Search & Read
Peace Is the Goal
Dave: Hello, Christian. As always, I’m still trying to figure out who I need to be today. But peace is the goal. Playing music, tai chi, bike rides in the redwoods. I am blessed. I had been tripping on non-duality. Where I am a wave (or at least the energy of the wave) while consciousness is water. It is not possible to separate the two. But within that metaphor, what is awareness in the water/wave universe?
Christian: Your first sentence says it all: “trying to figure out who to be today.” Isn’t that essentially the big problem that everyone faces? Why do we want to figure out who we need to be today? Because we are searching for the peace and we think that the peace must have something to do with “the person being a certain way.” It doesn’t.
How do you know that you’re trying to figure out who to be today? Because you are aware of those thoughts going through your head. Read that sentence over and over until you can understand its meaning. You are aware of those thoughts. If you are aware of the thoughts, you can’t be those thoughts. You are something other than those thoughts, knowing those thoughts as they pop into the mind.
The “you” that knows those thoughts is not some special, spiritual “you.” It’s just the you that you’ve always been. Vedanta shows that you are everyday awareness, that’s what is knowing the thoughts that you want to figure out who to be today and every other thought you have.
Now what’s most important about that is that the simple, everyday awareness that Vedanta shows that you really are is actually peace. This becomes obvious as you start to turn your attention more and more to the obvious awareness that you are.
Dave: On my bike ride today I was tripping on it. I think awareness is the crest of the water/ the leading edge of the wave energy. It is near intention but always slightly before it. It is not the drive, which is the biofield/chi/kundalini life-force wind which animates the wave. (In actually, the water doesn’t move much at all.) Awareness is that point where the pencil touches the paper. That forward edge which makes one wave seem different from another.
Christian: Are you aware right now? It’s not a trick question. It’s just as simple as it sounds. Are you aware right now? Yes. This awareness that you can identify, showing you that you are aware right now, is awareness. It’s the whole enchilada. This totally obvious awareness that tells you you’re reading these words is Brahma, atma, the self, you.
It’s way more simple and obvious than trying to figure out what part of the wave is awareness. It’s just this awareness. It’s not fancy. But if you start paying attention to it a lot, which is the practice of Vedanta, you’ll see it never changes and you’ll also see that you can never find a boundary to it, which means it’s limitless.
The mind will always lead us into these really interesting trips in search of exactly what this enlightened self is. But that’s getting lost in the endless realm of thoughts. That’s what the scriptures tell us to look out for. The problem is that the mind gets lost in the “things,” and thoughts are just “things” known to you. The solution is pointing the mind to you, the knower of the things, this simple, obvious, everyday awareness that you can see for yourself never changes.
When you really want to end the search, stop getting pushed around by your thoughts. How? Take your time, investigate them and see them for exactly what they are.
Here are two specific inquiries that will help you do that:
1. You observe your thoughts. That means you cannot be your thoughts. Take a minute right now and observe your thoughts. Who is the you that’s watching your thoughts? You are awareness. It’s obvious.
2. You know your thoughts, but do your thoughts know you? See for yourself. Watch a thought. It’s not hard. You can even speak a thought, and that’s your thought to watch. Confirm that you are aware of it. Now can that thought look at you and observe you? No. Never. Thoughts are not conscious, they are not sentient. You are conscious. You are the conscious element that always knows any thoughts present. All thoughts arise and disappear, and are not conscious, not aware.
Work on those two inquiries. They’re absolutely true. Think them through. Argue with them. Take them seriously. Don’t settle until you’re sure for yourself. It’s not a mystical thing. It’s just you and your thoughts, something you can observe any time you want. Do the work in these inquiries, and little by little you will see that your thoughts are not worth pursuing, they have no substance. When it comes to looking for peace, the only value thoughts have is that they act as reference points for you to see yourself, the knower of the thoughts.
Yes, inquiries are thoughts too, but they are thoughts that have been carefully crafted by realized sages over thousands of years – to point to you – the knower of all thoughts, and all other things.