Sunday, 26 February 2017

I certainly exist, but I am not necessarily what I seem to be

A friend wrote to me recently explaining how he feels most of the time, and he started by saying, ‘I know for sure, that whatever I say, think or do, there is no “I” who is doing anything’, so the following is adapted from what I replied to him:
  1. There can be no thinking, saying or doing without an ‘I’ who is doing such actions
  2. We cannot reasonably doubt that I am, but we can and should doubt what I am
  3. What is this ‘I’ who thinks, says and does?
  4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the seeming existence of the ego is the sole cause for the seeming existence of everything else
  5. Viṣaya-vāsanās are the very nature of the ego, so they can be eradicated only by eradicating their root, the ego
  6. Real peace can be experienced only in the absence of the ego
1. There can be no thinking, saying or doing without an ‘I’ who is doing such actions

So long as there seems to be any thinking, saying or doing, there also seems to be an ‘I’ who is doing that thinking, saying or doing, so any thinking, saying or doing is no more real than this ‘I’. Without this ‘I’, who not only seems to be thinking, saying or doing, but is also aware of itself doing so, there could be no thinking, saying or doing. As Bhagavan says in fifth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?:
மனதில் தோன்றும் நினைவுக ளெல்லாவற்றிற்கும் நானென்னும் நினைவே முதல் நினைவு. இது எழுந்த பிறகே ஏனைய நினைவுகள் எழுகின்றன. தன்மை தோன்றிய பிறகே முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள் தோன்றுகின்றன; தன்மை யின்றி முன்னிலை படர்க்கைக ளிரா.

maṉadil tōṉḏṟum niṉaivugaḷ ellāvaṯṟiṟkum nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivē mudal niṉaivu. idu eṙunda piṟahē ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ eṙugiṉḏṟaṉa. taṉmai tōṉḏṟiya piṟahē muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ tōṉḏṟugiṉḏṟaṉa; taṉmai y-iṉḏṟi muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ irā.

Of all the thoughts that appear [or arise] in the mind, the thought called ‘I’ alone is the first [primal, basic, original or causal] thought. Only after this arises do other thoughts arise. Only after the first person appears do second and third persons appear; without the first person second and third persons do not exist.
What he refers to here as ‘நானென்னும் நினைவு’ (nāṉ-eṉṉum niṉaivu), ‘the thought called I’, and as ‘தன்மை’ (taṉmai), ‘the first person’, is the ego, which is the ‘I’ who thinks, says and does, and who is aware of itself thinking, saying or doing, so since thinking, saying and doing are just some among the countless phenomena that this ‘I’ is aware of, and since all phenomena are what he refers to here as ‘ஏனைய நினைவுகள்’ (ēṉaiya niṉaivugaḷ), ‘other thoughts’, and as ‘முன்னிலை படர்க்கைகள்’ (muṉṉilai paḍarkkaigaḷ), ‘second and third persons’, he clearly implies here that thinking, saying and doing would not seem to occur if there were no ego. Therefore the question we need to ask ourself is whether this ‘I’ who thinks, says or does anything is real or not. In other words, is this ‘I’ actually what it seems to be?

2. We cannot reasonably doubt that I am, but we can and should doubt what I am

We cannot seriously doubt the existence of ourself, but we can reasonably doubt whether we are what we seem to be. In other words, we cannot doubt that I am, but we can doubt what I am (or who I am). Everything else that we are aware of may be unreal and illusory (that is, it may not actually exist, even though it seems to exist in our view), but our own existence cannot be unreal, because in order to be aware of anything, whether real or illusory, we must exist. Therefore the only thing we cannot reasonably doubt is our own existence and awareness.

Therefore I do certainly exist, but what am I? I now seem to be a person consisting of body and mind, and as such I seem to think, say and do, but is this what I actually am? Now I seem to be this body, but in dream I seem to be some other body, so since I am aware of myself in dream without being aware of this body, and since I am aware of myself now without being aware of my dream body, neither of these bodies can be what I actually am. Likewise, though in both waking and dream I am aware of this mind, in sleep I am aware of myself without being aware of it, so it cannot be what I actually am.

3. What is this ‘I’ who thinks, says and does?

The ‘I’ that I seem to be in waking and dream, which is the ‘I’ who thinks, says and does, is what Bhagavan calls ‘the ego’, ‘the thought called I’ or ‘the first person’, and since I exist and am aware of myself in the absence of this ego in sleep, it is not what I actually am. It is therefore just an illusory appearance: something that seems to exist even though it does not actually exist. But to whom does it seem to exist? Only to itself. It is therefore an illusory appearance that seems to exist only in its own self-ignorant view, so it is wholly unreal.

However, though it is wholly unreal as the ego that it seems to be, it does contain an element of reality, because underlying and supporting its false appearance is a deeper and more fundamental self-awareness, which persists even in its absence in sleep. Since this fundamental self-awareness exists in waking, dream and sleep, and since it never undergoes any change whether the ego appears in it or not (just as a cinema screen never undergoes any change whether pictures are projected on it or not), it alone is what I actually am.

What then is the difference between the ego that I now seem to be and this fundamental self-awareness that I actually am? Whereas the latter is pure self-awareness — awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself — the former (the ego) is an impure form of self-awareness, firstly because it is aware not only of itself but also of the appearance of other things, and secondly because it is a confused mixture of pure self-awareness and illusory adjuncts (beginning with a body), all of which are insentient. The ego is therefore called cit-jaḍa-granthi, the knot (granthi) formed by the seeming entanglement of pure awareness (cit) with adjuncts that are insentient (jaḍa).

As Bhagavan often used to explain, pure self-awareness (or being-awareness, sat-cit) is what we experience as ‘I am’, whereas the ego is what we experience as ‘I am this body’. In this mixed awareness ‘I am this body’, ‘I am’ is pure awareness (cit), which alone is real (sat), whereas ‘this body’ is just an illusory adjunct, which is non-aware (jaḍa) and unreal (asat), and the combination of the two of them is the knot (granthi) called ‘ego’.

Therefore Bhagavan never said that there is no ‘I’, as certain Buddhist philosophers have claimed rather absurdly and illogically (because how could I be aware at all if I did not exist?), but only that there is no ego, because though I now seem to be this ego, it is not what I actually am, so it is just an illusory appearance, and hence it does not actually exist any more than an illusory snake actually exists. Just as the illusory snake is actually just a harmless rope, even though it seems to be a dangerous creature, this ego is actually just pure and infinite self-awareness, other than which nothing exists, even though it seems a finite entity that is aware not only of itself but also of other things.

4. Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 26: the seeming existence of the ego is the sole cause for the seeming existence of everything else

However, though Bhagavan said that the ego does not actually exist, he conceded that in our experience it seems to exist, and he explained that its seeming existence alone is the cause for the seeming existence of everything else, as he clearly pointed out in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
அகந்தையுண் டாயி னனைத்துமுண் டாகு
மகந்தையின் றேலின் றனைத்து — மகந்தையே
யாவுமா மாதலால் யாதிதென்று நாடலே
யோவுதல் யாவுமென வோர்.

ahandaiyuṇ ḍāyi ṉaṉaittumuṇ ḍāhu
mahandaiyiṉ ḏṟēliṉ ḏṟaṉaittu — mahandaiyē
yāvumā mādalāl yādideṉḏṟu nādalē
yōvudal yāvumeṉa vōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், இன்று அனைத்தும். அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே ஓவுதல் யாவும் என ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, iṉḏṟu aṉaittum. ahandai-y-ē yāvum ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē ōvudal yāvum eṉa ōr.

அன்வயம்: அகந்தை உண்டாயின், அனைத்தும் உண்டாகும்; அகந்தை இன்றேல், அனைத்தும் இன்று. யாவும் அகந்தையே ஆம். ஆதலால், யாது இது என்று நாடலே யாவும் ஓவுதல் என ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): ahandai uṇḍāyiṉ, aṉaittum uṇḍāhum; ahandai iṉḏṟēl, aṉaittum iṉḏṟu. yāvum ahandai-y-ē ām. ādalāl, yādu idu eṉḏṟu nādal-ē yāvum ōvudal eṉa ōr.

English translation: If the ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if the ego does not exist, everything does not exist. The ego itself is everything. Therefore, know that investigating what this [ego] is alone is giving up everything.
The reason why he says that investigating what the ego is alone is giving up everything is that this ego seems to exist only when it looks at or attends to things other than itself, so if it looks keenly at itself in order to see what it actually is, it will subside and disappear (just as an illusory snake would disappear if we were to look at it keenly enough to see that it is actually only a rope), and since everything else seems to exist only when we seem to be this ego, when this ego ceases to exist due to our keenly investigating what it actually is, everything else will cease to exist along with it.

Therefore it is not quite correct to say as you wrote, ‘whatever I say, think or do, there is no “I” who is doing anything’, because so long as there seems to be any thinking, saying or doing, there also seems to be an ‘I’ (the ego) who is thinking, saying or doing. Though this thinking, doing and saying ‘I’ is not real, no thinking, doing or saying could seem to occur if we did not seem to be the ego who is thinking, saying or doing.

5. Viṣaya-vāsanās are the very nature of the ego, so they can be eradicated only by eradicating their root, the ego

Regarding your remark, ‘Also the vasanas have been piled up for centuries and now they have to get cut off somehow’, in whose view do vāsanās seem to exist, and whose vāsanās are they? They are the ego’s vāsanās, and they seem to exist only in its view. Therefore without the ego they would not exist.

And what do we actually mean when we talk of ‘vāsanās’? In this context the term ‘vāsanās’ means viṣaya-vāsanās, which are our inclinations, propensities or desires to be aware of viṣayas (phenomena or things other than oneself), so such vāsanās are the very nature of the ego, because the ego comes into existence, stands, feeds itself and flourishes only by projecting and grasping viṣayas, as Bhagavan explains in verse 25 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu:
உருப்பற்றி யுண்டா முருப்பற்றி நிற்கு
முருப்பற்றி யுண்டுமிக வோங்கு — முருவிட்
டுருப்பற்றுந் தேடினா லோட்டம் பிடிக்கு
முருவற்ற பேயகந்தை யோர்.

uruppaṯṟi yuṇḍā muruppaṯṟi niṟku
muruppaṯṟi yuṇḍumiha vōṅgu — muruviṭ
ṭuruppaṯṟun tēḍiṉā lōṭṭam piḍikku
muruvaṯṟa pēyahandai yōr
.

பதச்சேதம்: உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும், உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை. ஓர்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum, uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai. ōr.

அன்வயம்: உரு அற்ற பேய் அகந்தை உரு பற்றி உண்டாம்; உரு பற்றி நிற்கும்; உரு பற்றி உண்டு மிக ஓங்கும்; உரு விட்டு, உரு பற்றும்; தேடினால் ஓட்டம் பிடிக்கும். ஓர்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): uru aṯṟa pēy ahandai uru paṯṟi uṇḍām; uru paṯṟi niṟkum; uru paṯṟi uṇḍu miha ōṅgum; uru viṭṭu, uru paṯṟum; tēḍiṉāl ōṭṭam piḍikkum. ōr.

English translation: Grasping form, the formless phantom-ego rises into being; grasping form it stands; grasping and feeding on form it grows [spreads, expands, increases, rises high or flourishes] abundantly; leaving [one] form, it grasps [another] form. If sought [examined or investigated], it will take flight. Investigate [or know thus].
In order to exist the ego must be constantly ‘grasping form’ (that is, attending to or being aware of viṣayas or things other than itself), so its viṣaya-vāsanās will endure so long as it endures. Therefore, though we can weaken our viṣaya-vāsanās by clinging tenaciously to self-attentiveness (as Bhagavan says in the tenth paragraph of Nāṉ Yār?), we cannot destroy them entirely without destroying the ego, which is their root and foundation. Therefore when you say ‘they have to get cut off somehow’, that ‘somehow’ is only by cutting their root by means of persistent self-attentiveness (svarūpa-dhyāna), which is the practice called self-investigation (ātma-vicāra).

6. Real peace can be experienced only in the absence of the ego

Regarding your remark, ‘Sometimes there is peace and sometimes not’, whatever peace may be experienced by us as this ego is only a relative, transient and imperfect form of peace, because the rising and existence of the ego is the very antithesis of real peace, since the ego is compelled by its very nature to constantly grasp forms or viṣayas. Therefore so long as we experience ourself as this ego we can never truly rest or enjoy perfect peace, so our aim should not be to experience any relative or transient peace, but only to experience the infinite and eternal peace that will remain when this ego has been eradicated forever.

Therefore whether we experience temporary peace or not, we should constantly and persistently investigate ourself, the one who experiences such peace or lack of it. In other words, whatever transient experience may arise, we should always try to turn our attention back to ourself, the ‘I’ to whom it appears, because if we do so keenly enough, this ‘I’ (the ego) will dissolve and disappear, and what will then remain is only the pure self-awareness that we actually are, which is infinite and eternal peace.

24 comments:

Noob said...

Michael, when Bhagavan talks about silence, does he mean the silence that is revealed when the ego is eradicated together with its constant feed of awareness of all the phenomena coming in thru the sense organs of the body. The silence in which the Self is aware only of the Self and nothing else.
Indeed this state is impossible to reach by the actions of this body/mind.

Noob said...

That is no sense organ or a combination of them can ever show us the Self.

Noob said...

We utilize our sense organs by the power of our attention, that is wherever we put our attention to, all the sense organs are following the focus of our attention. But when we want to put our attention to ourselves, what is the use of all the sense organs? Maybe that is why the feed of all the foreign phenomena decreases as soon as we try to stay focused on "I".

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, may I share my reflections on your three recent comments. I am sure Michael will clarify these much more clearly as and when he gets time to do so.

We can say that silence is our path, and silence is also our goal. When we practise self-attentiveness, our silence is relative – that is, this silence is mixed up with other thoughts or phenomena, however subtle these thoughts may be. However, our goal is absolute silence – that is, silence that is not mixed up with other thoughts or phenomena of any kind. Bhagavan wants us to aim for this absolute silence, and this absolute and permanent silence is our goal. In this silence we are not aware of anything other than ourself.

In the context of Bhagavan’s teachings, absolute silence can only be experienced when our ego is annihilated, and our ego can be annihilated only by being attentively self-aware, here and now. Any sort of action, whether these are by our body, speech or mind cannot help us to destroy our ego.

When we experience this silence we will not experience our body or this world, even in the least. Thus all our senses will also disappear along with our body-consciousness.

Noob said...

Dear Sanjay,
Thank you very much for sharing your reflections. I myself feel exactly the same way.
Is paying attention an action of mind or does mind follow our attention? I know this is very subtle and very difficult.

Noob said...

I feel that my mind follows my attention.

Noob said...

As Michael pointed out in his previous articles: paying attention to things other then self is an action that creates various thoughts and expands the mind, paying attention to the Self alone is not an action and will weaken the mind. To the extent we pay attention only to the Self to the same extent we are weakening the mind. When we succeed to pay 100% of our attention to the Self, the mind will dissolve.
So attention is an instrument that creates thoughts but also the tool that destroys them.
What a difficult thing to master is this attention.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Noob, attention is our awareness of objects. that is, attention is thought.
what is meant by "paying attention to the self" is simply being.
this "being" knows that it is. it is aware. without objective attributes, and therefore not graspable.
it is not produced by our attentiveness, not destroyed by our ignorance. it is not something that we can "do".
whatever we "do" is bound to perish.
so, as the Jnani teached ‘Do not meditate –be!
Do not think that you are – be!
Don’t think about being – you are!’

the most important is to not bring any expectations in your practice. there is nothing to expect. what you are does't change.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Noob, when you write: ‘Is paying attention an action of mind or does mind follow our attention?’, we should be clear what does the term ‘mind’ means in this context, because the word ‘mind’ can have two different meanings. As Bhagavan explains in verse 18 of Upadesa Undiyar:

Only thoughts [are what constitute our] mind. Among all [our countless thoughts], the thought named ‘I’ alone is the mula [root, origin or source]. [Therefore] what is called ‘mind’ is [in essence just this root thought] ‘I’.

So when we say, ‘paying attention is an action of our mind’, we are using ‘mind’ in the sense of our thought named ‘I’ (ego). It this only this mind, or ego, or thought called ‘I’ which can pay attention to things other than itself, because only our thought called ‘I’ is conscious, whereas all the other thoughts it attends to are non-conscious phenomena.

Yes, our self-attentiveness is not a thought, but rather it is the subsidence of all thoughts, along with the thinker, our ego. When we are perfectly and wholly self-aware, our ego will be annihilated, and thereafter our attention will never move away from ourself.

In this regard, I agree with the comment of ‘I’m not a robot. what am I’.

Noob said...

There is no more attention when the mind is dissolved. But to dissolve the mind we must keep attention at its source.

Noob said...

We are all simply are, but as soon as 'I' wakes up it starts grasping things, otherwise who is it who reads and writes here?

Noob said...

Everyone who accepts Bhagavan's teachings understands intellectually that the cause of all thinking is the "I" thought, however well I can understand it and accept, I become aware of this I every time I am awake or dreaming, the change between waking and dream is akin seeing a duck or a rabbit both of which are just images, how to stop seeing them? Yes we must be very much self attentive, no more objects, just keep it to the only Subject who is aware now of many other things but not 100% aware of oneself. Maybe the only thing that we have actually power over is our attention, the scenery has been already predefined both in the waking state and in the dream state. attention is a desire or will of the ego to be aware of something, as a desire, yes it is a thought, but when it is the desire to know and be aware only of oneself, then it will probably overpower and eliminate all other desires, and then finally will be destroyed at the moment when the mind /ego/I is dissolved, the last desire so to speak. And the desire to be aware only of oneself has to be cultivated and strengthened, that is the practice and indeed, what result can you expect from it but the annihilation of I, that is no more waking or dream states.

Noob said...

The desire to to be aware only of oneself has to become way stronger than any desire of the ego, be it hunger, desire to avoid pain or any desire for pleasure and of course much stronger than desire to read and write on the forums.
But all in due time.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Noob, knowledge of the source cannot be a result of a process of cultivation or progressive, time bound efforts.
an effort strengthens only the one who makes it.
effort creates samsara.
drop effort completely, lose all hope and fear.
peace.

Mouna said...

Anonymous I'm not a robot. what am I?,

If what you just said was entirely true, Bhagavan wouldn't have waist his words emphasizing the importance of efforts when we still feel we are ego.

Sometimes, this kind of line of thought is the perfect justification of ego to continue feeding in its illusions. Let's forget about efforts, because regardless, we are the self... yeah, right. good luck on our next lifetime then...

I don't say there is "some" truth in that statement, I just say, it is not a pragmatic and efficient way of getting rid of ego, because that is what is all about, right? Otherwise, just a shrink will do to transform us into "healthy egos"...

Sanjay Lohia said...

I would like to share my manana. This is based on Michael’s video dated 13-9-2014:

1) We should thank God even for seemingly bad happenings in our life. The problem is that we all thank God for all the good things that happen in our life, but forget to thank him for bad things. Bad things are as much his grace, as the good things are.

My note: Even our physical death is his grace, because at that moment our bodies may have become unfit for our inhabitation, or may have become unfit for any further spiritual development. Therefore, as Michael says, everything is Bhagavan’s grace, everything is the manifestation of his infinite love for us.

2) We need real love to attend to ourself alone, and therefore it is generally not useful to set aside a time for our self-investigation. Our mind won’t attend to ourself according to clock; there has to be a love in order to do so. We have to be really interested to attend to ‘I’. Such love or interest can only be cultivated by practising self-attentiveness - a little here, a little there.

Some people find it useful to set aside a time for this, but generally speaking I don’t think it is so useful. We just can’t manufacture the interest to attend to ourself at fixed time every day. This ‘I’ is always shining within us. Even when we are travelling by a bus, or are walking, we can easily try attending to ourself. So rather than a stretch of meditation, many-many small attempts to turn to ‘I’ during the day may be more useful. It all adds up. The point is, each have to try and find what works best for us.

My note: I agree with Michael. We cannot manufacture love to attend to ourself at fixed times of the day, but definitely we may set aside some time for this, and if we feel interested at such times, to try and turn within. Often when we are free from all pressing engagements could be a good time. It could be early in the mornings when we rise from bed, or in the evenings after a day’s work.

I try to practise with one pointed attention in the evenings. Again toilet time is a good time for me. Of course, as Michael says, our practice should not be restricted at these times. We should try to practise whenever we remember to do so. When we read or reflect on Bhagavan’s teachings can be a good time to turn within, because at that moment Bhagavan’s words are fresh in our minds.

Simply put, our aim should be to practise as much as possible throughout the day, and also to practise more exclusively at certain times of the day.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Mouna,
what Bhagavan said is that there is no reaching the self, and no effort is required to be.
this line of thought can only lead to drop thinking, which is not bad.
on the other hand the "destruction of the ego" project, is surely a plan that keeps the ego going.
egoic illusions lie in egoic goals. material or spiritual. sometimes the latter are even more illusory.
so if our sadhana feels like "efforting", that simply means that we would rather do something else, which is fine of course.
if it feels the thing to do, then it is effortless, natural, our heart is in it.
hope my elaboration saved me from the shrink...

Mouna said...

I'm not a robot. what am I?,

"what Bhagavan said is that there is no reaching the self, and no effort is required to be.”

I completely understand what you are saying, and although this is true, has to be put in context.

The thing is that for some of us, when we come to this understanding without any background, we need to start somewhere.
And that somewhere, according to Bhagavan (I am only speaking from the point of view of his teachings, not someone else’s) is the effort of turning the attention inwards. That same attention that almost all the time (except deep sleep) is directed to phenomena other than ourselves (including mental phenomena like thoughts or feelings).
This turning inwards of the attention points directly to the source wherefrom all phenomena arises. In Bhagavan teachings this turn might take many forms and the most well-known is the investigation “Who Am I?”. Yes, this is the ego’s effort, but it is the only effort which function is toobliterate itself (like the stick we use to light a fire and then discard it into the fire or the thorn that help us take out another thorn and then both are discarded)

Attention towards phenomena (otherwise called suttarivo or objectified consciousness is what feeds the ego giving it a snese of reality. Bhagavan’s asks us to investigate (through differents methods or sadhanas) if there is an ego in the first place, and with persistent and perseverant practice of these efforts, we come to know that ego is illusory and then it just takes to turn attention inwards to abide in that being/awareness which is ourself and which doesn’t require any effort on our part.

Till that moment, ego apparently will jumpstart again either by being born again, or start sleep-dreaming or waking-dreaming.
We called those jumpstarts vasanas or accumulated karmic tendencies. According to Bhagavan effort is necessary when the illusory ego is present.

There are no levels of consciousness, there are only levels of illusion. “Efforts” (self-investigation, turning attention inwards) diminish, in time the imaginary veil that constitutes the ego, until one moment through the grace of the inner (or outer) guru, the mind will completely sink in the heart to never come back (actually because never existed in the first place according to the highest teachings). Those efforts are, fortunately, the embedded suicidal tendencies of the phantasmagorical hallucination called ego.

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

Mouna,
i know you understand what i am saying, and i understand what you are saying.
my "advice" is not a description of the process of dissolution of illusion, but rather a very practical approach to our actual sadhana. it is of great benefit, to come as directly and "fast" as possible to abide, even shortly, because as you said it is only this abidance that will destroy the vasanas.
i, and probably a lot others, have spent years in these efforts to turn within, and what i understood is that confusion and doubt is always inherent in these efforts.
Maybe of course you have to start somewhere, but i think what Bhagavan asks us is to initialy trust, have faith, that the ego is our only problem.
sitting with this confidence, we can let our need to understand, manipulate, drive, force, our "way to the self" go. and then we can forget even our "letting go".
yes, vasanas are destroyed in time, with repeated practice, but we will more and more naturally return to abiding because of the completeness we feel.

in my case, i noticed that, without any introducting thought, my mind comes to this self knowing resting by itself, more frequently during the day, since i stopped trying to direct my attention to the source.

you could say that i have already done the "who am i" part and this is the result. and maybe that is correct. but i really feel that it is not necessary for someone to spent years purifying his attention through inward concentration.
small glimses of the infinite would do the same job much faster.

of course, every one is different and that is why Bhagavan teached different ways, and it is up to each of us to form his practice according to his circumstances.
sorry for saying too much, i stop here.

Mouna said...

I'm not a robot. what am I?,

No sorry for saying too much, this kind of forum is exactly the place to do our manana in a friendly and welcoming environment.

I do believe that your glimpses are due to past efforts, either in this or another lifetimes. I see the objection coming, that this is a cause-effect, time-bound phenomena that has no correlation with the self we already are, but let us remember that we are dealing in the relative world of ego so we need to deal with its parameters. And those parameters say that sadhana thins the ego, erode vasanas and prepares the terrain for when grace pulls the Mind into the heart.

I believe we agree also that all this talk is just in the realm of illusory maya so we need to have that in mind always if we want to be closer to the truth.

daisilui said...

I'm not a robot. what am I? said:

"i, and probably a lot others, have spent years in these efforts to turn within, and what i understood is that confusion and doubt is always inherent in these efforts....

you could say that i have already done the "who am i" part and this is the result. and maybe that is correct. but i really feel that it is not necessary for someone to spent years purifying his attention through inward concentration.
small glimses of the infinite would do the same job much faster."

i came to a similar conclusion, i.e. any kind of effort is irrelevant and unrelated to the absolute truth [it is like parallel realities- an illusory nonexistent (relative) one, shadowing to the only reality]. i've also abandoned the effort of 'inward concentration'. The only thing i does almost 'around the clock' is 'unrealize the unreal', i.e. incessantly live with the realization that 'i' does not exist which feels like living 'the dream' without an identity. This gives i the freedom to live this 'show' lightly/jokingly, with no pressure, with no desire to achieve or change anything. The consciousness of this 'absence' of i is like a permanent buzz behind all the things i does and are done to it. Yes, the i has changed and is continually evolving, becoming more peaceful and perhaps even happier but, again, this has nothing to do with reality. The true 'inward' times happen when 'the buzz' comes in the foreground and the dream of life becomes very dim and deeply irrelevant before it disappears completely in one of those 'small glimpses' you mention, when all is gone, the i illusion and all. i don't know how to name what that is- i only can say it is not what i heard being called sat-chit-ananda, nor is 'i am', nor is anything else that has a name/label. If i really need to call it somehow, the closest word, relevant to me would be 'issness' ['amness' or self have a possessive nuance that alludes to some kind of identity, although... but i guess i should stop here... not that really matters whether i stop or not, as all this has nothing to do with 'That']

I'm not a robot. what am I? said...

daisilui,
thanks for your insights. if i may say a few words, what you describe as conciousness of the absence of i, and living the dream without identity reminds me of Bhagavan's "find if you are the doer", which can be seen in moment to moment spontaneously arising and subsiding thoughts where the absence of "i, the controller of thoughts" is evident, and which not only provides a deeper relaxation and freedom but takes the subject out of the dualistic equation and allows for That to come to the foreground, dissolving objects as well.

all efforts to attain, help only in realizing that we, the supposed doer, cannot do it. it cannot be done. and that can lead us to the relaxation of effort, the subsiding of will, etc.
sadhana can then become more natural and joyful and easygoing.

but then, of course, some people may need to apply more structured strategies.

Naveen said...

Michaelji,

Among your various descriptions of simple practice of self attention, my favorite is BEING AWARE OF I ALONE EXCLUDING EVERYTHING ELSE BEING ATTENTIVE OF I ALONE EXCLUDING EVERYTHING. I felt this is the perfect and apt description of self attention with no confusion at all. would you please share your thought on this?

uditta idam said...

Michael,
section 6.
"...,whatever peace may be experienced by us as this ego is only a relative, transient and imperfect form of peace, because the rising and existence of the ego is the very antithesis of real peace, since the ego is compelled by its very nature to constantly grasp forms or viṣayas. Therefore so long as we experience ourself as this ego we can never truly rest or enjoy perfect peace, so our aim should not be to experience any relative or transient peace, but only to experience the infinite and eternal peace that will remain when this ego has been eradicated forever.

Therefore whether we experience temporary peace or not, we should constantly and persistently investigate ourself, the one who experiences such peace or lack of it. In other words, whatever transient experience may arise, we should always try to turn our attention back to ourself, the ‘I’ to whom it appears, because if we do so keenly enough, this ‘I’ (the ego) will dissolve and disappear, and what will then remain is only the pure self-awareness that we actually are, which is infinite and eternal peace."
Let me think which experience is more beneficial or detrimental to my practice of self-attention, temporary peace or lack of it. Maybe both kinds of experience will compel/drive me to persevere in practising self-attention. On the one hand mere temporary peace will not satisfy completely my intense longing for real infinite and eternal peace. On the other hand lack of even temporary peace will possibly result in discouragement. But in any case - as you say - we should always try to turn our attention back to ourself, the 'I' to whom it appears, because if we do so keenly enough,...