So, prior to hearing,
disciplines have to be taken up — but in an artful manner, based
on what self-understanding one does already have; what response to the Divine
one is already experiencing; and what capacity for enduring heat (tapas) one has already developed. If one takes
on disciplines to a degree that is matched by one's growth in these three capabilities,
then everything will be okay. Otherwise, one's will, idealism, or self-imagery
may be egoically propelling one "ahead of the game", and there will
be a backlash: either the ego will escape out another door; or the ego will be
suppressed (in the manner of an ascetic) rather than transcended, stifling rather
than freeing up energy and attention, and leading to what Adi Da referred to as
"mediocre practice" or "double-mindedness".
Here's a way to think about
the matter of the ego escaping out another door. When you try to smooth out the
lumps in a water bed, if you press out one lump, another one tends to pop up elsewhere.
Just so, when you add a discipline to the ego that is not based on increasing
self-understanding, increasing response to the Divine, and increasing capacity
for enduring heat, the ego will try to escape out another door. For example, if
you take up the raw diet, the ego might try to re-express itself through what
Adi Da calls "lunch righteousness", feeling superior to people who are
not "disciplining" themselves in this way. Another example: you take
up the discipline of regular retreat, and spend an entire day each week immersed
in contemplation of Adi Da (which is fantastic!); but then at the end of the day,
you go off and have a pizza, to desensitize your body-mind and "blow off"
the tremendous heat you are feeling from Adi Da's purifying
Transmission throughout your body-mind.
The examples go on and on. But the principle is always the
same: you shut one door on the ego, only to find the ego escaping
out another door.
"If you have one more place to go,
you will not endure this moment as the great bliss."
(Adi Da's handwriting)
In the total context of the only-by-Me Revealed and
Given Reality-Way of Adidam, it is not sufficient to
apply discipline to only some areas of your life. In
order to do the intrinsically ego-transcending practice
I Give to My devotees, you must bring the discipline
of the Reality-Way of Adidam to every area of
your life. You must convert your life itself into ego-transcending
practice. If you are to effectively practice and grow
in the only-by-Me Revealed and Given Reality-Way of
Adidam, your discipline must cover every aspect
of your life. The trend of attention is a natural force,
like wind and earthquake and mobs. An extraordinary
discipline is required to turn that tide. Mere "self"-effort
is not sufficient. Only the devotional response to My
Avatarically Self-Transmitted Divine Grace makes the
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Devotional life is constant attention to the Divine
Presence, and participation, through real functional
activity, in that Presence.
It is a constant test of the born life, because the
born life wants to randomly fulfill its conflicting
tendencies or desires.
The conscious life or the life of spiritual discipline
wants to remain in God.
Therefore, the Way of Divine Communion is a trial between
these two motives.
Most everyone will reach their cutoff point, the point
where they will tend to stop, the point where practice
tends to be sufficient for them or where further effort
is too frustrating and too offensive. Everybody reaches
the point where he or she tends to withdraw from the
stream of practice. Most people reach that point even
before they begin the practice. Either they are never
moved to find anything greater than ordinary ego-fulfillment
in the world, or they are just "fans" of spiritual life.
They like the books, but they basically resist and even
resent the interference represented by a Spiritual Master
and a Teaching and the idea of practice.
Practice in My Divine Avataric Company is about passing
tests, such that the total body-mind constantly goes
through ego-transcending changes and makes an always
greater and always new ego-transcending demonstration.
The Practice accounts for the dual or dynamic nature
of the body-mind, while it is also founded in the radical
point of view of the Free soul. At every stage of the
Way, right functional or whole bodily activity is the
chosen principle, rather than any or all forms of exclusively
subjective or internal and mental self-manipulation.
The individual must change his action first, or else
the contents of the mind, which are only a reflection
of past actions, will not change. At every stage of
the Way, the devotee is obliged to accept responsibility
for a more and more total functional spectrum of action.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Note, by the way, how the areas of egoic expression can be
completely different: an egoic discipline on diet, but an egoic
escape through self-imagery and how one relates to others. Many
people find it easy to discipline themselves in one area (like
bodily self-discipline), but often are rather unconscious in
other areas (like relational disciplines), and so may not even
be aware of the "egoic escape". (And of course, the ego naturally
will escape through the areas we have least consciousness of,
or self-understanding in.)
how others see you (status, peer pressure, etc.) is the real reason you are taking
up disciplines, then the egoic escape can take another even more obvious form.
You eat the raw diet to maintain your image while around your devotee friends;
but you pig out on pork chops when no one is looking. You are a televangelist
maintaining your image of "holiness" when in front of the TV camera, but get caught
late at night in a whorehouse. That sort of thing!
So how do
we deal with this matter of the ego escaping out another door? The ego does not
escape out another door (or merely suppress itself in the manner of an ascetic)
Note that, while one must take heed to not let idealism
and egoic self-control "drive" the discipline process faster than one's
own maturity (in self-understanding, devotional response, and heat endurance)
allows, on the other hand, one must also not use this as an excuse to let egoic
resistance to discipline delay the process of adapting to disciplines, for decades
or forever. Taking into account all the varieties of devotees, Adi Da has indicated
that the time from becoming a devotee to hearing could be anywhere from a few
months to a few years. If one is taking longer than that, than one certainly is
(to use Adi Da's phrase) "building time into the Way" unnecessarily.
While the Way of Adidam is entirely voluntary, and allows for people to (unnecessarily)
take decades (or even lifetimes) to adapt to the beginning disciplines, you at
least should be aware that that is what you are doing (if you are indeed taking
decades), and that it is you who are choosing to do that.
think they are supposed to be allowed a little time to get through all of their
functional problems. You are supposed to analyze it for a few years, under very
supportive conditions, and get it a little bit straight about two, three, maybe
four years from now. But that has nothing whatever to do with the Truth. It is
only another sign of reluctance, inertia, tamas. Spiritual life is not the support
of your malfunctioning, with a few little bits of wisdom thrown in until you come
out of it. Spiritual life is sadhana, the always present demand of function.
do you think the spiritual crisis was brought about in traditional monasteries
and spiritual centers? Certainly not by coddling and consoling mediocre disciples.
That is why very few people went to those centers. The moment you stepped in the
door, there was a guy waiting with a stick. He took all of your clothes, all of
your money, all of your belongings, put you in a little cell, gave you brief instructions
about the four or five things you were going to be allowed to do for the rest
of your life, and then demanded you do all five before dinner! You found out how
you were failing to function by trying to function, by living under the conditions
where nothing but functioning was allowed.
Spiritual life is a demand, not
a form of therapy. It is a demand under the conditions of Satsang, the relationship
to Guru. It is the practice of life in a world where the living Heart, not your
own dilemma and search, is the condition. The demand itself does not make real
sadhana possible. It is Satsang, the prior condition of Truth, that makes it necessary.
Satsang contains and communicates itself as a demand. And this demand acts as
an obstacle for those who are not certain about their interest in this radical
life. They have read a little about it, heard a little about it, and now it tests
them in the fire of living.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Money,
Food, and Sex
Part 4: Understanding and Conforming to the Logic of Adaptation