This is a beautiful and instructive post from Robert Adams outlining a wonderful path to Self-Realisation. It was originally put together and posted by someone else on Facebook but I thought is was such a nice post that I’ve blogged it here for the benefit of you all.
The essential points below are:
1. Do not attempt to change whatever is happening.
2. Instead adopt an attitude of love, forgiveness and mercy throughout your daily life
3. Don’t worry too much about the body, mind and world or whatever experiences arise. No need to suppress either, just let things be and occur by themselves as much as you are able to. Allow life to take care of life.
4. When you are filled with love and forgiveness and mercy, perform self-enquiry again and again. This practice is emphasised below with instructions on how to do this.
5. Rest in the resultant Silence and allow yourself to ‘become’ That, watch yourself become more joyful and less concerned about thoughts and the world. Soon you will realise there is only That
Now read the words from Robert Adams below. Take your time to read it properly as there are some beautiful variations of the teachings which are very potent. I think it’s really worth spending a few days or weeks just reading this, absorbing the message and actually practicing it. But, as always, do what feels right for you.
You come under the law of karma […] when you believe you’re not awakened, you’re not free, you’re not liberated when you react to person, place or thing. […] I know there are many people in Advaita Vedanta who tell me, “Well you know Robert karma does not exist. Only the Self exists. Only effortless pure awareness exists. So why are you telling us about karma?” In truth you have to look at yourself and ask yourself, “Have I experienced pure awareness? Have I experienced absolute reality? I can’t afford to put on an act. It will only go against me.” […] So while we’re on the path to liberation we have to be very careful what we do with our lives. Every little thing is karmic. It is only when you awaken, when you are liberated that none of this exists. This is why I tell you so often, “Do not fool yourself.” Look at how many times a day you become angry. You feel cheated, you feel exploited. You feel something is wrong someplace. You feel depressed. You go and do something to cause this condition to stop and whatever you do you’re accruing karma. There is only one way to overcome this. And that is to forget about the world, forget about your body, forget about situations and go deep within yourself inquiring, “To whom does this come? Who is experiencing karma?”
Karma seems to be real and you’re affected with it all day long. Whatever you do, wherever you go you’re always affected by karma. It is karma that moves your body. It is karma that makes you do things. It is karma that causes situations to come into your life. Do not try to change a condition. Do not intend to change the situation. For you may appear to change it but this is only an appearance. It will come back again in full force. There is only one way to get rid of it and that is to transcend it by forgiveness, mercy and love. And as you practice forgiveness, mercy and love you inquire,
“To whom all this is coming to?
Who is experiencing these things?
Who is going through all these things?”
And again you will discover the I-thought,
“I am. I am going through all of these things. I appear to be going through karma. I appear to be suffering. I appear to want to get even with someone.”
You’re beginning to realize it’s not you. It is the I. Which is only a thought. Just knowing this alone makes you feel good. For you begin to see that you are free. You are bright and shining. You are sat-chit-ananda, nirvana, ultimate oneness.
It is the I that appears to have the problems. You separate yourself from the I, by self-inquiry. And then you can go further by inquiring,
“Where did the I come from?”
You never answer that question. By inquiring that is sufficient. And you will find that you’re in the silence, the void. Just by going this far you will feel better than you’ve felt in years. You will feel such joy and such peace. This has nothing to do with enlightenment. But you’re going to feel joy and peace. More so than you ever felt before. Just by inquiring,
“Where does the I come from?”
The reason that you feel such joy and peace is because you begin to realize that you are not the I. You have absolutely nothing to do with the problems of the I. It is the I that feels anger. It is the I that feels pain. It is the I that feels rejection. But you ask yourself,
“What have I got to do with I? I have absolutely nothing to do with the I.”
Therefore again you ask,
“Then where did the I come from? Who gave it birth? What is its source?”
And you keep quiet. A feeling of total love will overpower you. For you’re learning to sit in the silence.
That’s the most important point. You want to get to the place where thoughts do not bother you, where things do not annoy you. Where there are no problems and there are no solutions. Where there is no good and there’s no bad. You want to get beyond duality and rest in the silence. Many of you are getting a glimpse of what I’m talking about right now, as you rest in the silence. You’re not thinking about it, you’re not trying to analyze it, you’re not trying to make it happen, you’re just resting in the silence. Perfectly still. All of a sudden thoughts come up again. You start over again. You begin again. You inquire,
“To whom do these thoughts come?
Who is thinking these thoughts?
If I is thinking these thoughts then it has absolutely nothing to do with me. It appears to me as if everything is attached to the I. All of the emotions, the fears, the frustrations, it’s all attached to the I.”
Again you say,
“Where did the I come from?
What is the source of I?
Who gave it birth?”
You never attempt to answer. You sit in the silence.
Some of you are beginning to feel how good it is to sit in the silence right now. The mind is completely empty. The fears are gone. There is nothing left to tell you anything. You are quiet, still. Thoughts pop up again. It makes no difference if they’re good thoughts, bad thoughts or in-between. The whole idea is to empty the mind of all thoughts. You inquire again,
“Who is thinking these thoughts?
Who am I?
What is the source of I?
Who gave it birth?
Where does this I come from that is giving me all this trouble and keeps thinking and thinking?
And bringing up to me all these morbid thoughts, all sorts of happy thoughts, all sorts of thoughts.
Where did this I come from?
What is its source?”
And again you enter the silence. Where everything is totally still. Where there is no movement. The vasanas have disappeared. There is just perfect stillness. You’re beginning to discover something very interesting. You’re beginning to discover that you´re able to sit in the silence for longer and longer periods without thought. It’s taking longer and longer before a thought comes to you.
Yet you are not falling asleep. You’re feeling a peace that you’ve never felt before. You’re beginning to feel an all encompassing love. You begin to experience that the whole universe is an emanation of your own mind. And what you have done is you have pulled the entire universe into your heart, everything! All of the galaxies, the milky ways, the planets, the earth with all of it’s manifestations, everything has vanished. That’s total silence. […] […] When you’re sitting in the silence and the world is still available to you that is not silence. That’s a false silence. The true silence is when the whole world, the whole universe, people, places and things have all disappeared. You have pulled them back into the heart centre. That is the true silence. For there is no longer anything to think about. Everything is gone. There is just the void. The beautiful precious void. And you’re beginning to sit in that void, in that silence for longer and longer periods. When you come out of it the world appears to you again but it’s different. It begins to be different for you. You no longer look at the world in the same way. You no longer see the universe in the same way. You begin to feel everything as an image. You see images on the screen of life. The images keep changing, changing, changing but the screen is always the same. And something begins to tell you that you are that screen. You have always been the screen. Unchanging, absolute pure reality.
But you are not free yet. This comes and it goes. Little by little the thoughts come back again. You begin to feel anger again but less than you did before. You begin to have less interest in your body. The things about your body that used to bother you stop bothering you, stop annoying you. People no longer make you angry or frustrated. This happens little by little. And you can’t wait to practice again. When you are by yourself and you’re not disturbed you sit down in your favorite chair and you begin to inquire,
“To whom do these thoughts come?
Why they come to me. I still feel thoughts. Maybe less than I did before but I still feel things,”
you further inquire,
“who is the I that feels these things?
Where did the I come from?
Who gave birth to this feeling I?
What is its source?”
And now you begin to feel that the I is only a thought. It is one of the thoughts that you’ve been thinking about all these years called the I-thought. Yet everything is attached to it and you keep seeing it and thinking about it. But now you’re inquiring,
“To whom does it come?
Who’s feeling it?
What is its source?”
And you go back into the silence. Now every time you get into the silence you feel better and better. You feel lighter and lighter. The world again, the universe they’re getting sucked into your heart. The whole universe has gone. All existence has disappeared. Including yourself. There is nothing but the silence.
Om … shanti, shanti, shanti, peace.
— The above is taken from Robert Adams Collected Works, Talk 136: The True Silence
In response to this post here about how Namaskaram can lead to moksha (liberation), I received the following question:
Q. How does namaskaram cleanse the energy? How will it lead to moksha?
Tom: regular practice of Namaskaram with heartfelt devotion and feeling purifies the mind, transforming rajas (passionate energy) and tamas (dull or negative energy) to sattva (peaceful energy).
Then it sacrifices the ego in the depth of silence so that all that remains is the pristine pure reality.
Om Tat Sat
Through the mind being increasingly more still, all is revealed, naturally and directly, non-verbally and non-conceptually, beyond any set of words or stock-phrases.
We don’t need to wrestle with ideas and questions such as:
– Is there a separate self?
– Is the world an illusion?
– Is everything really me?
– Do I survive after death?
– Am I really not the body?
– Is there free will?
– Are all these teachings actually just ramblings of self-deluded people? (It’s not impossible!)
All of the above is just ego-play, the mind perpetuating itself.
Through being still, as the thoughts lessen and lessen, the distorting veil of the ego lessens and its illusions are naturally seen through. Insight pours in all by itself, insight simply being the recognition of illusion for what it is, and the falling away of illusion.
All practices eventually take us to this stillness, so do what you need to do to be still. Often uplifting, blissfull, loving, positive and invigotating practices and techniques are needed first to root out negative tendencies (tamasic vasanas), and soothing calming practices are needed to calm passionate activated energies (rajasic vasanas) prior to allowing yourself to be still. Do what you need to do to allow stillness into your life.
Any teachings that have given you lasting benefit just bring you to this stillness, even if just momentarily. Through repeated prolongued immersion in stillness, the tendency to identify with the body-mind reduces then, after much time, eventually disappears, and with that the belief in the solidity of the world and other people also disappears, as does the notion of subject-object and time. This just happens by itself.
No need to take my word for it. Just be still and find out for yourself. Let go of belief in the ‘me’, the body, the world, the future, the past, etc, allow all thoughts to gently settle down and let go of all thinking. No need to push anything away or supress anything, just allow yourself (the ego-mind) to die…all will naturally work itself out.
Of course you will not find discover anything new or realise anything: the ego-illusion, the centre that is seeking – that will simply end. This is not about gaining new special knowledge or a new insight into reality, so if you are not getting special experiences/understanding or don’t appear to be ‘making progress’ through being still, don’t worry, that’s perfect. This is about the end of the ‘me’ that is seeking all of that.
Also, don’t underestimate the tenaciousness, endurance and pervasiveness of the ego. Even when thoughts do not appear to be consciously present, the ego is still fully there, dormant and in seed form, ready to sprout, just like in deep sleep. Therefore the stillness, even when thoughts appear not to be present, still needs to be be further deepened and the sadhana (spiritual practice) still needs to be continued until there is no individuality-duality left. A superficial absense of thoughts will not do. If this seems too difficult or daunting, don’t worry – just start, just start! What at first appears difficult or even impossible becomes easy with repeated attempts and practice. Take the example of a child learning to walk, ride a bike, swim or speak a language.
What remains when the ego/’me’ is gone can’t be put into words, and cannot be understood by the ego/mind. Thinking that this can be put into words such as ‘all is one’, or ‘Atman is Brahman’ or ‘there’s nobody here’ or any other set of words is seen to be false and just more toys for the ego. At the same time, it can be seen what these words may be trying (and failing) to point to.
So, no need to figure any of this out – that is more ego – instead be still. No need to cling to insights or words or knowledge or experiences – that too is more ego – instead be still.
Do not try to be still – that is just more activity, more ego. Seeing this, just allow everything to be as it is, not in order to get something, as that too is more ego.
Seeing the ego is always trying to gain, and intuitively non-verbally seeing this is just an unnecessary waste of energy, the ego can spontaneouly be let go of, for no reason, and not supressed, but just allowed, and in that the egoic drive has been removed, and this is being still. You need to try it and experiment to find this out for yourself.
Just like unplugging an electric fan, the blades of the ego-fan may appear to turn for a while, a good while, but no need to try to stop the blades rotating – that is more ego-effort and causes more issues – just be still and the ego-thoughts will naturally slow down when it is ready, just like the electric fan blades eventually stop by themselves when the power is taken away.
The other thing is don’t get stuck in a trance, a static feel-good state of mind. That is also another play of the mind looking for escape and pleasure. Stillness is not a trance, it’s much gentler than that – it’s the natural state. Try, experiment and practice and you will find the way, not by sitting on the sidelines thinking about it, but by actually doing it.
In summary: be still, all will be revealed.
Which means nothing will really be revealed, just the illusion/illusory seeker will die. The illusion-free state, the egoless state, the non-dual state, which of course is not a state, is the natural state.
If this is confusing, don’t worry. The words are never it. Instead just be still. Actually do it. Again and again forget everything, let go of your thoughts and thinking, bring yourself back to stillness, become nothing, let go of it all, be still.
This is the natural path to the natural state.
Wishing you peace.
Q. If truth is always present and available, what prevents someone from seeing it?
Tom: Pre-occupation with and belief in the content of thought.
Q. How can I drop all this activity and take that leap of faith?
Tom: Ignore your thoughts.
Q. How long should I ignore my thoughts for? What if I do it for a few days and nothing has happened?
Tom: This is also a thought.
Q. Is it possible to live whilst ignoring thoughts in a modern urban lifestyle?
Tom: Yes. The body-mind will take care of itself. Notice how thought is trying to prevent you from ignoring it, how it is throwing up various fears. Ignore all this.
Q. Thank you so much for holding me when I feel like collapsing 🙏
Tom: It’s my pleasure, I am humbled by your gratitude. Best wishes to you 🙏❤
What is the ego?
Will you accept my definition or find out for yourself?
Stop, be aware of what is happening:
Notice the content of your thoughts.
Notice the feelings that accompany the thoughts:
Is there tension and stress in a particular thought?
Or is there a freedom,
A space where thought is free to move,
Free to come and go as it pleases?
And what is the ego?
What does it feels like?
What kind of energy does it bring into the physical organism?
Be open to feel this ego:
Get a sense of what it feels like in its many guises.
Relax and let it in.
Notice a cascade of thoughts and feelings:
When they are believed in and invested in,
The egoic thoughts weave an apparently believable story line,
But when seen for what it is,
Inherently empty of any self,
Just empty thoughts coming and going,
With some associated sensations,
And perhaps an interpretive thought accompanying and interpreting what the ‘feelings mean’.
Notice there may be an urge to get out of the ego,
A movement of thought that attempts to end the ego may occur,
And notice that this is simply more of the ego,
More of this activity based on this false sense of self,
Based on this false notion of separation.
When things are seen for what they are,
And allowed to unfold as they are,
And illusion born of thought is no longer believed in,
The greedy ego,
Desiring something more,
And also in doing so,
Sneakily perpetuates itself.
Know well that even performing tapas (spiritual practice) and yoga with the intention ‘I should become an instrument in the hands of the Lord Siva’ is a blemish to complete self-surrender, which is the highest form of being in His service.
(Guru Vachaka Kovai, verse 471)
Sri Sadhu Om’s Comments:
Since even the thought ‘I am an instrument in the Lord’s hand’ is a means by which the ego retains its individuality, it is directly opposed to the spirit of complete self-surrender, the ‘I’-lessness. Are there not many good-natured people who engage themselves in prayers, worship, yoga and such virtuous acts with the aim of achieving power from God and doing good to the world as one divinely commissioned? It is exposed here that even such endeavours are egotistical and hence contrary to self-surrender.
Usually in eastern traditions the word ego is a translation of the Sanskrit word Ahamkara*, which refers solely to the (false) belief in doership and not the personality or decision-making apparatus in the mind.
It is the belief in doership that goes with enlightenment or self-realisation, not the personality or decision-making apparatus.
Hence it is perfectly right to say the ego is no longer present in one who has realised.
(*Aham = I, kara = do)