The Helper on the Wall
"You have more freedom than you are using."
A jivanmukta is neither to be blamed nor praised for his actions. Just as you watch him acting, he himself watches him. All the praise and blame go to his body and mind -- not to him.
...Sometimes they are sent back into the world. It is not because they want it, but because the Cosmic Law wants it. "Hey you are a good example. Go, live in the midst of people. Let them see you appearing to act although you are not acting."
Sometimes teachers are sent like that. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave as a beautiful parable about this:
Once a few people went to visit a garden, having been told that there were beautiful big fruit trees there. But the garden was completely surrounded by high walls and they couldn't even see what was inside. With great effort one person managed to climb the wall and see inside. He saw such luscious fruit that the minute he saw, he jumped in.
Another person climbed up and immediately jumped in the same way. Finally, a third person climbed up, but when he saw, he said, "My gosh, how can I jump in now? There are so many hungry people below who don't know what is here or how to climb up." So she* sits on the wall and says, "Hey, there are a lot of fruits, come on. If you try hard you can come up like I have." She lends a hand, pulling people in.
Such people are called teachers. They know what is there but they just don't want to go and experience it themselves. They want to wait and pull as many people over as they have the strength to do. It is the Cosmic Consciousness or Cosmic Law which takes care of that.
...And how can you recognize a jivanmukta? Only by becoming a jivanmukta. Until then he may appear to you to be like anybody else. Still, we seem to recognize it in some people...we should know we are understanding him or her in our own way, according to our imagination. That's the problem with gods and religion. Each person imagines the unimaginable God in his or her own way and each imagination varies -- so we fight. But in the case of wanting a realized person to guide you, ultimetely you have to judge by the results. What happens in your life by following the imagination that so-and-so is a jivanmukta? If you become more unhappy, don't follow her anymore. If you are becoming better and happier, continue. The proof of the pudding is in eating. Lick a little more and see how it tastes. If it tastes good, eat a little more. It's an important point.
...According to your own thinking you have taken a liking, "Oh this guy seems to be a good person to guide me." That's all. It's your own imagination. You imagine a Guru should be a certain way...in reality, only a snake knows a snake; only a saint knows a saint.
-Sri Swami Satchidananda (excerpt from his commentary on Sutra 4.30, Kaivalya Pada from Integral Yoga: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali)
*some pronouns were changed from masculine to feminine
To the Jivanmuktans, I hope this serves as encouragement when the experience gets real:
I wonder who you are, painter, doctor,writer, actor, lawyer, nurse, poet, veterinarian, scientist...
I wonder what you do to stay feeling connected to the unapologetic version of yourself.
You're here to show us how good courage can feel.
Remind us that peaceful living can be loud. Liberation comes in quiet moments.
However you do what you do, what you give to the world gives people a reason to keep going.
Gentle reminders of the process:
There are those who like doing things the hard way.
There are those who are comfortable wading in the muck with no desire to grow.
There are those who'd rather yell at themselves than listen to the ocean or trees.
There will be moments where the work gets tough and forgetting feels easier.
There will be things that you must do that make no sense at all, but people need them to happen.
People will do many seemingly strange or nasty things around you, and the reasons and motives for these things may not be clear for a long while. Some consequences take time. That is okay.
Saying "WHAT THE FUCK" kinda loud in your own time is part of the fun of this human experience.
Sometimes the best you can do is mind your business until someone really sees you and wants help with the next steps.
Sometimes doing the work is not the work itself but getting in deep with the how and why of it.
Exercise patience. Excercise faith and appreciation for the journey and the missteps. If you sculpt and tone the compassion muscles the same way people wanna work on their butt or abs and you'll be fine. (What does compassion in action look like? One instance could be: Right when you're about to be judgy pants to yourself or others, cut them some slack and/or cut yourself some slack. If you have nothing nice to say, mind your business).
Right when you are overwhelmed and a little pissed because of all of the ways that human beings have learned to turn love away, take a breath. At the very same moment, choose to be just as amazed at the beauty of someone realizing that acceptance was a power they possessed all along.
True: there are many layers that one can truly know oneself. In a way, simply being alive and helping rad things happen is the action of being the helper on the wall. Sometimes, the hands you help across the wall will toss you fruit from the trees below and what you taste is the sweetest thing ever. It's your birthright to enjoy it.
The dedicated ever enjoy peace... The entire life is an open book, a scripture. Read it. Learn while digging a pit or chopping wood or cooking some food. If you can't learn from your daily activities, how are you going to understand the scriptures? - Sri Swami Satchidananda