Participant 1: I am very grateful for your presence, David. I experience deep peace and enjoyment in your meditations. I am curious to clarify what you mean when you use the word “Bliss.”
David: I use it for the most part as the Hindus use it. So, if you look up the term ananda on the internet you will see, especially if you go to a Sanskrit website that will give you the root of the word and the various connotations, you’ll get the flavor of my meaning. It’s what you’re describing, the peace, satisfaction, the sense of coming home that you feel when we connect in this universal field. It’s very simple really. It’s not complicated.
Participant 2: I awaken sometimes lately with no thought, and I say this is heaven here and now. I recall Nisargadatta, who to remain awake with no thoughts is the greatest worship, to remain in the waking state.
Moderator: From London, “I was asked recently how I could be sure there is one truth. I found myself trying to defend ultimate reality. I would like to know how you would respond to the same question of “Is there one truth?”
David: There’s one, but I’m not too sure about the truth part. And I would also say there’s truth, but I’m not too sure I would say there’s one truth. There’s the one, and there is the truth. These two things to me seem to be the same, that the truth is unfractioned, undivided, in other words, it’s one. But to say there is one truth points to an objectification of what truth might mean, my truth, your truth, this truth, that truth, those are all objectified stances, things which you can defend in arguments or discussions. But as you’ve seen it can become very awkward when you have to defend something.
The topic now is defending. Why would the truth need a defense, someone to defend it? If it was truth it would have to be apparent to everyone, not just to one person. And I would say further if someone has a personal truth, it cannot possibly be truth for the simple reason that it has adapted to someone’s idea. It has become captive to someone’s perspective. Unfortunately, this topic of owning the truth becomes a more virulent topic in the circles of spiritual teachings, religious teachings, where people state openly they have absolute truth. I’m happy to talk about absoluteness. I’m happy to talk about an absolute, perhaps even the Absolute but not my absolute or your absolute or Nisargadatta’s absolute or Ramana’s absolute.
This topic can quickly degrade into either a religious discussion or a philosophical discussion. I don’t have to explain all the arguments in religious circles. It’s pretty apparent what goes on there. It’s a circus. And if you have happened to had the good luck to study philosophy as I have, the same thing goes on in universities with people who believe that they study truth in the form of the subject philosophy. You get the same kind of defensiveness of various positions in universities. You get them in religious circles. In other words, you get divisive discussions based on discrimination, the use of discrimination to understand truth. And then you also get arguments in the religious circles around faith, around who has the right belief, the right faith, the one that God favors. Either way, we’re talking about self-righteousness and the belief that I have something particular that’s universal. I own something particular either in my mind or with my feelings that is universal.
So, the topic of self-righteousness, captivity of meaning, captive meaning, becomes a proper discussion, the way in which humans or a single human being wants to own and rule meaning. What makes this discussion on the religious and philosophical vulnerabilities to wanting to own meaning is that it’s all based on opinion, an opinion which usually is formed from accepting an authority, an outer authority whether it is scripture in the case of religion or whether it is a philosophical text in the case of philosophy. I’m a Platonist, I am a Hegelian, I am a Heidigarian. Or, I am a Christian, I am a Jew, I am a Muslim, I am a Sufi, I am a Buddhist, and it goes on and on.
Why do human beings want to protect themselves or shield themselves inside of ideas that appear to be larger than their own mind? Let’s ask that question. Why do human beings want to fit into a larger meaning? Is it because that they don’t have any meaning to begin with? Inside they are empty, helpless, ignorant, divided from existence, separated from existence? After all, existence appears to give birth to quite a bit of manifestation, life, and we don’t seem to have any indication that a tree or a butterfly is in search of truth. So, why are we as part of that same existence obsessed with finding meaning, creating meaning, living inside of meaning that somehow sedates us?
We become sedate when we find this thing called truth. Are we afraid to live without certainty about the meaning of everything? We become frightened because there’s nothing there but you when you don’t impose. When you stop imposing meaning, creating meaning on yourself and others, you find yourself alone. If you choose not to depend on someone else’s meaning, meaning, importing meaning, importing meaning and then adopting it, taking it in, saying this is it, I’ll believe this, I know Jesus loves me, I know Allah loves me and that he hates infidels. I know all that. It makes me feel wonderful. I finally have something powerful here in my hands, something that can have real practical consequences. I can begin shielding and defending, separating myself out from people who don’t believe like I do.
You suddenly, or one suddenly becomes very small to oneself when one does not identify with something big, something bigger, a bigger idea that puts everything into perspective for you whether the ideas come out of quantum physics or a piece of religious scripture. We begin to feel very tiny all of a sudden if we don’t buy-in. Yet, it’s very tempting to take that road for the obvious reason that you don’t want to feel small. You don’t want to feel insignificant. Therefore, you’ll choose this path of bolstering yourself, taking an ideological injection that you think is giving you nutriment.
At the root of every human being is this need to love and be loved. Mistakenly, it could be interpreted as weakness, as smallness, as a sense of being insignificant because you cannot demand love. You can only wait for it and offer it. Those are the only two options with regard to love. You offer it, you manifest it, you show it, you give it, or if you want to feel love coming from somewhere else other than your own area, you patiently open and wait for it. That area of opening and waiting is the place where people often go into panic attacks around the meaning of existence because they want love on demand. So then love could easily become an ideology. This ideology, this belief is now nourishing me because I’ve identified with something greater that has taken me out of that small area where I am so lonely.
But can you live inside that sense of loneliness? Do you know how to live inside that feeling without moving away from it, without covering it up? After all, the knee-jerk reaction to do something about that betrays itself immediately as inauthenticity, as fakery. In other words, you’re being moved by something inside of yourself which you feel is intolerable toward something that you now want to affirm. That movement is fakery because it’s all away from the initial situation. The what is of that situation is your helplessness, your smallness, what that is, where that’s coming from. And if you choose to live with that without running into some ideology to save you, you would be surprised at the feelings you go through as you investigate, as you open that up and feel into it.
The thing that looks like your worst enemy, in the end, might become your best friend because of the possibility of realness, of authenticity, of not escaping from what is. It’s in this sense I think that Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says that which tastes like sweetness, in the beginning, turns to poison in the end or bitterness. And that which in the beginning tastes bitter ends up being sweet. So, it’s in the trajectory of time between opening into what is, abiding there, waiting inside of what is, and whatever comes next, that determines your spiritual fate. Your spiritual fate, meaning, I don’t mean to throw in a whole new term here, your total sense of being and existence, both in yourself as you feel yourself and as you open into everything.