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Gratitude Is the Only Attitude
Gabriel: Hi, Sundari. You have no idea how precious your reply is to me. Without being mawkish, I’m very grateful to have such a compassionate person in my life, somebody who can help me to apply self-knowledge to my particular circumstance. This is something I’ve never experienced in all my 67 years! I know you’re very busy, so I won’t give you more work by expecting a reply to this email. I’ll ponder your reply over the weeks to come.
As I hadn’t heard from you, and thought there must be something going on like travelling (as you have in fact confirmed), I emailed James this morning. I know he is very busy too, so I really don’t want to appear to be demanding. Please, would you convey to him my apologies for bothering him, and let him know that I’m not expecting a reply to that email? FYI, though, here is what I wrote to him:
Dear James, after months of turmoil coming from the emergence of very early experiences of neglect, accompanied by painful and often shameful Shadow material, today there emerged a great calm. It started while I was reading some of the satsangs at the ShiningWorld website, and has been with me all day. I’ve been listening again to your talks on the Bhagavad Gita and continually discriminating myself from the objects arising in me. My usual preoccupations seem to be dormant. Solitude is delicious. There’s a sense of the sacred. This afternoon I found myself in a shop looking at statues of Shiva, and this evening I surprised myself by searching on the internet for sacred music, mantras, anything that would express the peace that comes with the knowledge “I am the self.” This bhakti is a new development for me, and it isn’t easy to find a form for it that’s free of the culture of the religious traditions. But it doesn’t matter. It seems that finally, as well as knowing who I am, I’ve been able to stay with that knowledge without being assailed by the vasanas. There’s a feeling of gratitude for this gift, this taste of the eternal that I am.
Sundari: Hello, Gabriel. I am so glad I was finally able to reply and that it was a comfort to you. You are a very dear and beautiful soul, and we are so happy for you that the knowledge has worked to set Gabriel free. How blessed we are who have had the good grace of self-knowledge; life without Vedanta is unimaginable.
There is such a deep wellspring of compassion that automatically opens up and deepens with the knowledge, for the jiva and all jivas – there being only one of course. The amazing grace of the pristine clarity and beauty of life appearing before our eyes as it has always been, just like a beautiful scene in nature appears when the dark and grey clouds lift. How can one not feel devotion and gratitude when one knows the love one feels and sees all around you is who you are? It is as natural as breathing.
And all is well and all manner of things are well, no matter what. Life is extraordinary and ordinary. I have copied in an email someone wrote to James recently because it is such a typical experience for Vedantins. I am sure you will relate to it.
Encourage and grow the devotion, create an altar if you don’t already have one. Make a point of attending to prayer at least once a day, even if it is just a lighting a candle in a moment of silence. There is nothing to prayer for really, other than continued discrimination of the self from the objects that appear in you. If any voices of diminishment, guilt or shame appear in the mind, ignore them. They have nothing to do with you. Gabriel’s “past” is no more than a fleeting idea in the mind of Isvara. Gabriel is pure, whole and limitless.
Stay in touch and know we are always here for you.
~ With much love, Sundari
Gabriel: Hi, Ram, I thought I’d let you know how I’m getting on, if you don’t mind. The saying “the spirit soars” comes to mind .It describes how I am feeling at the moment. The knowledge “I am awareness” seems to be deeply rooted in my being, so much so that the mind doesn’t come close to disturbing me anymore. It’s like awareness apparently thinking it was bound and being lost for so long in ignorance has now realised that it is free, always has been, and of cours, the only way is up (so to speak). Even though this is how I am living these days, I know that I am simply the witness of it all. I seem to have it sorted now, Ram. How wonderful it is, this knowledge and knowing that my life now is basically just discriminating me from the forms (objects) appearing in me. Eternal freedom is who I always have been. Before I came to Vedanta proper, i.e your website, I had this strange notion that everything would change when I knew who I was, and that people would at least be able to notice something; actually, it is very ordinary and this is great because it is like a secret only I know, plus I’m not obligated at all to tell anyone. Wow. All these stupid and, frankly, vain notions I carried around with me are thankfully seen right through for the absolute bollocks that they were/are. It’s very true that Vedanta only comes when you have matured, and I also feel that Vedanta actually matures and nourishes the subtle body. Of course you already know this. I just wanted to share this with one of the only humans alive whom I can share this with. Anyway, Ram, over and out for now, my friend and teacher whom I’ve never even met… incredible!