Shining World

Are You Awareness or are you an Aware Mess?

We don’t want to get fixated on fixing ourselves, although we need fixing.  But the fixer can’t fix the fixer without stepping outside the fixer.  So we need to stand as awareness, not as an aware Mess.   We need to…

Pop the Bubble

Is the Self Everything that Exists?

Inquirer 1: But I thought ALL is Self? If all is Self then what could possibly be other than Self?

Inquirer 2: The Self is a placeholder that gradually expands as you make progress spiritually.  His definition: an expanding placeholder like a phone caddy on the dashboard of an automobile.

Now he tells us his idea of self-inquiry.

As an ego who has just started the process of self-inquiry, you are first supposed to cut all contact with the external and only abide in the inner reality. As you gain more influence over the mind, the bubble of Self grows (think children blowing bubbles) to occupy the external space gradually, until the universe itself is engulfed by it. This is when all manifestation becomes the Self.

Location of Objects

Inquirer #2 becomes an unskilful guru who teaches the Self as an object, but a guru nonetheless.  Next, he teaches non-duality equating Maya and the Self but the supporting logic is missing so non-duality can only be taken on faith by Inquirer #1.

He continues with the rhetorical question, “ Is not Maya the Self? Is not the world Brahman?,” So how can you say Maya is not-Self and we should turn away from it?

The Mathematics of Existence Shining as Consciousness

Vedanta: Supporting logic is required for moksa.  It is Om Purnamadah Purnamidam, Purnat Purnamudachyate, Purnasya Purnamadaya, Purnameva Vashishyate

That is Full.  This is Full.  If you subtract This from That Fullness remains. If you add This to That, fullness remains.

Analysis – Self Inquiry

This and that.  If you see a tree at a distance, you will say “that tree.”  If you speak of yourself, you will not say “that self” nor will you say “this self” because that will equate yourself and the tree which is not your experience.  You will say, “I.”  I is the “placeholder,” i.e. the location of this and that, which are spatial concepts based on experience.  That tree and this body do not enjoy equal status with reference to I, yourself from the experiential level, only from the non-dual level. What is the non-dual level.  It is he knowledge generated by unfolding the unexamined logic of existence, the only access to what is.

Vasana Kshaya Teaching

The duality guru continues, “If you’ve developed the conviction that everything is the Self, then Maya has no power over you and you can engage or disengage from it at will.”

Liberation From the Jiva is Liberation For the Jiva.

Vedanta: True. Why? Because duality and non-duality are useful concepts to keep the world in its place as “not-self,” for the purpose of liberation for the jiva.  

End of Listening (sravanna)

Until you reach this grade of dispassion, (paraviragya) you’re supposed to focus on just the inner Self (how) and constantly guide your mind away from the manifest. This is to kill your tendencies that you’ve accumulated in life. Once all tendencies have been effectively culled, (reduced) your (reflected) awareness naturally occupies the universe. This is what I meant when I said the bubble of the Self expands.

Vedanta: “Your” awareness doesn’t “occupy” the universe.  It is limited.  Original unborn awareness apparently “occupies” the universe.  Your awareness focuses primarily on the knowledge of the self as it transacts with objects at both the karma yoga and the jnana yoga stages..

The Upside and Downside of Metaphors

These are just metaphorical descriptions. All that’s happening is your awareness, freed from the distractions of the mind, is able to hold more and more of the manifest universe steadily in itself. And as you become adept at that, your true nature of bliss also becomes more prominent.

End of Inquirer # 2’s Teaching

Vedanta:  The bubble metaphor needs explaining because bubbles are very fragile temporal things. They easily disappear, whereas the self, existence shining as unborn whole and complete awareness, is always present. It is “rock solid,” meaning it doesn’t change. It is being. It doesn’t “become.”  Finally, prominent implies lack of prominence.

The bubble metaphor is unhelpful for another obvious reason.  Bubbles contain air.  But nothing contains the Self.  In so far as there is anything to contain, which there isn’t, the Self is the container and if there is, it “contains” consciousness, which is absurd since it is consciousness. 

At the same time the gradual process you describe is helpful for entry level inquirers because of the belief that freedom is an obtainable once and for all experience.  But what is obtained is eventually unobtained i.e. lost, which is not possible for the self.

Freedom from coming and going is the nature of the self so I am always free whether I know it or not.  It takes a certain kind of mind to appreciate metaphors because with every metaphor something is useful and something is not useful.  For instance, if I say the Self is “a rock on which I build my church” as Christ supposedly did, I may take it to mean that the self is tangible like a rock is tangible, not that it is permanent. Even the idea of permanency implies impermanent, so if a person thinks too much, he or she may conclude that the self is also impermanent because, whereas rocks last a longer than conscious beings, they eventually degrade and disappear.

The last paragraph also needs clarification owing to the words “more and more,” which imply incompleteness. The self is whole and complete because it is unborn aka eternal. It is the subtrate from which all objects are seemingly manufactured by Maya. It is possible but problematic to deliver self knowledge in the form of experiential language, because people tend to take words literally. If someone doesn’t know that a metaphor is a metaphor, he or she will be misled.

The phrase ‘become more prominent” is also misleading because the bliss of the self is not experiential in the sense that it comes and goes and is experienced in various intensities. It is whole and complete unborn non-dual bliss, meaning it is not subject to modification.  You can say I experience bliss only when you can say with easy confidence, “I am bliss.”

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