Beyond the Koan – Adi Da Samraj

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Blank holding line


A talk to his community of devotees

by Adi Da Samraj
May 2, 1987

(edited by Beezone)

Insight, Self Observation and Self Understanding
Beginning of Listening and Hearing

First Things First – Follow your

To say “You must follow
your own inclinations” is just a truism because that is what
everybody does anyway. And so it is with those who first
begin to consider this teaching or this way of life. At
first they’re basically doing whatever they like. And
there’s no point in my telling them to not do so or to try
and give them one thing to do or tell them to get

Instead of moving by inclination as they ordinarily do,
they should consider the teaching and reflect on it and
observe themselves in that context. A person will follow his
or her own inclinations, and ‘this person’ is the ego, the
self-delusion that is motivating all of these motions or

It’s the ego then that must be found out. If you
basically do what you like and if it turns out that
spiritual possibility is one of the things that you like
doing then that becomes part of your inclination. But if you
study the teaching and reflect on it while following your
inclination the teaching will lead you, step by step, to
observe and understand yourself. Once you begin to observe
and understand yourself, then you will choose to do
something that has a different kind of significance. You
will start being motivated by a disposition that works on
transcending egoity and then one who enjoys that new
disposition, one who knows something about egoity and is not
really blindly motivated by it.

Over the years of my teaching work I was constantly
confronted by people who basically wanted to do whatever
they wanted to do and they of course were free to do that.
In the beginning I didn’t have to give them the freedom, in
the early years of our community I constantly brought up the
consideration of this teaching to them or consideration of
the ego and reflected it back to themselves. Over time,
individuals would begin to observe and understand something
about this self-generated search, this ego game and
eventually began to freely assume a variety of disciplines.
But all along they were still doing what they wanted to do
but based on some beginnings of understanding, just the

The Way as a whole then in some sense is following the
inclinations and the ego. Ego is the obstacle and the
binding force in it but if you carry on your ordinary life
in the context of the teaching, you will naturally go
through a variety of changes and your understanding of your
motives and actions will begin to change. Following your own
inclinations and study will naturally develop the spiritual
process by stages.

But there isn’t a right affirmation or admonition one can
give to beginners that says, something in the form of
indulge yourself. “I see that you’re a rather self-indulgent
person so the right thing to do is to go ahead and indulge
yourself”, no. That’s not what anyone is saying truly.
There’s a teaching in the context of spiritual life. People
will indulge themselves and that is a fact.


Then Comes Reflections

Someone who has developed some genuine self-understanding
will no longer be doing whatever he or she wants to do in a
really casual sense, casually self-indulgent sense. There
will still be some self-indulgence no doubt but another
disposition will be growing in the context of all that. Such
an individual will begin to make use of certain kinds of
disciplines but they will be strong in the use of
disciplines to reflect himself or herself back to himself or
herself. There of course will be weaker times when the
inclination to follow the ego’s will be indulged, that is
quite natural and should be understood as that.

In the earlier days of our community there were periods
of time when people would maintain the disciplines rather
strict and rigid form. And then there would be periods when
accessories were used on an open free basis. That pattern
reflected the earliest kind of listening or self
observation. There was some beginnings of understanding and
how to make right use of discipline, but on the other hand
there was still the ego and its ordinary tendencies.

There’s a time in the earliest consideration of the
spiritual possibility when people do indulge themselves and
then later they begin to make use of a little discipline
alternating with their self-indulgence and eventually they
begin to be quite a bit less self-indulgent and more simply
disciplined. The truth of the matter then is when people
become really involved in the spiritual process having
understood something about themselves basically that they do
live a disciplined life and in doing so they are not doing
somebody else’s thing.

They’re not doing something other than what they want to
do you see. They have simply grown in the spiritual context
of the spiritual process. Having done so they quite
naturally develop disciplines in their lives. A variety of
different disciplines then develop stage by stage as that
individual moves by this growing inclination which is
self-transcending in nature rather than self-fulfilling or
self-indulgent really.


Listening – Do Your Own Thing, but Understand What
Your Up To

The truth is that everybody follows his or her own path,
direction or whatever in the context of spiritual life even
though they may have a master, spiritual guide, tradition,
teaching or disciplines that they make use of. Do you
understand what I’m saying? I’m not saying indulge the ego’s
tendencies. I’m saying observe your self and understand the
nature of the ego.

So the sheerest beginning listening level of course
wouldn’t be even useful to say take on a whole bunch of
disciplines and beliefs. You’re going to do whatever you’re
gong to do anyway. So listen. Consider the matter first you

But to someone who is a true beginner in the sense of
having understood to some significant degree, disciplines
are inevitably associated with the enlightening way and more
and more so as the maturity develops. On the one hand there
is a motivation in all individuals who do not have much
self-understanding to be rather self-indulgent, to relieve
stress and have a good time and stimulate themselves
pleasurably and so on. That’s a motivation people are
typically involved in a worldly context or in the context of
the first three stages of life.

There’s also another dimension, there is an inclination
manifested by individuals and humans collectively in the
world that sometimes it seems strangely interested in
preventing people from indulging themselves or pleasuring
themselves in a variety of ways. Most people have
encountered both of these motives not only in themselves but
in others, the motive toward self-indulgence and the motive
to prevent yourself or others from indulging themselves.


The Two Sides – Beginning of the Bind

It’s hard to say which is the strongest motive, but you
can’t say that any individual is simply interested in
self-indulgence. In any kind of an admonition to do whatever
you like you’d see the opposite tendency just as much.
Because it is ego-based, it self-defeating as well as
self-motivated. For every gesture toward self-indulgence,
there is an equal and opposite gesture toward the prevention
of that. Whatever you do to prevent it, to prevent yourself
from indulging, others seem to be very interested in
preventing you from indulging yourself.

When you’re a little too uptight you’ll want get all the
rowdy input. Others want you to get hip, come to life and
indulge yourself. Both of these motives are always in
operation. Sometimes you suffer from the one side. Sometimes
you suffer from the other side.

So which side is it on? Is it on the side of
self-indulgence or is it on the side of suppression of
self-indulgence? It’s both. And whichever side is the
ascendant or dominant at the moment depends on how strong
the opposite inclination is. If there is too much
self-indulgence then you get the suppressive side, too much
apparent pleasure and so on. And too much apparent
suppression and then you get the opposite.

The world in general today seems to be very much
interested in indulging itself somehow. There’s a lot of
that kind of liberal development of human possibilities
going on. On the other hand, at the same time there is even
in the recent last decade, increase of a kind of puritanical
edge to the world politically and socially who want to stop
that from happening.

So there’s a kind of equalizing tendency of a kind to
prevent it from becoming too much of one or the other and
that’s true but on the other hand it’s also a conflict
that’s being expressed. There’s no singleness. There are
these two motives in opposition to one another, one rising,
the other falling and they keep exchanging positions and try
to balance one another up and it never becomes one


The Nature of Ego – Double Mindedness

The ego never becomes one thing. Egoity is a dynamic.
Egoity is conflict. It is self-moving and it is

This is what must be observed at the beginning level of
practice. Everything you can observe about yourself in one
moment you will observe in another moment quite the opposite

So it’s not that through the process of self-observation
you discover one thing about yourself. You don’t merely
discover through a real process of self-observation that
what you really want is God realization. That’s not the
discovery at all. You may become want to become free to
realize the Divine. But that is not it. You don’t have just
one desire, you have a many desires and they’re all in
pairs, all in conflict with one another and you’re not one
thing at all. You’re everything and all opposites.

The real process of self-observation shows that you are
very complex phenomena. You see the inherent conflict, the
non-singleness, the multiplicity, the chaos that you are and
see what that is. See what is chaos itself. What is this
always paired infinitely multiplied gesture. What does that
amount to?


Hearing – Self Understanding with

Hearing is an awakening that comes in the summary of
self-observation, not in some moment of seeing some thing
about yourself. When you’ve seen the totality of it and see
what the totality is, what it is, not what one portion of it
is, when you see that it is self-contraction, when it is
thoroughly understood in all of its opposites as being just
the self-contraction and that is your own action, something
that you are adding to reality in every moment, then bondage
to that script is released and you awaken to that in which
all of this has been arising and which it is happening, that
to which all that is being added. That is Hearing. Hearing
is a summary observation not the witnessing of some

So that which is realized and not insight. True awakening
is the divine possibility you realize. The possibility of
spiritual life not by finding out one thing about yourself
or magnifying one principle desire in yourself but by
transcending all these desires, the whole complex of your
dynamic egoity. You haven’t heard until it is the chief such
summary form.


Idealist, Philosopher, Relgionist and Wise One

If you want to be religious, you connect with some sort
of motive in yourself that you call religious. Short of
self-understanding, the only thing you can do about that is
become idealistic. You start magnifying one aspect of your
desiring and trying to make that the dominant force in your

So if you can somehow slip through the loopholes, you
become a devotee as an idealist then you see. You will be
affirming all kinds of positive motives that you would call
religious or spiritual, all kinds of virtuous inclinations
relative to the disciplines of life and so on. But you won’t
be practicing them as a true devotee if you have not heard,
if you have not understood this dynamic self, this
self-contraction. It is itself one thing but it is
manifested as not only multiplicity but pairs,

As an idealist you may say you are committed to this
particular intimate relationship you are involved in. You
hold very firm to that and all discussions about the matter
constantly present yourself as somebody who is happy in this
relationship loving and satisfied in it. There’s no motive
elsewhere and so forth. But if you’re an idealist, that
won’t be true. You will be either secretly or periodically,
overtly even, manifesting opposite sides. So you as an
idealist may be committed to an intimate relationship but
your idealism is weak because it is founded on egoity
therefore you will inevitably show signs of promiscuity,
unlove, dissatisfaction, reactivity and so on in such a
relationship. You will continue to phase with your devotion
and your failure of devotion.

You may at times be idealistically or even righteously
disciplined relative to diet and and other disciplines but
other times you just have to have add a little sugar, a
little coffee or a few cigarettes and beer, some pork chops,
whatever. You will be constantly moving between lunch
righteousness and self-indulgence. And if you manage to be
idealistic long enough to confine yourself to the
idealistically defined performance, you will still be
suffering the opposite in yourself in terms of an internal
conflict you see. The more idealistic you are, the more
internalized your conflict is. The weaker you are as an
idealist, the more overt your failures will be.

So it’s that kind of pattern that has an inward design
that must be transcended through hearing. With the capacity
of Hearing the divine disposition has awakened and it
involves a profound transformation of life. It then begins
to show signs, quite naturally, that others may interpret to
be rather idealistic. In other words, you may be able to
live a life that others would say is very positive,
something desirable from a rather idealistic point of view
although you will not be practicing it from that point of

Now those of you who are here in Hermitage practicing at
level one are a relatively well-balanced group of people.
Your lives are in some basic sense in order. You don’t seem
to have very exaggerated motivations to break out of the
pattern of discipline you are living.

But we’ve also observed and you’ve observed about
yourselves, is that you are living in a rather idealistic
fashion. You’re not showing these signs of balance because
of profound self-understanding. It’s rather more like your
style. It’s just your way the same as people in the world do

On the other hand, you have all of these signs of
conflict in yourselves and each one of you in fact has
expressed that at one time or another at these gatherings
even though in general your behavior is generally what you
would call balanced behavior and not very exaggerated. On
the other hand, when queried about it, you have expressed a
conflict, motivations toward something that is quite the
opposite of what you are generally tending to do, and that
is the the characteristic of the idealistic ego.

You are tending to suffer this ego dynamic rather
inwardly. You are suffering from a variety of inclinations,
many of which are different than what you tend to do in your
daily behavior but you are not, you don’t feel it is a good
idea perhaps to dramatize some of those inclinations. Some
said you just feel them. You confess them every now and

Nothing really changes about it however. You’re still
there. So even though you are perhaps outwardly not tending
to be very dramatic, very two-sided in terms of your actual
behaviors, you are nonetheless rather two-sided in yourself
and that is what you must observe. You are not only applying
disciplines in your lives and considering the teaching. You
are observing yourself. You don’t have to be very
exaggerated to observe this two-sidedness in yourself and
this rather complex infinitely multiplied desiring kind of
inclination. That is what you must observe then.

This process of observation is not an idealistic activity
however. As I’ve said before, it’s not that you’re observing
yourself to finally find out somewhere deep down there is a
single absolute clarifying motivation that we call
spiritual. It’s not there. There isn’t any such motivation.
There may be a motivation there to be spiritual but it is
coupled with an opposite motivation. The real spiritual
energy you must see is beyond that conflict, the real
spiritual gesture, the true spiritual energy is prior to
egoity, prior to the opposites, prior to conflict. The real
spiritual act is prior to, is an energy that is prior to the
motivation to do the opposite. So only then can you practice
the spiritual way as devotees and realize that prior energy.
You will no longer in conflict. It stands prior to the ego.
Resorting to that then is to transcend oneself. Whereas if
you simply desire the spiritual act, you’re not transcending
yourself in that desire. In fact you’re countering another
desire in yourself. You may even be trying somehow to
suppress that alternative desire and make it disappear or
purify yourself of it by emphasizing a virtuous motive.

You may think that you have some real spiritual
inclinations in your life you see. If you observe yourself,
you’ll find out that’s really what that’s all about. You’ll
see that its opposite is also there and that your motives to
be spiritual are motives in conflict with other motives that
you are not so comfortable with.

I think many people have in the past somehow gotten into
the devotee stages because they were of this more balanced
type outwardly and were otherwise also idealistic in their
orientation to spiritual life. And this was a kind of egoic
arrangement that the community was not sensitive enough


Understanding the Complexity of Egoity

This community if it’s going to develop its true cultural
integrity has got to be sensitive to these different styles
of egoity.

This community has to sensitize itself to all the kinds
of types or styles through which egoity gets expressed and
understand thoroughly what the listening and hearing process
is really all about and establish cultural integrity on that


Talking School

Over time people develop a facility, a verbal facility
whether they are the exaggerated type or the balanced type.
It’s one of the things to which the community has not been
very sensitive to, ‘talking’ the teaching. It’s not an
expression of true self-understanding. You feel if you can
read the teaching that you feel it is expressing the truth
and you duplicate it by reflection it your own mind. You
think it’s your understanding and your intelligence but it’s

This understanding is the mind, it’s just something you
are reflecting. The mind is a reflector you see. It just
follows it and talks it back. It hasn’t changed anything.
It’s not really you yet you see. That’s not what I mean by
listening to the teaching, just absorbing its language and
concepts and images and so forth. That’s not what studying
the teaching is really all about.

To study the teaching and listen is to allow it to
develop, to serve the process of self-observation in you for
real. You can seem to be observing yourself to some degree
or watching yourself reflecting yourself to yourself and
getting descriptions of yourself. “I see this and that and
the other thing about myself. I’m so grateful for the
difficulty I have had this month because I saw a lot of

That’s self-description and people over time accumulate a
lot of that. They not only accumulate the lingo of the
teaching and are sort of proud of it. They accumulate
sequences of self-description which sometimes are coded in
the language of insight. Because really they’re just images,
just pictures of how you tend to operate.


Insight is NOT Hearing

To know how you tend to operate in a variety of ways is
not to understand yourself. It’s not to hear at any rate in
the fullest sense you see. It may be insight, sight into
yourself, a kind of self-awareness. That’s fine. There’s
nothing wrong with developing that. But it is not hearing
and it’s not self-understanding in the fully consequential
sense. It’s just the kind of thing that naturally comes with
listening. Hearing is something else altogether. Hearing
undercuts all the dualities, undercuts the whole guy. You
are no longer an idealist if you’ve truly heard.

You’re a realist in some, we can use that term in some
special sense in that your practice is based on reality,
real self-observation, real self-understanding and then real
spiritual communion and so on, not merely something you
project from your own self-based, self-contracted mind
feeling experience and so on.

To be a realist is apply yourself to something that
inherently transcends you. You are in conflict as long as
you are identifying one-half of a pair of opposites. A
problem is two sides in opposition to one another and it is
a problem for you as long as long as you are identifying
with one-half. It may be a different half in alternative
moments but you’re in conflict because you are always trying
to exclusively propel yourself with one-half of some motive
or other, or you make the other, you struggle with the
other-half or let the other side become latent somehow it
comes out and you’re being that half.

You must realize a condition in which you are aware of
yourself totally and you can’t identify with either half
therefore because both sides of every possible problem or
conflict are within your view and you are aware of them
being part of this self, both sides you see. You can’t be
either one. So then you see it as a whole. And seeing it as
a whole not gesturing in either direction you see. That’s a
kind of still point in which you can understand it as a
whole, not just see it as the whole, or observe it as a
whole but understand it as a whole, what it is, that it is
self-contraction, that It is self-generated, that it is an
arbitrary identification.

True hearing doesn’t really awaken until there is total
self-awareness and the freedom from having to identify with
one or the other half of your script in any given moment. If
you’re both someone who is super committed to fidelity and
super committed to promiscuity simultaneously you can’t do
either one. You can only be aware of the total and
understand it as bondage. You’re not even fully aware of it
as bondage until you get to the point where you can’t do
either one. Then you’ve really become sensitive to your
bondage and double bind.

As long as you keep playing one or the other side in your
alternative moments, you will struggle, suffer and
continually seek and you will not fully be aware of it as
bondage. It’s bondage when you can’t move anymore, when
you’re aware of the total, when you’re aware of yourself
totally wholly and can’t choose to be one or the other. You
can’t be idealistic about it anymore. You can’t be
superficial you will be unable to fully dramatize. You can
only suffer it and then you become aware of it as it is and
how it is something you are adding to what is, the gesture
of self-contraction.


Disciplines Show You Yourself

In the beginning people freely animate their patterns and
much of that is often self-indulgent. They want to do a
little of this and a little of that and maybe read the
teaching. At some point having studied the teaching and
having reflected on enough of themselves they realize the
usefulness of disciplines. How they reflect their tendencies
back to themselves.

To some degree they frustrate your tendencies. They back
your tendencies up on themselves. In every moment, day to
day, your tendencies arise because you are living the
disciplines, you become aware of your efforts, your motives
and you begin to see yourself in more complexity.

You see it even more and more the more you make the
disciplines a kind of total discipline covering all areas of
your life. You give yourself some room even in the beginning
and the discipline is there. The disciplines cover all areas
but they are not what you call absolute. You are not
required to be monks and so forth you see. So you do have
the general domain of human action in which you apply the
disciplines. It only takes a little, just little bit of
discipline is sufficient to frustrate your tendencies so
they are reflected back on yourself.

Even before you do them you are made constantly aware of
the energies of your own efforts and you see them in your
complexity. You see not only the motive to be self-indulgent
rather than disciplined, you see the motive to be
disciplined. You see it as a way to satisfy yourself. You
see both sides.


The True Beginning

You must be aware of all of your complexity and in all
areas you must see yourself in pairs of two minds of someone
living in a dilemma or problem. You see when you are fully
self-aware and when you are no longer really able to be one
or the other side of any position. If you are truly serious
you become profoundly aware of the act that is the root of
both halves of every conflict.

That act is the self-contraction. It’s not merely this or
that kind of activity in a functional sense. It is an act
that produces all those kinds of activities. You must become
extremely sensitive to yourself to notice that act you see.
Otherwise you see and understand these moments as hearing.
But you are only observing yourself egoically in action and
are not fully observing the act itself, the fundamental act
of self-contraction that is producing these actions.

You see yourself as ego in the form of those actions but
you do not see the action that is egoity itself. Because you
always have an act to do. You always have a functional
performance that you are identifying with. Instead of simply
observing yourself, you are being animated. So the more
profound this mere observation becomes, the more total that
awareness becomes and you begin to notice the opposites in
every moment.

The more that is true, the closer you are coming to a
summary insight, a direct awareness of the fundamental
action that is the root of all opposites, all complexity.
This is a most subtle observation. It is not a thing. It is
not itself a function that can be identified with a part of
the body or a part of human function. It is the root of all
of them, the governor of all of them. It’s the principle of
bondage to all of them and it is what is keeping you from
becoming aware of that in which the contraction itself is
being generated.

The ego is itself the ultimate koan. It’s a not an
unexpected knot that is generating a kind of vision of
existence that is untrue. It is the result of an action you
are not observing. To cut through that koan is to not only
see the action that is the root of everything you are doing
but to transcended it through seeing or understanding. You
realize that in which it is arising. So you can say hearing
is a kind of satori.

All release from egoity is a kind of satori, even moments
of so-called hearing and moments of insight. These are kinds
of satori or release from the bind, a kind of total
psyco-physical release or orgasm even perhaps, a free
circulation of its energies. A sense of well-being suddenly
comes over you. It’s an orgasmic event and simultaneous with
it is a kind of intuitive sense of a greater condition.

That moment of insight and what most fundamental
awakening is not the end of the process. It’s only the
beginning of it. So much of what is called satori in the Zen
tradition, it’s really the beginnings of a process that
could go on but instead they just repeat the ceremony over
and over again to have more and more satories. Satories only
are the beginning.



You’ve got to discover the ego. You must understand the
egoity or the self-contraction itself. You’ve got to stop
merely dramatizing it or living the dramatization of egoity
and not noticing what it is altogether. The first thing
you’ve got to go through is the process of understanding in
which you simply stand as the ‘I’ as the body without
contracting into some abstract sense of being interior,
being the mind against the body.

You’ve got to relax from this identification with the
conceptual mind or the interior perceptual mind and be the
total which is the whole body or the total psycho-physical
person. The conditional self is the I. The ‘I’ is not merely
some interior mental preoccupation. It is that but it is
more than that. It is the total body mind physically
present, physically felt, not contracting. You must see this
and understanding it as it is.

Before you can discover what the ego is as
self-contraction, you must simply stand as it is rather than
dramatize it. You’ve got to come to an ease as the body mind
and not merely dramatize egoity by becoming interior or a
becoming more physically active. That’s the first step. It’s
like in the Ramana Maharshi’s form of inquiry. First you ask
what is arising and to whom is this arising and then you ask
who am I.

It’s like a two step process. You have to discover what
it is altogether and let it be. Be it. Let the ‘I’ be it,
but this ‘I’ you see which is the body mind and not merely
the mind. It is contraction. It is something being
superimposed in the present instant on existence. So this
process of listening whereby you allow the ego to be
identified with the body mind is not merely some interior
drama. It’s just the first step in a process in which you
find out the ‘I’ .

You find out the ego. The whole process of becoming ‘I’
in the body is to discover the ego and understand it and
transcend it. Then that becomes the next homaly, it’s not an
end in itself. The body without contracting interior to the
body is a relatively radiant position, it’s not resisting
being the body. It’s not altogether in resisting what the
body is which is dependent on relations, food and others.
It’s become by its natural acknowledgment of itself
continuous with all its likenesse’s, all things on which it
depends. It becomes continuous but nonetheless it’s still
the ego. It’s still contraction. This is what you must
discover. You must first come to the point of understanding
the ego because it is just a step in a process of

It’s not an end in itself, otherwise the beginning
process would be the seventh stage of life and that’s it.
It’s just a moment in a process of self-understanding. Even
in the seventh stage of life however to be free of the
self-contraction altogether, it’s not to be identified with
the body. It’s to stand as the self-radiant divine but not
disassociated from the body, not identified with the
principle of trying to contract or disassociate from or with
the body or as the body or by the body. It’s just continuous
with the body but it is not identification with the body but
it is identification with that in which the body is in
apparent identification. Until you understand yourself fully
and the contents of all the stages of life, to be the body
is not to realize the seventh stage disposition. It’s to be
the body, it is to be identified as the body mind. That’s
quite a different thing than the seventh stage realization.
The seventh stage of life is to be continuous with the body
mind and identified with the transcendental divine, the
self-radiant divine.

In the beginning there’s another kind of process going
on. It’s about finding yourself out. You have to get enough
understanding of yourself to identify yourself as you are
and let it be. It’s not a matter of focusing on some
interior or identifying with the conceptual process merely.
The conceptual process is an aspect of this total body mind.
You must be the ego first totally and as a whole. Simply
allow it to be observed as it is as a whole in all its
complexity, its multiplicity and multifariousness and all of
its divisions or oppositions, in its total dilemma. It must
simply be observable as it is you see, that’s the first

What I’m addressing in this matter of the confession ‘I’
am the body is a natural event associated with
self-observation. It’s not the end of the process, ‘I’ as
the body, but ‘I’ is the not the divine, ‘I’ as the
self-contraction. That’s the next thing to be found out once
the ‘I’ as body has become acceptable and can be observed
simply as it is in all its complexity. It must be observed
and understood as self-contraction, so that’s the next step.
It’s the next homaly, the next portion of the chapter which
is about self-understanding.

That process has a variety of events in it. Every stage
of the Way has a progress of events or stages of
demonstration. In the listening stage there is a progress or
there are stages of the demonstration of it. ‘I’ as the body
is not hearing. It is simply an early event in the process
of self-understanding or self-observation.

To acknowledge the ‘I’ as it is which is the total body
mind and not an interior dramatization merely, puts you in a
position to go further in this process of



QUESTIONER: ‘I’ as the body as ego and ‘I’ as the
Transcendental Divine Condition seem to be a

ADI DA: Perhaps in your case the major reason
why these two considerations seemed to contradict one
another, you have not yet realized the first. Because you
tend to abstract yourself and think, think, think, think,
think, wonder, wonder, question, question, doubt, doubt, and
not stand as the body. You do don’t you?

You can’t get onto the second until you’ve accomplished
the first and until you’ve accomplished the first, the
second seems like a contraction or a question, something you
don’t understand yet anyway. Well how could you understand
it fully until you’ve fulfilled the first aspect of the
process. So if you truly enter into a process of
self-observation then you will observe the total complex of
what you are being as a conditional personality.

It’s not really a mentalizing or a moding. It’s physical.
It’s sensory. It’s perceptual as well as conceptual. So it’s
all these things. It’s all totally the body mind and you
must not only notice that but having noticed it, allow it.
Standing in a position of observing it allows you to allow
it. Then you have a different framework in which to continue
the process of self-observation but you will notice that
even in that sense ‘I’ in the body and ‘I’ is love in some
sense, in other words, continuous with all its relations,
even so it is the self-contraction but that cannot be
affirmed until it is truly observed and you can’t observe it
until you have first come to terms with what the ‘I’ is as a

So the listening process is a process and it has stages
and you can’t really understand the later stages until you
have fulfilled the earlier stages. So that Chapter 19 is a
condensation, an elaboration of all of the sequences of the
listening process.

(From the Audience) You’ve admonished first transcend the
mind not the body in a listening process that you describe
in Chapter 19 that that process is made very clear in terms
of how the body mind is always being an other involved in a
separate illusory abstract process that actually even
prevents itself from being sensitive to the self-contraction
as the body.

ADI DA SAMRAJ: You’re not only being
self-contraction as the body but you’re being
self-contraction in the context of the body or the body mind
so you’re creating a division in it. You’re always
two-sided. You create divisions in everything. You have both
propositions in you so in the context of the body mind you
are tending to be the mind or maybe sometimes trying to be
the body without the mind.

It is a whole, a totality you see. Self-observation must
come to the point where it allows that totality or that
dynamic and it’s not only the conceptual mind. It’s the
perceptual mind. You’re not merely interior activity. The
self-contraction stands as the total body mind, not merely
within it. The total body mind is the soul if we can even
use the word soul you see, not something inside and
abstract. What you are being from moment to moment is a
dynamic full of opposites.

You tend to make wrong judgments about it. You tend to
not even being able to identify it as it is as a functional
operation you see because you are playing the game of
self-contraction so the first event in the process of
self-observation, the observation of self-contraction is to
come to terms with its total manifestation which is not
merely the inside separating from the outside or the outside
separating from the inside but this whole outside inside
psycho-physical ‘I’.

That’s the ‘I’, not merely an ‘I’ you can say in your
mind and you can say it inside you see. ‘I’ is the body, not
merely the mind. It is a feeling, existence but nonetheless
it is conditional. It is feeling but separate and even in
all its relatedness however continuous it may be in the
context of relations, loving even, it is still being
separate. It is observable as a self-contraction.

True hearing is a matter of understanding the totality
that is the ‘I’ and not merely some portion. So ‘I’ is the
body and not merely the mind or an inward tension. The
self-contraction is not really something happening inside
the body. The self-contraction is the body. The
self-contraction is relatedness. The self-contraction covers
all of its separate parts or its dynamics or its
oppositions, mind body you see, not just mind or body.

Self-contraction covers all of the opposites, includes
them all. So this is the first test you must come to in the
process of listening. Then you become more sensitized with
the wide variety of operations of yourself in relationship
from moment to moment. The body is a contraction from the
point of view of consciousness. It is a difference. It’s
made of the same energy of which all other forms are made.
It is a universal force but it’s displayed through
differences, separate apparent individuals, separate

It’s displayed as relationship, the feeling of
relatedness. The feeling of relatedness is being displayed
as all relations as all opposites all others all conditions
things. It’s displayed as the cosmic mandala, not merely as
your separate individual personality. The entire cosmic
display is self-contraction, an illusion, an appearance
added to or being apparently superimposed on that which
already is and what always already is, this is where you

It’s not a matter of the attainment of some object other
thing state. It’s the removal of contradictions. They appear
as contradictory because you are self-contradictory. For you
the various parts of the whole are contradicting one another
or are in opposition to one another.

They are a struggle you see. The self-contraction is the
display through all kinds of varieties. You identify with
one portion of a dynamic and each moment you are always
playing that game you see and you can’t see the whole so the
real beginnings of the process of understanding are you
coming to terms with self-observation, coming to terms with
the ‘I’ as a totality rather than automatically identifying
with some portion of the dynamic of the body mind so you
must first relax as the body, identify ‘I’ as the body or
the total body mind, not some portion and therefore from
that point the whole is before you still displayed, still
playing its games, still displaying itself through dynamic,
through contradictions but as you, when you develop the true
awakening of hearing you see, it’s not contradiction

There aren’t contradictions. Contradiction is just
another word for problems or oppositions, opposites and it’s
a problem for you, contradictory for you because you tend to
identify with one path in every moment.

Over time you identify with every side but at any given
moment you tend to only identify with one over against the
other. You are always feeling dilemma, a sense of
contradiction. That moves you to seek something outside or
inside. But the truth is not outside or inside. It’s not
some thing, a proposition or object. It’s that which is
realized inherently and when all contradictions are

That’s the state of mind, contradiction, of the ego. This
is what must be understood. You begin to understand it when
you allow the ego as a whole as a totality and stop
identifying merely with one portion over and against the
other. You’ve got to see that game. You’ve got to find
yourself out you see. The whole process is a matter of
finding yourself out.

Koans, the traditional Koans all appear to be
contradictory. They create a doubt or a stress. It’s this
and the other and you try to make to sense out of it. You
try to make it one but it’s always two. The person under the
Zen discipline goes to the Zen Master having been given a
Koan and answers the question from the point of view of one
side adopting the position of one side or the other in every
interview you see.

When is the question finally answered? When is it given
another Koan? No. When it stops being contradictory. When
stop being possessed by it when you stop struggling with it.
When you can assume not only the position of the whole,
that’s one step but the position of that which is prior even
to the whole but before you assume the position of the whole
you are all the time assuming the position of one side or
the other. That’s the struggle of the Koan.

Those who do the Koan do first identify one possibility
over against the other. They keep bringing up a bunch of
dumb remarks and get slapped on the head. Then they come to
another point where they are something like rested in a
total view. They are not struggling with it. It’s a totality
but they make a subtly dumb remark and that’s when they get
their worst beating because the next time they come in they
must stand prior even to the whole.

That’s the first step in the Koan business. Then you must
find out that even the whole, even the ‘I’ as the body is
self-contraction. That’s the great discovery. That’s the end
of the Koan. That’s the end of the ego but you can’t figure
it out. The contradiction is not in the teaching or in me.
They’re in you. They’re in your matter of acting. There in
the self-contraction. It is full of contradictions. It is
self-contradictory. That’s what egoity is. It’s
self-defeating. It’s always assuming one side or the other
or maybe it’s some point resting in the whole but not
identifying and not understanding it as an obstacle, not in
other words, realizing that which is prior to it.

That which is prior to even the whole is what is realized
in hearing. It is intuitively realized and it’s similar to
stopping and pinching yourself you see. All of a sudden you
have the key and that key is the root of the conscious
process which is the senior aspect of the way from there on.
And ultimately it covers everything, the whole cosmic
display and all the stages of life.



The inability to make an effort or to assume a
proposition representing one or the other side of a dynamic
possibility or one or the other side of the contradiction of
the problem that you’re being . . . when you can’t make an
answer, when you can’t go further, when you can’t penetrate
the Koan, you can’t penetrate the great question, only the
total is before you, you cannot move, you’re in an absolute
state of frustration, you can’t think what to do next, you
don’t know what possibly could happen next, you could be in
this state for the rest of your life, when you get to that
point of tension, it’s precisely in that disposition that
hearing awakens.

It may not happen that moment but that’s the disposition
in which hearing does awaken, so that’s what you must move
to and through in the listening process. It is a profound
process. It’s not some silly little religion business. It’s
not just a preliminary you see. It’s the basis of it all.
And you must come to that point of absolute frustration,
absolute contradiction. We can’t make a gesture to the right
or left or inside or outside. Only the total is before you
despite its vast complex of this idiot self and there’s not
a damn thing you can do about it and you can’t remove its
essential stresses by contemplating it or acting. There’s
nothing you can do.

You’re addressing the great question or the great
consideration, or observing yourself with great seriousness,
complete attention. You can’t do anything but that. You’re
stuck with that in that, that is the point of crisis and
hearing is the ultimate revelation in that context. It’s
very much like the Koan business in the Zen tradition.

This is the first stage even in the Zen tradition where
the Koan is used as a device you see. It’s an early
psychological stage in the listening process and some of you
thought you were a advanced practitioners (audience
laughs)…Where’s my mallet….. Where’s my stick? End of
you, over! (more laughter from audience).




Blank holding line