29 November 2011

Love in the Ashram--A Dialogue
In response to Muzika’s post Hindering Concepts in Spirituality and on the path.  http://www.facebook.com/edwardmuzika/posts/2502788382313
Critic 1:
That's all very well, but what you fail to mention is the pain caused to partners or husbands or wives when they find out their significant other has been screwing around in the name of enlightenment. Don't they count?

It's hard to keep affairs secret and people aren't blind to these things. It usually all comes out in the end.

I understand your concern, but life is messy. Sure they count, but to what extent 'must' they count? To the detriment of closing down one's own heart to Love? I don't think so.

Why must we see it as screwing around in the name of enlightenment? Why not admit that we cannot tell our hearts who to love and when to love. 

Critic 2
Ed, what are you doing?  Grow up so your students can grow up too.
Critic 3
"Sure they count, but to what extent 'must' they count?"

To the extent that they're sentient beings who feel pain - much like Ed's cats. 

We may not be able to control our hearts, but I would have thought exercising some restraint over our bodies to avoid hurting others would be a virtue - another concept, I suppose. Sigh.

"life is messy. Sure they count, but to what extent 'must' they count? To the detriment of closing down one's own heart to Love? I don't think so."

A little bit selfish, perhaps. Then again, if I ever get caught with my trousers down, I'll be sure to quote your comments to my wife. I'm sure she'll understand.
To some of you, when you hear someone follows no rules but only his or her heart, you think the worst. Others when they hear this, hear truth. What makes the former think that the heart does not have its own rules, the consequences of is less suffering, not more?

When you go deep and find both your emptiness and presence, you are transformed. You seek only justice and compassion. Such a heart does not go out in fake crazy wisdom, willy-nilly destroying marriages and societies for fun.

A freed heart is a kinder and more compassionate heart than the average person can imagine. Some are so sensitized to pain they see only a devil.
You see, this is what freedom is about, learning to escape from concepts, all concepts, including those of Nisargadtta, or Ramana, or mine. I just ask you to look at your concepts, including the "forever" contract marriage is supposed to be, as well as the supposed to's of the guru/student relationship. This brings into question the whole concept of what is enlightenment and the enlightened state, and especially, what was Ramana's subjectivity like, and how is that relevant to me?

I am saying Ramana was the perfect Ramana, and you have to become the perfect you, and that happens only when you get rid of all concepts and live as you.

I am asking you to look at all these concepts in yourself.
You keep talking about escaping from concepts, but there is more than that. Please go deeper. One needs to polish the mirror of his Heart. Otherwise much suffering is caused in the name of enlightenment. This is where the working through the vasanas comes into play. 
Now this is a real sangha! To even be discussing this!
Edji had the guts to dive into this issue. it's a tough topic and he knew it. to me it's all part of this new path for edji. to be more involved in humanity, human emotions, all the messiness.
He could have said nothing and stayed in a nice, sterile, holy silence, but he spoke. People's hearts are broken every day, not just when their spouse cheats! We're attached to our t.v.s, cars, friends, pets, spirituality... attachment and pain are this illusory life. The ONLY solution is to transcend and then all is well.

Muzika 3
People go to an ashram for a number of reasons. Some attend programs purely for social purposes or curiosity, especially if the ashram has an associated restaurant. 

Or they go for the teachings, and really don't care about the teacher at all.

For others, they come because it is their tradition, and they go out of habit, like to church for most Americans.

A considerably smaller number come to an ashram because they are lonely or are looking for a love relationship with ashramites or other program attendees.

Lastly, a small number come looking for the love of God or the guru. If these people are in a relationship at all, they are not happy. Some have been married in a dead relationship for 10 or 20 years. Some are suicidal from the boredom and deadness. They are already dying.

It is to these that love comes almost unbidden. They are ready, open receptive.

The other partner in the marriage may be dead also, and his/her spouse becoming alive, enlivens them too. For the first time they may be feeling feelings of jealousy, rage, fear and threat.

They too are waking up in pain and rage, but they are feeling something new and are being enlivened to a degree.

As a previous poster said, this happens every day everywhere, but at least one person of the dead couple is coming alive and possibly the other.

The idea set forth by critics, is if anyone feels pain, the actions of the spouse and teacher/other attendee are immoral, bad because the husband, wife, kids are hurt.

Yet how many bad marriages, dead marriages, angry marriages are kept alive "for the children?"

To feel real feelings for the first time in 20 years, painful or not, happens to all the parties involved.

You assume there are sexual relations. There do not have to be for a spouse to feel jealousy and hurt. All that has to happen is a teacher and attendee or ashramite have love in their hearts for another, and the other spouse or partner feels like they are being cheated on. However, this kind of love is not controllable except by repression. The actions can be controlled of course.

But the critics always jump to the worst case scenario of the perverted, out of control guru is wrong having ANY impact on a spouse other than to solidify the marriage.

However, that love-hungry, dying spouse would have found love elsewhere, or locked himself/herself into a room alone looking for God within and still be lost to that relationship.
Muzika 4
You have to understand also, that the spiritual love that arises between two people at an ashram, two attendees, or the teacher and an ashramite or attendee has the potential of being a life-shattering love affair, not the tawdry thing critics are talking about. It is an affair of the heart. Sex need not come, and in fact may ruin the love relationship.

The love is so explosive, overwhelming and is completely transformative. One day you are plodding along, and the next you are afire with love that burns deeply, burns your concepts of decorum, of proper behavior, of life, God, the path--all get burnt.

One is carried away for hours or days at a time in an absorption of the beloved. The love turns into bliss, the bliss to ecstasy, and the ecstasy to samadhi.

You recognize this is not human love, it is a gift from God. You can feel the person over long distances, when they are awake, asleep or thinking of you. You feel their presence within you. Your own sense of presence expands as love permeates your beingness, and the "I-Am" is invigorated and expanded. You life changes 100%.

This is not a small and tawdry thing as critics wish to paint it because they have never experienced this deep, passionate and all-consuming love which takes one beyond into complete emptiness by burning away "impurities."

Even then, even within the grips o such love, either person is fully capable of making decisions about their other relationships, including marriage and children.

The so-called abuses one hears about are not between mature grownups, to whom the love of God has come, but, let us say immature people, ordinary people having ordinary affairs driven by sex. This is not the case as I described above.

Just as an opinion, I believe a marriage license should be for the most, three years and renewable every two or three years. This gets rid of the awful "moral" burden of "Til death do us part."

The first three years would be a test period to see if you do want to remain together and perhaps raise a family.

But my interest is not in family values as a lot of critics have as a hidden agenda, but in awakening from this dream of life, especially the dead lives of the conventional.
My husband read this post and the comments last night, came into my room and to tell me that he was in agreement with the first poster and that he was appalled at my repsonse to it. And why wouldn't he be? He is the "you have a contract" man. For the life of me I can't understand why that contract is more important than my happiness, more important than my growth and maturation, more important than the call of my own heart. He doesn't give a damn about the fact that I have been dying a slow death in a 27 year old marriage. 

Finally I have the guts to be honest with my heart, to let my own heart have a voice. It's not what he wants to hear and by all indication, it's not what some of you want to hear either.

Some think that it is the sole duty as a sentient being to not inflict pain on another sentient being. What about the pain I am and have been inflicting on myself while I have been trying to 'not' cause another pain? At what point does my heart matter? Or, does it ever matter? Do I cling to 'never hurt another' at the expense of my hearts calling and quest to grow, mature and experience Love for the first time in my life? Who orders these movements? 

I didn't ask for Love outside of the marriage, as a matter of fact, I have begged God to help me be to love my husband for 27 years and have been almost paralyzed by guilt that I never could, that it never happened.

Only when you've lived your whole life without Love and then it finds you will you have any idea as to what I am talking about. 

Why do we assume that to experience freedom - or to live without concepts will automatically result in all sorts of undesirable and pain inflicting actions? This way of thinking is just another subtle way that the mind maintains it apparent rule. 

Why don't we try it first, give it all up, give up all the concepts as Ed had repeatedly challenged us to do and then see if we turn into human beings who look for every opportunity to cause hurt and pain to others. 

Ed, thanks for your last post above.
I "fully" understand ALL you have put down here and am SO in agreement with everything you have said.

I know that things come "to us for us" and if only we were willing to examine the content of our own hearts and not point fingers ..I'm saying go deep within to see this cause of suffering .

It is so shallow for anonymous to ask "what about the pain caused to the other" Is there "Pain?" You bet ! But dive deep within to see the cause of this pain!! Our responsibility is to drop all assumptions ..especially the ones pertainting to others and be responsible for whats going on inside our own heart.
With deep gratitude and Love and a heart filled with thanks for being so free and bold to express this Ed


  1. somehow i think robert would have loved this dialogue/tension. if we've been doing our job, that is working on ourselves, all messiness is blended with awareness and we grow. if not, it's really gonna sting!

    let the cooking continue! may we be burned to a crisp!

    true love is all. we have to make a choice between institutions and reality at some point.

  2. I agree John, and in the cooking process a little humility can go a long way.

    I am often floored at the students who continuously try to force the teacher back into concepts and bondage, all for their own comfort and ease.


  3. thanks joan. your post above about marriage and love was so honest and open. you speak for so many, including myself at times. we have to put real Life and Love before all else. like edji has said, everything will work out. if we have to break off a marriage, our ex will end up with someone better, someone perfect for them. if we have to quit a job because it's killing us, we end up finding a better one. we live with so much fear. i have accepted that my marriage is not perfect, but i must continue for my daughter. that doesn't mean i can't have a true deep love for a teacher like edji. why not? what is this? the 18th century? jesus. i told edji it's good he got a degree in psychology, he's gonna need it to wade through all of our stuff. it actually probably takes a ton of energy on his part. we all come with our shit and he smiles and accepts us. you're precious edji. this all has got to be manual labor for you on some level.

    i'm amazed how wise and loving all are who contribute to this blog.

  4. because i'm a man loving the teacher if he's male can bring up a bit of homophobia on both our parts. it's just a reality. why does love always have to be sexual? can't i love the teacher in a non-sexual way? our society is so fucked. fear rules supreme.

    if a spouse is jealous of a pure, non-sexual love that we have for edji, it might be time to call the divorce lawyer.

  5. This is really beautiful, I love it! Instead of dry conceptual debate over some mental stance, many in the Sangha are driven to deep deep insights through experiencing true, raw emotion. Look at the insights contained above. Many of them are obviously deep and true, full of live and experiential vitality. Not concepts, but insights, direct apprehensions of truths that point to love, not through a process or dogma, but through that unknowable insight gained. Through feelings you guys are seeing the way to love beyond all the ideas in the head that control most. Nice work!


  6. I agree Joan. Students often want solace. This video beautifully talks, I think.


  7. “I am often floored at the students who continuously try to force the teacher back into concepts and bondage, all for their own comfort and ease.” 
    What arrogance!  Of course they do and now the super human you will negate those feelings and stand tall with your concepts of “humility”. 
    Janet B.

  8. wow janet b., that's fantastic.
    you all are amazing. sharpening eachother. what precious, precious devotees edji. i know someone's gonna turn on me anytime... :) i've been talking way too much and too loud.

    rich blew me away too. man, i thought i was smart. you guys are heavy hitters.

    what a group!

  9. "somehow i think robert would have loved this dialogue/tension. "

    If this thread were an old movie we'd all be throwing custard pies at each other by now.

  10. Janet B, you mentioned in an earlier post to Ed, "please go deeper. One needs to polish the mirror of his Heart."

    Why don't you take your own advice for a change. You obviously think that my post about humility was written with you in mind or you would not have been so defensive. Never once did I think of excluding myself from what I said.

    I know you require a lot of attention and I hope this does not cause you too much pain, but you were not on my mind when I wrote this post. Sorry!

    I do wonder though, after reading my post, did you go deeper? Did you use my post as a mirror to polish your own heart or just as an excuse to accuse me of being 'superhuman' so you could maintain your reputation of being 'authentic'?

    Now that I do have you on my mind let me say this. You are the one who is so keen on the use and necessity of roles and concepts such as teacher/student. Try whole heartedly humbling yourself to being a student for a change and really listen and take to heart what Ed shares with you.


  11. Rich,

    Thanks for what you shared above. I agree.


  12. Ed,

    I'm 'critics' 1 & 3.

    Just so you know, I found your subsequent responses to these dialogues very helpful (much more to the point than the original post, if I may say so).

    So, thank you.

  13. Joan,

    I knew you'd go for the kill. Perfect.

    Janet B.

  14. Janet, I knew eventually you'd give me the opportunity. Perfect.


  15. Joan,

    We are true daughters of fire.

    Janet B.

  16. dear 'critic 1 and 3', that's beautiful you kept your heart open through the disagreement.

    'daughters of fire' is right!

    wow, there's an intensity there and i hope i have a flicker of it too.

    we're so hungry for freedom we're burning our own impediments to get there.

    someone mentioned edji's cats. am i the only one that feels like one his cats sometimes? a wandering, lost, hungry human that he takes pity on and feeds?

    john :)

  17. Ok guys,

    This is the last thing I am going to say on this issue. Many gurus have unresolved psychological issues, nobody is perfect, let's face it. But they expect perfect surrender from their students. How ironic!

    Janet B.

  18. fuck yeah, this is so beautiful.

    a music plays without goal, a dancer dances without arriving at a particular spot.

  19. Janet, this is also the last thing I am going to say on this issue, unless of course you say something else. LOL

    In spirituality we think that we need a 'perfect' teacher in order for us to fully trust and surrender to. No, the teacher need not be perfect; would not this perfection be our own imaginings anyway? It is our trust and surrender that need to be perfect or perfected.


  20. Janet, I find so, so few students ever surrender to the guru. I was ready when I ran into Robert, because I was ready after 26 years of practices and seeking. Even then, it took me three years to surrender to Robert.

    The important thing is to surrender, even to an immature or false guru. The surrender is is the highest spiritual act. You will receive God's grace even if you can surrender to a tree or a cat.

    In fact, a perfect student can create a perfect guru.

  21. Ed,

    You're making more and more sense to me.

  22. "If you are convinced that your Guru is always right, that he is the only great man, then you will progress. Your Guru may not be great at all, but you think that he is, and it is your faith which will make you progress." Bhai Sahib

    Ed said, "Surrender is the highest spiritual act." Something in me knows this is so true; something in me craves this more than my next breath.

    With Love,

  23. My Dearest Edji, these words by Krishna Das so beautifully express how my heart feels towards you.

    Mere Guru Dev - Door of Faith

    My Gurudev I offer these flowers of my faith at your feet.

    Whatever I have, you have given to me, and I dedicate it all to you.

    I have no love, nor do I know you. I don’t even have the strength to worship you,
    But this mind of mine, this body of mine, my every atom is dedicated to you.

    You are the only one in my heart and my thoughts.
    You are the one who I call out to.
    Now Make me your instrument...all I am I offer to you.

    With the deepest Love I've ever known,


  24. Yes, it was Nisargadatta who repeatedly stated that he trusted in and surrendered to his guru and through this achieved the Awakening he did in three years.


  25. Ed,

    As you said, surrender is very rare. Even you left Robert after 8 years. I left you after 8 months but the intensity we had might equal a few years. The amazing thing though is that I feel your presence and divinity within stronger then ever before.

    Oh well, maybe a few will stick around you till the end.

    Good luck to all,
    Janet B.

  26. Janet, you try to say goodbye don't you, but you cannot. You are hooked to me and so be it.

    The guru/chela bond once established is for life. Many leave before the full groundwork is laid, but you and I might be forever. Nothing is certain yet. Even when I left Robert, I had him fully inside me, in my sense of presence.

    You struggle here for public recognition and at the same time for public equality with me. I am no longer the center, but the public is.

    Which do you love more, my acceptance and love, or Facebook/Blogger adulation and attention? You have to decide that.

    At the beginning you deeply surrendered then backed away until you are in a place of challenging me, or even further away in terms of voicing hatred and contempt. Developmentally, this is where you are; spiritual adolescense.

    You never fully surrendered. You have not completed that. That prevents an adequate separation and challenging. You try to step two paces ahead of your development.

    Your writing is most beautiful and powerful when you still feel connected to me. You know this.

    Your fight is still whether to surrender or prematurely individuate.

    I have never been so moved as Act I of your surrender performance eight months ago, nor so unhappy as with your shadow work.

    Now Joan feels the surrender mode and you no longer. How does that make you feel?

  27. what edji and joan say about surrender is so true. you see high students come from teachers who were later found to be less than perfect.

    it shows me that it's my intensity, love, surrender that matters, that develops me.

    joan, i've loved that mere gurudev song by krishna das for a long time. here's a precious live performance with his daughter i believe. their voices blend beautifully.

    just like we blend with you edji!

    you've done a ton of work for many years edji. not only decades on yourself, but now taking the time to help, guide, bless.

    it goes on and on.

    you show me that the highest we can be is a perfect Servant.

    all we can do is cry. because it's so perfect, because it's so tragic, because our destiny is to love and be loved forever.

    here's the song:

  28. "The guru/chela bond once established is for life."

    This is a Sacred Relationship that Edji is offering us ALL!

    Don't waste such a precious gift and amazing opportunity!

    Definition of the Guru/Chela Relationship: "When both parties — the Guru and the Chela — are genuine, the Guru/Chela relationship is the most sacred and complete human relationship — short of the moods of higher consciousness. United in spirit first, their relationship is sustained through all the ups and downs of daily life. Having a deep respect and reverence for one another, and knowing their reverence is founded in God himself, they thrive. Their appreciation of one another always grows. It cannot recede when each is doing his, or her, part.

    As the spirit of love and light becomes a steady blaze in your life as an aspirant, you will perceive who the Guru and the Chela really are. You perceive the Guru as a spiritual being and yourself also as a spiritual being. When your ignorance and ego are overcome, and your enlightenment becomes steady, your Guru dances for joy.

    *** Your Guru’s work is a labor of love, a challenging and often fatiguing service. ***

    Above all, the Guru yearns that your awakening be firmly established, and that the Guru/Chela relationship be matured into an eternal friendship of equals. In fact, the Guru, through love, wishes his every Chela become superior to him in awareness, in wisdom, and in love."

    Thank you Edji for all you do for us! With deepest love and in complete surrender,


  29. Boy, what a bunch of caca. When you experience the bliss of the Self, you can sit in a cellar in the corner and be happy. New love is just more distraction,diversion and so on. Get off the merry-go-round.

  30. Is anyone reading this blog attracted back to this post brought through the drama in this discussion between Janet and Joan and Edji.. I find my self coming home from work straight on to Internet to check this mesmerizing discussion taking place hoping for a new installment. As petty as it may sound, i love and love to hate drama.

  31. Anonymous Caca, I can tell by the love and bliss in your voice that even now you are experiencing the bliss of Self, and you probably are in a cellar somewhere since you seem to show no interest in the well being of other people.

  32. Anonymous....If you are in such bliss, why are you putting your self through the pain of boring your self to death on this blog.
    What a distraction it must be to your "old love"

  33. hey ricky, yeah i was feeling the same thing. the thing about this kind of drama is it's actually a fire that heats others.

    there's a fearlessness for them to have out all their 'stuff' here in a public format. they're all advanced beings.

    edji said robert used to delight in 'getting' someone. that is when they would really be caught in their stuff.

    i think we feel a touch of that delight too as we sit by the vasana fireplace.

    we're all going bye-bye folks. little by little.
    might as well go out with a bang.