Last week spoke about the Second Noble Truth – Suffering has causes. The causes for suffering are craving, wanting and ignorance. Generally, cravings are for sense pleasures that are only momentarily satisfied. Then the craving returns and along with it the suffering. It’s never satisfied. Wanting, we know from several past Satsang’s, always causes suffering. The most simple way to see this is notice that you have never suffered anything you didn’t want. And, when you get what you want you still suffer because you are afraid to lose it. Then, of course, you go on to wanting something else and the cycle of begins again. Lastly, ignorance. Ignorance does not mean stupidity. It means not knowing. Ironically, many people are ignorant to the meaning of term ignorance. We are ignorant to the way our mind works and as such the mind can cause great suffering. It is through understanding, contemplation, inquiry and meditation that we dissolve ignorance and see things clearly as they are. Oddly, once you obtain understanding you don’t need it (understanding) any more. Realization is not a concept or idea – it something you must experience for yourself. That’s why practice is so important. When you find the key to unlock the door in your mind you can throw it away. The door is unlocked forever.
The simple foundation of Realization is to begin to realize your thoughts are not you. Just because a thought arises in your mind doesn’t make it important. What makes them either important or unimportant is you. The only way to escape the power that thoughts can have on you is to realize that they are not you and they have no inherent importance.
So, who are you? Or better said, what are you? Are you your body? Your mind? Your hair? Your toes? Your cells? Your organs? Your organs can be replaced like parts on a car yet you don’t change. What does this tell you about your body? Every cell in your body is replaced over a 7 year period. Some of them several times in that period. Physically, you are literally not the same person your were 7 years ago. Thoughts come and go too . And, the moment you forget them they can no longer trouble you. What does this tell you about your thoughts? These things come and go but, do you come and go with them?
The answer is of course, no. We have falsely identified ourselves as the sum of these aggregates that clearly come and go. This is part of our ignorance. We falsely believe ourselves to be the mind/body. When a thought arises in the mind or a sensation in the body, who or what knows it’s there? The difficulty here is that we are attempting to describe the indescribable – the ineffable. There are no words to describe that which is simply aware of all the things formerly described. Some call it Soul, Atman, Higher Self or True Self. Those words are too esoteric for me. The word that mostly closely describes it but still fails to be complete is awareness.
This awareness is not “Tom”. Tom is a name or label that got stuck to me when I first awoke on this planet. “Tom” developed into and idea, a concept, of myself. That concept is my ego. My story of myself. The story that has been crafted by my mind and edited by other minds. A story that is constantly changing. It consists of ideas, likes, dislikes, craving, wanting, thinking and emoting. Me (the awareness) was born into this world and unconsciously arose as an idea never realizing that “I” was the one observing it all. My mind had been programed like a computer and I was simply acting out that programming. Much of that programming caused suffering. That’s what led me to the spiritual path to realization. As “Tom” I suffered. As I realize myself as awareness I am now the one who is aware of the suffering but not really experiencing it. Just watching it. Just observing it.
If it can be observed can it be you? This question alone holds within it the ability to snap you out of conditioning – the conditioned, programed mind. When you contemplate this and realize that you are the observer and all the thoughts and sensations are the observed you are free. You are free because you realize these things cannot be you and you can simply look away from them … To ignore them and just be. You allow life to unfold in its own natural way without your egos judgements of how thing “should” be. You are no longer troubled by the illusions and imagination of your mind. Let the mind play. You sit and watch. And, when you get board of the silliness, let it go.
You are not “becoming” the observer. You cannot become that which you already are. You are simply letting go of everything you know cannot be you to be left with that which cannot be let go of. That which cannot be let go of is not a concept or idea. There is nothing to figure out. Just be. Just enjoy what’s so.
Can the observer be observed? Contemplate this. I’ve given you enough answers. I don’t want you to know these things conceptually in your mind and believe them because I told them to you and you trust me. You must realize them for yourself – not believe them. Believe nothing here. Question everything. If something does not resonate with your own heart let it go. You are your own guide … Your own guru. Trust yourself. Study, contemplate and practice until you can see clearly for yourself what I am describing to you here. Then you will know the answer to this last question.
With Love & Kindness,
The Peaceful Minds Center