By Dada Gavand
Our rating: ★★★★★ 5 out of 5
Published by Dada Center Publications
IN OUR VIEW, this autobiography is one of the most important books ever written about enlightenment because it contains an extraordinarily precise description of what the author did that led to his waking up. This portion of the book may be the clearest and most informative depiction of sadhana, of spiritual practice, that has ever been written. The author shares with us the whole concrete experience so we are able to see not only what he did but also how it felt. We also see the ferocious intensity and motivation that were required to make the practice work. He put his whole life aside to focus on this one thing, his sadhana.
It’s a big book, written in an engaging, candid style, with many other interesting sections. We recommend it highly.
I BEGAN TO SEE THIS psychological mechanism inside me, how it is composed of different layers and segments. This seemingly solid structure is made up of so many divisions, and the mind works only through these channels, one at a time. It has developed its own complex but fragmented system of organization. For instance, it has divided life energy into different forms and has given them different names such as emotional energy, intellectual energy, sexual energy etc. In actuality, life is one whole energy, and there is no such thing as different energies.
However, ‘divide and rule’ is a cunning technique of the mind, which donates and uses this energy by splitting it into different levels and compartments. Such fragmentation imposes a limitation upon this energy. The mind perpetuates itself very cleverly and effectively through such exclusionary actions, working with one fragment, one idea at a time, in quick succession and in an endless chain. But in this subtle way it never allows you to see its own working in its entirety and in one sweep at a given moment. I clearly witnessed the limited and fragmentary nature of the mind in its naked reality.
This can create an almost unbearable psychological condition. At times it became too much for me to sustain the impact of this intense state on the body and brain. Then I would go out for a walk, relax, look at the sky, scan the limitless horizon, feel the beauty of nature around — all without thought. The important thing was that I never lapsed into any escapes. Generally, the mind instinctively finds some escapist activity to keep the thought process going, such as reading a book, talking with somebody, etc. I was very much alert and attentive to this habit of escaping. Now because of this vigilance, the mind could not easily find any escapes by way of distraction in order to retreat into its known grooves and compartments.
Hidden matter can only be released when the mind is still and free of obsessive ideas, when there is openness in the whole psychological structure. In such openness of mind — when all the exclusionary compartments are dissolved — the mind energy acquires a new velocity. It becomes intense, vigorous and sensitive.
The first change I saw was how my whole mind started operating freely, and how there were no compartments working in isolation. Because the mind energy was no longer driven into channels by thought, the whole mind field became more vibrant and cohesive. This intensity required my constant alertness and attention. Existing in this state of mind, with this quality of unfragmented, total energy, kept me awake all the time.
In this way of looking at myself — at every thought, fear and movement of the mind — I saw the structure of what is called ego. This me — the ego, the collection of images, plans and ideas about myself — all of this came under intense objective observation. My ego — that crystallized central entity of self — was disturbed. I saw that its usual method of working swiftly through different comparpments, levels and fragments had slowed down. Ego works with only one idea at a time and moves in one exclusive direction. It cannot work as a whole. It is not at all a cohesive unit and never utilizes the entire energy of the mind field. By its very nature it is limited and incapable of using the total energy. Isolated and fragmented activity is the pattern, organization and structure of the ego-mind. Usually, the thought-action-reaction chain is the only internal process we know. This chain of ceaseless thoughts creates its own ‘logic’, its own illusion of cohesiveness. Our duties, commitments, and wishful pursuits based on thoughts all create a pattern for our life. That pattern and its fulfillment create unending interests, desires and actions. This becomes our operating system, which continues intact until death.
As I began to recognize thoughts as stray things moving in space, they lost their appearance of interconnectedness. Every thought was seen as a separate entity. Only our identification with and attachment to a thought give it continuity, time and space, thus creating the logic necessary to justify its line of action. This so-called ‘logic’ is nothing but a subtle and clever activity of the conditioned influences of the fragmented mind. It formulates its wishful plan of action for the smooth fulfillment of the goal of desire. I perceived and understood this one-sided illusory activity of the ‘logical’ mind. Its tempo and luster were lost, its thrust diminished, and my mind slowed down automatically without putting up resistance.
But now, I was not acting on any thought, idea, memory or emotion that entered my mind. Because thoughts were separated from action, my mind, the ego, lost the capacity to generate its own logic. This loss of ego-driven activity — the mind's logic — had quite an effect. Disrupting the pattern, subduing and arresting the thrust of thought, had disturbed the ego-mind greatly. Now my ego was actually fighting for its very survival. I saw it no longer as an assertive, strong entity, but only as unrelated components.
Thus the ego lost its strength. With that deep and clear perception of the fragmentary nature of the ego-mind, its fighting capacity as a unit diminished totally and scattered in disarray. It surprised me how experiencing intimately the fragments of ego helped me to loosen its crystallized structure.
With this experience of the disarray of the ego, I started feeling a kind of inner vibrancy. I sensed a new motion or flow not at all like my usual mind activity. My mind and brain began to feel an expanded awareness with nothing hidden within. All its contents and movements were revealed, and it assumed a new vibrancy.
The intensity of this vibrant state used to affect my brain and head and make me tired, at times leaving me almost exhausted. That kind of vigorous activity sometimes overwhelmed me. I saw that the nervous system and brain are not used to handling or sustaining the vibrancy of that total experience. When it became too much, I would relax, let go for a while and sit quietly, or go out for a walk along the rim of the mountain.
That kind of watchfulness became my meditation. Slowly my awareness grew much stronger in response to meeting the challenge of the thought-emotion mind. As the intensity of the thoughts of fear and sex grew, my watchfulness also became proportionately more and more intense.
The moment my attention wavered, thoughts and then the desires would rush in. To keep them at bay, to keep myself free, I had to be intensely attentive. In order to see every single desire that entered my mind, my inward awareness became very sharp and clear. I could see every fleeting thought as it appeared in my mental space. The catchment area of my awareness became much wider, and polyangular attention came into being. I became conscious of the broader landscape of my mental space, since the divisions of all the hidden layers were eliminated and became one open unified space.
This gave me a fresh capacity to look within, and my watchfulness and alertness grew even more intense. Multiangular attention became much deeper to discover all those inadvertent movements of subtle thought/emotional drives, which the sex impulse is. I watched that enticing subtle thought activity within me, how it starts and slowly develops. I saw that sex is nothing but an idea, a fanciful imagining that starts building and shaping itself. When it becomes focused, strong and vivid, it acts upon the body, influencing the nerves and glandular system.
But when the thought of sex is objectively and deeply observed right in its beginning, in the stillness of the total energy field, the incoming idea loses its hold and ability to initiate action. It just loses its strength. Instead, a vibrant, effervescent space within is experienced. I saw this drama being played out right before my eyes, inside of me. What an enchanting and mystical revelation!
That confrontation with the thought of sex helped me greatly. When the idea of sex became strong, I took that challenge, equally strongly, just to know why and from where this impulse came. I found that the idea of sex is very subtle. It works quietly, like a thief in the night. To catch the subtle movement, you need to have acute awareness all around within you. The challenge of sex gave me a new quality of in-depth watchfulness with high voltage awareness. To catch a dog one has to move faster than the dog. To arrest this subtle movement of thought/emotion, one has to reach the highest degree of sensitivity and watchful alertness. I watched all those thoughts coming, taking shape, moving very quietly, subtly surfacing, becoming more exclusive, crude and vivid, and then influencing the body to stimulate the action. When the idea becomes very assertive and strong, it demands an action. It dictates to the body, influences the glandular system, and then involuntarily, action has to follow. The element of sex showed me this aspect of myself — how a feeling slowly and subtly builds itself up into an idea. And when it develops into a one-pointed strong desire, it projects out to compel action.
The understanding and clear perception of what was actually taking place within me grew and expanded, making me see that it is possible to watch and deal with this incoming thought before it triggers any response. I became eager to find out if one can dissolve all thoughts that create longing and demand action. With wonderment and curiosity I started to look into myself, questioning if one can actually stop the flow of thought entirely!
So I took up that challenge: to observe and follow the whole trajectory of thought and its movements, which becomes sex. Watching with total attention into myself I experienced that it is possible to dissolve the thought of sex right at the beginning. Without such an intense level of watchfulness I would have indulged in thought again. But I saw that in that sharpened state of polyangular watchfulness, thought does get dissolved. It no longer continues. Then only the pure watchfulness, and state of heightened energy within remain. Pure watchfulness can dissolve thought, leaving a quietude and state of deep inwardness.
This was an important experience: indulgence in thought dissipates the energy, whereas dissolving thought through watchfulness liberates the energy, augmenting its flow.
Once again, I experienced a heightened vibrancy — the experience of energy which is free from thought or mind.
Thus the idea of sex had helped me discover the secret of dissolving thought. Because its challenge was so strong, it demanded equally strong attention. Nothing else had helped me so much to understand myself. Experiencing the transformation of sex energy came as a great revelation to me, because I saw that dissolving thought could be used for releasing energy.
Some thoughts like sex, fear and anger have more energy locked in them than others. Dissolution of even a single dominant thought could augment and enrich my energy reserves, thereby enabling me to arrest the thrust of subsequent thoughts. The progression of thought to action dissipates energy, but when watched, understood and dissolved, it becomes a rich source of energy. Thus, I realized that thought is a potential energy source.
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.
This page was published on June 17, 2014 and last revised on April 28, 2017.