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Awareness Makes a Breakthrough
Frank: Dear Ramji, I am writing with exciting news, which is that I have made a major breakthrough. Awareness has made a breakthrough!
Ramji: Yay for awareness!
Frank: This came about because I was perusing Conscious TV recently and saw an interview with Greg Goode (I have no idea what you think of him…), and he seemed to address some of my “gaps,” so I got his book Standing as Awareness.
Ramji: He’s a realized soul and a good guy.
Frank: Over the last few months I have been investigating with the senses – “seeing” was first back in February when you did the watch thing – then it was “hearing” with Rupert Spira. But I always got stuck on the sense of touch. The book, and the way Greg Goode explained this, really made sense – well – I now am realizing that things – experiences – arise in me and are “experienced” by me. Colors too – the way that was explained helped. I get this now – experientially. This feels very major for me, but there are still some gaps. Sometimes this fades. So my questions are: Am I right in taking everything to be down to how my senses are perceiving? Awareness “perceives” through the senses.
Ramji: Yes, sometimes one needs experiential validation of this knowledge, although common sense and reason should suffice. Good for you. In the end you can’t be making experiments every five minutes to make sure reality is non-dual. The understanding alone is enough.
Frank: In which case, why pratyahara?
Ramji: You only need to keep the senses from the objects if you do not know that reality is non-dual and you want moksa. Samsaris do not want moksa, so this does not apply to them. When you understand the nature of reality you see that the senses are always in contact with the objects – they are not actually under the control of the yogi, although he or she thinks he or she is controlling them. The best control is effected through knowledge. There will be no need to try to hook up the organs with their respective objects (think food, sex, etc.) if you know that you are whole and complete and you understand the defects in objects. The pratyahara teaching is for beginners, not advanced adhikaris. Beginners do not understand about the power of the vasanas, so they need to be told to control the actions that produce them. They need to develop a vasana for self-control. But advanced adhikaris know that the vasanas are the problem and they neutralize them with knowledge when they appear in the subtle body.
Frank: Is this because it could pull me into samsara if senses are overindulged? (In the Gita Krishna warns Arjuna to withdraw the senses from an object like the turtle withdraws the limbs).
Ram: They can’t pull you, because samsara is you, although you are free of samsara. But if you think you are Frank and Frank is tempted to try to hook up his organs with objects and he thinks that samsara can bite, then yes. Willful indulgence creates vasanas that disturb Frank’s mind and mitigate against self-inquiry.
Frank: And as things arise they are two-dimensional, right? Actually, that seems an obvious thing to say – of course they are since there is no subject-object – but I would appreciate clarity. I was wondering that if a sense didn’t function – if I were deaf, for example – awareness would not experience sound through the Frank-jiva – right? That would be the experience of awareness – no sound. On Saturday I went to a kirtan concert, closed my eyes and observed sound arising in me.
Ram: That’s correct. Awareness can only “experience” through the subtle body. If one of the organs is defective, its experience is compromised. If all the organs are inactive – think death – then there is no experience for either Frank or awareness.
Frank: I haven’t finished the GG book yet and I still need to work out why the body still sometimes seems like the container and not the other way round, but that is changing… it is seeming like awareness is me and things happen in me/awareness. But not all the time. This is very good, as I haven’t got pulled into the world of subject-object with moving, which was what I thought would happen. At least, not too much.
Ram: It will become more and more constant until it ceases to be important experientially and just becomes knowledge.
Frank: One other thing I wanted to ask that I have been thinking about. Over the last six months I have been “not trying,” or rather allowing, to let identifications fall away. Indeed I knew this was happening before I met you. It’s about being “authentic.” However, there are some which I find more difficult than others. For example, I don’t identify myself really as being American and I don’t identify with being a businessman. Or I thought I didn’t – then I realised that I probably do identify with being a businessman. I am trying to not be attached to that but it gets hard, especially when I make a lot of money without much effort.
Ram: The problem here is that you do not take Isvara into account. If you read the tenth chapter of the Gita – the glories of the Lord – you will understand that what you think is your special skill actually belongs to Isvara, and you will not feel proud. Patanjali also says that Isvara pranidhanam is necessary for liberation. Not one thing here belongs to Frank. If you can see that your furniture is not you, why do you think that your brilliance belongs to you? That bright mind that you are so proud of is actually Isvara. In fact in Chapter X he says specifically, “I am the brilliance in the brilliant.”
But you are right to let the attachments fall off on their own. The particularly entrenched ones, however, need to be ferreted out by inquiry, and once they are understood in light of self-knowledge they drop off on their own.
Frank: And I also identify with gender. I say this because you have mentioned that this is another attachment that has to go… and I read it again in the interview you kindly sent me, of the person who was writing a book.
Ram: You should not let the attachment go because I said so. You should let it go because you see the defects that are inherent in the idea that you are a man. It is the most obvious manifestation of duality. This is why relationships are so problematic for spiritual types. Look at the agitation that arose during the Wanda episode. It is because you think you are the body. You don’t have trouble confusing yourself with your furniture, but you still think you are the body even though your furniture and the body have exactly the same order of reality. It is very difficult to overcome this identification. You are a person long before you are a man and you are awareness long before you are a person.
Frank: I am thinking about what I am really am still attached to and what I have to let go of. But some attachments maybe helpful? Or they just won’t go? What are you comments on this, please?
Ram: You cannot detach without attaching. Swamiji called it detachment/attachment yoga. The energy has to go somewhere, so you sublimate it. You develop vasanas for the right stuff, in your case moksa and the things that facilitate moksa: self-inquiry, the scripture and the teacher.
Frank: A book I am reading about Aghora explains karma very well, saying that if one is operating as awareness, then any action/outcome cannot disturb the subtle body, hence nothing is carried forward in rebirth. Is that correct?
Ramji: Thank God you have a brain, Frank. Most never get past all the weird sensationalism of Aghora and get to the wisdom. Yes, but there is no rebirth, actually, and if there is, you will not know you have lived before, such is the mercy of Isvara. We define rebirth as developing vasanas because they cause you to identify (be born into) desires and fears. Operating as awareness means the karma yoga attitude. It exhausts vasanas.
~ Love, Ram