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The Dream Is Eternal
Strategies That Go Nowhere
Mary: I hope you are doing fine. Thank you so much for the last email. During these times I decided to go on applying the logic gained from the scripture to the psychological issues that I have identified and there was a great relief at the end. I wrote everything down because it helps me a lot instead of just thinking. First, I realized that I was not clear about the line between jiva and Isvara. All the self-blame and low self-esteem was based on a misunderstanding about what is jiva’s fault and what isn’t. Based on ignorance, I blamed myself for not being able to change or to avoid different situations. And every time I made this mistaken assumption the image of what I called self took another layer of blame and self-criticism. Seeing “myself” like that, I tried to fix my broken self and glorify my good points. All life then becomes a bunch of strategies to increase the good and decrease the bad. It is like a circle that goes nowhere. In other words, jiva wanted to play God but it couldn’t, because it’s not its job description to become Isvara. To understand and to accept its smallness, at the same time acknowledging the bigness of Isvara, gave me a great relief.
James: Good for you, Mary! Playing God is a strategy that goes nowhere. On the other hand, understanding the role of Isvara and the role of jiva brings forgiveness. Jiva is only to blame for choices that it makes consciously. It never made the decision to become Mary, so Mary is the result of ignorance of Isvara. Nobody consciously sets out to be ignorant. It is with us from beginningless time, so there is no blame. Thank yourself for sticking with your spiritual path, which led you to Vedanta. When you understand the natures of jiva and Isvara you have no choice but to forgive, i.e. love, yourself.
Mary: Mistakenly, everyone in one way or another sees life like he/she is in the middle, like somehow life is about him/her, interpreting all the stuff that happens like happening for him and to him. This creates a lot of agitation and gives birth to all the strategies for keeping the jiva safe. In one way or another, I was doing the same but now I see that is all futile.
James: Yes, because you are not in the middle. Jiva and Isvara are in you, awareness. You are not in them. The jiva is never “safe,” because it is a part of Isvara and Isvara is never the same from one moment to the next. So one’s identity should not be centered in jiva.
Jiva Only Has User Permissions
Mary: I can see now that I don’t own anything. As a jiva, I have only user permissions, like we say in information technology (IT). Everything is given to me and everything will be taken away, this is a law and going against it is a contract with misery.
Keeping all this in mind and continuing on discriminating, every time there’s an agitation I remind myself of what truly is and stop believing in ignorant assumptions made based on the ignorance inherited from others.
First, all these conclusions gave me a lot of calmness and great happiness during the day. I also reviewed the karma yoga material, and the conclusions gained from the inquiry were more or less based on the karma yoga attitude, so I am constantly practicing it too.
On the other hand, the dreamlike state that I have described to you on my previous emails continues. Mary looks like a character of the whole. It seems that I am just perceiving the world from Mary’s perspective. When I say “myself,” it has not the same meaning that it used to have before. Somehow it seems like being in the middle of the road. On one hand, I know that I am not just Mary, and it is more than just logical understanding now, it’s going on for long time. On the other hand, I am not still free of it.
It is strange but for the most part, the day is like being in a dream, a very sophisticated dream. Before this it used to lead to some sort of agitation, but now from time to time a mood of tiredness comes and sometimes a sort of lack of concentration.
The Dream Belongs to Isvara
James: Here is something to contemplate. It will set you free. If you know you are not free, are you not free? To say that you are not free implies that you are someone (or something) other than the one that is not free. The “I” is not “in the middle,” unless you mean that it is something “other than” jiva and Isvara. Jiva is the part of you that sees the world from a limited perspective. Isvara is the part of you that generates the world that jiva sees. Both are objects in you, limitless awareness. So you are only “free” when the word “I” refers to the awareness “part” of yourself. Of course awareness is not a part of anything. Everything is a part of awareness, meaning that there are no parts from awareness’s point of view.
The dream of life is eternal, Mary. But the dream appears on the screen of awareness, on you. The screen is always behind the dream. It is not affected by the dream. It never becomes tired of the dream, because it knows that the dream is just a dream and that as long as it looks through the jiva filter, it will see the dream. When you think about it, how can jiva remove the jiva filter if you didn’t create it? Jiva is a product, a reflection in awareness. Isvara’s dream of life and all the jiva dreams in life exist all right, but they are as good as non-existent because they don’t actually wear you out. The wearing out, the tiredness, comes from jiva’s expectation that the dream should disappear. It can’t disappear, because it is not real in the first place, so concentration is not the answer.
Understanding the nature of the “I” is the solution. Concentration belongs to jiva, not to Isvara or to you, the seer. It takes effort. You are effortless awareness. You can’t concentrate the dream away. The dream belongs to Isvara. And here is the most important teaching: both jiva and you, awareness, have no control of it. Once you understand this, there is only relaxation, i.e. freedom.
So these three factors – jiva, Isvara and you, limitless, unborn, unaffected awareness – need to be understood and discriminated.
~ Love, James