Dream

A phrase has been echoing in my mind over the past few days: waking up from the dream of personhood.

On the positive side, the person that I am presents itself for attention almost all the time. So the opportunity to watch that person with affection and detachment is endlessly present.

On the other hand, the habits of personhood are so pervasive, so automatic, that it seems almost ludicrous to imagine that we can be free from that image, that picture.

I often think during the day: this freedom is the most worthy thing to aspire to. And if it is folly, well then, as Blake apparently said, If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

😛

Contact

I am fascinated by the possibility of intelligent life arising and developing elsewhere in the Cosmos.

How would these other beings conceive of mysticism, the concept of enlightenment? Would they have their poets of advaitic non-duality? Would they have stern Zen masters who tease their rational consciousness with impossible koans? Would they have mystics who sing of the union with the beloved, in the manner of Rumi?

Or would the enlightened state seem normal to them? Might they, in turn, aspire to something even higher, which our consciousness cannot even conceive of?

Foundations

You were there then, you are there now, and you are there at all times. The three states (sleep, waking and dream) come and go, but you are always there. It is like a cinema. The screen is always there but several types of pictures appear on the screen and then disappear. Nothing sticks to the screen, it remains a screen. Similarly, you remain your own Self in all the three states. If you know that, the three states will not trouble you, just as the pictures which appear on the screen do not stick to it.

On the screen, you sometimes see a huge ocean with endless waves; that disappears. Another time, you see fire spreading all around; that too disappears. The screen is there on both occasions. Did the screen get wet with the water or did it get burned by the fire? Nothing affected the screen. In the same way, the things that happen during the wakeful, dream and sleep states do not affect you at all; you remain your own Self. Ramana Maharshi

The notion that what we conceive of as reality is actually constructed upon a foundation of pure being is so fascinating, so powerful, that it has the capacity to draw the mind beyond its own frontiers.

The play of the self, the ego must subside for us to understand this foundational reality.

Pure, detached watchfulness in daily life.

Roles

A man who moves with the earth will necessarily experience days and nights. He who stays with the sun will know no darkness. My world is not yours. As I see it, you all are on a stage performing. There is no reality about your comings and goings. And your problems are so unreal! Nisargadatta Maharaj

When I first read these words, they seemed so unkind, even cruel. But as I stayed with them, the deeper reality within them began to unfold in my mind.

We are playing roles all our waking lives. We get attached to these roles—I am a friend, a colleague, a lover, a daughter—and our emotions are hooked onto them as well.

But ultimately, these roles are empty of essence. And paradoxically, because these roles seem attached to me, they might cramp open action and compassion.

Can we move with the sun, free and unattached, yet loving and compassionate towards all? Holding this possibility in our minds, we live our days, mindful of the ephemeral nature of our roles.

One thought at a time

As a meditative exercise, I wonder if it is possible to pay attention to a single thought, watch it arise along with all the symphony of the emotions that it arouses and that arouse it, and then watch it fall away into silence.

What usually happens is that there is a core me that adds fuel to the fire and propels thoughts this way and that according to what I find gratifying or painful. This me invites certain strings of memories and tries to project coherent scenarios of the future.

These spinnings of the thought-emotion complex are like a stick with a spark of flame at its end whirled around rapidly. The illusion of continuity is thus born.

Let’s try to observe the blossoming and fading of each thought and emotion, uncaused and empty in the world.