The Crown Is Already Upon The Head
"There is no greater mystery than the following: Ourselves being the reality, we seek to gain reality." - Ramana Maharshi
Intro To Ramana Maharshi: My Question Evolves
In brief, Ramana Maharshi was a sage born in India in the year 1879. In his mid to late teens, he had an enlightenment experience which blossomed into total and permanent self-realization. For some years during that time period, he was silent and solitary, absorbed in the blissful folds of timeless reality.
After living in solitude in the caves of a sacred hill by the name of Arunachala, he took up residence at the hill's base. Many came to ask him questions and an ashram began to form around him consisting of those who recognized and sought the stillness, the peace, the radiance, and the beauty of the divine energy emanating effortlessly from Ramana.
In the Introduction to Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Matthew Greenblatt says:
"Ramana sat in a modest hall, available day and night to answer questions from sincere seekers. His only possessions were a loincloth and a towel. Maharshi never asked anything of anyone. He never traveled, gave formal talks, or wrote books. He spontaneously answered questions asked of him and was unconcerned regarding the comings and goings of visitors. ... What's more remarkable is that throughout all the years he lived at the ashram, he never had a private room or a separate accommodation. He slept and lived in the Hall - the same location that visitors occupied days and evenings with him."
My work of spiritual study and spiritual practice - which is not limited to a realm of a specific activity called "spiritual" but is rather a whole program for life, encompassing every nook and cranny of every moment - has largely been an effort and practice of the how question. How do I directly apprehend and abide within reality as it is? How may I awaken?
As a result of encountering Ramana Maharshi via the Law of One-esque philosophy of Ken Wilber, my how question found its destination, anchor, and end. Taking a quantum leap forward, how became who, the most important and quite literally the only question worth the asking more than once.
Again, from the Introduction:
"Throughout the more than fifty-four years that Maharshi guided seekers from various parts of the world, he never swerved from the essential task of bringing the questioner back to the truth of his or her own Existence. Whatever form the question would take, Ramana would patiently and gently lead the questioner back to the "one who questions".
This is basically all Ramana did. No matter the concern, the problem, the statement, or the question brought to him, Ramana would steer the attention of the seeker towards who, as in who wants to know?; who asks?; and to whom does this happen? The technique he gave the world, known as Self-Inquiry, leads the seeker to the heart of self, towards discovering who the self really is, first by discovering who the self is not.
I have divided up his teaching into three basic sections: Who We Are, Why We Do Not See, and Self-Inquiry: The Means For Removing Our Ignorance. I have a brief intro of my own words to offer each section. Afterword we will venture forward into words which cut directly through the divine and comic human madness, those simple, elegant, sparkling words of Ramana Maharshi. I will intersperse Ramana's words with the not unenlightened thinking from the one known as Ken Wilber. Bolstering this Ramana and Wilber will be other select gems of wisdom from those known to us as Ra.
What I present is not a "teaching" on my behalf, this is only a reporting of some of the sights and wonders of a new country I have barely begun to explore. I hope that by way of my humble report you will have a glimmer of what the promised land may be... and the means to becoming aware that you are already there... recognizing with a sigh of eternal relief that the ground upon which you now stand and have stood is none other than the promised land which you have sought. (Note: I do not regularly refer to supreme reality as "the promised land". It works, though.)
Who We Are
U.G. Krishnamurti once said something which could also have come from Ramana. "I would say there isn't anything to get from anybody. Who am I to give it to you? You have what I have. We are all at 25 Sannidhi Street, and you are asking me ‘Where is 25 Sannidhi Street?'"
What Krishnamurti describes seems to be our situation. Ra describes it this way in Session 49 of Book II, "Meanwhile the Creator lies within. In the north pole the crown is already upon the head and the entity is potentially a god. This energy is brought into being by the humble and trusting acceptance of this energy through meditation and contemplation of the self and of the Creator."
The key word which unlocks so much - that which is essential to both the Law of One and Ramana's and Wilber's teaching - is the word "already". There is nothing to gain because that which we seek is already here. Furiously poring Google Maps in search of our destination, we are constantly eluded because we are already at 25 Sannidhi Street.
This is the reality which Ramana knows and this is the premise from which his teaching springs. That being that we are already realized, that it is impossible not be the Self...
That which is born must die; that which is acquired must be lost. Were you born? You are ever existent. The Self can never be lost.
All are seeing God always, but they do not realize it.
If a person mistakes himself for the subject, objects must necessarily appear as being different from himself. ... If, on the other hand, a man feels himself to be the screen on which the subject and object are projected there can be no confusion, and he can remain watching their appearance and disappearance without any perturbation of the Self.
Realization is already there. Illusion alone is to be removed.
Never mind the mind. If its source is sought, it will vanish leaving the Self unaffected.
Q.: So one need not seek to control the mind?
M.: There is no mind to control if you realize the Self. The mind vanishing, the Self shines forth. In the realized man the mind may be active or inactive, the Self alone remains for him. For the mind, the body and the world are not separate from the Self. They rise from and sink into the Self. They do not remain apart from the Self. Can they be different from the Self? Only be aware of the Self. Why worry about these shadows? How do they affect the Self?
Bhagavan further explained: The Self is the Heart. The Heart is self-luminous. Light arises from the Heart and reaches the brain, which is the seat of the mind. The world is seen with the mind, that is, by the reflected light of the Self. It is perceived with the aid of the mind. When the mind is illumined it is aware of the world. When it is not itself so illumined, it is not aware of the world. If the mind is turned in towards the source of light, objective knowledge ceases and Self alone shines forth as the Heart.
The moon shines by the reflected light of the sun. When the sun has set, the moon is useful for revealing objects. When the sun has risen, no one needs the moon, although the pale disc of the moon is visible in the sky.
So it is with the mind and the Heart. The mind is useful because of its reflected light. It is used for seeing objects. When it is turned inwards, the source of illumination shines forth by itself, and the mind remains dim and useless like the moon in day-time.
...when the sun is risen there is no need of a lamp, and the objects are seen; and to see the sun no lamp is necessary, it is enough that you turn your eyes towards the self-luminous sun.
Similarly with the mind. To see the objects the reflected light of the mind is necessary. To see the Heart it is enough that the mind is turned towards it. Then the mind loses itself and the Heart shines forth.
D.: I see that I am coming round to ‘I'.
M.: Because you are always that and never away from that. There is nothing so simple as being the Self. It requires no effort, no aid. One has to leave off the wrong identity and be in his eternal, natural, inherent state.
Q: Please tell me the method of reaching the eternal Truth.
M: You are That. Can you ever remain apart from the Self? To be yourself requires no effort since you are always That.
M: Are the objects different from you? There can be no objects without subject.
The other worlds require the Self as a spectator or speculator. Their reality is only of the same degrees as that of the spectator or thinker. They cannot exist without the spectator, etc. Therefore they are not different from the Self. Even the ignorant man sees only the Self when he sees objects. But he is confused and identifies the Self with the object, i.e., the body and with the senses and plays in the world. Subject and object - all merge in the Self. There is no seer nor objects seen. The seer and the seen are the Self. There are not many selves either. All are only one Self.
It is the thought which builds up sheaths in so many ways. The shadow on the water is found to be shaking. Can anyone stop the shaking of the shadow? If it should cease to shake you would not notice the water but only the light. Similarly to take no notice of the ego and its activities, but see only the light behind. The ego is the I-thought. The true ‘I' is the Self.
D.: It is one step to realisation.
M.: Realisation is already there. The state free from thoughts is the only real state. There is no such action as Realisation. Is there anyone who is not realising the Self? Does anyone deny his own existence?
Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish and Reality will shine forth by itself.
There is no greater mystery than the following: Ourselves being the reality, we seek to gain reality.
The ego is like one's shadow thrown on the ground. If one attempts to bury it, it will be foolish. The Self is only one. If limited, it is the ego. If unlimited, it is Infinite and is the Reality.
We are actually always experiencing the Reality only; still, we do not know it. Is it not a wonder of wonders?
Q: What is Guru's Grace? How does it work?
M.: Guru is the Self.
Q.: How does it lead to realisation?
M.: Isvaro gururatmeti ... (God is the same as Guru and Self ...). A person begins with dissatisfaction. Not content with the world he seeks satisfaction of desires by prayers to God; his mind is purified; he longs to know God more than to satisfy his carnal desires. Then God's Grace begins to manifest. God takes the form of a Guru and appears to the devotee; teaches him the Truth; purifies the mind by his teachings and contact; the mind gains strength, is able to turn inward; with meditation it is purified yet further, and eventually remains still without the least ripple. That stillness is the Self. The Guru is both exterior and interior. From the exterior he gives a push to the mind to turn inward; from the interior he pulls the mind towards the Self and helps the mind to achieve quietness. That is Grace. Hence there is no difference between God, Guru and Self.
All scriptures are only for the purpose of investigating if there are two consciousnesses. Everyone's experience proves the existence of only one consciousness. Can that one divide itself into two? Is any division felt in the Self?
Q: Does Bhagavan feel for us and show grace?
M.: You are neck-deep in water and yet cry for water. It is as good as saying that one neck-deep in water feels thirsty, or a fish in water feels thirsty, or that water feels thirsty.
The experience of I Am is to Be Still.
Q: What is the one Real thing?
M: That is what is; the others are only appearances. Diversity is not its nature. We are reading the printed characters on paper, but ignore the paper which is the background. Similarly, you are taken up by the manifestations of the mind and let go the background. Whose fault is it?
Language is only a medium for communicating one's thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise; other thoughts arise after the ‘I-thought' rises; the ‘I-thought' is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.
Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.
What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known in a trice in Silence, or in front of Silence
The real ‘I' is silent. One should not think ‘I am this - I am not that'. To say ‘this or that' is wrong. They are also limitations. Only ‘I am' is the truth. Silence is ‘I'. If one thinks ‘I am this', another thinks ‘I am this' and so on, there is a clash of thoughts and so many religions are the result. The truth remains as it is, not affected by any statements, conflicting or otherwise.
Why We Do Not See
Ramana says over and over that reality is not to be gained, attained, or gotten anew. Reality shines forth right now, right this very moment. Under no circumstance is there ever a moment when reality (or Self) is not. There is never a moment when we are not Self. It is only ignorance, doubt, and confusion which separate us from knowing what and who we already are. Remove that, Ramana says, and the Self will be known.
It's so profound a point that it's bears repeating: we have only to remove our ignorance, that error of sight which reduces and equates the Self to our body and our mind, both finite containers far too limited and small to accommodate the transcendent Self of which all mystics speak. These containers of body and mind, of false identity, Ramana calls the "ego". What the Confederation might call the personality shell.
The technique for the removal of this ignorance is simply to find the ego's source within us, the "I-thought" from which stems all illusion, and, through sustained inquiry and concentration, watch it vanish. But before we move onto Ramana's technique, we shall explore some of his statements about the nature of this ignorance.
Q: How does a householder fare in the scheme of liberation?
M: Why to you think you are a householder? If you out as a sannyasi (an ascetic, one who has taken the path of renunciation), a similar thought (that you are a sannyasi) will haunt you. Whether you continue in the household, or renounce it and go to the forest, your mind haunts you. The ego is the source of thoughts. It creates the body and the world and makes you think you are a householder. If you renounce the world, it will only substitute the thought sannyasi for householder and the environments of the forest for those of the household. But the mental obstacles always remain. They even increase in new surroundings. There is no help in a change of environment. The obstacle is the mind. It must be overcome whether at home or in the forest. If you can do it in the forest, why not in the home? Therefore, why change the environment? Your efforts can be made even now - whatever environment you may be in.
...Again, a woman wore a necklace round her neck but forgot it. She began to search for it and made enquiries. A friend of hers, finding out what she was looking for, pointed out the necklace round the seeker's neck. She felt it with her hands and was happy. Did she get the necklace anew? Here again ignorance caused grief and knowledge happiness.
Similarly also with the man and the Self. There is nothing to be gained anew. Ignorance of the Self is the cause of the present misery; knowledge of the Self brings about happiness.
All such confusion (in a letter Bhagavan received) was due to the non-differentiation of the real ‘I' from the false ‘I'. The attributes and modes pertain to the latter and not to the former. One's efforts are directed only to remove one's ignorance. Afterwards they cease, and the real Self is found to be always there. No effort is needed to remain as the Self.
Unbroken ‘I-I' is the ocean infinite, the ego, "I"-thought, remains only a bubble on it and is called jiva, i.e., individual soul. The bubble too is water; when it bursts it only mixes in the ocean. When it remains a bubble it is still a part of the ocean.
Ignorant of this simple truth, innumerable methods under different denominations, such as yoga, bhakti, karma....... each again with many modifications, are being taught with great skill and in intricate detail only to entice the seekers and confuse their minds. So also are the religions and sects and dogmas. What are they all for? Only for knowing the Self. They are aids and practices required for knowing the Self.
Objects perceived by the senses are spoken of as immediate knowledge (pratyaksha). Can anything be as direct as the Self - always experienced without the aid of the senses? Sense-perceptions can only be indirect knowledge, and not direct knowledge. Only one's own awareness is direct knowledge, as is the common experience of one and all. No aids are needed to know one's own Self, i.e., to be aware.
These limitations are the bondage; the feeling "The body is I" is the error. This false sense of "I" must go. The real "I" is always there. It is here and now.
The wrong knowledge of "I am the body" is the cause of the all the mischief. This wrong knowledge must go. That is realization. Realization is not acquisition of anything new, nor is it a new faculty; it is only removal of all camouflage.
M.: No attempt is made to destroy it. To think or wish it is itself a thought. If the thinker is sought, the thoughts will disappear.
D.: Will they disappear of themselves? It looks so difficult.
M.: They will disappear because they are unreal. The idea of difficulty is itself an obstacle to realisation. It must be overcome. To remain as the Self is not difficult.
M: Why should one think of birth and death? Are you really born? The rising of the mind is called birth.Realisation is nothing to be got afresh. It is already there. All that is necessary is to be rid of the thought: "I have not realised."
D.: Then one need not attempt it.
M.: No. Stillness of mind or peace is realisation. There is no moment when the Self is not. So long as there is doubt or the feeling of non-realisation, attempt must be made to rid oneself of these thoughts.
A woman, with her necklace round her neck, imagines that it has been lost and goes about searching for it, until she is reminded of it by a friend; she has created her own sense of loss, her own anxiety of search and then her own pleasure of recovery. Similarly the Self is all along there, whether you search for it or not. Again just as the woman feels as if the lost necklace has been regained, so also the removal of ignorance and the cessation of false identification reveal the Self which is always present - here and now. This is called realisation. It is not new. It amounts to elimination of ignorance and nothing more.
So I say, the Self is not reached. You are the Self. You are already That. The fact is that you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this ignorance. This ignorance consists in wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge consists in the false identification of the Self with the body, the mind, etc. This false identity must go and there remains the Self.
Self-Inquiry: The Method of Removing Our Ignorance
The principal method for removing ignorance and recognizing the truth that is already looking through our eyes is called Self-Inquiry. In it, the seeker focuses constant attention upon what Ramana calls the source of both misery and illusion, the "I-thought", or the ego. Through this constant inquiry into the nature and the source of the I-thought, the personal, limited self vanishes, dissolving into the Heart. What remains? Well... that is the question, isn't it?
In the beginning this requires effort, so long as the "sense of doership persists", but eventually there is a presence that becomes effortless. In its place a current of universal, timeless awareness shines forth, shining not with the reflected light of the mind, but with the eternal self-luminous light of the Source, that which is nothing other than our true and only nature, what Ramana called the I-I, or the witness. That light which knows no subject and no object but knows only Isness or Suchness or One-ness.
Ra says in Session 15 that "the material for your understanding is the self". This - the only material of which Ramana Maharshi speaks - is the material which Self-inquiry targets.
In all my searching, I have never encountered so powerful, so simple, so resonant, and so effective a means of waking to reality. As far as I am concerned, this teaching is the rope out of the human wilderness, the signpost directing me to the end of me - a liberation long sought.
What it seems to do is to train the attention upon the awareness already present within you; to undue and discontinue identifying with the roaring multitude of objects which bombard our awareness in each moment. Whether those objects are thoughts, memories, sights, sounds, feelings, sensations, or experiences, Self-Inquiry asks us to doggedly seek out the seed source of each and every one of these objects of attention by locating and holding onto the single root cause, the I-thought.
From what I gather, as one differentiates Self from objects of attention, the awareness already present within the self becomes more apparent and more stable. In that awareness, it seems, we are not aware of anything in particular. We rest in the Witness, we rest in naked, unqualified awareness. Though I speak only of what I sense and understand in concept in reporting of these teachings, it seems that, as development continues along this pathless path, the whole notion of "other", of subject and object, vanishes altogether, leaving a resplendent awareness which is infinitely unitary and numerically One... without possibility of two-ness.
Self-inquiry is effected in one of two basic ways, to both of which concentration is a prerequisite.
One is to ask the self constantly, "Who am I?", and in the process engage in "neti, neti", not this, not that. Disidentifying from the objects of our awareness, those things in which we invest and limit our identity, we see that we are not our body, not our desires, not our thoughts, not bound to a physical location, and so on and so forth. The point is not to deny or repress or reject that which we notice. As in any good meditation practice, we simply accept that which comes into our awareness in the fashion of the mirror, reflecting everything without judgment, attachment, craving, or aversion.
This process of neti, neti¸ or "not this, not that", is apparently vital to Self-Inquiry and awakening in general. It is imperative that we know first what we are not in order to end our conflation of Self with the body and with the mind. (Apparently, according to these teachings, as this practice deepens there are stages so to speak beyond the witness in which we realize that there is no not. We realize that reality includes the body and includes the mind but is not limited to either. We again understand that body and mind are not other than God but are perfect gestures and expressions of ultimate reality. But the scope of this report does not extend to realms which the ego-me does not know.)
The other twist on the Who Am I? question is to ask, "To whom does this happen?" Everything that can be seen, can be heard, can be felt, can be sensed, can be experienced, no matter how "deep" we think the experience may go, happens IN our awareness and ultimately not to our true selves, the I-I, but to the surface self. By asking "to whom does this happen?", we pull our awareness back, disidentifying from the personality shell to whom things do happen, and resting as the ever-present, ever-loving, ever-inclusive, ever-aware Witness.
In the few months I have asked myself these questions, I can attest to their efficacy in helping me to step back into a larger awareness which understands to whom an experience is indeed happening. In this pulling back, I just begin to sense the heavenly aroma of inspiration and liberation wafting through the air --- a scent which speaks of freedom from the bondage which comes from the fusion (or non-differentiation) of Self with self. All suffering, it seems, is a result of this identification or bondage with a self which does not exist, a bundled collection of memories, thoughts, fears, limitations, worries, hopes, dreams, needs, desires, attachments, etc --- a creature held together and made real by our sleeping identification with it.
WHO AM I? The essence of Ramana's teaching is to direct the attention of the seeker to "Who". Who asks the question? Who wants to know? To whom is their doubt? To whom is there fear? To whom is the subject to which objects appear? WHO? Who are you?
As we apply these questions and this technique...
Surprisingly, we find the answer....
Generally people want to know about illusion and do not examine to whom it occurs.
D: What is practice?
M: Constant search for "I", the source of the ego. Find out "Who am I?". The pure "I" is the reality, the Absolute Existence-Consciousness-Bliss. When That is forgotten, all miseries crop up; when that is held fast, miseries do not affect the person.
The mind is by nature restless. Being liberating it from its restlessness; give it peace, make it free from distractions, train it to look inward, and make all this a habit.
If the mind is distracted, ask the question promptly, "To whom do these distracting thoughts arise?" That takes you back to the "I"-point immediately.
Q: Asks about sages possessing powers (siddhis) to make themselves invisible.
M: Visibility and invisibility refer to a seer. Who is the seer? Solve that first. Other matters are unimportant.
Q: Why was I born?
A: Who was born? The answer is the same to all of your questions.
(In response to questions about the ultimate nature of reality)
Let the man find out the Self. Then there will be time to find out if the Self should merge in the Supreme, is a part thereof, or remains different from it. Let us not forestall the conclusion. Keep an open mind, dive within and find out the Self. The truth will itself dawn upon you. Why should you determine beforehand if the finality is unity absolute or qualified, or duality? There is no meaning in it. The ascertainment is now made by logic and by intellect. The intellect derives light from the Self (the higher power)> How can the reflected and partial light of the intellect envisage the whole and the original Light. The intellect cannot reach the Self, how can it ascertain its nature?
Realise to whom the question arises. It can be answered if it arises after knowing the doubter. Can the world or the body say that it is? Or does the seer say that the world or the body is? The seer must be there to see the objects. Find out the seer first. Why worry yourself now with what will be in the hereafter?
Q: How to find the Atman?
M.: There is no investigation into the Atman. The investigation can only be into the non-self. Elimination of the non-self is alone possible. The Self being always self evident will shine forth of itself.
Though the ‘I' is always experienced, yet one's attention has to be drawn to it.
Identification with the Supreme is only another name for destruction of the ego.
Similarly, the Vedas also are eloquent in "neti-neti" (not this-not this) and then remain silent. Their silence is the Real State. This is the meaning of exposition by silence. When the source of the "I"-thought is reached, it vanishes and what remains is the Self.
Q:: If so, how do I remain ignorant of it (avarana)?
M.: For whom is this ignorance (veiling)? Does the Absolute tell you that it is veiled? It is the jiva who says that something veils the Absolute. Find out for whom this ignorance is.
D.: Why is there imperfection in Perfection? That is, how did the Absolute become relative?
For whom is this relativity? For whom is this imperfection? The Absolute is not imperfect and cannot ask. The insentient cannot ask the question. Between the two something has risen up which raises these questions and which feels this doubt. Who is it? Is it the one who has now arisen? Or is it the one who is eternal? Being perfect, why do you feel yourself imperfect? Such is the teaching of all the religions. Whatever may be the experiences, the experiencer is one and the same.
M.: What is maya?
D.: Maya is wrong knowledge, illusion.
M.: For whom is the illusion? There must be one to be deluded. Illusion is ignorance.
The awakened man says that he himself was in deep slumber but not aware. He does not say that the sleeper was different from the present one. There is only one Self. That Self is always aware. It is changeless. There is nothing but the Self.
The question "Who am I?" is the axe with which to cut off the ego.
Q: ‘I keep my mind blank without thoughts arising so that God might show Himself in His true Being. But I do not perceive anything.
M.: Be what you are. There is nothing to come down or become manifest. All that is needful is to lose the ego, That what is, is always there. Even now you are That. You are not apart from it. The blank is seen by you. You are there to see the blank. What do you wait for? The thought "I have not seen," the expectation to see and the desire of getting something, are all the working of the ego. You have fallen into the snares of the ego. The ego says all these and not you. Be yourself and nothing more!
But he will not admit that the seer, the seen and the sight are all manifestations of the same consciousness - namely, ‘I-I'. Contemplation helps one to overcome the illusion that the Self must be visual. In truth, there is nothing visual. How do you feel the ‘I' now? Do you hold a mirror before you to know your own being? The awareness is the ‘I'. Realise it and that is the truth.
M: After the rising up of this "I"-thought, all other thoughts arise. The "I"-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out, all others are uprooted at the same time.
D.: Even so, I do not understand. ‘I', you say, is the wrong ‘I' now.
How to eliminate this wrong ‘I'?
M.: You need not eliminate the wrong ‘I'. How can ‘I' eliminate itself? All that you need do is to find out its origin and abide there. Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it.
D.: If ‘I' am always - here and now, why do I not feel so?
M.: That is it. Who says it is not felt? Does the real ‘I' say it or the false ‘I'? Examine it. You will find it is the wrong ‘I'. The wrong ‘I' is the obstruction. It has to be removed in order that the true ‘I' may not be hidden. The feeling that I have not realised is the obstruction to realisation. In fact it is already realised; there is nothing more to be realised. Otherwise, the realisation will be new; it has not existed so far, it must take place hereafter. What is born will also die. If realisation be not eternal it is not worth having. Therefore what we seek is not that which must happen afresh. It is only that which is eternal but not now known due to obstructions; it is that we seek. All that we need do is to remove the obstruction. That which is eternal is not known to be so because of ignorance. Ignorance is the obstruction. Get over this ignorance and all will be well.
D.: Should we not find out the ultimate reality of the world, individual and God?
M.: These are all conceptions of the ‘I'. They arise only after the advent of the ‘I-thought'. Did you think of them in your deep sleep? You existed in deep sleep and the same you are now speaking. If they be real should they not be in your sleep also? They are only dependent upon the ‘I-thought'. Again does the world tell you ‘I am the world'? Does the body say ‘I am body'? You say, "This is the world", "this is body" and so on. So these are only your conceptions. Find out who you are and there will be an end of all your doubts.
Search for the source of the ‘I-thought'. That is all that one has to do. The universe exists on account of the ‘I-thought'. If that ends there is an end of misery also. The false ‘I' will end only when its source is sought.
Concentration - Determination - Persistence
Session 5, Book I of the Law of One:
The prerequisite of mental work is the ability to retain silence of self at a steady state when required by the self. The mind must be opened like a door. The key is silence.
Session 10, Book I of the Law of One:
The foundation or prerequisite of these exercises is a predilection towards what may be called meditation, contemplation, or prayer. With this attitude, these exercises can be processed. Without it, the data will not sink down into the roots of the tree of mind, thus enabling and ennobling the body and touching the spirit.
Eagerness must be equal to that of a man kept under water trying to rise to the surface for his life.
D: When an endeavor is made to lead the right life and to concentrate thought on the Self, there is often a downfall and break. What then is to be done?
M: It will come all right in the end. There is the steady impulse of your determination that sets you on your feet again after every downfall. Gradually the obstacles are all overcome and your current becomes stronger. Everything comes right in the end. Steady determination is what is required.
Become one-pointed. All will come out right. People think that freedom (moksha) is somewhere yonder and should be sought out. They are wrong. Freedom is only knowing the Self within you. Concentrate and you will get it. Your mind is the cycle of births and deaths. (Samsara)
Q: How may the mind be controlled?
M: There are two methods. The one is to see what the mind is; then it subsides.
The second is to fix your attention on something; then the mind remains quiet.
...just a little control of breath will suffice to control the mind. The mind is the rider and the breath the horse. Pranayama (breath control) is a check on the horse. By that check, the rider is checked.
M.: In the Bhagavad Gita it is said that it is the nature of the mind to wander. One must bring one's thoughts to bear on God. By long practice the mind is controlled and made steady.
The wavering of the mind is a weakness arising from the dissipation of its energy in the shape of thoughts. When one makes the mind stick to one thought the energy is conserved, and the mind becomes stronger.
D.: What is the meaning of the strength of the mind?
M.: Its ability to concentrate on one thought without being distracted.
D.: How is that achieved?
M.: By practice. A devotee concentrates on God; a seeker, follower of the jnana-marga, seeks the Self. The practice is equally difficult for both.
(Jnana-marga: The path of realizing the absolute through knowledge.)
D.: Even if the mind is brought to bear on the search for the Self, after a long struggle the mind begins to elude him and the man is not aware of the mischief until after some time.
M.: So it would be. In the earlier stages the mind reverts to the search at long intervals; with continued practice it reverts at shorter intervals until finally it does not wander at all. It is then that the dormant shakti manifests.
A man was worried because he could not succeed in concentrating the mind.
M: Is it not only One even now? It always remains One only. Diversity lies in your imagination only. Unitary Being need not be acquired.
Q: Why the mind cannot be turned inward in spite of repeated attempts.
M.: It is done by practice and dispassion and that succeeds only gradually. The mind, having been so long a cow accustomed to graze stealthily on others' estates, is not easily confined to her stall. However much her keeper tempts her with luscious grass
and fine fodder, she refuses the first time; then she takes a bit; but her innate tendency to stray away asserts itself; and she slips away; on being repeatedly tempted by the owner, she accustoms herself to the stall; finally even if let loose she would not stray away. Similarly with the mind. If once it finds its inner happiness it will not wander outward.
Session 97, Book IV of the Law of One:
To put this into perspective we must gaze then at the stunning mystery of the One Infinite Creator. The archetypical mind does not resolve any paradoxes or bring all into unity. This is not the property of any source which is of the third-density. Therefore, may we ask the student to look up from inward working and behold the glory, the might, the majesty, the mystery, and the peace of oneness. Let no consideration of bird or beast, darkness or light, shape or shadow keep any which seeks from the central consideration of unity.
You impose limitations on your true nature of Infinite Being, and then weep that you are but a finite creature. Then you take up this or that sadhana (spiritual practice) to transcend the nonexistent limitations. But if your sadhana itself assumes the existence of the limitations, how can it help you to transcend them?
Session 17, Book I of the Law of One:
We cannot offer shortcuts to enlightenment. Enlightenment is, of the moment, an opening to intelligent infinity. It can only be accomplished by the self, for the self. Another self cannot teach/learn enlightenment, but only teach/learn information, inspiration, or a sharing of love, of mystery, of the unknown that makes the other-self reach out and begin the seeking process that ends in a moment, but who can know when an entity will open the gate to the present?