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I Want Knowledge, Not Some Shakti Shit
Seeker: Hi, James.
Damn, how beautiful Vedanta is!!!! Damn, how beautifully the red-neck guru from Montana can unfold it!!!! Damn, how important a job you do here in the Western world, bringing Vedanta to seekers like myself, and how fortunate I am that I found out about it!!!! Well, I suppose I did a little bit of karma yoga to earn it.
It is simply self-evident that Vedanta was not cooked up by the human intellect. I see clearly that it is completeness that matters most, and that it has to be unfolded by a qualified teacher like yourself. I read the Gita years ago and I liked it, but I could not figure out its depth by myself.
I found your books only after I openly questioned for myself the value of Neo teachings, like Adyashanti’s. It was difficult thing to do because of the impact his “end of your world” made on me. But it made an impact precisely because, in my opinion, it contains elements of the Vedantic approach. It deals with the human vehicle, how it creates obstacles to liberation and how does it fit into a bigger picture. Besides his book, he talks beautifully and endlessly about the self, and how bad we are not recognizing it instantly (this Irish Catholic altar boy in him). His talks are like cotton candy: looks big on the stick, taste sweet but when I try to squeeze it there is nothing but air. Every minute of your Vedanta talks is a solid meal. I thought more of Neos before. If attaining moksa were equivalent of obtaining PhD diploma, Neos’ teachings would locate on a level of colouring books for kids in a preschool. Well, these books have a role to play too.
So, what is happening in my life? I continue working and try my best to do everything with karma yoga attitude. It can be very tough at times.
Simultaneously, I listen to the Vedanta Full Set over and over again, particularly the Bhagavad Gita resonates with me. My spiritual unfoldment takes the form of dialogue. I sync your talks to my work iPhone and using a Bluetooth headset. I listen to them whenever I can. I also go for long walks and listen. Steady, rhythmical movement takes care of rajas and tamas. Even listening for a short time every day has a gradual but increasing impact on my my thinking, feeling and acting. I am still in a firefly stage, but “on” periods become longer and brighter. Dream messages from Isvara confirm that.
In one dream I am on board a space shuttle that turns out to be my apartment building. The floor is angled, like on a plane during take-off, but everything stays firm and I have no problem standing. I see stars and buildings moving behind us. I feel the power of this force lifting us off the ground, through my feet. We fly slowly, but the force is so powerful that there is not even the slightest fear that we fall back to the ground. And the thought comes that even if this building exploded, just like the space shuttle did several years ago, it would not matter at all. Being one with this force is all I ever wanted.
In another dream I walk outside my maternal grandma’s farmhouse, where I used to spend my summer vacations with my mother and sister. It is peaceful and serene, but suddenly a great gust of wind comes that rapidly becomes stronger. I walk back. The hurricane-force wind blows black ink-like clouds around the farmhouse, but inside everything is unaffected and the lights are still on. The thought comes: How is possible that this building is still standing? It is only matter of time before it will be blown off the ground. As soon as I think this, the thought that there is a crack in the window, and a strand of this black air gets inside, looking for me as if it were alive. What a beauty of a teaching from our true guru!!!! Thank you so much, Isvara!!!!
In another dream there is a large plastic barrel with a big carp swimming in it. I am with a man, who strips naked. I watch in disbelief and horror when he declares that he is going to jump into this barrel, play with the fish and then kill it and eat it. This would be about facing my deepest fear of loving ugliness in this world. There is a Catholic tradition in Eastern Europe of buying live carp, keeping it in a bathtub, killing and eating it for the Christmas Eve family dinner. When I was a little boy my parents did that and I was in love with these two fishes. I loved touching them, playing with them, called them my friends. In the morning my father took me and my little sister for a long walk. It was a picture-perfect day: sunny, crisp, cold air, with the forecast of snow for Christmas. We visited an old royal castle in Vienna, places I had never seen before. We came home and I saw my fishes lying in blood on the kitchen table, still moving occasionally. I was in absolute horror.
During dinner I declared that I will not eat fish. My father asked me to eat just a little bit. I tried and I vomited. He yelled that I had to eat it because it was a tradition. I yelled back that I had deep in my ass such a tradition that made me eat my friends. My poor old man lost it. He was a good father, but it was unthinkable to him that he could say something like that to his father in front of his whole family gathered at dinner table during what is considered the most holy day of the year. I must have touched his deepest fear that if I do not behave like a good Catholic boy people may suspect something, and his secret may be revealed. He started beating me with a belt. At first I tried to run away, to protect myself.
And then something strange happened. I sat on a chair, stopped trying to defend myself. He kept beating me about my head, face, shoulders. Pain turned into pleasure. I felt it and I wanted, I craved to feel it. I wanted to feel every ounce of pain and horror my beloved fishes felt as my mother was killing them. I was completely prepared to die in this chair.
My mother was horrified by what was happening. She jumped on him and was also prepared to die defending me. He had to stop.
Next Christmas Eve dinner my mother, sensing what was coming, took a piece of veal and made it look like a fish especially for me. My father must have suspected it but his face was saved and peace preserved. Fortunately, I did not know where veal comes from or I would not have eaten it either.
I decided against coming to the retreat at Trout Lake. It would be too much distraction for me. I feel that at this stage my place is in the trenches with the troops. This might be wisdom or fear or most likely both. I am not a retreat kind of a guy. I went once to a short retreat with Adyashanti.
After waking up, my programming could not kick in fast enough and I had a hard time remembering my name or where I was. The second time I went to a retreat with Gurpreet, the Punjabi woman who does not talk much. People started telling me that my eyes glowed like hot coals. Weird stuff. I want knowledge and not some shakti shit. Let’s wait and see what Isvara’s cooking.