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Your Daughter Is Awareness
Aria: Hello, Sundari. Thank you so much to take the time to help me. I got your email and I cried so much reading it. Thank you.
Sundari: You are most welcome. I am glad I could be of help to you.
Aria: For me Vedanta didn’t work because of it kind of separates me from my feelings, and separation from my life kind of gives a distance, that you are looking at your own life from a distance and it is not yours anymore. It feels quit dead. But I am open to it now and I’m curious as to what I did wrong.
Sundari: You missed the point. Vedanta is the vision of non-duality and it reveals through the logic of your own experience that reality is not a duality but indeed a non-duality. Vedanta makes it clear that the separation you and so many feel is just ignorance of your true nature. This is because there is only awareness and everything arises out of you. However, as awareness you are always free of everything, just as the water is free of the ocean and the wave. Vedanta is a complete teaching and by exposing the mind with total dedication and commitment to self-inquiry self-knowledge will remove the ignorance that is preventing you from realising your true nature as awareness.
You say Vedanta did not work for you because it separates “you” from “your” feelings, giving a distance that makes “your” life not your own anymore. This is not a negative thing as this objectivity is necessary in order to be able to discriminate awareness from the objects that appear in you. Who is it that feels the separation and the distance? Whose life is it, really? The ego is invested in its identity as a person and the thoughts and feelings that make up its life story. But are you really this person and this story? Is it not true to say that you are the one that knows the person and their life story? As awareness the person and their life story arise in you but you are free of them.
You felt that the separation made you feel “quite dead” but, again, who is it that felt dead? This is the view the ego has when it does not know that the one who is looking at its life and feelings is not the one who experiences them. You are not the one who feels separate and empty. You are the fullness, the non-experiencing witness of the person, their feelings and their life, the knower of the apparent separation and “deadness.” It is not a question of denying the existence of the apparent person, it is about understanding who they really are in the light of self-knowledge and freeing yourself from the bondage of duality.
You did not “do” anything wrong, the problem is that you are identified with the person, the one Vedanta calls the “doer,” or the ego-mind-subtle body. In order to be free of existential suffering and the pain of separation you need to devote yourself to self-inquiry. Vedanta teaches that liberation from ignorance means you need to discriminate awareness (you) from the objects that arise in you. An object is anything other than you, awareness, which includes people, things, thoughts, feelings, actions and all experiences. To undertake self-inquiry you need to be qualified and you need to have Vedanta properly taught to you by a qualified teacher who teaches a valid and independent means of knowledge. Vedanta is such a teaching, and you will not find a better teacher than James. He has taught all of us who write for ShiningWorld, and we are qualified to wield the knowledge.
Without this guidance you will not understand Vedanta and keep missing the point because you will interpret it according to your conditioning, beliefs and opinions. Vedanta is called the “royal secret” because it is always right in front of our noses, so close we should not be able to miss it. But because the identification with the body-mind-ego is so strong, what I call the “hypnosis of materialism,” or duality, and Vedanta calls “ignorance,” most people will never find it. Vedanta does not belong to anyone, it is not the opinion of any one person or persons. It is simply the irrefutable logic of your own unexamined experience. Vedanta is called “the science of consciousness,” and it has been here since time began.
Aria: Because of a childhood situation where there was very much stress and little love and rest there are kind of very big traumas in my system. My ex-guru said that self-realisation is not for me because of this trauma.
Sundari: Most people experience trauma in their life story, some worse than others. If you had a difficult childhood the suffering that this caused is most likely what has made you a seeker because you wish to understand yourself and what happened to you in the light of the bigger picture. This is why suffering can be very useful as it pushes the mind towards self-inquiry. There are many bogus so-called gurus in the “spiritual” world; very few of them know what they are talking about and will hand over the biggest load of nonsense based on their opinions or experience. One needs to be very careful who and what one buys into and gives their allegiance to.
It is true that one needs qualifications in order to prepare the mind for self-knowledge because it will not stick in a mind that is not purified. And it is true that many people are so identified with the body mind and chasing objects in the world that they will not be ready for self-realisation in this lifetime. But that is not up to any person to know for certain if one is qualified or not because it is up to Isvara, not to your guru or anyone else to decide. The fact that you suffered makes you more likely to seek liberation. If you do not have the qualifications there are very clear methods, or teachings, available to you through Vedanta that can help you to develop them. You can write to us and we will help you in any way we can as well.
Aria: Now I am in therapy to belay the pain bit by bit because it’s overwhelming. TraumaHealing.com is the website of Peter Levine. His point of view is that when an animal gets attacked it falls to the ground and steps into only awareness to feel no more pain. When it has a good end and it still lives it stands up and shakes its body to release the stress. We human beings forget to do that and the stress stores in the body until the time it can release when there is enough trust.
Sundari: It is a good thing that you are seeking therapy to help you heal and deal with pain and stress; this is necessary as in order to begin self-inquiry we need to have assimilated the meaning of what has happened to us. Vedanta is for psychologically stable people and is not intended ideally to heal life trauma. You need to find a therapist that works for you and hopefully one that is not invested in their own point of view but in genuinely helping people with their problems. I do not know this man you speak of, and there could be truth to what he says. Animals have a subtle body, like humans do, but they do not have a developed intellect so are not able to think like humans do. Animals are not capable of self-doubt, self-hatred and all the other negative emotions and thoughts that humans have about who they are. Therefore they do not second-guess or judge themselves and they are not aware of being the doer so they do not suffer stress and psychological damage like humans do. They respond instinctively to all situations as their nature requires them to, and not emotionally or intellectually as humans do so they do not suffer existentially like humans do. They are, of course, also awareness, manifesting as a particular program that is called “animal” so although they may go “into awareness” they are not capable of knowing that they are awareness thus they will always be ignorant of their true nature. Humans can think and feel, they have the ability to doubt, determine and discriminate so they can undertake self-inquiry and put an end to existential suffering by realising their true nature as awareness.
Aria: So ten years ago my child died; she was eight months old. At the moment she died I kind of stepped out of my body (like a impala grasped by a lion?) and felt very peaceful and so happy. In the months after her death I had many “sofa” moments with extreme stillness and peace.
At those moments I was so deeply in peace and so, so happy. I deeply realised that something was still the same after losing a child. I very deeply recognised something that will be always the same no matter what situation you are in. I was shocked by that because it is so, that losing a child is the worst thing in life, but I was completely at peace. How could that be?
My mind could not “handle” this situation so it stopped for periods of time.
Sundari: It is not uncommon for the mind to experience the bliss of awareness through extreme trauma, extreme danger or things like extreme sports. A “window” opens in the mind brought about by shock and one seems to “merge” with awareness. You experienced your true nature as whole and complete, unchanged by the loss of your child or anything else. Unfortunately, as with all experiences, unless the knowledge that the experience is meant to deliver – “I am whole and complete, non-dual, ever-present, unchanging awareness” – is assimilated the experience ends and the knowledge is lost. The shock wears off and you are left with the mind trying to comprehend what happened. In cases of extreme shock and pain, like losing a child, the mind shuts down because it cannot cope with the pain.
Aria: The real question for me right now is how to come back into my body and overcome the fear and step out of isolation and be in abundance again.
Sundari: The important thing to remember is that you are not your body, your body is an object known to you, awareness. So is the fear and isolation. To “be in abundance again” is to know that your true nature is awareness, not the body-mind. You cannot really be “in” abundance any more than you can be “in” awareness. You are awareness and so everything is in you as the nature of awareness is fullness; abundance is your true nature.
Your daughter was also not “your” daughter. You played a role for Isvara in bringing her into her brief incarnation but she did not belong to you. Only Isvara knows why she came and why she left but there must have been a reason for it. Everything that happens to us in life is part of a bigger picture that we cannot see. You have to trust that she fulfilled what her purpose was, however brief her life. Your daughter was pure awareness just like you and everything else. She did not die because in essence as awareness she was never born. Although it is natural to mourn her loss, this will heal when you are able to see her as awareness and think of her with love, knowing that as awareness she is eternal because love is the nature of reality.
I can recommend that you keep seeing a good therapist or grief counsellor until you have dealt with the loss. Be wary of so-called gurus and their opinions. Use your common sense. If you have come to Vedanta it must be that you have common sense because, really, that is what it is all about. Vedanta only comes to those who are ready for it and whose minds are capable of thinking clearly. Self-realisation is not some mystical experience available only to the chosen few. You are awareness, you are already free, you just have a knowledge problem because you don’t know this.
I strongly recommend that you read James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment, watch as many of the DVDs as you can and, very importantly, go to the website and read the e- satsangs. You will find every question and answer available to you that you could think. It is very good that you can attend the seminar in Amstelveen, that is wonderful. If you would like a private satsang with James before the seminar starts let me know as he will be arriving in Amsterdam a couple of days before the seminar begins. I can arrange it for you.
Aria: Thank you that you are willing to help, I appreciate that so much.
~ With love, Aria
Sundari: You are so welcome, Aria. I truly feel for you. I wish you much love and the clarity of self-knowledge to heal all wounds.
~ Namaste, Sundari