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Clean Up Your Act
Sundari: Hi, Pierre, I’m writing because I came upon something James wrote concerning being unattached, which reminded me of our last conversation (attachment/non-attachment and the vasanas):
“The ‘not-self’ teaching is an intermediate but necessary stage in the process of self-inquiry. It is important to note that the negation is not merely intellectual. In other words, you can’t just try to dismiss the objects without having actually tried to make them work. For example, you can say that romantic love is ‘not-self’ but you will still long for it if you have not tried it and understood its limitations. Or you can say that money is ‘not-self’ and still be attached to it. The Neo teachings that willy nilly dismiss everything as ‘unreal’ are ill-considered for this reason. A mature person will have more or less eliminated everything as ‘not-self’ through intelligent living. Now that seeking has become a lifestyle followed by many young people, you find so called ‘enlightened’ people who claim they are beyond their ego and its interest in objects, purely on the basis of the belief that denial of objects constitutes enlightenment. But if you observe their behavior you find them chasing things they have not experienced just like the unenlightened.”
In other words, a mature person (and even Jed McKenna speaks of the necessity of being mature) is one who understands that life is a zero-sum game, which is just another term for another qualification: dispassion. You can’t become dispassionate by trying or forcing yourself to believe in it. You have to hit bottom on whatever vasana you are dealing with. So if you want to be rid of the vasana for wine you have to come to the point when the downside of wine outweighs the upside. Even then, the problem with this understanding is that most people think that means that the idea of the vasana that is disturbing them will never show its face ever again. I was fooled into thinking this way for many years. It was just another clever excuse cranked out by the ego to keep on drinking. In fact any addiction will continue to thrive until you see that the ego will come up with literally any excuse in (and out of) the book – to continue wanting more and more of the same.
The catch 22 in all of this is that the gunas that you are trying to escape are the very ones that are keeping you bound to the ignorance of the problem. The tamas-rajas-tamas cycle caused by drinking keeps one dull enough to just want to keep going on in the same direction. But more importantly, the recycling of these same gunas veils one from having the clarity of understanding (sattva) in order to be able to attack the problem. Don’t take this personally, but until you take a leave of several months (not days or weeks) from drinking, you will not be able to understand this, for exactly the reasons mentioned. I am now speaking from experience/knowledge because I am still fresh in the process.
On the one hand, I can see the above with a certain clarity that leaving alcohol behind has naturally provided. On the other hand, I still have to deal with a backload or lag of tamas that will probably be in the years of cleaning up (i.e. prarabdha karma). So don’t take what I say as if I am now superior and above it all. Nobody is above it all, at least not in the modern world. We live in such an era of dense vasanas that everyone is contaminated to a certain degree. Everyone down here has some sort of cleaning to do, assuming one wants to live with less and less suffering (i.e. clarity and unattachment). And that has always seemed to be the prime factor for you, as you’ve repeated tirelessly over the years.
I am bringing this all up because you still seem to have lingering doubts concerning the assertions of Vedanta, namely, that you are awareness. You say that this might just be a clever scheme cooked up in order for Pierre to avoid the problem of death. Well, Pierre will not avoid the problem of death. He will die! How can you escape this? Vedanta is not saying this. It is saying that your real nature cannot die since it never was born. But when you understand your real nature you couldn’t give a damn about whether Pierre lives or dies.
So it seems that sometimes you are convinced and sometimes less so. This is because the knowledge is not firm. For it to be firm it has to stick. This can only come about for a sattvic mind, ergo, get out the broom and start cleaning up the attic – like everybody else! Or who knows – you might end up like up good old Franklin Jones, aka Avatara Adi da aka Bubba Free John aka Dau Laloma aka Da Love-Ananda aka Da Avadhoota aka Da Kalki aka Da Avabhasa aka Avatar Adi Da Samraj aka Parama-Sapta-Na – sorry if I may have forgotten a few.
All that can be added is that you keep up with your study of self-knowledge. As well, in view of what has been said above, you might start examining your vasanas more closely (which means a re-examination of your entire lifestyle), assuming you really want to be free of them.