A Collective Force of Obligation
a Talk by Avatar Adi Da Samraj, 1988
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Self-discipline must come from self understanding, or it is just another form of self-contraction. Without self-understanding, discipline is just another expression of the will of the ego-“I”.
Instead, self-discipline in the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam is based on that force of intention that expresses the capability to transcend yourself by feeling beyond yourself, by feeling beyond all of the body-mind’s intentions, tendencies, and patterns.
Right discipline is associated with the radiant disposition of ego-transcending devotion to Me, not the effort of the self-contraction. To be impulsed toward ego-transcending Real-God-Realization through your devotion to Me-that is a radiant disposition. On that basis, you take on some (by Me Given) disciplines. You observe the self-contraction, and you add detail to the discipline of your life based on that observation.
The disciplines of the Way of Adidam include more than just vital things like food and sex. The discipline covers everything. That is why you must practice all the disciplines, including all the functional, practical, cultural, and relational disciplines.
Traditionally, people have had a way of simplifying the matter of all the disciplines by taking on what is sometimes called “Ashram Dharma”. “Ashram Dharma” means entering into a community in which everyone embraces particular disciplines and maintains them through norms and expectations. The discipline is simply what you do in Ashram. You don’t go out and live with a bunch of other people who have nothing to do with the intention of practice. You don’t wander around in the ordinary world and try to stay disciplined. Rather, you enter into the community of discipline and use the community for your advantage relative to practice. In such a traditional Ashram, all of the disciplines are mapped out. And, if you are going to live in the Ashram, you do such and such and such and such, and that is it. There is no question about it. You do not have to struggle with it. You just accept it as the pattern. You simply expect it of yourself.
One of the ways you have of getting yourself to do the discipline is to crunch up and get righteous about it. But, if it is simply something that is expected of you, if you simply expect it of yourself and all others expect it of themselves, then what kind of badges can be acquired for doing what everybody is supposed to do? You don’t have to be always puzzling about whether to do it or not. The discipline of the Way of Adidam is just a simple pattern of life that you have accepted, and there is no further struggle with it. The community of My devotees (in My Description of it) is really just a form of Ashram Dharma then.
All of your varying tendencies, all of your patterns of old adaptation, your own egoic patterning – all of that gets impinged upon in such a setting. I think this is probably one of the reasons why you have not embraced the discipline of formal cooperative (or community) association with one another as fully as you should. Because as soon as you enter into that life of community with one another, with all the cultural signs that should be associated with that, you represent a collective force of obligation to one another. Hmm? [May 9, 1988]