Handling Business – On Love

On Sensitivity

Excerpts from recent talks by Heart-Master Da (Adi Da

Originally published in Crazy Wisdom magazine, Vol 6, No
6, Nov/Dec 1987.

DEVOTEE: Love-Ananda, I was considering what You have
been saying about reestablishing equanimity in the body-mind
and our apparent need to stimulate or fulfill the body-mind
through conventional means, religious consolation, food,
sex, and self indulgence of all kinds. In Your essay “The
Spirit and the Flesh” You said that conventional society
seeks to keep beings orderly through the suppression of free
feeling and the life impulse. Such suppression becomes
stress or an unconscious need in the body-mind. If the
life-impulse is suppressed in a child, for example, he or
she manifests a need as an adult for self-fulfillment
through stimulation and self-pleasurizing.

HEART-MASTER DA: Suppression leads to the search
through self-stimulation – we might call it the return of
the repressed. What is suppressed just reappears sooner or
later, somehow or other, in one form or another, even in the
form of patterns of unhappiness, odd dreams, strange,
unusual, or self-indulgent habits, however “normal” such
habits may be considered to be.


Suppression of the psycho-physical personality is not
auspicious. However, it is a common social device. There is
a common social and political expectation that people be
orderly. That expectation tends to reach into the most
personal level of everyone’s life. If the individual is not
moved to be so orderly altogether, then the influence is
felt as a repressive force, and the individual resists it.
But, feeling he or she must conform, the individual becomes
self-suppressive and rather neurotic – I suppose that is the
common word for it – perhaps not so self-indulgent in
comparison with others but disturbed, stressful, cold, and
capable of suddenly acting in a disturbed fashion.

Others when confronted by the same demands do not feel
quite so obliged to be orderly. They find loopholes in the
system somehow and so are more exaggerated in their
behavior. They indulge themselves. They release the
suppressed energy, or at least seem to, or are trying to,
but they likewise do not relieve it. They merely indulge
themselves, and in the process develop habits of
self-indulgence that intensify the stress and intensify
self-possession over time, constantly regenerating the
motive of seeking. What must truly occur is that the
individual must understand himself or herself, be rightly
purposed, and make sense out of his or her life. If you do
this, then your great purpose is not the same as the
civilized purpose, but it does not run counter to it,
either, you see.

An individual rightly purposed for self-understanding
will find it rather easy in general to function happily in
social relationships with others, and will be considered in
general a rather benign character. Nonetheless, the purpose
to which that individual is fitted is not merely to be
orderly for order’s sake. You must therefore discover the
purpose in all this order that is socially transmitted to
you and traditionally transmitted to everyone socially.

Of course, yes, there are the political purposes of law
and order, but the origins of law and order are in the
sacred order of the human past. We see in the demands for
order, even in secular politics, the present-time
representation of an ancient sacred principle, an ancient
“dharma” given to the people. A great philosophy in one form
or another is at the origin of all these social rules. It
was considered appropriate in ancient times that individuals
even in the earliest time of life maintain self-discipline,
to purify themselves and not become exaggerated or lose
balance, not merely for the sake of society – of course that
was a secondary purpose – but ultimately for the sake of
Divine Realization, Divine Communion.

When you eliminate the sacred dimension of social
demands, you tend to lose the true purpose of social order,
and then you stand merely as an ego being confronted with
social demands. You can either resist or submit without
understanding. Neither of those alternatives serves you
greatly. If you are to accept discipline in your life and be
happy with discipline, you must go beyond the motive of
self-suppression, understand yourself, and find reason in
the movement of your great energy for discipline. Discipline
exists for the purpose of self-transcendence. When you are
organized toward the possibility of self-transcendence, then
you become capable of discipline, and the mood of being
suppressed disappears.

DEVOTEE: As somebody who grew up outside this culture, I
had suppressed a great deal of my own development,
particularly in the area of sensitivity to others, to
Nature, to the Divine, to the etheric dimension. I noticed
recently in myself a kind of reawakening of much of that. I
was wondering if there are aspects of our children’s
development that haven’t been fully nurtured by our culture,
something to which they must be awakened or something they
must experience.

HEART-MASTER DA: I would say definitely yes. They are
bodily self-aware, are they not? If their development has
been interrupted somehow and not fully nurtured, it is time
now to do it.

The other evening I watched a documentary called “The
Secret Life of Plants”, created by, among others, the author
of the book by the same title. The basic subject of this
program, which is not merely plants, but the continuity
between forms that appear in Nature, belongs fundamentally
to the second stage of life.

A number of individuals were mentioned who are more
recent pioneers of the rediscovery of the principle that a
continuous sensitivity is exhibited among all the forms of
Nature. One man does polygraph tests for the federal
government. Some years ago, I think in the sixties sometime,
he connected his polygraph to a plant in his room. And I
believe, as the story goes, he spontaneously conceived of
the idea, for whatever reason, of doing damage to the plant
by holding a lighted match under it. All of a sudden the
polygraph registered a tremendous swing. Just by his having
the thought, the plant reacted to his feeling. He did not
actually do anything to the plant then, although since that
time he has experimented, as many others have also. All such
experiments confirm that green things, living plants, which
are, after all, the fundamental life forms on Earth and
which cover most of the Earth even in the water, are
emotionally responsive, if you will, or sensitive to
energies of an emotional content.

According to this program, the same man has been
conducting experiments to stimulate the serious interest of
scientists in this subject. He set up an experiment with
mechanical devices, and then he left the room so that no
human being was present. The experiment carried itself out
automatically. In one room he placed a plant and connected
it to a polygraph. In another room he placed a little cup of
what are called sea monkeys, or brine shrimp. At a random
moment determined entirely by mechanical apparatus and not
by the man himself, the brine shrimp were dropped into a
bucket of boiling water and killed. That event was not
connected by apparatus to the plant and the polygraph in the
other room. The man left the place, and the whole experiment
was carried out automatically through random procedures
determined by the machinery. When he came back later to
examine the results on the polygraph, he found that at the
point when the brine shrimp were dropped into the boiling
water, the polygraph registered a huge swing from the plant.
The plant had reacted to the death of the brine shrimp in
the next room.

Perhaps that seems remarkable to you. This program may
therefore be interesting to you. Many other observers
conducted similar experiments before sophisticated
instruments like polygraphs appeared. Out of all such
experiments the people who created them developed a kind of
vision, like the man with the polygraph, who said that from
the moment he observed that swing on the polygraph, the
response of the plant to his mere thought or feeling, his
life had changed. Likewise, an Indian man earlier in the
century described a total transformation in his life that
confirmed the great visions of the Vedic seers, the great
vision of Oneness, One is all and all is One, and so forth.
His experiments also confirmed this vision. This program,
therefore, was about the unity of conditional Nature and how
it is wholly intercommunicative, naturally.

You can, however, by force of self-contraction,
confusion, misinformation, and mindsets come to the point
not only of utterly denying that reality of ultimate unity
but of functioning as if it does not exist, functioning even
in a way that opposes it, therefore functioning not only
without sensitivity but functioning in such a way that you
never realize that you participate in unity. Instead, what
you are realizing is the sense of your own separateness.
With that sense of separateness comes another vision, not
the vision of unity, but the vision of fear, or self
possession in all its forms.

Children who grow up in the culture of our Communion
should not be denied this free awareness, this participatory
capability. It should be nurtured in them. And likewise if
you come out of the world to practice the Way of the Heart
as an adult, you must in the process of your development
re-realize that unity as well. Of course, there is more to
realize than just that unity. Nonetheless, just as you must
realize that death is not a finality, you must also realize
that Nature is not anything less than a unity, that it is a
participatory frame or condition. Therefore, your life,
rightly engaged, should be participatory and not an
expression of separateness and self-contraction.

Yes, children should develop this understanding, this
realization, this actual habit of experiencing, this actual
capacity for participation, and show its various signs.
Adults likewise must do so. To even get the idea that maybe
this is so seems great to people in the twentieth century.
But really, just as it is a fact that death is not an ending
or a finality, the unity of Nature is just a matter of fact.
Some of the many things people want to make much of these
days are just beginner’s knowledge, and even those things
are still a matter of uncertainty. But they are just
beginner’s knowledge. Therefore, you must acquire that
knowledge at the beginning.

What is a plant? Is a plant, like you, a kind of thinking
being? Maybe not quite that, you see. Just as you tend to
think of yourself as an ego or as a separate individual,
likewise, when you acknowledge that maybe plants are
sensitive or respond emotionally, you may think about them
in the same way. People nowadays are therefore not only
talking to their plants or playing music for their plants
but addressing their plants as egos, superimposing the egoic
model on the data that seem to suggest something very

Plants are not egos, naturally, and neither are you,
really. You are tending to function as if you are. You are
tending to believe that you are. If you rightly understand
yourself and participate rightly even in the natural world,
then the data about plant sensitivity will not lead you to
impose the egoic model on plants but rather will restore you
to the unified vision, the vision of wholeness, of inter

You know what evolutionists think about plants. They see
a kind of cause-and-effect game going on. Plants are visited
by bees, and through their interactions over time they
adapt, and so on. Evolutionists tend to think of plants and
insects and all organisms in Nature as kinds of
egos-reacting and responding-whereas really the changes in
form in Nature occur because the natural world is a unity.
These changes do not take place because the plant does
something and then the bee does something in turn. The
changes take place because both the bee and the plant exist
in a great unified field of mutuality, in the essence of
which, in the core of which, all possibilities always
already exist.

Similarly, many functions are latent in the human brain.
If human beings developed their present brain capacity
through cause-and-effect adaptation, then why are human
beings presently fitted with a brain capacity that no human
being-at least very few human beings-has ever used? Human
beings are exhibiting a brain capacity that they have yet to
adapt to. That brain capacity is not there because of
previous adaptation. Rather, it is there because Nature is a
great unity in which even in every single apparent part the
whole is represented latently. Therefore, configurations
brought into contact with one another exhibit signs of
apparent mutual adaptation, but those signs actually arise
from a single field of infinite potency or every kind of
possible capacity.

You cannot rightly understand even the natural world
until you re-realize the participatory capacity, the
capacity to transcend yourself, the capacity to transcend
the egoic model, then. This means you must be able to
perceive in the context of energy, of unity.

If plants can be so sensitive, if a plant in one room can
be sensitive to the death of brine shrimp in another room,
how sensitive must you be, then? You yourself, then, must be
reacting to all kinds of things, not just to what is in the
news-if you ever listen to the news-but to all kinds of
happenings, not only locally but perhaps in the total
universe. Yet how many of those happenings do you register
consciously or allow yourself to relate to directly? You are
certainly no less sensitive than the plant. But you seem to
be functioning in a far less sophisticated way than do even
plants, because you have allowed your own mental apparatus,
your own presumptions about existence, to interfere with
your participatory capacity. You must re-realize that
participatory capacity. And that is at the beginning,
really, of the Great Process that is the Way of the Heart.
We hope that children developing in our culture will be free
to develop this participatory capacity so that the
transformation they must achieve as adults moving into the
Great Process in its advancing stages will be easier for

Conceptual mind, you see, is not fundamentally or by its
common use participatory in nature. It is abstract. It is
separative. It is an activity that in general expresses the
model of egoity and separateness. It is not that conceptual
thinking is taboo, but it must be transformed through the
great awakening to the participatory capacity. Therefore,
the participatory capacity is the senior capacity, and it
must inform even your conceptual life. If the conceptual
life, or the abstracting principle, is made dominant to the
exclusion even of the participatory capacity, which is
naturally or natively senior, obviously, then, your
existence is crippled.

Today I looked at a pamphlet about extreme allergic
reactions. A woman in a hyper allergenic crisis, for
instance, was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Every time
the ambulance passed under power lines, she went into a
traumatized state. She did not know there were power lines,
but the people with her noticed her reaction. Such people
sometimes themselves manifest super-intense electrical
fields that may even interfere with machinery and electrical
instruments in their vicinity.

This woman is just an example of hypersensitivity to
power lines, which are commonplace in the modern world.
These electrical fields can be something to which you also
react, just as living plants react to electrical fields, or
the extreme emotion of a human being, which is in itself a
kind of electrical field. Plants exists in a bioenergic
field, and so do human beings. If the bioenergic field of a
human being is stimulated by an emotional reaction, a plant
will register it, because it exists in the same field.

Apparently many people suffer hypersensitivity to
electrical fields. Maybe everyone is sensitive to them. But
you, being rather desensitized as a modern, downtown
personality, perhaps being desensitized altogether, perhaps
are not allowing yourself to be aware of all the influences
that are affecting you. Maybe you are showing the signs,
somehow, but maybe you cannot account for them. Maybe you
are thinking the reason is something other than it really

One of the effects of modern technological society is
that it is interfering with the great universal field in
which we all exist. That great universal field has many
planes, from gross to subtle. But all these fields, even the
grossest of them, including chemical fields, are being
profoundly interfered with by all kinds of technological
devices. You must especially come into contact with those
interference’s when you live in urban areas.

There are thousands upon thousands of interference’s,
including chemical and energetic ones and social ones. Every
kind of thing is there to disturb your equanimity, and you
probably do not even notice most of it. You very likely may
feel disturbed or under stress, but you may not quite know
how to account for it or altogether know what to do about
it. You only learn or know what to do about it if you become
not only informed but re-sensitized so that you can begin,
like the plant, to register in yourself the things that are
disturbing, and then perhaps you may choose to avoid some
things that are disturbing. But at least you must be able to
compensate for having come into contact with things that are

Plants show no inclination to relinquish their capacity
to be sensitive. But human beings seem to be wholly
inclined, very much inclined, to relinquish their capacity
for sensitivity.

What happens when you think a negative thought, by the
way? If a plant can react to a negative thought, somebody
else can think a negative thought that could influence you.
Think about it. What about when you think a negative

You think negative thoughts as a matter of course,
walking from here to the next room. You are constantly
thinking negative thoughts, having negative memories,
negative emotional reactions. You do all kinds of things to
yourself bodily to throw you out of balance, as a matter of
course and all the time. It is part of the ordinary pattern
of human life these days. Not only is everyone else doing it
and thereby affecting you, but you yourself are doing it.
That is the most immediate effect you may register, you see.
And here you are, wondering about the sensitivity of plants,
which is interesting, but ultimately it only points to a
principle in which you must begin to invest yourself. You
must deal with yourself, not merely with plants. Consider
yourself. Do not merely name your plants.

What does all this mean, then? The manifest universe, the
conditional universe, or cosmos, is a great unity, an
intercommunicative whole. And even in any specimen of it,
the whole is somehow contained. The knowledge you may get
from examining plants really should become a vision not only
of the cosmos but of what your right involvement in it must
be. At the level of universal existence, at any rate, your
life must become participatory, wholly sensitized, taking
this universal process into account. Of course, that is also
just beginner’s knowledge, but significant wisdom,
nonetheless. The Great Matter of what self-transcendence
becomes or Realizes ultimately, exceeds even such knowledge.
But this is basic wisdom, basic knowledge, that you must not
only realize, and realize to be true, but that must reawaken
in you a different design of existence.

GREG: Love-Ananda, this definitely points to the Function
that You have as a Realizer, having entered into this plane,
and also the function even a very small group of Agents, or
those who are practicing at the most advanced level, can
have in the totality of all of this. Just as a plant can
feel something in the next room, it certainly can also feel’
the Divine Influence in this world.

HEART-MASTER DA: This should tell you something about the
nature of the Siddhi of Perfect Realization. It is a
Transmission. Just as even every ego, every entity,
transmits modifications of force, so the Realizer makes a
greater Transmission, even prior to modifications, which may
be experienced as a variety of modifications at the level of
the individual perceiver. You must understand the Realizer
as a unique Function in the whole of Nature, and standing
even prior to it. A Great Principle, a Great Force, a Great
Influence, a Great Awakening Power is manifested as the
Realizer. It should be understood as such.

If you can understand plants and your own sensitivity,
then you have gone somewhat further in the direction of
understanding the nature of Satsang, which is a Spiritual
matter, or even the acknowledgment of the Realizer prior to
Satsang, which is the virtue and the right use of the
relationship with a Realizer, even at the beginning. To come
into that sphere is to have been given a Great Gift, but you
must value it as such, not defame or corrupt it but relate
to it rightly. To relate to it rightly, you must have
enjoyed some basic understanding, you must have gotten some
lessons from life, and you must have learned something by
observing life and yourself such that you can participate in
that Company and make effective use of it. If you want the
Realizer to be like you, an ordinary man, self possessed and
limited as you, making the same signs, then what kind of use
can you possibly make of the Realizer?

If you manipulate the Realizer so that the Realizer
cannot live among you through his Native Sign, or even if
you do allow him or her to do so, yet you immunize yourself
against the Influence, then what has been gained? This is my
Call to you, then, to assume your responsibilities for the
Communion and the culture and your own practice, and
likewise make it possible for me to live as I Am and grant
my Sign and my Transmission to others when they are
prepared. By assuming your responsibilities, make it
possible to make use of my Company when it is given to you,
or in whatever form it is given to you, naturally even, as a
practitioner at any stage.

You must make use of this Siddhi, this Presence, this
Gift. Accommodate it, give it its place or opportunity, but
likewise make it possible for you yourself and others to
make right use of it. That is the business of this Communion
now. The Teaching Consideration having been accomplished
fundamentally, now you must establish an order of
responsibility and right practice in which I can function
just As I Am, in which you all as practitioners can make use
of my Company rightly, effectively, auspiciously.

(August 9, 1987)