by Adi Da Samraj
May 2, 1987
(edited by Beezone)
Insight, Self Observation and Self Understanding
Beginning of Listening and Hearing
First Things First – Follow your inclinations
To say “You must follow your own inclinations” is just a truism because that is what everybody does anyway. And so it is with those who first begin to consider this teaching or this way of life. At first they’re basically doing whatever they like. And there’s no point in my telling them to not do so or to try and give them one thing to do or tell them to get spiritual.
Instead of moving by inclination as they ordinarily do, they should consider the teaching and reflect on it and observe themselves in that context. A person will follow his or her own inclinations, and ‘this person’ is the ego, the self-delusion that is motivating all of these motions or inclinations.
It’s the ego then that must be found out. If you basically do what you like and if it turns out that spiritual possibility is one of the things that you like doing then that becomes part of your inclination. But if you study the teaching and reflect on it while following your inclination the teaching will lead you, step by step, to observe and understand yourself. Once you begin to observe and understand yourself, then you will choose to do something that has a different kind of significance. You will start being motivated by a disposition that works on transcending egoity and then one who enjoys that new disposition, one who knows something about egoity and is not really blindly motivated by it.
Over the years of my teaching work I was constantly confronted by people who basically wanted to do whatever they wanted to do and they of course were free to do that. In the beginning I didn’t have to give them the freedom, in the early years of our community I constantly brought up the consideration of this teaching to them or consideration of the ego and reflected it back to themselves. Over time, individuals would begin to observe and understand something about this self-generated search, this ego game and eventually began to freely assume a variety of disciplines. But all along they were still doing what they wanted to do but based on some beginnings of understanding, just the beginnings.
The Way as a whole then in some sense is following the inclinations and the ego. Ego is the obstacle and the binding force in it but if you carry on your ordinary life in the context of the teaching, you will naturally go through a variety of changes and your understanding of your motives and actions will begin to change. Following your own inclinations and study will naturally develop the spiritual process by stages.
But there isn’t a right affirmation or admonition one can give to beginners that says, something in the form of indulge yourself. “I see that you’re a rather self-indulgent person so the right thing to do is to go ahead and indulge yourself”, no. That’s not what anyone is saying truly. There’s a teaching in the context of spiritual life. People will indulge themselves and that is a fact.
Then Comes Reflections
Someone who has developed some genuine self-understanding will no longer be doing whatever he or she wants to do in a really casual sense, casually self-indulgent sense. There will still be some self-indulgence no doubt but another disposition will be growing in the context of all that. Such an individual will begin to make use of certain kinds of disciplines but they will be strong in the use of disciplines to reflect himself or herself back to himself or herself. There of course will be weaker times when the inclination to follow the ego’s will be indulged, that is quite natural and should be understood as that.
In the earlier days of our community there were periods of time when people would maintain the disciplines rather strict and rigid form. And then there would be periods when accessories were used on an open free basis. That pattern reflected the earliest kind of listening or self observation. There was some beginnings of understanding and how to make right use of discipline, but on the other hand there was still the ego and its ordinary tendencies.
There’s a time in the earliest consideration of the spiritual possibility when people do indulge themselves and then later they begin to make use of a little discipline alternating with their self-indulgence and eventually they begin to be quite a bit less self-indulgent and more simply disciplined. The truth of the matter then is when people become really involved in the spiritual process having understood something about themselves basically that they do live a disciplined life and in doing so they are not doing somebody else’s thing.
They’re not doing something other than what they want to do you see. They have simply grown in the spiritual context of the spiritual process. Having done so they quite naturally develop disciplines in their lives. A variety of different disciplines then develop stage by stage as that individual moves by this growing inclination which is self-transcending in nature rather than self-fulfilling or self-indulgent really.
Listening – Do Your Own Thing, but Understand What Your Up To
The truth is that everybody follows his or her own path, direction or whatever in the context of spiritual life even though they may have a master, spiritual guide, tradition, teaching or disciplines that they make use of. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m not saying indulge the ego’s tendencies. I’m saying observe your self and understand the nature of the ego.
So the sheerest beginning listening level of course wouldn’t be even useful to say take on a whole bunch of disciplines and beliefs. You’re going to do whatever you’re gong to do anyway. So listen. Consider the matter first you see.
But to someone who is a true beginner in the sense of having understood to some significant degree, disciplines are inevitably associated with the enlightening way and more and more so as the maturity develops. On the one hand there is a motivation in all individuals who do not have much self-understanding to be rather self-indulgent, to relieve stress and have a good time and stimulate themselves pleasurably and so on. That’s a motivation people are typically involved in a worldly context or in the context of the first three stages of life.
There’s also another dimension, there is an inclination manifested by individuals and humans collectively in the world that sometimes it seems strangely interested in preventing people from indulging themselves or pleasuring themselves in a variety of ways. Most people have encountered both of these motives not only in themselves but in others, the motive toward self-indulgence and the motive to prevent yourself or others from indulging themselves.
The Two Sides – Beginning of the Bind
It’s hard to say which is the strongest motive, but you can’t say that any individual is simply interested in self-indulgence. In any kind of an admonition to do whatever you like you’d see the opposite tendency just as much. Because it is ego-based, it self-defeating as well as self-motivated. For every gesture toward self-indulgence, there is an equal and opposite gesture toward the prevention of that. Whatever you do to prevent it, to prevent yourself from indulging, others seem to be very interested in preventing you from indulging yourself.
When you’re a little too uptight you’ll want get all the rowdy input. Others want you to get hip, come to life and indulge yourself. Both of these motives are always in operation. Sometimes you suffer from the one side. Sometimes you suffer from the other side.
So which side is it on? Is it on the side of self-indulgence or is it on the side of suppression of self-indulgence? It’s both. And whichever side is the ascendant or dominant at the moment depends on how strong the opposite inclination is. If there is too much self-indulgence then you get the suppressive side, too much apparent pleasure and so on. And too much apparent suppression and then you get the opposite.
The world in general today seems to be very much interested in indulging itself somehow. There’s a lot of that kind of liberal development of human possibilities going on. On the other hand, at the same time there is even in the recent last decade, increase of a kind of puritanical edge to the world politically and socially who want to stop that from happening.
So there’s a kind of equalizing tendency of a kind to prevent it from becoming too much of one or the other and that’s true but on the other hand it’s also a conflict that’s being expressed. There’s no singleness. There are these two motives in opposition to one another, one rising, the other falling and they keep exchanging positions and try to balance one another up and it never becomes one thing.
The Nature of Ego – Double Mindedness
The ego never becomes one thing. Egoity is a dynamic. Egoity is conflict. It is self-moving and it is self-defeating.
This is what must be observed at the beginning level of practice. Everything you can observe about yourself in one moment you will observe in another moment quite the opposite tendency.
So it’s not that through the process of self-observation you discover one thing about yourself. You don’t merely discover through a real process of self-observation that what you really want is God realization. That’s not the discovery at all. You may become want to become free to realize the Divine. But that is not it. You don’t have just one desire, you have a many desires and they’re all in pairs, all in conflict with one another and you’re not one thing at all. You’re everything and all opposites.
The real process of self-observation shows that you are very complex phenomena. You see the inherent conflict, the non-singleness, the multiplicity, the chaos that you are and see what that is. See what is chaos itself. What is this always paired infinitely multiplied gesture. What does that amount to?
Hearing – Self Understanding with Responsibility
Hearing is an awakening that comes in the summary of self-observation, not in some moment of seeing some thing about yourself. When you’ve seen the totality of it and see what the totality is, what it is, not what one portion of it is, when you see that it is self-contraction, when it is thoroughly understood in all of its opposites as being just the self-contraction and that is your own action, something that you are adding to reality in every moment, then bondage to that script is released and you awaken to that in which all of this has been arising and which it is happening, that to which all that is being added. That is Hearing. Hearing is a summary observation not the witnessing of some action.
So that which is realized and not insight. True awakening is the divine possibility you realize. The possibility of spiritual life not by finding out one thing about yourself or magnifying one principle desire in yourself but by transcending all these desires, the whole complex of your dynamic egoity. You haven’t heard until it is the chief such summary form.
Idealist, Philosopher, Relgionist and Wise One
If you want to be religious, you connect with some sort of motive in yourself that you call religious. Short of self-understanding, the only thing you can do about that is become idealistic. You start magnifying one aspect of your desiring and trying to make that the dominant force in your life.
So if you can somehow slip through the loopholes, you become a devotee as an idealist then you see. You will be affirming all kinds of positive motives that you would call religious or spiritual, all kinds of virtuous inclinations relative to the disciplines of life and so on. But you won’t be practicing them as a true devotee if you have not heard, if you have not understood this dynamic self, this self-contraction. It is itself one thing but it is manifested as not only multiplicity but pairs, oppositions.
As an idealist you may say you are committed to this particular intimate relationship you are involved in. You hold very firm to that and all discussions about the matter constantly present yourself as somebody who is happy in this relationship loving and satisfied in it. There’s no motive elsewhere and so forth. But if you’re an idealist, that won’t be true. You will be either secretly or periodically, overtly even, manifesting opposite sides. So you as an idealist may be committed to an intimate relationship but your idealism is weak because it is founded on egoity therefore you will inevitably show signs of promiscuity, unlove, dissatisfaction, reactivity and so on in such a relationship. You will continue to phase with your devotion and your failure of devotion.
You may at times be idealistically or even righteously disciplined relative to diet and and other disciplines but other times you just have to have add a little sugar, a little coffee or a few cigarettes and beer, some pork chops, whatever. You will be constantly moving between lunch righteousness and self-indulgence. And if you manage to be idealistic long enough to confine yourself to the idealistically defined performance, you will still be suffering the opposite in yourself in terms of an internal conflict you see. The more idealistic you are, the more internalized your conflict is. The weaker you are as an idealist, the more overt your failures will be.
So it’s that kind of pattern that has an inward design that must be transcended through hearing. With the capacity of Hearing the divine disposition has awakened and it involves a profound transformation of life. It then begins to show signs, quite naturally, that others may interpret to be rather idealistic. In other words, you may be able to live a life that others would say is very positive, something desirable from a rather idealistic point of view although you will not be practicing it from that point of view.
Now those of you who are here in Hermitage practicing at level one are a relatively well-balanced group of people. Your lives are in some basic sense in order. You don’t seem to have very exaggerated motivations to break out of the pattern of discipline you are living.
But we’ve also observed and you’ve observed about yourselves, is that you are living in a rather idealistic fashion. You’re not showing these signs of balance because of profound self-understanding. It’s rather more like your style. It’s just your way the same as people in the world do it.
On the other hand, you have all of these signs of conflict in yourselves and each one of you in fact has expressed that at one time or another at these gatherings even though in general your behavior is generally what you would call balanced behavior and not very exaggerated. On the other hand, when queried about it, you have expressed a conflict, motivations toward something that is quite the opposite of what you are generally tending to do, and that is the the characteristic of the idealistic ego.
You are tending to suffer this ego dynamic rather inwardly. You are suffering from a variety of inclinations, many of which are different than what you tend to do in your daily behavior but you are not, you don’t feel it is a good idea perhaps to dramatize some of those inclinations. Some said you just feel them. You confess them every now and then.
Nothing really changes about it however. You’re still there. So even though you are perhaps outwardly not tending to be very dramatic, very two-sided in terms of your actual behaviors, you are nonetheless rather two-sided in yourself and that is what you must observe. You are not only applying disciplines in your lives and considering the teaching. You are observing yourself. You don’t have to be very exaggerated to observe this two-sidedness in yourself and this rather complex infinitely multiplied desiring kind of inclination. That is what you must observe then.
This process of observation is not an idealistic activity however. As I’ve said before, it’s not that you’re observing yourself to finally find out somewhere deep down there is a single absolute clarifying motivation that we call spiritual. It’s not there. There isn’t any such motivation. There may be a motivation there to be spiritual but it is coupled with an opposite motivation. The real spiritual energy you must see is beyond that conflict, the real spiritual gesture, the true spiritual energy is prior to egoity, prior to the opposites, prior to conflict. The real spiritual act is prior to, is an energy that is prior to the motivation to do the opposite. So only then can you practice the spiritual way as devotees and realize that prior energy. You will no longer in conflict. It stands prior to the ego. Resorting to that then is to transcend oneself. Whereas if you simply desire the spiritual act, you’re not transcending yourself in that desire. In fact you’re countering another desire in yourself. You may even be trying somehow to suppress that alternative desire and make it disappear or purify yourself of it by emphasizing a virtuous motive.
You may think that you have some real spiritual inclinations in your life you see. If you observe yourself, you’ll find out that’s really what that’s all about. You’ll see that its opposite is also there and that your motives to be spiritual are motives in conflict with other motives that you are not so comfortable with.
I think many people have in the past somehow gotten into the devotee stages because they were of this more balanced type outwardly and were otherwise also idealistic in their orientation to spiritual life. And this was a kind of egoic arrangement that the community was not sensitive enough to.
Understanding the Complexity of Egoity
This community if it’s going to develop its true cultural integrity has got to be sensitive to these different styles of egoity.
This community has to sensitize itself to all the kinds of types or styles through which egoity gets expressed and understand thoroughly what the listening and hearing process is really all about and establish cultural integrity on that basis.
Over time people develop a facility, a verbal facility whether they are the exaggerated type or the balanced type. It’s one of the things to which the community has not been very sensitive to, ‘talking’ the teaching. It’s not an expression of true self-understanding. You feel if you can read the teaching that you feel it is expressing the truth and you duplicate it by reflection it your own mind. You think it’s your understanding and your intelligence but it’s not.
This understanding is the mind, it’s just something you are reflecting. The mind is a reflector you see. It just follows it and talks it back. It hasn’t changed anything. It’s not really you yet you see. That’s not what I mean by listening to the teaching, just absorbing its language and concepts and images and so forth. That’s not what studying the teaching is really all about.
To study the teaching and listen is to allow it to develop, to serve the process of self-observation in you for real. You can seem to be observing yourself to some degree or watching yourself reflecting yourself to yourself and getting descriptions of yourself. “I see this and that and the other thing about myself. I’m so grateful for the difficulty I have had this month because I saw a lot of that.”
That’s self-description and people over time accumulate a lot of that. They not only accumulate the lingo of the teaching and are sort of proud of it. They accumulate sequences of self-description which sometimes are coded in the language of insight. Because really they’re just images, just pictures of how you tend to operate.
Insight is NOT Hearing
To know how you tend to operate in a variety of ways is not to understand yourself. It’s not to hear at any rate in the fullest sense you see. It may be insight, sight into yourself, a kind of self-awareness. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with developing that. But it is not hearing and it’s not self-understanding in the fully consequential sense. It’s just the kind of thing that naturally comes with listening. Hearing is something else altogether. Hearing undercuts all the dualities, undercuts the whole guy. You are no longer an idealist if you’ve truly heard.
You’re a realist in some, we can use that term in some special sense in that your practice is based on reality, real self-observation, real self-understanding and then real spiritual communion and so on, not merely something you project from your own self-based, self-contracted mind feeling experience and so on.
To be a realist is apply yourself to something that inherently transcends you. You are in conflict as long as you are identifying one-half of a pair of opposites. A problem is two sides in opposition to one another and it is a problem for you as long as long as you are identifying with one-half. It may be a different half in alternative moments but you’re in conflict because you are always trying to exclusively propel yourself with one-half of some motive or other, or you make the other, you struggle with the other-half or let the other side become latent somehow it comes out and you’re being that half.
You must realize a condition in which you are aware of yourself totally and you can’t identify with either half therefore because both sides of every possible problem or conflict are within your view and you are aware of them being part of this self, both sides you see. You can’t be either one. So then you see it as a whole. And seeing it as a whole not gesturing in either direction you see. That’s a kind of still point in which you can understand it as a whole, not just see it as the whole, or observe it as a whole but understand it as a whole, what it is, that it is self-contraction, that It is self-generated, that it is an arbitrary identification.
True hearing doesn’t really awaken until there is total self-awareness and the freedom from having to identify with one or the other half of your script in any given moment. If you’re both someone who is super committed to fidelity and super committed to promiscuity simultaneously you can’t do either one. You can only be aware of the total and understand it as bondage. You’re not even fully aware of it as bondage until you get to the point where you can’t do either one. Then you’ve really become sensitive to your bondage and double bind.
As long as you keep playing one or the other side in your alternative moments, you will struggle, suffer and continually seek and you will not fully be aware of it as bondage. It’s bondage when you can’t move anymore, when you’re aware of the total, when you’re aware of yourself totally wholly and can’t choose to be one or the other. You can’t be idealistic about it anymore. You can’t be superficial you will be unable to fully dramatize. You can only suffer it and then you become aware of it as it is and how it is something you are adding to what is, the gesture of self-contraction.
Disciplines Show You Yourself
In the beginning people freely animate their patterns and much of that is often self-indulgent. They want to do a little of this and a little of that and maybe read the teaching. At some point having studied the teaching and having reflected on enough of themselves they realize the usefulness of disciplines. How they reflect their tendencies back to themselves.
To some degree they frustrate your tendencies. They back your tendencies up on themselves. In every moment, day to day, your tendencies arise because you are living the disciplines, you become aware of your efforts, your motives and you begin to see yourself in more complexity.
You see it even more and more the more you make the disciplines a kind of total discipline covering all areas of your life. You give yourself some room even in the beginning and the discipline is there. The disciplines cover all areas but they are not what you call absolute. You are not required to be monks and so forth you see. So you do have the general domain of human action in which you apply the disciplines. It only takes a little, just little bit of discipline is sufficient to frustrate your tendencies so they are reflected back on yourself.
Even before you do them you are made constantly aware of the energies of your own efforts and you see them in your complexity. You see not only the motive to be self-indulgent rather than disciplined, you see the motive to be disciplined. You see it as a way to satisfy yourself. You see both sides.
The True Beginning
You must be aware of all of your complexity and in all areas you must see yourself in pairs of two minds of someone living in a dilemma or problem. You see when you are fully self-aware and when you are no longer really able to be one or the other side of any position. If you are truly serious you become profoundly aware of the act that is the root of both halves of every conflict.
That act is the self-contraction. It’s not merely this or that kind of activity in a functional sense. It is an act that produces all those kinds of activities. You must become extremely sensitive to yourself to notice that act you see. Otherwise you see and understand these moments as hearing. But you are only observing yourself egoically in action and are not fully observing the act itself, the fundamental act of self-contraction that is producing these actions.
You see yourself as ego in the form of those actions but you do not see the action that is egoity itself. Because you always have an act to do. You always have a functional performance that you are identifying with. Instead of simply observing yourself, you are being animated. So the more profound this mere observation becomes, the more total that awareness becomes and you begin to notice the opposites in every moment.
The more that is true, the closer you are coming to a summary insight, a direct awareness of the fundamental action that is the root of all opposites, all complexity. This is a most subtle observation. It is not a thing. It is not itself a function that can be identified with a part of the body or a part of human function. It is the root of all of them, the governor of all of them. It’s the principle of bondage to all of them and it is what is keeping you from becoming aware of that in which the contraction itself is being generated.
The ego is itself the ultimate koan. It’s a not an unexpected knot that is generating a kind of vision of existence that is untrue. It is the result of an action you are not observing. To cut through that koan is to not only see the action that is the root of everything you are doing but to transcended it through seeing or understanding. You realize that in which it is arising. So you can say hearing is a kind of satori.
All release from egoity is a kind of satori, even moments of so-called hearing and moments of insight. These are kinds of satori or release from the bind, a kind of total psyco-physical release or orgasm even perhaps, a free circulation of its energies. A sense of well-being suddenly comes over you. It’s an orgasmic event and simultaneous with it is a kind of intuitive sense of a greater condition.
That moment of insight and what most fundamental awakening is not the end of the process. It’s only the beginning of it. So much of what is called satori in the Zen tradition, it’s really the beginnings of a process that could go on but instead they just repeat the ceremony over and over again to have more and more satories. Satories only are the beginning.
‘I’ IS THE BODY
You’ve got to discover the ego. You must understand the egoity or the self-contraction itself. You’ve got to stop merely dramatizing it or living the dramatization of egoity and not noticing what it is altogether. The first thing you’ve got to go through is the process of understanding in which you simply stand as the ‘I’ as the body without contracting into some abstract sense of being interior, being the mind against the body.
You’ve got to relax from this identification with the conceptual mind or the interior perceptual mind and be the total which is the whole body or the total psycho-physical person. The conditional self is the I. The ‘I’ is not merely some interior mental preoccupation. It is that but it is more than that. It is the total body mind physically present, physically felt, not contracting. You must see this and understanding it as it is.
Before you can discover what the ego is as self-contraction, you must simply stand as it is rather than dramatize it. You’ve got to come to an ease as the body mind and not merely dramatize egoity by becoming interior or a becoming more physically active. That’s the first step. It’s like in the Ramana Maharshi’s form of inquiry. First you ask what is arising and to whom is this arising and then you ask who am I.
It’s like a two step process. You have to discover what it is altogether and let it be. Be it. Let the ‘I’ be it, but this ‘I’ you see which is the body mind and not merely the mind. It is contraction. It is something being superimposed in the present instant on existence. So this process of listening whereby you allow the ego to be identified with the body mind is not merely some interior drama. It’s just the first step in a process in which you find out the ‘I’ .
You find out the ego. The whole process of becoming ‘I’ in the body is to discover the ego and understand it and transcend it. Then that becomes the next homaly, it’s not an end in itself. The body without contracting interior to the body is a relatively radiant position, it’s not resisting being the body. It’s not altogether in resisting what the body is which is dependent on relations, food and others. It’s become by its natural acknowledgment of itself continuous with all its likenesse’s, all things on which it depends. It becomes continuous but nonetheless it’s still the ego. It’s still contraction. This is what you must discover. You must first come to the point of understanding the ego because it is just a step in a process of self-understanding.
It’s not an end in itself, otherwise the beginning process would be the seventh stage of life and that’s it. It’s just a moment in a process of self-understanding. Even in the seventh stage of life however to be free of the self-contraction altogether, it’s not to be identified with the body. It’s to stand as the self-radiant divine but not disassociated from the body, not identified with the principle of trying to contract or disassociate from or with the body or as the body or by the body. It’s just continuous with the body but it is not identification with the body but it is identification with that in which the body is in apparent identification. Until you understand yourself fully and the contents of all the stages of life, to be the body is not to realize the seventh stage disposition. It’s to be the body, it is to be identified as the body mind. That’s quite a different thing than the seventh stage realization. The seventh stage of life is to be continuous with the body mind and identified with the transcendental divine, the self-radiant divine.
In the beginning there’s another kind of process going on. It’s about finding yourself out. You have to get enough understanding of yourself to identify yourself as you are and let it be. It’s not a matter of focusing on some interior or identifying with the conceptual process merely. The conceptual process is an aspect of this total body mind. You must be the ego first totally and as a whole. Simply allow it to be observed as it is as a whole in all its complexity, its multiplicity and multifariousness and all of its divisions or oppositions, in its total dilemma. It must simply be observable as it is you see, that’s the first step.
What I’m addressing in this matter of the confession ‘I’ am the body is a natural event associated with self-observation. It’s not the end of the process, ‘I’ as the body, but ‘I’ is the not the divine, ‘I’ as the self-contraction. That’s the next thing to be found out once the ‘I’ as body has become acceptable and can be observed simply as it is in all its complexity. It must be observed and understood as self-contraction, so that’s the next step. It’s the next homaly, the next portion of the chapter which is about self-understanding.
That process has a variety of events in it. Every stage of the Way has a progress of events or stages of demonstration. In the listening stage there is a progress or there are stages of the demonstration of it. ‘I’ as the body is not hearing. It is simply an early event in the process of self-understanding or self-observation.
To acknowledge the ‘I’ as it is which is the total body mind and not an interior dramatization merely, puts you in a position to go further in this process of self-observation.
QUESTIONER: ‘I’ as the body as ego and ‘I’ as the Transcendental Divine Condition seem to be a contradiction.
ADI DA: Perhaps in your case the major reason why these two considerations seemed to contradict one another, you have not yet realized the first. Because you tend to abstract yourself and think, think, think, think, think, wonder, wonder, question, question, doubt, doubt, and not stand as the body. You do don’t you?
You can’t get onto the second until you’ve accomplished the first and until you’ve accomplished the first, the second seems like a contraction or a question, something you don’t understand yet anyway. Well how could you understand it fully until you’ve fulfilled the first aspect of the process. So if you truly enter into a process of self-observation then you will observe the total complex of what you are being as a conditional personality.
It’s not really a mentalizing or a moding. It’s physical. It’s sensory. It’s perceptual as well as conceptual. So it’s all these things. It’s all totally the body mind and you must not only notice that but having noticed it, allow it. Standing in a position of observing it allows you to allow it. Then you have a different framework in which to continue the process of self-observation but you will notice that even in that sense ‘I’ in the body and ‘I’ is love in some sense, in other words, continuous with all its relations, even so it is the self-contraction but that cannot be affirmed until it is truly observed and you can’t observe it until you have first come to terms with what the ‘I’ is as a whole.
So the listening process is a process and it has stages and you can’t really understand the later stages until you have fulfilled the earlier stages. So that Chapter 19 is a condensation, an elaboration of all of the sequences of the listening process.
(From the Audience) You’ve admonished first transcend the mind not the body in a listening process that you describe in Chapter 19 that that process is made very clear in terms of how the body mind is always being an other involved in a separate illusory abstract process that actually even prevents itself from being sensitive to the self-contraction as the body.
ADI DA SAMRAJ: You’re not only being self-contraction as the body but you’re being self-contraction in the context of the body or the body mind so you’re creating a division in it. You’re always two-sided. You create divisions in everything. You have both propositions in you so in the context of the body mind you are tending to be the mind or maybe sometimes trying to be the body without the mind.
It is a whole, a totality you see. Self-observation must come to the point where it allows that totality or that dynamic and it’s not only the conceptual mind. It’s the perceptual mind. You’re not merely interior activity. The self-contraction stands as the total body mind, not merely within it. The total body mind is the soul if we can even use the word soul you see, not something inside and abstract. What you are being from moment to moment is a dynamic full of opposites.
You tend to make wrong judgments about it. You tend to not even being able to identify it as it is as a functional operation you see because you are playing the game of self-contraction so the first event in the process of self-observation, the observation of self-contraction is to come to terms with its total manifestation which is not merely the inside separating from the outside or the outside separating from the inside but this whole outside inside psycho-physical ‘I’.
That’s the ‘I’, not merely an ‘I’ you can say in your mind and you can say it inside you see. ‘I’ is the body, not merely the mind. It is a feeling, existence but nonetheless it is conditional. It is feeling but separate and even in all its relatedness however continuous it may be in the context of relations, loving even, it is still being separate. It is observable as a self-contraction.
True hearing is a matter of understanding the totality that is the ‘I’ and not merely some portion. So ‘I’ is the body and not merely the mind or an inward tension. The self-contraction is not really something happening inside the body. The self-contraction is the body. The self-contraction is relatedness. The self-contraction covers all of its separate parts or its dynamics or its oppositions, mind body you see, not just mind or body.
Self-contraction covers all of the opposites, includes them all. So this is the first test you must come to in the process of listening. Then you become more sensitized with the wide variety of operations of yourself in relationship from moment to moment. The body is a contraction from the point of view of consciousness. It is a difference. It’s made of the same energy of which all other forms are made. It is a universal force but it’s displayed through differences, separate apparent individuals, separate bodies.
It’s displayed as relationship, the feeling of relatedness. The feeling of relatedness is being displayed as all relations as all opposites all others all conditions things. It’s displayed as the cosmic mandala, not merely as your separate individual personality. The entire cosmic display is self-contraction, an illusion, an appearance added to or being apparently superimposed on that which already is and what always already is, this is where you stand.
It’s not a matter of the attainment of some object other thing state. It’s the removal of contradictions. They appear as contradictory because you are self-contradictory. For you the various parts of the whole are contradicting one another or are in opposition to one another.
They are a struggle you see. The self-contraction is the display through all kinds of varieties. You identify with one portion of a dynamic and each moment you are always playing that game you see and you can’t see the whole so the real beginnings of the process of understanding are you coming to terms with self-observation, coming to terms with the ‘I’ as a totality rather than automatically identifying with some portion of the dynamic of the body mind so you must first relax as the body, identify ‘I’ as the body or the total body mind, not some portion and therefore from that point the whole is before you still displayed, still playing its games, still displaying itself through dynamic, through contradictions but as you, when you develop the true awakening of hearing you see, it’s not contradiction anymore.
There aren’t contradictions. Contradiction is just another word for problems or oppositions, opposites and it’s a problem for you, contradictory for you because you tend to identify with one path in every moment.
Over time you identify with every side but at any given moment you tend to only identify with one over against the other. You are always feeling dilemma, a sense of contradiction. That moves you to seek something outside or inside. But the truth is not outside or inside. It’s not some thing, a proposition or object. It’s that which is realized inherently and when all contradictions are transcended.
That’s the state of mind, contradiction, of the ego. This is what must be understood. You begin to understand it when you allow the ego as a whole as a totality and stop identifying merely with one portion over and against the other. You’ve got to see that game. You’ve got to find yourself out you see. The whole process is a matter of finding yourself out.
Koans, the traditional Koans all appear to be contradictory. They create a doubt or a stress. It’s this and the other and you try to make to sense out of it. You try to make it one but it’s always two. The person under the Zen discipline goes to the Zen Master having been given a Koan and answers the question from the point of view of one side adopting the position of one side or the other in every interview you see.
When is the question finally answered? When is it given another Koan? No. When it stops being contradictory. When stop being possessed by it when you stop struggling with it. When you can assume not only the position of the whole, that’s one step but the position of that which is prior even to the whole but before you assume the position of the whole you are all the time assuming the position of one side or the other. That’s the struggle of the Koan.
Those who do the Koan do first identify one possibility over against the other. They keep bringing up a bunch of dumb remarks and get slapped on the head. Then they come to another point where they are something like rested in a total view. They are not struggling with it. It’s a totality but they make a subtly dumb remark and that’s when they get their worst beating because the next time they come in they must stand prior even to the whole.
That’s the first step in the Koan business. Then you must find out that even the whole, even the ‘I’ as the body is self-contraction. That’s the great discovery. That’s the end of the Koan. That’s the end of the ego but you can’t figure it out. The contradiction is not in the teaching or in me. They’re in you. They’re in your matter of acting. There in the self-contraction. It is full of contradictions. It is self-contradictory. That’s what egoity is. It’s self-defeating. It’s always assuming one side or the other or maybe it’s some point resting in the whole but not identifying and not understanding it as an obstacle, not in other words, realizing that which is prior to it.
That which is prior to even the whole is what is realized in hearing. It is intuitively realized and it’s similar to stopping and pinching yourself you see. All of a sudden you have the key and that key is the root of the conscious process which is the senior aspect of the way from there on. And ultimately it covers everything, the whole cosmic display and all the stages of life.
The inability to make an effort or to assume a proposition representing one or the other side of a dynamic possibility or one or the other side of the contradiction of the problem that you’re being . . . when you can’t make an answer, when you can’t go further, when you can’t penetrate the Koan, you can’t penetrate the great question, only the total is before you, you cannot move, you’re in an absolute state of frustration, you can’t think what to do next, you don’t know what possibly could happen next, you could be in this state for the rest of your life, when you get to that point of tension, it’s precisely in that disposition that hearing awakens.
It may not happen that moment but that’s the disposition in which hearing does awaken, so that’s what you must move to and through in the listening process. It is a profound process. It’s not some silly little religion business. It’s not just a preliminary you see. It’s the basis of it all. And you must come to that point of absolute frustration, absolute contradiction. We can’t make a gesture to the right or left or inside or outside. Only the total is before you despite its vast complex of this idiot self and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it and you can’t remove its essential stresses by contemplating it or acting. There’s nothing you can do.
You’re addressing the great question or the great consideration, or observing yourself with great seriousness, complete attention. You can’t do anything but that. You’re stuck with that in that, that is the point of crisis and hearing is the ultimate revelation in that context. It’s very much like the Koan business in the Zen tradition.
This is the first stage even in the Zen tradition where the Koan is used as a device you see. It’s an early psychological stage in the listening process and some of you thought you were a advanced practitioners (audience laughs)…Where’s my mallet….. Where’s my stick? End of you, over! (more laughter from audience).