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The Smack of Reality as Non-Duality
John: Hi, Sundari.
Well, what can I say? With all due respect, that was excellent! A smack back to reality (so to speak). If I may say so, you are a good writer and teacher. Very well written, and I thoroughly appreciate your taking the time to write that.
Sundari: I am glad I could help regarding your assimilation of the teachings. A qualified Vedanta teacher is only a facilitator for Self-knowledge, nothing more. No teacher can remove your ignorance or bestow “enlightenment.” It is impossible for the mind itself to “get this.” If the mind is ready to hear the teachings, Self-knowledge itself does the work.
Here is what James says in his commentaries on the Mandukya Upanishad:
“The Self is never recognized as an object with the help of the mind, because the mind is insentient. It can produce knowledge of objects in the world, but not Self-knowledge. When the mind and the Self are understood to be mithya, apparently real, the Self, which previously seemed to have forgotten itself, recognizes itself and the mind and the world as the Self alone.”
John: It’s somewhat frightening and getting down to uncomfortable personal levels. My ego(?), something, is on the defensive (conditioning, etc.) yet I am elated at the same time, as it’s been a long time with my studies.
Sundari: The ego does get defensive when confronted with Self-knowledge; it is not good news for it. Non-duality is counter-intuitive because from the egoic/sensory perspective, duality seems very real, which is why we say ignorance is hardwired and tenacious. It’s a funny thing because although the ego is not real, it holds us prisoner to ignorance, to the idea that we are the limited, small self. In fact the “ego” is a word that describes the thought that limitless, non-dual consciousness (you) is a limited separate entity.
Therefore the ego is the “I” thought wrongly associated and identified with objects. It is a thought that arises out of consciousness, is made up of consciousness and dissolves into consciousness with the removal of ignorance by Self-knowledge. This thought gives rise to the idea that you are a doer: the one who owns action, objects and experiences things. There is no such thing as an ego in reality; it has no existence other than as a thought arising in consciousness. No one has ever seen an ego, yet all egos function in the same predictable way. In fact there is only one ego and all jivas share it, unless and until they know what their real identity is as the Self.
Our egos do actions to get something we think we want or need to complete ourselves or to get away from something we don’t want. It is programmed thinking, and the resulting actions that arise from the playing out of the guna-generated vasanas (as you say, your conditioning, or as we say, likes and dislikes).
One of the common symptoms of the knowledge working on the mind is when Self-knowledge blinks on and off, what we call the “firefly” stage of self-inquiry. This stage often causes considerable agitation in the mind, as the ego is adjusting the way it usually relates to its environment. In fact many inquirers fear going mad when delving too deeply into the true nature of reality! When it becomes clear to the mind that objects have no inherent value, the ego loses its compass of object identification and does not know how to respond to what is happening to it. This passes as the knowledge deepens and the ego resumes its proper place as a function of the psyche (just a messenger from our inner to “outer” world, and vice versa), instead of the one interpreting everything and running the show. Vedanta teaches that you cannot “bust” the ego, because it is not real, it only must be understood in light of Self-knowledge to be dismissed. We need a functioning ego as jivas to live in the world, but it must be demoted as the one in charge, a job it does very badly, to being subservient to our primary identity as the Self.
John: The simple fact I have gathered from both Ramji and yourself is that many seem to have it opposite and that it’s not something we work towards as a completion but, as has been alluded to with the analogy of the “muddy water in the glass” that needs to settle in order to have clarity; that we have it as is; but in fact appear to set up hindrances, etc. (muddy the waters: no clarity/ignorance).
Sundari: Yes, you hit the nail on the head: duality is a reversal of the truth, called viparya in Sanskrit.
Verse 63, Inquiry into Existence: “The power of Maya projects space on the Self, creating an apparent duality and reversing the relationship between existence and the objects appearing in it.”
Pure Maya before the Creation appears has three inherent powers: the power of revelation (pure sattva uncontaminated by rajas and tamas), the power to conceal or delude (avaranna) and the power to project (vikshepa). At this stage, pure sattva is not a guna as such, just the nature of Maya. Avaranna is not yet tamoguna, and vikshepa is not yet rajoguna. The gunas come “later” in the evolution of Creation. Vikshepa superimposes space on existence like a projector superimposes a movie on a screen. Avaranna “hides” existence.
For example, we think a tree exists by itself, whereas it “borrows” its existence from existence. This unconscious mixture of existence and objects is called superimposition (adyasa). We don’t realize that the existence of the tree (or any object) is completely independent of the tree. If you say, “a short woman,” the shortness depends on the woman, but the woman doesn’t depend on her height. Avaranna creates the impression that space exists on its own. It brings about a relationship between the substance and the property that is not actually there. This is the beginning of the hypnosis of duality (samsara) and why we perceive reality to be dimensional. It seems like space and the objects in it are “out there” away from us, but they are just images manufactured by vikshepa. Like I said in my last email, the world of objects exists, but only in your mind. You have never been there in person, although your senses delude the mind and say you have.
Space is a product of Maya. It has no nature of its own. A substance cannot be produced. Science tells us that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed, for example. By matter, science means existence, but because of avaranna they do not know that is what they mean. The production of something is merely an apparent addition. A sculptor does not add anything to the clay but only shapes what already exists.
Existence is the basic substance (sat) and Maya adds the names and forms (nama rupa). There is only one substance. It cannot be created or destroyed. Maya reverses the relationship between existence and its product. It converts existence into a property of the object, space. So we think that existence belongs to space. Such is the power of Maya!
Quote from Swami Paramarthananda:
“We say space exists instead of existence ‘spaces’ or spacey existence. Or we say: ‘Space is.’ Space is a noun, an independent substance, but in this sentence the word is used as a verb, an action word. Actions are always dependent on the subject of the sentence, in this case space. But here the IS-ness, the superior independent principle, has become the action word and the subordinate principle, while space has become the boss.
“Or, we say ‘space is existent.’ Instead of using a verb, existence becomes an adjective, which also subordinates existence to space. We treat existence as a verb or as an adjective, but it is actually a noun. Existence is not a part or property of a substance. It exists before and after objects are born and die. It is the ultimate subject.
“If you say I have a golden bracelet, you are caught up in Maya because bracelet is not a substance; it is only a form of gold. The correct statement is ‘I have bracelety gold.’ If you think you have a gold ring, you are wrong. You have ‘ringy gold.’ See the pervasiveness of ignorance. This reversal of the substance and the property is brought about by Maya. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna, speaking as the Self, says, ‘By my Maya I delude all these beings.’”
When you say the body is conscious, you are under Maya’s spell. Consciousness is not a part or property of the body. It stands alone, and the body is known to it and arises from it. Very few understand this fact. People feel the need to make consciousness a property of matter, so they subordinate consciousness to the body. As stated above, viparyaya is the technical word for this reversal of subject and object. If a rope is taken as a snake, it is not a problem. But if a snake is taken to be a rope it is a problem!
John: I still am wrapping my head around Isvara/Maya and thinking in terms of an Almighty God of gods and all things. Consciousness is – IS – and Isvara is a part of this and the God as we commonly refer to with other titles/names is Isvara, but wouldn’t God be referred as consciousness rather than Isvara? Yet they are all one. That could possibly get one to begin drinking. ☺
Sundari: It is a head-scratcher, for sure, but actually, very simple. We just must reverse the reversal, easier said than done! Therein lies all the teaching. Luckily for inquirers, Vedanta offers the methodology and the tools, the manual for reality, so to speak. And it works, if you stick to it. Yes, God (or Isvara) is consciousness, but consciousness is not God. All names can only point to consciousness because reality is non-dual, but consciousness is free of name and form. Name and form depend on it, but consciousness itself depends on nothing. Vedanta does not exhort you to have faith in God, it explains what God/Isvara is, and your understanding will depend on your level of maturity as an inquirer. Briefly, when Maya manifests, God/Isvara is consciousness appearing in the role of Creator, wielding Maya, without ever losing its nature as limitless consciousness. Limitless means “does not condition to anything.”
I have attached a comprehensive satsang I wrote on the God/Isvara/consciousness issue. It is very important to understand Isvara; without this understanding, you will never understand the jiva, mithya or find freedom from them.
John: It’s as if there was an appointment because of Maya and, generally speaking (in my obviously limited capacity), it can be difficult to know that we are not who we think we are but are: Self. I guess we shouldn’t get cocky and think who we are. But it’s simply more than an intellectual understanding without question.
Sundari: Without a doubt. See above on ego. The ego can never enlighten itself or free itself from ignorance, and if the ego claims enlightenment, we call that enlightenment sickness. Instead of surrendering to the knowledge, it co-opts it. Humility is important, but having the balls to own the fact that you are the Self, even if you do feel like a fraud or that you are faking it, is important too because, whether the ego is on board yet or not, it happens to be true. Dare to take a stand in consciousness as consciousness and fake it till you make it!
John: I, like many, have sought experience. The smackback is necessary, as it’s hard to be truthful with yourself and realize what have we accomplished with our experiences. The many teachings/paths: and what is the fruition of these? What have I really gained? Ah, yes, the ultimate experience has paid off! Took a while, but hey, look at me! The pipe dream of one day transcending the ordinary and becoming limitless, and becoming aware and knowing. Possibly enjoying abilities to leave this dimension/reality with my enlightened understanding enabling me to have incredible bliss and knowledge.
Sundari: Yes, this is the ultimate spiritual seduction, that you need to “transcend,” become extraordinary, to gain the special status of “enlightenment.” That doing so you will live in a perpetual bubble “beyond” this world, superior to all in it. What a letdown for the ego to discover that there is nothing to transcend, because consciousness is the most ordinary thing around because it is all there is!
John: To have unbelievable insight and wisdom to SEE past the illusion and either be with it or not.
Sundari: When Self-knowledge obtains, you will have very believable insight and wisdom into the nature of reality, cutting through all illusion like a laser. But that does not mean you become omniscient as a jiva. Only Isvara is omniscient (has knowledge of the total) and has all powers. But once Self-knowledge is firm, because you understand Isvara and how the gunas function, nothing is a mystery to you. You do understand the essence of everything because you have non-dual vision and see only the Self, you. As a jiva, you will still not know how things will pan out, but you know that however they do is fine. Duality does not disappear, but it is no longer a problem for you, because there is no longer any duality in your mind. This does not confer any special status, even though it makes your life as a jiva sane, full, free of fear and anxiety, always content, satisfied. I would say that beats hanging around in some mystical netherworld “beyond” it all. Amazing, the nonsense that duality spins.
Where is there to go anyway? Nowhere (or now here). Why? As consciousness, there is nowhere you are not. And what to gain? Nothing, again because there is only you. As the jiva under the spell of ignorance, there is only something to lose: ignorance of your true nature. Vedanta debunks these spiritual myths right off the bat by telling you in no uncertain terms that enlightenment is not an object, status or state to obtain. There is nothing you can do to obtain it (because you are it), except to develop the requisite qualifications and submit the mind to Self-inquiry with a valid means of knowledge for consciousness, Vedanta.
John: To KNOW, as I have experienced, as it was the only word I could use to describe the indescribable to a friend. To have, not as an escape, but as is, and to utilize for the benefit of others if I felt that it should happen.
Sundari: Everyone knows the Self, consciousness, but very few know what it means to BE consciousness. The Neos teach that you are the Self and there is no world. In essence that’s true, but how does that help you? The world and the jiva may not be real, but if you do not understand what they are, how reality functions and why, negating it all in Self-knowledge, you are stuck in duality, Maya. You can deny it all you like, but you cannot jump over mithya to the Self. Freedom is the ability to discriminate satya from mithya, no other way to freedom from bondage.
Self-knowledge is the only escape from the deception of duality. Just by knowing who you are and living as the Self you help others because you shine as the truth of their own existence. Yes, it helps to be able to articulate the teachings in a simple way anyone could understand. But the caveat here is that unless people are qualified for Self-inquiry, they will argue and not have the ability to assimilate the true meaning of the teachings.
John: Between many friends who like me have been with teachers with real powers and whatnot, there doesn’t appear to be a “carrot” at the end. What is the goal? I always ask a certain friend of mine: “What are you seeking for real?”
Sundari: The carrot is the illusion that you will be somehow more or better, but it always fails to deliver, in the long run. The ego can puff up and run on these “powers” for some time, but where does that get you? And what do you define as “real” powers? As I said before, all powers are mithya, however impressive they may be. Give up the idea that they are important or a means for liberation. They are not. When you know who you are as the Self, that you are all there is, that the buck stops with you, you have the ultimate power, and you don’t need to use it, because you are it.
John: It reminded me of the “weekend warriors” who came into the dojo. Were they taking it seriously? It took many years to reach past BB level for me, which interestingly, the martial art masters know is just the beginning. It was a commitment. Even in the business world, I would tell these guys that in order to be successful (in worldly terms), they had to believe in what they were doing religiously in order to convey and strengthen their ability to close business.
Sundari: It is true that if you understand the natural laws that run the Field of Existence and operate by them, taking appropriate and timely action, you are more likely to get what you want, though this is no guarantee. There are no guarantees for anything in mithya. But where is karma yoga? Without it, you are up the creek without a paddle. To lessen the pressure of the vasanas and negate the doer, the most important teaching of all is karma yoga. If you do not understand this teaching or do not apply it religiously, self-inquiry will not work for you and you will not bear fruit, Self-knowledge.
Karma yoga does not say that you must stop doing; even if you could, which as the jiva, you cannot. Even not doing is a doing. Karma yoga is an attitude one takes towards actions and their results. (1) It is consecrating every thought, word, and deed before you speak or act to Isvara, the Field of Existence, which is to say to your Self, whether or not you see that both the person and the Field of Existence share a common identity with you, consciousness. It is an attitude based on the understanding that life is a great gift that requires reciprocation; and with this attitude, we renounce the IDEA of doership, not necessarily the action. (2) It is the knowledge that the results of any action are not up to me, the jiva. All results are up to the Field of Existence, or Isvara.
Karma yoga means responding appropriately to what life asks on a moment-to-moment basis. If you are still feeling agitation, disappointment and frustration, it means you have not surrendered the results, and therefore cannot take what results that do come as prasad. You are still invested in getting what you want or avoiding what you don’t want. It’s that simple.
What this means is that we can act to gain a given result (which may or may not give us what we want), but whether we like it or not, the Field of Existence alone determines the result. It is possible to take the right action with the right attitude and still get a result we do not want because the Field of Existence, or Isvara, considers the needs of the whole before it takes our individual needs into account. However, we can maximize the chances of getting a positive result with appropriate and timely actions.
How we relate to results determines how peaceful our mind is. If we are very attached to the idea of getting what we want (strong likes and dislikes), life will soon prove to us that we lose as much as we win, maybe more. At best we will be happy half the time and unhappy the other half. More likely though, when one is driven by likes and dislikes, the mind is agitated whether or not we get what we want because nothing ever really satisfies the mind for long, other than Self-knowledge. It is the contention of Vedanta that happiness is our true nature and exists independently of winning or losing. Actualizing this knowledge is freedom.
Action itself can never fail us; it only produces results. A given expectation may be said to have failed, but the one with the expectation has not failed. That I have failed or that the action has failed is the wrong conclusion; the expectation is the problem. So nobody fails. As the jiva, it is only a matter of bad judgment because we are not omniscient, and we cannot have the knowledge of all the factors that shape the results of the actions. As stated, only Isvara is omniscient. Action can produce likes and dislikes (vasanas) only if we see the result as a success or failure.
When I see the result as a function of the immutable laws of action or what is even better, if I see it as the grace of the Field of Existence, no new likes and dislikes are created, and I maintain peace of mind. With this attitude towards results, actions born of likes and dislikes become the means of eliminating the likes and dislikes. The mind becomes free from the agitations of elation (rajas) and depression (tamas). Such a mind is tranquil and contemplative.
If peace of mind is the aim, taking whatever results that do come as a gift will be the attitude one brings to everything. Sameness of mind (towards success and failure) concerning action is another definition of karma yoga and is the essence of peace of mind, sattva. In cultivating the right attitude toward life, one performs one’s duty by conforming to the pattern and harmony of Creation, and thus one becomes alive to the beauty of the cosmic order. When the mind becomes clear, one can see the order. At the beginning of our spiritual practice, karma yoga is an attitude we must cultivate, but eventually it is simply knowledge, so becomes natural.
John: We can truly believe in anything, for that matter, but what is the result? Searching, realizing there is something driving me. But maybe just wasting my time.
Sundari: Yes, you are free to believe what you want, but as I told you before, Vedanta is not a belief system, religion, philosophy or based on anyone’s subjective views. It reveals the irreducible and non-negotiable fact that you are consciousness. And it provides a proven and valid means of knowledge for this fact to translate into your life as a jiva so that you live free of the jiva, enjoying your relative nature as non-dual consciousness.
What motivates us to do anything is governed by what we value most. If freedom from suffering and limitation is your driving force, we say your commitment to moksa is burning. If it is important, but you still think there is something to gain in the world, we say it is middling. And if it is something that intrigues but does not have much bearing on your likes and dislikes, it is piddling. In the last two cases, you may or may not be “wasting your time,” because the world still holds your attention. Many seekers never become finders. But if your desire is burning, nothing will stand in the way of Self-inquiry, and by the grace of Isvara, you will cease to be a seeker and become a finder.
In any case, nothing is ultimately a waste of time, because sooner or later it is our purpose to realize the Self. Most of us come to it by very circuitous paths.
John: Seeing many others hopscotching from one technique or tradition to another with in the end, what to make of it? What have you accomplished? For many, not much. Thinking that the new way is to assimilate many teachings that will culminate in the eventual awakening/enlightening. The old way of a teacher/disciple/student directly was out. The reason? Most of the authentic teachers are no longer with us or are in hiding and do not teach anymore.
Sundari: Jumping around in the spiritual supermarket is commonplace for most seekers, until they find Vedanta. If they understand what it is, they will not go anywhere else after that, because it is the knowledge that ends the quest for knowledge. And it works to remove ignorance permanently.
Authentic, qualified Vedanta teachers, alive or deceased (if you have the good grace to find them), are not hiding, other than in plain sight. Those who don’t find us or recognize us are not qualified to hear the teachings. We will gladly teach anyone who has the right attitude with a mind purified and ready to assimilate the teachings. Unfortunately, as stated a few times now, those ready for Vedanta are the smallest minority. Most spiritual seekers are still hung up on experience, on gaining something they believe will make them “transcend” smallness or make them superior or give them the edge.
John: The “student cleans and gives everything to prove his loyalty,” and the teacher even then possibly giving direct transmission of all the knowledge is not guaranteed, not to mention this is “old school.”
Sundari: In Vedanta, there is no need to prove loyalty (or anything else) to anyone other to commit to inquiry into the “small” self and to the Self. No true Vedanta teacher requires your allegiance, in fact their aim is to become redundant as soon as possible. We have no disciples or followers, only inquirers. Or students. The teacher’s role is as a friend, an equal, because he/she sees the student as non-different, as the Self. Self-knowledge is never a “transmission,” because experience does not transmit. Only knowledge does. That is why we say that the teacher never removes your ignorance or “bestows” a special status as “enlightened.” That is such a lot of baloney. Only Self-knowledge itself can remove ignorance, and the teacher is simple a vehicle for it. If the inquirer is qualified and the mind prepared, the knowledge will do the work. Nothing else.
John: Now with all teachings it’s all about the money with no guarantee of the elusive “enlightenment.” In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with money, as it’s just a means for tangibles and we should show our gratitude with monies if possible. It’s better than washing floors, for sure.
Sundari: A genuine Vedanta teacher will never charge, because the teaching belongs to nobody and everybody. If the student feels that they have derived benefit from the teacher’s efforts, it is the correct protocol to donate according to their means to support the teacher and the sampradaya, the tradition. Everyone must live. But there is never a pressure to do this. We never charge and most of the time we do not know if people donate or not. We don’t care either. We trust Isvara 100% and we do what we do as teachers because we love it. It is the very best way to be of service and it is wholly satisfying. We do not teach because we think we will make a difference or save anyone or the world. The world does not need saving and Isvara has everything under control.
John: Yes, from what I have witnessed, it’s interesting out there. With Gaiam TV, there is a plethora of information that can keep you busy, for sure. But of what benefit is it in the end? What is the end result? “Oh, I forgot to tell you, there is no end result; you are the end result, you just don’t realize that.” That can be a wake-up call for sure.
Sundari: There is indeed a “plethora” of information in the spiritual marketplace. Most of it confusing, misleading and woven fine with ignorance, at best. This is Gaiam TV’s slogan: “Together we can empower the evolution of consciousness.”
Do you not see the problem here? It is a totally dualistic statement, for three main reasons:
1. “Together we can empower” implies we are all separate.
2. We can “do” something to make consciousness, the one and only thing that never is perfect, whole and complete, and never changes, change or “improve.”
3. As a collective (separate from consciousness), we can make consciousness evolve. Such nonsense. As the one only non-negatable substratum, consciousness CANNOT evolve.
Both theories of Creation are explained and accepted by Vedanta: evolution and spontaneous Creation. How you see it depends on your perspective and Self-knowledge. Direct or indirect knowledge? If you look at Creation as the Self (non-dual perspective), it is spontaneous and instant; or, you could say, there is no Creation, only you. If you look at it from the perspective of the body, as the jiva, Creation evolves. The Self, consciousness, does not evolve, and neither does Isvara.
In Maya, the apparent reality, or Creation, there are two forces: knowledge and ignorance. Ignorance creates involution, which is the Self apparently identified with matter or objects, apparently under the spell of ignorance. We say apparently because it isn’t and cannot be actually. Maya makes the Self appear to be under the spell of ignorance. Knowledge creates evolution, the desire of consciousness to disentangle itself from matter (i.e. from identification with the objects).
Isvara, pure sattva operating Maya, is not evolving and is not contaminated or influenced by rajas and tamas. As pure sattva, Isvara is the cause of Maya, not its effects. This is the confusing part because Isvara also appears as a jiva (subtle body) and as such is also the effects of Maya. Therefore it is both evolving and involving. The effects of Maya are called mithya: i.e. that which makes the apparently real appear real. Isvara is not really the effects of ignorance; it only appears as the apparent effects in a different form.
The effects are made up of the five elements, which in various combinations make up matter (prakriti) and are inert. Yet we say they are constantly changing, which proves they are not truly real but only appearances. However, anything that is inert cannot change. According to the laws of physics, inert objects will continue at rest or in motion in the same direction until acted upon by an external force. So, to follow this logic, it should show that the world and all its objects, including jivas, can BE changed. But the Self alone is real because it cannot BE changed.
The key idea is prakriti, which, in terms of the dream of Maya, does actively evolve. Vedanta provisionally accepts this view but also negates it as the teachings progress. Actually, Maya/Isvara is consciousness, so it doesn’t evolve, but it looks like it does. If we accept the fact that matter cannot in and of itself change, because it is inert, and therefore it must BE changed, the question then becomes, who or what changes it? There seems to be only two choices: the Self, whose light is reflected through the intellect (buddhi) or the three gunas: Isvara.
However, the Self never causes anything. It is actionless. The gunas are another name for Maya. So the other possibility is that Isvara operating through Maya “uses” Maya’s projecting power (rajoguna) to cause apparent movement and change at the level of pratibasika satyam, the subjective reality. Thus all apparent matter can be changed either externally or internally at this level. However, neither Isvara nor Maya exist at the paramarthika satyam level of “pure” non-dual reality. Therefore the Self neither changes nor can be changed.
The issue, which you may or may not yet understand, is discriminating satya from mithya, the real from the apparently real. Neither matter nor consciousness actually change, but they seem to when we view them through our senses, which are in Maya, and apparently changing. We don’t know that it is identification with the changing senses that makes the world seem to be changing. And insofar as the dream of Maya exists, it is possible to effect change because prakriti evolves.
The whole statement quoted above is a superimposition of that which is only apparently real (mithya), or the jiva, onto (satya), consciousness. It is totally backwards. The whole statement is just bogus New-Agey mumbo jumbo.
If you are still casting about in mithya for other teachings that will give you answers, be prepared to be disappointed. At best, they may be what we call “leading errors” because the very fact that they do not and cannot deliver Self-knowledge makes you realize there must be something else you are missing, which seems to be the case with you. At worst, they will keep you stuck in duality taking ignorance to be knowledge and never developing the discrimination to know the difference between the two.
John: So my qigong, which definitely works (results), but in all honesty, I realize, as I stated, I’m not sure, other than the fact of playing with my energies would I really be able to accomplish the Taoist (Master Wang Liping) way, which is similar to other paths of getting off the cyclic wheel of reincarnation, really possible. Not sure now if I’m wasting my time or it doesn’t matter.
Sundari: By all means, enjoy “playing with your energies,” but give up the fantasy that it delivers anything more than temporary highs. It is all mithya, and as such, just experiential stuff, which you know. The only way to get off the cyclic wheel of reincarnation is to realize the Self, who never incarnated in the first place. As consciousness, you are unborn and never die. What difference does reincarnation make? I have explained this in previous emails.
John: General health is good, but the body is not what we think.
Sundari: The body is just meat. It is inert. It only appears conscious because you, the light of consciousness, shine on it. It is a counter across which experience is transacted. It is not real; it is an object known to you and completely unimportant. Why bother with it? Other than keeping it clean and healthy so that you can enjoy peace of mind (because although the body depends on the mind, the mind is affected by ill health), it has no particular meaning. It is just a lens through which consciousness (seems to) have contact with objects.
John: As I am ready to have a call with some others on the “path,” I will be honest and tell them I am tired of chasing powers and overall feel that unless they have an exceptional teacher, they are just wasting their time.
Sundari: Chasing powers is a totally futile quest, John. Gaining power is an illusion the ego loves to entertain, but sad to say (also mentioned previously), all powers are mithya, apparently real. As the Self you neither need nor have any powers, yet you make all relative power possible. What could be better than this? Chasing power is the biggest fallacy. Pack it in! Get serious about Self-inquiry regardless of what your peers think or where they plug their attention.
John: I have, and still do for that matter, delved into the shamanic side of things as a root. Again, as with ayahuasca and other plant teachers, etc. it’s just experience. The striving for the secret? The ultimate experience to nullify all experiences. To wake up and realize I still have to do the dishes.
Sundari: What’s wrong with doing the dishes if you know you are not the doer? When you do know, life continues as “before,” but nothing is a burden anymore. You do your duty in the world without complaint, never seeking happiness or avoiding it. You contact objects happily, not for happiness, and you enjoy the finite bliss gaining or avoiding the “right” object affords. You do not need happiness, you are it, regardless of how the jiva feels in the moment. You just observe it all and nothing touches you. And when you know you are the Self, you never have to wake up, because you never slept.