Live the question before seeking answer

Most of our questions sound questions of a child who is constantly asking something out of sheer curiosity but before you answer his question he starts asking next question. He is not really bothered about answers, he has a sort of restlessness which is forcing him to ask questions.

But remember that to get a long lasting answer you will need to first live the question well. This living of the question prepares the ground in which a real answer grows like a plant, it takes time but it is stable.

Another way of looking at it is that, to pull a real answer from the universal answer bank, you need a real question. A question that can sustain the journey from mind to heart, a question that can stand the heat of the search for answer.

How to live the question?
Allow the question to stay with you in every mood and in every situation, this will test the strength of the question. If there is something more important than the question then the question will disappear after some time. But if its a real question that you want to know from your whole heart, it will survive the continuous changes that life does to our moods, desires, feelings etc. and gradually the question will sink into your heart

And if a question survives the test of living it and it continues to live in your heart then there is nothing that can stop you from getting an answer for it. Very soon it will become a longing in the heart, a pure desire. And life always answers questions of your heart, fulfills pure desires of your heart.

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Plan your future but don’t try to live it

There is no harm planning for future as long as you don’t try to live it right now. I feel most of us start living future dreams while we are planning for them.

How does it affect our overall life?
First of all you are missing the opportunity to live the experience that life has presented to you. Later on these unlived experiences keep hanging in the mind, waiting to be completed, to be lived. They carry a certain discontentment, which is added to our overall discontentment of life.

Now lets have a look, how it affects our future. I feel most of us would agree that we enjoy anything most, when it is new, fresh, first time. By trying to live our future in present moment, we are indirectly contaminating it, making it familiar and destroying its newness, freshness. Unknowingly we are creating an image of the experience that is expected from future. And when we encounter the future with this image in mind, we either miss the experience because it matches your expectations, so nothing great about it; or we feel disappointed when the experience does not match our expectations.

So what to do?
You will need to use your imagination power to plan your future, your projections well, but don’t over use it. Clearly draw a line where you should stop your imagination. If you note down on paper the goal of the present planning process, it will help tremendously. Whenever you feel you are lost, just come back to the paper and remind yourself whats the goal of this planning process.

One important pointer is that if you put your total energy in planning, you wont be lost in future imaginations. When you are totally into any activity, the very energy of it wont allow you to leave the present moment. Its because of the partial efforts that we get caught in imaginations, because there is some unused energy left that slips into the imagination of future.

Happy planning

Understanding nature of mind

What is ‘My Mind’?
When someone says ‘My Mind’ is giving me trouble I understand whats been referred to but it does not sound appropriate to me. As I see to it, there is nothing called ‘My Mind’ as a separate entity. It is myself only using the powers of mind. But because of lack of understanding about powers and mechanism of mind, we feel there is something called mind which is creating trouble for us. Once we start understanding how mind functions, it will become clear that mind is an amazing but dead mechanism in itself. The power and life that runs it, is supplied by us only, knowingly or unknowingly.

Key triggers of mind
Mind is a wonderful system in itself. It gets triggered mainly by our interest in anything. If I am interested in anything, immediately mind starts functioning in that direction.

Another trigger for mind is belief. If you believe in anything in mind, then mind takes it very seriously, assuming its something very important for you. So it tries to protect a belief in every possible way.

Memory
It would be appropriate to see memory as data storage system. It has capacity to store everything from images, to sounds, to videos and more. In short it stores our experiences. And like most parts of mind, memory is also dead in itself. It is not the memory that creates trouble but our continuous visits to the memory that holds us in past;  And as a result of it we are absent from the present moment.

Power of imagination
Imagination happens through visualization power combined with memory. It  means our imagination can not go beyond the limits of what we have experienced so far. Its a wonderful tool for worldly activities but an obstacle in the way of clarity.

Crazy movement of thoughts
After understanding all these different aspects of mind (as mentioned above), one wonders whats the role of random thoughts that keep rotating in the head all the time? Thoughts are like offers of different products in a shopping mall. Thoughts in the mind are offers for different experiences. Because mind does not know what exactly you are looking for, it keeps all the options open and keeps showing you all the available options all the time.

Have you not noticed that when you wholeheartedly decide to do something, all kind of movements of mind stop and you feel no disturbances from mind. This happens because now you have clearly indicated to mind what exactly you want.

Understanding the power of Attention

What is Attention?
It is the underlying power that causes experiencing. You are looking at something but your attention is involved in listening to someone, in this example even if seeing is happening but it’s not been registered in mind as an experience because of lack of attention. So effectively you will only listen because you are absent from looking. So attention is synonyms to myself, the self that we are generally aware of. You are present where your attention is.

How does it affect our life?
Generally our life is nothing but collection of experiences, until we know the experiencer, our true self. Any experience touched by your attention, is added to the pool of your experiences. So effectively your life is created by the movements of attention and it would be very significant to have some understanding of the power of attention.

So, is it possible to control my attention?
Attention is triggered by our interests. Our attention goes to the objects/experiences that we are interested in. And by purifying your interests or desires you can effectively control your attention. Desires can be purified by exposing them under the light of your introspection. When a desire is exposed, the non-essential part of it falls away and only essential desire remains. So if you want to control attention, go deep into your desires.

True power of attention
The power of attention is not limited to experiencing the objective reality. By objective reality I mean anything that can be experienced. The true power of attention lies in moving towards the source of attention, that is it’s real power. When the attention moves out from the source, experiences happen. But when attention comes to the source of attention, then recognition happens, recognition of truth, recognition of our true self.

Resolving conflicts caused by Resistance

What’s Resistance?
Resistance basically is a psychological division in our mind which does not want to participate in a particular activity. So we are never total in the activity and so results of the activity are never satisfying. Its like driving a car with one foot on accelerator and another on the break pedal, you will put lot of efforts, lot of fuel will be burnt but the car will hardly move. Resistance mainly exists in mind due to lack of clarity in that part of mind, its a grey area of the mind which has not been brought into the light.

How to expose resistance?
If you are feeling resistance inside yourself for the activity you are presently doing then suspend the activity for the time being and go to the place of resistance inside yourself, to that part of yourself which doesn’t want to participate in the activity. Go there and check why it is so, go to the very root of it and you will find the solution. Its like allowing your conflicting part to have it’s say, listen to it carefully. Either the resistance will be exposed as not true or you will agree to it and will stop the activity you were doing.

After doing this exercise, if you don’t feel any resistance then start the activity again. If you feel you are still not total and you feel some resistance somewhere, then again suspend the activity, locate the resistance and expose it.

Keep doing iterations of this exercise until all the resistance is exposed. Once all the resistance is exposed, either you will do the activity totally or you will drop is all together, and in both the cases there will be no inner conflict.

This! Here and Now

Gateway to reality of life is through this moment, there is no other door to it. If you want to come back to reality of life then you will need to find some way to sneak into this present moment, here and now.

How we are missing this moment?
We are missing this moment by not being present in it fully. This is mainly because of our constant engagement in our mind, either in memory or in imaginations. And this is not accidental that most of us are continually engaged in our mind, there must be some significant reason behind it. The reason is that we are taking ourself to be someone existing in mind only, so we need to constantly refer to the mind. This way mind is our world and we rarely experience the reality of life, which is essentially outside of the mind. Mind is capable of storing only image of the real experience, it does not have capacity of experiencing it. So normally what we call our experience is going through the image of the real experience in the mind, we are never face to face with life.

Real life is most dangerous place and most safe too. Dangerous because everything is changing constantly so you cannot hold on to anything; safe because the one who is seeing everything changing is always constant. This seer of everything, your true self, is the only constant thing in life. But because we are not able to see the unchanging seer in the constantly changing life, we become afraid of real life and afraid of any type of changes. This constant seer is always present and can be discovered in the present moment.

How to come back to this moment?
One clue is that find out what is constant in you. This is common sense that to experience changes there need to be someone constant who is not changing. So if you find what is in you that does not change in any situation, you will reach to your true self.

Another clue is that find out who is the experiencer of everything. Through this exercise your attention will move from the ever changing life to the never changing seer of it. The experiencer of life is one so it doesn’t matter which experience you choose, you will essentially reach to the same experiencer.

Discovering yourself – 2 minute capsule

Self-enquiry in itself is a complete process of discovering your true self but here we are going to focus on mini version of it.

Some benefits
– The more you discover yourself, the more you are. You will feel more stable, more expended, present in everything.
– You will feel more and more joyful each day because joy is a natural quality of your deeper self.
– You will see inner conflicts resolving naturally because you are withdrawing your energy from them and using this energy to discover yourself.
– You don’t need to spare too much time for it and you can use it along the line of your daily schedule.

The Exercise
Just for 2 minutes bring your attention on the experiencer of everything within yourself. To better understand it, whatever you are doing at any point of time is sort of experience through your senses and beyond. Whether you are listening, seeing, tasting, smelling, touching, thinking, feeling or sensing, always there is someone inside yourself that receives this experience. For 2 minutes move your attention from the experience and bring it to the one who is experiencing. When you are listening to something, forget what you are listing and pay attention only to who is listening, just for 2 minutes. Do this exercise as many times as you enjoy, in the day time.

Some Tips
Stop practicing this exercise 2 hours before sleeping. If your attention naturally comes to the experiencer then there is no harm but stop putting in any efforts 2 hours before sleep.

The best time to start practicing this exercise would be the moment you feel you are awake, even if you have not opened your eyes yet.

In the beginning mind would suggest that its you only who is experiencing it so why do this exercise, just don’t regard any kind of mental response during this exercise. No need to fight with mind but don’t support mind either.

Do not imagine or think about it, you need to feel yourself who is the experiencer of everything.

Do it casually, there is no need to be serious about it. You are just exploring yourself and you are already there.

If you don’t feel anything in the beginning, its ok. Don’t give up, keep trying, soon you will be able to discover the joy of it.

‘I’ have a problem?

All the problems of life can be boiled down to one thing that ‘I have a problem’. And if we de-construct it carefully, we can see that there is ‘I’ which has ‘a problem’.

Most of these problems exist for the simple reason that we put no attention on ‘I’. The moment light of attention comes to ‘I’ most of these problems are not found to be true.The very nature of ‘I’ is that it remains untouched by anything experienced by it.

But the trouble comes from a middle layer between I and experience. This middle layer contains a feeling, a belief that this experience is ‘happening to me’. However in reality this experience is happening in front of ‘I’, not to ‘I’ itself.

The pure ‘I’ is never overwhelmed by any experience whatsoever.

So the solution for all the problems can be very simple, find out pure nature of ‘I’ and relax.

*Refer to post ‘How to use Self-enquiry effectively’ for more info on the process of finding the pure ‘I’

De-constructing Definitions

Definitions play very significant role in what we experience in our life. So it will be very useful to go little deeper in the structure and functioning of definitions.

Why we need definitions in the first place?
In a civilized world where most of us find ourself in, words are the only medium of communication. So with mutual agreement we have standardized meanings of words with the hope that when such a word is said any listener will get to the same meaning. So basically definitions exist so that you can have conversation with others. And definitions are serving their purpose up to some extent, at the level of objective reality. A shoe has same meaning for everyone who knows whats a shoe. But whether the shoe is comfortable or not is relative and is different for everyone. So the meaning of ‘a comfortable shoe’ would be different for everyone.

Are definitions harmful in anyway?
Yes definitions are harmful for seekers of truth of life or anyone who want to enjoy life fully. For rest of the people, definitions do no harm. But for those who want to see everything as it really is, definitions work as filters or colored glasses. You are not able to see anything as it really is because the definition of the thing creates an invisible colored glass in front of your eyes.

Definitions and Clarity?
A definition is a word with a corresponding meaning stored in your mind. In life everything is alive and constantly changing. For example if I have ever seen a rose flower then the experience of that flower has been stored in my mind as the meaning of a rose flower. And now when I encounter a rose flower again then that stored meaning doesn’t let me meet this rose flower. I start comparing this rose flower with the meaning that I have for it in my mind and I completely miss the opportunity to meet the totally fresh, totally new rose flower. This rose flower which has never born before and will never come to life again. And because of the definition of it I miss the uniqueness and life that is present in this rose flower. And slowly we start doing the same thing with each experience that life present to us every moment. And we go away from the reality of life, from the aliveness of life, from the beauty of life.

And those who have little sensitivity and urge for reality of life, they now start seeking for truth of life. But that seeking is also influenced by the definitions that seeker has in his mind. Seekers loose interest in objective definitions but then they collect spiritual definitions and concepts. And after doing lot of efforts on the way of seeking, even when the seeker experiences something real, the definition comes in the way here also. He starts comparing the experience with the definition he has in his mind.

Not-knowing is the way out
If possible simply discard all the definitions that are stored in the mind and stay in the state of complete not-knowing. In such state whatever you touch is experienced fully, whatever you see is seen through. There is nothing which can hide from your eyes. You can see everything as it is, inside yourself and outside yourself too.

Taking a day-off from mind

Knowingly or unknowingly we are continuously using our mind powers without any breaks. Except in deep sleep our mind keeps ‘working for us’. Now this is a matter of investigation whether our mind is working for us or against us, but its a different topic which need to be discussed separately. But it remains a fact that our mind doesn’t take any breaks, doesn’t take any rest in between, which obviously is driving our mind crazy. Our mind is not able to function efficiently because of the stress created by this continuous working.

So what we can get out of this day-off from mind?
– Body can function according to its own laws because mind is not going to interfere and body will feel rejuvenated
– Mind will get lot of rest from a day’s inactivity
– It will reduce overall stress level
– Body and mind will get chance to synchronize with each other
– You will get opportunity to explore deeper levels of existence beyond body-mind system

Since our mind has been working for ever, the whole functioning of mind has become very mechanical, robot like. So even if you decide not to use your mind for a day, it would continue working. In fact it might fight with you and might not allow you to shut it down. By using these tips you can help your mind shut down smoothly.

Some Preparations
– Choose a day when you don’t have to do any urgent work
– It would be best if you can stay alone in your place
– Depending on your situation, you might choose to inform your friends and family that you are going to be very busy with yourself so you don’t expect any visits or calls
– Arrange some good music, only audio. Instrumental music would be better but it depends on your taste
– Arrange some good food for yourself
– Keep some loose and comfortable dresses ready

Starting your day
When you wake up in the morning, stay on the bed for few moments without doing anything. If you feel like lying down (but not sleeping), do so. Now start your day very slowly. Do everything as slowly as possible, it might feel strange in the beginning but soon you will be able to feel the joy of it.

Make a cup of Tea for yourself, slowly. Enjoy each and every part of making tea. It might feel strange or even stupid but soon you will discover joy of it. Now tea is ready. Take it to your favorite place and enjoy it. You may choose to listen to some nice music while having tea.

If you have not done it last night, then turn off your mobile phone, computer and other such devices now, which connect you with others.

So what’s next
There is no next today. Let your day flow as it flows. Today is a day of no planning, no schedule, no deadlines, no time crunch. Spend as much time as you like in anything you are presently enjoying. Today choose random actions and activities over planned ones.

Some Tips
Remember that you will not be judged by the end of this day. There is no better option than what you are doing right now and there is no better way of doing it. There is nothing that you are expecting out of the current activity. The activity itself is complete. Enjoying what you are doing right now is the only outcome of it.Physical activities will help a lot in relaxing. These activities may include taking long shower, laying in bath tub, dancing, spot jogging, jumping, doing crazy movements with your body, cleaning, preparing food etc. Gardening is one of the best stress busters so if possible spend time with your lovely plants and flowers.

Whenever you feel restlessness in your mind, get involved in some of your favorite physical activity or get something nice to eat.

Taking a quick nap can be a good idea. It will give your body and mind bonus rest.

Have a wonderful day 🙂