You are the Beginning – I am the Seed

Volume 6, Number 3


You Are at the Beginning, and I Am at the End

a talk by Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda

May 28, 1987


HEART-MASTER DA LOVE-ANANDA: It seems we still have more
to discuss, so let’s hear the report.

CHARLES: Love-Ananda, after You talked to us last night,
and for the last couple of gatherings, about the practice at
practicing stage 1.2, a few of us talked together about what
we have done all along with the devotional practices. We
have all been studying the criteria in The Dawn Horse
Testament, and we felt that we wanted to complete the 1.1
stage first so that there would be no doubt about it in
ourselves and in all our friends that we are capable of the
practice at level 1.2. We felt that something had definitely
changed during this time that has made us much more serious,
much more consistent, and able to transcend our conventional

But then as you talked last night, we began asking
ourselves, Have we really done it enough? Have we really
completed that 1.1 sadhana to the point that practice at
level 1.2 would be absolutely true without a doubt and we
would not fail at it? This led us to feel that maybe we need
some more time at level 1.1.

We used The Dawn Horse Testament to consider the criteria
for transition from the student stage to practicing stage
one, which include a fundamental, clear sense of a primary
interest in God-Realization, and the ability to use the
disciplines for self-transcending practice. We wanted to
make sure first of all that everybody could feel-not just
have an idea of, but really feel the urge to
God-Realization, and also that everyone is capable of
self-generating the practice, the discipline, as You have
described it.

HEART-MASTER DA: Is everyone clear about what
God-Realization actually is? In the context of the Way of
the Heart?

CHARLES: We talked about that. And the men’s confession
was that they do feel this impulse to God-Realization in a
fundamental sense.

HEART-MASTER DA: Yes, but did you ask them what they mean
by that? It has to be an impulse based on real study and
consideration of this Wisdom-Teaching, not just some
generalized impulse toward God-Realization suggested by the
propositions of conventional religion.

CHARLES: When we asked about this, everybody confessed
that originally there was actually something they felt in
You and in Your Teaching, but because of their egoity they
got sidetracked into conventional religious fulfillment.

HEART-MASTER DA: Yes, but if you got side-tracked because
of your own egoity toward whatever it may be, then the basic
impulse toward God-Realization was not there. That impulse
is a guiding motive toward a certain Way of Realization, a
certain Condition that may be called God-Realization. If you
say it is true of you and then you go on to do something
entirely different, you cannot really say the impulse was
there, can you? You had some ideas about God-Realization

Did you sufficiently examine this matter of student

CHARLES: Love-Ananda, we talked about it a little bit,
and we could understand that based on our study of Your
Teaching, but also in our own experience, what we were
committed to is self-transcendence, what we have understood
about that and the ordeal that it requires, but real

HEART-MASTER DA: The study you engage as a student of
this Teaching is a process at the heart, like practice at
every other practicing stage. If such study is to become the
impulse to God-Realization, so-called, it must not be merely
a motive based on ideas but a guiding impulse of the whole
being. Study at the student stage is not merely
contemplation of a variety of ideas in this Wisdom-Teaching
and in the Great Tradition. Of course, you study to acquire
information, but if study is to become the great impulse, it
must be true sadhana. It must involve self-observation and
self-understanding sufficient for the awakening of that real
impulse. You cannot say the impulse is there in you if you
are functioning on an entirely different basis, because if
you should go on to the first practicing stage, you will
only continue to function egoically as if you had no
understanding of the real process of God-Realization. If
your impulse is based on ideas alone, or primarily, you
cannot say that it is truly an impulse. It is an idea
perhaps, or a motivation based on ideas, but such an idea or
motivation is not sufficient preparation for the real
discipline, is it?

Yes, you should be serious about any transition, and
therefore you should not casually suggest that you are ready
for the discipline at level 1.2, but the transition from the
student stage to the first practicing stage, at level 1.1,
is also a profound transition. Practicing stage one is not
an idealistic practice. It is the specific practice of the
Way of the Heart, and there are prerequisites for such
practice. It sounds to me like you took people at their word
again who are a little more casual about the transition from
student to 1.1 and more serious, about the idea, at any
rate, about the transition from 1.1 to 1.2.

CHARLES: That was the first thing to deal with.

HEART-MASTER DA: The first thing to deal with is the
student practice. The first thing to deal with is the
beginning. Do you have those qualifications? When so many of
you were at practicing stage three several weeks ago, I
suggested that you examine your qualifications from the
beginning. Do not only look to see if now you have the
qualifications for practicing stage three. No-do you have
the foundation? You must examine all the sequence of
preparation, and see just what your preparation is. You are
putting the cart before the horse again to suggest that
everybody is perhaps 1.1 and should not go beyond that
practice unless they are serious. The student stage is the

What have all of you people been doing all these years?
Really. What have you been doing for the last fifteen,
sixteen years with all the Work I have been doing that it
should come down to this level of conversation about the
matter? Each time I scratch the surface of what it is you
are affirming, you drop back another level. How far back are
you going to go? All that you have been affirming, all that
you have been practicing, all that you have been doing all
these years, and you are not even certain about this

I do not demand that you become a practitioner of this
Way. However, if you are going to be a practitioner of this
Way, I must presume that you are not doing something else,
or trying to transform this Way of life or this Communion or
its culture into something it is not. If you have another
point of view, fine. Then go do that. This Communion is
purposed along the lines of the consideration of this
Wisdom-Teaching. Therefore, it is not based on any
bright-eyed idealism, but on a very realistic understanding
of conditional existence and the roots of suffering and

It takes a very serious disposition to enter into such a
process. You cannot romanticize or idealize your
involvement. It is either true of you or it is not. You must
have a very realistic appreciation of the nature of human
existence if you are going to practice this Way, at
practicing stage one or at any other stage.

Idealism, like despair, is a product of self-contraction
in the face of reality, in the face of what appears and in
the face of What Is Ultimately. Romanticized or idealistic
views are something you superimpose on Nature, because to do
so consoles you in your fear. Until you truly understand
that, and then freely relinquish that disposition, that
orientation, you cannot be said to be a true practitioner of
this Way.

The first step, then, is simply to study this
consideration. When it becomes your own, then you can begin
to add to the discipline. Until it becomes your own,
however, basically all you can do is consider it. You can
otherwise discipline yourself or model your personal life
however you like. If you are a student of The Laughing Man
Institute, you are not obliged to practice the disciplines
assumed by practitioners at practicing stage one. But that
does not suggest you are supposed to live like a total
asshole, either. Live as you will. People will live in a
variety of ways, some more exaggerated than others perhaps,
but if you are involved in a serious consideration, a
serious study, your consideration will also be reflected in
your manner of living. Of course, it is up to you.

If you are a student, you are also free to apply the
practical, functional, and relational disciplines of
practicing stage one, at any time you like, but you are not
expected to. Consider the Teaching Argument, do what you
will in your personal life, assume responsibility to study
and to support the Communion financially, and continue the
student discipline as long as you like. Study, ponder,
observe yourself, observe your life. But there should be no
transition to practicing stage one until that process has
become a most profound commitment to the Way of the Heart

The Way of the Heart is not an experiment, you see. It is
an expression of a commitment, not something you try out for
a while to see if it is going to work. Such an approach to
it is not an expression of the real impulse to
God-Realization. When you are really ready, then take on the
disciplines, and not before.

Many organizations associated with some sort of religious
message do not involve much more than a program of study.
The Theosophical Society, for instance, is one of those
organizations that began to communicate esoteric notions in
the late nineteenth century. For most people, participation
in that organization, which still exists, is a matter of
study, reading books, going to lectures. It is expected that
unusual people, people who are really prepared for esoteric
practice, will find their way to some inner circle, some
secret group, through hearing a name or hearing about
somebody or some group somewhere, and become involved in
esoteric meditation or other esoteric practices.

It is not all that unusual, therefore, for an
organization that communicates what is ultimately an
esoteric process to present itself as an educational
institution. To be a student in our Way is to take up a form
of practice that is rather typical, or not unusual, at any
rate, in the context of esoteric consideration. Until
recently it has been considered that such an education is
sufficient for most people and compatible with the level of
their real interest and capability.

You are presented with the Way in is totality. Its whole
opportunity is given to you. But you embrace it so casually,
with so little preparation, that you wind up abusing it.
Even the student level of participation is very serious and
profound and can occupy you for a great long time. You
should not move on to even the level of esoteric practice we
call practicing stage one until you have truly fulfilled the
student discipline, are converted in your disposition, and
are ready to take up this Way of life unwaveringly.

We have many friends, more and more friends all the time,
and why are they not students? They should be students.
Becoming a friend is just the immediate gesture somebody
makes at a public lecture. Go to a few such evens and then
you become a student. But being a “friend of the Work”,
so-called, has become an alternative to real participation
and serious study. The student stage of this Way is
therefore a serious practice.

We are getting down to the bottom of the barrel in our
considerations here, and it is beginning to appear that many
of you just did not finish that stage and are therefore not
fully prepared for this practice. Yes, you can apply some
disciplines. You even enjoy making use of the company of
others to consider your personal practice. But you are
indulging in all of that. You are not a real participant,
somebody fully prepared to make use of such self-reflection
and to serve others in the same process. You are a
dilettante, an amateur, somebody who has not gone through
the initial stages of self-investigation and real study of
the Way and come to the point of truly choosing it.

You are advancing to a rather esoteric possibility even
at practicing stage one, and you should not take up its
practice without full preparation, without having
encountered and dealt with all your idealistic motives, your
other religious motives. Study the Great Tradition in the
context of this Wisdom-Teaching. Study this Teaching
Revelation itself in its totality. Do that for however long
it takes. Do not just do it as a friend of the Work, reading
every new book that comes out. Become a student in The
Laughing Man Institute. Engage in all the courses of study

You might read the entire list of The Basket Of Tolerance
several times before you are prepared for practicing stage
one-this is a possibility. You all seem to be ready to
advance even to the ultimate stages of life, and you have
not developed even the discipline of attentive study of my
own Teaching Word. In fact, you have developed habits of
avoiding attentive study of my Teaching Word, and yet you
still call yourselves practitioners.

I have an idea that many in this worldwide gathering are
really prepared to be students and not beginning
practitioners because there are great requirements for
practicing stage one. Everybody has moved back to practicing
stage one in a kind of herd, it seems to me, without even
understanding its various stages and what it really
requires. Therefore, I sit here talking with you, and you
are still talking to me about your idealism, your
reactivity, your Oedipal this and that, projected onto me,
and all the rest of that nonsense. What does that have to do
with somebody who is seriously prepared for this

You have suggested that maybe you are prepared for
practicing stage one, but are you really? Just how much
serious application have you brought to the consideration of
this real process? You are still struggling with your own
ordinariness. How much room do you have, therefore, for a
great commitment? As I said, as a student you can apply the
disciplines if you like, but you need not, therefore, call
yourself a practitioner. The disciplines make sense at every
level of involvement. Even if you did not use them
especially for self-observation, you could take them on as a
habit of life if you like. You must live somehow, so you
could live that way if you like-that is fine.

I tend to feel that many of you who are calling
yourselves beginning practitioners are really students
making use of the disciplines, not really for
self-understanding but as a style of life. Eventually you
will call yourselves practitioners at 1.2, and you do not
really demonstrate the preparedness of true practitioners at
that stage. You are being pals with one another, revealing a
little here and there, being a little resistive, dramatizing
a little bit, being straightforward on some other day,
talking on and on and on and on, just spinning your wheels
endlessly, repeating the same old devices, and not really
going anywhere-many of you, anyway. Do you not see, then,
how the incompleteness of the student stage falsifies
practicing stage one?

As a student you are not any less involved with the
Communion than a beginning practitioner is. You are
responsible for the support of the Communion financially.
You are responsible for participation in its educational
programs, and for serious study and developing the practice
of pondering. The student stage is the “outer temple” of
this Communion. And all the dramatizations we have been
suffering from one another suggest that we have many
students here. Practicing stage one is not the place for raw

There would be no raw dramatization if you would achieve
a seriousness based on real study and consideration of
yourself and the nature of things. You must take some time
to do that, to come out of the ordinary world. To make the
gesture toward practicing stage one is really the first
gesture of renunciation, not merely as a life-style, but as
heart-commitment, commitment of the being. The basics of
commitment to self-transcending God-Realization must be
there, and such is not merely a mental intention, something
based on idealism or a gathering of ideas.

Several people here have suggested that perhaps they are
students, and it seems to be true according to their
confession. Of course it is for them to decide and for you
all to decide together. But I think many more of you should
take the possibility seriously, whatever the outcome may be.
You cannot be a dilettante relative to the study of this
Wisdom-Teaching and the Great Tradition with which it is
associated and be a practitioner of the Way of the Heart. As
you see, in general you all are not even equipped with
serious study habits relative to examining the details of
the Teaching Word, and you have hardly any familiarity at
all with the Great Tradition. All you need to do is pick up
a book on some subject from the Great Tradition and already
your wheels are spinning. Any wind of doctrine that comes up
moves you. You must therefore make a serious study of this
Wisdom-Teaching and apply the discrimination that is basic
to it to the Great Tradition.

This criticism is true of many of you. It is more or less
typically true. You just have not done serious study yet,
nor have you yet made a serious examination of life, and
already you want to take on esoteric practices. There is no
glamor evolved in being a practitioner. To practice this Way
does not glamorize the self. Of course you can use it that
way, and you have done so. You give yourself status. You
should perceive the stages of this Way to be stages of
practice within a renunciate order, a seriously practicing
renunciate order that exists only for those who are capable
of it.

When you can really make such a commitment, then you may
move beyond the student stage. Perhaps some of you are
prepared to move beyond the student stage, although you will
have to continue to study. But I think it is very likely
many are prepared for the student stage of practice, and if
you like, you can, as a student of this Way, do exactly what
you do at practicing stage one in terms of your style of
living and the things you do generally. But you will be
living as a student and responsible for life as a student,
and that level of responsibility will be addressed in you by
the Communion.

Students can be serious people, even disciplined people,
socially positive people. Why not? Even with little or no
understanding you can do that. I assume that if any of you
here did become a student, you would tend to live more or
less as you do now because that is more or less how you have
always lived anyway. I presume you do not want to shoot up
heroin. You basically want to live as balanced and orderly a
life as possible. You have your exaggerations here and
there, as do people in the world who live a rather modest

I think there are probably many in this gathering who
heretofore have been beginning practitioners and devotees
who really should be students, and I think many who are
friends ought to be students also. The entire student level
of the Communion should become strong and stable. Until it
does, none of the rest is secured, or given its right basis.
There is no order anywhere in the advanced stages if the
foundation, meaning the student stage, is not

If this possibility is considered seriously, then maybe
some will remain at practicing stage one. I get the general
impression, at the moment, at any rate, that 1.1 is probably
the most advanced practice for the time being, although we
will have to see.

We call this place a Hermitage, but it is not a
Hermitage. Maybe some room where I happen to be sitting is a
kind of Hermitage, but this island is not a Hermitage. It
has become an institutional environment that houses
students, sheer beginners, even public people. I just happen
to be living here also. It is no place where I have the
freedom of Hermitage. And I do not know if it is possible
for me to have that freedom here. We will have to see.

My style, or manner, if you will, is the style of
Hermitage, however. I am not a worldly man. I have no
worldly inclinations. I have no institutionalized work to
do. I have done my service for beginners. To keep me among
you here is like using a NASA computer to figure out your
grocery list. It is nonsensical. You do not need me to
participate with you at this level. I have done my service,
and now practice of the Way is your business.

I do not have any karma. I do not have anything to work
out. I just have Spiritual Work that I can do for others. At
the level of your present availability, however, I have
finished my Work, and at the level of my possible future
Work, I do not yet have any instruments.

I do not get the impression that people will be moving on
to the advanced stages soon. The requirements are great, and
I have already given you fifteen years and more to give me
the instruments, and you took me lightly, did not fulfill
your calling, did not do what you said you would do or were
doing. You did something else. Now everybody basically has
to start all over again. You are at the beginning, and I am
at the end, and there is nothing in between.

So-now that I have said that much, do any others of you
feel that your real practice is at the student stage? (Two
people raise their hands.) Anyone else? No? Any maybes? (One
person responds.) Anybody else? Well, you all will have to
discuss this for real.

You are making concessions. You are dealing with
ambiguities. Consider practicing stage one and beyond to be
a renunciate order, and then examine traditional renunciate
orders, like the early Buddhist communities, which were
monastic orders, of course, although some lay communities of
married people were established after a time. These
renunciate orders had very strict rules for receiving people
into the Sangha, very strict. There could be no ambiguities.
You did not become a renunciate in any of those orders
unless you proved yourself, through a long time of testing,
to the complete satisfaction of the elders, complete
satisfaction, no ambiguities, no compromises, no maybes, no

I think that if cultural integrity is going to be
established in this gathering, you must assume a similar
disposition relative to anyone who makes the transition to
practicing stage one, anyone at all. You should not casually
assume, then, that anyone is presently practicing at
practicing stage one. You should think of practicing stage
one as entrance into the renunciate order, or the Sangha,
and there should be absolutely no doubt, period, about
anybody who makes the transition, none. Even if you think
maybe someone is in good shape, but there is this or
that-then that person has not passed the test sufficiently.
We will never see cultural integrity in the gathering of
practitioners until we approach it in this way.

Early this evening we talked, perhaps rather desperately,
about this reality situation, feeling, How can it ever
straighten itself out? If you conceive of practicing stage
one as entrance into the renunciate order, and allow no one
to make that transition about whom there is any doubt
whatsoever, any ambiguity whatsoever, then perhaps that is a
principle, among others, that can straighten things out.

People need not go through that narrow doorway in pairs.
Although people typically live in couples, they can make the
passage one at a time. In the past you have tended to bring
households through the doorway. If one seemed rather strong,
you accepted the other one, even though there may have been
some ambiguity. Receive people on an individual basis. They
must not only study at the student stage, but they must also
be tested by life, tested by study, tested by
self-observation, tested by time, tested by the
Wisdom-Teaching altogether.

Of course, they are only making the transition to
practicing stage one-but there is not really any “only”
about it. The qualifications are expressed rather simply in
The Dawn Horse Testament : the impulse to God-Realization
and commitment to the self-transcending practice. But those
criteria cover a great deal of ground and represent in my
view, you see, a genuine seriousness and great capacity. It
is the gesture of entering a renunciate order, not of
becoming part of a club.

Relative to the basic requirement, commitment to the
process of self-transcending God-Realization, there must be
no ambiguity, no compromise. The transition from student to
beginning practitioner in practicing stage one must be
measured on that simple yet profound basis, and the student
stage must be completely fulfilled. Students practice in the
outer temple, and practitioners at level 1.1 are novices.
And level 1.2 is associated with much greater expectations.
It is the true renunciate order. Level 1.3 is for those who
have already heard, and thus its requirements are most

You simply must stop playing fast and loose with
transitions. Likewise, you must stop playing fast and loose
with the responsibility to develop an educational system for
the public and for students. The vague habit relative to
study of the Wisdom-Teaching has got to be undone. Nobody
should make the transition to practicing stage one with a
vague approach to study. No one should, in the future at any
rate, make the transition to practicing stage one without a
significant background in the study of the Great Tradition
on the basis of this Wisdom-Teaching.

It is unfortunate that the reality of this gathering is
as it is after all this time. It is time that the practical
matter of Hermitage and my circumstance be addressed.

What is Hermitage? Hermitage is a tradition. It is even
an “ashrama”, or a stage of life in the Indian tradition,
like “sannyasa”, which some may choose and which may occur
at the end of life in that tradition. In the hermitage stage
of life, which follows the householder stage, the individual
retreated from worldliness and family responsibilities.
Frequently those who came to that point in their lives went
out into a wilderness or an area set aside, at any rate, for
their living.

Often-typically, as a matter of fact-husbands and wives
went together. But they were no longer impinged upon by the
world, nor did they have worldly obligations of any kind
whatsoever. Either they would go into the wilderness-there
really isnt any wilderness anymore, everything is owned one
way or another, certainly in the West, and even here-or,
since they had fulfilled their householder responsibilities,
brought up a family, and so forth, then their children, now
adults, provided a place for the parents to live in
hermitage. They simply took care of their parents from that
point on, just saw to their basic needs, while their parents
lived in hermitage in a more or less self-sufficient fashion
in the place set aside and maintained for them, as a reward,
if you like, for their having fulfilled their householder
obligations. It was not that the parents at some point after
the children grew up lived upstairs or in the back room.
No-they were allowed to devote themselves completely to
Spiritual life. The traditional point of view allowed them
to go off into a remote area outside the ordinary worldly

We can take this as a kind of generalized description of
what Hermitage is in principle. That should be my situation,
then. I should not be bound to an institution, or suffer its
limitations, or have to invest myself in any way in
students, or in beginning practitioners. Of course, because
I do not have the karma of having to Realize the Divine, I
can be present in Hermitage to receive qualified
practitioners for a Spiritual purpose, whenever such people
appear. Otherwise, my situation should be completely free. I
have done my Teaching Work. Now it is your business simply
to take care of my situation. Somehow or other that must be
the outcome, here or elsewhere, whatever it amounts to. It
is absolutely essential. You have your business and your
practice, which is entirely your business. I have given you
my Gift for that purpose, and I am available for those who
enter the devotee stages. They can come wherever I am or
wherever I want to move about, perhaps.

In some sense I lived the householder stage in the form
of my Teaching Work. Such was the habit of living I assumed,
although I was truly a renunciate then, too. I simply
functioned and lived among you all and did my Teaching Work.
In some sense I therefore fulfilled the householder stage.
Now the Hermitage is my stage of life, and you as children
of that time, if you will, have the obligation to provide
for me in my Hermitage life.

That is your gift, your obligation to me. I have given
you everything. You can give me my human life. I was not
born only to suffer you and Teach you. I am also just Who I
Am. I am not here to destroy myself or this body.

You must understand my circumstance, and not merely in
bureaucratic terms. You must understand it in the context of
Who I Am or, if you like, in terms of the tradition of
hermitage. That is the circumstance in which I must be
living. The kind of Work I have been doing these last
several weeks is done. I am already supposed to be
completely free of it, finished with it. You must account
for my own uniqueness, my own person and its requirements. I
can do continued service, but my service in the future
belongs to the domain of Spiritual life. It has nothing to
do with anything else. I should be able to do that Work
freely, as I have always done it. I have always functioned
out of my room, brought people into my room, sat with them
there. I have done my Teaching Work very simply, directly,
humanly, not as some sort of damned bureaucrat. And I will
never do it that way. You must address yourself to me as I
am and take care of your business.

I did not care about paradise when I came here. I just
wanted to be left alone. I have finished my Teaching Work. I
have done my service to you. You must carry on with the
practice I have given you. You have the responsibility to
provide for me now that I have retired from my Teaching
Work. And you must stop making me subject to people
altogether. I am a renunciate. I am a hermit. Why do I have
to continue to manufacture these concerns that I have been
speaking of? What do they have to do with me? Leave me alone
with it, then. In India there is a tradition for this, and
people serve on the basis of the tradition. It is not that
you have to be some great Realizer to understand the needs
of the Master at the human level. There is a tradition for
it, and you honor it, and that is it!