the object of interest,
one's personal knowledge are nothing other than mahas;
into that infinite, Supreme Knowledge,
Knowledge, the object of
knowledge, and one's cognition of both are in fact only variations of a
beginningless Being. By merging in that knowledge of infinitude one should
become undifferentiated with it.
Nataraja Guru’s version:
Knowledge, its meaning known, and the personal knowledge
Subjective, together make but one primal glory;
Within the unrarified radiance of the great knowledge
One should merge and become that alone.
last in the fourth verse we have our first encounter with That Alone in the
text. Bobby asked about what it means. All through the seven years of editing,
I had a burning question in the back of my mind: what will we use for a title?
A Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction just isn’t catchy enough. I considered and
discarded quite a number of possibilities as not measuring up. At last That
Alone impressed itself on me. It was perfect. Alone is a contraction of ‘all
one’ and is a powerful word in its own right. Nataraja Guru was very fond of
Plotinus’ description of the spiritual journey as “the flight of the alone to
the Alone.” The Alone or All One is the Absolute. ‘That’ (tat in Sanskrit) also designates the Absolute. That Alone can be
stressed with either term being the noun and the other the adjective, eliciting
nuances of meaning, or the pair can be a compound noun (like ice cream), making
it into a synthesis. So in a way the title encodes the secret of yoga, of
combining two into one. The result indicates the Absolute, which is the golden
thread running through the entire masterwork, the more or less visible
touchstone in every verse. Bobby admitted that when he first met the book, That
Alone didn’t mean anything to him. I liked the mysterious aspect of two simple
words that made an incomprehensible concept when joined, but thought that a
slight concession should be made. The addition of The Core of Wisdom indicates
that the Karu or core, the singularity at the origin of consciousness and the
universe, was the focal point of the study. It makes enough sense, but also
implies the query, “Just what IS the core of wisdom, anyway?” So there you have
it: a simple title with plenty of depth.
the class we used the original version of Verse 4, as the book version is
rather long and dense. It’s a fun verse to note how the flowing, somewhat
simplified talk was later built up into a formidable teaching for the book.
It’s nice to have both.
theme is breaking down boundaries and permitting our natural abilities to be
expressed. We will work hard on this later in the study. For now, we have to
first acknowledge that our “wave of consciousness” has become bound, weighted
down by some serious excess baggage. Susan set the tone by talking about how
she had been thinking about holiday celebrations, how rigid and formalized they
were. People like to do the same things over and over. It’s a relief to have a
prescribed ritual to perform, so we don’t have to think about it much. The easy
way is to just go along with the guidelines that are laid at our feet. But
Susan suspects there is more to life than that. Both ritual and freedom are
fine; it’s the free part that tends to drain away without our even realizing
it. Then we become defenders of a status quo that is both dead and deadening.
noted that it is made explicit here that we are supposed to refer back to our
core of unity, even as the world expands into its usual multiplicity. Here we
are acknowledging the triple (tri-basic) division of knower, known and
knowledge that crops up often in our study. It’s a very practical and useful
scheme. The only problem is once we forget the core of unity, our knowledge is
no longer grounded in truth. Our thinking then skitters all over the map,
losing coherence and becoming detached from core values like compassion, peace
and kindness. Once it is unmoored, knowledge can become the servant of greed,
hatred and violence. Many of the influences of a commercial consumer culture
serve to detach us from our core so we can be easily duped and manipulated. The
antidote is to continually reconnect with That Alone, the Core of Wisdom. As
Nitya described in the last reading, we go out and rush around in the world,
but then we come back and touch base, out and back, out and back. In that way
we don’t get lost. In this fourth verse, Nitya encourages us to go from all our
small loves to the big love in a similar give and take:
In yesterday’s verse we pictured our
divine source as an oceanic treasury of values. If you love your son, or your
friend, then there is a treasure in your heart. That becomes a light glowing
all the time in the core of your being. But the love for your son or your
friend, or for money for that matter, is what the Tamils call the little love.
They contrast it to the big love or the big joy. The many specific things that
come into our life give us the little, little joys, not that limitless joy, the
joy of abundance, the abundant showering of eternal joy. Whether it is the
small love or the big love, when it comes the heart goes to it. We are used to
going from one small love to another small love. When a person is having paramanipremam,
they are having absolute
love, unbounded, infinite, without limit or frontiers. That love is experienced
continuously. It is called devotion, bhakti.
have been traveling outward from the core, tracing the trajectory of life as an
expanding wave of consciousness. Now that unity has been divided into three
aspects, we have arrived at what we take for granted as “ordinary” awareness.
It’s actually quite extraordinary, a miraculous construct that took billions of
years to evolve. But we are built in such a way that we take the present
miracles for granted, and only get excited by miracles that aren’t present, and
probably never will be. In the next couple of verses, Narayana Guru brings us
to the everyday world where the extraordinary has become ordinary, where we
will begin our ascent back to who we already are.
practical importance of a search for truth is repeatedly underscored by the
gurus. Once we divide the world into an internal knower knowing items of
external knowledge, we cordon off our personal knowledge from the unknown, and
pit ourselves against it. The unknown is a threat that is to be kept at bay.
This is not an idle speculation. When contact with our true nature is blocked,
we have a vast capacity for cruelty. Pick up a newspaper, if you dare, and read
the litany of disasters promulgated by those whose hearts are broken. Then look
into your own heart with renewed dedication. Nitya puts this beautifully:
all these frontiers are gone, you come to possess the frontierless love. Each
day you should be able to break one frontier, one separation. Tagore prays,
“Where the head is held high and the world is not broken into fragments of
narrow domestic walls, lead me into that world.” That’s the world we look for.
Some people say a good wall makes a good neighbor, but Robert Frost laughs at
it. He says neither walling in nor walling out works.
supreme Light that shines without any frontiers, like the sun that shines
above, caresses the sinner and the saint alike. It falls on the beautiful and
the ugly in equal measure. In our meditation… we should look for the frontiers
in our mind, for all the narrow domestic walls in it. We should break them down
and even go beyond that. Walls are built out of fear. The more you are afraid
the more vulnerable you become, and then you want to become invulnerable. So
you make fortresses and mount machine guns on the walls, and inside you are
busy building atomic bombs. We have to disarm ourselves. We have to disarm
Each of us is a propagating wave
of the Absolute as a monad of consciousness. Born into the world, it expands
outward at a rapidly increasing velocity. It begins to interact and be
distorted by all the other waves in the electromagnetic ocean. In order to
maintain its integrity it has to construct boundaries and reinforce them. But
the boundaries are invisible and intangible. They are mental bounds, and they
alter our trajectory without our realizing it. Once we become strong enough as
aware adults, we can begin the process of dismantling our customized
straitjacket. We can be affected by everything without losing our integrity.
pointed out that some of our boundaries are important, like not touching a hot
stove, and that’s right. We aren’t trying to defy the laws of nature. Michael
and Deb gave the example of fire walkers, proving the abilities of mind over
matter. There are always those who want to impress people by mutilating
themselves. None of that is relevant to spiritual life. They are just new ways
of avoiding the important issue of restoration of our souls to us. There are a
million diversions causing us to ignore our core. Psychologist Alice Miller
astutely chronicles how children learn to build walls around their own
authenticity and entomb it possibly forever. The walls easily deflect our
sporadic attempts to regain entry. This explains why we eagerly pursue
fantasies instead of confronting our own defenses and demolishing them. Atmo
study will help us do exactly the opposite, if we can hang in there with it.
that in mind, we briefly reviewed Nitya’s four qualifications for our present
we must distinguish truth from falsehood, and the valuable from the trivial.
we must stay focused and not get distracted.
we should remember there’s no point in having expectations. They are simply
we resolve to be freed of our prejudices and conditionings. That means we have
to realize and admit we have them. Because we ourselves have constructed them,
we take them for granted. They are just what we want, just what we think, just
what we believe. We have to be prepared to give up that conceit. This study
should convince us that our habitual modes of thinking constitute our bondage.
wanted some clarification on the word connation.
Nitya speaks of the triple set of cognition, connation and affection. Connation
is a rare word, here meant to include the associations our memories make with
what is perceived. We cognize—observe—something; next we identify it, or it
connotes some imagery; and then we decide whether we like it, hate it, or are
indifferent. The three are so compressed and fluid they appear as one.
what I can gather, Nataraja Guru tried to select English language equivalents
for Sanskrit terms, as part of his attempt to make Vedantic wisdom available to
scientists. I have the feeling that cognition, connation and affection were
meant to substitute for sat, chit and ananda, respectively. Since Nataraja Guru
failed to penetrate the well-defended fortresses of twentieth century science,
the Gurukula is the only place you will encounter these terms used in this way.
of terminology, Bobby felt that the cliché of breaking down boundaries was too
violent, so he replaced it with evaporating boundaries. That’s very nice.
Evaporation takes heat, tapas, so it requires effort also, but is a more
pacifist—and more thoroughgoing—version than breaking. Plus, when walls
evaporate they dissipate into thin air, but when broken they leave piles of
rubble all around. So it struck everyone that this was a nice upgrade to our
attitude. Let us evanesce our walls through kindly wisdom applied as warmth, so
that the ice melts and the residue evaporates. Sounds just right. Gentleness
does not have to undermine our intensity.
closed with a magnificent poem that has taken on new depths of meaning thanks
to our recent explorations, not to mention the ongoing series of tragedies we
have heard about that are exactly like floodwaters of damaged childhoods
unleashing their venom through broken dikes. The only true cure is the wisdom
of That Alone. Stafford urges us to share with and care for each other as
honestly as we are able.
resumes in three weeks. We wish you all a very happy holiday season, filled
with traditions and lots of serendipity and innovation!
RITUAL TO READ TO EACH OTHER
If you don't know the kind of person I
and I don't know the kind of person you
a pattern that others made may prevail
in the world
and following the wrong god home we may
miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence
sending with shouts the horrible errors
storming out to play through the broken
And as elephants parade holding each
but if one wanders the circus won't
find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of
to know what occurs but not recognize
And so I appeal to a voice, to
a remote important region in all who
though we could fool each other, we
lest the parade of our mutual life get
lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people
or a breaking line may discourage them
back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or
should be clear: the darkness around us
Nataraja Guru’s take on this verse is incisive, and I have
reproduced nearly all of it:
is a subtle tri-basic factor called triputi
which is responsible for our wrong appraisal of reality. The lazy mind left to
itself without the attitude of contemplation, has a tendency to view reality
sectionally or horizontally, as it were, from an angle which takes for granted
the knower, the knowledge as a concept, and the objective side of knowledge as
three distinct separate entities. One has to counteract this tri-basic
prejudice to which the human mind is naturally disposed. We take a cross
sectional rather than a lengthwise view of reality.
has referred to this tendency as “the cinematographic function of thought” by
which it appraises “stills” of a moving picture rather than the motion as such.
Pure motion eludes appraisal by the mind because of its incapacity by its very
structure to take in events other than mechanistically. The horizontalization of
our relation with the visible world produces a similar tri-partite cleavage in
our thought-process, which, instead of being the continuous process that it
really is, shows itself under split or separated aspects by which the unitive
nature of thought is marred.
paradoxes of Zeno are well-known classical examples of the kind of
contradiction or error implied in all thought referring to the phenomenal world
related to space. Even with reference to the vertical time axis, pure time can
be thought of without such divisions into disjunct events, by a little training
in meditation; but it is merely the time as known by the tickings of the clock
that is more naturally cognized.
the vertical view is established, a sense of wonder of contemplative vision
goes with it. As such knowledge refers to the Absolute, it is called here the
“great knowledge” which, once established, shines inclusively without
But one primeval
glory: When the tri-partite split has been transcended by another way of approach
to reality which is more in keeping with contemplation, an inclusive and
universal value of great interest and intellectual content takes its place in
the center of consciousness.
elements when conceived as belonging to the grand elements of the vertically
graded series that we have seen implied in the last verse, are here referred to
as making one mahas (great
knowledge). The Guru does not want straightaway at this initial stage of the
development of the subject, to refer to any definite finalized concept such as
the atman or the Absolute. The notion
of the Absolute Self will be developed methodically stage by stage. But even
here, the relation thus correctly established between the subject and the
object of contemplation does not admit of any duality at all, and the
bipolarity or complementarity is bound to be perfect. The unitive character of
the relationship is underlined by the words “but” and “one” which, read
together with the last word of the verse where the word “alone” occurs, contains
something of the same idea as that
of Plotinus where he refers to contemplation as “the flight of the alone to the
Light is the favorite analogy for wisdom. Direct awareness, which true wisdom
demands, is not of the nature of a merely syllogistic ratiocination, but
approximates to an intuitive vision which is immediate rather than
mediate. Ratiocinative thought is
normal as between things, and is a dull mechanistic movement in consciousness
compared to the compact or intensive thought which contemplation can
establish…. When such a white heat is established in thought, the methodology
applicable becomes changed…. Light, when it becomes intense, denies darkness
and establishes itself as reality without a rival. Relativistic thought thus
changes into absolutist thought which becomes unitive and positive.
Become that alone:
The identity of subject and object in contemplative life has been recognized
both in the East and the West. The reference of Plotinus to the flight of the
alone to the Alone is a direct paraphrase of the state of kaivalya (aloneness) which is the goal of contemplative life even
according to the dualistic schools such as that of Patanjali. With the maha-vakyas
(great dicta) derived from
the Upanishads, such as tat tvam asi
(That thou art), this identity of subject and object may be said to be the
central doctrine of wisdom generally.
we say that the kingdom of God is within, or that I and my Father are one, as
in the Biblical context, the same verity is implicit. The imitation of Christ
would be sacrilege if there was not this idea implicit in the suggestion made.
That the brahman-knower attains brahman
and becomes one with it, is
clearly stated in the Taittiriya Upanishad (II, i): “He who knows brahman
attains to the highest.” That
the present work follows the lines of Vedanta in general is indicated here.
came from Wendy. NTNT is Neither This nor
That But Aum, the “short version” of the Atmo study:
That alone.’ ….. letting go of our mistaken sense of who we are ….but the ego
does not let go that easily and my mind is constantly busy….yet, merging into
that infinite Reality of Supreme Knowledge sounds so much like going home. I have made many efforts to become aware of all that gets in
the way and ‘keeps me trapped in the dark caves of a few personal and private
It is a
mixture of identity, conditioning and feelings, with vasanas and samskaras
which hold me into known patterns of living, and the strategies my ego uses to
keep the status quo in everyday life. As Tagore says:
‘Where the head is held high and the world is not broken into
fragments of narrow domestic walls, lead me into that world.’ The world of big love, inclusive and expanding.
The universality of the Self.
supreme light shines on everyone, everything.’ Lovely reassuring words to inspire me to turn away from the
It is a
fine line, as I get older, to let go in the outer world of the unnecessary
domination of media, technology and our surface society which all offer fast
food for my personality/senses/ ego. There is so much to appreciate and be
thankful for which makes daily living easier, the media also gives worldwide
news and views, technology enables me to send this email and be connected to
our group. There are many wonders to be truly enjoyed. But like the garden,
life needs constant weeding for the beautiful blooms to shine forth!
my inner world is much the same. Lots of good values and ideals mixed in with
many personal likes and dislikes. Same principles of weeding and wonder!
re-reading a favourite book by Eknarth Easwaran called ‘Take Your Time.’ It is
a small paperback and full of pruning ideas which fit our studies. It is about
mindfulness, finding balance, living in freedom, attuning to a higher image,
and finding the still centre. In the chapter on living in freedom he discusses
the value of not being bound to preferences. As EE says: ‘if left alone, the
preferences of the senses get tighter and tighter until nothing is comfortable;
nothing will please. Nothing will be quite right.’ He goes on later: ‘When the
senses are trained they are alert and sensitive. There is a sense of freshness
and newness about everything. Instead of feeling you are in the same old
groove, you find choices to be made all the time.’ When these choices are good, wholesome and beautiful they
lead us towards loftier aspirations as they are inclusive rather than
exclusive, and we naturally move away from our narrow ego centred lives.
an incident last week when Karel and I decided to visit the zoo for a coffee
and see the young Red Pandas. It was the first fine day for ages and also the
last week of school holidays. When we arrived there were hundreds of people queuing
to get in. We found a disabled parking space and made our way in, as we are
members. But once inside it was bedlam. My personal preferences and
conditioning swiftly kicked in! This was not how we usually enjoyed the zoo and
I wanted to leave. Karel just battled on through the tropical house and I
reluctantly followed. At the café, as our usual place was full, he quietly
settled at a picnic table on the grass below. I went inside and bought out our
coffees and cakes to share. As we sat enjoying them, watching the many families
passing and the happy eager faces of the children, I recognised how I had
succumbed to my narrow expectations and that now I was seeing the bigger
picture and at once began to feel a part of this whole zoo experience. Karel disarmed
me as he smiled and said what fun it all was. We walked up and saw the red
Pandas up in the trees, who lived in a quieter area of the zoo, so we enjoyed a
peaceful stroll in the sun, before returning to join the happy crowd watching
the monkeys. A nice mixture of alone and together.
incident made me look at many areas of my life which need some widening! It is
easy to get locked into habits
and routines, and some are helpful, like regular meals and kindness,
meditation, being on time and listening to others. Enjoying making things beautiful. Being responsive to Karel’s needs. Looking after the garden
and the old house and being sensitive to life. As I dislike noise, crowds and chaos, [all factors in the
zoo incident] I could see how they got in the way of acceptance of what is,
now. Also life is so much to do
with balance. I have to balance the noise of the traffic on the road below our
house with the beauty of the garden above; the soft Bamboo chimes and rustling
Bamboos. Living in the flow. I continue to observe all this, persevere and make
I have a question. If we clear walls, or
patterns perception, or ruts of thinking, is it safe for us to trust
our senses, too, or do they become tainted, as it were, by their history,
or residue of old thoughts? If so,
can we clear these as well?
I sometimes think that my use of LSD back in the day sort of helped
there, but I was careful to back away from its use for fear that it, too, could
become some kind of escape mechanism vs. a learning tool.
much safer to trust our senses than to not trust them! We have to have that
cosmic external world we are in partnership with to anchor us. Still, we know
perfectly well that the selective and faulty input of the senses is then
managed by the brain to produce an edited result for our viewing pleasure. It’s
a marvelous production, staged for our benefit. We can trust it to a degree,
but we shouldn’t be duped by it. Very often we are, I’m afraid.
we cancel out our prejudices and unnecessary wants, it improves the resulting
stage show immeasurably, but as you say it is almost inevitably tainted (we
often say colored) by our history. As we have often noted, psychology strives
to remove the coloration by confrontation, by unearthing the traumatic memories
from the deep past. As Alice Miller is well aware, this produces fear along
with the excitement of breaking free, so there is every temptation to quit the
game. And the greater the trauma, the greater the fear, so the greater the
incentive to let sleeping dogs lie. By contrast, Vedanta holds that by
rediscovering our true nature, the colorations evaporate, to use Bobby’s term. The Gurukula follows a middle path
where we work on our hang-ups as we simultaneously seek our true nature. Our
postulated true nature is guarded and padded over by our memories, so whatever
ones we can consciously nullify makes the journey easier. Otherwise, they
effortlessly turn us away from authentic being to an image of being, as in the golden disk blocking truth of the Isa
agree, LSD is the fast lane of evaporative insight, and your caution was also
wise. It is a truism that psychedelics give a vision of our “native place” but
don’t actually get us there. They merely point the way, but that’s an extremely
valuable aid for beings with no clue, rolling stones with no direction home, as
Saint Bob Dylan put it once upon a time. Because it is so compelling and
transformative, many have mistaken the vision for reality, climbed onto the
cloud and sailed off into the sunset. Vedanta is for those who want to keep
their feet on the ground. For me, I find the pie-in-the-sky crowd embarrassing,
vainly struggling as they are to make their fantasies appear real. Describing
LSD as potentially an escape mechanism is quite accurate. I believe one of the
ego’s most elegant tricks is to keep itself blindfolded by painting the inside
of the blindfold with beautiful projections. The alternative, the “learning
tool” aspect, would help us to remove the blindfold instead. It’s a less
sensational route, but far more satisfying in the long run.
First off, here is a Vedantic flavored poem from Brenda:
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
will be including insights into the poetic language of the Malayalam original
along with his general observations, which adds a very nice dimension to our
study. There are many subtleties in this masterwork that cannot be translated,
but non-native speakers can appreciate them when they are pointed out to us.
Verse 4 on its own is a remarkable Malayalam literary
composition, as the words are so punctiliously chosen and arranged to configure
melodious rhyme and sensibility. The most impressive verse so far.
My personal appreciation train goes as follows. The poet
(Narayana Guru) could have started off the verse with a single word such as 'triputi',
but instead he tightly packed
and arranged the verse with words representing all three forms of knowledge - arivum,
arinnitum arthavum, pumantann
arivum. Most impressive is the apt use of the word 'arthavum', which normally translates as 'meaning', 'sense',
'matter', 'object' etc. Nitya points mainly to two meanings for ‘artham’
- 'value' and 'meaning'; preferring
to apply the usage here as representative of 'value'. As the usage here
represents the object (of knowledge), and an object in reality could be either
tangible or intangible - such as a song. In Malayalam/Sanskrit there is yet
another word that incorporates the word 'artham';
that word is 'padhartham', which
means 'substance'. However substance would imply something tangible only. So
the poet has used just the 'artham'
part out of 'padhartham'. 'Artham' flexibly
applies for any 'object
of knowledge' both tangible and intangible. Very smart usage!
Nitya's notes provide a good insight into the first part of
the Verse 4. The concept of the knower at times being aware of, or conscious
of, the three facets of knowledge; and at other times, when engrossed in a
subject of interest or in devotion, being universal and unaware of the three,
and merging as one with knowledge. This was an interesting realization and
insight provided by Nitya. It was an opportunity to revisit such personal
situations from the past and refer back to occasions/instances when we are
aware of the three, maybe in boredom, whereas engrossed and one with all three
forms when captivated.
The start of the second part of the verse – ‘viralatavittu
vilangum’ was not
particularly explained in Nitya’s notes. I dwelled on this part, to make sense
of it. In Malayalam the first three words literally mean as follows:
non-contiguousness; discontinuousness; rareness; scarcity etc.
vittu = depart;
vilangum = shine
brilliantly; come into prominence
Read together, the words above would imply – entering a
state of brilliance after departing from a state of non-contiguousness. In a
sense by the use of the word 'infinite' Nitya covers for the phrase ‘viralatavittu
vilangum’ - by turning
the intermittent, scarce or discontinuous (flow of knowledge) into its
antonym - which would be continuous, unlimited or infinite.
In summary, looking back are the two parts of the Verse 4, I
am prompted to read between the lines two distinct implications – space and
time. The collapsing or compression of space in part one, and the acceleration
or compression of time in part two.
The first part essentially represents the three forms of
knowledge, forms that exist in space. When space is collapsed or compressed to
the engrossed knower, the knower merges to become one with the rest. So also,
the second part essentially points to the acceleration of time, from a state of
discontinuity or intermittence to contiguity and compression, where the knower
is able to experience the merging with the infinite, Supreme Knowledge, that
The following comes from a friend in India is a little
behind in her reading, which is perfectly fine—anyone can respond to any of
this at any time—so this is ostensibly about verse 3. The work as a whole is
what we are addressing. This shows the intensity that can come from recovering
from travails that once oppressed us. This friend, who I’m going to keep
anonymous, is responding specifically to Alice Miller’s quotes. I know she is
not alone in this complex of problems; it is unfortunately very common in our
species. Miller assures us that breaking out of our stagnant positions is well
worth the concerted effort it requires:
loss of love, and name calling will not fail to affect them; they will suffer
as a result and will dread them, but once they have found their authentic self
they will not want to lose it. And when they sense that something is being
demanded of them to which their whole being says no, they cannot do it. They
good god...the above is what I went through...when I walked
out on my alcoholic abusive husband!
at that time I loved him to pieces... my walking out was a
last resort that maybe would lead to some awakening.
and I was a mess for almost 3 years, even went back to try
BUT by then I had been free and away too long... away
from his bullying, emotional and mental blackmail and viciousness... and I
actually liked my freedom and saw him for what he was... an
arrogant selfish weakling... in complete denial.
Or with people who,
although they did not have this good fortune to begin with, learned later—for
example, in analysis—to risk the loss of love in order to regain their lost
self. They will not be willing to relinquish it again for any price in the
actually for me it was the above...a self analysis...am not
sure I did it to find myself but yes to get away from hell.
(I had an unfortunate hate relationship with my mother...
which I do understand now and do forgive her... but it screwed my childhood.)
performance of duty are artificial measures that become necessary when
something essential is lacking.
I started out by loving my husband...ready to forgive his
every misdemeanour for the bigger picture of being together....
however for 10 long years the lies and the drinking and the
viciousness kept getting worse n worse... fear of losing someone I loved and
also being financially dependent made me continue till my 40th birthday... somewhere
maybe I’d hoped something would sort this mess… (Jesus ?)
Since there was no help, I decided to
leave so he would look at himself and admit he needed help...but he never
did...not even today.
I had such visions of saving him....
When done correctly,
taking responsibility makes us more helpful to our fellow beings, and is not in
any way a selfish act
Scott, I didn’t do this correctly... I actually walked
out.... but with nothing no money no roof... though what this did do was expose
my husband to his family... they finally saw him for what he had become: a
Even after leaving him I had hope that we could take him to
rehab together... but it never happened.
and with time I’ve started seeing the world on my
and loving it... and am never likely to go back.
Sorry...am still catching up with your notes and this struck
[Later she added]:
I do know that my messy childhood... made me look for that
lack of love in relationships that I should have got out of but didn’t... cause
I kept thinking I was not good enough and better to have this vicious love then
no love at all!!
I never did any therapy but got pulled into Vipassana as I
was looking for a form of meditation...and that over a period of time sorted me
I’ve even forgiven my mother (she died when I was 15) for
really do understand now most of the reasons for her behaviour and maybe as an
adult I may have tried to ease her pain had she lived...
so am at peace there.
Sometimes life steps in and takes your hand... a bit late in
life for me but hey better than never :)
These notes are hitting pretty close to the bone!
meaning raw truth.
[when I suggested anonymity, she wrote]:
no problem Scott... do use it to help others but yes this
and my earlier bit would be better anonymous... not that I have anything to
hide but in time someone somewhere might misunderstand this to be accusations
See how ingrained we are to keep our darkest secrets
still dark when in actuality airing them would make everyone realise that this
is not kosher.
Part of my response:
Wow, this is very intense. I want to assure you, you have
done the right thing. Sometimes walking away is the only way to help. And what
I (and Alice Miller) meant was that you have to help yourself first, to put
some distance between you and the impossible problems of friends and family,
and only when you have healed will you be properly available for others. The
others may not include your ex, it may be other women in the same pickle, who
need a strong example of standing up for themselves in a society that treats
husbands almost as gods.
You have made
great strides already. You stood up when you had to, and you should never
regret it, even though it hasn't been easy. Regret that you had to leave,
perhaps, but what you did was what was absolutely necessary. In this regard, by
the way, Miller is not a proponent of forgiveness, because it can be yet
another way of toning down our awareness and paradoxically prolonging the
misery. I appreciate forgiveness up to a point, but agree we should not use it
as a way to mark "finished" on a story that is far from finished.
Self-realization—which is exactly what this is—requires full awareness.
Problems are not to be glossed over, but burnt to a crisp with the eye of
wisdom. Understanding is much more than forgiveness, but may well include it as
It may be
there are areas in your past where you didn't go all the way, but ducked for
cover and suppressed some of the misery. Again, this is normal human behavior,
and nothing to apologize for. But it will only be finally over when you can
hear advice like Miller's and not feel blasted by intense upset. The poison
arrows have to be pulled out and not simply ignored. In Atmopadesa Satakam Narayana
Guru has offered us a real cure instead of a syrupy placebo, and he is
administering it with infinite compassion. I've already quoted Nataraja Guru: a
bad disease needs a drastic remedy. The fact that this hits you hard means you
are awakening to a deeper level of your own being, in which joy and relief will
supplant the buried resentments of your past. You should be very proud of
yourself for prying your way out of a situation that many never escape. Stay
with it: you are much more that the suffering. We are on a journey to recover
our true condition, which is superb and unlimited. To get there, we will have
to cross some hard ground.