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That Needy Little Person
Jane: Dear Guruji, something is still missing here! No, someone is still here: me, the needy little Jane-person.
Guruji: What is wrong with having a needy little Jane-person? Everyone has a needy little person inside. Love her as she is. Accept her.
Jane: Some important shift has not happened yet.
Guruji: Why get upset about it? If there is supposed to be a shift it will happen by the will of Isvara. It is not up to you. In the meantime, be happy.
Jane: But it is not that I’m having obvious doubts about the nature of reality or that I doubt that I am infinite awareness. Most of the time I’m pretty happy, not feel-good-happy, but causeless-joy kind of happy, which seems to be my nature. But some little voice is telling me: “No, that is definitely NOT it.”
Guruji: Why do you believe that voice? What is the source of that belief? What is the “it” that you are looking for? The “it” is you. Why trust the voice when the scripture says you are “it.” Your discrimination needs a little bit of work. Your attention slips from the self to the ego. Bring it back to the self. See if anything is actually missing.
Jane: Let me try to explain it. For almost two months (since you left) there are desires which are constantly growing. The desire for a love relationship, the desire to have sex and the strong desire to communicate. First there was the desire to have sex, and as it was growing stronger and stronger, then the desire for a love relationship arises and it is growing too. Now I’m sitting here, with almost no contact with anybody because I dropped all my so-called friends, and I feel incredibly lonely all of the sudden. I don’t enjoy being alone anymore. And as I inquired into this, it is now clear to me that these desires are arising because there is still a sense of separation, so there is still quite an amount of ignorance. Otherwise I would not feel this way. I would be just fine as I am, but I’m not. There is some satisfaction and the knowledge that nothing from “outside” can fulfil me and make me feel any better, but a desire is a desire. So it is pretty clear that these desires arise because of the sense of separation which is still there.
Guruji: The problem is that you renounced your friends and life. There was no need to do that. It is called karma sannyass – getting rid of the objects. But you have not renounced the one who needs the objects. How do you renounce that one? You see that it is just another object and that its desires are born of ignorance, and you accept it as you would any object. You know that it is not ultimately real, and you learn to live happily with it.
Jane: And these days I was listening to Francis Lucille, for some unknown reason, and became aware: the major shift has not happened. When I was reading his discription of his realisation and thinking about yours, I knew that I’m still in ignorance. Here is his discription…
Guruji: There are many things that have not happened, Janeji. These things are not under your control. All you can do is be happy while you wait for them to happen. But I think the “shift” you want has happened. I think that the reason you believe that it hasn’t happened is because you think it is a “happening.”
Francis: After some time, one of my friends unexpectedly began to chant a traditional incantation in Sanskrit, the Gayatri Mantra. The sacred syllables entered mysteriously in resonance with my silent presence which seemed to become intensely alive. I felt a deep longing in me, but at the same time a resistance was preventing me from living the current situation to the fullest, from responding with all my being to this invitation from the now, and from merging with it. As the attraction toward the beauty heralded by the chant increased, so did the resistance, revealing itself as a growing fear that transformed into an intense terror.
At this point, I felt that my death was imminent, and that this horrendous event would surely be triggered by any further letting go on my behalf, by any further welcoming of that beauty. I had reached a crucial point in my life. As a result of my spiritual search, the world and its objects had lost their attraction. I didn’t really expect anything substantial from them. I was exclusively in love with the Absolute, and this love gave me the boldness to jump into the great void of death, to die for the sake of that beauty, now so close, that beauty which was calling me beyond the Sanskrit words.
As a result of this abandon, the intense terror which had been holding me instantaneously released its grip and changed into a flow of bodily sensations and thoughts which rapidly converged toward a single thought, the I-thought, just as the roots and the branches of a tree converge toward its single trunk. In an almost simultaneous apperception, the personal entity with which I was identifying revealed itself in its totality. I saw its superstructure, the thoughts originating from the I-concept and its infrastructure, the traces of my fears and desires at the physical level. Now the entire tree was contemplated by an impersonal eye, and both the superstructure of thoughts and the infrastructure of bodily sensations rapidly vanished, leaving the I-thought alone in the field of consciousness. For a few moments, the pure I-thought seemed to vacillate, just as the flame of an oil lamp running out of fuel, then vanished.
Guruji: This is just an experience, Janeji. He does not say whether this I-thought vanished for good. And if it did, so what? It does not stand in the way of you, awareness. It is known by you. It is just a thought, like any other thought. It cannot be you. The idea that egolessness is enlightenment is not true. Does Francis say that he was egoless from that point onward? And if he does, who says it? If he is awareness, he was always free of the I-thought and his experience is just another spiritual story. And if he is the ego, he is the I-thought and he cannot get rid of it forever. He can only see that it is not real. The loneliness that is caused by identifying with the I-thought has become strong and has shaken your discrimination.
Jane: The interesting thing is that I was repeating the Gayatri mantra in the morning and in the evening I read this description.
And as I inquired into the whole thing, the desire to do intense sadhana came. But then a voice said: “I still do sadhana! I’m reading scripture, doing nothing else but reading and thinking about Vedanta.” But it seems to be not enough.
Guruji: Yes, you are doing sadhana. But think about who is doing the sadhana and what that person thinks sadhana can achieve. Remember, Vedanta is just you, the understanding that ends the quest for self-knowledge. Are you the needy little voice or are you the knower of the voice? It is true that Vedanta is not enough for the needy little voice, but what about you? Is it enough for you? Are you enough for you?
Now think about this: If you see that needy little voice and its desires so clearly, can it be you?
Jane: The last days I did not do the krishna-bhajans. I feel more into doing shiva-bhajans chanting, “Jaya jaya shiva shambho.”
And this little voice said, “You have a guru, don’t worry. He will help you to see this clearly and to give you the right sadhana, if that would help.”
The idea of going to India and seriously studying Vedanta at Swami Dayananda’s mission came into my mind.
Guruji, please give me some advice.
~ LOVE, Jane
Guruji: Okay, I will try to help you. If the knowledge that you have does not make it easy to live with this voice, then you should obey that voice. You cannot live in your cave forever. You should keep up your sadhana, but you should also get out and meet people. Learn to love them as your self. When you find a man you like, you should have a relationship with him. It will be difficult – as you already know. You may not succeed with the first one. It is up to Isvara if you get the love you want from someone else. Sometimes the person you love cannot give you the love you want, sometimes he or she can. Nobody knows about this kind of love. It is produced by karma, not by jnana, self-knowledge. Maybe you will learn how to love someone and maybe you will meet someone who knows how to love you. No one can say. Only Isvara knows. So if this voice keeps driving you crazy, you need to offer the results to Isvara and start dating.
It didn’t work before, but it can be different this time if you do the relationship – and indeed all relationships – in the karma yoga spirit. In this way your vasana for love will get fulfilled and your mind will become free of the need for love from outside. What is behind this desire is the need for love, the need to feel complete. You are complete, but you seem to think that some kind of experience will make you “feel” it permanently. During the course of the relationship you will learn to love that part of yourself that has needs. Do you think Francis has no needs? He has a trophy wife and a multi-million-dollar home in the country. He is not a sanyassi. Maybe inwardly he is a renunciant, but he is living the good life, a life of karma. Do you think Guruji has no needs? All human beings have needs. There is nothing wrong with it. As Krishna, speaking as the self, says, “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma.” This means that the self can live here happily with the needs that come from the incomplete “self.” The need for love is natural. It can co-exist with the knowledge that the “I” is whole and complete because it is in a different order of reality. You can fulfill your needs without believing that they are actually fulfilling you.
You are making the same mistake Arjuna made. He had a strong need to be spiritual and run from life. But you cannot run from life. You have to face it and do your duty, in this case learn to live with this need and watch it gradually become less and less binding. It will become less and less binding if you take it as prasad and work it out, taking all the events that it generates as prasad too. You will find out that relationships with people are good, but that they are limited. You will appreciate the downside of them as much as the needy little voice is now appreciating their upside. And dispassion will develop and self-love will flower.
If you go to Dayananda’s ashram, the voice will only get louder. You are already living like a sanyassi. It seems it is not working. So now try to live like a karma yogi in the world. It may not work and you may go back to your cave. It does not matter what happens. You are a very spiritual person, and inquiry will go on no matter what your lifestyle.
I don’t know what is best for Jane or anyone else. I only know what is best for me. I am a scientist. I try things and if they work I stick with them, and if they do not work I abandon them. Life is just an experiment. You never know how it will turn out. In fact it is never resolved. There is always something more, there are always losses. It is like a game we are forced to play as long as we have these bodies. As I write I am not getting everything I want, but I am happy anyway. I know that getting what I want may not be what I want. Or it may. You cannot learn this lesson locked away in a cave. Or maybe you can. You cannot necessarily learn it engaging with the world either. Or maybe you can. So every day when you wake up offer the day to Isvara and do what you want to do. If you feel like studying scripture and chanting, do that. If you feel like dressing up and going out dancing, do that. Whatever you do, you are fine. God is not judging you. You should not judge yourself. You will not harm anyone. You cannot harm your self. As the Gita says, “Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it.” The self is indestructible. It is all the self: you, the needy little you, the world, Francis, Guruji, the sun, the moon and the stars. Worship it with your thoughts, words and deeds, and be happy.
~ Much love, Guruji
Jane: Thank you! You are right. I can see that I wanted someone other than ME to love the needy little Jane-person. But if I cannot accept and love her, WHO else can? And if YOU can, why can’t I? And her needs are okay. They are normal and understandable. In fact the needy little Jane-person wanted another needy little person to love that needy little Jane-person. Isn’t that a strange idea? If I, the “real I,” can’t love her, who else would or could do? There is no other! And when I’m unable to love my needy little person, how can this needy little person love the needy little person from whom she expects to be loved? And yes, “love” relationships did not work before just because of that! To see that there is nothing wrong with that needy little person brings back the freedom. The oak doesn’t care when a wild pig is scratching its fur on it. The oak doesn’t think that there should not be a wild pig scratching its fur on it. I’m the oak and the wild pig, but I got too much identified with the pig’s itching and almost forgot the oak’s perspective. And I’m not just the oak and the wild pig, I’m the forest too and the space in which the forest appears and THAT in which the space IS.
It is very helpful to have a (the real) guru! He provides the right perspective, the right sensitivity, the right viewpoint from which to see those kind of “problems.” And yes, I somehow I was rejecting life, including the needy little Jane-person. Now I can see that there is nothing wrong with desires. They are what they are, just desires. Getting identified with the “voice” which is expressing them is the problem, not having them. (“A desire is a desire is a desire,” Gertrude Stein would probably say if she could.)
I love to sit in the cave again! Isvara gave me that cave to sit in! Maybe I will sit in that cave forever… breathing in… breathing out… singing the name of the Lord… reading the words of the Lord… listening to the sounds of the Lord… saying THANK YOU to the Lord in the form of my guru…
~ LOVE, Jane
PS: Thank you for not saying, “Hey, cave woman, are you crazy?! What’s wrong with you? This huge, gentle, fun-loving, compassionate, joyfully giving God called existence is giving you everything that someone could possibly need in life, and you say, ‘Yes, but that’s not IT.’ Do you need a good spanking?
“You’ve been brought up in a nice and decent Western country, had nice parents in a nice little house with a big garden, you got good education, had a well-paid job in the TV business for which others would kill, you had every kind of relationship (with nice men, bad men, funny men, boring men, handsome men, intelligent men, etc.), you saw some very nice places in the world, and now you are living in a comfortable cave in a very decent neighbourhood.”
Do you remember this story? A man came to a sage and was telling him: “My wife and I fight all the time because of the children who are very noisy. Our house is too small for us. I need a room of my own otherwise I cannot stand it anymore. But the problem is, I can’t afford to move in a bigger house. It’s hell. What should I do?” The sage said: “Invite all your family members and the family members of your wife to stay at your house for two weeks.” The man was wondering why, but he did it. Three weeks later he came back to the sage and said: “Thank you! How nice and quiet it is since our family members are gone. It’s heaven!”
And I can come up with some fancy my-ego-died story too, if I would be interested in telling them. At least it happens every night. It happened when I was 14 years old, as I realized: “I’m not my thoughts.” It happened last year when I was for two weeks in a state in which almost no thoughts appeared. It happens very often, at least once a day. There is nothing special about it. And when you take away the nice big house and other comfortable objects, then the “I-thought” will no longer remain, because the “I-thought” depends on the presence of objects. Otherwise it is just “gone” because the “I” is having everything it wants to have.
But the “I” cannot die! Even when you die the “I” will remain because the only “no-thing” that cannot die is the “I.” All else is just a story. The question is with what the “I” is identified. Without any identification there is just some wierd state of disassociation which is called insanity and you need to live in a hospital because you cannot function in the world anymore.
Guruji: Number-one Guruji has number-one cave-dwelling disciple who gets a gold star for instant assimilation of the wisdom of the ages and writing an eloquent and entertaining letter to said number-one Guruji. Guruji loves his number-one disciple!