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Karan: James, I’d like to update you on my current level of understanding.
I’ve been confused about how to mesh the absolute and relative. It is as much of a dualistic standpoint to continue to claim that everything is consciousness and deny that I am a body in this relative existence as it is to just identify with the body. For example, I was confused about how to understand the personal will and how this fits into the big picture of me being consciousness. It was a clever way to shirk responsibility. Also, I felt a disconnect between me and others. “Look at all those body-identified beings,” I would say to myself.
But then I realized the dualistic nature of that viewpoint. Though I am consciousness at the very essence, this consciousness takes the shape of a body, mind and world. This consciousness that I am manifests itself as a jiva. As a jiva I have the free will to take responsibility for my choices and I choose to inquire instead of get drunk. Though Bhagavan ultimately controls the outcome, I, as a jiva, do control my choices in a limited sense. I am controlled by my vasanas and constrained by the laws of this field, but I do have some choice in the matter. This choosing function is a part of the subtle body.
Now, at the root of all of this is me, as consciousness. Though I took the shape of the subtle body, the gross body and the world, I remain as I am. All the forms are named as they merely by convention. So while I, as a jiva, continue to act out my limited choices and continue to exist subject to the laws of this field, I remain grounded in the understanding (that I have built up through my limited free will) that all of this is actually me as the self.
Does this make sense or is my understanding a little off?
James: No, it is perfect. Not to worry.
~ Much love, James