Entering the River

May 5, 2021

What does it mean to be a stream enterer or to be in the river? These are descriptions of practitioners found in direct realization traditions. Shambhavi breaks it down. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

There’s this idea in the direct realization traditions of being a non-returner. It means someone whose desire is strong enough that they’re no longer coming and going so much. They’re out of doubt about whether they want to do practice. They’re no longer in and out of wondering if they’d rather just give the whole thing up. They’re no longer being thrown in and out of states of devotion and going back into just ordinary frames of mind where they don’t even think about presence or they’re not thinking about their practice at all.

A non-returner is someone who has a strong enough desire that it brings confidence and knowledge about what your life is actually about. So you don’t have any doubt about that any more. Whether you’re in that condition or not, you’re still going to be in greater or lesser states of immersion in presence. You’re still going to forget what you’re about now and then. But there’s this inner conviction and burning desire to follow.

There’s also another way this is described—as being in the river. So you jump into a river, and it’s pulling you along. When you’re in that condition, when your desire is strong and your conviction is strong, then there’s the experience that even if you have resistance, you’re still being pulled along. You’re still following that pull. You’re no longer the one in charge of everything.

Anandamayi Ma said, “Give yourself up to the wave, and you will be absorbed by the current. Having dived into the sea, you do not return anymore.” What this speaks to is that there is already—built in to us and to nature—a pull, a flow toward waking up and realizing the nature of the self and becoming more integrated with that in our body, energy, and mind. It’s already built in.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.