The Knee of Listening – The Life and Understanding of Franklin Jones




 

THE
KNEE OF LISTENING

The Life and
Understanding

of

Franklin Jones

Copyright 1971 By Franklin Jones

All rights reserved



Chapter 17: The
Inheritance

We settled in Los Angeles in August,
1970. For my part, the pilgrimage was over, not only the
pilgrimage to Christian shrines, but the entire adventure of
seeking, practicing and experimenting. Understanding had
become the radical process of my conscious life, in formal
meditation and in experience moment to moment.

But this does not mean that I ceased
to have any experiences of what I knew as the Shakti. It was
simply that all of my experience ceased to be a matter of
seeking and necessity for me. I had become still.

As the weeks passed, the Shakti, the
Mother-Force who had appeared as the Virgin, seemed to yield
herself to the great truth that is reality. Just before I
left the Ashram, Bhagavan Nityananda let me go with his
blessing, and he led me to surrender myself to the Divine
Shakti. Thus, I had given myself to her freely, and she led
me to enjoy the uncommon fruits of my pilgrimage.

Now that we were in Los Angeles I no
longer saw myself in relationship to any Guru. Neither the
Shakti nor any problem on any level was a source of
motivation for me. I was simply devoted to the perfect
enjoyment of unqualified reality. And this process of
radical existence would bring me to the ultimate experience
of the Shakti and the knowledge of consciousness.

Some time in late August, I happened
to go to the bookstore at the Vedanta Society in Hollywood.
I noticed there was a temple on the grounds, and I went in
for a few moments of meditation. As soon as I sat down I
felt the Shakti rush through my body and clear out my head.
I could feel and hear little clicking pulses in the base of
my head and neck. I immediately recognized the
characteristic Presence of the Shakti.

As I meditated, the body and the
mind swooned into the depth of consciousness, and I enjoyed
an experience of meditation as profound as any I had known
at the shrines in India. I had no idea how the Vedanta
Society temple ever became a seat of the Shakti, but it was
obviously as powerful a place as any of the abodes of the
Siddhas in India.

I went home and told Nina and Pat
about this place, and we began to go there frequently for
meditation. As the days passed I began to marvel at the
power of this place. I had traveled all over the world,
believing there were no spiritual sources of this kind in
America. Now there was this small, isolated temple in
Hollywood, where perhaps very few people would recognize its
nature or importance.

I became aware that the
Mother-Shakti was residing in this temple, and that I had
been drawn there by her. I enjoyed the fact that I could go
there and be with her whenever I chose to experience her
joyous Presence. It seemed such a private place. I could go
there unhindered, and there was no established Guru alive
there to demand any particular regimen for my life. The
temple was dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, the great Indian
master of the 19th century. But no conditions were placed on
me by any external rule. This was truly an opportunity for
me to live independently with the Divine Mother.

But as time went on I began to feel
that even this was a limitation. Why should I have to travel
at all to enjoy her Presence? I desired that she be utterly
available to me, where I lived as well as in my own
being.

Thus, one day I went to the temple
and asked her to come and dwell permanently in me and
manifest herself wherever I was. when I left I felt her with
me, and when I arrived at home I continued to feel her
constant Presence filling the space.

Days passed, and I realized that she
had done what I asked. There was this constant Presence,
even the effects in the body, and the state of everyone
around me became affected by her Force. But even this became
a strain in me. I felt as if I had to hold on to her, as if
I had bound her to a bargain that constrained us
both.

Then, one day I felt an urge to
return to the temple. As I sat down I saw that the little
pagoda and shrine in the front of the temple was in shadows
and dim lit, as if it were empty. It seemed as if I had
emptied it by taking the Mother away. Suddenly, I felt a
jolt in my body, and I saw the shrine with open eyes become
bright in a blast of light. Even with my eyes closed I still
beheld the bright shrine. Thus, the Mother-Shakti showed me
how she is always able to make herself present anywhere, and
how indeed she was always already present with me. There was
no need for me to hold on to her, as if she could be
absent.

I began to go to the temple again
almost daily. The next day the Shakti appeared in a way that
at first was difficult to allow. As I meditated I felt
myself take on the form of Siva, the Divine Being prior to
all form. I took on the infinite blue form of the original
Deity, as I had done previously in Baba’s Presence. I sat in
this blissful state of infinite Being for some
time.

Then I felt the Shakti appear
against my own form. She embraced me, and we grasped one
another in sexual union. We clasped one another in a fire of
cosmic desire, as if to give birth to the universes. Then I
felt the oneness of the Divine Energy and my own Being.
There was no separation at all. The one Being that was my
own nature included the reality that is consciousness Sand
the reality that is all manifestation as a single cosmic
unity and eternal union.

The sensations of the embrace were
overwhelmingly blissful It exceeded any kind of pleasure
that a man could acquire. And soon I ceased to feel myself
as a dependent child of the Shakti. I accepted her as my
consort, my loved-one, and I held her forever to my
heart.

The next day I sat in the temple
again. I awaited the Shakti to reveal herself as my blessed
companion. But as time passed there was no sensation, no
movement at all. There was not even any kind of deepening.
There was no meditation. There was no need for meditation.
There was not a single element to be added to my
consciousness. I sat with my eyes open. I was not having an
experience of any kind.

Suddenly I became profoundly and
directly aware of what I am. It was a tacit realization, a
direct knowledge in consciousness itself. It was
consciousness itself without the addition of a communication
from any other source. I simply sat there and knew what I
am. I was being what I am. I am Reality, the Self and Nature
and Support of all things and all beings. I am the one
Being, known as God, Brahman, Atman, the One, Siva, the
Self.

There was no thought involved in
this. I am that Consciousness. There was no reaction either
of joy or surprise. I am the one I recognized. I am that
One. I am not merely experiencing Him.

Then truly there was no more to
realize. Every experience in my life had led to this. The
dramatic revelations in childhood and college, my time of
writing, my years with Rudi, the revelation in seminary, the
long history of pilgrimage to the Ashram, all of these
moments were the intuitions of this same Reality. My entire
life had been the communication of that Reality to me, until
I am That. Later I described that perfect realization as
follows:

At the Vedanta Society Temple
tacit knowledge arose that I am simply the consciousness
that is reality. The traditions call it the “Self,”
“Brahman,” identified with no body, realm, or experience,
but perfect, unqualified, absolute reality. I saw that there
was nothing to which this nature could be compared,
differentiated or epitomized. It does not stand out. It is
not the equivalent of any specialized, exclusive, perfected
spiritual state. It cannot be accomplished, discovered, or
remembered.

All paths pursue some special
state or goal as spiritual truth. But in fact reality is not
identical to such things. They only amount to an
identification with some body, realm or experience, high or
low, subtle, or gross. But the knowledge that is reality,
which is consciousness itself, which is not separate from
anything, is always already the case, and no experience,
realm or body is the necessary or special condition for its
realization. Except that understanding is it. Everything
else pursues it by identifying with some body, realm or
experience. Everything else seeks the perfection or the
liberation from these as a goal identical to truth and
reality.

But when this tacit, perfect
recognition arose there was no excitement, no surprise, no
motivation, no response. There was an end to every kind of
seeking, dilemma, suffering, separation and doubt. Spiritual
life, mental life, emotional and psychic life, vital life
and physical life were all released from consciousness. It
was not that I was released from them. After that there was
only reality and to be reality to all things.

In the days that followed there was
not a single modification in this awareness. Indeed, it
cannot be modified or lost. I noticed that “experience”
ceased to affect me.

Whatever passed, be it a physical
sensation, a vision, or a thought, ceased to involve me at
all. I began to pay particular attention to what passed in
order to test my state. But the primary awareness of
reality, my own actual consciousness, could not be modified
or lost. It is the only thing in our lives that is not an
experience. It depends on nothing and nothing can destroy
it. It is bliss, joy, freedom, consciousness and sublime
knowledge!

An entirely new sense of Reality
became my constant experience. The revolutions of my life
that led up to my experience in seminary had drawn me into a
sense of the “Presence.” That Presence could be called
“Reality,” “Self,” “God,” “Shakti,” “Guru” or whatever. It
was simply the sense of being related to a Presence that was
truth and reality itself, a perfectly absorbing, consoling,
illuminating Force that contained me, lived me and guided
me. It is the heart of all religious and spiritual
experience.

But now this Presence had
communicated itself utterly. Until now my life had been a
constant search and alignment with that Presence. It was as
if I always saw it from some position within the form of my
own being but outside of its center. It was as if I had
always beheld my own heart from some position outside. Now
the barriers had been utterly dissolved by an exhaustive
witnessing of the nature of that Presence. The knowledge of
the Presence had resolved into the knowledge of my own
nature. The Presence had revealed itself to be my own form
and nature. The consciousness of the Presence thus was
replaced or extended as Self-awareness. There was no longer
any Presence outside me. I no longer observed my own nature
or the processes of Reality from some external point. I had
become utterly aware of myself as Reality. There was no
Presence. I had become Present. There is no other. It is
only me.

Even my meditation was changed.
There was no meditation. This Consciousness could not be
deepened or enlarged. It remained what it was. I meditated
only to see how meditation was affected, or else to effect
some changes in the body, the mind, or some part of my
extended being. But I was no longer the meditator, the one
who seeks reality, liberation, release, truth or growth. I
no longer supposed any limitation as myself. I am
He.

I noticed a physical change in
myself. My belly seemed to drop and expand. I continued to
feel the pressure of Shakti there, and I breathed it
continually. It was the breathing of my own being, the
endless and profound communication of reality to
itself.

In meditation I looked to observe
how I was related to the worlds of experience. Then I
realized that I was not in any sense “in” a body, not only
the physical body, but any body, including the most subtle.
Nor have I ever been in a body, or any realm or experience.
All such things are patterns within my own
nature.

Yet I realized that I communicated
myself in reality through a specific center analogous to the
body. I resided in the heart, but to the right of the chest.
I seemed to press upon a point approximately an inch and one
half to the right of the center of the chest. This is the
seat of Reality and real Consciousness. And I reside there
as “no seeking.” There is no motivation, no dilemma, no
separation, no action, no suffering. I am no-seeking in the
Heart.

I described my constant
experience as follows:

The zero of the heart is expanded
as the world. Consciousness is not differentiated and
identified. There is a constant observation of subject and
object in any body, realm, or experience that arises. Thus,
I remain in the unqualified state. There is a constant
sensation of fulness permeating and surrounding all
experiences, realms and bodies. It is my own fulness, which
is radically non-separate and includes all things. I am the
form of space itself, in which all bodies, realms and
experiences occur. It is Consciousness itself, which reality
is your actual nature now and now and now.

And again:

I awakened during the night as
perfect, absolute, awesome bliss, in which the bodies and
the mind seemed to be boiling into a solder of
undifferentiated Reality. It was the madness of dissolution,
of perfect self-awareness into unqualified Presence, wherein
there is only Reality, without identification,
differentiation or desire.

Hereafter I am free of those with
power. I am unexploitable. The Shakti is no longer of
primary importance. She appears so only to seekers, for they
pursue forms of energy, visions, powers, liberation and God.
True knowledge is free of all bondage to energy, all
seeking, all motivation through identification with
experience. Ignorance and suffering are simply this
dependence. The real Shakti sacrifices herself in the form
of true knowledge. Thereafter there is no wonder, no mystery
about anything that appears.

The period of these events passes
into the present. autobiography has no end in time. But the
transformations in conscious knowledge that were finally
perceived in September, 1970 brought an end to my adventure
as a seeker. What remains to be written was experienced and
must be told from a radically new point of view.

Previous to teat time I was always
involved in one or another form of the problem of existence.
I was always in search and research, and my conclusions or
revelations were always temporary moments that led into a
new form of investigation. Thus, I went from the “bright” of
childhood to the dilemma of my youth. I went from the
experience in college to the period of writing and
self-exploitation. I went from Rudi and the revelation in
seminary to Baba and the Ashram. I went from Scientology and
my own experiments to the fuller life of yoga and psychic
development. I went from the revelations of the Divine
Shakti and the cognition of mystical vision to the knowledge
of the perfect Self of Reality.

Now there appeared to be no loose
ends to my adventure. There was no dilemma, no search, no
radical motivation. All the parts of the mind seemed to be
transposed and dissolved in a single, fundamental
perception. But I continued to live. The external and
internal events of my life were not modified in any
revolutionary way by this knowledge. It was only that I
understood them in an entirely new and radical way. I
understood, and understanding became the foundation of my
existence.

The weeks that followed were an
intensive period of understanding. I began to recollect and
observe the forms of my adventure. I began to recognize the
precise nature of my understanding. That understanding began
to reveal its special form and activity. And my life became
a continuous unfolding of the wisdom of understanding in
relation to every kind of experience. I began to write this
book.

My own consciousness wasn’t a
“state” or any kind of stable object in the mind. It had
neither form nor symbol. There was a constant depth and
directness in my awareness, so that I felt as if I were
constantly in the most profound and intelligent state
realized only occasionally in meditation. My own nature had
been the real object of meditation and now there were no
obstacles to it. I simply survived as my own unqualified
nature.

Everything else appeared as objects
to my understanding. Whatever I experienced remained in the
same form in which it would appear to anyone, or to myself
prior to this understanding. But now I understood everything
directly, effortlessly in truth. I simply experienced as
before, but everything was automatically known to me as it
truly is. A continuous process of recognition and wisdom
seemed to go on in me, and all I did was remain present to
everything that passed

I seemed to be possessed with a new
and original organ or function in consciousness. Whereas
before everything was communicated to me as a particular
form and I was forced to experience it as a subjective,
mutual identity, now I saw everything directly, from the
viewpoint of reality prior to any special form. Thus,
previously, I knew the mind and was the subject of the mind.
I was the subject of my body and my vital energy. I was the
subject in the subtle worlds and bodies. I was the subject
of all my visions and experiences. And I interpreted myself
and my experiences from the viewpoint of these things. But
now all of these things, the forms, levels of being and
identity, the bodies, realms, and experiences, all of it
stood directly before me, and I understood them without
recourse to them or my identity within them.

Even as before I continued to
experience various manifestations of Shakti and subtle
vision. I could hear all kinds of sounds within the various
bodies. I was able to see subtle mechanisms within these
bodies and perceive the relations of various forms and
currents of energy beyond the physical. I saw the tiny
organisms by which consciousness and energy are transferred
and communicated between the various levels of existence.
And I also continued to experience and act on a physical
level just as before. There were the same functions and
desires, the same pleasures and feelings, the same lawful
mechanisms, requiring the same intelligence and entailing
the same consequences as a result of error or
self-indulgence. But everything was new. Everything was
utterly free of any kind of dilemma, separation,
unconsciousness and primary fear.

I began to notice in detail the
process of understanding that I knew to be the path of real
life. And I tested myself in all circumstances in order to
demonstrate this truth. Then, in early October, Baba came to
California. He was in the midst of a world tour. Rudi had
brought him to America.

I had written to Rudi, and we had
become reconciled. Much of the dissonance between us had
been created solely by the nature of our separate seeking.
During the period of time that passed since our separation
he had also changed in his relationship to spiritual work.
He confessed that his own experience had developed and he
now approached Baba’s work with greater simplicity, free of
the peculiar habits of his own seeking that had previously
been part of his teaching. He claimed that he had delivered
himself utterly to Baba’s guidance. His yoga was now one of
the acceptance of the Guru’s grace rather than a willful,
evolutionary effort.

Baba and Rudi arrived in the company
of “Baba Ram Dass.” Ram Dass was previously known as Richard
Alpert, the man who, along with Timothy Leary and others,
had done much to create the current “drug-culture” among
younger people. I had met him several years before at the
home of Ken Kesey in northern California. Since then, like
myself, he had been led into the experience of Indian
spirituality.

Ram Dass was now trying to reverse
the karma of those who had become devoted to drug culture.
He wanted to turn them to the devotional path of Indian
spirituality. He had met Baba in New York and subsequently
volunteered to engineer Baba’s California visit, as Rudi had
done in New York.

I met them all quite openly, but
without any desire or motivation to become involved in the
whole drama of Baba’s American tour. They stayed for several
days in Pacific Palisades, then on for two weeks in northern
California and Utah. They returned again at the end of
October, and flew on to Hawaii November 3rd, my
birthday.

I was interested in seeing how
Baba’s Presence would affect me and how he would respond to
my own discovery. I sat with him while large groups of
people chanted devotions and gazed at the Guru. I held his
foot, I chanted, and I meditated.

In the first hours of his visit he
blessed me with his peculiar form of the Shakti. And I moved
with the experience, abandoning myself utterly to the
familiar physical movements and the merging in the mind. I
shook and fell on the floor. I watched Baba. I enjoyed the
communication of his Shakti. I listened to him advise people
to turn within and seek the “blue pearl” and the “blue
person” in the sahasrar, the seat of consciousness in the
head. I listened to him detail the various forms of vision,
internal sounds and experiences, and I experienced them
along with him.

But I saw that none of this made the
slightest difference in me. There were experiences, all of
them familiar, but none of this experience had a goal that
was necessary for me. It was only a drama, a play, a
pattern.

Finally, I told him about my present
experience. I said there was no longer any movement in me,
no principal activity of the Shakti, no rising and
descending, no changes in fundamental consciousness, in fact
no meditation. Whether in or out of meditation there was the
same consciousness. And it seemed not to be settled in the
sahasrar or any level of being but in the true heart, not
the heart chakra or the physical heart, but the heart of
real consciousness. I felt myself present in relationship to
the body as a tacit, unqualified awareness in the heart, to
the right side of the chest.

He responded by telling us that
various saints describe the stabilization of consciousness
either in the sahasrar or the heart. The heart or the
sahasrar is like a lotus of many petals. Ordinarily the mind
moves from petal to petal, taking on the various
modifications of love, anger, lust, etc. But when it settles
in the center it becomes still, and consciousness takes on
various creative powers, such as poetic faculty, music, or
such powers as omniscience, clairvoyance, etc. He said it
was a very desirable state, and the proof of it was whether
or not it was retained even after meditation, and whether or
not you brought its qualities into life.

These indications seemed to agree
with my experience, but at the same time he spoke of these
attainments he seemed to suggest that only rare saints
achieve them. He turned his talk to minimize the actual
attainment in my case or in the case of anyone but the
classical saints of India. It was as if he felt the people
present with him would be pleased to think that the truth
was in following rather than attainment. Those who professed
attainment must be regarded with suspicion. Thus, he went on
again to talk about the truth of Siddha Yoga, the “blue
pearl,” devotion to the Guru, and the classical path of the
Hindus. Finally, he led everyone in devotional chanting, and
he left the room.

My own confession had seemed to
contradict Baba’s public teaching and his authority as a
representative of Siddha yoga. For him, the path was not the
radical path of Vedanta or understanding, but the path of
yoga, Shakti-initiation, and seeking. He spoke only of
meditation, natural “kriya yoga” (the automatic version of
the yoga taught by Yogananda), internalization, turning away
from worldly enjoyment to super-sensual enjoyments, internal
touch, sound, and vision, the experiences of psychic visions
and purifications, and the attainment of siddhis or powers
as a result of contacting the “blue pearl” or the “blue
person” in the sahasrar. He was concerned with all of the
mechanics of seeking, of chanting, meditating with mantras,
serving the Guru and depending on his grace.

Whenever someone suggested the
abandonment of all these things in the knowledge of present
reality, prior to all seeking and experience, he would cut
them off. He stated directly that such a way does not lead
to the highest truth. “You are present as form. Why do you
seek a way without form?”

Above all, it seemed to me that he
did not assign radical importance to the realization in the
heart. Whatever his feelings about the facts in my own case,
he gave only a cursory glance to the phenomenon I described.
He did not teach it. He did not acknowledge it as the goal
and the very foundation of yoga. He did not speak of the
Self at all, in any of his lectures, but only of the
phenomena of the supracausal realm, the abode of the
Siddhas. He seemed, at least publicly, to have abandoned the
very truths he at first communicated to me openly and which
I had lately realized in myself.

During his visit Baba surrounded
himself with devotees. He had time only for seekers and
lovers of yoga. He spoke no radical truth at all, but only a
path. After several days I no longer desired to be in this
company. The whole atmosphere seemed to me to be developed
as an exploitation of seekers. The Americans that surrounded
Baba were only interested in devotional games, the new
“American spiritual movement.” Everywhere people were
smiling the traditional smile, dressing like Hindu saints,
and talking about paths and experiences. It all seemed to me
so unimportant, so childish. They seemed so exploitable, so
caught up in seeking and the whole adventure of experience.
But there was no fundamental truth, no real intelligence, no
honest self-perception, no understanding, no actual joy, no
present love.

On the last evening of Baba’s stay
in Los Angeles I went to take my leave. I knew that it would
probably be the last time we would see each other. Even if
we should ever meet again, I would not approach him as a
disciple approaches his master, but directly, independently,
as one who requires no addition to himself.

I bowed to him for the last time,
with gratitude for what had already been given. I had seen
his truth. I had received his gift. I had known the
experience, and I had understood. My own adventure no longer
included him.

I had always looked to Baba for
acknowledgment. At last I saw that this was not his
business. The truth does not become valid as a result of any
acknowledgment. Finally, it must be taken and assumed. It is
neither earned nor given. At last it can only be recognized
and known as one’s right.

I embraced Rudi as I left. I knew
that he enjoyed the form of his own truth. He was truly
Baba’s disciple at last. I loved him freely and acknowledged
our friendship.

Then I left them all without regret.
I enjoyed only my own perfect certainty, radically free of
all seeking. I went home to comprehend my own
satisfaction.

 

Chapter
18

Table
of Contents