108 Insights For Awakening Now

Accept what is happening. Do not wish it was different. The awareness of breath helps you to accept the wandering that inevitably happens and to accept to bring the attention gently back. Then you live in the moment and not in fantasy, imagination or hope.

If we are mindful, we can view adversity as an event that is happening without storytelling and without preoccupation.

Mindfulness can help us to become intimate with the energy of anger, and because of the familiarity we won’t be blindsided by it. Instead it will help us realise that anger is happening because of resistance and that it will pass if we change that to acceptance

Mindfulness meditation develops attention by practicing the art of gentle return. Focus on your breath. When your attention wanders, gently bring it back. Do this for as long as possible. Your attention muscle then develops and your mind becomes fit.

Mindfulness helps us to attune ourselves with our body, mind and feelings.Just observe the breath, the thoughts, the feelings by standing apart. Follow it with interest. Enjoy simply the process of being alive.

We may struggle, stumble and fall down every day, but if we are honest with ourselves about who we are, we will be able to pick ourselves and try again. This requires awareness and mindfulness and makes us authentic.

Be mindful when your complain. Recognize when you complain. Use mindfulness to appreciate the moment without expectation. Aversion then disappears.

You construct your anguish and happiness. Things keep changing. You are not separate from the Divine. Being aware of your breath can help you realize these things. Then you awaken.

Each time you embrace the welfare of others, you are  following the bodhisattva path. Every time you step out of self-preoccupation to pay attention to the world around you, an opportunity to help will present itself. Practicing mindfulness and not bringing more anger, fear and mindlessness to the world is the simplest way to help others.

The body scan is a staple of mindfulness practice. Do it regularly.

Boredom happens because we do not pay attention and because we crave excitement. It is a story we tell ourselves. Pay attention to your breath and body and just observe and even mundane things will fill with life.

Be aware of your breath. Be aware of it at the belly or the nostrils. When the attention wanders, bring it back. There is no failure or success in this endeavour. Just observe and be attentive. Practice the gentle art of returning and transformation will happen.

Buddha means the person as well as our capacity for awakening. Everyone can traverse the path of the Buddha. There is suffering and unsatisfactoriness. The cause is because we are misguided about reality, because we cling to things which are changing and hope that they don’t change and we think we are a separate self independent from the Divine. However we can solve this problem of suffering. Wisdom, ethical behaviour and meditation is the Way.

Buddhism does not speculate about the nature of time, space and the divinity of the Buddha. There is no need for initiation into a religious cult or belief in some metaphysics. We just want to remove the arrow, the suffering and not about why and wherefores of the arrow. This can be done by mindfulness of the breath and mindfulness every moment of our life.

We all have a choice every moment. Mindfulness helps us make wise choices so that we can live an intentional life.

Notice the presence of commentary in your daily life. Do not scold yourself for losing yourself in the commentary. Just note it and leave it behind and come back to the breath.

Compassion in its purest sense means to feel the suffering of others without adding any commentary and this means we are mindful. At the same time  we care for them as best as we can.

Concentration can be focused or distributed. Focusing on the breath is focused concentration while being aware of thoughts and feelings is more distributed. Both are necessary and complementary.

When an impulse arises for you, see if you can observe it with interest. Notice how it occupies your body and compels action. If you are watching close enough you may be able to contain it before it translates into behaviour. You can choose how you act and awareness and mindfulness will help you go in the right direction.

Crasping is craving+grasping. This leads to anxiety. Have the attitude: I am okay whether I get what I want or not. My happiness does not depend on my always getting what I want. Then you will be more happier in the world, more content.

We can easily sort things into categories. When we do this, being is inhibited. Mindfulness develops the ability to see each thing even if they may seem the same as a unique thing and this ability to see with fresh eyes every thing or event helps us to be creative.

The culture of mindfulness is based on awareness, generosity and nonharmfulness.We also live in our own particular culture based on the place, upbringing and the values we have developed as the result of our life. With mindfulness we realise we are all interconnected and the wants and desires then diminish. This culture may provide some respite from relentless want.

Curiosity means to have the “beginner’s mind”. What does this mean? Whether it is a pain or an itch, we drop our narratives and view it with freshness the actual experience. We make it a point of interest and relax into it and investigate its properties. Instead of fighting against it, we accept that it is here and know that it will eventually dissolve. This is wisdom in action.

Death ultimately happens. Birth, life, death. Universal. Each of these things happen in the present moment. So remembering the past and imagining the future is not really living. Live in this moment. The breath is like life itself. It is born, it lives for a while and then it dies. Be aware of this mini-cycle that happens millions of times. Presence then occurs and life becomes joyful.

Delusion is  a misperception of the world that it can grant us happiness, is stable and that we are all separate. If we look carefully we can see that the world is constantly changing, is therefore unreliable and unstable and therefore it cannot grant us happiness but only unsatisfactoriness. This misperception leads to greed and hatred. Mindfulness can help us perceive things rightly and that can give rise to peace in ourself and thereby the world.

The dharma that the Buddha taught was to be good, to be kind to ourselves and others and move in the world with the goal of minimizing harm. The wisdom of unsatisfactoriness, change and non-separateness which can arise when we mindfully meditate in an ethical life where we let go of greed and hatred can lead to the fulfillment of this Dharma.

There are a multitude of distractions that we face everyday. But if we are mindful, we need not be distracted and fall into the whirlpool of multitasking and infomania. We can let go, breathe and live now.

When we say that life is dukkha, we are not being pessimistic. We are being realistic. Dukkha means the unsatisfactoriness that pervades life even when we have a lot of pleasure and so called happiness. The reason for this unsatisfactoriness is because nothing is permanent and sickness, old age and death inevitably happens. Unless we understand that this is what will happen we crave and hate different things. We think that we are separate. That is true in the relative world but from a different perspective we are everything and living with this perspective can make this life a joyful melody of the Divine.

Eat mindfully. See, smell, taste, hear and touch the food and the process of eating without doing anything else. This is a great exercise in mindfulness.

Good effort is the art of gentle returning to now. It is effort of allowing things to happen rather than trying to achieve something. It is the effort of simple observation of what is happening and experiencing what is happening now. It is gently returning to the present when we wander off into the past and the future.

Emotional intelligence means four things: to perceive emotions, using them to thoughtfully reflect, understanding what our emotions mean and managing them when they occur. Desire, hatred and delusion lead to poor choices and mindfulness by helping us be attentive and aware helps us to to be more emotionally intelligent.

When we practice mindfulness we shift our attention from the concept of who we are to the actual experience of who we are. This manifests as sensations in our body and attending to them can help us to monitor our energy. Anxiety gives rise to sensations which can be monitored and managed with mindfulness, thereby letting anxiety drop off.

Silence, containment and engagement make up the Holy Trinity of mindfulness. Engagement is to wholeheartedly do everything being aware of them fully rather than wandering from one place to another pursuing stories and opinions.

Each time we are mindful we approximate enlightenment: just this moment as it is. It is a mystical experience characterized by a dramatic shift in attention to the richness of the present. When we practice mindfulness, we practice noticing additions to what is. When we can be with our breath, naked and embodied, then we taste a bit of enlightenment.

Equanimity requires that we learn to attend to what is happening without reacting to it excessively – without developing craving or aversion for experiences. Mindfulness helps us to develop this.

Experience starts with sensation. Our sense organs cannot sense everything, they can sense only a part; we cannot see infrared or hear high-pitched sounds. The neural networks of our brain process these sensations based on experience, learning and expectation and hence experience is not absolute truth. Perception also needs attention and this is what mindfulness helps and by helping it helps us realise that sensations come and goes, the stories that we add and what is therefore real and what is not.

Fantasy is being in the past or in the future. Mindfulness is being in the present. If your attention becomes dispersed in fantasy, simply note that it has happened and gently return to the action at hand.

The breath can be fascinating. Pay attention to it with mindfulness.

We are liberated from fear when we do not cling to the idea that things are enduring and embrace the reality that life is impermanent. If we realise that we are not separate and that everything is part of the Divine, where can fear stay? Mindfulness helps us to realise all this.

The five pillars of mental flourishing are: positive emotions, engagement or flow, relationship, meaning and accomplishment. Mindfulness helps us to flourish.

When the sense of ‘doing’ meditation drops away, we enter into flow. When we encounter the present moment without story, commentary or complaint, flow won’t be far behind.

See what it feels like to be fully engaged in each task. You may find that you are more productive. Focusing like this is mindfulness in action. With more mindfulness practice, it will be easier to focus.

The fear of missing out goes away with mindfulness. It is unlikely that we will miss out on life if we remember that each moment, no matter what is happening – is complete in itself, provided we give it our full attention.

Mindfulness allows us to use each breath to open our hearts and minds to forgiveness.

Practicing mindfulness is an act of generosity to yourself. Teach mindfulness generously without any fee.

Mindfulness helps us to be good.

Grace is available whenever we can suspend our internal, storytelling mind and be mindful.

Be grateful for everything. Mindfulness will help you in doing that.

Greed is clinging and aversion, wanting impermanence to be permanent and wanting to be separate. Mindfulness will help you get rid of greed.

Hope and fear develop when we lose touch with the reality of the present, when we fantasize about the past and the future. Mindfulness brings you back to now and thereby helps you to be present.

Impermanence pervades everything. The only thing that is permanent is the Divine.

Integrity describes the practice of mindfulness itself.

Mindfulness helps us to be aware of our intentions.

Mindfulness helps us to realize interdependence.

The process of mindfulness is an intimate process as we gently focus on our breath.

Mindfulness gives us joy as we have let go of fear and anxiety.

Mindfulness helps us to withhold judgement.

Every action has a consequence – karma. Armed with greater sensitivity to our own motives and intentions, we can choose the type of seeds we sow and look forward to sweeter fruits.

Our ongoing practice of mindfulness allows us to survey the landscape of our lives and our minds and our practice is a sort of exploration.

Developing a robust sense of mindfulness helps us to create a space between emotional triggers and legacy reflexes.

We don’t find liberation somewhere else, far away, but reveal it within ourselves by letting go of ourselves.Rest in the now – often.

Look at everyone, including yourself with loving-kindness.

Meditation itself is not an end but a means to waking up to the nature of things.

You are not the mind or the senses. What you are is a part of the Divine.

Mindfulness is paying attention without judgement, not grasping, not pushing away. We are open to what is.

Moderation is essential. Keep those precepts that are important, and use the others as needed.Know when you should adhere to a rule, know when you can set it aside.

Innate morality makes us happy and diminishes our suffering.

Nature provides a ready vector for mindfulness practice.

Nirvana is the reality experienced without clinging to our separate self.

The noble eightfold path is a path of self-transformation: an intellectual, emotional and moral restructuring in which a person is reoriented from selfish limited objectives toward a horizon of possibilities and opportunities for fulfillment.

Now can be the greatest moment of your life when you pay attention to it with mindfulness. Now is, of course, the only moment of your life.

The body is a constant register of what is happening. Occupying it using the body scan can help you monitor what is happening and use it as a refuge.

Be open in meditation to attend to whatever is happening without judgement, control or attempting to fix it.

If we look closely into pain, it weakens and disperses and the urgent need to fix them disappears.

Participation happens when we see through mindfulness and then act with mindfulness.

The path regarding the truths of suffering, old age, death and dissatisfaction is always there. We have to walk on it.

When you embrace patience, you can sit still in your mind, not chasing every mental whim, impulse or desire.

The alternative to the fist hand of perfectionism is the open hand of acceptance.

Start with giving yourself permission to be in this moment.

Mindfulness can be play when we drop into this moment with a sense of exploration.

Move forward with imperfect action, allowing that to be sufficient to move to the next moment and the moment after that. Do not procrastinate.

Quality is this moment and nothing else.

Mindfulness helps us rehabilitate us back into quiet.

Reality is the experience of being alive now; fantasy is the concept of ‘me’ having this life. When you meditate, you endeavour to come back to reality over and over again.

When attention wanders, do not regret, just move on to the next moment.

All relationships are teachers, especially the difficult ones.

Resilience seeks to highlight then abandon the “secondary agenda.” When we give ourselves to this moment, there is nothing to want.

Without resistance we are more resilient and more able to withstand whatever comes at us.

The answer to restlessness is not set ourselves in motion, but to remain at rest with awareness.

Each instance of retrieving our attention from the future, past or commentary is a revolution.

At some level, we are all one energy with no clear boundaries. This is what sangha means.

We need to let go of our ownership of the illusion of a separate self.

If you are not smiling now, give it a try.

When used properly, mindfulness can help us to correct out of a skid into unneeded stress.

Have sympathetic joy in the happiness and success of others.

Choose beneficial thoughts instead of harmful ones.

The experience of timelessness is available to any of us each time we let go of the past, the present and the future, and lose ourselves in the moment.

Tolerance is to be objective about what we can and cannot change.

Uncertainty is the bedrock of our reality.

As our practice of vipassana progresses, we see how we cling and grasp, how we push and get away.

When we are visited by unpleasant memories, just note them and go back to the breath.

To love is to make ourselves vulnerable.

Walk mindfully.

Witness your thoughts and see that they are not the truth.

Wisdom is understanding that there is suffering, there is change and there is no separate self.

The best anxiolytic is mindfulness.

When you do yoga postures, then be aware.

Meditate comfortably.

-inspired from the book: A to Z of Mindfulness by Arnie Kozak

A Simple Way To Select The Best Indian Equity Mutual Funds

This post will outline a simple method to identify good mutual funds to select for investing. The steps are as follows:

The first step is to go to Morningstar.in and then get the list of medalist funds. These are the funds ranked gold, silver or bronze. This is based on Morningstar Analyst Rating. Essentially it  is based on the analyst’s conviction in the fund’s ability to outperform its peer group and/or relevant benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis over the long-term. If a fund receives a positive rating of Gold, Silver, or Bronze, it means Morningstar analysts think highly of the fund and expect it to outperform over a full market cycle of at least five years.

The second step is to go to both Morningstar India and Value Research Online and get the star ratings for each of these funds. The star rating is based on the fund’s past performance as compared to peers. Select the funds which have 4 or 5 star rating.

The third step is to list these funds, in which we can then invest with a fair amount of confidence. Invest in the direct plan and the growth option to get better returns.

The list of these funds as of today are:

Large Cap

  • Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund Growth
  • ICICI Prudential Focused Blue Chip Equity Fund Growth
  • Reliance Top 200 Fund Growth
  • Franklin India Blue Chip Fund Growth

Mid Cap

  • Franklin India Prima Fund Growth
  • SBI Magnum Global Fund Growth

Multi-Cap

  • Franklin India High Growth Companies Fund Growth
  • Franklin India Prima Plus Fund Growth
  • ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund Growth
  • Franklin India Flexi Cap Fund Growth

Small Cap

  • DSP BlackRock Micro Cap Fund Growth
  • Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund Growth

I hope you find this method useful. Happy Investing.

God Bless.

Acceptance

At each moment in our life, something happens. We all have a choice to respond to what happens. We can accept it or we can resist it. Resistance to what happens, what is, causes suffering and unsatisfactoriness and often the resistance is because of the stories we create about what happens rather than what happens itself. It can also manifest as judgement, fantasy, dreams. Acceptance does not mean that we do not act to change things. If we can do something to change things, then we just do it rather than fill our lives with a baggage of commentary. But if we can’t change, we just accept it and allow what happens to fill us without any resistance whatsover.We don’t wish it were different. We just accept every moment of our life as it is.

A simple way to cultivate acceptance in our life is to sit quiety and be aware of your breath. Be aware of the movement of the tummy in and out or the sensation of touch near your nostrils as the air flows in and out. When your attention wanders don’t get disturbed. Accept that wandering occurs, become aware of the wandering and become aware of the breath again.

You will slowly start to relish the joy of acceptance and this will start filling the rest of your life.

God Bless.

 

How To Be Mentally Strong

This post contains my personal notes from the book: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do By Amy Morin. The key messages from the book tell us how to be mentally strong.

Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for yourself

  • Do not indulge in exaggeratedly negative thoughts about how difficult your life is. Give yourself a reality check so you don’t exaggerate how bad the situation really is.
  • Do not allow yourself to believe that your life is worse than most other people’s lives.Replace overly negative thoughts about your situation with more realistic thoughts.
  • Do not remain passive about the situation and keep focusing only on how you feel. Focus on what you can do. Choose to actively problem-solve and work on improving your situation.
  • Get active and behave in a way that makes you less likely to feel sorry for yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Practice gratitude every day. Do not focus on what you don’t have. Focus on what you have.

Don’t give away your power

  • Use language that acknowledges your choice such as: I’m choosing to…. Do not use language that implies you are a victim such as: I have to do this…. My boss makes me so mad.
  • Don’t feel anger and resentment toward people you allow to infringe on your rights. Set healthy emotional and physical boundaries with people.
  • Don’t react to others and then blame them for the way you handled yourself. Behave proactively by making conscious choices about how you’ll respond to others.
  • Don’t do things you don’t want to do and then blame others for “making” you do it. Take full responsibility for how you choose to spend your time and energy.
  • Don’t choose to hold a grudge and harbor anger and resentment. Choose to forgive individuals regardless of whether they seek to make amends.
  • Don’t allow feedback and criticism to control how you feel about yourself. Be willing to examine feedback and criticisms without jumping to conclusions.

Don’t shy away from change

  • Do not ignore or avoid even thinking about change. Evaluate your readiness to change with an open mind.
  • Do not put off doing anything different until you reach certain milestones or until certain time frames have passed. Set a realistic time frame to establish and reach your goals.
  • Do not allow your emotions to dictate whether you want to change without considering the logical aspects of doing something different.Balance your emotions and rational thoughts to help you make a decision about whether to do something different.
  • Do not make excuses for why you can’t do anything different.
  • Be willing to anticipate potential obstacles that could interfere with your progress.
  • Review the potential pros and cons of making a change as well the pros and cons of staying the same. Do not focus only on the negative aspects of change without considering the positive.
  • Do not convince yourself not to bother trying to change because you don’t think you can do it.Focus on one small change at a time with clear action steps.
  • Do not wait until you feel like creating change. Commit to behaving like the person you want to become.

Do not focus on things you cannot control

  • Do not insist on doing everything because no one else can do it right. Delegate tasks and responsibilities to other people.
  • Do not choose to do everything on your own because you think you should be able to accomplish things without help. Ask for help when you need it
  • Do not spend time trying to figure out how to change things that are likely beyond your direct control. Focus on solving problems that are within your control
  • Do not try to force other people to do what you think they should do, regardless of how they feel. Keep the emphasis on influencing others rather than controlling them.
  • Think balanced thoughts about what is within your control and what isn’t.
  • Do not rely on yourself for the entire outcome.
  • Don’t only think about what you can do to make things turn out the way you want.
  • Don’t take full responsibility for the end result without acknowledging other factors that influence the outcome.

Do not worry about pleasing everyone

  • Don’t lose sight of who you are and what your values are. Identify your values and behave according to them.
  • Don’t only consider someone else’s feelings without thinking about your emotions.Be aware of your emotions before deciding whether to say yes to someone’s request.
  • Say no when you don’t want to do something. Don’t automatically accept an invitation without considering whether it’s a good choice.
  • Practice tolerating uncomfortable emotions associated with conflict and confrontation. Don’t agree with people and comply with requests to avoid confrontation.
  •  Don’t go along with the crowd or refuse to express any opinions that may go against what the majority of the people think. Behave assertively even when speaking up may not be well received.

Don’t fear to take calculated risks

  • Be aware of emotional reactions to risk taking. Do not base your decisions about risk on how you feel.
  • Identify types of risk that are particularly challenging.  Do not avoid the types of risk that stir up the most fear.
  • Recognize irrational thoughts that influence your decisions. Do not allow irrational thoughts to influence your willingness to try something new.
  • Educate yourself about the facts.
  • Spend time calculating each risk before making a decision. Do not ignore the facts. Make an effort to learn more when you lack the information you need to make the best choice.
  • Don’t react impulsively without taking time to weigh the risk. Don’t refuse to take risks that cause you discomfort. Practice taking risks and monitor the results so you can learn from each risk you take.

Don’t dwell on the past

  • Don’t try to pretend the past did not happen. Reflect on the past enough that you can learn from it.
  • Move forward in your life, even when it maybe painful to do so. Don’t try to prevent yourself from moving forward in life.
  • Don’t focus on what you’ve lost in life without being able to live in present. Actively work through grief so you can focus on the present and plan for the future.
  • Think about negative events in terms of facts, not emotions. Don’t replay painful events in your mind repeatedly and don’t focus on how you felt during them.
  • Don’t try to undo the past or make up for your past mistakes. Find ways to make peace with the past.

Don’t make the same mistakes over and over

  • Acknowledge your personal responsibility for each mistake. Do not make excuses and refuse to examine your role in the outcome.
  • Create a written plan to prevent repeating the mistake. Don’t respond impulsively without thinking about alternatives.
  • Identify triggers and warning signs of old behaviour patterns. Don’t put yourself in situations where you are likely to fail.
  • Practice self-discipline strategies. Do not assume you can always resist temptation or decide you are doomed to keep repeating your mistakes.

Don’t resent other people’s success

  • Create your own definition of success. Don’t chase after everyone else’s dreams.
  • Replace negative thoughts that breed resentment with more rational thoughts. Don’t imagine how much better everyone else’s lives are.
  • Celebrate other people’s accomplishments. Don’t diminish other people’s achievements.
  • Focus on your strengths. Don’t constantly compare yourself to everyone around you.
  • Cooperate rather than compete with everyone. Don’t treat everyone like they are your direct competition.

Don’t give up after the first failure

  • View failure as a learning opportunity. Don’t allow failure to stop you from reaching your goals.
  • Resolve to try again if your first attempt was not successful. Don’t consider future attempts to be a lost cause if your first attempt wasn’t successful.
  • Face your fear of failure. Don’t quit because you don’t want to tolerate discomfort.
  • Don’t define a task as impossible because it didn’t work the first time. Develop a new plan to increase your chance of success.
  • Identify and replace irrational thoughts about failure. Don’t allow yourself to think that failure is worse than it is.
  • Focus on improving your skills rather than showing them off. Don’t refuse to participate in tasks where you are not likely to excel.

Don’t fear alone time

  • Learn how to appreciate silence. Don’t keep background noise on at all times.
  • Take a few minutes every day to be alone with your thoughts. Don’t hurry from one activity to the next and focus on constantly producing something.
  • Schedule a date with yourself at least one time a month. Don’t fill your calendar with social engagements without leaving anytime for yourself.
  • Don’t believe that meditation couldn’t possibly be helpful. Learn how to meditate to quiet your mind.
  • Don’t multitask and zone out throughout the day. Practice mindfulness skills to focus on one task at a time.
  • Don’t assume journaling is a waste of time. Journal to sort out your emotions.
  • Don’t look at your to-do list and judge each day’s progress by how many things you’ve accomplished. Reflect on your progress and goals daily.

Don’t feel the world owes you anything

  • Develop healthy amounts of self-esteem. Don’t become overconfident in yourself and your abilities.
  • Recognize areas of life where you believe you are superior. Don’t insist you are better than most people at almost everything.
  • Focus on what you have to give, rather than what you want to take. Don’t keep score about all the things you deserve in life.
  • Give back to other people in need. Don’t refuse to give to others because you think you don’t have what you deserve.
  • Behave like a team player. Don’t look out for what’s best for you all the time.
  • Think about other people’s feelings. Don’t take only your own feelings into consideration.

Don’t expect immediate results

  • Don’t expect that you will see immediate results. Create realistic expectations about how long it will take to reach your goal and how difficult it will be.
  • Don’t assume that if things don’t get better right away, you’re not making progress. Find accurate ways to measure your progress.
  • Celebrate milestones along your journey. Don’t wait until you get to the end of your journey to celebrate.
  • Don’t allow your frustration and impatience to affect your behaviour. Cope with negative feelings in healthy ways.
  • Don’t predict that you have enough will power to resist all forms of temptation. Develop a plan to help you resist temptation.
  • Don’t look for shortcuts so you can avoid the work necessary to reach your goal. Pace yourself for the long haul.

 

The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo: Mind and Supermind

We previously spoke of the concept of the divine soul. The Divine Soul constantly exists in the Divine and is able to be One, One in Many and Many in One and Many without losing awareness of the Divine Unity at all times. All this seems nice to talk about, but the reality of our separate ego strikes us and we wonder whether the Divine Life that we talk about is at all possible in this world that we are existing now.

On one hand you have:

  • The Divine Maya
  • The Truth-Consciousness
  • The Real-Idea
  • The Conscious Force of the Universal and Transcendental Existence

On the other hand you have;

  • Mind
  • Life
  • Body

Basically, on one hand you have the Divine. On the other hand, you have what we can call as human. Since everything is Divine, some how this Divine has become the human that we see today. Both of them seems pole apart and to experience the Divine, it somehow seems that we need to let go this earthly or mental existence for we cannot envisage a situation where we can experience the Divine here.

But if we assert the fact that everything is Divine, made from the Divine and exists in the Divine, then in reality Mind, Life and Body should also be Divine in its very essence. Just because what we know at this point in our evolution indicates that they cannot become Divine does not mean that in Truth, they can become Divine in their attributes. Maybe as we become more in tune with the Divine Consciousness, they will change. Just imagine, 200 years ago we did not have cars, antibiotics, iPhones and the like and they probably seemed impossible to most at that time. But the truth is that they have happened. 200 years is miniscule in the larger scale of evolution. So, if Sri Aurobindo is saying that this is possible, we have to accept that this may be possible.

Many have been able to maintain the Divine Consciousness in the mind and the body. We have so far not seen anybody who has been able to remould the mind and body to the Divine although it is possible a few exist. However this has not become established in the earth as for now. When this happens we will have the kingdom of heaven on earth.

So we have to know what Mind, Life and Body are in the Divine Life and not in the separated and ignorant form we currently live in. The perfect Mind, Life and Body has to exist in the Real-Idea and we need to grow into that. This is what we name and seek as the Ideal. In Sri Aurobindo’s words: The Ideal is an eternal Reality which we have not yet realised in the conditions of our own being, not a non-existent which the Eternal and Divine has not yet grasped and only we imperfect beings have glimpsed and mean to create.

The Mind: The mind consciousness splits the whole into many parts. Then it deals with each part as a whole. It is unable to see the real whole. It sometimes seems to feel the whole but it cannot grasp it and if it tries to grasp it, it gives images, forms and words which by nature split the whole. The mind therefore cannot possess the Infinite, it can only be possessed by the Infinite. The Infinite can be possessed only by the supramental planes and the mind can know about the Infinite only by inert submission to the Truth that flows from above. This is the real nature and action of the mind: swabhava and swadharma. Since it splits Infinity to Finite and in our consciousness it does so excluding the Infinite, it is the nodus of the great Ignorance. Some think that this is cause of the universe or the Divine Maya. This is not true as the Divine Maya knows both Knowledge and Ignorance. Since the mind is the nodus of Ignorance, it cannot be the Divine Mind. There must be an original consciousness which is aware of the infinite and the finite, aware of the whole and the part and realising that the part is the whole despite being the part and sees the whole in the part. This consciousness we can call the Divine Mind. This Divine Mind hence has to be a subordinate of the supermind and not a separate working. This is called the Prajnana or the apprehending consciousness and is able to see things just like a poet sees his poems( different from himself but still himself as it comes from him)

This Prajnana is what makes the fundamental division into Purusha and Prakriti:

  • Purusha: the conscious soul who knows and sees and by his vision creates and ordains.
  • Prakriti: the Force-Soul or Nature-Soul which is his knowledge and his vision, his creation and his all-ordaining power.

Both of them are One Being and One Existence. Many forms are seen and created from the one and these knowledge and creative force of these forms in the One. The One pervades everything and is also there is each form and is also there beyond all these forms and governs the relationship between the various forms.

There is a Purusha. There is a Prakriti. The Purusha has divided himself into many purushas. They are enjoying the one Prakriti. Each purusha does not create his own prakriti(or universe). Each of the purushas are unique, like the children a person has. But these purushas are constantly aware of the Source and Eternal Nature.

They have not become separated from the Purusha in Space and Time.

So, in the words of Sri Aurobindo:

Thus the depiecing is already there; the relation of form with form as if they were separate beings, of will-of-being with will-of-being as if they were separate forces, of knowledge-of-being with knowledge-of-being as if they were separate consciousnesses has already been founded. It is as yet only “as if”; for the divine soul is not deluded, it is aware of all as phenomenon of being and keeps hold of its existence in the reality of being; it does not forfeit its unity: it uses mind as a subordinate action of the infinite knowledge, a definition of things subordinate to its awareness of infinity, a delimitation dependent on its awareness of essential totality—not that apparent and pluralistic totality of sum and collective aggregation which is only another phenomenon of Mind. Thus there is no real limitation; the soul uses its defining power for the play of well-distinguished forms and forces and is not used by that power.

But when the action of the mind is separated from the action of the Supermind or Divine Mind by a force called Avidya or Ignorance, it views itself as separate from the whole. As Sri Aurobindo puts it:

Thus separated, Mind perceives only the particular and not the universal, or conceives only the particular in an unpossessed universal and no longer both particular and universal as phenomena of the Infinite.Thus we have the limited mind which views every phenomenon as a thing-in-itself, separate part of a whole which again exists separately in a greater whole and so on, enlarging always its aggregates without getting back to the sense of a true infinity.

So how does this Avidya arise: Sri Aurobindo says:

It proceeds from the individualised soul viewing everything from its own standpoint and excluding all others; it proceeds, that is to say, by an exclusive concentration of consciousness, an exclusive self-identification of the soul with a particular temporal and spatial action which is only a part of its own play of being; it starts from the soul’s ignoring the fact  that all others are also itself, all other action its own action and all other states of being and consciousness equally its own as well as the action of the one particular moment in Time and one particular standing-point in Space and the one particular form it presently occupies.

The ignorance deepens when we become identified with the body. It becomes identified with the sensations and experiences given by the brain and the nerves rather than the deeper mind. But we can and we know many who can see and experience this body as something that comes and goes and even that which stimulates the superficial mind: this deeper mind is our first realisation of the soul or Purusha. This is what we call as the vital being ( pranamaya purusha). Beyond this vital being is the mental being ( manomaya purusha) which can perceive other souls as forms of its pure self. But here the perception is mental and to perceive the unity it has to withdraw from life and mind. It still thinks of itself as the judge, witness and the centre of the universe. There is still Avidya. There is a better image of Truth but it is not the Truth.

But to really be the Truth, Avidya has to go. Then we understand the truth of the world, as Sri Aurobindo:

And so we perceive that the Mind was really a subordinate action and instrumentation of the Truth-consciousness. So long as it is not separated in self-experience from the enveloping Master consciousness and does not try to set up house for itself, so long as it serves passively as an instrumentation and does not attempt to possess for its own benefit, Mind fulfils luminous its function which is in the Truth to hold forms apart from each other by a phenomenal, a purely formal delimitation of their activity behind which the governing universality of the being remains conscious and untouched. It has to receive the truth of things and distribute it according to the unerring perception of a supreme and universal Eye and Will. It has to uphold an individualisation of active consciousness, delight, force, substance which derives all its power, reality and joy from an inalienable universality behind. It has to turn the multiplicity of the One into an apparent division by which relations are defined and held off against each other so as to meet again and join. It has to establish the delight of separation and contact in the midst of an eternal unity and intermiscence. It has to enable the One to behave as if He were an individual dealing with other individuals but always in His own unity, and this is what the world really is.

The fundamental error of the Mind is, then, this fall from self-knowledge by which the individual soul conceives of its individuality as a separate fact instead of as a form of Oneness and makes itself the centre of its own universe instead of knowing itself as one concentration of the universal. Because of this, we do not have true knowledge, power and bliss and hence suffer. But when we can realise this truth, power and bliss will be realised and the duality or right and wrong, power and incapacity, joy and pain and life and death will diasppear and we will be our true nature which is the Divine.

Saturday Stories 47: What is spirituality?

A rabbi once came to Reb Yerachmiel after a meditation workshop. “A member of my congregation, a philosopher at the state college, asked me to teach him how to meditate. How should I instruct him?”

Reb Yerachmiel replied: “Teach him the prayer for moving his bowels, and teach him to recite it every time he does so. Don’t let him read on the toilet. He must just sit and pray.”

During a presentation on spirituality a woman rose and said: ‘I have no need of these practices. I feel spiritual all the time without doing anything.’

Reb Yerachmiel looked at her for a moment and said: ‘The next time you have an urge to be spiritual, take a cold shower. Then dry off and do something kind for someone else.