The Deepest Desire

Greetings Scott, I have luckily ran across the great teachers of non-duality and have been very excited about this path of Truth, but there are a few things i am having trouble swallowing. First, and least important, is the fact that some teachers like Poonjaji are asking us to give up desire, to live a clean, sober, life, etc. and at the same time emphasizing that we are not the doer. I understand that Totality functions through “my” mind, desires, and efforts, until the point is reached where spontaneity “happens” without me being present. But how are we supposed to kill desire and so forth if we are not the doer. A lot of Advaita teachers seem inconsistent on this.

Secondly, despite my devotion to Truth i have been a drug addict for many years. It is obvious there is no permanent “I’ because of the fact that one minute i swear to never touch them again and the next i am on a coke binge. It has been a regular pattern. Sometimes it seems like Advaita gives me excuses not to try to change. I have tried to observe and understand the problem but it is hard to emotionally detach from it when it gives this body/mind so much trouble. It seems as if my resistance to the problem has given it persistence, but it is so hard to just accept addiction.

Some say it is a lack of will, and i need to be strong and dedicated. But Ramesh Balsekar makes it sound like I have no control whatsoever and if this pattern continues till the body dies, oh well. Just concentrate on realizing that there is no “I” just a body/mind that has been conditioned with this problem. Perhaps if, despite the problem, understanding happens as a result of Grace, then the body/mind will be free of this. There would be such peace if this body/mind could just live a simple, pure life, instead of this roller coaster. there is still an “I” in my experience and it is tired of lying to itself with promises of purity. Years ago i was saved in a Pentecostal church and the intense emotions of this experience, resulted in a year of purity, and love. The memory of that time of peace makes these last 8 years unbearable but i cant go back to those beliefs. I guess this mind is very intellectual and understandings only happen on the surface. Sadhana is practically impossible with such a turbulent mind. How do i go about regaining a “beginners mind” to spirituality before i give up altogether? And should i at least attempt to break this addiction cycle? After all, the desire to change, comes from Totality, will it be through these desires and efforts that this problem resolves itself or through a letting go and letting be?

Thank you for your letter and your openness.

Consider this very carefully:
If you had a child, a little boy perhaps, who loved and trusted you, and you loved him very much, and there was a kind of candy he liked, that he loved, that he craved, that he was crazy about, you might want to acquire some for him so that he could enjoy it. However, after you gave it to him, you noticed that even though the first few hours he seemed to be very happy and content, the following three or four days he fell into a state of pure agony, tired and weak and sick, and even a little bit insane, and all the while crying out “please, please, somebody help me, somebody make this go away, please, please, anybody!” You might feel terrible, don’t you think?

Now, given that situation, what would your reaction be the next time he wants that very same candy from you? Would you have to deliberate over whether you should give it to him again? Even if he were desperate, perhaps even being angry and frustrated with you for refusing him, is there any way you would let him talk you into it? Does that require a philosophy or a teaching? Does it require a mental image or concept of him, or a mental image or concept of yourself? We are far luckier than we realize. When we are not busy thinking and talking about ourselves, our true nature shines forth with amazing and sometimes startling clarity and compassion. It requires no mental or emotional identity, no self improvement, and it is infinitely bigger and more powerful than any addiction.

What does this mean? Addiction requires a reference point: “I am this body, this mind, this personality.” However, if I sit quiet, curious, and still, for even just a few moments, it becomes very clear that my “body” (to say nothing of emotional and mental formations) doesn’t even stay the same from one breath to the next. Of course, as you’ve discovered, you can keep repeating certain thoughts with all of their emotional and physical baggage over and over again: “I’ve got to have some coke. I’m on a binge. Oh, I can’t believe I did this again. I’m such a pathetic jerk. I swear I won’t ever touch it again. I’ve got to have some coke…” But what for? I did the same thing with alcoholic thinking for many years. The resulting agony and soul sickness is totally predictable.

Why keep on fixating and identifying with compulsive, monotonous thought and emotion? When you stop talking and thinking about yourself, what is always here? What illuminates and animates everything? What is seeing these words on the screen, and feeling these feelings, and breathing this breath? It is always here, and it contains everything. It is what you really are. Is that not so? Why continue clinging to tiny, misleading fragments of it made of nothing but memory, sensation, and thought? Why not be what you really are? All it takes is open willingness. Pure, uncompromised, open willingness.

Where does willingness like that come from? It comes from realizing, completely and with no reservations whatsoever, that you have absolutely nothing to lose.

What we are really seeking, and hoping to find in coke, in alcohol or other drugs, in anger and rage, in compulsive sex, in greed for money or power, in craving acceptance, prestige, personal, or social recognition, in longing for a certain kind of relationship, and so on, is, quite ironically, what we already are. All you have to do is stop looking and seeking and find out what remains. Find out what is always here.

God is simply awareness – pure, open, boundariless awareness. God is the perfect purity of love itself. God is the infinite peace into which all things are born, live out their lives, and die. And God is the very core of your own being. This does not depend on any religion or philosophy. It is simply the truth. It is a subtle, delicate, and completely overwhelming mystery that cannot be captured by thoughts or words. Why not stop, and find out for yourself? Why not, with unflinching diligence and sincerity, search your heart? Why not put all of your longings and all of your desires, including the desire for coke, into this one, deepest desire? And if what you discover is precious beyond measure, why not give yourself to what you already are? Why not rest, completely, in the heart of God? What do you have to lose?

-Your own Self-
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