Transcendence of Attention – Adi Da Samraj


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The Transcendence
of Attention

Adi Da Samraj – July 23,
1980

 

The
Mystery of our existence is not a problem to be solved. The
search for an Answer implies that the Mystery of existence
is a Question. And when individuals become bound to the
presumption that the Mystery of existence is a Problem or a
Question, their lives become a search for Solutions or
Answers in the form of experience or knowledge. But the
motive of all seeking is release from the felt dilemma that
is the ultimate Problem or Question itself. And all
experience and knowledge are nothing more than continuous
meditation on the fundamental Problem or Question that
constantly remotivates the search.

The only ultimate release from the
presumed Problem or Question of existence is Realized in the
transcendence of that presumption itself. The presumption of
the Problem or Question of existence is a reactive
contraction and conception of the body-mind. It is a
reaction of the psycho physical self to the Mystery of its
own existence and the Mysterious existence of thoughts,
knowledge, perception, experience, and the various objects
or relations encountered by the body-mind.

Therefore, the Realization of Truth
is a radical matter of transcending the self-contracting,
self-limiting, and self-defining reaction to the Mystery of
existence. It is a matter of naturally or usefully abiding
in the Condition of Mystery, or Ignorance, no matter what
arises in the field of awareness. It is a matter of
constantly abiding in the ultimate or Real Condition of all
conditions, rather than reacting to events or conditions
themselves. If this is done, then there is no Problem, no
Question, and no seeking. And the apparent lifetime of the
body-mind thus achieves equanimity, or freedom of
participation, so that its destiny becomes natural, easeful,
free of the strategies of ultimate fulfillment and release
via knowledge and experience.

This consideration is the
fundamental one of Truth, Enlightenment, or Happiness. It is
not itself a strategy for attainment, an Answer to the
search. It is simply the most radical or direct
consideration of our existence.

I have described human existence in
terms of a pattern of seven stages, in which the total
evolutionary structure of human psycho-physical existence is
taken into account. Those seven stages are natural to Man in
his conventional identification with the body-mind. And all
of the religious and esoteric spiritual traditions of
mankind deal with the phenomena natural to one or another
combination of these seven stages. But I have discussed the
seven-stage Path of Man as a radical Way of
self-transcendence, in which each stage is founded not in
the evolutionary phenomena of the body-mind at that stage
but in the radical or conscious process of
self-transcendence. And I have called that process the
Western Way, or the Way of Divine Ignorance.

When I first began to Teach, those
who came to me were clearly unprepared for the discipline of
confrontation with the most radical consideration of
existence. At first, I simply maintained this radical
consideration in their company. But, over time, it became
clear that I would have to engage them in a total religious
and cultural process, whereby they could mature toward the
radical Realization of Truth. Thus, I engaged them in a
theatre of instruction and gradually developed a religious,
moral, and disciplined structure of cultural participation
and experience that would serve them in their need. And the
culture in which we now consider and practice is a full one
based on the conception of the seven evolutionary and
progressive stages of human adaptation.

But all of this moves toward the
most radical Realization of Truth, Enlightenment, and
Happiness. And the Way itself is conceived in the radical
terms of the conscious process of self-transcendence and the
transcendence of bondage to knowledge and experience. I
myself have passed through the developments natural to each
of the seven stages of human life. But in the ultimate
Event, I understood the total process and Realized a most
radical understanding of human existence. Therefore, I must
say to you that, even though relative immaturity may
necessitate participation in a developmental or evolutionary
course of practice, there is also a most radical Way. That
Way is made clear in the Realized Awakening of the seventh
stage of life, and it is the Realization to which I was
Awakened in the ultimate Event of my own
practice.

In fact, I consider that there are
actually two Ways, or two forms of the radical Way. One is
founded in the conscious process of self-transcending
insight, but it is also aligned to the process of adapting
and growing toward maturity, stage by stage, until the
Realization of full maturity in the seventh stage. The other
or alternative form of the Way is a practice founded from
the beginning in the mature or Awakened disposition of the
seventh stage.

This most radical form of the Way is
the basic subject of this essay. It is “esoteric” in the
fullest sense–not because it cannot he openly described,
but because it cannot be casually chosen or Realized. My
experience with people has demonstrated to me that very very
few people are personally prepared for this most radical
practice or Way. Many people delude themselves into thinking
they are prepared and suited for the most radical practice,
whereas their practical human immaturity simply does not
grant them sufficient free energy and attention for such a
course. Likewise, many, by simply reading about the Way that
I Teach, imagine themselves to be full of visionary
excellence and Enlightened intelligence, so that they
represent themselves as already Enlightened beings who need
to apply themselves only casually, if at all, to the seven
stages of practice. Therefore, this Teaching and the
services of our Church are full of useful and positive
criticism of illusions, so that everyone who is truly in
tested in practice and Enlightenment can enjoy the benefits
of good and mature guidance. And the conventional immaturity
of people would lead me to hesitate even to discuss the most
radical approach to existence, except that I feel certain
that every aspect of the total Way must be openly disclosed,
in order that everyone can have access to both the
progressive and the ultimate Wisdom of the Adept. Only such
disclosure, coupled with right criticism, guidance, and
admonition, can make it possible for each one, based on his
or her actual maturity, to understand and truly choose the
particular approach to practice that is appropriate in his
own or her own case.

Therefore, in this essay I want to
describe the most radical point of view and practice–the
point of view and practice that is ultimate and that is
obvious in the maturity of the seventh stage of life.
Everyone who is considering the Way that I Teach should
consider this most radical point of view and practice as
well as the progressive practice of the seven stages. Most
people can only choose the Way of the seven stages–and it
is not in any sense a lesser Way, but it is simply the
radical Way developed as a process of progressive maturity.
Even as practice in the seven stages develops, this most
radical consideration should be reviewed from time to time.
And at some point within the development of that practice,
sufficient maturity may be attained so that the immature or
problematic conception of existence becomes calmed, and the
search for fulfillment or release via knowledge and
experience becomes calmed, thus releasing the energy and
attention of the being from obsession with the body-mind.
When that occurs, practice in the radical terms I will
describe may become appropriate. Some who read this essay,
and who have already entered into a free disposition and
equanimity of being, may immediately choose to practice in
the terms I will describe. In any case, everyone should
consider what I say herein (and what I have already said of
the radical Way within our existing literature), and so gain
insight into the Wisdom that is everywhere fundamental to
the Way that I Teach.

The Mystery of existence is obvious.
We exist in eternal Ignorance, in a Condition in which we do
not know what anything is. However, we are also related, or
tending to be related, to many dimensions of phenomena. Our
relationship to phenomena and to other beings is expressed
as all kinds of knowledge about phenomena and others, and
all kinds of experience of phenomena and others. Our
knowledge and our experience are limited and mostly
primitive (or expressions of lower adaptation), but even the
fullest knowledge and the highest experience do not and
cannot release us from the fundamental and irrevocable
position of Ignorance. We are confronted by irreducible
Mystery.

Because we are mortal and limited in
our psycho-physical existence, we tend to pursue a lifetime
that defends and otherwise expands the knowing and
experiential self. And the presumption of existence as a
mortal and limited self causes us to react to the very
Condition in which we exist. Therefore, instead of existing
at ease, allowing whatever exists simply to happen and
change and disappear, we react and contract upon ourselves,
and we seek knowledge and experience that will release us
from the primitive suffering of mortal existence. But that
very reactive contraction, and the search built upon it, are
themselves based on a reaction to the Mystery in which we
inhere, whatever out experience may be, and to which we are
related through Ignorance, whatever our degree of knowledge
may seem to suppose. Therefore, the conventions of our
mortal knowing and experiencing and seeking are in
fact–whatever they may also be as practical occupations–a
reactive contraction of the body-mind, a self-bond in which
the native Mystery and the native Ignorance of our existence
are transformed and misinterpreted to be a Problem, a
Question, a motivation toward ultimate fulfillment and
release of a state of existence that is felt to be limited,
vulnerable, and confined to the play of
phenomena.

This reactive interpretation and
motivated script of existence is false, unnecessary, and
fundamentally disturbed. And it is both natural and
necessary for us to transcend this entire program. If we
mature progressively through the seven stages of the human
or evolutionary culture to which the body-mind is fitted,
then we will ultimately transcend the false presumptions and
the negative script of Man as well as the psycho-physical-
structure that is Man. Such transcendence is built into the
evolving structure of human adaptation. But very few tend to
progress beyond the rudimentary levels of human adaptation
in a single lifetime, or even many lifetimes. Therefore, I
have proposed and established the religious and esoteric
culture of our Church, so that the necessary cultural
instruments of progressive adaptation can be made available
to everyone who chooses the Way. But it is also possible to
enter directly into the Awakened disposition that is the
ultimate point of view or practice made obvious to the Adept
in the seventh stage of life. This is the point of view and
practice I will now describe.

All our experience, all our
knowledge, all our seeking, and every one of our
presumptions about the circumstances and the ultimate
Condition of our existence are dependently based on a single
human mechanism. That mechanism is the activity of
attention.

In every moment, the body-mind is
confronted by a massive pattern of events, both physical and
mental (or psychic). Therefore, in every moment, attention
spontaneously springs forward to the events, perceptions and
conception that are reflected in and as the body-mind. If
the act of attention remains itself uninspected and
uncontrolled, then we are led into an automatic process of
action and reaction, or the conventional process of seeking,
experiencing, and knowing that characterizes each ordinary
individual life. Therefore, unless the act of attention is
inspected, controlled, and ultimately transcended, our
existence cannot be anything but a sequence of experiential
and conceptual events. Unless there is a transformation of
the very act of attention, we inevitably fall into the
disposition of reactive and self-contracting identification
with the mechanical body-mind, and that disposition is
inherently one of mortal self-possession, founded in the
sense of existence confronted by a fundamental and
motivating Problem or Question. The false interpretation of
the Mystery of existence as a Problem or Question, and the
lifetime of seeking for a Solution or Answer in or through
both knowledge and experience, are both founded in
irresponsibility relative to the mechanism of
attention.

Many Solutions and Answers to the
Problem or Question of existence are offered by the
traditions of religion, spiritual esotericism, mystical
experience, vital or sensory experience, science,
conventional society, and every part of the body-mind
itself. But no Solution or Answer exists in the domain of
knowledge and experience. Release does not come through any
attainment of knowledge or experience, high or low, since
the only ultimate release is a matter of transcending the
mechanism that interprets existence as a Problem or Question
in the first place. The transcendence of that Ignorance of
our very existence. If such insight can be mechanism depends
on insight into the mechanism itself and a subsequent
transformation of the habit of association with that
mechanism. Arid that insight and transformed habit amount to
nothing other than establishment in the Mystery or Ignorance
in which that mechanism itself is tending to
arise.

Therefore, from the most radical or
direct point of view, what we need is not any Solution or
Answer or knowledge or experience, but moment to moment
insight into the mechanism of attention, which mechanism is
constantly arising, out of our control, from the depths of
the Mystery or Transcendental Realized through inspection of
the process of attention (and the entire adventure of
subsequent experience and knowledge), then we are placed in
a position (or disposition) wherein the act of attention can
be controlled and, ultimately, transcended. And if the act
of attention can be understood, controlled, and transcended,
then we are placed in the Transcendental Position (or
Disposition) of equanimity, ecstasy, or untroubled inherence
in the Divine or Transcendental Mystery of existence
itself.

In the seventh stage of life, the
mechanisms of experience, knowledge, and attention have
already been inspected, understood, and transcended. In the
native disposition Awakened at that stage, it is clear that
the entire adventure of the earlier six stages was nothing
more than a play upon the mechanism of attention. Therefore,
from the “point of view” Awakened at that stage, the
Condition of the conditions of experience and knowledge is
clear and Present. There is nothing to do but abide in the
Condition of Ignorance (or Radiant Transcendental Being),
observing whatever arises to be only a superficial,
unnecessary, and non-binding modification of the Infinite
Transcendental Radiance, projected via the stimulation of
the body-mind and its root mechanism of attention. And by so
abiding, observing the modifications of the Being to be only
modifications of the Being, there is inherent transcendence
of the Problem, the Question, and the search that is
commonly built upon the conventional reaction to the media
of attention. Therefore, the act of attention to the
phenomena reflected in the body-mind subsides in the
ecstatic equanimity of inherence in the Mystery of the
Radiant Transcendental Being. In the process, the body-mind
is itself released into the Infinite Field of Universal
Radiance, so that the body-mind becomes Transfigured and
Transformed, and, under some circumstances, it may even be
Translated into perfect unity with the Radiant Being. In any
case, once the Realization of the seventh stage is
established, there is natural and radical transcendence of
the body-mind through the undermining and ultimate
dissolution of the mechanism of attention.

 

The act of attention is
The conditional Essence Of mind. The act of attention arises
Spontaneously, Like the Total body-mind and the Total world,
in every moment Of (Apparent) conditional Awareness.

The act of attention arises
toward others, objects, and conditions of every kind-whether
subtle (or mental) or gross (or physical).

The arising of the act of
attention is, Simply, the arising of the psycho-physical (or
conditional) self and all others, objects, and conditions.
And if what arises Is Presumed To Be Real, or Necessary, or
Desirable, or Unavoidable, or Undesirable, or Avoidable-Then
the act of attention Becomes conditioned Toward (or
Habitually and Repetitively Fixed Upon) what arises.

In This Manner, Not Only Does
the act of attention Become Bound To Specific conditional
others, objects, and conditions (including the personal
body-mind, or conditional self), but The Inherently Free
(and Inherently Spiritual, or Love-Blissful) Transcendental
Divine Self-Condition Of Mere Being Becomes (Apparently)
Associated With (or Becomes, Apparently, Persuaded By) The
Illusion Of Its Own Bondage.

The conditional Essence Of
That conditional illusion Is the act of
attention.

Therefore, The Only-By-Me
Revealed and Given Way Of The Heart (or Way Of Adidam) Is
The Way Of The Real (or “Radical”-or “Gone-To-TheRoot”)
Transcending Of attention.

The Dawn Horse Testament – 2005 –
Sutra 69

 

The urge (or the guidance) of
attention toward particular kinds of physical and mental.
(or psychic) objects brings us to birth in our present form.
We continue to be reborn into the human form until we
transcend the urge to attention to the particular kinds of
objects that may be perceived or conceived in this form.
Thus, we adapt and evolve until we transcend the human
body-mind, and then we go on to adapt and evolve in other
forms, until those forms are in their turn transcended. The
only possible interruption in this course is, therefore,
either a redirection of attention, (toward higher, or lower
objects than are basic to human existence) or the
transcendence of attention itself.

The Western Way of seven progressive
stages involves a gradual transcendence of the habits of
attention via an evolutionary direction of attention (or
adaptation) toward higher or more essential objects. In the
sixth stage, the process of attention itself is transcended.
And in the seventh stage there is free existence, in which
both attention and the objects of attention (high and low,
subtle and gross) are constantly transcended through prior
and ecstatic inherence in the Condition of Mystery (prior to
knowledge and experience), or Divine Ignorance, or the
Divine Self of Radiant Transcendental Being.

The two forms of the Way that I
Teach may, therefore, be characterized in the following
manner. The Way of progressive or evolutionary adaptation
and transcendence, expressed in terms of the seven stages of
practice, involves inspection, control, and right direction
of attention, until the mechanism of attention in the
body-mind are totally observed and transcended. The more
radical Way involves simple, direct, and moment to moment
transcendence of the field of attention itself.

The mechanism of attention is not
and cannot be transcended by any strategy of self-conscious
suppression or manipulation of attention and its objects.
The mechanism of attention to psychic (or mental) and
physical objects or states is transcended only when there is
direct moment to moment insight into the process of
attention, or recognition of the Condition of the various
objects of attention. Therefore, the radical practice
involves, first of all, simple surrender, or a disposition
that simply allows the process of attention and the objects
of attention to arise as they will and to be what they will.
Then, as the states of attention arise in the field of
awareness moment to moment, there is the simple and direct
intuitive recognition that whatever is arising is only a
superficial, unnecessary, and non-binding modification of
the Radiant Transcendental Being, or the Condition that is
awareness itself (prior to the act of attention, knowing,
and experiencing). In this manner, the effects of attention
are transcended in each moment, and abiding in this
disposition undermines and ultimately dissolves the motive,
activity, structure, and effects of psycho-physical
attention. Thus, by simply abiding in the prior Condition of
all experience and knowledge, the necessity, effect, and
very arising of conventional attention is undermined. And
the Realization of this disposition is expressed either as
“Bhava Samadhi,” or Ecstatic Transcendence via the temporary
or permanent dissolution of attention (or psycho-physical
states) or as “Sahaj Samadhi,” or Ecstatic Transcendence via
insight into the results of attention (which are the various
possible psycho-physical states). And as long as
psycho-physical existence continues (in Sahaj Samadhi), the
phenomena of Transfiguration, Transformation, and even
psycho-physical Translation will tend also to
arise.

The “practice” in this most radical
form of the Way does not itself involve any disciplines or
activities of the body-mind. One who practices in this
manner would naturally and already have attained or adapted
to functional and social habits that are Life-positive,
harmonious, appropriate, and free. Therefore, the radical
practice is not itself oriented toward or concerned for such
things. Anyone who can truly practice in this radical manner
would already be habituated to an economy of psycho-physical
existence that is free of inherent disturbance, urges toward
chaotic exploitation of the body-mind, attachment to
knowledge, experience, or relations for their own sake, or
dependence upon elaborate and fixed conditions of existence
in order to maintain either Happiness or the disposition to
practice. Thus, anyone practicing the more radical form of
the Way in our Church community would simply practice the
Transcendental exercise of the way itself under the
circumstances of an ordinary economy of personal habit and
service.

The specific “practice” in this most
radical form of the way is simple, moment to moment
observation and recognition of the Condition of whatever
arises in the field of awareness. Therefore, that practice
is described as follows: Simply observe whatever arises,
whatever attention finds in the field of awareness. Do this
moment to moment, under all circumstances, in times of
relative activity, and in times of respose – waking,
dreaming, or sleeping. Do not force attention to go within
(either toward internal mental and psychic objects or toward
the root of the “I” thought and the root of the gesture of
attention itself). Do not force attention to go outward
(toward physical or perceptual objects and relations).
Simply observe whatever is arising as the effect of the
spontaneous movement of attention, within or without. Remain
as surrender–that is, simply allow whatever will arise in
the field of awareness to arise and be whatever it will, or
to change or disappear as it will. Exchange the now or
radical habit of observing what arises for the old or
conventional habit of engaging what arises. That is, simply
remain in relationship to whatever arises, aware of whatever
arises, rather than identify with, enter into, or avoid
whatever arises. Whatever arises is nothing more than a
modification of the Energy or Consciousness or Being that is
awareness itself. Therefore, simply allow and observe
whatever arises, and, in every moment, “see” or recognize
whatever arises to be simply a modification of awareness
itself. Do not be troubled by anything that arises. Simply
allow and observe and recognize it. Do not become motivated
by anything that arises. Simply allow and observe and
recognize whatever arises. (Participate in thought and
action only to the degree that is necessary within the
ordinary economy of your habit or obligation, and, even
then, remain in this disposition of surrender, simply
allowing, observing, and recognizing the conditions, states,
and relations of the body-mind. Thus, over time, you will
become less and less occupied with activity and thought and
you will abide more and more in simple recognition of all
conditions in the Radiant Transcendental Being.) At all
times, under all conditions, simply allow and observe and
recognize all arising conditions as modifications of the
Field of awareness, and so abide in deep or transparent and
prior identification with the Transcendental and
All-Pervading Divine Self-Condition that is tending or
appearing to be modified as knowledge, experience, or
body-mind. Do this constantly. Abide as this disposition
constantly. Do so in the Holy Places of Communion. Do this
whenever you are with the Spiritual Master. Do this under
all circumstances and in all the states of the
body-mind–waking, dreaming, or sleeping. Thus, abide more
and more deeply and constantly and simply as awareness
itself. If your lifetime becomes this practice, there will
be a gradual release of the connection of attention to
arising psycho-physical states. Attention is the basic
automaticity that is arising, thus causing arbitrary and
binding association with forms of phenomenal experience and
reflected knowledge and the dis-ease of the search for
release. Transcend the automatic gesture of attention by
abiding in the disposition I have described. As the
attention-reflex subsides, only deep or transparent
identification with the prior Condition of awareness or
Radiant Transcendental Being remains. Then see the Truth and
the Condition and the Destiny of existence. Go into that
Truth and Condition and Destiny, free of arbitrary
attachment to this human body-mind and all the limited and
fruitless affairs of this world. The Radiant Transcendental
Being, or simple awareness prior to the objects of
attention, is not turned in upon itself, nor is it turned
away from any thing or any one or even the world itself. It
is simply Radiant Being, beyond knowledge, description,
place, time, or body-mind. Do this practice, or abide as
this disposition, until all arising, or the automatic
gesture of attention, is transcended in unspeakably Radiant
Bliss. And, as long as the body-mind lives, function
usefully in its terms, always in equanimity, never turned
away but always simply aware in relation to what arises,
recognizing what arises in every moment. Do and think to the
degree necessary for ordinary survival and compassionate
service. Allow the body-mind to be Radiant as the Being,
expressive of Freedom, Love, and Happiness. But simply allow
the body-mind and the world to arise. Simply observe and
recognize whatever arises. Allow the body-mind to enter into
the economy and equanimity that express the Radiant Being.
Do all of this more and more profoundly. Maintain all of
this practice until death and through death and whatever
follows. Allow all attention to subside in Blissful Being
and ecstatic inherence in the ultimate Domain of God, the
Being Who Lives and seems to be Transformed into the
body-mind and the world. Choose this practice, enter into
its Realization, and come to me for help, guidance, and
instruction whenever it is necessary and appropriate so to
do.

Adi Da Samraj – July 23,
1980