About attention, will and discipline
Needs fulfill themselves.
Everything begins with attention. Things happen where you direct your attention. If you direct your attention towards distressful things, then these will happen. Direct your attention towards the positive and Voilá. It happens.
In reality attention fulfills all the needs that there are, and the most important and most beautiful thing about it is that it all happens by itself! The only thing that we do is to put something in between, to make something out of it. There is a need, and we have to do something with that,, and then we create a somebody, who would steer the attention and go do something. In fact it all happens by itself. When there is an impulse, for example when something needs to be eaten to keep it simple - then there follows from this impulse that the body sets itself in motion in the direction of the refrigerator and a cheese sandwich is made and consumed. There is thus no 'I' needed for that, that happens by itself. There is an impulse, the mind goes to work to settle the impulse, the body carries out the action, the balance is restored and that's that. Where is the person then who would do this? That's the way it is with everything. Is there a need for money? Then the apparatus goes into action, the attention directs itself to getting money, a plan arises that is carried out by body-thinking-feeling, and see there: money. But we always cook up a person out of it: 'I have to do such and such. Because otherwise ' That is how we create worries. The entire energy system then contracts so that doubts get an even better chance and failure and headache are ready to spring on us. And this is true not only for cheese sandwiches and money, but also for example in the sphere of relations. It is always the same. The need directs the body-thinking-feeling system, so that a satisfactory solution is reached. In short, when one sees this, one sees that no problems or worries are necessary. And think about it for a moment, what are you after? Right, happiness, and what is happiness among other things? To be without worries, without fear, so that the space that they usually take is made free and can be occupied by love and gladness. That is possible. That is less complicated then you think. You just have to see it once and after that just stay in it. Things will go much easier when you stop thinking that you are a person. Why? Because the resistance will have largely disappeared. Because that little person is in reality nothing other than resistance. When you have seen through the person, then resistance hardly makes an appearance anymore. It is amusing that the word Satan means resistance. So what is Satan? That little thing that thinks that it is an 'I', that is resistance. What is god then? That which is there when there is no resistance, the freedom from resistance.
Everything happens by itself
Once you understand well that there is no single feeling that lasts for very long, why should you then be bothered by anything? You don't have to do anything with them, they come by themselves and they disappear by themselves. As long as you are 'bound' to this physical apparatus there will be experiences, so why meddle with it? That also becomes more and more the experience. If something happens that requires something be done, then the mind goes to work automatically and creates a solution. You can observe that, it happens completely automatically. So, I don't try to solve a problem as a person, definitely not. There is no person! All actions occur by themselves as reactions to impulses from inside or outside the psychosomatic apparatus. A problem arises, the apparatus goes into action, a solution is found, something else comes up and voilá the computer goes to work again. And just keeps going like that. Effortless and by itself as long as that thing lives.
However most of the time we want to know where a feeling comes from. But in actuality it happens completely by itself. There is no 'I' necessary at all. Something is happening, the wish to find out where it comes from follows, the solution appears. Sometimes that is a long route and sometimes it is short. The searching lasts longer in proportion to the strength of the cramp. The stronger the feeling 'I have a problem' is, the more difficult it is because the energy dissipates. That is very simple to see looked at from the point of view of the energy system. The cramp by itself serves to create a limitation, but if in addition the idea of a problem is added to that the aura shrinks, it becomes tangled or holes come in to it, etc. it is difficult to remain clear in this situation. It becomes more and more difficult to come out of it. And what is amusing about it, is that even if all that happens, it is also being witnessed. Because how could we otherwise at all know that there is a body or an aura?.
I do nothing
The nice thing is that to the extent that you identify with Consciousness, you just see things happening while prior to that you had the feeling that they overcame you and that you did something. And so you can arrive to the point of saying what many Realized ones have said: 'I do nothing', even to what seems to ordinary people an absurd level. Nisargadatta, one of my favorite gurus smoked like a chimney, and if someone called him on it, he looked surprised and said: 'I don't have the impression that I smoke'.
And naturally not, the smoking is something that is witnessed, and I am the observing. Thus, how can there be the capacity to observe smoking? Impossible. Only a thing can smoke and that is just what you are not. There is no doer. Things happen. Nisargadatta makes it here clear that he does not experience himself as a thing, as a person, but as consciousness. And that is also what I always try to propound. You are not a thing. I am not a thing. Thus, whatever you see this thing doing, I am not that. We identify with the behavior of the apparatus. But that behavior is nothing but movement in consciousness, You witness it. The behavior that that thing displays extends, is a product of the past, of the parents, the education, the experiences of that thing. And you are not that thing, you are at most the witness of it. In that way all morality collapses. You don't have to obey codes. And understand me well, you, what you are, have never observed codes, because how can consciousness do that? Consciousness is the witnessing and condition for codes and whether or not they are followed. This thing, the psychosomatic apparatus, on the other hand obeys certain codes by itself, also through the conditioning of the past. The most important codes are those of life. That thing wants to live. It will do many things for that. But do understand well, it all happens by itself. In that way many problems disappear. Then there is no more of 'yes but, but what will I do if ' There is altogether no 'I' that could do this, you witness the entire thing. War as well as peace are both witnessed (in the same way). In short, you are already free. If you become conscious of the imposed and unreal limitations, then you discover your inherent freedom.
Freedom is the absence of will
Thus, your attention is attracted by movements. Whether these movements are on the mental, physical or emotional level doesn't matter. Thus, the whole idea of being free to make choices is absurd. There are no choices to be made. Things happen. How? As a product of your experiences, as a product of your fears and longings and the given circumstances. So no question of free will. But observe carefully: don't just accept it. Investigate it, just try to find the free will that the Christian tradition, among others, praises so highly as coming from the good God who so beautifully gave us a free will. What others say is not so interesting, but just to go into it a bit: there it is said that the soul has freewill to direct itself towards God or towards Satan. And listen, it is not only the Christians that try to sell a free will for tactical reasons. This is also absurd. Will? WILL, do you understand? WILL! THE WILL! How can the will be free? Because it WILLS something!! Will is a contraction. Take a good look at a child who wants an ice-cream.
How could that possibly be free, what kind of nonsense is that? 'Will' is a tendency, a very strong impulse to have something, then how is still possible to speak about a 'free will'? Freedom is precisely the absence of will. The whole inclination of wanting to understand what realization is about prevents you from seeing it! I WANT TO UNDERSTAND IT! Well, okay, as long as you want that: No Deal. Who 'wills' that? That is interesting. Who wills to be free? Who wills to understand it? Who wills to have it? Who wills to know? Not: why. The answer to a why question always helps to maintain the seeming person. The who question always brings the existence of the seeming person into doubt., shakes its foundations. Because with a closer inspection it appears that he is never home. Who meditates, who thinks it over, who tries to understand it? Who am I? The question, the best question ever. Or even better: 'who asks: who am I'?
Realize that the one who meditates belongs to the domain of mind. Every object, so also every 'I' or 'you' is part of the content of consciousness and therefore not the one you are seeking. You are after all looking for freedom. Alas 'you' the seeker is part of the known, while you are trying to realize Knowingness. If you see this, every effort will stop. The meditator , the seeker (thus you), is an object of the mind, part of the content of your consciousness, but you are seeking yourself: consciousness. See the impossibility of it. It is impossible that an object, a content of consciousness, could discover consciousness. The mind cannot go beyond the mind. In reality however, the mind hears of the existence of something beyond the mind and even though its impulse is to go in search, it has to be understood that you can never find it by means of the mind. The mind is bound to objects, can only be of use in the finding of objects, definable appearances that can be localized. Things that can be expressed in terms of time and space. What you are is independent of time and space. You are space, you are the timeless witnessing.
If you see that the mind, is the content of the seeker's consciousness then you understand that no effort of it whatsoever can lead to the desired result. No effort can lead to freedom from effort. What is freedom: freedom from will, freedom from compulsion, freedom from effort, conflict and violence.
What you are seeking is beyond the mind, precedes the mind. This has to be understood, to be seen. If this is seen then there is meditation, then there is freedom, immediately. Then there is meditation without someone who meditates. It is neurotic to want to experience that which can not be experienced. You will realize it when the inclination to want to experience it is dissolved. That inclination only stops when this is understood. Therefore: only meditate when the system is invited to, when it happens by itself. Meditation as a method is maybe okay for the first steps, to discover how neurotic the mind is: it can help you to gain insight into your actual miserable situation as a separated little being, and to discover how miserable it is to be an 'I'. But, meditation as a method does not lead to enlightenment, because it is based on effort, and also because what is now being said is not understood, not familiar. It is better to listen to the listening, to see the seeing. Because that can not be done, because listening and seeing are not objects, it is possible that you might suddenly see that listening and seeing are there, but no one who listens, no one who sees. Then you can discover that there is experience without someone who experiences. Then you will probably that there is nowhere where listening is not, and that the center that you thought you were can not be found anywhere. That is also true for seeing. There is seeing, but no one who sees. There is meditation, but no meditator. There is space, but no one who makes space, there is stillness, but no one who 'makes still'.
Thus, you can try to reach somewhere by a spiritual discipline, but it will turn out to put you even more in the grip of the mind, in the grip of the I-illusion. And the longer you are on such a path, the more difficult it is to leave it. You become more and more identified with it. The more you invest in something, the more attached you become, the more it becomes bound and intertwined with your 'I'. Thus, in this way you only make it more difficult. What is awake is free of discipline. Discipline implies force, discipline is finally a form of violence. Discipline does help you to reach things in the world, it is also necessary for diverse skills and if you love what you do it demands no effort. But what you are is not a skill and doesn't demand any special abilities or capacities. You are already what you are. It is precisely all the efforts that keep you from it. You can distinguish two forms of discipline. Outer and inner discipline. Outer discipline is applying yourself to something, forcing yourself to do (or not do ) something. Thus, that is a form of violence. Inner discipline is love. That cost no effort, it arises out of the love for something. It has no other motive than love.
In the past I used to say to people that they had to achieve outer discipline first, before it would transform to inner discipline. That they had to meditate first, until love for meditation awoke and you did it from out of yourself without coercion. Now I say that it is better to see through to the truth that the 'one who makes effort', the seeker, the meditator is an object in consciousness: and that it arises in the stillness that you are. Your efforts keep the 'effort maker' in place and thus your efforts keep you from what you are, that which you seek. Seeing it through is much better, because it is the truth. This insight will free your life from everything that has been superimposed on it. Because it is not only true in reference to the spiritual domain, your whole life is poisoned with disciplines, artificiality and compulsions. What you are is completely spontaneous, free, open, clear, love itself. Thus simply see through the absurdity of spiritual discipline. How can you in God's name come to love by means of compulsion?
In short: what you are seeking is not an experience. The seeker is an experience, the meditator is an experience. And it is you who are the knower of these experiences. You, consciousness, cannot be experienced. Experiences belong to the mind, you are not the mind, but everything that the mind, and all its efforts and attempts witnesses. That is true knowledge. See through this and live by it, live in it and you are freed from every form of compulsion and discipline. What happens out of love never costs any effort, even though from the outside it might be seen as a great sacrifice. Everything that costs effort takes you away from that, every effort adds another veil.
Trying to understand this is also an effort and thus also leads you away from yourself. So don't try anything, see the trying. Make no effort. See the effort and the 'effort maker'. And realize at once, that you are the seeing and not what is seen. Because, every veil, every effort, every separation is known, and this knowing, that is you.
The above are parts translated from Dutch of 'De Vreungde van verlichting.'
(Hans Laurentius 2000 publisher Ankh-Hermes)