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Spiritually transmitted diseases

(Photo's: satsang in the Sinai with Vartman, 1999)

 satsang in sinai   
  When I started to hold Satsang three years ago, I would often   talk about  the importance of walking the middle-path or razors edge,   between self-doubt and denial. It appeared at that time, that 98%
  of spiritual seekers were trapped in the dilemma of doubting that they   were already Consciousness/Love.

  Even in this relatively short time many seekers have turned into
  founders, or possibly many have just jumped to the other side of
  the razors edge from self-doubt to denial.
  Over the last year or so there has been a huge proliferation of satsang,   teachers pointing to the simple fact that we are already perfect,
  pure and whole.

It is totally true, but the mind is a tricky beast, and it can use almost any truth for its own benefit.
The challenge is that generally the mind is not keen on making effort when it thinks it can get away with
comfort and even less enthusiastic to be shown areas that need more investigation and not entirely illuminated.

It appears that all of us suffer this habit from time to time.
It is nothing personal, it is just the way the mind operates, and is not a problem unless we are attached
to our level of spiritual attainment, more than we are open to honest and naked spiritual existence.
As the spiritual community grows, the spiritually transmitted disease, of denial seems to be turning into
somewhat of an epidemic.

walking satsang

Why rock the boat?

At some level it hurts less to be thinking that you have got it together,
than being plagued by the mind stuck in self-doubt. As H.W.L. Poonja once
answered, when someone asked him: "Why do so many of your devotees think
that they are enlightened? His answer was: "Better than thinking that
they are unenlightened! So why rock the boat? Because life, if not death,
will probably test the depth of our ability to be ok with what is, at a
pretty extreme level.
The first step out of this trap is the willingness to truly inquire and
see where we may be constricting our inherent openness.
The good news is that there is a really accurate and tangible depth meter
to give us a realistic measure of how deeply we are embodying our
realization, illustrating where the truth may only be at a mental level.

The Tibetans are really clear on the point of not resting in the bardo of:
'I have seen that I am already perfectly free irrespective of anything I do.'
What so often seems to happen is that it is taken for granted that I
can always count on perfection being here, so we believe that we can
attend to it later. In Dzogchen the 3 aspects of realization are listed
as: view, meditation, action. Correct seeing of the Truth,
meditation/practice to get used to the correct view, and then spontaneous
action, always grounded in love (regardless what it looks like), is a
confirmation of the depth of our living realization.

The practical test

So the practical test often looks like this; a predominantly masculine
person in his spiritual path primarily feels at home in the
emptiness/stillness of consciousness. Through meditation (or some other
practice that allows him to become grounded and familiar with this fact of
who he is), he can fully participate in the ever-changing flow of life. As
he deepens, fewer things in life can make him fixate on experiences (in
mistaking the promise that they would be able to give him more freedom
than is inherently already here), or can overwhelm him into retreating from life.

In a predominantly feminine person, her true spiritual life connects her more and more deeply
with the fact that she is inherently Love. And through her practice, her conditioning is less and
less able to limit the natural radiance of Love. Both the masculine and feminine person can deepencamel satsang without being in intimate relationship, because their primary potential to live totally open is always in the fullness of the moment. The masculine is at home in the peace of nothingness, but is also totally attracted to the feminine energy, perhaps in nature, art, and especially in women.
The feminine person is home in love, but is also attracted to feeling the stillness of divinity manifest in front of her in a man that seems totally trustable, dependable, and uncollapsible in his ability to be directed and strong in the midst of the flow of life. The interesting test is when these two people meet and become intimately involved.

'I am so enlightened until I get into relationship.'

Intimate relationship tests the level of our practice to an extreme. As
the honeymoon period wears off and all the latent conditioning and
childhood neediness arises, it becomes an acid test of the man's ability
to truly embody freedom. Particularly when the woman is expressing her
stronger emotional aspects of love. Is he grounded and so clear that
nothing finally matters, so that he can play fully in life and be truly
loving in their life together? Conversely the test for the woman is to
surrender her strength of independence (as opposed to codependent
weakness) and fully living as her deepest natural expression of love.
It is a tall order indeed but what else would we want to do with our lives,
when we have seen who we truly are?
This test works for virtually all people but not all. I have met a very
rare minority of people that obviously have no karmic desire to be in
relationship. For example, one of my teachers in India, Dolano, never
really had any interest in sex or relationship, and there were no signs of
strong repulsion to it either. So for the modern celibates, this is not
really appropriate. Why I mention this to highlight the difference between
naturally being uninterested, and convincing ourselves that we are
uninterested as a defense against life which often equates to being
constantly wounded by love.

Embodying realization in daily life

Four months ago I asked via our website if anyone could recommend people
that were "tangibly" embodying their realization in daily life. Since
then, Susanna and I have hung out with, spoken with, and listened to more
than a dozen of the most notable western teachers that we could find alive
at this time. By their own admission, virtually all the teachers that we met, stated
that remaining fully open in intimate relationship without denial, is an
extremely challenging test.
It is an area that many of us would prefer to leave out of spirituality
(as many religions have tried), as it seems to bring out the best and the
worst of our conditioning, leaving us feeling schizophrenic in the tug-o-war between
our spiritual logic and our rapidly defending/denying/closing emotions, body and mind.

For some, an understanding of the absolute truth is enough, but in my
experience, spirituality is only complete when it covers and enlightens
EVERY aspect of life, without leaving out parts that seem unspiritual.
Someone that has a profound understanding of the use of intimate
relationships and sexuality for down to earth spiritual growth is David
Deida. Refreshingly, David lives this path with tangible evidence as displayed
in his life. He has deeply researched spiritual traditions, delivering the essential truth
in a radically practical spiritual path.

vartmann and susanna We are deeply touched and inspired by the vision
 of a fully sexual spiritual culture starting now so we
 have decided to work closely with David to serve who
 ever feels the pull to live authentically, vulnerably and
wildly open to God in every moment of life.

(See also www.deida.com)

In freedom and love, Vartman and Susanna.

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