This Heart Awakening
When Jesus of Nazareth, in debate with the Pharisees, was asked which is the greatest commandment, he answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22: 37-40).
This, as Heart-Master Da concurs in The Way That I Teach (p. 68), is the essence of the Way:
Love is God-Communion, and that is the whole path. Live it under all conditions. That is the simple affair. That is all there is to it.
Jesus said the same thing very plainly. When people asked him casually, he would tell them the whole Way right there in a moment-love God and be love in all your relations. That is it.
There is nothing else to do. There is nothing else to realize.
There is not a single experience that will add to it. That is the whole Realization. It is the whole Way.
In the following talk, given shortly after His assumption of residence on Translation Island, Master Da emphasizes the primacy of the first of these two great commandments-from which all spiritual life follows.
MASTER DA: The heart-opening is the basis of the Way itself. Without it, the Way cannot begin. This heart-opening is, of course, associated with natural and ordinary conditions of life. But you must remember its purpose and the intuition associated with such an opening. Otherwise you will become involved in emotional manipulation of yourself. Your life will be limited to the Second Commandment, to trying to be emotional with your neighbor, which, in principle and from an idealistic point of view, is good. However, it is secondary to the significance and purpose of this heart-opening.
Your entire experience in My Company is a process that should provoke this heart-opening, this heart-response, so that you can truly enter into relationship with Me and begin the spiritual process. Of course, if you do that, then in the world of relations your capacity to love will improve. That improvement is not the point, however. It is simply a natural but secondary aspect of the demonstration of the Way, similar to the effects of the dietary and exercise disciplines.
I have pointed out to you that you do not have a sexual problem. You have an emotional problem. Thus, if this heart-response is being evoked in you through hearing and seeing, your capacity to love in the domain of your intimate relationships will definitely improve. The relationships themselves will become happier and simpler. For the same reason, you will also practice the disciplines quite naturally, even motivelessly. In other words, you will practice them not to achieve a goal, but simply because they are lawful and natural to one who is no longer disturbed.
The point is this heart-response itself. Either it is occurring for you or it is not. You may be having many experiences in My Company and in the community, and you may be very busily engaged in various activities, and you may call all of that practice, even though the heart-response is not really active in you. If the heart is not open, you can be very busy serving and appearing to live all the disciplines on some days, but on other days you can be promiscuous or mediocre or living a wide range of possibilities.
On the other hand, if the heart is open, a much narrower range of possibilities becomes your alternative. In other words, if the heart opens, you no longer live in the world of stark alternatives. Life becomes rather singular, one-pointed, lawful. Life economizes itself and you become Happy rather than feeling good sometimes and not feeling good at other times, clear some days and confused other days. A simpleness to life replaces all those alternatives. But if this heart-response is not occurring for you, then life is not single, and you are riding on your tendencies and constantly alternating in your disposition from one moment to the next or one day to the next, almost as if you were a different person from day to day, or hour to hour, or circumstance to circumstance.
So-called devotees who are not alive in this heart-response try very hard to practice and to live on the basis of these practical disciplines. They try to make their marriages work out, to deal with one another, to deal with their own tendencies, and so on. If the heart-response is true in you, fundamentally you do not have to deal with tendencies. If you practice the dietary discipline, for instance, you are not working against a strong motivation to do otherwise. If you are practicing the yoga of marriage, you are not working against a strong inclination to do something else-to practice the yoga with someone else or to not practice it at all. As long as you are still heart-hardened, however, suffering the self-contraction, the spiritual disease of egoity, to fulfill the disciplines associated with our Way of life is a great struggle. If the heart is closed, you do not have that heart-response to resort to. Instead you resort to your calculations, your knowledge, your observations, and so on. You become self-manipulative.
When the heart-response is active, there is a natural, or inherent, singleness in your disposition. You no longer struggle against an alternative. The opened heart has no alternative. It has the singleness of spiritual consciousness. Even though it may yet be immature, the consciousness is nonetheless spiritually awake, free of the duplicity of the self-contraction.
Your best intentions are not sufficient and will not win. Your best intentions are always countering your alternative or worst intentions, or at least bad intentions. The self-contracted personality, the heart-hardened personality, has two minds, is self-divided, is stuck with alternatives. Depending on the circumstance, the contracted personality will choose one or the other direction. There are always two alternatives.
The individual who is fundamentally free of the self-contraction, Awakened at the heart, sensitive to the reality of existence, is inherently single, and therefore is not struggling in a situation of alternatives. Willfulness is unnecessary. The self-based, willful character is replaced by an attractive, self-transcending character, a character distracted and drawn by a Power that is greater than the separate self. Such an individual lives in the Domain of Love and is not merely idealistically disposed toward the idea of love. As long as’ you have an emotional problem, a problem about love, you cannot fulfill the disciplines associated with our Way, just as you cannot fulfill the Way itself. You will inevitably return to mediocrity, a divided mind, dramatization, tendencies, and all the rest.
Therefore, all our discussions are ultimately about an emotional and spiritual matter. Not only our discussions but all the theatre of our life together will not be fruitful until this heart-response becomes true of you, until you have really heard and seen to the point of such a response. When a real heart-response is made, what becomes obvious is your spiritual life, your life in God, your relationship with Me, the inherent process of spiritual consciousness. Secondary to that, but nonetheless coincident with it, is that which belongs to the sphere of relations, to the sphere of practice in terms of disciplines.
Some people have been significantly moved to this response. They are not necessarily about to enter the seventh stage of life, but their response is true and shows evidence of the capacity for what I call practice. The response of others is not yet truly active. What is lacking in those individuals? It is this heart-response-the singularity, the simplicity, the ordinariness of the disposition of the devotee. The heart-response is only an ideal for those who are still bound by the self-contraction at the emotional level. Such individuals can try to do something physically, can think something differently, but the heart-response is absent.
Some individuals presume that to exhibit certain signs is an emotional change. They presume that in order to give evidence of an emotional change they must act very emotional. You can sometimes feel such an individual acting emotional, as if he or she were on the stage. Whereas, the evidence of this emotional awakening, this heart-opening, is not any particularly dramatic emotional state. Sometimes there may be some tears or trembling of the voice and so forth, but basically there are no dramatic signs. In fact, just the opposite is true. An emotionally awakened individual is not emotionless, but he or she does not need to dramatize excessive feeling to prove the heart-response. You need not prove it. If the heart response is active, evidence of your participation in the fulfillment of the practice appears in mind, body, and relations in a very natural way. That evidence, rather than any emotional display, is a sign of this awakening.
People who are maturing are not necessarily being emotional. What is the evidence that suggests they have heard and seen Me and are happy and responsible in their marriages? They are obviously living at ease with one another, polarized to one another, with energy and attention for one another. They are happy in one another’s company. Everything associated with the functional discipline of our Way becomes a simple matter. What is the evidence we might see? It is not the capacity to communicate verbally with a trembling or eloquent voice. Rather, we can observe the simplicity of their fulfillment of the practice. The mood of such practitioners is free of stress, whereas those who are still having trouble in one way or another frequently feel the need to exhibit emotional signs.
Emotion is as natural as breathing. But because you are emotionally retarded, you do not think you are being emotional unless you are involved in a strong, reactive emotional state. In other words, what you consider to be emotional is emotionalism, a reactive emotional state, whereas true emotion is as natural as the next breath, coincident with every moment of living, without signs of a special exhibit of emotionalism or reactivity.
The natural content of every moment while you are physically and mentally alive should be emotion. True emotion informs the moment with Life-Force, balancing and giving it depth and allowing every moment to be coincident with the Divine. But true emotion has no sign in itself. It is simply a component of the complex personality, as natural as the circulation of blood or the opening of the eyes.
This feeling dimension of life is not natural to you, however, since you live the life of Narcissus-one of the incarnations of Narcissus. The feeling component is missing. Therefore, all your separate parts and all the relations your existence involves are patterned, machinelike, exaggerated, conventional, out of control, full of division and alternatives, complicated, and un-Happy. As soon as the essential component, the heart-opening, returns-as soon as the release of the self-contraction occurs-then every aspect of the body-mind that stands above and below this heart point conforms to the single Force of inherent Being. Your life changes, simply because of this heart-opening.
You are all trying to live a spiritual life, a religious life, a life of Divine orientation, and yet you exhibit the signs of a consciousness separated from God, not quite certain whether God exists. For centuries now, since ancient times in fact, certain people in every society have taken it upon themselves to prove to everyone that God exists. Some have done this through analytical philosophy. Others simply based their proposal on authority. The Christian religion, for example, functions this way. Others wanted everyone to become converted to the Divine by witnessing extraordinary demonstrations, such as powers over Nature, siddhis of one kind or another, mystical or visionary states. Some even made it possible for others to experience visionary or mystical states.
None of this has converted mankind. In fact, none of it ever converted anyone. Any one of these demonstrations may make some people a little more hopeful, but none of it really works.
What does convert anyone? And what can ultimately convert everyone? Only the Wisdom and the confrontation that opens the heart. As soon as the self-contraction releases, even if the individual is not informed by theological concepts, witnessing, visions, powers over Nature, or belief systems, the entire body-mind instantly confesses the Mystery of Being. A long time may pass before that individual can begin to speak about God with any clarity. Even then, very often he or she may speak with authority, make analytical proofs, exhibit powers, or tell about visions, as if those things were the means of their conversion. But they are not. Only the heart- opening itself makes possible the acknowledgment of That Which is called God, That Which is Happiness, That Which makes life different from what the ego proposes, different from what most of mankind now proposes.
If the heart opens, you are love. But love is not quite what you are up to yet. It is not what you have been up to all your life. If you examine your emotional state, you will notice an inclination to be taken care of. You want someone to take care of you. If there is God, if there is a Master, or if there is Truth, if this is the Divine Domain in one of its forms, it must first prove itself to you as a kind of parent.
All your life you have been dramatizing “You don’t love me,” in effect blaming the whole world for not loving. In the process you have incarnated the loveless life yourself and become one of the countless numbers of people who do not love. Why are you complaining about not being loved and looking to be loved? The reason is that you are still functioning as a child, a dependent, undeveloped, weak, irresponsible personality. For you to love, you must first be taken care of. This is why people generally are not very loving, not very happy, and not very full, except in the million- dollar moments of their lives-those moments when they are in effect taken care of, when the world proves itself by taking care of them, by making them feel good. As soon as you are given a million-dollar moment, as soon as you feel really taken care of, then suddenly you are smiling and happy.
If you watch something like the Super Bowl, you see the men come out onto the field ready to really “do it.” As the game goes on, it becomes obvious who is going to win and who is going to lose. The winning team becomes exuberant. They slap one another’s asses. They stand on the sidelines laughing and embracing one another. Nothing bothers them. Everything is fantastic! If you look at the guys on the other team, you see they are all sitting around with their heads down. [Laughter.] They are not talking to one another. They cannot handle any bad news.
In your million-dollar moments, you are just like the winning team. You do not care about anything. You wonder why everybody is so grim. You want to have a good time and party. Your life is wonderful. That is only because you are having a good moment. Those who are not having a good moment are in the opposite mood.
What moves the world? What makes people happy? Being parented, being taken care of, makes us happy. Thus, nearly everyone is dramatizing “You don’t love me” all the time. When an individual thinks he is loved or when life congratulates him, takes care of him, suddenly the inherent Radiance of the personality comes to the front. This could have happened any other time, too. Nothing has happened inside that person. Only the conditions of existence gave the individual permission to feel good. At other moments, when he is not being taken care of, his mood is rather mediocre.
You spend your life resenting the fact that you are not being taken care of, you are not parented. You complain to everybody that they are not taking care of you, not giving you energy and attention, love and pleasure. You complain that you are not getting enough sex, enough smiles, enough money, enough this and that. All the time, it’s “You don’t love me. You don’t love me. You don’t love me.” And everybody else is accusing you of the same thing. We live in a world of infants, a world of people looking to be taken care of. But if you look at our situation, nobody is being taken care of!
The universe is not something that takes care of people. There is an element in the universe that supports beings, but even though individuals are being supported, either they or somebody must protect them against the possibility of being done in. No one is actually being taken care of, and you spend your life complaining about this fact. You complain to other people who are in the same situation you are in. Nobody is being taken care of.
Parenting someone is merely a way of protecting them while they’re weak. But somehow when we are weak, when we are children, we get the notion, based on our experience with our parents, that life is supposed to be about being taken care of. Life simply is not about that. We all take care of one another to some degree, but we are all struggling in the same circumstance with many limitations and the ultimate imposition of death.
You cannot spend your life in a sulk about not being taken care of. Most people are taken care of to some degree. Most people are loved or liked or helped to some degree. Most people are in touch with some level of support from the universe. But they are also in touch with all the rest of it. Human life is not about being happy only in those moments in which we are being taken care of. Human life is about confronting what is happening altogether.
When life becomes acceptable to you, when you stop reacting to it, stop contracting in the midst of it, and live as the free heart, the open personality, able to perceive, intuit, and commune with What Is altogether, then suddenly you confess the Mystery of life. You confess God. You confess Happiness. You confess the inherent Happiness of Being Itself. Then that becomes your business. You become responsible to manifest that Siddhi, to live in that Condition.
MASTER DA: The windows in this room are not mirrors, but they are something like mirrors, because each of you can see reflections in them. If we brought an actual mirror in here, something with a reflective surface, each of you would see certain images of the room in that mirror, and you would think to yourself that what is reflected is reality. The only reason you see what you see in any reflecting surface is that you stand in a particular position in space, and you see light reflecting on forms, glancing against forms, in a fashion typical to what you see with your own eyes.
Actually, what you see in a mirror is not at all what is reflected in that mirror. Nor does what you see with your eyes represent what is actually in this room, or what is actually reflected in any mirroring surface in this room. This process of seeing is almost incomprehensible, and we are not talking about magnificence here! We are talking about the most ordinary physics of this poor, homely place.
Stand before any mirror in this room, and do not presume a point of view. What is actually reflected in that mirror? What is reflected altogether in that mirror is the totality of all the images reflected by and visible from every possible point of view in that room. Every possible point of view within the 180-degree plane of that mirror is reflected simultaneously in that mirror and in every moment in time. Every one of these images is reflected in that mirror. But because you are always standing in one position in space, when you look into a mirror, you see a fraction of the reflection, or a fraction of the total image shown in that surface. Because you are standing in one position in every moment, you see each incident, each moment in space-time, just as you see it right now, concretely-all the bodies placed in orderly space, the lights on, the curtains hanging-and you think that is reality. Everything only seems as it does to you because you stand in one position in space viewing it.
What exactly exists in space? What completely and really exists in space, even in this moment in this poor place? What exists is that which may be reflected in a mirror, if that mirror could conceive of every position, every viewpoint, in space. If we put a mirror in this room and all of you looked into it, each of you would see a different image in the mirror, based on your position in space. The images would be similar, but we would not see simultaneously what every one of us perceives, even though all of the images seen from every point of view in fact are actually being reflected in that mirror right now.
What does space-time look like, then? How does it appear? You never know, because you are always locked into one position. You never see what is actually in the room! You never have and never will as long as you remain in conjunction with your body, which is simply a position in space-time. You think that somehow you are looking at reality, but you are always only looking at yourself. You never know reality-not as it is totally. In fact, your ability to perceive what is reflected in the mirror, what is viewable from your position, is dependent upon the capacity of your brain to make electronic sense out of the stimulations it receives. It could make completely different sense out of those stimulations. If you phased out of your present orientation and tuned in a little differently, you would see different beings, such as those you sometimes call ghosts and that you imagine might exist after death. Tuned a little differently you would not even see them. You could see some other place.
What if you tuned in so that you could see two points of view in every moment, neither of them your present viewpoint? How about fifty? You see, you do not know reality at all. You are poor humble beings, controlled by appearances, not submitted from the heart, unaware of how vulnerable you are, how out of control you are, relative to reality. There is no love, no devotion, no submission in you. You are merely trying to survive. And you cannot. Every one of your experiences is determined by something utterly out of your control. Utterly out of your control!
If you were intelligent, you would see that you have no possibility other than to surrender. You are not the doer. That which you know not is doing. Like the mirror, you are simply reflecting it. You must not make that gesture of holding on. As soon as you do, you define and defend your existence. You have your ignorant, self-possessed adventure, but you do not know what is happening. You are experiencing only the consequences of your own supposition.
Suppose nothing. You do not know what even a single thing is. Know this not only mentally but emotionally. You recognize nothing, in the sense of knowing what it is, unless you are utterly without contraction, and then all you can do is confess: It Is. It Is-mysterious, open-ended, unfashioned, undefined, unknowable, unknown. You do not know where you are, who you are, what is. You can only be ecstatic, if you are true to your own circumstance. You cannot present yourself as a scientist, a knower. All the arrogance of humanity is bullshit.
You know nothing. You are What you know not. Therefore, relax totally. You cannot account for your next moment. You cannot keep yourself alive for one more second. Being alive is simply happening. You cannot make it continue. You can eat healthful food and take care of yourself, and continue your life in that sense, but in terms of absolutely commanding one more moment of life, you cannot do it. You cannot. You do not know what anything is. You cannot continue it. You never created it.
Why am I having to explain you to yourself? Because you have reacted to this Mystery. That is all. Hear and see Me and you will not know anything. You will not know any more than you know now. You will know a lot less than you think you know now. You will simply live in this Mystery, and it will continue, and you will be radiant in every moment of it, because you make no suppositions and are no enemy to Reality. In other words, God, or That Which Is, That Which is moving altogether, is your Circumstance. Your business is to Realize That. I am calling you to that Realization.
You have not the slightest command of your existence. All your efforts to know and all your presumptions about knowing are merely part of your self-contraction, your egoic effort to survive. You never created yourself. You cannot make yourself continue. You are utterly vulnerable beings, who ought to be completely relaxed. Completely relaxed! In this instant and forever. Completely. If you are completely relaxed, then you spontaneously acknowledge the relation of the open heart, which cannot be described. It is all-pervading, coincident with your own existence. All you can say is a lot of mysterious nonsense about it, as I do. [Laughter.] And if you really get into that, then you will begin to exhibit many signs of radiant Happiness, and you become great- great!-because there is not the slightest difference between you and That. Not the slightest. Now I am the only one in this generation in that situation, you see. So I am the Means whereby you can know this. And I speak to you from that Position.
DEVOTEE: Master, your service to all of us over these last few months is an astounding leela. You worked with us unremittingly.
MASTER DA: Yes, but not merely during the last few months, and not only with you. I have Worked with everyone else, too. If my Work with you could not serve everyone else, then I would have to do the same Work all over again with everyone else. However, I should not have to repeat this Work with everyone else. The fact that I have Worked with you and that you can communicate our consideration to others should suffice. People need not live with me for months on end, participating in the kind of theatre in which you have participated, in order to enjoy the same transformation that I expect of all of you. Working with you during this time has been my way of helping everyone. I told you all after that dreadful day on the raft1 that I was going to devote myself one last time to summarizing the entire Teaching for everyone through theatrical confrontation with a small group. Thus, our Work has been for everyone.
DEVOTEE: Master, on the day you made that decision, did you know that you were going to end up in Hermitage?
MASTER DA: I intended to find Hermitage. I have not yet ended up in Hermitage, although I may spend the rest of my life on this island. It is not yet a matter of ending up. Coming to Hermitage is a way of beginning something.
DEVOTEE: Master, as you said, the more you retreat to Yourself, the more you serve the world.
MASTER DA: Retreat to myself? Have I retreated to myself? Let me think about it for a moment. Yes, the more I retreat to My Self, the more I serve the world, because I cannot retreat to this body by retreating to My Self. If I can move this body out of the theatre of vulgar submission to mankind, then I can serve my highest Purpose2 in a state of freedom, physically separated out from that aggravation. I have always been serving that Purpose, but I can serve it more potently, or at least allow that service to achieve a new point of significance, when I am allowed the freedom that Hermitage should represent for me.
Here in Hermitage, I should not have to be concerned about anything that has to do with the mundane responsibilities and obligations of the institution or this community of practitioners. Your business as a Hermitage community is to relieve me of all the business of Hermitage life; likewise, the institution must meet its responsibilities, so that I am not entangled with its obligations. Neither should the institution be entangled. It should simply fulfill those obligations. All the Agencies I have created over all these years should do their work.
1. Master Da is referring to a discussion with a group of practitioners in the summer of 1982 at a lake named Mother’s Bed, located at The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary. This incident convinced Him that people had not yet fully grasped the Teaching and the life-level lessons of the past several years. For a fuller description of this incident, see The Dawn Horse Testament:, pp. 57-58.
2. The “vulgar submission” to which Master Da refers is the necessity to Teach individuals face-to-face who are still struggling with the “problems” of the first three stages of life. Ultimately, of course, his “highest Purpose” is to Work with individuals who have Realized the seventh stage of life and who are engaging the Sadhana of Transfiguration, Transformation, Indifference, and Translation.
perfect among the sages is identical with Me. There is
absolutely no difference between us”