17 January 2009

A reader writes:

Dear Ed,

I wanted to add to my question I sent...and not sure this needs to be added to the online site...up to you...

The Work question... "Is it true?" also stops the mind, like "Who am I?" or "What am I?"

I find for myself that I no longer need to write thoughts. That last night when I thought "I am crazy" I then asked myself "what is crazy?" and found myself laughing. I practice direct asking "what am I? or "what is upset?"..."what is going through this?" or "what is having a stomach ache?" I continually find the answer as no one, nothing, no "I"... peaceful, still, empty, no- thing SELF, always there. I find nothing is ever happening, that all arises and falls away in this SELF that is present, happy, still, silent, like a watcher, observing all phenomena, itself empty but alive, love, benevolent SELF, holding all without preference, hereness, amness, beingness.

Although I do not stay here but return to mind world, I believe I return because of familiarity of old conditioned self.

Anyway, wanted to add this because I wonder if The Work can also bring folks here, although maybe not this self, or perhaps I am cheating myself by not writing it all down and being lazy?

Thanks for the help on all this...feels good to get this all out.


Any strong question stops the mind, but only "Who am I?" or similar help you locate the thread of consciousness that leads back to the source.

Is it true only stops the mind and thinking, but does not provide the thread.

15 January 2009

Many States; the "True" state.
A reader asks:
I have been trying to meditate on the "I am" but I am never really sure if this "I am" or my "meditation on consciousness" is not just another illusion. I don't really want to be running in circles forever, so I thought I'd email you about my current states/meditations and see which if any you consider to be the right approach. I am usually watching my mind throughout the day, and have formal sit down meditation, and music meditation at least 3-5 hours a day.

These writings on my states are copied from a diary entry I did earlier today.


1. Unconscious robot state. This state is kind of relaxing as it is mentally taxing to keep awareness at all times. Anyways in this state I usually just go into robotic critter mode, without any consciousness of speech and actions, self, etc. Is this the state I was always in before my turiya experience which briefly awoken my heart? In this state I almost always catch myself acting as a robot, and will sometimes (when exhausted from meditation, etc) just release and allow myself to become a robot again. It seems like after an intense meditation it's a good thing (or just easy) to just become a robot again, puts the mind at ease.

2. Forced concentration silent state. This is possibly what is called Laya, I am unsure. In this state I sometimes have such intense concentration it is overwhelming. Brain is mostly silent in this state, and thoughts have hardly any hold over me, they seem like futile attempts of mind. Concentration seems most intense while high on marijuana. The intense concentration feeling almost immediantly vanishes when I let the mind take over again.

3. Nice feeling meditation. In this state I concentrate on the impersonal nice feeling in the solar plexus that breathe seems to bring about (increased oxygen?). This state feels pleasant and when I focus I can continue this meditation without interruption from mind. However when the focus is lost, mind creeps back in until I realize that I fell back into robot mode. I have not attempted this meditation for long periods, or practiced it very long. I hear that if you focus on the heart and its feeling "I am" ? there is a chance it will swallow you up. Is this the right meditation for the swallowing to occur, the nice feeling doesn't really feel like its mine, it just feels like its there?

4. Everyday base awareness. I think I am in this state throughout most the day, just watching what is going on from an objective perspective, especially focused on watching my mind. I almost always catch myself slipping into robot mode and will bring myself back to this base awareness. This state is not extremely pleasant or anything, but it does root you into more of a reality into what is actually going on, rather than constantly day dreaming. Sometimes I feel good in this state, and sometimes I am without feelings until a stimuli (usually a person or animal) produces a feeling in me.

5. Meditating on consciousness? I am not sure if I have the right meditation here, but it seems to me like I am meditating on the mind/awareness itself. Mind is silent and thoughts rarely penetrate my focus. This is hard to explain as I am not really sure what is happening here. Am I tracing consciousness to its source, it sometimes feels this way? Would this type of meditation be right, or is it just another futile effort?

6. Spontaneous attempt of the hearts. This to me is the most genuine state or experience that I have throughout life. It feels as though the heart tries to break loose. Such pure love seems to randomly appear, albeit very briefly. Tears often ensue and thinking of Ramana makes me feel extremely comforted and loved. I would like to think this is turiya trying to break out, but I don't know. Sometimes brain will be like," Yes turiya come please come!" other times it will be fearful of its demise and want to go into robot mode. These experiences of intense bliss cannot be forced. Sometimes I will purposefully think of Ramana, and him saying "everything is fine" but I will have no response (besides an objective part of my personality which says, "you're pathetic, you can't force yourself to care!" It seems like these attempts of the heart breaking out occur most during listening of music, random points in meditation and random points throughout the day. These spontaneous attempts of the heart are probably the only real way to realize the self, but I want to ensure I am doing the right things to increase the chances of these attempts occurring.

7. Sleep meditation mixed with laziness ? I absolutely love sleeping, oh my; it's probably one of my most enjoyable things. I guess not existing is just that much fun! I think I almost always go into deep sleeps, since I hardly ever remember dreams (maybe one every four months). I read in the Nisargadatta Gita that the moment before fully waking up is a good place to catch turiya, and this makes a tremendous amount of sense. Almost every morning I become a little conscious before my mind fully wakes up, I have not caught turiya, but it is a wonderful state where I hardly know anything, I can see it being useful. Often times though enough of my mind appears which knows "this is a good place for turiya, where are you turiya!?"
While I know these random thoughts just appear from nowhere and they dont feel like they belong to me, it's hard for them to go away! I often try and meditate in this state and watch myself go back to sleep. I will wake up, watch, and go back to sleep and then repeat the process maybe two or three more times (very lazy, I've been working a lot lately).

In my meditations I often will ask myself "who am I", "who is experiencing this", "where does this come from", etc. Sometimes there is a genuine curiosity for the answers, othertimes I just don't care.

Basically I do enjoy life, I do not ever really think about my personality and I have seen myself become more child like, and a loss of judgments. Also I have seen myself become much more forgetful and newbish (I guess this is from thinking less, or focusing on the external world less?). Things do seem fresher, and I do seem "more aware." But also things aren't so great. I clearly see that my mind is not really mine, we are not in control of it, is the best we can do just watch our robot selves?
There is hardly anything that really feels like mine, not the nice solar plexus feeling, not the conscious meditating on itself state, and this doesn't bother me, but for the fact that don't you have to hold onto an "I am" to bring about the right conditions? So even though life seems stress free and is for the most part without worries I still know that my true essence is turiya, so I can't help but want to be completely free from this robotic life. I am not sure if I am close, I would like to think so though.
My mind seems often scared of its demise, because it remembers dying once. I often find my mind making up bullshit excuses during meditation, to avoid a breakthrough of the heart, the mind is afraid. As mind does become kinda scared at times, as it recognizes the severity of its "dying", I think a loving teacher would really help me break out, to show me fully that everything is just fine, but I know that this is already within me, so a physical teacher is not technically required....Even though the turiya experience directly showed me that everything is perfect, everyone is already enlightened I still think it's terribly sad that people are unconscious of it and we are really fucking up this world/ourselves.
A part of me wants to become free and wake up as soon as possible, not only because I am tired of this robot self, but because I really want to help wake up others....

thanks for reading, anything would be appreciated!


It is important to not be fascinated by the passing phenomena, but find the source. There is the underlying identity to whom all this is happening.

Be aware that you are separate from and witnessing all this.

Then fall backward into the identity that is aware you are not the states you observe.\

Then recognize you are even before the recognition that those states are not you.

The way you are going is exceedingly complex because you are chasing leaves, not retracing the root.

The saving grace is you are looking in the right direction with energy and intelligence. That energy and persistence are 99% of the equation. Keep it up!

But deep inside you must recognize the seeker in you is That to whom all this is occurring, and therefore, much, much bigger than even Turiya. This is a big show, who is watching it? On the other hand, That is not a thing, nor even a state. It is beyond the world. Beyong waking and sleep and even beyond Turiya.


14 January 2009


Below. I get emails from many seekers with different email addresses but with the same surname. I get confused as to who is who because I find multiple threads of email exchanges from different addresses with SOMETIMES similar content. The below conversations are from AL and J, who share the same name. They may well be two, but I answer them as one.

Conversation #1 From J:

As per your instruction, I have been starting my day with the Nisargadatta Gita. Wonderful text. I can say it is helping without a doubt. To what degree, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if degree matters. It has helped me see how far reaching and simultaneously subtle the workings of the mind are. On a few occasions, it felt as if my thoughts, and the energy that goes along with them, melted away, and aside from my eyes, there was very little sensation in the head. In fact it seemed as if my thoughts moved downward internally. And on one occasion I thought I caught a thought springing up from below. I don't put much value in sensation. Should I?

I have begun to grasp the fact that the "I am" is present at all times and it is getting easier to fall back to it at all times of the day. I find myself becoming suddenly less partial in arguments. In fact I seem to have lost the desire to argue at all. This can't be understated. I've always reveled in arguing because I'm quite good at it. But in the limited amount of conversation I've had about "I am" with some close friends, I have observed in them the mind's ability to argue any phrase of words, no matter how true. I've seen this in myself as well.

I feel I've made great progress, yet I feel I don't really have any idea what I'm doing. I'm tired of trying to figure things out, yet I desire nothing else. One thing I can not do is use my memory to go back to the early childhood "I am". Although I don't expect I should be able to do this so easily.

I am learning the value of reading slowly (I've always been a relatively slow reader, last one done in class). It helps to create gaps that make it difficult for the mind to bridge. The mind seems to cycle the last thought until the next one is ready. I am learning to let the last thought drop before moving on to a new idea. My mind does not like this. It makes me want to sleep. In fact this newfound daytime sleepiness is my biggest obstacle right now. I hope this is some period of adjustment or some form of protest by my mind. I don't want to turn into Winnie the Pooh. I do like to get things done.

I thank you very much for your feedback. I know no one nor can I seem to find anyone in Appalachian Ohio that has had even the tiny glimpse I have had to discuss these things with. Is that a plus or minus? Is it good to seek out others in this? Or is it better to stay put and stay quiet?

Answer #1:

Jeremy, you are doing very well. Keep going as you are.

Seek others out as it is a boon to find them, but do not seek too high and far. They will be close, so don't make a career out of it.

You will feel your own correct place and time.

Conversation # 2, J:

I was reading some of your blog posts, and there seems to be a theme in spiritual matters which I just can't relate to. I almost never remember any dreams. As a child I would remember nightmares, which were common, and there were dreams about girls as a teen, but in my adult life, the amount of times I have awoke with any sense, let alone vivid memory, of what transpired in my dreams I could probably count on my fingers. And all but 2 or 3 of those have been very simple little dreams where I finish a conversation that never got finished in the waking state.

My question is, should I spend any time investigating this, or is this something that abiding in the I am will lead me to in due course?

Answer #2

There is nothing to be gained by pursuing the subject.

Your mind tries to distract you saying "I am bored with self-inquiry."

So to speak, your unreal ego is getting frigtened--at least that is the standard explanation. In fact, it is all bullshit. Just don't go down that path, it is a time-waster.

Conversation #3, J:

Your directness is appreciated. That day I woke up with a remarkable freshness, tried to "hold on" to it, but the mind fought back especially hard, it seemed. I had lots of "ideas" that day.

Would I be right in assuming that any "ideas" I might think I have are just that? What I mean is any idea is a collection of words and therefore of the mind, and therefore at best symbolic of what I'm after? I think I answered my own question.

Conversation # 4, AL (AKA J???)

Ed, my teacher, friend, cyber guru, very own self, dreamed up charachter. It is so strange that after realizing the whole ball of wax emanates from me including the idea of an Ed, a Ramana, and a J., life has collapsed into a very normal humanly existence except one thing, I know its ALL me, whatever I am, each moment just a passing show, day dreams and night dream are the same.

It is funny how every night new charachters from my entire dream existence of 41 years all of the old even childhood friends have been there, almost to remind me of my dreaming capabilities in both states, I cant tell if the fourth state has spread to sleep but it seems with no mind it would not be evident upon so called waking. Things still happen plenty, J. still practices the musical arts, reads bible to our kids, walks dog, grows his own sprouts and goes through nutritional routines, wants to be healthy. It is just recognized as fake and really doesnt matter. When in action (such as at work).. things flow out of J. at breakneck speed with no thought involved, when still... peace and joy prevail.

My question is, should practice of any sort still be pursued, and who the hell would do it? The awareness watching awareness guy recommends practicing until bodily death to prevent the ego from coming back, but really there never was an ego is what is seen here. Also it is clear that my entire life has been nothing but thoughts manifesting as apparent reality, Robert says stay with silent mind and transcend the whole ball of wax, any pointers?

Answer # 3

You are also AB, no? many times seekers send in questions that have 2-3 email addresses, but sign the email with the same personal name. Assuming J and AB are the same, I am answering both conversations above.

I understand where you are. There is no sense of self as an operating entity so you ask who can direct the practice. Apprehending where you are feels wonderful and you feel you cannot lose it. But, you can and will until you become absolutely fixed in it.

The fact you ask questions and your mind is filled with thinking means that you are not stable enough.

Set aside some time each day, maybe three times a day where you do nothing except be.

Go until all thoughts about what i going on die, and you are absolutely fixed.

Then, assurance MAY come when you feel yourself die as an entity. Then, some time after that happens, you MAY be finished with practice.

When you rest too easy, too soon, you will eventually lose it. You may lose it no matter what "you" do, but then you start again knowing where you have to go.

Regarding dreams. It seems your mind does not produce visual images well. That is fantastic for you because it is the visual imaging sense that appears to hold the non existence world together for most. It is the "glue" that holds the illusion together far more than the other senses.

Just be careful now, constantly stay in your sense of existence. Don'r get distracted, especially by boredom down the way and the thinking there must be more to this