The Master was explaining to his disciple about the journey of self-realization.
Master: “The journey starts with the observation of your mind. Observe the difference between you and your mind.”
Disciple: “what is to observe the mind?”
Evidently, the disciple wasn’t aware of the difference between him and his mind.
Master: “ Sit comfortably. Breathe in and out slowly, while looking at the wall in front of you. All that exists for you is the wall in front.”
Disciple: “ What is the purpose of that exercise?”
The Master ignored the question. The disciple practiced the exercises for a while.
Master: “ Tell me. What was the purpose of the exercise?”
Disciple: “ Well, I don’t know. My mind was trying to escape from looking at the wall. I was thinking of many things while I kept reminding me- ‘Look at the wall.’ My mind was getting tired.”
Master: “Was your mind reminding your mind to look at the wall?”
Disciple: “I don’t know.”
Master: “When you know, you will find out what is observation of the mind. The observer and that which is observed. Then, those 2 can become one.”
To separate means to acknowledge their singular value to then appreciate the wholesomeness of their union.
Most individuals are aware of all the problems going on in the world: Global warming, poverty, wars, riots, human rights issues, animal right issues, inequality of wealth, tyrannies, social class issues, etc. All of those ‘issues’ have been created by society itself.
When some self-realized individual refer to our world as “ugly, cruel, violent, mad, etc.” Most individuals instantly dismiss that. Those words do not matter to most, for humans have created their own “heaven on Earth,” that is a little bit of hope of a “better future,” a mix of “let me get some wealth, power, and social status” and a sprinkle of believing that “we have plenty of time to live.”
The level of conditioning of most human beings is outstanding: Many were born to work repetitive, non-challenging jobs for most of their lives and their aim in Life is to “buy things,” and start a family just like themselves: Unable to observe the “Matrix” around them. Completely trapped in it. As long as there are countless ways to get entertainment, these individuals are “happy,” although; they will never know the actual experiential meaning of happiness.
Observe this: There are many people facing hunger around the world. Humans will not lift a finger to help “thy neighbor” unless there is money flowing. What is money? Fancy paper without real value, as it used to have when the World had the gold standard. Humans are so trapped in their own game of coins and papers, and will remain oblivious of the suffering of their own kind. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/09/world-richest-millions-starving-wfp-200918090724645.html
It is hard to convey to someone trapped in that game, about the intricacies of ego and greed; when their game dictates that “they must acquire and keep for themselves and only give when there is profit.” Their whole conditioning doesn’t allow them to see others as themselves, but there is a constant separation, a constant division which perpetuates suffering. It is “me” vs “you” and the “survival of the fittest,” just like those animals in the wild with the difference that for an animal there is no thinking involved; so there is no motive to kill and exterminate others. Their way keeps a balance of species within Nature. On the other hand, humans extinguish species. Humans have a clear objective, a plan and that makes their activity completely ego-centered, greedy for there is no harmony with Nature and the common good. Thinking is unable to feel harmony.
When we are so attached to this “game” we cannot become aware of what is going on. While in the game, we can only believe that everything will get better if the economic conditions are alright. We can only see at a superficial level. We believe that we can teach someone to be honest, to have values, when we are not honest. That is the greatest mirage. “Teaching” values is not the same as teaching math. I wonder why we haven’t figured that one out? We are immersed in the thinking “game.”
To observe society from a different perspective, we need to be outside the game. That observation requires solitude and independence from the influence of the “game” for a long time.
Someone who is used to eat sugar, may hear that sugar is “bad for you” but still eat it in many ways. When that person is no longer exposed to sugar for a long time, then if the person tastes sugar again, then he will be in shock due to too much sweetness. Similarly is the process of being able to observe the “game,” it can thoroughly be done once we are out of it. That step of courage isn’t made through joining a religion or some spiritual group. Life chooses the time, according to our readiness.
Just like the word “energy,” when the word “feeling” is mentioned, that word can mean many things.
We feel pain. We feel love. We feel the breeze of the air. We feel anxiety. We feel cold. We feel fulfilled. All those “feelings” do not have anything in common. Some are related with physical senses, others with the mind and yet others are mostly subjective, according to personal experience such is the case with love or peace.
What do we mean when we say that we could relate with Life through feelings and not the mind?
That is a hard question to answer for it depends on our experience and observation of the mind. Most humans at this time, are completely plugged in with their minds, completely identified with it as “I,” thus Life will be only experienced through their mind.
Therefore, someone who only “knows” and experiences Life through ideals, definitions, explanations and concepts, is not able to feel in Life, for feeling is not of the mind.
Some have made a separation between the mind and the “heart,” identifying the heart as the center of feelings. However, this has brought further misunderstanding, as many think the heart is a romantic place left for artists, which is disconnected from ‘reality.’
There is the feeling of emotions which is the typical center of perception of artists, and there is the feeling of sentiments, which are not part of duality. In short, an emotion is duality a sentiment is not.
When we look at the innocent face of a baby or when we reconnect with someone who we haven’t seen for a long time, there is an unrehearsed “feeling” which will feed us, that is we will feel “good” and wholesome for a moment until the mind appears with thoughts and inner chatter. That sensation which is unexpected, legitimately unrehearsed could be a description of a feeling.
Why is it so important to feel? Because fulfillment in Life is through feeling. The mind is not capable of being fulfilled. Humans are looking for fulfillment in Life. That is the basic premise of living.
Our actions, our responses are utterly conditioned. “Hi! How u doing? Good? Great! Good to see ya!” For most that common interaction is completely coming from the mind. Typically, we do not mean what we say but it is a rehearsed, accepted, socially correct and desired behavior.
Feeling through sentiments brings calmness, well being in connecting with another and Life.
We may need to be aware of this to reduce the influence of the mind, for otherwise; we may live a completely unfulfilled life. Although we may have accomplished many things in society, our minds will not allow us to sense fulfillment. The mind is driven to go for more. To accomplish the ultimate experience, believing that once we arrive there, then we will be happy. But that time never arrives, and that is a blessing for an overworked mind, for otherwise a mental breakdown may appear. “I arrived but it is not as I thought. I wasted my Life. I ‘feel’ empty handed.”
Another name for “feeling” could be “No-mind.” When there is an experience of no-mind, the “problems” created by our minds are not. Thus, we can observe with freshness and without the filter, or veil of worries and unfulfilled wishes. Through no-mind, the fulfillment of the moment (now) has satisfaction, while our anxiety for “solutions” in the mind world remains. Observing that contrast will show us our path.
Reasoning kills our feelings. Have we observed that?
For many seekers, the ego is some sort of individual entity tagged with the word “I,” and offered an extension of its influence through the word “mine.” That description is easy to grasp, but not enough.
A seeker should not be comfortable with a description, which only brings mental understanding of the idea; but a seeker may need to observe that ego in action, become conscious when it is being displayed as it happens in “real time.”
We may discover that the inner chattering of the mind is part of that “I” and the outcome of our conditioning. When we identify with that voice as “Me,” that is the second when action is the outcome of pure conditioning. Therefore, where is our “free will”? Some trying to make a distinction between the ego and that which is “really me,” may say that the voice of the chattering mind is not me, but the one hearing it, is truly “me.” However, the voice and the one who listens are both the mind, where different faces of ego come from.
Our society encourages the cementing of ego as that brings individuality. Our society is made under the premise that we are all separate; therefore our minds will bring that understanding of Life which brings as consequence, the perception of conflict to preserve that “I” when dealing with others.
Individuality is merely an aspect of the experience of Life. Because we are unable to observe how connected we are with Life, we encourage division, competition: The “I” with its many identities will fight with other “I’s” for supremacy.
What are those identities of the “I”? A profession, social status, a team, a political party, a religion, a belief, an ideal, a country. Observe that those identities are idealistic, nevertheless; those are “real” in our mind world. For example, burning a flag may be considered a criminal act for the ideal it represents when in reality, a flag is a piece of colored cloth which encourages human division.
How is it possible for someone to observe without bias his own ego,while still trapped in some identity? It is a very limited scope of observation.
It is an interesting exercise to read the world news and observe the extension of identification of humans with different ideals which will make up their egos and how the mechanics of conflict will be unavoidably there; which are usually dealt with violence. That is in a nutshell the history of mankind, thus we are born with that legacy. That is our conditioning.
What is the way out ? It is not through some social agreement or structure or law, as those are other ways we have invented to deal with conflict in society. Those methods are meant to “do something about the problem;” and we have changed things around superficially throughout History, although psychologically man is the same. There is constant division within and with others.
As a species we are highly conditioned to use only the mind to deal with society’s problems, thus we can only perceive Life though a mental position, which is empty of fulfillment. The “normal” man is an unfulfilled creature who is constantly searching for meaning.
The issue is the overused ego driven mind. Is there another way of connecting with Life besides the mind? Yes. There is. With Feeling. Fulfillment is there. That is the journey seldom walked by the “normal” man.
When we become aware of violence as one of the main human energies surrounding our planet at this time, then we understand that a “normal” man is unable to avoid it. After all , it pervades the collective consciousness. It is in the air.
The origin of violence is in the experience of psychological pain.
A person has many experiences in Life. When a particular experience has been oversized and we are unable to assimilate it, that experience becomes a trauma. That is psychological pain.
Consciously or unconsciously, we “protect” ourselves from experiencing that again, as if we could have complete control in Life. So we wear and “armor;” that is we close ourselves to experience newness due to fear of feeling pain again.
Many could affirm that fear is the main cause of violence, but we can see that fear is a reaction coming from psychological pain. We fear that which we know. What we know is the experience of certain pain. We cannot fear the “unknown,” but we fear to lose something or to repeat a painful experience of the past.
Observe how racism may start: We feel comfortable around individuals who we have determined to be “alike.” The most superficial basis for this are physical characteristics. Perhaps we suffered the pain of being left out, or the pain of not belonging. Fear then appears when I reject what is there (I don’t like it,) which is manifested as violence many times. Observe xenophobia (dislike or prejudice against people from others countries.) Our tendency is to generalize and put certain individuals in the same basket. Fear arrives when we feel threatened. But what is the cause of that emotion? Psychological pain. We experienced uncertainty, lack of security or we want to cling to that which is known to us to maintain our perception of security. We are unwilling to try and discover something new. We have closed ourselves to Life.
When we perceive something strange, unusual, odd; we fear. Our sense of security has been challenged. We don’t want to lose what we value which is understandable; however, the reaction is completely irrational for we are assuming that unless we do something radical to that which our minds have identified as hazards, we will lose, we will feel pain.
Thus, the expression of violence is completely irrational in the light of the existence of human laws and social procedures. We fear that those procedures will not be followed.
When we lose our openness to Life, we shrink our sense of enjoyment. We are busy walking around with an armor as we perceive Life as something risky, a menace.
Our capacity to feel pleasure diminishes greatly, thanks to the armor made up of perceived painful situations.
No wonder the collective consciousness have determined that pleasure has to be regulated, that is within certain limits known as “acceptable.” Pain on the other hand, is open in all known forms. Even the psychological pain of the saint is considered “good.” Our society thrives on pain for our capacity for pleasure is small. Why?
When the mind is constantly busy with thoughts of survival or profit, we have little space left for other experiences. We are not at ease. There is fear in the air. The shadow of pain overwhelms our conscious thoughts and expands into the collective. Then, the cloud of pain increases until it suffocates those unaware.
Pain expresses inwardly as fear and then it manifests into violence. Repeated violence dulls our consciousness and our capacity for fulfillment. Violence will damage our subtle energetic channels and as a consequence we will no longer feel joy.
Most individuals only “talk” about joy or fulfillment but they do not have the capacity to feel its full range, due to the atrophy caused by violence.
As we can see, it becomes a vicious cycle, where pain and fear grows and so does violence.
When a person is ready to face those painful situations, the opportunity for healing arrives and then violence will subdue.
To be “violence free” is a work in progress, as this may take some time. We need to remember that healing is not immediate. It has a process and this may need to be nurtured and acknowledged.
Violence surged little by little in us. Likewise, it goes away naturally a little bit at the time. Without awareness, we will only know it is there when it spills the glass and makes a mess.
A serious seeker will recognize how violence shapes his own Life and will follow the steps to understand it; that is, he will go into those traumatic painful knots in his life, in order to harmonize within and with others.
Let us imagine that lions could think like humans do. Then, lions will have problems when living in society of thousands of lions, due to their violent ways. They need to become soft, gentle, mild. What a ferocious, aggressive lion could DO to become nicer citizens?
Let us push our imagination: Let us say that lions have religious inclinations for they realize that they need some “self-help” guidance and want to be “good.” Wouldn’t a lion as it is now, be considered a “sinner”? Living in society with other lions must be hard for them as they want their own territory and want lionesses ( at least a couple of them) there, only for them. Lions will fight and kill any trespassers and are constantly looking out to expand their territory. Let the female do the hunting and take care of the cubs, while a male lion rests and procreates…
What is the “solution” given by society in such dilemma?
Lions need to be more like rabbits. Seriously: Rabbits do not kill each other. Rabbits do not even eat meat! Rabbits are gregarious and helpful to each other. They are “good” citizens! Therefore: Follow the rabbits! DO as they DO. That became the moral law in that society, the striving ideal to pursue!
Similarly, that is the extent of our education and religious/ moral teachings. We need icons, figures and examples to follow. We are taught to copy them. Effort is in copying. Therefore, to “be good” in our society is synonym with copying a behavior.
When we want to become “better persons,” we copy. We DO as some icon DOES, but a lion cannot BE a rabbit! They can only fake to be one.
As humans we are not taught to OBSERVE our nature.
How can we pretend to self-transform without even looking at our own nature?
When looking, hopefully we are not following what society has to say about our nature. We shouldn’t be interested in labels such as “sinner,” “saint” or “impure.” There cannot be OBSERVATION of what IS, if we bring labels we wish to avoid or comply to.
We wish that a “system” could change the nature of a human. We even fight to demonstrate that a particular system (religious, political) is better than others. We don’t OBSERVE, we are not aware that any system depends on how human beings interpret and executes that based on what he IS. What a human IS drives any system to become “good” or “bad.”
But, many who have never “tried” OBSERVATION could wonder how just observing can make any change?
If a lion accepted its nature, it would be interested in preserving its life. It would experience that colliding with another lion would be detrimental for both parties. If the lion was aware of the experience, there would be automatic change without having the need to copy the iconic rabbit. But, if the lion didn’t have conscious awareness while going through the experience of fighting, the outcome would be a fearful lion or a cocky one. In that lack of awareness, to preserve ego is first. Life in community is secondary. That is how many are into the “economy” (obtaining wealth endlessly) rather than preserving Life.
Many go through life lacking conscious awareness while unconsciously manifesting their savage way, even though knowing, that this is counter productive. At the end, life is a fight for them. It is not something to relax and enjoy, but to fight for, to display the power of their egotistic minds.
Acceptance of our own nature is first.
Lions are needed in Nature just like rabbits, however; transformation of nature is “good” when it is natural. Otherwise, it is forced, it is fake, it is hurtful. Thus, Observation, awareness of who we ARE brings that change for it is natural. It is a personal journey.
Nevertheless; in a world where everyone is at a different stage on their own personal development, many are not ready yet for awareness; for they require the hand holding of religious and political systems, until they grow up and realize themselves, how artificial those are. We could observe then, the need for those systems and accept their role in society as sources of external reformation. The “revolution” is not in revolting or opposing, but in allowing all players to play their own roles.
That integration with all that exists, could be a glimpse of a growing awareness.
Finding “good” in apparently “bad,” is one of the trademarks of a spiritual person. If we look at the symbol of “yin -yang,” (duality) we will see that one side whether black or white, has a little “eye” with opposite color. Therefore, we can “select” to focus on the positive side of an apparent negative situation.
The above is not a “trick” or a “method.” It is simply the recognition through observation of Life. Where we focus, our attention is. That is what becomes “real.”
A person changing through the process of self-realization without a doubt, has experienced a lockdown period in his own Life. It is necessary to process all the inner changes.
Thus, those who are ready to take advantage of this situation, will use time to be completely observant of his own mind.
The mind is very important, for that is the filter to watch and to interpret what we consider “reality.” Observe how the mind will introduce desires in unexpected ways. The mind is eager of constant movement. It wants to be continuously stimulated.
Observing means merely to watch as if we are watching a TV program. The minute we are able to do this without engaging our beliefs, judgments or emotional responses, then we are getting to know what Observation is.
The previous teaching was to change a “bad” thought with a “good” thought. Although that is typical material for a “best-seller;” we are not realizing that this practice only engages more the mind to make such change. The mind sees itself as thinking something “bad.” The mind judges that “it cannot be. I am good. I want good thoughts.” So, the mind changes by picking a thought and label that as “good.” In this exercise, we have given further nourishment to the needed stimulation of the mind.
As long as there is inner chattering, there cannot be observation. When we bypass the mind, we will know no-mind. However, this is not a goal to be achieved. It just happens.
The mind creates a “reality” which is not necessarily there. We need to recall that our focus will dictate what we perceive.
On the other hand, most individuals unaware of the above; are only concerned on distracting their minds. Nothing wrong with that. Just be AWARE that this is happening while it is happening. Many providers are streaming hours of entertainment to “help others cope with stressful times.” Then, their minds will fantasize about the future on and off. The antenna of their minds will pick up the collective vibe of distress, uncertainty and nuisance of having to stay home. In turn that will give them a certain mood, which goes unperceived; so they may call that “my mood.” In extreme cases, a pill will be taken to be able to sleep and send the overworked mind to rest.
It is important to learn to observe in order to pick up the messages and the conditions of the outside which may affect the “inside.”
The mind could be our greatest friend or enemy. It is a tool and as such, we have the opportunity now when we could be out of our “normal” busy schedule, to learn from it.
Without a doubt, a step forward is when we clearly perceive that “I” am not the mind. The tool is not “me.” That is a fantastic Aha! moment.