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Mishmashed Spiritual Multitasking
Klaus: Ram, I find myself presently in need of some help in spiritual orientation, as I’ve been in quite unfamiliar territory the last few days. While quite experienced in the goings-on in the inner worlds, something way out of the ordinary has happened that warrants further study. As you are the likely agent provocateur of this recent happening, I guess that means it must be your job to help explain these matters to me. This event has apparently been triggered by me repeatedly listening to The Hanuman Chalisa Tutorial with Krishna Das singing (9:47 version) over at YouTube while simultaneously reading various scattered items from your website in no particular order, on purpose, as this many-pronged frontal assault leaves the ego in no position to resist what is happening. This practice of mishmashed spiritual multitasking is entirely new to me, as I only recently heard about it from Bhagavan Das, so its effects have shown up quite suddenly and very unexpectedly.
What has transpired is that a huge dome of light and energy of an order I am unfamiliar with has risen from very deep down in some depth of mind I am also unfamiliar with. This being has then broken through the field of my ordinary meditating consciousness with an overwhelming power. Limitless knowledge is suggested here, as it seems to be beyond the scope of the dualities of desire and aversion. This continued upward with the clear intention of filling the entire cranium, and perhaps going beyond, but instead stopped about halfway, hung around for awhile, and has since receded back to from whence it came. This was of course accompanied by much bliss, but bliss is no stranger to me. Of particular interest was an ongoing highly technicoloured panoramic view of the unfoldment of the entire Bhagavad Gita being played out before my very eyes. There were also some quick glimpses of Ramakrishna and Vivekanada, whose lineage I follow, and several unknown other beings. But mostly it was a show of power and light that has made all spiritual attainment up to now suddenly seem like the rather trivial products of an ordinary feeble mind.
I would be most grateful to hear any insights you have to offer on this, and eagerly look forward to working more with you.
Ram: Hi, Klaus. Well, this is definitely a humdinger of an epiphany, to say the least. I had many similar experiences when I was doing sadhana. I will assume that you want to know what this experience means, that you see it as somehow more meaningful than other experiences. What it means depends on what you are doing sadhana for. I will also assume you are seeking moksa, liberation. And I will further assume – correct me if I am wrong – that you are doing “mishmashed spiritual multitasking” because you believe that moksa is some kind of experience.
In general, without bringing the idea of liberation into it, your strange practice has somehow provided temporary access to the spiritual side of the universal mind (Isvara) and the self has revealed itself in this way to your mind. The siddhas and unknown beings are impersonal archetypes or energies interpreted by your small mind according to your spiritual conditioning. Had you been conditioned spiritually by a different culture, they would have appeared differently.
What does this experience mean? It means only what you interpret it to mean. And what you interpret it to mean depends on what you value and what you value depends on who you are. If you are Klaus, you might be tempted to believe that you have hit the spiritual jackpot by this practice and that if you just keep on spiritual multitasking, the next time the light may fill up your whole cranium and you will be totally enlightened, not just half-enlightened. Most spiritual people believe that enlightenment is some kind of unique experience that can be induced by some kind of spiritual practice. If you believe this, you are mistaken. I have not time to explain all the reasoning in this email, but if you want to get it clear please read the first two chapters of my book How to Attain Enlightenment very carefully. Chapter II is the key, but do not skip to it immediately. Read Chapter I and make sure you can sign on to the logic at each stage. Had you read it carefully, you would not have felt the need to write this email. If this is not enough, please go to the satsang section of my website, ShiningWorld. com, and read the satsangs on spiritual experiences.
You seem to be unaware of the most essential factor in this experience: you. You take yourself to be the experiencing entity, Klaus, but you do not notice that there is a third factor. It is you, awareness. Before the experience happened you were there observing Klaus, thinking, “I will practice mismashed spiritual multitasking according to the teachings of my guru Bhagavan Das.” Then Klaus commenced the practice. Then he experienced the light and power of awareness as it shone on his small mind – almost blew it away, it seems – and the experience ended and you noticed Klaus’s confusion, and you saw the thought arise in his mind, “I will ask James, as it was maybe his book that brought all this on,” and now you are observing Klaus reading these words and you can see his mind trying to fit what James has said into what Klaus thinks about enlightenment, moksa, spiritual experiences, etc.
The point is that you were there before this happened. You were there while it was happening and you are here now after it happened. In other words, now the experience is just a memory in Klaus’s mind, an idea that created another thought – “What does this mean?” Etc. In short, it means nothing at all to you, awareness. It has had no effect whatsoever on you. It has had an impact on your subtle body, your mind, which you perhaps identify as yourself, but it means nothing to you. Time has passed and now Klaus is experiencing something else and you see him experiencing. Experience means nothing to you. It means the world to Klaus.
If you are doing spiritual practice for liberation, no practice, including this kind of practice, will produce it. Liberation, moksa, is your nature. It cannot be gained by any action or the result of any action. You can produce experiences by action, but you cannot produce you. You are there prior to every action, the doer of the action and the results of actions.
If you want liberation, the only practice that will work is inquiry. This letter is a small example of inquiry concerning the most important spiritual topic: experience and self-knowledge. It is only by self-knowledge that you can gain liberation – because you are already free. If you knew it, you would not spiritual multitask. I am not telling you this to rain on your spiritual parade, Klaus. It is a cool experience and I could come up with a reasonable explanation from Klaus’s point of view, but I don’t want to do it, because it would probably encourage you to try to generate more spiritual experiences, etc.
Basically, people come to me when they have realized the futility of pursuing spiritual experience. This may be good news for Klaus, but seen from the self’s point of view this experience is no different from eating a Big Mac. It is just an experience. It came and it went. The important question is, to whom was it presented? It came because you invoked the self in the form of mishmashed multitasking and it went because that is what experiences do. If it resolved your seeking, you would not be writing to me or would you do anymore mismashed spiritual work. But experience does not remove self-ignorance. Only self-knowledge removes it.
If you can at least provisionally accept this, then I suggest that you read my book very carefully, signing on to the logic at every step. I also suggest that you read all the satsangs at the website – again, carefully – keeping in mind the distinction between self-knowledge and experience. Then if you have any questions please write to me and I will see if I can help you.
~ Om and prem, James