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It’s All Good
Gidon: I started in on James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment about a year ago, and maybe didn’t spend enough time on it. I slowed down the pace with The Essence of Enlightenment. As I mentioned, I am in the “knowledge yoga” chapter. And I’m assimilating certain pointers but totally forget stuff from the previous chapters, and on certain days feel like I haven’t read a thing.
Daniel: Thinking patterns are darn hardwired! Therefore repetition is key for success in assimilating self-knowledge; continue to expose your mind to the teachings over, over and over again. Even when you feel as if you’ve forgotten some stuff, understand that the knowledge is still doing its thing whether your remember it or not. Don’t worry about it. Your job is to simply qualify your mind so when you do expose your mind to the teachings the remembering will organically firm up in its own (Isvara’s) time. There’s no rush.
Gidon: Emotions are more sattvic since talking with Ted Schmidt and following some suggestions of his as far as seeking out therapists, meds and nutrition. He has helped me tremendously to realize I still need to clear up some stuff with a therapist but to keep inquiring along with the therapy.
Daniel: Ted is a good teacher. Yeah, there is nothing wrong integrating self-inquiry with other tools, such as therapy, appropriate meds and nutrition to help lighten up the jiva-bundle. The lighter the vasana load, the easier it will be for the knowledge to stick.
Gidon: Since spending time praying again and with worship of Ganesh my emotions have definitely been working more for me.
Daniel: There is nothing more beautiful than devotion (bhakti) for the truth! It works because you’re converting your emotion into devotion.
(By the way, Ganesha is also my chosen deity. I love that plump ol’ homie!)
Gidon: So my questions are, did you have an easy time with the knowledge as far as assimilating it, and how long till there was no more need to inquire for “non-doodle”? Is it normal to go up and down as I have as a jiva? And will ups and downs just stop upon full assimilation of knowledge – some days “feeling” completely enlightened and clear on the entire path and other days feeling like a complete “nutcase”?
Daniel: No one has an easy time assimilating self-knowledge. We’re all in the same boat: the truth is counter-intuitive and ignorance is ingeniously hardwired for everyone. Next to Vedanta, ignorance is the most sly thing ever, therefore self-inquiry is hard work and requires moment-to-moment diligence. There ain’t any shortcuts.
Don’t worry about the “how long” will it take, nor do you need to feel any pressure with regards to your self-inquiry. You’re on the Vedanta bus, so you can totally relax and have full confidence in the fact that the teaching is doing exactly what it needs to do in exactly the right amount of time.
Yes, it’s totally normal for the jiva to go up and down whilst he is applying the knowledge. Use this situation in your inquiry; who is the one who knows the jiva’s ups and downs? Does the knower/awareness of the jiva go up and down? I think you know the answer.
Objectively watch the action figure called Gidon; see what guna (up or down) is playing out and simply negate its reality. Come back to the knower/awareness of Gidon, the knower of the gunas. You, awareness, are never affected by Gidon and his texture of mind, whether up or down.
Gidon: Let me add that I used lots of booze and stimulants, like speed, for years, so I’m assuming that can also make it a bit more challenging? I haven’t used that crap in some time and my diet is better, but I’m sure it did damage to absorbing new information.
Daniel: The body-mind is an amazingly adaptable and self-healing vehicle. Perhaps your past actions did cause some challenges or perhaps not. It’s not really important. Often it’s because of these very tamasic phases in life that we are offered the golden ticket to liberation. We rarely seek the truth if we are too comfortable. See it as a prasad (blessing) that has led you to where you are now. You are truly blessed, Gidon.
Gidon: Thank you, Daniel! I appreciate the clear and down-to-earth, realistic explanation of Vedanta and the reminder to take anything as prasad because honestly, 15 years ago I was too busy trying to “feel good” all the time, and I did “feel good” a lot (some real trippy shit at times).
I don’t need to feel any regret, as if “time was wasted,” because it all came together today to be able to appreciate my jiva’s interesting antics, to say the least, LOL. And the whole while, through all the ups and downs, I can rest as “pure” awareness.
Thanks again, Daniel; it’s a reminder also that I’ve always been unaffected, as I am no matter what.
~ Peace and light, Gidon
Daniel: Exactly, Gidon, it’s all good, perfect as it is, in all ways, as always.