Adi Da Samraj, July 1986
Spiritual Life and the Real World
Maria Hoop, Netherlands
Adi Da Samraj, July 20, 1986
Adi Da Samraj: It’s appropriate to feel some natural anxiety relative to the survival motives, and even to take all of that possibility into account in advance and not be unreal and gleeful about this spiritual possibility. Spiritual life takes place in a very real world, and doesn’t discount it. So, you have to take care of the business at the bodily level until it no longer makes any difference to you at all.
And so, the possibility of anxiety is there because it has survival purpose. If you touch fire, it’s good for that to be that reaction of pain and fear or whatnot. Or something leaps on you, that fear sensation that caused you to protect yourself, there’s nothing inappropriate about that. It’s not that you are afraid, it’s the mechanism giving itself the opportunity to go on a little longer so you can handle your business. So, it’s good for it to be there. You wouldn’t want it to not be there. You don’t want to immunize yourself against possible anxiety so fully that you can’t survive, you can’t deal with or therefore react to things that you need to protect yourself from. If you just want to be pudding, and be manipulated and abused and done and you don’t care about the body, well, fine. That’s good.
So, that’s one way to go. Or, if you have any purpose whatsoever for bodily existence, then it’s good for that to be the possibility of anxiety there, and self-protection, because it’s a part of intelligence. It’s a lower grosser aspect of our existence, true. And it has its function, therefore, in that lower grosser part of our existence. It’s there to help you survive under various gross circumstances. And that’s where it belongs, and that’s where you should use it. And be more like the cat. Cats, they’re full of this survivability. They can react, that can leap, they can attack. They’re always ready to deal with the circumstance in their environment just like that. But when they don’t have such a circumstance to react to, they’re not sitting around being anxious or uptight about the flow of reality, the flow of nature. So, they purr like a motor, soft, relaxed, deep relaxation without concern, because they don’t have any business in that moment that anxiety could possibly serve.
It typically is only human beings, and very few other creatures, that show any signs at all of chronic anxiety. Some other creatures do, but it’s especially human beings that have raised this to the point of a high art of constant and total anxiety and fear at all times, under all circumstances, even if the circumstances don’t justify fear at all. So, you get to the point where you can’t enjoy anything or you can’t respond even to blessing, discount it all through the total effort of self contraction and association. You’ve simply giving much too much prominence to a modest survival factor that’s in the mechanism of the body mind. You’ve allowed it to color the entire form of your existence, whereas you’ve got to give that potential anxiety or survival mechanism its place.
That’s fine. You don’t have to snuff it, but you shouldn’t be defined by it. You’ve got to observe and understand all this ordinary business in yourself and continue to grow. Don’t settle for being a teenager in terms of your development. There’s a lot more to develop than the body and the range of human emotions and the mind and will of a functioning social personality. There’s a lot more to grow to. And all this, likewise, should be grow and beyond. Eventually, as you get upstairs, you can drop that ladder, that rope. As you go beyond altogether, you can drop the whole thud. Forget it. So, you’ve got to keep growing, and you also have to grow out of or beyond all kinds of factors of conditional existence. And if you get too stodgy or afraid, then you stop growing and you get trapped. And then you might come to me for the wrong reasons, like people become religious for the wrong reasons all over the world.
You come looking just to be consoled, just to be given something to believe in that will make you feel everything’s okay. Everything’s not okay. How could it possibly be okay in this world of death? A certain equanimity may be realized, in any case it will only be temporary. So the best you can establish is a temporary equanimity in any conditional circumstance. That’s the best you’re going to get down here, and that’s the best news I can give you. That’s as good as it’s going to get apart from whatever temporary equanimity you may realize in the moment. It can get a lot worse than that. It can get dreadful here. But it can’t get any better than that. That’s as good as it gets, and it can get a lot worse, and tends to be worse than that most of the time. Most human beings are constantly struggling to achieve a state of equanimity.
Just about everything every human being is doing is, whether they think about or know it or not, an effort to achieve equanimity. And most often a fruitless effort, because they don’t know, really, how to achieve equanimity, and they don’t know that that’s exactly what they’re seeking anyway. And people tend to achieve states of emptiness and feel that it’s equanimity. They exhaust themselves with self-indulgence because it relieves them of certain stresses. They constantly want to repeat that experience. But they haven’t achieved equanimity. They’ve achieved emptiness, and the more they indulge in these efforts, the weaker and more bewildered and diluted they become.
So that’s not the answer either. So, instead of coming to me for consolation, you must come to me for understanding and for the blessing that will help you grow and continue in the spiritual process and truly to realize the truth that I express in my ecstasy and realization. It’s not merely statements to believe. The one reality is not factually true simply as a matter of fact, such as “It’s a little cool in here,” or “There are two windows at the end of the room.” It’s not a fact like that. It’s something that must be realized through self-transcendence. It may be realized just sitting in my company here. You may realize, first of all, temporary equanimity to the influence of my company, but you may also, by not holding on to yourself, experience profound states of spiritual realization for a moment if you don’t persist.
But you must persist, ultimately. You must take on the discipline. There is a necessary discipline involved in all of this. There’s not simply a word to be said that will make you feel good for the rest of your life, or a transmission that will occur today that’ll make you feel like you’re stoned for the rest of your life. It’s got nothing to do with any of that. Spiritual life is a profound ordeal that requires great intelligence and great reality about life. In other words, it requires, ultimately, a total absence of what we call in America, “bullshit.” All of that must be completely overcome. Completely. And all the bullshit, or limitation that you represent is simply something that you’ve got to get through and beyond. There’s just no two ways about it.
There is no alternative to overcoming yourself, and there is no transmission of word or force in my company that can replace that. It can only help it. It can’t replace it, and if mind is your limit, well the third stage of life is your limit, and stress or self contraction is your limit, well, I can help you see that and then you’ve got to cooperate with me. You’ve got to practice to really transcend it. There’s no magic about it in the sense that it can just be removed at the snap of a finger without any involvement in real spiritual life. There must be that involvement.
So, that’s what I call people to. And not to any dilettante, just nonsense that may be called spiritual life. Not to some silly belief in Joseph of Arimathea at Glastonbury. That’s not the kind of stuff that spiritual life is made of. That’s what we in America called bullshit. Or we, such as myself who used to live in America, who do not any longer. From my point of view, thankfully. No, that’s not it. That’s not spiritual life for real.
Spiritual life for real is you understanding something about all of this in my company and seeing yourself for real and not settling for your limits anymore, your struggle. Not settling for what the very mechanism you observed before I came into the room, which was wanting to hide and separate and protect yourself. From what? I didn’t come here to pick your pocket or do something strange to you. I have nothing but the best intentions coming here, and I’m not in any sense a phony. I’m here to be of real use and have no bad intentions whatsoever. So, why should you be protecting yourself from me? The only thing you can do by acting as if you need to protect yourself from me is to separate yourself from the spiritual process. Hold yourself off from it. That’s the only thing you can achieve by protecting yourself from me. And why should you settle without having observed that in yourself? Why should you, for one more moment, do anything but laugh at that nonsensical proposition? I would say that probably you personally need to enjoy more of a sense of humor about this sort of thing.
What else? I’m not sure.