Instant Enlightenment

How can you tell when you’re enlightened?

I recently received a letter from one of my students who was informing me that we were no longer going to be studying together, which is fine.

In my estimation, a healthy spiritual community is one in which there are constantly new students coming in and other students going out. Some of the students who go out will go out for a while and come back, some won’t.

A spiritual community is not a place that you are to come to and stay. It’s a place like a college or university that you come to for a while.

There should be absolutely no shock value in anyone leaving at any time because from a Zen point of view, they were never here to begin with, so how could they leave?

Or from a mystical point of view, they were always here, long before they arrived in the physical, and simply because their body goes elsewhere, how could they go?

So when I receive a letter from someone telling me that they’re moving forward, I always feel very positive about it. Whether I’ve known them for a short time or worked with them for years and years, I think it’s a very healthy sign. It’s a sign that we’re doing something right. If everyone was staying, there would be a problem, there would be an imbalance.

The letter I received from one of my students was informing me that she had attained enlightenment, and I had received two other letters over the last several months from two other women who had also informed me that they had attained enlightenment. They all live in San Diego, and they’re good friends.

Now, since they’ve attained enlightenment, they of course no longer feel the need to study with me, and I agree, once you’ve attained enlightenment, I wouldn’t be much fun.

Although, actually, if you actually attain enlightenment, or let us say when you do, I think we could have a good time together.

At that point, then we might be able to sit down and talk for the first time in a new way.

But I’ve noticed the pattern with these individuals is that when they attain enlightenment, rather than at that point coming and sitting down and for once we can communicate on many levels or go beyond communication, they tend to always leave and write me, usually, a very nice letter, thanking me very much, but telling me now that they’ve attained enlightenment they have to go off and teach and do whatever they’re going to do.

And of course that, naturally, from my point of view, prevents me from discussing the matter with them.

In other words, it’s kind of interesting, I get this very nice letter and someone says,

Which I understand.

However, I think that if their enlightenment was solid, they might come in and chat for a little bit, and we might have some fun, go out to the desert together or something like that, and they could show me what they know, and I could show them some new things, maybe.

So it makes it difficult from my point of view, and very easy from their point of view, to feel that they’re enlightened, since there’s no one who can possibly criticize you or ask you any questions since you remove yourself from that possibility.

Now, the question that this brings up—and I’m not making fun of them at all, but these are serious questions, is—

Well, in the letter, one of the women and one of the other ones also had stated that when they’re with people now, people see light around them. Sometimes people see them in meditation dissolving and disappearing. And at other times they feel that they’re going into samadhi, so they have now deduced that they are enlightened. Sometimes, one of them said, when she walks in a room now, the room kind of lights up.

Well, these are not at all signs of enlightenment and should not be misconstrued as such.

Any student who studied with me for any length of time will begin to notice these things happening. People who have some subtle physical vision will see light around you. If they don’t, you’re not doing something right.

Anyone who watches you meditate, after a while, will begin to see a dissolution of your physical form. This simply means that you’re doing a very good meditation. It’s not a sign of enlightenment at all, in my estimation.

You may be able to go into samadhi. There are many stages and many levels of samadhi. Patanjali3 outlines four.

The initial stage of samadhi is very easy to go into, and I would hope any of you after a couple of years could go into some basic level of samadhi. I don’t even usually call that samadhi. I just differentiate between salvikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi, but there are lower samadhis that I just consider good, high states of meditation.

So from my point of view, these are not at all signs of enlightenment. They’re signs of a person making healthy spiritual progress. I have no objection at any time to someone attaining enlightenment.

I’m working very hard for it.

Nor would I in any way feel threatened by it, or feel that I would want to hold anyone back.

For me it would be very exciting to see, and when I do see you attain enlightenment, that would fulfill my purpose. There is nothing I would like better, and then I’d have someone to play with on other levels. I would like that very much.

I never want anyone to feel that because I suggest that someone might not be enlightened who thinks that they are, that in any way I am trying to hold anyone back or be an authority figure.

I am essentially your friend, and as a friend, I will help you in any way I can at any time, to broaden your awareness.

But part of being a friend also means that you have to be honest with people. So I try to be honest when I can be, when people are interested in hearing about it.

Now, my question is not so much having to do with these three individuals. I wish them well, and they’re very nice people and good friends of mine, and interestingly enough, they were all Buddhist monks in past lives and had done a lot of meditation.

I personally don’t feel that they have experienced a significant enlightenment. I feel that they have done some good meditation; they’ve learned.

Anyone who sits here when I demonstrate the siddhas over any period of time, should, after a while, be able to do a few of the things that I do—make rooms light up and basic things like this.

But these are not signs of enlightenment.

In my case, enlightenment came long before the powers did.

The powers are of a secondary nature and should never be confused with enlightenment. They’re interesting. You can develop many powers, impress people with glowing lights and things like that. There are lots of teachers who do that.

But I don’t consider that to be enlightenment at all. That’s what we call, in the trade, “special effects.”

These are nice people, and they really believe that they’ve attained enlightenment; they’re not being overly egotistical. I think they’re just generally confused as to what enlightenment is, perhaps.

So that’s what I’d like to talk with you a little bit about—

Enlightenment means

It doesn’t simply mean that you can sit and go into samadhi and have a very high meditation.

In the period of spiritual growth you will go through many different selves, so simply because your old self is gone and a new self has taken its place, that’s absolutely no sign of enlightenment, in my estimation.

Enlightenment is difficult to discuss, of course, because there are different types of enlightenment, we could say.

Enlightenment, from my point of view, does not involve going into samadhi a few times or having a few satori experiences.

Over a period of years of

enlightenment takes place.

That is to say, enlightenment doesn’t simply mean that you’ve gone up a few times and

I would say that’s a basic level of samadhi.

Enlightenment has to do with the erasure of the samskaras, the past life tendencies, after you’ve gone into samadhi for hundreds and thousands of hours, many, many times over a period of years, as is described, let’s say, in the biography of Ramakrishna.4

You know, Ramakrishna didn’t suddenly become enlightened. We had years of him meditating, seeking, crying to Mother Kali, going in and out of samadhi, and he would never have referred to himself as enlightened, certainly, in those early stages. But after many years of this process, he was enlightened. He was no longer a finite individual.

From a distance, an enlightened person will certainly look like anyone else.

If you can’t see, they’ll look like they have a body. If you can see to an extent, you’ll see them glowing at times, at times they may not.

But real enlightenment means the thin air. It’s an absence, not a presence. It means that all that is left is a thin shard, a strand of personality which changes constantly and which is

It’s like an enlightened person is a supreme actor or actress. If you ever want to study acting you should be around an enlightened person for a while, because all they do is play roles, since they no longer have a self. They play thousands of them upon the stage of existence; each one is different for each person they’re with.

They not only play a role in the way they speak and the way they act, but inwardly they actually appear differently to each person.

There’s a marvelous section in one of the Castaneda books where Carlos and don Juan are out walking around in the Sonora Desert and it’s nighttime and they come across four travelers, four men in the desert, who are all apprentices.

Don Juan meets them, and they meditate together around the fire. And the four plus Carlos all look at don Juan and when they see don Juan—don Juan performs a little mysticism for them—they all see him very differently. Each sees a different face, a different mode of dress.

What’s occurring is, the enlightened person is acting differently for each one. An enlightened person actually becomes whatever you want, in a way. They assume whatever form you choose, so it’s possible for them to appear differently to thousands of people simultaneously.

But if you really research them,

which is a way of saying

Enlightenment doesn’t come easily.

It comes over many lifetimes of spiritual practice and, in most cases, in the lifetime that it occurs or recurs a person will spend many, many years in contemplation and meditation, hundreds of thousands of hours in self-giving.

They’ll lead a very high and very pure life, and it will take a long time for them to either attain enlightenment or to bring it back.

A tremendous amount of self-giving and dedication is necessary, beyond the point of exhaustion, for years and years.

In my own case, of course, enlightenment came back from past lives, but even so in my own case, while there were certain indications early on in my life—I was drawn to the Far East and things—I really didn’t become overtly interested until I was 15 or so.

There were many years of dabbling and researching, trying different things, experimenting, and then of course

But even so, I would have never considered it samadhi. It’s what my friends were describing. They were very powerful meditations; people would have seen me glowing, and so forth.

But I had no way of integrating that with my world. I was still a person.

These experiences went on for 11, or say 12 years; I would say 12 years of that experience every single day, many times a day.

I joined a spiritual community when I was 19 and devoted 11 years of my life to it, doing constant service to others, meditating day and night, sometimes meditating with my teacher for 12 hours or 14 or 16 hours in a row.

Not that time is a requisite, but I’m just trying to give you a tone or a description of what’s necessary.

I struggled with my fears, I struggled with my doubts, I struggled with my ego—

I didn’t have an easy ticket to enlightenment.

I cared a great deal for my teacher and I cared a great deal for meditation and for self-giving.

But I was very selfish and had many sides I didn’t particularly like, although I had a nice heart.

Gradually over the years, I watched myself change and develop.

Then, after about 12 years, I left my teacher and went out on my own, you might say, when I’d reached a point where my own level of advancement far transcended the teacher I was working with, who was not a fully enlightened teacher but a very, very powerful occultist—a mystic, principally.

Now, even at that point I told my friends, “I’m not self-realized.” Some had come to study with me, and I said, “Now I have to be honest with you. I can’t claim to be self-realized. I’m going into samadhi on a regular basis, but I’m far from that.”

Then there came a period of several years of meditation and constant self-giving—literally 24 hours a day running a spiritual center—announcing quite blatantly that I wasn’t self-realized but that I had developed certain powers that were starting to return and that I could guide a person to the level, obviously, that I had reached but no further.

Then after those years in constant meditation and trying for people and literally giving them my life and everything I had—every day, nonstop, day and night—

I had gone through hundreds of selves over this period of 14 or 15 years, and finally a day came where I said to my friends,

Now, even once that’s happened, I continue to see growth and change.

But let’s say if I was following the definitions of Shankara5 or Patanjali,6 who I believe were actually self-realized and could speak eloquently on the subject, I’d classically fulfilled their definitions of enlightenment, and this is 15 or 16 years now of constant meditation, where there was nothing else in my life but that.

It may take someone else less time, I don’t know.

The lessons that were learned, the states of consciousness that were experienced, the thousands and thousands of hours of meditation, of pilgrimage, of traveling, so many things

But I developed phenomena early.

So when someone writes me a letter and says that they’re enlightened because they see that the room is lighting up around them a little bit or they’re going into a basic level of samadhi, I would say they’re having some enlightening experiences but they’re not enlightened.

And the only thing that troubles me is not them going out on their own, that’s fine; if they feel that that’s what they should do, I respect that completely.

But what troubles me is they’re not going to go any further in their self-realization because if they really believe that they’ve gone about as far as they can go, that’s where they’ll stop.

And these are very nice people, as you are nice people.

All I can tell you is to never stop, that there’s no end, that enlightenment and spiritual liberation and realization are not quantifiable, but there are definite points where we can say you have reached a plane of awareness, which is nirvana, where you’re beyond dissolution and creation.

All your samskaras have fallen away, and you are not what you seem.

There is only silence and stillness within your being, and you are no longer subject to selfishness and you are no longer subject to adharma. You can only do dharma.

In Tales of Power, Carlos is talking with don Juan, and don Genaro has been teaching him a little bit, and at one point don Juan says, listen Carlos, once you enter into the world of power, once you become a man of knowledge—which is the mystical version of self-realization—you are a servant of power. You can no longer do anything wrong, even if you want to.

As a matter of fact, he’d say, you’re not even a servant of power, you’re a slave of power.

You only have one choice left, and that’s whether to do something impeccably or not.

Self-realization is a very quiet thing. It’s not flashy. No one might see you light up a room. No one might observe anything. For some people there’s very little visible phenomena connected with self-realization. Some people, when they attain liberation, it’s just very quiet.

It’s just an absence; it’s a nothingness.

They have merged with the vast.

Many people, upon attainment of self-realization, leave the body, they die. Some don’t. Some choose to and some don’t.

But what I’m suggesting is—self-realization is a very, very advanced state of awareness, which in my estimation at this time in this world is experienced by very, very few people.

When I look inwardly, I see that there are

who are what I would call fully self-realized.

They have no rough edges anymore. This has nothing to do with their body or their personality structure. But inwardly, there is nothing there anymore. They can do no one any harm.

Now, there are people who have their desires under control, who can meditate well, who aspire, who care for the welfare of humanity, perhaps even more than they care for their own welfare.

I would say this is a saint, a highly advanced spiritual seeker, but not a truly self-realized person.

There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

While an enlightened person can be funny and silly and very often will pretend to be kind of dumb so that people will not be overwhelmed by them—they sort of do the “Columbo” routine, where Columbo pretends that he’s not too smart and that way people don’t think he’s too smart, and then he outwits them as a detective.

So part of being an enlightened person is what they call in the I Ching, “veiling the light.”

Very often you have to present yourself in a form that people can deal with.

In the Bhagavad-Gita we see Krishna and Arjuna cruising along in the chariot, and at one point

Arjuna can’t handle it. He says,

Up to that time Arjuna thought that Krishna was just his charioteer and his spiritual friend.

In other words, it’s something that the enlightened person can turn on and off. You don’t reveal it to everyone.

And even those who see it,

How will you know when you’re enlightened?

It won’t make any difference.

There will be no sense of a personal self.

There will only be

There will be absolute discrimination

That discrimination will discriminate beyond discrimination, not simply to another world or another reality or a timeless state but beyond fixation, beyond becoming and being, beyond the triple consciousness of sat-chit-ananda itself—without any sense of being beyond, or that there ever was a triple consciousness or that there was ever anything or nothing—beyond all relative conditions and among them, in the world and yet non-existing.

Subject to birth, death and mutability in terms of the physical; seeing yourself as those very things, and yet being beyond them completely, with no apparent awareness of this world, as if you are always in a dream in this life.

This is enlightenment.

The experience of nirvana is not an experience. There is simply no way to describe it whatsoever.

You’re dealing with your ultimate destiny, nothing special, nothing necessarily hard to get—that which you really are, but beyond any relative conditions or discussion whatsoever.

So when my friends write me and tell me they are enlightened, it’s like someone who has just taken a second-year French course announcing that they have just completed their Ph.D., or maybe postdoctoral study.

While I appreciate their observation and I’m glad that they’re making good spiritual progress, certainly there’s a tremendous difference between what I—and tradition—define as enlightenment and their version of enlightenment.

If feeling the way they do makes them happy, then I salute them. If it inspires them to make more progress, then that’s fine.

But it certainly is not a classical self-realization in any sense of the term, and I would do you a great disservice to tell you that it was.

When a person attains self-realization, it’s no big thing at all. It’s not important. It’s irrelevant. It has no relevancy whatsoever, and as long as it appears to—to that individual—they have definitely not attained self-realization.

It’s just a way of talking about something that’s undefinable.

It just means that you’ve gone home. No more, no less.

But at the same time, it’s subject to scrutiny.

It’s not a simple declaration that someone feels one day, that they want to set themselves up as an enlightened teacher and declare themselves so.

There are thousands of people on earth who have done that, and they’re certainly not enlightened. They may have more spiritual knowledge than the average person, they may be able to banter a spiritual phrase around and they may have mastered certain powers and do things that would surprise my three friends in terms of occult power—the siddhas.

They may be able to walk on water, to fly through the air, to travel to other worlds and other planets in their occult body, to do many, many things.

These are not signs of enlightenment, these are signs of the powers and they’re definitely not the same thing.

Enlightenment is a state of quiescent nothingness, of perfection.

You’ve become God, and then

There’s no way to describe it, and

Each one of you here will experience that, will be that, because you are that. You need to become aware of that.

It’s not far-fetched.

It doesn’t happen just to a small group of people. Every day you’re moving into it more. And you will see signs. You will see yourself glowing. You will experience the kundalini moving. You will have all kinds of spiritual experiences when you study with an enlightened person.

Because when you study with an enlightened person, you’re moving into that field of attention by virtue of studying with them. It’s like marrying someone who’s very wealthy. As soon as you marry them, their wealth becomes your wealth, which is the idea.

My friends will discover, however, over a period of time, that to some extent the power will lessen, because a lot of the wave of energy that they’ve been riding is their teacher’s energy—mine—which they acknowledge.

But as they move out into the world themselves, the connection becomes threadbare, and they will see it’s not quite as easy as they thought, which shouldn’t discourage them. I hope that they meditate more deeply and continue in their evolution.

If you want to be honest with yourself, if I’m going to be honest with you—and we must always use honesty as our basis for communication—the process of self-realization is very sophisticated and very complex. That’s what we study together, and it gives us wonderful lives.

We see things and feel things sometimes in a half an hour, in a second, that other people don’t see in a hundred lifetimes, in terms of ecstasy and bliss and awareness.

But still, that’s not enlightenment. It’s a step along the path.

When you become enlightened, I will be the first to tell you, if you haven’t told me first. I’ll know immediately, and I’ll come by and we’ll go out to the desert and have a good time. We’ll go on an adventure.

Maybe you can help me with my work. I’d appreciate that, or maybe you’ll just feel it’s your destiny to go off on your own.

But there’s no competition. It would be a wonderful thing.

It would help others tremendously, and I expect that that will happen to many of you in this lifetime.

If it doesn’t, then it’s because you didn’t try hard enough—because certainly many of you have the ability within this lifetime, but it will be many years still.

To think that you’ve done it beforehand is only to do yourself a disservice, and those you could have helped if you had kept on studying, a disservice. You will not reach them, you will not help them, because you shortchanged yourself and the world by cutting your education short.

It is of no matter or importance to myself who a person studies with, since I’m no one, and we’re all no one.

Wherever they go, the dharma will take them. Whatever they do, the dharma will do.

I wish everyone well.

A healthy spiritual community is a community in which there’s constant change and transition, where some of the oldest and closest students go out for a while or maybe for the rest of this lifetime, where new students come in.

There’s constant change and transition. This is a sign of a healthy community. A stagnant community is a community in which everyone remains. There’s no change. There’s no growth. There are no new students. There’s no transition. There must be transition.

However, there’s a tremendous difference between enlightenment and enlightening experiences, and the two are definitely not the same.

How can you further your progress in self-discovery? How can you do all you are capable of doing?

There’s a feeling in the heart that’s of primary importance in self-discovery.

As long as your self-realization is of great interest to you—as it is obviously with my friends—then you’re really not on the path.

I never thought of self-realization or dreamed of it for 15 or so years as even a possibility. Fifteen years of spiritual practice. And then it just happened.

When it did, I felt neither lucky nor unlucky.

When I saw my past lives in which I had been realized before, it didn’t make me feel particularly important, it was just an objective fact.

What matters is feeling that as part of a spiritual community you are on a group adventure, you’re not just on your own trip, doing your own thing. It’s fine to feel that way, if that’s how you feel. Be honest.

But a sign of advancement is when you reach the point where the group dream is more important than the individual dream. The nation is more important than the state. The world and its conditions are more important than the individual country.

This is a sign of mental health, psychic health and spiritual rebirth.

You should feel that the goals of the community are your goal, and at the same time your individual goals are important.

You have to have a sense of spiritual dignity.

Spiritual dignity says that I don’t have to compete with anyone, I don’t have to do what my friends do. All I have to do is be myself and be dignified in my meditation and in my lifestyle.

I have to feel that there’s something more important than my own personal desires for liberation or houses or cars or clothes, or whatever it may be—husbands, wives, children.

What’s most important is to do what is right.

And that I must go to the person on this earth who I feel is most knowledgeable, whomever that may be, wherever that may be, and ask them to teach me.

Then I must sit with humility for many, many years and learn from them all I can and aid them in any way in the projects that they are involved in.

I should never think badly of my teacher.

If I think badly of my teacher I should leave and never think badly of them. Because this doesn’t help my teacher nor does it help me.

I should only see the good in those around me.

If I see that someone has a side that’s not too developed, I acknowledge that, and I’m aware of that, I don’t pretend it’s not there, but we all have those sides. What I see is the greater good in that individual.

I don’t allow people to harm me because it harms them.

Ultimately I have to be very compassionate to others, but I don’t have to work out anybody’s self-realization for them.

I don’t have to spend endless hours convincing someone not to leave the spiritual center that we’re all in together, because endless hours of talking do nothing.

A person must have enough strength to be there because they want to be there, and when it’s time for them to leave, I shouldn’t hinder them with my self-knowledge or my self-importance. I should let them go.

It’s not my responsibility to bring anyone to liberation, including myself.

There are times when I may be able to say something helpful or useful to others, when I can give them a piece of advice that will help them—but without any sense of self-importance.

I should always remember that—absolutely—that there’s always someone who can do anything that I can do better, more completely,

At the same time,

If I feel I should have a family, if I feel I should have a career, whatever I feel I should do, I’ll do, and I gain these feelings from my meditation, from my self-discovery.

I’m completely focused on my teacher and the teachings without over-focusing.

I don’t feel that if I was not with my teacher that I would die and not be able to do anything.

If my teacher has taught me anything,

The teachings are everywhere. The wheel of dharma spins everywhere, not just in a defined spiritual community.

If my teacher tells me to leave the center for a period of time, I shouldn’t complain for a moment.

If the teacher invites me to a special excursion, to be part of a special group, I shouldn’t feel important because the teacher is simply doing what is best for me.

If I don’t have this faith in the teacher,

If I feel that my teacher is corrupt, that my teacher is not telling the truth,

It’s not my duty to interfere with anyone else’s destiny there. That’s not respectful or correct because perhaps, for them, the teacher is still important.

Perhaps for me the teacher is no longer important. It’s best not to criticize. It’s best to live and do that which is positive.

I feel that my teacher and I are connected beyond life and death—

In other words, once you’ve found the teacher who leads you to realization,

Whether you reject them or accept them,

They are the one, and in this life or another life,

There is one person who takes you along the final stages, and no one can take their place.

If that teacher is not in the body, then they will come to you in the subtle physical and help you.

There are many students who come and go in spiritual communities. But after a while a core group forms, and they remain.

These are the true students of a particular teacher. They are not better or superior to the other students, they’ve just found their teacher.

Those who go usually were not true students of that particular teacher.

Occasionally, a true student does go, or very often they’re asked to leave.

Sometimes a spiritual teacher will literally kick out some of their best students because it’s time for them to go out and experience for awhile in the world. They need a change.

Sometimes a student just isn’t doing well. They’re knocking their head against the wall. Well, if you’re a good teacher, you don’t let them keep knocking their head against the wall. They hurt themselves.

You send them out for a while and say,

Love is the only rule in self-discovery.

It’s not what you can get, it’s what you can give. If it is not the appropriate time for you to give, then you must be patient.

You shouldn’t need to be entertained by your teacher. You shouldn’t feel the need to constantly be fulfilled by them.

What they’re doing is teaching you about all the complexities of existence, and

You should listen to what they say, but also listen to what they don’t say. You don’t have to force a relationship with a teacher. It evolves in its own time, naturally. This is the flow of existence and eternity.

Now, all of the things that I’ve just said are very often used by what I would call “cults.”

While all of these things are true, there are those false teachers who will say these things, and people will recognize that these are truths. But the people saying them will be false, and then people, of course, will lead lives that are very terrible.

A true teacher will never force you. They will never tell you what to do with your life. They will make suggestions.

They never try and take your money or anything. These are of no interest to someone who’s enlightened.

Naturally, if you give and you give economically, and the teacher has a path and many students, the teacher can use that money to aid others and that’s a wonderful thing to do. But they don’t look for that.

They don’t ask you to go out and do that sort of thing. It’s not necessary. They have everything.

Their primary interest is the service of others, and if in any way you can help that and stay in a good consciousness while you do, then it’s interesting because it will help you.

A spiritual teacher’s first responsibility is to truth.

Their second responsibility is to the welfare of their students.

“The welfare of their students” means not the students who are coming [in the future], but the students who are here now.

These are the most important ones.

So they will never expend a student who is currently here, under the guise that this will help those who are coming.

False teachers do this.

False teachers will use up a student’s resources, claiming that it will help those who are coming, for the good of the, in quotes, “mission.”

This has nothing to do with the way a real spiritual teacher operates.

A real spiritual teacher would not let you give all your resources

There have been many cases where people have offered to sell their homes and give me the entire proceeds, and I told them to keep their home.

People have offered to give money that they inherited, and I told them to keep it, even though at times we could have used it to do good things,

because I saw

You see?

So I would rather not have it and not give the person an excuse, even in later years, to blame me and blame this process. This is spiritual honesty.

I have a great deal of spiritual dignity.

It’s on loan from eternity, and you do too, and we have to use it in our relationship with each other.

Without that poise and balance and gentle humor and caring sense, nothing happens at all. It’s just egotism and vanity and jealousy and possessiveness. This has nothing to do with liberation.

Liberation is the study

To become conscious of all that we are, to go through thousands of dreams of God and then become the dream and go beyond it and then be in it again.

So it’s with this feeling, with this warmth, and putting up with all of your separate selves, but always rising above them, always doing what is right—

No one can ask you to do more than you are capable of.

But to not do that is to deny truth, to deny yourself and to make yourself unhappy.

To attain liberation, then, you must be very patient and feel that there’s no rush, that it’s not an issue.

The issue is to be impeccable. To do each thing in your life—your relationships, your bookkeeping, your housecleaning, your job, your spirituality, your friendships—to do everything perfectly, to bring your best to it.

To meditate each day as deeply as you can.

No one will ask you to do more than you are capable of doing,

Even those who destroy a teacher,

But that’s really not necessary.

What’s necessary is for you

Then when self-realization comes, it comes by itself. It’s not a matter of glowing lights or people feeling a little kundalini coming forth from you.

I could take you to India now and introduce you to hundreds of occultists who could do a thousand times more than that. People who can lie on beds of nails, who can project their bodies, who have mastered the etheric double — all kinds of skills.

They’ll be the first to admit that they’re not enlightened because people see phenomena, because they go into a lower level of samadhi,

So my advice to you is

To not be in a rush, to know that enlightenment is far, yet near.

To not feel that it’s impossible for this lifetime at all,

What matters is to aid others, to have a group dream.

We work together for a common dream.

If you still feel that you’re here just doing your own thing, then you don’t understand yet why we do what we do.

If you doubt the purity of our motives, then you don’t understand yet. You’re an infant still.

To know that these are people

and you had the chance

this is the nature of the spiritual study.

It’s silence, it’s sound, it’s laughter, it’s frustration, it’s everything that you are and a thousand, million times more.

And it’s acceptance of the will of God—waiting, if necessary, forever, happily—rising above your desires and above your frustrations to always do what is right.

So I wish my friends luck in their enlightenment, and I wish you luck in yours.

2. “Lakshmi” was the name that Rama gave to his spiritual teaching organization, “the Lakshmi Center”, in honor of the Hindu goddess, Sri Lakshmi. Throughout this book, “Lakshmi” refers to the spiritual teaching center. References to Lakshmi as the goddess Herself have “Sri” added , i.e., “[Sri] Lakshmi.”

3. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; Rama’s recommended translation is by Swami Prabhavananda.

4. The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Mahendranath Gupta (M.)

5. Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination; Rama’s recommended translation is by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.

6. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras; Rama’s recommended translation is by Swami Prabhavananda.