Shining World

Clarence and Kathy Breakup

A Tough Love Satsang

Hey Sundari and Ramji,

As you know I broke up recently in the middle of work related stress. Initially, this email was me whining, but as the weeks have gone by and clarity has returned, it has become an inquiry into some ignorance that has been quietly fermenting these last few years. Like a fine mead now ready to be drunk. That said, it is still a bit whiny. 😉

Ramji: The whine wasn’t too bad. It’s also nice that irony hasn’t abandoned you. You seem to be in a pretty good place. I noticed that as self-aware as you seem, however, you’re not aware enough to catch the dualistic thinking. If you were it would have saved you a lot of words. I hope you haven’t mistaken mead for kool-aid. In any case, it is lovely to hear from you…I think.

I have had many vivid dreams lately. This first one reminded me of you somewhat, and is when the move from self psychoanalysis finally shifted back toward Vedantic inquiry.

Ramji: It needs to shift a tad more, I’d say. You mean not-self analysis, I believe.

I was with my ex-partner an abandoned town. She told me to go down a street. As I turned a corner, there was a beautiful, old, wise gypsy lady waiting for me. She told me her name was vidya (knowledge) and that I must renounce the person. Then I felt something tickle my leg. I turned and looked down and there was a baby staring up at me. This dream was very helpful for me. I have debated whether to send this email or not as it is somewhat contrary to renouncing the person.

Ramji: You think? I’d say definitely, not somewhat contrary. Anyway, it’s clear that you don’t want kids.

However, I came to the conclusion that it is best to renounce the person with the knowledge of Isvara. Thus, I am trying to comprehend why Isvara presented me with this experience, and to identify the tweaks in my chain. 

Ramji: Isvara presented this experience to expose your thinking but the you that’s writing doesn’t conclude that it’s best to renounce the person. It happens when the logic of seeking is assimilated. Maybe that’s what you mean. The self previously under the spell of ignorance renounces ignorance and the person goes along with it.

So I’ve had a rough year.

Ramji: I’ve got my hankies ready. Go on.

Soon after I broke up, my ex took up with this guy I know from around here. I knew I still loved her and cared for her…

Ramji: What kind of love was that? Sounds suspiciously like need. I think you mean you cared for her because it pleases you to care for her. What you would that be? Would it be the you you’ve renounced?

…and I thought she felt the same. Nonetheless, we had established that our values were not aligned and so we decided it was best to part ways.

Ramji: Good idea. Did you ever hear of courtship, by the way? Generally, intelligent people stay out of the sack until they are pretty clear about the values issue. If you’re not too bright it may take a few years to figure out that you and the prospective love of your life aren’t a good fit.


Ramji: Here comes the downside.

…when I saw her walk out the front door of where I used to live with this guy, all of a sudden I wanted her back. The if onlys came up in abundance… if only she had given me some time to sort my head out at work, I would have realised that I still loved her and we could have worked on our values. If only she had the decency to keep her new relationship private she could have saved me a lot of pain and blah, blah, blah.

Ramji: A person who is incapable of spending a night alone is not generally interested in how the last warm body feels but I probably don’t have to point out that there is a certain confusion operating. It seems you’re not clear if you’re the one that wants her or the one that doesn’t.

Shut up Clarence, you’re boring me. 🙂

Ramji: I second the motion.

What I see here reminds me of Ramji’s story about renunciation in The Yoga of Love. When I broke up with Kathy I was giving something away and it felt good. However, when she got with this guy all of a sudden it seemed like something was being snatched away from me and it felt bad.

Ramji: Thank God you’re bored with all this mental masturbation. Perhaps you would benefit from practicing JOMO, the joy of missing out. FOMO is so yesterday.

Clarenceji is just paying the heavy price for slacking off on the sadhana these last few years.

Ramji: Isvara is merciful indeed! You need a good kick in the butt. I’ll do my best to deliver it as an instrument of God’s will, of course.

Initially, Kathy was all in on Vedanta. When she seduced me 4 years ago, she was just out of a relationship too, so I shouldn’t be so surprised. She sees herself as a pure yogi and she could not handle the directness and honesty of how Ramji teaches.

Ramji: Ah, yes, I was waiting for victimhood to rear its ugly head. She seduced you? I always thought that duality is a two-way street.

Usually, when they discover that I’m not up to their standards, they run off to India to get a “real mahatma” or they discover a dead guru that suits their fancy.

So this pure yogi gets into bed with you to gain liberation. Go on.

She went through a few other Vedanta gurus but they never impacted her.

Ramji: Like she’s gone through her fair share of guys, I imagine. Why am I not surprised?

I started listening to Swami P. more than Ramji, and half that time was when I was in bed about to fall asleep.

Ramji: I’m sure Swami P. would be happy to know he’s an effective sleep aid. Evidently, Ramji not so much. I take it as a compliment.

As time passed, the Vedanta chats became less and less…

Ramji: As they do

…and she became more controlling, and I could see that my drinking was a trigger for her.

Ramji: Mind like a lazer, Clarence! Wouldn’t that have been a value that cancelled the idea of a relationship from the get-go? Probably not, if you are a drinker yourself. Drugs and alcohol don’t work well for people with low self-esteem but on the bright side they provide a lovely reason to bond.

Due to the rajas of work and lockdown, I had started having a drink every evening.

Ramji: Only one?

Both Kathy’s father and my father were alcoholics, and this triggered a lot of anxiety in her. She is a very insecure person.

Ramji: And no anxiety or insecurity in you, presumably?

I believed I was trying to teach her something about her anxiety, and that if she wanted to be a free person, she was going to have to look at that and her inability to be alone.

Ramji: I’m sure her attraction to you included the idea that not only was she going to get the man of her dreams but a psychoanalyst into the bargain. And what about your ability to be alone? This brings to mind the old saying about the pot calling the kettle black. That wouldn’t include a discussion of your inability to be alone, would it?

However, in retrospect, it is equally true that I was spiritually bypassing and compromising my values by engaging in my slothful tendencies. I needed to stand up and say, I am going somewhere else today, or I am going to sleep by myself tonight, or I am going to get up and read scripture, but I didn’t, I became weak. What to do? Ah well, he who travels alone travels the fastest. 🙂

Ramji: That may be true, but only if you don’t confuse aloneness with loneliness. I wouldn’t say, you “became” weak. I say you were weak all along. If you are really committed to your spiritual growth, you will summon the courage to stand up to your neediness, sleep alone and enjoy it.

I can’t give you a gold star for copping to the spiritual by-pass, however. It’s a mystery why you think that this relationship had anything to do with spirituality.

Additionally, I realise that the relationship created a vasana for physical touch and affection, one that I didn’t really have before.

Ramji: After you are well through the sacred portals of middle age you suddenly discovered a vasana for physical touch and affection?

Unconsciously, my devotion toward the Self was slowly shifting back towards transitory objects. So here I am again, unlearning some tamasic habits.

Ramji: Presumably by learning some sattvic habits.

On a more positive note, I decided to sublimate my evening drink last week and it is fine. In fact I prefer it as I have more time for upasana, scripture, and inquiry and write to you. As Rumi said, the highest form of learning is unlearning. 

Ramji: I’m happy to hear that you survived the absence of your night cap. I’m glad you didn’t climb into a warm bathtub with a bottle of downers and razor blades.

Unfortunately or fortunately though, breaking up in this way has triggered some demons from my childhood that I spoke to you about 5 years back, when I had a similar but not as intense situation as this one. Back then I saw it primarily as jealousy. However, now I think perhaps my deepest samskara is around betrayal.

Ramji: Cool. One can always use a new red herring to obsess about. So, what is it, fortunate or unfortunate?

I do understand that Kathy is another manifestation of awareness.

Ramji: Mighty spiritual of you, Clarence.

However, I feel she has broken dharma and for me to pretend that everything is OK would not be dharmic either. I feel betrayed as we had agreed on certain conditions to prevent this situation arising, which she totally ignored. Probably because she was deeply wounded when we decided to break up as she was not only losing me, she was losing this financial security as well. I see now this samskara of betrayal has been there my whole life, when my grandma died when I was 7, I felt betrayed by God, and her passing smothered the sacred flame somewhat, until I began to rekindle it in my mid 20’s. Then being aware of my dad’s affair from 10 years old, and then relationship after relationship, where I would be extra cautious not to hurt my partner, but often they would end up hurting me, as my inability to express anger would become passive aggressive and so they would respond in kind. I have a good understanding of it now. Still though, it does not shut up the persistent voice of this samskara when triggered. Only time will, and persistent practice of karma yoga etc. It is interesting how the memory and emotions continually reproduce the same thoughts and feelings in me. It is almost as if some demon is churning out the same old thoughts. My ability to nip them at the bud and offer them back to Isvara is improving, but it is quite a wonder. I am grateful to Isvara for this story of mine that I know are just a bundle of experiences appearing in I the always present, unshakable consciousness.

Ramji: Whew! That was a hard read. I had to have a couple of stiff drinks to stay calm. It’s a tribute to your stubborn tamasic self that you didn’t give up the ghost and climb into that aforementioned warm bathtub.

I read this verse recently from the Gita and it took me right back to where I belong “All experiences enter the mind of a wise man through the senses, but they create no agitation because he is full in himself. Just as the rivers pouring into the ocean do not disturb it. Because he is full, he is not a seeker of experiences.”

Ramji: That’s one of my favorite verses too.

However, it got me thinking earlier this evening as I was observing the automatic demonic feedback loop. What about the experiences that enter from the mind and intellect? Does the wise man negate them and return to the senses? Maybe I am reading into it too much, at least I get the wisdom in the statement.

Ramji: Of course they recycle. That’s why you need to create experiences based on dharmic values.

It doesn’t help though that currently I am surrounded by triggers.

Ramji: There is always the option to surround yourself with non-triggers i.e. keep to yourself. Or associate with pure minded people, not slackers and sensualists.

But I know I am the one with the ammunition so I am diffusing the weaponry with discipline and re reading The Yoga of Love, such a great gem of a book, pranamas to you, Ramji, Swam P., and Narada! Already I feel the bliss of the Self shining through the clouds again as I shift my devotion back towards you and Ramji, the scripture, and the wonders of Isvara such as the sky and the sea.

Ramji: Good for you. Let’s see how long the discipline, not to mention the bliss, lasts.

Nonetheless, it is interesting to have witnessed the identified ego reappearing with all its self images, and comparisons.

Ramji: Forgive me if I’m wrong, but interesting doesn’t seem to be the best choice of words. Didn’t you say that all this ego stuff was boring?

It is extremely painful for the jiva, the suicidal thoughts. I have known these deep suicidal samskaras intermittently since my teenage years. They are what led me to spirituality. Ultimately, I know they are just a manifestation of an unloved, disconnected suffering jiva seeking to feel whole and complete again. And what better way to love the jiva than with the knowledge that I am love itself. I am not sure why Clarence has to look at these old wounds again. Perhaps it is to show him that this relationship had been adharmic for a long time

Ramji: You think? Anyway, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Let’s see what you actually do about your lifestyle. Keep me posted.

…and I had been ignoring that fact due to my vasana for guilt, i.e., not leaving Kathy a year or 2 ago when I first started having doubts, but I couldn’t as part of me loved her and wanted to keep her safe too (the good old Mummy and Daddy issues). And also, for satisfaction I must stay on top of my sadhana, and do more inquiry into betrayal in order to free the jiva of its samskara.

Ramji: Betrayal is betrayal. I’m not sure what more you need to know. This reminds me of Swamiji’s comment: “Who picks through his vomit looking for clues. Vomit is vomit.” Eat right and you won’t puke. Anyway, you came to the right conclusion; stay on top of your sadhana.

Perhaps the first form of betrayal is when the ego begins to project the bliss of awareness onto objects, and until I tackle that samskara on a moment to moment basis at that level, consistently and persistently, will I be free of it? Recently, it has been difficult, but this last week thinking of you and Sundariji sitting with scripture once more it is as if I am being lifted out of a pit in which I was drowning. 

I have been thinking back as to exactly when things turned around backwards in the last few years, i.e., when did the ego start projecting the bliss of awareness onto the objects once more.

Ramji: When doesn’t it project bliss on objects? Anyway, we are all born into a world that has everything backward. Obviously, you still haven’t worked your way out in spite of all the Vedanta. However, there is no time like the present. Man up and get with it, O Mighty Arjuna!!!

Kathy Ananda is quite an attractive girl (Isvara gave jiva a very alluring object and Clarence fell for it), and she plays the damsel in distress quite naturally. I think at some point my Knight in Shining Armor began to believe she was real and so began some clumsy dance between us. No doubt the rajas work helped the magic show appear to be real once more too. When I started with her I saw no difference between jiva and Isvara and thought I was good to go.

Ramji: “It’s life’s illusions I recall.” – Joni Mitchell

As time passed, I stopped consciously consecrating every action to the Lord and slowly but surely, unbeknownst to me, right under my nose, attachment was setting in. Knowing that I am awareness, when the demons set in recently was double edged, I knew I could not kill myself which was good, however, it also makes it even more painful that the jiva is so resistant to its true nature as unborn, limitless awareness. Perhaps ignorance is the greatest betrayal of all. 

Ramji: Not only can’t you kill yourself, you can’t love anyone but yourself.

Additionally, a lot of crazy things have been happening, and sometimes I have felt there is an entity attached to me or the house or both. This may be because I am prone to magical thinking and so when my sadhana wanes back in come the ghosts and goblins.

Ramji: There is an evil blood-sucking entity drinking your blood 16 hours a day…Ignorance of your unborn blissful wholeness. It’s not magical thinking.

Still though, it is true that things haven’t been flowing. My life has always been a struggle. I think this is due to 3 factors.

Ramji: Oh, no. Give me a break! Must you keep picking through your vomit? What more’s to know?

Firstly, I did not adjust my karma yoga practice to the changing situation as I needed to during the last 2 years, and secondly, my work is only dharmic when I prioritize Vedanta, and finally, I don’t like asking people for help. Also, the fact that Kathy was a fake probably didn’t help. 🙂 I still remember Kathy saying “Why not see it all as Isvara and go for it?” Why the fuck did I listen to someone with zero knowledge?

Ramji: Beats me. Let’s hear the next excuse.

And my father was pushing too. I realized last year sometime that they both were subconsciously planning out a life for us with a few kids and the white picket fence. So I guess, in the end, I dodged a bullet.

Ramji: Ah, yes, a renunciate to the core. Chalk one up for freedom!

And at least I have a house.

Ramji: So much for renunciation. I thought it was Isvara’s house.

Still though, ain’t life a bitch sometimes? One of my friends has recommenced some shamanic type healer to come and do some clearing on the land. That said, as I invest in the teachings once more, I don’t feel the need to clear the ghosts and goblins as much, just let them be, Isvara will take care of everything. 

Ramji: I agree. Nothing as cheery as a few ghosts and goblins sporting on one’s property. Maybe the shaman will bring some ayahuasca and you can scurry down another rabbit hole..

I did have another dream recently, which may help describe the vasana this house created.

Ramji: I’m sure you mean, “the vasana Clarence created.” Houses don’t create, Clarence. They are just matter.

A man and a woman arrived at the front door of the house in a crazy-looking car. The lady seduced me a little bit, but then tried to take something from the table. Then I began to levitate and grow bigger and I said what are you doing, don’t you realise I am the spirit of this house. They became frightened and ran for the hills.

Ramji: That’s more or less true. You are the spirit of all things. However, it sounds like the lady seduced you a lot.

Ownership has caused me to become quite selfish, always wanting to try and get things finished. Before I started the project I always had time for other people, people that needed my help in one way or another. However, nowadays it seems to be all about me and this house. The funny thing is I have little interest in it. All I wanted was a small cabin somewhere to leave my stuff when I went away for the winter months. I guess that is what happens when I don’t listen to my own needs and values, something I find particularly difficult when in a relationship. I betray myself.

Ramji: You will perhaps recall the story about the sadhu who only had one pair of underpants who was convinced by someone that he needed to have a second pair so he wouldn’t be seen naked when he was washing number 1. He ended up with house, wife and kids, a cow, etc.

I am close to finishing the the project now but much of the time, I am struggling to work. I am fine if I have someone working with me, but on my own, I often struggle. At the same time, I have a feeling that I want to disengage with the community of friends around here now as I can find it triggering, the world has betrayed me, blah, blah, blah. 🙂

Ramji: You want to disengage or you have disengaged? If it’s all about the me self these days, what does the community have to do with it?

It is only if I prioritize my sadhana first that I have any hope of getting something done around here. Work happily, but not for happiness. Since I started writing this email to you 2 weeks ago, and reading scripture again in solitude, already I am noticing the rays of the Self raising me up. 

Ramji: Good for you. But you have to believe it totally. Keep it up. Slow and steady wins the race.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. Hope it is not too whiny. Maybe I have said too much? I know Clarence a bit caught up in jivahood right now.

Ramji: It’s too long and used up all my hankies, but not too whiny. Perversely morbidly delusional is perhaps the right phrase. The idea is to analyze your thinking before you initiate action. Take your time. Think things through. Karma yogis are planners. Don’t gloss over the down side or romanticize the upside. Life is beautiful but it is not a mystery.

Perhaps you can add something to it. Also, I would like to reserve one of the smaller Ganesh sculptures, please. I might even come and collect it. 🙂

Om and prem

I did my best. I added a lot, I believe.
Much love


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