Author Topic: Non Dualism in Daily Life:  (Read 3821 times)

Subramanian.R

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Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« on: March 08, 2013, 05:48:26 PM »


As the term 'non dualism' indicates, it describes a way of thinking and being that is non dualistic. By dualistic we mean that our
day to day functioning, which needs to use opposites -- such as heavy and light, dark and light, male and female, open and closed ---
is interpreted as being based on REAL opposition, that is also true beyond mere functioning.  Of course, it is useful for our functioning
in the world to be able to differentiate between certain things, but this proves nothing about the Ultimate Reality of ourselves and the world as it appears to us.  On further inquiry into the true nature of all that happens, we notice that we can only speak about something happening because we EXPERIENCE it.

This experiencing or knowing is possible due to the consciousness. When experiencing stops, everything stops. Whether we experience
dark or light, a pleasant experience or a nasty one, it is experienced, it is perceived.  By allowing all attention to go to "experiencing-in-
itself", you can notice there is no multiplicity or separation. This impressions of multiplicity or separation occur  WITHIN something that is
'not two'. This is nonduality.

Non dualism is the term for the approaches that emphasize non duality.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2013, 01:34:56 PM »
continues.....

If this were to remain an abstract philosophy, just one of the many possible interpretations of life, then as far as I am concerned,
it would not be necessary to make it the focus of attention. It deserves attention because due to its radical nature it is the only
thing that truly exposes the ROOT of all division and conflict, and because recognizing this root shows the way to bring an end to
division and conflict.  What I  mean by non dualism is therefore not a philosophy but actually a way of liberation. Liberation from
dissatisfaction with existence, with the present moment, with the present thoughts.

The self tormenting voice:-

Man's basic problem, as I see it, is splitting oneself in two, into 'someone' who behaves and has thoughts, and 'someone' who
provides critical commentary on this behavior and these thoughts. No matter how you try to be one with yourself, that critical voice
continues to make itself heard.  You appear to identify with both aspects, and the combination of these two can be called the 'ego'
or simply the 'I'.  The critical voice constantly gives commands which are usually of a considerable ill-natured sort. It seems possible
to avoid.

I believe that the whole phenomena of spiritual seeking is an attempt to escape the wrath of these commands.  People start the
search because they are tormented.  They are tormented by themselves. The moment the self tormenting voice stops, happiness
or peace is in the fact, the case.  This is exactly what everyone SEEKS, even though it is already the case. (Sri Atmananda repeatedly
said this concerns everybody, the so called non seachers included; for instance, "We find peace is the real goal of man's desire." Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Sri Atmananda, Salisbury, Nonduality Press, 2009, Note No. 10.  As a matter of fact, Atmananda did contribute a lot by often translating ANANDA  by 'peace' instead of the usual word bliss.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 10:29:04 AM »

continues.....

The problem with all this seeking is that it actually works via the described commands.  All resources at your disposal in the search
appear to speak to you, advise you and impregnate you.  Subsequently the part that is already so very busy giving commands is
enormously strengthened. Even the very best advice is internally transformed into forever more subtle new commands, demands
and potential for failure.  Thus, something actually INCREASES the energy that is already invested in this split-in-two life, instead,
of reducing it. For this reason despair and confusion are often part of the search. 

Non-duality is what remains when the seeking stops. This happens when the inner struggle is realized as being not based on
reality, and in this realization, the whole body-mind relaxes.  I AM NOT TWO.

But it could be said in retort to this that it looks more like an 'end state'. This sounds like wishful thinking!  In other words, in this
way something or other is indeed being missed.

Yes, that is indeed the danger. This is certainly an important issue with non-dualism. How can I prevent avoiding or skipping
something?  Precisely by coming in contact with the ultimate conclusion of being not-two it is very tempting to overlook or avoid
all sorts of matters. Therefore, I will attempt to clarify the relationship between on the one side the truth that man really is one and
undivided, and on the other the observation of still arising and therefore apparently real doubt and dilemma, at least in most people.

contd;,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 10:52:39 AM »

continues......

The direct way:

Here we come across something that in my opinion is the essence of non dualism, which is also sometimes referred to as the
'direct way' This essential element is the awareness that despite the above mentioned risk that all sorts of things are ignored,
denied or skipped, it simply CANNOT BE OTHERWISE than the ultimate Truth is at once transmitted in its purest form now, directly.
Hence, the invitation to FIRST recognize your essential nature, and then everything else.  Any other approach ( a more step-by-
step approach,  possibly through meditation, therapy or some method of 'individuation') is not only a postponement but also an
obscuration of the main point, which can then stay out of reach forever. Not until the main point is realized AS OWN EXPERIENCE,
is there a trustworthy ground present to deal with potential personal obstacles --- this prevents an unnecessarily long and loveless
journey lost in the labyrinth of identification with the person that you think you are. (in a sequel to this article, "Is the Person"
involved in Self Inquiry?' in one of the subsequent issues of Mountain Path.).

In non dualism the highest or ultimate stage is available immediately, simply because Reality can never be the case LATER, after
having firstly fulfilled certain conditions.  Reality or Truth is not dependent on any single condition.  The assumption that a long
path should be traveled first, with much purification and transformation, can be best compared with the proverbial donkey and carrot.
No matter how fast the donkey runs, the carrot remains at a distance.

The point is that on a gradual path you assume that you are a born entity, a mortal ego, or perhaps a re-incarnated 'soul' or
'higher self' whilst the direct way confronts you with the fact that you still do not know what 'I' is, and you are encouraged to
investigate when or who 'I' is before doing anything else.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva,             
   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 10:55:42 AM »

continues.....

If right now for instance, you momentarily interrupt reading and ask yourself: Who am I?, then you may notice that there is no
mental answer possible to this question.  It is as though all capability to interpret disappears for a moment. And yet this disappearing
contains exactly thee answer, an answer not coming from the mind. The mind falls away, resolved. For a moment there is no-thing,
just the absence of any shape or form.  In this moment you may see that you are timeless, dimensionless PRESENCE (to give it a name).
It is true that in this presence all sorts of opinions and feelings may arise and take your attention for a moment, but with careful
observation you can see these temporary forms are not the answer to the question asked. You are not the temporarily arising thought
forms with their 'I-structure', you are the PERMANENTLY PRESENT capacity to observe these thought forms.

Non-separateness:

In the non dualistic traditions, it is said that this permanent presence is nothing other than the Supreme Principle. Hence you ARE
this Supreme - you might call it God, as long as this is not interpreted as an objectified Person or Creator. If someone exclaims 'I am
God', in non dualism, this means nothing more than that there exists no Principle outside or above you, and that in fact everything is lived and thought through this Principle.

Al of this has to do with seeing the difference between the real Subject, that this Principle is (self luminously illuminating the current
experience), and the so called subject (the I person), that in reality is only an object recurring for a short moments within the timeless
Subject. Twentieth century Advaita teachers such as Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Atmananda (Krishna Menon) emphasized this real
Subject in their teachings. They referred to this respective as 'I-I' and 'I-Principle, the uninterrupted self luminous Self.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.               

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2013, 09:26:14 AM »

continues.....

Non duality means not only non separation of yourself and the Supreme Principle, but also non separation of the subject and
object, non separation of yourself and the phenomena that appear to you.

How can it be that I am not separate from phenomena?  They are there and I am here, isn't it?  It seems obvious that there
is 'separation' !  The answer lies in the true nature of consciousness or Consciousness, which is none other than the true
Subject just mentioned. Consciousness is that which sheds light on all that appears. Then again, that which you call 'yourself'
appears, then again an object of the senses, then a mental or emotional object. All the time the substance that constitutes the
'subject' ('yourself') as well as the object remains unchanged. Consciousness itself cannot be changed. The non separateness
that is indicated here means that Consciousness cannot manifest in any other way than AS form and content, (in other words,
IN THE FORM OF everything that presents itself in Consciousness, all phenomena).

continues.....

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2013, 09:29:03 AM »
continues....

The Two Levels of Truth:

Stemming from the understanding that it is not correct to talk exclusively from the position of being non separate (because
physical and emotional pain, however, temporary they may be, require and deserve attention), the classical non dualistic
schools have always sought for a way to describe the coexistence of the understanding of non separateness and the
experience of being separate (and possibly feeling 'bound').  For this they used the concept of 'two levels of truth'.  The first level,
of non separation,  they called Absolute Truth (Paramartha Satya), and the second, of multiplicity and possibly of separation,
they called relative or conventional truth (Samvritti Satya).

On the first level, everything is just as it is, with no relationship or comparison to anything else. Thinking can do no more here,
there is nothing left to classify or separate.  On the second level, everything is dependent on all sorts of factors, including the way
something is looked at.  Nothing exists independently.  Nagarjuna, the great second century Buddhist teacher who developed the
idea of the two truths, expressed the importance of the view on it as:

"Those who do not know the distinction between the two truths cannot understand the profound nature of the Buddha's  teaching.
Without relying on everyday common practices (i.e, the relative truths), the Absolute Truth cannot be expressed. Without approaching
the Absolute Truth, Nirvana cannot be attained."

(Mula madhyamaka Karika, XXIV, 9 and 10. Translation by Kenneth Inada, Nagarjuna. Tokyo; Hokuseido Press, 1970)

The Buddhist concept of two levels was later adopted by the teachers of Advaita Vedanta, who linked it to the concept of the two levels
in the Upanishads: higher knowledge and lower knowledge. (This occurs for instance in Mundaka Upanishad, I.1.4. Para Vidya en
apara vidya respectively.  Sankara called the two levels, Paramartha and Vyavahara; the second term concerns our daily life, the
actual happenings as well as the imagined ones.)

Sanikara, the eighth century founder of the Advaita School, described Reality (the first level) as that which is ALWAYS is. Something
can only be called 'real' when it is never absent, never 'not real'.  Something that comes and goes, that is present only occasionally
(the second level),  Sankara referred to as Maya, illusion or suggestion.  Through ignorance (ajnana) of the truth that you are always,
uninterruptedly one with Reality, you start to suggest a separate existence, whereby you continuously project with the mind all
sorts of things onto the world.  Things stored in memory are held in front of your eyes like a slide show whilst you are looking at some
current object.  In this way you shall never know an object as it really is.  Sankara did not assert that the world does not exist, but that it is in itself not the ultimate Reality.  Thanks to Sankara and his disciples, as well as the subsequent commentators, the term Maya has had great influence on the whole of Indian philosophy.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2013, 09:31:46 AM »

The Shuffle of the two levels:

The problem of the coexistence of an awareness of the Absolute while encountering all kinds of difficulties is of course one of
all cultures and times. In Dutch literature, this is illustrated in a poem by J.C. van Schagen:

"You loved God and the world
but then your braces snapped

you opened your arms wide to embrace All
but wasn't  there a sudden resentment on your face
whilst your neighbor's phonograph began to wail?"   

This is the situation.  You may wish that whatever is happening right now would go away but it just keeps on happening.  So what
do we do about this?

Becoming familiar with the possibility to reduce everything that happens on the relative level to 'illusion' (especially in the wake of the
teachers of Advaita Vedanta), has tempted many seekers to use this as a method to cover their difficulties. An already present
tendency to deny all sorts of inconvenient matters is now supported and strengthened with a philosophical foundation whereby
the denial is given an added air of justness.  Simply coming into the contact into contract with the idea of an ever present Reality
can have the effect that difficulties in life, though indeed experienced as difficult, are dismissed under the motto, 'oh, it is just
illusion' - in other words, nothing to bother yourself about.  In fact, this is usually the result of shuffling the two levels which happens
quite often within the circles of spiritual seekers.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 10:20:37 AM »

continues.....

Purely on the level of Ultimate Reality, personal aspects such as relational problems, diseases, tension etcetera are indeed without
an independent of its own;  on the level these become as it were 'outshone'  whereby everything is cognized as light.
However, this does not mean that on the second level, that of relative reality, these do not make up an actual part of daily life,
this implies that these personal complications indeed require attention and care.

The twentieth century teacher Sri Poonjaji once told a good example of this. During  a stay with his master Sri Ramana Maharshi
during the bloody separation of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Maharshi once pointed out to him that his family, living in the
western part of Punjab that was assigned to Islamic Pakistan, was in serious danger and really needed Poonja's help, to which
Poonja answered: Oh, that life was but a dream. I dreamed that I had a wife and family.  When I met you, my dream ended.

The Maharshi replied to this:  But if you know that your family is a dream, what different does it make you if you stay in the dream
and complete your task there?  Why should you be afraid to go there if it is but a dream?  (David Godman, Nothing Ever Happened,
volume 1).

The confusion  or shuffle of levels comes down to projecting a quality of the Absolute onto the relative. (The Absolute does not
have any quality or characteristic. Here the word 'quality' is used because otherwise that which is being projected cannot be
indicated).  One of the most frequently projected qualities is that of PERFECTION.  The ever present Absolute is perfect but it is
not manifest and therefore is not observable. This inherently present (and intuitively felt) perfection is then desired in manifest
form and so all sorts of misplaced interpretations occur such as 'holy' (read: cramped) behavior, sexlessness, suppression of
feelings, pretentious and arrogance.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                         

   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 09:56:25 AM »

continues.....

Another quality that is often unconsciously transferred from the Absolute to the relative level is amorality.  This is more or less
the opposite of the projection of perfection; you could describe this amorality as strategically embracing the imperfect. On the
highest level of non duality every difference is resolved, hence also between good and evil.  Regretfully, however, the intellectual
understanding of this penetrating truth sometimes leads people to misconduct, their misconduct condoned by referring to the
'non existence' of 'evil', comparable confusion may ensue. For example, someone with whom you have an appointment at ten O'
clock, arriving after twelve could make a comment as: 'Oh, time -- that doesn't evil exist?'

Whatever form the confusion has,it seems very difficult to confront those who have fallen into the 'pitfall of the Absolute' on this
point. I think that this aspect, this pitfall, is one of the most difficult points on the way direct way of liberation.

In Dzogchen, one of the most radical forms of Tibetan Buddhism, a very helpful approach to the two levels is offered. Kennard
Lipman, an American translator of Dzogchen texts, wrote the following:

"To begin with, an individual who has realized this reality, must directly introduce you to your natural state. In Dzogchen the
introduction to the natural state could be compared to a light being suddenly turned on to reveal our entire being --- both
its absolute and relative aspects. With the light on we can clearly see our natural state and how it manifests, as well as the
temporary obstacles to its total manifestation. (...) But turning on the light does not automatically eliminate the obstacles inherent
in our relative condition; our health, childhood development, unproductive patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior, our financial
status and position in society, whatever we think we are and do.  If not attended to, all these can create obstacles in any phase of
the way. (...) In Dzogchen this knowledge is a means for becoming more certain about the natural state through learning how to \
work with the difficulties of our relative being."  (Kennard Lipman, Commentary in You Are the Eyes of the World, Novato, CA, Lotsawa,
1987.)

continued....

Arunachala Siva.
         
           
 

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2013, 10:35:43 AM »

continues......

Only by truly recognizing your natural state (sahaja) can you become convinced that in fact all objects are empty ('empty' as
term for absence from any own independent existence) and therefore all obstacles are empty too.  So you are able to look
at the obstacles one by one without being devoured by a belief that they are ultimately real.  In the sequence as set out in
Dzogchen the direct way is not a way of avoidance, and attention for the obstacles is not a diversion from the way itself.

In the natural state it becomes evident that 'bondage' does not really exist, and that the temporary appearance of the suggestion
of it may well be looked at from awareness of the natural state. Only in this way can both pitfalls be overcome; denial of the lower
level on the one hand and denial of the Light that I am, with the conclusion that I still have a long way to go, on the other. True
non dualism, undivided BEING IN ITSELF, indeed turns out to be a way to avoid nothing and to deny nothing.

Why would not we call this 'mysticism' or 'monism'?

In many Western spiritual scriptures, the condition in which opposites are dissolved and in which undivided being remains,
is referred to as 'mysticism'. As this term simpler and better known, isn't better term than non dualism?

Yes, to a certain extent the term 'mysticism' does cover what here is referred to as non dualism.  All forms of traditional mysticism
contain in its nucleus some element of non dualism. However, 'mysticism' is a very broad term.  Non dualism is more precise.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 09:18:48 AM »

continues.....

Mysticism is known in all cultures and all times; it can be found in all religions, with wonderful examples of the expression of truth.
But it is noticeable that in many schools of mysticism a YEARNING for unification is emphasized, whilst in radical non dualism non
separation is the basic premise of existence, the inherent element of it -- hence the expression 'the natural state'.  The New Oxford
Dictionary defines mysticism as 'belief that union with or absorption into the Deity or the Absolute or the spiritual apprehension of
knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self surrender.'  Non dualism is not a belief
in the achievement of something, but the immediate awareness of being not separate right now.  Moreover, in mysticism there is
often talk of 'mystical experiences'.  Experiences have a beginning and an end and therefore in non dualism there is not so much
importance attached to experiences. Emphasis instead is on recognition of That in which all experiences occur.

I still think the term non dualism is the best term for expressing this being not separate, despite its length and weightiness. The
negative formulation aptly indicates that what you appear to be encumbered with is is an inevitable fact of life, namely, 'dualism',*
with the prefix 'non' indicating that this this fact is not true.  Non dualism is a literal translation of the Sanskrit terms a-dvya and
a-dvaita, both from a - not and dvi - two. The negative formulation seems to be the only way to indicate that it cannot really be
defined. In any case it is not two, not a multiple, not a division, and yet it does not define what it actually is. 

*(May be, it is in fact more proper to speak here of 'duality'.  Ramesh Balsekhar, being influence by Irish/English author Wei Wu
Wei - Terence Gray - differentiated the terms like this: 'Duality is the basis on which this manifestation takes place. So if duality
is understood as duality, as merely polaric opposites, that one cannot exist without the other, that is understanding.(...). And
that realization raises the dualism back to the level of 'duality' - Consciousness Speaks, Redondo Beach, CA. Advaita Press, 1992).
 
contd.,


Arunachala Siva.       
 
     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 09:20:40 AM »

continues.....

Often the term 'monism' is used for what is referred to here as 'non dualism'.  (The term 'monism' is originating from eighteenth
century German philosopher Christian Wolff.)  The New Oxford Dictionary which does not define non-dualism, defines monism as:
'The doctrine that only one supreme being exists.' Indeed, also in non dualism it is said that there is only one supreme 'Being':
be it Consciousness or Knowledge itself. But because this 'being' has not any object-value it is not possible to consider this as
'existing', and also not as 'one'.  'One' can again be assumed in a more subtle way as being an object, a 'One' -- and that is,
rightly so I believe, exactly the critique of the Mahayana  Buddhists on the usage of the term 'the One' in the Hinduistic Vedanta.
'The One' is often perceived as 'High' or 'the All Good', through which a certain QUALITY is linked to the Quality-less -- and this is
exactly what is ultimately dualistic.   The characteristic of That which can never be objectified, which is indescribable, is exactly that
it is not definable quality.

An example of the misunderstanding about the emphasis on the term 'monism' is to be found in a statement from American
psychologist William James:  It is hard to see how it is possible that evil is grounded in God while God is all good. (William James:
The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902).  Indeed he was talking here about monism (also referring to it as 'pantheism'), though
it seems more like a statement about monotheism.  Reference to 'One' quickly seems to create associations of an objectifiable Something or Someone.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.                       

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2013, 09:14:54 AM »


continues....

The term 'non dualism' reflects that it is simply impossible to describe what Reality is and therefore a positive formulation
really is not appropriate.  Monism indicates that all is 'one' -- as though you know what it IS.  This awareness of having
no knowledge of the Unknowable demands the use of a negative term. For all this reason, you could also refer to non dualistic
as 'non conceptual', not to be grasped in any concept.  This was expressed in the eighth century BC by a certain Yajnavalkya
(speaking of the Self) with the words 'neti neti':  "it is not this and it is not that." ( In separate words Na iti na iti.  In Brhadaranyaaka
Upanishad, III. 9. 26. and some other places in the same Upanishad).

Some teachers, for example Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, find the term non dualism itself still too restrictive.  As far as I am concerned,
non dualism indicates the end of all-isms: You could also call this then "non-ism".

The term non dualism was not introduced in the West until mid-nineteenth century, and then exclusively at translating Advaita
Vedanta texts. It was not known then that non dualism also existed within Buddhism. In the 1890's, Swami Vivekananda used
the term in his lectures to show the distinction from the dualistic Vedanta schools, whilst before that time, almost everyone referred
to Advaita with the term 'monism'.  The understanding that non dualism also exists in Mahayana Buddhism only started to filter
through to the West in course of the twentieth century, partly due to the work of D.T. Suzuki.  The Anglo-American writer Alan
Watts has repeatedly explained the distinction between non dualism and monism, and probably has hereby become one of the
major sources responsible for 'non dualism' becoming the generally accepted term.  (Alan Watts, The Supreme Identity, London,
Faber and Faber, 1950 and the Way of Zen, New York, Pantheon, 1957, Pelican Edition, 1976).

(The article is translated from Dutch by Jenny Waste; from Philip Renard, Non dualisme - de directe bevrijdingsweg, Cothen, 2005)

Part I completed.

***

Arunachala Siva.           
                   

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Re: Non Dualism in Daily Life:
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2013, 09:36:40 AM »
Non Dualism and Daily Life.

Part II: 

(Advent 2004, of Mountain Path. Original in Dutch, translated in English, by Jeny Wase.)

Is the 'person' involved in self inquiry?

What does this direct way of liberation actually mean in daily life?  How does non duality, the understanding of 'non separateness',
become our own reality?

This question of 'how' arises from the assumption that we are not free, not happy in the deeper sense of the world and indicates
that we are eager to know how to become free. This is the question of the seeker.

Indeed, it is quite unusual for a seeker to look for advice along the way.  This may take the form of reading a book or magazine
or by listening to a teacher.  It is extremely rare to do this self inquiry entirely on  your own, with no external instruction.  Why do
we seek the advice of others?  Why do we read 'spiritual texts'?  Because we assume that it will help us in our search.

Before we continue, let us briefly recapitulate what the search in fact is.

Searching begins as soon as you notice that what you are experiencing NOW is not what you really want. 
Something is continuously lacking in the current moment. You want something different and so you start looking for it,
for that something else which is assumed to provide more happiness, freedom, or peace.

The motion set off by this is in fact a continuation of that which caused  the inner unrest in the first place. The cause, at least\
the cause traceable in this lifetime, is the element of being corrected .

When you were a child your mother corrected you, your father corrected you, your school teachers corrected you etc., and so you have
become so accustomed to it that you have continued in correcting yourself. It has even become second nature. With a standard that
you erroneously may consider 'high' you torment a part of yourself; you see yourself failing and you have to hate these aspects
of yourself. This is an ever returning self critical voice.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.