Contemplation

melting into presence

Don’t follow past thoughts, don’t anticipate the future, and don’t follow illusory thoughts that arise in the present; but turning within, observe your own true nature and maintain awareness of your natural mind, just as it is, beyond the conceptual limitations of past, present, and future.

— Garab Dorje, the earliest Dzogchen master.

(Photo by AlicePopkorn)

In the silence of the heart God speaks

A new era

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

— Mother Teresa

Pay attention to the gap — the gap between two thoughts, the brief, silent space between words in a conversation, between the notes of a piano or flute, the gap between the in-breath and out-breath.

When you pay attention to those gaps, awareness of “something” becomes — just awareness. The formless dimension of pure consciousness arises from within you and replaces identification with form.

— Eckhart Tolle

Through the journey of life, we often encounter negative thoughts, thoughts of fear, thoughts of worry, of anxiety. We need to understand that these thoughts are just thoughts, they are impermanent, unreal. A thought comes, and then goes, another thought comes and then goes, and so on. The real problem is when we identify ourselves with these thoughts and give them an unwanted sense of reality. When we give it to them, they multiply and make a bid to rule over us.

Just as clouds come and go in the sky, thoughts come and go in the space of mind. You are not the thoughts, you are the pure awareness in which thoughts come and go, pure awareness that is ever present, ever calm like the sky. Even when we find ourselves so enveloped by the world of thoughts, we can pay attention to the little gap between two thoughts and get a glimpse of the pure awareness. Even a little glimpse, and the identification with thoughts begins to cease. To the extent we become aware of our true nature as space like awareness, the thoughts disperse themselves quickly, and we find these thoughts are just little things that have absolutely no effect on us. There is peace, bliss, serenity.

Photo by kaneda99

Redeem the past and change the future

“Past and future exist only in our memory. The present moment, though, is outside of time, it’s Eternity. In India, they use the word ‘karma,’ for lack of any better term. But it’s a concept that’s rarely given a proper explanation. It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.

(From Aleph by Paulo Coelho)

There are two ways to live your life.

1. Live like a zombie and allow the karma (momentum generated by your past actions) run (or ruin) your life, or…

2. Live consciously, take total control of your life in the present and shape your future just like a sculptor shapes a sculpture.

The key is the present moment. The present moment is where all action happens. Conscious action in the present moment is what unlinks the future from the influence of the past, redeems the past and changes your future.

Yoga Vasishta categorically states…

There is no power greater than right action in the present. …

What is called fate or divine will is nothing other than the action or self-effort of the past. The present is infinitely more potent than the past. They are indeed fools who are satisfied with the fruits of their past effort (which they regard as divine will) and do not engage themselves in self-effort now.

So, how would you live your life? Would you be satisfied with the fruits of your past effort, let the momentum from your past take control of your life and your future? Or will you decide to live consciously, use the present moment to redeem the past and shape your future?

Decide, now.

What is ego?

So, what exactly is this ego?

Ego is that state of awareness which thinks of you as separate from the other. Ego thinks in terms of guiltiness and shames and glories of the past, and it thinks in terms of fears and hopes about the future. It never thinks about what ‘is’, but always thinks about ‘what was’ and ‘what could be’. Ego thinks in terms of many as opposed to the One, the one pure intelligence.

What is pure intelligence?

It’s commonly called ‘common sense’, or the ‘presence of mind’. At any moment, when you do the most appropriate thing in the most appropriate way without any influence of the stored up memories of your past and without any regards to fears of failure or hopes of future rewards, you let the pure intelligence act through you. This pure intelligence may be called the Soul or super-ego or God or universal consciousness. The term ‘pure intelligence’ is used here in preference for others because ‘intelligence’ is one term you can easily identify with compared to the other terms.

So, how is the ego different from pure intelligence?

Ego is self identity. It’s labeling yourself, painting the ‘pure you’ with distinct qualities. And this ego labels others too. The ego cannot but think in terms of these qualities and it always defines yourself as somebody distinct from others. But these qualities and definitions are not fixed or constant. The paint wears off in time and as it wears off, the ego freshly paints the worn off patches of with new qualities and new definitions, and gives an illusion of continuity. This illusion of continuity of qualities strengthen self identity. Now, completely strip off these qualities and definitions, and you will find that the ‘pure you’ and the ‘pure other’ are one and the same, there has always been only one existence, call it the One, or the Soul, or God. The consciousness of this God is pure intelligence itself.

The foremost quality of ego is self preservation. It always tries to impose it’s definition of yourself onto others around you and into your own future. That’s where the problem comes and conflict comes. You define yourself as somebody now, and you want to preserve this definition of yourself into the future until you get a better definition. You are afraid that if you lose this definition of yourself, you will fall. You will become lesser. This fear is the hallmark of the ego. So, when you actually get to the future, your ‘new’ ego tries to define itself anew and comes into conflict with your older definition of yourself that tries to preserve itself. Similarly, when you try to impose your definition to others, the ‘other’ ego resists it and there comes a conflict. So you see, there is a conflict both in terms time and space. Remove this illusion of time and space and there is no more conflict. But pure intelligence doesn’t need any preservation, because it knows itself to be the only existence.

So, how do I identify whether I’m acting egoistic or with God consciousness?

This ‘attempt’ to identify is itself ego. Don’t ‘try’ to identify, but just be. Pure intelligence doesn’t ‘try’ or ‘attempt’, it just IS.

Pure intelligence works in harmony. In reality, there is is only one, the pure existence, consciousness, bliss absolute. It’s not ‘my’ existence or ‘my’ consciousness or ‘your’ consciousness, but it’s THE consciousness, THE existence and bliss. It’s not that I am intelligent or I was intelligent or you are intelligent, but it’s THE pure intelligence. This intelligence acts harmoniously. That is, the intelligence acts through you now in a certain way and it may act through you in a different way in some point of time in the future, but there is no conflict between both the ways. There is harmony. So, when pure intelligence acts through you now and does something, it’s helpful for you in the future, and you’ll never regret. Similarly, the intelligence may work differently through you and somebody else (a different point in space), but there is no conflict between both of you. There is only harmony. All of us complement and complete each other and don’t conflict each other when there is only intelligence and not egos acting.

But the ego is always intent on conflict. The ego says “I’m right and he is wrong”, or, ” I was wrong”, or “I made a mistake”, or “I’m afraid that I will fail”, or “I should be like this in the future”. Note that pure intelligence at times uses idea of future as a guidance for present action, as in reserving a ticket now for your future travel. But, pure intelligence is all about the present. Ego, on the other hand, lives in the past or in the future. When you imagine unreal things, like a future dialogue between you and somebody else, know that it’s the ego. You may imagine your future now, but you can never live your future, sure it may become real when it happens eventually, but it’s unreal as of now, it’s just imagination. When you feel guilty about your past mistake, or relive your past glory, know that it’s the ego.

Pure intelligence is about reality. Ego is about imagination. Note that pure intelligence visualises, but never imagines. Visualisation is creativity, imagination is speculation. Through visualisation, you create your own world for yourself. Through imagination, you lose yourselves in the mires of time.

Ego always needs and craves for something. But pure intelligence is rich by itself and doesn’t need anything from outside, because, it knows that there is no outside.

Pure intelligence fulfills. Ego imitates. When you are in the state of ego, you try to imitate your own past success or you imitate somebody else. Pure intelligence is ever original, ever creative.

Ego always looks up to others for help. It looks for an authority, It wants a rulebook so that it can imitate. Pure intelligence is intelligence itself, so it doesn’t need somebody external to lay down rules for itself. But beware, pure intelligence doesn’t even lay down it’s own rules for itself. When you say you are sufficient by yourself and you will never accept others opinions, it’s still your ego. Pure intelligence, though it doesn’t need external rules, does appreciate the wisdom behind rules laid down by wise men, which is nothing but an expression of the same pure intelligence, though at different time through a different person. Pure intelligence is always intent on finding harmony.

But acting without rules doesn’t mean chaos. Pure intelligence not needing rules don’t mean it acts haphazardly, but it helps you do take the most appropriate action now in the most appropriate way.

This pure intelligence is God, it’s You, it’s Now. It’s the only reality. All else is stored up memory and imagination. All else is unreal.

(On June 20, 2008, I asked these questions to myself and got these answers popped up in the awareness, and I just jotted down the answers, ‘Conversations with God’ style! I don’t mean to instruct others, this is primarily written for myself, I refer to this post from time to time, just as a reminder….)

Meditation

The importance of meditation

The Lord is attained without the least effort; he is worshipped by self-realisation alone. … The self is not realised by any other means other than meditation. If one is able to meditate even for thirteen seconds, even if one is ignorant one attains the merit of giving away a cow in charity. If one does so for one hundred and one seconds, the merit is that of performing a sacred rite. If the duration is twelve minutes, the merit is a thousandfold. If the duration is of a day, one dwells in the highest realm. This is the supreme yoga, this is the supreme kriyā.

— Yoga Vāsiṣṭha (tr. by Swami Venkatesananda p. 255)

What is meditation?

Meditation is not a practice; it is not the cultivation of habit; meditation is heightened awareness. Mere practice dulls the mind-heart for habit denotes thoughtlessness and causes insensitivity. Right meditation is a liberative process, a creative self-discovery which frees thought-feeling from bondage. In freedom alone is there the real.

— J. Krishnamurti (source)

Meditation doesn’t imply merely sitting in a posture with eyes closed. Meditation, in essence, means heightened awareness, being intensely aware of the present moment. This heightened awareness comes about only when you are not making any effort. It comes about with the acceptance and awareness of the present moment as it is. If you are in such a state of pure awareness, you are in meditation irrespective of what you are doing. In Yoga Vasishta it is said that, “While doing whatever one is doing — seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving, sleeping, breathing, or talking — one should realise one’s essential nature as pure consciousness. Thus does one attain liberation.”

Of course, if you think that sitting in a posture with eyes closed helps you get to the state of heightened awareness, you can definitely practice that.

How to meditate?

When you sit down to meditate, tell yourself that at this time “I want nothing”. The second is to tell yourself “I do nothing”. The third sutra (principle) is “I am nothing”. Do not think that you have to meditate, just sit and be hollow and empty. You do not have to make any kind of attempt. These three sutras are very important.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (source)

Are you seeking God?

It is an illusion to think that we are all seeking God — we are not. We don’t have to search for light. There will be light when there is no darkness and through darkness we cannot find the light. All that we can do is to remove those barriers that create darkness and the removal depends on the intention. If you are removing them in order to see light, then you are not removing anything, you are only substituting the word ‘light’ for darkness. Even to look beyond the darkness is an escape from darkness.

No amount of meditation, discipline, can make the mind still, in the real sense of the word. Only when the breezes stop does the lake become quiet. You cannot make the lake quiet. Our job is not to pursue the unknowable but to understand the confusion, the turmoil, the misery, in ourselves; and then that thing darkly comes into being, in which there is joy.

— J. Krishnamurti, The First and Last Freedom, p. 235, 236

Inner light alone is the means

All that I am trying to do is to help you to discern for yourself that there is no salvation outside of yourself, that no Master, no society, can save you; that no church, no ceremony, no prayer can break down your self-created limitations and restrictions; that only through your own strenuous awareness is there the comprehension of the real, the permanent.
— J. Krishnamurti (source)

Self-knowledge or knowledge of truth is not had by resorting to a guru (preceptor) nor by the study of scripture, nor by good works; it is attained only by means of enquiry inspired by the company of wise and holy men. One’s inner light alone is the means, naught else.
— Yoga Vasishta (tr. by Swami Venkatesananda, p. 147)

Be free; hope for nothing from anyone. I am sure if you look back upon your lives you will find that you were always vainly trying to get help from others which never came. All the help that has come was from within yourselves.
— Swami Vivekananda (Complete Works, vol.2, p.324)

Celebrating foolishness :)

The greatest problem for us is being a fool. We try not to be fool. All our life we resist and fear arises in us. A fool is one who acts with freedom, who has all freedom, isn’t it? That is how he could be a fool. If somebody has not experienced freedom, he cannot be a fool. Freedom is behind every fool. God loves you being a fool. He doesn’t love wise men so much. He is bored of their theses and philosophies. He is terribly bored by all the books written about him.

Make the whole life a game. A game means there is no purpose, there is nothing. Just take it lightly, easily. Play the game. That is worship, that is celebration. There is nothing that you do that will please God. There is nothing that you will do that will displease God. He is not waiting there with a staff, just waiting for you to do a mistake so He can punish you. … If He doesn’t want you to do something, you can never do it. It is impossible. He has allowed you so much freedom to do anything you like, means He says, “Don’t take anything seriously, it is all a game. It’s all like a dream.”

Whatever has happened till today, till this moment in your life, is like a dream. You cried, laughed, shouted and got angry at somebody, threw the dishes all over your floor, made all sorts of drama, haven’t you? You banged your heads against walls, or banged somebody else’s head. You yelled or made somebody yell at you. To God it is all fun. He is watching, it is all just a game.

A fool is one who is relaxed, who is free, who is happy. He is not bothered about what he gains, whether material or spiritual or whatever. What have you done with all that you have gained? Where has it led you? Nothing to gain, nothing to lose. By your doing, you are not pleasing or displeasing God. There is a saying in Sanskrit: “My original home is in heaven. I come here to rest.” I have come to the word to rest and play, to watch and to see what is happening here. In this world, you just be aware and alert and watch everything that is happening around you. It is great fun.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, God Loves Fun

Wishing all a happy fools day. 🙂

Admiration Vs Possessiveness

When you see the beauty somewhere, when you fall in love with something, the next impulse that comes in you is to possess it, have it; and, when you have it, it looses all its significance.

— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When you see a sunset, in that moment of beauty there is a spontaneous, creative joy. When you wish to repeat that experience again, there is no joy in the sunset; you try to receive that same creative happiness but it is not there. Your mind, not expecting, not wanting was capable of receiving, but having received it is greedy for more and it is this greed that blinds. Greed is accumulative and burdens the mind-heart; it is ever gathering, storing up. Thought-feeling is corrupted by greed, by the corroding waves of memory. Only through deep awareness is this engulfing process of the past brought to an end. Greed, like pleasure, is ever singularistic, limiting, and how can thought born of greed comprehend that which is immeasurable!

— J. Krishnamurti, Ojai 6th public talk, 18 June 1944

A true yogi may admire a beautiful horse, for instance; but those who feel a wish to possess the animal become entangled in Sankalpa, ego-instigated desires. He is a yogi who can remain in any material environment without being involved in likes and dislikes.

— Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks with Arjuna, p. 593.

Have you not experienced in moments of great ecstasy the cessation of time; there is no past, no future but an intense awareness, a timeless present? Having experienced such a state greed begins its activities and re-creates time, recalling, reviving, looking to the future for further experience, rearranging the pattern of time to capture the Timeless. Thus greed, the becoming, holds thought-feeling in the bondage of time.

So be aware of the present, however sorrowful or pleasant; then it will unfold itself as a time process and if thought-feeling can follow its subtle and devious ways and transcend them, then that very extensional awareness is the timeless present. Look only to the present, neither to the past nor to the future, for love is the present, the Timeless.

— J. Krishnamurti, Ojai 4th public talk, 1945

So, the present moment is all that matters. Drop all efforts to recreate a beautiful experience that you’ve had in the past, for what you think is past is only your own account of what actually happened. Any attempt to recreate your imagination will be a failure. Drop all efforts to possess something you admire. When the feeling of possession comes in, the feeling of admiration goes away. When you try to possess or recreate the past, you are craving, you are being a beggar. But when you can really live in present moment awareness, you are the master of your reality, you have more than all you’ve ever wanted.

So then, start living in the present moment, be open, free your mind, know that the present moment is the only reality, what you think as past and future are just constructs of your mind, figments of your imagination.

You cannot indulge and yet be alert

“You cannot be worldly and yet be pure in the pursuit of Reality. Our difficulty is we want both, the burning appetites and the serenity of Reality. You must abandon the one or the other; you cannot have both. You cannot indulge and yet be alert; to be keenly aware there must be freedom from those influences that are crystallizing, blunting.”
~ J. Krishnamurti, Ojai 1st Public Talk, 1945.

“One who is in search of knowledge should give up the search of pleasure and the one who is in search of pleasure should give up the search of knowledge.”
~ Chanakya.