Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Only That

You could say that I searched for nonduality for many years. But, after arrival one does not claim to have searched at all! He who searched has left town, never to be seen again. Who was the doer? That!

I am not the doer. You are not the doer. That is the doer. All one doer, not two doers, as in a me or a you. "The sinner and the saint are just exhanging notes" to quote Nisargadatta. Where is good and bad when there is only That?

Some have called nondual awareness impersonal. But in fact, when there is only you, nothing but intimacy remains. When there is only all that is as you and me, everything is intimate. Nothing could create more intimacy. When the "observer is the observed", as Krishnamurti says, where is the distance?

Where is the harm when no one is doing anything to you, nor you to them? What opinion can you have about what is going on? Everything is allowed. There are no winners or loosers. Only That. Only That, being what it is. Loving what is. No one to save. Only That. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Impeccable Logic

Intelligence is not enough to discover who you are. Intelligence based on false assumptions, unexamined, just creates beautiful rationalizations. Creates castles in the sand. It takes courage, fearless self examination, uncompromising questioning and the risk of your own self conception. Truth has to be number one.

I've been around a lot of intelligent people with incredible logic based upon false assumptions. From that false base, the logic and consistency can be impeccable. But, if you go to the root on which the logic is based, the whole structure is null and void.

If one is doing self inquiry, one must be willing to go beyond the personal to the impersonal. One must be willing to ask, not just, "Who am I?" but "What am I?" That jump to the impersonal makes all the difference.  

Me and I

"Me" is a mental object. "I am" is being. You say, "I am angry," not "Me is angry." Why? Because "I am" refers to awareness, the real self. It is awareness that knows the experience, while "me" is just reflected awareness in the bodymind. 

Dream Characters

Awareness takes on the Jiva just like we take on the characters in a dream. No difference. When you wake up from a dream you go, "Oh, I had a dream." In waking life when you wake up you know, "I am not limited to this person. I was sleeping.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Survival Instinct Moved

The drive to survive, to maintain is hardwired into us. We got it from our evolutionary past. This instinct to survive is necessary and natural, but that survival instinct now has moved and mapped itself to our ego. Now we act as if our ego is what we must protect as if it is our life. But, is it really so? Is it necessary that our ego be protected as a live or die object?

The ego is a structure of our upbringing, our culture, our beliefs. It has very little to do with our survival. It's a story, opinion, assumption. Can we see this?

As awareness we can step back and look at this object, see it for what it is. It is an ephemeral object. It is not who we are. It is not our life. Only by stepping away from ego can we see it objectively, purely, and have compassion for ourselves and others. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Attitude Affects Karma

Suppose you have the idea there are bad people in the world that should be hurt. Your attitude is that they need to be punished. You take yourself to be the virtuous one, and you are going to do some of the punishing.

You decide that a number of bad people hang out in the dive bar at the edge of town. So you take it upon yourself to go there and have a few drinks. Surely you'll find someone that needs to be hurt.

You arrive and have a few drinks. Soon enough you're feeling cocky. A rough looking dude walks in and starts behaving badly. He is pestering some young woman who wants nothing to do with him. You approach the tough guy and confront him concerning his behavior.

Now you have an argument and you smile as it escalates. Being virtuous, you let the other guy throw the first punch. You are rather tough yourself, you get the better of him. You both get kicked out of the bar, but you are satisfied that you hurt someone who needed to be hurt.

You attitude keeps you going back. You repeat the same scenario over and over. Soon, you are no longer allowed in that bar. You find another one. Same story.

Thirty years later you find yourself alone, banned from all the bars. Half your bones are broken. Your nose is off kilter, and a piece of your ear is missing. As you sit pondering, you suddenly realize that all the other people who thought some people needed to be hurt, were also gathering at the dive bar. You had found each other and provided the correct karma. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Universal Awareness

Awareness is universal. In order to have a point of view it must create a scene and a focal point of awareness. Sentient beings are vehicles for reflected awareness. Since awareness has no qualities, it takes on the qualities of the vehicle it reflects. 

In the case of the human, reflected awareness takes on the view of the particular jiva. At the focal point of the individual, awareness responds as that person as if it were that person. The individual takes the reflected consciousness and responds according to the sense organs and personality that develops.

It is rare that a person doesn't perceive awareness to be indigenous to the physical and subtle body. The senses are in the body and the personality acts through the body. For all practical purposes, our mistaking ourselves to be the body is hard-wired. It is the rare person who discovers that awareness is not personal. Fewer still are able to see this without the teaching of Advaita Vedanta.

Vedanta turns the subject object relationship on its head. It shows that awareness itself is the subject. That you, and all sentient beings only borrow awareness. When you realize yourself to be awareness, you see that you are the field in which all the characters play. You awareness, take on the identify of each character. Then you play. Vedanta shows that you are not the doer, not the character. That is freedom. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Qualifications, Knowledge, Means

There is no doubt that a qualified mind is required to realize the self. Since Vedanta is a complete means of knowledge, if you come to it as your first real foray into the spiritual world, you are lucky. The whole method is there. You can use the tools to quiet your mind and develop the subtlety required.

As James has said repeatedly, if you arrive with a qualified mind, your understanding may come quickly. In my case, I had been slopping around all over the place. The Christian mystics, new age thought, self improvement, Sufism, J. Krishnamurti, etc. You name it, I read it, studied it, did it. But there was one thing I had wrong. I thought it was some kind of experience that I needed. This was the greatest piece of ignorance I had. It was the biggest stumbling block.

As far as qualifications go, I did have one thing going for me. Having wandered in the swamps for so long, I had learned to separate the wheat from the chaff. Gestalt therapy, Primal therapy, and dream work, had cleaned up most of my projections. Taking back my projections and owning up to all the crap stored in my unconscious, got me fairly clean.

Progress was made, clear thinking and self confidence improved. But the one thing I didn't know was that I still had a knowledge problem. I kept trying to feel my way into the space the great teachers came from. J. Krishnamurti took my head apart, but there was no means of getting into the space he spoke from. I was still trying to get the right experience.

Experience is a tricky thing. No matter how unitary, ecstatic, blissful, or out of this world they may be, they don't last. What's worse, is that after a taste of bliss, the return to the mundane feels like hell. The only solution seems to be to try harder, to chase experience better.

All this to point out, that when I discovered Advaita Vedanta as taught by James Swartz, what he taught made complete sense. When he stated that I didn't need to chase experience, it was a relief. When he said it was knowledge that set one free, that was good news. Especially good because Vedanta has a "means of knowledge." 

Having a "means of knowledge" is the solution. Half baked experiential teachings didn't work for me. I was ready and open for correction. His book, "How to Obtain Enlightenment" was a complete view. It stated clearly what I needed to know, and it had a means. Since I was pretty cleaned up, the knowledge poured in. Then freedom was experienced.

Reincarnation or the Truth

What do you want more, to reincarnate because you enjoy this life, or the truth? If you want reincarnation, then don't be coming to satsang pretending you are seeking truth. Even Jesus said "The truth will set you free." And if you are free, you won't be reincarnating. Why? Because once you know your are the Self, you know you were never born and will never die. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Born Jnani

I was born a Janna yogi. As far back as I can remember I was always wanting to know why? How? I wanted to understand. This wasn't some wonderful thing. I was always in trouble for questioning what I heard. I wasn't opposed to authority, I just wanted them to be true to the knowledge.

I had an itch for truth that I scratched till I bled. Most of my life I considered this absolute, unwavering search, a curse. It prevented me from living the assumptions I found all around me. The constant search made me an outsider, an inward dweller. 

I didn't like prayer, or meditation, or symbols. But I was contemplative. There was always some abstract something behind the veil that was calling. That was my curse. And I literally told people that I was cursed because the search was not a pastime. It was life or death.

You might say I had a quest for knowledge. I read voraciously. I made progress. I could feel it, but the veil was still there. Who was I? How did this work? What was real?

It all boiled down to the fact that I was ignorant of something my very soul needed. Some profound instinct had hold of me. There was something I needed to understand. Yet I could not name it.

Enlightenment I heard of, and I pursued it. But there was a boatload of crap to wade through. When I discovered Advaita Vedanta, and it informed me that I had a knowledge problem, it was hallelujah for me! I was what I was looking for, Awareness itself.

Since I was a born jnani this knowledge was nirvana. It was the healing of the itch. The end of the search. I still don't meditate and symbols don't do much for me. But understanding is all. And bless the teachers. I never would have figured this out.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Automatic Value Judgments

"Feelings are automatic value judgments," was a statement made by the American psychotherapist Nathaniel Brandon. If you consider this statement deeply you can understand how feelings can deceive you. If your assumptions (automatic values) are based on falsehoods (things you picked up from your parents, and unexamined experience), trusting your feelings may keep you on the wheel of samsara.

An automatic value judgment is a determination, an assumption of value, that you no longer question. Animals have instincts, but we humans have feelings. Most are developed in childhood when we have little choice about inculcation. We take on automatic value judgments to respond quickly and correctly in the environment we find ourselves. 

No matter how strong our feelings are, these judgments may not be in line with the truth. If our feelings are exceptionally strong, we will have a hard time examining them. There is no doubt that questioning strong feelings causes insecurity. The threat to our psychological security is reason enough not to question them. We take our feelings to be the truth.

Unexamined experience and feelings may be presenting a false view of reality. This is where Advaita Vedanta has tremendous insight. Vedanta tells us that it is knowledge that sets us free.

For knowledge of reality, feelings and unexamined experience need to be questioned. Vedanta is a means of knowledge to examine our assumptions. It takes courage to view ourselves in the light of knowledge, but the end of suffering is a worthy goal.

Swami Dayananda wrote a book called "The Value of Values." This would be a good start. You can look at your feelings and see what values they express. Are they in line with freedom and true security? Examining our values based on the knowledge revealed in the Vedas is a proven path to freedom and out of samsara. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Nothing Simpler Than This

I see my computer screen. Therefore I say it exists. I feel my fingers on the keyboard. Therefore I say it exists. I hear the birds outside my window. Therefore I say they exist. All my sensory input does one thing. It points out existence.

The input from my senses is different, but all of them reveal existence only. The name and form varies, but all resolve into existence. And what is existence? It is knowing.

You know the computer screen by sight, the keyboard by touch, and the birds by their sound. All this input is knowing. To know is to exist. Does this not reveal that existence is consciousness?

Consciousness alone exists. If you exist, you are that consciousness. There is nothing simpler than this.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Imagine a Robot

Imagine a robot that has been sent to the moon. It has legs so it can maneuver on the moon landscape. It has cameras so it can create images and send them back to earth. It has recording equipment, so it can send recordings back to earth.

On earth in the space lab where all the receiving equipment is located, humans see and experience all the information the robot is capturing with its equipment. The humans get excited and are awed by what they see and hear.

Consider that the robot is inert. It experiences nothing. It's just equipment. The humans on earth are the ones who experience what the robot sees and hears.

Take another step and consider that the human body is the robot for the Self. The body is inert. You know and experience the body, but the body does not know you. You are that Self, that Awareness, in which all of creation exists and is experienced. You alone are eternal Existence Awareness in which all appears and disappears. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Awareness Is Fluid

Awareness is the most fluid thing because there is nothing that cannot appear in it. From the largest thing, to the smallest, nothing appears outside of it.

It does not matter how far the universe expands, it is contained in awareness. The smallest quark seen through the most powerful electronic microscope, appears only in awareness. So where is any limit on awareness?

Since nothing exists without awareness, you can be nothing but awareness. How freeing is that?  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Rendition of Advaita Makaranda by Maury Lee

A Rendition of Advaita Makaranda by Maury Lee Sri Laksmidhara Kavi wrote 28 verses on the essence of Advaita Vedanta. Using reasoning and logic, the verses establish non-dual Brahman, One without a second. Note: I couldn't find a modern English version of "Advaita Makaranda." Archaic wording made the versions I found difficult to digest. I wrote a version I could understand. It is below. Hopefully I have retained the meaning. Just thought I would share it. Verse 1 Salutations to Brahman who is infinite bliss, whose essence is auspicious to the whole world, and who, by a revealed means of knowledge, removes all ignorance. Verse 2 I awareness, exist without beginning or end. I shine the light of awareness on everything. Therefore, every form of consciousness is nothing other than myself. There is nothing about myself that I dislike. I am Brahman, Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. Verse 3 In Me, awareness, does the whole of Space appear, and all things in it. A bodymind appearance therefore, is nothing but the presence of Brahman, the all-knower and the cause of all. Verse 4 I awareness, never perish, though forms come and go. I continue always. Though forms are destroyed, I remain. I am partless, though I appear as many. This is my creation and needs no other support. The destruction of any form is not my destruction. Verse 5 The element of space cannot be altered. Whatever appears to divide, does not affect space. When any form in space changes, space remains. How then can I, the pure Consciousness, be destroyed by things superimposed on Me? Verse 6 The universe is inert. Nothing can be known or experienced without my presence. I, Awareness/Consciousness, am present everywhere. Verse 7 The world cannot be known without Consciousness. It is I which shines the light by which experience is known. No experience of the world lights up without my presence. Every name and form is a superimposition. I Awareness, am one without a second. Verse 8 I am not the body, nor the sense-organs, nor the pranas, nor the mind, nor the intellect, because these are all objects known to me. Verse 9 I am the witness, all-pervading and ineffable. I am not the ego, feeling limited and separate. I am everywhere, and not confined. All modifications appearing and disappearing are only appearances. I know their appearance and their absence. Verse 10 Sorrow and other travails of samsara are known to me, but not experienced by me. The world of name and form belongs to appearances which change. But I do not change. I am the witness only. Verse 11 The person that sleeps does not know sleep. I Awareness, do not sleep. I witness the dreamless sleep, the dreaming sleep, and waking state. I know the three states, therefore I am beyond them. Verse 12 The presence or cessation of any state is known to me, an object in Awareness. Waking and dreaming and the absence of either is known to me. But I am not affected. How can these belong to Me, their witness? I am ever the knower, not the state or object. Verse 13 Being Awareness, the knower of all modifications, who could give me attributes? Who could provide my description? Verse 14 If appearances are born and then disappear, how can such a changing thing remember the changes? It is I, Awareness/Consciousness that remembers. Verse 15 Only Awareness sees one’s birth and death. The moment of appearance is birth, and the moment of death is the beginning of absence. I am the knower of both. I was present at your birth, and present at your death. I will know your absence. Verse 16 I am not touched by ignorance. "I know" and "I don't know” are illumined by me, the light, Awareness. Knowing youth and old age, presence and absence, how can the Self be ignorant or time-bound? Verse 17 Without inquiry, ignorance of the Self remains. We are born aware, but consciousness of our surroundings takes up all our space. The mind misinterprets and ignorance remains. In the absence of inquiry, samsara repeats. Freedom is born of inquiry, applied with a means of knowledge. Verse 18 This projected appearance of a universe provides a place for apparent selves. But separate selves never feel at home until the light of realization dawns. Liberation springs from knowledge and understanding. Then we are Brahman, eternally in the home we never left. Verse 19 This division of objects, including sentient beings (jivas) are imagined in Me, Awareness, just as in a dream. Yet all is One, just like objects in a painting are nothing but paint. Verse 20 Every apparent witness has borrowed my Awareness, but forgotten, and claims it as his own. The individual witness is only an assumption in the ocean of Consciousness. Verse 21 There is no adding or subtracting from Awareness. I am not affected. No wave of appearance detracts from the ocean. No ripple on a pond is separate from the water. Ignorance does not bother me. I am the light. Verse 22 Existence is my very nature. It is not one of my qualities. Existence is all there is. What is separate from that? Verse 23 Consciousness is my nature, and not a quality. All of existence is Consciousness only. I am eternal. Non-existence is not possible. Verse 24 I am bliss. If one does not know this bliss, one is ignorant. This is no sin. It is only a mistake. A means of knowledge is provided because I am dear to myself. Verse 25 Reality is that which does not change. Though I appear as many with various natures, I do not change. The nature of form can be dismissed, as the differences belong to the world, not to me. I remain undivided, the existence only, of each and every form. Verse 26 I am the light. All is light. That light is Awareness. When I take form, Consciousness appears with many attributes. But every attribute is one essence. Existence itself. That existence, I am. Therefore, “That thou art” is true. To know this, apply the means of knowledge, Advaita Vedanta. Verse 27 I am the eternal Awareness/Consciousness. I am all existence. I am that Self which you are. I am complete, without beginning or end. All appearances are projections only, all resolve back into me. Verse 28 May this nectar of non-dual Brahman be revealed as your very self. May these verses, like lotus flowers full of nectar, be joyfully drunk by all wise persons.

Monday, October 2, 2017

What You Love the Most is Yourself

What you love the most is yourself. When you can see others as yourself, who's not to love. 

Subtle Inquiry

Awareness has always been with us. We fail to notice it, because it doesn't change. At birth it is known as sensory input. We have no way of knowing what it is other than what we experience. We simply respond. At that age there is know other way to look at it. 

In time we learn that this body has choices on how to respond and personality develops. The ego has to develop because it is the interpreter and chooser of how to respond. It is natural. It is hard wired. There is nothing inherently wrong with it other than the fact that the body and sensory input is not what we are. 

Awareness is so basic, so obvious, that it is overlooked by everyone.  Because we want to survive, we are paying attention to the input, and how to respond. We learn what is required to survive in our family, our group, our society. This learning usurps all our attention.

At some point, for some people, due to suffering, we begin to question. If we have a strong enough ego, we begin to question ourselves. Eventually, inquiry gets subtle and continuous. We begin to love quietness and peace as that is required for this level of inquiry. Less is more becomes a valuable asset.

At some point, if we persist, we catch sight of that which allows us to know. On examining this, we see that if we are anything, we are That.