Meditative Inquiry: Is Thinking Same as Being Aware of Thought?

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Activities in NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Group
  3. Journal of One of the Members of the Group – A 19 yrs old girl
  4. Conclusion

Introduction

Those who are regular readers of my blog would be aware that I use the teachings of J Krishnamurti as the preparation for entering into Advaita, which helps in the final realization of Self/Brahman/Eternal Witness. I have written in detail about this unique method and it’s stages in my article Stages: From Self Inquiry to Self Realization. I run two Facebook Groups to teach these stages. The first two stages are taught utilizing the teachings of J Krishnamurti in my NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Inquiry Study Group. The third and last stage is for people who have undertaken the journey with Krishnamurti’s teachings to the penultimate stage and have attained the four qualifications for beginning the Jnana Yoga of Advaita – scaling of the peak of truth. The four qualifications, in brief, are

  1. Viveka – Discrimination between awareness and it’s objects
  2. Vairagya – Mental detachment from all objects (subtle and gross) born of a deep understanding of their impermanence and therefore inability to give permanent happiness.
  3. Shad Sampatti – Wealth of six virtues of mind that help it to become contemplative and look within rather than to be lost in the external world of gross objects and phenomena.
  4. Mumukshutva – Intense desire for liberation/ Intense desire to know the ultimate truth

Those who have got these prerequisites are part of the NEEV Advaita Study Group. Those interested in joining any of the groups can go to Learn Advaita page and contact me after reading it. Both these groups are visible to public but their contents are visible to members only. Please note that both these groups are meant for those who are very seriously and passionately engaged in self inquiry.

Activities in NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Group

Those who have gone through the article Stages: From Self Inquiry to Self Realization shall know that I divide the journey from Self Inquiry to Self Realization in three stages

  1. Psycho-Philosophical Inquiries
  2. Meditative Inquiries
  3. Advaitic Inquiries

Since I have already discussed them in detail in the above mentioned article, I shall not be elaborating upon these practices here. I just wish to say that in the NEEV Psycho-Philosophy group, the first two practices are taught. It’s a small group, mostly consisting of students who are 18-20 years old. The practice I teach them are the three fundamental practices of Jnana Yoga of Advaita but with a different turn. The three practices are

  • Shravana/ Reading Books of J Krishnamurti (starting with his three volumes of “Commentaries on Living”. One chapter is to be read every day.
  • Manana/Reflection – In case there are any doubts or discussion required on whatever one reads in J Krishnamurti, one can post these in the group and get clarity. This helps in reflection and removal of doubts.
    • Journal Writing – This is the most significant aspect of Manana, but which ties all the three practices of shravana, manana and nidhidhyasana together. The members are supposed to maintain a journal every day and post it to the FB group. The journal is a reflection of the journey of self inquiry. It does myriad things: right from developing clarity of thought and expression, to helping the mind probe deeper, to tying down self inquiry which is an abstract practice to a concrete output, to providing a context for dialogue and mentorship between myself and the group members.
  • Nidhidhyasana/Contemplation – The members of the group are supposed to meditate every day for a period of time. The method of meditation is “Choiceless Awareness of ‘what is'”. It means one is supposed to just observe thoughts without judging them, controlling them or trying to modify them. This is the central root of teachings of J Krishnamurti.

From here to arriving finally at the Advaitic intuition – “You Are Awareness” – is the last step which is done by undertaking the path of Shankara’s Advaita. The three practices of shravana, manana and nidhidhyasana are repeated gain, but this time with the teachings of Shankara rather than those of Krishnamurti.

Journal of One of the Members of the Group

The group started on 18th May 2020. It took some time for the members to understand the three practices and incorporate them in their lives meaningfully. I am posting three journal entries from one of the members of the group to show how the three practices done together start creating a meditative awareness which further starts going deep into understanding the nature of thought and self. This journal is of a 19 years old girl.

Journal – 26.06.20

Organizing Time

Time is very important in our life. One needs to be very punctual. Everything needs to be done on time and if not done then you may mess up a situation. Well, I’m writing about time because since the past few days I am following my routine. And a routine makes life very efficient if it is followed properly. As I’m following my routine, I’m using my time than wasting in silly things. I am always into doing some or the other work and looking into myself. Time matters most in our lives. But by following a schedule, don’t we get bound by time?

Today while meditating I decided to watch every thought of mine without choosing. I slowly started watching, at the same time I was also aware of my thinker. I came to know that when we watch our thought as they are, they get clarified even more deeply. After reading sir’s comments on my journal, I started looking at how I am getting stuck between the thinker and the thought. I am not waiting for the answer rather trying to hold the question.

In my reading time today, I read the chapter on “Anger”. Anger like sorrow can get one isolated. I also learnt that anger in any form justifies oneself. We prove others wrong, just to feel ourselves to be right. I also came across a question, “Without having any attitude, whether it is about being right or wrong, what are we?” Another thing which I learnt is that sudden anger is simple, but anger that is built out of hate consciously for destroying is very dangerous.We suppress our anger by our will which takes it to a deeper level, creating violence. To understand this violence, there must be an understanding of desire.

Journal – 28.06.20

Determination of doing something

Today also I woke up at 6 o’clock exactly. I have decided to do everything perfectly on time, and I am following my resolve. This decision was taken by me, a little late. I must have taken it before. It took me at least 10 days to come out of my comfort zone completely (at least 95%) and I have to work on the remaining 5%. I would like to say that it is very easy to take any decision, but to follow it, we need huge determination and dedication. I am glad that I am sticking to my decision.

While doing meditation now I try my best to watch all thoughts and I’m doing it to some extent. I asked myself a question, whether I’m decided from before, that I’ll look into some particular thoughts, or I’m open to watching each & every thought? Therefore, I’m knowing myself day by day slowly.

In my reading time today I read the chapter “Separateness”. In this I came to know that man is not a result of one influence only, as he’s a complex of many influences. By giving importance to one influence, and suppressing the other, leads to the imbalance. As a result of this, more chaos & misery arises. I also learned that the problem of separation does not get away with substitution or suppression. All this suppression and substitution are an escape from being/looking at the feeling of separation. These escapes may work for some time, but the feeling is still there, which will arise, more strongly in the future.So one must not suppress or change/deny any feelings: rather look into them as they are. Then one will find the real depth of the feeling.

Journal – 30.06.20

Analysis & Awareness

My morning started with a strange feeling, without knowing what it was. I stayed with that feeling, looking some time, thinking about it. I tried to find out what it was, as we are not used to be with feelings, about which we don’t know. I was naming it, but later I told myself, that if I will name it according to my judgement, I cannot look into it and know the depth of it. I watched the feeling for quite some time, but after some time, it disappeared. After that, I started doing my meditation.

Nowadays, I don’t start meditation with a conclusion, that I’ll see this or that, rather I look into all thoughts that appear in my meditation. So in today’s meditation, I asked myself a question, Am I really aware? Or I just know or analyze my thoughts and feelings etc. There’s a big difference in knowing or being aware of something and thinking and analyzing about something. Then a question arose in me, “How does one become aware without analyzing?”

Today I read the chapter “Sincerity”. In this chapter, I learned that sincerity can never be simple. As sincerity comes from the will and will cannot ever discover the self. The most important thing I learned is that self-knowledge does not come by will, rather it comes by being aware from moment to moment. Will is the essence of desire and to understand desire, will, becomes an obstacle. I also came to know that conflict is between opposing desires. Giving importance to one desire by opposing the other leads to conflict. I also learned that the greater is the identification, the more conflict and pain we will have. Simplicity and sincerity cannot be together. One who is identified with something can be sincere, but cannot be simple. “Simplicity comes into being when there is freedom from the desire to achieve.

Conclusion

I don’t think I need to clarify anything in the journals with my comments. Any discerning reader can witness the unmistakable flow of self inquiry that is deepening on its own accord. As the journal entries indicate at the start itself, the most important thing is to build the discipline of the three practices. These journals are a moving picture of how the three practices of shravana, manana and nidhidhyasana operate and plunge the mind into ever widening circles of meditative inquiry. I have not given the answer to the question which is indicated in the blog topic. It is because asking and holding the question is more important than just getting an intellectual answer.

Mere intellectual knowledge cannot help us get Self Knowledge and liberation. Chapter 6 of Bhagavad Gita comprises Krishna’s advice to Arjuna on meditation. While the method of meditation that I teach is based on J Krishnamurti’s (JK’s) teachings, and is different from that mentioned in the Gita, the following verses from Gita describe the final state of a meditator’s mind. JK’s meditation of “choiceless awareness of what is” helps one to reach this state to a great extent.

Verse 18: When the mind has gained a certain composure and remains in the self alone, when one is free from longing for all the objects of desire, then the person is said to be one who is accomplished.
Verse 19: A lamp, protected from the wind, does not tremble. This illustration is cited for the composed mind of the meditator who practices contemplation of the self. 
Verse 20: When the mind, mastered by the practice of meditation, abides in atma, and when, seeing oneself by oneself alone, one rejoices in oneself…
Verse 21:…and when one recognizes this absolute happiness, which is known by the intellect, which is beyond sense perception and when, being rooted therein one never moves away from the truth of oneself…
Verse 22: …and having gained which, one does not think there is any other better gain than that, established in which, one is not affected even by a great sorrow…
Verse 23: …may one know that dissociation from association with sorrow, to be what is called as yoga. That yoga should be pursued with clarity of purpose with a mind that is not discouraged.

2 thoughts on “Meditative Inquiry: Is Thinking Same as Being Aware of Thought?

  1. ok ty. Practicing more Nidhidhyasana now with eyes closed. Choiceless effortless non doing awareness. No manipulation of trying to get rid of ego or thoughts or judgement. What would happen if I do this 24 hours a day, anurag? Would that be benefeicial for me for 1 year, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I need a practice that I can do for hours without getting exhausted. And I think I can do this choiceless awareness for a long time. I was allreayd doing it before I met you. ty. enjoy the tea!

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    1. As I shared in my previous comment. You have already done this shamta or mind stabilization practice for many years. What you need now is insight. This can only happen when you read the Advaita online course and clear your doubts regarding it in dialogue with me. I have been saying only this thing to you consistently everywhere.

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