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Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

The Lovely State of Observation

--by Vimala Thakar (Mar 22, 2010)

Audio Reading by Liz Helgesen

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There are two parts of life. Motion and motionlessness. Movement is one part of life but to be in a state of no movement is also a substantial part of our life. Speech is one aspect, one part of life, unconditional silence is also a substance of life. Form and formlessness, sound and silence, motion and motionlessness, light and darkness, birth and death, the two together constitute the wholeness of life. Man has created a contradiction between the two, man looks upon them as an opposition to life. Is there a contradiction between birth and death or is life a continuity, an eternal ocean of ISNESS on which there are bubbles of birth and death?

Silence is as much a substantial part of our lives to which we are not introduced. Motionlessness is a state of our being to which we are not introduced, The way we live, we go on collecting things on the material level, knowledge on the intellectual level, experience on the sensual and psychological level. We go on acquiring and the I, the Me, the Ego that goes on acquiring becomes stronger by every experience, with every achievement and we create an enclosure around us by our own knowledge, experience, possessions. In that enclosure we live and we feel secure in that, We live secluded, isolated from the Whole, because of the sense of possessions. 

Meditation is a way of living that introduces us to that other part of our life. The silence, the motionlessness, it introduces us to our pure ISNESS which have never been conditioned and shall never be conditioned. […] 

Meditation is coming home, to relax, to rest. If that takes place and one finds that though one has withdrawn and retired from activity, the inner movement goes on, thoughts come up, memories come up, then you begin to observe them. Till now you were busy carrying out functional roles, you were either the doer or the experience. From these two roles you have set yourself free voluntarily. You are now the observer. The inner movements come up, the involuntary movement comes up though the voluntary has been discontinued. You sit there quietly, you do not prepare to see, but if thoughts appear, then they are seen by you. It is a lovely state, the state of observation.

--Vimala Thakar, from "Meditation In Daily Life"

 


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Previous Reflections:

 
On Mar 23, 2010 Sundaram wrote:

Amma,

Though I do medidate in silence, it never passed me that what I am doing is also a part of life. Thank you..it instilled in me to think further....bye and take care



On Mar 23, 2010 santoshi wrote:

This is one very enlightening insight into the realm of meditation. When we meditate layer by layer our self starts getting resolved. The deeper we go into our being the calmer we become. Mind  at times deludes, but our focus should be on our heart. I could really gain a lot of knowledge through these mails. So keep meditating and sharing knowledge.Thankyou!



On Mar 24, 2010 Ramanand Kowta wrote:

Sadhguru explains it lucidly thus

SHIVA actually means ' that which is NOT ' What are they ?

Silence - from which sound emerges and vanishes into

Darkness - from which light emerges and vanishes into

Space - from which matter emerges and vanishesinto

These three ' nothings ' are present ' everywhere - infinitely '- OMNOPRESENT - GOD !

 



On Mar 25, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

Last night's session was packed with so many aha moments, and I do hope some of the participants will capture these moments for posterity.

I will keep my comments brief this time. I liked how Neil came up with the three Ps - Presence, Perception and Patience. Also liked how Sarah talked about Proof - the proof that we are in this state of silence is whenever something goes wrong or confused us, our first response is silence.

Building on the first P - presence, Praveen gave me a ride last night. We chatted about different things, and when we were pulling in, there were just 2 minutes to spare before 7 PM. In that instant, Praveen tells me, "Somik, at least one of us should make it in time. Why don't you go while I park." My first reaction was to refuse and wait for Praveen, but I quickly realized that was a reaction from the ego, not wanting to appear "greedy." In Praveen's eyes were so much authenticity that it sparked my own authenticity - the only thing I could really do was to accept with gratitude. So, in I went and got a nice seat up front, while Praveen got to sit behind. That act of receiving generosity really opened my heart, and gave me more punch for the 3 minutes of gratitude at the end. It is remarkable how that one microsecond of authentic generosity created an indelible impression on me, and not the information exchange that had gone on for several minutes earlier.

Sarah's comment on proof connected with an experience earlier in the week, which was sort of miraculous. We were running out of hard disk space and Geet had asked me to clear some out so we could process some movies she was working on. As I hunted through the hard disk, the only one that I could process because of its small size was this video we had taken of a monk at Olema who is super cool. After processing and uploading it, went back to the hard disk to delete it, and then found that all this time, I had forgotten to empty the trash. Right after I did that, the mac showed we had more than enough space, and I didn't need to process the video. If the apparent hard-disk clog problem had not appeared, the videos of the monk would not be on youtube (the links are below) - in that sense, I felt this was a little technology-induced miracle.

Now getting on to the content of these videos, they blew my mind. I had heard the message so many times, but it was as if the presence with which these messages were uttered was captured, and that presence simply knocks me off my feet. The monk went on to answer three questions, the primary one being "What is Spirituality?" where he pointed out that it could not be defined, only experienced. It went far beyond the mind and the body, and no one can really prove that there is something beyond in an external sense. But, we have it from many sources that if our mind is stilled, we can experience this "joyful observer" state as this passage calls it. We can take that as a hypothesis, and as true scientists, test it on ourselves, by sitting and following all the requirements that go along with the hypothesis.

Now that, I am able to accept, without any reservations as an approach where there is no contradiction between science and spirituality; rather, science is the method of spirituality. 

Someone observed that serving others always led to a better sit. I remembered a story from my first 10-day sit. A clock in the corridoor had fallen and smashed. One meditator stayed back, cleaned the glass so no one would be injured, and went very late to the sit, while the rest rushed in on time. This meditator, at the conclusion of the 10-day, remarked that that late sit was his deepest one in the entire 10-day period. There's some science to this service-sit relation.

Another participant brought up two opposite ends of the spectrum (sparked from the passage) - Shankara, a tremendous debater who established spiritual centers in the four corners of India in the 8th century (people have not agreed whether that is BCE or AD), and Ramana Maharishi, an early 20th century sage in South India who would not speak at all, but would beam out compassion to all who were in his presence to such a level that all questions were transcended :). They were at polar opposites and both served society in tremendous ways. Ramana was remarkable - had no PR or desire for it, and didn't even speak!! And yet, people from other countries managed to find him during the British Raj (no concept of the internet). The notion of communicating with silence was picked up by others.

Ripa shared a lovely story about sculptor dadaji - hopefully she will write more about it; and brought Jayeshbhai to the circle, and Pancho built on that. I look forward to reading Pancho's three points.

Chris had his own P's to share. The Proof is in the Pudding. And, the word Praxis - the practical application of a theory. 

Nipun's story was too remarkable for me to share - he has promised to blog about it. 

Finally, here are the three youtube videos I mentioned of the cool monk.

1) What is Spirituality?

2) Getting to Spirituality,

3) The Pilgrim Mind 



On Mar 29, 2010 Pancho wrote:


My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all...

Once again, I have no doubt that we are living the age of collective samadhi. Being in receptive silence with so many satyagrahis, is only conducive to create an inspiring collective intelligence/wisdom. And what better seed than the penetrating insights of Vimala Thankar. This is what I shared in the energized sharing circle:

1. W A L K
2. Fully Living
3. An Invitation


1. W A L K
An acronym I heard the first time from one of the living legends of service: Jayesh-bhai: Living Service: Love All, Serve All. But this time I shared it with a Vimala Thakar touch:

W itness nature (observe the details)

A ccept circumstances (Awake! Arise! Act!)
L ove your life
K now thyself (you know what you are, you know why you are here)

I wasn't surprised when sister Ripa brought Jayesh-bhai to the circle ;-)

2. Fully Living
At some point, opposites emerged in my being. My first thought/feeling was about life and death. So, how can we fully live without the awareness of death? This poem that flowed through me, tries to express this opposites insight, always evolving to a higher level of consiousness:
 
Love and Life: The Quintessential Symbiosis
Our star, blind is
to the beauty of Earth without sunlight
and futile are the attempts of life
to survive without these unconditional love rays.

…the radiant glorious Full Moon
is just a fierce mirror of the source of life;
and the humble New Moon
loves the right time for action to eclipse your heart…

in between thoughts;
in between the sighs of the photons of love;
your presence, my dear, immersed when exhale becomes inhale…
that’s when we know that the best revenge is forgiveness
when in the silent-passionate-song of the spirit
we understand that the exquisite rhapsody of souls
converge in the infinite silence
where we are not “we” but ONE.

This deep silence, a serenade to the soul,
as shivers tingled down the length
of the essence of my essence
and your music, Beloved One,
transcend senses and generations,
because our uncovered Self is clearly infinite
in the great and in the small.
That’s the everlasting changeless nature of impermanence:
the wellspring of life.

How can I love life so intensely without grasping it at the heart?
How can I make truth real without living it at thought, word and action?
How can I serve all life without feeling inseparable from the Universe?
How can life manifest without your sunlight?
How can life be brought to clear focus without the awareness of death?
How can truth be transmitted without touching one another’s soul?

Who would not welcome us, my angel, when our heart is filled with nothing but love?

Love and Life,
as the non fragmented existence of our collective being,
as a fractal of compassion, courage and wisdom,
is the Quintessential Symbiosis.

3. An Invitation

Please _observe_ the Great Turning all around us. The Planetary movement that embraces life.

It's happening everywhere! In many places we are turning from relations of domination to relations of partnership; from relationships based on oppression to relationships based on cooperation; from fear and violence to love and ahimsa.

Life exist only in relationship with other life, that is, community. And the organizing principle of life is partnership, it is its very essence. Life exists only in living communities of diverse and mutually interdependent species. How do we free ourselves from the self-inflected alienation and oppression of the totalitarianism of corporate capitalism? We need to create communities that support every person in connecting to life in ways that enhance the creative potential of both self and community so that all may enjoy the joys of the Beloved Community.

Please break the silence, break the isolation and share the stories. The stories of a family like the Mehtas, who for 12 years have been giving love, kindness and compassion with no strings attached. Look around and witness the magic that is unfolding, the unnumbered shining eyes, the beauty that is being born from this place... please don't miss a detail, the people traveling many miles, the subtle incense, the openbook shelf, the embodiment of service, the devotion, the love in the food, the (r)evolutionary smiles... :-) then, shine like a star in the galaxy of this movement and never forget to illuminate also the innercosmos...


May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.
Pancho



On Mar 18, 2011 Ravi Sheshadri wrote:

Dear Friends,

I have realised recently through personal practise that why most of us are not able to sit in meditation. Many people run away when they hear the word meditation.

The main reason for such a reaction is 'fear'. I have recently left a good paying job and have started training myself as a trainer. The main objective to leave the job was to 'connect with myself' again. But i observe daily that i am so afraid of the 'future' events that I lose my connect over the present. I always remain in perpetual anxiety of "What will happen?"

It is good that because of practise of being present in 'moment' I am able to 'see' this OR be aware of this. The main reason of this is our upbringing where all fears are installed in us.

....If you do not study, there will be no job

....If you do not behave, we will not love you

....If you err, you are alone to solve the problem. We will not be with you

...IF you do not have a child after 2 years of marraige, we will not be with you.

And all the other things. IF we raise our children without fear, without conditions attached, they will be very good individuals and better citizens.

I am indebted for life to Charityfocus, Innernet and ijourney for my progression in spiritual area.

With love and regards

Ravi