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Several people who read early drafts of this book suggested that I needed some kind of 'overview,' some way to ease readers into things, to give them a feeling for what it was like to study with Rama. I have started such a chapter several times, but it has always turned into an 'underview,' so I've decided to take a different approach. Since so much of the study consisted of sitting in meeting rooms and listening to Rama talk, I'll just let him talk. The following excerpts are from audio tapes that Rama allowed me to make of a few meetings in the Fall of 1982. He seemed to get a kick out of my idea that I would learn something by transcribing them. The transcription is as accurate as I could make it. The words are his; punctuation, formatting and use of emphasis are mine.

October 6, 1982

"There are two principal types of kundalini. Kundalini is the essential energy of existence. Kundalini is prana as it passes through a human being; we call it kundalini then. Prana is the element of energy; energy is a manifestation of a certain principle which in Indian cosmology they call shakti, or spiritual power. Don't worry about the words too much.

"The kundalini comes in two primary forms when it comes forward from a spiritual teacher. There's many kinds of kundalini, just as there's a spectrum. Put light through a prism and you get all the different gradations. So there are different gradations of kundalini; some gradations of kundalini are darker, some are lighter. The highest octave kundalini is the golden light which occurs in the supraconscious; it is the supraconscious. It's what they call Sat Chit Ananda - existence, consciousness, bliss - full consciousness.

"Now when I enter into nirvikalpa samadhi, at that point most of you can see - seeing not meaning necessarily with your eyes but to see, in terms of feel, be aware of, sense, intuit, don't worry about seeing visually - you can see this light, or feel it. This is the light of the supraconscious. This light creates very powerful, steady spiritual transformation. The reason you are here is to sit in this light.

"As you sit in this light from week to week, you will transform and grow and develop. It washes away the samskaras, the past-life tendencies. It washes away the karmic tendencies from this life. If you can meditate on that light and allow it to pass through you - meditate meaning not so much necessarily to focus on, meditate meaning to let go to; you may start with a concentration, a focus on, but then you want to let go, to be absorbed, to let go, to let the light flow through you - this light will cause spiritual transformation. This is the highest octave spiritual light. Not the best, but the highest octave.

"There is another type of spiritual light, which some spiritual teachers use, which is the mystical kundalini. The mystical kundalini is very different. It is a much more intense transformative energy which, when used, allows a person to make tremendous spiritual leaps in a short period of time. However, the mystical kundalini energy has some...I don't know if you'd call them limitations...but there are certain operational factors which you should understand about it.

"For most persons, the mystical kundalini energy is easier to initially perceive, unless you're extremely sensitive. It's more of a rush, a flash. There's an electric quality to it, a burning heat. This light - and again it comes in gradations, there's lower mystical kundalini and higher mystical kundalini; there's ranges within the range - this light unglues the formation and structure of the being for a certain period of time. It will reassemble automatically.

"When you are subjected to this light, depending on how strong the dose is, you will have two or three days in which you can make tremendous changes within your self, in the structure of your being. After two or three days, the door will close and you will not be able to make those changes as easily. Any changes that you make during that period of time will last, but they must be intense and complete transitions in your being.

"However, a human being can only absorb a small amount of this energy. It's like B vitamins. If you take lots and lots of B vitamins, you can't hurt yourself by taking too many. It's not like the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin E; if you take too much vitamin E it can become toxic. The B vitamins, if you take too many, they just run off; it's a waste of B vitamins, I suppose, but you can only absorb so much. Exposure beyond that point won't make any difference one way or another. So with the mystical kundalini, you can be exposed again and again to it, but it won't really make a difference. You can only absorb so much.

"Once or twice a month, maximum, if you have a very powerful dose of mystical kundalini, that's all. To have repeated exposure at that point won't make any difference. However, the higher octave light that comes from samadhi, the kundalini of samadhi, this you can absorb continuously. You can never overload. It can never hurt you. Neither is detrimental, but the mystical kundalini is a bit more raucous. Not all teachers utilize both forms of light.

"In certain circles, those teachers who can manifest the light of samadhi but not the mystical light - and you don't necessarily do both - have put down the mystical light. They have said this is a lower level, and so on and so forth... And those who manifest the power said the same thing. Ridiculous. They're really both the same light, just two different forms. There are some teachers who can manifest both forms. It's like if you go to a martial arts teacher who just knows judo or one who just knows karate. There are some who have black belts in both, and they can teach you both arts. Or they can mix them if they want to. If you're interested in self-defense, while judo is a pure form and karate is a pure form, it might be interesting, if you're not just interested in the art itself but also in practicality, to master some of both, because they may be applicable to different situations. Usually a teacher will be a little more inundated with one than the other, even if they know both. Usually if you have someone who is a martial arts teacher and knows both judo and karate, they may have a fourth degree black belt in karate and a second degree black belt in judo. They're usually a little stronger in one than the other, up to a certain point where they become masters of both. Or servants of both, might be a better way to discuss it.

"The mystical kundalini is something that I normally use when we're on field trips, when we go to a place of power. The mystical kundalini is aided by that place; you draw the mystical kundalini from the earth. Earth is an element. Also from the ether. Fire, air, earth, water, and ether - the mystical kundalini comes through them all. These are the elementals which I have talked to you about on some of our trips to the desert.

"The light of the supraconscious, of salvakalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi, is not connected to this world at all. It passes through this world but it is not part of this world, in a way of speaking. This light I use at weekly meetings, and so on. If you had to pick between one or the other, I can't say which one is better, but I would certainly say, in my orientation, the light of samadhi is all-pervasive. Because the samadhi will free you. Well, the mystical kundalini will free you, too, it's just a trickier path. For most persons, it's much easier to inundate themselves with the light of samadhi because samadhi melts away the samskaras, the past-life tendencies.

"So what you do is, if you are not capable of going into samadhi yourself, you try and find a teacher who is, and you sit with them on a weekly or monthly or daily basis, depending on your proximity to the teacher. And just to be around them, if the teacher is truly enlightened, that energy and light is always coming forth from them. To be in their physical presence is a great boon, not of the teacher but of that light which passes through them. If you can develop a connection, what we call an inner connection with the teacher, then it is not even necessary to be in the physical presence of the teacher, although it will always be stronger. There is always a certain amount of 'transmission loss.' You can have a power generator and if the power is going on 100 miles away, even with very efficient cable there could be a certain amount of loss.

"So it will always be a little stronger in the immediate proximity of the teacher. But if you become very close to your teacher, if you do well in your meditation, a deep emotional bond will develop between both of you over a period of time, and you will find that you can be thousands of miles away from your teacher and find that induction is always taking place. You don't even have to think about it; it just happens. That's the ideal.

"Eventually, after much meditation with a teacher, much spiritual self giving, and learning to lead a fun life, you will find that you yourself will one day be able to go into samadhi, the lower samadhis, without the aid of the teacher. There is a big difference between the lower samadhis and the upper samadhis, like the difference between the Sierras and the Himalayas. And actually, the teaching process becomes most interesting for spiritual seekers once they've managed to hit the lower samadhis. However at that point many seekers become very egotistical. It sounds incongruous, but they do. They reach the point where they feel, 'I can go into samadhi now, I can do everything on my own.' And that's exactly where they stay, in the lower samadhis. There are many, many people on this earth who can go into salvakalpa samadhi.

"Nirvikalpa samadhi is another matter. In order to enter into nirvikalpa samadhi, you must have a great deal of humility. Once you become very powerful and advanced, you must be willing to go back to school and start over, and go to a wise person who will show you the way. Very few people are willing to do that. That's why their realization is not integrated and complete, and they must go through many, many lifetimes very often before that acceptance will take place. Because salvakalpa samadhi is a tremendous acceptance and liberation, but it is not complete absorption in nirvana, in that consciousness. Ultimately, I don't think it's that big a step, I think a step is as big as you make it. But you see people seem to make it very hard for themselves, and I respect that it does take a certain amount of time.

"Mystical power, as you know, has a whole different flavor to it. It's much more raucous at times; it's much more poignant at times. It involves more of the emotional body. There is little or no emotion and feeling in samadhi. Salvakalpa samadhi is like a sea of perfect light; nirvikalpa samadhi is no light, no darkness, no way to describe it. Absorption is complete, that's nirvana. But in mysticism, there's more of a sense of adventure, of camaraderie. You don't have to choose one or the other; they're part of the same spectrum. If you follow both back, they merge with the same transcendental oneness, God.

"So I find that both are very useful and we need not have favorites; it's best to have both. But in the teaching that I do with you, and the learning that I do with you, we utilize both forms. So tonight, I have inundated you with the mystical kundalini. Now, of course, I'm moving into the supraconscious as I'm sitting here, so it's kind of a double-header this evening. Which means that for the next few days you will have the opportunity to make many beautiful transitions in your life. Without trying too hard. You just have to let it flow into its own place. You don't force change; you just open yourself to its possibilities and let it work through you. You don't choose because if you choose you might make the wrong choice, based upon ego or illusion. Instead, you let eternity make all the choices for you.

"So our field trips, then, are an opportunity for you to enter into the world of mystical power. Also the Intensives. Occasionally at a Center Meeting, not that often, every couple of months, I'll break down and demonstrate a little mystical kundalini. But not that often, simply because it wouldn't be that effective. You can only absorb so much. You can increase your capacity to absorb the mystical kundalini. I have 3 or 4 students who are on the path of mysticism, and for those individuals, their being is oriented to the mystical kundalini and it's quite good for them, they can take a lot more of it, absorb more of it. But for most of you at this time, enough of your circuits are not on yet. And it's not necessary, it's not even necessarily desirable. You don't need to be able to absorb a tremendous amount of the mystical kundalini to realize God. It's not necessary. You can do it through the supraconscious light; that is the easier way.

"Because the danger or problem with the mystical kundalini, of course, are the siddhis. As you absorb more of that energy, you will able to begin to perform a few minor miracles, like Uri Geller or Sai Baba, someone like that. And as you do this, you run a great risk of egotism. Some people handle it well; some don't. Sai Baba seems to handle it very well, in my opinion. But simply because you can perform those feats of power does not mean you are, in the classical sense, enlightened, fully enlightened. It means that you have mastered a few aspects of the mystical kundalini. That's all it means. But that in itself is a terrific accomplishment, far beyond what most people accomplish. Again, I'm looking at it from a very different point of view when I say that well that's a so-so accomplishment. That's the ninth degree black belt saying, well, you have your first degree black belt. From the point of view of the person who just started, the person with the black belt has performed quite an accomplishment. So everything is relative.

"The more advanced the teacher, the better for you. As I've told you, when I first started judo and my instructor was a fifth degree black belt, I was terrified because I assumed that the fifth degree black belt would destroy me immediately. And I thought it might be safer to have a first degree black belt, but was later informed that the first degree black belt, when they throw you, might make an error and you might get injured. The fifth degree black belt is so expert that they will understand that you're a beginner and throw you perfectly so that no harm will befall you. However, you take what you get. Go for the best that happens your way.

"And whatever you need will be provided. Eternity takes care of everything perfectly. So never want for that which you do not have; you have exactly what you need. When the time comes for a change, you will find it occurring without having created it yourself. You may think that you are the doer and that you are creating the change. That's nonsense.

"So these are the two forms of kundalini. And regardless of what I say or what I talk about, the various emotional interchanges we have - all of which is part of the spectrum of our lives together - that is why you are essentially here. To be exposed to that light, which will create change and openness and newness and will bring you back to your own Self. The kundalini runs through you, but it's blocked. It runs through the ida and the pingala, the two nerve channels in the subtle body, but there's a central, the shushumna, which is blocked. When it runs through that, then you can use the mystical kundalini. The kundalini of the supraconscious has nothing to do with the shushumna. Kundalini is almost a misleading word, unless you define it as broadly as I do. That light comes down, from the crown center, and has nothing to do with the opening. It descends, and inundates. Whereas the mystical kundalini goes the other direction. It starts at the base of the spine, at the root chakra, and goes up.

"Awakening the mystical kundalini prematurely is dangerous, because unless you have refined your being, you'll get all screwed up. Entities, weird powers, strange things. So that's why I don't teach anyone how to open up the chakras. What I teach you to do is how to bring the light of the supraconscious throughout your being, because once you have done that, the chakras will open up by themselves. There is a way to open up the chakras, there is a mystical way. But if you do that, you'll get yourself into very hot water, and it's ultimately slower. If you take the time to bring the light of the supraconscious into your being, then automatically all blockages will go away. These are just ways of talking - there are no blockages, schematically I mean. So while some people might feel it's a little slower, they will follow the other route and get entangled and make very little progress, and level out quickly. Whereas this way, there will be no end to your spiritual progress, the realization of eternity. As eternity, by eternity, for eternity, eternally.

"November 17, 1982

Someone asks a question about how to deal with conflicting statements from spiritual teachers like himself. That is, what do you do when they say one thing one moment and then its opposite the next?

"Don't think about it all so much. Think about the flowers. Life is just a bunch of pretty pictures. All this is supposed to do is force you beyond the mind, when you realize that you can't figure it out. But you have to go through that process. Eventually you're supposed to get so confounded by this whole thing that you just give up completely, and that's when it starts to work. Not give up the practice, but give up trying to figure it out. So we throw you as many leads as you want, in this profession, and the more you want the more we'll give you, until you're so confused that you'll just beg for us to stop. And then we'll say, 'Stop what? You're the one who started it - you're doing it anyway. But you can't do it because you're not the doer. What's to do? You can't undo what's not done. It's all one anyway, why think about it? But you need to discriminate, so you'd better think about it.'"

Another person asks a question on determining the correct course of action when your inner being gives you conflicting messages:

"No, your inner being can't give you conflicting messages; your inner being gives you no message whatsoever."

The questioner continues: "Well, what do you do if you get no message?"

"That's easy. If you get no messages whatsoever, all you do is ignore all the messages and do what's left over. That's gyana yoga."

"But if there are definite options, and each one seems to be viable..." "Well, you know my theory. Think about all your options, analyze them all you want, try and figure it all out, and then, once you've done all your homework to figure out everything you can possibly figure out and you still have these options, don't think about it. Watch what you do. Trust yourself. You will automatically do what is right.

"So go through all the processes you want, then give yourself a break. Stop trying to figure it out. Don't hassle yourself by trying to be so good. Once you've done your homework, just see how you do on the test.

"Stop trying to figure it all. 'How will I get the money for the Hawaii trip?' I don't know. But if you're supposed to, you will - you won't be able to stop it. If you're not, no matter what you try and do, you won't be able to. Why worry about it all so much? Why not just live? And then you die. And then you live again. Unless, of course, you follow me. And then all you do is die. [laughter]

"Trust yourself. Figure out everything you want, but then don't worry about it. It's all out of our hands. Just let life work through you, and when your mind is raging back and forth saying, 'But I have to know, I have to know,' well it will. What can you do about it? If that's how your mind wants to be for a while, it'll be that way.

"But never make a move until you find yourself making it. Because it might be too soon. It's always better to wait. Whenever you're not sure, wait, and in time you'll find yourself doing it. To act before then would be a mistake. It's always better, in my estimation, to be conservative in action. One must always consider the dangers in the world, so if you wait till you're very sure, then you'll find yourself doing it, and when you do there'll be an ease. Whereas if you act impetuously, it will be uncertain, and you'll know it. It just won't feel right. It's better to wait.

"But when the answer doesn't come, it's not supposed to come yet. Don't make eternity try and conform to what you want. That's desire: 'I desire the answer right now to this problem.' Don't forget that desire leads to frustration, so instead of thinking about it and deliberating on it and knocking your head against the wall, go to the movies. Go and do something fun. In other words, you've done your best with it - leave it alone. There's a certain point where it will only lead to frustration. The answer will come. If it doesn't come at all, it wasn't supposed to. You didn't need it; you just thought you did.

"See, that's the part about self realization. People want to will their self realization. They want to know what is the right thing to do all the time. There is no right thing. There's no code. There are certain basic recommendations. The way you succeed at all this stuff is by stopping trying to succeed and just working very hard without thinking about it. Just trusting, completely. And it's that faith that creates the bridge on which you walk across to eternity.

"That's why I say if you have enough faith and you decide to go to Hawaii, you'll get there. Which doesn't mean that if you didn't sign up that you did anything wrong, because your being is saying, 'Don't do it this time. It's not the time.' There are other times. There are other adventures. There are other dreams.

"This is just one little lifetime in a succession of lifetimes. What goes on in this one little lifetime is not so important as you might like to think it is because you're in it. But as you get absorbed into eternity, you get the larger picture. And you see that this one little lifetime, this one little life and one little death and the events in between, are really not so important. They're not unimportant - they're beautiful, they're what they are. But when you can see the larger picture, it's just a tiny breath in a succession of breaths.

"Then you'll see more correctly and truly what life really is, which is an endless matrix of existence. And as you experience it in that pure form, that's what we call enlightenment. Enlightenment doesn't mean you know anything. It doesn't mean you don't know anything. It means that you've returned to the source, consciously. It means that you've become a sophisticated perceiver, without letting anyone know that you're sophisticated.

"It means that you're in love with all of life, with not only immortality but mortality. You love the fading flowers as much as you love the undifferentiated which lasts forever. It means that you're living fully, and it means that you die fully. And then you go beyond life and death completely. Everything, nothing, all and beyond all. The last game on earth is in progress. And when you lose, you win. And when you win, you can't lose."

Later the same night...

"In future years a number of you will become spiritual teachers. Whether you achieve enlightenment in this lifetime or not, one can still, after many years of study and doing a good job, go out into the world and teach people. In other words, you'll reach points of advancement where you'll be able to be of great help to many, many people. Which is my intention for many of you. And it'll take five or six more years, I would think, for you to really learn. In my estimation it's silly to go out and spend your time aiding people if you don't have your own act together yet. So I'd rather you spend the time, get it right, and it'll all work out a lot better. And I'll be glad to help you in any way I can to set up a spiritual center or whatever.

"But very often I raise these points about negativity because many of you, or some of you in any case, will be doing this. You're going to have to learn how to deal with this sort of thing. In other words, when you see someone meditating and you see them kinda glowing, dissolving in eternity and doing these lovely spiritual discourses, you may think that that's what their world is like. The onstage moments. But you don't realize that 90% of the time is dealing with problems and difficulties, and one should not go into the spiritual teaching process unless you're really willing to do that. There may be 10% of the time when you're there and performing, in a sense, but the other 90% of the time you're going to be dealing with personal problems. Very heavy problems that people have who are suffering, who are confused, who are deluded.

"Occasionally there will be a nice one who comes along who writes you a nice card or loves for a moment or something like that, but it's going to be as if you were a physician or a nurse and you were going into a place where there is great pain and suffering. And you can't expect, nor should you expect, that people are going to respond to what you have to say, or they're going to understand it the way you do.

"In other words, you have to have an expectation profile of about zero, in my estimation, as a spiritual teacher. You should feel that what you're going to do is go out and get probably not much but a lot of flak. Which doesn't mean that there won't be wonderful, beautiful moments. Obviously, that's why you do it. You do it for those moments.

"So the other night, after going through a public series, and different things that go on in a series, I was able to sit down with 140 persons who were applying to become students. And that moment for them was a very, very beautiful moment. In other words, I'd gone through all this traveling and advertising campaigns and dealing with people and teaching them to do their jobs properly and hostile vibrations and, you know, all the different things that we go through to get to one moment.

"And all the other moments were of equal value in their own right, yet from my point of view I wait for this one moment: it's a moment of magic. It's like when we're out in the desert, once in a while a moment comes along that's magic. The sky just goes gold and suddenly all time and all space dissolves and you are one with eternity. See, I live for these magic moments, because the rest of the time it seems to me life is just violent; you just kinda work getting through it. You try to see as much beauty as you can, but there are moments that I have talked to you about before which I call epiphanies. These are moments in your life - most people don't have too many - but they are moments where suddenly reality seems closer. You could be there praying one day or meditating or just walking down the street or talking to someone or making love and for one moment, suddenly life will appear in its pristine purity.

"Very often I see it, for me, in terms of helping people. You know, when you're helping someone and finally, when I am teaching...

"I had a period of time when I was teaching in a prison, when I was teaching these old Mexican men who couldn't read or write English or anything the ABC's. And for me, it was just as exciting when finally the guy could read his first sentence at age 63. You know, he couldn't read Spanish, either. And when suddenly he could read a sentence, that for me was as exciting as anything I've ever seen in my life.

"So the other evening, when I was sitting in Los Angeles on Monday night, I sat down with 140 persons who are tentatively applying to join a spiritual organization that they don't know much about, with a teacher they've seen a few times. But they've obviously felt something. They've read the little brochures and the Self Discovery's and they've evaluated some of the other students who they've seen in terms of working positions, selling tickets. And they're saying, 'There must be something I want to learn from here.'

"You can't really know what it's going to be like, any more than when you apply to a university. You can apply to go to Harvard or Yale or Radcliffe or UC Davis or whatever it is, but you have no idea what it's really going to be like. Oh sure, you can even go and see the school - they'll give you a little tour - but that won't tell you much. It's done on faith, largely. Something attracts you, something draws you.

"So as I was sitting there that evening - and the evening was not, from my point of view, thoroughly pleasant on Monday night - there were some people who were relatively hostile there. Again, I don't mind that; it just comes with the trade. You know, I'm used to it. I've been doing this stuff for many lifetimes and in this lifetime for about 12 or 13 years, I've been giving lectures and workshops, thousands of them.

"But I sat down with 140 people and there was something in their eyes that was rather magical. They were standing for a moment on a total life change. Because, as you know, for good or bad, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, when you join Lakshmi [the name of Rama's organization at the time] something of your life changes forever. As it would as you were to enlist in the military... [laughter]

"I don't know why the military has gotten a bad name; the military is a very good thing, it really is. The military is very important; you'd be in very sad shape without one. Funny attitude about the military. Don't put down the military because of war - it's a job, like the police, you have to have them in society. It's very important to have the military because of the way the world is.

"But anyway, when you join Lakshmi, you change. You have to. You just cannot sit in this field of light week after week - if you get involved with the program to any extent at all - and not evolve at an incredibly fast rate. It just has to happen. Sometimes the rate is so fast that you want to leave, which I always encourage. I'm always the first to open the door for you and say, 'Thanks very much. We're glad that you came. If you'd ever like to come back again, please do. And if you feel that it's just too intense for you right now, that's fine. There's no recrimination - you can always come back at a later date if you'd like to and reapply. We'd be happy to have you back.'

"Life is not always a smooth course. One of the Zen masters once said that life is like an ocean, and the nature of the ocean is very often turbulent. Life is not a smooth course - it's a journey of many wanderings. We're directed hither and yon by the winds of eternity, which we don't even understand ourselves sometimes.

"So I was sitting there with these 140 people, and they were really nice! I was amazed - they were exactly the group I was looking for, age bracket-wise and everything. Exactly. They were just really nice and very, very excited. And I only had a few minutes with them. It was late and I had to look at 140 applications and look through them and try and decide if there were any psycho killers there. [laughter] You laugh. Hmmm, we'll wait till you do it and see what you do.

"So I looked at the applications, looking at their past lives, peeking through their beings, and you know I had to do this in microseconds. And it was a very magical moment; it was just really nice. I mean, if the moment never went any further, if I never saw them again, I'd be just as happy. It's like...did you ever go to a little girl's birthday party, maybe six or seven years old, and they're all dressed up in their pretty little dresses, and it's the first birthday party where they're conscious enough that it's a birthday party. It's their first social event. And it's very beautiful, they all sit at the table with their little doilies - remember doilies? - the little Snoopy cups and the whole thing. It's a whole little magical world in itself, it's a moment of real beauty. I think in life that's what we build for. We build very hard for moments of beauty, and I find the moments of beauty in the building, too. They're apogees, they're moments of height that we reach, these little epiphanies.

"So I'm sitting there with these 140 people, and it's just a really smooth, really lovely moment that, as far as I'm concerned, made everything that all of us had gone through - you know, the money all of you have given, the work we've done in the postering and the Self Discovery's and the stories you wrote, and working at the tables and selling tickets and just absorbing all sorts of strange energies from strange people who come to see strange spiritual teachers - you know, going through this whole grand process. Which is why I like you to get involved in it, to some extent, because it makes you part of it. You begin to learn about the nurturing of consciousness, because for me, this has always been what it's all about.

"In other words, bringing people to enlightenment is fascinating, it's an art in itself. There are tricks to the trade, so to speak, to balance a person's being in the higher stages. But yet, where I'm concerned, when I was teaching Mr. Sanchez his ABC's in prison, when he got his first sentence, to see the light in his face at that moment of breakthrough after 63 years of always feeling bad because when he walked into an employment place he had to make an 'X' when he couldn't write his name his whole life, when finally he could write his name, that moment for me was as important or as valuable as seeing a person enter into samadhi for the first time. I don't see that they're essentially, necessarily different, which is why I do what I do. I've been doing it for a long time. It's called education."

November 24, 1982

"From my point of view, you'll find that enlightenment is extremely overrated. [laughter] No, it is! People have made it into some big deal and it's not, it's a very quiet thing. You just merge with eternity and dissolve and you're just the eternal substance of existence. There's no wind. Everything is stillness. But people have built it into something and if I've tried to bring out any quality in all of you, it's naturalness.

"You remember the story someone told about the people at the Vedanta bookstore being impressed by the Lakshmi students? What they're sensing is something that they haven't run into in contemporary spirituality in this country among Easternized groups. The thing you get so much of is artifice. People are extremely artificial and go through all these little ego trips, that "I'm superior to you" and so on. This is what you get. Of course there are genuine people who care and work hard and live in the heart, but they're definitely in the minority, which seems strange, but that's the way it is. That's just the stage of the process they're going through.

"One thing I've been trying to do, without explaining it to you, is this process. Above and beyond all, I'm not really worried about what advanced state of consciousness you can go into, at this stage. Because I've seen plenty of people who go into very advanced states of consciousness and then they come down here and be a bastard to everyone around them, be really mean and cruel. To me, that's not a grounded state of realization, that's just a person who's like an athlete who can go out and run a great mile and then come home and beat up his wife. That to me is not a very great achievement.

"So one of the things I think you should strive for - without trying too hard - in your self discovery, is the sense of just naturalness in being yourself. It's perhaps the most difficult thing there is to do, because all our lives we've been taught to be someone else, and we've been taught that it's important to be special. It's terrible, there's this nagging thing inside all of us where we really want to be special. But being special does not make you happy."



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