man went to his Master and said, "Master, I feel
like there are two dogs fighting inside me, a good dog
and a bad dog. Which one is going to win?" The
Master said, "The one that you feed the most."
Before discussing the specific areas of discipline, several analogies
are worth introducing and considering:
1. Engaging the disciplines leads to better reception of the Spiritual
return, for a moment, to the analogy between the Transmission
of the Spiritual Master and the transmission of a TV signal. Sometimes,
no matter how much you adjust the basic position of the antenna,
you still get poor reception. This usually is because your house
is located in a valley in the hills, or the geography is such
that there is no direct, unimpeded path between the broadcasting
antenna and the receiving antenna. You could, on the one hand,
adjust the antenna to the position that provides the best reception,
and accept the fact that it is just going to be rather poor. Or
you could change the location of your antenna (by moving, by buying
a satellite dish, etc.) to a place that provides better reception.
so, changes in one’s diet, relations, sexuality, work, etc. can
all facilitate reception of the Spiritual Master’s Transmission.
While the practice does involve feeling through all limitations
under all circumstances, there is no point in making the practice
harder or the course longer (even indefinitely longer) than it
need be through maintaining ill-informed life choices that unnecessarily
create imbalances and obstacles to free feeling.
2. Bringing the body-mind to a “low-maintenance” state of maximal
balance or equilibrium naturally frees up energy and attention
Johnson, an expert in rolfing, provides a nice analogy:
of the simplest examples of this phenomenon can be demonstrated
by trying to balance a kitchen broom upside down on a finger.
There is a point when the broom becomes completely vertical and,
top-heavy though it may be, seems to balance with effortless poise
in midair. As soon as the broom begins to wander away from this
perfect verticality, the finger supporting it must quickly be
shifted to prevent it from falling to the floor.
a similar manner, when, through ongoing disciplines, the body-mind
is brought to a state of equilibrium, minimal energy and attention
are required for its maintenance. Thus, energy and attention
are freed up for locating and Realizing the Divine and the Awakened
State more and more fully. This instead of the conventional
life, where we distract and indulge ourselves in all kinds of
ways that (sooner or later) bring about significant imbalances
in life and the body-mind, which then require great energy and
attention to manage. I recall a young friend who was a new car
owner, whose car had a small oil leak, but who let his car go
without replenishing oil. After a few months, the engine got
so dry that one of the rods shot up and hit the hood! The engine
was completely shot. How much more time and energy (not to mention
money) my friend had to invest buying a new car, than if he
had simply maintained his car in a “balanced state”.
3. Enabling the radical purpose of self-discipline: self-understanding
via being the ego entirely (rather than one-sidedly)
is not just a useful ideal for "maintaining" the body-mind;
the "balancing" or "countering" of egoic
tendencies also is essential for self-understanding:
effective Process enacted at every stage of the Way is that
of expansion beyond the present limitation or contraction. Expansion
beyond contraction is the responsibility at every stage, relative
to the unique milieu of contraction in which the devotee is
responsible, by Grace, at each stage. Infinity, the Perfect
Domain, is not at the furthest point of the reach of expansion.
It is the "point" where the problematic cognition of space and
time, subject and object, is cancelled. It is revealed in the
moment when the mutual gestures of contraction and expansion
are equal. The Way of expansion in Truth is not a willful effort
from the ego-center. The Process is not generated the way a
balloon expands by pressure from within. It is like the way
a balloon, when punctured, equalizes with all space and time.
Da Samraj has described the ego (or egoic activity altogether)
as pairs of conflicting tendendies or "endlessly multiplied
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.
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. . .
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. . . . .
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.”
any given moment of ordinary egoic activity, only
one side of any egoic pairing of tendencies is being
dramatized. For example, one such "contradiction"
might be a tendency (of the body) to indulge eating and
an opposite tendency (of the mind) to suppress eating. The radical
form of self-discipline, then, is to always (artfully) perform
counter-egoic activity: whenever one is consciously identifying
with (and possibly dramatizing) one half of a pair of tendencies,
counter it. This means developing disciplines that counter both
egoic tendences (e.g., the self-indulgent tendency and the self-suppressive,
self-judgemental tendency). The radical purpose behind self-discipline
is this: by disciplining both sides of an egoic pair of activities
simultaneously, one can become conscious of both "halves"
at the same time, and can no longer identify exclusively with
either "side" or "half". In such a graceful
moment of true self-observation, one can be spontaneously restored
to a position of self-understanding that is prior to (and not
identified with) either
tendency. From such a position of conscious awareness of both
tendencies, not identified with either, one is no longer controlled
by either tendency, and can easily discipline and master either
tendency. Thus, early on in the listening process, one's disciplines
are aimed at restoring such self-understanding. Later on, disciplines
are enacted from the place of already present self-understanding,
as an expression of that
self-understanding. Before self-understanding, one is still
being possessed and controlled by the tendencies with which
one is still identified. After self-understanding, when one
is no longer controlled by (and unconsciously "skewed" by) either
side of an egoic pair of tendencies, one will naturally choose
a balance point.
the point is to bring increasingly more of the ego — increasingly
more of one's egoic patterning — into the realm of self-understanding.
Cover the entire ego (all the endlessly multiplied pairings
of contradictory ego-tendencies) — close all the loopholes
with a full enough suite of disciplines — and hearingcan take place: one can be restored to the place of fundamental
understanding, prior to all
egoic patterning. The secret of self-understanding is to stand
in the place of the entire ego — to consciously
be the entire complex of egoic activity at once,
to consciously be Narcissus perfectly (to stand as
the self-contraction) — not just one side of Narcissus
in any given moment. This is the prerequisite, or key, to then
being able to stand prior
to Narcissus in the very next moment.
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.
Adi Da has often said that, without self-understanding, we will
tend to not engage the disciplines rightly. Instead, we will tend
to engage them in a moralistic or "checklist" fashion
(as something we should do as "good practitioners" —
is a good example of this mistaken approach to disipline) rather
than engage them for their radical purpose as instruments of self-understanding.
Thus, in "moralistic" mode, one will tend to be aware
of and discipline the self-indulgent tendency, but we often fail
to be aware of, and discipline, the self- (and other-)suppressive
and self- (and other-)judgemental tendency.
that in most cases, a good counter-egoic discipline is one that
restores balance, not tips one over into imbalance. Thus, someone
who is being all uptight, puritanical and suppressed about diet,
need not go out and eat ten pizzas as a counter-egoic discipline
— although for really suppressed people, Adi Da sometimes
recommended measures along those lines on a short-term basis,
to free up severely bound energy and attention. (As He once
put it humorously: dramatization is "less mediocre"
than suppression. But of course that also makes clear that both
are mediocre.) In general, it is a matter of both sides of the
ego being disciplined: discipline the diet, and
take on the discipline of relaxing the puritanical disposition
and all its associated behavior (righteous "superiority"
in relation to others, obsessive finickiness in choice of foods,
etc.) Conversely, an appropriate counter-egoic discipline for
a self-indulgent tendency is not to suppress oneself, or become
an ascetic, but to engage in a rightly balanced behavior (for
example, a minimal-optimal
the net result of taking on a full suite of disciplines (that
cover the "whole guy" that is the ego) is to be constantly
in the disposition that Adi Da refers to as "relaxed self-inspection',
and curbing of the ego, moment to moment, in all
of its manifestations. (Now it's wanting to indulge; discipline
that. Now it's wanting to suppress or be righteous or "feel
good" about having disciplined the indulgent tendency;
discipline that. Etc.)
that discipline of the lower faculties (body, mind, emotion,
and breath) is counter-egoic activity at the periphery
of the ego; communion with the Divine — Divine Distraction
— is the core counter-egoic activity. Discipline is secondary
to and supportive of the primary practice of Ruchira
Avatar Bhakti Yoga. Both must be enacted responsively and
moment-to-moment in order for fundamental self-understanding
to occur. Any "discipline" that is not occurring in
the context of Divine Communion has its center in the ego rather
than the Divine. We express this point every year when we write
"confessions of Narcissus":
confessions for the Sovereign-Avataric Holy Month of the Gift
of True Water and Divine Spiritual Fire were originally written
in the format of "I am 'Narcissus'", or a confession of ego-addiction.
These confessions must be transformed and raised up, such that
they encompass the heart's confession, so the confession is
full-made. What has tended to occur is that devotees make only
a kind of negative confession of egoic self, and the full confession
of the heart is not made.
heart is the Way. Devotees must at all times re-direct themselves
to confess the heart's motive, rather than just making the confession
of the body-mind. Therefore, in the specific exercise of writing
confessions for this Celebration, devotees should write their
confessions in this higher manner, and, therefore, include the
heart, and not just the body-mind.
does not exclude, of course, the confession of the body-mind's
addictions. But it raises the confession up to the heart and
should then convert the devotee through his or her confession
from this higher Principle.
Adi Da Samraj,February 17, 1993
of other people have had insights along these lines (about the
inherent dilemma of egoic tendencies). For example, Freud's
psychoanalytic theory (see The
Ego and the Id) refers to a conflict between ego and super-ego.
Fritz Perls' Gestalt Therapy (see Gestalt
Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality)
refers to a conflict between "Top Dog" and "Underdog".
Transaction Analysis (see Eric Berne's Transactional
Analysis in Psychotherapy) pictures it as a "Parent
Tape" versus a "Child Tape". Do I watch TV or
do something I've been putting off? Do I exercise or get out
the ice cream? The general argument often takes the form of
indulgence versus restraint. Rather than placing ultimate value
in standing prior to either
side of the ego, we tend to make a value judgment on the conflicting
voices, assigning positive and negative, good and bad, etc.
tags to the opposing sides, and then we identify ourselves with
the preferred side. When the preferred tendency wins, we attribute
it to will power. When the disavowed side wins, we say we lack
will. Drawing upon wisdom from the Zen tradition, Hubert Benoit
(author of The
Supreme Doctrine) advocates acceptance in the form of the
conciliation of the opposites. He interprets the Zen notion
of satori (what Adidam devotees might call a moment of
self-understanding) as the release that occurs in the instant
when the absurdity of all our pretentious efforts produces true
humility. Remaining motionless in the recognition of humiliation
allows an intervention that enables a conciliation of the opposites:
suffering fades; calm and relaxation occur; the "old" person
dies. There's a Zen saying that there is nothing to be done.
Benoit understands this to mean a relaxing or not-doing that
is necessarily accompanied (and facilitated) by a higher-level
doing. However, what is missing from Benoit's picture is the
"higher means" that makes his satori moments
possible on a consistent basis (to the point of not just "moments"
of satori but a permanent Spiritual Realization). The
Way of Adidam provides that higher means in the steady, unrelenting
form of Adi Da's Divine Transmission, and our devotional resort
to that Transmission. In the Way of Adidam, moments of self-understanding
occur by Grace (not by Gurdjieff-like tricks played on the ego,
egoic efforts to "surrender" the ego, to "accept"
the entirety of the ego, etc.), through moment-to-moment practice
of Ruchira Avatar Bhakti
As Adi Da
means it, egolessness — or self-transcendence —
is about being free of the sense of "dilemma" or "problem"
that is at the root of human suffering. The pairs of contradictory
tendencies are at the core of the sense of dilemma (the word's
Greek roots literally mean: "two alternatives"). To
stand prior to them is to freed from the sense of dilemma.
person no longer bound by either "horn" of their egoic
dilemmas will tend to choose a balanced life, a particular behavior
is not what characterizes their egolessness. Freedom from dilemma
is what characterizes it.
is a matter of "standing" prior to one's egoic patterning.
It doesn't necessarily "disappear" altogether (although
some of it may disappear). Adi Da has said that one may have
to continue to actively discipline oneself even in the seventh
stage of life. It is likely, however, that such tendencies will
weaken in force, through non-use. But regardless of the status
of the egoic patterning, one is free of its implications because
one is no longer identified with it.
All the disciplines need to be engaged with consistency in order
for fundamental self-understanding to occur
can make an analogy here to boiling a pot of water. While in
some sense the basic idea is simple —
heat up the water to the boiling point, whereupon it changes
state and becomes a gas —
the nature of the “vehicle” for boiling (i.e., a pot on a stove)
has to be taken into account. There are all kinds of things
that could keep the water from boiling, or slow the process
down: We could turn the heat down; we could remove the pot from
the heat; we could take the lid off the pot; we could add more
water to cool things down; etc. If we want the process to proceed
to the boiling point, we must not
do these things.
so, if we “take on disciplines” to heat us to the point of hearing,
and, then we let ourselves off the hook with the dietary discipline
on this day or the relational discipline on that day (because
we’re having problems enduring the heat), we will never “boil”.
We need a set up of disciplines that cover "the whole guy",
every aspect of egoity, and that we then engage with consistency,
in order to enable the fundamental self-understanding that is
5. The disciplines are countering ADDICTIONS;
therefore, Divine Help is necessary
undisciplined is another way of seeking to be in control. After
all, when you abandon discipline, you do something undisciplined.
And why do you do it? Because you want to feel good, right?
You want to be in control of feeling good.
we look at all the ways in which we distract ourselves from feeling,
from moment to moment, we can accurately characterize these forms
of seeking as addictions.
Some of them are what are conventionally viewed as addictions
food addictions, drug addictions, alcohol and smoking addictions,
gambling addictions, TV addictions, sexual addictions, etc. But
even the activities we don't normally classify as "addictions"
can be viewed as such because their motivation and their pattern
is the same: they are motivated by the desire for pleasure and
the avoidance of pain.
until we develop the hearing capability, the source of the pain
is at a deeper level than our conscious awareness, we cannot
simply will ourselves to
engage the various disciplines that curb these addictive habits.
The motivation for the addiction is at a deeper level than what
we are consciously being, and therefore we are not the master
of it, and are re-possessed and driven by that deeper, still
unconscious motivation the instant we run out of “will”. This
is characteristic of all addicts who, through will alone, try
to counter their addiction; it is an endless cycle of indulgence
and “discipline” (as in the area of food: alternately dieting
and bingeing). The only way out of this cycle, as groups such
as Alcoholics Anonymous have discovered, is to resort to Divine
Help. The reason is clear: as the very Source of one’s being,
as one’s True Self, God is even “deeper” than one’s motivation
to avoid pain (and deeper even than that primal addiction, the
self-contraction itself), and so resort to God is capable of
overcoming the addiction —
because God is deeper than the addiction —
while mere will, which is shallower than the addiction, cannot.
By "living to God" consistently, the force of the
addiction is broken, and eventually the joy of God-Communion
replaces and exceeds the (ever-diminishing) pleasures of the
addiction to being a separate self.
ego-"I" is (inherently and entirely) an addict, a seeker in
pursuit of utter self-fulfillment and self-release. . . . The
ego-"I" is an addict (or a seeker) in everything he or she does.
That search is always a lust for objects and effects (whether
apparently external or apparently internal). And the search
itself is always founded upon "Narcissus"-the basic self-contraction,
the alienated, separate, and separative ego-"I".
Adi Da Samraj, "The
ego-'I' Is Inherently an Addict"
Basket Of Tolerance
ego-"I" is an addict of self-contraction. And egoity, or the
addiction to self-contraction, is not just one kind of self-indulgence.
Egoity, or self-contraction, is the total pattern of one's life,
and it inevitably produces suffering and bondage. Therefore,
every practitioner of the Way of Adidam must remember this fact,
be honest, know for certain that it is true of him or her, and
regularly confess his or her addiction to other practitioners.
as alcoholics confess, "I am an alcoholic," practitioners of
the Way of Adidam must confess to all: "I am 'Narcissus'. I
am bound to the self-contraction in every dimension of body,
emotion, and mind. And I am suffering the mood and the motive
of separation, and dramatizing it via the search for union and
release. All my tendencies are a mechanical effort, and, if
I indulge in them, they lead to suffering and failure in life.
Therefore, because I know this about myself, I constantly commit
myself to ego-surrendering, ego-forgetting, and ego-transcending
devotion, service, self-discipline, and meditation in heart-Communion
with the Divine Heart-Master, Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj."
Avatar Adi Da Samraj, "I Am (Myself) What you Require"
Like training a dog
tell Me about "Narcissus" when you are heart-born to My Face?
"Narcissus" is an appendage-waste in the intestines. Let it
pass out. Be purified. Stop telling Me about it. Stop telling
yourself, stop telling everybody about it.
are occasions to be confessed, but do not make too much of such
secondary business. Do not make a philosophy out of it. Make
your life out of your heart-response to Me. Your egoic garbage
is not philosophy. Purification is not philosophy. The purification
is simply the result of your heart-commitment to Me, and you
endure it, love Me, and live the Way, and that is it.
think that to change your life entirely on the basis of your
heart-response to Me would be being idealistic. That is not
being idealistic, that is the ultimate realism. Idealism is
a mental preoccupation that inspects nothing. Idealism is not
a heart-motive. To find Me out, to be Blessed, to be Awakened
to Divinity, so that you are willing to throw all your trash
away-that is not idealism, that is conversion. That is the realism
of the Ultimate Reality. And having gotten that Blessing, even
that Beatitude, this is the basis for great conversions of life,
great transformations of life, great purification-just cutting
it all away, without doubt. You do not have to "consider" your
contractions up and down to find out whether the body-mind is
feeling good or whether it will protest in the meantime. Who
cares if it protests? Of course, it will protest. Drag the "dog"
great heart-impulse founded in Me is the basis for all the changes
that My devotees make. And that is not idealism. Disregarding
the heart and just thinking of some imagined purity is idealism.
That will not hold, because there is no heart in it. With the
heart in it, making the heart your way in My Company, the impulse
in My Company, you can do anything.
Avatara Bhakti Yoga
is the Way of Adidam. You think it is a conversation about yourself.
Ruchira Avatara Bhakti Yoga is the Way, not a conversation about
yourself. Of course, the Way is about self-understanding, but
self-understanding occurs in the context of this devotion. There
must be self-understanding arising in that circumstance, in
that heart-dimension. But the Way of Adidam is not about talking
with yourself, talking to others about yourself, talking to
others about themselves, and thinking that is going to become
If you become My devotee, let the body-mind follow! Require
it to do so. Why do you have to worry if it is going to protest
or not? Of course, it will protest. None of its adaptations
has anything whatsoever to do with Real-God-Realization.
the heart responds, the "pig" is no longer in charge. It is
like training a dog. The dog protests, it is just a vital being.
You have to know how to train it, how to conform it to your
will. How to conform it to your heart, then, is what you have
to do with the "pig", or the "dog", of your own body-mind. The
first thing is to be converted at heart, be heart-alive, heart-reborn.
Then you are in a position to deal with the body-mind, and you
do not have to be the slightest bit concerned about any of its
future protests. Tell the body-mind that that is your commitment,
and you do not have to consult the body-mind about it. Instead,
consult the heart about it.
If this response to Me has converted your heart, if this is
your understanding of yourself, then you have to start dealing
with yourself in quite a different fashion, on the basis of
that heart-conversion, rather than on the basis of the talkative
manipulations of the egoic self. Instead of living in the context
of the world, live in the context of Real (Acausal) God. That
is the basis for making changes in the Way of Adidam.
your devotion to Me to the front. Live on the basis of the Blessing
you have received, the understanding that you have acquired
by Finding Me. Do not forget this Blessing and this understanding,
living on the basis of your own tendency.
do I also call this Way "the "Radical" Way of the Heart"? This
heart-response is the key to the transformation. You must enliven
it. You must keep it to the front and make it the basis of your
discipline. If you do make this heart-discovery of Me-the Divine
discovery-then it is your responsibility to keep it to the front
and deal with your life.
of constantly continuing to fall back into the garbage of egoity,
you must live on the basis of your heart-conversion, your Communion
with Me. That is Adidam, the "Radical" Way of the Heart. That
enables you to make all the life-changes necessary for your
sadhana. All of My devotees should be living with this impulse
and making changes on that basis.
about "Narcissus" and your problems and your tendencies is just
garbage. Stop taking it seriously. You have to deal with it,
but from the point of view of the heart, as My true devotee.
Your heart is what I Speak to. Your heart-relationship to Me
is what sadhana is about. You must use your heart to purify
your body-mind. That is the sadhana. That is the Way of Adidam.
Adi Da Samraj, February
15 and 16, 1993
What disiplines are NOT
is important to keep in mind that disciplines are necessary
but secondary practices
that are supportive of the primary practice of Divine Contempation
through surrender of the faculties. In itself, discipline will
not make us Happy, or bring about Spiritual Realization. At
best, it will bring the body-mind into a greater state of equlibrium.
is difficult enough. Why burden it with the obligation to make
common error of beginners is to get all puffed up about being
"good" at one of the disciplines — say diet — and
then to go around and point out everyone else's limitations
in that area. Avatar Adi Da Samraj humorously calls this beginner's
pitfall, "lunch righteousness". Disciplines simply
are necessary for Spiritual Realization, in the same way that
not walking off cliffs is necessary for human life, but not
nearly sufficient for a good human life.
disciplines in the way of the heart have no moral component.*
This is in contrast with many religious traditions. For instance,
the dietary precepts of orthodox Judaism or Islam are very much
associated with being a "good Jew" or "good Muslim".
The thought of "eating pork" would send shivers up
the spine of an orthodox Jew! In Adidam, however, such disciplines
have a purely pragmatic purpose: they serve Spiritual Realization.
They are like the scaffolding used during the process of building
a new building. Once the building is built, the scaffolding
is no longer needed. Just so, once Spiritual Realization has
been awakened, the disciplines are no longer needed. As it turns
out, since most of the disciplines coincide with a lifestyle
of equanimity and balance, and since a Realized person is no
longer driven by the imbalanced tendencies of either side of
the ego, the Realized person may very well continue the same
"disciplines", not as a support on the way to Realization,
but as an expression of Realization. On the other hand, their
Realization is permanent, and not threatened by their behavior
in any way. So if some unconventional behavior proves useful
in serving the liberation of others, they may freely engage
such a "crazy-wise" behavior for that purpose.
who are used to religions in which prescriptions for behavior
are understood in moral terms can easily misunderstand the unconventional
behavior of Spiritual Realizers (including the unconventional
behavior of Adi Da Samraj), because such people immediately
label as "hypocrisy" any difference between what the
Realizer prescribes for their devotees and Their Own behavior,
suggesting they are not practicing what they preach. But this
is simply a misunderstanding (a major one), based on confusing
the social morality of certain familiar religious traditions
(like Judasm, Christanity, or Islam) with the supportive disciplines
of spiritual Ways purposed toward Spiritual Realization.