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A Ripe Fruit Falls Off the Tree Automatically
Maurice: Dear James, thank you so much for your answers and clarifications.
James: You are welcome, Maurice. Appreciation is always appreciated.
Maurice: I practice knowledge daily. The self is nearly always in my thoughts (and I look at thoughts dispassionately and with discrimination most of the time). But ignorance is still here (I still don’t have the hard and fast understanding that I am ordinary, actionless, non-dual awareness), although I can clearly say that my likes and dislikes are really less binding than ever in my life.
James: That’s great, Maurice. Good for you!
Maurice: I contemplated a lot your words and came to the point where I really understand that security and pleasure/love are still somewhat an issue to me (they are represented by the thougths of my father and girlfriend in my mind) and I am taking a stand as awareness most of the time to see everything in the right perspective.
Yesterday I was listening to your talk in Berlin on qualifications, and I heard the story of your student that had a $150,000 job and decided to quit it to take bramachari in India because he knew Vedanta intellectually but felt he needed to work on his qualifications. Every time I hear this kind of story I feel that I have to leave and spend my time studying the scriptures and contemplating the self.
Since I haven’t got enough money to come to India in December I’d like to come to visit you in Malaga if that’s possible. Is it possible to sleep there? I can do any kind of work or help in any way needed to stay there. I would really love to go deeply into the teachings and discriminate with your help.
James: Okay. If you want to be a sanyassi, then you have to go for it. A sanyassi is someone who does not care about money, love and family stuff. If you REALLY feel it, then you need to come to India for the winter, break up with your girlfriend and let her find someone else and let go of the thought about your father. You have to burn your bridges so there is nothing to go back to. You will need to sell or give away your property too. Selling is best so you have some money to live on until you are able to live without money. From that point on the self is the father, the lover and your only security.
I don’t think a short stay in Malaga will work, Maurice. It would be like another seminar. Besides, I am not planning to do any teaching there and you already know the teachings. And the teachings are working anyway. Why can you not just stick with the karma yoga and be patient? Maturity is not something you can force. When the apple is ripe it falls off the tree automatically. This seems a bit unnatural, like trying to pick the fruit before it is ripe. The feeling of renunciation is good, but are you really ready to walk away from the world? You can do what you want, obviously, but I think it is best for you to just suffer there until you get completely fed up with the love-and-money business. Why can you not get enough money? Are you spending more than you are getting? Are you supporting your girlfriend? Do you cook your own food? India is not expensive. If you do not have enough money to go to India, then how long can you stay in Malaga? You can stay in the house when I am gone, but it still costs money for food. And there is nothing to do there at all. It is a very traditional Spanish village and the house is isolated, away from the village. There is no transportation unless you have your own car and no internet. It is deadly boring. After you have been there a few days, you will think of your cozy life in Milan and your girlfriend and you will pack up and go back. You can come if you want but you will have to stay in the village, as I have already promised the extra rooms.
And really, Maurice, what more can I teach you? It is only confidence that you are the self that is required. If you have to make a radical step to get that confidence, that is okay. If you were really fed up you would renounce right where you are. You see the downside but I think you are still attached. What did Krishna tell Arjuna when he wanted to run away from his situation and become a sanyassi? He said to stay where you are and fight!
Hearing more Vedanta is not going to give you the confidence you need. I think this is just a romantic idea. My friend was ready. He turned his back on the world. He had no money and he turned down a great career. The best thing is to stay right where you are and renounce the objects in your mind. But it is up to you. I think it is best to get the money and come to India for three months. If you have two thousand euros it is more than enough. You can get a clean room and eat well and pay for the ticket. The flight from Rome cannot be more than five hundred euros. And when you go back you will have a better idea how to relate to the mess in Milan.
Maurice: A question: In the last satsang you emailed you taught about of a “transfer of identity” between the ego and the self. This made me think about a lot about the meaning of the word “I” (this “I” that can have different identities). It seems to me (by inference) that the self cannot say “I,” it can just be everything that is. Isn’t this “I” just also a concept in the mind? How can an I exist without a “you”/“it”?
James: The self is self-luminous, Maurice. It does not need a “you.” When it is ignorant of this fact, it thinks it needs a “you.” But it does not. It stands alone. This is the meaning of sannyas, freedom. When you realize that you are the self, you realize that you do not need anything outside yourself to be what you are. The best way to get out of this conflict you are in is to understand that you do not need Maurice or any of his stuff. If you renounce the world without understanding this, it will be terribly difficult. But if you are totally committed to moksa you will be able to stand up to all the privation and loneliness that the life of a sannyasi entails.
The transfer of identity means that you stick with the idea that you do not need anything when the money and love issues come up. You affirm the truth about you to yourself. This is how you break the hold of the Maurice identity. Yes, the “I” can play any role. But liberation means that the “I” plays the roles assigned to it by Bhagavan without identifying with the role because it knows it is free. You are identified with Maurice. You believe that you are stuck with little money, a needy girlfriend and a domineering father. You are not. They are just ideas in your head. To really know this you can only be the “I.” Maurice cannot become the “I.” This is why the sannyasi idea will not work. If you were meant to take this path you would not bother to write to me. You would just clean up that karma and move on. A true sannyasi is like a leaf in the wind. He or she is blown all over the world without thinking about it – because he or she is totally confident in the ever-free nature of the I.
~ Much love, James
Maurice: Thank you so much, I look forward to see you again soon!