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I Don’t Exist
Nagar: Hello. I am reading the Jnaneshwar’s Gita right now, and it is speaking to me. I do not think I am anymore, but yet I persist. I will learn from service. It is all in God’s hands.
James: You say, “I do not think I am anymore, but yet I persist.”
You, consciousness, are unborn, beyond time, space and experience. You are changeless, actionless, limitless, eternal and infinite. You pervade, infuse and animate everything. When you say, “I don’t think I am,” it means that you are not an impermanent limited person.
But to think that you are not the person is not enough to liberate you. Maya’s illusory power makes that which is non-dual, and therefore full, complete and unlimited, appear to be a separate individual living in a dualistic reality. It makes the person feel small, incomplete and limited – always looking for an experience to cover up or compensate for its sense of insufficiency and inadequacy.
It is not enough to think you don’t exist; one needs to confidently know. You gain the confidence of knowledge by constant discrimination. Discrimination is the firm understanding that the jiva/person is only an object objectified and witnessed by me, pure consciousness. Therefore it cannot be me. Unless this knowledge is firm one will have only glimpses of the truth – one will touch it but will slide back into ignorance, the belief that reality is a duality, with all its suffering.
Vedanta is the most complete and sophisticated means of knowledge for those rare individuals with the intense desire to know the nature of reality, the nature of God, and the nature of the jiva. Once the knowledge “I am pure consciousness and everything is me, consciousness” is well established in the mind/heart, one is free from ignorance and lives an ordinary life in harmony with God, the environment and all other beings. This is called true love, true service or liberation.
You also say, “I will learn from service.”
In order to learn from service one needs a teacher. Without a true teacher with a proper, valid, impersonal and efficient teaching methodology, you will delude yourself into thinking you are very spiritual because you are helping others get enlightened, not that helping others is adharmic, although it often works out that way. Think Andrew Cohen. But you need to be very careful because very often there is a sense of guilt behind the desire to serve, a compensatory sense of inadequacy, masquerading as virtue.
We need to remember that it is not action that counts, but the motive behind it. If the motive is not clean and pure, actions will give rise to spiritual vanity.
The scriptures need to be taught by someone who knows himself as awareness, understands the nature of the dharma field and has been properly taught by a qualified teacher. Reading them by oneself almost invariably will produce distorted assimilation; one’s beliefs will interpret them incorrectly. Recycling one’s ignorance does not lead to maturity and spiritual progress.
Many spiritual groups promote the idea that true service is free/voluntary work for the guru (worship), such as helping to set up and run the guru’s ashram. This is not true service. With a heart that knows no otherness, true service is keeping the mind constantly on who one really is.
~ Love, James