The core of any worthwhile “spirituality” or self-help/psychology is in the understanding of our own mind.
I am not saying “study” of our minds. This is not about what scientists have discovered and for us to use that information just to be “right.”
When we are understanding ourselves, to “reinvent the wheel” is necessary. No one can give us insight through second hand information, unless we are ready to look, become aware and learn from that.
Observe the conditioning in our minds. What we know about or “civilized” society is conditioning. We expect “reality” to follow those guidelines but we may find out that Life does not follow the commandments, laws and guidelines of the “Office world.”
We have a thought. Did we willfully come up with it? Or perhaps, it just appeared? Have we observed that.
Do we become aware of the thought arising, or we simply IDENTIFY with it and call it “mine”? This question is the beginning to find out more about our minds.
At this time, there are millions of people suffering from some kind of mental issue.
What do they have in common? Contact is lost with external “reality.”
In other words, these individuals strongly believe in what their minds dictate.
Someone suffering from schizophrenia, have a “reality” which is undeniable to them. They feel very strong about it. That creates the clash with a different reality of “normal” people. Psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia… all of those fancy terms, basically describe a mind that is not in touch with “reality.”
If we identify with the contents of our minds, we may live a miserable life. Ego resides right there. Ego is interested in being “right.”
As a person evolves into a different consciousness, that person will realize how forceful our minds could be.
Someone suffering from OCD, is bound to perform certain repetitive actions because in his mind, those activities will bring some benefit. If those actions are not performed, then a sense of guilt and uneasiness will arrive. The mind has control over that person.
Because our society lives in the mind, there is no other “authority” to trust but the conditioning and contents of that mind. That is until we know about out gut-feeling, our heart feelings or any other fancy label to describe a direct knowing which is not necessarily logical or follows a particular benefit for ourselves. To be able to trust “that,” and discern it from the mind, is to create the gap from the rule of the mind.
It is that space, the one that will allow us to observe our own mind.
For example, when we interview someone for a job. We could ask the same questions to all candidates, grade them, add them up and see who is the top candidate. That is the world of the mind, what we have been conditioned to believe. The worshiped idea to be “fair” is there. Nevertheless, personality traits may be covered by someone who is a good talker, a funny person, etc. To observe beyond the answers, becomes important, and to listen to our gut feeling is even more important. Nevertheless, that is not considered to be “fair,” for it is not following “guidelines,” etc. That is the dilemma.
The bottom line is that, we could learn about this experience only if we are AWARE, otherwise; we will perform mechanically the same steps every time there is the label “interview” in our minds, for the conditioning is strong.
We are asleep.
Thus, in that example we could follow the strict steps of the mind to hire someone, or we could go with our gut feeling; but what creates insight and open up our consciousness, is simply to be AWARE that we went with the mind or the heart.
That AWARENESS is the choice-less choice where freedom from the tyranny of the mind resides.
When the mind is caught up with a duality, it has no option but to choose. Paradoxically, is that choice the one that will bring a terrible fight with the nonchosen one.
Pleasure and Pain are one example of such duality.
For centuries, the religious and moral teachings have been made to frown upon pleasure. Even the word “sinful” has been used to label it.
The “spiritual” teachings to deny the physical world and the senses, in the imaginary pursue of something “pure” in the “spirit” world; is utopia.
Life has many dimensions. Every dimension has a particular consciousness, a particular experience.
To deny the physical experience for the sake of pretending to attain a subtler state of being, is to deny Life.
When we deny Life in pursue of an ideal, we are not living harmoniously in the “now.”
The conditioned mind, understands what is “right” or “wrong.” That is the duality that our minds feel comfortable with.
Throw the word “harmony,” and the mind can only think of that as being the opposite of “imbalance.”
A dictionary definition does not bring the experience.
Harmony is the equilibrium of opposites.
Life works through opposites. Pain and pleasure are opposite experiences which are part of living Life in our dimension.
To deny them to attain the ideal of “freedom” is to become paradoxically, slave of such duality.
Humans throughout time; have chosen to embrace pain, sacrifice, martyrdom as the epitome of goodness, moral, sainthood, etc. In this “choice,” rejection of pleasure has brought an unbalanced Life.
Others have embraced pleasure as a reaction, as to desperately indulge in it to take their painful existence away from it; but as we deny one side of a duality, it will appear stronger in our lives.
Overcoming a duality is not a matter of rejection. It is a matter of balance, that is the ability to live Life in harmony with the internal and external elements, moment by moment. This balance needs to have the capacity to change and modify according to the circumstances, it is dynamic.
As we could see, it is not about defining ideals by embracing some and rejecting others.
As we dare to live outside of the conditioned mind, we will observe that balance as a gut feeling will take us back to the sensation of harmony. In that state, the word “overcoming” has no meaning. The “inner equalizer” will bring the stability to BE life itself. Equal to Life.
How do I get there?
You don’t. There is nothing to accomplish. Nothing to “work on.” When you ARE, you will not know it.
It is openness. There is no method to “achieve it.”
Be AWARE that only something that is closed, could be open.
Your potential to be open, is equal to your potential to be closed.
That is why, inner knowledge is about finding out how closed we are.
But we don’t want to see that. We want the fairy stories of “achieving” love and happiness, we “want” the utmost open state of BEING; when we ARE closing down… However, once the door is shut down, it could be open.
It is amazing how the “keywords” are more important than the experience itself.
“You have to live in the now.” “Women want a sexual partner who has presence, who is fully present in the act.”
Those phrases sound amazingly good. Knowledgeable stuff. Best seller material, but…. what is presence and what living in the now mean?
Do you know? Do you practice it?
There is no definition. There is no practice.
Do we need steps or methods to get there?
How can we explain something which defies our language?
Through a common Life scenario.
When we drive a car, as we become familiar with its operation, things become “second nature,” that is “automatic.”
We are driving for some time and our thoughts will appear and process some incident of the past or fantasize about something in the future, or even create a story out of some current Life episode. Have you noticed that?
If we haven’t noticed that, we are not ready to live in the “now.” We don’t know what that is, even if we repeat the latest definitions and use the more hip-hop terminology. At that point, we need to read “best sellers” on how to practice “presence,” and how to live in the “now.”
We need definitions, we need “how-to’s” and ideas to make this practice permanent in our everyday life.
However, a time will come when we notice our fantasizing, our dream world or tele-transportation into a remote past… then we are AWARE. No more “best seller” material needed.
When the mind is full of thoughts, we are not living in the “now.” When we drive the car in the “now,” we are automatically alert, even though it is the same avenue that we drive every day to work. Thanks to our mind, we can remember the familiar sight. But, thanks to our mind, we will snooze into unconsciousness due to the familiarity of the sight. It is the same old thing. No need to be alert.
When the mind is empty of thoughts, we are alert, aware, conscious. When we add content thanks to the conditioned mind; that pristine moment is not. Then, we do things in “automatic mode,” thoughts take over and we forget what we did 10 seconds ago.
After hearing this “revealing” explanation, some will say: “From now on, I will practice to empty my mind of thoughts, so I can live in the now.”
Please don’t put yourself in that stressful situation. Observe that there is no practice whatsoever. AWARENESS is not a practice. Emptiness of thoughts is not a practice. As our consciousness and state of BEING are in a tranquil state, the necessary space to separate ourselves from the mind will appear, then we could observe the mind.
Ahnanda is not saying “my mind,” but just the mind.
At that point, we will become AWARE on how we have obeyed the dictates of the conditioned mind for so long, thinking that THAT was ME.
No wonder, the greatest teaching of all time to remember is “Know thyself.”
Paradoxically, it is not a “Best seller.” 🙂
Opposites drive Life into movement. “Life changes” is the consequence of opposite energies.
Want to be “spiritual”? Want to be “good”?
Non-spiritual and “bad” has to be experienced. Thus, It is to be “bad,” “bad” after all? 🙂 It is a matter of time.
We will find people with opposite virtues/weaknesses, characters, perspectives, experiences, skills, etc. That is what is necessary for movement in the World to occur, yet; our conditioning will judge and label what is not considered “right” through our standards.
God needs the Devil. Police needs crooks, politicians need masses, day needs night… Get the picture?
Those apparent opposites work as “One,” practically it is a unity.
We say: “Body, mind and spirit,” to define a human being, but all of those separating labels cannot divide what is meant to be ONE.
Our minds will affect the way our bodies feel and our bodies, the perception of the mind.
For most the word “spirit” is not experiential. It is only a nice label to throw in there to “look spiritual.”
Nevertheless, whether we dissect a human into 20 types of bodies and 500 chakras, everything works as a unity. It is ONE.
Our education, our learning is based on information. That is second hand knowledge. That is worthless to understand Life, but for the human world, it is priceless stuff.
Once a human being is sold into the ways of society as the only “Life,” then he will not be able to connect with Nature, with Life itself.
In some minds, a concept is real: Triangles exist and so numbers. An” ideal” such as “justice” is supported, the unchanging ideal unable to fit “what is.” Life has its own “justice” which has very little resemblance to human justice. It is merely the experience of the opposite. We say “my karma.” One side of the full experience.
“Spirituality for the masses” keeps teaching its followers how to avoid change. How to stick with an ideal. “Summer is good. Don’t go into Winter for that is bad.” That creates inner dishonesty. A believer believes Summer to be the “right” thing, but he cannot stop the process of living Winter in his own skin.
The procession of the opposites is bound to pass by, it is the 2 faces of the coin which makes up ONE coin. Every time we choose one side, we cannot avoid the other to show up. It is a matter of time.
We have learnt to separate opposites, but from another vision; those opposites are complementary.
Every human experience has an opposite. Every Life journey will go through that trip. Today saint, tomorrow sinner. Where is the middle line? There is none… or we could make up one and label that as our “morality.”
Our conditioning to believe in labels don’t allow us to see the continuity of the rainbow: Different colors, even opposite of each other making up ONE white light.
To be in balance, to harmonize is a more mature way of living than just doing what we think is “right.”
Nature is in balance. That is the way Life moves. Every energy has a reason to be, it has a mission to fulfill.
Our conditioning does not allow us to see that. The mentality of conquering and rejecting what is perceived to be “wrong,” “bad,” “impure,” etc. is prevalent. We are trapped in dualities.
Isn’t Summer the opposite of Winter? Between those 2 apparent opposites, lies a range of experiences, which we label as Spring and Fall. Labels are there so we can understand through language, what we are referring to. A concept is “static” thus, it is not “real,” for Life is movement. Our minds like static things for they bring identity. “I” am static. “I” can be defined. “I” am separate from Life.
In Nature, nothing remains the same. Thus, to constantly harmonize with changes is very important to be in balance with the Totality.
“Harmony” cannot be put into a commandment. Cannot be put into a “You shall not DO this or that.” That is the ethical loophole.
“Static” things, ideals and ideas create illusionary comfort. We were taught to make sense of Life based on human conditioning.That is our yardstick for “truth.”
We do not breath. Breathing happens to us. We do not digest our meals. That happens to us. Our heart beats without our will to do it. Thoughts come and go through our minds like a swarm of mosquitoes… without OUR control. We ask, where is the source powering ME, making all of that happen?
That “ME” is messing up the question. Observe that “ME” is not separated from everything else. The distinction of ME is only intellectual, practical, to fit into our human made world and language. At what point in our Life cycle, is there a static ME? The mind has a “static” picture, it has memories to hide the “reality” of change. There is no “Me,” but when there is, then there is death.
Death is “bad.” Humans continually lose the “battle” with it. Then someone says: “Death is natural. If you live, you will die.” Very clever. Logical, sound premise. However, most humans will not accept it. Their consciousness is not there.
There is a huge experience of a “ME.” It is undeniable even though, we try to cover it with intellectual stuff or religious “afterlife insurance.” (a.k.a “salvation.”)
That consciousness will bring certain experiences: Fear, anxiety, stress, guilt…
Trapped in our conditioning, we dream into “getting” a different consciousness.
We want to make sense of Life by following ideas of our systems and methodologies which support the understanding of a conditioned mind.
Life is not meant so we can “make sense” out of it. That is intellectual, that is our conditioning. Life is meant to be lived, experienced. That experience cannot be shared as a “truth” to follow, as a “standard” for all, so we dismiss it. We want our conditioning, what we think is “right.”
To try to find the “purpose of Life” will show us that our mind has taken over the “driver seat.”
But…there is no need for a driver. 🙂
Have you heard the singing of a yellow warbler or a robin bird?
Be aware of how you feel. You may enjoy it.
Those sounds have a pleasing effect on us. There is coordination, balance, symmetry, agreement, peace in that. It happens without rehearsal, naturally.
That sensation we label as “harmony.” There is agreement with the environment.
I could take someone right out of that sensation if I ask:
“Why do you like that singing? Please elaborate.”
Even worse, I could ask: “Why do birds sing?” Then meaningless answers may arrive: That is the way they attract potential mates. They are protecting their territory. Truly, a bird does not DO things out of a plan, an objective. That is rational, not harmonious.
The mind keeps questioning. It keeps coming up with plans of action. Ideas, ideals and fantasies filling up our time.
Inner nourishment and delight is in the experience of listening to the bird’s song, not in knowing intellectual answers.
We only have preconceptions based on our human expectations and understanding of the world. Can’t ask the bird for “answers;” instead, ask your neighbor: “Why do you breathe?” Then, we could realize the value of our questioning and spare the bird from a meaningless question. Intellectual questions/answers are without fulfillment.
The intellect, reason, logic have a place in Life. That is the “office world.” We can hardly survive in that world without it. But to know harmony, we may need to open a different door.
Enjoyment of Life means to enter into that door of harmony.
Our “black or white” mentalities are not “trained” for harmony. We want to live Life in the “right” way, which is to follow a set of rules, commandments, expectations that we believe to be the representation of “righteousness.” We will apply those rules every time, the goal is to be consistent with our ideas. To be “right” we must get rid of “wrong.” “Wrong” is our definition of unacceptable…. Living in that intellectual, conceptual manner we lack fulfillment, harmony.
Harmony is not an idea, a concept. There is nothing to get rid of to make things “right” but rather to integrate. Can we integrate “right” with “wrong”? Not in our minds. Our strict “concepts” and ideals do not allow for that.
A song does not have a preconceived structure. It does not follow a particular pattern. A bird does not have limits of what is “right” or “wrong” to sing. Those are only expectations of the human mind, which are obstacles to discover joy.
“Mind” the environment. The inner and outer world. Be aware of the discordance of our own voice. Have we heard how unpleasant the sound of it may be? What we ARE manifests in so many ways.
Harmonious living cannot be put into a recipe. There is no method to study, concept to DO or commandments to follow.
Harmony changes continuously. Every song Life plays even though different, is in accord with the time, setting and environment. That is why, no one could teach another to be harmonious. Moving with it, is not following it. That is beyond the limits of any sort of “spirituality” or moral standards. Without harmony; enjoyment of Life is reduced to another method to “practice” and achieve by our monkey mind.
An enticing “objective” only to dream about. 🙂
The bottom line of any type of worthwhile “spirituality” is to connect us back with ourselves.
Life happens and many times is not according to our “plans.” That creates a trauma which will need to be undone later on. That is a journey in itself.
Rather than move on and “live and learn,” we want an explanation. We want to intellectually know “why this happened to ME.”
That is the beginning of all religious tales about salvation, redemption, heaven and the chosen ones… but at the same time, that is how we may start feeling that we are not the center of the Universe and that Life is fragile… on the surface.
The above is not just an intellectual idea. It has been my experience. I have gone through the steps. I know.
If you haven’t gone through that avenue of Life, you will certainly be naive in just believing what I have said. In Life, you must find out by yourself. That is the price of knowing.
This knowing is not about reading Wikipedia, books and second-hand, “office world” learning. This type of knowing will give birth to a new consciousness.
Consciousness changes through Life experiences.
What is this consciousness?
First and foremost, it is to BE sentient and our extent of identity with Life itself. All beings are conscious. That is what we have in common. That consciousness becomes individual through our physical/subtle form and then it will be shaped and conditioned individually through Life experiences.
Greater consciousness means to be AWARE of the different levels of experiences. Most are bound by their own physicality. That is their consciousness. Nothing wrong with that.
By hearing this, most may want to improve, most want to change to “become better.” What a great ego trip that is! Rather than acknowledging who we ARE and learn from that acceptance, we like to deny it to live according to an ideal.
Life does not work like that. In Life, it is all about experiences. We think some are better and others worse. We like to dwell into that mental duality all the time. Consciousness changes through Life experiences. The range of experiences is enormous, greater than our little definitions of “good and bad.”
Elementary religious systems and moral standards are in that “black or white” consciousness. That is the collective consciousness. It does not mean that their consciousness is the “truth.” It only means that it is a particular range of experience.
Life is like a movie. Consciousness like the audience of the movie. Some will like something in particular about the movie. Others will not. Observe that your liking or disliking binds you to a particular experience. That liking or disking defines you, it will give life to that “I,” that ego…. “I like this.” I want for Life to follow my likings.
Nothing wrong with liking something, but be aware that because of that, something which is not of your liking will appear, for Life is greater than a definition of likings of the “I.” Life is a TOTALITY.
A religion may preach to treat every event in Life equally without likes or dislikes. Followers will DO that, fake it… Their consciousness is not there to support those words.
Then “practice” is preached but “practice” does not change consciousness, it only creates a behavioral habit. It is a mental fake.
Open up! open your self-definition until there is no label that could define “you.”
There is no movie without an audience. “We” are both. The sensible thing is to ENJOY the TOTALITY of the show and not to get caught up in a part.