Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

Upgrading Your Software

Hari Om

Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.

Last week you were introduced to viveka/discernment.  It may have looked daunting, 'dense', too lofty a view. Be assured, it is simply the honing of a tool already to hand. It may only be that, till now, the full potential has not been understood. Think of the computer on which you are reading this. You use it regularly - but how well do you understand it? Some of you will be muttering now "I don't need to understand, it just needs to do what I want of it.." True - it is a tool.  One which can be little more than a data processing mechanism...or a highly flexible, interactive enhancement to daily activity. That which makes the difference between automated functionality and gainfully integrated performance.  You surely all have experienced a level of satisfaction, though, when you learn a new way to do things with this tool.

Let us take this analogy a little further.

There is no getting round the fact that you must at least learn how to work the keyboard (or the vagaries of a touch screen), so motor skills are required. In the physical body, you first wriggled fingers and toes, then crawled, then stood up, then the first few steps - oh the excitement!

What is it that you, the end-user, are operating with? Software. Only with software can the hardware be stimulated into a useful tool. That which stimulates the physical being is the mind. Certainly there is some hard-wired, machine code programming (animal instinct) which enables survival. Something else happens in the human being though.  The questioning.  It is what sparks the need to learn - beyond what is needed for simple survival (automated functionality).  What we start to seek is ever better understanding of the world around us and how to get the best from it (gainfully integrated performance). Education of the mind is akin to upgrading software on your computer's hard-drive.

In the end you know it is only ever going to be between you and the computer.  The more you want out of it, the more which must first be put in.

This is where choice makes its consequences known.

All sorts of scenarios could be presented here about choosing to go down the route of some of the less appealing 'gaming' items through to reading enlightening materials.  Choosing between 'heavy metal' or Gregorian chant; choosing between cookie crumble ice cream or natural yoghurt.  One will stimulate, the other soothe. At some stage the one function a computer does not have must be exercised; intellect. Intellect is what enables choice.  The nature and results of our choices will depend on a combination of instinct, desire, experience, assessment. The wisdom of those choices will depend further on the ratios each of these things have to the other.

->   Instinct causes us to think in terms of safety, comfort, health.
->   Desire (expectation/anticipation); I want 'this' because of 'that'.
->   Experience of our own and perhaps learned from others will help our considerations.
->   Assessment (analysis) aids final choice according to which of the first three we allow priority. (We shall explore each of these in detail at a later point.)

Remember, we are not talking here of judging others' choices between these things, but our own. Herein lies the essence of viveka.  Self-command.  There is a place for all of the choices, but what we are about here is seeking a way to smooth our path through the turmoil of life.

If the only software you load onto your CPU is of the distractive kind, it ends up, long-term, being destructive. There is so much on offer.  We 'download' so much stuff - until...system overload! If you are fortunate, there will come a point whereby you can stop running the damaging programming. You can substitute it with something more pertinent, a more single-purpose multi-tasking approach rather than the previous congestion. You do this because you know it will be better for your overall wellbeing. Depending how much attachment has been built for the negative program, it will affect your efforts in making the change. One of the great justifications which can hamper our progress is the phrase "better the devil you know..."

Having understood the pertinence of making choice between the 'want' and the 'need' (viveka), we are now faced with detaching from the desired and reaching for the better.  This is the step called वैराग्य /vairagya.

Questions? Doubts? The comments box is yours to voice them.  Check back for responses - if you have permitted email, personal responses may also apply.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

Please note that only members of this blog can leave comments. You are respectfully requested to refrain from entering hyperlinks to other sites. You may otherwise find your comment deleted. Thank you for your courtesy.