All of us come from different backgrounds, and we walk the path in our own unique way. Yet, we all have the same innermost longing to know the deepest mystery of our own nature and being. Reflectin…
Sri Ramana’s teaching is that the ego/mind merges in the Heart in two ways.
First, we can investigate the nature of the ego and examine the sense of “I” that we naturally feel and see where it arises. To do this, one needs to still the mind and with a purified and subtle intellect trace the “I” back to its source, the Heart. This is the yogic path of Jnana.
The second approach is to simply surrender the ego/mind without reservation to the Lord and accept that it is never our will but the Lord’s will as to what happens. If this attitude of “not my will but thine my Lord” penetrates deeply into our being, then we become accepting of everything. We see that worries and anxieties associated with ego/mind do not belong to us as we have surrendered our individual identity to the Lord. This is the approach of devotion and leads to the ego/mind merging into the Heart where the Lord sits as Eternal Existence.
“If ego rises, all will rise. If the ego merges, all will merge. The more we are humble, the better it is for us”. ~ Sri Ramana in “Gems”, Chapter XIII.
Photo art in this article is from Andreas Farasitis.
Cut the root of a tree
And the leaves will wither;
Cut the root of your mind
And Samsara falls.
The light of any lamp
Dispels in a moment
The darkness of long kalpas;
The strong light of the mind
In but a flash will burn
The veil of ignorance.
Whoever clings to mind sees not
The truth of what’s
Beyond the mind.
Whoever strives to practice Dharma
Finds not the truth of
To know what is Beyond both mind and practice,
One should cut cleanly through the root of mind
And stare naked.
One should thus break away
From all distinctions and remain at ease.
-From Tilopa’s ‘The Song of Mahamudra’ (translated by Garma C.C. Chang).
Our very nature is that of presence. We are not in the present. We are the present.
Without a calm mind, one cannot experience the ultimate reality, the underlying oneness, as one’s own Self.
Spiritual practices (prayer, meditation, deep breathing, yoga) have value because they remove the agitation of the mind.
A peaceful mind, steady in awareness, can understand the purest teaching at the most subtle level.
Therefore the practical advice of the sages is to not bother anyone and not be bothered by others.
To reach the highest state and to know one’s own Heart as the Self, one has to become absolutely indifferent to both external and internal perceptions.
In this essay, I suggest that the philosophies and perspectives of the gradual or the direct path are not inherently meaningful. Their truth lies only in being teaching tools. Words and concepts such as the “direct path” and the “gradual path” are meant to point at the truth but they are not themselves the truth. The Truth must reveal itself to us in our own Heart.
A Popular Dichotomy
A popular dichotomy has emerged about Enlightenment in the West since the 1970s between the schools of “gradual enlightenment” and “instant enlightenment”. Some of this can probably be traced back to Poonja ji’s and Nisargadatta Maharaj’s disciples returning to the west in the 1970s and 1980s from India and bringing their understanding of Advaita Vedanta with them as given to them by their teachers. However, because many of these students deviate from traditional Advaita as taught in the classic lineage of Adi Shankracharya, they are referred to as neo-advaitins.
Given this thesis and antithesis between the gradual path and the direct path, I address the following question:
It is said that there are two approaches to the Truth of Being or Reality which some call Enlightenment or Self-Realization. A gradual path and a direct path. What is the truth of it? Are their really two paths? If…
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What is spiritual wisdom other than being gentle and easy with oneself and others in awareness?
Gain and loss, pain and pleasure, joy and sorrow, are threads of life.
Life lived in awareness is the only meditation.
Our talents and strengths do not raise us above anyone. Our shortcomings do not diminish our original nature. That is just how it is.
Sages see action and inaction, speech and silence to be the same. So there is no need to struggle.
To simply be aware of oneself as pure and clear being is the true meditation.
The steadiness of awareness and balance is a gift of grace. It is the blessing of love that springs forth from the heart of sages.
In the company of good and wise people who know the nature of reality, the ego gradually loses its hold and pure awareness reveals itself as the eternal presence.
That is the real meditation.