Wednesday, September 21, 2016

AHAM - VERBAL LEARNING AND TOTAL BODY LEARNING

When a person says he is writing about a lion, what actually happens is this:

He is actually writing about what he thinks he knows about a lion - not even what he knows, but what he thinks he knows, and that too about that portion of the knowledge that can be put into words.

Both the writer and the reader have an illusion that they are getting to know a lion. The writer thinks that he is showing a lion but what he really does is showing himself talking about a lion. The reader thinks he is seeing a lion, whereas he is simply seeing the author talking about the lion.

The great illusion is not discerning the difference between being talked to about a lion and actually seeing a lion.

Simply because one is engaged in showing himself talking about the lion, and the reader is engaged in seeing the writer showing the lion, both think that they share the honour of knowing a lion, being acquainted with lions, and somehow of one's own self being a little lion.

Thus when the writer is seen, people will say, 'Yes, I know him. There goes the man who knows all about lions.'

The only way to know the lion better is at least walk up to the zoo and stay for a few hours in the vicinity of a lion. Then your eyes behave in a certain way, your heart and lungs in a certain way, your hair and skin in a certain way, your words and thoughts in a certain way, and the complex totality of these reactions becomes your lion. If this total picture is uncomfortable, you go on modifying these reactions till you have a harmonious 'negative', so to say, imprinted in you. It is this process that gives you real learning, and the ease with which a lion tamer approaches a lion is because of this real correspondence between 'his lion' and the lion outside.

This great illusion is the main reason for the flourishing trade in spiritual and religious literature. Probably, one can count on one's fingers the number of persons who have had the Advaita experience of total identity with the universe, but the number of those who expound Advaita, and offer commentaries is legion. This illusion hinders any real attempts to make any conscious effort to acquire the experience. Similarly, the capacity for unconditioned compassion, non-hatred must have been experienced and expressed by a handful in all ages till now, but the expounders and reciters of the appropriate words is enormous.

If the student of self realization has to extricate himself from this misfortune, he must become aware of this dangerous illusion, and avoid like the plague words like, 'I have understood the Gita, except for little bit'; 'I find it very interesting and am even applying it in psychotherapy or business dealings', and so on. One must know that for such audacious nonsense as when a chap who has read a few popular articles on space travel were to pretend to teach it, he would be thrown out on his ears!

The key for self realization profession appears to me to be experiment and experience, and the implementation of teachings resulting even in the smallest change in one's behaviour is worth a ton of dissertations.

Therefore, it is to make clear that these reflections are bare verbal reports, reflections on some aspects of self realization, that helped me and not a treatise or summary of the classical teachings. The most salient feature that struck me is the fact that this is a profession; that the requirements are that of a scientific worker in his laboratory, except that the laboratory is one's own body, and that the work has to be found useful or useless for one's own self, and validation by popular vote is not the aim. The hope that more may be stimulated to learn the driving skills necessary for navigating the most wonderful vehicle called one's body prompts me to this writing.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

AHAM - THE PROFESSION OF SELF-CHANGE

     The profession of self-realization involves self-change. The central issue that requires emphasis is that one's own body becomes the object of study. The body, long accustomed to observe, study and manipulate the outside world must now learn to observe, study and extend its possibilities to the maximum extent possible.

     From this flows the concept of what I call 'experiential physiology', as opposed to merely knowing something about physiology.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

AHAM - AIM, THE LEADER

AIM, THE LEADER

     Let us examine a few common situations and aspects of our behaviour:

     This body of ours has not been made according to a plan made by an integrated committee consisting of professors of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biophysics, toxicology and so on. It developed out of a single cell, containing within itself a whole intelligence and material that runs the universe.

     Out of the millions of factors, and the billions of combinations thereof, the professors periodically have a glimpse into some of them; and then they say that this and that happens when you move a toe or take a gulp or take a breath. You read a book of physiology and get to know all this; that, literally every time you step out of the house a billion processes are going on and without the necessity to carry a compendium of assorted medical professors in your pocket to tell the body what steps to take. Yet when a man has a headache, he must rush to the doctor, on the conviction that the intelligence which made the body is unable to make some provision for its dysfunction. Anyway, that is how we behave.

    Look at an infant or a baby. He looks at a coloured toy or something. Instantly a whole complex of processes set in and the baby is being drawn towards the toy.

     You want to meet a person who is at some distance. You will do so. It is raining and it is important to meet the person, you might take a taxi and go. It is raining and you have fever, you may like to lie down in bed, but your living depends on seeing the person, you will somehow do it.

     You are in a room. You have to pick up a paper from the floor. You bend down and pick it up with your right hand.  If your right hand is in plaster, you will pick it up with your left hand. You are a prisoner and both your hands are tied, you will pick it up with your feet. If they are also tied and the paper is of utmost importance, you will roll and pick it up with your mouth.

     Thus, it can be seen that the whole complicated physiology of the body is placed at the disposal of the aim; that there are numerous movements and combinations thereof that can serve the aim; that the body can extend its repertoire of possibilities to the extent demanded by the intensity of the aim.

     It is a pity that the teachers of health pay so little attention to this most important element in physiology - the fact that aim is the driver of the complicated vehicle called the human body, both in health and illness. 

     The aim to take advantage of being ill is one of the most potent factors in maintaining an illness; and the aim to fit into the scientific prognostications of the modern witch-doctor, thus paving the way for a scientific death, is the basis of medical textbooks which are often an account of all the helpless victims who have agreed to play the roles assigned to them. Today you have common cold. If you neglect that, you will get pneumonia day after tomorrow; if you neglect that, it will become bronchial carcinoma and so on. There is no difference between modern or ancient doctors or witch-doctors on this score - all of them set a pattern for the victims of fear and fashion to faithfully follow.

     Your body faithfully expresses your aim, your true aim; and it must be assumed to be equipped for this.