Kaif: Awareness Aware of Itself.

The reading of a talk by Gurudeva on kaif, awareness aware of itself, which includes techniques to achieve this meditative state and intellectual barriers to this attainment. Spiritual interpretation and guidance is interspersed. Then a quote from Gurudeva is read describing imkaif, awareness dissolving, with bhashya.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone. Chose a talk by Gurudeva this morning which talks about awareness aware of itself, which in his language of Shum is called kaif.

"Kaif is a fairly simple state to attain. It is not a deep transcendental area that takes years to attain but it does take a long time to be able to sustain the state of kaif for more than an instant or two. Ask anyone and they will tell you they can at any moment become aware that they are aware This is kaif. To remain longer in this state than a fleeting second does take practice. The breath should be well regulated and the nerve system harmonized. And the sadhaka should have made peace within himself, with family and friends, and be steadfast in this practice, before the bliss of kaif can be felt and the state of kaif held for longer periods of time."

So that's the first idea here that we don't want to make it difficult to achieve kaif, or awareness aware of itself. Gurudeva says it's very very simple to do so. What's more difficult is to sustain it for more than a few seconds. So how do we sustain it? Well, one of the most important things, as is pointed out here is; peace within one's self, with family and friends. In other words we can't be emotionally disturbed. That is a key in this as well as other states of deeper meditation; the emotions have to be in a quiet state. We can't be recovering from a major argument that took place earlier today or yesterday. We can't be upset about how we're being treated by life, we can't be regretful of the past, we can't be harboring a lots of emotional issues and expect to be able to go this deeply into meditation. The other point that Gurudeva makes is that the breath should be well regulated. So that's something we practice of course in meditation. Our basic breath is breathing in for nine counts, holding one count, and breathing out for nine counts, and holding one count. It's a very simple, not a complicated breathing technique, but it works. And it does what it's supposed to which is, quiets the mind and allows us to become detached from the intellect enough to experience kaif.

This is one I didn't recall that's coming up.

"A simple and direct way to experience kaif is to hold both hands before you with palms pressed together. Be aware of their feeling as well as how they look. As you feel the power intensify within you as the palms are pressed together with the hands held near the center of your chest, inwardly watch your awareness, being aware of this action. It is easy to be aware of your two hands, it is also not difficult to be aware that you are aware of your two hands pressed together, excluding everything else from your mind. When you have attained this simply drop your hands into your lap and you will be aware of simply being aware. This is kaif."

So that's something you can try, experiencing kaif by pressing the hands together, becoming aware of that practice. And once you're aware just dropping them into the lap and attaining the awareness of being aware.

"You can practice this while sitting alone in meditation and after a while you will no longer have to go through pressing the palms together to attain kaif. Soon after this you will only have to pronounce the word kaif and in knowing it's meaning you will harken back to your experience of kaif and thereby, for a split second, attain to the full experience of kaif--awareness aware only of itself to the exclusion of everything else.

So that takes a while if you're not used to the word kaif, if you are then of course you relate. But for words to evoke a certain meaning immediately takes practice. Takes use of the word, takes impressing the subconscious mind as to the meaning of it.

"As you go along in this practice, you will pass through many different rates of intensity of kaif as the subconscious areas of your mind become impressed and become used to this experience. When this occurs a certain kind of bliss bursts forth from deep within you as an aftermath of your experience of kaif. You will find that in your striving to find kaif that your intellect will interfere and become quite a barrier to this experience. It will want to simply pronounce the word kaif, to simply pronounce the word kaif and then think directly after it, awareness aware of itself. Thus translating from Shum to English. By doing this the intellect then expects the process of translation to be the experience. The intellect, being the biggest barrier to superconscious experience, must be dealt with in a very firm way. And when you find this occurring begin again the simple practice I have outlined of pressing the hands together and being aware that you are aware of doing this. I mentioned that the experience of kaif is easy to come by but to prolong the experience is tedious and to some difficult. "

So this is a good point. When it comes to meditation we always have to be careful in our approach to meditation to actually be experiencing something and not to be defining it. So for example, simple state that we focus on, it's easy to attain, is feeling the spiritual energy within the spine. Feeling the actinic energy that's flowing through the spine. So we call it simshumbisi. So when we utilize simshumbisi in a meditation, the goal is to experience the energy. We feel the energy in the spine that is actinic or life-giving, spiritual and not simply just think about what simshumbisi means. Simshumbisi means the energy in the spine. That's simply defining it, it's not experiencing it. So, we need to go of course into experience so that simshumbisi we just experience the energy in the spine.

"To some people to experience kaif is difficult. For example, for emotional people or those easily intellectually excited about this or that, the experience of kaif is a distant fantasy, for the mere idea of kaif excites them. Thus the conscious mind becomes clouded, the subconscious confused and only the word remains. Therefore, now we begin to see that a certain remolding of one's life must commence as a way for the attainment of this experience. Emotional outbursts, intellectual excitements have to be renounced for they have virtually nothing to do with an inner superconscious experience such as kaif. Knowing about mystical subject matter does not produce experience, nor does being excited about the possibility of deep and satisfying inner experiences. We must not mistake intellectual knowledge and the obtaining of it to be spiritual practice, nor must we mistake excitement about mystical experience to correspond in any way with the actual experience. Therefore the elusive kaif--awareness aware of itself, always present in everyone, can be and is an unexplored area by most seekers."

So why is that? Well it's for the two reasons Gurudeva's explaining, that we get stuck in the intellectual concept of it and what the concept means. Or we get excited about it and the excitement itself is a disturbance in the mind that prevents our experiencing it. So we want to be enthusiastic but not excited, shall we say.

Here's another quote on the same subject.

"The most intriguing area of consciousness found in Shum is kaif. Kaif is awareness aware of itself. For those who have had an initial inner light experience called namootyena, those who have had an initial inner light experience will find kaif rather easy to attain. It is simply a deep state of consciousness where awareness is aware of itself. Now, when awareness can be aware of itself long enough, it sort of curls up into a little tight ball and begins to disappear. This is called imkaif. When it finally disappears, the Self alone remains, or a vibration which is greater than the mind itself, takes over awareness and blocks it out, so to speak. When a man comes back from this experience of experiencing the total Self, everything within the mind is understandable and he is locked into the perspective of looking at the world from the inner or fourth dimension of the mind."

So that's a nice description of imkaif or awareness dissolving, coiling up into a ball, begins to disappear. So one of the key points in Gurudeva's teachings is that you can't explain the Self or Parasiva and that giving it the name imkaif doesn't name the experience of Parasiva or the Self, it just names, as Gurudeva points out very clearly, what happens to awareness in the experience. It says awareness dissolves but it doesn't say anything about what the experience is. So another way of saying that is idea of "Neti, neti"--not this, not that. It's a common Hindu approach to the transcendent Absolute, is whatever you end up thinking it is, then you have to renounce that. You get a great concept. You know you say: "Well that's still a concept." You know it's not really that, neti! So all you can do is say what it's not. So that's why Gurudeva says: "It's not time, it's not form, it's not space." It's timeless, formless, spaceless. He tells us what it's not. By understanding what it's not we get some sense of what it is, but again we're just looking at what it's not.

So, thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya

[End of transcript]