hearing capability: the discovery that the self-contraction is our
1: the structure of the ego
It should be
noted that the point of view presented here
our suffering is completely the result of our
and a single, primal activity of separation, at that
radical; it is not common, and is necessarily accompanied by the
view that there is an Awakened State. When, for example, various
modalities of therapy and “self-help” speak of our suffering as
our own responsibility,
they are making a different communication. In terms of
which shows the entire egoic complex as a layering of patterns,
with the primal act of self-contraction being the root or core act,
such therapies are helping patients to reclaim conscious responsibility
for otherwise unconscious acts in either of the two outer rings.
“I got angry at my boss and expressed it in a destructive way; I
can learn to be more relational, feeling my anger but channeling
it more constructively.” I could literally provide thousands of
examples of this type.
of these get at the very core activity, though many of the therapies
are based on "depth psychologies" that acknowledge a
a human being, and agree that working at a deeper level provides
more leverage. Different psychological models of the ego give different
names to its components: Freud's model of the ego as
libido, and superego; Jung's introduction of archetypal
patterning; and so on.
But the Spiritual
process being described here pulls
the rug out altogether,
by focusing on the primal egoic pattern at the greatest depth, which
produces the root sense of being a separate self. Once one is relieved
of the sense of being a separate self in any moment, the entire
motivational structure that generates all the rest of the ego
am a separate self, therefore, I need to defend myself”; “I am a
separate self, therefore, this pain is ‘my’ pain and therefore I
must try to get rid of it”
entire set of motivations is completely undermined. As Avatar Adi
Da Samraj has said, “ ‘You’ are gone, forgotten. You are simply
an openness, without egoic self-reference.” Relating to others,
functioning effectively —
all of ordinary activity — becomes vastly simplified, because all
the hidden agendas (“I want them to like me”, “I don’t want to do
anything that gets him angry, because I couldn’t take that”, etc.)
are being undermined through non-activation.
of self is a matter of observing the “self” in feeling (not merely
intellectually) to the degree that the primal act, the self-contraction,
is discovered as one’s activity. That discovery, which Avatar Adi
Da Samraj calls
then becomes one’s
that point on. In any moment, one can directly locate the root ego-activity
and feel beyond it, transcending the sense of being a separate self.
It should be
noted that the self-contraction doesn't just stop forever after
hearing. The self-contraction is a deeply ingrained habit. Hearing
simply gives one the capability to not enact the self-contraction
in every moment. But one must still remember and choose to do so
in every moment. It's an easy choice to make though, because after
hearing, the self-contraction is obvious, only painful, and now straightforward
to not "do".
to the core of the ego and discovering the sensation that is the
self-contraction (the sense of being a separate self) is the same
as discovering that
the self-contraction is one's own activity.
The moment of discovery is the moment of freedom, because the instant
one discovers that the self-contraction is one's own activity, one
can (and will spontaneously) stop doing it. But how
discover that the sense of separation is my own activity? I have
one doing that activity. It can’t be something I am “looking at”
from the outside, or merely experiencing objectively.
I've used the illustration since the earliest days of a man pinching himself,you all know that one, right? And he's uncomfortable and so forth, tries to shake it off, whatever he does, and then eventually discovers he's been pinching himself all the while and he takes his hand away and all his problem disappears.
Well, I've used that little bit to try to describe to you what hearing is about. It's not a matter of your dealing with a something that's objective to you in the context of your human existence. It's not objective to you. It may seem to be so until you hear Me. In some sense. And that's the fundamental description of the difference between non-hearing and hearing. In the case of the non-hearer, you don't yet, at the place itself, understand most fundamentally that your search, your dis-ease, your struggle, and so on, your pain of existence, is something that you are doing. . . .
You're used to experiencing your self-contraction as an experience rather than as your own action. So you have some feeling about what I'm talking about when I'm talking about the self-contraction, because it's that knot in the pit of your stomach or that feeling of anxiety. You don't realize it's you pinching yourself, you doing that feeling of anxiety, you contracting. You may, in the course of the listening sadhana [practice], get a little better at it all, you know, understand it a little better, but ultimately to understand most fundamentally and to be free of all the wanderings and vacations and so forth and effects of self-contraction, to notice, to feel, and be in the position of the act itself, coincides with the feeling of relatedness itself, they are coincidental, and the arising of attention.
Try the following
exercise. Sit comfortably, and fold your hands before you in a relaxed
position. Allow the body to come to a complete rest, without motion.
Now, as you are sitting in this state of awareness, consider this
move my hand?” Don’t actually move your hand, though! Consider how
you would know the answer to this without
your hand. It is a feeling matter. You will discover that it involves
you feeling your hand through and through. In short, it requires
you to consciously and fully
hand, to consciously “inhabit" it via feeling. In that position,
with that feeling-awareness, you know (also from long, remembered
experience with actually moving your hand), that, were I to now
say "go ahead and do it", you could instantly follow through
and move your hand.
Now our hands
are something we all already are relatively consciously "being" whenever
we are using them. But now imagine yourself a newborn baby, trying
to stand up. You may have children yourself and may be familiar
with the scene
the wobbly legs, and the falling down. They are not quite fully
consciously inhabiting their legs with feeling-awareness
they are not quite fully
the way we adults do inhabit and are
being our legs when we stand up. There is still a lack of “understanding” in being
the legs. But over time, they do discover how to “be” the legs,
and, from that "stand-point", how to direct the legs.
Enabled by that discovery are all the subsequent “leg” discoveries
like standing stably, and walking.
In a similar
manner, in order to discover the self-contraction as our own activity,
it is not sufficient to simply feel it “from the outside”, that
is, to merely feel the sense of separation. In that case, we are
one doing it. We actually have
to feel more fully, more deeply, until we are being the ego
also feeling through and beyond it into the feeling of the all-pervading
Divine) until we are fully inhabiting the entire ego with feeling.
It is in this position that we become aware that we are making the
fist, and, an instant later we can release it in feeling, by feeling
through it and beyond it.
into that knot of stress. Feel into it and account for it. See
it as your own action. Regard Me in that moment, in every moment.
And then you begin to feel Me. Then the surrender comes, the self-forgetting
comes, the native sense of Non-Separateness is felt. This is actually
what I am Calling you to do! Actually to do that. Just to be doing
it grants equanimity to you, even bodily, grants equanimity to
your speech, your actions, your feelings, because you are registering
this depth-point and going beyond it and feeling Me. . . . This
is what it means to listen to Me: to be examining this point of
contraction in depth, to feel it, and by its unfolding to feel
Me. This is not the end of the Way of Adidam. It is the foundation
of it. Self-understanding and devotion at depth —
this is what you must do in every moment. . . .
are basically trying to feel good. Why would you be trying to
feel good if you were not already feeling bad? You must understand
that, Natively, you always already feel good. But not the way
you are doing it. You are not in the Native Position. You are
in the position of the self-contraction. If you would Stand Prior
to the self-contraction and feel beyond it, you would always already
feel good in the most profound heart-sense. It would not make
any great difference how the rest of the body-mind felt, because
the body-mind is part of the conditional world and is always subject
to negative changes and disintegration and death. But when you
are in the heart-place, you are Awake. You always already feel
good. Always! Already!
Note that Adi Da's use of the word, "understanding", is very precise: He uses it in its "radical" (or "root") sense, based on its etymology. To "understand" the self-contraction literally means to "stand under" it — to stand prior to the self-contraction, in the Native position, at a greater depth than the self-contraction, as Adi Da describes in the above quote. The "listening process" has moments or milestones of self-understanding, in which one is standing "under" — or at a position greater in depth than — some form of patterning that one was unconscious of or controlled by. That greater depth gives one the capability to transcend that form of patterning. Having self-understanding of, and then disciplining, the more superficial patterning of the ego frees up energy and attention that allows us to see deeper patterns. This process of observing new aspects of egoity and disciplining them (for the sake of progrssively deeper self-understanding) is what Adi Da calls the listening process. To transcend all egoity, one must listen to the point of "hearing" — one must proceed in this process to the point of fundamental self-understanding, where one is "standing under" the self-contraction itself.
Avatar Adi Da’s devotees describes how she received the Revelation
Quandra Sukhapur Rani
Adi Da Samraj
this time, I saw that, no matter how positive or negative or easeful
or difficult any moment was, I was always doing the same thing.
Through my Beloved Guru’s Divine [Power], I saw that my body-mind
was only self-contraction and that it was my own activity. I also
saw that my Divine Heart-Master Stands eternally Prior to that
egoic activity of mine. And I felt a profound Liberation in being
able to effectively resort to Him beyond the mechanism of self-contraction.
This was not a mental process — it was
a Revelation, a Gift, an Initiation into Communion with Him.
the Grace of hearing was awakened in me. It was a forceful transformation,
granting moment to moment awareness that this mortal dying world,
full of pain and suffering, was not the Living Reality. I knew
that all beings could now find their Salvation, find the Truth
beyond the cycles of birth and death — by
going beyond this merely materialistic and conventional presumption.
At the same time, I felt the dimension of the psyche being exposed
and entered into and released, such that its patterns ceased to
be an obstruction. The Divine Descent of Beloved Adi Da, His Nectar
of Love-Bliss, was dissolving strong habits of the body-mind.
Through the Grace of the great Gift of hearing, or the moment
to moment capability to transcend egoity, real Spiritual Communion
with my Beloved began.
capability of hearing is in place, the Spiritual process of Waking
Up process is greatly quickened, and capable of completion. The
primary obstacle to being Melted Down and Washed by the Divine
transcended in every moment.
and transcended the self-contraction as it manifests on the level
of ordinary physical life, we can rapidly bring the physical body
to a point of great balance, freeing up much energy and attention.
It is at that point that we become clearly aware of the psychic
dimension, and the hearing capability now allows us to see how the
self-contraction is enacting its separative activity at the level
of psyche, creating an apparently separate “soul”, and we next practice
transcending that separation, that deeper "level" of egoity.
This frees up
even more energy and attention, which, at some point, spontaneously shifts us into
the position of the Consciousness prior to the dream. Now we discover
how the self-contraction manifests at the "edge of Infinity",
how in its most primal form it dissociates Consciousness from the
dream. In the perfection of the hearing capability, that most primal
form and act of separation is understood and transcended, and we
are completely Awakened to the One Divine, non-dual Reality, the
awareness that there is only God.