The Way of the Heart – Student Text Series
“Who thinks they have a notion of how the
listening process develops?”
HEART-MASTER DA: I thought perhaps we would
discuss the advanced levels of the listening
process this evening. Rather than my simply beginning by
saying what I have to say about it, perhaps some among you
have an idea of what the advanced dimension of the listening
process is. Who thinks they have a notion of how the
listening process develops? Anybody have a sense of
PRACTITIONER: In The
Knee of Listening You describe a period that began
during Your sadhana at the beach in the early 1960s, in
which You engaged a concentrated process of examining
everything that arose. The culmination of that was Your
understanding the activity of the search as Narcissus.
You said that process became full during the time with Rudi.
So my thoughts are that first Narcissus becomes obvious, and
then there is the concentrated work in relationship to that
HEART-MASTER DA: You have pointed to the advanced
process, but you have not described it. What you described
is the first stage of the listening process, or self-observation,
which is served by the sadhana of study, or response to the
Word of the Teacher. There is no way of knowing how long
this process will take to become fundamental insight, or
“hearing”. All the details of the self must be observed over
time. You must observe yourself as a persona, as an actor,
as a collection of strategies, in every detail relative to
money, food, and sex, and you must also observe your
conventional religiosity. This process is served not only by
study of the Wisdom-Teaching, but also by study of the Great
Tradition, using the Wisdom-Teaching as the basis for
discriminative consideration. At some point, you take on a
variety of disciplines to support the process of
self-observation. You also begin to use the Great
Questions, allowing yourself to be pondered by those
The process of self-observation becomes fundamental
understanding of the action that is the conditional self
The self is observed not only in its details but in toto,
totally, as the avoidance of relationship, or as
self-contraction. This is summary insight, the culmination
of the first step in the listening process. Once the self is
understood as self-contraction, or the avoidance of
relationship, then the advanced form of the listening
process is initiated.
In the first stage of the listening process the Great
Questions, particularly the two primary ones*,
have something of the significance of the disciplines in
general. They are instruments of self-observation. They
serve to reflect you to yourself. However, when insight
becomes summary, when you have truly observed and understood
the search as self contraction, as a motivation that always
expresses the avoidance of relationship, then the Great
Questions assume a different function. In the advanced form
of the listening process the Great Questions become agents,
instruments, of the summary insight that you already enjoy.
The voice of the Question, then, has become your own. It is
the voice of the Teacher, but it has also become your own
true voice, by virtue of your self-understanding. In a
fundamental sense, you have become one with the Teacher, one
with the Teaching Word. Then the Great Questions become the
expression of your insight enforcing itself, bringing itself
into the present moment, wherein all the ordinary actions of
the ego are taking place.
The Way of the Heart is not turning in upon the self to
realize an abstract, eternal, internal state. It is not
going within and beyond all the forms of the self to find
the ultimate soul-level that is free. It is not
intellectually observing the self and seeing all its objects
and k; peripheral signs, and identifying with a
consciousness behind that. The process of the Way of the
Heart is a process of observing the self totally in the
context of every moment.
When the self is observed and understood as self-contraction,
then the seif-contraction may be felt beyond. Instead of the
avoidance of relationship, natural, native, inherent
relatedness is realized. When you feel beyond the
self-contraction into the simple condition of relatedness,
the knot, the pain, of self-contraction is released. If you
do not realize you are tightening your fist so hard that you
feel pain, you will be motivated by that pain to take a
variety of actions, but you will not successfully relieve
yourself of the pain. Only when you realize that you are
tightening your fist and causing yourself pain can you relax
your hand. When you relax, allowing the hand to rest in its
natural state, the pain is relieved. The process is
basically as simple as that. The self-contraction must first
be observed in its parts and then totally, as a summary
observation, and then it must be felt beyond.
The second or mature phase of the listening and hearing process is the process of feeling beyond the
self-contraction, of feeling the native state of unqualified
relatedness. The body- mind is not wholly independent but is
a totally dependent form, with infinite associations. By
reaction, the self presumes itself to be independent or
separate and struggles to realize self- sufficiency,
non-dependency. In doing so it generates stress, the pain of
its own individuation or separation.
The pain of the stressful “knot” is suffered, and the
self becomes active in a variety of relationships and
experiences in an attempt to relieve the stress. The self
does not in that process, however, release the fault. It is
looking to compensate for it, to console itself by
associations, as if the solution were elsewhere, whereas, in
fact, the problem is with the self itself, which must
relinquish its activity of self-contraction. You cannot do
this from a position outside the self, a peripheral
position. You must release the knot from the position of the
knot. You cannot merely sense a pain in your stomach, relate
mentally to the knot and the general sense of yourself, and
release the knot. You must stand in the very position in
which the knot is being generated, before it is expressed as
a knot in the solar plexus or any other place of disturbance
in the body-mind. The ability to stand in the position in
which the seif-contraction is generated is served in the
initial phase of the listening process. Detailed self
observation, to the point of fundamental insight, is the
process whereby you come to stand in the position of the
self-contraction, the original place where the pain that is
motivating the search is generated.
Thereafter, every moment of self-enquiry, “Avoiding
relationship?”, addresses the present moment of existence,
observes the pain, and understands the self-contraction.
This understanding allows the simple gesture of release,
allows you to stand prior to seif-contraction. When you
stand in the position of the knot itself, the position of
creating it, you can then feel beyond it and simply stand in
the natural condition of relatedness. Thus, in any moment in
which this simple feeling-realization is re-awakened
whole-bodily, the knot of egoity is released, and you stand
in the position of equanimity.
This realization, this original insight, is twofold.
First the knot of the self is released, and you are
established in prior equanimity.
When you stand prior to self-contraction, the disposition of
merely being, feeling toward, feeling through, and feeling
beyond, is awakened. The free, feeling disposition of free
energy and attention, the natural state of equanimity,
is realized. The second aspect of the same realization is
that you are restored to relatedness. In the context of the
first three stages of life, then, this self-understanding
restores you to the variety of relations that pertain to the
grosser dimension of the body-mind. The process must proceed
through the advancing stages
of life, where this same self-observation, self-
understanding, and self-enquiry awaken in relation to the
limitations that belong to the subtler dimensions of the
Thus, the process that leads through the stages begins
with listening and hearing. You practice in the sphere of
relations and experiences, and you realize fundamental
equanimity and relatedness. You progressively observe,
understand, and feel beyond the limitations of the stages
of life. This process culminates in the sixth stage
process or in the transition to the seventh stage of life in
the event of transcendence of the feeling of relatedness
itself. In that event, the process is made single.
In the earlier stages the process is associated with the
feeling of relatedness and therefore with a variety of
objects, according to the stage of life. Thus, the agent of
the process leading to the seventh stage of life is the
feeling of relatedness, which is a natural realization
developed on the basis of listening and hearing. In the
equanimity prior to self-contraction, the feeling of
relatedness is wholly felt, wholly allowed, and in any
moment in which the self-contraction intervenes, it is
observed, understood, and felt beyond, or felt prior to.
Instead of seif-contraction generating your experience, the
feeling of relatedness, simple being, feeling toward,
feeling through, and feeling beyond, is awakened in every
moment of true self enquiry or True Prayer.
In the transition to the seventh stage of life, the
feeling of relatedness itself is transcended. The inherent
Condition, the Condition of conditions, Where you Stand, is
Realized. Thereafter, even all apparent objects are
Recognized as simply the Self, the same Condition that is
Self-Radiant Consciousness. Consciousness Itself is the
Feeling of Being, without center, without bounds, without
limits. It is the Very Divine. Its own Radiance is the
Substance of conditional appearances. It is the Substance of
all objects. In the context of the seventh stage of life all
objects are Recognized, and in Truth there are no objects.
There is only Self-Radiant Being, the Divine Condition
Itself. Although apparently there are also objects, there
are no objects as they appear from the point of view of the
ego. The difference is most profound, and, in fact,
HEART-MASTER DA: In our conversations I have
referred to the advanced process in a variety of ways. For
the most part, however, we have been talking about the
initial process of listening, of self-observation. That
process produces a variety of insights, and even positive
changes in your lives, but it is not conclusive until it
becomes summary insight, and then the process advances into
its mature form.
The advanced form of listening and hearing is a
quickening process, because it has such great arms.
Self-understanding has become profound at that point. But
the practice must go on to develop basic equanimity in the
first three stages of life. Therefore, no one should make
the transition to practicing stage two until he or she has
fully entered the mature phase of the listening-hearing
process and allowed it to develop basic equanimity in the
first three stages, in addition to having met the other
requirements of the transition.
Most of the members of this group are perhaps practicing
at the 1.2 level, which is fine, but the 1.2 level is not
the beginning of the mature phase of the listening process.
It means that you have simply come to a point of sufficient
self-observation, general insight into your character, that
you represent sufficient balance and seriousness to justify
your making use of the reflective capacity of others, just
as you make use of the reflective capacity of the
disciplines you practice. In practicing stage 1.2 there is
an advanced development, but even that does not signify that
you are ready to immediately make the transition to
practicing stage 2. It would have to be seen whether that
transition occurred soon.
Do any of you feel you are practicing in the mature phase
of the listening-hearing process? (Pause.) I know many of
you are not, by your own confession. Your questions and your
descriptions of your experience at the present time indicate
that even the process of self observation is not active in
the deepest root of your personality. You are still dealing
with rather peripheral matters-the dimensions of money,
food, sex, and religious consolation.
You are dealing with peripheral emotions, rather than the
fundamental feeling of the cramp of self-contraction, the
mood of fear in its most fundamental form. You say you are
afraid, that you can feel fear, or that you feel a variety
of other reactive emotions, but you are not understanding
them fully, nor have you come to a summary understanding of
yourself altogether as simply self-contraction.
If you think it would be useful, we could perhaps
indicate another stage of the listening process-cal: it the
1.3 discipline, if that would be a useful indicator relative
to transitions. When people come to the point of summary
insight, such that they are using self-enquiiy in the mature
form I have described, then you could say they have made the
transition to the 1.3
PRACTITIONER: You have spoken several times about
the point in practice when the student sees the
self-contraction in relationship to objects and others and
understands his motivation by a fundamental stress. Does
that mark the transition from 1.2 to 1.3, or would that
transition occur prior to summary understanding?
HEART-MASTER DA: The transition to practicing
stage 1.3 occurs when summary understanding is awakened.
PRACTITIONER: When the practice of seeing the
self-contraction in relation to others is stable, would that
be a sign of maturing in practicing stage 1.2?
HEART-MASTER DA: Even in practicing stage 1.1 there will
be some maturing in that area. Practicing stage 1.2 simply
marks the point at which you can make use of the reflective
capacity of others-there is simply more stability.
Practicing stage 1.1 is the beginning of the formal
listening process, in which the individual knows it is
useful to take on disciplines. Even students are pondering,
you see, so they are involved in the first dimension of the
practice. Practicing stages 1.1 and 1.2 continue the
listening process. Insight gradually develops, at first
relative to the more peripheral matters of the self-money,
food, sex, and conventional religiosity. When the ability to
make use of the reflective capacity of others is present,
the transition to practicing stage 1.2 occurs, just as the
transition to practicing stage 1.1 from the student stage
occurs when the capacity to make use of disciplines
Thus, the earliest level of the listening process is the
progressive development of the capacity to make use of
self-reflecting disciplines. You begin with the
Wisdom-Teaching as a student, you add disciplines at the 1.1
level, and you add the reflecting capacity of others at the
1.2 level. When the process becomes summary insight, and the
practice of self-enquiry is transformed by that
understanding, then the transition to practicing stage 1.3
At practicing stage 1.3 the practice is quite different,
because in a fundamental sense there is hearing. Of course,
the listening process continues, and there is still much to
observe, but the realization of hearing is already enforcing
itself, manifesting itself in the form of self enquiry.
Prior to that time, self-enquiry is simply another sounding
board like the disciplines in general or the reflective
capacity of others-another instrument you use to observe
yourself. You enquire “Avoiding relationship?” and in some
sense you do say “Yes”, and you notice in what form you are
avoiding relationship. That is how enquiry works in this
Once you make the transition to practicing stage 1.3,
when you enquire “Avoiding relationship?” there is no “Yes”
in response. You are already encountering or observing a
form of self-contraction. You enquire of it. The insight is
expressing itself, enforcing itself, and it is not answered.
Rather, the enquiry is effectively feeling beyond
self-contraction. Thus, the seif-contraction, instead of
being suffered, is felt beyond, and the wholeness, the
fullness, of the ego-transcending condition, the natural or
native Condition, is realized. What is prior to the knot is
PRACTITIONER: In the course of practicing stage
1.3 the practice of enquiry would become constant.
HEART-MASTER DA: In the course of the 1,3
discipline, enquiry becomes not only profound and effective,
but the random exercise of self-enquiry might become more
frequent and also more potent. You would not make use of
formal enquiry more than two or three times per day, but you
might begin to spend more time in each sitting.
At practicing stage 1.3 the human personality in the
context of the first three stages of life is transformed by
effective enquiry, whereas prior to the 1.3 level, all the
forms of practice are simply leading you to
self-understanding. They are simply instruments for
reflecting you to yourself. You develop a variety of
insights that lead toward a culminating or summary insight
that gives you the arms, or the instrument, of hearing, the
capacity for self transcendence. That capacity, then, is the
exercise at practicing stage 1.3, and it continues
intensifying itself, showing a variety of signs of maturity
in the context of the first three stages of life, until
there is stability, or basic equanimity, in the body-mind
and the heart-response is full.
At that point, the potential of the heart-practice is
regenerated and the individual can make use of the Company
of the Heart-Master as Heart-Master, can make use of Spirit-
Baptism, can be converted Spiritually, entered into the
Spiritual Process itself in the context of the advanced
stages of life. Right relationship to the Teacher as True
Heart-Master is within your capacity once there is that
stability and that maturity.
It is important for you to understand that hearing
awakens and develops in practicing stage one. This is one of
the aspects of the practice, among many, that has been
bypassed. Moments of insight have tended to be sufficient to
suggest to you that you are prepared for the devotee stages.
But hearing in the fullest sense was not awakened.
Hearing-if we can call it hearing at all-developed only
superficially in relation to peripheral levels of insight,
but it did not develop in the fullest sense. Whatever you
might have called hearing never became the basis for a
continued process of maturing and transformation in the
context of the first three stages of life preliminary to
your making the transition to practicing stage two.
This must be understood, and I think adding the 1.3
designation is a useful way to make cultural sense out of
it, because no one will make the transition to practicing
stage two until the 1.3 discipline has fulfilled itself.
PRACTITIONER: Heart-Master Da, this discussion
about the self-contraction reminded me of the section in The
Dawn Horse Testament in which You mention the insight You
had, while looking at Your hand, that it is the natural
state of the hand to be open.
HEART-MASTER DA: That was a very important,
simple, tacit insight. It did not occur in an extraordinary
moment. I was not doing anything unusual. I was simply
sitting in the room, perhaps in a chair, when I noticed my
hand closed up in a fist at my side. I was not clenching it,
it was just in a fist, and suddenly I understood something.
The observation happened to coincide with the physical
observation that the hand is not naturally turned in on
itself. The hand is for relationships. The hand is to touch
things. It is built to pick things up, to touch things, to
move around. It has no function when it is closed, and yet
it was tending to be closed.
This observation of my hand became a total observation of
myself, of the body-mind.
All of it was showing the same picture to me, as
something turned in on itself, even going inward for
“Spiritual” reasons. This inward-turning gesture suddenly
appeared to me to be false and not the Way at all.
The Way is not about turning inward toward some
abstraction within. Turning in is another form of seeking,
another form of the self-contraction. In its natural state,
the body- mind is inherently related, not even necessarily
doing something. When the hand is just open, it is not
grasping anything, and when the whole body-mind is in that
disposition, the motive to seek within is released.
Likewise, the motive to seek without is released. In the
simple, natural, native Condition self-understanding is
The Condition of conditions is not strategically
separating Itself from phenomena, nor is It merely
identified with phenomena. The Condition of conditions is
prior to phenomena. It is the Native State of Absolute
Self-Radiant Freedom. This realization awakened in that
moment in a flash, in that moment in a flash, in that
observation of the hand. There were many such moments in my
own case, but this was a very important one-not an
intellectual experience, not a thought, but a tacit
awareness, an awakening, also associated with this
observation of the hand.
Throughout the years and, in fact, on the cover of The
Knee of Listening, you have seen me making the gesture of
the clenched fist and the open hand. I was not holding a
microphone or pointing to myself with my thumb. In that
moment I was making the gesture of the closed fist and the
open hand, and I happened to be photographed at the moment
of using my fist. I have always used this gesture, or these
two mudras, as a sign, a Teaching Communication. The entire
Wisdom-Teaching is summarized in this (clenching His fist)
and this (opening His hand). This is an absolute mudra.
Inside the book I am shown with the open hand. That was a
Blessing moment. I do not Bless you with my fist raised! The
raised fist is another gesture, a gesture of a fight, of
beating the enemy. The open hand is the hand of Blessing and
of Freedom and of Happiness. Therefore, I have used these
gestures throughout the years as a way of communicating a
metaphor or an understanding you could grasp just by
observing the clenched fist and the open hand. The message
communicates itself tacitly, you see. I have also used the
concept of pinching oneself. These are a couple of the
instruments I have used to communicate to you.
Thus, the transition to practicing stage 1.3 is the
transition from the closed fist to the open hand, or the
capacity to release the self-contraction, to stand prior to
self-contraction in the condition of relatedness. This is
the capacity that is awakened in the event of hearing.
PRACTITIONER: It seems to me that when this
open-handed disposition takes place in 1.3 there would be a
different kind of relationship to You, a recognition of You
as Spiritual Master.
HEART-MASTER DA: However, you are not yet brought
into my Company. The acknowledgment of the Teacher as
Heart-Master depends on Spirit-Baptism, depends on coming
into the Company of the Heart-Master Spiritually. The
principle at practicing stage one is that the practitioner
would not be brought into the physical Company of the Heart-
Master, except perhaps on a rare occasion in a formal
setting of consideration of the Wisdom-Teaching. You are
prepared for acknowledgment of the Heart-Master when the
full conversion to the Spiritual Process has occurred and
you enter practicing stage two. You could say that the
capacity to make that acknowledgment is beginning to awaken
with the hearing event, but prior to practicing stage two
you are still dealing with the conditions of the first three
stages of life, not the Spiritual Process. The Spiritual
Process, which directly deals with the conductivity of the
Spirit-Force, begins at practicing stage two. Does that
answer your question?
PRACTITIONER: What I wanted to ask You is whether
the relationship to You as Teacher is affected by that
HEART-MASTER DA: You will have to see. It does not
become a relationship to me as Spiritual Master, but the
relationship could change, certainly. In the practitioner
who has a Teacher, gratitude is an appropriate feeling, and
honoring of the Teacher is appropriate. A variety of signs
are indicated in such a relationship, but they are not the
signs of the devotee. The signs of the devotee are
specifically associated with the Spiritual Process, not
merely with the relationship to the Teacher or Heart-Master,
and the Spiritual Process does not begin until you move
beyond the sphere of the first three stages of life.
Therefore you must complete that transformation. You must do
the sadhana in that context first. Whatever feelings arise
relative to the Wisdom-Teaching and the Teacher in that time
are simply to be observed, inspected, and understood. I
would certainly expect gratitude and a more profound
honoring of the Teacher once the Wisdom-Teaching has proven
itself to that degree.
During practicing stage 1.3, just prior to moving on to
practicing stage two, practitioners are invited to
sacramental celebratory occasions in the community of
devotees to observe the community in its action and form.
They are not present as devotees, but they are invited to
begin their association with the devotional community. They
are invited not to the Guru Puja, but to occasions of
chanting, or occasions of devotees talking about the
devotional practice and the Spiritual Way. This will give
1.3 practitioners opportunities to respond to the devotional
culture, to see if they are ready for that.
Any other questions about this?
PRACTITIONER: In this final stage of 1.3, will
there also be occasions of Spirit-Baptism?
HEART-MASTER DA: Absolutely not. That has nothing
to do with it.
The motive to God-Realization has awakened at practicing
stage one, so it is appropriate for the practitioner at 1.3
to come into a celebratory setting, a setting that is
natural for them to relate to. But it is not a Baptismal
occasion in its intention, at any rate-although you may feel energies.
PRACTITIONER: What would be the exact sign of
transition to practicing stage two?
HEART-MASTER DA:Simply this maturity in the
listening-hearing process. Just that. The evidence is simply
that you have finished the business of the first three
stages of life. That is it. There naturally might be signs
of the awakening of fourth stage responses, perhaps even
some evidence of Spiritual awareness, but the fundamental
evidence we are looking for is that the business of the
first three stages of life is finished, that the motive to
God-Realization is present, and there is a right
relationship to the Teacher.
Then you are initiated and brought into the culture of
the next stage. You take on a variety of new disciplines
associated with practicing stage two. You are brought into
the sphere of Spirit-Baptism. You are brought into the
Company of the Heart-Master, and the process of Baptism, or
Spiritual conversion, develops through the disciplines of
that stage and in that context, not before. Is that
PRACTITIONER: The practitioner in the 1.2 stage
would be involved in a weekly group reality consideration,
but in the 1.3 period it seems that that would change. Even
though there would still be groups, would they follow’ the
HEART-MASTER DA: It would be a similar format.
Most of the time you would meet with others of the same sex,
and there might be some occasions in which people who are
intimately related to one another gather in groups of men
and women together. However, the content that would be
brought up in those discussions would clearly be different
if the maturity of practicing stage 1.3 had developed. The
format would basically be the same-individuals would
describe their practice, respond to one another, reflect
themselves to one another if they like, and there would be
individuals present whose obligation it is to guide everyone
to the Wisdom-Teaching relative to everything that is
In practicing stage 1.3 the topics of money, food, sex,
and conventional religiosity would be dealt with less. If
one of these subjects comes up, it comes up. Fine. But
fundamentally such individuals would be dealing not with
these subjects but with the real process of self
transcendence through enquiry and describing the evidence of
that, the real effect of that, remarking about that in one
another’s case, perhaps not only reflecting critical
observations to one another, but also acknowledging changes
that are positive. Of course, positive changes could be
acknowledged at practicing stage 1.2, but there tends to be
a more critical dimension to 1.2, whereas at the 1.3 level,
acknowledgment of real changes would be perhaps more
Criticism is also appropriate, however. There is still
much to learn. You are still functioning in the context of
the first three stages of life, so aspects of yourself may
have to be brought to your attention. You may be capable of
dealing with it, but it may be useful to bring something to
your attention sometimes.
Nevertheless, a real and mature responsibility should be
evident in individuals involved in practicing stage 1.3, and that maturity should
characterize practitioners not only at the advanced 1.3
level but at all the stages beyond. In devotees there should
be no wrangling and disturbance, no male games or female
games. All of that must be handled before the transition to
practicing stage two, and in some basic sense even before
the transition to practicing stage 1.3.
Even so, at the 1.3 level you are still dealing with the
first three stages of life, so that kind of content is there
to be discussed.
PRACTITIONER: So the transition from 1.2 to 1.3
occurs when the fundamental insight has taken place. Then it
is allowed to express itself through the rest of the life
functions and in the community.
HEART-MASTER DA: Yes.
PRACTITIONER: In my own case there was a very
intense moment in which I felt confronted with all the
activities in myself, including turning away. In that simple
moment, there was no way to turn, and I felt free. But I
also noticed that that moment did not go on to become fully
expressed in my daily life.
HEART-MASTER DA: It was not summary understanding,
but it was an incident that is significant perhaps, and that
shows a progression in which the listening process is
becoming more focused, more basic, has more to do with the
root of egoity.
PRACTITIONER: That incident was not
self-generated, which is one of the reasons it didn’t
continue-I was not up to continuing, and so I could not
practice to the degree that the understanding would become
HEART-MASTER DA: This point must constantly be
brought to people in the listening stage. You must realize
the capacity to self-generate the practice, self-generate
the discipline, self- generate the seriousness necessary for
the process to be effective. If you do not realize that
capacity, if you do not bring that instrument, it makes no
difference how much Wisdom- Teaching there is, how much help
others can bring, or how great your Teacher is. None of
those things make any fundamental difference if you do not
bring the self-generating disposition. If that capacity is
not present, no change will take place, because you do not
redly want change. You may be looking for consolation,
looking for something to happen to you, but that is
irresponsible, not a sign of someone truly prepared for the
practice, not even a sign of someone really prepared for
practicing stage 1.1. There must be a basic seriousness and
the capacity to self-generate the discipline as the
qualification for taking on practicing stage 1.1. We look
for that kind of seriousness in a student. And students
should not make the transition to practicing stage 1.1 until
that seriousness is there.
Any other questions about this process of listening and
hearing and enquiry?
PRACTITIONER: You have talked about how the death
of the ego, which occurred for You in the seminary event, is
indicative of practicing stage six.
HEART-MASTER DA: In my own case the seminary event
can be said to be an expression or a realization of Jnana
Samadhi, but it was not the end of the process. It was
something like you all having a Spiritual experience at
practicing stage one. The experience may be true enough, but
the process has not advanced sufficiently for the experience
to be conclusive. Therefore, it is just an experience, a
sign of the deepening of the process, but it is not a
representation of your actual level of practice and
responsibility. Thus, in my own case, even after the
seminary event, a wide variety of fifth stage phenomena
developed. The true sixth stage process occurred later.
The seminary event was another event like the observation
of my hand. Even from the beginning of my life there were
many profound and summary experiences. But the Spiritual
Process itself necessarily develops by stages of increasing
responsibility. Thus, even though those summary events occurred and a fundamental awakening
was a constant throughout my life, the process developed in
its natural form by stages.
This does not mean that you must necessarily have the
same kinds of experience or that you must go through all the
levels of the experiential process that I did. I have
certainly addressed this thoroughly enough by now. It is
possible to make the transition to practicing stage six at
maturity in practicing stage three. Perhaps this transition
will not be common, but it is certainly a possibility in
principle. Others could make the transition at any time
within practicing stage four. Certainly at maturity in
practicing stage four there may be sufficient evidence for
the transition to practicing stage six. Some may enter into
practicing stage five but move on to practicing stage six
prior to the awakening of Conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi,
even prior to the most profound forms of Savikalpa Samadhi,
perhaps. Some might pass through all the basic dimensions of
the Spiritual Process. It remains to be seen.
If you are founded in the listening and hearing process,
this listening and hearing then becomes an instrument with
which to cut through all the stages, because they are all
stages of limitation. In principle, if the basis of practice
is profound, early transitions are possible, and even
likely. In fact, they become likely only because you found
the Way on hearing.
Otherwise, early transitions are not really possible,
certainly not likely, because you will tend to identify with
the limits of each stage of life, just as you do now in the
context of the first three stages of life. When would you
ever make the transition to the seventh stage of life? When
would you even make the transition from the fourth to the
fifth stage or the fifth to the sixth stage? It is not
likely that it would occur in one lifetime. But if you
establish the Way in hearing, then the specific content of
any stage of life, even the first three stages of life, is
not a limit to be identified with. Rather it is there to be
understood and transcended, and the instrument of that
transcendence is true hearing.
PRACTITIONER: I know that based on desire rather than
hearing, life is just a labyrinth. Every turn you make, you
go in the wrong direction.
HEART-MASTER DA: That is why the Hindus call it maya,
meaning that it is a vast, unfathomable illusion. It has no
end place. If you view the so-called physical universe from
the point of view of contemporary physics how can you make
sense out of it? How can you make sense out of space-time or
the fact that space itself is curved and all time is
simultaneous? How can you make any sense out of it? In older
models of the universe you could imagine going up as high as
you could and getting to the heavens, or going straight out
and getting to the end of the universe. In these models you
come up against a wall or you walk through a door to heaven,
but in an infinite space that is also finite and curved and
incomprehensible even from the point of view of modern
physics, what else could you call it but an illusion, or
maya, or a labyrinth, as you say? It has infinite numbers of
doorways and switches about. It goes around and comes
around. You wind up in the same place all the time. You wind
up getting somewhere else only in the short term. Only
walking from here to that door does it seem like everything
is on one plane and you can go out toward another place. But
if you view space-time in its totality, you wind up coming
back to this chair or to the place where you are sitting
now. The further you go away from here, the closer you will
get to where you are right now, both in terms of time and
space. You could cover all time and all space before you got
back to this place, but you would never have come to an end
of anything. You would have experienced a lot, but would you
have realized anything?
Look at the spectrum of an ordinary human lifetime. You
experience a great many things, but what have you realized?
In your moments in the past you wanted to experience this
and that, you wanted to enjoy yourself a certain way, and so
you did. Now here you are today. What difference did it make
that you enjoyed yourself the way you did ten years ago?
Those enjoyments do not exist now. You have accumulated
nothing. You had an experience then and you are having an
What is the realization, anyway? Experience is a
labyrinth, a fluid, a plastic. It is nonsense. You are
exhausting yourself as if you were pursuing an end, and
there is no end. There is no ultimate purpose. There is no
ultimate doorway. The Truth is right Where you Stand. The
Truth is Realized by understanding yourself. That which is
the Divine is right now! Right Where you Stand, prior to
time and space and yet not divorced from it. Enlightened
Realization ultimately “Outshines” conditional existence,
but It does not separate from it. The Divine Domain is not
elsewhere. It is the inherent Radiance of Being Itself, so
bright that this dark clay of the conditional universe is
not seeable in the Brightness, is effectively non-existent,
but it is not excluded.
Maya is not to be comprehended. It cannot be. Conditional
existence is not to be comprehended. It cannot be. It is to
be transcended and it must be. There is no Happiness
otherwise. Happiness is in transcendence, not in mere
experience in any world or in any time or in any stage of
life. This is Wisdom and, therefore, it is for you to
discover, not something for you to believe. You must find
yourself out, where you are now, in the context of the
experiences to which you are bound now. When you do, you
will move on to other dimensions of experiencing, and you
must likewise understand yourself in those contexts.
The maya of the stages of life is not comprehensible, but
it can and must be transcended. Even so, it is transcended
in your own disposition. It is transcended Where you Stand,
not in any of the efforts you may make in relation to the
varieties of objects and in the context of any of the stages
of life. Again, this is Wisdom and therefore you must
realize it. It cannot merely be believed. It is not a
philosophical proposition. It is an expression of Wisdom, an
ecstatic expression. I am communicating this to you. This is
my Realization. You must practice the Way and Realize this
Wisdom or it is nothing more than my Confession. What do you
confess? Your confession presently is the limit you have to
deal with. My Confession can inspire you, it can serve you
perhaps, by intensifying your seriousness, regenerating your
heart motive, but you must live by that seriousness and
Realize the Wisdom of it.
PRACTITIONER: I feel both excited and sobered to
begin the process. The consideration we have had over these
weeks has made me feel how many times, because of a moment
of freedom I felt, I thought that I was someplace else in
the practice, and it feels good and real to be where I am,
dealing with what is being revealed in me. That process has
come alive before, but I have always cut it short because of
my hopefulness and wanting the ordeal to be over quickly. I
opted out of the place where the real growth is occurring to
be someplace else.
HEART-MASTER DA; When you say you want the ordeal
to be over, what are you really saying? You want to be in a
position of irresponsibility where happiness is happening.
The ordeal never comes to an end. There is no such thing.
This is my Confession to you. There is no end to the ordeal.
Responsibility is the process. Enlightenment is perfect
responsibility, and there is no end to that requirement You
are not relieved of it in the transition to the seventh
stage of life. That responsibility is magnified to the point
of absoluteness. It is only from the position Where you
Stand that the Realization that is above all is manifested.
It never happens to you. It must be regenerated Where you
Stand. It does not exist in the context of beings and others
and universal processes. Those things are just what they
are, and they are not, in and of themselves, Enlightening.
They are limits. Therefore, there is no point in hoping for
the process to come to an end. It does not come to an end
and never will. Of course, you can cop out and become
hopeful, look for consolation, but you will observe that
seeking fails. It is fruitless.
PRACTITIONER: I feel like that has happened over
these years, and I feel committed to staying with it at this
HEART-MASTER DA; Ultimately it is not even a
commitment. You have no choice. It cannot be done otherwise.
When you realize the futility of your seeking, then what
else is there to do?
You cannot seek, because it is fruitless. You develop a
commitment to standing in place and doing the “real thing”
and, yes, it is a commitment, but really it is a matter of
coming to a point at which you have no option.
Therefore, you must exhaust your options with real
self-knowledge. That is a first step. In other words, you
must retrieve your energy and attention from seeking and
come to the point of being able to observe yourself, the
seeker, and the mechanism of the search. Understand it and
transcend it. Become responsible for it. In that case,
responsibility is the foundation of the Way and the
foundation of existence, and that never comes to an end even
in the seventh stage Awakening. It is simply Perfected.