This question is probably one that you ask the most often. Why is it so important to decide what we really want? What does answering this question lead to?
First of all, it is crucial to realize that when I ask what you really want, it has nothing whatsoever to do with what you may decide that you really want. What you really want is deeper than any decision or opinion you may have about it. It is the deepest calling of your heart, and cannot be decided by the head.
All the decisions of the head are decisions based on a ground of suffering and slavery. All decisions. It is only the deep call of the heart, the deepest longing of the soul for freedom, that is the call of what is beyond suffering.
Until we know that it is possible to be truly free and to realize the truth of oneself as immortal being, we all settle for the best deal we can make with the world. We all want love, security, and comfort; happiness based on a life that we learned as children. The life that we learned is the conditioned life of slavery. Whether we rebel against it or conform to it makes no difference. Either way, we are caught in a net of suffering and false identity. Because our parents did not know the truth of their own being they could not pass it on to us, as their parents did not know, all the way back to the amoeba.
When we are born we are not self-conscious. We are consciousness, but it is not reflecting on itself. We have an oceanic sense of oneness, but without individuation. Once individuation starts we start to develop an ego with a sense of self, filled with desires and fears. We continually look to the outside to satisfy our desires and alleviate our fears. This is the life of ego. Believing that who I am is trapped inside, and I need to get what I need from the outside. This dilemma makes one mad. Mad at God for putting me here, hating myself for being in a body, and hating the world for not giving me what I want.
It also makes one afraid. Afraid of the unknown, and what could happen to this body. It also makes one needy. Needy for love, and willing to sell out to get it. Then all desires are based on this basic human condition.
If you give rise to the true desire for freedom, this desire transcends all others. It is the only true desire of a human life. Giving rise to this desire in the past has been very rare. But now, humanity is entering a new stage; either we will evolve or destroy the earth. The choice is really up to you. If you are willing to end the suffering where you appear, this is the only hope and the one true desire.
Until this desire for truth or freedom or true love arises in a life, it is all pointless. Once this desire arises, if you give your life to it, it becomes the central axis, the ground of being that you show up around. Until this true desire is discovered and expressed, your life revolves around you and your story of reality. Once this desire for freedom arises, this is the beginning of the end. It is the end of the search and the beginning of realization.
I ask this question because nothing of real consequence can be accomplished before this question is deeply answered. Once this question is answered it is a radical reappraisal of your life, and points you in a completely new direction. This is the beginning of the ground of awakening.
I see now that my whole life was really dedicated to realizing what I have always really wanted. What is your advice in this search, in this quest?
Everyone's life is dedicated to getting what he or she subconsciously wants. The problem is that most people do not know what they really want. Most people live in the conditioned wants of family, manufactured wants of society, and their subconscious fantasies projected on to the world. In this, they spend their lives in false wants and desires.
Most people can only define what they want by what they already have and what they do not have, what they want to fix or get rid of, what they want to keep and increase. All this is in the realm of objects, and these objects are only the projection of the egoic mind.
This egoic mind feels separate, alone, cut off, and therefore is desperate to defend its space.
In all of the above there is a constant avoiding of what you really want. As long as there is an experience of separation, there is a deep and true longing for union. As long as there is fear, there is a deep and true longing to surrender to the Beloved. As long as there is a sense of isolation, there is a deep and true longing for merging with the Beloved.
To the degree that you are mature and ready to end the suffering, to that degree you become aware of this deep and true longing for home.
My advice is to tell the truth about where you have already sold yourself, so that you can have time for the deep and true call of your heart. Until all the self-betrayals are unveiled in the light, there will be subconscious sabotage of what you really want.
Be willing to stay true to your deepest longing for truth, in the face of all the subconscious pulls that will arise from the ocean of mind as waves to wash you back into the wantings of the subconscious.
What is the importance of character fixation in this quest? Why is it so important to understand these characteristics of the human mind?
As the human mind has matured towards its own realization, it has gone through certain historical phases. At first, there is no separate identity. At a certain stage individuation arises; a sense of separateness takes hold in consciousness. Until then everything is unconscious, like a plant that is intelligent: it grows the right side up, it has intelligent leaves for its particular circumstance, it has clever strategies for enlisting the insect world in various duties like pollination, but there is no separate sense of self.
This arising of the separate sense of self is a crucial step in the evolution of consciousness. This sense of self is now arisen from the unconscious to the subconscious. It is running just below awareness. It is not yet reflecting back on itself in self-consciousness. This is the phase called "naming the animals".
The next stage is the arising of the split in the mind between the doer and the judge of the doer. Freud called the doer an ego, and he called the judge of the doer the superego. This metaphorically arises when God gives the first rule: do not eat from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. This first rule leads to rebellion by the ego. This rebellion leads to the fruit of knowledge of polarities: right and wrong, me and you, inside and outside. This is a crucial arising in the evolution of consciousness.
Now every ego is involved in this internal battle between the judge who has internalized the rules of society and the doer who either conforms to the rules which produces rage, or rebels against the rules which produces fear. Both rage and fear run subconsciously under the story, justifying why you either obey or rebel. The personal story is the covering of the deeper subconscious motivations and consequences.
The next stage of evolution that the human species is on the brink of is for individuated consciousness to wake up from its trance of separation. To wake up is to see it clearly. To see it clearly, it helps to name it. By naming it, you are now dissociated from a pattern that was running in the background, sight unseen. Now it is in the light to be exposed for what it is: a mechanical defense of ego against its own annihilation in oneness and love.
Luckily for us, there are only three sets, or versions, of three different models of ego fixation. The ego is either primarily attached to the physical body, the emotional body, or the mental body. The Enneagram gives us a precise map of these nine identities. These are nine faces of God that are used as masks by the ego.
You will be in Hamburg soon to meet the German seekers and share a retreat on the Enneagram with them. What brings so many people to be willing to meet you?
It is time for everyone to wake up and stop the suffering. Clearly we are at a crossroads. Either the human species will wake up to the next evolutionary leap, or destroy the planet with ignorance and greed. The planetary crises that we are in, the ecological devastation, the wars that have been continuous and building through the centuries, are all signal fires calling for the lighting of the flame of truth in each heart. Each soul is being called home. Most are too busy and involved in their personal life to hear the call. Only the ripe and spiritually mature can hear the call, and only the best of those respond.
I would say all are called and very few people respond at this stage. When you say so many people coming to see me, compare it with the celebration of the British queen, or a good football match, or a rock concert, and you will see how few have heard the call and respond.
What brings the ones who come is that they are longing for home. They want the light of truth to end the nightmare of ignorance. They want peace and love and freedom for themselves and everyone in the world. When these ripe souls gather, it is a rare and beautiful meeting of love.
This calling of the heart is often not heard until it gets so loud that it pierces the egoic shell. This piercing is a wounding of the egoic self, which opens it to the flooding in of the grace of the divine. The German soul has been deeply wounded. This makes for many ripe souls that are ready to hear the truth.
I understand that one first hears the call and then one can respond. Are there different ways of responding to the call of our heart ? Does it have to do with the character fixation from the Enneagram ?
The response to love is always the same. When you are ready to listen to your heart you must follow what the heart commands even when the head says, "no." Following the heart is the beginning of the discovery of truth and love beyond the mind's ability to grasp. Every ego has to respond in the same fashion by being willing to leave all of the conditioned life behind in the call of the true to heart to the depths of awareness.
The avoidance of love has different styles depending on the character fixation. The ego is terrified of responding to the call of the heart because it signals the end of egoic control. Character Fixation is useful to see how you avoid the call of the heart.
The ego tells itself stories to rationalize why it does what it wants to do, and avoid the call of truth and love. The Enneagram can help you to see through the stories of ego. Once you have seen that all egoic stories lead to suffering you are ready to respond to the call of the heart. The call of the heart is the call to surrender. To put down all of your egoic defenses and come naked and alone to face the light of truth.
In my experience, meeting with you brought me into the presence of more ripe souls than I ever met, in addition to your unconditional commitment to love that fulfills each time my heart with gratitude. What is the importance of sitting in your presence ? And what does bring the knowledge of the Enneagram into this meeting ?
Since I have never sat in my presence I cannot say what that might be like. But I can speak of sitting in my master's presence.
I experienced a profound awakening in 1972. From that moment on, I knew my true identity. Yet, even in that knowing, my old patterns continued to run. In fact, the knowing itself increased the arrogance and pride of the ego, which continued to run under a spiritual identity.
For eighteen years I searched for a teacher that could stop the egoic mind. When I finally met my teacher, Papaji, in 1990, the mind naturally stopped in his presence. I had been with many teachers in the past, some with great shakti, or power. Their powers would lead to magic or other fantastic changes, usually very useful, but they never led to the stopping of the mind. This is the supreme power. This was the emanation of merely sitting in my teacher's silent presence.
Next his verbal teaching pointed me to the discipline of not touching the next thought. So while the grace of his emanation was the supreme power, without his verbal instruction, the moment would have ended with the mind's return.
The great gift of the Enneagram is that it prepared me for this meeting. The Enneagram showed me where I was still identified with acting out the ego and calling it spiritual. By facing my egoic addictions before meeting my teacher, I was prepared and ready to receive his transmission.
The Enneagram also prepared me for the tests that were to come when the dormant egoic waves returned. Finally, the Enneagram gave me the gift of being able to serve my teacher. He enjoyed hearing about the different fixations and would ask me to work with the people in his sangha that were not "getting it".
As the Self-realization deepens in my life, I face momentum when I feel I've understood everything and when life is opened and fulfilled with love, and then, some other momentum arises with deep sadness and pain, with fear and anger and when love seems unreachable and life senseless. These ups and downs seem to lay on the way. Could they be avoided in any way ? What are they useful for ?
It is very important not to avoid anything. Everything is useful. Before final establishment in yourself there are many moments of realization. Each moment deepens your understanding and resolve.
Each moment is then followed by a wave of ego. This is in part because the moment of realization also acts as an ego inflation for the one who has the experience. This new ego inflation is a test for staying true to what is realized. Or, after realization, when the egoic mind floods back in, this leads to ego-deflation. This is also a test for staying true to what you have realized.
Just as the realization parted the waters so that you could see to the bottom, so when that moment passes the waters rush back in to reclaim the space and your life. Your life circumstance, which is the karmic momentum of your past desires and fears, will arise in just the right combination of people and situations to pull you back into egoic identity. This is the test of staying true.
After awakening this same process continues until all latent arising, all waves of all lifetimes, come to be experienced and finished. Each wave brings the potential of falling back into suffering or deepening into the truth of your self as empty intelligent love.
What do the participants at the retreats receive or find in your presence?
When sincere seekers come they meet their own heart. In this is the possibility of true surrender and the transmission of silence. This transmission of silence from heart to heart leads to leaving the old identity behind and the depth of Self-realization. This is the end of suffering and the beginning of life.
Now, we reach the end of this interview. What is the deepest message you'd like to share with us ?
If you can read and understand this then it is possible for you to stop the wheel of suffering where you live. If you are willing to stop creating suffering for yourself or anyone else, then there is a possibility for human life to evolve to the next stage of conscious return.