In this article I am presenting a dialogue with a student of the NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Group, where he starts out examining the notion of success, failure and comparison in society, in his journal. The dialogue starts going deeper as it moves from the leaves, to the branches to the trunk of the mind. It reveals the overwhelming tendency of the mind to land on an answer, to arrive at a certainty, to land on a conclusion on which it can build its comfortable nest. It is the task of the teacher to keep demolishing the nest the student is trying to build by advancing answers, so that he/she find quick relief from suffering. In my last article, “The Difference Between Thinker and Observer in Advaita: A Dialogue” I had talked about how one needs to shift from being a thinker to an observer if one has to undergo the subtle level of inquiries in Advaita. The dialogue in this article shows how one can make this shift and the massive difficulties encountered by a student’s mind in making this shift. Without this step, none can hope to make any progress in any path of self inquiry or Jnana Yoga. It is the base on which all future self inquiry at the most advanced levels rests upon.… Read More The Network of Thought and the Mind’s Need for Answers: A Dialogue
The method of self-inquiry in Advaita is to examine gross objects to subtle objects and keep negating them as candidates for ultimate reality. One such inquiry is to distinguish between the mental observer and the thinker. In our technologically dominated society, the thinker is seen as the paramount tool of life, both in the technical and psychological realms. However, the seeker of the ultimate truth has to understand the limitations of the thinker and go past it to the observer. In Advaita, the observer is the more refined function of the intellect which has viveka/discriminatory power. It performs the act of discriminating between the ultimate reality of Awareness and the objects that appear to it. This dialogue discusses the confusions and difficulties that arise when a seeker is trying to make this shift. It also discusses how Advaita is different from all other yoga like paths in its handling of the thinking function. … Read More The Difference Between Thinker and Observer in Advaita: A Dialogue
This is a dialogue based on the question of a student in my NEEV Advaita Study Group. The quandary he is raising is somewhat similar to the dilemma faced by Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita and almost all of us: What is right action given that each action leads to consequences? Albeit, the quandary being posed by the student in this dialogue is not based on any moral crisis. Rather it is a more general and psycho-philosophical question born out of fear of consequences of actions in the future while also seeing the fact that all actions are based on thought and thought is nothing but a conditioned response of memory. While the Bhagavad Gita starts off answering Arjuna’s questions by making assertive statements on the nature of reality, my response in this dialogue starts by looking at the question itself and deconstructing it to show that the real problem is not in the domain where the question is being asked. Which reminds me of the oft-quoted but never redundant words of Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” … Read More Fear, Action, Suffering and Liberation: A Dialogue
Fear is the most basic emotion of man. For those who are inquiring into the question of whether man can live in total freedom, the feeling of fear has to be understood. Fear exists at various levels. It’s like a tree with various branches, trunk and root. How does one come to the root of fear? In this article, I address this question through a dialogue which I shared with a student in my FB Psycho-Philosophy Inquiry Study group.
Normally, as thinking people, we analyze fear. But this analysis does not go to the root of fear. In fact, as the dialogue shows, analysis is a device of mind to escape fear. … Read More Choiceless Awareness of the Tree of Fear
In society we are often chided for doing mistakes psychologically, by various forms of authority. These voices of authority go very very deep, forming and erecting codes of ethics within us. Do we ever question these voices of authority? Can we be free to learn about ourselves if we judge and label our thoughts and acts as mistakes in accordance with these voices? In a response to a question I look into the whole notion of what we call mistakes, and if psychological learning and freedom has anything to do with correcting mistakes.… Read More Is psychological learning about correcting mistakes?
We all live with the shadow of different fears. We invent a dozen strategies to suppress this fear, overcome it or to deny it. Yet it is there. In this response to a question, I go into the root of psychological fear and ask whether one can live life without a trace of this fear.… Read More Can one live without the shadow of psychological fear?
At which stages in your life did you start questioning your own self? Depends upon how you are asking this question. Are you talking about questioning yourself negatively, as someone who is failing in some aspect of life or are you asking this question more as an inquiry into yourself, as to who you actually… Read More At which stages in your life did you start questioning your own self?