Why Holding the Sense of I-Am Exclusively is NOT the Most Effective Method

Why Holding the Sense of I-Am Exclusively is NOT the Most Effective Method

 

Holding the sense of I-Am is considered one of the most valid methods among traditional teachers. Those of us who have followed Self-Inquiry or Advaita teachings are well aware of the I-Am , especially after this method was advocated by the great Advaita Master Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

This method is popular and easy to understand. The technique can be summarized as follows:

You know that you exist — not as this or that, just simple existence — an existence without any reference to thoughts, names or forms. Now hold on to this feeling as your I-Amness. Keep coming back to this feeling and hold on to it at regular intervals. In time, with perseverance and dedication, the I AM will reveal itself and then, one day, it will finally disappear, leading you to your SELF.

This is a simple and profound truth. However, in practical situations it does not prove very effective nor productive for achieving the goal. In fact, the results from this practice, when used exclusively, are very inconsistent and can often leave a practitioner confused as to why they experienced a ‘drop’ in their state, or cannot feel their joyous being which they were able to feel a few days before.

The reason for this is due to the impurities collected at the gross, subtle, and subtlest levels at play within the I-Am feeling.

It is important to understand that the I-Am  feeling usually perceived by a practitioner is often a mixed feeling (awareness) of all the layers (koshas) at work within. These koshas have their energy, vibrations and codes which exert a ‘pull’ and influence over the Pure I-Am . Hence, when we abide in the sense of I-Am, what we are actually feeling and intuiting as our ‘existence’ is nothing but the totality of these koshas — and NOT the PureI-Am .

These five koshas, which act as coverings over the SELF, are the:

 

  1. Annamaya kosha – outer body feeling or sensation
  2. Pranamaya kosha – breath, the life-force that feeds and nurtures our actions, feeds our senses
  3. Manomaya kosha – mind, thoughts, emotions, memories
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha – intellect, discriminating faculty which decides what is right or wrong
  5. Anandamaya kosha –bliss sheath

These koshas are unreal, but still veil, conceal, and keep us from our real SELF.

In fact, the practitioner will find that each day of practice brings forth a ‘feeling’ from a particular kosha, and it is that kosha that is experienced instead of the Pure I-Am (Anandamaya Kosha).

So, some days, body sensations (Annamaya) will predominate the seeker’s awareness. On other days, energies coursing through the body (Pranamaya) will prevail. Yet other days, visions, intuitive ‘downloads’, or messages from higher Consciousness (Manomaya) will be more prevalent. And on some rare occasions, a torrential flow of Joy in the Heart (Anandamaya) will captivate the seeker’s awareness.

So the feeling of I-Am will vary. 

Sometimes the feeling of I-Am will be unstable, and progress will be inconsistent, depending upon the state of one’s mind. Often, when rare bliss (Anandamaya) is felt, it will quickly be disturbed by one of the four preceding koshas. This is because the practitioner has no awareness of how to control the workings of the preceding koshas. They have no awareness of the techniques available to control them quickly and effectively. This cycle will continue until a lot of effort, seeking, and ‘hunting of the I’ is done and enables one to finally transcend all the koshas and arrive at the final destination — the Spiritual Heart.

Yes, it is definitely possible for all koshas to roll back revealing the SELF exclusively through holding theI-Am method, but it is like walking into a dark room not knowing what lies ahead. It is a very slow, tiresome and inconsistent method. Most often a seeker will understandably feel dejected and demotivated when they realize that they have practically no control over how they will feel in their meditation. That is why ‘holding the sense of I-Am’ exclusively as one’s practice of Self-Inquiry will not work for 90% of seekers (unless they have been a very strong meditator in this or past lives).

The other problem with this method, apart from its inconsistency, is that one usually ‘peaks out’ relatively early and feels that they have ‘hit a wall’. There does not seem to be much headway or progress, and their state feels static. Nothing seems to be happening. They will feel much the same as they did a few years back.

Remember, the great Nisargadatta Maharaj himself had to persevere with this method continuously, like a man possessed, for three (3) years. But such perseverance is rare to find in a busy, worldly life. Hence we need to use other methods along with I-Am to be able to sustain the state for deeper and longer periods of time.

The reason is that there is no insight or importance given to purifying oneself. This is one of the biggest flaws of current non-dual teachings. They do not lay down spiritual principles or ethics aimed at an inner cleansing of the life-force (Prana) and nerves (nadis) dealing with habitual tendencies/projections/vasanas, and outer adherence of non-violence in thoughts, speech, deeds, etc.

No matter how many times you dip a white shirt into dirty water, it will never come out clean. It will remain dirty. Similarly, no matter how many times you bring the mind to yourI-Am, it will still remain the same — unless you clean your koshas too (the layers that make up the I-Am).

It is, probably, for this reason that Sri Ramana hinted that the Heart is the seat of Jnanam (knowledge) as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). The nadis (nerves) that connect the Heart to the brain, prana, and spine must be purified, otherwise they can easily mislead the practitioner away from the SELF and into a state of ignorance.

It can be seen that those who abide in, or hold to, the feeling of I-Am as their sole practice usually do so at their Heart centre. As a result, it is not uncommon to witness these practitioners as being impulsive, unstable, reactive and predominantly driven by heightened emotions, even though they occasionally feel a sense of peace and love emanating from their Heart. The ‘high’ they experience in their meditation is often replaced by a new ‘low’, or depressive ‘gloom’, within a few days.

The reason for this is that they have little control over the inner workings and influences generated by impure nadis. This reinforces the fact that purification is a must for stability and sustained abidance in Pure I-Am.

That is why the correct way to practice ‘holding the sense of I-Am’ is to do it either in combination with a practice where the breath, prana and mind are relatively stilled, and kept suspended through either breath control techniques (pranayama), or by using Sri Ramana’s method “Who Am I?”, in both the waking state and the sitting meditation (where the breath is automatically controlled).

Breath control is, relatively, an easier method to practice than Sri Ramana’s “Who Am I?”, where a subjective awareness of ‘I’ is often difficult to maintain and sustain. Hence, a fusion of both is needed for the best, most effective, and longest lasting results.

It was from this perspective that the Implosive Self-Inquiry Protocol™ (ISIP) was designed — wherein holding the sense of ‘I AM’ is also accompanied by simple, yet highly effective techniques for removing and filtering the impurities of the distracting layers of koshas within the I AM. This provides each seeker with an instant glimpse of the real I AM, and enables him or her to sustain deeper and more stable abidance in the SELF.

The Song of Kali

The Song of Kali

The Song of Kali

by Rajiv Kapur and Daniel Mills

The I-Am that I am is not just in the background; the I-Am that I am is also in the foreground.

The I-Am that I am in the background is in the form of Durga; the I-Am that I am in the foreground is in the form of Me, Kali. Together we serve Shiva, the Absolute. But know, O Wise Ones, that unlike Durga, the Kundalini, I have no interest in merging with the Absolute; I work independently.

The I-Am that I am in the background in the form of Durga manifests beauty in this world. Golden sunshine, sparkling streams, flowering trees, majestic mountains are all part of My creation. But when I, as Kali, arrive in the foreground, the sun, streams, trees, and mountains may still remain, but their beauty fades and vanishes.

The I-Am that I am in the background has always been given attention; the I-Am that I am in the foreground has always been ignored. That is why I, Kali, come for you with a flashing sword, eyes red in rage, face and breast stained with blood. Your cries of “Mother, Mother” cannot save you. Your Father, Shiva, the Absolute, cannot protect you. No one and no thing can rescue you. Know that for certain, O Children.

The I-Am that I am in the foreground, I, Kali, am brutally fierce with any and all deep relationships you have established with anything, profane or sacred. Your misery, pain, and agony will show you I do not allow any trace of attachment or identification, lofty or lowly, to remain.

To know the Absolute, you need the blessing of the I-Am that I am in the background, but to recognize even a glimmer of Consciousness, you need My blessing.

Impure ones are obsessed with the world; pure ones are obsessed with the I-Am that I am in the background. But in the foreground, I, Kali, spare neither the impure nor the pure.

The I-Am that I am in the background is available as peace, stillness, joy, and bliss. But this is all lost to you when I, Kali, arrive in the foreground. I bestow the blessing of the destruction of your pride; I will burn you in the flames of True Wisdom.

The I-Am that I am in the foreground comes in three forms:

  • One to burn the seeds of habitual tendencies and vasanas.
  • One to dispel the results of past bad karmas.
  • One to deliver suffering, humiliation, and disgrace.

I, Kali, come as temptation, anger, and attachments in my first form,
As loss of health, money, and people you love in my second form,
And finally as old age, prolonged illness, ignominy, and death in my third form.

The I-Am that I am in the foreground, I, Kali, see no difference between Jnani or fool, saint or sinner, spiritual or worldly. When I come, all doors to the I-Am that I am in the background will be closed.

O Proud Ones, remember that the I-Am that I am in the foreground, I, Kali, will destroy whatever pride and faith you have in Me as the I-Am that I am in the background. Indeed I am my own bane and adversary.

The I-Am that I am in the background deludes Jnanis, Yogis, and Bhaktas to believe their ego is gone; the I-Am that I am in the foreground reveals the truth that the ego never leaves you until your skin is burned, bones are crushed, and heart is wrung like a piece of wet cloth. The last shred of ego is never destroyed by any practice, means, path, Guru, or God, but by Me alone.

You cannot please Me through any penance, abidance, meditation, devotion, or good deeds. Nothing can soothe Me. Only the humiliation, disgrace, and helplessness that arrive by your defeat can satisfy Me. O seekers of Truth, know that this alone may calm Me and free you from My wrath.

When tremendous pain and suffering, humiliation and disgrace come, know that it is not a time for seeking or accepting. Both will be impossible. Meet My arrival by surrendering and enduring all, and taking refuge only in My ferociousness and brutality.

The I-Am that I am in the background can witness, accept, dissolve, and direct you towards the Absolute, but when I, Kali, arrive, none of that is possible. Know, O Wise Ones, that at that time, you are Mine.

Some offer Me mantras. Some offer their breath. Some offer various other sacrifices. Yet the One who pleases Me most is the One whose eyes are ever-resting on My feet, and whose heart is one-pointedly devoted to My Lord Shiva, the Absolute.

The Foreground I-Am

The Foreground I-Am

Most teachings, especially New Age, advocate a “romantic idealism” form of spiritual practice, rather than acknowledge the stark reality of the relative plane. But while we are in the body, the world continues to affect us all, including our abidance in SELF. This aspect of reality has repeatedly been ignored, and we have discovered new ways to escape from what stares us in the face. Hence, we are not prepared for calamity when it strikes.

Knowledge is freeing. It may not get rid of the situation we face, but knowledge can prepare us for the many things that can otherwise confuse and create doubts in us as seekers. I am addressing those sincere seekers who, in spite of their unflinching devotion and abidance in SELF, often lose their connection to their Being, or are suffering miserably on the earthly plane. I believe that if these seekers understand the workings of the foreground I-Am, they will stop looking for answers in places from where answers will never come, and hopefully stop criticizing themselves for their inability to fix the situation. Truth, no matter how harsh, is always liberating and healing. 

Many of us have been told about the background I-Am, which I call the “male principle.” All the spiritual practices we have all been doing are concerned solely with strengthening this male principle I-Am. Practices like witnessing, abiding in the “I” or the Self, and actively raising the Kundalini up the spine, are all concerned with the male background I-Am. 

The qualities of the background I-Am are that of stillness, peace, joy and bliss. As we deepen our relationship with this background I-Am, these qualities become more and more profound, and eventually lead us to the Absolute. There, everything dissolves. 

But there is another I-Am, a very important one. It has not been talked about, but presents itself again and again in our lives: The “Foreground I-Am”. 

That foreground I-Am is like Mother Kali who arrives with the noble motive of freeing us from our habitual tendencies (vasanas). But She then intensifies Her attack directly on anything we have latched onto, protected, or guarded. Having our attachments broken can be brutally painful and terrifying for us, for we cannot find any refuge in anything, whether God or the world. Even the Absolute, Shiva, absolutely collapses under Kali’s Lotus feet, and finds no favor. All our identifications, even the slightest, are Her enemy, irrespective of whether they are spiritual or material in nature. In Her eyes, all are the same.

Ego is never really eliminated until Kali visits. Facing Her, the subtlest trace of ego that remains hidden in us is plucked out. Such is Her power and glory. 

As I sat pondering Kali’s immense power, beauty, and terrifying form, the Truth about Her came to me as verses collected into the Song of Kali. I was fortunate to have Daniel Mills next to me recording them as they flowed through me. He helped me choose the verses, edited them, and offered his own input as my student, my friend, a teacher to many, and one who has finally awakened and continues to awaken deeply in his heart.

Together we present these verses to all those who feel the need to know the Truth as it is.

As a prelude to the Song of Kali, I share with you all a work by the Bengali poet, Dwijendralal Ray called “Clinging to Your Feet”: 

I lie clinging to your feet,
but you never look at me, Mother.
You’re lost in your own play,
and engrossed in your own emotion.
What is this sport you revel in
across earth, heaven and the underworld?
The entire universe closes its eyes in terror,
and calls out “Mother, Mother!”
while clutching at your feet.
In your hands, Kali, you hold
the world’s final destruction.
Under your feet
even the great Shiva
lies unconscious.
Wild laughter issues from your mouth
and streams of blood flow down your limbs.
Tara*, forgiving one, end our fear!

Pick me up like a baby in your arms.
Come shining like a star,
with a smiling face
and in fair dress, like the dawn
after a pitch-black night!
All these days, O Terrible Kali,
I’ve worshiped only you.
My puja is done, Mother.
Won’t you put down your sword? 

*Tara means star
The Essence of Tantra

The Essence of Tantra

Introduction 

I have spoken on many aspects and various practices — from Kriya Yoga to Self-Inquiry techniques… from effort to grace… from the Absolute to the wrath of Kali… from affirming to burning.

The reason is simple. One particular teaching or technique cannot be prescribed to everyone. Each seeker is different — with differing temperaments, inclinations and approaches that suit them in their own unique manner.

So today I am going to talk about Tantra. The term ‘Tantra’ often sends a sense of uncomfortable energy into the Hearts of many seekers, particularly traditional Advaitins and Yogis who, because of a particular mindset, believe that this form of practice is somehow ‘impure’ or ‘unholy’ as compared to Inquiry and Raja Yoga.

Trust me, I know that feeling. And I do not blame them as we often associate Tantra as a playground for free sex. This is a common misconception.

Many of the revered saints of India were Tantra practitioners — Shri Ramakrishna, Aurobindo, Shivananda, and Nityananda.

Adi Shankara himself was not only the most famous Advaitic Guru, but also one of the most important Tantric teachers. His great poem to the Goddess, Soundarya Lahiri (Waves of Beauty), remains perhaps the most important Tantric text that is used for Sri Chakra (also called Sri Yantra) worship.

Tantra 

There are many books on Tantra which describe it in greater detail as so much has been written about it. My purpose is not to go into too much detail from an academic point of view, or go into detailed philosophic interpretations. Instead, I would like to bring out the real essence of real Tantra by presenting the practical aspects through the light of my own personal practice and experience. I am simply writing down my own personal experience here.

Inclusiveness 

Most spiritual paths have a central ideology… system… approach… or way of practice… which forms the basic theme of its teaching.

Raja Yoga — the classical approach based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali — talks about breath control with some moral and ethical restraints as the main tenet.

While Self-Inquiry (direct path) — through the approach of ‘Neti Neti’ — purely emphasizes sole abidance in the subjective awareness of ‘I’.

Because these approaches have a theme or an ideology, they become fixated and attach some boundaries to themselves. They get trapped inside a box. Both of these approaches consider the world to be an ‘illusion’ and ‘Maya’, and something that one needs to reject and be careful about so that one doesn’t get caught up with the world. One can’t deny that there is an element of escapism in these approaches.

Tantra, on the other hand, has no fixed theme or ideology. It has no problem being inside a box, outside of the box, or even getting rid of the box. That is its beauty. It has the symphony of all paths, and of life itself. It denies nothing.

If I were to give a one word description of Tantra, I would say ‘Inclusiveness’, and end it there.

Tantra includes everything — the practices of Raja Yoga, Bhakti and Inquiry, and the experiences from them. All merge into one. Mantras, yantras, rituals, pranayamas, bhakti, energies, worship of deities, chakras, etc. all form part of Tantra.

It also does not deny this world, the body, the mind, the senses — nor does it deny any form of practice or deny your experience.

For Tantra there is only one rule ‘Experience and Embrace’.

If anything is in your experience, then it is real, and on becoming aware of it, this becomes Tantra.

For Tantra, every experience (human, spiritual, or in any dimension) is valid. There is no room for suppression. No escape from anything.

Tantra is about being fearless, as everything is an expression of the SELF Itself that needs to be embodied to reach real happiness. In spite of Tantra embracing all the paths within itself, there are some remarkable principles that separates it from these paths.

1) The Goal is an Ever Present, Ever Available Companion

Tantra practitioners are not goal oriented, they are Rasa (juice) oriented. These are teachings for those who are lovers of passion, sweetness, wetness, aliveness, spontaneity and beauty. In Advaita or Yoga, the bliss is in attaining a goal — stillness, bliss or joy.

In Tantra, bliss is NOT something that one needs to wait for. It is immediate and never delayed.

They are like honey bees. They seek flowers and find the sweetness of honey in them, collecting them and accumulating them within themselves — ‘the hives of SELF’ — full of juice and sweetness, and then move again looking for the next flower.  So bliss is always their companion.

Similarly, Tantra practitioners — due to the inclusiveness of all paths, practices and teachings, and also of the relationships they develop in the world — find sweetness in everything they connect with. They find their ‘honey’ through the senses — and even beyond the senses.

While in stillness, they are in bliss — and in movement too. So ‘bliss and joy’ is their constant companion. Even in the element of seeking, there is joy. That is the beauty of Tantra.

2) Both Subject and Object are Equally Important

Even though Tantra recognizes the non-dual state of awareness as the final state, it is not obsessed about the SELF alone.

In Tantra the object is as important as the subject — the flower is as important as the hive (the SELF). The Tantra practitioner (the ‘bee’) does not compromise the flower for the hive, for he knows that the hive exists because of the flower, and that the purpose of the flower is to help build the hive. One cannot exist without the other. It believes that being tied down to the subject is no different than being identified with the objects.

An object without the SELF is useless, and the SELF without objects is juiceless. This is the essence of Tantra.

So in Tantra, ecstasy and joy is a constant companion, where both the SELF and the object co-exist together in order to fulfill your Divine destiny of being in joy and bliss.

3) Attached to Neither Subject nor Object

A worldly man attempts to find his ‘centre’ in objects, the wise man in the SELF — but a Tantra practitioner believes in MOVEMENT.

What is most prominent for him is the dance… the swing (movement) from subject to object to subject and so on. Even though both the SELF and object are equally important, the Tantra practitioner is not attached to either of them.

He stays in the middle and moves from one to the other — much like a honey bee moves the honey from the flowers into the hive, stays there for sometime, and then moves again looking for the honey.

The journey is more important than the destination.

He is ruled by aliveness, spontaneity and the joy of travel.

He is the only one who can begin a journey again and again… even after reaching the goal.

It is like a pendulum. Swaying back and forth, and at the end of every swing there is complete stillness. In Tantra you are allowed to halt or pause… but never to stay in one place because the belief is that with momentum, your reach even greater heights.

That is why a Tantra practitioner is the most adaptable of all practitioners. Like a bee, he can be happy alone or together (building and sharing hives of joy with others).

Osho once said: “…Tantra is indulgence with awareness.” (unlike worldly indulgence, to differentiate). I do not know whether this is so, or not. It could be, or it may not be. It depends.

In my experience, the question of ‘indulgence’ becomes quite unimportant in Tantra as ‘indulgence’ would be a position that is taken towards an object.

In Tantra, both the SELF and the object lose significance over Rasa. There could be abstinence, and yet still be Tantra in my opinion because the main focus is not on indulgence, or identification, but on the purpose, the juiciness that is attained.

One could abstain and yet derive the juiciness from the object through Tantra. Thirst has a unique juicy feeling too. This principle holds true in all situations, whether in relationship with your practice, or with the world, or with the SELF.

Real Tantra is not about forgetting the SELF and indulging in objects, 
 or vice versa, but about the juiciness that connects both.

It becomes clear that the Tantra practitioner approaches his relationship with every object as an opportunity to fall back into the SELF, and takes every delight to witness the SELF reflected in his beloved object.

4) The One Object that Halts All Seeking

You have heard about the SELF — where all seeking stops. But have you ever heard about an object that puts an end to all seeking? This is only possible in Tantra. And this is where Tantra meets its own end too.

A question that may arise when I talk about the bees and the relationship they have with flowers is: “Does Tantra suggest that we keep moving from one object to another in search of Rasa (juice), much like the bees move from one flower to another?”

This is why we have so many Masters, so many practices, so many relationships to choose from. But this comes to an end too. Through Grace, you can come across one such practice, one such Master, one such beloved or lover, from whom you can derive such juiciness, such variety, such quality, such flavor, that seeking other objects will become unnecessary.

The Kula Teaching: The Heart’s Secret Teaching states (verse 2.80):

“The followers of the Heart, knowers of the essence, do not consider other religion, just as bees who serve themselves the blossom of the coral tree don’t seek to obtain other flowers.”

When the ‘coral tree’ is known, such intimacy will be formed that it will no longer be possible to maintain a SELF apart from it. That one ‘coral tree’ could be your lover, your wife, your husband, your teacher, or your practice. The walls of separation between the two will be torn down and all will merge as ONE.

There will not be any separate ‘hive of the SELF’, nor the flower… not even the Rasa. There will exist only the blissful buzz of BEEing.

Our Eternal Thirst – “Where are You O’ God?”

Our Eternal Thirst – “Where are You O’ God?”

Many seekers ask me what is the one quality that they must have to achieve success on the royal path of Self-realization. Looking back at my journey, I would say it is ‘thirst.’

You see, I am a very thirsty person. Right from the first, I was full of thirst. So I searched and searched for that something or that someone who could quench my thirst. I received a lot of love and gave a lot of love, but yet my Heart was thirsty. I wondered why.

Even when I started making money in business, I felt something was lacking. I had friends, relationships, and career, yet something was missing. I was not fulfilled. The frustration was slowly building in me until one night I felt I just could not hold it inside. I broke down. I felt so empty in my Heart, tears began to well up in my eyes and roll down my cheeks. I started weeping.

What was I searching for? What was going on with me? Who was the one missing in my life? For whom was I in such pain and agony? Why did I feel so empty in spite of the fact that my life appeared so perfect in all ways? Deep sorrow, anguish, and pain filled my Heart.

I cried that whole night, until nearly four o’clock in the morning… when suddenly… something began to change. It felt like an arrow had pierced my Heart, yet there was no trace of blood. And quite amusingly, the pain was sweet. A sweet nectar was accumulating in my Heart, and flowing out of me. I was beginning to sense that someone might just answer me, so I kept asking and waiting to hear God’s voice.

Finally, I heard a voice. I felt it was my own Self — Higher Self, or God — who said:

“You are thirsty because you want to know Me. You want to merge with me, dissolve into Me.”

I got goose bumps all over my body as I went into an uncontained, unexplained, Divine ecstasy that I had never experienced before in my life. This was my first direct interaction with God! I thought that if only hearing His voice could give me so much joy and bliss, imagine the joy and bliss when He gives Himself to me. I decided I wanted Him and nothing else. Even if it meant I had to die.

This became my only goal in life, and I began to find ways to reach and know Him.

Some people said, “Ah, this could just be your imagination. This can’t be real. It is probably your own mind.”

I told them that it was easy for me to conclude that it was not my mind, because whenever I believed or listened to my mind, there was never any joy. There were never any goose bumps. There was only more trouble. Thus, this could not be my mind.

So I pursued my goal, and the more I turned towards God, the thirstier I felt. I had ups and downs, and periods of joy, and days where nothing happened in my sadhana. But my thirst remained intact.

Then one day, as I was sitting in meditation, my breath suddenly stopped at my Heart centre, and the life force started to move on its own — up and down the middle channel of my spine (Sushumna). My whole room suddenly was filled with light, and I moved out of my body. Soon, not just the room, but also my whole body was lit up. I felt weightless and was floating around in space. My throat and Heart were full of Divine nectar. Then I lost consciousness.

When I woke up, the euphoria was gone, although the nectar remained. The world, however, was no longer the same.

With tears of gratitude, I called my Guruji, and told him my experience. He was very happy to hear it, and asked me to fully describe the experience again. Then, after a brief silence, he said, “My son, now even if you die, you have made your life successful.”

For many days I was in a deep state of Samadhi. I had become one with everything around me, and could feel it ALL. I could manifest many things, and developed siddhis.

Like an alcoholic, I had been searching for a drop of wine. Now I had finally found Him, and found myself floating in an ocean of wine. I could drink as much of it as I was able. I thought I could never be thirsty again. But I was wrong.

The thirst never seemed to go away. I went to Him again, this time with tears of joy, and asked Him why I still felt thirsty.

His voice said:

“Why should you not? There are many who want Me, but don’t know how to find Me. They are thirsty. You will need to quench their thirst to quench yours.”

So you see, I am still thirsty. But now my thirst is even bigger because I love all of you who are thirsty, and who unknowingly seek to quench your thirst through objects. I see how God disguises Himself as an object. While you see only the object, I see God inside that object.

Some people tell me that I must be blessed to have this thirst, to have this rare quality. I do not think it is a quality, because if it were a quality we could refine it, shape it and teach it. I consider this ‘thirst for God’ to be a condition, something all of us have — provided we could recognize this condition, this blessing, within ourselves — provided we welcome the invitation and allow ourselves to do so.

There may still be some who fail to recognize this thirst they have. I tell them that if they can’t feel their thirst, then feel mine. I tell them if they look in my eyes and look into my Heart, they will know my intention and desire for them. They will know my thirst for them. Then there is no way they cannot recognize their own thirst.

If you are with me in our Satsangs, or watching the video for this Satsang, you will recognize the thirst that is beyond all thirst — the thirst that can quench all other thirsts, but still remains unquenched. This is the one thirst you never want to get rid off.

Accepting Pain and Suffering

Accepting Pain and Suffering

There are two things we often hear from most spiritual teachers about pain and suffering. I am talking about the psychological pain and suffering due to stress — related to factors like job and money insecurities, relationship issues, or anxiety related to some possible health issues of self or loved ones. The two pointers or pieces of advice we usually hear from most teachers today are:

1) Suffering is not ‘real’, or 

2) Suffering must be accepted.

Unfortunately both these pointers, no matter how pure and well-intended, fail because they are not part of our experience. So, if someone says suffering is only an illusion or belief or idea, and that it is not real, such a pointer, no matter how lofty, is meaningless because we don’t feel it is so. Our suffering feels very real, and that advice seems absurd to hear. We are sitting on a fiery pyre, and some teacher is saying the flames are not real. Such words like “suffering is an idea, concept or belief” are far removed from our personal reality.

The same thing is true with acceptance. If it were easy to accept, why would we be here in the first place? I mean, we know we are in pain and are suffering. We may even believe that suffering is the doorway to bliss and to God because we have heard this over and over again.

We all know that we need to accept pain and suffering. But how do we get ourselves to accept it?

Intellectually we understand, but can’t grasp what message is being delivered to us energetically or realistically. We don’t see ourselves connecting to this teaching, no matter how good the intentions are.

That is why the first thing we have to do is trace the reason why we can’t accept “acceptance”. For that we will have to go to the origin of the issue. Have you ever noticed when it is that we usually use the word “acceptance”? We use it when there is some form of failure, tragedy, loss, misfortune, disappointment, rejection, abandonment, or whatever the “associated” issue.

From childhood, we have encountered the word “acceptance” innumerable times. We were always told to “accept” things.

Our parents said, “You won’t get this toy you want; I will buy you the other one.”

“I won’t give you a bike, but if you wait five years, I will buy you a car.”

“Didn’t get the grades you wanted? OK. Accept it. Don’t sulk too much, and try harder next time.”

Friends said, “Didn’t get the boy or girl you wanted to date? Don’t sulk. Chill man. Accept it. You will get a better one.”

Colleagues said, “Didn’t get the job or promotion you wanted? Accept it. You are talented. You will get one soon.”

“Acceptance” is a dreadful word. It is associated with failure or disappointment.

So you see, whenever we hear the word “acceptance,” we also feel loss, disappointment, tragedy and failure underneath the word — the undercurrent. These feelings are all linked.

Another factor is that nobody around us wants to see us be a loser, or an emotional wreck, with the unpleasantness, mourning, chaos, and disorder that follow. So they are quick to provide us with a remedy. People around us are always in a hurry to shake us out of our pain, and so offer us a solution. And that “solution” is what prevents us from connecting with our reality from the very beginning.

Acceptance can therefore feel like it’s been thrust or forced upon us. Acceptance can be such a filthy word.

Due to these two reasons, there is a subconscious, inbuilt resistance to the word “acceptance.” No matter how beautiful and remarkable acceptance is, it comes with a curse. Acceptance is never purely alone. I wish it were. Then there would be no problem. But it comes already with a resistance to it. And as I begin to sit and process my emotions or feelings, I can actually feel the resistance and non-acceptance.

Resistance and non-acceptance are a more powerful force than the thought or feeling of acceptance. This situation is more painful because at first you were dealing with something that was disturbing you on the outside, and now you are fighting an additional war within.

Probably the most important reason for resistance is the motive behind “acceptance.” Everybody, including ourselves, wants to accept because we want relief from what is going on with us. But how is that really acceptance? It’s not; it is manipulation.

Trying to accept a problem in order to fix it can’t be real acceptance. Accepting something to get rid of the associated feeling is already non-acceptance of “what is”. The motive and intention behind acceptance is fabricated and dishonest. We are being manipulative, not real and honest. How can acceptance help us then? The intention is not really one of acceptance. We are only accepting because in reality we don’t want to accept it. From the moment we manipulate ourselves to accept something to get rid of it, we have already moved out of acceptance.

Now the solution is this — it is better to begin with embracing non-acceptance and resistance. It’s more real and honest than acceptance.

Then at least we are not fighting within to accept. In short, we accept that we can’t accept this story, feeling, emotion, or person. Now we apply our mind to understanding what is realistically taking place within us. We get involved with the process of knowing what is intimately taking place within us. We just watch what is taking place within us.

The first thing we become aware of is that there is not one voice, but many voices talking and screaming at us — like a thousand dogs barking inside of us, and wanting our attention. They are constantly drowning out each other in an effort to get your attention. The more you try to silence them, the more loudly the voices bark — one voice is of anger, one of hatred, another of fear, and other voices of jealousy, revenge, spite, resentment, victimization, manipulation, disgust, self-pity. There are many, many different voices, all speaking different languages.

The challenge is getting the voices to speak in one language. We can do that by carefully listening to each of them patiently, and by attending to and observing them.

When we do that, all these voices are brought together and merged into one language — a language we will eventually learn by listening to the many voices again and again. This will be a new language, and maybe one that is hard to learn at first. But slowly we will begin to understand the one inner language.

This is what I call the “accumulation” stage. As we start to accumulate the voices together, and we get clarity about the innermost language of ourselves, another interesting thing begins to happen. This new “single voice” will contradict every spiritual word or knowingness we have ever heard of. It will tell us, “You are nothing but a pile of shit, a heap of garbage. You are layers and layers of shit, garbage and filth!”

The sheer immensity of this realization will shake us totally. We will get a whiff of what exactly we are, and will no longer be able to pretend to be anything other than what we can see ourselves to be. It won’t be a pleasant sight.

There is a lot of spiritual talk and many concepts around acceptance. “It is all fake light and love here (words pouring from the lips), and all black, dark and dense there (words circulating within).” What I am talking about here is no ordinary spiritual knowingness.

The knowingness that we all are shit, garbage, crap, filth can only be acknowledged with the deepest honesty.

We can observe how so much crap and shit keeps getting added and piled on. Yet we continue to expect so much, even perfection, from others and from ourselves. We never acknowledge what we already are blessed with. We never feel grateful for how very fortunate and lucky we are.

When this reality sinks in, real acceptance sets in. We are humbled, and no longer capable of judging life… or anyone. We can forgive everyone easily and have compassion because we understand how it feels carrying all this “stuff” inside. We are incapable of complaining, and no longer feel like a victim. Rather, we feel only appreciation and gratitude. Then, and then alone, true acceptance happens.

When there is this deepest acknowledgement of life, the ego is gone.

And isn’t Self-realization the end of ego? How can we have ego when we are such a pile of shit? Ego about what!?

And when we acknowledge that, the ego drops. In that moment, the door of the Heart opens up to our bliss and joy. We enter the Heart, and then we no longer need to carry our “stuff.” Then, and only then, acceptance happens. Without this process, acceptance cannot happen.

We might now ask ourselves what happens, after acceptance, to the pile of shit, the heap of garbage that lies outside the door of the Heart, but is still inside us? Do we need to clean it up? No, we don’t.

When we return from the Heart after having truly accepted, have seen through our ego, and are humble, there will be a sweet fragrance permeating us.

The shit that we thought we were will have decomposed and been transformed into compost — spiritual fertilizer.

And for the first time, our Consciousness will become fertile, and from it…

The seeds of wisdom will sprout into beautiful flowers and sweet fruits that bless and nourish others.

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