Friend: Specifically, I am concerned with the statement that all is awareness, that all is one. I can do something with the statement "you are the awareness in which all objects appear", but I experience most objects as clearly separate from me. With at least one object, namely a strong feeling in the center of the chest that arises immediately when I say or think "I", this separation is not so clear. On the one hand, it feels like "I", on the other hand, it is obvious that it is also just an object appearing in awareness. But the experience that everything is one, I know so far only from reading or hearing.
Reinhard: Hi, interesting, thanks for your statement.
What you describe is just experienced from the mental point of view and although there can be many clues from deeper insights, the state that Ramana and few others have realized is still a very unique one and not comprehensible by the limited mind (never mind Albert Einstein or us, each person is fragmented in itself by living in the subject/object split).
What is possible: an exercise that encompasses awareness and thought can mature in practice, i.e. ideally overcome this 'watershed' of personal limitation. However, for most, this is preceded by an intense collection of mind, if we look at the reports of the enlightened ones. This collection is in some form indispensable, I believe. You once told me about your deeper experience. I also had some impressive insights - but what counts permanently is the trust, which grows out of it and which can lead to this intensive collection. In so-called near-death experiences, the collection and purity come from the shock, which can lead to complete letting go.
So if you ask me, I would try to cultivate that purity and one-pointedness that makes us available for a direct experience.
Because as long as we proceed mentally, we are in the wrong frame of reference, that's what I meant by the watershed. Because the ego is STILL checking out because it is always afraid of losing control. Greed and hate are the two horns of duality - of the devil (the word even comes from duality).
As long as we focus on concepts, we walk on the railing of others. My focus has always been the 'workshop' of my own mind.
Do you take time to sit? To my mind, this is the microscope of practice. Michael Langford sat 8-12 hrs a day. The duration alone is not essential and to limit the practice to sitting is wrong, of course. But the most subtle and accurate distinction comes naturally when we become still.
Friend: I try to take breaks several times a day to sit down and go inside, and if that's not possible, I try to do it during the activity when my attention is not too busy.
For me, "going within" looks like focusing my attention on the feeling "I" and trying to be still while doing so. If now objects like thoughts and feelings appear, then I perceive them clearly as something that is outside of me. The fact that I perceive them proves that I am there to perceive them. Everything perceptible is then, so to speak, like a mirror that throws back the attention.
Reinhard: Yes, that sounds good as a basis. In fact, we can only perceive objects and also the subject consists, as far as perceptible, only of objective components. The pure I is not objectifiable, in so far Neti is the giving away of the recognized objects, also those hidden in the subject.
But in order to cross the 'watershed', there must be a complete letting go. Samadhi is non-dual. For this, the intensive collection, which I brought into the discussion at the beginning, is the best option - although we cannot manufacture this. Only 'there' can we 'be' the supra-personal dimension of awareness - your original point.
The watershed is the threshold because in the realm of personal experience a subject/object relationship is always the basis, which is automatically grounded in body consciousness. This mental basis prevents the perception of the Self, the unbroken WHOLENESS: There was a special conversation about this between a young scientist and Bhagavan, I'll see if I can find it.
If you have no objections, I would anonymously summarize a few elements of this conversation in one post.
Friend: You are of course welcome to anonymously quote and post from our conversation. I'm happy if it helps someone.
Right now I'm "stuck" on the fact that this I-feeling in the chest feels both like an object, but also somehow like a subject. I feel that there is ambiguity or confusion there, almost like a knot, which reminds me of the terms "hrdaya-granthi" or "chit-jada-granthi." In meditation, I often try to focus on this feeling to somehow make it clearer. Interestingly, I have not found much on this topic in the literature by and about Bhagavan.
I like the image of the watershed, by the way.
Reinhard: What I like about our conversations, even before, is your thorough and methodical manner.
Yes, now the core is coming out! The answers are in your questions and this is an example of how the ego knows how to hide almost like a cunning thief, even if we know intellectually!
You are quite right if you turn to the point more consciously, where you realize that you hang! Exactly there the objective parts of the I are hiding.
Ask yourself: where am I, in the seer experiencing the sensation in the chest, or in the chest?
Although you experience this sensation as a kind of mixture of subject and object, you need to get super accurate here! Accuracy comes in the inner exploration through an ever finer balance between stillness and interest (sama-dhi), comparable to working out a piece of music, where we certainly understand the structure, but the implementation must mature into fluency of the fingers.
In the seer of the chest feeling are hidden:
a) the pure ego and
b) being fixated on a body area.
It is not true, there are many passages where Bhagavan advises against focusing on the heart in the chest, at least beyond a mere concentration exercise, if the seeker thinks that is where the self would be on the right side.
Friend: I do know some passages where Bhagavan talks about a heart center on the right side of the chest. But I always had the feeling that this is something different from what I feel here. The main difference is that I perceive it right in the center of the chest, not on the right. A commonality, again, is that it's the place I point to when I say "I," or the place where I intuitively feel "I."
I have also always had the feeling when Bhagavan advises against concentrating on this center, that there is usually not much to be felt at this point without special concentration practice. It is quite different for me: I feel this center all the time, more or less intensely. It feels like a burning, and it is hardly possible to turn the attention away from it. I realize that as a perception it is an object that I can reject as a non-self, but as soon as I do that and then say "I" again, I end up in the center of the chest again. That's where the cat bites the tail, so to speak.
Or maybe this is some kind of fork in the road? It feels like "awareness watching awareness" or "neti neti" leads closer to the source than feeling "I".
Reinhard: "The most important difference is that I perceive it exactly in the middle of the chest, not on the right." - that sounds more like the heart chakra, not the center where the Self touches the physical body.
Yes, I understand that. There helps only greater accuracy, in which you clarify again and again the difference between a sensory perception and YOU.
‘WHO 'senses the center all the time'? Who is the observer who can hardly turn away the attention? You can examine that even in looking at the center because there are the 2 poles of subject and object as always.
The power of the ego lies in keeping itself covered, I sometimes call it Alberich. This was the guardian dwarf of the Nibelungen treasure who attacked Siegfried with the cloak of invisibility. Very good image for the 'silly self' ( a pun on the name Alberich) that reacts covertly!
Even rejecting the not-self is a willful process. The 'First Commandment' is to put God, the Self, above all and to love Him most. Being ‘innocent like a child’, ‘not checking and becoming like a tree stump’ refers especially to the hidden activity that still wants to control the exercise. Summa Iru means : BE absolutely, without manipulating anything yet, even just when the impulse to want to change something comes strongly because the experience may not be pleasant.
What we ARE is 'unformed', not objectively perceivable. EVERY perception is objective and needs a mental subject. 'Feeling the I’ gets stuck in the system there. This was the correct and directional discovery of Michael Langford - it is primary awareness, awareness, which helps to come out of duality into WHOLENESS.