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Surrendering the Surrenderer
Amy: Until this spring, with you, I had not fully surrendered. I have now, and life has opened up in a new way.
Ramji: Have you surrendered the one who has surrendered? Freedom is called jnana karma sanyass, surrendering the surrenderer by dint of Self-knowledge.
Amy: I haven’t tried to define the difference, but I guess it boils down to accepting that I am the Self.
Ramji: Your conclusion is correct, but the operative words “I guess” shows lack of confidence in Self-knowledge.
Amy: And yet I am still struggling with the pattern of dualistic thinking.
Ramji: If you are the Self, thought has nothing to do with you. If “you” are struggling, who is the “you”? See the orientation of the “I.”
Amy: I understand duality, but my language is still forming.
Ramji: It seems that Amy wants to develop her own understanding. What’s wrong with the Self-not-Self teaching? Vedanta is all the words you need. If you want freedom and non-dual love, Vedanta’s words need to be your words. It seems you are trying to interpret the teaching in light of what Amy knows. It doesn’t work that way. You will notice that when I began this email I oriented my language to Amy, the ego. In this paragraph I assumed the position of the Self and addressed Amy as an object, not as the subject.
Amy: I don’t know if my ego is “fighting” this surrender or if my mind and intellect are having trouble with their capacity to grasp non-duality in a way they haven’t before through dreamwork, etc.
Ramji: In this statement you are objectifying the ego, but it is the ego objectifying itself because you, the Self, are identified with your ego. Ignorance is very tricky. So far, the ego is your consistent orientation. It is not the kiss of death, however, so don’t feel bad about it. It is just a lack of discrimination brought about by a failure to understand what the jiva/ego is and what the Self is.
You can’t write about your ego unless you are aware of your ego. This means that you are awareness, and the ego is the object. If you know that you are awareness when you are writing about the ego, your language will either explicitly or implicitly reveal your orientation. When you are sharing your thinking with someone like myself, you need to make it clear that the Self orientation is your orientation and that the ego orientation is not your orientation. This makes it clear that you know the difference. You don’t do that. You speak of the Self as if it is an object, something to which one surrenders and something you are unclear about. You don’t take a stand in awareness as awareness.
And why don’t you do that? Taking a stand in awareness as awareness is purely a language problem, assuming you understand the value of this practice. You evaluate every statement from the Self-not Self paradigm before you speak. You can speak from the ego platform alright. But you need to know that you are speaking from that platform and that what you are saying is not real. But I don’t get the sense that you think Amy’s talk is unreal.
Keeping this idea in mind, consider the following statements: “I love being generous.” Is that the Self speaking or is that Amy speaking? It is Amy. Why? Because generosity belongs to sattva guna, not to awareness. “I keep watching that…” Who “keeps” watching? Amy. The Self is not a doer, a “keeper.” It definitely doesn’t watch. Watching is its nature. No effort is involved. “My dad, my mom.” See the ownership. You don’t have a dad or mom. The Self is the mother/father of all worldly dads and moms. Actually, I know all about Amy’s dad and mom because she told me about them at least three times. “I cherish time alone.” You are the “alone,” you are “all one.” “I am pretty independent.” Well, you get the idea.
So discrimination is not Amy discriminating one thing from another, unless that “thing” is the Self and the “other” is Amy. Amy can’t figure out dualistic thinking, because she is thinking from a dualistic platform. Previously, you said, “…but I guess it boils down to accepting that I am the Self.” You hit the nail on the head. Who or what is accepting “I am the Self”? Before we say what it is, we need to understand who needs to do it. Amy needs to say it and Amy needs to know what it means when she says it. “I am the Self” means “I am not Amy.”
This is definitely a problem because Amy thinks she is Amy. All her statements are issued from an unreal dualistic perspective. It is a problem because it means that she has no mother, no father. That she is not generous or stingy, that she is not an artist, that she never did business, does not hold any degrees, is not married to Steve, did not bury a dog called Yogi, does not have a guru called Ramji, etc. In other words, her whole narrative is a lie that is keeping duality alive and kicking. So getting rid of the ego is disidentifying with her story, which is hard work owing to the in-built tendency to repeat it over and over. It’s not that – by your own admission – you talk too much, you keep telling yourself a story that should be as boring to you as it is to others. Nobody really cares who Amy is except, it seems, Amy herself.
The solution is to negate it over and over, by telling the truth about who you are. Of course Amy is in a karma stream that involves others, so she can’t just start spouting Vedanta with the same passion she spouts Amy, because she will lose most of her friends, which isn’t necessarily the kiss of death. At the same time, you can’t suppress Amy either. So she has to PRETEND that she is Amy and know that what she is saying about herself is non-sense. She seems to be a bit ambitious and likes challenges, so she is probably ready for the Challenge of Challenges. Only one in a million realizes the need for discrimination, and of those few who do, one or two conquers duality. Actually, it is my opinion that you are well-suited to the task; the conditions are right.
Speaking as a jiva, I’m little uncertain that I should be telling you this, but as the Self and your guru, it is necessary. My jiva is uncertain because sometimes this information is a bit of a hard knock to the ego. I hope you don’t fall into a funk. The best response is to do battle with the tendency to think as Amy until you are in control of it. You’re not. You slip into it automatically. If it is too difficult, no blame because Amy, such as she is, is on a very good path, albeit in the slow lane.
It’s all the same to me because I love you, no matter how you think about yourself. I have no choice either as the Self or as the great Ramji.
Amy: I am slow to think in non-dual terms even though dreamwork and karma yoga are helping me – you especially – I get confused with the language. If the Self is the ego, and the Self is the witness, then it is witnessing itself. Don’t I have to do that before I really see that they are all the same thing?
Ramji: No. How can “you” do that? It is not something you do, it is something you need to know. The words “the Self is witnessing itself” is not an action statement, because the self is not a doer. It is a statement that is not to be taken literally. The implied meaning is that the jiva can’t witness it. Did anyone tell you that you exist and/or that you are conscious? No. Why not? Because it is a self-evident fact, which means that you know it, but you don’t know that you know it. Witnessing is not what you do, it is what you are.
Amy: I KNOW that my ego’s “behavior” has changed. The Self never changes. So I get that the ego, in the subtle body, is an aspect of Self, but the ego, mind and intellect change and grow (but NOT DIE – I hear you on that – we need them and they never die). My language is still reforming! HELP!!!!
Ramji: The Self has no aspects. It is a non-dual, partless whole. How can something that changes and grows be immune to death? The problem is that you are interpreting, not listening. I know you’re not listening because your self-knowledge is wrong. How can the Self have aspects? How can something that changes be immortal? There is no logic to your statements, which means that ignorance is interpreting for you.
Amy: I have made self-inquiry my work for the last three decades, consciously, and the changes have been immense.
Ramji: What you have been doing is not Self-inquiry. It is ego-inquiry. The ego is not the Self, but people who do sadhanas think the ego is the Self. Self-inquiry does not change the ego, except incidentally. It reveals the Self and by default reveals the ego for what it is. The ego goes though changes from womb to tomb. But what difference does that make? It is still limited, inadequate and incomplete, no matter how aware it is of itself. Yes, perhaps your idea of self-inquiry did make Amy a happier mature person insofar as Amy is real. But it doesn’t shift your identity from Amy to the Self. To do that, you need to know that you need to take a stand in awareness until the shift is permanent and you speak as the Self, directly or indirectly. Maybe dreamwork qualified you do some degree for Self-inquiry, but Self inquiry is separating the Self and the jiva/ego.