Tag Archives: knowledge

To fill the bucket

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Grasping at sense objects (a match-factory)

When the mind is directed to the illusionary outside world of objects, it is prone to grasp at these objects as it has numberless concepts to distinguish between them. The amount of them is endless. The mind is conditioned by society, personal experience and education to grasp, reject or to be indifferent towards them. The more it is under the influence of desire, the more it grasps. It wants to fulfil this emptiness left behind by the veil that covers our happiness, our true self, with the fleeting happiness created by the objects of desire. As the very nature of the sense objects is impermanent, suffering is inherent. This happiness is never lasting and we will never get the bucket full, no matter how much we grasp at desirable objects. As soon as the object is acquired, the happiness that is obtained by it is already fading away, even though the object might still exist. The magic of the moment when it became “mine” quickly fades and it then turns into a weapon faced towards us. It can now cause innumerable sufferings. It might get stolen, lost, leave us or increase our pride, hence become fruitful soil for hatred, anger, jealousy or suffering of loss. And finally, this whole process leaves permanently new impressions on the veil of our true self, covering it ever more and distancing us ever more from the true happiness we are longing for so hardly… our true self.

The only way to clear that veil, this dust on the mirror, on our true nature, is to let go and to observe… in silence. It is only by discriminative knowledge that we can meet the army of defilements of the mind. Then, through understanding the real nature of those illusionary outside objects, the grasping will naturally take an end. The veil made out of all those impressions covering our true shining self will slowly dissolve and true happiness will naturally be revealed. It might go very quickly for some of us, but I can also take many years. But the very motivation of reading about all this, even if it might be difficult to understand at the beginning, is already the first step into a wonderful story realizable in this lifetime, if you are really decided to do so.

Love,

Shanti

Unending Love by Rabindranath Tagore

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It has been a long time since I have posted my last message here. But I will continue to keep the Blog up and, from time to time post some thoughts or as today something I have worked on for some time. It is one of my favorite poems from Rabindranath Tagore. I have combined the spoken text with the Piano Concerto N° 5 from Beethoven. The image is a wallpaper image I downloaded from http://www.mrwallpaper.com. I have put subtitles to give the watcher an easy and joyful experience. I hope you like it.

Currently I am studying Vedanta scriptures, the Upanishads and more precisely the Advaita Vedanta. Reading does not bring enlightenment as we are already enlightened. It is through awareness and by giving attention to the experience of perception rather than to the object that is perceived that we will discover oneness, love… But these ancient texts, the Vedas, are of tremendous beauty if your heart is open. The Vedanta, or Upanishads, are the latest text of the Vedas. Vedanta is composed by the two words Veda and Anta. Anta means “the end”. Vedanta can be translated as the End of the Vedas. The Vedas are the most ancient texts known by mankind composed more than 5000 years ago by several sages over a period of time. The four Vedas talk a lot about rituals and ethics, the worldly religious knowledge, and as soon as self inquiry and self introspection comes into play we speak about the Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta speaks about non-duality and the most famous sage was Shankara, who commented and developed the Advaita Vedanta philosophy further. There is a lot more to say about these texts but the mere knowledge about them is not helpful. They are the finger that points to the moon. Some spend their lives analysing the finger, chewing and sucking on it and intellectualizing everything and the others simply look to where the finger is pointing… the moon.

Metta,

Shanti

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Rupert Spira

The Known, the Knower and Knowing

From the Known to the Knower

Thought considers Me to be a separate self, born into a world, moving around in space and time and destined one day to disappear. As such thought considers Me an object, a mixture of thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions, sharing their limits and destiny.

In this way thought overlooks My essential nature and considers Me a body/mind – a man or woman, tall, short, hungry, sad, happy, intelligent, twenty five years old, etc. – that knows or experiences objects, others and the world. However, one simple look at experience shows that I know the body/mind just as I know the world. I am the Knower of experience; the body/mind is known.

Qualities of the Knower

I know thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions but am not Myself made out of thought, feeling, sensation or perception and am therefore said to be empty, silent, transparent. I am present and aware and therefore known as Awareness.

As such, thought likens Me to open, empty space in which all appearances arise. Like physical space I am not affected by what does or doesn’t take place within Me and, therefore, peace is My nature. Peace is not a quality of Myself; it is Myself, ever-present under all circumstances.

Like empty space I have no agenda with appearances. It makes no difference to Me whether the mind is silent or not, whether the body is young, old, healthy or not, nor what is happening in the world. I allow all appearances unconditionally and impartially.

Thought likes and dislikes but I neither like nor dislike these likes and dislikes. Thought resists and seeks but I neither resist nor seek the end of resistance or seeking. Being empty, I do even not know resistance and am, therefore, causeless happiness itself.

Like empty space, I do not share the qualities nor the destiny of the objects that appear within Me; I do not move and change when they move and change; I do not appear nor disappear when they appear or disappear; I am not born and do not die. The body and mind are always on a journey but I never undertake the journey with them. They journey through Me but I never journey in them. I am the unchanging and ever-present Knower of all that is known.

From the Knower to Knowing

However, by thinking of Me as the Knower or the witnessing space in which all appearances arise, thought is imagining Me separate from appearances. In fact, I am more like a screen, one with and intimately pervading the image that appears on it. In fact, the image doesn’t appear on nor is it pervaded by the screen. There is no independent image present to be ‘one with’ or ‘pervaded by’ the screen. Only the screen is truly present. The screen is the appearing image. ‘Image’ is another name for screen.

Likewise, although the body, mind and world seem to exist in their own right, they owe their apparent reality to Me alone. ‘Body,’ ‘mind’ and ‘world’ are just the names and forms that thought gives to Me when I have been overlooked.

The character in a movie is only real from the viewpoint of one of the characters. The image is only real, as such, from the illusory viewpoint of the image. From the true and only viewpoint of the screen, only the screen is truly present and real. There is no real character there; there is only the screen.

Likewise, I am all that is truly present and known in all experience. All that is known of the body, mind and world is the knowing of them and I am that Knowing. It is only thought that abstracts a ‘knower’ and a ‘known,’ from the seamless intimacy of Knowing or Experiencing. However, the body, mind and world are never known or experienced as such. So we cannot say there is the knowing ‘of them,’ but rather that there is only Knowing. I am not the knowing that pervades all experience; I am the Knowing that is all experience.

Just as, relatively speaking, we do not see objects, we see only modulations of the sun’s light, so in reality we do not know objects as such, we know only modulations of Knowing. Only Knowing is truly known and it is Knowing that knows Knowing. I am and know Myself alone. This absence of distance, otherness or separation is love. True knowledge and love are identical.

The Imaginary Separate Self

It is thought that superimposes a subject and an object upon the seamless intimacy of experience thereby seemingly veiling the peace, happiness and love that lie ever-present and always available at its heart. With this apparent veiling, I seem to be lost or forgotten and, as a result, an imaginary self, made of Myself plus the belief that I share the qualities and destiny of appearances, comes into apparent existence. This imaginary inside self is always on a mission to regain the experience of peace, happiness and love that seems to have been lost when My nature is apparently veiled.

To this end the imaginary inside self undertakes a great adventure in the imaginary outside world, in time and space, without realizing that these are its own creations. Like the character in a movie who travels the world looking for the screen, the imaginary self travels the world seeking peace in circumstances, happiness in objects and love in relationships, without realizing that it is already made of the stuff for which it is in search. I am already the love with which I am longed for.

Frustrated by the inevitable failure of its search, the imaginary inside self devises all kinds of strategies such as stilling the mind, disciplining the body and shunning the world, in the hopes that I will be revealed as a result.

In time, the activity of seeking and resisting that is the separate self may, through exhaustion, frustration or intelligence, come to an end and, as a result, the peace of My true nature shines for a timeless moment as it truly is. This dissolution of the activity of seeking and resisting is the unveiling of My presence.

In fact, even that is not true. I am eternally as I am, independent of what thoughts and feelings do or say, never truly veiled by the activity of seeking and resisting. In fact, I never cease to be aware of Myself and, therefore, never really become aware of a separate self, let alone an object, other or world, as such. Therefore, the separate self is only a separate self from the imaginary viewpoint of a separate self.

From My viewpoint, which is the only real viewpoint (and which is not really a point of view) there is never any real veiling or forgetting of Myself. The entire adventure of the separate self takes place in a bubble of thought and feeling whilst all the while I am at rest in and as Myself.

Like the wave that reaches the shore and, ceasing to be wave, is revealed as ocean, so the seeking/resisting thought comes to an end and, losing its name and form, stands revealed as Myself alone. It doesn’t become Myself; it is always only that, just as wave is always only ocean. Only its temporary name and form seemed to make it something other than ocean. The fuel of all desire is already the happiness for which it seeks.

Love and Freedom

Like the moth that longs for the flame but cannot experience it, so all the separate self’s activities are designed to find Me alone, but I am the one thing it cannot know or have. The only way the separate self can know Me is to die, just as the moth can only know the flame by dying in it. That death is the experience of love, the dissolution of self and other.

However, for the flame, there is only the flame; for water there is only water; for Myself, there is only Myself. Veiling, forgetting, searching and finding are for the self that thought images Me to be, never for Myself, the true and only self that is. Whatever the limited qualities of the body and mind that thought superimposes on Me, I stand eternally free, untouched but intimately touching all seeming things, lending them My reality, thereby giving them seeming existence.

It is upon Me that thought superimposes the witness and the witnessed, and then further invests My witnessing presence with the qualities and destiny of a body/mind, thereby downgrading Me to a separate self. But all the while, I stand naked and alone never actually being, knowing or loving anything other than My eternally free self.

For thought there are three possibilities for the self – to be the known, the Knower or pure Knowing; to be a person, a witness or pure Awareness; to be something, nothing or everything. However, I never truly am or know anything other than Myself.

— Rupert Spira – Dutch Nonduality magazine “Inzicht” (year 2012, issue # 1)

(image soure and text source: non-duality.rupertspira.com)

Three Possibilities of My Self

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The inherent contradiction of human life has now reached an extreme degree of tension: on the one side there is the consciousness of the beneficence of the law of love, and on the other the existing order of life which has for centuries occasioned an empty, anxious, restless, and troubled mode of life, conflicting as it does with the law of love and built on the use of violence. This contradiction must be faced, and the solution will evidently not be favourable to the outlived law of violence, but to the truth which has dwelt in the hearts of men from remote antiquity: the truth that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man. But men can only recognize this truth to its full extent when they have completely freed themselves from all religious and scientific superstitions and from all the consequent misrepresentations and sophistical distortions by which its recognition has been hindered for centuries.

— Leo Tolstoy – A Letter to a Hindu

The law of love is in accord with the nature of man

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Suppose you know the definitions
of all substances and their products,
what good is this to you?
Know the true definition of yourself.
That is essential.
Then, when you know your own definition, flee from it,
that you may attain to the One who cannot be defined,
O sifter of the dust.

— Jalalud’din Rumi – Sifter of Dust – The Rumi Collection

Sifter of Dust

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You cannot know the Self, for to know it, you need one to know it and then we have two again, one who knows something that can be known. Self cannot be known. Self is absolute knowledge, not needing to be known and not knowable by any knower. It is absolute, not containing qualities or characteristics because attributes have their opposite. Absolute is Self, Self is absolute.

— Jac O’Keeffe

You cannot know the Self

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To learn about oneself one needs a great deal of humility. If you start by saying, “I know myself”, you’ve already stopped learning about yourself. Or if you say, “There is nothing much to learn about myself because I know what I am—I’m a bundle of memories, ideas, experiences, tradition, a conditioned entity with innumerable contradictory reactions”—you’ve stopped learning about yourself. To learn about oneself requires considerable humility, never assuming that you know anything: that is, learning about oneself from the beginning and never accumulating. The moment you accumulate knowledge about yourself through your own discovery, that becomes the platform from which you begin to examine, learn, and therefore what you learn is merely further addition to what you already know. Humility is a state of mind that never acquires, never says, “I know”.

— Jiddu Krishnamurti – Talks & Dialogues – p. 212

About Humility