Q:Can you elaborate on that state of ripeness ? How does one prepare oneself for the understanding ?
M:First of all you are all ripe. How do you know ? You may not know. There isn’t a checklist.
Ripeness is an idea. If you cling to it as an idea it will choke you. It will keep you
seeking for more ripeness. You are beyond ripe and you are beyond ready. What I am really
pointing to is what you already are, not what you should become, because if you are not that
already, whatever you will become will also be not permanent. Whatever is not permanent is
only food for the consciousness. So this is not an invitation to become ripe or to get more
ripe. It is only concerned that, before you touch even the concept of ripeness, you are the
undisturbed awareness. Stay there !
I am not pointing to anything which you can compare with anything else – that which is beyond comparison, in which the power to compare arises in you – that state prior to anything you can measure or evaluate. That’s all that’s being pointed to, and at the moment it is perceived or conceived of as something phenomenal and separate, we are moving away from awareness into thought. We can even frame an image about emptiness. Mind feeds on concepts. If you say ‘absolute’, the mind will conjure up a feeling or flavour of that, and it will always be other than what’s here now. So don’t cling to any concepts. However profound or juicy it is, it cannot be a definition of who you are. You are not contained in that. You must be there prior. But this you, hear it and drop it, you without qualities. Somewhere you know you are, but when you are asked really what that is, at first you will go to the familiar tools of words, adjectives to describe that, but right there in the hearing of that you will have to reject it. It cannot be that.
Suppose someone has this longing ‘I want to know my real self’ and so powerful is this longing the highest beings in the universe come and appear and they say, ‘Beloved, we have heard your prayer, we are deeply touched by your sincerity, and we have gathered up all our power and we have found yourself. Here it is.’ You cannot look on anything, however beautiful, and say ‘I am that’. You cannot point to any object or any phenomena. You must be there prior to that to say ‘I am that’. So the purpose of this example is that anything you can imagine, conceive of, cannot be this you. If it appears, it must appear in something that is prior to it. The actors won’t go on the stage if there is no audience. You witness the arriving of them. If you have really understood by that, the sense of getting something, you cannot get anything eternal if it’s not already here. If it comes, it will also go. Something is there to witness the appearance and disappearance of everything. That’s what I am pointing at. What is that ? Can that be other than you ? Right here, right now, where is that ? Is it located at the end of some practice ? Can you say ‘Okay I’m getting closer’. We are very seduced by this promise of getting nearer, almost there. What you are looking towards is already where you started looking from. You are already that. You are asking the mind to be convinced of that truth, but the mind will not willingly cooperate with anything that will make it redundant. There is a lovely example Sri Ramana gave to express this. He said it’s like turning a thief into a policeman sending that thief out to catch himself. He will never catch the thief because he is the thief. If you ask the mind to chase after the absolute it loves that job. ‘Oh, almost got it’; ‘Just missed it’. You cannot get there through mind.
See mind for what mind is. See that you have been there all along witnessing sensations arising and see that something is prior, witnessing movement. You witness movement. First you are. You even know knowledge, but we don’t really fix the attention at the source. We are catching hold of the concepts and surfing with them, and they only take you out. But you can watch what arises in your mind or consciousness and recognize that you are simply witnessing a kind of movement. If you watch in this way, you can at least acknowledge that you are simply witnessing a kind of movement: Thoughts come, some feel tremendously powerful – a threat – you cover your eyes and open them and the thought is gone. So many threats, and yet you are still here. You witness the coming and going of them. Isn’t that so ?
So when you don’t touch them, right here, right now, in spite of them arising, and you don’t touch this feeling ‘I have to do something about it.’ You can simply observe that, it’s like the traffic. Nothing is touching you if you stay only as awareness. Judgements arise; don’t touch them. The feeling ‘I can’t bear this’ is also a thought. Just observe. When you observe, don’t touch. Simply observe. Don’t say ‘Oh, this should not be’, then, instantly, this energy is already subsiding. Even if it’s not subsiding, don’t wait for its subsiding. But that’s what we are always doing, surviving our thought attacks. ‘I can’t see friends today because I’m having one of those days, got to wait until the clouds pass’. That is also a thought. And you feel ‘I can’t do anything about it’, but that is only happening because you want to do something about it, and there is frustration. It’s only happening because you are engaged with it. Sometimes you go to satsang only for that reason; someone goes to satsang and appears to be learning. They say things like ‘I’ve had enough of the world, I just want to be free now.’ And for a day or two days they are deeply listening to every word and then suddenly they don’t come anymore. When someone asks what happened to them, they are told ‘Oh, they had an argument with their wife and they’ve split up’.
Sometimes it’s only to fix your problems that you come, rather than go to the root of them. So Satsang is not really a medicine to stop life from being whatever it is, because life is only how you perceive it. Not waiting for some outcome. Simply easily, quietly, smoothly, seeing coming and going. That is not to say you must sit frozen, not touching, because that is also a thought. Just let it all happen. Don’t put another condition on how you should be. We are constantly doing that. You create the atmosphere of your inner feeling. When you don’t mind, you will see ‘okay now this is coming, now that is coming, I’m aware of that, let it come, let it go, Ill stay as I am’.
As Sri Nisragadatta said so beautifully’ I leave my human nature to unfold according to its destiny. I remain as I am’. He’s not saying ‘look, I’m trying to fix myself’. This invitation is not a self-improvement course. It’s finding what you are, what you have always been. And what you are doesn’t have some exquisite cluster of concepts that you have to maintain. Gradually as you see that this ‘me’ or ‘I’ behind it, there is nothing I can touch or produce to say it means this. I cannot draw a picture of it; it’s just that sensation ‘I am’. I am even aware of this I am, what can I be ? Still, you are sensing everything, perceiving. But you are not tied into some outcome. Without leaning forward into the next moment, can you just be, without looking forward to something ? Mind is always looking to the past and future, why, because it’s never really content just being here now. Next moment may be a better moment, a more perfect moment. This is the trip. Right here, right now. Don’t touch past. Don’t touch any idea. What are you ?
We have this impression that we need some support, so many supports come. It’s as if in childhood someone gave you your first walking stick, saying ‘You need this to get by in life’, and later someone gave you another stick. By the time you are 15 you have lots of sticks. And still you feel you need them, you don’t question it. Then maybe some frustration arises. After that something comes in; you may meet someone who says ‘Hey, you don’t need these sticks, just let me hold them’. And you say, you will leave me a cripple. Gradually little by little, you trust enough. And trust is so important. Trust doesn’t mean believing everything I say, it just means being open to that invitation now, as much as you can handle. Eventually, somehow, you let go all the sticks, and then you can dance. Until you let the sticks go, you don’t know you can dance.