Thursday, November 19, 2009


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The seeker is temporarily bound in a cocoon of self-identity woven by the concepts, beliefs and constructions of the mind. With exposure to the Advaitan Teachings, the tightly wound cocoon of identity begins to unravel – until the silk that binds this sense of self becomes loose, the light shines through, and the fundamental emptiness at the core begins to reveal itself. There is no inner and outer. There is no self and other. There is simply this ONE non-dual Reality.

Why is the seeker so convinced about this separate self? The strands of silk that make up your silken prison-like cocoon are Your own ideas that You are limited, human, finite, mortal. It is no accident that during this relative life, You experience Yourself as trapped, as non-realized. You have been programmed, indoctrinated, filled with falsehoods that reinforce this incorrect view. Consider for a moment who spins the silken threads, and how You have come to be so hopelessly bound? As a toddler, through the use of language and concept, You are told that You were born, that You are young, that You are special, that You are a boy or a girl, that there is a God who loves You (or is displeased with you) etc. You are shown Your possessions – Your cot, Your bottle, Your cuddly toy. You are treated kindly or treated abusively -- and given explanations to justify the actions made by the adults around you. Every aspect of the early childhood experience reinforces the view that You are a little body in the world with an animating life force. Consider this carefully. Do not take these words at face value. Look at the early childhood You remember. Some of the concepts may change, but You will find that this is the picture You were given, the picture that was presented as fact, and reinforced with every birthday cake and the reading of every picture book. For the non-realized, this message is blindly accepted, and it is not questioned until the body falls and the breath leaves the physical body. These ideas about Yourself are the silken threads that bind.

Consider now the schooling experience. There is the learning of concepts, the indoctrination of a value system that reveres self-discipline and success for the individual: your marks, your achievements, your failures, your intellect. Implicit in this system of study is a separate individual who must acquire knowledge and skills to make a success of life and to achieve in the world. Already the dualism of individual competition for success is implanted. More strands in the silken cocoon are put in place; the cocoon becomes more tightly wrapped.

Further education – a career choice. A lawyer? A doctor? A graphic designer? A computer programmer? Again – more defining aspects of self-identity are formed and programmed into the mind. Who Are You? According to the society, You are not much more than the job You are trained to perform. Relationships, religious affiliations, political choices, preferences, locality, culture, gender, race, the prevailing zeitgeist of the society – everything You are exposed to produces a network of beliefs, ideas, concepts that fill the mind. Of course, your programming has taught You that You are a little person with an animating life force; that the mind is You; that with more learning You become cleverer, greater, more than; that who you are evolves, develops, grows, changes over time. These beliefs are falsehoods; silken threads that bind, trapping You in the cocoon of self-identity.

With these few examples, can you see how the falsehoods of the society trap you in a conceptual prison, a silken cocoon consisting of strand after strand of false information. If You can see this, perhaps You can also see that the prison of separation simply consists of thoughts – the incorrect thoughts You have about Yourself. Can You see that they are intangible, without any reality. They are just ideas – as fleeting and ephemeral as smoke.

When You discover the Advaitan Teachings, you are given a different message about Who You Are. The Teachings invite You to consider the radical idea that perhaps the “little person” appears in You; that perhaps it is the consciousness that witnesses these constantly changing relative experiences; that Who You Are is beyond the consciousness, beyond awareness, beyond being and non-being. The Teachings invite You to consider the radical idea that You are not bound; that You were not born, and that You will not die.

As these pointers are taken into silent consideration, the silken ties that bind are loosened. The cocoon of self-identity begins to unravel. Ultimately, every silken strand will the removed. There is no inner and no outer. There is no separate individual in the world. However, for this to be directly known, the cocoon must be completely unraveled. Not even one strand of silk, not one concept can remain.

  • Is it clear that, as Maharaj said, “You are not Who You take Yourself to be”?
  • Is it clear that the concepts of your conditioning and programming create the silken cocoon of self-identity?
  • Is it clear that the conditioning and programming are just ideas and concepts, but have no substantive reality?
  • Is it clear that you “buy into” your programming and accept these ideas and concepts as defining features of yourself as a separate individual in the world / that in fact you will fight and defend to protect and maintain many of these ideas?
Have courage. Allow the pointers to unravel the silken cocoon that traps you in imagined separation strand by strand. Allow yourself to be unwrapped, to be stripped naked by Truth. Know who You Are in the intimacy of no-separation.

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.)

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