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Love and Dependence Are Two Different Things
Martin: Hi, James!
I’m am very happy to hear from you! I didn’t think you had done anything wrong but was just concerned that I had expressed myself badly or become too emotional or psychological for you to want to deal with, so you had written me off as too unqualified to help. I know the rajas has gotten out of hand before without my being aware of it and I knew that I was assuming, but after sending a few emails that never got addressed I began to wonder if what I thought was “real” or not… LOL… funny as that statement sounds to me after learning all I know now… the doubter kicked hard.
I know the knowledge isn’t hard and fast within me yet but I want moksa more than anything, and Vedanta is the truth, the only truth, that has made sense out of the senseless world I never understood. I also understand that Martin is an object within me, awareness, and there is nothing to be gained at all… which is freedom from Martin, but actualization eludes me.
James: Lovely email, Martin, very dispassionate and mature. It seems Vedanta is working very well. I am impressed with your progress. It’s fine if the knowledge is not hard and fast. You know it and you know it takes time, so you are meant to just soldier on, applying it on a daily basis, sattva-cizing your life, and one day – presto chango – you notice that it is firm.
The second issue in the paragraph above needs a comment. It is best to think “I am moksa,” i.e. free, rather than think of it as something that is going to happen. Applying the knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean saying “I am awareness” unless you know that “I am awareness” means “I am free.”
Martin: It seems Isvara always has to break his foot off kicking my butt to get my attention on the right subject and to show me what’s truly important. This self-inquiry business is hard work and sometimes it’s a dramatic process… even though I hate drama. I daily and repeatedly ask Isvara to reveal himself to me and I guess I was attached to the results without realizing it because I soon remembered the cautionary saying “Be careful what you pray for because you just might get it.” Isvara wants dependency on Isvara alone.
James: That’s right. Moksa is complete dependence on Isvara, as far as the jiva is concerned. Here is a question: What are you asking Isvara to reveal? You already know the answer. It is “I am free.” Moksa is not freedom for Martin. It is freedom from Martin. Investigate and see if it isn’t true now. Martin is an object known to you. You have to be the knower, not Martin. Of course this is just another way of saying “I am ever-free awareness.”
Martin: It seems that I have a samskara of stubbornness… and sometimes I still just don’t know what I don’t know.
James: That’s tamas. But if you know it does it belong to you? Think about this. Don’t dismiss it as merely intellectual.
Martin: Losing my long-time teacher and mentor was as hard as losing my mother, and the lesson has become more clear even though I think this was a real hard way to go about learning it… all the while I just keep separating myself from the objects, realizing people too are objects… and applying the karma yoga attitude as best I can in trying to accept this as prasad, that nothing that happens says anything about me as awareness.
James: “Real hard” is often Isvara’s way of toughening a person up, Martin. You stand alone even when you think you are being supported by apparent “others.” Your mom and your mentor were just fabrications brought about by the thought that you were small and dependent – that old inner child acting up.
Martin: I have to keep inquiring into this issue because death is a part of life, even though it’s merely the opposite of birth, a change of form, occurring to an object within awareness. Loving people and being dependent on people are two different things, obvious to some, not so to others who were conditioned to think dependence is “normal” behavior owing to ignorance. When you love people you hate to see them gone from your life but you have “space” around the feelings about yourself and your relationship that leaves you sad but with fond memories. When you depend on someone, when they leave, not only are you sad they are gone but they take a big chunk of you with them… and you have to deal with the sudden “hole” that it leaves in you… which is FAR more painful. (We know depending on objects is the cause of suffering.)
I had not recognized that I made parts of my self-worth, direction, functioning and decision-making dependent on the approval and discrimination of others. But now that they are gone it is blatantly apparent how dependent I have been. It’s not to say that I shouldn’t care what others think… or what they approve of concerning me… because I value their opinions out of respect. But I shouldn’t base my self-worth on how someone else feels I am living my life. I have to have the self-confidence to know that’s okay with how I’m living my life in relation to my own values and nature (dharma). It is wrong to depend on outside approval for self-validation.
We need other people to value us most when we value ourselves least. When they are gone the approval they projected goes and you’re left with nothing but your own contempt for yourself because you didn’t value your own opinion to begin with. Until you have your own approval you will lose yourself completely every time someone or something you depend on in this way leaves your life. And since all “objects” here are only temporary that’s going to keep repeating itself until it’s your turn to be the one who leaves. Then your leaving causes suffering for them just as theirs did for you.
It happened twice in two years… two deaths of the most influential two people in my life and all the grief associated with it… to teach me this lesson. Your father’s words keep reoccurring in my mind: “Too soon old, too late smart.”
I still don’t think I have absorbed the whole vision of this lesson but my inquiry is calming to the mind, so my reflections are becoming more clear as I go and the emotions abate. (The objects continue to change as they appear and disappear.) It feels almost cruel to reduce people to simple objects but that too is an object, so I just keep using my teacher’s favorite word to drill into me, “consistency,” and I keep inquiring and applying the knowledge.
James: This long statement is the truth about love and self-esteem, Martin. It will help a lot of people when I post it on the Web. I think you have assimilated it because you are very clear about it. I could not have expressed it better myself.
Martin: I know on a certain level that I’m still relating to the world as a jiva and that I have not yet managed to change my platform of existence to that of awareness, but what else can I do but “fake it till I make it”? I know that this is dependent on Isvara, that I am already the light, and that it’s the mind that needs enlightenment because I am already whole and complete, so I will just keep grinding at the ignorance until it releases the hold on my mind in samsara and the binding (destructive) vasanas are neutralized.
James: I think the change has happened, Martin. There will always be the Martin-thought, and in some way life will expect you to relate from that platform. People with predominant rajas often think in terms of achieving goals like getting rid of all the shit but don’t worry about the binding vasanas. If you know they are binding, are they binding? Don’t hold yourself hostage to the absence of binding vasanas. Martin is on the Vedanta bus and it always reaches its destination, so not to worry. Just keep at the inquiry with good humor.
Martin: Thank you for your sharing your time, wisdom, influence and counsel, because I do appreciate it. At this rate, by the time I’m old, I might just be smart… Isvara willing!
James: You are very smart, now, Martin. Seriously. It seems you have it pretty well scoped. I am proud of you.