Search & Read
Dirk: James, in my sadhana I sometimes struggle with inconsistency, which makes me annoyed (afterwards). The reason for the annoyance usually has to do with a lack of discipline on my part concerning my lifestyle and my giving in to old habits. The good thing about the annoyance is that I want to analyse the reasons for it, I want to understand the karmas and their motivations. So I see this is a gift from Isvara.
There are times when the daily experience just flows in front of my inner eye, desires, ideas, memories, judgements, whatever, it does not touch me or cause any irritation. I do the daily things but don’t really do anything. I may have to remind myself of who I am now and then, but that’s all.
But on other days I wrestle with the thoughts, I take the push-and-pull seriously and feel attacked by the desires that all of a sudden seem so promising. To separate the joy from the object, reminding myself that I am the joy does not appeal. I begin to compromise my lifestyle – I lose touch with karma yoga and let go of the contemplative mind – that part of me that wants to be free is subdued, which means staying up late, playing cards on the computer, surfing the internet just for the sake of it, an immature behaviour really – I am embaressed to say this – and I guess the ego gets bored with discipline, at the same time telling myself that I am only the witness. It seems like the understanding of the zero-sum nature of existence is out the window, rajas and tamas running wild. Basically, I am working against myself.
Does this just have to do with the mumukshutva and other qualifications? And can that only be cultivated through continuous reflection on the zero-sum nature of reality, and by seeing that thoughts and emotions are mithya? Looking at the qualifications in much more detail? Does it mean being humble and grateful, taking failure as prasad and getting on with it?
Or am I missing some understanding? Thank you so much for reading, James, and sorry about the length.
James: (Before I could reply, the following email arrived.)
Dirk: I had to laugh. Right after sending the mail five minutes ago I opened Atma Bodha to exactly this paragraph. You said,
“Combined with discrimination, dispassion makes it possible for an inquirer to cultivate the powers that ensure a quiet mind, one in which the knowledge ‘I am whole and complete, actionless, non-dual awareness’ can stick. These powers are described as: (1) ‘the peaceful state achieved when the mind detaches from idea of sense indulgences after a careful consideration of their defects (sama),’ (2) sense control, i.e. ‘returning the sense organs to their respective (subtle body) centers when sense experience disturbs the mind (dama),’ (3) the ability to keep the mind free of the thought of external objects (uparati) and (4) ‘a state, not gained through thinking, when the mind is constantly absorbed in contemplation of the Self (samadhana).’”
Because of these invaluable teachings, we are fortunate, but they have to be applied. I am sorry if sounded complaining in my mail.
James: Yes. Basically, one needs to use will power, to take the mind off the distractions and put it back on the Self over and over, until you are in control of the mind, not the other way around.