What is Intensity?

What is Intensity?

By Eric Baret

Q: I would like to hear more about intensity. I have the experience of intensity of pain, intensity of joy, intensity of pleasure, intensity of anger, intensity of grace. But what is intensity?

A: To experience Intensity is to be open to facts, without any psychological comment. Ordinarily, a comment will pop up immediately, as the mind decides what is right and what is wrong. Intensity is simply living with the facts. Don't be confused by the word. The intensity that we are talking about is not just the experience of intense pleasure, pain or whatever—which of course is one kind of intensity—but intensity in presence, intensity in silence. This intensity is more like a vibration. Sometimes you feel the whole body, the whole head and the whole space vibrate and it sort of shuts your mind, your ability to think or even your body’s ability to move.

This kind of intensity sometimes seems to cut you off from feeling. It’s like a communicating vessel effect; the energy that was contained in the sensation is now drawn to the act of feeling itself. It is no longer what we feel that is intense, it is the very fact of feeling. Later on, this intensity can again be experienced at the level of sensation, but there's a moment in life where the intensity of what is felt is sort of swallowed by the intensity of feeling itself, so we don't focus any more on what is felt, but on the very fact of feeling.

For this type of intensity, I think the word silence is the closest, if you want to use a word—which of course has very little meaning. It is something that shuts your mind, and sometimes it stops the sensations too. So, start with the sensation. This sensation will lead you to no-sensation, to this pure intensity. And eventually this pure intensity of feeling will again unravel into sensation, but without a subject-object relationship any longer.

The silence will remain the main space, in which pain, in which pleasure, in which action takes place. But again, we only use words for you to get the intuition of what we talk about. We use this word, we could use some other word. They are all limited. I could use the word intuition; I could use the word astonishment; I could use the word openness. All these words carry some meaning but none of them makes complete sense. You need to go beyond the meaning, because the meaning is not thinkable.

In the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, it is said that it is not like the hug of a loved one. In some Tantras it says the opposite, that it is like a hug. So yes, no; yes no; yes, no; words are really meaningless. Be open to what it may mean, but never stop at saying “Oh, it means this,” because it doesn't mean this. What it means can never be this, can never be that. What it means can never be an object of understanding. We must keep this openness and never conclude. When I conclude I stop something, and life is unstoppable.

So, don't stop at a word, and above all give up the fantasy of trying to understand what things mean, because they mean nothing. The meaning is beyond meaning. When we understand what something means, we reduce the unlimited to our limited ideology and point of view. We must remain in this unlimited total unknowingness, which is the root of life, the root of intensity.