Water and Narcissus
Recognition: The Likeness
Implication: The Water Itself
Narcissus is the mind.
Our ordinary life is the contemplation and exploitation of experience,
the contents and reactions of the mind, the intelligence of Narcissus.
Life as Narcissus is suffering. Thus we are not simply motivated to life but
also to self-knowledge. We are
Narcissus, the mind, because we are limited by experience, and because we
contemplate our selves as the subject of experience.
We are fascinated with the one who is the mind. Thus we either exploit experience, with its
alternative pleasures and pains, or we analyze and fix upon ourselves as the
form and force of the mind itself. Our
religion is the religion of Narcissus, the lover of the mind’s content and
form, the hero of impossible existence.
Recognition: The Likeness
The problem of true knowledge and spiritual truth is not
theological or intellectual, linguistic or cultural. It is the problem of the
spirit, the problem of the heart. It is the problem of realization. As such,
there is nothing to be believed and no dogma to be attained. Truth is revealed,
it is not published. What must be grasped is a way of life based on certain
knowledge of what destroys and what produces free life.
Therefore, the task before us is not the purification or
ever more perfect rendering of ancient texts and matters of report. This is a
temptation based on the need for the illusion of certainty. The teaching is
ours through living experience, through devotion to the path of life, to the
path of truth. Only in this is there any hope for truth, liberation, love,
freedom, realization and power.
The pursuit of the literate
answer, the mental solutions of our philosophy and theology, is uniquely
responsible for the confusion and smallness, the self-involved and anxious
energy of Western life and spiritual teaching. For this and not any mere
dogmatic reason we must abandon or surrender the motive to this kind of
seeking. We must become open to what is available at the center of life and
consciousness. We must be liberated from our bondage to externals, of which the
past is one form. Our effort must be concentrated in a present opening of life
The problem is how to realize
love and freedom. This is the Christian “ethic” or apparent life, and it is
also the ancient one. The Christian way is not a new ethic but a way for the
perfect realization of the ancient ethic. Love is not a new law but the
summation of the law. The solution is not love as a new law but the realization
of love through the perfection of one’s identity with it. And the way to this
realization of perfection is “faith”, which is a whole and perfect internal
opening rather than a partial or external conformity. Anything less than
perfection is sin. And sin is forgiven in order to liberate us to perfection.
The goal is the liberation from the path of sin, a perfect restoration to God.
Righteousness under law is conformity to a certain external life in order to
deserve God’s favor. Righteousness by faith is a freedom growing toward
totality from the motive to sin itself. It is restoration to the principle and
force of God in one’s own being. It is divine life.
And so the solution is not that
we must love. As such we are under a law and must refine our mental awareness
of all the possible aspects of that manifestation. Neither is the solution that
we must believe particular thing or system of things. Love, forms of knowledge,
etc. are free manifestations of the genius of realized life. The solution is
not the exhaustive investigation of anything, for we are not under constraint
to conform to anything. There is no hope in any conformity and so no hope in
any analysis and refinement of categories and systems. We are free of all that
and the false motive that creates. Them. Every man under law must refine his
awareness in order to conform perfectly. He is anxious for his own
transformation to perfect conformity. But the Christian is notified.: there is
no hope and no salvation in conformity to externals. It is necessary to be
The problem is the problem of
the heart. The solution is actual surrender and realization. Faith or openness
and surrender before God is the only path open to us. All else is partial and
distracting, built on the motive of our sin, our failure to love and be free,
our bondage to numberless fascination, our dark urge to mortal superiority.
There is always the possibility
and at times the overwhelming temptation of flight into privacy, separateness,
external and absolute self-sufficiency and satisfaction. The work of surrender is to break down the
barrier between self and persons and Reality (God). The tendency is to separateness and exile and
death. The work is for union,
relationship, freedom and love. Knowing
that one is universally committed to the dark path one can surrender all one’s
parts. There are no elements that are
good and true and apart from one’s sins.
The whole nature manifests the one perversion and so one is free to
surrender everything and thereby release the force at life’s center.
It is not merely a matter of
improving and perfecting relationships.
Such is a creative work of the divine energy as it grows in us. It is, rather, a matter of moving from a
subjective condition of bondage and ignorance to an active and responsible
life. It is a matter of proceeding into
conscious existence and the infinite growth it allows. It is not mysticism or transcendent
consciousness but divine life which is whole and realized on every level.
All sins are manifestations of
one event or mode of experience. All sin
is a move toward self-fulfillment in independence to the point of absolute
separateness. It emanates from a closed
condition at the center and thus at every point of life. Every tendency or act at any moment is but a
single expression of a universal system of the self. And thus the cure is not in the repression,
manipulation or sublimation of any part but in a conscious act at the
center. Thus always we must return to
the heart and surrender and open. And
over time the holy spirit, the transcendent power, transforms the life and
makes it whole, a divine manifestation rather than a sinful one.
The quality of sin is that it
is always resisting the holy spirit. And
thus the quality of faith is surrender, openness and acceptance of the one
principle we are given: grace, the
miraculous, transforming power of God.
The problem of faith is ever present to the spiritual man. And it is this: the acceptance of grace. Grace is the gift of the gospel. It is its hidden force. And the acceptance of grace is the problem of
faith. It is the deeper and deeper
opening and surrendering and receiving.
Faith is always related to grace.
And grace is the one thing preached.
God gives all grace, every
gift, all power and every miracle. He
creates every goal, provides all wisdom and knowledge and exists as the
substance of every attainment. We are
absolutely dependent on grace. Yet we
are called upon for an immense effort, not in terms of the goal and the result,
but in terms of sin. We are to repent,
to surrender the entire motive of sin.
Even this calling is ours by grace, and the capability is ours by
calling on grace. This is the work of
faith as opposed to the righteous work that concentrates in the goal and
splendid object of transformation. We
must make ourselves available to grace through surrender. He who fails to see this has failed to
recognize his own suffering and ignorance or the need for what comes from
God. He is still dependent on himself,
though he speaks sublimely of the grace of God.
Repentance must go deep. It must be surrender. Or else it is a mere attitude directed within
the superficial spectrum of the moral mind and life. But surrender opens a man to the transforming
force of God which creates divine life.
And through it the moral man is made graceful along with all the high
and lower natures which he knows and does not know.
Passion and mortification,
willful attachment and willful detachment, are the opposite extremes of the
bondage of the will in response to its own suffering. But their source is in a single cause which is
willful self-love, sin or ignorance, the will created by suffering, by life
perceiving its nature as separation from a universe. Passion is the exploitation of the desire for
various entities. Detachment is
exploitation of the desire for the ultimate entity.
Worship is not the essential
spiritual act. Surrender, total
repentance is the essential and original act.
Worship is the fruit, the grace, the grateful capability. As surrender deepens it becomes coincident
with union and joyous contemplation and reception of grace, which is worship.
Mere belief or static “faith”
is insufficient to destroy the life of works-righteousness. The religious man in his conceit thinks he
has abandoned work and its extremes (passion and detachment) and motives. But only constant surrender over time is
freedom and the condition of faith, which is also freedom from the power of the
way of works.
The law is any kind of
prescription for or description of active or nominal life which can properly be
accepted as a goal or good for man. This
includes not only moral laws but modes of relationship to God, and also all
philosophical and religious statements of any kind. Thus even prayer and worship are laws,
prescriptions in the same sense as ritual and cultic prescriptions for
sacrifices. All religious and moral laws
are ideals, goals, realizations. Thus
all of them are already the fruits of grace and not the way to grace. Prayer and worship, love and moral goodness,
right thinking, the understanding of ultimate and real nature and spiritual
truth, etc., all are the evidence of life already in the process of
transformation. Thus none are a way, a
means, a method. None are even possible
to a life that is yet unopened to grace.
And so there is no religious life to be prescribed for men. There is nothing to which we must be
conformed. Surrender is the only possibility. And for this we need recognize nothing
sublime. We need only recognize our
suffering, ignorance, despair and the whole system of false life. This is that in which we are
concentrated. We need not concentrate in
the opposite of every mode of sin, which is the way of conformity to law, the
attempt to transform life by conforming it to moral, religious and other active
prescriptions. Surrender is our proper
sacrifice and only it leaves us open to God’s power.
The yearning and search for
experiences on every level is the way of fascination. Whether the object be a sexual image, a
philosophy, drug ecstasy or mystical visions, the search for objects is the
same. In this search God and pornography
are the same. The true path is in seeing
this truth and thereby surrendering the tempting objects. In that freedom there is an opening which
allows the true creative force to operate and transform life and
consciousness. Most of the time I am
endlessly seeking distraction and fascination, my mind flying in many
directions, now to erotic forms, now to spiritual ideas. In the midst of this I imagine I am torn in two
directions, between the high and the low, the physical and the spiritual. But in fact I am only fascinated, closed, in
bondage. It is not a matter of finally
choosing the spiritual or the physical but of seeing through the way of
fascination, truly and deeply witnessing its causes and effects in ignorance
and suffering. The life of sin is a
striving for union, for satisfaction is a mass of alternative and absolute
forms. It is burdened with its
self-created and impossible desires.
are its conscious goals. Thus, relieved
through knowledge, one becomes aware of the essential force or “God”. In the concentration which is freedom from
striving one grows in the power of the light.
I am prone to a feeling of
tightness, particularly in the heart and stomach, but also in other areas. It is anxiety or doubt of being or in
being. Life and death, both principles
are necessary and operative in me and all other particularities. Thus I can work to create “good” conditions
is a failure with regard to reality itself.
It is a desire to escape the death side and thus to flee from the dual
nature of existence. In me it manifests
as a will to paradise, to ecstasy in imagination, to distraction and fascination. It is the way without faith or peace.
This fear, anxiety and doubt
seems necessary, for in fact all future conditions are indefinite. However, these perceptions are not created by
the fact of indefiniteness but a desire to escape it. They want to create a kingdom of certainty,
of absolute pleasure. Thus I pursue all
forms of knowledge and fascinating experience.
I am in endless thought, erotic imagination, etc. This is a failure to accept the death side as
necessary and identical to the life process.
It is a refusal to die any death.
But when this flight is truly seen, then one can be free of fear,
anxiety and doubt with regard to one’s very being. Energy can be directed into the life
enterprise itself because one sees that its dual aspect is necessary and that
life, peace and freedom are to be realized only by a concentration within the
awesome duality. Then formerly we found
only death by fleeing death and embracing a phantom life, but now we will know
life in growing degrees by embracing the certain principles of reality.
There is no escape nor any need
to escape simply because death is here.
Death is in every realm, even as in the cycle of flowers. We need only surrender within the dual
principle and let God create. We need
seek no union, which is the attainment of a single principle in opposition to
another dark one, but only accept and realize that union is already the reality
behind the dual principle of life and consciousness. This that we now know is union and life with
The way of the “law” is the
search for union beyond what is possible to the present condition. It seeks to earn what is not otherwise
given. It is false because the principle
with which it begins is separation as an essential, a priori condition. Thus it is always dealing in the language of
The way of “faith” accepts
grace. Thus it assumes union as the a
priori or most prior condition. Its
effort is not directed toward a paradoxical and at last impossible goal. Rather, it is directed upon the ignorant
motives that create suffering and the striving based on the illusion of
separation. Its goal is not
righteousness but surrender. It is
always surrendering, opening, relaxing, receiving, loving, enjoying. It allows itself to be created, changed. It allows life and death. Its language is the language of prior union
and of the need for surrender.
In my flight I have refused to
accept and require the world to be necessary.
No object is necessary. There is
no loved one. I do not desire. I deal solely with myself through the fire of
imagination. Thus I am immune, cold,
closed. I am Narcissus. I must confess my existence and my
desire. I must see these as good and
thus become dependent on the world’s realities.
Thus I will be drawn by desire to objects and satisfied in real
participation. Thus also I will move
from the consoling religion of the mind to a dependence on the sustaining and
creative force at the heart of life.
Having failed to be confessed, to desire outwardly and
thus become justified as a creature in the world, I am fascinated in secret by
the imaginary creations of my own frustration.
I seem forever passionate and in search.
I do not love. I do not
enjoy. I must open to the law of my life
as a creature. I must open utterly. Thus I will realize my life as a man and as a
divine subject, continuous with and creative as the divine power and
consciousness. Union is not only “out
there”. It is here. But life here is not in despair, somehow dark
or qualified by mortality. “God is light
and in him is no darkness at all.” Thus,
wherever is union there is light and divinity.
The world must be founded in light, and in the deep things light must be
realized in marvels.
Faith is the acceptance of the
principle of union. All else is striving
for union out of despair. Faith moves by
concrete desire to fulfillment with real objects. It can be happy because it is not seeking the
absolute which it has lost or never known.
To the man without faith satisfaction is absolute. His every desire seeks an utter release, an
ecstatic and overwhelming pleasure, a union through fascination. It can never attain this and so it is always
striving and yearning. But faith
realizes union throughout the whole existence.
Union is not the separate goal of its every desire. Thus it is not endlessly involved with sex
and pleasure. It is not continuously
fascinated with death, which ends the whole effort and consciousness of
fascinated striving. It does not
alternate between license and asceticism, fascination and the overcoming of
fascination, absolute energy and absolute death. Faith knows it cannot be satisfied to the
absolute degree (by any experience). Its
satisfaction is prior and universal.
Thus, all its desires and objects are manifestations of love, openness,
freedom and happiness. It grows in the
realization of union, denying neither the creature nor the soul, and asserting
neither creature nor soul as absolute to the exclusion of the other. Faith knows its ultimate satisfaction is not
in any particular, not in any object or experience. Where union and real satisfaction is sought
in every particular mode of life, there is suffering and dissatisfaction. This is the pain of ignorance. It is the potential flight into exhaustion. Faith knows this possibility to be in
error. It knows the fruits of surrender
to this temptation. Thus, the energy is
not devoted to license, nor to the resistance to objects of desire, but to
surrender, opening, freedom and happiness.
It moves itself constantly into contact, relationship with persons and
all reality, and real action. Thus real
life is made possible through the realization of prior union with the Divine.
I resist and take flight from
the material and life condition. The
crux of the spiritual life for me now is to see and embrace this mode of
reality. The material realm is
relentless in its lawfulness. It is all
cause and effect. I am always seeking a
magic by which to overcome the laws of physics.
But the mater forms are there and hard, dragging me into the necessary
acceptance of their reality. To now I
have tended to anxiety, impatience, self-pity and despair, striving after forms
of immunity and passivity and superiority.
I have opposed the law and thus failed to transcend and master it. Thus also I oppose the creative, endlessly
active life forms. The intrusion of life
around me makes my passive artifice impossible.
But when I accept these forms and their laws as necessary reality, then
I am peaceful. The effort of work required
of me to live and create and remain in relationship is a labor I am grateful to
maintain. And the noise and process that
shatters the aesthetic heaven of my household is acceptable, being a reasonable
expression of life in the condition of material existence. Thus, being at one with these laws, I am firm
and untroubled. I master and transcend
each material problem, and I become alive and in motion, exceeding the barriers
of aesthetic space, in a mood with all creative life. Thus the hard earth and stove at my foot and
hand teach me. And thus the children
teach me. It is unreasonable to seek
peace, for this aesthetic pursuit in fact seeks to undermine and thwart the foundations
of life and materiality. It is necessary
to be already peaceful, one with the law, and thus to create in the world of
The same motive that qualifies
and destroys the love relationship is operative universally in a man, so that I
see the same obstacle is to be overcome in the attempt to surrender and open in
spiritual exercise. It is the motive to
separation, immunity, superiority and self-sufficiency. Thus one clings to all sorts of mental
sufficiency’s, from erotic images and the idea of erotic life to spiritual
knowledge and ecstatic awareness. Always
you think you have it, something necessary to hold on to. But always you are only seeking to remain
closed, untouchable. Thus in love one
must see the division that produces guilt and suffering and dissatisfaction.
The problem is that one chooses
methods of experience that negate the necessity of the loved-one. One is satisfied and isolated, unopen. Seeing this as the fact which one suffers,
which causes guilt, one can abandon the temptation and ever more strongly
embrace and love the lover. Just so, the
spirit in its depth tends to this solitary state. And thus the problem is to be overcome by
seeing at every moment that the motive which is preventing surrender of
whatever one clings to at the time is really a motive to separateness and
contraction, however marvelous the object seems. Knowing, then, that one’s life is false and
death-seeking, the alternative is opened to us as true.
The genuine motive of life, the
natural form, from which some perversity or negative force has turned us, is
union. Thus we must surrender the
present motive which endlessly excludes and negates, and love, desire, seek,
open toward and weep for the grace of God.
We must consciously turn from the unconscious life of separation and death
toward active love, openness and union.
The mind created in the affect of separation doubts and denies the
reality of God or undivided and free life.
Seeing this to be due to the perverse and false motive, one then also
sees that God is indeed the real and necessary goal.
I am prone to use every
experience or encounter as a justification to the motive of separation. I use it to excuse myself to negativity,
self-pity, contraction and superiority.
This motive is universal in me and the work of my life is to oppose this
motive and the life of death it creates.
The inability to surrender has only one cause, whatever the particular
case. It is the will to separation, to
limitation, to control and sufficiency.
The mind always draws the line, and this enclosure of consciousness is
the “self” or universe of forms that is the root of suffering and error. There is nothing to do but surrender, ever
deeper. All else is failure, a hardening
and excluding process. The process in
consciousness is not negative. It is in
fact aspiration. It is yearning after
that which we see our perversity excludes and denies.
“God” is an object in a
universe of language. To pursue
religious truth by the effort to create a whole theology is really to pursue a
circle about oneself. For the “I” is the
God of language. I create the universe
of thought, and thus God is never more than one of many things within it. God as reality is the integrity of all
things, even of myself. And so language
or any objective mode is no way to Him.
All my thoughts and every
motive in me seeks to create by its special alchemy a system, a perfection, an
artifice of perfect fascination, an enclosure.
And I am the superior, the advocate, the creator of each special
universe, and of the great universe of my immunity and pleasure. Every motion in me has as its end this
contraction, this separation, although pursuing it as if it were an opening, a
union. And against this there is but one
liberating force. As I concentrate
deeply in myself and see the tendencies and motions and distractions raging
temptations in me, closing and knotting me from head to toe, I say in myself:
Why should I not open? To open is the
only justified mode of life. To close is
artifice based on a confusion of motives.
It tempts because I am already closed.
But to open is an act or goal that can be read in the very forms of my
Just as the forms of flowering
plants dictate a single and simple form for the continuing force of life, in me
I see the same necessity. For all
contraction kills by strangulation and all the self-suffering diseases we
create in reaction to our own poison.
And so the path of life is clear.
It is to open and abandon the motive and temptations of contraction, of
separation. By this path also all love
and every subtle truth and form is realized.
By it, by the sciences of this process, we come to a description of
things and a practical technology that flowers life, but we are also free from
being possessed of the goal of perfect descriptions and perfect technologies,
the alchemy’s of religion and science.
The goal of every alchemy, every reconciliation of opposites, is victory
over the nature itself. But true life in
victorious only over its own falsity.
The need is not for any superior artifice, a perfect self, but a perfect
alliance with the force behind the manifestation.
Faith is the one necessity in
the sense of a capacity for constant surrender and opening beyond the forms of
thought and culture. Faith is a constant
abandonment or letting go of all principles deemed necessary by the independent
systems of mind and life. It is creative
participation in the force of our own nature and all nature. It is the mood in which the real, the loved-one,
the unknown, the living force is always necessary, and thus one is free of the
temptation to satisfaction in the artifices of memory and timidity.
It is not a matter of resisting
all fascinations. This is impossible and
exhausting. It is a matter of
understanding that we are fascinated, in flight, avoiding the basic consciousness. Thus, from moment to moment, we will feel the
temptation and know it to be a force that would distract us from the true
object. Thus we will concentrate deeper
in what remains, what stands out to consciousness. We will face the undiscribed energy of the
heart. And by opening deeper there we
will grow into freedom and grace. Thus
we will not be resisting what in fact we desire, but we will be already free,
knowing the tempting object to be an illusory distraction. We will be faithful from moment to moment
until the grace in life opens to us and liberates us from the war against sin.
Concerning the ultimate
liberation I seek in the mysterious stories of the spiritual life, I have never
attained it, never believed anything I have ever seen or heard. It is not, then, a fault in the report or in
reality that has made my conversion impossible but my dependence on them; my
seeking through the use of them an undeniable and overwhelming encounter that
will transform me by force. This is the
path of sin, of works, of the solid heart, the unopened self. And so this trial, like everything I do, at
last only describes to me the nature of my own ill. It only manifests further my failure, which
is the failure to open and to be free.
Thus I am given no miracles, but I am forced to see myself as I am in
the pursuit of them. My life, in all its
forms, is one act of resistance. It is
not a failure to open, thus needing “opener”, but a resistance to opening. My failure is a conscious path, a resistance
to life, and attempt to preserve myself, to keep myself secure from pain and
death, distracted in every escape and fascination of the mind.
Yet, even this awareness fails
to create or coincide with an opening in me.
At best it confirms me in despair and the acts of despair. It has the effect of making me feel
“seen”. Belief is “works”. Just so is any other manipulation of my life. I cannot act on the principles of
self-knowledge any more than on those of miracles and proofs. My dilemma is thorough and relentless. The more I see of myself and the world, the
more I am convicted of despair, for I am closed and pursuing the path of
resistance. There is no hope in the
pursuit of understanding of miracles, nor in any other pursuit, for in all of
these I place the opening of my life into the future and conceive it as a
consequence of certain experiences. I
conceive of grace as that manifestation which requires by its overwhelming
quality the reaction of opening in me.
Thus I am always pursuing the magic fact. But in fact all that is created as
consequence in me is resistance. I am
committed to my research, my goal. I am
in motion. My life is created by a root
error. Grace is not that which produces
or creates faith but that which faith realizes.
The problem is not the discovery, recovery or recognition of grace but
faith, the opening itself. The opening
is prior to any manifestation of “grace”, any realization. Thus the true path of experience proceeds
from an open condition and continues to deepen it. But my path proceeds from a closed condition
and continues in it. To me, grace is the
virtue, for it creates opening. This is
the conception of a failure. Opening
must be known as the virtue. In my path
of resistance I think I seek opening, but I perceive that opening is the very
thing I perpetually and thoroughly resist.
This is my suffering. My
suffering is not the lack of any thing.
I continually think that what I lack is this or that, a miracle, a
woman, an experience. I am dependent on
things and events, and, whether I possess them or not, I am never
satisfied. I cannot be satisfied, for
the very heart of my life resists every object, every experience, the whole
particularity and totality of things.
My suffering is my resistance
to opening. It is not my lack of
opening. It is not that I must
open. This is only a law conceived by
resistance. Such opening is an object of resistance like any other fascinating
thing. My suffering is the resistance,
the act of closing, the refusal to open and surrender itself. It is always there. It is the primary condition wherein I meet
anything and everything. In it I meet
the next thought, the next experience, the next pleasure, the next moment. I meet everything as if it were a death, a
Thus, now and in the future, I
am encountering only one primary reality which is of consequence to me. It is
my resistance, my will to separation, to closure, to superiority, to immunity.
My experience is not divided into some good and avoid the bad is an illusion
because my experience is of one thing: my resistance to opening. My anxiety,
then, is unjustified because I can never enjoy that which I seek or avoid that
which I fear. I can only perpetuate the one experience. My life and
consciousness is a solid, impenetrable mass unavailable to any reality.
If I examine my life, my
desires, my will, I see this to be perfectly true of me. And everything I seek
possesses one quality: it symbolizes, embodies or promises release,
fascination, and satisfaction. To compensate for the essential reality I
perceive in me, I extend my suffering by creating a will, whether or not I
thoroughly dare to act on it, to a contemplated and projected universe of
entities infused with my own passion and hope for release. And so my life is
not only closed but also anxiously pursuing the overwhelming, total and final
accomplishment of that universe. This is the vision of the drug addict and the
religious fanatic. And as a consequence of the necessary failure such a life
entails, I come also to wish for and periodically top will a release from this
kind of life.
As a man bound to such an
illusory search comes to identify his goals with reality and, in his failure,
comes to hate the reality of the world, just so, in his despair of this path of
life he comes to identify it with his very life, and thus may hate it even to
the point of suicide. Thus, most men are fixed in one or another degree of
aggressive hate or self-hate. And the root problem is the same in any case: the
refusal to be open.
Always, in my contemplation or
suffering, I come to one will. I am about to commit myself passionately to the
goal of release. I am about to get high, drunk, laid, occupied. I am about to
seek a spiritual or philosophical goal. I am about to commit contra-acts to my
frustration. Even if I perceive the root of my trouble I erect its opposite as
my goal: I am going to try to open. And I think that if I open I will realize
this or that, joy, freedom, and power.
Thus, I am still pursuing an effect through a goal. It is still a path moving out of the
essential fact of resistance and closure.
Seeing this, I may attempt to understand why I am resisting and closed,
neither loving nor enjoying love, listening but not hearing my own truth,
passionately seeking and equally resisting my own goal. At times I abandon and fail. At times I exploit all goals and so become a
libertine and fail. I pursue both the
origin, the primary and prior innocence, and the end, the exhaustive
experience. But there is no release, but
always the same recognition of the dilemma.
I must be opened, yet I must be already open. For a time I imagine I am progressing, merely
by the fact that I am becoming more conscious of the problem. I think: a few more cycles, a few more
returns and I’ll suddenly be free. Thus
I allow the periods of discipline and indulgence.
To this consciousness all
spiritual truths are stone. The gospel
of grace, of forgiveness, is as impenetrable as a Zen ko-an. For, even though I am as I describe myself, the
truth of the gospel is not that I am to be free of all this in a future life
beyond this world where the cause of my sin will be taken away. Such a religious conception is only a goal
like all my goals, a creation of my unopened life. In fact the gospel claims that the power of
sin is removed by faith. Forgiveness is
not consolation but liberation. And so,
clearly, I have refused the gospel and every other reality in all the
world. I have simply refused, closed,
withdrawn. The miracles and manifestations
of Christ are the same as any one of the sentences he speaks in the traditional
report. I have listened and watched, but
I have not heard or seen. I cling to one
thing: my resistance, the satisfactory immunity of my closure
This is the crucial matter. It is all the same whether I bring my
suffering to pleasures, disciplines or the holy spirit’s power. There is no grace, no answer, no
satisfaction. I am given no vicarious
release but only temporary relief and distractions.
To date this is the sum of my
The gospel is not expressed
most particularly and necessarily by any act or event in Jesus’ life. The
teaching is all that is given. The gospel is as fully presented in the simple
preaching of Jesus as in his miracles, resurrection, etc. The gospel is not
overwhelming in any sense. It is only for those who “hear & see”. Those who
are not moved by the simple teaching will not receive the mighty report. And
those whose opening is true are not dependent on the implications of startling events.
The gospel is this: open and surrender to the God who is with you. Fulfill life
and receive life. Nothing convinces but a direct, unswerving and deep encounter
with this calm. There is one teaching: repent and receive the life. The demand
of the gospel is always the same: that we let go of our controlling error and
all the forms it creates. This demand is no more exactly and fully present in
miracles and cosmic effects than in the words themselves. The problem is not in
the presentation or the implication and promises, or the lack of these, but in
the one who hears. We are only called to openness and surrender,
self-knowledge, responsibility and life. Once we surrender and open and are
committed to that path, in contrast to the alternative, we will begin to grow
in realization. The path of surrender must be a total path, as thorough as the
path of resistance, and not a mere counter path.
Open and receive the grace of
the holy spirit in all your parts. Be filled. It will teach and transform and
reveal. But do not expect grace to be given, after which you will open to it.
Grace is already given. It is not the goal. What we require is surrender, not
another grace. Surrender is what we must
ask for, not any manifestation.
To the unrelieved man all self-knowledge
leads to a law: surrender. He must
surrender. He must open. He must cease to resist. But in his attempt he reaches despair again
and is closed more, so that his will is poisoned again. In truth, surrender and opening are the way
of life, but they are not accomplished by a law imposed on the mind and
life. In doing so one only realizes
again that one is closed. The true man
is not doing differently. He is
surrendering and opening and growing.
But he is simply doing so. It is
the single response of his nature at least during his most concentrated and
conscious periods. And these periods
grow to include the whole of his life.
My whole difficulty is
epitomized inn one original act: the rejection of God as reality. Thus I fail in all relationships. Whatever is the case with other men, I am in
need of a conversion to God. Until then,
even my surrender is a resistance to Him.
Surrender is the acceptance and reception of God. It is not a waiting for manifestations,
proofs or liberation but the response, the natural life, the ultimate act and
characteristic of the man of faith who already knows the one source of his hope
and life. It is not a search for the
Spirit but growth through reception of the Spirit.
The problem is not simply the
not-having of faith toward God but the active rejection and resistance to
God. We resist not because God is real,
marvelous or unbelievable but because He appears to function negatively, as
judge in terms of what the world is and what we tend to be. Thus resistance to God is resistance to His
claim upon us, to the moral transformation which faith entails.
The constriction in my heart is
my deep desire to believe and live the joy of faith, yet I resist this because
I cling to a system of thinking as well as a personal moral reluctance which
cannot allow the opening. I regard the
gospel as incredible, compromised, untrue, or consisting of a certain system of
psychological truth presented in an impossible tradition of miraculous
nature. Thus I am closed and tight,
fleeing for relief to various exploits.
Yet in this I am not only closed to that religious report but to life,
love, freedom, all my faculties, all things, nature itself as deep experiences,
Religious forms, historical,
apocalyptic, or gnostic, are designed to create and maintain the effect of a
certain religious emotion or relationship.
They are used to cause the opening of surrender, to guarantee it to
history. But such forms decay and die
over time. They, even so, become rigid
and necessary formulas which later devotees madly defend. Yet they must be abandoned. Even so, the word of life remains our
essential need. The opening of
surrender, which contains the judgment (the letting go of self) and grace (the
reception of power), is necessary to life.
The word is all that Jesus offers.
And miraculous reports do not add to, serve, or guarantee the effect of
the word. Whatever the truth and reality
of such claims, they are not necessary or sufficient to the expression,
reception, and effect of the word.
The miracles, visions, and
divine manifestations of the Force of God are part of the cosmic order. They are as real as trees and flowers. But they are not given prior to surrender. Surrender is required before any special
divinity is known and understood and enjoyed.
Surrender is not response to the miraculous but response to the word of
life It is the principle of growth. And
once it is realized as the law and work of our nature, then we too will grow in
life and consciousness, wisdom and power and divine grace. We will speak a religious language of our
own, for religious language is simply the language of realization. But the true teaching is not given in
religious language but plain language.
It confronts us as a demand, an undeniable insight into our fundamental
problems, the error of our lives.
On the dark, negative days my
sense of failure, frustration and hopelessness is extended by the feeling that
God has left me, or that my ignorant will has not, cannot and will never open
to His Presence. During those periods
there are no answers at all, no way out.
Neither submitting nor refusing to the temptation solves the difficulty. Yet I think I see that during both the dark
and the lighter periods it is the Divine itself which is at work, trying to
realize itself alive and free and strong on a deeper level. The dark hours are not an estrangement from
the Divine but the death of self which is the very goal of the work of
surrender. I am almost certain of this
because these periods are always followed by a renewal of strength and of the
will to surrender. The dark periods are
only a crisis, followed by re-birth. Yet
the cycles of positive and negative experience revolve regularly, and the work
Whatever is the case regarding
the ultimate liberation and most future fulfillment to which we are being led
through creation, it is clear that whatever we know ourselves to be at any
moment (flesh, mind, ego, relations, self, psyche, emotions, etc.) is mortal
and must die. Our death is the death of
ourselves entirely. It is for this
reason we are called to open and let go of everything toward God. God is our direction, not merely our
source. He is not behind us in act and
memory, as creator, past revealer, law-giver, and thus persistent in law,
memory, obedience, etc. Rather he is
before us, he calls us, and thus he calls us to death, to the surrender of all
we know and are, all knowledge and understanding gained on the basis of a
continuum of experience out of the past.
For all that was and is
mortal. It will and must
die. And thus we are called to fear
dependence on anything, be it life or pleasures or ideas or relations, even God
himself as we know or have proven or understood or seek him. The God who calls us to immortality, to life,
to liberation in a conscious act and relationship, and thus to surrender of
what is mortal and what leads to death.
We are called to let go of every mortal thing. We are called not to abandon what is, even the
world, but to freedom in it and to growth.
We are called not to bondage freedom in it and to growth. We are called not to bondage and
identification with what appears to be at any moment, but to a free use, a free
expression, a free life directed and opening toward what is alive. Love is the principle of free life, not a
method of behavior in sin and despair and folly, for that is merely
understanding and compassion.
Thus, truly, we will die. We can depend on nothing we possess, nor on
the hope of the God we want to believe.
Our goal is not heaven. Our goal
is unknown. It is not heaven, for the
desire for heaven is the desire for the preservation of our lives as we know
them. We know for sure that our lives
are mortal and contain no life. Our reality
is God. He is the center of our life and
consciousness. He cannot be seen and
known and loved and assumed in the configuration of the present, for all of
that is mortal, a synthesis of past and present. God is the power that is creative and alive. He is known not in our identity and memory but
only in surrender and opening. He is
known only in relationship. By that act
we learn and know him, not that he is the one contained in our experience and
so to be worshipped, but the one who is in relation to us, calling us into
life, away from what is dead and dying.
Our acknowledgement and consolation.
The God known to surrender is alive.
He is not the God of accumulated experience, the God of memory and
language and doggerel demands. We are
not called to conceive of him or to perfect ourselves by manipulating our
behavior. He is our opportunity, our
life, our only hope.
All other relations than
surrender and opening cling to what is dying and dead. We are called only to let go and open. If this is our responsible and conscious
practice we will change and grow in every way.
We are called to no end, no goal, no place like heaven but to commitment
to this living relationship, this way of life, this opening and letting go to
God. Let go of all forms. Live your daily life. Use your suffering and difficulty as an
opportunity to open deeper. God is
available only to this response, this relation, this faith. All else is illusion, unconsciousness,
resistance and death. God’s call
constantly releases us from this need to sin, to abandon life, to cling to what
dies. His victory in Christ, or any
teacher or realization, is his means to call us to abandon what dies and depend
on him as living and undying. Thus we
are constantly renewed in our difficult work, for we are much bound to our
deadly choices of the past and our resistance now. But we are not called to look at these and
worry over them and try to change them.
Nothing frees except the opening and letting go to God. If we pursue this call we will grow, if not
we will die.
It is not to any goal we are
called but to God moment to moment. In
that process many goals are achieved and passed. No psychic powers, worldly successes, nor
heaven, nor vision of God, neither the intellectual vision of God, nor the
correct interpretation of the theologies of the Bible is our goal. Such occupations as we pursue or endure as
theologians are purely our work, a ground in which to recognize and act our
relation to God. The Bible is a mortal
book and all know death who depend on it.
Yet is can be the symbol and subject of our creative work and also an
instrument whereby to come to true understanding. But so can anything else. Every life and every thing is used by God to
call men. Those who think Christ is the
only medium for the call of God are vain.
Let go of this book and this Jesus and this vision of God. Open, let go toward preaching is this: not
what God is or what was or will be but all preaching is a call to surrender to
opening and letting go moment to moment, as a conscious act, toward the light
and force of God.
What I have feared is the body
and devotion to life in the body. I am
anxious in the body. I fear death. I am always seeking a moral relation to my
own nature as a being in the body. So I
am tempted to the repressive, suppressive, “spiritual” philosophies, the life
of “work”, the liberating paths. But
what in fact can liberate me is no radical obedience but a radical devotion to
the gifts of the body. I need not pursue
the anxiety that demands I be creative, but I can be free in the modes of life
that are already given, alive, creative, free, unlimited, and divine. Liberation from form is not my concern, for
it is based on a hatred of life. I am
called to the body. Those who are under
the moral burden are only tempted to the flesh.
They seek God, but I am found by God.
The way of work is not the path
out of anxiety and death, and my need to pursue it is the cause and
perpetuation of my anxiety, my lack of openness. There is nothing to be abandoned that is
alive, no fortress relationships (like marriage, dependence on parents or guru,
etc.) to be maintained. Life must be let
in without qualification.
This is my enlightenment. In a matter of moments my relationship to
things changed and living energy was released in me. It is not a matter of super-natural visions
or a perfect recapitulation in memory of the contents of my life and
psyche. My ignorance and bondage is a
functional one, not metaphysical, moral, psychic or any other. Enlightenment is a change in relationship to
what is, an identification with reality.
Thus it is not a path or a “way” of life, but it makes life possible and
easy as the flowers. It is not a sudden
jump to higher forms of life but a functional relation to present life, to life
moment to moment over time. It is free
of the need to abandon what is real in the present, and so it is free of the
search for ultimate modes of growth and transformation. It is effortlessly conformed to the natural
cycle. It allows the growth of the
psyche to correspond to the natural cycle.
It allows itself to be healed.
I had thought it necessary to
become a mystic seer, a graphic psychologist, before I could accept truth and
life in response to enlightenment (reality).
Now I see I am already free.
What is uniquely important is
the premise upon which a life is consciously based. The premise is what creates. It is the center and source of forms. Thus a life that has already despaired of
itself and seeks a superior goal will suffer accordingly. The truly creative periods of my life have
been when I recognized the sufficiency, infinity and goodness of the real, the
given, the present. Thus I was free of
illusory goals and was possessed of energy, I did not use work as a moral tool
to suppress or manipulate myself. Just
to, even now I am free, except my very freedom can decay into flight to an
illusion, either the illusion of work or the illusion of exploitation in
secret. Thus I must leave my teachers
and also the church. I must freely
respond to the erotic world. I need not
open myself by separating myself from what I desire. The desirable makes me open.
Work, genuine, free, and
interested is itself ego-destroying.
There is no need to pursue a work purposely in order to humiliate and
destroy the ego, the bondage to the flight from reality and from grace. Such a conscious desire is itself based on
despair and illusion. If pursued to its
proper extreme it would require a choice of work that has the most ego-destroying
potential, being least of all capable of satisfying any genuine, conscious and
happy desire. Thus one would sell
oneself into slavery and all the methodical extremes of denial. I have done this. And the result is that I have reached the
limit of my ability to cope with such a trial, and I am finding ways out, where
possible, and otherwise turning to bitterness, despair and derangement. I am not learning to function as a happy man. My reaction to this may, however, lead to
more genuine life. And thus the trial
will not by fruitless. True work is
pursued in divine sovereignty, responsible to one’s own awareness of one’s
integrity and good. As long as one is
yet seeking such awareness in some projected liberation, one is not pursuing
true work, but only a method that may at best force the issue and which is in
itself false, unconscious and desperate.
Life has become justified to
me. I am justified to me. I am free to explore all kinds of
relationships. Relationships are now
fully possible and can be assumed, extended and terminated more naturally,
without the negative compulsion to manipulate and destroy relationships in
order to flee. This enlightenment is
what is implied in the Christian notion of forgiveness and justification by
faith. It is the achievement of
autonomy, and an immediate will, rather than life in relation to an arbitrary
will of another. The autonomous will is
the self-energy freed and thus manifesting the natural energy and will of
“God”, the creative power in life manifesting through the unqualified psyche.
Most of what we do is not love
but is calculated to get ourselves loved.
Thus parents bind their children to them instead of nurturing them to
their own freedom. All belong to the
cult of personality, creating themselves as icons for the devotion of
others. Thus all men resist all other
men and are at war. And all our private,
self-directed acts create our suffering.
The cure is not to create taboos but to learn understanding. Personal rituals may create pleasures but
they also confirm their origin, which is fear and a flight from love. Thus we suffer at these orgies in spite of
ourselves, and the feasts are mourning in the heart. When by the power of understanding we have
finished this, we move our desires outward in the world and do our needing
there and freely love what is.
You are the heart, the body,
this being in the world with all the limitations this implies, and you need
not, must not, and cannot avoid being these.
The only alternative is to allow yourself to be these, to be open with
them, to live freely as them. You are
called, not to separation from these, but to be these and to use these as a
means of relationship.
Thus one is called into
physical and psychic life in the world, into sexual and love relationships
freely embraced. This is the first step
of life, the first birth. What is called
the “spiritual life” or growth in the divine force and consciousness is a second
birth. It is a process just as the first
birth and is not a sudden conversion.
Indeed, within it, like the first, are many conversions, enlightenments,
deaths, and re-births. But only after
one has overcome the body anxiety that flees the world can one begin to open
toward other dimensions. Until the first
birth the spiritual life is only an erotic dream, an indulgence, a flight. After one has learned to open the body as a
physical and psychic entity identical to oneself, one can begin to open, with
the body toward higher forms of energy.
The vision that possesses me is
static. I am bound to it because of my
resistance to life, my reluctance to live in terms of limited, material,
reactive nature. Thus I seek a heaven of
stability through forms of immediate satisfaction, instant vision. I by pass the objective medium and the work
(action) that is the condition for “connection” in the world. I resist all contrary forces, all energies
that flow for themselves and obliquely to my own. Thus I pursue forms of physical,
psychological and psychic stasis and solidity.
I analyze until the other is no longer problematic. I pursue the drug of aesthetic, the household
peace of understanding. I am a man in a
room. I fear the outside. I deem it logically impossible. I postulate only the room. Then I seek to escape my anxiety, fear and
reluctance. And through this I at last
seek a spiritual goal. I adore the
spiritual goal, but the spiritual life appears too difficult.
I seek to solve the anxiety of
lost religion with spiritual consolation and peace. And this is contrary to the creative
spiritual way itself. The true spiritual
path is difficult, but we tend to take the vision of those who succeed in
various ways and lay it onto the description of the path. Thus the spiritual way comes to be informed
with the symbols of those who have already attained. And so spiritual creativity becomes
religion. At every moment the religious
man is dealing with a category of the goal.
He is not truly seeking but confronting a form of discovery. Thus worship and cultic performance and calming
contemplation of the images inherited in the cult of a teacher replaces
personal spiritual action. By a
concentration of means, we avoid the terror and reluctance and ugliness that is
our real and present experience of self and life.
In the religious path one is
always confronting the signs of another and the objective symbols of another’s
victory. Thus one vicariously shares the
glory of another heart. But one cannot
grow by such means. A religious man
grows fat on consolations, but, on the creative path, we must open beyond
terror, without benefit of even a hint of the divine.
It is not man’s business to
evolve, to see the subtle forms, to grow into another dimension. This is only a grace when it comes, and only
then does it appear as a reality. Man’s
security is not in other dimensions but in God, and God appears in relation to
us through the apparent mode or dimension of reality that confronts us in any
moment. Thus it is only our task to open
in the present, to function free and alive, with energy in the body of the
Thus we should propose our
spiritual life on the basis of the abundant present, the creativity of
God. To base life on scarcity and
discipline, to seek God and security in the ultimate future, to live into the
future on the basis of our own absolute creativity, is an unnecessary burden
that ultimately destroys the harmony of life and the pleasure of experience and
You cannot grow into
consciousness of dimensions outside the present limitations until you have
fully realized your freedom within your own present time. At best you can get a certain empirical
intimation of the existence of such dimensions from your own occasional
experience, that of others, “spiritual” teachers, etc. But no such knowledge should move us to
pursue dimension as a goal until we are already free. For what we seek is the grounds for
happiness, joy, freedom, hope and positive life. And, lacking it, we pursue it outside
ourselves in experiences, other persons, other places, other worlds, other
dimensions of reality or unreality. And
this pursuit is the source of error because its principle is error: what must
necessarily be sought is not already available and true. Thus, freedom, peace and positive life are
not yet justified, and one’s life becomes an endless embrace of methods and
truths, illusions and distractions, in a perpetual experiment that always leads
to despair and death.
It is perhaps a basic axiom of
the psyche that it cannot discover more or other than that with which it
begins. The key to all knowledge is not
discovery or what is discovered but that with which it begins: the
assumption. And so life cannot develop,
consciously or unconsciously, by any method, until it begins to live by
surrender, opening, letting go. This,
and not knowledge, not gathered and remembered and synthesized experience, must
characterize the center of life and consciousness in action, in relation to
space and time. Everything else kills
The call of my life is not to
any occult realization, any preacher’s proof, any experimental discovery on any
plane, but to the realization of a necessary, present relationship to
“God”. It is a realization of true life
based on no language at all, not even the theological or scientific. True life is not based on or begun from any
assertions at all but from surrender.
Surrender is the original act and proposition, and it is the result of
no other proposition at all. The problem
of religion, theology, science, and the whole tendency of the usual experience
is that it seeks to determine grounds for this fundamental letting go which is
the basic psychic life. But there are no
grounds for it. It is necessary act. It is fundamental to life, except that it is
most often not the ongoing conscious act of individuals. They come somehow to doubt and resistance and
to a search and then a path.
This is the basic discovery of
my life: it is not a matter of finding that which is true but of overcoming
contradictions in oneself, in one’s motives.
And there is no method for overcoming contradictions, except the truth,
the beloved first be known as real, or that to which one is essentially
related. It is always the “sinner”, not
his method, that recovers the beloved.
He surrenders without reasons and proofs. His faith is a total act that renews life and
begins action on the basis of a new relationship to things, one that assumes
rather than seeks the truth, the beloved.
Narcissus: “I am always seduced from work. My genius is in the search for availability. All my creative life is distracted and then
dissolved in a constant feast upon the satisfactory object, the sufficient
state. Until there are no objects. All availability is limited to my effort, my
game, my seductive form. When I despair
of my adorableness then all I seek is revealed as a sign, a symbol of the
perfect state: immunity, private ecstasy, neither seeking nor mourning what
will satisfy. It is a paradise, a
sleep. It ends in death. Unwilling to move. Unwilling to be born. Unwilling to accept the conditions.”
The erotic man is not only
committed to life as the body but to death as the body, to utter death. Only thus is he free of death and free to
live and extend life. If this commitment
is not made then the erotic life, like the life of repression (discipline) is
only a flight, an avoidance, an errorsome solution to the problem of
death. The realization of life must be
through death. Life is on the other side
of death and the life created by the possible resistances to death. But actual physical death is only the
physical event. A man can witness his
physical death, but what is significant is that he must die. He must not merely know he will die and experience
a physical process until the loss of consciousness. He must die in fact. Thus the ultimate event
is a total one. And it is total death to
which the psychic whole must relate itself.
The problem of death is the most significant and controlling factor in
the whole of life.
Thus it is true that all I am
or imagine must die. But it is false to
abandon all these things on that basis.
Such is repression. Rather, to
commit oneself to life as such is necessary if one is to live freely, without
the motive of self-destruction. And to
commit oneself to life one must perfectly accept death in the present. The perfect acceptance of death moment to
moment allows life to live unqualified.
And this dying moment to moment to the ultimate threat of death makes
death not a universal principle in contradiction to life but a function of
life, a necessary dimension of the psychic process or continual experience of
life. Thus one acts not in relation to
death but beyond death. Preservation
ceases to be one’s concern. When
physical death is encountered in one’s own body, then one will react as to
every moment and every loss before: without tension or resistance or fear. For death is not a man’s doom. It is not the contradiction of his life but
the final test of his freedom in this dimension.
But neither is this acceptance
automatic and a simple matter of decision.
Its necessity is known only on occasion and it is ultimately realized
only in the process of life, not as an a priori principle. The demand that one accept death can lead to
despair and the embrace of forbidden things only in order to create death, even
as punishment. Thus a man comes to feel
guilt and despair at his terror. The
necessity of utter death does not mean I am dead or that I must seek to die or
despair of life and withdraw from life.
Rather it means that, no matter what I do, I cannot avoid utter death
but only corrupt my life and freedom.
This is no method for it except the consciousness of experience, of
flight and freedom, until that which resists the condition of life lets go and
opens to its destiny and its experience of itself and all things.
The beginning of all free
action, of all good life is not the recognition of the goodness of either the
world, the conditions, nor of God, the source and goal, but the justification
of self. This is the opening of
consciousness to true self-knowledge, the surrender of repression, and thus
terror, guilt, and the drive to death.
The self must be purified first of its false and illusory understanding,
or else it will never be transformed by experience or some objective
“savior”. Until the individual
recognizes the goodness and the unlimited power of what is coming through the
center of his consciousness he will always fear and destroy life. In order for there to be good fruit the tree
must be good. And this realization, the
result of a miraculous “letting go”, a birth, brings with it the recognition of
God and the goodness and possibility of life in the world.
What remains is the stark,
present, mortal reality without an interpretive medium of consciousness. The realization
of this consciousness without flight is what provoked my terror recently. I
could not allow it and would flee to consolations. But, if I am unconsoled I am
free to live and let myself and the world be what it is and change as it
pleases. I need not know what is behind it all or where it is going. I need not
believe it is good or bad, that there is some power behind it leading me always
to fortune or failure. I am free to attend to it, to be free in relation to it,
without striving in one or another direction. Thus I am free to live
intelligently, with affection, with enjoyment, with understanding, without
despair and anger, as if I been tricked by someone else. I am free to live
without endless calculations for the ultimate consequences of my life in
relation to a moral deity or absolute universe.
This is the answer: There is no
answer. The problem is that my relation
to life and reality has been one of questioning, doubt, despair. What is necessary is not an answer of any
kind but despair of the questioning, the end of resistance to what is, the end
of the flight to consolations and symbols and exotic modes of knowledge and
consciousness. What id necessary is the
return to unqualified awareness and thus to identity with the process at hand,
the freedom to be this moment and to allow the death of this moment that is
required for the next. One must cease to
hold on to the flower.
There is no security, no place
beyond death. Those who seek it only die
in terror. To surrender is to be without
knowledge, without consolation, without the will to flight. It is to live, to be vulnerable, to be
without control, to admit death.
One must move out, directly to
reality, and have no way back. Artifice
is a false relationship to reality. It
is a return from, a flight from reality.
It establishes a distance from reality.
Artifice is a pseudo-reality, an alternative to reality. The concentration on artifice is
concentration on self, the getting of adoration from oneself. Artifice is cash. It is a success that earns the true goal of
love for oneself. It is the avoidance of
action, the avoidance of the danger and vulnerability of relationships, of
expression, of participation, of love.
Healing acts for me are acts that refuse artifice, acts that refuse to
return, that seek to create nothing outside of relationship. All false work or effort seeks to produce a
product: success, the goal. It is work
upon the self. Every goal outside or
beyond relationship is artifice, a false goal, such as enlightenment,
destruction of neurosis and ignorance, etc.
This kind of work begins with self-hate and self-doubt and never loves
but doubts and hates all others and all reality. Whatever dimensions of reality there are,
they are not gained by the systematic and ignorant hatred of this world. There is no yoga, no path, no truth, no
force, no grace. When one has despaired
of these, then one can begin to move without motives, in a true direction,
outward toward what already exists.
The true way is not a taking
in. It is not food. It is rather becoming food to reality. Neither is it sacrifice, for this is a search
for food, for the goal. When the search
is abandoned, the life begins.
I give up the motive of
artifice, the return, the flight to self, to privacy, to exclusion. I do not look at a man to learn from him or
to teach him. I look at him to stay with
him, to be with him. I end in him.
For me, freedom is to be
already free. And true creativity is not
the search for the addition of anything, any artifice, but the overcoming of
the contradictions in oneself. Work and
self-frustration are not fruitful methods or methods of which I am
capable. They imply an understanding of
life that I do not accept. For me there
is no goal, no truth beyond or outside relationship. And experience pursued with that
understanding can learn and become happier.
It is free of the greed of goals and the labor of self-hate. The life of thought is to establish a true
understanding of relationship and pursued consciously one is already creative,
realized and free.
Relationship is the goal and
the result. Understanding is a function
of relationship. It is
relationship. It is not the sentences
and truths that one can pronounce apart from or as witness to
relationship. All liberation is a return
to relationship. Understanding leads
back to relationship. Understanding
perceives the pattern, the flight from relationship. Understanding perceives the given and
essential nature of this mode of life.
All energy, love and life is a function of relationship. Everything is union. There is this perpetual fission and identity
of the finite and the infinite, the conditional and the unconditional.
There are no answers apart from
commitment to relationship. It is itself liberation. It is not life based on a
question. Nor is it answered life. It is merely true and free.
What is at stake in the
religious or spiritual problem is not truths but relationship. It is the
movement from separation to union, from withdrawal and flight to relationship
and staying. This I would add to my original notion that it is not a matter of
answering questions, of getting truths, but of the removal of contradictions.
The removal of contradictions is not a matter of the aesthetics of the psyche
but is a function of relationship. It makes relationship possible, and
relationship is realization.
There are no answers apart from
relationship, because relationship is the solution. Questions and seekings in
terms of one’s ultimate nature are essentially due to a resistance to
relationship. The demand for an answer is the refusal to live, the refusal to
commit oneself to the condition of life, which is not answered but at best free
and true and growing and changing. Personal
relationship is the dimension in which one must work in order to live freely
and to grow. Commitment to relationship
is the liberating act and realization.
It destroys the flight and its terror.
This instead of the endless aesthetic, internal, isolated contemplation
of one’s own dualities, one’s mind, one’s content. Relationship is not mere relation, adjacency,
but commitment. It is directed energy,
intensity, love. It is the true work,
the ground of opening.
There is no path and no
goal. These are artifices. All growth is a gift and its dimensions are
not known beforehand. All a man can do
is place himself in a position to grow, to be in the creative flow. There is only relationship. Only commitment to the given, the knowable
dimension of yourself and others, in relationship, participation, surrender,
only this is the ground for realization of the possible.
Life is not answered. It is demanded. The silence is the root condition of life and
consciousness. It is not a false
condition, something to be feared and escaped but finally and tragically joined
in death. Acceptance of the silence is
freedom and life now.
This is the liberation: not
that one is answered and has a truth to count on, but that, after long trial,
one has learned the essential relationship, the form of life that characterized
and is the given life. Thus one is in
the stream, the path. One is home. One is in relation to that which is going on
here. One is possessed of the energy of
life. One is in a position to grow. One is justified. One’s concern is not content but
We are in a direct relation to
God now. Not necessarily in the sense
that even now each of us sees other dimensions, divine lights, etc. The realms of the visionary are no more a
direct revelation of God than the present experience of time and space. But the present experience of time and space,
when properly understood as relationship, is in fact a direct experience of
God. Our experience, our participation
in a true and free relationship with God is not necessarily qualified by the
limitations of time and space and person.
Thus, the language of spiritual life is not necessarily dimensional,
filled with the mystical forms of religious and cultic history. All language is a paradoxical gesture
indicating the same reality.
The myth I perpetually enact is
Narcissus, the separate one. I pursue
separation, loss, and thus absoluteness, immunity. I flee relationships. I am satisfied by the loss of the
beloved. I mourn for myself. Narcissus at the pool is an image that in
fact represents the tears of him who mourns for himself. His mourning is his self-love, his hatred of
others, of the vulnerability of relationship, of being a limited one, thus one
capable of relationship. Thus, loving
himself unto separation, he fails to realize himself in relationship. His free life is mourning. It is paradox. It is death.
This one I am leads me to
negativity, anger, self-pity, contraction, separation, emotionlessness, flight,
distraction and the pursuit of false self-images.
The work of surrender, then, is
the letting to of this trend and, rather, to pursue union, relationship. Where one tends to separation one can open
and remain always in relationship, not merely in relationship to people and
things and conditionals forms but essentially and unqualifiedly in
relationship, even apart from these.
That is, to be radically and perpetually in relationship through the
right action of surrender, of letting go, of opening to the beloved, is to be
in relationship to God. To pursue and to
maintain relationship, union, is not to perpetually seek an object in the
world, but to open and surrender into relationship as a prior condition, now,
at any moment, any place, constantly. To
be out of relationship, under any conditions, is an illusion, a withdrawal, a
self-contemplation, a failure to open to that which is alive.
My nature, my life itself, is
not a thing in itself, nor can it be understood and realized in isolation, in
the act of self-separation, but it is a function of relationship. I know myself, even when alone, only as in
relationship. What works then? It is not to remember what I must do but to
see clearly and directly what I am doing.
It is to recognize my suffering, my question, my present position,
disposition, tendency. Thus, if I am in
trouble with, unable and unwilling to surrender to God, unable and unwilling to
recognize the existence of God and my relation to him, I cannot move myself to
this recognition and to surrender by any imperative or any recollected
knowledge. But if I see what I am doing,
if I clearly recognize my present condition in terms of the whole pattern of
suffering to which I tend, then the cause and nature of my difficulty becomes
clear. And, invariable, this is what I
am doing: fleeing, avoiding relationship, closing, seeking absoluteness and
immunity in isolation. When I see this
and recognize it as a pattern which binds me, which is arbitrary and false
because of the negative effect on my life, which originates in the negative
processes of fear, it becomes clear that the negative basis of my life is
simply the avoidance of relationship.
And this is recognized to be a false and destructive goal, an
unjustified goal, even from my own point of view. Seeing this, I am thereby freed of the need
to pursue this goal, this closing process.
I am freed to open, to pursue relationship, to live and acknowledge life
as relationship. Then life is not merely
an experience of persons and the whole totem of concepts and things, but it is
in itself, at its heart, relationship. I
am freed to commitment to relationship.
I am liberated to right action, creative action, the action of
relationship, of commitment, of opening into relationship. I am free to live life as surrender, as
union, as already union. Then my life is
not action which seeks to cause union or true relationship as results, but it
is action which is relationship, directed unqualifiedly to its object. Thus I am free of the false action, the false
relationship which is passively bound to the motive of separation and flight,
creating barriers, preventing free energy in relation ship, preventing union,
preventing a direct commitment and involvement with that to which I am related.
Thus, right action and right
relationship are not our habitual responses.
They are created only on the basis of the recognition of “sin”, the
false pattern and bondage. They are not
produced or made possible by imperatives and assertion of theological and
philosophical truths. Only when the
nature of one’s false life and false truths are recognized does true life and
necessary truth become possible or apparent.
God is not known apart from the recognition of the false pattern of
life. By contrast the true pattern or
opportunity is revealed.
God is known only in true
relationship. How can a man recognize
him? Only by recognizing directly and
simply the false pattern of his own life in all its scope and implication. When the false is no longer necessary the
truth is revealed directly as that which one avoids.
God and life and true
relationship are not imperatives or abstract truths. They are apparent only to the liberated
consciousness. The sinner can return to
them not by dogmatic memory or the maintenance of imperatives but only by a
direct approach to the content of his life at any moment. Surrender is possible only when relationship
is no longer avoided. And only by the
proper recognition of his sin can a man realize God and true creative life in
relationship as infinitely desirable, the liberating grace, the joyous
opportunity. All else is law and the
worship of truth idols.
Most seeking and spiritual work
is a way of closing. It imposes a truth
or a demand from without. Thus the
problematic self is its goal, its object.
True spiritual work is not discipline from without, a war against
oneself, but a letting go, an act of relationship.
Apart from actual surrender
there is no relationship, but there is only avoidance of relationship.
I have thought of understanding
as a thing in itself, as a form of consciousness that always coincides with a
liberating transformation, the attainment of a mode of equilibrium. Thus all understanding amounts to a symbol
for a peculiar stasis, a kind of status.
But I see now that this is not the case.
To be sure, understanding often coincides with a moment of stillness, of
rest from false pursuit. But it is not
always so. Rather, what is always so is
that understanding provides a key to true action, true relationship.
It is very often the case that
one comes to an understanding of one’s motives and action while still otherwise
possessed of the drive to fulfill this motive and action. The understanding does not liberate you from
the motive or the drive to certain peculiar goals, but it does provide a
liberated standpoint from which to establish true relationship and true
action. Thus understanding is the key to
work, to warfare within the context of your illusion.
You are always free to abandon
your understanding. The man who
understands is still a sinful man, a man in flight from relationships to a
secure self-satisfaction, but he bears a truth by which he can live and grow
beyond the endless and absolute dualities of false existence.
God, who is the one to whom we
are always in relationship in every relationship, is not recognized by any
logic or any progression of proofs and evidence. But He is suddenly and clearly revealed to
our weakness, our limitations, our incompleteness. A rational supposition is inferred from an
already whole or complete viewpoint. But
God cannot be inferred to the point where we are liberated into relationship
with Him. Rather, when I most clearly realize
my motives and my dilemma, when I see the whole process of my life in terms of
relationship, when I am alone and perceive this meaning with deep clarity, then
I also realize that relationship is the radical category and universal
principal of existence. When I see this,
it becomes clear that there cannot be any moment in which I am not is
relationship. This is so because the
notion of being out of relationship.
This is so because the notion of being out of relationship, is in fact
the cause of all human dilemmas. Human
failure is the failure of men to realize themselves in relationship. And so relationship is a category that
transcends the immediate proximity of objective quantities or persons with
which to be in relationship. This is not
a logical proof for God’s existence, but it is an understanding which, when
clearly and deeply realized, frees us to recognize, and thus affirm the
fundamental quality of our life to be a creative, mutual relationship to God.
There is no method by which to
establish relationship. Relationship is
not a goal that can be attained, nor is it dependent on the creation or
presence of an object with particular qualities. Relationship is the given, and it is our
resistance to relationship, to concentration in that which confronts us, that
causes us to create the whole system of goals.
Thus one is always on the way and always working on one’s self. But what if one simply realized that
relationship cannot be achieved but only avoided? Then the mind and all the reflexive action
stops. And one continues, not on the
basis of resistance and thus life in relation to goals and all the alternatives
of exploitation and discipline, but on the basis of relationship. Then the mind is released, let go, relaxed,
for it is the dilemma and it has perpetuated itself.
The notion to be dead, to
become a suicide Has occurred to me during despair of relationship. It is a thesis, a statement, in the form of
an act. Thus when I had fled
relationship radically and lost my connections, and when I had no functional
identity by which to give meaning to time, I thought: I am not in relationship,
I have no function, I am logically dead.
Thus suicide is an affirmation, a way of describing one’s real condition
to others. It is a demonic communication
necessitated by one’s refusal to surrender.
It is not that you must pursue
union, for once this is asserted, then you must postulate all of the objects to
which you are to be joined. Thus even
God must be postulated, defended and proved.
But how can this be done? How can
you defend that to which you are not joined?
How can you assert that which you essentially deny? If you pursue this path you go weakly, in
parts, constantly inventing arguments in your separate faculties in order to
convince the heart. Thus you chase the
setting sun, at best enjoying its effects upon the land and in the atmosphere,
but never finding yourself in the heart of light. Sun-chasers are involved in the law of
light. Their speed is equal to the speed
of the sun in flight. They have no means
to divide the distances between, and so they never catch the sun. The way to the light is toward the east,
where the sun rises, approaching us. And
the truth that turns us back is in self-knowledge and surrender.
It is not that we must pursue
union, but we need to understand that in every way, continually, we pursue
separation. The whole life is devoted
already to this path even in a moderate man.
This is the graceful vision. When
it is seen and understood its truth already reverses the heart.
Instead of pursuing the light,
a man should simply turn to the sun as it comes upon him hour by hour. The aggressive way of seeking union cannot be
accomplished, since we above all seek our separation, our own victory and
absoluteness, even in the pursuit of God.
But when a man sees the truth about himself he is opened to the
infinite, real possibilities. The heart
instantly knows that this pursuit of separation is going to death, a long
process of self0emptying, a cutting away to nothing. With this understanding, constantly renewed
and recollected, the whole of a man freely turns back and surrenders liberally,
opening to the given and coming grace, and power, and life, and relationship,
and union. He will grow, being
constantly re-born to a fuller life, a more miraculous and unqualified
Thus the way to union and life
is not willful and constructive but a free, creative turning back to all
things, to everything, to the creative force, the holy spirit of God. True understanding of the way of sin does not
postulate God as a possibility or even a necessity. It merely turns about to what is, to full
expectation, learning in time to place no limits on the heart. Thus it returns to relationship. To be taught.
To be given birth. To be given
life. To be given a world.
Such a way is apart from all
doubt, since it seeks not at all to live on the basis of its postulates, of
possibility, and of willful conformity.
The way of pursued union in any and all relationships is a way of
anxiety and partial accomplishments. But
the way of surrender based on understanding postulates nothing and receives
The pursuit of union is the
natural path of sinners. The flight to
separation, from true relationship, has the appearance of seeking, of constant
embrace, of union. It constantly flees
to objects like a lover, seeking to construct a meeting. It is the long erotic nightmare, the
multiplication of embraces, of pleasures.
It develops the system of means into increasingly sophisticated and
ideally effective forms. Thus men and
cultures devoted themselves to the invention of devices, philosophies,
arguments, seductions. Men in flight
produce a massive technology of union.
They suffer deeply but they think of themselves as seekers of
truth. They may intuit what they need,
but they cannot find it. This is because
they do not understand the true nature of the movement of their lives. They interpret themselves only in a positive
sense. But the way of life is always a
turning back. Its basis is the
recognition of sin, the understanding of all efforts. That which we seek eludes us as long as it
remains a goal of striving. It is ours
only when we see the entire falsity and fruitlessness of strife. When every movement is recognized as a
manifestation of flight, then the heart has no recourse. It begins to surrender, to let go, to turn
rather than pursue return.
Surrender is the way, but it is
not a path, a pursuit of union, a method a man can adopt. As such he will only adapt it to the path of
flight and so despair of it at last.
There is no path. But neither is
this a truth known to men in flight, for they simply turn from effort to ease
and self-indulgence, irony and dependence, mocking the work of others. The truth is not found among all the
alternatives, the contradictory possibilities.
Those who understand are free to work, to be creative in the world, in
all relationships. They are not in
retreat. They are not bound to
methods. They work but all their effort
is already in relationship, turned toward God, opening, knowing true life. Only the man who understands he is in sin
knows his need. Only he knows the
reality and grace of God. Only he knows
the grace and energy possible in any relationship. He alone is loved and loves. To all others love is an artifice, an ideal,
a possibility. There is no proof for God
Ordinarily we treat everything
as if it were some form of ourselves, by identification or projection, and so
we are not in relationship.
Relationship is not the truth
but it must not be avoided. The truth is
in surrender itself, which is the heart of relationship.
All true teachers offer not a
mere teaching, which merely creates or enforces separation, but a relationship.
The form of relationship we
assume toward a thing or person will determine our understanding of it, the
ultimate meaning of our description of it and to a greater or lesser degree the
content of our description of it.
Relationship is primary, not
because it is an opportunity, a circumstance, but because it is always already
the case. It is impossible not to be in
relationship, even if all people and all the senses are absent. Energy or life cannot by its very nature
exist by itself. It already implies an
object, a system, a source, a continuum.
It is our ignorance that causes us to suppose we are not in
relationship, that the beloved is absent, even dead. Life is only in relationship to life. To be alive is to experience the presence of
life. Ignorance and sin cause us rather
to see death and emptiness, a void in everything, an opportunity to die, to be
exhausted. But to be alive is to be a
presence, to thrive where growth and refreshment and increase are the only
Every man is being led to a
vision of God, a realization of life in relationship. This does not mean his vision will be a
visualization, an occult demonstration or any other form of manifestation. Each man must become sensitive to the
movement in himself, the work of God for his salvation. Each man must become free to surrender in the
form of his own nature.
The assertion that
self-hypnosis is the cause of visions, etc., is a phony argument because it
leads men to doubt extraordinary things but not the very form of their life and
consciousness day to day, the whole pattern of their life.
Religion is not necessarily or
even at all a spiritual way. It is no
more spiritual in itself than picking your nose or buying a shirt. But every way of life and every form of
religion have a dimension in which creative spiritual work is possible.
There is a tendency to reduce
religious content and spiritual effort to their corollaries in psychological
mechanisms. Jesus Christ, who lived and
died and was glorified, is not a mere symbol, a projected picture, a meaning. He is first of all a concrete reality and,
secondarily, this is symbolic, and meaningful, and thus subject to inclusion in
psychological processes because we experience it. The reality of Christ is symbolic in the same
sense that any thing, any experience, is symbolic. Reality is symbolic, but symbols in themselves
are not real.
Love is a freedom for
relationship that is based on self-knowledge.
And thus also our relationships are built not on simple love but on a
difficult process of mutual knowing. And
so most of love is not deep feeling affection but a willingness to work in
relationship in order to exceed our limitations and remain open to others.
The goal is relationship not
therapy, and relationship heals. Because
relationship is primary our action is surrender and acceptance rather than
Fear is conquered by surrender
to the Presence.
“Obedience” is to remain
radically and continually in relationship, to maintain the love situation.
We want God to verify Himself
in excess and apart from what appears.
Thus we despair in the face of mere reality instead of experiencing it
openly as itself the Presence.
God’s reality can be
experienced in all kinds of manifestations but the Presence and Life is known
only in love, in energy wholly open, giving and receiving in relationship. To love is to know the Presence utterly. To be dissatisfied with this and to seek
proof of God in the extraordinary is to operate on the basis of a schismatic
relationship to reality.
The return of the repressed is
not a mere return of unconscious contents but a return of the exiled self. The problem of life is to make a creative
return, a liberating and permanent return of the prodigal to true love and
Thus discipline of false
patterns and “contents” is an impossible effort that only kills and otherwise
distorts our lives. It must be so
because that which we want to destroy in ourselves cannot be separated from our
very selves. Those things, the sins, are
our very heart. We are the sinner. Thus we cannot destroy him by righteous
effort, however noble a goal this appears to be. We can only hope to transform and liberate
him by a creative effort. The thrilling
exploitations of self-indulgence fail because they are attempts to satisfy an
infant form of our self-solution. They
deny too mush in ourselves and our relationships to satisfy and keep us
free. The needs of self-indulgence are
needs to satisfy patterns we have outgrown, places in ourselves, love
achievements of an infant kind (Narcissus) beyond which we have feared or been
prevented from growing. And the ascetic
knife is merely a sacrifice by Abraham, the father in us, righteously called
but unaware of all the implications of the sacrifice.
True effort is growth. It is creative life. It doesn’t deal with the symptom as an alien
and hateful growth but as the infant self who resists growth for reasons of
fear and self-doubt and anger. The child
is not to be slain but loved into openness so that he can grow in the creative
force, the Holy Spirit of our lives. And
what were these patterns, these infantile creations? They were primitive forms of union, of
love. They merely represent arrested
development, not alien and evil force.
And so we grow in love. Love was always the goal. Union is the meaning of life. But union is worked out creatively, always in
new forms, in relationship. And so we
cannot afford to come to a halt in a pattern, or to regress out of fear and
what? What is achieved in union? In love?
It is a certain fulfillment of energy, a total contact with the living
flow, the total force of creative life.
It is relationship and so it is not merely a state in us but a
continuity of ourselves with the whole.
It is a loss of separateness yet not of true selfhood. It is not a permanent condition but a perpetual
goal of growth. It is a need.
I reject not merely love but
the loved one in all her forms, even God.
I am Narcissus.
Outline for Confession:
Resistance to God
Avoidance of relationship to all men
Doubt of self
Reluctance to surrender
Resistance to work
Refusal to confess love and needs in
relation to others
Preference to self-indulgence rather than
creative acceptance of the need for discrimination in order to grow and be in
relation to God
Need for conflict, anger, proof of
superiority, negativity and despair
Dependence on others without insight into
their needs and active love and help in relation to them
As a result “I” do not deeply
seek and accept the forgiveness, love and power of God. “I” do not deeply confess my profound need
for grace, relationship and love.
Spiritual life is not based on
the denial of anything or the resistance of any pattern but on the free choice
of what is recognized to be good and necessary.
Spiritual growth depends on the choice of this good consistently and
ever more deeply over time. Thus the
most necessary beginning for spiritual work is the recognition or vision of
what is necessary or good: God, the Holy Spirit, even surrender or opening in
relationship as a total, constant reality.
To begin it is only necessary this be there even is some small,
partially conscious, ambivalent way. In
all relationships it is the recognition of one’s true need and the expression
and pursuit of it in the relationship that permits depth, concentration and
Relationship is the radical,
simplest concept of our life. There is
no moment and no place where we are not in relationship and need not let go of
what resists and prevents perfect relationship.
Even the body speaks this truth.
All its forms and faculties imply relationship as their natural
fulfillment. And the conscious self
implies a like which it is over against and from which it is differentiated. The more one acts upon this, deepening
relationships, the more profound the self is realized to be. It must continue to grow beyond the period of
the body’s early maturity. It must
surrender forever in creative relationship to the force that is its own
infinite possibility, or else it is turning back upon itself, away from
relationship, away form the source of its life.
Understanding does not precede
liberation and true action. These must
in themselves proceed naturally, directly, unequivocally, prior to the
mind. The cause, paradoxically, does not
precede the event. Justification does
not causally precede diving life.
Mystical visions do not causally precede holy action. There is no schism between will and event,
father and son. This is the
mystery. The understanding sees only
paradox in reality. Understanding cannot
lead to creative life. He who tries to
improve himself by his understanding is still in bondage. There is nothing to understand. Surrender, let go of everything. Abandon yourself entirely. Do not sin anymore.
A man tells himself his endless
distraction by women is bondage. He
tells himself he must love his wife. He
tries and fails. He tells himself God
has created a relationship with sinners.
He may even say more, that God is already in relationship to men because
He created men. Thus he tries to live in
relationship to God and he fails. He
despairs. He fails because the principle
of the creative cause is merely an ignorant supposition. This remark will make men angry. It is like saying there is no God. But my remark is a paradox, like the Buddhist
statement that there is no God. To say
there is a God and the principle of creative causality hold is just as
paradoxical, but religious men see this statement as unqualified verity. Men are in bondage to think in limited
dimensions because of fear. “Love your
wife”. “Love God”. These are not to be spoken to the mind. They are not causal principles to be utilized
by the will. They are an
opportunity. They are already true. They are not the contraries of anything. We are accustomed to think apart form the
rhythm as if to create lyrics with our feet.
All disunity is schism, an
affirmation of one alternative. But true
life calls for the inclusion of totality, and so schism is overcome by the
inclusion of what is avoided and forgotten.
The new life draws into relationship everything it meets.
Surrender with both hands.
Do not weigh the Force of God.
Doubt and technique reflect a basic
separateness, a psychic division.
True understanding and true
life reflect the very processes and depth which is in reality itself.
The self and the universe must
cease to be present to consciousness as a problem, a contradiction. This is the ancient dilemma. The earliest Western philosophers posed two
questions: What is the meaning, reality and purpose of the cosmos? And What is
the meaning, reality, and purpose of life?
To the solution of these most cultures and most individuals are devoted
either by ceaseless search or the ceaseless and willful attempt to manipulate
the world in the image of a proposed solution.
But creative life begins only where this original schism ends.
The sexual need, and all true
needs, is like a limb, a faculty, an organ as plain as a facial feature. It proclaims relationship, function, the
other. Thus the true end of a need is
not mere release, not mere self-indulgence.
The true end is relationship. The
need calls for connection, union. Need
and function are principles of union, unity and harmony. They are not properly the cause of a schism
within a man or the human order. Schism
is produces by the motive to separation itself, avoidance of relationship, of
Since need is not schismatic,
the body and the world, the condition of creation, is not schismatic. It is justified and free, not in itself but
by virtue of the principle of relationship, of union or connection. Thus the world is justifiable not in itself
but as creation, as a reality possible only through the creative maintenance of
Need is not a schism that must
by synthetically resolved through relief, the destruction of need. Need arises in a universe, a reality where
relationship is already the essential creative principle. Need arises only where union rather than
separation is already the essential condition and truth. Thus the elaboration of relationships through
concrete needs is a process of extension on the basis of what is already the
Life created through real need
is true spiritual life, since it consists of radical union, connection,
relationship. It is not mere
satisfaction, which is separation. Thus
any kind of free life, whether it contains miraculous consciousness and
mystical gifts or the most humble labor and love, is divine life, a place of
I may be peaceful, free of
inner anxiety, without any functional, creative ability for relationship. If I
am already peaceful and thus not affected in relationship, I present myself
like a tar-baby to all things. Thus
peace can be a form of resistance to relationship. True peace is the absence of the schismatic
attitude, the will to separation. Thus
it is a part of the creative motive.
True peace is realized only in relationship. It is not a matter of merely being in a state
free of anxiety. This is only a mental
quality, created by anxiety itself.
We tend to separate life or
relationship from truth. We make truth
an attitude toward reality, a power principle, rather than a creative principle
identified with reality itself. Thus we
begin to modify and control others, our own functions and the whole universe
that is available to our implementation.
We limit and negate real forces in behalf of a higher causal
principle. And so nothing is born and we
build civilizations of limited and dangerous men.
Our methods are not those of
relationship in and for itself but of control.
Thus a truth principle becomes a mean for denying the essential,
inherent truth and value of what it is not, that is, what it causes, what is
hierarchically below it. The truth is
not a posture to be taken to reality. It
is more universal that a cause. It
includes cause and effect. It is a
principle that is realized in relationship, which excludes nothing. Thus it frees us from the causal attitude as
a life method.
In order to live, a man must be
liberated from the whole rule of suffering.
It is not that he must open and surrender. He must enjoy the real presence and
delightful power which is at the heart of his existence. Man naturally responds to that graceful
reality by opening and surrender, liberated obedience and creative life. He needs God.
He needs food, life, fulfillment.
He needs a deep healing. True
life comes only in response to the truth.
It never is a matter of seeking the truth but of enjoying it and
responding to it. Thus I will never by
free until God is brought to me as an overwhelming reality and promise. I cannot create or willfully adhere to
God. There is nothing to preach but the
joyous reality of God. And until his
reality is known, all methods will fail.
It exists. It confronts us. It is ours.
We possess no ultimate insight.
The sense if death, the lack of
creative relationship, is the sense that nothing is happening, that what it
manifests itself to you as static. Thus
one suffers a relationship to time that corresponds to that of the dead. Indeed, we conceive of the dead as having a
continuous relationship to space in some limbo but as having lost their
relationship to time. This is the
essential nature of mortal suffering, the loss or fear of the loss of one’s
relation to time. One stops, no longer
grows, no longer is involved in a growing dimension that draws one into the
Time, in the concrete, is a
succession. Only a commitment to time
can purify the present and all future experience. Only thus is one free of the past and free in
the present and open to the future.
Thus life-consciousness must
preserve the purity of the nature of the event at any present moment. All time taken together doesn’t represent the
true image of the concrete, for if one forgets actual time, space is confused,
as if one superimposed all the individual segments of a motion picture.
Freedom is a creative
acceptance of the law of time and space.
Every form of false philosophy
is an error in relationship to any thing and everything. It is dependence on any form.
Narcissus is fear. The result of “spiritual” striving, all
striving, is the realization of conscious fear.
Thus he sees his fear as itself the content of his life, the reality that
is always in him. He sees it not as a
reaction to some temporary physical, mental, or other cause, but as the
essential content of his life and being.
Perhaps he will no longer seek consolation for it, knowing there is no
consolation. Then he is free.
Narcissus must die in the myth,
because his role is unto death. But he
cannot die in me because he is me. I
cannot write him dead until I die. The
death of Narcissus is not the death of something in me but my very death. Even my freedom is in relation to
Narcissus. I can view him as
unnecessary, as false, and open beyond him by opening to the source of life
that is prior to him. For Narcissus is
only a dimension within us, it is sin, a form of decision. He is a relation to things. Thus even though he is the center of temptation,
despair and death, one can constantly live beyond him, opening to the life of
God. And this indeed is what life
is. Life does not become at some point
erased of Narcissus, sublime and free and fulfilled. Only one learns a little from experience
about what he is up to and where he is going.
And then one hears the word of life and understands the opportunity of
God. From then one can work. One retains the possibility of Narcissus but
one’s life is toward God. This is the
life and death struggle that continues until death. There is no absolute autonomy, no parentless
state, no final ecstasy. These are
imaginary imageries that ultimately correspond to death and seek death, for
they are impossible in this world, this life as it is. At best one is at work. One is never free in the absolute sense but
only free to work, to open, to grow, to create out of the substance and beyond
the limitations that one constantly discovers to be one’s reality. Then, as one works, one is free of either
extreme, either desperate image, that of necessary death in Narcissus, or that
of absolute freedom and ecstasy and autonomy.
Neither is a real alternative, although one alternately succumbs to
This cycle is a search for
light, for the non-mortal condition. The
liberation is to free manhood apart from religious, psychological, spiritual or
other strivings for transformation.
Thus you no longer seek a
transformation of what you are but realize your relationship to things to be
changed or different that you thought.
It is like the Christian realization except it is not religious and
philosophical but tacit, the end of a dream.
Because it ends, man’s reaction is gratitude and joy.
The final grace is the
agreement to live in a world where the beloved is.
Before that you tended either
to flee the world or destroy the beloved.
What is transformed is not the
qualities but the meaning, the relation.
I identified Narcissus with my person and so felt that I must die in
order for Narcissus to die. And I felt
there was no transformation within life.
And it is true, the ultimate transformation of qualities never happens,
at least to me. What is transformed is
the search, the relation. The solution
is not the dogma, the answer to the question, but the overcoming of the
contradictions, the question itself. My
problems about death are really problems about life. Death was to me but a symbol for my
resistance. What was needed was
surrender, letting go, allowing the force to live as me. This instead of an answer, a proof for life
beyond the grave. Thus the symbol falls
away and literal death is only an event, not a consequence, and no more an
ultimate door that this moment or any other moment in the form of life. Thus this letting go is the restoration of
humor. It embraces the condition of
life, which is surrender. It replaces
all work. But it does not replace the
quality of life. Life still seems
work. What has changed is the
relationship, the meaning. The
resistance breaks up.
III. Implication: The Water
Without knowledge, liberating
self-knowledge, meditation is impossible, for self-knowledge is the basis of
the freedom that is necessary for meditation.
Until one is firm in self-knowledge and discrimination one will use
meditation out of the motive and need for self-knowledge and conscious
freedom. Meditation is not intended as a
means to these but is based in these and is in fact a conscious process for
extending the realization of Self which is perceived in the interval of
understanding and freedom. Thus certain
understanding and self-mastery is the basis of mediation. Proof of this is seen when we lapse from
these and our meditation becomes anxious, confused, disturbed, searching
everywhere like the senses for a method of attaining peace.
Basic to our ignorance is the
sense of separation and thus life is an endless process whereby we create the
sense of union, relationship, fullness.
The “fruits of action” we seed are this sensation, whether through sense
experience or higher psychic goals. Thus
false meditation is a search for this sense of connection. Rather we must proceed in meditation as in
life. We must be based in understanding,
discrimination and surrender. True life
and meditation are a deepening of the prior sense of union, of unqualified
consciousness and freedom. It is not is
fact a search for these by exploitation of infinite possibilities. It is not properly, then, based in the motive
and sense of separation. Such is anxious
and false and destructive. Understanding
and discrimination bring rest and freedom and a sense of real and prior
union. Thus my teacher stressed to me
the need for a foundation, posture, discrimination, knowledge, freedom. Yoga does not exist in itself but is based in
a certain foundation for conscious action.
We are always already in
relationship (radically, exhaustively) and moving from the center of a
fundamental, unqualified, expanding identity.
This is not an abstract affirmation, a belief to which we should conform
ourselves. It is a reality to be
experienced, a realization based on attentive self-knowing. It is a force to be realized also in the
process of our lives by conscious extension.
Now, because this is
fundamentally so, at any moment the vision of self and situation we assume more
or less consciously is not known in abstraction, as an isolated, absolute
category. Such is an illusion we harbor,
since most ordinary lives are spent possessed of a vision of the self as weak
and dying, the self as oppressed. And at
any moment we could describe, more or less profoundly and sensitively, the
force we are suffering: the oppressor.
It may be felt as an unconscious influence, or in the objective symbolic
form of memories, relationships and physical circumstances. In any case it is the same myth and meaning
we describe: the self as oppressed and weak, needing relief, hoping and
hopeless, satisfied with little and nothing, more or less content.
The ordinary self is known in
relationship to a dark power, a primitive connection and assumption: an
overwhelming, absolute other is present on which you depend, but which denies
you the full life of its heart force and, further, is destroying you. This is the burden of the ordinary man in his
brevity and medium experience. It is all
a reflection, a memory from who knows where and when, what cosmic or personal
event that, somehow, we all share.
Perhaps it is a longing and despair at the very birth of objective and
apparently separate existence, communicated to us individually in the personal
symbol of experience. Thus we excuse our
negativity and medium energy instead of turning all experience into an
opportunity for expansion and growth in the unqualified force and realization
of life, which is our fundamental necessity.
The way to liberation is a way
of growth in energy on every functional level, through the most profound. Thus it is not achieved negatively, by a
brute and unintelligent attack on the active forces in one’s nature. This is only one alternative phase in the
ignorant movement we create on the base of a false and negative principle. The other is excess, indulgence of the error
in the form of some experience. In
either case nothing is achieved but despair, exhaustion and a return to the
opposite. But beneath these is a single
proposition, an assumed relationship and self-concept. Instead of negatively dealing with one’s
energy, one must deal directly with the motivating source behind the expression
itself: the negative proposition. One
must, on the basis of self-knowing insight, begin to surrender, to let to of
this negative constellation, the false-self universe. It is no longer a matter of refusing to
indulge oneself, or exploding into excess out of frustration and emptiness. It is rather a matter of constantly restoring
one’s attention, one’s presence, to the fundamental reality, principle or
universe which persists. In that
situation, that form of consciousness, the need to fulfill the negative impulse
disappears. It loses its necessity. It need not be abandoned or indulged. In that conscious form there is not sense of
separation, of turning away from energy, but a movement into more and more
profound fullness and direct expression: the self in relationship,
consciousness realized in energy.
On this life-basis there is no
limitation to growth. But it is a
conscious way based in an effort that grows out of insight and persists through
periods when there is no conscious insight.
Thus when I tend to weakness, withdrawal, self-indulgence, I consciously
attend to all the forces and faculties in by body and life, and instead of
obeying the negative system I perceive at work there, I return each center to
the sphere of relationship, of contact with energy. I reestablish every center, as deeply as I
can, as a creative center, a living center.
This is difficult, even impossible at times. But it involves as insight and an effort that
appears to me as fundamental, true, and ultimately necessary.
Self is universe. The fundamental reality in not the numeral,
the iota the thing in itself, but relationship, system, functional life. The ordinary sufferer in his life-realization
is involved in the assumption of a false universe in his conscious center. He sees separation, categorized
identities. His fundamental burden is a
motive to destroy the universe, the conflict of self and others. This is life as dilemma. The saving intuition is not a descriptive
assumption, a working world, a cosmology, an occult system. He need not intellectualize: all is unity,
from God, ok. Rather, he needs insight
into the form of his own processes and their motives. Then he will begin a conscious turning
outward into a growing experience of revelations. He must respond totally to a realized
proposition, to understanding, and not merely console his ignorance with
descriptions. Not visions, but vision
This is, for me, immensely
liberating: it is not a matter of deciding against self-indulgences. There is no logic against pleasure. Yet, without insight into these patterns, we
gradually exhaust ourselves, see our decay, and move to an opposite regime of
disciplines, obedience and secure self-limitation. But the insight I have tried to describe in
these pages liberates a man from the whole movement of his ignorance, the cycle
of suffering, and restores him to a primary form, the real universe, the
authentic condition. This primary
condition, which we are already in and of which we become conscious on the
basis of understanding, is what saves us.
It is a state, a form of energy, of functional life that, whenever it is
consciously attained, destroys the necessity of all impulses and movements and
visions that are negative and illusionary.
Thus, once we have an insight into our patterns we have an arm by which
to transform our lives and overcome weakness, tendencies, and obstacles that
occur over time as the states of our conscious realization change. One begins with a little genuine effort and
grows stronger with exercise. Thus the
image of warfare is not really satisfactory to describe my conscious attempts
at a transformation and re-birth of life.
I am not really at war like a brute.
I understand, and so I always already experience my true condition and
force. I have humor in relation to the
It is interesting that,
although the elements of our understanding appear in direct, life-terms and
demand a personal, human effort, the force of negative vision we deal with is
not merely an individual perception, a phantom, a screwed up form of living
that can be evaporated by a good practical gesture of will. This is because we are not isolated. “I” am a function of a universe, a system of
functional relationships. Just so, the
forms I perceive in my dilemma find concrete extensions everywhere in the
world. My spiritual dilemma corresponds
to a universal system of realities.
We are evolving in a universe
that is evolving. The earth is heavy
with old forms and the persistence of old solutions. The negative proposition is not merely
inappropriate. It is, rather, unnecessary
and unsatisfactory as a solution to the primary need for realization. There is death and limitation. When these are experienced by a consciousness
that identifies with them rather than with the real condition it can perceive
in its depth, then there is a negative or mediocre life solution. We can realize our selves in a world of
apparent density and limitation only on the basis of a fundamental and
persistent expression of our real condition, our real reality.
Understanding and intelligent
action are evolutionary tools in an apparent world such as the one historically
present. And our effort is not that of
warfare and the conqueror, the slayer of death itself, the muscular rebel. Our effort is one based on realization,
understanding. It is not anti-death but
pro-life. It not a negative process but
a positive one, a continual and conscious return to our primary condition or
fullness is the truth to be affirmed and allowed to be experienced and
consciously expressed over against the learned dogma of separation and
emptiness. These are not an ultimate
state to be realized by a few, nor the content of only certain unique forms of
psychic representation. They are the
basis and principle of life, the nature of all life. This is clear when we examine our ordinary
life and consciousness, which suffers and enforces the forms of separation and
emptiness. Thus there are the endless
cycles of excess through craving and the thousand suppressions of energy and
Most lives are a system of
temporary, anxiety-relieving games. The
forms of destruction, death applied to life, evidence a mutilated and negating
life center. This negative realization
rather than any systematic, positive proof is the source of “faith”, the
recovery of the original principles of fullness and union. These are our condition and are the basis
upon which or from which we need to exercise the force of our identity. Thus it is not merely the extraordinary,
“realized”, sainted man who has recovered his true form.
No life can attain the true
condition on the basis of the negative process.
The truth realized and affirmed is itself the way by which we grow. It already exists, prior to the transformation
and harmonization of all the regions of our being and life. If we are already full, unqualifiedly alive
and complete, and already in full union, completely continuous and functionally
alive in the totality of universal energy and processes, then, the more
profoundly and consciously we know, affirm, and express it, the less liable we
are to repeat and suffer the negative games.
Then we are no longer necessarily subjected, passive, decreasing, small
and valueless. Nor do we need to prove otherwise
or be sated into relief from our belief in this status.
The truth is the beginning and
the way of life. It is the key to
autonomy, freedom from fear and immobility, and the whole range of
self-limiting and destructive patterns.
The realization of this truth ends the experimental way of life, the
trial with excesses and subsequent sated rejection of the deadly. Thus true life is conscious activity based on
this principle and not some smiling enjoyment of a condition, a psychic or
physical permanent experience.
There are probably marvelous
conditions to be realized but they are not necessary, essential or a goal equal
to the truth. The truth is available to
all and represents an absolute liberation from the lows of their
“condition”. The saints know this and so
they avoid impressing us with a notion that they are to be envied. Once we recognize the truth of our being we
are free to consciously change our condition and our patterns. We are no longer necessarily motivated by
anxiety and the need for relief and even death.
We are motivated by the truth itself.
We move outward, into relationships and forms of intensity and
energy. The pilgrimage has ended.
It is true that there is no
real separation, yet we pursue it, fearing the expression of hostility,
sexuality, personal strength and its consequences: guilt, rejection, the whole
form of vulnerability. Thus one deepens
by these patterns the illusion of separation, the holocaust of energy and
One must choose relationship,
energy, and creative growth consciously.
One must work beyond the patterns in order to enjoy the literal
condition of the truth. If relationship
is the truth, then it must be the responsible work of consciousness. Yet most of our lives are involved in a subversive
operation of unconscious patterns. Thus
we must not merely preserve the aesthetic feeling of relationship. We must work beyond the resisting
patterns. This involves not a mere
willful and ignorant attempt to overwhelm our neurotic needs. Instead of being busy rejecting unconscious
patterns we must enforce a conscious life of relationship, union, energy, free
developing creativity. We must embrace a
positive and conscious life. This
instead of mere manipulation of ourselves while remaining inwardly bound to the
destiny of our negative impasse. We must
work, not like a weary and soul who must overcome his own absolute dilemma, but
freely and with strength, not in opposition to old patterns but in the present
creation of positive existence. We need
no overcome the old if we merely embrace the truth and central energy of our
life. Thus life is creative, based on
truth, moving forward. The past and the
bondage of unconscious forces and patterns is an illusion that can and must be
abandoned by a simple and positive effort.
This is life’s true work. It is
the truth of real energy.
It is not merely a matter if
letting go of the image of separation, of constantly, even in the midst of
debauches, returning to a positive affirmation.
This is a mere religious consolation, a minor realization that cannot
dissolve one’s destructive motives. It
does not permit the release of creative energy, the action of positive
life. Such is a word softly spoken to
the defeated. It is rather a matter of
actively creating one’s life on the basis of positive understanding. When you attempt to do this you confront a
continual mass of obstacles in yourself, all the patterns and responses your
fear prefers. You must work beyond
these, letting go of the negative will at the center of your being, letting your
central energy release itself to the immense source beyond mere present and
circumstantial consciousness. This is
life outward, manifesting, free, rather than the cycles of self-indulgence and
war against patterned impulses. The
enemy at the center is an illusion. God
is at the center and everywhere.
Realizing this, we must begin intelligent life. The truth is not merely to console us. It must be creative. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall
make you free”. This understanding will
prevent us from using the truth to foster religious error, making God a mere
aesthetic form, a source of moods, an origin that cannot be identified with
continual, conscious creation of destiny.
The basis of true life is the
awareness of the non-necessity and lack of profundity in our patterns. This is our essential spiritual humor.
If relationship were not the
radical condition of our existence, then death would necessarily and indeed be
a radical separation. None the less,
death can be experienced as separation.
As such it is feared. The only
way death can be experienced as an event in as essential and continuous,
radical relationship is by its being transcended. Death apparently separates because it is a
process whereby a whole realm of functional capabilities for relationship is
systematically destroyed. Radical
relationship and apparent experienced separation are simultaneously true. Thus transcendence is the implied necessary
way of life.
The very energy I experience in
me, the peculiar life emerging there, known to me in forms of consciousness and
experience, is not itself a form, a thing, a boundary that is me in
myself. It is rather already an
indication, a testimony to the fact that I am in connection, in union. It is not properly “I” apart, but the force
released and realized in continuousness.
A system, a relationship, a functional energy. But, for some reason, I think of it in
isolation, as “me”, as a force with which I consciously identify, and which I
thereby experience as over against something else: nothing. For “I” is really the proceeding and realized
energy of relationship, but if I recognize it rather in itself, as isolated or
separate, a monolith, then I exclude that with which I am in union by failing
to recognize it consciously. So I look
over against the “I” for what there is to which I can be related. I do not see I am related already. I do not see that to which I am related. I think I am not related. And so, when I look aver against this self
for relationship, I see nothing, for what there is to which I can be related is
already there, in the force I call “I”.
I have overlooked, forgotten and excluded it. When this is recognized then the “I”
experience becomes really an experience of relationship, of continuousness,
union and energy. Thus consciousness is itself
bliss, joy, fulfillment. It is on this
basis that ordinary consciousness is grateful and opening by surrender. It does not seek over against itself for what
is absolutely absent. It begins with
relationship and seeks to bring it ever more profoundly into experience.
In a condition of fear, of the
experience of emptiness, exhaustion, after debauches, I have become profoundly
conscious of my doings. I see the
results and recognize my need. As
fullness and equilibrium return I experience myself as filled and as
dependent. What I now possess
consciously is not what “I” am by nature, in the extreme realization of myself
apart. “I” am empty, dying, a morsel. In the extremes I see that I need to be
filled, to be conscious of energy, as energy.
And when I return to the average condition of secure strength I realize
that this normal “I” is filled, in relationship, already with God. The merest consciousness is itself already
and actually an experience of the presence of God. Neither “I” nor “God” is absolute, in
isolation. The “I” experience is a
manifestation of the union. The
experience of God is an experience of union, of bliss, not of separated
confrontation. Yet this realization is
maintained in a tension. I am at once
already in union and not yet experiencing union in fullness. I tend to experience my self apart, uniquely,
absolutely, over against entities and the fear of obliteration. I tend to posit an “I” and a “God” and to
experience both as rigid, humorless, logical necessities, logical
impossibilities. So I must let go of my
understanding, remembering that I have known consciousness as bliss, as energy,
as unqualified, as union once before. I
return to the sense of union not by forceful seeking but by surrender, knowing
all my understanding has brought me to my present dilemma.
I seek to exploit myself as if
I were a man of passion, of real desire.
But a passionate man is serious, intense, on fire to possess, to be
united. When I observe myself I see that
I do not pursue unions by my exploitation of desire. Instead I attain degrees of
self-destruction. I pursue my own
exhaustion. I see that I do not attain
union but relief. I seek to attain the
exhaustion of irritating energies. Thus
all the patterns of my desiring are not creative. They are a response to functional blocks to
realized union. As long as I pursue
relief in order to attain equilibrium I will always realize a state of
exhaustion, of mere rest, and, above all, separation. I do not pursue the other, the loved-one, or
the divine. Rather I seek my own relief
and bear no consciousness of that to which I am related except as an object, a
symbol, a means.
I am ultimately and by default
separated from every kind of union. I
never in fact pursue union. The pursuit
of union is an impossibility for me. I
am too timid, weak, guilty and ashamed.
I am anxious and afraid. I seek
only relief and comfort. I allow no
fires but only a coolness in my loins. I
do not begin with relationship and so pursue growth in deep-desiring love. Instead I am anxious over separations and
embarrassed, stuck with my needs.
Instead of embrace, I turn to relief and self-indulgence. I am easy and soft, or else rigid and
self-involved. I pursue cycles
alternating these unsatisfactory solutions.
I must return to surrender, to fundamental consciousness.
relationship. Relationship is
consciousness. The root, basis and
essential experience of consciousness is relationship, union.
When dying or in the fear of
separation I can consider that I have daily experienced sleep, often let go of
my armor-reflexes into an experience of peace and energy, and when I
experienced these processes I did not think I was about to be annihilated. The connection exists already, prior to all
forms of experience. Instead of fear and
resistance we should remember that we have always been dependent, always lived
on the basis of a union we could not create but only resist.
Childhood, sainthood, sexual
love, drugs, learning, etc. are, among other particular things, symbols and
symbolic actions for the state or condition of union, security, and
fullness. This is the goal of life when
it is in conflict, separated from such a condition. The separation is an illusion, and its
solution through various actions, such as aesthetic and mystical practices, is
prompted by adherence to the illusion.
The essential recognition should be that all suffering, which is
conflict, is caused by a primary and chronic decision: the fear and refusal to
be in relationship. Knowing this, fully,
without striving for relationship or union as if it were lost, is the key to
realization and freedom. Striving for
union is a search for reunion. It is
action based on ignorance, on the feeling of a lost past, and so it results only
in the reenactment of past conditions themselves rather than in a present
An understanding is prior to
all attitudes, postures, acts and paths.
These are all the effects of an understanding. If the understanding is true these will flow
as native origins, free of all seeking.
If the understanding is false they will proceed as efforts toward
goals. When an understanding is sought
as the result of a process, a transformation, then a false or partial
understanding has preceded it. The truth
is instant, and so all seeking is unnecessary.
There is no prescription to recommend, no attitude, posture, act or
path, for, if the truth is known, these are generated as a result. Just so, any of these adopted without true
understanding are again the result of falsity and are merely extensions of
ignorance. Striving is their common
denominator and the evidence that they are not true. There is only one essential to be understood
and that is the primacy or priority of relationship as native to our being, and
the refusal to be in relationship as the source of all suffering, all problems,
all unrealized life.
Practices as a way to realize
what has been lost vs. practices as themselves the manifestation of
realization, freedom and truth. Action
as expression, as true relationship, vs. action as a means to radical
transformation. That which seeks to
remove the contradiction is false and self-destructive, whereas that which
understands contradiction to be the source of the problem is already free. Action as solution is false because the one
who performs it is working to destroy something with which he has identified
To realize a relationship is to
cease to have your attention on the “other” to whom you are related, but to be
free of the consideration of separation.
Thus you are always already in relationship, connected, not separated,
and can function alive. It is not
necessary to seek the other but only to assume, acknowledge and enjoy the
connection. To do this it is necessary
to understand that the connection exists, that the separation is a false
consideration, for all action and thought follows from a prior understanding,
whether true or false. To seek is to
enforce separation. Truth is
relationship, not separation.
Seeking is striving to recover
what you have refused to understand. It
is painful and a self-creating dilemma because it reinforces the idea that you
do not and cannot know.
It is not a matter of finding
an answer, a truth, a belief or a stable victory but the removal of the
contradictions which produce the search
Life is basically relationship.
The freedom of life in
relationship depends upon the liberation of the one who is in relationship,
through the removal of the contradictions that prevent full-relatedness.
The attention of free life is
not toward the Self or self or God or any particular spiritual entity, for such
is only a manifestation of strife. The
attention of liberated life is toward all relationship. It is already perfectly related.
The key mood of unliberated
life is the sense of separation. One is
not liberated by any seeking for union with self or other or any thing. One is liberated by the removal of the
self-created contradictions that prevent relationship.
The striving for union creates
a sympathy for the idea of unity and identity.
Thus everything becomes one and every one becomes a mode of you. These are illusions and sympathies created by
the efforts of strife. All relatedness
is particular, specific, concrete.
Relationship, not union or identity, is the form of free life.
Relationship depends on the
awareness of uniqueness and particularity: I am not that. I am not you.
However, it also springs from the awareness of non-separation. Relationship is unqualified, not limited by
unique existence. It is a mutual and
perfect experience of life.
That which is in relationship
is not limited to persons, identities, bodies or forms in time and space. As
soon as I begin to act under the assumption that I am the identity implied by
my body and experience I become less capable, anxious, and begin to strive for
understanding. That which is in
relationship is the free witness of all the parties in any relationship. And he assumes an identity in relationship
only to enjoy the mutuality of causes and effects with clarity and precision.
One who knows this and lives it
is free and enjoys the perception of non-separation. He does not strive. He understands. He does not seek to find an underlying Self,
a supreme identity. Even so,
relationship is possible only where there is already no separation. He is not separate but he is not identical to
anything. Thus he related creatively out
of the infinity of free life.
There is no unique and separate
self because there is always relationship.
But there is no strife because there is never any separation.
We are liberated by the removal
of the contradictions behind relationship, not by the fixing of attention in
modes of thought and forms of life or the motivation of intention in any
Thus truth is not found in the
description of anything, whether an object of relationship or the nature of
that which is in relationship. Freedom
is not the result of naming and separating.
Rather, truth is liberated understanding, which comes after the thorough
examination and discarding of contradictory assumptions collected over the
period of experience (relationship).
To begin free life it is only
necessary to regain the certainty that you are free. Thus one lives apart from all the
contradictory modes of thought, all the descriptive habits of mink. When one perceives and acts directly one
neither seeks nor resorts to the attitude of an idea.
It is not the circumstance of
this universe nor our nature that is unfree, but the contradictory mentality or
approach to relationship that has resulted from misunderstood experience.
All activity that seeks freedom
is a form of striving, based on a misunderstood awareness. Anything that produces an insight into that
approach to life will, more or less briefly, reassert the free viewpoint. Thus, understanding is not itself freedom but
an experience that reverses the tendency of awareness and frees it. Freedom is itself most basic and prior to any
experience. No experience is necessary
to attain it. Indeed, it is a misconception
to consider that freedom must be attained.
Thus, at last, all ways to the truth prove futile.
When one no longer needs to
trust a path, an action, a procedure, a practice in order to realize one’s
freedom, then one can be free. All
practices produce despair when examined.
One races from one discipline and method of producing the effect of
freedom on oneself to another. But there
is nothing more than experiences, effects, moments of exhilaration that
disappear as the engagement of life continues.
When at last one knows the futility of experience, understandings and
practices for the achievement of liberation, then one will simply enjoy and
expand in the most basic awareness, which need no ever have been sought.
A basic error in all practices
is that they seek freedom through experience, as if experiences, which are
conditional, could be used to enforce or create freedom, which is most basic
and actual. The attempt to trace one’s
experiences back to basic events of separation is not ultimately useful. This is because it is not experience that is
causing one to be unaware of one’s basic freedom. Rather, it is the assumption that this is so,
and the addiction to practices that will liberate one from the consequences of
experience that is the root of the dilemma.
One’s freedom, not one’s bondage, is basic. One’s freedom is not back behind a sequence
of difficult events. It is always now,
This is the best thing a man
can learn: no one, nothing, no experience, no method, nor any thought or effort
in all the universes will free him. From
that moment he will relax the efforts that compose his life and he will be able
to understand simple truths and direct himself unqualifiedly toward whatever he
chooses in life.
There are no ultimate answers
of any ultimate questions. Freedom in
relationship has no abstract content, no special content over against
experience at any moment. There is no
special content to free consciousness.
It is simply free. There is
nothing in it to be identified or identified with. It does not turn on itself. It contains nothing, and so it moves into
relationship. The objects of
relationships are the content of life.
You are free, which means you are not anything by which you can know you
are in relationship.
The life that is not already
free is a long adventure in search of freedom and relationship. Instead of simply walking and opening a door
the man walks and opens the door in the midst of a grand process and search for
freedom and connectedness. But since he
has forgotten that he is already free and always already in relationship,
freedom and relationship are the basic things that he has misunderstood. Thus he tends to pursue them separately and
exclusively, as if they were mutually exclusive and opposite. When he is pursuing the idea of freedom he
thinks it is something apart from relationship, he considers relationship to be
a kind of unfreedom. And when he pursues
relationship he thinks it something not identical with perfect freedom. Freedom becomes a kind of disconnection or
non-connection and relationship a kind of necessary connectedness. These realities become so exclusive that in
the Orient we have masses of traditions which pursue freedom or spiritual
attainment as a more or less exclusive goal.
And in the West we have traditions which pursue an apparently basic
opposite to that, which is all of the ethics of love and the politics of
relationship. The two basic traditional
strains pursue their essential goal with a tendency toward philosophical
exclusion of the other.
You are always and now already
free and already in relationship.
You are already free and you
are here. This is not a contradiction.
Identification with the body
and experience caused me to become unaware of my actual
Under the pressure of this denial of my nature I strove to realize
freedom in all my activity. And this is
the root of bondage. Having put aside
our native freedom, which is the basis from which we can truly enter into
relationship, we turn experience or relationship into a different end than we
freely intend it. Instead of merely
experiencing, creating and enjoying relationship, we try in all experience to
create freedom. Thus all experiencing
becomes difficult and problematic, a stage for a dilemma. Instead of simply engaging in relationship we
pursue freedom as a result of relationship.
And so relationship is far less than creative enjoyment founded in freedom.
To be in relationship we must
be already free. To seek freedom as a
result of relationship is to fail to be in relationship. Instead there is a drama of acceptance and
rejection, flight or embrace, love or hate, and all the endless variations of
unrealized existence. But I am not
separated from the immense awareness that proceeds from outside the universes
and all forms. I am not this body or
name or memory. I enter in to the world,
freely into relationship. Whatever I put
my attention on I include. I create my
life but I am not qualified by it. From
this freedom relationship becomes possible.
It is the native freedom that is ours beyond the contradictory viewpoint
of the usual man. To assume it again is
to create the future without the faintest involvement or influence of
traditional suffering and understanding.
The common factor in all
“practices” is the search for union, connection, the seeking to join. Thus attention is directed with great effort
toward realization of self or spiritual being or any of the endless goals and ends
desired in the present world. But you
are already free, and you are already here.
The error is the belief that you are not yet free, that you are not free
now, and that you must make some connection in order to arrive or be a presence
in the world.
The free and effective man is
not one who I connected or joined to his soul or deity or to some object or
condition in the world. These are mere
artifices arrived at by the efforts of misunderstanding. The free man is already here, already
free. And this is so of him because he
doesn’t move out of a contradictory state, an unworkable intention.
When a man is overwhelmed by
the contradictions of mental alternatives he begins to identify himself with
that mental condition and with his bodily and environmental status. Then he conceives of himself as being cut
off, not joined with what he considers to be outside of that identity. In the one direction is the whole area of
spirituality or pure existence, and in the other is the whole expanse of
possible relationships. These, like
himself, appear to him as more and more exact identities, disconnected
entities. As he tries to move out and
re-connect with these areas, and begins to include more and more of these
identities within a workable understanding, he groups them under abstract
headings in order to link them conceptually.
At last he is stuck with two enormous abstractions, God and the World,
or Self and Reality, etc., a duality, a contradiction that only parallels the
original state of freedom and relationship.
The whole cause of human dilemmas
follows this basic pattern, beginning with an original failure to understand
the basic truth of existence. Once a man
ceases to know and act on the basis of being already free and already in
relationship he has begun to proceed on the basis of contradiction. He is in conflict with life. He is moving into the complex and
unresolvable patterns of identification and abstraction. Instead of living free in relationship he
seeks freedom and relationship. He seeks
the abstract forms of what he already possesses, and he seeks them through an
endless adventure in his environment. At
times he takes flight from relationship to find freedom, and others he rushes
in to heavily embrace something identified in relationship. He is in a state of contradiction. He feels disconnected, unfree, out of
relationship. The basic and unified
truth of being free and in relationship is forgotten and he pursues them
separately, in opposite directions.
Thus freedom and relationship
become apparent contradictions, concepts out of which we create traditional
existence. In truth you are already free
and already in relationship, so there is no need to seek a connection. As such you are not trapped in a learned
identity or condition and so you do not proceed toward relationship as if
already disconnected from it. You are
already free, and so the mind does not strive toward freedom as an abstraction,
a state to be created, an imagined consciousness with which to be joined, a God
with whom to be reconciled. You need not
turn out of relationship toward some deeper mind. You are already in relationship, and so there
is no freedom apart from relationship.
There is no turning toward the “divine” as an abstract or separated
entity. The free man’s attention is free
to create in relationship. The more he
live as if this were so the more profound his resources and his
Striving for union is the way
of contradictions. It is created by an
original failure to live as free and in relationship. Thus freedom and relationship are pursued as
disconnected and contradictory goals in the tragic flight and embrace of
traditional existence. What is needed is
not a joining, removal or embracing of anything. It is not belief or realization or any kind
of gain that can be pursued. What is
needed is simply the removal of contradictions, the dissolving of bondage to,
particularly, mental alternatives. The
end result of such liberation is not union with “God” or “Self” or the world or
any thing to which once can be related.
It is simply and tacitly to know the basis of existence and to live in
it. To understand this is to cease to be
identified with any function or experience and to cease to be anything but in
The truth is that we are always
already free and always already in relationship. These are neither distinct nor opposite, nor
can they be joined conceptually. They tacitly coincide only in a liberated
life, a life free of contradictory and problematic mentality based on the
identification with experience.
Relationship creates problems
when you misplace identification, that is, instead of identifying that body,
mind, object, etc. and giving life to that you identify that with yourself or
another, and so relationship enforces various forms of identification. Relationship is actually a communication of
forms within one consciousness that is not identifiable. It is free.
And yet within that exchange there is only affirmation, not negation of
any thing or consciousness.
When you begin to feel
disconnected, agitated, bound to some compulsive habit, emptied, or you
discover any of the various symptoms of inharmonious and misunderstood living,
approach such symptoms with the question: in what way am I avoiding
relationship? You will soon be relieved
of that symptom and effort.
The recognition that life is
relationship but most often lived as an avoidance of relationship overcomes the
basic contradiction of misunderstood existence, that is, freedom vs.
relationship. Thus, by understanding relationship
as a whole in this sense, relationship itself is transcended, it ceases to be a
barrier to the ultimate realization of consciousness. Thus the ultimate realization in the process
of free relationship is consciousness itself, pure, dimensionless, blissful.
Relationship is always with
consciousness, even when it also manifests in forms. When a person appears to be compulsively
involved with non-conscious entities, or avoids certain conscious beings and
compulsively puts attention on others he is simply avoiding relationship. You cannot be related to what is less than
you, because what is less then you cannot comprehend your presence and
communication. Thus, wherever
relationship is free, there is in fact the attending of consciousness to
consciousness in the midst of the circumstance of forms.
It is not a matter of seeking
to realize consciousness but of understanding relationship. Only this realized consciousness. Nor is the understanding of relationship a
method for realizing consciousness apart from relationship. It is simply life lived as such, since it is
the same as the realization of consciousness.
We have embraced life as
seeking, a search for freedom under every possible form and experience, from
physical to utterly transcendent. Thus
every effort and act and experience is an attempt at the creation of self based
on an unawareness of the essential and unqualified existence of what one
basically is. In fact, life is
relationship, and relationship proceeds out of freedom, an unqualified, already
existing freedom, which is consciousness prior to all identity or
experience. And relationship, proceeding
out of freedom, out of unqualified consciousness, creates or gives life to that
with which it is in relationship. It is
not involved in self-creation but the free giving of life to whatever it is
not, that is, to forms of identity, reality and experience. Thus when freedom is realized as the
essential state life does not end. It
is, rather, understood. Relationship is
then possible. When the life of striving
is ended, what replaces it is the life of transformation, not of the essential
consciousness but of all that is outside it, in relationship.
There was a point when I knew I
was already free and forever free. I
knew I was free and existing beyond all the modes of experience, reality and
identification. But then I realized that
this in itself did not change the quality of my life in relationship. There still were habits, disabilities,
physical problems, and personal weaknesses.
I was not basically endangered by this, but it was apparent that freedom
realized is still not sufficient to the realization of life. Freedom is not effective apart from
relationship. It is only a knowledge
that makes relationship possible. Thus
life is a process whereby the dimensions of conscious life, through the purely
material, are transformed by the extending energy of free creativity. Thus free life transforms all life toward a
more and more conscious, energized and free form. That is the process of liberated consciousness
in the world. It is not a process of
seeking. It does not move toward freedom
since it is already free. Every action
is for its own sake, a living creation.
Life then becomes the place where free consciousness creates free
form. It is the divine life.
The decision to be something is
a refusal to be in relationship to it.
And life is relationship.
Personal existence is simply identification with something that you are
not but with which you are in relationship.
Consciousness is basically no kind of identity but it is the basis,
origin, meaning, creator and enjoyer of all relationship. Consciousness (freedom) is not identical to
anything that can be experienced and thus it is in control of all manifestation
as long as it does not identify itself with anything. All life problems are this identification in
some form. For example, habits are
difficult to break because you identify yourself, your existence and basic enjoyment
with the thing from which you are trying to separate yourself.
Living freedom proceeds by this
understanding and the assumption of relationship rather than
identification. Thus you live by giving
life to that with which you are related rather than what you yourself are. Knowledge is the direct approach to
life. It is the capacity for
relationship. It is to be already
alive. Thus relationship is always a
kind of incarnation, to bless things as well as to become visible. It is free only as long as it knows itself to
be free and conscious, or else life becomes striving for freedom. The ignorant world is striving for
Life in search of freedom is
life against itself, life as a refusal to be simply in relationship. Life in search of freedom is life in search
of consciousness. Such a life is basically
uncertain of consciousness. Ant it is
manifested by periodic avoidance or identification with objects of
relationship, for to avoid or identify with such is to refuse to be in
relationship by escaping objects or becoming them.
When life becomes suffering and
problematic it is due to an accumulation of the effects of various refusals to
be in essential relationship, either by avoidance or identification with
certain objects of relationship. The
more certainly this is understood the more easily and profoundly you can change
such conditions and your reaction to them.
The less this is understood the more recourse is taken to guilt, fear,
remorse, belief, despair and the various practices of seeding.
You are unqualified
consciousness in relationship. The degree
to which you fail to understand this is the degree to which life is a problem
for you. The more certain you are of it
the more force you develop in relationship.
Consciousness and relationship
are the simultaneous essentials of our existence. The traditions of spiritual practice that
have been developed in various environments have pursued the unqualified state
through methods that emphasize one or the other of the two principles of
existence. We may call these the way of
mindfulness (or attention) and the way of aspiration. The first is peculiar to techniques found in
Zen and the other forms of Buddhism. The
second is more common to the yogic paths.
The first is common to certain philosophical religions and the second to
devotional religions, East and West.
The way of mindfulness assumes
that I am already unqualified consciousness, and thus, by directing me to mere
attention to physical and mental processes, it hopes I will eventually perceive
my own most prior nature by sudden implication.
The way of aspiration considers
that I am, for all practical purposes, bound into the mind and countless
identifications with the processes of experience. Thus, by directing me to meditation on
consciousness itself, it hopes to bring me to the realization of my most prior
nature and power.
Both paths acknowledge the
priority of consciousness, and both, in the event of their highest realization,
recognize the perfect unity or non-problematic status of relationship and
consciousness. They differ in their
techniques, the phenomena encountered on the way, and in the forms of their
expression. Their differences are points
of culture, aesthetics, argument and mechanics.
Both paths in fact attain to the truth.
And many people find themselves preferring one or the other path by
reason of their own temperament and posture.
However, it becomes clear upon examination of these two paths that they
achieve their destiny by force of exclusion.
Each chooses to emphasize one aspect of our essential condition.
If we read the literature of
these methods we find in them case histories of struggle, intense effort, and
monumental internal conflict. This may
be due to the fact of their basic exclusiveness, which is itself a
manifestation of conflict, of the failure to realize an original understanding
of what is. In both cases, the event of
ultimate realization produces a total recovery of the unitive cognition, a
benign dwelling in the world. The ultimate
realization brings the end of conflict, the end of all exclusive considerations. This is so much the case that a study of the
phenomena of spiritual life might lead you to believe that the common goal of
all paths is the unitive vision, the cessation of conflict. This, however, is not my experience.
If spiritual life is directed
exclusively, then the end of conflict, the realization of an overwhelming peace
that appears to permeate the very atoms of the environment, will also be one of
the benefits of growth. But I have found
that spiritual life is itself best lived beyond conflict and strife. Understanding should precede and form the
very posture of real spiritual action.
True understanding is unitive, always already free and radically in relationship. Thus spiritual life begins and is continually
refreshed by the unitive vision. It will
not, therefore, move via an exclusive meditation in any form.
I find that in the course of
meditation I make brief use of objective attention to various processes,
thereby acknowledging “this is the mind, this is the mind” and not myself. Thus I am free of the need to oppose or
enjoin impulses and obsessive thoughts.
I also find that, when the processes of though are relatively quieted, I
move into the more intense meditation of an aspirant, directing the current of
the mind to the more prior Divine source.
But when meditation is actually achieved I am not exclusively mindful
nor aspiring. I am both of these
simultaneously, and thus, in a real sense, I am neither. I pass beyond conflict and exclusive,
remedial techniques, into the meditation realizable only in peace, in radical
understanding. In that perfect
meditation there is realization beyond the mind.
It is the mind and the
necessity to transcend the mental process that produces conflict and exclusive
techniques. Meditation truly begins only when the mind is understood and there
is a cessation of conflict, of mental exclusiveness. It is not that in meditation I am mentally
aware of being conscious and radically in relationship. It is, rather, that I live in the freedom
which is coincident with such understanding.
In fact I am beyond the mind, in intense silence and stillness. From there I begin the recovery of infinite
existence, knowledge, enjoyment and power.
The ultimate end of spiritual
life is not peace but full recovery of perfect and infinite existence. Peace is the seat of spiritual
transformation, and if it is realized as the principle of basic spiritual
effort, then conflict and strife will cease to be major phenomena of such
To be in relationship to something
is to be simultaneous with it.
Meditation and other conscious activity does not move you away from
relationship. Rather, these move you out
of the sphere of the mind, the seat of the life problem, of identification and
Relationship is not a function
of the mind. Relationship is a
consciousness of totality, but the mind is a process that deals with particular
and thus partial awareness.
Life is relationship, the
enjoyment of consciousness. Apparently
great austerity, produced by decisive understanding, may produce a reaction
that appears to be a profound desire for relationship. From this you might assume that spiritual
life, prior to this reaction, is an avoidance of relationship. But in fact such a reaction is only the mind
craving for experience.
The mind is an automatic
process in which the signal of desire moves us to the repetition of
circumstances and the use of energy.
True life transcends the mind and experience and exists consciously in
relationship, totally included while itself including totally.
We need to embrace the path of
our understanding and continually resolve not to be deluded by the persistence
of the mind. It was our own ignorance
that created this mental strength and reinforced all of its desires. Thus, the decision to live consciously
requires great strength and patience in the transformation of the life
processes we have raised like wild children in the field of consciousness.
Truth must be valid for all
states of consciousness, or else it is merely an experience, a condition not
basic to life. Thus it cannot be a
mental form or any particular experience, for these do not persist in all
states. Neither can it be the form of a
vision, a dream or a hallucination, for these are not peculiar to all states. Nor can it be a void, a mere peace without
external or internal perception or even the awareness of being, for such is not
possible under all conditions. Truth is
simply the unqualified bliss of consciousness.
As such it is the basis of all states, all experiences, and any
condition can be recognized or received as a manifestation of it.
This is the heart of all
realization. To realize it perfectly is
to be identical and simultaneous with the Divine, the real Self. The understanding of this and the whole
process of identification and avoidance, the intentional control of life, and
the resort to real meditation are the process and evidence of realization.
Every act, every form of
relationship is, for the man in bondage, a decision to be. Thus he enforces and reinforces identities
with every kind of action. Soon he is
not only compulsively creating himself but his own continuation or being
depends on the continuation of certain forms.
So he is anxious. His basic mood
is that of separation, since he has denied his own existence by trying to
create himself. He has denied that he
always already is.
To one who is free, all action
is in order to create or affirm the existence of something not himself,
something in relationship. Thus he is,
always, already, and this experience is a direct, creative expansion, not a
To break free it is only
necessary to examine how, moment to moment, you are deciding to be.
By this you become aware that really you are only deciding that something not
The present creation of a
universe and of experience is not due to error or ignorance. There is no final withdrawal from doing so,
no ultimate non-universe forever. There
are only periodic withdrawals, not the conquering of relatedness. Relationship is a basic function of what you
Liberation is an end of “karma”
in the sense of not-knowing why, etc.
But it is not a gradual or permanent withdrawal from creativity. It is simply the overcoming of the basic,
compulsive and false idea of self-creation, the idea of mortality, wherein
relationship becomes involution and withdrawal.
It is the return to creation and relationship with self-free, not in
The method of the “removal of
contradictions” is simply a notion that, when seen against the actions you are
moved to create to handle the life problem, liberates you from striving. It is not itself a practice that needs to be
undertaken in order to become free. It
is only a token or symbol of already liberated understanding. What is needed is, on the basis of
understanding, to cease all the methods of liberation and to live free. Once this understanding is gotten, such a
life is possible. And free life is exactly
the life and consciousness that is yours when you operate by this understanding. It is not a life and consciousness of a
particular kind represented by some saint or other. This is the free life: since action is no
longer done in order to create one’s self, one should act always toward the
object of action, that is, always, in relation to anything. Know and act in order to create it. This is the same for all things with which
you are in relationship, from material objects to your own mind, anything that
you might have before tended to identify as yourself. Thus you are no longer operating to create or
continue an identity. You are living
free. Such free life produces no fruit
beyond this, no special kind of consciousness of mystical forms or fantastic
abilities. Such are only themselves
forms of identity. It is, rather, itself
the free life. The value is the truth,
the verity of the life itself and not any experience it creates.
Suddenly I have gone from
deciding and striving to be, or to discover my being independent from or
causally prior to all forms of identification, to deciding that everything with
which I am in relationship is. In other
words, the problem was the problem of existence, consciousness thinking it has
to keep creating itself. When
identification ceases, then one is no longer an identity, and can simply create
life, life as non-separate from all forms.
The error is not in creating a universe but in not knowing who you are.
Freedom is a category of
relationship. It is the basic approach
to reality. It is true that I can enjoy
consciousness even when there is nothing with which to be related, but the
realization of what I am is not accomplished by striving toward or away from
Love is associated with God or
the highest truth in many traditions. It
is perhaps the major commandment coming down from prophets in the West. It is considered a major path to harmony, and
truth, and the basic alternative to the over-rational tendencies of men. Love is the major commandment of religion,
and could perhaps be called the essential solution and anti-philosophy of the
However, love is simply a
function of relationship. It is at best
the most aesthetic force we can manifest in relationship. But it is itself neither the truth nor the
way to truth. It is deadly to identify
it with freedom, so that you feel religiously wrong when you do not feel or
manifest it. From this viewpoint it is
merely another religious ornament, the liturgy of relationship.
It is not a matter of seeking
to be in relationship. You always are
already and totally in relationship. Nor
is it a matter of seeking to find the self or what you really and ultimately
are or are not separate from, because this too always and already is the
case. Yet these two inclinations of
seeking persist as the basic impulses that prevent the operating awareness of
the form of existence that is the case.
These come to rest only when this traditional process of life and
awareness is understood and the mutual contradictions relieved.
What distinguishes men is not
what they experience, not what they have or will or are now perceiving, nor
receiving in the parts of the mind. It
is what they know, the degrees of certainty which approach joining the infinite
fullness of consciousness with the numberless fullness of relationship. Knowledge is not the result of
experience. Experience is simply the
effect of any number of possible awareness in relationship, whether in the
direction of “spiritual” or purely “relational” consciousness. Knowledge is not a result nor is it held in
place by experiences, pictures, concepts, memories, etc. It is, rather, allowed by the removal of
contradictions, the direct approach to conscious awareness that dissolves the
warfare of striving among alternatives.
Traditional consciousness is a
problem. It is the problem. It pursues either a unity and universal
identity (self, Self, spirit, Spirit, God) or multiplicity (relationship,
experiences) or cannot decide (duality).
None of these is the answer.
There is no answer. There is only
the unqualified awareness that is removed of contradictions.
Philosophy, being a mental
activity, tends to become descriptive rather than liberating, useful rather
than sudden. I have considered or
discovered philosophy to be, rather, an activity going on in me already. It is simply the mental approach to
life. I did not create it to handle life
or problems, rather I adopted the process itself, consciously and deliberately,
in order to come to a higher state of awareness than though and description. The problem of philosophy is its own
mechanisms, processes and language, the mind itself. The problem of life is not language, but the
problem of philosophy is language. After
a long period spent considering these fundamental operations that my life
includes, I came to understand them.
Understanding and, even more, knowledge itself, in liberated from
processes and problems. What I have
written is not in the direction of description, an analysis of mind, life and
reality, but in the direction of understanding or sudden knowledge. It is not my intention nor do I think it
valuable, to describe what is, but only to clearly state the truth of the human
viewpoint so that reality can be approached apart from the form of problems. Thus I am writing for the sake of free life
now, not for any process or life that approaches freedom. All paths are lies and trap consciousness
A basic error I made in the
earlier expression of my investigation was in thinking that the removal of
contradictions was itself something to be done to clarify or expand
consciousness. But in fact the
achievement of the awareness that all forms of striving for goals, spiritual
and material, was false, leading to an emphasis on one side of the dynamic
process of existence, was itself free awareness. In seeing this the mind is already removed of
There is no process that mind
and life must be put through in order to be free. The understanding alone liberates. It is only necessary to know this as truth
over time as well as realize it in understanding at the moment. It is possible at any moment to realize this
and be free by a simple analysis of one’s action. A simple realization that you are striving to
avoid relationship (overtly seeking freedom) will usually restore the
equilibrium of consciousness. Or the
awareness that you are overwhelming yourself with relationships, experiences
(and thus covertly seeking freedom) will similarly restore the total or
embracive awareness. In this creative,
meditative wholeness there is full, expanding awareness, self-knowledge. Anything you are doing even in spite of this
understanding is not a “spiritual problem”.
It is merely a life effect, a habit, an intention based in past
People approach “paths” in
order to create, change or destroy a chronic condition. But conditions are practical matters of
choice and decision. They have no
spiritual significance, and to handle them is not to handle the essential dilemma
or problem of life. It is this latter,
which is of greatest concern, and easily handled if seen as it is, apart from a
confusion with other significances. Once
that problem is unbound, then the practical and aesthetic matters of
life-process can be handled by the usual technology or art.
The totality of liberation is
afforded by the decision and certainty that life is relationship and you are
already free. The non-avoidance of
these, produced by such awareness, is itself the divine action and
The removal of contradictions
is simply an operation of understanding whereby one examines the concrete
intentions to avoid kinds of relationship.
The only problem or condition that prevents the total liberation of a
man is his inability to be in relationship.
It is the only problem in any moment or situation, and it is the only
ultimate problem. Total relatedness or
non-separation is the mood of freedom.
A man experiences various
things in relationship. Anything he can
experience is thus external to him, a form to which he can be related. On the basis of this confrontation over time
he begins to acquire certain tendencies in relation to certain things, all
expressed as a degree of willingness to be in relationship to it. To the degree he can remain related to
anything it ceases to be a source of problems to him. A man who has many areas, places, men, etc.
with which he is unable to be in relationship simply and directly, is one who
has become stuck in the contradictions, the yes and no of his experience. He begins to identify with qualified
intentions to be in certain kinds of relationship. And the more areas in which he is actually
striving to avoid relationship the more anxious, immobile and self-divided he
becomes. To that degree he has
identified with contradictions, or exclusive alternatives.
The more one knows directly
about one’s own tendencies in relationship the freer one is to be in
relationship. When relationship is
something under your control, then you can freely maintain appropriate action. When your ability to be in relationship is
thus freed, then you will be aware of what you are, which is the awareness of
You are not It, That, this or
anything that can be experienced. You
are always already conscious, already free.
That consciousness is existence and great bliss, joy and humor. It is what you are when you are happy, when
you do not confuse yourself with any condition.
It is what you are when you understand, when you permit relationship and
thus do not obstruct consciousness.
The purpose of life is not
“religious” (to bind again) in any sense.
It is not to become free, find God, love God or neighbor, find truth,
etc., etc. All such purposes imply a
freedom already lost and to be gained.
Life’s purpose is not realization in that sense but actualization,
creation out of an already existing freedom.
Life’s purpose is not relationship.
It already is relationship. Life
begins already with freedom (consciousness) and relationship. It’s purpose then is not to attain
these. It is, on the basis of these, to
enjoy the whole play of extension and involution, expansion and contraction
known consciously and created intentionally.
There are problems created by
spiritual and religious language, just as there are in philosophy. A major one is that the essential truth of
freedom or consciousness is approached and described through the forms of
relationship. Thus consciousness comes
to depend on strife and such artificial questions as “Is there a God”? This question represents a problem. It contains the question: “Am I free, conscious
without qualification?” And at the same
time it contains despair, for if there needs to be a God for freedom to exist,
then freedom is conditional, not basic to life.
For this reason people resist the entire matter and do not penetrate to
Of course there is God. There is obviously a creative force expanding
as manifestation and transcending any individual manifestation. No matter what person, entity, process or manifestation
you approach, it is not source on the whole.
The game is always already going on.
Specific forces are not separate from source but their involvement is on
the level of participation. The larger
game or process does exist, and thus all processes and existences are
transcended entities, not knowable and powerful or source.
But the question about God is
false with respect to the answer it expects.
It really wants the answer of freedom, of liberation from the doubt of
consciousness. The existence of God is
not that answer. God is an object of
relationship, a source of form. To be in
relationship you must be already free.
Thus you come to God already free, already in relationship. You experience God through the mood of
separation and doubt only if freedom (consciousness) is not recognized as the
basis of life. Thus the
God-relationship, as all others, is pursued as an experience that will create
freedom, and God becomes an object of striving.
The question of freedom is not
resolvable by experience or recourse to any relationship. It must be known to be already the case. When that is known and relationship is known
as the basic of life, then relationship is confronted directly, clearly,
intentionally. Then the creative God
source ceases to be a problem because it is no longer confused with the problem
of consciousness. And that relationship
and reality can be known directly and become a source of effective power.
Spiritual and religious
language is full of descriptions of ultimate reality: All is one, all are one,
there is only the One, God is love, everything is Brahman, All belong to God,
etc. There is the endless problem of
manyness and Oneness, the necessity of the One and the apparency of the many
and unique. Such language is also
uniquely conscious of dichotomies: Love vs. list or hate, God and Devil, Brahman
and maya, truth and falsity etc. In many
ways spiritual and religious language is more symptomatic and problematic than
effective. These dichotomies and
descriptive dead ends are simply the result of the confusion, separation, or
identification of consciousness (freedom) and relationship (experience).
Consciousness is not a
descriptive entity. It is not learned by
experience. Thus it does not free the
mind to call it One, Brahman, Self, etc.
You are not other than consciousness.
You are not in relationship to it as an entity, so you cannot describe
it. Thus to involve it and pursue it
through descriptive language is not useful.
In fact it causes grave difficulty, because it forces the tendency to
reduce awareness in relationship to a single entity, an undifferentiated
quality. Thus persons and conditions and
entities, instead of being known in freedom in relationship as unique
manifestations suffer the reductive fantasy that actually lessens awareness in relationship. This is all due to this basic confusion of
consciousness and relationship. When
each is understood in its unique realm the descriptive problems of
life-realization disappear. They are
dissolved by this fundamental removal of contradiction. When this is done language need no longer be
turned to describe what “is” not simply beyond the power of words to describe
but what is not in fact an object of relationship.
Description is language, a tool
of relationship. Consciousness, freedom,
and all the ideas, which indicate ultimate identity, are not known in
relationship but in fact create relationship, being prior to it. What is prior to relationship and known as
such is not an idea or reflection by which to interpret or reduce relational
concepts. To use it as such produces a
contradictory awareness and an inability to intend, an overwhelming awareness
of dichotomies as forming the basic structure of reality, and a tendency to
reduce awareness of the multiplicities of relationship to a single conceptual
datum. In fact to be already free and
already in relationship is to maintain the certainty and power of
consciousness, and a directness and simplicity in relationship. Such an approach no longer views life as
dichotomies, confusions, and automatic programs that cannot be controlled. There is no longer a reductive tendency or a
descriptive search for ultimate reality.
There is sublime and stable consciousness and an ability to be
intentional, responsible, and in the creative role in relationship. This is the result of right knowledge, an
illumination of the basic error of consciousness in the meeting with manifest
Every pursuit has its
heroes. Saviors, saints, and teachers
are the heroes of religious and spiritual search. Thus, spiritual realization comes to be
identified with certain attitudes, methods and manifestations. While I first struggled with yoga I passed
through transformations and states that, if I had understood my purpose, would
have been the end of all seeking for me.
But I gauged my own progress in terms of the manifestations and efforts
of my teachers and so made nothing out of my own knowledge. This is because of one basic error and
lie. It is the basic lie of all seeking that
there is anything to discover and know but consciousness itself. There is nothing freer than freedom, no
greater certainty and ecstasy than consciousness itself. Everything else manifested in the course of
that realization is simply experience, an effect of relationship.
What needs to be recovered is
the certainty of consciousness itself, prior to all experience of content. There are no “holy” visions, and no holy
visions holier than other holy vision.
Spirituality is not an expression of values. Its only truth is pure consciousness. It is attained when freedom (consciousness)
is no longer understood to depend on anything at all. The certainty of consciousness is the
beginning of life. Freedom is not the
result of some effect. It is neither the
result of realization nor salvation. It
is already, and this becomes a certainty when you examine the efforts of your
life and see that the search for freedom fails and always must fail since it
involves the avoidance of relationship.
Thus freedom is known as the prior basis for life and not a purpose
toward which life must be turned.
Consciousness alone, then, is
the goal of all spiritual effort. And it
is known simply, in itself, when the futility of effort is understood.
Consciousness should be the
basic knowledge and certainty. But the
freedom, which is consciousness itself, has come into doubt as a result of a
process of identification with experience.
Relationship is itself free and equal to consciousness itself. But, in the combination of painful and
pleasurable experiences, identifications take place, so that consciousness
becomes associated with certain limited configurations, processes and
appearances. Pleasure of existence leads
to a decision to be and survive as something.
Then pain reinforces that identification with the need to struggle to
survive as that. In the midst of the
processes of identification enters the idea that consciousness and delight are
dependent on a certain form. Thus life
becomes associated with bodily existence and pleasure with the repetition of certain
habitual experiences. But freedom is not
identification, and consciousness is prior to any manifestation. Thus there is a buildup of resistance and
avoidance to this entire process.
Experience starts to be resisted, and despair increases as resistance is
seen to cure nothing. Then there are the
various corrective measures on up to the processes that seek perfect
liberation. But just as identification is a lie about consciousness that
eventually creates apparent death or rebellion, the attempt to eliminate the
problem by reversing the process involves a similar inability to recognize what
is already the case.
The intention to be identified
and the intention to be liberated involve the same error in the matter of
freedom. Both assume a relation to
consciousness and equate or confuse consciousness with relationship and
experience. Freedom is always now and
must be assumed in its own right, tacitly, and not on the basis of any learned
awareness. Freedom or consciousness is
not the result of a process. Even if
this is sought as a goal of liberation the seeker knows that, if he found it,
it would be an unqualified state, the equivalent to his essential being. It is only necessary to understand that
identification with forms and forces as well as the attempt to be liberated
from these is, as an action, an enforced denial of consciousness and, as an
impulse, a manifestation of free consciousness itself. It is only necessary to live on the
assumption of consciousness itself. Thus
it expands and begins to control existence.
The only obstacle to this is the prejudices a person has about what
state consciousness must be in before it is free. Thus there is a demand for visions,
ecstasies, perceptions and experiences.
Again there is the failure to live as already conscious, already free.
Consciousness is empty, prior
to experience. The having of it does not
create any particular manifestation.
Thus the intention to live as free, as consciousness, does not depend on
any particular evolution or ability. You
are already free.
The summation is this. Life is not a problem or a mortal event. When it is lived as such it produces the very
effects that life resists. Life is free
only when it is lived as already free.
Any action engaged for the modification and transformation of experience
is already free. The achievement of a
more perfect existence is not the result of a search for freedom, nor is any
condition, however desirable, to be equated with freedom itself.
At last there is not recourse,
not path but the radical assumption of freedom, of consciousness prior to all
relationship, all manifestation, all experience, all learned knowledge. Understand this and live. Until then death is your concern and life a
search for freedom.
Consciousness and relationship
are easily recognized and require no belief, no abstraction, no dogma supported
at length by thought. These are the
basic observables of existence.
With knowledge there comes an
end to practices that pursue freedom, which is consciousness, knowledge. When the truth is realized, consciousness and
its messianic energies invade and perfect each level of manifestation. Thus you will simply expand in joy. You are a source of consciousness and beauty
to everything. You are the presence of
The essential barriers to
spiritual life are spiritual lies. They
alone create spiritual effort, spiritual “warfare”. And of all such lies there is one basic, and
that is that you are not already free.
Thus all spiritual effort is strife toward freedom. And such efforts, although they produce
experiences all along the way, from torment to sublime mystical certainty,
never end. They do not end because they
always operate on the premise that animates them, the idea that you are not
already free and therefore must become free.
As a result, even when freedom is glimpsed and known it cannot be
maintained as knowledge, as the operating basis of life. It is because, even in that moment, such
freedom is understood as an experience, a moment in life, an attainment, a
miracle. It is seen within the structure
of seeking. For life is created out of
this lie of unfreedom, of creatureliness and original ignorance. Consciousness is understood as a thing
enclosed and originating in a body or a limited and comprehendible space. All because of the original
misunderstanding. Thus when the truth is
seen it cannot be known. It could only
be known if life were consciously, intentionally lived on a radically new
Life must be lived out of the
certainty of freedom, of unqualified consciousness. Such a life is not threatened. Such a way accomplishes and fulfills
life. It is not itself life but
consciousness invading and transforming life.
Life must be intended as such.
And you will turn to this simply on the basis of knowledge, an original
certainty and trust in the truth of consciousness. No experience can prove it. The certainty is the consciousness
itself. The way of experience is based
on the denial of original freedom and so cannot know it. It knows freedom only as an incident within
experience. Experience teaches you only
to seek freedom or despair of it. To be
free you must be free already. You must
act as if it were the case, knowing it to be so. Then you create life and expand within it.
It is only the confrontation
with the world that leads you to doubt and deny your freedom. No amount of effort will make you free. At best you will be a circumstantial victor,
a muscular saint. You will be devoted to
the effort of self-transformation, which is founded in self-hate. And self-hate identifies self with certain
limited states and abilities. But it
basically hates the self as unfree. When
you deny your freedom you become burdened, angry, anxious, desperate and
motivated. Such manifestation is itself
the struggle for freedom. Understanding
this brings great relief and release from the snare of lies.
The beginning of true life is
based in no experience, no vision, no faith, no belief, no dogma, and no
philosophy. It does not even depend on
understanding through the inspection of life.
It is simply begun out of the tacit certainty and knowledge of
When life is lived as already
free there is an abandonment of all practices, all acts of self-transformation
and ultimate seeking. There is peace and
enjoyment beyond existence, beyond identification with names and forms. And relationship becomes a field of enjoyment
of varying complexity in which what is always known and identified everywhere
is consciousness, everywhere the blissful recognition. It is a life that cannot be compared to the
strife manifested in the world comprehended and created on other “truths” which
call for the progressive fulfillment of man, the evolution of structures.
There is no evolution of
consciousness. That is a lie created out
of the unknown freedom. Freedom is not
in the distant time, eternally past, eternally future. Freedom must be radically comprehended and
assumed. Out of such knowledge we can
create a world of our choice. If men
would only know it, that which they call divine life is always only realizable
now before anything is learned, proven or doubted.
Experience is filled with
arbitrariness and contradiction. Out of
memory we build all dichotomies, all uncertainty. Experience is no form out of which to create
the knowledge of self. Yet we do it as a
natural repetition of what we do everywhere in life when we do not know we are
free. We identify consciousness with
experience and freedom with relief from certain types of experience. Thus we do not acknowledge the priority of
consciousness and we prevent its invasion of the world.
The more or less exclusive
flight to freedom is the ancient search for God, for absolute
spirituality. The more or less exclusive
flight to relationship is the ancient search for death, for existence apart
from consciousness. They are equal in
their denial of life, for freedom, conscious and intentional existence is now,
it already exists and need only be made the principle of life. God or death, the fruits of ignorant seeking,
are, even if found, only categories of relationship, experiences of a certain
kind, and not freedom itself.
Consciousness thus identified in either way with experience is a failure
to actually be in relationship.
IV. Realization: Water
It is necessary to remain in
the truth and communicate it. Thus you
are always identical to it and a source of it.
When the truth is not real to you, then you are and communicate that
which remains as real to you. And that
remainder is not the truth. If you
continue to operate that way, life will become a problem based on the absence
of truth and the seeking of truth. And
it becomes difficult to be free, to cease to be that which has become real to
you but which is not the truth. This is
the essence of our dilemma. We live here
but not in the truth, and thus this life appears false. It is necessary, then, to encounter the truth
as reality again and so live on a real foundation.
If the teaching is something
like “surrender to God”, then God must be real as the surrender. Then it is easy. It is a union, an identification, a
realization of consciousness. Otherwise
it is a struggle against yourself and your inability to surrender. For, if that to or for which you surrender is
not real to you, and of course desirable and greater than your limited being
and dilemma, then the only thing real to you is your attempt to surrender and
the recognition that the foundation is missing.
Thus surrender becomes a search for God to become real. But surrender in itself implies its
object. If the object is missing or
unreal, then the surrender is turned in on itself and made self-conscious and
impossible. What makes growth possible
is the real power of higher consciousness.
If it is not contemplated as real, then you are stuck with what remains
real, the thing or life or level of reality you would want to surrender. Thus spirituality becomes effort and seeding
instead of growth. All its attention is
on its own bondage, its insistence on a level of reality that is bondage, and
the constant attempt to prove or imply the reality of the higher dimension it
seeks to realize.
Surrender to the Presence is
the true way of life. Surrender is the
form of relationship, and it is relationship turned to consciousness, freedom
and universal power (the Presence). But unless the Presence is real to you,
then the surrender becomes effort and seeking to prove the reality of the
Presence itself. Wherever the Presence
is unreal and less than an obvious living experience we have dying religion,
practices, methods, restriction, dogma, philosophy, legality. The whole necessity is to realize this
Presence. This is the teacher, the
incarnate consciousness and power that manifests all reality. When He is known then spiritual life becomes
possible. The truth, the teaching, then,
is not any prescription for your action, such as surrender. The truth, the teaching, is the Divine
The truth in relationship is
always known through a manifestation. It
is incarnate, a being, a presence. If it
cannot be found then the truth is not present in the world and the world is
false, separated from its foundation.
The truth is not mere philosophy, or a theology reflecting the meaning
of past manifestations now only present outside the forms of the world. The truth must always be incarnate,
manifested, to be real now.
When the Presence is located as
a reality in relationship, then life action begins to become true. You begin to enact the conscious power of the
The refusal to be in
relationship which is evidenced by a flight from or identification with forms
of existence is not itself only flight from or avoidance of forms of
existence. It is the refusal to be in
relationship to reality as Presence and consciousness. It is the reduction of life to forms of
existence and thus the separation from the Presence and consciousness. Life is a manifestation of these. And so unaccomplished life is the avoidance
of the knowledge or realization of these.
Examine yourself in
relationship and see to what degree this pattern is true of you. Examine your awareness of freedom and the
reality of consciousness. Examine to
what degree the Presence of ultimate power is real to you as concrete experience.
Sadhana or spiritual exercise
is not an effort toward personal transformation. As such it is only a continuous and
frustrating awareness of your limited state, the identity you willfully
maintain with levels of experience, and the habits and problems such
identifications generate. Sadhana is
simply the awareness of being in relationship to the Divine Presence. Thus room is made for the invasion of that
Presence into all areas and dimensions of consciousness and life. The knowledge of the Presence opens all the
levels of your manifest being to the Light.
The result of this is a gradual transformation of your self-awareness, a
raising of the level of consciousness and power you know yourself to be. Then the life effects you generated in
ignorance fall away. Thus,
transformation is the work of God.
Sadhana is simply the knowledge
of God. Sadhana is not the effort of
surrender or opening or love. These are
themselves transformations created by the Divine Presence. It is only necessary to be in that Presence,
to find it and know it. When it is
recognized for what it is then the whole of consciousness and life is already
All seeking, even all spiritual
effort is merely an attempt to discover the Divine as an unqualified real
Presence. What is required, then, is not
seeking or effort but an encounter with the Presence, the Guru, the Truth.
It is strange, considering the
paths men take, that consciousness and infinite power are the most obvious
realities in our experience.
Flowering plants are the
perfect expression of the perfect way.
In them there is no effort to exist, to grow, or to persist. Yet, from the beginning they thrive and
develop out of a perfect acknowledgement of the source of their life. Flowers in sunlight demonstrate the knowledge
of their source. The cycles of their
living cause them no despair. Flowers
are not suicidal, nor do they tend to withdraw from their source out of despair
and resistance to their disappearing.
The spiritual life is simply this continuation in the Presence. Thus the Narcissus is blossomed white, turned
from his self0attentive dying to the intentional source of life.
Life is the certainty of being
in relationship to God, or, more simply, the conscious relationship to
God. Thus it is to be in relationship to
everything, thus transcending everything while totally assuming everything.
Certainty is operating as if
everything existed and being in relationship to everything simultaneously.
All that you know as self and
experience are processes, functions of the vast manifestation, which is
relationship, the experiential universe in all its planes. Consciousness is the most prior source of all
manifestation. It is not identical to
all functions of relationship, but they are not separate from it. The center of experience called “I” is only a
center of relationship and not an entity.
“I” is as much an experience, a functional reality, a process, as any
material object or configuration. It is
only closer to the reference point of consciousness in your present life. To identify with it rather than simply to use
it from the viewpoint of a more prior consciousness is to fall in to the basic
error of life, which is to make relationship or experience a principle higher
than consciousness or freedom. Thus you
drive consciousness and freedom out of life and make them at best the goals of
If you examine your life in
every detail, at every level of manifestation, you will see a constantly
changing effort to be free, to be set loose, unqualifiedly alive. The effect of this effort on every level of
life is the game of avoidance of relationship or identification with some form
of relationship. There is the basic game
of separation from relationships and identification with the experience of
“me”, which is itself a process, a form of relationship, a condition. Then there is the reflex reaction caused by
this, which is flight from the trap of that identity into forms of experience,
into relationship with objects rather than manifestations of
consciousness. Watchfulness, attention
to life, results in understanding, which lets go of certain habits of life and
mind. When life is viewed totally and
seen as suffering to the degree that it pursues freedom and thus destroys
relationship through avoidance and identification, then you begin consciously
to abide and function freely in relationship.
For, to the degree such seeking continues, life is operating against
itself through unconscious compulsions, the whole accumulated influence of
experience and one’s decisions and reactions to it over time. This awareness brings you to operate
consciously and intentionally, in your original state.
The truth cannot be found as
the result of seeking. It can only be
realized, that is, intentionally lived.
Such occurs then you have understood life and so let go of the habitual
responses that entrap conscious life.
Bondage occurs when freedom (consciousness) or relationship (existence
as manifestation) or both cease to be real to you. Free life, intentional life, resumes when
these again become real to your understanding and so form the necessary
structure of your being. Then your life
can be lived intentionally, a manifestation of unqualified consciousness.
The ultimate state is that in
which you allow everything to be lived.
The end of seeking is not in
the attainment of its objective goal but in the radical understanding of the
motive and process of seeking. Seeking
is endless and never epitomized. If a
certain object is obtained in experience, either one seeks the repetition of
that experience again and again, or abandons that objective, more or less
temporarily, and stresses one of the countless others shown to the mind. Unliberated life is this endless repetition
of seeking. It is the stress and effort
of false identification, misunderstood experience. It is the cycle of limited and limiting
consciousness, like a process of going blind, from a field of infinite totality
down to a chink of glitter and the sudden black. The recognition of this dilemma is the
beginning of a revolution in consciousness.
Then begins a gradual and growing counter-effort of inquiries, processes
and paths. But it is the Light itself
that liberates and transforms, just as it is the Light that provides the
inkling of suffering in the midst of a workable life. The awareness of the futility of seeking is
the witnessing of your deliverance. From
that time you will act toward the Light and the Light will transform your
understanding out of black.
The only reality than you
cannot experience, which you cannot know and identify in relationship, and
which you cannot isolate anywhere, even in yourself, is consciousness. Yet it is unqualifiedly real and affirmed by
all experience. This reality, then, is
the most prior reality, the unqualified identity, the foundation and principle
of all existence. All experiences, all
phenomena, all relationship, are merely the contents of this consciousness.
The mind, the body, the whole
process identified as “me”, generated as “I”, and realized as “mine” is a
function of prior consciousness. While
in the form and ritual of Narcissus we have denied this functional link, and
thus we stimulate the program of suffering, unconsciousness and death.
Consciousness is freedom. Thus freedom cannot be attained by any method
at all. Freedom always already is. Relationship or manifestation is the
intentional and free condition of consciousness for us here and now. These are the two primary truths of our life,
and they must be known as thoroughly real and necessary in order for life to be
Free life is simply the
bringing of consciousness to existence.
That is not a method for ultimate liberation. It is, rather, already liberated action. Thus consciousness comes to observe,
understand, control, and transform life. By this path, which is already true,
already free, life or relationship will become forms of consciousness. It will be realized as manifestation. Thus consciousness and the force of
manifestation are wed in creative realization, the creation of known light.
The difficulty for men who are
unable to understand and begin such a life is that consciousness, for them, is
so deeply bound to various forms of experience.
They are overwhelmed with life as pure relationship, more experience,
and so they cannot realize it as manifestation.
They cannot assert the prior force of consciousness. For them the way is more difficult. It is one in which suffering produces wisdom
by the despair of effort. Thus there is
a gradual realization of the same truth.
If you cannot decide to live truly, then you are already on this latter
path. It is also Divine, since the
Divine transforms you in spite of yourself, but it is also gradual, unnecessary
Freedom and truth are so
simple. They are a present, available,
sudden grace that ends all seeking and fulfills all life. It is the simple choice of
consciousness. It is to be conscious and
allow it to be already manifesting everything.
It is to open averting to Light.
If you do not choose it you have chosen to seek.
Observe your life after you
fail to make the decision of radical consciousness. It turns simply to the suffering of
experience as the basic principle of life.
Experience or relationship is in no way separate from consciousness. It is one with the radical principle of
reality. One who fails to realize this
truth will, by the grace of the Divine, come by the route of his sins to
recognize his emptiness and dependence, the necessity and reality of
relationship, the priority of consciousness, non-separation from the Presence
while in the condition of manifest existence, and, finally, the perfection of
Divine Life and eternal freedom.
Spiritual life is simply
self-created life, intentional existence, conscious relationship in all its
possible forms. Total relationship must
be the knowledge and assumption out of which you move into particular
relationships. To knowingly be in
relationship to everything is to be God-conscious. It is to be unqualifiedly conscious. To know you are unqualified consciousness in
relationship is to understand perfectly.
Spiritual activity is not search for Spirit is our conscious activity in
all relationship. To be in relationship
to God is to witness the Presence and manifest the Presence to God. To be Consciousness is to create God. This is truth and not death to those who
understand and bring consciousness into life.
A man can kill himself but he
cannot give himself birth. Spiritual
realization is a re-birth. It cannot be
acquired or attained. It is done by the
grace of God, the supreme Guru. Yet,
just as a babe in the womb consents by response to his existence and growth, so
we engage spiritual life as knowledge, and self-control, and meditation. Spiritual life is life lived as spirit, life
not separate from the Divine. Effort as
spirituality is partial and suicidal.
The true path is not avoidance
of relationship but intentional transcendence of it, that is, reaching into
consciousness, prior to thought and forms.
One must get out of thought and
into relationship. This is the
realization of consciousness.
Consciousness is prevented by the chronic adherence of the mind to
various forms, and the resultant demand for action, the demand that you become
a process rather than consciousness.
Such is suffering and death. When
this process is stilled, relationship is possible.
Relationship is always to
consciousness. In meditation we move
into consciousness, and in life we should be constantly in relationship to
consciousness. The result of such living
in that you understand the nature of consciousness and become it. The attainment of consciousness is thus the
liberated state. It is attained not by
doing anything to the mind such as emptying it, surrendering it, etc., but by understanding
that the mind is taking forms, and knowing the results of that. Consciousness is prior to that. The attainment is realized by putting you
attention on the real consciousness.
All outwardly directed action
is simply manifestation and all inwardly directed action (prior to mind and
experience) is simply realization. But
we fail to understand this and so outward action, though apparently striving
for effects, is actually seeking the result of knowledge and freedom, and
inward action, though apparently moving into consciousness and bliss, is
motivated to realize certain experiential effects. Thus men act without understanding and become
bound to the search for results that are inappropriate to the dimension in
which they are acting.
Life and every form of action
must proceed from understanding and expand in it, realizing its own simple
result. Meditation and the enjoyment of
consciousness must also proceed freely, out of understanding, so that it is
free to realize its proper object and not become tied in the loveless search
for various experiences.
All paths, from the
sophisticated religious and philosophical to the simple, more or less
automatic, ordinary effort of strife which is the average existence, are
reactions to life recognized as dilemma.
All life, until it is simply understood and directly lived, is something
to which we resort. All paths are
resistive and not radical, being exclusive rather than inclusive. While apparently seeking the goal of either
consciousness or relationship they are actually attempting to correct the one
they abandon. Thus the search for pure
consciousness develops out of an unsatisfactory relational existence, and the
search for perfected relationship develops out of a static, self-enclosed
awareness. All paths seek to correct an
inharmony. Thus all of them are actually
failures to understand and live life as it is.
Our condition is neither pure
consciousness nor mere relationship. It
is both consciousness and relationship, always, already and exactly. This is not a problem. It is merely a creative condition, an
unqualified reality. If we become
conscious of it as a dilemma, a limitation of problems, then we must resort to
seeking, practicing and realizing. We
will become bound to the scheme of alternatives arising at every moment of our
existence. We will always be seeking,
avoiding, choosing, attempting, disciplining, indulging, practicing and
despairing. Liberation is not some
fantastic realization and attainment of consciousness or experience but the
recognition of what is the exact condition, without distorting it by interpreting
it as a problem. Examination of our
lives, our motives, our intentions and tendencies, moment to moment, over time
relieves us from life as dilemma. This
is not to say we accumulate experience and philosophy but that we live it
directly, without resorts. The release
at last and always is from resistance, at any moment, to consciousness (prior
to processes) and relationship (experience, processes). This must be understood, and no practices can
realize it. All practices lead to an
artificial result, an experience, an interpretation of life.
There are great men of all
kinds, divine men and very human men, and moments of all kinds, divine and
human. But the way is neither divine nor
human but is itself. It is so deeply
itself that it is not moved to pursue any solution, since it is not conscious
of itself as a problem or a condition that could be remedied by any
revolutionary intention. Radical
existence is simply itself. It is always
and radically both consciousness and process, freedom and relationship. My failure to live as such is always the root
of suffering and strife, an attempt to recapture one or the other principle of
existence that has been lost by misunderstanding and effort.
The effort of which we need to
be free is the effort to overcome life as dilemma. Intentional action is itself necessary and
can be highly creative. But action that
pursues the liberation from life contradiction, where consciousness and
relationship appear in opposition, is itself bondage and extends suffering and
illusion. Thus the way of life is
neither mindfulness (attention to processes) nor meditation (ascent to
consciousness). The way of life is
already free and creates freely. It is
also self-healing, and so at times we become meditative unto sublimity and at
others concentrated unto understanding of experience, but these are occasions
and repairs and not life itself. They
Life is conscious
experience. That is it exactly and
solely. Within it no possibility is
excluded nor absolutized. Those in
trouble need only understand the essential structure of existence and so
illuminate their strife.
When I thoroughly and tacitly
understand that I am always already in relationship, radically and totally,
then the effort to avoid relationship becomes unnecessary and, indeed,
impossible and so it relaxes and I am peaceful.
Similarly, when I thoroughly and tacitly understand that I am
continually seeking freedom, but that freedom can exist only always and
already, prior to effort and result, and when I realize that freedom is
consciousness itself, then the whole effort to identify with processes and
relationships becomes unnecessary and impossible and I enjoy the unqualified
peace of consciousness. When both of
these dimensions are understood and stand as reality, the essential condition,
then I am grounded in real life and no longer enforce it as a question, a
problem, a dilemma. In this unanswered
depth and peace I can create with unqualified freedom.
But this is not the end of all knowledge. At this point I have overcome life as
dilemma. There is still free growth in
two directions. Life is a creative
possibility. Life as creative action,
free in relationship, is indeed action, participation, politics. Thus, out of peace and harmony and bliss I
can create and know as I choose in relationship. This is the beautiful occupation of
energy. And consciousness is also
realizable in itself. Consciousness
presides over all the realms of our experience, waking, dreaming and
sleeping. Thus to uncover its peace by
disarming the “problem” of waking consciousness does not reveal the totality of
consciousness itself. It simply permits
you to enjoy it, manifest as it, and know it.
Life, then, also involves the permissive realization of consciousness in
its totality as well as relationship in its totality. When the life problem is dissolved in
understanding, then there is a way of life, as intelligent and natural as
hunger and eating, that permits growth and realization of the fullness of possibility.
Even the spiritual seeker is
obsessed with the mentality of spiritual experience. And, though often he may achieve
concentration in his holy object, he does so via a compulsive avoidance of
relationship to life processes.
Inevitably he finds himself agonizing over his inability to keep his
mind free from the “unholy”. All of
this, then, is off the mark and not at all free. It is the avoidance of relationship through
the identification with the mind, the process of experience. It is the failure to realize the radical,
total condition of relationship, of non-separation. The avoidance of relationship, the idea of
separateness from total relationship is the basic cause of bondage to the mind,
the form of experience.
What, then, is true relationship
in terms of any object? It is one in
which relationship is itself the experience.
It is not one in which some manifestation is approached as an object
which, by participation, will guarantee certain effects. Such is to be bound to experiences rather
than free in relationship. Relationship
is not a mere matter of fact, an objective condition, but a recognition, a
realization, a force of consciousness.
Thus, by understanding relationship radically one becomes free of the
mind and ascends to consciousness. Thus
every experience, every object, can and ultimately should be approached as
relationship, which is unqualified consciousness of Presence.
The Teacher, then, is not some
God-conscious and powerful person who is to be approached in order that he
provide us with certain experiences that will free us by the force or argument
of a miracle. To travel in that way to
any object is to be caught in life as a dilemma. Thus most who approach spiritual sources will
at first find themselves unsatisfied and put off their hopes. The teaching that is first taught is freedom
from the dilemma of the mind, the life-problem, the anxious search. The Teacher at first raises us to the
realization of love, life as devotion and joy rather than dilemma. This is the internal miracle that is the
first realization. We come, then, no
longer to demand experiences of the Guru but only the relationship itself, the
paradigm recognition of non-separation.
There are miracles and marvels in the deep realizations and graces of
spiritual life, but they come only after the crisis of enjoyment, the
liberation from life as dilemma.
The knowledge that you are
radically in relationship is the key recognition which, as it is more and more
fully experienced, raises you up out of the revolution of separateness and
particular or partial relationships into the bliss of consciousness and
actuality. Thus it is the essential
realization that creates spiritual life.
From then there is continual expansion of consciousness and the dimension
and power of manifestation. In this way
perfect consciousness and divine life are both realized and there is no
compulsive and exclusive effort to create either one, for such are merely
mental persuasions created out of a life dilemma. Indeed, there is no compulsion to realize
anything since the knowledge of radical relationship is the sufficient heart of
liberation, the core of freedom, of unqualified consciousness.
Spiritual realization is actual
bliss, unqualified consciousness. It is
thus the Divine state, the Divine knowledge.
It is not separate from the perfect and ultimate reality, but knows it,
manifests it and enjoys identity with it.
It is not a state known only in meditation or some specific condition in
relation to manifest existence. It is a
state periodically experienced by all men, but often it is not recognized for
what it is and so enjoyed to the point of illumination. It is sufficient. From it proceed miracles and powers and all
existence, but this itself is the goal and no other manifestations will
necessarily be given you to verify its power and depth.
Truth is the enjoyment of
consciousness, the non-separation from God or actual bliss.
Total, unqualified relationship
is not other than consciousness. To be
radically in relationship is to be conscious without qualification. Thus the awareness of unqualified
relationship is also the enjoyment of consciousness itself. This is the supreme bliss, and it is not
realizable by any exclusive process dealing with the mode of relationship or,
alternatively, with consciousness itself.
The exclusive method is simply a manifestation of the struggle of life
experienced as dilemma. When you
thoroughly and radically understand you real condition there is no seeking and
nothing to be attained. There is the
peace of non-separation, the conscious bliss of actual, unqualified
existence. The enjoyment of this is the
highest realization of life. Everything
else is an expansive activity generated out of this perfection and harmony
beyond all questioning.
The desire to satisfy some
chronic desire, some mental persuasion, is based in a failure to recognize
relationship as your essential condition.
Thus experience is generated out of anxiety, a sense of separation, a need
to be joined, immersed in a relationship that is only partial and particular in
order to satisfy the need for the sensation of wholeness, of radical
relatedness. At such times it is
necessary to get beyond the mind. This
Meditation is basically the
enjoyment of realization. It is not an
effort or search for realization but a total relaxation and expansion and
permissiveness to the radical consciousness of relationship, of actual
bliss. To know this state and freedom is
to be free of all questions, even the questions regarding: What is this state,
its exact nature? Is it God, is it the
Self? I it perfect relationship to
God? Is it only a personal peace of
mind? All such questions are based in
the problematic mentality. However, to
meditate, to fully allow this radical consciousness of relationship, to
intensely enjoy this unqualified condition is not separate from any perceptions
and descriptions of ultimate reality that may be provoked by the
experience. It is only that none of this
is necessary or persuasive, and only the native freedom remains to be an
essential reality and truth for all.
Total, radical relationship
excludes particular identity. The
consciousness of radical relationship can isolate no fixed entity or
disconnected process with which to identify.
Yet it is not necessarily identified in particular with an infinite
process. It is simply free of the
identification with separateness, an isolated, finite and qualified process.
I continually return to this
realization: It is not a matter of seeking and finding a truth in order to be
free. It is not a matter of
concentrating the mind in some truth or idea, some state or process, some
person or source. It is a matter of
removing the concentration of the mind by dissolving the problems created by
the contradictions, the dualities, the endless forces of opposition that
continually form the content of the mental process. And this is not a matter of method. We are always automatically concentrating the
mind by thinking, trying to resolve and synthesize the dualities of
experience. The attempt to put an end to
this is simply another manifestation of the dilemma. But at times we suddenly perceive this entire
activity, not any one side of any contradiction, but both sides, the mind as a
whole. At those times we are suddenly
free of the mind. Then there is an end
to seeking, to avoidance and identification, to mental concentration. At those times there is a free enjoyment of
consciousness and relationship as a total, unqualified realization.
In the West the tendency is
toward an indulgence in and identification with the mechanics or phenomenal
aspect of reality itself. Thus
relationship is exploited, experience exhausted. This tends to create the reaction of
revolution, cynicism and disavowal, the yearning for a totally other reality
and the acknowledgement of a dimension of meaning.
In the east the tendency is
toward the exploitation of consciousness itself, to the exclusion of the
dimension of relationship, which appears to be a gradient downward from the
totality of Self to the mortal separateness of bodily existence. This tends to produce the reaction of
self-indulgence, the demand for politics and economic visibility, the search
for a manifest freedom and enjoyment.
Both these paths, then, are
expressions of a conflict, which is emphasized and exaggerated by an exclusive
intention. Both, in spite of the marvels
each produces in the infrequent case of actual realization, are products of
problematic awareness, a failure to radically understand the essential nature
of our condition. Only radical, total
knowledge and not partial, exclusive knowledge, can generate true and realized
What is required is radical
knowledge, radical existence. Thus life
is based in a non-dualistic, exclusive idea of existence is problematic,
contradictory and thus demands life to be lived as emergency, as search. The problematic life is motivated by urgency
and incompleteness. The products of such
existence, whatever its style, manifest the falsity of traditional existence.
You are always already
conscious and always already in relationship.
This radical comprehension, truly realized, manifests the natural state
of blissful consciousness and the ability to create harmony or union.
Life is not recognizable by an
ultimate purpose, such as to realize the Self or to achieve a political
perfection. These are exclusive,
burdensome goals that merely depress and exploit free existence. Just so, the truth is not descriptive. It does not involve mental indications of the
nature and source of the universe and consciousness, etc. The truth is a unifying principle, not an
exclusive fixation. Life is already free
on the basis of an intuitive understanding of its basic structure.
Relationship is radical, not
exclusive. It does not fix on God or any
other symbol or indication of “source”.
It does not fix or concentrate consciousness at all. Neither does it disperse it. It is total, without qualification, free of
the whole process of contradiction, the infinite complex of the dual efforts of
the mind. And so, our essential freedom
cannot even be described as the realization of the relationship to God, even if
such is understood to be effortless, totally by grace, neither created,
maintained not increased by effort.
Our basic experience is known
only when the primary and most prior structure of our existence is intuitively
recognized. Then the “problem” of
consciousness, the dilemma of existence, unwinds and a tacit, radical awareness
of reality replaces the exclusive tendencies of the mind. For such there is no savior, no Guru, no
vision, no God, no Self, no goal, no miracle, no problem and no illusion. Neither is there the absence of these. Such a person is free of the persuasive
effects of experience, free of the contrary, free of the grief that follows
fulfillment, free of the search for joy, free of the concepts of destruction,
free of the structure and process of conscious life. His way is enjoyment. If the Divine miracle were to be produced in
the next town tomorrow he would be absent, found making live, or devoted to
bringing peace to the minds of those who, disbelieving, remained behind. This is not to say that there are no
miracles, no Divine center of being. But
neither are such realities to say there is no death, no suffering, no enjoyment
of the body. What may be said of such a
state is that, in the most positive sense, neither death nor God is its
concern. Such peace is the graceful
child of all truth.
The detachment which is a liberation
from all bondage is not a mental separation from the life manifestation but the
basic freedom which permits passion, survival and perfect peace.
There is only
consciousness. Relationship is
consciousness. It is not that
consciousness is a principle prior to relationship. There is no separation, no distinction
between relationship and consciousness.
It is only that we do not realize relationship. We tend to fragment, concentrate, separate,
avoid and identify with experience. Thus
we are not in relationship and do not recognize real relationship.
Relationship is radical, total,
unqualified reality. To know it is to be
conscious, to recognize and realize consciousness. If we identify or epitomize relationship in a
certain entity, then relationship has the appearance that it may be lost, since
the entity is not perfectly durable.
Thus we suffer grief while in the prime of enjoyment and we are
threatened with loss, separateness and emptiness.
By the false knowledge of
relationship life becomes search, relationship is pursued as something other
than consciousness and consciousness as something other than relationship. Life becomes a conflict determined by a
conceived polarity, the analyzed opposites of consciousness and
relationship. Thus when relationship is
enjoined there is anxiety that consciousness is threatened, and when
consciousness is embraced there is the suffering of disconnection from life.
All of this is the failure of
consciousness to realize itself. It
fails to recognize manifestation and comprehend relationship or experience as a
totality. It engages relationship only
as particularity and so always narrows and concentrates the awareness of
relationship. Since it fails to
recognize relationship as a whole, particular relationship becomes awareness
trapped in a form rather than the direct enjoyment of consciousness.
When relationship is known as
it is, without the mechanism of conflict and contradiction standing in the way
of grasping what is, then relationship ceases to be a field of danger. It is not a descent or a separation from the
center. It does not proceed from
consciousness but is itself consciousness, continuous with the totality of
The contemplation of
relationship and consciousness, apart from any other method of transforming
awareness or the processes of the mind, will ultimately bring an end to all
strife, all ignorance and all necessary suffering. When the conflict between them ceases then
the center of being is opened and the life problem dissolves. At such moments there is a return to natural
freedom and enjoyment of consciousness.
Then there is the expansion and deepening of profound awareness and
bliss, the pleasure of unqualified silence.
The only problem is the problem
of consciousness. The problem of
consciousness is conflict or contradiction produced by the failure to
understand the nature and reality of relationship. There is only consciousness and it cannot be
known by separation from relationship.
If relationship is not recognized in its radical sense, then all
particular relationship becomes a descent, a separation, a movement into
unconsciousness. But you are totally
related, not in any sense separated from the center, the source, from consciousness
itself. There is only consciousness. There is no problem. There is no search and no answer. Relationship is not a separate dimension but
is known only as connection and continuation.
Relationship is not even the content of consciousness. It is consciousness. There is nothing that can be known except
consciousness. Consciousness is your
Relationship is radical
knowledge. It is not guaranteed or
created by any exclusive relationship such as to God or Guru. These are at best doors to total
relationship, being themselves not knowable as separate, exclusive
entities. Relationship is always
radical, always already the case. Thus
it is knowledge whereby all particular relationship is approached and
recognized. It is the knowledge, which
is unqualified consciousness. The true
Guru falls through your hands. He cannot
be identified. To know the Guru is to
possess all knowledge. He is the
principle of existence. He is your own
The reality of the Divine Lord,
the One than which there is no other, who, though wholly other than all that
exists, has manifested and is the heart of all existence, is itself the
salvation of men. To recognize this
Reality after the contemplation of our life is to enjoy perfect knowledge and eternal
liberation. His grace is that He makes
Himself known as real and as the Lord of all reality. Thus there is no condition wherein He cannot
be known and where Hi is not revealing Himself.
He is Jesus Christ. He is
Muktananda. Yet He is not exclusively
these, more than my chair, my arm. To
know Him is to attain Self-knowledge.
His existence and not His actions, not the quality of His
manifestations, is what liberates. Thus
He appears under many forms and yet the truth is always the same. He is the one who is known.
Life is manifold and truth is
paradoxical, that is, inclusive, whole.
Life may produce the experience of subject and object, but, in truth,
neither subject nor object represent an absolute dimension. Both are aspects of a total process. My own consciousness of an event is something
to which I am ultimately the witness, just as I am the witness of its object,
the external event.
Of this I am certain, and it
has manifested itself to me in the midst of my meditations. The “I” and the “world” are aspects of a
total process. I am a witness of the
subjective self and the objects of experience.
Yet this truth is liberating to me only in the condition of
relationship. The actual attainment of
transcendent consciousness and power is not usual or constant until it actually
is such. Until then such knowledge is
graceful and a devotional aid within the context of life. Life is not reducible to consciousness. Life is relationship, consciousness as
relationship. And the way of life is, at
its best, a relationship to the Divine Presence which is manifesting as
everything. Such is the path of truth,
which I cannot deny.
All that I have written has a
single result, and all of my experience and understanding is epitomized in a
single realization. The Divine Lord, the
real Presence of the one who is all Consciousness, all manifestation, from whom
every kind of awareness and actuality proceeds, is That to which I am
related. And that is the nature of my
existence. That relationship, which is a
devotion of my whole being, always more and more inclusively, is beyond all my
efforts to identify with the states of life.
The knowledge of that relationship coincides with and creates more and
more the stillness of the processes of identification that are the basis of my dilemma,
the mystery and suffering of ordinary life.
In that knowledge the mind is stilled, energy returns to the body and
the very nerves, clarity is restored to all relationships, and the center of my
being, my heart, is raised in live to a growing devotion.
Thus my life, in practice,
devotes all my activities, in every dimension wherein I become aware, to the
Divine. I come to know that the Lord
manifests His Consciousness as all states of awareness and His Form as all
forms, and that He is perfectly in control at the source of all things, and so
I surrender my compulsive control of my life and experience. Just so, I devote my life, as it continues,
to that same source. I allow the results
and benefits of all I do be for the sake and enjoyment of the Heart of
Life. Thus I allow all life to be the
experience of the Divine Person, and in that grateful path He raises me to
True existence begins when you
become knowingly and certainly founded in the essential relationship and
consciousness. When this occurs life
ceases to be in conflict, motivated by contradictions, in search by various
inventions for the accomplishment of freedom.
When the Divine Presence is discovered then comes the knowledge of the radical
priority of unqualified consciousness and perfect relationship. The relationship to the Divine Lord is free
life, liberally turned and devoted to the heart of existence, the consciousness
of joy. Life as such devotion is
creative, clear, free of strife and illusion, and moving by grace into higher
I am not in relationship to the
physical universe, nor to any object I perceive. I am not in relationship to my own mind, or
my body. Neither am I in relationship to
my loved ones or any person. And I will
never be in relationship to any particular thing. Nothing that appears to me has ever known my
presence, nor will it ever know that I exist.
I am always, already and only in relationship to the Divine Lord, the
One who is manifesting everything and is the consciousness of everything.
Whatever I may appear to do,
and whoever I may enjoy, and whatever I experience, I am always and only
enjoying the direct relationship to the Divine Lord. I am never in fact separate or experiencing
any entity in itself. I am never even
experiencing my own separate mind and personality.
At times I have interpreted my
life as separate experiences by a disconnected and unique process I identified
as myself. The error was not that I
experienced the play of phenomena, but that I failed to know I was always in
relationship and always free. Healing is
simply the instant, moment to moment recovery of this knowledge.
This knowledge is not the
result of a process, a practice, a method.
I am always witnessing and apparently performing such things, but knowledge
is a grace, a suddenness, an awareness outside of all activity, all strife and
all the influence of experience. And
this knowledge is totally liberating.
The more profound it goes within the simpler the truth appears, and it
is simply unqualified consciousness, awareness, and bliss. It is a life prior to the mind and all
identification with manifestation. It is
marked by direct experience, a calm, questionless awareness, peace, the
knowledge of self as bliss. And its
essential content is the consciousness of the Divine Lord, the Presence, the
actual source and object.
The Divine Lord is not the
symbol of religions. He is not the one
in whom you are persuaded to believe. He
is not an entity, a mental object, a reduction of reality or a phenomenon
within the whole world. He is One who
must be realized to be known. He is not
known prior to the realization of life.
It is simply that the tacit understanding of the man who is beyond
conflict and who enjoys the perception of non-contradiction is suddenly voiced
as this recognition. It is the testimony
of his absolute freedom and enjoyment and not the description of a path for the
mind in its bondage. But neither is the
way the avoidance of devotion and worship of the prophetic symbol. Men will act and seek in any case and enjoy
the consolations of their many answers.
It is simply that when there is a return to understanding there is an
end to seeking, questioning, descriptive belief and all conflict, and these are
replaced by immediate recognition.
Life is realizable only when we
relate to it non-philosophically, that is, prior to the description of life as
a problem, a warfare of opposites communicated by experience. Thus life must be asserted directly, prior to
the question. This is to say that life
is understood only as a whole. It is not
recognizable nor realizable as mere experience or relationship, nor as more
consciousness, mere witnessing. In
either case experiences or awareness are reduced and limited to the separate
contents of the abstract condition, and so the reaction of result of revolt and
despair is created.
Life is not realizable within
the categories of mental conflict but only directly, immediately, as conscious
experience. Life is not primarily matter
or experience or relationship, nor is it primarily undifferentiated
consciousness or pure awareness. It is
both of these simultaneously. It is
conscious relationship. It is the
certainty of the unanswered state. It is
unconceived knowledge. It is the
excitement of present bliss.
Those who practice the
perennial Vedanta are always witnessing the not-Self, and so they retreat by
analysis and reduction to consciousness prior to all relationship. The ordinary man also perceives only an
involvement with what is not God. He
acknowledges only mortality and mystery.
He is able to make no assumptions about conscious reality. But the real is not the entity of Self, nor
the sorrows of mortal Narcissus. I never
see what is not real. I never
contemplate what is not consciousness.
Freedom is in the proper identification of the reality of my present
The Divine Lord, who is present
universally but who is not qualified by any manifestation, who is the source
and consciousness and control of all processes, who is manifesting everything,
who transcends everything, who is that alone to which you are related, who is
that alone of which you are conscious, who is freedom, consciousness, actual
Presence, perfect knowledge and absolute bliss, who alone is your Self and that
of all things, who is the Guru, the Teacher, is the principle of life. The solitary necessity for our freedom, if we
could assume Him to be what He is, is to allow Him to exist, to manifest
Himself as everything, to be the transcendent Presence known anywhere.
The relationship to the Divine
Lord is salvation. His grace, whatever
form it takes, is simply to make His existence, as he is, real to us. This Lord is the Lord, and all men are
communicating their level of realization of Him. All religions, all religious statements, all
spiritual paths, truths and witnesses are communications about this Presence
modified by the limitations of their realization and the historical
circumstances of the transmission. He is
knowable and He must be known.
The heart of every religion is
sacrifice by the Divine or by humanity or a cooperation of both. The real action of spiritual life, the
mutually inclusive relationship to God, is conscious surrender. Surrender is that which is symbolized in the
dramatic ritual of sacrifice. Surrender
to the Divine is the way of life, just as he creates and saves life by making
himself unqualifiedly and infinitely real, as every kind of manifestation and
consciousness. But surrender is not
something you are required to do to yourself.
It is not a method, a practice of self-manipulation. Surrender is, rather, allowing the Divine to
do something. The Lord is the Lord of
every faculty, every process, and we must consciously allow him to be so. Surrender, then, is not to put your attention
on some process in order to let go of it by an act of will. It is to put your attention on the Divine and
allow him to be the consciousness and power, the actor and enjoyer of every
Thus we approach the Divine
directly and not through the medium of some process. We are always already in the supreme
relationship. It can be lost to
consciousness but it cannot be lost in fact.
Thus our devotion and our knowledge, our yoga and our creative action is
not a means to approach the Divine. Rather,
we must approach the Divine directly, in relationship, consciousness to
consciousness, allowing him to be the source, consciousness, intelligence,
enjoyer and determiner of every form of existence, from those most exterior to
us to those most intimately involved with the processes we ordinarily identify
as our selves. When this is done, all
processes, including those we call religious and spiritual, become transformed
by the higher life.
Life is lived by God in all his
infinite forms. True existence begins
when this is known and acknowledged freely and consciously by the
individual. Thus we exist as
liberated. Liberation is not the result
of the search for the ultimate consciousness and power. Liberation is that state of bliss, freedom,
certainty and unqualified being that is known when we recognize the actuality
and inescapability of our relationship to the Divine, who pervades totality.
Impulse is a reaction to
experience. It is a machine. The mind is an accumulation of reactions, a
complex pattern of responses. It is the
evidence of the laws of nature. The
responsive center of experience, which we mentally identify as ourselves, is
not a person, any more than a computer is a person. What we identify and value as character is
the force of the actual person, the conscious being, revealed in control of the
natural mechanisms of physical and mental life.
And spiritual realization is the knowledge of that consciousness raised
to the highest state, the freedom from all effects, the perfect enjoyment of
The mind takes on the form of
whatever absorbs it. Thus it is
necessary to maintain absorption in God.
As soon as some form seen apart from God becomes a fascination we are
drawn into conflict and the actions which express our fascination. The end of that is an exhaustion of energy
and the manifestations of separation. We
must acknowledge our understanding and, with the devotion our knowledge
releases, draw into the real action of meditation. This destroys all illusion and unconsciousness. It leads to union with the perfect, and
permits life to be enjoined in freedom, in the natural awareness of the Divine
center. By such realization we become
free of the qualifications and bondage men suffer as a result of the process of
The essential realization of
the meditative act is that this present consciousness, my awareness at this
instant, the entire reality which is my present experience is in fact the
consciousness and experience of the Divine Lord. He is experiencing this. He is this sate, this awareness, this
manifestation. The moment of this
recognition breaks the entire form of bondage.
The truth is that all
manifestation is being lived, all consciousness is the present consciousness of
the Divine. Totality is the present
actuality as a simultaneous realization, manifestation and experience of the
Divine Lord. Our bondage, the root of
ignorance, suffering, the activity of sin, is simply the result of the loss of
this conscious knowledge. Instead of
living in the bliss of this infinite freedom we identify our present awareness,
the form of consciousness and experience at this moment, as a separate, unique
and finitely personal reality. Thus we
lose the freedom of totality, the infinitely unburdened bliss of pure
consciousness of the Divine, and fall into the expression of finite and
separate existence. I do not mean to say
that when we are fully in the truth we cease to exist in a world, in
relationship to one another. It is
simply that we come to live life truly, directly, in the full bliss of the
relationship to the Divine. In the free
and natural state we cease to enforce the form of ignorance and the conditions
its assumptions create.
Normally we assume: I am having
this experience. Every moment of life is
informed by this affirmation. Moment to
moment this awareness of being a separate identity is communicated to the whole
of life. And life becomes an expansion
out of the idea of this individuation, a process whereby the separate and
absolute ego tries to predicate all reality to itself in order to regain the
totality intuited beneath the mind. This
is the source of life as dilemma and mortality, suffering and tragedy, dark
humor and search. It is simply a matter
of a failure to recognize the truth of our condition, our right relationship,
the actual reality. In fact the Divine
Lord, the conscious subject and source of all manifestation, experiencing
everything and what we now identify as our selves is simply our awareness of
the Reality of the Divine.
There is a state which
transcends all conditions. It is not a
vision nor the result of visions. It is
unqualified consciousness, yet it enjoys perfect relationship. It is not moved to retreat into pure
consciousness, away from relationship, nor to exploit experience and avoid the
problem of awareness. It is possessed of
no powers, no answers and, above all, no questions. It is not to be identified with any special
form or knowledge or gift of energy.
Whenever I become confused and
seek among alternative thoughts for answers, whenever I realize a peculiar
sense of problematic identity and the question which is my vulnerability, I
know I have ceased to understand. Then
it is not a matter of finding a path, a method, an answer, a form for my
question. I know from experiences that I
have simply ceased to understand and there is no use in seeking.
A person’s bondage is simply
the whole pattern and effort whereby he seeks to avoid relationship, which is
the processes of identification and escape.
Therefore we get religious formulas, such as: “you must surrender to
God”, or, “Abide in the Self”. But what
must be surrendered and undone is the whole pattern of Narcissus. And, if this were done, there would simply be
the tacit recognition that you are radically in relationship. And this is our essential, prior,
transcendent condition, which is freedom, consciousness itself.
Therefore, when you have
understood your essential dilemma, there is no need to surrender. Surrender is an intentional act, a conscious
letting go of symptoms and functions. It
is a kind of warfare, a typical “spiritual” act. It is done in hope and faith but also in
ignorance. It is simply another aspect
of life as dilemma. When the entire
process is understood, then your essential condition is known as a prior
reality. The “sinful” and the
“spiritual” are then recognized as aspects of one dilemma, and, when their
necessity is quieted, there remains only abiding in reality. There is no need to surrender or to perform
any self-manipulating spiritual act.
The idea of surrender occurs in
the context of its perfect object, which is God or Self. He is recognized in the spiritual side of the
dilemma, when an objective or transcendent concentration replaces a subjective
one. Then there is a sympathy for the
greater form of reality, and healing is sought through the recognition of
source. But if we realize our essential
condition there is no need to recognize anything, no need for deliberate union
and reunion, no need to establish the result of freedom.
When I sit in stillness,
actually conscious, already related, prior to this moment and all the pristine
black, I do not hold on to any function, means, operation or temporary creation
of my manifest life. The enjoyment of
radical relatedness quiets the mind and rests the functional energy of the
whole life. Then I simply fall deeper
and deeper into the heart of pure consciousness and brilliant peace,
concentrated in the unnamed reality which is implied in the radical knowledge
of relationship. When I rise again I am
the enjoyment of consciousness, the blissful center, already free, already
The basis and form of every
problem, every kind of dilemma, and thus all of the suffering which is
Narcissus, is the complex avoidance of relationship. The impulse to escape and the force by which
we identify with forms of experience are the source of bondage and all
unrealized existence. When this is recognized
in its depth and actuality of whole impediment to conscious life disappears.
Perfect insight is also perfect
restoration. Since the complex of
suffering is caused by the avoidance of relationship, the radical awareness of
this is a restoration to the radically related, conscious state. And radical relationship is prior to all
That which is enjoyed in the
force of meditation has been called God, the Self, the One mind. It has been recognized in a thousand forms
and within the mechanics of countless religious, philosophical and spiritual conceptions. But when there is a radical awareness of the
source of bondage the mind is quieted and consciousness is restored to its
primary, imageless enjoyment.
When you see yourself to be
Narcissus in the total obscenity of his worship, then you will have no need to
resort to any means to be free. You will
know with certainty resort to any means to be free. You will know with certainty the profound
heart of reality. You will know the
bliss of radical relationship. The
recollection of radical relationship, and the deep enjoyment of the
unproblematic condition separates the action of Narcissus from the form in
which he images himself. When he sees
the water itself he attains the conscious incident of life.
First there is mere life,
awareness perceiving the effort and dismay of its own drama. That is the recognition of Narcissus, which
Understanding relaxes the
necessity of the root of all suffering, the pattern and identity of
contradictions. When that necessity
becomes unnecessary and that reality becomes unreal, there is the implication
of relationship as the most prior condition, which need not be created but only
When this conscious enjoyment
is embraced and allowed there is unqualified realization, the real and necessary
form of conscious bliss. Then what is
known is only enjoyed and manifest as life.
The quality of life proceeds
from the form of cognition we assume. It
is only necessary to return again and again to the form of reality, which is
the actual and conscious relationship to the Divine Lord, who is that alone of
which we are conscious.
The mind is only a process of
experience. We suffer because of the
quality of our relationship to the mind.
When we do not enjoy the Divine, we are identified with the force of
The universe is conscious. There is consciousness everywhere. There is only consciousness, and a universal
event, a simultaneous reality.
The form of consciousness is
the enjoyment of the Divine Lord. That
relationship is reality. It is
consciousness. It is unqualified
enjoyment. It is the realized actuality.
There is a completion of all the
© 1969 Frank Jones