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Issue #2317, Wednesday, November
16, 2005, Editor: Mark
is nothing to gain. Abandon all
imaginings and know yourself as you are.
Self-knowledge is detachment. All
craving is due to a sense of insufficiency.
When you know that you lack nothing, that
all there is, is you and yours, desire ceases.
- Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to AlongTheWay
Ramana Maharshi's gift to the world was not that he realized the Self.
Many people have had a deep realization of the Self. Ramana's real gift was that he embodied that realization so thoroughly.
It is one thing to realize the Self; it is something else altogether to embody that realization to the extent that there is no gap between inner revelation and its outer expression.
Many have glimpsed the realization of Oneness; few consistently express that realization through their humanness.
It is one thing to touch a flame and know it is hot, but quite another to jump into that flame and be consumed by it.
- Adyashanti, posted to MillionPaths
There is a particular snag in the spiritual investigation that must be unhooked, that must be unraveled. It's not a new one. You've certainly heard of it before. It is the tendency and the habit to look for truth or perfection or realization outside of oneself. It's important to understand how this comes about. Then maybe that understanding will be the means of unraveling this very tight snag.
An exquisite and important moment in a lifestream occurs when one recognizes the disgusting habits, the addictions, the horror, the violence, and the filth that one has called oneself. It is a great shock, a great shaking, and it is very important, otherwise, the horror and filth just continue to accumulate in the name and the exultation of "me" and "my story." This recognition is a spiritual shock, and there can be, and usually is, a great trembling, and then a desire to find what is true, what is real, what is pure, what is holy, what is free. So, the search begins "out there." We have many exquisite examples of "out there." There have been sages and saints, messiahs, god women and god men throughout time who we can point to and say, "Ah, there it is. Why can't I get there?" Then there are many attempts to fix what was seen as disgusting and limited so that it can be like what is imagined to be pure and holy. All of you have tried this. Certainly this is not news, right? There is striving and working, a sense of gaining ground and sense of losing ground, until finally, there is another great spiritual shock. I call it "the great disillusionment." When it is recognized that all of the fixing of the character or the personality or the habits or the addictions still has not touched that seeming gulf of separation between who you are and the perfection itself, there is a great disillusionment. Such a gulf appears there. This is the soul's longing for God. And you see clearly that all of the scrambling and gaining and climbing up the ladders still hasn't touched the depth of this longing. This is crucial. This is the dark night of the soul. It is the recognition; I will never be able to do it. I've tried, I've worked, but I will never be able to do it.
There are many, many avenues away from this moment. You might encourage yourself with thoughts like, Yes, you can do it. Just wait, God will come for you. Try harder. Stick to it. But I invite you, rather than taking any of those avenues, to actually allow yourself to fall onto this double-edged sword of disillusionment and longing. Fall right through the middle so that the sword rips apart this sense of a gulf of separation. Fall right into the gulf.
Refuse to take any avenue of comfort or hope or at this point, even belief. Actually be willing to meet the sword, to have it rip open your heart.
This is the true invitation of satsang. It is a radical invitation. It is an acceptance of not moving from the longing, from the disillusionment, to see, Who am I, really? What is really here? It is an acceptance to see what is deeper than what is perceived, what is deeper than what is sensed. It is an acceptance to die. All of the conditioning is not to die. All of the support and the hope and the belief is, I won't die, or If I die, I'll go to heaven where I'll meet my grandmother, or my friends who went before me. Under all of these hopes and beliefs is this longing. I invite you to fall into that longing. Not into the story of the longing, but into the longing itself. It is not separate from the disillusionment. True disillusionment is holy. Illusion is wiped out. What cannot be imagined, what is not subject to the mind's simulation, reveals itself. While it is awesome to meet some person or some moment that can shake loose the illusion, and while that cannot help but be revered, it is very important to see how the individual mind creates a gulf of separation. All of the greatest teachers have said, "You and I are one," or "I and my father are one," or "All is the one Self." It is ironic how the mind takes that and makes it into an illusion of separation; He and his father are one. She and they are the same. All is one, except for me, and I am left out. It's familiar, isn't it? These habits of thought are strong, and even with the best intentions, they get reinforced. In the willingness to stop feeding these habits of thought, the longing and the disillusionment are faced directly, much as Christ on his cross faced the apparent abandonment of God.
This is open to everyone. Somehow, to some degree or another, you have accepted the invitation. There is always more. Come in more deeply, more deeply, until finally, you can find no distinction between in and out, between the father and the child, between God and soul, between you and me. This is the possibility that the invitation to satsang reveals. This is your possibility. It is not limited to Buddha or Christ. It is not limited to Ramana. It is not limited to Gangaji. It is not limited, and that is the greatest teaching. It is limitless. God's presence is omnipresent, everywhere, every time. This is the promise of all great teachings. It is the message that my guru's guru transmitted to him. It is the message that my guru transmitted to me. It is the message that is freely transmitted to you. It is the message that comes from the core of your being. To simply receive what is already in the core of your being is the willingness to come in. Not some other time, but now, always now. So I welcome you. I welcome you in. What appears to be out is also in.
- Gangaji, San Diego, California - March 7, 1997
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