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The Sea Which Holds Us All
Martyn: Dear Sundari and James, I have been rereading your book, James. One minute I feel angry, the next, loving; one minute peaceful, the next chaotic. I happened to just reread Chapter 2. What a relief! I think I mentioned to you that I have been involved variously over the years with so many “methods” of getting “it”… only to feel quite inadequate when life has continued to happen, and when the circumstances have not been or felt pleasant for me. How refreshing to be realizing at this time in my life, and now through this tragedy, that all of my feelings are a part of the whole, not to be separated out as “wrong” or “unenlightened” or as “not getting it.” How refreshing to feel the feelings of my humanness which I have been given, and to let all the parts of that humanness go back into the field or sea which holds us all. These days my mind feels like popcorn being popped. So right now the words that I love are these: “It is true that what you experience after you have realized that you are awareness is not different from what you experienced before – self-realization represents an experiential sea change because non-duality, not likes and dislikes, is now the basis for interpreting what happens – interpreting experience from self – does not hinder the appreciation of pleasant experiences and makes it possible to appreciate unpleasant experiences,” …and so it goes. As usual, words cannot express the gratitude I feel for being able to use my words and to hear and read yours.
James: Thank you for this lovely email, Martyn. I am so happy that Vedanta is helping you find your place in “the sea that holds us all.” There is nothing right or wrong about what we think and feel. Thoughts and feelings just are. They belong to the ocean, not to the wave. While every teaching of Vedanta is valuable, the analysis of action – doing stuff, particularly “spiritual” stuff in Chapter 2 – is important for people who are trying to “do” their way out of suffering. Actions and things that happen to us are not statements about who we are. They do not validate or invalidate us, so the feelings of adequacy or inadequacy that they engender belong to the field, not to us. It is difficult to understand and accept but understanding and accepting it is freedom. Inquiry keeps the popcorn popping – there is nothing quite like knowledge to heal. Our wounds are painful, no doubt, but they break the complacent certainty of our minds and let the light shine in. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always.
~ Love, James