Sunday, 29 September 2013

Part 3 of 3. The Trip. The Ego. Consciousness. Duality And Non-Duality.

"I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative form consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness ”- Max Planck

This statement resonates perfectly, with what ancients have been saying for over 6000 years. This is the core of non-dual thinking. This statement captures the essence  of what this blog has been about. Once this statement is accepted/understood, our understanding of the world is radically changed.    

It affects every aspects of our lives and thinking, even affects who or what we think we are. 

So, Who are you then ?

The ultimate question that needs to be answered is "who are you?", you must answer that to your self, and not to anyone else. This isn't a question you can ask casually or toy with. Once you ask this question you have to answer it. Your existence depends on it. It’s about self-realization.

We can’t be the bodies; science has dismissed our body as illusions. We can’t be social creatures; society originates from us, not the other way around.

 The society has molded us into creature of social norms, it has utterly confused us and made us forget, why we are special. Its taken away the originality we were born with, and imprisonment us in a invisible trap, of social/cultural/religious dogmas.

We all go to the same schools and colleges, watch the same programs on television, aspire to similar idea of a good life. We all dress the same way; want the same cars, the same types of life partners. Ask any girl what do you look for in a guy, here is what you’ll mostly hear. He should be honest, smart, successful/educated, open minded and should have a good sense of humor. Ask a guy what kind of girl he wants; she should be beautiful, modern, traditional, honest, caring and etc etc.

What are these? These are the stereotype of a perfect human being, preached by popular culture. These are labels, and our specie we love to put labels on everything. 
Hinduism and theology of many other religions have rightly identified that man is trapped and ruled by his vices. These vices alone stand in the way of liberation, true wisdom and self-realization.  These are what makes up the ego or the mind; kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobh (greed), moha (delusion), mada or ahankar (pride) and matsarya (jealousy).

The Trip - Is uncontrolled direction less rising and falling of thought, the movement of thought, latching from one thought/idea to another.

No evidence is required for this, one can experience this trip first hand, all you have to do is close your eyes and pay attention to the talking/thinking inside you. How thoughts run wild from one to another ceaselessly. If you think they are under your control. You are in for nasty awakening. If you are in control of all those thought, go on. Try and stop it.  Try to not have any thought, maintain total silence just for 1 minute. Okay ready? Go!

Here is probably what happened your first thought was on how to not have a thought, which lead you to another thought and another and so on. This is what is meant by “the trip”.

Apart from very few exceptions of self realized beings. We are all tripping, with almost no control over it. Some of us realize that we are tripping. While others through no fault of their own, never realize this critical fact. No one ever told them. How do you find something that you aren’t even aware of? The reason is lack of information, and being sucked into a consumerist world.

Realizing the trip is the first step. You can’t claim ignorance anymore. You have just been informed!

The Ego

 The ego is the identity you have created for yourself. A construct of the trips you have. It’s who you think you are. The role you play. Someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife, Ceo or a manager in some company, etc.

An example-

We would all agree to the statement. “ I am not the same person, I was 5 years ago”

Think about that statement I am not the same person, I was 5 years ago. That’s a contradiction. Who was this “I” 5 years ago, and who is it now? Which one is really you? To both of them you refer as I, but there can’t be more than one I.

We would all agree that we are different people, in different situations. A different “I” when talking to your mother, A different ‘I’ when with girlfriends or boyfriends, different ‘I’ when with your friends, total different one when with enemies. Some times you are kind, sometimes rude, sometimes good and other times bad.

These are all the roles we play, shaped by our own beliefs and our understanding of what is acceptable or expected of us in each circumstance. Fueled by our need to be accepted, loved, respected or liked, etc etc. We play these different roles accordingly.

This role-playing, experiences/memories we have had in our life, over time gets forged into an identity. Who we think we are we. This identity we have created is the Ego.

If you are not the person, who you were 5 years ago or 1 day ago and you are not going to be the same person you currently are, 5 years from now.

Then who are you really? Who is this ‘I’, you keep referring to?

In the simplest words possible, you are the ‘I am-ness’. You are that sense of “I-ness”. That feeling of being, feeling of consciousness itself. Spirituality refers to this as the Atman/Spirit/Consciousness.

Consciousness- is simply the feeling of “I am ness”, that you have.
Consciousness is awareness. We know a dog has consciousness. So does a bird. Maybe even bacteria being aware of temperature, chemicals or food. Maybe, even a rock has some sense awareness of its position or movement when being thrown.

But where we differ is self- awareness. Being aware of your own selves. That’s what makes us special. This is where we get the concept ‘I’. A dog doesn’t have this sense of I; he does think oh I am hungry or angry. There is just hunger.  This self-awareness is the reason why we can do all the amazing and complex task. Contemplate the entire universe or our selves.

Self-awareness is kind of double-edged sword. A great boon and a curse. It gives us our concept of ‘I’, which leads us into duality. This where the thoughts, trips, the ego, culture, art, war, feeling, thoughts stems from.


What is Duality?

Duality is the state or quality of being two or in two parts. Duality is inter-related polar opposites.

I’ll give you examples of how duality arises. When ever we make any statement. We create duality, for example. If I say I’m a tall guy, by that statement I have created a polar opposite. Compared to me there must be guys who are short.

If there is good, in relation to it, bad automatically exists.

If cold, then hot. If beautiful, then ugly. If right, then wrong.

When we say that I am a man or human. We create our polar opposite, as god or the universe.

Similarly the sense of self-awareness creates duality automatically. It divides the universe into the self (the body) and the non-self (external world). Our senses give rise to duality. To view the world, we must have a point of view. From where we perceive it. This automatically leads to duality, between from where we look and what we look at. Creates the here and the there.
We cannot escape this duality physically.

But we can escape it intellectually, by understanding ourselves (through introspection/meditation) using both, science and spirituality.


Non-Duality is ancient school of thought (approx. 6000 years old). It is not a religion. It emphasizes the importance of Self-Inquiry and pursuit of the truth. Its core belief is

“Atman is Brahman” – The Upanishads

Atman (The Self, Spirit, Consciousness identified with body)
Brahman (Universe, Supreme Spirit, Consciousness as a whole)

Ramana Maharishi used to paraphrase, the Upanishads (Advaita Vedanta) and say.
After knowing that by which you know this (world, Phenomenon) turn the mind inward and then you will see clearly (i.e. realize) the effulgence of the Self.
That by which you recognize sound, taste, form and smell, know that as your Self, the Supreme Brahman (cosmic unity, Noumenon), the Lord of lords.”

This quote is saying, that its consciousness thru which we perceive the world, sounds, tastes, forms and smells, and this consciousness is what you are. Which is also the entire universe, phenomenon and noumenon.

This is a non-dualistic understanding. Accepting this intellectual is the first step in non-duality. Which will give rise to an understanding, beyond the concepts. Once this happens you will be at peace inside.

I know what you are thinking. How can I be the universe? You say that because you understand and see the world in duality. Of good and bad, right and wrong, beautiful and ugly, God and Man.

 All there is, Is consciousness.” - Ramesh Balsekar

Consciousness is called “the Atman” when referred to a person. Consciousness is called the “The Brahman” when referred to the universe.

“The indivisible supreme self, is none other than you.”- Ramana Maharishi paraphrasing the Bhagavad-Gita.

Why is non- duality required?

Without this understanding our lives are meaningless wondering/seeking, filled with suffering.

The mistake we make is to identifying our self, with the perceived identity (the ego). The ego is nothing more than a role-playing, some play socially appropriate role. They crave approve of others. Some play rebellious role. They crave attention, by challenging the norms. 

Why do we do this?

“Desire is the root of all human suffering.”- Buddha

We want/desire to be happy, we want pleasure. To be happy we need social status, money, popularity, love, sex, a certain job, a certain house, a certain title, etc etc.

Happiness comes from within, and not from material possession or social validation of your own self.

It is ignorance, a myth created by society and media, to sell us all their products. Bushmen living in the jungles in Africa, are much more happier than us. And yet they have nothing, compared to us. Apart from one little under-rated thing called “Acceptance”.

Unless you have acceptance of “what is, as it is” you can never have happiness. Acceptance of the fact, that you have no control.

You think you have control, yet you can’t even control the thoughts in your head. Can you control, not feeling anger, hate, love, or sorrow? Control is an illusion you have, created by the ego. We will talk about free will in the next part.

All our problems have a common orgin. It’s the ego. You can be the ego all your life and never live a single moment.  Because rather than being present in each moment, and living life as it comes. We ponder what was, what will be, fearing, hoping. We waste our present.

I’ll give an example of what I mean by that. Something we can relate to.

“A kid has memorized a poem to recite at school, he has recited it over and over again, from memory perfectly in front of his parents and the mirror.
Finally he is sitting in the classroom, as his turn inches closer. The ego begins its meaningless chatter, his mind is filled with these voices. Fear begins to rises through his body, fear of judgment, fear of performing, what will his peer think, will they laugh or make fun of him, what will the teacher think, what grade will he get.
And before he knows it, he is standing in front of the classroom, drenched in fear, tongue-tied, uttering nothing but uhh and umm. All that he had memorized is pushed to the back, by the fear that is ruining his present. ”

Ego has ruined the present by focusing on the future.

He couldn’t recite because there is too much noise in his head, because rather than being in the present and performing, he was worrying about the future, believing what the Ego is telling him, that he will fail. And once he does fail the ego is re-inforced as being right. A Self-fulfilling prophecy!

Next time a recitation happens this kid will move heaven and earth to get out of it. Ego will never let him forget, he will re live the failure over and over again in his mind.   

This time the ego has ruined the present, by being fixated in the past.

The ego is always worrying about the past or the future. Because it believes is has control. Ego is the “THINKING MIND”. Thinking mind has no benefits, all it does is take you away from the present, feeding on all the vices. It can destroy us from within. Sadly this is what is going on within people all day.

The past is gone. It exist no where but in our minds, it affects nothing but our minds. If we would just let it go, it would be gone. And we would be free of it. But we carry the excess baggage from the past, which ruins our present. It’s same with the worrying about the future.

Not all thinking is bad of course. You can’t understand this, without thinking. For example, If you need to drive to a different city, you need to think, which road to take, what time to leave, etc. You need to think to achieve this, think of the last time you drove there. This sort of thinking is called the Working Mind, the problem-solving mind. Working mind isn’t judgmental, its functional thing. It doesn’t care about the past or the future, success or failure. It is totally focused on solving the problem at hand. 

Once the thinking mind/ ego has been identified correctly, it becomes an-unwelcomed guest. Given time and persistence, thinking mind is transcended. With it gone the role playing, conforming to stereotypes  and constant need for social acceptance ends. Happiness is no longer desired, but becomes an intrinsic part of being without any effort. 

Solution to all your problems.

 The Veda outlines 3 such possible paths that can be explored, depending upon which ever is best suited to the innate characteristics of a person. 

1. Bhakti yoga - Losing one self totally in worshipping an external deity/god, dedicating life to an external entity or moral codes. Its Focus-meditation. Suited for people who have religious beliefs/ Devotees.

2. Prana yoga - Totally focusing the mind and the body on the breath, leading to no mind state. This quietens the mind and brings it to the present moment. Its Focus meditation, suited for the people interested in yoga or physical activities.

3. Introverting. Self-inquiry. Focusing un-divided attention on the activities of the mind. Witnessing the rise and fall of thought, and realizing the source of all thoughts and ego. All of this is done without being attached to an identity or identifying with any thoughts. This is Intellectualization, is best suited for a rational mind. Asking questions such as  "Who is thinking (thinking or working mind) or who wants to know” keep the ego and thinking mind in check.

There many ways of realizing this truth, but the understanding is same. The basic idea of meditation, is to focus the un-divided attention on the task at hand, leaving the rest of mind in total peace. Anything can be meditation, even singing, dancing, jogging, driving etc etc. 

Meditation is a natural state, when you were a kid, let's say 2 years old, everything you did was meditation. You cried meditation, feared meditation, played meditation even be naughty meditation. As we grow older the chattering of mind, drowns this natural state. This meaningless chattering about the past and future, is the source of all suffering and all of spirituality is focused on removing/quieting this chattering of the mind, and restoring the natural state. P
ast is gone let it be, stop carrying it around, don’t let the past define the present. Future is un-known so let it be, stay in the present its all you will ever have.

Once the thinking mind/ego is identified, an internal battle rages within a person. The ego fights back using the vices and its tricks. It is not easy but with perseverance the ego/thinking mind can be defeated. And in doing so, you’ll remove the seed of duality. All that will be left behind, will be a Non-Dual (singular) understanding that will stretch from your Self/Consciousness/Atman and cover the entire Universe/Brahman/Non-local Consciousness. Once the ego is transcended, all that is left is the pure being in its natural state, that always reside in the present. 

This marks the end of the seeking and suffering. Consciousness becomes free of “its perceived identities” and hence free of all the vice as well. 

Who Am I?
No one, Implicit in this is, I have potential to be everything/ any one.   Whatever the present demands. 

The realization is that “The Atman was always one with Brahman, can’t be separated!” All there is, is Brahman. The separation is perceptual, an illusion.

This is Enlightenment. Living life each moment, one moment at a time, continuously moving forward in time. Just being. Always One with Brahman! 
Un-affected by the past, not worried of the future. Blissful being, doing the very best in the present without seeking, wanting or expecting anything. Content!

     As Buddha says.
                        “There is Nirvana, but no one in it” 

How can this be achieved?

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”- Buddha

Science and Non-Duality are both very different ways of saying the same thing. Their paths head in different directions, seeking the truth and then converge on the same inescapable conclusion.

Fundamental Nature of Reality is Consciousness!”  

                      Two sides of the same coin- Spirituality & Science.

 Which ever you follow the understanding is same and simple.

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”- Buddha

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
 It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.  Einstein

The colour of my consciousness
Turned emerald to green,
Ruby turned crimson.
I looked up to the sky,
The light was lit.

Across to the east and the west.
I looked at the roses, said ‘beautiful’.
They became beautiful !

Be grateful for the chance to live, learn and experience.
Settle for nothing less, but the truth. Be in the Present, continuously moving forward in time.

 Buddha’s last advice before his death.

“Strive on, diligently!”