Thirsty? -Observations of a beginning practiser of Knowledge

Thirsty? -Observations of a beginning practiser of Knowledge

When I first heard Sifu Rawat talk about “thirst”, I had some nasty pathos in my life. I wondered if the lack and dissatisfaction I felt was related to what he was talking about. He talked about the want for “peace” and likened it to the need to drink water. It was a necessity of life to him, and not a huge terrifying threat like it was to me. At the time I was doing a lot of art and music, Taoist meditation techniques, quiet hermitude; and I had previously done a lot of drugs. My main motivation in all these things was a desperate attempt to put some distance between myself and this crushing demonic sadness that seemed to follow me around waiting for a sign of weekness. I had tried to look at this threat and understand it. It was founded in some feeling of insatiable lack. When it was near to me all other things in my life seemed empty and sad. I realize most people aren’t as unhappy as I was then, but I believe everyone has some form of this “lack” in their lives. Maharaji talks about it, not as a horrible monster but as a simple natural desire. He doesn’t say it doesn’t exist, or that it isn’t real but he sees it for what it is and knows what to do with it. The analogy to “thirst” is easy to understand, but powerfully deep.

Here’s some good news for anyone thinking about learning the techniques of Knowlege: The “water” in this thirst analogy is a thing that exists in the core of what you are. You don’t have to go on a heroic quest to find it, you just need a technique that reverses our natural human tendencies of looking around our environment when we need something. In the cryptic language of Taoist poetry, this turning within is called “looking south to see the north star”. The “water” in Maharaji’s thirst analogy has been inside every person forever. It’s free like breathing, it’s wonderful, and it won’t run out. The only fragile thing about it is our ability to look at it. That’s what Knowledge is for. It is a laughably simple practice that improves our ability to access the thing that “water” symbolises in the thirst analogy.

Since learning the technique, my life has improved a great deal. I feel lucky, and people are really kind to me. Was I always lucky? Were people always kind to me? It seems more likely that I wasn’t clear enough to see my environment for what it was before. To think that I majically became lucky, and horrible things stopped happening to me; and everyone became wise and kind, when they were horrible before…those don’t make sense. It seems evident to me that there was always something wonderful about human life, about being me, independent from what I do in life, that was hidden from me before. It isn’t something unique to myself, or to people who practice Knowledge, or to Maharaji, but the method he teaches really works for accessing that wonderful thing. When a method works you just know, because it feels really good and other things feel better too.

The inspiration I had for daily practice, art, music, and constant searching was based in my thirst. That bad feeling is far less threatening now. I need to finish this shift from acting out of fear of pain, to acting out of a love for good feelings. Knowledge helps with that too. I was so unhappy once, and self deprecating, that I considered my “thirst” to be somewhat selfish and arrogant. Why do I deserve to feel good? Because I am a human being and I was designed to avoid suffering and want joy, duh. If suffering was a good thing that we need and deserve, it would feel good and it wouldn’t be suffering. Good things and bad things will always happen, that’s life. For this reason I am very thankful to have this first hand knowledge (little k) of that wonderful thing at the core of what I am, at the center of what a person is for. It serves as an anchoring baseline, and I can see things as they are far better than ever before. The natural human desire for this feeling isn’t a monster, it isn’t a mental illness, it isn’t a sign of material lack, or a sign of lonliness. It is, as Marharaji says, like being thirsty and looking for water. I dont need an excuse, it doesn’t mean there is something fundamentally wrong with me as a person. I just need to drink water sometimes, and know how to find it.

When you are thirsty and someone teaches you how to find the eternal well, you will feel a love toward that person that is healthy and natural. It’s like the glowing adoration and respect some people feel for their martial arts teacher, or yoga instructor. I understand that some people who have never felt this kind of dedication towards a teacher are confused by this. People who have never practised Knowledge may see the way students love Maharaji and feel that they are witnessing some kind of religious cult. Some people learn Knowledge and are so blown away by their sudden gratitude toward Maharaji, that they begin to think that the majical goodness they have accessed comes from their teacher. He is a really good teacher though, and he can effectively and harmlessly correct the misunderstandings of people when they ask.

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