Note: the blue italics indicate the teacher, in black others participants.

Without screens

RIPENING

Question:
What can someone do if he sincerely wants to advance in this quest, even if his “I” is not yet “ripe”?

Reply:
We’re all in the same boat.

Question:
… Do you have, perhaps another answer?

Reply:
You can begin to mentally represent (but not in everyday life!) the possibility to act without purpose, outside of the conditioning to do everything with a purpose; imagine a dimension inside yourself that does what needs to be done as an obligation before setting a goal.

Question:
When I do it, I feel a fear emerge in me, the fear of not knowing who I am anymore.

Reply:
Remove the fear by convincing yourself that the progress of your social life remains unchanged.

Question:
I feel that my individual existence ceases to be.

Reply:
The I-from-my-personal-interest becomes the I-am-the-ultimate-value-that-expresses-itself as Steve Jourdain would say. A ripe and mature “I” knows that the quest of the ultimate does not make life easier or more difficult; a new way of being emerges, in anticipation of a modified subjective “reality”: the events encountered in one’s life take place regardless of how one treats them in the nervous system.

PRE-SENSORY PERCEPTION

Question:
What is the relationship between thought and pre-sensory perception?

Reply:
He who says thought, says model and language. Everything that is said or is written is a descriptive or interpretative model, we will not find the slightest trace of the event: the word soap is not the soap (soap = the event of perception). When we think, we are in a meta position relative to the event or in relation to the idea that we have of it. In this sense, we can say that the thought creates time: there is a time lag between thought and what this thought refers to. Thought is also creating memory: I can find no memory of a time that I spent without thinking. The pre-sensory perception refers primarily outside of time, that is to say outside of thought and outside of the model. Generally I feel that I think my ideas, I model my creativity. When I think “pre-sensorially” I have the impression that “it” thinks my ideas, “it” models my creativity. Thinking is a special way of expressing the pre-sensory perception.

Question:
That sounds spectacular.

Reply:
And that’s not at all. It is even the opposite. For the one who lives it, it’s almost commonness. An extraordinary simplification of the unfolding of life. You cannot imagine what it is to be free of the expectations we have of life. It’s like being sick, weakened and poisoned for years and then regaining one’s strength.

Question:
What about the generalizations. Are there still generalizations in the pre-sensory perception?

Reply:
No. Generalizations find all their usefulness in the functional life. In the pre-sensory perception there is neither generalization nor selection, or distortion. These are functions that my mind puts into action as the context demands.

Question:
To regain the pre-sensory perception in myself, is an active attitude essential on my part?

Reply:
It all depends on what you mean by active attitude. The different steps each time actually require an active attitude. It is also impossible not to be active, because our nervous system is active 24 hours a day. We know that the explorers and some major sports stars prepare their performance in every detail, sometimes for years. The quest for the essential, demands more effort, more vigilance, more directed work than these feats, because it involves our whole being. What we can do, must be done actively; by getting enough rest when one feels the need.

Question:
Then it is not the whole being that is involved in these feats?

Reply:
The energy invested and the meticulous preparations of these performances are comparable to those that we must engage in the quest for the essential, but the objective and certain conditions necessary to achieve this are not the same. Thrill seeking through intellectual, emotional, sexual or physical feats or through spiritual exercises, are products of efforts produced by the identity in search of happiness. There are sometimes, during and often after these feats, a temporary increase in the hormones of happiness, which is known nowadays as endorphins and serotonin. What is referred to, is above all an extreme modification of internal states that goes along with a self-confirmation and/or a hetero-confirmation. To get involved with the whole being in the ultimate quest prepares us to be able one day, to give up (at the existential level) any result, any confirmation.

Question:
Is there any reason to embark on the quest for the absolute?

Reply:
I think there is none.

Question:
Are there any reasons not to embark on the quest for the absolute?

Reply:
I think there are as many reasons as there are men and women on planet earth.

Question:
What makes someone (want to) embark on this quest?

Reply:
This is a question that concerns the private life. It can be asked only to yourself. A response from the heart is the only (response) permissible.

Question:
What is the relationship between pre-sensory perception and the sacred?

Reply:
There are moments in life when thoughts stop because we are deeply touched by the presence of someone or by an extraordinary event. When I fall in love, I think it is the other who is the cause. In reality, it is me who is the cause and effect simultaneously. From the perspective of the pre-sensory perception, all that I see every moment is sacred. The sacred is embodied by the profane in me through the essential value while preserving all its qualities.

BELIEFS

Question:
What is the explanation for personal and collective disasters?

Reply:
The identity fears suffering because it knows, without wanting to admit it, that every pain may bring out the unacceptable (for it): I am alone, I am separate from existence. The more suffering there is, the more awareness of loneliness there is. A disaster risks to reveal that we are alone and without recourse, the dilemma becomes obvious. Not fearing the suffering is only possible when we are liberated from our separating identity. There, we understand that we are linked as much with suffering as we are with the joy of life.
There are two kinds of calamities that can change the course of the life of a human being. In the first case (A) we suffer the consequences of our own personal interest/our own negligence or we suffer the consequences of the personal interest/negligence of a person or a group of individuals (wars, some famines, the destruction of the ecological balance with all its consequences, etc.) The second class of calamities (B) can strike at any moment as a fatality coming out of nowhere, without apparent human cause, such as the premature death of our child, genetic diseases, earthquakes etc. Now we have to make a second distinction, are you currently directly confronted with such calamities or do you fear them? And if so which ones?

Question:
I fear both.

Reply:
Case A: It should be noted that currently, the inner values of communities are not sufficiently taken into account to give back to the world even a little bit of what it gives to us. The personal interest of the collective identity takes precedence over the inner values. This creates a real threat to the survival of the planet. Generally, neither the leaders nor those who elect them, do not put their focus sufficiently on inner values. To elect someone without ensuring his intentions, makes us as much responsible as he is for the continuation of the decline. The fear that one day, (we will) suffer the consequences of the acts of our own personal interest/our own negligence or others personal interest/negligence is in a certain sense justified. It reminds us of our powerlessness and our loneliness. Thus it can serve to affirm us in our efforts to seek existential issue. Case B: We cannot avoid automatically incidents “marked by destiny.” The fact that we are lacking foresight should not lead us to repress them. On the contrary. Be aware that the course of my life can suddenly take a turn previously inconceivable, transform my fears into vigilance, into self-remembering, into “Ehrfurcht” (?). Anything can happen at any time. The identity has good reason not to care too much about that. Being forced to make judgments to ensure its survival, it considers the inner confrontation with the possibility of being part of a collective or individual drama as threatening. The identity cannot grasp the whole of existence. Only when we put ourselves in the off-identity dimension, can we understand the law of evolution (according to Hindu tradition) concerning all that is taking shape and which comprises three elements: createmaintaindestroy. Everything that exists is subject to this law. It acts permanently, we do not need to believe it. It is clearly observable in all phenomena. Furthermore, we must consider the actuation of one of the three components as random. We can go with or fight against. But we can never escape it.

(?) “Ehrfurcht” is a German word that knows no English-language equivalent. “Ehr” can mean reverence/respect and “Furcht” means: understanding the questioning of his identity, because there is a feeling of being overwhelmed by something devastating. The “fear” of Ehrfurcht knows I overvalue the role that my identity plays. It is a real “fear” which is not based on representations and which is accompanied by a naturally non-forced humility. It is accompanied by deep emotion of reverence vis-a-vis of creation around me and including me.

Question:
And if I were directly affected by such disasters?

Reply:
When we no longer fear them, we are able to find the right answers when the time comes.

Question:
Is the work on the original belief exhausting?

Reply:
Keeping the identity in good condition consumes huge amounts of vital energy. Moral fatigue comes regularly to give a rest to the nervous system experiencing a weariness to cling to the internal memory, the representation of time, personal motivation etc., and the fight against manifestations of the original belief. This kind of tiredness consumes vital energy. Another kind of fatigue, consuming under certain conditions the mechanisms that maintain the conflict of separation can occur during the work on the original belief. Whenever it manifests in us, we find an inner resistance which can also take the form of fatigue or boredom until exhaustion. This is one way of the original belief to oppose violently to be highlighted. When we learn not to fall asleep during these times, as advocated by some traditions including Zen, we can consciously participate in the process of its disintegration.

Question:
Does psychic life stop when the original belief no longer acts?

Reply:
Yes. The so-called psychic life is maintained by our beliefs, responsible for our moral suffering. At the same time, the psychological mechanisms, of which essentially the beliefs, act as a buffer to absorb shocks we experience in life. The ups and downs, then the work on oneself, when one sets out to the quest for the essential, can give the impression that there is an evolution. But there is evolution only when we believe in it. The pre-sensory perception does not change. It’s not stagnation either. It is born for the first time in every moment.

Question:
How to detect an ideology?

Reply:
Ideologies are multiple. These are cultural collective beliefs that permeate all of society. We find many expressions of them such as patriotism, political parties, associations and religions. They have in common to help support the separating identity. Adhere to a collective ideology can be a sign of an immature “I”: his identity needs others to assert itself. An identity accessing to maturity intuitively knows it’s alone, it denounces as a decoy that any solidarity based on a belief would provide a solution for itself or could change something for affairs in the society. Detecting an ideology (that is to say membership of beliefs supported by a group) in others is relatively easy and useful in functional communication. We should be cautious when we observe emerging in ourselves, an assent on convictions issued by someone (else).

KARMA

Question:
What is karma?

Reply:
There are in the literature a multitude of interpretations of this very ancient expression. The law of karma is also called the law of cause and effect; understanding it, is part of the very first learning of human beings and animals beings. We had indeed to realize very early in our childhood that things in life are changing according to the schema cause/effect. Integrating it into ones mental organization is essential to the functional life. My stomach causes a hungry feeling and I cry to call my mother. Later I cause the starting of the chainsaw and I get the fact that the chain starts to rotate. I cause the purchase of flowers and I get the effect of a pleasant smile from my wife. We link in permanence the phenomena we encounter in life by giving them the cause on the one hand and the effect on the other hand. At the same time, we are not aware that it is we, who stipulate this law by a presupposition-belief, certainly useful, and very functional. But we forget in general, that this presupposition-belief is among the main obstacles to understanding the meaning of life. It is said that an “awakened one” is no longer subject to the law of karma. He simply realized that the cause-effect rightfully belong to the functional world, the scientific community etc.; he ceased to believe that this is a universal law. Another condition for “escape” to the law of karma is to stop to maintain (mentally), predilections on the course of events. We can never penetrate the mysteries of life as long as we believe in the existence of causes. From the perspective of the existential, there is no cause: there are only effects.

Question:
The idea of karma is also used in the sense of positive actions incurring approval on the one hand, and negative actions incurring disapproval on the other hand.

Reply:
The idea behind the word “karma” refers to a tool of spiritual work on myself. When we deal with our inner values, we corrode the roots of our consciousness. What is the intention behind all self-corruption? When I follow the suggestions of my personal interest in a particular project, I am convinced that at the same time I get effects favorable and beneficial for me, causing causes that are in violation of my intimate values. If I intentionally yield to this temptation, I have to repress the fact that in doing so I maintain and I feed my own separation syndrome. I produce, as one says, karma for myself, because I strengthened my belief in my separation. Moreover, this expression is not suitable in any case, to have explanations of phenomena external to us, and especially not to interpret or judge the actions or attitudes of someone else. When we want to escape, as one says, the law of karma, we have to (among other things) compel ourselves to reflect on the personal intention behind our actions. Making the right choice is not always the easiest choice.

Question:
I have many memories of having made the right choice. What happened was that I found myself in amazingly confusing relationships which have turned into virtual nightmares. Sometimes I even had doubts regarding the value of inner values.

Reply:
I think you’re referring to what I call “karmic scenarios”. These are scenarios that involve a take of preconsciousness of karmic law and taking place in the way you describe them, workable for our purposes, provided that we have made the decision that we did not want to ignore our innermost values. Throughout our childhood to adolescence, we have to learn the laws of self-interest to be able to integrate into society. Among the major conflicts of a youngster during puberty is that of personal interest in opposition to his inner values. The teenager is forced to leave one day the last remaining illusions and dreams of his childhood in order to assert his identity/personal interest. Taking sides fully for personal interest is almost impossible, the conflict continues to braise under the surface. This is so for a while to navigate between inner values and personal interest. Karmic scenarios are triggered by a sudden self-assertion of inner values in a given action (good choice). This liberating awareness is often resented by the different personal interests of the environment, which risk to strive. The relational pandemonium takes shape. In the end, often there is a break and a new stage begins.

Question:
And karma is burned, as one says?

Reply:
I cannot accede to this expression. It is very difficult to assess this situation, even after the fact. In each karmic scenario there is a multitude of different aspects and a multitude of opportunities for work on oneself. In the best caseand this we will know only much laterwe will have solved a part of the conflict between values and inner personal interest.

Question:
How do I know that I solved this conflict permanently?

Reply:
You’ll know when you’ll know. I cannot say more.

Question:
What about luck and bad luck?

Reply:
First, these subjects are models, presuppositions, interpretations invented by man in order to give himself explanations. Everyone chooses among these models according to his culture more or less voluntarily what suits him. As for luck/bad luck, it’s always an arbitrary judgment. There is no objective place that allows us to place ourselves, to attribute to an event, the qualifier of lucky or unlucky. According to the view I take, every situation can be considered lucky or unlucky. Two Sufi stories may indicate that direction:

WE WILL SEE

A horse breeder had a magnificent herd, who lived most of the year freely on its extensive grasslands. The man was considered rich, he had a healthy son, and more than one of his neighbors had already said, “How lucky you are!” The man had always merely replied: We’ll see.
One morning the man had seen that the most beautiful stallion, the prince of the herd, left the usual meadows, and was believed lost forever. The neighbors said: “What a pity, it was on him that was based primarily the life of this beautiful flock! ” The man said: We’ll see.
A few weeks later, one evening appeared the beautiful black stallion head over the fence of the paddock: he was not alone, but accompanied by a large group of wild horses, who remained on the land with the herd. The neighbors were admiring: “Gosh! This is your herd expanded considerably congratulations!” The man said, We’ll see.
Among the new wild arrived, was a young colt, wonderful but very wild and seemingly indomitable, who was not letting anyone approach him. When it came time to prepare him to be mounted, everybody was trying to control him and abandoned after a severe dust bath. Only the son of the man had, after a long and patient work, succeeded to make a friend of him, and only he rode that horse now. Until, after an unexpected kick, he fell to the ground with such violence that his leg was broken and left no hope of a full recovery. The neighbors lamented: “Here is your son crippled, perhaps for life If only he had never met this foal…” The man said only: We’ll see.
Months passed, and there was a war: a very hostile neighboring tribe, attacked, and all the young men were automatically integrated into the army. The son of man, with his bad leg, was the only young person to stay at home; and he would be the only survivor of his generation at the end of the war…

CHANCE OF THE ONE CAN BE THE BAD LUCK OF THE OTHER

A woman had two daughters; the eldest was married to a horticulturist, the youngest with a potter, each participating in the work, joys and cares of the husband. This woman loved her daughters, and she thought for a long time how to make them really happy, how to find a gift that can be really useful and help them. “I will pray for them”, she said. And as the birthday of the eldest approached, she prayed for a long good rain, fresh, benevolent, so that her vegetables and her fruits will be the tastiest, best developed. And her prayer was answered: just on the anniversary day, a fresh and tepid rain began to fall, which lasted two weeks. After five days, the woman was surprised to see her youngest daughter who was coming to visit her early in the morning. You could see she had been crying. “Mom, it’s over. My husband will go bankrupt. Help us if you can and welcome your grandchildren under your roof, while we two go find work elsewhere.”“But what happened to you?” “My husband had received a large order from the court, for making fine pottery for the Princess who is getting married. He pledged to finish this delicate work by a specific date. When all was shaped, he prepared the oven, it has everything cooked with great care-and at the moment to pull the pieces out of the oven to dry them, it started raining. Usually it never rains here at this time of year, and this time it does not stop even at night. All of his work was ruined because he could not dry the parts.

When I cease to interpret events that I meet, I am lucky: I do not fear the bad luck anymore and I don’t hope for luck anymore. Instead of assigning a judgment to the situations encountered, a comprehensive assessment settles on one of these, characterized by the absence of a priori and interpretations. Furthermore, the absence of judgments allows us, always in the present moment, to understand the non-mental and non-emotional meaning of events, and respond appropriately.

Question:
The course of the life, is it recurrence, predestination or chance? Is there one or several lives?

Reply:
We are once again in the realm of beliefs and models developed by different cultures concerning existential questions. Life is. And we are free to speculate on the either-called truths hidden. As humans we are very able to convince us of something in order to no longer be able to discern between facts and beliefs. It is proved that reincarnation exists, that foresight is, that UFOs exist. And it is proved that all this does not exist. When we believe in something, there is a good chance that with enough perseverance, we fall on subjective evidence than what or what we believe really exists. Moreover, whenfor examplethe belief in reincarnation has a sufficient support, it risks becoming reality. It is the same with ideas like “chance that does not exist”; it is still the same with speculation about the recurrence and on predestination. When I believe in something, I try to find the confirmation. Everyone disposes of personal strategies that allow him to be convinced of something. But it is relatively easy to come across someone who is convinced of the contrary: the war of beliefs is imminent. The Buddha said, one who awakens to his true nature will have lived its last incarnation. He’s right: when God is falling on us, we no longer believe in anything. And since we no longer believe in anything, we no longer believe also, in reincarnation. It follows that we are living our last incarnation. Reincarnation or not, to awaken in the sense of the Buddha, we must give up all beliefs, both those of reincarnation and there is only one lifetime. The life lives. In the present instant. Point. Everything else is futile mental speculation that leads to something (too).

The relationship

Question:
What is the importance of an expert guide on this path?

Reply:
In life there are very few self-taught people. Usually most people who excel in their field have had one or more masters who have passed on their know-how. The transmission is a universal phenomenon in humans and that starts when we are children. Our parents, our relatives and our teachers are the first to try to transfer us their skills. Everywhere there are real experts, incompetents and charlatans.

Question:
How to recognize a true expert?

Reply:
By observing. Imagine that I want to learn the mechanic profession and I wish to find a competent teacher; I do what? I talk to him and I observe the way he works and collects information, his didactic skills, his way of behaving vis-à-vis the other, his reputation, etc. If his approach suits me I ask him if he agrees that I become his apprentice. Then he will tell me what he expects of me.

Question:
In the field of spirituality, there are many people who call themselves masters. In whom should I confide?

Reply:
There is never any certainty. This is because we cannot perceive the other as he is, objectively. Do not forget that our own senses, our values and our beliefs filter what we see, the map (which allows us to orient ourselves on the planet) is not the territory (life on the planet); these are limitations with which we must live. Someone else remains forever elusive.

Question:
I conclude that I must take my responsibilities when I become an apprentice.

Reply:
Yes.

Question:
Just now you said that there are charlatans and incompetents. What are the characteristics of an impostor?

Reply:
Some charlatans in the field of spirituality found an organization based on personal interest. The capitalist system openly proclaims its adherence to personal interest. In these organizations it is disguised as a pseudo-religious missionary-redemptive ideology which furthermore, hides the true intentions (power, money, perpetual affirmation of his vanity/pride) of the founder and his cronies. Most of these groups are structured hierarchically, which allows the big chief to legislate and impose his superiority. It disseminates promises of salvation for ever reported in a future that is never realized. When he announces to one of his followers that he has reached the highest level, the “master” will have already miraculously gained an even more supreme level. The flock, of course are elected and are part of the elite of humanity. Woe to him who leaves the organization, “If you adhered, all is promised to you, if you go away, all will be lost forever!. On the adepts side, the scenario is not much more flattering: the secret dream that the grace of the chief and the “service” towards the organization, will one day liberate them from their misery, propels them, straight in the maze of corruption, that is to say, the abandonment of inner values, as the only way to climb the ladder to heaven.

Question:
And the genuine expert?

Reply:
Let’s talk about the side of those or those who engage with him. Here are some clues that fall within my own “assault course”. I quickly realized that I had to commit myself with someone who “knows”. It was always very important for me to have this direct contact. I had several guides, and after a period of observation, I decided to act as if they were competent experts, that is to say, I tried to follow their proposals and their methodology. I know now that I never came across a charlatan. During this evolution I was forced to develop various internal attitudes in me that I still judge today as suitable for he who wishes to go to the end of his evolution. These attitudes are all equally important:

  • Sincerity to oneself.
  • Learn to ignore one’s own mental projections (representations) = to know to not believe one’s own reading of thoughts.
  • Take one’s responsibility to society, work and family life; continue to patronize the “normal” people; refrain from behaving like someone special. “I’m not better; I’m not worth more than my neighbor or my co-worker.” Do not voluntarily give up his hobbies; giving them a playful nature.
  • Reliability, know how to end an action, know how to go to complete a project.
  • Commitment, that is to dare the relationship. Try to grasp the intent of the guide. Ask questions whose answer may be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Become active in research of this relationship. Especially not obey, but seriously consider proposals, suggestions, tips; listen them to the 3rd degree (often these indications are very discreet, sometimes voluntarily hidden). Be prepared to experience periods of confusion or embarrassment, without making the affairs of daily life suffer. Be prepared to receive shocks. Always refer to yourself: take responsibility regarding all that is going on in the relationship. When we learn to take our responsibilities, we are never in need of (blaming anything on anyone).
  • Be careful: to have the project to want to understand on what criteria it determines what it does. “What does he understand that I do not yet understand – What does he live that I do not live?
  • Discriminate well between the functional life of the guide and his qualities as an instructor; do not believe that he is perfect or that he does not commit errors of judgement. The way he manages his life, concern only him. Start with the presupposition that he probably takes more responsibility than you do, for what he does and what he does not.
  • Discretion, secrecy: anticipate the non-nameable by becoming “invisible” = live a normal life, without apparent presumption; be well grounded in the everyday.
  • Develop “the listening of the heart” which is characterized among other things by controlling the internal dialogue and gives rise to a presentiment that all is one.
  • Take care of yourself, of your own mental health; stop waiting for some kind of wellness or wellbeing from him; be clear about the futility of hoping for advantages from the relationship with him (especially concerning, the functional life).

FEELINGS

Question:
Feelings are phenomena related to time or phenomena beyond time?

Reply:
Behind what we call “feelings (emotional)” there is always the personal interest of the identity that legitimately likes to tie itself to the joys of present and who also legitimately hate the present pains. The past joys and sorrows, become representations, and personal interest makes them nostalgias, while it awaits the future joys. The future pains, it fears them. Although the pre-sensory perception is outside time, it manifests itself in the human being through the essential value, and this only in the present moment (which has always already passed by when we think of it). These present moments are collectible by what I call the “perceptual feelings” (not representable). Perceptual feelings are from another logical level and thus, clearly differentiated from emotional feelings (expressed all-out by the identity that looks for the labyrinthine complexity) due to their simplicity and their maneuverability. They emergealways in the here and nowfrom a space (of absolute serenity and of eternal peace) infinite and timeless, generating a perceptual printing (non-representable) to be connected to all phenomena. An emotional feeling occupies the “front stage” and feeds itself with our identification with the object or about the subject of our feelings. An example: Giselle wanders quietly in nature, suddenly she thinks about her boss who the day before had unjustly suspected that she had a private phone call abroad. All her attention is immediately removed from the environmental perception and focuses on the incident. The perception of context retracts and gives way to a sentimental representation. This one is fed by identifying with it, the rest of the situation is occulted and the incident at work becomes more important to her than the blade of grass beside the road. Another example: think of two people who have by their behavior aroused in us strong reactions, one of anger and the other enthusiasm. We can see that, having focused our attention on anger or enthusiasm, not only have we temporarily lost contact with the whole context which we were in, but we were no longer aware of the relativity of these incidents over the whole of our life. The pre-sensory perception perceives simultaneously and without emotion, in a holistic optic, a phenomenon and the links that all phenomena weave in them. The universe is perceived as impersonal. The essence of existence is resolutely impersonal, and we cannot grasp it with our emotional feelings. It is through the essential value that we can awaken our perceptual feelings, to our personalized-sacred imprint, allowing us to perceive the soul of existence, in all its manifestations. Contrary to what might be or what we would like to believe, the true nature of phenomena (ourselves included) is not likely to be perceived by our emotional feelings. It is the essential value and the abolition of the original belief that allows us to born (again) to our souls, we leave behind our emotional feelings to welcome and recognize our perceptual feelings that put us again in touch with our spontaneity of yesteryear, when we were childrenlike the caterpillar who leaves herself, by welcoming the butterfly and recognizing herself in him.