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Sundari: Hello, Stewart. You are most welcome, I am so glad I was able to help clarify that issue. Its a tough one, many inquirers struggle with it.
Yes, there is a kind of boredom that initially sets in when self-knowledge first takes over the intellect; we call it transcendental boredom. When the mind is no longer extroverted because it knows there is nothing to gain in the world, a certain kind of emptiness sets in. The ego has understood that there is nothing in samsara – and it has not yet made the shift to understanding that it cannot experience awareness, because reality being non-dual; it is the other way around: awareness is (apparently) experiencing the ego. The emptiness of objects can seem quite depressing, but this is just a vritti in the mind. It dissolves when self-knowledge has fully attained in the mind and it knows that it is the fullness that is the knower of the apparent emptiness.
Once self-knowledge has obtained in the mind, this is the only time objects can really be enjoyed for what they are because one no longer needs to possess them or fears losing them. You know that all objects are inert and only reflect consciousness, yet you also know that all objects are made up of you and arise from you, consciousness, but you are always free of the objects. The joy is you, not “in” the object. As you have determined, objects do offer a limited, temporary kind of bliss – so when you no longer need them to deliver more than they are capable of, you enjoy them without fear. One sees everything as the self, and enjoys life, giving thanks for one’s many blessings, as transient as they are. Gratitude is the only sane attitude. Isvara’s world is truly beautiful when seen from the perspective of the self.
Here is a satsang James had with an inquirer on this topic:
Boredom Is Not Boring
Inquirer: I was taken aback by the letter from Kumar about how bored he is since enlightenment, and your reply. The immediate question arises: What good is enlightenment if that is the result?
I’m not entirely surprised by this though. I have never understood how the self, which is supposed to be non-dual in its essence, can be described as bliss. Bliss is one half of a dualistic category after all. Happiness can only be known in contrast to unhappiness, so how can realizing one’s identity with a non-dual self be blissful? At most, it would seem to be a state of bland nullity. It seems to me that the self chooses to manifest as a dualistic cosmos precisely as a means to escape the boredom of unrealized potentiality. So what is the motive to achieve enlightenment?
I would say it is to understand that one is not trapped in a merely material world, and as a highly limited individual, but that one is in reality unlimited and free. Which makes the game of life joyous rather than frustrating.
Perhaps it is the interface between the non-dual self and the apparent self where bliss is to be found.
James: You are confusing the self with the doer, the experiencing entity. The experiencing entity survives enlightenment but it is known to be just an object. It is like looking at your doer/ego enjoyer entity as a stranger. You, awareness, are never bored. You are free of rajas. You have no need to be entertained or excited. The apparent reality is seen to be perfect as it is because you no longer derive the meaning for your life from it. You are the meaning. Experientially there is a steady current of bliss behind all the thoughts and emotions. It is a very positive state.
The boredom that the ego faces once it has been relegated to the position of an object is temporary. It is just the fruit of self-knowledge in the sense that it is one hundred percent certain that nothing in samsara will make a difference. It is a powerful experiential confirmation of the impulse that led it to seek freedom in the first place. As the knowledge sinks in, the mind gets more and more quiet and the rajasic vritti that is producing it gradually wanes and eventually dissolves completely. Not everyone whose knowledge is hard and fast experiences it. It depends on the svadharma of the individual.
You are looking at it from the position of the doer/enjoyer entity, not from the self’s point of view. It looks like a void but I can assure you it isn’t. Scripture too is clear on this point.
Sundari: If you know that you are awareness and have actualized this knowledge so that it translates into all areas of your life, you are the fullness that needs nothing. There is no “more, better or different.” You can enjoy the presence or absence of objects; it makes no difference to you. You will not be seeking pleasure – which IS inherently dissatisfying – because if you are seeking pleasure that means you do not know that all pleasure, paramaa sukka, is your true nature. In fact, it is the seeking itself, the desire for the object that causes the agitation in the mind, the dissatisfaction. The reason one temporarily feels blissful after one gets an object of desire is the desire for it has been removed. The mind then wrongfully equates the bliss of getting what you want with the object, instead of with the end of desire.
One never stops desiring, because to be alive is to desire. There is nothing inherently wrong with desire, as long as it is not opposed to dharma.