“…Well, slowly slowly, this observation is becoming a part in my day to day life and it’s really a beautiful experience, because it has started developing a stage of a detached observer of my own drama of life.”
“I was born in a traditional Brahmin house hold – I never used to eat brinjal [eggplant] since it somehow resembled a fish- Now I recently moved to a place which is close to the sea- side- While going to work I used to smell dried fish- initially it was bothersome- [but] Just the mere acceptance of that this is permanent made it easier for me to walk through the place – Your experiences are amazing to observe and relate to in each of our lives- just observation of the self brings in so much awareness of the beauty around you….”
The above are comments of 2 different readers. I’d like to thank both of you for finding in these writings, something useful for your lives.
OBSERVATION, is the first step in the “scientific method.” It has always been about looking “outside.” In that there is an “observer” who is “I.”
However, the type of observation that Ahnanda shares, starts with the “I” looking in. Every occurrence in Life is an opportunity to find how “I feel.” Then we could be aware of triggers, we could be aware of emotions trapped inside us, slowly we can get a picture of who this “I” truly is. Then, we could learn to ACCEPT it, without using that word, without trying to, without “practice.” When that type of acceptance comes, there is a door opening to become someone else. Let Life bring you to that door. When you are ready, you will open it.
This type of ACCEPTANCE is SURRENDERING.
The dictionary may not use those words as synonyms.
A “Brahmin” is a name for a social class in the Indian caste system. That label dictates how someone should view and behave in Life. A Brahmin does not eat meat (fish, chicken, etc.)
That is the conditioning. It doesn’t matter if that code of conduct is “right or wrong.” Life does not work with those perceptions based on duality. Every “reason” lives within duality. In Life we are ONE. What brings ego is the separation of this “I” looking out only for himself, his business, his profits, his needs, etc.
Observe how the inner negation or rejection of fish, will bring the fish closer to your experience. Notice how acceptance, surrendering to the experience, makes Life easier. You ARE “open.” To say:”Open minded” is not the same as BEING open.
What brings emotional “problems” and traumas, are our human standards of how life “should be.”
Because we live in a society, we need to respect human laws; but it doesn’t mean that we need to create a trauma inside us when circumstances arrive which are different than what is expected. We need to learn to play the game. It is a game.
Jesus “Christ,” drove out merchants from the temple. He overturned their tables and even it is said, that he had a whip. Many interpreted that as “holy anger.” But, he just played the game. Jesus IS not anger. Anything he DOES, is anger free.
Ahnanda loves fish. They are his friends. Ahnanda wouldn’t eat them unless the circumstances dictate otherwise. There is no rejection of fish through a label such as “I am vegetarian.” On the other hand, most humans are stuck with a “code of conduct,” which is not what they truly FEEL, but what they THINK is “right.” In that duality, they THINK Life rather than FEEL it.
That is how ego feeds itself through that conditioning.
“What is MIND? Can you explain through words what is MIND? How to move from MIND to NO-MIND? No-mind is also called pure space, emptiness, what does this mean? I personally feel the mind is total illusion (Correct me please if I am wrong). And if the mind is illusion, how illusion can be associated with purity and impurity? You know they refer it as “Pure Mind” and “Impure Mind”.”
Thank you for your question.
A description will set limits. This may work for tangible items; but when we are referring to intangible such as the “Mind,” is not that easy.
For example, let us take a look at a dictionary definition of MIND: “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
From my experience, that definition is quite inaccurate; but yet because it is a “dictionary definition” most will believe in that. Of course, if there was AWARENESS we could know the answer, but yet we want words to make intellectual sense of something that is readily observable.
Consciousness is AWARENESS. The MIND is accumulation of experiences and conditioning which shapes our perspective of Life. We use the filter of the mind to make sense of the world. The mind is the one knowing “what is right or wrong” according to society’s teachings. It is the internal voice speaking which brings our conditioning forward.
For example: “masturbation is sinful.” That is conditioning. That is stored in our mind. That becomes our guiding “truth.” Thoughts will appear to support that core belief. Once those thoughts have drilled down in us and we believe them despite our inner conflict; then feelings will settle and those will create emotions, that is; the body will be affected. Then we may play the “dishonest” game of defending that “truth” verbally, while still DOING it. This will increase our sense of guilt and from there, it is only a step into emotional and mental disturbances.
If you want to understand, do not try to make sense of my words. Just use those as guiding symbols. OBSERVATION, AWARENESS is what will allow you to know.
If you go deeper into this, you may be able to recognize that the MIND is not YOU, but conditioning that have shaped YOU into something. It has given you a “form.”
For example, you are clay; but the mind will present that clay into the form of a little house made with clay. The mind will defend that “form” at all costs for it thrives in identity, which will create the ego-mind. Ego is mind.
You said “The mind is total illusion.” I ask you to confirm that through your own observable experience, after reading this.
Is the house made of clay an “illusion”? Yes and No.
However, what is important is to see clay in every “form.”
That is deconditioning. It is not to negate by saying that everything is an “illusion,” but by OBSERVING that clay will present itself in different forms. Every form is a perspective, the way we look at Life.
“Reality” presents itself through different “forms.” All of them are “real,” but illusions at the same time. It all depends on the one observing. His conditioning. His perspective.
This is the reason why the “I” is real for most, it presents itself with a marvelous form… but it is an illusion at the same time.
When there is no-conditioning, what is there then? An Empty mind. That is space, emptiness. Many labels to refer to “no-mind.”
My friend Mathias, one day explained that “emptiness allows for decoration of a room.” If the room has already stuff in it, there are limits as to how we could decorate. For most individuals, the mind is full of stuff, full of furniture, there is no space for anything “new.”
The terms “purity and impurity” are mental abstractions. A duality created by the mind. Concepts to play with.
“Purity” is not to DO some things and to avoid others.
“Impurity” is not to DO things which are not “pure.” Observe the trap. We must define what is “pure.” That definition entails a particular perspective, a particular reality. For example, some religions believe that sex is “impure.” Thus, their definition of “purity” is no-sex, celibacy.
It is not that sex is pure or impure, but it has been defined in a certain way. There is a particular perspective in such statement.
Since the mind is more less a “computer hard drive” full of experiences and conditioning influencing the output of our actions, there cannot be such a thing as “pure or impure” mind, but rather pure and impure experiences, which can’t be. Experiences are only that, experiences.
No-Mind is not the negation of mind, but to empty the conditioning of it, the “furniture” in the room. That is how it is said: “A pure mind is an empty mind.”
The next question will be: How do I empty my mind?
“You” don’t DO it. Once AWARENESS sets in, it happens while at the same time, emotional disturbances may need to be dissolved; but that is part of someone’s particular path. There are no “recipes.”
You want to DO something? OBSERVE yourself, BE AWARE of your thoughts, emotions, reactions, movements. Learn from yourself. “Know thyself.”
Beyond the trap of purity and impurity, there is AWARENESS and lack of it.
AWARENESS is like breathing. We are so used to “automatic pilot” that we need to read what the “expert” says about “how to breathe.” That is the conditioning of the mind: Believe the “experts” if you want to know.
Once we read the opinion of the “authority,” thoughts will arrive saying that “I know what breathing is.” To de-condition means to open to the possibility that “I don’t know anything, despite reading about it” and go through the breathing experience ourselves.
The mind will try to make “my” findings about breathing into a “best-seller.” That is conditioning. Got to make money! Get ahead!
My moral values will tell me that “I shouldn’t make a profit through spiritual teachings.” That is conditioning as well. That conflict will come from the mind.
An empty mind, is empty of that sort of conflict, for BEING knows the direction in Life. There is no need to make a choice, for that is mind.
To listen to that message without distortions, means to discover no-mind.
“Spirituality” as it has been taught for many years, targets an infantile consciousness. It is the popular “Monkey sees, Monkey does.”
It is understood that we learn by imitation like a 5-year-old child. That is the need for “role models.”
Have you seen a 50-year-old with the consciousness of a 5-year-old?
They may know a lot about the “office world.” They know how to “make money,” how to be “ahead.” They know that “I” is different than “you” and different than Life. They know how to look out for #1.
Life is for ME to make what “I” want of it. Life is for ME, I and MYSELF.
What a dingy bird!
What type of spirituality will be “good” for that? Do this. Don’t Do that. If you do it, you will get punished; but if you follow the instructions, if you copy the “role models,” then you will be “good.” “God” will have a special place for you when you die while a monument will be built on Earth after you. You will be eternal.
That is all about the “I.”
With that kind of spirituality, “I” have to become something better, “I” have to achieve something special, “I” have to show others my value, my capacity… “I” will continue on even when “I” am no longer here. “I” need to achieve heaven and join the political party of angels and saints…
“I” need insurance for the afterlife.
That type of consciousness is not ready yet for “No-I.” That is the other half of your 24-hour day…
Although we may be awake, we are asleep trapped in the routine of “another day at the office.”
When “I” sleep sound and deep, who am “I”? Where am “I”?
When thoughts come into “my” mind, who sent them? Wasn’t it “me”? Why can’t “I” stop them?
The “problem” is that I call that experience “MY” mind.
“I” have not been trained to OBSERVE the mind as when a bird passes flying on the sky. Do I say “my” bird is flying now? 🙂
What are those things that build “ME”? …. “MY” body.
Definitely, but can I observe that IT is getting older without “MY” permission? Nevertheless, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings have me wrapped up in MY identification of ME.
Enjoy your body! Only know that it is not yours or you… unless your consciousness is still there with that song… Then, embrace that. Acknowledge it … You are not ready for “NO-I” yet, otherwise it will be a dull belief, another “reason” to be dishonest with yourself. …but it doesn’t mean that “No-I” is nonsense. It just means that “I Am” not there yet.
Emotions, thoughts, beliefs, conditionings are shaping ME, for through them, through that filter, “I” perceive the world and “Myself.”
Take those away, who am I?
Wait a minute, that is not easy! I cannot take those away as “I” take my coat off.
No problem. Life DOES IT. 5 years from now, “I” will not be the same.
All it links ME to the idea of ME, are labels: My name. All the rest will have changed at different percentages which “I” cannot control.
Who am “I” then? 🙂
“No-I” and “I” are 2 sides of the coin. “I” can BE and at the same time, “I” cannot BE. Thus, when “I” need to BE… I AM. When I don’t… I AM NOT.
Who am I? 🙂
What I AM NOT and what I AM. Senseless, illogical, irrational stuff. Perhaps the “truth.” 🙂
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.
“You said that attachment is the origin of suffering. The Buddha said that the root cause of suffering is desire. That is the second “Noble Truth” in Buddhism. There is a vast difference between desire and attachment. Do you think that you have the truth and Buddha does not?”
Thank you for your question.
No. Ahnanda does not preach truth. He only shares his experiences and realizations.
Take a look at the link below:
Here is a quote from that website: The cause of suffering is: “the attachment to the desire to have (craving) and the desire not to have (aversion)”.
What happened then? Perhaps this website has the “wrong” interpretation? Millions of people believe in what you said: “Desire is the cause of suffering.” However, that belief even though held by millions is plain and simple nonsense.
This problem arises when we believe what the book says, the guru, the expert without looking at our own experience.
Buddha did not say that. It was interpreted like that.
What millions know is only the interpretation, the translation of someone who may have many degrees, who may be very proficient in many languages, but who does not have the capacity yet for inner observation. Perhaps that was a Buddhist follower, maybe not.
Through that nonsense of getting rid of desire, many “spiritual” people are denying life to their own experience through the ideal of DOING what the Buddha “said.”
Misinterpretation is the mother of all scriptures. Please quote me on that.
Perhaps if you take a test in “introduction to Buddhism” you may have to choose: “Desire is the root of all suffering” as the “right” answer. You may score 100% because of that answer, but know that your “right” answer in the “Office World,” is not so in Life.
We could have many desires. As many as we want. Suffering will kick in when we are attached to a particular desire. That means that we may need to attain/possess the object of that desire to feel fulfilled in Life.
Nevertheless, let me share a “noble truth” with you. Attachment is not the true source of suffering, but the ONE who is attached is…. Yes, the “I.”
To intellectually understand the above, is not easy. Therefore, let us stick with “attachment.” But, if “attachment” is hard to perceive, then “desire” is an easy answer. It will sell many books. 🙂
So what do we take home from all this?
Any spiritual guru or any self-realized being including the “word of God,” are by nature, limited by language. In other words, to truly understand what they are trying to convey, we need to look at those words through the mirror of our own personal experience. If it does not make sense, then that is so for us at that moment. That is OK. Move on.
If it makes sense, then do not try to “practice it.” Allow for Life to work on you and go beyond the intellectual realization, by integrating THAT as part of you. Then, you know for you ARE that. BEING is KNOWING.
But if you don’t understand and you are simply following what someone is telling you to practice, then my friend; you are not being honest with yourself, with your current state of BEING.
You may want to be like Buddha, but you ARE not there yet.
Do you think that practice will get you there?
It can only distract you from what you ARE… until you are AWARE.
Thus, “practice” is an entertainment in the meantime. Nothing wrong with that. 🙂
My question is regarding observation. We talk about observing the moment without prejudice. I can observe river, rain, nature, sky, hotness, kid’s innocence etc. All stuff which I feel that is pure and pleasing .
But I am not sure what and how to observe in office work: The effect of work pressure, achievement and loses,the up and downs in personal relationship. How to observe this without prejudice?
I think of making observation part of my office world routine and back at home when I interact with my parents and wife, but it never happens.
I agree if something needs to be changed that can only happen through observation not by resistance or force, but how to make observation part of life.
Thank you for your question.
Observation is not a practice. It is not something that you DO when you remember, or when you have time. It happens when there is “presence,” awareness, consciousness not only of the external elements but mostly what we call “self.”
Ahnanda is not using the word “observation” under the context of the dictionary.
Any of your senses, such as taste, touch, etc. can allow you to observe or be AWARE.
We can use the words observation, awareness and to be conscious interchangeably. Go beyond words. Are you aware of the things you DO, the way you walk, how shallow or deeply you may breathe?
Why not? It happens all the time. There is no need to have “free time” to observe these events.
Your description of what is “pure and pleasing” and what is “impure” and “stressful” are taking you away from observation.
What are those things making you feel? Become AWARE of that. As you are AWARE that those energies are not “you,” then you may walk away from them, easily, effortlessly or just wait until they go away by themselves. Everything that comes to you will go away, that is one of the things you may learn through observation. That is the natural way of things. If the “pure and pleasing” goes away, then the “impure and unpleasant” will arrive. There is nothing wrong with that, things move away; unless we want to make a trauma, a rejection of a natural circular happening in Life. Through our conditioning, we see 2 different things: Pleasant and unpleasant. However, they are one.
The process of becoming aware is similar to having a nagging pain in the shoulder.
It may not be a strong pain, so we keep on living a busy Life, full of activities and accomplishments. Forgetting about that silly pain. Once in while we will become aware of that pain in the shoulder, but unless this pain becomes an obstacle to get us out of our busy schedule, that pain is not important enough in our threshold of consciousness. We will not be aware of it.
Once the pain becomes unbearable, we will observe it. We will be aware of it. Once the pain in the shoulder is at that full intensity, the intellectual question on “how can I observe the pain,” is not necessary at all. We will feel it. We will know.
That nagging pain is a sense of unfulfillment in Life. Something is lacking. You may be looking for the “answer,” something that you believe observation will give to your Life. The nagging pain (observation/awareness) will increase by itself through your own lack of observation. Paradoxical.
One more thing, Observation is not meant to change anything. It is meant to acknowledge it, while resistance and force is meant to reject things.
So how change happens then?
It always happens. It is the nature of Life. Change may not go where you want it to go, and that is the fear. We want to control in our tight grip what is meant to change. That is the illusion of security feeding the “I” and the driven force behind our human conditioning.
Observe the Life of a public “famous” person, a “star.” Without a doubt, he has experienced ups and downs in his lifetime.
Beauty, fame, power, health, joy and wealth had different intensities throughout his life. There is no point in time where everything was all there, unchanged as if he had “arrived.”
There is no point in time where a person is the “same” all the way until death arrives. This is a fact.
A what point in Life, that person was “improving”? It just depends on what someone looks at. Some examples of “improving”:
Did he settle with one partner rather than many? Did she take up yoga and meditation as part of her life style? Did he sell 1 million copies of his best seller book? Was she inducted in the rich and famous hall of fame? Are those singular things “improvement”? It is relative. Life is bigger than any single improvement.
Life cannot be compartmentalized, cut in pieces, but we do it in our minds, so “improvement” happens as an ideal to strive for.
That ideal will create in turn the duality of “success and failure.” We are sold on that one. The fiction of success is as real as failure.
Observe the artificiality of all. That is how we live Life, believing that our mental creations, ideals are Life.
In Life, the word “improvement” does not exist. It is not needed as Life has its own movements, as shared before; the full range of experiences entails to go through the 2 sides of a duality.
How does it “work”?
Observe any “positive” virtues or qualities in your favorite actress. The potential for the “negative” opposites is there as well. As a matter of fact, it will be experienced by that person at different times of her current existence or it was in another Life experience , or it will be in the future.
The full range of experiences needs to be experienced. BEING all of those.
That is how we have a variety of people in the world, experiencing a piece of the diversity of the ranges of experiences.
Our conditioning is ready to label and judge their experiences as “good or bad.” It does not matter. Our morality is worth diddly-squat in the way Life moves.
That is why it was shared that enjoyment of the experience is important. That quality of enjoyment is how we “become better.” (Those are not the most accurate words to use, but for the sake of being understood or misunderstood.)
That quality of enjoyment does not depend on what we have, what we earn, where we are in society or how we behave in society.
It all depends on how AWARE we are.
Greater conditioning, means less capacity for enjoyment.
Because we have learned all those sacred “go getter” keywords that we would like to “achieve” in Life to “make it worthwhile,” to find a “purpose.”
That is garbage.
Enjoy Life. Be open to the diversity of it. Expect the unexpected without judgment, without trying to “make sense.”
It is that sense the one that has been conditioned.
Live today, die tomorrow. No big deal. Have you enjoyed the ride?
Yes? Then there will be fulfillment. Nothing is missing.
If we try to “practice” any of the above, we will be fakes for we will try to “accomplish” that thing which looks good for ME… I’ve got to have it! (back into the conditioning of society.)
That “practice” could be made into a religion or some “system” to “help people” and to help MY pocket…but it is completely artificial.
BEING changes through AWARENESS. Give yourself an ample space of solitude to observe the movie of Life. It is in that observation how we learn from the actors of Life and enjoy their unique parts. The plot will keep on changing, but as long as we OBSERVE it without judgment, we will enjoy it… and improve by DOING nothing. 🙂