Search & Read
Blinking On and Off
Karen: Hi, James, how are you?
James: Just fine, Karen.
Karen: I was just thinking the other day about you and how you came into my life. I mean I had that experience I told you about, and then everything unfolds naturally. I mean, when for a moment I realised the “self” I didnt know what had happened. And then after, I can’t even remember how, I came across your website and now I’m reading your book!
I mean, isn’t this amazing?
Even when I feel like giving up, something in me just can’t let it go because it knows it is the truth. How can I live from now on when I know that this is all a lie and until I realise who I really am I’m going to live in unhappiness.
Sometimes I wonder, was it a good thing, all this that happened to me?
I’m suffering so much lately because I’m trying soo hard to get to the truth even though I know that I don’t have to do anything. This is all my ignorance!!
I’m reading your book, and it does make sense but I still CAN’T figure out how to realise the self. I’m so lost.
I’m sorry to bother you with all this, I just don’t have anyone else to speak to because no one understands me, and even when I try they just think I’m crazy!!!! So I’d better learn the whole thing in silence. ☺
~ With love, Karen
James: Dear Karen, yes, that thing in you that won’t give up the search for truth is you. Karen, it seems, is suffering. Would you like to tell me why Karen is suffering? The world is what it has always been and is not going to change. Some of us don’t “fit in,” but so what? Who wants to fit into such a crazy world? Secondly, would you tell me why Karen has to be unhappy until she finds the truth? Happiness is a lot easier. Why not be happy? Happiness is a choice. It does not depend on getting what Karen wants. She should go happily to the truth, not unhappily. Why choose unhappiness? It is up to her. Third, please tell me what is right in Karen’s life. There is always as much right in a person’s life as there is wrong. The half-empty glass is half full. Spirituality, the search for truth, is ninety-five percent attitude. It sounds like Karen is feeling sorry for herself. It’s not clear to me exactly why. It can’t be the world because the world is only an idea in your mind. There are blessings to count. Find them. Think about them. I think the world is a wonderful place. I always thought so, long before I was “enlightened.” Who is right? Nobody is right. It is wonderful because I look for the beauty, not the ugliness. The way Karen is thinking about herself and life is not correct. She will not get to truth thinking like this, feeling sorry for herself. Tell me about her lifestyle, diet, love life, job. Be honest. I need a proper inventory, like a balance sheet in business. The assets have to equal the liabilities. I think Karen’s unhappiness is not based on facts. If Karen is unhappy it is because she is not getting what she wants from the world, not because she does not know the truth. The truth is: you are beautiful.
Please answer my questions. We need to change Karen’s state of mind. She cannot seek the truth feeling like this. It does not work. Read the qualifications. Read Karma Yoga. I can’t teach someone who is miserable. For that you go to the shrink. The people who come to me are already happy. If someone is not successful in life, how will they be successful in seeking? It is not a matter of waiting for some experience to make the suffering go away. It is a matter of living correctly. Happiness and self-esteem come from proper living, not enlightenment. Enlightenment is just knowing you are not Karen and letting her be. The problem is that you are identifying with Karen, which seems to be just a bad thought in you, in awareness. You want to fix her but the way she sees herself and the world is the problem. Enlightenment is not going to fix that. Seeing things negatively is a habit. That habit has to change; only then can you rationally investigate yourself. It may be that you just need some good old-fashioned therapy. I am sorry to be a bit stern with you, Karen, but I have to be honest. Karen has an attitude problem, not an enlightenment problem. She is not crazy. She is just feeling sorry for herself. I don’t think this attitude is justified.
Karen: Hi, James, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time. A true blessing in my life, you are.
What I am struggling the most with is the fact that the real “I” knows that there is no true “I” out there. I had that experience where I could feel myself as awareness, not as a person.
I’m struggling because I know that I’m awareness and not a person with limits, but what I truly am is limitless and actionless. I know that now, intellectually, I can’t get to the truth or live life from the awareness perspective. Does this makes sense?
James: Yes. Indeed.
Karen: I know there’s nothing to get or achieve, I know that the only thing I need is a clear understanding of who I really am. But how is it possible that if I know all this things, and I know for a fact because I could sense it twice, how am I back in my old days, an old, sad person who gets affected by other people, with what they say or think of me? WHY? It seems so hard. Why can’t I just see myself as awareness?
If I know that that’s the true ME!!!!!!!!
James: It is not like that, Karen. The patterns of thinking and feeling that you developed when you were ignorant of your true nature are wired into you your neural networks. If you want them to change you have to develop new ones.
This is what is meant by taking a stand in awareness. Every time you are confronted with the bad feelings you have to confront them, transform them with the karma yoga attitude. And you have to start living as awareness. Slowly the old pattern will die out and the healthy new one will take over. It takes years to clean up your mess. You are engaging in magical thinking. Just knowing it does not change thinking patterns.
Karen: I react and act as a wordly person!!!!!
James: No, Karen acts as a worldly person. You see her acting this way. This is taking a stand in awareness. The best way to deal with this is to stop judging Karen. She would not be this way if she could help it. You have to love her, the poor dear. Love her as she is. It’s okay to be worldly.
Karen: I’m sorry if this is boring for you. I know it must be, because this is all illusory, what I’m feeling and, as you say, the choice IS MINE.
James: You are not boring me. You are boring you. It is a bad way to think Karen. You have to change the way you see it, if you want to be happy. You want Karen to be different but she cannot be different. If she could, she would. It is not up to her. All you can do is to look at her with kind eyes and take a stand as the pure and perfect being that you are.
Karen: I am reading your book and am nearly finished, but as you said once, that I should take time reading it because I should really undersand every chapter if I am to “see” what I really am. Therefore I’m reading it again and I find myself reading certain sentences over and over again because I don’t think I’ve assimilated well enough what you are trying to say.
Can you give me some insight on “knowledge is object-dependent, not subject-dependent”?
James: Knowledge is what cannot be negated. It is always true. For example, fire is always hot. Water is always wet. The self never changes. This is knowledge. It is good in all places, times and circumstances because the object is always the same.
What I know as a result of interpreting my experiences in life is not knowledge. We dignify it with the term “knowledge” but it isn’t. For example, you say, “I am angry,” because you are angry. It is not knowledge. Or if it is you could call it subject-dependent knowledge because it totally depends on you. It is not uselesss but you cannot count on it because it changes as you change or as your understanding of yourself changes. I call it “information.” That General Motors stock is at $45 a share today is information because tomorrow it is at $46. You think you know yourself, so you say, “I am this or that,” a mother, for example. But what happens when you are with your mother? You are a daughter. This is relative, subject-dependent knowledge.
Karen: Also, I’m a bit confused with this idea that when I realise the truth I will see that this subject-object relationship doesn’t exist. I feel confused, because in order for me to see that I am what I see, some duality needs to exist otherwise I wouldn’t even consider this whole thing??? I would just stay lost in thought. For me to know that I’m not my thoughts (that’s duality, correct??), I think that this is where I’m lost.
James: Duality always exists, Karen. It is a subset of non-duality. Your body and the world appear in you, in awareness. It is always that way. Duality is only a problem when you take Karen to be the subject and the objects in her life to be objects. The objects are objects but Karen is an object too. She is known to you, the true subject, awareness. Thinking Karen is you causes a raft of problems.
Seeing Karen as an object takes away the suffering. She has the same status as all objects. She is not real, only an appearance in you. When you understand this, your identity shifts from Karen to awareness and you are no longer limited by Karen and the objects in her life.
Karen: James, thank you for your response.
It does make a lot of sense, what you say. But I must admit that unless I had that “experience” that I told you about, when I transcendend the mind for a little while, could I see that what you say is the truth, because otherwise I wouldn’t even consider this whole thing because it’s really not something we as people think about. I feel that we just go about our lives thinking that suffering is “normal” but in reality it really isn’t!!! It does really make sense and only when I REALLY have had enough of “Karen” could I wonder about a possibility of looking at life differently… and then the shift happened.
I think that I just don’t have confidence in it yet. I know it to be true but I’m still engaged in thought a lot. And the worst is that I am questioning every thought I have lately! It’s unbelievable!!!!! It’s like I’m tired of listening to the mind, and the mind keeps on replying back!! I’m soo tired of it. Sometimes I even can’t sleep at night!
It’s hard to just watch the mind because every time that thought comes I have another thought straight after saying, “That’s just another thought”!!!!! You said once that I’m engaging in magical thinking, but it’s hard to stop it!!!!
I feel like my issue is that the mind identifies so quickly with every thought that it gives no room to just be!!!! Does that make sense?
James: Yes, it makes sense. Thoughts about thoughts. It sounds like low self-confidence, second-guessing, an inability to resolve issues. What kind of thoughts are you talking about? Do you mean worry? Fear? If so, it sound like the solution is karma yoga.
Karen: I don’t know how to put it in words but it feels like if I stop thinking I’m going to die or something!! Or cease to exist!! But this is ALL thoughts. So whatever I do I’m just lost in thought!!!
James: It’s too much rajas and identification with the mind. What kind of lifestyle do you have? Do you exercise? What kind of food do you eat? Relationships? Money worries?
I think all the time too, Karen – I even have thoughts about my thoughts, just like you – but I like my thoughts. I really do. I absolutely love my mind. It is so cool! It must be that you are not thinking happy, noble and uplifting thoughts. If you can’t identify the one that sees the thoughts – awareness – and stay out of the thicket of your thoughts, then you need to reduce the quantity of thoughts and the change the quality of the thoughts. So it seems a lifestyle change and karma yoga is the solution. You have yet to tell me what is causing all these unhappy thoughts.
Karen: It’s hard for me so see “Karen” as a object because I have so many thoughts in the way!!!!!!!!! Just the fact of me saying, “These are just thoughts,” I’m already lost in thought AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!