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Removing the Filter
Seeker: Dear James, while the non-dual view is that all is equal and all is known, experienced and loved as such, impersonal experience seems to remain available for improvement. This improvement can also, clearly, serve the whole field – and that alone is justification for appropriate action. Is this the self-actualization that you talked about in Tiruvannamalai this winter?
Ram: On the spiritual level your statement “impersonal experience seems to remain available for improvement” is a bit puzzling. It may be just a language issue, but I am not sure how you can “improve” impersonal experience.
Experience is impersonal. When it is looked at from the standpoint of an individual’s vasanas, it seems to be personal. Maybe you mean that your vasanas, your story, are still making reality seem to be personal. Self-actualization – when self-knowledge is firm – is a situation where the vasanas no longer color experience. Vedanta calls this moksa, freedom from the reflected self, the person. It is one thing to know you are free and another to actually live free. Living free of worries and concerns and a sense of doership is what I mean by self-actualization.
Vedanta calls the condition where the personal filter obtains jiva sristi, the creation of the individual. In fact the individual creates nothing, because there is no actual individual, only awareness impersonally looking out from behind the subtle body illumining itself. Self-ignorance creates vasanas which muddy the filter, the subtle body, and projections cause reality to appear personal.
So how do you actualize the knowledge? By the application of the idea “I am awareness” to every situation that reality presents, thereby destroying the personal response. Or by karma yoga, which is actually just “I am awareness” expressed in a different way. It is how the self would respond to a given situation if it were a person in a body responding to life. So by the practice of knowledge there is a gradual “improvement” in the impersonality of your lived response to life, and life flows with unspeakable ease. I call it “the magic carpet.” Obstacles are overcome before they become obstacles because there is no one there to be obstructed.
~ Much love, Ram