From 'awakening' to 'enjoying the fruits of awakening'

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runstrails
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From 'awakening' to 'enjoying the fruits of awakening'

Post by runstrails » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:10 pm

Many of us have gained knowledge of our true nature (thanks in no small part to this website :D ). However, this is not where the journey ends, but rather where the next part of the journey begins! Once you have clarity that your true nature is Existence/Consciousness/Bliss or Awareness or Source or Presence or ‘just this’, then you want to be able to enjoy the fruits of this knowledge (i.e., minimal suffering, peaceful, cheerful, happy life and the enjoyment of your true self). And to get established in this steady wisdom is the final part of this journey which needs to be undertaken, otherwise we are awakened yet our life is not significantly improved :lol:.

I gained self knowledge through the path of traditional Advaita Vedanta (AV) and we call people who have self-knowledge as ‘Jnanis’ and those who are established in self-knowledge as having ‘Jnana Nishtha’. There are many helpful tips provided in AV for this progression. I would like to dedicate this thread to this part of the journey from Jnani (having self-knowledge) to Jnana Nistha (being established in self-knowledge). I hope I can share my successes and stumbles along the way and also learn from others who may be further along in enjoying the fruits of their self knowledge.

For all our life we have lived from the premise that we are a mind/body (jiva), and now we need to replace this perspective and live from the premise of our true nature. Neuroscientifically this is possible, because we know that even the adult brain (thankfully) is capable of neuroplasticity (or changing or adapting to new knowledge and circumstances). However, it takes consistent practice for the underlying neuroplasticity to change. I would like to dedicate this thread to this portion of the journey (i.e., creating a new subconscious where the default identity is that of awareness).

This portion of the journey is called Nididhyasana (contemplation or reflection) in AV and continues throughout life since there is no limit to the depths of peace one can experience. So, depth and intensity of peace keeps increasing, compassion keeps increasing, the intensity of fulfillment and happiness keeps increasing--all these things keep getting deeper and deeper (and never end) as we enjoy the fruits of the knowledge of our true self :D.

I want to be sure to acknowledge all my excellent Vedanta teachers in the lineage of Swami Dayananda and Swami Parmarthananda.

more to come.....

runstrails
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Re: From awakening to enjoying the fruits of awakening

Post by runstrails » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:52 pm

Post#2
Thanks for joining me on this journey (see above post).

In this post, I will cover (very briefly) the basics of the new worldview of a Jnani (one who has self knowledge). The basic principle is that you—'awareness' are a witness (sakshi) of the entire play of life that is unfolding. While you are non-dual, in that you are both the movie screen and all that happens on the screen, the play of life that you are witnessing is governed by some basic principles (i.e., Quantum, Newtonian physics, Neuroscience, Psychology etc---we can just call these principles God's order or Ishwara's order).

So the first step is to “Let Go and Let God”. See that everything that has happened in your past was within God’s order. Remember the infallible is God and so everything that happens is also infallible! Let go and accept everything.

“Everything”—and I mean everything , e.g.,stars, planets, nano particles, all beings, all their thoughts and reactions together constitute the infallible or God. So everything and everyone in this universe is just a tiny cog in the wheel in the God machine or God equation.

God is not personal---it is a set of infallible rules by which the universe chugs along. So don’t take anything that happens in your life personally. If someone has hurt you, it was due to their psychological background, you would have done the exact same thing if you had had exactly their life. Similarly, If you have hurt someone in the past it was due to your psychological background. All the past decisions you made were within (and because of) God's order.

Now “Letting go and Letting God” is easier said than done. So take some time in your day to reflect on your past and let go of everything you can. All the mistakes, all the regret, all the hurt, all the unhappiness, all the decisions. See that it was all meant to be within God’s order (simply because it happened)—and let go of it.

Even now, I sometimes find myself thinking of past regrets, but I catch myself promptly and see that they were within God’s order and I can then let go quickly. Do this again and again and again everyday until thoughts of the past stop hurting so much. And if some days you do get stuck in thoughts of the past, that is fine since that is also within God’s infallible order! See that and let go. Don’t beat yourself up!

Let Go and Let God. It has worked for millions in AA. It’s a proven technique to allow new neural pathways to form in your subconscious. Acceptance of the past is a key step in purifying the mind (antahkarana shuddhi). When the mind is not agitated, then it can rest as awareness, revel in its blissful nature, and enjoy the show of life (from the perspective of the witness).

Acceptance of the past is important for moving forward...

More to come…

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Re: From 'awakening' to 'enjoying the fruits of awakening'

Post by runstrails » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:40 pm

Post #3

In the last post, we talked about letting go of the past (by “letting go and letting God”). But what about the present? Everyday is filled with making decisions, choices, etc., How do we deal with what comes up in a way that allows a peaceful and unagitated mind? Afterall, when the mind is peaceful, then we can best enjoy the fruits of our self-knowledge/awakening.

Here, we have to first consider the notion of free-will. Yes, I know that free-will (or the lack of it) is a hot topic in neuroscience and I have read most of those studies. Let’s start with animals first—we can all agree that animals act mostly by instinct. If you have a pet dog, you know that she will bark when she senses a threat (no matter how inconvenient it is for you!). However, as humans, we don’t act entirely instinctually, we make choices and decisions everyday. Now, many of those “choices” will be dictated by our unconscious mind—i.e., by our likes and dislikes which are a complex combination of genes/environment. So even though we have free will, it is limited by our background. Nevertheless, we do have some apparent or limited free-will and we must make the most of it. How do we do that?

In the last post, I mentioned that the “God” equation is entirely impersonal. Therefore, when we use our free-will, we should be “with God” as much as possible and by this I mean we should be as objective as possible and just try to do what the situation calls for. This is called ‘dharma’ in eastern philosophies. Of course, this is not going to be easy! Everyone wants to make the ‘right’ decision or the ‘correct’ choice, but there is no such thing! So rest easy :D .

One of the great spiritual books of Vedanta called the Bhagavad Gita is set in the midst of a civil war. In that war, there are many realized people and each of them makes a different choice. One chooses to fight the (just) war, the other chooses to walk away, one chooses the morally unjust side (because he was their teacher), another chooses the morally justified side. This makes the very important point that different people who are all realized make very different choices regarding the same situation. There is no ‘correct’ choice, just the most objective choice that we can make given your background and limitations :D.

Now, the best part is that it does not matter what choice we make---each choice will bring a different set of results. So don’t fuss too much about decisions and choices, make the choice that you can most objectively make and move on. Realized people are often like little kids, they don’t think too much about situations. Faced with the same situation again, then may not even make the same choice they made before! They just do what they think is appropriate at that time and move on easily. And as more and more of our choices align with dharma, we will experience more and more peace of mind. And a peaceful mind allows the bliss of our true nature to shine forth :D.

Finally, as soon as we have made your decision or performed our action, it is in the past. And how do we accept the past (we 'Let go and let God'—see above post (#2)!) :D

I would suggest taking some time to reflect on these posts and trying to incorporate their jist in your everyday life and seeing if they help you enjoy the fruits of your enlightenment better. Even the Buddha had to fight off Mara (symbolizing the mind’s desires), Ramana Maharishi sat in a cave for 12 years after his enlightenment till he could get his mind in order and the whole science of yoga is about quieting the mind so we can reach and enjoy our enlightenment.

more to come....

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Re: From 'awakening' to 'enjoying the fruits of awakening'

Post by runstrails » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:03 pm

Post #4

If you have been reading these posts, then thanks for coming along on this journey with me!

Today I want to discuss the concept of “I” and “mine”. These are called ‘ahamkara’ and ‘mamakara’ in Vedanta respectively. These notions of I and mine are two of the greatest obstacles to enjoying the fruits of awakening.

“I” (or ahamkara) refers to attachment to the body/mind complex, or the ‘little me’ or the ego. The best way I can describe the mechanics underlying this attachment is this: Before awakening, your intellect places the “I” or your sense of self on your ‘ego’. However, after self-knowledge or self-realization, the intellect understands the nature of reality and correctly places the “I” or the sense of self on awareness. When you say “I”, what comes immediately to mind? Your body/mind/complex or your awareness? If it’s your awareness, then your self-knowledge is deeply in place. If it’s your body/mind complex, then you still need to assimilate your self-knowledge a bit more, until your “I” sense is habitually associated with awareness.

However, even if you have complete clarity that you are awareness, the intellect can still occasionally mis-identify (due to habit) with the body/mind complex. And if this happens, then all the problems of the body/mind complex become your problems! This is called dehatma buddhi and it is very hard to break. But in reality you (awareness) have no problems, since you don’t conduct any actions or transactions. You are just the witness. How freeing is that :D .

You (awareness) in conjunction with your mind/body complex play many roles in transactional reality. However, it’s critical to remember that you are only playing roles. It is very important to not get identified with them. For example, you may play the role of career person, weekend athlete, parent, spouse, partner, traveler and so on. These vary during the day and they have distinct responsibilities. It’s like an actor playing multiple roles in a play. You can tell if you are identified with a role, if that role (and its responsibilities and stresses) bleed into your other roles! For example, when you are at work, are you thinking of your kids? (if so, you are identified in the role of parent). Drop one role, before you pick up the other and when not playing a role, rest as your true nature (awareness).

Perform the responsibilities that your role demands but no more or no less. Vedanta is very clear on this. While performing your roles, you don’t need to take on the role of Ishwara or God. The universe does not depend on what you do in your role. It will go on regardless. No need to take on additional responsibilities, needless stresses etc beyond what the role calls for. Vedanta is very clear on this. Don’t play God!

I’ll give you an example from my own life. I was identifying heavily with the role of parent. I would feel stressed about parenting stuff while I was playing other roles and it often agitated my mind to the extent that I could not enjoy the bliss (ananda) of my true nature. So I asked my Vedanta teacher and he was dead clear. Only perform your responsibility as best as you can. That is all that is required of you. You are not responsible for your children’s happiness. I got the message loud and clear!. Then, I read some parenting books based on modern neuroscience studies and lo and behold, they say exactly the same thing. Back off!!! Kids need to figure out life for themselves. You are not responsible for their happiness. Whew! What a burden lifted! More peace of mind :D.

So take some time to think of all your roles today. Take an inventory. Are you fulfilling your responsibilities as best as you can? Or are you doing more than you need to? What is the price you are paying for identifying with certain roles?


More to come….

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Re: From 'awakening' to 'enjoying the fruits of awakening'

Post by runstrails » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm

Post #5

Hope these posts are helping you enjoy the fruits of your awakening better! I know writing them has certainly helped me :D.

In the last post, we talked about ‘ahamkara’ or the “I sense” or the “ego” or the “doer”, identification with which is one of the biggest obstacles to enjoying the fruits of your self-knowledge. In this post, I want to discuss “mamakara” or “mine” which is another big obstacles that needs to be overcome.

In our transactional reality life we think of so many things as ‘mine’. My body, my mind, my children, my spouse/partner, my car, my house, my friends and so on. But take a moment to reflect here-----are any of these ‘yours? The answer is no.

You (awareness) don’t possess anything. You are simply the witness. So who do all these possessions belong to? Obviously, they belong to Iswara or the “God equation”. That is, the complex rules and laws by which life in transactional reality is governed. All beings are here to work out their prarabdha karma. And you are simply a part of that.

One way to think about possessions is that you don’t ‘own’ anything, you are simply a ‘trustee’ of the people and things that are in your life. Swami Parmarthananda often warns that if you trespass onto the properties of Iswara (God), then as a trespasser you will be prosecuted! That is, you will face worry, anxiety and stress due to your attachment and attitude of possession. So take care of the people and things in your life as best as you can, but without a feeling of ownership. This decreases attachment and allows peace of mind, which in turn allows you to rest as awareness enjoying the bliss that you are!

I have personally struggled with mamakara a lot and so I can tell you that renouncing ownership works well. I have more peace of mind and the people in my life are actually much better off without my constant interference and micromanaging :lol:.

More to come….

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