Object Happiness Theory

J: I am still searching for freedom in the world.  I can’t stay dedicated to inquiry and I get wrapped up in my daily life and pursuits.  I am finding it very hard to appreciate the value of knowledge and really what it can do for me.

Vishnudeva: Honestly, I don’t want to pitch you the value of Vedanta because it makes it seem like I’m selling a product (and since Vedanta is just about yourself, I can’t sell you what you already have).  But if I must, the value of knowledge is moksha, permanent freedom from all forms of limitation and suffering. Personally, that always motivated me to seek it.

J: I feel like happiness really is having things go my way and getting what I want.  

Vishnudeva: Then I’m sorry but you aren’t ready for self-inquiry, plain and simple.  Because in order to undertake self-inquiry you have to see that all pursuits in the world are impermanent and therefore fraught with fear and anxiety.  When you know that, you give up trying to seek them and go directly for understanding the truth of who you really are (brahman).       

J: I don’t know what to do.  I am fearful and all I can do is seek pleasure.  Could you please help me on this? What is an inquirer supposed to do?  

Vishnudeva: An inquirer is supposed make self-knowledge their number one goal and then inquire non-stop. At all times, an inquirer should discriminate the atma (self) from the anatma (not-self), until they directly realize that they are the self.  Then no more inquiry is required. 

J: How can I make the mind see that it wants freedom and not a particular result in the world?

Vishnudeva: You use the mind to investigate whether or not pursuing objects in the world gives you what you really want (Hint: It doesn’t).  But this is something you either see or you don’t see. If you can’t see that pursuing objects doesn’t give happiness, fulfillment etc., you have the following two options.

Option One: Take the scripture’s word for the fact that what you really want when you pursue objects is actually freedom and not the objects themselves.  Then continue your sadhana until you see for yourself that what the scripture says is true.  

Option Two: Put the Object Happiness Theory to the test by trying to gain freedom through objects. Put all of your time and effort into getting everything you want and avoiding what you don’t want. Get as much money and pleasure as you can. Get a great job, a spouse, a house, a nice car, kids etc. Try to accomplish all of your worldly goals.

You might think I’m kidding but I’m not. If you can’t see that objects won’t give you freedom and you can’t take the scripture’s word for it, then you have to go find out for yourself. As long as you follow dharma, there is no shame in this approach. This is what most people have to do anyway.  Trust me, the world is a much better teacher on this matter than I will ever be: It will mercilessly chew you up and spit you out. Then you will be good and ready to seek freedom through knowledge.

Or maybe you won’t. It’s always possible that you’ll be satisfied with the amount of temporary happiness you gain through your dharmic efforts. Then the question of gaining permanent freedom becomes irrelevant. So the problem is solved by either gaining permanent freedom through knowledge or by getting enough temporary happiness that you no longer care about seeking permanent freedom (for the time being). I know many relatively happy, well-adjusted people that fall into the latter category. Again, there is no shame in being this kind of person. When you are good and ready, you’ll pick up your search for knowledge once more.

-Vishnudeva

Steady Wisdom: Day 108

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 108

There is no need to meditate or hold any thought in my mind.  I am the ever-free self.  How could meditation change that? 
-Ashtavakra Samhita 15:20
Meditation

The act of meditation cannot merge me with the self or transform me into the self because I already am the self.  Concentration of the mind (or lack thereof) can never change that. 

Doing nididhyasana, therefore, can only concentrate the mind on the truth of who I already am.  If this mental process succeeds, I am the ever-free self.  If this mental process fails, I am the ever-free self.  This is the true nididhyasana.  OM. 

But…

O great one, spend your time seeing yourself in all situations everywhere, recognizing yourself as the non-dual self and enjoying the ananada that is your very nature. 
-Vivekachudamani

All things considered equal, as long as the body is alive, the mind will dwell on one thing or another.  Why not let it dwell on its true nature as the self, which is ever-present and full, rather than the illusory objects of the world, which are transient and empty of inherent value?

Steady Wisdom: Day 107

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 107

I am brahman.
-Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10
Meditation

I am that brahman which revealed itself to the rishis.  I am that brahman described by their words in the Upanishads.  I am that brahman expounded on by the venerable acharyas of the Vedanta lineage.  I am that brahman revered by the great saints and mystics. 

Impelled by the rishis, informed by the instruction of the acharyas, and inspired by the devotion of the saints and mystics, I previously sought to find brahman.  How odd!  I am brahman and I was brahman all along. OM.    

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Steady Wisdom: Day 106

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 106

In these words I’ve proclaimed the vision of the highest reality, the supreme conclusion of Vedanta.  If a man becomes convinced of it, he is liberated.  Like space, he is no longer tainted by activity in this world.
-Shankara (Upadesha Sahasri 10:14, Metrical)
Meditation

I have seen the vision of the highest reality and it is, “I am brahman.”  Now that this is clear, I understand that I have always been free and I will always be free.  The illusory body-mind and its activities in the equally illusory world appear in me like objects appearing in space.  Similar to the way that space is never tainted, divided or changed in any way by the objects that appear in it, I am never tainted, divided or changed in any way when the body-mind and the world appear in me.  OM.

Read Series Introduction

Steady Wisdom: Day 105

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 105 – Week 15 Progress Check

The steady-minded one who knows their nature [to be the self] understands that all that is seen has no real existence.  Why should they consider one thing acceptable and another unacceptable? 
-Ashtavakra Samhita 3:13
Meditation

I am the self.  All that is seen (the body-mind and world) is but an appearance that has no reality apart from me, reality itself, similar to the way that a clay pot is but an appearance that has no reality apart from clay.  Just as a clay pot is but a relative appearance that in truth is absolutely nothing other than clay, the body-mind and world is but an appearance that in truth is nothing other than me, the absolute itself. 

If the body-mind and world are unreal, then how can they really be acceptable or unacceptable?  Alternately, if the body-mind and world are none other than myself, how can I who transcends all duality be either acceptable or unacceptable? OM. 

Read Series Introduction