Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ADVAITA: A PURIFYING AGENT THAT NEUTRALIZES AND ULTIMATELY BRINGS ABOUT THE DISSOLUTION OF THE ABUSIVE MIND. PART 1 – LOUISE STERLING

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When Your True Nature is not known the stress of everyday life is relentless and exhausting. This stress results in anxiety, depression, and a litany of other symptoms. It results in emotionally intoxicated ego-driven reactions to relative events. It results in instability and chaos. As “floyd” has so clearly and eloquently expressed in the recent series, this chaos is often spin doctored or denied through the mechanism of “positive thinking” or through offering supernatural palliatives.

There is no liberation for a separate individual in the world. There is no stability, no freedom, no peace. It is impossible. Any separate individual who makes this claim is a) lying or b) disassociating. What is it like for the wave that does not know it is the ocean? Unpredictable, unsafe, changeable, volatile. There may be brief periods of calm, but they are easily replaced by storms, powerful currents, a myriad of other climatic conditions that affect the “life” of the wave. When perceived as separate, the wave is never at peace, is always unstable, is never sure what may happen next. Shift the perspective to the view of the ocean. When identified as the ocean, the wave is simply one aspect of the whole. The appearance of the wave is significant in that it plays its part in this constant movement of ocean – but from the vast perspective, it is inconsequential and insignificant.

Maharaj explains the two views in this way: “The difference between me and you is that you are in the world and the world is in me.”

Many who seek to be free of the suffering mind, will attempt to use that same abusive spouse to evaluate the efficacy of the Advaitan Teachings. This approach is hopeless and only loops back into greater suffering. The liberation offered by Advaitans involves the dissolution of the mind – so that what is beyond the mind can be directly known.

How then can seekers find the freedom beyond the mind when the mind is still in place and calling the shots? The three pointers offered below may offer a perspective that loosens the grip of the conceptual mind. However, first note this: The Advaitan teacher does not offer sets of techniques or practices. This is anathema to the Advaitan understanding. You are not bound. In Reality, you are already the freedom you seek. Yet, through confusion, You mistakenly see Yourself as trapped; as the cocooned, separate individual self. This is simply not true. The bondage is created by your own mind. Can You see that techniques or practices are simply amplifying the conceptual ties that bind? So – do not view the pointers offered here as techniques to employ. Rather, smell their perfume; allow them to infuse the consciousness with their meaning; take them into silent consideration until their full meaning is known directly.

1. Understanding the mind as abusive and as an obstacle to realization
Floyd’s recent series, and in particular the Sat 14 Nov post, explains clearly how the mind functions as an abusive spouse and blocks any possibility of peace and sanity. Until this pointer is seen directly as true, the seeker will cling to the mind and its concepts – in effect keeping in place the bondage of separation. When the Advaitan teacher talks of “readiness”, it is usually this clear seeing of the function of the mind and the preparedness to move beyond that the teacher recognises. When attached to concepts and personas, the seeker will attempt to engage the teacher in intellectual debate around spirituality; the seeker will attempt to refute pointers with conceptual logic; the seeker will cling to what has been learned and believe he or she is exercising discernment and intelligence rather than simply regurgitating programmed learning. It is only when the seeker deeply, truly understands that the mind is abusive and is an obstacle to realization, that the teaching can begin. Remember – when you are attached to your concepts, trapped in co-dependency with your abuser, there is no possibility of realization.

2. Witnessing the movements of the mind without active engagement
The mind is constantly in motion and generating thoughts – positive, negative or mundane. By paying attention to these thoughts and actively engaging them, you bind them together to create a temporary sense of self – a persona that must be appeased by having its desires met or its fears assuaged. When you take possession of the thoughts, believing them to be your own self, and trusting the advice contained in them, you become lost, robotic – acting out of your conditioning and programming. However, by simply witnessing the thoughts as they churn away without claiming them, something else occurs. Maharaj says: “– when the mind becomes absolutely motionless and all conceptualization ceases … then only the Reality remains. When the mind fasts, Reality enters; when the mind feasts, Reality disappears.”

This witnessing stance is the view of the ocean, rather than the wave. You cannot stop the production of thoughts. Nor can you edit and fix them, turning the negative thoughts to positive. Instead, simply witness them, as you may witness bees buzzing about a flower. The thoughts are not You. They have nothing to do with You. They are just a by-product of the conditioned mind, that regurgitates programmed concepts, ideas, judgements etc ad nauseum. The mind is like a treacle factory – witness the treacle as it is produced and flows away, but do not get involved with it. Desist. Do not succumb to the temptation to dip your fingers in, to touch the treacle, to taste it, and become caught up in a sticky mess. Leave the treacle-like thoughts alone. Eventually, without attention, they will cease to churn and You will discover the silence that is already present – beyond this churning mind.

3. Allowing the Advaitan pointers to have their hydrochloric acid-type effect on the mind

This third pointer will be offered in detail in tomorrow’s post.

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

(The way out of the maze of suffering and confusion is offered via the Advaitan teachings. See the links to Advaita Vedanta retreats, the Advaita Vedanta Retreat DVD or online classes on the right hand side.)

Comments / clarifications may be sent to louise.advaita@gmail.com

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