Below is a link to wonderful poem by Gautam Sachdeva called “The World’s Best Astrologer”. Gautam is a former student of guru Ramesh Balsekar who was himself a student of Nisargadatta Maharaj. Through his YouTube channel here Gautam explains many of Ramesh’s most important teachings with extreme clarity. It is definitely worth your time. Enjoy the poem below.
“If you want peace and harmony in the world, you must have peace and harmony in your hearts and minds. Such change cannot be imposed; it must come from within. Those who abhor war must get war out of their system. Without peaceful people how can you have peace in the world? As long as people are as they are, the world must be as it is”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”
“Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
– Ramana Maharshi
“When people get taken over by the ego to such an extent, there is nothing else in their mind except the ego. They can no longer feel or sense their humanity– what they share with other human beings, or even with other life forms on the planet. They are so identified with concepts in their minds that other human beings become concepts as well.”
“Once you have conceptualized a person, violence becomes almost inevitable. This is because you are not seeing them as a human being anymore. It becomes impossible for you to have any kind of empathy with another individual who does not fit into your collective mind structure.”
– Eckhart Tolle
“There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.”
– Albert Camus
“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
-Martin Luther King
An excerpt from I Am That:
Questioner: There are so many theories about the nature of man and universe. The creation theory, the illusion theory, the dream theory — any number of them. Which is true?
Maharaj: All are true, all are false. You can pick up whichever you like best.
Q: You seem to favour the dream theory.
M: These are all ways of putting words together. Some favour one way, some favour another. Theories are neither right nor wrong. They are attempts at explaining the inexplicable. It is not the theory that matters, but the way it is being tested. It is the testing of the theory that makes it fruitful. Experiment with any theory you like — if you are truly earnest and honest, the attainment of reality will be yours. As a living being you are caught in an untenable and painful situation and you are seeking a way out. You are being offered several plans of your prison, none quite true. But they all are of some value, only if you are in dead earnest. It is the earnestness that liberates and not the theory
There is no difference in being aware of a tree and being aware of a thought.
So why is it so easy to align my identity with the contents of a thought and not the condition of the tree? The tree could be beautiful or ugly, tall or short, alive or dead, sturdy or weak, and it does not affect the “I” in any way.
A thought on the other hand can be kind or harsh, pure or impure, moral or immoral, and the “I” is always drastically affected. We align our identity with the thought and then cast judgment upon it. This judgment will either make us want to hold on to that thought or run far away from it as fast as we can. This conditioned reflex to become one with the thought is based solely upon the following statement.
“I am in control of my thoughts”
In the pursuit of our own bliss it now becomes imperative to either prove or disprove this statement above. In beginning this investigation the first and most obvious question is this: Who is this “I”?
If we are going to know the “I” we must first understand our own capacity to ‘know’. Knowledge in the conventional sense is perception analyzed with thought to create concepts. The bottleneck in this process is perception itself. What can not be perceived can not be turned into a thought, and thus not turned into a concept.
Digging deep into the act of perception we can see that there are actually three things required: the perceived, perception, and the perceiver. In the example of the tree we can understand that the tree is the perceived, eyesight is the perception, and then what is the perceiver? My first instinct is to say that it is the brain.
But is my brain also perceived? I can’t see my own brain, though I suppose I could with some major surgery and a mirror. I could also touch it through similar means. So then, can the brain be both the perceiver AND the perceived? I mean, it is the brain that translates what has been perceived through eyesight into an image.
So the brain must be a part of perception and NOT the perceiver.
Who is this damned perceiver then? The celebrated YouTube guru Mooji knowingly points seekers by asking “Can the perceiver be perceived?”. Nisargadatta Maharaj says “The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.” Initially this leaves us with a most unsatisfying conclusion. If I can not perceive the “I”, then I can never truly know who I am.
Getting back to the original statement we are examining, if I can never know the “I” then it would be nonsensical to assume that this “I” is in control of my thoughts. In fact in not knowing the “I” it is meaningless to lay claim to “my” thoughts at all.
That leaves us with “control”. Can thoughts be controlled? Do you know the next thought that is going to pop into your mind? It seems that we often get the thoughts we want the least. Through resisting a thought, that for all intents and purposes appeared randomly in your consciousness, we empower it. Continual resistance trains your brain to think your most undesirable thoughts at a most distressing frequency. It is only when you give up this control unequivocally that you release it.
A resisted thought is like a prisoner in our brain.
Eckhart Tolle rhetorically asks “What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?” Such a thought is being denied it’s own existence and therefore can not run it’s course into nothingness. It is the nature of things to come and go.
The idea of control is problematic on many levels. We can’t define that “I” who is doing the controlling; the thoughts that I want to control can’t even be “my” thoughts without a known “I”; and any attempts to control thinking seems to have a substantial negative effect.
Lets modify the primary sentence in question. Lets toss out the first word “I”, and along with it the last two “my thoughts” as we know them to be either false or unknowable. The middle phrase “in control of” seems to be rife with issues so lets drop it as well. That leaves us with just one word, “Am”. Seeing a similarity to ‘Amen’ I performed a quick etymology check revealing it’s intended meaning as “so be it” or “truth”.
Let us conclude with the only truth to be found in our initial sentence; Am. There is an obvious temptation to use the phrase “I Am” which is extremely popular in spiritual texts and discussions. But in this context I see “I” and “Am” as two words carrying the same meaning. There is no “I” apart from being, and no being apart from “I”. Perhaps the best way to express this is to write it: “I, Am”.
Don’t try to understand! It’s enough if you do not misunderstand.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
“The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction: ‘ I am not the body’ becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active.”
This is an excerpt from chapter 67 of I Am That and it has been burning inside me since I read it. It is odd how often a quote will come back to me several days after it seems to have left my mind.
For the past two days I have been playing with the idea that there is no person that I need to act in the best interests of. That no situation has to be evaluated as if it is good or bad for me. Everything just is. In the absence of the idea of a person or personality there is no concern for events.
It is an odd sensation of being without fear or desire. Fleeting I am sure, but still very profound.
Initially the thought had occurred that if you are not always thinking in your own best interests you would somehow begin to automatically neglect your body, subject yourself to unwarranted risks, and ultimately not last too long. But this is so far from the truth.
There is a certain flow to life that need not concern itself with the needs of the individual, but also has already determined the best interests for all.