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. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Right Action

Do not go looking for people to help. You may be trying to gain virtue, which likely is ego identification. Rather, be what you are, where you are, available to respond to needs presented to you. Ishvara knows what is needed, and if you are to do it, that need will appear. Respond accordingly.

Seek the truth so that you become the light. Then people will present themselves to you with questions, or with physical needs. Responding as life unfolds, where you are, as you are, lets you respond without chasing virtue.

It is freedom that you want, not virtue. It is truth that you want, not virtue. From  freedom comes truth and virtuous action. Then when you respond, it will be right action, not some superimposition.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

For The Sake of Happiness

When we are unhappy we feel that something must be wrong. We just know that happiness is our real nature. We can't argue this feeling, our inherent nature tells us this is our birthright.

However, happiness for any length of time seems fleeting. 
That tells us that we are not in right relationship to what is. Mental suffering is a messenger that tells us we are not seeing correctly.

If we can take the suffering as an indicator that we are out of sync, then that suffering is a key. That key opens us to searching for a different way of seeing.

Since our way of seeing is our way of being, we need to see differently. Some radical new way of seeing is required.

Vedanta is a new way of seeing. It is radical and not easy to accept. But if our suffering is great, and our search for truth is strong, we can try to understand that way of seeing.

Vedanta says that freedom is happiness. Who doesn't want to be free? But freedom has a price. Only those willing to pay the price receive.

What is required? Commitment to listening, to reflection, to understanding, to letting go of seeking happiness in objects: people, places, and things.

Vedanta needs no outside proof, because we are subject. If we make the effort, we become the proof. Jesus said, "The truth will set you free."

Vedanta is a means of knowledge. It reveals the truth. When the student is ready he will seek the truth. When he understands, he will apply the truth. And when the truth abides, the suffering will stop. Then happiness abides. That is the proof.   

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stillness Itself

The one thing you cannot deny is that you exist. This begs the question, "How do you know you exist?" Because you are aware.

Awareness is the knowing faculty regardless of form. Since forms are varied, they have their own particular form of consciousness. Each form of consciousness is but a focal point of awareness.

Forms come and go, but that which is essential, awareness, rests behind all forms. Awareness lights the different forms, but the  essential nature remains unchanged.

Forms come and go, but awareness does not. Only the form changes. Thus, being awareness, we do not come and go. We are existence itself, free of form, eternally at peace. Always stillness itself. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

You Are The World

When you dream, you are the creator. The dream is only there because you are there. It is your dream from beginning to end. It is an effect of your consciousness alone. In your dream you can touch, feel, see, and experience in time, and space. A physical world is there which you navigate. 

When you awake you ask, "how is this waking world any different from my dream world?" It isn't. The waking world is created by Awareness/Ishvara, the beingness that you are. The only difference is that it is not personal.

When you understand that you are that Awareness/Ishvara which manifests this world, you can relax in knowing that this waking world is also your creation. You are the world. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Seeing Correctly

Imagine that you have poor eyesight. If you are confronted with a book, you only see pages with blurry lines. You know you are looking at a book, but you don't know what the book is about. You can't discern the meaning.

If an eye doctor prescribes you a pair of glasses that corrects your eyesight, you can discover the meaning of the book because you can read it. Now you know if it's a romance novel, a detective story, or a text book.

Vedanta is like glasses that correct your vision of the world. It doesn't tell you what to believe, or how to be good. It is a means of knowledge that allows you see factually, clearly, what is. Nothing is changed, you just see correctly for the first time.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Consciousness Is Primary

We can say that the physical world exists because we experience it. However, the obvious part, which somehow we overlook, is that it is only our experience that proves the existence of the physical world. This being the case, experience and therefore knowledge of the physical world is totally dependent on experience. Further, the only thing we can say about experience is that it is the result of awareness, a conscious experience. Therefore, consciousness is primary.

Advaita Vedanta

Vedanta is the idea that knowledge is primary over experience. Mystical, unitary,and transcendental experiences are wonderful and amazing, in so far as they are experienced. But it is the excavation of the knowledge those experiences reveal that is essential.

A mystical, unitary, or transcendental experience may last a few seconds, a month, or several years, however, they end. Most are only minutes long. However, the message they bring, the information they reveal, is knowledge that can last a lifetime.

Advaita Vedanta is an empirical distillation of these experiences revealing the incredible information experiences provide. It's interpretation has stood the test of time, even now confirmed by Quantum Physics. It is the premiere science of consciousness, validated from direct experience. It is an astounding mental achievement, awesome in its understanding of reality.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Superimposition

The superposition (pure potentiality) of quantum mechanics, superimposes upon itself this whole universe of things and beings. It is self observation alone that imagines this universe. It is not the "big bang", but the big dream. We are not the characters of this hologram, but the dreamer itself, that singular potentiality imagining and perceiving itself into this and that. Hallelujah! Enjoy the play.

Friday, September 1, 2017

I AM IS

I am tall, I am male, I am old, etc. This is how we refer to ourselves. However, tall, male, old, etc., are all qualifiers describing "I am." The "I am" is constant, whereas the qualities vary. This shows that even language assumes there is a constant reality on which qualities are added.

All these qualifiers assume that one is a body with these qualities. However, if one says, "I am a body," the "I" is the subject and the body is the object. Again, "I am" is the constant. So, I knows body, tall, male, old, etc. as objects and qualities.

The subject "I" cannot be any of these qualities because they are known. The knower of this object with qualities can be nothing other than consciousness. It exists as the body changes, and when the qualifiers change. "I am" is there if the body is female, short and young.

Is it not obvious that consciousness is the de facto reality? It changes form and qualities, and yet remains the constant without any any qualities permanently attached. "I am" is, all else is name and form. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dreaming the Waking State

If you want to know if the world we live and breathe in is made solely of consciousness, a perfect example would be dream sleep. In dream sleep a whole world is created from consciousness alone. Familiar objects are seen as well as objects created by the dream state. One may travel far and wide, visiting places one has never been to before.

Upon awakening, one is overjoyed with the dream, or dismayed. If enjoyed, one says, "I wish this were true." If one did not enjoy the dream, one says, "Thank God that was just a nightmare." No one claims the dream to be real since one knows that one went to bed and slept, arising in the morning from the same bed. It was a creation of consciousness alone.

How far a step is it to realize that the waking world is any different. Consciousness alone allows you to know you are in the waking world, and consciousness alone is therefore the creator of it. The only difference is that waking consciousness has more continuity. In no other way are they different.

Consciousness alone is the creator and destroyer of worlds. We are that consciousness. In dreams we admit that we are the creator, but in the waking state we don't see it. That ignorance in the waking state  is what prevents us from knowing, I Am pure awareness itself.