Shining World

Dumb Advice


Having being a student of Vedanta for five years – committed to self enquiry and consistent study of various texts in a methodical early morning fashion – it feels like the right time to contact you.

My efforts culminated in early 2020 with a profound realisation/experience (awareness of being aware) and all other such words that are of course inadequate to describe it.

Following 24-48 hours of orgasmic bliss, 3-6 weeks of complete clarity and oneness pervaded daily life. This followed soon after with a breaking heart and the weight of all the worlds pain bearing down on my chest. A deep sense of grief and a very painful period.

My guru at the time advised me to put down all books of study and commit to physical activity to ground myself.

James:  I think you’re right about the timing.  You may be ready to hear a teaching that makes sense.  What texts did you study?  In your opinion, why didn’t your study bear fruit, apart from the experience you describe?  Did you ask your guru why he or she told you to put down the book and commit to physical activity?  You needn’t answer if the answer is no.  Prescribing intense physical activity is an admission that he or she has n teaching.  Any ski bum or big wave surfer knows that intense concentration produces a blissful experience of aliveness, oneness, etc.  In any case, he’s not wrong that you need another approach but he’s not right either.  Had you been properly taught you would not have expected to avoid suffering once the experience ended.  It is a fact that what is produced by karma i.e. dedicated practice, positive and negative, ends sooner or later. 

You need faith to practice self inquiry but not blind faith.  And you need an authority that transcends the authority you give to the teacher. 

Karen:  Ever since, having not studied, it seems no pursuit matches the “achievement” of early 2020 or ever will. The door opened and the universe undressed itself – the nature of the mind that the door itself sprang from became known.

James:  There is one pursuit that will produce the experience of the naked self but it is a pursuitless pursuit if you will, because you are already naked.  The ever-present experience of the ever-present unborn I— being shining as awareness—is hidden from you while you are seeking to experience it.  It’s clear that your teacher has never been properly taught Vedanta.  Because it is becoming popular, many people use the word Vedanta without understanding what it is to lend a bit of gravitas to “their” teachings. 

Karen:  However, the universe got dressed again. Thought crept back in, as did the world and now, having seen nakedness, that cannot be unseen, I find that it’s coloured the mundane with a hint of grey and the worldly of duty has become no match for its splendour.

James:  The universe is modest.  It must be a man.  No pillow talk: once it makes love it gets dressed and steps out to pursue other interests.  It’s a fickle lover.  The worship of the universe, which is merely a reflection of your eternally shining self, is far from a mere duty.  It is eager, glad and always uplifting accepting of what is Including the absence of the oneness experience. 

Anyway, thought is not in conflict with your nature as awareness.  Aren’t you aware of its presence and absence? I would bet that your mind was not thought free during that happy time either.  I am sure, however, that the thoughts didn’t affect you…until they did.  There is are reasons why you weren’t affected and why you were.  It is just a matter of understanding the difference between what is real and what is apparently real, which is not difficult to understand but it very difficult to accept.  

Karen:  Should I come back to study under your tutelage?

James:  I don’t teach how to study Vedanta.  I teach how to study yourself.  Vedanta is the means and you are the end.  Maybe you should come forward, not back, and maybe not.  Let’s see.  

Please tell me why you think your efforts will pay dividends this time.  What am I saying that attracts you to Vedanta?  If you want me to teach you, you need to understand that I would never tell you what to do.  And you wouldn’t be qualified for traditional Vedanta if you were willing to cede your discrimination to the will of another person, at least not without common sense reasons.  Evidently, your guru understood your kind of devotion and took advantage of you because he or she could just as well have given you a way to make sense of your experience and avoided giving you dumb advice.  Presumably he or she wasn’t against you studying Vedanta on your own, which often produces “non-dual” experiences but which doesn’t set you free of discrete experiences or of the experiencing entity, hence your disappointment. However, you can’t operate this means of knowledge on your own.  Anyway, these are all things you will learn if you commit to Vedanta pramana.

I make suggestions in line with the teachings only and provide you with irrefutable inspiring logic in light of the fact that there is only one principle operating here, which is you, existence shining as awareness/bliss, Then I wait and see if you take the suggestion to heart and if it produces the desired result.  If it doesn’t, I help you figure out why you didn’t get the desired result because Vedanta pramana always works if you are qualified and are properly taught.  It sets you free of Karen and discrete experiences, not experience itself, which amounts to non-dual love.

So please answer my questions and we will proceed from there. 


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