Friday, November 30, 2018

The Gnani (Jnani) Chapter 15 - I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta. Quotes and commentary.

Maharaj: All is His doing, no doubt. What is it to me, since I want nothing? What can God give me, or take away from me? What is mine is mine and was mine even when God was not. Of course, it is a very tiny little thing, a speck — the sense ‘I am’, the fact of being. This is my own place, nobody gave it to me. The earth is mine; what grows on it is God’s.

God or Ishwara is equated with a principle that exists within the world, phenomena and affects the individual. As such, it appears within the “I am” or self-aware consciousness, wakefulness. This “I am” was not given, but appeared spontaneously when we were around the age of two. Prior to this, there was no self-awareness, no God, no world etc.

M: Without you is there a world? You know all about the world, but about yourself you know nothing. You yourself are the tools of your work, you have no other tools. Why don’t you take care of the tools before you think of the work?

Since the world depends on our self of being, “I am” for its existence, the advice is given to examine and understand one’s own self first. The “I am” here is referred to as the instrument used to perform any work. Understanding the instrument is necessary before attempting to carry out any work. How is this done? By taking the time to notice it, live with it, abide in it, and understand it completely. By understanding it and living with it, ultimately it is seen through as not our true identity. This is an initial step from the object-identified state.

M: Within the prison of your world appears a man who tells you that the world of painful contradictions, which you have created, is neither continuous nor permanent and is based on a misapprehension. He pleads with you to get out of it, by the same way by which you got into it. You got into it by forgetting what you are and you will get out of it by knowing yourself as you are.

M: The gnani is the supreme and also the witness. He is both being and awareness. In relation to consciousness he is awareness. In relation to the universe he is pure being.

The Jnani or Self-realized state is always prior to any manifestation and stands as the primary principle. From the point of view of the world, that state is consciousness or “I am”. From the point of view of consciousness, wakefulness or “I am”, that state is the Absolute or all-inclusive awareness.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Practicing the Presence of God. I AM.

There is a wonderful little practice called "Practicing the Presence of God", as described in an old little booklet by Brother Laurence. 

The practice at first looks dualistic. There is the devotee and there is an external God. The devotee is instructed to think of, talk to, and feel the presence of God all through the day and while in activities.
It is much like bhakti yoga, making a connection with a deity; conceptual at best.

However, the practice works its magic by training the mind to focus on a higher concept (or singular concept) versus distracting thoughts. Further, some feelings of devotion and love are cultivated in the practice towards something other than one's egoic self.

On further investigation, it can be experienced that "practicing the presence of God" becomes more of a "practicing the presence.." or just practicing and feeling presence only. What could this presence be, except that of the "I AM", or beingness. This was pointed out by Nisargadatta. Ramana also pointed out that the Biblical phrase "I am that I Am" was of the highest import.

After a while, practicing the presence becomes an excellent path to abiding as the I AM. Initially, the I AM seems to be either a foreign concept or external to oneself, or else, appears as a localised feeling of body-consciousness. After a while, it is experienced as a much larger, all encompassing field of beingness, which also engulfs the minute individual or egoic self. Further, it comes devotional and loving, and fulfills the injunction to be "affectionate towards this I AM".

Practicing the presence of God -> Practicing the presence of "I Am" = Practicing presence.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Papaji speaks the truth, but the message is often garbled.

Today I was listening to a Papaji talk on YouTube ("Papaji - Wake up from the dream").

There are a few good points in this talk, but also some points that need clearing up due to distortion.

People tend to love Papaji's simple message of - do nothing, no teaching, no method or process, you are already free, it only takes one second in your entire life to realize.

It's no coincidence he had a massive amount of students and 'teachers' stemming from his lineage.

Agreed, there's something freeing about knowing that one is already free, and that it doesn't take much to realize this. "A second of silence" is almost like his motto.

In this talk, Papaji starts of, strangely, by talking about places of pilgrimage, the power there, and how he went around showing people these "special places". This seems a little strange, in light of the fact that his own teacher pointed out that one place was as good as another for reaching Self-Realization, and that one need not venture here or there.. but instead inquire within.

Papaji talks about the world being one's own projection which only 'we' can remove. But if he wants to play the do-nothing game, how can he talk about self-directed action in removing oneself from one's own projection? Either the projection happens spontaneously without a doer or owner involved, or else we have to buy into the doer having the power to remove it. We're back in practice-mode, but trying to 'do nothing'.

Papaji then talks about the next best thing to being convinced of his 'freedom message', and that's to meditate around the clock on 'I am already free', and also (?) to remain in the thought-free state for even a second.

OK great.. not much to do there.. but isn't that a process? Something to do?

So some seeker is convinced they're already free. And then they run around proclaiming that they're free, and we're all free, we just have to realize it (or believe it). They try teaching others. Is there any difference with this and Born-Again Christianity?

Or a seeker sits for a time, and settles into a no-thought, no-mind state. They abide there. They did the "1 second" thing. So now they know they are just consciousness or freedom or silence. But then the vasanas return and they get lost in thought, feelings, context. They lose their belief in freedom, and need another instant Papaji fix, or satsang or sitting. They attend talks for years, but still remain seeking. Is this freedom?

Yes, there's nothing to do and no practice to become what we already are in truth.

No, there's no quick fix in making that realization one's direct and permanent experience, or rather, predominant experience. 

Unlike Papaji says, the Buddha likely never said that "Buddha Nature is in all of you, don't be shy, spend one second on it." Rather, he likely said all things are not-self, and to "strive diligently" for one's own salvation. He didn't say that it takes "just one moment". He also stressed that ethics in one's life are important too while traversing the path.

Neo-Advaita can be helpful in terms of offering direct pointers for the advanced along the path. However, it's a double edge sword, offering lots of yummy fuel for the ego to become spiritualized and falsely self-realized. The ego loves to appropriate any little insight or discovery along the way, and then attempts to re-capture such experiences.

There is indeed much value in the Papaji (TM) practice of "Just one second of no-thinking". Sailor Bob Adamson uses a similar method when he talks about "Pause a thought". One of my own teachers also used this often.

Its value lies in it being a practice that is repeated with minimal effort during one's day, anywhere and anyhow. Just one second of non-thinking or silence allows for a break in the mind-identified state that we find ourselves in habitually each day. One second of no-thought does feel liberating. A new habit is then formed in doing this again and again, because it is peaceful, pleasant, liberating. At some point, one may realize that actually one's true nature IS the peace, silence and liberation that is revealed in the 1 second of no-thought. The practice has then done its job, and the knowledge of one's very nature can take over from that point, guiding the apparent individual back to its source. Lost in thought again? Easy, start from one second.

One of the better Papaji videos related to this point above can be found here and is worth watching:
(PAPAJI - Save ONE second for Not thinking Zone)