Friday, July 9, 2010

Emotion in the search beyond "I AM".

Ramana Maharshi recommended exploring "Who am I?" Nisargadatta advised the earnest examination of the "I AM".

But this only leads to the "I". This is a comfortable place. It is a place, where anyone, with proper diligence (earnestness!), can find rest. It gives "one" an intellectual sense of who "one" is, but it is only the first step to Oneness.

The mind can only go as far as the "I AM". All else is speculation based on memory or imagination. How then to go beyond?

The mind, in Advaita circles, has often become the "devil". It lies in wait to catch hold of spiritual experiences, insights, and to confuse and falsely "entertain" itself. This, almost bestowing intent on the mind, paints an erroneous picture. The mind is often portrayed as "protecting" itself from extinction. This to, is giving "motive' to the mind which simply does not exist. The body, the mind, the emotions, are all part of the functioning of the whole. All have their purpose, and require acceptance. But the mind is the tool of choice for the Advaitin, even though it is held in suspicion and comtempt.

Most Advaitins, as well as most people, see the emotions as part of the mind. Some see them as body sensations caused by particular thoughts in the mind. Others think the thoughts arise out of certain body sensations. Clearly the mind and body are intimately linked, but ultimately, it's all linked, so this is no answer.

The emotions are only reflections, like everything in "my" world. But they are not in the mind.

The emotions all stem from Love. Now, here I am not speaking of love; the emotion, but the impersonal Love. Here again, we have the semantics problem. We all have our "attachments" to the word love. Here I am talking about agape, in it's fullness. David Jenkins, former Bishop of Durham, prior to his election as Bishop, gave a lecture in which he gave a wonderful description of agape. He described God as having so much compassion; so identifying with man, that he "became" one (Jesus) in order to manifest Love (Christ). In the Christian sense, this is the humbling of God to bring compassion to the Cosmos. But it also demonstrates the creative power of Love as "essence" (The Absolute)

The emotions are often looked at as distractions to spirituality, both in the East and in the West. But they are there, and trying to eradicate them, only makes them stronger. Ignoring or suppressing them also is useless and dangerous.

So here, we have more to look at. Emotions. Let them move through. See how the mind reacts. See what the mind creates. Watch the emotions but don't "own" them. They can teach you something, so don't ignore them, but they are not "you". They are just the "emotion track" of the "movie" you "live" in. Love, as creative power, does not exist in the mind, but the mind in it. However, the reflections, the lesser emotions do.

The "lesser" emotions: hate, fear, lust, anger, desire and so on, as well as some of the "better" emotions like joy, peace, contentment, surprise, pleasant expectation, are all just refractions, reflections, and distortions of the impersonal Love.

Love, not the noun we set in our mind and try to define and dissect, but Love as verb. Love in action. Love as connection. This Love is the essence; the Absolute if you will.

These "emotions" are part of the whole when it comes to realizing the Truth. Studying these emotions, with dispassion, will get you closer to the source. We all know, even the most cynical among us, the Truth is outside the reaches of the mind. So we must seek elsewhere.

When you "feel" something, rather than dismissing it, ignoring it, or using the mind to "block" it, open your "heart" to it. Remove the "subject" and "object" and remain in the "verb". As you examine the "functioning" of the emotion, it's relationship to love, or it's lack thereof, will become apparent. When you do this with Love, as creative power, you find that you are nothing less than that indescribable movement.

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