This is a follow-up question on the “Direct Path.”
Dear Francis, thank you for your clear, enlightening and specific answers to my rather abstract questions.
However, your previous comment, “…your premise is not true: if pain and avoidance of pain (…) were the cause of ignorance, sages should be in ignorance…” shows me that I have been misunderstood with what I meant with ‘resistance to pain,’ which I like to clarify below:
With “resistance to pain,” I do NOT merely refer at the “physical reaction” of the body while it is subject to an external painful stimulus, as in the “fight or flight” response, which we share with the rest of the animal kingdom. There is no doubt in my mind that this genetically programmed protective mechanism of the body is pure “maya” and there is no ignorance or ego involved at that level.
Actually, I was referring at Consciousness incorporating a “mental reaction” on top of the “bodily reaction” in order to (apparently) better cope with “anticipated pain” associated with and projected by “memories of pain.” Consciousness would then identify with the body by holding onto the bodily perceptions and memories in order to make use of defensive thinking via patterns to achieve a “feel good.” Thus a “mental identity” is made with the assumption that the body and its innate instinctive mechanisms in themselves are not sufficient to alleviate potential future pain or discomfort. When this happens, Consciousness continues defending itself even in the ABSENCE of the physical painful stimuli, but from the presence of “memories” that anticipate and induce painful feelings or discomfort. This is what I meant when I said “resistance to pain.” It is not accepting—resisting pain and aiming to control it via holding.
I feel that This is the point when Consciousness exits maya and enters ignorance.
To give an example, it is true that the sage would move his finger when burnt, but the ignorant would think and wonder in one thousand ways how to avoid future burns by holding onto his memories that feel bad. In this sense, “resistance” is “not okayness” with “what is” (pain or discomfort). It is Consciousness assuming a “sense of lack,” which inherently is not there, and thus leaving Truth into ignorance via inner dishonesty.
Under the above light, I wonder if your response to my suggestion on the original cause of ego would change? I don’t see any other reason why Consciousness, in Its Right Mind, would leave Infinity, Wholeness and Peace behind in exchange for something so finite and limited such as the body!?
I understand that a total surrender is ‘necessary” in order for the Direct Path to consummate itself to the Final Glimpse, but is presence of the living guru ‘sufficient’ for this total surrender to manifest itself, which the seeker is unable to do thru his own efforts?
Regarding your theory of ignorance, even the sage makes use of his mind and of memories of past experiences of physical pain to take appropriate action: correcting one’s diet, avoiding sunburns, walking on the sidewalk, driving on the right side of the road, etc… The sage may be cautious, but not fearful. Caution comes from intelligence, fear originates from ignorance. One can be cautious without creating a “mental identity”. One is simply the manager of the body, not the body. You say: “Consciousness would then identify with the body by holding onto the bodily perceptions and memories in order to make use of defensive thinking via patterns to achieve a “feel good.” I find this to be a confusing statement, for consciousness can”hold onto the bodily perceptions and memories in order to make use of defensive thinking via patterns" without necessarily identifying with the body, as in the case of the sage.
You say: “I don’t see any other reason why Consciousness, in Its Right Mind, would leave Infinity, Wholeness and Peace behind in exchange for something so finite and limited such as the body!?”
You are making the assumption that Consciousness needs a reason to choose ignorance, a choice for which you find no good reason because you believe that ignorance is a bad thing. Your logic is similar to the following: “there is no good reason to watch Hamlet, because murders are committed in this play.” The sage would say: “I have news for you, nobody gets killed, because it’s a play.”
Now going back to your question: “is presence of the living guru ‘sufficient’ for this total surrender to manifest itself, which the seeker is unable to do thru his own efforts?”
The presence of the living guru is ‘sufficient’ for the glimpse to take place, provided the disciple is willing to completely surrender, even for only a short moment. Up until that moment, the guru will be instrumental in leading to this surrender, but the disciple cannot be dragged kicking and screaming to the ultimate sacrifice. The issue depends only on the intensity of his desire for Truth.