Wednesday 31 December 2008

Self-attentiveness, intensity and continuity

Last week a person called Teck posted two comments on one of my recent articles, Making effort to pay attention to our mind is being attentive only to our essential self, in the first of which he or she wrote:

… My question is, how important is CONTINUITY and INTENSITY of self abidance/attention for our progress (of recognizing our true being)? Recently I started to intuit that these 2 factors are of very critical importance in our progress. …
In his or her second comment, Teck continued:
I think I need to elaborate more about what I mean by intensity and continuity.

By the 1st I mean the degree of “alertness/mindfulness” of our attention to awareness itself, while ignoring others eg feeling, thoughts etc., kind like when a cat trying to catch a mouse, it’s attention is very alert/focused.

Continuity is very obvious, it’s simply the ability to sustain our attention on our consciousness/awareness without interruption.

I suspect that the speed of our realization (progress) depends on these 2 factors more than anything else. Is this true?
Both intensity and continuity are important, but of these two the most important is intensity, because even a moment of absolutely intense — that is, perfectly clear — self-attentiveness will be sufficient to destroy forever the illusion that we are this finite mind, after which the continuity of our self-attentiveness will never be interrupted even for a moment.

Self-attentiveness and time

With reference to a reply that I had written to an earlier comment quoting pages 584-5 of Happiness and the Art of Being, last week the following anonymous comment was posted on one of my recent articles, Making effort to pay attention to our mind is being attentive only to our essential self:

When once one has the intensity, there is no question of doing meditation or vichara in short periods with various intervals or going in for long ardous sessions as time itself is a subsequent factor having no relevance to our essential being of, “I AM”, unless one does some yoga exercise.
Yes, time is a phenomenon that appears to exist only when our mind is active — that is, when it is attending to anything other than itself — so when we are wholly absorbed in self-attentiveness time is truly non-existent. Therefore, all questions and concern about time exist for us only when our love to abide in our natural state of clear thought-free self-conscious being is not yet sufficiently intense for us to remain without ever being distracted from it.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

Our basic thought ‘I’ is the portal through which we can know our real ‘I’

Last week the following anonymous comment was posted on an old article in this blog, The transcendent state of true self-knowledge is the only real state:

Very frequently reference is being made in works purporting to explain the teachings of Bhaghavan that the very fundamental thought, subsequent to which all the other thoughts arise, is the thought, ‘I’. My question is can there be a thought at the level of the pure I. Any thought can be of the form of the modification of the I, attaching it to a phenomenal object with a relative subject being there. So is it not a fact that tracing all thoughts to the basic I thought presupposes the idea of steering clear of thoughts by knowing the unassociated I. Apart from thoughts there can be no I thought. Hence there is no question of tracing everything to the I thought. Bhaghavan has given this method, I feel, out of compassion to direct individuals to the feeling of subject. Otherwise it would delude us into the idea that there is an I thought as a hiatus from which one should proceed further to one’s real being, which may not be correct. Ramana himself says that there are no two ‘I’s one trying to know the other. This also holds good in regard to the further oft repeated idea that only after the arising of the first person, that is the I, the other persons arise, and hence one should remain with the first person. The first person itself is a form of thought, a modification as it were, unless one has reached the feeling of pure, ‘I AM’.
What Anonymous asks in this comment is to a certain extent answered by what I explained about our primal thought ‘I’ in connection with verse 18 of Upadēśa Undiyār and verse 2 of Āṉma-Viddai in my previous article, Self-enquiry, self-attention and self-awareness, and in greater detail in chapter three of Happiness and the Art of Being (particularly on pages 167-83, 192-3, 213-9, 225-7 and 234-6). However the following is a more specific answer to his or her comment:

Saturday 27 December 2008

Self-enquiry, self-attention and self-awareness

A few weeks ago a very long anonymous comment was posted on one of my recent articles, Self-attentiveness, effort and grace. Though this comment was posted under the identity ‘Anonymous’, the name ‘Michael Langford’ was written at the end of it.

I do not know whether or not this comment was actually posted by Michael Langford (though I suspect it probably was not), but except for his name at the end of it, the entire comment is a verbatim copy of a webpage that he wrote entitled Sri Sadhu Om - Self Inquiry, which is one of the many pages in the Awareness Watching Awareness section of the Albigen.Com website.

Most of this webpage, Sri Sadhu Om - Self Inquiry, is an edited copy of chapter seven of Part One of The Path of Sri Ramana, a PDF copy of which is available on my website, Happiness of Being. However, before his edited copy of chapter seven, Michael Langford has written the following two introductory paragraphs:
Sri Sadhu Om spent five years in the company of Sri Ramana Maharshi and decades in the company of Sri Muruganar. Sri Sadhu Om wrote a book called The Path of Sri Ramana, Part One, which contains what has been called the most detailed teaching on the method of Self-inquiry ever written. Sri Sadhu Om points out that:

Self-inquiry is only an aid to Self-Awareness;
only Self-Awareness is the True Direct Path.

However, Sri Sadhu Om never actually wrote or said that ‘Self-inquiry is only an aid to Self-Awareness; only Self-Awareness is the True Direct Path’, either in this chapter of The Path of Sri Ramana or elsewhere, and to say that he pointed out such an idea is misleading and confusing. Before explaining why this idea is misleading, however, I should first say something about the way in which Michael Langford has edited the copy of this chapter on that webpage.

Thursday 11 December 2008

The truth of Arunachala and of ‘seeing the light’ (deepa-darsana)

I began to write this article on Thursday of last week, 11th December, which was the day of Kārttikai Deepam, but for various reasons I was unable to complete it till today, 18th December.

Kārttikai Deepam is an annual festival celebrated in the Tamil month of Kārttikai (mid-November to mid-December) on the day on which the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Pleiades (known in Tamil as kārttikai and in Sanskrit as kṛttikā), which always coincides with the full moon or comes one or two days before or after it. On this day a beacon light or dīpam (popularly spelt as deepam) is lit on the summit of the holy mountain Arunachala, at the foot of which lies the temple-town of Tiruvannamalai, where Bhagavan Sri Ramana lived for the last fifty-four years of his bodily life.

On Kārttikai Deepam day in 1931 (called prajōtpatti in Hindu calendars, the fifth year in the 60-year Jupiter cycle), which was 24th November, when answering some questions on the subject Sri Ramana explained the tattva — the truth, reality or inner significance — of Arunachala, and his explanation was immediately recorded by Sri Muruganar in a Tamil verse entitled ஸ்ரீ அருணாசல தத்துவம் (Śrī Aruṇāchala Tattuvam), which is as follows:

புத்தியகங் காரம் புலம்பெய்த வோங்கு
மத்தியித யந்தான் மறையவனு மாலு
நத்தவறி யாது நலங்குலைய வன்னார்
மத்தியொளி ரண்ணா மலையினது மெய்யே.

buddhiyahaṅ kāram pulambeyda vōṅgu
maddhiyida yandāṉ maṟaiyavaṉu mālu
nattavaṟi yādu nalaṅgulaiya vaṉṉār
maddhiyoḷi raṇṇā malaiyiṉadu meyyē

Saturday 6 December 2008

Making effort to pay attention to our mind is being attentive only to our essential self

Referring to a sentence that I wrote in my recent article Self-attentiveness, effort and grace, “We can free ourself from thoughts, sense-perceptions and body-consciousness only by ignoring them entirely and being attentive only to our essential self, ‘I am’”, an anonymous friend wrote in a comment today:

As I see it, thoughts, sense-perceptions and body-consciousness can’t be ignored nor we can be attentive only to our essential self then. If we are attentive only to our essential self, it is because there is not thought, sense-perception nor body-consciousness to be ignored by us. Otherwise, we have to be attentive to thoughts and so on, because it is only then, through this practice, that attention becomes self-attentive and therefore self-consciousness because then, there is not thought, sense-perception nor body-consciousness as a natural result of the practice, obtained without an act of will nor effort. Effort is in paying attention to mind which is a reflection of true consciousness, but once attention becomes self-attentive the rest just disappears and all happens by itself. Asking at that moment: who am I? it is something that I couldn’t do yet.

Baghavan Sri Ramana talking on being attentive only to our essential self from the beginning, gives us a clue on how far we are from that state. To me, starting from that point is starting from just one more thought, I have to follow a long process before to arrive to the pure feeling of just being, and I don’t always arrive, only in very few occasions. Feeling is so much perfect that then I’m unable of asking “what is this? Who am I?

Baghavan used to talk on weakness of mind as well, I guess he meant exactly this.
I am not sure that I have correctly understood all that Anonymous wrote in this comment, but I hope that he or she may find the following few remarks helpful.