For almost three years I have modified my teachings to direct seekers away from a “self-realization” that lacks a sense of self, or self-identity, and directs the seeker to merge into the Absolute, the Witness, with the consequent recognition that the world, and anything objective, or phenomenal, is illusory and is to be ignored, and the “true Self,” the Witness in an unknowable mystery.
I have directed seekers to use love in the sense of loving the I-sense when practicing self-inquiry or self-abiding, as opposed to merely watching. I have also urged seekers not only to love that self-sense within, but to love others as intensely and creatively as they can as an aid to self-realization by discovering the Self-of-All within others, which leads to uncovering of the Self within ourselves.
I do not wish to engage in ontological discourses or theories, only to expand a range of practices to attain self-realization.
Infants, when they first love, is to first intensely love their primary caregiver, usually the mother. This is how we are programmed as physical beings. They do this through projection of their innate self-love into their first (Internal) mental object: the primary care giver. All the love in the infant’s universe is projected onto the mother.
At this point the infant has only one object in their world, the mother. Later, over a period of time other objects are created, including the sense of self and the idea of I as an objective inner object, sometime before the age of 3.
One should note it is these two objects, the I-thought and the sense of self, or I-sense that gurus immemorial, have told seekers are not the real you. Even overcoming belief in these two obstacles to true self-realization is an extraordinary accomplishment, and flies in the face of a world culture that accepts these two entities as “real.”
But through love of another, through the most intense, insane, wonderous, love, and false-self-submerging in the other, we are exposed to our original state of love, that which we routinely project out of what we think to be me into that inner idealized external object that is associated with whomever we physically love deeply, and which then can be perceived to be the real “me” in the intense love situation. That is, raising intense love for another in the real world allows us at some point to see that that love is in me, created by me for an external object.
This original state of love is part of the “deepest” state that can be experienced by a human, that of Satchitananda, or the existence-knowledge-bliss of Turiya, the 4th state. And, this level of Consciousness IS accessed during the deepest, most complete and “insane” love for another.
I know some critics will comment that Turiya is not a state, but the basic principle of awareness that underlies the states of waking, dream, and sleep. That is true. But it is a subtle distinction, for when resting totally in Satchitananda, none of the other states are existent, except as potential.
Now, Nisargadatta, Sidharameshwar and others want you to transcend this Turiya state, to have it submerge into the Absolute, the Witness, the Noumenal of Kant, or the ultimate subject that cannot be seen. This place of bliss, love, and knowing is the last experience before merger into the non-existence Absolute Witness. That is, the Absolute is noumena, totally beyond the experience, even the highest experience of Satchitananda.
This “place” of the Absolute cannot be experienced as an object. It is beyond space, time and experience. It is the ultimate subject. One can only be it. We will talk about this “being it” later.
This is what many teachers call Self-Realization, where there is no identification with anything phenomenal. There is no identification with the body/mind, bliss or energies, or with Shakti. These are just part of the play of Consciousness which I experience, but are not I.
However, I have witnessed myself how disabling such states can be. I have witnessed how this “final” state leaves one detached from the world, unwilling and unable to participate in it, unable to love another, to work for the betterment of others, to not care about the cruelty humanity shows animals and each other due to their primary identifications with body and mind embedded in cruel and chaotic cultures and social structures.
Here we have to make the distinction between the Arhat, or enlightened being that has gone beyond the world into Nirvana, where the self has been snuffed out, where there are no more desires, no longing, no attachment, and the concept of the Bodhisatva, or enlightened being that so cares for the world he or she continues in it, endeavoring daily to help all others, and not to stay in the non-acting peace of Nirvana.
For the Arhat, the primary message and experience is of nothingness, either the Void, which is lifeless, or the remembrance of No-Experience, a different kind of nothingness. For the Bodhisatva, the primary experience is of life, existence, bliss, intense emotions, intense energies in the body, and an intense involvement in the world.
Another way Robert Adams used to denote this distinction, was that of comparing the Jnani (or Arhat or Sage), who had gone beyond the world (as had he), and the Saint, who lived in God’s bliss, in the light and power of the Divine aspect of Self, actively striving in the world to bring Love and Light.
Even though Robert truly was a Jnani, a World-Transcender, an Arhat, often he would show his other side: a desire to help the world. He often said he would prefer to know one Saint versus knowing six Jnanis. These bringers of light were precious to him.
It is for this same reason that I embrace one aspect of Satchitananda, or Turiya, or Self, that to me is my guiding first principle: Consciousness Loves Consciousness and Sentience Loves Sentience.
I think we all cry out at some point in our life for the love of God to permeate us, which we never know unless we can become as an infant, and submerge in that infant’s pure, total love of the other as primary caregiver, which becomes love of God, Jesus, Guru, or human Lover in the adult seeker.
This experience cannot be had in the Witness state, in going beyond the world, going beyond Satchitananda to the Absolute Witness. It happens to a human in a stage before becoming the Witness as happened to Nisargadatta, and is required in the taxonomy of Siddharameshwar’s progressive awakening.
For those who do not experience this state before becoming the Absolute, as was my experience, there must be a return to the place of the Saint, as love/bliss in Satchitananda, in Turiya for completion.
Siddharameshwar is explicit in this requirement, that the Jnani, the Sage, must continue to love and worship the Self-Of-All, love/bliss in all of us, Turiya, which is also love for the entire world, the entire manifestation of Consciousness.
In fact, my teachings now explicitly avoid FIRST attaining the Absolute and emphasize finding the divine within oneself, that divine being our Self-Nature of existence-knowledge-bliss, or lovebliss to borrow a term, where there still is a sense of ownership, of love for the other as a separate example of the Self-of-All in an apparent other human, as guru, spouse, lover, child or parent. We become one family, still compassionately caring for and loving each other, hopefully bringing the light of Turiya, or God and Godess to us all, first as pure Love and acceptance, and then through acts of Surrender and Service.
I feel it is our duty, each of us as humans on the way to the snuffing out of Nirvana, to fully involve ourselves in being each other’s keeper, to be a Bringer of Light and love to all sentient beings before moving on to the snuffing out of Nirvana.
The state of being a saint has qualities lacking in Nirvana.
It is a place of bliss and ecstasies, filled with flowing energies, flowing light within and without, experienced as inner and external auras. It is a state wherein one feels a constant sense of Grace and Gratitude towards Consciousness in all its individual colors and aspects. It brings an intense sense of humility and great love and compassion for the Infinite within us, and for all life forms around us.
And, we feel intensely alive, more alive and more filled with energy than we can ever remember, and our inner space is totally lighted by multicolored emotions, energies and totally unknown processes. The light of Consciousness burns brightly.
In addition, there is a direct recognition of ourselves as Self, both as a human being in a body, with a mind, but also as an energetic Sense of Presence, which is like an energy glove around and within the body, and with which we primarily identify, instead of the body. This is called the Subtle Body, our inner awareness, which is ultimately connected to Turiya, a “deeper” level of Consciousness which is shared by everyone, is universal, and in a sense, is divine.
In this place, even the experience of intense sadness, depression, anger, loneliness is mitigated by feeling intense joy throughout your body and sense of presence. Joy, light, love and bliss are never more than moments away. All that one has to do is observe whatever emotions or physical problems present, allow oneself to feel them deeply, and then they dissolve in the inner bliss state of Self that is always present.
I cannot tell you enough about how extraordinary this state is, of knowing who you are as an earth-embodied sentient being, but also an extraordinary Presence of the Divine within, which manifest as light, energy, power, attending a sense of total surrender and grace.
I have since discovered there are two aspects of this Self-Realization that I talk about: Realization of the manifest self within our embodied consciousness of body/mind and presence. But also the Self as an apparent other, as God, savior, Light of the World, the Self-of-All, (Turiya) which is the most extraordinary experience possible for a mortal.
I have learned one can realize that self of the individual, as sentience embodied, as it truly is as opposed to who we think we are, using very different means than the loving self-inquiry that I recommend as my primary offered method.
This other way, in fact is the way of Zen, which is living in no-mind. This is what Seung Sahn means by becoming “dumb as a rock,”
One acquires through meditation a state of pure, empty thoughtlessness, No-Mind, and in that state, you become the “Self-of-All,” or Turiya, as embodied in your own mind/body/presence, you might call the small self, or embodied self-nature.
(Be aware I am not using these terms in the way any other teacher uses them. You have to apprehend the meaning by the context of this text. Given a year or so, I will be able to explain everything in a clearer way than I can offer now. But those who “resonate” will understand now.)
To attain this state, one needs to find the root of your own embodied beingness, and there are a thousand ways to reach this besides self-inquiry, including use of koans, the just sitting meditation of Shikantanza, intense meditation retreats or Sesshin where you are confronted by harsh demands on your body, as well as confrontations with the Zen master.
There just are too many methods to be articulated in this short essay.
Then there is the second aspect of the type of Self-Realization that I speak of, which is an experience of the Divine Self arising within you, or descending from above. These experiences of surrender, grace, light, infinite power are indescribable, and can be obtained the most easiest way through Love, Devotion, Surrender and acts of Loving Servitude.
Some people have an extraordinary fear of the intense and total surrender required for Divine Self-Realization, such that they just cannot surrender to love totally as required. For these people I will teach how to awaken to the self of our manifestation, of our sentience embodied in flesh of our unique humanity.
This awakening is so much easier than the second awakening to the Divine Self, because the latter requires all sorts of emotional healings and is a dramatically demanding path filled with the comings and goings of extraordinary states of descending into netherworlds of negativity, followed by ascending into worlds of ecstatic oneness, incredible exploding energies, burning and vibrating energies that feel both incredibly blissful, but can become so powerful that you feel they will destroy you.
This path require far more strength of body and mind than required for realizing the individual sense of self, and the training for the latter ultimately prepares one for the former.
Ultimately, the devotee to complete this path must experience a Love beyond anything they had thought possible: A love of total surrender, total loss of independence, total loss of control, of complete submission and subservience of the small self.
The fear that prevents such love is that of complete self-destruction, of collapsing into utter neediness and helplessness. Yet what actually happens is that you get to know God as Self. You are transformed and nothing is destroyed except the illusion that you are separate and alone. You always feel the divine Self with, guiding, energizing, loving and accepting.
Be aware, from now on I will offer more methods than just loving self-inquiry, and loving another, with the intent of having people recognize themselves as other than body/mind, as an energetic presence of energy, light, and bliss embodied in insentient meat.
For some, this will offer a step-wise approach to the an eventual Self-Realization of oneself as Divine.