Q & A Session
The Intelligence of Childlikeness
Questioner 1: Can childishness be a form of Intelligence?
Bentinho: Let's call it childlikeness. The term childish generally describes someone who is overly attached to their own ideas, as well as stubborn. But someone who is childlike has spontaneity. There is a spontaneity and a naturalness to the being and behavior of infants and young children. You will find that the more you let go of the mind-based identity, the more childlike you become, in some ways at least. You will also become more quiet and wise.
There are a few moods you will notice naturally arise the more you trust in the Self and let go of your control on your body, mind and its projected version of ‘the world.’ These moods typically range from sort of a deep seriousness, sincerity, earnestness, ‘no-bullshit allowed,’ love for truth and focus, to sort of a light-hearted childlike playfulness that is spontaneous, free, contagious, silly and unfiltered. In the spectrum between these two your outward life as an expression of Source, will flow. To others, you will seem somewhere in the range of serious, deep and mysterious, to perhaps silly and playful. So yes, there is definitely an Intelligence to childlikeness; one that is inherent to the Self.
The Usefulness of Mantras
Questioner 2: I sometimes experience an emotional charge that makes me forget myself. In these situations, is a mantra or knowledge useful?
Bentinho: A mantra is a tool. Certain tools, like mantras, offer us insight. They are like a thought that carries a certain vibrational wisdom, which acts like a pointer pointing us back to Self. You don't forget yourself when you become emotionally charged; you forget yourself and then you become emotionally charged. So if you are emotionally charged, this means you've already forgotten yourself. We tend to increase this forgetting as soon as the trigger or charge arises by narrowing our focus around it. Then we really feel the extent of our forgetfulness.
So yes, it’s helpful to have some kind of intellectual thought to hold onto at first; to weed out the emotional stuff. We need a thought such as, "This is what my teacher told me," or "This is God," or "This is what will lead me back to the I AM." Find one that works for you; one that's as direct as possible in pointing you back to pure Existence.
The Magnetic Pull of Awareness
Questioner 3: The more you are in Awareness, it becomes magnetic?
Bentinho: Yes, it becomes magnetic. The world-based personality begins to be absorbed into the Self.
Questioner 3: So my Awareness is pulling me inward?
Bentinho: Yes. It’s always pulling you, but we've built up so much stuff that we usually don't feel it. But when you become aware that everything except Awareness is suffering and ultimately delusional, this shows that wisdom and maturing are happening. Because right now you're still satisfied. As long as you're still satisfied with what you have, you won't have the desire to burn through all the stuff. Your life is still engaging and entertaining; it still gives you gratification and relief.
We suffer intensely and then we settle for ‘suffering a little bit less’ and we mistakenly call this peace or happiness. We say that things are going well now. But over the years to come you will see that the swing back and forth from pleasurable suffering to painful suffering is still only ever suffering. You will also see that it truly has no end. Seeing this will tire out your allegiance to the personality’s never ending hope for redemption in form, or even its notion that in the embrace of the suffering is found the end of suffering, which is only very partially true.
You will stop believing in the hopes and desires and expectations that the mind projects into an illusory timeline. And then, very naturally, that which is already here and without time, begins to know itself more pristinely, more clearly and more directly. The density of Light, of Consciousness, becomes more intense, like turning up the brightness of a lightbulb. The sense of Awareness becomes radiant and magnetic like the Sun. A gravitational field develops and sucks in the mind, and it becomes harder for the mind to escape from this radiant Black Hole at the center of the Light of All That Is.
First the mind will be sucked into the Light of the Universal I AM, which we could also call the Essence of All That Is. Later on, even the Self will become magnetically absorbed into the black hole of the One Infinite Indescribable Perfection beyond Beingness or non-Beingness. We could call this the Source of All That Is. The source of even the essence. The One which is older than God, older than the Self, older than the ever-present existence of Beingness-Isness-Love-Light.
Tools to Help with Meditation
Questioner 4: When I meditate I try to be aware. It comes and it pulls. But is there some tool that will make me stay there longer? It is better to practice in silence or with tools?
Bentinho: You have to find what works for you. One of the tools is to simply be aware. It's a pretty direct tool, so it may not work for you yet. Are you able to recognize that you exist?
Questioner 4: Yes.
Bentinho: Great. That’s a tool. Recognize over and over that you exist. Even during your daily routine, keep recognizing the fact that you exist.
Another tool is to imagine there is no world so that attention will drop out of the projection and back into the Light of Isness.
Another tool is to seek for the root of the mind itself. Instead of thinking, inquire: "Where or what is the mind?" It's kind of a hack. As soon as you start looking for the mind, the mind disappears and there's an increased sense of Awareness and spaciousness. Have you tried it?
Questioner 4: No, but I'm very curious to try it.
Bentinho: It's kind of like the mind doesn't see that one coming. We always talk about the mind as if it's there, or we use it to get somewhere. We even use it to meditate on something. But when you consciously look for the mind itself, with great intensity and curiosity, in that openness and attentiveness the mind is suddenly not there! And we then begin to wake up to this pristine space of I exist or Existence itself.
Another tool is to see that whatever arises, it is not you because you're there as the observer. Are you your hand? Are you this pillow? Does this pillow define what you are? No, because you are there being aware of it. There's a you that's aware of the pillow. There's a you that's aware of your hand; you wouldn't ever say that you are your hand.
It's the same with thoughts. If you notice that you are aware of the thoughts in the mind, in that moment you know that you can't possibly be that which you see. For that split second, there are no objects in your attention. You might not notice it at first, but looking back upon that moment of clarity you will realize, “Actually, there was no sense of an object; there was only me being aware of being aware; me being aware of pure and lucid existence."
That is a small moment of enlightenment, a small moment of awakening. If you repeat this many times throughout the day it will become more automatic, more of a habit, more natural. But it does require some effort, and the effort follows your desire for it. The more you desire it, the less effort is needed. Effort really is a way of trying to compensate for your lack of desire. "I don't really want to, but I know I should," or "I know it's good for me so I'm going to try really hard." But if you want it more than anything, there's no real feeling of effort, even when you’re focusing intensely. You're just there, you're just being it, wanting it more than anything else, and so you’re not as easily distracted by other experiences that will show up along the way of your practice. With proper desire, it is much easier to stay focused. And more fun too.
Like anything in life, even on the relative plane, you always have that which you really really want. If you don't have it, then you don't really want it. If you have it, you somehow must want it. You are infinitely powerful, so if you really didn't want a particular thing in your life or, if you really didn't want to believe that you're separate, you wouldn't. Therefore, you must have other priorities. And this is OK; it's not a judgment. But it does cause you endless suffering. Just notice that.
This is how we gain understanding of what we've been doing all our lives from a state of conditioning. It's very humbling and sobering and helpful to acknowledge that you don't really want what was talked about today. You think you want it—and there must be a little bit of an appeal there, otherwise you wouldn't have shown up—but if you really wanted it, you would have it. You would be it. So you still have other priorities.
This is the maturation process—a playing out of the desires that are based in delusion and separation. You play them out over and over again, hoping they will lead you to the end of suffering. But they never do. They just lead to temporary moments of pleasurable suffering. To the sage, associating oneself with pleasurable moments is still suffering; they still hurt. Pleasure is nothing compared to the bliss of the Infinite; there is no pleasure that could ever approach it. Once you've tasted infinite bliss, even once, you realize that Buddha's statement was literal, that life as we know it (not the True life, but life as we know it) equals suffering.
You can't escape this, no matter how much pleasure you experience. If pleasure is based on the delusion of separation, on the delusion of a separate self, it will always carry with it the undertone of suffering, because it's not true. You are not a separate individual. in fact, ultimately, you’re not even an individual at all—it's a mistaken identity that can never attain happiness. Happiness is the nature of All That Is. You have to pause your cultivated feeling of self long enough to become aware of the Isness, the Existence that is all you are. You are making up stories that you’re something in addition to Existence, but there is no proof of it; you only have assumptions (a lot of them). In one moment of clarity, you will see as Existence sees, as the Creator sees, and you will shift closer into the purity of Being.
Use any tool that works for you. At first, your tools might be a mantra or thinking about something or doing something. But as you make a little bit more progress and your desire increases, you will feel that you can go there, which is here, much more directly. This is because your desire is there. If you really want it, your attention will guide you. Honestly, that guru, that principle of going from darkness to light, is innate in all of us, and it's activated through desire.
If we desire something strongly enough out in the world, we will create it, we will attract it. This is the same principle of desire I’ve been talking about today, except applied outwardly—to a place where there can never be full happiness or truth. This same principle operates when turning within. As we turn inward towards the Creator—the essence of all things, the True Self—if we want it, something becomes activated. We start being of a higher intelligence, of a higher Consciousness.
This applies to every life form. If the desire is there, the teaching instantly becomes available internally; you don't need someone to teach you at that point. You only need someone to teach you now because you haven't yet discovered how to activate that desire. But from that desire follows everything you need, always—both in the relative world, as well as in the Absolute direction.
So for now, use whatever tool makes you feel the closest to that sense of Presence before the mind. Over time you won't need a tool, you will simply recognize it, in fact you will simply be it and increase the brightness of the being of it. It will become obvious that you are not the thoughts. It will become obvious that you are not the emotions. It will become obvious that you are not the body. It will become obvious that you can either focus on the body, thoughts and emotions, or you can focus on the fact that you're not the body, thoughts and emotions. What remains is the Self becoming evermore aware, becoming evermore radiant, like a light bulb being turned up. This is when bliss and peace become thick like oil, become radiant and dense.
You are increasing your spiritual mass. This is not the mass of matter, but the mass of Spirit, the mass of Awareness. Humans are generally very dense in matter because of their focus on the world, but that density of matter can become a higher density of Spirit, a density of Self, of Consciousness, of Love, of Bliss. You can become more dense, more vibrant, more densely packed with an awareness of the One True Life. This requires desire and meditation. The greater the desire, the less meditation is required; the less the desire, the more meditation is required.
So start by meditating. Meditate more and more, and that meditation will activate desire. And then that desire will remove the need for meditation, because again—whatever you want, you have. You have to become intense. When you want Self at the exclusion of all else, then you will have it—instantly. There will not be a second of delay. The moment you want it more than anything else, it opens up right then and there.
But we generally want to pursue it like a hobby right? Like going to a grocery store and getting a bag of chips. “Oh, I'd like a little bit of enlightenment…” We go on with our separate lives for a while and we notice that the fridge is getting empty; our lives are getting empty of peace. “I'm in need of a little bit of peace, so let me go to the grocery store. Let me go to satsang. Let me go and abuse this teacher’s time, because I really don't want the Self. I just need to restock my hobbies, my pantry, so that I can continue to suffer more according to my own arrogant beliefs.” *chuckles*
But if you want Self more than anything else, then everything I’ve just said makes so much sense. It's like all my words come flooding back in, and the true meaning is exposed. You realize how little of what I’ve said you understood before. A soon as the degree of your desire for this increases, you are instantly more intelligent. Instantly! With no brain training, no discipline, no focus, no meditation. When you want it more than anything else, you’re suddenly vastly more intelligent and aware of your own tricks, thoughts and delusions… and everything you've ever heard on the topic makes sense to a whole new degree. It instantly becomes embodied and experiential. You'll see.