How to clear a mind of dualities?

  • The following post is a translated excerpt from acharya shree’s book, kaise soche

    Thought (vichaar in hindi) means the one which moves ( in hindi, char means walk) . How can one that moves be permanent? The one that is temporary cannot be permanent and the one that is permanent cannot be temporary. Every dravya or substance has both facets- permanence and impermanence. Thoughts always remain impermanent.

    Some are astonished at a change in opinions. But, what is so surprising? If thoughts do not change, that is surprising. The nature of thoughts is to change. If one thought stays an entire lifetime, the person should be thought of as a very rigid person, closed to new ideas. A person often experiences pride at having clung to a thought tightly. He thinks he is strong. But, it, in reality, is foolishness.

    When bones become too rigid, it is an alarm of bad health. Bones should remain flexible. That is why, getting stuck at one thought is not something special. But, men and women sometimes assume a foolish act to be special. When the mind is not stable, even the wrong seems right.

    The field of thoughts is unique. Here, thoughts which oppose one another are nurtured. Beneath the veil of right understanding, foolishness is nurtured.

    In the field of thoughts, opposite thoughts cannot be ignored. There cannot be a thought which only produces harmony. Thoughts produce duality, because the nature of thoughts is to move and change. In this dual world of thoughts, thinking something should happen this way or that way, something will happen or wont happen, is illusionary- there is no reality to it.

    We are contemplating on how to think because we sometimes, have positive life-building thoughts and sometimes, destructive thoughts.We want the latter to be less. This can be achieved if we could refine our thoughts.

    And thoughts can be refined by achieving a balance of thoughtlessness and the state of thoughtfulness. Clear thoughts cannot be achieved by just thinking as there is struggle in the field of thoughts. More we experience thoughtlessness, more our thoughts become clear and positive.

    Intellect cannot clean thoughts. Only thoughtlessness can. From it, comes positivity, faith, will-power, the ability for self-effort, and the radiance of light which is within us.

    But what is thoughtlessness? It is the state of meditation. In this state, there are no thoughts and no imagination. Doors of all kinds of thoughts are closed. That consciousness arises which is beyond the senses, the mind, and the intellect. One only experiences the pure soul. The state is entirely a subject of experience. It cannot be discussed in words.

Faith & Doubt

A translated excerpt from Acharya Mahapragya’s book, kaise soche

Today, people do not find perfectly believable facts as believable. Nobody trusts each other. Today, the word, ‘trust’ not exist in the dictionary. Doubts exist everywhere. Doubt is a flaw of the mind. A thought cannot be called flawless, if it has been formed on the basis of a doubt. It cannot be called a balanced point of view.

Faith holds a high pedestal in life. A life that lacks faith, is a baseless life- a life with no support. It cannot be a successful life.

There are three pillars of faith :
-knowledge of and faith in the universal laws, which includes the law of change and law of death
-faith in your ability to do a particular work
– faith that you have immense potential.

You don’t have to trust someone else to have faith. Rather you must have faith in yourself. And faith in the above pillars constitute a strong faith in oneself.

Doubt

The meaning of doubt is denying possibilities. A doubtful person remains closed to possibilities. We must understand when do our thoughts become flawed with doubt. When one encounters a new idea, he is immediately inclined towards rejecting its possibility.

Today, aeroplanes fly at great heights. However, there was a time when people denied the possibility of such an invention.

Rejecting possibilities is a big flaw. Establishing faith means- accepting possibilities. When we accept possibilities, we gain samyak chintan or to say, an equanimous mind. Duality ceases to exist, then.

 

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The Art Of Thinking

The following post is a translated part of  Acharya shree’s book kaise soche

Thinking is an art. And not everybody is accomplished in it. Only a few are. Those who do know the art, they are blessed with a clear path.

A saint during a discussion exclaimed that he has learnt something from everyone. Somebody asked “What have you learnt from a thief?” To this he replied “Once I had stayed with a thief. He’d go everyday to steal and come empty-handed.” And everyday he’d say that he might get something tomorrow. The thief had immense patience.

Human nature is complex. A person doing good work is saddened easily and a person doing bad work isn’t.

This is a fact. People have a deper faith in evil than in goodness. Establishing faith in goodness requires a lot more practice of sadhna.

Now, someone with a negative viewpoint is also likely to reject every truth. Whereas someone with a positive viewpoint comes closer to the truth and is able to solve many problems.

The outcomes of thinking with a negative viepoint are sorrow, aggression, non-enthusiasm, and abstinence from work. So in one word, the result is – failure in life.

The most important principle of a successful life is a positive viewpoint. There are a few tests for a positive and negative viewpoint.

The first test is – thinking with integrity or thinking with anxiety or agitation. Someone thinking with integrity or totality in mind is one with a positive direction in thinking. And the one thinking with anxiety gets stuck at an argument making his contemplation distorted.

When one is not aware of an event or a thing’s full picture, the thinkers draws an inappropriate or incomplete conclusion. The conclusion drawn cannot be correct. To have a balanced thought process, one needs to be aware of the complete information and then think.

Once, soldiers were being recruited on a basis of compulsion. A man approached Maotsay Tung and said – your leg is broken. Good for you. You’ve been saved from the soldier life. Maotsay replied – you can say that it’s a good thing. I can’t because I don’t have the complete picture in front of me. I cannot say whether a good thing has happened or a bad thing.

When a man or a woman takes a decision on the basis of incomplete thoughts or feelings, then stuggle arises. That is why it is necessary to think with totality.

 

 

The State Of Thinking & Seeing

The following post is a translated excerpt from Acharya Shree’s book kaise soche (How to think)

The famous philosopher, Descartes proclaimed – I think and therefore I am. That is, the proof of my existence is that I think.

If I had to say this, I would say, “I am, and since I am a being with a developed brain, I also think.”

Thinking is not a characteristic of the brain. It is an expression. Our existence and consciousness is beyond thinking. Thinking is a spark of the light the consciousness is. When we’re not thinking – the light is in its full form.

Through meditation we want to reach that state, where thinking finishes, and witnessing becomes possible. Where there is witnessing, there, thinking is not needed. A fruit is placed in our palm. Whatever it is, we can see it. We don’t need to think about it. Wherever there is seeing, thinking is not present and where there is thinking, seeing is not present.

We experience three states – waking, seeing, and thinking. A man asked “did your servant do that task? The man replied – I don’t know. I’ll tell you after I know” In this situation, there is no need to think.

Consider another instance. Someone asks “Do you have this thing in your house?” In such a situation, the most usual reply would be “I’ll see and let you know.”

In one instance, the reply is “I’ll find out and tell you” and in another instance, the reply is “I’ll see and let you know.” Where there is knowing and seeing, there thinking is not needed. When one is not in a state of seeing or knowing, one is in the state of thinking.

Thinking is needed when we don’t know clearly about a subject – when nothing absolute can be said about it.

Thinking is a component of our consciousness. Therefore, it is just a spark. However, it is not the full form of consciousness. When one achieves the state of witness consciousness, thinking ends.

The goal of meditation is to reach the state of witness consciousness. When witnessing is present, then thoughts disappear and seamless knowledge surfaces above. Till the time when one is bound to the body and his imperceptible consciousness doesn’t awaken, thinking is necessary. Till that time thinking cannot be done away with.

Two kinds of people are devoid of thinking – an enlightened being, the one who is a direct perceptor, and the one who is incapable of thinking, a fool in simple words.

Thinking is an essential part of our life’s journey. On one hand we attribute importance to thinking and on another hand, we practice meditation to reach thoughtlessness. This may seem contradictory. But, we must know that the state cannot be reached in a single day.

It will be a huge mistake to assume that one reaches the state of thoughtlessness as soon as he begins his meditation practice. In fact, during meditation, the influx of thoughts increases. At the time of meditation, even forgotten thoughts come rushing to the mind. Experiencing this, many think of quitting the practice. But, it is important to know that when one is relaxed, thoughts actually get a beautiful chance to come. Otherwise, they are driven away by the force of tension.

Meditation is a method by which the hold over thoughts lessen. During the meditative state, the space for thoughts to enter is as wide as the space for thoughts to exit. A meditator welcomes everybody – the ones entering and the ones leaving. A non-meditator establishes a hold over thoughts and facts for a duration as long as a lifetime.

A meditator should not be scared of thoughts. He should become a witness to thoughts. Observe and let go. The more the witness consciousness strengthens, the influx of thoughts will weaken. But, it will be impossible for no thoughts to come in the first session of meditation.

The Four Solutions

The following post is based on Acharya shree’s hindi book, mastishk ka prashikshan

Post continued from ‘Developing control on our brain’

The four solutions of emotional refinement are:

Swadhyaya

Swadhyaya  is a method by which emotions can be changed. Cultivating conducive thoughts, reading and contemplating quality literature can help in changing vruttis. This is one idea for refinement. It is difficult to say how effective this method is. It is effective if practised in the right way. Today the meaning of swadhyaya has been reduced to just reading, which doesn’t bear quality results. Along with reading, the practise also requires contemplation.

The man of today reads a lot but does not change. He listens to spiritual talks but does not transform. This is because just reading and listening is not enough. Eating  a meal takes just fifteen minutes. However, digesting it takes three hours. Similarly, reading a piece of text needs a few minutes but digesting it needs a lot more time. If one page has been read, then digesting it requires the time needed to read fifty pages. What is obtained after contemplation or manan proves instrumental in changing emotions.

Ancient belief says – “One prahar (morning /afternoon/ evening) must be reserved for reading and another must be reserved for reflecting upon what one has read.” This stands true for all kinds of studies, be it spiritual or non-spiritual.

Meditation

The second factor is meditation. Through meditation we directly influence our prana or vital force. During the meditation process*, we direct our focus at particular centres. Focusing implies a union of the consciousness and prana.  Wherever the consciousness is focused, there the flow of prana increases. The increase in the flow of prana destroys any kind of blockage at that point – be it a blockage at the physical plane, mental plane or emotional plane.

The ordinary meaning of preksha is observing. But observing does not mean observing with the eyes. Rather it implies a special method of observing, which is experiencing with equanimity – a state of mind that is devoid of craving and aversion. This is a powerful method which purifies emotions.

Someone who learns the art of observing, (s)he becomes active in changing oneself. If thoughts come, observe them. In a few minutes, thoughts will disappear.

Carl Jung is one of the pioneers of modern psychology. He wrote – when I was ill, I went to a psychotherapist. The therapist asked mr to lie down, relax, and asked what is it that you’re thinking. The moment I observed my thoughts, they disappeared.

Imagination, memory, and thoughts produce aggravation. Only through observation, all kinds of aggravations silence down. That is why, whatever is happening in the body, brain, and emotional plane, observe. When the focus on observing increases, the mind will become peaceful.

Emotional Purity

It is not possible for a continuous flow of good emotions.  Emotions are so unique that one is unable to understand them. Emotions stay pure – this is not so simple.  It is necessary to support all the different kinds of reactions within us. There are several supports declared for the same. With these supports, we reach a state where pure emotions flow. Our goal is to reach a state devoid of impure emotions. As soon as we reach this goal, supports are not needed, just like a boat becomes stationary as soon it reaches the shore.

Tapasya

Simply put, the meaning of tapasya is developing endurance. Anybody who doesn’t work hard and cannot endure pain, cannot progress.

When an individual is capable to endure all kinds of  situations, change shall take place.

Conclusion

The above four are the mediums of change. They are not a pathway to suppression but a pathway of refinement of negative emotions.  And when negative tendencies are improved, the flow of life changes.

These four instruments are related to meditation. If we centre our lives around meditation, I think our lives can progress to a great extent.

*It is recommended to learn any meditation process by trained professionals. Practicing without supervision is not advisable.

Developing Control On Our Brain

The following post is a translated part of Acharya Shree’s hindi book, mastishk prashikshan

Our brain is driven by electric current and chemicals. Which chemical creates which kind of reaction and putting an electrode in which part of the brain can create which kind of reaction – these facts are very clear today. In our body, there are centres for the creation and control of emotions and reactions. There are centres which produce emotions and disturbances and there are centres which control them. This is an internal process which continues naturally.

There are two divisions of our nadi sansthan (system of blood vessels)- self-driven, and the other is facultative. Through the self-driven system of blood vessels , internal activities happen on their own. If there is a centre for the generation of anger, then there is a centre which can subdue the anger. Both faculties are present.

Modern psychology says that the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, hypothalamus, and some parts of the brain and nadi sansthan – these parts are responsible for controlling impulsive emotions. However, yoga and spirituality indicate factors other than body systems to control emotions. And these factors have a direct relation with god. Through emotion- centric processes a transformation can be brought in these centres.

It is important to note that a transformation brought with chemicals or with the use of electrodes cannot be permanent. Injecting an appropriate chemical may silence anger but the effect cannot be long-lasting. Same with the use of electrodes.

And this is where meditation plays a role. Many question what is the purpose of long-term meditation practices? If with injections, external medicines, and electrodes emotions can be controlled within a second, why to meditate? The answer is that meditation unlike these things is more of a permanent solution to the disturbances of our mind.

Physicians have found solutions only on the basis of the body while psychiatrists have found solutions only on the basis of the brain and mind. They haven’t found the true source of emotions and the reason for their production. This is a very subtle secret. That is why sometimes research findings happen to be contradictory.

The path of spirituality is a path free from contradictions. It is a path of clarity. It is a process of refinement. Today many have this delusion that Indian philosophy teaches the process of suppressing emotions. A religious philosophy teaching suppression cannot be religion. It can be something else. Whether it’s sex, anger or any other emotion, Indian philosophy does not teach suppressing them.

The purpose of religious philosophy is refining emotions. The four establishments of psychology to refine emotions are – suppression, sublimation, voluntary decision and intellectual decision. And the four establishments of Indian religious philosophy for refining emotions are – self-study, meditation, emotional purity and tapasya or endurance.

(To be continued..)

Our Lives: Reflections of Our Thoughts

The following post is based on Acharya shree’s book nirvichaar ki or

Three kinds of lifestyles (jeevanshaili) exist:
1.Padarthpeksh jeevanshaili- matter bound lifestyle
2.Atmapeksh jeevanshaili – soul bound life
3.Ubhyapeksh jeevanshaili

The first kind entails a person to regard the world of matter as everything.People living such lifestyles believe that the essence of life is things, living or non-living.Eat, enjoy and collect things- this is the mantra of such a life.A life revolving around things.The second kind of lifestyle is based only on the search for the truth.Such people are focused only on their inner selves. The third kind of life entails focussing on things and consciousness,both.

A person meditating, should at least develop a life of the third kind.The second kind of life is not easy for everyone.Forget regular people, even munis do not reach there.In terms of behaviour, we can also term them as unbehavioural.Such a person is of no use to society and therefore, let us leave him.Today’s man is living a life of either the first kind or the third kind.Meditation changes a life bound to matter.One begins to think about one’s consciousness.One begins to wonder what is the truth?Is the material world, the truth?When we don’t think deeply, only matters belonging to this material existence matter to us and we live a life of the first kind.When we begin to think, the illusionary nature of material things becomes clear before us.

The Nature of Matter

Shankaracharya said-” Brahm or the universal consciousness is the truth while the world is an illusion.Basically it is a sutra of spirituality. Matter(ie material things) is an illusion in the sense that today what exists may not exist tomorrow.Something which satisfies us today will dissatisfy us after a few days.

Yesterday, I happened to be standing in the hall when a stream of water was falling down a pipe.Looking at the flowing water, I thought to myself, does this water hold some value?Maybe not.Just a moment later, I realised I had just had some water, a few minutes ago.If I had seen this water flowing after a five day water fast, the same water would have been very valuable to me.

Therefore, a thing by itself has no value.Its value is only realised at a moment of desire or unfulfillement.But the uniqueness of matter is that it never lets one feel fulfilled.One feels fulfilled only for a moment.We have some water.For one hour, we may not want to have it again but after sometime the desire for water is born again.A natural question arises- people have been enjoying different kinds of sense-objects for such a long time but have they achieved fulfilment?If they have become fulfilled after eating, then why are they repeating the same sequence?The truth is that degree of dissatisfaction has only increased with an increase in consumption of the sense-world.That is why, despite lack of hunger, one feels unfulfilled after a certain point in time and consumes food without being hungry.The nature of sense objects is to give a sense of satisfaction for a moment and create an impression of dissatisfaction, a moment later.

The Severity of the Sun
The dearest queen of the king, once, due to some reason went out in the sun.Her body burnt down due to the severity of the sun.Burnt and hurt, she went to the King and complained “everyone says you are a perfect King but I think you are weak.In your kingdom ,everyone does what they like.This sun has troubled me badly.Unless you do not throw him out of the kingdom, I will not speak to you.”
The queen’s demand was weird but in anger, everyone does what they like.The King was smart.He ordered his commander-in chief to throw as many missiles as required, so as to make the sun invisible.This order was put to action.Aiming at the sun, missiles were thrown.The clouds of smoke made the sun invisible.The queen was content that her desire was fulfilled.

The Story of Current Lifestyle
Attachments of likes and dislikes enrapture people’s minds so intensely that the truth is considered false.The feeling of unfulfillment created by sense objects creates such an impression that a man is led to believe that only sense objects constitute life and nothing is beyond them.This kind of a mind set creates a lot of delusions.Many diseases such as cancer, heart-attack, peptic ulcers, hypertension, insomnia etc. have been a result of this kind of thought process and its consequent lifestyle.This blind race towards sense objects needs to be abandoned and the lifestyle of the third kind which has place for both, the material and the spiritual, needs to be adopted.In the language of percentage, if 50% place is given to one’s consciousness/spiritual growth and 50% place is given to the material world, a big change can take place.Such a life can witness a positive transformation of emotions.Upon transformation of emotions, thoughts will change automatically.

A Depth to Thoughts
One result of the search for truth is change of emotions which leads to change of thoughts, which further ,leads to a change of lifestyle.This is the sequence of devlopment.Meditation is not just spending time with eyes shut.It is a life philosophy.I believe that essential dimensions of a society such as politics, economics etc. are all incomplete without the subtle touch of meditation.Politics, society, economics – are all run by thoughts.Just as a ship cannot travel in shallow waters, thoughts cannot be developed at a shallow level.Thoughts must be given the depth of truth.Then only our thoughts can become so deep that anything can be made to float on it and any problem can thus, be solved.