Saturday 25 January 2014

By discovering what ‘I’ actually is, we will swallow time

To a friend who wrote some remarks about experiencing the here-and-now by being aware of the ‘mind and its attachments and reactions to the world outside’, and also about the ego being a subtle form, I replied:

Since the mind is constantly changing, it never stands still in the here and now, but is instead caught up in the constant flow of change, which is always moving from past to future. The only thing that always stands still in the here and now is ‘I am’, because it never changes.

Therefore if we wish to stand in the here and now we must attend only to ‘I am’, because if we attend instead to the constant activity and reactivity of the mind, we will get caught in the every-changing flow of time from past to future.

Why do we not immediately experience ourself as we really are?

In answer to a friend who wrote, ‘...then why the realization is not happening suddenly? I feel like I am someone who is locked inside this body-mind mechanism’, I wrote:

We can experience ourself as we really are at any moment, provided that we really want to, so if we do not experience this now, it is because we do not yet want it enough.

Now we experience ourself as a body and mind, but this experience is illusory, so when we do experience ourself as we really are, this illusory experience that we are a body and mind will be destroyed. Since everything else that we experience through this body and mind is an illusion based on our primary illusion ‘I am so-and-so, a person composed of body and mind’, when this primary illusion is destroyed by clear self-experience (so-called ‘realisation’) the illusion that we experience anything else will also be destroyed.

Friday 24 January 2014

Only ‘I am’ is certain and self-evident

In a comment on my recent article, Investigating ‘I’ is the most radical scientific research, R Viswanathan quoted Nochur Venkataraman as saying: ‘a great philosopher stated I think and so I am, but it should be I am and so I think’, and he also referred to this in an email, to which I replied:

A comment that Bhagavan Sri Ramana made about this famous conclusion of Descartes, ‘Cogito ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am), was recorded by Lakshmana Sarma in verse 166 of Sri Ramana Paravidyopanishad:
The existence of their own self is inferred by some from mental functioning, by the reasoning, ‘I think, therefore I am’. These men are like those dull-witted ones who ignore the elephant when it goes past, and become convinced afterwards by looking at the footprints!
‘I am’ is self-evident — in fact, it is the only thing that is entirely self-evident, because it is evident to itself rather than to anything else, whereas all other supposedly self-evident things are evident only to the mind that experiences them, and the mind experiences them as something other than itself — so only those who fail to recognise this obvious fact would believe that we need to think in order to know ‘I am’ or to logically assert that ‘I am’.

Monday 20 January 2014

Investigating ‘I’ is the most radical scientific research

In continuation of an ongoing correspondence between us, a research psychologist wrote to me, ‘Ramana was a great man, now it’s time to go further, we are in 2013, so, why not abandon the old ways and embrace the new, taking further their paradigm, not getting stuck in theirs?’, to which I replied:

Doubt and uncertainty are the basis of any research we may undertake, but most research is narrow in scope because it focuses on a small area of doubt set against a background of beliefs that are assumed to be true.

For example, in quantum mechanics a researcher will focus on a particular area of doubt, but such doubt will be set against the background of quantum theory and the entire set of generally accepted sub-theories that are related to it and entail it. Such theories, which form the paradigm upon which all research in that field is conducted, are all beliefs that most researchers in that field will take for granted. This is the nature of scientific research, and it is not wrong in that context, because science can move forward only on the assumption that most of its currently accepted theories are true.

Friday 17 January 2014

‘I’ is the centre and source of time and space

A new friend wrote to me recently saying that he thinks he has understood the concept of time but that he has not yet grasped the concept of space. In my reply I wrote:

The concept of space is just that: a concept or idea, and as such it is a mental construction.

Time and space are the two interlocked conceptual frameworks within which we organise all our other ideas about a physical world. Without space, there would be no place for more than one thing to seem to exist (because each thing requires a separate place in which to exist, since two things cannot simultaneously occupy the same place), so space is the conceptual framework that allows for the appearance of multiplicity. Likewise, without time, there would be no scope for any change to seem to take place, so time is the conceptual framework that allows for the appearance of change, which seems to be constantly occurring within this appearance of multiplicity.

Therefore, to know ‘I’, which is one and unchanging, neither space nor time is required. In fact, all ideas of space and time need to be set aside in order for us to experience ‘I’ as it really is, because space is the basis for the illusion of multiplicity (which is experienced as ‘I’ and other things), and time is the basis for the illusion of change (in which ‘I’ seems to be just one among many changing things).

Saturday 4 January 2014

Focusing only on ‘I’

A friend of mine recently sent me a chapter written by a learned and devout Swami about the quick and easy way to God-realisation, and he also told me that his wife was unconvinced by Sri Ramana’s teaching that everything we experience is just a dream (because if that were so, she felt, even the Bhagavad Gītā, the Bhāgavatam and Bhagavan Ramana’s teachings would all just be part of a dream), and that she believes that it is sufficient if we just surrender to him rather than analysing everything in depth.

What he wrote about everything being a dream was in reference to an earlier email in which I had explained that Sri Ramana used to compare the physical appearance of the guru and his teachings to the appearance of a lion in the dream of an elephant. An elephant is so afraid of lions that as soon as it sees one in its dream it wakes up. Though the lion it saw was unreal, the resulting waking is real. Likewise, though the physical form of the guru and the words of his teachings are all unreal, being part of our present dream, the waking that they bring about is real.

In reply to this friend’s most recent email described above I wrote:

Regarding the chapter you attached, all that that Swami says may be true, but it is a much less direct and useful expression of what is true than Sri Ramana’s. He describes the goal as realising God, whereas Sri Ramana describes it as experiencing ourself as we really are. Although God is actually nothing other than what we really are, as soon as mention is made of ‘God’, our natural tendency is to think of something other than ‘I’, whereas to experience ourself as we really are we must think only of ‘I’.