Q: I spend most of my days doing things I enjoy, but I’ve noticed since I’ve moved to New York, my stress levels are increasing and I feel very much caught up by life. I’m wondering if there’s a way that I can continue to be active all day and remain in my being and be able to expand within the activities, as opposed to meditating or do I need to sacrifice the lifestyle I lead and take a step back and just rest?
John: You don’t necessarily need to sacrifice that lifestyle, but you do need to change what that lifestyle means to you. Your relationship to it needs to change. Your being is not in service to any kind of lifestyle and your lifestyle needs to be in service to your being. Your lifestyle needs to be a field of realization and not lost to personal pursuit.
With every lifestyle are the ideas that serve that lifestyle. There are ideas that move different lifestyles. Those ideas can’t be what move you. What moves you needs to be what you know the truth of, and what you know the truth of first has nothing with do with a lifestyle.
Q: I’m curious about what a lifestyle looks like that serves the being. I enjoy taking photographs but that’s for personal pleasure. I can’t see how that can relate to nourishing the being.
John: It is an environment and a practice through which your being can manifest. Your point of view needs to come from what is different than the self you’re used to. Your point of view in what you do needs to come from what is greater than your self. For that you need an overall perspective that is of what your being is like and includes all of the possibilities of your self, and you need to hold that perspective in the midst of your self. Then you are guiding your self and moving your self not by what fulfills your self, but by the more that you know, within, than what your self is.
Q: It’s not so much what I’m doing. It’s why I’m doing it. So often I’m doing things for the ego, not so much my being and maybe if I’m pushing things for the wrong reason, and it’s not satisfying.
John: Yes, if you do what you do for your ego, you are practicing getting lost. Then it’s only a matter of time and you will be really lost.
Q: I’m wondering if one can practice art not for the ego.
John: Everything in an existence isn’t for the ego. When you do something for ego, you exploit everything in you and around you.
Q: What’s the other option?
John: Doing everything for what you know in your heart.
Q: Then I’ll have to make drastic changes. If I start working or functioning from the heart, I don’t know if I can make a living out of it, for example.
John: You need to come from your heart more than you need to make a living.
Q: I’ve got massive rent and bills to pay.
John: That’s because of your lifestyle. You don’t need to have a certain lifestyle. You need to be in your heart more than having any kind of lifestyle, or your choice of lifestyle will keep you from being in your heart.
Q: How can I maintain that lifestyle whilst being in the heart? Maybe it’s me being greedy, wanting everything. I like to make money. I like to spend money. I like to enjoy traveling and being free to do the things I want. To be more in the heart may mean I’m going to have to sacrifice all that, which is not much of a loss maybe. (laughter). I’m not sure which way to turn.
John: Whatever your lifestyle is, it needs to serve your realization of profound meaning. If your lifestyle forbids that, then change your lifestyle.
Profound meaning matters more than personal satisfaction. Without meaning, there’s no meaning at all to the personal. Live for what everything is dependent on. Live for what personal satisfaction is dependent on. It’s dependent on meaning. If you live for personal satisfaction, you’ll be exploiting everything that you’re dependent on, for the sake of what is personal.
It’s like using the personal to collect meaning. The more that you can collect, the more fulfilled your feelings. But that doesn’t have much value if what you are being isn’t more than all that you’re collecting.
The reason that you comprehend satisfaction on the level of the personal is because you comprehend meaning and you’re attracted to the personal level of meaning. You have that because what you really are is meaning, not personal meaning, not even meaningfulness. What you are is meaning. When meaning moves, there isn’t personal satisfaction. When meaning moves, there is love.
Q: That seems so elusive for me.
John: That’s because what you’re accustomed to is what you can hold, what you can hold with the abilities that you have in your self, is completely dependent on the beingness of meaning. Without beingness you couldn’t like something. Without beingness you couldn’t comprehend pleasure.
Q: Which kind of pleasure?
Q: When I pursue physical pleasure it takes me away from the being.
John: Yes, what enables you to experience physical pleasure is that you have a being and your being supports the life of your body. You can separate from your own being and your being continues its support, even though you may use your body for something that has nothing to do with your own being. Without the presence of your own being, every pleasure would be terribly empty. If you would be completely separate from your being and from the influences of your own being and the support of your own being, pleasure would have no meaning.
Q: Are you saying it’s okay to pursue temporary pleasures for the being?
John: In the realization of your being, yes. Then you are coming from and responding to what essentially enables pleasure, instead of exploiting pleasure just because it’s available.
There are deeper levels to every kind of pleasure. That means that you’re able to be within pleasure from within the deeper levels of you. When you exist just simply on the surface, pleasure comes down to physical gratification. It comes down to you fulfilling an appetite that you have in your body. That appetite isn’t there for you to live for, but to live for what enables that appetite, enabling you to realize its deeper purpose.
When you begin to respond to the deeper purpose of having appetite, you’ll be realizing what you actually come from. In moving as what you actually come from, you’ll be manifesting something of your own being within an appetite, which doesn’t direct you to the coarseness of that pleasure, the coarseness of that appetite, but to the subtleties of being that you awaken to in the midst of that appetite. When you respond to those subtleties, you can’t be overtaken by the appetite; the appetite can’t have you any more. You can’t live for those appetites. When you respond to subtleties of meaning, you’re responding to being mastered by what isn’t obvious.
Q: I’m having some difficulties getting to those subtleties. When it comes to food, for example, I want to grab it, eat it, stuff my face, knowing that it’s not satisfying, it’s not necessary. Even though I know that, I don’t feel enough nourishment from the subtleties to override that.
John: Then belong to what you know in your heart instead of you belonging to what you can have. You belonging to what you know in your heart, instead of you belonging to want and need.
The great potential of your self cannot be realized within your appetites. When you exist within your appetites, your self will be kept really small. For your self to open to what is beyond that confining smallness, you need to open beyond any of your appetites.
You won’t be filling your life with the satisfaction of appetites. You’ll be filling your life with the care of subtlety. As soon as you know a difference, a difference of being in the midst of something, you’ll be that difference, instead of knowing the difference, forgoing what that difference is, and satisfying an appetite.
Q: That would mean changing the way I live in order to feel those subtleties.
John: Yes. If you can’t be in that in the midst of your kind of lifestyle, then leave that lifestyle. Don’t live being loyal to any kind of lifestyle. The deepest that you are able to be loyal to is what you are. What you are is meaning, meaning so profound that you cannot find that level of meaning within an appetite. Instead of being loyal to your appetites and to a particular lifestyle, a particular level of satisfaction, be loyal to meaning. When you open to that, you may quickly realize that what you are being and how you’re living is upside down.
Q: It’s upside down because it doesn’t nourish, but when I spent years meditating and being focused on my being, I was frustrated so I’m kind of scared to go back there again. At least this way I have approval from family, from society. The other way I’m just being kicked left, right and center for living this lifestyle focused on being.
John: If it didn’t satisfy you in a profound way, then you did it for your self.
Q: Each time I tasted the being, I liked to keep it and use it.
John: Instead of keeping it and using it for your self, completely surrender to be that beingness that you’ve realized and come into. Be what you know that is, in the midst of all of your self, without the fulfillment of that in how you experience it in your self distracting you. When you are meaning-oriented, you won’t be result-oriented, and in everything that you are being and doing you’ll be fulfilling deepest meaning. You’ll be what you first are moving through all of your forms.
Your ease of life and all of the opportunity that you have to pursue pleasure and to satisfy what is personal is possible because of technology. If what technology is dependent on shifts or changes, it won’t be available to you any more. It won’t be supplying to you everything that it has brought to you, and the bubble of life as we have known it won’t be there anymore. Exist within the opportunity that technology brings, but for what meaning is.
Q: What it seems I really want is immediate satisfaction, and meaning seems so difficult and far away. (Connection) I guess it’s so far because I pursue meaning for personal satisfaction and not the sake of meaning. To pursue meaning for the sake of meaning is like ‘what’s in it for me?’
John: For the self that you’re used to, nothing.
Q: That self that I’m used to is very greedy. It seems a lot more selfless to move in that direction, and sacrifice.
John: It isn’t really selflessness. It’s beingful, full of your being, filled by your being, instead of you being filled by your ability to have for your self. If your self were filled with your being, your self would turn into what your being is like. That’s what your self is for, but that can’t occur without you belonging to what your being is like, in the midst of the kind of self you have. For you to be meaningful is for you to be beingful.
Instead of exploiting meaning where you can because of the powers that you have in your self, you’ll be manifesting meaning, you’ll be producing meaning. What matters after you have died is not how much meaning you have consumed, but how much meaning you have manifested in your life, how much you have manifested what you really are in your life.
Q: Can I just choose to do it and fill my self, fill my being with this meaning?
Q: Why didn’t I choose it?
John: Because consuming meaning gave you instant results and, while it gives you instant results, it depletes you of deeper meaning.
Q: When I’ve had opportunities to really let go, I’ve stopped when it’s something beyond my control. I’ve been using and meaning, I guess partly out of fear from fully allowing the meaning to consume me.
John: Yes, when you are completely taken over by meaning, you are meaning, meaning that has a self, a self that isn’t like you yet, and it is an entire level of form that’s yours. You’re able to manifest meaning in all of that form. The more you manifest what you are on the level of your self, the more that your self is and functions like you. On the level of your self that is experienced as constant goodness-change. When you’re being what you really are in your self, your self never stops changing. It keeps turning into what you’re being in it.