Shining World

A New Toilet Seat

Topics:  two stages of nididhyasana

Dearest James,

I just wanted to restate how thankful I am for your swift & direct kick in the butt! I don’t know how I fell so far off the karma yoga & nididhyasana band wagon. Even when things were difficult, they were easy until difficult circumstances landed very close to home, never letting up.

James:  I don’t necessarily relish giving butt kicks.  I felt like saying something earlier but effective teaching is all about timing.  Otherwise, it sounds like pontification or hectoring, which is not generally well-received.  Krishna counsels wise people to not “unsettle the minds of the ignorant,” (until the time is right).  Ignorance means ignoring one’s duty to oneself and the  teachings. 

Sally: After our chat & then your email giving an outline & direction for nididyasana practice, I feel like I’ve come home & am being wrapped in a huge, warm blanket. Since all of my “keeper” books are in storage (mostly Vedanta texts & your books, of course), I’m able to read scripture on your website. And I read the postings there, returning several times each day. I had realized that the new website was great but it’s AMAZING!!! I was able to watch the satsang from last Sunday from the beginning. It’s so useful to be able to stop & go back & listen again. Plus, it’s very entertaining to see you & Sundari together 🙂  

It’s been humbling to stop & reflect on how long it’s been since I’ve had Vedanta constantly in my mind. For years, it was always there. So I’m very grateful for the jolt that’s brought me back even though there is no me, no my mind, etc. It’s such a relief to once again feel that way & to realize that thoughts & feelings are things that just arise & subside in Awareness, not “my” responsibility. 

James: Self-realization is duality.  There is a person and a Self that is realized or known.  As such it is subject to the zero-sum rule that obtains in non-dual reality.  There is an upside and a downside.  The upside is that you don’t waste time figuring out the ‘’who am I” issue.  The downside is that you think there isn’t anything more to do so you just speed forward into the future.  You’re happy and inspired.  Worlds to conquer!

But the one who realized remains in the world, which is fine unless he or she doesn’t take care of his or herself apparent self spiritually.  It’s a dereliction of duty to one’s Self, the teacher, and the teaching.  Whereas the teaching was freely given, it is a violation of dharma not to continue to uphold it in daily life.  If a person doesn’t continue his or her practice and just blithely rolls along with events as they unfold, they come back to haunt one fine day, as you know.  If you make your sadhana the center of each day, you will sail right through turbulent seas untouched.    

Nididyasana is called meditation before Self-realisation and nididyasana after.  If it is after Self-realization, it has two stages.  The first stage is removing emotional and intellectual remnants from childhood.  People are always in a hurry to run to the next thing, so they leave a trail of negative feelings and bad ideas behind.  One’s subconscious mind is stuffed with useless stuff, like the closets, drawers, basements, and garages of typical middle-class homes.  You know the drill.  

The second stage is to make sure you don’t speed forward immediately after Self-realization and attack your life with gusto.  If you do, your spiritual closets, basement and drawers will remain cluttered with teaching remnants.  The goal is to feel that you never did seek Self-realization, you never qualified, had a guru, or discriminated satya from mithya.   You won’t think, “I’m cooked” because that “I” isn’t there.  If you are diligent, you will wake up every morning pure as the driven snow.  You will be relaxed and present.  There will be no karma yoga or jnana yoga for you.  You will look in the mirror and you will smile and think,  “It’s nice being me.  I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t me.”   There will be no time.  Every detail of every object will be fascinating.  I spent over an hour figuring out how to put on a new toilet seat yesterday.  I always loved old stuff and I removed and installed plenty of old wooden toilet seats in a manner of minutes during my house restoration days but, my God!, toilet seat technology has moved on.  I won’t go into detail but I was humbled and amazed at human ingenuity.  

Sally: Anyway, I wanted to express my deep gratitude again. I’m ever thankful for being introduced to my teacher!

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