori is exactly your ordinary nature; it is not anything special. Hence there is no question of attaining it – it is already the case. You are in it, you have just forgotten. You have become too occupied with the outside world. You have forgotten your own kingdom, you have forgotten your own treasure, you have forgotten yourself. You have become too concerned with others. You are too much in the world and you don’t give any time, any space for your inner nature to have a dialogue with you, to whisper a few things to you. You have become artificial.
You have created a false ego because nobody can live without a center. You have forgotten your real center, and nobody can live without a center, so you have created a false center as a substitute. That’s the ego. Ego simply means living with a false center.
Satori is dropping the false, entering into the real; just being yourself, your natural self, your ordinary self.
The word “ordinary” has to be remembered because the mind is not interested in the ordinary at all; it wants to be extraordinary, it wants to be special. It is through being special that the ego survives.
It is constantly striving to be more special, more special. It wants to be more rich, more powerful, more respectable; it is ambitious. Hence the word “ordinary” has no appeal for the mind. And that is the beauty of the word “ordinary” – because it has no appeal for the mind.
Mind is an achiever and the ordinary need not be achieved; it is already the case. The extraordinary has to be achieved, the extraordinary becomes the goal. It is far away; you have to make all kinds of efforts, you have to struggle for it, you have to fight for it because there are so many competitors.
To be ordinary… and there is no competition at all. You can just be ordinary, nobody has any objection. People will simply feel sorry for you that you have dropped out of the competitive race.
One competitor less – they will feel good but sorry for you. They will say, “Poor fellow! What happened to him? Why did he have to drop out?” The dropouts are not respectable people. Buddha is a dropout. All real Masters are dropouts. To be a sannyasin means to be a dropout. To drop out of the rat race is to drop in, because when you are in the race you cannot enter in. When you are no longer in the race there is nowhere to go. You start moving inwards because life is a flow: if there is no outer direction it takes the inner direction. If the goal is not there far away in the future, then you start moving into your nature in the present. That is satori.
Satori is very ordinary. Satori means your nature. You have come with it; it is your original face – all other faces are masks.
A disciple speaks in accordance with the ultimate, the absolute truth.
Remember that one should cut the root and not the branches and the leaves.
What is the root of your misery? The root is your ambition, desiring. One wants to be this and that, one wants to possess this and that, one wants to be somebody, one wants to be significant.
Yoka says: Cut the root… only then are you a disciple. And the moment you cut the root – not the branches, not the leaves – you attain the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth is not far away; it is the immediate truth, it is your truth, it is your very being.
Most people do not recognize the perfect jewel, the jewel of supreme wisdom, satori. It is hidden in the secret place of Tathagata, awaiting its discovery.
It is to live in your suchness; it is hidden in your suchness. Whatsoever you are, live in it. Don’t create any conflict, don’t live through the ideal. Don’t be an idealist, just be natural.
But everybody is being taught to be an idealist: “Become a Jesus” or “Become a Buddha” or “Become a Krishna.” Nobody tells you just to be yourself! Why should you be a Jesus? One Jesus is enough and one Jesus is beautiful – he enriches the existence. Many Jesuses just carrying crosses, and wherever you go you meet them… It won’t look beautiful, it won’t add to the beauty of existence; it will make the whole world ugly. Wherever you go you meet a Mahavira standing naked…. It is because of this that God never creates the same person again. He never repeats; he is original.
He always creates a new person. You have never been before, and there is no one who is like you, and there will never be anybody else like you again. In the whole of eternity you alone are just like you. Look at the beauty of it and the glory of it and the respect that God has shown to you! What more respectability do you need? See the uniqueness of yourself. There is no need to be unique; you are already unique, just as everybody else is unique. You are unique in your ordinariness, in your suchness.
Satori is hidden, says Yoka, in the secret place of your suchness, awaiting its discovery.
It has not to be created, it is already there; you just have to discover it. Go in and discover it! It is waiting and waiting. And centuries have passed and many, many lives have passed, and you have become addicted to extroversion. You never move in.
The first step towards satori is meditation. Satori is the ultimate experience of meditation when meditation is fulfilled, when meditation has reached to its ultimate flowering.
The world is complete illusion, yet nothing exists which might be called illusion.
The world that you have created through your mind is illusory, but there is another world which is not your creation. When your mind disappears you discover that world: the world of suchness. That is a totally different experience. No words can describe it. Thousands of mystics have tried to describe it, but nobody has ever been able and nobody will ever be able to describe it. It is so mysterious; it is so beautiful that all words fall short. No poetry reaches to its level, no music even touches its feet.
The perfect light of this wisdom enlightens one.
The moment you have put your mind aside – mind means ambition, the ego trip of being this and that – the moment you have put the whole mind aside, a great light explodes in you and you are enlightened. This is satori. It does not come from the outside: you are not delivered by somebody else; you are delivered by your own being, by your own nature.
That is possible only by practicing zazen beyond speculation. You can see clouds naturally in the mirror but to hold on to the reflection is impossible.
That is possible only by practicing zazen… Satori is possible only by practicing zazen. Zazen means:
Just sitting, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
You are simply relaxing into your own being, not doing anything at all. It is not a question of doing; it is simply a question of being. You go on relaxing into your being. A moment comes when you are in your utter purity, in your utter simplicity, in your utter innocence. That is satori.
Zazen is a beautiful word. It simply means just sitting – not even doing meditation. In fact, you cannot do meditation. Meditation is just sitting silently; it is not a question of doing. If you are doing something you are disturbing your meditation.
Somebody is chanting a mantra; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is focusing on something; he is disturbing his meditation. Somebody is concentrating, somebody is praying, somebody is thinking of God: they are disturbing their meditation. All these are the doings of the mind, and if the doing continues the mind continues. Stop doing, and where is the mind? When the doing disappears, mind disappears. And the disappearance of the mind is satori.
It is beyond speculation, says Yoka. You cannot think about it, you can only experience it. It is the ultimate experience, and the immediate experience, too, of truth, of beauty, of love, of bliss, of God, of nirvana.
The following is transcribed from the tape of a talk given at the Briggs residence in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday 24 January 1970. Franklin Wolff spoke very slowly and with long pauses, so you may want to read it that way, particularly pausing after each paragraph.
Tonight, something I have never attempted before, nor do I know of a precedent. But I assume it must have been done, or I wouldn’t have thought of it. What we seek to do is deliberately produce, if possible, inductions. In the past thirty-three years [the period since his enlightenment experience, which occurred in 1936, and which is described in his Pathways Through to Space – Ed.] we have known many inductions. But always they came spontaneously, as something that happened when it would. Now I shall have to tell you what we are talking about. We do not know whether we will be successful — but there’s a good chance.
There is That which is called Realization. It is the Awakening to another way of Consciousness. It is on the order of a ladder. At the lowest level one may know a little entering wedge of this Consciousness and may advance, usually through several lifetimes, step by step until, at the crown, he attains full Enlightenment and is a Buddha. A glimpse will tell the sadhaka, that is the aspirant, more than a million words. For he’ll step from mere knowledge about, to some glimpse, at least, of acquaintance with.
Now it is fundamental that no one should ever be forced to take a step this way against his will. I’m going to ask you to answer this question before we proceed. And if your answer is negative, we’ll ask you to step into the front room. I want no coercion of any person whatsoever. The question will be: Do you WISH to attain Enlightenment? I’m not asking a question that’s only for this life alone. I’m asking a question that may involve the commitment of many lives. But this I can say, that the consciousness in which we commonly live here, the consciousness of Samsara [the bondage of life, death and rebirth] is a consciousness preeminently of suffering, a
consciousness in which problems arise for which we are unable to find solutions, such as the difficulties you can see in the world about us now. And furthermore, there is for all men in bodies the problem of Death. Is it an end? Or is it but a phase — a movement in the whole of Life? Enlightenment among other things answers such a question.
And in addition I want you to answer this question: Are you willing to cooperate, to participate in an effort that will be a sort of very brief resumé of the steps in actual Yoga? Now, we’ll start with Bob, who is next to me, and I put the question: Do you wish Enlightenment and are you willing to participate in our effort tonight? [Answers follow: Most definitely, Yes. Yes, I do, etc. around the circle of perhaps thirty people.]
All right, now it may hurt. One of the first steps is a step of purification. This is kindergarten stuff, by the way. We may not think so, but it’s very true. You cannot go through this in any comprehensive way; only on one point will we deal with it.
But I’ll say that ultimately it involves the excision of the five lusts [the five senses], of the recognition and the confession of all guilts, of all traumas, self examination that is severe. And I know that when one has loosened these things out of his nature and offers them to the Guru, hardly a man or a woman can do it without being reduced to tears. Now this is Yoga, serious. It’s no drug matter, no shortcuts, no hocus pocus. But it implies the giving of all and in turn one must see all. It calls for absolute honesty. No psychological device to hide from one’s self something that may involve guilt and so on.
But there’s one point we’re going to deal with tonight, the point of hostility. In the sangha and for tonight, at least in part, and at least continuingly, this is a sangha, that is the community of the sadhakas, the seekers — a Brotherhood.
Remove from yourself (this takes an act of real will, it’s an operation if you do it really, like removing a kind of cancer) any hostility you feel, first for anybody whatsoever. Second, most important, remove any hostility you feel for anyone here present. Look into yourself. Don’t veil it from yourself. I’m not asking anyone to speak out. I do not believe in public confessionals a single bit, they are pretty muddy and sordid. Just look within yourself.
Now, there’s something very curious about these persistent qualities that one has to struggle with, like a hostility, like a lust, lust for food and so on. Like a guilt, like a habit that you feel as a guilt that goes on just the same. They are not obstructions.
Strangely, it can be like a concrete substance, and I’m talking from experience. I’ve received offerings of this sort, and I have been once outside of the fire, and I experienced what it was. A strange, utterly alien, psychical mass, that was in me, foreign — alien to my own psychical processes. It took me an hour to clear it up. I was grateful for the experience, for I learned something there: if the fire is burning, and this is a mystic term, it [i.e., that which is alien] vanishes.
Now if you have drawn out of yourself any such feeling of hostility, and now here’s the point, I only ask what you can do. It may cling and so forth, you can’t grab it and so forth, leave that to the Higher Power, but do your part.
I’ve gone through this in the last couple days, in the preparation for this meeting. It was a hostility I found not for anybody here, not for anybody so far as I know in the world today, but for something very far back in an ancient day. Drawing it out called for a gut pain, which means in the vicinity of the solar plexus, or manapura, or in the vital nature. This is a sample of purification of the vital, not now of the mental. We’ll take that up later. Cast it, in your mind, at my feet. And don’t be concerned about me.
And if you have doubts, here is something that most of you never heard, a few of you have. There is power here. On December 27th, 1936, there spoke through Sherifa [his wife] a great Master, the one that repeats every phrase three times. There is still living in the world one witness of that event. The witness is here tonight.
Turning to the four present and indicating Yogi (that’s the way they addressed me), he said: “I would that ye make the Sun to shine within the hearts of men. I would that ye make the true Moon to arise within their minds. I would that ye make the star of Initiation to shine within their Soul. I will direct the fire that consumes the dross, this dross you throw at my feet. I will cause the Light from those flames to descend again as a rain of a Spiritual Fire falling like pearls within the mind and as dew upon the parched hearts of men.”
The power here is not only what you see. That is merely a bit of the vital purification. Beyond that is the mental purification. And this may be even more difficult. For tonight, remove from your mind, as far as may be, all predilections, all preconceptions, all orientations to preferred philosophies. When you leave the door you may take them back. It’s emptying the mind. Retain all your mental powers, at the keenest edge you can maintain, but cast aside all collection that has been garnered, as of ideas in your life so far, until you are outside the door. Empty that mind of preconceptions, of preferences, any predilection, of preferred philosophies. For some this goes deeper than the earlier one of which I spoke. If you have succeeded in this then you have become, in the true sense, as little children. Not the ignorance of children, for you retain every capacity of the mind. All of its powers of self-analysis, all of its capacity for judgment, discernment, discrimination, are to be kept at as acute a level as possible. Only the empty mind can be filled. There’s no room in an overfilled mind. So this is the attitude, the real meaning, of becoming as little children — the openness.
All of this that is covered so far is very brief, and is only the kindergarten stage of Yoga. Oh yes, you may feel grief, you may weep, in going through this. (Or of going through the whole thing, of which I’ve given you a little sample.) You may feel that everything is going away from you, all of your beloved values, and so on. This may make a demand of faith.
Next we’ll come to the question of dedication. What we’ve considered so far is what the Greeks call the “catharsis,” the Purification, and this, in its ideal form, is very thoroughgoing. I’ll quote to you a verse from St. Luke that people have great difficulty in understanding, due to the unfortunate use of a word, that doesn’t have the meaning it had at the time of translation, namely the word hate: “He who does not hate his father and his mother and his brothers and sisters and his wife and children cannot be my disciple.” The key to the difficulty is that the word had a different meaning then: it meant “does not value more or value less than something else.” This is the real meaning of it: that all personal relationships take subordination to the Search. Now the goal may be named differently by different ones, and I’m not a stickler for what you call it. You may call it God Realization, Self Realization, the attainment of Parabraham, the attainment of Tao, the reaching to the Ground, spelled with a capital “G.” That means the Support upon which all rests. Or the Transcendental Modulus, which is quite impersonal, Alayavijnana, and so on. The term that counts in your nature, like the attainment of Buddhahood, does not matter to me. But in any case is the supreme value — THAT, without which nothing else could be. The dedication to this, to be effective, I believe is single-pointed, subordinating every other interest, every other orientation or every other possession, to this prime dedication — a dedication that will go so far that one would be willing to lose all, even life itself, if that were necessary.
Now most human beings don’t reach these perfections of attitude, perhaps; maybe no one ever does completely. But I’m formulating as clearly as I can and as I see it, the Law. There is indeed adjustment to human relativity. This absolute perfection of attitude may not be reached, but it should always be the ideal held before one. He should be satisfied with nothing less than THAT, and at the same time be content with that which he has. That is satisfied contentment, if you please. The office of the Redeemer and the Guru is the bridge that makes the crossing to the other side humanly possible.
But while we cannot attain in general this absolute perfection of attitude, we should never content ourselves, or satisfy ourselves, with anything less. Aim at it always. But be not discouraged because you do not succeed in attaining it now. And as I say, this is the kindergarten part. It may seem a little rough even so. That’s all it is, compared to what follows.
The Ways of Union
There are different ways of Yoga, primarily three: the Yoga of Devotion, the Yoga of Action, or of the Will, and the Yoga of Knowledge. There are technical forms of Yoga, such as Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and so on. These are not really so much different forms as technical additives. The three forms are Devotion, corresponding to feeling; Karma, corresponding to the activistic element in consciousness (the technical term for it is conation); and Jnana Yoga, which is oriented to the cognitive faculties, the cognitive side. We’ll not go into the relative valuation of these different forms of Yoga. Each will find his own way, ultimately. Aurobindo recommends a synthetic Yoga which involves going through all three forms, successively, or simultaneously. It’s not necessary, but he may have a good idea there.
The valuation of them, as to which leads the furthest and so forth, is different with different writers. There’s a tendency in human nature to regard the form which I take as therefore being the highest. Any “I am.” I’m speaking to the I in you. In other words, there is a bit of egoism in that. Shankara places Jnana Yoga as the highest. Aurobindo rates Bhakti Yoga as the highest. It affords two different ways of interpreting the Bhagavad Gita, which deals with these three different forms of Yoga, the trimarga. Shankara would say the first, which is treated in the second chapter of the Gita, the Yoga of Knowledge, is the highest. But if you’re unable to meet that altitude, then there is provided for you at a somewhat simpler and easier level, the Yoga of Action. And if that too is a little too much for you, there is the final form of the Yoga of Devotion, an orientation to the Person of the Divine, if you please, rather than to the Power or the Wisdom of the Divine, to use the religious form of language.
But what we’ll sketch tonight will belong to Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of Knowledge, the Yoga I know. I sympathize with all who choose the other paths. There is no rejection whatever. But this I know.
Now I’ll outline a philosophic position, to orient an attitude favorable to Jnana Yoga. It’s for you to place, for the time being, in your emptied minds, not something you are forced to agree with. I ask you to take a journey with me and see how you like the scenery. If it is not to your taste, then you may turn otherwhere; it is perfectly all right. Just a journey, to see the scenery, if you can.
A Philosophic Position
The position is radically antimaterialistic, radically antibehavioristic, and radically anti-Tantric. I’ll explain. I do not mean a materialistic orientation attains no truth. In fact, practically all our Western orientation is materialistic, in the broad sense of the word, since it’s extroverted. It’s oriented to the object, the thing, mechanism, wealth, externalities. And these are the sources of value. In the broad sense, that’s materialism. And materialism is not simply that which is so known, technically, in Philosophy, or by the Marxists, which is a particular heavy, dense, dark form of materialism.
Antibehavioristic because this [i.e., behaviorism] is a view developed in the study of animal behavior and extended to human beings in an important part of sociality, in which, essentially, you treat the animals or the humans as nonconscious beings. You treat them as though they were no more than computers, something that receives stimuli and responds to it. And, while most men would not go so far as to say there is no such thing as consciousness in a human being, the behaviorists and materialists would say it doesn’t count — it’s a byproduct. As one man said, “It is only a bump on the log of evolution and is totally irrelevant.”
Now our position is radically anti-Tantric. Some of you no doubt know what we’re referring to. It is a large subject. The thesis of the proponents of Tantra is that it is the form of Yoga available in Kali Yuga [the Dark Age], that the other forms of Yoga belong to the other Yugas [ages]. Man in his density needs the aid of something he can grasp with his ordinary capacities [the senses]. So the stunt of sitting in certain difficult postures and breathing in a certain way and performing a number of difficult acts involving the body and certain specific concentrations within his understanding, will enable him to attain, through an external approach, to an effect. What they say is Shakti, the Divine Mother, leads you to Shiva. Not a direct approach through the powers of Consciousness itself, which is the way of Jnana Yoga. If you read any of the “Mahatma Letters” you’ll find some pretty strong criticisms of Tantra. Tantra lends itself to misuse because, like drugs, it can force a condition for which the Sadhaka is not yet prepared morally, mentally or spiritually. I’m strongly anti-Tantric.
The Power of Introverted Mind
Now another point, dealing with Psychology. I want to read you something from Carl Jung. This is very pertinent. It’s about two pages:
Speaking of the Oriental position, the Psyche is therefore all important. It is the all pervading Breath, the Buddha Essence, it is the Buddha Mind, the One, the Dharmakaya. All Existence emanates from It and all separate forms dissolve back into It. This is the basic Psychological prejudice that permeates Eastern man in every fiber of his being, seeping into all his thoughts, feelings and deeds, no matter what creed he professes. In the same way Western man is Christian, no matter to what denomination his Christianity belongs. For him man is small inside, he is next to nothing. Moreover, as Kierkegaard says, “Before God, man is always wrong.” By fear, repentance, promises of submission, self abasement, good deeds and praise he propitiates the Great Power, which is not himself, but totally alien, the wholly other, altogether perfect and outside the only reality.
If you shift the formula a bit and substitute for God some other power, for instance the World, or money, you get a complete picture of Western man: assiduous, fearful, devout, self abasing, enterprising, greedy and violent in his pursuit of the goods of this world, possessions, health, knowledge, technical mastery, public welfare, political power, conquest and so on.
What are the great popular movements of our time? Attempts to grab the money, or property, of others and to protect our own. The mind is chiefly employed in devising suitable “isms” to hide the real motives, or to get more loot. I refrain from describing what would happen to Eastern man should he forget his Ideal of Buddhahood, for I do not want to give such an unfair advantage to my Western prejudices. But I cannot help raising the question of whether it is possible, or indeed advisable, for either to imitate the other’s standpoint. You cannot mix fire and water. The Eastern attitude stultifies the Western, and vice versa. You cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself nor can you be a Buddha and worship God. It is much better to accept the conflict, for it admits only of an irrational solution, if any.
Now he [i.e. Jung] goes on and modifies that a bit:
By an inevitable decree of fate, the West is becoming acquainted with the peculiar facts of Eastern spirituality. It is useless either to belittle these facts or to build false and treacherous bridges over yawning gaps. Instead of learning the spiritual techniques of the East by heart and imitating them in a thoroughly Christian way, imitatio Christi, with a correspondingly forced attitude, it would be far more — and this is an important part of it — it would be far more to the point to find out whether there exists in the Unconscious an introverted tendency similar to that which has become the guiding spiritual principle of the East. We should then be in a position to build on our own ground, with our own methods.
And right there is the point we’re dealing with here: using the despised stone discarded by the builders, as the foundation of our temple — the power of the introverted Western mind. And to this, I believe, I’ve contributed something. The power and the prospect opened by the introverted Western mind…. [Several words were inaudible here, ending with the phrase “open by the Eastern introverted mind.”] It’s the neglected door.
We are all one in the last analysis. But we are different facets of an ultimate Reality. The right method used by the wrong man leads to wrong results. And merely imparting that which is valid to one with the Eastern psychology into and for Western man is not enough. It amounts to his taking upon himself a false facade.
But our door to the Eternal has been neglected. It has been overgrown with vines and debris collected around it. But that door exists and it is not now closed as it once was. But he who goes this way may be despised by his Western brothers. For it is the way of deep introversion, a positive power. There is weak introversion, just as there is weak extroversion. There is the introversion that is only a narcissistic interest in one’s own ego, that is to be sure. But I’m talking of the power of the introverted mind to unlock doors that are hopelessly closed to the extroverted mind. This is not now a matter of technology, not now a matter of the collection of worldly goods, but it is a matter of penetrating into the depths of consciousness.
Now let’s start a little analysis. This calls for philosophic action, the kind of thinking that goes on in philosophy.
Do you know any mountain, any house, any tree, as it is in itself? If you’re really good at analysis you’ll have to admit that all you know is a psychic imago [i.e., an idealized image in our minds], which you call mountain, tree, house, human being, animal or what not. This is all we ever contact. Now it is our custom to suppose that corresponding to these imagoes there is a nonconscious thing out there, a mountain, house, tree and so on. But actually that is blind belief, just as blind as belief in an extra-cosmic God. I never, nor did you nor anyone else, ever experience anything but an imago in his psyche which he calls mountain, house, tree and so forth. You may say you believe there is something out there. Dr. Jung says, “Yes, I believe there’s something out there.” He doesn’t know it. And I maintain there is no good reason for that belief. At least we can dispense with it.
Let us build upon that which we know and not upon this belief in a nonconscious existence out there. This is rigorous now. Most everybody, as a matter of course, acts as though that was out there, and he pretends to be rigorous and isn’t really rigorous. He never has contacted that out there, he’s contacted only the imagoes in his psyche. And one will raise this doubt: but I have to come to terms with these objects; I can’t act as though the mountain were not, as though the house were not, or the tree was not, as therefore it must be. Ah, yes, in some sense it is. But you do not need to use the hypothesis of an external nonconscious existence. There is, and we can know this from our analysis of consciousness if it goes deeply, that which Jung called the “collective unconscious.” And we will see presently that it is only apparently unconscious. Actually it is an inversion of consciousness and can be experienced as consciousness. Nonetheless it is objective to us as individuals. And the basis of that objectivity, to which we must adjust, can be seen as a presentiment out of this collective unconscious. And that is why we have to come to terms with it.
And then, here’s a thought. Suppose you had so far penetrated into the myriad resources of Yoga and moved within this collective unconscious, realized as another way of consciousness — and then you might say to that mountain, “Disappear,” and it would disappear. Not consciousness moving a nonconscious mass, but consciousness molding the stuff of Consciousness Itself. If you can get this orientation, Jnana Yoga becomes a lot easier, it’s rational, much simpler — and the ultimate meaning of Enlightenment is clarified. And we’ll see the reason where the Buddhists, in their Sutras, speak of the Voidness of all things. They are void because they are not self existences in themselves, but formations in Consciousness, and that alone.
So we come to the first stage of self analysis. It runs generally this way: I ask, “What am I?” And first it occurs to me that the idea that I am this body is a delusion, because this body is an object before my consciousness. I speak as though it were my body, I speak as though I possess it. It is therefore external to me. I am not the body.
And then we come to dealing with our vital nature, our feelings. We get into a roaring rage, we fall in love, we are delighted with the beauties of a symphony and strongly reach out toward it. Are those feelings of “I”? No, for I experience them. I but experience them. They are different from me. I can identify them and name them, and that itself is enough proof that they are not I. Now, are you ready? I am very deliberately violating the rules of grammar, for the I of which I speak is never an object, never a me. You can’t write these things and be grammatically correct.
Am I this body of thoughts in my mind? No. One gets a little closer to his thoughts than to anything else, and it’s a little harder to untangle this. But if he watches and studies closely enough, the thoughts come to me. I accept or reject them. That which accepts or rejects them is different from the thought. And then I finally reach this point where I find that I must be this something, in some sense, different from other people. I’m not the mind, I’m not the feelings, I’m not the body — that I see. But I surely am, I surely am an individual, apart from others.
Now what you’ve gotten a hold of is a very difficult fellow — it’s your ego. He can sneak around and confuse you like the dickens. You can spend years trying to get behind him. And what you do, you can get into an infinite regression. You look at your ego. All right, here am I and all of a sudden it dawns upon you that that which is looking at the ego is really the I. So you stick that one out in front. You look at it again, but then your realize it couldn’t be, because here is a something that is observable. At last it finally dawns that I AM THAT which is never an object before Consciousness. And mayhap, at that moment, in your analysis — the Heavens will open.
One time I went through this analysis in 1937 and as I finished it, somehow or other, there was induced in me a state that was later identified as waking samadhi. It seemed like a great pillar of force surrounding me with its center apparently coalescing with the spine. And I would have estimated, as it felt to be, about six feet in diameter, and within that, energies were rising and descending. The body began to get stiff. It was difficult to walk over to the podium. I had been at the blackboard and I rested on the podium. Speech became lower in register. Maintaining function objectively was difficult without breaking the state. I saw that the whole audience was involved. You could see it in their faces and so on. I described the state to them for a short time. And when I felt there had been enough of it, because this would be rather strong for one that was green to it, I turned it off. Now that was an easy thing to do. There’s just a little valve somewhere in one’s total psyche — I call it the butterfly valve. You flip it as easy as you would move a finger. It shifts your consciousness to another way and all of this began running down, like an engine with a flywheel on which the power is turned off. And I had them, the students, give me a report on their experiences. Almost every student had an induction that night. The experiences were of a sort that compared well with those reported in Dr. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness. That is what I mean by an induction.
Now a little bit more of this analysis. We’re getting a little more subtle. You break a leg, you have an attack of colic, or somebody shoots you and you say, “I suffer.” There is certainly something in you that is involved in a state of suffering. There’s no question about that. Or again, you may be having a delightful experience, eating something you enjoy, or dancing, or looking at a moving picture that is very attractive, or scenery in the wild, and so forth. You say, “I am delighted.” Something does participate in the modification of consciousness, no doubt about that. But if you are subtle enough in your analysis, the sense of I suffering, or I enjoying, has standing above it a sense of I that only witnesses suffering and enjoyment and all these states, and is not in the least affected by it. This “I” that suffers and enjoys goes through all conditions and will say, “I am in these states,” which is our ordinary way of language, is less than that I. Probably you should properly call it ego.
Now if your analysis has been subtle enough to isolate this that witnesses, that stands aloof and untouched, the most intimate part of all your being, then you can Transcend — then and there — all conditioning; witnessing all, but conditioned by nothing. Witnessing time, among other things, but unconditioned by time. And then, you may know — not believe, not have faith in, but know — your own indestructibility. Not because the Scriptures say so, not because anyone else says so, but because for yourself you have discovered your identity in That which merely witnesses time and is not conditioned by it. That which is unconditioned by time is birthless and deathless and eternal. And you have solved with knowledge, once for all, one of the greatest uncertainties that badgers man.
Oh, it doesn’t mean that you are proven an immortal organism. You have proven your own deathlessness, not the immutability of equipment — that is another matter. Equipment may be made to last longer than it does with us ordinarily. But that which is born inevitably passes away, and sometimes that is quite fortunate, for that which is born may be suffering, and it will pass away. But this which you have discovered as “I” never was born and transcends time; witnesses, as you discovered it, witnesses time and even space. Thus beyond time and space and law, know that I AM. And when I say that, I speak for the I in each and every one of you. For this I is One and Alone. It is apparently many, just as the Sun shining appears again in the dew drops as a little sun, but yet the Sun is One Alone.
So it is that the I in me and the I in thee is the One and Only I. Atman is identical with Paramatman. Not because the book says so, but because you have been there and found it so. And this at last is knowledge, not information about, but the saving and redeeming knowledge. You are liberated. You are liberated by the power of the introverted mind. Not by reason of someone having to be tortured to death upon the cross and by your believing in that One who was said to rise again out of the grave. The extroverted mind is a weak sissy in this field. The very power that is despised by the Western builder is the power by which we can gain redemption.
I’m a little belligerent on this point because of the general attitude of the West. I’m a heretic here. I have said some things at other times that already were heretical from a Buddhist, or the Vedantist, or the Christian point of view. But also — this is the worst heresy of all — the heresy against the great Western prejudice and the great Western religion: the worshipping of the extroverted mind. Christianity is only something added on. And that is why we are in such a mess. The helpless extroverted mind can make a mess that it can’t clean up.
The Threshold of Nirvana
Now you’ve gone far enough to be at the threshold of Nirvana. You may sample, oh, the unbelievable delight and unbearable sweetness that is all encompassing, the peace that is ever enduring beyond the greatest imagination, and you may well say though I suffered through a hundred lives as the price, yet that price would be as naught compared with this. Yes, now the real steps come, the hard ones — yes, the really hard ones.
It is possible to accept this wonder, to enter and have the door closed behind you and to be separated, for what you might call forever — it isn’t actually so, but for all practical purposes it is — from your suffering mankind out there in the world beyond. Are you satisfied with that? Could you be fully happy knowing that though all problems for you are resolved, the suffering out there has not ceased? You may choose, then, and this I urge, that you will not enter into a selfish Bliss, but you will take of the resources that you have garnered and become one of the redeemers among men. The picture in the literature stops at this point.
The Picture Beyond the Literature
And what I’ll say now goes beyond the literature. Whether this is the door open to all who take this step, whether this of which I am about to speak is the door open to all, I know that it came to me and there walked into my consciousness THAT which transcended the nirvanic as the nirvanic transcended the sangsaric. It’s quality was totally different. Not one of this delight, but a Principle of Equilibrium that united all pairs of opposites including Samsara and Nirvana. In some ways a kind of neutral Consciousness that knew that it could enter the nirvanic state and leave it at will, enter the sangsaric state and leave it at will. Nowhere in literature did I find any reference to anything of this sort. And then, at its peak, the sense of I vanished and the object of consciousness, which now had appeared as the Robe of the Divine, also vanished, and only Consciousness remained. Not the consciousness of some entity, but Consciousness Self-existent, and the Source of all selves and all worlds. This is Enlightenment. This is the KEY to the Buddhist scriptures, the Doctrine of the Voidness, and so forth.
Now one knows that the appearance, which is so familiar with us upon Earth, of consciousness seeming to be the weak sister that depends upon things without, is an inversion of the Reality. And that Consciousness in the end is the Root Source, the Support and the Substance of all things. Not consciousness merely in the sense of cognition, but Consciousness in a substantive sense — eternal, deathless, the Source of all phenomena, permitting him who is there to evolve worlds and systems and so forth, if he so chooses, out of the Substance of that Consciousness. At last, Enlightenment!And no longer is there any renunciation anywhere. Samsara and Nirvana below, free entry to both, functioning between them and, mayhap, by opening the door of Nirvana so that its saving Substance may flow through the stygian hall of Samsara, mankind may be so transformed that he’ll find the way to solve his unsolvable problems. He will find a way where war will be no more, and clashing and conflict of interest will be no more. The sangsaric world will remain a purified, cleansed zone in which Consciousness plays its games in happiness and delight, and from this height you now may descend, and among men you may carry That which is Real.
Now I don’t expect that everyone here climbed all the way. I am giving you a glimpse of the journey, a journey the key to which is that one dedicates the whole of what he is and his whole life. And I can assure you that it is well worth all that it may cost.
Now I think this is enough. It didn’t take two hours. I’ll close with a certain mantram that comes from the Prajnaparamita [Sutra] and then I will leave. But before that I wish that all of you who are driving cars would see [X] first and get her okay. If she doesn’t give you an okay and tells you to wait a while, do so by all means. You may not be experienced with a state of light trance. And I know from my experience it is very dangerous to try to drive a car in light trance. I have studied it a good deal and decided you have got to definitely extrovert there. You may be more or less in trance this evening. So, I wish you would go to X and ask her if it’s all right for you to drive. If it isn’t all right for you, it might be for some other one in your party. I know what I’m talking about. Don’t think this is nonsense. There may be those of you who are experienced in this matter and can take care of yourselves, but if you are not, you may think you are in your perfectly normal consciousness and yet there may be an overlapping of a trance consciousness. There has been some here tonight. So take that check.
And now I wish some of you, if you have had any experiences, I wish you would write them down and send them to me. We may meet again when we come back from Douglas about Monday.
Now let us close with this Mantra: Tadyatha — Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha. [Gone, gone, gone to the other shore; safely passed to that other shore.]
* * *
The next morning she [Saradamma] came out of samadhi with a strong awareness that her ‘I’-thought was still existing. She remembered the peace of the previous day and night when she had been in samadhi, with the ‘I’-thought temporarily gone, and she decided to see if she could enter the same state again. She closed her eyes and within a few minutes her ‘I’- thought subsided into the Heart and she went back into samadhi again. The ‘I’-thought emerged from the Heart several times during the day, but each time it subsided Sarada was convinced that she had realised the Self. She was still able to talk and Swamy, thinking that her realisation was near, placed a small tape- recorder near her to record her words. Sarada spoke in short, quiet sentences, with frequent pauses as she was overwhelmed by the bliss of the Self.
‘I have no body. I have no “I”. I am not the body. How I am talking, I do not know. Some power is talking through me.’
Swamy asked her if she was looking, and she replied: ‘Even though I am looking, I am not looking. Where is the “I” to look. When the mind enters the Heart, there is no “I” to tell that there is no “I”. My “I” is dead.’
Swamy then asked her how she was feeling. ‘My whole body is filled with peace and bliss. I cannot describe it. Everything is filled with peace. The Self is pulling me towards it and I am not able to open my eyes. The whole body is weak.’
Swamy remarked, ‘It is like an elephant entering a weak hut. The hut cannot stand the strain. Is it beyond time and death?’
‘It is beyond time and death as there is no mind. As the “I” is dead I don’t wish to eat anymore. I am not able to eat. However tasty the food I cannot eat. I have no desire to eat. Everything is filled with peace and bliss. I am content with my realisation. I have recognised my own Self, so I am content.’ Swamy then told her that her “I” was not yet dead and that she had not yet reached the final state. Sarada replied: ‘As the “I” is dead, there is no you.’
‘Have you no mother or father?’ asked Swamy. ‘No father, no mother, no world. Everything is peace and bliss. Why do I have to eat when there is no “I”? The body is inert; it cannot eat. A corpse will not eat. It is like that because the “I” is dead. As I cannot eat, I cannot talk. Who is talking, I do not know.’
‘Then who is talking?’ asked Swamy. Sarada remained silent, and so Swamy answered his own question. ‘The Self is talking.’
Sarada continued: ‘Even though I am seeing, I am not seeing. Even though I am talking, I am not talking. Whatever I do I am not doing it because the “I” is dead. I have no body. All the nerves are filled with peace and bliss. All is Brahman . All is bliss. In the veins instead of blood, love and bliss are flowing. A great power has entered into me.’
Three months before Swamy had told Sarada, ‘Even though I sleep I am not sleeping’. Sarada remembered this, repeated Swamy’s words and said that she was finally able to understand what he had meant. Sarada continued to talk: ‘I have no thought of doing anything. I have no fear of death. Before, I feared death, but not anymore. I don’t care about death. I have nothing more to do. I shall give up the body.’
Swamy asked her to stay but Sarada answered: ‘What is death to die now? The body is inert, how can it die? My “I” is dead, what is there left to die? Why then fear death?’
Swamy then reminded her that her ‘I’ was not dead and that she was not yet in the final sahaja state. Swamy then stopped the tape we were listening to and talked a little about the state that Sarada was experiencing when she spoke these words.
‘Anyone whose mind completely subsides into the Heart for a short time can talk like an enlightened person. Their experience of the Self is the same as that of a realised person. However, their “I”-thought is not dead and it is likely to re-emerge at any time. Such an experience is not the final state because it is not permanent.’
He then played the final portion of Sarada’s comments on her experience.
‘I am everywhere. I am not the body. I have no body so I have no fear. I am immobile. Whatever I may do, I am immobile. I am shining as the Self. Everything is a great void [maha- sunya]. How can I describe the Self in words? It is neither light nor dark. No one can describe what it is. In the past, present and future no one can describe what it is. It is difficult to describe. Self is Self, that is all.’
Throughout that day Sarada’s mind kept sinking into the Self, but on each occasion it came out again. At 4 p.m. the “I”-thought went from the Heart to the brain and started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada said later that it was like an axe trying to split her head open from the inside. Since she was not able to bear the pain she came forward, took Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. The “I”-thought went back to the Heart, but again it was only a temporary subsidence, Three minutes later it rose again and once again started to bang against the inside of her skull. Sarada came forward, placed her head on Swamy’s feet and a few seconds later the “I”-thought returned to its source and died forever.
With her “I”-thought permanently gone, Sarada had realised the Self. Swamy says that in the final few minutes her “I”-thought was trying to escape and take birth again, and that had he not been present, the “I”-thought would have killed her and escaped.
Saradamma: People look at Swamy and me and think that realization must be relatively easy to achieve because we both realized the Self in a short time. However, we are exceptions. It is rare for someone to have the determination and dispassion that Swamy had during his sadhana, and it is equally rare for a devotee to be as God-intoxicated as I was.
Complete surrender or earnest self-enquiry can only be effectively practiced by advanced devotees. Even Ramana Maharshi sometimes said that self-enquiry was for ripe souls only.
Most people need a long period of purification to get their minds pure enough for total surrender or effective self-enquiry. Devotees ask for grace to realize the Self, but most devotees are nowhere near ready for realization; if they were given a large amount of grace the shock would kill them. For most people a preliminary period of mind purification, such as can be produced by japa or pranayama will be most useful.
Sri Sarada was given the name Mathru Sri Sarada by Bhagavan Sri Lakshmana Swamy when Sri Sarada realised her self. Mathru means mother. Mathru Sri Sarada realised her self through her intense love and surrender to Bhagavan, thus becoming one with him. The book, No Mind, I am the Self, contains details about them.
Brief Life Sketch (based on No Mind, I am the Self):
Ramanadham, Saradamma’s father, was a childhood friend of Lakshmana Swamy. However, they lost touch of each other after their college days. Ramanadham and his wife, Bhanumathy, were devotees of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, when Saradamma was born in 1959, they named her after Sarada Ma, wife of Sri Ramakrishna.
Though initially healthy, Saradamma was afflicted with many ailments as a child, thereby losing her good health and her light complexion. Saradamma had a curiously ascetic nature, not caring for good clothes or food. Many people mistook her for a servant because of her dark complexion and poor clothes. Saradamma was indifferent to such views. Young Saradamma also had a very generous disposition.
Ramanadham, on becoming aware that his childhood friend had become a great yogi, started visiting Lakshmana Swamy for the annual and eventually bi-annual darshans. Lakshmana Swamy became more accessible in 1972 but it was not until 1974 that Saradamma started visiting Lakshmana Swamy regularly. Lakshmana Swamy’s face would light up with a big smile whenever he looked at her. He recognised her as an advanced devotee who was capable of realising her self.
Saradamma started having dreams of Lakshmana Swamy after each darshan. Shortly, Saradamma started to meditate on Swamy’s form and accepted him as her Guru. Within a year, the frequency with which Saradamma had Lakshmana Swamy’s darshan increased. During this time, apart from going to school, Saradamma would spend her evenings and weekends with Lakshmana Swamy. Eventually, she was spending so much time thinking about Lakshmana Swamy that her studies suffered. Saradamma’s education ended when she was in her 8th standard. Recognizing her devotion and love for him, Lakshmana Swamy informally adopted Saradamma as his daughter.
Details about the period between 1975 and 1978 are sketchy since Saradamma had stopped maintaining her diary by then. Lakshmana Swamy’s mother, jealous of Saradamma’s increasing prominence, harassed her in numerous ways. Lakshmana Swamy also tested Saradamma’s devotion and faith many times. During this time, Saradamma would do japa or meditate on Lakshmana Swamy’s form for up to 20 hours a day. In the remaining four hours she would be dreaming about him.
The holy mountain, Arunachala, has had a significant positive influence on Saradamma’s spiritual progress. During her third visit to Arunachala, as Lakshmana Swamy, Saradamma and other devotees were sitting on its slopes; Lakshmana Swamy looked and smiled at Saradamma. Saradamma lost thought and body consciousness. During the next few days, whenever Saradamma looked at Lakshmana Swamy during darshan she would go into the same state.
On returning back to Gudur, Saradamma resumed her meditation. She discovered that she could enter into the thought free state whenever she was in the presence of Lakshmana Swamy. During all these years, Lakshmana Swamy tried a few times to persuade Saradamma to do self-inquiry. However, self-inquiry had no attraction for Saradamma. Her path was that of surrender.
It was at Bangalore, where Saradamma had gone to help her sister, that Saradamma had her first experience of Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This was in October of 1978. The last few weeks of her stay there were spent in either a thought-free state or Samadhi.
Saradamma returned back to Gudur on the 16th of December, 1978. The next day, Saradamma went to the Ashramam and sat before Lakshmana Swamy. She went back into a thought-free state and eventually into Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi. She remained so all day and night. The next day, Lakshmana Swamy, realising that she was close to self-realisation, recorded her words using a tape recorder. Her ‘I’ thought repeatedly sank into her heart, but every time it came back up into her brain, banging against her skull causing intense pain. Saradamma unable to bear this pain took Lakshmana Swamy’s hand and placed it on her head. This made her ‘I’ thought go back into the heart. Three minutes later it again came back causing similar pain. Saradamma placed her head on Lakshmana Swamy’s feet, upon which her ‘I’ thought returned to its source and died forever. Saradamma had realised her self permanently on 18th December 1978.
Lakshmana Swamy gave Saradamma a new name Mathru Sri Sarada. Mathru means mother and Sri is a common Hindu honorific. Initially, Saradamma wanted to give up her body; however, Lakshmana Swamy wanted her to retain it, since sincere devotees would be benefited by her bodily presence. The next one year was a struggle for Lakshmana Swamy to keep Saradamma alive. She would lose body consciousness and withdraw into the self almost daily. She was also not interested in the outside world. Lakshmana Swamy was able to keep her interested in the world by making her play with dolls. In the next phase, Saradamma spent the whole day playing with dolls. People would not believe that she was a Jnani, but she did not care. Jnanis do not care for name or fame.
Slowly, over the years, Saradamma has taken up the role of catering to devotees’ needs. Now-a-days, it is she who interacts with devotees, Lakshmana Swamy having become more reserved. While neither of them is available to the general public, Saradamma occasionally gives darshan to some devotees.
In 2007 I had to face that I was getting drunk every evening for the past 10 years, not that I was knocking myself out, just enough to be in a state of pleasant? unconsciousness from 6pm to bedtime almost every day (happy hour!) Getting drunk was nothing new I basically spent the years from 16 – 21 in a state of intoxication.
My life as a teenager was void of any meaning (except looking to get laid) it seemed there was no good reason for being alive, so I hang with my good friend’s alcohol and cigarette’s they kept me company, taking the edge of my misery.
I was born 2 years after the war to a young 19year old mother, no money, no job, a gigolo as a husband, of course I was not received with love and joy, I was a burden, a mistake. I got that very early and became invisible, didn’t want to make a fuss, who knows? But my mother was also a very responsible person and took care of me in spite of it all.
When I was 5 years old I did experience unconditional Love from strangers that took me in to give my mother a break and they sweetly nourished my young soul until I was returned to my parents (now with a new father) 6 years later, no embrace, no, we are so happy to have you back.
Anyway that is just a short introduction why alcohol was so easy to fall back on for me when I was lost, scared or lonely.
There was a huge change in my life at the age of 22. I was mysteriously initiated into the tantric path and had the first experience of my true self. Later I came to understand that it had to be my master that had initiated me 3 years before I actually met him, because it was synchronized with the same date and time when he gave his first Sannyas initiation, in Manali India, 26.9.1970, of course this I found out only much later.
It cut my hippie experiment of sex, drugs and rock and roll short, to walk the spiritual path. In 1973 I had the strong urge to travel to India, boarding the orient express to Istanbul a small group of Sannyasins sat next to me, drop outs, freaks like me,
I let them take me to my master.
I had finally come home. Living closely with my beloved Master, in Bombay, Pune 1, the Ranch and some of Pune 2 until 1989, there was no need for alcohol, his presence, his unconditional love and care was enough intoxication. After he left his body I was not ready yet to walk alone, even though I did believe for a while that I was. Something was missing and keeping me stuck, I did not know what.
I put my head at the feet of another Sat-guru and asked for truth, no matter what. Consequently my relationship (marriage), which had provided me with a sense of security and mutual love by overriding my primal conditioning for 12 years, had been falling apart and my early childhood wounds of feeling rejected and a burden where bleeding again, it was painful and I reached back for my old helpful friend, my old drinking habit, sitting in front of the TV with a bottle of wine getting drunk and indulging in self-pity.
Finally, after accepting and understanding that this love need, that had disappointed me again, will never be fulfilled from anyone outside, I surrendered and embraced my aloneness.
I had passed consciously through all the pain and confusion again in this intense separation process that I had experienced when I was a child. Only later on did I realize that I was free now of my conditioning of rejection and worthlessness, an individual, my own person and did not have to compromise anymore for love and safety. I was responsible now for myself.
I kept up the drinking habit somehow maybe as a reward for my freedom, a declaration to myself that I can do now what I like and it is no one’s business. It was somehow tied up with being “ME” holding on to something, that I could control, that was mine alone, my choice. The self-imposed “fuck you all” attitdude of a rebel.
I enjoyed being me, there was a freedom that I never had felt before, I travelled, lived like a gypsy for a while out of my van, found a gorgeous young woman to love without the primal need for mother love and security. I was free to dive deep into my passion without guilt or pretence, no inner mother looking over my shoulder anymore, I could love now for the joy of it, for the passion of it, the play of it and I still held on to the the bottle of Vino for some reason.
This relationship went on for some years I slowly freed myself of my sexual conditioning by not compromising who I was. When the dance was complete with my beautiful partner,
I experimented some more with my new found sexual freedom but soon realized that it was repetitive and draining, it naturally faded slowly out. I was tired and done chasing woman for romantic love and sex. I was maybe 55 then and I wanted to relax with someone, have a friend, enjoy simple things like cooking, house making, fixing things, gardening, have a dog. When the time is right and the desire fits with the natural flow of life it will always happen, I met just the right beautiful woman to share the next stage of my life with, but still 2 bottles of wine every evening and maybe a shot or two of vodka to top it off. The old drinking habit was growing bigger and a problem. I felt not fully available to my beloved and to myself. I was watching the weakening of body and clarity of mind by getting intoxicated every evening, there was a subtle spiritual sarcasm arising too.
I tried to stop but could only do it for a few days, tried again, failed after a week, slowly I realized that I was addicted, this was hard to admit, I always thought I was still in control, “Oh, I can stop whenever I want.” Well I could not!
It hurt and I knew I had to get out of this now! But how??
I called for help and I heard my beloved master who I had not heard from in a while, whisper in my inner ear “watch”, so I watched what happens when I drink, I watched, first glass of wine a little happiness, some satisfaction, then blurriness, scrambled thoughts, unfocused and at the end of the bottle numbness, finally sleep, every day the same. I also heard my Master say, “Do not judge, do not condemn, just watch.” Why did I still get drunk? It seemed there was actually no more reason for it. It seemed the reason was already dissolved, the meaninglessness, the worthlessness, the need for love and safety and recognition already history. My body would get sick I was sure, I could feel it, my mind was anxious about my future, I would spiral down into the final “fuck it all” and loose everything, I was certain of this and the love I wanted to share with my beloved was crippled. I could feel it, plus my spiritual path was almost non-existent. All these reasons stood against getting drunk and be oblivious for a few hours, I had to gather all my determination to watch, I had no other options.
Watch…and when you watch you have to remember that while watching, don’t judge. If you judge, watching is lost. While watching, don’t evaluate. If you evaluate, watching is lost. While watching, don’t comment. If you comment, you have missed the point.
You don’t say this is good, you don’t say this is bad, and you don’t say this should not have been, and you don’t say this should have been. You don’t say anything – you simply watch. You are not asked to comment. You are not a judge – just a watcher.
From My Way: The Way of the White Clouds ch.3
Every morning I would wake up around 4 am and feel my body was poisoned and I promised myself, today I am done, no more, but come noon next day I forgot and I had to decide between Merlot and Cabernet, I watched! I watched the dance, when the desire to get drunk was conscious the desire to stop drinking was in the unconscious, totally absent. When the urge to stop was up the desire to get drunk was down in the basement non-existent. They never met at first, like day and night, the game of the mind, hide and seek.
To watch I had to accept to keep drinking, by and by it was obvious that to stop drinking, was not possible anyway, I could control it for some time, maybe even years like some people can, but this would just keep the lid on for a while and I might be under the illusion that I had beat drinking but that would only be a deception and deep down the addiction would wait for its day to come.
After a while of watching looking deeply into my mind I became conscious of a strange fact, that the addiction was 100% determent to get drunk and the anti -addiction part was also 100% sure it wanted to be sober. Before my mind made me believe that it is 50%-50% and if I am strong enough I can swing the sober one to 75% and the addict to 25% and if I really stay on it, I can win the war, 100% sobriety and zero% addiction, that was the logic of the mind, but now the picture looked very different.
So it seemed there where two people in me, one that was 100% happy to get drunk and one that was 100% unhappy to get drunk and demanded to stop. Each wanted domination and would not give an inch. They were both me and they had equal power, like my left hand and my right hand fighting, which will win? They are both me! They are one, two halves of the whole, and they were causing each other.
I had a favourite theme when I was painting or sometimes sculpting in the past, a man rooted in the earth like a tree, his arms, wings, attempting to take off into the sky. This was the exact situation I was in now. It represented my conflict my dilemma to the core.
The addict rooted, settled unmoving in the ground and the anti-addict struggling to fly away from it, equally strong, the anti-addict arising out of the addict, it was the inevitable reaction to the addict and he in turn holding back the energy, the attempt to fly away demanding to get his fix. They are both one dynamic process, they are one circle!
Like night and day, good and bad, birth and death……one cannot exist without the other and I had no idea what to do.
Seeing this over and over made any choice futile. Either I had to live with both or get rid of both, but how? No matter what my choice it would eventually always include both, but that was crazy, that was not possible.
I had always felt this conflict this struggle deep inside, with everything. I am the roots, and I also have wings, wanting to fly away from me, but it was “all” Me, I was at war with myself, I was tearing myself apart inside!
And I saw no way out, no solution that I could come up with! I was hopelessly stuck, that was for certain, I did see it, I was aware of it, that is all, I saw no end to this dilemma.
I could not stop choosing either, because that was also a choice. I saw the goose in the bottle, but how to get her out?
Another evening, not a new one, just the old routine again. ahhh I am getting my fix now. Like it was my reward for having managed to live through another day. Caught in this endless circle of wanting to be sober and getting drunk and whichever side I chose didn’t matter, because I would always end up running the full course of the conflict.
At the moment I was on the getting high side. I had to accept that, OK, so now I drink another bottle. At least I can stop judging myself or hoping for a way out. There wasn’t one.
There was no point feeling bad or guilty, I also sincerely wanted to be free of this addiction as much as following the urge to get drunk. Fighting and judging myself was useless. I had no answer, I felt both, saw both the options, equally strong, I had to keep drinking, at least I could keep my eye on the addict, watch!
I knew that sometime long ago there was a good reason for getting drunk.
I remember that it actually got me through some very hard, meaningless and painful situations.
But now I was over that. I had spent years nourishing my spiritual side, all that time with my master I hardly ever got drunk, at least not out of need or habit, why is it back now with such vengeance?
I sat back in my chair.
I was thinking about my life, remembering my Master, his love, his compassion, his care for me, the incredible incomparable adventure living in his presence for 17 years.
And Poonjaji, being invited to his table, accepted and blessed.
All the other awakened ones I had sat briefly before, that had also blessed and enriched my life, Anandamayi Ma, Jean Klein and others.
The sweet old couple that had given me the gift of unconditional love and a real childhood as a little boy and had awakened my heart.
My beautiful wife, I loved and deeply cared about and all the other women that I had loved and that had allowed me to be part of their lives, the miracle of my initiation, the struggle to wake up.
What an incredible life!
Tears were welling up; I took some deep breaths.
What a fool I am, I am so sorry, I am such an idiot!
How can I be so stupid?
So much magic and mystery and I pissed it all away by getting drunk every evening for the last 10 years.
I had forgotten how fortunate I was.
More and more tears from nowhere rolling down my face.
I felt a pressure in my chest, I stood up and raised my arms reaching for something invisible, maybe god or the master.
Some force pushed me down on my knees, like in prayer.
Suddenly the dam broke and my heart burst wide open.
The beautiful heart exploded, unbelievable Love flooded me! Gratitude, overwhelming gratitude filled every fibre in my body.
Thank you, thank you for everything and everyone, thank you for this Life, this amazing gift. I was loved, had always been loved by this existence unconditionally and I was blind to it, I had blinded myself by holding on to this old pattern of anxiety and addiction.
I knew with absolute certainty that the whole addiction drama was suddenly over, gone forever.
The goose was out!
I will never need to take another sip of alcohol in this or any other life, the addict and the anti-addict vanished into oblivion like a dream after waking up.
I was loved by existence I was part of this amazing existence, I had remembered and was invited back home. I was free, the habitual mind had cracked and my heart lit up.
Not enlightened, the mind not gone, but the first fully conscious separation happened of mind and heart, a small satori with a huge impact.
I had almost lost the thread again, the love I had for my wife and the remembrance of my master, made me eventually question my addiction
Love is powerful it kept pushing me, thank You!
I am still in awe!
I understand now,
I had been holding on to this old habit of escaping from myself, it was a defence I had put into place all by myself in my youth a self-imposed rebel conditioning to cover up this deep seated anxiety that I am unloved and not safe in this world, that no one cares about me and I may not survive on my own.
I was holding on to this self-destructive identity, because it was mine, it belonged to me, it was all I had for a while. I fought everything, parents, school, work and myself, I fought it by not caring and drinking made me forget myself and this anxiety, and it was also saying to the world, look what you have done to me! fuck you all!
Maybe I hoped that my master at some point would save me, without me doing my part. Maybe I was disappointed in him, why didn’t you save me? or maybe I just felt ashamed that I was such a looser disciple.
I resisted the transformation I somehow knew was just around the corner, just behind a veil, I didn’t know what would happen if I let this go, this was all I had left, of my conditioned child identity so I kept myself stupidly in the dark instead, until blessedly It hurt too much and I had to face it.
This was not enlightenment, this was not the end of the mind, this was the end of confusion, holding on and blindly cooperating with the unconscious movement of the mind.
Once you know that between the opposites balance is possible, once you have a glimpse of it, then you know the art. Then everywhere in life, in every dimension of life, you can attain that balance very easily. Really, to say that you can attain is not good. Once you know the knack of it, whatsoever you do, the balance follows you like a shadow. This inner balance between the opposites is the most significant thing that can happen to a man.
My Way: The Way of the White Clouds ch.4
About 12 years have passed since that event. The impact is permanent. That day I turned around, I turned in, naturally, and a whole new journey began.
The addict and the anti-addict have never been seen again. I am still in awe of the mystery. I was given the key to transformation.
Before, there was a “me” and I was totally identified with this “me”. There was no separation at all. The me and I were one and the same. I felt that I was the “me.” There was no experience of I that was not “the me”.
Through meditation a seeing has arisen which is separate from the “me.” Let’s call it the “seeing I”. This “seeing I” can watch the me, see its arising and see its dissolving. There are moments when the “me” is absent and yet the “seeing I” remains. The “me” is seen within this seeing. And yet many times this seeing still gets entangled with the “me” and only the “me” is present. And then, a remembering and the “me” is once again seen by the seeing.
It becomes clear from watching this changing landscape that that the “me” is not necessary when the “seeing I” is present. And it also becomes clear that there may come a time when no “me” exists at all and only seeing.
But for now it is a time for watching all the ins and outs of the “me”, a time for watching all of its comings and goings. And the more there is seeing these comings and goings, these ins and outs of the “me” the more the “seeing I” is present.
One says you told Ram he is enlightened – In the sense of realized. Another says you had both your tongues in both your cheeks. Ram says you were joking and that I should ask you. I tell myself it is really none of my business, but still, is he? Has he?
This is from Anurag.
If he has understood that I was joking, then he must be enlightened.
From Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V. 8, Chapter Four