Monday, 25 September 2017

Going Home

Caravan - by Salvador Dali


A question that is often asked is - where does the path of knowledge or any spiritual path take us? Or in other words - what do I get from it all in the end? The short answer is - we do not reach anywhere, we return home and we do not get anything, we just lose many things.

Sounds awful, doesn't it? Lets unpack this answer and see why this is so.



Goals vs Path

We have talked about goals, life-goals and perhaps bigger things like path of the heart. We make efforts to achieve these goals and when we get there, its the end of the story. Now we have reached somewhere and we have something more - we got what we wanted. Very good, but if you try to weigh the path of knowledge in a similar way, you will be surprised. Ask yourself - what do we gain when we walk the path of knowledge and where do we reach?

An obvious answer is - we gain knowledge, isn't that a big thing? Not very surprising at all. But knowledge of what? The most essential knowledge we get is that of the Self. Our nature and essence is revealed to the mind, which is - pure emptiness, just witnessing. Well, doesn't sound like a big gain, it is underwhelming actually, and the mind often asks - is that it? is that all there is to know? The answer is yes. It can be done in a few seconds.

Knowledge of the Self

Now lets see how do we gain this essential knowledge aka Self realization. When we see clearly that we are not the experiences, namely that of a world, body, ego or mind, we reach the experiencer, which is just another name for the Self. Note that we reach there by discarding our beliefs that I'm a body or a mind or anything else. Then we are left with the Self. In essence we did not gain much, we only lost, lost some beliefs. The beliefs were that I'm something material, impermanent, a doer or a separate self - aka the person. We lose the person, a big loss indeed.

The person or identity or "me" loses its solidity and is seen as a bunch of memories, beliefs and concepts. The ego is just a bot now, a bunch of survival programs, and the body is a nicely organized pile of organic matter. In short, we lose a lot of ignorance when we arrive at the Self. Now we are pure, eternal, unchanging, unborn and uncaused consciousness ! Everything else disappears, except this witnessing emptiness.

So the knowledge of the Self is actually a loss of ignorance, tons and tons of it.  You can make a long list of what else is lost as a consequence - fears, pride, uncertainty, anxiety, greed and what not. The Self was already there, since the start, we realize that we do not "gain" it back, it was just covered up by clouds of ignorance. Just as we do not get a new Sun, when the clouds covering it disperse.

Knowledge of the World

Lets look at the brighter side - we still have the whole world or universe or whatever we experience. We did not lose it, we have a better understanding of it now. But wait, we are just fooling ourselves here. Take a look again - the world or the experiences are just the Self. The entire experience is just a movement, a vibration in the Self, which is illusory to say the least. Dreamlike, impermanent. It never actually happened (to say the most).

The solid reality of the world and experiences disappears as soon as you know what it is. It is just virtual or metaphysical patterns and processes that seem to happen and when interpreted by the mind through its mechanisms, produce this great mesmerizing illusion of there being something. The mind itself being a collection of patterns and processes,  e.g. memory or senses etc. Moreover, the mind cuts off the experience from the experiencer cleanly, making the illusion more "real". Once seen as it is, the world and all experiences are nothing but just the Self, having no substance, pure emptiness, just a play on the screen of the Self.

So we lose the world too. It is now less appealing, lost its charm and no more a serious matter. So is the mind/ego and its melodramas. What is left? Nothing, if you ask me.

Agent Smith and Neo, pondering over emptiness - The Matrix


You are empty

So are you... and so is everyone. Just in case, you had some hope that at least people are what we are left with. There are no people, they are just me.

You see, we are left with nothing when we take up the path of knowledge (or any other such path). We gain nothing, nothing new actually, the Self and the sense of "I" being everything were always there, waiting to be recognized. Once recognized, its done. Everything else, that was unnecessary and a burden falls away.

And we reach back there from where we started. Actually we never "reach" there, because we realize that we never even left. The Self is seen as always being there, where it is now, which is nowhere and everywhere.

Spiritual evolution is a backward process, we leave behind everything, its like going home. But then we realize, we never left home. We went on an imaginary journey of ignorance, realized that it was a dream (kind of nightmare, if you like) and now that reverie is over. It is lost and forgotten. Going home is like remembering that we are still at home. It is the Self remembering itself.





4 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    I would like to take this opportunity to simply thank you for your blog.. It got my attention last year when I saw it somewhere on G+. I have been reading it ever since.. I personally resonate with your words a lot since I am on this journey myself. The more I learn to more amazing it all gets. Again thank you. Greetings Niels (Netherlands)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Niels,
      You are welcome and I'm glad that this blog is of some use for you.

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  2. Replies
    1. We are all teachers for each other. Thanks for commenting.

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