After I had been with Robert for four or five years, one day just before lunch as we were walking around Warner Park, he said to me, "I have been wondering why you haven't woken up yet. I think it is because you are too smart."
In other words, I thought too much. My mind was always active, reading Nisargadatta, Ramana, asking about meditation, being involved with many activities, questioning everything, writing articles, working on taking my tests to become a licensed psychologist in California.
Seunng Sahn Soen Sah had said the identical thing to me, "You think too much. You are like a golf ball spinning around the top of the hole, not dropping in."
However, when I was at Mt. Baldy practicing zazen in silence, no books, little talking, with a very structured life, my sitting was extremely powerful. I was in samadhi all the time that I sat in meditation. The body/mind disappeared, and I answered hundreds of koans with great ease, sometimes correctly answering two a day.
But in a sense, my sitting and practice was even stronger before I went to Mt. Baldy when I was practicing only self inquiry in the form of following the I. However, I was also swimming in unwanted Kundalini phenomena too. Sasaki broke me out of the self-inquiry practice (and the Kundalini dysfunction) and provided koan practice, which knocked me out of self-inquiry for years--unfortunately.
Back then there were few books on self-inquiry, Jnana Marga, or even Zen compared to now. But now there are about 20,000,000 self-proclaimed awakened "masters" who studied under Papaji or one of his disciples, and everything has become confused. Now also there are all the fantastic Nisargadatta books. Everyone has their favorite quotes from hundreds of sources that reflect their own understanding.
But few are really awakening. They think they are, but not so much. So few are willing to stop thinking and speculating about states, levels of consciousness, Bernadette's states versus Krishnamurti's states, versus Ramana's state, versus Robert's states, versus my states, and the United States.
Void, foreground, background, inner space, outer space, illusory world of self and external world, real world of no mind, awareness versus consciousness, bare awareness, existence versus non-existence, the Ashtavakra Gita, what I said versus what Rajiv said.
Don't you see? You are all too fucking smart!
Just drop all this mind stuff and speculation as to the most advanced states, Turiya, Turiyatta, deep sleep wakefulness, the Void and foreground, and mostly, stop basing your understanding on WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCES UP TO NOW! All those experiences have been conditioned by your reading, meditation and life experiences up to now and have captured you in a mental present rather than being free from it all.
How to get beyond that? Drop all speculation. Drop all comparisons of different teachers sayings. Quit positing your favorite quotes and pithy observations on Facebook where everyone congratulates everyone else about how advanced they are.
To go forward you have to leave words, theories, speculations and comparisons behind and just search inside yourself. That is it. Stop learning from books because it only screws you up. Burn the U.G. and Jiddha Krishnamurti books. Burn Ramana. Burn Rajiv and Edji's books. Stop quoting gurus and asking others what that means. Stop trying to figure out Robert's state, and then worry about how you can duplicate it, or whether it is the same or different from Robertson's. Have you any idea how much this does not help you? Pick one path, one method, one teacher and don't compare paths, methods or teachers. Become less knowledgeable and more humble. Know nothing.
What many are doing is not unlike speculating how much money Donald Trump has versus some Saudi Prince, and then deciding you want to make so many billion dollars to enjoy their mindstate or lifestyle. Spirituality then becomes all about acquisition of states, and if anything, spirituality is about de-acquiring, getting rid of things, ideas, mind states.
Just be yourself. Dive deep within. Look at your own experience without judging, reasoning, understanding. Became dumb like a rock, because your mind is keeping you from going anywhere. Just watch everything without engaging your mind.
Even self inquiry should be done without the mind's constant questioning. Instead, just look within and abide there.
I really don't know how to state this more directly than I Am now. Just stop, look and listen! Your searching and comparison outside, in gurus, theories books, and dabbling in techniques shows how much you do not trust yourself and your own experiences, or your ability to penetrate to the root. Many have tried, but they give up because they have failed to penetrate, and rather than persist, they fall back on mind.
Persistence in self-inquiry is everything. And humility. Forget all of your acquired knowledge and ability to rationally speculate about the ultimate. The I am is slippery as Nisargadatta said; it keeps changing form. You can't pigeonhole it with concepts, let alone discoure about what lies beyond--the mystery.