Poetry: O! Murderous Heart!

Allow the mind to sink,
down down down,
down into the Heart.

Allow the mind to rest,
allow the thoughts to still,
and allow the Joy and Bliss,
(which is none other than the purifying Heart itself)
to well up.

Allow this to happen,
quite naturally,
and paradoxically with no expectation.

The mind quietens,
and temporarily,
the self-centred egoic process does not exist.

With repeated cessation of the mind,
the self-image-centred ego is submerged,
then through time it is weakened,
and eventually it is consumed by the Gracious Heart.

Then all is left is Purity,
just Purity Purity Purity;
the resplendent Heart,
Over-spilling with Joy.

The Energy,
seemingly boundless,
everywhere and everything…

…How can you speak of this?

My words are uttered in poetry,
not prose,
destined two fall upon the attentive ears
of one who has already discovered
the intoxication of the Self.

O! Murderous Heart!
You have smothered me,
Warmly and tenderly,
In the heat of your Love,
Where am I to be found?!

O!Words cannot describe Your wonder,
Your effulgence,
Your light,
Your love…

…words fill me with glory
Yours and Mine;
our glory is but One Glory:
it is Me,
and it has nothing to do with me;
it is Mine,
and yet it is not mine;
it is here,
but it is no particular thing;
it is everything,
but not even everything.

Yes…words cannot touch this,
yet these words spew forth,
like an idiot talking to a drunkard,
somehow it all makes perfect sense.

Am I the body? Am I not the body?

This post is continued from a prior post: Integrating knowledge, spontaneous action

Q. I’ve been reading Ramana Maharshi recently and he keeps on saying ‘I’m not the body’.

Tom: Yes, that’s right.

Q: But I don’t really hear you talk about not being the body.

Tom: Yes, that’s because it’s a ‘thorn’. Remember the phrase I’ve mentioned: ‘Use a thorn to remove and thorn and throw them both away’?

Q: Yes, I’ve heard you say that. Please can you explain it again?

Tom: Sure. The first thorn represents a wrong concept that is active in your mind and causes suffering, just as a thorn in your foot causes suffering. You then take a second thorn and use it as a tool to remove the first thorn, but then you throw them both away. If you don’t throw away the second thorn, then you now have a new thorn (concept) that will cause you to suffer.

Ramana often talks about rooting out the ‘I-am-the-body’ concept, and the concept ‘I-am-not-the-body’ is just to negate the initial thorn. But then you throw it away too.

Q: So I am not the body is not true either?

Tom: Exactly. Or, lets put it like this: for a moment just forget what Ramana says, forget what I say – for all you know we could both be talking a load of rubbish! Afterall, lots of intelligent people believe strange and silly things, and we could be no different, right? So forget what we say.

So let me ask you a question: do you know for sure that you are a body?

Q: Well it often seems like I am a body…

Tom: But do you know for sure?

Q: No, not for sure.

Tom: Good. Now, do you know for sure that you are not the body?

Q: No, not for sure.

Tom: Good. That’s our basic experience. We don’t know either way. The body appears and follows us around, as it were, but we don’t know exactly what it means. Is the body me? Is it not me? The truth is I don’t know. That’s it. That’s the truth. We don’t know. Isn’t that right?

Q: But when I say to myself ‘I am not the body’, it feels so good, it just feels really nice.

Tom: Yes, of course, because you are negating the concept (I-am-the-body) that causes so much suffering. It’s a good thing to practice, it’s a great practice in fact. If it works for you I recommend you practice it.

Q: Oh, I see, so it’s a practice.

Tom: Exactly. We are not saying don’t practice. We may need the second thorn, that’s why it is there, that’s why it is taught. So use that thorn, use that tool, practice ‘I am not the body’. When it has done its work, when it has weeded out the ‘I am the body’ concept, then you won’t need it any more and you can throw it away too.

Q: OK, I got it now. Wow, there are so many thorns, aren’t there?

Tom: Yes!

Q: I often get confused about whether or not the world is a dream or illusion or not, but that’s just another thorn too, right?

Tom: Exactly. ‘The world is an illusion’ – it’s a very powerful thorn, one that benefited me a lot whilst I was seeking. But again, do you know for sure if the world is an illusion?

Q: No, not for sure…I know what you’re going to ask next…

Tom: …And do you know for sure that the world is not an illusion?

Q: No, not for sure . I knew you’d say that.

Tom: (laughing) That’s it! We don’t know either way! It’s so simple – Got it?

Q: (laughing) Got it.

Tom: so you can practice these, all these thorns. All these thorns are concepts. Use them – they are most definately useful – use them if you need them. The concepts are used to weed out the beliefs. You may need to practice them for weeks or months, but when their work is done, and the suffering has dissipated, throw them away.

Also see Ranjit Maharaj talk about this.


Ramana Maharshi: Laugh and cry!

ramana umbrella.jpg

The realized person weeps with the weeping,

laughs with the laughing,

plays with the playful,
sings with those who sing,
keeping time to the song.

What does he lose?

Tom’s comments:

Many truth seekers suppose that the ‘fully self-realised guru’ would act in a certain way:

speak, walk, dress in certain ways,
never angry, always kind,
never unhappy, ever-blissful
pure and faultless

What a prison!
Freedom does not care for that!

In Freedom our humanity naturally shines

Also see All exist in me

Turiya – the fourth state, or is it?

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In my recent interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump, Rick asked me about Turiya, the 4th state of consciousness.

According to Vedanta, Turiya is that state of consciousness which lies beyond the 3 states of consciousness that we all ordinarily experience, namely the waking state, the dream state and the deep sleep state. In experiencing Turiya directly there is the possibility of liberation.

You can listen to our exchange on the video below. After the interview I decided to see what Ramana Maharshi had said about Turiya and was relieved to find that he agreed with me 🙂 😛 (at least on this occasion – he probably agrees with Rick on other occasions!)

Here is what Ramana had to say about Turiya:

From Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talk 353:

Questioner: What is turiya?

Ramana Maharshi: There are three states only, the waking, dream and sleep. Turiya is not a fourth one; it is what underlies these three. But people do not readily understand it. Therefore it is said that this is the fourth state and the only Reality. In fact it is not apart from anything, for it forms the substratum of all happenings; it is the only Truth; it is your very Being. The three states appear as fleeting phenomena on it and then sink into it alone. Therefore they are unreal.

This view is also the traditional view of Turiya in vendanta as expounded by Gaupada in his Mandukya Karika.

So does this mean that Rick’s view is wrong? I don’t think so. His view is also a useful view, but in a slightly different way. Thinking of Turiya as a 4th state distinct from the others can also be a beneficial teaching when used in the teachings of a skilled teacher with a genuine realisation. Rick’s notion of entering a (nirvikalpa) samadhi and this having a purifying effect on the waking state is also a valid way of approaching this realisation/freedom.

It’s important to note that these teachings are ways of describing our experience. They are concepts, and form conceptual ways of carving up our experience with the intended effect of leading the seeker to liberation. They are not intended to be based in physiology or  ‘science’ in my view.

The point of these specific teachings/concepts is to point out the awareness-consciousness that does not come and go, regardless of what is happening. Whether or not they are successful in achieving that end is the test of how good the teaching is, not how well it is based in human physiology or scientific observations. It is therefore impossible to say one teaching is better than the other – the teaching that works is the ‘best’ teaching for that situation (this is the notion of expedient means in Buddhism)

Eventually, when you realise that consciousness is the essence of you, and remain as that, unidentified as body or mind, the illusory sense of doership is eventually destroyed. With it, the dualistic notion of a consciousness that is in some way distinct, underlying and permanent is also destroyed. What you are left with is what is already here: this, nameless, beyond words (and inclusive of words).

For a more detailed discussion of Turiya please see here:


Ramana Maharshi: Self-inquiry (atma vichara) and doership

Ramana Maharshi sitting

“The differences are the result of the sense of doership.

The fruits will be destroyed if the root is destroyed.

So relinquish the sense of doership.

The differences will vanish and the essential reality will reveal itself.

In order to give up the sense of doership one must seek to find out who the doer is.

Inquire within. The sense of doership will vanish.

Vichara (inquiry) is the method.”

Taken from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, talk no. 429

Tom’s comments:

The root of suffering is the sense of doership, the sense that there is a doer-entity, the sense that you are a doer. The root is the notion ‘I am a doer’, the fruit is suffering and duality.

Let go of this sense of doership, either by simply relaxing and letting go, or, as suggested above, look and find out what the doer is. Look at your own direct experience: can you see the doer? Can you feel the doer? What does the doer look and feel like exactly? Where does the doer begin and end? How big is the doer? Where is the doer located?

When you look, as you keep on noticing, you may start to realise/see that there is no actual experience of a doer at all. All there are are sensations, feelings and thoughts. Specifically there may be the thought ‘I am the doer’ or ‘this is the doer’, but no actual doer is seen/experienced apart from the thought. The doer is seen to be an imagined entity. The doer (ie. ego) is revealed to be a fiction.

Ramana uses the word ‘reality’ above. What is reality? It’s just what’s left over when the sense of doership is seen through. It’s just what’s left over when false illusions are seen for what they are: false.

Ribhu Gita – Chapter 18


Listen and read the Song of Ribhu. Let the words wash over you. These words are not to be analysed and contemplated; they are to sink into your bones and marrow and stir that Ancient Knowing that is already there within you.

Read, chant, have faith (let go into presence) and be free!

1. Ribhu: Listen again the the supreme knowledge that confers liberation immediately. All is Brahman alone, always. All is tranquility – there is no doubt.

Continue reading

Ramana Maharshi: The 4 paths to freedom (the 4 yogas)

In this passage below Ramana Maharshi talks about the four traditional Hindu paths to ending suffering or moksha (liberation/freedom). The four paths are traditionally called the paths of knowledge (jnana), love or devotion (bhakti), meditation (raja yoga), and doing good works (karma).

Almost every spiritual tradition around the world will fit into one of more of these four paths Continue reading