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The Ego That Thinks It Can Free the Ego
Sundari: Hello, Bailey. I am so sorry to hear that you are still suffering so much and will do my best to help you in any way I can. I have not replied to all your emails in point form as I have addressed your main issue right up front, which covers all three of them. Note that I have included a fair amount of repetition of certain terms regarding the teaching of Isvara in the role of Creator, which is very subtle and difficult to assimilate. This teaching cannot be overstated, as it is crucial for moksa in that without understanding Isvara one cannot really be free of the jiva or fully understand what it means to be awareness in the apparent reality.
Bailey: Hi, Isabella. I know you are busy these days, so you don’t need to respond to this… I just need to tell someone about this, and since you are the only who knows what I am doing… I default to you… sorry!!!
Sundari: Please, never apologise. We are only too happy to help and we are here for that purpose. We may take a little while to get back to you, depending on how busy we are, but you are always important to us. You are me and helping you is helping me.
Bailey: So ignorance has really been getting me down… so much so that it has been hard to function (as I told you earlier). So… on Saturday I entered a very deep sleep and ended up having this dream… I am at a job interview and the woman interviewing me wants to take a picture of me. So I stand in a warehouse and let her take the picture. Then she asks me to pose by the counter, so I sit up on the counter and she takes another photo, next to another woman that was there. The other woman next to me notices that I am wearing high-top runners… I feel bad because that particular footwear is not appropriate for a job interview.
After this dream that same day thoughts of my ex-girlfriend from a few years ago flood my mind. Anger takes over my psyche. I have believed she was a very false person, and she had me fooled. It had taken me a year to see through her and to see the real her. I have resented her for fooling me and lying to me about her true intentions, but I had thought I was over it… I believed there was a connection but it wasn’t clear to me what it was. I analyzed that dream and started reading, watching spiritual shows and analyzing my thoughts… I was flustered. It was really nagging me.
Then, last night… it all came together. The dream, analyzed, stated that I am afraid of judgment, I am not embracing my new perspective (job interview), I am stuck in an idea from the past (photo). Moving forward will continue be a struggle and laborious with my current attitude (inappropriate foot wear). Then it hit me… the anger towards my ex-girlfriend and the dream are telling me I need to accept ignorance, I need to rise above it!!!!!
Sundari: Your dream interpretation sounds reasonable – but answer this: Who is it that has to accept ignorance and to “rise above it”? Your main issue is the confusion between the real and apparently real.
We have gone through this before, and I am repeating myself: the key is understanding jiva and Isvara (the subtle and causal bodies), how you as awareness relate to jiva and Isvara (the identity between the real and the apparently real) and how maya functions. Discriminating the real from the apparently real (the objects from awareness) is the most subtle and difficult teaching to grasp. Understanding it is moksa. Here it is again, very briefly:
There is the apparent person, or jiva, the “small self,” or subtle body; there is the dharma field, or causal body (Isvara wielding maya in the role of Creator, or the “big self”) and there is the knower of both: the self, or awareness.
Both the jiva and Isvara wielding maya in the role of Creator have the same identity as awareness and dissolve into awareness (they are impermanent) but awareness is “permanent,” which is not a good word because it infers duality, impermanence. A better term to describe awareness is “always present.”
Awareness is always prior to and free of the jiva and Isvara, the subtle and the causal bodies. Therefore there is really only one self, or awareness, free of all objects, from which everything arises and into which everything dissolves.
This quote from Chapter XV, verse 16 of the Bhagavad Gita sums it up:
“Two selves, one perishable and the other imperishable, exist in the world. The conscious beings and matter are perishable, the unmanifest is imperishable. But other than these is the Self beyond the selves, the limitless, changeless Awareness that has entered the three worlds and sustains them. Therefore I am renowned as the Supreme Being. If you know me in this way you become a knower of everything, the Self of All.”
What this means is the apparent self, or jiva (the self under the spell of ignorance), is not real, because it is not always present and is always changing. Although it appears conscious, the apparent self is not conscious; it is modified by maya/ignorance and is perishable, as its lifespan in the apparent reality is very brief. Moksa is freedom from the notion of doership, the limited small self/ego, or Bailey. Once ignorance of the jiva’s true nature is removed, the apparent person still has an apparent existence in the apparent reality, although as the self no longer under the spell of ignorance, you are forever free of the notion of the limited self, or ego, and know yourself to be eternal awareness. Thus your personal, or microcosmic, ignorance (avidya) is over for you.
Isvara in the role of Creator wielding maya is conscious (although it is not a jiva, or person) and is not modified by ignorance/maya (the gunas), and it too has a dependent existence on awareness. But Isvara (in the role of Creator wielding maya) is withdrawn at the end of the cycle of this apparent reality, so it too is not unchanging and not always present. Therefore Isvara, referring to Isvara in the role of Creator, is not real either, although in terms of the apparent person its life cycle is relatively eternal. In other words, Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal or permanent with reference to the jiva (or objects) but impermanent with reference to awareness. To say that Isvara in the role of Creator is eternal with reference to the jiva does not mean that it is limitless, because ignorance, or maya, only “operates” on a tiny fraction of awareness, if awareness could be quantified or had parts, which is does not, and could be quantified, which it cannot.
Maya is eternal because it is a power that exists in awareness and awareness is eternal; this is why maya is said to be beginningless. Personal ignorance (avidya) ends for the jiva when the self is realised to be its true nature, ending its cycle of incarnation and suffering, but maya, or cosmic ignorance, continues unchanged although it is not always manifest, because the creation is not always manifest. When ignorance, or maya, does manifest, Isvara in the role of Creator wielding maya appears and so does the apparent creation (Isvara srsti).
Isvara, referring to pure awareness prior to maya, or ignorance, manifesting is called paramatman. Although paramatman is called eternal and imperishable it is neither, really. Eternal is also not a good word because it infers non-eternal, perishable, and since paramatman is non-dual, it is neither. It is simply that which gives rise to everything. It is prior to and the knower of both the jiva and Isvara wielding maya in the role of Creator, therefore it has no qualities.
This is why the apparent reality is called “apparently” real. And as stated above, as long as the apparent entity is still embodied in the apparent reality, enlightened or not, it is subject to Isvara in the role of Creator. The jivanmukti, or the self no longer under the spell of ignorance, has no problem with this, because then reality is known to be non-dual and its true nature therefore to be awareness. Duality is known to be a superimposition onto non- duality. This is when karma yoga changes from a sadhana to pure knowledge, because the doer has been fully negated, and if the binding vasanas have been rendered non-binding by self knowledge, ignorance no longer obtains.
In order to be free of the notion that you are a doer, the limited entity that goes by the name of Bailey, you need to take a stand in awareness as awareness and apply the opposite thought every time the thought “I am Bailey” occurs. It is hard work because it is more or less a hidden thought, informing all other thoughts. It is an orientation based on a false assumption that is difficult to see. You “see” it indirectly in your desires and fears. Your desires and fears presuppose the notion that you are Bailey, a limited entity.
This will require the vigilant application of karma yoga to the mind, which is the consecration of every thought, word and deed on a moment-to-moment basis to Isvara, God, or the causal body, in order to negate the notion of doership. In this way, you acknowledge that the results of your actions are not up to you but to Isvara, or the field. You keep this practice up for as long as it takes in a very disciplined way. Discipline means becoming a disciple unto the self. The mind is like a wayward child, and divesting it of its notion of doership is the most difficult thing you will ever do.
Whether you practice karma yoga depends on how much you want to be free of suffering, how burning your desire for freedom really is. Make sure you understand all the qualifications required for moksa and conduct a fearless moral inventory to establish what your values are. Your values are what underpin your likes and dislikes:
Bailey’s vasanas, or conditioning.
As awareness you are beyond ignorance and you know that all objects arise out of you, are made up of you and have a dependent existence on you, but you are not them. You are always free of the objects. You need nothing to complete you or make you feel good, even though as the apparent person you can enjoy the objects for what they are, knowing that the joy comes from you, not the objects. This is discrimination, and it is ongoing until the knowledge of one’s true nature is hard and fast.
Once the mind is fixed on the self and it is known that you are the knowledge, karma yoga is still applied in every moment of one’s existence in the apparent reality, because eternal vigilance is required to keep the mind free of maya.
Dispassion takes over where emotion/fear/denial and agitation/extroversion/projection once ruled.
As awareness no longer under the spell of ignorance, apparently expressing as a person in the apparent reality, you will know that the subtle body (jiva, or Bailey) and the dharma field (Isvara/causal body) arise in you, awareness. However, the apparent entity, or jiva (Bailey), is still subject to Isvara, the gunas, or the causal body, although it is no longer conditioned by ignorance. You are trigunaatita, the knower of the gunas. In this way you can rise above ignorance; no other way works for long because without self-knowledge you are shadow boxing in the dark, the ego trying to convince itself that it is safe and in control. Experience has shown you that this does not work, because your suffering has not abated but increased.
Karma yoga is a practice specifically for doers. Once self-knowledge negates the doer, both knowledge and ignorance are objects known to you, awareness. As the jivanmukti, or the liberated self, you see only awareness, there is no “otherness” and you know there is no doer, so your contact with all objects flows naturally from this knowledge. You treat all things equally. Nonetheless the liberated jiva acts in accordance with Isvara’s laws because it understands what it means to be awareness in the apparent reality and therefore understands Isvara in the role of Creator and how the apparent reality functions. Karma yoga becomes a devotional practice of the self to itself.
As awareness you exist in a different order of reality from the apparent reality, or the objects that arise in you. You will not “choose” to see reality any way nor will you seek to change it, fix it or control it or see yourself above it. You simply see all things as equal, devoid of “otherness.”
This is non-dual vision, and there is no chooser because there is no doer. Only doers think they choose, but in reality no one is choosing anything. The gunas choose everything for doers, jivas, who are identified with the apparent, or small, person who goes by whatever name. As the self no longer under the spell of ignorance, you can manage the gunas through lifestyle and devotion to maintain peace of mind even though you have no problem with how the gunas manifest and you do not identify with them, because you know that they are not you.
This is why you are suffering and are so depressed: tamas is clouding your vision and rajas is extroverting the mind, projecting its interpretation of Bailey’s apparent life according to the Bailey’s conditioning. Occasionally some sattva manages to take hold for a while, and then Bailey is plunged into the depths yet again on the guna roller coaster of ignorance and suffering. This is the whirlpool of samsara, and there is no escape other than through self-knowledge.
Bailey: I can’t describe the energy that over took me when I put these dots together. I couldn’t sleep last night, I was more awake than I had been all day… I just kept trying to focus on stillness… I actually felt like I was above everything and everyone. I haven’t had that feeling for 12 years, since I first started studying Freud and opening my mind (I had told you about that past feeling). Suddenly it all makes sense… ignorance is necessary… I don’t have to like it, I have to accept it and understand its place. I am above it… it just doesn’t matter… it will do what it does, all I can do is be true to self and everything else will work out. I genuinely feel different, strong!!! I have no doubt there is more work to do… but what a moment. I just wanted to share it with someone. Thanks for your time.
~ Cheers, Bailey
Sundari: I am glad this insight gave you temporary relief, Bailey, and thank you for sharing it. The problem is that it is temporary, because you have not understood what it means to be awareness and you are still thinking as the person, the one who can “DO SOMETHING” about ignorance, who needs to feel “better than or above others.” You see the problem here? It is the ego, Bailey the person, or doer, who thinks it can control the objects and banish ignorance. You are deluded. The ego cannot free the ego. Only self-knowledge can do that, and you are still hung up on interpreting Vedanta according to Bailey’s belief system. You will keep suffering as long as you insist on doing this.
You have asked for my help, so I will pass on the torch of knowledge to you. What you do with it is up to you. I suggest once more that you forget about everything you have learned or think you know. Put it on the shelf for now; you can go back to it if you like suffering so much.
Accept that there is something you do not know, the knowing of which will change everything.
Start reading James’ book again from the beginning, this time without interpreting it. Corroborate what you read with listening to James’ videos day and night if you have to. Read the e-satsangs, read the scriptures. Do whatever it takes. Removing the notion of doership is the most difficult and subtle thing you will ever do. Pay attention to your dreams but remember that they are no more than your vasanas, or conditioning, out-picturing in the dream state. Although dreams can give you useful information about the ego, or doer, and shadow content in the unconscious, they will never set you free of it.
Practice self-knowledge, take a stand in awareness as awareness, apply the opposite thought, banish any thought that you need to be above, beyond or better than anyone. That is pure ego talking. How can you be better, beyond or above anyone if it is all you, awareness?
See the useless and pathetic attempt of the ego to hang onto to ignorance at all costs, even at its own expense, by creating an identity around suffering. You are whole and complete, non-dual awareness, unchanging, eternal, unconditioned and free – THAT IS WHO YOU ARE! Only by assimilating this and understanding what that really means to the apparent person in the apparent reality will you be free of Bailey and free of ignorance.
I wish you all that I wish for myself: the unconditioned bliss of self-knowledge and permanent freedom from all suffering.
~ Om tat sat, Sundari
Bailey: Hi, Isabella. I am unsure if you read my last email or not, but I had a dream last night… I just wanted you to know how it’s going, because things have been a real struggle of late… here is the symbolism in order… perhaps there is hope yet…
Criminal – To dream of a criminal indicates that you are looking for a shortcut in life. You are selling yourself short and underestimating your own potential.
Hero – To dream that you are a hero signifies your inner strengths and weaknesses. The dream refers to your ability, determination and level of confidence. You have the power to bravely face the secrets of your subconscious and confront life’s challenges.
Warts – To dream that you or someone has a wart suggests that you need to learn to acknowledge the beauty within you.
Windshield – To dream that your windshield is dirty indicates that you are confused or unclear about where you are headed in life.
Western – To dream that you are in the Wild West represents your resourcefulness and survival skills. Alternatively, the dream implies that you may be over-thinking a problem. Sometimes simplicity is the way to go. Being in the Wild West also indicates that you need to be more straightforward about your feelings, intentions or goals.