The Dreaded Gom-Boo – Chapter 3

The Dreaded Gomboo or The Imaginary Disease That
Religion Seeks To Cure.

A Collection of Essays and Talks on the “Direct”
Process of Enlightenment.

By Da Free John.

Compiled and edited with an introduction and commentary
by the Renunciate Hermitage Order.

Table of Contents


Part I: Understanding


The Imaginary Disease of Un-Reality

September 11, 1982

Part I

MASTER DA: I have here an essay called “The Imaginary
Disease of Un-Reality.” Before I read it, perhaps someone,
or a number of you, would like to tell us what Reality is.
What is Reality? (Laughter when no one responds.) Are you
afraid that what you are going to say will be wrong?

DEVOTEE: You said in The Liberator (Eleutherios) ,
Master, that …

MASTER DA: I am not asking you what I said. I am not even
necessarily asking what you think. I am asking, “What is
Reality?” (Someone says Reality is unknowable.) Is there
nothing that can be said about it, then?

DEVOTEE: Reality is the Truth.

DEVOTEE: I would say it is singular.

MASTER DA: But Reality is something with which presumably
you enjoy a profound state of intimacy. You cannot therefore
just say it is Truth or something like that. Tell me, on the
basis of your precise intimacy with Reality, what is it?

DEVOTEE: I would say that it is the Happiness we intuit
in your Company.

MASTER DA: So-Reality is just Happiness? Is Reality your
foot? Is it the rug? Or is it just Happiness?

The consideration of Reality has occupied both serious
and unserious people for thousands of years. All kinds of
philosophies and religious and spiritual traditions have
tried very hard to provide a definition of Reality and to
convince people that this, that, or the other state of
existence is Reality, so that they will cling to the favored
dogma and not to something else.

Well, what is Reality?

DEVOTEE: It seems that in this place Reality is a

MASTER DA: So it is a paradox?

DEVOTEE: Yes, because on the one hand we observe the
expression of our unreality, and yet on the other hand we
have also seen that there is something completely

MASTER DA: But you are all being very intellectual. I
want the frog here, the real thing. What is it?

DEVOTEE: Master, today we were considering the
conventional phrase “the real world.” What is usually meant
by the real world is something that is changing and
disappearing, something that no two of us see in exactly the
same way. We were considering your use of the word “Real,”
but we realized that although we try to describe it, it
seems incapable of description.

MASTER DA: When we tell one another to “come back to the
real world” or “get real,” we mean that we should come to
our senses. To be dissociated from the senses is somehow
associated with unreality. Thinking, for instance, is
considered in some traditions to be unreal, and thought is
considered to be unreality. To “get back to Reality,”
therefore, is to come to your senses.

The most common notion of Reality is the objective world,
the world that you contact with your senses. You must stay
in touch with that world or you begin to seem unreal. The
trouble with defining Reality as the world or everything you
can confront objectively is that then the consciousness or
the experiencer is also by definition unreal. Thus, some
traditions propose that the world of the senses is precisely
what is unreal. Consciousness is real, and the world of the
senses, therefore, is unreality.

Two great traditions have developed on the basis of these
two proclamations of the propagandized truth of Reality. One
is the tradition of Reality as the world or that which we
confront through the senses, and the other is the tradition
of Reality as consciousness independent of objects. In one
or another way, the traditions and the propaganda of daily
life present a kind of tension between these two views.

Doubt expresses the tension between these two views. If
you doubt, you do not know which of these points of view to
affirm or to be. Do you affirm being real in the sense of
being freely involved in your sensory life? Or do you affirm
being consciousness and forget about this world? The
challenge represented by these two opposites fills
traditional philosophy and practice, just as it fills
everyones daily life. All of you exist in this tension
between you subjective being and the world you feel you
confront objectively.

Everything we confront objectively is just an appearance
conditioned by this body-mind, which makes things seem in a
certain fashion. The world could seem in all kinds of other
ways than we think and perceive it to seem. Other beings
might think and perceive objective reality in a totally
different way than we do. There seems to be no
justification, therefore, for calling “Reality” what we
happen to perceive collectively or individually, in this
moment or the next. On the other hand, there also seems to
be no justification for calling consciousness Reality and
everything else an illusion to be forgotten or

These conceptions of Reality, you could say, are diseased
views in some sense, the products of spiritual neurosis.
They are what are traditionally called “false views.” But
they are also the traditional views that absorb traditional
thinkers. Countless texts champion one or the other of these
two views. The general name for the one view is
“realism”-the view that what is real is what is encountered
objectively. And the general name of the other is
“idealism”-the view that what is real is the essence of

Let us consider this essay, then, called “The Imaginary
Disease of Un-Reality.”

The Imaginary Disease of Un-Reality

an Essay by Da Free John

Consider this. Is it possible to observe Reality? Where
is Reality? Can you locate Reality now? And if you locate
Reality, are you then observing It? If you locate Reality,
are you then knowing or experiencing It?

Discussions about Reality are common in the traditions of
spiritual philosophy, and we also commonly call upon one
another to stay involved with Reality (and avoid
un-Reality), but the word “Reality” is used to signify many
different presumptions or meanings. Therefore, we must
clearly understand where Reality is, and then we must
Realize Reality Itself.

Reality is what is . Reality is Is, or Being, the Isness
of Existence. We tend, in our considerations of Reality, to
be misled by the conventions of ordinary speech. The word
“Reality” seems to indicate or suggest an object of some
kind. Therefore, we tend to think about Reality in the same
manner as we think about objects of thought and perception.
Indeed, we tend to define Reality in the mode of thingness
rather than Isness, and, therefore, the common conception of
Reality is that It is the objective world of sensation. But
if the objective world, or any ultimate Object, is Reality,
then consciousness must be un-Real, since it is never object
to itself.

Whenever the consideration of Reality reduces It to what
is objective to us, then consciousness conceives of itself
as separate, alienated. and un-Real. Therefore, some who
consider all of this are moved to declare that
consciousness, or subjective being (in and of itself,
exclusive of all objects), is Reality. Such thinkers, by
defining Reality as consciousness-only, are led by that
logic to presume that all objects are un-Real. They say that
consciousness is Reality because it is changeless, whereas
all else only changes, and, therefore, all else (or every
object of consciousness) is un-Real.

The two most common traditional definitions of Reality
are (1) that It is the objective world only, and (2) that It
is consciousness-only. And these two views stand in absolute
contradiction to one another. Indeed, the psychological
force represented by that contradiction is the essence of
the dilemma or problem that all human beings are trying to
overcome or solve. Therefore, it is as if we are all
confronted by a third Reality, which is the tension or force
of contradiction between Reality (whatever It is ) and
un-Reality (whatever It is ). It would seem, then, that we
must not only discover what Reality is , but we must also
discover what un-Reality is !

What is indicated by all of this is that our
consideration of Reality has tended to become universally
experienced as an absurdity. If we do not truly locate or
Realize Reality, then we also tend to define Reality
falsely. And if our definition of Reality is false, then we
are confronted with the absurd notion that there is a
something that is un-Reality.

Truly, there is not anything concretely indicated by the
word “un-Reality.” The notion that there is such a something
is only a kind of psychological feeling or dis-ease caused
by the failure to locate (or be located in) Reality Itself.
What is more, there is not any something concretely
indicated by the word “Reality.” The notion that there is
such a something is itself the absurd result of the
application of the conventions of ordinary speech to the
consideration of Existence Itself.

Therefore, to consider Reality rightly, or in Truth, we
must understand and transcend the mind and the psychology by
which we tend to seek or locate Reality. To think of Reality
as a something is already to be alienated from It (since It
is implied to exist outside or in objective relation to us).
Therefore, first understand what the word “Reality” truly
indicates. It means, simply, what is . That which is Reality
is what is. The word “Reality” does not signify a something,
the opposite of which is the “un-Real.” There is no opposite
of Reality, and there is no other than Reality. There is no
thing and no one that is un-Real. It is simply that if
Reality is not Realized, we feel alienated from Reality, and
so we live and think on the basis of a lost equanimity.

Reality is not a something or an object to be known or
experienced. Reality is a Condition-the Condition-to be
always presently located and Realized. If Reality is located
and Realized, then we also live and think in a state of

Then where is Reality? What is the Condition that, if It
is presently located and Realized, establishes the body-mind
in a native state of equanimity? In other words, what is ?
What is the case now, always now, always and already in
every present moment? It cannot be said that any object or
the total objective world is Reality, because any and all
objects only can be or may be or seem to be. Every possible
object is only potential, present, or temporary. Therefore,
objects may seem to be (or to exist), but they are at most
apparent and temporary. The Reality or Isness of every
present moment is not what seems to be, or what may
potentially be, or what is thought to be, but what is . What
is in every present moment is not separate from the
consciousness of every moment. What is in every present
moment is simply Existence, or Being, or Consciousness
(prior to egoic or subjective self-reference), or the bare
Isness of the moment itself.

Reality is simply is , or present Being. It is not
because It does not change that Being or Consciousness is
Reality. Being or Consciousness is Reality by virtue of the
fact that It is . Being or Consciousness is the Isness of
every present moment. And to locate, to be established in,
or to Realize Being or Consciousness in every present moment
is to be thoroughly established in It and as It. Thus, to
intuitively locate and fully Realize Being, Consciousness,
Existence, Isness, or Reality in every present moment is
also to establish the body-mind in the equanimity of that

It is not that Being or Consciousness is Reality and
thought, body, action, and all possible relations or objects
are un-Real. Rather, Being, Consciousness, Reality, or
Isness is the Condition of the body-mind and the world. Only
Being or Consciousness is always already the case, whatever
arises. All conditions (including the body-mind and the
total world) are only a Play of modification of
Consciousness, or an apparent happening within the Context
of Being or Consciousness or Reality or Isness Itself.

Thoughts (including all ideas about Reality) are
modifications of Being or Consciousness. They are not in
themselves, separately, Reality Itself. All sensory and
presumably non-subjective objects are only appearances
conditioned by the perceiving, experiencing, and knowing
body-mind. Therefore, no object is, in itself, Real, and the
apparently objective or phenomenal world, such as it
appears, is not, in itself, Reality. Objects, like thoughts
(which are themselves only subtle objects), are only
conditional and conventional modifications of Consciousness,
Being, Reality, or Isness Itself.

We tend to submit ourselves to objects or objectively
conceived processes, and so we develop the psychological
feeling of dis-ease, or alienation from Reality,
Consciousness, Being, Isness, or Free Existence. Therefore,
the Way is to inspect, understand, and transcend the error
of our “disease,” our presumed divorce from Reality. This
means that we must consent to Be, to locate ourselves in and
as Being, Isness, or Consciousness, from which standpoint
all arising conditions are observed only in Reality, as the
Play of Being. And this “location” of Reality will magnify
Reality (or the Radiance of Free Being) under all
conditions, so that the Realization of Reality ultimately
Transfigures and even Outshines the body-mind and the

MASTER DA: All the discussions that appear in the
language of Advaitism and Buddhism and in academic or
scholastic philosophy of all kinds seem to be saying
something that bears a convincing edge. Something about what
the traditional philosophers are saying, whether they are
declaring the objective world to be Reality or consciousness
to be Reality, seems to be true, necessary, and logical. But
quite the contrary! The result of our reading the texts of
the traditional philosophers is generally doubt, a kind of
disorientation of feeling, while at the same time we may
also acquire an intellectual conviction or habit of thinking
that corresponds to the logic of the traditional arguments

Among other things, this essay suggests that the
traditional arguments are fundamentally founded in
alienation from Reality and that they proceed on the basis
of a logical process that defines Reality without first
having Realized It. The purpose of the traditional arguments
is to convince you that something or other is Reality and
that something else is not. These arguments are the results
of false views, or the great imaginary disease, the Dreaded
Gom-Boo, the ego, the state of prior or previous alienation
from the condition of equanimity or resonance with

The fundamental source of such argumentation is just that
alienation. It is from alienation that the arguments
develop, and one of the principal reasons the arguments
evolve even further along the lines of falsity is that they
base themselves on the logical structures of conventional
speech, as suggested in this essay.

The word “Reality” has the force of a noun. Nouns,
according to the conventions of common speech and therefore
of writing, indicate a “something” that is objective to
consciousness. Therefore, when the adherents of the logical
arguments proposed by the traditions proceed to develop
their force of argumentation, they do so on the basis not
only of prior alienation from Reality, or the ego-base or
the self-contraction, but on the basis of the illogical
consequences of conventional speech. If you feel separated
from Reality and therefore must define It or discover It
again or seek It to the point of finding It, then you
propose It as a something yet to be attained. Reality is not
a something that can be attained, nor is It a something that
can be observed. We cannot even reflect upon It as we may
reflect upon individual and independent consciousness.

Everything that we may reflect upon or observe is in some
sense a noun or something objective to us. Thus, the
arguments of the “talking school” of Advaitism, for
instance, seem very logical. On the basis of the proceedings
of language they seem convincing. We should be able to read
the Advaitic arguments, and, having read them, as it is said
of others who read or heard these arguments in the past, we
should be able to completely believe in the truth that is
their logical result. We may even believe that result with
at least some mental force. But our mental conviction does
not relieve us of a kind of doubt that is only magnified by
the consideration of the traditional argument.

None of those arguments ever seemed convincing to me.
They are not at all convincing. The study of them, even to
the point of conviction, does not cure or dissolve the
imaginary disease of dissociation from Reality, which, after
all, did not arise first in the plane of mind but much more
primitively, prior to thinking and language, in the event of
alienation, separation, self-contraction, that subtle
process whereby we conceived of ourselves as conscious
individuals separate or standing in confrontation with
everything we experience, know, or perceive. This state of
existence, of feeling as consciousness over against all
objects, is the very essence and basis of the imaginary
disease all human beings, and therefore all traditions, are
trying to cure.

As the Upanishad declares, “Wherever there is an other,
fear arises.” Wherever there is the arising of the sense of
separation, wherever there is a sense of otherness, unity
has been lost and separation has been created. All our
philosophizing, all our seeking, all the curing we may
generate on the basis of our dis-ease, are only a reflection
of the disease itself. We do not re-Locate or Realize
Reality through our seeking or through the traditional
arguments proposed as the way of cure. Therefore, we must
understand the absurdity of all seeking and the ultimate
absurdity of all propositions that conceive of Reality in
specific terms, either as everything that is objective or as
everything that is exclusively subjective.

Such points of view, which are basic to the tradition of
conventional spiritual and academic philosophizing, are the
products of the dis-ease of false views that has been
magnified through scientism, the basic tradition that
reflects the general psychology of life in our time. The
method of scientism as a conventional means for finding out
about the world is appropriate enough, very useful, in fact,
but as a way of relating to the world, as a disposition for
existence, it is simply a form of the disease and it results
in the magnification of disease.

We live in a diseased world-culture at the present time.
Science is its basic metaphor and the disease of science is
the basis of its neurosis. Scientism, as an ideal, is an
attempt to find out about how the world actually works. It
is based on the abstraction of consciousness, or the knower,
from everything that consciousness observes or may know.
Science tries in every way possible to eliminate the effects
of the scientist, the knower or the consciousness, from the
results of its investigation. The most basic model created
by science through several centuries of such investigation
is the model of Reality as the objective or material world.
According to that model, to attribute to consciousness any
ultimate position, any necessity, any reality, is nearly

Scientists who are trying to describe the anatomy of the
human brain and nervous system are always trying to account
for consciousness merely in the terms of the mechanical
operations of the physical entity. Through the psychology
and the philosophy at the root of scientism, consciousness
has become so alienated from life that to justify it as a
legitimate dimension of existence has become impossible. Its
very existence must somehow be accounted for in the
framework of objectivity. Therefore, science in its most
common or traditional form is basically seeking an ultimate
description of Reality that corresponds to the objective
universe, and it declares consciousness essentially to be
just a side-effect of material processes.

As soon as you take seriously this point of view of
scientism and its model, not merely as an analytical
exercise or as a scientific enterprise, but as the
description of yourself as a living, human being you begin
to go mad. You begin to become profoundly disturbed by the
dissociation of consciousness from the pattern of processes
and from the domain of Reality.

Other systems of traditional philosophy, which for the
most part were originated and elaborated most fully in the
Orient, primarily beginning in India, stand as polar
opposites to the trend of scientism and what Orientals
consider to be the movement of Western culture. From the
point of view of these schools, consciousness is not only a
legitimate dimension of Reality, but, in the framework of
all arising processes, consciousness is the Reality, the
only Reality.

Nevertheless, among the Oriental traditions the
affirmation of consciousness as Reality has achieved the
same neurotic absurdity achieved by the affirmation of the
reality of objective existence in the Occident. It is true
that many great Sages and Adepts have gone beyond the
exclusive presumption of consciousness as Reality and have
rather Realized that Consciousness or Being is simply the
Context or Condition of all events. Such is the disposition
in the seventh stage of life. But apart from this highest
form of spiritual Teaching, examples of which do appear in
the Orient, there exists a great trend in the history of
Oriental philosophizing, particularly in the Hindu
tradition, that affirms the independent, eternally exclusive
Reality of consciousness. This point of view is the basis
for asceticism and the exclusive seeking associated with,
particularly, fifth and sixth stage schools.

As I indicated at the beginning of this discussion, these
two great trends in the framework of human culture are the
results of the basic neurosis of human beings. We are all
suffering from the neurosis that in one or another social or
cultural context produces one or the other of these two
great trends of philosophy and life-orientation, either the
materialistic trend typical of the Occident, or the
dissociative trend typical of the exclusive schools of the
Orient. Both trends are the absurd results of the neurosis
that afflicts the ego or all human beings commonly.

These two social and cultural trends are attempts to
solve a fundamental problem, a presumed dilemma, an
imaginary disease, a psychological disease, a spiritual
disease, which does not exist in Reality but which does
exist as experience, which does exist in our presumption, in
our fear, our anxiety, our doubt, our disorientation, our
self-possession, and our habits of living. The
un-Enlightened habit of ordinary life, whether in the Orient
or in the Occident, is just as much an expression of what
human beings are fundamentally suffering as any of the great
schools or traditions of human culture, whether Occidental
or Oriental. What must be Realized is Reality. But if we are
to Realize It, we must observe and understand and transcend
the limitations of our own presumption, the limitations we
bring to the need to Realize Reality, the limitations we
bring to this consideration, the limitations out of which we
create our search.

These limitations must first be understood. Otherwise, we
will tend simply to duplicate one or the other of the
traditional or conventional paths of life that express the
fundamental human disease. The Way that I Teach is not an
elaboration of conventional seeking or even of traditional
seeking in its common form. Rather, it is a Way based on
just this understanding, this consideration, this always
present observation, understanding, and transcendence of the
limited and limiting force of the presumptions out of which
we would otherwise make our search. But if we observe and
understand and transcend these limitations and limiting
forces, then we are, in the present moment, already
established in Reality, or freedom from the traditional

Part II

MASTER DA: I have written and said and done all kinds of
things over all these years, and all the things that I have
written and said and done are expressions of an effort to
help people observe and understand and transcend their
limitations. I do not merely call you into my Company and
see that you are suffering, or having difficulties, or
wanting something better. I do not merely hear you tell me,
“I have this and that problem, this and that desire,” or “I
want to realize this and that, I want to realize God,” and
so on and so forth. I do observe these things about you, you
do say these things about yourself, but I do not merely
suggest to you that there is a cure and then pass on to you
some philosophy and technique of remedy.

Rather, I ask you to observe, consider, understand, and
transcend, as the very basis for the Way that I Teach, all
the limitations you bring to me, all the limitations out of
which you would like to create your life. The Way of life
that I consider with you is not a technique whereby you can
gradually overcome your problems, or gradually Realize the
Truth, or gradually Realize God, or gradually dissolve the
ego, or make the soul rise to heaven, or realize any of the
conventional ideals proposed in the history of seeking.
Instead, I ask you always, in every present moment, to
consider the limitations of your own seeking or your own
impulse, and examine them. That is the beginning of the Way.
On that basis, hearing develops, and hearing is the essence
of the beginning of the Way.

Therefore, the first thing to do is not to believe some
proposition or to become absorbed in the practice of a
remedial technique. The first thing to do is to observe
yourself, consider your motivations, consider your habits
and activities, beliefs, and desires. Consider your
thinking. Consider the thoughts that you find persuasive.
Consider all the traditions with which you are, or may
become, familiar. Consider the whole thing, to the point of
understanding the mechanism motivating you to seek Truth or
Reality or God or Enlightenment, because it is only if you
will observe and understand and transcend that mechanism
that Truth or Reality or God or Enlightenment becomes
Realizable. Not otherwise. Not ever otherwise.

All the paths of seeking ultimately reduce themselves to
the absurd logic I describe in this essay, or into the
absurdity of un-Happiness, doubt, boredom, discomfort, the
absurdity of gleefulness, the absurdity of affirmation
without realization. Some of the characteristics of egoic
disease take the form of the ordinary life of foolishness
and suffering, and some take the form of the extraordinary
life of foolishness and suffering, the extraordinary life of
the proficient spiritual practitioner. But I have been
involved in all of that myself. I have known people who are
commonly considered to be in the advanced or even ultimate
stages of spiritual life but who are not free, who are not
happy, who have not been released by the course of their

Those people I have known who are presumably involved in
the ultimate stages of spiritual life do not in general
enjoy any more superior a position than the position all
ordinary people enjoy or suffer right now. They suffer from
the same disease. They have superimposed on life all kinds
of sophisticated presumptions and experiences, which to one
or another degree may console or delude them, but they are
not free. They have not Realized the Truth. Although they
affirm the Realization of Truth, they have not Realized it,
they do not demonstrate its Realization, they do not show
the simple features of free being, the signs of actual
Realization, even though they have become professionally
quite sophisticated in the affair of traditional spiritual

I myself have been involved in all the traditional forms
of consideration, practice, and experience. I have endured
the entire process. And I saw in every case that the
fundamental disease to which I was completely sensitive from
the beginning was not even touched by the traditional paths
of seeking. I was so profoundly sensitive to the disease
that I did not even have the ability to be consoled by the
things that traditionally are found consoling by

For me, an entirely other process was obvious and
necessary. That process begins simply with self-knowledge,
self-observation, self-understanding, self-transcendence,
transcendence of the mechanism of the disease, transcendence
of the proposition, the presumption, out of which we make
ordinary and extraordinary life, out of which we make the
usual endeavor, and out of which we make even spiritual and
religious practice. All the considerations I have developed
with you are expressions of the disposition that has always
seemed to me to be inherent or necessary. Thus, I have never
Taught a way founded on the acknowledgment of the disease
that is the basis of the propositions of all seekers.
Rather, I have always Taught the Way of consideration, the
Way of understanding.

This essay, then, is another example of that same

Part III

MASTER DA: Another way of naming that which we seek is to
call it “Reality.” The word “reality” is commonly used in
the spiritual traditions. It is also commonly used in daily
parlance. Everybody wants to be real or established in
reality. Everybody wants everybody else to be real, or
established in reality. We all have our rap about it, our
peculiar psychological orientation that is our solution, not
an ultimate solution, since it has not yet rewarded us with
freedom or happiness, but our logic of consolation.
Therefore, everybody calls you somehow or other to return to
your senses, or return to the self, or return to God.
Everybody says that if you will only do one or the other of
those things, then you will be happy ultimately. You may not
be happy yet because you must still pass through many
difficult trials, and so on and so forth, but you will be
happy ultimately, say the traditions, if you will just cling
to reality as that which is defined to be reality from one
or another common or traditional point of view.

This essay is here to say that the reality commonly and
traditionally referred to is not actually Reality. It is the
reality proposed, the reality that seems logical from one or
another point of view, according to one or another use of
language or one or another use of mind. The reality commonly
and traditionally considered is a proposition, a subject of
belief, a subject of seeking. It is not the Divine Reality.
It is the reality to which we orient ourselves and which we
are always seeking and which characterizes our disease.

Thus, those who are seeking to “return to their senses”
and become really “hip” to the objective world describe
their particular version of this imaginary disease. Others
who are seeking to return to consciousness, which they
conceive of as some subjective, exclusively inward domain
called “God” or the “Ultimate,” are simply describing their
version of the imaginary disease.

I do not call you to either one of these two great
traditional forms of approach to reality or health or
relief. Instead of putting you in the “hospital” of some
form of spiritual life, I simply live with all of you “sick”
people. I make a community with you, live with you in the
meantime, and try to get along and survive. Even though you
all are acting like sick people, I do not give you any
medicines or consoling talk. Instead of playing the
consoling, parentlike doctor, I am abusive and, if not using
the style of abuse, I work in such a way that you do not
find yourself reinforced as a patient in my company or in
our community. Always you are being called to consider your
own proposition of disease instead of becoming a patient.
When you have fully entered into that consideration to the
point of understanding your presumed disease and
transcending its point of view and motivation, then you are
a practitioner. You are received into The Crazy Wisdom
Fellowship and the mature stages of this practice. But not
until then.

The fundamental symptom of the universal imaginary
disease is the inability to affirm existence, the inability
to Be without qualification, to exist totally without
neurosis, without excluding some dimension or other, some
function or other, some state or other from the realm of
legitimacy or Reality. To practice the Way you must be
completely free of the presumption of your disease. The
artifacts of your disease may remain in your body, your
emotional tendencies, certain habits of thinking, but once
you have completely understood and transcended the position
of the disease out of which you have created all your
tendencies, then you enjoy a totally different position in
the midst of your living.

That position is the qualification for spiritual life. It
is already Happy, already expressive of perfect well-being,
and it magnifies itself in the context of the body-mind over
time. The Self-Radiant Happiness of Being gradually
dissolves even the artifacts of the disease. For the true
practitioner, the presumption of disease is vanished. All
his or her tendencies and patterns are simply matters of
responsibility, subject to natural discipline and humor.

Therefore, the first thing you must do is observe and
understand yourself as you are in body, emotion, mind, in
the context of all your relations and all your aspirations.
When you have thoroughly understood yourself and transcended
the principal activity of self-contraction, then you are
qualified to practice the Way. You are already practicing
the Way then because your very Being has been justified,
legitimized, become Radiant and free of doubt, complication,
self-contraction, disease.

The world as it seems exists in some sense, all these
relations, all these beings, exist, even many beings and
things exist that are invisible. The body exists. Emotions
and thoughts exist in some ordinary or conventional sense.
But what is Real and so Mysterious about all of that is
simply that it exists. The Isness of it, the mere Being of
this moment in this moment, is Reality, not the objects nor
the inward separate subject.

The one thing common to all that is apparently subjective
and objective is the Mysteriousness of merely existing. The
mere existence of anything or anyone is Mysterious and it is
also Reality. That you are merely existing in this moment is
Reality. The mere existence of any one or any thing with
which you may come in contact is Reality. The Isness of the
moment is Reality.

As an ego, as a self-contracted being, you are not
disposed to freely and absolutely affirm existence, Isness,
your existence, the minds existence, the emotions existence,
the bodys existence, the existence of others, the existence
of the world, the existence of all the structures, visible
and invisible, of beings visible and invisible, of times
past, present, and future, spaces, planes of all kinds. You
may be in a position to acknowledge that various things
exist in the ordinary sense, but you are not in the position
to affirm the very Being, the Mystery of the Isness of
everything, including your own consciousness. You are not in
a position, therefore, to affirm that whatever Reality or
the Divine is ultimately, consciousness is also one of the
“things” that It is.

In your attachment to objective processes, you doubt
somehow that existence, consciousness, psyche, mind, and
subtler processes are as much a process of Reality as flesh
forms, material objects, gross processes, and objective
processes, whereas whatever the Divine Reality is
ultimately, consciousness is definitely one of the qualities
that is arising in that Being, Reality, Condition, as are
also all the things that seem objective to

The Divine or Reality, Being Itself, is characterized by
both consciousness and form, by all the qualities that are
arising, not just half of them or one of them or part of
them or the inward side or the outward side. There is no
reason in our healthful being, our fullness of being, to
doubt any of it, to affirm or negate any part. All of it
simply is. Its Isness is Reality, and the affirmation of the
Isness is the Realization of Reality, the freedom to affirm
Being, the Isness of existence, Consciousness, which is the
fundamental situation of our existence. The ability to
affirm That is the capacity to practice this Way that I

Without the ability to affirm Being, Consciousness, the
Isness, the Mystery of existence, you cannot practice this
Way. That disability, that fundamental neurosis, is the
primary disqualification for the Way that I Teach. On the
other hand, it is also the primary qualification for most of
the other ways or paths that exist in this world, because
the path of life for all human beings, whether it is
professionalized through traditional spiritualizing or just
lived out in the ordinary course of downtown society, is
primarily based on this neurosis, this disease, this
incapacity, this dissociated consciousness.

DEVOTEE: Master, your description has been very helpful.
In my meditation today I felt such a purity, such a capacity
to affirm the Divine Being. It was a very ecstatic
preparation that I felt. Fundamentally, I felt the capacity
to affirm. At the same time I also felt the primal sense of
myself, but even so, this affirmation could take place. I
could feel and understand the Realization of this Way.

MASTER DA: Yes. In the usual scenario of the approach to
the Spiritual Master, the seeker, someone presuming the
disease of the Dreaded Gom-Boo, perceives the Spiritual
Master to be a cured person, a superior person who wields a
parentlike authoritative force over that individual. So the
seeker comes forth, expressing his or her concern: “Im ill,
Im sick, I need to be cured. Youve got it, and I want it.”
Such people even animate very outwardly all the signs of
“poor me,” in order to generate the parentlike concern of
the Spiritual Master that will cure them even faster. This
is not the appropriate setting for association with the true

It is not that you should come in the adolescent fashion
of the totally independent character who really does not
need anything and who just wants to be the pal of the
Spiritual Master. Rather, as I have said in various ways,
you should come already Happy. You should come on the basis
of the confrontation with my Argument. You should come on
the basis of self-observation, self-understanding,
self-transcendence. Come not to find Reality but to enter
into Communion with Reality. Come not to abuse the Spiritual
Master or use him as a parentlike source for your eventual
cure, but come to the Spiritual Master as the Living One,
and enter into Communion there in order that the Realization
of the Living One may be magnified. Do not come empty. Come
Communing with the Divine Fullness. On that basis, the
relationship with the Spiritual Master becomes a unique
means for the transformation of a human being. Otherwise it
duplicates the conventional model of the parent and the
child, the doctor and the patient, the superior and the

A kind of spiritual friendship should be the context of
the meeting with the Spiritual Master, not the palsy,
worldly meeting of equals, but a friendship that is
expressive of Communion, Love, Freedom, the disposition of
understanding, true respect. In other words, mature, adult,
truly human association is the basis for right relationship
with the Spiritual Master.

If you will not approach me in that fashion, I may
otherwise seem to be useful to you in various ways, but I am
obliged to play the role of the doctor, at most to argue the
fundamental principles of this Teaching to you. But if I am
to be useful to you as Transmitter of the Divine Influence
that transcends all individuality, you must have developed a
fundamental maturity based on confrontation with the
Argument, so that your association with me is a process of
Communion, wherein the Transfiguring and Translating Power
of the Living One Is magnified in you.

You must not come to me, therefore, seeking Reality. Come
to me Communing with Reality. Do not come to persuade me to
show to you something of which you have no understanding at
all, but come to me as That, Realizing that I am That,
yourself adhering in That. Such is the disposition of
Communion. The prior Realization of the Divine or the
Condition of the Spiritual Master is the basis for the right
or mature relationship to the Spiritual Master.

I am not trying to communicate to you some sense that the
Divine or Living and Ultimate Reality is Realized by me but
not at all available to you, and therefore you should just
tie yourself to me or put some stickum on my big toe and
hang on while I go to the Ultimate Domain, dragging you
behind me! I do not communicate to you any sense that the
Great Reality is in any way separate from you at this
present moment. I call you to a consideration wherein you
may Realize God in this moment, and on that basis I
voluntarily make myself available to you.

The first aspect of the Way is to confront my Argument
through the Teaching and all the Agencies I have created,
the domain of “hearing,” or the institutional culture into
which people enter at the beginning. As individuals mature,
they enter into the domain of “seeing,” or the process of
Communion that is based on prior hearing, prior
understanding, prior Realization, prior freedom, prior
transcendence of the neurosis of the ego, which “seeing” is
the second and therefore the ultimate dimension of our

DEVOTEE: Master, the practice of discriminative insight
that you have given to me is a kind of reductive process
leading to a primal sense of contraction. I see in
meditation what is changing and What is constant, as you
described in this essay. What becomes obvious is the process
of transcendence. Everything that is changing must be
transcended, and then What is constant is revealed as the

MASTER DA: The self must be transcended not because it is
some sort of unjustified and unreal entity, a separate
actual something that must be obliterated or somehow
dissolved. The self must be transcended because the
conventional presumption about consciousness has taken the
form of the activity of dissociative contraction and is
manufacturing otherness and separation, performing, in other
words, the habit of dissociation or separativeness.

Therefore, it is not the self as an entity that must be
transcended, because even in Enlightenment the apparent
self, present as a body-mind in relationship, continues. It
is the self as contraction, the self as this knot, this
disease, that must be transcended. Yet its transcendence is
not a gradual process that ultimately results in
Enlightenment, but truly it is a process that must be
successfully or fully completed it every moment. The
apparent progress of the Way depends on the complete prior
success of the process of self-transcendence, which must
occur in every moment.

Self-transcendence is the spiritual process. If one
realizes self-transcendence, then the apparent progress of
the Way and the maturing qualities that appear in the
devotee over time arise inevitably and naturally, not as the
cure of a disease, because the presumption of disease has
already disappeared, but simply as the magnification of
Happiness, the magnification of the Self-Radiant Condition
of Being, which is fundamental to every moment.

We must become free of neurosis. We must be free of
neurosis and doubt, free of the self-contraction, free of
un-Happiness, free of the whole absurdity of Narcissus, free
of the entire pattern of self-looking, self-contraction,
self-meditation, exclusiveness, complaint, disorientation,
moodiness, entirely free of the whole pattern. Whatever
mechanical reflections of neurosis may remain as tendency
are weakened in every moment of self-transcendence,
bypassed, humorously released without your adapting to the
point of view of dilemma.

What is Real, what is Reality, in this moment is the fact
of this moment. Not some part of it, some feature of it,
subjective, objective, but the fact, the Isness, Being
Itself, Consciousness being and existing, is the Mysterious
and ultimate fact. Everything participates in That. Everyone
participates in That. The capacity to affirm That, to simply
Be That, the capacity of Isness, is the virtue of the
cosmos. Consciousness is the virtue. Not the secretions in
our bodies, not the semen, not the power of thought, not any
of the secondary expressions of our ordinary life, but our
Isness, Being Itself, is our virtue. The ability to affirm
That and to Be That is our virtue.

The inability to affirm It, the inability to be
Self-Radiant and unqualifiedly existing, is the disease. I
call that inability Narcissus, or the ego. It will not
disappear over time by any activity that same knot can
perform on itself in the framework of all its superficial
states of experience and knowledge. No. It is only released
in the moment through direct observation of it, complete
understanding of it, and free transcendence of it in

When you are in the position of free affirmation of the
Mystery of Being, then you are in the position actually to
practice the Way in all its unique forms and with all its
disciplines. Without such Realization, you may imitate the
Way by performing the outer disciplines culturally
associated with it, but you will not be practicing the Way

There is a difference between the beginner who is
listening and the mature practitioner who has heard and
seen. Only when hearing has become complete and the
disposition of the affirmation of Self-Radiant Being is
firmly established does the Way itself actually begin. In
the context of the Way, all the disciplines have a totally
different force. That subtle difference is the distinction
between practitioners in the advanced levels of this Way and
listeners or beginners in the rudimentary culture or the
initial approach to this Way.

I help those who are just listening to hear and to see. I
use all kinds of means to pass on this consideration, this
help to Remember. I also call everyone to enter into the
relationship of Communion, the relationship with me in which
Spiritual Transmission is always alive. I use all the means
that serve the hearing and seeing of beginners, to draw them
into real practice and into the culture of mature practice.
I hope, however, you understand the requirements for
practice, how those requirements are unique, how they may be
distinguished from the conventional disciplining,
self-improving, even conventional self-understanding that
may occupy people before this most fundamental understanding
and transcendence of self appears and makes the Way

Some of you are still beginners, not because you are not
nice people or serious people, nor even because you are not
practicing virtuous, worthy, and intelligent disciplines,
but because you are in the position of the listener. That
fundamental self-transcending insight has not achieved at
least sufficient force in your case that you are practicing
the Way sheerly on the basis of Self-Radiant Communion with
the Living One, without seeking, free of neurosis. It will
be obvious to you when hearing and also seeing have
awakened, just as it will be obvious to others who are
practicing. You will have a sense of the profound difference
between your state of practice then and your state of
practice previously.

People can be involved in the beginners form of practice,
even quite seriously, for years, as many of you have been.
But you are still practicing as listeners, you see. In some
traditional setting you would be considered mature
practitioners, perhaps, practitioners of a certain kind of
maturity, at any rate, because the practice valued in the
traditional setting is typically the practice that Narcissus
generates, a practice based on the kind of seriousness of
which Narcissus or the ego is capable. It is still based on
doubt, self-contraction, neurosis, dissociation, alienation,
self-concern. You must understand the motivations of your

You may not have enough seriousness at this point in your
life to grant you the ability to understand so profoundly.
Perhaps you have taken a great enough step simply by taking
on certain disciplines that in the ordinary sense harmonize
your life and console you. This is true of many beginners,
and it is the reason many people spend years as beginners.
Something about the beginners estate is, at least
temporarily, sufficient for them. After all, beginners in
our institutional culture have stepped out of the
conventional framework of the world into a habit of living
that would be considered fairly extraordinary from the point
of view of the usual individual struggling in the world.
Just to do that is a great step, then, and many people find
it temporarily sufficient to do just that much. They do not
have the motivation or sufficient interest in the radical
point of view of this Argument to enable them to make use of
it to the degree of generating the ultimate practice.

I hope that most people, after some period of time at any
rate, will discover that the consoling force of practicing
as a beginner is not sufficient. Then they will become moved
to use the very thing that has always been available to them
in our community. It will suddenly become useful to them,
suddenly become profoundly interesting to them, to a degree
that mysteriously they did not comprehend before. And then
their apparent progress will be quickened.


The Dreaded Gom-Boo – Table of Contents