Adapted from a talk given on
January 25, 1988
The Psycho-Physical Nature of Conditional Existence
he primal understanding that conditional existence is psycho-physical is of great importance. And if you do not understand that this is so, obviously you couldn’t function as a devotee in the Way of the Heart. Religious life is about functioning at the level of mind such that you make changes in mind and may have all kinds of psychic experiences perhaps. But the beginnings of that tradition in as general or particularly esoteric expression suggests that the religious way of life is a matter of manipulating minds such as to make changes in the physical. Interpersonal activity on the part of a practitioner in the Way of the Heart is about self-transcendence and not about the idealization of social life.
And the … Defining of a practitioner of the Way of the Heart as a social idealist. No, it’s not about that. But you must investigate everything you’re about in the context of the first three stages of life. Everything you’re about as a related personality of body, mind, and relationship, and so on. And through that self-observation, that development of understanding transcend your limitations in that domain and move on also. It’s not an end in itself. You see also as a practitioner of the Way of the Heart, you come to the point of realization that conditional existence is not at its base fundamentally, primarily, however you want to put it, a physical condition.
You come to the point of view through your consideration that conditional existence is inherently a psycho-physical condition. Psycho-physical. So, you don’t really presume the point of view of the body, you see? Materiality or any philosophy associated with materialism, so-called. Your point of view as a practitioner of the Way of the Heart, one developed within the Way of the Heart, because that conditional existence is a psycho-physical condition. Well, this is very important to understanding, you see? If you presume that a conditional existence is fundamentally a physical condition, then you get very busy looking for the origin of a physical existence and if you make religious affirmations, you talk about God as the cause of physical existence and so on, as a kind of a external operator, somehow mysteriously conceived to be operative. But if you presume conditional existence to be psycho-physical in nature, inherently psycho-physical in all its aspects, then the source of conditional existence, phenomenal existence is no longer looked for outside, but in the context of psycho-physical reality, rather.
So, you’re not looking for some chain of physical events going back to some ultimate cause that you might call God, you see? All physical events exist in the context of psycho-physical reality. So, the ultimate source must be the source of psycho-physical reality. Therefore, you do not affirm a merely physical or objective cause, but you always are associated with the consideration of source in the psycho-physical domain. Therefore, your considerations always include the realm of mind, consciousness ultimately, subjectivity ultimately. And what you discover in the great process then is that the source is not functioning as the cause of effects, but as the source of all of it without functioning effectively, without having to be called the cause of all aspects of experience and so on directly, you see? The ultimate cause if you’re going to even use the word is beyond causality and beyond objectivity.
It’s the source of psycho-physical existence. Therefore, is itself inherently subjective, ultimately realized to be consciousness itself beyond causality, beyond effect, beyond conditional existence itself. This primal understanding that conditional existence is psycho-physical is of great importance. And if you do not understand that this is so, obviously you couldn’t function as a devotee in the Way of the Heart. Because the basis of the Way of the Heart in its real practice is this presumption. Conditional existence is psycho-physical, not merely physical, not merely mental. Psycho-physical. So, the God or the divine affirmed in the Way of the Heart is not the objective creator of material existence, but the ultimate and absolute source of psychophysical existence.
That is the divine affirmed in the Way of the Heart. And it was affirmed even by beginners who come to a fundamental understanding of life, of experience, and get released in that process from the conventional presumptions that existence is a material reality and so forth that persuades them in various ways or existence is somehow rooted in a psychic domain or a realm of universal mind and so on. These persuasions make philosophy, they make traditions, they make practitioners of various kinds in the great tradition, they make great individuals. All kinds of persuasions make lifetimes. And the Way of the Heart, that persuasion that makes the lifetime or the way itself is the fullest consideration of experience itself, which it is clearly observed and understood that there are three realms of experience. Physical, mental, and ultimate or consciousness itself.
Well, this is the basis of the advancement in the fourth stage of life and fifth stage of life in the great tradition and in your own person then. But ultimately, you must discover the source, the root of everything is psychic, everything physical, everything conditional altogether. And it’s not merely personal as some traditions presume. It transcends the personal in its realization. And that’s the domain of the process in the sixth and seventh stages of life. So, you must come to this understanding about the three great parts of experience, but you must do so in your original study of this way, your original examination of life, because to practice the Way of the Heart, you must be founded in this presumption and not insulted or disheartened by the conventions of materialistic views or the idealistic and otherwise in general diluted views that are based on the absolutization of mind.
All of these tendencies make stages of life, make traditions, make individuals. All these limits must be transcended. You begin that process of transcendence by examining your own experience and finding out its real content. Having found that out, you are no longer capable of being insulted by limited views, the winds of doctrine, your own tendencies, your own changes, hour by hour, and so forth. You have a great instrument, that of fundamental self-understanding that enables you to break through that self contraction, that identification with the arbitrary, and thus of limited views. That’s another part, you see, of the great capability that is true hearing. Freedom from the insult made by your own tendencies and associations, which makes you identify with limited views. To develop the whole process of self-understanding and practice in the Way of the Heart then, you must first come to this understanding, this realization among other forms understanding of or realization. This was absolutely essential.
Having understood this based on direct examination of your experience, you are no longer subject to conditional doctrines that are beside the truth, although they do not take into account your real experience. In other words, having come to this presumption, you’re no longer subject to materialistic views, merely idealistic or mental views, and so forth. To practice the Way of the Heart in the context of the sixth stage of life, you must through your consideration and practice, have utterly transcended the psycho-physical point of view.
All the potentials associated with the first five stages of life such that you are identified with the ultimate circumstance of existence, which is your awareness of it. To be established in that form of practice, you must have examined and done great practice in the context of limitation until you’ve come to the point where you can directly assume the position of consciousness itself, which always already precedes mind and body, which is inherently free and all blissful. The practice in the Way of the Heart is not merely a mental effort of mental, philosophical preoccupation, you see? It is a most profound process that directly transcends psycho-physical limitations and really so.
“The man of understanding sees the smithereens of the worlds and knows them to exist in the great Consciousness, not merely in space. He knows the worlds themselves are not fixed, nor do they represent any fundamental limitation to his State. Thus, he is not a man of concerns, or of programs, or of descriptions. He is utterly free of all of them. He has become always already ecstatic. For such a one there is therefore no straightforward description of Reality, or of the cosmos, or of life. Only God is apparent to such a one. Only the paradox survives.” – Death is Not Your Concern