About Atman(Cont..)

How am I to look beyond the name and form? I do not see anything.

You are right. The teacher would suggest you look within before you venture out. Therefore, for now, do not try to see ‘Atman’ in all.

  • First, we should know what to look for?
  • Second, it doesn’t have a form; it cannot be described(like space).
  • Most importantly, you and I are also part of ‘All’. So, the search should start within.

You might worry that ‘Atman’ may vary from being to being. For example, the aloe vera plant sitting in the balcony might have less of ‘Him’ compared to ‘Him’ in me. Or the Himalayas would have more of ‘Him’.

Arjuna pretty much had the same doubt. To which Krishna answered: “Ajuna, I, Atman is equally disposed to all living beings(BG 9.29). Everything rests in me, as beads strung on a thread.”-Bhagavad Gita 7.7

Since he doesn’t have a form. How do I experience him?

Let’s apply the basic meditation here-Observing the Thoughts.

  • Sit with your eyes closed in a quiet place. why? Because we give way too much importance to our sense perceptions. So, shut them out for some time. Bhagavad Gita 8.12
  • You see your thoughts coming & going? Do not go with them however interesting they may seem.
  • Where are the thoughts appearing and disappearing? Watch that space that is helping the thoughts come and go. Hmm, interesting. That doesn’t have a form, either.
  • Now, what is that which is observing that space? Your eyes are closed but there is something which is witnessing the flow & intensity of thoughts.
  • If you have ever dreamed, you know that something was watching that dream too.  That is when you say I dreamt. Your body lay there like a corpse while dreaming. So, who was watching that dream?
  • Even in your deep sleep state, there is that thing which is observing nothingness(cessation of activities) Who is That?

Now our scriptures say, that ‘Observer’ who is observing all the three states is ‘YOU’. Unless someone is walking in and out of you, ‘That’ should be YOU 😉

Now we may realize, what do we mean by “Man having a body and mind”?

So, the ‘Man’ is Atman. He is not different from us but He is us.

I suppose we also understand who we are addressing when we use ‘I am’. And the Vedantic phrase “Nitya Shuddha Atman”.

Why am I Nitya? Because I do not come and go. I am there as an observer in all the states at all times.

Why Shuddha? Because the thoughts/emotions/dream/waking doesn’t taint me. They exist in Me. Like what we do under the Sun, doesn’t malign the Sun. Gita in 13.33 reiterates the same with another example of space.

I observe the mind & body in the waking state and the mind building a dream. I also observe when all the activities cease.

I am there. I am That.

As my teacher would put – we are like the Musk deer which spends its entire life searching outward for its own scent. Completely unaware that the smell is from its own navel 🙂

Note: This is my understanding. I might never be able to understand another person, or for that matter, even my mind or body. Though we do not wish for situations/people in our lives to change yet they change and so do we. But you might notice that we are longing for permanence – our very nature.

We should not stay unhappy with what we get. We should find our happiness and trust me, that isn’t anywhere outside. Change is the only constant thing in this world and we are seeking the opposite. So…..

Bhagavad Gita:

Bahir antaśh cha bhūtānām Acharaṁ charam eva cha
Sūkṣhmatvāt tad avijñeyaṁ Dūra-sthaṁ chāntike cha tat// 13.16

Exists outside and inside all living beings, those that are moving and not moving. Subtle, and hence incomprehensible.  Always near yet at the unspeakable distance- such is imperishable He!

Image: Internet

 

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On and Off Relationship(Cont’d…)

This post is a continuation of the previous one.

Often when the mind blabbers, it is lost in thoughts about the past or the future. Whereas when the mind is calm, we would be more “aware” of the current experience, isn’t it? The awareness I am referring to- is not the awareness of the physical body or the train of thoughts but the inner being.

In meditation, we try to investigate and be intently aware of that silent and formless inner being. If you meditate, you might have come to experience a thoughtless state. Even for a second, when the mind empties, you witness the space/gap, pure awareness. You cannot explain that state in words but you were very much witnessing that thoughtless state. That awareness is the real you.

Even when the Mind thought it was distanced from the Self, the substratum supporting these thoughts were none other than the Self. Though the conditioned mind loves to believe that it is a different entity in itself, it is part of a unified whole. Whatever we see, feel, hear, smell or think are nothing but the interactions of the elements of the whole. Just as the words and the blank background simultaneously and interdependently make this blog post. Likewise, the tragic story is nothing but the thoughts transpiring in the self and hence it was never detached.

Then, why do we miss it? When we look at a thing, our attention goes to its name and the form, then although the substratum is supporting, it goes unnoticed. For example, while you are reading this post, you read the content but do not pay attention to the blank background which made this post a reality. These words are intertwined in this space so intimately and inseparably that it gets difficult to discern with our senses. It is everywhere, we are practically living in it.

“Why do I need to be aware of this awareness?” You may ask.
Well, as the saying goes, ‘you can exist here just as a piece of creation or you can exist here as the very Creator himself’- you make the choice. But again, this is just self-knowledge, knowledge in itself cannot guarantee a life free of dualism. However, it will motivate you to stay present in the moment and investigate more in knowing and experiencing that Immutable ‘I’.

Avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyakta-madhyāni bhārata
Avyakta-nidhanānyeva tatra kā paridevanā//
Bhagavad Gita:2,28

O scion of Bharat, all created beings are unmanifest before birth, manifest in life, and again unmanifest on death.

Image: the web