An Advaita forum focusing on Realisation, enlightenment, non-duality, Real Love, peace, freedom, Your original nature, abiding naturally, the Oneness, the Nothingness, and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
Here, there is nothing that is believed, so there is no one here who wants you to believe anything, either. Here, the invitation is to be free of all that you have been programmed, conditioned, acculturated, and domesticated to believe so that you can be free, period.
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Realization is not something external that has been lost and must be found, or a state that must be discovered or attained. This state is your own nature, but it is hidden from your view with layer after layer of false understanding. There is nothing to acquire, but everything to lose. You do not seek because you wish to gain; you seek because you must get rid of the weighty baggage you have accumulated.
How is this baggage eliminated? The Advaitin approach is radically different to any method or practice or teaching you may encounter in the relative world.
The tendency in the personal development, psychotherapeutic and religious/spiritual circles is to engage with the false. Usually attempts are made to take a false element and transform it into something better, kinder, more spiritual, or more evolved.
In Advaita Vedanta, the understanding is that the false is constantly being generated by the mind. For this reason, to engage with the false in any way is futile. It is like trying to remove yourself from sinking sand by digging yourself deeper into the mud. Instead, the stance is to be still and silent, and to withdraw attention from the false. One pointer for withdrawing attention from the false is to stay with the sense “I Am” (as discussed in yesterday’s post.) Another pointer is using the negative statement: Neti, Neti – Neither this nor that am I.
Anything that can be perceived or experienced is not Who You Are. This is plain logic. You cannot perceive yourself. You cannot experience yourself. If you could, you would be the object and not the subject. The eye cannot see itself.
How then can your own nature shine unobstructed without the obscuring clouds?
By negating all that is perceived and experienced as the “not you”, you back away from the false. Neti, Neti. There is nothing in this relative world to which this negative statement cannot apply, no object or thought or concept or belief or desire or fear or experience which cannot be discerned as the “not you” using the criteria established.
What is the effect? Perhaps the analogy is that it is like walking up a mountain backwards. In the beginning, there is a vast storehouse of phenomena that must be named and backed away from. This tree, this house, this body, this brilliant idea, this desire for eternity, this extraordinary meditation experience…
Eventually the stance becomes automatic. With any perception or experience, the recognition that this is not who you are comes simultaneously. Before you were interwoven with everything that is manifest; now you have a sense of yourself that is outside of the realm of phenomena.
When you begin backing away from the false in this way, you will likely focus on what is physical and tangible. When the understanding that all that is physical is “not you”, you will notice a more subtle range of perception and experience in thought and feeling. These mental and emotional clouds are also simply noticed and named – Not this. As the field clears, you may notice a pattern to the thoughts and feelings which are often an expression of a desire or fear.
Through observation, you may notice that when a particular life role is played, a related set of desires and fears; and a web of related thoughts and feelings emerge. For example, the Neglected Spouse may generate a desire for attention and understanding and a fear of not being seen or valued or worthwhile. These desires and fears may in turn generate a mess of neurotic thought and feeling: why is he not home, he does not care about me, I am unhappy …etc, etc.
As the view clears, instead of simply being driven reactively by these fears and desires – the entire ego-complex is perceived, and rejected. This is not who I am. Neti Neti.
Like developing the “eye” for spotting a rare insect in the forest, once one ego construct is perceived, it is a relatively easy task to spot the others.
At this stage, with the heady freedom of being free at last from the slings and arrows of body, mind and personality identification, it is common for the seeker to believe he has “arrived”. This sense of vast limitlessness, the freedom from reactive programming, the sense of being beyond mere physical individuality may give rise to a spiritual persona.
That spiritual persona identifies at the level of the body – but identifies as having a cosmic or spiritual body rather than a physical body.
The spiritual persona identifies at the level of the mind – but the ideas and concepts and beliefs are spiritual. For example, I have incarnated to bring the world out of darkness.
The spiritual personal identifies at the level of the personality, but the net of desires and fears are still present. Labels are still present; labels like: I am omnipotent; I am God.
Can you see how for a time the seeker may employ the pointer Neti Neti systematically and accurately, but then become trapped on a false summit. The new spiritual persona feels so vast and powerful and helpful to humanity – that it is not seen as a new persona with yet another net of identifications.
The Advaitin Teachings do not discriminate. The identification with a physical body and the identification with a cosmic body are both still identifications. The thought “I am Joe Soap” and the thought “I am God” are both still thoughts. The persona of the Obedient Worker and the Spiritual Transformer are both still personas.
Many seekers become trapped at this stage. Many will settle comfortably into this false summit and write the books, give the lectures and create the organisations – all promising transformation and the experience of realization. The stage is characterized by accumulation and retention of false ideas, not total elimination.
However, if it is pointed out by a teacher or teaching as yet another false role, the earnest seeker may have sufficient detachment to see this with clear sight and toss it as well. Neti Neti. Neither this nor that am I.
To recap, your true nature is covered over with layers of false conditioning. You cannot remove these layers by delving amongst the false. The only possibility is to retreat from what is untrue through systematically rejecting all that is perceived and experienced.
To be continued.
Please enter the silence of contemplation.
For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – and the removal of the false that obscures Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog.
Comments / clarifications may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org