Eric Baret - Transcript
if you’re tense, you block the feeling of the tension, and that will remain. But i f you feel the tension, the tension will unfold by itself because it’s very nature in fact is movement, and a tension which unfolds, by its very nature, quits its limitations as tension. So the body-work only has value if it transposes the emotional level. That’s why t he way we work, it looks like – all schools of yoga, we all do the same positions, but the way we do it is different in that we don’t do it striving towards somethi ng, we do it to feel. And when you feel, you feel yourself aloof from what you f eel, and that will transpose in emotional life. Does sadness dissolve without its label? Sadness is only there in the moment! You come out of the theatre, you’re not sad a nymore, you’re happy, said it was so beautiful. What was beautiful? To feel the sa dness. But if you’re sad you block the sadness. Emotion has two folds: either you are afraid of something, and you cannot move, either you feel fear and you move faster. So the first emotion, the first appropriation blocks life, “I am afraid of this I cannot move” – the second, “I feel the fear in my belly and my chest – I move fa ster” and finally all the chemical parts of the body make me alive — if I have to st rike I strike harder, I jump faster – when I feel fear. If I am afraid I cannot mo ve. So only what reduces our abilities is eventually given away. Emotion will al ways remain, but as power, as beauty, as expression; not as a hindrance that one should get rid of to find freedom or whatever. Does sensation precede emotion? Emotion and sensation – we should not try to find understanding through the words, because words are just a kind of agreement between you and I. I don’t know what y ou mean by emotion, you will never know what I mean by emotion; so when we say w e agree, we agree on something very superficial. So understanding can only come from being-understanding, which means we don’t understand words — being-understandin g doesn’t belong to the mind because the mind only functions with words. Without w ords you cannot think…you only think with words. But the language is very importan t, to see its own limitations. Even in sacred languages, like Sanskrit, Chinese or Arabic, where the structure, the semantics of the language is different — when Shankara wrote his texts, he was thinking of Sanskrit, that was a big part of hi s expression. If he spoke another language, his text, his philosophy would have been different. We think according to what we always speak. When you see that, i t is very important that one, in a certain way, opens to understanding without w ords; because otherwise, what we call understanding is just reduction to our own immensity, to our own limitations. So there is nothing to understand. You give up understanding, in a certain way; so we can’t understand what ‘this’ means, because ‘t his’ means nothing. Meaning our defence, which have a role to play to point toward s our bodies beyond defence…butt as such we can never understand something. What does Tantric Shaivism offer? It refers to celebration. When you realize you don’t need to build anything in you r life, that you don’t need to achieve anything in your life, that you don’t need to defend anything in your life, in a certain way what remains is a feeling of cel ebration, is a thanking. Not thanking something, not thanking somebody, but just the very fact of thanking — so for us, perception actually is thanking, thinking is celebration, when it is used as an expression of this fore-feeling. But gener ally thinking is a defence – we use our fists, our elbows to fight, and we use our thinking to fight. “I agree, I disagree, you’re right, you’re wrong”…so thinking has beco me a fighting tool but as such it doesn’t need to be, thinking is, in a traditiona l way, an expression of truth. That’s why if you read the texts of Meister Eckhart or Ib’n Arabi or other great sages, their thoughts come from silence so they brin g you back to silence if you don’t accentuate the semantic or the meaning. Our fre
edom comes from silence. So, Kashmiri Tantra reduces the importance of formulati on – but this is not specific, because you find the same in all traditional expres sions. How is the yoga you teach different from Tantric Shaivism? Actually it is not, the only thing is that the expression has to be adapted to t he modern world. Many elements which are taken for granted in Kashmir – or were ta ken, because of the political situation, it’s different, the Hindus have been expe lled from Kashmir by the Islamic situation – it’s not the same here. People live in the fantasy of a democratic world. They want to be happy getting married or havi ng children or being rich or being recognized – so, it’s not that different, but it’s expressed differently. In a way, in India, it was, from the very beginning, at l east intellectually recognized that the aim of life was not becoming something b ut recognizing something. So here we should adapt, and it is a light adaptation because it doesn’t make a big difference – so when you want a new wife, a new husban d, a new dog, a new car, a new guru, or when you want freedom, actually what you want is this wholeness, which, because of your culture, because of your stupidi ty, because of your intelligence, you project onto a woman, onto a man, onto a g uru, onto a tradition, onto a car. But actually you don’t want the husband because when you get it, you want another one. You don’t want the car because when you ha ve it you want another one. So, what we want is not what we want. So even if I t hink ‘The goal of my life is to have a white dog’, I want the same thing as the Sadd hus of the Himalayas. So what we pretend to want is unimportant because the long ing is the same. It’s just that at some point the longing becomes more clear. So t hat it doesn’t – there is no – expansion of energy in some objective direction. What is the function of seeking? Seeking is an expression of truth, it’s not a way. Abhinavagupta, in the Tantralok a, is very clear: all the yoga practices are an expression of truth. Yoga does n ot bring [us] to truth but truth expresses itself through yoga. So the way is an expression, sadhana is an expression. It is because you fore-feel, you fore-fel t silent, silence that your life becomes sadhana. But to do sadhana to reach sil ence is the wrong way of thinking. The very fact that you look for something is a proof you already feel it, you already have it. The very fact you asked the qu estion proves you know the answer — the answer is before the question. You only as k a question because you fore-feel the answer or else you cannot ask a question. So for a sadhana, when you look for God, this looking comes from God directly. It’s just an expression. But the looking does not bring you to what you look for. What you look for is behind you — the way you express yourself is the theme of the seeking, maybe at the beginning, but will end up being a celebration of what ca nnot be thought, what cannot be found. You are what needs to be found – you are no t the finder of anything – the truth is in back of us, not in front of us. That’s wh y it can never be reached, it can never be understood, it can never be felt, it can never be sensed — because we are what needs to be sensed, felt and seen. We ar e not the seeker, we are what is sought. So, sadhana and seeking and expression provokes a direct transposition of the fore-feeling of truth, in the realm of sp iritual dynamism. What is truth? Actually, again, it would be a limitation to try to say ‘what is truth’, ‘what is cons ciousness’, ‘what is silence’, because you and I are going to agree that it is this, b ut we agree on two words, which have different meanings for us according to cult ure, to mind, we will understand the words in different ways. “Oh yes, we agree” — we don’t agree, we just pretend. So truth is a word used to describe the fact that ev en if you have three wives and three husbands and three cars, something is not t otally satisfied and you want something else – and whatever you want, when you get it, very soon you want something else. So, this longing for what seems to be so
mething, for a long time, can be called truth or consciousness but the word does not reveal what it is. The word makes it more objective. That’s why in Sanskrit w e use the word [anama?]: what has no name. So whatever name we give it is a peda gogical tool. It’s what you cannot question. You can give up everything but this longing, at som e point, you cannot give it up, because it is what we want in every action, in e very thought, every perception. You can never give up this fore-feeling. Is truth empty of meaning? To think there is no truth, or to think there is truth, are both thoughts and th ey’re both respectful – but they refer to the same thing. According to my brain, to my culture, if I’m a communist I will say ‘there is no truth, that’s the truth’, if I’m Bu ddhist I will say ‘the truth is the trikaya, the truth is Buddhahood’ — why not? We’re t alking about the same thing in different clothes. So at some point you stop acce nting the clothes, and you feel, in a way what it means, without making it an ob jective meaning. But it always remains a fore-feeling. How has your yoga practice evolved? What changes is that at the beginning you feel relaxed, and the more and more yo u inquire about the body, the more you realize you are only tension. At the begi nning you feel still and the more you inquire about the mind the more you realiz e you’re not still, really. So you just discover all your limitations, more and mo re clearly. There is ever more room for appropriation. In this line you cannot b ecome something, you cannot become a guru, you cannot become enlightened, you se e your limitations – this very fact is our freedom. There is no other. When you se e your pretension, it is what is called humility…but there’s no one to be humble, [e xcept] in pretension. So, the seeing is more and more intense. It’s endless becaus e perception is endless – but it’s not endless in time, because time is what comes a nd goes. So, slowly, slowly the accent shifts from time to the intensity in whic h time appears. So there’s really no evolving — nothing changes, but you don’t accent things anymore. Was Jean Klein teaching yoga? Jean Klein had two teachings — he was teaching advaita vedanta for the very bright people, and tantra for the very stupid ones. So, advaita is an [elastic? nihili stic?] teaching which is only proper for people with the highest level of mental discrimination, which are immensely purified – that means we have no link with em otional life: when you read Shankara, when you read the commentaries of the Mand ukya Upanishads of Gaudapada, they don’t talk about your wife and children, instea d they talk about real stuff. So that’s for the exception. And you need the presen ce of somebody really in his own absence. You cannot inhabit this openness on yo ur own…according to the tradition. Tantra is for the stupid. For tantra, you do no t need anything but being more and more open to the fact that we are constantly in reaction, that we are constantly in pretension, that we are constantly in thi nking, in defending, in trying. So, this teaching is very stimulating, and it do esn’t require any teacher. The teacher is life and there is no room to achieve any thing there. So according to the level of his student, Jean would use one or the other teaching. Of course they were not black and white, but still, there was a kind of strong-line. Non-dualistic [advaita?] teaching excludes everything to c oncentrate on the intensity. The tantric teaching includes everything, because t here’s nothing else than truth. So there’s nothing to exclude. It is democratic, the other elitist — that’s the tantric point of view. From the Vedantic point of view, they see it in a different way. And there’s no contradiction, because the Indian t raditions are multi-fold. It may seem to be in opposition, but it is not. How does the tantric tradition compliment Advaita?
Advaitic tradition is considered for the elite. When you read the Upanishads, th ey don’t give you advice on how to live your life – they don’t tell you what to eat, t hey don’t tell you how to make love – they tell you to concentrate on the self. It i s beautiful for the people who have this ability…but most people may concentrate o n the self when everything goes well, but when their wife sleeps with their neig hbour, when their child gets killed, when they have cancer, their concentration is weakened. Then the tantric tradition has a role to play. But if one has this ability to abide in the very self of one’s self, it is beautiful, nothing else is needed. But most people can only have this fore-feeling when their surroundings are fine — but if your world breaks down, if your body breaks down, if your wife b reaks down, if your husband breaks down, if your child breaks down – their medita tion on their own non-identity is weakened. So then the tantric tradition has a role to play. To make you see that the very fact of what is happening is nothing else than what you are looking for. That consciousness has no form. It has a fo rm of what appears in the moment. It is just our thinking mind which creates sep aration. But that should be felt and not thought. So there’s no opposition, there’s just a different orientation. How can the body be used as a tool of exploration? There’s no such thing as a body — the body is a thought. So to try to find oneself i n the body is like to try to find oneself in a car or in a relationship, it’s a fa ntasy. The body is only there when it is thought. In deep sleep there is no body , but every night you are so happy to go to sleep. And to pretend ‘I am nowhere, I am everywhere’, it’s very sweet but the facts of life challenge this evidence, it i s not real evidence. You could be a real evidence – Ramana Maharshi never did any yoga, Maharaj neither, […] neither, the great sages – none of the sages have done yo ga. Master Eckhart, Ibn Arabi never stood on their heads and they weren’t missing anything. And I know so many people who do yoga day and long and well…we wonder wh y! So it’s not there – it’s not against or for it, it’s just — it’s a question of intensity. The body is feeling and whatever we call life is our body. We don’t meet life, we meet only our body. So it’s a kind of respect, in a way, to listen – not to listen to the body because the body is a concept, but to listen to what we imagine is a body. And with listening, the preconceptions we have as a body will change, and as the preconceptions we have as a body will change, the way we feel the world changes because the way we create the world is just a projection of the way we f eel our body. There is no difference, if I feel my body is hard, the world is ha rd, if I feel violence, I feel the world is violent — we can know only a projectio n of our body. The world is only a projection of our mental limitations, affecti vity and so-on. If you were raped all your youth, you see the world from that po int of view. If you were caressed and loved all your youth, you see the world fr om this point of view. We don’t see the world – we only see our emotions. So tantra, in a way, is just acknowledging this fact, and inquiring for the sake of it bec ause life is inquiring – there’s no goal, you don’t become anything, you’re never gonna to change anything, you’re never going to achieve anything but the beauty of life, the intensity of life is asking without asking. Asking without expecting an ans wer. If you expect an answer you live in projection, you cannot be present. So m y teacher used to say: ‘waiting without waiting’. There’s a waiting, which means aloof ness which is openness, but without waiting would be a direction going away from aloofness. So myself I use the word intensity – it’s a word, it has no meaning. But it is the same thing. So there is no contradiction; for some people the body-wo rk would be a distraction because they could not approach it without an intentio n. So for them it would be a dispersion. For some people not to do the body-work would be a dispersion because it’s too easy to read the Upanishads when your husb and is faithful, when you’re in good health, when you have some money, when your c ountry is at peace. So you must see things in a more creative way. And it’s not th at we have a choice. Things unravel the way they need to be. So there’s no contrad iction.
What was the role of the Bhajan in the Advaita tradition? …Krishnamurti and Vivekananda and Ramakrishna and his guru and there was a picture of a very fat man, with a big belly like me, but with a big moustache, incredib le eyes and a big sword and so he was putting the [cuncumin] and they would ask him ‘Maharaj who was this man?’ and he said ‘Oh, this man is the man who killed all th e English in my village!’ So people see that, hear that, in a fantasy world but Ma haraj was very creative. Nonduality is not something, and Bhajan is not somethin g else, it’s just the intensity of life. It is our minds that want to decide ‘is it dual, nondual, dual/nondual, nondual/dual’ and it’s not only Western because in Indi a we have five Vedantic traditions not three: nondualist, dualistic, half-dualis t half non-dualistic, half non-dualist half dualist, dualist non-dualistic, dual ist non-dualistic dualistic non-dualist, we just have Advaita and so-on. So Indi ans are like that too. In Kashmir Shaivism, it’s endless, the level of possibility . So, that’s the beauty of mind. Like there’s so many kinds of music and birds and t houghts, same thing. But it is never a contradiction, that’s the beauty of India – t hat nothing is considered superior. It’s only here that we want to know ‘what is the best’, which means nothing. The best for who? The best for me but this me has no meaning. There’s no best. Everything has a space. That’s why in India if you’re a pros titute, if you’re a banker, if you’re a guru, if you’re a pandit, it’s the same, because that’s the way to express your life, your inquiry, but nothing is higher it’s just for a short moment it seems like that. That’s why you don’t change jobs because you change jobs if you think ‘from a prostitute to become a banker, maybe it’s better’, bu t it is not. You stay where you are. You don’t lose any energy trying to become an ything, and you focus on the intensity. Then the prostitute could be a [nyannese ?], the banker could be a [nyannese?], and the saddhu could be a [nyannese?], wh y not? But there is no way which is better. Abhinavagupta refused to give initia tion to anybody who would wear the Shaiva marks, even in the 10th century. So th ere’s no best anywhere. That’s the root of Indian culture. Are we attached to preference here in the West? Yes, because the ego wants to know ‘what is best for me?’ ‘What is best for me – should I sleep with this one or that one…should I marry this one or that one…should I go th ere or there? Who’s the best guru? Who has the best book? What’s the best car?’ The be st for what? One must inquire at some point. Who am I talking about? What am I t alking about? It’s a fantasy. So any situation will bring you back to see you’re jus t pretending ‘Oh I better marry this one’ then ‘I know I better divorce this one’, only living in this fantasy. In India you don’t get married for you – you get married bec ause in a way, that’s life. I’m not saying one should follow Indian tradition, becau se as all traditions they have their beauty and their weakness. But it is not as stupid as the way we think from here, because it cuts off all your dynamism tow ards something. If you’re born in India you cannot become anything. So the only sp ace available to you is intensity. Everything else is cared for you. You don’t get married for love, you don’t marry for any reason — whatever you do, it’s not what you want to do. So you have to find the freedom not in doing. But of course, it has its limits too. It has its frustrations too, it has its violence too and, it is what it is. Because the idea that people do here ‘what is best for myself, what t radition should I follow’ must be seen at some point as the ultimate mis-leading a ttitude. I’m not there to follow the tradition I like. The tradition for me is the one that’s going to challenge me. And this is the one I’m going to dislike. Because what I like is what gives me security. Security belongs to ego. So I must follo w the tradition I dislike the most that’s the good one for me. If I dislike it, th at means I fore-feel that I am challenged by it. That’s the one I should do. What I want to do is always the wrong path. What I don’t want to do is what I should do . That’s the tantric way. If I don’t want it, it’s because I have a defence. This defe nce stops me from breathing life. To see the defence, I must encounter it. That’s the only way. But generally when I have a defence, I go somewhere else. Or I fol low this tradition because its easy, it fits me, I like it, I feel comfortable. That’s the ego talking. One must always go where we don’t want to go. That’s the right
way. That’s the tantric way.