In the most simple way, it is seeing clearly that we are never separate from life, from source. And in this seeing you recognize that you are life itself. You may call it life, source, oneness it simply does not matter, it has no names. It is seeing life beyond personal perspective. And then what you see is Truth as it always and already is.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.
Not-knowing is the way out
So lets check whats the cost of clarity?
The only cost of clarity is letting go of confusion, which is caused mainly because of some beliefs, opinions and judgments. The process of clarity would make some changes happen within the seeker of clarity. If you expect that you can gain clarity without changing anything inside you or in your life, it is simply not possible.
Are we ready to pay the cost of clarity?
If you come to know that your favorite belief is the root of your present confusion, would you let it go? I am not saying that you would need to leave all your beliefs. May be you would not need to do anything about anything. A belief stays within only because we take it as truth. The moment you see a belief as belief it drops by itself. But I am talking about the attitude with which you go into the process of clarity. When encountered, first a belief might seem something very precious and you might not prefer to let it go even at the cost of not having clarity. So go into the process of clarity with the attitude that whatever the cost, I want clarity. And if you don’t feel this attitude then its much better to suffer in confusion. This suffering would prepare ground for yourself to go into clarity process totally.
And without intention there is no intensity. So lets put our efforts in something which we really want.
Just stay with whatever life has presented you in this moment, not trying to define it, not trying to understand it and see the magic. Without any effort you enter into the real life, experiencing it directly, no barriers between you and life. Habit of defining is what is in the way, so let go of it and be merged in life totally, floating in the ocean of life.