self-contraction – Adi Da Samraj – 2004-2007

The following are excerpts from various talks by Adi Da Samraj from July 2004 to January 2007 on the nature, activity and all-encompassing effect of the self-contraction or ‘ego-I’.


You have no master. You are godless and guruless in your self-defining effort. You don’t understand the self-contraction.

If you are satisfied, you don’t know what’s happening. If you are blithely desiring and seeking, being consoled, you don’t know what’s happening. You are so desensitized by your own egoic patterning, your own self-contraction, that you don’t even understand your own mortality and the mortality and dreadfulness of the daily event of mankind, even mankind in your own person. So you keep on desiring and seeking and thinking and achieving and going on with it, you see-driven by TV messages and all the rest into being a full participant in the consumer universe, the theme park universe, the Disneyland cosmos of egoically invented Reality, in which you go from ride to ride, pavilion to pavilion, room to room, amused or whatever; distracted for a while, then you go on to the next one, quietly paying your fees and tipping the host; going with the smiling group always, like Evelyn, the easy ride, the pleasantries, the pleasure ride, hopeful that it’s going to turn out heavenly or like utopia or with an overwhelming satisfaction that will require nothing of you except that you feel overwhelming satisfaction.

And you will not have paid the price that Truth requires and you will be going on through the park cheap, you see. As Evelyn points out, however, there is an immense balloon payment at the end-with all the meanings that the balloons have in this book-and it bankrupts everybody. Any one of the pavilions or the rooms you go into may be the one where you get the bill.

It’s not about being cynical. It’s about understanding the nature of life rather than living in a deluded manner like yahoos, paying the cheap price for the ride of the world as long as you can get away with it.

To just go on and on and on and on about ideas. It’s not the point. Ideas aren’t the point. The mind is self-contraction. Flat. That’s it.

Any reference to cosmic domain is a category of egoity, a category of experiencing from point of view or egoity. The universe is a mode of self-contraction, then. What you identify as the universe is a mode of self-contraction, a mode of your own experiencing.

Closest to the core of egoity, which is fundamental self-contraction, attention itself, there is all of this mind

All seeking is based on a fault, which is self-contraction itself. And that’s what must be transcended–ego–which is the act of self-contraction. It’s not merely an entity, a flame in space, a separate anything, you see. It’s an act, an utterly false act, one that is not commonly inspected and not commonly transcended. Not even noticed. Not understood. It is just dramatized. And all doings, all paths, all traditions are founded on it!

You said you have a sense of Me spiritually you’ve come to identify as Me. So, we’ve spoken of it some, but you have an even more concrete sense of yourself

All of the developmental stages are based on seeking, based on ego-based impulse or impulses. They’re rooted in self-contraction. They are all conditionally established based on an association with one or another mode of the psycho-physical anatomy, gross, subtle and causal.

It is understood through a spiritual process ultimately, and that process, until it becomes perfect, is supported by a tacit understanding of self-contraction, and a tacit transcending of it, going beyond self-contraction, feeling beyond self-contraction

The self-contraction, you see. [Beloved Adi Da clenches His fist] It’s not the mere fact of the organism. It’s the self-contraction of the organism [clenches fist again] that is the critical nature of egoity operative in human beings and which I am addressing in the case of all devotees or anyone considering My Teaching.

Consciousness is not located until it is utterly set free from identification with separateness, with egoity, with the knot of self-contraction, the knot of the body-mind.

It’s a kind of almost metaphysically existing egoity. As in the case of human beings, something that is self-created and virtually imagined in reaction to the conditions of mortality. Just noticing it makes human beings, upsets human beings, and can basically occupies your entire life in some basic terms, wondering about it, fearing it, and so on, because you’re in this condition of self-contraction, and therefore, cut off from the ultimate Self-Condition, the Source Condition of the body-mind, and feel isolated as it and threatened as it.

Self-contraction or identification with the body-mind coincides with infinite fear, the other. The sense of other or difference is fear, limitless fear. Feeling limitless fear with limitless opposites that are a distraction from fear, is life, bondage, seeking, driven from the void, perpetually, until there’s the perfect transcending of it all. Realization, then, is renunciation of it all–not merely by giving it up, but by transcending it inherently.

Seeking stems from egoity, self-contraction, which generates dis-ease and non-pleasure, a feeling of unpleasurableness of being. And so desire becomes the motivation. Seeking becomes the life. Whereas if this root condition of egoity itself, self-contraction itself, were understood and dealt with, then the adventure that springs from it would be undermined.

You can’t give it up absolutely, but you can discipline it, be disciplined in it sufficiently, such that the Prior Condition, the Divine Self-Condition, can be established as the basis for the Perfect demonstration in which renunciation is absolute.

So, you’re not merely self-defined and self-protective in the natural sense that bodies are in any case, but in an extra sense that is a kind of metaphorical egoity, and yet really enacted by means of all the faculties of the body-mind, and suffered, even constantly.

DEVOTEE: The self-contraction is something again. It’s the beginning of the question about the self-contraction is something that I’m adding.

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Something you’re adding?

DEVOTEE: Adding to reality –

AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Who is adding? See, that’s its name. “I” is its name. You are not adding it. That suggests the self-contraction and you are two different things. You are the self-contraction, but this has to be found out.

So, self-contraction, spoken of, using conventional language structures, comes up with statements like you just made. Self-contraction is something, as you said, something “I” am adding, you see. It’s an absurd statement, really, and it’s part of the cause for your not quite getting what it’s about.

You’ve got to find yourself out as this activity of self-contraction. Find yourself out. It’s, yes, something you’re doing, but it is something you’re doing AS you. It’s not that you are a something else that you’re making do the self-contraction. You ARE the activity of self-contraction and it’s only by standing in the position of the self-contraction, understanding it as self-activity, that allows for most fundamental self-understanding, or true hearing.

The self-contraction. It effectively exists. It just doesn’t really exist. You are DOING it and yet YOU are not someone separate.

Nonetheless, you think you are…this superimposition, this egoic superimposition on Reality, this mummer’s life, must effectively be transcended. It’s not that you have to die and then the Truth is obvious. No, it MUST become Self-Evident in the context of life OR of conditional existence, however it’s going on. It is always a barrier, it always is associated with the self-contraction mechanism until there is perfect transcendence and in that case it’s not that anything has been removed, it’s that something presumed has ceased to be effective.

That’s a paradoxical way of putting it, but that’s what it is. It’s not like there’s Reality and there’s something REALLY in the way, because that thing that is really in the way would have to be different than Reality and it’s not, but there is a presumption of that nature. Egoity is presumed to be the case. It is actively presumed, not merely conceptually presumed.

The WHOLE body-mind is the enactment of it. Life is therefore mummery or ego theatre.

“I” is the body-mind. “I” is not some metaphysical entity, you see. That which is ultimately Consciousness Itself is not “I”. It’s not an “I”. It’s not “I” at all. It has nothing to do with “I”. “I” is entirely within the bounds of body-mind, and rests on that which is merely the Witness and has no “I” about it. It’s at the root of “I”, you could say. But so is everything else. You know, you could try and discover the source of the “I” thought or the “I” feeling, or whatever, but you’d find the same kind of nameless condition there as you would by tracing anything to the source. Any experience will wind up locating the same thing that would be located by trying to feel the source of the “I”. Try to find the source of audibility, of hearing, of taste, of sensation in your foot, of any thought. It all has the same source, so it doesn’t really make any difference, which kind of experience you follow to its source. It’s still the same. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t abide as that and don’t understand yourself in psycho-physical terms, sufficiently, to actually realize that which is not an “I”.

In My Teaching considerations, I make reference to this traditional term-anandamayakosha–sometimes, simply to account for the traditional terminology. But the causal body, like the subtle dimension and its bodies, etheric, mental and discriminative, and the gross body, must be transcended. So, I have described this dimension in very particular terms, as I just stated them, and otherwise, as containing the roots of, the root forces or presumptions that are the basis of the self-contraction in all of its forms. It is the root contraction. It is attention itself. It is the feeling of relatedness, the feeling of separateness, the feeling of otherness, the feeling of difference. All of these root characteristics of egoity must be transcended in order to Realize that which is Divine, the Divine Self-Condition, Reality Itself.

All seeking is preceded by self-contraction. The search is what makes seeking seem reasonable or necessary. It creates the urge or urgency or motivation of seeking. There has to be identification with the body-mind to be the self-contraction to begin with.

The position presumed by My devotee prior to the perfection of the practice is that of the self-contraction. It’s always being shown. It’s always being demonstrated. You can ask the most clever question, speak eloquently. You can say you walked across the yard and you felt something or other and you won’t ask Me what the practice is based on it, you see, because you’ve already heard Me say something about that, and so now, you’re clued in not to ask certain kinds of questions, you see. Why are you asking Me questions to begin with? Is it trying to get to the point where you will only be somehow or other immunized against Me, so that you’ll have a perfect set of responses or descriptions or techniques even of appearing in front of Me so that I won’t notice you, Narcissus, and will imagine through your acts of mummery that you really are someone else?

No matter how well informed My devotees are, with 23 Books and more, you see, you use it like some kind of body armor or body-mind armor. You use it to serve the body-mind, somehow or other, in the midst of the presumptions being made or the contractions being enacted that is the root problem that has you seeking or feeling confident or whatever at the moment.

My Work is simply sitting here and you tacitly feel My State and turn to Me, and that turning to Me is a responsive happening that is My Work. How did I do it? By jiggling your faculties in My direction? No, that’s your response. I did it by Being here, always already established as I am. And if you are tacitly moved by My State, then you become My devotee and respond by turning to Me, and this whole process I’ve described, happens on this basis. And whatever I might say here and there is intended to be useful to you to clarify various matters, inform you, to undermine your provincialism of thought or reading or experiencing or presuming and so forth, in order to make you even more available to that tacit recognition of Me that moves you and enabled to be turned to Me and Beholding Me, simply that, more profoundly, ultimately, perfectly.

If I am not recognized, then there is no turning to Me beyond the act of self-contraction. There is no turning out from this knot to Me. The Way of Adidam is the responsive turning of this self-knot identified with the body-mind, turned to Me beyond self-contraction, tacitly, in Spiritual and transcendental communion with My Person and Presence and State.

You can’t set that aside and reduce this Way to techniques or practices or ideas alone. All of those kinds of content can be fitted into the body-mind in its independence from Me, in its self-contraction. So you may think The Way is about turning the faculties to Me. Yes, it is, but it’s not merely about turning the faculties, it’s about Me, turning the faculties to Me, not merely by objectifying Me into something from which you are detached, but on the basis of the present recognition of Me, knowing of Me

If it could have all been accomplished by My merely stepping into the room briefly, making a statement or two, the entire cast is enlightened, or the entire gathering, and then I could just call in the next group, you see, fine. But it doesn’t work that way

Essentially, the Way is devotion. Devotion is in recognition response to Me and by virtue of the Work I do, there is the Realization of the Perfect mode of practice. And, until then, until that “Perfect Practice” is established, there is egoity, only. There is self contraction only. There is false presumption. There is habit pattern, bondage, and questions. The questions can be manufactured out of talk. You can turn My communication into just talk that creates questions that are a reflection of what I said or that are verbal mummery of a kind, that don’t really get at what needs to be addressed such that Realization is served.

This is not utopia. I can’t make it utopia. It does not have that potential. That’s not what it’s about. What is it about? It’s what you make it to be about. You can live it in the patterns of convention and familiarity and bondage and wrap yourself up in the pattern of your own weave, self-satisfied, and totally independent, as if perfect, perfect somehow, by being completely independent of everything and everyone, not part of a massive universal weave.

It could be said that all human lifetimes are a quest for the historical self, their own, indisputable, defined, real existence. What is self-contraction if not basically an effort, a quest, a search for self-existence? It’s a use of the body-mind, the fundamental purpose of which is to generate the sense of separate existence over against everything and everyone.

What if therefore the self-contraction were utterly relinquished, therefore no presumption of separate self-existence is made? What’s left? What actually exists? What is really the case before you superimpose this convention of presumption or before that super-imposition is made however it is being made? What is the case? What is always already the case? What is always already the case is necessarily the Reality that is the fundamental experience. Let’s use that word. And it is always the experience, because it is always already the case.

The “Perfect Practice” of this Way is not about seeking the source of the “I” thought or about seeking anything whatsoever. It’s “perfect” practice. It is “perfect” because it inherently transcends all seeking, all method. It transcends the search that is fundamental, the search for an historical self, the search for an identifiable ego. It is referred to constantly, constantly, by the reference “I” or the name that you use as a stand-in for the pronoun, and so on. It’s in constant use by virtually everyone. It’s there whether you speak or not. It’s there in thinking as well as in speaking. It is a droning, constant kind of musical composition, elaborated by all kinds of features of presumptions about perception, memory, on and on. It’s a song and dance. It’s a Bue Ma pretend show-everything-to-everybody act. It’s an utter fake. There is not the slightest truth to it. There is no ego. There is effectively one, because it is constantly presumed and self-contraction as the activity that is the method of self-identification. It is the substitute for the actual existence of an historical self. But there is no historical self.

Clench your fist. You can feel the shape defined by the fingers against the palm. It’s got a specificity to it. You can feel that defined shape, space, made by the sensation of your own hand clenched together. But where is it? Open your hand, there’s nothing there in that shape. The self-contraction is like that. It feels like there’s somebody there. You call it “I”. But there isn’t anybody there.

When it is open, when the self-contraction is transcended, there’s nobody there. You find yourself out. It’s like the kid on the street. It’s like [Beloved alters His voice] “Hey, the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on.”

You confess it openly. What a fake you are or have been. There never was any separate self. This is the theater of lies, of mummers. It’s play-acting, most of it quite dreadful, pathetic, and boring. In fact, virtually all of it is, and there are some precious aspects to it, but they are all passing.

So, sorrow is the ultimate philosophy? When the hand is open, it is empty also. There never was that space of separateness. It was defined by your own presumption, your own so-called “your own” self-contraction. In other words, that by which you are defined is your own activity. And when the activity is transcended, there was no “your own” about it. There was no “I”. It never originated from an ultimate self. It originates in its own context of mechanisms, of body-mind, of apparent relations, which is actually an undifferentiated unity, this universal, conditional display.

The “I” is the self-contraction, not the Self that is Reality, or Truth or Real God. That’s not what the “I” points to. The “I” points to the self-contraction. The “I” is the body-mind or its roots, its very root, which is self-contraction in the form of the most fundamental illusion of difference, of separateness, relatedness, otherness, difference, just that, attention itself.

Egoity cannot bring an end to itself. Seeking cannot bring an end to seeking. Seeking cannot Realize Reality. Seeking is a symptom of dis-ease, lack of ease, the absence of equanimity, bondage to a problem, a dilemma, two opposites in direct and equal confrontation with one another, pushing with equal strength, becoming immobile. [Beloved pushes His two fists together and then holds up one fist] What is this, this? Problem dilemma is self-contraction, contradiction at the core of awareness. The search is always somehow in relation to what is objective to consciousness, even what may be described as subjective is objective to awareness itself, and it is caused by something that must be understood.

There is no self behind your body-mind that is an absolute you that you are going to realize, so all turning on self is fruitless. It’s self-contraction. But you have to understand this. It’s not merely something to be believed–it’s something to profoundly observe and understand. Where there is this understanding, there IS renunciation, not because you’re getting something up, but because it no longer has any force, any relevance. The pattern loses its mobility.

Self-understanding is part of what is revealed in the turning to Me, you see. In forgetting of self-contraction, forgetting of self and its patterned or patterning contents, something is tacitly understood until it becomes in the most fundamental sense, obvious what this body-mind is in terms of the action that it is, the doing that it is, this contraction whereby it affirms separate existence and identity as a self, pointing to some kind of subjective root. That pointer is the source of illusion. There IS no such subjective root.

In fact it is true that it has nothing to do with thinking and thinking cannot achieve it. All thinking is seeking, all thinking is self-contraction, realization is not about quieting the mind or the effort of doing that. It’s not about stopping thinking. It’s not about the fact of no thinking. Realization is the realization of that which is already prior to thinking. Already there is no thinking. Thinking comes after the already which isn’t a something that happens and so what does talking have to do with it? How can it possibly illuminate the process? So it is given, yes served by words as I must, but it is given wordlessly except that you can’t accept the conveyance of the wordless means. You have to keep being explained to.

So, anybody who’s associated with a body-mind, so-called anybody associated with it, who is not afraid, doesn’t know what’s happening. Fear is inherent in the body-mind. Every last stroke of it is fear. It is self-contraction, and therefore it’s fear. And that’s all there is to it. So was there fear? You bet! Hard-on, full-time, unqualified, constant. Now if that doesn’t make you want to wake up, you see, nothing will. That’s why there is a waking up. That’s where the motivation comes from. So for Me to embrace, to be coincident with this life, and the Franklin Jones form and so on, this lump of flesh here, was fearful serious business. A terrible submission. Remains so, a vision of terrible circumstances, of deluded beings suffering and creating suffering. Creating it as the gross world product. And refusing all gifts of release, of transcendence, of Truth. The characteristic of fear is not there in some egoic sense, but the vision of it, the coincidence with the world of it continues. Death continues.

It’s the whole life that comes to this point of hearing. It is a comprehensive whole bodily tacit understanding of the nature of egoity, of the action of egoity that is your life and from that time there is a capability to exercise the life, the whole body-mind on the basis of this root tacit comprehension of self-contraction.

The whole life has already been adapted to the discipline, the disciplines that are its foundation before there is true hearing, so true hearing, most fundamental self-understanding, adds this capability to the life already conformed to Me that is fundamental, essential, comprehensive. It’s a single comprehensive moment-to-moment capability. The ENTIRETY of egoity, the whole body-mind as an egoic action of self-contraction, is, in every moment, a matter of responsibility through the exercise of hearing.

True hearing gives a central capability that can tacitly feel the entire body-mind is self-contraction and know it is so and feel beyond that totality of self-contraction moment to moment and then as more of experience, including the spiritual experience intensifying, shows perhaps additional dimensions of experiencing or different elements of the personality and so on or of the mechanism, penetrated by spiritual reception of Me.

This capability of most fundamental self-understanding of self-contraction, whole bodily understanding, tacit whole bodily understanding, is exercised in every moment it’s arising, so even though true hearing doesn’t require all possible kinds of experiences to be had first, or ever for that matter, any kind of experience that DOES arise including kinds of experience that were not shown before, is met with this hearing capability and so the egoic mode of incorporation of experience is able to be transcended moment to moment.

The fundamental noticing of the root of this heat, the why it is happening, is true hearing, most fundamental self-understanding-when this is noticed, when this is understood. When the self-contraction is uncovered, not only in all its variant possibility or complexity, but in its root fundamental which is moment to moment and total psycho-physical self-contraction. When this is truly observed and understood with tacit, fundamental conviction, there is new arms in practice. A new capability is introduced, that by contrast can be said to be rather cooling, Blissful, calm, undisturbed, not frustrated, not countering tendencies, but simply transcending the very root of all of it, moment to moment. That is the process that true hearing enables. This is necessary before the sadhana can continue to develop, most profoundly develop, toward the Perfect Practice.