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#3770 - Friday, January 8, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -






January 07, 2010


How do I get to the real depth of meditation?


Here is a question that points to the difference between purely intellectual knowledge and the experiential knowledge that we call “Self-Knowledge:”


    I’ve been studying Self-Knowledge (nonduality) for many years. But I don’t feel happier and I don’t feel that my life and my experiences are changing. So I feel stuck in the same place that I was when I started my study. So how do I proceed from here?


Many people consider spirituality as a way of changing their thoughts from what they consider bad and distracting, to good and peaceful, or to no thoughts at all. There are many techniques for doing this including walking meditations, watching your breathing, starring at a candle, and repeating a mantra.


When people start their study of Self-Knowledge they often have experience with these meditation techniques and so they continue with the old techniques, even while taking up this new exploration. And so they consider Self-Knowledge as another way to change their mind.


You can’t fix your thoughts


The problem with this is that the mind is always changing. Even if you can fix it in a favorable state for a few moments in time, when your attention changes, your mind will change too and it will go back to the state that you think is natural for it. For instance if you consider distraction to be your natural state then you mind will revert to distraction; if you think that fear is its natural state then your thoughts will revert to your fears.


Moreover, there are many things that can affect the state of your mind. As an example the tiniest change in the chemical balance of your body can affect your mind. Diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as conceptual frameworks that you learned from your parents and friends, or you just made up by yourself, can also affect the state of your mind.


The more you focus on your thoughts the more imposing they become

Although it is possible to free yourself from limiting conceptual frameworks, as you can see, it is next to impossible to control your thoughts or still them completely. Stilling your mind is like trying to still the waves in a lake; the more you try to stop them the bigger the waves get. Similarly the more you focus on your thoughts the bigger and more imposing they become.


So you may ask, “If I can’t control and still my mind how can I find the peace and joy that all sages promise?" The answer is that this peace is not a state of mind; it is a state of being.


Rather than attempting to control your mind, in Self-Knowledge you have to discover what you really are. Your mind is just a tiny object that you see, it isn’t you. But here’s the thing that’s even more amazing. The “my” in “My mind” is not you either. What you think is the subject is really just another thought in your mind. It is not you at all. The proof is that you see this thought. It is an object that you see and not the real subject.


Ramana Maharshi called this “My” the “I” thought. He described it as a thief dressing up like a policeman and then attempting to catch the thief. What do you think will happen? You have the same problem when you take yourself to be the limited “I” thought, and from there attempting to control or still the mind. What you have is a jumble of thoughts attempting to control other thoughts. So when you think, “I am going to control my anger,” the thought I is in motion as well as the anger. Is it any wonder that you never get anywhere?


The purpose of Self-Knowledge is to find your real identity

The purpose of Self-Knowledge is not to control your mind. Rather it is to assume your real identity as ever-present consciousness; to return to your rightful place, free from every limitation that you see including thoughts.


So what then is the problem? You do not see Consciousness, you see from Consciousness. So it is easy to overlook what you are and take yourself to be an object that you see. If you can untangle yourself from the limited objects that you see like the body and thoughts in the mind, you will find a freedom that is not defined by your thoughts. You will find that you were always centered right in the thing that you were looking for.


You will then be the “Kingdom of heaven that’s within you,” “The peace that passes all understanding.” You will not know this as a separate object. You will know this because that’s what you are. In the next blog I will give some suggestions so that you can step beyond the limiting concepts that seem to bother you.


Feel free to ask questions

Now I want you to experience your true identity in its full glory. So please feel free to continue asking questions. I’m always glad to hear your reactions and clarify my answers. Unlike the path of faith, on the path of Self-Knowledge it is curiosity that destroys limitation and allows you to abide in your natural freedom.


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