Published in Inzicht nr. 20-2004
For most seekers the fundamental question is and remains: “What must or can I do?”
Each “beginner” asks this. The so-called advanced students may not pose the question explicitly, but it can be heard frequently in remarks or questions. Let’s address the question in a practical manner. What must a seeker do? Seek, of course. Make an effort, ensure that the desire for freedom and truth flares up, to enable it to burn itself out. That was one of the reasons why “The Horizon” was set up, so people could take part in individual conversations, weekends, retreats etc., and the love of the truth (and its radiation) would sink in deeply. (And that’s why there are individual sessions and satsangs now, annotation HL August 2013)
So if you want to “do” something: go to satsang, participate in sessions, find a teacher (and if you “have” one, be near him), point your whole self towards truth, let your love for truth develop until it becomes priority nr.1.
Why does it take such a long time, for many people? Because it is just one of their many wishes. First the energy must be aligned, focus has to evolve. This can come about through insight or allowing the heart to be touched. Most people must enter “the stream” first.
Once you’ve entered it, you must take care to stay there, no matter what.
A lot of engagement is called for, because that is what’s often lacking. Look, some people just have to hear it a couple of times and it hits the mark. Don’t presume, until the contrary is proven, that the same goes for you. You have to be totally prepared for this moment as it were, without any expectation. And at the same time be prepared to be involved in this for the rest of your life. Always ready for “Realization” at any time, without any haste, without a demand. Maybe a bit paradoxical, but that’s the way it is.
Totally prepared to change radically, without wanting change.
So, Love of truth. Let’s be honest: truth is not very popular. Most seekers don’t actually want truth. They want another, nicer life. They want to rid themselves of their problems. And that is quite understandable. But enlightenment is not a strategy to cope with life. It is overcoming a strategic life. Actually it is the I-neuroses, not daring to be authentic or unique, that seem to hold you prisoner. The “I” that demands happiness, ruins it for itself. As soon as you are total, you are here-now and your starting-point is open, clear and spacious. As soon as wanting, demanding is your starting-point the energy becomes syrupy and rigid, it turns itself against you. That’s why it doesn’t really make much difference if you “want” enlightenment.
You have to be prepared and focused, but that is completely different than “wanting”. That “wanting”, as has already been pointed out, is mostly personally motivated. To get rid of something, like sorrow or frustration or loneliness. Most of the time that is the starting-point. But then it is not about truth itself, but still about the “I”. Focus must be on truth, not on the “I” and whatever this “I” wishes for. All these condition drain your energy and keep you on a string. So you might need to see through your motives.
One of the basic means of guidance from Nisargadatta as well as Ramana was: reside in ”I am”, in the notion of presence. This is very often referred to. Unfortunately, only a few use it. Before you want, fear, wish, think or feel something, that Conscious Being is already present. Remain there! A clear means of guidance, I believe, but who really “wants” that?
All right, let’s get to the point and take another approach. It’s not a matter of what you must do, it is a matter of seeing. Once it has become crystal-clear that you precede that ‘someone’ you think you are, it is also clear that realization has got nothing to do with what you are not. Thinking and feeling is not what you are, but something you know. What you experience is not ‘who’ you are. That so called someone who wants to do something, is a combined action of thoughts, inclinations and feelings. You precede this. This must be seen, seen profoundly, realized. That’s what it is about. Who is it that wants enlightenment? It is a notion, an observation, not something real.
How can it be of any help that something unreal does something? Who is reading this? Is what you are reading what you are? Or something you know, (perceive)? Investigate that for once. Is the one who is meditating what you are or what you know? This is one of the basic questions: “Is what you describe that which you are or what you know?” The seeker is a story, not what you really are. You precede the story of seeking. Already, and at this very moment.
So it’s not a matter of doing, but it’s about realizing. The key is to realize that you precede body and mind. This is not something the doer-thinker can do. And for as long as this has not become totally clear and has permeated you to the core: be focused, do everything that you think will open you to love-truth. But remember that you see all those efforts, and be aware of awareness. Because in this way you will come home in no time (the home you have never left).
Text by Hans Laurentius; Translation by Henk Vaassen