Robert Adams

Satsang Recording

Before I Am

Advaita Satsang with Robert Adams
Before I Am

Robert: Let me ask you a question. Where do you think you were, or what were you, prior to consciousness? What do you think you were? Who can tell me? In other words before you came into this body, before you became conscious, what were you? SH: You mean prior to individual consciousness? (R: Yes.) Not prior to consciousness per se? (R: Both.) Is there any prior to consciousness? (R: Yes, there is.) SS: What, the witness? The witnessing that I perceive in the dream sometimes? R: Not really. SH: Prior to consciousness, would that be consciousness at rest? Would that be no content? (R: Exactly. What were you prior?) Does consciousness relax? (R: What were you prior to that?) There is no prior. (R: There’s no prior? Are you sure?) Yeah. (R: Any more answers, any more bright answers?) (students laugh) There can’t be! It’s absurd! ST: Why can’t it be, though, why would you just dismiss it entirely? SH: Because consciousness is fundamental. Consciousness is all. It’s all there is. How can there be prior to totality, to all that is? R: Tell me, Glen? (SG: Potential?) Umm, any more bright answers? SE: Anything that would be said would only be a concept and would be in phenomenality. It would miss the point entirely. R: That’s the answer, you got it. As long as you can describe it, it’s not that. It’s a mystery. It’s beyond description. The finite can never comprehend the infinite. So as long as you can describe it, and you can talk about it, it’s not that. And this is something you should always remember. So the answer is Silence. That’s the correct answer. You are space, and now you appear to be the image superimposed on space. Now you identify with the image, but prior to consciousness you were not the space, really, nor the image? The reason I say you were not the space is because we can talk about it, so you have a concept of space, and again, as long as you have a concept of space, it’s not that. The only way you can find out is by not saying anything, by catching yourself between thoughts. When you have a thought, and you’re trying to figure out what it is, and when the thought stops, before your next thought enters, that’s it. The space between thoughts is what we are talking about. So the thing to remember again is as long as you can talk about it, as long as you can describe it, as long as you can argue about it, as long as you stick up for your rights and say it’s this or it’s that, you’re wrong. You’re not really wrong, you’re just on the wrong track, because if you were wrong, then something is right, and nothing is right, so there’s nothing wrong. It goes beyond duality concepts. That’s why I tell you to spend so much time alone, when you don’t watch television, and you don’t listen to the phone ring, where you can cut yourself off from the radio. Just sit and be your Self. Then you will experience pure being. For as long as you search, you’ll never find it. After all, ask what you are searching for. You are searching for something that you already are. That’s why you can never find it. If you were not that, then you would search, but you’re already that, so searching becomes fruitless. And what is that? That is the space between your atoms. Every sentient and insentient thing is composed of trillions of atoms, but the space in between is consciousness. Again, we use the word consciousness for want of a better word. (tape break as Robert continues) But again, we have to function in the world, so we don’t walk around trying to be smart. Instead what we do is function in the world as ourselves. Be your Self. If you are your Self, then you’re safe. In other words, you’re not trying to be anything. Just be your Self. What does it mean to be your Self? To live spontaneously. Most of us live from the past, as you know, and then we worry what we’re going to do in the future. If you learn to forget about the past and the future, you’re safe. When you live spontaneously you have no time to think, and that’s when you become the witness. For thoughts are simply about the past and the future. True? When you learn to act in the moment, when you’re acting in the moment you can’t think because you’re acting. Therefore, your thoughts are only on what you’re doing and when that stops there are no thoughts, and you go on to the next thing. But you do not try to analyze the thing at all, whether everything will work out, whether it’s good or bad, whether you’re making something out of it or not, whether it’s in your favor or against you, all that’s got to go. I received a call from a lady in Santa Cruse the other day and she started to tell me about her marital problems, so I stopped her. I told her I didn’t want to hear anything about any marital problems. Does she know who she is? That’s all I care about. If she knows who she is, then she goes beyond marital problems. She goes beyond concepts, longings, wants, desires. She’ll be safe. For once you lift yourself up nothing can touch you again. The world no longer has any power over you. The world only has power over you when you identify yourself as a body. If you identify yourself as a body, then the world becomes real, objects become real, situations become real, the universe becomes real, God becomes real, everything becomes real and you live in duality. So one day you’re suffering, the next day you’re happy. Happiness leads to suffering, suffering leads to happiness. Of course, that’s human happiness I’m talking about, human suffering. But as soon as you learn to go beyond that, and again that happens by living spontaneously, all suffering ceases. After all, for who is the suffering? For the one who identifies with the thoughts. As an example, somebody gets fired from their job. They start to worry about that and this leads to worrying about the future, because when you worry about the past, getting fired, you’re going to start worrying and thinking, “How will I pay my rent next month? How will I buy food?” And the mind loves that. It starts feeding you more. Pretty soon you imagine yourself evicted from your house and you see yourself in the welfare lines, and you see yourself become a homeless person, and sure enough you do, because that’s what you believe. That’s where your mind is leading you. As long as you feel you have a mind, it becomes very, very powerful. Then you can say that, “Thoughts are things,” for your thoughts will materialize in this world of effects, that which you believe is real. Subsequently, if you start worrying about your job, being terminated, and you start worrying about food, and you start worrying about evictions and all that stuff, you’re really saying to yourself mentally, “That’s what I want to happen,” and you always get what you want. You’ve got to watch yourself. The secret is not to change your thoughts, but to get rid of your thoughts completely. We’re not trying to change negative thoughts to positive thoughts, for all positive thoughts lead to negative thoughts, negative thoughts lead to positive thoughts, that’s duality. We’re trying to transcend the whole bowl of wax, to go beyond, and that’s what happens when you live spontaneously, it happens by itself. Living spontaneously is a meditation. Do not concern yourself with the fruits of your efforts. Everything will take care of yourself, of itself. In other words, what I mean by that is, if you’re in a job for twenty-four years, do not concern yourself if you get terminated or you don’t, that’s not the point. The point is who do you think you are? Do you believe that you’re that frail human being that has been terminated, or that frail person who has lots of marital problems, or that frail person who doesn’t know if he’s going to die or live? Forget about all these things, go beyond it. Identify with the absolute awareness. Identify with the total reality which you really are. You do not identify with those things by affirming them. You identify with those things by what? By silence. You see the difference? There are many schools that tell you, change the negative into a positive, but that’s based on the world of relativity. You’ll have to experience both, and there will be no end to it. But when there’s silence in the mind, that means you get rid of all concepts, of all desires, of all needs, of all wants, of all hurts. You become oblivious to everything. Then the real Self begins to take over, which is you, and you’ll automatically do, or gravitate to, the place where you have to be. It will all happen by itself, but don’t think of that. Think of nothing. Learn how to quiet your mind. Learn how to make your mind quiescent like a motionless lake. A motionless lake can attract, or image, reflect, the sun, the stars, the moon, trees, grass. A lake that is noisy cannot reflect anything. So, when you learn to quiet your mind you reflect your Self, and your Self is always harmony, always bliss, always satchit- ananda, always the absolute reality, always absolute oneness. That’s your real Self. That’s who you really are. It’s all up to you. What do you do with your life everyday? How do you live your life? This doesn’t mean that you have to sit home and meditate all day long. It means you can go about your business. You can work. You cannot work. You can go to a movie. You can watch TV. You can do whatever you like, but never identify with the object! Never identify with what the body is doing. Let the body do whatever it came here to do, but you keep the mind and yourself on your heart, on the light, on consciousness. Quiet your mind any way you want, whatever method you use. Become the witness to your thoughts. Use atma-vichara, self-inquiry, whatever method you have to use, do it, but do it all day long, that’s the secret. Not just when you come here, not just an hour a day, but all during the day. So how would you handle it if you go to your work and they terminate you? Instead of worrying, you would ask the question to yourself, “To whom is this happening? Who’s going through this experience? I am.” Hold onto the I with all your might. Follow the I to the source. Look at the I as a thread that seems to be connected from the source to what you’re thinking about. And all of your thoughts are attached to the that thread, to the I thread. All of your fears, all of your frustrations, all of your desires, everything is attached to the I thread, and as you hold on to it tight; you follow it, follow it into the heart center. Then it will just seem to disappear. The reason I say it will seem to disappear is because it never existed to begin with,(laughs) so it appears to disappear. But once that happens you’re free and you will not be disturbed by any mortal condition, and you will be happy. But when I say you’ll be happy I am not referring to human happiness. I am referring to happy-happy, happy hour, really happy, for no reason. Again because your true nature is happiness, your true nature is bliss. When you get rid of the other stuff your true nature shines forth effortlessly. That’s why we call this the pathless path, because there’s really no path. There’s only a quietness of the mind, following the I to the source. Then all of a sudden you become omnipresence, you become omniscience, you become omnipotence. Then you can say, “I am That I am,” but there will be nobody left to say anything really. You will just bask in the sunshine of your love, of your happiness, of your bliss. Somebody else called and asked me to explain, and I’ve done this before but I’ll go into it again, “What is the difference between a seeker, a disciple and a devotee.” We talked about it a couple of times, but some of you are calling and asking me about it, so I’ll just touch on it again. A “seeker” is a blessed person, because of previous experiences in different lives, has been fortunate enough to begin searching for truth. A seeker spends many years, perhaps many incarnations, seeking truth. But the mistake they make is they go from teacher to teacher, from Hatha Yoga to Karma Yoga, Bhakta Yoga to Kundalini Yoga. They go from Christianity to Hinduism, from Hinduism to Buddhism, from Buddhism to Zen, from Zen to the Tao. And the searcher keeps going from one to the other, from one to the other, from one to the other. The searcher has not yet practiced anything. They just listen at different meetings. They read book after book on all kinds of subjects. They become very intellectual as far as truth teachings are concerned, and they are able to discourse everything under the sun. They can talk about everything. They have all kinds of rhetoric. They know about all kinds of spiritual subjects, yet they have never had a spiritual experience. And this can be dangerous if they do not find an efficient teacher who will explain to them what they’re doing, for they can go on like that all of their lives, and go from one life to the next, one life to the next, one life to the next. They will remain a seeker, because the path becomes interesting. You know what it’s like? It’s like a king has invited you to the kingdom to share the kingdom with him. And he lives on two hundred acres of land. The land is beautiful. So you drive in the front gate and you’re on the way to the king’s house, but you see beautiful flowers and you become fascinated. You forget about the king and get into agriculture and start planting new flowers and get involved in planting flowers. But then you remember the king and you start driving. But this time you see beautiful caves and rock formations. You become fascinated so you stop again and get involved in rock formations and caves. You forget about the king. Years pass, you remember the king again. So you go forward and this time you see dancing girls dancing in the weeds, in the flowers, in the brush. You get fascinated with that and you spend years on that subject, and so forth and so on. You never get to the king. If you get to the king, he would have shared the kingdom. That’s what a seeker does. A seeker becomes fascinated by different teachings, and buys every book about that particular teaching, becomes well read, but never has a spiritual experience. Now we come to the disciple. The disciple is a seeker who has been touched by a teaching. The disciple discovers Zen and just loves it. But instead of staying with a teacher the disciple goes from Zen teacher to Zen teacher, to Zen teacher. Not like the seeker who goes from one teaching to the other. At least the disciple has settled down and he stays with the teacher a while, then he goes to another Zen teacher, and then to another Zen teacher. And they go on like this from incarnation to incarnation. Now a devotee is completely different. A devotee has found the path they are looking for and the teacher that they want. So they become the path. They become the teaching and they become the teacher. They take care of the that particular path they are on. It becomes reciprocal thing. A devotee realizes that the teacher of their Zen path has given up everything to teach the path, so they take care of the teacher’s needs, they make sure the path is right for everybody, and they devote themselves completely to that particular path. So what happens to that kind of devotee? Pretty soon they merge with the teacher’s consciousness and they become one and they become realized and that’s the basic difference between a seeker, a disciple and a devotee. Any questions about anything? SG: Is there even a choice for a seeker to be a disciple and a disciple to be a devotee? Or is choice an illusion? (R: No, not really. You’re right.) It’s just their tendency for it? R: Yes. You’re going to do whatever you came here to do. But the only choice you have in life is not to identify with the body. So when you don’t identify with the body, you will actually gravitate to where you are supposed to be, and everything will happen. But you’re right, we have no choice. (SG: There is no me?) Exactly. This is why I say those of us who have come here, it is not by choice, it is no accident. You’re here because that’s where you’re supposed to be, that’s the way it is, and I’m here because it’s where I’m supposed to be. I never chose to be a teacher. I never chose to be anything. But I’m here and you’re here. So what are we going to do about it? Why complain? SH: If there is no choice, then you can’t choose whether or not to identify with the body? R: That’s the only freedom you’ve got. (SH: Do you have that freedom?) You have that freedom. (SH: But that’s plain out and out choice.) That’s the only choice you have. (SH: I was under the impression that there was no choice whatsoever, period!) There is no choice whatsoever, period, except not to react to conditions and not to identify with the body. If it weren’t for that we would be automatons, but we’re not automatons. But the awareness in us, the reality, makes us have that choice, not to identify with the body and not to react to any condition. Everything else is predetermined. SK: To the extent I don’t believe that, then I have a me? R: No you don’t. (SK: Or I think I have a me?) As long as you believe you have a me, you have a choice. In reality you don’t have a me. But if you were speaking from reality, the question would be redundant. There would be no need for the question. (SK: I don’t quite understand that.) As long as you believe that you have a me, then you have a choice. (SK: A choice whether I am going to be a seeker, a disciple or a devotee?) No. The choice is again whether to identify with the body or not. (SK: I understand that. That clearly I understand.) That’s the only choice you’ve got. (SK: But I don’t believe that though.) You’ve the choice because you are a me. You believe you are a me. And when you don’t believe you are a me, and you are not a me, then nothing, that’s it. (SK: Yeah.) Nobody to talk about a choice. SK: So the question is, according to how much I think I am a me, and I don’t believe that things are pre-determined – In other words, I seem to think or feel that I have a choice as to whether I want to be a disciple or a devotee, or I’m going to go somewhere or not go somewhere. R: It appears that way, but again, you’re speaking from an ego viewpoint. (SK: Right, and that’s the me that is blocking from understanding, whether that’s actually true or not, what you’re saying?) If you were not a me, there would be no one to ask that question. That question wouldn’t even come up. But as long as you are the me, then you’re thinking whether you have a choice or not. Just the thinking about it shows that you are a me. (SK: Umm.) You follow? (SK: Yeah.) So this is addressed to me’s. (laughs) SE: I think what is arising with you, and possibly with you, and bothered me for a while, is that Ramesh teaches that all you need to do is to believe you aren’t a me. And the teachings itself will perform their work even though they obviously are still feeling like a me. In other words, he obviates practice and says that practice is not necessary. But I think it becomes a kind of conceptual Advaita that way, because he says practice is not necessary, just listening to the teachings, and there’s no practice, and I don’t think there’s much enlightenment from that point of view. In other words, he says believe you’re Krishna and deny that you’re Arjuna, even though that you really are Arjuna in the every day life. R: He’s got a point, to an extent. It’s like the razors edge. The reason I don’t like to say that is because for new people it gives them license to do what they like, to become arrogant and belligerent, and they say, “I am total awareness, it makes no difference what I do. I can kill animals, I can do anything, nothing matters.” I have seen many people with those attitudes, who are beginners, so you’ve got to be careful. That’s why Ramana Maharshi was so wise and he taught there are two ways, one of bhakta, of self-surrender, and one of atma-vichara. And they’re both correct. SG: If you’re kind of a tamasic tendencies, Ramesh says that if you have these tendencies to go out and be arrogant, it wouldn’t matter if you listen to those teachings or not, you’re going to go out and be arrogant. There isn’t any choice. Those tendencies will take you that way anyway. R: This is true, so the secret is not to identify with the tendencies or the body, but to identify with the Self, and that will take care of everything. But to identify with the Self is sometimes not the easiest thing to do, so you have to practice certain disciplines, certain meditations, surrendering yourself to God, and things of that nature. And this will make you humble and it will give you humility. And that will automatically lead to atmavichara, self-inquiry. Then everything will happen of its own accord. We have to be very careful, especially we as Westerners, not to believe that I am consciousness, and I am God, and I am ultimate oneness. We realize that this is the ultimate truth about ourselves, but then watch yourself, watch your actions, see what you’re really all about. Don’t use truth to cover up your weaknesses. For example, if you were a drug user, it is true if you come to satsang, and if you understand the realities, eventually you will stop using drugs. But, in the meantime, you do the best you can, physically, mentally and otherwise to stop the habit. And it’s all preordained anyway, but you do the best you can. And as you follow the teachings, everything will take care of itself. What do you think of that? SK: Could it lead to a neurosis? (Robert laughs) You’re trying the best you can to do something and it’s preordained for that to happen, so you keep trying and keep trying and it’s… R: Well the only neurosis you have is that you believe that you are the body, that’s a neurosis. When you take your mind off the body, then you will know what to do, to stop the drug habit. (SK: But what if it’s not preordained that you’re going to stop the drug habit?) Then you won’t do it. But, if you realize your choice is not to identify with the drug habit, not to identify with the body, not to react to it, that feeling alone will cause something positive to happen. (SK: Like possibly not having drugs in your life?) Exactly. (SK: All right, okay, so that whole question I had is answered.) If you say so. (laughter) (SK: I mean this preordained matter is not like a set box.) I hate to use those words sometimes, because you may say to yourself, “Well if it’s preordained, then maybe I should keep on taking heroin.” (SK: Right.) And we go for the rest of our life taking heroin, we say, “Well, it’s preordained, what am I going to do. I might as well enjoy it.” (laughter) So you’ve got to be careful with that. It’s preordained to the extent that you identify with the situation, that’s preordained. So as soon as you start to identify with the Self, with total awareness, then things begin to change. Changes will come, they have to. (SK: Yeah that’s totally understandable.) SH: And that will happen when it’s ordained to happen. R: Yes it will. (SH: There is no you that can make it happen?) Exactly. Everything is preordained, predetermined. Is that clear enough? (SH: How can you get in the way then if it’s all preordained? The separate me, the separate you appears as though it’s getting in the way and slowing down the process and dragging its heels.) Of course. (SH: That’s the appearance.) That’s the appearance. (SH: But actually it isn’t so, things are going exactly the way they’re supposed to go.) Yes. (SH: Precisely.) But do not identify with that. Identify with the Self. (SH: Yeah.) And that will take care of itself. Then you will have no time to think how slow things are, or how fast they are. (SH: Oh I see.) As I mentioned earlier, if you work spontaneously, if you stay centered in the now, then there will be no time to feel sorry for yourself or think about your habits, and by not thinking about habits, pure meditation takes place. They stop of their own accord. (SH: Umm. Nobody stops them, they just do it automatically, spontaneously.) Because you never really had them. (SH: Well they appeared to be there.) And the appearance comes that you stopped it too. (SH: No, I didn’t do anything.) Exactly. (SH: I’m just watching the show.) There is nothing to do. (SH: And no one to do it.) And there is no one to watch. (SH: Right, but there is watching?) Who watches? (SH: Noone. There is just watching only?) Watching doesn’t even exist. (SH: Which is awareness?) That doesn’t even exist. Awareness does not exist. As we spoke about it Sunday, remember? Those are just terms, concepts, for the ajnani to talk about, pure awareness. SH: Then it will be reduced to silence because any term we put up, you’ll shoot it down. R: Yes. Now you’ve got it. (SH: Okay, fair enough, again, it comes to the mind shutting up, shutting down.) So ask yourself, “Who has to shut up?” nobody. There’s nobody home. (SH: Hmmm, sounds good. (Robert laughs) Has the smell of freedom, perfect freedom.) SG: In practicing vichara, every thought that starts, as soon as it’s recognized inquiry takes place, “From where does it come?” then you go, “It comes to me. then who am I?” Every thought with no judgements or not? (R: Umm.) And it’s just constant, there is never that riding the thoughts to its duration? Conceptualizing? (R: No you’re not riding any thoughts and there is no conceptualizing.) I guess there is no suppressing either? (R: No.) (tape break as Robert continues) R: …the Self you always were, shines forth. So we really don’t want to get too technical because simplicity and realization are synonymous. We don’t want to read voluminous works, and go into all kinds of concepts and meditations, and things we have to do. We just want to, in a calm way, to realize that there is nothing to realize, (students laugh) and be free of the whole thing. (laughter) SE: When I was in San Francisco I visited Alcatraz. (R: Did you.) And they had these eight by twelve cells. And some places had doors that would close because it’s an isolation cell and you have this thing that you wear that tell us about how the prisoners spent twenty to twenty-two hours a day in their cell, the rest of the time exercising. I felt, “How marvelous.” Not having to do anything, just be able to sit there and get the meals. And Kerema was appalled that I had that attitude. (laughter) R: Well you know you’re right. Because look how many monks live in a cell, in a monastery, in a zhendo, in an ashram. They choose to live in the little cell for years and years and years. (SK: That’s a recurring joke. When are we going to go to prison, but of course the other aspects are probably bad.) But you have to go to a hardcore prison. To get those special cells.) (laughter) (SK: It’s not worth it, is it?) What are they using Alcatraz for now? SE: Tourist attraction, just bring tourist to look at the prison and they make money doing that. It has become a preserved park now. I think we aught to take it over.(laughter) The Indians took it over in the seventies. Time for the Jnanis to take it over. (laughter) Get a piece of the rock. (laughter) (SH: Take over the rock Robert and we’ll all come and join you.) R: With machine guns. SE: I have noticed a difference. Two years ago, when I ran into Nisargadattas teachings, and I only encountered emptiness inside. Now, having been with you for a month or so, I feel very definitely the sense of I-ness located in this area, and it’s sort of like painful, and blissful, and love, at the same time, but it’s definitely there, the emptiness is no longer there. And I have a feeling that it has to do with the nature of the teachings, and the teaching style. You’re more into practice, and into concentrating on the I. But Nisargadatta talks from the absolute point of view, and there’s no I, there’s just emptiness. I have a feeling a shift has taken place in the focus of my awareness because of being with you. R: Certain people attract certain teachers, that’s all. SK: There seems to be a difference between the conceptual practice and practice also. It seems to me that a lot of people who I saw at Ramesh’s teachings were also into conceptual stuff. And I think that same danger comes out as – maybe not as much license to do something, but they think they’ve attained something. They think they’ve attained something substantial, a substantial realization, when they just understand conceptually what it is they should be having an experience of. So they take a really sound conceptual understanding to be the experience itself, and maybe are deluded. R: Who knows? I don’t compare teachers. I don’t even know what I am doing. I don’t have a teaching. I’m just here. Nothing is planned, what method I’m going to use. (laughs) (SH: No format?) No format. This is not even a teaching. It’s nothingness, emptiness. You can call it whatever you like. (SH: Are you able to share that?) With who? (SH: With me.) But you don’t exist. (SH: Well, theoretically speaking, us, those who come, quote, to sit at your feet.) It’s up to you to pick it up. I’m just here. (SH: But that depends entirely on the rightness of the teacher.) That’s right, because to me, there is no one with whom to share, because I see you as me. There’s only one. (SH: We all appear exactly that way, all, everywhere.) Everything is the same. (SH: Not just here everyone you see?) Again, it’s like a mirror and its reflection. I identify with the mirror, but I also see the reflection. But I realize the reflection is the mirror. (SH: The mirror bamboozling itself?) The mirror creating its images, reflections. (SH: The mirror creating its mistaken conceptions, mistaken mystery images?) But they don’t really exist. (SH: If they’re illusory they don’t really exist.) They don’t. (SH: That’s a strange thing for the mirror to do, doesn’t it ever get tired of this nonsense?) Well the mirror is not really doing it. It appears to be doing it. (SH: Then what is doing it?) Nothing. (SH: Nothing is doing it?) There is no doing going on. (SH: It’s just occurring?) Nothing is done. (SH: It’s just plain not occurring?) It’s not occurring. (SK: So that’s why everything is peaceful when there is no mind.) That’s why, when your mind is quiet, you find bliss. ST: I don’t understand why Ed feels I in his chest, though you talk about nothingness. R:That happens. Of course, but before you come to nothingness you can feel it in your chest. That’s happened to lots of people. We talk about nothingness but are you experiencing nothingness? Talking about it and experiencing it is two different things. SH: And there are different levels of that also? Ed was feeling that there was nothing there, he was nothing at some level, but evidently it wasn’t the deepest level because now the sense of an I is recurring, causing him some pain. (R: To some people there appears to be levels.) That’s another illusion, okay. The illusions certainly appear as if they were there. Momentarily, you know they are momentary, but while they last they look to be there. R: Well this is why I always bring up the sky is blue. Always think of that when you get confused, because in reality, there is no sky and there is no blue. (laughs) There’s just space. But we think the sky is blue. And the snake is the rope and the rope is the snake. We think, in the dark, a rope is a snake, but upon investigation we find it’s a rope, and once we find it’s a rope, we’ll never be tricked again. So once you find your reality, you can never be fooled again. But like the mirage in the desert, when you see water, upon investigation there’s no water, there’s only sand. So we see things, we see images. Our senses tell us there are images all over, but upon investigation you will find that there are no images at all. They don’t exist. There is only space. And the images are superimposed on space. But the images do not exist of their own accord. If the Self did not exist, there would be no images. (SH: So the Self is producing the images?) Apparently. (SH: Apparently or actually?) Apparently. Because the Self really does not produce anything. But it appears to. (SH: It induces them indirectly?) The Self is contained in itself. The Self is self-contained. It does absolutely nothing. But as long as we are an image, or we believe we’re the body, the Self appears to project images. But when you realize that you are not the body, that all stops. (SH: That’s the maya of it?) That’s the maya, the leela. (SH: Too much leela.) (laughter) Well many people enjoy the play, because they wish to continue. They keep identifying with their conditions, and their situations, and the problems with their health, with their bank accounts, with their wives, with their husbands. They keep identifying with those things, and as long as you are attached to anything you cannot find freedom. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have anything. Possess all you want, but never be possessed by your possessions. (SK: Or anyone else’s possessions.) SE: I was talking to one woman who saw you, that I recommended come here and she said, “Robert is too advanced for me. I like maya, I just want it more comfortable.” (laughter) R: That’s the state of most people, of course. (SE: But she was clear about it.) That’s why the world is in the precarious condition it’s in because everybody is involved in their own game, so-to-speak. (SK: That’s why this is particularly a sharp razor blade, the path. It’s like a razor blade.) It can cut you. SH: It would be all right if nobody interfered with my game, then I could carry my game out totally and completely without any trouble, (R: That’s right.) But it’s in conflict with everybody else’s game. (R: Exactly. That’s the irony of it.) (laughter) SK: Are there some people who can have their cake and eat it too? (SH: We’re all trying.) R: As long as you still call it cake, it’s like there’s something here for you. What’s the cake? (SK: The cake is living and enjoying the world, and the icing is having realization.) When you realize the truth, it’s virtually impossible to enjoy the world. (SK: Well yeah that’s what I’m thinking.) Because the world keeps changing, changing, changing.) (SK: There’s no really way to have the cake and eat the icing too, Right?) Again, the world is not cake. SK: I think there is only one person in this room who can do that. (R: Who’s that?) Sam. SS: (Sam replies) What? (laughter) (R: He’s been eating a lot of cake.) It wasn’t cake. R: Ramana Maharshi said that the only problem you’ve really got is that you believe that you were born. (ST: That was your leading question today.) It was? (ST: “What were we before we were born?”) Prior to consciousness. (ST: Which is really at the time of birth isn’t it?) What is at the time of birth? (ST: Consciousness?) Yes, at the time of birth consciousness takes place. But prior to consciousness there was nothing – space. SK: There wasn’t even potential for consciousness? (R: Absolute zero.) But there was something there which was a concept, before. R: As long as there is something, it’s not that. There’s no thing whatsoever. It’s beyond words and thoughts. (ST: But there is something.) What is it? What? (ST: If we were never born then that means there was something before we thought we were being born.) What was it? Who thought? (ST: Oh, I’m sorry. I used that word.) No, but what was it? Who was the something? It’s a mystery. Nobody knows. (ST: We don’t know what, but there was something.) There’s nothing. But nothing is beyond the senses, so it sounds stupid. When your mind is quiet and peaceful, and you sit in the silence, then you become that you’re referring to and that’s none other than your Self. But don’t try to explain the Self. Once you try to explain it, it’s not it. That’s what I mean when I always tell you, just be your Self, be your Self and you will be safe. Don’t be this and don’t be that, but be yourself. Don’t be a woman, don’t be a man, don’t be anything. Just be your Self. (SH: The Self then is just a word pointing to something that is wordless, indescribable and cannot be possibly explained.) Yes (SH: But it indicates, it’s like a finger pointing.) Like an arrow. A finger pointing to the moon. (silence) R: As we sat in the silence for a couple minutes just now, what thoughts came into your mind? Don’t tell me, just think to yourself. Whatever thoughts there were, good or bad, they’ve got to go. Even if you were thinking what a wonderful satsang, that’s got to go. All thoughts have got to go, for your wonderful satsang will not bring you realization, emptiness will, nirvana. Many times I tell newcomers in the meeting, “Please do not believe anything I say.” Why should you? But experiment on yourself and see what happens. But just don’t accept what I say blindly. Find out for yourself. Do not let a day go by when you do not practice something on yourself – by asking the question, by being the witness, by using the Who-am-I mantra. Who-am-I is not a mantra, remember, but a method we teach, if you want a mantra, with your breath. “Who am I?” with your inhalation, “I am Brahman,” between breaths, and “I am not the body,” with the exhalation. If you practice these things, it should keep you busy from thinking. That’s the only purpose. To make you one pointed, so you can stop thinking so much. For many people come and tell me, “The direct path is very hard for me because I can’t stop thinking. I’m always thinking about something, thoughts just come to me. And even when I ask, “to whom do they come? I can’t stop them.” So I give them that mantra, and then they can substitute for a while. And as they substitute, they become stronger and the mind becomes weaker. They become stronger and the mind becomes weaker until the mind stops thinking. Of course, the other way is total surrender to God or to your Self. Even when I say total surrender to God, some people still believe they have to surrender to some kind of outside deity, but there is no outside deity. Total surrender to God means to surrender to yourself, to give up all your desires, all your needs, all your wants, all your questions, and just say, “Thy will be done.” That’s it, and let yourself or God take care of everything. Have no anxious thought about anything. And if you really totally surrender to God you’ll be okay. You’ll be taken care of. Whatever method you use it will only lead you upward. SG: Sometimes I’ve found that with vichara the mind is quiet. Other times there’s like a barrage of thoughts. It’s like skeet shooting and it’s like I need a machine gun sometimes for every thought that goes by. (R: Yes.) Then sometimes I find where I think I have it quiet, all of a sudden there’s like a movement of thoughts that’s not words, but it’s, woops, there’s one, like a big fish under the ocean. R: Yes. Well first, observe it and don’t act, and then ask, “To whom does it come?” So do both, observe and ask the question. (SG: It’s actually a fun game.) Yes, it is. (Prashad is served.) R: Okay, Here’s to consciousness. (ST: That’s just like saying, “Here goes nothing.”) Nothing is what you are. You’re good for nothing. Aren’t you happy I told you that? (ST: Oh, I don’t believe that.) You’re good for nothing! Nothing is everything. (ST: Oh, okay, I’ll accept that. (laughter) (SG: Are we all good for nothing?) Of course! (tape break then Robert winds up satsang) R: Remember to love yourself, to worship yourself, to pray to yourself, to find joy in yourself, because God dwells in you as you. Peace. Thank you for coming, and I love you all. Have a good life. (tape ends)