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Peter: Hi, James.
I note from your talks and interviews you have had many “spiritual” experiences. I have never had any spiritual experience as a monk other than a deep sense of peace until recently, when I started reading your books. I am doing this full-time now. My day consists of reading your books contemplatively, ruminating over the texts and applying same. When I am not doing that, I am listening to your MP3 talks.
The last couple of days I have had a small yellow light appear in the back of my “mind.” I am not alarmed. It’s there all the time now, I can see it in my mind’s eye. Yesterday I was walking and looked at a car: I knew immediately the car and I were one. There was no story of separation, no car or me. It was in me at the same time. A short time later a bird made a noise and I did not hear it as much as I knew it was both of us. We might say the is-ness of both was experienced.
I have yet to develop a Vedanta vocabulary, as you can tell, so please excuse the language being used. My question is, should I ignore these apparent experiences as I have been trained to do in the past or should they be cultivated? I am not attached to them in any way. I have read enough quality material in the Catholic and Buddhist traditions to know that these things can be a distraction, I just never thought it would be part of my apparent experience and I have never sought experiences.
I have in recent years renounced and formally resigned from both Catholic and Buddhist traditions. Before I was a monastic, I was a military police investigator, so I was a hard-core skeptic about most things. Oh, before I go, I fail to see how anyone without a solid background in traditional Vedanta teaching could possibly benefit from visiting someone like Ramana or Maharaj; no wonder the latter was frustrated most of the time when giving talks at his place.
I know bugger-all at this point. I tried to listen to a Tony Parson talk yesterday and had to stop five minutes in, he was so off the mark. I wish these guys would just shut up.
James: Lovely to hear from you! I’m so happy the Lord brought Vedanta to you. Obviously, you are meant to hear it. The short answer in typically Vedantic fashion is ignore them, but don’t ignore them, meaning don’t make a big story out of them, which it seems you have been already taught. At the same time, they are meaningful. First, they indicate that your mind is becoming very sattvic (subtle). Secondly, what do they mean? They mean that you are the limitless, non-dual self. The yellow light is your subtle body. The yellow symbolizes sattva, sometimes it is golden and sometime white. It is an object known to you. We call it the “reflected self.” You are the witness (saksi) of it. The experiences of the non-separation of the car and the bird are experiential validations by Isvara (God) of your self-knowledge. You probably don’t think of yourself as the self, non-separate from everything, but you are. And the meaning of these experiences will become more and more apparent as you expose your mind to Vedanta. They are precursors, foreshadowing an identity “shift” from Peter to the self, and you will understand that you have done everything that you have come to earth to do.
Yes, Tony Parsons and his ilk should definitely shut up. But we have to feel sorry for them. If they had been properly taught they would know the difference between direct and indirect knowledge, and wouldn’t presume to “teach.” They would know how silly they sound. At the same time, they serve some kind of useful function, if only to teach people that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king
~ Love, James