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You Are the Answer, What’s to Wait For?
Karen: Hi, Ramji. I had a short holiday in Moscow. Tomorrow I am going back to Switzerland to start on a new project. I slept a lot. What can I say about my actual state of mind? I don’t find work is keeping me from enlightenment.
Ram: Dear Karen, very nice to hear from you and that you are doing well. You are right about work. It does not keep a person from enlightenment if you work in the karma yoga spirit. A lot of spiritual types think they need to abandon work so they can be quiet, but this is just escapism.
Karen: I and my old habits are.
Ramji: You are right about this also.
Karen: I wish to get rid of my ignorance, I pray for it, actually, since I want to get rid of this indecisiveness, wavering between options, and love everybody.
Ramji: The indecisiveness is probably due to excess rajas. If you try to keep your options open until the very last minute and continually waver between alternatives, it probably means that you think that you are in control of the results of your actions and are afraid of making a mistake for fear of not getting what you want. And in the end the decision is made for you by karma and you have just wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy on a problem that is not your problem in the first place. The rajasic mind is experience-hungry. It believes that certain experiences will make it happy. The cure for this kind of mind is karma yoga, understanding that what happens is not up to you, dedicating whatever you are doing at the moment to the self and acting with a quiet mind.
Do the right thing for yourself spiritually and you will love yourself completely, and that love will transfer automatically to others.
Karen: I feel like two persons. One is in the “old” world, and the other is looking from the side, understanding but not completely, and being more calm, patient and happy, with growing devotion. A the same time, since I am not enlightened yet, I feel that it’s a void awaiting – I think is due just because it is a new, unknown way to be in life.
Ramji: I understand. Be patient and let person #1 grow. If you do your doings in the right spirit you will be happy on the way to enlightenment. You are on the bus. It will arrive at the destination. You can put your luggage down and relax. There is no hurry.
Karen: I didn’t start to smoke cigarettes during my strawberry-picking, which I have done the years before, neither did I sleep with my old “amour.” Hurray! And it wasn’t a battle to resist – it was natural, it felt right. This year I have met a bunch of men making their projections onto me, and I haven’t felt the same, so a bunch of disappointed men to deal with as well. It seems to me as a trap, the relationships – if the other is not on the same path, it will meet obstacles very fast – and I cannot seem to behave like I did before – fall in love, etc. It’s been several years now – I find it almost ridiculous. And at the same time, I ask if I am running away from something. Getting enlightened seems more important to me, and life easier after it. But this is grace of God, no?
Ramji: You are running away from trouble, that is all. All this kind of passionate love leads to is attachment, an agitated mind. This disinterest in the worldly life is a very good sign. It means that your discrimination and dispassion are growing. These are two of the most important qualities of a seeker. And the fact that enlightenment is becoming the most important thing indicates the third quality, burning desire for liberation, is growing. Let the men suffer. It is the karma from their desire. It is not up to us to satisfy other’s unnecessary desires.
Karen: Okay, I am jumping ahead, I know, but related to this – grace of God – does it mean everything is predestined? Do we choose our destiny, so to speak? How can I have a karma yoga attitude AND have a burning desire for enlightment at the same time?
Ramji: Good question, Karen. From the self’s point of view there is no predestination. There is no karma at all. But from the individual’s point of view there is a certain degree of freedom of choice within the whole set-up of existence. The karma yoga attitude means that you recognize that things are predestined and you do not let your mind become agitated about what will happen or what is happening or what has happened. At the same time you still have desires. You cannot just throw them away, so you sublimate the desires for worldly things into the desire for enlightenment and use that energy to keep the mind on the self. Keeping the mind on the self means that you have a strong desire to understand what is motivating you at any moment and when you find that the vasanas are strong for some kind of object you either offer the desire or fear to the self if you can (this is the more direct and difficult way) or you act out the desire with the karma yoga attitude. It takes a lot of desire to keep up this practice. But this desire will eat up your karma and make the mind reasonably desireless. So the choice you make is the choice to do karma yoga rather than seek solutions to your suffering in the world. This is a proper exercise of your free will. Ultimately, you have no choice, because it is the self waking up to itself and it will not be denied. It is not up to you. But insofar as you do not know that you are the self, it is up to you.
Karen: Is it possible to look for signs to make decisions? Or is this my ego playing tricks on me? Of course it is… Some say mediation calms everything so the answer “comes.”
Ramji: Looking for signs means that you are still extroverted, worried about what you should be doing. It is a sign of lack of faith in the self. There is no answer about what will happen or what is right if you have the faith that everything is in the hands of God. All outcomes are acceptable because with the karma yoga attitude anything that happens brings peace and prepares the mind for understanding. Whatever you are doing – apart from violating basic dharma – is fine if you have the right attitude.
Fuck waiting for the answer! It is not a mystery. You are the answer. You are whole and complete, ordinary, actionless, non-dual, ever-present awareness. Enlightenment is simply a matter of confidence in this knowledge.
Karen: In India the things just seemed to go the right way, now I need to force stuff. Maybe I am just too impatient.
Ramji: Yes, things are going the right way all the time no matter where you are. The impatience means that your desires are still strong. You want what you want when you want it. It is the signature of a mind that is predominately rajasic. (I wrote this before I read your next sentence. ☺)
Karen: I know what you are thinking – this girl is way too rajasic! Yes, at the moment. I should decide about when to go to India, when and how to move my stuff to Finland, which school to apply to or how to make a living and find a flat there. And of course the moment I was giving up art last spring I got a phone call that I will have an exhibition in Switzerland next spring/summer. I almost hope my flat would burn while I am home so I would be free of my old paintings and books. My happiness does not depend on stuff, but I dare not throw things away either.
Ramji: Burn the flat in your mind and don’t worry about it. Don’t be in a hurry to make decisions about your life. Let the decisions be made for you. Just decide to keep the karma yoga spirit at all times and do what comes up at the moment. Things will fall away on their own. You do not have to get rid of them. If you try to get rid of something before the right time, it will not work – as you see with the art. At the same time work patiently to simplify your life.
Karen: I found a school in Italy in the middle of nowhere where they teach making glass art, the accomodation is free and nature apparently beautiful. Why not? Better than stress myself in 300 odd jobs in the capital to pay too much for a flat the size of a shoebox.
Ramji: It sound good. As I keep saying, it does not matter what you do exactly. All that matters for a spiritual person is the attitude in which things are done. Do everything for a pure, quiet mind and enlightenment will come naturally.
Karen: I restarted your book, it’s my lifesaving vest so I don’t sink.
Ramji: Stick with it, Karen, dear. Read a little every day and contemplate the meaning. You are doing very well. This is a good letter. I am happy to receive it.
Karen: I hope you are fine, dear Ramji. I will check your site to see when you are in India. You are in Tiruvannumalai all the time? Friends say I talk about India and my eyes start shining like stars. Funny, even though it is very tough to travel there as well, but you know…
~ Love, Karen
Ramji: I am just fine, Karen, just a bit too famous since the publication of my book – it’s a lot of work keeping up with the emails, giving talks and chasing off the women who fall in love because they think I am spiritual – it is such a big joke. Life is just great. I am enjoying it very much, even more now that I hear from my number-one disciple!!! ☺ I go to India on December 8 and stay until February 23. I hope you come so I can meet you.
~ Love, Ramji