In the stages of self-inquiry I teach, choiceless awareness of ‘what is’ is a form of meditative inquiry that I teach to prepare a student for the more advanced Advaitic inquiries. At this stage, the duality between the thinker and thought has been negated and through choiceless awareness, the student is ready to understand the true nature of all experiences, rather than how experience presents itself to a deluded mind. In this article, I discuss the three marks of all experiences that are experientially revealed in meditative inquiry: the impermanence of all objects, the illusoriness of the thinker-doer-experiencer that controls experiences, and how the thinker-doer-experiencer is the very cause of human suffering. Only when a student has totally and experientially understood these three marks of experience does he become qualified for further Advaitic inquiry that leads to liberation … Read More Choiceless Awareness: Seeing Things As They Are
In my previous posts, I presented two dialogues on the difference between thinker and observer and the difficulties a seeker of self-inquiry has in coming to identify oneself as the mental observer. By now means this is an easy task. It requires great persistence, the subtlety of observation and the ability to take the risk of losing control. It’s almost an energetic transformation. As can be seen in this dialogue, it goes so deep to even raise questions of life and death. As I have written in my previous articles, coming to the observer stage is the most vital step before coming to any form of non-dual inquiry. Many people rush into non-dual inquiries before coming to this stage. In such cases, even non-dual inquiries become articles of faith, a ground for the mind to cling, rather than a real deconstructive inquiry. For anyone who wants to enter into a serious non-dual inquiry through any school, the deconstructive dialogue in this article shall certainly be of great help to move from thinker to controller to commentator to observer.… Read More The Thinker, Controller, Commentator vs the Observer: A Dialogue
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
That we all suffer conflicts of various kinds in our life is an undeniable fact. Self Inquiry is about unearthing and ending the root of all conflicts. In this dialogue with a seeker, I examine the conflict of the division between the thinker and thought. What sustains this division is the process of psychological becoming. One of the processes of psychological becoming is seeking to be virtuous. In this article, I differentiate between dharma/virtue as a process of psychological becoming and adhyatma/the spiritual science of eternal being, to help the seeker appreciate the difference, and overcome the conflict caused by this form of becoming. Finally, I introduce the various stages of self-inquiry, by which I help a seeker completely transcend the duality between the thinker and thought, as a means to ending of all conflict.… Read More You (Self) Are Not (Your) Thoughts: A Dialogue
The path to Self Realization or Liberation which starts from self-inquiry is a long one. I break the path into three different stages in ascending order – psycho philosophical inquiry, meditative inquiry and Advaitic inquiry. I teach the first two stages in my FB group called NEEV Psycho-Philosophy Inquiry Study Group, and the last stage in NEEV Advaita Study Group (FB). The first group comprises of young people who are beginning their journey of self-inquiry. In this article, I give a brief outline of the activities of this group and post three journal entries of a 19 yr old girl in the group who has undertaken the study of self-inquiry with me. These journal entries provide a snapshot of the moving river of self-inquiry for those who wonder what it is all about, and how and where to begin. … Read More Meditative Inquiry: Is Thinking Same as Being Aware of Thought?
All of us are aware that we put various masks with different people in different situations. Prompted by a Facebook post of one of my friends, this article asks whether one can live without any masks. It also examines our unconscious motivations to put on different kinds of masks, the conflicts they create, and the enormous risks involved in removing them. Finally, it probes into the reason why anyone would like to unmask oneself.… Read More Unmasking Ourselves
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?
One is conditioned to think that discipline has to do with control. A system of ethics is erected by human thought to control behavior. But has ethics solved the problem of human conflict? In this response to a question I look if there is a discipline which is not about control.… Read More Is there discipline without control?
One usually thinks of work in the outer world as strengthening the ego. This article looks into fact whether it is the work which strenghthens the ego or the very act of choice and choosing, which is the act of ego.… Read More How to resolve the conflict between choosing opportunities in work vs choosing peace?