Wednesday, March 01, 2006

THE SPECIFIC STEPS TO REALIZATION, Part Seven

From a site visitor: “If there is no ‘me,’ then who is the person thinking, doing, feeling, etc?”

F.: Persons are always dissociated from the depression or apathy or busy-ness which results from their boredom, their yearning, or their misery. That is the true state of their relative existence, but persons are always separated from reality. When the misery which can be generated by the playing of false roles and by the assumption of all those false identities becomes so exhausting and debilitating that even the natural desire (that ‘love-to-be”) is extinguished, who are the two components in the duality being referenced in the comment, “I can’t stand to live with myself anymore”? [Is it clear that the "I" is witnessing the false self and realizing that such a bogus existence cannot go on?] You are correct, as your question reveals, that there is no “me.” But an error exists in the search for trying to answer part of your question: who is the person thinking, doing, feeling, etc? You rightly used the word “person.” That person which thinks and does and feels is a persona (Latin, “mask”) and can, therefore, never be found. What can be found is an assumed label—the name given to some false ego-state—that is driving the thinking or doing, such as, “spouse,” “employee,” “boss,” “parent,” “teacher,” etc. [Actually, the Realized can feel…persons emote. Use the search feature at the top of the page to search the site for more on that distinction.]

Why can a person never be found? Because all persons/personas are mirages. Driving a straight road on a hot day, you can never “find” a mirage. You can only falsely believe that the mirage you are “seeing” is real when in fact it’s just an appearance…an image only. Keep driving and see that the mirage is always beyond your grasp. It can only be seen for what it is (or, better yet, what it is not). A scientist might say "It is not a sheet of water but is an optical illusion in which atmospheric refraction by a layer of hot air distorts or inverts reflections of distant objects." The layman might say, “It’s not a sheet of water but is an optical effect that looks like a sheet of water in the desert.” An Advaitan might say “It’s not the real but is an unreal reflection, an optical illusion that can be compared to the kind of mental illusions that cause persons to look at things—including themselves—and take them to be one thing when they are something else.” If someone driving a car sees a mirage in the road ahead and swerves off a cliff in order to avoid the mirage, or if he accelerates to try to catch the mirage and runs off the road and kills everyone in his car, that would be insane…relatively speaking. Similarly, allowing mirages to have dominion over one’s conduct and to determine what a body-mind-personality thinks and does, is insanity. [What is an example of the way that believing in images can drive conduct and generate misery? In the U.S., 62% of all marriages entered into this year will eventually end in divorce. Why? Because marriages that are rooted in dishonesty and illusion cannot be healthy and because the vow that began that marriage, if based in honesty and reality, would have actually asked, “Do you take this image that you’re being shown to be your lawfully-wedded mirage?” The majority of marriages will end because the images that were taken to be real will later be seen to have been nothing more than…images, mirages. One will eventually shout at the other, “I don’t even know who you are!” Exactly. And that shouter should also admit, “I don’t even know who I am!” If that declaration should inspire a search to find Who You Are, then the “Death-in-Life Existence” might end and then true, AS IF living might eventually happen.]

In your question, the person thinking, doing and feeling (emoting, actually) is a mirage, so the persona that is thinking, doing, and emoting is also a mirage. In contrast, (1) what would be apart from any “who” or “person” and (2) what, from a neutral position, could witness that “who” or “person” and see that it is a mirage? Who or what can look at the body and can see that so many cells have come and gone that the “original” body is far from the one currently being observed, and can therefore know, “That can’t really be who I am”? Who or what could look at the role of “husband” (and at all the thinking and doing and emoting which that role has inspired) and know that what You Were—long before a holy man in a holy robe with holy water and with a holy text in a holy building on holy ground assigned that label of “husband” to you—is What You still Truly Are today, post-labeling?

To find some examples of mirage-type beliefs, "relationships" always provide some excellent examples of how appearance is taken to be real. A survey of marriage counselors recently revealed that when the partners were asked to assess the relationship’s stability and chance for longevity on a 1-10 scale, the men ranked the relationship at a “9” on average while the women ranked the relationship at a “3” on average. 95% of divorces involving children in the U.S. during the last twenty years were initiated by the wife, and in over 90% of those divorces, the men reported that they were “shocked” when their wives left. They "couldn't believe it." They had no trouble in believing a lie for years, but they could not believe the truth, even as it stared them in the face. They were sure that the “9” ranking they had been “seeing” was real. Back to the Advaitan’s comment about a mirage: “It’s an unreal reflection, an optical illusion that can be compared to the kind of mental illusions that cause persons to look at things—including themselves—and take them be one thing when they are something else.” For example, “I am a spouse”; “We have a great relationship”; “I have a devoted wife who’d be a fool to give up everything I offer—she’ll never leave”; “my husband is faithful and would never look at another woman”; “my spouse is ideal”; “this deal is going to last forever, even if the statistics show otherwise”; “we spend freely because I’ll always be making this kind of income”; “I am really very happy…how dare you suggest I might be depressed”; “this woman is a saint”; and one of the classics from a regular visitor to the site: He said, “I know she gets upset on occasion, but my wife is a saint—a wonderful Christian woman who loves me dearly.” That's what he said. What she said was, "I've prayed every morning for a year that he would die.” Many say, “Ignorance is bliss—I’d rather not know.” The ostrich that is inspired to stick it’s head in the sand to avoid seeing reality leaves itself in a most vulnerable position. It is likely to be “shocked” at some point—even devastated—when its method fails to alleviate misery but actually sets it up for more misery. The suffering of persons is rooted in the fact that they are dreaming while being convinced that they are fully awake—that they are looking at the false while being convinced that it is the real.

The corrupted consciousness removes the ability to see accurately. It can even remove the willingness to see at all because it is fueled by denial. Yet where is the chance for any peace when persons cannot even differentiate the true from the false? There is that, however, which can see the false and can then see the truth. Who or what could look at the body and answer the question in the affirmative, “If I were to lose both arms, both legs, and certain organs, would I still be ME”? Of course the answer is “Yes.” Who could know that You would still be You, even without a spouse and without any of the other roles being played that help maintain assumed identities? Who could then conclude that “If I know that I am still ME (even if all those body parts are missing and even if all the roles that the body has been playing are missing) then I must be more than—I must be something far beyond—that body and “the mind” that has assumed false identities”? Who or what can know what That is? Please enter the silence of contemplation. [To be continued]
To learn how to take the complete “journey” with a step-by-step description of the shift “From the I to the Absolute”—and for the complete discussion of “The Seven Step Journey to Reality”—click the links below. That volume includes the word-for-word transcripts of the last sessions done face-to-face with protégés. The exact exchanges, with all Q and A’s and more, are included in one volume that you can see at http://floydhenderson.com/iamabsolute.htm or at http://advaitavedantabooks.blogspot.com/. Note: This has become one of the more popular books on the site so there is currently a three-week delay in filling orders on that volume. We are processing credit cards as they come in and creating a first come-first served list to ship in the order in which payments are received. Thank you for your patience as we work to process all of the orders coming in for that book.