Why it's important to investigate...
... the question of personal doership
The root from which so many forms of suffering flower is the belief in personal doership.
There's guilt and shame, blame and hatred, pride and arrogance, worry and expectation.
See this for yourself based on your own investigation, that's a great start.
The reason this is highlighted, is because, whether it's realised or not, the only state which truly satisfies on an ongoing basis is the state of being human free of psychological suffering - this is happiness through peace of mind.
If each person really is an 'independent doer' then the suffering which arises in life would be accurate and we would have to conclude that suffering is not something that can realistically end. On this basis It would be wise to feel guilty for my actions which delivered bad outcomes, wise and realistic to feel blame towards others who hurt me, and wise to feel pride for my actions which are successful.
On the other hand, If the interpretation of humans as 'doers' is an error, then the suffering that stems from that interpretation must be an error too.
Good news in my book, maybe there is hope.
Peace for now
Really seeing what is being pointed at, beyond belief
The pointers I put forward work in a very specific way, and if your intellect is relating to them in the wrong way then the understanding may not sink in deeply. I'm going to throw in an affirmation I heard recently to demonstrate my point.
"every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better"
There is a place for these sorts of affirmations, it sounds very nice on the surface and can be useful in certain contexts, and I'm sure we've all from time to time run with something like this for a while. However if you apply just a bit of critical thinking to this statement you can see that it is not entirely accurate.
I use the above example to highlight that sometimes our relationship to concepts is to believe and take them on without really processing what is being delivered. As humans, because of the way we develop, starting as a baby, then infancy and so on at first relying heavily on parents, this believing tendency can become a default, and as we grow older sometimes it doesn't fall away and can mothball certain faculties of the intellect without us even realising it.
Some people actually believe that there is a God out there somewhere, who has a son, who sent his son down from heaven to earth, specifically to die for the sins of mortals.
I'm using these examples, not to ridicule or judge but rather to highlight how easily beliefs can get formed when concepts are presented and a certain faculty of intellect is not applied. The sad part is not only that we tend to become limited by beliefs until they are seen as such, but more-so this movement of simply believing prevents an actual experiential seeing of various dynamics which are being described.
If a concept I share is only believed, even if it is accurate, it will have limited value.
So, when relating to this teaching, please take the concepts and really understand what they are saying. Then, once there is a clear intellectual grasp of what is shared there is a chance to really SEE the dynamics for yourself in your own daily life.
This requires a honed intellect that will realise that these concepts are descriptions of daily living and are asking you to see the dynamics described and NOT to believe. This post is aimed at honing the intellect to recognise this difference.
After having understood a concept intellectually then every time you confirm its accuracy for yourself in your own life the understanding goes deeper.
Take for example this concept: "You are not the 'doer', the other is not the doer, everyone functions in each moment based on an impulse which arises which on investigation is seen to be an impulse we didn't create, it's a happening, and these happening drive us forward, life is a happening and not our doing". And this concept: "the inaccurate attitude of 'doership' is highlighted because guilt, blame and pride rest on it, and given we only live a satisfied life when these forms of suffering end then it's critical to see that 'personal doership' is not an accurate interpretation of the what moves us in life".
If the intellect really digests these concepts, meaning it has an intellectual understanding, then this dynamic may be seen for yourself, ticked off as accurate based on your own experience, and that's how the understanding goes deeper and deeper.
Ramesh used to say "One day, after having really looked at what the concepts are pointing at, seen them to be accurate based on your own investigation in daily living, it will dawn on you "I simply cannot be the 'doer', and my happiness can't possibly be found in the flow of life."
Peace for now
Decisions, no worries
If you experience uncomfortableness around decision making, notice that it's not actually because a decision is not forthcoming but rather because there's a persisting attitude which assumes a decision needs to be made by "me", yesterday, or at least now.
You don't need to worry about making decisions in life.
A decision gets made only when life infuses a strong enough feeling, thought or impulse into the moment, that infusion is what motivates a decision, it is the decision.
Whether we appreciate this or not, the various impulses are not created by "me", a "doer", any more than you create the feeling of hunger which drives your decision to eat. Hunger arises when it arises, it's a happening, and any mental struggle against hunger arising or not arising is independent to the hunger.
If in a particular moment life doesn't include a clear impulse one way or another regarding a set of options you're considering, then appreciate that it's destiny for in that moment for you to make no decision, just like we could say it's destiny (not your doing) that hunger arises or not at a certain time, it's meant to be that way. You could even look at it as a decision to make no decision when there is no clear impulse.
It's not your job to struggle for the moment to look a particular way, you can relax, a decision, when it's time, will come even if you're not trying to make one. The 'trying/forcing' a decision would just be conditioning which doesn't quite understand this point.
Relax, you're being lived - always.
Peace for now.
You're not looking for awakening,...
...or Self, or the Absolute, not even Truth.
Be clear on what it is you are seeking from your own enquiry and experience and not based on a belief you've picked up along the way. With enough pointers and investigation you'll see that you're actually just looking for the end of suffering.
You're not looking for awakening, Self, the Absolute, not even some magical 'Truth' or any of the revealing insights, you're actually, when you keep it real, just looking for peace of mind in daily living which is the end of suffering.
Awakening and the other revelations are quite simply useful contributors which assist the undermining of the beliefs on which suffering stand. And for some, life dissolves the beliefs without the need for certain experience, for others, states and experiences are a large part of the methodology.
As each phase, which takes a particular form, falls away and transitions into the next phase it may starts to become clear that it's not about any particular phase, state or experience, it's not about witnessing, or Being either, all these pronounced states subside and eventually you find yourself living life as a person in a world, simple as that, not living in a dream or being formless awareness, just a person in a world with other people but simply unable to produce certain forms of thought and feelings which used to be second nature. Now they no longer arise.
The emphasis on Consciousness, the Absolute, non-doership, illusion and reality, nothingness and everything and so on, all have their place, these contemplations and insights contribute what needs to be contributed in order to undermine certain core false beliefs. But remember, as you engage in these contemplations, you're just looking for unbroken peace of mind in daily living. That's the only time seeking stops completely.
I can't emphasise this enough, realise this and that is clarity, then all else falls into place.
Peace for now.
What are you doing with your life?
Once the spiritual quest becomes the most important thing for you, a quest which doesn't seem of much value to the majority of the population who are off achieving much more important things ;), you're bound to doubt yourself and feel lost from time to time.
When those around you simply don't understand what you're doing and continue to urge you to get on with what's important for them, the doubt may well intensify, you really do start to question whether what you're doing is valid and wonder if it's time to get on with the important things everyone else is doing.
Well, for what it's worth, even though this path can be rocky at times, maybe lonely because you can no longer relate to those around you, or you feel like you've regressed and are getting nowhere, I can assure you that as the confusion is replaced with clarity, it's absolutely obvious that this quest to live life differently is the most valuable movement you could possibly dedicate your life to. In times when grace shines through you know this for yourself, make a point of remembering this.
And don't worry, a natural integration back into life and with the people around you will happen in good time. For now this is life's way of giving you space to embark on this rich, profound journey.
And if anyone asks you what you're doing, you can reply:
"I've embarked on an amazing research project about the nature of life and inter-human relationships, and I just keep getting blown away by what's revealed. Pretty cool, huh?"
Peace for now.
Heaven and hell are attitudes to life on earth.
These attitudes are not something that the person imposes over life as their 'doing' but rather they find themselves with these attitudes imposed by life itself. And furthermore any change in attitude from the less peaceful to more peaceful happens not because of worthiness or merit. Life is a happening.
The attitude which leads to suffering (hell) is the attitude of 'doership' and 'attachment to outcomes'.
The attitude of peace (heaven) is the natural attitude of the heart which flowers naturally when the psychological attitudes of 'doership' and 'attachment to outcomes' dissolve.
The power of forgiveness
Tragic, inconsiderate and cruel events happen, that's plain and simple.
When there is resentment or hatred towards another for the part they played in past events, experientially we may come to see that it is forgiveness that will lead to our freedom from this suffering.
Unfortunately however, our idea of what forgiveness looks like actually does the opposite, it affirms the base error at the root of the suffering and keeps the suffering in place.
Generally it's assumed that forgiveness is the movement where I, as 'a separate doer', need to find it in me to pardon the other, whom I see as 'a separate doer', for what they did of their own volition which caused pain and was therefore an attack on me.
It turns out that true forgiveness is the realisation that there is nothing to forgive, it was all a 'happening', not my doing or the other's doing.
And furthermore, the recognition that the result of the situation was at worst pain, and that what I am at my core remains untouched by pleasure or pain.
It is always one's attitude to circumstance that binds us to it, or not.
The freedom of being lived
Once it's seen it's so obvious, we are all being-lived.
Whatever happens through us in each moment is a result of a bunch of impulses, thoughts, urges and feelings which arises and drive us to behave a certain way and move us in a particular direction. It's simply a matter of realising that I don't create these stimuli, they happen, I'm being-lived.
So much psychological thinking falls away with the total realisation of this, such a big relief. I'm off duty.
And yet, when this realisation settles in, it doesn't turn us into irresponsible members of society, make us inefficient, selfish or lacking sensitivity - quite the opposite in fact.
We will still have our good points and our bad points, however In my experience a natural intelligence starts to function in the absence of all that psychological thinking, and life flows, what a relief.
All there is, is Consciousness
There is one Source, all stems from Source, the creations of Source are never separate from Source.
Everything arises in Consciousness, is made of Consciousness and recognised by Consciousness.
All there is, is Consciousness.
How does witnessing happen?
As life is seen as a 'happening', thinking seen as a 'happening', emotions and feelings a 'happening', then silent witnessing sets in as a natural byproduct.
Is the end of suffering realistic?
Check it out for yourself, all the different forms of human suffering (in practical terms: guilt, blame, pride, worry & anxiety, expectation and attachment to outcomes) rest on these two pre-suppositions:
a) what happens in life could be different, and that each of us are in control, independent agents that determine how life unfolds based on our own personal, independent volition.
b) that our happiness is dependent on pleasurable or favourable circumstance and ergo dependent on the non arising of unfavourable circumstance.
If these two suppositions are correct, well, pack your bags, go home, life is suffering.
If however, you come to see that these two pre-suppositions are mistaken attitudes to life, ingrained to be taken as true, but ultimately erroneous, then high five, the end of suffering is not just a pipe dream.
Keep bringing it back to peace of mind
Keep bringing it back to peace of mind in daily living.
What is the benefit of the insights you have? That life is a "happening", that you are not the doer, that there is no one here, what is the purpose? What is the purpose of all the spiritual peak experiences you've had? The experience of oneness, the experience of witnessing, the experience of empty, still meditation, what is the purpose?
The purpose of these things is to undermine the ground upon which your suffering stands. And in the end what that undermining delivers, should it happen, is peace of mind in daily living, or another way of saying it is, the end of suffering.
Keep bringing it back to peace of mind in daily living, otherwise you might just get lost fixated on whether there are other life forms in the universe, one dimension of infinite dimensions, whether time and space are real, or whether you exist or not, even whether life is predetermined.
Remember, in practical terms the only thing that will satisfy on a lasting basis, that which you are truly looking for, is unbroken peace of mind in daily living, that's why I suggest, always bring your contemplating back to that.
In order to keep it real and focus on peace of mind meaningfully, you need to be clear that this peace is actually just the absence of suffering. Understand the different forms of suffering, then the contemplating becomes very focussed and potent. Otherwise for example, this peace of mind might become an expectation, this would be more suffering sneaking in; however, with a good understanding of the forms suffering based on your own enquiry and contemplation this will be picked up, probably sooner than later.
Always ask yourself how does this insight or pointer relate back to my happiness (peace of mind) in daily living, then it becomes really useful.
Peace for now.
Resistance of suffering
Enlightenment is the end of suffering, and a form of suffering is the resistance of suffering.
So now it's clear, one thing that needs to stop along the way.
Very blessed indeed
If life has delivered clarity enough such that from time to time, amidst the dissatisfaction of living life seeking for outcomes, there are periods of remembering that happiness is not to be found in outcomes but rather in what we already are at our core, then we can consider ourselves very fortunate.
Happy living for all of us turns out to be less unique than we may think. It takes the form of continuous unbroken peace of mind in daily living, this peace is the attitude of the heart, a way of being in life. Happiness is always attitudinal and never circumstantial, at best circumstance is pleasurable, and at worst painful.
The vast majority of people have no conscious notion of this and are forced to continue living life caught on the inevitable rollercoaster of trying to find satisfaction in outcomes, a place it will simply never be found, with little hope of this changing until life introduces this insight.
So even if you only remember from time to time, consider yourself very blessed that life has delivered this understanding, it will only grow deeper and deeper until such time that forgetting ceases to happen.
Sweetness of Self-remembering
Whenever there is a conscious dropping into Being, there is a sweetness, a sweetness from remembering oneself.
Blessed are those...
... who can laugh at themselves.
Foundation of love
You can't love the other if you require them to change. To be at peace is to love.
The good news
The good news is that, suffering is an error.
It would be very bad news otherwise.
The subject is not just an object
If life is seen only as an objective reality, lived in an objective world, by an objective person then we are bound to fear death and fear life.
The subject is not just an object.
Who am I?
Free space to Be
When it is clearly seen that life 'happens', that the individual is not the 'doer' and that happiness is not to be found in outcomes, this automatically leads to the end of all the thinking to the contrary and there is so much free space, to Be..
Turning inward is not only akin to starting to regularly view your own FB profile instead of being obsessed with everyone else's profile, but with then going beyond even that to a place of no-profiles.
Who would have thought that resting in a place of no-profiles could be so Self-affirming and Self-fulfilling :D.
Who am I?
Keep returning to the You which remains unaffected by circumstance, rest there often until you know yourself so well that you don't forget that this peaceful untouchable Consciousness which exists before, during and after thinking is the very core of who you are.
Personally I find, ...
... life is much lighter when it is not taken personally.
Life is a 'happening'
If suffering happens, it's a happening and not your 'doing'. Deep realisation of this principle in relation to the totality of life is key to the end of suffering.
Life's a happening, and not your 'doing'.
Attitudinally speaking, sit back and watch life happen, watch the thinking and feelings happening, the speaking happening, and actions happening, and if this 'sitting back' happens, it's a happening and not your doing
Peace for now.
Renunciation and 'I AM'
A monk, having entered life in a monastery, given up his fancy clothing and creative gadgets in exchange for a simple robe, no more sex, plain food, hard bed, cold showers, shaved head (did I mention no more sex?) is one day walking alone in the forrest.
As he walks his mind becomes still and calm, absorbed in the wondrous beauty which surrounds him. He falls upon a clearing surrounded by tall trees, and stops, the rising sun's rays, revealed through the still clearing morning mist as if a mystical bridge from above, land like soft warming tendrils on his face.
In that moment the stillness becomes stiller, he takes a deep breath, his head tilts upwards, his eyes close and a deep relaxation takes over, a dropping into his chest, into his heart happens.
In an instance it dawns on him, "I Am!"
Here.....I Am.....even without fancy clothes, soft bed and warm showers, plain food and no sex, here.....I Am.....I exist. I'm whole and complete right now, needing nothing more..... I Am!
The subtle sense of existence, I Am, that is ever present, unchanging, self content, fulfilled, still, empty and quiet, and self confirming, can so easily go overlooked for a whole lifetime. It is what we are at our core, and yet it can go unnoticed for a lifetime, how ironic.
The practice of renunciation is a process which can reveal that even without this and that, even without the love of the other, I Am, whole and complete, this essence is always there and available if only we know where to look, where to BE, if only we come to know what gets in its way. The stillness and quiet, the calm and harmony, the empty fullness that requires nothing more, is undeniable when the seeking mind turns in on itself and stops.
The monk, returned to the monastery bowed in humility, reverence and gratitude to the head monk and all his fellow monks, hung his robe on the hook and left.
He went back into the world, enjoyed a great meal, laughed and made love with a beautiful, kind woman, had a warm shower and fell asleep in a soft bed.
He now knew that with or without things he remained whole and complete, no longer was he seeking pleasure, pleasure, pleasure in the hope of one day feeling complete and happy because of what he achieves or attains. No longer was he attached to outcomes.
He was now able to engage in pleasure with a completely different attitude - no longer slave to it, but rather a full appreciator of it. In Sanskrit one of the terms for an unliberated being is a 'bhogi' meaning an 'enjoyer', however one of the terms for a liberated being is a 'maha bhogi' a 'super enjoyer'. This because, the liberated being is no longer relating to pleasure and pain in the same way as before. The unliberated person (bhogi/enjoyer) is slave to pleasure and pain, the liberated person (maha bhogi/super enjoyer) on the other hand enjoys the pleasure fully when available, no longer plagued by pleasure disturbing thoughts such as "what will it be like when this pleasure ends, I don't want this pleasure to end". The maha bhogi enjoys pleasure fully and endures pain peacefully when it comes, knowing it is part of the flow of life, just like pleasure, not ever losing sight of what they really are at their core.
So, the realisation of the so easily unrecognised formless sense of existence, I Am, reveals that 'I Am', even before pleasure and pain. Knowing this, it is no longer necessary to push pleasures away, enjoy them if they are there and endure the pain when it comes, knowing that neither will deliver completeness or incompleteness. What I am already exists in its fullness, now, before and after the pleasure and pain.
The methodology of the practice of renunciation was necessary for this to be realised undeniably for himself, based on his own experience, and not just as heresy - "what I Am at my core is never determined by pleasure or pain".
Incidentally, the pleasure most sought in the hope of completeness is love.
Could this realisation have happened without the practice of renunciation? Yes maybe, but how it happens would simply be some other process, one way or another the insight is delivered, then hopefully if the realisation is complete the practice is no longer necessary, dropped and the realisation is lived fully.
Peace for now.
Be kind, we are all doing our best
We're all always doing our best.
It's true that in a previous moment we may have performed better. It's true that in the future, with a different mind set or feeling, we could also perform better.
If in a particular moment we find this question arise: "can I do better here?" then true, that question may bring about a lift in performance.
We may have performed better in the past, better in the future, even lift our game in the present, but, all this being said, in each moment we are always doing our best given what we have been given, our mindset and feelings at the time.
When you criticise the other you have forgotten this is the case, you have forgotten your true nature and feel compelled to make them wrong and you right.
This realisation that we are all always doing our best is particularly important if your suffering in life arises in the form of blame, criticism and judgement of the other (remember, the same applies for everyone, we are all always doing our best given what we have been given).
It's also particularly important to see if your suffering arises in the form of self condemnation and regret.
Be kind to yourself and others, we're all, always doing our best.
And furthermore, human happiness is never determined by outcomes, it comes from one's attitude to outcomes. What this means is that the pleasure and pain that life delivers through actions which happen through you or the other are ultimately not as big a deal as you might think. We're all doing our best.
If this notion is not acceptable to you then it's probably because, deep down there is attachment to outcomes. This means that life has inserted a deeply ingrained belief which says "my happiness, my completeness is to be found in outcomes, found in the way I act and behave in life and how the other acts and behaves in life". This is very normal, the 'human condition' we could say, but normal doesn't make it true.
Peace for now.
Wisdom doesn't hold any absolute standards.
Double standards are doubly unwise.
God or consciousness is so close
The consciousness looking through your eyes, functioning through your body, where does it originate from?
Consider this; maybe at some point God, Consciousness or Source was experiencing the world through the vehicle of the dinosaur. Now God is functioning through the human body, experiencing the world from that perspective.
That's how close you and God are.
We could say this is a story whereby God has spun a divine hypnosis, forgotten itself, and from time to time wakes up to the fact that what is being sought outside is closer than close.
Connection to Source
The belief of 'personal doership' and the subsequent relentless mental and behavioural manifestations which stem from that belief obscures the recognition of our continuous and unbroken connection to Source.
Who am I?
Unfortunate outcomes have never subtracted from what you are at the core; fortunate outcomes have never added to what you are at the core.
Connect to that core, know thyself, and life can continue to deliver its usual pleasure sometimes and pain at other times, and you will remain at peace.