What Are You Always Doing? – Adi Da Samraj

What Are You Always Doing?
by Da Free John March 24, 1981


The “objects” – so called – of the bodily senses and the mind are always present to us in a mediated form. That is, bodily objects or relations are never present to us except as experiences, and mental objects are never present to us except as forms of cognition. Thus, the “objects” of our experience and cognition are always mediated by our own mysterious mechanism of experience and cognition. The “objects” are always present to us in the form of reflections or facsimiles in the nervous system and brain. The “objects” present to our experience and cognition are not in fact present to us except as impressions upon our perceptual and cognitive apparatus. That apparatus then translates those impressions into sensations, images, thoughts, or vague notions that we in turn interpret as objective phenomena. And our interpretation is itself conditioned by the state of our personal apparatus.

The body-mind is our agent–a kind of mechanical or computerized receiver and transmitter, a space-time module that determines, defines, and limits every condition that is our experience and our knowledge. Whatever exists to be experienced or known is always mediated by this machine.

This machine is also what every individual regards to be his or her “self”–even though the body-mind is as much an object or relation of awareness as any of the objects or relations experienced or known via the agency of the body-mind. Truly, the self is the awareness that monitors the body-mind, the experiences and cognitions developed by the body-mind, and all of the objects presumed to exist in relation to the body-mind.

The actual status of our existence is that “I” is simple awareness associated with a body-mind apparatus that is arising dependently (not independent of the body-mind–so that “I” is felt and presumed to be the psycho-physical persona, an entity separate from, dependent upon, and threatened and bewildered by the phenomenal field of its apparent relations.

The summary and ultimate effect of this self-contraction is the loss of will and confinement to a bewildered and threatened existence that seeks ultimate experience, knowledge, or release for the limited psycho-physical self. Such existence is a problem, a dilemma. And egoic life is, therefore, always and inherently a problem seeking a solution.

Human individuals and groups and mankind as a whole have always been devoted to the egoic and problematic search for ultimate experience, knowledge, and release. Every fraction of human enterprise, personal or collective, secular or sacred, tends to be a species of problem-based seeking for experience, knowledge, and release. Only in the rarest of cases have human individuals Realized a disposition toward existence that was inherently and priorly free of problematic and ego-based seeking. It is not cultures, or religions, or collections of scientific and secular knowledge that are free of the “problem” of existence. It is only the Awakened individual or Adept who is thus free.

The Way that I Teach is the Way of inherent and prior freedom in its purest form. It is the testimony of Realization, and it is supported by the testimony or demonstration of all the free Adepts in human history. It is a critical testimony, since it is not based on traditional forms of idealism or conventional strategies of problem based seeking, whether religious or secular. It is a call to the inherent and prior capacity of the individual to understand and transcend his or her own mechanisms of experience and knowledge.

Therefore, my Teaching is a call to understanding. It is not a call to belief, or allegiance, or strategic effort. It. is not a call to you as a problem. It is a call to you as living awareness prior to the presumption of any problem at all. It is a call to that which always already transcends the problem-consciousness, the ego-bind, and the conventions of seeking for the ultimate solution. It is a call to the free intelligence of living beings.

Consider the analysis I have just made of the status of our manifest existence:

“I” is “simple awareness associated with a body-mind apparatus that is arising dependently (not independently) in relation to a great space-time field of energies and apparent forms.”

Experience and knowledge are never more than facsimiles, electronically generated via the medium of the body-mind, based on impressions made at the various sensory and cognitive terminals of the nervous system and the brain. We presume these facsimiles to be objective reality, whereas they are, in their very form, subjective phenomena (or media of the body-mind itself). Our physical, emotional, and mental state, our previous conditioning, our “karma” of accumulated impressions and effects of impressions, and the relative order, disorder, pleasurableness, and painfulness of the present circumstance of the body-mind all contribute to the form our present “facsimile of reality” takes as experience or knowledge. The sum total of all of this subjective awareness is a burden to the body-mind that intensifies the sense of independent and threatened self-existence. Therefore, we become devoted, on the basis of threatened identification with the body-mind-self, to the search for states of experience and knowledge that will relieve us of the problematic bind of our own existence. We are seeking for a “facsimile of reality” that neither contains nor implies the bind or problem of existence. But the bind or problem is not inherent to the conditions of existence. The bind or problem is superimposed on the body-mind as a reaction to the conditions of existence. The bind or problem is neither experiential (or perceptual) nor cognitive (in the form of knowledge or the absence of knowledge). The bind or problem is nothing more than the reflexive or contractive reaction of the body-mind.

Secular human enterprises are basically problem-based searches for experience, knowledge, and release via outer-directed association with the field of phenomena. Thus, we have science, technology, politics, self-indulgent pleasures, and entertainments. All of that is reflected in the “daily news” of personal and collective awareness. And sacred human enterprises are basically problem based searches for experience, knowledge, and release via inner-directed attention, either toward more internal, personal, or subtle states, or toward that inwardness that is utterly dissociated from the body-mind and its relations. All of that is reflected in the primary sense of awareness as an independent end or environment in and of itself. But what is the Truth? In fact, whether we are inner-directed or outer-directed, our very directedness is itself a reflection of a problem, a reaction. Our directedness is itself nothing but the evidence or demonstration of the self-contraction.


The self-contraction is what everyone is always doing. That doing is the definer and limiter of our existence in every moment. The machinery of existence is simply the machinery of existence. It is not a problem, if our participation in it is directly understood. It becomes a problem only if we interpret it and react to it as such.

The Way is not, in principle, a strategy of either inner-directed or outer-directed activity. It is not itself a call to the conventions of sacred or secular activity. The call is to the Way of moment to moment understanding and transcendence of the self-contraction, whether the apparent conditions of the moment are relatively subjective or relatively objective. Thus, it is a call to native equanimity, or free energy and attention in the midst of whatever conditions are apparently arising. If we are established in such equanimity (or freedom from the self-contraction), then the Truth is directly obvious to our intuition.

The Truth is not that we are awareness itself, separate from the body-mind or the apparent states of manifest experience and knowledge. The Truth is that That which is awareness is Itself the body-mind and the world or total field of possible conditions. When awareness is established in equanimity, free of the reflexive contraction of “I” consciousness (which is a gesture that identifies the being either with the body-mind separate from its relations or with awareness separate from the body-mind and its relations), then the body-mind and its relations are in the native state as a continuous field. In that case, awareness is continuous with all phenomena and is not stopped or foreshortened at any point due to the reflex of self-contraction or the apparent limits of present experience or knowledge. Thus, in that moment, it is tacitly obvious that existence is inherently free and unqualified.

The “business” of ego life is experience and knowledge. Thus, we are constantly struggling with “realities” and “facsimiles,” limits and appearances. But there is a most profound dimension to our existence which we are then constantly forgetting, or pushing aside, or keeping unconscious. It is the ultimate dimension of Truth, or the understanding, recognition, and transcendence of the conventional mechanics of experience and knowledge.

We tend to think that Reality is what we experience and know, or what we can ultimately experience and know. But experience and knowledge are nothing but reflective conventions of the bodymind-self. Experience and knowledge never achieve ultimacy, although they may approximate factuality. What is ultimate is the Truth or Condition of our conventional existence. Reality or Truth transcends “I”-consciousness. It transcends the “I” that is the body-mind-self, and It transcends even the root-awareness that witnesses the conditions of body and mind. It is obvious only when the reflexive contraction of consciousness toward “I” relaxes, and awareness, the body-mind, and the relations of the body-mind are naturally established in the equanimity of their native continuity.

In the seventh stage of life, the “Samadhi” or native intuition of Radiant Transcendental Being as the Eternal, Blissful, and All-Pervading Condition of self and all of Nature is constant. It is not an inward trance state. It is not disposed toward the bind of either conventional inwardness or conventional outwardness. It is Free Bliss, not qualified by Nature or self, and yet naturally continuous with whatever phenomena are presently or apparently arising.

Nature, or the Cosmic Domain, is a Great Field and Hierarchy of possibilities. The individual human body-mind is a mechanism that arises dependently and in continuity with that Great Field. The human body-mind is a complex mechanism that is capable of receiving and transmitting impressions at every level of energy and apparent form and via every level of energy and apparent form. We can receive and transmit impressions via the physical body and its sensory system. We can also receive and transmit impressions via the various forms of energy. The mind is associated with both the physical (or sensory) system and the hierarchy of manifest energies. Thus, it is capable of reflecting and relating to local physical “objects,” but it is also capable of reflecting impressions in the larger dimensions of space-time, via the mechanics of energy that do not depend on sensory transmission. (It is for this reason that higher psychic phenomena, such as what are commonly called “ESP,” are possible.) And even the physical body and the extended nervous system are related to energy processes that transcend the sensory and motor devices. (And it is for this reason that certain peculiar phenomena, commonly called “miracles,” such as evident mind-over-matter or the transmission of healing or other effective energies from body to body, are possible.) Thus, the human individual is capable of evolutionary growth through creative struggle. And that individuality also survives physical death, because it arises not merely in the physical domain but in the domain of energy.

But Nature is not Truth. Nature is apparent and great, but it is not in itself Reality. It inheres in Reality. The individual self, or body-mind, is itself only a condition in Nature, but the body-mind-self is not the Real Self. The body-mind-self inheres in the same Reality in which Cosmic Nature inheres. And that Reality is, therefore, only Realized in a disposition that transcends the body-mind-self and Nature.

Realization is not a matter of suppressing or separating from the body-mind-self. It is not a matter of inwardness. Neither is it a matter of any kind of psycho-physical success or evolution. Introverted and extroverted states of all kinds come and go in our adventure in the scale of Nature. They are all accounted for in my description of the first six stages of human life. But the matter of the Realization of Reality or Truth is always present and instant. It does not prohibit the Play of internal or external Nature, or experience, or knowledge. It is simply a matter of self-transcending equanimity, or the recognition of self and experience and knowledge and Nature in the Real and Eternal Context of their simultaneous arising.

God, or Radiant Transcendental Being, is the Context of self and Nature. God is not the direct Creator of the self, or Nature, or the experience and knowledge suffered or enjoyed by the self in Nature. God is the Context, the Condition, the Substance, and the Identity of self and Nature.