Monday, May 11, 2009

Am I making progress ?

The very question is a hindrance, well worth avoiding. Progress implies change, one's desire to become something other than what one imagines oneself to currently be. Since the Self is changeless, the question of progress does not arise.

Yet, this is a question that refuses to go away. We hear stories of other people's experiences, their feeling of consciousness expanding, seeing blue or white lights etc, and then lament our lack of any progress since those experiences never seem to come to the majority of us. We begin feeling low, start looking for techniques that others have had success with, perhaps practice a few of them before beginning to feel low again.

The right attitude to 'Am I making progress?' is to ask 'To whom does this question arise?'. The question is just one of myriad doubts that arise and disappear. A yes or a no answer does not change what one is, it just influences what one imagines oneself to be. Looking for experiences is certainly not a technique, experiences come and go and hence are not noteworthy.

All experiences, doubts, answers only vindicate one thing - that I Am. Without 'I' being present, who would know of this question ? Or the answer ? Ignoring the question of progress, the right thing to do, if it can be called so, is to focus the attention back on the Self.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What happened to the dinner you ate yesterday?

Or all of the groceries that you have been buying ? Take a closer look, what is your hand composed of ? What runs as blood in your veins ? What makes the nails or the hair grow ?

Or you have been doing some serious weight training and increasing your intake of protein. What happened to the chicken that you ate ?

Spend a moment reflecting and you'd realize that what used to be a chicken is now distributed in your body, as muscles or as blood cells. Or even as the layer of fat around your belly. Same with all the eggs, potatoes or whatever else you have been eating.

Before the slice of bread enters your mouth, you'd vehemently deny it was you, you clearly see the separation. Once eaten, doesn't the bread become a part of your body ? The body, that you are so attached to, and take it to be you ?

Look differently at people eating in the restaurant the next time, and you'll realize that all that is happening is transformation. Bread, meat, butter, vegetables, they are all transforming into human bodies. This transformation goes on endlessly in nature. This transformation happens to your body as well.

Look at your body again, it is the sum total of all the groceries that you have been buying each month, whether you are a vegetarian or non, it doesn't matter, it is just transformation of one form into another.

Who witnesses the transformation ?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

'So, what do I do ?'

Get rid of the sense of doership.

It is hard for most of us to accept that all happens as it must. A thought, a desire appears, action follows. Ultimately everything returns to a state of harmony. At best, all that needs to be done is to adopt a witness, an observer attitude.

Most of us probably haven't met someone we call enlightened, but if we did, he would simply tell us to wake up, to know that we are not individuals. Then, how could one go about doing something as an individual ? Losing individuality would necessitate losing the sense of doership. To sit in meditation, to recite prayers, is to continue as an individual. To follow such practices and then look for signs of progress is to further the notion of the individual.

Silence, discrimination of what you are not and constant remembrance of 'I am' is necessary in the beginning. All that appears to you is not you. All that you can observe is not you. Constantly paying attention to this will intuitively lead you to the conclusion that you do not have to do anything, but 'just be'.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Do nothing, Just be

Sooner or later, the seeker is sure to come across this statement and he is bound to get confused. How do I 'just be' ? Do I sit in a corner doing nothing ? Do I eat ? Do I breathe ? These questions are certain to arise and a correct understanding of this statement is necessary.

If approached with the attitude, 'I am the body', this statement will certainly sound ridiculous and impossible. Even if one were to sit in a corner, doing nothing, the heart would continue to beat, cell division in the body will go on and blood would flow through the veins. This obviously can not be the meaning of 'Do nothing'.

Understand, that this statement is not meant for who we think we are, i.e. a body, a name etc. Before a Guru would have made this statement, he'd also have stressed 'You are not what you think you are. You are not the body, nor the mind'. It is clear that sitting in a particular posture or fasting is not the intent of this statement.

To understand what I am, I must know what I am not. What the mind has been led to believe all along, must be undone. I have to believe, understand that I'm not the body, nor the mind. I'm not a sensory perception, therefore I can not be the body or anything physical. I'm not a thought, therefore I can never think or imagine what I am. I can not be perceived since the perceived can not be the perceiver. I can not be known, since the known can not be knower. I must be changeless since all change is witnessed by me.

Knowing this, believing this, what then is left to do ? All that appears, appears to me. All that appears, appears because I am there to appear to. Sensations, desires and thoughts arise, they are known to me, but I'm not the known, but the knower of all there is.

Then, do nothing, just be. Always. In whatever that appears to be happening, in your so called daily life, you can do nothing, but just be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We are often asked to ponder over the three states of deep sleep, dreaming and waking up. Hopefully, the graphic will help in leading to a greater insight.

Waking up : Upon waking up, the person we normally imagine ourselves to be appears simultaneously to us along with the world. The root thought is 'I am the body', which leads to the rest of the world being recreated instantaneously. The mind attaches itself to this imagined person, duality is created and everything else in the world appears outside of the body. All latent desires and fears are recreated and continue cyclically until the imagined body dies.

However, this imagined body and the associated world appear and disappear each day. Irrespective of how much pain or pleasure one has gone through during the day, it all disappears when one goes to sleep.

Point to ponder : The person and the world must appear to someone, somebody, to whom ?

Dreaming : A dream person and a dream world appears, not unlike the waking world, there is a dream body that seems to experience the world. The concepts of time, space seem a bit warped, yet the duality is evident. One may see similar dreams periodically, yet they are all different.

Point to ponder : The dream, consisting of the dream person and the dream world, must appear to someone, to whom ?

Deep Sleep : There is no person, nor a world. The mind stays dormant. There are no appearances, yet I exist. It is peaceful, but we can't remember anything of it upon waking up. Memories are of the mind, the mind being dormant during deep sleep, we do not have any memory of this state upon waking up.

Point to ponder : I exist during deep sleep, without the mind or the body that I imagine to have, who am I ?

If we look at the graphic again, we can see that the persons and the associated worlds appear and disappear, while the one they appear to, remains. If there is reincarnation, it simply is another body and world that would appear and disappear. It is only by our attachment and attention to the thought of the body that we lend reality to an appearance. This also leads to believing that the world is apart from us, whereas in reality the body and the world are both appearances to our real Self.

Our thoughts, feelings, worries that we take to be ours are all dependent and related to the the appearance of the body and the world, they disappear when we sleep without a trace, only to come back the next morning.

Mind's attention and attachment is always outward, external. We can utilize the mind however, to focus the attention not on the appearances, but to That which they appear to. In doing so, we realize that we are really free of the imagined person and the world, that all the problems of the imagined body and person are not ours. We also realize that all action and effort is indeed that of the imagined person, the body, hence the advice of a Guru - Do nothing, but keep your attention on the Self, That to which all else appears to.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The significance of a Guru

Ramana Maharshi became enlightened by realizing that he was neither the body nor the mind. Nisargadatta became self-realized by realizing he wasn't Nisargadatta, that he was never born and would never die.

Yet, those who continue to dream, worry about Gurus and lineages, worship pictures of their Gurus, or make plans to visit Tiruvannamalai hoping there is something magical and mystical there that will aid in their self-realization.

It is alright to have a picture of Ramana Maharshi in front of you, provided each time you look at it, you are reminded that you are not the body or the mind, that both the picture and the seer are just appearances. Going to where Nisargadatta used to live to aid your spiritual journey is pointless compared to remembering his teaching that space, time and the person are all concepts in the mind.

Nisargadatta often used to say that a Guru is just a milestone, he can only point to the obstacles but overcoming those can only be done by the one who is dreaming. Guru merely points that you are dreaming, that you are not what you take yourself to be, waking up from the dream is up to us.

The greatest Guru is the Self, our role is to let It express itself by not getting attached to the mind and its incessant outwardly directed quest in the very forms it has created.

Friday, August 10, 2007

God Is !

Brahman is all there is. Self is Brahman. Or simply put, God Is !

If He alone is, what can one experience but Him ? Normally, when we think about experiences, we think of the sights that we see, the sounds that we hear - always about things that are external to our body. Even if one is following a faith based or devotional approach, one can cultivate this line of thinking that whatever one sees, hears, touches, smells or tastes, is nothing but He, irrespective of what the mind might believe.

However, if He alone is, then what about the eyes that see, or the ears that hear ? They can't be anything but He. Your body that you experience can also be nothing but He. The thoughts, feelings or emotions that you observe can also be nothing but He. In fact, everything that you can ever experience is nothing but He, Self, Brahman.

Remember, what you experience is not just external objects, but your own body, thoughts, dreams etc. If He alone is, then He is all that you can experience, regardless of what the mind or thoughts present Him as.

If you spend some time in self-inquiry, you can then safely ignore all distracting thoughts, noises etc, by knowing that they are nothing but He. By not paying attention to appearances and knowing that all is He, you will make significant progress in finding peace.

The final question you'd need to find an answer to is quite simple - If He alone is, and it is He alone that you can experience, who can you be ? Could you stand apart from reality and say, 'Look, that is Reality, that which alone is ?' Then you wouldn't be real, would you ?

Could you stand apart from Him and say God Is ?