This talk was originally in The Lesson vol. 2. Published by the Educational arm of the Johannine Daist Communion in May of 1983 for students of Adidam. It was given after The Liberator (Eleutherios) had been written, but before its publication. Prior to this talk, Master Da had discussed the content of the book for several hours with the devotee whom he addresses here.)
MASTER DA: What have you understood as a result of our consideration together? Is there anything fundamentally obvious to you that is not part of the conventional mind?
DEVOTEE: Obvious to me?
MASTER DA: Yes. Is anything of a spiritual nature significantly obvious to you, anything uncommon?
DEVOTEE: My Lord, I can’t properly phrase what consciousness represents or…
MASTER DA: What it represents? What does consciousness represent? Do you think it is a postage stamp? Is consciousness a photograph? What color is it? Does consciousness have a color?
MASTER DA: Well, what does it have?
DEVOTEE: It just is what it is. Consciousness is…
MASTER DA: What does consciousness have to do with you?
DEVOTEE: I am consciousness.
MASTER DA: You are consciousness?
DEVOTEE: Yes. It may be hard to believe it, but I do tacitly understand this to be true.
MASTER DA: That you are consciousness? Do you function as consciousness, or as something else?
DEVOTEE: No. I function as consciousness.
MASTER DA: You do? Not as mind, thought, self idea, body?
DEVOTEE: Those things are arising.
MASTER DA: They are arising? I
DEVOTEE (Unsure of himself by this time): They are modifications of things that are arising?
MASTER DA (Laughs uproariously): And you believe in God, right? (Laughter) Why are you unable to speak lucidly about this matter?
DEVOTEE: I do find it difficult, my Lord, to my surprise. I have no mental comprehension of it.
MASTER DA: What is difficult?
DEVOTEE: To phrase it properly, to organize it into some kind of logical structure. But I know it to be true, and I know exactly what you are saying, and I know how to live, through the feeling sense of it,
MASTER DA: Instead of trying to communicate this great matter, you could just tell everyone that you believe in God. But what would that mean?
DEVOTEE: That is a good question.
MASTER DA: What do you mean when you say you believe in God? What is God? Who is God?
DEVOTEE: I would be dead.
DEVOTEE: Well, I–I really don’t think of God as the guy in the sky. I associate God with what you are.
MASTER DA: Instead of an old guy in the sky with a beard, he’s a middle-aged guy with long hair, is that it? (Laughter) Do you have a sort of stained glass-window notion of God? Is God associated with a couple of little stories? What is It? I can see it’s not going to be any easier for you to talk about God than to talk about consciousness!
DEVOTEE: Well, I was going to communicate what the Divine Reality is when…( Laughter)
MASTER DA: What? What is It? I am not asking for some abstract description, but you are supposed to be a spiritual practitioner, so you must be in touch with something substantial about which you may communicate very simply and straightforwardly. Some people may talk about spiritual practice in elaborate philosophical and technical terms, but if this Way is real to you, then it must at least be something you can refer to concretely.
DEVOTEE: Well, I feel a Presence when I am with you.
MASTER DA: Do you mean that God is Somebody or Someone or some Force or some Being or Power that you contact bodily?
DEVOTEE: I feel It.
MASTER DA: Do you need the body to associate with God? Is the body the means whereby you associate with God? What if you did not have a body?
MASTER DA: Even worse than that,’ according to your testimony, you would not have any connection to God. What happens when you go to sleep?
DEVOTEE: Well, God is always present.
MASTER DA: But you have no sense of the body, so how do you have any awareness of God when you are asleep?
DEVOTEE: When I say “body,” I refer to the feeling sense of the body, perhaps as consciousness. I don’t feel that God is in my body.
MASTER DA: No, but you said you had a tangible, physical sense of God as a Presence, presuming God to be something like an Energy or Something that you feel bodily. But if you did not have the body, you would not have that sense of God. Is it true that you would not have any awareness of God if you did not have a body?
MASTER DA: This realization or awareness of God does not seem to be sufficient to help you very much, do you see? It might make you feel a little better, a little consoled as an ordinary personality with some sense that the Divine Presence surrounds you, but it will not change you very much or very profoundly. Is God this Presence with which you connect bodily, or is that Presence you may feel bodily a sign of God and a means for perhaps entering into the contemplation, of God? In other words, do you sit around feeling that Presence or do you use the Presence to enter into contemplation?
DEVOTEE: When I meditate, the form of my meditation is the feeling that you are right there.
MASTER DA: (Laughter) Do you have any real sense of God? An actual real sense of God?
DEVOTEE: Well, I’m probably deluded…
MASTER DA: You are? Why?
DEVOTEE: Well, I feel I am, I feel I do have a sense of that.
MASTER DA: Of that?
DEVOTEE: Of God.
MASTER DA: And what is God?
DEVOTEE: God is Reality, it is Consciousness, it is all of this.
MASTER DA: But how could you have a sense of God as a Presence if God is Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: Well, I mean, you know–it’s semantics. I can’t phrase it properly, so I’m using…
MASTER DA: No, it is more than semantics. You have a totally different connection to Consciousness than you do to energies you are connecting with bodily. What kind of sense of God are we talking about here? You have a bodily sense of some sort of Energy–is that it?
DEVOTEE: That’s part of it…
MASTER DA: But you do have this?
DEVOTEE: Yes. When I was meditating I realized I was just turning inward to that Energy.
MASTER DA: Well, what happens when you connect with this Energy? What do you do with It? Do you relax with this Energy?
DEVOTEE: Absolutely, yes. And I breathe.
MASTER DA: And why do you call this God?
DEVOTEE: I don’t call It God. I’m just saying that It’s part of It.
MASTER DA: It’s not God?
DEVOTEE: It is God.
MASTER DA: Is that Energy God or isn’t It?
DEVOTEE: No, it’s Energy.
MASTER DA: Is it Energy that is already in your body, or is It outside your body and you feel It with your body? What does It come from?
DEVOTEE: Well, sometimes It’s in my body, but sometimes I feel it as Energy surrounding me.
MASTER DA: But It comes on you and contacts you?
DEVOTEE: I don’t know if It contacts me…
MASTER DA: And do you feel that Energy come over you in some circumstances, some place, or when you are meditating? Are there some unusual circumstances when you connect with this Energy?
DEVOTEE: Yes, that does happen.
MASTER DA: Do you always have a connection with this Energy? Does It go away, does It get stronger, or weaker?
DEVOTEE: Oh, yes.
MASTER DA: And what is It like?
DEVOTEE: I always have a connection with It except when I become distracted and caught up in what I do. Then I don’t have attention for It, I don’t pay attention to It. But then I relax into It or feel It in other people.
MASTER DA: Is there some Energy associated with me at this moment?
DEVOTEE: Well, It’s pressing upon me, and It’s all-encompassing.
MASTER DA: So your practice is basically a response to this Energy?
DEVOTEE: It is sometimes, yes.
MASTER DA: Is this basically what you would say it is?
DEVOTEE: I’m afraid so.
MASTER DA: You’re afraid so! (Laughter) This isn’t a test!
DEVOTEE: I don’t know.
MASTER DA: That is how you would basically describe your practice, is that it?
DEVOTEE: Yes. I feel also the world as…
MASTER DA: As Energy?
DEVOTEE: I’m afraid so.
MASTER DA: You are afraid so?
DEVOTEE: No. I’m just using that phrase. But the world…
MASTER DA: So basically you are contacting Energy, is that it?
DEVOTEE: Well, no. You see, I feel that I am Energy also. I feel naturally relaxed into It. It’s very, very relaxing and also very normal to enter into It. There is a completeness to It. I experience this all the time, but I feel more expressive of it now and recognize it. I thought that Energy was Consciousness, you know! I thought that It was Reality.
MASTER DA: You thought that Energy is Consciousness?
MASTER DA: You might realize that Energy is Consciousness at some point, but at present you are not describing Energy as Consciousness. You have just communicated an awareness of Energy. You are conscious of Energy. But the only consciousness in your description is your awareness of the Energy. You are the consciousness, and the Energy is something that you are experiencing. So you are consciously aware of Energy, and you are surrendering to It or submitting to It bodily. But how does that Energy then get to be Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: Through intelligence, through discipline.
MASTER DA: How does it become Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: It is Consciousness. It can’t become Consciousness.
MASTER DA: In what sense is It Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: I don’t know. I don’t know what Consciousness represents. I can’t say that I do, you know.
MASTER DA: Do you ever have any experience with Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: I’d like to think I do.
MASTER DA: Are you having an experience with Consciousness right now?
DEVOTEE: Right. See, that’s where I get confused. To me this is Reality.
MASTER DA: Consciousness is Reality?
DEVOTEE: Yes. I’m experiencing it right now.
MASTER DA: Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: Right. Or Reality.
MASTER DA: And what about Energy?
DEVOTEE: Energy is inherent in that.
MASTER DA: In the Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: Yes. I mean there’s Energy, and Consciousness is there pervading it.
MASTER DA: Do you see Consciousness in the Energy?
MASTER DA: Then what has the Energy to do with Consciousness? How do you make a connection between Consciousness and Energy?
DEVOTEE: The Energy is felt bodily. Consciousness is the awareness of It.
MASTER DA: I see. You feel the Energy bodily. And where do you experience the Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: From the head.
MASTER DA: You are at the head being Consciousness?
DEVOTEE: No, I guess I identify Consciousness from the head.
MASTER DA: You identify Consciousness?
MASTER DA: Then what are you?
DEVOTEE: Consciousness, and Energy.
MASTER DA: You are Consciousness and that Energy?
MASTER DA: Then I am asking how the Consciousness becomes equated with the Energy. You are experiencing the Energy?
MASTER DA: You feel the Energy bodily, you feel It outside your body and inside your body. But the “you” that is feeling and observing this Energy is what you are calling the Consciousness, right? Are these two different things?
MASTER DA: How did they get to be one thing?
DEVOTEE: They are one thing.
MASTER DA: You never experienced them as one thing, nor are you describing experiencing them as one thing. On the one hand you are Consciousness and on the other hand there is this Energy.
MASTER DA: You are conscious of Energy. You are Consciousness, aware of Energy?
MASTER DA: Now, how do the Consciousness and the Energy get to be one thing?
DEVOTEE: I don’t know.
MASTER DA: Are they one thing?
DEVOTEE: I thought they were.
MASTER DA: Well, thinking is one thing, but what about the actual awareness? Are you ever aware that Consciousness and Energy are the same thing, or are they always two things?
DEVOTEE: No, they are one thing.
MASTER DA: But you never have an awareness of Energy being Consciousness, you are always aware only of Energy?
MASTER DA: You as Consciousness are aware of Energy?
MASTER DA: It sounds like your awareness of Energy is always of Energy as an Object.
MASTER DA: Or as something other than Consciousness. At least in the only description you have given me so far you are always aware of Energy as an Object, not as something that is the same as Consciousness.
DEVOTEE: Yes, I think that’s true. But, that’s my definition.
MASTER DA: So as an actual experience, in other words, you have awareness of yourself as Consciousness?
MASTER DA: And you have an awareness of Energy?
MASTER DA: In other words, you may at some point realize Energy and Consciousness to be one thing. But as actual experience they are two things.
MASTER DA: At your present level of experience you are perhaps making an error in thinking of them as the same thing because in doing so you are not becoming more profoundly involved with Consciousness, you are becoming more and more unconsciously involved with Energy.
MASTER DA: In other words, you are just submitting yourself to Energy. The primary error of human beings is that they get deluded by their own energies. They submit Consciousness to Energy. They have this idea that Energy and Consciousness are the same thing, perhaps. But basically their life involves submitting themselves as Consciousness to Energy, to motion, to impulses, instead of realizing what Consciousness itself is and perhaps finding Energy to be the same thing ultimately. They pay no attention to consciousness itself and just submit themselves as consciousness to the play of energies. And there is nothing Enlightening about that, you see. Energies appear everywhere. As you say, you feel them in people, you feel them in various places, and so forth. Ultimately all of our experience is an experience of Energy. Everything is Energy. Everything is pervaded by Energy and in some real sense everything is just a form of plain old Energy. This is not only a metaphysical proposition or a mystical proposition. It is a scientific presumption that everything is a state of Energy, a state of light. But to know this or to believe this or even to experience this is not Enlightening. Merely to submit to energy is not to be Enlightened.
There’s something pleasurable in submitting to energy. After all, that’s what we are doing when we are enjoying sex or food. Anything we enjoy is a pleasurable association with energy. But likewise, everything we don’t enjoy is an unpleasant association with energy. We are all the time submitting ourselves to energy and getting involved in circumstances of energy. There is nothing particularly illuminating or Enlightening about such submission in and of itself.
Therefore, the Way that I consider with people is not a way of merely submitting to experience or energy. It is not a matter of submitting to the kundalini force or any expression of energy. It is not a matter of submitting to life and experience itself. The Way that I consider with people is the Way of understanding what we are doing so that we can transcend this bondage.
If we understand ourselves, we will realize that we are bound by energy. Your description of your religious life, for instance, doesn’t necessarily represent anything more than bondage. It is just another guy submitted to energy, the play of energy. He finds something about it to be pleasurable. On the other hand, much of his life is not particularly pleasurable either, and it is still an association with energy. When you are experiencing pain, you are still associated with energy. When you experience pleasure, you are associated with energy. Energy takes the form of all the things you like, but it also takes the form of all the things you don’t like. It takes the form of consolation, and it takes the form of your doubt and bewilderment also. Thus, there is nothing about energy itself that is either desirable or illuminating.
To submit to energy is therefore not Enlightening. To submit to energy or to make a religion out of submitting to Energy is just to do the same thing everybody is already doing. Everybody is submitting to energy already. Some people may find a way of contacting certain kinds of energy that make their lives a little bit more consoling, perhaps, than somebody else’s. When you die, you are going to be submitting to energy. When the body is going through its agonies, it is, going to be full of energy. So to call God Energy’ or to call religion surrender to Energy is not to put yourself in touch with anything ultimately profound. It’s just another way of describing things as they are. And, therefore, merely to submit to energy is to continue to live as you already were living. It doesn’t ultimately change anything.
Now, much of the consideration I’ve had with people, including yourself, over all these years has been devoted to clarifying this matter: that this very description you’re ‘making of your practice is not the Way at all. That is absolutely not the Way. There’s a dimension of meditative practice that may involve bodily submission into the Life Current in a particular form. In any case, that is only a secondary aspect of the process. That is what I call conductivity. The fundamental process is the process in consciousness. It begins with basic understanding, or insight into the self, and then becomes surrender and self-transcendence. But it’s not merely a process of submitting to energy.
The first five stages of life all represent one or another kind of false submission to energy, or one or another kind of illusion based on submission to energy. Therefore, I consider existence with you in another light, or from another point of view. And that point of view is also suggested by your own description. You described a state of existence in which there are basically two fundamental quantities or categories. The one is yourself as awareness of whatever may be arising, and the other is everything else, everything that consciousness is aware of. And everything that consciousness is aware of ultimately amounts to Energy Itself. In other words, no matter what arises in this moment, no matter what object or objects arise, no matter what experience arises, no matter what particularity there is in this moment, it’s still a form of Energy.
Look at this room, all these people sitting in it, your own body. There are certain characteristics to this scene that we may perceive at the present moment, but ultimately it is simply a form of Energy. It’s an apparition made out of Energy, solidified by the mechanism of this body-mind, this brain. The body-mind is tuned in to making Energy appear to be solid. That is what the brain does. But everything in this room is just Energy. So there are two basic quantities, two basic conditions, in this moment. The one is all the forms of Energy, or not-self–all the objective forms of existence–and the other, fundamentally, is self, or the environment or state of the self, and that is consciousness.
The spiritual process that I consider with you is ultimately a matter of identifying with consciousness and realizing its Status, so that, having realized that, the objective states of existence, or all the forms of ‘Energy, may become recognizable not merely as Energy but as Consciousness., Until there is this identification with consciousness, and until the Status of consciousness is Realizes, this conception that Consciousness and Energy are the same is false. It is like the conception that “Nirvana and samaras are the same.” It is an error. It’s only an idea you have., It is not something that you really have experiences, by your own description. You’re not aware that Energy and consciousness are the same. You are always consciously aware of Energy. You’re aware, of Energy and consciousness, in other words, as being different. One is the subject and the other is the object. And that, is how it is.
At this present moment Energy and consciousness are not the same for you,. Likewise, Nirvana and samaras are not the same until Nirvana is Realized, until the Transcendental Condition is Realized. Phenomenal existence is samsaric, deluding, binding. It’s not Nirvana, Blissful, Free, Happy, and non-binding, you see. Likewise, until there is the Realization of identification with consciousness and the ultimate Realization of its actual Status, there is no Realization that Energy and consciousness are identical. That, of course, is what there is ultimately to Realize. When Energy becomes recognizable as Consciousness, then the entire Realm of Nature vanishes, It is outshines by Consciousness itself. That’ is the secret of the seventh stage of life. But it is not possible to recognize Energy as consciousness until we identify with consciousness and Realize its Status. Therefore, no amount of surrendering to Energy is going to Enlighten us.
The submission to Energy is just exactly what the ego is doing all the time. The ego is deluded by energy. It is bound up in these motions. It’s failing to contemplate its own ultimate Condition. It’s failing to contemplate Consciousness itself. It is, without knowing what Consciousness is, simply submitting Consciousness to the play of energies. There is nothing Enlightening about this activity. It is illusion. You’re describing the egoic illusion from your point of view, in the third to fourth stage of life. Other people could describe it from another point of view. The shakti yogis or kundalini yogis would describe it from their point of view. Shabd yogis from another. Bhaktas of a traditional kind describe it another way.
Ordinary people who have no religious consciousness at all could still describe themselves as being involved in a process of submitting to energies in the form of bodily states and relations. Thoughts are just energy. Everybody’s already doing this. What’s illuminating about it? Everybody knows by reading a little bit of contemporary popular science that the entire universe is just a solidification of Energy. Everything that you see, everything that you perceive or experience is just a state of Energy. Everybody knows this now. You hear it on television. You practically hear it on the news every night. This is absolutely common knowledge. Well, if that knowledge were enlightening, then why isn’t everybody enlightened by the fact that they’ve made this discovery?
The reason is that this is not ultimate knowledge. This is conventional knowledge. Everybody already knew it before. It’s just been translated into another kind of language, scientific language. But everybody has already known that everything is Energy. There’s never been any doubt about this. It’s been known since ancient times. Everybody knows it instinctively. Everybody is basically just submitting to Energy. They can’t help themselves. Energy is happening to them, Energy is controlling them. Energy is Prakarti, Maha-Shakti, Nature. You could also call it, in its deluding aspect, the Devil.
Everybody is possessed bye energy. Some people are pleasurably possessed, other people are painfully possessed, and most people are a combination of the two. Nobody is absolutely pleasurably possessed unless they are also ultimately Enlightened. But even then they suffer all kinds of limitations, no doubt.
Thus, there is no profound message contained in your confession of submitting to energy. In any case, you weren’t even able to say that very well, so I don’t see how you could possibly do very much good to somebody else who’s out there struggling along. It doesn’t sound as if yo found very much, you see. You falsify the pin of view of this Teaching. I have never communicated a way that is merely about submitting to Energy. Absolutely to the contrary: If anybody has insistently communicated a Way that is not about submission to Energy, I am the one.
Remember the Garbage and the Goddess Teaching Demonstration? You sat in this very room. After all of that you’re still prattling this egoic nonsense about energy? What you are saying doesn’t have anything to do with anything that I have considered with you. It’s a Johnny Carson version of this Way of life. It’s not a very serious conception of practice, you see. Now I appreciate that on some level you have al somewhat more serious or profound and meditative experience. of this than you were perhaps able to express a few minutes ago. But even so, what you’ve had to say stands as a general communication of what you feel or conceive to be spiritual life. It’s as tally a matter of submitting to energy outside yourself, and enjoying energy, enjoying vital enthusiasm and letting energy embrace you, relax you, and pleasurize you.
There is nothing wrong with relaxing. It is a very rudimentary exercise that is not ultimately Enlightening. In any case, it’s just submission to Nature. And even if in some sense it’s good to generate the attitude of surrender rather than withholding, and even if that surrendering is done bodily and in a feeling response to the Living Energy that pervades all of nature, that very process must go beyond egoic clinging to Energy itself. This phase of merely enjoying pleasurable sensations of energy in your body would not be sufficient for someone serious about the spiritual process. At most that would be considered by him to be a beginner’s realization. It is only the asana in which to begin.
The real practice is meditation. And so it has been communicated as such. Relaxation is merely a practical exercise, a practical adjunct of this Way. It’s good to provide a base of physical equanimity by associating the body with the Living Current through a gesture of relaxation, opening, surrender, and right alignment. But that’s not much more than sitting down to meditate. That’s not itself meditation. Connecting with the Living Current through the forms of concentration that are preliminary to meditation is not an end in itself.
The attention must go beyond these movements of energy, beyond the egoic self or the body-mind altogether. In other words, the process of surrendering attention through bodily and mental surrender into the Living Current must go beyond bodily sensations, emotions, and mental categories. Ultimately , meditation simply liberates attention. It’s not supposed to be a way, of binding attention.
Energy is not the object of meditation. Bodily and mental states are not, the objects of meditation. Surrendering bodily and mentally and relaxing into the Living Current should simply result in the freeing of attention from states of energy so that attention itself is merely free to consider its ultimate Condition and Source. The most we are doing with the exercises of conductivity is helping to liberate attention for the process of real meditation. Real meditation involves the conscious process. In the Way of Faith it is remembering the Transcendental Being beyond self, mind, body, and energy. In the Way of Insight it’s a matter of going beyond the self-contraction, realizing That which is prior to the self-contraction. Both of these Ways lead ultimately in the esoteric form of practice to the contemplation of Consciousness itself, which is That in which all of these phenomenal states are arising.
But you could get at that Consciousness directly. And I always ask you to do so, although to be able to enter into that Consciousness stably usually requires you to live a long period of sadhana, life-discipline, to liberate attention stably. But what there is ultimately to contemplate, meditate on, is immediately available to you, because in every moment you are consciousness. When you say “I” you mean a whole complex personality that’s physical, emotional, vital, mental, and contains life-energy, psychic phenomena, and so forth. But that “I” is a relation of yours. In other: words, that “I”–what consciousness is constantly referring to as “I”–is simply an object to it. You are always functionally in the position of being the consciousness that is aware of the bodymind and its relations. And from the point of view of consciousness there is nothing more significant about the body-mind, the immediate, personal, egoic body-mind, than any other body-mind or any other phenomenon that may arise.
It is only in the context of the body-mind and its relations that the “I,” the ego, the body-mind itself achieves this condition of such importance. But consciousness is not inherently identified with the body-mind. Consciousness is aware of the bodymind. And what all of the preliminary practices of spiritual life are about, all those exercises that lead to meditation and finally to Samadhi, is the freeing up of attention from the body-mind and its relations to the point that it may contemplate the Source of attention itself, or the Consciousness that is aware of all conditions. So you can engage this process directly if you represent a basically free state of attention in this life. Or, if your attention is bound, you must do it indirectly. You must perform all the yamas and niyamas and asanas and pranayama and concentration of all kinds–pass through all the levels, you see, until attention is free enough simply to consider and contemplate the Source of consciousness itself.
Consciousness itself is not separate or egoic. Consciousness is aware of an ego, and it is tending to identify with that ego, or separate bodymind. But consciousness itself doesn’t have any such qualities. Consciousness is not afraid. Consciousness is aware of fear. Fear is superimposed upon it by the mechanics of the body-mind. Consciousness is aware of thoughts. It’s not even thinking the thoughts. The thinking is something of which it is aware. Everything that arises is an object to consciousness. We delude ourselves if we look for God in the plane of objective phenomena, if we look for God outside ourselves in the plane of Energy, in the plane of Nature or beyond Nature. If we look beyond ourselves to God, in or beyond nature, we will not find God. We will simply be deluded by the play of phenomenal existence and by the limitation of egoity. God is the Source, the Subjective Source of existence. God is located directly in the plane of consciousness and not in the plane of the relations of consciousness.
Therefore, there are preliminary or preparatory exercises, beginner’s forms of practice, the whole purpose of which is to liberate attention so that it may consider its own Source, so that it may examine the Subjective Source of consciousness and attention itself. The most fundamental form of practice prior to Enlightenment is the direct contemplation, investigation, and exploration of Consciousness. But attention must be fundamentally free to do this. Otherwise you may have some sort of general sense of your consciousness right now, but it’s always becoming attention, identified with the body-mind and playing in the field of energy and phenomena.
Because attention is so bound up in people that consciousness is not free to contemplate That in which it inheres, people are offered preliminary exercises, or the preparatory stages of the Way. In our Way those exercises are represented by the first five levels of practice in the Way of Faith and the Way of Insight, and by the first stage of the Perfect Practice. At the second stage of the Perfect Practice, or level 6, the fundamental form of practice is engaged. You must be prepared for it, however. Merely to know that that is what you’re going to do, merely to know something about what it would be as an exercise, merely to know this philosophy I have written about for years, is not sufficient. Attention must be free in order to do this sadhana. For attention to be free, the body-mind must basically be in a state of equanimity. In other words, attention can not be unconsciously controlled by psycho-physical phenomena. If attention is to be able to consider consciousness itself, it has to be free of binding association with its objects. Thus, all the preliminary practices are a beginner’s stage in which the bodymind is brought into a state of equanimity, and attention is thereby set free to consider its own Source, or Consciousness itself.
You are already not the ego or self contraction. You are already Enlightened. Therefore, as I have been saying all these years in our various times of consideration, Enlightenment is not something you need attain, but the fact of existence on the basis of which you should live.
You should not devote your life to the realization of Enlightenment. Devote your life to what you do when you are Enlightened.
Becoming Enlightened is a very simple matter of examine your present state and seeing its obvious features. The simplest thing to say about everything that arises is simple related, and not by necessity. You have nothing directly to do with what arises. You are never more than aware of it. None of its qualities are every your quantities. But in your ordinary and un-Enlightened state you are busy becoming involved with the drama of conditional existence, and thus you never have time to explore the Condition in which you actually inhere.
You do not inhere in the realm of Nature, but in the realm of Consciousness. Yet, generally you do not have time for Consciousness because you are too busy with Nature. You do not have time for Purusha because you are too busy with Prakarti, and therefore you do not know what Prakarti is. You never realize its actual Status. You let It be God. You worship it. You make an idol out of Nature, change, samara. The great illusion is that you are fathered-mothered by What you presume to be God, but Which is really the mechanical Realm of modifications of the Transcendental Being. That illusion is suffering, or samsara. To submit to being an ego is the great error.
To Realize the Divine Reality you must enter the Realm of Consciousness first. The trouble is that you have begun with Nature with expectation that eventually you will realize Consciousness. You do not get to Consciousness from here. You can only enter into Consciousness directly. You can only enter into Consciousness directly. You are already established there. Therefore, the spiritual practice is to enter into the contemplation of Consciousness directly.
You need not ascetically cut the world away. You are already free of the world, and therefore you need not eliminate it. By simply taking up the position of consciousness, therefore, you should very naturally permit the body-mind to enter into a state of equanimity. When it is in an ordinary, lawful, balanced condition, managed by simple, natural disciplines rather than ascetic ones, the body-mind does not bind you. Equanimity grants you the free attention to explore consciousness and realize its Status.
Such a spiritual practice should occupy you, not the endless playing with life-problems and desires and hoping that eventually you will have visions that will relieve you of the obligation of real practice. Whether you take up the Perfect Practice or the Way of Faith or the Way of Insight, you must understand and bring the body-mind into a state of equanimity wherein attention is free. That is really all you must do in any of the three approaches. And you should do it very directly and quickly so that you can enter into the esoteric order and not spend the rest of your life in exile, catering to Mother Nature.
Each one should really practice whatever the practicalities of your present discipline – life disciplines, service, meditation. At this stage of your practice you are required to free attention from the drama of the body- mind and bring the bodymind into a state of equanimity or simplicity. Discipline the body-mind. Do whatever service is required of you. Meditate, yes, but simply bring the body-mind into a state of equanimity. Simplify your life. Make your service ordinary. Do what you are supposed to do. Grant attention to the spiritual process. In other words, give yourself quite a bit less to do in the realm of Nature. Free attention by giving it only a minimal, basic, benign obligation in this life, so that you can then use that free attention for contemplation of That in which you already inhere, which is not Nature.
You are watching Nature observing Nature, witnessing Nature, but you inhere, in Consciousness.
What is consciousness? This is the basic question posed in The Knee of Listening. What is consciousness? You never discover what it is by wandering in the play of life and the body-mind. You can only discover it by entering into consciousness itself, by contemplating it most profoundly, locating its Quality, Condition, Status, Force. When you have fully entered into Consciousness Itself, then suddenly the Divine Condition of everything becomes obvious.
You never understand this “maya,” this illusion that is Nature, until you realize the Condition of consciousness. This maya, this samsaric realm, this body-mind, this world of Nature, is just a machine that drives you, motivates you, traps you, interests you, and murders you. This maya can never be understood by taking up a position in the realm of maya, or, in other words, by being the ego. But this Realm of Nature, this life, this sphere of energies taking all these forms, can be comprehended once we realize Its Principle. Then all of Nature becomes obvious.
Therefore, it is said in the ancient scriptures of India that there is One Thing to be known, and if you know It, then you know everything. To realize Brahman, the Principle upon which all of this is a play, is the Supreme Science. Until you realize that Principle, you can never understand the play of manifestation. You may manufacture all kinds of explanations for it, none of which is true, but until you Realize Brahman, Truth, Consciousness, until you are It, until you enter into It most perfectly, become the Siddha or the Master of that Realization, existence is a torment, deluded, absurd, and maniacal.
We suffer the countless stresses that all the little digits arising in the infinite Realm of Energy create. Nature does not dictate the purpose of existence to us. We just imagine that it does. We can be instantly liberated from that illusion by hearing the word of the Siddha, the Realized Master, and entering into the consideration of the Teaching of Truth in his Company. Then the Siddhi of Realization is granted to us as a Gift and becomes the Environment of our contemplation.
In general, people want to practice at a distance. They prefer to not quite understand the Message or Teaching of the Spiritual Master. Their practice is to take a little taste of this Way and a little taste of all the other ways and basically to bow only to themselves. Well, this is how to guarantee rebirth as just as much of a bewildered sucker as you are now!