Who are you? Asked my inner voice A simple enough question, so I thought It was the hardest though to answer As I found many ways to interpret the question Is it my name? Or Is it my fame? Is it where I was born? Or To whom I was born? Is it my job? Or Is it my title? Is it my knowledge? Or Is it my qualification? Is it my skill? Or Is it my experience? Is it my money? Or Is it the lack of it? Is it my race? Or Just my face? Is it my colour? Or Is it my creed? Is it my religion? Or Is it my belief and values? Is it my experience? Or Is it my wisdom? Is it my body? Or Is it my spirit? It took many years to get to an answer, “I am Who I am” Sree
Hard to accept? Maybe your image of a ‘Yogi’ is of an individual who walks around in robes or without it, has a long flowing beard or long open hairstyle, long mala beads around the neck and wrists, moving around with a constipated look on the face and all other stereotypical forms handed down through constant messaging. Or for you a ‘Yogi’ would bring an image of an individual who can twist and turn his body in ways you cannot imagine you could possibly do yourself or a person who has special powers to read minds of people and see through their bodies. Then it will definitely be difficult to accept that you are a ‘Yogi’.
I think it is no more than an image and concept in people’s minds. Those things don’t define anyone.
If ‘Yoga’ means unifying then it cannot be ‘exclusive’! It encompasses all those who are and play a part in sustaining life in this universe.
Unfortunately, all the definitions handed down to us over years have been limited by the ‘language’ or ‘vocabulary’ and the possible subjective interpretations. For example, there is no equivalent in Tibetan language for the English word ‘emotion’ or ‘low self-esteem’.
So when you say the term ‘Yoga’ is about unifying then what I am understanding is an ‘all-encompassing’ ‘boundary-less’ state where no one is constrained by limitations of language and subjective interpretations. It’s possibly about ‘accepting’ your part in the ‘whole’ and doing it with all the joy as would a ‘child’ do before it learns the language. In the ‘child’ you see ‘Yogi’ at play and ‘Yoga’ in practice. You can see the power of a ‘yogi’ even in the eyes of those who are ‘dying’ as they limit the use of language when transacting with the universe. Both don’t feel the need to be bound by or fit the rules, conditions, categories, definitions, images and concepts of the world.
When you are not bound by the limitation of ‘practices’ you surely are a ‘Yogi’!
Why not play ‘God’ to people who you really want to help?
My prayer is my conversation with ‘God’ in which I derive the maximum comfort as well as maximum strength. It’s cause the so called ‘God’ is an entity who;
- Listens to me without filters
- Doesn’t judge me
- Doesn’t react to my angry outbursts
- I can complain to without being interrupted
- Will not ridicule me for crying
- Will not label me
- Has infinite patience
- Does not punish or reprimand me for what I say
- Allows me to be just me
- Leaves me to make my choices
It’s now a cliché’ when you hear statements like “God help those who help themselves” How true?
Come to think of it, this statement has deep meaning. How does God help you? ‘It’ (I am using ‘it’ to describe this entity as I do not for sure know ‘its’ gender) helps you by following the 10 commandments above. In fact ‘God’ is a master facilitator. Without being prescriptive ‘it’ guides you to make your own choices and therefore builds greater ownership and accountability. It’s that which helps us gain clarity and succeed in life.
You can play ‘God’ to someone you love or who you work with and help facilitate their growth by being ‘it’ and sticking to the 10 commandments of godliness which I’ve learnt from my years of prayer practice and meditation.
I’ve observed that most interpersonal relationship problems occur because we are not able to bring out the ‘God’ in us. We either become judgmental, reactive, prescriptive, violent and start to make choices for others which kills the relationship. Instead we can all practice these 10 behaviors.
Would you like to play ‘God’? Why not start with someone you love?
What is consciousness? Or What does consciousness mean to you? Why do we need to be conscious? Is it something only a select few evolved beings are entitled to? Are you not conscious already? What are you conscious of right now?
In trying to get answers to these questions, I have the following insights which I stumbled upon. I do not want to ask you whether you agree, cause it would go against the very lessons I uncovered in this process.
What I uncovered could ‘disturb’ you or even ‘frustrate’ or ‘anger’ you. That’s a fair warning I thought I must provide before you begin to explore here in my new blog post.
I have been equally guilty of at times the mindless pursuit of this elusive concept of consciousness. I call this a concept as this is today being sold worldwide as some unique recipe for the individual to attain the so called ‘unknown’; ‘inexplicable’ state of inner well-being. I thought it is about time I dig deeper into this concept. I really had to; as there are so many conflicting messages, talks, techniques which are prevalent that more than helping an individual achieve an elusive state of consciousness, confuses them even more.
The problem with confronting people who are in this pursuit with some hard facts and tough questions is that they tend to get defensive. When asked for more details or clarification, they explain away more from a delusionary perspective. I start to wonder, are these techniques or concepts our effort to explain away the negative states we encounter, or to be comfortable with such states.
The other question I have – why is it that most of the so called consciousness seekers or self-awareness pursuers are people who seem to have nothing else to do or have all the time in the world running around ideas and concept which will keep their curious minds busy?
There are three questions I have for you to understand ‘Why are we wanting to be self-aware or conscious?’ What drives you towards such pursuits?
- Is it your ‘fear’?
- Is it your ‘ego’?
- Is it merely an ‘escape’?
Most people who tell you that your body is just a ‘vehicle’ and it’s the spirit or super-conscious or an inexplicable state which guides your actions are the one’s who are probably trying to deal with their fears the most. They seem to be using these techniques to justify or feel comfortable with the harsh truths of life itself. They seem to be grappling with;
- The fear of death
- The fear of being controlled
- The fear of being manipulated
- The fear of being influenced
- The fear of being ruled over
- The fear of the unknown
- The fear of losing something or someone
- The fear of not doing something worthwhile
Come to think of it, most of the techniques, concepts of meditation, self-actualization etc. are nothing but very creative ways of explaining away or running away or infact avoiding the confrontation of some hard facts. They are merely comforting methods dished out to you. For example, you know that death is the ultimate truth (if you choose to call it) and if you fear it and are always worried about the fact of dying one day, you will constantly look for ways and means to comfort you that actually ‘body’ is just a vehicle, your spirit lives on and the blah blah. In fact doing this can lead you to deep denial of the reality. Similarly, when someone has been imprisoned or his territory has been taken over by a hostile neighbor and if he is not able to retaliate with equal and more force, he will resort to explanations which talk about how the world is actually boundaryless and we are all one and the blah! They will also explain away saying that even though you have taken over my territory, you cannot conquer my mind or heart. Very comforting isn’t it? Does a daily wages worker or laborer spend his time in all these ‘consciousness’; self-awareness business? He is just bothered about where his next meal is going to come. He just doesn’t have the time to reflect on all these concepts. Die eventually he will as much as the one’s pursuing higher levels of consciousness. Does that mean that if you have started pursuing all these techniques or dwelling into all these fields, you have all the time or nothing else to work towards? Are you running away from something? Are you fearful of something? Are you not ready to confront the reality? Are you delusionary in your approach to life?
I do remember, when I was enjoying working and earning money and was spending most of my time in all the so called material pursuits of life, I didn’t have time nor the inclination to think on such utopian concepts of self and conscious et al. It’s only when I didn’t have anything worthwhile to do or found that I got bored of what I was doing is when I started to spend time to understand the unknown.
I’m simply asking you the question, what if you are faced with extreme danger or a dear one is suffering? Do you spend time giving the concepts of life-death and beyond to such a person or just do the ‘next right thing’? Should provide you with some answers I suppose.
I go on to ask you, is the pursuit of ‘consciousness’ or all these new and old age techniques of meditation etc., to satisfy your ‘ego’? That you wish to know what other so called great saints claim to know or have experienced? Or simply, you don’t want to feel like a loser who didn’t learn this one concept which would then entitle you to be called an ‘evolved’ being or someone who knows more than the others? Don’t hesitate to confront this dimension of you head on. Similar to our fears, our ego is also one of the triggers for these mindless pursuits. You just don’t want to be;
- Defeated by death
- Defeated by knowledge
- Defeated in controlling your mind
- Defeated by the influence of others on your behavior or emotions
- Defeated by others who seem to have been ahead in various pursuits of life
- Defeated by ignorance and so on..
Come to think of it, doesn’t our ego come in the way of accepting reality most of the times. We do not want to accept the fact that a certainty like death will confront each one of us. We want to conquer it knowing fully well that it is not a possibility. We want to provide fantastical explanations around the fact of ‘death’ so as to comfort ourselves that it is not going to rule our mind and heart. We just don’t want to let go. Similarly if you look at many of our pursuits could also be a result of a competing mindset driven by our ego. You feel at times a personal insult that you do not know of somethings which others know; here we are talking about ‘self-awareness’ or ‘consciousness’. Your ego is hurt. You would respond either by pursuing it yourself so that you can claim that knowledge yourself or you would like to attack the whole idea and call it frivolous or wasteful pursuit. Now hang on; I know what would have crossed your mind right now. You would be thinking, this guy is of the second type, driven by his ego not wanting to accept the fact that he doesn’t know of some higher goal or knowledge. But really, don’t you think it is the case with most of us. If you observe your responses to emotional triggers on a daily basis you will understand what I am trying to tell you here.
We have also been told that our mind is so vast and complex that it is very difficult to understand or control. That really hurts. How can I not control my own ‘mind’ (ego kicking in). Let me go out and find out techniques and procedures to control my mind. I ask you, why do you need to put so much of effort and energy in controlling your mind. You just need to respond to a situation and respond in a way which will be joyful to you. Try to swim against the tide takes a toll on your energy; is frustrating and tiresome at times. That’s why you see many who go for these meditation sessions find it very difficult to concentrate / focus. The more they try to focus the more distracted they become, the more distracted they are when compared to others around them the more frustrated they become and start to put more effort. There ‘ego’ doesn’t allow them to be defeated. By now you would have got a sense of how our ego becomes a driver in our pursuits and traps us in its clutches.
Sometimes I have also found that all these pursuits which are in the realm of the esoteric, unknown, unexplainable are also driven by our desire to ‘escape’. The great emperor Ashoka took to Buddhism to escape the responsibility of the carnage he inflicted in the Kalinga war. He could not any longer confront the reality and instead of looking at rebuild, he chose the escape mechanism as an easier thing to do at that time. This is further confirmed by the fact that most people go on such retreats and call it ‘an escape from the daily life or routine’. They are called escapades. This pursuit of understanding ‘self’ and that of ‘consciousness’ and other invisible forms are nothing but what I call ‘intellectual escapade’. Are you?
Heavy rains lashed the small hamlet of ‘Samsara’ (material world) situated at the banks of the mighty river ‘Gyana’ (Knowledge). The river started to swell to dangerous proportions and slowly started inundating the streets. The village elders and wise men quickly assessed the situation and made a decision to leave the village with whatever they could carry. They knew from experience that once the river reaches such levels there will be devastation all around and nothing will be left of the village. It was in the people’s best interest to leave immediately. As the whole village started their migration the elders saw that one of the members was still at home and unwilling to come along. It was ‘Aham’ (Self) who took pride in his intelligence and higher levels of education. When asked, he curtly replied to the village head, “You people are fools, running away at the slightest of provocation. I was taught to be determined and persistent and so shall I be.
‘Aham’ had amassed lots of wealth and possessions since the time he started to work in the city and had built a house of his dreams which was the cynosure of all in the village. He was just not willing to abandon everything and run away. He was worried that others will steal all he had, while he was away, so he decided to stay put in spite of the persuasive efforts of his elders.
The story goes that ‘Aham’ drowned in the fury of the river and died. After the water receded the villagers found his body lying in the slush, clinging on to some of his possessions. Alas! what use was it now? Most of us cling on in this fashion – to our thoughts, ideas, positions and are so stuck up that we are unwilling to listen, understand, comprehend and adapt. We are simply not willing to ‘let go’.
Are we not all ‘living dead’ like ‘Aham’?
Though I’m touching on an area where there is so much already happening; what with new age gurus dishing out different techniques and processes to meditate. I want to investigate the efficacy. Do people really get to what they have been promised? Are you being told that it takes years to reach the promised state.? As much as it took for your guru to master? Have people been merely hallucinating?
To understand what you have been doing all the while let me provide a different perspective. Mind you this is not to convince you to discard any process you have been diligently following.
Let’s see what is meditation by examining the meaning of “pre- meditate”. It means prepare, plan in advance for a desired outcome. Don’t you think you have been doing the same in the name of meditation. Plan in advance for an outcome? An outcome which is abstract, unexplainable.
Actually most of you have probably been pre- meditating than meditating. What then could be meditating? Obviously it can’t be same as pre- meditating.
Don’t you think ‘meditating’ is simply being present in the moment? Do what you do without expectation.?
It might just relieve you from the stress of ‘meditation’. It might also save you endless hours of time in your life and provide you with enough opportunity to lead your life as you would want to.
Actually you know that as well, however it might take courage to reject what has been the conditioning.
The writer requests you to give yourselves a chance.
If you are constantly looking for praise; are looking to confirm or affected by criticism; if you are affected by external considerations all the time, then you have effectively moved away from your ‘Essence’ – that who you really are. The real ‘I’.
Your real ‘I’ or ‘Essence’ remains till about the age when you go to school. Maybe till about 3 years of age, after which the false personality starts to take shape through external considerations of expectations, norms, criticism, praise, rewards and recognition. You start to take on a personality which actually confirms to the external considerations than to what your internal essence – the real ‘I’ will be happy about. Over the years you are so driven by the external that you tend to move further and further away from your ‘I’ and become a personality which is not you.
Let me explain. You might have come across many people who after achieving so much in the external world, give everything up and start doing things which are totally away from their profession. For example an industrialist giving up everything he earned to walk a spiritual path, or an engineer who gave up his career to be a musician. These are examples of people getting to their true essence. In these situations they ate no longer looking for confirmation, praise, rejection or any other external stimuli to lead their life. They feel at peace inside. You can feel it too if you observe your internal state after every action of yours, that if you are happy and at peace with what you are doing.
The taste of your action will determine who you really are.
Let’s say you went into a store and the billing clerk gave you some extra cash by error. You ignore that and go ahead by self-justifying that you actually deserve it as the store has high prices for all goods and has been fleecing customers.
After this happens several times, we notice we have a bad taste in our mouth. This taste does not feel right and it stays with us. We are not critical; we are just observing it. It stays with us for a while. Then when we are in the same situation again when the error goes in our favor, we notify the clerk, and it is corrected. After the correction, we do not get the bad taste in our mouth. We might, in fact, have a good taste. The important thing is that we know by the taste of our actions what is true and false. This may take years. There are no easy shortcuts and we just have to observe ourselves without criticism, self-justification, internal considering, self-pity, or analysis, and with a sense of humor as to what we have observed to obtain a picture of what type of person we really are. Only when we have this picture of ourselves can we start to change. We must not only observe our inner states, but we must also observe our different centers.
My question to you is “have you moved too far away from your Essence – of who your really are?” Observe……
When you fail to choose for yourself and also fail to acknowledge that you are making the choices – everything looks like an ‘illusion’ or ‘maya’. In this space you do not have any control over the happenings or the outcomes.
This can lead to a lot of paradoxes in life for you, which may leave you confused, frustrated and with a belief that you have very little control on the happenings on in this universe. It starts to feel that you are living in an illusionary world and life is all ‘maya’ which is difficult to comprehend.
However, you can free yourself from this state by taking a first step – Acknowledging that you are the one who is making the choices in your life and the outcom
es are purely the result of your choice. When you own up, you start to move away from the uncontrollable world of ‘illusions’ and ‘maya’ and feel in a better space.
For example in the accompanying picture – What do you see? an old lady or a pretty woman? isn’t it your choice? isn’t it
the way you are looking at the pic? or is it not real at all? do you acknowledge that the painting exists? Same is with life…
Are you ready to make the choice? Are you ready to accept that you are making the choices?
Understand this as I’m that and purge the rest
Shake off your beliefs of religion and power
I was there before and will be after
I am there when you see light
I will be there when you see darkness
From the depth of the grave to the blue sky
What use of reading religious texts
When you understand not a word you quaff
What use of retiring to the jungles
and not absorb the dew drops from leaves
What use of retiring to the high mountains
Reaching the summit
and not absorb the path you walk
What use is of prostrating and bowing one’s head
and not absorb the stone you lie
What use of fasting
and not absorb the grain
What use of breathing in and then out
and not absorb the life
The touch you feel
The eyes that see
The smell you get
The pain you experience
The joy you get
From the face you see in the mirror and
the people who love you
the people who care for you
the people who hate you
the people who despise you
the people who support you and
the shoulder you lean on
Absorb this truth….. I’m this and I’m that
GOD – is a planted idea?
There is reason to believe that the idea of ‘GOD’ has been carefully planted and stories told and retold by the ruling class in order to control the people they rule. Religion has been the medium.
Precisely the reason that you find only the ruling class which gets very agitated, reactive and violent when you question the very idea of ‘GOD’ which they claim to believe, propound or propagate. It is very strategic without their direct involvement.
The rulers created messengers or the interpreters who claimed to be the authority on these very ideas and planted them amongst the people so that the needle of suspicion doesn’t directly fall on them.
Mind you this is not specific to any religion. It is a strategy used universally.
The proof also lies in the fact that you will be treated as a pariah if you try and interpret GOD and Religion in any other way than what has been prescribed. Did I say ‘prescribed’? The very fact that it is a prescription is a give-away. Even the messengers get very disturbed if you come with a contrarian view.
You also find that the so-called places of worship are more a demonstration of the power and grandeur of the rulers. The very pompous nature of the ruling class in these places of worship is another indication of this fact.
Why does GOD need all the money, grand throne, grandiose premises? Isn’t he omnipresent? or Does GOD exist at all?