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Chapter I: What Do I Want?

Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Motivations , The Unexamined Logic of Your Own Experience,
I Want Security, Pleasure and Virtue, Does Happiness Exist?
Is It in Objects?, Definition of an Object, I Am Not an Object,
Am I Separate from Objects?, Definition of Real,
The Objects Are Me, But I Am Not an Object,
Definition of Non-Duality, Life Is a Zero-Sum Game,
The Fourth Pursuit.

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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:19 am

Hi Mira, and thank you for your appreciation. This is my first trip to southern India. Here India seems to be poorer and dirtier than Bombay, Goa, Poona, Delhi, Rishkesh, Lucknow and other northern parts of India. Today was the Deepam festival where thousands of people from all over India and abroad came to have their four hours walk around the mountain Arunachala - the embodment of Shiva. Fire was lit at the top of the montain to remain on for the next 11 days.

Everyone seems to have a strong devotional relationship with Shiva or Isvara - the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the universe. It is interesting to notice that they mostly do what they do as a mean to please God in the hopes for the achievement of their desires as well the avoidance of their fears. The love, appreciation and respect for Isvara is felt everywhere. We do not see it in the western Christian societies. In the west the Jivas work hard for their desires and fears, but they do not seem to bring Isvara into the equation. Here, they work much less and they leave most of it to the will of Isvara.

Talking of Isvara's will... as far as giving some Satsang talks, it is all up to the Lord. I love sharing Vedanta but I do not look or work for it. If it happens I just respond to it and thank Isvara for the opportunity. There is nothing in program. Ramji has arrived a couple of days ago but I haven't met him yet. Much love from Tiru to you and all. Arlindo
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:00 pm

Arlindo:

Thank you for your contribution to the conversation around the "life in mithya is a zero-sum game." The comments were helpful in clarifying what is precisely meant.

What I also took away on reflection is that one must go beyond mithya to escape a no win situation. But to say the good news is that one cannot lose either,seems to take away that helpfulness.

I guess what I am saying is that Life (with a capital L?) is not a zero sum game, when there is a recognition
of one's true nature. I guess that formulation is not objectionable, or is it?

Thanks again.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:52 pm

Arlindo wrote: In the west the Jivas work hard for their desires and fears, but they do not seem to bring Isvara into the equation. Here, they work much less and they leave most of it to the will of Isvara.

Hi Arlindo,
Thanks for the update. I love your insight. I think by leaving it to the will of Isvara also helps Indians cope with thier abject poverty. So many people are born into very, very difficult circumstances and the only way to cope with their difficult lives is to believe that 'it's Isvara's will'.

But I was reading a book review recently which suggested that young Indians are now going the way of rugged individualism of the West. They are going more the way of belief in free will and taking charge of one's destiny (as opposed to traditional beliefs in determinism/fatalism).

I hope you have a great time in India. Especially with Ramji there :D.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:20 am

Hi Bob, the super good news is that even after one’s self-knowledge is hard & fast to “become” actualized, still the Jivamukta (Jiva with self-knowledge) cannot beat the system; you cannot win - you cannot lose - zero-sum game.

The only difference is that after the recognition of one’s true nature and the proper assimilation of Satya and mithya and the functionality of mithya with its physical, moral and psychological laws, the Jiva does not expect to win anything in here any longer. :lol:

He knows that for every gain, there is a loss – for every up, there is a down. So, he relaxes and enjoys this apparent reality from the stand point of self-knowledge + Isvara-knowledge: Nothing to gain because I am already full and satisfied. Nothing to lose because nothing can affect my true essential nature. ;)
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:32 am

Hi Bob,


Thanks for your good wishes re my eye problem...all over now. It seems odd that putting on dark glasses helps with the eye sight but, when any light makes your eyes stream, whatever works is great.


Apologies to Mira for confusing one of her comments with one of yours.... sorry Mira ! I guess that was down to making my reply over numerous manageable pieces. Thanks for pointing it out Bob.

You said in reply to me ....


" I do have some questions about your comments and maybe you can clarify the following:
You (Stan) write:

As we have to unravel all of our conditioning in the process, all aspects of our lives have to come up for review and be placed under the disciplined study that is Inquiry. This means that our lives have to be examined on a constant moment to moment basis and see if they conform with what the scriptures teach us. not only that but, we have to put the teaching of vedanta into practise.
It`s essential from the very start to understand how that is done....
The `practise` of vedanta is to distinguish the subject ( you / awareness ) from the objects. It is the practise of knowledge.
Ultimately, we discover that the subject and object (anything other than you) are `one` ...non different. We discover that `duality` is only a belief. The Objects are not `Out there` ....
So yes, vedanta has to be a way of living as Inquiry should be constant and all encompassing.

Question ( Bob ): I am guessing the process you are referring to is that which takes us to knowing who we are. In that process do we really have to unravel all our conditioning? I think this overstates what needs to be done. As you state further, the practice of vedanta is to distinguish the subject from the object, which in my mind means abiding as best we can as awareness. That awareness is not touched by the conditioning. I would rather say that the conditioning only has to be unraveled to the extent it permits there to be an active discrimination of the subject from the object. That object is very often our conditioning, in fact, we might say, it is always our conditioning. "

In reply to your question Bob, I wasn`t referring to a process that `takes us to knowing who we are`.
The scriptures tell us who we are from the get-go . just knowing who we are doesn`t necessarily unravel our conditioning. by that I mean, rendering the vasanas unbinding and removing all sense of being a `Doer`. It can do for the rare individual who is very highly qualified but that discounts the vast majority of us, unfortunatelly.

Initially, distinguishing the self from objects is meant to break our fixation with them. this is because we think they are Real and so we have to start with this level of understanding.
With further Inquiry, we come to understand that the objects are non separate from us...in fact are us....just in a different order of reality. that of Mithya.
This on the face of it is quite illogical.... how can there be two Realities ? There of course can`t be.
We are then brought to understand that Mithya depends on me...Satya / awareness, I don`t depend on Mithya. I always stand alone as awareness with or without objects. objects just being me with form made out of me...awareness. This is known as non-dual reality.

So, when you said " I would rather say that the conditioning only has to be unraveled to the extent it permits there to be an active discrimination of the subject from the object " I would say yes but that applies to the initial stages of Inquiry as I mentioned previously. This revolves around what you understand by Inquiry. What actually is it ?

Inquiry generally means to ask `about`or investigate. The usual inquiry question being `who am I ? `. As Vedanta tells us straight off that we are awareness, Vedanta inquiry can`t be intended to answer that question. this is why I wasn`t referring to a process that "takes us to knowing who we are" as you put it.

So what is the Relevant question ? It is `how does my present perceived identity stack up against my identity as awareness ? `.
If fears and desires motivate our actions, we obviously think they`re real and we have the wrong idea of who we are. If we KNOW we have the wrong idea of ourselves and want to be free of them, then self knowledge is what we need. So what is self inquiry ? It is the consistent application of that self knowledge to the subtle body brought about by discriminating the self from the objects appearing in it. ie. Standing in awareness AS awareness.

When you said " conditioning only has to be unraveled to the extent that it permits there to be an active discrimination of the subject from the object. That object is very often our conditioning, in fact, we might say, it is always our conditioning. " .

But are objects our conditioning ? are waves separate from the ocean ? all objects are value neutral and it`s only our personal Ignorance that assigns to them value judgments. when our `conditioning` is removed, do objects disappear ? no, it`s our attachment to objects that is the problem. we think they are real instead of apparently real. Our conditioning is our personal Ignorance and if we want complete self knowledge, then conditioning (Ignorance) has to be unravelled completely. " to the extent" is incomplete or limited removal of Ignorance.

It looked to me as if you were conflating Inquiry with the reduction of the vasanas ( conditioning) so as to get a more sattvic mind..... in order to make it ready for Inquiry.
It is self inquiry that gets rid of the vasanas. Karma yoga does too, gradually, but self inquiry kills them on the spot if the method of Self Inquiry is understood.

What is the purpose of self inquiry ? it is so that `true` knowledge will remove `false` knowledge ie Ignorance / conditioning. it is the standing in awareness AS awareness until self knowledge is firm and without doubt.
When you said " which in my mind means abiding as best we can as awareness ", well, we can`t `abide as` awareness of course as we already are awareness. can we abide AS ourselves ?

What we are doing here is acting `as though` we are awareness and taking the viewpoint of awareness instead of that of the limited self . we do this knowingly as a discrimination.
Trying to `abide` as awareness would forever remain as `trying` to abide as awareness. The important thing is to negate what is not real.



You later added ....

" I am in complete agreement. I fully understand that a jnani would not actively seek intimacy. I also can see where a jnani as a jnani would have no preferences either. The point as I see it, is that depending on what Ishawara has in store for us, a jnani will be seen as having preferences, either for example for intimacy, or non-intimacy, but there will be no identification with that preference."

When you say `Ishwara has in store for us`, who is `us` ?
Ishwara always has something in store for us and we never know what it will be. On the level of Ishwara all we can do is take what comes as Prasad...a gift.

`A jnani will be seen as having preferences for intimacy or non intimacy`. As seen by whom ?
Do you mean by a samsari....one without self knowledge ? awareness has no preferences and a jnani knows that preferences are not real. Ishwara has no preferences. it just supplies the results of jiva`s limited actions.

`But there will be no identification with that preference`. again, by whom ?

If we`re referring to the jnani, the jnani is free to choose to do something or not otherwise he/she would not be free. he could say to Ishwara...no thanks ! Even then, the jnani will always act in accordance with dharma naturally. This topic brings up the question of ..Is there Real free will at all ? a preference is meaningless without free will but the jiva is limited and only has some limited free will. Everything else is all Ishwara and the jnani knows this. In reality which is non-dual, there is no free will or preferences...with identification or otherwise.

It appears to me .... rightly or wrongly, that when you said " a jnani `will be seen` as having preferences...but there will be no identification", that seer is the mind.

Standing in awareness doesn’t mean that, when you are applying the knowledge to the intellect, the intellect should think that it is the self, when it’s just an instrument for that practice.
The intellect should knowingly act “as if” you are the self ...which you are, although the intellect doesn`t see it.

Sometimes it could be confusing because the intellect making this discrimination is non-self. So it can ask: “How could it be that the part that is not real, says ‘I’m real’ ?
It doesn`t make sense. So the automatic reaction of the intellect ,which is just ideas, thoughts, when knowledge is not correctly assimilated, is to believe that thoughts like “I’m awareness” and “I’m free of everything” (which are descriptions of satya) are referring to the intellect itself (which clearly is mithya). That is superimposition.

The intellect doesn’t need to identify with anything, because it’s just an object. It only has to allow the knowledge to remove the ignorance of your true self. The intellect will never become you. You apply the knowledge in the subtle body, not because you have to gain a new idea, but because you want to remove the false ideas.
This can include displaying the knowledge in the form of ideas, but their work is not to stay, just to remove ignorance, in order to get firm self knowledge.

That knowledge is `I am awareness`. As I am self knowing, I don`t get lumbered with carrying around `knowledge` wherever I go hereafter.
The only goal has always been to know that we have always been free.

Thanks for your questions Bob, when I need a work out again, i`ll know where to go .... Ha ha. I replied as best I could but of course stand to be corrected.

Best wishes to you. :-)
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Anja » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:20 pm

Correction: The intellect is not an object. The intellect is a function of the self/Self (Awarness) and has no substance, so it can't be an object. The intellect is a vehicle of the self/Self and its function is to inquire. In that sense the intellect indeed is the self/Self exercising a particular function of the self/Self which is, more or less, solving problems.

By the way, isn't "Standing as Awareness" the title of a book written by Greg Goode?

P.S.: Stan, I hope you're not having a binding banning vasana. :D
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:40 am

Hi Anja,

re your ...

Correction: The intellect is not an object. The intellect is a function of the self/Self (Awarness) and has no substance, so it can't be an object.


If I may correct your "correction" according to vedanta, The Intellect is one of the subtle body functions ( not of awareness ). The others being Mind, Ego and Doubt. The Intellect gathers knowledge, remembers, analyzes, inquires into `problems`. It discriminates between the relative realities of appearances / objects.
It`s the most important and subtle aspect of the Subtle Body if moksha is the aim as what we know and don`t know about ourselves, determines whether we suffer or not.

Your saying that the " Intellect is not an object" is timely as we`re working through chapter one of the Essence of enlightenment` book and one of the preliminary topics found there is ....Tara... " Definition of an object " ! how convenient. :-)

Quoting from the book ....

" An object is anything other than me, the subject. My body appears as an object in me. My feelings appear in me and are known to me. They, too, are objects, as are my thoughts, beliefs and opinions. Absolutely anything that I experience is an object, including the past, present and future. Experience itself is an object known to me. Please do not forget this definition because it is the essence of self inquiry; you will need it right up to the end of your inquiry - and beyond. It is the basis of the practice that will set you free."

The only thing that can`t be an object is you of course so, absolutelly everything other than you is an object. The chapter then leads on to " Am I separate from objects" which is where I think your misconception about the self having a function lies. Yes, as you say.. " In that sense the "intellect indeed is the self " is correct in as far as that goes BUT, the self is not the Intellect ! The Intellect depends on you but you don`t depend on the Intellect. The self is never in any way limited. This method of Inquiry runs from start to finish in vedanta.

I don`t know if you have the E of E book but here is the link to chapter one. It is found under the chapter one heading of the forum. relevant chapters of the book will be added as we proceed through each chapters` study. this is for the benefit for the people who don`t have a book or want quick reference to it.

http://www.shiningworld.com/site/index.php/one-year-course?id=99

Yes, " Standing as awareness " is a pretty darn good book by Greg Goode and No, I don`t have a "binding banning vasana " . not at the moment anyway.... kind of you to inquire ... :-)
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Arlindo Nagar » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:41 am

Very nice Stan! The other day I was going to write something to Anja in this regard but I ended up forgetting it. FB gets me distracted 8-) I could not have said it better. thank you brother.

And as far as India, after a week setting up the apartment, trying to help my friend to keep her moods under control and a few days’ sick in bed, I finally got to go to Ramana ashram. The town is peaceful and calm again after the festival, and only now I actually begin understanding why so many westerns and Indians get stuck here. The energy field in the Ashran is so strong... easily felt. You hang around there for a bit and the mind becomes sattvic. I have even began going there for the Pujas. India is indeed a mysterious place... perhaps the closest thing to be called heaven in hell. :)
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:33 pm

Arlindo:

Thanks for your reply of December 15th and the "super-good news that you cannot beat the system. So well put and clear what you wrote. Helped point out the passion of my mind to want to "beat the system".

With much appreciation,

Bob

Stan:

Thanks for your generous and helpful comments to my earlier post. There is so much in your reply, and I had difficulty following the train of some of the writing, so here is my best effort to summarize what I took away:

Knowing who we are is not enough, and in fact is not the real point of self-inquiry, as the scriptures provide the answer, but what has to really occur is that we render our vasanas (fears and desires) non-binding and remove all sense of being a "doer". As you write "if fears and desires motivate our actions, we obviously think they are real and we have the wrong idea of who we are."

You also wrote "our conditioning is our personal ignorance and if we want complete self-knowledge, then conditioning has to be unravelled completely. Therefore my statement that conditioning does not have to be completely unravelled but "only to the extent that it permits an active discrimination of the subject from the object", actually is a defense for "incomplete or limited removal of ignorance".

As I see it and reflect on this, our difference here is that I am imagining that I can know that I am not that which is seen, i.e.. my fears and desires, even if those fears and desires are still presented to an extent that they still activate my actions. This is what I meant by actively discriminate the seer from the seen. You, on the other hand are pointing out that as long there are fears and desires that activate ones actions, one must have a wrong idea of who one is.

There is more to respond to in your response about the abiding vs. standing as awareness and some stuff about the intellect, but I am tired now, so will send this off and maybe get to the rest another time.

Thanks again.

Best wishes

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:39 am

Hi Bob,

I think we`re pretty much on the same page.....thanks for your reply.

I`m sorry if my previous post was awkward to follow....probably caused by making a reply of many sections when my eyes were just not functioning for a while. also you made a fair few good points which I thought deserved a reply.
Please don`t feel bound to reply to every point made as we agreed that we`re largely thinking out loud not only for our own benefit but also that of possible other participants.
One of your current comments i`d like to reply to is this. you said ....

As I see it and reflect on this, our difference here is that I am imagining that I can know that I am not that which is seen, i.e.. my fears and desires, even if those fears and desires are still presented to an extent that they still activate my actions. This is what I meant by actively discriminate the seer from the seen. You, on the other hand are pointing out that as long there are fears and desires that activate ones actions, one must have a wrong idea of who one is.


Well, if we have BINDING vasanas.... " fears and desires that activate ones actions " as you put it, we must still be bound to the notion of a `Doer`.
If the fears and desires DIDN`T " activate one`s actions", AND you `know that you are not that which is seen`, then you can`t be speaking from the standpoint of the `Doer` but the standpoint of awareness. This is not quite enough though and is the nub of the matter.
It requires just one more step to firm up the knowledge that `I am awareness` and this is that although I am not `that which is seen`, `that which is seen is me. The object is non separate from me.

Separating self from the object is a preliminary inquiry used to reduce the strong belief that objects are real and are worth chasing after.
When a vasana is built up for this discrimination and it becomes natural and second nature to you, only then is everything...you, objects, seen as the non-dual you. Satya...Mithya, to heck with it....it`s all you.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:01 am

Hi Arlindo :-),

Thanks for your kind words to me about " I could not have said it better". As I am no teacher, I would like to rely on your correcting me if my understanding / writing goes off course. as you know, knowing that you are the self and being able to effectively teach the knowledge are two different things.

We`re all grateful to have you and the benefits of your teaching with us so please have your red crayan handy...especially as we delve deeper into the more involved chapters of our study. Thank you my friend. :-)

More news of your stay and impressions in India would be really interesting. How you acclimatise to "heaven in hell" ( Lol .. ), How Ramji gets on with the teaching with a much larger group, all good stuff. I am very curious about my `spiritual home land` and it`s people ...who I will probably never get to see. Thank you dear friend.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:05 pm

Stan:

Your reply was really clarifying in pointing out the preliminary nature of actively discriminating the seer from the seen. And how there is also an important second step which is to also see that while I may not be that which is seen, that which is seen is me. I am going to sit with that pointing out as its subtlety needs time to assimilate.

I would appreciate it if you can amplify on why you write: if we have binding vasanas, fears and desires that motivate our actions, we must still be bound to the notion of being a doer. What you write sounds right, but not sure why.

I do know first hand from my occasional anxiety issues around my professional responsibilities as an attorney in certain cases, that there is a strong sense of being possibly responsible for some imagined bad result, i.e.harm to a client case/cause. (Boy is that packed with conditioned thinking) In that sense, if we call the anxiety felt a vasana for feeling shame or guilt, then it is clear how it is connected to the notion of being a doer, which of course implies that the result was up to me. The problem seems to be that even though my action was only one small part of the infinite factors involved in the results in any situation, and therefore the result cannot be entirely my responsibility that does not take away the sense of being at least partially the doer of one of the factors and therefore the fear of the feelings of shame and guilt.

I do acknowledge that our exchange is for all who are part of the group and there is no need for covering all points made. I appreciate all the feedback so far, and do not considerer our exchange a personal one.
Looking forward to your or anyone else's further comments.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Tom » Sat Dec 24, 2016 2:04 am

Hello All! Is it too late to join the study group?
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:52 am

Hi Tom,

No, it`s not too late to join the study group. There is no cut-off point really. anyone can join at any time right up to the last week of the last month of the last chapter Lol ...

The only stipulation, if it can be called that, is that you read the relevant chapter of the E of E book before posting. Ideally, if someone joined half way through the course, it would be best to have read the previous chapters before posting.

Vedanta is a very simple means of knowledge and is unfolded in a definite logical order in order for it to work it`s `magic`. missing steps in the teaching usually leads to confusion.

So yes, you are very welcome to join the group Tom, and you have joined at the best time ...in the begining. It has saved you having to back track over the previous chapters had you joined later on. We look forward to your participation.
A big welcome to you ! :-)
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Stan » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:52 am

Hi Bob,
re your ...

" And how there is also an important second step which is to also see that `while I may not be that which is seen, that which is seen is me`. I am going to sit with that pointing out as its subtlety needs time to assimilate. "


Simply put, " that which is seen is me " is something that appears in my awareness. it is me because it is made of me ...awareness.


`While I may not be that which is seen,`. This whole statement is pointing out that Reality is non-dual and what that means.

Although `that which is seen` is me, I am not `that which is seen`. `that which is seen depends completely on me/awareness as it is not always present and so cannot be Real.

I am always present whether `that which is seen` is present or not. therefore, only I am Real (always present and unchanging).

This is a really good fundamental question and it`s essential to be clear about it before going foreward. It is covered in chapter 1 under this section ....


"Am I separate from Objects?
Let’s deepen our inquiry. Where do I end and the objects begin? Is there a separation? If there is, what kind of separation is it? If you analyze perception, you will see that the objects are not actually separate from the subject, me..... and so on. It continues to .....

" Definition of Real

Something is real if it never changes. Objects are not real because they change. If you think about it carefully, this fact will upset you because you would not pursue objects if you knew they were unreal......

You then said ...

" I would appreciate it if you can amplify on why you write: if we have binding vasanas, fears and desires that motivate our actions, we must still be bound to the notion of being a doer. What you write sounds right, but not sure why.


Really, the problem lies in identifying with the notion of Doership, it`s not that the doer has to be gotten rid of...even if it could...or should be. That doer will always be there but should eventually be seen as an object in awareness.
The burden of doership is the cause of all existential suffering as it comes from our misguided perception of being separate and reality being a duality... The doer thought being the most tenacious vasana we have.

A doer only does actions so as to enjoy the results of those actions. Our thoughts determine our choices but our vasanas / conditioning determine those thoughts.. It`s the samsara chakra...we go round and round endlessly doing the same things. What keeps us doing it ? , the belief that our " fears and desires " are really `our`s and that the objects of fear and desire are real.
Only the jiva has fears and desires that are binding as he/she doesn`t have self knowledge.

When that is clear, the doer can appear in you, even with traces of doership, but you do not identify with it. There will then be no `binding` vasanas.


You then mentioned ....

" I do know first hand from my occasional anxiety issues around my professional responsibilities as an attorney in certain cases, that there is a strong sense of being possibly responsible for some imagined bad result .....
The problem seems to be that even though my action was only one small part of the infinite factors involved in the results in any situation, and therefore the result cannot be entirely my responsibility that does not take away the sense of being at least partially the doer of one of the factors and therefore the fear of the feelings of shame and guilt. ".


Is this really a valid anxiety...or fear ? Nobody wants a `bad` result and is the reason we all `Do` everything we can to attain a good result. You could say that your livelyhood and reputation rest on your successes and lack of failures in your job or profession and as far as that goes, it`s true.

Having said that, as jivas, we do enjoy a level of free will in order to achieve our legitimate desires. nothing wrong with that.
You trained to be proficient in your profession for `x` years. if you prepare in a timely manner for your cases, seek assistance where needed, act according to dharma and give of your best, you can reasonably expect a good outcome and put the matter out of your hands. you will have done all you can do. the results are then of course out of your hands. You may make the best of cases, to all intents and purposes be in the right, and still the judgement can go against you though.

Any feelings of " shame and guilt" would be completelly unwarranted. especially as you said, " my action was only one small part of the infinite factors involved in the results in any situation. ".
As you probably know, karma yoga is the prescription for this `doer` problem.

If we act taking the karma yoga attitude halfheartedly, but really, we know that deep down the vasanas are making the choices, well, then there is no escape from ignorance and there will be no peace of mind.
The question is, who is identifying with the doer/enjoyer who feels the `shame and guilt` ? it is never you/awareness is it ? it never is and this is down to self knowledge.

For the mind to assimilate self-knowledge, the qualifications have to be present or the knowledge “I am limitless, unchanging, ever present awareness” will not stick in the mind.

Anyway, what part do you think you played in order to be " partially the doer of one of the factors and therefore the fear of the feelings of shame and guilt. " ? can you find it ?
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:12 pm

Hi everyone,
Hope the Holidays are going well for you. It's been so hectic here that I'm glad to finally have a few moments to devote to the forum!

I also wanted to add my hearty welcome to Tom. It will be so great to have you join our little study group.

I also wanted to express my gratitude for having Arlindo join us on the study group. We are so fortunate to have a SW teacher. I also loved Arlindo's take of India as 'heaven in hell'. I have a similar reaction. In theory, I completely love India. But practically, it drives me insane!

The hardest for me to deal with is the poverty....and yet, I think that poverty might well be responsible for the overall spiritual temperament of the country.

Would love to hear more of the impressions of your trip, Arlindo, if you get a chance.
Last edited by Mira on Mon Dec 26, 2016 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Mira » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:45 pm

Bob wrote: " I do know first hand from my occasional anxiety issues around my professional responsibilities as an attorney in certain cases, that there is a strong sense of being possibly responsible for some imagined bad result .....
The problem seems to be that even though my action was only one small part of the infinite factors involved in the results in any situation, and therefore the result cannot be entirely my responsibility that does not take away the sense of being at least partially the doer of one of the factors and therefore the fear of the feelings of shame and guilt. ".


Hi Bob,
I love your honest, open, heartfelt posts. Thanks.
Stan has explained so well the understanding that we are not 'doers' is so critical for peace of mind. Ishvara is the only doer.

I just wanted to add my personal experience as my career related stress is often my biggest hurdle to peace of mind. Two things have been very helpful:

1) Simplifying one's career lifestyle: I had to change my career lifestyle to be more sattvic--by actively reducing assignments, not being so driven and ultimately accepting all the career successes and failures as the wish of Ishvara.

I don't know whether this is possible for you as an attorney--but perhaps you might consider taking on less stressful cases. Ultimately, our svadharma (personal dharma) is self-knowledge and self-assimilation and so the more peace of mind we have the better we can progress in this path.


2). Unconditional love for the jiva: Given that one knows that one is the self, then one can just love the imperfect jiva, which is simply a program playing out. Sometimes my jiva drives me insane--but I love her unconditionally--all her fears, her desires and her anxieties. This is conducive to peace of mind.
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby kpitsim » Mon Dec 26, 2016 6:30 pm

Stan:

Thanks again for the help with your response. Your first part clarified that the "part" of objects that is me is the essence or substratum (Awareness) behind the forms, and that essence is unaffected by forms appearing in it. By coincidence I have also been reading a little from the "Introduction to Vedanta ebook on the SW site, that also helped with that.

With regard to the professional responsibility anxiety issues, I was often aware that the anxiety and fears were not valid or reasonable, but that did not stop the intense suffering experienced at times. Fortunately this was not that often, but for purposes of understanding how samsara operates, it appears useful to question and understand why they sometimes arose.

You wrote:

If we act taking the karma yoga attitude halfheartedly, but really, we know that deep down the vasanas are making the choices, well, then there is no escape from ignorance and there will be no peace of mind.
The question is, who is identifying with the doer/enjoyer who feels the `shame and guilt` ? it is never you/awareness is it ? it never is and this is down to self knowledge.

Anyway, what part do you think you played in order to be " who is identifying with the doer/enjoyer who feels the `shame and guilt` ? it is never you/awareness is it ? it never is and this is down to self knowledge.
the doer of one of the factors and therefore the fear of the feelings of shame and guilt. " ? can you find it ?

My answer to the last question, spurred by your comment above, the part I played of being the doer of one of the factors in the situation, is that I identified myself with the jiva, and lost the recognition/discrimination that the jiva and its actions/decisions are appearances in my awareness, and as Mira's response also points out, properly belong to Ishwara.

Is what I just described what you meant by "If we act taking the karma yoga attitude halfheartedly, but really, we know that deep down the vasanas are making the choices"? What choices are you referring to here? Is it the choice of being a doer, of identifying with the jiva. Maybe the problem has been a lack of appreciation that in the karma yoga attitude, that not only are the results not within our control, but even the sense of controlling our mental energies with an apparent free will, is just an appearance. Of course to the extent that there appears to be effective control, it is not our control but Ishvara's.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Bob


Mira:

Thanks for your response too. I have chosen to work in an area of the law that for the most part does not involve intense cases, but sometimes, especially for very sensitive souls, they do appear.I appreciate that the confidence and conviction that Ishvara is the only doer requires an unagitated mind, therefore a simplified lifestyle, and like you, have taken steps in that direction.

Thank you also for the jump start email into Chapter 2. I intend on responding in the next few days.

Best holiday wishes and also for the New Year.

Bob
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Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Anja » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:47 pm

Hi Stan,

thanks for the reply. And yes, Greg Goode was indeed also very helpfull for me regarding a certain issue I had a few years ago. He basically helped me to strengthen my discernment faculty...äh...well...which is the intellect. :D

Hi Bob,

regarding shame/guilt/angst/remorse issues this is how I try to empower my mother, who is still dealing with those by merely being a bit too concerned about the wellbeing of her kids and grandchildren, me and my two siblings, who are all well in their mid fourties. (I'm even over fifty). When she tells me something like, "maybe I was too buisy with.....as you and your siblings have been kids and therefore now...." I tend to stop her right away when she is engaging in those type of conversations with me. And I tell her, "if you could have done it better you would have done it better. Now, as a grandmother, you are perfect as a grandmother, right? That's good enough for me. You haven't done anything wrong. You did what you could and I'm prove you did something right. I'm happy 24/7...12/365. Although I'm a looser regarding my official carriere now. Isn't that something?" And then I smile like an idiot.

It took a while, repeating it, but now she's far better in dropping the guilt-demon right in the beginning when it tries to tell her she's not a perfect mother. She's the best, the perfect mother for me. And by now she really got it. :D
Anja
 

Re: Chapter 1 What Do I Want ? Study Group.

Postby Anja » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:16 pm

Arlindo Nagar wrote:
And as far as India, after a week setting up the apartment, trying to help my friend to keep her moods under control and a few days’ sick in bed, I finally got to go to Ramana ashram. The town is peaceful and calm again after the festival, and only now I actually begin understanding why so many westerns and Indians get stuck here. The energy field in the Ashran is so strong... easily felt. You hang around there for a bit and the mind becomes sattvic. I have even began going there for the Pujas. India is indeed a mysterious place... perhaps the closest thing to be called heaven in hell. :)


Hi Arlindo,

I have a question to ask and a statement to make. Here the statement first:

I would not fly to India even if I could affort it. And that is not because I don't like India and its culture. Just the oposite, besides my disregard for the cast-system, which I think is not just for me repelling in its currant nature by being one of the reasons that many people in India still live in such poverty. I wouldn't want to go there because I would come with empty hands regarding the means (money) to help them at least with inniciating and financing certain projects to remove the poverty. Once, as I was in Sri Lanka more than 20 years ago, I felt ashamed by the fact that I came there for selfish purposes only.

I guess you get my drift.

Question: Now that you have a satvic mind being in India, what is it you can and will do for India? In other words: Now that India has given you something so valueable, what can and will you give India back in return?

I guess my point is: Don't ask what India can do for you. Ask what you can do for India.
Anja
 

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