In Darkness and Silence Reality is Found

In this blog Prajna offers a passage from I AM THAT: Talks. Nisargadatta Maharaj clearly addresses typical questions on The Way of Reality. This discourse is reminiscent of many discussions from Prajna’s recent trip to Europe in Satsang, retreat and private sessions. The teachings on attraction, relationship to the body, questioning beliefs, suffering, aspiration, faith and willingness, silence, love and noble company are beautifully expressed. No commentary is needed, simply digest, look within and live awake. In darkness and silence Reality is found.

rock sun sea
Q: We are Panjanis but we live in Delhi. We have a Guru of the Radha-Soam Faith but we value Satsang highly. We feel very fortunate to be brought here. We have met many holy people and we are glad to meet one more.
MAHARAJ: You have met many authorities and ascetics, but a fully realized man or woman conscious of his/her divinity is hard to find. The Saints and yogis, by immense efforts and sacrifices, acquire many miraculous powers and do much good in the way of helping people and inspiring faith, yet it does not make them realized. It is not a way to Reality, but merely an enrichment of the false. All effort leads to more effort; whatever was built up must be maintained, whatever was acquired must be protected against decay or loss. Whatever can be lost is not really ones own, what is not your own, of what you use can it be to you? In my world nothing is pushed about, all happens by itself. All existence is in space and time, limited and temporary. I am not concerned either with what exists or with who exist. I take my stand beyond, where I am both and neither.
The person who, after much effort and penance, have fulfilled their ambitions and secured high levels of experience and action, are usually acutely conscious of their standing; they grade people into hierarchies, ranging from the lowest non-achiever to the highest achiever. To me all are equal. Differences in appearance and expression are there but they do not matter. Just as the shape of a gold ornament does not affect the gold, so does man’s essence remain unaffected. When this sense of equality is lacking it means that reality has not been touched.
Mere knowledge is not good enough; the knower must be known. The Pandits and the yogis may know many things, but of what use is knowledge when the self is not known? It will be certainly misused. Without the knowledge of the knower there can be no peace.
Question: How does one come to know the knower?
MAHARAJ: I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. When I met my Guru, he told me: “You are not what you take yourself to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense ‘I am,’ find your ‘real self’.”  I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon! It took me only three days to realize my true nature. My Guru died soon after I met him but it made no difference.
I remembered what he told me and persevered. The fruit of it is here, with me.
Q: What is it?
MAHARAJ: I know myself as I am in reality. I am neither the body, nor the mind, nor the mental faculties. I am beyond all these.
Q: Are you just nothing?
MAHARAJ: Come on, be reasonable. Of course I am, most tangibly. Only I am not what you may think me to be. This tells all.
Q: This tells me nothing.
MAHARAJ: Because it cannot be told. You must gain your own experience. Your accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental. I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind. Once you have a glimpse of your own being, you will not find me difficult to understand.
We believe in so many things on hearsay. We believe and distant lands and people, in heavens and hells, and gods and goddesses, because we are told. Similarly, we were told about ourselves, our parents, name, position, duties and so on. We never cared to verify. The way of truth lies to the destruction of the false. To destroy the false must question your most inveterate beliefs.  Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst. With the body comes the world, and with the world—God, who is supposed to have created the world and us it starts—fears, religions, prayers, sacrifices, all sorts of systems—all to protect and support the child-man, frightened out of his wits by monsters of his own making.

Realize that what you are cannot be born or die and with fear gone all suffering ends. What the mind invents, the mind destroys. But the real is not invented and cannot be destroyed.

Hold on to that over which the mind has no power. What I am telling you about is neither in the past nor in the future. Nor is it in the daily life as it flows in the now. It is timeless and the total timelessness of it is beyond the mind. My Guru and his words:  “You are myself” and timelessly with me. In the beginning I had to fix my mind on them, but now it has become natural and easy. The point when the mind accepts the words of the Guru is true and lives by them spontaneously and in every detail of daily life is the threshold of realization. In a way it is a salvation by faith, but the faith must be intense and lasting.
However, you must not think that faith itself is enough. Faith expressed in action is a sure means to realization. Of all the means it is the most effective. There are teachers who deny faith and trust reason only. Actually it is not faith they denied but their blind believes. Faith is not blind. It is the willingness to try.
Q: We were told that of all forms of spiritual practices the practice of the attitude with mere a witness is the most efficacious. How does it compare with faith?
MAHARAJ: The witness attitude is also faith; it is faith in oneself. You believe that you are not what you experience and you look at everything as from a distance. There is no effort in witnessing. You understand that you are the witness only and the understanding acts. You need nothing more, just remember that you are the witness only. If in the state of witnessing ask yourself: “Who am I?”, The answer comes at once, though it is wordless and silent. Cease to be the object and become the subject of all that happens; once having turned within, you will find yourself beyond the subject. When you found yourself, you will find that you are also beyond the object, that both the subject and the object exists in you, but you are neither.
Q: You speak of the mind, of the witness and consciousness beyond the mind and of the Supreme, which is beyond awareness. You mean to say that even awareness is not real?
MAHARAJ: As long as you deal in terms: real—unreal, awareness is the only reality that can be. But the Supreme is beyond all distinctions and to it the term “real” does not apply, for in it all is real and, therefore, need not be labeled as such. It is the very source of Reality, it imparts reality to whatever touches. It just cannot be understood through words. Even a direct experience, however sublime, merely bears testimony, nothing more.
Q: But who creates the world?

MAHARAJ: The Universal Mind makes and unmakes everything. The Supreme imparts reality to whatever comes into being. To say that it is Universal Love maybe the nearest we can come to it in words. Just like love it makes everything real, beautiful, and desirable.
Q: Why desirable?
MAHARAJ: Why not? Where do all the powerful attractions come from that make all created things respond to each other, that bring people together, if not from the Supreme?  Shun not desire; see only that it flows into the right channels. Without desire your dead. But with low desires you are a ghost.
Q: What is the experience that comes nearest to the Supreme?
MAHARAJ: Immense peace and boundless love. Realize that whatever is true, noble and beautiful in the universe, it all comes from you, that you yourself are at the source of it. The gods and goddesses that supervise the world maybe most wonderful and glorious beings; yet they are like the gorgeously dressed servants who proclaim the power and the riches of their master.
Q: How does one reach the Supreme state?
MAHARAJ: By renouncing all lesser desires. As long as you are pleased with the lesser, you cannot have the highest. Whatever pleases you, keeps you back. Until you realize the unsatisfactoriness of everything, it’s transiency and limitation, and collect your energies in one great longing, even the first step is not made. On the other hand, the integrity of the desire for the Supreme is by itself a call from the Supreme. Nothing, physical or mental, can give you freedom. You are free once you understand that your bondage is of your own making and you cease forging the chains that bind you.
Q: You told a questionnaire that we are all the same, that we are equals. I cannot believe it. Since I do not believe it, of what use is your statement to me?
MAHARAJ: Your disbelieve does not matter. My words are true and they will do their work. This is the beauty of noble company (Satsang).
Q:  Just sitting near you can it be considered spiritual practice?
MAHARAJ: Of course. The river of life is flowing. Some of its water is here, but so much of it has already reached its goal. You know only the present. I see much further into the past and future, into what you are and what you can be. I cannot but see you as myself. It is the very nature of love to see no difference.
Q: How can I come to see myself as you see me?
MAHARAJ: It is enough if you do not imagine yourself to be the body. It is the I-am-the-body idea that is so calamitous. It binds you completely to your real nature. Even for a moment do not think that you are the body. Give yourself no name, no shape. In the darkness and the silence reality is found.
Q:  Must not I think with some conviction that I am not the body? Where am I to find such conviction?
MAHARAJ: Behave as if you were fully convinced and the confidence will come. What is the use of mere words? A formula, a mental pattern will not help you. But unselfish action, free from all concern with the body and its interest will carry you into the very heart of Reality.
Q: where am I to get the courage to act without conviction?
MAHARAJ: Love will give you the courage. When you meet somebody wholly admirable, love-worthy, sublime, your love and admiration will give you the urge to act nobly.
Q: Not everybody knows to admire the admirable. Most of the people are totally insensitive.
MAHARAJ: Life will make them appreciate. The very weight of accumulated experience will give them eyes to see. When you meet a worthy man or woman, you will love and trust him/her and follow his/her advice. This is the role of the realized people—to set an example of humanity for others to admire and love. Beauty of life and character is a tremendous contribution to the common good.
Q: Must we not suffer to grow?
MAHARAJ: It is enough to know that there is suffering that the world suffers. Alone neither pleasure not pain enlighten. Only understanding does. Once you have grasped the truth that the world is full of suffering, that to be born is a calamity, you will find the urge and the energy to go beyond it. Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to suffer, don’t go to sleep. You cannot know yourself through bliss alone, for bliss is your very nature. You must face the opposite, but you are not, define enlightenment.

I AM THAT: Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj pp. 300-306


 

PRAJNA GINTY is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, Consciousness guide and author of the Amazon Best Seller: Edge of Grace: A Fierce Awakening to Love.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and living an ordinary life. Inspired by Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, and her children, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst everyday life. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to the truth and happiness that is already present in you, and creates a soft place to land and embody your true self for the deepest satisfaction in life.

How to Befriend Monkey Mind

In this blog Prajna addresses the challenge of ‘monkey mind’ or ‘the narrator’ and how to befriend the content of mind. She highlights natural meditation as a way of being and offers six tips for not getting hooked by the ‘monkey mind’ or ‘narrator’ and how to realize the direct experience of unified of wholeness and connection to all of nature. She ends with a short video clip from a talk: “A Remedy for Spiritual Bypass.”

monkey

One of the best challenges that anyone can face in the jungle is a hungry monkey. In terms of natural meditation, this is similar to meeting the challenge of the voice in the head. For this article, I refer to monkey mind as the narrator, that voice in the head that is constantly cajoling for attention by evaluating, judging, minimizing, exaggerating, dissing, or running off into all sorts of commentaries about what happened in the past and projecting the same into the future. So much of our thinking is completely random or whimsical. Like the monkey swinging from branch to branch gathering what it can along the way. You cannot control it.

How do we work with this monkey, break free of gravitational pull of the narrator?

We will explore breaking the habit of living in the narration, day after day, week after week, the constant story telling of the mind, and bringing attention back into your natural field of unified awareness, consciousness, wholeness.

I just returned from a fortifying excursion into the Amazonian jungle near Iquitos, Peru. After a day of travel, I arrived safely to Iquitos, took a rickshaw to meet a small boat, traveled an hour through the muddy rivers, and hiked into the heart of the jungle. My luggage did not arrive until ten days later.

At first I did not realize how blessed I was to be with minimal belongings. I was without books, taro cards, cosmetics, technology, or sturdy sandals. Some of the basics, skirt, boxer shorts, and tank tops were loaned to me. Other than that it was the jungle and my naked self. I’ve been to the jungle many times yet this time; the concerto of the jungle became more pronounced—more vivid. In the quiet of being without items that might occupy time, my senses became acutely attuned to the exhilarating robust nature around me. Days and nights progressed, with a wide expression of birds, owls, monkeys, and unidentified creatures echoing loudly and feeling serenely close. I felt the proximity of the slithering snakes, lizards, and bellowing frogs walking barefoot along trails in mostly dark rainy weather. When the sun shined tiny colorful insects nested upon the radiance of blooming flowers. With each noticing something inside of me felt nourished, as if I too have an animal and plant self that delights in the unique and exquisite expressions in nature.

On day four I was relaxing in a hammock on the porch of my Tambo, (a simple hut enclosed with transparent netting) when I noticed a long tailed black monkey with patches of white fur peering down at me. She wasn’t any wider than the trunk of the tree she was comfortably perched upon. I don’t know how long or often she frequented this tree. I found myself listening and looking out for her on a regular basis. The more I relaxed, the more I noticed. She appeared and remained relaxed until I tired to approach her. As if she could feel me coming, not knowing what my plan was, she would jump around in sharp alertness. When I sat still, remained curious about her, and let her be as she is, she comfortably enjoyed herself. It was as if we became transfixed upon each other, mystically still without a sense of time or space between us. I became the monkey and the monkey became me, unified within a voluminous sense of wholeness. As long as I remained still without an agenda to do anything with her, an imminent peace perfumed the texture of the jungle. I could taste the sweetest nectar seeping into every pore of my body soothing my nervous system. I imagined the same for her.

Once again I discovered precious keys to working with the challenging unpredictability of monkey mind, the narrator. Sometimes we need to step out of the spaces that we normally inhabit. This includes all of the different ways, people, or things on our ‘to do’ list that we occupy or distract ourselves with. Pause and breathe into a wider space of relaxation that occurs when we are not burdening ourselves with distractions. Allow yourself, right now with whatever is presenting itself, to be exactly as it is. Without an effort or thought to change any part of it. Notice what happens when you relax trying to do something with it, control it, suppress it, criticize it, label it or call it wrong. This may sound radical amidst common meditation techniques that emphasize mind control, making your mind quiet, attaining an altered state, or achieving fixed levels before you allow yourself to simply relax and give up resistance to what it. This is the most efficacious way to befriend the varied challenges of monkey mind. This is going to the root of the issue and allowing all of the committee members of judges, critics, storytellers, etc. to have a permanent vacation.

The little story of my friend the monkey is a good example. All narration begins with the assumptions we hold about whatever we encounter. If we believe monkeys are dangerous or a problem, that they’re only interested in your food and biting you, this will create a behavior of avoidance. In the same way if we believe that any kind of thought or thinking pattern is problematic, shouldn’t be happening, needs to change or be altered, we have fallen into a pattern of avoiding thoughts. This very avoidance solidifies the habit of believing that your assumptions are true. This closes the door to the necessary element of curiosity. Curious wonder opens us up to a wide relaxation that allows us to take in much more of what is happening. The cloud of assumption begins to clear to seeing reality as it is, without a commentary about it. That part of us that already knows and resonates with reality beyond the surface of assumptions implodes your awareness. This feels right, whole, and true. There’s rightness knowing you are awareness. You are awareness, as awareness you feel a sense of unification between the seer, the seeing, and the seen. Assumptions fall away; you are left with a unified sense of wholeness. The fabric of existence is awareness, you are awareness, and the objects of awareness are awareness. Only awareness.

In the jungle I was given the gift of very minimal distractions. This alone gives more space for the panorama of the fabric of existence to be noticed and to seep into every cell and pore of the body.

Here are a few tips for stepping into rather than stepping away from the areas in life where you feel challenge, triggered or afraid:

  • Step outside of your ordinary habitat, outside of your habitual space of comfort. Take stock of what clutters your life. Perhaps it is time for a spring cleaning. Jump into a river, the ocean, the woods. Take a long walk in nature and feel that part of you that resonates with nature.
  • Notice your alignment with the sounds, movements, plants, and elements in nature. Is there a part of you that argues with the varied expressions of nature? For example, should the woodpecker, peck? The humming bird, hum? The bumble bee, buzz? Notice there is a you that knows the rightness of pecking, humming, buzzing,  and is already in alignment with the movements of nature.
  • Sit down for a minute perhaps under a tree, on a bench or back at your home; allow that challenging thought or stream of thoughts to surface. Can you be with them in the same way you’re with the movements of nature? Can you relax into the rightness of thoughts moving without adding a commentary?
  • Remain with wide-open curious wonder. Be the space, the context, like the jungle in which all of these sounds and movements are happening. Members of your mental committee may arise, simply notice them without any effort to change them. You are allowing a habit to shift from giving attention to the content to relaxing as the context, the space, the jungle, the fabric of existence.
  • Notice what happens. The entirety of the jungle becomes your friend. Nothing is needed, no special clothing, position, or preparation, just you as you are. Your monkey mind is your best friend until you try to change it.
  • Feel the stability of your natural connection to the fabric of existence. Ground here like a redwood tree with never ending roots and let your true untouched self blossom.

One of the main reasons we meditate is to connect with this unified field of awareness or consciousness. Here we feel intimately engaged and not overly attached to the content of our minds, simultaneously, we know that multifaceted perceptions are resting in this unified field of consciousness. Meditation is a way to access this and call it forth. I think of meditation as an art form.

My example in the jungle shows that meditation is not about following cookie cutter instructions. We get the feel or the sense of meditation as innate to our being, a natural, fluid and dynamic way of being with ourselves, life — the jungle of the world as it presents itself. Rather than trying to meditate, we simply open ourselves to allowing natural meditation to reveal itself. Techniques help us to provide a space for meditation to arise in us, to show us what natural meditation is. We do not have to limit ourselves to any given time period on a meditation cushion, theoretical practices, stages or levels, life is meditation. Every aspect of life is an invitation for meditation to reveal itself.

To continue this exploration enjoy this ten minute video clip from a talk on “A Remedy for Spiritual Bypass when we are Triggered.”


PRAJNA GINTY is a spiritual teacher, Hakomi Therapist, personal guide and author of the books Living Awake and Amazon Best seller: Edge of Grace: A Seeker’s Path to the Heart of Liberation.  As a single mom of round prajna copytwo children with special needs, she was inspired to create The Flowing River School and Sangha Project (2001). She is also the creator of The Embodiment Intensive (2006). Prajna has been featured in One Truth, Many Voices, Buddha at the Gas Pump, Living-from-Love, 10,000 Awakenings and Conscious TV. She came to spiritual realization by way of mysticism and three decades of extensive training in the world’s non-dual wisdom traditions, depth psychology and holistic healing. Inspired by Ramana Mahashi, her root teacher Adyashanti, and her children, her teachings are practical, non-dogmatic and elicit the direct knowing of who we are amidst ordinary everyday life. She is widely known for her depth of presence, unabated compassion and potent meditations for reclaiming your original wholeness and aliveness. She graciously points to the truth and happiness that is already present in you, and creates a soft place to land to embody your true self for the deepest satisfaction in life.

Featured Review: ‘Transforming, courageous love’

Feature Review: ‘Transforming, courageous love’
By Mara Harnett
“This book kindle cover OCT 2015is a very special cradle of transforming love….This profound sharing by Prajna impacts me deeply. It’s such a close encounter with the deepest heart, with the essential fabric of love, of belonging, of reaching up to Spirit as we love and raise children. It is an example of living a courageous life and facing great challenges, deeply nourished by Spirit. Here is an example of the capacity to live our deepest knowing with our children, from our true nature.
“Prajna shows us, with gracious detail and intimacy, the portals to being that a mother’s love enters. All the tiger-mother moments of life come up to the surface for me, and the courage of love, as Prajna stands up for her daughters. I felt an intimacy while reading, and pleasure in the language and humor.
“I felt communion and curiosity with the source awareness it expresses. I delighted in each daughter. I was impacted by each hardship and by each communion between mother and child. Those were highlighted to me as I read, the joy and honor that each received. I can feel new awakenings, through Prajna and her beautiful daughters, of truth and love. This is an astounding and vivifying book.”

Purchase Edge of Grace HERE, or on Amazon.com for the Kindle version.

Activate Your Limbic Aliveness

In this blog I recount experiences of my daughter’s activation of the limbic system. I explain what the limbic system is and how our habits are anchored in feeling states: the somatic/attitudinal patterns that provide an automatic framework in and from which we form beliefs, behaviors and relationships.

I show that within in each of us there is an innate presence of divine wholeness that is sacred and unscathed that can be known directly regardless of unfolding circumstances. I propose that to embody our original wholeness, to be who we are without pretense, and to function from this knowing in a way that is richly satisfying, integrated, and engaged with others and the world is the basis of human realization.

I close with seven activities for activating your limbic aliveness.

I invite you to participate in my Embodiment Intensive as a profound and deeply experiential opportunity to live as and from your original wholeness. Register here.

AbbysilksYou may already know my daughter Abby. She is one of the characters in my book Edge of Grace. I often refer to her as “the unstoppable Abby.” When she was born along with her sister at 1.2 pounds she was given a slim prognosis of surviving. A few days after her birth her gut split open. This led to a series of surgeries and interventions that required calling in a special surgeon from Canada. When it was time to give permission for the surgery the Doctor told me, “I’ve never seen a baby as small as Abby survive this surgery. She’s one pound. I have forty five minutes max to go in clear out the infection and sew her back up again.” “Oh.” I mumbled imagining to myself that he must not be speaking to me. Read more

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma

VIDEO: The Power of Meditation – Healing Trauma Author Prajna Ginty recounts her experiences of meditation. She explains how, even though it might be very difficult to begin with, meditation can help heal trauma.

In today’s video blog I talk about the lessons I learned while sitting with Love Teaching Number 3 that was passed from Shams to Rumi. I will outline 4 levels of insight or understanding

  1. Beyond words
  2. Outside
  3. Inner
  4. Inner of the inner

In the video I explore how trauma comes into play within each of these 4 levels. Keep Reading…

Returning the Favor

CHAPTER 15: RETURNING THE FAVOR

AS LONG AS WE CAN

July 2013

At the end of July I receive a phone call from one my sisters that my mother in New York is very ill. She is admitted to the hospital. It isn’t looking good. Our conversation leads me to immediately book a flight to see her. My brother-in-law picks me up at the airport and fills me in on the details. She had colon issues for several years that were never resolved. My mom, like me, is not a fan of using pharmaceuticals. She practices preventative care or treats herself with natural remedies. In this healing crisis she has lost thirty pounds, is weak and unable to eat. Now she is lying in a hospital bed with an I.V. with medication dripping into her veins, unable to recognize me. Read more

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of Us

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of Us

 

How the Seed of Awakening Is Ready To Blossom within All of UsAuthor Prajna Ginty explains how spiritual awakening is not something to be acquired, attained or achieved; for at the core of our essence we are already awake. 

When we seek spiritual awakening many of us start gathering information or greater understanding, or we travel to India, hike to mountaintops, or go and live in a cave. Although all of these things are worthy aspects in our spiritual exploration, they are not necessary nowadays. Now, we live in a time where profound teachings are just a download away. However, downloading, acquiring, and accumulating teachings are not the same as the deep recognition of yourself as spirit that we define as spiritual awakening. Read more

Tell Me You Are Kidding

book sample 6-2015This is the prologue of a book about a mom, love and life with her three daughters, two with special needs, and their journey together. The stories are filled with universal heart opening themes laced with humor, tragedy, sweat, tears and a wisdom that delivers us to surrender, eternal peace and cosmic humor.

It’s late spring of 2004, and we are driving in our family Toyota van along the rolling hills of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, lush green foliage surrounding us in the cool damp air, the sky a hazy blue. Nine-year old Autumn sits next to me in the front seat, her hands busy crocheting a green and yellow book bag, her eyes peeled, ready to spot the bold red heart on the Variety Camp sign, a charity-funded camp for children with special needs and medical conditions. I peek in the mirror and check on my twin daughters, Abby and Libby, who, if all goes well, will soon be spending ten days at the overnight camp at no cost to our family. Read more

Presence ~ Our Most Vital Gift

budhaPresence is a gift. It is not a gift we can give to others or to ourselves; it is a gift that is already given. Although we often relish and are comforted by the physical presence of another, spiritual presence is your birthright. One meaning of presence is the state or fact of being present, as with others or in a place. This physical presence has a concrete form that is visible to our eyes. Read more

Abandon Beliefs

meditateOf course, you are welcome to keep whatever beliefs you choose. Beliefs will not help you to find your essence. They can be very useful in the world of time and space, for day-to-day function. For instance, that traffic will flow according to the agreed upon believes of traffic laws.
Beliefs form in the mind by giving meaning to a stream of thought patterns. Beliefs are seductive and give us a temporary feeling of knowing something. This knowing gives a superficial sense of security. Read more