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Responsibilities Are Just Control Games
Maya: Dear James, thank YOU for all you do. Anyway, I am grateful for your writings and read most days something from the texts we did in Tiruvannamalai and have started to read Astavakra Gita at your website as well as the e-satsangs. It helps me to stay focused in a world that loves to put demands on my time and invites distraction.
James: Yes, you need to continually neutralize the samsara. It has a way of leaking into the mind. Steady doses of Vedanta keeps it at bay.
Maya: I no longer feel it is helpful to be busy (I did not think I would ever say that!) and feel strangely unmotivated to socialise and get out in the world. This is a trend that has been coming for some time but now I feel it has arrived. I am happy at home in my own world at the moment. I get short periods of knowing I am being whole, full and complete. The air in Britain feels quite cold, physically and spiritually, after Tiru, and I have not quite landed back yet. In a way, I don’t actually want to land “back” as such. I welcome this period of revision where my habitual patterns are still a bit loose and I can make changes.
James: This is a good sign, Maya. It means that you are assimilating the knowledge. The
doer is fading away. Yes, you should never land back. Land forward! Meaning be a bit aggressive with the Vedanta. It is a sharp sword that kills the enemy of doubt. It defangs the doer.
Maya: The two insights that have rocketed my world in Tiru were “You are a thought appearing in Me” and “I have never achieved anything.”
Now, after a bit of time I can see that these two address my biggest traps: to be tied up with other people (being useful, kind, helpful, healing and generally justifying my existence) and to achieve something in my life (being productive, active, special, making a mark, proving my worth, contributing to society and again, justifying my existence).
James: No one need justify his or her existence. That we exist is enough. Be happy with who you are, both as a jiva and as the self.
Maya: And this comes from someone who sees herself as one who does not necessarily adapt to society and can be quite a rebel.
James: Most of us spiritual types are rebels at heart. I was the consummate rebel. One day my teacher said, “You know, James, you are what you are rebelling against.” I suddenly saw it. It took the wind out of the ego’s sails. There is nothing right or wrong with the world that we need to be for or against it. It just is what it is. All that is left is to appreciate it for what it is. Rebellion takes a lot of energy and gives the doer a chance to think it is special.
Maya: Still, it is a good to observe these patterns, because when I can remember those insights it brings a peace that helps me to see who I am.
Socialising and doing good are very relative qualities seen in the light of these two insights that are changing my life. Jiva needs regular reassuring that it is okay to just hang out by Myself but is getting increasingly short-fused when demands are put on her that drag her back into situations she still feels responsible for. She is really getting ready to let go of unnecessary responsibilities, which actually are control games anyway.
James: Yes. This is a good insight. The key is to have a daily devotional practice, something that keeps this knowledge in mind.
Maya: It is getting easier to step back and say, “I wonder what Isvara has got in mind here,” instead of, “This is no good, I better to do something about it.”
James: Good for you. You have been faithful in your inquiry and it is bearing fruit. Don’t be afraid to intensify it.
Maya: As I write this I already hear a tricky little voice whispering, “Are you in denial, avoiding responsibilities, being useless?” But I will not listen too hard.
James: Good. You are the knower of the voice, so it is good. Knowing what ignorance is is all that is required.
Maya: Enough words. Thank you for being with me so far.
James: You are welcome, Maya. Feel free to write anytime. You can also write to my wife if you like. Her name is Sundari and her address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Much love, and thanks again for the generous donation.