Joe expresses typical neo-advaita-fuelled confusion in his letter to Deepak:
Can you imagine if Deepak went on Oprah and told people that their twenty years of meditation has absolutely no value to you because there IS NO YOU???? Well, Oprah probably wouldn’t have you back on…HA
…and while this insight is powerful and transformative to you based on your life experience, the reason I don’t spend all my time on this message to “dynamite the masses” as you say, is because this is a not the most useful message for most people who are aspiring to spiritual freedom. In fact it can be spiritually counterproductive to many people because it can confuse and disorient them. Especially if they misinterpret it as: “Everything I know myself to be is false, meaningless and wrong. It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do, nothing matters because I don’t exist and neither does anyone else.” It can make them morally confused and take away their sense of purpose and productivity which are still important for spiritual growth at that point.
When one is ripe for this knowledge of unity, then you feel liberated, blissful and powerfully engaged with all of life within and around you. You are everything. When you aren’t ready for it, it and you try to adopt the teaching intellectually, then it can make one’s behavior unnatural, artificial, or apathetic.
If all it took to give someone enlightenment was telling them that their ego self is not real, then enlightened beings would not be as rare in the world as they are.
Different knowledge is applicable to different states of consciousness, one size does not fit all. In order for consciousness and the body (which must be strong and pure enough to sustain that consciousness) to be ready for this knowledge of Vedanta, the old conditioning that holds those false patterns in place must be released. This is the stage that requires some doing, meditation, or something to clear out the old impressions. Meditation, far from being of “no value,” is actually one of the few activities in life that is of real value.
You say that the message of “meditation and doing things” is what attracts people. I’m not so sure about that. Most people would dearly love to be enlightened without having to do anything. If they could attain it through a quick revelation or inspiration they would take that in a heartbeat, rather than the prospect of decades of meditation.
But you are probably right that meditation is a more understandable message than telling people they don’t exist. (Especially because the concept of communication between people implies that somebody must exist.)
There’s another phenomenon I have witnessed over the years as people become fascinated by the message of Vedanta: Sometimes an aspirant get so weary with the pace of their spiritual progress, that they convince themselves that they must be done by now and ready for the big realization of unity consciousness. So they assume the language and behavior of an enlightened person believing that this must be how it is supposed to happen. It isn’t. Unity consciousness has to be a natural, authentic, organic experience. When the fruit is ripe, then it falls from the tree.
My teachings cover a broad range of techniques and subjects because different people need different knowledge at different times. I don’t expect everyone to resonate with everything I say or write about. I assume people will pick out what works for them and leave the rest.