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Stuck on a Ship
Daniel: Your jiva is currently tamasic. This despondent feeling is a common phase for many inquirers who have had their once-upon-a-time fantasy world shattered by self-knowledge. It’s not a bad thing and, like all objects, it too will pass.
Try not to concern yourself too much about it. Accept it and use it as part of your inquiry. Objectify Terry and the tamasic guna. Stand apart from it and come back to yourself, the guna-less knower of Terry and his experience. Even if it feels fake, remind yourself that you, awareness, are always satisfied, unshaken and beyond the gunas (triguna-atita). Whilst resting in awareness as awareness, humorously accept Terry’s agitation and totally love him.
I’ve responded to your comments below.
Terry: I think what I am talking about is what James refers to as the zero-sum aspect of life. I often read things but they don’t really sink in until I return to them again.
Daniel: Yes, this apparent reality (mithya) is nothing but a play of opposites, a zero-sum game. This is why we establish our primary identity as steady, free awareness (sat) because you, awareness, are not subject to opposites or change.
Terry: I don’t see the point in wanting something, because I have no idea what the outcome of that want would be. For example, at the moment I am on a ship and I want to go home. I have no idea when I will go home, because I'm not sure when the job will be complete here. But I know if I go home now (i.e. get what I want) there may also be unknown disadvantages to that. Like, for example, the plane may crash or I will miss an opportunity that I may have had at work had I stayed longer.
Daniel: Your jiva is rajasic and is currently playing the projection game. It’s agitated because it feels incomplete. It feels incomplete because your identification is off the mark. If you are not able to shift your attention back to yourself, unconcerned awareness, then be extra vigilant in/with your karma yoga application.
Ask yourself if there is any value in projecting outcomes out of your control. Ask yourself if resisting the jiva’s current situation offers relief or further agitation. Whilst asking these questions, come back to your number one goal, which is making peace of mind your objective at all times. Intentionally realign your thoughts and actions to achieve this goal.
Whilst accepting the given situation as a blessing (prasad), remind yourself that as awareness you never actually want anything, because you are the actual source of happiness, you are everything that is.
Terry: The jiva cannot see the bigger picture, because it is just a small part of the whole. So the only thing left to do is trust the universe/God/field that the exact right thing will happen, even if that result seems bad.
Daniel: Yes, allow the jiva to totally surrender to the field (Isvara). Do the required action in the given moment as best you can and let go. The field has always catered for your needs and will continue to do so. Karma yoga is your golden weapon.
What may be of value is to cultivate some bhakti (devotion) by using symbols (e.g. deities) of Isvara/God that remind the jiva that it can relax.
Terry: Does that make sense or do I have the wrong idea of things? I know this doesn’t amount to hard and fast self-knowledge.
Daniel: The fact that you acknowledge what you acknowledge shows that you have the right idea. You’re on the right track, no need to doubt this, Terry. Hard and fast self-knowledge will get established as you continue to apply the teachings. Like all things, don’t wait for it. Just continue your sadhana and compliment your jiva for its beauty and efforts.
Terry: I can apply the same understanding to the fact that I feel despondent/dullness. Terry wants to judge the despondency as a bad thing. But who knows what effect that feeling may have? It may force me into a better understanding or it may make me say something to someone which changes things for them. The options are endless, so how can I judge it as bad and want to push it away?
Daniel: How you interpret situations determines the quality of your experience. If you negatively judge something, then the result/feeling (the bounce-off effect) will obviously be unpleasant. The logical conclusion to draw from this would be to work on the quality of your interpretational skills. As long as dharma (appropriate action) is followed, there’s no need to judge or push anything away.
Terry: I write because I don’t want to get led down the garden path with the wrong ideas. I have reread How to Attain Enlightenment in the last month and am conscious of the fact that James says you will get nowhere without the guidance of a teacher. I will go back and read The Essence of Enlightenment next, as the wording is slightly different, but don’t want to do it too soon, as I find myself speeding over bits that I “think I already know.” I struggle to get access to the satsangs at the website here, as the internet is very slow.
Daniel: You’re on the Vedanta bus and you will be transported right back home, to your free self. There is no need to worry about getting lost. Take it easy and enjoy the ride. As you qualify the mind (establish clear interpretation), Vedanta makes you the teacher of you.
~ Much love, Daniel
PS: Terry, if you can afford sparing $12, then I recommend this book/course. It’s written by Christian Leeby, a dear friend and jnani. It covers the topic of “interpretation” and offers simple, down-to-earth methods to improve one’s jiva experience/outlook.
Terry: Hi, Daniel.
I love your reply. All of it has been very helpful to me, particularly this sentence: “Ask yourself if resisting the jiva’s
I was not aware of Christian’s book. I have read most of his website and have ordered the book just now.
Daniel: It’s my pleasure, Terry.
You’re welcome to write to me anytime.
~ Much love, Daniel