HEART CONVERSION TALK SERIES
Volume 1, Number 12
The Discipline of Love
A Discourse Given by Sri Da Avabhasa on March 26, 1993
(1) DEVOTEE: Sri Gurudev, in a telephone conversation with some of us today, You remarked that we are typically hesitant to bring our content forward and allow You to deal with it, yet that is exactly what the Way of the Heart is about, so there is absolutely no justification for our reluctance. You defined “content” as “reactivity, desiring, and seeking for objects and others”.
(2) Our confessing such content to You is the purpose of this gathering tonight.
(3) ANOTHER DEVOTEE, A WOMAN: Sri Gurudev, when You spoke to us in the gathering last night, I started feeling the contraction of the frontal line. And as I felt it today, it felt just like the feeling I had when I was a kid and I was afraid to raise my hand in school because I might have the wrong answer. I started feeling today that this fear of being wrong is underneath most of my reactivity, and it is what You criticize in me when You refer to my hiding, my staying in the back office. I can see that much of the reactivity, many of the things I put on top of that—to be functional and safe and afraid to become angry when I dont look good—is just a cover-up for what is underneath it, which is that I am almost paralyzed at the level of true feeling. I felt released from that feeling when I took my first drink. The relief did not last for very long, but that was the first time in my life, when I was older, that fear was not controlling my life.
(4) You have revealed to me that fear is at the core of my being, at a level that is deeper than I have been allowing myself to feel. In fact, the more I felt You, the stronger I felt the fear, until at some point, because of Your humor, it dissolved naturally as I was Contemplating You.
(5) I talked to some ladies today who gave me some yamas and niyamas to address this, and the disciplines they recommended—such as stating my own observations first instead of sitting back and waiting to hear what everybody else says—made my hair stand on end, so I figured I must be going in the right direction.
(6) SRI DA AVABHASA: Incredibly boring. [Laughter.]
(7) DEVOTEE: Incredibly boring! [Laughs.] Im terribly sorry that Im incredibly boring. [The laughter in the room drowns out the rest of her response.]
(8) SRI DA AVABHASA: Dont be. You are afraid to be wrong, so start speaking up! Lets hear it.
(9) DEVOTEE: Thats just what I feel that has kept me in . . .
(10) SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes, we already heard that.
(11) DEVOTEE: Oh. [She laughs.]
(12) SRI DA AVABHASA: What is there that is interesting?
(13) DEVOTEE: Well, what I can feel about it are the ways I have to animate and move beyond it, to You and . . . [Sri Gurudev pretends supreme boredom.] The things You were talking about were actually taking me deeper than I had been before, which was obviously pretty shallow. [Laughter.] I could feel that You were moving me closer to the center and—help! [Laughter.]
(14) SRI DA AVABHASA: Well now, you agreed not to be afraid to be wrong.
(15) DEVOTEE: Yes.
(16) SRI DA AVABHASA: So? What do you have to say, then? Is that going to be it?
(17) DEVOTEE: I feel I have to animate that.
(18) SRI DA AVABHASA: So? DO IT!
(19) DEVOTEE: I feel like I can play a role culturally here at Sri Love-Anandashram.[Laughter.] Well, I do! Ive never felt like that before.
(20) SRI DA AVABHASA: Fine. Good. Do so.
(21) DEVOTEE: All right, I will. Thank You very much for Your Blessing.
(22) SRI DA AVABHASA: [dryly] Mmmm, you are very welcome. That is it?[Laughter.] [He adds lovingly] Stunning confession.
(23) DEVOTEE: I dont want to hold back from You, Gurudev.
(24) SRI DA AVABHASA: Youve already said that, so . . . have you got anything further to say to Me?
(25) DEVOTEE: Well, I see . . . I just . . .
(26) SRI DA AVABHASA: Anything at all?
(27) DEVOTEE: Im not going to dramatize my doubt . . .
(28) SRI DA AVABHASA: Okay, okay . . .
(29) DEVOTEE: . . . about my practice.
(30) SRI DA AVABHASA: Good, good.
(31) DEVOTEE: Im not. [Laughter.] I completely receive the Gifts You Give Me. I am not going to dramatize that with You.
(32) SRI DA AVABHASA: Excellent. Anything else?
(33) DEVOTEE: I love You.
(34) SRI DA AVABHASA: Ill get back to you later.
(35) DEVOTEE, ANOTHER WOMAN: Sri Gurudev, I would like to speak to You about attachment and dependence.
(36) SRI DA AVABHASA: Hmm.
(37) DEVOTEE: Over the past few months You have been talking to me about my dependency, and I did not understand altogether what you meant. I was determined to handle, at least superficially, certain aspects that would make me a less dependent character. But during this last week I could feel something underneath that was not just anger but more a fear of my attachment to others and things.
(38) SRI DA AVABHASA: Stop talking generalizations. Just get down to it.
(39) DEVOTEE: Three days ago my grandmother died. In feeling my love for her and the loss, I felt that in all of my relationships I hold myself apart because I do not want to feel the pain of the relationship and allow myself to release my relations. Either I hold on or I set myself apart. I felt that dichotomy of being either an adolescent or a child in my relationships with people because of the fear of letting myself feel what You call the “wound of love”. I do not let myself feel that wound in my relationships.
(40) The day before my grandmother died, you talked to me about grief. It wasnt even something I was discussing with You in that moment, but You brought up the subject to me and You Gave me the Gift of the tapas of letting go. It was perfect for me to feel it, because the very next day I had to practice the process of letting go.
(41) I also wanted to tell You that I communicated Your Wisdom to my family, and they were very appreciative, Gurudev. They expressed their appreciation for Your Wisdom-Teaching and Your Service in this moment when they had lost a loved one, and they were very, very grateful. I dont think I have ever had so full a conversation with them when they felt Your Gift so much. I wanted to tell You that.
(42) I do not know what else to say about it. You told me that I remain insensitive, and You have criticized my rigidity and my lack of feeling. I do not want to feel the pain.
(43) SRI DA AVABHASA: Then you must be more like your friend here [Sri Gurudev indicates a man in the room] and not care about anybody. You put on an air like that, anyway.
(44) DEVOTEE: I do.
(45) SRI DA AVABHASA: He has to put on an air, too.
(46) DEVOTEE: I put on an air, but it is not what I am really feeling. I really just try . . .
(47) SRI DA AVABHASA: You talk about love and attachment in the same sentence. [Sri Gurudev pauses.] Perhaps you sometimes confuse the two.
(48) DEVOTEE: I definitely do.
(49) SRI DA AVABHASA: But attachment is your reason for not loving.
(50) DEVOTEE: Yes.
(51) SRI DA AVABHASA: Just as soon as you become attached to somebody, even though you have love feelings for the person, you defend yourself against them.
(52) DEVOTEE: That is true.
(53) SRI DA AVABHASA: Therefore, your attachment is not serving anything. If you agree to become involved in a feeling relationship with someone, you must also agree to endure the changes in the other person and the difficulties in the relationship. Whatever is going on in the other person altogether, you must be able to endure the loss. It all comes with the relationship. The discipline of love is quite a different thing from indulgence in attachment.
(54) What you are saying, stated simply, is that you cannot agree to the conditions of a feeling relationship because you do not want to experience the pain of loss and separation. Therefore, you do not want to experience the difficulties that may occur all along in the relationship.
(55) You are not quite prepared for such relationships, are you? They just sort of happen to you, and you do not really participate in them.
(56) DEVOTEE: Yes, that is what I have been feeling.
(57) SRI DA AVABHASA: Because your grandmother has died, now you are feeling grief but also stomping on it a little bit at the same time.
(58) DEVOTEE: Yes.
(59) SRI DA AVABHASA: When the actual loss occurs, you feel it anyway.
(60) DEVOTEE: Yes.
(61) SRI DA AVABHASA: Therefore, the whole ceremony of resisting such feeling does not work because inevitably you experience the pain eventually. And it also does not work in ordinary daily life because you immunize yourself against feeling relationships. And attachment—or what you are describing as attachment—is the reason it does not work. You are not capable of real love, real relationship, yet you are allowing yourself to be involved in all kinds of relationships. You are basically just a pain in the ass about all of this.
(62) DEVOTEE: Yes, that is true, Sri Gurudev.
(63) SRI DA AVABHASA: Um-hmm. What else about it? If letting go is a good idea when somebody dies, why isnt it a good idea all the while?
(64) DEVOTEE: Even in that loving conversation with my family I immunized myself, even though I felt the most connected to them then. It was a real revelation to me because I could feel all the ways I tend to do that in an ordinary way.
(65) SRI DA AVABHASA: What about other people who are involved in these relationships with you. When do they get some relief from your game? I mentioned a few moments ago the discipline of love. You are not practicing the discipline of love. You are indulging in your own egoic “self-possession” and fear and reluctance and resistance, and you are immunizing yourself. This is what everybody is experiencing in relationship to you.
(66) DEVOTEE: Yes.
(67) SRI DA AVABHASA: Fundamental to the discipline of love, then, is letting go. You are practicing attachment and using it as an excuse to immunize yourself. The discipline of love requires letting people go. I do not mean letting them disappear. I mean giving them their life, giving them your feeling rather than withholding it, allowing them to grow, supporting their growth, supporting their free process of life. Sometimes people smother their children, in a sense, because they do not practice the discipline of love. Because they are attached and fearful, they suppress their children even though they would not want to do such a thing. They do not allow their children the process of true growth. They do not bring wisdom to the lives of their children. They just practice attachment and resistance, suppression, manipulation. They are afraid for their children to change, afraid for them to do anything that would in the slightest bit endanger them.
(68) I am sure you know people who have done that with children. Since you were all children in relation to your parents and who knows who else, you probably have had that very experience, in fact. So also in all other relationships of a feeling kind, or that should be of a feeling kind, people do the same thing. They do not practice the discipline of love, they do not give one another freedom, they do not support growth in one another, they do not express feeling. Rather, they suppress the other through the denial of feeling.
(69) Therefore, this is not just something to deal with in yourself. It is time you saw something about your effect on others.
(70) What people usually call love is attachment, whereas real love is a great discipline and it requires great self-understanding, great self-discipline. If letting go of another in a time of grief is right, then letting go of another is also important in daily life. That is how love works. And that is the discipline of loving, then—being free to feel, being free to embrace another, to allow the other to change, to grow, to develop, to exercise himself or herself in life. That is the discipline of loving. Whereas you all tend to practice love as a feeling of attachment because of all of the things you want from another, including anothers attention or familiarity with you. Because you crave these things, you practice attachment to others so that you can get what you want from them. And because of your fear, you do not give them anything in return.
(71) There is no discipline in that. Such attachment is not love, although it passes for love in the common world. “Love” is a common word that is used all the time for all kinds of things, even liking ice cream. The word “love” is used very casually. Truly, however, love is a discipline of letting go. And that means letting go in yourself, being expressive in a feeling fashion, being aware of another, enduring another, supporting the changes in another, enduring the changes in another, being willing to lose the relationship by the cause of death or whatever else—there are all kinds of ways for relationships to come to an end. But this is the discipline, and it is a much larger exercise than the game of attachment that you call “love”. Because love is a discipline, it requires understanding, an intentional practice, not just riding on your desires to get what you want from another and on your reluctance and problems. Love must be a self-generated discipline, constantly exercised, just as any other discipline in the Way of the Heart. It requires self-understanding. It requires attention. You must animate it beyond your tendencies.
(72) Love is a kind of work, then. It is sadhana. Love is a sadhana. If you are unwilling to do it, then you must deal with yourself not only for the sake of your own growth but for the sake of anyone with whom you are in relationship. You do all kinds of people some good by doing such sadhana.
(73) DEVOTEE: Yes, thats true.
(74) SRI DA AVABHASA: But you must agree to do so, and you must have the self-understanding to do so. So often when any of you speak to Me here, you tell Me about this or that emotional limitation in yourself. This conversation is about such a limitation. You could say that almost every time one of you talks to Me, you express an emotional impediment to your living rightly and fully. What are you expressing when you are communicating this? Your lack of self-understanding, your lack of self-discipline, your lack of concern for others, your unwillingness to relate to another completely. You are all the time dramatizing, and not only binding yourself egoically but also binding others likewise. You are not functioning in love, and you are not doing anybody the good of love. You are calling what you are doing “love” all the time and saying “I love yous” all over the place. Yet love is not what you are really doing.
(75) There is no real love without self-understanding, without intention, without work on yourself, without real work with others. Then That Which truly Is Love is magnified and is part of human life. If you only play the attachment game, the ego-mechanism, love does not become a part of life. It is talked about, but it is not lived.
(76) You all use the word “love” all the time. But how much of it do you actually live apart from what you express through your attachment psychology, which is really about the suppression of love, not allowing it to be fundamental to human existence, fundamental to human relationships, fundamental to life altogether?
(77) [to the woman who has been speaking] What you are saying about yourself requires you to become serious, to understand yourself, and to embrace love as a discipline in life, to exercise it in relation to others for their sake as well as for the sake of what such sadhana does for you altogether.
(78) That being said, what?
(79) What about it in your case, then?
(80) You would be a little better off in times of grief if you had a bigger philosophy, a bigger understanding of what life is altogether and of what the death transition really is for someone. Of course, when anyone intimate to you dies, you tend to go to ground zero. Suddenly you embrace the “When youre dead, youre dead” mentality, all the time thinking of your loss. You are mourning yourself more than anything else, rather than staying continuous with the one who is no longer physically present and blessing the persons transition and participating in it.
(81) Grieving in the form of sorrow and tears is all part of rightly relating to someone who has passed. But there are two ways to grieve. One is to dramatize the attachment game and not to let the person go, and the other is to participate in the transition with real feeling and to let the person go. These are two very different ways of dealing with grief, though both of them shed tears. In the one case you are shedding tears for yourself. In the other case you are releasing another and participating in the persons transition, even changing with the person.
(82) Therefore, it is good that you have more experience and a greater understanding of what the transition that is death really is all about, instead of just presuming the “When youre dead, youre dead” mentality that comes out of the common world where people refuse to understand such things.
(83) Your grandmother is not dead. She has passed out of your view, and she has a great deal of business to handle now. You with your tears and feelings should be blessing her to do so instead of mourning for yourself and your poor attachment-ego. Therefore, realize a greater understanding of life and the world, including death, instead of succumbing to the hurt and presuming the least intelligent notion about everything.
(84) You prepare for death, even the death of others, by living rightly, by doing sadhana, by embracing and not denying the laws of life. Therefore, what is all this about your refusal to feel? Poor little you! Picked out of the whole mass of humanity to be so sensitive! This is your excuse?
(85) DEVOTEE: I am sure that it is my excuse, Sri Gurudev, but I can see how phony it is. It does not go very deep.
(86) SRI DA AVABHASA: It does not allow any depth at all. It keeps everything superficial, cool. You cannot love, cannot mourn, cannot be devoted, cannot Realize. And all because you do not want to be vulnerable? It is a waste of life.
(87) DEVOTEE: I understand that.
(88) SRI DA AVABHASA: If you really understand Me, you will not waste your life. If you have a real appreciation of all the results of this game you play, then you just will not choose to do it anymore. But to so choose, you must come to some seriousness. That is why fundamentally what I am talking about is self-understanding.
(89) DEVOTEE: Yes. You have Given me so many Gifts of understanding just what I am up to as a character.
(90) SRI DA AVABHASA: And what you are doing does not work.
(91) DEVOTEE: It does not work, and I am totally self-obsessed.
(92) SRI DA AVABHASA: Well! I guess you are just a total pain in the ass and you should be shunned by everyone. Would you like to leave now? [Laughter.]
(93) DEVOTEE: I dont want to leave.
(94) SRI DA AVABHASA: Then earn the company of mankind. Join up!
(95) DEVOTEE: Thank You, Beloved. I know I have to.
(96) SRI DA AVABHASA: What more about it?
(97) DEVOTEE: I am so grateful to You, Beloved. You are drawing me through a process I could never have imagined, feeling things I would never allow myself to feel. I am so grateful to You. I love You so much. You have Given me so much Prasad, so many Gifts. I am so grateful to You, I bow at Your Feet again and again.
(98) SRI DA AVABHASA: Tcha.
(99) [to another woman] Are you still dwelling on your mother? She was a movie star?
(100) DEVOTEE: Yes, she was a star. She was very beautiful but totally unattainable.
(101) SRI DA AVABHASA: Did she play at being a star with everybody, including her family?
(102) DEVOTEE: It was obvious that up to the moment of her death she was acting. I think that is the reason I go in the other direction and do not dramatize anything, I under-dramatize.
(103) SRI DA AVABHASA: It is your way of dramatizing. [Laughter.]
(104) DEVOTEE: I think I was always angry at her. Toward the end of her life, I transcended it, though. I took care of her, but she kicked me out of the house . . .
(105) SRI DA AVABHASA: Turned on you and kicked you out of the house! There was a great deal of anger even now as you said it.
(106) DEVOTEE: It hurt me greatly.
(107) SRI DA AVABHASA: So no matter what you did, she still would not love you.
(108) DEVOTEE: That is right. Then she died. I wasnt there when she died, but she psychically contacted a friend of mine after her death and she told my friend that I had to forgive her. Apparently she could not move on without my forgiving her. It was very difficult. I could not really let myself forgive her.
(109) SRI DA AVABHASA: You havent yet! You are still talking angrily about her turning on you and throwing you out of the house. You went through the process of her death in a kind of ritual fashion. You did not deal with yourself, your reasons for not wanting to forgive her, your expectation that she would approach you and ask for forgiveness and somehow make you feel her need for your love. That did not happen, so you did not really go through the process of forgiving her. Your process of forgiving or letting go is still waiting to happen.
(110) DEVOTEE: I ask to really forgive her and let her go.
(111) SRI DA AVABHASA: Well, yes, that is easy to say. But what must happen in you so that you can do so? It is not enough to admit that you must perform the ritual of forgiveness. You must be in a position to let your mother go. You have based your relationship with her on her loving you. She did not give you that satisfaction, so you are not about to give her any satisfaction now. It is the attachment game again, not the discipline of love. The discipline of love has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you got what you wanted from her.
(112) DEVOTEE: To love her in spite of everything.
(113) SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes. But you will not do that yet because you expect a gesture from her that fulfills the expectations you have had all of your life—that she not be the star, remote, unattainable, but that she mother you, love you, forgive you, nourish you. She did not do so. And because she did not, there was conflict between you the whole time she was alive. Now that she has passed, you are still making it a source of conflict. You are not letting her go because your expectations have not been fulfilled. You think somehow she must fulfill your expectations before you can let her go. Even the word “forgiveness” seems somehow false, as if some sort of justice must be done.
(114) The discipline of love is not about justice. It transcends justice. Love is greater than justice. You never had exactly a love relationship with your mother. Your relationship with her was based on attachment and on expectation that was frustrated. You are still holding to that position. You must understand yourself, how you work, how you worked all your life with her, how you work even now, not only in relation to her but in relation to others. Your practice is not a matter of forgiving her. It is not a matter of her fulfilling your expectations. It is a matter of love.
(115) DEVOTEE: Simply being in relationship?
(116) SRI DA AVABHASA: [slamming His hand on the table near Him] Love! No justice, no expectations, no forgiveness. Love! Love is its own forgiveness. Even to think in terms of having to forgive is about the attachment game. You have never been able to love your mother, simply, straightforwardly—or anyone else for that matter. To you, love is based on conditions, expectations, and you always feel in the frustrated position, relatively unloved. You are always doing things for others that are love-expressions from your point of view, but there is no glow on you. There is no energy in you with all this service to others that you call “love”. If you are truly loving others, it shows all over your body. If you are doing healing service and it is about love, it shows all over your body. What you are doing is not about love.
(117) DEVOTEE: I do it so I can get love from others.
(118) SRI DA AVABHASA: That is it! You are always doing all kinds of service because you expect to be loved. Somehow you think that you have not been loved all your life, even though you are doing all of this service. You served your mother, you serve everybody else, and you are not being loved for it. Your life is basically all about a frustrated expectation, and you yourself are not practicing the discipline of love. You are living on the basis of expectation rather than loving, simply, uncontaminated, not contracted, not being frustrated because others do not give you the love you expect, released in the full feeling gesture, no withholding, no contraction, no reasons not to love, none!
(119) Your mother was the way she was. She never changed, and that is the way it is. Why should that retard your heart?
(120) DEVOTEE: There is no reason.
(121) SRI DA AVABHASA: Your relationship to your mother seems to characterize your life altogether. It seems to be the paradigm, the symbol, in which you have fixed your entire life. You are always serving and doing what is good, and expecting love in return. Love never fully happens to you, so you can never fully receive it. It is always the same dramatization. You never live on the basis of self-understanding and practice the discipline of love yourself. You think you are loving, but you are dramatizing. You think your service is about love, but it is something you are doing to serve yourself. It is a dramatization of your problem.
(122) You will let your mother go not when she approaches you and asks for forgiveness, not when you decide to forgive her, but when you become love. To become love takes real self-understanding, real practice, real discipline, and the giving up of your psychology of expectation. Stop making your expectation the bargaining point of whether you will love or not. Just give it up entirely.
(123) To do that requires real self-understanding, a change of life, a change of disposition altogether.
(124) Some months ago, you were suggesting that you had heard Me. You said that when you were travelling in India this past year, you got the reality picture of life and that some kind of detachment came over you as a result, as if that were hearing. What we are discussing now, not detachment, is what hearing is about in your case. Your detachment is just another way of immunizing yourself against your frustrated expectations.
(125) DEVOTEE: The celibacy that I chose at the time was about the same thing.
(126) SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes. Look at the details of your life and see how they are associated with this principal dramatization—the frustrated expectation of love. You deal with it in various ways, through your healing services, through your choice of celibacy. But these are all aspects of the one dramatization. This dramatization is what you must “consider” in yourself, and you must begin to change your life. There is no true hearing until you do. This is what hearing is about in your case.
(127) You look like a child in some ways. You have a fixed expression of a kind that communicates this frustrated expectation. There are other relationships in your life, to your father and other people, that have the same limits, but your relationship to your mother was a very important one, perhaps the key one. Nevertheless, the many other relationships were about the same thing. You must see how you developed this particular character game and how you dramatized it in all your relationships and all your choices and all the aspects of your appearance and all the aspects of your doing. It is all the same dramatization.
(128) What else about it? Anything?
(129) DEVOTEE: Thank you.
(130) SRI DA AVABHASA: Tcha.
(131) What else then?
(132) ANOTHER DEVOTEE: Beloved Master, I am sure it is different in every case, but is it basically true that this complication about love is one of the primary areas of limitation in all beings.
(133) SRI DA AVABHASA: Absolutely. The Heart is the great Principle of life. It is inherently free. It is never damaged. Many things are superimposed on It, however, and presumptions of unlove are made. The Heart is feeling without limitation. In the context of daily ordinary human living the Heart is expressed as love, or feeling in relationship. Why is “Avoiding relationship?” the principal form of self-Enquiry I have Given to My devotees? Because of your heart-suppression, your suppression of the feeling process.
(134) You are crippled because you live as the ego, self-contracted, with the heart contracted, therefore, or seeming to be. This contraction is shown in the dramatization of a fundamentally loveless life. Even though you say you experience feelings, you experience them through the mechanisms of egoity, the games of attachment, the games of suppression, the games of avoidance. Therefore, love, or the Heart, does not become the context of your life.
(135) The great “consideration” that is the Way of the Heart is not just about the human exchanges of love in social relationships. It is about the awakening of the heart. It is about proceeding from the heart-foundation to Awaken fundamentally and altogether and then Absolutely. The beginnings of understanding have everything to do with the observation of what you are doing in the terms of your ordinary life. And you are suppressing the feeling dimension of life.
(136) You live as self-contraction. Therefore, you dramatize self-contraction in all relations. Yet all the while you are this knot, you say you are loving. How can it be so? You are really suppressing love, withholding love, not being animated by love altogether. A little of it leaks out, perhaps, when you are associated with something that pleases you, that fulfills your expectations, or that you want to fulfill your expectations. That is why you use the word “love” to describe your feelings for almost everything—”I love ice cream, I love going to the movies, I love my girlfriend, I love my boyfriend.” You are playing the games of attachment to things that please you, that fulfill your expectations or your desires. If anything does not please you or fulfill you, you do not love it, you do not love that one, you are not happy with that one, you are contracted, you are dramatizing, you are independent, you are separate.
(137) Therefore, you carry around with you the presumption of love, or the heart-principle, but because you live by self-contraction you adhere to an agreement in yourself that you will not practice the discipline of love, you will not manifest free feeling, unless you are pleased, unless your expectations are fulfilled. When anything or anyone does not fulfill your expectations, the knot is dramatized everywhere in your feeling. It comes all over your body, all over your face. And what are you doing? The dramatization of “I dont love you”.
(138) How much of your life do you spend doing this? Basically you are doing this almost all the time. When now and then your expectations are fulfilled, suddenly you are the love boy or the love girl.
(139) DEVOTEE: But is that love, Sri Gurudev? Is that authentic love in those moments when we feel fulfilled?
(140) SRI DA AVABHASA: Of course it is not authentic love. It is feeling come to the front, fine, but it is based on the egoically “self-possessed”, self-contracted notion of how to live. You will manifest such feeling only if you are pleasurized, only if your expectations are fulfilled, only if you get what you want from another. You are not free to exercise free feeling unless your expectations are fulfilled. And, as a matter of fact, the moments of such fulfillment are rather rare! You build up so many expectations over a lifetime that there is hardly any room for the expression of free feeling. Free feeling rarely occurs.
(141) In moments now and then, on special days, on special occasions, at special events in your life, all of a sudden you are full of feeling. Everybody gets together in December, for example, especially Christians and Jews, who have special holidays at that time, but Christmas is a ritual that is fairly common all over the Earth. People give one another gifts and show in their faces and on their bodies how pleasurable they find one anothers company. This lasts for a few hours, and then everybody goes through the ritual of the New Year, when they separate from one another once again and return to business as usual.
(142) In certain ritual moments of life, like everyone else you manifest free feeling, but basically you have founded your life on expectation and you will not express free feeling unless your expectation is fulfilled. “Consider” it. This is exactly how you operate. This is why your expressions of free feeling are so rare, because you base your life on the expectation of pleasure from others rather than on the discipline of love founded on self-understanding. If you founded yourself on self-understanding and the discipline of love, the manifestation of free feeling would characterize your life no matter what happened. You would uncover more and more impediments to free feeling and go beyond them.
(143) To do that is to grow. To do that is to mature. To do that is truly to be a human being instead of a subhuman ego.
(144) DEVOTEE: One of my strategies has been to avoid what I really have to deal with in life.
(145) SRI DA AVABHASA: As if everything is okay and you are really practicing, living the Divine life. What you are really doing is dramatizing the self-contraction through the loveless order of the first three stages of life and a little bit of the fourth. You say you are practicing devotion to Me. Is it love? Or am I just another party to your lovelessness, treated like your teddy bear on whom you superimpose your worldly ways? Do you make your worldliness the content of your devotion to Me? You all have expectations of Me, too, is that it? I am just another worldly relation of yours.
(146) I have nothing to do with such business. I did not volunteer to be such a relation of yours. What makes you think you have the right to approach Me in such a fashion? But you do, just as you dramatize in relation to everyone else. The Way of the Heart is not about mere observances, it is not about consolation, it is not about indulging in the stimulation of seeking. It is about self-understanding and the transcendence of the self-contraction through real devotion to Me.
(147) You must equip yourself, then, with these arms of self-understanding and authenticate your practice and not reduce your practice of the Way of the Heart to mere observances. It is not by mere association with Me that you Awaken and grow. It is by right practice in relationship to Me that Awakening and growth are potential.
(148) You want to rattle around here and call yourself My devotee and not deal with this dramatization. You want to talk about subject matter, talk about love in an intellectual sense, perhaps, make pronouncements about it. I am talking about the real sadhana that cuts through your drama. I am talking about real content that must be dealt with. The Way of the Heart is a “reality consideration”. You must really deal with yourself, really deal with your dramatization, or you are an amateur at the Way of the Heart.
(149) I practice the discipline of it! I do not have to look one way or the other. I just do it for real. That is why I do many things, act in many ways, not just “kissy-kissy, I love you”. I act in all kinds of ways to serve your Awakening, your responsibility, your real practice of the Way of the Heart, your Realization. Therefore, when love is really exercised, it appears in many forms.
(150) DEVOTEE (the man Sri Da Avabhasa pointed out earlier as tending to not care about others): I have found in my relationship to people here throughout the day that I make judgments on the basis of peoples competence. If I see someone with competence, I can demonstrate love to those people. During the hurricane, everybody became competent.
(151) SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes, whenever there is an emergency, a threatening situation, people work together. But when the threat passes, everybody is back to competition.
(152) DEVOTEE: During that time I was in love with everybody. It was so easy to love them. And during these gatherings when You are here, my heart melts and again I love everyone. During the day when everyone is serving and everything happens marvelously, I am in love with the people who are participating. They are all very competent, and I can surrender myself to the project and take any dramatization that comes up from anybody.
(153) But when a project is not going right, there comes my dramatization. It is in my speech and in my interaction with people. They feel that I am not free, and they do not feel free, and our service does not feel full.
(154) SRI DA AVABHASA: What is the alternative?
(155) DEVOTEE: I think I have taken on the alternative, which is to renew myself fully in the service, to not be so sensitive, and to help everyone make it happen.
(156) SRI DA AVABHASA: That is a rather negative alternative! Is there some other disposition or way of functioning that would be wholly right and also more productive?
(157) DEVOTEE: I cannot see it.
(158) SRI DA AVABHASA: Is it all right to express displeasure when people are animating themselves minimally? Why isnt that all right?
(159) DEVOTEE: I like to see things happen and get done.
(160) SRI DA AVABHASA: That is good. I do, too! But isnt it appropriate to express displeasure when people are not functioning fully, happily, and with great attention? Is this not a time to express displeasure, rather than withdrawing?
(161) DEVOTEE: I think that my expression of displeasure is unlove.
(162) SRI DA AVABHASA: Why is it unlove? I express My displeasure.
(163) DEVOTEE: Sir, I can sit and listen to Your Kanyas express their displeasure all day long, and it just sounds so wonderful.
(164) SRI DA AVABHASA: So—to express displeasure is not inherently loveless. It depends on who is doing it. There are times to express displeasure, and such an expression is not necessarily loveless.
(165) DEVOTEE: I feel it as a burden.
(166) SRI DA AVABHASA: Because of how you are doing it, perhaps, because of your intention, your disposition. I express My displeasure for My devotees sake, and they regard it as just another form of My Blessing. Likewise the displeasure of the Kanyas is an extension of My Love for My devotees. When you express your displeasure, it is felt as pettiness, withdrawal, dissociation, lovelessness—and perhaps it is all those things.
(167) DEVOTEE: Obviously it is.
(168) SRI DA AVABHASA: Therefore, the problem is not the expression of displeasure but your failure to deal with yourself.
(169) DEVOTEE: Everyone here has shown that they are absolutely competent in certain circumstances.
(170) SRI DA AVABHASA: And everyone here on staff has shown how incompetent they are, as well, under many circumstances. And I have to raise My Voice about it sometimes, dont I?
(171) Generally, you express lovelessness, displeasure, dissociation, a lack of interest in familiarity with anyone, a sort of “hard-nosed” attitude. Expressing displeasure or trying to help people to function more productively can be appropriate enough, but what is your disposition in it? When some people make such a demand, others are happy, even inspired, to straighten themselves out. They feel something positive about such people. The displeasure of such people motivates them. When others—like yourself, apparently—express their displeasure, people run for the hills, become uninterested, and do not want anything to do with such a person. They feel you are dramatizing, even being nasty.
(172) People notice your egoic attitude, your dissociativeness, your egoic “self-possession”, your nastiness as an egoically “self-possessed” character, and they do not get the point you are trying to make. They are not motivated. They do not do anything different. They do not feel in you a motive of congeniality, of support, of getting on with it. They just become focused on your nastiness. In that case, your displeasure is not really productive.
(173) DEVOTEE: I basically just write them off in my heart.
(174) SRI DA AVABHASA: Sometimes such judgments must be made. But getting people to respond is fundamentally what there is to be done.
(175) In any case, your will to competence and making the “hard-nosed” measure of it in everybody else is obviously part of your pettiness, your lovelessness. The problem is not so much your expressing a managerial intention, or criticizing people, or raising your voice. These things in and of themselves could be all right, but they are being done by someone who has, in some sense, bad intentions, negative intentions, or an egoically “self-possessed” attitude that does not become very productive for everyone.
(176) Is that you?
(177) DEVOTEE: It is me. I am the force behind this. It is my expression to people that causes this reaction. It has nothing to do with love.
(178) SRI DA AVABHASA: So you get into the petty attitude without any regard for anything else, is that it? It is just pettiness. You expect people to just do the job at hand. This is just another way of saying that when people fulfill your expectations you feel for them. And when they do not fulfill your expectations, you may deal with
(179) them—that is all right—but you withdraw your feeling. And that is not all right.
(180) Just as in the time of someones passing in death, there are two ways to deal with it and both show tears, so also in your circumstance of managing people there are two ways to do it. The way you are doing it is rather petty, egoically “self-possessed”. It is your way of dissociating from people, and that is the wrong way to do it. You could still insist on competence or getting down to the job at hand, but in a different disposition. Regardless of whether or not other people changed very much, you would be in a different disposition. You would be there as My devotee and really practicing the Way of the Heart.
(181) You are just describing the same old fault that is in everyone here, the conditional manifestation of feeling. You manifest feeling when your expectations are fulfilled, and you withdraw feeling when they are not. If you did not withdraw your feeling when your expectations were fulfilled, you might still raise your voice or call for what you regard to be competence but your communication would be entirely different. Just as in grief tears inevitably flow, but one can be egoically “self-possessed” and mourning oneself or one can release the other and participate in the persons transition. The outward manifestation is the same, but the character is different.
(182) Instead of practicing the discipline of love, which is a real discipline requiring self-understanding and intention, you avoid that discipline, and you manifest feeling according to whether or not your expectations are fulfilled. That is the egos game. Your confession, like the confession of others, suggests that this is a universal principle, a universal act, a universal game. Everyone is up to the same thing. You manifest it in various ways through the design of your own character, but it comes down to the same thing in everyone. The feeling dimension of life is manifested by you conditionally when your expectations are fulfilled, and not otherwise. Everyone here is doing just that, every single one of you, every single one of you here and all the ones elsewhere, all the five billion. Everybody is playing this out. This is just how you do it.
(183) When there is real self-understanding, real self-responsibility, when you are no longer playing the heart on the basis of whether your expectations are fulfilled or not but you are manifesting love in any case, love is a great discipline. That is the difference. Very few are doing that great discipline.
(184) ANOTHER DEVOTEE, A MAN: Sri Gurudev, I am heartbroken since the conversation we had with You earlier, because it made me feel that I have been strategic and manipulative and miscalculating. I dont want to do that.
(185) SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes, you do! If you were understanding yourself and dealing with your dramatization otherwise—that would be another matter. But do not tell Me you do not want to dramatize, because you are doing it. Therefore, you do want to do it. Without the real principle of understanding yourself, this is what you do. You are just laying it on thick with your affirmations and your “I dont want to do that” nonsense, which changes absolutely nothing—nothing at all. Until self-understanding is manifested in you through great intention, or a real discipline, this dramatization is exactly what you want to do.
d* * *
1. In conversation with a devotee about love and attachment, Sri Da Avabhasa says: “Attachment is your reason for not loving”. What does He mean by this? Do you see the same pattern in how you relate to others?
2. What are the real obligations of a feeling relationship as opposed to a relationship that is based on attachment?
3. What is the essential gesture you make to another if you are practicing the “discipline of love”? What is the necessary foundation for the capability to practice the “discipline of love”?
4. Describe the “two ways to grieve” mentioned by Sri Da Avabhasa.
5. Sri Da Avabhasa says that if you are not prepared to be vulnerable to others then you are wasting your life. Do you observe cool, superficial tendencies in the way you relate to people? In what sense are you “wasting your life” when you do this?
6. How does Sri Da Avabhasa describe the process of forgiving? What do we have to understand and surrender in order to able to do this?
7. Sri Da Avabhasa asks us: “Why is Avoiding relationship? the principal form of self-Enquiry I have Given to My devotees?” What is His answer?
8. Sri Da Avabhasa says: “You have founded your life on expectation, and you will not express free feeling unless your expectation is fulfilled. Consider it. This is exactly how you operate.” Can you confess that you do operate like this? Give examples. What is the alternative to founding your life on expectation? How does it feel to make this other gesture?
9. Da Avabhasa points out that “when love is really exercised, it appears in many forms”. What limits do you place on the forms of your loving? What are you avoiding?
10. What happens when you express displeasure? Do people feel loved or alienated? What is the lesson you learn from Da Avabhasas conversation with the devotee who was alienating others with his demands?