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The Birth of the Lion

An Autobiography – Part 1

In August 1991, I traveled again to Lunz-am-See in Austria to meet with Gangaji who was again holding Satsang there. During the day, I took part in a therapeutic training. In the evenings, I sat with Gangaji in Satsang. Since meeting Gangaji the year before, I had been in continuous correspondence with her. The fact that I had been led to her right after the accident was a powerful confirmation and created an immense excitement in me. My chance seemed to have come, perhaps for the first time in millions of years! I knew that I had to make use of it. It was now or never. I felt as if a great vortex of energy pulled me towards Gangaji. My home, my heart, seemed to be within arm’s reach. Here, for the first time as a student, I became aware of the unconditional totality required in a true relationship to the teacher. My life, or more precisely, what remained of it, had been essentially reduced to this relationship. I understood that Gangaji is that which I had searched for.

A force of great fear arose. Naked fear. The fear of an inconceivable loss that was like an opening abyss. Something in me felt strongly threatened.

In Satsang, Gangaji had spoken of the necessity to totally give oneself up to Shakti.* “She will take care of everything,” Gangaji said. At the end of the Satsang I had the arrogance to tell her I hoped Shakti would take care of my wishes too. The next morning Gangaji expressed her deep concern about this arrogance.

Unfathomable fears of loss had been opened inside me, and along with this came an awareness of deeply conditioned concepts of enlightenment. These concepts sketched enlightenment as an ascetic, unworldly state, prohibiting any form of sensual pleasure. Past incarnations as a monk pushed their way to the surface. Although these fears and images no longer held the power of blind identification, a seemingly solid residue of identification remained, and the sense of a threat was undeniable.

Physically, I was just as far from recovery as before. The exterior wounds had healed fast, it was true, and I had not sustained any internal injuries, but the whole energetic system of the body had collapsed. At times, I had almost no physical energy at my disposal. There were lasting states of weakness and exhaustion. The cerebral command center of the nervous system no longer seemed to function. The smallest physical or mental effort immediately overcharged the system so that I was continuously forced to rest and do nothing. It was frustrating, and yet, in the background of my awareness was a knowing that this was essential in order to dedicate my whole attention to the one true longing, the longing for final freedom. …

One tepid summer evening in August 1991, Gangaji held Satsang on a mountain meadow under a huge old lime tree. From this vantage point, one had a breathtaking view of the lake of Lunz, which in its silent splendor sunk majestically into the mountains, offering a perfect meditative background for Satsang. In Satsang, I was often too shy to ask questions, and it took great courage to get into dialog with Gangaji in front of the group. Finally, I reported to her the results of my Self-inquiry. I told her that I was able to observe all thoughts, but ultimately this did not help because even in this position I remained a prisoner. I-thoughts still appeared and created suffering. I had to recognize that non-identification was not yet the end of suffering.

Gangaji pointed me inward with the question: Who is aware of these thoughts? I was still for a moment, and then suddenly I was seized by an infinite revelation. The reality of the I-thought burst like a soap bubble, and the whole world imploded. In a timeless moment of grace, I recognized the absurd spectacle of ideas that continuously attempt to prove themselves true. From the depths of me, an uncontrollable and unending laughter arose.

That same evening I wrote in a letter to Gangaji:

“All temptations crystallize into a single temptation, the temptation of ‘idea’ itself.” 

The essential nature of ideas had been revealed. The whole world is kept together by the I-thought alone, and through uprooting this thought that had never really had a root, the whole world had been uprooted. There was no longer any relationship between “me” and “the world.” I was speechless in the face of the unfathomable and grotesque spectacle of life. An ocean of bliss opened within me, and I spent the following days drowning in complete stillness without a single thought….

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