The Knee of Listening – Chapter 19


The Life and Understanding


Franklin Jones

Copyright 1971 By Franklin Jones

All rights reserved

Read 2004 version of Chapter 19

Chapter 19: Understanding as Meditation

Meditation doesn’t do anything for you. It has no purpose. When a person begins some form of seeking, he immediately turns to an effective, remedial technique that will get him quickly to his goal. Thus, when a man adapts to various kinds of religious and spiritual effort, he begins almost immediately to meditate in some way. The Christian and the devotee begin to pray and adapt to religious forms. The spiritual seeker begins to concentrate and internalize the mind. Others use drugs, study, critical thought, relaxation and poetry, pleasure, etc.

But real life, the way of understanding, is not another form of seeking. For the man of understanding, meditation is not adopted for the sake of something else. He does not pursue understanding or reality or any kind of experience through meditation. Real meditation is already a radical activity. It is understanding.

In the logic of Narcissus, the separative mentality, all things are seeking. But the man of understanding perceives the logic of reality and lives as it. Therefore, he is not concerned about meditation. His business is understanding, not ascent, vision, transformation, liberation, or any other goal. The way of understanding belongs to those who recognize the fruitlessness of seeking.

I do not recommend that you meditate. There is only understanding. Therefore, understand. And when understanding has become observation, reflection, insight and radical cognition, then the state of consciousness itself is meditation. When understanding has become a radical process, and the avoidance of relationship has become an inclusive and sufficient recognition, when you have understood that seeking is all a function of dilemma, and when you no longer are voluntarily motivated by the physical, mental or spiritual problem, then you are already meditating.

Meditation is simply understanding as a radical process in consciousness. It is what understanding is when it has become necessary and profound. There is no right motive for adopting it. There is only the discovery that you are already doing it.

Thus, when understanding has become founded in you by observation of your life, and you have truly realized the radical process of avoidance on every level of your being, then you have ceased to approach life without intelligence, simply reacting, becoming motivated, and seeking various ends. Instead, you have begun to approach all experience with a simplicity in consciousness, a presence you bring to all things, which is understanding.

When you have begun to approach life with understanding, knowing the radical truth of understanding, then you have begun to meditate. Then understanding, the logic of reality, can be extended as itself to conscious or real meditation.

Real meditation is not purposive. It has no effect that it seeks to produce. It has no dilemma to solve. It has already become understanding, and understanding is conscious knowing. Understanding is in fact the knowledge that is consciousness, non-separation, reality. Therefore, it is the enjoyment of consciousness. To understand is already to meditate, to contemplate consciousness itself. And it does this not by an act of concentration on consciousness, or any form or center of consciousness, but by understanding experience, the action of consciousness.

Where there is understanding in life, what is actually being known is consciousness, unqualified reality. Thus, the understanding of experience by observation leads to the recognition of the avoidance of relationship as a radical activity. And even where this recognition arises it may also cease to be the fundamental object or activity of conscious life. It will simply give way to the fundamental perception prior to avoidance, which is reality, unqualified relationship, consciousness.

Thus, understanding first becomes actual in the mind, and then it is extended as enquiry. Enquiry is the approach of understanding to experience. And enquiry is meditation. It is in the form: “Avoiding relationship?”

As enquiry continues as the radical activity of life, even enquiry becomes occasional. Even in the beginning it is not repetitive, like a mantra. That which is identified and enjoyed in consciousness through enquiry does not need constant enquiry to reduce the tendencies of the mind and life to prior understanding. That reality which is the source and realization of enquiry eventually becomes the ready object of the mind and life, and one tends to return to it easily and naturally.

Thus, when understanding becomes radical knowledge, there is no constant enquiry, no special meditation. Knowledge becomes consciousness itself, which is unqualified, which is “no-seeking” in the heart and “no-dilemma” in the mind.

This will be developed further as the discussion on meditation proceeds. I would like to begin by describing the various kinds of meditation I was led to use in my spiritual practice in America and India. Then I will go on to show how my practice developed and was modified by understanding, until we have recognized the perfect simplicity that is real meditation.

The first form of meditation I used in my life was the “bright.” It is also the ultimate one. But the “bright” of m;. childhood was not fitted to understanding. It was not supported by my own consciousness. I enjoyed it, but I could not control it. And at last it disappeared against my wishes Thus, I became devoted to a path of existence that was supported by my earliest intuition of reality, the “bright.” I was required to pursue the faculty of my own consciousness. I needed to understand before I could finally create, sustain and control the “bright,” the Form of Reality.

The history of my experience as a seeker is a course of experimentation in relation to the forces of life conceived as the problem of existence on various levels of experience. In college I dealt with truth as an intellectual problem. In my period of writing and self-exploitation I dealt with as a vital and emotional problem. Rudi I dealt with it as a moral and psychic problem. In Scientology I dealt with it as the problem of the mind. With Baba I dealt with it as a spiritual problem, the problem of super-consciousness. And when I experimented with such things as diet, fasting and self-regulation I was dealing with it as a physical problem.

Of course, these various researches often overlapped and tended to become inclusive, but for the most part each was a highly specialized, exclusive endeavor. And each period was marked by a peculiar method. The area pursued also determined the nature of the work. The object created the subject, and the subject reinforced the object. And in every case, the end phenomenon was the same. It was understanding. I outlined that process at the end of Chapter 16. It was concentration and observation. Then insight. Then enjoyment or freedom on the basis of that insight. Finally, the recognition of understanding itself as primary and prior to the search.

Until I had exhaustively investigated every unique area of the “problem,” there was no conclusive understanding. Thus, each moment of primary understanding, such as the crisis in college or the one in seminary, was only a temporary state. It formed only a moment of transition prior to the next chase, the next level of the problem. But when every aspect of life as a problem and a search was exhausted, there was only understanding. I recognized the similarity between each moment of attainment. And I began to notice in detail the aspects of the way of understanding itself as a radical oath, prior to every kind of seeking.

Recently there has been a tendency among spiritual teachers to speak of a path of “synthesis.” Sri Aurobindo is one of the leading exponents of this inclusive mentality. But it is also visible in lesser teachers of yoga, as well as in the various synthetic paths of modern Western occultism and religiously motivated spirituality. Sri Ramakrishna, the great Indian teacher of the 19th century, perhaps initiated this trend in the East. And H.P. Blavatsky may be the sign of its origin in the West, also in the late 19th century.

But the trend to “synthesis” is only a synthesis of the kinds of seeking. It adapts the various separate activities of the great search to an inclusive philosophy and technique. But it remains a form of seeking.

In my own case, there was never any tendency to make a synthesis out of the various activities of my seeking. Indeed, as I passed through each form of my experiment, I only came to realize the fruitlessness of seeking in that way. And at last I saw the entire fruitlessness of seeking in any form. Thus, the way of understanding, as it developed in my case, is not a synthesis of the ways of seeking. It is a single, direct and radical approach to life. And that approach is itself, from the beginning, entirely free of dilemma and search. It has nothing to do with the various motivations of the great search. From the beginning, it rests in the primary enjoyment and truth that all seeking pursues. Thus, the way of understanding is founded in the radical truth that is fundamental to existence at any moment, in any condition And it is also the genuine basis for creative life, prior to all the magical efforts toward healing, evolution and the victorious appearance of “spiritual” life.

In this chapter I want to describe the actual process involved in the way of understanding. And in order to make the transition to that radical view and activity, I want to describe some of the methods I acquired at various stages.

The period of the “bright” in childhood was only an enjoyment. It is preliminary to my life of seeking, and there was no peculiar method involved in it. At most there was a desire to communicate the “bright” to others. At the time I attempted this on the level of humor, love and the dissolution of conflict. But the years of my childhood and adolescence only wore away at my resources, and eventually I came to the matter of the search itself.

Even in college there was no special method. The impulse at the heart of my dilemma was the source of my seeking. I simply read, thought and suffered through the various alternations nations of philosophy.

It was only when I began to write that my seeking took on the form of a “method.” I have described that method of writing, and my habits of self-exploitation in the early chapters of my autobiography.

The period of my writing as a method of search came to an end on the beach, when I saw the possibilities of higher consciousness and turned toward philosophical discipline. It was at that point that I began to study with Rudi. And I have also described the methods I adopted at that time.

My brief encounter with Baba during my first trip to the Ashram did not produce a new method. One was recommended to me, but I did not adapt to it until after the period of Scientology. Scientology was in fact the next level of method I used, and I have given some of the details of that practice in the previous chapters.

But after the period of Scientology I began to make use of a habit of meditation that foreshadowed the later approach of the way of understanding. As a result of the crisis I endured in seminary I had already begun to assume the critical attitude that later became radical understanding. I had seen that the avoidance of relationship was a radical activity at every level of consciousness. And as I began to adapt myself seriously to the processes of yoga I perceived more and more how fundamental was this understanding. Thus, as I adapted to the habits of meditation, I saw that all methods were founded in this avoidance and only reinforced its effects. As time passed, I ceased to make use of the methods of yoga and only approached each moment in life or meditation with understanding in the form of the enquiry: “Avoiding relationship?”

I saw that every kind of seeking and every method designed to liberate, purify and perfect life, was founded in the mentality and adventure of Narcissus. I saw that every yoga, every path, every kind of deliberate meditation had a single symptom: the anxious effort to dissolve the barriers and the capsule of self in order to enjoy fulness, immunity, freedom, etc. This was always Narcissus, for it is founded

in the original idea of separateness, the loss of relationship, and thus it is a meditation on self as separateness, experience as separative, and a longing for reality as the Other, the nature of truth as the whole Self, God, Reality, Nature, Liberation, Salvation, etc.

I concluded, then, that it was not in fact a matter of a path or a technique but of understanding, the understanding of this underlying error in the approach to life. I saw that where I persisted as this understanding rather than in the various impulses to liberation there was in fact no dilemma, no separation and no necessary effort. There was simply the enjoyment of reality prior to any identification with the whole process of avoidance and seeking. And when understanding became my radical approach to life there was a constant unfolding of real knowledge in freedom and enjoyment.

Swami Muktananda wrote me a letter in late April, 1968. It contains a program for meditation which I used at various times in the following year.

In the “So ham” mantra “So” signifies God or Guru, and “ham” denotes “I” or “me.” Thus So ham means “I am He.” Let your practice of meditation be the ceaseless reflection on the above meaning of So ham. A person gets transformed into the likeness of the object on which he constantly ponders, by absorbing its qualities.

Sitting calm and steady, repeat the mantra together with rhythmic breathing (i.e. the inhalation and exhalation of air – pran and apan). Harmonize the repetition of mantra with the breathing as follows: With “So” take it in and with “ham” bring it out. Throughout the mantra repetition one should follow this practice. Simply sitting peacefully and applying the mind to pran and apan one enters into a deep state of meditation. When one’s mind is fixed on “So” with the incoming breath and on “ham” with the outgoing breath it is mantra-japa. The regularity with which the breath comes in and goes out is pranayama. And if a person is skillful, intelligent and alert – the repetition of mantra (japa), the process of pranayama, and the meditation – all three can be achieved simultaneously without difficulty. This is a great Yoga, the best among all: known as Siddhayoga. It means “the path of the Perfect Ones” or “the Yoga which begets perfection.” A dexterous and highly intelligent person can practice it easily. As explained above, the regular practice of meditation with a concentrated mind will awaken the dormant Kundalini Shakti in a very short time. Day-by-day as the Shakti develops more and more it takes the aspirant to the ultimate perfection by the Guru’s grace.

It is best to practice a natural meditation or dhyan. Sit quietly, calm and composed, if you like in Padmasana or any other comfortable posture. You may look and fix the eyes on a photo or may keep your eyes closed. The mode and posture in which you can be restful, mentally free from the objective world, and introspective is the best asan. Remove the mind from its activities, arrest all kinds of desires and surrender to whatever is happening of its own accord. Observe everything as a witness. The meditation done by the inner Shakti is the meditation of Guru’s grace. It is the real meditation of “So’ham.” Indeed, it is the meditation of God.

The deeper and deeper you go in meditation the more and more of the divine experiences you will attain. Therefore, seek your inner Self. Therefrom you will have the fulfillment you cherish.

This is a classical description of the way of meditation. It is typical of all the methods of yoga that operate directly on the mental, vital and physical functions and concentrate consciousness in the regions of super-conscious manifestation. When I received Baba’s letter, however, I was already involved in Scientology. I only began to use this precise method when I resumed meditation, just prior to my second trip to India.

When I went to Baba the second time I had already begun to use the form of enquiry that became characteristic of my meditation. I experimented with the use of the mantra “So’ham” and also the “Aum” mantra which he recommends as an alternative in the same letter. But, as I described in an earlier chapter, I experienced an internal teaching of meditation while with Baba on this second trip. Baba’s internal and external teaching combined with my own understanding of practice and I described my habit of meditation in the following essay.

This is an intelligent method that can be naturally applied by one who has a basic understanding of his essential condition.

In the early morning or, comfortably, in the early evening, sit in a stable position in an undisturbed environment. Cease to act. Witness. Acknowledge the dimension of relationship. Acknowledge consciousness. Just as you are a witness to the environment, you are witness to the flow of thoughts that is your basic connection and response to the environment. It is not necessary for you to stop them.

Close your eyes. Relax all efforts to prevent thoughts. Examine all thoughts and reactions. To understand the patterns of your chronic responses and automaticity’s it is not necessary to think about them, trace them back, or do anything with them at all. Such is simply to join with and extend the automatic process of thought, which leads to chronic activity. Do this until you are aware that you are witnessing thought, the mind, knowing that it is objective to you.

Then begin to recognize all thoughts, feelings, reactions, desires, impulses, etc. as the mind, the automatic machinery created by identification with and avoidance of experience. As these things pass, simply acknowledge mentally: this is the mind. Do this until the acknowledgment becomes silent and there is no effort in relation to thought at all. The body is relaxed, the mind unperturbed. This is the state of understanding and natural, effortless control. The mind at this point should basically be silent. There is a leading tendency to enjoy this silence rather than any thought. There is usually awareness of the environment, but no effort to resist it or respond to it.

At this point turn your attention to the breath. Observe the inhalation and exhalation of the breath until the breath is comfortable, quiet and effortless. Now the mind at its deepest level is in its natural, open, original state. You will probably have observed here or earlier how thought and breath correspond.

Now, in this silence and peace, you are prepared for the enjoyment of consciousness itself, prior to experience and thought, prior to relationship. You begin this “ascent” when the breath and thought are relatively still. At a point in the observation of the breath you may begin to combine, mentally, the word “Aum” (a basic sound, a vibration that is a pointer toward consciousness, an implication of consciousness) with the breath, once for each inhalation and once for each exhalation. As you do this, enjoy, the vibration of energy. Actually experience the inflow of energy and the outward movement of energy. The return to primary consciousness is a gradual reflexive action, turning back from or simply stilling the externalization of consciousness as energy. Thus, as you enjoy the flow of energy, watching the breath and employing the Aum mantra (attending to it and not to other thoughts) you should experience the energy always charging or entering the domain of the body and not moving out of it. Thus, on inhalation, experience the energy (breath and vibration) moving down from the heart and lungs into a base just behind the sex organs and then up the spine to the top of the head. This is the natural circuit of the nervous system. Then, on exhalation, let the energy move down into the heart and fill it. Continue this until a natural stillness prevails, where body, breath, mind and energy currents are all harmonized into a blissful ease.

At this point, without effort, you should merely enjoy consciousness, and allow it to be totally what it is. This is you prior to self-concepts and life-processes. Put your attention at the top of the head, at the point between the eyebrows, or in the heart. This is all a natural process and you will simply find yourself at this time moving to one of these centers, or some other basic center, without mentally deciding. Simply attend to consciousness there, being beyond thought or any process. All processes should be relaxed around you. The breath and heartbeat may even have stopped.

In this state simply enjoy consciousness. Thoroughly move to it, even with love, or without any emotion. Enjoy it, let it reveal itself. Continue thus as long as you like or until your attention moves again toward processes and experience. You may, in the latter case, again return to the blissful state by attending to the processes as you did earlier and so resume the calm attention to consciousness. Indeed, at any point, should an earlier phase of mental or breathing activity restore itself you may handle it as you did earlier.

At some point in the meditation on consciousness you may cease to be in relationship to consciousness, attending to it, but instead merge with consciousness itself. You may experience this entire exercise going on automatically, or in quick succession. You may find yourself in the natural state immediately. At any time you may use any of these methods at will to handle any eventuality, and you should feel free to move in the exercise by any way communicated to you internally or which you feel appropriate and true. You may experience the automatic processes of Siddha yoga as described by Swami Muktananda. Once you have moved into silence and sublimity you are under the influence of consciousness itself. It will teach you and transform you. There is nothing to be said about it here.

When your meditation is finished, then relax for a few moments and do not, if possible, move suddenly into activity. Often you will experience the life benefits of your meditation only after the process is completed. So be open and calm for a period beyond meditation. In life you will discover more energy and blissfulness, love and detachment. You will adapt to it differently each day on the basis of your freedom.

Daily life is not this exercise of meditation. After the exercise, feel under no constraint to continue it all day and so become very self-conscious and restrained. You may, however, maintain a similar relationship to your responses and thoughts, doing nothing about them, being open and sensitive to experience. You are always already free, already conscious. You are always already in relationship, non-separate. Know this and your life and meditation will remain free, simple, natural and motivated by no anxiety, fear or compulsive need for peculiar experiences.

At the time I wrote this essay I preferred the use of the “Aum” mantra to “So ham.” I had difficulty combining the Sanskrit syllables with their meaning in my own language and at the same time generating the whole mantra as a feeling or affirmation rather than a thought. In the following months I meditated in this basic way, and finally began to use the “So’ham” mantra without difficulty.

But the import of this meditation was not the search for any kind of experiences. The more I had of experiences the less important they seemed. And “experiences” came to include not only internal and visionary phenomena but even the kinds of quieting and control that are byproducts of the meditative attitude. I began to see that what I gained and retained from meditation was exactly that with which I began. Before, during, and after meditation there was only “one who has a basic understanding of his essential condition.” Thus, I became more and more attentive to this understanding itself, in and out of meditation. And during formal meditation I began to drop every kind of formal exercise and more often than not simply enquired of myself under every condition that passed: “Avoiding relationship?”

As the months passed, prior to my third and final trip to India, I became more and more absorbed in the simplicity of consciousness. And what I realized and enjoyed as understanding and real meditation seemed to me to be epitomized in the relationship to the Guru. I saw there was no need for effort or salvation. Understanding was equivalent to contemplating the Guru with perfect devotion. This is called “Guru-bhakti” or “Guru-bhava.” And, as I prepared to leave for India, I described my understanding as follows:

Guru bhakti is superior to all methods of self knowledge. Put aside all dharma, all means, and think only of Him. That itself is realization and the highest path.

When still deceived and ignorant of the truth, if I seek to recognize myself in the heart, and enquire as to my nature, pursuing in every way to stand out from my mind, I find myself drawn apart from things, separated even from that recognition by my exclusive search.

But if, even in that same ignorance, I think of Shree Guru, or look upon him in the company of devotees, I am drawn into the heart of all reality, and by that easy, deepest heart I lose the body of distinctions. While I loved Him thus I gained my Self and never tried or sought.

Shree Guru, Gurudev is that One, than which there is no other. Shree Guru, Gurudev is my Self. So-ham.

The movement in truth is not to identify with the three worlds (waking, dreaming and sleeping). Nor is it to be engaged in witnessing them. Both are exclusive activities. They destroy relationship and are bound to the form of contradictions, the ignorance of prior relationship and thus non separation. The movement in truth is that enjoyment which remains when the falsity of all these alternatives is understood. It is concentration in the Self. One who is purified by search, discipline, penance and knowledge recognizes the Self in the Guru. He becomes absorbed in meditation on the Guru at the center of his being, the heart, at the center of the lotus of the lower tendencies in the ignorant heart. Seeing the Guru there always, he meditates on the truth of “So’ham,” and, by the grace of the eternal Guru, all distinctions subside, all perceptions of separation, contradiction and otherness disappear. The personal, the universal and the transcendent as an inference from these disappear in the one cognition of the Real, the true Self of all. Such knowledge draws that individual into the Self, and he is no longer separately present in any of the worlds.

Every pursuit of union in the three worlds is founded in identification with some form therein. Thus, rather than act to achieve union, merely witness the desire and the whole tendency, its thoughts, etc. When this is done, another movement of consciousness is realized. It is perceived as a movement in the heart, founded in its new stillness. It moves to the secretly recognized Beloved, the Guru, the Self. It knows it is already related, and thus it does not see union, since union is perceived only over against separation. It sees, rather, non-separation and identification with that which absorbs purified consciousness. It no longer looks back, but moves into the total realization of knowledge.

When I arrived in India for the third time I was given the task of editing and refining the English translation of Baba’s new book, Chit Shakti Vilhas. I discovered that the method of meditation on the Guru to which I had recently been moved was in fact the method of his spiritual practice with his Guru, Bhagavan Nityananda.

I described it as follows:

Baba does not teach the pure Vedanta that he taught and demonstrated to me in the Ashram on my first visit. He directs us to bow to our highest Self, to worship it and meditate upon it. He directs us to certain visionary experiences such as the blue light, the blue person within it and other such objects. To this end he recommends we sit quietly, thinking of the Guru, depending on his grace, repeating a mantra, a name of God. And, above all, he affirms the life of service to the Guru. Thus, men will be made open to the influence of his independent grace, his Shakti, that will produce visionary attainments and karmic Purification’s. This will occur, he says, if we give ourselves to the Guru, and not otherwise. If we merely give him our karma, our suffering, our ignorance, he will reject them, but if we give our very selves he will take our karma also.

Baba’s method of spiritual practice was the action of becoming totally identified with his Guru, whom he saw as the Divine Being and his very Self. He would sit near his Guru or think of him and contemplate his name, his physical form, his moods, contemplation’s, gestures, his awareness, his words and acts, his qualities. He acted on the principle that you imitate the thing you contemplate and finally identify with it. The impulse that made this possible was profound love and the sense of identity with the Guru. This he felt was the highest form of meditation recommended in the Scriptures.

His method was to meditate on the Guru after he had installed the Guru in his being, in all his parts, and identified with him. From the various indications in his book, I described the following principles of his method:

Becoming tranquil and overcoming thought fluctuations, free the mind from external clinging. Eradicate mentation. Sit down, feeling that the Guru is confronting you. Make obeisance, realizing that the Guru-Principle envelops you from each direction. See the Guru and yourself as one. Then install him in your body, top to bottom, and then bottom to top, chanting “Guru-Aum” mentally. Meditating thus, the Guru in you and you in the Guru, let go of the consciousness of self.

This seemed to me at the time to epitomize my own natural method. Whether with Rudi, Baba or at Nitvananda’s shrine, I always concentrated on the Guru as the source and identity of my own nature. I was always doing this, even where I also performed other kinds of special meditative exercise.

I was in the midst of this meditation at the Ashram when I began to experience the visitations, revelations and internal teachings of the Virgin and Christ. Then I became totally absorbed in that special kind of contemplation that overwhelmed me. However, I could also see that the meditation of Guru-bhakti was equivalent to the absorption in Christ that I was experiencing. I allowed it to occur. I allowed the Virgin to be the Shakti and Christ to be the Guru. Even Christ said “You will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.” (John 14:20)

The results of that experience can be read in my autobiography. By the time I returned to America there was no movement in me toward Christ or Guru. That whole exercise had revealed itself as a symbol, on a psychic level, for the processes of real consciousness that were my own nature. I no longer saw any necessity in any kind of religious or spiritual meditation. The Guru and the Christ that seemed to symbolize Reality and attract the heart disappeared when Reality was realized to be the heart itself. I no longer operated on the basis of any distinctions. I simply understood, and understanding became the free exercise of my own being.

In the weeks that followed I passed into the radical form of understanding. But as that process went on, I spent some time analyzing and studying the system of phenomena and practice that I had experienced during the “spiritual” period of my seeking. Out of this developed two specific kinds of data. One was the description of the instruments or the total mechanism of our living form, and the other was a description of the automatic process of “kriya yoga” which was the ultimate result of spiritual meditation and the very form of meditation which all particular kinds exercise imitate and pursue.

I described the first of these, the instrument or form of life, on the basis of my various experiences and the fuller, systematic presentation in the writings of Swami Muktananda and others. On the basis of these observations I wrote the following essay, which is a summation of this data and a critical interpretation of the alternative approaches to it.

The structure of the Form of Life (Bodies)

(1) Gross – (Physical)


(Etheric or vital)

(2) Subtle – Astral (Desire and Psychic)

(3) Causal – Mental and Intellectual

(the Antahkarana)

(4) Supra-causal – Bliss, the abode of

Siddhas or Powers

These are the variously shaped and atomic seed bodies that proceed from the center of reality in the heart and are contained in the unqualified being of reality. One may visualize the atomic seed bodies themselves. The physical and etheric (vital) bodies are a red form, approximately the size of the physical body. The subtle body is a white form about the size of the thumb, and it appears in the throat. The causal body is about the size of the thumb nail. It is black and appears in the area of the heart chakra. The supra-causal is a spot of blue light about the size of a lentil. It appears in the region of the navel. However, in meditation they merely appear before consciousness, neither above nor below.

The individual may also perceive the regions of these bodies themselves and so experience the various visions, powers and manifestations of the planes of being.

As the process of the purification of the bodies begins, which is the reconnection and stabilization of the circuit of being, the individual may experience many phenomena due to the expression of these various bodies or regions. But he should from the beginning be founded in the heart of being, of reality, of understanding, of no-seeking. Thus, he will not become distracted by these activities but only abide deeply in the heart of reality and continue the process of purifying and establishing the form of reality.

He may experience none of these visionary phenomena at all. Neither any physical “kriyas,” internal sounds or smells or any other peculiar phenomena. He may from the beginning and always reside only as the heart of being, of no-seeking. His experience may only increase as no-seeking, silence, openness, purity, wholeness, fulness, energy and bliss. This indeed is the highest form of the process and it is gracefully without distractions.

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(1) is the Muladhara chakra or anal plexus.

(2) is the Swadhisthana chakra, the sacral plexus or root of the sex organs.

(3) is the Manipooraka chakra, the solar plexus or navel center.

(4) is the Anahata chakra, the heart plexus.

(5) is the Visuddha chakra, the throat plexus.

(6) is the Ajna chakra, the center in the midst of the head, between the brows, the center of the antahkarana or mind.

(7) is the Sahasrara chakra in the midst of the upper brain, the aperture of the head, and the regions above the head.

Each of these centers has levels corresponding to the various bodies, sheaths, regions or seed atoms. Thus, the process perceives itself in the physical body, the nervous system and energy body (etheric or vital), the subtle body (desire or astral body, which is spherical), the causal or mental bodies (centered in the parts of the antahkarana and the center in the middle of the head, which is the clearing house and center of consciousness in the causal body – it communicates to the brain the various phenomena from the super-conscious or supra-causal realm and the subconscious and unconscious or subtle (astral, etheric and physical realms), and at last the supra-causal body (the “blue pearl” or “blue person,” the subtle Guru, who is one’s identity as a Siddha).

Experiences from any of these bodies or regions may occur to the particular individual according to his tendencies, karma or desires. But common to all and the ultimate source, truth and reality of all is the center of being, the heart itself, which is the beginning and end of all life.

Therefore, I recommend the way of understanding as the way of reality. It is the prime truth presently available and it does not lead one further into ignorance or distraction but always

to reality itself, beyond all fear and all seeking. Every other path takes its stand in some particular body, region or experience and pursues some other body, region or experience as if it were reality, truth, or the direction of real evolution. In fact, until one is firmly seated in reality rather than in any body, region or experience one is only a seeker who chronically identifies himself with what is not yet real or what is known apart from reality. Not that any of these bodies, regions or experiences are themselves unreal, but the individual interprets his position in ignorance, after the model of exclusion or separation. The process of his development is founded in the model of seeking, and it only reinforces the pattern of avoidance and the internal impression of separation or unreality. Therefore, he is bound continually to the search, his false goals, and his tragic adventure in all the various bodies, regions or experiences.

The average man perceives this drama essentially on the level of the physical body and the region of the physical world. Thus, the average seeker may suppose that the various phenomena of occult, spiritualistic and psychic experience, or even the greater impressions of the higher mind and supra-causal or super-conscious phenomena which are the typical stronghold of higher religions and higher spirituality, are in fact evidence of a higher life equal to truth and reality itself. Traditional religion and spirituality thus only exploit the vulnerability and limited experience of the average and even the uncommon seeker.

In fact, truth and reality are of supreme value, and they are a matter of radical understanding, not any excursion into the various bodies, realms or experiences of the form of life on any plane. For this reason, the greatest men of knowledge continually turn men away from the lust for phenomena and powers. They recommend only the radical perception of reality which is the key knowledge in the present that removes all suffering and all seeking.

Once the nature of the form of life is seen as I have described, it becomes unnecessary to follow any traditional path or extend one’s seeking. Such things are obviously pointless and fruitless, however dramatic they appear. The primary truth is only the end of seeking and suffering as an internal event in consciousness. It is right knowledge of reality, the Self-knowledge that is always and already unqualifiedly free and inclusive of all things in the form of reality. It is the knowledge of unqualified relationship and no-seeking alone which can provide the basis for any real development of life in any form. The form of our experience is not the point. It is not a matter of exploiting and extending experience but of realizing radical understanding.

The true path, then, is not the path of the Siddhas or of yoga in any form, not of occultism, white magic, religions or spirituality. It is simply the radical way of understanding. Therefore, get understanding, and then, if it appears good to you, engage in the creative work of purifying, perfecting and evolving the various bodies, realms, abilities and experiences that proceed as the form of reality.

For most people the way of understanding will evolve as silence and no-seeking without peculiar phenomena expressed in the subtler bodies or regions. And they will realize themselves in life on the level of the “bright” which is consciousness in fulness seated in the midst of the head, projected out of the heart of reality. They will abide there in the waking state, feeling themselves extended from and linked to the consciousness of no-seeking in the heart. They will feel full and bright, clear and resourceful. They will perceive the activities of consciousness and form communicated from the subconscious and unconscious regions and the super-conscious, but they will not necessarily perceive the forms or internal phenomena of those bodies or regions themselves. They will simply feel the fulness of freedom and clarity, the intuitive stillness and capability that result from the foundation in reality. The realms of super consciousness, subconsciousness and unconsciousness will simply proceed, outside particular awareness, within the self-enclosure of their own natural laws.

Such individuals will abide in freedom and internal joy. They will do creative, communicative work in the world, the human work of love and understanding, pleasure and unburdened sacrifice that is merely the natural and effortless meaning of all ordinary activity rather than any kind of self-conscious effacement, mortification or degradation.

Thus, true life is to be founded in reality, and its appearance and consciousness, while enjoying the freedom of non-separation from every depth of being, exists directly and wholly as simple and creative human existence. The phenomena of other bodies and realms will be of no peculiar interest to such people. Such things will not be the signs of higher life or liberation to them nor the distracting goals of some particular, ideal plan of self-conscious evolution. If the individual happens to become consciously aware on such levels appropriate to another dimension he will simply observe them in reality and live by the wisdom I have described. He will seek the development of no powers but abide only in reality If his life involves the peculiar consciousness of other bodies and dimensions he will by these means acquire the necessary wisdom to deal with them and remain creatively in reality.

After the death of the physical form he may pass into the continuous perception and function of the subtler worlds and there learn to function as is natural to him. But while in the physical world as even then in any other world his task lies in reality and not in experience. Then as now he must realize reality and the form of reality.

In any case, we must function creatively and apart from all seeking in the dimensions apparent to us. There is no necessary cause for motivation to any body, realm or experience at all, whether the present one or any subtler one. Therefore, the man who abides in reality simply functions with understanding in the native environment of his apparent birth. Anything else is exclusive motivation bound up in seeking. Anything else is a source of distraction that leads only into suffering, avoidance, separation, despair, madness and death. Therefore, only understand.

In the previous essay I was interested in estimating the nature and importance of various “spiritual” phenomena in relation to the life of understanding. In the essay which follows I was interested in estimating the nature and importance of the process that I had come to observe taking place in yogic meditation.

The experience of meditation that I had learned by observation, verbal communication, and internal perception from Swami Muktananda is essentially an automatic process wherein a rhythm of breathing becomes automatic, the mind becomes still and one-pointed, and the various vehicles or levels of being become purified and stabilized in the “Self.” All the phenomena of physical movements, mental activities, internal perceptions and the like are simply the evidence of this purification on various levels. For the sake of the goals of this process the individual need only surrender to the Guru, depend on his grace, relax and engage in the recitation of his mantra. This entire process is natural, effortless and automatic. And Baba said that it was “kriya” yoga, the yoga of purifying activity. It is the same yoga taught by Paranahansa Yogananda, except that it does not rely on an intentional, sophisticated exercise on the part of the aspirant. It depends entirely on the grace of the Guru, the activities of the Shakti.

However, once I had observed this process completely and seen its effects, and when I had seen its ultimate source in the heart of understanding, I saw that it could also be used consciously as a means of purification and gaining control over the vehicles of life. I considered that there need not be any mystery about this process, and that it could be readily adapted by one who had realized his freedom in understanding and enquiry. I had not yet become firmly resolved in the process of understanding and enquiry as a radical and sufficient means. Thus, in the following essay, I tried to find some sense and utility in the ultimate process of yoga.

When consciousness has been established as “no-seeking” then it abides as reality, the unqualified source and form of being. Then reality is living. And only living reality is already free and capable of the true realization of life, whose form is sacrifice.

Meditation then can also be used as an active purification of the vehicles of living being. When it has enjoyed understanding and the form of enquiry to the point of “no-seeking,” the establishment of motiveless presence in the heart, then it can, from the point of view of that reality and not any kind of seeking, begin an intentional process of purification or “kriya.”

I used various forms of this process early in my life of seeking. But this process is not appropriate to the life of seeking, where reality or one’s ultimate nature or the Divine Presence are still pursued. It is only appropriate and non delusory when reality has become the foundation of existence, the motive of experience and meditation, the primary knowledge that already informs the mind.

When one already already understands oneself in reality, as reality, as no-seeking, then one can, if he chooses, make use of the means of purification. Many such techniques have been developed over the centuries. Even the simplest religious attitude is purifying in a real sense and ultimately makes use of the mechanisms that are the foundation or circuit of the form of our living being. But these means, represented by every kind of religious and spiritual philosophy, endeavor, technique or attitude in history, East and West, suffer from two essential faults. The first of these is one to which most of my life and most of this book have been dedicated to understanding. That is, these means are always given and adapted to states of seeking. They are offered to seekers, people in one or another form of the great search, as a means of acquiring the knowledge of reality. Thus they are adapted in ignorance and only extend the terrible suffering and conflict which are the root of ordinary life and consciousness. Thus, I have tried to demonstrate that understanding is the primary law of life. And life-consciousness must be radically founded in understanding, in reality, in no-seeking before it can begin the useful and radical purification of the forms of life.

The second primary fault in the traditional communication of the means of purification is that they are chronically identified with some particular historical, cultural or personal experience. All of the various religions and spiritual regimes, from the theological and ritual experience of forgiveness and justification to the sophisticated methods of occultism and the various yogas, are separate, historical manifestations founded in various kinds of exclusive phenomena. They stand in relation to one another in a grand pattern of conflict and separateness. Thus, the seeker comes to one or another of these sources in ignorance and pursues the separate cycle of experience the particular form asserts and guarantees.

But all of these historical means have a common basis, which is the structure of our living being. If a man is founded in reality and acts as reality in relation to its very form, he will not be devoted to any separate path or method. He will only make use of his purifying intention in terms of the structure of living consciousness. Thus, he does not need any of the typical exclusive paths that attract the seeker. He will only adapt the means that are already indicated by his conscious form.

To such an individual there is available an intelligent, direct, even scientific process of purification and perfection. This process can be read in all of the fragmentary suggestions of the various paths, but it is clearly and perfectly rendered in the actual experience of our form, the form of reality.

I have directly experienced this form or structure and its useful process. Therefore I will try to represent it as it is, without recourse to its exclusive communication in the various historical paths.

Reality is abiding as no-seeking or unqualified relationship. It is radically related to its own form, the living structure of being or life. The form of reality is reality itself. Its parts are attached by the law of synchronicity, of identity. From the point of view of reality, the form of reality or life does not proceed as an effect from a cause, but both are coexistent in a simultaneous manner. Thus, reality as no-seeking in the heart is also manifest as the living person, the chakra body in all of its dimensions or vehicles, including the physical, etheric, astral, mental, causal and supra-causal. But the structure of this form, the law of sacrifice, is a simplicity. It need not be approached from any particular level or vehicle, nor is any vehicle, chakra or state its goal. The process is begun and ended and is always proceeding from reality itself, from radical understanding, from no-seeking, the motiveless silence of the heart.

This “heart” is not the heart chakra, the ascending position of the dualistic seeker, the motivated devotee. It is the heart of being, the stillpoint and knowledge that is primary understanding.

From that unqualified point of consciousness all of the functions and levels of the form of being proceed or seem to stand in a circle around the heart. Thus, in order to purify these vehicles and centers and establish the whole life in its prime energy and fulness a process must be undertaken from the heart of reality and moved through the circle or cycle of the vehicles.

The purifying process, then, is as follows. As the person sits in meditation, relaxed, enjoying the primary understanding of no-seeking in the heart, he should inhale the breath to the heart or at the heart. The heart should be the place of the act of breathing. As the breath is inhaled he should feel that all energy in the universe, as it is epitomized in his own form, is being drawn into the heart.

As the breath is conceived in the heart, he should inhale with the back of the throat, at a point just behind the palate or the roof of the mouth. This instead of breathing in the nose or mouth. As he does so he will tend to constrict the throat lightly, and a raspy, drawing sound will vibrate in the throat and head. This tends to stimulate the throat, which is a root of Shakti, concentrate energy there rather than in the head, and make the energy available to be drawn into the heart.

The individual in meditation, then, should inhale from the heart and mentally or silently, preserving only the internal sense, pronounce the syllable “So” (That, Reality). As he does this he should feel the breath and energy draw down from the heart into the lower body. As he does so he should slightly contract or draw in the vital points at the throat or entrance of the breath, the solar plexus or navel, and at the anus. This emphasizes the internal circuit of energy and preserves its line of force. It prevents the energy from being concentrated or expelled from one of the lower chakras or outlets but instead directs the energy along the internal circuit.

Thus, as he inhales and chants “So” he should mentally follow the line of energy from the heart, down through the lower body, along a curve from heart to navel to sex center to anus and up the spine toward the aperture at the top of the head. As he perceives this line of force directed toward the highest focal point in the upper brain, the top of the head, he will feel a force or pressure in the lower body, particularly in the area of the navel. The contractions I described will create this pressure of the breath and give a sense of retention. When the energy is thus directed above, the breath contracted, the mantra in its full sense held in consciousness, the person should hold that breath and concentration above as long as is comfortable.

Thus, all of the energy will have moved directly along the natural circuit or form, purifying each center by passing through, and restoring all the connections so that the circuit of energy and consciousness is returned to its focal point above. The person should hold this form, sense and concentration above, allowing the circuit to remain in that state. He should concentrate in the point at the top of the head, the point of infinite light, bliss and energy. He has in fact and effect returned all the proceeding energy to its highest source in extended consciousness.

When the impulse to exhale has returned, the individual should begin the exhalation with the remaining part of the mantra “Ham” (I am). As he does so, he should feel the energy draw down in its perfect, blissful, full force of light, grace, and truth from the aperture at the top of the head, through the brain and all of its organs, including the midpoint in the center of the head and the area between the brows at the root of the nose, through the focal point in the throat, passing again into the heart of reality. As the exhalation, the mantra and its sense, and the thought of energy pass again into the heart, the individual should relax and abide in reality, the no-seeking of the heart of reality. The whole body should relax, the contractions cease, and the exhaled breath be held out comfortably. Consciousness should rest as no-seeking and enjoy the fulness of its brilliant presence and peace.

When the impulse to inhale returns again the same cycle of breath, contraction, mantra and thought, concentration and witness of the passage and circuit of energy should begin.

This process should be engaged whenever the individual and his meditation have radically assumed the form of understanding, of no-seeking in the heart. The result will be a purification and expansion of energy and light in all of the form of living being.

Whatever experiences arise should simply be acknowledged and the process continued as I describe. When the impulse to remain as understanding, as no-seeking in the heart arises, the individual should abide in that state. When the impulse to purify and establish the circuit of being arises, he should engage the process I describe. When he is merely unsettled, the mental and physical tendencies activated, he should engage in the enquiry which is understanding (“Avoiding relationship?) until he again abides as no-seeking.

In general I recommend that people simply engage the primary activity of understanding. It requires no special technique apart from the simplicity I describe, and it is clear to me that this primary activity of understanding and enquiry must be the substance of most individual attention in the form of reality. Apart from understanding and the primary knowledge of reality, it is only the motives of seeking that would draw people to begin the work of purification and perfection I have outlined in this brief essay. If you feel certain that this latter process has already become active and necessary in your case, then experiment with it as I have described. But in general, the activity of simple understanding and enquiry is the single necessity in every case, and its effects are an absolute sublimity, a perfect utility that also provides secondary benefits of purification toward perfection and harmony.

I have only included this mention of the creative process of purification and perfection because so many will wonder what are the purposes of the various indications of the internal mechanisms that I have experienced in the course of seeking. And they will wonder how the knowledge of reality is to be applied to the creative life process. After all, I have said that radical understanding is not a separate knowledge, a kind of self-realization apart from life. Thus, I have tried to demonstrate how this radical knowledge gets consciously extended into the form of life on every level.

But the individual should remember that this latter process of purification is not a tool for seekers. It is not to be applied by the seeker, the one who is not founded in radical understanding, in the perfect knowledge of reality. It is to be applied to the body of sacrifice, the lawful extension of reality, and not to the body of ignorance or separation, the confused and contradictory dilemma that appears to one who is not founded in radical knowledge.

After I had written the above essay and passed into the final stages of understanding, I began to feel there was no utility of any kind in the exercise of yoga. No matter how I expressed it, the activities of yoga could not be separated from the mentality of seeking and separation.

Indeed, the purpose of kriya yoga from the point of view of its exponents such as Yogananda, was to arouse the Kundalini Shakti and then go on by its aid to realize the Self. But I saw this kriya yoga go on in me automatically, after the Shakti had been aroused by the Guru. The true kriya yoga was the activity of the Shakti itself, not a means to its arousal.

Those who recommended it as a practice were only adapting the data of this automatic process to a deliberate process of seeking.

Thus, with the Shakti already aroused, I had gone directly about the work of realizing the Self through aspiration, identification, mantra and enquiry. I saw that if the process were performed by one who sought to arouse the Kundalini Shakti, he could only act apart from understanding. Thus, in the process given by Yogananda, the yogi draws the energy to the sahasrar and the point between the brows, holds it, and then lets it subside again and return below. From the beginning, his concentration is in the various centers and in himself as a yet unrealized being. He seeks his true Self.

Even where the process was initiated by the Shakti the impulse was also centered at various times in any one of the primary centers of energy. It also pursued the Self, although with a more enlightened effort.

However, I was involved in this process from the point of view of prior understanding. Thus, when I described it, I saw it as a process already impelled by the Self or Reality in the heart. But the more I continued to indulge the yogic process the more I realized that it only and continually drew me into the forms of seeking, either for the Shakti, the Self, or understanding. Thus, at. last I saw that understanding was itself the only radical process, and: enquiry was its activity. Then I abandoned the meditation on the chakras and the entire yogic process for enquiry. And enquiry was always epitomized as contemplation in the heart and the meditation of bliss in the Amrita Nadi.

I saw that there was only a simple activity and concept manifesting under the form of every kind of remedial activity. It was always Narcissus, the logic and activity of separation. I examined all of this yoga, all of this seeking and performing,

and all of its results, and I asked myself: Why? Why should such activities be engaged at all? What are the motives for meditating? And the more radical my understanding became, the more absurd, unnecessary and impossible it became to justify any of these exploits.

All ways showed themselves to be founded in some problem, some aspect of life as dilemma. There was the physical problem, the vital problem, the problem of the mind, the problem of spirituality and super-consciousness. There was the problem of morality, love, communication, sex, the problem of sin, suffering, the problem of powers, reality, truth, and the universe itself. Even the way of Ramana Maharshi was concerned with the problem of identity. But I saw that the problem, in and form, always had the same structure, and the same fundamental assumptions. Thus, I became concerned with motivation, the principle of these various kinds of action, belief, knowledge, etc. I saw that, since all ways were founded in a problem, real life must be founded in the understanding of the primary problem that is the source of all ordinary activity. only thus do we know and enjoy reality, even in spite of moment to moment problem creation.

I saw that understanding was itself motiveless. But everything else was in fact the avoidance of relationship, and this was their very motivation: Thus, the longer a man lives, the more complicated, contradictory and suffering life appears.

I saw that understanding was not some unusual, miraculous condition or perception. It is the simplest activity, utilized by everyone in his daily experience. It was only that men abandoned understanding in order to exploit the kinds of seeking. But when attention is drawn to understanding, the whole movement of seeking comes to an end. The man only understands where he would otherwise seek. Understanding was simply a matter of observing oneself in relationship, in action, in life. And if a man could be drawn to understanding and always firmly returned to it, he would begin only to understand. Understanding would replace ordinary habit of seeking and his consciousness and activity would become simplified, free of prior dilemma. And this very state, when it became the radical premise of anyone’s existence, was not in any different from the primary realization of yoga or meditation. It was the same knowledge and capacity of fundamental reality, but radically free of any limitation to certain kinds of action, mentality or experience.

I saw that men could easily be turned to self-observation. And the process of observation could easily be maintained by proper guidance or “hearing.” And that process of observing gradually saw the emergence of fundamental insight. Men could understand the radical nature of seeking, the adventure of Narcissus, the whole complex life of the avoidance of relationship. And when understanding arose men could easily apply understanding to moment to moment experience. Then understanding became the approach to life rather than all the automatic, confused activities of seeking, the drama of Narcissus. In that case, understanding became enquiry in the form of understanding itself: “Avoiding relationship?” And the abiding in relationship with the use of enquiry became the fundamental activity of conscious life moment to moment or in special periods of enquiry which might be called “meditation.”

Such a way might automatically produce the unusual phenomena of “kriya yoga” or the whole expanse of intuitive knowledge. Or it might simply realize the natural existence of no-seeking, no-dilemma, primary creativity and freedom. I have described these results as follows:

But the truth of real life is simply what is when there is a removal of contradictions, no-dilemma, no-search. It cannot be described, nor is any name appropriate for it. There is no motive to name it. It is not an object, not a supreme and other subject. It is not separate from the one who understands, nor can he separate himself from it. It is simply no-problem, no-search, unqualified reality without implications. It is also the form of reality, which is the most subtle structure of the world and everything, even the form of consciousness. All of this is obvious to one who understands and continually enquires.

Thus, as I became firmly grounded in understanding as a radical approach to life, making no use of any other exercise or remedial method, I saw that it corresponded exactly to the ultimate truth and reality I had enjoyed at times in the past. And it was exactly the way indicated by the highest, most subtle forms of conscious perceptions that were recently realized in me. Thus, I set about to describe the way of understanding as meditation as I had known and done it all my life.

The final portion of this chapter on understanding as meditation is a collection of essays, recently written, which seek to describe in detail the process and the virtues of this real meditation.

The Process of Real Meditation


The usual meditation is only a consolation, an effect and a good feeling. It provides no radical reversal of ordinary consciousness, and thus when situations arise out of meditation the perons has no control over the process of identification, differentiation and desire.

Understanding arises when there are true listening to my word and true self-observation in relationship. Therefore observe yourself in life. Observe yourself when you seek. Observe yourself when you suffer to any degree. Observe your motives. Observe the activity of identification. Observe the activity of differentiation. Observe the activity of desire. Observe the patterns of your existence.

When you see that you are always seeking, understanding is emerging. When you see the pattern of Narcissus as all your motives, all your acts, all your seeking, understanding is emerging. When you see you are always suffering, understanding is emerging. [when you see that every moment is a process in dilemma, understanding is emerging. When you see that every moment is a process of identification, differentiation and desire, understanding is emerging. When you see that every moment, when you are at your best as well as when you are at your worst, you are only avoiding relationship, then you understand. When you see that which already is, apart from the avoidance of relationship, which already absorbs consciousness prior to the whole dilemma, motivation and activity of avoidance, then you have finally understood.

When you have understood, understanding will become the natural response of your intelligence to any experience, the total content of any moment. Then approach every moment with understanding and perceive the original truth within it. Devote some time in the morning and evening to conscious understanding. Sit down, turn to understanding, and enquire of yourself as thoughts, feelings, and movements arise within to distract you. Enquire in the form of understanding: “Avoiding relationship?”

Do this for a half hour or an hour in the morning and evening, when you rise from sleep or just before retiring. Do it also briefly at any moment in the day when strong distractions absorb you. Devote yourself to understanding in the midst of all experience, instead of any kind of remedial action that arises as a way to handle the problem of life at any moment.

Make understanding and enquiry your radical approach to life. Become more and more absorbed in understanding and the cognition of present freedom. Understand and enquire until these things become realized permanently as your form. Enjoy and create according to the wisdom of your own form.

Until understanding becomes a radical activity it simply involves the observation of experience as it appears as levels of being, bodies, realms and experiences. Then it is not meditation, and the individual need not meditate but only observe and understand. But when understanding is fulfilled in the conscious, inclusive and transforming cognition of experience and seeking, then meditation will become a real impulse.

At this point the individual should begin to enquire, and this is his meditation, whether or not he does it as a formal exercise. When he has the impulse to do it formally or intensively, he should do it as I have described.

When meditation has become radical consciousness, then abide in that consciousness which is no-seeking in the heart. And when you act, remain in this natural meditation, or enquire, as you feel inclined.

Thus, continually remain in consciousness and the activity of consciousness, and enjoy the endless cognition of reality and truth, and all the wisdom that arises in relationship. There is no end to that attainment, no goal and no dilemma, but only perpetual understanding of the arising world, moment to moment, through the event of every death.

The first work of understanding is the observation of the avoidance of relationship as the source of seeking and thus of suffering. The later work is the application of this conscious awareness to moment to moment existence, and thus the observation of the absolute, radical nature of this avoidance as the essential process of every moment of existence. When this understanding itself becomes radical knowledge all seeking and suffering, all avoidance of relationship dissolves from the field of conscious existence. Then there is only reality, conscious and unqualified presence.

The world is seeking, nothing more. And all seeking is suffering and separation as continuous creations. They are created by the perpetual activities of identification, differentiation and desire. These are the mechanism of the avoidance of relationship. And these three are continuously performed in the various levels of being, corresponding to what are called the “chakras” or the circuit of creative centers, and the various bodies, realms and experiences. The consciousness of the seeker is a constantly changing perception of dilemma. And in all that he does he is always only avoiding relationship.

Understanding is the recognition of seeking as the active principle of our lives. It recognizes the effects of seeking, its qualities and sources, the areas of its operation, and the methods of its functioning. It sees that seeking is the substance and the entire meaning of every moment of our lives.

But understanding, since it is radically aware of seeking, is not seeking. Understanding is prior to and apart from every kind of seeking and the whole drama of ordinary life. Therefore, it not only sees all life as seeking, but enjoys itself as a fundamental reality prior to all seeking. It perceives no-seeking, non-avoidance, non-separation, unqualified relationship, and unqualified consciousness.

The enquiry (“Avoiding relationship?”) is the form of understanding. When understanding has in fact developed as an insight as a result of hearing the truth and observing life, then it is brought to life directly in the form of enquiry. The man who enquires is no longer seeking but continuously understanding seeking. Seeking is no longer the form of his action or his consciousness. Understanding has become the form and action of his consciousness.

As understanding and enquiry continue the forms of seeking and the whole enterprise of separative life pass before the one who enquires. And continually the sources of that action and the consciousness that identifies with them are brought to the condition of understanding. Eventually the man of understanding becomes less and less absorbed in the forms of seeking, and understanding and enquiry lead constantly to the reality that is their foundation. Attention gradually ceases to be involved in the seeking and the understanding of seeking and rests in that which understanding itself is and to which enquiry constantly leads attention.

Finally, there is no-seeking, no enquiry, no understanding of seeking. There is no dilemma, no suffering, no separation. There is no identification, no differentiation and no desire. There are no levels of being, no bodies, realms or experiences. These are no longer simply perceived apart. They are themselves lived or known as reality and consciousness.

There is only that which understanding itself is, prior to seeking or the recognition of seeking. There is not the consciousness of subject, witness or experiencer. There is not the consciousness of objects, forms or experiences. There is only reality, which is unqualified and present. It is consciousness itself prior to any communication of itself to itself through any form. It is unqualified relationship and no-seeking, the form of reality. It abides as fulness and the heart of reality. It appears to the right of the heart in the chest and is not touched, modified or included. I is what is when there is perfect understanding. It is that which understanding knows and enjoys from the beginning.

The way of understanding generally begins in the mind, the processes of observation. Then it deepens and becomes inclusive insight. Thereafter it moves as enquiry: “Avoiding relationship?”

As the enquiry continues over time the mind and life continually tend and move into various levels of being, various experiences, even various bodies and realms. The enquiry constantly dissolves the separative consciousness and allows it to remain as the unqualified, inclusive form of reality.

Consciousness moves through the various forms and modifications that are in fact the manifestations of Shakti or the universal creative Force. Enquiry continues as long as these movements continue, no matter how ordinary, limited or sublime the experiences may appear.

Thus, enquiry continues until consciousness realizes itself directly and abides as the heart, which is unqualified fulness and no-seeking. Thereafter it will be observed that there is no movement, no modification in the knowledge of reality, even though the life itself continues to manifest as every kind of condition. Then there is no longer enquiry but the continuous bliss of real consciousness and direct knowledge of the primary truth that is reality itself.

Enquiry is not a process of self-analysis. Its purpose is not to draw the mind into all kinds of formulations and the deep self-consciousness of endless patterns. Enquiry is not “concerned” with the nature and forms of avoidance. Nor is the analytical awareness of the whole pattern of one’s life of avoidance the same as understanding.

One who enquires remains attentive to the question, to the one who receives the question, the place where the question is received, and to what arises. Until something arises, he only remains in the enquiry in its place. Finally, by his remaining in the enquiry, what arises will reveal itself to consciousness as the avoidance of relationship.

It makes no difference what arises or what is the character of the particular form of avoidance, for, as soon as it is consciously recognized, one ceases to exist in that form of separation and avoidance. One is not concentrated in the recognition or the analysis of avoidance. Instead, one becomes aware of relationship. The unconscious image of separation is replaced by the conscious awareness of relationship, of unqualified, present relationship. Unconscious avoidance does not merely become self-conscious, as in analysis. Rather, the one who avoided relationship before becomes aware of that from which he was separated. Instead of remaining unconscious in avoidance and separation he becomes conscious in relationship.

Over time, enquiry realizes the Form of Reality which contains this sense of unqualified relationship. One sees that enquiry is directed to the heart and is received in the heart. The heart is realized to be the point where consciousness enters into relationship. Then one recognizes the Presence, the whole Form of relationship over against consciousness. But at last this direct cognition becomes Self-awareness. When all avoidance of relationship subsides in the heart, and unqualified relationship is enjoyed directly, then the ordinary trend of consciousness is reversed or dissolved. The one who appears in relationship becomes aware of himself, his real, present nature and Presence as Reality. Then the thing he enjoyed before as unqualified relationship is realized to be his own nature and form.

When the movement of avoidance ceases, when there is, even for a moment, no identification, differentiation or desire, then you are only what you are. And you know it. The knowledge of your own nature and the utter nature of all reality springs up suddenly. Then all the time one is either seated in that knowledge which is no-seeking or else creatively present as no-dilemma, the Amrita Nadi, the “bright.”

Understanding is seated in consciousness. It is conscious realization. It is not seated in dilemma or any effect. It is not seated in the unconscious or subconscious, nor does it wait upon these as if they contained the source of its true intelligence or content. Neither is it seated in the superconscious planes or wait upon them, by excluding consciousness or what is below consciousness, as if exclusive superconsciousness alone were the center and source of its only mind. It is reality functioning on the level of consciousness or the conscious mind, which is the focal point or medium of what is above and below.

Thus, the seat of understanding as a free activity at first appears in the head. A point in the very center of the head is the seat of the force of the conscious mind. That point of understanding is openly aware of the levels of consciousness above and below. Thus, it is linked to the processes below, which are unconscious and subconscious, as well as those above, which are super-conscious or non-mental.

In the process of enquiry, which is real meditation, a man simply rests in understanding. In formal meditation he merely sits comfortably and free of the need to respond to activities in his environment. He already understands. He has already examined the nature of suffering, of dilemma and of action. Thus he sits and enjoys the fulness of understanding in his form at that moment.

Enquiry begins at the point where he becomes aware of the tendency of his conscious awareness. Depending upon the stresses of his life expression at that moment, his awareness will tend to move or become associated with attention to movement or tension, thought or feeling in some area or plane of the body. Thus, his awareness will be directed from the center of understanding in the head, analogous to the viewpoint of his eyes (which should remain closed) toward some area of his form, above or below.

In general, he will probably move naturally in attention toward some process analogous to the lower body. He will be aware of some sexual tension, or some energy below, or some feeling. These sensations also correspond to the lower “chakras,” the creative centers of energy at the base of the spine (anus), the sacral center (sexuality), and the navel or solar plexus (personal power). The enquiry, which is the free activity of understanding, should thus be allowed to confront whatever area the mind tends to pursue. When this movement begins, he should enquire “Avoiding relationship?” He should not seek to remove the tendency itself. He should only enquire. If the tendency remains, he should only enquire. If he becomes disturbed that the tendency does not vanish, he should only enquire of that disturbance. Whatever arises, he should only enquire.

This enquiry can be done as an internal mental activity, either as a silent verbalization of the mind in understanding or as an intention of understanding without internal verbalization. The frequency of the enquiry should be determined by the individual, as he perceives the practical effect of his approach.

As the enquiry proceeds the tendency of attention will begin to break up and dissolve. The enquiry is understanding, and so the form of consciousness will begin to disassociate or detach from the area of attention and rest in understanding. The experience will be one of relief or release of attention and a return to rest in a kind of fulness. As one area of attention dissolves another tendency will replace it and gather the energy of consciousness. Then the enquiry should follow it as before and continue until it also dissolves or is replaced.

The man who is beginning the way of understanding is likely to feel the tendency of consciousness to move in a chronic pattern of attention in the lower body. This is only natural, since we chronically associate with the life processes, the energies of the lower body. Food-desire, sex, vital communication, etc. are the basic and chronic content of ordinary life. Real life is not opposed to such energies or experiences. They are not the problem, nor are they necessarily destructive. Indeed, they are in the form of life and are part of our present fulfillment. We are not constrained to transcend these centers of energy and lock them out. What ultimate and necessary fulfillment can we ascribe to the saint who has risen to an exclusive identity with the highest center of being and dwells only in the heaven of his God? In spite of him, the universes continue to exist, and his God remains to manifest and enjoy them and pursue their perfection.

Thus, there is no peculiar dilemma or “lowness” involved in the tendency to concentration in the lowest dimensions of our creative existence. We remain in understanding even then and suffer no motive to escape or destroy them. The dilemma is not in the existence of such processes of life and energy, but in the enforced concentration in them apart from understanding. Such concentration is the root of suffering, of separateness and the motives of dilemma. Thus, it is only necessary to abide radically in understanding and not despair of it. It is only necessary to enquire and not turn to some activity apart from understanding which seeks to abolish the lower energy itself.

Over time the man who understands will experience gradual relief from the symptoms of his problematic life. In his ease he will naturally and voluntarily change the patterns of his life. They will simply fall away in the force of understanding and the full bliss of his consciousness. Indeed, even before a man begins to adapt to the processes of enquiry and meditation, he must have understood. And he will already have modified his behavior in the direction of an easy internal control. Understanding, even before it develops into profound internal enquiry, is already a purifying force that relieves a man from much voluntary self-exploitation that he previously added to chronic difficulty.

Thus, enquiry continues to attend to the tendency of consciousness in meditation. Where understanding has become well-developed through this experience, or in a man relatively free of enforced concentration in the lower energies, the attention will gradually move into higher areas. Then he may tend to the emotions of the heart and even its psychic depth. Abiding in understanding, he should enquire also of these: “Avoiding relationship?” And so this concentration will also ease. He may move higher, into the center analogous to the lower throat and the thyroid gland, which are also the seat of Shakti, and so witness the display of power, the higher psyche, the vibrations and glowing mentality of profound internal regions. He should abide in understanding and continue to enquire. No matter where his mind tends to move, he should continue to enquire, gently but intensively, directly to the content of his involvement.

In any case, the field of his attention is always a separative movement, as he will discover by enquiry, by radically holding to understanding, which is the source of enquiry. The result of this process of understanding appears to be a kind of ascent, as if there were an abandonment of the lower. This is, however, not in fact the case. There is simply a relaxation of attention.

Ordinarily we are drawn into enforced and chronic attention in various centers of energy or experience. These became the foundation of our point of view, and so a man who is profoundly and exclusively concentrated in some complex of experience feels that energy overwhelmingly, and everything else, including the centers of his conscious life apart from that, appears over against it. This is the mechanism whereby men acquire the root consciousness of separateness and the chronic activity of separativeness. But when a man clings to understanding this complex of concentration eases and relaxes, so that he regains the natural contact with the total circuit of conscious life, which natively and already knows its freedom and wholeness.

As a result of the way of understanding through enquiry, the forms of chronic concentration are relieved and the man abides in understanding rather than the exclusive centers of concentration. The process of enquiry is not a search for understanding or any effect, but it is understanding maintaining itself and knowing itself under all conditions. Thus, in one who continually understands, fear and chronic reactivity are gradually stilled. What in fact has happened is that he no longer is concentrated in some separate complex of energy, some portion of the circuit of being. The man who is fixed in animated sexuality and acquisition which tend to exhaust and dissipate life energy, becomes vital, healthier and stronger as this concentration is eased and he restores the internal connection with the higher center in the solar plexus Just so, a man experiences an emotional expansion and a true relational ability as he restores the connection to the creative center at the heart. His effectiveness and power increase as he opens even higher in the throat and the mental centers in the head.

Thus, we see that the ascent which this process involves is in fact not an abandonment of the lower but a greater and greater inclusiveness, so that the man begins to function as a whole and experiences creative control over life processes. This inclusiveness and not any kind of exclusive ascent or descent is the form of real existence, of creative life. And the way of understanding is the root of that inclusive and real life.

As the process of real meditation increases in its radical intensity, the man will find that the mind tends less and less to concentrate in the centers below the head. In time he will have achieved such ease of internal relationship to life and he will have come to exercise such creative control or use of the life process that he will not be drawn excitedly to the impressions of the life complex. His enquiry will quickly move through these movements and he will center easily in the form of understanding, in a fulness that is silent and blissful. He will enjoy the radiant calm and certainty that is natural to the center of consciousness in the head. Such a man has achieved creative realization of the unconscious and subconscious life process. He has not abandoned life, nor does he minimize it. It has simply become an area of creative enjoyment that is usable to him and free of necessary dilemma.

Such a person will then also feel the mind, the center of consciousness or conscious understanding, tend upward toward what is in fact super-conscious, prior to life individuality. In meditation he will experience a new form of enquiry. The problem in the mind and the creative centers below the head is generally one of the refusal of relationship in a concrete sense. It is life-abandonment, the refusal of life processes, the life of love and inclusion, of intelligence and human creativity. But when enquiry is drawn above, toward what is not conscious but super-conscious and thus not presently included in the field of the mind, the individual begins to comprehend the avoidance of relationship on a new level. Then it is not a matter of the avoidance of concrete relationship by separating yourself as an entity from other entities. Personal existence in the world is not a function of the higher conscious life.

In meditation, as the individual is drawn above, toward the aperture at the top and slightly to the rear of the head, he will remain in understanding and enquire as before, but his realization will not be one of relational ease. Instead, he will perceive that the very concept of his individual existence as it functions on a conscious level and down into the subconscious and unconscious life levels is in fact the source of dilemma or separateness. He will simply see that it does not apply, indeed, does not exist, and the separative movement that creates it on the mental level will simply dissolve. In that intense perception in understanding the fundamental activity of identification and differentiation will reveal itself and subside, at first for brief moments, and then easily, for longer periods, until it becomes a constant that also affects the operating basis of the conscious mind.

Those who pursue this very perception as an exclusive goal call it “enlightenment” or “Self-realization,” a kind of once and for all attainment. In fact it is only the natural perception of super-consciousness. If a man has manipulated himself in dilemma to the point of temporary abandonment of the “lower” life and even the living mind, he will feel he has attained reality and so await the dissolution of his personal existence at death. But the man who understands does not abandon understanding or life. He has no motive for doing so. He will not be troubled by the return to mental life and human existence. He simply understands that he has begun to include an even higher center and source of true being in life.

In any case, whatever arises in meditation, you should abide in understanding and simply enquire. In time the movement of consciousness will not even tend to the point of super-consciousness above. The enquiry will become radical knowledge prior to every kind of activity and perception. Then you will find that understanding even ceases to function as a mental activity. It will have become radically concentrated in that to which the enquiry always leads. That silence, incomparable depth and formless object of contemplation will become utterly absorbing. Then, suddenly, you may find that you are seated in the heart. All the movements of consciousness, on every level, will have fallen away, and you will remain tacitly aware as no-seeking in the heart, to the right side of the chest. You will possess unqualified knowledge of Reality and enjoy untouchable bliss. And it will be the same bliss you know as understanding.

But do not seek this state, and, if it comes, continue to enquire as soon as you possess a mind with which to enquire. As your enquiry continues you will discover that you rise again out of the heart, while yet remaining founded in the heart. You will experience the current of bliss and joy rising again to the sahasrar. And this current or circuit of bliss will remain, even under the conditions of enquiry, as your fundamental form. It is the Amrita Nadi, the “bright.” It is enjoyment, no-dilemma, and it contains every creative faculty. In that form, as you continue the life of understanding and enquiry, you will enjoy the continuous flowering of every kind of wisdom and knowledge.

Understanding, from the beginning and forever, is the source of our true and real life. It is possessed of no exclusive goal, and thus it is not motivated to concentrate above or below. Its motivation is its own and very form, which is already inclusive. Thus, just as we in our ordinary humanity suffer by exclusive concentration in what is below understanding, we would likewise suffer by exclusive concentration in what is above it. To concentrate in the centers or realms of the super-conscious is a separative activity, not an inclusive one. It is enforced and recommended by the teachings invented in the great search. Real life, radically founded in understanding, maintains the form or circuit of conscious life. The full life of understanding is not one in which the unconscious and subconscious become conscious activities of the mind (although such is at least experimentally possible, as proven by certain yogis). Nor is it one in which the super-conscious becomes a conscious process under the control of the conscious mind (although such control or consciousness appears to be represented in the attainment of certain great saints). The full life of understanding is one in which the unconscious and subconscious processes remain as such, and so also with the super-conscious processes. The difference is that the dilemma is removed, and the link or circuit between them all, including the process of consciousness and conscious understanding, is attained, asserted and enjoyed.

Thus, the real man is creatively present. He operates in the mind of understanding, which is fully bathed in the higher light, and which moves into the creative realization and even evolution of life. This real man is the future man of all the universes. In him the creative movement coming out of the heart will find fulfillment in the great realization of manifest existence.

Such men, who abide radically in understanding and so realize life apart from dilemma, search and fear, are creatively involved in maintaining and using the form of reality. They operate to restore that form by constantly regaining the circuit of consciousness and power that begins in the heart. And they move to make that form the basis for all actual existence, even what we call the human.

The enquiry doesn’t produce an instant result simply because it is used. Often you must enquire for some time before it becomes conscious and intense, operative as understanding rather than method. When you enquire you are not dealing with words but meanings. And you are directing it not to unconscious and material forces but to mind and consciousness, which are also aware of these. Thus, often in meditation, it takes some time for understanding to arise and real meditation to begin.

Therefore, when you meditate, meditate with understanding and continue to enquire until it moves into consciousness, recognizes the forms of avoidance, resumes the form of relationship, and creates an opening and release of bliss.

Frequently you will find a sudden opening or release in the heart. It is the release of consciousness, bliss and energy to the Amrita Nadi. This opening, fulness, ease and release is the typical result of each daily meditation. Of course it is not a “required” experience. It is only that you may perceive it, and so I have accounted for it.

Simply understand and enquire with intensity, not as a method or a program to create various effects, but as an activity in consciousness.

This meditation is described in terms of the physical or gross body. But it is not identical to it or contained in it. This meditation can be done exactly as described in any body, even the subtle supra-causal body. Every body is in the Form of Reality, the Amrita Nadi. The same centers and the same relationships pertain in each body and every realm of universe. Every experience and every plane of being is a manifestation within the same instrument. From the point of view of the Form of Reality there is no higher or lower body. Every body is the same form, the same terminal of bliss and enjoyment, the same seat of consciousness and truth. There is no need for ascent or descent in the name of truth. There is only present understanding.

Enquiry is not simply directed to various actions that are concrete avoidance. It is directed to oneself directly. It is not: “Is this action the avoidance of relationship in some sense?” It is, rather: “Presently avoiding being already, entirely in relationship?” Thus, it moves you directly to self-awareness that is ineffably, unqualifiedly in relationship.

The enquiry is not in the form: “Are you avoiding relationship?” or “Am I avoiding relationship?” There is no dramatized separation in the mind between oneself as the questioner and oneself as the hearer. The one consciousness enquires of itself, or, in actual effect, observes itself alive in the present moment. There is simply the observation of the total, present context of real experience.

One does not enquire as or of some surrogate entity, part of the mind, separate function, or etc. The one who understands enquires of himself in the creation of the present moment. The enquiry is not a means of liberation but real consciousness enforcing its own form as the present moment. Thus, it is necessary that the man who enquires be one who already understands. Enquiry is the activity of understanding. The enquiry is not understanding isolated as a method to produce an effect. The entire action of enquiring and realizing is understanding, and each part of it is itself understanding.

Simply enquire of yourself as yourself. When you feel yourself in the heart, enquire of yourself there as any tendency, any moment arises. There is no mystery, no difficulty implied in this activity. Understand, and enquire of the center of your being. In the beginning it may appear that you are seated in the mind and enquire of your deeper self in some unrecognizable place or in the heart. But the process of enquiry is in fact in the heart and realizes itself in the heart. It is no-seeking and knows itself at last as no-seeking. When understanding becomes this revolutionary knowledge the enquiry still persists. Until there is a radical realization utterly retired of all dilemma. Then, again the fulness of being is assumed in the nonseparate cognition of present reality.

As the enquiry proceeds it follows the tendencies of the life and mind. Thus, one makes discoveries and understands the various activities of his life. But at last the enquiry enters the heart. And enquiry is only directed exactly to oneself, utterly and completely. Then understanding becomes radical cognition and perfect knowledge. With each enquiry one sees all consciousness and activity merge in a single bliss of unqualified relationship. Then one begins to become aware at once of the one who enquires and the one of whom he is enquiring. Then there is no motion, all is included. There is only no-seeking in the heart and the blissful form of reality, the unqualified.

The activity of enquiry continues as long as the mind tends to move and take on forms. But the most intense meditation is one in which the form of reality itself absorbs consciousness. Then understanding does not move with the mind to enquire of its forms but rests prior to the mind (the function of consciousness which is receptive to and records experience) in the form of reality which is understanding itself.

One of the primary experiences in enquiry is a kind of letting go, but in its most intense form it is a kind of holding on. In the first case there is understanding but also a stimulated life-form that tends to separative experience. Thus enquiry, the arm of understanding, moves to view all these experiences as they truly are, and we are let loose in understanding. But when we have seen enough of this and know the game well, and when we almost naturally stand loose, then an entirely new form of consciousness emerges. We do not simply stand free, empty and apart. Instead, we recognize and enjoy that form which was always there, the very armature on which all our parts and functions were set.

Whereas before we enquired: “Avoiding relationship?” and so felt images and tendencies dissolve, now we recognize and enjoy the silent, imageless and attentive state of our true being. When the automatic activity of avoidance subsides, then the natural, internal force and form of unqualified relationship comes into consciousness. The sense is simply one of unqualified relationship, always and already, prior to any particular experience, prior to present limitation, ignorance or “sin.”

However, this realization is in understanding. It is not the same as the believer’s sense of the all-embracing God outside of him. It is the most intense form of understanding, where enquiry has become fruitful in resonating the parts of the man. Then meditation is a natural activity of holding on, of unqualifiedly asserting that form, of being unqualifiedly related, non-separate, included, already inclusive of high and low, whatever the apparent conditions.

When the individual holds on to this perception, which is intense understanding, a forcefulness rises in him that purifies the remnants of mentality and the automatic demands that force him to identify with separated levels of his being. Suddenly he ceases to be held and limited to the concrete mind, the ground of emotionality and the lower functions of vital and physical life. The force of his understanding has become an intense attention to the form of reality, and he feels the limits of his consciousness expanding above to include the unitive dimensions of super-conscious intelligence

The feeling is a kind of rushing ascent. The individual holds to his unqualified perception, the awareness of reality as inclusive, and allows himself to be drawn into the fulness of being. He may experience many effects of this purifying expansion, including a stiffening of the body or violent twisting and movement of the body, particularly the spine and neck. He may make symbolic gestures with his hands or body. There may be tensions of the face, of the upper head, of the area between the brows. He may be moved to laughter or tears, to make strange expressions with his face, to utter strange sounds. He may hear inner sounds, see visions, taste or smell internal emanations or experience unusual internal sensations. He may feel heat or cold. He may sense vibrations, vast internal spaces, emptiness, silence, a living void filling with a descending force and light from an infinite consciousness and power above.

Thus, the primary activity of understanding moves from recognition to enquiry to holding on to the form of reality. That form is simply the armature or structure of being. Understanding or real meditation turns a man to the basic form of conscious life and concentrates him in its primary center or thread that is an open circuit between the heart and the head. Thus, by naturally holding on to that form, that consciousness which is unqualified, the man grows over time into his real fulness and includes the emanations of the highest in the creative and functional realization of his life.

I should repeat again that this is a matter of understanding. It has no goal exterior or radically prior to itself, even as it enquires. Indeed, it enquires of all such things. Thus, the individual who embraces the path of understanding is not pursuing liberation in the exclusive sense.

The way of understanding is already and consciously free, and that freedom and bliss are the ground of its expansion and growth. Thus, the individual who holds on to the form of reality is not motivated to abandon more and more and so slice away the forms of life. He is already free of such seeking, since he is founded in understanding. Instead, he continually moves into the creative realization of life by including or assuming on the level of consciousness and life-activity the force, light, bliss, power, ability, freedom, intelligence and all the rest that is ours in the totality of our being.

Understanding is reality, that which always, already exists, which is consciousness and ‘no-seeking” in the heart. When it has become radical knowledge, the foundation and way of existence, it abides as itself under all conditions and turns all things into forms of relationship.

The conscious activity of understanding is meditation or the beholding of reality. It is either effortless abiding in no-seeking or the activity of enquiry. The enquiry will at last be directed to the heart, to oneself directly and wholly: “Avoiding relationship?” Thus, one realizes the consciousness of the form of reality which is expressed from the consciousness in the heart.

The life of understanding is a process in consciousness, not an activity in any level of being, or any body, realm or experience. It is always in consciousness or reality itself, and, by this, continually appears in the form of reality, in every form in which it appears, while abiding in its own nature.

The man of understanding is either simply present or enquiring of himself. He is perpetually turned to consciousness and not to anything that arises separately. His habit is enquiry, and thus he is never devoted to any form of problem.

When enquiry has settled in the heart, awareness develops as what Ramana calls the “Amrita Nadi.” I call it the “Form of Reality.” It is the circuit of current from the heart to the head. As a child I knew it as the “bright.” In the unqualified state all identification, differentiation, and desire have ended. There is only unqualified relationship realized in enquiry to be already the case. This realization is simply consciousness as the Amrita Nadi, the form of reality, and it is experienced as the “bright,” the unconditional bliss of presence, of perfect knowledge, whose source is the heart, reality itself. Therefore, the “bright” is the form of that reality which is consciousness. It is true and real, the birthright of all existence.

Those who do not understand as reality in the heart only think in the head. They are in exile. They are seeking. Thus, they adapt to all paths, sensual and spiritual, the ways of exploitation and separation. But understanding and real enquiry are reality itself, and they resort to none of the means of suffering. Understanding is the unbroken act of conscious being, even in the one who knows perfectly. Thus, he remains untouched by what passes, but those who seek, like Narcissus, are always trying to become immune. Their struggle is as endless as his bliss.

Ramana typically urged people to pursue the source of their questions: Who is it? But this tends to turn most men to a form of motivated search. Understanding is not in the form of a question, a dilemma. It is in the form of a real observation. It is already knowledge that precludes the problem of subject and object. The enquiry that is understanding is not a question seeking an answer, but a form of knowledge enforcing itself.

Thus, we enquire: Avoiding relationship? This has consequences in regard to the subject and the object, the total configuration of experience and reality. It is founded not in the assumption of the “Witness,” the heart, the Self, no-seeking as a permanent state apart from life. It is founded in the Form of Reality, the Atma Nadi or Amrita Nadi, the “bright.” . Thus, it does not tend to rest in the prior Self but in the Form of Reality, which is the form of the Self.

That Form was also the realization of Ramana, as I have tried to indicate. But he did not teach the way of that Form, although he indicated it. Thus, many teachers and paths have found disagreement with him and thought that he excluded the world and the creative verity of existence. I have been moved to understanding, which from the beginning embraces the fulness of the Form of Reality. It realizes the fundamental truth of the heart, the Self, but also of present existence. It never precludes or seems to preclude the form of life.

Ramana tended to abandon the states of existence in the classical manner of Vedanta. Thus, karmas were to be dissolved and consciousness returned to its prior existence as the Self. But it is my experience that what appears to be “karma” from the point of view of the seeker is only creative existence from the point of view of Reality.

This is also true to Ramana’s experience. But it is my experience that the realization of the Form of Reality itself precludes apparent withdrawal into the heart as a goal or an effect. There is no withdrawal into the heart as a radical activity. Such is only a temporary state. It is not the Form of Reality that is latent and secondary. Pure Self awareness as an exclusive state is latent and secondary. That state is not radical, primary or true to the whole of existence.

There is no dilemma in the manifest state. It is the foundation itself. It is the Form of Reality. And when consciousness and all Form withdraw into the pure nature it is only a turn to rest, a cycle of refreshment. The Form of Reality is not a special creation or condition but the native form itself.

The way of understanding from the beginning is not motivated in dilemma or an exclusive predilection for a radically liberated experience. It turns on the very form of reality and is not dismayed, either by manifest existence or the withdrawal in the heart. In all things, it is seated in the primary Form and Source and is not turned to dilemma, separation or seeking on the basis of any event.

Therefore, I have wanted to speak the ultimate truth that is the truth of Ramana and Vedanta as well as the various intuitions and paths that justify creation. It is also the truth of Christ and of Sri Aurobindo. But its highest, most inclusive precedent is the revelation of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.

And Ramana is not a source radically different from Bhagavan Nityananda, or my other teachers. He is their ultimate fulfillment and their perfect word. Nityananda is the “bright” incarnate. I see him always as that very Form of Reality. And Muktananda is his Form. It is only that when my own path communicated its radical perception that I found its special forces duplicated in the recorded experience and words of Ramana. In fact, there is only the Form of Reality itself, and all my Gurus have shown only that Form to me.

The ultimate and simplest meditation is to gaze in the heart as no-seeking and allow its bliss to rise as fulness to the head, the silence of the sahasrar above the seat of the mind. Then there is only conscious enjoyment and nodilemma, no separation, no-seeking. That is the enjoyment of the Form of Reality.

But this meditation is not a technique. It is discovered in the fulness of understanding. Otherwise it is an effort in dilemma. Therefore, understand, and perceive the Form of Reality. When enquiry has found no-seeking, but only bliss and pure consciousness in the heart, and when that bliss has been seen to rise to the sahasrar in the Amrita Nadi, the Form of Reality, thereafter meditate as that and allow it to be so.

The Heart is the Guru. The Amrita Nadi is his Form. The bliss of unqualified enjoyment is his teaching. The knowledge of all this is liberation and freedom. The enjoyment of all this is Reality. The existence of all this is truth. The activity of all this understanding is real life is understanding. And understanding is real life.

In meditation the man of understanding may perceive a movement of consciousness and energy in relation to the centers in the body. The yogi, in his search for Shakti or the Self, draws energy down from above and directs it upwards along the spine to the sahasrar. He may even in time see it moving out of the sahasrar to return to its origin in the heart. But in the natural process of living being, generated from the heart and expanded as the Amrita Nadi, the circulation of energy is the reverse of the yogic process of return. It is instead a creative emanation from the heart which includes air forms, animates all forms, and sacrifices all forms again to the heart.

Thus, the man of understanding may perceive the blissful energy rising out of the heart to the sahasrar as the Amrita Nadi, his blissful presence. Then it may appear to descend through the various centers to the muladhar. In turn it may appear to rise again from the muladhar, through the root of the sex center and the solar plexus, surrendering itself in the heart.

He may even perceive this movement in relation to the breath. When he inhales, the energy may appear to rise from below to the heart. Then there may be a retention of breath accompanied by silence in the mind, and the conscious energy may rise forcefully into the Amrita Nadi. When he exhales again the energy may appear to move down through the centers in the spine to the muladhar and rest there during another brief retention.

Seeing this, the man may think he has recovered a superior kind of yogic process. He may try to use it deliberately to control and purify the instrument. This may seem to be the very yoga of understanding itself. But he will find that as he begins to engage this process he will become a seeker as before. He will become concerned for purification, creative activities on a subtle level, etc. Thus, he will begin to act again on the basis of a dilemma in-consciousness and form.

He should simply remain in understanding and enquire. When such processes arise spontaneously he should simply understand and enquire. They will continue only by themselves and not bind him by identification, differentiation and desire.

Thus, he will only witness even these ultimate events, and he will remain in his own form, residing in the heart, generated as the “bright.”

An experience similar to what I described as the “thumbs” may arise during real meditation, just as any other manifestation. It is the pranic, astral sheath. It is spherical. When it arises the individual is not entering the astral form or any of its realms. He is discarding the astral form itself, at least temporarily. Then he will find himself seated in the purely mental sheath, or else the one of bliss. But if he allows the reversal of polarity to take place completely, and this simply by remaining as understanding and enquiry, he will find himself turned down into the heart. Then, as enquiry continues, he will know only Reality, and he will arise as the Amrita Nadi.

No matter what pattern of experience or form arises in real meditation, abide in understanding and enquire. Enquiry is not to be abandoned for any experience or form. It will only cease of its own accord when absolutely nothing arises, not thought, form, experience or bliss. Then there is only Reality, unqualified and perfect. As long as things continue to arise, abide in understanding and enquire. When things finally cease to arise, when there is no break in the perfect existence of Reality, then you will abide only in Reality in all states. In the waking state particularly you will only witness all forms, all identities and actions while remaining as the Heart, present as Amrita Nadi. Then there may also be a constant sense of concentration at the point in the Heart, to the right side. There will be no covering, no mind, no person, no experience, no form. All things will exist as an ornamentation or pattern which does not include you but which you include. This is perfect understanding.

Understanding is always beholding Bhagavan, the Form of Reality, whose center is the heart, and whose extremities are the mind and the activities of enjoyment. There is nothing else that is ever experienced or known but this one enjoyment of reality, by reality, which is reality. There is only the one process, the one form, the one experience. It is beholding, enjoyment, unqualified present bliss. It has no special origination in time or form. Therefore, cessation or change has nothing to do with it. These things do not qualify it.

They are only the conditions of the same primary enjoyment, as forms churning in the light, cycling about the sun, resolving and dissolving in an endless pattern of enjoyment, as the loved-one turns herself before her lover.

When there is no understanding these things continue as dilemma, enforcing the adventure of Narcissus. When there is understanding these things continue as before, but consciously, in the Form of Reality. And the one who understands appears no different than before, except he is given to pleasures, laughter, wisdom and unqualified adventure.

When one lives as the bright one no longer knows oneself as descended, separate, etc. Thus there is no longer any need to ascend through the chakras. There is only the present enjoyment of the Amrita Nadi, the form of conscious reality. It is pure existence (no-seeking) in the heart. It is consciousness, awareness and knowledge, in the antahkarana, the four-part mind (reflection or thought, discrimination or intellect, memory, and egoity). It is no-dilemma in the mind. It is bliss in the sahasrar. This radiance illumines all forms, all levels, all bodies, realms and experiences. It is the one experience. Everything else only reflects it. Thus, one who is aware as the Form of Reality gives life to all things.

Self-enquiry in the form “Who am I” served well for the East, where individuality is not traditionally developed to the degree of the extroverted West. The ancient races there remain aligned with race consciousness and a sense of oneness on the level of prior consciousness. Thus, the enquiry leading to concentration in the Self is not delusive but practical and effective.

But in the West and in the inclusive, highly communicative culture of the new age, such enquiry tends to be reparative, leading to concentration in self-consciousness as opposed to the objects of awareness. This is because the Western mind represents a new order of humanity, highly individuated and centered in separative mental consciousness rather than the unitive vital and psychic consciousness characteristic of ancient cultures.

In fact the “Self” is not the subject located in any body, realm or experience. It is reality and real consciousness. Thus, I recommend the enquiry “Avoiding relationship?” First of all, it is in the form of the same understanding that arises when we observe life and recognize the source of suffering and seeking. And, secondly, it operates on a level of awareness that does not create separative responses. The ancient cultures may have realized reality by concentrating on Self, but the men of the new age will realize that same reality by the perception of that which is not the avoidance of relationship.

In the new age men will not function on the level of race consciousness and the assumption of oneness on the level of prior consciousness. They will be highly individuated, mentally oriented, and separative in tendency. Thus, this form of enquiry and the entire life of understanding is given for the new age, which will be a development of the modern Western state of man, rather than the ancient Eastern state of man. Then, as in the past, it will not be a matter of realizing oneself as the “Self” in the sense of a super-subject or spiritual ego. It will be a matter of realizing oneself as conscious reality, which in fact was what was realized as the “Self” in ancient times.

The same reality is to be realized, but the way is given to a new order of man. The way of understanding is the simple, direct and perfect way for the new age. Understanding is the key to the new age. Understanding is primary activity and primary knowledge.

Prior to the final events in my autobiography I had several critical experiences of the same truth. These form the primary events described throughout the book. But there was no permanence to the realization attained at those times. Thus, I continued over time with the same experiment, and the occasional success of sudden knowledge led me to develop and assert the way of understanding as observation, insight and enquiry.

But when those final events of the truth occurred there was no subsequent loss of the conscious realization of reality. Then I saw that truth was reality itself, identical to consciousness, and not any object or state, body, realm or experience. I saw that reality was conscious as no-seeking in the heart. This is the fundamental reality, the unmoved Presence to which all things are merely movements within itself. Thus, life is truly understanding, which is the resort to this reality without the efforts of ignorance.

Then, as I approached the history of spiritual literature, I understood it all as varying degrees of symbolic communication of this same truth. But in a few cases it is spoken directly, nearly without a trace of the language of seeking. In recent times this same truth and way was realized and communicated by Ramana Maharshi. And my own experience agrees with his experience. His writings communicate this same truth with reference largely to the Indian mind and its literature. What is more important, he spoke and wrote as this same reality.

I am here to communicate this ancient truth. It is the same truth as that of Ramana. But I have realized it in my own form and as a Westerner, although I have also had the benefits of the oriental experience. The enquiry “Who am I,” directed not repetitively but once and occasionally as a directive for the mind, which as a result passes beyond thought to its source and rests in the silent consciousness in the heart, is a true path. But it is true only where it is also true understanding. I have found that Westerners and indeed most men living today are too involved with seeking to take up such enquiry in a true spirit. They do it superficially and confuse it with the ego and separation from experience.

Thus, the true path is to be developed out of real experience, and there is no true path apart from understanding. I have founded this way radically in understanding, and thus it precludes the motives of seeking and separation that are the chief obstacles to realization.

The way of life from this time, when humanity is neither Eastern nor Western, but in a high state of communication in which traditional experience is all but lost, is that of understanding. Understanding is all that it is, and it is not founded in the goals and motivations of traditional spirituality.

Thus, I do not assert the way of life in the manner of Ramana Maharshi, although his way is true to understanding. I assert only radical understanding, which is the recognition of the avoidance of relationship as the total obsession of every form of experience prior to the realization of understanding. This is it entirely, whether it appears as observation, insight, enquiry or realization in the heart. And understanding is the necessary and constant activity of conscious life.

There is nothing required beyond this. No cultural lore, East or West, needs to be added to it, nor can such a mind be expected in most of those who will take up the way of understanding. Thus, this way is available to all. It is already going on in all and needs only to become conscious activity prior to every kind of dilemma.

Observe directly until this insight comes: life is only, moment to moment, suffering, seeking, and avoiding relationship. When this becomes an embracive recognition, then approach every moment of experience with it in the form of enquiry: “Avoiding relationship?” Continue to understand thus until you abide in that which enquiry reveals prior to avoidance.

This is no-seeking, abiding as the heart prior to identification, differentiation and desire. This is reality, which is that which already is, prior to every experience and the whole activity of avoidance. When this understanding becomes radical knowledge there only remains life as wisdom and enjoyment of the form of sacrifice while remaining absorbed in real consciousness. Then understanding will be manifesting as self-verifying and perfect truth.

This is the way of understanding, the path of the new age. It is a simplicity, and nothing needs to be added to it as a prerequisite. The more sophisticated spiritual seeker will find parallels for this path in all the best writings in history. But the way itself is necessary and sufficient, and it is totally available today only in the form of the way of understanding.

All other ways remain inseparable from the great search and lead men today into forms of separative consciousness in spite of their best intentions. This is not to say the ancient ways were false, or their adherents less than perfect. It is only to say that the truth is alive, and its communication is always performed anew by those who realize it under conditions of a new age. For the future, the ancient way and its truth stand present as the way of understanding.

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