Location: East Aurora NY
Dear Francis, I know myself as consciousness. Although I don’t live in constant recognition of this it is true that I can turn attention to this consciousness whenever it occurs to me to do so, and it occurs to me to do so several times a day. I am deeply grateful for the Grace that has brought me to this. And within this I find that sometimes the taste of consciousness is very sweet but at other times it is quite neutral; there is almost a deadness to it. Also I quite frequently experience psychological pain– usually triggered by seeing the suffering in others, particularly in my daughter. You speak of permanent abidance in peace, equanimity and happiness. While I can always find peace, I often find it along side the psychological pain noted above; the presence of peace does not cause the disappearance of pain. (Although pain does come and go.) While I would say that I can always find peace, I would not say that I can always find equanimity and happiness. Furthermore, I suppose I feel that it is appropriate to experience pain in the recognition of the suffering of others, and I’m not really sure I’d want to eliminate my own pain fully in circumstances where this pain seems appropriate. (I would note that I make a distinction between psychological pain and suffering, the former being a natural response to certain circumstances, the latter being an unnecessarily exaggerated version of the former.) And so the question arising for me is, when you speak of constant abidance in peace, joy and happiness, is it a peace joy and happiness that at certain times also includes pain, or is your experience completely and always free of psychological pain? If you could comment on the sometimes neutral or dead quality I find in attending to consciousness I would also appreciate that. With Love, Murray
You asked two questions:
I am reluctant to answer this apparently simple question because it is not easy to answer from the relative, personal, phonemenal level from which it is asked, and also because my answer may create all kinds of false impressions on the mind of our readers.
A first answer would be to say that in most cases, over the years following a total glimpse of our true nature, the experience will evolve from being dissatisfied, unhappy or agitated 99.99% of the time to being happy and at peace 99.99% of the time, with a exponential decrease in psychological suffering (more than 50%) occurring during the first couple of years. We could say, using a scientific analogy, that the half life of the residues of ignorance averages two years after liberation. The ups and downs of phenomenal events affect us less and less, just as physical pain seems to be extremely remote and insignificant under the influence of morphine. The world and its phenomena become more and more dreamlike as reality gradually shifts away from them and back to Presence. Oops! I have said it, I have uttered the word “gradually” in the church of Advaita. What a shame! If the Advaitic Police gets hold of me, please bring some Haagen Das coffee frozen yoghourt to my jail cell!
Neutral or dead quality is bad news. It points to a mind created blank state. No juice there. Stay away. SEEK FREEDOM!