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Time to Move On
Sundari: Hello, David, nice to hear from you again. I am glad you got James’ book. I read the book at least four times over a period of six months when I first came across it and still refer to it. Read slowly and don’t move on until you have understood what you are reading. Corroborate what you read with the e-satsangs at the website and listen to in the videos.
David: I just wanted to let you know I got the book a couple of days ago. I read the first sixty pages and so far everything is right in line with my thought process. I think Jung has been the perfect preparation for me in this scenario. A lot of the work seems to have been done. It seems to me so far that I am just gaining clarity on a few things that I had already suspected to be true… and am looking to take that final step.
Sundari: The trick is to read How to Attain Enlightenment without interpreting it through the filters of your own beliefs. Vedanta is not about being “right in line with your own thinking.” It should challenge what you think you know because, clearly, if you had worked everything out for yourself you would not still be seeking and suffering. Vedanta is a provocative teaching which is intended to move you on from where you are stuck and provides the methodology for you to do so. Once you have assimilated the message that Vedanta gives, then look at your beliefs in the light of Vedanta and not the other way around. You will find that you knew most of what Vedanta teaches because it causes you to examine the unexamined logic of your own experience. Forget what you have been taught by others, you don’t need it any more.
David: The truly funny thing is, when I first started studying Freudian psychology at the age of twenty-five, my mind slammed open so far so quick that I had a few interesting experiences… and I find now while reading this book a lot of what surfaced back then is resurfacing now. I remember feeling so strong back then. I had a series of observations I put together at that time. I carried a note around in pocket and read these “reminders” a few times each day… they were:
1. This reality and each situation that I am experiencing has been created by the unconscious; I can enjoy it as such.
Sundari: This is correct; Vedanta calls the unconscious/causal body Isvara, the giver of the results of all action, the cause of the universe. The difference is that Freud and Jung saw the causal body as the self instead of the as the apparent self. The causal body/unconscious is the self/awareness in “association with” or wielding maya in the role of Creator. The definition that Vedanta gives of “real” is “that which is always present and never changes” and means that the causal body is not real, because it is not always present and is always changing.
Who can “enjoy ‘it’ as such”? Do you mean the apparent person, David – or the self – enjoys what exactly? If you mean David enjoys, then he will constantly be going up and down, pushed this way and that, gaining and losing and having to adjust his likes and dislikes accordingly. If you mean you can enjoy whatever the causal body delivers to you as the self, then you would know that it does not matter what is happening because there is nothing to gain or lose. You are whole and complete, nothing takes from or adds to you, as the joy is in you, not in the object.
David: 2. I am lucky to understand that I am higher than this level of consciousness, a fact that other people aren’t aware of.
Sundari: There are no “levels” to consciousness, there is only consciousness, because this is a non-dual reality. Your thinking here is dualistic and it may be a source of suffering: the belief that reality is a duality and you need to gain something “better” to survive or cope “in” it. This is what Vedanta calls samsara, that which never stays the same and is always changing. There are no “other” people, there is only awareness, and all objects arise from it and are made out of it, like the spider’s web is made out of the spider, but awareness is always free of all objects. All objects are inert reflectors, like the moon that shines because of the sun’s light.
David: 3. Relax, clear my mind, breathe deep, take a step back, focus and center myself, look out from “behind” my eyes.
Sundari: The one who looks out from “behind” your eyes is awareness, the non-experiencing witness, the knower of the one having the experience, the self under the spell of ignorance. This is David speaking here, the one you are looking for freedom for – but he is not real and not who you are. Moksa, or freedom from limitation, is freedom from David, not for him.
David: 4. Play the character I want to be in this situation, treat it like a movie in which I am an actor.
Sundari: Correct. Isvara, or the causal body, is the camera, the apparent reality is the movie, and you, awareness, are the screen on which the movie is playing out as well as the substance of the images coming through the camera.
David: 4. Other people can’t judge me; their opinions of me don’t matter because I know they don’t understand.
Sundari: When you see that there are no “other” people, all fear drops away. Who is there to judge you? There is only you, awareness. Fear is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real.
David: 5. No one can hurt me; I am not of my body, I exist in a higher realm. My body is just my tool to use for experiences.
Sundari: It true that as awareness no one can hurt you and you are not your body although your body is you. You are speaking as the doer here, however, and as the doer in a body, the doer and the body can apparently suffer. If you were speaking as awareness, you would say, “The body arises out of me and exists in me but I am not the body.” You would know that the body is an inert object, a counter across which the ego transacts with the world and apparently experiences things. It is not conscious, although it appears to be, because every atom is pervaded by consciousness, you, awareness. It is just food, the five elements, a meat tube. Remove consciousness and the body is six feet under. It is not your body either, it belongs to Isvara, and is part of the environment.
You would also know that, as your true nature is non-dual awareness, there is no such thing as a “higher” realm. There is only you and the objects that appear in you. As I have told you before, this does not mean that awareness and the objects that appear in awareness are the same. Awareness is what is real and always present, and the apparent reality, or David, is apparently real, meaning that David is not always present (deep sleep) and always changing (waking state). All objects arise in you, awareness, are made up of you, awareness, and have a dependent existence on you, awareness. But awareness is always free of the objects.
David: 6. I am at the very front of time; I have the history of the entire universe behind me, it has led me to this moment; respect that fact.
Sundari: This is true if you are speaking as the self. But if you are speaking as the jiva, a limited entity, you need to know that there is no such thing as time. Awareness is beyond time and space; they are just concepts with which to measure change. You do not have the entire universe “behind” you. The entire universe exists in you and you exist prior to it, so how could history, which is just a fantasy, have led you anywhere?
David: 7. Go after what I want, don’t worry if I get it or not… it’s not the result that matters, it’s the action. Trust my instincts.
Sundari: This is a karma yoga variant, but it needs some work. Karma yoga is the understanding that as an individual you are one with the dharma field, or “your” environment, which is controlled by Isvara, the macrocosmic mind. As such, although you take action, you are not in control of the results. This is because your action is only one factor of the many factors involved in the field of experience and Isvara manages the whole field; the individual does not have control of the results of actions. With this knowledge one surrenders the results to Isvara with an attitude of devotion and gratitude, taking whatever results that do come as prasad, a gift.
Trusting your instincts as the guide for your life is a very unreliable source of information. This is because your instincts are based for the most part on your personal ignorance (avidya), meaning your conditioning, and not on self-knowledge. The only thing you can always trust is self-knowledge because it is always good.
Your understanding of karma yoga needs work because the devotional attitude, the attitude of consecration, is missing.
David: 8. Be open, warm, kind, remember my manners, put the spotlight on others, they need it… feel each situation and let it play out.
Sundari: Following dharma and doing what is right brings peace of mind to yourself and others. You do not need to “shine your light on others,” because they are the light, just like you are. You just need to see that no one is separate from you; see everyone and everything as the self. Standing in awareness as awareness means you know that are that which makes light possible.
David: 9. Focus my attention, watch my body language and the body language of others. Don’t listen to just their words, see their meaning.
Sundari: Control of the mind and the organs of action is one of the qualifications for Vedanta, especially speech. Really listening to someone is paying attention, which is the foundation of love. However, you are speaking here as the ego, not as the self, because your reference point is the body. You are watching others as a person taking themselves to be real, observing others as “other” than you.
David: During this time I envisioned in my mind that right behind the surface of all reality was the unconscious force driving everything.
Sundari: You were right, but you had an incorrect idea of what the mind and the unconscious is, as did Jung. The mind/unconscious is not real because it is not always present and is always changing. The mind is not present during deep sleep, although the macrocosmic causal body is. However, the causal body is only relatively infinite in that it too is withdrawn after a certain period of “time” when the whole creation is withdrawn and returns to seed form. Therefore both the mind and the causal body are objects known to you, awareness, and not self, meaning not you, awareness. The self does not need a mind, as it does not think, and it is beyond the causal body; awareness exists prior to both. Only the self under the spell of ignorance, identified with objects, needs a mind and an intellect in order to free itself from its identification with objects, i.e. suffering.
David: I couldn’t explain why or how, but I envisioned it as though everything is hollow… with nothing but black unconscious space within it.
Sundari: You were right, all objects are inert and value-neutral. This is where the Buddhist idea of emptiness comes from. What they missed – and you missed – is who is the knower of the hollowness/emptiness?
David: I felt taller than everyone else, as though I could see down on each situation I was in from above, in my mind’s eye. I felt invincible at that time. But my understanding wasn’t stable… I ultimately crashed back down to earth after a few months, and my struggle continued.
Sundari: Who was seeing from “above, in my mind’s eye”? As the self you see all things as the same, so there is never a situation when you see yourself above anything or “looking down” on anything. One does feel invincible as the self, because you are. How can anything harm you if it is all you? However, it is the false feeling of invincibility of the ego that you felt, which is why it was unstable and you came “crashing down.”
Your “invincibility” was based on the idea that you were better or more evolved than what you saw than “others.” You are not, not as an ego nor as the self. Remember there is only one self appearing as the self under the spell of ignorance manifesting as many seemingly separate subtle bodies or objects. Freedom means that you have discriminated the self from the objects appearing in you and that self-knowledge has rendered the binding vasanas non-binding and negated the doer. This is the invincibility of the self, which is the rock-solid confidence of self-knowledge, that absolutely nothing can touch you. It is most definitely not based on being “bigger” or better than anyone else, because there IS no one else. Once you truly know who you are, this confidence never leaves you, because it is you.
David: But the weird thing is, these ideas just came to me… I never read them and nobody told me about this perspective… it had just happened. And all of this information I am encountering now (The Black Whole movie as well) seems to reinforce what I found then.
Sundari: Some of your ideas are good, most are not so good. It seems you are looking to reinforce your own ideas instead of accepting the fact that it is time to abandon them because they did not set you free. They took you as far as they could but they are no longer of any use to you. This is why Vedanta has come to you. Self-ignorance is not stupid, quite the opposite. It is highly intelligent. You need to let go of what you think you knew or know and expose your mind to self-inquiry. Freud and Jung may have given you a grounding that has prepared you for self-inquiry but their self-knowledge was limited. If you keep looking at Vedanta through the screen of your beliefs and opinions, it will not work for you. I have attached an article for you on the correct process involved in self-inquiry.
David: That mindset was so powerful, I felt so strong… but I didn’t trust it. I thought it was just my imagination… I was afraid it might be the result of an inflated ego, as I did feel I had the edge over others. And as my studies continued, I moved away from it.
Sundari: It is wonderful that you noticed this about your ego. The fact that you moved away from it is a good sign and clearly why you are ready to undertake self-inquiry.
David: But now I can see that maybe the self was giving me a glimpse of what was possible. And if I stuck with it I could one day return to that perspective.
Sundari: The self is always giving us a glimpse of what is possible, because we ARE the self but very often we are too involved with our own ideas of what reality is, hypnotized by duality to hear or see or own our true nature. This is why the first stage of self-inquiry is called sraddha, listening and hearing with an open mind.
What perspective are you hoping to return to? Your perspective then and now is flawed because you are ignorant of your true nature, which is why you are not free and are still suffering. What you need to accept is that there is something that you are ignorant of, that you do not know, the knowing of which will make all the difference.
Most people on the spiritual path, yourself included, are trying to experience the self. It is not possible because you already are the self, experiencing “your” apparent ego. The truth is the other way around. Enlightenment is simply realising this fact, which is why moksa is called freedom from bondage to objects, meaning the idea of the person who calls himself David.
David: I have had similar experiences in the past with synchronicities that made me see that the unconscious was trying to guide me in certain directions. In fact if it hadn’t when I was a child I would have repressed my premonitory dream ability, as it scared me when I found out it wasn’t common in others. But right at that time my dad had a lottery number dream. The numbers came up in the next draw but he played the wrong game. I am convinced it was never about him winning. It was the unconscious showing me that I wasn’t a freak or that there wasn’t anything wrong with me because of these dreams I was having. It can and does happen in others. So I never repressed it but I was close until that happened… so maybe this time it’s the same type of scenario.
Sundari: You are still identified with the unconscious as the self and speaking from the point of view of the limited, small “I.” Vedanta is not “the same kind of scenario” unless you mean that you understand that it has always been awareness, YOU, the self under the spell of ignorance, wanting to free itself from ignorance, guiding “you.” Most people who find their way to Vedanta have had experiences such as yours, and many more.
James had so many far-out experiences and epiphanies that if he wrote about them all nobody would believe him. You should read his autobiography Mystic by Default. Epiphanies are no big deal and can often be an impediment to self-inquiry because the ego gets hung up on their import. They are just experiences meant to deliver knowledge. But most people put the importance on the experience instead of the knowledge that the experience is meant to deliver: that your true nature is the fullness, awareness, the one who knows what you are experiencing. Only self-knowledge has the power to set you free.
There may be elements in Vedanta that are similar to what you have experienced before but your understanding of what you experienced before is what has to change. By exposing the mind to the scripture and undertaking dedicated self-inquiry with a burning desire for freedom, self-knowledge will remove the ignorance that is preventing you from knowing your true nature as awareness.
Vedanta is called a brahma vidya, which means “the science of consciousness.” It is an objective analysis of the true nature of reality – and your experience based on the facts. Like any other science, it is not personal and it has a methodology – which, if followed with great dedication and commitment – will provide conclusions that are irrefutable and will lead to moksa, if the student is qualified. Vedanta is simply the truth about you, not your truth or my truth or anyone’s truth, The Truth.
This is why Vedanta is called apauruseya jnanam, meaning “not the philosophical system of anyone one person.” It is an impersonal and independent teaching, not from the mind of man. It is a sruti, which means “what is heard”; it is revealed to the mind of man, not thought up by him. This is why you can trust it. You have come to the right place, you have found the Holy Grail. You just need a little help to understand what it means to be self-realised and to live the knowledge.
David: Anyway, I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I just wanted to let you know that it’s going well.
~ Cheers, David
Sundari: It is a pleasure to assist with your inquiry.
~ Namaste, Sundari