Experiences Are a Demand, Not a Path
Excerpts from talks given by Bubba Free John (Adi Da Samraj) to his devotees in 1973 and 1974, complied, edited and adapted by Beezone.
Every person tends to become profoundly involved in the qualities of his own experience at this moment, whatever those qualities are. So if you happen to be having particularly intense internal meditative experiences, some sense of energy, of profundity, of silence, you tend to become involved with that, concerned with that, identified with that, hopeful about that. If something is happening to you in the circumstances of your life that is particularly exciting, or particularly saddening, or particularly extraordinary in one form or another, positive or negative, you tend to become involved with that, concerned with that, hopeful or losing hope over that. So we are all always involved with whatever it is that is happening, and I am continually having to redirect people from the excursions they make into their own self-meditation back to the whole affair of this intelligent life of understanding.
The spiritual process takes place in consciousness. The fundamental process is in consciousness, not in all of the functions with which consciousness tends to be associated. So you have experiences of changes in the body, experiences of movements in the vital and in the nervous system, visions in the psychic dimensions, and insights in the mental dimension, and these are all modifications of your functions. But the fundamental event is in consciousness, and consciousness is continuous. Consciousness is itself unmodified, so the real spiritual process is an ongoing present conscious affair, and we must be responsible for it.
All life is itself change, limitation, so the spiritual process isn't begun merely by the initiation of experience. The spiritual process is only begun when consciousness begins to become the overriding function or factor of continued existence and becomes a force in life. Consciousness itself masters and creates the ultimate transformation of life by making life responsive to the Divine, but experience itself is just the modification of life, the modification of functions. You could have a vision every five seconds for eternity, but it would not produce the ultimate event of conscious life.
A "spiritual" experience is a sign of something taking place, but in itself it does not represent something you can hold on to. It will change, and in itself it will be undone. All of these insights and experiences are just a meal, just fertilizer at last. They themselves are always disappearing and becoming obsolete, but the true force of spiritual life is implied in the midst of them. They are themselves a kind of demand, but not a path. Because they are dying, they may serve the ultimate realization by which they are mastered by consciousness. Experience never comes to an end. There is no end phenomenon, because the consciousness in which phenomena arise is itself the ultimate Reality. But that very consciousness must become the presence in which you live, by which you represent yourself, rather than the functional drama to which you tend to make your very consciousness subject.
When I was in college, I made a decision to exploit the possibilities of life. Then, at a particular point the crisis of consciousness intervened and made that whole program unnecessary. I experienced all kinds of things that we ordinarily call life during that time. But not everything. How could everything have been experienced? This moment was not experienced. Being you was not experienced. Just a certain range of experiences, ordinary and extraordinary, common to what we call life, was endured. But the crisis occurred. Even at the point when the crisis is perfect in you, you will not have experienced everything. You will not have experienced what is going to happen to you in the next moment. The next moment's experience is not necessary for your transformation if the crisis occurs in this moment. Therefore, no experience is necessary or identical to Truth.
Just so, the devotee is free of the process of experience. He is already free. He already is in Satsang. He already understands. So, while all kinds of experiencing may be going on, he already lives the principle of Truth. Experience does not create Truth. Experience only serves the Truth in Satsang. Conditions serve the Truth. Conditions are generated in Satsang by the Guru, and they produce the phenomena of crisis that are useful in Satsang for the conscious transformation of individuals-. But without this Satsang, the conditions are simply that. People have experienced vast amounts of possible things. But this experiencing has not made them free.
The Guru uses the capacity for experience in his devotee as an instrument for his transformation. The way he does this is by creating conditions, external and internal. But if the way of experience were the way of Truth, then the Guru would create some sort of an institution where people could experience everything very quickly. He would find all the instruments for creating experience. But the life of understanding is not in itself a way of having experiences, resisting experiences, or controlling them. It is a matter of understanding yourself in this moment under the conditions that exist, seeing the precise activity that is your own.
You must continually return to this principle of our life together, this Satsang, and make all your experiences the instruments of this sadhana. No matter what is arising in your life, within, without, in between, every instant of it is another condition in which understanding is appropriate. Under no conditions is obsessive involvement, positive or negative, with conditions. themselves appropriate. All conditions are sadhana for one who is understanding, and all are forms of bondage to one who does not understand. You must begin to become a little sensitive to your capacity for illusion, your capacity for fascination, for obsession, for distraction, for unconsciousness. You must begin to be responsible for that.
...Adi Da Samraj
"The perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is absolutely no difference between us"
Tripura Rahasya, Chap XX, 128-133
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