Knot of Self Contraction


“Until every fraction of light
responds totally to the Divine, there will be all kinds of
limitations. The machine of limitations is the structure of
contraction, which operates not only at the level of you as
a presumed individual but at the level of every fraction of
existence. It is operative in the atom, in the molecule, in
the cell, in the elements, in all processes, in the weather,
and throughout the total cosmos. As the fraction of the
cosmos that is each being contracted upon a point, a
conjunction, a play of confrontations occurs in which things
change, come to an end, interfere with one another. This
chaos of motions produces the process of causes and effects,
destinies, worlds, everything. “
Adi Da Samraj –
Law is Absolute


The Development of

“When we talk of ego, it is as if
we are talking about a man with a body and limbs. It has a
basic makeup and it has its tentacles, so to speak, as well.
Its basic makeup consists of paranoia and confusion. But at
the same time, its basic makeup started from some kind of
wisdom as well, because there is the possibility that we
don’t exist as individual entities or as solid persons who
can continue all the time. There is the possibility that as
individuals we consist of particles or of lots of things
— but those particles don’t exist as individuals

When that possibility first
flashes onto itself, there’s sudden
If this is the case, we’ll have to put up some kind of
defense mechanism to shield out any possible discovery of
the nonexistence of ourselves. We begin to play the game of
deaf and dumb. We would like to be individuals who are
continuously existing, continuously surviving, continuously
being one person, not even making the journey through time
and space.”

Chogyam Trungpa –
Bardo of Meditation


of ‘I’ – The Self-Contraction

You may have noticed, especially
in the most difficult or anxious moments, a persistent
contraction, or tension of the whole lower trunk of the
body, from the heart to the abdomen. This tension often
feels like a fist or a stone, or a knot. Especially in the
areas of the navel or the solar plexus. It makes you
chronically anxious. Not only physically tense, but
emotionally, mentally, and psychically uneasy. This tangible
disturbance is evidence of a severe and profound reaction to
Bubba Free John – 1975

As long as there is a self-contraction and presumption of
separateness there is
and there are no two ways about it. It’s inevitable. It’s
inherent, so transcend this (raises fist clenched). The way
is the way of transcending the self knot, the
self-contraction which is not just something somewhere
inside the body.

It’s the totality of the body
mind that is participating in this and that is reflecting
this act. This is what must be gone beyond. This knot IS
fear, is also separateness. It’s the feeling of difference.
It’s the feeling of relatedness. It’s the presumption of
being identical to the body, or the body mind limited by,
limited to it, limited by and to all of the ordinary
appearances of conditional existence all of which pass and
all of the grosser appearances of human existence all of
which are mortal.
Adi Da – 2006

You don’t recognize it, you see, because of your
self-contraction. Not your self-contraction, like you are
doing it in some separate sense. You are the
self-contraction. In the context of conditionality, you
are that
. You are doing it by being it. You’re not
separate from it doing it. You are the action-as attention,
as feeling, as breath, as bodily motion.

Adi Da – 2006

– definition and excerpts

January 6, 1996

DEVOTEE: My question, Beloved, was,
it’s to do with the self-contraction. And last evening You
took us through locating the core of the self-contraction,
doing the practice of feeling to You, and, you know, also at
the same time not trying to get away from or recoil from the
self-contraction at its core. 

commentary coming on. [Laughter.] Your way of
stating that, you see, illustrates the difference between
listening or not yet hearing. You were talking about it as
if in effect you were relaxing the self-contraction, almost
like it’s a knot in your solar plexus or something, in
Communion with Me. That’s how you were using the exercise.
And that’s how it would be done from the point of view of

But the point of view of hearing is
at the point of the self-contraction, the point of the act
of self-contraction, and in Communion with Me passes beyond
directly, is flowering truly, not efforting against the
self-contraction as if it’s somewhere else or someone else
or a mechanism apart from you, just a sensation you’re
experiencing. It’s not merely a sensation you’re
experiencing. It is an act you are performing. You are doing
the self-contraction. It is not merely happening to

I’ve used the illustration since the
earliest days of a man pinching himself,you all know that
one, right? And he’s uncomfortable and so forth, tries to
shake it off, whatever he does, and then eventually
discovers he’s been pinching himself all the while and he
takes his hand away and all his problem

Knee of Listening

Well, I’ve used that little bit to
try to describe to you what hearing is about. It’s not a
matter of your dealing with a something that’s objective to
you in the context of your human existence. It’s not
objective to you. It may seem to be so until you hear Me. In
some sense. And that’s the fundamental description of the
difference between non-hearing and hearing. In the case of
the non-hearer, you don’t yet, at the place itself,
understand most fundamentally that your search, your
dis-ease, your struggle, and so on, your pain of existence,
is something that you are doing.

So that’s hearing. from that point,
you can, in Communion with Me, pass directly from the
self-contraction, the act itself, and you can do this, then,
under all circumstances, in every context of experience, no
matter how the stages evolve from then. The same hearing
gesture is your capability and your responsibility. And
immediately, or very quickly, prepares you to do the Yoga of
seeing Me, such that the hearing process is taking place in
the full dimension of Spiritual existence. Then the
purification is more profound and final.

[to Devotee] You were
referring to the self-contraction as a something you would
not avoid. You were referring to it in objective terms as a
something rather than as your own action. You were not
speaking from being in the position of the self-contraction,
but you’re referring to the self-contraction. You’re having
some experience of it. But as if you are outside it somehow,
somewhere, and don’t quite have the key, then, to get rid of
it. So you examine each piece of your life, and you see how
you do it there in some behavioral or other terms or what
not, and you work on that some, discipline it and so forth,
and that gets better. But there’s still this disturbance,
this stress, this pursuit, and so on. Your examination of
all that becomes summary. You become established in the
knowledge of the act in the place of the act itself, such
that it is entirely, immediately, always available to your
relinquishment of it, because you are it, you’re being it,
you’re doing it as an action, you’re in that very place and
you know all about it, just like you know how to open your
hand instead of pinching yourself, or open your hand instead
of making a fist.

So at least by your brief
description, then, what you did last night was the
listener’s version of that exercise. Unless you’d like to
retract your statement now.

DEVOTEE: No, no.

useful for Me to point out how you are using language,
because it says something about your disposition, perhaps.
Sometimes it may say something about your miscommunication
or not fully considering your words, but otherwise it’s a
reflection of your meanings, your disposition. So that is
what you said suggested.

DEVOTEE: It was also part of my
question, as well, which is how to always return to the core
of the self-contraction rather than just being, you know,
which is what I’m normally in, the superficial, more
superficial area.

another example of what I was just saying, “how to return to
the core of the self-contraction”, when you are always right
there doing it! It’s amazing, you see! It’s like the man
pinching himself. It’s just as mysterious. I mean, how
stupid, a guy sitting there pinching himself! It’s a really
very apt example of what you’re all doing. It’s just as
silly as that! Just as mysterious,why would you be doing

So you’re right there doing it, it’s
the core of all your doings, your thinking, your feelings,
and so on, and you’re doing it right at its root, all the
time, and yet you act like it’s totally mysterious to you.
Even though I point this out to you, it seems totally
mysterious to you.

You’re used to experiencing your
self-contraction as an experience rather than as your own
action. So you have some feeling about what I’m talking
about when I’m talking about the self-contraction, because
it’s that knot in the pit of your stomach or that feeling of
anxiety. You don’t realize it’s you pinching yourself, you
doing that feeling of anxiety, you contracting. You may, in
the course of the listening sadhana, get a little better at
it all, you know, understand it a little better, but
ultimately to understand most fundamentally and to be free
of all the wanderings and vacations and so forth and effects
of self-contraction, to notice, to feel, and be in the
position of the act itself, coincides with the feeling of
relatedness itself,they are coincidental,and the arising of

The feeling of relatedness, or the
self-knot, can be felt all over the body. But if you feel it
at its point of origin, it’s on the right side of the heart.
The right side of the heart is not simply the domain of
Divine Self-Realization. It’s the root of egoity. It’s a
knot that must be opened. You have to get back to that Door,
by releasing energy and attention to do so.

the root of this system is the heart, the primal
organ not only of life but of consciousness in man.
It is here that the presumption and conception of
egoic independence, or the separate “I,” arises in
every moment. It is on the basis of this
presumption that the human individual is
predetermined to a reactive life of fear,
vulnerability, flight from mortality, and a
universal constitutional state of contraction. That
contraction encloses consciousness in the limits of
skin and thought, and it separates the whole bodily
being of Man from the Divine Radiance and Perfect
Consciousness that is otherwise native to it and
eternally available to it in every part.
of the Whole Body

p. 189

But in general you all experience it
as a knot in the pit of your stomach or a feeling of
anxiety, a stressful feeling of being separate or
dissociative and so on. Well, it’s like any other symptom,
then, in the body-mind, like a sore foot or a headache or
something. It’s a symptom in the body-mind. You observe it
objectively, and you decide you’ll do this, that, or the
other thing about it. You try to relax and breathe deeply,
be more straightforward,whatever you have to do to become
more functional about it, but on the other hand it doesn’t
go away.

DEVOTEES: [Murmuring] No.

[Chuckling] So you must enter into this profound
practice I’ve Given you, which includes this “reality
consideration”, perpetual for the individual, sometimes you
get together. You must use that sadhana for real, to get to
this point of fundamental understanding.

So initially you deal with all of
the “thi is” and “that’s” in your life, and you confess them
and you discipline them, and so forth. It’s very complex.
Then you start zeroing in on particular things, you know,
emotional-sexual this, whatever, bring some more discipline
to those, and so on, covering all the bases, all the bits
and pieces of your life, applying all the disciplines I’ve
Given you, the same purpose as the “reality consideration”.
And you just become more and more sensitive to something
about all of that that’s *got a root or that’s the same.
It’s some basic thing. The matter of understanding the
self-contraction becomes deepened, less of a superficial
consideration. It becomes a deeper consideration. You begin
to get a feeling for this something that you’re always
doing. You get closer and closer to feeling it rather than
feeling its effects merely.

Then, mysteriously, it can’t be
pointed out in terms of a particular chapter in a particular
educational course or something, it’s not a particular
moment that can be foretold exactly, or predetermined, even.
But somehow, in all of that listening and observation,
discipline, you suddenly understand it. You understand it
because you’re in the position of it, not just peripheral to
it, examining it, kind of like a symptom. You somehow, you
suddenly feel the thing, the position itself, and realize
that this is what you’re doing, this contraction, and it’s
universal to your life. It affects everything. All you’ve
been looking at is all the symptoms of it. There’s just this
one thing. It’s there directly in your view, can never be
lost again.

But with that knowledge, because
you’re standing in that place, you get the knowledge, the
capability, to directly feel beyond it into Communion with
Me, not through relaxing this and that or working on this
and that but in place. That’s where you have the capability,
as well as the knot. And that’s when sadhana is made
profound, you see. When you have that hearing capability,
you can enter into this Samadhi of Communion with Me
directly, constantly.

Of course, that’s, then, the primal
readiness for seeing Me. And in must be true. Or all you get
is Spiritual effects. And you won’t see Me.

locate the self-contraction in this Yoga of devotion to Me,
you simultaneously locate Me and discover the immediate
means always available to you for going beyond that
ego-knot. In the hearing practice, there’s basically a
single gesture, whatever it’s accompaniments. It’s a matter
of standing in the position of that act, that
self-contraction, that knot, not just experiencing it from
some point of view outside it, and directly feeling beyond
it. So that becomes the basis of practice once hearing is
the case. It’s a very direct gesture. It may be accompanied
by Nama Japa or self-Enquiry, whatever, and “conductivity”
practice,your whole life of practice,but still fundamentally
it’s this one gesture every moment. It’s not working on the
self-contraction from outside. It’s standing in its

And you have the knowledge, in that
position, of Radiance. You can always make this gesture. You
always know what the problem is. It’s this knot, that you’re
doing. And you always can feel beyond it in Communion with

There’s certain knowledge in it.
This covers everything. This covers the whole case. This was
the seeker. This is the basis for the seeking, the constant
disturbance. It’s the key to all of it. Therefore, it’s the
key to all the separate parts of your egoic life, patterns
you’ve developed. And they can likewise be addressed from
this hearing point of view. Must be.

So that’s hearing, that realized
capability, and always true, always available. And then you
never leave that knot position, except through Communion
with Me. You should always be aware of that knot, that act,
that contraction that you are doing. And that will be your
principal experience until you do this act of opening the
hand, so to speak, enter into this Communion with Me and not
drop back. It becomes more and more profound, more and more
constant. So instead of noticing the self-contraction,
feeling beyond it, or however it works in your own case, you
see, instead of those kinds of routines, it becomes the
*constant of Communion with Me, Samadhi, just beyond the

So that’s how hearing matures. It
becomes essentially constant Communion with Me. A taste of
that is so full you don’t want to drop back. And you find
out how to enter into that Communion under all

Relative to the hearing matter, you
don’t even get to have the interview, though, unless you
first prove you’re bona fide, all the forms of practice
intact, and a history of doing so, and true Ruchira Avatara
Bhakti Yoga as a constantly perpetuated exercise or act. If
you can’t prove that all of that is intact, then there
should be no hearing interview further, unless maybe to
discuss what hearing is all about and so forth. But your own
confession of it can’t be taken seriously without that basis
to justify such a conversation.

And if that was all the case, then,
you don’t have to talk about that anymore. Then the real
conversation can take place relative to this fundamental
matter. And it takes place by having My Word in front of
you,you and whoever you’re discussing it with,applying your
own presumption about hearing to My Instruction about it,
and see if it’s proven in you.

And it if doesn’t get proven in you,
then the interview can maybe serve you anyway, by showing
you something more about why, something further to deal with
and so on, or some misunderstanding that enables you to get
further on with *it is revealed,like Devotee telling Me
about the self-contraction as if it were an object or a
sensation, something he was apart from, and My talking about
how that is not the kind of communication that is associated
with hearing. Well, grasping that point, can be

Hearing is in the position of the
self-contraction. It’s the knowledge that you’re doing it.
It’s the knowledge of what you’re doing, so you can readily
relinquish it if you’re viewing it from some other position,
or looking at it merely in the context of some particular
kind of reaction or circumstance.

…the self-contraction, the act
that defines the notion of separate self. Its not done by a
separate self. Its the very act that generates the notion,
that is the notion itself. Its entirely, so to speak, your
doing-when you are that knot, or possessed as such. Its to
be understood in Communion with Me and felt beyond,
voluntarily, intentionally, in every moment, once this most
profound discovery is awakened in you.

Contraction in the Aletheon

A Beezone Study

AVATARA ADI DA: The profound
transitions in practice are about being inside, or at the
Source-Position. The exercise of hearing, then, is to be
sensitive to it as contraction itself, to be in the position
of the pain, not outside it or avoiding it but actually in
that position. It is not comfortable at all, not likable. It
has all kinds of artifacts-physical, emotional, mental, and
so forth, even in the breath. So the self-contraction itself
is fundamental pain altogether, disturbance altogether, and
ordinary life is motivated by it, because it is so profound,
and it is detached from the fundamental Reality, the Divine
Reality. It is lost in maya, in appearances, presumptions,
even imagining that you are seeing the room, whereas in fact
youre just seeing one little view.

So its confusing. Youre not seeing
Reality, then. Youre seeing an appearance associated with
your own egoity. You cant be in another position. You cant
be in the position of the totality of the room. What
position are you in? Some self-enclosure of thoughts and

So its very uncomfortable to make
this discovery of egoity. But as I said to you earlier, its
not truly profoundly discovered except in the condition of
Grace, of Communion with Me, and reception of My Teaching,
and then, its in that total context that the ego is located
also. Thats hearing, the true discovery of the self-knot,
coincident with this whole process of Communion with Me,
full of the Wisdom of Instruction that you apply.


No Escape, There’s Only Realization



The pain of the stressful “knot” is
suffered, and the self becomes active in a variety of
relationships and experiences in an attempt to relieve the
stress. The self does not in that process, however, release
the fault. It is looking to compensate for it, to console
itself by associations, as if the solution were elsewhere,
whereas, in fact, the problem is with the self itself, which
must relinquish its activity of self-contractiod. You cannot
do this from a position outside the self, a peripheral
position. You must release the knot from the position of the
knot. You cannot merely sense a pain in your stomach, relate
mentally to the knot and the general sense of yourself, and
release the knot. You must stand in the very position in
which the knot is being generated, before it is expressed as
a knot in the solar plexus or any other place of disturbance
in the body-mind. The ability to stand in the position in
which the self-contraction is generated is served in the
initial phase of the listening process. Detailed
self-observation, to the point of fundamental insight, is
the process whereby you come to stand in the position of the
self contraction, the original place where the pain that is
motivating the search is generated.

Yourself in Toto

“…if you really feel that knot,
you don’t want to feel it. But it is the ground of your
ordinary life. You try to distract yourself from it
constantly, through seeking and self-indulgence and whatnot.
But if you really find out about yourself, find this knot,
find what your real experience is, then you won’t want to
put up with that. It will oblige you to do sadhana, to feel
constantly more and more beyond it”


No Escape, There’s Only Realization

SRI DA AVABHASA: The mind is
interesting the whole body is interesting, but the mind is
interesting, especially in “solid” types, who are always
thinking, always under the stress of thinking, trying to
explain, trying to come to some understanding, some insight,
some explanation, something they can communicate. This mind
business is interesting stuff, because the mind presumes it
is capable of something that it is not in the slightest
capable of. The mind presumes it is capable of everything,
because it can embrace, communicate, believe in, associate
with, a symbol for anything and everything.

There is only one thing of direct
experience in the mind. It is the self-contraction, the
ego-“I”, the sense of separateness. Everything else the mind
does is either a conversation with itself or a symbolic
representation of something that is beyond

There is no thing in the mind apple,
God. There is no “apple” achieved by the mind, nor God. You
can think about God, say “God”, say things philosophically
about the Divine, about Realization and so forth. It is
never Realization. It is never God. You can say “apple,
apple, apple, apple”. It is never an apple! You can say
“apple” and think “apple”, but it is never an actual apple.
You can say “God” and think “God”, but it is never actually

The mind is filled with
representations, and not one of them is what it represents.
What it represents is always beyond the mind. The mind is
always chattering through representations. Everything it
represents is outside itself or beyond itself. And otherwise
all the mind is, is the chattering of the ego-“I”. The
separate “I”-notion is the only direct experience of the
mind, perpetually. This is the only thing the mind
experiences this one experience of separateness, separate
ego-“I”. Every symbol, every conversation inwardly or
outwardly expressed, is just the babble of that separate
feeling, through representations seeming to associate with
things that are utterly beyond itself.

The mind is self-contraction, a
rehearsal of self-contraction, a ceremony, a ritual, of
self-contraction. The only experience of the mind is the
sense of separate self. Every word in the mind represents
something that is entirely outside itself and cannot be
achieved unless the mind relaxes and the thing itself is
entered into.

There are only two things the mind
does apart from this constant of the self-contraction: the
awareness of separateness and the representation of what is
outside itself, chanting to itself like Narcissus whispering
to himself while hanging over the pond, [Sri Gurudev
whispers] “Oh, my beloved, you are so beautiful. I think
about you all the time. I look at you constantly. I cannot
look at anything else. I cannot think of anything else. You
are mine, my beloved.” And it is only him! It is either
chatting to itself or making up words or images to represent
something outside itself. The only experience of the mind is
itself, its sense of separateness.

DEVOTEE: It is true, my Lord. It
usually comes in the form of an insight, and I will really
be attached to that insight or feeling that I did something
that really . . .

SRI DA AVABHASA: It is the mind
experiencing yourself. The mind is stress, stress manifested
at the level of what we call “mind” or “cognition”. The same
experience is generated emotionally as all your reactions,
to this, that, and the other thing, to which the sense of
separateness is fundamental all the while. And as bodily
conception, bodily sensation, it is always

The sense of separation is always
generated, experienced. It is the only experience.
Everything physical, emotional, and mental is one experience
separateness, ego-“I”, “I”, “I”, “I”. There are mental
representations of what is outside the mind. There are
emotional representations of what is outside feeling. And
there are physical sensations of what is outside the body.
Yet it is one experience, constantly perpetuated, of
separateness. If you are “vital”, it is physically based. If
you are “peculiar”, it is emotionally based. If you are
“solid”, it is mentally based. Whether “vital”, “peculiar”,
or “solid”, everyone has this one experience
self-contraction, the sense of separateness perpetually
re-enacted, constantly rehearsed, dramatized, all the time
dealing with representations only, the figments of its own
contraction. You must find yourself out. This is

Each one of you is most
characteristically “vital”, “peculiar”, or “solid”. Some are
very, very classically one or the other. In others the
distinctions are a little bit muddy, but generally one of
the three strategies is more dominant than the other. In any
case, there is only one experience, whether it is classic or
complicated: the separate “I” sense, the sense of
separateness manifesting illusions, representations,
conversations with itself. It is madness, absolute madness,
utterly without God. It is Narcissus at the pond, looking at
himself and not knowing that it is him.

When you come to this understanding,
by Grace, with all Help Given to you, your intelligence
exercised, then you can break the spell, you can move up
from the pond. It is just your reflection, you see. You open
up and feel beyond, without the self-contracted forms of
mind, emotion, and body. All that is felt beyond. The
immense mystery of WhatIs cannot be comprehended because you
do not know what even a single thing is.

Just to be so open to
self-transcendence is to be continuous with Me, continuous
with the Divine Self-Condition. It is not to know what
anything is merely, especially from the beginningthere is
nothing absolute about anything that is arising but it is
rather to be continuous with it, to be open to it and
therefore able to be expanded, able to be experiencing the
Revelation of What Is. More and more by stages, by growth,
the Revelation becomes most profound.

To begin with, what must become true
is your continuity with What Is, not your command over It
but your continuity with It by transcendence of this

Therefore, whether you are “solid”
and mentally possessed, or “peculiar” and emotionally
possessed, or “vital” and physically possessed, all you are
doing is meditating on the separate self sense and “oinking”
out representations, conversations with yourself. And all
the while everything that is, is outside of it. That is why
it is self-contraction. The apple is something else, not
what is in your mind. Even if the apple is in your belly,
how close can you get to it, you being who you

Beatitude of Perfect Surrender to Me

– Heart Conversion Talk Series – 1993


– Heart Conversion
Talk Series – 1993

the self-contraction

Understanding the Self Contraction and the The Persuit of

The self-contraction is your
activity. It is the “I” itself. It is not some sensation
that is a result of that action. All the results can be
observed, but the unique sensation that is the
self-contraction itself is the “I”. It is the very gesture
of separation”
– Heart Conversion
Talk Series – 1993


“You have to keep examining yourself
until you locate your own activity, of which all of that is
a result. That is the process of listening that becomes true
hearing. You must go on from the periphery, the outer
results of your seeking, to locate your own action. You may
progress by degrees, if you like, by steps, but you must get
to the very core that is your separate and separative self,
in action as the self-contraction. That is the process of
listening and hearing. You must keep going one step behind
whatever you are describing. You must get closer to the core
action, the root-action.”
– Heart Conversion
Talk Series – 1993

DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, I am confused
about the root of the self-contraction that You are pointing

SRI DA AVABHASA: The root is the

DEVOTEE: Are You talking about the
fundamental root of the conditional self as it is located in
the right side of the heart in the sixth stage of life or
are You talking about the characteristic way that we
dramatize the ego in the first three stages of

SRI DA AVABHASA: I am describing the
self-contraction as it may appear in any context or stage of
life. It is still the same contraction.

DEVOTEE: Is it the same for each
person or is it unique for that particular

SRI DA AVABHASA: The manifestation
of the self-contraction and its results are unique to each
individual, but the fundamental action is the same. The
ego-“I” is the same gesture in all cases. The center
associated with the heart on the right is just the ultimate
domain of this activity, which is uncovered in the ultimate
stages of the Way of the Heart. The act is the same. The act
is there in any moment or stage of life. And you are the one
responsible for it. It is you. It is your very conditional

DEVOTEE: Beloved Lord,
self-contraction, if I understand it correctly, is the
activity that we are presently doing at all times. It is a
constant activity until it is Most Perfectly transcended in
the seventh stage of life. Am I correct in saying that the
practice, at our level of practice, which is in the first
three stages of life, is about . . .

beginnings of the fourth.

DEVOTEE: . . . is about everything
we have accumulated as egos in these first three stages and
the beginning of the fourth?

SRI DA AVABHASA: Those are the

DEVOTEE: Those are the results, yes.
So this is the work that must be done. Transcending the
self-contraction . . .

SRI DA AVABHASA: You understand and
transcend the self-contraction by entering into a
“consideration” of your sphere of experience. In your case,
at the moment, that is experience in the context of the
first three stages of life and the beginnings of the fourth.
When you are examining yourself, observing yourself in the
context of practice, this is the sphere of experience that
you are observing. At your present level of practice, you
are not inspecting the kinds of experiences that are
associated with the further advancement of the fourth stage
of life or the fifth or the sixth or the seventh stage of
life. That is not your sphere of experience, although here
and there there can be some unusual experience.
Fundamentally, you are dealing with the beginnings of the
fourth stage of life and all of the first three stages of
life. That is the sphere of your observation. The
contraction is the same, in any case. It is the same
self-contraction that is present in the fifth stage of life,
or the sixth. It is the same act.

The ego has no features other than
that very act. It has an apparent personality, it has all of
its experiences, it has all of its associations. All of this
characterizes the stage of life of the individual or the
complex of stages of life in that apparent individual. But
the ego itself is the primary act at the root of all the
stages of life, the self-contraction itself. It is not a
person. It is an action that suggests a person, an
independent or conditionally manifested person, as a

DEVOTEE: Our experience at each
stage of life integrates with the self-contraction to
confirm the sense of separative self. So as we grow, we have
additional experiences that the ego accumulates . .

SRI DA AVABHASA: You can be a bigger
ego as you advance in the ordinary evolutionary
course—bigger in the sense that there is an enlarged
sphere of the experiencing of the self-contraction as a
conditionally manifested being.
– Heart Conversion
Talk Series – 1993


Sadhana is tapas. It is a profound
ordeal. At the same time, it is full of absorptive Communion
with Me and all the things associated with right

You must constantly be dealing
directly with this self-contraction. And if you are in touch
with it, then you dont like it. You want only this Communion
with Me. You dont want this self-contraction, but youre
having to feel it every moment. And its your doing, you see.
Its kind of in a spasm. Youve got to do the sadhana to relax
it and be full of Me, so that My “Brightness” Radiates
through it and releases it quickly.

So if you have heard Me, you dont
want to spend a lot of time getting beyond that knot,
because its not comfortable at all. You become profoundly
sensitized to it if youve heard Me, and likewise profoundly
sensitized to Me. Thats why seeing is next.

But the knot is there, and its
unavoidable, and you dont like it. It is pain. It is fear.
This is what makes a renunciate out of people, the discovery
of Me and the self-contraction at the same time. In full
hearing and seeing, thats what makes people renunciates,
because it is pain. Its extraordinary pain, at the same time
extraordinary bliss but the pain is where you sit, and you
are moved to feel out of it, and be relieved of that
enclosure, that divorce from the Divine, that sinfulness.
You dislike it so much, you dislike that knot so much, that
you become utterly concentrated in going beyond it. Its not
that you have to just sit in a room all the time, but youre
just all the time feeling beyond it, practicing the exercise
of going beyond self-contraction into the state of Radiance,
Love-Bliss, Energy, Light. And you would not be distracted
from It, because you do not want to be simply sitting in
that pain of self-contraction.

This is basically what Rudi was
referring to, not really knowing altogether what He was
talking about. He just wanted to deal with this incredible
stress, frontal stress. But its the ego-knot. You cant bust
it from outside. You cant relax the body that much. You have
to deal with the root of egoity itself-its in the conscious
domain-and in Communion with Me move beyond it. You cant
just work on the body-mind. You have to find out the
ego-act, and exercise the flower constantly, every

But it is a pain, and its associated
with lots of adaptations that keep producing results
somehow. So youre always going to have to feel beyond egoity
itself, but also all of its results. So that makes it an
ordeal of pain, of tapas, which you endure because youre
also in Communion with Me and have My Wisdom. But its still
pain. Hm? But you become intelligent with it. You know what
youre doing and can make this exercise of going beyond the
contraction, the self-contraction.

In the process, there are things to
be endured and felt beyond, and thats a purifying process.
But you would not-if you really truly have heard Me and are
sensitive altogether-you would not have that take a long


No Escape, There’s Only Realization

 further reading:

Primary Sensation

The Self
Contraction from Adi Da’s talks 2004-2007