Q: All this is very interesting, no doubt, but my goal is more simple. I want more pleasure and less pain in life. What am I to do?
M: As long as there is consciousness, there must be pleasure and pain. It is in the nature of the ‘I am’, of consciousness, to identify itself with the opposites.
Q: Then of what use is all this to me? It does not satisfy.
M: Who are you, who is unsatisfied?
Q: I am the pain-pleasure man.
M: Pain and pleasure are both ananda (bliss). Here I am sitting in front of you and telling you — from my own immediate and unchanging experience — pain and pleasure are the crests and valleys of the waves in the ocean of bliss. Deep down there is utter fullness.
Q: Is your experience constant?
M: It is timeless and changeless.
Q: All I know is desire for pleasure and fear of pain.
M: That is what you think about yourself. Stop it. If you cannot break a habit all at once, consider the familiar way of thinking and see its falseness. Questioning the habitual is the duty of the mind. What the mind created, the mind must destroy. Or realise that there is no desire outside the mind and stay out.
Q: Honestly, I distrust this explaining everything as mind-made. The mind is only an instrument, as the eye is an instrument. Can you say that perception is creation? I see the world through the window, not in the window. All you say holds well together because of the common foundation, but I do not know whether your foundation is in reality, or only in the mind. I can have only a mental picture of it. What it means to you I do not know.
M: As long as you take your stand in the mind, you will see me in the mind.
Q: How inadequate are words for understanding!
M: Without words, what is there to understand? The need for understanding arises from mis-understanding. What I say is true, but to you it is only a theory. How will you come to know that it is true? Listen, remember, ponder, visualise, experience. Also apply it in your daily life. Have patience with me and, above all have patience with yourself, for you are your only obstacle. The way leads through yourself beyond yourself. As long as you believe only the particular to be real, conscious and happy and reject the non-dual reality as something imagined, an abstract concept, you will find me doling out concepts and abstractions. But once you have touched the real within your own being, you will find me describing what for you is the nearest and the dearest.