Donna Quesada: And it seems that all these practices have that in common…getting you to wake up to what was already there. There is no attainment.
Arjuna Ardagh: Well, yes…This led a bit into the Radical Brillance cycle…
DONNA: And even the question, “What did it do for you?” uses the language of seeking. Like, I’m trying to get something that is going to make my life better. So, you are falling into the trap by asking the very question, itself. And yet, we are walking on a little bit of a tight-wire here because we want to have that experience…because we trust that it is going to create some kind of shift that will make my life easier for me. But yet, I don’t want to grab and reach out for that shift. There’s a little bit of a balancing act going on.
Arjuna: Well, the way to bypass that…what you’ve just described is to get curious about what is already here, rather than striving for something more. So actually, it’s a funny thing. A very wonderful daily practice is gratitude. Saying “thank you.” Really doing it exhaustively. To keep saying, “thank you,” long after you’ve run out of all the big things. So, “thank you for the trees.” “Thank you for the Kiwi that I had this morning.” Thank you for little things we take for granted. Because when you say “thank you,” it is an anti-dote to desire. You can’t be in gratitude and desire at the same time. Desire is focusing on what is missing and gratitude is focusing on what is here. So, in the same way, awakening means to recognize the nature of consciousness, which was already here. It’s never gone anywhere. It was never missing. And consequentially because there is the recognition that it was never missing…anytime there was a sound, it was consciousness that heard it. Any time anything was ever seen, it was consciousness that saw it. Therefore, the nature of consciousness itself is non-changing, so the idea of a path to reach it absurd. It’s like going on a journey to arrive at the air. You are moving through the air, it’s not a point of arrival.
DONNA: You have a diagram behind you. Your new book is Radical Brilliance. Is that something you help your own clients with…that we are already in the air…
Arjuna: No. I’m not a spiritual teacher. And I don’t offer any services as a spiritual teacher.
DONNA: So, what do you call yourself?
Arjuna: (Laughs) I’m a Radical Brilliance coach. I help people solve big problems in the world. I’m not a spiritual teacher, I don’t do any of that stuff. But it’s such a simple thing. I’m willing to catapult somebody if they are ready, but no,I don’t… I’m not acting as a spiritual teacher. The work that I do has to do with brilliance, which is something else. Einstein was brilliant;we don’t think of Einstein as a spiritual teacher or a spiritual writer. Einstein discovered the General Field of Relativity. Steve Jobs was brilliant. We don’t say, “Steve Jobs was a spiritual teacher.” Steve Jobs was someone who helped to move forward our understanding of electronics. So, Radical Brilliance is not a spiritual thing. Radical Brillianceis the anatomy of how and why people have original ideas that change the world. And awakening, as you describe it, is one of the points in the cycle. But if you make it the center of the cycle, then you go down the spiritual rabbit hole and you get lost in spiritual narcissism, which is, “me, me, me” and my enlightenment.
DONNA: And so, the experience…and for lack of a better word, I’ll use the word “experience.” I’ll put it in quotes…that you had with Papa G…
Arjuna: …is irrelevant right now.
DONNA: Is it irrelevant, or did it somehow set up the path…to create your book?
Arjuna: I am eternally grateful to Poonja-ji, or Papa G., for my relationship with him. But in order to honor what happened with him, it’s necessary to see its irrelevance right now. Because if I hold on to him as an individual, or I hold on to a memory of a meeting with him 28 years ago, I am completely dishonoring the essence of what he gave me. Which was…the essence of what he gave me was to see that nothing has ever been missing.
DONNA: Hmmm…So how did you come to your diagram and what you are about to share with us, then?
Arjuna: Well, I’ll tell you a little story, if I may. Are you okay with a story?
DONNA: I am.
Arjuna: You know, sometimes they have these vitamins…like, you buy vitamins and they say “time release” on them. So, it means that you take the vitamin, but it actually slowly releases into your system. I think what I actually got from a lot of teachers, was time release. It takes a long time to get absorbed into your system. So, when I was with Papa G., this whole thing that we have been talking about…recognizing that consciousness is already free…we got that over-with, in the first week. I was with him for seven years. I was in a relationship with him for seven years. All of that conversation was finished in the first week. And what happened after that was really quite different. It was more like a love affair, really. It was a love affair with him and with life. He played a lot of games and jokes. It was hard to exactly say what was going on, so at one point, something very interesting happened. This was maybe three or four weeks after I had met him. He produced an envelope. And he said, “I want you to answer this letter. This woman has written this letter and I want you to answer the letter.” So, I said, “okay…okay, great.”
So, I read this letter. And this letter is about this woman in the south…it’s from this woman in the south of England, who was running a sort of hostel for drug addicts, or for young people. It was a place where young people who were in trouble could take refuge. That kind of place.I don’t know what the correct word is. So, she was doing this thing and she was having these troubles with it and she was asking his advice about how to take care of these young people. So, I write this letter back to her that was kind of a sad-song letter. Aww… This is all just change and mire…and illusion. Who are you? There is no you.
So, I wrote this sort of awakening thing. So, I brought it proudly back to Poonja-ji. “Here’s the reply that I’ve penned for you to sign.” The way he was talking in Satsang…and he just tore it up. He said, “no…you don’t understand.” And then he said, “the work she is doing with these young people is way more important and relevant than what happens in Satsang. Amazing statement, right? He said, “what she is doing with these young people is way more important than all this spiritual talk.”
So, I was, like…shocked because I thought that didn’t make any sense. And I actually reflected on this incident with his caregiver, whose name was Patrick. So, I told Patrick the story and he said “Oh, you got that letter too, huh?” He said that he gave that letter to everybody… “After a few weeks, everybody gets that letter, who’s around.” And I actually still have the envelope, for some reason. So, the post mark on the envelop is from, like…two years before. It wasn’t a current letter. I never even looked at the post mark.
DONNA: What was he impressing on you with that?
Arjuna: Well, I don’t want to put words into his mouth. I can tell you what feels true to me now…which is, the world…life on this planet…is by an endless number of reckonings…there is tremendous imbalance. There is tremendous, heartbreaking, unnecessary suffering on this planet. You’re in America, aren’t you? So, you probably know that right now, as we speak…that right now, at the border, 2000 children under the age of 17 have been separated from their parents. We haven’t seen things like that happen since Nazi Germany. We are witnessing human atrocities. Environmentally, financially…it just goes on and on and on. Blind, stupid stuff. And I’m not just pointing fingers at the current administration, although I’m not a big fan. We’d probably see just as much stupid stuff if the Democrats were running the country. Just human beings doing stupid shit. Stupid stuff that is completely unnecessary. And if you tune into that…
DONNA: And doesn’t it come back to lack of consciousness? Doesn’t it go back to some kind of spiritual observation, even though having discussed this with you a few minutes ago, we have to be careful how we phrase this. But if there is a realization there, interconnectedness, which is what that realization is supposed to engender… Wouldn’t it diminish that unnecessary suffering? Because you don’t see those children as something separate from us…you feel it. You have compassion.
Arjuna: Well, Donna, there is what is true in theory and what we actually see in practice. So, let me just finish what I was going to say. If we open our eyes and our hearts to what is happening in the world. There is a kind of an urgency. There’s an urgency in the same way as if you wake up in the middle of the night and your child is crying…you are not going to kind of meditate first; you are just going to run. Do you have children?
DONNA: I do. And of course, you act with what’s in front of you. You take action and you don’t stop and think about it.
Arjuna: Exactly. So, in many ways, many people say that parenting is a tremendous practice because you put yourself out of the way. But it’s not a practice because you sit and meditate and do all these things. It’s practice because you take right action…honestly and urgently. If you look at the state of the world and everything that is going on…there are two things that I can see that are not very helpful. One is, urgent, frenetic action, which sometimes happens with political action. Angry and urgent…it just contributed to the chaos. But the other thing that equally looks not very helpful right now, is a kind of spiritual bypassing… About making my life about my spiritual state.
It seems like what we need is just enough attention given to the sanity of the individual…that it is rendered useful to make a difference. But the pre-occupation to become completely enlightened…to me, that is a narcissistic pre-occupation with me and my needs and I don’t think anybody would be thinking about that if their child was really sick. You would go and help the child. This planet is calling out for help. So, perhaps I can explain a little bit about this cycle. Would that be okay?
DONNA: Yes. And that will probably answer my question because I’m thinking along the lines of that high wire again…finding that middle point between frantic movement that is guided by nothing but anger, which is not fruitful at all, and the spiritual narcissism. What is the midway point there?
Arjuna: First of all, this cycle…it gave itself to me. There wasn’t actually any individual doing. It gave itself to me. Actually, in the wake of a car accident… I had several months when I was recovering from a car accident and in that kind of non-doing,it revealed itself. So, let’s take a look at it. I’ll just go through it. The cycle…it’s not a spiritual map. It’s not a map for how to become enlightened. It’s a map that explains the components that allows a human being to become brilliant, which means to become an instrument in the evolution of humanity. So, the recipients of that brilliance are not me. The recipients are maybe future generations that are yet born. So, lets have a look!
DONNA: This goes back to Poonja’s letter,doesn’t it?
Arjuna: It’s connected. Yes. So, let’s… I’ll just take a few minutes and go through this. So, up at the top, here is what we have discussed already…awakening. But not like, “I’m in this permanently”… not some kind of… but simple, that your day and your week and your year is punctuated by the realization of the nature of consciousness. So, when we hang out here, where there is no me. There is a nature phenomenon that occurs, which is described in Kashmiri Shaivism…and it means, if you hang out here and just relax, a natural vibration starts to happen. But it’s involuntary. It’s not I’m doing anything…it’s just that you hang out and there is a quivering that starts to happen. Creative people know this because you get relaxed and then this thing starts to happen. A melody appears or…but it’s not remembering something…it comes out of emptiness.
The emptiness is important. The emptiness is important, not so I can become enlightened. The emptiness is important, so these tremors have the opportunity to arrive out of nothing. So, as they build in intensity, which is the movement from twelve to three. This is like a clock 12…3…6…9. As they build in intensity from 12 to 3 here, so we move from emptiness to creative. This point here, three o’clock, is where the creative flows…where everything is flowing through you. This is where the artist is up all-night painting. Where a writer is automatically writing, where someone has a vision of a new product. But it’s not motivated by money. It’s motivated just by the surrender to allow this to move through you. What happens here, just as this was a seed, you see?
In resting in emptiness, which is vast, there is a seed of a creative impulse. When we get here, which is full creative flow…there is a seed that happens in the creative flow, which is the seed of intention. Intention is a creative act. So, intention is creative flow projected into the future. We’re going to make an album…we are going to write a book. We are going to launch a web site. Intention is creativity projected into the future. So, this movement from three to six is the movement from intention to accomplishment. Things get done.
But, as you move from three to six, you are obliged to start operating in the constraints of time…constraints of money…constraints of contract and agreement. Everything, as you move down here, is about limitation. Just as it was limitless up here, everything down here is about constraint. Channeling energy within constraints, so that things get completed within boundaries. And it’s all about agreement. It’s about making and keeping agreements.
So once again, there is a seed in each place. The seed here is the seed of self-doubt. And it’s important that we pass through this and it’s not something that we avoid because here there was no “I.” But, down here there is an “I.” It’s me, signing a contract and giving my word. I’ve become a person who is responsible. That responsible person is obliged to make decisions. This or that. And this introduces the notion of what Gregory Bateson called “Double Bind.” Gregory Bateson was one of the greatest minds of the 20thCentury; he was one of the four influences on NLP.
See and Read Pat III Here: Live This Life On Your Own Terms and According To Their Own Values
See and read Part I Here : Awakening Is What Happens When Awareness Pays Attention To Itself .
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