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Vedanta’s Not About Offering a “Quick Fix” or an “Emergency Plan”
Talia: Dear Daniel, I hope you are feeling good and that everything is fine. Since a few weeks ago I am studying the Mandukya Upanishad and Mandukyakarika, and this is really helpful but challenging too.
I had times when I could clearly feel the bliss and I stood as awareness in myself, awareness. Then my life, my jiva life, hit bottom.
Through this entire life I never found friends, loved ones… except my parents… a job, social life, etc. I, as a jiva, am totally isolated and rejected. Everything I tried in life went wrong. On Wednesday my last hope for a normal life like other jivas experience it busted. I wanted to scream to Isvara about why my jiva has always such a bad life.
How to enjoy this set-up when it turns out to be a nightmare? How to cope with lifelong rejection? Right now this set-up is a burden; how to enjoy this thing? It seems impossible.
I hope you can help me find an answer…
~ Love, Talia, aka the Self under maya’s spell
Daniel: Your “aka” name shows perfect self-understanding but only lacks confidence.
If you, the Self, know you’re under the spell of maya, then are you really? I think not. Can you be something that you know? Of course not. You, awareness, are always free of what you know.
You already know this, but a few niggling doubts – caused by mental agitation – is preventing you from appreciating this fact – the fact that you are always free of Talia and her prarabdha karmic story.
But let’s take a step back because it’s due to the agitation of the mind that this appreciation is not being fully assimilated.
I’m sorry to hear of your jiva’s suffering. I can relate to this, as my jiva has gone through some years of challenging health issues.
What to do? The most direct solution would of course be to take a stand in awareness as awareness and understand your freedom from the jiva and its limitations altogether. But this usually only works when the mind is relatively settled (sattvic).
Your mind is currently disturbed and has all the right to be. Don’t feel bad about it. But a practical plan of action needs to be applied.
Continue with your direct inquiry practice (i.e “taking a stand in awareness as awareness”) but shift the focus onto guna management; this extends to making an effort in cultivating positive environments.
You need to help the mind step out of the pits of tamas, which has manifested itself into victimhood. Let bygones be bygones and push yourself to recreate a fresh environment for yourself: fresh activities, fresh social life, fresh hobbies, fresh food, fresh future plans, etc.
Write down a few goals and activities that you’d like to achieve and create playful strategies as to how you’re going to do them.
It’s important that you break old thinking patterns and reintroduce your mind to positive routines, Talia. I suggest creating a daily structure that’s filled with plenty of sattvic activities, such as nature walks, meditation, creative arts, along with some “rajasic releases,” such as exercise, work goals and quality socializing.
By the sounds of it you feel like giving up. Use this breaking point to break free from it. What’s there to lose?
Turn it into a game. See if you can make just one new friend along your next walk in the park. Step out of your comfort zone and out of your self-limiting ideas and live life, Talia. What’s the worst that can happen?
PS: I’ve attached the two satsangs that were previously written to you, both of which offer a Vedantic answer to this email of yours. Christian’s response in particular is great.
Talia: Thank you so much for your answer. And thank you for taking your time in writing to me. It means a lot to me.
Of course you are right, my mind was totally agitated when I wrote to you. This agitation could be reduced by following your suggestions, which I really find helpful.
Rajas and tamas are still playing in the mind, but sattva is ready to calm the waves caused by the terrible twins.
There are situations that trigger rajas extremely that cannot be avoided. My question is: What can I do in those situations to protect my jiva’s mind?
It has to be something that works quick because when rajas takes over my jiva’s mind I cannot use this instrument to stay calm. It all happens really quickly, so I need some kind of emergency plan that works quickly enough to protect the mind.
Maybe you have an idea?
Daniel: Stabilizing the mind in sattva is key for self-inquiry; however, it’s not what’s going to resolve the deep-rooted vasanas.
Your mind gets triggered with extreme rajas because of unresolved patterns (vasanas). And unless these are resolved at its core root, sattva will continue to just act as a temporary soothing balm till the next situation sparks agitation. This is not the goal. And this is why your moods are not stable, hence why the self-knowledge is blinking on and off.
Vedanta is not about offering a “quick fix” or an “emergency plan.” Vedanta is a methodology designed for qualified minds to understand their true nature. When the mind is qualified to digest the teachings, it reveals the fact that who you really are needs no fixing to begin with. And by understanding this, emergencies are no longer emergencies.
But again, this knowledge will only be activated when the mind is conducive to it.
That said, I suggest focusing on guna management (triguna vibhava yoga) whilst flexing that karma yoga muscle at all times. There’s nothing more effective to resolve vasanas than the moment-to-moment application of karma yoga. Let karma yoga be your emergency plan, let it be your plan for everything, full stop.
With a karma yoga attitude, step out into the world and fearlessly attend to what needs to be done. Think of Arjuna and courageously do your best. Be gentle on yourself and enjoy your service, Talia. Life is benign. ☺
Talia: Okay, it is all about karma yoga.
Karma yoga means act according to your svadharma and universal dharma, and accept that the results of action are not up to me. The results are up to the whole mandala of existence, aka the dharma field. The dharma field is like a machine. I throw an action into this field and according to the laws of the field a result will be handed out to me, which I absolutely cannot predict because of my jiva uphadi. It is like gambling but with values, so to speak. Rolling the dice but playing nice. No foul play. No injuring. No revenge.
Your dharma will be your karma. I hope this is the right understanding?
Daniel: Your understanding is most perfect, Talia. It’s now a matter of applying this understanding on a moment-to-moment basis.
Be vigilant and mindful as you approach situations; lovingly bring the mind back to this knowledge as you engage in all activities and offer your actions to the dharma field. Karma yoga is to be applied before, during and after all actions. In other words, all the time.
It’s a matter of training the mind so that karma yoga eventually becomes its normal platform from which it operates. Continue this and soon the mind will firmly and effortlessly rest with the karma yoga attitude.
If you’ve not yet got James’ book The Essence of Enlightenment, then please do yourself a grand favour and get it. And if you have already got a copy, then visit Chapter VIII, page 121, “Karma Yoga – No Bad Outcomes.” The contemplation of this chapter is particularly perfect for your current sadhana.
~ Much love, Daniel