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The Associationless Self
Stewart: Dear Jim, I well remember the thought “actions have consequences” in your first book Meditation – a very important point to be aware of – I have noted its requirements over the years.
Ramana says something like, “There is no karma where there is no sense of I.” In my own terms, I define perfect action as “action without undesirable consequences,” itself requiring objective thought processing.
But there is a whole raft of cults, communes, creatives, etc. who seek to abrogate the consequences of their actions through self-referential ideologies of one kind or another. Personally, I think they are kidding themselves if they think that through a set of bylaws or personal codes they can act with impunity in the dharma field. They may temporarily suspend their karma by disengaging from the norms of society, but the consequences of their actions will be stacking up irrespectively.
Jim: You mean “idiotologies.” They are kidding themselves. One’s life from womb to tomb is nothing but the results of actions of which an individual or a group are aware – or not – as they are interpreted by the dharma field. There is no choice concerning action itself, only the type of actions one does and the attitude obtaining when one acts.
Stewart: Does this apply to the perfect yogi in the cave? Is withdrawal from the world actually possible?
Jim: The world is only the thoughts in one’s mind. So the yogi in the cave has thoughts associated with his life in the cave. There is no withdrawal from the world, because the same person who lived in the world now lives in a cave. Thoughts and feelings are actions dictated by the dharma field, but there is discretion as to the type of thoughts one thinks. The only way to avoid karma is to negate the doer of actions or, as Ramana says, to remove the sense of “I.” The “I” means the person, in my case the “Jim,” in your case the “Stewart.” So how do you do that? You transfer the cooked-up identity – “I am so and so. I come from such and such. I am the son of so and so. I have a wife and kids. I am rich or poor, etc.” – from this reflected “I” to the true “I,” existence/consciousness. This is only possible if you accept the Vedanta’s contention that there is such an “I,” that it is ever-present and always experienced. Once there is a firm commitment to the real “I” the hard work of yoga begins, which is transferring one’s identity to the karma-free “I.” The Self is actionless awareness and is unaffected by karma.
Stewart: Can actions, including non-action, not have consequences?
Jim: Actions and non-actions have consequences because the nature of the dharma field is action. Don’t stop at the traffic light and you get a ticket. Don’t pay your taxes – etc.
There are no actions or consequences for you, existence/awareness, because you are not a doer. You have no instruments of actions, body or mind, so you can’t act. You live without breathing. You pervade every object and activity. You are the motionless ground of being that seemingly makes action possible. This is my experience, which is supported by scripture. Chapters II to VI of the Bhagavad Gita explain the whole teaching on action.
Stewart: Any views?
Jim: These are my views. You couldn’t force a razor blade between the Vedic view and mine.
~ Om and prem, Jim