July 31

Trances

R: We see that all the plurality in the world arises out of the dynamic of ‘I’ and other. A triad is made of the first person ‘I’, the second person ‘you’ and the third persons ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘it’. Of these, the second and third persons are dependent on the first. ‘I’ refers to the sense of being an individual. It is contrasted with the egoity of other individual entities characterized as ‘you’, ‘she’, ‘he’, or ‘it’.
The sense of being, I-am, is taken to be the Ultimate. It is not. It is temporal and it yields to the timeless.
Nothing I say here today can leave a single fingerprint on what is truly the Ultimate.
Q: I have been seeking higher levels of consciousness of thirty five years. Regardless of what I may have gained, the seeking continues. Does this ever end?
R: Seeking a higher level of consciousness will not insulate you from your ego-based fears. All seeking is an attempt to acquire greater security. When the dictatorship of the ego has been overthrown, seeking ceases.
Q: Who are you?
R: Who I am is who you are. When you know who you are, you will know who I am.
Q: (laughing) OK, who am I?
R: There is the human psychosomatic complex, comprised of a physical body with its five cognitive sense organs, as well as the mind, intellect, ego, and sense consciousness, which one could argue is a sixth sense organ.
It’s all a temporal appearance. It is not the seer. It is the instrument of the Seeing.
View every instant from what is the ever-constant, not from the temporary. The more frequently you do this, the easier and the more natural it becomes.
You are the cause of the perception of all that is, the Conscious Life Energy which experiences all experience.
Q: To be honest with you, the only reason I came today was that a friend said that I might get to experience the Self with you. Can you give me a taste of the Self?
R: First, the Self is not an object to be tasted. It is that by which all tastes are known.
Next, I don’t do anything. Yet because I am, everything is. That is the paradox.
Last, if you had a headache and I took it away for an hour only to have it re-establish itself, what did I really give you other than the briefest respite? These respites are called trances or samadhis. Although they can be quite pleasant, they do have a downside in that they can lead to what could be called samadhi fixation. That is to say that you enjoyed the experience so much, that you begin to try to recreate it. In the event that you are sucessful in recreating it, you are then challenged by the possibility of samadhi addiction.
If we remember that what comes and goes is not worth pursuing, regardless of how pleasant it may be, we can keep the focus on That which never comes and goes.
Q: I’d still like to have it.
R: Fine, fall into deep sleep.
Q: Why does the ego happen?
R: I can’t tell you why. I can present you with theories of “why”. However, we are together to talk about What-Is, not what might be. But I can talk about how it happens.
The world is known through a process wherein the objective is brought into the field of the subjective. What arises during this process in humans is a seemingly objectivized subject, me. It is an entanglement that occurs between the consciousness  and its instrument. It plays out as unchallenged assumptions that lie behind all our experiences and habits.
Physiologically, around age two, the frontal cortex of the brain is sufficiently developed to allow this “me” to be born. Over the ensuing two years, the me takes on greater complexity until by age four, when self-talk begins.
Q: What role, if any, can the intellect play in realization?
R: Intellect may take you to the address, but no farther. You may see things more clearly, have intellectual understanding, but this is not enough. It is said that there are two approaches: you can go after “it” or you can be still and wait for “it” to come to you, but I disagree.
To believe that further effort will take you further is like pushing a river. You have arrived at that critical juncture wherein you sit outside the door and wait for it to open, wait for “it” to come to you.
Q: Can you clarify the distinctions between, the Conscious Life Energy, consciousness and the Absolute?
R: The Conscious Life Energy is that by which all functioning happens. Consciousness, one aspect of it, is that by which perception happens. The Absolute is that by which the Conscious Life Energy happens.
The Absolute is the most antecedent; there is no “before”.
Q: I agree that most people, regardless of their practice and its duration, don’t get it. Why is that?
R: Let’s speak candidly. You declare that you want to have knowledge of your deeper self. Yet, you are unwilling to give up your psychosomatic identification. This is the ‘making room for’ that is required and this explain why virtually no one gets what they profess to want.
Q: Do you meditate?
R: At times, meditation happens. It is neither planned nor designed. It comes and goes of its own accord. I don’t “do” it.
Q: My teacher says that everything is non-dual.
R: The words “everything” and “non-dual” in the same context already contain an inherent conflict.
The individual, his god and the world may resolve absolutely into a singularity; however, there exists a fundamental relative duality between What-Is and what isn’t. When you awaken in the morning, you awaken to duality.
Man is plagued by seeing what’s not there. The antidote to this is removal of the superimposition of that which isn’t onto That Which Is. This is accomplished via the discrimination between the eternal and the temporal during deep reflection.
Q: I don’t understand what you mean by an instinctual understanding. Isn’t all understanding intellectual?
R: In simpler times, prior to the development of the intellect, people came to understand instinctively. Today, we rely on intellect for understanding. However, it is not the best tool.
The difference between intellectual understanding and instinctual understanding is that the latter goes all the way down to a cellular level.
This clarity is transformative, immediate and experiential. It is not a mere mental clarity as in the case of brilliant academics who have conclusions but lack experience.
Q: Can you speak a little bit about action and who is acting?
R: One’s actions are really reactions by the brain in response to data coming from the senses when they meet their respective objects. Thus, when the eyes see something or the ears hear something, the brain reacts to this event according to the natural characteristics of the body-mind organism, and produces a reaction. It is this natural reaction to the event which man mistakenly considers his action.
He creates conceptual identities: the thinker of thoughts, the actor of actions, the owner of objects. This is the work of the ego, attempting to solidify itself.
However, in reality all action is part of the natural functioning and not anyone’s action. The organism is merely the instrument through which God or Consciousness as the subject expresses itself objectively.
In that sense, the universe is the objective body of the subjective absolute.
Once you recognize that you are merely an instrument operated by God or Consciousness, you’ll do whatever you seemingly want. But you’ll never forget that it is the Conscious Life Energy which acts and which experiences all experience.

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July 25

The Mind’s Questions

R: What questions can be raised that are not the mind’s questions? What questions can arise when the mind is empty and still?
That having been said, let’s begin with your questions.
Q: How can I work with my experiences to gain better understanding of all this?
R: The body is the interface between the brain and the world. It provides the brain with a protective outer covering and through the senses, it provides the brain with raw data. The brain can then instruct it how to respond, or act, in relation to that data.
We have experiences which are the moment-to-moment sensations, thoughts and emotions constituting our life. They fall into three categories:

1. Sensory or gross perceptions which involve the physical sense organs of our bodies.
2. Subtle or mental experiences involving our mind, consisting of thoughts, concepts, emotions, volitions, dreams, memories and
imaginings.
3. Absence where no phenomena are present.

We have these experiences to different extents and degrees when we are awake and when we are dreaming. We are confronted by the gross world of objects and beings, the subtle inner world of emotions and feelings, and the vacant world of deep sleep. an experience which can no longer include attachment, desire, joy and sorrow.
Then, there is dreamless sleep; each state negates the other two.
In deep sleep and in the intervals between sensations and thoughts, we are simply the consciousness underlying all experience.
This consciousness continues unbroken in all three states and forms the continuity that we ignore, instead erroneously ascribing permanence to our egos and the world.
It cannot be known because consciousness is the Knowing. Therefore, the work is to turn the attention to the Knowing and rest there.
Q: I can’t believe that you’re telling us “Don’t practice”.
R: I’m not saying don’t practice. By all means, practice. Then, come back in a year and tell me how it’s going. Then, come back in five years and tell me how it’s going. Then, come back in ten years and tell me how it’s going. Then, come back in twenty years and tell me how it’s going.
Q: I spend a lot of time in my head, going back and forth between the past and the future. I cannot seem to center myself in the present. What would you suggest?
R: There is only the present. Yesterday was the present when you experienced it, and tomorrow will also be the present when you experience it. Now is where experiencing happens and beyond it, nothing is.
Every experience is, then, considered as happening in the present, even your seeming going to the past. As each experience passes and gives place to another experience, those that are remembered are called ‘past’ experiences, and those that are yet to come are called ‘future’ experiences.
From the perspective of time and space, ‘now’ succeeds ‘now’ without interruption. These ‘nows’ lack any duration and are immeasurable.
In fact, it is we who move, while the ‘now’ is motionless and only seems to move, in the same way as the sun only seems to rise and set.
Q: Do you have the secret to happiness?
R: Yes, I do.
(laughing)
Happy people are never seeking happiness. Happy people are happy for two reasons. First, the understand the distinction between happiness and pleasure and they don’t confuse the two. Most people confuse pleasure for happiness and are willing to settle for the former. But when it leaves, which is inherent in the nature of pleasure, people become unhappy.
Second, happy people don’t want what they don’t have. They don’t feel the need to seek anything additional in the “outer”. When one willfully returns to where one has seen permanent happiness cannot be obtained, one becomes a co-conspirator in one’s own unhappiness.
We cannot control what comes our way, so we find out how to be happy within the context of what comes: body, mind, feelings, thoughts, sensations, time, and place.
Q: Your answers are usually quite brief. Why is that? Why don’t you expand more on your ideas?
R: I have found that words can confuse, and more words can confuse more. So my style has developed over time to keep it short and sweet.
There is nothing fancy or arcane here.
There is the Potential and the actualization of the Potential. What can Potentiality do other that to project the Infinite Possibility, differentiating it into relative existence.
Is it dualism? Is it non-dual? These questions are simply about assigning a label and, as such, are of secondary importance. We are confronted in each instant with That Which Is, be it dual, non-dual or whatever. The One becomes two, and the two becomes the many. The polaric opposite of duality is non-duality. But the two are, in themselves, a duality.
Similarly, we talk of the two aspects of the Absolute, potentiality and its expression, the actual …………. another dyad.
As long as there is non duality, there can be duality, which voids the concept of non duality.
If we keep our focus on That Which Is, be it dual, non-dual or whatever, we can’t lose focus.
Q: What is enlightenment?
This is the question that is most frequently asked and I always try to give a bit of a different “spin” with my answer.
Enlightenment is the disentanglement of consciousness from the instrument it uses to know the manifestation. It is the awakening of an inner perception deeply reaching the core of one’s being. One returns to simplicity whereas complexity is the source of multiplicity. Multiplicity causes confusion and confusion breeds anxiety and fear.
It cannot be achieved by the finite efforts of a human individual. It can never come to be as the direct result of one’s efforts or due to the effectiveness of one’s spiritual practices.
Q: What is it like?
R: It is like a dreamer waking up to the state of consciousness. A dreamer has not gained anything which he did not possess by waking up to the state of consciousness, but rather has regained the identity with the conscious state, which he lost while dreaming. One loses sight of the awareness of the `I’ and
the `mine’, and experiences the entire universe in one’s own self and one’s self everywhere.
Q: Many teachers advise that the ego be sublimated or annihilated, but it sounds like you are not saying that. Can you clarify?
R: What control can you exercise over self-consciousness? It came on its own and if it is to leave, it will leave in like manner.
Dissolution of this habit-ridden, externalized state of mind takes place when there is a spontaneous awakening not as a result of any man-made system.
It’s neither sublimation nor annihilation; it is transcendence.
Q: Is there a singular path to the truth?
R: All paths lead away from the truth.
Those on paths are struggling to find a road that will lead them to the house in which they are already sitting. There is no need to search outside; stay within.
Q: As a followup, is there a place for religion in your viewpoint?
R:  The testimonies of the greatest sages and saints unanimously state that there is an inherent unity, a oneness, that some call God. Since there have been these sages across all the different religious traditions, we can infer that these traditions are merely alternative means by which we may arrive at first-hand knowledge of Truth. None of them can legitimately claim to be the sole means, nor can they actually be contradictory in any fundamental sense.
When reduced to their bare essentials, they share a common essence that constitutes their core teaching and mine.
I talk about what I have realized. If it is in alignment with what others talk about, that’s fine. Some take issue with my words, suggesting that they don’t align with some “pure teaching”. That’s also just fine.
My words are my attempt to verbalize, to explain the inexplicable. Take what has utility and throw out the rest.
Q: I have practiced Buddhist meditation and Taoist meditation. I have done the India ashram tour, so to speak. Whatever practice I employ, I still haven’t arrived. What can I do?
R: Any effort that you make in your spiritual pursuit has as its prerequisite a “you” that makes said effort. When the “you” is seen through as hollow, this is what is called having intellectual understanding. It is a pivotal point because you have arrived at the doorway to the path of total surrender.
Any further forward movement through the door requires that the ego agree to immolate itself for a greater good. With this done, the drive to control and manipulate every experience falls away, psychological thought ceases and everything that appears is welcomed with impartiality. We consciously flow with the tide of events without resistance or without demanding that things be altered according to our wishes. We accept the reality which occurs before our eyes and trust that what happens is for the best no matter how unlikely that may seem.There are no longer any goals,  including the goal of self realization. What comes comes and it is embraced.
Surrendering with an intended outcome of self realization or the flowering of Grace is not true surrender, but barter. If dissatisfaction with whatever comes appears, the surrender is flawed.
This total surrender is to the formless Source of all things. If this surrender needs to be to a form, then its manifestation as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tse, Mohammed or anyone else will certainly suffice. However, this is a rare event.
Usually, one of two things ensues. Many continue listening to talks like these, believing that there is yet more intellectal understanding that will deliver an enlightenment event. This is like the delusion that when one becomes pregnant that one can become more pregnant. In the alternative reaction, there is a turning away from the doorway and the ego-person continues to pursue other teachers, other practices, anything that will allow the ego to have its much sought-after continuity.
Q: What do I do if I am not ready to walk through the door?
R: Act as if you already have.

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July 21

Free Will (yet again)

Q: Do I have free will?
R: You have free will insofar as it aligns with God’s Will. However, if it is merely the manifestation of Divine Will, then relatively it cannot be free.
Q: That wasn’t what I was expecting to hear.
R: If I give you what you expect to hear, there is no point in your being here.
Q: What is the difference between my consciousness and the universal consciousness?
R: The consciousness in the individual is the same as the universal consciousness that underlies the universe. As such, it is the fundamental substratum of both the microcosm and the macrocosm. Whereas the individual consciousness is like the space in a room, the universal consciousness is the totality of space.
This is the fundamental reality behind both the universe and the individual.
Q: My friends are telling me that I should meditate; should I?
R: I don’t feel that “should” is applicable.
As eating satisfies hunger, meditation satisfies yearning. When there is hunger, eat; when there is yearning, meditate.
However, meditation must be a natural movement. Force-feeding yourself when you are not hungry is a form of violence. So too, forcing yourself to meditate is likewise a form of violence.
Q: What signs will allow me to know that I have seen the truth?
R: You will know when Truth has been attained when all words are jettisoned.
Q: Some teachers speak about their experiences of going beyond this world. Have you had any such experiences and, if so, what were they like?
R: I have had no such experiences of going beyond; there is no beyond. There is only “this” and that which was prior to “this”. The potential and the actual.
The “beyond” image sounds more alluring, more glamorous and mysterious. But the fact of the matter is that it just ain’t so.
Q: I want the direct experience of the Ultimate. Can you give it to me?
R: No, I cannot; nor am I aware of anyone else who can. The Ultimate cannot be experienced because the Ultimate is not objective. You are laike a man with no tongue trying to lick his lips.
Q: Isn’t the Witness close to the Ultimate?
R: Here again, we can’t talk about location and proximity in reference to the non-objective. The Witness stands in duality, facing the witnessed.
Q: What is self inquiry?
R: Self inquiry is non-objective meditation. It is consciousness looking at consciousness, attention attending to itself.
Q: What can I do to change the world? I realize that I am only one man, but there must be something that I can do.
R: I have always felt it best to let the creator of the world manage the world. Should the creator want to take a week off, It will come to you if it feels you are up to the task.
Since what the world is, you are, the best way to change the world is to change yourself and the only change that is required is to change your viewpoint. When your viewpoint changes, the world changes.
Q: Why do you place so much emphasis on the I-thought?
R: The I-thought is the scent of the Conscious Life Energy. When you follow the scent back to its source, the self consciousness returns to consciousness and the me returns to I.
This self arising clarity is the end of fragmentation.
It can be found in the space between two thoughts. When the thought flow is slowed, the space is more readily perceived.
Q: I feel that my friend has lost his way and I don’t kow what to do aout it. What is your advice?
R: If you feel that your friend has gone astray, let God worry about it. He is the one Who Set him astray in the first place.
It is inconceivable that God would create an animal without at the same time creating its subsistence, and this relationship between your friend and his surroundings is God’s Obligation.
Q: I am a Buddhist and my practice revolves around developing compassion. Is compassion an antidote to our problems?
R: Buddhists believe that there are qualities that can be developed that will lead to enlightenment. I would suggest that these qualities are the by-product of enlightenment and not its precursor.
Some things can be developed; others cannot. I can develop skills, such as playing the piano. However, my sense is that something like compassion must have, at least, an inherent latency. Some people just don’t have it.
Right view, in the Buddhist context, is the same as seeing clearly. When we see clearly, everything has a way of falling into place.
Q: The way I am is goal oriented. However, you are advocating goallessness. This won’t work for me. Is there some middle ground?
R: Yes, make not knowing the goal. By allowing mental structures to be dislodged from the mind, one is unburdened of what one thinks one knows, that is, one’s conceptual ideas and fixed opinions. This enables the receptivity that is the hallmark of true investigation. Interpretations and analyses, on the other hand, no matter how creative, reflect our old mental patterns based on the known and therefore bind us to them.
Q: How do you feel about yoga?
R: Everything is appropriate in its place and time. Yoga in the Western world is the practice of acquiring, of gaining; gaining better health, gaining calm, gaining flexibility. What we have yet to discern is that all acquisitions don’t provide a lasting solution. If the yoga ceases, that which was gained begins to fall away. In this sense, the gaining must be maintained.
It is better to take one’s attention to that which can be neither gained nor lost.
Q: This meeting has been a surprise for me. I had expected for you to sound alot more like another great teacher.
R: I can’t imagine that you would have traveled a great distance just to hear me parrot any teacher. It would be like listening to the echo of a Mozart piece.
It is critical that we understand that we create the world according to the confines of our language and that our language conditions our thinking. In that sense, some of the meaning of the words spoken in India in the early to mid 20th century or the words spoken in China in 700 A.D. will be lost when translated into 21st century contemporary English.
My choice of words and the manner in which I speak is my attempt to bridge that gap and provide a different voice to express that which is ultimately inexpressable.
Let me conclude with this: each of you has to ask yourself “Did I come here to hear what I want to hear or did I come here to hear what I need to hear?” If the answer is the latter, than be sure to be listening and not just hearing. Listening is active whereas hearing is passive.

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July 15

Advaita

Q: I don’t see a difference between believing in something and understanding it. Can you address that?
R: Man is capable of believing without understanding whereas understanding is the absence of believing.
Spiritual understanding essentially has two factors. They are discernment between the Real and the illusory and impartial, permanent attention on the Real, What-Is. It manifests as
the cessation of the inner and outer, of the I and not-I distinctions. One no longer puts form above essence.
Q: I want to study Advaita. Are you an Advaita master?
R: No I am not. I am only a master if you have made me one.
Whereas a true Advaita master is rare, there seem to be numerous self-appointed Advaita masters. One example that comes quickly to mind in this regard is the exploitation of Ramana. Here was a man who very clearly stated that he had no lineage. Yet, claimants to his lineage are popping up all over. It seems that all you have to do is hang his portrait on the wall behind where you are going to sit, gain some degree of mastery of the language of Advaita and you’re ready to give satsang.
Clearly, if you want to study Advaita, then an Advaita teacher is appropriate. If you want to study Being, an Advaita teacher is one of various options.
Q: Am I only dreaming; is this world just a dream?
R: When we say that the world is a dream, we need to understand that it is unreal only if it is perceived as an inherently-existing object. But it is not unreal if it is seen as a changing, transient manifestation of the Real.
To those with impartiality, its reality or unreality is unimportant.
Q: I’m very frustrated that I simply can’t seem to get it. Is it me, is you, or is it some other factor?
R: These gatherings, as a rule, attract those with intellectual leanings. They tell themselves that this enlightenment thing is be grasped by the mind and thereby attained. But soon, one comes to realize that one cannot control the content of the thoughts that appear. As such, one cannot control the entire stream of thoughts or mind. Nor can one control the response to thought, since all response is preceded by the thought to respond itself.
In this absence of any control, how can anyone will the desired experience into being? This is like believing that shaving the face in the mirror makes you clean-shaven.
Q: What is the basic, no frills message that you would like us to receive?
R: (laughing) When a drop of water evaporates, it is no longer finite. It has merged with the infinite, indistinguishable from the infinite. As such, my basic, no frills message is that infinity is your destiny.
Q: I don’t see that.
R: Continuance is one. In deep sleep and in death, what continues is the same. It is present always when the body, senses and other objects appear as well as when they
disappear. You are That.
Q: Is it an experience that lasts?
R: There is no lasting experience other than death. However, there is no one there to experience it. It is the absence of the Conscious Life Energy that makes a dead body dead.
However, to reiterate, it is present always when the body, senses and other objects appear as well as when they
disappear and you are That.
Q: Is your viewpoint identical with Krishnamurti’s?
R: I wouldn’t say it’s identical although there are areas of commonality.
One difference is in his admonition to “empty the cup”, so to speak. His focus was working on the individual.
My sense is that when the cup is seen to be little more than mental process and projection, then whether the cup is full or empty loses importance.
Q: This is my second time here. I’m trying to understand why you denigrate thought. Without thought, how can we function?
R: You are 100% right; without thought, we cannot function. However, we can actually function better and more efficiently without psychological thought. That what I seem to be denigrating to you.
Thought creates divisions in order to function. If a distinction cannot be made, there cannot be evaluation, judgment and action. As we observe the nature of what we are, we also describe the observed via naming. This naming process is necessary for us to function in the world.
The name is that distinction which arises from language, and the appearance is that distinction which arises from our sensory perceptions.
It is very important at the outset to differentiate clearly between the ordinary mind, which is involved in conceptual thinking and judging, and the primordial mind, pure Consciousness. The primordial mind can be said to be the eye that sees the ordinary mind.
You are not the physical body but pure Consciousness. Remaining in the state of pure Consciousness is what is referred to as liberation. However, even this state is a concept because the supposed individual did not exist in the first place in the undifferentiated Consciousness. Who, then, is there to be liberated?
You are already That. Consciousness is the phenomenon both within and without. Consciousness happens, then events happen.
Another can point the way but cannot give liberation from the limited identification of a separate body; it is for you to directly discern. It is not the result of an action. It happens at the right moment when pure Consciousness reveals itself, not to the individual but the Consciousness posing as the individual.

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