By Dada Gavand
This first realization about the nature and source of the sex drive gave me a new confidence. I felt that I could deal with myself, with my own emotions and conditionings. Usually when the thought of sex becomes obsessive, one is helplessly carried away and compelled to act upon it. Now I had learned the secret of being free of this compulsion: to maintain aloofness and detachment from the thought which excites and instigates the feeling and finally culminates in action.
The second understanding was that the very attempt to maintain aloofness while watching a problem is itself problematic.
In our usual way of approaching problems, total aloofness never comes. Even in our mental inquiry about our own problems, we become related and attached to them. We are not aware of this binding relationship that we have formed with problems and consequently we never get over them. We do not question the actual validity of the issue or of the thought, or see the nature of our relationship with it.
Normally we think that a particular emotion, thought or behavior is itself the problem, and that we have to eliminate it or replace it by its opposite. But thought can never truly resolve the problem. Actually, it is the thought/mind that is the problem maker, and hence any mental inquiry into a problem is a self-defeating exercise, because one is only going round and round in circles. There can never be a comprehensive solution to a problem as long as the mind is attempting to find it because the mind itself is the source and substance of the problem and casts its heavy shadow upon it.
The crucial question then, is whether it is possible to be completely free of the spell of the mind while inquiring into a problem and trying to find its solution.
When one is not in the grip of thought but intensely alert about the issue as a whole, that heightened alertness itself becomes a powerful energy-field. In that state of pulsating sensitivity, both the thinker and the thought, the problem maker and the problem vanish magically. This is the creative act of the mysterious Unknown. Indeed, the vibrant state of attentive alertness is an invitation to the spirit of the Unknown — a magic key to open the door for the Timeless to come in.
These were the insights that I gathered from my inquiry into myself. In looking at and questioning the validity of the very problem of sex, and pondering intensely and honestly on why the problem should arise again and again, my connection with it was suddenly snapped. I was released from its grip. Due to my in-depth questioning and the very intensity of it, the sexual urge disintegrated. For the first time I experienced freedom from the obsession and domination of the aggressive thought/feeling. This release from the burden of thought/action brought relaxation and a feeling of unique quietude.
After taking the full challenge of the sex drive, and experiencing the disintegration of that thought-induced sex urge, the idea of sex just vanished for quite some time, giving me a deep sense of relief. Prior to this time, that idea had been creating intoxicating pictures and images, which incessantly occupied my mind.
Then came upon me a flood of sensitivity, with a previously unknown intensity. This surge was released from somewhere within me. Energy which had been caught up and used by the emotional drive of thought was no longer kept bound. This generated heightened sensitivity and a feeling of wonder at how this had happened. I found that my awareness and attention into myself became much deeper and more profound. With this intense awareness I could see more dispassionately many other thought-related issues, including fear and grief. This increased awareness brought me a new clarity which gave sobriety, depth and balance to my perception. It introduced a state of objectivity, detachment and aloofness.
As I enjoyed this new surge of energy, one day a fearful situation developed in my hut. The tiny room, about 7 × 9 feet, had very dim lighting. Only one tiny oil lamp provided light, there being no electricity. As I sat casually on my little mat spread on the floor, suddenly I noticed something moving on the floor in front of me. I became conscious of the zig zag movement made by a reddish, reptile-like creature. This dangerous-looking animal, maybe 8 to 12 inches long, had many legs and claws. Although I knew this to be a centipede, I had never seen one that big. I thought it must surely be poisonous because it was so unusually large and dangerous looking!
I watched this creature moving about on the floor, thinking it would simply go out since the doorway was open. But then to my amazement, more of the same kind began to appear! One more came, and then another and another, until seven or eight of them were all crawling around on the floor in front of me. They zigzagged everywhere in the small room, with more coming through the door! I just sat there on my mat watching them. Once I thought of jumping out of the room, but I knew that would be impossible. I could not make any move to get out because the room was so small and so many of them were slithering around.
They crawled and crowded all around me, even getting on the mat upon which I sat! I could not believe this awful situation. In that dark, shadowy light I watched in amazement all these strong, frightful, foot-long creatures, which I knew to be poisonous. The fear of being bitten, of suffering horribly, of death alone in that hut — all these imaginations swirled in my mind. No neighbors could hear me if I shouted for help. I was completely alone and isolated.
The situation suddenly gave me a great shock. What could I do? The creatures had me surrounded. I could not move. Besieged from all sides, something inside me became totally frightened, a deep terror I had never experienced before. Ordinarily, I would have done something. I would have acted, jumped up and attempted to kill those creatures. But I had no physical or mental reaction to the fact in front of me. My total energy experienced the event, with no thought of killing them in my mind. I was simply face to face with fear, and that horror was total. I sensed and felt something intensely active within. My entire being became completely consumed by this intense sensitivity of fear.
I fully sensed that feeling without reacting in any way. A reaction would have been to do something, to run or jump. But that did not happen. Fear itself is a reaction, but through aloof observation it loses its strength. I experienced the fear and stayed with it, accepting the situation fully, without escaping into action. I remained in that situation for quite some time, just facing myself, watching every movement inside, afraid yet very alert, without reacting to it in any way. In this state of total experiencing, no room existed for any thought or reaction of any kind.
For some time I experienced fully my internal fear, just forgetting about those dangerous creatures. They may have been crawling everywhere. I simply forgot entirely about their presence. My internal state of fear consumed me completely. I was no longer afraid ‘of’ something, there being no object or cause. This was the pure feeling of total fear.
In the all-encompassing and total state of fear, the idea of the dangerous creatures did not play a role. I had no memory of the centipedes, or awareness of whether they remained there or not. I experienced total inwardness without thought. In facing and accepting this pure feeling of fear in its totality, without any reaction or idea, there came a cohesive, unfragmented sensitivity. I watched as the intensity reached its maximum degree, still with no thought of danger or of the centipedes.
And then, the energy that the idea of fear and the related action would have consumed was released. Surprisingly I experienced a new surge, a freedom from the domination of reactionary thought-mind over my life energy. What a revelation and tranquility! And the centipedes disappeared on their own, as quietly as they had appeared, totally unnoticed.
Through these experiences I saw how the mind starts with a thought or idea such as sex or fear and then builds it up silently. This stimulates the imagination, which then affects the body, nervous system and glands. That in turn stimulates some action or reaction.
Seeing thought in its entirety, in my own internal energy field, without getting carried away by any reaction, brought a new depth of attention. In this way I began to see vividly and fully how the mind mechanism operates using thought. With that clear perception, I saw that thought activity started losing its importance and hence also its grip. My mind was losing its mind-ness.
In that freedom from the usual thought/reaction sequence, a new state of thoughtless attention awoke. This brought into play a fresh quality of energy, which is alertly attentive, but without any movement of thought. When that constant stream of thought came to an end, the whole sphere of mind remained tranquil, serene and utterly quiet. This was a totally new experience: existence without the push/pull of thoughts, urges, emotions, fears, worries, etc.
When thought-bound-up energy is freed, this brings a new, expanded sensitivity and vibrancy, which is a unique experience. It is a great asset in the discovery of what is hidden within the realm of mind. But this sensitivity or vibrancy, if not perceived rightly, with detached awareness, invites the hidden elements of emotionality to enter. It makes you either highly alert and alive within to remain free of them, or it creates the possibility of slipping into the pool of emotionality, which we harbor deep down within ourselves.
So although heightened sensitivity is an important asset, it can become a liability if the intensity of objective awareness and detachment diminishes. One needs to have a very acute awareness in order to catch the inadvertent slip into emotionality. The challenge is to maintain this heightened sensitivity while allowing the hidden emotional levels to surface freely but without being carried away by them. Then one can understand the whole significance of emotionality, which in turn enriches one’s own degree of sensitivity. In this way the newly freed energy and sensitivity continue to gather and expand without being dissipated by still-hidden reactions and emotions.
Such a slip actually happened to me very poignantly one day. When I was sitting quietly alone, a thought of my mother subtly crept in. As I loved my mother dearly, I inadvertently savored the memory of her. I let the memories of past times come up, remembering how much she always did for me, worrying about her well-being, wondering what she would be doing now. All these thoughts kept streaming past. I became increasingly emotional until I found myself crying over the fact of having left her months before. The memories and the weeping and more thoughts and more emotionality just went on and on until I was completely drained by it all.
But some part of me aloofly watched the thought-emotion reaction chain. This episode of sentimentality came about from a single thought of my mother. Somewhere I saw and understood that the thought of my mother was simply a memory, a mental image of her. The thought itself had no validity. It was only sentimentality, a wisp of the past, a mere fantasy. What news did I have of her now? Besides, what could I do from here? I saw how my thoughts and memories had grown and accelerated into an avalanche, deteriorating into emotionality, and thus draining me. I recognized the fictitious and empty nature of the emotional reaction that had been caused by a single thought.
From then on, thought itself became the focal point of my attentive awareness. What had been the use of my draining myself in this way? I saw how an idea stimulates another mental movement or reaction which we call emotion, and then begins to glorify it in the name of something acceptable like love. For the first time, I saw that these surges of emotions and sentiments are just another kind of thought.
Such thought-induced reaction then stimulates the glands and nervous system, which in turn affects other areas of the physical body. We then experience it physically, having actual tears, which give it the feel of reality. I saw that the mind produces this effect, playing with it, and glorifying these thoughts, safely labeling them as love or whatever else. I watched this process start, build up, and go on with its own momentum. Then this whole emotional play would recede, leaving me very sensitive and inwardly alone.
From Intelligence Beyond Thought. Copyright 2006 Dada Gavand. Used by permission.