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Subject-Object Reversal (Viparaya)
Marin: Dear James, thank you for the explanations. Actually, there’s a samadhi experience going on for four or five days on. It looks that the mind is wanting to come up with whole bunch of ideas of what’s going on and what is needed to do, and all explanations; it sometimes creates tension also. But I am constantly applying the teaching’s perspective as much as I can. Every time there’s an ego involvement with what’s going on, I ask: Who is saying this, doing this? Then the thought of “I” comes up and I witness it. And I ask: Who is watching this “I” thought? After that I stay in that awareness. I am being aware these times of a lot of ego’s mechanisms. It really looks like my little niece, every time she hears someone saying something, she says: “Me too, Mummy, me too, Daddy!” With the ego, it seems pretty much the same. It is taking ownership of all that is going on. It says, “I think,” but then I ask, who is thinking? All I notice is a thought with a specific content and another thought, the “I” thought, that claims to own the first one. And there is me, the awareness where both of them appear. I try to use this kind of discrimination as much as I can.
In general, there is dealing with reality as one, as a whole, not object-to-object analysis anymore. Yet I am aware of the duality, still in one way or another there’s me and this whole reality. I have to discriminate again and again to stay in the awareness that I really am.
Based on the teachings, the mind is getting clearer. Now I have a question here. You have mentioned it in one of your satsangs but I can’t remember it exactly, so please fill in the rest of the logic. It started with: when mind gets clearer, more sattvic, it reflects more the light of the awareness. Now, what is the rest of the logic here? What is the role of the mind and awareness in the changing of the perspective (if I can put it like that)?
James: You are doing good work. Keep discriminating. You will always be aware of the separation of the subject and the object – it is just a fact of existence. Moksa is recognizing the dualistic nature of a thought and not taking it to be real. Most people believe their thoughts are real because they exist. Just because something exists does not mean that it is real – a movie, for instance.
To sent the mind up for easy discrimination, we find a proper guna balance for the mind. Sattva should be the predominant guna, meaning that the mind should be clear and peaceful most of the time. The peace is the experience of reflected awareness. When the mind is peaceful, discrimination is easy. Discrimination removes one’s identification with ignorance, the belief that the way the jiva evaluates experience is real. And slowly, as you no longer identify with objects, you discover that you are witnessing the objects – experience – from the self. There is a lot of shifting back and forth from the the jiva-perspective to the self-perspective at the beginning. It is a confusing state. But gradually you find that you are the self a lot more than you are the jiva, and one day the shift is complete and you experience as the self, and the jiva becomes a permanent object.
When you begin Vedanta, you don’t know that the person you think you are is actually an object of your perception. You think you are that person. Then Vedanta says that you are “the self,” ordinary awareness. Because you are locked into the idea that the person is the subject, you think that the self is an object. But when you know what the self is, then you see that the person is actually an object. But your conditioning keeps you believing that the person is the subject. Discrimination is fighting with that tendency to take Marin as the self and the self as an object and dismissing Marin as “not-self.” It’s a big struggle that you will only win if your desire to be free of Marin is very strong.
~ Much love, James