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Repetition Is Key
Rick: Hey, Daniel, thanks a lot.
A thing which I’ve got into is that the jiva is just matter. I don’t know… it feels so real, especially when I understand I’m awareness, then it feels even more real… I feel bliss.
So I’m just a dead-already entity? Everything I do, say, act, feel, think, know, etc. is just apparent? It’s kind of freeing. I think I’ve got to change my opinion about “matter.”
Daniel: Yup, Rick is just an inert meat tube that apparently gets lit up when you, awareness, shine on his equipment.
Yes, “apparent” is the operative word.
Yes, understanding that you are free from limited matter, i.e Rick, is very freeing. This is the whole point of liberation, understanding that you’re free from the action figure (jiva).
Your opinion will naturally change when you apply the teachings and adjust your focus from the object (Rick) to the subject, the knower of Rick.
Rick: Because even subtle matter is matter, right?
Daniel: Correct. For inquiry’s sake, replace the word “matter” with “object.” Anything other than you, awareness, is an object.
If it is known to you, it cannot be you. All objects are reflected awareness and not conscious.
All thoughts are objects known to consciousness and arise from the causal body (i.e Isvara). Like all objects, thoughts are made up of consciousness, arise from consciousness, depend on consciousness to exist and dissolve into consciousness. Reality being non-dual, consciousness is all there is. However, all objects, subtle or gross (that which is apparently real), are reflected awareness and in a different order of reality from awareness (that which is real).
Rick: Before, I’d always had this notion that I was a conscious person. I don’t feel that way now…
Daniel: This is the crux of seeking, the identification with the limited entity along with the notion that it’s conscious.
Rick: Concerning enlightenment: If the jiva is apparent and Isvara is apparent, then ignorance is apparent and knowledge is apparent, right?
Daniel: Right! Both ignorance and knowledge are objects known to you, awareness.
Rick: Like, it only matters in the world of maya, not to me, consciousness.
Daniel: Right again!
Rick: Another notion I previously had was that the jiva can experience Isvara, which isn’t correct, right?
Daniel: Yes and no. The jiva is an aspect of Isvara. The jiva can experience calmness by understanding its non-separateness. It’s useful for inquiry to understand the jiva/Isvara relationship. Understanding that the jiva belongs to Isvara offers a degree of relief and is useful for the application of karma yoga, the most important spiritual practice.
Karma yoga is the foundation in preparing the mind fit for self-inquiry. Here is a link that briefly covers the topic: beautiful karma-dharma yoga.
Rick: We need the scripture to tell us that there’s a force beyond us which creates, sustains and destroys everything in maya, correct?
Daniel: Scripture is the means to gain self-knowledge. Upon direct investigation we come to understand the truth and mechanics behind creation.
The word “shraddha” means “faith.” But this ain’t blind faith. Vedanta asks you to have faith in the scripture pending the result of your scripture-based inquiry.
Rick: What happened is really awkward. Somehow I thought the jiva was the possessor of consciousness, and I felt like a special jiva… now I feel like a whole and complete jiva, but I wonder how long this will last. I’d really hate to go back to samsara.
Daniel: You, awareness, have never been in samsara. Samsara appears within you. Even when Rick apparently forgets this, come back to the knower of samsara and Rick.
Rick: Also, I find that self-knowledge is just a part of the jiva, like, I can still go on about everything, and I’ve got the knowledge to back me up.
Daniel: That’s it. Nothing on the apparent level will change, only your identification with it. You understand that it’s not real and that you are free of it. “Chop wood, carry water.” Life continues the same as before minus the sense of incompleteness. You perform your jiva-duty (svadharma) and take part in this play just as you did before, but without identifying as a doer.
Rick: I’m not into Vedanta 24/7, not at all, but every time I watch James’ video I get peace of mind. I can really see that James is a free person.
Daniel: Yes, James is a great mahatma.
Rick: This knowledge just grows on you, right? I believe that soon I won’t even want to go back to the whirlwind that is samsara, at least I hope so.
Daniel: Samsara is the best teacher. You ain’t going to beat her. Hopefully you will get tired – rather sooner than later – and give up trying to obtain things in that mirage.
Rick: Can you maybe recommend something to me, like a video from James or a chapter from his book? I’ve got his book How to Attain Enlightenment but haven’t really read a lot of it yet.
Daniel: I recommend that you read James’ book very carefully from beginning to end. And when you’re done, read it again – and again. Repetition is the key to self-inquiry.
The teachings are delivered in a logical flow and cover everything.
~ With love, Daniel
Rick: Hey, Daniel! Sorry! I couldn't resist! I’ve read up to about page 75, no things that I didn’t know already.
Daniel: Hi, Rick. Continue to expose your mind to the teachings, Rick. Repetition is key.
Rick: I just got to thinking… is enlightenment just knowing that you’re awareness?
Daniel: Knowing that one is awareness is a good start and can be called “self-realisation.” Self-realisation is not enlightenment though. The end of the search does not necessarily mean freedom. Knowing why it has ended and what it means to be yourself is freedom.
Enlightenment means (1) that one has fully discriminated the self from the objects appearing in it (the dharma field, one’s conditioning), (2) that that knowledge has (a) rendered the vasanas (likes and dislikes) non-binding and (b) destroyed one’s sense of doership.
Only you will know if you’re enlightened or not, Rick.
Rick: If so, I knew that all along… I don't have to believe it or like it or dislike it, I only have to “know” it?
Daniel: Yes, knowing it and understanding the implication behind the knowledge, the statement “I am awareness.”
Rick: It appears to me that it’s just something which you know or don't know… there's no in between…
Daniel: Yes and no. Because ignorance is so hardwired and unbelievably sly, people “unrealise”' just as quick as they realise. This is why we distinguish between “realisation” VERSUS “actualisation.”
Keep exposing your mind to the teachings, Rick.
Rick: If it’s really just that simple, just “knowing” it, then this whole thing has just been a comedy.
Daniel: Knowing it is the foundation. Understanding the implication behind the “knowing it” is where the work of moment-to-moment inquiry lies. The application of inquiry upon realisation is the actual task that chips away at conditioned patterns.
Yup, it’s a total comic.
Rick: The jiva searching for ways to “experience” the self, not knowing that it knows already it is the self.
Daniel: Yup, that’s the whole joke. You, awareness, have been watching the jiva look for you!
Rick: I’m either way off or I just hit the jackpot. Can you tell me which one it is?
Daniel: You’ve hit the jackpot, but continue to apply and contemplate the teachings, Rick.
Rick: There’s something that feels “right” about this.
Daniel: It feels right because you’re on the right track.
Rick: It appears that I wasn’t ignorant of my true nature, but ignorant of my knowing the self already. I mean, I knew it the first time I heard it, correct?
Daniel: Only you would know this. Again, revisit the definition of what it means to be self-actualised.
Do you still feel the need to seek? Are you experience-hungry? Do you feel like a doer of action? Do you feel limited? Do you fear death?
If “yes” had popped up to any of these questions then there is still some work to be done.
Rick: I heard a dozen of times that enlightenment is just knowledge, but I was just a bit confused as to what I should do or what kind of knowledge it was.
Daniel: Yes, understanding the definitions is paramount. This is another reason why I encourage you to read James’ book, as he clarifies the language of self-inquiry.
Rick: It just feels like some plain old “so I know something which a lot of jivas don’t know” and I’m not proud of it, it’s just something that came my way.
Daniel: Yup, only something to be humbly grateful for. Realisation is not a special state or status.
Rick: It can’t be this simple, can it?
Daniel: Knowledge of your true nature is simple. It’s the hardwired ignorance which is not so simple. Ignorance needs to be gently chipped away. This takes time.
You're on a good roll, Rick. Keep reflecting on the teachings and carefully digest James’ book.
~ Much love, Daniel