Author Topic: Rational mind, and logic, a divine gift, or a stumbling block to the Self?  (Read 2573 times)

mcozire

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Hi all.

I would first like to thank you all for being so helpful to me in the past with all my questions.

I am now facing something new, I have come across a book called 'The trivium' by Sister Miriam Joseph.

It is a book on Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, and is set in the context of traditional Christian theology.

I find the whole thing extremely fascinating. 

My problem now lies with this.

The main thing that I seem to take from all spiritual methods is the cessation of thinking.

So now I'm confused.

What sets us apart form other animals is that we have this rational mind, we can tell what is objectively true 'out there' by advancing the potential of our brains. For instance at once we knew not what the shiny things in the sky were, but now we know they are the same thing as what our sun is, we know also what they are made of, we now know the truth of the matter.

So I am wondering, what is the true place of the rational mind in the context of the Vedas, or nonduality. Why is it there, and why is it so good at discerning so many wonderful truths in this world in which we find ourselves, if it only to be 'turned off' in order to find the self?

I see these things as contradictory.

Surely having been gifted with the rational brain by the Self, should it not some how work in tandum / harmony with the Self rather than having to give it up in order to realise the Self?

It certainly seems the world could do with studying the Trivium, and gaining better knowledge of how the mind processes information.

I hope someone here can see my difficulty, I may not be so clear in my explanations, sorry.

Many thanks,
Mark.


 

Anand

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Dear Mark,
Please go through the mountain path article "Be open to all influences" of the mountain path January - MArch 2014.The Mountain path  is an ashram publication.This may assuage your doubt.
Regards,
Anand sundaram.
Sundaram Anand

Ravi.N

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Mark,
There are several dimensions to your question and I am not sure whether I will be able to cover all.You have referred to Vedas and Nonduality.Vedas are a body of inspired Knowledge (revelations)that cover a vast ground and not just about Nondual Truth.
For the moment,we will only consider the purpose and utility of the Rational mind-This is referred to as Buddhi or Intellect and plays a Huge role in Sadhana.It is this Intellect that  manifests as the power of Viveka( Discrimination between Real and unreal) and Vairagya(Non-attachment to the unreal).It is this that sets man apart from animals(if put to use).Birds and Beasts just Eat,Sleep,procreate and die-That is Living for them.Majority of Humans do that and in addition to this,they have enhanced the scope for Recreation,enjoyment,and to secure this they amass wealth.The Objectives of most Humans are -Long life,Enjoyment,Wealth and Possessions,Power and Fame.The Majority of Humans use their Brains to go after these Objectives only and in varying degrees.
The Human mind has also been driven by curiosity to unravel the secrets of the phenomenal universe-and there have been great discoveries in the field of Science and medicine.These are evident in the Vedas although much of the discoveries are lost.
Now we come to the central theme-What is the Highest function of the Intellect?
In The Mundaka Upanishad,this question is asked-"Saunaka, the great householder, approached Aṅgiras respectfully and asked: 'Sir, what is that through which, if it is known, everything else becomes known?
More Importantly,What is worth Knowing?The answer is to know that which is Fundamental and Eternal-the very nature of the knower.
The means towards reaching the Eternal is to reject all that is changing and temporal-This is only possible for an unbiased mind ,free from any sort of vested interest,likes and dislikes.The Intellect is set on the path of Self enquiry through the process of 'Neti' 'Neti'-'Not this' 'Not this'-and when everything is rejected,pure awareness alone is left.This is Brahman and the Pure Intellect is the power of Brahman and is one with it.It is called 'DHI' as in the 'Dhiyo yO nah PrachodayAt' of the Gayatri mantra.
To sum up,the Intellect is not set aside but is deployed all along in Sadhana and to realize the Self through the power of discrimination is its highest function.

Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Mark,

I missed commenting on this:

Quote
The main thing that I seem to take from all spiritual methods is the cessation of thinking

Correction:The main thing that I seem to take from all spiritual methods is the cessation of 'thinker' or the sense of  'I' and 'mine'-and not thinking.As long as we live in the world,we need the Body and mind to function-and thinking can very well continue.We put the instrumentation to use and not seek to  abuse it.

Namaskar.

Nagaraj

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Dear Mark,

Cessation of thinking, meditation, concentration, discriminative abilities, which as humans we possess naturally, are not found in most other species, even if found, they are not in general capable of thinking about the unthinkable one, discerning about the undiscernable one.

Cessation of thinking is not the end in all. Cessation of thinking is practiced or certain other spiritual practices such of Bhajans, Vedic chants, yoga, dhyaana are practiced only so as to recognise the spirit behind, in whose presence the thinking even occurs, in whose presence discrimination is even possible, by whose presence we are able to distinguish between good and evil.

If, however, if one does not look at the beyond, being just content with cessation of thoughts, and the just the quietness of a meditation, or a Bhajan or any other practices, it is futile meaning that the quietness will be temporary and we cannot be facing quietness long enough just as we cannot be facing disturbance for long.

In the words of Bhagavan,

Mind is only the dynamic power (shakti) of the Self. There is no difference between matter and spirit. Modern science admits that all matter is energy. Energy is power or force (shakti). Therefore all are resolved in Siva and Shakti, i.e., the Self and the Mind." (Talk 268)

In the lines of Bhagavan, is it not so much more fascinating to know the one that is questioning in your post? Who is he? or what is he? is he known? from where is your questioning springing from? Isn't this more important? than even the question? Which, if one is able to do, doesn't it sets oneself apart from others? being a unique capability?

--
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 07:49:45 AM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

drsundaram

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there are relevant  articles in ramanodhyam current issue which will help us to relate us well to the subject mentioned. 

mcozire

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Hi everyone thanks for you replies!!

I understand more now the role of the intellect in discovery of the Self,  but I think what I am kind of trying to get at is; Is there room for intellectual enquiry/study into the phenomenal world using the human rational mind whilst also on the path of Self discovery? For instance is there any point in studying language, logic, etc?

I asked this because I am constantly enquiring, thinking about the Self, and or staying as 'I AM', but because I am 'out in the world', I must study and get a job etc, and I feel I am finding that more difficult now that I continue with my sadhana, as in I find I am not so motivated, I do not know what to do with my life.


Nagaraj, I think I understand when you speak about recognising the spirit behind, I understand that, I feel that there is more 'presence' in my day to day, regardless if I am practising self enquiry, or that my mind is a little more subdued and there is more awareness in my field of being. Does this make sense?

Hi Anand Sundaram, just wondering where would I be able to get a copy of mountain path January - March 2014, many thanks.

Hi drsundaram, where would I get a copy of the ramanodhyam? Many thanks.


Also Ravi.N when you say ".. the Pure Intellect is the power of Brahman and is one with it" does this mean that when you are silent, and aware, there is a special type of intelligence working with you?

Many thanks all,
Mark.

Ravi.N

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Mark,

Quote
I asked this because I am constantly enquiring, thinking about the Self, and or staying as 'I AM', but because I am 'out in the world', I must study and get a job etc, and I feel I am finding that more difficult now that I continue with my sadhana, as in I find I am not so motivated, I do not know what to do with my life.

As long as we live in this world,we have our duites to perform-Depending on one's station in life,taking care of oneself,one's family,duties towards the environment,towards society(All covered under what is called Dharmic Living).If one is truly staying as 'I AM' and  not as 'iam ......so and so'.... where only ... so and so ...is silent(this may happen when we find a little freedom from the net of thoughts and worries),this question will not arise.
What is needed is non attachment and not detachment to our relationships in the world.One needs to be wary that spiritual pursuit does not turn into escapism from things that one may not be comfortable with.It is totally another thing when things drop away from oneself.

Namaskar.




Beloved Abstract

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yes i see your difficulty
the whole problem stems from your belief that you are a person
you believe you are a person that can be confused
this "I" that is asking this question is a thought
this "I" that has a problem is a thought
this "I" that is confused is a thought
this "I" that thinks it has a rational mind is a thought
this "I" that is on a path to self discovery is a thought
this "I" that you believe to be yourself is a thought , a story the mind tells to avoid the truth of who you really are
you are not out in the world ... the world is IN who you really are , awareness itself
there is nothing wrong with being motivated or not being motivated to participate in the world ... truth includes all
but who is it that is participating or not participating ?  that is the real question
 :)
simply stop telling the story of the self and see who you are without it

mcozire

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Hi Beloved Abstract.

This is quite a funny conincednece, I was only about an hour ago, going about the same kind of understanding that you have posted below.
I was walking around saying, this is just this thought, and the awareness of it, then there is now just this very thought, and the awareness of it, and I may think about what I need to do in the future now, and it is just a thought and the awareness of it happening now. And I say that all were just thoughts, connecting to other thoughts, and the awareness of them in that moment.

It's pretty silly in a sense, but for some reason, when you stop understanding it like that, you fall back into believing you are that I-person, who is having all the thoughts, about 'itself' :/

Thank you for you reply :)

Thanks Ravi.N for your reply.

I very much appreciate this advice

"What is needed is non attachment and not detachment to our relationships in the world.One needs to be wary that spiritual pursuit does not turn into escapism from things that one may not be comfortable with.It is totally another thing when things drop away from oneself."

The thing is many things have just been falling off an changing in the last while, so I am finding it hard to discriminate what's happening. I feel like I should be 'doing' something, but then there is no energy moving in that direction. :/

Thanks all for you help.
Mark.

Beloved Abstract

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Re: Rational mind, and logic, a divine gift, or a stumbling block to the Self?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 01:06:40 AM »
lol   yup
find the thinker !
in the end it turns out that the search for truth is simply a way the mind AVOIDS truth
because to the mind truth is nothingness , death , and thoughts are its way of always being something and avoiding death
so funny when you find out the universal joke was on us all along  ... ha ha ha
simply stop telling the story of the self and see who you are without it

mcozire

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Re: Rational mind, and logic, a divine gift, or a stumbling block to the Self?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 02:31:45 AM »
Thanks again for all your replies.

I will surely come to this thread again and again.

Many thanks,
Mark.