This is the 3rd of four talks at a recent retreat in New Zealand. In this session we took questions from the retreat participants. The questions that were addressed were:
- I have a question for the afternoon Q&A if that’s okay. As eternal spiritual beings, are we a part of the whole of the existence of the universe and therefore, one , with everything in the known universe, or does our spiritual essence transcend space and time entirely? It’s so hard to put that into words. I always felt connected in a spiritual way to everyone, every animal, and insect, even the trees and rocks. Like we all exist together so we must be connected somehow.
- Who is enlightened, the body, the mind or the soul/self?
- Why are we here in this world? To learn lessons?
- How can I not be angry at my parents or other people who have done something to hurt me? How can I let it go?
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So my first question, which actually came in online,
“As eternal spiritual beings, are we a part of the whole of the existence of the universe and therefore one with everything in the known universe, or does our spiritual essence transcend space and time entirely? (Sorry, forgot a word.) It’s so hard to put that into words. I always felt connected in a spiritual way to everyone, every animal, and insect, even the trees and rocks. Like we all exist together so we must be connected somehow. Thanks for your time.”
Actually, this is a very serious question.
As I mentioned, there are only two principal energies that exist, primarily, in the world as we know it, the universe as we know it. One is the material energy, the other one is the spiritual beings that occupy this space. And so, our connection is not—
The living being, also called the jiva atma, belongs to a category of energy called the tatashta shakti. Shakti means energy. Tatashta: tata means the shore, the shoreline on an ocean or a river. And so, when we use this term, tatashta shakti, it describes the living being as being in a marginal condition. We can be utterly overwhelmed by the material energy, and feel ourselves and think ourselves to be material, or we also can become fully realized of our eternal spiritual nature, and behave and live and exist in a purely spiritual state. So, this is pretty amazing: the living being can go either way. The living being is categorized as being a higher energy than the material energy, broadly speaking, however the material, the living being can still be overcome by it and lose the plot, which is the condition of all the material beings in the universe, practically.
The material universe is material. Nature is material. It is not spiritual. That’s important. And so, but, somebody goes, “Well, yeah, but when I connect with nature it feels so spiritual.” Well, it’s kind of like, well, how do you define spiritual? I mean one of the characteristics of spiritual is that it’s unchanging, and it’s eternal. Is nature unchanging? No. Is it eternal? No. So it’s sort of like, so—you know, often people actually haven’t developed a clear framework of thinking about and discussing these things.
But I’ll just try to clarify that. One of the aspects of the material energy: there is what are called in English “the modes of material nature,” which in Sanskrit they refer to as triguna, the three qualities. So, there are these invisible yet powerful influences permeating the material energy. One of them is called sattva guna, which means the mode of goodness; one of them is raja guna, the mode of passion; and the third is tama guna, the mode of ignorance. And a person, being influenced by one of these or a combination of these, will have different state of consciousness, different attraction to things in this world, different attraction to ways of living.
The mode of passion is the most prominent. All cities are built because of the mode of passion. The desire to succeed, to rise to the top, to win, the desire to create, it was all arising from the mode of passion. It breeds limitless hankering and results in unlimited distress. [Laughs] Those things go hand in hand. You cannot live a passionate life and not at the same time be experiencing enormous distress. Maybe it’s not happening right at this moment, but where you’re at, even if you’re on a high, and everything, “Yeah!!” everything’s going fine, you will reach a point where you encounter enormous difficulty and challenge and even burnout and all this kind of stuff.
The mode of goodness is an attraction to nature, to get away from all the noise and the craziness, and to have a peaceful existence, and to experience some level of happiness, even if it is not permanent spiritual happiness. It’s a desire, fundamentally, for happiness, but not in a crazy way. It’s kind of like in a really refined and peaceful way. People think that that is spiritual, and in the Vedas it’s not. It’s considered a refined material state, and can be a wonderful springboard into a more spiritual experience or a quest for a deeper spiritual life. So we shouldn’t confuse these things.
So, when we speak of oneness, the oneness that one is experiencing is actually, that this person is speaking of, is more a feeling of really deep connectedness with all life, with everything that is living.
So, “As eternal spiritual beings, are we part of the whole of the existence of the universe?” And the answer to that is, on the eternal time scale, no, that the material experience is considered a temporary experience. Even if it lasts for so long that we can’t calculate, it’s still a temporary experience. So, are we part of the material existence? And the truth is that, no, we are not. Unfortunately, we can become—we can identify with it so intensely that we feel that we are actually part of it, but that is not our eternal spiritual state or condition.
“Does our spiritual essence transcend space and time entirely?” The answer to that is yes, absolutely. Space and time are considered part of the material nature.
“I always felt connected in a spiritual way to everyone, every animal and insect, even trees and rocks, like we all exist together so we must be connected somehow.” Well, the answer is yes, we are all connected. It’s described that, from the spiritual perspective, the material energy is one of the energies of the Supreme Soul. Another energy is a spiritual reality, or dimension, that is different than this place, and the third category of energy has to do with the living beings, who can exist in either sphere.
And so that oneness, that connectedness that one can feel, for the yogis, they see that this world is—(Let me just grab something here. One second. It will explain a lot.)
So there is, in one of the Upanishads there is a verse that is actually really profound:
īśāvāsyam idam sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
That’s the beginning anyway. It states:
“Everything animate and inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Supreme Soul. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for themself which are set aside as one’s quota, and one should not accept other things knowing well to whom they belong.”
So, this is like the most amazing and perfect code to live by. It’s the sense of where I fit. One of the—what’s considered one of the tragic conditions of material existence or material conditioning, is the sense of proprietorship, the idea or thought that I can own stuff, I mean, I can actually own it. And then I have the desire to accumulate and to lord over all that I can accumulate. And so different people will manifest this in different degrees. Even in somebody’s humble life someone may manifest this characteristic.
But it is said that when one is absorbed in that idea one becomes very much separated from spiritual reality. This is a product of material consciousness. I showed up here without anything, and when I leave, I cannot bring anything with me. The idea that I can lay claim to it is false. I can exercise some dominion over things temporarily, but if I think about it, if I can’t actually lay claim to it, I should definitely not be trying to exploit it like a criminal. That’s not going to lead me to a place of peace.
And so, because of that perspective the advanced transcendentalist lives with a profound sense of respect for the material creation, but they see it as the creation of the Lord, and they’re just, they are awed by it. It’s just like amazing. But I’m not going crazy and trying to grab as much of it I can, and stuff it in every orifice of my body, and rub it all over me, and milk it, and squeeze it, and try and get some bliss out of it, because that’s crazy land. That never ends very well.
So yes, there is a oneness between all living beings, but this raises another point. The most common idea that is spread in the, what we will call the yoga community, and the spiritual people of the world, is an idea that was introduced by a great personality. His name was Adi Sankara, Sankaracharya, of the 7th century. And he propounded an idea that was actually a non-Vedic idea, the idea that there is no distinction between all the living beings. The distinction we see between each other is a false notion. It’s a fantasy imposed by nature, and when we get rid of it, we all merge together as one consciousness, and there is no Supreme Individual Consciousness. We are all part of that.
And of course, that philosophy was picked up by all the hippies back in the 60s, the late 60s, and became very pronounced in the Western world and has actually fully penetrated, I mean just like everything, even religious institutions, Christianity and stuff. It’s just like, wow! it’s amazing how this has spread this way. But this is not the original teaching of the Vedas.
In our lineage the great Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He had an aphorism to describe, or to use, that can describe almost unlimited spiritual principles and reality. The principle that He spoke of, in Sanskrit is acintya bhedabheda tattva. Acintya means inconceivable. It’s inconceivable to the material mind; that there is a one—a simultaneous oneness and yet difference. It’s not an absolute oneness, that the living being—
Well, firstly, the question of, is there any higher being, God? Is there any such thing? The Vedas—wow, is this going to get too trippy? The Vedas teach that there are three aspects to the highest truth, and these three aspects are covered with this term advayam. It is non-distinct. You can’t say that they’re separate individual things. But, these three features are Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. These are three aspects of the highest truth.
The first is Brahman. So, people that are into the trippy aspects of yoga and the kundalini stuff (and, you know, that’s where I was big time. that was far out when I was starting out), where there is an aspiration to, through the kundalini and manipulation of the life air, to leave the body and to merge into an ocean of pure consciousness of spiritual energy and light. This is called the Brahmajyoti. Jyoti means light, of spiritual light. And when a person has this experience there is—you give up—there is no idea of an individual self. It is just the experience of pure consciousness, and there is a great happiness attached to that. But it is understood from the Vedas that this light is actually the effulgence of the Supreme Soul Himself, of Bhagavan.
The other feature of the highest truth is called Paramatma. The living being is called the atma, but there is also a param atma, a Supreme Self, a Supreme Soul. That is not you. You are not, nor can you ever become the Paramatma. You are eternally the atma. And at no time can the atma and the Paramatma merge into the same existence, not in the way that people speak about it.
There is an ancient verse:
nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
That’s the beginning of it. And it means, “Amongst all the eternals there is one that is unique and different. Amongst all conscious beings there is one that is unique and different.” Patanjali speaks to this in the first pada of the Yoga Sutra, where he speaks about Ishwara. This term Ishwara literally means the Supreme Controller. And he speaks about how one can attain the highest spiritual realization, one way to do it is through the mercy of this Isvara.
This is the verse, that, most certainly, by complete surrender to Isvara, one can attain the highest spiritual samadhi, or condition of spiritual trance. And then he goes on to explain what are the characteristics.
Up to this point Patanjali has been referring to the living being as purusa. This word literally means the person. You are a person, not because of your body. Your body doesn’t make you a person. The presence of the soul, the spiritual being, who is a person, gifts personhood to the body, and when the living being leaves the body is no longer a person. And so, this characteristic of being a person is a spiritual characteristic. It’s not a material characteristic. And he speaks that, amongst all purusas that Isvara is the puruṣa-viśeṣa. This means that He is the unique purusa, unlike any other purusa, and speaks about His characteristics and how to know Him.
So this understanding of this feature of Paramatma—in the Vedas they teach that actually, when the living being enters a body, that in fact there are two birds sitting in this tree. This is an extraordinary example. It’s used in multiple places. There are two birds. One of these birds is busily trying to eat the fruits of the tree and enjoy it, but all the time is experiencing moroseness. The other bird is simply waiting for that first bird to turn and recognize his eternal friend. And when he does that he becomes relieved of all moroseness and unhappiness and is overwhelmed with this condition of profound spiritual love. We have a soul mate. It is this second bird sitting within our heart of hearts, this Paramatma, the Supreme Soul.
There is another feature of the highest truth. It is called Bhagavan, and this is the same Paramatma, but instead of being manifest within the hearts of all living beings, is existing within a transcendental, or spiritual, realm or atmosphere, and is engaged in unlimited loving exchanges with those who are utterly surrendered to him in a mood of great love.
So, when we talk about oneness, yeah, there is a oneness between all living beings, and there is even an element of oneness between the individual being and the Supreme Being, but that oneness is not an unlimited oneness, it is a limited oneness; so they talk about qualitative and quantitative oneness. Qualitatively we are one with the Supreme Soul, like a drop of water from the ocean has the same qualities as the water in the ocean; but with a drop of water, I can’t swim in it, I can’t even get a kid to go and paddle in that water, I can’t float a boat, I can’t put a shark in there, or a whale. There is a distinction between one drop and the ocean. So, we have all of the characteristics of the Supreme Soul, but to a limited degree, and so there is a qualitative but not quantitative oneness with the Supreme. This, my friends, is the most authorized and authentic presentation of Vedic teaching, like it or not.
How about that? There is actually a lot more to it, but here we are at this retreat, and I thought we were going to try and keep it simple, I’m sorry, got a little bit enthusiastic. I love this stuff. This stuff is mind-blowing. This is my time, as much time as I can, is spent immersed in these extraordinary transcendental truths and the attempt to come to realize, in the fullest possible way, these truths.
Because of this connection between the individual being and the Supreme Being there is a recognition that all living beings are both loved and of limitless importance. Therefore, if I cause harm to any living being I am made distant from the Supreme Truth, from the ultimate spiritual reality. I become covered. The origin of compassion is the recognition of the importance of all living beings, that we are brothers and sisters. We have a common father, if I can put it that way. And for me to behave in a way that is ignorant or angry or hurtful…when everybody does the Namaste [doing the action, hands in prayer] this—and there’s all kinds of different interpretations or speculations about what it means—this was a recognition of the two birds, both the individual living being and the Supreme Being residing within the heart of all. When I stand in front of you, and I treat you in an ignorant or arrogant or hurtful way, I am doing this in the full vision of the Supreme Soul. That is embarrassing; and I will pay the price.
The laws of karma—it’s not like, you’ve got this idea of an angry God who’s going to start, “Oh, you did that shit, now you’re gonna get it.” It’s not like that. The laws of material nature that already exist will make it so that I cannot escape the consequences of all of my choices, of all of my actions. I am going to be held accountable and will pay the price. That is a truth that we cannot escape from.
And so, when somebody with folded hand—There’s two words: namas-te, te means unto you, namas is, because of what’s called sandhi, juncture of words, their root is nama or namaḥ. Namaḥ is not just “Hi.” It actually means, to bow, to actually bow, to offer, not just some respect, but in great humility to offer obeisance, because in doing this I am doing it both, to both birds, the eternal spiritual being, who may be having a really bad day, hung up in material conditioning, identifying with the body, overwhelmed with lust, anger and greed, and manifesting all this crappy things, or experiencing the fruit of past bad actions, but regardless, they are an eternal and glorious spiritual being, and they are not only deserving, I should offer respect to them on that level.
So, I had a question about, when it comes to enlightenment, and it’s actually quite interesting question: “Who is enlightened, is it the body, is it the mind or is it the soul, or the self?” And, of course, we first—enlightenment doesn’t—people are going to maybe struggle with this one a little bit. The soul is always pure, is never contaminated, just like a diamond that falls into a ditch and gets covered with cow dung and dirt and everything, and somebody takes it out, all one has to do is wash off the dirt. The actual diamond itself has never become polluted. It’s never become corrupted or contaminated. In a similar way the soul itself is never corrupted.
What happens is the consciousness becomes polluted, the consciousness becomes corrupted, and so in reality it’s not—enlightenment is not the process of the soul itself becoming enlightened, rather it is the process by which we begin to lose, or shed, the material conceptions of the self, that I am a body, and I am the mind. This enlightenment means I begin to shed these things.
So then, the other part of the question was kind of like, why are we here? Have we come here for the purpose of enlightenment or something to that—(Is this good enough? Close enough? Probably.) And the answer is that all living beings, save and except for very, very few, all living beings within the material world possess the same disease. That disease is to see myself at the center of everything, that it’s all about me. I mean, it’s amazing, I see everything in relation to me: [Miming looking at different things] “I like that. I don’t like that. Oh.” And we’re making all these judgments, and it’s all about, from the perspective of me as being at the center of everything. My whole life, in my whole life, I see myself at the center of everything.
This is considered a very fallen state, because it is not reflective of any spiritual reality. The spiritual reality is I am not the center of everything. I am one tiny, tiny spark of God. Maybe I have wonderful qualities and characteristics, but I’m one amongst the limitless ocean of other spiritual beings, and even collectively we do not compare to the grandeur, the wonder of the Supreme Soul. And so when I’m walking around seeing myself at the center of everything, this is considered a very elevated state of corruption.
So, we exist in this material world because we desire to be like God, if I can put it that way. Most people can relate to that. And I live out my life at the center of everything. I look for others to exploit and enjoy, and I want to love and to be loved, but I’m the one at the center of everything. I see myself really at the center of everything. This is not an enlightened state. This is considered a very ignorant state. And so, this material world that is described in the Vedas exists for the corrupted living beings to try and live out that fantasy of trying to be God. And it’s like “Good luck!”—knowing that it ain’t going to work out very well, because there are consequences to your life, there are consequences to your choices, there are consequences to everything that you want to be trying to do.
And so it’s not like the material world is part of some sort of special place that we’ve shown up in. It’s kind of considered a misfortune to be here, and what becomes special is our journey back to our home, our real home, and the recognition of our real spiritual identity.
How did that one go down? Huh? I mean it’s becoming increasingly difficult in this time in which we live. Everybody feels so self-important. When they started this thing here [lifts up his phone]; and when they started with—and you used to see it on the news, and they’d report on the news, and then they, to the audience, they go, “Well, what do you think about that? We’d like to hear from you.” You don’t want to hear! Bullshit! This is just a way of entrapping people, and getting them into the argument and the feed, so you can exploit the numbers, and you can get more advertising revenue. They don’t give a crap about anybody. And then everybody started feeling all so self-important, and the fact that I can text message, and I can, Boof, blow this up, and behave like an animal, behave with such disrespect and with such unintelligence, it’s like, it’s mind-blowing!
And the so-called selfie: 15 years ago, if you had a camera, and you were out, and you went down the beach, and you handed your camera to someone, said, “Could you please take a picture of me?” people would think, “Oh, they’re looking for some sort of memento,” and they would do it. But then if I took back the camera, and I gave it to someone else, and then I asked them, “Oh, could you do one of me, please?” and then I saw someone, “Oh, could you take a picture of me, please?” everybody would be looking at each other like, “What the hell’s wrong with this person?” That was only 15 years ago. Now everybody’s in selfie world. And I got to photograph all the food. They got the saying, “The phone eats first.”
It’s like what, I think, I think my life is so significant, I’ve got to broadcast it to the world, everything that I’m doing, even occasionally sitting on the toilet, I’m gonna do it. And it’s like, I really think that this is going to really positively influence everybody’s life. Man. That is so far out. This is so ignorant, so much in darkness. And of course, the consequence is going to be the great unhappiness. We’re seeing levels of mental illness and suicide that we’ve never seen in the history of humanity.
I mean if you look at the history of the world, people have been through some really bad shit. I mean there’s been suffering like you couldn’t even imagine, these just monumental famines and wars and exterminations and—there’s just been so much suffering. And in spite of all of that, you did not have the levels of mental illness and suicide that you’re getting now. And the way it’s rising, it’s the real hockey stick. It’s just mind-boggling. It is a direct result of how people are living, and what they are choosing to be of value and importance. Lost the plot. And the science shows it.
Sorry, guys. Probably didn’t sign up for this one, right? “We just thought we were gonna have a real retreat.”
Next question causes me tremendous sadness:
“How can I not be angry at my parents or other people who have done something to hurt me? How can I let it go?”
And it’s just like, oh my gods! (How much time do we have?) This is such an important and huge subject. You can check on my website acharyadas.com. There’s a number of talks that deal with forgiveness. It’s like really, really, really important. It’s such an important subject.
The truth shall set you free. You can’t imagine how important that little sentence is. The way to become free from this form of suffering is to cultivate an understanding of my actual spiritual identity, that I am an eternal spiritual being, that this event that took place, due to being born in a certain family and then experiencing certain pain or suffering that may have been inflicted by parents, it is a passing reality. It is not an eternal reality. If you cultivate an understanding of your actual spiritual identity, it will not only transform how you are looking at your life, but also how you look at those that you are connected to.
In reality, this person I call my mother and father, they’re not my mother and father, not eternally. I mean the Vedic perspective is like amazing. In this lifetime people can get so caught up in their life and all the stuff that’s going on, and sometimes tearing their hair out, and they’re laughing, and then they’re crying, and screaming at each other and fighting. And it’s just this, like there’s this roller coaster. And then everybody’s in so much anxiousness, often, about family.
And then it comes to this experience called death: in the instant that you leave your body you terminate your connection with so-called mother and father and family, and you move on. You will take another body, and in that body you will have another mother and father, other brothers and sisters, another husband or wife, other children or grandchildren. And then when that life comes to an end, you will abandon them and move on. And it’s kind of like, wow, how insensitive is this, that all these people I declared undying love to in the past or I was so concerned about, that just because of this, in this fraction of time I just leave that body and move on, and then now I never think of them again. That which was so important to me, I never think of them again!
And so, cultivating that understanding of even our current life, cultivating—when I cultivate the understanding of myself as being a spiritual being I will simultaneously be cultivating and understanding of others as being eternal spiritual beings also, and then my view will begin to change. When I see people overwhelmed by the modes of passion or ignorance or goodness, but particularly the modes of passion and ignorance, and I see them behaving in this extraordinarily hurtful and horrible ways, I don’t just, I don’t become angry at them. I actually feel pity for them, that now, because they are—they’ve lost control of their life, they’ve lost control of everything, they’re just being driven by all kinds of desires and emotions, they’re just reacting to stuff, and they’re engaging in speech and in action, in that which is hurtful. It’s just like, oh my god’s, why did you do that? Because what goes around, comes around. The pain that you inflict on others will come back to visit you.
When a person develops this type of understanding, then what will happen is, it’s not just a shallow forgiveness. It is this growth of vision where one even feels sorry that somebody has inflicted pain or hurt upon my body and mind. I can get over that. I can actually get beyond that, particularly with spiritual understanding, but they will have to suffer the consequences; and I just feel bad that I have become implicated in their future unhappiness, and I wish them well, and I wish them to be free.
And the difference between an animal and a human being, an animal is forced to act instinctively. It has no choice. The animal cannot ask, “Who am I? Why am I here? What is this for? Is there a higher reality? Is there a God? Is there a soul? What is this?” The animal doesn’t ask that. Animal is a living being, just like you or I, but it is covered by a grosser covering, where it is forced to act instinctively. And when we see human beings who are—who have so much more potential, who have this great capacity, simply living in an animal-like way, just being driven by urges, desires, by their mind, and by all the stuff going on, and just instinctively acting and reacting and causing so much chaos and unhappiness, it’s just like, oh my gods, this is just the source of all unhappiness and suffering, the material condition.
And so, the person who asked this question, I humbly request that you sincerely endeavour to grow in the spiritual process, and you will come to the point of being able to develop this clarity of vision, and you will then feel differently, even about these people that we address as mother and father, as parents. You will be their well-wisher, your prayers for their well-being, thoughts for their well-being, even though they may have behaved horribly towards you, there will be prayers for their well-being, and a feeling of great sorrow that they have chosen a path of unhappiness. When a person grows in this experience (and it’s gradual, it comes bit by bit) then forgiveness is natural and automatic. It is complete, complete, the forgiveness, and it is based on enlightenment, it is based on spiritual vision.
I think that’s about as far as–I had a few other questions, but I think those were pretty long already. Yeah?
Audience: You talk about, what goes around comes around. Is that in this life, and other lives as well?
Acharya das: The—karma, the word karma means action. The result, or the fruit, of action, this is karma phalam. When you act, and we’re talking about material action, not spiritual, material action, then one: there will be a fruit, and that fruit may appear immediately, it may appear down the road a little bit, or it may even be carried over to another lifetime.
So like, for this lifetime, for instance, everybody is born in different circumstance, and it’s kind of like we feel that we didn’t choose it, the—our parents, the country of our birth, the social and economic circumstances, the opportunity for learning, the health and the beauty of the body, or the lack of it, it’s kind of like this all happens almost uninvited. But what’s happening is—you know everybody thinks when a baby is born, you see this little dude. I mean—(okay, sorry, two seconds here)
I tell you, in your life, the more births and deaths you can be part of, the better a person you will be. It’s an extraordinary thing to be present when somebody dies, and to be present for a birth. It’s just like, woah, it’s mind-blowing. That’s going to change your life.
When the baby shows up people pick it up, and it’s just like this sweet, innocent, perfect little thing, and everybody’s heart is just like, “Oh, it’s cute. It’s just so innocent and pure.” And, no, it’s not. What you’re not seeing is, when that little dude showed up, that little dude had a mountain of baggage with them, and that baggage will be unpacked through their life. And they will bring with them a tendency to have a certain type of personality, to behave or react to things in certain ways. You don’t see it, but it comes. They’re not so innocent. They come with a mountain of karmic fruit that will manifest in their life. And so, this fruit of karma, it can manifest even in other lifetimes.
But there is another part to it. There’s two parts that are considered extremely problematic. Patanjali talks to the term, “creating these mental impressions.” There is reference in the Vedas to every time that you act, it plants a seed in your heart. And that seed may sprout and manifest at any time. So when you—we become conditioned by the actions that we perform, by the choices we make, we become conditioned to ongoing action and ongoing thought. It begins to shape where we go. And so, choosing how to act, how to speak, is like critically important, because what it does is begin to alter the course of your life. Now you are taking charge of your life and directing it towards outcomes that you are choosing, and that is like really, really important.
Some people may ask, sometimes someone is like so good, they’re so kind, and they’re so good, and then something like really horrible happens to them, and people ask, “How could something so horrible happen to someone that’s so good?” It’s kind of like, well, that’s, you’re seeing things from your perspective, but you have to question, “Is my perspective all that there is to see?” We’re not seeing the laws of karma. We’re not seeing the load that that person brings. Because good does not offset bad. When you engage in good activity, there is a good result. When you engage in bad activity or hurtful activity, there is a bad or hurtful result that will come from it. They don’t cancel out. Both you must experience. So you can end up going down this pathway of goodness, but it doesn’t cancel out all the bad that may have happened previously, and the fruit of which you may still have to taste, that doesn’t that doesn’t go away. Okay?
[To audience member wanting to ask a question] Oh, yeah. Any objections to another question? We’re good? Okay, we’re good.
Audience member: Yes, with our current understanding of how trauma works in people especially in children who go through trauma up until the age of seven or even going into adolescence, and how that shapes you as a person, and then (kind of?) determines the behavior patterns you have (Acd, Yeah) and how you lead your life…
Acd: So can I just speak to that. I mean, what we are seeking to do is to transcend all material conditioning, whether my life has been really wonderful and excellent, and I’m kind of like all heady, and it’s just like, “Oh my life is so wonderful,” or whether I’m, “Oh, my life is crap, and I’ve been tortured and now I’ve got all—” both are considered equal from a spiritual perspective, because both of them are still material conditioning, and both are going to reinforce material consciousness. So yes, while we may say that to have a nice gentle loving family and you know what I mean, be supportive, is a more desirable outcome, not from a spiritual perspective, because that one can lead you to be lulled into the idea that the world is wonderful, that life is wonderful. And maybe you can keep that up for one lifetime, but it ain’t gonna keep going. It’s going to turn into bad things going forward, because that’s just the nature of things.
So while, from a counseling point of view, yes, we should take pity upon people that have suffered trauma and seek to help them, but do not sell the idea that if they handle this, and they learn to handle it, and they change course that therefore their life is going to be perfect and wonderful. No it’s not. It’s absolutely not. All the people that didn’t go through the trauma, their life is not perfect and wonderful. There’s all kinds of stuff that they have to undergo.
So our message is that there is a need for transcendence, to actually rise above all forms of material conditioning, and when a person comes into knowledge of the self, of the soul, and I begin to experience that, it is utterly liberating. You are liberated from all fear, anxiety, pain, everything that is experienced in the material condition. That’s what we’re selling. Yeah, you’ll buy it. Okay. You’re welcome.
So I’ll chant a little bit, because we’ve probably gone over time.