An episode from my life came up in a comment the other day. It may sound trivial but it made a huge impression on me. I’ll do my best to describe it but it may be one of those things you had to be there to appreciate.
In 2005 I spent a few weeks with Shiva Rudra Bala Yogi. I had never met him before. He was staying in a house owned by devotees while on tour in the US. The devotees were friends of mine and I was hanging around and helping out a little bit. His attendant, who had accompanied him from India, told me that he was still getting used to Self-realization.
One day he and I were alone in the house and he decided to take a nap. He asked me to wake him at a certain time so he could go to an event. When I went to wake him, I found him sitting on his bed staring at the floor and shaking his head from side to side like somebody who finds it hard to believe what he or she is seeing or hearing. In a tone of amazement he said, “The mind just doesn’t go out anymore. It just doesn’t go out.” I couldn’t tell if he was talking to himself or to me — maybe the distinction was meaningless to him.
It was obvious to me that I was hearing a spontaneous authentic expression of what he was experiencing, and that he found it amazing. He wasn’t on stage, he wasn’t playing a role, and he was talking to himself as much as to me. I can’t convince you that my impression was accurate but if you had been there and experienced it for yourself, I think you would be certain of it.
That’s the end of the story but I’ll add that I spent another week or two with him under similar circumstances the following year. I got to know him well enough that I would be convinced that he’s Self-realized even if the event I just described had never happened.
Because I got to know him I became convinced that Self-realization — genuine enlightenment — is the permanent 24/7 loss of the ego. It is permanent 24/7 contentment and consciousness. Such a state really exists. It’s not a myth. The mind no longer goes out because there is no longer any ego whose motivations cause it to go out. This state is permanent. It doesn’t come and go. Anybody who thinks enlightenment is less than that hasn’t gotten to know a genuinely enlightened person, and isn’t really enlightened themselves. Anybody who tells you enlightenment is less than that isn’t talking about the real thing.