The Theatre of Consideration
a talk by Da Free John
October 27, 1981
MASTER DA: You could say that The Knee of Listening is sufficient and that I didn’t have to say or write anything else again. But, how would you practice, how would you Realize the Truth I communicated in The Knee of Listening? The whole Teaching is a development on the foundation laid in that first book. The Teaching is a way of serving the possibility of the same Realization in other people. In some sense The Knee of Listening is sufficient by itself, as a description of the Way and its Realization. But it is perhaps not sufficient as a source from which people can generate practice and Realization. That required all the theatre of Teaching and all the elaborations.
You can’t just get the Truth in a couple of one-liners or a few paragraphs, or one book. You have to devote your life to it. You have to go through the process. The fact that there are a lot of books and talks is no impediment. Of course you couldn’t get them all down in a week or two, but you’re not supposed to. It’s good that there are a lot of sources, so you’re not just reading one little ten-page book for the next fifty years. You have a complex culture, a full resource. There are many subtleties and nuances to this communication, and every individual will find a different part of it consequential. It all has to be there because it has to serve everyone. Any one individual might not need every piece of the communication, but some portion will be particularly useful to him or her. Other parts will be a way of saying it that somehow brings it across better to somebody else.
I could just say, “What are you doing? What are you always doing? Understand this Narcissus, read The Knee of Listening,. Enquire, and that’s it, that’s sufficient. Nothing else needs to be added.” But, how many people would be able to do it if that were all that I taught? Very few people would. Maybe there would be a couple of people who would find something about it that was basically workable. But to take this Realization and make it into useable wisdom for other people, you have to get into the whole affair. There’s much more to be said about it then, much more instruction than is explicit in The Knee of Listening,, although as I’ve said, everything is implicit in The Knee of Listening.
So in some sense all the Teaching is a commentary on The Knee of Listening. All the other books I have written are an elaboration on it. It all has to do with a living circumstance of dealing with other people. The other things were written and said because I was confronted by people whose desire or intention to Realize the Truth I took seriously. I have always taken people seriously and devoted myself completely to the service of their Enlightenment in person. And that is why my theatre of Teaching has been what it is. All of that theatre with people is a matter of taking them seriously, even though perhaps they were not really serious. But I took their characteristics, their orientation, their limitations into account very seriously, and worked to communicate the Teaching in a form that would serve somebody in that state. I would always point out to people that whether they were going to use what I was giving them or not was a question for them to answer. I used their qualities to communicate the Teaching in a certain way that would also be useful to other people.
When people came to me in a sheerly selfindulgent, worldly mood, then I had to consider, “How do you enter into this Way if you are selfindulgent, worldly, and neurotic? How does it work in that case? What do I have to do to serve you? What do you have to do to practice? What is the form of instruction here?” I couldn’t just tell people to go read The Knee of Listening. I had to Teach them in their setting. I had to devote myself to their condition of existence and consider the Way in that state.
Now here we are, drunk as lords on Jack Danielsl What is there about all of this? What does this have to do with the Truth? What is the Way of Truth from this point of view? What are we accomplishing in this? What state are we in?
I took on these conditions, but not in order to live that way forever. I considered it to my satisfaction so that whatever could be said about understanding and transcending a particular state, I said. When I was fully satisfied then I would completely abandon whatever that ritual was that I had associated myself with. So when there was absolutely nothing more to consider about drinking, that was the end of it. There wasn’t any reason to do it anymore, because we had considered it to the point where one could transcend it by truly entering into the consideration. There’s nothing more to do except repeat it. And as somebody once said about a night in a male whorehouse, “Once a philosopher, twice a pervert.” To do it again with everybody would be just to be destroyed by it. To do it the first time has merit as a philosophical or spiritual exercise, from the point of view of teaching other people. So that’s the reason for all that theatre, and that’s why it will not be repeated.
a talk by Da Free John
November 1, 1981
MASTER DA: The Knee of Listening is the first expression of the point of view of transcendence. This understanding is the summation of my life and sadhana and Teaching. My Teaching of others is a play with people who are disposed to turn their attention toward one or another kind of conditional state or object.
I have entered into Teaching occasions with people in all of the modes of their worldliness, and all the activities to which they devote themselves in the first three stages of life. Having entered into the mode of their attachment and their conventional orientation, I have instructed them in that moment. I have attempted to awaken them to a different orientation toward the gross conditions of existence–a free orientation based on understanding the mechanics of Narcissus.
I have also entered into play with people relative to their fourth stage orientation toward Communion with the Divine through the Name, through God ideas, and through the Spiritual Master as a particularized form of Divine representation. I entered into criticism of all their fanciful ideas, misunderstanding, and wrong interpretation of my function and that of Adepts in the past.
The Garbage and the Goddess period is an example of my instruction relative to fifth stage phenomena, but all throughout my Teaching Work I have given people exercises to help them enter into the phenomena of the fifth stage of life as well as the necessary Transmission. Then I have criticized people’s fascination with these experiences and helped them to apply the disposition of understanding.
I have generated this same kind of theatre relative to the sixth stage orientation–the disposition toward the witnessing consciousness, within and exclusive of objects. I have given instruction such as intentional placing of attention in the right side of the heart, which I ultimately criticized.
The seventh stage of life is the state in which everything is recognizable in Truth. It is the condition of Realization in which everything appears as Reality, whereas in the first six stages of life everything appears as unreality. The world is unreal in the first six stages of life. It is Real in the seventh stage of life, but it is not necessary. It is not binding. It is utterly, tacitly recognizable in the Radiant Transcendental Being or Brahman. It is an utterly free condition. It is the Real condition of birth. From a certain point of view birth is a matter of unreality, bondage, or suffering. In the first six stages of life it seems to be merely that. In the seventh stage of life, life is recognizable in Reality. Life is not seen as something necessary, or something that in itself is Real. Rather, life is transcended in bliss. It doesn’t have the power to create the vision of unreality. In the seventh stage of life we enjoy the siddhi or the power of the Vision of Reality as a perpetual realization, which cannot be destroyed by any feature of conditional existence.
My Work in the past has been to generate the Teaching, or intelligence of the Way, and its culture of discipline or practice. And so I had to work to help people awaken, or feel and intuit,beyond the limit of the conventional self. I had to magnify to them the presence of the Radiant Identity. It was a process of awakening people through intelligent consideration from their self contraction and the presumptions based upon it.
All of that involved an intimate, personal, theatrical relationship with people. And it is precisely that intimacy, that personal Work with people, that I have now abandoned. In the present setting individuals who consider this Way must choose that intelligence and culture of practice and they themselves must maintain certainty of that Presence.
My future Work is simply to magnify the Divine Presence universally, and in my solitary Occupation to surrender all beings and the total world in that Presence. My Work with individuals is in general finished, except where I may presume it. Thus, I may be recognized by devotees, but they must depend on the Agencies of the Teaching, including the Community, the Holy Places and so forth, rather than on me, to turn them to the Radiant Identity. So through the Work of my intimate play with individuals in the past this intelligent consideration developed and the conscious process was created. Through magnifying the Divine Presence or Siddhi in their company, I established the conviction of Its existence in those who entered into this play with me. And I’ve established various Agencies that not only communicate the Teaching, but which act as vehicles for this same Siddhi. Even the Teaching itself is a vehicle for that Siddhi. It is both an awakener of intelligence and a way of magnifying the Divine Presence and putting a person in touch with it.
So in the future it is this Teaching and these Agencies to which individuals must resort who encounter this Teaching. On the basis of intelligent consideration and the contact that takes place through these Agencies, they must develop and maintain the certainty of the Divine Presence. If they will do so then my future Work will also be effective in their case. My future Work is not with individuals, to awaken intelligent understanding or to magnify this Presence in their individual company. My Work is simply to engage in the process of this Siddhi that magnifies and focuses the Divine universally, and in the plane of Earth. If people will make use of my Agencies then they will also be served by me.