Friday, August 18, 2006

Advaita - non-duality.

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The constantly changing nature of life.

To every cause there is an effect, or as Newton stated in his third law of motion "action and reaction are equal and opposite".

Old science used to believe that, say, if a ball bounces back and forth in an enclosed space and we ignore the effects of gravity and friction so it continues indefinitely, that the balls' location can be predicted, that it can be known exactly where it will be at any time - it's path can be tracked mathematically. But quantum theory says the balls' motion and location cannot be predicted. It can only be reliably stated that the ball will be in one half for fifty percent of the time and in the other half for fifty percent of the time. It's only when the observer becomes involved in the experiment that the location can be determined. I'm finding this to be a more accurate expression of life. Life constantly changes and is not predictable - other than to say it will constantly change. Then the change is in danger of becoming a constant so things stay the say for a while - just for a change. Life couldn't be the same or be in a constant change or it would mean it was rigid in some way and life cannot be rigid. It's very nature is change.

Man and 'his' environment.

Man doesn't live 'in' the environment as in 'man and his environment'. He is part of the environment and continuous with it. We are permantly surrounded with air and can't live without it. The gases are around us, in the lungs and in the blood stream and become part of the body. Water is outside and inside, making up most of the body and in a constant exchange. Food is taken in, digested and becoming part of the body or being discarded as waste. White blood cells are replaced about every eighty eight days, red cells about every one hundred and six days while bone is completely replaced every eleven years. This body is not the one that existed a dozen years ago - every part of it has changed.

There is no separations between man and his evnirenment but as gas is generally invisible it appears that the body is independant and to maintain this illusion we conveniently ignore the other points.

I am THAT and this.

It is easy for the mind to imagine that self realization is a sort of ultimate understanding. A paradise gained which, once found provides a perfect emotional experience - like being forever blissful. There are several easily made mistakes here and one is the desire for bliss as an escape from daily life. In the world of duality we experience a wide range of emotion from depression to elation. For many people who are unhappy in their daily lives the idea of bliss is very appealing. But bliss is just a pendulum swing away from misery.

Life is ever changing and a constant expression of changing emotions on a subtle and not so subtle level. I'm not talking about the mental illness of manic depression, I'm talking about moments of flatness and moments of bubbly joy just erupting for no apparent reason. On the other hand there could be a reason, but always changing. If we are alive then everything will change.

Life is change and change is life.

To try to stop this natural tapestry is a sort of emotional suicide and a wish for permanent bliss is really no better.

Let all of life continue to cycle, and not just the emotions. Let happen what will and observe everything. Opposites come and go. Not trying to control it is a revelation. Opposites aren't really opposite but are the other aspect and another part of the same.

It's easy to imagine that self realization lifts you to a 'higher' plain, one of increased perfection or even a perfect state. Perfection presents a problem here though as perfect conjurs up an idea of no flaws, no opposites, no down sides. But this never changing state would soon become stagnant, and self realization isn't stagnant. So what happens? There is no norm, but at first there is the all important realization of what we are, what we truely are. This can be expressed as 'I am awareness' and not the human that appears in awareness. We can shorten it to I am THAT and not this. As the realization evolves this statement remains true but is seen to be dualistic i.e. that and not this. The appearance of the world is a pattern of energy which erupts from the potential to the actual and is ultimately not different - not-dual. So what comes to be understood is that actually I am that and this. As Ramana Maharshi said "all there is, is consciousness". This equally could be stated as all there is, is awareness. The appearance in awareness is made of awareness also. Ultimately all there is, is this. So it would be equally valid to say I am this human as much as I am the awareness of the human - as long as all is included, non-dualistically.

Repeadedly ask the question 'who am I'? Watch the answers change. Many answers will be there but 'the' answer will not appear. You will not get 'the' answer. What may be noticed though, is that I am that which is witnessing the question and answers. I am THAT which witnesses, that which never appears in awareness.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Illusion, real or unreal?

Life is not black & white and so can't be pigeon holed, even though the mind and society tries to. What is real and what is unreal? What is an illusion?

The classic example given is to look down at a piece of rope in the grass and percieve a snake. If this has happened to you, you will know you then acted as if it was a snake. Fight or flight took over and symptoms of increased heart and respiration rate followed an adrenaline release. Sugar was released for the needed energy boost in response to the percieved threat and you most probably jumped backwards out of fear of the percieved danger.

In this moment the snake is real to the nervous system. The central nervous system doesn't say to itself I'll prepare for something that doesn't exist. It sees the snake as real.

So the imagined snake is both real and unreal.

Immediately following you probably looked again and found it to be nothing other than a piece of rope and realized the snake was a illusion. You don't ask where has the snake gone. And in the morning upon waking you don't spend the day wondering what happened to the people in your dream.

While playing a computer game, recently, where a ball (on the screen) is in play and deflected to knock down buildings, I watched the 'ball' act as if it were a ball in a three dimentional room - even if the computer screen only delivered two dimensions. The 'ball' bounced off the surrounding 'walls'. We enjoy these computer games but all the while understanding there is no ball, walls or buildings. It's all just electrons acting according to mathamatical formulae and the computer delivering the illusion according to it's programming. It's a sustained illusion.

Any scientist will attest to the unreality of solidness in what is otherwise percieved as a solid world. Objects looked at closely enough, will be seen as nothing other than minute packets of energy surrounded by lots of space. These packets of energy and the patterns they form make up atoms, molecules and 'matter'. This is a sustained illusion too and yet we believe it to be real. It appears as real because it's looked at and percieved through the central nervous system, without which nothing would appear. The human and nervous system are part of the world of illusion and they report on that world, creating and maintaining the illusion. They are a keyhole into the world for awareness to wittness. You could say God is dreaming. In fact Hinduism calls it Lila - the play of consciouness.

Awareness becomes identified with the appearance and that identification produces the familiar feelings of personal and presence. In this 'dream', we dreamed people play our our various rolls exactly as we are supposed to.