Saturday, May 12, 2012

Part 4 - Mithya

This is not a work of fiction.  If you're sitting back, waiting for the last chapter to be written, just so that you can jump ahead and find the answers, you'll be frustrated and unsatisfied.  Unless you come along for the ride, unless you seriously look into these things, you'll remain sort of stuck with the concepts you've accepted, seeing through that particular filter.  These words won't give you anything - they cannot give you the understanding - they can only give you an insight into that understanding.  If you look into these things, an opening may come - a parting of the dark clouds.  The sun might start peeking through because it is your understanding.  You aren't given anything but come to the understanding naturally through investigation of your ideas.

This has been the theme of the past few blog posts - really getting to the down and dirty about our ideas - the ideas of the world, of reality, and of what-the-HELL-we-are....  If we had no doubts we wouldn't need to look - but then we likely wouldn't be in the midst of a spiritual search.

Now that I've seriously dived deep into the ideas I have about myself, I realize there is more doubt than truth there.  The more I poke around those ideas the more I find I'm full of shit.  I find I truly don't have a clue what I am - I believe what I was told, that I was created, that I am a new existence.  It is this idea that IS the idea of separation itself, because really the core of that idea is that existence is something which comes in individual servings.  Each "thing" is an existence-of-itself, a separate thing, an independent piece.  It stands alone - it comes anew and then goes - it is born and dies.  

And that idea I have of myself is no different.  I HAVE a life, I am living a life, as a separate entity, a "person", a thing-among-infinite-things...  This is the core, root idea of myself.  So the root, default, de-facto idea is that I am separate.  That reality is separate.  Is this not absolutely the truth about your idea of yourself and reality?

Let that slam you right in the face.  You're off on this spiritual search for wholeness or oneness or enlightenment or whatever - looking for oneness, being told that reality is whole or one, yet the very root belief you have about yourself and reality is that it IS separate.  You believe this and it takes a miracle, maybe an act of Congress (which is truly a miracle these days) to get you to even question that idea.  

So you've now questioned it and come up with no answers, yes?  You haven't found the answer, you've just found that you have no real basis for this idea that you were born, you have no truth, only assumptions.  That's all you need.  Doubt.  You must doubt this idea that you were born, just give doubt the smallest crack in the door, become a skeptic about yourself, about these ideas of birth and death, separation.  

Because once we seriously doubt reality as we've believed it to be, then we're truly out there - swinging with no net - out in the ether somewhere - the ground has been pulled out from under us.  The solid support we had with our erroneous beliefs is now shaky.  We are in the perfect place to really begin to ask questions about reality, to really look into what I might be, what my true nature might be.  Until that ground is shaky, it's like we're on the ground, watching the roller coaster go up the tracks, smiling at and excited for the people on board, however we're not going anywhere.  So let's jump on the rollercoaster.

Vedanta has a term called Mithya.  Mithya means "that which comes and goes".  So Vedanta is a means of knowing yourself, so let's go along with it until either we understand what's being pointed to, or we just discard it as bullshit.

Mithya means - that which comes and goes.  Vedanta says - the world is Mithya.  The person is Mithya.  Even Consciousness is Mithya.  This means everything we know, even the capacity of knowing it, comes and goes.  

One caveat needs to be put in place here.  When we say "everything we know" - we mean everything we know objectively.  Because you know yourself, yet it isn't objective, and it isn't coming and going.  YOU don't come and go.  You are there and you know you're there, BECAUSE you know things are coming and going, yes?  That "YOU" isn't objective - you don't get a look at it - you can't give it a color or shape or size.  It's just YOU - the subjective "I".  Yet you don't even know THAT without Consciousness first arriving and displaying the world, the body, and the mind, yes?

And because there is a world, that is, because objective experience is happening, you posit an "I" as the subject.  That "I", then, must behave, must exist, according to the laws of this world we know.  In other words that "I" then is just another one of these independent things or existences which was born and will die.  

The problem with this, really the reason it's reinforced and so difficult to discard, is because of the identification with the body-mind.  Then what-we-are IS that body-mind, that body-mind was born as a thing in the world - that means it obeys the rules of all other things.  That means YOU are just another entity - a separate entity.  

But the solution to this is really really simple, if we are truly on that shaky ground, if we're actually on that roller coaster and not watching from the safe ground.  In a dream the body does all sorts of things, yet we'll discard the identification with that immediately because we truly believe it was just a dream and this waking state is the real state.  But that has no basis in objective experience or empirical evidence.  The dream was just as real as is this very moment.  You truly have no way of knowing the difference at that time.

So the body in the dream wasn't you - it was objective.  Yet now, right this very moment, that body is also objective - "I" is not.  That mind is objective - "I" is not.  You aren't the body-mind.  You weren't the body-mind that appeared in the dream last night and are not the body-mind that is appearing right this moment.

Also, we might say Consciousness is there because of that chemical we call "body" - Consciousness is a capacity which depends on that body-chemical, but YOU aren't the chemical.  You are the intelligence which takes advantage of the capacity of that chemical.  

So the world (including the body-mind) is Mithya - the world comes and goes.  What comes and goes has no actual existence of itself.  It is a transient appearance, a pattern.  The appearance of it is what is coming and going.  The actual existence, what it IS, isn't coming and going, yes?  So what does that mean?

It means that existence - Vedanta calls it SAT - Sat just means "IS" - existence or that which IS, does not come and go of itself but it's EXPRESSIONS are what is coming and going.  Sat is what is real.  Sat is reality.  Sat cannot be modified - Sat cannot be changed.  However Sat expresses - reality expresses - that expression appears - that expression is called Mithya.

So this is an equation that can be applied to our present situation.  You are looking at a computer screen - words - light...  The clouds are in the sky - the sun is in the sky.  The sun has come and will go.  The clouds have come and will go.  The words on the screen have come and will go.  The computer even has come and will go.  The hands on the keyboard - the body - the thoughts going on  -these all came and will go - probably for a time tonight and eventually for good they will go.

Yet THAT which is YOU in this equation, that isn't something that comes and goes.  Only your ideas about it come and go.  Your knowledge of it comes and goes - that is - you can say "I AM" only because of this capacity called Consciousness.  Even "I AM" - that idea or knowledge - comes and goes.

So in this equation, the world, body and mind is Mithya.  You are Sat.  Ponder that and we'll chat again soon.


Sjot said...

So consiousness is a bit like an operating system on a computer running applications? Outcomes of applications are like thoughts and emotions. The energy ('electricity') running the computer would be what IS? Much to simple?

billtys said...

Hello Randall,

What a mighty post and so compelling. Thank you.

One expressing as everything...

Sat expressing in a million billion ways...

Intelligence simply expressing ideas, notions and concepts...a cognizing and intelligent emptiness...

All these expression are mithya because they come and go..

One interesting and powerful expression is the notion that the pure looking knowing subjectivity is identified as the body mind...

This notion, as a pattern or expression is not false. This same notion, as absolute reality, is false.

In other words, everything is valid (not false) in the appearance...yet all appearance, as absolute reality, is false.


Love to you Bill

Randall Friend said...

Hi Bill,

Yes, everything is valid as appearance, relatively, and absolutely as that absolute reality which it also IS.

It is when we believe the appearance IS the absolute reality, when we take appearance as the presence of independent existences, that brings about the idea of ourself as just another thing, just another existence which came and will go. We then naturally feel isolated, afraid of dying, trying to make our experiences better.

When we realize the world is just that essence, expressing, just as a pot is just the expression of clay, then we lose the absolute-ness of that which comes and goes and realize that anything which we know is only THAT singularity of reality.

That means - reality isn't later made whole - it already IS whole. That's what Advaita means - not-two. It doesn't lose it's two-ness later, it IS not-two already. It's a description, not a prescription.

Therefore we only need to examine our ideas about the world and find serious doubt. That shakes up the ground upon which we stand. This doubt is the seed which sprouts the mighty tree of self-realization.

love to you

Randall Friend said...

Hi Sjot,

That's a good analogy. Life is intelligent. We see it everywhere - in the DNA, the gravity, the acorn which takes root and sprouts an oak tree, the oak tree which sprouts an acorn which falls to the ground only to begin again.

This intelligence has manifested as the capacity to know - the five senses and the ability to generate a picture in the brain. Yet you aren't there in the brain as another little person enjoying the show. Who is in the brain observing the picture of the world generated by this mechanism?

Life simply has, through this mechanism, the ability to be aware, to know. That intelligence is presently the one who is aware of this site, of these words, of these feelings of the butt in the chair, the breathing, the heartbeat, the various thoughts racing by. Sjot is another one of these ideas - a conglomeration of identities with the body, the job, the roles, the appearance, etc.

So Sjot is the name for the body-mind, the chemical, the mechanism, the computer. Life is that from which these all appear.

As you walk outside, look up at the sky, hear the birds singing, feel the warm breeze... Life is knowing itself, feeling itself, hearing itself, aware of it's own manifestation because of this mechanism called Consciousness. Sjot is merely a useful concept, just another string of thoughts which come and go.

Don't try to get there, there is nowhere to go. Only see if it's possible that Life is the intelligence which is looking out the eyes right this very moment.

love to you

Ricky said...

Hi Randall

I haven't commented for ages, but after reading all 4 parts of your recent posts, I just felt the urge.

It's truly astounding, isn't it,how we give appearances their own show and convince ourselves there is something on the other side of the imaginary line we draw called 'me and you' or 'me and it'.

It seldom occurs to us that whatever appears only reveals knowing presense. Yes, we can have all our labels and chop the world up into this and that, but personally, when the world appears I come with it as a package deal.

I've scoured my memory banks to see if there has ever been a time when something as ordinary as an apple or an earthworm has appeared without this knowing present being around, and I have been unsuccessful so far.

I could keep trying, I suppose, hoping that I will manage it, but as time goes on it seems a long shot.

When I saw appearances are nothing other than this knowing presence, regardless of ideas and beliefs I had ingested from my friends and family, then relief permeated every nook and cranny.

Thanks Randall, what a clear uncomplicated expression you are.


StepVheN said...

Why all of these high notions and over-wrought concepts.

Would it not be better to make this as simple as possible?

Randall Friend said...

Hello again Richard - hope all is well.

Yes, it is amazing but understandable. When we watch a movie we are purposely suspending reality, suspending disbelief, so that we can enjoy the fiction. It's not enjoyable when someone sitting next to you is constantly pointing out the unrealistic nature of the happenings because we sort of go into a state of denial - we allow the illusion to take hold.

The world is exactly like this - only we aren't willing and knowing partners in the charade for the most part. We don't realize that the display or appearance or pattern CANNOT be the absolute reality. It IS yet it isn't AS it appears. We take what we can see or experience as the absolute way, the absolute existence. It just isn't so, and almost all of the spiritual dialog or pointers are pointing to this obvious but overlooked truth.

When we just get this basic thing, the rest sort of falls into place naturally. But we somehow, although we're seeking the answers, we usually don't really want them. To really get the answer would mean the movie would end. Life would go on but the movie, the fiction would end.

The fiction is your imagination.


Randall Friend said...

Hi StepVheN,

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Yes, it can definitely be much simpler and less conceptual, and that can be very effective. I've also found that the pointers and concepts of Vedanta are very useful. It's sort of a mix here - it's interesting to see the various influences come out in the writing. It really depends from which direction we wish to attack. Sometimes we're doing a bit of give and take, which is the traditional Vedanta way, and sometimes we're in your face, a direct challenge and almost a dare to face the idea of the individual and see the falseness of it.

Thanks for your comment.


billtys said...

Hello Randall,

These four blogs are amazingly expressive. I love reading them and have done so a few times. Each phrase, pointer, concept... seems to be alive with truth (what's that?) and as I read it over again it does seem so simple...there is not any complication really.

Playing didgeridoo is's real easy...if you know how and one has put the time in...

Advaita is simple... if you have been ernest and put the time in to investigate.

Complicated concepts and long winded stories about advaita that can be read on other sites...even those are a joy to read!

I love these four latest blogs and I can't wait for number five...although I can't imagine at all what is left to say.

One expressing as everything.

Thank you Randall.

Love to you Bill