Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Is there more than one way in which we can investigate and know ourself?

A friend recently sent me an email in which he asked:
I had mentioned to you that in my view there appear to be three different approaches to self-investigation, i) self-enquiry, which involves asking who am I and going to the root of the I thought, ii) meditating on I am, excluding the arising of any thought, and concentrating on I am, and iii) trying to notice the gap between two thoughts, expanding the gap, and being without any thought, summa iru. You had replied that these are not three different approaches but constitute only one approach. Could you please elaborate your comment?
This article is adapted from the reply that I wrote to him.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sleep is our natural state of pure self-awareness

In the first comment on my previous article, What happens to our mind in sleep?, an anonymous friend wrote: ‘It cannot be correct that we experience ourselves in sleep and mind is absent. If that were true, everyone is realized during sleep. And once realized, he does not come back to the world. That is why it is said that the mind is in the dormant state. The I thought exists in its primitive form’.

As this anonymous friend wrote, this seemingly common sense reasoning is why it is generally said that our mind or ego exists in sleep in a dormant condition (known as the kāraṇa śarīra or ānandamaya kōśa), but such reasoning oversimplifies the issue, failing to recognise not only some important nuances but also some fairly obvious flaws in its own arguments. Let us therefore consider this issue in greater depth in order to see whether we can understand Bhagavan’s teachings in this regard more clearly.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

What happens to our mind in sleep?

A couple of months ago a friend called Vilcomayo wrote a comment on one of my earlier articles, Our memory of ‘I’ in sleep, in which he or she asked, ‘what exactly means “absence of the mind” in sleep? In a state in which our mind is/was absent or subsided, does/did the mind “go” to any other place or does/did it rather subside in its source?’, and today he or she wrote another comment reminding me about this question.

Before replying to this question I would first like to apologise to Vilcomayo for not replying earlier. I receive so many questions by email and in comments on this blog that I am unfortunately not able to reply to all of them immediately, and if I cannot reply to any of them soon enough they tend to join the large backlog of hundreds of questions that I have not yet had time to reply to and may never have time to do so. Therefore, Vilcomayo, you are perfectly justified in reminding me about your question, and I apologise not only to you but also to all the other friends whose questions I have not been able to reply to yet.

What happens to our mind in sleep is not actually an easy question to answer, because it is a question asked from the perspective of waking or dream, the two states in which this mind seems to exist, about sleep, which is the state in which it does not seem to exist. According to Bhagavan the mind does not actually exist even when it seems to exist, so the correct answer is that nothing happens to the mind in sleep, because there is no mind to which anything could ever happen.