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Sundari: Hey, Jeremy, James told me about your interest in psychic phenomena and about the book you mentioned. He passed on your request that I answer your query. To be honest, I don’t have a great deal of interest in that topic per se, other than to acknowledge its relative existence. I have a very good understanding of how that “realm” functions, but quite frankly, it bores me. So much has been written about it, the New Age world is rife with it, much of it fear-based and fear-mongering. In my understanding, it is all pratibasika, which it just another word for the dream state. It is all purely subjective and open to interpretation. From the self’s perspective, even the vyavaharika is subjective in that I experience everything as a thought in the mind. Of course, where else would it take place? The mind is the only instrument for interpretation. Whether we are talking about a cup of tea in my hand or the most far-out psychic phenomenon, I still experience them in me. They are objects in awareness, made up of consciousness, arising out of me. I am not saying that psychic phenomena do not exist, everything in maya is possible. Direct perception, which is observing objects without interpretation, is called viyavaharika, the empirical “reality.” This takes place with a functional mind, behind the senses, with no conditioning from the vasanas. In other words, there is no interference with perception. This is pure Isvara srsti. When I see the cup in your hand, this data is relayed to me without interpretation, the same as it is to you. It is a cup of tea, no more, no less, until interpretation clicks in and I see that I like/dislike the cup because it is red or the tea is too hot/cold, etc., etc. This process then becomes pratibasika, the subjective, or dream, state. Here, this becomes an interpreted experience, conditioning is operating and it becomes “my” experience – jiva srsti. The jiva is adding or subtracting value. I am sure you are well aware of this definition of these “planes” of experience.
I get from your email that you are not asking for clarification on the issue of the three planes of reality. I understand that you are asking specifically about psychic phenomena. This becomes a sticky, blurry area because with this you throw open the drawbridge to pure interpretation. Welcome, Carlos Castaneda, and all the weird and wonderful stories woven with this theory! You also declare yourself a doer for whom karma has a specific meaning and you post a very big “welcome” sign to the fear thoughts that run mithya.
I am very sensitive to my environment, and my subtle body is definitely affected by the energies conditioning it, which is to say the gunas and the thoughts that come with them. I have the unfortunate ability to pick up the stuff people don’t want me to see in the subconscious, not that I am special or unique in this. I believe everyone has this ability to some degree because there is only one subconscious. I do not seek it and am not particularly interested in it; who wants to look into what is mostly Shadow stuff? I prefer to focus on the self. Sometimes it does delivers information that is very useful to me, but honestly, this realm of experience is about being a person, and I know I am not a person. James’ mind is pretty dead in that it is not agitated one way or the other by the gunas or any particular thought. I am getting there.
You enquire about psychic warfare or some such; well, I don’t really know. If you think you are a person and buy into that reality and the fear that comes with it, sure, it will definitely affect you. This is simply the samasti vasana at work; these fears are its bread and butter. But whether or not a witchdoctor or a psychic or the “Psychic Mafia” can cast a spell on me, brainwash me or affect me in any way, even though I don’t buy it, I don’t think so. In fact I know this is not possible for me, as I know that I am not a doer, and therefore there is no karma for my account. As soon as I re-identify as a doer, the karma comes to Sundari.
Because I know who I am, I don’t take the thoughts that arise in me (or anyone else) too seriously. In fact most of them don’t interest me at all and I discard them. I prefer to keep my mind focused on the self, and indulge the peace that arises in my mind as a result. These thoughts are not really thoughts, as the self is the non-experiencing witness, which is to say beyond interpretation. The danger with indulging thoughts like these about psychic phenomena is that one can give them far more credence than they deserve. They are as real as you make them – which is to say that they have the same level of unreality as everything else does in mithya. First of all, there is only one mind and avidya colours everything about it until self-knowledge removes it. Sundari likes to hang out in paramartika – translated as “walking the spiritual path with her feet on the ground and her head above the clouds, in me, awareness.” ☺ The Total has things hanging together the way they do because it is a perfectly balanced creation. Things are the way they are for reasons beyond our knowledge as jivas and trying to “fix” them or even holding onto strong convictions of “how things should be!” is arrogant and futile. And it makes for hopelessness, vulnerability to the fear-vasanas that run in the macrocosmic mind – and of course large doses of suffering. Why should things change, why want them to, whatever for? Nothing will ever change the fact that all structures are unstable in samsara. It has nothing to do with you, who are beautiful and perfect and whole.
You are certainly not meddling in our private lives, and I am happy to chat to you about anything. I liked you very much when we had time together and you are dear to James. I apologise that it did not register with James or myself sooner that you wanted an answer from me specifically. We discussed your concerns when you first wrote, and his earlier reply to you conveyed my thoughts about the matter as well. I admit I did not give it much thought until now. As for the openness, you can see by the direction ShiningWorld is taking, we are pretty open about our lives and so are we to you! ☺ Stay in touch.
~ Om and prem, Sundari.