You Must Come to the Point of Literally Observing the Self-Contraction – a talk by Da Free John

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You Must Come to the Point of

Observing the

a talk by Da Free John

November 18, 1982



DEVOTEE: Master, when you speak to us from the simplicity
of your Realization, I feel an affinity with what you are
saying, but it is obvious that that is not my own
Realization. So I keep finding myself involved in different
aspects of the practice in an effort to overcome my doubt,
and I feel like that is exactly what keeps me from really

MASTER DA: Well, that is fine. All of these reactions are
the complications of Narcissus. And if you experience enough
of this nonsense, you may become sympathetic with listening
to me.

Only when you begin to despair of your search and feel
locked into your subjective captivity, only when you cannot
work your way out of the fundamental sense of dis-ease, can
you begin to become capable of seeing yourself most directly
and simply, of recognizing your total character, your total
life cycle. Then you cease to be involved with all of that
in your energy and attention. The drama of your life becomes
superficial, secondary, and you become more and more
profoundly occupied with simply observing yourself. But
first there must be the general observation of yourself in
the context of daily living to the point of recognizing
yourself. This is the first stage of consideration – to see
that you are Narcissus. The
Knee of Listening
is devoted to the development of that
Argument and the demonstration of its development in my own

Thus, this simple capacity for self-observation is what,
must develop first. And it is fundamentally a very simple
matter – What are you doing? What are you always doing in
the event of your struggle, however profound or superficial
it may be? What kind of a character are you? What are you
really about? What are you up to all of the time? This is my
basic question to you, and this is what you must consider
until you come to the point of seeing and accepting the fact
that you are just the self-contraction, always only avoiding

You must come to the point of literally observing the
self-contraction, not merely believing it. But you will not
even bother to consider it until the whole activity of
self-contraction has produced enough force of result, enough
quality of bondage, that you begin to feel too sick of it to
merely live out your ordinary life. You develop a need to
understand something about yourself. When you come to that
point, then I can begin to become useful to you at the level
of the Argument of the Teaching.

I have proposed this Argument again and again and again
in all kinds of ways, but it is always a consideration of
what you are doing. If you are unsympathetic enough with
your neurosis and the ordinary results of your existence,
then you have a little energy and attention left over, free
of that result, to just be able to observe yourself. Most
people do not even have enough reserve energy and attention
to observe themselves. They are too busy being themselves.
They cannot, nor are they even inclined to make use of me or
my Argument.

But when the neurosis or the disease begins to become
evident and you want a cure, or whatever your motivation may
superficially seem to be, then you can begin to make use of
the Wisdom of my Teaching. To use this Wisdom is not a
matter of entering into some sort of complicated analytical
process, full of propositions from the Teaching. Most
basically, it is a matter of becoming sensitive to yourself
in the context of ordinary existence, using the disciplines
to help you to be sensitive to your own activity, studying
the Teaching, and so on. Then, at any moment, the simple or
complicated forms of my Argument will become useful to you.
This practice is always a matter of one basic consideration
– the freeing of energy and attention to recognize and
understand the fundamental activity that is the self, the
living personality.

When you really see that you are literally active as
Narcissus, the self-contraction, then even more energy and
attention are available than were available at the beginning
when you first became a listener. Then the search relaxes –
it does not dominate you anymore, it is only secondarily
present – and you become more profoundly capable of feeling,
observing, recognizing, understanding, and transcending the
activity of Narcissus. You begin to discover it more
fundamentally – not merely in the form of the man or woman
you are in daily life, not merely as the outer theatre of
Narcissus, but you begin to investigate the character of
Narcissus, the mechanism that is Narcissus, and not merely
the play we animate on the basis of it.

When you become thus capable, then you begin to enter
into the layers of the symptomatic person, the persona, the
doubt, the fundamental stress, the sense of dissociation
that is otherwise expressed as your life drama, until you
simply and most directly locate and recognize the self-sense
as consciousness itself, but individuated as mere attention.
Then, through the ultimate forms of this exercise, in level
6 of the esoteric order, or the second stage of the Perfect
Practice, That in which attention or the self-contraction is
arising is directly intuited to the point of your Awakening
as That, prior to the self-contraction. When that Awakening
occurs, then the “eyes open” in the Realization of Sahaj
Samadhi, and Nature or conditional existence becomes
recognizable. Until then, any description of the origins of
Nature or the world or existence are merely propositions to
be believed or doubted.

Therefore, what must first occur is a dissatisfaction
with the illness, whatever complex sensation of dis-ease may
characterize you as an individual. People must come to the
point of feeling dissatisfied with existence as it is
turning out to be. Then they will resort to their sources,
teachers, traditions, continuing the search, but looking for
some cure, release, or answer. They do not really know what
they are looking for, otherwise they would just say it
straight out, you see, and write their own prescription. But
this dissatisfaction is not merely a something to be
overcome which has not yet been identified. It is

At that point, people may come into my Company and
consider my Teaching, just as they may come into any kind of
traditional association for the same purpose. But when they
come into my Company and enter into this consideration, they
study the Teaching Arguments and find something about them
that makes some sort of psychological sense and that becomes
useful to them as a way of entering into a process in which
they are not so sick anymore. Then they take on the various
disciplines that beginners take on. This serves their
general capacity for self-observation. They begin to see
themselves not merely in analytical, psychological, or
interior terms, but in living terms altogether. This process
of intense self-observation occurs in the course of practice
in The Free Communion Church.

Those who are maturing in The Free Communion Church come
to the point where they really practice conductivity and the
conscious process in direct terms and become qualified for
entrance into The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship. Such people have
come to the point at which, on the basis of having entered
into the general process of self-observation and
self-knowledge, the search is relaxing, and they have more
energy and attention for the examination of the root of the
whole activity of self-contraction. Then they are just
nakedly present, whereas before they were animated in all
kinds of ways – with knowing and experiencing and daily
activity and associations of all kinds.

Thus, for those maturing in The Free Communion Church and
entering The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship, the process is much
more simplified. It is fundamentally about whole-bodily
surrender into the Living Current and using attention to
find its Source. Whole-bodily surrender into the Living
Current releases energy and attention from the activities of
the psycho-physical ego. It grants equanimity and frees the
fundamental energy and basic attention for the submission of
attention to, and ultimate location and discovery of, the
Source in which the self-contraction and all of its results
are arising. This process is ultimately epitomized and
resolved in the final stage of the esoteric order, in which
the root of attention is Realized. Beyond that Realization,
there is Sahaj Samadhi or Open-Eyed Awakening, in which
conditional existence in apparently subjective and
apparently objective forms becomes altogether and inherently

Thus, the first aspect of the process of developing the
Way as a real practice is to listen to the Argument of the
Teaching to the point of hearing. In other words, enter into
the consideration. Do not merely hear the language of the
Argument, but put yourself into conjunction with it so that
you begin to observe yourself. And in observing yourself,
you will see the whole cycle of the self-contraction and its

The disciplines of the yoga of consideration1
are part of our natural practice because they help you to
enter into that consideration. If the consideration were
just a matter of listening to my words and thinking about
them, you would not need the disciplines. But the
consideration is a matter of bringing yourself into
conjunction with the Argument entirely, granting energy and
attention to this listening to the Teaching and, therefore,
to the process of self-observation. The disciplines help you
to do this. Disciplines interrupt the flow of ordinary
self-fulfillment, providing a framework of responsibility
and potential equanimity in which to see in yourself
consequences, limitations, strategies, discomforts, and
motivations. Thus, these disciplines are all part of the
process of listening and hearing.

When this hearing becomes true, then the self-contraction
is interrupted at an early stage in its life drama. The
motivation to seek relaxes. It is seen to be fruitless
because it produces the Narcissistic adventure. It does not
mean that you are not seeking any longer, but rather that
seeking is recognized to be fruitless. Thus, a significant
degree of energy and attention is released from the search
and permitted to enter into the conscious process of
self-understanding at a more profound level. All of the
energy and attention that goes into seeking and what follows
is reduced. Some of it remains there to be purified, but to
a significant degree it becomes available for the process of
self-understanding and self transcendence.

At that point the conscious process may truly begin. We
could say that at this point one would enter The Crazy
Wisdom Fellowship. This is the beginning of a relatively
mature capacity to really enter into the true preparation
for the ultimate form of the Way. At that stage the
conscious process becomes more profoundly devoted to the
direct, moment-to moment affair of observing and
transcending the self-contraction itself, not merely in the
form of all of your life-habits, patterns, strategies, your
search and its results. The observation of the
self-contraction in these life terms has more to do with
beginner’s practice, struggling with yourself in the context
of ordinary living, practicing to come to the point of
accepting that you are Narcissus, recognizing yourself as
that character.

When the conscious process begins in its true form, it is
fundamentally the investigation of that aspect of the
self-contraction that precedes seeking and the ordinary
strategies and involvement’s of life. It is a matter of
observing the self-contraction more directly, prior to
seeking. Thus, the conscious process in daily life and
meditation becomes one of investigating the self-contraction
in its more primary symptoms: first, as a form of primary or
characteristic doubt or doubt-feeling; then in the form of a
more subtle characteristic, a simple stress prior to any
kind of thinking or ordinary involvement’s of life. And
finally, when the self-contraction is found simply to be
one’s self, prior to the observations of these life-level
symptoms, and is felt most directly, primally, fundamentally
as the separate consciousness – separate, separated,
separative, moving as itself in the form of attention
through these symptoms of stress and doubt into the search,
becoming association with mind, body, relations,
bewilderment, anger, sorrow, fear, and confinement to the
self-contraction as a basic state or neurosis – when this
most fundamental or original form of the self-contraction is
observed, understood, and transcended, revealed, inherently
obvious. This occurs in the fulfillment of the practice of
level 6 in the esoteric order. It is necessarily or
inevitably followed by what I call “open eyes” or Sahaj
Samadhi, in which not only the self-contraction but
everything that proceeds from or is associated with it-the
body-mind-self, all of its relations that may otherwise
appear to be objective to and outside the self, and all
conditions – becomes recognizable in that Source-Condition
wherein the self-contraction is arising.

Then, in Sahaj Samadhi, in the condition of Open-Eyed
Self Realization, the practice is to be Conscious as the
Feeling of Being, the Transcendental Condition, Realizing
moment to moment that It is Self Radiant Happiness,
All-Bliss, Self-Sufficient, Unconditional, Unconditioned,
Free. The practice in the seventh stage of life is to be
That and to recognize whatever arises in That as apparently
subjective or apparently objective conditions, until the
Radiance or Inherent Love-Bliss of Transcendental Being
Outshines all conditional arising, all subjective arising.
Thus, that process which begins with listening and true
hearing ultimately becomes the one Perfect Recognition of
conditional existence.

But what I propose to you most fundamentally is that you
are Narcissus, the self-contraction, active as the avoidance
of relationship. That is basically what I have to say to
you. Everything else I say to you is built upon and
elaborated from that Argument. It depends for its full
revelation on further maturity in practice and therefore is
not really useful to you until you have heard my basic

This is what I have to say to beginners and public
people. Consider this matter of the self-contraction. Bring
yourself into conjunction with it. Do not merely think about
it. Serve that conjunction, that listening, through the
various disciplines. Become a member of The Free Communion
Church. When you have done that sufficiently, you will
eventually come to a point where you will really recognize
yourself as Narcissus. Then the search, the whole adventure
of life and the avoidance; of relationship will begin to
seem less fruitful and will become less dominant in your
life. Then you will be able to practice the disciplines that
I recommend more directly. You will be able to practice the
conscious process more directly, seeing the self-contraction
in its essential symptoms. You will be able to practice the
discipline of conductivity more essentially, not only in
terms of the life disciplines, but in terms of fundamental
submission to the Spirit-Baptism, the Spiritual Transmission
of the Spiritual Master.

Thus, when there is true hearing on the basis of this
original simple exercise, you will practice the conscious
process in one or the other of the forms I recommend to you.
When there is true seeing, acceptance of my Transmission,
then you will practice conductivity directly in the full,
technical terms that I describe to you. When these two
fundamental aspects of the Way are truly alive in you, you
will enter The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship and go through the
natural sequence of maturity until it is fulfilled in the
form of the Open-Eyed Awakening, or Sahaj Samadhi. Then it
will also become clear, ultimately it will be self-evident,
that all that is arising is nothing but an unnecessary,
non-binding, conditional, subjectively originated
modification of Self-Radiant Transcendental Being, the
Divine Condition.


1. Rather than practicing the stages of
life for their own sake, as in the traditional paths, the
practitioner of the Way that Master Da Teaches observes the
stages of life on the basis of the Master’s critical
Argument and to the point of understanding. This “yoga of
consideration” is a preparation for the Way Taught by Master
Da, which is the Way of the seventh stage of life, or the
tacit recognition of what arises as nonbinding modification
of the Transcendental Reality.