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Discrimination Is Discrimination
Justin: Hi, Daniel. I recently had a kind of subtle question arise. I was jogging in the park today, happily or unhappily thinking my thoughts, discriminating most of them from “me” (especially the ones “I” dislike). I would say something like, “That is a thought; it’s just an object known to ‘me.’” I’ve gotten pretty good at this, so that most thoughts/emotions can be easily dismissed. I know this is Vedanta 101, but I had the thought, “Well, wait, who is this ‘me’ who is discriminating objects from itself? It too must be an object.”
Daniel: Right on! That “me” notion is just another object known to you, awareness.
Justin: Afterwards I had a fuzzy sense that I was all that was: the wind blowing in the trees, the essence of all experience; maybe it was just a subtle thought-form (I should have just seen it as not me); or was it pointing at the truth?
Daniel: Though that subtle non-dual epiphany was too just another object to you, awareness, it undoubtedly pointed to the truth. This is a non-dual reality and you, awareness, is the essence of everything.
It should also be understood that though everything is you...you remain free from everything. It’s like the spider and the web analogy. Though the web is made from the spider (the essence/the subject), the spider still remains free of its web (object).
Justin: I had a similar notion a few weeks back while meditating, when I heard some sounds outside, I thought to myself, “Well, if I am aware of them, they can’t be separate from me, so they must be the awareness that is me.”
Daniel: Again, right on! The sounds (objects) are you, yet you are free from the sounds.
Justin: Or at times, perhaps I’ll be in a situation talking with others, and I will say to myself, “I’m watching Justin have this conversation, but in reality I am the essence of this situation,” – is that a correct line of thinking?
Daniel: Boom again! 100%! Justin, you clearly know that you are non-dual awareness. What you want to do now is contemplate on what it actually means to be awareness and become confident in this knowledge. Taking a stand in/as awareness is liberation.
Justin: I guess this is just relearning discrimination, and I feel I have already made this distinction in my thinking before… but ignorance is persistent and I seem to have forgotten it or re-identified somewhere along the way.
Daniel: Yup, ignorance is damn hardwired!
Justin: It seems to me that the “I” thought is one of the subtlest and most tricky to negate. When I do negate it, my mind goes sort of non-local, sort of “outside myself.”
Daniel: The nature of the mind is to continually vibrate – aka to think. You’re correct, the “I” thought (ego) is most subtle and is super-slippery. Continue to contemplate on the teachings and your doubts will be resolved – no doubt. ☺
Justin: I feel I need to ask this because it seems otherwise I may be practicing false ideas based on false conclusions.
Daniel: You are practicing truth. No need to doubt this, Justin. Initially the truth will feel false/counter-intuitive. This is very common to feel. This sense will eventually dissolve as self-knowledge becomes firm. Smilingly come back to the thought, “I am awareness,” whilst understanding what it means to be awareness.
Justin: I find atma anatma viveka so tricky because there’s nothing “positive” (objectifiable) that can be pointed to as me.
Daniel: You, awareness, cannot be objectified. “You are subtler than the subtlest,” ~ Bhagavad Gita. The mind does not see you – you see the mind. To try objectify yourself would be like an eyeball trying to see itself. The eye doesn’t need to see itself in order to confirm that it exists; the very fact that it sees confirms its existence.
Justin: So is objectifying my thoughts, the I-thoughts, the body, completely moment-to-moment, the crux of discrimination?
Daniel: Exactly. Viveka 101!
Justin: Is the “non-local” sense (somewhat out-of-body, but just as an idea perhaps) something to cultivate in that it is pointing to a truth uncovered through stronger discrimination or is it just another experience to be dismissed?
Daniel: I’m not so clear on what you mean. But what I can say is that there is nothing to cultivate apart from a mind suited for the application of self-inquiry. Self-knowledge will cultivate what needs to be cultivated, or more accurately, eradicate false notions.
Liberation is not an experience. Liberation is the freedom from experience.
There is nothing more to do but to continue to do exactly what you’re doing, moment-to-moment discrimination. You’re right on track. There is not one discrimination stronger or weaker than another. Discrimination is discrimination.