Going Beyond Some Basics part 3
Comparing to the Waking-Dream of everyday Life. the blissful inner Space of pure "I" where Existence is immediately known, where Consciousness is the Substance, where Ananda [Bliss] arises & remains, this allows direct Awakening to That which has always been. Every preliminary Taste [Rasa] of this Freedom is both surprising in its easy Peace & familiar like a long-forgotten Memory dawning once again. Written Summaries serve to spark the interest. But what is needed is actual removal of obstructing Assumptions (Sankalpa’s), Tendencies (Samskara’s), thought Patterns (Vritti’s), & sheer Dullness [Tamas], & thereupon, direct Entry into Self-Realization, derives from Vichara Atma & proceeds with the Guidance of a Teacher, Realized Rishi, Acharya, Avadhuta, Buddha, Jetsun, Sansei, Master, Shaik, Christ, Sage or Enlightened-Realized-Liberated-Awakened Guru, that beloved Lord-Bhagavan who stands as the Truth to be realized. For the Absolute Reality to appear in one’s Waking state Mind as a Teaching, as a Text, as an Experience, as an Intuition, as a Guess, as a Hope, as a Wonder, or even as a Rumor is indeed Blessed. For the Self to enter one’s life in the guise of a Living Master whose Presence one can readily experience, whose Words one can listen to, whose Silence one can bask in, whose Bliss one can perceive, whose Love one can feel, whose Perfect Example one can emulate, whose unerring Guidance one can enjoy along the Path, this Good Fortune towers unmatched as the greatest Grace, the most priceless Treasure, the most wondrous Assurance of limitless & unending "Happiness".
The last word is more "unofficial" than all the rest. In the spirit of handling the hypothetical Body-Person objection to the need for a Teacher, the whole Mystery of Non-Duality can be entertained in an even more casual manner. Rigor here would be beyond the capability of words, but perhaps some Hint can be imparted, some inspiring Clue can be groped for, & all to the good it this attempt were successful.
Response to the sometimes encountered "don’t need a Teacher" objection can be a simple comparison to the relationships of Parent-Child, Instructor-Student, Mentor-Protégée, Master-Apprentice, & such to be found throughout the Arts & Sciences, throughout Trades, Crafts, Academia, & all the examples of skills & information acquisition in all of Life. New & important Knowledge often comes to us by Dialogue. Writing & Media are lifeless substitutes, being bereft also of the inspiring Power of Example.
In a similar vein, we can imagine those who becomes so enamored of their Computer Hardware & Software, for instance that they neglect or delay proper implementation of the technology to achieve desired & necessary Results. This would compare to being so enamored of the Mind & its Ideas that they neglect or delay proper implementation of the Mind for the purpose attaining Self-knowledge & Liberation. More than such comparisons, Non-Duality has the more penetrating response in the Teacher Objection case, but now it is Non-Duality itself to which a similar light-hearted discussion is applied.
The puzzle of Non-Duality & the contrary impression of Dualism & Multiplicity is really quite bewildering. Countless Self-Realized Sages within the sacred lineages of Advaita Vedanta & other Traditions of Non-Dual Teachings have independently discovered & declared that Multiplicity is an illusory concept. The initial Duality of believing that there could be an Other different from one’s Self is the core Ignorance. One Non-Dual Consciousness illuminates Thoughts of "Other" & as it does all other Thoughts. Behind the apparent Mind there is only the one Consciousness which is not only one’s Self, but is in fact The Self, since there is no Other Self. Nor are there Other Minds, except as the imagined mental characteristics that I attribute to Other beings. I can perceive what you say & do, but generally, I cannot not know what you are thinking, or even that you are thinking, or have ever had Thoughts. Whatever may be the mechanism of Mind-reading in a given case, should a valid one be investigated, that situation can be described either as the Experience of some sort of Subtle Signal, or the Blending of the two Minds into One Mind.
All that aside for the moment, most of the time, my impression of some Other’s Mind derives from their Words, Gestures, & Actions which I then interpret to construe some Guess as to that Other’s Thoughts & Mind. If need be, the Subtle Signal possibility can be added to the list of Words, Gestures, & Actions with much the same conclusion. The Mind-Blend alternative amounts to a non-Multiplicity of Mind in that case, & as will be seen below, this plays right into our final conclusion anyway. Trusting that the Mind-Blend alternative will not upset the discussion then, we can summarize to the point that Sense Experience, Ordinary or Subtle, leads me to assume the Existence of: Others, Other Minds, & similarly: Other Objects, Space, Time & Events Other than my Self, & so on, the whole seemingly separate Universe or World of Multiplicity.
This I can say for my Self. But what about You ? I can say “there is no You” but I am the You when you call yourself "I" just as I do. If You really do exist as a separate Other, my “there is no You” Statement would then be foolish & useless. If you are Imaginary, how can these Non-Dual insights be of value to You. What is the good of my communicating them ? If you remain imaginary, then the good intention could only benefit Me, & the Meditation of sharing this insight with You ends up being an inspiring but symbolic conversation with my Self. To ask "Why ?" again would be to only invite the Teacher-Student comparisons again, so that by Analogy, Dialogue with one’s Self could be offered the same justification as Dialogue with an Other, that is, because it works so well. What seems a Dialogue could be just another mode of Thought & Focus.
Two other possibilities could also be entertained, however. One is that, whether it be accurate or merely expedient to do so, Mind can be considered to extend as a larger field of Thought, embracing all seeming Individuals, all the while this greater Mind remaining only a Reflection of the one Consciousness. One Mind comprising all minds is a view consistent with various degrees of connection we find between apparently separate Minds. Short of the full Mind-Blend possibility alluded to above, we see shared Thoughts & also a great similarity of human Nature & Experience throughout the range of Time & Space. We all Smile, Laugh, & Cry; we all Love & Fear, & so on along surprisingly similar patterns. You & I may not see the same Color Red, nor may 2 charging Bulls. But the similarity in behavior of the Bulls, & in subtle ways, the similarity in the Aesthetic & Emotional response that You & I exhibit suggest that the 2 Bulls see similar or the same Red, as do You & I, & likewise for Other Colors & Sense Perceptions.
Erwin Schrödinger, who proposed the Wavefunction in Quantum theory, was latter a student of Advaita Vedanta & discussed at length this Coincidence of Perception in his essay Mind & Matter. He felt that, even give personal & cultural differences, the close or identical fashion in which all people do see the World is a fact that supports Non-Duality of Consciousness. However many Dream characters we may conjure up, we never experience ourselves as more than one character or narrator at a given time.
Seemingly split personalities only display on character at a time. Despite Quadrillions of cells & Billions of Neurons, we feel unified as One, always, & never as Multiple as our Body cells. Many otherwise inexplicable phenomena support such a One Mind perspective. This leaves all beings as sharing the One Mind despite the apparently diverse Bodies. These Bodies, in turn, are only known by the Senses which are, in turn, only known by Mind. The impression of separate Bodies then need be no more confusing than the many Forms that Dream characters display. One Mind dreams the Dream with all its characters & Bodies. Likewise, in the expedient One-Mind perspective, this One Mind reflects One Consciousness & projects insubstantial Thoughts that only seem to represent many Individuals. In One Mind the many Individuals & many Object just become many Perspectives & Viewpoints.
All the above are practical half-steps to begin contemplating Non-Duality. With the Liberation of each such Individual, the ever-true Non-Duality is again realized, from yet one more Viewpoint. Each such Awakening is inevitable & yet the most urgent & worthwhile of Dream endeavors. The Compassion with which the Teacher guides each sincere Student to this Awakening to the Always-so is the Dream Drama that is so noble as to take part in the Real.
Along with the One-Mind Perspective, another more elusive Perspective can also be considered. What if the idea of Multiplicity were so Illusory that even as various Individuals are considered, there would still be no Multiplicity, there would still not be many Individuals, there would still be only ONe Consciousness. Within the one Non-Dual Consciousness, a thought of Other leads the one Self to be mistaken for an Ego-self, One-of-Many. A Dream of Life amid many Beings is only a Waking-Dream. When the Dream hero becomes spiritually oriented, the Dream finally gives way to spiritual Practice & Realization. That would be how it is for Me, my story. How would it then be for You? What is your story ? Well, again, for You too, a Thought of Other leads to a now different Ego self Thought, & from there another Dream of Life & Liberation. If it can happen once, why can it happen twice, especially since both Dreams are unreal ? As to Simultaneity of Dream stories, well, what is Time & Simultaneity anyway. Time & Simultaneity are only part of the Dream anyway. When we seriously contemplate how Consciousness is beyond any Thought of system of Thoughts, & how the one Self, the one Consciousness, is Infinite & Vast, how could such a Simultaneously-Multiple Waking-Dream Perspective be discounted.
There need be no surprise in the fact that a derivative, down-stream Thought-churning function called Mind cannot encompass the true situation. We still cannot put it past Consciousness, we cannot insist that Infinite Consciousness is incapable of such a multi-character Show. Ultimately, who can say, at least who could say from the viewpoint of an individual within the Waking-Dream ?
The above kind of basic summary will be continued, but for now, more of Master Nome’s discussion of the World from the perspective of "living" in a World, being "alive", from the perspective of "Life-Force" or Prana.
Those who yearn to go beyond the illusory boundary of Life & Death, who desire to be beyond & who do not wish to suffer death, clearly discriminate between Existence, or Consciousness, & Prana, or Life Energy. Prana signifies the Life-energy that seems to animate the Body & the Senses, & without which they are inert. Prana in various combinations with the Body, Senses, & the Mind is that which is responsible for the experiences called “physical” & “subtle”. Without such animating energy, there is no bodily or sensory experience, for a corpse has no experience & its sense organs, though perhaps intact, are not animated & do not produce any experience. The result of inquiry to know the Self is Abidance as pure Being-Consciousness which transcends the animate & in-animate, & which never dies, & this is Abidance in the invariable state of the Self.
As long as one is identified with the Prana, there will be the differentiation of living & dead, & the one Being which ever is will appear veiled. When this mis–identification is destroyed through Knowledge, this duality vanishes. Prana undergoes fluctuations from Birth to Death, health & sickness, & varies according to lifestyle & activities. Being does not fluctuate. So, how could Prana be equated with the Self‘ ?
The animating Prana is objective. It is something experienced & not the Consciousness that knows it. It is not being alive that enables one to be conscious, but Consciousness that knows the state of being alive. So how could Prana be equated with the Self ?
The Life-energy seems to locate itself throughout the body. The Self is not located in a body or spatially in any manner. So, how could Prana be equated with the Self ?
The Prana functions, animating the body & the Senses in various ways. The Self, which is Consciousness, remains as its Witness. The Self is the immovable Reality of Existence & not a function. So, how could Prana be equated with the Self ?
The Prana does not remain eternally as it manifests, but, at some time, it is absorbed. It may be said to be absorbed into the great, Universal Prana [~Mahat], which in turn is absorbed in the Absolute. It may be said to be absorbed in the Mind, which in turn is absorbed in the Absolute. The Self is itself the Absolute & is never absorbed into anything. That which actually exists, always is. That which can be absorbed, or which has a beginning & an end, is an unreal appearance, & ultimately does not exist. The Self exists, & there is nothing else into which it can be absorbed. So, how could Prana be equated with the Self ?
[The above themes & 1600 pages more are freely available as perused or downloaded PDF’s, the sole occupants of a Public Microsoft Skydrive “Public Folder” accessible through www.jpstiga.com ]