Am I the Subject, or am I beyond both subject and object?

Question: Am I the Subject, or am I beyond both subject and object? Some teachers will say, ‘you are not the object, nor are you the subject, you are beyond that which is both.’ Could you explain please?

Tom: The essential teaching is that You – the Absolute, the Self, the Divine – You are beyond all objects, that is, you are beyond body-mind-world.

If a teaching says what you are is beyond both subject and object, then subject refers to the body-mind and object refers to the world, and you are That Pure Consciousness which is beyond both.

If a teaching states you are the Pure Subject beyond all phenomenal objects, then You refers to Pure Consciousness beyond all objects, ie. body-mind-world.

Don’t forget the purpose of the teaching is not to have merely an intellectual understanding of the above, but to turn your attention selfwards and abide as the Self, for this is the key/clue that leads to self-realisation – otherwise it is just theoretical talk.

Namaste

Tom

Amritabindu Upanishad – the path to Moksha

Note specifically what the verses state: sever all contact with sense objects (verse 4), empty the mind of objects (verse 3), wipe objects away from the mind (verses 2 & 3), prevent the mind from functioning (verse 5). Also see here: IN BRIEF: HOW TO ATTAIN LIBERATION (MOKSHA)

How to abide in Pure Consciousness?

The word ‘pure’ in ‘pure consciousness’ traditionally denotes consciousness devoid of objects, ie. without the experience of objects. This is opposed to the ‘mixed’ or ‘reflected’ consciousness in which objects such as the mind, body and worldly objects appear.

Therefore to abide in pure consciousness means to turn away from objects, turn towards the Self/Subject and rest in Pure Being which is your True Nature.

This is why Shankara states in Vivekachudamani: ‘Dwelling on external objects will only increase evil propensities, so wisely recognising this fact, one should abandon external objects and and constantly attend to one’s true nature within, the Atman’.

For more information on how this is done please see here:

IN BRIEF: HOW TO ATTAIN LIBERATION (MOKSHA)

Sri Ramana Maharshi – Turn Within (Guided Meditation & Quotes)

The Following teaching statements of Sri Ramana Maharshi are taken from the text Guru Vachaka Kovai (Garland of Guru’s sayings). This text is widely consider to be the most authoritative text on Sri Ramana’s verbal teachings – you can download it using the link below.

In the following video I have read the quotes to form a guided meditation/guided contemplation. You are invited to sit comfortably and allow these soothing words to wash over you and guide you to the Self.

393.One who has wisely chosen the straight path
Of self-enquiry can never go astray;
For like the bright, clear Sun, the Self
Reveals itself direct to whoso
Turns towards it.

391. Those who do not dive into the Heart
And there confront the Self in the five sheaths hid
Are only students answering out of books
Clever questions raised by books,
And not true seekers of the Self.

835. Renouncing this phenomenal world
Which seems to, but does not, exist
We gain (the great ones say) the Self,
The Awareness shining all unseen.

755. If without wasting time one starts
And keeps up steady self-enquiry,
One’s life becomes at once ennobled,
One is no more this wretched body,
And there wells up within one’s heart
A sea of bliss supreme.

647. If you refrain from looking at this
Or that or any other object
Then by that overpowering look
Into absolute Being you become
Yourself the boundless space of pure
Awareness which alone is Real
Being.

432. …If you observe
Awareness steadily, this Awareness
Itself as Guru will reveal
The Truth.

291. For those who seek eternal life
The assurance stands: the senses five
Retracted tortoise-like, the mind
Turned homeward to the Self and there
Abiding is pure bliss.

130. When will the fool, who thinks the body
And the world are permanent and clings
To them, find peace? Only when this
Folly leaves him and he trusts
And like a limpet clings to That,
The Self within. Thenceforward he
Shall never more know pain.

390. Without abiding in calm solitude
As the Being-Awareness shining in the heart,
To tear oneself away and look for truth
Fussing everywhere without,
Is like searching with a lighted torch
For a diver in deep water sunk.

420. The knowledge that ignores the Self,
The knower, and holds as true the field
Perceived, is but illusive folly…

293. Know that these countless things are pictures
In a dream and none is real
Apart from the beholder. Shun
This phantom world of names and forms
And dwell in the pure, blissful being
Of Awareness.

697. …Not an iota of the past can touch
Those who dwell unceasingly
In the firmament of Self-Awareness,
Vast, boundless, frontierless and full.

921. None can confront and overcome
The mind. Ignore it, then, as something
False, unreal. Know the Self
As the real ground and stand firm-rooted
In it. Then the mind’s movements will
Gradually subside.

898. When we with mind serene and still
Experience pure unbroken Being,
That is samadhi. In this state
The mind, abiding as the Self
Supreme, shares God’s own Being.

399. If in this manner day after day
Practice is maintained, the mind
Is rendered flawless, pure, the quest
Becomes so easy that the moment
It begins the Heart is reached.

877. Only when the world-illusion goes
Does the blissful light of Self arrive.
Life lived in this bright, blissful light
Is our true, natural life. Other ways
Of life are full of trouble and fear.

974. Unbroken Self-awareness is
The true, bright path of devotion or love.
Knowledge of our inherent nature
As indivisible Bliss supreme
Wells up as Love

418. The only true and full awareness
Is awareness of awareness.
Till awareness is awareness
Of itself, it knows no peace at all.

Who or what does Self-Enquiry? Why still the mind? Isn’t this more mind? More beliefs? Neo-advaita | Radical non-duality vs Traditional teachings and practices

water oceanic

Question: There’s no one to purify the mind. Believing there’s a practice to attain a purified mind is just more mind…Considering you speak from the position of a teacher, come forward and explain who or what would do the practice you propose, who needs or benefits from a still mind, why does a mind need to be stilled and who or what (in time) initiates or ends the practice? We might find your answers are also beliefs.

Tom: ok, challenge accepted 🙂

First of all what I say cannot be proved by words alone, but it can be known through direct experience. So on the face of it, what I write below could seem to be just an elaborate set of beliefs. Hence I do not usually try to convince people what I say is correct, as most people will not accept what I share unless they themselves have had certain experiences/insights or are otherwise drawn to the teaching. What I say also doesn’t necessarily seem to make sense to the mind, at least not initially, but when it is put into practice, then it starts to make sense as one has a direct insight/seeing into the teachings and how they work.

As one more and more puts the teachings into practice, one starts to see the truth in the teachings for oneself, and so one’s faith in the teachings increases. This encourages the practice with greater zeal which eventually yields results (ie. ending of suffering, also called direct realisation) – suffering falls away and faith is no longer required.

Who or what practices Self-Enquiry?

To answer your questions: basically, the teachings are heard by and put into practice/ initiated by the ego-mind in most cases, although it can happen spontaneously too. This is true of any teaching or practice (or non-teaching) by the way. The ego-mind is actually a fictitious entity, but due to ignorance, it is taken to be ‘me’, and it is this fictitious ego-mind (that is taken to be real) that usually engages with the teaching and practice (or any teaching or practice). More on this below.

Maya

The true Self that you are is ever-realised, ever at peace and needs no teaching, but this is apparently not realised due to Maya. Maya is a mysterious projection of mind-ignorance that creates the illusion of multiplicity and of limitation, usually in the form of the belief ‘I am the body-mind’ and ‘I live in a real separate world that contains other things and other people’. This ignorance-belief or ego-mind creates suffering as the ‘me’ believes it is limited, vulnerable and so subject to birth, death, illness, etc, and that other people such as family and loved ones are also subject to the same. This inevitably causes repeated cycles of stress and suffering.

Suffering and its continuance

For most, as long as attention is directed to objects such as mind, body, world, thoughts, feelings, sensations, this sense of individuality or ‘me’ is perpetuated, and suffering and confusion keep on coming back despite perhaps having had insights into non-duality or other similar insights.

The remedy

The teaching proposes a remedy – in this teaching it is called self-enquiry. This teaching is the only remedy I know of that works, although it may go by other names. All other teachings/non-teachings/etc may give rise to temporary insights (for the mind), but the habitual egotism-ignorance tends to arise again and with it confusion and suffering also arise, leading to further cycles of dissatisfaction and further seeking. The essential teaching I share has remained unchanged for several thousand years, is recorded in the Upanishads and is the essence of all true spiritual teachings that lead to realisation/end of suffering. I think the reason it has stuck around for so long is because it actually works! The teaching may also arise spontaneously, as the entire teaching is actually inscribed upon each of our hearts, so to speak.

So Self Enquiry is usually initiated by the mind, but actually, because the mind turns in on itself during the practice, the mind disappears and what is left is True Self only. Over time, the ego-ignorance-mind is undercut and eventually withers and dies.

Why bother?

You asked why this practice-teaching should be engaged with. The reason this is done is to end suffering – everyone naturally wants to be happy and without suffering, and my experience is that for most people, without this teaching-practice, or something very similar, suffering, confusions and egotism continue. Of course, it follows that if you are not suffering, then you don’t need the remedy, the teaching-practice.

Doesn’t this just perpetuate the mind?

A common objection is that any activity of the ego-mind will simply continue the ego-mind. Whist this is often true, it is not always true, and it is not true in Self-enquiry. Ie. the notion that any activity of the ego/mind will always lead to more ego/mind activity is actually an ideological belief that is not rooted in evidence or direct experience. This is because mind is actually a fiction, so when it is turned to attend to the true self, it disappears. This can be fairly easily experienced for oneself with a little practice and guidance.

A teaching that actually works!

Again, all this above could all just be an elaborate theory, a convoluted belief system, and unless one is genuinely open to the teaching, it may remain just that – another theory amongst other theories. But when put into practice, my contention, and that of many others over several centuries, is that it actually works.

Eventually it is seen that the teaching is also more illusion, as is the idea of a teacher or teaching or seeker, but the teaching is an illusion that leads one out of illusion. How so? A metaphor is given of someone who dreams of a lion, and the roar of the lion wakes him from the dream – the lion (the teacher-teaching-practice) was also a fiction/illusion but it led to ‘waking up’ or realisation. I hope this answers helps you understand what I share.

If you are interested, the path is explained in full here: The Entire Path Explained: the Path of Sri Ramana

It is also explained in brief here: IN BRIEF: HOW TO ATTAIN LIBERATION (MOKSHA)