The Message of Life Is Transcendence

Originally published in The Laughing Man Magazine

Vol 2, No. 1, February 1981

The Message of Life Is Transcendence

A Talk by (Da Free John) Adi Da Samraj


Adi Da Samraj: Spiritual life develops from the
observation that this life in itself cannot be fulfilled. If
the state of the world or of your own circumstance seems
favorable at any one time, then you may become an idealist.
You may begin to think that you should be accomplishing
great things in this world. You may believe that you are
born to fulfill some great destiny. But when the world
situation becomes more difficult politically or culturally,
or when you become more sensitive to the inherent
limitations in life itself, then you begin to feel
frustrated. This frustration quickens your ability to
observe and consider what birth, life, and death are: all
about. Thus, it is only this suffering, this profound
frustration, that awakens our consciousness, our
discriminating intelligence.

If we were completely satisfied. in this world, if our
circumstances, experiences, and relations were permanently
fulfilling, you see, no one would turn to God. But
everything in this world to which you cling is going to be
stripped away from you. Change always rips you off in some
way, and death rips you off completely. And when death
comes, will you have done anything during your lifetime that
will transform your destiny after death? Are you going to be
so involved with this circus of a lifetime – this sideshow
that comes to an end after a few acts – that you do nothing
that transforms your destiny after death? You keep dying and
being reborn, repeating the same lifetime again and again
and again, with barely any growth at all, You do not grow in
evolutionary terms, developing the higher mechanisms of the
body-mind, and you do not transcend the world in absolute
terms. You continue in this same cycle of birth and death
because you are under the illusion that you can be fulfilled
as a human being. Human fulfillment has become your goal and
your obsession. As long as you think that you can be
fulfilled through the exploitation of the manifestation in
which you are now born, you will become, or remain, attached
to this bodily life and you will continue to be attached to
it until you have fulfilled all your desires completely. But
you never can fulfill all your desires completely!

Although you presently have many positive programs for
self-fulfillment, you must consider: Are you frustrated more
than you are consoled in this life? Now frustrations like,
”I’m not making enough money on my job” will not move you
toward an ultimate realization of Truth or God! No, you must
recognize some very profound frustrations. You must come to
an understanding about the machine of the body-mind and the
process of your experiential existence altogether. You must
see that your life of experience is inherently frustrating,
that it cannot ultimately be fulfilled. Then you will be
moved to reflect on the nature of the machine of bodily
life, and to understand and transcend it. As long as the
machine of the body is part of your program for
self-consolation, however, the message of the body is to
leave it alone, or to inspect its desires and motivations
only superficially and never to the point of becoming
responsible for its impulses and tendencies.

If you listen to this primitive vital message, you still
rest in the consoling motivation to be fulfilled. You are
not frustrated enough to enter into the consideration of
”matter” itself, the body itself, the mind itself, or life
itself to the point that the body mind becomes transparent
and loses all significance to you in and of itself or as an
end in itself. It still seems to you that you must keep
moving through life after life because you still have
desires that are not yet frustrated and in fact still seem
capable of being fulfilled. You have not become frustrated
in them to the point of transcending them. Therefore, you
continue being reborn to fulfill these cravings. In order
that the cycle of incarnations continue, we must remain
unconscious, and our motives must remain uninspected.

However, if we all knew we would be dead by midnight,
life would be a totally different matter. You would become
very profound about some things!

Presently much of your energy is bound up in a psychic
tension that is associated with desires that the events of
your life might unfold in a particular way. Your energy and
intention are concentrated upon the cravings that you want
to fulfill again and again and again – relative to your
possessions, your relations, your pleasures, your
entertainment’s. You cling tenaciously to all of that. Yet
it all can disappear and will.

Everything will change and disappear throughout countless
numbers of lifetimes, and you will again and again enter
into the same consideration, but only superficially, so that
very little is transcended in any lifetime. Each life looks
practically the same as the last one, with only small
differences in the drama and the appearances. You repeat the
same patterns, and you cannot see that they are repetitious
and binding. You do not get the joke of reincarnation. You
are not laughing at life, you see, because this life appears
to be your first one.

You may say that you believe in reincarnation based on
books you have read or theories you have heard, and you
would like reincarnation to be a true and real process in
the physics of the universe. In order to be certain that
reincarnation is true, however, you would have to inspect
the whole process of life and death and rebirth. How do you
find out whether you are reincarnated? If it is true, then
it should be a simple matter to remember your past lives.
But even if you remembered a past life, you would see how
that lifetime was also frustrated. It ended. It was not
absolute and eternal, or your existence now would be
dramatically different. The entire world would have been
changed for you if you had enjoyed such a perfectly
fulfilling life. Therefore, it you are able to enter into
this consideration profoundly, you will see that there is
nothing consoling about reincarnation.

In Truth, life is a dream. It is not therefore unreal or
nonexistent, any more than your dreams are unreal and
nonexistent. But this process of apparent incarnation as a
separate being is a state of consciousness that is organized
precisely as dreaming is. This appearance here is created of
energy, consciousness, mind, and it is completely arbitrary.
It could disappear instantly. Therefore, I do not recommend
the fulfillment of this life in itself, but the
transcendence of it. Transcendence of all apparent
limitations is a much greater disposition than anything you
can realize in your conventional human conception of

This life is nothing, ultimately, and even presently. It
is to be transcended. However, through their fearful
self-possession, human beings cling to things that console
them and make them feel good. Using psychological and
emotional techniques of every kind, they wage war with all
the things that make them feel bad. They do not see the
world altogether as something to be transcended. They are
always gambling that somehow they will be ultimately
fulfilled by the world. They desperately want to become
immortal, or they want the world to become inhabited by
enlightened beings with glorious light bodies, and all of
that nonsense.

How close do you think this world is to that utopian
vision? Even if that vision came true, the world itself is
mortal and changing and will ultimately dissolve. There is
no permanent fulfillment in any case. There is just a drama
you inherit and into which you enter life after life after
life. Thus, it is good to transcend this world in the prime
of life. At some point you just step out of the world. You
do not necessarily leave it, and you certainly do not try to
escape from it in the fearful and self-possessed manner of
yogis and mystics. You transcend the world in consciousness,
in your feeling-awareness. The world is not going to come to
an end merely because you realize the Transcendental Truth
of existence. Truth is a value for its own sake. Thus, to
transcend the limits and illusions of this world even while
alive is a legitimate path in life.

The world and the body-mind of Man are said to be
composed of five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and
ether or energy. We exist in the play of these five elements
between birth and death, at least during our periods of
participation in the waking state. Therefore, one of the
ancient recommendations is to transcend the domain of
functions associated with the five elements. The traditional
yogis and saints concentrated their attention in the higher
centers of the brain, which function at levels above the
grosser elements. They sought to escape the binding effect
of the vital-physical world by those means. However, even in
the highest mystical attainment realized via this method of
escape, the individual is still the separate, egoic

The yogi may be conditionally situated in what he regards
as a high state, but it is temporary and not ultimate. Thus,
the yogic or mystical strategy of escape does not work. By
this I do not mean that the yogi or mystic cannot attain to
higher levels of experience. Certainly he can-but if he
becomes sensitive, psychic, and superconscious, he will
recognize that even higher experience is frustrating to the
ego or soul. The mood behind the mystical method of escape
is not entirely false. It is true that since the world is
ultimately frustrating, it must be transcended. But true
transcendence is not realized through the inward or ascetic
method of escape.

Those who contemplate the method of escape must
eventually realize that the world is inherently frustrating,
even in its subtle or heavenly domains, and that the
exploitation of a human lifetime does not amount to
transcendence. Those trying to escape from this vital realm,
the yogis and saints, are not fully enlightened. Therefore,
you must inspect in yourself this tendency toward escape
through inversion of attention. Recognize the limits of such
a method. In some sense, you see, we could say that this
place is to be escaped. But the motive of escape itself is a

As your spiritual practice matures, you pass through many
stages and revelations of the higher or more psychic and
mystical functions of the body-mind. You must recognize,
however, that each of them contains a limit that is not at
first observed, because you feel relieved by the
expansiveness and profundity of the revelation. Then
gradually you discover the limit inherent in each partial
revelation or stage of practice. If you are founded in the
Truth or Transcendental Realization from the beginning, then
you will discover that limit quickly. If you are not founded
in the Truth, then you will tend to become fascinated with
each new discovery of these higher functions. You will
desire to exploit each function or experience, now that you
have attained the capacity to be associated with it. Thus,
traditional teachers warned against becoming distracted by
psychic powers and visions.

Therefore, you must inspect all the dimensions of the
body-mind and the possible stages of maturity, and you must
transcend them all. The capacity for transcendence is
inherent in the practice of the Way. Transcendental
Realization is itself the basis of the practice, Thus, you
can pass through each of these stages without having to
become a fanatic in each of them, exploiting their partial
revelations and failing to transcend their limits. At all
times you must remain sensitive to all the implications of
each level of experiential attainment or evolutionary
adaptation. The experiential path of attaining realization
of each of the progressive stages of life, you see, is based
on the, presumption that it is necessary to seek the
ultimate Reality. To the Enlightened disposition, however,
the ultimate Reality is presently completely obvious.

In the Way that I Teach this disposition of transcendence
is awakened at the beginning of spiritual practice. Such
moment-to-moment transcendence is practice itself, and not
the goal to be attained after passing through all of these
stages. In a life founded on such Transcendental
Realization, one could not go anywhere in order to find God.
God is inherent in this Present moment and condition. God is
the only Fact, the Truth of the world and the body-mind of
Man. Thus, ultimately you rest in the Divine Condition in
which the entire domain of experience, high and low, is
transparent to the Transcendental Reality. Whatever arises
is completely transparent in God.

Therefore, the true message of life is transcendence. You
can see and experience the great process that continues
lifetime after lifetime. Whole lifetimes can be lived for
only the briefest advantage, only the slightest structural
readjustment in the body-mind. Paradoxically, however, the
principle of Transfiguration is also present in that process
of incarnation. Thus, by giving yourself up to That which
makes your presence benign, you Outshine and Transfigure the
world and the body and the mind, and you are effectively
released from experience. Thus, Realization comes
immediately to the devotee, to the one who gives up
everything, who has nothing to attain. Enlightenment is not
postponed, nor is it strategically sought. In fact, the
release of that effort of seeking is the awakening of
realization itself.

Perhaps the devotee is always enlightened and only his
appearance in Nature, in the dream, the pattern that
reflects him, produces countless lifetimes until the end of
time. Perhaps in observing your human life you are only
seeing a living fossil, Perhaps you are looking at it as it
was and yet paradoxically seems to remain, while in Reality,
Enlightenment was true of you countless eons ago. Perhaps
this dream has already come to an end, fundamentally, and
perhaps you are presently seeing that it has come to an end
and yet you are seeing it before its end, When you realize
this Transcendental Condition, you see that the dream has
always already ended and was in fact never the True
Condition of the world,

Maybe we and the world are already just a dream
appearance, having become Enlightened countless eons or
cosmic cycles ago, and only on that basis having submitted
to this sacrifice of incarnation. Thus, we were all
absolutely awake in God. Perhaps we have fundamentally
nothing to do with this appearance even now. From the
Transcendental disposition this prior freedom of
worldlessness is perfectly apparent, and yet at the same
time we are living the process of bodily incarnation as it
is destined to transpire in the world. Perhaps this is the
paradox of our existence.