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A Good Dream
Kevin: Dear Mr. Swartz, thank you for your reply. I appreciate your kindness and the value of your time. I did not drink today and I would like to drop some lines with some practical questions. I found your website quite recently and completely randomly while looking for some information about Ramana Maharshi, Vedanta, etc. It was profound with a knowledge that generated a kind of anxiety and a desire to understand it, like someone that sees a plank in a turbulent sea and swims for his life trying to grab it. I live in a small town in the north of Alaska. I work in a store and I have a wife, an ex-wife, no dogs and four kids. I traveled quite a lot searching for things that never lasted. I had a good life, sir. I mean I was free to do what I wanted and fulfilled some dreams before I died and got married; I was quite young and had a lot of fun. But the dream never ends and satisfaction never came. So since an early age I used alcohol to keep reality in control. The boredom is and was immense. Last year alcohol stopped doing the trick. I hit bottom.
James: That’s good. That is why I am willing to talk with you. Generally I don’t work with people who are so depressed, but if they have hit bottom, they are often open to some suggestions. There are a lot of alcoholics in Alaska. Is there a 12-step program?
Kevin: And I fought to be alive. I went to born-again Christian churches. I prayed. I found some books about Buddhism. Then a friend sent me a YouTube video about Mooji, Papaji, etc. I liked the talk, but I didn’t like the people. It was as if they were trying to be drunk on some kind of manufactured happiness. It was not real.
James: Most of these people are just playing at life. It is like they are on vacation and think it is cool to pretend to suffer and be spiritual. They hang around Mooji – who is a nice guy, but has no method; he is a typical Neo with a lot of charisma – because there are many other people hanging around hugging each other and feeling the energy in the presence of a warm fuzzy daddy figure. It is innocent and benign, although it is starting to take on the trappings of a cult. Most of them would benefit by hitting bottom like you. You really have to be desperate if you want to succeed. You need a burning desire to get free.
Kevin: So I found a book about Ramana Maharshi that I liked very much and the darkness started to dissipate a bit. I feel like I’m faking that I’m feeling well, but it’s better than faking that I’m feeling miserable and lost. I have innocent people here that I have to take care of.
James: It seems you are quite self-aware. This “woe is me, I’m so bored and depressed” talk seems to be a big act. But if you believing that you are miserable does not work, it is good to believe that you are happy. You have a choice and it is intelligent to make the decision to fake it until you make it. It is one of Vedanta’s core teachings. You have felt bad for so long that feeling good seems to be unnatural.
Kevin: I wrote you, sir, because I felt that you can help me, please. You have the knowledge. It is hard to understand, but I feel that it’s true and in my situation right now I prefer to swim in this direction than waste my life over and over again.
James: Good idea, Kevin.
Kevin: I told you in the last email that I do not want get enlightened. If it will dissipate confusion, hate and pain, I want it badly and it doesn’t matter how long it will take. I don’t know what to do right now. I never was in satsangs or any kind of meetings. If you have a method, a first step, I’m eager to follow it. I would like to try this medicine of yours because the medicine I found in this world didn’t work well in the long run. What can I do to be convinced that I’m already free?
James: Okay, get my book How to Attain Enlightenment. You can order it from Amazon.com. You can get it from me, but it will cost more owing to the postage. Read it carefully – very slowly and do not move on unless you can sign on to the logic at every step. Also, read the e-satsangs at my website. This will get you started. Vedanta definitely has a method and you are right: you need a method. Mooji and the Neos have no method. It is all inspiration and vague happy-talk that ends up being confusing and frustrating. Read the interview about Ramana at my website. It is in the home page. And seek some help for your alcoholism. It is better to be a dry drunk than a wet drunk.
Kevin: I have darkness and oblivion on the right and on the left, and I’m so tired that I could embrace both and just wait for a miracle. I am lost because of lack of references or signs.
By the way, the only sign I’ve had that gave me 15 minutes of peace was a weird dream. I dreamed that a snake (a cobra) kissed my forehead and two words or sounds… vada mukti or vadi mukta, I don’t know how to spell it, appeared. It was a month ago. I’m very fond of this dream, this dream gave me hope. And this dream is my only reality right now. And I don’t know why.
James: The dream is a good sign. It means you are meant to seek self-knowledge. Veda means “knowledge.” Mukti means “freedom.” It is your self telling you to seek the knowledge that sets you free. It is a cool dream.
Kevin: God bless you Mr. Swartz, sorry for the long email. Thanks for your attention.
~ Best regards, Kevin