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CHAPTER IV: QUALIFICATIONS

Lifestyle question

A Mature Human Being, 1. Discrimination, 2. Dispassion, 3. Control of the Mind, 4. Control of Senses, 5. Doing What Is Appropriate to Your Nature (Svadharma), The World Does Not Need Fixing, My Relative Nature, 6. Single-Pointedness, 7. Forbearance, 8. Devotion, 9. Faith , 10. Burning Desire for Freedom, A Qualified Teacher, Walk the Talk, The Grace of God.

Moderator: milarepa

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Pedro » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:35 pm

Hi Mira,

Busy here too. Thank you, it's good to be here. Yeah lots of activity here on the forum all of a sudden. Iswara flipped a switch in the basement...

Good thing that assimilation is speeding up equally. The knowledge keeps making life better in countless ways doesn't it? It's the coolest thing.

I'm curious, since you started this, did you change or add rituals now a few months later?
Pedro
 
Posts: 12
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Mira » Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:01 pm

Hi Pedro,
Hope you are well! In response to your question about Swami Paramarthananda's talks, here is a link I found:
http://www.vedantavidyarthisangha.org/talks.html
If you prefer books and articles of his, here is that link:
http://arshaavinash.in/

With respect to your other question: The main difference from last year (when I wrote the post) is that discrimination is now almost continuous. It just keeps happening automatically. Every situation is seen as Ishvara unfolding for the pleasure of the self. There is an deep feeling of devotion, gratitude and love.

In terms of rituals: I spend time running or hiking in nature everyday. It's like meditation and devotion combined :D. I read something from the SW website everyday. Recently, I started to read poetry about self-realization and I listen to devotional music sometimes.

But mostly I just see every situation as the self, unfolding by the self, for the self :D.
Mira
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Pedro » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:57 am

Hi Mira,

I've taken very long to reply to your post to me, sorry.

Thanks for the links. And I see it's been more than a year already indeed! Cool to hear you have the opportunity to get into nature daily, the mind really takes well to nature doesn't it? Starts buzzing with the forest straight away. Unfortunately there's not a lot of nature around here so I'll just hug a streetlight every now and then.

And cool that discrimination is almost continuous. I think it's going quite smoothly here too these days, but I also think I have eliminated most of the more challenging aspects (e.g. obligated contact with people) so I also feel I sort of cheat at being discriminative. If Iswara would put Holland in a civil war tomorrow and guerillas blew up my house and my indexfingers off (or just my working computer!), I would probably realize my discrimination needs tons of work!

I have read about your work vasana and I feel recognition because I have a binding work vasana too (I assume on the jiva level you consider yours binding too correct?)

Some time ago I heard about the threefold types of desires which really soothed me in my conflict I had about having such a binding vasana: The smoke, mirror and birth analogy from the Gita. I suppose you heard about those too? After hearing this I categorized my work-vasana as the 'birthtype-vasana' and decided I had to play the midwife for this samskara in this lifetime and I feel no conflict anymore about that.

But when I get too much activity going, and especially when I have too see many people, I find it difficult to keep discrimination solid.

At one point or another I then start taking some thought serious or interpret something through a personal filter and I suffer! I (and my wife too) also seem to pick up thoughts (and vibes of course) from people. So sometimes I've talked to an elderly person and I have a fear-thought about sickness afterwards and I think, I never think about this, this was hers! Or you get a nightmare about a second world war II event!

Another thing I also encounter is this for example. You're nice and sattvicminded doing something at home and somebody calls on the phone and within seconds you feel a tamasic anaconda of muddyness eating into your subtle body and recoiling on the bottom of your stomach. When I hang up I need another 30 minutes to let it dissipate again. I take these occasions with the KY attitude but I must also say I have just turned down my social contacts as a cornerer cutter :twisted:

This (besides pompously whining about it on forums) I guess, is a major downside of sattva, or to be more precise, my attachment to a sattvic mind. I have some serious attachment issues there! ;) ;)

Do you recognize the above too in contact with people?
Pedro
 
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Mira » Sat Oct 29, 2016 1:47 pm

Hi Pedro,
I loved your email. It really made me laugh. As they say, laughter is the fourth guna and you certainly have it in spades :D.

Do you recognize the above too in contact with people?

Yes, I do. I really find it hard to make 'small talk' with people beyond 5-10 minutes. In the US though, it is very hard to get by without small talk. It's almost constant! I love having deep and meaningful conversations with people--but I hate small talk. So I tend to avoid large gatherings where small talk will be inevitable. Like tonight, I am wondering whether to go to a Halloween party or not. We'll just see what Ishvara ends up doing with my evening ;). I love how you put it as corner cutting. I also do that--just do the barest minimum at social gatherings and then leave! But I do some long runs with my friends on weekends and I love those--and we can have meaningful conversations of 2-3 hours while running. No cutting corners there.

he smoke, mirror and birth analogy from the Gita. I suppose you heard about those too?

Actually, I would love to hear more about this.

Regards my work vasana: It is actually an 'overachieving vasana' in general and it shows up most in the work environment. But Ramji's email to my original post had a real effect on me. I try to chip away on the edges or 'cut corners ;)' and not take on so much--mainly because I realize the futility of overachieving. I still enjoy my job very much but it's not such a big focus anymore. But there is still a lot of egoic attachment to work-related success that needs to be worked on.

Great to hear from you. I really enjoy the heartfelt personal posts since we are all facing similar issues as we strive for moksha :D.
Mira
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Pedro » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:46 am

Hi Mira,

Took a while to respond again, sorry. Last week I finished up a final draft for a novella I wrote.

I really like reading about other people's stories too, so thank you too and Andrew too for example.

About smalltalk, yeah I feel ya. It's probably global. Here in Holland everybody's deconstructing the weather in public encounters. And very thoroughly. Temperature, windspeed, seasonal deviations!

A friend of mine was from the middle east and whenever he walked into a fellow middle eastern somebody he knew in town, they would exchange a ritual of asking about family and giving blessings and sometimes they just rambled it off, without listening to the other person and both talking at the same time! This obligation drove him nuts sometimes because if he didn't do it, his parents would receive phonecalls! :mrgreen:

The rambling is pretty symbolic for a lot of communication you see between people, isn't it?

Cool you have the running time with friends, that's a good combination. Did Iswara put you in the Halloween party eventually?

I recognize the overachieving vasana, it translates with me by striving for excellence, I have a deep seated (and hidden) conviction that when I make something 'perfect' there will be reward/freedom. It's a big problem if I'm not very attentive and sharp with KY practice to keep this in view. If I'm not sharp with KY, anxiousness starts dripping into my mind in buckets immediately. With KY in place however, I happily work, rest well and sing bible-themed hymns to our cat (he's protestant, although you'd think he'd be a catholic). And yeah, Ramji's post about the chipping was great! I started chipping too last summer after reading that post.

About the gita:

I looked up which verse it was, it's verse 38. 'Just as the fire is covered by clouds of smoke, just as a mirror is covered by dust, and just as a foetus is covered by the womb, so too, knowledge is covered by (binding) desire.' (translation: Dayananda's gita course)

The fire, the mirror and the baby stand for self knowledge.

In case of the fire you can blow the cloud of smoke away in an instant. A small vasana like for example a cinnamon bun desire

The dusty mirror you can polish but it takes some effort. This is a more serious vasana or samskara, like a desire to create good Japanese ramen noodlesoup from the ground up. If you indulge it you must learn to make alkaline noodles and create the right amount of umami flavor etc. It takes some time and dedication.

In case of the foetus in the womb you have to abide the time and let it come out when it is ready. You can't rush a baby to grow faster to pull it out. (it won't listen!)

I realized my vasana for music and art falls into the last category. So I'll just play the good midwife for this artistic samskara this lifetime.

The explanations above are not Dayananda's by the way, only the translation of the verse. The rest is all Swami Pedronanda..
Pedro
 
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Mira » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:11 pm

Dear Swami Pedroananda,

I really enjoyed your post---it had me laughing! So, I, Swamini Miravanam predict that your novella will be a huge success (assuming it has some funny moments in it :D). What is it about?

Thanks also for the Gita verse. I looked it up in my Gita translation from Swami Dayananda.

But I must ask, does your art and music vasana interfere with assimilation of self-knowledge? That is, do those vasanas remove you from a sattvic frame of mind? If not, then why would you want to get rid of them?

Many vasanas are good. For example, I have a very strong vasana for trail running and hiking and it actually puts me in a sattvic frame of mind and really helps self-inquiry and assimilation. So I am actually grateful for it. Similarly, I expect people have strong vasanas for meditation or self-inquiry which are useful to assimilation.

Personally, I find that certain music puts me in a sattvic state of mind. In fact, I recall Swami Dayanada saying (and I paraphrase) that because music has the ability to allow transcendence, a musician is more powerful than a yogi! A yogi can achieve transcendence only for him/herself but a musician can facilitate transcendence for others :D.

Of course, ultimately knowledge is more important than any kind of transcendent experience (which always comes to an end--no matter how awesome).

For some reason, I am recalling a novel by Herman Hesse called the Glass Bead Game in which he explores music and transcendence a little. Hesse was a such a wonderful author and a true seeker to be sure. But I don't know if he ever got to fully understand who he was. I wish he could have met Ramji and got self-knowledge. But then he may not have created such beautiful art ;).

Are you a musician? What kind?
Would love to hear more about your music and art vasana when you have time.
Mira
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:54 pm

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Pedro » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:40 am

Hi Mira,

Thank you, very nice quote by Dayananda, never heard it. I feel that's exactly what music can do! It's quite a blessing to get to do it, as a job!

The novella is about a guy who gets hit with a sleeping disorder and receives an invitation from a renowned doctor in China. He goes to see him but once he's there he can't get in touch with the doctor and he gets kidnapped by a gang of three local mobsters and their pet-turtle.

It's the first story I wrote and I focused especially on making sure the story hooks the reader by studying a lot of 'how to write' books and 'plotting for retards' etc. So there's humour in it but it's not the biggest part in it. I think plenty of symbolism has creeped in on the other hand. For example the Chinese gangster boss was a former sleepwalker who has been cured of sleepwalking the day he got a turtle and he ascribes his cure to the turtle and starts carrying around the turtle wherever he goes. The sleepwalking can stand for maya and the turtle for knowledge in this case.

The story is part of a bigger project I've been working on last 5 years including a series of paintings and a musicalbum (you could say it's an elaborate concept album). I will release this head-ache (!) project next year. I'll let you know about it when it's time. If you're in Europe you can come to the release party, Vedantins get backstage passes, just say the password 'mommy gimme moksa mangos!'

'do those vasanas remove you from a sattvic frame of mind? If not, then why would you want to get rid of them?'


No indeed I don't want to get rid of them at all now. But when I discovered Vedanta a few years ago I was trying to make sense of what vasanas and samskaras were and after reading that analogy most confusion I had about the subject evaporated (I don't reckon you would have any doubts on this subject by the way, judging by the melody of clarity singing through your posts)

Having said that however, I must say there are many 'sidevasanas' that get triggered with the svadharma/art-vasanas which can definitely remove me from a sattvic frame of mind. Pesky ones! The perfection vasana for example is a troublesome fellow. I have to keep it in check and on a very short leash.

Another example is the ambitious toddler on my inside. I often have to sit it down give it a cookie and say, yes I understand you want to do things in a grand way and get your status in the world but this is the cost and is that really what you want? And do we really want to act from a platform of inferiority?

'Yes!!' it says. 'We do!!'

Behind it a sea of more toddlers stretches out, raising a reverberating cloud of whiny noises and every now and then I walk into the swarming crowd, take a toddler by the hand and sin intelligently and then, when playtime's over, I put a sock in its mouth, knock it out and wave my finger to warn the rest of them. It's quite an active job living in a human...

So no, not a problem, but also yes potential problems by the pounds! I have to keep it 'clean' meaning only do the art as a gift to my fellow humans and unhook it from gratuitous personal gains and attitudes or it will definitely affect my state of mind.

This process seems to get more subtle.

Herman Hesse I know by name, I once had the book 'Siddharta' at home, but didn't read it. The book was about the spiritual journey of a Brahmin boy so indeed I'd expect him to be interested in Vedanta. But then again I am time and time again amazed how ignorance can shield off self-knowledge from its hosts! It really has to be the right time, doesn't it?

To answer your question I started out playing drums when I was nine (death metal!) and later switched to producing my own music (drum and bass / hiphop / lounge). I formed a band with two friends when I was seventeen, we played for ten years non stop every weekend, moving up to the big venues and festivals and got quite famous here in Holland, especially within our niche of music. I started to feel trapped in the setup I was in however and took a break from music and the industry, started painting, traveled around the globe for a small year and gave room to my growing obsession with reality and consciousness. I found Vedanta, the knowledge cleaned up my lifestyle and life has been swift and swell ever since!

Well mostly. Our cat keeps bringing home living rats and birds, which would be nice if it stopped. My wife and I try to get him into the vedas and take away his binding hunting expedition vasanas. But he sticks with protestantism. 'Protestantism and tunafish are the pillars of my creation,' he says. And how can we argue with that? Besides, he walks on our neighbours fences and uses his tongue as toiletpaper.

There's a definite difference in values.


:mrgreen:
Pedro
 
Posts: 12
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Location: Netherlands

Re: Lifestyle question

Postby Mira » Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:01 pm

Hi Pedro,
Ha! Ha! I never know when to take you seriously! I loved the bit about the inner toddler. We can all relate. But as you say, a little intelligent sinning takes care of the little brat!

Sinning intelligently or the middle way--I think that is the best way out for us householders with pesky vasanas :D.

All the best with your writing and music. Although I don't have any artistic talent, I really appreciate good art and I am grateful to artists who can so easily lift us and connect us directly to the self :D. Not that I'm advocating experience over knowledge :lol:.
Mira
 
Posts: 161
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 3:54 pm

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