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Len: Hi, Daniel. I hope you are well.
Since my last email a couple of months ago, things are going well. You were of course right about the fact that I was struggling because I was not exposing myself to the teachings enough. I have be rereading James’ books and also watching some videos each day. I am on the Gita series now.
Daniel: Nice to hear from you, Len. Apart from being poisoned by a bastard virus called rickettsia – I’m well, thank you.
Constant exposure is key. Repetition, repetition, repetition! Old thought patterns are hardwired and require constant rewiring. Even when the knowledge has been received, continue to feast on the teachings. Yum. Good for you, Len.
Len: I have been meditating each day, using a method I have learnt in the past, which is to just watch everything that arises without trying to change anything. This seems to allow me to objectify things and identify with them less. I wanted to ask about the technique suggested in How to Attain Enlightenment where James talks about focusing on the “silence.” Would you be able to elaborate a bit more on this for me, please?
Daniel: This is a good start. The next thing to objectify is the actual meditator, i.e. Len. Like the PC screen in front of you is an obvious object, so too is Len just an object known to you, awareness. This is a subtle practice, but you’re on it! Slowly break down the identification to/as the person and re-identify yourself as the “knower” – the awareness – of the person.
“Silence” is just another limited synonym for the “knower,” or “awareness.” You are the limitless silence that encompasses all sounds (objects) of life. It’s not Len who knows the silence/awareness, but rather the silence that knows Len. You are the silence and you are always free from Len.
Len: I also wanted to ask about guna management. There’s the obvious ones I know, like if you are too rajasic you can meditate or if too tamasic you can do something active, like exercise. Is there any further reading I can do on this for more examples?
Daniel: This is the beauty about guna management: once you understand the three gunas, it remains totally obvious and practical regardless of the situation. Why? Because every situation is just comprised of the same three gunas. Apart from different “guna degrees,” the nature of each guna remains the same, and thus allows you to identify the texture of any situation within mithya and adapt accordingly. Make peace of mind your goal at all times and adjust your jiva movements/environments in order to accommodate this goal.
To ask for more examples is a broad question. Check this link out to see if it satisfies your question.
Len: One last question! The meditation practice I do reminds me a lot of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, which also reminds me of one of the qualifications in Vedanta or being able to observe your mind. Are these all similar?
Daniel: Yes. The point behind observing the mind is to understand that because thoughts and feelings arise and subside on their own, they have nothing to do with you, awareness, at all. If you examine your values, the bad values will fall away and the good values will come to the fore, changing your thoughts and feelings. Merely by observing it, you gain a certain mastery of the mind.
As an inquirer, you need the ability to hold the mind on a given topic for a considerable period of time. The only topic for those of us looking for freedom is the self (you) because it is the only free thing! The way to keep it in mind is to bring it back to the teachings over and over until the tendency to wander is curbed.
Len: One teaching that I am finding really useful at the moment is the idea that it’s freedom from, not freedom for, the jiva.
Daniel: Now, this statement got me excited! Bam-shazam!
Len: Hi, Daniel. Cheers for the reply. Just the name “rickettsia” sounds shitty. I hope it’s getting better.
I will work on the meditation. I am able to see the constituent parts of Len as objects, but perhaps not the whole piece as one object. It makes sense about the silence.
I will check out the link you sent me.
Would it be a correct statement to say that Len doesn’t experience anything, rather that experience is known only by awareness? So the person I think I am cannot experience?
~ Cheers again
Daniel: Boom, 100% correct!
Len doesn’t experience anything, rather experience (objects – including Len) is known by you, awareness.