The realization of non-separation, or the feeling of relatedness, is the inherent characteristic of existence. If you transcend your own act of self-contraction, or separation, then, even in the midst of conditional existence, you are in an entirely different position than most people presume.
—Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, 2008
by Avatar Adi Da Samraj
DEVOTEE: Beloved, earlier this evening You said that all seeking is a search for something from which one feels separate, and that feeling separate is the self-contraction. You said that the practice is not a matter of search for union but a matter of transcending the act of separation. When You spoke, I felt like a light went off inside me.
ADI DA SAMRAJ: There are all kinds of reactivity, desire, and so forth. There is a different quality behind each kind of seeking, but all seeking is pursuit of union with something or other, some other, some object, some thought that changes everything, whatever it may be. It is all pursuit of union. How could you pursue union if you did not already feel separate? It is always a feeling of separation that instigates the motive to union. If you did not feel separate from the thing you want to get, you would not have to seek it, would you?
A stressful feeling of separateness motivates this stressful seeking. But what you have to find out is that this feeling of separateness is your own activity, one that you are always doing. You are always creating the feeling of separation from this, that, or the other thing—and then pursuing the very thing you have separated yourself from. The thing for which you must become responsible is your own separative act. That is self-understanding. That—not seeking—is the understanding that is fundamental to the Way of Adidam. The practice of the Way of Adidam is not seeking for union with Me or with anything whatsoever. The practice of the Way of Adidam is founded in the understanding of your own activity, the understanding of and transcendence of that very act that makes you seek. That is the moment to moment business of those who have entered into devotional Communion with Me. Transcendence of the very act of separation, of separativeness itself, is the practice of Ruchira Avatara Bhakti. Otherwise you make even your so-called practice of the Way of Adidam into a form of seeking for union with Me.
DEVOTEE: That is what I have done. Everything I have done is just this seeking, no matter what else I have attempted to do.
ADI DA SAMRAJ: This is the first thing to notice then. In the development of real self-understanding, the first thing to notice is that you are seeking. Notice that that is all you are doing, and nothing more. That is it. It does not make any difference what particular this, that, or the other thing you are seeking to achieve or associate with or enjoy. Whatever your search may be, it is all the same. Everything is that search. And it is painful. It is stressful. It is agonizing. It gnaws at you constantly. Even pleasurable desiring, if you examine it, is full of stress. In any moment there can be some particular thing that you are particularly obsessed with, trying to union with, but you are constantly seeking, sometimes seeking many things simultaneously. If you examine your life, you make the discovery that you are always seeking and nothing else. It is entirely that, in every fraction.
You must realize the failure of the search. You must clearly feel that the life you are living is suffering, that it is stressful, agonizing, rarely fruitful in any sense whatsoever. This is the first thing that must be realized. This is the first thing you must understand. You must have the clear sense of the failure of your seeking, and you must develop a fundamental lack of sympathy with your seeking, so that you can begin to enter into the real "consideration" of self-understanding and self-transcendence.
You must come to this level of understanding. You must notice that there is always a pursuit of union with one thing or another, and that your search is a preoccupation that is disturbing your existence completely. Then you can examine your own activity further, and you will discover that the thing behind all this stressful seeking for union with this, that, or the other thing is always a feeling of separation from whatever it is you are pursuing. When you get that far with the process of self-observation, when you feel that agonizing separation from everything you are seeking, then you can begin to fruitfully examine how this feeling of separation, or this separativeness, is your own activity. When you find this out, then the seeking falls away.
When you discover that the pain, the agony, the distress, the stress of your own existence, is your own activity, then all of a sudden you do not have to seek union in order to be relieved. The search becomes unnecessary. All there is to deal with is the self-contraction itself. When it is noticed, it is easily released in Communion with Me, in response to Me, and via the "conscious process" and "conductivity" in Communion with Me. Instead of this stressful self-contraction, this act of contraction, this separativeness, this search, and all the rest of it, the feeling of relatedness, or the feeling of non-separation, spontaneously awakens. Communion with Me, rather than the search for union, becomes real. This is how true self-surrender and true self-forgetting awaken. Where there is this understanding of your own act, Communion with Me follows as a spontaneous event.
If the feeling of non-separation is awake, it is not necessary to achieve union or re-union with anything or anyone, even the Divine.
And the feeling of non-separation is simply a matter of transcending your own act of contraction. The realization of non-separation, or the feeling of relatedness, is the inherent characteristic of existence. If you transcend your own act of self-contraction, or separation, then, even in the midst of conditional existence, you are in an entirely different position than most people presume.
Human beings function by tendency on the basis of self-contraction, uninspected. Therefore, they function irresponsibly. People are always seeking union with this or that. If there is responsibility for the self-contraction, if the feeling of non-separation, or relatedness, is allowed to awaken spontaneously, then you exist in the field of apparent relations in an entirely different fashion than people ordinarily do.
In your intimate life, for instance, you are always unioning with one another, always approaching one another through the feeling of separation, and wanting this or that satisfaction from one another to overcome the feeling of separation. You are driven to one another by your own contraction, your own egoity. If you were responsible for the self-contraction, if you were awake to the feeling of non-separation, or relatedness, then you would not try to get to union or re-union with someone from whom you were separate. You would live in the disposition of non-separation. The disposition of non-separation changes all acts in your apparent relationships, changes them all. They cease to be seeking acts and instead become harmonious events manifested by one who is awake to the clarity of non-separateness. And on that basis, everything can be simplified, everything can be set right. As with your intimate relationships, so with everything.
If you are only seeking, everything is a matter of seeking. Therefore, everything can be changed, everything can be transformed, if your disposition is transformed, changed at its root, changed from self-contraction and the pursuit of union into the relinquishment of that action and its search, changed into the feeling of relatedness. In that case, the seeking vanishes inherently. Without having to do anything to it, the principle that underlies the search is gone. The search has no existence then. Everything becomes Yoga, then, or a matter of "conductivity". Everything is entered into responsibly as a "conscious process", based on the direct transcendence of the self-contraction.
If you are truly attracted to Me and are not bargaining with Me, if you stop playing the self-contraction and the search, if you understand your own activity and approach Me rightly, simply on the basis of your devotional attraction to Me, then the feeling of non-separation from Me awakens. When the feeling of relatedness in relation to Me awakens, self-surrender and self-forgetting occur with ease, directly. That is true Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga. This is what makes it Yoga. Ruchira Avatara Bhakti in My Company is not just some stressful seeker's devotion trying to achieve union with Me, feeling separate all the while, separating from Me all the while. Ruchira Avatara Bhakti is not that — it is the true ecstasy of Communion with Me, based on self-understanding, self-responsibility. That is Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga.
This is why I say to you that there are two fundamental elements to the Way of Adidam. Fundamentally, the Way of Adidam is just this devotional Communion with Me. But that devotion requires self-understanding. Therefore, the Way of Adidam requires both. Without such self-understanding, you will practice even devotion to Me as an extension of your own seeking. In other words, you will not practice it as true Yoga.
Very simply, true devotion awakens if you allow yourself to be attracted by Me, drawn into Communion with Me, just by the sighting of Me. But in that process you also observe the mechanism of your own contraction. It is not difficult to relinquish your activity in that case. You may think there is some sort of effort involved, but there is none whatsoever.
I have used the analogy of you pinching yourself. You are feeling some pain and you are motivated to get rid of your pain, so you taste this, touch that, have sex with this, read, think, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever it is, to get rid of your pain. But if you could just notice your own activity, or if somebody could draw your attention to the fact that you are pinching yourself, there is no effort involved in taking your fingers away. You are glad to do it! And then the pain and the motivation to seek pass. When you are truly observing the self-contraction, it is easy to relinquish. The relinquishment does not require any effort. It occurs rather spontaneously, in fact. All the effort takes place when you are not truly observing the self-contraction but are trying to deal with this, that, or the other thing that you are seeking because you are contracted, but that is peripheral to the contraction itself. The effort takes place when you are struggling to get rid of all of that. That is seeking, then. The effort to get rid of something is seeking. When you truly discover the cause, the relinquishment of the contraction is spontaneous, and the seeking, likewise, is spontaneously relinquished, because it has no foundation.
You do not have to try to get rid of the pain of the pinch when you take your fingers away. All the seeking that your pinching yourself might have otherwise motivated, or that it previously motivated, disappears without effort, because it has no foundation anymore. You do not have to read and try to figure out the universe because you are in pain. The pain is not there. You no longer feel separate from Reality, or from any reality. Rather, the feeling of relatedness, the feeling of non-separation, is magnified in the heart spontaneously.
DEVOTEE: Beloved Bhagavan, are You saying that the fundamental way we will observe this action of separation is in observing our seeking for union?
ADI DA SAMRAJ: See that you are only seeking. Examine yourself and find this out. Understand that seeking is a pursuit of union. This is obvious, is it not?
Your search is like this: You go to bed with your girlfriend or boyfriend in order to get a good feeling. You go to meditate to get a good feeling. You practice devotion to Me to get a good feeling. You have lunch to get a good feeling. And getting that good feeling is the purpose of your seeking. It releases some level of your stress. You think that unioning, the success of the effort towards union, the adjacency to this, that, or the other thing, will give you a little bit of good feeling. You are always seeking to achieve that in everything you are doing. You are always seeking to achieve that feeling of release, that good feeling. This is why you do everything you do. Everything you are doing, you are doing in order to achieve that good feeling. And you think that that is the goal of life.
That has nothing whatever to do with the Way of Adidam. That is what you are already doing, and that is what you must find out. You are always seeking, and you are full of stress in that seeking. Your seeking is always an effort to achieve union with this, that, or the other thing. And whenever you get this thing or the other, whatever it may be, whenever you perform that action you want to perform with whatever you have acquired, you get a good feeling. An orgasm is just such a good feeling. That is what you are looking for all the time.
Why do you read books? Watch TV? Try to figure things out? Why? Because you are looking to come to the point of that good feeling, where there is some sense of release from stress, but whatever release you may achieve is not consequential, not final. There is no self-understanding in it. It is not the end of seeking. It is just one moment to be followed by another pursuit.
You must find out about yourself as a seeker. The first thing you must find out is that you are a seeker, and that seeking is all you are doing. Take a look at everything you are doing. Seeking is all you are doing. There is no moment of your life when you are not doing it. There is no circumstance in your life in which you are not doing it. There is no relationship in which you are not doing it. If you get a good feeling, it is like an orgasm. There is a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but you are still sitting there separate, all by yourself as you are, still sitting on your own uninspected knot. But because you get the moment of good feeling, you try and repeat it over and over again with everything you do.
But you do not even get that feeling every time. When you go to bed with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you do not get all that you would like to get every time. But that does not stop the search. The good feeling happens often enough that you keep doing it.
But nothing has been transcended. The actual nature of conditional existence has not been found. The presumption of separation still exists. You may have achieved some sort of feeling relative to some object or other, but that is not it. Something sexual with an intimate partner or a good lunch or a vision of the Divine Star or some other visionary or mystical experience and so forth—they are all objects pursued by the same seeker for the same reason, and it just throws you back on yourself. Whether you are in the good feeling or dwelling in the stresses of seeking, it is all just the same. It is just you presuming to be separate, still not having understood.
Even your relationship to Me is not pure, not free of this seeking. You are doing it with Me. You are carrying on some action or other in relation to Me that is a seeker's effort toward union.
You are trying to feel good. Every one of you, right now, is trying to feel good. You want to feel good because you feel bad. You always already feel bad. Always already, you feel bad! Not good—BAD! You always feel bad, and through your seeking you want to feel good. Here and there, using all of the methods you can generate in your daily life, you get a little spell of relief—just brief. How long does the pleasure of an orgasm last? [Snaps His fingers.] Just like that—very brief. Almost instantly, you are cruising back to feeling bad. Even when people go into fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi*, almost as soon as they get there, they are cruising back—almost immediately.
You are always motivated to feel better, no matter what you are doing. My father was a salesman, like some of you here. He was always under stress, a chain smoker and all the rest. He would talk and talk and talk, all the time, always under stress. Why did he do it? He had all his reasons—to support his family, and so on. But he was an addict. He was addicted to it. He only got to feel good when he made a sale. It is like getting off in an orgasm or something. You get a little bit of good feeling by making that sale, exchanging back-slapping and grins with the other salesmen and so forth, and then it is back on the streets, back to the stress again.
You think you want to be a big success. You imagine that there is a sale that ends all sales and then you will feel good forever. That is part of the illusion of salesmen—this one big hit sale after which you do not have to be a salesman anymore, because you just feel good forever! It is an illusion, a myth. Similarly, you go to bed with your intimate partner expecting it is going to be one of those occasions after which you will not want sex anymore because you will just feel good forever.
You are always feeling bad and looking to feel good. You have all kinds of techniques in your life that sometimes produce a little bit of feeling good and that lead you to feel, "That is all there is—just feeling a little better here and there." You make a total life out of the stress of the search and temporary moments of minimal release, because you never deal with the self-contraction itself and the illusion it produces. You never deal with your divorce from Reality. You never Realize the Inherent Condition, the Native Condition of non-separation. When you deal with the root of all of your seeking, not only does the seeking vanish, but the Truth is Realized—the Truth that is Reality, that is the Divine, Which Is Self-Sufficient, Self-Existing, Self-Radiant, all Love-Bliss, not confounded, not a seeker, not separate. This is what there is to Realize, but it cannot be Realized by seeking.
Find out you are always seeking. Find out that your seeking is never finally fulfilled. Find out that you are always under stress. This is how you wear out the method. This is how you get sick of it—by examining what you are up to. When you are sick of it, a kind of despair awakens that is also associated with great intelligence, or a willingness to examine the matter more profoundly, to examine the matter I am bringing to you. This is about great practice. This is about great Realization. This is about great self-transcendence.
You will not get really serious about it until you wear out your search, until you find out that you are always seeking and that you are always under stress and that the search never fulfills itself. The best you are getting out of it is a temporary release here and there. You feel a little better for a couple of seconds and then it is gone. An occasional hit—that is all you are getting out of life. The rest of it is pain and illusion.
It is not just that you are feeling bad, it is that you are making yourself feel bad. That is what you have to find out. The self-contraction is the "why" you feel bad. It is the bad feeling itself. And you are doing it. That is what you have to find out. You must become capable of transcending your own activity, moment by moment, in the context of your devotional relationship with Me.
[April 8, 1993]
*Nirvikalpa Samadhi — "Nirvikalpa" means "without form". Hence, "Nirvikalpa Samadhi" means literally "deep meditative concentration (or absorption) without form (or defined experiential content)". Traditionally this state is the final goal of the many schools of Yogic ascent whose orientation to practice is that of the fifth stage of life. Fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi is an isolated or periodic Realization in which attention ascends beyond all conditional manifestation into the formless Matrix of the Spirit-Current or Divine Light infinitely above the world, the body, and the mind. Because it is produced by manipulation of attention and of the body-mind, the sublime bliss of fifth stage conditional Nirvikalpa Samadhi cannot be maintained when attention returns, as it inevitably does, to the states of the body-mind.