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On Becoming "Ripe" (Audio)
May 6, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: With Advaita teachers and the like, I have heard that you must be ready
or "ripe" before you can become enlightened by the means they teach. What
does this mean, and what must I do to become ripe?
A: In the terminology we have been using in AYP, "ripe" means "relational,"
which is the increasing presence of abiding inner silence (the witness),
blending in relationship with all aspects of our daily life, including our
self-inquiry into who we are. Before this, our thinking, feeling and action
will be something like unripe fruit, missing that liberated fullness and
radiant inner sweetness that is known when we experience ourselves to be the
doer who is beyond all manifestations in the realm of time and space.
We know when a piece of fruit is ripe often just by looking at it, and
surely when we bite into it. Likewise, the sages of advaita (non-duality and
self-inquiry) can tell whether we are ripe or not, and will interact with us
accordingly. If we are ripe, they will be able to help us a lot. And if we
are not ripe, they may tolerate our lack of ripeness, or they may send us
away for our own good. More importantly, we will either tolerate them or not
according to our inner condition. There is only so much an advaita sage can
do until the time of ripeness has arrived. We could say they are the
harvesters of enlightenment, the fruit pickers. They will keep telling us
the same thing "You are That which
is beyond all this." However, beyond their inner nudging, few advaita
teachers are able to give practical means enabling us to become ripe for
enlightenment. It is only then that we can fully hear
what they are saying and
experience it directly in our own life.
Becoming ripe is up to us, and we may have to go elsewhere for assistance in
that. That is just how it is.
On one hand, becoming ripe is something that will happen in its own course,
depending on the conditions of cultivation, or the lack of it. An orchard
that is left on its own may become irregular and full of weeds. It may still
produce some ripe fruit, but it will be an affair left much to chance. There
are many more random events that can happen to disrupt an orchard that is
left untended than will help it thrive.
On the other hand, the orchard that is well tended, cultivated and
fertilized will yield ripe fruit with predictability sweet luscious fruit
that the advaita teacher will love to pick. It is very easy for them then,
because the cultivating is already done, and the fruit is ready to fall off
the tree. Even without a picker, the ripe fruit will fall off the tree,
won't it? Advaita teachers who are genuine will be the first to tell a ripe
aspirant, "You don't need me. Just abide in who you are through thick and
thin, knowing yourself to be the One behind
all this, and you will see first hand the truth of life."
In the last half-century
a lot has changed. Many aspirants are becoming ripe, and the advaita fruit
pickers have become very busy. But let us not mistake the fruit picking with
the process of good cultivation to ripeness. The fruit that is falling off
the trees today has not been caused by the fruit pickers. It has been caused
by the millions around the world who have been cultivating within themselves
with meditation over the past half-century. The many who have taken
responsibility for their spiritual cultivation are the ones who are bringing
ripe fruit into the world. And this is how it will continue, with those who
engage in effective daily spiritual practice continuing to lay the
groundwork for the spiritual transformation of all humanity.
We need our advaita/non-duality teachers. They bring us inspiration at the
beginning of our path, and finally the nudging we need when we are ripe and
ready to move into the advanced stages of our spiritual journey. In-between,
most of us have much cultivating to do (see Lesson
Let's give credit where credit is due. But let's not forget that becoming
ripe is our responsibility, and will occur according to our earnest desire
(bhakti) and our willingness to keep up our daily practice for as long as it
takes. Then ripeness will surely come, and we will fall off the tree of
illusion into eternal omnipresent Oneness.
The guru is in you.
Lessons Topic Path
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