What is an Ideal Seeker of Truth – Part 42

ideal seeker of spirituality-truth


In previous discussion, we saw the role of prayers and rituals doesn't contradict knowledge of oneself as the Whole. They both cultivate the mind but also serve as form of devotion arising out of love for God.

This idea continues in more detail in this teacher-students session…

Student asks, “From our discussion, it is evident the one who ‘enters' Without-a-Second (advaita) must be pragmatic and objective. Must be of a clear mind and intelligent. Gifted with logic and reason. Have single-pointed desire for Truth. Possess a rich sense of discrimination. Live scriptural values, ethics and sense of moral obligation.  So many requirements! It basically excludes  majority of human kind. In which case, what use is of self-knowledge (atma-jnana / jnana-yoga) when it blesses a few and condemns the rest? I would rather stick with path of prayer and devotion. Because they are open to every person, no matter what level of intelligence.

You are partially right. Without-a-Second (advaita vedanta) certainly needs maturity and objectivity.

And both can be cultivated as we spiritually advance.

It's no different to our school system. Each grade demands higher and more independent level of thinking.

Only difference is, children are forced to progress in school. But in adulthood, there's a temptation to settle into a private comfort zone, then defend our limited conclusions.

So what's required from every spiritual seeker is…

An insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Unquenchable desire to discern the Truth from Falsehood. And enough objectivity to question even your own conclusions about ‘what is Truth'.

A life of discipline. A sense of duty together with devotion and some degree of humility.

Discrimination, a questioning mind trained to think through to the logical end.

Spirit of caring and compassion.

Courage and determination.

Measured speech and integrity (follow through your words with actions).

There are some traits of a mature person who with passage of time can absorb and understand the highest knowledge of Without-a-Second.

 

Pupil follows-up, “How do we get this knowledge clear and without doubts? By what means and techniques?

An excellent understanding of right and wrong.

Unswerving from path of truth.

A relentless pursuit of dharma (the intelligent order that sustains harmony), and of what is right.

An absolute must in managing uninhibited likes and dislikes. Because both sustain hurt and guilt — the two greatest enemies of mental peace.

Furthermore, taking effort to abide by the principle of dharma at every turn, in every situation. Even if noone is watching you – you still gladly chooses path of morality, ethics.

Furthermore, mindfulness is required in majority of your thoughts-words-actions. Mindfulness is to take a role of the observer in reference to your thoughts and reactions.

Why mindfulness? Because we spend a life getting to know other people — but nowhere equal time getting to understand our own thinking patterns and perspectives.

A guest doesn't stick around in a dirty house too long. Similarly, knowledge doesn't stick around in a dirty mind.

Meaning whenever we feel we're straying, immediately take a step to restore order within your precious God-given mind.

Again, mindfulness is observing our thoughts without prejudice, judgement nor condemnation.

When guilt, hurt or regret knocks on the door of your inner-house, invite them in. Never shut the door on them. Instead talk to them. Ask them questions like “How do you do? Where do you come from? What specific belief triggered you?”.

Eventually the guests will appreciate your attention and knock less in the future.

What's more, know that every emotion, every aspect of creation, every thought and action — is I. Yet I am none of these.

Nature of creation is change. Thus don't get excessively caught up in over-analysis of your experience. There's also place to gently acknowledge and let-go.

So by observing our mental patterns – gradually we get to know this person we've been carrying around since birth.

Reason for all these practices? If you don't know your relative self (body-mind), then you'll unknowingly mix the relative with the absolute self (atman) — whose nature is Limitless and whole.

Prayers, meditations and any kind of spiritual practice serve as aids to capturing the final reality.

However the existence of so many spiritual practices is also the very reason why most seekers derail. Because a beginner won't discern between a practice and knowledge-of-Truth.

This mistake causes one to turn a practice into an end, instead of seeing it a means only.

But why so many practices? Because of so many personalities. For example, one is attracted to yoga, but not prayer. And vice verse.

Meaning each individual can choose a regime according to his-her preference. It may be said – as many methods-ways-disciplines – is as many people.

But there are not many truths or realities, nor many points of views of the One Truth.

Truth can't be practiced. Because it stands independent of our actions, practices or personal thoughts about it.

Truth can only be Known as-it-is.

For example, do we need to practice to know we are humans?

Should we constantly chant and repeat “I am human, I am human” to understand this fact?

In other words, where absolute Reality is concerned, it is not a theory. It can't be practiced.

Absolute Reality is a fact to be known and understood. And for this to happen, one needs a prepared mind. Hence reason for many practices.

An unprepared mind is like an outdated music track on repeat-mode. Our music track of habits have been cultivated for lifetimes.

Hence we need much patience, practice, study and devotion to undo the ancient notions in our inner house.

 

Pupil continues, “Then time is a factor where knowledge is concerned. It seems that it's only after we practice that we can truly understand truth of the One and I.

Yes, time is a factor for disciplines and practices.

But not for knowledge and understanding.

You will know the truth instantly.

Knowing and understanding are not sequential, but instantaneous.

It we split a log into two, is there a time gap between the splitting and obtaining two pieces of wood? No time lapse.

So the moment you know, your understanding is complete.

However to come to the point of instant assimilation of the Truth, until then, we require ongoing study and discipline to qualify our mind, so it may hold the big-vision.

How long until this happens, we can't predict.

But one observation is universal, a mind can hold knowledge only when it's generally calm and content with it's relative self, world and God.  Until then, it'll protest about the small-things.

It's the same with your body. Deciding to get fit, going into a sudden passionate exercise regime, produces aches the next day. Which discourages one from continuing.

Similarly, it takes regular training to establish a fertile mindset – capable of ascertaining the truth of I and the Limitless One. 

 

Student proceeds, “Why is it that there are so few who seek this knowledge? What is it that draws them?

Blessings earning from a past life make some people contemplative, observant and objective by nature.

And some develop these qualities in a few years in one lifetime through sheer hard-work.

They stop to ask and enquire the how and why of their minds.

The rewards of inquiring is it gives them a sense of balance and capacity to shoulder responsibilities with maturity and care.

If we were to present a timeline of how one arrives to the highest knowledge, it would go something like this…

Observing and analysing human nature, their activities and aspirations.

Questioning, they seek out reasons, causes and effects of individual behaviour.

They notice the same desire in all — to keep changing, achieving, finding meaning and purpose.

They also notice the constant urge to acquire people, emotions, objects and power.

Their analysis tells them that everyone has a basic desire for freedom. Be it from sorrow, dissatisfaction, excitement. Desire from a sense of incompleteness.

Yet despite the efforts, the freedom remains elusive. Or at best it produces momentary solace. But only to start the endless cycle again.

A mature person sees the futility, the wasted effort of most human activity. And thinks if there is an end to a life of seeking.

He or she then looks for an answer.

They dedicated their life to find a way out of constant becoming. To discover a permanent solution that ends the search forever.

With resolve, they spend their life questioning and analysing. They reflect upon the sacred books and scriptures.

Meanwhile prayers, rituals, and meditations keeps them sane, clear and sharp.

Finally discovering with wonder that freedom is their very nature, for they were never different from the Limitless One.

Reflecting upon this given timeline, it becomes more obvious why just few dedicated their lives.

We cannot know for certain the exact reason why some enter knowledge and not others.

It is certainly individual destiny unfolding in time, but also a divine grace or blessing.

 

Student perseveres, “Once they have understood the truth, how do such persons (jnani/jivanmukta) transact with the world? What are their values and attitudes? What sets them apart?

Their (self-realized / self-actualized / enlightened one) lives are exemplary. Living by example.

Bringing hope to an otherwise hopeless world within their small sphere of influence. Whether that sphere is within their family, friends, at work, or a satsang.

We can learn from their attitudes – like non-hurting, caring, gentleness and compassion towards beings.

There is a friendliness about them.

Maturity and total objectivity can be observed in their way of thinking and percieving.

Discrimination and balance.

Gentle at most times, but when needed – firm and decisive.

Free from need of prejudices or biases.

Cheerful, spreading warmth.

People are drawn to them by their magnetic presence.

Enthusiastic, ever ready to help those in need.

Alert to pretense and hypocrisy.

While living in this world, using the wealth given as a trustee – ready to sensibly let go without possessing.

An expansive heart, embracing being with love and understanding (knowing that everyone is born ignorant, hence mistakes are inevitable).

We cannot enumerate every one.

Although, ahimsa (non-hurt-ness) – whether physical, mental or verbal – is the one attribute that stands out the most in the self-actualized being. It is the foundation of their life. 

 

Student-devotee persists, “Ahimsa, non-hurt-ness, a common word. What does it signify and why does it stand out the most in a liberated being?”

Every other value and attitude can be reduced to non-hurt-ness.

Every action that disturbs the rhythm, harmony of the world – is violence, no matter how subtle.

Some examples of hurt include…

Pride. Anger. Envy. Theft.

Greed. Conceit. Mal-intent.

Hatred. Enmity. Possessiveness.

Hoarding. Miserliness.

Hypocrisy. Misleading.

Neglecting the environment.

Inappropriate behavior or appearance.

Lack of punctuality, politeness and tact.

All these promote violence, conflict and hurt – however subtle or imperceptible.

It is not easy to decide the time, place, how and when of appropriateness and right actions.

But with alertness, practice, keep observation and sensitivity – we can avoid such unconscious hurt. And without compromising integrity.

Ahimsa is most definitely the touchstone of maturity.

 

In next conversation, student asks that does death mean for the wise person.

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