Ignorance, Egotism, Desire, Aversion, Attachment
THE TWO TREES OF LIFE
In this soul-school Planet Earth, the human experience is often referred to as "like a tree". There are two sides to this tree, which is actually the same tree expressed in two ways;
- avidya: the tree of ignorance, darkness, and evil
- vidya: the tree of spiritual enlightenment, knowledge, and wisdom
The letter "a" put infront of a sanskrit word generally means "not". So, "vidya" means enlightenment and "avidya" means ignorance (not-enlightenment). The sanskrit word "vidya" is very specific concerning the sort of knowledge and wisdom it is referring to; it means "spiritual knowledge and wisdom".
Both trees grow from just two seeds;
- the seed of ignorance (avidya)
- the seed of the desire for spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment (vidya)
The entire work of HELM and this website is to help us identify the tree of ignorance within us, and to understand and replace it with the tree of knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment - understanding, purifying, healing, and balancing the seven chakras. The seven chakra system of the human experience IS the tree of life, and it can be in a variety of states, from fully in darkness and ignorance, some enlightenment (goodness) and some ignorance, and fully enlightened, fully good, fully wise.
The page will help us understand the very SEED OF IGNORANCE that create ignorance in the tree of life, and what to do about it.
If you can understand this one sutra then the path of enlightenment will be so much easier for you. Please try and understand this one remarkable enlightening sutra.
DESIRE: WANT, mOTIVATION
- Biological and psychological needs and wants
- Choice and preference
- Needs and Luxuries
- Request and demand
AVERSION: Dislike, avoid
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; 2:8
"Aversion is that which follows identification with painful experiences."
- A fixed, intense dislike; repugnance.
- The cause or object of such a feeling.
- The avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus.
- The act of turning away or averting.
A feeling of extreme repugnance accompanied by avoidance or rejection. A feeling of repugnance toward something with a desire to avoid or turn from it. A tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation.
Yoga Sutras of Patanjali; 2:7
"Attachment is that which follows identification with pleasurable experiences."
DESIRE, AVERSION, AND ATTACHMENT
The real individual, The spiritual soul, is aiming to experience love, like, desire and life WITHOUT ATTACHMENT. We are aiming to experience all areas of human life - as represented by the seven chakra system - in a healthy, light, and unattached way - knowing that the deepest identity of all life is the one, eternal, unified Self.
The dynamics (how it works) of desire, aversion, and attachment and beautifully explained by The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Book 2: Sutra 3)
By understanding the dynamics of desire, aversion, attachment, soul realization, and Self Realization, we can learn how to play the game of life in a light, loving, responsible, yet unattached way, knowing that ultimately the entire Creation is the Mind/Imagination of The One Eternal True Self.
Non-attachment does not mean denial, nihilism, or not caring about life (sloth).
Non-attachment means learning to live lightly with VirtuePeaceLoveWisdom, Enlightenment, non-greed/non-miserliness/non-hoarding, wisely share without being selfishly possessive, and helping others find the Freedom of Self-Realization (Spiritual Truth) and VirtuePeaceLoveWisdom.
Natural and Unnatural Desires
The physical body (including the senses) is innocent and natural. It has natural desires and aversions, eg; the desire for wholesome food and the aversion to danger and harm). Yet the mind can imagine anything and make a desire out of it, eg; the desire to eat a creamcake or smoke tobacco although the Doctor has warned against it. These unnatural desires ARE JUST THOUGHTS and thoughts can be ignored, banished, and changed, yet this REQUIRES PRACTICE if we are to successfully master our thoughts.
Start with small things and then move onto more challenging issues then you will be successful.
To make our life easier we need to PURIFY OUR BODY, HEART (emotions), AND MIND. This leads to CONSCIOUS MASTERY OF THE ENTIRE INDIVIDUAL. The mind becomes our tool, the soul is in control, and we are never again A SLAVE OF THE MIND.
Because selfish pleasure seeking desires are just thoughts, they can never be satisfied by the action that the thought refers to. We can never satiate a selfish pleasure by the action because the mind repeatedly generates the same selfish pleasure seeking thoughts, until we build up the willpower to stop the habit.
If your desires are not met - Don't get upset
When we have a desire (often selfish) and we don't get the object of the desire, then we often feel:
- Hatred for those that have got in the way of our desire
- Envy and jealousy towards those that got that which we desired
- Revenge towards those that got it or got in our way of getting it
- And so on...
A whole list of negative, harmful, and destructive attitudes and emotions.
Yet, if we can drop all of that, be happy for those that got it, and let go (be unattached) of our desire and aversion, we can once again find our inner happiness and peaceful equilibrium of body, heart, mind, and soul. We can learn how to MASTER OUR DESIRE, AVERSION, AND ATTACHMENT.
Understanding and overcoming the delusion of Egoism
All forms of social and behavioural ignorance, viciousness, and selfishness are a symptom of an individual's egocentric separation from others, life, heart, soul, the world, and the deepest identity with The Totality of Existence. This delusion, born from lack of suitable education upon this matter, is explained in the following famous sutra in the raja yoga classic textbook, "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali."
It states quite clearly in "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali":
Yoga Sutras: Book Two
"AVIDYASMITA RAGA DVESABHINIVESAH KLESAH"
Avidya = ignorance; asmita = egotism; raga = attachment; dvesha = Suffering/hatred; abhinivesah = clinging to bodily life; klesah = obstacles.
Here are the five obstacles (klesas) that will now be explained one by one in the following sutras. The order is also significant.
- AVIDYA: Because of ignorance concerning the deepest true identity of the individual as the Eternal Totality of the True Self, the individual falls from this spiritual understanding.
- ASMITA: Because the individual falls from spiritual understanding, atheistic egotism arises. Egotism is the deluded state of separation from heart, soul, virtue, wisdom, love, life, enlightenment, and the True Self. It is the number one problem (mental delusion) for all souls having this human experience and it is from this atheistic egotism that all other deluded and vicious states of mind arise.
- RAGA: Because we, the individuals, are ignorant of or forget about being the True Self and believe that we are the body and worldly character, we get selfishly attached to things in this life on Earth.
- DVESHA: Suffering! Because sometimes the things we are selfishly attached to do not come or are taken away we experience psycho-emotional reactions and responses to our selfish desires and aversion concerning the things of this world, reactions like fear, frustration, disappointment, dejection, rejection, bitterness, unhappiness, anger, envy, jealousy, wrath, sloth, sorrow, anxiety, and hatred for those who got in the way of our selfish (egocentric) atheistic desires and aversion.
- ABHINIVESAH: Because we are attached to things and are afraid of death (due to ignorance of the True Self), there is clinging (attachment) to life in the body and all the experiences of this bodily human life. This clinging creates more suffering and makes us miserable, narcissistic, and depressed. We fail to realize the vaster and immortal nature of Existence and our deepest identity with It.
SEVEN DEADLY SINS AS FORMS OF HATRED
When we have desires and aversions and our experience of those things is threatened, then we experience hatred towards those that are threatening them.
In the following table, we learn that the seven deadly sins are actually forms of hatred aimed at those threatening our experiences of our desires and aversions.
|SIN/BAD BEHAVIOUR||FORM OF HATRED|
|Hatred towards learning more about life|
|Hatred towards the good fortune of others|
|WRATH||Hatred in general|
|Hatred towards the good fortune of others|
|Hatred towards allowing others their fair share|
|Hatred towards moderation (temperance)|
|SLOTH||Hatred towards activity|
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2:6, proceeds with our enlightenment.
2:6; DRG DARSANA SAKTYOR EKATMATEVASMITA
The ego is a false reflection of The True Self that arises due to spiritual/transcendental ignorance (avidya). The True Self will always be falsely represented by the ego until our avidya is removed. I often refer to these two "I"s as the little "i" (the ego) and the capital "I" (the One Real Eternal Total Self). What is the difference? Just a small dot, a little blemish of ego. The capital "I" is just one pure stroke, just as the highest truth is always simple and pure. What limits us and makes us little? Just the dot. Without the dot we are always great, always the capital "I". All spiritual practices (sadhana) are designed just to remove that dot of egoism (asmita) that arises from spiritual ignorance (avidya).
Atheistic egotism (Asmita) is therefore the misidentification of the power and creative omnipotence of the Seer - The One Eternal True Self - with the Seen (The Creation/Shakti) - the body, mind, world, objects, and universe of variety, diversity, and multiplicity that are within The Creation.
In other words...
It matters not what the droplet (the individual) "thinks" about the Ocean (The Totality of Existence) - the ocean is the ocean and it creates all the droplets as we are all part of it. So in Truth, there is only the Ocean and all appearances of variety, diversity, and multiplicity occur in a small part of it. What people call this part where all the variety happens is irrelevant as "the word is not the thing", thus here are some of the traditional names given to the "variety/multiplicity" bit of the Self (The Totality of Existence, The One Ocean of All and Everything):
- The Creation
- The Mind/Imagination of The One Eternal True Self
So, we understand that the One, True Self (as Ocean, as the Totality of All) has a part of it (The Creation/Shakti) that gives It the experience of multiplicity, variety, and diversity, and we also realize that this cannot be infinite as only the Self is infinite, and the variety must be finite as it is within the infinite. So the variety bit must have a finite number of patterns that it arranges itself in. You, me, all individuals, this moment, and this universe are one pattern that this Creation takes, one of an almost infinite number of patterns. So we exist eternally as part of this Creation bit and all experiences of variety etc..
So, when a buddha (or enlightened being) says "It (this experience of variety and multiplicity) is all in Your Mind (capital "Y" and capital "M") that enlightened Being means:
"The finite experiences of variety, diversity, and multiplicity are a part of Yourself (as the eternal and mysterious Totality of Existence) that we can call Your Mind, Imagination, or The Creation.
Thus, You (The mysterious and eternal Totality of Existence) are NOT restricted, identified, nor limited to any of the experiences that occur in this area of Yourself (Mind/Creation), and all this confusion, uncertainty, doubt, and misery are actual because of Your (The Mysterious Allness) attachment to the things in Your Mind (creation, shakti, mysterious stuff), and thus Your misidentification with this small and dreamlike part of Yourself.
When You (O' Lord of It All) awaken from this ignorance (Avidya) (of Your Real Self) and thus attachment to the dreamlike quality of this Shakti/Mind, then You will be re-established in Your Eternal Self."
Avidya: Spiritual Ignorance
Avidya, spiritual ignorance, is the very real root of our deep spiritual suffering. Avidya is that which causes us to misidentify with the body, believing that it, rather than our soul, is our true identity. Avidya causes us to misperceive the nature of reality, the truth of Gods Divine Law of Karma (action and consequence), the experience of the soul in the world.
Avidya hides the reality of the supreme and total nature of the True Self. Avidya prevents us from realising our soul and the eternal nature of phenomena and experience. Avidya hides the true power and magic of our heart and mind and locks us into fear and habitual thinking, feeling, behaviour, and perception. Let us hasten to educate ourselves out of the dark cloud of the spiritual ignorance of Avidya.
Vidya, Enlightenment: Freedom from mis-identification with the individual
The individual is an experience and you are an experiencer not the experience. As the experiencer you exist on many levels. You exist as the individual, also as a non-physical soul whose life is not dependent upon a physical body, and also, at the deepest level, as the eternal experiencer of everything - The Total Self (God, Tao, Allah, Buddha, etc...).
When we say "life" with a lowercase "l", then we are referring to the life of an individual entity: a person, an animal, a plant, an entire biological ecosystem like that on Earth. All the little "lives", including the life of a universe, occur within the bigger "Life" (with a capital "L") - the Eternal Totality of all phenomena of variety, diversity, and multiplicity, and also the unmanifest from which all manifest things arise. The area within the Totality that the experiences and phenomena of variety and diversity occur is often called "The Creation" or in sanskrit "Shakti."
Egoism (asmita) which is the product of ignorance (avidya) is the deluded state of mind that an individual may experience that makes the individual feel separate from the Totality - the bigger "Life" entity. Egoism is a psychological structure that temporarily confuses an individual and gives rise to this painful state of mind of separation.
Avidya and asmita are overcome by studying and considering the subject of spirituality and "transcending the identification with the individual." This is the ultimate purpose of the HELM website. I hope you find it useful.
Enlightenment (Vidya) brings freedom from the mis-identification with the individual and the little "lives" of the world and all universes. Enlightenment brings the freedom of knowing deeper levels of existence including the soul and the undivided Spirit of All: The Total Self (God, Allah, Buddha). There is a deep connection and relationship between the individual and the Totality. This is for each individual to explore within the privacy of their own life and it is not necessary to agree or belong to an organised Religion. It is the privilege of the individual to decide how they will form their private relationship with the deeper levels of existence.
As this is the primary and fundamental spiritual realization then it is worth repeating.
It is very clearly stated in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
Yoga Sutras: Book Two.
AVIDYASMITA RAGA DVESABHINIVESAH KLESAH
Avidya = ignorance; asmita = egotism; raga = attachment; dvesha = hatred; abhinivesah = clinging to bodily life; klesah = obstacles.
Ignorance, egotism, attachment, vice, and clinging to bodily life are the five obstacles to Enlightenment.
Here are the five obstacles (klesas) that will now be explained one by one in the following sutras. The order is also significant.
AVIDYA: Because of ignorance of true nature of Self (God/Buddha nature/Self/Mystery Ocean), the Self misidentifys with the experience of being an individual (body/soul).
ASMITA: Because the Self is blinded by it's identification with Maya (Mind/Shakti/Creation) atheistic egotism arises (the belief that the Self is the body/mind/soul)
RAGA: Because Self forgets about being Self and believe that It is the body and worldly character, It gets selfishly attached to things in The Mind (Maya/Shakt/Creation)
DVESHA: Because Self misidentifies with the individual sometimes the things we (Self as the multitude of individuals) are selfishly attached to do not come or are taken away we experience psycho-emotional reactions and responses like fear, anger, envy, jealousy, and hatred for those who got in the way of our selfish (egocentric) atheistic desires and aversion.
ABHINIVESAH: Because we are attached to things and are afraid of death (due to ignorance of true nature AS SELF), there is clinging (attachment) to life in the body and all the experiences of this bodily human life. This clinging creates more suffering and makes the individual egotistical, miserable, narcissistic, and depressed. We fail to realize the vaster and immortal nature of Existence and our deepest identity with It.
Atheistic egotism is therefore the misidentification of the power and creative omnipotence of the Seer (The One Eternal True Self) with the Seen - the body, mind, world, objects, and universe of variety, diversity and multiplicity that are within The Creation.
- Each soul is a droplet in the Infinte Ocean of The One Eternal Real Self -
- Unenlightened Selfish Egotism is the center of all confusion, delinquency, and vice -
Bhagavad Gita: 7.11
"I (The One Eternal True Self) am the power in strength, that is untainted by passion or personal desire. In fact, I am the desire in all beings when the desire is in accord with dharma."
When our desires are not in accordance with sattva and dharma, then they are expressed in the the selfish, egotistical modes of tamas (sloth, aversion) and rajas (addiction, grasping, greed, lust).
The healthy and integrated functioning and expressions of the seven centers of the individual are good when expressed within the mode of Virtue-Wisdom-Peace-Love (sattva), but turn bad when expressed in selfish, egotistical, ignorant, and abusive ways. (Tamas and Rajas)
This is a lesson that all souls must learn.
SELFISH POSSESSIVE ATTACHMENT
Attachment drops away when you know who you really are
- Yoga sutras of patanjali, 2:3: All selfish attachment arises out of egoism (asmita) that is the product of spiritual ignorance (avidya).
- Bhagavad Gita, 13:21: "The One True Self (the unmanifest), resting ever present in The Creation, experiences the play (leela) of the Creation. However, attachment to any of the Creation and the experiences within it, blinds The One True Self to His own true nature."
In summary, when you realise that your deepest identity (the deepest identity of all sentient beings) is the One Real Absolute Self then there is no need to be possessively attached to anything. The Creation is a small part of yourSelf and is eternally available to you to experience everything within it - eternally recreatable and re-experiencable.
Appreciate, like, care for, and love all things in The Creation. The variety, diversity, the experience of individuality, and multiplicity (the experience of being many individuals), but always know who you really are - the One Permanent Eternal Self. When you understand this then this knowing doesn't change, it becomes your Real Identity.
Like any spiritual realization, non-attachment must be implemented with WISDOM. Each individual has certain needs that need to be met in order for it to survive and flourish. Being non-attached is a deep realisation that in no where means the abandonment of relationships or possessions. It means to be able to live, surrounded by everything you need and love, and allowing all these things their sensible freedoms, and understanding that we can be blissfully happy without being selfishly and possessively attached to people and things. This realisation requires to be implemented in a sensible and wise manner.
- Realize that the deepest identity of all individuals is the One Eternal Real Absolute Self
- Know that the individual is not the physical form, the individual is a soul (not the physical body) and that the soul - WHEN PURIFIED - is of the nature of Love-Wisdom-Truth-Peace-Goodness (dharma), it is of the nature of the One True Self (made in the "image" of God).
- Perceive The Creation as an example of your own (as Self) creative power that creates all variety, diversity, and multiplicity
- Know that the soul leaves the body at the time of it's expiration and goes on to live future lives
- Love and share without possessive attachment.
- Enjoy love, freedom, multiplicity and variety.
- Love Wisely
Established as The One Eternal Self - The Creator of The Creation - experience all that is within The Creation with love, care, virtue, affection, dharma, and wisdom, yet without either indifference or attachment, knowing that your deepest identification is The One Eternal Immortal Self - the Creator of The Creation - and that The Creation eternally exists within you, eternally recreatable and repeatable whenever you so desire to experience it.
Selfish, fearful, narcissistic, and possessive attachment is wisely and naturally dropped when we make these realizations to be the center of our life.
THE LESSON OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Alexandar the Great was a successful King and conqueror of many nations. When he was dying on the battlefield, he instructed his General that when he died, his body was to be paraded through his home city in a coffin with his empty hands visible on the outside of the coffin. The meaning behind this gesture is that "we come into the world with empty hands and we leave with empty hands, we can take nothing with us, so there is no point becoming selfishly attached to the things in this world."
Attachment and The Enlightened Soul
The enlightened soul makes no possessive claims concerning the human experience. To the enlightened everything is perceived as been part of one entity, one phenomena, or as some say "everything is an expression of that which creates everything - namely the One Creator." For example, a person may have a beautiful face, so the enlightened think "there is an expression of a beautiful face." Another person may be experiencing great skill and power in the world, so the enlightened think "there is an expression of great skill and power" and so on.
To the enlightened all aspects of the human experience and of the Creation are realized and perceived as ultimately belonging to the Creator and not being the permanent possession of any one individual, even the individual is perceived as being a small example and expression of the creative ability of the One Creator, indeed not only "All it Thine, not mine" but the enlightened individual also thinks "I am Thine" - I am an expression of aspects of the One Creator: Without the Creator there could be no Creation, no universes or worlds, and no individuals like you and I. This is worthy of deep contemplation that should bring about a deep gratitude and appreciation of life and the miracle that is Life on Earth and this human experience.
The enlightened also realise that some experiences are more pleasant than others and thus try to replace negative behavioural attitudes within themselves with more positive and life affirming ones. This is the standard procedure of "Holistic Purification." The enlightened soul also humbly shares the wisdom they have discovered with interested others so that others can also help themselves to experience happier conditions.
The enlightened are happy to help those that would like to experience such things as love, wisdom, goodness, understanding, compassion, and holistic success and happiness in this human experience.
POSSESSIVENESS IS NOT LOVE
When love is not present then life gets unpleasant!
What happens? We fall in love, the beginning is blissful freedom and mutual nourishment, then fear arises, the fear of losing the other and when fear arises then love is hidden, love is no more present, the fear of loss makes us grasp at the object of our love, to grasp tightly through fear of loss, this grasping is called selfish desirous attachment, thus love is hidden by the attachment and the relationship becomes unpleasant and poisonous.
The other person becomes a possession, a possession which we begin to fear losing. In our fear of possible loss we become insecure about our relationship. When we become insecure our thoughts and behavior change and often as reaction to our fear of loss we begin to tighten our grip and seek more control over the other person. We become suspicious of the behavior of the other person, we worry about them straying when we are not around, we may even sabotage other relationships that they have with long time friends and even family in the name of “love” which really is in the name of attachment and our fear of loss.
We can not possess another person; we can not control another person in a relationship without the relationship eventually coming to a breaking point just as the egg does when the grip is too strong.
I think it is important to note that this form of attachment in relationships is exasperated by our culture. Consider this, when we enter a relationship, fall in love and begin to feel attachment, our culture encourages us to brand each other in some way. We announce our exclusivity to the world by labeling each other as boyfriend or girlfriend. We quickly evolve to branding with an engagement ring which is a traditional way in Western culture to proclaim to each other and the world that the relationship has reached a new level of commitment and an intention to marry. While the engagement ring in a healthy relationship is a wonderful symbol, many times the engagement ring is used to protect our attachment by saying to the world back off, this one is mine! We even have a label for each other as we introduce or speak about our betrothed, we find ourselves using the label fiancé. When engaged couples are introducing there intended to other people they are often heard to say, “This is my fiancé”, note the key words here are MY and FIANCE both of which communicate our attachment.
In many ways culturally we are somewhat predisposed to form attachments in our relationships. In the end though, it often this very form of attachment that is the undoing of many a relationship.
Love is patient and kind
Love is not jealous or boastful
Love is not arrogant or rude
Love does not insist on its own way
Love is not irritable or resentful
Love does not rejoice at wrong
Love rejoices in the right, the virtuous, the good, and the wise
When we keep our palm open and allow the other person to feel free, there is no inclination to stray, to run to find their freedom, because they feel free. When we wall a person in and make them feel like a prisoner within our relationship the person does what most prisoners do, they long for freedom and are more inclined to act in ways that express that freedom when they see the opportunity to do so. The sad thing that happens to the person who feels as though they are imprisoned in a possessive relationship is that if they are in that situation long enough, even when the gate is left open they will stay within their prison because they do not feel worthy of freedom or because they fear freedom for freedom is no longer a comfortable place. This is why many people remain in what appears to be a controlling, unhealthy relationship.
Remember today to love each other and in loving each other know that you cannot control another nor be controlled by the love of another. Be thankful for the love you experience and accept that love will remain as long as it wants to and if it goes away that you are thankful for the time it was with you.
In your relationships always be the “open hand” where you give and receive love freely, without conditions. May your heart be the safe harbor for the other people in your life to come to.
If you love somebody then set them free...and if they truly love you then they will return to you...that is the only way to do it. Then you will know and whatever the outcome you will be at peace with it.
FREEDOM FROM ATTACHMENT
- When we realize ourselves as a soul then we know that we are not the physical body
- When we realize the soul then we realize that The One True Self is the Creator of all things
- When we realize our soul then we realize that we live on into future lives that are all provided by The One True Self
- When we are living from love, knowing that we are a soul and not the physical body or activities of the mind, then all selfish and possessive attachment naturally drops away because we realize that everything about this life is a gift from The One True Self's love and that we have life eternal to live in love with each other
The soul is not the body, the mind, nor the worldly character that we are currently experiencing. The person that the soul is experiencing is an experience for learning, sharing, life-enhancement, and enjoyment. Nothing in the world, none of the holistic experiences of pleasure and pain (in any centre) can touch the soul. Knowing this, conquering the fear of death, what is their to be possessively attached to?
The One True Self creates all souls, and provides everything by His creative will and omnipotent love, beauty, and power.
Non-attachment completely centers around understanding the spiritual nature of Soul, love, and The One True Self. When we realize our identity to be a non-physical, spiritual being (the soul) and we realize that our entire existence has its roots in the Source and Substance of The One True Self, then we can relinquish (renounce) possessive attachment and choose love.
We use the qualities and skills of our soul (as love) and that which is on Earth to bring happiness to all others - and this must include helping all souls to realize their spiritual identity to be as one with The One True Self.
Non-attachment does not mean denial, nihilism, or not caring about life. It means the very opposite, because by renouncing selfish egotism and spiritual ignorance, we move completely into love. The soul, that is love, understands that the entire Creation is an expression of The One True Self's love and we dedicate our life to living in that love. As we do this, then automatically all the selfish attachment dissolves. We are not narcissistically or selfishly attached to this earthly life because we are involved with love.
Non-attachment means learning to love and share without being persistently possessive. Helping others find their freedom and enjoying loving and sharing.
The soul interacts with the person we are currently experiencing and with other souls experiencing their world-stage-characters. When we identify with the soul, then we can perceive, experience, and communicate with other souls about their experiences concerning the life of their "world-stage-character." We experience others on the level of the soul. We perceive our own character and the characters of others undergoing the worldly experiences of pleasure, pain, birth, life, old age, and death. From the level of the soul there is no need for sorrow, lamentation, or attachment to anything on Earth or within The Creation (at large).
The centre of all souls, the soul of all souls, is the One indestructible, omnipotent True Self. Each soul is a droplet in the indivisible Ocean of The One True Self.
"He is indivisible, yet He appears (by the power of His creative imagination - maya) to divide (himself) into different creatures. He is seen as the sustainer of all, yet He devours all beings, even as He simultaneously generates them all anew."
"Deep in the hearts of all, there is the light of all lights, forever beyond darkness. This is The One True Self, the goal of all knowledge and what is to be known. Know this to be the absolute eternal Self - the deepest identity of All."
"The One True Self (the unmanifest), resting ever present in The Creation, experiences the play of the Creation. However, attachment to any of the Creation and the experiences within it, blinds The One True Self to His own true nature."
"The supreme Lord is present in your body and mind. He may be recognized as the witness, the ground of being, the experiencer."
"The soul that understands this, is free from attachment to the appearances and experiences of The Creation."
"Whoever perceives the supreme Lord in all beings, who recognized the eternal one amidst the appearances of living and dying, that soul experiences the spiritual truth of The One True Self."
"Fortunate are those souls who are no longer confused by the nature of the Creation and thus are liberated from egotism. Because they realize the omnipotent and indestructible True Self as the whole show, they are free from egotistical attachment and are no longer disturbed by personal desires or by the pairs of opposites such as pleasure and pain."
"A part of my (universal) Self, which is eternal, comes down to this world and attracts nature's qualities. The mind and senses are animated by the individual soul (jiva) which is a part of Me. Thus, I (The One True Self as an individual soul), move about and perceive in this world of nature."
"The true Self, who is the Lord of All, enters and leaves a physical body as an individual soul; when s/he goes on, s/he takes with him the mental and sense capacities (of the individual soul - karma). A small portion of The One True Self, manifests itself as the individual souls, and then expresses itself through the body, senses, mind, world-character, world, and Creation."
Buddha states "attachment is the root of all suffering."
Buddha is saying the same thing, that forgetting our nature as souls, and that the heart of all souls is the indestructible, eternal, and infinite True Self (creator of The Creation), this forgetfulness leads to attachment to the body, mind, and worldly character, and attachment to the experiences in the Creation. We forget our spiritual nature, as soul and as at-one with The One True Self, and we are plunged into attachment to the Creation.
"The dreamer dreams the dream of variety and multiplicity."
What has the dreamer to fear, or get attached to, concerning the dream He is currently experiencing?
When the dreamer realizes Himself as the dreamer, then the nature of the dream becomes known to be that of a dream.
Bhagavad Gita: 7.15
Others, still deluded by ignorance and egotism, lose their discrimination (viveka) and sink to their lower nature (the Fall). Thus, they do evil things (negative karma), deny both goodness and spiritual living, and reject the truth of Self-Realization.
Rejecting the good in life, holistic health, the heart center, and any form of spiritual considerations, many souls fall into gross materialism and/or spiritual egotism. Eventually, after many lives, this purely egotistical approach is realized to be lacking in real satisfaction, devoid of happiness, and the source of re-occuring negative karma, and the soul begins to become interested in Self-Realization (Enlightenment) and spiritual living.
happiness is a state of mind
Everyone wants to be happy, but that happiness we seek is elusive. Our lives are spent seeking happiness through possessions, positions, relationships, attainments, even our addictions. And what do we find? Generally, we get a little happiness mixed with a lot of problems and pain.
A little analysis will show that if we expect permanent happiness through external attainments, we are destined for frustration and failure. This is because everything external is part of nature, and as such, is subject to change. Think of all that has changed in your own life over the past ten years: all the people who have come and gone, changes in your health, your living situation, or simply how you spend your days. In everyoneís life, the pendulum swings between loss and gain, pleasure and pain, praise and blame.
In the midst of all the change, where is the happiness that we are seeking? Raja Yoga provides an answer: Our essential nature is that Supreme Happiness. We are like someone who is looking for her glasses while all the time they are perched on top of her head.
Our true nature is happiness. As Sri Gurudev often said, it is like our face. To see your face, you need a mirror. We have a mirror within - the mind. If the mirror of the mind is straight and clean, we see an accurate reflection and experience the Peace and Joy within. However, if the mirror is colored, curved, or twisted, if itís depressed or agitated, we see a distorted reflection. Even though we are still perfectly fine, we see the reflection and think thatís who we are. This false identification is the cause for all suffering in life.
We forget our true nature, and then we look for external things to make us feel better, which only perpetuates the problem. First of all, as was already said, we can never find lasting happiness this way because everything external is subject to constant change. And secondly, every time the mind goes outward to experience objects, it takes their form and gets colored by them. Thus, the mental mirror is continually distorting, and we never get to see the true reflection. The very act of seeking happiness outside prevents us from experiencing the true happiness within. Instead, if we restrained the mind from going outward and let it rest calmly within, we would experience the happiness we are seeking. This is the essential teaching of Raja Yoga. When we forget our true nature and seek happiness outside ourselves, that is the basic ignorance, and the root of all suffering.
This situation leads us to some ultimate questions: Why donít we remember our true nature? Why do we identify with the distorted reflection? Why is there suffering? When asked such questions, Sri Gurudev would often say, ďYou go find that God and ask Him yourself. Then come back and tell me the answer.Ē
Sri Patanjali must have done just that, because he gives an explanation in the Yoga Sutras. Raja Yoga can be understood as an exploration into the nature of suffering and how to overcome it. Patanjali speaks of basic defects, or afflictions, of the mind, called klesas. These are the underlying cause of suffering.
Ignorance (avidya) is the first klesa. Itís defined as regarding the impermanent as permanent, the impure as pure, the painful as pleasant, and the non-Self as the Self. We donít understand who we are. We forget our true nature, and if that werenít bad enough, we think we are something else. Thatís when the next klesa, egoism (asmita), comes in. We identify with what is closest to us, the mind and the body, and we think thatís who we are.
Then we become attached to all that we find pleasurable and averse to all that is painful. This is known as raga and dwesa. We are ever running toward things we think will make us happy and away from things we find painful, leaving little time for simply staying still, poised, balanced, resting in the Supreme Happiness within. The final klesa is clinging to bodily life (abhinivesah). We cling to the body because we think that defines our existence, who we are.
You can picture the klesas like the hard-wiring of the mental computer. We are hard-wired to approach life and to see things in a distorted way. Our sense organs can only function within very limited wavelengths. We canít even hear sounds, for example, that are audible to a dog or a bat. Imagine how different the world would look if we had microscopic eyes. As a vegetarian, we couldnít even comfortably drink a glass of water. Then, this input gets interpreted by a mind that is also running interpretive software based on all the conditioning it has received from family, friends, society, schooling, religion, etc. We are trying to understand the Truth, using a limited instrument that is incapable of totally grasping it and distorts what it can grasp.
We are steeped in ignorance. We forget the Peace and Joy that is our true nature, and we seek happiness outside ourselves. The world is just not set up to give us true happiness. In fact, its purpose is to teach us the contrary, that one has to go beyond the limitations of the senses and mind to experience true joy.
Through the teachings of Raja Yoga, we are presented with a skillful way to accomplish this. Imagine, for a moment, how an automobile runs. The movement of the piston gets transferred to the wheel and then the car moves. To stop the car, we apply the brakes to the wheel, the most visible expression of the movement, and then everything gets stopped in the reverse order.
Going back to the klesas, we want to dispel ignorance. So, we start with the most visible expression of ignorance, which is attachment. Raga, dwesa, and abhinivesah are all based on attachment. We are attached to the body, to all that gives us pleasure, and to avoiding all that causes us pain. If we can let go of our attachments, our minds will become peaceful, and we will be able to experience our true nature.
The essential question, then, is how do we let go of attachment? Patanjali gives us the method in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book 1, Sutra 12, which states that, ďThe mind is brought under control by practice and non-attachment.Ē Itís very difficult to let go of our desires and attachments, but through practice we gain the strength and clarity to do so.