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Greg: Dear Ramji, I have been listening to Vivekachoodamani every day the last few months. Taking a stand as awareness, especially during turmoil in oneself, works for sure. But am I right in thinking that this also includes me – moaning and dribbling about the turmoil? There comes with the teaching an odd feeling now that it will never go away despite years of so-called “development”… however much internal surgery I try to perform… it won’t change. Of that I am certain now.
How is it that standing in awareness works not only towards turmoil but also works towards the me that hurts? Both seem so repetitive regardless of the specifics. Am “I” boring? Yes, however entertaining or painful or justified it appears to be.
It is as if a guy falls in love with a hooker. Even though he knows it is a bad idea he lets it happen. He pays her the full night’s fee, week after week, so she doesn’t go with anyone else! (because it would hurt so much). He pays with emotion and the idea of being different from who I am in case she doesn’t like me anymore, this lady of the night, my ego.
She has put her arms around so many men in front of my eyes but she does so now in a place where her betrayal is acceptable (the self). Now I observe how one small hour of pleasure with this lady of the night imprisons me for years. She then flings her arms around the next guy, looking at him like she looked at me genuinely, not vengeful but horrfiyingly natural.
“For the love of God, wasn’t I special?” Sorry. You never were. The next guy is as special to her as I was to her. And then the same feelings when she takes up with the next john. And the next and the next. But I secretly continue to believe that I am special. I notice my ego enjoying the freedom with me and all the other johns and I feel more imprisoned than ever as she turns her back on me and embraces the next customer. I cannot sustain the illusion dying inside. Haven’t I seen this a thousand times before?
The first thing for me was to understand fully is that the hooker (the ego) is not bad. She (or he) is what she is and no different to anyone or anything else.
The discrimination between me and her is extremely precise and needs continual practice, almost like riding a bike. To continually remind oneself that I am not that person, to stop blaming… only then does the mind become quiet enough and then dispassion arises.
The hooker is still there, we are still in love, she is doing what she does, right in front of my eyes. I feel a distant compassion, a different kind of love for the whole situation, for her and everyone else.
This freedom is worth more than any cuddly idea of being special. Specialness was always dependent on how much money was in my emotional wallet to pay her fee. But jeez, I could have lived another life as a believer. Oh, my God! The hooker has pity but no mercy. It seems there are rules!
I am so grateful, the freedom is palpable, just in knowing there is a way through. There is nothing more to want than this. Thank you so much.
~ Love, Greg
Ram: Hi, Greg. Yes. It includes the apparent you, the moaning and dribbling Greg. Take him and his moans and dribbles in the karma yoga spirit and stick with yourself as awareness. Greg is not only a moaner and a dribbler; Greg is a very cool guy too. I love your hooker metaphor. It is really like that. You are very funny. But whether Greg is moaning and dribbling or writing very cool Vedanta, standing as awareness works because he is just an object known to you, awareness. You observe him carrying on with his moans and dribbles, so he can’t be you. He was totally cooked up by Isvara – so his suffering does not reflect back on you – no blame, no guilt. You never chose to moan and dribble. It happened by the will of Isvara, i.e. unsolicited ignorance. Love the poor sod, give him a hanky to dribble into and a nice hug here and there to let him know you care, and eventually the moans will disappear and the dribbles stop dribbling. It seems the knowledge is getting firmer and firmer. The fact that humor, albeit a bit dark, accompanies this (and previous) emails tells me that. The dispassion, the compassion emerging. It is good.
As for the hooker herself, she will slowly morph into a faithful loving wife. It takes time. Thanks for this update, Greg. I love your letters.