01 August 2012

TO ME:  Hi Ed,

Does the I-Sense ever disappear for good? I recently attended a Vedanta retreat with James Swartz and during the retreat, the I-sense dissappeared and there was only awareness, and right now the energy is on top of my head. The watcher has gone and I feel like a hollow being. Empty but who reacts to the world.

I asked James about it after my experience and he said that the I-Sense is what they call Jivatman in Vedanta. It is the bridge between the Subtle Body and the Self. At some point, the perspective shifts and you see the world as awareness. There is no I-Sense anymore. He calls the energy on top of my head the crown chakra.

Is this consistent with your experience? I asked my former teacher, Anadi/Aziz Kristoff and he says that this state of nothingness is not the end. One needs to connect to the Being.

I would be interested in hearing your perspective. Attached is a picture of me and James after the retreat.

Ed Says:

As you can see, all teachers have slightly different experiences and terminologies.

No matter how desperately you seek understanding from others, their answers will only cause confusion because your mind is comparing and reconciling their various answers, based on your own experience and understanding. Any certainty arising from understanding concepts will disappear in days or weeks as new experiences arise and new teachings heard.

Don't you see, your mind is creating a problem, "What is truth, what does it mean?"  But the self has no such problem.

Forget trying to understand self and just realize it by further attending to the Self yourself.  Then, in a shorter time, you will know it directly and be able to teach others.

The answers you recieved from those two sources are purely conceptual and will not help at all. For example, what does it mean that "you have to connect with being" as opposed to realizing nothingness?  What connects with what, and what is the experience like and how do you obtain it?

You see, you have to go into it far enough that you trust your own knowing.

Yes, the I Am will always be available, for it is love and you need it in order not to go dry. You use the love for the I Am to fill the emptiness and attract the Self to show itself to you. This is my "bullshit" answer that will mean nothing to you until you have this experience, and you may never have this experience.  You may have an entirely different experience.


On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM, Vivek <vivek.ramakrishnan@gmail.com> wrote:


  1. "This is my "bullshit" answer that will mean nothing to you until you have this experience, and you may never have this experience. You may have an entirely different experience."

    I so appreciate this.

    Many teachers are so fixated on the concepts that they use. I love how you hold on so loosely, even to the point of telling an aspirant that he or she may have an altogether different experience than yours.

    With Love

  2. Yes, I can relate to the "loss of self" as detailed by the writer and since it happened twice in my life(once also in a ten day retreat)then I found myself obscessing needlessly over what it was all about and what if any "spiritual" significance or relevance it might have. I also later discovered the same experience described by Suzanne Seagall with this in a book called "Collision with the Infinite" but she didn't even get any satifactory explanations consulting the therapists or spiritual "guides" she visited. Just multitudinous interpretations(and an unexpected sexual liaison with one them to boot!).

    After all's said n' done, it amounts to zilch.

    1. Yes. Zilch. As in No-thing and No-body. But that is after all, what we're on about here. Clearly this experience had a profound impact on Vivek(?). And these "tastes" of the infinite 'I' are what compel us to go on with the enquiry. So, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss them.

  3. Hello Edj !
    I would like to ask you about Shri Aurobindo . What is different with him when he speaks about supramental to make coming down on the earth and when he says that he was acting for getting spiritual the material thing and wiping out death memory from the cells in the body ?
    Is there something different with him or it is only his speech which is different from others spiritual teachers ?
    much love for you !

  4. This is Vivek. Just wanted to say that the mistake I made was thinking that a particular experience will free me but that is not correct. Experience can never free you as it is time bound. Only knowledge that I am awareness will set you free. Vedanta, along with Ramana, Adi Shankara are very clear about it. Only by knowledge is the Self known.

    For a long time I thought that enlightenment was freedom for Vivek, now I realize that it is Freedom FROM VIVEK, the experiencing entity. The I-Sense is an object in awareness, as is Vivek the experiencing entity.

    Viveka means discriminating the real from the unreal. In this case, discriminating between the non-experiencing witness aka awareness/consciousness/Brahman from the experiencing witness.

    Experience will not help you make that distinction, only knowledge will. Vedanta is very clear on this. And Siddharameshar Maharaj who Ed quotes often, is very clear on this important distinction, and so is Ranjit Singh Maharaj.

    This non-experiencing witness cannot be found through the mind or by thought because the mind is an object in awareness. It is the ultimate subject, hence the frequent admonition that the Self is not an object. The 10th man story is very useful in understanding this distinction.