11 January 2012

Make Love Not War on the Mind
Hello Ed, my name is A. I am seeking from guidance from you because i have not yet had an encounter with my own spiritual teacher in my everyday life. Since I was about 16 years old,  I realized with progressing intensity that awakening from the dream of my ego is the only thing worth ever doing in my life, and the only way to truly attain lasting happiness, peace, and the end of suffering.

Now, years later I sit here, with still many questions. Many insights have been imparted to me over the past few years, though never lasting peace, never a moment of truly seeing through my dense false self has occurred. I have realized many profound things especially recently that make me feel closer than ever to awakening but I feel as if something is missing in guiding me to true seeing; and I think what is missing is a teacher that can guide and help lead me to clarity. I would like your opinion on this- how necessary is it for an individual to have a spiritual teacher in this path in order to truly awaken?

With passing years, I realize with more clarity that the external world is completely unsatisfactory and that ultimately it is suffering-- even my pleasures are suffering. The sense of running out of time is growing along with the sense that my time is of precious concern and that it is urgent to do all that I can to awaken because awakening is the beginning of actually living. I know I have spent my entire life living in the delusions of the mind, and the desire is finally becoming strong enough to break free from these bonds. However, I feel that alone, without a sangha or a teacher, this intensity of desire for truth wanes out. I feel like I go in and out of being lost in the trance of mind and clinging to worldly pleasures, sufferings, and the mind eventually pulls me into its vortex and trances me into the belief that I have other more important things to do than discover the truth of my own being.

I find I am seeing things much more clearly with the practice of self inquiry, yet I find self inquiry hard to keep up consistently throughout the day as it exhausts me and the mind finds way to sabotage my efforts. I know definitely that I have all of the potential in the world to awaken to my true nature in this lifetime and I feel that  clarity is not far away as I see (intellectually) that I am not actually a me or a person very clearly; yet I am still identified with A. due to the magnetic pull and trance of the ego. How do you suggest I can intensify my progress in my life? I feel that this burning desire to awaken will not be constant unless I nourish it in certain ways.

Thank you,

There are two paths to where you are going.  The path of Jnana and the path of Bhakti.

You seem inclined to the former.

I think you would benefit from guidance from what you say.  Many flee from it, not wanting to give up any autonomy.

Attached are three documents.  One I wrote on self-inquiry, called Hunting the I.  The second is the Nisargdatta Gita, which is a great meditation manual taken from Nisargadatta. The third is the path of Sri Ramana, Part I.

Print out the Gita and read no more than 2 pages at a time.  Ponder the meaning.  Then look into yourself for the I-Am sense.  Do this morning and evening for half an hour.

Read chapters 7-8 of the path of sri ramana, and my hunting the I for further directions on self inquiry.

We will start at the beginning with basics--the method, rather than with theory.

Tell me about your meditation experiences and self-inquiry.  Try writing in paragraphs to make it easier for me to read. 


I am very ready for your guidance. The sense that I can no longer do this alone is becoming stronger.

I will do exactly as you have told me to do with the three documents, thank you for them.

My experiences with meditation and my own spiritual practice are as follows:

I feel I have more patterns of pain and fear that arise with thoughts and emotions than others, perhaps due to karma, or whatever it may be.

Because of this, I have never found success or much interest in breathing meditations, counting meditations, one pointed meditations, etc. because of the strong energetic pull of these thoughts and emotions that are simply too deeply ingrained and distracting.

I tried for some time, methods of meditation to quiet my mind such as breathing, until I realized that the attempt of quieting the mind was simply a means of controlling the mind and its thoughts temporarily. There came a point that I finally wished to ultimately see through these thoughts altogether, and extinguish my suffering, rather than manage them.

I eventually stumbled upon self inquiry, and a light went on. I knew this was most likely for me, the most rapid and effective method for  to awaken. It deeply resonated with me, simply because the deeper I got into it, the more the curiosity for the truth was fueled.

So I began reading with diligence Robert Adams, Ramana, Nisargadatta, and Adyashanti. Each one of their teachings solidified the knowing that if I simply look deeply into myself and inquire into what the thing called "me" is that is actually having all of these experiences, that eventually all of the false constructs of my mind would crumble as the false self called "me" that holds it all together is finally seen through.

So I had this realization, and since then, as I mentioned, my spiritual practice and intensity has waned in and out, as it had not clearly hit me until recently that the external world could never ever satisfy my yearning for peace and happiness.

So over this past weekend I spent my time in hours of silent sitting at a Zen Buddhist Monastery and this realization that I had no other options left became more palpable. I know now that even though the mind may deceive me temporary, the only path to happiness, fulfillment, and true peace and rest is to awaken.

So my method of spiritual practice and meditation is mainly this: either I practice self inquiry asking questions such as: who am i? where am  I located? who feels this? who is the sufferer? to whom do these thoughts come? etc.

Or I simply sit in silence and observe the workings of my mind with the attempt to not get involved in them,  simply sitting as awareness, looking  objectively at my thoughts and feelings as they arise.

I've noticed that I have a lot of fear inside of me, which affects me deeply on a daily basis.

This  path really began at a young age with the deep nagging fear that arose with the questioning of any meaning at all in this life.

Anxiety pervaded my being at the age of 16 when I truly realized that every single thing I had taken to be true about myself, life, God, everything and anything might not be true, because I saw that thoughts are not to be trusted, and I saw that the entire world was run by people's thoughts and I was supposed to believe all of them. I was supposed to believe my own thoughts and everyone else's and live of off blind faith that this was all there was.

So this intense fear, doubt, and anxiety led me to the search for real truth in this life, and I think that is the fuel of my path. I agree that you are right, the path of Bhakti is something that does not resonate with me and it is simply the yearning to know the final truth of this life, so that I can finally be at rest, which is what continually drives me.

That and the fact that my thoughts and feelings and this separate sense of self have caused me much suffering in this life and I no longer want to suffer.

Even the worldly pleasures that I have always taken solace in for my whole life in order to escape from suffering are being realized to also be suffering due to their inherent unsatisfactory nature.

Thank you Edji,


One hint:  Don't go to war with your mind.  Make love to it.

Instead of looking for pleasure in things external, love all that presents itself within.

Don't watch it as an enemy to be rejected and mastered, watch it as you would a lover, interested, fascinated, open, accepting. Don’t just watch it with indifference; watch it like you would watch a playful kitten.  Delight in its antics and this way you will know it much better.

Then is easily reveals all of its secrets.  When you really, really know the mind, have cared for it, cultivated it, it drops away in importance.  It is after if you already had two pieces of cake, and you really don’t care about a third.

If you watch with indifference, it can take a long, long time for it to drop in importance without it coming back and grabbing you. Indifference is a lot like repression, and the repressed always comes back when least expected.

When you love the mind or the I Am, you regress with it, become little with it as it is in a pure state.  Then you grow up with it inside all over again, just as you did from  ages 5-12 or so.  This time the relationship is different.  Better. More complete and healed.

The same with self-inquiry. Seek the sense of I, of I-Am A, the sense of existence, of presence.  

Then love it while you watch it.  This way there is no dryness.  This way you follow your beloved, yourself.  That is, add a little Bhakta to your self-inquiry.

Download some of the Krishna Das and Muktananda chants from wearesentience.com

Put them in an iPod or MP3 player.  Listen to them an hour a day.  Your life will grow sweeter, and the dryness will disappear. Then motivation will not fail. You will run to meditation then.



  1. Dear A,

    I am totally with you. My journey started when I was 15-16 too.
    My main fuel: fear, anxiety. It started, when someone unasked hit my brains like with hammer and it was seen there is no 'solid I' anywhere. I have lived with fear that arose then for like 4 years.

    But it gradually started to recede as practice was going on. It didnt disappear though. It pops up now and then, even during Edjis' satsang, where the feeling of death arises. It stings no more though.
    During these past nine years I have managed to try many teachings. I've found that pranayama helps with clearing many complexes of the mind. Heck, I even have reached a clear state of mind, where strong peace and clarity pervaded, skin was glowing like a lamp (according to those who saw). BUT.... BUUUUT... for fucks sake, though it seemed very nice, this shit feeling in solar plexus area didnt go away. Something was "not it". I dropped unwillingly pranayama, and was pulled again (and again, and again) to Ed. I gave up totally going anywhere, I thought: even in dreams I see Ed teaching me various things and showing me what I am holding onto through action, if such pull is going on, i though again, it is time to surrender.

    Though Bhakti was never "my thing", oh my, what a difference it made. Knowledge path became wet and alive. The 'indifference' of the Watcher of the inner processes started to melt. An aliveness, interaction pervades the journey.
    One week you are flying, laughing from nothing, blissed out. The other you are lost, despair, anxiety dictates its ways. But its good and well.
    We are so lucky to have met Ed alive, you have no clue, how lucky we are... it is a blessing from the sky.

    Wish you best

  2. It is reassuring in a way to hear others speak of anxiety and fear.

    I often struggle with both of these on a daily basis.

    When reading material related to awakening or practicing in any way, I often have severe attacks making it very hard to breathe at times.

    I realize that it is the mind that imagines the fear and anxiety and it is the mind also that creates the resistance to it.

    At other times, it seems I am pulled into the whole drama.

    Ed, loved what you said in regard to this, "Don't go to war with your mind. Make love to it."

    This is so true. When I stand back and watch it with curiosity and a sense of playfulness and fascination rather than with the attitude of 'control' it takes a lot of the sting out.

    Great Thread.

    With Love,

  3. this exchange is so helpful. including arvydas. edji, you talked recently about being one of the only teachers who talks about his own experience. i'm so grateful that not only you do, but other students do too.

    this subject of anxiety. i've had it too and its arising at an early age corresponds with a spiritual awakening like your two students above.

    depression, anxiety, certain 'breaks' seem to sometimes, not always, have a spiritual element, reflecting something deeper going on.

    there's even a spritual emergency network that deals with people who have spiritual breakthroughs that are misunderstood to be mental illness.

    can you imagine the tragedy? someone telling a ramakrishna that's he's nuts and doping him up with medication.

    this isn't always the case, but, for me, anxiety reflected a glimpse that i don't exist, that things are unreal.

    it won't be resolved until i transend completely.

    thank you all. your REAl life experience inspired me, touched me.

  4. A rare student indeed! Years, maybe decades of fumbling around already done with. Focused and empty... ready to receive. What a wonderful opportunity for student and teacher!

    I love how you say her path is the Jnana marga, then recommend bhaktic chanting :).

    I know for me the chanting has made me come alive again... no more judgmental cold fish here. I'm so grateful to you for introducing me to a little bhakta, and devotional chanting! Gimme the juice!!

  5. Tell the psychiatrist you feel like you're dissolving and he'll send you away for some 'rest'.

    Tell Ed the same thing and he'll

  6. Hi A,

    Welcome :) Hope to meet you in Satsang soon.

  7. Valuable information indeed !
    Inspired by this my two (instead of one) sessions of sitting beginning with chanting began today.

    Funnily enough the mesage from Kuan yin oracle yesterday was 'try to attain your goal now for your disatisfaction comes from your apathy'

    Clear advice from Edji that 30 minutes a day is not enough.

  8. 'Submit to a daily practice.
    Your loyalty to that
    is a ring on the door.

    Keep knocking, and the joy inside
    will eventually open a window
    and look out to see who's there.'