Interview for Recto-Versea Magazine
By Bertrand Coquoz, Geneva, Switzerland
Recto-Verseau Magazine, March 1999
“Drop all thought. Drop into silence, turn your back on all manifestation and see who you really are.” – Eli
How do you usually present yourself? Your name is Eli Jaxon-Bear. Do you have anything to do with Indians?
Most people just call me Eli. I have had many different names just in this lifetime. Since I was a revolutionary in the ’60s, I had to use different names. When I was a federal fugitive during the Vietnam War, my name was once Norman Brown. During a ceremony with a Mescalero Apache in 1973 I was given the name Eli Jaxon-Bear and it stuck. Now, as some karmic joke, my daughter just named my granddaughter Reagan!
You teach the Enneagram, and this subject is sometimes misused.. Do you have any comments about this?
I am only interested in one thing: That everyone wake up and realize the truth. This awakening, or self-realization, requires the examination of the false identification as an ego. The Enneagram can be extremely useful for self-inquiry if you are willing to face the lies of personal identification. In this it is a great medicine. As with any medicine, misused it is a great poison. The Enneagram is used as a poison when it reinforces your identity as an ego. Of course, we are only dealing here with the appearance of mind, not something real. The Enneagram is what my Zen teacher would call, “an imaginary medicine for an imaginary disease.”
I met my final teacher, Papaji, in India in 1990. His teaching is the most direct and simple. Drop all thought. Drop into silence, turn your back on all of manifestation and see who you really are. This teaching and transmission of a silent mind was something I had been searching for for 18 years through all the different spiritual traditions. As soon as I met him, I knew that my search was over. Everything was finished.
He confirmed my realization, and made use of my knowledge of the Enneagram, as he would have me work with people in his satsang who still held doubts and questions in their minds that would often simply be in the way of a direct realization. The knowledge of the Enneagram was so useful in knowing the structures and traps of the various identifications of mind. We would later talk about these things in private, and discuss the value of all of this. He liked it very much, and entrusted me with taking the realization of non-dual totality into the realms of mind so that everyone wake up. The Enneagram is not necessary for awakening. Many great souls have awakened without the knowledge of the Enneagram. What the Enneagram does, however, is to make direct self- inquiry available to everyone, not just the great evolved souls. Anyone who is interested in knowing him or herself can look in the wisdom mirror of the Enneagram to see the false identification.
With the insights into the structure of mind gained with the Enneagram, there is an increased clarity and ability to true vigilance in the establishment of yourself in your true identity as the causeless, formless, intelligent love that we call consciousness or God.
What is birth? What is death?
Supreme consciousness identifies itself as a body. In this identification the true identity as immortal consciousness is forgotten. Lifetime after lifetime, souls reincarnate to discover the truth and search for home. What is born will die. What dies will be born again. Who you are is untouched by birth and death. You are life, which animates both birth and death and is free and unformed.
My teacher died exactly one year ago. Before his body dropped he repeated his favorite Kabir song, which was later sung by his devotees at his body’s burning. “When I was born the whole world was laughing and I was crying. Now that I am dying everyone is crying and I am laughing!” So we say he died as a way of speaking, but in truth no one dies and no one was ever born! The awake consciousness that I called my teacher is ever present in this moment, although the body is burned to dust.
Why is the way to approach the beginning and end of life forms important in the art of living?
There are really two issues. One is an issue of animal husbandry. As animals, why not give our young the best that we can, and give our elders the best death that we can? Just as animals in relationship, why not be gentle, kind, and loving?
More important is the issue of freedom and truth. From the moment of birth, and even in the womb, the newborn is being entranced. It is being taught a world view that is a form of group trance. It is being indoctrinated into the herd as the parents pass on the unspoken beliefs, attitudes, and ideas of who the baby is and what the world is. This is a form of slavery. So babies born in the worst circumstances in the gutter and those born with the best care in the world are still indoctrinated into the same world-view and personal identity. This is the only issue of real importance. Jesus was born in a hay manger; the birth is not as important as the desire to wake up. So we can use the latest techniques and experiment with the latest theories, but ultimately all that matters is the desire to be liberated while still in a body. This desire arises mysteriously, and seems to have nothing to do with circumstance.
The subject of reincarnation is often a source of resistance to the idea that our personality will disappear; is there anything relevant in this subject?
It is only the momentum of past desires that take birth. All form dies. All personalities die. If you are identified with being a somebody you will suffer the fear of death and live in denial. If you are willing to die before your body dies, you will directly discover what does not die. Then you will know with full certainty that you do not die. If you do not realize this, you will reincarnate again and again into a world of suffering, searching for a way out.
Do we have to meet the experience of death?
Until you have met the experience of death on some level, you believe that you are what dies. The experience of death is an initiation into the realm of immortality. If you are willing to die to face whatever is needed, you will discover yourself. If you are not willing then you will have millions of excuses, rationalizations, and belief systems to prove to yourself that you are fine just the way you are. In the past it has been the very rare soul willing to give up everything and face the totality of the unknown in search for truth. Now, as our planet is dying, the gates have been thrown open: everyone can now confront themselves and wake up. This is the possibility of human evolution. If people wake up, then the selfishness, greed, and fear that rules the world now will loosen their grip. It all only lives in each mind, and has to be confronted in your own mind.
All of life is an opportunity to confront yourself, to ruthlessly tell the truth to yourself. The trance of world suffering is only held together by group consensus. It is a group hallucination that appears to have duration and continuity. This hallucination, or dream, is created by words. Words are the power of mind to create the appearance of reality. By being willing to face yourself and expose your own lies, trances, beliefs, and ideas of personal identity, you will discover the power of the word, and the power of trance, and the greatest power of the silent intelligence that it all arises from. You are that silent intelligence, and what is called life is an intelligence test.