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Chapter VII: The Ordinary Person

Jiva/God/Awareness

The Individual and the Total , Definition of Jiva, Knowledge to Prepare the Subtle Body, Stage 1 – Ignorance, The Doer-Enjoyer , Stage 2 – Desire and Fear, Stage 3 – Anxiety and Control, Stage 4 – Anger, Denial , Projection , Comparison – Matsarya , Stage 5 – Delusion.

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Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:45 am

So, I as Jiva have a problem.

As awareness, I have no problem.

However, Jiva's got this problem and needs to take care of it, but doesn't know how to.

So, Jiva starts to think about how his real identity is awareness. No matter how much he thinks this, the problem is still there.

Jiva doesn't know the answer. All answers are known to awareness, right? You can't have an answer without awareness of the answer. So, although awareness has no mind, no intellect, the best answer to Jiva's problem doesn't exist without awareness.

So Jiva says to himself, "As a jiva, my mind is limited, and I don't know the answer to this problem. However, I am not jiva. Jiva is known to me. I know all answers." Jiva says that, but no answer comes.

Knowing I am awareness, why isn't the answer apparent? It can't be stuck in God hidden away from both Jiva and Awareness. It can be hidden from Jiva, but can't be hidden from Awareness.

Why does God not just stick the answer in Jiva's mind?
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Mira » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:13 pm

Hi Ian,
Your post is a good one. So heartfelt and honest. I'm sure forum members/teachers will give you their views. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

First, as you say, as awareness we indeed have no problems. But as jivas we face a multitude of problems and decisions every single day. Some of them quite significant ones.

However, I think it's useful to remember that awareness and jiva are two different orders of reality. Awareness is the knower only in the sense that it is the fundamental existence or substrate of the manifested world. Awareness does not actually 'know' anything in the manifested world including answers to problems.

But luckily for us Vedantins, Vedanta provides the entire cosmology of the manifested world. So, the 'God' that you are thinking of that 'knows' the answers or'makes' things happen here on earth is Ishvara. Ishvara delivers your prarabdha karma which has created the situation that you are currently facing.

How you respond to the problem will ultimately depend on your gunas and samskaras (i.e., your conditoning). But you do have 'apparent' free will as a jiva so there are a few things you can do:

1. I would suggest getting into a sattvic state of mind. You could meditate or do some excercise or say some mantras or pray. Or whatever else works for you.

2. Once you are in a sattvic state of mind, you should be able to see the whole problem or issue completely objectively. So don't personalize it (although it's personal since it likely involves you :D). Take the perspective of awareness and see that the problem is happening in you. See all the players involved and their gunas and motivations, note all the past situations and actions that may have led to your problem being created.

3. Once you have the big picture, it is likely you'll also have some ideas on how to act. However, you may be unsure of which action to take. There will be pros and cons for each action. Make sure you understand them. Then take the action that follows dharma. Take the action that conforms to the dharma of the situation (which hopefully also conforms to the universal dharma) and to your svadharma (dharma of your jiva). However, often knowing what conforms to dharma is not straightforward. But this is where your 'gut' will know if you are taking an action that is violating dharma. You will be agitated and lose peace of mind. So, it is very important to conform to dharma.

4. Once you have chosen the dharmic answer (to the best of your ability), then offer up the action to Ishvara and completely relinquish any desire to control the results (i.e., Karma yoga). You can't control the results anyway so why agitate yourself with trying to.

5. Most importantly, remember not to be hard on yourself or beat yourself up about it. Remember to 'do your best and let it rest'. Ultimately, there is no wrong or right choice. It's just the choice that was supposed to happen!

6. And finally, know that from the perspective of awareness, everything is fine. No harm can come to your true nature (which is awareness).

I hope this is helpful in some way. I also went through an agonizing decision back in February and I honestly even now don't know if I did the 'right' thing. When I finally took the decision, it was with a karma yoga attitude and all my stress went away.

It will all work out the way it has to. Much affection, Mira
Mira
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Thu Aug 11, 2016 3:42 am

Thank you Mira.

It's tricky.

Jivaji just doesn't know what to do, no matter how sattvic things get. Jiva has done what it knows, and with dharma in mind.

Good point about not beating oneself up. Jiva's had a bit of trouble with that in the past. A bit of that came up recently in regards to this situation too.

Peace,


Ian
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:03 pm

Perhaps the trickiest thing for Jiva regarding this is the giving up to Ishvar/God.

Everything I do is Ishvar, so how would I give up to Ishvar? ("I" meaning "jiva")

If I feel that I've exhausted my options realistically, then I'm going to be wondering why I don't know what to do. Where is the line between giving up to Ishvar and keeping one's camel tied up? Where is the line between avoidance and surrender? Am I fooling myself to give things up when there might be something to do that I just am avoiding, not seeing, not willing to see?

Throughout all of the Vedanta that I've read and listened to, there seem to be two voices. One says "Take it easy. It's all up to Ishvar." and the other says, "This is hard work. Don't get stuck superimposing the Self on Jiva. Take up your sword. Go to battle. Don't avoid your duty."

Jiva doesn't know much, but Jiva depends on God. That's God's thing, putting Jiva through troubles. I'm awareness though, and God depends on me.

However, if "I" ask God to look after Jiva better, isn't that just Jiva speaking? I as awareness is unaffected by anything.

Sometimes there seems to be a personification of Awareness in Vedanta too, like when it is said that Awareness seeks itself, that Awareness has brought us to Vedanta, etc.
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Mira » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:44 pm

Hi Ian,
Good to hear from you. It seems to me that you might still be struggling with your difficult situation. So, I’m glad that you wrote.

Ian wrote: Throughout all of the Vedanta that I've read and listened to, there seem to be two voices. One says "Take it easy. It's all up to Ishvar." and the other says, "This is hard work. Don't get stuck superimposing the Self on Jiva. Take up your sword. Go to battle. Don't avoid your duty."


For the Jiva, both of these scenarios are correct. But I would suggest reversing the order.

First, take up your sword, go to battle and don't avoid your duty. In other words, do what you think is appropriate for your situation using dharma as your guide.
Second, once you have taken the action, then surrender the results to Ishvara.
So perform your duty to the best of your ability and then leave it up to Ishvara. You won't go wrong with this Dharma/Karma yoga :D.

Yes, you are awareness and nothing in mithya affects you. But you are also a jiva. As a jiva, you need to act in a way that will give you peace of mind so that the assimilation of self-knowledge can continue and deepen.

Another couple of things that I find useful in difficult situations are:

-trusting Ishvara completely: Ishvara does what is best for the whole and the whole includes you, so ultimately, Ishvara does what is best for you (even though it may not seem that way!)

-bhakti/devotion/prayer: In difficult situations, there is no easier way to get peace of mind than to have a devotional attitude or to pray. Non dual bhakti (wherein you know who you are and you pray to a symbol of yourself) is truly a joy.

Overall, I find that these jiva crises result in a deepening of self-knowledge. Because, every time a crisis happens, you see first-hand that your true self (awareness) is not affected by it. That no matter how intense the emotions were that you experienced, you are fundamentally fine through it all.

I had this thought the other day: Self inquiry is like a burning fire, and all the stresses and crises you face are like the fuel that keeps the fire burning ever bright. Every crisis will bring you back again and again to self-inquiry, deepening and firming up your self-knowledge.

Finally, please know that you can always share the specifics of the problem with us on the forum or write to a teacher to get advice. I've always received great advice when I have done that.

Do write back and stay in touch.
Best, Mira
Mira
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Tue Aug 23, 2016 12:23 am

Arigatou.

Specifics:


Problem = tens of thousands of dollars and years spent on educating self in different disciplines, being star student, that translates into "failed" careers and jobs. Somehow "I" often get into situations where I dedicate myself to a new job, then get pushed out of it, usually in an illegal manner, at quite a cost to "me".

(Of course I never really see anything as a failure. There is always another perspective for anything that happens in life. Suffering may have led me to Vedanta. I don't mind paying a lifetime of relative poverty compared to my family and friends if it means reaping the benefits of self realization. I know who I am. I can stand as awareness. I've spent the past few years relatively immersed in James' books and videos. However it doesn't seem that I've got the fruit of all of this on the Jiva level.)

Immediate problem = definitely have to get out of current job as it is a sinking ship despite investing so much of "myself" in it. Easier said than done.

Funny turn of events...

Doing alright in large company, but not looking like I would get the position that I originally aimed for. Got offered different position that I was willing to settle for, however, wanted to go to India to get my moksha. :D Moksha is my only real goal in life.

Didn't want to screw company over by suddenly going to India, not taking the job. Also had ideas for a completely different job.

President of company had an "interview" with me and decided that I wasn't right for the job I was aiming for, essentially killing my chance for not only that job (which I have grown to not really want to do anyway) and the job that I was offered by my manager (who works "under" president). Apparently my type of personality doesn't fit the parent company's image, so I can stay in the child (?) company, but not join the parent. Ultimately this means a demotion. I will basically be required to move (expensive where I live, but company would help. usually have to promise to stay for 1 or 2 years minimum, with steep penalties for breaking contract). I will be asked to do other duties, not the ones that I am currently doing, and certainly not the job that I originally applied for. In the new year my salary will be reduced, and there is the possibility of other benefits being taken away. What I thought was basically going to be a meeting for a promotion, ended up being for a demotion, despite the people that I actually work with wanting me to continue doing what I’m doing. The people that I immediately work with don’t make the decisions, being in a branch away from the head office. The branch expected to take me on officially, offering me the position.

India planning hasn't worked out so far. I do not want to run away to India with no specific plan. I'd rather just have a crappy job and continue with vedanta on my own than be stuck in India without any income, not solidifying the knowledge that I already have.

I had 3 leads (from James). I couldn't get a hold of one swami. Another swami said to come to a week-long talk in India in August and then he would talk more to me, but it's expensive to go to India for just 1 week, and I have been in a tricky situation with work, so could not take that time off. Third swami/ashram said they would get in touch with me regarding a year-long course, but didn't. I phoned internationally and they said they would just put me on a list and get back to me. They haven't yet, but I think it's possible that they might later.

I do have a couple of (very) interesting job possibilities out there and I am willing to uproot my life, move to my native country and proceed with those new opportunities if they present themselves.

I do my job, look for other jobs, keep up with the vedanta, and try to enjoy myself as much as possible on the weekends that I luckily don't have to work on usually. Still, “leaving it up to God” is a confusing idea. If I’m continually getting bad results, then I must be doing something wrong or not doing enough, so I can’t ever feel confident enough to leave it up to God/Ishvar.

On the other hand, all of this IS Ishvar anyway, so …
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:40 am

Hi Ian, as you say; "as awareness, I have no problem".
Without Maya and the manifest universe (Mithya), Awareness (Satya) is not an experiencing entity. It apparently becomes an experiencing entity only when the world of duality is project by Maya/Isvara. Just to make sure it is clear; all problems are “located” in Mithya and only experienced by human Jivas because only them, have a certain subtle body with the property of “becoming” Self-conscious and subsequently project a subjective interpretation on Isvara’s objective creation.

Every time things do not go in accordance to Jiva expectations, Jiva experiences adversity and considers it to be a problem. And since the objective world of things and experiences are under Isvara’s jurisdiction, the poor Jiva has almost no saying in it. It all seems to be a set up designed to frustrate the Jiva in his attempts to get what he/she wants at any cost. The understanding of what belongs to Isvara and the proper play of the Jiva in his relationship with Isvara is fundamental in the development of Jiva’s maturity.

Before we go further into the basic question of your original post it is important that we define what a Jiva really is. A Jiva is an apparent living creature with three bodies vivified by awareness and made-up, controlled and operated by Maya/Isvara.
In our case, as human Jivas, we develop the self-consciousness "I exist", which gives birth to the sense of existence as personified consciousness. A Jiva is this sense of personified consciousness, or in a simpler language; the “I thought”.
It is fundamenaly important this understanding, because it is the Jiva who feels limited by his problems and it is the Jiva who wants moksha.

Most people take the subtle body to be the Jiva, but I don’t see it this way. The phenomenon called “I thought” cannot be the gross, subtle or causal body. The three bodies constitute the body-mind apparatus in which the “I thought” emerges. But all bodies are matter, and all matter is inert and insentient, i.e., not independently conscious.

Of all three bodies the subtle body is the one on which the apparent self-conscious “I thought” takes on a sense of independent existence. The subtle body is a sort of subtle mirror-like surface with the property of bouncing off "OC" original pure consciousness to produce what we may call "RC" reflected consciousness.
This reflected consciousness is not the “OC” because, apparently, it has taken some of the subtle body's properties - it is no longer original or pure. Originally, it was attributeless and now it seems to have acquired qualities and attributes which belong to the mirror (the subtle body).

The Jiva is not “the mirror”. The Jiva is RC, reflected consciousness after OC bounces off the mirror (the subtle body) to produce the phenomenon called Jiva or “RC” (reflected consciousness).

Why is it important to define the Jiva? Because Jivas are not only made of dense or subtle matter, but a combination of matter (the five elements plus the gunas) and the self-conscious awareness that pervades, vivifies and makes the Jiva aware of awareness' own existence. Important is also to notice that “RC”, even though apparently modified from its original source, it still holds its essential nature as consciousness, in the same way reflected light is still of the nature of light after it bounces off a mirror-like surface.

You say; Jiva doesn't know the answer for his problems. All answers are known to awareness, right? You can't have an answer without awareness of the answer. So, although awareness has no mind, no intellect, the best answer to Jiva's problem doesn't exist without awareness.

Your logic is good! But again, awareness is not an experiencing entity, therefore Jiva’s problems are only experienced by the Jiva, and the solution for one's problems is also to be found by the Jiva alone. How do the problems of life get solved then? Jiva’s rajasic-tamasic life style will produce a rajasic-tamasic mind, and a mind governed by rajas and tamas will have difficulty to intelligently read and understand whatsoever situations Isvara presents him/her with (Jiva's karma or result of previous actions). As a result, Jiva’s response will not be the most appropriate. The inability to wisely respond to life’s situations may produce what we commonly call problems and adversities or papa karma.
In order to solve one’s problems of life we need a mind with predominance of Sattvaguna, followed by a good portion of rajas, and a smaller portion of tamas.

You say; So Jiva says to himself, "As a jiva, my mind is limited, and I don't know the answer to this problem. However, I am not jiva. Jiva is known to me. I know all answers." Jiva says that, but no answer comes.

The answer is to be found in Jiva’s mind once it has developed a predominance of sattvaguna. Remember, Jiva (RC) is not made of matter alone. It is also made of awareness and sattva is the intelligent principle, reflected and manifest out of awareness. A pure mind will produce the clear and simple vision to see the most obvious answers to Jiva’s problems of life.

Awareness knows no answers because IT has no questions. Answers are to be found by the Jiva, only. Discrimination between satya and mithya may not produce the desired result if Jiva’s mind is not yet prepared for it. Jiva’s mind needs to become very subtle and contemplative in order to be able to reflect "the subtlest" and apprehend that “RC” is in truth “OC” in its nature. Karma yoga, Dharma yoga must come first. A few problems of life may continue once you firmly know that RC is of same nature as OC, but problems will not be seen as real problems, and much less taken personally. Life will be a smooth sailing. Much love, and good luck. ;)
Arlindo Nagar
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:19 am

From Aparokshanubhuti, "Anyone who makes the slightest distinction between the individual Self and the universal self will suffer fear."

Perhaps my best line of action as Jiva is to just keep on seeing things from the perspective of Self/Awareness/Consciousness.
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Mira » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:12 pm

Ian wrote: Perhaps my best line of action as Jiva is to just keep on seeing things from the perspective of Self/Awareness/Consciousness.


Yes, indeed, Ian. Fake it till you make it. Take your stand as awareness :D.

Once you know who you are then the only thing that makes sense is to have the perspective of the self. After a while, it should become the default perspective (as the underlying brain plasticity alters).

Seems to me that you are quite young. As you grow older, you'll realize that there is no point in trying to make sense of mithya. It's a zero sum game. For example, even if you moved to India and got the perfect job, a whole new set of issues would come up there! So, it's best to see your current circumstances from the perspective of the self.

Now, that said, as a jiva you need to be true to your swadharma. So look at your work-life situation very clearly. How bad is it really? If it is violating your swadharma to be there then you should consider a change. However, I would suggest that you not to anything drastic. Take the long term view. Figure out your swadharma with respect to your profession and life. Then take steps to get there (it might take months, it might take years to get there). Meanwhile, you have a roof over your head, you have food to eat and most importantly you know who you are.

Another thing you can do, is that use your current difficult situation at work as your sadhana (practice). Use it to speed up the self-assimilation process. Because your situation as a jiva is difficult right now, vedanta and it's sadhanas will be a top priority for you right now (compared to when life is hunky dory). So use your difficult life situation as a sadhana to practice discrimination between satya and mithya constantly. The rewards you reap will far out weigh any riches in mithya.

For what it's worth, I am in a similar situation right now. I was hoping to simplify my responsibilities at work and reduce my emphasis on my career. But Ishavara had other plans and I actually ended up taking on additional administrative duties for the next year (against my will, but it was the dharmic and responsible thing to do for my department). So I'm stuck with more stress at work (not less as I had planned). However, I've decided that it will be my sadhana for this year. With every stressful email, the perspective automatically switches to that of the self and then the emails are not so stressful any more :D. They are even entertaining.

Most importantly, don't be hard on your self. You were a star student in your academics and now you are a star student of Vedanta--the only kind of learning that really counts :D.

Also, be sure to manage your gunas so your mind is sattvic.

Arigato gozaimasu to you :D.
I was in Japan a while ago and never got tired of listening to it said with the perfect bow. Beautiful.

All the best and keep us posted.
Mira
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Ian W. » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:44 pm

I am the alpha and the omega. Actually, I am before alpha and after omega. I am timeless and ageless.

But, yeah, Jiva's 45. I don't know if that's young or not.
Ian W.
 
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Re: Jiva/God/Awareness

Postby Anja » Fri Sep 30, 2016 2:56 pm

Ian W. wrote:So, I as Jiva have a problem.

As awareness, I have no problem.

However, Jiva's got this problem and needs to take care of it, but doesn't know how to.

So, Jiva starts to think about how his real identity is awareness. No matter how much he thinks this, the problem is still there.

Jiva doesn't know the answer. All answers are known to awareness, right? You can't have an answer without awareness of the answer. So, although awareness has no mind, no intellect, the best answer to Jiva's problem doesn't exist without awareness.

So Jiva says to himself, "As a jiva, my mind is limited, and I don't know the answer to this problem. However, I am not jiva. Jiva is known to me. I know all answers." Jiva says that, but no answer comes.

Knowing I am awareness, why isn't the answer apparent? It can't be stuck in God hidden away from both Jiva and Awareness. It can be hidden from Jiva, but can't be hidden from Awareness.

Why does God not just stick the answer in Jiva's mind?



When no answer comes, to the question, what ever question might be asked by the jiva, then that's because the jiva isn't capable of answering the question. For the jiva to be able to understand, what ever it is that is needed to be understood, the jiva, the individual soul, needs to contemplate more, needs to go further, and then the answer comes, by posing a sincere question to the "higher"...äh...mind.

But IF the jiva is merely a jiva, then what is the case is that nothing can be known. That's the jiva's problem: Not being connected to the Atman.

That is why Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj refered to: "Abide in the I AM only."

In my view that means you need to have an experience of what it means to just "be the I AM". And that exerience can not be had by the jiva, if the jiva isn't a devotee of Truth.

Being a devotee of Truth means: You, the jiva, is supposed to learn the right stuff in the first quarter of your life, like 20 years of your life is about learning stuff only. Then, the next period of life is about living what you learned. Then, the next quarter is about understanding what it was all about you did. That's what becomming a jnani is. You can't be a jnani at the age of 20. Unless you experienced and simultanly undstood what you are doing and why you do it already, which is a very rare condition to be in normally.

Louis C.K. expressed that very nicely in this bit:

Louis CK Do Your Job 20 Year Olds :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTaZkf4dih8

:D
Anja
 


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