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The Problem Is Ignorance
Conrad: As I can feel/see it now, the most specific/strong help you gave was the differentiation you made between the two totally different levels: experience (of the self, in the mind), a state in me, sattva guna, all of which is perfectly okay (here was a kind of negative valuing of me, “these are ‘only’ states,” as you deduced, on one side, and the direct knowing, “being the self,” on the other side. I can trust really now that I “know” this direct knowing, no, that I am it, completely independent of any state appearing in me, whether it is a (predominantly) sattvic mind (or not).
Shams: Now it’s clear that the problem was not a lack of experience, but the presence of ignorance. When ignorance is gone, every experience is known as it is, and you understand that all experiences are the same: both not you and only you. When ignorance is present, the mind interprets that it needs some special experience to become full and complete. However, the secret to crack the code is not another experience, but knowledge of the truth. Yes, as you said, direct knowledge is the fruit of the application of the means of knowledge via the intellect.
Conrad: The second real help was the weekend with James, warm, informative, to-the-point, many questions and answers directly confirming what is taking place in me, as me.
Shams: You were in the presence of one of the most effective Vedanta teachers in the West. I’m glad that it worked well.
Conrad: Where I stand now: something like the direct knowing of being awareness, the self, free, free of the person, the knowledge that, “I am all objects, I am life happening,” etc. becomes firm; it is a shift from intellect to being “It,” something like that. Not as an experience/object to be attained, but: “I am all ‘This.’”
Shams: And the intellect itself is just an object in you.
Conrad: Also, a sense of love grows; fitting to what you clarified, love and knowing are the same. I can see that your suggestion to only use the (various, directly related to ShiningWorld and the conversation with you) original Vedanta sources now is fitting.
Shams: Because the key is in the language, as the means of knowledge is made of words, an element of mithya which unexpectedly shows you satya.
Conrad: The article about niddhyasana is beautiful, fitting and clarifying the process. Also, I am rereading James’ ebook Experience and Knowledge.
The last few years have an element of retreat from the outside world (which felt as fitting, almost an automatic happening, of course apart from also less pleasant phases), and a dawn of a “new” life is emerging, a “level-less level,” that always was there/“is,” empty in some way, and in a delicate way full also, seeing beauty with more awareness, seeing it is (in) me, a beginning sense of freedom/spaciousness, besides a releasing of tiredness, and old energetic fear/stress.
Shams: That is the result of your sannyasin temperament and the exhaustion of binding karmas, which lead the mind to develop the qualifications and start inquiring about the self. And then, when ignorance begins to fall, knowledge makes it way more easy. As Swami Chinmayananda said: “There’s no better purifier for the mind than the knowledge.” That’s somewhat paradoxical because when knowledge is firm the mind becomes purer, but you are not attached to purity (or the mind) anymore, so you can do very well without those experiences and states. Thanks to knowledge, you realise that even the more intense and joyful experiences are just a speck in you, a little appearance.
Conrad: I am aware that some of the above words may sound a bit big, not well-grounded, etc. but I feel quite calm in a way, and realistic, and somewhere even notice that maybe it is even the other way around: making it more “modest,” dependent, asking, would be (for decennia has been) the ego, an obvious vasana.
Shams: The important thing here is to get that you are talking about an object. Grounded or magnificent, it will always be an object.