“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 experience of Life is typically seen as duality: Going up means to go down.
There is day and there is night. Can we select one without the experience of the other?
Those selecting or being attached to only day or only night haven’t understood this.
Do you look for success? There must be failure. Do you look for truth? There must be the experience of falsehood. Do you want good? There must be the experience of evil.
Thus, how insane is to place high regard, high value on one side of a duality and reject the other, when both are complementary. Both come together as a “package.” Therefore, it is ONE.
Our society is suffocated by the experience of a misunderstood duality. There is no “two” opposites but “one” complementary experience.
Life is not concerned with human morality. It merely presents the whole range of experiences. That is a strong reason to observe that most religions do not fit the way of Life itself, but will support the conditioning of human morality, that is; one side of a duality. Life constantly will show us the whole experience.
If the above needs further clarification, I will add this example.
Are you familiar with the teachings of J. Krishnamurti and Osho Rajneesh ?
Most “spiritual seekers” are. Both are like day and night. “Dawn” (between day and night) is the rebellious attitude which they have in common.
Krishnamurti says that there is no method to reach the “truth.” Osho will give plenty of methods for that. Krishnamurti did not follow any books. Osho gave some of his teachings using some books that he had read. Krishnamurti did not want followers. He did not choose someone to replace him. Osho had followers. It is said that he picked before his death, someone to continue with his “dream.”
Both observed that we live in a sick society. That is “dawn” again for both. Krishnamurti, supported to look deep within and inquire within to freed yourself through a new consciousness. He believed in the change of the individual. Osho wanted to build a “Noah’s ark” with followers who would be living outside society in a new paradigm, with a new consciousness. That is collective change.
Since their teachings were opposite of each other, who is “right” and who is “wrong”? Isn’t that the typical conditioned question which we cleverly ask to side with something and be “right”?
Because they are opposite, it doesn’t mean that one of them has to be “wrong”. That is the old conditioning. Rather; because they are opposite, they are complementary of each other. They are ONE.
Both teachings will show us the complete Life experience.
Do you want a “method” to reach “truth”? Osho is the man for you. Once you have gone through that, you’ll be ready for Krishnamurti and you will have no more methods. If you start with Krishnamurti without going through Osho; you will not be ready. Do you want to know the extent of love? Start with Krishnamurti to end up with Osho.
What is my point?
Embrace both opposites in Life. This is not a question of morality. It is a matter of knowing Life. Not from the conditioned “intellectual” perspective of society, but without the parameters which are holding us back to be open to the uncertainty of Life.
Life is not interested on who is “right” or “wrong”. Why should we? IT IS as IT IS. It is not a matter of “choosing one” over the other. It is a matter of accepting both and OBSERVING honestly, where you fit within that range, and go from there.
There are more “teachers” than Osho and Krishnamurti. A person may go through many of those teachers. Some may even embrace religions which will be necessary for a particular path. The “Yes” and the “No” will need to be experienced for a complete experience. This cannot be only intellectual information. There must be experience.
We need to go through it. That is when there is true change. That is your unique path.
The word AWARENESS has become accepted by the collective consciousness (masses) as a viable method for self-help, but the application of that “concept” to “improve” lives (help others) has become difficult.
Because intellectual understanding does not bring change in BEING. That is the main reason as to why all “methods” are only palliative in nature, like putting a bandage on a deep wound.
“So… there is no need for methods?”
Please don’t allow the conditioned mind to believe that it is either “no-method” or a particular method the “only truth.” It is neither following Krishnamurti (no-method) or Osho’s ideas (method) what brings “enlightenment.”
The word “method” and the word “enlightenment” are the obstacles to move forward. A “method” is mass produced. Enlightenment is individual. If you search for enlightenment, you will never find it. It is not found. It happens as a fruit ripens through a process of living life experiences.
The word AWARENESS is only a broad pointer. That is why, I’d like to narrow it down and use the pointer AWARENESS of CONDITIONING.
If we are not aware of our conditioning in our everyday activities and ideas, then we are sleeping and for that reason, “methods” become important. “Methods” to get out of our drowsiness then we may become aware, awaken… Aware of what?
Of our conditionings. No methods needed anymore.
Now, you see how the question: What is the truth: To follow a method or not to follow one?… Is truly a conditioned question. It all depends on your BEING awake or BEING asleep , not on a method or lack of it.
As a kid, did you ever want a skateboard or an expensive shirt that your friends had, but your parents could not afford?
Do you see the conditioning? Probably not as a kid. Then, it became a trauma.
What about if you are well into your 20s without a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Do you see the pressure that society inflicts on you? The labels that you may get? That is conditioning. That collective pressure changes individuals against their will.
What about if you are married and do not have kids, or only have one. Don’t you feel the pressure to have kids or to have the “couple” and to buy a pet for them? That is conditioning. Observe how it manipulates.
What about your profession? Are you happy but not paid well? That will be the source of social pressure for you or your family. Conditioning.
Do you believe in God even though you have not seen him or experienced him? That is a well known conditioning. Why do you believe in what you believe? What happens if you drop it? Can you do that without feeling guilty? The feeling of guilt is behind conditioning.
Do you see money and power as the only worthwhile things to pursue in Life? That is heavy conditioning. Buying defines you. You are what you own. Nothing else.
Are you over 40? Not “good looking”? Do you have a handicap? under tall? Are you homosexual? Middle class? Do you feel that you fit in society? That is conditioning.
No one could ever fit the ideal of the “perfect citizen/person” that society unconsciously is putting in our minds.
Observe how those traits bother you. The buttons that it pushes. Observe your efforts to deny those things, to cover them up. Observe the traumas. Do you want a “solution”? Do you want to change “what is” into something else just to blend into the conditioned collective consciousness?
You see, the “solution” is not to change to the whims of the masses and the collective consciousness, but to merely be AWARE of the game, so you can play in it, and not be played by it.
Become aware of the conditioning and AWARE of how your actions, your DOING are not made through “free will” (you may think you have free will) but through conditioning.
That is the starting point of awakening.
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.
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.
Whenever there is a strong recognition of something or someone who appears for the “first time” in our lives; there is something that we already know about them or that.
We may not be able to explain what it is. We may not be able to give a “reason.”
That strong recognition is insight.
We could read the words written by someone. We may feel aligned with those words for they allow us to remember something that we knew.
That is insight.
As our consciousness changes in our life time, we will be able to recognize things as “true” for us.
The mind could be deceiving. Our senses deceptive, but that insight is the driving force in our destiny if we recognize it.
The piece of the puzzle in life will fit as it is meant to be if we learn to listen to that insight.
Nothing happens out of a random whim. There is a script already going that will allow us to reach our destiny in life.
The clues are out there. Every experience, every encounter, every step is getting us closer to it.
That magic of “fitting in” gets disturbed through unnecessary thinking and by blindly following our emotions.
Thinking and emotions are the 2 extremes of human behavior.
It is in the above realization, when we could understand the necessity to allow our intuition, our insight to evolve in us, for that is the stamp, the mark that life has placed in us to uncover life itself through our own experiences.
That is how to “know the self” means to recognize that we are a piece of the “big puzzle” which moves harmoniously by flowing with the calling of that insight.
That is how we could be “true to ourselves.”
The mind collects information to figure out life. Many may think that the most information we acquire, the better off we are.
“I read all the books from Chopra, Dyer, Tolle, Krishnamurti, Osho, Lao Tzu, Plato, St. Augustine and Einstein.”
Did we recognize something in those books about ourselves which will help us to find ourselves? 🙂
To be a walking library of “self-help” authors does not mean that we could live life with joy.
“I have joined many religions throughout my life. I am very experienced in Spirituality.”
So what? 🙂
To bring a “Spiritual” resume with us does not mean that someone has found joy in his life. Joining a group does not mean joy. “Joining” and “Joy” are 2 different words. 🙂
When the piece of the puzzle fits the Totality, Joy is the only avenue. We have “arrived.” 🙂
Everything is already in us.
Why can’t we see it?
Why do we look out there for that insight which is in us already?
That may be another paradoxical aspect of life: To go out to search for something, which is inside. So much for that cliché.
However, that “inside” is only a door, a passage to recognize the outside as being the inside as well. 🙂
Love is usually confused with an emotion. Through this short class by Osho, we could understand that love is related with self-knowledge, sensitivity and awareness.
An overwhelming emotion is not related with love for that quality of being “overwhelming” is a fleeting, changing emotion.
Osho remains a controversial figure among the “spiritual gurus.” Nevertheless, there are some particular topics such as his explanations about Taoism/ Buddhism and Atisa, which avyakt7 would like to recommend.