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5. Disciplining (and Understanding) Not Only
the Self-Indulger but the Self-Discipliner

This is Part 5 of Chris Tong's eight-part article, The Necessary Artfulness in Taking Up Disciplines in the Way of Adidam.

Recognizing Both Sides of the Ego

There is not only the matter of the ego escaping out another door that must be considered; but also what (or who) exactly is motivating you to take up the discipline in the first place. Is it God? Or is it the ego being self-suppressive, driven by idealism, self-imagery, peer pressure, or will? The point Adi Da makes below about emotional-sexual self-suppression equally well applies to all areas of one's life:

Freud suppressed himself — because he saw that the unmastered emotional-sexual ego is wild and powerful.

That suppressive disposition (or point of view) is not a workable basis for true religious and Spiritual life.

Nevertheless, the Great Tradition of mankind has characteristically operated in a manner similar to Freud — by suppressing emotional-sexual life in one manner or another. . . .

All such puritanical righteousness must be gone beyond — otherwise, one's emotional-sexual egoity is never truly inspected and dealt with.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
An Open Letter To All Who Would Find Heart-Breaking Freedom

We tend to associate the word, "discipline", with the curtailing of various forms of self-indulgence. But the ego is always appearing not only as self-indulgent tendencies but also as self-disciplining (or self-controlling) tendencies. The ego manifests through both the body (with its tendencies to indulge itself) and the mind (with its tendencies toward idealism and self-control based on that idealism). Pairs of tendencies (self-indulgent and self-suppressive) always appear together, both sides of which are the ego, and which, together, tend to create a chronic sense of dilemma, regardless of which side happens to gain the upper hand at the moment, and control one's actions:

True hearing doesn't really awaken until there is total self-awareness and the freedom from having to identify with one or the other half of your script in any given moment. If you're both someone who is super committed to fidelity and super committed to promiscuity simultaneously you can't do either one. You can only be aware of the total and understand it as bondage. You're not even fully aware of it as bondage until you get to the point where you can't do either one. Then you've really become sensitive to your bondage and double bind.

As long as you keep playing one or the other side in your alternative moments, you will struggle, suffer and continually seek and you will not fully be aware of it as bondage. It's bondage when you can't move anymore, when you're aware of the total, when you're aware of yourself totally, wholly, and can't choose to be one or the other. You can't be idealistic about it anymore. You can't be superficial. You will be unable to fully dramatize. You can only suffer it and then you become aware of it as it is and how it is something you are adding to what is, the gesture of self-contraction.

In the beginning people freely animate their patterns and much of that is often self-indulgent. They want to do a little of this and a little of that and maybe read the teaching. At some point having studied the teaching and having reflected on enough of themselves they realize the usefulness of disciplines. How they reflect their tendencies back to themselves.

To some degree they frustrate your tendencies. They back your tendencies up on themselves. In every moment, day to day, your tendencies arise because you are living the disciplines, you become aware of your efforts, your motives and you begin to see yourself in more complexity.

You see it even more and more the more you make the disciplines a kind of total discipline covering all areas of your life. You give yourself some room even in the beginning and the discipline is there. The disciplines cover all areas but they are not what you call absolute. You are not required to be monks and so forth you see. So you do have the general domain of human action in which you apply the disciplines. It only takes a little, just a little bit of discipline is sufficient to frustrate your tendencies so they are reflected back on yourself.

Even before you do them, you are made constantly aware of the energies of your own efforts and you see them in your complexity. You see not only the motive to be self-indulgent rather than disciplined, you see the motive to be disciplined. You see it as a way to satisfy yourself. You see both sides so you must be aware of all of your complexity and in all areas you must see yourself in pairs of two minds of someone living in a dilemma or problem. You see when you are fully self-aware and when you are no longer really able to be one or the other side of any position. If you are truly serious you become profoundly aware of the act that is the root of both halves of every conflict. . . .

The self-contraction is the act that splits "self" from "other", and is thus the root of both inner and outer tendencies.

The more that is true the closer you are coming to a summary insight, a direct awareness of the fundamental action that is the root of all opposites, all complexity. This is a most subtle observation. It is not a thing. It is not itself a function that can be identified with a part of the body or a part of human function. It is the root of all of them, the governor of all of them. It's the principle of bondage to all of them and it is what is keeping you from becoming aware of that in which the contraction itself is being generated.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Beyond The Koan"

Disciplining Both Sides of the Ego is a Prerequisite for Hearing

This understanding of pairs of egoic tendencies does eventually reach a conclusive, "summary" point, and that is when hearing — fundamental (comprehensive) self-understanding — occurs.

Keeping the total picture in mind (remembering the painful and the pleasurable, the undesirable and the desirable) at all times produces natural dispassion (or natural transcendence of desire itself). Desire always has two sides (relative to the potentials in any object or condition or function) — desire for (or to embrace) and desire to avoid (or escape). Only one tends to be kept in mind in any given situation of desire. Remember both, and desire is naturally transcended. Such desirelessness is fundamental freedom.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Keep the Total Picture in Mind"
"I" Is the Body of Life

The inability to make an effort or to assume a proposition representing one or the other side of a dynamic possibility or one or the other side of the contradiction of the problem that you're being . . . when you can't make an answer, when you can't go further, when you can't penetrate the Koan, you can't penetrate the great question, only the total is before you, you cannot move, you're in an absolute state of frustration, you can't think what to do next, you don't know what possibly could happen next, you could be in this state for the rest of your life, when you get to that point of tension, it's precisely in that disposition that hearing awakens.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Beyond The Koan"

Adi Da described the moment hearing occurred in His own case (in 1960, at age 20, while an undergraduate at Columbia University), as exactly this comprehensive awareness of all the opposite tendencies (or "contradictions") in the egoic patterning:

On this extraordinary night I sat at my desk late into the night. I had exhausted my seeking, so that I felt there were no more books to read, nor any possible kind of ordinary experience that could exceed what I had already embraced. There seemed no outstanding sources for any new excursion, no remaining and conclusive possibilities. I was drawn into the interior tension of my mind that held all of that seeking, every impulse and alternative, every motive in the form of my desiring. I contemplated it as a whole, a dramatic singleness, and it moved me into a profound shape of life-feeling, so that all the vital centers in my body and mind appeared like a long funnel of contracted planes that led on to an infinitely regressed and invisible image. I observed this deep sensation of conflict and endlessly multiplied contradictions, such that I was surrendered to its very shape, as if to experience it perfectly and to be it.

Then quite suddenly, in a moment, I experienced a total revolution in my body-mind, and, altogether, in my living consciousness. An absolute sense of understanding opened and arose at the extreme end of all this sudden contemplation. And all of the motions of me that moved down into that depth appeared to reverse their direction at some unfathomable point. The rising impulse caused me to stand, and I felt a surge of Force draw me up out of my depths and expand, Filling my entire body and every level of my living consciousness with wave on wave of the most Beautiful and Joyous Energy. . .

In that great moment of Awakening I Knew the Truth was not a matter of seeking. There were no “reasons” for Joy and Freedom. It was not a matter of a truth, an object, a concept, a belief, a reason, a motivation, or any external fact. . . . Instead, I saw that the Truth or Reality was a matter of the absence of all contradictions, every trace of conflict, opposition, division, or desperate motivation within. Where there is no seeking, no contradiction, there is only the unqualified Knowledge and Power that is Reality. . . . .

I also saw that Freedom and Joy is not attained, that It is not dependent on any form, object, idea, progress, or experience. I saw that human beings (and, indeed, all beings) are, at any moment, always and already Free. I Knew that I was not lacking anything I needed yet to find, nor had I ever been without such a thing. The problem was the seeking itself, which ‘created’ and enforced contradiction, conflict, and absence within. . . .

It took me many years to understand that revolution in my living being. . . It marked the rising in me of fundamental and Non-conditional Life, and it, in its moment, removed every shadow of dilemma and ignorance from the mind, on every level, and all its effects in the body.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Knee Of Listening

You must find out that even the whole, even the 'I' as the body is self-contraction. That's the first step. That's the great discovery. That's the end of the questioning game. That's the end of the ego. But you can't figure it out. The seeming contradictions of life, in the teaching or in me are in you. They're in your matter of thinking and acting, in your believing, thinking, perceptual mind. They're in the self-contraction. The self-contraction is full of contradictions. The self-contraction is self-contradictory. That's what egoity is. It's self-defeating, turned in on itself and then turned out onto the world.

The ego is always assuming one side or the other. Maybe at some point it's resting in the whole but not identifying and not understanding its own activity, itself as an obstacle. In other words, not realizing that which is prior to it. To realize what is prior to the whole and the self-contraction is what I call hearing. It is an intuitive realization. It stands prior to mind. And once that realization occurs something happens in consciousness. It's similar to realizing you've been pinching yourself and you stop. You begin to witness your own activity.

All of a sudden, in a moment, this moment you have the key to the whole process. And that key is the root of the conscious process which is the senior aspect of the way from there on. And ultimately it covers everything, the whole cosmic display and all the stages of life.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Styles of Egoity

Adi Da once pointed out that, when the Adidam community first formed, most of its members were of the self-indulgent type. As He developed and formalized the practices of the Way of Adidam, another type of devotee started showing up that was more "balanced", and who apparently found it easier to discipline himself or herself. Naturally, there was a tendency for the devotees of this type to feel they were the ones who were really "doing the practice", as they compared themselves with those earlier "slacker" devotees.

But Adi Da set the record straight: both were character types; they just represented different styles of egoity. The earlier devotees manifested the self-indulgent egoic tendencies more often, while the later devotees manifested the self-controlling (and other-controlling) egoic tendencies more often. But both were styles of egoity. It was easy to recognize whether a person fit one style or the other, if one knew what signs to look for. The self-indulgers are most quickly identified, through their eating, sexing, smoking, talking, etc. But the self-controllers are readily identifiable as well, by their "good boy/good girl" characters; their always "raising their hand" whenever the Guru asked for the "strong practitioners" out there; their ambition to move ahead in practice; their status-seeking within the community and culture; their "control numbers" in relation to the "self-indulger" types; the tendency for the less suppressed among them to indulge now and then in secret; etc.

It Is Profoundly Important That My Devotees Understand That Practice Of The By–Me–Given Foundation Disciplines Of The Way Of The Heart Is Not A Matter Of being "good little boys and girls". Right Practice Of The By–Me–Given Foundation Disciplines Of The Way Of The Heart Is Simply the living Of Right Life, Through The Establishment Of Participatory Equanimity, For The Sake Of Devotional and (In Due Course) Spiritual Communion With Me (and, Ultimately, Most Perfect Realization Of Me) — Not In The Mode Of A Seeker, but In The Mode Of A Non–Contracted Participant.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Dawn Horse Testament

Both types of egos manifest a chronic sense of dilemma. Without getting this point of needing to recognize both halves of the egoic script, each tends not to advance in practice. (The idealists are always putting themselves forward for such an advance, but it never actually occurs for real.) And each type of devotee especially needs to learn how to recognize and discipline a particular half of their egoic patterning: the self-indulgers, their self-indulgence; and the self-controllers, their self- (and other-) control numbers.

Now those of you who are here in Hermitage practicing at level one are a relatively well-balanced group of people. Your lives are, in some basic sense, in order. You don't seem to have very exaggerated motivations to break out of the pattern of discipline you are living.

But what we've also observed (and you've observed about yourselves) is that you are living in a rather idealistic fashion. You're not showing these signs of balance because of profound self-understanding. It's rather more like your "style". It's just your "way", the same as people in the world do it.

On the other hand, you have all of these signs of conflict in yourselves and each one of you in fact has expressed that at one time or another at these gatherings, even though in general your behavior is generally what you would call balanced behavior and not very exaggerated. On the other hand, when queried about it, you have expressed a conflict, motivations toward something that is quite the opposite of what you are generally tending to do, and that is the characteristic of the idealistic ego.

You are tending to suffer this ego dynamic rather inwardly. You are suffering from a variety of inclinations, many of which are different than what you tend to do in your daily behavior — but you perhaps don't feel it is a good idea to dramatize some of those inclinations. Some said you just feel them. You confess them every now and then.

Nothing really changes about it however. You're still there. So even though you are perhaps outwardly not tending to be very dramatic, very two-sided in terms of your actual behaviors, you are nonetheless rather two-sided in yourself, and that is what you must observe. You are not only applying disciplines in your lives and considering the teaching. You are observing yourself. You don't have to be very exaggerated to observe this two-sidedness in yourself and this rather complex, infinitely multiplied, desiring kind of inclination. That is what you must observe then. . . .

You may think that you have some real spiritual inclinations in your life, you see. If you observe yourself, you'll find out that's really what that's all about. You'll see that its opposite is also there and that your motives to be spiritual are motives in conflict with other motives that you are not so comfortable with.

I think many people have in the past somehow gotten into the "devotee" stages [of practice] because they were of this more balanced type outwardly, and were otherwise also idealistic in their orientation to spiritual life. And this was a kind of egoic arrangement that the community was not sensitive enough to.

This community, if it's going to develop its true cultural integrity, has got to be sensitive to these different styles of egoity.

This community has to sensitize itself to all the kinds of types or styles through which egoity gets expressed and understand thoroughly what the listening and hearing process is really all about and establish cultural integrity on that basis. . .

You are in conflict as long as you are identifying one half of a pair of opposites. A problem is two sides in opposition to one another and it is a problem for you as long as you are identifying with one half. It may be a different half in alternative moments, but you're in conflict because you are always trying to exclusively propel yourself with one half of some motive or other, or you struggle with the other half or let the other side become latent — somehow it comes out and you're being that half.

You must realize a condition in which you are aware of yourself totally and you can't identify with either half therefore, because both sides of every possible problem or conflict are within your view, and you are aware of them being part of this self — both sides, you see. You can't be either one. So then you see it as a whole. And seeing it as a whole, not gesturing in either direction, you see. That's a kind of still point in which you can understand it as a whole, not just see it as the whole, or observe it as a whole, but understand it as a whole: what it is, that it is self-contraction, that it is self-generated, that it is an arbitrary identification.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Beyond The Koan"

It is also useful to understand how much of one's "cultural programming" for ego-based self-discipline comes from a long history of religious and spiritual traditions that emphasize (ego-based) "purification", but not "ego-transcendence"; or that conceive of a two-phase ("exoteric" → "esoteric") process of "purification now" and "ego-transcendence" later. Thus a key part of not merely disciplining ourselves egoically is to identify (and transcend) the egoic "ideal of purity" that may be motivating us. Even our choice of language (commenting on the behavior of others, or our own behavior) reveals that programming ("sinful" vs. "pure", "bad" vs. "good", "off" vs. "appropriate", etc.) . . . One feels good about oneself if one is "pure" and bad about oneself if one is "sinful" — this "game" is all about self-satisfaction (through achieving a particular self image), not self-transcendence.

"Problem"-based and dualistic systems of "religious", Spiritual, and philosophical approach to the Divine Condition tend to emphasize an orientation toward purification as a basic means of Realization. But the ego — not its mere entanglements — is what must be transcended. If the ego is purified over time, it must yet be transcended, ultimately. But if the ego is transcended presently, the Divine Condition is Realized directly.

"Problem"-based and dualistic systems of approach to Realization are rather conventional and indirect. They provide the basis for conventional and primarily exoteric systems of "religion", ritual, social morality, prayer, meditation, and so forth. They tend to be more concerned about seeking than they are about actual Realization. They are very serious about this "world" and the popular welfare. They are addressed to egos, and they serve those who are yet committed to the motives of the born ego (and not yet profoundly committed to the transcending of egoity and ultimate Realization).

I Acknowledge that the ego is impure, or entangled in its own results. But I Teach the Way of moment to moment "radical" (or "at-the-root") "self"-understanding, the present-time transcending of egoity, and direct Realization. Therefore, I do not emphasize the conventional motive toward purification. The purified ego is still the ego — and as long as the ego (or even the phenomenal body-mind) persists, perfect purification is not possible.

The ideal of perfect purity is ego-made. Such perfect purification need not be your concern. You must "consider" the conditions of existence more directly and fully. In doing so, you will indeed be purified to a significant degree — that is, you will restore balance, or equanimity, regenerate your fundamental energy, and set your attention free to Realize the Truth. Just so, if you see yourselves fully, you will enjoy a more balanced view of human existence — free of righteous "self"-suppression and all of the kinds of public and private intolerance that reflect the righteous ideal of too much purity.

Above all, what becomes possible through direct "self"-understanding is a correct view of Divine Self-Realization — that it is based not on righteous "self"-purification but on the free transcending of egoity. The only ultimate "purity" is egoless Awakening to the Condition That Is Perfectly Beyond and Prior to birth, change, "experience", "knowledge", and death.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"Freedom from the Ideal of Purity", November 21, 1982

Disciplining and Transcending the Self-Controlling or Self-Denying Half of the Ego

We have some sense of how to discipline and transcend the self-indulgent half of the ego (through changes in diet, sexuality, relationships, etc.) But how does one transcend the self-disciplining, or self-suppressive half of the ego? By several means:

  • The primary way to allow disciplining to occur without it being just the other half of the ego in action is to always allow oneself to be moved to engage the discipline by the Guru's Instruction (not one's own self-imagery or idealism). Precede (and accompany) taking up a discipline with immersing yourself in Adi Da's Teaching about that discipline, so that you are steeped in Him, and your devotional response to His word and instruction; and so that you are informed by His elaboration of the discipline itself and the role that that particular discipline plays in the greater process of Realization.

    It's a response, not a technique. . . It's a matter of response, and being moved by that response . . . being moved to Me spontaneously. The devotee recognizes the Guru by heart, and is surrendered in response. That's it. That's the Way of Adidam, stated in its essence.

    Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Essence of the Way of Adidam

    To read (or listen to) and understand My Divine Avataric Word is to be Acausally Released from having to exercise the egoic vision and its separate and separative "point of view". Therefore, read, and Listen to, and recite, and feel (rather than merely think) the Words of My Divine Avataric Message.

    Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Aletheon

    In this manner, you allow your True Self to "live" you and animate you (including engaging the disciplines), rather than either side of your own ego. You are doing things to fulfill the purposes of your True Self, not your limited egoic purposes. (More about how to do this below.)

  • For self-suppressive characters (or characters driven by idealism, will, or self-imagery), Adi Da would often introduce disciplines that get such characters to animate (rather than suppress) themselves (and to cease to animate their tendency to suppress others). This can be done in a very creative manner! For example, Adi Da often had people give stage performances of various kinds, or had us all engage in "Dancing down the Light": dancing for hours at a time with each other, while contemplating Him — for the sake of Happiness (rather than, say, promiscuity).

    But at the same time, such creative ways of "letting loose" (to counter the self-suppressive tendencies of the ego) must be done in a balanced manner, so that one doesn't end up simply animating the other (self-indulgent) half of the ego. For example: for many years, Adi Da permitted the practice of Adidam to include a period of smoking and drinking around our celebration of Danavira Mela (which largely coincides with the Christmas season) — to counter-balance the dietary disciplines we had been engaged in the rest of the year. But He observed that many devotees then tended to continue the smoking and drinking for months on end, and in private (rather than its intended use to open up people in relationship to their Guru and each other). So He concluded that the liabilities of the smoking and drinking (creating longterm aberrations in devotees, that negatively impacted their practice altogether) far outweighed the benefits, and removed smoking and drinking from the Danavira Mela celebration.

  • The entire listening process (listening to the point of hearing) is to be done in what Adi Da calls the disposition of "relaxed self-inspection":

    What is simply not used is intrinsically obsolete — whereas what is opposed is constantly kept in front of you.

    The creative principle of true and positive change is a combination of always relaxed inspection (and discriminating awareness) of existing tendencies and, on that basis, an active, persistent, full feeling-orientation to right, new, and regenerative functional patterns.

    If this creative principle of true and positive change is practiced consistently and in ecstatic (or intrinsically ego-transcending) resort to Me, the Divine Avataric Master, free growth — demonstrated as habit-transcending true and positive change — is assured.

    Avatar Adi Da Samraj
    Right Principle and Right Self-Management:
    The Secrets of How To Change

    Part Nine, The Aletheon

    Always Stand Intrinsically Prior to all negative judgements about what you have done and what you tend to do.

    Avatar Adi Da Samraj

    In other words, it is not about getting all "upset" (or engaging in any other kind of reactivity) if and when one discovers one has failed to fulfill a discipline — since that would just be indulging the other side of the ego, which is into disciplining for the sake of a "good" self-image, or as an "accomplishment". It's that "part" of oneself that gets upset at one's "failure" — and that "part" can be countered by assuming the disposition of "relaxed self-inspection" instead (accompanied, of course, by re-engaging the discipline!).

Allowing Oneself to Be "Lived" by One's True Self

Letting Adi Da be the mover of one's discipline is also consistent with the fact that discipline — and even self-understanding and hearing — is not an end in itself; Realizing Adi Da (after having recognized Him as the Divine Person) is the purpose of the Way of Adidam. And allowing Adi Da — your True Self — to "live" you and animate you (rather than your limited, separate, egoic self) is a very natural aspect of Realizing your True Self. As Adi Da puts it:

Those who outwardly seem to practice the by-Me-Given disciplines of The Reality-Way of Adidam — full of "self"-denial, meditation, and "good acts" — but who do not Realize The egoless, Transcendental, Inherently Spiritual, and Self-Evidently Divine Consciousness, or Conscious Light Itself, in every moment, are only emptying themselves. . . .

Commune with Me in whole-bodily-recognition-responsive Ecstasy. Turn to Me whole bodily — Beyond all "experience" and every thought. Let Me "Live" you. Dissolve in My Divine Transcendental Spiritual Current of Love-Bliss.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
from "Let Me Live You", in Part 8 of Volume Two, The Aletheon

If you are giving energy to the activity of self-contraction, then you are perpetuating it. Thus, through self-understanding and native submission to Me, you grant attention and energy to My Real Condition. If you grant attention and energy to Me, then you are not granting energy and attention to these mechanical efforts of self-contraction. Therefore, the remarkable talent of this genius, or siddhi, for practice is basically a matter of regenerating the capability to grant energy and attention to Me and My Revelation of your Native State, or to Reality, rather than to the instruments of your bondage, the mechanisms of the ego. This is a natural capability into which you re-awaken through true self-understanding.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, December 28, 1982
from "To Understand Is To Stand Prior to the Self-Contraction"
in Hear Me Heart-Deep

In the Process of Atma Nadi Shakti Yoga, there is the recognition-responsive (and, thus, searchless) surrendering into That Which Is Prior to all conditional "possibilities", rather than the strategic (or ego-based and search-bound) struggling with "possibilities". . . . For My true devotee, the life-process is constantly volunteered and freely allowed to be the moment to moment death-process of the apparently separate "self" (or the psycho-physically-patterned illusion of ego-"I"). . . . The right and whole-bodily-true practice of devotion to Me is not about strategically dissociative turning away from conditional existence. Rather, in the right and whole-bodily-true practice of devotion to Me, all of conditional existence is turned to Me.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
From "Atma Nadi Shakti Yoga"
in Part 7 of The Aletheon

You can't ever Realize God without changing your act in a way that is ever more consistent with "being" God: always already infinitely happy (rather than engaged in activities of seeking for happiness); actively fulfilling the purposes of God (rather than ego) in every moment; ready in any moment to do something other than the preferences of your particular body-mind (since they are not "God's preferences"); etc.

For many years devotees practiced "pondering" fundamental questions (see. e.g., The Four Fundamental Questions) that included:

  • "Am 'I' The One Who Is 'Living' (Animating or Manifesting) me (the body-mind) Now?"
  • "Who Is 'Living' me Now?"
  • "How Do 'I' Relate To The One Who 'Lives' me?"

While "pondering" is no longer a part of our practice (being rendered unnecessary by "radical" devotion and other elements of the present practice of Adidam), such questions point to the illusory sense of being a separate self, independently thinking, acting, and so forth. The actual Reality is that we are being Lived by the One Consciousness, the Divine Person, in every moment — and the more we allow that to be our disposition, the less we are animating the "self-controller" half.

Considering breathing is a great way to begin getting a feeling for this. (That is one of the reasons why so many spiritual traditions involve meditation on one's breathing.) Breathing is the only bodily function which most people can readily experience either in an active mode (in which you apparently are controlling the breathing) or a passive mode (in which breathing is occurring without you in control, i.e., you are "being breathed"). Try this: Relax your control over your breathing to the point where you no longer feel like you are "doing" it, and it is simply happening instead. Now imagine what your life would be like if everything "you did" throughout the day was happening in that surrendered disposition — you being moved, rather than you egoically moving yourself.

Another place where devotees of Adi Da get this sense that He is directly animating them is during devotional occasions in which spontaneous mudras occur. A mudra is a bodily gesture (a hand movement, head movement, or any kind of bodily movement, including even shouts, making animal noises, or apparently "speaking in tongues") that occurs spontaneously — typically in the context of a devotional occasion of practicing the Way of Adidam. One is "saturated" with Adi Da's Transmission Force, to the point where one is allowing it to flow spontaneously in the body-mind (and animate the body-mind) . . . sometimes leading to these spontaneous "mudra" gestures. If you have ever experienced mudras in response to Adi Da, you can imagine what your life would be like if everything "you" did throughout the day was, in some sense, a "mudra" — happening in that surrendered, responsive disposition, with you being moved by Adi Da (by His Blessing-Force, by His Instructions for how to practice the Way of Adidam, by His Word expressing how you can help Him with His great Work of liberating all beings, etc.) — rather than you being the separate ego, the mover of your own actions. It's tremendously liberating to be in that effortless, enchanted, responsive "gopi" disposition in doing the practice of Adidam, rather than enacting it as an ego, "strategically" or "idealistically".

Here is an excerpt from Adi Da's talk, The Ultimate Mudra, in which Adi Da describes Divine Communion as a mudra (not merely an "asana", or a technique of "turning the faculties"), and how the art of practice is all about finding how to let every moment become the mudra of Divine Communion, or total embrace of the Divine:

When one is enacting the practice moment to moment in this surrendered, responsive fashion, the "being moved and lived" disposition can grow to such a degree that there can even be moments when the Guru literally takes you over (in the most wonderful sense of being non-separate from your Beloved, not any kind of "demonic possession" sense), and literally moves you whole bodily. Adi Da describes this in His own early years of spiritual practice:

Even though physically separated from Baba [Muktananda], I would often experience his sudden Presence in miraculous ways. Frequently, I would feel him acquire my body, such that I knew all of my functions had become his body. He would particularly take over my face and hands. I could feel my features adapting to the expressions of his character and mood. The special formulation of the Shakti that worked through him would pour through my hands and face. My mouth would twitch about my teeth in his characteristic manner. My fingers would automatically gesture in the manner by which he indicated sublime Feeling, and my index finger would (in his manner) point above — to the sahasrar, to the Holy Place, to the Guru, and to God.

In meditation, I would experience Bhagavan Nityananda taking over my psychic form. My subtle body and my physical body would expand with great Force, and I would feel myself with dimensions larger than any conceivable space. I would feel his subtle breathing, and my abdomen would take on the "pot-bellied" form described in the Yogic traditions.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Chapter 13, The Knee Of Listening

I Am The Self-Existing Divine Conscious Light, Always Already Beyond and Prior to attention.

I Am The Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State In Which mind itself arises.

I Am The Self-Radiant Divine Conscious Light That Always Already Pervades the "world".

I Am The Transcendental Spiritual Energy of Which every "object" is a transparent (or merely apparent), non-necessary, and intrinsically non-binding modification.

Commune with Me in whole-bodily-recognition-responsive Ecstasy.

Turn to Me whole-bodily — Beyond all "experience" and every thought.

Let Me "Live" you.

Dissolve in My Divine Transcendental Spiritual Current of Love-Bliss.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Let Me 'Live' You"
Part 8 of The Aletheon

* * *

The practice of "radical" devotion (which Adi Da formerly called "Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga") — of turning the faculties of the body-mind (body, attention, emotions, and breath) to Adi Da — when done fully (and moment to moment), places one in an absorptive state of Communion with Adi Da, that allows for the disciplines to be engaged in the effortless, responsive manner we have been describing. It is enchantment, action moved by Divine Distraction, rather than the ego-based effort of the self-controller.

. . . Discipline Of the egoic self Is Not Something That You Do To the egoic self. Rather,That Counter-egoic Devotional Discipline Of the egoic self Is Always Right (and Rightly Enacted — and Always ego-Forgetting) Relationship To Me (In and As My Avatarically-Born Bodily Human Divine Form and Person). . . . Otherwise, Any and All Of The Doings Of My Devotees — However Rightly Intended — Will Be Nothing but ego-Extensions.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Sutra 8, The Dawn Horse Testament

If You . . . . Rightly, Truly, Fully, and Fully Devotionally Practice Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga, moment to moment, You Will, By Grace Of My Avatarically Given "Bright" Divine Self-Realization (In The Context Of Your Truly Effectively Me-"Locating", and Total psycho-physical Devotion To Me), Be Always In The "Bhava" Of Beholding My Avatarically Self-Revealed "Bright" Divine Form and Person. This "Ruchira Avatara Bhava Samadhi" (and, In Due Course, The Most Ultimate and Most Perfect, or Seventh Stage, Realization Of It) Is The (Right, True, and Full) Purpose of Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga (Right, True, and Full).

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, Sutra 15, The Dawn Horse Testament

I have not been observing the true signs of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti, that true Yoga, true self-surrendering and self-forgetting, by granting Me all the faculties moment to moment. Ishta-Guru-Bhakti is a profound Yoga. It is not just a matter of being a fan of Mine or granting some love-feelings towards Me and feeling some love-feelings from Me. That's not Ishta-Guru-Bhakti — or it is merely an aspect of it and not really one of the most profound aspects of it. The real Yoga of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti is as I've said. You grant Me the four principal faculties moment to moment. It is a self-surrendering, fully self-forgetting matter to the degree of Communion with Me, and therefore you are involved in absorptive Samadhi. . . .

Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga moment to moment. And then all the associated disciplines every moment, no compromise. . . . It is very serious, very intense, greatly disciplined. Always in Communion with Me. Always entering into Samadhi. And no compromise about it, period. . . .

It is the necessary course from the beginning because there must be a purification of bondage to the body-mind or the ego-states that are conditional, or the conditional states altogether. It's only having been purified by that absorptive practice that there is sufficient equanimity, freedom from re-attachment to identification with the faculties, the modifications and so forth, that you can do the sadhana without "difference". That's the "Perfect Practice". And that is the practice for which you are preparing yourselves. Everything is preliminary to the "Perfect Practice". That does not mean however that there is no great realization of Me before the "Perfect Practice". There is, in these absorptive Samadhis, made by the practice of Ishta-Guru-Bhakti Yoga, the submission of the faculties to Me. . . .

The Way is not a practice of techniques that you apply to yourself and then get into Samadhi somehow, you see. The practice from the beginning is Communion with Me. It is Realization of Me. The foundation principle is that of being attracted to Me, moved to Me. Being moved to Me, then you do this counter-egoic effort.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj
"The Absorptive Samadhi of Devotion to Me"

Egolessness is Not Inaction

When one reads Adi Da's words:

As long as you keep playing one or the other side in your alternative moments, you will struggle, suffer and continually seek and you will not fully be aware of it as bondage. It's bondage when you can't move anymore, when you're aware of the total, when you're aware of yourself totally, wholly, and can't choose to be one or the other. You can't be idealistic about it anymore. You can't be superficial. You will be unable to fully dramatize. You can only suffer it and then you become aware of it as it is and how it is something you are adding to what is, the gesture of self-contraction.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "Beyond The Koan"

one may get the sense that egolessness must be some kind of complete immobility, since one "can't choose one or the other", and "you can't move anymore". There is some truth to that in the process of listening, to the the degree of hearing — in other words, when one is on this side of the self-contraction. One is increasingly aware of how one's every action is being moved by limited motivations created by the self-contraction, and one is increasingly unable to identify with these limited motivations.

But when hearing occurs, "the goose is out of the bottle": one is now able to stand prior to the self-contraction, and there is nothing immobile about one's actions in that egoless position. For example, After His initial moment of hearing, the very first thing Adi Da wanted to do was share this great secret with everyone else:

Then quite suddenly, in a moment, I experienced a total revolution in my body-mind, and, altogether, in my living consciousness. An absolute sense of understanding opened and arose at the extreme end of all this sudden contemplation. And all of the motions of me that moved down into that depth appeared to reverse their direction at some unfathomable point. The rising impulse caused me to stand, and I felt a surge of Force draw me up out of my depths and expand, Filling my entire body and every level of my living consciousness with wave on wave of the most Beautiful and Joyous Energy.

I felt absolutely mad, but the madness was not of a desperate kind. There was no seeking and no dilemma within it, no question — no unfulfilled motive, not a single object or presence outside myself.

I could not contain the Energy in my small room. I ran out of the building and through the streets. I thought, if I could only find someone to talk to, to communicate to about this "Thing".

The Energy in my body was overwhelming, and there was an ecstasy in every cell that was almost intolerable in its Pressure, Light, and Force.

It took me many years to understand that revolution in my living being. . .

It marked the rising in me of fundamental and Non-conditional Life, and it, in its moment, removed every shadow of dilemma and ignorance from the mind, on every level, and all its effects in the body.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Knee Of Listening

What had been the dilemma of "my" action, and "which of 'my' (conflicted) egoic impulses should I act on?" is replaced by action that is spontaneous, in which there is no longer a difference between "acting" and "being moved to act", as illustrated in the above passage when Adi Da writes: "the rising impulse caused me to stand".

Far from rendering one dysfunctional, fundamental self-understanding finally enables one to function completely effectively, freed from the sense of dilemma that is otherwise chronically present because of the self-contraction:

DEVOTEE: Does karma prevent the ability to function?

ADI DA: Karma is the inability to function. The karmic condition is the continuous sense of dilemma. Satsang is the only way in which your dilemma, your karma becomes obsolete, because it is not meditation on your dilemma, it is not an attempt to transform the limited self you are always meditating on. Neither is Satsang an attempt not to meditate on this dilemma. Nor is it an attempt to change this "self" on which you usually meditate. Satsang is relationship to Guru. Satsang is to live the relationship to Guru under all the instances of this tendency to contract into negative or obsessive meditation on your limited state and your failure. If you do this hour by hour, day by day, life after life, aeon after aeon, becoming ever more absorbed in the Guru, loving the Guru, serving the Guru, living that very condition of Satsang with the Guru, you will have no use for your karmic dilemma any longer. It simply will not be functioning any longer. It will become obsolete. It becomes obsolete through non-use. Therefore, Satsang is the principle by which suffering becomes obsolete and by which all function is fulfilled.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, My "Bright" Word

Egoity is self-possession. In this sense, the listening-hearing process is a kind of exorcism, and the egolessness of hearing is a free state in which one can instead allow oneself to be God-possessed. Hearing in the context of the Way of Adidam is increasingly the Realization of Real God, and therefore, the exhibiting of the qualities that stem from being Infinite Love-Bliss (rather than ego): an unceasing compassion for others and the impulse to serve their Realization; and a responsiveness to others that directly stems from transcending the feeling of separateness (created by the self-contraction).

Adi Da's Own Work with devotees illustrates these two qualities of the egolessness of God-Realization. He formally began His Work (in 1972) by trying to awaken His devotees directly to God-Realization. When He saw that they weren't up to that, He began to explore with His devotees what it was they thought they "wanted" (money, food, sex, spiritual experiences, whatever!) — without any limitations whatsoever on the consideration — in order to show them the limits of what they wanted: okay, now you've got what you "wanted"; are you in fact perfectly, eternally Happy? And of course the answer would always be no. Adi Da described this period of His Work (the "Teaching Years") as giving devotees what they wanted, until they began to want what He had come to give them: God-Realization.

The Man of "Radical" Understanding is not "entranced".
He is not "elsewhere".
He is not having an experience.
He is not passionless and inoffensive.
He is awake.
He is present.
He knows no obstruction in the form of mind, identity, differentiation and desire.
He uses mind, identity, differentiation and desire.
He is passionate.
His quality is an offense to those who are entranced, elsewhere, contained in the mechanics of experience, asleep, living as various forms of identity, separation and dependence.
He is acceptable only to those who understand.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The Knee Of Listening

Part 6: Transcending Identification, Differentiation, and Desire


Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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