Brokenness and Surrender
We are going to have some chants. These are new.
I am in a different mood, so different chants. Different chants for different strokes. Try these on for size.
Let the music sweep through you, and become blissful. Feel it in every fiber of your beingness. Such joy. Get your mind out of the way. Let the music chant through you.
[Chanting—Radhe Govinda - Krishna Kanhaiya]
Recently, there has been a movement in consciousness regarding our sangha… a movement of self-recognition and love, by several people almost simultaneously.
You know once upon a time, when I was a psychologist, I had a patient named Joel.
Joel was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. He felt God in him all the time. He felt God surrounded him. Now, we could talk on the deepest matters and he would understand, and I would understand him. He had no defenses. He was open to his deepest layers.
He talked matter-of-factly about God, and about his deepest fears, much like we talk about what we had for lunch. No defenses, no dis-ease, no distress. It was all the same to him.
There is so much to be learned when you talk to broken people. People that are broken to their very depths. Like a granite rock, with crevices that reach down to the core and expose the deepest layers of that rock.
We are all broken people in some way. Some far more defended than others.
But in that brokenness is love. The deepest layers of our self are exposed. The deepest hurts, the deepest needs, the deepest love, the deepest desires. Little Eddy is there, little Joan, little Cynthia, little Janet, little Jo-Ann, little Tina, little Alan, little Matthew—those baby parts that were broken, never fully formed, that were rejected by ourselves. Split off, isolated, hidden.
Those parts are still there.
In broken people, other broken people, we can see our own brokenness. And when they love us, we can accept our brokenness. And when we love them, they can accept their brokenness. Because it is precious.
It is precious—little Cynthia, little Janet, little Joan, little Matthew. The deep, deep hurt we felt. The humiliation, the shock, the loneliness.
And then somebody loves us. We feel their love, and they accept that. They accept our brokenness. They love our brokenness, because it is the deepest part of us. With them, we grow in trust, and we can let that brokenness out a little more, and a little more, and a little more. And it is accepted more, and more, and more.
That brokenness reaches down to the very depths of our soul, where the soul transitions from phenomena into the unmanifest, into the Absolute. Some people are so broken that when we look into them we can see ourselves as the unmanifest, as the Absolute, as the Godhead, because the fractures go so deep. They go down to our very roots, to the Absolute.
And so, many of us here, in our group, can see that in each other; can see little Alan, and love little Alan. We know what he is really like. No matter how he appears, we know deep down inside, what Alan is like. We know what Joan is like. And Cynthia, and Janet, and Jo-Ann, and Eddy, and Matthew, and all the others we cannot see [because the Internet meeting program can only display so many attendees at one time], Rich, Tina.
Go inside and embrace that brokenness. Expose her and him. Let us love him and her.
Oh, we broken people. We are so deep. We are so deep.
We are so deep, and we see those depths in you. And I love you all for your brokenness, and I hope you see mine. That was my ode to the broken people. You are so precious to me. I love you all so much. I really do.
Each week my love grows. The more I know myself in this way, then the more I know you in the way you expose yourself to me in emails, in posts and on the phone. I gave up writing medical reports and I found you, all of you.
Okay, can we have the second chant now?
Sit with that, loving yourself; loving your brokenness and the brokenness of others. Thank God for our brokenness. Otherwise we would not be able to see the Infinite in our own brokenness.
However, there is more to spirituality than fixing emotional brokenness. I think though, until the brokenness is accepted, and integrated, and loved, there is always going to be an anchor dragging us back into the world, to fix it.
So, I think we have to pursue a parallel process: one part of us exploring the Infinite and the relationship between the ‘I am’; for example, by reading and following Nisargadatta and practicing meditation, and the other part by loving—simply loving—loving another, so that we can love ourselves.
It is really not that important, being loved. It is much, much more important to love, something or someone, because at some point we recognize that love is us. It is our love. Our own love. It is our basic nature. We can identify with love, and when we do, there is ecstasy, and bliss, and self-acceptance.
But Robert, and Nisargadatta, and Ramana taught there was something even beyond that. Beyond fixing our brokenness. Which is to know our roots in the unmanifest—the void of the void. The emptiness behind emptiness. Because the void and the emptiness we experience are not the true void or the true emptiness. Which is us. Our fundamental nature, our mystery.
The Absolute, which is us, is unseen. It can never be seen.
It is this ultimate state, this ultimate us, underneath even the deepest brokenness, that is our goal. Our goal, if we want to transcend life and become immortal. And to know the basic nature of universal Consciousness, which we are—not the particular instantiation of our body-mind, but the principle of Consciousness itself; and beyond Consciousness, our true nature, which observes Consciousness.
All this is known if only we learn how to rest in our Self, in the ‘I am,’ which starts as a trickle, a feeling of energy in our heart that we exist. Then we find our sense of presence, and we love it, and it grows.
Our sense of presence is enhanced if we love someone. It is filled up with energy, with love. It expands, becomes more inclusive, until everything is the ‘I am,’ everything we witness is the ‘I am,’ everything we experience is the ‘I am,’ and it is filled with love. Then it becomes love itself, and then ecstasy. And then even love and ecstasy are transcended, and we know ourselves as the ultimate peace beyond it all.
I have never, ever found a more effective teaching about this state, and the borderline, than Nisargadatta’s. Of all the books that he wrote [expounded and then students transcribed and edited], Prior to Consciousness is the strongest [edited by Jean Dunn, one of Edji’s teachers.]
I want to continue reading, like I have been, certain paragraphs from Prior to Consciousness that hammer home that Nisargadatta was no ordinary Advaita guru. He certainly was not a neo-Advaitan guru.
He is much deeper, and he has put it so beautifully into words. So I would like to read a few.
This is page 15 of Prior to Consciousness, from May 11, 1980. It is about pain. And this is a very important one. Listen to this carefully:
Maharaj: In the body the consciousness does the witnessing; the behavior is done by the three gunas. Consciousness is all-pervading, spacelike, without form.
If one has an illness or a pain, is there a form to that? It is only a movement in consciousness. The knower of consciousness cannot feel the pain, and it is only because consciousness has identified itself with the body that the body feels pain. When consciousness is not there, even if the body is cut, there is no pain. It is not the body which feels pain. When there is a disturbance in the balance of the five elements, illness comes and the illness or pain is felt in the consciousness.
It is not felt in the body. It is felt by Consciousness, which is us. Until we learn that we are beyond Consciousness, we are the observer of Consciousness. So not only does the body not feel pain; it is Consciousness which feels pain, which is different from the body, and it is different from us, as the Absolute.
[Now skipping to June 27, 1980]
… The waking and sleep states and the ‘I Am’ consciousness, these three are not your attributes but the attributes of that chemical.
Which he calls the food, the process by which food gets transformed into the vital principle, into Shakti, into sentience. And we are all sentience. That’s a plug.
To what does the word “birth” apply? Is it not the birth of that which is in the body which makes it conscious? The chemical denotes the love the Self has for Itself and of which it wants to continue.
All experiences will be a means of suffering if one hasn’t realized what they are.
And here is the most important one. This is on love:
…. Questioner: My fear is not being able to love or be loved.
Maharaj: Please understand, feeling love for others, consciously and deliberately, cannot be done. That feeling of love must be understood and then love will unfold itself. Love for the Self, this consciousness, ‘I Am,’ those who have understood this as the true love have themselves become love. All has merged in them.
This chemical which makes the body function is the smallest of the small, and the biggest of the big. It contains the entire universe, it is itself love and God. That chemical, the consciousness, provides the light which enables the world to get on. That love is not individual love; the indwelling principle in all beings is that love, the life force. Begin with this emotional love and dwell in your beingness.
In other words, love. And by loving, dwell in your beingness.
Whatever happens, happens in that which has been objectified in time and space -
Whatever happens is that which has been objectified; not in the subject, the witness, which you are. None of the happenings are in you. In you, nothing has happened. It is out there, in what has been objectified, that the happening takes place.
Whatever happens, happens in that which has been objectified in time and space -
In you, there is no time and space.
… from complete absence has come plenty.
From you, your source, the subject as emptiness, the true emptiness. Not the emptiness you perceive, but the true emptiness. From that vacuum, from that emptiness, from that nothingness—plenty has come. Plentifulness has come. The universe has arisen spontaneously. Out of emptiness, form springs forth.
The body is born, takes its space, and then it goes, but the Absolute is not affected. That eternal state prevails in spite of all happenings. Whatever tangible and visible world there is merges into nothingness. However, that nothingness is also a state—so that nothingness also goes into the Absolute state.
The nothingness that you observe, that form disappears into, is not the real nothingness. It is only what you observe, and you as the true nothingness observes.
The true absence, the true emptiness cannot be witnessed or known. The true void, the true mystery that we are, cannot be seen or known or felt or touched, and is not born and does not die.
The emptiness that we see, the void that we see, is a reflection of that. And it is into that reflection that the world fades every day when we go to sleep. Or when we die.
But we are more empty than that. We are more nothing than that. And that is why being broken is so close to being the Absolute. Do you understand that?
Being broken is close to being nothing. And isn’t that what we want?
In complete surrender to God, or to someone else, is to become nothing, to become absolutely nothing. To fall down at the feet of another, or God, or Guru, and declare, “Do with me as you will, for I am nothing. I delight only in your happiness. Let me make you happy. And in my nothingness, I can be happy, I can rest. I can rest in my true nature, as a non-entity.”
Questioner: How did I happen to identify myself with the body?
Majaraj: What is this “I” to whom you are referring who has become entangled in the body and wants to know the answer?
Questioner: I don’t know. Why is it that I cannot know who I am?
Maharaj: I can only know something different from me. How can something know itself when there is nothing with which to compare? It is alone, without identity, without attributes. We can only talk about it at the phenomenal stage.
Our true nature cannot be talked about, or known. We can only talk about the phenomenal stage, the manifestation, and by then it is too late. We have nothing to do with that happeningness, with the activities.
We are the witness. Only those who are broken to the deepest depths, and can surrender completely, can know that emptiness, that true emptiness.
[Skipping to page 19, June 29, 1980]
Consciousness is a temporary condition which has come upon the total, timeless, spaceless, changeless state. It is a happening which has come and which will disappear.
This psychosomatic bundle which is born will suffer or enjoy during its allotted span; so long as I know that I am not the one who experiences, but I am the knower, how am I concerned?
It is perfectly clear. I merely watch the body, mind, and consciousness laugh or suffer. In suffering it may cry out, all right, cry out. If it is enjoying, it may laugh. I know it is a temporary thing; if it wants to go, let it go. While I am talking to you, imparting knowledge, at the same time I am feeling unbearable pain. If it becomes a little more
unbearable I may whimper. It can do what it likes; I am not concerned. So long as you have not known what this consciousness is, you will fear death; but when you really understand what this consciousness is, then the fear leaves, the idea of dying also will go.
This consciousness is time-bound, but the knower of the consciousness is eternal, the Absolute.
[Skipping to page 20, July 1, 1980]
Don't say that you are an individual; just stay in the beingness. The whole problem is the sense of being a separate entity—once that subsides, that is true bliss. With the arising of the ‘I Am’ the whole of manifestation takes place; in any activity that which witnesses is the ‘I Am,’ that which is doing all this is maya, the tendencies, attributes. This is what I am trying to tell you, but you want something else, something that is in the manifestation—you want knowledge.
That knowledge ‘I Am’ is new; it is not the Real. The Real, I am not telling you; words negate That. Whatever I am telling you is not the truth, because it has come out of this ‘I Am.’ The truth is beyond expression” and it is beyond the ‘I Am.’
You are going all over, amassing knowledge for an individual. This amassing of knowledge is not going to help you, because it is in a dream.
How about Sri Krishna Govinda, and then we will talk.
Listen to the chant. This is so important. This can be your salvation. This is the Kali Yuga [the epoch of ignorance and delusion, in Hindu cosmology.]
They say that in the Kali Yuga the way to enlightenment is through chanting, through music. This is what the Hare Krishnas are all about. And the devotion of Muktananda is all about.
These chants. Feel them in your heart. Let them awaken you, to your love.
[Chanting—Sri Krishna Govinda]
During the last week or two, there is a subgroup of you who have begun communicating with each other about your brokenness. It is very powerful, the movement.
Edji is lucky to have these angels. They teach him so much.
You know the problem is, this area of human vulnerability—of brokenness, of neediness, clingingness, hatred—really has not been explored by many teachers. It is always shoved to the side. Very few teachers explore it. One of them was Osho.
Another one was Maezumi Roshi, who was extremely vulnerable in everyday life. He would get drunk and pound on the floor with his foot because the woman downstairs was making too much noise when he was trying to meditate. And then he broke his foot and he apologized for the next two weeks for being such a jerk. He would have his students help him in on crutches, giving this great show of being in pain, and then talk about what a jerk he was.
And he did this over, and over, and over!
I thought he was such a jerk back then. But I see how brave he was, to expose himself and his vulnerabilities and his foibles in front of his entire satsang, in front of forty or fifty people at a time. And the talks were transcribed, so hundreds would know about it.
He was fearless in exposing his vulnerabilities and I did not appreciate it because I was looking for a perfect guru, one who had transcended life. But instead, he fully enjoyed and was participating in life—and alcoholism.
While Rajneesh/Osho was fully involved with women, nitrous oxide and valium. He went mad. His method drove him mad. Full involvement: total wild abandonment in the humanness, along with drugs and being the center of attention, drove him mad.
Maezumi never went mad, but he died very young, like 55, from a heart attack. So much vulnerability, you know?
Maezumi never went mad, but he died very young, like 55, from a heart attack. So much vulnerability, you know?
And so, this is a dangerous way. This is a dangerous way, the way of the bhakta [the devotion-oriented spiritual practitioner; as opposed to an aspiring jnani, the insight-oriented spiritual practitioner. In fact both paths merge.] The way of opening yourself up to love and bliss, to hatreds, and to the small little kid that screams and rants and cries, wants its mommy. Daddy. Attention. Recognition.
So many that follow all of these teachers, they follow them directly into Consciousness itself and avoid all of that shit inside. And that shit is always tugging on them the rest of their lives, until they go in and fix it. Fortunately, I have my angels that keep pulling me into my own shit.
[Some private dialogue during questions and answers omitted]
Jo-Ann: I have a question. This path, though it’s a very hard one… from my perspective it appears that doing it this way, though it seems very hard and very long, will take us much, much deeper than any other path.
Edji: And more quickly, because there is so much energy involved in it. Most people just practice meditation. Just gently fade away into nothingness, until they are nobody, and nothing, after fifteen or twenty years. And then they might take a shower and find out that there is no self left whatsoever and awaken, but they have no energy with which to express it.
But this way, you take all of you—the screaming, wild child, the horrors that he has seen, the rages he has felt, the deep need, the longing. And it is all incorporated in the search, and you become integrated. The brokenness leads you to more easily see the deepest voids, and then even to go beyond the voids that we can see to the void that we are, the emptiness we are, or the emptiness we is.
It is much more powerful this way, I feel it.
So I have abandoned Robert’s sort of slow way of Self-inquiry, into the more wild way of Nisargadatta’s loving the ‘I am.’ Then gradually having the ‘I am’ to accept and become part of everything. I mean, the ‘I am’ starts as something tiny that you feel, and it grows, and grows, and it grows until it is your entire sense of presence. The sense of presence expands until it includes all of the universe, all of Consciousness; and all of the Consciousness becomes ‘I am.’ And that ‘I am’ is seen to have a certain flavor. A sweetness. A lovingness. An acceptance.
And then, nothingness. You feel absolutely certain that you are nothing, that this is just a show you are watching.
And you are free! Free forever.
What a trip.
I think I am going to have to have a memorial to Maezumi sometime, because I only now recognize how great he was. He was a seventh-generation Soto Zen priest.
Seven generations. He had attained the highest recognition in Japan from many, many teachers, and come to the United States. He had many relationships with his female students because as he said, “he could.” That was his justification—“he could.” He was an alcoholic, and completely open. He would be completely open.
I would go to darshan with him—and I was staying at a different Zen center, the International Buddhist Meditation Center, led by Dr. Thien-An. I would go face to face for darshan with Maezumi in the question-and-answer period, just to talk to the teacher.
I sit down and he says, “Oh, I understand that Dr. Thien-An has just bought a fourth house. Is that true?”
I say, “Yeah, we just got this new house we added. It’s number four now.”
He says, “You know, we just bought a house last week ourselves. We have five.”
So transparent, so transparent. And I was used as the communication link between the two.
It was so much fun to see the vulnerabilities of teachers and what they are really like. Except, of course, the vaunted Ramana, whom everybody loves. Everybody has this perfect picture of the perfect Guru, without ever having met the man.
Okay, let us do a last chant, and then we will fade away into oblivion. How about the most beautiful of all, Bhaja Govindam? I think that is the one that everybody likes so well. Is it? Bhaja Govindam?
Or shall we do a Yogananda one, I Will Sing Thy Name?
[Chanting—I Will Sing Thy Name]