Search & Read
Stuck in Sadness, Hope and Emptiness
Sundari: Hello, Shanti. I will reply to this email, as James just cannot get to everyone anymore. I am now helping him reply to emails, and he checks and okays them all before they are sent.
Shanti: Dear James, I was thinking about the message I sent you yesterday about not feeling joy inside and how I keep looking for it.
Sundari: Who is talking here? Shanti is looking for joy, and she will never find it, because she is the joy she is looking for.
Shanti: I sort of feel like I am at a crossroads on the path or maybe I have hit a wall. I have the teachings, have you to guide me, I am practicing and trying to incorporate the teachings in my day-to-day life, but still feel empty inside; no joy. Am I just in a rut or is it some emotional trauma from my past that is buried deep inside?
Sundari: This has already been answered in my previous email. I will send it again in case you did not receive it. The rut you are in is that you are identified with the doer, Shanti.
Shanti: I know I feel a great sorrow when I go inside. It is quite overwhelming to touch, and I can only touch it briefly and then let go. There is fear associated with the sadness also.
Sundari: As I said to you in my previous reply to you, sorrow and “inside” are objects in you, awareness. Which “I” is it that goes “inside,” and who is asking this question?
You, awareness, are the knower of the one that is asking this question. You, awareness cannot touch anything and nothing touches you. Why make a story of the sorrow? Why not just let it go every time it comes up? Make that your practice, which is karma yoga. Fear and sadness are the same thing, it is just the ego, which when it does not know itself to be awareness is a fearful thought, nothing more. The fear thought is not real. FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
Shanti: I have repressed memory, just flashes of what might have happened, but to me as a child, so maybe this is what is stopping me from seeing the joy, I really don’t know.
Sundari: Whatever “happened” to Shanti in the “past” has nothing to do with you, awareness. It is Shanti’s story, the doer, the one who feels victimized and overwhelmed by it. Shanti, as the doer, is identified with this story and seems to be attached to sadness. Maybe it is a way to “feel” alive. Many people invest in and keep their stories alive because it gives them a sense of identity. The ego loves it, it gets to complain and have a reason why it can’t function properly, why life is unfair. There are many pay-offs from the ego’s point of view. Even the body, which is no more than an object and inert, gets addicted to the chemicals that get produced by every repeated emotional reaction. These are the vasanas and they produce our likes and dislikes. The ego then uses emotion as a way of thinking, a very dangerous thing to do, as it makes dispassion and discrimination impossible, very important qualifications for moksa. As I said in my previous email, emotion may be relative truth in that it is what you as the doer are apparently “feeling,” but your feelings have nothing to do with THE TRUTH of who you are as unlimited, unchanging, whole and complete awareness. It seems you have a vasana for sadness and “your story.”
It would appear that you need to work on your discrimination and dispassion and take a good look at what you are invested in as Shanti, the limited identity.
Shanti: Life feels limp and dull. I have gone to a couple of therapists over the years, but never found them much help at all. Then again, maybe this is not the problem and there is something else.
Sundari: A good therapist is very helpful in assisting one to sort out one’s psychology. It is very important to do this in order to properly assimilate our life experiences so that we can drop our story and understand our vasanas, which are what run the show. However, there are therapists and there are therapists. The job of a good therapist, as with a good teacher, is to become redundant as soon as possible, i.e. their function is to get you on your feet and independent of them and thinking for yourself. James is such a teacher, and you are indeed very fortunate to have him as your guru. This is rarely the case with therapists or teachers. James cannot help you with this though, no one can. This is because the “something else” you have a problem with is that you are identified with the ego and its story. You have missed the fact that you are neither. You are the knower of your ego and its story. The knower is not the same as the known.
Shanti: I should be happy with everything I have in life. I am very blessed to have a job, a roof over my head, food to eat. Life should be full of joy. When I look inside me I see sadness and feel like life is passing me by, and it’s such a waste of a life.
Sundari: Who is talking here? Who is that is “looking inside you and sees sadness, who feels that life is passing you by and such a waste”? Who is it that is feeling so sorry for themselves? This is Shanti, the reflected “I,” talking here, identified with her story, with the doer. YOU ARE NOT SHANTI. Contemplate this.
You, awareness, are whole and complete, unchanging, unlimited and lack nothing. You have no “inside” or “outside” and you see everything as perfect, just the way it is. You, awareness, observe Shanti identified with “her story,” attached to sadness and dissatisfied with her life, abundant as it is. You, awareness, have no problem with Shanti and her likes and dislikes, because they do not affect you at all. This is because you, awareness, ARE THE JOY, the fullness and the knower of Shanti and her emptiness.
Shanti: I hope you can shed some light on all this for me.
Sundari: You ARE the light that is shed on all of this. Shanti needs to see that she needs to practise non-attachment to Shanti, not attached Shanti’s stuff, i.e. her story. When Shanti is no longer attached to Shanti, her story and all its likes and dislikes will be unimportant. She will see it all for what it is and know it is not real, like a mirage on the desert floor.
Shanti: I know how busy you are and I do appreciate anything you can add to this to help steer me straight. I enjoyed your webcast the other day from Princeton. Great way to teach! Thank you.
Sundari: James is very busy, but sends his love. We both hope this will help you.
~ Om and prem, Sundari