– Nisargadatta Maharaj
At the root of all desire and fear is the feeling of not being what you are (Maharaj). At the root of all desire and fear is a false self. WHO desires? WHO fears? These questions lead you back again and again to a fictional entity that wants to get something, or wants to avoid something. Pain and pleasure; despair and hope; dreams and nightmares; love and hate. Your desires and fears trap you on the roller coaster of duality – what tastes good today will taste sour tomorrow. The false self – always temporary, fluctuating, unstable – will never feel satisfied or complete. The kitten acting like a dog will never be a dog – there is no stability in false, unnatural behaviour. For this reason, the non-realized are trapped in a house of mirrors – the dream job becomes the nightmare job; the perfect partner becomes the not-good-enough spouse, the agile memory becomes forgetful with age, etc, etc.
Most seekers, before stumbling upon the Advaitin Teachings, partake in a long spiritual search and play out this type of dualistic relationship of false self to teacher / religion / spiritual organization / doctrine. Steeped in duality, the seeds of destruction lead to inevitable outcomes: e.g. The perfect, realized teacher exhibits the behaviour of excessive control or sexual exploitation; or the religion that offered paradise fails to deliver and exacerbates rather than relieves suffering. Each one of you will have stories that fit this “good/bad” mold. Are there charlatans and exploiters acting from the false self while pretending spiritual wisdom or realization? Yes. Are there religions or spiritual movements that are fundamentally concept-driven and that can never provide freedom? Yes. However, when searching from the false self, the seeker is likely to resonate with and be drawn to teachers and teachings that are false. Why? Because these teachers and teachings offer to fulfil desires and assuage fears. In other words, they speak directly to the needy false self. The false self will cling to the teacher/teachings like fool’s gold, hoping for protection or completion. However, the attempt is entirely doomed. The false self can never be fulfilled.
If you are fortunate to find an authentic teacher or the teachings of Advaita Vedanta, you will find that the desires and fears of the false self are not indulged. The teacher will guide you out of the matrix of desire, fear and falseness. Here there is no good or bad, dream or nightmare, terror or relief. There is only your real self.
Mahraj explains: Without it [self-realization], you will be consumed by desires and fears, repeating themselves meaninglessly in endless suffering. Most of the people do not know that there can be an end to pain. But once they have heard the good news, obviously going beyond all strife and struggle is the most urgent task that can be. You know that you can be free and now it is up to you. Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding, ever losing and and sorrowing, or go out wholeheartedly in search of the state of timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing taken away. In it all desires and fears are absent, not because they were given up, but because they have lost their meaning.
Being trapped in the desire/fear maelstrom of the false self is like being lost on a mountain in the mist. Finding the Advaitin Teachings is like finding a clear mountain path that you recognise after ages of stumbling about in lost confusion. When you find this mountain path and you recognise with absolutely certainty that it leads to your destination, you will feel a sense of calm and relaxation. You have not yet reached your destination – (perhaps there are many long days of walking to reach there) – but you are sure of the way. This is like resting in the deep blue shade of the guru’s grace – you are lost no more. The dawning of the natural state is not what you expect. There is no destination. Instead, you find that the story of the seeker lost on the mountain and the mountain path is just that … a story. You find that you were never lost, for you were never born nor will you ever die. You see that you are the mountain, the path, the seeker and the guru. Everything appears in you. With this discovery, every desire and fear drops away. They are simply irrelevant.
The teacher understands this final reality, and can take you to it. Follow the instructions. It is not so difficult. See the tenderness of the teachings and what is offered – the end of suffering. The teacher knows that the false is temporary, that it cannot persist. That your freedom is assured. The teacher knows if you are lost on the mountain; if you have found the path and recognized it; or if you are ripe for the final dissolution in which all that is false fades away, and only what is real remains.
Please enter the silence of contemplation.
For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – and the removal of the false that obscures Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog. Seekers trapped in personality identification may find an Ennegram reading of assistance. See the option: Understanding Your Personality By Using the Enneagram (scroll through the services offered at The Official Website of Floyd Henderson)
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