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Simpler Than Simple
Student: Dear Ramji, this letter out of gratitude and enthusiasm. I just enjoy writing it, a testimony of luck. I do not expect you to reply or even read it, because it is terribly long. I already take much of your valuable time presenting it. Actually, you are the only one I know to whom I can write a letter like this. This is because the only one I know is me.
Things are coming to peace now. Your talks immediately gave me confidence and forbearance. I knew, “This is it! Just stick with it for the rest of this life.” I guess they call that the “end of seeking” or “being on the Vedanta bus.” I came to know in the last few months that realization is something simpler than simple. Its proof is found in normal life, not in spirituality, and especially not in spiritual experience.
There is nothing spiritual about reality. It is Maya’s reversal mechanism with reference to the concept of spirituality. The mind is a beguiling entity. It starts seeking a spiritual identity when it is what it is seeking. Not thinking right, it becomes a ghost, susceptible to abusive experiences. I am quite allergic to all these energetic ways of practicing spirituality. Believe it or not, but I am working in a big New Age spiritual center with all the crystals and woo-woo stuff. It is quite nice to observe all this objectively, as it sharpens the knife of discrimination, but I have to be careful not to dismiss it openly.
Being clear now about what is real and what is as good as real, life’s experiences have no specific content of their own. It is just this mellow abiding as me. Next to my little duties, my only pastime is studying Vedanta, discovering the endless subtle and amusing perspectives God provides. I only take up something extra if someone proposes something. Then I say yes to love, and no to temptations and false duties. This attitude dissolves guilt. I never thought decisiveness would become so natural. It is like enjoying the swelling ripples and troughs of life by surfing them. Seemingly powerful vasana waves wipe out and bubble back into the silent ocean. And you paddle lazily to the next wave. I am standing still.
In the meantime, concepts like confidence and forbearance start to sound silly because thinking as the truth makes everything easy going. ☺ What a simple force. Nothing to do. Thinking the knowledge of what I am is always faster than the winds of mithya.
The knowledge is like a mold in which things fit perfectly. It froze my ambitions. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. There is a mysterious urge to know everything about Vedanta. The mind gets more agile and clear, even as you age.
It is nice to be honest with myself about my remaining vasanas. They are not a problem, because I know they are not real. The desire to teach Vedanta is annoying though. I guess it needs time before it ends. But what a joy to study the teachings! It is the only addiction I am not going to hold back. I did much autodidactic research and personal inquiry, wrote philosophical treatises before. Two years ago I wrote over 600 pages of non-dual verses. And although they were elegant, I put them in the trash. They were way too human and creative. The delusion that knowing who I am makes me special is more dangerous than being totally ignorant.
You, the potency of Isvara and Vedanta, set things straight. Since you explained what it means to be the Self, I know there is nothing else, so what’s to fear? This is simple and totally powerful. And although I “should” be sad now about all the “horror” I went through for seven years, I don’t feel a spit of sorrow for myself and am sitting here with an inner smile. WHAT A FOOL I WAS! It’s amazing that Something so complete, so alone, so independent, can experience such shit! It is amazing that my past never happened. And I know this is true because I have no past. I gave away my life so I could live.
I’ve seen now with my own eyes how effective this teaching is and how I discovered myself eternally. It happened the Sunday evening at Trout Lake. It was just a little shift of perspective, with a great outcome. I suddenly understood all the implications of being. It was a finite step over the edge into the infinite for me. ☺ I discovered I was the eternal one, just like anybody else. Nothing special, no feelings involved, but I knew for the first time in my life what I am for sure. This is it. Of course! It is this simplicity of completeness, without being lonely.
Concepts like faith and confidence do not apply anymore. Because what to have confidence in? What to believe in but myself? It was just ordinary silence striking the bell. Nowhere to go to! Suddenly there was no otherness, no conflicts, no problems. I readily admit that in some busy circumstances I still play the “I am the Self” thought, which magically negates everything. Objects are without value, without load. It blurs my personal history. What is everybody so worried about? Time to enjoy love.
My life has been challenging. I watched myself get sick. I was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I got divorced, had a car accident, chronic pain, lost my business, my house, my money. Actually I was withdrawing from society and society just spit me out. A strange way to head for freedom. I hardly have possessions anymore, which also doesn’t matter. I live at a friend’s house. Losing stuff actually feels fresh and light now. I can buy food and come to your teachings, which is enough.
I took antidepressants, and the idea of non-duality struck me like lightning, which brought me before groups on a low scale. The meditation and satsang teacher in me was ambitious and ego-centered. I was attached and dualistic. The sessions went quite okay, but I was not okay. Periods of epiphanies and ecstasy mixed with periods of horror. Inside I was scared. A year ago I made flyers for a series of satsangs. I even used the word “Vedanta” on the announcement. But hiding behind the mask of the coming event was a scared little person. So grateful I listened to the signal, canceled the whole business in time and threw the flyers in the trash. ☺ A great relief.
Then I read some of your books, watched a series of videos and knew I had to start all over again, without bias. This gave such power and self-confidence. I recently quit the antidepressants, and although the picture still gets dull sometimes because of these stupid chemical changes, it does not infect or affect the light that I am. I know I cannot lapse again, because how can I lapse into something that isn’t real?
I know the combination of guru and drugs is very silly. I was silly. It doesn’t matter anymore how I feel, because there is nothing to relate feelings to. Life is incredibly normal and incredibly strange at the same time. But it just doesn’t matter. Nothing matters really, except maybe compassion for the suffering caused by ignorance. There is just a strange palette of movement called mind, body and world, which is definitely not me. And how and why this power of Isvara is projected, I don’t know and I don’t care. I am enjoying the non-duality of reality. I am enjoying myself. I am also enjoying mithya. Whether it is a long hard headache or the common swifts in the sky who arrive in unusually large numbers at the end of April to breed in dormers and behind roof moldings, everything stays the same. Life swifts into one mass of effortless meditation.
Just sitting on the couch with nothing, and seeing as the Self I see Isvara’s little tricks, seeing myself in everybody, even in the most rajasic or tamasic minds. This agile play of the three bodies happily dissolving in me, Vedanta-thoughts that wipe out the fields of perception. Going consciously with a vasana-stream for a while for inquiry, for fun and then suddenly getting the picture clear and straight.
Amazing to have discovered the immense power of knowledge. It is embarrassing that I could have been ignorant of this simple me for so long. The tradition is the perfect joke to reveal myself to myself. So perfect and necessary that I dare to speak of “holy beginningless ignorance.” Actually, the whole science of Vedanta is holy because it is the only definitive rock-steady stone pile of wisdom. It turns arrogant judgment into respect for this ostensibly designed reality. Esthetic beauty is excellent ignorance, without exceptions. O wonder! O beauty! Just thinking as Self gives ineffable okay-ness. It makes the world correspond with me. I guess that is the indescribable connection-disconnection between satya and mithya. It is not a feeling, more the lack of feelings. Oh, it brings such pleasure in realizing that there is no time, no other beings, that history is just leading to yourself. I really have to send this thing out now because I am becoming obsessed with it and it is not news to you.
I bow before your brain, Ramji! Do I have a question? I guess not. Being is normal, but it is also strange to talk about it like this. Don’t worry, I only think like this, I am not acting out in public. I will be attending your next seminar deo volente. And will see what happens later on. Still so much to learn. I hope this does not sound exalted but happy and grateful. Rereading it, I was enchanted by its timbre. Remarkable because the mood in which I write is calm.
James: It sounds happy and grateful. It exalts the Self. It shows purity and integrity. It objectifies the jiva. It is eloquent and entertaining. I will share it but nobody will know who wrote it. Not to worry. The world needs to hear what is possible.
~ Much love, Ramji