ADVENTURES IN ADVAITA VEDANTA...


Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..

THE ADVENTURE

HARI OM!
Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Resolve

Hari OM
Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

It takes work, this making changes lark. At no time here have you read that it is easy. (If you think you have, time to read again!) We are all a work in progress.

Here at AV-blog, you have come, lingered and, perhaps, taken the decision to begin some of those changes in your life as you seek to improve yourself and your circumstances.  If the first of those happens, the second will follow of its own accord. The critical component of the work, mentioned yesterday, is to assess oneself with clarity and honesty. It can be painful. How much so depends on the level of dark stuff and negativity which needs to be shifted as well as the level of our willingness to actually make the changes.

Thus, be clear, let not your talk of making change be that alone. Work on yourself to honestly feel the desire for change. Without that, all efforts are likely to be heavier going, hurdles will be higher, obstacles will rise.

Your saadhana this week is to assess your own motivation and desire to improve upon your current state of being. Don't, at this stage, think of how you are going to become the next great social mover and shaker, or the new sadhu of suburbia; even spiritual seekers can become egotistical! Instead, consider how you can ensure that tomorrow, and then the day after that and the following day again, you are going to lift your attitude to life. To meet its little pricks and jabs with humour and goodwill, and to read at least one page of a beautiful text, such as the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or other worthy philosophical tomes. Until this simple routine is set, the toddler-steps of Vedantic life, there can be no longer walks, jogs or marathons into the higher realms of practice.

The master chef first had to develop knife skills and kitchen discipline even before taking in the deeper, more specialised knowledge of food, never mind taking it to its ultimate refinement.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative to keep some kind of journal or self-measurement system as this alone can show you to yourself and what, if any movement, is made.


One of Other

Hari Om
Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

Last week we reviewed sthuula shariira and how the choice is ours as to how that body operates. To a large extent, it is the understanding of the fact that the body is a weight upon the soul which is present in the Western tradition of 'new year resolutions'. It is the one time in every twelve months when the majority of folk give at least some thought to the fact that they need to make changes in life. The majority, however, do not make them, or in making them, find themselves straying from the resolve by the end of the first month following.

Resolution for change does not, indeed ought not, to be restricted to a single occasion or tradition. When it comes to self-improvement, at all levels of being, it is entirely up to each individual to find the resolve to make the necessary changes.

One of the biggest hurdles to jump is self-recognition. To make a change, we must first accept that there is something to be changed. If we languish in misery and are filled all the time with wishes and dreams of something other than we have or are, but without 'owning' any of it, then nothing will ever change and life will continue as something for us to complain and moan about. If, though, we see our part in the things about which we feel miserable, it is the first step to change. The next is to 'own' it; take responsibility for how we act or react to any given thing.

"OH!", the cry goes up, "this, that and the other person is the reason I can't do this; it's their fault/it's that situation…"

Justification for staying in our misery is a talent we all have. Developing the skill to climb from that pit is something we have to desire more than the comfort of staying where we are. It means, quite often, making choices between the path of least resistance and the higher road.

Yes, there can be conditions around us which are unavoidable. These are part of the colour of life, even when the colour is dark. The test is how we meet those conditions. Ten people in the same situation do not handle it, nor do they come out of it, in the same way. Some will not even make attempts at meeting the situation and striving to get through it. Others may try, but lack experience or strength to come through unscathed.

Learning how to handle ourselves in life and its situations is a key part of that very experience. It always - always - boils down to the choices we make, even when it seems there is no choice to be made.


Make It Daily

Hari Om
Monday is AUM-day; in search of meditation

We are spending January in random prompts to thinking Vedantically. A teacher can give out everything they know, but it will amount to nothing if the student is not inculcating that knowledge, to make it their own. Indeed, the more significant part of learning is not the listening to those who have been before us, but by going out and trying all the experiments and tests for ourselves.

On this day, over the past couple of years, you have been reading a variety of approaches and explorations of what meditation is, in its pure form. Ultimately, with proper practice, meditation can take us to a place beyond the physical, beyond mind.

However, in daily life, it can all seem very esoteric. Something which takes time out of our day and can - for many - appear to be a waste of effort. For those who do manage to keep a small part of each day to sit in silence and to drop away all that is external, the reward is to find an improved approach to life, a lift in their heart, an easing of the mind. For the truly dedicated (the rare ones) there is the call of moksha. Total suspension of ego and mind and an entry into the Universal Bliss even while still within the body.

Full and enveloping meditation is the Everest of mental activity (or lack of it!). How many of us can expect to even tread the foothills of that highest of mountains? Few indeed. That does not mean that we cannot seek to emulate something of its essence by visiting the hills and mountains within our reach or to go to the coast and be by the sea, which holds an equivalency of mystery and awe. Likewise, we can find our own little inner hills in which to draw breath and leave everything behind for a while. If we are willing to put in the daily exercise, we will find that our spiritual 'muscle' builds stamina and strength and we can go higher and higher. We may even start to believe we could go to Everest.

A great many of us, though, do not have that desire. All we wish is a little respite from the nonsense of daily life. That is fine, but if we are going to do that with some success, we still require to be regular and determined in our daily practice! Taking a gym membership then visiting only once a week will not bring the results which would come from daily visits.

As had been said before, but bears repeating, one does not have to think about the summit of the mountain when setting out. Just plant one foot in front of the other and keep going ahead. In meditation, this amounts to the baby steps of setting up a daily routine, ensuring no disturbance from the external. Then we have to ensure no disruption from our own selves. The early practice is all about observing how our mind runs away with us and starting to put reins upon the thoughts. Everything begins with ourselves. Do we want it? How much? Are we prepared to care for ourselves in this way?

Wipe away the excuses which bounce up and seem to proliferate when we make up our minds to step into spiritual self-care. It is one of the great ironies that when we attempt to do something positive, temptations and obstacles spring up in ways we never before noticed. It is not that they are actually any more than before; it is merely that now we are seeing. That is a good thing! The purpose of temptation is to test ourselves, to reflect on what it is that creates our threats and holds us in misery.

Think about this today. If you have set a daily discipline, congratulate yourself but continue to knock away the obstacles within and without. If you have yet to set it, look at why it is not done. Discuss with yourself as to why and think about how you might now take that first step.