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Closer than My Deepest Desires
Paula: Hi, Sundari! Great to hear from you too. When I mentioned maya in my previous email, I was only referring to how the self appears both further than everything but closer than my deepest desires, and how only maya could make that seem so.
Sundari: Yes, indeed it is the self wielding ignorance, i.e. maya, that achieves the impossible by making itself apparently ignorant of and separate from itself.
Paula: When I reread my email and your response, I see how it was incorrect to say that there appears to be two selves, as I understand the scripture’s contention that there is only one self.
Sundari: Yes, I know you know. I was reminding you.
Paula: The problem lies in my identification of it being me.
Sundari: Who is having a problem identifying it as you? You are the one you knows that Paula is having trouble identifying her true nature as awareness.
Paula: I have mulled this over and over and over thoroughly, and I’m at the point in my inquiry where I can’t say that the ego is experiencing… or the cause… of awareness.
Sundari: Your ego – Paula – can never be the cause of awareness. How can the effect be the cause? The ego is an object in you and depends on you, on you, awareness. How can the object know the subject? It is not conscious, and even if it were the self is beyond perception and inference. Paula apparently experiences awareness when the light of awareness shines on the subtle body. Awareness, you, self-illuminating, self-aware.
Paula: But I haven’t had that final “click” or identification. I know so because I still consider myself a seeker.
Sundari: Yes, this is a tough identity to drop. The ego, Paula, is afraid of its demise and clings to its identity as a seeker. It is afraid of the emptiness, not knowing that there is no emptiness, only the fullness of the self. This at prevents many seekers from becoming finders.
Paula: Still, I practice the opposite thought (pratipaksha bhavana) again and again; it feels forced at times, but it also happens quite naturally at times… as if I’m not even doing it… like if I wake up in the middle of the night, in the shower, whatever.
Sundari: This is good; it can be helpful to train the mind to think as the self, and thereby to purify it.
Paula: Yet you said that I know the akhandakara vritti. To me this seems as if you are implying the ego has assimilated this knowledge and this shift occurred… but I don’t think I have/it has.
Sundari: Why do you think you have not assimilated it? If there was a shift, there can be a shift back. You are the one that observed the shift or the absence of the shift. I think you have assimilated it, but lack confidence in the knowledge.
Paula: In all honesty, it feels as if I’m gently pushing and pushing this understanding and applying it constantly, and I’m at the point in my understanding that there’s no way ego gives light to the self – me – but ego doesn’t want to accept this final identification of me being the self. I feel like I’m seriously “faking it until I make it.”
Sundari: Who knows this fact about the ego not accepting its identity as awareness? The ego is the self. It needs to own its true nature. If it doesn’t, and you, awareness, know that it doesn’t, it means that you are already the self. Why? Because the ego is an object. If it knows it is the self or doesn’t know that it is the self, what does it have to do with you?
If this does not make sense, take it easy; you can’t force this. Pray for clarity, give thanks, practise karma yoga, the greatest prayer of all. You are on the bus; it will take you there, not that there is anywhere to get to. ☺
Paula: Can one’s ego be enlightened and the person not know it? Can I actually have assimilated this knowledge and totally missed the fact that I have? If so, then enlightenment doesn’t feel like anything. But I certainly don’t feel whole and fulfilled as the Turkish man said he does.
Sundari: Your ego will never be enlightened, Paula, it is inert, an object in you, awareness. It is not real, it is an effect, a reflection of you – awareness. You are still confusing the real (satya) with (mithya). I think you have assimilated all the knowledge but you are afraid of what comes next. How can enlightenment feel like anything? It is not a feeling. It is just the removal of ignorance and as such the only difference will be that, as you will no longer take yourself to be Paula, you can relax and enjoy the ride. There is nothing to do and nowhere to get to. You will no longer suffer, even though you may still apparently experience pain. You are the fullness, but that too is just a word and not a feeling – although feeling language is used to describe the indescribable. Right now, you are the knower of Paula, who thinks she should feel whole and fulfilled but feels empty instead.
Paula: Lastly, I believe I’m held up on the notion that the akhandakara vritti floats in the mind, removes ignorance and goes. Yet the thought that, “I am the self,” remains. Is this the definition of “the enlightenment experience”?
Sundari: The enlightenment experience is just complete assimilation of the knowledge, “I am awareness.” Don’t be impressed with the words “akandakara vritti.” They mean “I am awareness.”
~ Much love, Sundari