3 Pillars of Vedantic Practice: Shravana, Manana, Nididhyasana

3 Pillars of Vedantic Practice: Shravana, Manana, Nididhyasana

In Vedanta, there is the 3-fold process of Shravana, Manana and Nididhyasana, which leads one to complete Awakening and Realization. They are Shravana, Manana, and Nididyasana. We will discuss each now.

Shravana

 Shravana means hearing — Hearing the Truth!

There are two kinds of hearing… one of this world, which connects and defines our relationship with this world, and one which is beyond this world.

In the first one, our ears, mind and intellect are involved. In the other, our Heart and Being are involved. Most of the hearing and listening that involves the ears, intellect and mind can be described as routine or casual, sometimes interesting or entertaining. But the frequency or the power behind that hearing is low. That’s because whatever we learn or hear in this world will remain in this world. It is designed in such a way as to keep operating in this world and maintaining, facilitating, navigating and sustaining our existence in this world. But the power is limited and not penetrative enough due to the fact that the world and its objects are all changeable, impermanent and destructible.

In contrast, the hearing that involves the Heart and the core of our Beingness is termed Shravana in Vedanta. It is designed to work at a higher frequency and vibration, and designed to keep you operating in higher worlds. It is “Akshara” (immutable, imperishable)—not casual or interesting, but enlightening.

The instrument of Shravana is the Guru. Amongst all relationships, the one between the Guru and shisya is the most intimate, special, and pure because it is related to that part of your existence that is Truth itself. The words of Truth that pour out from the Guru create a shift in the inner space of your Beingness. You will begin to experience these shifts and immediately recognize the Truth that is spoken. By hearing the Truth, you will immediately know and recognize it (unless you have very bad karma that prevents you).

The Guru-shisya relationship is the purest and most unique because the Guru talks only from the right side of the Heart. Sri Ramana often mentioned that the Heart is the place from where both ignorance and wisdom come. In the Bible, it is written that the left side of the Heart is that of a fool and the right side is that of the wise. That’s why Sri Ramana said the Heart is at the right side.

For example, during a love affair, we experience a mixed form of awareness. What this means is that the sensation of love we feel is a mixed awareness of left and right sides of the Heart. The I-AM we feel is the koshas (“sheaths” covering the SELF), and the feeling derived from both the left and right sides—between attachment and real love. At the time of deep love, both these nadis get activated and issues related to them both get rolled onto us. That creates a spell-like situation.

To illustrate, close your eyes and imagine the person you are most intimate with. Now recollect moments of happiness with that person. Now moments that were painful. Notice how both arise from the same place… the LEFT side of the Heart. And now point to the place where you feel the “I”. It is on the RIGHT side. See! So please understand. If you simply follow love, you will eventually be led to pain. But if you follow love without ever forgetting your “I”, you will know love as well as the SELF.

The other point is “authentic” hearing. You must be authentic in hearing, and accountable for real Shravana.

You must be willing to follow and endure all the instructions of the Guru because the mind can easily mislead and trick you.

So be very aware, be open to discussion and correction, and be willing to keep hearing the Truth again and again until you “get it.”

Not everyone has the capacity to hear the Truth. Many begin on the path, stick with it for some time, and then want to move away as they are shown the path. Sometimes what the Guru shows us is very, very painful. But those committed to the path of finding ever-lasting Joy and Happiness will want to stay. Authentic listeners resist the temptations of their mind and ego, and prefer to follow the Guru’s guidance.

There used to be a Guru by the name OSHO. He allowed his students to indulge in their vasanas. My students’ name for me is similar, but with a slight difference. It is OHHO. Every time I watch a vasana arise in my students, I make them aware of it. And every time I do so, I can hear their minds whisper, “ OHHO Guruji, not again!”

I meet resistance and know it is perfectly normal. Those who are steadfast, pure, and really devoted to the path will digest my guidance and recognize the good in it; others will leave. As a Guru, I am not attached to them personally, but to their progress and their higher good. So I am prepared for whatever happens. That’s my job. If I get attached to them and not their higher good, I would fail as a Guru. I also totally understand that it’s not an easy path and that many will want to leave, to fight with their vasanas another day. Depending upon the karmas accumulated in past lives, they may feel totally exhausted and overwhelmed. I can totally sympathize with them. Rare are the ones who will be able to swim through the ocean of vasanas easily.

Again, one has to be authentic in hearing the Truth. Authentic hearing allows the Guru’s words to act like seeds that will sprout in time. The reason is that the Guru operates from the right side of the Heart. That is why one needs to be in touch with a Guru, especially when the vasanas begin to play their role, and one’s habitual tendencies create a sense of deep resistance.

From a yogic point of view, Shravana achieves immediate pratyahara—the turning of life-force inwards towards the SELF.

Manana

“Manana” means contemplating the Truth.

Just hearing the Truth won’t be enough… one has to reflect, ponder, and contemplate the Guru’s words. Most importantly, one has to USE those teachings in one’s life because vasanas are all played out in one’s waking state. REMEMBER this!

You may have to hear the Truth again and again so that it sinks so deeply inside that Maya isn’t able to pull you away from the SELF.
We can say that consistent remembrance of the Guru’s talks, and reading them over and over again is the most important step. Then putting them into practice is the next. The third step is developing discernment and discrimination in utilizing the teachings. Just like how a white swan can separate milk from water, similarly we should be able to separate what is real, necessary, and wanted from an object from what is unreal, unnecessary, and unwanted.

Through repeated hearing, you will be able to absorb the things you need to, and reject the things you don’t. This is Manana. In the example given above, when the subjects are in love with an object (each other), and instead of utilizing that love for a Divine purpose, they get lost in each other, it then becomes simply Bhoga (enjoyment). When the centre of attention diverts from our Divine goal and transfers to the other, then we will eventually experience pain and suffering.

Hearing that every object can create attachment and build more vasanas can wrongly lead us to believe that running away and escaping would be the right thing to do. This is why, perhaps, it appears to us that the Yogis and Jnanis recommended to seekers to stay away from the objects, or reject the world of objects, because then the only object would be the I-AM, SELF-love, without the stickiness or complications that can arise when associated with “others”.

This ‘staying away from objects’ is what is commonly believed and often gets circulated in spiritual books and teachings. This is simply not true.

These Yogis and Jnanis had ashrams and organizations where a lot of vasanas were triggered and where they worked closely with their inner circles to navigate their students through them. We only hear about a part of their teachings. Their real teachings included the close, one-on-one interactions with a student where a lot of vasanas surfaced and were resolved.

The correct approach is not running away or escaping from objects, but absorbing what needs to be absorbed from the objects.

You can’t just run away. You will always find ways to attach to one thing or another.

First Shravana is practiced, and then Manana.

Manana is not immediate as it takes time, faith, and lots of practical experience in your waking state to perfect it.

Most importantly, discipline and maintaining one-pointedness are necessary. These are the most difficult of all because the left and the right side of the Heart both try their best to prevail, and there is a tug of war between them.

But always remind yourself WHAT YOUR DIVINE PURPOSE IS!

If someone (or something) comes into your life and you feel attached to him or her (or whatever object) and lose focus on your sadhana, take time to die to that person or object for a few days. Take enough time and space to burn alone and dive deeper into the SELF. Always REMIND yourself that the objective of the objects is to fall back into the SELF. And one fine day you will perfect the art of Manana.

From the yogic point of view, Manana achieves Dharana—sustained focus by the sadhaka on the Truth. But it requires discipline and devotion.

Nididhyasana

 “Nididhyasana” means living and breathing the Truth.

Nididhyasana is the result of Shravana and Manana. When your hearing becomes authentic, and your contemplation and action become solid, polished and refined, then Nididhyasana arises on its own. It is effortless and Sahaja (spontaneous, natural).

This is where you operate in the full power of the SELF. You feel complete and in the totality of your Being. There are no missing parts of you. Agitation, conflicts and restlessness due to the vasanas are at a minimum, and you move between the human and the Divine dimensions with utmost ease. Here all concepts that you have learned from a Guru will be destroyed… and you will forever swim in That Reality. Here you will have first hand proof of what you truly are. All mental concepts will dissolve and you will find yourself at the SELF. The mind will no longer pose any problems, and the vasanas will not burn you anymore. You will attain complete Freedom.

From a yogic point of view, Nididhyasana achieves Dhyana and Samadhi—which means ‘unwavering abidance’, much like how oil is poured from one container to another.

Please know another important point. The Guru’s Grace is 50%, and the balance is your own Grace. The Guru’s powers are always there to activate the higher centres in you; however, what is also required is your own power.

No true Guru will want to make you dependent on his powers. He wants you to activate your own powers. He doesn’t want to impose, he wants to empower.

Most importantly, it requires your own authenticity and willingness to accept the Shakti from the Guru, and also take steps to build your own power to receive and explore your own Shakti.

If there is ever even a moment of doubt or casualness in your approach, it will prove detrimental to your success. The Guru is always willing to give Shakti, but you should also be capable of receiving it, and then experiencing your own Shakti and power.

Today the Shaktipat I confer on you will be to activate your own Shakti.

It is called the “1-3-5 Rule to Self-Shaktipat”. It will enhance your capacity to listen, to contemplate, and to abide.

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.

Knowing Bliss Through Jnana and Bhakti

Knowing Bliss Through Jnana and Bhakti

There is one question that repeatedly comes from seekers:  

“How can I know the Bliss and Joy of the SELF? How can I experience that first hand?”  

Thfirst thing to know is that you and Bliss are never apart. Yet we search for it everywhere.  

The great saint, Kabir Das, wrote a famous couplet: 

Kasturi kundal base, mrig doonde van mahi.
Aise ghat ghat Ram hai, Duniya dekhe naahi… 

This says that from the navel of a musk deer arises a powerfully-intoxicating scent, but the deer tries to find its source elsewhere in the forest.

Similarly the Bliss of the SELF is ever within us, but we try to find it only in the objects and relationships around us. 

In traditional spiritual paths, there are two ways, two levels, to know and realize this Bliss. One is realizing the Bliss that ever flows from the SELF. This is called ‘SELF-realization.’ The other one is realizing the Bliss of LOVE through surrender and seva (service) to God. This is called ‘God-realization’. 

Wisdom — Jnana 

Let us talk first about the path of Wisdom — Jnana:

We are always identified with some object or other, and we lose perception of our SELF in the midst of all these objects. Therefore the conscious effort to bring the mind back to the SELF or I-AMNESS is the path of Jnana.

So that we can perceive our real SELF, there is a necessary shift that needs to be initiated. It is like making a nest… a small home. Like a pigeon carrying small twigs to build a nest, we must carry small moments of attention to build the nest of the SELF.

What really happens is that…

WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO SHIFT YOUR PERCEPTION TO A SOLID PLACE OR HOME WITHIN, THE OUTER WORLD BEGINS TO APPEAR LIKE A DREAM OR A MOVIE SHOW…

That does not mean you do not get affected or emotional at times. For example, if you watch a horror movie, you will still gasp “Ah, ah!” at the scary scenes. But there is a limit, an end to its impact… you know it is not real. It is simply entertainment. You do not carry it forever.

Similarly you will know that this world does not matter, and nothing is actually real. Everything is non-SELF… and ‘superimposed’ on some background. It is all a dream. The place where the waking, dream, and deep sleep states submerge into, dissolve into, is the HOME. 

That place is the NEST. You get anchored in that resting place, and the hypnotic spell of the world breaks. That place is called the SELF. It is the Divine Essence of God, a reflection of God. It is our true Home. It is pure Joy and Ananda.

Every night in slumber, your waking ‘reality’ is replaced by the dream ‘reality.’ Why take either of these ‘realities’ to be real?

That is the path of Jnana — Wisdom. 

Devotion — Bhakti 

The other way to Bliss is through Devotion — Bhakti.

Here the attention is ‘split’ between the SELF and the outer object, which could be God, the Guru, or the beloved of your heart.
 
In devotion and the act of seva, due to the attention being in two places, the Joy is also multiplied, and the response to that Joy is quicker. In fact, God prefers this path to the path of worshiping the Absolute. It is easier than the former, as the mind can more easily experience Bliss by surrendering and devoting itself to God or any deity.

In the Bhagavad Gita (chapter 12, verse 5), there is a verse:

Klesho dekhaterastesam Avyaktasaktesam Avyakta hi gatir dukham dehavadbir ayapyate 

In this verse, Lord Krishna says that the path towards the Absolute or Unknown is full of tribulation and hardship.

This is because the mind cannot surrender or devote itself to anything that cannot be perceived, recognized, or experienced. The seeker questions this ‘dry’ Jnana path, and wonders, “The I-thought does arise and fall into the Heart, but from whence does the Heart arise and fall?”

The need to surrender to someone or to serve someone is STRONGER than the need to realize the SELF. Ask yourself what your goal was as a child. Was it SELF-realization? Or was it God-realization?

The search for the SELF is always centered around ‘I, me, mine,’ and that becomes a limitation or obstacle to surrender. But surrendering to God causes the spiritual ‘juices’ to effortlessly begin to flow. Surrendering thus becomes an effortless way to know God. 

While a Jnani needs to make supreme effort to reach the place of Bliss and to break the hypnosis of the world, the Bhakta achieves it quite easily due to his surrendering to God and Guru. The Gopis used to love Rasa Lila — the Divine, ecstatic dance of being drunk on the name of God. Many Gopis used to leave all their household work behind when they heard Krishna play his flute. Do not misunderstand this to be an ordinary human romantic thing. No. The word ‘Gopi’ means ‘that which is hidden.’ Every one of us has that hidden need and thirst for God-realization, and to serve the other… to surrender to the other. 

In Bhakti, there is MORE happiness and LESS anxiety because even the need to be alert is not required. Every action becomes a celebration of God and the beloved.

Please understand that being established in the SELF through the path of Jnana can be a constant discipline of reminding yourself, watching yourself, and being aware. But when you are in Divine LOVE, no such carefulness is needed. Every step is a step in God Consciousness — a step towards Him. Everything becomes His responsibility.

The difference between the two paths could be described through the analogy of a mother monkey and mother cat.

When a mother monkey moves from branch to branch, the baby monkey has to hold onto the mother to keep from falling. This is the path of Jnana. It requires great care and effort. 

But when a mother cat moves her kitten, she lifts it gently by the nape of the neck, and carries it. This is the path of Bhakti. It is effortless. The responsibility has been given to God.

Devotion to God means loving whomever you consider your deity (or your Guru). It means loving His stories, His virtues, His values, and His teachings. So learn about Him and His ways.

Devotion can also mean loving and being devoted to a lover or any other person. But you must have unconditional love for that person, as well as the discernment to truly realize that the relationship is based not just on the worldly plane, but also on the spiritual. The devotional relationship is both human and Divine. 

When this devotion happens, you will know how God responds to you through some form, and delivers you Joy and Bliss which makes even the Bliss of the SELF pale in comparison. He will reveal Himself to you slowly but surely, filling your life and body with so much Joy, Happiness, and Bliss that you will not be able to contain It! 

However, I personally believe that Jnana and Bhakti perfectly compliment each other. They help each other. You must first realize the Bliss of the SELF through wisdom before moving towards the Bliss of God through devotion and seva.

In the Ramayana it is declared: 

Jnanen binu na hoi paratiti,
binu paratiti hoi nahin priti… 

This says that without wisdom, you cannot have faith, and without faith, you cannot have love.

So the path of Bhakti has to go through the path of Jnana. First you have to recognize the God principle within yourself. This develops faith. Then as the faith develops, you automatically, naturally become a Bhakta. So you must practice Jnana and Bhakti together. 

Practicing only Bhakti can compromise your sense of discernment, and unsettle you. You need to know that safe haven within you in which you can retire. Practicing only Bhakti can make you attached and obsessive.

Therefore one needs to practice both Jnana and Bhakti. Because, if you have the foundation and support of Jnana, even obsessiveness and possessiveness towards your beloved can become a punya (virtue), and thus will not be able to touch you. 

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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