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I Have No Teachings
James: Hi, Katja. Very nice to hear back from you. I have replied here and there where I thought it was appropriate.
Katja: Maybe my thinking is confused, enough anyway to prevent me writing things down with the same clarity as I experience them.
James: I think that is probably true. But I can only go on the literal meaning of the words because we have not established a common vocabulary. Vedanta has an established terminology so that it is easy to communicate. I was reluctant to teach you because you have your own language and to do so would involve me figuring out the way you use words.
Katja: When you tell me I am conflicted and emotional, I would like to emphasize that I see a lot of conflicts and emotions arising in my body and mind, but I know this is not me. Because I know this, I let them be, and slowly the conflicts and emotions open up their significance and meaning to me. I do not do anything, I just cooperate in letting this happen.
James: Fair enough.
Katja: It is this shift (I talked about in the other letter) when the I, the awareness, looks with compassion on the forms on the outside, including the own body and mind, as part of the whole world (instead of wanting to be in the I as a point to reach) that made me write to you, because this knowledge is the main issue, as far as I understood it, in your teaching.
James: Yes. Awareness, however, does not look “with compassion.” Awareness is compassion. I should also tell you that these are not my teachings. I have no teaching. I teach Vedanta. It has nothing to do with me or my experience except insofar as they confirm my experience/knowledge and my experience/knowledge confirms them. There is nothing personal about it. So if you have an issue with anything, it is with Vedanta, not with me.
Katja: Psychology is always about improvement and in a way “fighting bad behaviour,” but the real way is receiving everything as it is, thus opening up for grace, thus becoming the real I, thus cooperating with how it is, which manifests as “good behaviour,” beyond any system, in a spontaneous way.
James: With all due respect to your opinion, Katja, but you cannot “become” the “real I.” You are already the “real I.” This belief is the result of the belief in the experiential view of enlightenment. Please read Chapter II of my book carefully. You have a good brain and can probably understand it.
Katja: Because I had suffered so much in a Christian environment, I have always wanted to find a way to make Christianity stand for real freedom.
James: It is a noble idea, Katja, but good luck! Jesus came the closest with his statement, “I and my Father are one,” but such a statement does not amount to a serious teaching except perhaps for someone who is very ripe. Christianity is a dualistic religion and it is very attached to its idea that man and God are not identical.
Katja: But the real religion of Christianity is about losing the ego, and letting the spirit of Christ (connection between God and human) live in the body, and there is no sacrifice (doing) needed (to pay the debts). I did get this insight because of reading about Buddhism and practising it.
James: It depends on what you mean by ego, but Vedanta is quite fine with the ego. Again, please read Chapter II in the “Enlightenment Myths” section under the “No Ego, Ego Death” subheading.
Katja: I thought when I become enlightened myself… not like the experience, but really knowing what had happened, being in that state forever, I can talk out of own experience, bring this message in normal words to the Church (by the grace of God), and contribute to inter-religious understanding.
James: Again, with all due respect, Katja, you cannot be in “that state” forever, because reality is non-dual and enlightenment is not experiential. I am going to insist that you read Chapter II before we continue. I teach many people and I don’t have time to go through all the logic here. But the book will make it clear. It may be that you will not accept it. If you can’t, then I can’t teach you, sorry to say. Enlightenment is not knowing what happened. It is knowing yourself, and you are not a happening. Any “knowing what happened” would only be intellectual, memory-based, indirect knowledge, and it would not set you free. Enlightenment is direct knowledge. It can only be that way because you are already free. You just do not know it with complete conviction.
Katja: I know I am free. I also am free when emotions and frictions arise. Now, for example, the friction arises about why I want to be confirmed. When I want to solve this, as a problem, there are a dozen pros and cons; they do not help. When I embrace this friction, I know it is not the real I that needs to be confirmed, but “it” just pushes me (as body-mind) gently towards a teacher, which is (at least for the moment) you.
James: Yes, wanting to be confirmed means that you are not confident in your nature.
Katja: So cooperating is also working, but I am concentrated in being present, so the real I works through me.
James: You cannot “be in the present,” Katja. The present is in you. See Chapter II.
Katja: I recently ordered your book but did not receive it yet!
James: It’s good that you ordered it. We can continue this discussion once you have read it. The rules for me teaching you are (1) that you read the book carefully; do not try to fit what you read into what you think you know; put all your ideas about yourself and freedom, etc. on the shelf for a bit and really try to understand what is being said; sign on to the logic at every step; if you cannot sign on to the logic, there is no point in continuing; Vedanta is a complete and systematic teaching and it will definitely set you free, but only if you follow the logic and can set your beliefs, opinions and personal knowledge aside; once you have clearly understood what is said, then look at what you think in light of what you have heard, not the other way around; then you can discard those views that are in harmony with the truth and keep those that are.
I can see from reading this letter that you are a victim of the knowledge/experience confusion. Remember, you cannot argue with me. You can only argue with Vedanta, which is a time-tested proven means of self-knowledge. I will help you get clarity.
(2) I insist that you read the e-satsangs at the website. This will remove a lot of confusion. If you want you can also order the DVDs and watch them along with your reading of the book, as there is a video or two for each topic. I am a professional teacher and I do it right, Katja, and I insist that my students take an impersonal and professional approach to freedom. Vedanta is to seeking what graduate school is to kindergarten. You can find the link on the upper right hand corner of the home page.
Katja: I can stick to myself and do what is natural to me. I absolutely have faith.
James: Good. In this case it is faith in the means of knowledge, pending the results of you own investigation. You need to be shown how to inquire and Vedanta teaches you how.
Katja: I have the burning desire to become a clean instrument of the divine so I can liberate others, while at the moment I am in the state of getting clean, but the freedom is already in knowing to be an instrument, clean or not.
James: You cannot be an instrument of the divine, Katja, because you are the divine. And the motivation – to help others – does not work. Reality is non-dual. There are no others. Again, all this will be cleared up when you read the book and the satsangs.
Katja: I hope this letter clarified what kind of guidance I ask from you, and why. You would give me valuable information, however, and I would be very happy to receive a short reaction to this email. I can also imagine you want to spend time on people that simply want to be free. If my apparent knowing to be free is in your perception an illusion, I like to invite you to take away this illusion. But if this would take too much time without me having read the book, I will read the book first!
James: I am glad you wrote this because now I can see my way forward with you. Whether or not I can teach you will depend on how attached you are to your views of enlightenment. I was skeptical from the beginning and I mean no disrespect if I decide not to teach you. You are a good person with a strong spiritual vasana and it may be that someone else can help you better than I can. We will see. I get the sense that it will not be easy for you, but what do I know? It is encouraging that you will read the book and the satsangs. I wish you good luck with it. Then write to me when you have a doubt and I will try to help you resolve it. You are definitely in the ballpark, as we say, but the knowledge/experience confusion – which is very subtle – is the main stumbling block. Once that is out of the way, things will flow nicely. Again, please understand that I am a Vedanta teacher. I just follow the methodology. There is nothing personal about it. Personally, I wish you all the best, but as far as the teaching goes, there is no compromise.
~ Much love, James