There is no Magical Release from the Past, There is only Responsibility for It
Adapted from a talk by Adi Da Samraj – The Fear of Being Left Alone, 1980
Adi Da Samraj: The purpose in considering your whole history is to see how that demand for attention is the expression of a pattern that already exists, it doesn’t originate in any specific relationship. That is the value of being able to trace your history. Because then you don’t try to solve what is obviously a negative factor in your life through manipulating the present situation or manipulating yourself in the present situation. That is not the solution because the problem doesn’t arise in the present, the problem is simply the continuation of habits, patterns of memory.
So this condition that already exists, that you see has existed most of your life, is the one that creates the dilemma in the present in your relationships, including your relationship to me. So it’s a matter of being responsible for that and living your relationship with me completely independent of that structure that need for attention. So it wouldn’t make any difference how I in fact relate to you and so forth. This would still be a pattern of yours.
How I’ve related to you has been a way to awaken your responsibility for the pattern. And in this reactive state in which you’ve existed since before you can remember, you are always already presuming separation, the absence of attention, having to struggle to get attention, having to struggle to get into a pleasurable state. You struggled and connived and so forth as a little kid, and later you found things like drugs and sex and they provided a symbolic fulfillment, a replacement for what was missing, but they were not satisfactory in themselves. You had sex and relationships, but you were still looking for some other relationship or some other situation altogether.
But it’s not a matter of anything in the present, it’s a matter of you being responsible for that pattern that you bring to the present, which is the assumption that you are separated already. It’s not something that you discover in the present, it’s something that you presume in the present. So if you presume it, you’ve constantly got to be struggling to acquire what it is, what you are separated from, attention basically, and affectionate attention, love attention, and physical attention, not just the mere mental fact of attention. Your presumption must carry this emotional-physical, these emotional and physical conditions with it to be complete.
Well, as long as you are presuming that you are in principle separated from loving attention, you can never get in touch with it, even when you become intimate with it, because it is not the same as being in connection, it’s a temporary acquisition. The acquiring of it occurs within a situation in which you are inherently separated. When you are an infant there is survival value in the recoil or reaction to life, and all of the manipulative games you created had something to do with reality, but when you get to this stage of your life, the conditions that created this assumption to begin with no longer exist. And instead of it being factual that you are rejected, not getting attention, not being loved, and so forth, it winds up that that is what you are all about.
That’s what you are doing by maintaining this presumption, by thinking that you’re not loved, that you’re not going to get attention, that you have to be bargaining and manipulative. These are all your assumptions, they are something that you bring into the moment, it’s not something that’s created for you.
Well, it’s natural to develop this separative ego, the self-possessed strategy, in your early years. In your case, as in many cases, its development coincided with incidents that affected you mentally and emotionally emotionally, and which seem themselves to be a kind of betrayal, a justification for the ego recoil. But it would have occurred in any case, as we’ve discovered in the case of others who didn’t particularly have negative events to react to. Merely the force in you that makes you define yourself independently can have a negative quality altogether.
It’s a dangerous creative process for the child to become differentiated and be an individual. If you have negative factors in your life, within which to develop your functional independence, it can look as if are a little delinquent or crazy. So there are two sides here: one is the situation in your childhood or your infancy in which you were cut off too soon or whatever. And then there is also just the natural course of the human being’s differentiating himself or herself egoic ally.
So you, like everybody else, adapted within your circumstances to these factors in your life. And then, much later in your life, you’re supposed to be the center of life, attention, and love and so forth, and you are still rehearsing the survival decisions, the adaptations, the reactions of childhood. But you are living them in the present. They are memories in the form of tendency. You’re living them in the present and getting lessons about it by requiring yourself to be free of it and so forth. And very often the technique is to try and live in your present circumstance and not do all of this stuff that you are being criticized for, tested about.
But the mere willful attempt to not do it is not sufficient, because you can’t account for all of the aspects of your behavior and feeling and thinking that are versions of this ritual. It will happen in any case. And it will happen particularly mightily when your guard is down. So you can’t make a decision not to do it, independent of inspection and responsibility for the pattern that you’re involved in because it’s not in the present that this situation exists. The situation that you are struggling with emotionally doesn’t exist in the present. It’s memory, it’s old adaptation, it’s tendency. Not particularly memory of incidents, but of the reactions, the patterns of adaptation that you developed relative to incidents that bind you.
That’s what you all must realize; the incidents in the past don’t have any significance in themselves, it’s the patterns of adaptation that you created relative to them. Those are what you’ve got to be responsible for. The incidents are already gone, they don’t have any force except by association. You’re not suffering the incidents of the past, nor are you suffering the incidents of the present. You are suffering from the patterns of adaptation, the habits that are tending to persist. They are very ordinary and you cannot do them once you’ve inspected your life and see the pattern.
Every one of you have described a life that has been the same from the very beginning. It hasn’t changed and its not complicated. Every single one of you has done the same old thing your whole life; you do it every day. You’ve done it in every new situation. Every time a new level of experience or whatever appears, you just adapt it to this pattern. You’ve always been doing the same thing fundamentally, the same little scheme or script, the same emotional habit. So it’s not overwhelmingly complicated; it’s just that it is tending to persist. It’s not by manipulating yourself in the present that you are free of it, it’s by seeing this history and this pattern that is present in the form of tendency, and being free on the basis of that inspection to adapt to a new condition in the present through the whole discipline of your spiritual life, the Communion that it represents.
In this Divine Communion in relation to the Spiritual Master there isn’t the separation that you suffered in your childhood. That’s not what the relationship is about; it’s about Communion, Union, Unity with the Source. That’s the new situation to which you all have to adapt, whereas your habit represents adaptation to separation, to incidents of enforced separation into a developing egoic or self-possessed life that is itself separative. Life in this Divine Communion is one with the Infinite, is in Communion with It and is also obliged not to recoil, not to be involved in the separative gesture.
So you must commit yourself to that situation of Divine Communion. In that Communion, through hearing and revelation, the recoil of self becomes weaker and weaker in your responsibility. You’ve got to locate yourself in this incident of present Communion and adapt to It, that is basically what it is. You are tending to repeat old adaptation, but now you are free to adapt to this. And in the midst of adapting to It, living this life of love, of service, of responsibility, you won’t dramatize this habit pattern that you are aware of in your own case. You also should not be concerned about the reflections of your old adaptation, emotionally, mentally, but continue this positive adaptation.
This is what you must do instead of struggling with yourself. Struggling with yourself is just a way of persisting in this old, habitual pattern. You’re feeling unloved, you can see that it’s just a mechanical pattern, and in the moment when the old feelings, thought and tendencies arise that correspond to that pattern, you can be humorous about it. It doesn’t mean a thing if you see it; it’s just a repetition of that. So then you don’t have to be involved with it.
You can be love in the present then, instead of someone who is unloved and trying to get loved. And ultimately, by adapting to this present incident of Love and Divine Communion, habit energies, habit tendencies from the past, become weaker and weaker. In the meantime they’ll be present as a form of things that you can notice. You’ll notice a tendency to interpret things in the moment in a certain way, a tendency to feel a certain way, the tendency to get into certain kinds of moods, to react or communicate or deal with certain kinds of situations.
But you will always observe in them the signs of this pattern once you have observed your history. So instead of being concerned about it and manipulating it and manipulating yourself, be humorous, just let it go and act differently. Act as love, act in the form of the responsibilities you know in your present conviction.
There isn’t anything complex about you or anybody else in the whole world. Everybody has done the same thing; on the basis of the vulnerability in the infantile situation when they were moving into incarnation, everyone developed a reactive pattern and presumption that essentially amounted to not being responsible for love, or feeling-attention, and through various games always looking for it to come to them. Everybody in the whole world is doing that; that is all anybody is doing unless they are understanding it, being responsible for it and entering into the eternal incident that is spiritually communicated to them in this moment.
That is the only way you can do something different than everybody else in the world is doing. And there is no magical release from the past, there is only responsibility for it. Once you become responsible for it and adapt to the eternal incident in the moment, then the past starts becoming obsolete because you are adapting in a new way. The reason it hasn’t changed yet, even though you’ve thought about your life for years, is that you haven’t adapted differently.”