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The Soulmate Thing
J: Hi, Daniel!
A question that keeps coming up in my mind: What is a “soul” or someone’s “spirit” in Vedanta? Is that the shining awareness light (that everyone is), and it’s just simply someone’s positive attitude or point of view that gives them a “vibe”? For example, “soulmates,” when there’s something beyond words and you feel like you’ve known that person forever. How does Vedanta explain this?
I can’t wait to hear what you think.
Thanks so much.
~ J xx
Daniel: Om, J. ☺
Without getting too geeky here, the soul is the jivatman – awareness (you) manifesting as a subtle body. And although it appears as if there are many subtle bodies, there is really only one eternal Jiva appearing as many apparently unique individuals.
The “soul’s desire” is for the self to know itself as the self, jivatman.
From the Christian point of view, the soul is taken to be “the part of man that is God,” God being taken to be the ultimate reality, as Christianity does not understand that God (Isvara) and the Creation are reflected awareness: that awareness – you – are prior to “God” and the Creation. In other words, you are free from God and all its souls.
But back to your question.
That positive attitude and groovy vibe that you’re referring to is just a subtle body that’s predominantly sattvic. Nothing’s more attractive than a peaceful, shining mind. And this shine sure radiates to other subtle bodies (souls).
As for the soulmate thing, it’s simply a case where two subtle bodies share common vasanas or when two minds radiate sattva to one another and thus create a “super deep connection.”
But perhaps I’m just a dull romantic. ☺
You feel like you’ve known the person forever because you recognize yourself (eternal awareness) shining through the equipment (body-mind).
What moves the subtle body called “J” is the very same “force” that moves the subtle body labelled “Daniel.”
This “force” is you, shining awareness. And there’s only one of you/me.
J: Hello, Daniel!
Thank you so much for this.
This is very interesting. I think recognising the same vasana in another makes you aware of your vasana, therefore making one more sattvic and see with more clarity.
Daniel: Sometimes. And sometimes not. One can also get hooked onto the sattva thing and get caught up in the experiential bliss chase. Not that this is the kiss of death, it’s just not very serving if your true value is moksa – which is freedom from depending on all experiential states. A gold chain binds as tight as one of brass.
J: I have such a strong projection at times, especially when it comes to men (mostly the emotionally unavailable ones), and am constantly feeling like I’m getting burnt due to the strong rajas. I ignore huge red flags and persist, then get really hurt when it’s not really how I saw it to be.
Daniel: Good on you for acknowledging the projection. You’re exactly right, it’s because rajas is in the driver’s seat. What to do but replace rajasic decision-making with sattvic-thinking?
Operating form a sattvic (objective, peaceful) platform will allow you to use those red flags and make the appropriate call in light of your values.
J: When feeling takes over, I don’t use my mind to acknowledge the truth and facts of what is really before me. Most of the time the guys even buy into my projection for a short time, regardless of being emotionally unavailable, then it all goes pear-shaped.
Daniel: That’s why we never trust feelings! Only knowledge. Feelings are fickle little things and 99.9% of the time are vasana-driven. So of course things are going to go pear-shaped.
Until the mind’s got Vedanta locked in as the driver, I’d suggest flexing that discipline muscle and trading feelings in for knowledge when calculating your next move. “What do I value most?” Or “What outcome would I like?” are good questions to meditate on before activating the feeling.
J: I know I don’t need a relationship and am quite happy without one, although it’s nice to have friendship and intimacy at times for the jiva. How can I see more clearly for next time, when this huge feeling arises?
Daniel: You may intellectually know that you don’t need a relationship, but this does not mean that it's how you actually feel in your direct experience. And it’s your direct experience that drives your next experience/choice.
It’s like saying, “I know I am awareness,” but the person saying it still feels totally limited. In other words, the thought is there but because it has not been actualized it gets trumped by one’s immediate passion/feelings.
Here’s another sad blow to the feeling game: when self-knowledge is not operating, one’s feelings are based on insecurity and a sense of lack, and thus the results will most likely attract the same texture.
It comes back to defining your values, being vigilant and disciplined as the vasanas appear. And if you still feel compelled to act them out even after weighing up the potential results, then it’s simply a matter of taking the bounce-back punch (result) like a pro, a “pro” just being a mature karma yogi.
Which brings us to the 101 vasana-squashing tool: karma yoga.
J: Many thanks, Daniel, this is the strongest binding vasana for me and I’m really trying to work through it. ☺
Daniel: Karma yoga, baby! – in conjunction with perhaps staying away from unemotionally available men! ☺
J: I hope you’re feeling better over there, thank you so much for your constant support. It means the world to me.
Daniel: Feeling better, thank you. And you are most welcome.
I’ve added the below extract from another satsang that I’d responded to, perhaps it will further add some value.
~ Om for now, Dan
To help deal with unhelpful vasanas and activities, I’d add the principle behind the teaching of dristha/adristha phalla, the seen and unseen results.
Whenever those unhelpful urges arise, before acting upon them, take a moment to evaluate the end result. Meditate on the unseen result – the result that comes afterwards. Weigh it up against the immediate result in light of your values, and ask yourself: “Is it worth it?”
Granted – this takes some discipline, but the more you flex your “values muscle” the easier it gets, and slowly these unhelpful vasanas will fade as satisfaction from living your values is where the true honey’s at.
The question to ask yourself is: “What do I value most?” If moksa is truly the most important thing to you, then your sadhana needs to exclude as much as possible the activities that agitate (rajas) and distract/dull (tamas) the mind, and promote above all others those that promote sattva – peace of mind. For self-inquiry to work and self-knowledge to obtain in the mind, rajas and tamas have to be brought into balance with sattva.
J: I’ve read this over many times, thank you. Everything here is ridiculously true. I’m never going to feel consistently happy identifying with my jiva, ever, ever. Heartbreaking! Most definitely love addiction is the worst addiction of them all! People are most inconsistent objects to search for happiness in.
Daniel: That’s for sure. Identifying solely as the jiva is the crux of suffering. Like all objects, it constantly changes, thus remains totally undependable.
If we want consistent happiness then we need to depend on something that’s actually consistent. And the only consistent and dependable factor is – drum roll – you, awareness!
Consistently identifying with your consistent self = steady contentment.
This is why we trade a love addiction for objects with addiction to the self. You, the changeless self, are love itself and the very source of all happiness. Once the mind’s wired into this fact, problem solved.
J: It is the constant discrimination that is most definitely key.
Daniel: 100% constant discrimination is THE only, only key.
J: I actually stopped running “I am awareness” because after only three months of Vedanta finding me I had a crazy moment where I no longer felt like my body was part of me. I didn’t know why this thing was attached to me, it felt like a strange death of “J.” I was just the space around me, I felt like a ghost and I was not any way involved with Jamey. I freaked out and swiftly hopped back into identifying with jiva, “J,” to feel safe again. I’m not sure if that will make any sense to you.
Daniel: Yes, it makes sense, J. As one applies self-knowledge one dies to the notion that one is a limited entity. And the death of ignorance can cause all sorts of experiences. But these experiences pass as you continue to apply the teachings and settle into the knowledge as the knowledge.
J: but this is why I’m not identifying solidly as awareness recently, I need to somehow also include J in the picture too. “I am awareness in the form of jiva “J.” Would that work?
Daniel: There’s no contradiction to solidly take a stand you in your primary identity as awareness whilst still accommodating your jiva’s existence (secondary identity).
“I am awareness in the form of jiva Jamey” is a great mantra to use. Apply this whilst simultaneously understanding your freedom from J.
The key is to allow your action figure (i.e. “J”) to attend to her worldly duty and follow her svadharma whilst simultaneously understanding your freedom from her.
A discriminating mind is one that acknowledges the fact that duality (mithya) exists, but does not mistake it for/as reality. The definition of “reality” is “that which does not change.” And the only “thing” that does not change is you, awareness (satya).
J: Last question, I promise: Why do we pray to God, if God is just us (reflected awareness), if we are here before God?
Daniel: It’s important not confuse mithya with satya.
Isvara, also known as the causal body, is the cause of jiva and its world. Therefore as the jiva we pray to God (Isvara) because we totally depend on It. In this case, you could say that God came first and is “one up” from the jiva.
Both Isvara and jiva are within the mithya realm.
But this does not apply to you, awareness (satya). You do not pray to anything, because you are non-dual and your unchanging, actionless essence remains “beyond” the casual body (triguna-atita). In other words, God depends on you!
You are free from both cause (God) and effect (jiva). In this case you could say that you came before God. But in actuality, there’s no “before” or “after” for you, because you’re timeless.
That all being said, it’s always nice for the jiva to invoke prayer and devotion (bhakti), it feels nice.☺
J: With love…
Daniel: Love abounds, dear self.