is no bigger psychic bully than death,
both as a looming inevitability, and as an actual experience. We
would like to avoid thinking about death, and avoid death itself,
even more than we would like to avoid being in states of boredom,
doubt, or discomfort.
And yet, when
we actually die (or have a near-death experience ),
despite whatever wriggling we did to try to get out of it before
we just gave in to it — for instance, in the form of Elisabeth
Kubler-Ross’s four predecessors to acceptance of death: denial,
anger, bargaining, or feeling depressed ),
we experience something quite different from what was moving us
to deny, be angry, bargain, etc.: we experience the overwhelmingly
loving and blissful Presence of God, even to such a degree that
we never want to leave It.
Now this sequence
is worth examining very carefully: first all the reactions that
tend to arise in relation to all the psychic bullies in our life;
then, completely giving in or surrendering; then Absolute Happiness.
hidden here is in the discovery that this sequence is not coincidental.
In any moment that we completely surrender
our selves — surrendering our struggle, our searching
for a way out, our reactivity — the Revelation of God is bound
to appear in some form (e.g., in the feeling of great happiness).
Let me tell
you a couple of personal stories, to give you a feeling for the
breadth and power of the point being made here.
similar to the one I lay in
A friend of
mine once took me to visit a “New Age” relaxation center whose
primary feature was a set of flotation tanks. (This was back in
the early 1980’s, when such things were hitting the peak of their
popularity.) My friend told me, “You’ll love it! It’s a deeply
relaxing experience!” Here’s the way it worked. You go into a
private room, undress, take a shower, and then enter the white
tank in the middle of the room. The tank is full of a liquid solution
that has a heavy Epsom salt concentration that cause anyone lying
back in the tank to float, effortlessly. And the tank also has
So I climbed
into the tank, and lay back. It was
wonderful! Just floating in that liquid. . . very relaxing, soothing.
Then I pulled the lid down. The idea was that you’d stay in this
“womblike” environment for about half an hour, undisturbed by
any sounds, sights — any sensory stimuli at all — and you would
have something like a meditative experience. Then after a half
an hour, some gentle music would “bring you back”, and you’d climb
out of the tank.
But, in fact,
as soon as the lid went down, I felt sheer terror. I suppose it
was a kind of claustrophobia. Everything in me wanted to push
that lid up again and climb out. Right away! I fought down that
immediate impulse, only to find distressing thoughts creeping
in. What if the attendant who was responsible for turning on the
music forgot? How long might I lay in that tank? And on and on.
experience" had turned into a nightmare. But two things held
me in place. The first was the thought that I might very well
have a similar feeling of terror when I died, but there would
be no “lid to lift up”, no way of “climbing out”. So better to
start getting acquainted with such intense feelings now, and somehow
learn to practice with them. The second thing was that I had recently
begun reading the teaching of my Spiritual Master, and I had some
sense of the way things actually work in the realm of the psyche,
and I realized that this was one of my first opportunities to
see my Master’s words about “surrender” and “feeling” in action
in a very personal way.
So I hung
in there. I didn’t raise the lid. I simply allowed myself to feel
the terror. It got worse. It grew to the point where I felt certain
I was going to die. And I continued to just feel it.
And then a
miracle happened. In a single instant, all the fear vanished,
and I suddenly felt completely happy.
I was blown
away by this. I mean, after all, isn’t it completely counter-intuitive
that one instant you would be feeling complete terror, and then
the next, complete happiness? It didn’t make any immediate sense.
But there it was.
I was so happy.
I just revelled in that happiness mindlessly without any self-consciousness.
At a certain point, the music came on, and I climbed out of the
tank. I looked at my watch — an hour had passed! The attendant
had indeed forgotten to turn the music on at the appointed time.
And I didn’t care.
point in my life, my then-girlfriend and I separated. The sadness
and sense of loss that I felt was greater than I had ever felt
before in such a separation. Over the course of a month, my life
was dominated by this feeling of intense sorrow. I was a professor
at the time, and, as I’d be walking down the corridors of the
school building, tears would suddenly start pouring down my face,
and I’d have to do my best to turn in such a way that my students
and colleagues didn’t see them.
of this sorrow kept growing for weeks. Then, one night, as I lay
in bed, the sorrow became overwhelming. And something very interesting
began to happen. The thought came to mind that I could call a
friend, and try to distract myself that way. But even as the thought
arose, I simultaneously somehow knew that the pain was too deep
for this distraction to relieve it. Then I thought of going to
a movie. Same thing. Reading a book. Same thing. And so on. Even
as this was happening, another part of me was watching in fascination
as I witnessed something I had never really noticed so clearly
before: my mind was primarily organized, in every moment, to search
for ways to distract me from intense feeling! It was literally
like watching a computer program in action. It tried one option.
That failed. Then it tried another. That failed. But it systematically
stepped through all my usual distractions, one by one. And then
it ran out.
no more distractions. There was not the possibility for distraction
in that moment. I no longer had an option: I had no choice but
to feel this sorrow. And so, having no choice, I surrendered.
I let the sadness overwhelm me. Just like my feeling of terror
in the flotation tank, I felt sure that I was going to die.
And then the
miracle happened again — in a single moment, the sadness was replaced
by sheer Bliss.
The Gift, then, provided by the moment of our death, or our near-death,
is that death forces us —
with overwhelming strength — to completely surrender, and then
it reveals to us the Fruit of doing so. My Spiritual Master, Adi
Da Samraj, elaborates:
sense the greatest power of all, the greatest Grace of all,
therefore, is unqualified pain. As long as you have an option,
some way to slip and slide out of your dilemma, your difficulty,
your egoic “self-possession”, you will tend to take the
way out or otherwise just be confused. All of you must have
had some moments in your life when the pain, the confusion,
the forcefulness, of the intrusion of the difficulty of
life was so profound you could not figure anything out about
it, you could not make an emotional gesture to escape, you
could not do anything physically about it, you could not
do anything socially about it, or anything else. It was
so confusing, so overwhelming, so profound, it was not even
that you could surrender but surrender was inevitable. You
nakedly felt beyond yourself, relieved of your apparently
independent self, the egoic self eliminated by that most
profound intrusion. . . .
then there is a kind of beatitude, not necessarily Divine
Enlightenment every time such a thing occurs, but a kind
of beatitude, continuous with what Is. In such a moment,
you must be given up to What Is, whatever It Is, and there
is no choice about it. . . .
are all the time fearing death and great pain and the most
dreadful of consequences. If any of those things did happen,
a beatitude would be inevitable. But there is a great lesson
in pain. In pain, you can allow that very same condition
of beatitude to coincide with your ordinary life. You can
allow it. It can become the greatest principle of Yoga,
the greatest principle of [Spiritual practice]. You will
allow, even embrace, great discipline, great devotion, great
service, great meditation, great heat, great tapas, knowing
that in such circumstances there is always beatitude, because
no choice is available to you.
great [Spiritual] Realizers know this secret. I know it.
If you can come to the point of allowing such complete and
total surrender, so that you never avoid it, so that in
fact it becomes the condition of existence, then life is
beatitude, existence is beatitude.
is a secret in such surrender that is most fundamental to
[Spiritual practice]. Allow yourself to be cooked, to be
burned alive, to avoid nothing. To be, in this moment, in
such a place where surrender is not even your only choice,
where it is only inevitable — this is the secret of most
effective [Spiritual practice]. It is the secret of renunciation.
It is why renunciation is the secret of Realization, bereft
of all means, all strategies, only There, without resorts
of the egoic kind, in Place with the One Who Is, only devotion
and not by choice. There is no choice. Giving yourself no
choice whatsoever is the greatest principle of [Spiritual
Adi Da Samraj
God-born, with God allowed, God Existing, and with no alternatives
— this is the great Secret. The greatest Realizers, the
greatest renunciates, all know this Secret. This is why
they do what they do. But if you are only mediocre, always
trying to avoid the great Imposition of Reality Itself,
then you always have an option, some way to slip or slide
to the right or left, always some way to desensitize yourself
to the great Condition, not to mention all conditions. To
become so humbled, so ground up, that there cannot be anything
but Divine Enlightenment, this is the Secret. Mark my words!
are all maintaining options that is what I am telling you.
You always have an option. Even suggesting to yourself,
“I would choose always the option of surrender and devotion”
still gives you room. You should give yourself no room —
devotion absolute, imposed to the absolute degree so that
no gesture even can or even need be made, but only God Is.
That is the Secret.
Adi Da Samraj, The Incarnation of Love 
So what is actually
going on here? How can we make sense of this general
principle, as well as all the demonstrations of it — my own
personal ones, and the large number of accounts of near-death
experiences — which all seem to point to the same conclusion:
“complete surrender restores Happiness”?
that we are (unconsciously) doing in every moment (which, in the
context of psychic bullies, is made most obvious) is avoiding
feeling fully. The surrender that took place in the
experiences I described is fundamentally a psychic
surrender, in which we simply cease to avoid feeling
enough, the reason you are so disturbed about the facts
of life that might make you fearful, sorrowful, and angry
is that whenever something arises that you might appropriately
be angry, fearful, or sorrowful about, you do not feel it
completely. You limit your feeling of even these reactions.
And you certainly limit your feeling of the circumstance,
or the condition that is arising. You are always exhibiting
the evidence of limited feeling, obstructed feeling. If
feeling becomes limitless, if you do not contract, then
feeling becomes Being Itself — no reaction, no contraction,
Feeling without limit. That Feeling goes beyond fear, sorrow,
anger, and conventional happiness and loving attitudes.
is It? It is Love-Bliss. It is the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant
Force of Being, without the slightest obstruction. It is
Divine Enlightenment. It Divinely Transfigures the body-mind
and becomes a Power, a Great Power, and — because now you
are looking at manifestation through this color, this “one
flavor”, this Free Force or Free Energy — It even allows
you to interpret everything differently. Now you will not
be saying that manifest existence is evil or suffering or
sinful, or that others are unloving, that we are mortal,
that we are going to die, that it is a terrible life, and
so forth. Instead, you will regard all of manifest existence
to be pervaded by Love-Bliss. Not merely Bliss coming at
you from every direction, but Love-Bliss, Self-Existing
and Self-Radiant, Radiating from every direction in the
Place where you Stand, as you, and everywhere, altogether.
It has no center, it has no bounds, it has no limits. It
is Free Energy. And, in the midst of Free Energy, you are
Free as attention, not limited, not obstructed in your attention.
Adi Da Samraj, Feeling Without Limitation 
excerpt is taken from Book
6 of The
Practical Spirituality Series.
For more information about this series, click
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