One Lose Their Realization?
A dialogue with Adi Da
Devotee: Can one lose his or
her realization while alive or in death?
Adi Da: Realization
isn’t something that happens to you. It’s a direct
expression of your own consciousness. Why should you
therefore knowing that, participate in either life or death
in such a way that it would be lost?
Devotee: But what about
distractions and seductions?
Adi Da Samraj: Well if you
allow them to be distracting and to confound your
realization, you would likely continue to do the same thing
after death wouldn’t you?
Devotee: So, loss can occur
Adi Da Samraj: Why should you
want to do that? You’re asking about death as if
it’s something that happens to you or things just
happen to you after death. They don’t just happen to
you anymore than things just happen to you while you live.
We’re discussing the Great Way, the Conscious Process,
which is the only process or the only way whereby conditions
or apparent happenings are transcended.
You’re called to awaken to that
very process while alive and persist in that disposition
then. That is the means while alive and after death as well.
So why would we continue to discuss the after death
possibilities merely in the framework of things that just
happened to you?
These questions comes from
bewilderment itself. It comes from personality that stress
is rather weak in its responsibility. You’re projecting
that weakness onto future possibilities even while alive.
You might as well ask if something could happen to me this
evening. Could something happen to me next week. Could
something happen to me in ten years.
That would be so distracting that I
would be even more bewildered than I am now unless I realize
I’m not going to lose everything even that I’m
gaining now or have gained by that. It’s the same kind
of a question. So what is it a reflection of then? It’s
a reflection of that disposition then. It’s not a
reflection of things themselves or conditions.
They are only as bewildering as you
are bewilderable. There’s no limit to your possible
bewilderment while alive or after death. What is the great
matter to be considered then? Your participation in
conditional existence which obviously must be transformed or
there only is bewilderment, yes, and that bewilderment will
not be canceled merely by your death.
Things can appear to happen to you
after death just as they can appear to happen to you before
death and so?
Bewilderment is the relinquishment
of this responsibility that we consider. Bewilderment is
what makes conditions seem to happen to you, merely seem to
be happening to you, seem to be controlling your state, seem
to be determining your condition, seem to be determining
your state of realization or non-realization.
This is in itself an illusion, a
self-created form of bondage which requires
self-observation, self-understanding such that you come to a
point of new responsibility in the midst of conditions. So
that’s what we are considering. That’s what must
be realized otherwise bewilderment will continue.
There’s nothing inherently more bewildering than by
anything happening after death.
It’s all modifications of the
same condition that is present. So what is your relationship
to conditions? That’s the real question then. Your
ability to be bewildered depends entirely on your
orientation to conditions and not on whether or not
you’re alive or dead or what in fact seems to be
happening. Those do not determine bewilderment.
Conditions are not inherently
distracting. They are only distracting to you if you are
disposed to be distracted. Conditions can be difficult after
death. They can be difficult before death. You have the same
kind of psychic capability, same ability to be disturbed if
you like and so forth presently that you could potentially
have after death. It’s all a play upon the same
condition. It requires for its transcendence then exactly
the same capacity that is a possibility for you
If you like you can think of it this
way. While you live you create mind. You determine by your
reaction, your disposition, your responsibility, the
tendency of mind and if you like you can think of after
death as a time where mind makes you. In other words, where
those tendencies persist you determine further
On the other hand, the same option
is given to you, the same capacity to understand, to
transcend. To awaken to the real condition is also
persistent. It’s not lost by dying. Just so you’ve
already created much mind, much tendency, much bewilderment
and so forth and those things are tending to reinforce
themselves, persist and you are being apparently played upon
But you do have the option even
presently to consider the matter, to observe yourself and
transcend all of that which you have already accumulated and
are tending to reinforce. The same is true after death as
before it. And after death it’s not merely the waking
state continuing after death. There is the continuation of
all the varieties of states, potential and the living
condition, the life condition.
You not only are awake in the life
condition of the body, you dream and sleep and variations on
these, unconsciousness, reverie, hallucination. The waking
state is not just one thing either.
There are a variety of tendencies,
experiences, reactions, states of mind, states of feeling,
states of body. So there’s a very wide range of
possibilities associated with the born condition in the
body, likewise after death.
All the states and all the
variations on them persist by tendency in the context of
certain other conditions which in their time and place will
seem given or normal to you just as conditions now seem to
you. Nonetheless, there still is the fundamental call of
reality itself to observe, to understand, to transcend, to
assume responsibility, to outgrow, to awaken
After death you will persist by
tendency in the context of certain other conditions which in
their time and place will seem given or normal to you just
as conditions seem now to you. Nonetheless there still is
the fundamental call of reality itself to observe, to
understand, to transcend, to assume responsibility, to
outgrow, to awaken altogether.
Will you or won’t you? The
question that comes to you now is will you or won’t you
now? What will you enforce or reinforce while continuing in
this body? That is a real question that comes to you
presently because what you do about that in the present and
at all future moments will of course determine what occurs
If you really understand this then
you will become serious and life and death and after death
and so on will stop being merely some mechanical event that
is just sort of happening to you.
That is sort of a given in a form
that you get from conversations with others or inherit
culturally or whatever. Instead of that, instead of all that
sort of stuff, just sort of letting it all happen and doing
it be rote you see, instead of that you’ll become
seriously involved in what’s going on.
Observe yourself. Understand
yourself, but realize the capacity to grow beyond, to be
awake, to stand free. You’ll become devoted to the
truth then and not merely mechanically involved in destiny
or karma. The after death states are really karmic
conditions just as the states of the body are states
experienced in the context of bodily birth.
It’s all karmic or in other
words, products of the universal display, the energies or
fields of display associated with the cosmic design and the
possibilities are not only numerous, in some sense you could
say they are infinite. In any case they are all built upon
to basic trends of energy, one which you might call positive
and the other you might call negative. There’s just as
much potential positive and negative both to death as there
is during bodily life.
So you must understand this through
right participation and practice of the law that is based on
real understanding and the fundamental law is the law of
self-transcendence awakening to that which is
As I pointed out to you the other
evening, no matter whether or not there is survival after
death is not important in the sense that if you could find
out that, yes, indeed there is survival after death and it
is also inevitable or that that would become a kind of
reason to feel consoled or feel good or relax fear of death
and so forth, it’s not that at all.
That’s not the significance or
the importance of coming to some sort of basic certainty
about this matter. Rather as I pointed out to you, there is
a reason for coming to some basic certainty about this. It
is so you will come to an understanding of the nature of
existence and whichever of the two decisions you might make
about the matter, yes, there is survival and, no, there is
not, you see, each of those two propositions determines a
view of reality, a view of life, a view of existence and
enforces a habit relative to it all.
There isn’t anything
fundamentally consoling about the reality of survival of
death if you understand what that entire process entails
basically. It’s not consoling and in any case the
events will happen in your own case and not knowable
altogether in advance, but they will be determined
altogether by your habit while alive.
That is certainly true if you
understand all of this truly. So the question about survival
of death is very important relative to the matter of
practice altogether because to come to a certainty about it
in the affirmative suggests something about the nature of
existence that makes real practice, serious practice, a
It will make you serious in other
words, rather than just a gleeful believer. Some teachers
respond to questions about death. Very often teachers are
asked, “What will happen to me after death?”
“Will I survive death,” and so forth and
they’ll say, “Why are you concerned about the
future? Why don’t you deal with what’s happening
right now,” and so forth.
That’s true enough. You must
deal ultimately with existence in the present but all of
your considerations must improve that capacity. On the other
hand, it’s not frivolous to consider this matter of
survival of death. It is worthy of serious consideration and
the reason why it is worthy of serious consideration is
because an understanding of that matter will indicate to you
the nature of existence and will, therefore, if the matter
is rightly understood, lead you to serious
It is one among many factors that
can do this. So I don’t see any reason to dismiss such
a discussion. It is not an oblique question that can’t
be answered. One can come to an understanding about all
this. Added to that whole consideration of course is your
own life, your own experience, so it is important to come to
an understanding of this, a point of view about it, because
it’s really about your point of view about life, about
existence. What is it about? What is if for? How are you
If it is a serious question such as
this matter, never answered by you, you give as little doubt
about it, amused by the possibilities on both sides, you
will never come to a presumption about it and you will also
never come to a presumption about life itself, about
existence altogether and will never become serious then,
never become purposed.
You will never transcend yourself in
that case; will never become involved in the process that is
most fundamental to existence itself. So it is right and
appropriate and basically necessary to come to a real
considered position about this matter for the sake of
practice, not for the sake of consolation, not for the sake
of mere believing. Practice is not merely about improving
your estate while alive and then who knows what happens
after that you see.
Practice is about participation in
existence itself, that which is most fundamental and
therefore that which ultimately even transcends your present
lifetime, which transcends your apparent individuality,
which transcends this appearance and all other possibilities
as well. So even while alive you must participate in that
which is ultimate.
This means you must come to a real
understanding about that which is the case altogether and
that which is true about conditional existence altogether.
Now you do know that you can suffer greatly while bodily
alive and there really is no limit on the definition on how
profoundly you can suffer while there is nothing about dying
that is going to eliminate that possibility. This is
Mere death is further projection
into a scheme of things that is full of positives and
negatives. Some basic factors of the death process and the
after death process can be presumed on the basis of serious
consideration. On the other hand, much of it remains a
mystery because it is not merely predetermined. It is
something in some basic sense you are creating by the form
of your participation in existence even
If you have a serious consideration
of the nature of possibility even while alive in the body,
you will no longer frivolously, merely frivolously or
mechanically, being indulging in life in the life process.
You will rather submit that process to the law, to the
greater purpose, the ultimate purpose, to the process of
submission to happiness.
To submit to happiness one cannot
merely choose the positive of possibilities you see because
the negatives are all part and parcel of anything that may
be positive at some moment or another. To submit to
happiness one must submit to that which transcends positive
Therefore to submit to happiness one
must submit to the process of self-transcendence of
So submission to happiness requires
profound seriousness, freedom from frivolousness, mechanical
tendency, mere conventionality, and one must become involved
in a profound investigation of one’s self, the results
of activities, immediate results, long-term results, even
results that pass beyond the death of the body.
So why should one organize
one’s self relative to existence presently and
potentially in the future in such a way that that could
become unhappiness and bewilderment and unenlightenment and
non-realization. Why should one make such a choice? Can you
justify making such a choice? Then don’t do
Make the choice of happiness itself
and realize it and do that which is realization. Be
realization. Realize the power of it and you will also lose
your fear of possibly, losing that power or that capacity
under some circumstances that you can’t account for
presently, such as something or other that may appear after
death. You lose that fear the more you realize the power of
self-transcendence, inherent power of it.
Having said that however I get the
demonstration you all made as a gathering for the last
fifteen years or so after all that time, and many of you
here for most of that time, you still are by your own
estimation a sheer beginner. And what did you do with five,
ten or fifteen years then when you were given the
opportunity to respond to this offering.
It seems you see that you
didn’t take it seriously, you were not serious. You
preferred consolations, illusions, mechanical gestures, even
your own bewilderment, your weakness. You have this idea on
how the time is going to take care of everything, that time
takes care of it or it will be taken care of.
You must understand the mechanics of
conditional existence do not merely lead you toward
happiness. They don’t do anything of the kind.
Happiness is a matter of understanding and transcending all
of that. This of course is something you must come to
understand and realize. But this is what is understood or
realized when one makes a serious investigation of
And if you become serious you will
also not be planning to devote any great lot of time to
being a beginner or to wheel spinning or creating a
foundation for practice and so forth. You will be moved with
great intensity in every moment. You will accomplish the
foundation directly and therefore as quickly as
Likewise, your participation in all
of the stages will be profound, most intense and serious and
for real and what there is to be transcended in the context
of any stage will be transcended in your case directly and
therefore as quickly as possible.
Just as the choice of anything but
happiness is unreasonable truly, therefore the choice of
anything but that serious and most intense and quickening
disposition is unreasonable.
What you see by tendency you seem to
propose an alternative to what is only reasonable and
therefore you are just blinking into your karmas, submitting
to changes and consoling yourself by imagining that it has
something to do with religion.
Religion doesn’t have anything
to do with unconsciousness. True religion has everything and
most fundamentally only to do with a conscious process, in
other words, responsibility for participation and
transcendence. Nothing else is true religion. It is also
something you must come to understand and realize. All of
this therefore belongs to the foundation of the
It belongs to the beginnings of the
way. The more you mature even in the beginning stages, the
more you will demonstrate this seriousness, this intensity,
this reasonableness, this intelligence. It is not
intelligent merely to submit to time, merely to submit to
changes, merely to submit to possibility and conventional
hopes. A real and intelligent investigation of the things of
nature or conditional existence ought to dissuade you of
that kind of casualness.
Human beings seem to be creating a
fantasy version of reality always and then closing
themselves in it through all kinds of social and cultural
instruments so that they don’t have to come in touch
with real reality or real nature constantly going on
How does nature work? How does
conditional existence work? Take a look at it. It’s not
leading any being toward immortality or happiness and even
by stealth or strategy you cannot accomplish immortality or
happiness by manipulating conditional possibilities. All
that is ultimately confounded by events in nature including
death. While alive you may constantly enforce certain kinds
of experience that you find pleasurable.
You may try to enclose yourself in
those things, friendship, sex, food, entertainment as if
that were a kind of immortality, or as if that were going to
continue, but death comes anyway. Suffering happens anyway.
Frustration happens anyway. Loss happens anyway.
Last week several well known
entertainers died, they were popular and successful. They
represent to everyone signs of evident self-fulfillment;
being artful, being entertaining, being famous, being
wealthy, being amused and amusing, and basically all you
know of those people are their moments of entertainment,
their ceremonies of entertaining you in the movies, on
television. Then last week you all heard that those people
died. How much did you know about them apart from their
ceremonies of entertaining you?
Did you know anything about their
lives otherwise? Did you know anything about their lives in
their later years? Did you know anything about their
experiences about dying, their experiences in the death
process? They remain as these kind of archetypes Mickey
Mouse archetypes of happiness that suggest that human life
is ultimately an entertainment or civilization wins or
The pleasures of life are
self-sufficient and what they are otherwise is not projected
to you. You see you get entertainers shown to you.
They’re shown to you through their species or the
ceremonies of their entertaining of you.
But you’re not simultaneously
shown their real lives. You don’t see a Fred Astaire
movie and then see another film recounting his real life
experiences in between making of his dancing movies. You see
Jackie Gleason and the Honeymooners on some old reruns of
his TV programs but you weren’t’ also shown his
real personal life and sufferings and doubts and
disturbances and all the rest of it.
So who died? Well, Jackie Gleason on
the Honeymooners and Ralph Cramdon didn’t die. Fred
Astaire as some elegant dancer didn’t die. Those
programs still exist. Those movies still exist. You still
watch them. But Fred Astaire was a real human being and
Geraldine Page also and Jackie Gleason. These real people
died and they really suffered and they were really
bewildered, unrealized very likely.
Just as these professional
entertainers were projected to you only through their
archetypes, through their ceremonies of entertainment,
likewise you are tending to do the same thing for one
You are all playing a civilized
role, an archetype, a ceremony of self-presentation that is
suppose to continue the daily lie or to make life into a
ceremony that stands over against reality, real nature, real
happenings, the underworld of real processes so you can keep
amused. In some sense you use me as a kind of local
entertainer. Everybody presents himself or herself as a
persona in a civilized game where you’re supposed to
give certain signals that say, yes, life is
It is supposed to be purposed for
its own sake and so forth and the other aspects of yourself
are supposed to be kept hidden, kept very personal, kept in
a certain sphere of people you will consider it with, engage
in a more personal way, while the ceremony goes on, while
you continue to play your part.
So that’s one major obligation
people feel they have, that human beings feel they have,
this obligation to be a kind of archetypal participant in
the human ceremony and not to digress from, not to renounce,
not to step aside, not to step back, not to examine it as a
totality, not to transcend it, not to fail to be an
archetype of one kind or another to support the conventional
flow of things from a conventional allusion that everything
merely by going on is getting better and better.
Well this intention then to be a
civilized archetype is a very basic motive in your life
which you must examine. You falsify yourself or make
yourself into a persona constantly. You make yourself into a
mask constantly for this purpose, for this reason but
nonetheless you’re going to die.
You suffer. You are bewildered. You
have your doubts. You’re going to suffer. You can lose.
You’re wondering about it all and so on. When will that
other part of you be taken seriously? When will you deal
with it? Where will you deal with it? Under what
circumstances? Is there a place for it downtown, in your
childhood family situation, in your local churches, with
your psychiatrist. Is there a place for it?
Or does it require a different kind
of seriousness, unconventional seriousness and involvement
in the process of existence that is not the enemy of
civilized living but nonetheless is something much greater,
more profound and will make you more serious than
conventionally civilized persona.
Now in your time when you came into
my company looking for who knows what at this point, but I
would suppose that some basic aspect of it was some sort of
motive in yourself to break out of this civilized world of
mere convention and mere continuation and not only to
realize that which is great and which is happiness but to
become a participant in its very process and of course
that’s my word to you, yes, there is the absolute which
may be realized and is happiness itself but it’s not
merely a truth to be believed.
It requires a great process, a
different kind of living. It requires great seriousness,
profound self-understanding and real discipline. Of course
it’s that element of it that is the controversy in you.
It’s a matter of controversy in you. Am I serious
enough to do that? Can I get into that? Am I up to that? Do
I still doubt this or that? Am I ready for it? Would I
rather just live an ordinary life; all those kinds of
mediocre arguments that you present to yourself.
There’s never been any
controversy about whether you would like to be realized or
happy in the ultimate sense. That’s never really been a
matter of controversy with you. The controversy is a matter
of whether you will or not submit yourself to the real
process that it requires.
If you could agree to that, these
beginning stages would not be taking so much time, would not
already have taken so much time. The reason they seem to be
taking time, seem to have been taking so much time so far,
is that you were not able to agree to commit yourself to the
process required and therefore you have bewildered yourself.
You have weakened yourself. You have distracted and
You persuaded yourself otherwise.
You bought time. You let your wheels spin. You indulged
yourself in conventional self-fulfillment and playing the
ordinary games of humanity. You used up time. You used up
life really to no advantage. You made your doubt into your
karma. You made your self-possession into your destiny. You
submitted yourself to mediocrity.
So your question to get back to it
suggests that you are still in a position of such weakness
that you can doubt yourself in the context of possibilities
that you don’t even know yet beyond this lifetime. So
you’re not really asking a question. You’re just
describing yourself. You’re letting your own weakness
describe you and therefore determine the quality and
character of your existence altogether. You must observe
this and allow it to make you serious.
So how equipped are you? So on what
basis are you making your life then? Are you building your
life on the hope that things are going to turn out okay? Are
you betting that things are always going to be