The directness of enlightenment and activities on the spiritual path
People sometimes ask me why I give yoga and meditation, why I speak to people so often at the mental level. Well, let me explain that. Enlightenment is liberation from limitations on all levels of human existence; physical, energetic, feelings, mental and above the mental. If this has happened there is knowledge of the processes on all these levels, which continue as long as there is life. The knowledge includes seeing through to the relativity of these processes, the forms, the names. They are relative in view of That which is not relative and which is therefore called 'the absolute': the total openness without limitations as the most own space of being-self
Enlightenment is the surrender of limited forms of being-self to this total openness, allowing everything that you held onto from yourself to sink There, recognizing the infinite sphere as the most personal, the insight that has fallen away from uncertainty and doubt in this truth. That is a direct immediate happening by means of which time and space fall away. The relevance of yoga, philosophy and meditation come to the fore in two ways.
When there is a situation in which there is spoken about a teacher and a student there is probably duality. That is the point of departure. The student wants to reach something and sees someone else as the teacher. The teacher says that there is nothing to reach, because the One is always present, that the student can not do anything else except to take an attitude of being as open as possible and to relax. But, if the mind is too restless, if there is a cramped bodily-feeling situation that the student does not recognize, then it is useful to do something about it. You can do something about that even if it is only to sit quietly and observe the perceptions of your body as is done in hatha yoga. Energetically many heavy blocks can dissolve by a suitable form of pranayama. If someone has many problems on their mind - and that is many people in our society - then thought seems to keep on turning until it comes to its limits. This is a philosophical approach which leads to a clarity of understanding over the thinking itself and over the structure of the advaita-approach. Thus, the truth of advaita also needs to be thought about, not for too long because people have to grow to their own understanding of what is relative and what is beyond, what they are and what they are not. A quiet and clear mind is needed for this. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to sometimes send people to a mediation center if they were too restless. 'Come back next year' he would say then. It can be useful to do 'preparatory' work, so that the situation becomes quieter and opener. This makes the chance for a real breakthrough better.
Also, if the living recognition of the truest nature has broken through, then the 'return' to the different levels of human functioning are often needed. This is apparently needed insofar as all the levels have not become transparent and free,
At Nisargadatta's we were pushed to the limits and beyond on all levels. When the world and worldly life return there seems to be another process in which the liberating breakthrough works itself out. That can be seen with many people, and many experience it that way. In that framework it can be useful to look at the body, the energetic, the feeling and the mental processes very precisely. If that is done from the great consciousness, all the dark remains come to light and dissolve therein.
In practice there is usually a mixture of both situations. There is a certain knowing, but not everything is clear. Then yoga, pranayama, meditation, and philosophy can be useful, if they arise from the knowledge that is there. That is the 'highest understanding'. That seems to be the center, out of which all the other can be seen in proper perspective, namely as relative. Allowing problems to dissolve in this manner on all levels helps the knowing space to expand. That goes as far as a certain limit territory in which one can only wait for the decisive tidal wave of total openness.
The tidal wave has nothing to do with activities and conditions. The 'teacher' does play an important role in that, not as a person who is perceived from the outside, but as unconditioned total openness itself. In this way total openness can manifest itself directly, without any means.