The bad habit of thinking

Om Shanti Shanti Om

Yesterday we were talking about the work, about doing something, observing, doing it as a kind of work, something that is difficult to do. But it is like everything. We pay attention to the mind because we have become used to paying attention to it. Like any habit, we can change it, and like any habit, at first it is hard work, but there comes a time when it becomes something natural. It’s like quitting smoking. The only way to quit smoking is by not smoking anymore. At first, it requires effort and sacrifice, and you have to be vigilant not to let yourself be carried away by what your body’s cravings, but weeks go by and the longer you keep it up, the less effort it takes. It becomes easier and easier, until a moment comes when you forget that you once smoked. This works just the same. At first you have to be vigilant, you have to watch over it, but there comes a time when the process of observing the mind, the process thoughts collapsing, the process of this taking you to the I Am, is something that is constantly happening without you needing to intervene at all. There comes a time when you don’t even have to watch the thoughts, you don’t even have to see them collapse, you just go directly to the I Am and you stay there all the time. Then, this pleasant feeling that you get when you reach the I Am just becomes what you are, and you go through life like this. It’s very, very nice. It’s living out what you really are. No more delusion, no more looking at mirages, simply being what you are, and you will function in the world perfectly, you will continue to do everything, but with such peace, such calmness and well-being that it will make you say, “this is true, now it’s really worth it, everything else was just mirrors, illusions and smoke screens, because in truth suffering does not exist, it’s just another creation of the mind, and we suffer as long as we believe in it. But as soon as we realize that it doesn’t exist, right there and then it stops having any power over us. The problem is that we are very stubborn and we insist. You have to see it like a mirage… like you look at the horizon and say “there is water there”, you start walking, you get to the place where you thought the water was, but there is no water, and you look at the horizon again and you see water, so you think “oh, that’s where the water is”, and you run there but again there is no water. At some point you have to say “this is not real”. And from that moment onward, the mirages you see no longer make you run towards them, because you already know what they are, you know that it’s not real.

That’s it, it’s all very, very simple. Yet what happens, is that the mind is not going to let you do it so easily. The mind controls you, the mind is doing its job, and it’s going to fight, it’s going to struggle, and it’s going to create situations one after another to make you suffer. It’s not going to go quietly, because that’s precisely its job. If you stop listening to it, it has nothing left to do! And the way it works is very, very subtle. At first it tries to distract you from looking where you have to look, where you really are. But when it sees that it’s not working, that you are still determined to do spiritual things, then it disguises itself as your search partner, and it starts giving you advice on how to find yourself. It tells you things like: “look, a new book has just come out, you have to buy it, and look, so and so is coming in three months, let’s go see him, and let’s go to India, because that’s where things really are, not here, you have to go to India, you have to prepare the trip”… and so on. It becomes your partner in your search, but it’s really the mind, and its function is to prevent you from finding. “Well, I’m doing spiritual things, right?” You believe that you are doing spiritual things, but what you’re really doing is feeding a spiritual ego. Because it’s “spiritual” you don’t think it’s an ego, but that’s actually the strongest kind of ego there is. Most of the time the spiritual ego is what is actually preventing you from enjoying who you are. So you have to put an end to that spiritual ego, not be fooled by the spiritual ego. You have already read many things, you have already been to many places, maybe you already went to India and you know that nothing happens. You read a book and you say: “here, look at this sentence, I feel good”, but what happens? After half an hour it’s gone, or the next day it’s gone, it does not last. These are little glimpses, little free samples that you are receiving, but they go away. Except when you look where it is, where it always is, then it’s no longer a small sample, it’s really always there. But you have to look directly. Not looking at a mirror that shows a reflected image of what you are. The mind does that sometimes, when it disguises itself as your Self, and makes you look at a representation of who you really are. Remove that, take it away and look directly. Otherwise it’s just the mind pretending to be your Self. And remember that the mind knows you very, very well, because it has always been with you. The mind knows where to hit you, it knows which buttons to press, it knows what you believe, it knows what you don’t believe, it knows perfectly well where to come in, where to strike. If your mind knows that you believe in angels, then it will start to send you messages as if they were angels: you think “I’m receiving guidance, they are telling me things”, and it is just the mind. Yet there is nothing, absolutely nothing except Grace. The only thing the mind is doing is appropriating for itself the merit of what Grace is already doing. Everything is Grace. Everything is Grace. But the mind keeps telling you that it is the one who makes things happen, that it is the one who came up with such a creative idea, that it is the one who makes you work perfectly, that it is the one who makes you raise to your children, but the only thing it’s really doing is appropriating the merit.

(Long silence)

You have to accept yourself fully, you have to accept everything you are, all the time. Stop looking at just a small part of who you are, and start accepting yourself as a whole. When we accept ourselves like this (Luis touches his arm)… we are accepting only a tiny part of who we are. Because we are only recognizing the matter, the atoms, but those atoms are suspended in a space, which is called emptiness, nothingness. And most of what we are is nothingness. Atoms are only a tiny part of us. We have to accept the void as being us, because otherwise the only thing we take to be ourselves is actually a tiny part of us, that is the part that spoils, that rots, that dies, that suffers. Yet there is this other part, which is the bigger part of what we are, which has always been there, will always be there, which does not spoil or rot, which has no limits and is everywhere… that is the bigger part of who we are, and we need to get into the habit of recognizing that to be us. Because my atoms are just my atoms, and the DNA they build belongs to me and to my family, and this makes me divided, limited. Yet when you accept nothingness, there is not my nothingness and your nothingness, it is all one, all the emptiness of the universe is one. It is not limited. So when I accept emptiness, I accept you as myself, and myself as you, and the ground as myself, and the sky, and the stones, and everything. Because that is what I am! We are all one. When we see it, we accept this bigger part of who we are, and we stop paying so much attention to the small part which will eventually drop, the one that appeared at some point and is going to disappear at some other point later. Instead we focus on what is there and will always be there, which is Grace. Grace is not something floating in another dimension, no, Grace is right here, the atoms of this table are floating in Grace, the atoms of the air are floating in Grace, the atoms of your hair are floating in Grace, and all is one. Accept it all, this moment, now, everything beyond these walls, beyond this planet, now, now.

(Long silence)

The mind is going to resist, because the mind only accepts the things it can see, the things it can measure, touch, narrow down and define. And the Void is something that the mind cannot handle. The Void, the Infinite, these are all things that the mind cannot handle, and it is going to resist, it will tell you to look here instead, look, this is real because I can touch it — but that is a lie. Also, that Void, which the mind takes to be nothing, just some space that is there doing nothing, that Void is actually full, but not of matter, it is full of Love, it is full of Peace, and it is conscious. It does not need matter, love does not need matter, peace does not need matter. That is what the Void is, and the mind cannot understand it, and does not want to understand it. That is what we are, and what we will always, always be.

And this Void, which as we say is infinite, which has no beginning nor end, which is everywhere, which is aware of everything, which sees everything — we can see that this is precisely the mind’s definition of God. The mind, when it tries to explain Grace, when it tries to explain the Void, since it needs to have definitions and measures for everything, just makes up a character with a beard living on a cloud, which happens to have the exact same characteristics as the Void. It is infinite, it was never born, it will never die, it is aware of everything, it sees everything, and it does not judge — but eventually the mind goes wild with its creativity and makes up a God that punishes, a God that judges, a God who gives you some rules so that, if you don’t follow them, then you don’t get to enter an imaginary recreational park called heaven, where everyone is happy and souls accumulate. What nonsense, isn’t it? There is supposed to be some place where souls accumulate, and for millions of years the souls of people have been accumulating, so there are more and more souls… why so many souls? All is one, all is one, we are one single thing. But right now we are living under the illusion that we are matter.

(Long pause)

Yet, when we accept the Void as ourselves, we must also not forget the other small part of what we are, which is matter, because we are also that. The fact that it’s only a small part doesn’t mean we have to abandon it completely. We need to love that piece of matter which is also us, we need to love the character that we are playing, completely and totally. You are perfect just as you are, at this moment, there is nothing to fix, there is nothing to perfect. The character that you are is Grace, and Grace can only be perfect. Accept yourself, love yourself, just as you are, accept that it is perfect the way it is, because otherwise you are going into the mind’s games, the mind starts comparing you with some ideal of how you are supposed to be, and then you feel bad for not being like that, you try to change, and you spend your life trying to perfect, change and improve something that is going to die, and all that work will be for nothing, because you don’t even be able to change it, because that is the way you are. Your character is like that, it came with a script already written under its arm, everything has already been decided and the only thing we can do is love it all as it is, because we cannot be anything other than what are.

Luis de Santiago
Satsang in Barcelona, July 10th, 2016.