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Lesson 380 - Catching the Attaching  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: February 3, 2010

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"


Q: I have noticed since beginning meditation a couple of years ago, plus additions of samyama and looking at several systems of self-inquiry, that I am catching myself and letting go more often when I am attaching to my inner dramas, thoughts, emotions, whatever. Can't say I am particularly systematic about this, other than my daily sittings in meditation and samyama. Nor can I say I am very good at it. The letting go just seems to be happening more often by itself, no matter where I am or what I am doing. Should I be doing more with this, taking a more systematic and concentrated approach to self-inquiry during the day? I lead a busy life, so it might be difficult.

A: It sounds like very good ongoing developments you are having there. It will be best to continue along the line you are on. Nothing much more will be necessary.

The vast majority of so-called self-inquiry is just more mental activity, attempting to do with the mind what cannot be done grasp the condition we call enlightenment. Self-inquiry itself is most often a kind of attachment, and as with everything else, we can catch ourselves attaching to that, and then release. In this way, the essence of all self-inquiry is in the releasing of it.

So what is this "catching the attaching" you are experiencing? Is it a mental activity? Or is it something else?

In previous lessons, we have pointed out that abiding inner silence cultivated in deep meditation is the primary prerequisite for effective (relational) self-inquiry, and that the entire process is accelerated with daily structured practice of samyama. Abiding inner silence is our presence in stillness, or emptiness, as the Buddhists say. Samyama is the cultivation of our natural ability to release intentions in our stillness, resulting in the expansion of stillness from within. This is the essence of self-inquiry releasing an intention is stillness, leading to the dissolution of all self-identified (ego-centric) perception, which is the enlightened condition.

Inquiry and intention are not primarily mental, though we will put some words or thoughts to them to set an angle. But the inquiry or intention is beyond those thoughts. It is an emotion. A feeling. It is a deep-rooted desire. When the desire is strong for inner awakening through any particular structure or chosen ideal, we call it "bhakti." So the essence of self-inquiry isn't mental at all. It is emotional. It is devotional.

Devoted to what? Devoted to our ideal of enlightenment, to our deepest sense of knowledge, whatever that may be. There are many forms of self-inquiry, as many as the ideas we can have about the truth of existence and the attitudes that will reveal it. In the end, it is not about the ideas. It is about the depth of our intention, and our ability to release that intention in stillness. It has also been called "surrender." Hence the prerequisite stillness, and the development of our ability to release into it utilizing the principle of samyama. It is only about that. It isn't about figuring anything else out.

So, realistically speaking, with daily deep meditation and samyama practice, you already have everything you need. The rest will be happening automatically, just as you have noticed.

But that will be scant compensation for the mind, which feels it must be doing something. So, what do we do? We give the mind some philosophy. Some logic to play with, hopefully not at the expense of the real inquiry that is going on underneath as a result of our natural bhakti and daily practices. If our logic leads us to give up either of these, we will be in trouble. It will be the sorcerers apprentice (the mind) taking over.

Therefore, not to worry too much about structured self-inquiry. Knowledge will come from within stillness, and our job is to allow that knowledge to be, not exercise any particular mental formula. And how do we do that? Simply by noticing what is happening and letting go in stillness.

When we notice from the point of view of our rising perspective in abiding inner silence (the witness) that we are identifying with the objects of perception within and around us, then that noticing is "catching the attaching." As soon as we notice, there is a release, and that is it. We can't make ourselves notice. We can only notice when we are established in stillness. Likewise, we cannot notice the view from the top of a mountain unless we are on top of the mountain. Someone can show us a picture, but we know that is not the same. It is a mere facsimile, like the philosophies and ideas about truth are. True catching the attaching is an inherent quality of abiding inner silence. It is about becoming it. For that, the mind is obliged to get out of the way. Knowledge comes as stillness rises and the mind (including our sense of self) is surrendered to it to our true Self.

This is not to say that systems of self-inquiry are not useful. Certainly any mental activity that aids us in getting out of the way of our rising inner silence can be helpful. Much better than obsessing over what we are supposed to be doing. Each person will be attracted to a form of self-inquiry that suits their nature, and where they happen to be on their path at a point in time. Lesson 350 offers some suggestions on this.

The best we can hope for from any system of self-inquiry will be to develop the habit of getting out of the way. Self-inquiry helps us recognize what is true in our perception and what is not. Is there anything we experience that is not an interpretation of our mind? Nothing. Not even our sense of limited "I." So, with the rise of inner silence, as we are becoming aware of our self being pure awareness, then self-inquiry can aid us in developing mental habits that will be compatible with our native condition. The mental habits without the native condition of abiding inner silence will amount to little. We'd like to keep the horse in front of the cart. That is the approach here.

Therefore, the suggestion is to keep mediating, keep on with samyama and other practices that enable the flow of pure bliss consciousness in our daily life, and just notice as you go about your daily business. No need to force the noticing. Catching the attaching is something that will happen naturally as we proceed along our path. It will enrich our life in many ways. We don't have to make a big thing of it. The bigger we make it, the less it will be. That is what the mind does, especially with the enlightenment process. It is inclined to build castles in the air. Better to just meditate daily and live a normal life.

It will help to continue becoming aware of ideas on self-inquiry and non-duality without straining for it. This gradually increasing understanding occurring in step with the expansion of our abiding inner silence will help open us to an ongoing direct experience of our true nature.

More than anything, when we are engaged in daily yoga practices, ordinary living unfolds the truth of who we are. It is through our normal interactions in the world that we come to know the consequences of rising inner silence, and its increasing role in our life and throughout the world. We will know the truth to be stillness in action. In that we are free.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed discussion on the practical utilization of self-inquiry, see the Self-Inquiry book and the Liberation book, and AYP Plus.

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