Tuesday 24 February 2015

Just being (summā irukkai) is not an activity but a state of perfect stillness

A friend wrote to me recently asking, ‘Is there any way to ascertain whether the feeling of “I” is being attended to? Is it enough if the mind’s “power of attention” is brought to a standstill?’ He also quoted the following (inaccurate) translation of question 4 and Sri Ramana’s reply in the second chapter of Upadēśa Mañjari (‘A Bouquet of Teachings’, or ‘Spiritual Instructions’ as this English translation in The Collected Works of Sri Ramana Maharshi is called), and asked ‘How can remaining still be considered as intense activity? Is being still a state of effort or effortlessness? I am slightly confused’:
4. Is the state of ‘being still’ a state involving effort or effortlessness?

It is not an effortless state of indolence. All mundane activities which are ordinarily called effort are performed with the aid of a portion of the mind and with frequent breaks. But the act of communion with the Self (atma vyavahara) or remaining still inwardly is intense activity which is performed with the entire mind and without break.

Maya (delusion or ignorance) which cannot be destroyed by any other act is completely destroyed by this intense activity which is called ‘silence’ (mauna).
The following is adapted from the reply I wrote to him:

Friday 20 February 2015

Self-investigation and body-consciousness

A friend recently sent me a PDF copy of The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and referring to the sixth chapter of it, ‘The Inner Body’, he wrote:
The chapter that talks on the inner body is quite remarkable, by taking the attention away from thoughts/body/sense perceptions and into the energy field of the body, there is the clear and vibrantly alive feeling “I Am” and nothing else. Going deeper into it, the feeling of inside and out dissolves, subject and object dissolve, and there is this sense of unlimited, unbound (by the limits of the body) and unchanging beingness or I Amness. Can this be likened to self-attention? Or more clearly, is this the same practice? Because in both we are removing attention from everything except the feeling “I Am” and focussing it on the feeling. Could it be that only the description is different? Where you describe it as focussing the attention on the consciousness “I Am” Eckhart describes it as focussing the attention on the aliveness/consciousness that pervades the physical body to the exclusion of all thoughts. He goes on to describe the state of pure being when the attention goes more deep.
This article is adapted from the replies I wrote to this and to two subsequent emails.

Sunday 15 February 2015

Why is it necessary to consider the world unreal?

In several comments on some of my recent articles various friends have tried to argue that we need not be concerned about whether or not the world is real or exists independent of our experience of it. For example, in his first comment on Science and self-investigation Periya Eri wrote:
What is wrong in our deep-rooted “but unfounded” belief that the world exists independent of our experience of it? The statement saying that the world is unreal does not in the least change the fact that we have to master all difficulties in our life. The same evaluation goes for the conclusion that the world does not exist at all independent of our mind that experiences it. And the same is true of the statement that even the mind that experiences this world is itself unreal. Also the account that the mind does not actually exist at all and that after its investigation it will disappear, and that along with it the entire appearance of this world will also cease to exist. […]
In reply to this I wrote a comment in which I said:

Monday 9 February 2015

Self-attentiveness is not an action, because we ourself are not two but only one

In the final paragraph of one of my recent articles, The connection between consciousness and body, I wrote:
So long as we allow ourself to attend to anything other than ourself, our body and all the other extraneous things that we thus experience seem to be real, so Sri Ramana advises us to try to attend only to ourself, the ‘I’ who is conscious of both ourself and all those other things. Therefore if we wish to follow his path and thereby to experience what this ‘I’ really is, we should not be concerned with our body or any connection we may seem to have with it, but should focus all our interest and attention only on ourself, the one absolute consciousness or pure self-awareness ‘I am’.
Referring to this, a friend wrote to me asking:

Wednesday 4 February 2015

The terms ‘I’ or ‘we’ refer only to ourself, whether we experience ourself as we actually are or as the ego that we now seem to be

In a comment on one of my recent articles, The fundamental law of experience or consciousness discovered by Sri Ramana, Palaniappan Chidambaram asked, ‘If the whole sadhana [spiritual practice] is in just being one self […] then why do we use the term vichara or investigation? When thoughts come we don’t investigate but just ignore and turn attention to ourselves. So ideally there is no investigation or enquiry?’, to which I replied in a comment:
Since pure self-awareness is our essential nature, being ourself entails being clearly aware of ourself alone. Therefore trying to be aware of ourself alone is the only means by which we can succeed in being what we really are.