Buddha At The Gas Pump Interview With David, Part 5

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Rick: …some of them are very much appreciative of the idea of continued progress. Andrew Cohen for instance is always talking about evolutionary enlightenment and progressive nature of development and so on. I know a good many people who benefited greatly from the teachings of Gangaji and some of the others and my experience is that people just kind of to gravitate to a teacher who is commensurate with their need, with their level of development. They derive what benefit they can from that teacher and if they outgrow that teacher they move on to something else. They usually look back with appreciation, like “Ok, well that was good, now I’m going to do this.” So whether or not those teachers would be condemned by Ramana Maharshi for doing what they are doing, I can’t say, but they seem to be making contributions each in their own way—they may not be the ultimate complete package that cou ld theoretically be presented but there’s benefit there. Everyone is holding up their stick, so to speak.

David: I am not talking about one person teaching neo-Advaita or the other and I’m not judging anyone. I’m just pointing out basic copyright laws,whether they are legal or not. If someone says, “I have no successors,” then there is no successor. I can pull names out of a hat and say I’m this successor or I’m that successor but I’ve chosen to do this on my own - look if I don’t have it - I either deliver or I don’t. I either am “It” or I’m not. There’s no room for discussion. There’s no room for me convincing you that I have this trustworthy package that precedes me and I’ve leaped out of that package—that prepackaged delivery. So this is the day of FedEx spirituality and everybody gets enlightened instantly. You can certainly get a glimpse instantly but to actually live through the process of awakening can take many years and it can be excruciating. Most people become jaded along the process; they become angry and resentful. They go on hating their former gurus because instead of parting with their false expectations they parted with the teacher long before they should have. It was a statement about the seriousness of their aspiration not about the authenticity of the guru.
You can’t look to the guru’s behavior or how they speak for validation of their state of consciousness. There is no connection between how a guru or master behaves. They can behave like a total nutcase and still be totally realized. People bring up this idea of “integration” and you have to be “integrated,” well that’s a psychological notion that was invented in the last what sixty or seventy years in the West. I’m not saying integration is not a good thing, it’s always preferable. It’s always preferable that someone is in control of themselves and deals with the public in an honest and upright and conscientious and loving way. But I can assure you that there are teachers who have not done this and not to exonerate them for anything that may have done to hurt others. Their realization may not have come to bear either way on what they’ve done. There is a lot of guru hatred going on for the way in which, actually gurus have lied to people saying they are celibate and then you find out they are anything but. They are into money deeply and yet they come across as being free from materiality, material possessions, etc. So it’s a huge topic Rick.

Rick: It is and it’s one that I kind of obsess about myself and you and I can probably go off on a rant for about an hour batting this one back and forth. Let’s shelve it for the moment, maybe we’ll come back to it a little later in the interview or maybe we’ll do an interview later on and go more deeply into that. But I want to get back to your story.
Let’s pick up where we left off which was, you were saying three, four years of meditation and spiritual practice; you were “cooking” pretty intensely during that period, having successive breakthroughs through various sheaths of ignorance or opening up new levels of clarity. We started touching upon the idea that you began to arrive at some… well, we were talking about having it come and go, come and go and then you began to arrive at something which didn’t seem to come and go, something began to dawn which was perpetual.

David: The witness consciousness had become an all-time reality through waking, dreaming and sleep states. That went on for several years actually—also with various depths in clarity. This is not an either / or or black / white issue. Witnessing can be absolutely crystal clear or it can be even be vague and tamasic. So this went on until I would say around the spring of 1979 when I experienced what the traditional Hindu texts call nirvikalpa samadhi in meditation. Meditation became fulfilled, it became total.

Rick: What does nirvikalpa mean again?

David: Well, nirvikalpa samadhi is distinguished from savikalpa. Savikalpa is separate episodic absorptions that come and go. Nirvikalpa is that one stroke that signifies the Self has been realized in meditation.

Rick: I think it means without break, doesn’t it, nirvikalpa?

David: Yes.

Rick: But if it’s realized in meditation then OK, there is no break during meditation then when you stop meditating, then what?

David: Meditation is over. You’ve meditated.

Rick: I see.

David: It’s over. You can continue to meditate as an aesthetic or health-based routine to get rest perhaps; to take a pause out of a busy day, but meditation serves no purpose beyond that point in terms of realizing who you are. It’s been realized.

Rick: Interesting. I’d say that the majority of people I’ve interviewed, great many of them, who have attained that Self-realization actually no longer meditate anymore and yet they seem to be evolving still like son-of-a-guns but they don’t feel the need to sit in meditation because nothing happens anymore. It’s the same state. Others I know who have very much attained that level still meditate regularly and enjoy it probably for the reasons you’ve just said. It’s good for the body. It’s a nice break from the day and so on.

David: It could be a deeply ingrained habit.

Rick: That too and a healthy one at that.
So, 1979 or so, this happened in one particular meditation, there was a final break- through? Or was it over a period of time that it shifted in?

David: There was a time, there was a period where things were getting unbearably deep, profoundly deep in meditation. Also I was going through all kinds of ecstatic experiences, immersion in consciousness. Even during the waking state there was no distinction anymore really between the carry-over between the waking and the transcendental. That carry-over element was disappearing rapidly, and it just took its toll. I think it might have been in late March or April of 1979; I was at Clark University at the time, in my junior year studying philosophy and literature.

Rick: Was your functioning in the relative handicapped in any way by all this internal transformation that was going on?

David: It was a challenge. It was completely impossible at that that was the nature of what was to be learned at that time is that “you” don’t function in the relative. This idea of the separate ego personality has to be penetrated; meditation is the perfect tool to do that. That’s what I learned during that time is that if I thought about it, if I had to think about how to function I never would have even gotten out of college. I was just on the move, there was no time to think and wonder or worry or be cautious in any sense. I was just pouring myself into this. I had no idea of what kind life I would be leading afterwards; if even I would be able to function. I went through many deep purifications and fears over this thought of not fitting in with the Western culture because of the very consciousness that I might be inhabiting.

Rick: Yeah and if you had read a lot of the spiritual books that you did read then there were certainly many examples of people who didn’t function very well even in Eastern society having attained such realizations. I mean they would be sitting on dung piles throwing rocks at people or wandering off into the forest or needing to be fed by people or…