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What Do I Want Now?
John: What do I want now?… to be established in the knowledge. I have new confidence in the scripture, as pramana.
I think I can say that I now see that my vasana for learning Vedanta a couple of years ago was mixed with serious rajas. Recently (the last two months), I finally saw the “rajas-minus-Vedanta” vasana, so to speak, and essentially dropped the rajas and kept the Vedanta, if such a thing is possible. Or more accurately, the rajas dropped me, leaving me rolling on the asphalt as the rajas car speeds away. So to speak. Sometimes the car seems to turn around and run over my arm with a tire though ☺ – while writing this I had to address a work problem by email.
I am rereading Swami Dayanada’s Vivekachudamani and listening to your discourses on it. Regarding the second verse, Dayananda says, “The inquiry is a quiet pursuit. The aggressiveness of a go-getter does not work – one has to relax; if one does not, one gets excited and does things that are not at all helpful…”
Here’s what happened in the last two years: I was listening to discourses two or three hours a day, learning Sanskrit and had found a local Dayananda-trained swamini at a temple nearby(!). I threw myself at that but six months or so later I essentially dropped out, wanting a return to “life.” The local swamini was very traditional, made lots of emphasis on statues and proper pronunciation of stotras and repeated Dayananda jokes; for me, something was not working. Certainly I had not resolved some rajas, that only later became apparent. I returned to “life” in the last year-and-a-half and stopped studying Vedanta altogether. I had a job change that was/is a bit of a somersault and had also embarked on a crazy project or two. I think all that “woke me up” (“This is crazy!”) but it felt more like I was thrown from the car.
I am newly able to get rid of a lot of physical stuff I had accumulated over past decades related to various rajas projects (musical instruments, book collections, that sort of thing). I feel released from that; there is not a struggle in discarding these things. Viveka-vairagya.
In the last of couple weeks I have shaken myself off, gone back to the discourses but also doing manana and what I understand to be nididhyasana. One thing I do now is kind of “fake it till I make it” in my mind. I imagine being happy and okay with any circumstance; I kind of project that in my mind or onto my mind. Overall, I also try to more deliberately absorb what I am hearing and studying by rereading and re-listening, for instance. Rereading Swami Dayananda’s Gita commentary on sthita prajna in Chapter II helps me. Here’s a nice passage:
“One has to take care of raga-dvesas. Otherwise they are a nuisance. Therefore whatever is to be done to take care of them must be done. This may imply karma yoga, listening to the teaching sravana or further analysis, manana…”
Your words just now are also helpful: “I don’t need anything to feel complete and whole except the hard and fast knowledge that I am complete and whole.”
The sattvic life is again giving immediate benefit at home and in daily life. Swami Dayanada says something about not being a ninja in life, not confronting it. I am experimenting with better or more systematically seeing life as not opposed to me. That sometimes takes effort still, in the work/career field especially, but now I see better that seeing life differently (versus simply reacting to it) is a sort of a task or sadhana. The teaching is coming together for me in a way it did not before.
I have no regret for what looks like a detour over the past year-and-a-half; it brought up for view what was important to see. I feel “it” (the release from fear and bondage) is getting close, with the disclaimer that on the absolute level there is no bondage at all. I had a (not-so-serious) idea to open a yoga studio called The Not-So-Subtle Body. I should do that for myself, practise subtle body postures.
I am so grateful for you and for your teachings, even though I know they aren’t your teachings. But knowing there is someone on the other end of a communication is a great help, Ramji.
~ Love, John