IT’S A GLORIOUS SUNNY, AND CHILLY DAY today high on the hill of my London home just outside central London.The birds have been chattering too noisily, pushing me to shunt myself into gear at my desk to write for you! I have just been to buy some Xmas gifts from the local Sivananda Yoga shop, so a welcome cup of steaming herbal tea sits on the table as I prepare to allow what is to arise and made manifest in the written word. It’s nothing to do with me, you know!
I took a short walk around the block before I started, and walked past the house of my near neighbour, the legendary natural historian and broadcaster, the extraordinary Sir David Attenborough. We have a new must-watch series of his latest enthralling series Seven Worlds, One Planet broadcasting each Sunday night. I hope he wasn’t watching from a window, because I stood outside on the opposite pavement and just gazed at his home, absorbing his entire one-off canon of broadcasting magnificence, scientific exploration and unsurpassed knowledge of the natural world. He is 93 and plans to continue making films and documentaries as long as he can. My God, what a life … what he must have seen between 1926 and today.
But let’s not forget, he is uni-directionally damning and uncompromising about what the most dangerous animal on the planet – man – is doing to his precious homestead. With all the beauty and awe that his films show us using the latest wowzo-factor HD camera technology, the message is clear: we’re on final countdown unless we wake up and smell the acrid, burning ashes.
It reminded me of how uncompromising I have been in my writings regarding the seeking of Self-Realisation using fake masters and my well-tuned radar of sniffing the spiritual ego dressed as a Jivamukti. I stand no nonsense, and if you remember my post recently about God charging fees, I was not in a good mood. I can read a person’s field without a blink as I hone in to discriminate energetically. Please note a common misunderstanding today (and I’ve seen it particularly in yoga circles) – discrimination is NOT judgement. Discrimination doesn’t use labels, it just notices differences.
And there is NOTHING wrong with judgement – we have to judge the best schools for our kids, we choose the best doctor for our family based on which one is best, etc. BBC news broadcast this week of the striking-off of a young GP (general family doctor) because he told young women they needed breast and internal examinations as they were high-risk cancer patients. You know the rest, for sure. He’ll never work again – but, if you are a non-judgemental yogi, you would happily send all your teenage daughters to him, right? You would be thinking, “The world is so lovely! We are all one! Nothing can happen – love, love, love!! OM shanti. God will provide.”
Aha. Think so?
Please: that is not yoga, this is total abdication of responsibility and complete lacking in mature wisdom, and no true yoga master would agree to the above example. (He might zone into the protagonist’s field and see what is going on and possibly ‘do something’ – but few can use their psycho-spiritual energy in this way – and they are much more likely to say, “For God’s sake, stay clear.”)
I have seen this no-judgement nonsense UMPTEEN times in heavy-duty karmic ashrams in India and elsewhere. We do not throw the babies out with the bathwater in yoga, we aim to find the pulse of our being and deconstruct who we think we are …
A jnani cannot help but see the wood for the trees – it is the yoga of wisdom and the intellect which traces via “Neti, neti (“not this, not that”) – scraping away at falsehoods and conditionings created by the mind to reveal the ultimate state which lies behind the mind itself. In yoga treatise, jnana yoga is considered identical with Vedanta, and for me it is the same.
If you sit in complete stillness anywhere, watching your breathing, and drop the pearl of your essence deep into the well of your being – let it descend right down to the bottom of the ocean – when you reach the ocean-bed, you will erupt with indescribable, euphoric joy as you recognise what you really are! That’s ALL you need to do to spiritually awaken. People do silly. whacky things and dance around with fixed loopy smiles on their faces when this has been realised. I remember a fable in Indian philosophy when, upon this realisation, an ascetic yogi who had starved and meditated for many years, leapt to his feet, rushed to consume a huge meal of meat and wine, yelling in sublime ecstasy, “It’s all a dream! It’s all a dream!””
From then on, the external world is a non-stop dazzling party, because you know that it is all a manifestation of you, and you will stand in awe at the magnificence of your creation, even though, paradoxically, it is externally manifest. You are the universe and life just simply goes on.
I came across a modern teacher recently who used the same metaphor for the final samadhi as I described in my essay. “End of a Long Meandering Path” which is the bursting of the ballon separating “you” from the external. Only when you have experienced this final stage can you authentically speak of “All is One.” It is not a concept it is an experience.
You see, you would come to see that all the greatest men and women of the epochs, the staggering heights of technology, the era of the dinosaurs, all fabulousness of life-forms and every created event are part of you. And if I may, my neighbour, Sir David, and his unbelievable lifelong service to saving the planet is a joy YOU have created. How you respond to what you perceive is dependent on your conditioning as your karmic impressions disintegrate as the wheel draws to a halt.
And then you will wander around through life, doing what needs to be done, as happy as a sweet, gentle sandboy.
As joyous as a loopy nomadic yogi with the whole world in her pocket.
Just like me.
Selima Gurtler is a distinguished spiritual writer, philosopher and Jnana yogi.
Her modern teachings to Self-Realization and Liberation are uniquely flavoured through the perceptive eyes of her Indian and European heritage.
Free copies of her books are available for download here: https://www.emwpeace.org/publications/
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu are patrons of her work.