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Trust the Dissatisfaction
Karina: Hello, Sundari, I know you have taken letters of inquiry from students of Vedanta, so I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries in asking you for your insight on my questions I have regarding my own path. I know you and James have been quite busy with your travels, so if this comes at an inopportune time and you do not have time to comment, I fully understand.
Sundari: We are only to be happy to be of service, Karina, anytime!
Karina: I have been studying with you and James for the past three years, but I must say, I’m disappointed with my discipline in sitting down to it on a daily basis. I have been blessed in this lifetime, where I do not have to work as hard as I did in the past to make my living, so it is a perfect opportunity for me to study and fully grasp Vedanta. After sitting with James and listening to his satsangs, as we did in Trout Lake this summer, I often leave with a feeling of resolve to take the time to study ever harder and sustain the knowledge of that which I already am, awareness. Alas, then that jiva takes hold and I’m fully pulled back into the world of samsara, sometimes not even giving a moment’s thought to awareness during my day. It’s as if I relish languishing about in samsara, feeling bad about my jiva-existence, not being enough, not doing enough, blah, blah, blah. It’s as if I am submerged in water and when I look up there is an oily film on top. What is above that film is the clarity to BEGIN the path to enlightenment, though I can’t seem to swim through it. I can see if I could just stick my head through all of that muck, I’d be capable of truly beginning my commitment.
Of course I have thought that perhaps I’m NOT qualified after all and maybe I don’t have that burning desire that is necessary to gain and sustain this knowledge. Though what a crime it would be to see myself at the end of this life without that knowledge. Perhaps you have talked with others regarding this dilemma. I’m hoping you might have some insight to help me stay on this path that I do desire, but need a bit of guidance.
~ Gratefully, Karina
Sundari: What comes through from what you write is that you have not yet determined that there is nothing in the world of objects to gain, i.e. you are still drawn to it and get sucked in. Yet it clearly does not satisfy you, because you long to be out of it. There are only two solutions to this: (1) you trust the dissatisfaction and go for the knowledge or (2) you forget about the knowledge and go for the objects until you are fed up enough with them.
It is clear that qualifications for moksa are lacking – but that does not mean that they cannot be developed. The primary qualification is that you have established without a doubt that the joy is not in the objects. This is what propels you to go for moksa, freedom from samsara. The reason you are having a hard time with self-inquiry is that the love is going to samsaric pursuits instead of to moksa. If you really want to be free, you have to love freedom more than you love your habits.
If you want to chip away at your habits, the essential (and practical) thing to do is to take stock of your lifestyle. The choices we make regarding lifestyle determine how and where we live, what we eat, who we associate with, how we earn a living, handle money, love, engage in relationships, sex, exercise and how we entertain ourselves. Our choices determine our attitude towards all life and the environment that nurtures and supports us, personal cleanliness as well as our devotional practices. Our lives need to serve the truth, not the other way around. This is an essential area to be clear on whether or not you are seeking moksa, if peace of mind is what you desire most.
The primary issue is that you have not done proper inquiry into the nature of objects (samsaric pursuits – that they are value-neutral and cannot supply you with happiness).
I hope this helps, Karina. Please do not hesitate to write.
~ With much love from both of us, Sundari