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Susan: Hello, James. Thank you so much for replying. It’s strange, as I was just sitting reading the satsangs at your website and noticed that as I did so there was a definite change in my “experience” of my body, and I could watch or observe the reading and just be present, my mind emptied like a plug pulled out of a bath. When I say “experience of the body,” it was looking at it and could see it was just a string of processes going on by. Part of me marveled that this would happen just while sitting soaking in Vedanta as “I,” or Susan, didn’t do anything to try and get in this state.
Then when I had a closer look at it all, I could see I was not the body, as I could “see” it, could see I was not the thoughts, observed them, but then there was this ____ (fill in the blank). Yes, I see that is “I,” but there still seems to be something not quite right. On reading your email I feel I can understand it better. To the answer to your question to me is the first part, keeping confidence in the knowledge that I am whole and complete, non-dual, actionless awareness is my problem. What I meant by “staying where I am” is not about lifestyle but being awareness, being present, not dashing off in the mind.
My lifestyle has improved a great deal, mainly as I realized the truth of your saying that “the purpose of a simple lifestyle is to accumulate energy for self-inquiry” – so I only work three days a week and in a great environment, with support from my partner. Admittedly, this year has been fairly hectic with travel and marrying off the youngest daughter in my front yard, no less, quite high stress levels, etc. But I know that life has been good, you told me once to make haste slowly and I realized that life was VERY good and I needed to step back a little from the madness of seeking. But I still want to realize the self, and the work is still ongoing. I really know I am on the bus, but it looks like I am still carrying the bundle.
I feel like crying just now as I feel so stupid (who is feeling stupid, you say?; must be this needy Susan). Deep down there is such a knowingness, such a trust that I am what I seek, but hell knows what is breaking me apart over it. Striving, thinking I need to “do” something. Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe I just need to trust this more, I just keep feeling, “I don’t know, I don’t know”… but I do. It’s like when I was sitting earlier, I felt like I could see what was holding me back and it was something to do with what is felt, that I can’t disconnect the person feeling with the awareness of it all. In a way I could see if I could just cut this cord, this identification with Susan would slip away. I don’t have any fear over this anymore, I don’t need that connection as a person, I know the self is more than any Susan could ever be, and is eternal. It feels so close, even now as I type to you.
James: If you are aware that you are identified with Susan, are you identified with Susan? Who is aware of the identification?
Susan: I worry that the overwhelming feeling (is this a bad word?: so experiential) I have of disconnecting, of something about to be realized, is just another experience, as it comes and goes.
James: Even if it is, why worry about it? You have no control of it one way or the other. But you can choose not to worry. And you will not worry if you understand that the result is out of your hands. So do what you feel is right and don’t worry.
Susan: What comes and goes, I don’t really understand, but things are changing and I don’t really know what is going on.
James: Nobody knows what is going on Susan because nothing is in fact going on apart from the idea that something is going on. You are you, awareness, and thoughts and their corresponding worries appear in you and that is all there ever is, was or will be. None of the changes mean anything, apart from what you project on them. You are the unchanging presence in the midst of changing phenomena.
Susan: I know that enlightenment is NOT an experience, as once I am fully confident I am the self then there will no longer be an identity to claim anything.
James: Even if there is and it is known to you, what does it have to do with you insofar as you are other than what you know. So if there is identification, so what? Let it be.
Susan: I think I’m blabbing again. Such confusion. Wish I could sit with you for a while; sadly, for me, my own travels earlier this year did not coincide with yours (different places at the same times!).
James: Yes, you are confusing yourself. Think about what I have said in this email. You are very close to cracking the code. Just keep the subject-object distinction in mind all the time and dismiss the objects as “not me.”