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.