Self Contraction as Doubt – Adi Da Samraj – 1986 – Holland, The Netherlands – Maria Hoop


This talk was recorded in 1986 when
Avatar Adi Da Samraj made His first visit to the European
community of His devotees. He travelled through England,
France and Holland. During His stay in Holland He very much
wanted a place where he could meet with all of His European
devotees. Devotees looked for an appropriate place that
could be acquired as an rural Ashram. In the South of
Holland, in the village of Maria Hoop close to the German
border, a former monastery was found which could be rented
for a few weeks. The monastery was already empty for several
years. Devotees quickly cleaned buildings and the grounds.
Adi Da was invited to and He stayed in a specially prepared
wing of the monastery for several days. In this period He
granted Darshan and Question and Answer Occasions to German,
English, Dutch, French and American devotees.


“You can think about the
Divine, God, Reality or whatever and arguments made by Me or
anyone else. You can think about all of that, but it doesn’t
make it true for you.”




DEVOTEE: Master Da, I have a
question about my practice and what happens to me. I seem to
collapse with doubt from time to time and it doesn’t seem to
be connected with how good or how bad I practice. I was
hoping you could make a comment on this.

DEVOTEE: Mmhm. Doubt is very
interesting I think because, particularly our presumptions
about doubt and doubting the whole process.

We tend to think that doubt is doubt
of something because when we get into doubt it’s always
associated with something that seems doubtful. So we tend to
associate getting into doubt, having doubt, we tend to
associate doubt itself with something that doubt, something
itself that we were wondering about, feeling negative about.
Whereas actually doubt is a mechanism that doesn’t have
anything to do with any object or thing to be doubted. Doubt
is just another form or sign of the self-contraction. It is
the self-contraction itself.

What we call doubt is a rather and
emotional way of noticing the self-contraction. And it’s
just that, self-contraction. It’s not doubt of something.
It’s just self-contraction. The sensation of the
self-contraction is doubt. But we think we’re doubting
something because whenever that collapse occurs something
that we otherwise feel positive about when we’re not
contracted suddenly becomes something that we can’t tolerate
and don’t feel happy about. And that’s where doubt begins to
bind you. Because then you start trying to figure out some
way to feel good about that thing. Whereas that is not your
proper business when you are collapsed into doubt. You must
understand yourself sufficiently, you see, to realize that
doubt is not about a something.




You didn’t start going into doubt
because suddenly the thing you now doubt was coming into
doubt. You started to collapse into this doubt simply as a
phase, a kind of even a biological phase, what is really a
psycho-physical phasing of self-contraction. All kinds of
influences cause one to do this, including just it’s the
mechanism itself is adapted to cycles of collapse and
re-collapse and reopening, like the moon phasing.

There’s this constant cycle of
self-contraction occurring and when it occurs we read it
mentally, emotionally, physically. We read it in terms of
our energy and then we also read it in terms of our
relations, all kinds of relations and objects, mental
objects. Thought systems that we believe in suddenly we
become dissociated from, you see. Things with which we are
related emotionally suddenly become things we can’t connect
with. These include relationships or things that we may
enjoy at other times. Our physical well-being, physical
equanimity is lost when this self-contraction occurs, you

Instead of talking about doubt, you
could just as well talk about emotional upset or physical
disturbance or pain because these are all also signs of
exactly the same mechanism, just the self-contraction
itself, egoity itself. Now whatever you look at when the
self-contraction has occurred is something from which you
are dissociated now. The self-contraction dissociates you
inevitably. So when self-contracted, no matter what you look
at it is something you are now separated from, dissociated
from. So if you look at a mental object or a thought process
or a system of thinking, it is now something for which you
have no sympathy. It is now something for which you do not
have a thought that you can connect yourself to with. You
are divorced from it, dissociated from it.

So you feel now because you’re
self-contracted that this whole system of thinking about
things that seemed, when you were previously not contracted,
to be whole and true and inviting and worth involving your
life in is now bullshit. This is why that whole way of life
may not be worth getting involved in at all. It may be
nonsense. You start entertaining all such thoughts. And then
because you are not quite willing to give all of that up so
freely you start spending your doubting time trying to find
some reason to believe in all of that thought process again,
you see. Whereas, what should you really be

You should be able to identify this
symptom of doubt, just as you identify sinus congestion as a
cold. You should be able to identify doubt as
self-contraction and not identify it with some object that
is now doubtful to you because you’re contracted, you

Self-contraction could take the form
of always takes the form of, always takes the form of
emotional dissociation. Well, if you’re feeling emotionally
dissociated because of self-contraction and then all of the
relations that you are emotionally connected to otherwise
now are something from which you are dissociated.

So every time you fall into
self-contraction you would tend to get divorced from your
spouse if you’re married, you’d quit your job, you’d send
your children away and never see them again. You’d send all
your friends a letter or make a fast remark and never have
anything to do with them again. You would dissociate
yourself from everything. Ultimately you might commit
suicide. This is not reasonable obviously.

One day you’re in love with someone.
The next day, because you’re contracted, you can’t even
connect with them emotionally. Is that believable? (Mild
laughter.) It suggests, it most clearly suggests that
there’s something wrong with you. You’re ill somehow. In
some sense, you must be ill, you see. That’s really what
it’s about. If you could just be relieved of this emotional
disease that you’re suffering at the moment, it would be
obvious to you, because you know that you love that person,
that something’s just overcoming you. If only you could just
get rid of this disease then, this upset, then you’d be
naturally connected with that person, and have that
relationship which you otherwise enjoy with them. Or so with
anything you may think about that falls into

Once you notice that you’re doubting
something that you’ve otherwise thoroughly reviewed and know
the truth of it you ought to identify the disease and
realize that you’re just ill. temporarily insane.
(Laughter.) You’re self-contracted, dissociated, that’s all
it is. You don’t have to trouble yourself and mind at all to
try and reconnect with that. Stop getting into the thought
business at that moment and start paying attention to
observing yourself and finding your way out of this
contracted state, this disease, you see. That’s your
business. So people don’t make it their business unless they
understand themselves, you see.

People are always tending to get
into the wrong business because they don’t understand this
chronic, rolling disease of self-contraction. It is chronic.
It is more or less constant in most people and it is
constantly taking on different forms, different signs. You
read it mentally, emotionally, physically. In terms of your
energies you read it socially. You read it in terms of
relations of all kinds. You are constantly seeing the signs
of this self-contraction, but you are identifying it with
something wrong with this object or that relationship or
this thought, you see, and that’s not what it’s about. Only
self-knowledge will help you to get down to the right
business of life in any moment. And if you don’t have
self-knowledge, then you’ll always make error and always be
up to the wrong thing.




So when you feel doubt, instead of
noticing it as disease and feeling yourself beyond
self-contraction, instead you’ll be reading all kinds of
things and trying to think your way back into your previous
system of belief or motivation, you see. Whereas if you get
into doubt in that sense relative to something that you’ve
already thoroughly inspected, you should just take a little
vacation from thought stress for awhile and deal with the
self-contraction as a totality. And how do you do that?
Well, that’s what I’ve been instructing people about for
years, you see.

It’s a matter of self-generating
spiritual sadhana, spiritual practice. It’s a matter of
making use, first of all, of self-observation, but then
making use of the practice of spiritual resort and
meditation, spiritual exercise. This is what you should do
instead of trying to think your way out of doubt or feel
your way out of emotional distress or find your way out of a
cramp or eat your way out of a cramp that is really
originated (mild laughter) egoically.

You’ve got to, in other words,
through self-observation, you’ve got to come to the point
where you can identify your own dilemma and not, therefore,
get sidetracked into all kinds of efforts that are
nonsensical, that don’t deal with what is really wrong with
you. So doubt is not about anything, in other words. It only
seems to be about something. And because you’re constantly
tending to get self-contracted, if you’re a more or less
solid type, you will always be tending to register
self-contraction in terms of doubt. And, therefore, you will
always be stressfully trying to think yourself into a better
system of thinking that you will never doubt again. But you
will always doubt any system of thinking as long as you are
tending toward self-contraction.

Inevitably self-contraction leads to
doubt. What you must realize is self-knowledge about that
and not be led into struggling mentally when the sensation
of doubt comes on. You must be able to relax that effort,
know that doubt is not about anything; but only seems to be
about something and is really just the self-contraction
showing itself. Or you can observe and understand that
self-contraction and then the freer you will become of this
tendency and the things that you tend to do about it, that
merely add to your stress and bewilder you further. And what
will that self-knowledge lead you to, inevitably the
spiritual process more and more profoundly.

Instead of busying yourself with
mental efforts to achieve and undoubtable thought system,
you see, you’ll be spending your time In meditation. Instead
of reading endlessly, book to book, system to system, you’ll
give the mind appropriate time for study, true, but you
won’t be exhausting yourself in nonsensical mental efforts.
And you’ll be using a lot of your thinking and reading time
in the meditation hall releasing this disease which
ultimately doesn’t even exist once you understand its
principle and allow it to be mastered by Reality.


DEVOTEE: There’s something
about this possibility we are responsible for the
contraction. On the other hand. I’m not the One that’s
living me now. so how come both can be true? (Mild


DA LOVE-ANANDA: Well, the One
who is living you now is not self-contracted. (Great
laughter.) It’s like the discussion I had earlier, you see.
You tend to, being a thinker type, you see, human beings
generally are, you tend to take two very extreme kinds of
thought and believe that they exist on the same level. You
have this system of observation, conventional observation
and thinking, and conditional awareness that’s aware of the
body, the mind, the world, the self, all these dynamic

These things are experienced or are
just basically obvious experientially, but then there are
other thoughts, forms of cognition or awareness, that have
at least something to do with Transcendental Reality, the
Divine Condition which transcends the ego, transcends the
body-mind, is one and not many, and so on. You have those
kinds of thoughts. To some degree they are beliefs for

And you tend to bring these two
kinds of thinking into the same moment, the same places if
they exist in the same plane of experience, as if you have
actually realized that there is One living you now or that
there is only one ultimate Transcendental Condition. Or that
there is only God as if you had actually Realized

You have realized bodily existence,
thinking processes emotional experience, pain and suffering,
bewilderment, disease, and all the rest of it, you’ve
realized that, but how much of this other bunch of thought
have you realized. Realized?

How much of this One that lives and
breathes you have you experienced? How much experience have
you had of that compared to your experience of breathing,
walking, of thinking of suffering? You have a lot of that
kind of experience, but you really have no experience of
this other that is not other, practically none whatsoever.
And yet you talk about the two of them, this thing in place,
as if you had, as if you were totally familiar with this
great matter, you see. Whereas it’s just another, it’s just
a thought process, it’s just some stuff in your mind that
you would like to be true, you see. But it’s not
experientially very true yet. So, in effect, it’s not

It’s fine to speak amusedly or
ironically about this One that’s supposed to be breathing
you and then how come I’m suffering and so forth, you see,
but that’s just mind games again. It’s just the
self-contraction, it’s this thing you called doubt a little
while ago. You’re manipulating yourself while
self-contracted. That which you would like to have be true,
this ultimate one Reality, and so forth, is not something
you are at the moment experiencing because of this thing
that you call doubt, which I call just self-contraction,
independence. separateness, you see.

You can bring the One that
transcends you into the moment through conversation by
thinking a thought about it, but how do you bring the One
that transcends you into this moment without thinking about
it. How do you bring it into this moment really, where
there’s no more irony, no more doubt, no more nonexperiental
blah-blah-blah about it, you see, but real, direct
realization? How do you realize the One that transcends you
just as profoundly as you now realize or experience being
bodily present here?

In other words, when both of these
dimensions of existence that you talk about are equally
realized by you. then perhaps we can have a conversation
about it. But as long as this great Reality is not within
your experience, then why even bother to doubt it or talk
ironically about it? When it’s in the same room with you,
then it can be discussed. Until then it’s like talking about
something that you only wish you had enough money to own,
but will never have enough money to own, and you’re talking
about it as if you had it In the closet, when it was right
there and you’ve been living with it all your life, you

It’s not one of those Rembrandts in
a museum down here, one of those Van Gogh’s that I saw the
other day. If you really wanted one of those, then probably
it would cost you a million or two, big dollars, or big
whatever kind of bucks there are in this country (mild
laughter), you’d know you were never going to have enough
money to buy that, you see, but you’re obsessed with the
idea of being able to live with that.

What if you went on talking all the
time as if it were just in the other room, it was right
there, and you could experience any day, do whatever you
want with it, you see. Well, it would be obvious nonsense,
and because it’s a concrete something, then it’s easy to
tell whether you have it or don’t have it. If you talk to
your friends as if you have it, this great Rembrandt,
perhaps the so-called Nightwatch or something, and then you
see clearly you don’t have the Nightwatch in your room
there, they would think that you were rather disturbed,
right? (Mild laughter.) They wouldn’t think that their doubt
that you own the Nightwatch was really a problem for them,
or a product of some sickness or disturbance in them. They
would know for certain that there was something wrong with
you. In other words, the problem is not in the Nightwatch or
in that painting that you don’t own, the problem is in you,
in your own delusion, your own suffering about it, and your
own wanting it, and your endless obsessive thinking about
it, talking about it almost as if it is actually there in
your possession.

Well, people do the same thing with
the Divine. It’s a lot of whet people call religion even,
this endless talking about something they haven’t realized
and only wished they own. And if only they can get some
system of belief or some magic name or word or whatever, and
then they will have power over God, pin that one down and
use it to eliminate all their problems, you see. But, in
fact, all these religious people are bereft of God. And it’s
the not having of God, or the realization of God that’s
making them religious. And that’s not religion. Religion,
true religion is God-Realization, not the absence of God.
The absence of God is non-religion, it’s not having

Religion comes from the word religio
(Latin: ligare) and means to bind again, to connect again.
It’s like the word yoga. It’s about union with the Divine.
To not have a religion means to not have a way, a means, or
have access to the Divine. Merely thinking about God without
realizing God then is to be without religion. It is to be
separated from God. To think about God without realizing God
is the same as doubt then. It’s separation from God. You can
think about God all your life all you like and think about
all the propositions or affirmations made by Me or anyone
else about the realization of God. You can think about all
those propositions all you like, it doesn’t make it true for

So then if that’s so, if it’s not
true in your experience, then it’s nonsensical to you to be
talking all the time as if this One that lives and breathes
and transcends you as if it is factually true. The reason
you doubt it is because it’s not experientially true for
you. Why isn’t it experientially true for you, because you
are self-contracted, you’re dissociated from the total
reality and are just experiencing your own knot, your own
separate characteristics, and reflecting on reality,
contemplating reality through that self of stress, of
separation and bondage.

I was a chaplain one time in a
mental hospital. And people in mental hospitals are
notorious for talking about God. They’re all prophets and
saints and ministers and great Realizers according to them,
you see. In all that talk about God what they’re reflecting
is their separation from God, their non-experience of God.
And they go through all kinds of dramatizations that make
them unbearable in public so they’re out in mental hospitals
and called crazy.


“The spiritual process is
simply the transcendence of the self-contraction.
It’s not a matter of making any effort to believe in the
Divine or that which is Great and proclaimed by Realizers.
It’s a matter of self-understanding to the point where this
contraction releases.”


But there are all kinds of people
who just think about God, think endlessly, obsessively about
God, talk endlessly and obsessively about God, or even
become very religious, involved in some system of thinking
about God, but they have no experience of God whatsoever.
But we don’t call these people crazy because at the same
time they are obsessively thinking and talking about God,
they are performing what are called morally acts, socially
acceptable acts. Their religion is basically making them
socially acceptable. And that makes them acceptable as
religious people. It’s not that they have realized God, but
they are socially acceptable.

If you talk and think about God
obsessively like ordinary religious people, but don’t
function in a socially acceptable way, then you’re called
crazy. In terms of religion, there’s not the slightest
difference between psychotics and well-meaning religious
people downtown because both of them are bereft of the
experience of the Divine. It’s just that one is socially
acceptable and the other is not. So all this talk about the
Divine is just utter nonsense and an expression of

Whatever thinking you do about the
Divine must be fruitful, must take the form of true hearing,
real self-understanding so that you’re no longer in bondage
to this primitive effort of the body-mind which is to
contract and then release and contract and then release it.
And more and more in this process becoming chronically
contracted and dissociated. You must observe and understand
this, so that you can break the cycle and realize that
perception, that intuition, direct perception and intuition
that is only possible when the self-contraction is

When there is no self-contraction,
everything that I communicate to you in My ecstatic
Realization will be totally obvious. The only reason it is
not obvious in your own case is because of this contraction
that is the self, the contraction of the body-mind. It’s a
shell, an enclosure, an illusion. The spiritual process is
simply the transcendence of that. It’s not a matter of
making any effort to believe in the Divine or that which is
Great and proclaimed by Realizers. It’s a matter of
self-understanding to the point where this contraction

That which all Realizers have
proclaimed then will be equally obvious to you. And it is
not obvious otherwise. As long as there is the
self-contraction. it doesn’t make any difference how many
Realizers you line up and have prattle at you, what they say
will not make its mark in you because it is the
self-contraction that makes all of that not obvious to you,
not the absence of somebody to tell you their experience of
it. The self-contraction must be released.

My service to you is not merely to
communicate to you My Realization, but to show you the Way
to realize it, to serve your process of sadhana to help you
in that inevitable ordeal that releases the self-contract
ion whereby that which is Transcendent and Divine is allowed
to be seen as the obvious. So I’m not here merely to give
you something to believe in.

That doesn’t work. I’m here to serve
this insight into your own process of bewilderment and
self-bondage so that you may link up with the spiritual
process which is the relinquishment of self-contraction and
to nurture that in you. And all of that is basically My
Teaching Work. And I’ve fundamentally done ail of that, you
see, established all kinds of help, means, agency for
devotees now and in the future to use to help them link up
with this spiritual process.

The other aspect of My Work is,
simply to be Present, to make that Transmission to you that
only comes from the Transcendental Position itself. And it
doesn’t require Me then to speak, to Teach, to identify with
the human state, to identify with you, to consider these
matters with you, you see. That’s the other side of My Work,
you see. One side of My Work is to become exactly as you are
and consider this Great Way with you and that’s my Teaching
Work. The other is to stand as I am prior even to this
body-mind and this world, available to you as you do this
sadhana simply to be in your company while you do this
sadhana to establish this Radiance in your company, to draw
you into it. You see, to give you that which the ordeal of
self-transcendence grants by Grace.

So it is my Plan recently just to do
that kind of thing, you see, just to be available for those
who are doing this sadhana who, through the various agencies
I’ve established, are involved in practice. This was my
intention. And to not Teach any longer in the fashion I’ve
had to do in the past. But this is a very difficult
proposition because people are not doing their sadhana very
well yet and they keep wanting he to Teach. Where to get
involved with them, people think if they make enough
mistakes, or fail enough that maybe that’s going to
instigate a whole new Teaching epoch. (Laughter.) They’re
going to get Me involved again, maybe I’ll stay here in the
Netherlands and get down toe to toe with you about this
thing, just like I did with all the dumb Americans for all
those years. (Laughter. ) And I’ve got to resist this
intention in you all and basically be available to you as
your practice justifies.

That’s why there is so much drama in
this young yajna because there’s still so much immaturity
and lack of preparation that it tends to draw Me into the
teacher’s participation with you ail. And I fundamentally
will not do that any longer. So I have to struggle with you
all every day and keep a kind of distance that you’ll take
care of this business that aren’t taking care of and then
associate with you when you’re taking care enough of that to
justify My coming into your company, you see. It’s s kind of
a theatrical struggle between us all right now.

This isn’t much of a yajna, at least
as it was originally planned or proposed. I’m just getting
in a little bit of it here and there and doing a lot of
waiting. It probably won’t be too much longer and I’ll go
back to Hermitage and then try again next year. Hopefully
then I’ll come through here again and I’ll see better signs,
than I did this year. My basic impulse is just to sit with
you when I come through here. Like today I’m sitting here
and answering your questions. I didn’t do that in
California. I haven’t done it anywhere for years I

I just decided today. Because if I
don’t do some talking at this point the only people who are
going to be doing any talking are all these other people
around here and I just want to make sure there are no
heresies creeping in. (Laughter.)

It should be like I could open my
own mouth every now and then just to balance them out, keep
the record straight, and stay with you all in a way that is
appropriate, you see. If you just have the waiting and all I
do is wait, then too much detachment or separation between
us will seem to be the case. This, is why I took off the
orange because you weren’t ready for Me there. It seemed as
if we were too dissociated from one another and if you all
came running to Me in My Swami mode and practiced that
proposed Feeling-Inquiry as I proposed it a couple of months
ago, then there wouldn’t have been any apparent dissociation
between us, but you didn’t come.

Even those who suggested to Me when
I was in California that they were ready for such practice,
such renunciation, but one by one they returned to the
progressive practice. After awhile I began to observe there
was hardly anybody around who had anything to do with this
kind of renunciation. And I was therefore becoming too
distant from everyone.

Now I’m not going to get a lot
closer than taking off orange and putting on blue, however.
I’m not going to resume My Teaching Work. But it has always
been, there’s always been my quality to be closely related
to my devotees. And if you become a renunciate in that
sense, then I’ll become a renunciate in your sense perhaps,
more in your likeness, just so that I can maintain a
relationship with you.