Many of you have come to Satsang after intense study of some of the new spiritualities based on Indian and Buddhist traditions. Some of you have actually studied with a master from an original Indian, Buddhist or Taoist tradition. But, you have to realize that almost all of these traditions are filled with as much nonsense as born-again Christianity.
Basically, all of these traditions are just 2000 and 3000-year-old Indian or Chinese folklore, just as Christianity is based on 2000 and 3000-year-old Judaic folklore. If you believe in the divine birth of Jesus you really don't belong at this Satsang. If you believe in reincarnation, karmic balance, and the spiritual evolution of the soul, you will really have a hard time in this Satsang, because we have no beliefs, or at least you will have no beliefs if you want to go free. Part of going free means going free of all words and concepts.
Even some of the mind states and concepts written about in Rajiv’s and my own book, "Autobiography of a Jnani", are not real in the sense of being absolute truth or universal experience. The concepts of a causal body, the subtle body, and Turiya were mentioned in that book, and those concepts and associated experiences helped bring Rajiv to freedom. His background was Kriya yoga. He was familiar with similar concepts and easily experienced the various states to which I gave names and explanations. Doing this he obtained freedom.
I have to tell you, I played no part in this. Consciousness was speaking through me to him. There was no planning or fore-thinking on my part. What I said to him was purely spontaneous, the speaking of consciousness through me to the deepest levels of consciousness within Rajiv.
It is through this teaching and experiences that brought Rajiv to freedom and this now conditions how he teaches. I had both similar and different experiences, which condition how I teach, and how consciousness uses this apparent Ed Muzika.
Most of the time, the problems and dilemmas I see in students are easy to remedy, but sometimes consciousness takes over completely. Almost all of these Satsangs are not me, but consciousness speaking through me. I am aware that I have nothing to do with the words I say. They arise deep in me and make it out through these loose lips. They are consciousness speaking in a way to help you wake up. Therefore, don’t blame me for anything I say; consciousness made me say it!
But I want to make clear: absolutely nothing is true and absolutely nothing is real. All experiences, all concepts, all states are not real, even though at times consciousness makes me speak about states and experiences because It feels that is what is needed at the moment.
Take a look all around you now. Look about your room. Look at your hand. Look at your belly and your toes. Look at the computer monitor and all the letters and images on it.
None of this is real. That is, what you think you see is not real. It is a play, a show, a drama created by your mind superimposed on the underlying but chaotic phenomenology. You do not see the “reality” underneath the appearances that the mind creates to allow the false you to function in the world. The "real world" is nothing like what you see now, and itself, it is not real either in the sense of being autonomous and self-existing. It depends on You for existence.
Even when you gain freedom, you do not see the "real world,” of formless phenomena, but you thoroughly understand that the world you live in is a projection of your mind; it is all consciousness as is the mind itself. The underlying flux of phenomena always has an interpretive layer of mind between you and it.
This interpretive layer creates a very dull and boring world and life. With meditation the interpretive layer can nearly be eliminated, and the world becomes very vivid, colorful, immediate and with no boundaries. But this is not awakening, this is only seeing the world as a child sees it before the "I" is born. Going free is quite different.
When you go free for the first time, what happens is you no longer identify with the body. You see clearly — I should say you understand clearly — that you have nothing to do with your body. It is only an appearance created by mind superimposed on the “reality” you perceive with your eyes, hear with your ears, smell with your nose, taste with your mouth, and touch with your hands.
Your body is still there, as well as all the other objects you have ever seen in the world, but you no longer identify with the body. You identify with the space that permeates the body and all other objects.
Everything, everything becomes like a hologram. Everything becomes an appearance permeated by stillness and emptiness, by the Void which captures and interpenetrates all the worlds of appearance.
Then you laugh the loudest laugh ever.
You see that all the drama you've committed to for the last 20, 30 or 50 years is completely wrong. Your body is just another object in the room — a hollow prop. Your identification is now with the totality of everything that is seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched, but most especially with the void which contains it all, and which does not move. The void is a part of the appearance that does not move. The void is everywhere as a constant. Sometimes there are two or three voids, one representing the emptiness of the ego and concepts, the other the emptiness of all phenomena.
The body is a joke. Given that the body is seen as a joke, not being real, only a hollow appearance, the ego no longer fixes YOU as attached to the body. The whole drama is over for you. You float free. You feel unending happiness.
Now if the body and the world are not true, and they are only appearance, where does that leave science? That is easy. Science is not true either, it is only a commentary on appearances within emptiness, and itself is empty no matter how functional it is within the appearance that is the world. It is a science of the hollow.
Our apparent world is like a dream. Imagine you are dreaming that you are a great scientist, and you have made marvelous discoveries about the nature of the world of the dream. You have created the equivalent of Einstein’s field equations about gravity in your dream, merged that with quantum mechanics, cosmology and String Theory. This allows you to predict all sorts of things in your dream, including how to make a nuclear reactor and H-bomb, as well as passenger airliners that can fly 500 people at 600 miles an hour for 11,000 miles.
All of this you do in one night in a dream. Maybe you even win the Nobel Prize for being the most brilliant scientist ever.
But the next morning you wake up, and all that wonderful scientific theory that you created vanishes. You may remember one equation, but that whole world melts away and you laugh, because all your great discoveries were bogus, mere mental creations within the larger mental creation of the dream. Some people may even hold onto that one equation and search all over to find it, or something like it, in some cosmological theory.
Sometimes manic depression also appears this way. One week you feel brilliant and creative, and perform wonderful works in your own mind. Then, a month later all of that goes, you feel nothing or else you feel depressed. Sometimes that manic activity really was brilliant, but a month later it feels empty with no substance to you.
This is how the mind works. Whenever and wherever there is consciousness, the mind creates form and meaning. That is its function. Form and meaning of the mind creating functioning.
Now, the same is true of all the Eastern mysticism that you have studied before you came to Advaita. All that has to go down the tubes. You can't believe any of that understanding, because it is about the waking dream, just as science is about the waking dream. Eastern spirituality and science both disappear once you go free, and you are happy and complete, knowing nothing except that the world is unreal, and you are unreal, and in fact, you are nothing at all.
Since the body is not real, none of the so-called chakras or energy centers in the body are real either. They are just part of the dream, and belief in them and concentration on them just nails you ever more closely to the body. Rather than freeing you from the body, they nail you ever deeper into the body because you believe the centers really exist within the body. If you believe that these spiritual centers in the body exist, you cannot accept your ultimate freedom, that the body does not exist at all, and you are not the body, that you are entirely beyond all of that.
Believing in even part of the illusion prevents you from seeing through the entirety of the illusion. So you have to drop all of those spiritual concepts as totally bull. All of them!
All those ideas about spiritual evolution, rebirth, spiritual causality, chakras, heaven and earth, all have to go, because as long as you believe in them, you cannot be free from your earthly coil. The same holds true for all the myriad of samadhis and special states one attains through meditation and self inquiry. You may experience experiences that are similar to Rajiv's with the causal and subtle bodies and Turiya, which means you are close to going free, but you have to go beyond these experiences, totally into the unknown and unknowing. Totally let go of concepts.
But more importantly, you have to recognize that ground state around which all other states revolve. There is a core state one might say, which is really nothing at all, which we give various names like the witness, the ultimate, pure awareness, which is really YOU. This is what you remain after the body drops away. It is this that you must learn to identify with over and over again. It is the center of gravity of the universe.
Existence and nonexistence and all the states, and all the experiences, and all the people, and all bodies, are only appearances that the fundamental YOU experience and know. Your true existence has nothing to do with any of this. Your true existence is sentience, knowledge of the existence of YOU as the center of the universe, the absolute.
You have to realize that every time you ask a question about how to practice self inquiry, you are asking it within the illusion that you are a body mind, and you want an answer that fits that within that illusion.
For example, you ask “How do I sink within the body, how do I sink into the background, how do I sink into the heart or abdomen? How many hearts are there? How do I manage kundalini? How do I quiet the mind?”
All these questions about how to practice are asked from within the illusion that you are a body mind. I try to tell you the fundamental truth, which is that you don't even exist, but deep in your heart you know that you do exist. You take the existence as real, rather than the witness of existence as real, because you don't know the witness of existence as YOU. You identify with the appearance, not the witness.
This is my dilemma. How do I answer your questions which I see from outside of your illusion, but which you accept as reality? How do I reach YOU, within the world-appearance that you have created and accept as real, and help YOU escape, by helping you see through the illusion?
Part of the process is to keep repeating to you that you are not the body, that you do not exist, and that the world is unreal. This teaching is like a medicine for your disease of identification with the appearance of the body. You must understand and accept at some deep level that both you and the world are illusion. This will lead you to questioning all of your concepts and beliefs, so that you can become completely stupid, like a brick.
Then self inquiry will reveal ever more subtle and empty levels of consciousness and allow the space for you to see that all phenomena, including the most fundamental, which is the coming and going of beingness, all happen to YOU, but none of it is real. The world is like a dream, is created by the imaginative-creative function of mind, which twists the underlying phenomenal chaos into a mechanistic world of cause and effect, time and space.
That is my dilemma. How to show you the way out of the illusion from within the illusion? How do I convince you that the world is not real, that you are not real? How do I convince you to stop thinking as if the world were real, and science is real, and Eastern mysticism is real, and Santa Claus is real? Maybe by now you know that Santa isn't real, but even that might have been a stretch for you to understand at one time.
But what about the world? How to understand that the world is not real? One can only see this when you see that you — as a person, a human, a phenomenal entity — are not real; you do not exist. Then everything becomes hollow and empty, because everything was created by mind, which is insubstantial with no substance. You are seeing the emptiness of your concepts, which is the emptiness of the entire world, including the existence of your body and mind itself.
The only reality lies in that principle which witnesses all this, whether we call it the witness, the absolute, or awareness. And it has no quality that one finds in the world. It does not exist in the world. It is entirely beyond the world and any property of the world. It is entirely beyond existence and non-existence.
That can only be understood when your mind drops out of the appearance of your head, deep into your body, and then your appearance of consciousness will spread through and penetrate everything. It is so easy, and yet so hard. Merely drop your attention deep, deep, deep down within the appearance of your body. Consciousness will begin to spread everywhere, and the void will be revealed as a self illumined emptiness which interpenetrates everything.
The easiest way to do this is to look at the I thought and also the sense of I. They are different. Watch where the I-thought arises, and with your tactile emotional being, feel the sense of presence which is associated with the I thought, which Nisargadatta calls the I am. They are not the same, but they are closely associated in the mind.
A harder way, but a more direct way, and a more frightening way, is just to dive inwards and downwards into your inner darkness, which after a time becomes an inner emptiness. Just hour after hour, day after day, look within, look into the emptiness, look into the darkness hour after hour, day after day, week after week until the void nature of phenomena is revealed as well as your nonexistence as a being. This is true self inquiry, not mindlessly repeating the question "Who am I?"
None of this understanding comes easily to most. You need to persist and recognize that it is your thoughts and thinking which prevent you from going free. You can deliberately try to silence the mind, but that is putting the cart before the horse. Instead be aware of the I thought, and where the I thought arises out of the inner emptiness. Be aware of the sense of presence, and also that you are witnessing the sense of presence, you are witnessing the I am.
Most people cannot tolerate such an austere practice. They want to utilize their busy mind, make theories, make connections, and gain a complete understanding of the whole process before they commit even 5 minutes to meditation.
The mind has totally subjugated them, and it becomes the "host" of your beingness, instead of the guest of the absolute, which is YOU.
You must have courage, determination, perseverance and trust in the teaching and the method. Most of you have that trust in me or in the method. You need to develop that trust in yourself, and accept that is within your power to discover who and what you are. It is this kind of confidence which is really important to successfully going free.
You can have faith in me, you can have faith in the method, but you must also have faith in yourself. You get faith in yourself by throwing away all concepts, all science, all Eastern mysticism, all rebirth fantasies, all spiritual evolution fantasies, and just look closely within at the nature of your inner world, towards that which witnesses that inner world.
Don't be in a rush. Don't look for immediate results. Don't keep second-guessing yourself asking whether you're doing it right. Just turn your attention completely around, from looking outward into the world, to inward towards your inner darkness and emptiness. That's all that you have to do. Just as a scientist observes phenomena of the world, you must observe phenomena in you and find out that which is really you, and what is not real. What you think you are is not true. You don't exist in the way that you think you exist.
Once you own the "state" which Nisargadatta calls the absolute, or the witness, then you will realize that all the steps that you took to escape the illusion, and which were done within the illusion, were never really taken. You never moved even one inch. You never practiced even one minute. You never practiced self inquiry. All of this happened within the unreality of the waking dream, and is fundamentally unreal. There is no you to have ever practiced or become realized.
Many of you interact with me frequently, and I joke with you and you joke with me. You wonder about what I like to eat, what movies I like to see, and what I think about the world, etc. But you see, you are trying to identify with me as a human, rather than with that reality which is beyond existence, which I cannot show you directly. I can only talk about it and the method to get there.
So I may tell you jokes to keep you entertained, in a sense to make the world more real to me also, so I can function in it, but fundamentally I've nothing to do with this world. That which continues to function in this world is a vestige of the past. It is like a spinning top that keeps spinning even though no longer is anyone making it go faster and faster. Yet I identify with none of this.
I have seen through the illusion. I don't care what happens to my body. I don't read books, not even spiritual books anymore. I don't listen to music, except sacred music once in a while. I don't care what kind of home I own or the car I drive. If I had three or four boiled vegetables a day I'd be very happy. Robert always said don't pay much attention to the body, just take care of it, but don't be too concerned about it. If I had my druthers, I would never move from my couch. I'd be lying on my back experiencing total happiness of being and doing nothing.
But something in me still keeps me in the world. Perhaps it's as a spinning top. Perhaps it's my habit of feeling all too deeply the suffering of all sentient beings, and wanting them to be safe and free. Many of you feel the same way, that's why we are a spiritual family and growing.
So, you need to bear with me. I'll try to wake you from the illusion, even while I continue to act as a human because doing so built a bond between you and me, so that eventually you can see in me the deeper levels of self that exist within you, and vice versa.
In the meantime, as we grow as a family, each of us is finding new ways to exercise compassion and a deeper understanding.
Now, let us dive deep within our Self, the one and only Self. Let us dive deep within the darkness and emptiness that is within the appearance of your body, and seek the origin of your existence. Dive deep within, going downwards and outwards into the ground, to the great darkness and emptiness that is the background of consciousness. As you do this, consciousness becomes bright and self illumined. This illumination is the substrata upon which the mind builds the world. By seeing this illumination, you're seeing the deepest level of the appearances of consciousness, but you are beyond even that. Now let's go down deep.
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