Good Friday Thoughts !


Many of us have experienced , at one time or another , that state when the “me” , the self , with its aggressive demands, has completely ceased, and the mind is extraordinarily quiet, without any direct violation ,the state within. Perhaps, one may experience something that is without measure, something that is impossible to put into words. There must have been these rare moments when the self, the “me”, with all its memories and travails, with all its anxieties, and fears, has completely seized. One is then a being without any motive , without any compulsion, and in that state one feels or is aware of an astonishing sense of immeasurable distance, of limitless space and being.

This must have happened to many of us, And i think it would be worthwhile if we could go into this question together and see whether it is possible to resolve the enclosing , limiting self , the restricting “me” that worries, that has anxieties, fears, that is dominating and dominated, that has immeasurable memories, that is cultivating virtue and trying to every way to become something , to be important.

I do not know if you have noticed the constant effort that one is constantly or unconsciously making to express oneself , to be something , either socially , or morally , or economically. This entails a great deal of striving. Our whole life is based on the everlasting struggle to arrive , to achieve , to become. The more we struggle, the more exaggerated the self becomes, with all its limitations, fears, ambitions,frustrations, and there must have been times when each one has asked himself whether it is possible to be totally without the self.

After all we do have rare moments when the sense of the self is not. I am not talking of the transmission of the self to a higher level , but of the simple cessation of the “me” with its anxieties , worries , fears, the absence of the self. One realises that such a thing is possible , and then one sets about deliberately , consciously , to eliminate the self. After all , that is what organised religions try to do – to help each worshiper, each believer , to lose himself to something greater, and thereby perhaps to experience some higher state.

We think that if we forget ourselves , deny ourselves , put ourselves out of the way by dedicating our lives to something much greater and more vital than ourselves , we shall perhaps experience bliss , happiness , which is not merely a physical sensation. And if we do none of these things , we hope to stop thinking about ourselves through the cultivation of virtue , through discipline , through control , through constant practice.

Now i do not know if any of you have thought about this , but all that this implies , is surely , a ceaseless effort to be or become something.i think in this lies the real issue. Because all effort implies motive. I make an effort to forget myself in something, in some ritual , or some ideology,because thinking of myself i was becoming unhappy. When i think about something else , i am more relaxed , my mind is quieter , i seem to feel better , i look at things differently. So every time i make an effort to forget myself. But behind this effort there is a motive, which is to escape from myself because i suffer and that motive is essentially a part of the self.

Now is it possible to forget oneself without any motive ? Because, we can see very well that any motive has within it the seed of the self, with its anxiety , ambition , frustration , its fear of not being,and the immense urge to be secure.And can all of that fall away easily , without any effort? Which means, really, can you and i, as individuals live in this world without being identified with anything ?

After all , I identify myself with my country, with my religion, with my family, with my name, because without identification i am nothing. Without a position, without power, without prestige of one kind, or another, i feel lost , and so i identify myself with my name, with my family, my religion.

But can we live in a world without any identification at all ?

Then i think knowledge has quite a different significance. At present we identify ourselves with our knowledge and use it as a means of self expansion, just as we do with the nation, with a religion, with activity. Identification with the knowledge we have gained is another way of furthering the self , is it not? Through knowledge the “me” continues its struggle to be something , thereby perpetuates misery and pain.

If we can humbly and simply see the implications of all of this, be aware without assuming anything , of how our minds operate what our thinking is based on, then i think we shall realise the extraordinary contradiction that exists in the whole process of identification.

After all, its because i feel empty, lonely, miserable that i identify myself with my country and the identification give me a self of well being , a feeling of power. Or for the same reason , i identify with a hero , with a saint . But if i get into the process of identification very deeply, then i will see that the whole movement of my thinking and all of my activity , however noble, is essentially based on the continuance of myself in one form or another.

Now , if i once see that , if i realise it , feel it with my whole being, then religion has quite a different meaning. Then religion is no longer a process of identifying myself with God, but rather the coming into being of a state in which there is only that reality, and NOT the “me” . But this cannot be a mere verbal assertion , it is not just a phrase to be repeated.

That is why it is very important , it seems to me , to have self knowledge , which means going very deeply into oneself without assuming anything , so that the mind has no deception , no illusions , so that it does not trick itself into visions and false states of being. Then perhaps it is possible for the enclosing process of the self to come to an end- not through any form of compulsion or discipline , because the more you discipline the self , the stronger the self becomes.

What is important is to go into this very deeply and patiently , without taking anything for granted, so that one begins to understand the ways, the purposes, the motives and directions of the mind.Then i think the mind comes to a state in which there is no identification at all , and therefore no effort to be something, then there is cessation of the self , and i think that is real.

Although we may swiftly fleetingly experience this state , the difficulty for most of us is that the mind clings to experiences and wants more of it. And the very wanting of more is again the beginning of the self. That is why it is very important, for those of us who are really serious in these matters, to be inwardly aware of the process of our own thinking , to silently observe our motives , our emotional reactions , and not merely say ” i know myself very well ” for actually one does not!

So can the mind , knowing its limitations , being aware of its conditioning go beyond itself ? That is the problem. Merely to assert that it can , or it cannot would be silly. Surely it is fairly obvious that the whole mind is conditioned. We are all conditioned – by tradition, by family, by experience, through the process of time. If you believe in God , that belief is the outcome of a particular conditioning, just as is the disbelief of the man who says he does not believe in God. So belief and disbelief have very little importance. But what is important is to understand the whole field of thought and to see if the mind can go beyond it all.

These thoughts are Good Friday thoughts, without any direct significance to this day or time. A mere cessation to the continuity of the conditioned mind is it not ?

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