Tagged: I

Deconditioning our mind

When we observe our thoughts, we may find a new world.
Our world is our thoughts.

You may be swimming in the Ocean, floating, relax and then a thought comes up: “A shark may be close by.” That moment of relaxation is gone. We believed “our” thought and flew away from the Ocean. Did we think this? Did we purposely spoil our moment of peace?

Have you seen a “real” shark? How the association came by?

That is one of the first aspects to know about the mind: It is a repository for stuff we call “knowledge.”
Did you watch the movie “Shark”? That is “knowledge.” The mind will keep that information and it will throw it back at us through association when a similar experience arrives.

If we did not have the movie “Shark” in our heads, we wouldn’t be able to react in fear of sharks unless we had such a first-hand experience. That is one characteristic of thoughts, they come through association. If we are unaware of that, we may call that thought as “mine” as if it was created by “me.” We will obey that thought, for we believe it is “Me.”  – I, Me, Mine-  a fantastic trio.

Our imagination (another type of thought) is made from the same elements of “knowledge.”
Imagine something wild. Something new that you have never seen before.
You will not be able to. Even if you imagine pink holy hogs, flying around with bat wings looking to eat ham for breakfast… All of those elements in that story line are not “new.” Those are part of that “knowledge” kept in the mind.

Human conditioning has the same path. It is that “knowledge” making us see things from a particular perspective which we believe to be “right, true, valid,” etc.

Many times, we catch “thoughts.” We are not isolated from Life. Nowadays, sorrow is a common emotion, a vibe expanded through thoughts. We catch the vibe. A thought appears through the recognition of it, from our “bank of knowledge.” We IDENTIFY with it, we call that thought, that vibe as MINE.

An unaware individual will start weaving a story to support that vibe of sorrow and then… sadness will appear. “I am” sad is the conclusion of that “I-ness.”

What is the “solution” to conquer those sad thoughts?
Some will use drugs. Others, liquor and escapism from themselves. Others will swear by meditation and medication….

Are you sure that those are “your” thoughts?
The vehicles of thoughts are passing by the street of our empty mind. We label that street as “mine.”

When there is no identification, we can OBSERVE. When we observe, we could be AWARE. Through that awareness, thoughts may appear and disappear… There is nothing to hold them back.
Thoughts are clouds in the sky of our minds. Some will cover the light of the Sun, but they will move away. Even in the darkest and cloudiest day, there will be change. The key is to be AWARE that the sky is not “I.”

This information is only “knowledge.” There is nothing to put into “practice.” Just to be AWARE, awake, conscious. 🙂

The gist of “Spirituality”: Awareness and Surrender

Spirituality is related with the word “spirit” and that word is open to many meanings. How can we talk about “spirit” without the experience? Could a blind person speak about light?
Obviously, whatever he says about light will be far from what is, although he could speak scientifically about wavelengths and color spectrums. There is no experience. Nevertheless,  even if we are not blind, whatever we say about light cannot be the “truth” but merely a description of it, of our own experience with “light”. The same principle applies when trying to make sense of “holy books” or “spiritual best sellers,” words cannot convey ‘truth’ only a partial description.

The other day I was talking with friends about “spirituality.” (i.e. Making the human experience “better”) Someone “discovered” (heard from others) that the problem of human suffering was related with ego.
“Get rid of the ego and you are free,” she said.
Bravo! That is the solution that most everyone knows. Why is not working? Why “knowing” the solution is not bringing the expected fruits? Oh! You need to “practice,” to follow the “right” method.
 That is the next belief in the chain. What are you going to practice?  An idea of what someone told you to be “right”?

Most are not AWARE of ego. Most only have concepts about it. Thus, how is it possible for ego to be dissolved, to SURRENDER it?
That is a key question.
Intellectual understanding of a concept does not change the individual. That is why “spirituality” as it is “now” is pure hogwash; nevertheless, “inspirational.” Any concepts that we bring in, will not accomplish the goal of “creating better human beings.” It will be all “pretty” talk; collectively we have become used to this.

Spiritual people ask the question: Who Am I?  Any conceptual answer will not bring the experience of knowing ourselves. Because there is no AWARENESS, we could go on with some belief or with some dishonest phrase: We consistently say “I,” without knowing who that “I” is. We embrace another label such as “soul” or any other “spiritual” term, then we are “happy” with, for we believe to have the “right” answer.

When we are AWARE, we could perceive that we are not the body. Breathing happens. I am not DOING it. The heart pumps blood, I am not DOING it, thus; how can I say that “I am the body?”
When we are AWARE we could perceive that we are not the mind. Thoughts come and go without “my” control. They just appear and I want for them to go away, but I cannot DO that.
When we are AWARE we could see that any concept that I have not experienced, it is just conditioned information, “knowledge” coming from the mind.
Soul, Spirit, etc. are such learned concepts. I want to believe to be those, although I don’t know if I have experienced what the label entails, so I can be “spiritual” but I am faking it. If you have experienced to be a soul or spirit, please do me a favor: Change the label... Pick any other label, for your experience will be different from that of others.

When we are AWARE we recognize that “I will not be able to find who I am” for “I am always changing.” Paradoxically, I am the body, I am the mind, I am the soul, the spirit, I am ALL of those things that we believe to be, so why label to separate?

Paradoxically, the question “Who Am I?” is most important to formulate as long as I am not looking for an answer. Can the mind “understand that”?
Probably not. That is why, get out of the mind if you would like to experience you own wordless reality. That is part of deconditioning.
If you observe your own mind, you will be AWARE of it and then you will understand what the word ego, the “I” means, without using a dictionary definition.

Please be AWARE of this: We cannot live in the “NOW” as long as our mind IS. The mind is past or future only. To say: “I want my mind to be in the Now” is an ignorant remark for lack of awareness.
If you are in the NOW, you are in No-Mind.
Don’t believe me. Try it at home… BE AWARE of all of these things, so SURRENDERING happens.

If you believe that “I will surrender,” even though this phrase may be grammatically correct, in “spirituality” that phrase  is completely senseless.

Why?
I am glad you asked. That is for you to find out. Your own journey.

Until March 20th! 🙂

Question on Destiny and reader’s comment

1.”I want to ask a question. If my destiny is already decided that I will fail in an exam. I pray to god to fulfill my wishes. I worshiped him …but I failed in the exam, because it was written in my destiny. I also worked hard to pass that exam..where I am wrong. Please help me…”

Thank you for your question.
Who is that “I” that you are referring to?
Is it your body? Is it your mind? Search for that “I” in all places first.
If you find it, then observe how “failing” or not failing in an exam will affect that “I.” Why is an exam so important for that “I”?
The “Office world” has priorities that are deep inside our minds. But, those priorities are only valid depending on what we decide the “I” to be.

Most will not go into this basic thing. Most will take it for granted that “I have to achieve to become better”. This is compliance with a dream which we believe to be the only “reality”. Whether you “have” (achieved) money, power, love, enlightenment, happiness and any other “good” label that you can imagine; observe if your Life is fulfilling for you, if you are enjoying it. Passing a test is not part of this. You can pass it or fail it, but fulfillment is not a consequence of that.

You “know” that destiny is already made. What is the reason to pray to a God then?  Change in Life is done through DOING, but that is not done by someone’s ego. You studied “hard” and did not pass. The “I” was trying to get his agenda of “success” going. It did not happen. Someone else may not have studied as hard as you did; but he passed.  Then we believe that “Life is not fair” when it doesn’t move according to our conditioned wishes.

The “I” feels “bad” when hearing about destiny being already made, but it may be that this “I” is just another creation of the mind, an illusion even though compelling, even though it appears “real”, it is an illusion.
Your destiny is woven together with others, with the Totality. We are together in this, although it appears that we are separate just because of our separate bodies and conditioned minds.

Please observe that the problem created by your mind is inferred in the words: “failed, work hard, and wrong.” Those words are creating hell in your mind. Failure does not exist in Life when there is a fixed destiny. Failure is an invention of the “office world.”

It is a game my dear. Don’t take it seriously. “You” are still alive, breathing. Passing an exam could give you more money, more “office world stuff,” to enhance the illusion of the “I.” That is not “bad”. But if you believe that game to be “real” rather than a game, then you are destined to suffer.
That is why, awareness is the key. Awareness is the help that you may be looking for.

Best wishes,

2. “I am so appreciative of your rare sense. Krishnamurti (no followers please) comes to mind. The spiritual supermarket grows larger and more insipid daily. You are refreshing.”

Thank you for your kind and honest words. Some individuals have seen Alan Watts in these writings. Others, have seen Osho and yet others, Krishnamurti. We align with a particular writer because we understand their viewpoint as they put words to our own realizations. Many will try to put Ahnanda’s sharing into a bottle of a well known label: Ahnanda is Non-duality, Hinduism, Osho-ism, and any other “truth.”
Ahnanda does not share “truth” for that conveys falsehood as well. He shares his experiences and a different perspective. These perspectives may have encountered other writer’s paths, but at the end of the road, Ahnanda’s path is unique, just like everyone else’s.

Yes, the “spiritual supermarket” is filled with salesman offering “solutions” when there are no “problems”. Offering “Life changes” when Life is change by itself.
However, the spiritual supermarket has a role in Life. They give hope and inspire others to get out of their comfort zones, although with a  “small/large fee” attached. For most that is part of the conditioning that “you get what you pay for”.
In Ahnanda’s experience, anything that has been of great value in his Life, has always been free of charge.

Best wishes.

Destination: Distance from the convention

If you could distance from who you think you are, you could observe the defined “I.” From that observation, that “I” at that time, will go away by itself.
The above is the basis of any sort of “spirituality” concerned with self-realization.

That distance means to observe the influence of thoughts, the influence of ideas and beliefs defining us. It is to explore our value system and to see it as it is: A common ground for interaction. This common ground has no special divinity, no higher moral standard other than what we give it. That is our conditioning.

Let me clarify the above with an example: John is sunbathing naked at a beach. The laws prohibit that, but he did it anyway. He was willing to take the consequences. Sandy arrives to the scene unknowingly as she was exploring the beach.

Could you see the interactions that could happen out of that scene?
Sandy could call the police. Sandy could scream or get upset. Sandy could walk away in fear. Sandy could pretend she didn’t see anything. Sandy could judge John as a “pervert.”
All of those behaviors are reactions coming from conditioning. If Sandy was aware, that incident could tell her a lot about who she is.

John could have reacted in many ways as well, trying to hide, defend or rationalize his action.

Nudity in public is forbidden. Is nudity “bad”? No. As long as it is in a designated area. That is the teaching, the conditioning. A religious “I” could add more to the occasion: “A God fearing person does not act in such immoral way.” The conditioning is a bit different, it is about condemning certain behaviors.
At the end of the day, it is just a man sunbathing at the beach without clothes on and a woman walking by.

The same principle applies on how we look at Life. The range of experiences is very rich.
Observe that there are many perspectives out of a single scene. We have been taught to “judge it and to choose what is right.”
We may not realize that what is “right” is only a convention.
If you could see this with depth, Life will no longer be a serious business. It will be a game.

Therefore, the systems of the mind, the conventions are ruling our lives.
Those conventions define us, to the extent that we allow for those to take over our beings.
Our sense of security is based on following those conventions.
Thereby, when someone is taken away from that “system,” a DISTANCE is created.
That distance is necessary to be AWARE.

Individuals walking the journey of Self-realization come in different shapes and forms, different backgrounds, different experiences; nevertheless; the common ground is the experience of moving from loneliness into aloneness.

Loneliness allows to create the DISTANCE by separation. That experience is miserable for the “I.” What is known, what brings security, certainty, company, comfort; all of that will go away. That is the opportunity to know “yourself,” the “I.”
Someone who is busy, who is caught up in a system, trying to become someone by accumulating power, wealth or by “helping” others in hope of a cushy afterlife; those are going towards the experience of loneliness, little by little, unknowingly, for there is so much the “I” could be enhanced before it starts to collapse.

The way out of loneliness is through aloneness. That is not a goal, something to achieve. It is a road we must go through once the avenue of loneliness is passed by.
Aloneness means integration, and that happens when that “I” opens up.

We cannot be stuck in Life unless we define ourselves. To maintain that definition may become our struggle, our goal, our objective. We could label that as “good” to “help us” but in reality; it is just a convention.

In Life, DISTANCE becomes the way to closeness, to ONENESS.
I know… it doesn’t make sense, hard to understand… That is why, it can never be a convention to follow. 🙂

Grief and transformation of emotions

What do you feel when a loved one dies?
What do you feel when you experience a broken heart?
What would you experience if you are told that you only have a month to live?

Most of us will perceive those experiences as a hardship, something that shouldn’t happen to us, but yet it does.

Psychologists have come up with stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Observe in yourself how grief transforms into anger and how that in turn will transform into sadness, depression and finally into acceptance.

Nevertheless, for most that final stage of acceptance is not “true” acceptance. It is more accurate to call it to be submissive.
The angry tiger becomes a docile kitty cat.
We could fight, struggle with anyone except with Life itself.
Observe how the experience of opposite emotions will be going through the experience of the “cycle” of grief: I could deny, just to accept. I could feel anger, just to be submissive. I could bargain with the higher powers to be, rationalizing the incident; just to be depressed.

Acceptance is not submissiveness.
Acceptance is openness to the experience.

When you are a “Life walker,” a seeker; you may find out that those 5 stages of grief are not accurate in your case.
There is one important stage, which will return a true smile in our faces.
That final stage is called GRATITUDE.

Gratitude is not say “Thank you” as many think. Gratitude means to be able to be fulfilled in yourself. Nothing is lacking. You are at ease and able to live with you.
“You” are Life itself, complete. Nevertheless, most “normal” people cannot experience that yet. For them gratitude is just another “spiritual keyword,” a nice way to say “thank you,” with the mind.

If a loved one passes away, your stage of grief will be fully transformed through “spiritual alchemy,” when there is a sense of gratitude in you. A loved one is gone into another journey. You are not lacking. That sense of grief was shown to you through that event. You are grief. Nothing wrong with that. However, you can transform it, that is; use the same energy to come up with something else: Acceptance, Gratitude.

When we are not aware of transformation of energies, we will only repress them to try to act tough, quasi-spiritual, disconnected, disinterested, etc.

Many individuals will experience grief, express it and keep it for as long as they can. They thrive in getting pity from others. It is a way for them to feel important as people may finally notice them. Others, may reject grief as they have been conditioned to believe that they have to show a happy face all the time.
Very few will transform it, and yet even fewer; will feel GRATITUDE out of that experience. Ultimately, there is FREEDOM in GRATITUDE.

A trauma or fear of Life comes when we have not reached a state of true acceptance, when we are continuously struggling with Life.
Our conditioning that we should fight for everything may work in the “office world,” but it will never work with Life.

The mind is our inner TV. It has so many images. Most times we believe in those images as “real” and add our own expectations, our own story of how life should be for “me.” When a setback is felt and grief comes in the horizon, that TV show will be the same repeat which in turn will bring more suffering to the ego, the “I.”
Why is that suffering?
Because my expectation of what Life should be for “me” does not fit reality. Ego cannot accept that. The repetition of the images is there so we don’t forget. It is a nagging reminder.
Anger, denial, etc. are expressions of the fighting ego.

EGO cannot have GRATITUDE, for ego always wants something else. Ego is in a state of lacking fulfillment.
That is why it is said that “time heals.” For the ego will look for something else in time to cover the previous trauma.

Self-observation is an invaluable tool for self-knowledge. For that to happen, we need to allow ourselves to feel the full range of an emotional experience. Life is always teaching us, showing us, who we truly are.

Until December 1st! Enjoy Life.  🙂

Starting in the path of Yoga

Joe feels depressed. He is disappointed by the experience of Life. He cannot believe that Life is so short and full of troubles, never ending struggle just to meet death at the end. The idea of being inside a wooden casket and seeing all pitch black from there is frightening. He becomes a seeker…

Tina was minding her own business, busy with things to do and places to go. One day through a dream she had an experience: She was speaking with a beautiful being. “He” was  a peaceful white light in human form. It was very soothing to hear his voice. He had a message for Tina: “Tomorrow you will know more about me, little child.” The next day Tina met some people, who had the same experience. Tina labeled that experience as “meeting God” due to the support of others “chosen” ones.  She became a seeker…

Ralph was born in a religious family. He knew about God. He knew about being a sinner and even though, he didn’t care much about it; he believed in that. It was his conditioning. There was nothing much going on in Ralph’s life. It was a mediocre experience for him. One day he meets some people in a party. These people looked very happy. Ralph wanted that for him. They told Ralph that they have found happiness in their church. Ralph became a member of it. Ralph became a seeker…

The stories may change. The common denominator is that either the seeker wants something more than themselves: To become better, to know the “truth,” etc. or they desire a relationship with the highest being, the highest power, to be “someone” by default of a relationship with the “highest” thing ever.
They are looking for “union” with something “better” than themselves, that ambition will give them a sense of purpose.
That is how Yoga arrives in their lives.

Every deistic religion is a form of yoga, for the ultimate is to be close to God, be equal to God, fused with God, in the grace of God, one with God, etc. The label “God” has such importance in this path.

Every form of Yoga has a common characteristic: To increase the ego of the seeker as the idea of “becoming better” is infused in the participant.
The striving of becoming some ideal, is a form of ego. The ego wants “some of that” to increase its own appreciation, importance, self-respect, etc.

Every yoga path, has a particular practice which separates the participant from everyone else, that is what makes them “better.” Even if it is about performing a physical asana in the yoga studio: That practice gives you a title: “Yogi,” it gives you a sense of belonging to a special circle where “yamas and niyamas” are dutifully practiced, separating you from the rest. “You” are “special.”
That feeling of being “special” will give the seeker a sense of purpose, motivation, an objective in Life to be “better” and to reach to the “top,” just like in the “office world.” But this is even “better,” for it is no mundane stuff. It is “spiritual,” “divine.” 

The seeker starts by increasing his ego. Why?
Because as mentioned before, the most important aspect of any religious/ spiritual path is for the participant, to be aware of ego, the “I.” That is the common link of any path.
The easiest way for self awareness to occur is by increasing ego.
Unfortunately, many seekers are not conscious of this and rather believe in their own self-importance, self-righteousness.

Nevertheless, the struggle to become “better” has started by separating ourselves from mainstream. That is what a religion/ spiritual path brings, a different perspective so we could look at our conditioning, what we have learned in mainstream society.

This great “tool” is overlooked and instead it becomes a lifestyle for many, where to be “right” and close to God is believed to be achieved through certain practices, DOINGS, etc.

A path of yoga is without a doubt a necessary path for many to un-condition from the “office world;” it is a subtle continuation of the idea that our society has about the importance of achievement, to become better, higher, more powerful. That is why, this path is readily understood by the majority and part of their “spiritual” journey.  🙂

Unabating Suffering

What do you tell someone who is suffering emotional pain?
Someone may be pleading for a way out of her insurmountable pain.
Pain has the characteristic of making someone focus, concentrate, or unwillingly give its full attention to suffering.
As pain increases, so is the strong desire to be spared of pain.

For most, that is the first episode in their lives; when vulnerability is felt. The “I” is incapable of escaping at will. There could be amelioration of physical pain through medicine, but emotional pain can only be postponed: We could become drunk to numb ourselves; but that pain will return; the complications will increase and hope of being “better” as time passes by, could be the only comfort at sight.

Yes, everything passes by. As it came, it will go away.

Have you ever experienced a broken relationship?
The death of a loving relative?
A deep disappointment in Life?

The pounding feeling, the relentless revival of the experience, the endless taste of guilt mixed with despair, anguish…
All of that will pass. It will go away.
The size of your “I” will decide how long that experience stays.

Many times, we make yet another trauma of those painful experiences, but I assure you; those are not there to feed the “Poor I, Poor me,” pose, which only adds ego.

Those are there, to show you what your “I” is made of. Be aware of that, for nothing else will be able to make you aware of what you are made of.

See it. Acknowledge it. Accept it.

Instead, we defend “ourselves,” we create a story where “I” need to save face despite what Life is showing me.
The “I” don’t want to see that, arrives… but in time it will open her eyes.

Life experiences are able to change someone. Nothing else will do.
When suffering is there, you may wish that you did not exist, just so  the “I” could run away from the pain.
Many times we have been able to do that, but there are other times; when it is impossible.
Want to try suicide, perhaps?
That only postpones and amplifies the experience of pain. As long as the “I” escapes, there cannot be change, and Life… is change.

It is in that impossibility where the “I” will die, to be someone else.

Newness comes after death of the “I.”  It has always been like that.   🙂