Pain, Independence, and the Discovery of Consciousness


Pain, Independence, and the Discovery of Consciousness

Manifest existence is association with the force of conditionality.
The inherent circumstance of manifest existence is change, temporariness,
limitation, struggle with opposites, search for happiness, motivation toward
release, and attachment to what is neither ultimate nor necessary.

As a consequence of all of this, the manifest being tends
toward bewilderment, stress, obsessive craving, frustration, anger, sorrow,
fear, depression, disease, pain, unhappiness, inertia, and death.

In the midst of all of this, the mind tends to develop
the psychology of the problem. Manifest existence tends to be conceived
as a problem to be overcome. And thus the language of religious or spiritual
consideration tends to be associated with this problem-consciousness, and
religious or spiritual practice tends, therefore, to develop as a strategy
for overcoming and ultimately eliminating pain, suffering, change, and
even manifest existence itself.

We must understand and transcend this tendency to become
grounded in the problem-consciousness of ordinary egoity. The proper or
real consideration in the midst of manifest existence is not involved in
this reaction to conditional experience. Enlightenment is not the elimination
of phenomenal experience. Rather, Enlightenment is the intuition of the
Transcendental Condition of the phenomenal self and its objects and states.
And that intuition is not predicated on the ascetical or yogic elimination
of conditional states. Rather, it is inherent in the direct and most profound
or radical understanding of the entire process of attention in relation
to the self, its psycho-physical states, and its objects (or the not-self).

In the traditions of Transcendental Enlightenment, conditional
existence is considered in terms of one or the other of its two fundamental
characteristics. It is considered either in terms of its negative experiential
impact (as pain, limitation, or suffering) or in terms of its status in
relation to Reality. In the Buddhist tradition, conditional existence is
named “samsara,” and in the tradition of Advaitism conditional existence
is named “maya.” In both traditions, this leading conception is treated
both as suffering and as a process to be understood in Reality. It is a
characteristic of the beginner’s (and particularly the sixth stage) consciousness
in these traditions to consider manifest existence in negative terms and
to make that consideration into the motivating principle of religious or
spiritual practice. But it is characteristic of the advanced, spiritually
mature, and, especially, the Enlightened consciousness of those same traditions
to stand aside from the conventional egoic reactions to the manifest difficulties
of life and to consider manifest existence simply and entirely as a process
to be understood in the Context of Reality (or the Transcendental Condition
of conditions).

The conventional or lesser approaches to religious or
spiritual consideration tend to be based on a reaction to the difficulties
of life. Such is the common basis of exoteric religion and even all of
the worldly and esoteric pursuits that characterize the first six stages
of life. To be sure, there is much useful knowledge, discipline, and ability
that we can rightly learn and wisely apply to the conditions of manifest
existence. Therefore, much of the culture of religious or spiritual life
is naturally and inevitably associated with such learning and application.
But all of that is nothing but ordinary wisdom. It is the human method
for transforming the ego-crushing conditions of manifest existence into
a creative process of ego-development, ego-salvation, and ego-release.
The ultimate matter of Enlightenment or Transcendental God-Realization
has nothing to do with the struggle between the manifest self and the pain
of conditional experience.

The Way of the Heart is not based in the conventional
mind or the negative reaction to conditional existence. The Way of the
Heart is an expression of the free or radical consideration that characterizes
the seventh stage of life. The conceptions of the Way that develop in the
characteristic terms of the first six stages of life are all based on the
problem of manifest (and thus egoic) experience. They are all a search
for the fulfillment or the release of the manifest self or independent
ego. I consider the Way in radical terms—not on the basis of the ego’s
problem or the ego itself, but freely, as a process of direct understanding
and prior transcendence of the ego and its problem.

The traditions of Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta originally
tended to be associated with concerns relative to the pain of manifest
existence and the search for release from that pain via the escape from
manifest existence itself. “Samsara,” interpreted as the suffering of innumerable
lifetimes of pain motivated and created by mere desire, was contrasted
with “Nirvana,” interpreted as the complete cessation of desire and its
results (in the form of manifest or conditional existence). Likewise, “maya”
was commonly interpreted to mean that manifest or conditional existence
was an illusion that could, therefore, be seen through, overcome, and escaped
via a kind of superior cleverness (much as one exercises in relation to
the entertaining performance of a street magician).

The early tendencies of both Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta
(or the ancient tradition of Upanishadic Advaitism) were, therefore, in
the direction of a world-negating asceticism. However, both traditions
developed from and via the Teaching of Great Adepts. Even though the common
preaching of the two traditions tended from the beginning to appeal to
the common reaction to the pain of living, the Realization of the Great
Adepts in both traditions has, from the beginning, been associated with
a most radical consideration—not merely of suffering (which is a convention
or problem of the ego or manifest self) but of the status of conditional
existence (or self and not-self) relative to Reality (or Transcendental
Existence). And as the literatures of these two traditions developed over
time, they began to develop the consideration less and less along the lines
of appeal to the popular need to escape pain or find an ultimate egoic
circumstance of manifest pleasure. The great literatures of Buddhism and
Upanishadic Advaitism are, therefore, founded in the direct consideration
of Reality, based not on a problematic reaction to egoic suffering, but
on the intuitive understanding of the entire process of conditional existence
or experience.

The ultimate (and thus more esoteric or non-popular) schools
of Buddhism and Advaitism express themselves in terms that involve a radical
(rather than a conventional or problem-based) consideration of self and
not-self, and those schools are often associated with attitudes toward
life that are ultimately non-conventional (or free of seriousness about
egoic pain and pleasure). The advanced or seventh stage schools are often
associated with Adepts who are not inclined toward the conventional method
of asceticism, or the strategy of turning away from any of the basic features
of this pleasure-pain world.

The Way of the Heart is like the Way conceived in these
advanced schools of the Great Adepts. The likeness is due to the fact that
I, like them, found the consideration of the Way on the basis of direct
understanding of the ego and its problems and its goals of seeking, rather
than on the basis of the uninspected motives created by the ego, its problems,
and its search.

The radical approach to the consideration of manifest
existence is not associated with self-based seeking for fulfillment within
or release from the pleasure-pain world (or the total cosmos of Narure).
Rather, the radical approach is to directly and constantly consider the
apparent status of the manifest self and all conditional states
and objects until the Real Condition of both self and not-self becomes

The apparent status of both self and not-self is that
of independence. All objects appear to be independent or separate
from the self and one another. The self appears to be independent or separate
from all other selves and all objects. All states of the self appear to
be both objects to the self (and thus separate from it) and also, since
they are merely reflections of the phenomenal or objective world (made
by the mechanics of perception via the nervous system), they appear, like
illusions, to be separate from the “real” not-self of the objective realm
of Nature. And, in their apparent independence, the self and its objects
and states all appear to be inherently separate from any permanent, infinite,
or Transcendental Reality, Identity, or Condition.

In one fashion or another, the radical or ultimate and
seventh stage schools consider the appearance of independence or separateness
that characterizes the self, the not-self, and the paradoxical states of
the self that arise in contact with the not-self (including all other selves).
When this appearance of independence, separation, or difference is transcended
in Transcendental Awakening (to the Condition of all selves and every form
of the not-self), that Realization (and not any mere development of physical,
emotional, mental, or psychic states of the manifest self, nor any state
that merely excludes such phenomena from awareness) is Enlightenment.

The Way of the Heart is founded on the radical consideration
of the process of attention. It is a matter of direct and constant insight
into the action that is the manifest or egoic self. That action is the
expression of a consciousness that regards itself to be separate (based
on conventional identification with the apparently independent body-mind).
Therefore, the principle of the action that is the ego (or manifest self)
is separative. This is first observed in the plane of common or ordinary
relational existence. If there is true self-observation in the midst of
functional relations, the self can be seen always to be operating in a
separative or self-based manner. Insight into this common egoic separativeness
is expressed via self-enquiry in the form “Avoiding relationship? As this
process of insight into the self-process develops further, it becomes expressed
as the conscious process of re-cognition, or the observation and moment
to moment transcendence of self-contraction. And such re-cognition and
transcendence develops relative to all the possible conditions and orientations
of the first six stages of life.

The Way of the Heart does not develop on the basis of
attempts to solve the problem represented by conditional existence as self
or not-self. Therefore, even the conventional problems and orientations
of the sixth stage of life must be understood and transcended.

The conventional sixth stage point of view of Upanishadic
Advaitism views all conditions (or the apparent not-self) as illusions
of the self. Therefore, the method of approach tends to be to invert attention
upon the self in order to locate its internal Source or Free Identity.
In the Way of the Heart, this strategy of inversion upon the self-root
(the ultimate locus of which is in the right side of the heart) must be
observed, understood (or recognized as itself a form of self-contraction),
and thus transcended before the characteristic disposition of the seventh
stage of life can Awaken.

In contrast to the traditional method of Upanishadic Advaitism,
the conventional sixth stage approach of classical Buddhism views conditional
existence to be merely a chain of causes and effects. In that view, there
is no self. There is only the vast not-self (made only of finite causes
and effects, “dharmas,” or the mechanical constituents of phenomenal Nature).
Therefore, the method of approach tends to be to strategically focus attention
on the conditions of existence and to see them all as not-self, until the
tendency to conceive an independent self is utterly overcome (thus ultimately
bringing an end to the arising of conditional states). In the Way of the
Heart, this strategy of cognition of the not-self (and knowing the self
as not-self) must be observed, understood (or re-cognized) as itself a
form of self-contraction, and thus transcended before the characteristic
disposition of the seventh stage of life can Awaken.

In the case of either of the two basic traditional approaches
I have just described, the ultimate Goal of the practice is the elimination
or transcendence of conditional awareness (or the awareness of self and
not-self) and the restoration of the Realization of the Condition that
is prior to the awareness of self and not-self. The fundamental Argument
of the Way of the Heart stands in most positive and radical relation to
that Realization which is the Goal of the sixth stage traditions. That
which is to be Realized and affirmed is That which stands forth as the
Obvious when the characteristic forms of contraction that are the principal
orientations of sixth stage Buddhism and Upanishadic Advaitism are understood
and transcended.

The ultimate form of the Way of the Heart (and the Enlightened
stage of the traditional forms of the Way) involves the understanding and
inherent transcendence of the strategy of seeking to overcome and eliminate
the self and/or the not-self. Therefore, the transition to the ultimate
stage of the Way involves the understanding and inherent transcendence
of the conventional approaches I have just described. If this is done,
the Real or Transcendental Condition of conditions stands out as the Obvious.
Then self and not-self no longer stand out independently, as a binding
process separated from Transcendental Bliss, Happiness, Truth, Reality,
Being, or Consciousness. And when this seventh stage Awakening occurs,
all conventional doubts and limiting presumptions (based on the egoic problems
of the first six stages of life) are inherently transcended. The conventional
Buddhist reluctance to positively admit the Existence of Transcendental
Being is thus transcended, as well as the conventional Upanishadic tendency
to conceive of the Transcendental Reality in exclusively inward and even
personal terms. That which is ultimately Obvious as Reality is Radiant
Transcendental Being or Consciousness—the Identity and the Condition of
all beings and conditions, in which all beings and conditions are only
apparently (and without necessity or ultimate binding power) arising as
spontaneous and merely apparent modifications of Itself. The Awakening
of the seventh stage of life is thus the Great Discovery—the Sublime Discovery
of the Nature of Consciousness and the Condition of self and not-self.

In the sixth stage of life (and the conventional approach
represented by the lesser tendencies of Buddhism and Upanishadic Advaitism)
there is a subtle effort to exclude awareness of the separate self and
its objects. This subtle effort is the final contraction to be understood,
re-cognized, and thus inherently transcended before the radical or seventh
stage process of the Way can begin.

Samsara or maya or conditional existence is not in itself
a problem to be systematically eliminated. The traditional names or terms
are nothing more than descriptions of the characteristics of the un-Enlightened
view of life. They do not indicate substances. Samsara is not a something.
Maya is not a something. Conditional existence is not a something. Rather,
these terms simply indicate or describe the characteristics inherent in
the un-Enlightened view, which is the notion or presumption that whatever
arises is indeed a something—a substantial or merely independent entity
or thing. This same un-Enlightened view tends to regard Realization of
Nirvana or the Transcendental Self to be a something independent of conditional
existence, whereas such terms as Nirvana or the Self are meant simply to
indicate or characterize the Enlightened (rather than the un-Enlightened)
view of whatever appears to be the case.

Therefore, in the ultimate literatures of the Buddhist
tradition, the Enlightened view is presented via such declarations as “Nirvana
and samsara are the same.” And in the ultimate literatures of Advaitism,
the Enlightened view is presented via the declaration that to seek to escape
from maya is absurd, since there is only Brahman, or the Transcendental
Self, and, therefore, nothing separate from or other than the Transcendental
Condition can be found, even in the conditional worlds.

When samsara, or maya, or conditional existence (in the
form of self or not-self), viewed as a configuration or a condition that
is apparently independent and separate from the Transcendental Condition,
is recognized in and as the Transcendental Condition, that is Transcendental
Self-Awakening, Enlightenment, or ultimate God-Realization. That recognition
is the ultimate fulfillment sought or considered in all forms of the Great
Tradition, including the traditions of Buddhism and Upanishadic Advaitism.
Likewise, it is such recognition that is the real, fundamental, and ultimate
context of the Way of the Heart. Therefore, I Teach a Way that from the
beginning considers conditional existence via a disposition that is priorly
established in this ultimate or seventh stage view.

At first there must be the consideration of my Argument
until true hearing or real understanding develops. This understanding (or
the process of observing, re-cognizing, and inherently transcending the
self-contraction) then becomes the basis of a continuous consideration
in the midst of daily life. The degree of attention available for that
consideration is increased via various disciplines in this “yoga of consideration”
2 by which devotees
approach fully Awakened maturity in the Way itself. Therefore, the practice
of the conscious process of understanding is also associated with various
forms of functional self-discipline, devotion to life as service, and spiritual
conductivity (or the cultivation of psycho-physical equanimity). But all
of this is finally transcended in the full Awakening of the seventh stage

The seventh stage disposition is nothing else but tacit
intuitive Identification with the Transcendental Condition of self and
not-self—or That which is Obvious when self-contraction (or the appearance
of the independence, separateness, and necessity of self or not-self) is
recognized in the Condition (or Consciousness) that is the case prior to
contraction itself (or the noticing of self or not-self). Enlightenment
is simply the native, intuitive Realization of the Condition (or Real Status)
of whatever is presently the case. Enlightenment is Transcendental Consciousness,
inherently Radiant and Free.

The Enlightened Realization is free of the limiting or
binding presumption that is inherent in the conventional view of conditional
existence. Therefore, the Enlightened view is not one that sees conditional
existence as samsara or maya. Rather, the Enlightened view sees conditional
existence as (or in the context of) Nirvana, or Brahman, the Self, or Radiant
Transcendental Being.

Those who have not yet Awakened into the Fullness of such
Transcendental Realization tend to imagine they are Enlightened on the
basis of superficial thinking. They are yet ego-bound and they may even
tend to imitate the non-ascetical conceptions and behaviors of the Great
or seventh stage Adepts.

The seventh stage point of view is often lived out in
the form of unconventional behaviors by true Adepts. In the Enlightened
Condition, free of the egoic views and implications of samsara, maya, or
the problem of self-contraction, Adepts act in a spontaneous, inherently
free manner, communicating the Enlightened view directly, without humorless
bondage to the social and religious conventions of the first six stages
of life. Even those seventh stage Adepts who are characterized by the apparently
conservative habits of a renunciate are inherently free of the conventional
motives of asceticism and world-denial. But some tend to act in an utterly
unconventional, even bizarre and offensive, manner. Such behavior in the
case of Great Adepts is traditionally called “Crazy Wisdom,” and it expresses
the freedom from negative views and egoic preferences. Therefore, such
behaviors have a role in the Teaching Work of some Adepts, and it is all
intended to draw devotees into the radical Awakening of Transcendental

It should not be presumed that Enlightenment necessarily
expresses itself through “Crazy” behaviors, nor are such behaviors any
more than self-indulgence in the case of un-Enlightened individuals. Enlightenment
is simply Awakened Consciousness, or native Realization (Sahaj Samadhi)
of the Transcendental Condition or’ Real Status of self and not-self. Some
who thus Awaken may tend to behave in the “Crazy” fashion, particularly
if they have the Teaching or Awakening Function of the Adept, but most
generally behave in a relatively conservative or ordinary manner. In any
case, there is always inherent freedom from binding presumptions about
conditional existence. And since, in the seventh stage of life, every moment
of conditional existence is inherently recognized in the Real Condition,
all those who are thus Awakened tend, at least gradually, to motivelessly
relax from the flow of action. This is not due to any conventional preference
to withdraw from conditional existence. Rather, the continuous recognition
of self and not-self (or conditional events) in the Transcendental Being
or Consciousness is ultimately expressed as the Outshining of all phenomenal
noticing (or attention). Thus, the Realization of the Nirvanic or Brahmanic
or Transcendental Condition of samsara, or maya, or conditional existence,
or self, or not-self ultimately and motivelessly Outshines and Transcends
the arising of conditional states of attention. And, therefore, the seventh
stage of life inevitably becomes Nirvanic (or Bhava) Samadhi, or Translation
into the Transcendental Condition. In the case of some individuals, Enlightenment
becomes Translation or Nirvana only after many lives of Spiritual Play
and compassionate service to living beings. Some pass in and out of Bhava
Samadhi, to Play many roles of Spiritual Demonstration in the planes of
manifest existence. In any case, there is only the Realization of Truth.



1. The practitioner of the Way of the
Heart observes the stages of life on the basis of the Teaching’s critical
Argument to the point of understanding, rather than practices the stages
of life for their own sake, as in the traditional paths. This “yoga of
consideration” is a preparation for the Way of the Heart, which is the
Way of the seventh stage of life, or the tacit recognition of what arises
in the Transcendental Reality.

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Wisdom-Teaching of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and the Way of the Heart.

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