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Relax, You Are on the Vedanta Bus
James: Dear Sally, thank you so much for the congrats on my marriage. I am so happy to hear that Vedanta is working for you. It is a great blessing to get these teachings. How can I not reply to such an excellent email?
I understand your problem. It is the most common problem that inquirers face. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it and look at the meaning of your statement, “It is usually when I am quiet, sitting meditating or make a conscious effort to be awareness and not get caught up in the mind stuff which reinforces my sense of separation. Even though I am intellectually convinced that I am not the body-mind, it seems so hard to stay where ‘I am.’”
When you say it seems so hard to “stay where ‘I am,’” what kind of “staying” are you talking about? Is it about keeping confidence in the knowledge that you are whole and complete, non-dual, actionless awareness or is it about feeling peaceful and relaxed in life? The two are not necessarily unconnected. If you are confident in the knowledge, you will be relaxed and feel good. And you will not keep a stressful lifestyle.
But it may be that the feeling of peace is purely mechanical in the sense that peace you feel due to the “getting away” you refer to. I wonder why you feel the need to get away. If your life is enjoyable, why would you want to get away from it? The obvious implication is that it is stressful.
Both meditation and self-inquiry are difficult when you too much on your karmic plate. A busy life focuses attention on objects, not on the self, and robs your peace. If you have a typical middle-class lifestyle and are responsible for doing a job, paying rent or mortgage and looking after kids, etc. the mind will not get peaceful unless you have the karma yoga attitude – and then it will be slow going – when you are doing your worldly stuff because the vasanas keeping you from peace will be continually reinforced extroverting your attention.
The second issue is about “getting it.” When you “get it” depends on factors beyond your immediate control. So the way to deal with this desire is to take the karma yoga attitude toward it. As long as you are doing your best – which is seems you are and which seems to be working – the result is out of your hands. Be happy that you are, as Ramana says, “on the bus.” When you get on the bus you do not carry your suitcase. You set it down on the floor and let the bus carry it. The bus will get there eventually. All you need to do is look out the window and enjoy the scenery and trust that the driver – the self – knows where it is going. So you can let that desire to “get it” go. Maybe you have already “got it” but lack confidence in the knowledge. If you have confidence you will remove the factors that are keeping you from peace because you cannot be self-realized and agitated. If you know who you are and the mind is agitated, the agitation is due to attachment to factors related to your lifestyle, love or security issues generally, and you will not let them stand.
In any case, please tell me about your lifestyle and your satisfactions and dissatisfactions related to it.
~ Much love, James