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Reality and the Principle of Retreat

A Beezone Exercise

Read original talk - The Principle of Retreat, May, 7, 1986.




It has fundamentally been a struggle (of Mine) to draw people beyond the egoic limitations of the body-mind, of conditional existence altogether.

Therefore, people must practice the two fundamental disciplines and practice them on the basis of real understanding and spiritual awareness.

Those two disciplines are the discipline of the body-mind.


The Discipline of Attention, or the transcendence of attention, which includes everything that we call Ishta Guru Bhakti Yoga,1 or

The Conscious Process.

Conductivity is the servant of the conscious process.

The first discipline is the discipline of the body-mind simply.

The discipline of attention follows, because the first discipline frees energy and attention.

The second discipline, then, is what you do with free energy and attention.

The discipline of the body-mind is the first response of those who listen to Me.

Having heard Me to a significant degree, they begin to take on conservative disciplines of the body-mind.

As soon as such disciplines are taken up on the basis of self-observation and self understanding, more and more energy and attention begins to be released from confinement to the body-mind, the activities of the body-mind, the motive of the body-mind, or egoity, or self contraction.

The discipline of the body-mind is based on understanding.

As energy and attention are released on the basis of self-understanding and the discipline of the body-mind, hearing begins to awaken, and the responsive recognition of the Master, reception of the Transmission of the Master, and the development of real meditation follow.

Thus, our Way is based on these two disciplines, or what I would call the Principle of Retreat.

There is no practice of this Way of life without these two disciplines.

I have been struggling with listeners and devotees of a kind for many years, trying to awaken self-understanding in them, trying to move them to these two disciplines, trying to move everyone to renunciation and meditation, ultimately to renunciation and Realization in the fullest sense.

You have all seen what a difficult and terrible struggle that has involved. The ego is at war with that possibility. Even though it may be momentarily inspired by this possibility, in the next moment the mechanics of the body-mind, the purposes of egoity, intervene again-attention moves back into the destiny of egoity.

This apparent ego must constantly be addressed by the Teaching and the Transmission of the Master.


It is not enough simply to be addressed by the Teaching and the Presence or the Transmission of the Master.

The individual must be equipped with means to effectively use those Gifts, and those means are contained in the Principle of Retreat.

Those means, in other words, are contained in the two basic principles of practice - the discipline of the body-mind and the discipline of attention.


These disciplines begin to be used, or are used at least momentarily, even in the first contact an individual has with the Teaching and the Presence and Agencies of the true Heart- Master. Even something as simple as going to a public lecture involves the Principle of Retreat, because at least during that time when the consideration of the Teaching and the presentation of the Presence or Transmission or Agency of the Master are being made, every individual is practicing the discipline of the body-mind, renunciation, if only for that hour or two. They are sitting in one place and they are directing the mind to the consideration that is being presented to them.

The first Principle of Retreat, then, is already intact in some rudimentary form in that first contact. The second Principle is likewise practiced from the beginning. By controlling the body and the mind, at least to that degree for that hour or two, most individuals are granting energy and attention to the Great Consideration.

They are granting energy and attention to the Agencies and the very Transmission of the Heart-Master for the period of time in which devotees present the Teaching as well as their own demonstration, leelas, forms of the Murti of the Heart-Master, and so on.

Thus, the Principle of Retreat begins with the first contact, and from that moment really all that occurs is that the Principle of Retreat is progressively magnified.

That is all that this process is about. Just as the two aspects of the Principle of Retreat or basic practice are there in the first occasion, every occasion thereafter in which the individual has contact with the Teaching and the Transmission of the Master is, or should be, associated with the Principle of Retreat.

It is not sufficient at any moment for our institution or community to simply present the Teaching and the Master, the leelas and so on, without involving the listener in the Principle of Retreat.

Unless such means are given, you invite either reaction or mere enjoyment, cultic attachment - everything that is not about practice.

The offering of the Teaching and the Presence of the Master, even through Agency, are always to be established with the simultaneous granting of means.

The presentation of the Teaching and the Master must always be associated with the circumstance of retreat, if only in the most rudimentary form.

The Principle of Retreat must always be present.


"You can spend years and years on end, as many have, without growing because you are simply indulging in being (fascinated) by the Teaching itself or the Presence and Person of the Master Himself"


Establish the listener in the Principle of Retreat, by one means or other.

The listener must discipline the body-mind to give you his or her energy and attention.

Each individual must grow in his or her response to this Gift, and this growth can take place only by intensifying these means or the application of this Principle of Retreat.

In order to grow in this Way you must progressively magnify the practice of renunciation and the practice of pondering and meditation.

You can spend years and years on end, as many have, without growing because you are simply indulging in being amused by the Teaching itself or the Presence and Person of the Master Himself.

This is the dilettante's or non-practitioner's way of associating with these Gifts.

It is only practitioners who can make right use of these Gifts, even if they are practitioners in only the most rudimentary sense of being willing to control their body-mind and energy and attention in relation to these Gifts.

What you must do is magnify these two principles.

Hear Me and see Me and magnify your use of those Gifts - true renunciation and pondering and meditation.

Formally practice renunciation, or discipline of the body-mind, and formally practice pondering or meditation, or the discipline of attention, moment to moment.

This is your calling.

Do not take vacations from these disciplines.

Do not become soft.

Do not act as if you do not hear and see.

Do not let the egoic mind convince you in your phasing that you are really oriented toward the egoic or worldly point of view.

Relinquish this endless phasing, this endless argument with yourself, about the matters of practice.

Hear and see and receive the Gifts and formally establish that practice moment to moment.

Presume that practice as a form, and self-generate that form moment to moment.

Those who hear and see Me best do that formally and moment to moment and do not waste any time with phasing or arguing with themselves.

Until egoic limitations are utterly purified in the process of practice, they are there latently and can be stimulated by your own act of attention on them or by events that you allow to control you.

Therefore, if you do not practice the discipline of the body-mind and attention formally, moment to moment, you will tend to allow these latent tendencies of egoity to come to the surface, in which case they become the drama of your life.


"A right approach to this Way is necessary. There is a different kind of right approach for every kind of individual, every stage of practice, every circumstance of consideration"


Why should you waste your life submitting to your tendencies? The egoic mind wonders! If you allow it to control you, you will be spending your life constantly having to recycle yourself through the consideration of the Way, constantly having to be re-trained, reinstructed, reawakened, constantly having to hear and see again.

That is precisely the circumstance under which I have Taught. I have had to Teach people who in one moment appeared to hear and see and in the next moment, because of their refusal of the form of practice, drifted back into the latencies of the ego and needed to hear and see all over again.

What was lacking was the Principle of Retreat, the two fundamental disciplines of practice-consistent renunciation, or discipline of the body-mind, and consistent pondering and meditation, or discipline of attention. This is what was lacking.

Do not indulge in my Company or in the Teaching. Associate yourself with this Teaching and Transmission on the basis of your renunciation and meditation. This is the calling of all who listen to Me and all who hear and see Me. My Work of Teaching is complete. Now there is a Teaching literature and an institution of Agency to serve all others in the future with that Gift.

Use the means that will enable the Gift to be effective.

The Communion must formalize itself in relation to this understanding. A basic reason for the establishment of the Hermitage Service Order and the Free Renunciate Order is to gather an Agency within the community of practitioners that will constantly affirm, establish, implement, and formally, constantly recreate the Principle of Retreat, or the means whereby the Gift can be used.

There should be no circumstance in which any devotee or the institution, through its representatives, offers the Gifts of the Teaching and the Master, or the Master's Transmission and Agency, without doing so in a circumstance in which individuals also accept the means for using those Gifts.

A right approach to this Way is necessary. There is a different kind of right approach for every kind of individual, every stage of practice, every circumstance of consideration.

A different approach is expected at a public lecture than in the Meditation Hall, but it is not different in kind. The difference is in the degree of application. Therefore, there should be no frivolous, casual offering of these Gifts, no unconscious service to dilettantism and cultism.

The Hermitage Service Order and the Free Renunciate Order must exemplify the fullest practice, the fullest application of these disciplines, or this Principle of Retreat, and they must constantly establish these disciplines everywhere in the community and in the work of the institution.

Now that my Work is done and that sign is given, everyone is called to do what they will do having heard and seen.

I have done everything I can possibly do to make my Sign to you, and now you must make yours in response.

Ultimately, you understand that the ego is the body-mind itself.

The ego must be understood, renounced, and transcended. Ultimately this means that the body-mind itself and all of its associations, relations, and patterns must be transcended.

All of it must be transcended, perfectly Outshined in the perfect fulfillment of the Way in Translation.

I have reminded you all in the Love-Ananda Gita, the Way that I Teach is Advaitayana Buddhism.

As Buddhism, our Way is about Nirvana.

As Advaitism, non-dualism, transcendence of duality, of difference, separation, self-contraction.

By using my Teaching, you observe yourself. On that basis you must come to this understanding, this appreciation of the self-contraction, of the ego, of the inherently Narcissistic nature of psycho-physical existence.

This understanding should confirm the attitude of renunciation in you. Renunciation is confirmed in you through self-understanding-it is not necessary for you to selectively develop a dislike for various aspects of conditional existence so that you can discipline them!

Blithe Indulgence


The secret of renunciation is not in repugnance. It is in self-understanding.

True and natural renunciation lies in the observation of the self-contraction... is unnecessary, an illusion of bondage from which we are inherently Free if only we will stand in the Position that is Free.

It is this understanding that is the basis for renunciation.

If you look for reasons to renounce based on disliking the pleasures of life, you will never find an argument that lasts.

But if you observe the totality of these experiences in the context of the totality of life, which is about death and limitation, separation and loss, then you get the full picture. In that case, you see pleasure in the context of the total picture and you see that every address to pleasure is submission to the bondage of that totality. It is a blithe indulgence.

The Search

Examine these pleasures in their moment and you will see that they are an effort of struggle, a search to eliminate pain, boredom, doubt, and discomfort.

Individuals may imagine that when they are moved toward sexual experience they are simply looking for or embracing pleasure. But if you examine the source of this pursuit, you will see that it is motivated by discomfort, by pain, by boredom, doubt, and discomfort.

Why would you seek happiness if you were not already uncomfortable? Observe yourself in any moment in which you are moving to do something else or moving on the basis of desire. Observe the state that you are in. It is always boredom, doubt and discomfort. A state of wretchedness, pain, and dis-ease always precedes your desiring. Always!

Contraction is always the motivator.

Seeking is a way out of contraction.

Ordinarily, an individual does not recognize that that is why he or she is pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain.

People do not know that the root of this search is the self-contraction, a constant dis-ease for which they can be responsible, that they can relinquish and transcend, that they in fact always already transcend in the Position of their Real Existence.

People do not know this, you see. They need to listen, they need to hear, they need to see, they need to discipline themselves in order to make use of what they hear and see.

Then they will relinquish this seeking, they will discipline the body-mind progressively, they will discipline attention, and they will become renunciates. In other words, they will grant attention to That which precedes the self-contraction.

They will grant attention to its Source.

They will relinquish it in its Source, allow it to dissolve or be resolved in its Source, allow it to be inherently transcended in its Source.

This is the Way of Happiness.

The Search is Over

Happiness is in the transcendence of the body-mind and the world based on self-understanding, renunciation, and meditation.

This is the Way of inherent Happiness, Love-Ananda, Love-Bliss, Realization, Samadhi, Nirvana, Liberation, and perfect God-Realization.

It is the Way that I Teach, the Way that I have always Taught, the Way that I have been Attracting individuals to through my struggle with them all these years.

I have no more Teaching to do, no more impulse to struggle with those who do not hear and see.

I respond to those who do hear and see and practice the true discipline in my Company.

I am naturally, spontaneously available to them.

I have given all Gifts to devotees through these various Agencies. It is not that I have passed on the struggle to devotees. The Teaching Work itself is done. It is not just that my Teaching Work is done. The Teaching Work is done.

The era of the Teaching Work is past.

It has fulfilled itself.

It is full of Siddhi.

It has been accomplished.

It is complete.

The Work Begins

The institution is simply here to allow the Gift to be available, and it makes this Gift available in circumstances in which people presume a disciplined approach.


"A right approach to this Way is necessary. There is a different kind of right approach for every kind of individual, every stage of practice, every circumstance of consideration"


The institution is not here to struggle with individuals who have no will to presume a right approach.

The Gift should be given to those who presume a right approach, always.

The right approach should be established in the very circumstance of the giving of these Gifts.

This Communion simply needs to carry on an orderly, balanced presentation of its Gifts.

Equanimity must be the sign.

Only mature practitioners can represent the exemplary and inspirational core of the sacred institution.

The equanimity represented by a core group must govern the form of the means that I have established.

In this way, you see, the institution as a whole, like any individual who rightly practices will become fully balanced.

It will be established in equanimity, in real practice.

It will expansive, effectively make its offering in the world and individuals will respond.

When equanimity is the sign, people will find their place in our community.

The institution must move out of the time of struggle. That great creative effort has completed itself, and it need not be duplicated.

The need for it must never be regenerated.

Devotees are called to preserve the Gift and maintain the form of the means.

Does everyone understand this?


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