A Beezone Essay
Identifying with Consciousness and Being Consciousness
"...there is no real purpose for a
Spiritual Master, except to bind yourself to another
"Have it Your Way"
"Each individual has to develop
his or her own wisdom. Each individual has to develop his or
her own enlightenment"
The following is a Beezone article composited from three talks by Adi Da Samraj edited and adapted.
Can you think or imagine your way to enlightenment? Can you seriously investigate the nature of reality and discovery its Truth (or falsehood)? Can you use your mind to follow the breath, follow the 'I' thought, trace the 'original footprint' and find its origin? Can you be the Witness, that illusive 'place' of which there is no place to where it belongs? The place of 'everything' and 'nothing' all at the same time? The place you never left but are seemingly not there?
Uh? What? What's going on? With questions and statements like these it's no wonder people 'drop out' of any serious spiritual discipline or practice after a short time. Who needs this kind of shit! "Let me get on with life and leave me the f%$& alone"!
But the other hand, with statements like these many people think themselves to be enlightened. There are many people who claim enlightenment 'rappin' out some dribble about "Be Consciousness", "samsara and nirvana are the same, Brahman and Atman are One". No spiritual work and no spiritual teacher is necessary, all you have to do is realize "You are That".
In contemporary culture there is common understanding or 'mind dharma approach' to spiritual practice which Adi Da calls the 'talking school'. Today there are many spiritual teachers who subscribe and teach various methods of a rather simple psychological orientation to spiritual life. "Merge your mind with reality, and you will experience reality. You will live in a world without problems. The world may appear to have problems to others, but not to you. You will see things differently, from a higher point of view" (Robert Adams).
If there is a 'method' today that is seemingly 'out front' in the general culture it would have to be identified as the 'non-dual' teaching associated with the ancient school of the Advaita and Vedanta. Just as Zen Buddhism was taken up in the 50's and early 60's as a way popular American culture could understand eastern thought into its 'consumer mind', Advita is what is on the menu today.
Americans seem to have a simplistic and arrogant mind when it comes to spiritual understanding. Especially when they encounter something as old and complex as the ancient traditions of the east. Americans seem to want to take out the easy parts and dismiss the more difficult ones and adapt it to their way of life, in effect change nothing about themselves.
One (and many) popular spiritual teacher today has turned the hard school of spiritual practice into a 'Burger King' - have it your own way - of spiritual discipline. "The task of any useful spiritual practice is therefore to dismantle cherishing the thoughts, opinions, and ideas that make up the false self, the self that is seeking. This is the true task of both meditation and inquiry. Through meditation we can come to see that the only thing that makes us suffer is our own mind. Sitting quietly reveals the mind to be nothing but conditioned thinking spontaneously arising within awareness." (Goenka)
This method of 'direct way' of knowing the Final Reality, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through mental discrimination is common to the teachers of the Navnath Sampradaya. This mental discrimination or the Bird's way ('Vihangam Marg').
Tumhe hi kiccam atappam, akkhataro Tathagata
"You yourself must earnestly practise, the enlightened ones only proclaim the path. A Tathagata, will only show the path; he won't carry you on his shoulders to the final goal. Nobody can carry you on his shoulders to the final goal. Tumhe hi kiccam atappam: you have to work out your own salvation - you have to work out your own emancipation. Someone can guide you because he has walked over the path, step by step. As the Buddha explained, "I walked over this path. I benefitted. If you want to come along, then you also walk. Start taking steps." As many steps as you take, you will get that much benefit. If you take all the steps on the path, then you will reach the final goal. The path is universal"
The Universal Teaching of the Buddha - S.N. Goenka
"Those of you who shop for teachers, who shop for gurus, who go shopping for spiritual life, will always be disappointed, for you will find some fault wherever you go. And again, the fault that you find, is also within yourself. Everything is within yourself. You've got all the answers. Don't look to me for the answers. You've got all the answers yourself. They're within you. I'm only here to advise you that you are free and liberated. That's all I'm doing. I'm here to tell you don't do anything. Whatever you're looking for, you already are, you already have. You are that."
"All you really have to do is turn within and realize that you are perfect, right now, just the way you are. Do not try to analyze this statement. Do not try to figure it out. Just accept it, and do it, and be it. If you’d only say to yourself, "I am perfect just the way I am, and all is well, and everything is unfolding as it should." That's all you have to do."
Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go - Robert Adams
Listen to Adi Da
Dismissing the need for a Spiritual Master
To involve oneself in this kind of analytical exercise and presume that you are enlightened, or that you have achieved some higher state is nonsense. Advocates of this approach to spiritual life are always telling people that there is no real purpose for a Spiritual Master, except to bind yourself to another ego.
The reason people can easily dismiss the Spiritual Master is because they have already dismissed the whole process of spiritual practice. There is the claim that all that's necessary for them is this kind of analytical effort of identifying with Consciousness. As Adi Da states, "It is true that our own consciousness, that which is at the root of attention is ultimately, even inherently identical to the Transcendental Being. But must be Realized to be so. And it cannot be realized to be so until energy and attention are free for that most profound and radical intuition. Its not merely factually so. Its not factually so that Atman and Paramatman or Brahman are identical. Its not factual so that Nirvana and samsara are the same. By definition these are opposites. Nirvana and samsara are actual or an absolute opposites of one another. That's how the two terms arose in traditions. They indicate two entirely different states of existence, one Transcendental and the other conditional.
The reason for this is that the ego is not merely some superficial notion. The ego applies to every single aspect, every part, function, state, relation, and condition of the self. There is no part of the manifest self that is not characterized by the ego or self-contraction. It's not merely a superficial part of you, underneath which there is this eternally free essence which you should identify with. Even that essence underneath it all, that fundamental sense of self-consciousness, is a fraction of this total character that is the ego or separate self. This total character must be understood and transcended. In every feature, function, part, relation, state - waking, dreaming, and sleeping - this consciousness that is identified with in the talking school is nothing but the bare consciousness of the waking state, or attention apart from objects. It is not in any sense a practice of enlightenment or enightened understanding; it is simply egoic consciousness. That egoic consciousness in all of its forms must be transcended for any spiritual understanding to awaken.
The Spiritual path is not merely some kind of self generated discipline, some effort made by the ego, that ultimately winds up being Enlightenment. Spiritual understanding and the spiritual path is one of transcendence, transcendence of the ego, not the way of the efforts of the ego. Spiritual practice is the submission of the ego to that which transcends it. It is not suppression of the ego or ignoring it. It is understanding it's false and fearful origin.
It is also about the individual entering into understanding with his or her own help. It is that help or understanding that permits the spiritual path to be fruitful. Otherwise it's about self generated efforts.
Real spiritual understanding requires a practice and discipline and is a hard school, well as being a life of Grace, a life in which there is Great Help. This Help transcends the limits that you would bring to practice ordinarily, it is also a hard school or a difficult affair. it requires great responsibility, great attention for this exercise. But if you enter into it truly and seriously, then all of these kinds of changes or effects that are generated over time, will amount to a purification of attention from its habits, on every level, in every state, in all relations, under all conditions, in every function. Psycho-physical equanimity, responsibility for energy and attention, will be the result of that. And on the basis of such equanimity, there will be free energy and attention, energy free of this ego-bond, energy free of the character of the false identification of the separate one. That free energy and attention is the ultimate arms or means at the level of the individual whereby Spiritual understanding can be fulfilled. Only when energy and attention are literally free from the ego illusion and bind at every level can this process of awakening can be fulfilled.
You are That
In the traditions there is a call that "You are That" which is a summary of enlightenment. It is not a call that can be fulfilled instantly by anyone who hears it. You can sympathize with it to the degree that you can enjoy a level of self understanding and begin some form of practice, but you cannot fulfill it perfectly because energy and attention are not free, because the Atman cannot be equated with Paramatman or Brahman, it is too self involved. It is contracted upon itself. It doesn't enjoy the freedom where by it may enter into the native equation of individual consciousness and Transcendental Consciousness. For this understanding to occur you must endure the process, you must go through the hard school of purification, rebalancing, whereby energy and attention are set free of the ego knot.
You can not 'be consciousness' just because you tell yourself you are. You can not be consciousness because that is the 'truth', or so you've heard it to be so. You can only be Consciousness if it without cause, energy and attention that is released from the self contraction.
Many spiritual paths today are reduced to a kind of "talking school". Many people read and even write books and give lectures about the primacy and freedom of consciousness, as if they could, merely by analyzing consciousness out from the mass of thinking, knowing, and experiencing, achieve the incomparable State of "Jnana," Enlightenment, or Transcendental Realization. But all such talk is the mediocre chat of the waking mind. In order to Realize the Transcendental Truth that Is Consciousness, the entire process of attention must be liberated from functional bondage to the states and functions and emotions and thoughts and relations of the egoic or self-contracted body-mind.
Spiritual practice requires real disciplines and true self-understanding. It is in the "talking school" of heady non practitioners (or self-contained egos) that we hear so much nonsense about the non-necessity disciplines, practices and the need of a Spiritual Master. Of course, the a Spiritual Master is of no use (except perhaps to write books to feed the ego minds) for those who are self-bound and not interested in the real fulfillment of the Great Way. And there are also many kinds of ego-based, childish, adolescent, merely cultic, and false kinds of approach or attachment to a Spiritual Master - and I criticize those inappropriate approaches and attachments more than any of those who merely damn and anathematize the Great Relationship between the devotee and the Adept Spiritual Master. But when the Way is fully understood, valued, and practiced, then - and only then - he Great Relationship is seen to be the Primary Principle of the Way itself.
The Adept Spiritual Master is not merely an independent Realizer of the Truth. The true Adept is a "Siddha," or a Living Agent of Help and Awakening. Thus, beyond the Work of Communicating the Arguments of the Way, the Adept is Present to Transmit the Power of Awakening.
Transcendental Consciousness is the consciousness of this feeling of Being, mere Being, Being without qualification. The Being that is the Condition, not only of the conscious self, but of all of its objects, all of nature. When we've entered into that condition of Being, when our consciousness is that fullness of being, then we realize that it is Happiness, Self-Radiant Love-Bliss. It is the Substance of the universe. It is That to which the Great Sage Ramana Maharshi points in his considerations. It is That to which the Advaitic tradition and other Great Realizers ultimately points. It is That to which the Buddhist tradition points. In fact, it is That toward which all traditions are pointing. But apart from the Realization of it, all kinds of lesser conceptions and perceptions and senses of it may substitute for enlightenment.
You can presume, think and believe that you're in one state when you're really in another. But it's just simply mind and some form of relaxed attention and it can feel something like the Witness. But its actually a point of concentration. The Witness is not a point of concentration. It stands Prior to the body-mind, Prior to attention itself.
"There is nothing you have to do
to be free. That is shocking if you let it in. All of our
conditioning is that we have to do something to get
something. To get relative political freedom, there is a lot
that has to be done. But the freedom of yourself, of the
truth…it’s already here."
Taking the Spiritual Bypass - Gangaji
And so there is no easy way or whispers of sweet nothings that will help you understand yourself. You cannot take heaven by storm. You can not take a drug, take up a mantra or take up a way of belief or take any by-pass systems. There is no method of immediate self-analysis that is equivalent to Enlightenment. True Spiritual practice involves Self-observation (not self-watching), self-knowing, self-transcendence is these are lifelong exercises. It never comes to an end. It is always going on, always developing, there's nothing instant about it.
A Beezone study - Self-Observation versus Self-Watching - A process that fundamentally can't be described and therefore understood, but which must be comprehended!