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Is Freedom Free?
Cathy: Hello, beautiful self!!
Thank you for your email which you wrote about the three gunas. You really write so beautifully, explaining it so simply. I am not sure if I am going to write my question so simply and clearly, as I am not quite sure how to pose my question, so I am just going to type as if we were having a conversation and hopefully it will lead into my question(s), and please excuse if it is such a simple or stupid question, but I guess sometimes the easiest things are the most difficult to put into practice, and even with all the self-knowledge, I… jiva… have a bit of difficulty with certain things. ☺ I know I am the knower (SELF) of ALL and I know that ALL arises from within ME… and I know that this is an apparent reality; however, the jiva is experiencing every moment, and there are moments when I (jiva) am in a situation interacting with another and they misbehave inappropriately (well, to me it is inappropriate), but to the other it is not; they do not see anything wrong with their behaviour.
When I tell the person that I think their behaviour is inappropriate and they do not hear me, initially it upsets me, but immediately discrimination is in the forefront and I let go of their response. But I am not sure if what I am doing is the right thing, as they continue to act in the same way again and again… the difficulty for me is that the people I interact with on a social level are family or friends who I care for and still want a relationship with. I do not want to cut myself off from them. I have already cut myself off from the people/friends who I do not resonate with.
I know that it is very easy for the MIND to misunderstand things. At the same time it is easier to commit a mistake than to follow truth. How do I become a guiding directive to a person who does not see what they are doing is wrong without cutting myself off from them, especially those who have no knowledge and are stuck in samsara?
As a jiva I am applying the knowledge in the most fundamental way in my day-to-day life. I think and act from the principles and knowledge of Vedanta, but there are times when I get caught up in the emotions of someone else’s behaviour. When it happens over and over again, I have to sit with the question of, do I disconnect from them or not? Within seconds I discriminate and realise that none of it matters, as I am SELF.
I know and understand where, why and how this is all appearing, but a part of me struggles with, at what point do I draw the line?
Sending you much love and wishing you a great day!
~ All my love, Cathy
Sundari: Dear Cathy, thank you for the compliment. ☺
The tough part, what we call the actualisation of self-realisation, is where the “rubber meets the road,” to quote the famous Ramji. ☺
The whole point to freedom is that knowing that one is the self is fine, but the jiva still lives in the “world,” in the apparent reality, mithya. Cathy is the self, and the jiva is an object in her, awareness. Moksa, or freedom, is for the jiva. To the self it makes no difference if Cathy is realised or not. What is the point of all this if Cathy does not have a happy time while she is here on earth, walking around in a body? So obviously, to be free the knowledge, “I am awareness,” needs to render the vasanas non-binding and negate the doer or freedom will not be free. This does not mean that one has to get rid of every vasana; even if this were possible, it is not necessary. It simply means that you know that they do not belong to you, awareness.
You are not applying the knowledge correctly to your situation with your family, because the bad feelings keep recurring. This is because you think that there is something wrong with them and you want them to be different – but it is not up to you. Family vasanas tend to be binding. They are called pratibandikas. I had this as well. So although Cathy would like these people to be more aware, they are probably never going to be.
So what? Stop wanting them to be different. If they could behave differently, they would. See them all as the self under the spell of ignorance and know that it is all perfect; there is nothing “wrong” with them. It is not up to you to change anything. It is up to Bhagavan. It is the way it is.
Getting involved in the emotionality of situations means that you have lost your discrimination. You seem to be aware of this. If you can’t remove yourself from the people in question, love them unconditionally the way they are. The agitation from wanting things to be other than the way they are will leave you. You will no longer get swept up in their emotional reactions and they will no longer feel your spoken and unspoken judgments. Nobody wants to hear that there is something wrong with them. The only way to help “someone else” is to see them as the self, knowing and living who you are with humility, which means you do not see anything “wrong” with anything. Nor do you see yourself as right because you have more self-knowledge. Radiate the love and joy that is your nature. Everyone will be affected by your love. Let how you live and love be the directive, there is nothing more potent. This is freedom.
This does not mean that if they contravene dharma, you take it lying down. Let them know their mistake and stand up for your own dharma. It’s even okay to get angry and hold people responsible for their actions. Just do it cleanly and then let it go.
It is very illuminating to see how the gunas operate in “others” when you know that there really are no others. Just observe them dispassionately, like one would observe a movie. You know that wonderful Catholic prayer, “Give me the courage to change what I can change, the dispassion to accept what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.”
It is very hard with family, I know! What to do though? Wanting things to be different is bondage. It causes suffering. You are not the person named Cathy. You know this. So why should her problems be yours? I hope this helps. ☺
~ Much love to you, Sundari