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The Breath That Flows
Linda: Dear James, I hope that your retreat in Cape Town is going well? I envy those folks for being in that space with you!
James: Yes, indeed. The regular retreat starts today, but I have been teaching five hard-core Vedanta ladies every day.
Linda: I just wanted to thank you for once again offering your amazing teachings in the Drakensberg. I can also report back to the peanut gallery that your marriage to beautiful Sundari has by no means obliterated your knowledge (reminds me of Samson and Delilah, just don’t let Sundari near your hair). ☺
James: I won’t, I promise.
Linda: On a more serious note, so much has shifted for me in the space of a week (although somehow it feels like a lifetime, which I suppose it is considering all that I have processed).
Although I got the intellectual aspect of your teachings in April, I now feel as though the understanding and the intellect have merged, allowing me a deeper insight.
Previously I experienced three states (varying degrees thereof), if you can think of a horizontal line with anger and disappointment on one end and happiness and contentment at the other. Depending on what the day had to offer, I would bounce between them and then would need to CONSCIOUSLY pull myself back to a more centred place. I would do this either through meditation or relaxation or just by becoming aware.
What I have noticed now is that the centred state is always present, and regardless of the emotions that animate me, there is this ever-present knowing.
James: This is so great! I am happy for you, Linda. You were obviously ready. Vedanta works. The shift is a consequence of the assimilation of self-knowledge. That centered state is you, the awareness, experienced by Linda as a conscious knowing presence. You are the self looking at Linda, not Linda looking at the self.
Linda: The best thing is that I don’t feel as though I need to change the superficial emotion, whereas before I always had this notion that somehow I ought to temper my personality to conform to some stupid idea I had about how aware people should behave. This is partly due to the example that you personally set. You have eschewed the flowing orange robes and pious behavior in favor of James’ personality. Wow, what a relief for people like me who are ever skeptical about these meek gurus!
James: This is a great sign. There is nothing to correct, to fix. The direct shift to awareness brought on by discrimination bypassed the ego. Count yourself lucky the ego did not co-opt the shift and make a fuss about how enlightened it is. It takes a while to get out of that trap.
Linda is just a bundle of tendencies that has nothing to do with the self. Most of the negative tendencies will fade slowly and the mind will stay more or less in the center of the emotional continuum. The reactiveness to events will ameliorate because the knowledge cancels your identity as Linda, the doer. I think you are in for a very nice life.
Linda: So now my observer is permanently present, and everything I do is with complete awareness and dedication. I feel like Isvara’s flute, an instrument through which music is being played; sometimes the music is sweet and pleasing to the ear and at other times it is piercing and noisy, BUT the instrument remains unchanged! Furthermore, I am the breath that flows through instrument and NOT the instrument itself, so how can I be responsible for the noise that it makes? Ah, what a relief to not have to be burdened with the responsibility of having to play for the symphony orchestra all the time!
James: Yes, indeed! You are freedom itself.
Linda: This has been such a revelation for me. I had a dream the other morning in which I observed the beginning of the earth. I could see creatures of all shapes and sizes running on a plain and flying in the air (some of the animals I have seen in prehistoric books before, but some I have never before seen). Behind them the sky was painted in shades of orange and swirling with clouds and sparks. I was not physically there, merely just observing. How beautiful.
James: It seems even the dream ego has taken a hike. Cool.
Linda: You have helped to open my eyes, James, and for that I will always be eternally grateful. I hope that you will be visiting South Africa more frequently so that I can bask in your knowledge once more.
James: I am so happy for you, Linda. Appreciation is much appreciated. I will be back in May, it seems. Sundari and the ladies are working it out now. In the meantime you can bask in the knowledge – which is neither yours or mine – “I am awareness.”
Linda: All my love and gratitude.
PS: A young lady came to see me for a treatment last week. She was very tearful, especially after I told her that her symptoms were more psychological than physiological. She asked for my counsel, and I suggested that she pursue a spiritual practice. She asked me what, and I suggested Vedanta. Ironically, she had attended your talk the previous evening at Mary’s house! I had a sneaky suspicion that I had just been used… ☺
James: That pesky Bhagavan! Much love to you and Charles.