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You Do Not Have to Succeed
This long satsang was occasioned by the illness of a friend. When she told me about it, I said that it could have been prevented had she confided in me because I saw it coming.
Evita: Thank you, James, I am so blessed to have you as a friend. I appreciate what you are saying and please do correct my thinking if you think it needs it, as I am doing much contemplation. I didn’t write, because I know how busy you are and did not want to disturb you.
This illness has been a blessing. It is all God of course. I hope to come to see you but know it is nothing to do with me as an individual. Life will just do what life does and life is showing me something very big here, but also something subtle. It’s very much about letting go and appreciating each moment. I am peaceful, whatever the outcome.
I went into big fear last week, but am now calm and accepting of what is going on and not resisting anything. I also think I had a huge over-reaction and with a bit of rest I will be fine. I am just exhausted from having worked too hard and then having flu – and dealing with many draining people. I am having a normal response, which has told me to stop. So I am enjoying getting up late, slopping around in my dressing gown and not doing anything.
James: Hi, Evita. Don’t worry about troubling me. I just whine about my workload to get attention. I am as strong as an ox. So when you have a problem, call me. I hope you recover soon. I will see to it that there is a room for you in Spain if you wish to come. I am going to play the good cop, guru you a tiny bit more and then shut up. From the spiritual perspective keeping the company of sick people is called kusanga, the opposite of satsanga. It means keeping bad company. It is one mind. You cannot protect yourself from it. So your decision to write off those losers is very good. Let Bhagavan dig up some other poor schmuck to do the job. And meditate on the fact that Mother Teresa was a miserable woman. When you are better we can look at a couple of other mistakes in your thinking if you like.
Evita: I was very interested in what you said about kusanga, as I have always been overly sensitive to energies around me and never known how to block this energy off. I thought, “Oh, well, the idea of energy or of someone draining me is just in my mind, so I will ignore it,” but that hasn’t worked. From what you say, there is nothing one can do about this? So please, do play the good cop/guru, and any advice is appreciated. It felt like everyone wanted a piece of me last month – there was one girl I had been working with, for example, who would hug me really hard, like she was a bear. She would grip me tight and I could feel her sucking everything – the life force out of me. Then she started sending me lots of emails and wanting to see me all the time – so I have stopped that. I want to empower people, not make them dependent.
I have been delving very deep in my inquiry and although I can see this is all maya – and the problem was with identification and fear which crept up, nevertheless I have been contemplating what you said about my samskaras. So I admit that, yes, on the human level there is still part that feels unlovable and wants to please. I also realize that I can’t truly confide in you unless I confide in myself. I’m not sure why I sometimes don’t feel good enough or lovable, as I was always loved by my family a great deal, but I also chose more than one abusive relationship with men. Again, I don’t know why (and as your Swamji said, why pick through your own vomit?), as my father was always very loving to me and my mother. Having said that, I do remember when I was 13 that he didn’t speak to me for a month because he caught me in a pub drinking cider with some boys! And he was also very angry with me when I didn’t do well at some exams – so maybe that wasn’t so loving – it was conditional. Consequentially I do sometimes have the feeling of being surprised that people love Evita (I won’t go into the third person anymore here – it’s tedious). My family dynamic was all the Protestant work ethic – do your duty, don’t let others down and work hard. There was never much talk about self-duty though – putting others first was always emphasized.
I think the problem also I have faced in confiding in you is that you are very clear about not wanting any emotional, female-type feeling-stuff, so part of me always feels that I need to “man up” and show how strong I am around you. When I first met you I was very attracted by and therefore very wary of your charisma. I thought, “Oh, no, not another charismatic man – they are not to be trusted!” – which is true to an extent, inasmuch as charisma is a projection, and one has to see beyond it and not get caught by it. Obviously, you are to be trusted and are not your charisma!
But I do see a lot of people – women – getting hooked by it, and I was determined not to make that mistake. Later, although I loved you, I found you to be quite hard at times and I thought I must have met you to teach me to toughen up too. I think this is partly true. I am quite tough too, I get on with things, but I can also be too soft and let others take advantage of me. And I know I am a people-pleaser because I feel naturally compassionate. It’s Evita’s nature. Clearly, I have to look at that. But I became wary of ever letting you see any weakness in me, as I thought you wouldn’t love or respect me, as you made it very clear on more than one occasion that you don’t like any female emotional stuff. I used to wonder why you were harder on me than Fey, for example.
James: Fey was never attracted to me in the way you were. It was all good fun with her. She had her own love interest. The real issue here is why you would pander to my likes and dislikes. So what if I don’t like needy, emotional women? I maintain my composure and treat them with respect. I was a bit gruff with you, but I had to be because you were in love with me and I was not willing to love you the way you wanted to be loved. You would have taken the tenderness personally and thought there was hope. I have been in this situation more times than I care to recount, and being a bit gruff seems to work. Your reaction when I turned you down convinced me that it was not something that we could discuss without a lot of grief. It may have even ended our friendship, which I did not want. I knew that the real reason for you being with me was spiritual. So I was a bit gruff at the appropriate times. But you have to admit that on balance we had a great time.
Evita: Can I ask you a question which has come up from my enquiry? Would you want me to change? How do you think I should be different? This is a bit of a trick question, but I need to ask.
James: What a strange question! Why would I want you to change? What would I gain if you changed? I like you as you are. Perhaps you mean would I love you the way you want to be loved by me if you were different? I love you now. I don’t want anyone to change. If people seek your company it means that you are acceptable in their eyes. You’re fine in my eyes, but you are not fine in your eyes. I see everything as okay as it is. Even if I wanted you to be different, what good would it do? You can’t change. I you could, you would, assuming you find something about yourself that needed changing. You are what you are, both as Evita and as the self. When someone says they want you to change, it really means that they are dissatisfied with themselves. You should run away very fast from someone who wants you to be different.
Evita: And here’s another question: don’t tell Mary, but do you think it would be a good idea if I went and ate some meat?!
James: Don’t tell Mary? Is it okay if you eat meat? Okay means what? Who determines whether or not you do anything? – leave the meat out of it. You can eat meat if you want. It is probably a good idea if you are anemic. See the fear. I am amazed at this, Evita. Please do not react to my reaction. Try to see where I am coming from. Who cares what Mary thinks?
Evita: For God’s sake, James, lighten up! That part of the email was a joke. Of course it is my decision – do you think I am a complete sap?
James: Sometimes you are a complete sap, sometimes not. And if this is a joke, your request to not tell Mary at the end of this email is a joke too? How about we leave the sense of humor out of it? I take this seriously. If it is all a joke, then I won’t waste my time replying. So what if I didn’t get it? It is not important if I miss a few jokes. It seems to me that this is about you making sure that you are understood. I don’t need to understand you. I see you. You are transparent to me, but opaque to yourself. I am trying to help you develop an objective view of yourself.
What is important is that you accepted the basic arguments in my last email, which to your credit you did. A sense of humor is great, but it can also have a downside. I know the good bits. There is no sense talking about them, because they are good. It is the difficult bits that we have to discuss. There is no sense making jokes about it. This whole communication is happening because you did not get the BIG JOKE.
Evita: Okay, now to the heavy stuff (or dare I say meat?!).
James: Ha, ha. I got it.
Evita: You say, “There is a very subtle attachment here that you are not seeing, an attachment to an idea of who you are.” And I say, yes, I do know this. I have been puzzling over it for days again – who I am. I seem to be nothing, but there must be subtle identities there or else I wouldn’t have reacted like I did to my vasanas. The “I” is still reacting to my conditioning, which is what this is about. This is the dark night of the soul for me. Let’s hope there is a dawn, although I know it is useless to want things to be any different from how it is.
James: No, it is not useless. This is what prayer is all about. You can change the circumstances if you invoke Isvara – which you are doing by writing to me. This whole inquiry will be painful, Evita. It will be painful because what you are going to discover will contradict your good opinion of yourself.
Evita: Good. Bring it on. Lance the boil. I have had much pain in my life, you wouldn’t believe, and more is fine, I am strong and have courage. Actually, I know this is why I am here in this incarnation – to do this work. I have always known this from my first memory, so I have to do what I have to do with God’s grace, who has sent you to help me. I burn to be free. I think I am very close, but also very far away. I have to accept this is how it is. But it is also painful. Very.
James: It is a good attitude. It does not have to be painful, but if it is, then it is. I am reminded about a Joni Mitchell song: “It’s life’s illusions I recall…”
Evita: But I don’t particularly have a good opinion of myself, as you know and as you point out later in the email, which is the problem. I have certain reasonable character traits and I have faults too which I find difficult about myself and which you are keen to remind me of. I am scatty, forgetful and not that interested in computers! I don’t deal with stress or doing too much very well, but I try to accept it all.
James: Not keen, Evita. Not keen. It seems that way because your low self-esteem causes you to be overly sensitive. I don’t deal with stress well either. Nobody does. This is not about dealing with it. It is about understanding how lack of self-love causes stress.
In any case, everybody has an upside and a downside. Why use your negative traits as the basis of your identity? You are free to choose the postitve.
Evita: This is who I am, my program. Sometimes I think I would like to be younger, prettier, thinner, have bigger breasts, but I know that is just stupid and I am lucky to have what I have and I count my blessings. But yes, I still have the fundamental problem of not feeling whole and complete. I put my hands up and admit it. Actually, I don’t know that I have much good opinion about myself at all at the moment. I don’t know who I am and I don’t know anything. Nothing. I don’t know anything about fucking anything anymore. You will probably take this as Good News.
James: It is not good news, but I take it as good news. Do you? A lot of pain in a short time is much better than constipated dribs and drabs over a long time.
Evita: Yes. Agreed.
James: The question is how you got yourself in this pickle. Or why you would make commitments that you would have to get out of later if you were not driven to make them? If you step back and think through any action with reference to your goal – which would be peace of mind if you were going for moksa – you would not make commitments you would need to break, because they would be in conflict with your goal. So your true motivation was not clear, assuming it was peace.
Evita: Again, this is true, but the problem was the commitments were made before I understood this – in other words, I was doing work that was set up over a year ago. I didn’t feel that I could just cancel things or not reply to emails. But I have learnt my lesson and am looking at future commitments very carefully with peace and fun in mind rather than duty to others.
James: No sense crying over spilled milk. It is good that you have decided to cut back on your activities. But this points to another problem with rajas: biting off more than one can chew. Many things never get resolved and hang around in the background and come back to haunt you, like now. I observed an almost complete lack of restraint. If something new came into your life you embraced it and went with it without much thought. You did not make your life simpler when you heard the message of non-duality.
Evita: I really don’t care what anyone thinks and I don’t care if people know I am ill and useless and going through this. I don’t want anything.
James: Well, you care what I think, you care what Tina thinks, you care a lot about what people think about you, but I know what you mean. On the topic of what I think, it does not matter what I think, not to me, and it should not matter to you. If you understood the nature of my love for you, you would not care what I think. And it should not care what you think about you either, particularly if the thought is negative.
In any case, it is good. It must be a new attitude.
Evita: I hope this is an honest answer…
James: You know it isn’t.
Evita: …and you don’t think that I am trying to justify anything or escape from my true psychological problems of needing to please, etc. This is a salutary lesson and I understand I have to learn this – my (human) life depends on me getting this. I don’t want to go down the ill health route ever again, although if that is what happens then I will accept it. I certainly don’t want to continue to get caught with subtle identifications which keep me stuck in samsara. I hope, with your help, I can work it out and understand myself.
James: Let’s see how it goes. I am committed. But you have to listen. The reactiveness is still there, lack of viragya about the Evita topic. You still think you are Evita, so Evita it is.
You heard the qualifications, but it seems you did not undestand what dispassion means. It means not caring, not because you are cold and indifferent, but because you see that it is all a dream.
Evita: In being honest, I can also see that the other vasana that came up was the “security” – so for a while I lost faith. I worried about money, probably because in the old days I always had to make ends meet while Tom was drinking it away. Actually, I have got a grip on this, by which I mean, spiritually speaking, if I were to lose everything it wouldn’t matter, my life would just carry on as it was meant to in those circumstances. It was just stupid fear. I wasn’t actually living beyond my means, but if God chooses to take it all away again to test my faith, well I would have to accept that too. I can see now it was pathetic.
James: God won’t take it all away to test you, Evita. God is not in the testing business. You take it away by not understanding the rules of money and your relationship to money. The point is that taking care of your financial situation is not stupid. I think about money every day. I know exactly where I stand, I am always looking for ways to bring it in, I have great self-control with reference to spending and have my butt covered at all times. It is important because reality is uncertain.
Again, you heard the motivations talk, but you did not listen. You did not examine yourself and see just how much security dictates your actions.
And the answer to the security issue is “because you do not know that you are whole and complete.” If you object to this conclusion I will say that you do know it intellectually, but you lack confidence in it. If you have confidence in it, you will be objective. You will see your dysfunctional psychology working – it still works when you know who you are, at least for a while – and you will not let it influence your decisions. Vedanta is a very practical science. It is about using undestanding to make your life happy.
Evita: Again, yes. I agree and this is the fundamental problem, as always. Clearly, the knowledge is not firm. This is making me cry, which is a very weird and unusual experience for me, as I don’t do crying. I wanted to please others before myself and I was worried about money, so I took too much on. If the knowledge was firm I would have contemplated and made different decisions.
James: It seems you really have understood what you did if you are crying. The crying means you are taking responsibility. It shows that the hard shell is starting to crack. But yes, the svadharma issue is the big issue. All the saving of others is just about saving yourself, which means that some part of you believes it needs saving. Does it?
Evita: I actually did a lot of work in therapy around rescuing people because I was in an addictive relationship (which you point out was with myself). I tend not to rescue people like I used to, but I do find I somehow get myself into a rescuing situation, e.g. choosing friends like Fey and Helen, whom I do love, then realise what is going on, then get pissed off with it and then try to detach. I was firm with Penny though – I wouldn’t let her manipulate me and we now have a great friendship. The question I have to look at is why I get into these relationships in the first place.
James: Yes, indeed.
Evita: I mean, I am not attracted to people because I think they need help.
James: You are attached to them because you need help with your idea of yourself. Some part of you does not think you are lovable. You are trying to prove that you are lovable to that part by helping. Helping is natural. It is the self. Using it as an identity to counteract low self-esteem is not.
Evita: Usually it is because they have something interesting to say. Nevertheless, this is a pattern I am aware of. It’s weird because in December when this was all happening, I could see it all happening, the conditioning running, and I wanted to stop it. I had to get sick for it to really show me I could stop it and that it didn’t matter.
James: That’s a bit of a strange idea. You say you had to get sick to show you that you could stop it, but you could have stopped it before if you had honored what you had seen was happening. The simple fact is that you lack common sense. By that I mean that you are so focused on what you are doing at the moment that you ignore the big picture.
You either go for the excitement, which is typical of a rajasic mentality, or you grind it out for duty’s sake, which is the tamasic approach. Common sense told you to stop, but you did not listen. It was the same in your relationship with Tom. Common sense told you that you needed to get out, but you continued to suffer out of a false idea of duty.
This is precisely the situation Arjuna found himself in. He asked Krishna and Krishna said, “It is anger born of desire (rajoguna), O Arjuna!” I could do nothing about it. If I had told you to stop the running around helping and instead sit and contemplate, you would not have done it. You were driven.
Evita: I am listening now. I don’t care about what other people think. If I need to stop and contemplate, that is what I will do. Please advise me, although I think I know. But I will listen.
James: That is all that is required. Leave the humor out of it. It makes my job more difficult. It can be an escape. If we are going to kill this rat we need to be serious. But, as I point out above, you do care what people think.
Another of your basic justifications for this helping vasana is “duty.” If you had properly assimilated the meaning of your relationship with your ex you would never have done your duty again. Why? Because your “duty,” meaning your habit, was to abuse yourself owing to low self-esteem. The pattern of abuse was never understood, because you were just so relieved to escape your marriage.
Evita: Good point, Ramji, good point. Well analyzed.
James: And the fact is that you can disqualify yourself on the basis of just one factor. If you get “enlightened” before you are qualified, the sad news is that you have to get qualified after enlightenment. You cannot avoid your psychology. It has to be laid to rest.
Evita: Okay, I will get qualified. I will not give up. I am totally surrendered to God/life here, and Isvara has kindly given me the gift of your support at the other end of this computer, so I will pick myself up, dust myself down and do what I am asked to do, which is to understand, contemplate, then let go and accept whatever happens. I will get back on the Horse of Life. There actually is no other choice.
Ramji: Back to the topic. When there was no longer an external figure – Tom – on which to project the blame, the abuse vasana did not go away. It just became more subtle and you continued to abuse yourself by mindlessly saying yes to everything that came your way.
Evita: Wow – that’s interesting! I hadn’t thought of it like that. Thank you, that is a good insight and very helpful.
James: You do not have to succeed. You do not have to survive. You do not have to help anybody. You do have to be liked.
Evita: I will have this as my new mantra. I might stick it on my fridge! The new tenants think I am weird anyway, and who cares what they think? But it is good stuff and true. I thank you for reminding me.
James: Yes, stick it on your fridge. Chant it religiously every day with comprehension and great feeling. Fuck those fancy Sanskrit mantras.
So we have security and abuse and then there is the gender issue. It explains a lot about the dysfunction in our relationship. You identify with the woman in you. It’s not the kiss of death, but it makes me into a man in your eyes. You tend to relate to me through your experience of men: your father, your husband, etc.
Evita: This is all very well, James, but you do make rather a lot of jokes about being a man, manning up and mere women – oh, and lusting after young women!
James: That was another way to make you understand that I was not interested in you as a woman. I don’t lust after women. I love women. I have a bit of lust in me, but not enough to shake a stick at. And as far as young women are concerned, I have zero interest in them. I prefer women who have a bit of mileage on their souls.
Evita: And I do hope we can continue with these jokes. But reading between the lines, are you maybe saying I have a problem with authority figures and men?
James: Yes. This is our problem in a nutshell. When Arjuna surrendered to Krishna and said, “Please teach me,” there was nothing in the way. Your gender ideas, among others, are in the way. You don’t see me as I am. You keep projecting this authority thing on me. I am authentic and this makes me an authority on one topic and one topic alone – who I am. You have a big idea – a guru/father, etc. projection – that filters my words, that makes you misunderstand. I am not a “man.” I am a human being. That is all.
Evita: I chose a weakling for my last relationship because I was fed up with being pushed around.
James: Choosing a weakling is pushing yourself around. It is giving in to fear. Men are nothing special. There are approximately four billion of them.
Evita: I am happy to not be in a relationship for the time being. If I am ever in one again I hope it will be with someone where it works equally and freely and no one is trying to change the other one, which is kind of like my friendship with you. If there is ever another time I will choose more wisely.
James: It’s a good ideal, but you don’t have a great track record. Let Isvara choose, if that is His will.
Evita: Everything is in me: God, Evita.
James: God is only a thought in your mind, Evita. There is no God out there other than you. See the duality. See the confusion.
Evita: Well, I am confused because I thought it was the other way round – Evita is an idea in consciousness.
James: Yes, but this is not how it actually is with you or this would never have happened, so I am talking to Evita – leave God out of it. For you it is just a concept.
Evita: I am not trying to be clever and I am sure you will rip me to shreds with this, but Evita is a collection of moving, impermanent thoughts and identities.
James: Telling you the truth in a straightforward fashion is not “ripping you to shreds,” Evita. See the negative view you have of me. You have to leave the whole Vedanta thing, the non-duality thing, out of it now. You have misunderstood it, interpreted it. Now there is only Evita and her stuff. That is what we are dealing with. Nobody is ripping anything to shreds. It is just your fears, your attachment to your feelings.
We are dealing with the idea of Evita now because her ideas about herself are making her “sick” – her thoughts and behavior are keeping her locked in some kind of identity and pattern.
Evita: But that was my point – there is no difference between God/life and Evita. Life moves through the idea of Evita. I understand this profoundly because at some level I, Evita, am helpless to what is and there seems no point in fighting or trying to do anything or be anything. This much I understand. This situation now – it’s just life, or God, or the Field, doing what it does. I can’t control anything.
James: This is true now, but this will not be true tomorrow. It is just a resolution or a revelation brought on by circumstances. It is God speaking through you, but it is not you. We have to sort Evita first. Once Evita is sorted, then all this God stuff will make complete sense.
Evita: It was probably just the way I wrote that last sentence a couple of days ago, and please forgive me because I am not completely well and therefore not as articulate or clear thinking as I usually am. Actually, I was very ill indeed, but am much better now, so tamas was indeed writing that last email.
James: Yes, the illness just shows what is in you.
Evita: I have been delving very deep in my enquiry…
James: It is a waste of time for you to inquire, Evita. You should just listen for a while. You are too confused to inquire. That part about listening in the email about the mirror of Vedanta was for you. You have not mastered it, because of your rajas. You set out interpreting as soon as you hear something. If I say something, you react immediately. That is the rajas. The way you took the Vedanta into your work shows the rajas. It cannot be helped, because what happened in India when we met happened. It was good, but what you did with it shows the rajas.
Evita: So your apology the other day, saying it wasn’t meant like that, wasn’t true then? You advised me to take the Vedanta into my work on more than one occasion. You really do think I am uselessly rajasic, don’t you! Okay, fair enough.
James: Yes, I do. My hands are tied with rajasic people, Evita. I cannot win. No matter what I say, the rajas, their desires, interpret. I was not sure how you would take it. If you took it wrongly I offered an apology. If you took it correctly, as you did, then it was not necessary.
Evita: But where is free will here? Can Evita really choose to detach from her programming – doesn’t the whole thing just run from Isvara?
James: If you know what Isvara means then you will not be sick, tired and confused. Your knowledge of Isvara is intellectual. Please leave Isvara and Vedanta out of it. This is about you.
Evita: I have prayed a lot for the grace of God and for help, but even that I see as a subtle case of wanting something to be different from how it is. It can be a trick, I think.
James: What is happening is Isvara’s grace, Evita. This is how Isvara responds to your actions – which are your prayers. Karma is an offering to Isvara. As you sow, so shall you reap.
Evita: I don’t completely agree with your paragraph above, but I know that I have to crack the rajas and I agree with everything else you have said.
James: It is not about agreeing with me. If what I say does not apply, it does not apply. Only you know. I can only go on what you say and see if it fits into reality.
Evita: Actually, there is no point in me saying I don’t agree with you, as you always say you are right!
James: This is so much bullshit. It is not about me being right. All “my” arguments are not my arguments. It is just scripture. You are confusing the messenger with the message. It looks that way to you because of your authority issues. I am not your dad. When your inner child is in charge, it looks like I am your dad.
Evita: As a teacher, if you don’t mind me saying, your methods are usually excellent. However, if you come down too hard you risk the recipient just becoming depressed and feeling useless.
James: That is true. But Vedanta is for qualified people. That is the whole point about dispassion. You are not qualified if a little tough talk sends you into some kind of existential funk. I would have loved it if you could have seen Swamiji. You would have run for the hills screaming, “Abuse, abuse! That monster abused me! He did not sugar-coat his words!”
He abused me sometimes and I loved him for it. All gods have feet of clay. I am such a fucking pussy. You have no idea. You are just so sensitive that you take everything as if it was a statement about Evita. It is a kind of reverse narcissicism. People tell me regularly how gentle and patient I am, how soft and sweet. You just don’t see it because of your issues with men. It all goes back to your childhood. The “inner child” has never grown up. This is what maturity is about.
Evita: I stick with it because I burn for freedom and I love and respect you and know you are the door for me.
James: The message of this long email is that you have to come to grips with the childhood stuff that has not been laid to rest. That is the meaning of chitta vritti nirodha, if you want some fancy yoga horseshit. This stuff is controlling you unconsciously and we need to shine the light on it so you can acknowledge it – which this paragraph shows seems to be beginning.
Evita: Yes. I want to do this. Thank you for your support in this. Thank you for your time in writing it. I think fundamentally (and I looked at this in therapy) it is about me wanting to please my father, so pushing myself to get his attention and be a good girl – which I wasn’t when I was a teenager, I was a total rebel. Obviously, he is dead now but I still push – the program still runs. One of my brothers has the same problem. Of course this is classic and very common psychology.
Evita: When you said that I had misunderstood the whole thing and that you in no way wanted me to change, it was a great answer, but like I said, it was a trick question, as of course I know and understand it is about me being me and understanding the conditioning that is running and that it is all Isvara. I asked it, probably with slight sarcasm, because in my tamasic state a couple of days ago I was reacting to your criticism, which considering one of your emails to me followed by the “mirror” one was my interpretation – that you seemed to want me to change. This puzzled me, as it seems in direct contradiction to the teaching – to be who I am. That was my tamasic mind a couple of days ago, so please don’t over-react to the question. I do know of course that I don’t need to change, but rather need to understand Evita. We might be going back to basics here – but I am not completely in kindergarten. Or maybe I am!
James: Yes, you are in kindergarten now. Normally you are not in kindergarten, but when you fail to learn one of the advanced topics they send you back to kindergarten to get familiar with the basics. You are reactive, overly sensitive about yourself and have clever ways of not paying attention to what is actually going on with you. This is not fun, teaching you. It is really not my job description. I am doing it out of compassion, not because I want to do it. I prefer to run around and have fun with you. You are one of the most fun-loving people I know, but unfortunately you are let your rajas get the better of you and then we get to sort out all this messy subconscious stuff. I am not criticizing you, Evita. It just looks like criticism. I am trying to help you understand something and get you to show some respect for rajas instead of pandering to it. Rajas is an infantile state. It values excitement and fun above everything.
Evita: Anyhow, much to contemplate on my insecurities and patterns. It will be what it will be, but I need to crack this, so thank you very much for your time, interpretation and patience. It is hugely appreciated and will be contemplated – it is being contemplated – nothing else, really.
Evita: I would like to mention confidentiality though. I love you very much, but you asked me to confide in you. I have and this has taken courage. You then shared what I said with Tina and some of it got misinterpreted. At the moment you and I are back into a student-teacher relationship.
James: The student-teacher relationship is not an on-and-off affair, Evita. It is Isvara’s will and if I am your teacher I am always your teacher. You cannot just turn it on and off when it suits you. It may be that I am not your teacher, but it is a role I will try to play because you ask and because I love you.
Evita: It is tiring to correct all the misinterpretations and I am not sure I am comfortable at the moment with you discussing me, although I love Tina very much. Or if you and she have to share everything, please tell me, so I know how to play it. I love you both very much, but there are some things which are to do with life experience that I would like to keep between you and me. Let me know if this is not okay and you are sharing everything, please.
James: Whatever you want, Evita, but this is bullshit, in my opinion. See how you care. See how important it is to you how you are seen from the outside. “Things to do with life experience”? See how you are trying to hide something. There is nothing between you and me, from my point of view – I am the same with everyone – but I understand your problem and will honor it. My vision of non-duality is so complete I sometimes forget that there is maya at all.
Evita: I am feeling stronger today, but like you say, need to get to the bottom of this or it will happen again, and I thank you sincerely for your insights. (Sorry if that’s too many thank-yous. Sorry, thank you, sorry.) And I will try not to make any more jokes until I see you in case they get taken the wrong way. Are you getting very serious over there? I think you might be. This is serious work, but one still has to laugh, you know, Ramji!
Ramji: I am serious, Evita. When you get the BIG JOKE, they we can have a nice laugh. This kind of stuff is very tedious for me and I want to get it over with. So no jokes, okay?
I want you to reread this and pay attention to the point of view you are taking. See whether or not you are defending yourself. I think you are. Where there is defense there is a contraction, a problem. This is not about you and me. I am just a stand-in for objectivity, looking at the picture from a distance.