Sri Ramana said something that I’m noticing in my own experience these days and I’d like to elaborate on it, if you’d permit me. He said:
“The old vasanas pertaining to the body, (mind and so on) are destroyed. Being free from body-consciousness one never has the sense of doership.
“Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma, it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him. Once the knot is cut, one is never bound again. This is considered the state of power supreme and peace supreme.” (1)
I have no sense that my karma is completely destroyed. Body consciousness has gone down somewhat. Nevertheless, I’m not somehow comparing myself to the aspirant that Sri Ramana is talking about except in a very limited way.
There are in fact three stages to the realization “I am not the doer.” And I’m in the first stage.
(1) Dropping the Sense of Doership
In the first stage, what I notice is that with the subsiding of the vasanas, the “doer,” the constructed self, the “sense” of one’s self also subsides. It’s as if the ego is a product of or at least reinforced by the vasanas.
When one is not moved hither and yon by strong emotions, when one settles down into normalcy and peace, no strong or enduring sense of a doer arises.
This is the experiential, existential view. As long as the vasanas remained, I had trouble with the concept “I am not the doer” because I read it as “one does not do.” But that isn’t what he’s saying.
What he’s saying is that we continue to do but without creating a “sense” of the doer.’
Another way that sages have of talking about the same phenomenon is to say “get present,” “be in the flow,” “be in the here and now.” When one is present, one again loses the sense of the doer and is only aware of doing itself. That covers the same conceptual territory.
Another cut at the difference between the two statements is to imagine yourself taking a very heavy blanket and soaking it in water, so that it’s now twice as heavy. Now wrap that very heavy, wet blanket around yourself and begin to dance. Notice that you can hardly move your limbs, the blanket is so heavy.
Now take the wet blanket off and dance. Notice how easy it is. You experience an incredible lightness of being.
In both cases, you danced but in the one case it was hard to do and in the other case it was easy.
By the same token, when one has vasanas and the “sense” of doership the vasanas bring along with them, doing becomes hard, heavy, and serious.
But when one’s self-consciousness lifts as the result of dropping the vasanas in an experience such as “system restore,” (2) one still engages in doing but it now becomes effortless, easy, even joyful.
In all cases, it’s the “sense” of doership that drops away, not doing itself.
(2) The Consequences for Behavior of Dropping the Sense of Doership
Paul Ferrini and Shree Rajneesh are talking about a stage farther than I’ve gotten to but not as advanced as what we’ll turn to in a minute. We can think of it as a middle stage in the realization of non-doership.
Ferrini: “When you begin to realize that you are not the doer, you drop the subconscious attachment to playing to lose. As a result, you are no longer the victim of your life. When you cease being the doer, you also cease being the victim, for the two always go hand in hand. The doer is the victim and the victim the doer. This is the cycle of birth and death, the karmic wheel on which you have been mercilessly turning. …
“The price of the miracle is not great. You must simply give up what you think you know. When the past drops and all of your knowledge comes to an end, your innocence is restored. You enter the moment fully conscious, allowing it to unfold in you and through you. This is not some idle fantasy, but an invitation to experience, an invitation to participate in the ongoing miracle of life.” (3)
Rajneesh: “It is very difficult to remember that events are happening and you are not the doer. For example, I am speaking. If I say that I am speaking and I mean that ‘I’ am speaking, then I have misinterpreted the phenomenon. I am speaking, speaking is happening through me, but I do not know what the next sentence will be. When it comes you will know it and I will also know it. It is a happening, something comes through me. I am not at all a doer; something happens in me.” (4)
Ferrini and Rajneesh are talking about the behavioral consequences of dropping the sense of doership, but not the ultimate consequences for enlightenment.
I think what they’re talking about is what Matt Kahn (5) also was when he invited us to drop the need to understand.
We are not the ego, the constructed self, the vasanas. And the ego, the constructed self, the vasanas are not the doer. That’s proved by the fact that when the vasanas go, or the ego quiets down, or one exits the constructed self, one still continues doing or acting, but without a sense any more of the one who acts.
To be sure, those identities are constructions in consciousness, but they are denser than who we really are and not at all essential or basic to it. They’re part of the illusion and intended to be transcended and dropped.
(3) The Consequences for Enlightenment of Dropping the Sense of Doership
I’ve taken one step only on the path. Paul Ferrini and Shree Rajneesh are pointing at another step taken.
Here’s Sri Ramakrishna talking about a much longer step and a much deeper dropping of the sense of doership, that results in the completion of this leg of the journey:
“If by the grace of God a man but once realizes that he is not the doer, then he at once becomes a jivanmukta [sage liberated while living]. Though living in the body, he is liberated. He has nothing else to fear.” (6)
“What is knowledge? And what is the nature of the ego? ‘God alone is the Doer, and none else’ – that is knowledge. I am not the doer; I am a mere instrument in His hand. Therefore I say: ‘O Mother, Thou art the Operator and I am the machine. Thou art the Indweller and I am the house. Thou art the Driver and I am the carriage. I move as Thou movest me. I do as Thou makest me do. I speak as Thou makest me speak. Not I, not I, but Thou, but Thou.'” (7)
In the first stage, the vasanas drop away and so does the sense of the doer along with them. In the second stage, we begin to observe what actually happens and see that we are not in fact the doer, that doing happens. In the third stage, we actually become aware of who the doer is – God -and intend to realize Him (Her, It).
Let’s return to my case. I dropped the vasanas with the assistance of the celestials, who saw my determination and anchored that in, as Archangel Michael acknowledges here:
“What has been happening is that you have made the decision, and that is part of what has triggered all this, to anchor that release. So sometimes there are events or releases that are not fully embraced, can we say? Therefore they are not anchored in the permanency of your field.
“But you have chosen, and we have anchored in, the permanency of this situation to be gone.” (8)
They honored my decision and that in turn made the move decisive and permanent. I think they’d do the same for anyone who acts or responds with the same determination.
So the sense of being the doer is what must go, not the act of doing. When we respond from this wider identity that has no Third-Dimensional sense of itself, life becomes wonderful. Doing so would have us respond from the same un-self-conscious space that I’m describing here.’
From there we realize behavioral benefits and then higher spiritual benefits, all of which point to the fact that we’re like finger puppets, with God being the only doer. God is the subject of all thoughts, feelings and actions. In the end there is only God, the realization of which marks the end of the journey.
(1) Sri Ramana Maharshi in Vasistha Ganapathi, ed., Sri Ramana Gita. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanashramam, 1977, 49-55.
(2) “System Restore” at https://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/on-processing-vasanas/system-restore/.
(3) Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996, 22-3.
(4) Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, I am the Gate. The Meaning of Initiation and Discipleship. New York, etc.: Harper Colophon, 1977; c1975, 8.
(5) “Matt Kahn: Your True Divine Nature – Living in the 5th Dimension,” May 10, 2014, at https://goldenageofgaia.com/2014/05/10/matt-kahn-your-true-divine-nature-living-in-the-5th-dimension/
(6) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 169.
(7) Ibid., 98.
(8) “System Restore,” ibid. and https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/2014-May-9-Age-Six-Experience-.mp3.