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Constructs in the Mind Post-Enlightenment
Kerry: Hello, Sundari. I corresponded with you about the shakti insomnia a few weeks ago. Just a note to let you know that it has gotten a little better. I sleep mostly every other night which I had considered to be problematic at first. Now I just don’t care about it. If I sleep, fine; if I don’t, fine.
Sundari: Good to hear from you, and I am so glad to hear that your sleep patterns are normalising. It is especially important that you have understood the importance of not trying to control sleep and not to stress over whether Kerry is going to sleep or not. This worry and stress is the biggest enemy of sleep.
Kerry: I have another question for you regarding changes in the subtle body post-enlightenment. Last night I had a dream that I was surrounded by large stone structures, like old castles, dark, some were in ruins. Within those old stone structures life was going on.
Sundari: Dreamwork is interesting in that it is a very good way to look at Shadow content and to observe how the doer functions. This is because in the dream state there is no actual doer, it is a dream doer, and the vasanas although present are out-picturing as dream vasanas.
Kerry: I was identified as the doer busy doing lots of things that seemed nonsensical and somewhat frustrating but colorful, like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. After I realized the pointlessness of the activities I stood off to the side on a precipice and the stone structures started to fall as in an earthquake. As they started falling I wondered if the chain reaction would cause the outer structure I was standing on to fall too. It didn’t and life continued on without any sense of tragedy or loss. I walked around noting the changes.
Sundari: Your dream seems pretty clear but as it is often not easy to interpret a dream symbol accurately I checked with James to see if my interpretation is correct. This is how we see it:
Dreams are Isvara’s way of answering questions and solving problems. I think the outer structure is a symbol of the basic structure of reality as symbolized in James’ chart. Within it are various events, circumstances, ideas and feelings that crumble or fall when the identity shift that is moksa takes place. But, as the dream indicates, the basic structure of reality remains unshaken by the shift brought on by the assimilation of the teaching “I am awareness and not the body-mind entity.” This can be termed a confirmation dream. There seems to be an unconscious fear that your whole being will dissolve – you say: “I wondered if the earthquake [your moksa] would cause the outer structure I was standing on to dissolve…” and the dream says no, it will not dissolve. But everything within that structure changes, “like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
A good question to ask yourself is this: Who is it that identified the doer? How silly and frustrated the doer is. Who is the doer? And who was unaffected by what it observed? I know that you must know the one observing the dream is you, awareness, but it is important to understand the definition of the jiva in the waking, dream and deep sleep state. I have attached an e-satsang that I replied to recently in answer to the question of who is that witnesses the dreamer and the dream that could help you gain a better understanding of the jiva.
Kerry: My question to you is: Do the constructs in the mind or intellect continue to crumble and change post-enlightenment? If so, how does that affect Kerry?
Sundari: The effects of ignorance do not disappear overnight as they have been lifetimes in the making; ignorance is hardwired and beginningless even though Kerry’s personal ignorance (avidya) has been removed. Prarabdha karma takes as long as it takes to play out, like the blades of the fan still turn after the fan is switched off. It is not uncommon for the ignorance responsible for Kerry’s conditioning to take some time before it all “comes to the surface” so that it can be understood and dissolved in the light of self-knowledge. This does not mean that Kerry or her conditioning disappears “post-enlightenment.” The jiva’s conditioning is not under Kerry’s control as it belongs to Isvara and not to Kerry. To be free of Kerry all “her” conditioning must be understood in the light of self-knowledge.
What does change is that since you now know that your true identity is awareness and not Kerry, when Kerry’s stuff does come up it is seen and understood for what it is: a movie playing out on the screen of awareness, you. Even though some of the conditioning may be deeply entrenched and resistant it does not stand up for long with the continued application of self-knowledge. Self-realisation is the easy part. Self-actualisation, which is understanding what it means to be the jiva from the perspective of awareness and what it means to be awareness from the perspective of jiva, is where all the work is entailed. One cannot understand the jiva without the full understanding of the gunas and what makes up the dharma field: Isvara. James has written extensively about this very important teaching and there are a number of e-satsangs at ShiningWorld that cover the jiva-Isvara identity that would benefit you.
I have also attached a brilliant essay by Ramji on samskaras, which are conglomerations of vasanas, or deeply entrenched patterns of behaviour, which unless they are acknowledged are often in the driver’s seat of the psyche, so to speak, until they are understood and dissolved in the light of self-knowledge. It is good to remember at this point that the emphasis of Vedanta is that the jiva, Kerry, is fine the way she is. Self-knowledge is not about perfecting Kerry. Kerry is a name that refers to reflected awareness – she is an object known to you and not conscious. Moksa is discriminating the objects from you, so in order to be free of the objects moksa requires that you negate all objects. In so doing one can embrace the jiva fully for what it is and to love it unconditionally, not wanting to change it.
By the same token, as peace of mind is your true nature and is therefore the primary goal for awareness no longer under the spell of ignorance (or the jivanmukti), there might still be some work to be done on the mind in order to fully render all the binding vasanas non-binding. For most inquirers “post-enlightenment” this is usually the case. This entails examining everything in the light of self-knowledge: Kerry’s lifestyle and values may require some modification. Some people give up self-inquiry once the self is realised and erroneously believe that seeing that ignorance is an object known to them and the jiva is known to not be real there is no further work necessary.
However, if binding vasanas are not rendered non-binding they will continue to agitate the mind and bind it to objects, so freedom is not that free. There is no way around doing the work of facing down Isvara unless one is truly utterly dispassionate about the agitation caused by remaining binding vasanas and is prepared to live with it. There is no getting around the truth that your life must serve the truth, not the other way around. There is no fine print to moksa; if you want to be free then everything has to come under the uncompromising light of self-knowledge. If the life you are living is not congruent with the truth of who you are you are not free.
Much love to you, Kerry, I hope this helps and do not hesitate to write to us if you have any further questions.