'Freedays' are the 'gather our thoughts' days; Q&As; a general review of the week so far…
Last week it was put forward that one must question. Question what? Everything! It is a plain fact, however, that very often when it comes to the deeper and more truly meaningful questions, we are at a bit of a loss where to begin, or have concerns about asking 'the right questions', or hold back for fear of appearing to be a fool - or even in fear of hearing answers that we just simply do not wish to hear! With questions which can raise an issue and provide potential for change in our lives, we often find that we are very comfy in our current discomfort. It might be that we are lazy about self-efforts for improving our condition. It might be that we don't consider our current condition to be so bad after all and 'what is wrong with staying on familiar ground?' It might be that we have a kind of 'personal agoraphobia', not wishing to step outside and look back at ourselves, "-'cos for sure it ain't gonna be purty…"! Oh yes, we can justify and dodge all manner of things with surprising ease. Sometimes, folk will ask many, many questions, or the same question rearranged into different syntax in an effort to find a basis for staying exactly where they are or in an attempt to 'trip up' the teacher.
To ask important questions which may help to clear our paths, even at the smallest level, can often be beyond us, for we let the ego do the talking and not our Higher Self, the observer within us which has remained unchanged throughout life. You know - that voice which acts like your monitor and most of the time you can shove to the background?!
It will not have escaped regular readers' notice that Vedanta is more than straight philosophy; it holds much within it which is akin to what today we call psychology. The Rsis never called it thus. They simply refer to the 'condition of Mankind'. It has been said before and will be repeated here - there is nothing new in the world of the nature of the human being. Those ancient sages gave down timeless analysis of our condition and methodologies by which we can improve it. In our arrogant 'modern times', many would seek to reinvent this ancient knowledge, packaging it in separated brandings and marketing it to a race of beings desperate to understand why their world is the way it is and what they can do about it. Like modern medicine, which seeks to isolate 'active principles' and leave behind the whole plant from which the elixir is derived and thus missing the point that it is in the complete plant that the true essence of healing is to be found, so it is that there are many 'consultants' ( 'guru' lookalikes) who thrash around among the world's ancient teachings and extract what they think will address their purpose and provide a salve for their clients' woes. Inevitably (with one or two exceptions), the extractions prove tenuous and flimsy and there is no lasting benefit at all. Indeed, the risk of such extractions, be it in medicine or 'self-help', is that there are subsequent side-effects due to the lack of support which would have been derived from the original and whole plant or philosophy.
There are no shortcuts to enduring health and well-being or spiritual/emotional upliftment; and there is no getting round the fact that it requires alert and attentive effort from the individual. All the external support, in the end, amounts to nothing if the individual makes no attempts to help themselves.
Thus, depending on where we are in the spectrum of wishing to make change in life such that we can better deal with its daily travails, never mind the higher issues within society and nature, there will be something of a hierarchy of questions. It might be said, as a very general rule, that the more questions we have, the further we are from our spiritual selves. General, in the sense that majority questions are likely to be directly in reference to the individual and be of such a wide variety as to be chaotic; however, one who has progressed along a spiritual path some way may still have many questions, but they will be organised and focused questions pertaining to the spiritual path itself.
No matter where we are in this moment, if we have a notion that we wish to have answers at all - and regardless of whether we are yet ready to deal with those answers and the possible implications for our immediate condition - we must begin to ask our questions aloud.
The goal of Vedanta is to finally be free and in control of our thinking. That begins by sorting out what thought holds any value to our life and what is just fluff and dust on the mind, causing it to clog up and even freeze from the weight of 'thought detritus'. So much we weigh ourselves down with and so unnecessarily!
Where and how to start decluttering our inner attic?
Take a blank paper - or a whole exercise book - or computer screen; whatever works for you. Do not worry at this stage about what to ask or even how to ask. The exercise of the moment is simply to externalise the myriad questions. You are encouraged to create categories. Health, wealth, work, creativity… do not force yourself. Write out the questions which are foremost right now. Make no assessment of them. There may be only one at the moment, as this is a strange and new experience. Walk away, then. Go about your day. Note when a question arises and add it to the page. (Not the 'what's for dinner, or should I eat that' questions pertaining to functioning - but existential questions; 'oh that is bothering me, why?... Why does s/he do that?...' and so on.) Best of all are the questions which appear whilst you read the various posts here at AV-blog. Note them all down. Every single one. Do not - repeat, do not - edit yourself.
Keep doing this for fourteen days.