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Seeker: Hey, Ram. Good to see you alive and well. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Logic is a topic of great interest to me. There are so many people who dismiss the function of our reasoning powers as non-spiritual. I weighed in on this discussion in a Facebook group with the following. I think you will like it.
“I am relatively new to Vedanta. I only have learned the basics but I have a strong interest in Vedantic logic. It has become indispensable to my practice.
“Aristotle spent a lot of time and effort to arrive at first principles. What he meant by the term ‘first principle’ was a starting point FROM which to reason. These starting points were not arrived at as the result of the reasoning process. Rather, they were self-evident truths FROM WHICH the reasoning process could reliably proceed. Thomas Aquinas said that if there was an error in the premise, the conclusion would be incorrect.
“One fact that Vedanta uses a first principle is: if there is a problem, I am the problem, and if there is a solution, I am the solution. This statement had an extremely profound impact on how I looked at interpersonal events. I could SEE that my entire problem was taking myself for what I was not. This meant that any time I was experiencing BEING unhappy I was suffering from not BEING myself as I really was. Any form of unhappiness is taking the unhappiness and myself to be one and the same.
“When someone said or did something I did not like or agree with I would find myself unhappy and upset WITH THEM because I was convinced that their actions MADE ME UNHAPPY. This seemed to be true, and my reasoning was perfect according to this premise. They are making me unhappy so they need to change and do something different for me to be happy again. The fact that they are not apologizing means they are insensitive. They would be best out of my life. I am therefore not going to have anything to do with them. The premise behind my thinking is ‘I am right.’
“Vedanta teaches us to look at experience in the revealing light of the scriptures rather than from subjective assumptions. One of my assumptions is ‘people can hurt me.’ Vedanta says that people and events never hurt you; they are only instrumental in revealing a hurt that is already in you. Understanding this is the beginning of emotional maturity.
“I accepted this truth so that now when I am having the EXPERIENCE that somebody or something is making me upset, right in the middle of it the teaching becomes active in me and reminds me that the way I see it is not true. Now as we know we can do nothing about our reactions. We don’t need to. At any time I can shift my attention to the truth because I have choice over action.
“So what I do is any time I get upset is shift my attention to the teaching. It is true that I can’t consciously and deliberately make myself understand but I can consciously and deliberately recall an understanding that is true and look at my current experience under the light of this understanding. The understanding is that I am not being myself. I am the locus of the problem. I admit that this was extremely hard to do at the beginning and that often I was unwilling to do it. But with practice now this understanding is something I can reliably REASON FROM. This reasoning makes a real difference.
“When I see that I am hostile and blaming I now inquire into whether I as awareness am upset. I then proceed to consciously and deliberately look into that fact. As I reason my experience undergoes a change. My emotions clear and I feel natural again. The power of reasoning is a great blessing.”
James: Yes, it is. Of course, you can’t help your emotions but once they are active the following premise and the conclusion drawn from it should be called to mind.
Here is some Vedanta logic. Premise: “I am whole and complete.” Conclusion: “Nothing is missing. Therefore what I want or don’t want has no meaning. Since all my emotions are centered around getting what I want, emotions are illegitimate.”