A Thought to Carry While Travelling

While travelling, we all have a checklist of things to carry and that may differ from one person to another. But when it comes to packing our mind on a travel, we all pray that we somehow stay in the present-be able to capture all the beauty that we get in that short trip, isn’t it? At least, that is true by me.

Otherwise, we would surely arrive at the destination but with an unprepared and an absent mind.

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Have you noticed people staring away at their cell phones while holidaying? Their work laptops switched on when Mother Nature is at her best.

yes, I do know work follows us home, in fact every where. We are 24/7 now but a weekend getaway can be without the work, right?

The only thought I packed my mind with, this time was to be in the moment and admire the one lady(Nature) who never failed to look pretty. I was excited to see her as she is, without a makeover.

Without filters

So, this post is to share the joy that we experienced by just packing that ONE THOUGHT.

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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

 

A Mindful Journey

Human weakness starts with the thought involving our incapacity in changing ourselves. The thought that ‘Nothing is in my hands. I cannot do it’ stops us from even trying.

But if we look into Gita, it states that everything is in our hands. Gita says: uddharet atmana atmanam na atmanam avasadayet.

Only and only we can change our future. If we are incapacitated and unable to make a future then we wouldn’t be allowed to choose our actions.

Bhagavad Gita in chapter 6, shl 26 says:

yato yato niscalati
             manas cancalam asthiram
       tatas tato niyamyaitad
          atmany eva vasam nayet

Suppression isn’t what we are referring. The more we suppress our thoughts, the more strength they gain. Keeping the thoughts to the present is what we have to do. As soon as you watch the thought building up, either to the past or to the future, slowly bring it to the present. Keep it there.

Instead of looking at ways to be mindful, we are breeding the weakness by giving in to our senses. We all know belief structures determine our behaviours. They are formed through repetitions and reinforcements. And, Behaviours become more automatic with repetitions.

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To break that we need to teach ourself to replace an old response with a new response. Let that new response be ‘Mindfulness’. The objective is to change behaviours. Though beliefs are hidden, they will eventually change. Repeatedly practising will turn that to a habit. A habit which will do us good.

So, next time, when the mind takes you on a mindless tour. No matter how nice it feels at times, do not embark that journey. Do not entertain it. Consciously withdraw from that. You may have to do that repeatedly many times till it starts to live in the Here and Now. Being Mindful will only allow us to plan for our future with what we have in the present. It will not allow us to be tangled in those fantasies that are far fetched and loom in the disappointments.

In my last blog entry, I was pointing in to what Bhagavat Gitas’ daivic qualities are. It will be easy to inculcate those with mindfulness. Clearing the clutter will make room for more meaningful ones. Because mindfulness is all about acceptance, appreciation and gratitude towards oneself and life in general.

Remember there is nobody to take responsibility for our actions. The same ONE who has acted has to live the consequences of his actions. Now actions can be through our thoughts, speech or deed ( mano-vak-kaya karma).

We have a choice to live a happy or a hopeless life. The choice is ours. If we succeed to break free from the shackles of our weaknesses, we will LIVE else will just Exist.