“Self” is the most misunderstood label there is, from the dictionary word to the “spiritual” connection.
A seeker will be confused depending on their level of consciousness, for “self” is the very beginning of “spirituality” but at the same time, the very end. It is Alpha and Omega.
Most “think” they know what “self” is. It is “me.” That is kindergarten a priori “knowledge” however, it is readily accepted without further observation.
There is the “self” of “Google”: “a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.”
There is the “self” of Krishnamurti:
“ …the idea, the memory, the conclusion, the experience, the various forms of namable and unnamable intentions, the conscious endeavor to be or not to be, the accumulated memory of the unconscious, the racial, the group, the individual, the clan, and the whole of it all, whether it is projected outwardly in action, or projected spiritually as virtue; the striving after all this is the self.”
There is the “Self” of Ramana Maharshi : “That state which transcends speech and thought is mouna. That which is, is mouna. How can mouna be explained in words? Sages say that the state in which the thought”I” (the ego) does not rise even in the least, alone is Self (swarupa) which is silence (mouna). That silent Self alone is God; Self alone is the jiva (individual soul). Self alone is this ancient world. All other kinds of knowledge are only petty and trivial knowledge; the experience of silence alone is the real and perfect knowledge. Know that the many objective differences are not real but are mere superimpositions on Self, which is the form of true knowledge.”
And then, there is the “real self” of Osho: “The Real Self is dangerous: dangerous to the established church, dangerous to the state, dangerous to the crowd, dangerous to tradition, because once a man knows his real self, he becomes an individual.”
And then there is Lao Tzu: “Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing the self is enlightenment.”
And …there is “Nosce te Ipsum” (Know thyself).
An individual will be seeking to “save and continue” his perception of “self” through the belief in “heaven,” the “soul” (Atma or Atman, which is also known as the “real self” by some or Swaroop, etc.) after this lifetime is over, while others believe that everything is over at death time.
Lost in theories, beliefs and what not, we are unable to OBSERVE.
In my experience, when we want to find out something related with “spirituality”, there is no sense in following words. It doesn’t matter how “enlightened” they may be. There are many interferences in between: The level of consciousness of the one describing and the one listening (even “Death” depends on the level of consciousness of a person); the word used to describe a personal experience is a barrier for intellectual understanding; there is interpretation of the word, then there is translation (if it comes from another language) and finally, there is the emotional attachment to that word: “atman /atma/soul” is an example. It has a positive connotation which for many means “self or real-self.”
Confusion is the mother of all religions.
Look at “yourself.” Do you perceive thoughts (the little guy/gal talking to you in your “head”?) Do you perceive his fears, dreams, hopes, desires, activity, patterns, memories? That is typically known as “self.” That is also known as “I.” That is what many are concerned in “saving” for the “afterlife.”
Look at a wall. Hold your breath. Stop breathing for a few seconds. Notice how “your” thoughts will stop. Just notice. Keep focused on that wall.
There is an “observer” and there is the “object” observed (wall).
When the “observer” disappears as well as the “object” although the eyes are looking at a wall, that IS. We could name that infinitesimal experience as “Me without baggage” or “naked me.” “Bagagge” is all the stuff that we perceive when we observe the content of the mind.
Some will describe the experience above as “when the observer and the object merge in each other”, or “when the observer and object are one”. Same experience different words.
That “IS” will be called with many names: “real self”, “swaroop”, “atma”, “atman”, “God”, “Brahman”, that state of “mouna” (according to Ramana Mahrshi- above) which cannot be explained in words, is where “silence” resides.
However a glimpse is not the “state of being” of a self-realized individual. An attempt to float in the Ocean, is not swimming. However, the EXPERIENCE will allow us to “observe” that which we call personality, self, etc. which Krishnamurti points out, and OBSERVE the difference “without using the mind.” Just look.
“Meditation” has been used to experience that which IS. However, a meditation related only with the mind by trying to stop thoughts, still the mind, etc. will not allow us to experience what is beyond the mind (no-mind). Thus, Contemplation.
Looking at a wall in a relaxed way, without any aim whatsoever is contemplation. We could feel our breathing, our heart, we can open our inner senses for what IS to arrive. That could be experienced by some as bouts of bliss. The “inner smile.” We could observe that “thoughts” become an interference, that is why the artifice of stoping to breathe was used. How can we contemplate if thoughts are bothersome then? The power of your feelings shall be used. Feel from you heart and your gut as we breathe in and out. That will overcome our “habit” of “thinking” or “daydreaming.”
When words arrive in our heads, the mind has entered. The show is over.
If you never learned a language to speak, how would you relate with that which we typically call “self”? How the “little guy/gal” in your head could communicate with you?
Experience that. There is more to “self” than what is described here, but this is just a “finger pointing to the moon.” It is not the moon.
Nosce te Ipsum. There is no other “knowledge” more fascinating in Life.
The other day, I took a taxi to go home. The taxi driver started a conversation which ended in knowing about his “spiritual” experience: “ I lost my wife by being unfaithful and then I resorted into heavy drinking. I even had sex with guys… and then, I was saved (by his new religious belief) when I decided to go to the temple and heard the pastor talking. The pastor said that I could hear the voice of God. He gave me the versicle in the Bible. I prayed to God and then my Life turned around. I heard his voice. From that moment on, I decided to spend more time at the temple and share the word of God.” He handed me the Bible where he had underlined several passages that he knew by heart for me to read out-loud during the drive, while he was explaining those to me. I thanked him for sharing his story and finally he gave me some literature from his church to read in my spare time. Then he said: “I want to pray for you, what is your name? I said, “Ahnanda.” Thanked him again and left.
I was happy for him. I let him express what he IS and that gave him a little boost of reassurance of his own beliefs and experience. Little did he know that I had my own spiritual journey. He thought that he found “God” just like many other believers. That belief is uplifting him.
I learned the importance of allowing others to express their own religious experience even though they may be looking to proselytize.
Living in the “heart center” is not concerned in being “right” and “teaching others.” It is only concerned in naturally harmonizing with everyone. The above is by no means an example to follow. Life is unexpected and as we get in tune with feeling, our actions will be unexpected as well, rather than rehearsed. We could go through forethought, preconceived activity which maybe thought to be “correct, right” but which hides our true nature. As a person evolves through what we know as “spirituality”, it will be important to observe the raw self, without the disguise of DOING a determined action.
For instance, there was a Buddhist monk who said that if someone offers him a plate with meat in it, he wouldn’t reject it; for he will be rejecting the person who offered him a gift. But if he was offered to choose between a plate with meat or one with vegetables; he will pick vegetables.
That is a preconceived action. The motto is : “Do not reject anything.” However we need to look at “rejection” from a broader perspective: Is rejection showed through an ACTION (taking the plate or not) or is it an inner FEELING?
Can you reject your own well being for the sake of agreeing with someone? I am not saying to “make someone happy,” for the act of accepting a meal is not about making someone “happy or unhappy.”
In the heart center, we could observe that if the feeling is of rejecting meat but accepting it for the sake of conforming to a belief; then even though there was outside acceptance; there was inner rejection. No one else but ourselves could confirm that.
As we move into the heart center, there is no preconceived way of ACTION. There is no performance to follow out of some belief or tradition. Every person we meet, every exchange with others will bring its own way to ACT. That action comes from who we ARE.
How do we know if the action was proper?
There is harmony within. We could feel that. The mind does not bring some inner chat to tell us if we were “right or wrong.”
Personally, I do not reject meat or people who likes to eat meat; but at the same time, I know what agrees with my physical body at this time. That may change. Others may be alright with eating meat.
Everyone is different and different situations will arrive in our lives. I feel that to have a preconceived way of acting is truly emphasizing the mind over exploring the feeling of the moment.
Similarly, the cab driver is acting through preconceived directions by following a “holy” book. In his level of consciousness, that may be desirable at this time, but again; that may change. If we still follow preconceived patterns, then the mind will be at ease with a belief but not the heart .
Is following a particular moral code, enough to make us feel in harmony within? If yes, our lives could be a script to follow, from daylight to nighttime. This is “right” that is “wrong.”
Those parameters are necessary in society as they are simple to follow, but at the same time are limiting our own experience of feeling from the heart center.
Giving is not always “good”. Taking is not always “bad.” Those are only beliefs. Through the mind we can try to analyze the circumstances, the people involved, we could try to read the intentions, etc. and evaluate the situation to believe that we have acted “right,” for we have conformed to some pattern. There is no sensation, no feeling of harmony within.
Without that feeling, there could not be fulfillment in Life. Life is meant to be felt not thought out.
It is conspicuous, that problems with the mind are increasing. Several years back, I had a friend with mental issues. That was something uncommon for me to experience. Now, it is very common. Perhaps the most common ailment to observe around is depression.
I could affirm now that “spirituality” at this time, is about dealing with the mind.
Notice that I say “at this time.” It hasn’t always been like that.
A mind out of control is a demon. A controlled mind is a “saint” waiting to “sin”. Many times, medication becomes that artificial control.
It is interesting how Science does not know the cause of many of these diseases of the mind. Nevertheless, there is “treatment.” It is a game of dice.
Genetics is a factor. The environment is another. Our ability to cope with different pressures in society is yet another.
Chemical imbalances due to genetics is a small percentage at this time. However the influence of the environment and our own coping mechanisms, are something that we could become aware of, to improve our mental health.
It is almost a year now since I have moved permanently from the USA (I lived there for 30 years) to Lima, Peru. Sound in all forms (noise) is used in Lima violently: From car horns, to megaphones, loud parties and noisy public events, etc. It is evident that individuals will be mentally affected from that. Life in a big city like Lima, is not a relaxing “walk in the park”; nevertheless; most individuals are completely unaware of the consequences. We have done that to ourselves under the label of “progress.” Economically, Lima has progressed enormously, however; when there is no conscience of the environment; our health will pay the price. Lima, is just a small example of so many third world cities around the world in similar conditions.
The most “civilized” environments have their toll on mental health as well. The USA as I recall, was famous for the feeling of isolation and the excessive use of “technology” under the motto of “time is money.” That sort of stress will definitely impact our mental health specially since there is a growing population migrating, looking to live “better” in those “civilized” places. We are living out of balance.
What to “do”?
When a person is sensitive, aware, the answer arrives right away. The number one priority for mental health is to BE in Nature as much as possible. As far as I am concerned, there is no way around it. It is even funny to put it in that way, for a “normal” person should feel eager to BE in Nature, but that is not the case for many who feel “happy” around concrete buildings and a TV or… a computer and a cell phone for even background noise. Most are terrified by silence as absence of sounds.
We may need to be closer to water in all forms: Oceans, lakes, rivers, even swimming pools if all else fails, for water cleanses our energetic field. Exercise is a priority, for the mind is closely related with the body; and the body was meant to move. That is a “reasonable” reason.
Finally, our diets need improvement. An orange vs. a “Coke”. Observe all of those foods created by man. Those are not natural. Those are not “bad” either. Their consumption needs some reduction. Do you drink plain water? Don’t like the taste of it? Some serious “therapy” is needed to fix that.
Here some words of advise:
1) Move. Do not stay in the same room for long periods of time. The collective consciousness surrounds all city environments at this time. The “vibe” is of stress, anxiety, sadness. Many times, we do not realize that we are affected by those “vibes.” We believe that it is “I” who feels in a certain way. We could even label that as “my depression.”
2) Have “snack” times of Nature. Go to a park and walk barefooted in the grass if possible, or sit down and watch the birds and smell the flowers… Won’t cost you a thing!
3) Have daily “Me” times. It is very important to enjoy time by yourself, not doing a thing, or rather; not thinking about a thing. For that, we need to PLAY. A playful person, is a person in balance.
4)Entertain the mind: Watching movies, tv, etc. is that. However, we are not aware that those means are only entertainment. We typically get suck into it.
5) Once we get a sense of balance, we will naturally “practice” the “3 S” of healthy living: Sun, Sleep and Sex. Typically we over do or under do those. The mind goes to extremes easily for it does not know the “middle way.” Never too much of the “3 S.” Find your own balance.
6) Learn to feel from the heart. Deep feelings will take you out of the mind.
7) Appreciate Life as “it is”. We focus on negativity forgetting that every coin has 2 sides no matter what. Appreciation will bring us into balance.
To live in the world of “no-mind” does not mean not to have thoughts. It means to live in the heart center. Although, many “experts” recommend exercises or techniques to “achieve” that; in my experience; the change happens after we have gone through the full experience of knowing the mind.
That full experience means, experiencing the “ups and downs.” However, the most important advice that I could give based on my own experience is that any inner work to dissolve “blockages” or “inner traumas” to open up to Life, is without a doubt; the most important aspect in “spirituality” that a seeker will need to face; for that will bring the experience of “no-mind” (heart center) and then our overworked mind, will have a chance to rest and perhaps observe the world under a new, fresh perspective.
Without a doubt, that is a sign of mental health.
The question is here:
(Bottom of the “about” tab)
Thank you for your question.
It appears that you have an Indian background, where typically marriages are arranged and there is a negative stigma with being divorced. Here goes the small print before we start: Ahnanda does not give advice. Ahnanda only shares.
Clarity is brought through inner honesty. The mind does not know about inner honesty. The mind knows about compliance, convenience, tradition, among other things. Inner honesty is felt. We could choose to hear that and go for it (that is the hard part, to learn to listen without interference of the mind) and accepting all consequences. That will bring us a type of experience.
We could choose to ignore that inner feeling and go for the “Do what I am supposed to do” and also, accept the consequences. Which path is “better” ? None. It just depends who you ARE. Be honest with that.
That is the “clarity” that you were looking for.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you speak with your husband and let him know frankly, about the huge attraction that you feel for someone else? AND wouldn’t it be fantastic if your husband let you go with your attraction and allow you to come back to him if you wish since you have with him a “good life” already? Would that make you happy? Satisfied?
Many times, marriage turns into a license to possess another, but if we decided to play that game, we may need to play it until we call it quits. Don’t you think? You don’t mention if you have children. I am assuming you don’t.
Are you willing to give everything up for that attraction, not knowing how long it will last? Are you willing to stay stuck in a relationship without feeling fulfilled but comfortable? Rest assured that at least 90% of people have to answer that question at one point of their married lives.
What do you use as compass for your own Life? What do you believe is your purpose?
That is the important question, for that will bring you direction, clarity. Feel it.
In a previous article I shared what my friend Mathias mentioned about attraction:
” Attraction brings a collision. It is like a magnet. When that magnet attracts another object, a collision is unavoidable. Attraction has the ability to make someone lose their own essence. A “Life walker” does not reject attraction. He simply observes it in himself, smiles at the scene and continues on, not forgetting his life purpose. When a “Life walker” forgets his purpose for a few days, then that attraction will distract his mind, then his thoughts and his feelings will deepen that attraction.”
You have not mentioned if the other person feels the same for you. If you don’t know, then your mind is fantasizing. If you know he does, then are you willing to take the chance? It may work or it may not. You may be more miserable and your mind will make sure to complain about that later and blame your situation to someone else. But perhaps, you will be satisfied to follow that huge attraction. However, rest assured that something else will not go as you expect it. Guaranteed.
What do you want out of Life?
Children? Sexual fulfillment? Romantic love? Let that be your compass. Once you know, allow for Life to show you the path and be willing to accept it for that is what your heart desires: That experience.
Observe that you did not go with what you felt when you decided to get married. It may be that you accepted a tradition or your family pushed you into it; however; learn about the consequences of going with something which we do not feel 100% sure, although our conditioned mind may tell us that it is “best for us.”
Finally, know that there is a difference between feeling from the gut and the heart vs. an emotional outbreak like an attraction. In the world of duality you cannot have it all. That is the dream that many have bought into.
Don’t follow your dreams. That is conditioned utopia. Follow your compass, your purpose. Not what the mind tells you, but what you feel from the heart without distortion from emotions or mind games.
All the best.
Through contemplation in Nature, we could understand that there is no straight tree or straight line, no matter how straight it seems to be. Nevertheless, we seem happy with the ideal of a straight line.
We live in a world of ideals. We strive to reach those, but we will always be short. Ideals are unreachable.
The ideal of having a mind capable of completing all tasks with accuracy is broken, when several tasks appear at once.
Ahnanda: “ The world is in a hurry. Here, it is easy to lose focus and forget. My mind is focused on a task but then the phone rings and as I answer it, another person appears taking my attention, at the end; I forget to complete my former task. That juggling of many things at once is stressful. Frustration may set in followed by some anger.
Is there a way to focus the mind and not lose my cool?”
Mathias: “That is a matter of knowing priorities. Take your time. The world may be in a hurry but not you.”
Miguel: “That which has attraction will take your complete attention.”
Mathias: “Always find beauty, even if what is in front is referred as ugly. There is something there to be appreciative about. Find it. Feel it. That will keep your mind focused.”
Ahnanda: “ That reminds me about the symbol of yin and yang. There is a small black circle like an eye, in the large white area and vice versa. That means to me that there is a seed of beauty in ugliness and ugliness in beauty, for one side fuels the other.”
Miguel:” While in contemplation, find beauty then feel it with your senses, finally feed yourself with that experience. Make it part of you. Integrate it.”
Although the ideal is that beauty is completely different than ugliness; in Life itself both perceptions are mingled together, they originate each other, feed each other. The mind lives in the world of ideals. The mind looks for what is attractive, beautiful and typically, rejects that which it considers ugly. That rejection preserves a recurrent experience.
A man may look for a beautiful woman. Interestingly, I have noticed that once that experienced of greater beauty has saturated his mind, an increasingly less attractive person will be looked for. The mind knows extremes. That saturation is synonym with obsessiveness, which degenerates into compulsiveness. It is a disease of the mind.
Life supports what is complementary to create unity. However, we don’t. We seek distinction, uniqueness through separation.
Distinction of what? Our own ego to embellish it.
That separation ends up in isolation. Interestingly, that is the time when we look for meaning in Life.
Will be taking a break until May 30. Until then! 🙂
A: “God is our creator and he gave us free will and eternal Life!”
B: “Why do we have to believe that we were created?”
A: “Look, if you see a pretty house in the mountains, you will ask yourself: who created this house? Right?”
B: “Not necessarily. Perhaps the house was always there. Matter cannot be created neither destroyed, it can only transform. Correct?”
A: “Someone had to build it!”
B: “Who created the builder? “
A: “God. He always existed…”
B: “Why don’t you ask, who created God as well?”
The paragraph above was a paraphrase of an actual exchange. When we live in the mind, what is important is the concept, to “get I right.” The mind cares about “answers.”
When we live in the heart, that conversation has no meaning. There is a pretty house in the mountains, then appreciate it, enjoy it, get some feeling out of that experience which in turn will be like “spiritual food.” That will nourish you and consequently, those who are close to you in that experience. That is the “answer.”
“Who created it?” That question, even though “logical,” “reasonable” (traits of the mind) takes away the beauty of the scene for a moment of “full mind” which by nature, is never satisfied. The mind cannot get satisfaction.
Have we observed a person who apparently has everything going for him and who is not satisfied? He is living in the mind.
When I started my “spiritual career,” I too asked: “Who created the Universe?” I knew through religious conditioning that it was “God.” Also, I knew through “scientific” conditioning that there was the “Big Bang.” Somehow none of those “answers” fulfilled me. It was an empty repetition of things which are beyond my practical experience. Plain beliefs. The mind likes to take us into empty rides. We come back empty handed. An “answer” made up of words is as empty as an empty stomach, however, we feel the emptiness of the stomach, it is “real.” Words are not.
Now, proudly after some years of “search,” I could say that: “The Universe/ Life is there. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Truly.” No questions will come up to the mind.
Life, the Universe, God… those are words to express “mystery.” It is a beautiful mystery. Anything that we would like to “explain” about them, will be always short, always inaccurate, always dull… but yet; some of us “think” to “have the truth.”
That is the greatest hallucination someone living in the mind could have about Life.
However, it is part of the journey.
BEING in the mind, the heart and the gut. Those are the 3 stages of Human consciousness.
The experience is very distinct. Ahnanda is currently in the heart and after this experience is over, the gut will follow. Ahnanda is knowledgeable of the mind, as he has gone through it.
Raysha, Mathias, Miguel and Ahnanda where sharing experiences in a nearby park.
Miguel told Ahnanda: “ Now you are in the heart. However, you could go back to the mind unless you feed the heart with gratefulness and appreciation.
In you, there are 2 little dogs: The rabid dog (mind) and the happy dog (heart.)”
The rabid dog is reactionary. Trying to control things, violent with others and the self. The rabid dog compares all the time and measures how ahead he is in relation to others. It is angry if it finds out, others are better off.
The happy dog is placid, content within itself. Void of judgment. It observes and becomes amazed at Life.
Miguel continued: “The mind will try to gain control as it has done it for many years of your Life.
This new game that you will play is called the “jumping rope.” At one extreme is the rabid dog holding one side of the rope. On the other side, is the happy dog. Your task is to jump the rope at the right time, otherwise; you will be totally entangled and even could fall… “
Ahnanda said: “ I have experienced that I cannot analyze things anymore. If I go to the market to buy things, it is hard for my me to add up numbers and even I am becoming forgetful of things. Is that part of the process?”
Mathias responded: “ The mind is upset. If you don’t want to give it control of things, then the mind wants to see what can you do without it. Just talk to your mind and say: If you don’t want to help me with the tasks that you used to, that is fine. I am working on prosperity, so if the salesman says that the final price of all things I buy is something, I just accept it, pay and move on.”
Miguel added: “ In this new game you will need to learn to identify the mind from the heart, on the fly. Thus, take a moment before responding, pass some saliva through your throat and then respond. Your reaction will seem slow to others, but it will be conscious and that will avoid many unsavory episodes.”
Mathias then said: “It is important to remember that what you DO is not as important as BEING conscious of who you ARE while DOING.”
Life makes sure that Ahnanda obtains the necessary “tests” to learn to distinguish those 2 little dogs.
Contemplation is the tool to look at the self. Not to find mistakes and feel guilt as the mind likes to do; but to recognize who was there in “Me,” and how those energies get triggered. Contemplation is the “scientific lab” for that.
BEING in the heart is not a “lovey dovey” story. It is the experience of no-mind. Ahnanda has found out through his own experience that to BE in the “now” is impossible, when we are consciously located within the mind.
The mind only knows past and future. The heart only knows “now.”