There may come a moment in life when the world no longer stimulates us and we feel deeply apathetic, even abandoned. This can motivate us towards the search for our real nature beyond appearances. When we no longer find interest in activities and states, when we no longer feel much pleasure in objects and human relationships, we may find ourselves asking: “Is there something wrong with this world or with my attitude towards it?” This serious doubt can lead us to ask: “What is the meaning of existence? What is life? Who am I? What is my true nature?” Sooner or later any intelligent person asks these questions.
As we live with these questions, look at them closely, we become aware that the “me” always seems to be at the center of things playing several roles: “I am cold. I am tired. I am working.” With a more open-minded alertness it becomes apparent that the body feels cold, tired, or is working, not “I.” In the same way when we look at states: “I wish. I am depressed. I remember. I am bored,” we see that we have identified ourselves with the thought or feeling. In looking at this relation between the “I” and its qualifications it becomes obvious that we have taken it for granted and believe ourselves to be this “me.”
This “me” has therefore no continual reality. It is a false appropriation. It lives only in relation to its qualifications, its objects. It is fundamentally unstable. But because we have mistaken our real self for this imposter we feel an insecurity, a doubt, a lack, a sensation of isolation. The “me” can only live in relation to objects so we spend all our energy trying to fulfill the insatiable insecurity of this me. We live in anxiety, fear and desire trying at one and the same time to be as individualistic as possible and to overcome this separateness. The “me” which appears occasionally is taken as a continuum. Actually it is only a crystallization of data and experience held together by memory. Being fractional, its viewpoint is fractional functioning through like and dislike. Its contact with its surroundings is based on this arbitrary choosing. Living in this way is miserable. The loneliness of such an existence may be temporarily camouflaged by compensatory activity but sooner or later, as we said, our real nature will make itself felt and our questioning will become more urgent. We will begin to feel that what we take for the body and mind is not the actual state of things. In deeper inquiry we feel a certain distancing between the inquirer and his environment, activities and opinions. For a time we may feel like an observer of our life, the spectator of the spectacle. Our body and mind are instruments to be used. We observe the changes of the psychosomatic structure as we grow older. We become aware that many, if not most, of our actions are mechanical reactions. All these happenings are seen from the impersonal observer. We begin to feel closer to the knower of these changes and less identified, lost in, the changing. In the end, the seeker is found to be what was sought.
Q: “What do you mean by that last statement, “the seeker is found to be what was sought?”
A: You are seeking your real nature. What you are looking for is what you are, not what you will become. What you already are is the answer and the source of the question. In this lies its power of transformation. It is reality, a present actual fact. Looking for something to become is completely conceptual, on the level of ideas. It has no reality and no effective power. The seeker will discover that he is what he seeks and what he seeks is the source of the inquiry.
Q: It seems to me that not everyone who is a seeker has experienced this deep feeling of unfulfillment or abandonment that you talk about.”
A: It’s true. There are those who, because of their past, sense the divine anchored deep within them. In these cases there is no motivation. As Meister Eckhart said, “God is seeking himself.”
From I Am, pp.67-68
Could you talk about listening and its origin?
To discover your innermost being you must start from where you are at this very moment, wherever that is. You cannot begin anywhere else. Whatever appears before you—your body, sensations, feelings, thoughts, etc.—must be accepted, listened to as a whole. This does not mean you should analyze, interpret, understand or look for an inner meaning. What is important is to discover listening itself, which sooner or later will be revealed to you. At first the accent is on what is listened to, the sensation, feeling or thought. But the more the listening is sustained the more the emphasis is shifted to this listening itself without a listened to. Then you are at the threshold of the source from which the listening derives. That very instant listening will become a living reality.
Real listening can be neither improved nor perfected, for it is perfection itself. It reveals itself when the mind is struck by wonder, when it no longer refers to the slightest object. This fulfillment is later erroneously attributed to an object but one who is aware of the true perspective knows that the cause of this peacefulness is not to be found in an object, but is a pure reflection of silence, of what Is.
Listening arises from wonderment, to which it also points—a state where there is no projection, where nothing appears. It is as if you had suddenly opened the windows of a dark room full of objects, and in streams daylight. Everything becomes clear in an instant.
– Jean Klein
From I Am
While meditating must we chase away all the thoughts that come to us? What should we do when they do come? So very often we get caught up in them and let ourselves be carried away.
Ah! So you bring me back to this question which I thought I had already spoken of often. See you live in a dream state. Whether you chase thoughts away or let them carry you away, you end up in exactly the same situation. You remain in the subject/object relation. The doer is reinforced.
Well, what should I do then?
Absolutely nothing. Doing and not doing amount to exactly the same thing. The last thing is to try to gain tranquility, to try to become calm.
You have taken note; you have already seen yourself being carried away by your thoughts. Just seeing it implies a transfer of energy away from being lost in your usual thought patterns toward reality. There is already some distance, so as other thoughts occur, quite a different attitude will settle within you and you will eventually find yourself outside the whole process. In the end you will become aware of a current of energy preceding each thought. The continuous swinging between having and becoming will die out too and you will be absorbed into the present, “now.” Then there is peace, silence, tranquility, bug no personal identity to be silent.
I have taken note for years that thoughts carry me away. If there has been a transfer of energy it has made no difference in my life. I cannot see how simply taking note can be enough, unless of course I am taking note in the wrong way.
Taking note does not mean you jot it down in your mental diary and forget about it. Here you make it a concept. You have emphasized the fact, not the seeing. This is the lazy way, the passive way. Taking note means that you remain alert, you see the fact and the alertness remains after seeing the fact. See how the seeing acts on you, how it feels to be the seer. The background is emphasized. This is where the transfer of energy occurs.
From I Am, pp. 62-63
When you look for yourself you can never find the one you are looking for. There comes a day when there is a certain maturity in you and you will see that the looker is what he is looking for. What you are looking for is peace, silence, yourself, and it can never be an object. It is a feeling. It is a jewel in your feeling. You must love the jewel. You must be it, never go away from it. The jewel is the jewel of your heart. But first you must love what You Are really, then you can also love your surroundings. When you are not, then there is love. It seems very clear, no?
In a religious way of speaking it is only when you are not that God is. But when you live with the glimpse of truth you are already orchestrated. Your energy is more or less orchestrated. Follow the shadow and it brings you to its substance. When there is intelligence, there is creativity and beauty. The ultimate is beauty, beauty that can never be defined.
Let us be for a little while in silence.
From Living Truth, p. 232
Question: What does sadhana mean?
Answer: What truly exists is ultimate reality, the Self. The ego and the world are no more than objects superimposed upon it. “I am”, which is the source of all experience, is beyond the experiencer/experienced duality. When we place the accent on the “I am”, on being aware, and not on thought nor on perception, we gradually become deeply relaxed, both on the neuro-muscular level and on a mental plane.
If we disinterestedly observe all the states we experience, we soon come to realize that each perception, each thought, is reabsorbed into knowledge, ‘I know’: the only true reality, before any other activity commences. Let yourself sink deeply within this stillness each time it makes itself felt.
The world you perceive is none other than a figment of the imagination founded on memory, fear, anxiety and desire. You have locked yourself away within this world. See this without jumping to conclusions and you will be free. There is no need for you to free yourself from a world which exists only in your imagination.
What you take to be reality is only a concept arising from memory. Memory arises from the mind, the mind from the witness, the witness from the Self. You are the witness, the onlooker standing by the riverside, changeless, beyond the limits of space and time: you cannot perceive what is permanent, because you are it.
Do not nourish the ideas you have built around yourself, nor the image people have of you. Be neither someone nor something, just don’t play the game. This will bring about being, constant awareness.
The personality is nothing other than a projection, a habit created by memory and nourished by desire. Ask yourself the question “Who am I?” and lucidly observe that you are not this thinker, doer, sufferer; all these forms appear and disappear indefinitely creating an illusion of continuity. The idea of being a person, an ego, is nothing else but an image. It is a reflection created by the Self, with which it identifies itself.
It is inherent to creativity to identify itself with its creation. The world of objects, just like the ego, is only a figment of your imagination, your creation. The teacher helps you to understand, by his presence and his gift of teaching, that you are neither object nor ego. The objectless thought without object, is the only real link between the mind and the witness, for the witness carries with it the scent of the Self. “I am this or that” is only part of your imagination, a hallucination. The objectless ‘I’ points towards its source, its origin, and finally loses itself in stillness beyond time.
Observe the way your mind moves, works, without having any preconceived ideas about it. A moment will come when you discover yourself to be the witness. Subsequently, when all striving has left you, you will realise that you are the light shining behind the observer. Reality is neither a product of the mind nor the result of a whole train of thoughts, it just is. The only method we can suggest is to observe impartially the way in which your mind reacts in the different circumstances of everyday life. But of course you must realise that you can never find your true Self in a perception. Live as previously, thinking and feeling, but become aware of these functions, thus you will spontaneously free yourself from them.
What you think of as your personality will vanish, leaving only the witness. In the end, he will lose himself in ultimate knowledge.
Above all don’t ask me how this comes about.
Question: How can we detach ourselves from objects?
Answer: Being attached to things and repeating things over in one’s mind come from fear, a need for security. You become a slave to them. We cannot free ourselves from their grasp by discipline nor by exercises because there is nothing to strive for, nothing to be attained. Freedom from objects comes directly from our true nature when you “know your real self”. This realisation is a spontaneous intuition which leaves you in a state of being, of fullness, free from the becoming process.
This mind is an extension of our being, it can only function harmoniously when illuminated by the Self. All forms of control submit us to memory. A controlled mind can never act freely, nor spontaneously. Of course we can say that memory is the best of all tools, but it is a poor guide, for it functions within the framework of the already known. The unknown, what is new, unique, is a closed world to us. Since the independent ego, which we take ourselves to be, is the source of all our anxiety, we cannot rid ourselves of it by effort or discipline. Effort is a driving force resulting from constraint. By clear-sighted awareness of cause and effect, another view will open out for you. Then the problems, together with the emotional involvement they imply, will leave you.
Any form of exercise is bound to be a goal, to a result. It is an obstacle. Be aware of your constant desire to be this or that. There is no goal to be reached since what you are looking for is here and now and always has been. Then the mind, free from all desire to become, will be at peace, and the centre of attention will shift from the object to the ultimate subject, a foretaste of your real Self. Be vigilant, clear-sighted, don’t strive to become.
Question: What should we do when there is a striving towards something during meditation?
Answer: You must simply witness it. The only obstacle to this meditation is the striving behind it. Sooner or later you will be attention, attention without object. This would seem to have no meaning when talking of attention, for one is necessarily attentive towards something. But this attention is absolutely empty. It is not focused on an object, it is free from any memory.
Question: My biggest stumbling block is the world of difference that exists between the intuition I encounter while meditating and the fact that everything is forgotten once I undertake my daily activities. In the end I begin to wonder why I meditate at all, for an hour later I have forgotten everything and am once again submerged by objects.
Answer: The problem is this; during meditation you experience and contemplate a vacant state of mind, what you perceive is the absence of activity. You know this absence but do not yet know the knower. Once you are knowingly this knower, you will know “being”, whether the mind be active or passive. There will be no difference, no change: from then on, this awareness will be an unwavering certainty. •
During meditation you will experience total emptiness which in a way is still an object. Absence of thought inevitably implies eventual presence of thought. Thus what you sense is a state of deep peace free from activity. One day this void, this blank, will vanish too and you will encounter ultimate stillness.
Up till now you have contemplated a calmed mind, but should a bird sing or someone speak, your inner silence is broken. That is why you ask this question. By its very nature, the mind is occasionally empty; it is nonetheless nothing but an instrument.
Question: I can’t see how you can possibly lead an everyday life and “be” at the same time.
Answer: Everyday life appears before someone. You are this someone but you are not what appears day after day. Question yourself deeply: To whom do these things appear? Who judges them, condemns them? Who swings between likes and dislikes, and who is it that is also an integral part of what appears?
You know the person that refuses, accepts or chooses. What you are fundamentally is completely beyond all this. You know moments when you must make a choice and others free from choice.
Within yourself you must distinguish between the person involved in choosing and the observer, who is ever-impartial. You will come to place yourself knowingly in this presence free from choice. Here, what we call everyday life takes root and flourishes. Here, there is no person bound by fear, desire or anxiety, to choose, intervene, or interrupt the natural flow of life.
From what you have said you would think that everyday life was nothing but a burden. Who for? Drop the ‘who’, and you will see that there is no burden to bear.
Question: How can I free myself from mental confusion?
Answer: Constantly witness your doings. Vigilance purifies the mind and sooner or later will place you knowingly beyond it.
You encounter ups and downs in your search for the Self because you do not yet see things in their true perspective—as a whole. They will continue just as long as you consider yourself in terms of “I am my body”. The mind will lead you astray until you perceive its true nature.
The basis for re-establishment in true reality is the act of listening, free from the past, to what the teacher has said, and to the reminders that this creates.
The unspoken word, acting as a background to all that takes form, enables this truth to bec6me experience. Be clear-headed, and don’t hang on to what you are not. The universe of which you are the source obeys its own laws. Don’t look for reasons for what you believe to be. It is a completely useless expense of energy. What you are basically is without cause, beyond improvement. Thinking in terms of a doer responsible for his acts stems from the illusion of the ego and its characteristics.
You must frequently turn to this background, as often as the chance to do so occurs. Your attention is constantly turned either towards objects or to ideas, and you have no sense of being, it is completely unknown to you. Become the spectator, become aware of the natural flow of life, your motives, actions, and what results from them. Observe the walls you have built around yourself. As you become more aware of your body and mind you will come to know yourself. As this image subsides of things, as you believe them to be, you will have a clear-headed insight of what you are, something quite other than a product of the mind. This insight results from elimination. All confirmations come from memory, are outside real experience. You will gradually feel less and less involved in whatever should come up. You will discover yourself to be the perceiver. Once you free yourself from the idea, “I am the body” and the consequences, you will awaken to your natural state of being. Give yourself up entirely to this discovery. True awareness cannot be obtained by projecting known factors in terms of concepts and perceptions. What you are fundamentally cannot be experienced through reason and is only reached once you eliminate what you are not.
A willful ego hinders you from being. The witness must enter upon the scene, enabling the ego to be recognized for what it is, an object. This witness opens the door to being. The ego cannot “know” itself, it identifies with what it thinks, feels, experiences. The teacher leads the disciple away from what he believes himself to be, in order to enable him to get to know his real Self and awaken to all his perceptions. For the ego, there is nothing but resistance, defense, agitation. It is the witness that shines forth and shows up the ego for what it is, an illusion.
The meditative state leads us to discover what we really are. We become aware of our body and thought patterns, of the reasons that motivate our actions of which we were scarcely conscious. By allowing our thoughts to follow on one from another, to develop fully without our intervening, this meditative state becomes a purification, a letting go, without there being a person that purifies or lets go. It is an uninvolved observation post. A whole world of unsuspected energies releases itself, frees itself. Mental activity ceases to be agitated and follows its natural course, allowing us to discover ourselves as the witness, the onlooker. We completely abandon the “I am this, I am that” reflex. The onlooker transcends the experience and the experiencer. He is pure awareness.
The world exists when we think about it, it is ever renewed. It is only memory that gives the false impression of continuity. The individual does not exist outside the ultimate knower, he is but a shadow, nothing, a reflection on the mind’s screen. He is a fabrication of both memory and habit. Always agitated he hopes and claims, searching for confirmation and security, striving to accumulate. Basically, he is frightened and does not dare question himself profoundly.
All perceptions, all experiences are connected with time, but the ultimate knower transcends time. It is a lack of clear-sightedness that causes us to identify with temporality. Any perception of what you think, feel or do is only transitory. The feeling of being acts as a support and is permanent. Accept the invitation that the souvenir of this very feeling creates in you, plunge deep within it, until you are carried away by reality.
From Neither This Nor That I Am
I have been searching for a long time for truth or God. When I began I was crippled by anxiety and fear. Now I feel I have an innate understanding of what truth is not, but I do not feel I have glimpsed what truth is.
You are looking for an experience, for God, for beauty. This means you see what you are looking for as an object. I would say: Simply inquire who is looking. When you really inquire, you will see that the looker is what you are really looking for. That is the shortest way if one can still speak of a way.
Be clear in your mind that what you are looking for can never be an object. Because you are what you are looking for, so you can never see it, never comprehend it. You can only be it. Being it means you have no representation, no idea of it. You are free from all concepts. When the mind sees this it comes to a stop. Then you find yourself in a kind of nakedness. You are this nakedness free from all qualification. So, be it really. Be completely attuned to it.
From Living Truth, page 213