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Develop the Qualifications
Sabrina: Hello, dear friend.
I could not sleep last night and, admittedly, had a toke of pot to help me sleep. With my mind in a more sattvic space, I had a lovely inquiry that seemed to present the nature of reality with such clarity to me for the first time in a very long time.
For so many years I have felt a certain haze over me that prevented me from “seeing” clearly. I have felt asleep all my life in most of everything I do. Its identifying presence is becoming more and more aware to me, which I know is a great thing in my quest for moksa.
Last night I was able to “see through the haze” for a good period of time, and by doing so felt (yes, an experience) such expansion that I have only felt two other times in my life. The exciting aspect was experiencing this feeling through the eyes of Vedanta for the first time. (The knowledge that I now carry assisted me in a deep and profound inquiry like no other time. Often times in the past since learning about Vedanta I have felt that I don’t even know how to inquire, specifically because of this constant “haze.”) The disappointing aspect of the experience was a feeling of overwhelming fear in truly “letting go” into the expansiveness. I felt HUGE and near complete, except for that nagging other guna dancing around. I suspect it was tamas playing its part. I am grateful that I analyzed and identified the whole experience, becoming clear on what I need to work on, specifically, creating a more sattvic field in my life (both mentally and physically) so I can inquire without the fear attached, not to mention working karma yoga second by second. I came to an understanding last night that I don’t think I’m quite qualified yet, as my “terrible twosomes” are still predominant. I asked Isvara to help me pierce this haze once and for all, but apparently I have more karma yoga before such grace is revealed.
Paul and I have been reading a book called The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Paul found it through a link provided by someone in your satsang on food. It is a remarkable book in that Buhner speaks with such a mastery of the language, truly poetic, and points to the lost connection we have in our culture to the nature of reality, a reality that is connected to everything. He’s not speaking exactly “Vedantinese,” but enough that it’s indeed a close dialect. He writes in such a way that I find myself yearning for this connection in a way I’ve never yearned for before. It has been wonderfully inspirational in that I feel more dedicated than ever to finally, and abidingly, reveal my true nature.
That was the gist of the night, as there was more to it than that, but I won’t bore you with the details. It was truly a healing evening (or morning, as the case may be ☺). I find it interesting too, with the reading of the book, that it was the plant medicine that aided me in this profound experience.
Anyway, I just wanted to relay this to you, as I feel a little different in my presence today. We are both well, the renovations inching along mostly because the workers are doing our job after their “real” job in the day. We aren’t exactly a priority, but that’s all right. We have learned patience.
I hope you two are well. James should be going to Europe soon, I believe, if not there already. Travel safely and hope to talk soon.
Much love from the both of us.
Sundari: Hello, dear friend. Thanks for sharing your breakthrough; I am really happy for you. I like the way you describe both the experience and the condition of the mind it occurred in. You spoke about both as the observer, the one who was aware of the “haze” and the one who felt asleep all her life, as well as the one “seeing” through the haze. You were aware that it was an experience likely to change, but you assimilated knowledge from it, which is the point of experience. There is nothing wrong with experience – and we never stop experiencing. It is the identification with the experience/experiencer that is the problem.
Experience is like a decaying time capsule: all experiences offer knowledge, but if one identifies with the experience and experiencer, the knowledge is lost. You were objective about your experience, which means you were looking at it as the self. Most important, the experience blasted through the tamas to sattva, the true nature of the mind. We cannot gain more sattva, because we cannot become “more” aware. We can only become less ignorant – meaning becoming aware of how rajas and tamas run the mind, and bring them into balance with sattva. When rajas and tamas are predominant in the mind, sattva cannot be accessed, and it feels like the mind has “lost” sattva and needs to regain it.
The haze is ignorance, tamas, and it does put the mind to sleep. It is very hard to access a clear intellect when tamas clouds the mind, which is why it is called “avarana” shakti, which means a “cloud,” or obscuring/dulling energy. The one seeing through it is of course you, awareness. Next time sattva blazes through the haze, ask yourself who is aware of this clarity in the mind. It can’t be Sabrina, can it, because she is an object known to you? So it has to be you, awareness.
The part that strikes me as most interesting was this comment of yours: “The disappointing aspect of the experience was a feeling of overwhelming fear in truly ‘letting go’ into the expansiveness. I felt HUGE and near complete, except for that nagging other guna dancing around.”
The fear you felt was just the ego, that part of the mind that feels so small and inadequate yet clings so tenaciously to its identification with the body. This fear is very common among seekers and is often what keeps them seekers instead of becoming finders. The mind just cannot make that “shift” into the knowledge that the expansiveness is actually who they really are. The ego is so accustomed to being limited and small. Often, when the mind is first exposed to self-knowledge and has the cognitive shift to the understanding that its true nature is awareness, the ego tries to “experience awareness,” which it can’t do, so it often backs off, especially if tamas and rajas still run the mind. So although there is that tantalizing “feeling/knowing” that you are HUGENESS because there is no place where you are not – meaning you are whole and complete and everything, including the experiencing mind/ego, is in YOU, the KNOWER – there is still the “nagging” doubt which prevents the experience of fullness translating into the knowledge that you are actually awareness, experiencing the ego, and not the other way around. And the experience ends – as they always do – with the knowledge only partially assimilated, hence the feeling of “nearly complete.”
As for plants, they have amazing properties and are jivas too, they just don’t have a developed subtle body like humans do. But as they are Isvara just like everything else is in the field of existence, they have the light of consciousness shining on them and the intelligence of the creation “in” them. The whole creation is imbued with this intelligence because it all arises from awareness, you.
I recommended the book The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner in my satsang on food, morality and Vedanta, which was the main theme of the last newsletter. It is part of a discussion on whether or not vegans and vegetarians have the right to assume a moral high ground, tying the whole argument to the bigger picture and how things really work in the field of existence. I received such an overwhelmingly positive response to it that I beefed it up a bit and am sending out the link with the next newsletter about to come out. It’s an important discussion because it strikes at the heart of how the field operates and how the jiva fits into it. It seems like you have not read it, and I recommend you do when I send it out with the next newsletter.
For self-inquiry to be work, one cannot circumvent the qualifications that are required for moksa; there is just no way self-knowledge will obtain in a mind that is run by rajas and tamas. But lifestyle issues are also vital to address. It certainly seemed clear to me that you guys have a pretty sattvic lifestyle and have addressed most of the issues with regards to relationship, money, work, health, etc. You are in a most fortunate position in that you have no real karma in the world. Yes, you would like to find meaningful work, but not because you have a worry about where the next meal is coming from. And you want meaningful work because you have the luxury of being able to choose whether you work or not. This frees up a lot of energy for self-inquiry that would otherwise be going into transactions with the world.
What you could consider doing to develop all the qualifications is first take a fierce moral inventory – what values underpin everything that is important to you. What are your likes and dislikes? When you have written them down, go through them all to determine which guna underpins them. Make a list of the basic thoughts/emotions that arise with each guna. You will find plenty of references to this in the satsangs and in James’ books. We have both written extensively on the gunas. Use the search function at the website. Read The Value of Values, also in James’ books, or Dayananda’s great book on the topic, The Value of Values. I have attached that chapter from James’ recent book.
Then write down all the qualifications, also to be found in James’ books – I have also attached that chapter from James’ recent book. Make sure you know what they are because they are ALL vital. Track the mind on a moment-to-moment basis. Religiously observe the connection between your values (likes and dislikes, i.e. what conditions Sabrina’s mind) and the qualifications or lack of them. Determine which qualification you most need to develop and repeatedly bring this to the attention of the mind. This is “the work” involved in self-inquiry, and if liberation from limitation is what you are after, there is no easy way to achieve a mind capable of it.
It is excellent that you are applying karma yoga because without it any “work” the jiva does bears little, if any, fruit. It is the only way to negate the doer. But remember, the point of karma yoga is not to destroy the doer or, in some cases, even its sense of doership. Karma yoga is meant to clear the mind of enough likes and dislikes until it becomes composed enough to do sustained inquiry. Only inquiry removes the problem of doership because it shows that you, the self, cannot be the ego (doer/Sabrina) that is known to you. When that is clear, the doer can (and will) still appear in you, even with a trace of doership, but you do not identify with it.
If you know something, it cannot be you, can it?
Great work, Sabrina, I admire your tenacity and dedication, both essential for moksa. If the desire to be free is piddling or middling, so will the results be. Go for it, girl, you are awesome! And keep in mind that to prepare for self-inquiry does not mean that you have to improve on Sabrina; it just means you have to understand what is running her, what her program is. Then you can dis-identify with it as not-self while still enjoying Sabrina for who she is: a reflection of you. I just love that Sabrina jiva, she is so cool. ☺
You may have heard this many times but never actually heard it: the simplest definition of moksa is this: the ability to discriminate you, awareness, from the objects that appear in you, 24/7, and to never confuse the two again. Business continues as usual, but you see everything as the self first (non-dual, all arising from and depending on you to exist) and second as the jiva (duality, the apparent other and otherness).
So simple, but ignorance being so tenaciously persistent and hardwired, it is the hardest thing the mind will ever do. C’est la vie – maya can be a bitch!
I am all alone on the river, my beloved has left me, boo hoo! He is in Connecticut giving a short seminar, en route to Amsterdam. I leave on the 12th for Dubai to see my precious daughter/granddaughter. Very much looking forward to it. I am having fun in my studio, love being able to have the luxury of making only “spiritual art.” James and I celebrated an ecstatic fourth anniversary the day before he left with a picnic at our favourite magic place nearby – it was sublime. So much love; ah, so good. Next day I had to capture it in a piece. I attached a photo.
~ Love you both, Sundari