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Tony: Hi, James. Firstly, thanks for the weekend at Amstelveen. It was really easy to follow what you were saying this time – it seemed like the whole vibe was “sucked in” and concentrated. I left feeling very spacey… very nice. The epiphanies kept coming: I nearly drowned because of it yesterday when I realized, swimming at the local pool, that “I” could never get wet! It seems so silly and obvious to say it, but I found myself roaring with laughter. I don’t think anyone noticed, as it was the morning where all the folks with cerebral palsy were swimming too…
Anyway, I’m still struggling with some old vasanas, mainly sex, and that most often as an escape from stress, which in turn comes from a fear-based workaholic vasana. I do need to work, but I’m easily worry-driven, and in my job if that’s indulged, then it’s easy to get into, “Let me just make another 10 quid,” and I end up strung out. If there is enough relaxation on a day-to-day basis everything usually settles down quite nicely, and the only way to maintain that is by giving my work to Isvara with the thought,”How may I best serve you?…” and being stressed out is not the best way to serve Him!
It is interesting to reflect on the process of enquiry. If the mind and body are strung out and the reactions to everyday events starts getting hysterical or passionate, then the basic concepts have to be introduced first: there is no joy in objects, life is a zero-sum game. Going straight in with, “I am limitless awareness,” doesn’t always cut it at that point. Then as I talk myself down from the emotional ledge and start listening to the logic of the need for self-restraint, only then can I get back to the enquiry proper, so I find myself following the sequence of the teaching very often.
James: Good observation. I’ll publish this letter because it is a good example of how to practically dismantle a nasty vasana. The “limitless awareness” practice only works when the mind has been softened up some thought about the qualifications, i.e the zero-sum nature of samsara.
Tony: By way of admission, I did indulge, against your advice, on two occasions a while back. I was restraining the urge to go and have casual sex, and I got into a kind of crazy game of manic restraint and manic fantasy. I was rebelling and restraining like a yo-yo. In the end, I said, “Sod it!” and went and got shagged. It was so great. And then it was so over. The emptiness of it made me laugh, like I’d been suckered by my own con. I did it again, almost straight away, but this time I WAS ashamed because now I had no excuses. So I felt guilty for the indulgence. Since then, the urge has been easy to restrain. It seems utterly pointless, and the weekend in Amsterdam has made it seem even more ludicrous. All it does is churn up the mind, make the body jangly or dull, and keep me from enquiry. Also, since then I’ve begun to notice the view behind the urge. It’s a feeling of something missing, like when you find yourself standing at the fridge door, even though you’re not hungry, looking for that little “something”…
James: Obviously, self-inquiry is working. It is so sad that the downside of every situation cancels the upside, but that’s the way Isvara set it up. You can’t win or lose here. You win and lose. Life is samsara is like treading water. You get nowhere.
Tony: Once again, a big thank you. Just to be reminded that that sense of power and confidence and joy is already there, is already me and that when I’m aware that that is there, there is no sense of lack or want at all, has been a real inspiration to redouble my efforts, as contradictory as that sounds. I love this stuff so much; thank you for sharing it.
James: Yes, keep doubling down with every realization. Vedanta works. The more you put into your inquiry the more you get out of it.
~ Much love, James