By Ajay Kalra
“I understand, but I am not living the Knowledge.”
“If I was Pure Awareness, I would not behave in that manner.”
“I have experienced Emptiness, but the feel ing of Emptiness does not last.”
“I need to work on myself before I can still the mind to become Awareness.”
“Self-realisation is a deep mental inquiry into ‘Who Am I.’ It is tiring. Is it even necessary?”
These are some statements I have heard from people interested in the pursuit of Awareness. A thing that is not a thing. Indescribable and unconceivable. Something beyond the concep tion of the mind.
Yet the mind, being the mind, conceptualises it.
“If I realised Awareness, I would live like this, behave like this. To realise Awareness I have to do this, understand this, or be this. The feeling of Awareness must be permanent, not tempo
rary, for it to qualify as true realisation.” When I hear such statements, I don’t know what to say. Then I remember a time when my mind would do the same thing. Generate fantasies of Enlightenment. A state of purity. Free of conflict. Unconditionally loving. Desireless. Saintly.
What causes the mind to conceptualise some thing that is beyond concepts?” Firstly, the na ture of the mind is to conceptualise. The mind survives and thrives on abstraction. It creates a symbolic reality using words and images. Even if we have only heard of but never experienced a place, person, or thing, the mind creates a men tal representation of it. The mind anticipates how a thing will be, even if it has no first-hand experience of it.
Secondly, given the spiritual literature available for consumption, the mind has enough fodder to fuel its imagination of something that is beyond imagination. Different religious and spiritual leaders, along with a plethora of books, have described
• How one can attain transcendental reality • What one must do for it
• What happens when one gets it
• How a realised person behaves
The more one reads and hears, the more the mind projects ideas of Self-realisation.
Having exhausted my conceptualising karma, I have realised a few things.
We Are Life
One cannot do anything to be aware. One is al ways aware. To be aware means to be alive. To be alive means to be conscious. There is never a time when one is not alive or conscious. None of us have experienced being born or being dead. They are just concepts. All we have ever experi enced is being alive.
Having said that, we do not honour life. We be lieve we are living a life. We feel we are in control of life. We think we need to make our life. We do not realise that we are life. This realisation is not intellectual but a matter of experience. When we pay attention to the expressions of life—breath ing, sensing, tasting, smelling, hearing, touch ing, seeing, thinking, and feeling—we become life.
Realisation Is Seeing
Imagine you are walking on a dark road at night. You see an object in front. Given its coiled shape, you imagine it to be a snake. You stop in your tracks. Slowly, you pull out a torch from your bag and shine it on the object. In the brightness of that light, you see that what you imagined to be a snake is actually a rope. You smile and peacefully carry on.
Self-realisation is not a state of mind that is free of thoughts. Or a mind that never experiences anger, sadness, anxiety, disturbance, or confu sion. It is simply a ‘realisation’ that no person is experiencing it. Sensing, perceiving, think ing, feeling, choosing, and doing happen in Awareness. There is no perceiver, thinker, feeler, chooser, or doer.
Once one sees “I am not a person, all happens in awareness” with sufficient clarity, one can not unsee it. Just like when one sees there is no snake but just a rope, nothing can make you be lieve it is a snake. Because you have seen it clear ly. Seeing is all that was needed for Realisation.
Being. Just Being.
The eyes of the mind are concepts. The eyes of awareness are Being.
What does it mean to be?
Existing. Living. Conscious. Present. Aware. Breathing. Sensing. Different words referring to the same thing. When we are aware of our existence, we are in touch with something tangible. When we are lost in unconscious thoughts we are living in the abstract world of concepts.
Being has no goals and aspirations. It has no past or future. It has no language. It has no meaning. It plays no role. It simply is. Our relative identities are the roles we play. Our primary identity is Being. Because we are, everything else is. If there was no life, there would be no life situations. This is not an in
tellectual puzzle to solve. When we honour Be ing, give it our attention, and acknowledge its existence, it reveals that the entire Universe is Being. Being is the gateway to Oneness.
This Realisation does not come in the way of living a normal life. We continue to do what we do, using the language of I, me, and mine, all the while realising that thought and language have only a relative function.
Unlike the conditioned mind, Being express es itself in ways that cannot be predicted. Be cause the playing field of Being is Presence. Without the burden of the past or greed and fear of the future. It is spontaneous, effortless, and natural.
Outer expressions of Being are not an indica tor of Realisation. Neither is the validation of
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18 LifePositive | NOVEMBER 2022
others. It requires no stamp of approval. It is an unmistakable seeing into the nature of re ality. Realisation is self-evident; it is its own proof.
“The word is not the thing. The map is not the territory. And the symbol is not the thing symbolised.” says S I Hayakawa in his classic book on semantics, Language in Thought and Action. Conceptualising Awareness is like taking the reflection of the Moon in the water as the Moon itself.
The best use of concepts is to free ourself from concepts. The finger pointing to the Sun is not the Sun. Similarly, words pointing towards Silence are not Silence. Yet, they play a vital role. They help us cross the ocean of concepts by shining the torch of Awareness on all concepts. When all the concepts of the mind are seen as concepts, including the concept ‘I am a person,’ then there is nothing more to see. The false is seen as false.
In that seeing, Nothing remains.
Ajay Kalra is a teacher of Advaita Vedanta. He endeavours to simplify the understanding, practice and application of the
Philosophy of Oneness through his online classes, workshops, writing and videos.
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