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The Vomit of the Mind
Christine: Good day, James. I have been following your thread since you did the two-day satsang at the Sufi temple. I have scoured your site and read with hunger. I have read your book How to Attain Enlightenment, listened to your 16-hour DVD twice and study the Gita, and I am amazed at the shifts and truly want a clear mind, free from suffering. I also studied at The School of Philosophy for three years, so a lot of this stuff is familiar. Their training in mindfulness is excellent and the meditation “not this, not this” and “you are me, I am you” pulled me out of a bad place.
May I enter into a little conversation with you to clarify my own dilemma?
I feel that the more I connect with this the more my old world falls away. In ways this is very scary for me. I still awake with panic attacks, my memory is beginning to get me into serious little dilemmas at home and I feel more and more alone, although I am not lonely. I keep myself amused with what I want. I give therapy as per below and study further.
James: There is only one self, Christine, so we are always alone, even when we are with people. This is hard to accept if you are the emotional type and have relied on others to pull you through. But it is great too. Look on the upside: you are free of the need to be attached to others. In fact you cannot be attached to others – which is what you seem to want – because there are no others. At the same time look at the downside of the attachment to others.
Christine: Years ago I broke away from the world of my husband. I have no insurance, no pension and no medical aid (except a hospital plan). I live a simple life and grow my own vegetables. What worries me is my cut-off from my family (can explain more if necessary), and recently I am cutting off more and more with my friends.
James: What is happening is quite natural and very common, so you are not alone. In the first place we need to acknowledge the upside, which is that self-knowledge is definitely working. People believe that self-knowledge is just an intellectual kind of knowledge, that it has no practical impact on their lives, but it certainly does, as you are well aware.
Your friends will definitely change as you change. The needs that they fulfilled for you are no longer there and so you have no need of them. Eventually, you will bond with spiritual types who understand who you are and what you are going through and then the sharing will become commonplace and you will not crave it.
Christine: But I catch myself saying I want to die, and there is no one to share my life with and I have so much to share. When I do share deeply I feel not accepted, this Eastern way does not go down well, neither does the work I do. No one seems to understand what I am about, not that I should be concerned, but I would love to be loved and I know it begins with loving the self.
James: That’s a tad dramatic, isn’t it? Is it possible that you are feeling sorry for yourself, Christine? Didn’t you have the loneliness problem before you heard of Vedanta? Maybe the way you are going about sharing is unskillful. Maybe you are trying to share with people who are not interested. In the Bhagavad Gita it says, “Let not the wise unsettle the minds of the ignorant with their wisdom.”
Christine: I still have these moments of Pure, Sheer Terror and Panic.
James: Thank God they are just moments. Focus on the moments when there is no fear. The self-knowledge is flushing out your unconscious mind, bringing up uncomfortable stuff. Just observe it. Don’t take it seriously. It is just the vomit of the mind. It will go away eventually.
Christine: This is when I start mantra-ing/meditating and it eases. But then suddenly it pops up again. I suppose what I am relating is the battle with the vasanas… and this is the ongoing work, looking at all that I am attached to.
James: Yes, indeed. Be strong. Self-inquiry is a war with the small part of yourself. You will overcome!
Christine: Maybe I am sounding a bit demented and should just be dropped, but maybe you can help me?
James: No, you are not demented, just overwhelmed by emotion. The mantra stuff is a Band-Aid. Just tough it out. Or as we say over here, man up! ☺
Let’s modify your saying “let go of attachments” as to whether or not anyone understands you and allow the days to simply unfold.