Volume 3, Number 4
What I Look For
a talk by Da Free John
March 5, 1984
MASTER DA: The core of the process whereby you make a transition to the mature stages of practice is the transcendence of the emotional problem of which your whole life is the dramatization. So individuals listen to me, and they enter into spiritual Communion with me, even though I am not very often physically present among them. And from time to time I come into physical proximity to them, and everything that is developing in them through hearing and seeing is suddenly magnified, and free Grace appears-although it is always present in my spiritual relationship with them. There is a special potency in my physical Company, and in it we suddenly see large numbers of people seemingly without an emotional problem, being religious ecstatics, spiritual ecstatics, loving people, tears coming from the eyes, Happy, their bodies freely moving, their communications all feeling and true and open, not merely conventionally or cultically friendly.
But next week, after I leave, these same people will discover that they are once again suffering from emotional and functional and social problems. They may feel as though something has been lost, but that is not so. Nothing has been lost. Something was gained during this week, you see. Something was realized. What this will mean, as you will inevitably discover shortly after I have returned to Hermitage, is that you must practice. What comes upon you suddenly, freely, in my physical Company will require more of you when I leave. It will require you to really practice the sadhana or spiritual discipline that I have given you. That practice, of course, includes functional and social disciplines, but those things could be performed without awakened spiritual consciousness by someone who has the will for it. Many people in the world are trying to be spiritual by doing just that-being vegetarians, meditating, being friendly and harmless, disciplining themselves functionally and socially, and so forth. Such is the substance of their religion or their spiritual practice. But I Teach you otherwise.
Social and functional disciplines are naturally a part of the spiritual Way of life, but they are not the essence of it, and without that essence they are simply conventional forms of behavior. The essence of spiritual life is heart-submission, Ecstasy, self-transcendence, and the Intoxication of intimacy with the All-Pervading Divine. Realizing That in every moment through real, feeling submission, you will also conform the body-mind in its upper and lower coils to that disposition. Thus, in addition to this heart matter you also practice dietary disciplines, exercise, service, and so on. But all of that is simply a natural extension of this heart-Realization, this heart-practice. This spiritual consciousness, this spiritual conversion, this emotional conversion, is what I have been trying to develop in individuals all these years. It is a very difficult matter to draw people into such a discipline.
My physical Company can awaken them to this Ecstasy and this Intoxication very dramatically and instantly, but then I call people who have had such a taste to practice this submission in every moment. When I call them to do that, however, they contract again. And there they are, contracted even siting before me, understanding very well that spiritual life can involve functional disciplines and service, but not seeming to understand this heart matter. Or even if they understand something about it, it seems so profoundly difficult to them that they do not know how to do it. They would know what to do instantly about being a vegetarian-just go upstairs and eat a handful of sprouts. But it is not such an instant matter for them to practice heart-submission, whole-bodily heartfelt submission to the Divine in every moment. That seems to them to be a capacity that is not theirs, not their own. In that case, they start talking about needing insight into themselves, or needing some help, and so on. They look at their lives and see that their lives are not about such love. They look at themselves moment to moment and see that they are living in doubt of the Divine much of the time, automatically submitted to a contraction at the heart and therefore whole-bodily. They are very goodheartedly willing to take up all kinds of functional and social disciplines but are apparently not capable of practicing the fundamental heart-submission that is the root of all disciplines.
Individuals have struggled with me relative to this matter for at least twelve years. As a result, instead of a community of people who have advanced into mature stages of practice, we see a growing gathering of people locked into the FCC- stage, having moved through the original LMI period. And why do they stop at that stage ? Why does that seem to be the maximum level of maturity generally in evidence in our community? Because of this emotional matter that we see dramatized in the emotional-sexual game of daily life. I have been addressing this for years, and I am still addressing it. I am still observing people who want to practice this Way in my Company, who are practicing some rudimentary form of it and doing that better as time goes on, but who are still struggling with this fundamental demand for Ecstasy, love, self-submission. Instead of this self-submission, they are dramatizing patterns built upon a spiritual or emotional limitation that has been present since their childhood. People want to do all kinds of things because they are suffering this limitation. They want to develop themselves outwardly somehow, do something in the world, be successful at something or other in the world, or be successful at some inverted act, some kind of meditation, yoga, kundalini and so on.
The kundalini energy goes up if it moves at all. The God-Force comes down. And the Adept brings the God-Force into the company of people. The kundalini if it can be developed, leads through a series of self-based experiences to a state of obliviousness relative to phenomena. If you can become oblivious to all phenomena, then in some tacit sense you are left with whatever is left over, and that is God. But the Way is not about going through a long course and winding up with God. The Way is about the process that develops once you find God, once you Realize God. Thus, the Adept has a special function. That function is not to call people to Realize God after submitting themselves to a long process, including perhaps the kundalini process of ascent and dissociation from phenomena. The Adept brings God into the company of people directly. The Adept descends. The Adept brings the force of Realization into the body-mind, into the vehicle of his own body-mind, which he must first prepare through an arduous life-trial. Having done that, the God-Force is stabilized in that apparent personality, is Radiant in the form of that personality.
Anyone who comes into contact with the Adept will in one way or another or to one degree or another experience an awakening. Of course, they may defend themselves against it. They may have it momentarily and then contract from it, but that awakening is the significance of the true Adept. The function of the Adept is not to call people back to Realize God but to grant people the Realization of God instantly. Having established you in such Realization, the Adept calls you to practice the Way of that Realization, the Way of constantly abiding in that Realization. Such abiding requires the discipline of self-transcending submission to Divine Communion.
Therefore, I am not calling people to look for God, nor am I arguing them into believing in God. I have simply come among you all. And when I come into contact with people, suddenly God is obvious. But that is not the end of it. That is the beginning of it. From the conventional point of view God-Realization is the end of everything. But it can only be the end of everything once you have gotten rid of everything. In our Way God-Realization is the beginning of everything. Therefore, people who come into my Company must be instructed about what they must do now. They must not merely luxuriate in the free gift of Divine Intoxication. They should luxuriate in it, certainly, but not only luxuriate in it. They should enjoy it, they should become completely immersed in the miracle of God-Realization in my Company, but they must be instructed about what their obligation, their practice, must be.
After I return to Hermitage you will inevitably experience the apparent loss of God-Realization. This does not mean that God is lost. What is being shown in you is the mechanism, the contraction that comes into play that makes it seem that God is absent, that there is no love, that there is no inherent Force of Being, that Being is threatened, you see. You must know that mechanism, and you must see me, you must enjoy God-Realization by seeing me. You must observe the mechanism in yourselves that withdraws from God-Realization and be responsible for a practice that relinquishes that mechanism, that contraction. Fundamentally that is our practice. Functional and social disciplines are secondary and natural parts of this practice, but the practice is fundamentally this heartfelt submission.
That heartfelt submission is practiced in the Way of Faith or the Way of Divine Communion in one fashion, and it is practiced in the Way of Insight in another fashion. In both cases, however, precisely the same process is involved: relinquishment of the self-contraction, immersion in the inherent Reality, which is the Spiritual Divine, which is Self-Radiant Love-Bliss. Therefore, That Which is Realized through this discipline is always Love, Bliss, inherent Radiance of Being, inherent Unity, Communion with and ultimate Identity with the Living God. This is a profound practice. It is not just some smiling, conventional religious affair in which you try to keep yourself together morally and functionally. It is a matter of Ecstasy and the accompanying Intoxication. You must practice this. You must submit yourself in my Company every moment, and that is a discipline.
There are some moments in my Company in which it just happens. You do not know how it happens. You did not do anything. You did not especially make a gesture of submission-at least it was no greater than on any other day. It was given to you for free, you see. That is good, because that is the Blessing, the instant granting of God-Realization. But with that Gift comes the demand of the Law. You must practice self-submission to stay one with that Realization. Grace will always be available. That Blessing will be given to you again and again, but you must fulfill the Law. You cannot by-pass that obligation, and that obligation is the sadhana.
You must hear and see me and develop that specifically spiritual process. If you will do that, you will also do all the other social and intimate disciplines. You will practice an intelligent, functional habit of life. You will serve and make this Way available through the communications of the institution and the community, and you will have productive work and so on. Spiritual consciousness does not in any way prohibit those things. In fact spiritual consciousness is the creative principle that makes such things grow and advance beyond conventional limits. But in addition you will live the Ecstatic and Intoxicated life of a true devotee who is constantly distracted by the Living One, Intoxicated by that Presence, Intoxicated by immersion in the All-Pervading Power of Love-Bliss, which does not appear to have a point of origin within or without or anywhere in the universe, at its periphery or its center. It is a Radiance without center, without bounds. It is a Mystery. We are one with It in our Ignorance, in our transcendence of the self-contraction and the forms of knowledge and experience associated with our individuated body-minds.
This Blessed Realization is given to you for free, and you are in a state of total Ignorance, immersed in Mystery, and at the same time absolute certainty. Wisdom without limits can grow in you if you remain established in the Living Divine. You will tend not to do that. Everyone who has gathered for this celebration will tend not to do this next week. It is not that they will not do it at all but that they will be tending not to do it. They may become depressed or despair or think that they must go on and look for something else now, whereas what they must do is simply practice. They must know what that practice is, however, and they must become sensitive to the symptoms of egoity and how it turns them from Ecstasy and Intoxication to self-contraction, self-bondage, and all the complications of ordinary life.
Ours is not a utopian community or self-help organization or other-help organization in which we are simply trying to make human beings calm, more balanced, and more socially functional. Such equanimity is part of our culture of life, but it is not the principle. The principle of our Way of life is God-Communion, God-Realization, given for free by Grace. But it is a Way of practice, a Way of submission to That Which is Realized by Grace. If you do not make that submission, then you will always tend to feel that you have lost it or that it is not true anymore, that it does not even exist. No matter how profound your experience may be this week or one day, in another moment you can wonder if that ever even happened, or you will try to account for it psychologically or circumstantially or whatever, and you will read little bits in magazines and books and newspapers that will confirm your doubts. But the next time you are in touch with that Blessing you will realize that it has nothing to do with such limitations. It cannot be accounted for by worldly philosophy. It is simply Divine Realization.
Well, you must come to the point at which it is no longer acceptable to you to fall from such Grace, at which you are no longer interested in merely surviving and functioning, however cleanly. You must come to the point of commitment to the Ecstasy and Intoxication of Divine Life, the Way of life in which you are no longer separated from the Divine, but are constantly one with the Divine, in constant Communion. Only that must be acceptable to you. That is the capacity for real practice. That is the impulse to Realization. That is the core of every mature practitioners life.
Therefore, if there are going to be people moving out of these beginning stages into mature stages of practice, then this event, this transformation, this commitment must occur. It must become profoundly important to you to remain in a state of God-Realization and not to fall from it by becoming preoccupied with ordinary life, which is really a dramatization of Godlessness, a dramatization of an emotional problem, shown through sexual signs, intimate signs, social signs, in the form of all your preoccupations, physical, mental, emotional, social. People in general are dramatizing this Godless life or this emotionally contracted life, separated from the Divine by virtue of that contraction. I am calling you to live free of that and to develop a different kind of life altogether, not based on idealism but based on actual God-Realization from the beginning.
I must struggle with people constantly. Why am I struggling with them? If I were simply proposing a belief in God and an idealistic program of practice, I would not have to struggle at all. I would just give calm little lectures, and everybody would practice rote disciplines. It is being done all over the world by religious people. I am struggling with people because what I am calling them to and what they are experiencing in my Company, at least from time to time, is a great matter that cannot be practiced on the basis of belief and idealism. It involves this heart-submission, whole-bodily. It must be Ecstasy. It must show the signs of Intoxication or Love-Bliss. These signs must be in clear evidence, in every aspect of functional life, in every aspect of social life. This force of inherent Happiness, or Love-Bliss under all circumstances, must be evident. If it is not evident then you are not realizing it, you are not practicing it. Thus, if your life is full of complications, problems, and complaints, you are not enjoying the God-Intoxicated state and you are not practicing the discipline to which I have called you.
If you truly see me and truly practice, then everything becomes clarified. Your relationship with me is the key. Because I am here you no longer have to seek God. Therefore, you can practice the unique Way that is founded on God-Realization. You need not seek, or be a sinner. You can be inherently sinless, which does not mean merely to live in conventional moral purity and so forth, but to live in a state of non-separation from the Spiritual Divine such that that Reality transforms your life and makes the event of life the practice of life. Thus, the unique advantage given to human beings is the relationship to the Adept, and this is so not merely because the Adept is someone who has Realized the Truth and can tell you how to do it. It is a unique advantage because the Adept Is what he has Realized and Awakens that Realization in you instantly, merely by entering into relationship with you. This is the root of the Great Way. There is no practice, discipline, or wisdom that we might call religious or spiritual that is as great as that. It is the one Great Principle. Everything that we can call religious or spiritual develops from that Principle, that relationship. It is greater than anything we might call our philosophy or our practice or our community.
This consideration must be developed with everyone. For the first several days of my visit, what was emphasized was the fact of my availability, the fact of people coming into my Company and the experience they were having as a result. That is good, and that should continue to be emphasized or made the core of this celebration, because that is the Great Principle to which I have been pointing. On the other hand, people must be instructed about the practice that is their obligation when they have been Blessed with seeing, Blessed with God-Realization, Blessed with heart-release. The experience will tend to fade, and then they will be stuck with the egoic game of Narcissus. By tendency that is inevitable. Thus, they must recognize this Blessing, acknowledge it, be able to observe the signs of withdrawal from it, and know what their discipline is and that it is a hard school. They must be committed to it because they value a state of God-Realization above all and are not inclined to make any ordinary experience the focus of their existence.
Thus, everyone should emerge from this celebration committed to that practice, not just temporarily intoxicated by my Company. In other words, they must realize what a Great Principle this Ecstasy and Intoxication is, value It, and know Its supreme nature. They must make this Principle a future practice and not be naive, not be winging it for a few days in my physical Company and ready for a crash next week, you see. In years past people would exhaust me by requiring my Company for this Ecstasy and then not practicing, so that I was being wrung dry like a goose laying golden eggs or a cow full of elixir. That is an abuse. Everyone should definitely use my Company for the sake of this Realization, this Ecstasy and Intoxication, but they must accept the obligation that comes with it, and be prepared to endure the necessary discipline of this daily life-practice when I return to the Hermitage. I am not going to be absent from them. I will simply not be in their physical company for the time being.
In most cases devotees will have only very rare experiences of being in my physical Company, and that is fine. It should be sufficient to come into my Company a few times and be awakened to God-Realization-even once will be enough if you are willing to endure the practice of spiritual discipline. I do not mean “enough” in the sense that you have experienced my physical Company today and so do not care if you ever see me again. Rather, my physical Company should be used effectively, and then you must know how to locate my Transcendental Company thereafter.
When I return to Hermitage all devotees should still Commune with me. I should still have their attention. Their relationship to me should be the core of their daily practice. Devotees should develop a culture with one another that is about such practice, and they should accept the charge I have given them relative to their own practice and the offering of this Way to others. All of that is the business of devotees. It is none of my business at all. Therefore, I will look for those signs as the evidence of devotees response to me. There are certain signs I look for during this celebration, the tangible signs that are immediate to our meeting-all the Ecstatic signs in people in my Company. Those signs are good, and this is especially a time for all that to be let loose. When I return to Hermitage I will be looking for other signs as well. I will be looking for the effective performance of this practice, in its essential discipline as well as its secondary ones, and for the fulfillment of the charge I have given to this institution and to the community. All that is a very serious matter. It is a great discipline. It is a very creative obligation and a very Happy Way of life. If you will do it and attract others who will do it, there really will be no limit on the importance of my birth. This birth can, in other words, be the incident that changes the course of this human dilemma. That is the intention of this birth, but its fulfillment requires the response of devotees and their fulfillment of the Law of their own obligation.
What it comes down to is that this matter must become important to you. You would say, I presume, that it is important to you, but obviously it has to become a lot more important to you than it is. Ask any devotee who has come here for this celebration whether God-Realization, this Way of life, is important, and he or she would say yes. But it is not important enough yet. Otherwise we would see a profound transformation in the quality of everyones living from day to day. The Way of God-Realization is a great struggle. You have to struggle with yourself and I must struggle with everybody. There is no luxury in it for me, you see. Struggle is inherent in this outpost. When everything vibrates down to this vulgar level, it takes a lot of work to stay Happy.
Most people are just struggling to survive. You all are struggling to stay Happy. It is another matter altogether. If you have enjoyed even a moment of Divine Intoxication in my Company you can see how trivial all the preoccupations of mankind are and how they are all based on the absence of such Happiness. Some of those un-Happy people even claim that they are looking for it or that what they are doing is a means for realizing that Happiness, but it is not really true. All those preoccupations are not leading toward Happiness, they are what people are doing because they have despaired of Happiness already and have settled for something less. Most of them would settle for a good word, a little bit of hope, a little miracle, a promise of survival after death. A little consolation is all they would like to have added to this difficult and un-Happy struggle. Because of that many people only want or only accept that much from me. But I am showing them something more and calling them to something more, calling them to a Great Life and not merely to the continuation of their mediocrity or a little bit of consolation based on the fact that I exist.
Thus, it is not sufficient, from my point of view, for everybody to feel good this week only to crash next week. I will consider this visit to be auspicious only if people continue to practice next week and all the weeks following and will show me the evidence of spiritual practice and its signs in all of the practical affairs of the institution and the community. In the past the report I received from devotees was typically that of the failed case, the failure of practice, the “oh, shucks, I did it again” stuff, the “please examine me and give me insight into my problem” stuff. I have given people everything to free them of their problems. They are inherently free of such problems in my Company. Therefore, instead of begging for insight into all of that, or begging for me to analyze their case or give them one more taste, they should be bringing me their gifts, the gift of submission, of entering into this Communion and developing the signs of spiritual life. If they will do that then not only will the institution and the community develop and grow, but people will move readily into advanced stages of practice and the profundity of the central culture of our institution will be magnified. That is what I am looking for as a follow-up to this occasion. Make sure everybody knows that.
Volume7 , Number 2
“Im Talking to Everybody”
from a conversation with Tom Closser
In recent weeks I have clearly noticed the “M-field” effect in our Communion. Ive always felt it to be true, but I experience it most directly when I have a conversation with somebody about our relationship with Love-Ananda. When I relate experiences from my own life that occurred in Love-Anandas physical Company, I often discover there were similar incidents in the other persons life from which they were able to derive the same understanding that occurred for me. In moments like this it becomes obvious why telling the leelas of Da Avadhootas Teaching Work is so important. They give people a reference, a confirmation, and a fuller understanding of what they have experienced outside His physical company.
On many occasions Love-Ananda has taken us to task for casually using language that suggests we are ever “outside” His Company. To say something like, “I wasnt in Your Company when it happened”, goes over like a lead balloon. He asks, “What do you mean you werent in my Company?” So you get down to the details and say, “Well, I wasnt in Your physical Company.” He says, “Well, thats different.” From His point of view, He has a relationship with many, many people, and He performs the same Spiritual Function for them that He does for people who are sitting physically in front of Him.
When He talks in gatherings, there are periods of time when Hell look up over everybodys head, so that Hes not even looking at us, and Hell say, “Im not just talking to you people here. Do you understand?” Hes shouting it. And sometimes He looks right at the tape recorder and says passionately: “Im talking to everybody!”