Saturday, November 10, 2018
Ancient Hindu wisdom describes life in three steps: "Existence-Knowledge-Bliss," the three absolutes listed in their proper order. I always took this to mean that life is for the gaining of knowledge which leads to bliss in the afterlife. But now I see this as a description of the three phases of earthly life. Bliss isn't reserved for the afterlife-it is meant to be attained in the here-and-now. Bliss is described as: "Supreme happiness, utter joy and contentment." We have all experienced ecstatic moments, such as our wedding day, a child's birth, and of course, sexual ecstasy. But what would it be like to live in a state of perpetual bliss?
Know Who You Are
When you come to the place where you absolutely know who you are, there is nothing to do because there is no more to know. I am speaking of enlightenment-the realization of the Self. I don't mean you must stop learning, for even in the final phase of the yogini's life, she is ever exploring the phase she is in. What I mean is, after you have attained the ultimate truth of your origins, you can sit unmoved in meditation and not feel compelled to answer to anybody. Or like the Hindu sage Sri Nasargadatta Maharaj did, you can sit smoking, expounding your wisdom (although I suggest you take up a healthier pastime). Simply said: God doesn't have to work. Once you have done the work of awakening (which is not really work in any case, for that moment is pure grace), all the world is your creation and it needs no direction or intervention for it functions spontaneously and perfectly according to your pre-planned plan. For the enlightened, nothing needs to happen, for everything already is. If you catch a glimpse of who you are, even while you inhabit a body, your problems are solved.
Pushing a Train
Why would you push a train if it is on track going only one direction with a perfectly good engine? You may not be able to see it yet, but the engine of destiny is pulling you along. You can push a locomotive, but why would you, unless you don't understand how locomotives work? If you've never seen a train before you might deduce that it needs to be pushed in order to move. But pushing anything or anyone is insanity, for it is already all accomplished; it's as fruitless as pushing a train. The drive to accomplish is the human survival instinct. When you see the ego for what it is, you realize it is insane; it is ignorant, it is counterproductive. The ego is the part of you that spits into the wind only to have it fall back on you. Once you have gained everything, there is nothing left to gain. Once you possess all the treasure in the world, why chase a paycheck? Go ahead and push the train if you want-push with all your might and see if it will budge. It will not, for it is attached to a track and compelled from within, never externally. In fact, don't lay your hands on anything, because you'll mar whatever you touch. Instead, exist in a state of acceptance of what is.
Confound The Mind
There is complete rest in the word "bliss" which is supposed to be and can be the final phase of life, but complete rest confounds the mind. There is no need to use the mind here for everything that can be settled has been settled. The only thing to be attained is peace, rest, oblivion. The soul embodies existence in various life forms, reincarnating thousands of times. Next, the soul attains knowledge and insight about itself, life, and the purpose of life. When that has been achieved, there is only the final stage of non-doing to be enjoyed. Bliss is beyond the mind. In the existence or reincarnation phase, the survival instinct is at play. But bliss surpasses the survival instinct, and even knowledge. Bliss is not doing, it is feeling. Bliss is free of the mind and therefore free of any doing, which is why it's blissful! The third stage of life is beyond comprehension-it is beyond plans and beyond whatever the body happens to be doing. Bliss is beyond the mind's understanding of it. There is nothing to be done anymore except to savor life. But if someone handed you life and said: "Go enjoy it. Don't do anything, it's all been done, just go and enjoy it," could you do it? The bliss stage is a bit like retirement. You've worked hard and now it's time to enjoy it. So what will you do with your time when there is nothing to be done?
Manifesting Without Doing
When you are in bliss, manifestation happens or doesn't happen spontaneously. It is like taking your hands off the controls and letting the train ride. It is picking a comfortable window seat and enjoying the scenery. Nothing I do or say will change anything at this stage. Here, all is done. There is no more karma being played out, no more consequences from past lives-even karma has passed. All you have to do is sleep, and this is how you will learn. How easy is that? Everything you need to learn is fed to you while you sleep; there is no need to seek for answers. No doing, only being. No problems, only answers. This is so because everything apparent is contained within you. And if everything is contained within, whatever you want will blossom in the right time and in the right way.
Even God has to be Patient
It is a matter of patience, then. In this life, each circumstance will present itself to you as it should. It is a waste of time to go looking for something that will come to you at the exact right moment in the exact right way. There is nothing to be done except to be patient as the train rolls along. In the bliss phase, your karma is finished while every other creature in the world is still attaining to its potential. You can sit back and watch them struggle themselves free. Watching others struggle is like watching Houdini escape from the straitjacket while hanging upside down in water, but it is the struggle itself that makes them free. Like the caterpillar wrestling within the cocoon to become a butterfly, if you rescue them they will never learn that they are free. Metamorphosis is not magic-it is turmoil and effort. At this phase, you step back from the world and become the objective observer, and anxiety over their self-produced straitjacket is not helpful. This may sound callous to the person who doesn't realize that if the enlightened people could, they would rescue everybody. But the enlightened understand that it would sabotage the self-rescue we are all here to accomplish. The best posture then is to give comfort while standing far enough back from the chaos and confusion to be an observer, for the observer always has the best perspective.
Keep From Interfering
It sounds simple to keep yourself from interfering, but try it for a day or even an hour and you will see it frustrates and confounds the mind. The mind is a doing machine, but unless you want to generate new karma, it is foolish to begin a new path once you have made it to bliss, because anything you do in the cycle of bliss is outside of joy, and anything outside of joy is incurring new karma that you will have to discharge. Karma will return you, which is the cycle you were just liberated from. Therefore, what is left in the cycle of bliss but to do every moment what is presented to you? Nothing else. There is no other answer for there are no problems. If there are problems, you have conjured them because you are used to having problems and they are familiar to you. In the cycle of bliss you must stay in the moment and in so doing, avoid creating further unnecessary karma.
When you've gotten to the life phase of bliss, do what delights you in every moment and watch the road open up before you. In existence-knowledge-bliss, there is no step beyond bliss. You would only create for yourself another life (existence) if you generate further karma, which is decidedly unwanted. So follow your bliss; don't follow anyone else. This is key to unlocking the happiness inherent in every soul.