Aja Blog - October 05


Aja-Blog October 2005                          

Welcome to Aja's online blog - an ongoing expression of what is arising in Aja's consciousness... random writings, musings, and more on the nature of consciousness, awakening, reality, non-reality, stupidity....

Each entry is chronologically dated with the most recent first and older stuff later.  Feel free to start wherever you want.  If you have questions or comments, you can email them to atma@atmainstitute.org

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Sunday  October 23, 2005

Know who you (The Person) Are

This may seem to be going 'backwards' in a way, but I think it's necessary sometimes to look back at the steps and make it clear in order to go forward. The process of self inquiry needs to take place on all levels, and that means beginning at the beginning. Often I see people having difficulty with the process of inquiring into the self because they are starting at the 'top' so to speak. In other words, they jump directly into these wonderful aspects of the Absolute (or try to), without understanding the lower principles of who they are as an individual person.  So it looks a little like this...You're a six year old kid who has mastered the tricycle, not able to really ride a bicycle with any balance, and somebody puts you on a motorcycle. YAHOOOOOOO!!! This is GREAT! Incredible speed, amazing experience. You might even be able to manage the first turn. But somewhere along the line, and probably sooner than later - Kablam! Really big crash. Why? Because you hadn't even gotten the basics down.

Now it's true that we often belittle new age or psychological teachings because they are in a completely different category than the recognition of the Self or Absolute. However, it's only to make the difference clear. Riding a motorcycle is nothing like riding a bike. Or to extend the analogy a little further, riding a rocket ship is nothing like riding a bike, although they hold certain things in common - starting, steering, maintaining speed and direction, landing properly and so forth; but beyond the obvious similarities, they are very far apart. And, you're unlikely to be able to navigate the more advanced without having mastered, or at least familiarized yourself with the lower.

So, what is all this leading to? In the process of inquiring into who we are, we have to start with what we are right here in the relative and 'mundane' level. That means, who we are as people, as an individual expression of the Absolute. Each of us is a particular energetic patterning of the Divine. We are here, in part, to represent that function and to own up to it, discover it, express it, be it.  This is what many psychologists would call the maturing process - becoming mature and aware adults. Who are you as a person? What floats your boat? What do you like to do to enjoy or to express yourself? Be totally honest with yourself!  I often find that due to those great evils - Political Correctness and Spiritual Correctness (P.C. and S.C.), both of which are simply social, cultural, societal constraints, people are often unwilling to BE who they are. They lie to others, and more importantly themselves, about who they are. If you're a stone-cold killer, that's who you are. I'm sorry, but not everybody is a little light fairy on their way to infinite Sainthood, at least not right now and this time around. Or more accurately, you can't get there (if that's where you're supposed to be) without recognizing who and what you are right NOW! In fact, the recognition and expression of who and what you are IS the doorway to recognizing who and what you are on a deeper level. Another analogy: If your basic math tells you that 2 + 2 = 3, then you might go to the most advanced levels of mathematics and calculus, but everything will be fundamentally off, and you will never get the right answer.

Often, I've found that spirituality for many people is an escape, when what they probably really need is therapy and just to really identify what's going on with them as people. Yes, this can be hard because so much of what we are as individuals is not P.C. and S.C., so we deny it to others and ourselves. But you can never know who you are as Absolute Being if you can't even recognize what you are as a Relative Being. Well, you can, but you probably won't get much past the first turn or two before....Kablam!  So do the work. Inquire, write, question, investigate! If somebody calls you on something, don't just shine it on. Look at it. It's probably true. Don't just turn it around and say, "Oh, that's your projection." It might be, but it probably also applies to you. How can you own up to your divinity if you can't own up to your relativity?

The 'Hindu' scriptures talk about the 'yugas' these vast periods of time that are differentiated by the amount of purity in them. At present time, we are considered to be in Kali yuga, the lowest, which is designated by a gradual decrease in Truthfulness. This is just what I'm talking about. I used to think of it as being just your basic lying to others. But gradually, I realized that it's not so much about truthfulness with others, as it is about truthfulness within oneself. Be truthful. Recognize (without judgment) who you are on the basic levels of here and now and that will create the foundations to inquire into who you are on deeper and vaster fields of Being.


Thursday  October 20, 2005

Being Still

Sometimes, (I am told) there is malaise...ennui... tedium...unrest. With the understanding that there is 'nothing' to get, that it is all present here, and there is nothing to strive for, it sometimes occurs that the whole thing gets kind of, well, boring. 

The problem here is simple. While it is true that there is nothing to 'get,' there is still something to recognize. in other words, understanding and recognition are not necessarily the same thing. Part of process IS this mental or intellectual understanding. That is a big part of it, but the actual recognition of that also needs to to happen. How is this to be accomplished? Well, at the risk of repeating myself YET ONCE AGAIN, one can ask, "To whom is this ennuit, this malaise arising?" Recognize that it is all arising within this Awareness.  However, if that doesn't work, or even if it does, there is one more thing that can be of great and significant value...

STOP!  Be Still! Stop Doing.

It doesn't have to be forever, or even for a long time...an hour, a half hour, five minutes. Just stop any doing and just 'BE.'  Our tendency is to keep moving, to keep doing, to strive in some little way, or to fill up the space with some other small doings - like busy work or little chores, or anything that will take away or help us escape the immediacy of NOW. But in the long run, it is anti-productive to the recognition of what is. So instead, just stop and be. Relax into the moment. Don't try to do anything other than recognize the nature of the moment, of Awareness, of your own presence. Totally be with what is arising, in you, around you, the feelings, the sounds, the emotions, all of it. Relax into the totality of it all, without any expectation or striving. Just let go.

In the West, particularly, we seem to feel that we can't stop doing. Even our non-doing has to be pervaded by some kind of doing. But this is like trying to start a fire while constantly dribbling water on our fuel. This is not India or some other place where non-doing is practically a competitive sport. Here we need to consciously stop any kind of doing. Otherwise, we can't really experience or explore those deeper issues which want and need to arise. We end of living in a sort of half-way land, and that will be boring. It is not effortless being if we're continuously chasing after doing. So, if we want to see a change happen, change something. (There's that old saying, "Insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results.") Therefore, change something by stopping the doing and being still. Be still and recognize that stillness within you. Be still and recognize that within that stillness and from that stillness the world arises, and yet, that infinite stillness is still there. Stop dribbling the water for a few minutes (hours, days, whatever) and allow that stillness to be recognized. The world won't crumble around you. And if it does...no biggy. It wasn't doing you that much good to begin with.


Monday  October 3, 2005

Switching to 'I Am'

We, by our nature, are constantly focusing on the objects of perception, whether sights (through the eyes), sounds (through the ears), physical sensations, or even thoughts within the mind. This constant 'outward' focus is habitual. But what is the perceiver?

Various teachings, teachers, etc. have proclaimed the need to 'know' the Self.  Generally, they are not speaking of the physical, mental or emotional self, but the 'True Self.' But what is that and how is it done. It's really not that hard. In fact, it's pretty rudimentary. The problem is staying there for any appreciable amount of time.

Right now as you're reading this, you are focused on what you are seeing. Without doing anything else, change your attention to the one who is reading. Be the one looking out those eyes. You might have to stop reading for a moment, but try it a few times, going back and forth - focusing on the words you're seeing, then focusing on the seer. In both cases, you're still seeing the same thing, but there is a subtle shift of what is dominant - the object of seeing or the one who sees.

You could also try the same thing in a mirror, gazing at the image in the mirror and then switching to the one behind those eyes in the head who is staring out at the mirror. You can also try it with part of your own body. Feel your foot and then be the feeler of the foot.

This shift to the perceiver or Seer (sakshi  or drashta in Sanskrit) is what is referred to by many as the Self. It is that consciousness or awareness which is perceiving through the various senses. It is that pure sense of 'I Am.'

The Bhagavad Gita (sixth chapter) describes this as the essence of Yoga:

"When the disciplined mind rests in the Self alone, free from desire for objects, then one is said to be established in Yoga.

"When he experiences that supreme happiness which transcends the senses, and is perceived by the intelligence (buddhi), established thus he never moves from Reality.

"Abandoning all desires born from imagination, and curbing the senses by the mind on all sides, firm in intellect, little by little one should fix his mind on the Self, and not think of anything else.

"From wherever and whatever the mind wanders, due to its restless nature, let him bring it back to rest in the Self.

"Constantly engaging in this way, the Yogi, who has given up impurity, attains easily the supreme bliss that comes through contact with Brahman (the Absolute)."

So first, learn to recognize that switch to the 'I Am,' the Seer, the Self, bit by bit, step by step, training yourself to stay there. Even though the mind may wander, bring it back to the Self again and again.

(Shortcut: No matter what is happening, ask the question, "Who is aware of this?" That should  immediately bring you back to that sense of 'I Am. Then just keep doing that.)



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