The Life of Understanding
The Bodily Location of Happiness,
By Da Free John.
“The great signs..associated with…Realization appear only in the context of the absolute frustration of the life-patterns of the would-be ego-“self”. That absolute frustration is the intrinsic and always fundamental “self”-understanding and certainty that the egoic “self” will not-and cannot-be finally fulfilled.”
Aletheon – The Way of The Mirror Is Me, section 3, page 804
The Three Subjects
NARCISSUS, IGNORANCE, AND HAPPINESS are the three principal Subjects of the Argument that must be heard (or understood). Only when the Argument is heard can seeing, conversion, or the moment to moment location of prior Happiness begin. And when there are both hearing and seeing, practice becomes a natural urge.
The practice is to enquire (or else pray), conduct the SpiritPower bodily, constantly serve (or love) the Spiritual Master and all beings, and maintain the equanimity of the body-mind through functional self-discipline.
Hearing, seeing, and practicing all originate, develop, and mature in the Transcendental, Spiritual, and Radiant Initiatory Company of the Adept Spiritual Master. The Fullness of Realization is necessarily dependent on Transmission (or Grace).
HAPPINESS is the Native State of Being. No matter what arises, you are already established in that State-except that attention moves toward the various objects and conditions of self and forgets or abandons the Position and the Consciousness of Happiness.
As long as the conditions and objects of self are relatively pleasurable (or at least hopeful of attaining pleasure), the prior sense of Happiness “bleeds through” into the conventional states of the self. But if the conditions and objects of self become profoundly pleasureless and hopeless, then the feeling of un-Happiness becomes utterly profound. The first great crisis of human existence is the observation of the tentative minimal, and always temporary association between life and Happiness-and how the mortal and limited nature of embodiment itself makes the search for Happiness both a necessary and a futile enterprise.
We are, in general, un-Happy or, at most, only minimally and temporarily Happy. And our primal drive or motive is the need for Happiness. Each of us is devoted to the futile search for ultimate Happiness. The finite and changing conditions of the embodied self in Nature make Happiness an always temporary and minimal attainment. And the constant experience of Happiness as a temporary and minimal attainment forces us to conceive of Happiness as the ultimate Goal (rather than the always present Condition) of existence. We are active in the pursuit of Happiness (and in despair of Happiness), but we are not simply, always, and already Happy. Only those who are un-Happy seek Happiness.
The Great Wisdom is a matter of the serious acceptance of the Lesson involved in this observation. We do not tend to take it seriously. We tend to think (or both Nature and the conventions of human society condition us to think) that life is somehow a necessary process (given by God, or at least somehow given, and without any alternative). We tend to think that life, as it tends to be, must be embraced. Therefore, we tend to accept the idea that life must be a search for ultimate Happiness, even if the Happiness we actually attain is always minimal and temporary. (And we may even console ourselves with the idea that, if we embrace the futile search for ultimate Happiness in this finite world, we will actually attain ultimate Happiness in some infinite world beyond, after death, or after God somehow intervenes and transforms the universe into a Heaven of Happiness.) But such views are simply the conventions of egoity or non-Wisdom. Wisdom begins when we are no longer inclined to adopt such views.
The beginning of Wisdom is when we are made truly serious by this Lesson of life: The achievement of Happiness is always minimal, temporary, and ultimately unattainable. You cannot become Happy. You can only be Happy. Happiness is not a matter of subsequent action (or seeking) but of prior being. Happiness is Being Itself. Therefore, Happiness must be presently Realized, since It cannot ever be attained on the basis of Its prior non-Realization. Until we take this Lesson seriously, the mere observation of unHappiness in general will only be part of the psychological process whereby we become constantly re-motivated to seek Happiness by various conventional or traditional means. (And those means always correspond to the various possible enterprises of the first six stages of life.)
The Argument I propose is the Argument of ultimate Wisdom. The Way that I Teach, or to which I invite you, is based on a radical understanding of existence. It is not a conventional call to religious belief and spiritual practice, for such beliefs and practices are merely extensions of the usual search for Happiness (via the efforts associated with the first six stages of life). The Way that I Teach is based on a radical rather than a conventional understanding. It is not based on any problem or method of solution to a problem. It is based on seriousness, or the clear observation and profound acceptance of the Lesson of life.
The Way that I Teach is based upon the serious observation and understanding of the entire process and mechanism of unHappiness. It is only when the mechanism and full extent of unHappiness is appreciated that the Way of Happiness Itself can be Realized.
I have been spontaneously engaged in the difficult process of Teaching others for some time, and it is clear to me that the primary reason why people fail to practice this Way truly is that they do not yet take the Lesson of life seriously. I am constantly confronted by people who represent themselves as devotees in the Way that I Teach, but who, upon testing, prove themselves merely to be seekers for Happiness-un-Happy people who do not understand their own un-Happiness and who want me somehow to justify their various conventional motivations toward the experiential attainment of Happiness (via the ordinary methods of self-indulgence in the first three stages of life or the more extraordinary methods of seeking that characterize the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of life). Therefore, my Teaching Work has been a struggle with ordinary people who sometimes have even tended to blame me for the unHappiness that is merely the substance of their own lives. I simply Teach, but those who are not serious and ready for the Way are always only being re-impressed by the Lesson of their own unHappiness. For several years, I accepted the burden to Teach these unHappy people. But after I had made my position clear (via the form of the theatre of instruction), I retired from that struggle. Now I am available in a more natural manner, for those who are prepared to practice. To all others I simply say, the Way that I Teach requires that you become serious about the Lesson of life. You must observe and truly understand your un-Happiness, and so renounce the life of seeking for Happiness.
The search for Happiness is the basic human convention. It is an effort based on the problem of un-Happiness. And it is a program that characterizes the total spectrum of human enterprise, from the lowest level of physical self-indulgence to the highest level of magical and technological invention, psychic ascent, and ascetical inversion. All of humanity is seeking Happiness and presuming that it is “natural” for existence to be devoted to such a search.
I am simply pointing out that the search for Happiness is based upon a lack of seriousness (or real understanding) relative to actual un-Happiness. Instead of seeking Happiness, we should understand un-Happiness. Then, and only then, are we capable of Wisdom and the Way that I Teach.
The first great crisis of life occurs in all of us. But most of us simply go on from there to seek Happiness, or even to despair of It. The second great crisis of life occurs only in the case of those who can seriously accept and understand the Lesson of the first great crisis of life. Therefore, I Argue that Lesson, so that you may become serious, understand your un-Happiness, and begin the Way of Happiness Itself. The second great crisis of life is this process of serious understanding of un-Happiness and conversion to the Way of Happiness (rather than the futile search for Happiness). Such understanding is what I call “hearing” and such conversion is what I call “seeing.” It is only when such hearing and seeing prevail that the practice of the Way can begin.
The Way that I Teach is a matter of Great Wisdom. It can begin only when we become serious-when we observe and understand the mechanism of un-Happiness, and, therefore, when we accept the fact that Happiness is our fundamental need and that It cannot be fully or permanently attained by any seeking, or means of experience or knowledge, high or low in the scale of possible human endeavor. When this is seriously and fully understood and accepted, then we can naturally renounce or live free of the search for Happiness. And, in that disposition, we are capable of locating or Realizing Happiness Itself.
My first Work is to help people observe and understand their un-Happiness, so that they may naturally renounce or be free of the dilemma or problem-based motivation of their life of seeking.
My second Work is to Awaken such natural renunciates (or serious people) to the Locus, Condition, Self, and Way of Happiness Itself. All of my Arguments are a call to seriousness about the Lesson of life and to the Awakening of devotion to Real Happiness.
The earlier years of my Teaching Work were largely devoted to the development of seriousness or radical understanding in the rather un-serious and even worldly people who gathered together with me. Now I basically depend on the literature of my Teaching and the institutional culture of The Johannine Daist Communion to embody my Work in relation to those who are only beginning to consider these serious matters. Now I reserve myself for those who are serious in their understanding, so that they may be quickened in my Company by the Transmission of the Current of Happiness, or Transcendental Love-Bliss, and so Awaken to the Truth and the practice of the Way that I Teach.
Once you have seriously understood the mechanism of unHappiness (and of the search for Happiness that is founded on unHappiness and its mechanism), then you can locate Happiness Itself. The mechanism of un-Happiness is Narcissus, the self contraction, dramatized as the futile search for Happiness via self contraction (or the avoidance of relationship). The serious acceptance of the Lesson of life involves the real observation of this mechanism, to the degree that it becomes obvious that all action, high or low in the scale of possible endeavor, is nothing but an expression of this mechanism. Happiness is not generally or commonly attained because our method is un-Happiness. Therefore, Happiness perpetually remains the Goal of existence (in this life, after death, and in all future embodiments or states) rather than the present Condition of existence. We are, in spite of our best intentions, devoted to un-Happiness rather than Happiness. Even if we think we are effectively seeking and gradually acquiring Happiness, we are in fact and always presently concentrated in and actually practicing un-Happiness. This is because we have not yet seriously and fully observed, understood, and evaluated the mechanism and the extent of un-Happiness. Therefore, our lives merely express or play upon that mechanism of actively presumed un-Happiness.
The Way is not a matter of merely becoming self-expansive rather than self-contracting. Such is itself only another form of the search. The Way is based upon a thorough understanding of the self-mechanism, which is, in the form of all of its actions, expressed as contraction, or prior concentration upon self. The transcendence of self-contraction is not in conventional ecstasy, or the selfexpansive techniques of self-pleasuring and self-release. The transcendence of self-contraction is in the present observation and understanding of the self-action. In every moment of such understanding, the concentration of attention in the play of self and objects is transcended.
The Way is not ultimately a matter of persistence in the activity of understanding, enquiry (in the form “Avoiding relationship?”) and so forth. Truly, such understanding simply expresses the serious appreciation of the Lesson of life. The Way itself, in its ultimate or Realized form, is simply a matter of devotion to Happiness Itself.
If there is serious present understanding, there is freedom from the self-contraction, the presumption of un-Happiness, and the search for Happiness. It is only when understanding has become so profound that such freedom is priorly or always already the case that the ultimate or most radical form of the Way can begin.
Beginners in the Way are a little serious. They hear and see to a degree. Therefore, they practice the Way in the manner and to the degree for which their relative seriousness prepares them. Such people study the Arguments of the Spiritual Master in the community of devotees. And they express their understanding via functional self-discipline, service, the bodily conductivity of the Spiritual Radiance of the Divine or Transcendental Being, and the conscious practice of self-transcending enquiry or prayerful Remembrance of the Divine Being and Happiness. In this manner, such devotees gradually mature, so that more and more energy and attention are gradually freed for the process of hearing, seeing, and practicing. In that process, the limitations of the various stages of life become more and more evident. But it is only when the devotee Awakens to full spiritual maturity that the Way begins in its ultimate or most radical sense. Truly, the Way begins in the seventh stage of life, and it is that form of the Way that is the cultural basis for the Free Renunciate Order of our Communion.
Until individuals are mature enough to enter the Free Renunciate Order, I urge them and call them to maturity. And even their beginner’s practice is developed on the basis of real understanding, real Help, and the disposition and practice that characterize the seventh stage of life. Therefore, the Way to which all are called, even from the beginning, is the Way of always present Happiness, which is possible for us only if we are free of the active presumption of un-Happiness and the problem-based search for Happiness. All are called to the Way of Happiness Itself, which is the Way of Satsang, the Company of Truth or Happiness, or the practice of devotion to Happiness in the Company and via the Transmission of the Adept Spiritual Master.
Those who live, consciously and moment to moment, in that Company are constantly Remembering Happiness. The Adept is Radiant throughout all of space-time, and, therefore, that Radiant Transmission can be contacted by the devotee in any time or place. That Transmission manifests with consistent potency in the physical Company and environments of the Adept. Therefore, devotees constantly cultivate access to the Spiritual Master and his Sanctuaries. And, since devotees live their daily lives in manifest devotion to the Radiant Happiness that is Transmitted and Awakened in this Company, all devotees constantly value and serve and cultivate the community, the culture, and the total institution of practicing devotees.
The Adept Spiritual Master is a unique Agent in the Realm of Nature. Such individuals are the rare Servants of mankind, whereby the suffering, confusion, and manifest un-Happiness of life are undermined and dissolved. It is only through such Agents that the Way of Happiness is periodically restored in the world. I am here to serve you in this time of world-suffering, in which the Way of Truth needs an Advocate, a Demonstration, and a Transmission. It is up to you to choose to be Served in this manner, for if you will not choose It, It will have no Power in your life.
The ultimate form of my Teaching Work is Transmission the Awakening of devotees to the Current of Love-Bliss or Happiness upon which the body-mind is set (as a wheel is set upon its hub). Therefore, I Teach understanding so that people will become serious about the Lesson of life and renounce the search for Happiness. But while they are becoming serious, I am merely Present among them, and the Current of Divine Happiness is freely Radiating to all, even through me. Thus, when such devotees begin to understand, they also naturally begin to locate the Current or prior Happiness of Radiant Transcendental Being. And I continue to be merely Present among such devotees while their practice matures, so that the Magnitude and Power of this Current of Happiness becomes more and more profoundly Realized by them.
Even those who are only beginning to hear my Teaching can begin to locate this Current of Happiness (although it takes great seriousness to be devoted to that Real Happiness in every moment, rather than to the un-Happiness of the conditional self and the search for Happiness by every method of self-manipulation available to the body-mind). If you have begun to understand me a little, and if you have begun to seriously appreciate the fact that you are always struggling with a sense of un-Happiness and motivated by a primal urge to seek and attain Happiness, then I invite you to consider Happiness Itself, in this moment. I proclaim to you that Happiness is not absent. You have become habituated to a form of activity that, without your knowing or intending it, has itself become active forgetting of Happiness. Therefore, you have become pain-fully aware of your un-Happiness, and you have become addicted to various hopeful or hopeless methods or habits that seek Happiness. But Happiness cannot be located until you cease to be actively forgetting Happiness. That is, what you are suffering is not the absence of Happiness (so that you must seek It and eventually acquire It), but you are suffering from your own action, whereby you constantly forget Happiness. You must observe this in your own case and understand the mechanism of this forgetting. It is apparent as the mechanism of self-contraction, or the avoidance of relationship, but it is most fundamentally evident as the gesture of attention itself, which is the primal contraction, and which forgets Happiness, or leaves the Locus and Condition of Happiness, by moving toward the various objects of self (as if self and objects were independently existing, without any necessary or apparent association with the Transcendental and Radiant All-Pervading Divine Reality). Attention is constantly arising in conjunction with the sense of separate self (or self-contraction and self-differentiation) and the sense of all kinds of objects and relations as not-self. This arising of attention in the plane of self and not-self is, apart from Enlightenment, inherently associated with the feeling of un-Happiness and the motive to seek Happiness in the not-self or even in the mechanics of self. But Happiness is prior to this process. It is prior to the forgetting of Happiness. It is prior to the search for Happiness. It is, therefore, prior to birth, life, death, and the entire Cosmic Play of Nature.
If this observation and understanding or hearing can begin for you (and listening to my Arguments is a primary exercise whereby such observation and understanding or hearing can begin), then you can also begin to “see” me, or to locate and be converted or turned about and moved toward the Current of prior Happiness in every moment.
No matter what arises, no matter what condition the world or the body or the mind is in at any present moment, it is yet true that you are intuitively and deeply certain what you would have to do (or what it would be) to look and feel and be and act completely Happy. This certainty is in you now, isn’t it? You are simply not animating yourself as such Happiness, because the present conditions of existence do not seem to justify such Happiness. We do not so much forget Happiness as we hide It. We hide Happiness, even from our own conscious minds, until the conditions of experience and knowledge justify its partial or complete manifestation. Therefore, we make the Realization and the expression of Happiness depend on the apparent conditions of self and world, and because those conditions can never justify more than a partial and temporary feeling and expression of Happiness, we bind ourselves to chronic un-Happiness by our method. We hide our Happiness and then pretend to seek It via the mortal and finite Play of self and world. And we tend to practice the commonly accepted unwritten rule of spiritual etiquette, which says that Happiness must not be experienced or expressed except to the degree that the outer conditions of life justify or make appropriate. Therefore, we doom ourselves to a life of chronic un-Happiness and the despair that arises when Happiness is thus chronically suppressed.
I declare that Happiness Itself is always our fundamental and most deeply felt Condition in every moment. And, therefore, we are most profoundly justified in making Happiness the Principle of life. But to do so, we must consent to become mad, we must consent to indulge in a little “inappropriate affect,” or to become a bit unreasonable or unconventional in the eyes of people who live without Wisdom (which, unfortunately, includes most of mankind at the present time). And it is because of the relative madness of assuming Happiness, rather than un-Happiness, as the always present Principle of life that I have named the gathering of my devotees “The Crazy Wisdom Fellowship”!
Even now you possess an innate certainty about what it would be to look and feel and be and act completely Happy. And it is only such Happiness that is the basis for the practice of the Way that I Teach. Therefore, I have always declared to people that they should come to me when they are already Happy! That is, listen to me and hear me. Attend to my Argument, observe yourself, and understand the mechanism whereby you presume un-Happiness and seek Happiness in every moment. On this basis, actually locate or feel into the Happiness that is always already the basis of your existence, and of our relationship, in every moment.
It is because you are always already founded in Happiness (or the Current of Love-Bliss) that you can agree with me that, in any moment, no matter what is arising in the world, the body, the emotion, or the mind, you still possess a basic certainty about what you could do-right now-to look and feel and be and act completely Happy. I am not suggesting that you merely begin to act in a gleefully silly manner (although a little more of that might be good for you). What I am doing is pointing you toward the actual Happiness that is the always present Foundation of existence and the Source-Condition or Current in which attention, separate self sense, psycho-physical contraction, and the cognition or experience of all objects, relations, and conditions are arising.
What I am saying is that you are not Really un-Happy. You do not have any ultimate problem. There is no fundamental justification to exist or persist in the search for Happiness. You are always already Happy, or priorly established in That which is Happiness Itself. In every moment, you can recognize this and cease to forget Happiness. Instead of seeking Happiness on the basis of presumed un-Happiness (or self-contraction), you can always presently Remember or devote attention (and even the’ total body mind) to Happiness Itself. All that is necessary is that you understand this and by-pass the usual mechanisms of attention and seeking. In every moment, simply grant attention to the Locus of feeling in which Happiness, or the Current of Love-Bliss, is presently arising. Do not merely look toward the objects of knowledge and experience. They may sometimes and to some degree justify the feeling-expression of Happiness, but they otherwise will not do so. And do not isolate attention from the body. Do not look for Happiness with mind only, or in the form of an abstraction, within or without. Rather, in every moment, look or feel as the total body-mind. Feel or surrender wholly or bodily into or with the Locus or Origin or Condition of feeling itself, that Place or Depth or prior State of the body-mind wherein the feeling of Happiness rises up in moments of enjoyment, and toward which it recedes in moments of suffering. Do not look to the objects or places of the body-mind where some condition may justify the feeling of Happiness. Rather, look toward the Place where that feeling Originates or always already stands, whether or not the conditions of world, body, emotion, or mind seem to justify or extend that feeling to some degree. Through whole bodily feeling-attention, find the bodily Locus or Condition in which you are presently, always, and already Happy.
If you will become serious in this matter, you will at least gradually become aware that there is a steady Current of felt Happiness or Love-Bliss in the region of the heart, on the right side of the chest. And this Current is a Spire of Radiant Bliss that rises up to the crown of the head (or infinitely above the crown).
Once that Current enters the crown of the head, it moves in the nervous system, animating the psycho-physical functions of the manifest self. The movement or conductivity of that Current in the body-mind is complex, but it may be felt as a simple circuit or Circle, descending along the frontal line of the body to the base, and ascending again along the spinal line to the crown.
In the usual life, possessed by un-Happiness, the circular pattern of the flow or conductivity of that Current is obstructed, diverted, divided, and made inharmonious. Therefore, those who practice this Way of Radical Understanding devote themselves to disciplines that restore and maintain the equanimity of the body mind. And when such equanimity is established, the bodily Current is felt to be a single resonant and motionless line of Energy, passing up the center of the body, between the frontal and spinal lines, from the perineum to the notch in the upper rear of the crown of the head.
Many experiences may arise in the course of the restoration of such equanimity via the practice of conservative life-disciplines, service, conductivity, and the exercise of the conscious process of understanding via true prayer, enquiry (in the form “Avoiding relationship?”), and non-verbal re-cognition of the forms of self contraction. But none of those experiences is the ultimate import of this Way. The ultimate import of this Way is also its foundation and the continuous context of the practice of life-discipline, service, conductivity, and the conscious process. The ultimate import of this Way is the Happiness of Satsang, which is structured in terms of right Spiritual relationship to the Adept Spiritual Master, but which is Itself expressed in the life of the devotee in the form of the moment to moment location of attention in prior Happiness, or the bodily Current of Love-Bliss.
Therefore, the Way is founded on Satsang, or the Company of Happiness, and life in Satsang is expressed as the moment to moment bodily devotion of attention to the Locus, Source, or Current of Happiness. It is not a matter of mechanically turning mental attention into the right side of the heart and so excluding phenomenal awareness. It is simply a matter of devoting oneself wholly, moment to moment, to locating or feeling and abiding bodily in the Current of Happiness Itself. If this is done, it may also be observed that attention seems to be always rooted in the heart on the right side, but there will also be a continuous natural ability to observe, participate in, and express or extend Happiness into the Play of the total body-mind and the world.
This moment to moment location of the Current of Happiness (or Love-Bliss) in continuous Satsang with the Spiritual Master (and right relationship to all beings), founded on serious or radical understanding of the Lesson of life and the mechanism of Narcissus or un-Happiness, is the continuous basis for practice in the Way that I Teach. And that practice is the constantly growing or maturing life of Divine Ignorance, which is expressed via conservative disciplines of the body-mind, the discipline of service, the bodily process of conductivity of the Radiant Life-Spirit, and the conscious process of enquiry (which may begin on the basis of true prayer, and which develops into the tacit or non-verbal process of re-cognition).
Those who devote themselves to this Way of Happiness gradually mature to the point of fully entering the seventh stage of life. Until then, each individual grows in human ways, while also developing the profound intuition of the Radiant Transcendental Being. In the seventh stage of life, this intuition has become the continuous and perfect basis of moment to moment existence, so that all conditions of attention, all states of self and not-self, are instantly or spontaneously and tacitly recognized as unnecessary and non-binding modifications of the Transcendental Self or Love-Bliss that is the Heart and Substance of all beings and worlds. Therefore, in the seventh stage of life, even though the Free Radiance of the Transcendental Self moves to Transfigure and Transform the bodymind and the world, the Occupation of the living being is with the very Divine or Eternally Happy Self. Thus, the motion of the Current of Bliss in the body-mind tends to become more and more economized and simplified in the seventh stage of life.
In the seventh stage of life, the Play of the Current in the descending and ascending Circle of the body-mind is noticed less and less. The principal and natural Occupation is Amrita Nadi, or the Heart-Bliss that Radiates continuously to the crown. As this process develops, the outer life and inner life of the manifest self gradually and naturally relax, until there is only Amrita Nadi, the Current of Love-Bliss. And that Current is the means whereby Saha) Samadhi becomes true or ultimate Bhava Samadhi, or Translation, beyond self and not-self, into the Radiant Domain that is God, Reality, and Eternal Happiness.
This ultimate process of Translation or Bhava Samadhi corresponds to the process described in the passage I have often quoted from the Bhagavad Gita 8:12:
The Spiritual Current that is the life-force in the body ultimately ceases to circulate below the crown of the head. Therefore, bodily awareness ceases at every level (subtle or astral as well as gross). And the mind likewise dissolves in the same Current by virtue of the devotion of attention to its Source in the heart, which is the Current of Love-Bliss in which attention first arises in the body-mind and the world.
Thus, body, mind, and attention are ultimately resolved in their Source. That Source is at or above the crown of the head from the bodily point of view. But from the point of view of the mind (or the root of the body-mind, which is attention itself) that Source is in the right side of the heart (where It is always felt as Happiness, whatever the apparent conditions of the world, the body, manifest emotion, or mind). Therefore, the ultimate Realization is at the heart. Even so, the Current in the heart is Radiant without qualification, even to Infinity. Therefore, in the transition to Bhava Samadhi, the Current is felt to Radiate from the right side of the heart to the crown and above, but in the Fullness of Bhava Samadhi there is no up or down, no body or mind, but only the Fullness of Divine Existence.
Those who pass into that Domain never appear again in the manifest worlds merely according to the workings of cause and effect in Nature. If they appear in any world again, it is only in the Fullness and Form of the Divine Being, and they appear and live spontaneously for a time, in order to Serve and Awaken the Heart of Man.
The Ultimate Location – The Dreaded Gom-Boo