Thursday, 5 August 2021

We abide as ourself only to the extent to which we attend to ourself alone

A friend wrote to me today:

When I abide in the self an intense nose pressure comes out. On previous paths this has happened with a chest pressure then a nose pressure which have both released. Now this nose pressure is getting stronger and stronger the more I abide in the self. Has Ramana talked about anything like this happening? Any advice?
In reply to this I wrote:

Abiding in the self means being as we actually are, and what we actually are is only pure awareness, which means awareness that is aware of nothing other than itself, ‘I am’. Therefore perfect self-abidance is achieved only by eradicating ego.

During practice self-abidance is only partial. That is, we abide as we actually are only to the extent to which we attend to ourself and thereby withdraw our attention from all other things. Therefore, to the extent that you are aware of anything other than yourself (that is, anything that appears and disappears, anything that happens, anything that has distinguishing features of any kind whatsoever, anything other than what you are aware of in sleep), your self-attentiveness and hence your self-abidance is less than perfect.

Applying this to what you write about, when you are aware of any bodily sensation such as pressure in your chest or nose, that indicates that your attention has been diverted away from yourself towards that sensation, so the only way to deal with such distractions is to try repeatedly to turn your attention back towards yourself. As Bhagavan advised, whatever may appear, we should investigate to whom it has appeared, which means that we should turn our attention back towards ourself, the subject, and thereby away from all objects.

Sensations of any kind are just objects or phenomena, and like all phenomena they appear and disappear in our awareness, whereas we are not an object or phenomenon but only the subject, in whose view all objects appear and disappear. Therefore it does not matter what appears or disappears, because our only concern should be to cling fast to self-attentiveness and thereby ignore everything else.

The subject is only ego, and we seem to be the subject only so long as we are aware of objects, so if we attend to ourself keenly enough and thereby cease to be aware of any objects whatsoever, we will thereby discover that we are actually not even the subject but only pure awareness, ‘I am’, which is the substance or reality of ego, the source from which it appears and into which it disappears, and the ground that underlies and supports its seeming existence. Until we are clearly and immutably aware of ourself as that, we must persevere in trying to cling fast to self-attentiveness, and whenever our attention is diverted away from ourself towards anything else, we should simply try again to turn it back towards ourself, the one to whom all other things appear.

We cannot abide forever as we actually are by any means other than patiently and tenaciously persevering in this simple practice of trying to be self-attentive as keenly and as constantly as possible, thereby giving less and less room for anything else to appear in our awareness and distract us away from ourself.

1 comment:

Michael James said...

In a comment on one of my recent videos, 2021-08-14a Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses Nāṉ Ār? (Who am I?) paragraph 12 (ātma-vicāra), a friend wrote:

“Thank you.. i see that my vairagya is only to the extent of the vasanas.. so most times my effort to let go of things turn futile and i surrender my inability to Bhagavan. Example- fasting and observing silence. When clearly my mind is waiting for the fasting and silence to end, i can only surrender this state to Bhagavan.. is there any more effort that i can put in? Perhaps to keep repeating it although it seems hopeless?

Because my mind can trick me to say how does it matter anyways.. you are now holding on to the fast instead of eating so let go of the fast and be as you are.. so how do we keep to the vairagya, and do as our Guru has shown us.”

In reply to this I wrote:

Uma, the answer to your questions can be found in the eleventh paragraph of Nāṉ Ār?:

2021-07-31a Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK: Michael James discusses Nāṉ Ār? (Who am I?) paragraph 11

Here Bhagavan defines vairāgya as ‘அன்னியத்தை நாடாதிருத்தல்’ (aṉṉiyattai nāḍādiruttal), ‘not attending to anything other [than oneself]’, and says that it is the same as jñāna, which he defines as ‘தன்னை விடாதிருத்தல்’ (taṉṉai viḍādiruttal), ‘not leaving [or letting go of] oneself’, thereby implying that the most effective way to cultivate and strengthen vairāgya is to cling firmly to self-attentiveness.

Regarding the examples you give, true fasting and true silence are both only the state in which we cling to self-attentiveness so firmly that we thereby do not allow our attention to stray away to anything else. So long as we are thinking of anything other than ourself, we are not fasting or observing silence, nor are we practising vairāgya or jñāna.