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No Order of Magnitude of Events
Terry: Hi, James. As soon as I sent my email asking if one retreat would have more in-depth teachings, I realized it was more an expression of my own continuing yearning than a real question. I already feel like the richest man in the world, sitting here with my laptop filled with the scriptures and your commentaries and with my knowledge of the truth that I am… awareness. My confidence and sense of peace are becoming firmer and more established, yet my question showed me I still lusted for a bit of secret knowledge that might be a “quick fix” for lingering doubts.
Thank you for the very practical advice… I booked the Turkish retreat and got my airline tickets yesterday. I arrive in Turkey the Thursday before, which gives me five full days to recover and get over the jet lag. I’m heading straight to the Atami Hotel, but I might decide to instead stay in Istanbul and do some sightseeing before the retreat… at this point I’m just not excited about that possibility.
I’ve been meditating on a verse from the Ashtavakra Gita: “13. Meditate on yourself as motionless awareness, free from any dualism, giving up the mistaken idea that you are just a derivative consciousness; anything external or internal is false.” The words “anything external or internal is false” knock me for a loop and dissolve the sense of “me” as a separate self. They also dissolve any residual sense that the awareness that I am is physically located somewhere.
I’ve also realized subtler levels of letting go of desire for results of actions. The progression has been:
1. Letting go of the fruits of actions. This occurred as doing actions, trying hard to get results and if I got ones I didn’t like “letting go,” even if I thought (and felt) that the results sucked.
2. Realizing that the letting go is letting go of the DESIRE for any particular outcomes and realizing the letting go happens “now,” not after the results come.
3. Starting to surrender the desire for the results of “ordinary” actions, like walking to the locker room or putting on my socks.
4. Realizing that this letting-go process could be constant! Letting go of the desire for the results of ordinary actions, like walking to the bathroom or changing channels with the remote, had led to my mind quieting and feelings of eyes-open peaceful bliss. One morning I lay in bed aware that I was breathing, and I let go of any desire for the results of each breath.
5. Letting go of the desire for the results of actions, like ordinary seeing, touching and even thinking!
6. Letting go of the desire for the results of other people’s actions or even the weather’s actions.
As awareness illuminates and reveals each level, a physical and emotional sense of needing to “do” something dissipates even more, and I understand more firmly that I am limitless, actionless, non-dual awareness, and the world is me. I’m so grateful to have the scriptures and your explanations as helpful aids in my ongoing contemplation. They are like the rubber gloves, cleaning products and “how to clean” manual, to borrow your house-cleaning metaphor.
Thank you for the explanations and encouragement. I hope the retreat is going well this weekend.
~ Regards, Terry
James: Hi, Terry. Sorry for the delay in replying to your wonderful email. I am so happy that Vedanta is working. I particularly liked your detailed description of your karma yoga practice. Keeping it up in every situation, large and small, brings the best results. A lot of people only apply it to crisis situations, but using it for the little things is just as important. There is no order of magnitude of events as far as karma yoga is concerned. It is not about what happens, but about taming the mind. Good for you. I am also happy that you are coming to Turkey. I particularly like your company and the ease with which you share your thoughts. Take care of yourself.
~ Om and prem, James
PS: By the way, I was recently in Istanbul and found it a very tiring city, very gross and materialistic. The traffic is horrific and it is very expensive. I wouldn’t think that it would be very restful. There is a small town near the Atami, however, named Golkoy that is quite peaceful, with a nice beach.