Q: I have been reading Vedanta for a few years and have a question. We are always playing some form of role such as Employee, Worker, Husband, Son etc. My understanding is that Advaita tells us to let the role do its own work but you remain who you are which is the ‘Absolute witness’.
How do we practice this in our daily life? It seems difficult to have the same kind of energy when you are in that state.
A: What you are speaking of is karma yoga as preparation for j~nAna yoga. The aim in daily life is to respond appropriately to whatever is in front of you, perform the task with attention and do not be attached to the results. This is all a part of the process of acquiring discrimination, mental discipline and detachment. You need these in order to study Advaita (by listening to a qualified teacher explain the scriptures). It is not the purpose of any of this to acquire ‘good energy’ (whatever that means). Continue reading
Vedanta demands “shraddha” from every seeker who is eager to learn or study Advaita philosophy. It’s a basic requirement. But what exactly is shraddha?
Unfortunately, the Sanskrit word ‘shraddha‘ does not have an exact equivalent in the English language.
tattvabodha asks: What is the nature of ‘shraddha‘? And it answers:
“Faith in the words of the Guru and the scriptures is shraddha.”
aparokShAnubhUti, verse 8 also says: निगमाचार्यवाक्येषु भक्तिः श्रद्धेति विश्रुता ।
(nigama AcArya vakyeShu bhaktiH shraddheti vishrutA)
It means: shraddha is “implicit faith in the word of the scripture and the teacher.”
vivekacUDAmaNi, verse 25 is a bit more elaborate on ‘shraddha.’ One of the translations of this verse reads: “THAT by which one understands the import of the scriptures as well as the pregnant words of the advice of the preceptor is called by the wise as ‘shraddha.’
The word implies an ability to embrace the Truth, explains another of the translators of this verse. Continue reading
An article by Eaden Shantay
Experience is awareness cast through karma.
Every sensation, emotion and thought is the direct result of past karma (action). In each incarnation we bring forth parabdha karma – that portion of sanchita karma, our total karmic bank account, meant to be experienced, learned from and neutralized in this life.
Think of parabdha karma as images on a film strip, vasanas (impressions) in consciousness left from past action. The light of true self, awareness, then shines through these impressions, creating a three dimensional, five sensory experience called me and my life.
Like any good movie, it’s easy to become hypnotized by the drama and lose touch with what is real. In realizing we are not the projected story but the awareness which animates it, we release the life or death grip we have on moment to moment experience. This is the process of dis-identification or non-attachment the Buddha spoke of.
Imagine the sky with clouds moving through it. The sky is a metaphor for awareness and clouds, the objects of sensation, emotion and thought. In meditation we practice welcoming the clouds, blessing them and then bringing our attention back to the breath. In time, we even let go of the breath and dwell in the space between the clouds – awareness, a reflection of our true nature appearing in the mind. Continue reading
I find that somehow, by shifting the focus of attention,
I become the very thing I look at,
and experience the kind of consciousness it has;
I become the inner witness of the thing.
I call this capacity of entering other focal points of consciousness, love;
you may give it any name you like.
Love says “I am everything”. Wisdom says “I am nothing”.
Between the two, my life flows.
Since at any point of time and space I can be both
the subject and the object of experience,
I express it by saying that I am
both, and neither, and beyond both.
“Attending to the Self means attending to the work. Because you identify yourself with the body, you think that work is done by you. But the body and its activities, including that work, are not apart from the Self. What does it matter whether you attend to the work or not? When you walk from one place to another you do not attend to the steps you take and yet you find yourself after a time at your goal. You see how the business of walking goes on without your attending to it. So also with other kinds of work.” Ramana Maharshi
Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, David Godman, Arkana,
ISBN: 0140190627. Buy from Amazon US, Buy from Amazon UK
The word “Attention” is derived from two Latin words, ad tendere, meaning “to stretch towards.”
Rupert Spira explains very clearly how attention turning towards itself is the ending of the mind.
1. Attention Falling Back to its Source (From Rupert at Parmoor in Dec 2013) – 8:35 min: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJzIz31rt4I
2. Attention and Awareness (From Rupert at Santa Sabina in Oct 2013) – 8:38 min: http://non-duality.rupertspira.com/watch/attention-and-awareness
3. The Sinking of Attention into Itself (From Rupert at Santa Sabina in Feb 2014) – 13:07 min: http://non-duality.rupertspira.com/watch/the-sinking-of-attention-into-itself
4. Attention is Awareness Plus an Object (From Rupert at Mercy Center, CA in Apr 2013) – 14:53 min: http://non-duality.rupertspira.com/watch/attention-is-awareness-plus-an-object
The message in these Videos is beautifully crystal clear and truly meditational, I submit.
Attention pays attention to a lot of things, but when attention pays attention to attention, then there is a stillness, and that stillness introduces you to your Self.
1. “At any given time, a massive flow of sensory stimulation reaches our senses, but our conscious mind seems to gain access to only a very small amount of it. … …… Conscious access is, at once, extraordinarily open and inordinately selective. Its potential repertoire is vast. At any given moment, with a switch of my attention, I can become conscious of a color, a scent, a sound, a lost memory, a feeling, a strategy, an error – or even the multiple meanings of the word consciousness.” — p: 20.
2. “Out of countless potential thoughts, what reaches our conscious mind is la crème de la crème, the outcome of the very complex sieve that we call attention. — p:21.
3. “[I]nattention can make virtually any object vanish from our consciousness. As such, it provides an essential tool for contrasting conscious and unconscious perception.” — p: 37
From: Consciousness and the Brain – Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts by Stanislas Dehaene, Viking, 2014, pp: 333 ISBN 978-0-670-02543-5
You may watch this 1:54 min YouTube video (thanks to the London Transport Dept.) to know how attentive you are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA
Attention surely is timeless. If I am listening, I am all there. Being totally in the present, I am not thinking ‘about’. That may come afterwards. But in the moment of giving attention, listening, I am there, in the present; I am Presence itself. I am not in time; the past plays no part whatsoever in giving attention, in being aware, nor does speculation on the future. If I have even the least expectation (as desire or fear), I am not fully attentive but indulge myself within the realm of thought. I am indeed totally fulfilled in the moment. What prevails is a state of total freedom, and death has lost its sting.
Dialogues on Reality: An Exploration into the Nature of Our Ultimate Identity, Robert Powell, Blue Dove Press. ISBN: 1884997163.
Buy from Amazon US, Buy from Amazon UK
The topic for April is attention.
Learning to ‘control’, ‘direct’ or ‘give’ attention is part of the mental preparation of the seeker.
Please submit your quotes, short extracts or personal blogs on this topic!