DEVOTEE: What are we seeking?
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Listen.
There is a dilemma.
Is there a dilemma?
There is no dilemma?
When you walk out of this room and the usual activity resumes, there may seem to be a dilemma—but is there a dilemma? There is no dilemma. There is only the sensation, the appearance, the presumption, of dilemma. If you understand dilemma, you understand (in this moment) that dilemma has no existence. Dilemma does not exist.
In that case, the question about how dilemma comes about is unnecessary and untrue—because, as soon as you look for the dilemma, it has no substance. Nevertheless, people continue to presume dilemma and suffering. And the presumption is your own activity. In the very same moment when you are presuming that there is suffering, dilemma, that your search is appropriate, the dilemma is not discoverable.
In Reality, there is only This. There is only the Obvious, only the Event Itself – Prior to dilemma, Prior to experience.
The dilemma never arises. If you examine it as soon as you begin to feel it, you realize it has not occurred. It has no substance. if it is something that has no substance, no existence, how can you be stuck in it? If you understand your own activity, there is no dilemma. If you do not understand, there appears to be a dilemma. But, as soon as you ask yourself about it, as soon as you look into it, as soon as you examine it, you realize the dilemma does not exist.
As the seeker, you go on reinforcing your presumption of dilemma – but that does not mean the dilemma actually exists. If it existed, there would be something you could do about it. It would be substantial. It would be distinguishable from other things. It would have some kind of knowable shape, limitation, dimension, consequence. Then the traditional forms of magic and Yoga would be appropriate, seeking would be appropriate.
But, as soon as you examine the dilemma directly, you cannot find it. You can presume its existence, but you cannot actually find it. Therefore, since it cannot be found, since dilemma does not exist, the search is not appropriate. The search is what you do only when you presume dilemma to be the case. As soon as you understand the non-reality of that presumption, the search falls away.
DEVOTEE: I have found that dilemma often manifests in a number of different sensations. The external conditions that generate those sensations are not real, but the reaction feels real. Would You explain this?
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Why do you presume that your internal reaction is more real than the external forces to which you react? What you are saying is that your presumption of dilemma (or suffering) is real in any case—even if circumstances do not justify it! This presumption you want to make about your own contraction is the presumption I have been talking about. It is your presumption, isn’t it?
DEVOTEE: Well, yes, the presumption is a mental thing, but the sensation is something else.
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: On the mental level, there is a presumption—but can you make an absolute distinction between that mental presumption and what you are calling “the sensation”? It is all one process. And that entire process is what I mean by “the presumption of dilemma”. If you put your hand in a fire, and then draw it away in reaction to the heat, haven’t you presumed it to be hot? Haven’t you acted as if it were hot? You may think about it afterwards, and say it was hot—but, whether you think about it or not, in that instant in the fire, there is this physical response, this physical reaction.
Thoughts are of the same nature as pain, or any other kind of reaction. All personal events are forms of self-contraction. They all have the same quality, the same structure. Withdrawing your hand because the fire is hot is of the same nature as thinking that the fire is hot before or after you touch it. It is just as much a presumption, in other words. To presume something is to suppose, act, or react as if it were so.
To presume something does not require thinking. Thinking is not the only form of presumption, of supposing. You suppose on all kinds of levels. Your affirmations about things are not simply mental. There are mental presumptions, there are emotional presumptions, there are physical presumptions, there are instinctive presumptions (subconscious and unconscious). The mental (or conceptual) presumption is one form of it, but there are many forms—and the mental form of presumption does not exist in isolation.
DEVOTEE: Master, would You please clarify what You mean by “dilemma”?
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: I have been speaking about dilemma in the same sense that I speak of it in The Knee of Listening. All forms of seeking – all pursuit, all searches for the goal, all strategic Yoga, all Spiritual efforts that pursue an attainment of some sort – are responses to a felt dilemma, however it may be categorized, however it may appear in any moment. The root-meaning of “di-lemma” is “two assumptions” – an impasse, a predicament, a living state (or condition) of contradiction.
The root of the search is something that precedes the seeking itself. The effort of seeking never affects its own root-motivation. The seeking simply aims to fulfill its particular goal. The function of seeking is not to modify its own motivation, its source, its root – the dilemma itself. No search can ever exceed its own motivation, its fundamental presumption – which is dilemma.
Therefore, I have spoken of Spiritual life in terms of the observation and understanding of motivating dilemma (or suffering), in the context of Satsang with Me – not in terms of the pursuit of attainments. I have talked about Spiritual life (or Real life, or Conscious life) as requiring the spontaneous understanding of this motivation, this suffering, which precedes your seeking. However, in the history of the Great Tradition, Spiritual life has characteristically been oriented to the search and to the attainment of the goals of seeking.
What I call “dilemma” is this sensation, this motivating sense, this presumption, this feeling of contradiction, this experience that implies and reflects something that has already occurred – which is the avoidance of relationship, the self-contraction, the activity of separation. The avoidance of relationship is the root-activity that is always presently taking place, prior to the search. You feel it as dilemma, this vague sensation, a knot in the stomach – the drive, the movement, the motivation, that generates and necessitates your seeking. Where the avoidance of relationship has not occurred, where there is only relationship, there are not any of these knots, these motivating reactions.
It is certainly true that, apart from self-understanding, you do experience and react to the knots of contraction. The presumed forms of suffering are experienced, they are apparently happening, they are the conditions in which one must somehow live and survive. If you feel some sort of underlying aggravation – fear, anxiety, anger – you feel the knots here and there, and you go about your search on that basis. You seek to be free of the sensation of the knots. But, in spite of all the things you do, nothing is done to your own activity of self-contraction – which is what you are always reacting to.
As a result, you begin to presume, more and more, that the self-contracted state is real, that it is your actual condition. Therefore, you become increasingly convinced that your search is appropriate. And, so, you become less and less intelligent about the root-motivation of your life. You become more and more involved in the pattern of always doing something about it. You always and only react to dilemma as if it were, in fact, your fundamental condition. The great seekers are those who make the most dramatic attempts to “do something about it” – perfectly, absolutely.
Now, all forms of seeking are of the same nature: They all take dilemma seriously, and presume it to be the essential fact of life. The self-contraction is what they presume – the avoidance of relationship. The dilemma, the knot, is the foundation of the search. It is the actual “Lord” of your “Yoga” of seeking. And dilemma itself is the “Yogi”!
Simply to do some mentalizing, or some philosophizing, or some relaxing Yoga, does not do anything to all of that. Only “radical” self-understanding obviates the search and its root-activity. And most perfect “radical” self-understanding is Consciousness itself, the Very Power of Consciousness Itself – Living, Awakening, Existing, even apparently Acting, Prior to the presumption of dilemma. Only Consciousness Itself is Always Already Free of the presumption of dilemma.
Eventually, your reaction to the root-aggravation of your own self-contraction shows itself to be fruitless. Even when you have followed your search to its end, when you have endured the entire course of your adventure and gotten all the lessons, when you have done all the usual meditations and have gone through all the experiences, when you have read all the books – the dilemma is still there. Then the very best thing that can happen to you is that the search itself begins to break down. Then, gradually, dilemma ceases to be reinforced by any remedial activity. Then the force of life’s awareness falls into the dilemma. Your awareness is only of this dilemma. You are no longer doing anything about this dilemma – not a thing. You are not even trying to analyze the dilemma, so that it will come to an end. Not a single thing is being done.
For the time being, conscious awareness is identified with the sense of dilemma. When the search falls away (in inevitable frustration), conscious awareness becomes the dilemma. In other words, conscious awareness is doing nothing else, nothing apart from dilemma. This is the profound stage of practice in My Avataric Divine Heart-Company when – while turning to My Avatarically Self-Revealed Divine Person, and to My Avatarically Given Divine Wisdom-Teaching – the crisis of truly hearing Me is endured. When My devotee truly hears Me, there is most fundamental understanding of dilemma, characterized by the consistent capability to feel beyond the self-contraction – such that the avoidance of relationship is replaced by the feeling of relatedness (in heart-Communion with Me).
Ultimately, the dilemma, like the search, must be understood to be your own activity – your always-present, chronic activity. The dilemma is the structure and motivation of the usual drama of every life. When this is clearly observed, then there is real self-understanding. Previous to that crisis “at the root”, all the things that you may regard to be self-understanding are (in fact) only remedial approaches or superficial experiences, in which the dilemma has already been presumed.