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Vedanta without Sanskrit
This is a recent contribution from someone from the ShiningWorld community. Vedanta could be described in five parts, as follows:
Part 1 of 5. KNOWLEDGE, What Vedanta Asserts
BEING (which you know in the quietest moments) is bliss. After experiencing it, this becomes the most desirable thing in the universe.
THE CREATOR is doing absolutely everything, including “your” thoughts, emotions and decisions – once this is known, it is very relaxing. Also, if you keep your attention on Him/Her/It, things get nicely taken care of.
ENLIGHTENMENT is the certain knowledge that one is simply awareness – and is actionless, unconcerned and impersonal. This is a fact (like “the earth is round”), it is not an experience (we experience the earth as flat, but we know it is round).
Since awareness is constant, like gravity, it is easily overlooked. The fact that this is “who I am” is most easily known in silence, hence the obstacles to enlightenment are noise – thoughts, emotions and doing – because in these I easily stop noticing myself.
Unfortunately, the human mind is a very noisy place; urges and moods continually arise and make us uncomfortable until we obey them. We usually never notice ourself.
So in order to quiet the mind to the point where it is capable of self-inquiry (to determine if what Vedanta asserts above is true), we need disciplines to calm the mind. These are parts 2, 3 and 4 of Vedanta…
Part 2. The DISCIPLINE of LOVE
Love everything you can, especially the Creator.
Part 3. The DISCIPLINE of DISCOMFORT
When an urge or mood arises (one that you know will be significantly disturbing to your peace of mind), simply decline to indulge it; don’t try to make the discomfort it causes go away, but just willingly be with it. Sooner or later it will disappear. The next time the same urge or mood surfaces, it will have less power over you – decline to indulge again and again until it no longer disturbs you. Do this with the major urges/moods that repeatedly arise.
Part 4. The DISCIPLINE of ACTION
Being human, we must act and, of course, we act with a goal in mind. But since the world has much more power than we do, the results are often not what we wanted and that upsets us. This discipline is how to act without getting upset.
First, choose your action; choose one that is appropriate to the situation and dedicate it to as high a purpose as possible – e.g. “for the good of all.” Next, do the action as mindfully as possible, that is to say, enjoy Being while doing it. Put minimal attention on the result, maximum on the action.
When the results show up, be grateful for them, especially if they are not what you were striving for (in which case, you may need to generate gratitude).
Once these disciplines have been part of your life for a while and your mind is now usually calm and clear, you are ready to look within to see if the assertions of Vedanta are true; this is the last part…
Part 5. SELF-INQUIRY
This is meditation or contemplation. Select from any of several techniques that allow you to be attentive in silence.