No. 31, July 1976
The following discussion between DLM Associate Director Terry MacKinnell, Tony Lunn (the Golden Age graphic artist), Kim Field, Sydney Programs Coordinator and initiator-on-training Julie Collet took place in Derek's office at Wentworth Avenue during Julie's week-long stop-over in Sydney. The original plan was to conduct an interview based on quotes from Maharaj Ji's recent satsang. Two hours later, we hadn't got past the first question:
"One thing that's very noticeable is the way that Maharaj Ji keeps telling us to realise Knowledge. Like in Madrid he said, 'So first, we have to realise Knowledge, and then we can go out and give people the true satsang that they really need.' If you look back over what he's been waiting for the last few years, you'll find much the same sort of thing. Is he talking to everybody, or to the premies who only come to festivals, or what?"
Tony: I think he's saying it to most premies. I reckon a lot of premies think that when they receive Knowledge, that's realising Knowledge. but it's definitely not. As far as I'm concerned receiving knowledge is like having breakfast one day as far as your whole life goes.
Julie: For me, I can see that over the time I've been practising Knowledge I have always been realising it to at some level, but at the same time I can see where my experience has been limited by my concepts about meditation, satsang and service. Like way back I can see that I limited meditation more or less to formal meditation because I had an idea that I meditate during the day. And satsang - it was like in the beginning we were giving specific satsang about what Knowledge was and how to receive it. But lately I'm feeling that the whole process of meditation, satsang and service has become me. That's just how I live my life. It's like it's so much a part of you that no matter who you're with or what you're doing, you just meditate, you communicate.
Terry: But not everyone experiences that, even though they might be doing satsang, service and meditation. I'm sure there are people who look at their lives and say, "Okay, I'm doing service, satsang and meditation, so why - when Guru Maharaj Ji says that this Knowledge is gorgeous and beautiful and all this sort of stuff - why am I experiencing confusion?"
Julie: I feel that it's very easy to do service, satsang and meditation in a superficial way. It's easy to give satsang largely based on the satsang we've heard other people give; to meditate and just to go through the motions of all the techniques, without really going into that experience. And service - I keep remembering what Maharaj Ji said at the Development '76 conference: that in order to do service the first thing you've got to do is surrender. It's like you can have so much fear, so many little things holding you back, and if you can't recognise and confront those things in yourself, then you can be doing meditation, satsang and service 'til you're black and blue in the face, and not furthering yourself in that overall experience of Knowledge.
Terry: I'm finding that to experience more, to progress, I'm having to perfect everything I'm doing. Like I've been doing service for years, but now it's starting to get to the point where I'm not content to just do service, I want to start doing everything as well as I can. It's the same with meditation: instead of being content to sit down there and get to a period where your mind is calm - that's really easy - it gets to a point where you have to start pushing it. Perfecting it - pushing the fastest you can go. If you keep trying to perfect what you're doing, then obviously your understanding of satsang, service and meditation has to increase.
Surrender is such a really crucial point in the whole trip. The only trouble is either people don't realise they have to surrender, or they do realise the need for surrender and they go along saying, "I must surrender, I must surrender," without doing it.
Tony: It's like satsang, service and meditation is the thing that's going to work on every level; doing those things is what is going to bring us to that point of realising that meditation is the source of everything. For example, I used to get a lot of satisfaction out of doing service, but I reached a point ages ago where it gave me no more, so I had to meditate to move on. But what brought me to that point was just doing service, satsang and meditation like a mumbo, without any understanding at all.
And surrender … even if you just do service, satsang and meditation without any sort of consciousness of it, without trying to surrender, without doing anything, if you just do it you automatically will be brought to a point of confrontation. And as far as I'm concerned that's the crucial point in a premie's life. If at that point, he can then have trust in Guru Maharaj Ji, which means he will use satsang, service and meditation to get through the weirdness in his life, then he'll really start to understand what surrender is about. Because at that point you can either not have trust in Guru Maharaj Ji - just do a little satsang, service and meditation but also hang on to lots of other things to give you your real peace - or you can go through that using meditation, satsang and service. And to do that requires trust, and trust automatically involves surrender.
It's just an ongoing thing. You don't just go, "Oh, now I've realised Knowledge." It's more like from that point on, you are based in an understanding of what is real and what is not real, of who is the enemy and who is the solution in your life. Because that confrontation is existing all the time if you let it. There's always the experience of Knowledge - that's the solution - and there's the experience of mind. And when you really apply yourself to meditation your mind is dissolved, mind is not existing in the conscious sense. But when you stop meditating or let off just sufficiently and you slip back, I tell you you really know what mind is all about. It can be a really freaky experience. Like I can experience my mind groping like a mad thing at every past experience I've had in my life, saying, "If I go out and do that, I'll be happy." And the only thing that works for me, that gives me peace from my mind is meditating on Holy Name at that instant. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the understanding we need to have: the understanding of what to do at any given moment, no matter where you are or what's going on. And that doesn't mean that when Joe Bloggs walks in the room that you know to shake his hand, because he comes from IBM. It means that at every instant, you meditate, because you know that that's the solution to your life.
But that understanding can only come about through premies getting to that point of confrontation and going through it, because only then does the practise of Knowledge prove itself to be the
The Golden Age
solution. And what gets you to that point of confrontation? Doing it, simply because everyone else told you to do it.
Who really does service, satsang and meditation anyway? When Maharaj Ji says meditate, goodness only knows what he means. And only Guru Maharaj Ji knows what service really is. But like if I tried to understand it from that level I would completely burn myself out. The only way I can see to get to that understanding is to instant, by moment, by second apply myself, and it will grow.
Terry: I think that what may have confused a lot of people, too, is that in the beginning when you do service, satsang and meditation there is not really much of a second by second result back. And because you can't project ahead with consciousness, you can't look ahead to what there is to experience in the future. So often your motivation to move ahead is not very strong. You may have a little fear motivation, but it seems that you need love motivation as well to really get you moving. Fear motivation just takes you out of fear but it doesn't quite carry you to where you are supposed to go.
I remember Padarthanand used to talk about the path being very thin at the beginning, and expanding out. At the beginning it can seem a real drag, austere, without any real tangible experience, something that you've got to do. There's nothing for the mind to get into - all you are supposed to do is meditate all day and do service and sat-sang. So it's really important to understand that that initial stage is necessary in order to attain to a further state where you can experience more.
Tony: It's like blowing up balloons. It's as if when you are born, you're given this balloon, and you blow it up and up and up. Then you receive Knowledge, and that's like Maharaj Ji coming along and tying a knot in that balloon and saying, "Okay, that's big enough, if you keep blowing that up it's going to burst in your face. Try this one." So you start blowing up this other balloon he's given you, but for a long time it isn't as big as that first balloon. However, the only thing that is going to get it bigger is to keep on blowing.
And it does reach a point when the experience of Knowledge passes the experience that the world can give you. But before that happens, it gets to a crucial point where they're both the same, where you're not getting anything from the world, and you're not getting anything from Knowledge. Where they've both reached the same level of satisfaction so one cancells out the other, and it just gets completely shaken and weird. But if you keep on plugging the Knowledge will take you just one degree past what the world can give you, and then you will know.
Terry: That's my understanding of what Guru Maharaj Ji means by self-motivation. The moment when you get to the point where you are getting an experience of Knowledge which is beyond any experience in the world, even if it's just the minutest bit more, from that point on you are self-motivated. And then you can't do anything else but accelerate.
Kim: It's like the motivation for service and satsang changes at one point and it doesn't go back. The first motivation for service and satsang is to get the experience of Knowledge, because you hear Maharaj Ji talking about it and you want to experience it. Then when you experience it, it becomes real and at that point you realise that Knowledge is more powerful than your mind. You go through one level of your mind and then there is another more subtle level, so you go through that level and there is another part. But you go through one level of your mind and there's just Knowledge, there's just who you really are. You get a glimpse of that in the Knowledge session, but you can't work out at that point if it is just a rush of grace or the initiator or whatever. But when you actually get it through your own concentration, by yourself, and you experience that part that is completely beyond your mind, you realise the power of what Guru Maharaj Ji is talking about. You haven't completely merged with that power one hundred percent, but you have had one glimpse of it and you know how much it is. And from that point you serve Guru Maharaj Ji because you know that his Knowledge is the most powerful, and you give satsang because you know that everyone around you wants to experience that.
And you know that that thing is what you really are. Your personality starts to crumble, your ego starts falling off you in chunks, and you have got to realise more. Your motivation becomes to realise who you really are. And from that you are automatically doing what Maharaj Ji wants you to do, because there's such a complete conscious connection there. You're doing what has to be done.
Julie: That's realising Knowledge, isn't it? For the first time ever I really can't separate myself from the experience of Knowledge. Before I could. Before I had an experience of Knowledge. I can't now. It's completely different.
Satsang, service and meditation - they're almost like the body, they're there just to keep you in that experience.
Then I don't know what the mind or the ego is, I'm in Knowledge and that's the point from which I communicate, that's the point from which I act.
Terry: It's like you are the experience of Knowledge. That's why it's so difficult to talk about. When you say, "the experience", people think that you have the experience. When in fact it's you are the experience. That's why people look for an experience in meditation - they think you see light, you hear harmonies, but you don't experience Knowledge. How do you convey that one?
It's like before you identified with one hundred percent mind and now you identify with ninety-nine point nine percent mind and point one percent of this pure consciousness. That makes worlds of difference. And you know for the rest of the time you are going to be identified more and more with who we really are, and less and less with your mind, and yet your mind is still going to be there.
Julie: Maharaj Ji gives us the experience of ourselves on all levels. There's the level which is pretty much what we've been talking about where we can feel integrated and whole all the time. But there is also that experience of ourself within formal meditation - and that for me is where it's possible to have the pure experience of Knowledge, that's where we can really merge with that aspect of ourself which is beyond anything physical or mental or human or anything.
Kim: We really do have this subtle thing inside of us that wants to go back to where it came from, and it's always watching, always searching for the right spot. And it seems to have homed in on Knowledge and Guru Maharaj Ji. And when we pull down the limitations that stop it
No. 31, July 1976
from going straight there, it just accelerates and there is no stopping it. If you try to stop it, that is the worst pain you have ever experienced in your whole life. It's impossible - like trying to stop a baby from being born. Because it is such a strong thing.
When the time's right, when the realisation that that's where you want to go is there, it's just got to happen. Like you're sitting in meditation. and the first thing you want to do is go to bed, or whatever, and that's a really gross stage, right? Then you go through that stage and then what you want to do is figure out what you're going to do with your life, and that's another gross stage. Then you go to the next one which might be something like, "What can I get out of Knowledge?" There's all these subtle stages. But when you break through that, it's like tearing out the black curtain - the light starts shining through and there's no way that you can even stop your curiosity to see what's on the other side, to try to rip it more.
And you can do that in one sitting. And then the next time you sit down, it's easier. I reckon you really have to start doing that, because if you don't, it won't come to you.
I remember when Gurucharnanand used to say how you have to be a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven. And what that means to me … if you ever watch a child wanting something, it doesn't stop child wanting and asking. It is so determined to get it, and in the end the mother or the father gives in. For me, in meditation it's like you just don't stop until you get what you want.
Terry: But then, you can't push desire, you can't hype up your want.
Tony: You've got to take it one step at a time. You have to have sureness and confidence in Knowledge before you can give it the amount of concentration it takes. For myself, I'm only just starting to realise just how much concentration is needed for me to actually experience anything in meditation. I really know that there is a lot to experience, and now I know it is possible, I know I can attain it. And that's beautiful, that's like realising you can realise. I feel free to welcome it when it comes. It's not going to be something strange now.
Julie: Remember when Maharaj Ji was here in 1972, in that press interview he said that the Knowledge teaches you the Knowledge. And practising Knowledge teaches you practising Knowledge, there is no doubt about it. Just sitting down and really trying to concentrate into meditation, you start to get a little bit of a glimmer of what concentration is all about.
It's like understanding is a real thing. Understanding becomes part of you. I really feel I give satsang, and I do service and I meditate in accordance with my level of understanding. Like we might get that understanding that Kim has that we really need to be determined, and that's an understanding which becomes part of us. And that becomes the point from which you operate, that's the thing that's backing up your concentration. The deeper the understanding, the more you are able to concentrate.
Terry: And the more you're able to concentrate, the more aware you become, and the more your understanding grows. I don't know what the initial drive is, but it almost seems like you get on to that wheel, into that cycle, and it's just a matter of it speeding up.
When we originally came to Maharaj Ji and asked him to make us perfect, we said we'd be devoted to him. And whether we like it or not, it's happening. We might fight and hassle around, but that's beside the point - he keeps his side of the bargain. And it's almost like one of those paradoxes: it's not as if you can sit back and relax and say, "Okay, it's all going to happen," and then again, it's not as if I can sit down and think that I'm actually going to do anything. Because I don't think I'm doing anything at all. I think I've got this mind that I've been relating to all my life, and there's something happening to me, and my mind's interpreting it in any number of different ways, but it's got nothing to do with the mind at all.
There's so much going on, and there's so many ways to look at it. And for me, it's come to a point where I've just got to put all the ideas in a big box and throw it out the window and just meditate, and meditate, and meditate, at the same time doing satsang and service. I've come to the point where I just can't work anything out, and I haven't the faintest desire to work anything out. Everything I've heard today is true, but then again, it's inexpressible. There's so many paradoxes in this whole trip, you can never convey the experience you're having. All you can do is experience it.
Tony: It's like a kid does all this stuff to learn how to walk, and after it can walk, it does all this walking to learn how to do other things. And us with Knowledge: we do all this stuff just to get to the point where we can do all that stuff, just to go to do other stuff.
Kim: They must all seem like such preliminary stages to Guru Maharaj Ji.
Tony: Undoubtedly. I don't think any of us here are suffering the delusion that we've realised Knowledge in its fullest sense. I know the further I go, the more I try to meditate, the more I'm finding that real satsang just disintegrates me to a point where I feel like a real idiot who hasn't understood a thing. And when this happens, I just sit there and just try to meditate. Because all that ego of who I am, and where I am and what I understand, all that lot of stuff that premies put on each other and put on themselves, good stuff and negative - I mean it's all just mind, there's not good mind and bad mind, it's all just ego - all that stuff really stops me from just being a child, just meditating, just knowing that that's the only thing that's going to get me to any place, that that's the only thing I have to do in my whole existence. Not try and realise Knowledge, not try to experience, not try and see light, and not try and do anything, just meditate.
Julie: Like Maharaj Ji says if we can accept that we're an ant crossing the wall of infinity, we can be happy wherever we are. We're in a trail of little ants, crossing the wall. And Maharaj Ji, he's the wall, and he's the head ant leading the trail. Acceptance is such an important quality, acceptance and trust.
Terry: All I can see is that you've got to stay in line. Do service, satsang and meditation, and that's all you can do. That seems to be the only thing which can be grasped on a mental level. Just do that. Because you have no control, you don't even know where you're going because you have never been there. I wouldn't want to say what I'll be experiencing tomorrow. That's why it really comes down to trust in Guru Maharaj Ji, to just doing what he's advised you to do and letting him take you there.