“Did suffering play any part in propelling into the path?
It depends how you understand suffering. Suffering, as an idea, a concept, can never bring you to the knowing of yourself. But the direct perception of suffering is, like all objects, a pointer to your Self. What was important for me were those moments when I faced myself and found a lack of fulfillment; this produced the dynamism to explore more deeply. In a certain way, when you feel this lack without conceptualizing it, it is great suffering – but it is not the kind of suffering caused by a robbery losing a job, a broken marriage, death, and so on. Of course these difficulties lift you out of a kind of complacency, a habitual way of living. They wake you up to interrogate, to inquire, to explore, to questions suffering itself.
Make suffering an object. In complete surrender to the perception, light comes up. You must understand that by surrender I don’t mean a fatalistic acceptance or a kind of psychological sacrifice. Real surrender is letting go of all ideas and allowing the perception, in this case suffering, to come to you in your openness. You will see that is does not “go away”, as is the case with psychological acceptance – where the energy fixed as suffering is merely shifted to another area – but it comes to blossom within your full attention. You will feel it as free energy, energy that was previously crystallized. Thus surrender is not a passive state. It is both passive and active, passive in the sense of letting go, and active in that it is a constant alertness.”
“Did you practice yoga to come to deeper levels of surrender and alertness?
The word practice generally means habit. We must use it only in the sense of becoming more and more aware of body and mind. We must see that the body is a field of fear anxiety, defense and aggression. However, the emphasis must not be on the body, but on presence, on listening. What is important is to become acquainted with the field of tensions and see that the constantly interfering I-image is not separate from this field, but belongs to it. When this is clear, tension finds no accomplice, the perception is freed, and energy integrates in its totality. The traditional approach is through listening to the body, not mastering it. Dominating the body is violence. But one can sweep the floor or wash the dishes and be listening. It makes no difference.
Exploring the body brought me deeper layers of relaxation and this relaxation brought about the cessation of repetitive patterns in the body and mind. In welcoming the body, I became more and more aware of the feeling of letting go, so in this way the yoga participated in the fore-feeling of reality. But it only led me to where I no longer emphasized the object, the body, but the ultimate subject. Yoga brings you to a kind of alertness, a tranquility, and a tranquil body reflects a tranquil mind. But of course you can come to the peaceful body-mind without yoga.”
“How can one best allow sensitivity to develop?
Be more and more intimate with yourself. Begin to listen non-selectively. You may think you are listening, while in fact you are only hearing the repetition of your preconceptions. Consequently you don’t really know yourself, you don’t really know the world. What you call sensitivity only appears when listening is unconditioned, free of anyone being sensitive. Sensitivity is identity.
Regardless of how subtle our perceptions may become, as long as we remain in the subject-object relationship, it is always quantified. So the accent must not be on the perception, but on where perception points – awareness itself Perception is because we are. And when perception is given full freedom, it brings us back to global attention, to completeness, to the timeless. In other words, we have a fore-feeling of ultimate stillness.”
“What is a ‘fore-feeling’?
Ask yourself “What is the real motive behind everything I do, think, want?” You’ll see that the real desire is to be desireless. Your real desire is peace. In all the situations of your life you are continually seeking desirelessness, but you remain unconvinced of the fact that the desired object never keeps its promise.
Once a desired object is obtained you experience momentary peace. But later this same object leaves you indifferent. After a certain point, you reach the conclusion that what you are looking for is not found in any object, in any projection. This insight brings you to a standstill. You become quiet, and listening, stripped of direction, become multidimensional and totally open. This is the moment the fore-feeling appears, rising out of what you fore-feel. If you let it, it brings you to itself. And then you are completely undressed, free of all attributes; you are Silence.
You could call this fore-feeling the original perception, wherein is neither perceiver, nor anything perceived – only identity with perception. You feel (without feeling it) that during all states – waking, dreaming, and sleeping – pure objectless consciousness is.”
“Are you saying that listening should be free from preconception, without ideations, imagination or knowledge which may impede the perceived?
Yes. Otherwise, you only listen to projections, to the already known. The investigation we are speaking of is an observation of each situation in your life without reference to previous experience, without drawing any conclusions. It is outside the memory process. Although the situation may spontaneously come to a conclusion, there is nobody who concludes.”
“Does age or maturity have any bearing on this?
Maturity has nothing to do with age. Maturity comes through taking note, through investigation and listening. As you become familiar with pure listening, it brings you to the timeless. In timeless listening the subconscious and superconscious emerge. Your whole life surfaces.”
Would you comment on grace?
Everything that can be perceived, even your self-image, is only mind. Mind exists in you, in consciousness. So when your listening is innocent, there is openness, openness to the mind functions, to the energy in movement. To be open to openness is grace. It is waiting for you. It can’t be obtained through will.”