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You Have No Problems, You Are the Problem
Ayumi: Dear James sensei, how are you?
James: I am very wonderful. If it gets any better I do not know how I will survive. ☺
Ayumi: Thank you very much for sending the USB stick with your teaching on it! I think it’s still on the way. I’ll tell you when I receive it.
James: You are welcome. It should come soon.
Ayumi: The more I think about your question the more I know your question is very deep and the question itself is making the change. You know well Ayumi’s problem!
James: Ayumi has no problem. Ayumi is the problem.
Ayumi: I’ve been observing and asking this question of Ayumi for these many days.
I think the reason Ayumi wants moksa is due to her unease and loneliness.
She has been feeling lonely since she was child and after growing up, even in a crowd or even when she was with a boyfriend, close friends or family, the loneliness was with her. Only when meditating or with somebody who knows spiritual truth she felt satisfied.
She is still dependent on the external world or knowledge for happiness.
She is buying lots of books like crazy; it’s a proof of her uneasiness with herself. When she is uneasy she goes to bookstore to try to find the way to relieve anxiety. But at the same time she knows she has to focus more internally and explore herself. She should be patient, so maybe she is running away to escape… by reading books.
The fact is, she is the self and already attained but she is underestimating herself. She believes people is misunderstanding her, overestimating her or sometimes underestimating her; in both cases she feels anxiety. And she is very strict with her and others’ mistakes, excuses or lies. She can’t forgive herself and them.
She works hard till she gets really exhausted; she never feels herself enough, and wants to improve herself, others, things, everything… Her brother gave her the advice to “make an escape route for others.” She is trying to learn that.
So you are right, she can’t accept herself as she is. I remember you were teaching in Tiruvannamalai that we often think “more, better, not enough.” Less is more. When I was attending classes I could keep that thought, James: “You have to stop listening to these dumb ideas of Ayumi’s. They are not true.”
You told me to enjoy life, watch movies, etc.… My best friend and I were talking, saying that we forgot how to play and enjoy!… because we’ve been studying something all the time, even when meeting with friends, talking about what we were learning… pity! My parents also want me to play more and enjoy life. When I used money once for a hut, my father was so glad: “Use more money for enjoyment, not only for study.”
But yes, I want to play more. Sickness showed me I need to relax more and enjoy life. I’ll go to a tropical island for relaxation.
So, coming back to the topic of why Ayumi wants moksa – she doesn’t believe anything can satisfy her unease or loneliness except moksa. Moksa is only one goal she can have, even though she has still the habit of seeking, and depends on the outer world for satisfaction and happiness.
James: Yes, but she is already free, so there is nothing she can do for moksa. Even if she isn’t free there is nothing she can do, so she has to wait for Isvara. In the meantime, she should stop waiting for moksa and enjoy herself. She has the wrong idea about moksa, so it is useless for her to chase moksa. She picked up a lot of strange ideas from books and the spiritual world that are making her confused.
Ayumi: She wants to explore inner life more. She knows any great knowledge or outer objects satisfy just superficially and leave a vacant feeling inside.
James: What is to find, Ayumi? You will only find the same thing later that you find now.
Ayumi: But I guess what you want to say is that what she is doing and thinking for getting moksa itself is the obstacle, just stop seeking moksa and feel at ease with herself and everything, no need to do anything for moksa, because it’s already attained.
James: That is correct, Ayumi. You have the wrong idea about moksa. If you can’t be happy with Ayumi now, you will never be happy with her because the self is already okay with Ayumi as she is. If you become the self Ayumi will still be the same and she will not be acceptable to herself, so the problem will still be there. In fact it is the self that is writing this letter. It knows Ayumi and her problem and her thoughts. But it is the self pretending to be dissatisfied. This is a funny game the self is playing. Moksa is not going to change Ayumi. Moksa just means that you know you aren’t Ayumi. You already know this. So what good is moksa?
Ayumi: My understanding of moksa is that it is being free of Ayumi, complete detachment from this body, mind, intellect, I-ness. Knowing there is no boundary between me and others. Knowing everything is one. Please correct if it’s wrong.
James: You are already non-attached to the body and mind. They are known to you, objects of awareness. There is no boundary already. All the objects are just thoughts of objects and the thoughts of the objects are just awareness in the form of thoughts of objects. So there is no actual boundary between you and the objects. It looks like there is a boundary because you are looking at reality from the point of view of the body. This makes it looks like the objects are out there. But if you think about it a bit, you will see that the body is an object in you too. It is just a thought of body and the thought is not separate from you.
Detachment is not something you can do. How can you detach from anything if reality is non-dual? It is all you, so who is going to detach from who? What is lacking is discrimination. You don’t know what is satya and what is mithya.
Mithya is satya but satya is not mithya. This means that you, awareness – satya – are always free of your thoughts (all the thoughts you have said in this letter are known to you, so you cannot be them. You are the one that knows them – awareness). The thoughts are mithya. Mithya means “apparently real.” This means they are not real. So if they are not real, why do you believe all these things about Ayumi? Why do you believe in Ayumi if she is just a thought? You cannot find a Ayumi. Please show me a Ayumi. There is no such thing. It is a just a thought appearing in you, awareness, that you take to be real because of avidya.
Ayumi: One small side question…
I read of a qigong master who was explaining about moksa, that we lose energy by getting old but by practising qigong we get positive energy, so we get energy back, like a baby’s, and if we continue to practise and the positive energy comes up to certain point we can go back before birth: that’s moksa. This is very different explanation from Vedanta.
James: This master is a master of stupidity. He thinks the body and energy are real. It is a little true that qigong can give you sattvic energy but you cannot reverse aging. You can slow it down but you cannot reverse it. That master is going to die. Moksa is freedom from energy altogether.
Ayumi: Somehow, I was inspired. But I guess Vedantic moksa is above that, no positive, no negative, no sattva either.
James: That is right. Practice qigong for energy. Practice Vedanta for peace of mind. You were inspired because you need energy after that long stay in the ashram. You lost your shakti.
Ayumi: Or sometimes I think moksa may be a kind of neuroscientific development, I mean that if we develop our brain, the large part which is not used yet, at a certain level moksa will happen. Moksa is the result after developing what she has already. It’s just my imagination.
James: Jesus, Ayumi! Were you listening to the Vedanta? Na karmanaa… “Not by karma can you get free.” You are already free. You just do not appreciate the fact that you are free. You cannot develop freedom. You can get rid of thoughts that limit you so you will feel more free but you cannot get rid of all the thoughts of limitation. There is no need to do it either, because thoughts don’t bind you. They appear and disappear and you remain as you are.
Ayumi: Some saints say it’s too obvious, it’s closest, why can’t we see that?
James: It’s just you. You have the wrong idea of you. You think you are Ayumi. Ayumi is just an idea. You are more near than Ayumi.
Ayumi: Scriptures say this and that about moksa but I can only imagine alone. I can’t have direct experience.
James: Everything is the self, so you are already directly experiencing the self. Ayumi cannot experience awareness. Awareness experiences Ayumi.
Ayumi: Maybe only once, a very short time in Tiruvannamalai after meditation in my room when I went outside, everything looked so wonderful and beautiful I cried for the beauty of a newborn baby, a falling leaf and a butterfly; the whole world was beautiful. I was the most happy ever. It lasted about thirty minutes, just a glimpse.
James: That is because you mind was sattvic. Get it sattvic and you will feel this way again. But when rajas and tamas come, the experience goes.
Ayumi: Just an aside… when I was leaving Tiruvannamalai, thinking I should move on, go forward, I started to hear a high sound. In Chinmaya ashram one old swamini showed me an article about the sound published by Ramakrishna Mission and said I was already awakened. She tried to convince me many times, showed me some scriptures that the hearing the sound is the proof of awakening.
James: That is nonsense, Ayumi. You are the one who observed Ayumi hear the sound. That one is moksa, free of the sound. Hearing that sound is not moksa. The self is moksa, free. It is always present. Where is the sound now? Your mind was just sattvic and you heard nada brahman. It is a sign that you are awakened but awakening is not moksa, because the self never slept. You are the self.
Ayumi: But I couldn’t believe, I don’t feel it at all, I have too many vasanas. She told me I should focus more on the sound, it will lead to final moksa. I asked my swami about it and he said, “The sound is not the self, don’t focus on it. You know where you are (you are not awakened).”
James: The swami was right. You are awareness. Awareness never slept. The woman is wrong. She thinks moksa is something to be experienced.
Ayumi: I liked very much what one Tibetan enlightened master said, why we can’t get moksa, because it’s too deep, too close, too easy and too wonderful to know (something like that, some words may be wrong).
James: That’s right. It is you and you think you can get it. You are the tenth man.
Ayumi: Thank you very much for reading all this and being so supportive.
~ Love and respect, Ayumi
James: You are most welcome, Ayumi.
~ Much love, James