Steady Wisdom: Day 78

Steady Wisdom: 108 Verses On Changing My Thinking

DAY 78

I am always the same, beyond lineage and social status.  I am always the same, beyond cause and effect.  I am always the same, beyond division and unity.  Dear mind, you are none other than me.  There is no reason to grieve.
Avadhuta Gita 5:20

Lineage and social status belong to the body.  But as consciousness, the witness of the body, I am beyond (unaffected by) lineage and social status because they are objects known to me.

I am not a cause because the so-called “effect” of the body-mind and world are unreal appearances that upon investigation are none other than myself.  Since I alone exist, I cannot be divided.  If I cannot be divided, then I have no parts.  If I have no parts, then I cannot be a unity (collection) of parts.  I am existence itself, one without a second.  OM.    

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A Conversation with Ashtavakra Pt.40

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18:67 – Glorious is one free from all desires, who is the embodiment of the bliss which is their nature, and who is spontaneously absorbed in the unconditioned self.

Such a person would indeed be glorious.  But no one who’s truly enlightened would ever claim to be such a person.  Why? Because they know that as the self, they’re never a person. 

No one can actually be absorbed in the self because everyone—whether they know it or not—already is the self, the same way that a clay pot can’t be absorbed into clay because it’s already clay.      

18:68 – In short, the great-souled one who has realized the truth is free from the desire for enjoyment and liberation and is devoid of all attachment at all times and in all places.

The great-souled one (self-realized person) is free from the desire for enjoyment—even if their mind isn’t—because the self is free from the mind, the seat of desire.  They don’t seek liberation because they know that they were never bound in the first place.  They have no attachment because the self is always unattached, even when the mind is.     

18:69 – What remains to be done by one who is pure consciousness?  They have renounced phenomenal existence which is merely name (and form). 

What remains to be done when you know you’re pure consciousness and not the doer, the body-mind?  Nothing.  Does that mean the body-mind will do nothing? No.  But the self, pure consciousness, never acts. 

18:70 – The pure one knows for certain that this universe is the product of illusion and that nothing exists. The imperceptible self is revealed to them and they naturally enjoy peace. 

The universe doesn’t actually exist because it’s an illusion, the same way that water doesn’t actually exist in a desert mirage.  You experience the universe, yes, but it’s really just consciousness-existence being mistaken for something it’s not (the world), similar to the way that light reflecting off of sand is mistaken for water.  

The self is never literally revealed to you because, as the verse points out, it’s imperceptible.  That means it can’t be an object of your experience.  It’s only ‘revealed’ to you through the understanding, “I am the self” which, ironically, is an object of your experience.     

18:71 – Rule of conduct, dispassion, renunciation and restraint of the senses—what are these to one who is of the nature of pure effulgence and who does not perceive any objective reality?

You continue to perceive objective reality (the world) when you get enlightened but you no longer believe that it’s real.  Because conduct, dispassion etc. are parts of the unreal world that have no effect on the self whatsoever, then what value can they truly have?

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A Conversation with Ashtavakra Pt.38

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18:57 – The sense of duty, indeed, is the world of relativity. It is transcended by the wise who knows, “I am all-pervasive, formless, immutable, and untainted.”

The sense of duty is based on the idea of doership, the belief that, “I am the body-mind and I must do such and such.”  The wise one (the one with self-knowledge) has no sense of duty—even while attending to their duties—because their identification with the body-mind has been negated by the knowledge, “I am the all-pervasive, formless, changeless and untainted self.”   

18:58 – One of dull intellect remains restless and agitated, even without doing anything; but the skillful one is not disturbed, even while doing their duties.   

This verse reinforces my previous point: the skillful one (the self-realized person) is not disturbed by action because they have no sense of doership—they know they’re not acting even when the body-mind is acting.  But one of dull intellect (a self-ignorant person who identifies with the body-mind) is restless owing to their false sense of doership—even when they’re not doing anything, they’re agitated because they’re still thinking about what needs to be done in the future or what they should or shouldn’t have done in the past.    

18:59 – With perfect equanimity, even in practical life, the wise one sits happily, sleeps happily, moves happily, speaks happily, and eats happily.

Whether the wise one sits, sleeps, moves, speak or eats happily depends on the individual person and their particular circumstances.  It’s quite possible they may be unhappy, indifferent or something in-between while doing those things but regardless, they always have perfect equanimity as the self, unchanging consciousness-existence. 

18:60 – Whoever, by virtue of the realization of his own self, does not feel distressed even in practical life like ordinary people, and remains unagitated, like a vast lake, with all his sorrows gone—he shines.

Having a mind that’s completely at peace is not enlightenment. Why?  Because enlightenment is the crystal clear understanding, “I am the self.  I am never the mind.” 

However, when you know this, it radically changes your perspective for the better because you understand that as the self, you’re always completely perfect and changeless.  When, over time, you get used to thinking of yourself in that way, it brings a greater sense of peace to the mind because you know that you’re always okay no matter what’s going in your everyday life. 

With that distinction in mind, this verse is the gold standard description of someone who not only has self-knowledge but who’s also assimilated the knowledge to such a degree that they move through life without distress. But for the record, whether this happens or not is of no consequence—the self-realized person accepts their mind as it is.            

 18:61 – With the deluded, even inaction becomes action, and with the wise, even action results in the fruit of inaction.

By “the deluded” the author is referring to those without self-knowledge.  So when he says that “even inaction becomes action” for such people, he means that even when they refrain from action, they’re still identified with the doer of action, the body-mind. 

The wise (those with self-knowledge) have no such identification so they know that they’re completely actionless even when the body-mind acts or refrains from acting.

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