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Nondual Highlights Issue #2712, Saturday, January 27, 2007, Editor: Mark
Are you worried? Do you have many "what if" thoughts?
You are identified with your mind, which is projecting
itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear.
There is no way that you can cope with such a situation,
because it doesn't exist. It's a mental phantom.
- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, posted to AlongTheWay
In Pali, heart and mind are one word (citta), but in English we have to differentiate between the two to make the meaning clear.
When we attend to the mind, we are concerned with the thinking process and the intellectual understanding that derives from knowledge, and with our ability to retain knowledge and make use of it.
When we speak of "heart" we think of feelings and emotions, our ability to respond with our fundamental being. Although we may believe that we are leading our lives according to our thinking process, that is not the case. If we examine this more closely, we will find that we are leading our lives according to our feelings and that our thinking is dependent upon our feelings. The emotional aspect of ourselves is of such great importance that its purification is the basis for a harmonious and peaceful life, and also for good meditation.
- Ayya Khema, posted to DailyDharma
Truth Comes at a Cost
If I was to translate the enlightened state down into human terms, I'd have to describe it as contentment. Being nobody, going nowhere, needing no reason to exist. To the ego, that probably sounds a little boring and of course to an ego it is. But then again, there's really nothing for the ego in enlightenment. [...] I'm not saying that ego is bad or evil because it's not. I'm saying that ego is a social and personal construct and therefore an illusion. But there's nothing wrong with an illusion. A painting is an illusion; a movie is an illusion; a good novel is an illusion. The problem isn't with illusion; the problem is with the emotional attachments and addictions of ego.
To most people "attachment" is a very abstract word that they think they understand. People in spiritual circles think of attachments in terms of things that they are attached to. They identify the things attached to and endeavor to let go of them, but this misses the whole point of what attachment really is. Attachment isn't about things attached to; it's about emotion in the form of a magnetic energy of attraction. That energy is how you know who you are as an ego. That energy is who you are as an ego. Ego defines itself by what it does and does not like. There is no ego outside of this emotional energy of attraction and repulsion -- better known as love and hate, like and dislike, good and bad, right and wrong, us and them, me and you. Without emotional investment in the ego's points of view, what's left of ego but a hollow shell with a little personality mixed in?
You breathe life into your ego in the form of emotional addictions. Emotion is the very life-force of ego. So the point of detachment isn't to detach from things, but to detach from your emotional bonds with things. And you don't simply let go of emotional bonds; you burn through them with investigative awareness. You see them for what they are: prisons, false structures holding you in spiritual infancy. You may think that I am being a bit harsh -- which I am, but awakening to truth is a harsh business. Bottom line is "What do you want more: to feel better or to realize the truth?" Sure, truth realization feels really good, but no one gets there whose driving motivation is simply to feel good. Feeling really good is a byproduct of the awakened state; it is not the state itself. The state itself is reality, and it's won at the hands of unreality. Simply put, ultimate truth comes at a cost, and the cost is everything in you and about you that is unreal. The end result is freedom, happiness, peace, and no longer viewing life through the veils of illusion.
M: Would you like to ask any questions?
V: Not many, but I shall be grateful if I am told how to bring peace to my mind.
M: Because of the self, the atman, you are connected to the world through the body. The self is nothing else but the knowledge that "you are." Meditate on that principle by which you know "you are" and on account of which you experience the world. Meditate on this knowledge "you are," which is the consciousness, and abide therein.
V: But the concentration is just not there.
M: Ignore the mind the way you disregard the crowd you encounter on the streets.
V: I shall try. M: As a matter of fact, mind is a universal dynamic principle, but we restrict it to the limits of the body and then depend on it - hence all the trouble. Consider the water in Lake Tansa. That water belongs to the whole of Bombay. Out of that water, can we claim some as yours or mine? In a similar vein, understand that the self is universal. But you have conditioned it by confining it to the body; therefore, you face problems. This self is also termed Ishwara - God - the Universal Principle. If you hold on to that, profound knowledge will descend upon you and you will have peace.
V: I try to meditate on that, but the mind wanders here and there. If I try to remain indifferent to mind, it will be a long-drawn-out process.
M: But are you not the root of any process?
V: The root of everything is life.
M: Yes, but the life force is universal and not personalized. Once you realize this, you have no more troubles.
- Nisargadatta, The Nectar of Immortality: Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's Discourses on the Eternal
The way you experience yourself is your only reality. It is precisely this experience of yourself we are deepening. If you are in a state of forgetfulness, completely identified with the mind, you don't really exist. The way you experience yourself is just a mess. There is nothing stable inside, nothing you can rely upon. There is just the fluctuation of thoughts, emotions and energy. This type of existing is called suffering. You are not suffering because of your desires or attachments. The primal reason you are suffering is because of the way you experience yourself, your own isness.
When you are unconscious, each thought, each emotion creates your sense of identity. In this way, you are made from the movement of the mind. Now, you are learning something fundamental - how to exist before the mind. You are learning how to be present before a thought arises on the screen of consciousness.
- Aziz Kristof
Behave as if you were pure awareness, bodiless and mindless, spaceless and timeless, beyond 'where' and 'when' and 'how'. Dwell on it, learn to accept its reality.
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