Questioner: Your words are wise, your behavior noble, your grace all-powerful.
Nisargadatta Maharaj: I know nothing about it all and see no difference between you and me. My life is a succession of events, just like yours. Only I am detached and see the passing show as a passing show, while you stick to things and move along with them.
Q: What made you so dispassionate?
M: Nothing in particular. It so happened that I trusted my Guru. He told me I am nothing but my self and I believed him. Trusting him, I behaved accordingly and ceased caring for what was not me, nor mine.
Q: Why were you lucky to trust your teacher fully, while our trust is nominal and verbal?
M: Who can say? It happened so. Things happen without cause and reason and, after all, what does it matter, who is who? Your high opinion of me is your opinion only. Any moment you may change it. Why attach importance to opinions, even your own?
- I Am That - Nisargadatta Maharaj
"Trusting him, I behaved accordingly and ceased caring for what was not me, nor mine." As simple as that. Damn it! It is as simple as that! Nisargadatta describes his life as "...a succession of events, just like yours." , only with detachment. Nisargadatta trusted his Guru, behaved accordingly, and became not only detached, but realized.
Whether you trust an "external " guru, or an internal one, the behaving accordingly is the "proof of the pudding " and the "practice " all rolled into one. This living accordingly, is non-duality lived out.
Living out non-duality is not simply walking around with a smile on your face telling "others" that they are free. To hear it told, we are all free. This is a mantra; We are all free. Do you truly understand this "freedom"? Is this in your experience, or did someone tell you? Could you have read it somewhere? It's easy to do! Why, you were never bound, you have always been free! But is this how you feel?
The step into the unknown seems a potentially dangerous step. We often will put up with a great deal before we will act to change anything. This is why it often takes personality breakdowns, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, or other traumatic events to get us started on the search. Why is this? Because of the need for earnestness. When life kicks your backside once too often, an earnest desire for change begins to grow like a callous.
Of course, earnestness can come simply from a love of "God ", or spirit, or the "search " itself. As much as many teachers will insist that there should be no "search ", as that only reinforces the belief in a "searcher ", the search itself is part of the uncovering of the "truth ". The earnestness is already present. It is the "flow" of Love in action. We do not have to "muster " it, just catch it's tail and accept the ride. Yes, it is as simple as that, but only to the truly earnest.
The strange question asked by the questioner above; "Why were you lucky to trust your teacher fully, while our trust is nominal and verbal?" tends to answer itself in the asking. "Our trust is nominal and verbal ", says why the lack of earnestness, but lays it at the feet of destiny or luck. Nisargadatta's reply put's it up to Grace; "Who can say? It happened so. Things happen without cause and reason and, after all, what does it matter, who is who?" . This is his answer then; those who are favored by Grace will have the earnestness to realize the self. Is that you?
It certainly is not you if you are one of the "no effort ", "no practice" kind of seekers. It is certainly not you if you simply follow your teacher without question or discrimination. While Nisargadatta trusted his teacher, he also behaved accordingly. This means that before his complete understanding, Nisargadatta lived his life "as if " he had the understanding of his teacher, simply on love and trust for his Guru. Nisargadatta did not blindly follow, but lived a life that revealed, both before and after realization, the truth of his teacher's wisdom.
I have written before of this living "as if ". This is not pretending. This is the earnest acceptance of the "truth " on trust, until realization. This is the sacrifice. This is the earnestness. It's kind of like crank starting an old Model "T ". Effort is required at first, but once going it runs on it's own. Without this effort, which comes from Grace, there is no starting this "journey", let alone staying with it until completion.
Later in I Am That, Nisargadatta points out the ultimate earnestness he is talking about;" We discover it (the self) by being earnest, by searching, enquiring, questioning daily and hourly, by giving one's life to this discovery". By giving one's life to this discovery. That is really the description of earnestness; to give one's life. If this "search " that is not a "search ", is to bare fruit, it must be the most important thing. You must not let yourself be satisfied with mere intellectual knowledge, but seek to be that which you seek. Does Grace offer you that opportunity? Do you have the Grace of earnestness? As I said at the beginning, Damn it! It's as simple as that!