Dialogues between Satyananda and Michael Grenfell 2013-2015
A Few Words by way of Introspection
What follows are transcriptions of dialogues which took place between myself and Satyananda during a series of Satsangs in 2013-2015.
Satyananda is a Teacher in the tradition of Ramana Maharshi (see http://satyananda.org/). He originates from Uruguay and adopted the name Satyananda when he dedicated his life to service in this work. Satsang is defined as ‘a spiritual discourse’ or ‘sacred gathering’; although I have also heard it described as ‘encounter with truth’. During these sessions, participants are invited to address questions and comments to Satyananda to which he responds. The Satsangs in these transcriptions were either part of five-day retreats or weekend gatherings, in St Ives and Swindon, UK.
My attendance at these meetings probably deserves a few words of introduction. I came to my first after a prolonged period of emotional anguish on my part, which I have described as stripping me of all I held most dear to me – even my beloved music; by which I meant that nothing seemed to be of comfort to the heartache I was experiencing. By chance, a close friend passed on to me an announcement that Satyananda would be holding a Satsang in Bournemouth in summer 2013, near to where I live. I could not recall having heard the name before. On checking my diary, I realized that the weekend would be at the end of a week I was intending to holiday in Cornwall, but I would not be able to attend anyway since I had a dinner date with friends on my way home. However, by chance, the dinner party was then cancelled at short notice due to family illness. I decided to turn up to see Satyananda after all.
My first impressions were not auspicious. I only went to the second part of the first of a two-day day gathering and, when I entered the room, I saw a bearded man dressed in white with a ponytail. I counted 29 people in the room, mostly female, everyone looking earnest…or so, I judged it. My overwhelming thought was, ‘oh, god, it’s one of those’. Neither did I understand the process: an invitation to pose questions and long silences. The Q and A seemed standard ‘new age’ in character. I remember asking Satyananda about my indecisiveness: I worry about doing A or B, choose A and then decide to do B, and finally worry that I should have done A. He replied that it did not matter whether I did either as long as I was in the ‘right state’ – or words to that effect, as I remember them. Later, I quizzed him on ‘where all this teaching came from?’ – meaning the words he spoke – and I then first heard the name of Romana for the first time as he explained his lineage and his own reflections. The strongest impression I came away with was of having heard something I knew, but had somehow forgotten.
Something I knew but had somehow forgotten…
Something had obviously resonated with me since I decided to sign up for a five-day retreat to be held in St Ives, Cornwall in September 2013. Again, on entering the house where the retreat was to take place, I found the general demeanor of my co-retreatees also somewhat baffling: what I interpreted as subdued and rather down-trodden. I was used to silence from other courses I had attended but this was the first where there was silence – or quietness at least – from the beginning to the end. I am afraid I was not a very conscientious participant in this respect, and constantly met people’s eyes, smiled, and whispered – especially to those working in the kitchen and the organizer Stelyana.
After the introductory meeting, we were encouraged to write questions on paper and leave them in a bowl from which Satyananda drew them during the Satsang sessions. My first seemed to disappear, even though I noted it was the only one in the bowl for that session. Again, there were long silences. Determined to make use of Satyananda, I had paid my money after all!, I wrote a question for the second session as well, and this got drawn out of the bowl as a first question (Satyananda often shuffles the pieces of paper on which the questions are written before drawing one).
I describe that session to friends as follows: I had a sense of walking in to the room as one person and walking out as another. Dramatic words, but that was my experience. Why? Well, some point of seeing or insight turned my perspective ‘upside down’. I remember asking another, ‘is it always as intense as this?’. What happened then, both in follow-up sessions at that retreat and further meetings/ Satsangs included here, was that I experienced Satyananda’s words like being ‘punched in the face’; like everything struck home – almost physically and painfully. Two dominant reactions were: firstly, that I knew all this but had somehow forgotten it; secondly, that approaches I had been working on for several years were ‘wrong’ and ‘misguided’. I have modified my views on the latter. However, the sense of enormous change has remained with me.
I would describe my encounter with Satyananda as one the most significant of my life, certainly the most significant at that time of my life. Satsang, by its nature is oral, and addressed to the individual participant. Most of what is described here arose as part of dialogues between he and I. However, I have also included extracts when and where others seem to follow up on a point I raised, or indeed, I followed up on theirs – Satyananda often invites further comments from the floor.
My sense is that what is reported here will be of interest and/or use to others reading it. I do not necessarily make claims to truth, authenticy or insight in what is reported here – my words and Satyananda’s – that is for the reader to decide upon for themselves. I can say that the experience of being involved in these dialogues changed my life fundamentally. It is said that Satsangs ‘empty one’ and to a large extent, this is how I have experienced it.
In the course of the meetings, things of course moved on and I am no longer the person who is engaging with Satyananda in these transcriptions – actually rather than essentially – and my whole experience of Satsangs has also evolved. I have had other encounters with Satyananda, not reported here. I shall continue to participate in Satsangs from time to time. Obviously, where this leads is for the future. The transcriptions included here are really made public as a kind of testament, an account of one’s man’s engagement and the effects it precipitated in him as far as these can be expressed in words on the page. I offer them with love and devotion for those who take the time to read them.
St Ives, Cornwall
S: What to say to someone who is dying (drawn from my written question to Satyananda)?
MG: Yes, I know someone who is dying. And, I guess, like a lot of people – I have a long history of spiritual practice and I find it completely inadequate – to be able to say something to them.
S: Ok, I shall answer your question. I don’t know anyone who is not dying. You think you know ‘one’ that is dying? All these people are dying, including me. Some of us are more dead than alive. Generally speaking, if someone knows they are dying, they are already protected by the awareness because the direct confrontation with the end brings a shift in consciousness. So, normally what happens is that the person who is dying helps the other persons to handle it. And, the person around thinks they are helping him or her to handle it.
MG: I sometimes feel I suffer more than the person who is dying.
S: Yeah, it is you that needs help…
…in this big, confusion there is this idea that some of us know what we are dying from and when we are going to die – and some of us don’t’ But, this is confusing. It is better to understand that it is a big mystery and there is no guarantee on this planet that the next breath will come. You don’t need to be ill to die, you just need to be alive. That is a fact. We are alive, so death is inevitable. And, it is a great thing in life – death. We have this idea that it is bad and sad, but this is relatively new. Death is the main force for every action. If you were not aware of death, you would not do anything. When you find liberation, you go beyond death, which means that you see that there is an aspect in you, what you really are, that is not the body. And you see that the body is in the law of decay – recycling. And, you see that with happiness – bliss. Once you see that, you go beyond the circle of life and death: you are not even talking of birth.
Now, I just cannot imagine when someone who tells me about a ‘long life of spirituality’. I do not know what it would mean. I don’t know what it is really.
MG: I said actually ‘a long life of spiritual practice’.
S: So, what does this mean?
MG: It began with an interest in reading texts – firstly about Zen Buddhism. And, then it led on to poetry – William Blake. And, then it led onto Witchcraft. And, then it led on to things like Gurdjieff. And then it led on to Buddhism, again. In a more active way.
S: So. what is it that attracts you?
S: What is it that attracts you? What was the first attraction to Zen, for example? Do you remember what was the emotion?
MG: Yeah, when you ask that question, now, and it sounds terrible really, I would say it sounds like somebody taking drugs. Like I took that drug and then that drug and then that drug. I suppose it was unhappiness with my present state of being and surroundings. I find that I have become a teacher as well. I have even been involved in instructing people. And, people come with this sense of wanting transformation, self-transformation. And, it is only after a very long time that I realize that this is madness. There is a kind of madness in it really – to not be happy with what you are now. Maybe that is why I am here. In our initial dialogue, the thing that I connected with was that…in all those years, maybe forty years, forty years of doing this stuff, the result is dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the idea that somehow you can become somebody else. And, that you can become better. A lot of the literature even has all this terminology – of transformation and self-perfection, higher consciousness. I have concluded that it is mad. It’s strange. Why would you want higher consciousness? What’s wrong with being who you are now, as you are now? So, that’s a kind of answer to my own question in a way. I don’t know if that is what you said to me when I was in Bournemouth, but that is the sort of thing I was connecting with…of a long journey, and of doing a lot of stuff, which sustains for a period. You ask, ‘what was the origin?’. Well, the original was the same as the end – a dissatisfaction, an unhappiness – not even with what I was doing but who I was.
S: So, when we analyse this question that you just made, what is wrong with just being how we are? What would we have to include in that? What is the idea? That you will find that how or who I am is great? Or, that I am feeling a lot better now? Is that what you think? What is the next step? I think you are very mature in many ways because you have exhausted the possibilities. I mean you are a good runner. You have run away for forty years and now you are a middle aged man – with nowhere to go – and knowing that somewhere you know that how you should be OK but you are not OK with where you are. And, yet, you are not Ok with trying something else. So, you are trapped. So, there must be something missing. It cannot be so black and white: either I am happy with how I am or I am not.
Now, I am going to put a question to you that is an Introduction to the place I want you to explore with me in this retreat. In Buddhism, it is called the middle place, eye, site, or perspective. In this context, it would sound something like this: is there a possibility that I can be free and that I can be happy within myself – with my unhappiness and constant search? Because, our mind is thinking in white and black: either I am happy with myself, or I am not happy with myself. If I am not happy with myself, then I am not happy because I am not happy with myself – there is an echo. There is someone who is not happy because the other one is not happy. If you are happy, will you be happy because you are happy? Is there someone who is happy only when the other one is happy? If the other one is happy, and fluid, and intelligent, and having experiences of higher consciousness, then the one we are talking about is going to be happier? (Laughs)
We need to look into this phenomenon because that is where the answer is waiting. Our ego is not just the one who interacts with the world and has relationships with others. Our ego is the one who evaluates those relationships, and the one who likes them or not. And, it is who we think we are. So, when we read in spirituality that we need to discover the ego and destroy it, destroy the importance of, its omnipresence in everything that happens between your ears, what we are looking at is not to destroy the mundane, social ego but also the internal one who really has the hammer of judgment. That one. The other is a poor innocent – the consequences of social background, cultural influences. Family circumstances. Biological. Genetic. Personality. You name it…but the one that is behind it, the one that has been following a spiritual life of forty years, is not the social one. Now, with you, there is a power to also observe that one. So, we can say, ‘the ‘I’ observes the phenomenal world, the ‘mind’ observes the ‘I’. Who observes the mind?’ That is where you need to abide, and that is self-realization.
MG: I know this. You remind me of something I forgot. It is very strange to have something that is so important and then forget it.
S: Yes, because we think it is forgotten. But, it is not forgotten. It is not in the realm of memory. What you know, you know. You might not be conscious that you know it. That is what happens in Satsang. In Satsang, you come and you listen and you interact and you touch things that you already know. That’s why it is not a ‘teaching’. I am not a ‘teacher’ . Whatever I can teach you is not going to do you good. But, yes, there is something that reasserts itself in you, that gets confirmed in the satsang. Something that you can see from where I see and that is the essence of the Satsang. So, once we have the knowledge….it’s absurd, we say how is it that we spend forty years knowing these things and yet looking and searching? And, it is amazing how life takes care that you go into the roller coaster sufficiently for you to hold on to the divine when you find it. In every person I meet, there is a process in that happening. It is not to meet the divine or the silence within that is difficult, it is to be ready to love it and be devoted more than anyone else. That is the difficulty. So, I wish that your forty years would be sufficient to understand that now that we are entering into a new perspective, which is completely new. Ten minutes ago you were without a hope, you were in a corner, there is no-where to go: you know you cannot change and you are not happy the way you are. Ten minutes later, we are listening into a different perspective from a different place. Ten minutes ago there was no idea that there was this possibility. Now, we have this possibility. Now we have this possibility of compassion towards our own ignorance, compassion towards our own arrogance, compassion towards our own mistakes – but, not the ones that have passed, but also the ones that are happening now. The ones that you will still do. Those are the ones – activities – that are under the hammer of judgment. The judge is the ego. And, it will be alive as long as you give it importance, as long as you do not flower inside and let go of that belief in the judge, and allow yourself to be a human being with all the divinity that it comprehends and contains. Until that does not happen, the mind and the ego will be the main activity in you. And, when that happens and you forgive yourself for not being perfect, then you find perfection. But, you cannot fake it: say, ‘oh, yes, I can forgive myself for such and such’. When, in reality, you cannot handle your own image. You have to thoroughly feel it and know it. And, then you find perfection in the imperfection. The imperfection that you used to find was the beginning of perfection trying to find if you were ripe to find a deep perfection. And, you weren’t. And, it is not going happen for the rest of your life. You will always have imperfection pretending to be perfect until you are ripe enough to understand that perfection appears to be imperfect. Then, you understand; and once you understand that, you have the key. That key opens the door of your heart because your heart is closed to yourself. You basically disapprove of you. And, disapproving of you is not going to help you find peace and love. The impurity cannot come in the purity. The impurity has to be found pure. And, not transformed into purity. And, the transformation happens when the ripeness is there. It is not just as if you can put all the imperfections into a pot and make them perfect by churning them. No, that does not happen – it is kinder garten. Imperfection has to be found to be perfect. For a real opening to happen. Otherwise, you have to keep churning. You will probably have to pass the whole world through that pot. In this retreat, I would like to encourage you to find this middle point – this possibility of seeing things from clarity from your own self. I can help you, but the pleasure is to find it within your own self, and to do it yourself. That is called the ‘fire of truth’. When that fire is burning, you would not run out of the branches of imperfection. In you and in the world, you will find the same habits of disapproval in the world. And, it is not just the disapproval but the attitude of disapproval. When you find that the attitude that you have been disapproving is part of perfection, then you are entering somewhere where I am waiting for you. When you understand that you are allowed to be a pessimist, and you are allowed to be depressed, and you are allowed to be insecure, and you are allowed to be lost – when you understand that you allowed to be judgmental of yourself and of others, and there is no one who should be different. You have the right to find the wrong. And there is no one who should be different because you have the right to find the wrong.
That day, you will enter a place of immense peace, and know that it belongs to you. And, there are no words to express that. There are books on spirituality and you can read them from that place – not from a place of confusion. When you read a book from clarity it is different than when you read it from confusion. When you read a book from confusion – from a split mind – it becomes more confusion. When you read a book from clarity, you can say two things: one, it could be said like that and, two, you spot clearly how many open doors to confusion there are there in every sentence for those who are not clear when they read it. Practically in every sentence there is something that makes you feel inadequate.
MG: That is exactly what I did…when I came away from our last meeting and you talked about Ramana Maharshi, I, of course, got a book on it. And, I read a lot of the things he wrote – or said. And, I had exactly the same reaction: it could be said like that and …wow, that’s confusing. Exactly those two aspects. In one way, it was great – it could said like that – and in another way, it is confusing.
S: Exactly, it is mine by potential misinterpretations.
Romana, the master Romana, never wrote a book. He wrote something – someone gave me a book of his in his own handwriting. But, he used to have great humour and ways of explaining with examples how the mind operated. And, one of the ways of his that I like very much is that, he says, the ego, that judge, is a cord which makes you look at the outer one, but it is the inner one that is a problem. And, they are like a thief dressed as policeman. It is a wonderful example. Just imagine. The thief dressing as a policeman, and you are talking to the policeman because someone has stolen from your shop, or your house, or your bag. And, it was him, who ran around the corner, changed into a policeman uniform and came back, and is trying to help you to recover what he stole. That is so beautiful. It represents exactly the same as the mind, which finds insights of reality and translates them into a useful tool.
Throughout the path of spirituality, there is a change in what we are trying to achieve. But, there is no change in the structure; there is change in the content only. We still want to achieve something. Forget about it. No matter how noble, no matter how ideal you think you are, how clear you think you are, how many experiences you think you had, you still still think things should be different. And, that brings you back to the first day of your decision to go into the spiritual world. You have not passed the first day – in forty years. The content changed. Now you are more educated, you know many other answers, you have experiences, but the structure of thinking is the same. So, are we trusting the policeman a bit too much? Have we let the vigilance down? And, the policeman, with his nice chat, has convinced us that he is a nice policeman? And, he is going the find the solution? Possibly. Probably. Or, can’t we accept that – because our ego is so strong – we are doing exactly the same as someone who is looking for happiness. That is the question. And, if you find that simply the elements have changed but not the structure of thinking… – if you realise that this search for a solution is reoccurring in you, in that moment, there is an opportunity because….there is so much compassion that in every moment, there is a chance to break through and be free. In this moment, when you see that your mind is going through questions and trying to achieve something, and it has always been doing the same, and it is just changing the subject and content but not the structure of thinking, that is a wonderful opportunity to step out and to see it from a clinical point of view, and to see it from a logistic and scientific point of view – without any beliefs, simply just to see that that is what the mind does. And, if you are lucky enough to have the clarity in that moment, to see the mind and to leave it alone…because if you don’t, it’s the same mind: I saw him running with your money – I saw him running to the right corner and he jumped into a black car. So, there is a wonderful opportunity to stop and to take distance and to see it as a functional unity of consciousness, and to be free from that. To realize that you are free from that in spite of its existence. You can teach your feet to paint, but they normally walk. Same things with your hands. So, your mind is for you to worry. You think it is bad because you over execute that because you worry about worrying. The difference between a liberated person and a non liberated person is not that they worry or don’t worry, but that they do not worry about worrying when they are liberated and they worry about worrying when they are not. Or, you can take it many steps backwards: worrying about worrying about worrying about worrying. It depends on muscle strength. So, the wonderful opportunity to observe the mind – it’s the possibility of realizing freedom within it. The mind is made for worrying, and the ego is made for looking into the future. And, the ego tries to be somebody because it remembers that it is nobody. And, that is perfect.
It could be called imperfect too. The human condition is the human condition. And, it is not antagonistic, it is not against purity. It is not the opposite, it is within it.
That is the direction I am inviting you to go. In the middle. Otherwise, there is no hope and it’s a terrible situation: you cannot accept who you are and you know you cannot change. When you find freedom and liberation, you become absolutely aware that you are not a good example of a human being. People should not follow in your footsteps. You are not bad – you are not worst than others. But, certainly, you are not better. And, this is one of the difficult things: in that moment when you realize that, you stay still. And, the stillness grows. Because, normally, when you realise that you are not perfect, the whole machinery starts: ‘this is because I did too much of this, and I did too little that’, ‘if I only could’, and ‘maybe’….And, then you look in the past and you go in the garbage bin: ‘my mum did not love me’ or ‘my grandfather hit me with a stick’, or who knows what? And, you want to give the reasons why you are as you are now for what happened then. You even have therapies where you imagine you go back and hit your grandfather with a stick, and maybe you come back a little bit better….everything is available. But, you still won’t be perfect. And, then you feel terrible because, poor grandpa’, you hit him with a stick. And, you cannot forgive yourself – before you were a victim, now you are bully. That is the only thing that changes. So, instead of going into that reaction, when you find the imperfect of yourself, you stay still. And you aim at the stillness within you, and the imperfection within you and the human condition – with the past, and the experiences, and the memories, and the bad habits and the good habits, and the desires, and the desires about getting rid of all the desires.
This much I know. And, many times it is difficult because I feel the projection of people thinking that I am better. And, god, I know it is not true. Yet, through compassion I understand that maybe if they think I am perfect and they know me better, they realize that all my imperfections are forgiven because it is me, then maybe they learn to forgive and, by extension, they get distracted and forgive themselves for who and how they are.
Most don’t forgive me. Either they look up at me, or they look down at me. And, the process is very fast from one to the other. I hardly meet anyone who looks straight into my eyes.
And the books – when you have this clarity, these revelations, they come one by one, and they have their own context, and their own direct experience, and their own impressions within it all. And, the book has many revelations – all in one second! In one block – without the direct experience. So, when you read, you have an overdose of revelations – or clarity – because you think if you have your basin made of gold in your toilet, then you will become pure because gold is a pure element. So, you think if you read all books of spirituality in two afternoons…except the spiritual moment does not take two afternoons because it is in the one second. So, it is an overdose. If you take a hundred paracetimols, you will probably die. You would not be allowed to. The pharmacy would not sell them to you. And, so it is with the spirituality books: you can have them all – no one will stop you. They come next day through the door. You can read them all. Trying to brainwash your mind in a positive way – brainwashing is good, apparently, if it is positive. It is not good if it is negative. But, the truth is that brainwashing is not real: you cannot be where you should not be. You cannot have the understanding you are not ready to have; you cannot have the awareness that you are not ready to have. There is no way around: no matter how many books you have, retreats you come to, how much you talk, it is a big mystery. I do not know the answer.
All I know is that there is a moment in life when there is a little flower can open. And, it is completely new: it brings with it a perspective you never thought was possible. And, within that, you become more tolerant to your intolerance and make a mockery out of your intolerance because your intolerance becomes inactive – incapable – it is just a phantom. So, we are looking into that these days – this middle point.
MG: Thank you for what you have been saying this morning – very interesting. I would ask a question about relationships with other people. Because a lot of what you are talking about is about me and what I find in my life is very often I am solving other people’s problems, or other people’s attitudes. My story about reading lots of things is almost like I am trying to solve my own problems by solving other people’s problems. There is an issue about what you are talking about – presence, staying present when someone else is pulling you away from that presence – wants you to be something else, wants you to do something. Again, it’s like old attitudes and reactions but you go with it – or ‘I’ go with it. I become that person, even though I know I don’t want to be that person really. Like your story – let’s go and see the Taj Mahal – OK, I shall come and see the Taj Mahal and you go to please this other person and come back and nothing changes. And, there is a question there about social relationships – about holding onto the presence you are talking about in relationships when people have there own wishes, views, attitudes, responsibilities.
S: It’s a very broad question. Everything can be simplified in relationships if there is a common agreement. And, the common agreement is to be truthful to yourself. There is a clarity that comes out of being truthful to yourself. What do I mean by being ‘truthful to yourself’? I mean to stop kidding yourself. To stop trying to be someone else or perfect, or whatever. You know yourself. You know your personality. You know your essence. You know your depth. And, you know it could be a lot better. But, it is not. That is to be truthful. And, once you know that, then you become peaceful. And, once you become peaceful you realize that you are many people. As many people as you know: for each of them you are someone different. None of them knows you as you know yourself, so they cannot be true to you and you can be true to you.
And, if on the other side they do the same, then there is a basic for common agreement. You can please – of course, it’s nice to please others. And, if you want to see that place, you can do that, but not with the intention of becoming someone who will be more loved. One of the things we become aware of when we start to investigate our own individuality is how much time we spend in life trying to be loved. And, it is directly proportional to the time with which we reject ourselves. The more we reject ourselves, the more we try to be loved by others and because we want to be loved by others we ‘think’ we know what the others want. And, we try to achieve it. Basically, the errors are high. How many relationships did you have where you were being the best you can and there was no more love towards you. You were not attractive, and you were doing your ‘best’ to be attractive. And he, or she, goes with another – the ‘worst’ you can imagine – after you. All the bad aspects of you – without any shame. But, if you are truthful to yourself, at least you know that who is with you loves you the way that you are. That is the comfort of being true to yourself: the person that is with you, loves you as you are. Then, you are not begging to be loved, hopeful to be loved, because you already love yourself. Because you have found the complexity of your existence, you love yourself. And, if someone does not love yourself, you feel sorry for them, not for you. Because you know what they are missing! Sounds arrogant, yeah? Not a lot though, and it’s quite nice. That has to dwell in you. That has to be….that is what I can say about ‘being present’, or ‘not being present’, or being ‘pulled away from the present’.
This is the way you hear me talking. I am not talking in those terms because it creates a lot of confusion – we have to try to ‘be present’. And, see how long it lasts. And, the ones that manage for the longest are the heroes!! And the rest are failures. I rather speak about being truthful to yourself.
You know in your heart that there are many more people better than you in many ways. But, not with the same equation you have. That is what I can say my friend. Be truthful to yourself. But, not with the equation you have. Be truthful to yourself. The ones who want to stick to your life, let them be there – make sure they are attaching themselves with something genuine – so, you do not have to be constantly in an effort to get this type of love. It is better to be without. It is better to be with no love at all than to be with a love that is high maintenance. There are a lot of important dialogues about how we can improve ourselves in relationships and my dialogue is quite short: ‘If you don’t like me, Go!! – or, ‘if you don’t like me, don’t mistreat me’. My openness about improving ourselves in better relationships is that. And, I know I am more loving like that than if I say, ‘I will try to…’. I say that not lightly. I say it with pain in my heart. I know that the most loving I can be is to tell them to go, because the rest can become nastier and nastier and nastier. This is the most honest.
S: I was reading an article the other day and it was about looking for talent for jobs – how do they select the right people in different jobs. ..and, the whole thing about passion, and having to follow your passion. Is it your experience, or passion, or knowledge? But, the latest is ‘your attitude’. It is the attitude there and then in the interview – even if you have an amazing CV. Many hundreds are selected but only a few have ‘attitude’. An attitude of being keen to learn, of being able to have a dialogue, of being open, of being intelligent, of being passionate, of giving value to the team. Your curriculum does not matter. You may have read all the Ramana books and been forty years learning but it is your attitude. And, what is freedom and what is peace? It is an attitude. It is not an achievement. It is not after that there is nothing you can do – forget about it. It is not true. Once you find peace and love, there is an attitude. And, that attitude is the most difficult thing to find. We can be very intellectual – have an amazing exchange, approach of depth and visions, but we don’t have the attitude. I am having the attitude and this is my work. I have to be here for you; like it or not, feeling good or not – it my love, my attitude, my work, my dedication. And, you come here and you also need to have an attitude. And, because I have an attitude, I have the right to claim your attitude.
Don’t talk about the mind to me – I find it disrespectful. It is like someone swearing. It is like someone who is lost is pretending to know geography. Let’s concentrate on attitude. I love to have fun with you but this is also serious. You will get as much as is your attitude and it is my duty to remind you of that. It is not what you understand, what you break through, what you have been through, what you will go through. It is your attitude. Let us have an attitude of dynamic dialogue. It is completely disrespectful to be thinking when another is talking. If someone is talking to you and you are listening to your thoughts, it is completely rude….You come all this way to ask me questions to this last corner of England, and sleep with who knows who. But, you don’t have the attitude.
And, what is the right attitude? The right attitude is to listen, to not debate, because I am not interested in your opinion (I did not come to listen to your opinion), and to give what I am saying a chance by putting it into practice. You approve by being here…
Apply what you hear here and now, not from past knowledge. If you bring something in, it is pure, pristine, not from someone else. Otherwise, I am not interested.
It is not ‘what’ we are going to talk about. You can succeed with the right attitude and you can fail. You can be brilliant but my attitude is that I cannot even listen to your sentence.
This is a silent retreat and it is for the discovering of peace and silence in you. If you had it, you would not be here. Do not kid yourself!!!
S: If you have the right attitude, you do not have questions. Because clarity comes in. You have the right attitude by not buying into debt knowledge. Not buying into anything in the past. You are already here. Free. You don’t need anything. To find the way, or ask a question or try to understand. Freedom is an attitude. Internal peace is an attitude. It is an attitude to adopt in you life. You decide to stop kidding yourself. You are aware that life is short, that you are going to die, any time. So, before that happens, you need to decide to have the right attitude and you stop confusing yourself with ideas and thoughts, and mental garbage. That’s the attitude. No to vicious confusion – thank you very much. No. No. No. The day that you are clear about that, nothing else enters your mind. People that you love and respect can talk nonsense and you do not listen. There is nothing more important in your life than your own attitude. And, your own attitude is just the truth, just the love, just the beloved, just the mystery. My love is to be at one with the mystery – not the knowledge. I am not chasing knowledge, I am not comparing knowledge, I am not interested in knowledge. I love the beloved. I am in bliss. Attitude. If you adopt the right attitude, nothing can move you. Nothing can shake you. Nobody. That is the mystery, the beauty, the miracle.
Instead we bite a little bit of this, and that…and end up with a ball of confusion. Concessions – yes – we want to be polite. That is why we consider some mental structures and we are fascinated with the world of debates and things like that. Well, that is your choice. You come to see me. Who am I? Nobody. You come to see me. Why? Not my intellect or knowledge. Because I have nothing to give you. You come to see me because of my attitude. So, you can sit and wait for 100 lives because you do not have the right attitude. But, if you are in tune with the self, and free, and in service permanently, and absolutely not concerned about you, just giving, giving, and you are not lazy. You come to see me because I do not buy what you buy.
We put order into things….
If you come to see me, it is not to sell me things. Your way has been a failure. It is not working. On that day you see that, you are ready to come to the retreat. All that you are experiencing, all the guidance that you have had, and it is not working. Once you see that, you are ready to meet Satyananda. Many of you do not have the dignity and humility to admit it. We play games, and we are so proud of our knowledge, and pretend that we are not lost. And, we are lost. And I know – just by a look, I know, where you are at. I see your games and I wait and I wait and I wait.
This is a retreat ladies and gentlemen, not a joke. And, it is up to you to take the best of this moment – there may never be another. I might become memories very soon. So, get yourself orientated. Everyone! I am speaking to everyone. It is an attitude. Where is your love? Where is your love? Where is your love? Where is your love for the divine? Where is it? Can you go on your knees and pray? Can you think you are the universe? For this breath? Can you? Or, is your ego too big?
Can you care for others? Can you feel for others? Where is your love? Can you identify with everyone and not feel that anyone is awkward? Where is your love? Where is your love? Too much blah, blah, blah…where is your love? Where is the sweet, tender, warm love? Where are the eyes shining, watering? Where is the heart? Where is your good intention? This whole universe is not just about you.
So, as the tradition indicates, first, we look at the self, everything without distinction – object, person, everything, every one – and we see the connection of everything with itself, and we see it as one. That is the way we melt our minds that are disconnected to oneness. Once the mind connects to oneness, self-awareness shines forth. You cannot have self-awareness with a fragmented mind. So, see yourself. Meditate on the self. See oneness. Stop looking for differences. Look for similarities. And, your mind will gradually melt into meditation. Your mind will gradually ‘come home’. You see the world, the whole universe is just a little dent in the carpet. See it – connected. That is what needs to happen for you to have self-awareness. See the beginning and the end and the middle of everything, and transcend time. See the destructive aspect of creation, and see the creative aspect of destruction. Dare to see beyond. Have a good look at reality. Good look. Which means clear eyes, clear heart, clear mind – just a good look. One-ness. Then, you become more familiar with what happens in you. How familiar – how you work. Then, you stop trying to find something interior with a fragmented mind, which is painful.
You have to put on the glasses of one-ness first. And, once you see one-ness, all the answers will come in you – the answers that you could not access from your fragmented activity. Diversity is just a functioning of consciousness. One-ness is the end of it. And, once you see all those things, don’t forget your attitude because you can see all those things without any passion and love. But, if you see these things with a sense of love and awe, every time you see something that is clear – and you love it and respect it with the right attitude – then it becomes one with you. But, if you see the self and nothing, that is not sufficient because you do not have the right attitude – because you are looking to be a ‘super me’. You want to be the ‘me’ that will have influence. Who knows what kind of power you will hold? And, with the right attitude there is no ‘me’, no nothing – and peace has to be sufficient for you. You have to choose between being someone enlightened or someone in peace. What do you choose? Many of us will doubt it. Because what the heck: if I can be enlightened, I can get everything I want. Power, Money. People. Give me enlightenment and forget about peace. So, where is the love? There is a moment where you just stop and see it is ridiculous. A, you have nothing. B, you never did. C, you will never have. And, that is the beginning of a blessing. And, when you embrace that you understand that when you have nothing, you have everything. A magic trick happens. Everything has an intimacy with you, even if it is not on paper belonging to you. This sofa, this house is mine – it loves me and I love it. We are one. We enjoy being together. This moment. Everything – everywhere I go. It’s mine. It is not ‘mine’, it is just the language for you to understand. We are dancing. We are in love. Intimacy. We are intimate. Everything. My bed, dirty clothes, last night’s supper. Everything is in abundance – is on the table – the offer is constant. The ocean is there smiling, nature, trees wave at me, stars are always looking at me. And, they know, I know. Which is beautiful. This is attitude. This is clarity. This is a decision taken. Nobody, no power in this world can shake me from where I am. No prime ministers, no wars, no wives. No one can shake you from what you love if you decide to love. So, where is your love, your passion, your attitude? You think you are going to get it? From where?
You need to suffer like hell to have the right attitude then peace comes. If you don’t suffer like hell, peace comes and it is like….just peace. So, the attitude needs to come in your heart, and you need to practice, to open up and love and learn to be from inside out. Suffer with everyone’s suffering instead of trying to avoid them because it’s messy…
Can you exercise love? Can you be part of suffering? Can you suffer? Can you suffer with dignity? Instead of distracting yourself? And honour the suffering? Well, I can… that is why I have the authority to talk like this and wish you to have it too.
You think anyone who comes and moves a little bit of your order, your artificial stability – you are willing to kill to keep it. And, then you want peace. If you find peace, it has to be solid – no one can mess with it. It is not because you have your life and your agenda in order that you are going to have peace. That is just pseudo numbness. Numbness is confused with peace – and boredom – and then just add some alcohol. And, that is our formula for life: no feelings, numbness, no sympathy for the suffering of others, no connection with others, bored to death, and drunk! Just to forget for an hour or two that we are so bored.
If you want to understand about peace and truth, you have to understand the functioning of the mind. You can believe anything you decide. If want freedom, you need to understand the process of belief.
If you know love, you will understand how much love is required for me to talk the way I do.
MG: When you talk about the need to study the mind, does that mean observation? What is the method for studying the essential nature of the mind?
S: The method I am speaking about is called Jnana Yoga. It is the yoga of knowledge.
MG: So, how do you do it?
S: It is similar to if I tell you about quantum physics and then you ask me how to do it.
MG: It’s a perspective?
S: It’s an exploration and an explanation of reality that has been done through millennia by individuals like you who have been thinking, and exploring, and writing down in an academic way how the mind operates in human consciousness. It is a well-known science – yoga. It is not how you do it; it is about studying it because this brings you to the understanding of something that you probably know intuitively. So, it makes unification between reason and the instinct and creates one-ness. So, there is no longer a battle between reason and instinct – no longer the heart and the mind . One-ness is achieved through knowledge too.
MG: So, you can do this to yourself?
S: In very rare occasions, you can sort of come to have some fluidity of what is happening. But, that requires an enormous amount of qualities together – devotion, love, dedication, introspection, contemplation and meditation.
That is the yoga. You do not do it, you achieve it. Yoga is the goal itself. And, until that happens, it is not yoga – it is an attempt at yoga. When you master yoga, you do yoga all the time. Every posture of your mind is yoga, and every posture of your body is an asana. You are permanently aware of the formless in the form. There is union between the manifestation and the un-manifest. And, this is Jnana yoga. So, you study the form.
First, home! Then, we study. And most of us, when we find home, we do not want to study. It is natural: you have been running from nothing for forty years, and the day you stop, naturally you want to relax. But, when you relax sufficiently and you start seeing that it becomes more illusive than you thought, and that you really need some understanding of this – that you cannot go forward hoping for good luck, like a sailor waiting for good wind, the good wind of consciousness to bring some clarity – once you know there is clarity and unity, and peace, it is your duty to dig it out and find out what it is, what is happening. And, then you remove every belief and everything. Until you dig out the truth, you don’t stop. And, you need to be enormously sober to not buy into hundreds of experiences that are attractive – little benches on the side of the road to sit down, and congratulate yourself about what you have achieved. Many benches everywhere and reasons to sit. But, when you want to find out, you say, ‘wait a minute’! You are intelligent. Take control of the situation. Dig it out. Understand yourself. Know yourself. Search for yourself. Demand the truth. Offer the truth. And, then you will see yourself. And, when you have that clarity, you study. And, when you study, the clarity becomes stable. If we don’t study, the clarity becomes unstable because your mind goes in different directions and the illusions grow, believing in things that are just legends. There is a layer of consciousness over there that brings purity into phenomenality. And, as it passes from the unmanifest into the manifestation it generates a story because now it is under the rule of time and space. And, that is already a story, that is already an experience. This is why they are called ‘ex’- periences. And, then the legend grows. And you have to understand the legend, respect the legend, love the legend eventually, because you understand the function of the mind because you have studied it. Then you understand the processes of imagination that administrates data into stories. And, the beauty of the magic.
MG: The sort of thing you are talking about is easy to see in other people but when I look into the nature of my own mind I see a mess, completely a mess. It has its own life.
S: Well, quite possibly, because there is a moment when the mind dissolves the self and they are in line. It is not ego centred only. It is like a flow, a river of thoughts going on. If you look at it, you can call it a mess. My mind is a mess too. It is just awareness and consciousness moving in all directions with no reason – associating concepts and things. In fluidity. That is an aspect of the dissolution of the mind, or an aspect of fluidity. In fluidity you get used to that – layers upon layers of intellectual activity, and they are all interlinked and have no reason whatsoever. And, is the dance fila – something for you to celebrate because it is the beauty, as if you are having your own fireworks…it’s beyond description. In some traditions, this is expressed as the fact that when it dissolves the mind it helps you find beauty.
MG: So, it is possible to read about this yoga that you are talking about?
Synchronicity. Form has a sense of humour.
(There is a self-awareness. What happens with us is that we blame our minds most of the time as if it is bad. But, really, we have natural wisdom. And, that natural wisdom takes the form of legends too. The origin of legends is natural wisdom. You have memories of truth. Somewhere you are aware. Synchronicity is the thread that goes through every pearl to make a necklace. So, you see consciousness in everything as the string going through the pearls. And, that is wisdom, translated into stories. Synchronicity is moments of flash of one-ness. That string keeps all the pearls together. That string keeps all the eventfulness of the world together.
It also happens within instincts. We have a battle with instincts and reason going on. You have an instinct and you want it to be approved by reason, to believe it. And, reason cannot see the instinct, because reason belongs to another department. – like in a shop. Instinct is an element of wisdom and clarity is a ray of light illuminating reason. And that reason wants to make something out of it. It already went through the net and entered time and space – there is a legend and a process about it.)
MG: I am interested in what you say about Synchronicity. Like every time I wake up in the night it is 3.33 or 4.44 or 1.11. And I spoke to someone about this and the following night I opened my eyes and it was 01.00 and I told them about it and they said it was not as impressive as 01.01, and the following night it was 01.01. I have even lain in bed thinking, ‘don’t look at the clock’, and when I open my eyes its 01.23. This makes me feel that I am possessed. Scary.
S: This is an example of how it operates – the mind. This is exactly what I am talking about. It is not the peculiarity of the coincidence of what you see, but the importance you give to the coincidence that is telling us something. One pearl, one pearl – what a coincidence! So there is nothing wrong or to be ashamed of, it is just the functioning of the ego.
MG: So, so far I have a huge ego and a mind that is completely out of control. Is this good news?
S: For whom?
MG: It does not sound good.
S: I don’t know: you think you have a good ego. The ego is a thought too. The moment you talk about it, it is memory. The ego has an ego. Who says, ‘I have an ego’? Someone who can own something. Who can own something? It is an ego. So, it is an ego saying, ‘I have a big ego, what shall I do with it’? And, there is some consciousness here looking at both. And, it has nothing – no ego or not-ego, or mind or not-mind. There is something here that does not have an ego and who does not have a mind.
MG: I would say what I said yesterday that it is true that in my famous forty years, I reached a point where I did not need it any more and I felt that that was…maybe that is what you are talking about with ego…somehow ego became less. It did not matter any more – these systems and ideas.
S: Yes, the expression ‘it does not matter’ reflects and indicates awareness. So, who is saying now, ‘it does not matter’? – This is saying it does not become matter, it does not crystalise, it has happened – it is in the flow of my own window of consciousness, but it does not become matter. And, that individual who is saying that is free from that. So, it is a different way of putting it. You call it, ‘it doesn’t matter’, for me I call it, ‘freedom’. If it doesn’t matter that ego forms and crystalises in you, and it goes into this conclusion and it explores, and it achieves and it own egos, and it is going through a process of thinking…and it does not matter in you, then you are free from all that.
MG: It is a strange thing, I would say…what you are saying about the mind…I would not say I am ‘proud’ of my mind, but I am not sorry I did it. It took me four years to read the four volumes of the Dramatic Universe, and I really studied it…and now…it does not matter…no regrets…I would not say it was wrong…maybe it was necessary on the way to this path to letting it go…in a sense you almost have to push it to such an extreme that – I had to push it to such an extreme, where I had to let it go because there is nowhere else to go. So, it is a strange thing where it can almost be necessary. I would not advise anyone else to do it, though.
S: You think you are quite alone in that but there are many.
MG: But, it is a great relief when you do let it go.
S: Yes! It is.
MG: And there is a sense of discovery of something that is more real.
S: Absolutely. Beautiful.
MG: A lot of what you were saying last night and today…I did not always understand what you were saying, even though what you were saying I had said myself in the past. But, I did have a sense of rightness and I shared the experiences – what other people were saying this morning resonated. And, I have a sense of almost fear of the snake – just not wanting to be there. And, there is another problem because I have maybe two hundred people who like me playing with the snake. And, I suppose I end up thinking I need to say. ‘I am not that person any more’ because I can talk…..
S: Have you ever been?
MG: It was a kind of act.
S: So, you do not have to say, ‘you are not any more’. We solve one: you don’t have to go and say, ‘I am not any more what I was’ because you know you have never been. You would be lying.
MG: But, the last time we spoke, I remember talking to someone after that about not very much and they said to me, ‘but you know about this’. And, I said, ‘no, I don’t, I don’t know it’. ‘But, you are one of the people who understands’. And, I don’t, I don’t understand. And, this was quite a shock for them. There was an expectation. I kind of feel that a lot of what you we’re talking about – the theories and the therapies and approaches (there is a lot of them), and we buy into one with a lot of other people… it can almost be a mass hypnosis, really. We all buy into it, but what we are buying into is a kind of mind product. And, we get good at it. But, it is like getting good at something that is just a very sophisticated form of ego.
MG: It does not bring people joy. Or, happiness or peace.
S: How do you know?
MG: Because there is this constant searching.
S: Oh, so you are the cause of their search?
MG: No, but I feel that I have encouraged it.
S: Yeah. Thanks to you….the mind searches. The mind will stop searching if you just disappear from the planet?
MG/ S: (laughter) They are all hooked on you – they are all hooked on me.
MG: I am a leader and a Messiah.
S: And, the day you are not there, no one will search any more!!
(laughter). I understand.
MG: It’s not my fault!
S: No, it’s not.
MG: Thank you.
S: Home first. Then, stillness. We see our reflection more clear. The more stillness, the more clarity. Abandon effort. That is the only way to still the mind and a still mind can see clarity. The focus for self-realization is not effort. When you look at yourself, you need to lose the focus to handle the light. If you keep trying to find the answers by looking at the self, your eyes burn, and then you will take years to recover.
…The Strength required for introspection in such a way that the clarity reveals itself, happens when you lose the focus of intellect: fragmentation and multiplicity of concepts. If you focus too much into light, it blinds you. So, you need to come home inside without focus. That is the only way to handle the vision because the vision of the light can blind us. Confuse more. Efforting – too hard. Relax. In the way we think, we imagine that someone established in the self – speaking from freedom, and active – has a constant attention in the self. But, this is because the attention we know is a an attention of….pointiism…a succession of points to make it permanent. If you want to have attention in all the space between two hands, you fill it with many points and then you reach attention. But, if you relax your attention, you can have them all at once. You imagine it’s a lot of effort and then you forget it and you lose it, but it is not correct. It is when you bring a dot to an infinite dimension that you can have the universe within you. Only the mind thinks you can forget. The self cannot forget – no one ever has.
MG: It feels to me from what you are saying that it is almost disrespectful to talk about human emotions because the love/ bliss that you are talking about is beyond this.
S: Yes, not disrespectful, but we need to leave the surgery room when we talk about emotions. We normally talk about emotions from the operation theatre with the knife in the hand. And, we try to make the one we don’t like smaller; we try to bring one from a smaller place and put it here. That is what is disrespectful from the point of view of peace. But, no, you can talk…it is not disrespectful… tell me what is in you.
MG: I guess, for me, there is a difference between emotions and sensitivity although the two are very close.
MG: So, a lot of different emotions – people give them names – – all part of one emotional state, if you like. Sensitivity is connected to this – physical sensitivity – and it is something other. What I have found is that one becomes attached – either positively or negatively – to situations, people, etc. And, it is sometimes very difficult to work with what is there. So, there tends to be for me a kind of transcendence to a way of being that is not dissimilar in describing it in the way that you describe love and bliss, and….for me, one of the consequences of that is that I never detach from anything, anyone I have ever met, anywhere I have ever been…I carry it all with me. And this language is not dissimilar to what you use yourself. But, there is a negative side to that: people say to me that ‘I am all things to all men’. In a sense I am…why wouldn’t I be? I am everywhere and nowhere – well, why wouldn’t I be?
S: So, you are saying people tell you this?
MG: Yes! That it is a bad thing that I cannot detach from things and that it leads to a certain promiscuity. At the same time, I don’t particularly have an attachment to any one person or place because I am where I am. It is a curious thing when you are attached – you cannot let go of anything because you are attached to everything. But, it is quite a heavy weight as you go through life because you continue with more and more stuff, more and more people, more and more books, more and more CDS, more and more places. It is a sort of weight. It is confusing – its positive, but then it has a huge…a bit like suffering. How can you let go of anything or anyone because it is all part of the same thing? But, it does not bring me joy. It feels like a burden, a responsibility to continue. So, a lot of what you are saying I know, I know…and a lot of what you are saying I feel…but it does not quite feel right, and I think it should. And, I am kind of cautious of some sort of egotistical transcendence because I have been there: you separate all the negative aspects of yourself and life and project yourself into some sort of paradise – detached from reality: all those negative things – like I am a messy human being like everyone else, I think stupid things, I feel stupid things. To put myself up there is madness – it is a fantasyland. And, I find that nothing really helps…well, some things do…meditation slows down the mind…So, what I find is that in the moment I am joyful, ecstatic, but longitudinally I am suffering, pessimistic, depressive. A strange dichotomy – maybe both are true? Maybe that is the cross that we carry.
S: Do you have a question?
MG: Yes, what would you do if you were me?
S: I can’t think what I would do if I were you because I am you.
MG: So, what are you going to do?
S: Well, if I were you, I would go to Satsangs – more regularly. There are some things you need to look at and many times the DIY approach in spirituality is complicated. It is a bit like the IKEA manual that looks very easy and you thought you bought a great bargain but then it takes three days to make the thing. DIY spirituality can take a few lifetimes for you to integrate the immensity…and only then if there is blessing…if you have to pass through one reality to another, you have a gap like a knife. You have to become that size to go through. You cannot even breathe. Normally, we are too bulky for that because we mash ourselves against the wall with all our apparatus. So, subtleness is the key and Satsang brings subtleness in you…it is a way of decanting yourself and in that process you become more subtle, and through that subtleness, you can enter into real understanding – what you say is familiar, I understand, but I can see mixed waters. When you experience yourself, there is no doubt – you don’t think that it might be an idea – when you have the experience directly, when you speak from it, when you live from it, you do not feel you are in a trip…because trips go up and down…and they have their own hangover. Clarity is not a trip like that. So, in that place, this is one of the things that happens. You are alone. In that loneliness, you need to be very clear about what is happening – otherwise, others’ opinions are very important. People’s opinions are always going to be around, and they all think they are going to help. But, they are all coming from their own perspective. I think what happens to you is that you have been very generous in how much listening you give to what other people think of you. And, then you succumb to a pot pourri of opinions, and then you are trapped in that mire of stories. Because, yes, there is no use to just highlight the good, and deny the bad, just to feel a lift. That is what we tend to do, and what people tend to do. But, if you know the depth, you are the depth, you do not come to that.
I noticed that in another dialogue we had. You have been allowing something, or some one…somewhere, you lost it – your safety inside. Somewhere, you just let go of you. And, since then, you just took the wrong direction in terms of listening to others in what you do, or what you have been doing wrong. That is the kind of feeling I have when I speak to you – that you come from pain, and blame, and guilt, and insecurity, and fear. So, when you are ‘at home’, and someone tells you, for example, you are in a fantasy, your answer would always be, ‘and then what?’ – you put yourself down there, ‘Can’t I put myself up there? Well, Bugger off! Why should I just follow you down?’. That is your answer when you know what you are talking about because that ego needs an answer; that ego is lost and needs a good answer so that it stops the idea that it can guide.
MG: I described the problem before. The problem is……………I think you are correct that all of that stuff is true but has got mixed up with issues of responsibility and negative feelings – almost enjoying the negative. Somewhere along the line, too much in this direction. For me, like I say to people…well, I wrote sixteen books, but I do not feel anything about that.
S: Of course, lucky you! Imagine if you were carrying sixteen books on top of every thing else!?
MG: I know it’s a big thing to do…to write sixteen books.
S: No, it’s not so big.
MG: Shouldn’t you have some sort of feeling about that?
S: No! The conflict is because you think you wrote them and then you own them, but somehow you don’t know where they came from and where they are going and you have no sense of belonging…
MG: I don’t. I didn’t even write them – you just watch my fingers and words come out.
S: Right and then you have this conflict about not having a sense of belonging. And, so you cannot just land in the understanding that it is not just exactly your book, or your creation – and then you can have a conflict with that. Someone asked me many months ago, ‘do you prepare the Satsangs?’. And, my answer was, ‘oh, no, that would lead to fear’. Yes, of course. Things happen, and everything is coming from the same source. And, there is no reality. You can have a shadow if you like. When the sun shines, every object creates a shadow. But, the shadow is there because of the sun. And, your creations are there because of the self. So, the creation that you create is the shadow that is actually sustained by the light. Without the light, you would not create anything and, actually, that is why you cannot create anything yourself. All you do is shadows. Can you claim to be the light? Can you bring light? So, that is OK. It is good that you do not carry your books with you. Like I do not carry the Satsangs with me. Imagine if I carried 16 years of public satsangs?! Hours and hours and hours. Nowhere to be found here. But, something interesting happened. If someone comes to me and says, ‘you told me in the year 2000…’, I know I didn’t. But, it is not because I remember what I said but because I know what I couldn’t say… because then, I was speaking from the same place that I speak now. And, I know that I could not have said that. But, I also know that there is something phenomenal happening – what is said, is not what is being heard. Not in all cases, but 100% of them! We are exploring for your sake – we are relating to your question…So, what are your books about, can I ask?
MG: Language, philosophy, art, music – they are all academic, I work in a University.
S: That sounds terrible.
MG: It is. I always say to people, if you love a subject…
S: …don’t develop it. (Laughter). I did not mean that it is terrible, the world of academia…
MG:….but, it is…
S: I don’t think so….I think it is terrible to be an academic. The world of academia is wonderful, but to become an academic must be terrible.
MG: I always say that the difference between an intellectual and an academic is that an academic works in a university and an intellectual doesn’t. Academics are of a certain way of thinking, working, which is very institutionalized.
S: But, it is not clear-cut, is it? There must be talents and people who are inspiring or who know the value of learning. It is not just the transfer of knowledge. It is learning to think, approach, develop. No?
MG: For me, it is often argument for argument’s sake.
S: Really? That is sad…
MG: The students usually are involved in knowledge and have an enthusiasm for a creative aspect of work. But, for an academic, it is a battleground.
S: That is what I was saying…don’t be an academic. Now you are in there, you can just take off the academic dress and renounce to be an academic and keep teaching – no discussion any more – no clever things – just do your duty, concentrate on the students. Leave the rest behind. That is what I would do if I were working there. The more important thing is the students.
In every field of life, there is this possibility that ignorance interferes and creates a quality in the interactions of human affairs – even in the academic world. And, you do not want to be a part of that – the rat race. The rat race is for rats. It is a constant to check out that you are doing your best and not acting from pride and trying to prove to colleagues how good you are, how right you are, how clever you are. You are not working for colleagues, you are working for students. You are hired to teach students. Get yourself back on track. There is a whole art about approaching a fresh mind – a student – when you have a mind that has been loaded with information and experiences. The art is not to expect the student to come up to you. If you are a good teacher, you have to be able to go to that innocence – that moment of the student, and slowly adapt to the signs and read them. And, deliver your best all the time. Forget the academic world. The academic can be a large ego and there are a lot of egos there doing nothing – investigating for years. I investigate but no one pays me.
This is a massage therapy. Almost a Reiki – just take what is useful for you and forgive me for the rest.
It is in all of us. You are not different for you than others. You have homework to do: to accept yourself – accept your inconveniences and your sense of separation. That is something within our core and is beautiful. If you stop seeing it as wrong, you will discover it is the most tender aspect of you. Without that, you would be a stone. That is what gives you manners and openness and kindness – that same sense of insecurity and fear. It is all the capacity of loving. Without that, you would be a painter without colours. Freedom is not something that is achieved and over. It is an attitude. It is conquered every day. It is not an operation. Freedom is an option – it has to be total. You have to be free enough to feel inadequate. Everyone wants to be free to feel great, but feel free to be inadequate, to feel wrong, to feel lost. If you can’t do that, you cannot do the other side – because something in you will block when you have the blessing of bliss. When you have the invasions of happiness and you don’t worry, you will be worrying that you don’t worry.
Daily things appear to be in a series of time. But, everything is now.
There is nothing, and then an object moves into the nothing. And then there is nothing again. The nothing is always there. The space in the object. If you see that, you see unity – this is Yoga. This is an expansion of consciousness in that particular field in which you suddenly know the interconnectedness of things and you can feel the space in that body. There is a moment when you become so familiar with at expansion that you do not move things to see, to check any more. You already know. So, you see one form in everything. Silence in noise. That platform is not the space that is in the room, that is occupied by the object that we are talking about. The object and the space are performances of your mind. So, there is a meeting between minus and plus – it’s the end of dualism – you see the negative and the positive as the same – one. The meeting. That is what happens when separation ends in yourself – when reality is no longer what you thought it was. You create the object and the space is in your mind. So the movement of awareness in which you can sense the space that is occupying the object – to see that there is a movement inside, it is not out there. It is not space but the movement inside. It is awareness of space that happened. You are seeing your own consciousness. Everything that you can speak of is because of consciousness. So, everything is consciousness. Always there, like space – prior to the appearance of objects and names, etc. And, as things happen, consciousness is still here so what you see happening is consciousness. What you see is consciousness and is already tainted by you. It is not as you see it but created inside of you. Everything is a signpost. It is then created within you according to your consciousness. In some traditions, you have silence to remind you it is consciousness. This is why meditation is important. There is then movement – because of grace – and when you see it, you never forget it. It is not something that is going to happen. It is happening – you already have it inside. And, somewhere we know all this – and then we say, it is me so how can I change it. That is a deception – good marketing. But, it does not work. You cannot change the flow of consciousness – it is your personal consciousness in the world – an ink that acts in reality in front of you. So, it is just the painting that is personal to you – the rest is reality. So, it is not created by you – so, you can find the way I like it and make a trance and stay there. Life is a mystery – permanently because you do not know what you are going to see.
The ‘what’ has two realities: the one that it is and the one you impose on it. And, so it is everything: the two realities – the one that it belongs to, the whole, and the one that we impose with our ink, which produces names and forms for things with no names. Reality is real for you but it is subjective – part of your ego. So, who am I? I have been this and that and I can become this or that if I need it. I can go back if it does not go well.
Space – object – space. Where is the space? Because I have this interpretation of me there is an object in the space – does the space go because the object is there? Is the story of me replacing the real presence of me? Is the furniture replacing the emptiness? Or, is the emptiness still there even when the furniture goes out? Was it there all the time? So, wasn’t I here all the time? Even though I was thinking I was someone that I know very well and I introduce myself as him? Have I stopped being me because of the story about me. Is the space changed or affected? Or contaminated?
In you, your interpretation changes because there is something in you, which allows you a movement. The signposts are no longer imperative – you separate the wood for the trees. You find the self in the form. You find the whole in that form. Everything is made of the whole. Everything is held together in that whole. Where your mind goes, you do not see yourself anymore. You see everything together – not you and sofa. This makes it quite a sophisticated thing to sit down.
We have a common agreement with words but the experience is different. A common agreement to recreate the beast in our minds. Each word.
So, then you see pain. How? No. It is a sign only of an enormous amount reality. But, your reaction is to the sign – not what is contained within it…nor awareness of that pain – (emotional pain) is love. But, pain is pain and love is love, so we have a different reaction. We are afraid of love because we are afraid of pain. We have not found love in the root of pain. When you do that, you know that pain is love and love is pain, and then you have transcended the signpost. As you transcend every signpost, the more you become of your freedom…and, the mystery that every thing and what we make out of it. Both are happening within you. Consciousness is the background of everything. The space is there even if it is occupied by an object. Your world is a creation in your consciousness. Every thought arises from it. This space which occupies the object – the thickness – is taking place in a space that moves. If we could trace back the movement, we would see the appearance and the disappearance of nothingness. So, emptiness is also changing – but still there. Without is freshness.
So, ‘I’ is an object. So, who am I? But, if you see this is not you, who is seeing it? And, the one who see that you are not real, was there also when you were ‘real’?
Is your persona a hindrance or a help? The space is still here. When it is not here, I am here. When it is not here, I am here. So, there is an ‘I’ here who sees another ‘I’ who comes and goes. And, this ‘I’ is permanent. This ‘I’ has a relationship with an ‘I’ which comes and goes. So, there is I-I awareness because it means object and space awareness. There is a space in the object and there is an awareness that there is an object in the space. So, awareness grows into that capacity of consciousness.
So, we need meditation. Where are these thoughts appearing? And moods? And emotions?
This is here and now and permanent. Don’t play with it. Everything is built on this. It is prior to everything. This is the background to reality. This is who you are.
It is like a cinema screen. The screen is behind the lights. This is consciousness. The screen is always here on which life appears. When you find it in you, you have found the eternal self. Although things change, consciousness is pure and always here. If you reach that space, you are beyond being awake. So, you are somehow asleep when you are awake. And, when you sleep, you are somehow awake.
And you understand then that you are no longer alone.
In our solitude, we are all together.
You are relaxed because you know you cannot control anything at all. You do not want to change anything. You are just amazed. Words are clumsy.
Because you know that reality is not what you see but behind what you see, and also what you see is reality, you see reality as real – you live with reality, but you do not succumb to reality. And, because you don’t live with a solid reality, you don’t want to change it. You are not playing that game to yourself. It does not work. The intention to interfere with reality is the lack of depth in the individual vision. When there is vision, there is no intention to interfere because you know you are just drawing on the water.
It takes care by itself. It is not a doing. It happens when you have this understanding. In the magnificence of the description of what is right now, there is nothing to be done – this is what I have been telling you forever. Before looking for a solution, let’s make sure there is a real problem. Because, if we remember that principle, there is no way back. That is enough for you to penetrate reality and to know yourself with truth. You feel natural. You are the screen of the movie theatre and it feels natural. Then, you have the present. In the illusion of time, we start changing elements and think that evolution moves one thing to another – this is the power of projection of our minds – the power that creates a subjective reality out of the absolute reality. We then believe there is a process. If there is a one-ness towards which we are moving, how are we to manifest in the world? That is not going to happen. It is already happening.
Freedom is the interpretation of the lack of restrictions when there is understanding of the nature of the super imposition of the mind upon the real.
It is not a state. It is only a signpost because in an intuitive way we know that there is more than this. And, because you are told maybe it is you that has these restrictions, you think you can be free of them. But, freedom can become another holding structure because if you are free, you can’t do things that people that are not free do.
And you might say you have found enlightenment, but this is just another bag which lacks oxygen and you will want to be free from it. You just want to change signposts – something that is subjectively real for another subjective reality. So, the freshness feels better than the old one because it is a change, but what you are being suppressed by is the nature of hermeticness that you feel yourself involved in every situation. It is not the situation but the sensation of encloseness. And, you are trying to find freedom from that; and that encloseness is the imposition of reality on absolute reality. My world.
People fight because they say that my world is more real than yours. This is why ignorance brings violence. Because you cannot fight for something that you think. This mad! Let alone what you believe. You can, but not with violence. When there is awareness of the truth, there is a natural quality of goodness coming in the human being and this you can fight for. You find this through service. Life becomes service. Whatever happens in life is doing its job.
Self-realisation is when this is accessible without any effort. So, your consciousness transforms into the realization of reality. Once you realize that, you cannot fight for any reality because they are all subjective. You cannot partake in anything because everything is nonsense. Ignorant people fighting with ignorant people over projections of reality.
It is conscious but not in you. That is the purity – the untouched. When you find that, you find it in all stages of you – and you don’t lose it. It is only resting in the absolute – this asleepness. Things you think should exist already do. The world changes when you change, the lens through which you see the world change, as a subjective world coming out of your evolution. If you see this, you are at peace because you see it as a quality of consciousness. Reality, the building of reality – always starts with me and beyond. There is no world without me and no beyond without world. You are aware of that trilogy. In that, the quality of goodness takes place.
No thought – just reality because the world of me and mind depends on the mind. No thought, no world. Nothing to achieve, nowhere to go. No master, no student. No freedom, no bondage. No wisdom, no ignorance. This freedom. To be free from freedom is freedom. This is why it is called Non-duality. But, even ‘non-duality’ is the opposite to ‘duality’ – let’s not forget. Duality as a concept is part of the subjective world.
I suggest silence because signposts mislead. This is my lineage. This is the way we coincide. Silence is the best way to communicate. Silence is what produces the awareness of space in objects because everything is built on silence. Images.
Silence and consciousness are the same. You need to find silence within you: yourself, consciousness, silence, truth. Always the same.
Nothingness is another movie. Nothingness and something are on top of this.
Even the self has the non-self; the real the unreal; the truth the untruth; the freedom the bondage. There is a quality that cannot see beyond it. So, there is a maturity of the mind and the awareness in which there is fantasy – plenty. Many ends without knots are left behind and they create legends.
What is the divine world?
Everything. The divine world is everything in manifestation. The projection of reality is divine and self-shining. Imagination is a divine activity because it is an extension of the creative process. Everything is consciousness and consciousness is divine. You are looking at divinity. You can be scared by your imagination, which is divine. It is pure. It is not an invasion. It is a possibility in you. You are divine, and all you live is divine, because divine is another word for the absolute, reality. Reality has a context of physical reality and consciousness prior to the physical but aware of it. So, reality is divided between the manifested, which is physical, and the unmanifest, which is consciousness, which is aware of reality. But, that reality of which it is aware is not only physical. It is aware of the manifest and the unmanifest. So, it sees the unmanifest in all manifestations.
MG: Could you sum up? (laughter)
S: Very kind. What can I say?
St Ives, Cornwall
MG: I have a question for you. It sounds a simple question – do you ever find that you are affected by anything that anyone ever says to you? Because, when you talk of truth and bliss, it sounds as if that you are never hurt by anything, that anyone might say to you, or disapproving of you, that you can take that. If that is what you are saying, that sounds good. Sorry if that sounds a judgment but that is not easy to do – or, maybe it is easy to do: if you have truth and bliss, it is not a problem. But, I do not know many people who do that.
S: Who do what?
MG: One of the things that I have worked with a little bit since I spoke to you before is the way we react with each other – it is like people say to me, ‘I am unhappy and I am going to be happy if you change your behavior’ – as if it is my fault that they are unhappy – and a huge part of my life, professionally and personally, is based around that sort of attitude – that, I are the source of their problem, therefore I must change and if I change, they will be happy. That seems to go on all the time – when I observe people, it is as if they are always caught in this thing where if only the other person would change, they would be happy. So, you accept that this is just the way it is? You do not even want to change it?
S: Is that a question for me?
S: I like the original question.
MG: Ah, you ‘like’!
S: Oh, I like very much because it was clear. But, you did not give me time to answer…..
Isn’t there an option for a middle possibility? Because your proposal is either/ or – it is or it is not, either you are affected by others, or you are not affected by other people telling you. That is the apparent rule of the game.
MG: Well, if you are coming from a position where – if I am coming from a position where I am affected by other people – then it seems quite a nice/ attractive position to take up.
S: Of course!
MG: To hold yourself together ‘in truth – in bliss’ in such a way that you do not get blown off course by some one sounds great.
S: Of course, because you come from a position that you are blown off course by what others say….but, are you?
MG: Less than I was…
S: Yes or not?
S: Isn’t ‘yes’ an extreme? Isn’t there a bit of ‘no’?
S: There is a little bit of ‘no’?
S: And, there is a little bit of ‘yes’?
MG: You can bring the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’ together.
S: You can have the ‘yes’ here and the ‘no’ there, yes?
They are two extremes.
MG: I sense this question behind a lot of the other questions this evening….about ‘other people’….it is everywhere.
S: Yes, this is what I mean…it is not about that…in the fantasy of the illusion of someone who believes they are affected by what others say, there is the fantasy of the search to achieve the place where you are not affected by what others say. It is a natural project…like if you are cold, you would like to be warm…and so on. But, the truth is not as simple as that. The truth implies and includes the contradiction. So, you are and you are not, and that is what the ego is not happy with. The ego ‘is’ and wants ‘not be’. And, when the ego finds that the truth ‘is’ and ‘is not’, it wants it ‘not to be’. And, then, the ego looks for fantasies. It is a fantasy that it is being affected by it and it is a fantasy that it is not being affected by it.
MG: I see that. Thank you.
S: Great. That is very important: there are always extremes. As I said at the beginning, a broken heart is the essence of this in the sense that it is not about not being affected by things which will determine how much peace you will have inside… how much peace are you essentially…this is a mistake of the ego, a fantasy. In truth, you can be affected by everything, and yet find bliss…and that is what the ego cannot imagine because the ego imagines ‘all bliss’, without being affected by anything, or ‘no bliss’, being affected by everything. And, there is a place where you can be affected by everything and yet have peace in your heart and that is why it is beautiful. It would be horrible and dry and awkward to not be affected by the world and by people and events. It is actually beautiful that you are affected. That is the essence…like colours on a painting, and light and movement, and dynamic.
MG: Thank you.
MG: For you it must be like watching people poison themselves?
S: I understand how you think…but it is not my experience: I do not watch people poison themselves.
MG: What you seem to be saying, to sum up, is, ‘forget everything – forget food fads, forget acupuncture, forget homeopathy, yoga – just ‘be’!
S: I understand how you listen (laughter).
No, I did not say anything…actually, I did not say forget anything. Did I?
MG: I said, ‘what you ‘seem’ to be saying.
S: No, I am saying, ‘love existence – love the miracle – love the variety of everything happening – everything’.
MG: Also, what I understood was that …well, when you were talking…that ‘we’, ‘I’ had insufficient experience of love as you describe it.
S: No. It is OK….that is already past – it is gone…
S: No, don’t give me ‘because’ because you don’t understand anything. ‘Because’ means that you know something…that comes from the word ‘cause’, ‘be the cause’. It is a prayer of the rational mind… means ‘let the cause be this’. And, it is not real. That is what I am trying to say: it is all a fantastic construction – love it – now! Love what you are hearing and love your capacity of listening. Love the waves of sound coming in your ears. Yes?
So, we begin with ‘the subtle’ and we move towards ‘the broad’. But, we need to begin in ‘the subtle’ because we will lose it in ‘the broad’. We need to begin in the subtle….
MG: in the ‘now’.
MG: And, every ‘now’ a new now.
S: Yes. You can say it like that. Yes. Every now is a new now. It is always fresh – it is the freshness of existence. So, love that – love the miracle. That is what I was saying, ‘love this miracle’. It is always new, it is always fresh. And, we are looking at dead memories all the time. And, compared to this…and then you start exercising a power in you. And, the moment you do that, you feel better with yourself.
MG: Thank you.
S: So, yes. Are you still with me? It is still fresh – this never happened before, and it will never happen again. This equation, this situation, this manifestation – and as it is this, it is everything – it never happened before – never repeats. So, love the miracle, exercise your right – because then you will not miss so much your heart. You are missing your heart because you are looking into pictures and memories. And, you cannot love pictures and memories as you can love the miracle. The miracle you can love with freshness because you never know what is going to happen…the way that shawl falls on your shoulder, and the way the light reflects on it, and this very moment – everybody in tune in silence. The eyes looking into nowhere. Can you love this? Can you exercise this? Because then you can enter into a new sphere that is the sphere that is not your mind, not your thinking processes. And, you need to exercise your heart, you need to love. And, you do not need to wait for what to love. You need to love what is…then you start finding what you are missing and your mind stops, which is wonderful. Your mind stops when you are loving, your mind flows when you are not loving. It is quite an easy and simple rule. And, still original…you are permanently in an original, it is not a copy. It is not second hand. So, love, exercise love with the most subtle, insignificant, little things of life. That is where you start training your heart. And, then it grows…and then you find what fulfills your emptiness.
MG: Thank you.
MG: (after address on the limitations of the mind and thus written word) Are you saying the British Museum Library is…confusion?
S: You said it better than me.
I would not put it in those words…
No, I do not have anything against the British Museum Library.
MG: But, it is the product of the mind!
S: Yes, maybe…before you jump to conclusions…
MG: I did not say I was ‘concluding’.
S: Yes, but you are throwing something in the air, aren’t you? Yes or no?
S: OK. Now, I invite you to live without conclusions. Just do like me. No ‘conclusions’.
MG: That’s semantics…you are splitting words…you are actually…what you are saying is the product of the mind is confusion. I mean Freud, Jung…I agree with you, I am not saying I don’t…but, that is quite a big thing to say.
S: Yes! You need to know what you are saying to say that.
You can’t be confused and say ‘this is confusion’.
MG: But, sacred texts would be different for you? The Bible, the Bhagavita – I mean these are words and concepts, they are something other. You yourself wrote a book. You did. I read it. It is full of concepts.
S: I wrote a book? I never did. I didn’t know..
MG: It has you name on it.
S: Oh, there are many things with my name on it.
It is solved once you realize that you are not your name. Then, you can sign anything. Don’t worry about it … you can reach that place too. Everyone knows I did not write it. I just signed it. In fact, I did not even sign it – I just laugh about the whole thing: the title and the book – I cannot read two pages – not even one!
MG: It does not sound like you that book.
S: Yes, I don’t sound like anything.
MG: You do, you sound like you but your book doesn’t.
S: Which book are you talking about?
MG: I have forgotten the title. (Someone shouts ‘One Love’)
It is yellow.
S: It is all confusion. That is why I do not talk about the book. I am kind of in denial – if someone asks me if I write a book, I say ‘no’. If you write a book, you sit down….no?…and you write a book. I have never done such a thing. It’s like I collected all the words you are talking now and put them on paper and said, ‘you wrote that book’. Ultimately, it is not important. What is important is that the suggestions I am making in Satsang are for you to apply in Satsang. If you take it to an extreme, to a conclusion, you can play those games – everything is confusion in the mind – but in relation to self-knowledge, all inner-thinking processes is confusion. Now, if you take it to the extreme – the British Library or wherever, that is beyond my control. That is an example of what I am saying actually – it is so confused, it goes all the way down to the British Library. But, in relation to self-knowledge, it is all confusion. And, you always have to put my words in the context of my service, which is self-knowledge. If you take the words without the context, then they become something else. They are far from being a conclusion or something that I live personally. I am not someone who does not read because it is all confusion, or does not appreciate talks because I think it is all confused. That is not my experience. But, in the context of self-discovery, one needs to establish an order because if there is no order, self-discovery never happens. The context of my words is important – in relation to self-discovery, finding the truth, freedom, which is what we are here for. I probably do not remind you enough but, personally, I do not forget for a single second. Without that, I would not be here. Just for me to talk to you, I need to dwell in confusion and words. Imagine what it is like. Without a context, I could not talk to you in this way. So, don’t forget the context – who I am and what I am here for. Otherwise, it goes in a direction that is not beneficial for your own discovery. Yes, if you read Freud and Kant. With Lacan, the concepts are so close, they could also be Ramana’s. And, you see the struggle Lacan had to transmit his experience – and the struggle to find the precise words and terminology – specialized in his own flavour. And, now you speak with any Lacanian, and they are discussing concepts he mentioned without the context. So, it is very difficult to judge. I mention this since you mentioned Freud.
Audience: Is that an example of where silence is the only key because it all gets lost in translation?
S: Well. Yes, because silence is the best means of communication. Silence is certainly the best. Then, there are lower means – like the spoken word, the written word. They are less, less efficient ways to communicate. But, silence is the most efficient – if you learn to read it and use it, you don’t need to speak.
MG: Is it possible to pick up some else’s frustrations?
S: Well, as I said, you can imagine things but that is not important. We are going to do retreats in silence…
Anything else left in the inkpot?
MG: You win!
S: You win? (laughter). That is why I do not worry about you…I always win. Because I am stronger than your confusion. Your confusion is impermanent and I am permanent.
The retreat is permanent…you came into the retreat and you never left. Everywhere you go, the retreat goes on. You realise internally how to ‘retire’ from your own mind – that is the key to your emancipation. Nothing can happen to stop you. And then you see that all I heard in the retreat was correct with an incredible precision – every word.
MG: When you talk, it is like listening to myself. I listen to it and think, I know that and I know that and I know that. It is almost as if I have forgotten it – it is that sort of experience.
What you say about the ‘right attitude’ – it has been important for me to see it in other people. You say that people come year after year and ‘I have said it all’. And, you asked, ‘why do I have to say it again?’. And, you talked about patience – well, I have not come back here year after year, but I have come here once before, although I have done a lot of other stuff on my own, so I do keep coming back to something. One of the experiences I have had is that I have never seen anyone of whom I think, ‘yeah, they have it’, that they have peace and love. I have not seen it anyway. But, the question is about other people – I live through quite conflictual, competitive contexts – I do get blown off course from where I started. I know that. You are correct. And, yet in a context of life, whether partners or friends or work, it is endlessly conflictual. People are unhappy, moaning about each other, etc., etc., etc. I suppose it is about holding together the two: one about knowing – identification (I know all that); and two, holding that in a context where it is like a hurricane being blown at me so that I buckle under it. So much so that I forget what I really know, which suggests that I do not really know it in the first place.
S: Not really, no. The first thing you say is essential and very important – you should follow only what is true for you already, and not a learning process that is awkward but you could learn to adapt to. The sign of truth is when you hear it and recognize it in you, and you may say, ‘I do not have access to that but I know that it belongs to me too – that understanding – already’. That is an important sign of truth and that is what you should follow only. The access to that understanding is through direct experience. And that is Satsang: to bring those apparent opposites into one middle point in which you can see the perspective of the outer, superficial, world – the surface of existence, which is the multiplicity of objects and individuals, and all the world of apparent realities that are in manifestation – to see all that from the context of unity, is the achievement of wisdom in you – that is when you understand that they can live together; that multiplicity, conflicts, relationships – all that – the individuality and all it contains – the competitiveness, and the frustrations, and the goals and the achievements of the impossible, and the dreams of the impossible, and the fights. That surface has to be seen from unity. So, then there is a link produced inside in which you can see and relate and see that they are not opposites.
MG: Do you know anyone who does it?
S: Yes. It is very difficult to judge. How are we going to judge by external signs or by what they say? Instead of being concerned with who does it, we should get engaged in achieving it ourselves because our evaluation of others is always subjective. We can only judge by what we think or by some signs or what they say.
MG: That is the point I am making. In the past, it has been important for me to see it in somebody else.
S: Well, maybe, yes. But, it could be that it is happening in you – very clearly – and you tell yourself that it is not. Which is very common – you are not alone in that. Because, this is not something that you will achieve but a description of what already is. So, we remember the difficulties – not the harmony. So, we are talking about difficulties – the incapacity of finding harmony in some things – but we do not remember harmony, we remember the conflicts.
So, we create a concept of ourselves within that memory. So, we are talking about different layers of our own existence. It is already happening and all that needs to happen is that we admit the truth rather than achieve the truth. It is very different: to admit something is to admit something that is already there. I admit that somehow, and in spite of all my conflicts, and my difficulties, somewhere, somehow, something within me gets in balance and there is a new beginning every now and again. Therefore, there must be something happening in me that can put at ease or at peace what appears to be chaotic. It is admitting that.
So, it is not that you see some people living it and other not. I know that we all live it and we don’t know it. And, we need to realize that we do it. That is a different perspective from saying, ‘oh, you started living it, and you are not living it’ – someone is living it and someone else is not living it. No, we all live it – it is common nature. But, we don’t highlight it. What we highlight is conflict. And, a few of us highlight harmony. Most of us highlight conflict – the apparent conflicts of manifestation. So, maybe you have been focusing on who does and does not live it and, in reality, that is not the point.
MG: That was the point for me.
S: Well, that is because you come from a place of competitiveness, as you say, and then you start looking at who is who and what is what, and all that kind of thing. In a spiritual path, if you go in deeper with the master, there will be a moment in which you are not encouraged to be focused on others – in any way – not only in where they are at, but in what you do to them, or what they do to you – that is a projection that needs to stop when you go deeper. But, if you are left alone and you have a DIY spiritual process, then you could have that for a long time. I always tell people to ‘forget others’ – others are projections of your mind, and we are not looking at projections of your mind – completely cut off. In that context, we do not even judge others, or colleagues, or students, we judge masters, and there is an order in that. To start letting go of judging others, the first one you have to stop judging are the masters – because the masters are free, and in their freedom they can act the way they supposed to act without any erosion. And, if you are judging their actions, you are completely lost. So, a master is a sacred being who is teaching something beyond your understanding and it should be free from judgment – it should be respected. If you can’t understand them, or don’t like their form, or the way they manifest, with love in your heart and with respect, you should leave them alone – because the masters can take many, many forms and many of them are for challenging your own concepts, so they can become exactly what you think they should not – and most of the time, effortlessly. That is a natural barrier, a naturally selected process – when there is maturity in the student, the student will transcend that. When there isn’t, he won’t. And, that is another side of the abundance of paths and possibilities. Now it is almost a shop window – if you do not like one, you can go to another and another. And, this is great because potentially it is putting you in contact with wisdom in many ways. The problem is that it is putting you with the same mind in different places. You do not go with a different mind – you go with the same mind to different masters. And, then the same mind finds a great potential to play because now you have choice – what he, she or another says…what is more real, how can….? So, then you have guaranteed food for the mind for a long time. The more you listen to different teachers, the more your mind will go into doubts.
Now, if you learn to focus into the absolute self, and you can listen to different masters from that place, and recognize the difference and the beauty of different manifestations, and different ways of speaking about the same, then you are honouring the master and the master is within the master and not in the outer manifestation of the master. But, that is the duty of the student – your obligation: if you are going to see different teachings, you must make sure that you are going there from a common place. If you don’t do it from a common place, then don’t do it to yourself. It is not responsible. I have it here sometimes: people come and say, ‘well, I have been to see him or her and she said this or that’, and you can see how confusing that can be because it does not really matter. There are infinite ways to go from A to B..if you know where B is. So, all masters are right. They are all sacred, and they all have their own talents, and they attract the crowds who identify most with that form of manifestation. It is natural.
MG: Thank you.
MG: In my life, I am a teacher , and there are 30 people – children – and they do notice you, and then it just goes on – whether it is students in the university, or you are in charge in the university, it feeds the sense that you have importance or significance. People do not tell me the truth but what they think I want to hear, and that feeds that part of myself…I get seduced…even though I tell myself I do not believe it. At the end of a course, students vote on how good I was so I get the percentages of how many people were happy or unhappy with me – it all feeds that part of me which is an illusion. What you are saying is so against the flow of what is being fed to me – it is like being given a drug all the time – drip-fed – even though I know it is happening, I am still being given this drug all the time.
S: Professionally, you can see it from the perspective of ‘knowing where they are at’ instead of taking it personally as information about you. Definitely, it is information about where they are at in their projections about you.
MG: …..See it differently.
S: Yes, obviously, you are not going to take it personally, but at least it gives you information about them – how they see you. Which is real for them! In the amount of your capacity of reaching them, not only with knowledge but humanity – that is what they are evaluating.
MG: In my life, I have been terrified by that judgment. I am like someone on a stage and I must get 100% approval. If I have 30 students and 29 of them say I am ‘great’, and one says ‘not great’, I become obsessed with the one. It is a kind of addiction to approval.
S: You can become obsessed also with the idea of not having that approval. Rather than just seeing it with lightness – the fact that it is important for you that is.
So, it is extremes: it is not that it is important to you OR it does not matter to you. It means that everything has its own place. It is a conflict, so it is harder to hold onto the two as equal and light.
MG: It is like my life conspires to put me in a situation where my Achilles heal is constantly exposed.
S: Yes, which happens anyway, no matter where you are. You do not have to be in that particular situation to have that particular challenge.
S: I won’t believe anything you say to me any way…but you are gathering your forces, no? (laughter)
MG: I know, I know. (laughter). I don’t have any force…
S: Ah, that is one of the strongest strategies. That is saying, ‘Relax, I won’t punch you’! (laughter)
MG: I know them all.
S: Yes, I know too (laughter)
MG: I had one thing to say, and one question.
First, when I listen to what you are saying my sense is one of astonishment.
Astonished at something that is so obvious, it is obscure, or has been so obscure. But, it is kind of obviousness – so, there is this state of astonishment. Which is quite something for me.
S: It is kind of, ‘here it is, and now you got it, let’s see what you do with it’. And, what you do is attachment because the teaching continues.
MG: Everything seems to go in that state of astonishment – personality. I mean, what is personality? Some sort of shadow that takes us through this divisional world? But, there is a question what I would call about the associative or communal life, social life. Because this sense of astonishment seems to be beyond this, as if it is not something to be shared. And, almost everything else in life, one shares. But, this sense of bliss, although it is not bliss, it is almost as if it is not something we share with someone else. And, yet, you do…because it is everywhere and everything. So, it is quite difficult to take seriously what I am calling the communal life in some respects because it is very transitory, just shadows compared to consciousness and truth. And, that is different from the way I have always understood it, I had a sense of it…because for me, the sense of it has been very social.
The problem is that I am coming in and out of the language and using words I do not necessarily attach much to, but I do not have others – the sense of a ‘divine humanity’ is very strong for me. The original point of astonishment is really quite individual – just me. Even ‘me’ is not really ‘me’, just one-ness. A state of non-division.
S: So, what happened to the social when there is no division?
MG: That is the point I am making, it just falls away. I do not have a sense of the social. I do not have a sense of anybody else other than..we are all one.
S: Yes, and this is important to understand the functioning of the intellectual perspective of mind. When the mind is projected outwards in the form of manifestation in which the illusion of multiplicity happens, where there is the phenomena of the social and different beings, and everything. Because we call it illusion, it is not because it is lesser or not real…what you need to understand is the difference of qualities…they do not correlate, one imposing itself on another. They have a different functioning. And, when you come to Satsang, the astonishment is because clarity enhances clarity in you. It just shifts the clarity in you – basically, your state of mind changes in Satsang. And, you can see clearly from where I see. But, that is only for you only to recognize who you are, to remove the doubts about the information you have about other states of mind. The mundane. That is why we come to Satsang: to reestablish an order to our identity, and to understand better who we are and let go of who we are not. To have a more fluent and free and fluent life in relation to the ups and downs of the world.
You come to Satsang and you are astonished because you know all this and it is clear and obvious. That is because your state of mind has changed. The association with truth enhances your own truth. But, then, you have memories and an active mind that moves in and out of this clarity, into diversity – from one-ness into diversity. And, diversity still has memories of one-ness and still can’t a find a sense of the social and imagines it to be empty or without any foundation. So, this is just a movement – an introspection and extrospection happening. And, it is carrying its own consequences on a mental level. That is what I can understands from your description.
One should understand that within Satsang, we have the possibility of understanding the functioning of the mind and making sure we understand the mistakes we have been making trying to draw one state of one-ness into diversity, which is a classic sign of ignorance – or bring diversity into one-ness.
MG: It is very easy to do what you are saying. And, it is very easy to see the social as empty – people even say. ‘the fallen world’. Really, what you are saying is that it is not even fallen. It is actually just a different perspective.
S: Yes! Brilliant.
MG: Thank you.
MG: Is there more?
S: If we could take a picture of your body and say, ‘a man in astonishment’. (laughter)
Is clearly asking, ‘is there more?’.
Well, there is as much as you like
MG: What more is there to say?
S: That is what I ask myself when they tell me a retreat is coming – ‘what again!?’’
You know what I think sometimes – that it is not what we say – talking – and we are all completely deluded.
It is not in our talk or CDs. If we just got together and did not speak, it would be the same.
Or, we do something else…
In Satsang, the words are kind of gladiators controlling tendencies – the rest happens underneath.
There are many levels. If you live in the level of words, then words are important, but if you do not in the level of words, you know they are just gladiators – making a special chemistry, distracting – while a special thing is happening.
It’s a trick: we speak – your mind speaks with me and I keep your mind entertained with what your mind wants to do, and meanwhile I reach your heart. So, the work is difficult – you are working with the words but I am working on a different place.
Meanwhile, I am cuddling your heart. And, you think it is important to agree or disagree, or understand or not understand. I couldn’t care less – you let me reach you if I say what you want to hear. So, then I have to try to find out – negotiation of many subtle forms happening.
MG: What you are saying is completely non-dualistic.
S: I don’t care. It’s an accident.
MG: So, there is ‘yin and yang’, ‘black and white’, ‘man and woman’ – for you that is just one.
S: But, that is the same for you too. The only difference between you and me is that I am honest.
MG: Are you saying I am dishonest?
MG: Not even a little – but ‘absolutely’.
Are you sure?
S: Well, you know. This is pure classic. Yes, there are assumptions about assumptions about assumptions about assumptions. We forgot that the evening was an assumption.
The first assumption was that you are some body. And, that you were born. Most of you think you were born but you do not have a clue, you do not remember anything. You just say it because it was on a paper. This body came out of this body. I was born. We don’t know what we are talking about. It is assumed and that is it. Since then, we are alive. And then, you are afraid of dying. If you assume you are alive, death is a threat. And you try to do everything you can before you die. If you do not have the pressure of death, no problem.
Most you think you are alive – tell the truth.
You are in a rush trying to be alive and that is quite funny to see you.
Being in this world and yet not belonging to this world. Many traditions describe that as liberation.
Objects go in liberation – find liberation first and then see.
How? One clue: ‘Yes and no’.
Be careful – this is a koan that can break any pattern.
MG: Is it true that no one thing is any more beautiful than anything else?
S: …In this context. On a mental level, it is true. On an existential level, it is you. It is just another object.
M: What is?
S: That there is nothing more beautiful than anything else – it is just the opposite that there are some things more beautiful than others. Just another description, another subjectiveness.
You have the option: either some things are more beautiful than others, or everything is equally beautiful. And, both are constructions in you.
MG: Beauty is a construction?
S: What is described as beauty in us is where there is a relative relaxation on the strictness of form. So, internally, you don’t hold the form as much as you can, and the beauty is a response to the quality of the projection.
In other words, when there is quietness, you find beauty – even in things you don’t find beautiful when there is not quietness. So, beauty is referring to a quality of consciousness. A word for a quality. Not the object. So, yes, everything in this sense is singularly beautiful.
Beauty is an adjective.
MG: So, in consciousness, everything is beautiful.
Beauty is therefore consciousness.
MG: Therefore, everything is beautiful.
S: That’s an early conclusion. Still there is diversity to find everything, and still there is a quality of the diversity that is beautiful. That is not all what consciousness is about. In pure consciousness, there isn’t any ‘everything’ and there isn’t any ‘one-ness’. All that.
MG: So, it is a step towards consciousness?
S: Yes, you can say that beauty is a way of reaching purity – this is why we search for beauty, and why art does a big job in reaching that perception system that is not one-to-one name/ form, and therefore reaches another language. It transcends form and name. And it reaches another quality in you. So, it touches you because it touches an aspect of you that is beyond labels.
MG: Thank you.
Swindon 22nd December 2013
MG: What is evil or wrongdoing?
MG: What is Fear?
In our deepest loneliness, we are all together
MG: Can you say something about other people because when you talk about freedom, many people, myself as well, there is almost a collusion – one is always being asked about the future, to justify the future, to plan for the future – even with people close to you – mother, children. What you describe seems very private and personal. It is like a drug – one is constantly being given, pulled back into prediction. So, the question is, how to handle other people? I am ‘in a state of bliss’ and I am not.
S: That is your idea. Because, from the place where you are speaking, you still see people as separate from each other – some living in bliss and some not. That is not the case. Bliss is the essence of being-ness. Everyone is in bliss and, on a different level, they are complaining in bliss. In South America, they say, ‘you are going to heaven crying’. It represents the fact that our minds have the potential to imagine eternity. And, the way it speaks about eternity is ‘all the time’. So, it says, ‘all the time, I am lost’, ‘all the time, I am thinking about the future’. But, if you know the truth, you know that ‘all the time’ is imagination. But’ the mind exaggerates. You are more in bliss than you think, and have more moments of bliss than moments of confusion in a day, but you highlight the problems, the conflicts, and the problems of your existence. You are stuck in that. You are not highlighting the harmony, and the beauty and the bliss that is also in you. That is the difference.
So, I always call attention to this – a simple moment of action in bliss. What you remember about yesterday is only a few minutes – all the rest was bliss. Even what you recall today, all you have is a few images in several hours. What happened with the rest? Where were you? How was your heart? How was your mind? What happens then? Where are you? You do not talk to me about that. You talk to me about fifteen seconds. And, when you talk to me about your life, you talk to me about thirty seconds – that is all you remember. What you call your life is about thirty seconds. You do not talk about the rest of the 30, 40, 50 years behind. You talk about 30 seconds and complain about those 30 seconds. And, because I know that, I do not worry about you. Because if I thought you had no bliss, I would worry – oh, my god, poor thing. But I know you are only highlighting something in your mind. Intrinsically, there is no difference between you and me.
S: Do you have the humility to admit that you really do not need anything? And, you see how happy you are just by being – by being here, here, here, here – now – here. Just this simplicity of being here. Has nothing to do with knowledge. When you have the truth of authenticity, of being who you really are, you do not buy into knowledge. Just enjoy the bliss of existing, of being here. Of being. Not being this or that. Just this being first. Taste and rejoice with me. It is yours too. Not mine alone. Why do you go ‘out there’ when there is so much peace and warmth inside? – before movement, before fluctuations – just home.
Many of us do not know there is peace in us. We think we need to do something to change. But, that is not true. This is your nature. The vibration of your being is peaceful. You can tune in and enjoy it as much as you like. No one tells you this – they say you are not ready, you are not pure. You don’t know enough. You are doing everything wrong. But, that is not true. You already are what you want. Imagine if you find out that you wanted to be this, after so much struggle, you already have it. What a relief to find that. A place where you can rest in you. Without doing or practicing anything – just learning to look directly. That is my wish for you. My message: look carefully before you engage in some search, make sure you do not already have it. If you are looking for peace, bliss and freedom, make sure you do not already have them. You will save so much energy of you see you already have what you want.
It is not the story of you: your name and age but who you really are. One day you were born and you did not have a name – you are still nameless, and if you learn to tune into your namelessness, then you find peace in you. Before you become somebody, you have peace. We overlook this truth. The offers of diversity are so many. And, they all have one thing in common – it is all in the future, overlooking yourself.
Come home. If you don’t, you will miss it. Nothing is as deep and as genuine as you. Everything is fake and pretension compared with home.
My wish is that you learn the truth of who you are – and you will find peace and by vibrating peace you will be active in the world from a place in which there is no need.
You reach the source of everything. Here, you can give attention and love and service because you are in touch with the endless source. You are not giving for your benefit – you don’t need anything. That is freedom. Free from hunting because you don’t need anything.
MG: I experience listening to you is like a weight off of my shoulders. There is a question of what do I do with this? Rather than just letting it be.
S: You should recognize that that is the ego, who is wanting to do something all the time. And, because you are here, I assume that you came to look for freedom and peace. So, if you find peace and freedom now, I recommend you do not give too much attention to the fluctuations of your mind, ‘what do I do now?’. Don’t touch the thought. This is an ‘I’ thought. What do “I” gain, know, do with that, not to lose it ? Treat everything equally, don’t touch the thought – because you need to accumulate awareness – awareness can be accumulated – awareness of the truth of who you are. You have been accumulating awareness of confusion but now you can accumulate awareness of the truth by staying still and not touching your thoughts, your mind. The more you are still, the more you become aware of the permanency of you, what you are. Don’t touch those thoughts. ‘I want to go out’, ‘What do I do now?’ – they are all intentions of the ego trying to partake, saying, ‘hey, don’t leave me out of this’. And, it is fair to leave it out because you want to find out who you are before the ego. Ego is ‘I’ – the thought ‘I’ – it is not who you are. It is how you see yourself. That is a contraction in the mind. And, that happens to run the show – for too long. Maybe, things are turning in your life, so that now who runs the show is going to be you. And, if you run the show from peace, then you will feel …a lot better! (laughter). Don’t tell me that is obvious! It is not!! If it was obvious, you would be doing it already. But, you are running your life from confusion and fear and in-satisfaction and separation and the need to complete yourself and the need to transform yourself. There is a constant sense of hostility against yourself – disapproval. And, that is what is running the show. And, that can end. Because there is nothing wrong with you, or anybody. It is all an idea – all an illusion. Listen to me. Listen to me because not many people will tell you this in the world. Everyone tells you what is wrong with you and what you need to do. This is the only place in the whole world where you don’t have do anything. You don’t have to believe me. Free yourself from yourself. Free from you. A little death.
Soon, I shall be a memory. Soon, I shall be in your memory. You will remember fractions of what is happening here – you will not remember the vibration, or the presence of us interacting, our eyes meeting. You will only remember a fraction.
St Ives, Cornwall
MG: There is something that you did not complete. When … talked about a sense of relief and freedom which she sensed for a few days, and you said that this was an experience of change. And, it stops when it ‘stops working’…the point this is leading towards is a question of forgetting. There is an experiential thing of freedom and then we lose it. As if we forget it, even though forgetting is an illusion. And, yet, something changes – there is a sense of freedom and then a sense of non-freedom. The judgment is almost that the freedom was an illusion itself.
S: Of course, because it was a sense of freedom. And, the sense of freedom that is valid is freedom. Senses are inevitable – they are like echoes. So, there is a sense of freedom and then there is a whole psychological interpretation, and emotional interpretation of freedom and mental projection of freedom. There are many side effects of freedom. Most of us rest in the side effects, and then they change. And, we call the side effect the thing itself.
MG: So, the sense of freedom and the sense of forgetting freedom….
S: Belong to the same department,
MG: They do.
S: Freedom is Being…
MG: And, behind it is…Being…
MG: Enjoy it while it is there, and enjoy it when it is not there.
S: Well, it is not enjoying because it is not there but you still are.
MG: It comes and goes.
S: The sense, yes. This is why it is important to be subtle enough to understand the difference between presence and the senses. The sensations we take for real, and we take them as a signpost of something authentic, and when we don’t have those sensations, that which is not authentic is not there. When it is…So, we have a blind approach….we know where the door is where the wall ends.
MG: Then there is the problem of time…our senses are governed by time but being is not. Being is outside of time.
S: When you say , ‘being is outside of time’ you are looking at the memory of being.
MG: It is very difficult in language to describe what it is. But, certainly, the main problem is time – the way memory is based on time. The idea of illusion itself is an illusion. And that also – it just happens.
S: Yes, it just happens….
MG: And, it will happen. You would not want to get rid of it. It just is.
And, sometimes, there is an ego trick…almost reverberating on itself – like feedback when you have sound feeding back on itself. Being is the same, in as much as you can say anything about it, is similar.
S: But, all that is memory.
MG: So, how do you even try to express it?
It is hard to say anything about it without it becoming…
S: What is the question?
MG: The question is what is it that you are describing?
S: What ‘I’ am describing?
MG: Freedom, truth, what is it?
S: I am not describing anything. I am showing…It has to be authentic in you.
MG: But, even to talk about it…
S: But, that is memory…
MG: Yes, exactly.
S: It is not ‘even to talk’.
It is what you remember.
From here you can talk.
I am here – present – and I can talk.
Look, the words flowing.
There is no hindrance to being – it is what you remember.
You remember that being is opposite to speech – you imagine it as something different. In your memory, you think that time is separate from being – you even said that was the problem.
But, time is not a problem. Time is part of being. Time happens in eternity. They are not opposites.
MG: So, I speak in time, on time. I am present as I speak – in time, on time. Gone. It is always happening.
S: The words are gone but not the presence.
MG: You, you are almost surfing a presence. So, you can talk about presence but, as soon as you say it, it stops from the point it begins.
And it is OK to talk – and it comes and it goes.
S: Now, you see. Yes!
This is why there is a subtleness in which you allow yourself to abandon words, or concepts, or even….let alone discussions.
So, that understanding phenomenon and its limitations allows you not to rely on them any more. So, you understand the limitation of language. When you understand the limitations of language, you stop trying to say it. When you don’t understand the limitations of language, you live your life trying to say it…and it doesn’t work after a few hours, so you say it again in a different way, and then it doesn’t work again. And, that is when you do not understand the limitations of language – you are looking for words. The day you understand the limitations of language, you don’t look for words any more.
MG: So, it does not matter whether or not you speak.
S: That’s not what I am saying. You discover something more subtle than the outside – the phenomenality – it does not matter whether you speak or don’t speak.
MG: That is what I am saying.
S: Yes. It is the fact that you discover something more subtle – and that is freedom. And, then, you need to be very balanced and very well equipped when you come to freedom. Because if you are not, you will come with a lot of thinking – ‘it is too much for me’, ‘I don’t deserve it’, ‘this cannot be it’ – so, the miracle is not to find freedom, it is to abide ‘in freedom’. If we push rationality around, and just confront the present, we find freedom. No big deal. But, can you keep the pace? Can you become freedom itself? Instead of someone who is free, someone who is enlightened, someone who is awaken? Can you transcend that? That is the big question. Because we can find freedom – that’s not a big problem. Let’s find freedom, but then lets see what you do with it. That is where the transmission takes place because you need the guidance not to follow this compulsion that comes in your mind when freedom is found. It is like a dyke is broken, and everything can come in. You need to know if you can be still in that. Most of us just go with the current and then recover six months later – and we make a legend out of that Satsang. But, in reality, my invitation is, ‘can you be freedom? – that you are freedom itself. Not that you are two things’. That you are freedom – that is the essence of you. The consciousness that is here is freedom. Can you embrace that? It has nothing more to do with me, or you, or form. It is just consciousness, and it is free. There is no space for ‘me’ or ‘you’ – or, ‘I am free’. It is devoid of ‘I’. And, it is shining through your eyes.
S: When we approach truth, many times it happens -depending on the desire we have and our intelligence, our minds, how fast we can advance in the process of realization – it happens that a student that is intelligent in creating barriers and difficulties in an amazing creative way – being able to look at things from many angles, and can debate endlessly – that individual is potentially very fast at integrating the truth because when the clarity comes in, all that intelligence is used for clarity, and it was used for ignorance. So, the purity fills the mind with clarity, and then there is a moment you see. And, the moment you see, the moment you realize your being in your present moment, then you have a great opportunity to switch on that mind into clarity. But, it is easy to miss the train, so you need to know when to jump on board. If you jump in at the right moment, your intelligence will work for clarity and for revelations and for realisations. It is like a piranha which wishes to eat all information. One is full of ignorance and another only clarity and wisdom. So, we all receive according to our capacity of the moment. A wasted mind is not an offence, but to waste it really of the speed and the clarity and the light – heating walls of darkness.
MG: Please say more about Devotion.
S: Just say it, eh?
Do you want it in C or D?
MG: Any Key.
S: I can only talk of Devotion if I sing. So, C or D?
S: Where is the guitar?
Talking about Devotion is talking about love. And, it is very difficult to talk about love without turning it into something that it is not really. So, there is always the feeling of unfairness when you talk about something you love. And, devotion is something I love. Truth is the substratum of reality and devotion is the essence. The nectar of reality. Truth is the clarity and devotion is the nectar. If you do not have nectar, you are dry. And, if you are dry, you become paralysed. You cannot move. Your heart is frozen, and you become very judgmental and disapproving of everything and everyone…because you did it to yourself, and you are acting from pain – all because of the lack of devotion. And, genuine devotion does not need to be expressed physically. It does not stop coming out from here into the world. Devotion is the light within that nothing can turn off. A candle that no wind reaches. If you do not have it, you are lost. I have seen people with a lot of clarity but totally lost. And, I know that what they are missing is nectar. Lots of people are clever and clear – understanding everything – but something is missing still. Yes, it is the nectar. You should know. What is missing is the nectar. Because a bird needs two wings to fly – and it has been said that the divine shines through clarity, that is one wing, and devotion is the other. And, that is the way it flies into perfection. So, what happens if you have a bird with one wing? It cannot fly and it damages itself – it goes in circles, meeting again and again the same things. So, you have to check out not to become a bird with one wing.
Sometimes we have knowledge but we do not have love.
Sometimes we have love but we do not have knowledge, and that is better than having knowledge and no love because the torture of reasoning running riot is unbearable and, the heart being dry, is also very thirsty – is dying of thirst. So, when you come to truth, if you do not have love, you cannot sustain the division of truth. You need both wings moving in synchronicity. And, once that synchronicity starts to happen…then you find some continuity in your love of truth. If you do not have that…it is as if your car does not have petrol. And, I can give you a little bit of petrol that I have in a little bottle in the boot of my car. So, I put it directly into your carburetor. It is not much, but it is enough to drive a mile or so, if you are lucky. But, then you have to put your own petrol in – to the end of the world. So is knowledge. Knowledge ignites love. If knowledge does not ignite love, it does not work. So, the petrol runs in the engine and it is through knowledge that you find yourself. You are here, you are free. And it drives. And, you can see the petrol station there and you may be overwhelmed – you cannot curb your enthusiasm – ‘with this, I can go to the end of the world’. ‘I know now’. ‘I got it’. It is an easy game. I can almost get anything I want, if I look closely at what I understand. And, you pass the petrol station. And, knowledge has a limit – there will be a moment again when the car does not work. Puff puff….
There is an aspect of devotion where you do not want to buy into any thoughts.
There is an aspect of devotion in finding out who you are.
And, there is an aspect of devotion in surrendering – any activity that you understand is not necessary in you.
There is devotion in that. That is the nature of it – you just offer it to the fire to burn. The fire is devotional.
There is devotion in your love for yourself because as you love yourself, you love the divine.
And there is non-devotion when you do not love yourself, and as you don’t love yourself, you reject the divine. So, you heart cannot grow into rejection. Your heart only grows through inclusion.
That is devotion.
Also, the most utter form of love – the most subtle. And beautiful.
It has the qualities of being celestial.
It is over all things. You cannot force yourself to do that and to love, but maybe by hearing this, you give yourself permission to allow something that you are already feeling. You might not be clear if it is correct or good – and this is a conflict. And, it is good – it is an important part of the support of consciousness – devotion.
MG: Thank you.
S: Once you commit to the self, you cannot commit to anything else – unless you are OK with not being honest. You can marry, but it is not interfering – your first love is the self. Then, all the other loves are first the self in different forms. And, the same self in manifestation. And, eternal love is beyond manifestation and is the real love – and that is sealed, and when you have that, other commitments are very ‘kindergarten’. The self gives you the freedom – so, you do not do anything that you do not feel like. And, that is the commitment – and you do not question why. It is just not happening, and that is the blessing.
The self is unlimited – and imagination is part of the self. Imagination is a journey into yourself, within yourself. Endless and divine.
Imagination allows you to keep fluid in the world, transcend the barriers. Somehow, you need to be able to imagine peace in order to find it; and when you do, you realize that your imagination was poor for what peace is, but it was an important step. And, that is an aspect of Devotion. In devotion, you have the imagination of love in the form of a dual appearance – and that is the harmony of the mundane mind when the individual is in harmony with its own source.
There is imagination in everything.
Merging with ‘the beloved’:
S: It is not an idea, and it is not a subtle thing. It becomes, it transforms completely your mind and your thinking and the whole process of thought. It does not give you any sense of control. Because of that, it gives you the absolute sense of safety. Nothing is of yours and nothing is your action – but you understand that when it is merged – it is not an idea that you fancy. You genuinely understand/ think like that. You have an endless sense of bliss, and you no longer worry about your future – whatever is left of you. You just feel in good hands, and you see the same truth everywhere. You are deeply in love and it is not an idea. It is as if the vessel empties itself into a cosmic awareness in which the person is no longer the centre, and you are not concerned about anyone any more. Everyone is protected. Everyone is under the protection of the same being-ness, the same creation. And, you can easily be in the shoes of everything – also a sign of merging. There is no rush when there is merging. And, there is no need for anything to happen. It is not an idea. There is freedom beyond any question – the options are infinite and yet relative in their own infiniteness. You are free – the flower of lotus. You feel that you are always in the best posture. Your absorption in the truth is such that you are comfortable with everything, and nothing is ailing you – no human action, no circumstance of nature, or situation. Everything has a right to exist. There is no need to intervene and change things. You become happy without a reason. Better to enjoy the merging and ‘being home’, rather than believing in those things – the thoughts about them. It feels like a little death – but it is a sweet one. When you go through it, you understand a little bit more about resurrection, and birth. Because you see the whole wheel in front of you, turning over and over.
S: And you? What is happening with you?
Don’t turn back, the chair is here.
S: How are you, Sir?
MG: Very good.
S: I am glad, glad to hear that.
MG: For me, coming to Satsang a couple of years ago completely changed my life.
S: Has it? For the good I hope.
MG: Of course.
So, I am very grateful for the accident that brought me here.
MG: …and the opportunities to come.
MG: I think for me…I don’t know if you remember, but for me it is quite difficult because my whole life has been involved with language and words, and ideas and thoughts. And, so it is very difficult to…
S: …follow non-sense! (laughter).
MG: …No, a lot of them are non-sense – that is the point! (laughter).
I find it is quite difficult to ask a question, really.
MG: I said one time, and I do not think anyone understood, that ‘in truth, there are no questions’. I have that sense.
I have a sense that I could talk to you about a lot of interesting ideas – like the nature of consciousness. But, although that would be interesting to do, I do not think it would add anything.
S: So, was it helpful from the beginning, or did it take you a while to tune in to what I was trying to share?
MG: When I arrived – I always tell this story to other people – I went into the room where you were. And, I thought, ‘Oh, god, one of these’….guy dressed in white, and I looked at all the people in the room, and thought, ‘it is one of those’. And, so, I was quite cynical about it. But, something was said in the discussion we had. I asked a question and the exchange we had meant that I actually did go to a Satsang retreat with you. I always say, and I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I went in the room as one person and came out as another person. I had that sense at the time. Which was…wow!
So, it was very rapid for me. So, I do not really claim…anything.
S: No, of course not.
MG: Other than my experience. What was good for me, and I always say this to other people, was that all the stuff – the ideas and things – that I did, I kind of let go of it without discarding them – if that makes sense. It is all there, and it is kind of interesting, and I am sure I could have a really interesting discussion with you about some of that, but in truth, it would not add or take anything away from what you describe as the truth, or bliss, or whatever…
That is my experience…I can hear silence behind noise…it never goes away. In one way, whatever I do is irrelevant because it is always there. It never changes. So, that is very good…for me.
If there is something, it does not really bother me, but as I get older, I get irritated trying to talk about something that no-one can understand what I am talking about. That’s alright, because I am alright not talking about it, but I am still locked into a lot of …well, everyone who knows me knows that everything I am is about language and words, etc. So, I still do that, but it does get to the point where it is difficult to really describe what I am trying to say.
S: Yeah, it has always been difficult to describe what you are trying to say.
MG: I always say that some of the stuff we talk about here in in Satsang…..well, I end up sounding like a hippy – ‘all is one’, ‘all is love’ – but that is the only way to say it really. But, for me, personally, it is a big, big difference..To say, ‘we are all one’, or ‘everything is you’ sounds crazy but, actually, that is it. But, if you say that to someone, they say, ‘yeah, but…’ and they have lost it already. There is no ‘but’. It is…funny…and very joyful.
MG: For me, the stuff that was important is that you don’t have to do anything, or improve yourself, and actually, even being irritated by people is OK. I say, ‘once you stop trying to change yourself, you change’. And, for me, that took the famous forty years to stop trying to do that, and once I stopped trying to do it, something changes…
There is that madness; I spent forty years trying to change, and it does not work. Anyone can do this or that, or read this or that book, but it won’t work. Well, it will, but it might take a long time.
For me, I came today to be here really. I could ask a question: like ‘what next?’. But, what next can there be?
S: Of course.
That is great because I remember having interactions with you and you were very confused with words and very bubbly. You wanted to get to the depth of the matter in the sense of now. But, you had an amazing persistence in retreats. I remember seeing you struggling but staying there. A lot of battle.
MG: I remember you asked, ‘why did you begin this?. And, I said ‘I was not happy with myself and my surroundings’. And you said, ‘why do you still do it?’. And, I said well ‘I am not happy with myself and my surroundings’. And you said, ‘you have not made any progress in forty years’. And, I saw that in an instant. But, I still feel it takes as long as it takes. I cannot say I wish I had done it when I was twenty years younger. I needed that time.
S: Yes, exactly.
MG: But, it was also a kind of release card – that I do not have to do it any more. It is like that thing about from the Tao – the hardest path is right next to you. And, there it was waiting for me all the time, and I did not even notice it. It is laughable…
S: And, fascinating.
MG: That is what I mean about ‘letting go without discarding’. A lot of the stuff is very interesting. If you want to read books, they are great. But, ultimately, you are not going to find ‘it’ in them.
Even in my own work I have talked about subject/ object, of a subject that does not make of itself an object. One could say and write a lot more and it is really fascinating stuff but….all these things are impossible, language is impossible, the Buddha is impossible…because as soon as we open our mouths it goes somewhere else. But, it is…it is constant.
S: Are you still working?
MG: No, I quit.
S: You quit!?
MG: I quit, yes. I had enough. I had a big argument with them – and left. I could stand it no more.
I am taking some time ‘off’ – still writing, but taking some time off to see what I really want to do.
S: So, what are you going to do?
MG: Either carry on writing, or I don’t write – that is black and white.
Either I take book contracts, and I write books, or I do something completely different. That is the choice.
S: What would be completely different?
MG: If I write books, it’s a commitment – day after day, you get up and sit and write.
S: Why would you do that?
You need money?
Can you retire? Because you are quite old, no? You can retire.
MG: No, actually I am quite young – I have had a hard life. Actually, I am only forty-three.
S: It’s been a hard forty-three years.
MG: I notice more and more, like when I go to the cinema, and they say, ‘concessions?’. And, no-one used to say that to me. I mean, do I look like I am a concession?
S: They probably mean you are jobless.
MG: I am!
I guess a lot of people find this. When we spend our whole life doing something, it is difficult to stop – in fact, it is not possible to stop.
I cannot stop – things still keep coming in: 24/7 – the emails, the contracts, the offers, the proofs of books. It is a kind of madness and impossible to stop. I quite admire people who come to the end, retire, and walk away. But, for me, stuff keeps coming in. A kind of frenzy – which goes with the job. And, I have to remind myself that I am not being paid to do it any more.
But, I do think that, in the last third of my life – hopefully! – I would do something completely different.
S: What would you do?
MG: Something that is not totally intellectual – like I did a lot of Alexander Technique, and I would like to take that further.
S: I was doing a Satsang in the Alexander technique school. It is very interesting.
MG: for someone who spends a lot of their time intellectually, it is a very good antidote to the mental life style. I am tempted to do something like that – intellectual stuff is good but a bit of a skewed way to spend your life…all of your life, even though there is a joy in it.
S: So what was your work.
MG: I did a lot about French philosophy – phenomenology – about subject and object – a bit like what we talk about here – and a lot of people do not get that.
S: Yes, I always suggest to people who come to Satsang not to repeat what we are discussing somewhere else.
Maybe you did not come to that Satsang.
MG: It is difficult to keep your mouth shut.
S: Yeah, you are a natural whistle blower: ‘I found the truth’.
S: If you had been more close to me, I would have stopped you.
This happens in couples – in relationships. Sometimes, I see a girl or a boy who just suddenly the penny drops, and they start trying to teach their partner. I always say, ‘oh, no, don’t get into that’. It is terrible.
But, you are different because you are an academic and you teach.
MG: Yes, and sometimes I am into it before I know I am into it and it’s too late to stop…and it just explodes.
My job experience was a bit like that – very strange experience for me after such a long time.
I said I shall leave in six months, and they said, ‘why wait six months?’ Go!
S: It is very kind of you, but go now.
It is very convivial – both of you were trying to help!
MG: It was a bit of a shock. And, it was your fault!!
S: Yeah! Everything is my fault!
When you speak these principles, of truth, it is very difficult if it is not in the proper environment. Really. If you are in an academic environment where the culture of debate is very well seen as a process of learning, this is not possible to talk about because the mind makes a feast about debating the truth, and everybody is right. And, everybody is wrong. So, this is why I love Satsang – because Satsang is a very special situation – it is not a course. You are not going to come away with a diploma – there is no beginning and end. You are not coming for anything in particular, and you are coming to listen to me – not to debate with me. Then, you will accept only what is true to you, and that is something that happens democratically and natural. I have never been interested in debating. And many times it happens in a public Satsang – they come and I have to remind them that it is not a debate.
MG: That is my own point where I feel I cannot debate this.
S: It is not about debating and also it is difficult to say in the outside of Satsang. In Satsang, I feel free to say, ‘I don’t mind what you think’. Sometimes, I have to go to the extreme of saying, ‘you came to listen to me, not me to listen to you’. This is Satsang, and this protects me from that.
MG: Yes, it is a bit strange – I am in a situation where everyone has their view, but I do end up saying, ‘yes, but I am right and you are wrong’. And that is not what is expected.
S: No. Otherwise, you have to have an enormous amount of clarity to say, ‘you know what, we are both right’ – each from our perspectives. And, to be able to explain that.
MG: Yes, they would not understand that.
S: Yes, that is beautiful. Thank you – it is good to see you.
Do you need the coin? (the coin is often used to make a decision one way or the other).
S: Are you sure?
Or, if it is heads, you need the coin….and…(laughter)…tails you don’t.
OK, if it is Head, you write the book, if it is tails, you don’t write the book.
Attention at your feelings….ready?…..
(flips the coin).
MG: (tails) I don’t write the book
S: You look happy – sort of….
MG: a relief! (laugher)
S: But, what did you wish for when it was in the air?
MG: (laughter)….. I have four books.
There is one that I would not mind writing…..so, I guess the other three go…and the fourth one I think about.
S: What is the fourth one about?
MG: French philosophy.
S: French philosophy?! Well…Rousseau is most admired by me…and he has not had sufficient credit.
MG: I agree.
S: I like him very much.
MG: It would be very interesting….
S:…..to talk about French philosophy!?
MG: But, we would bore the audience…..
S: OK. Thank you.