Who Am I? Exploring Vedanta
The Results of Practicing Discrimination
The application of discrimination requires dedicated effort on the part of the seeker to constantly reject identification with any limited identity. This practice needs to be done whole-heartedly with great dedication. As the practice matures, the other aspects of Vedanta arise naturally, such as dispassion or detachment. Once you know things are not permanent, or won’t bring lasting pleasure, it becomes possible to detach from chasing ephemeral things. Once discrimination and detachment arise, then the qualities such as forbearance and patience can develop, as you know things will pass. And as all these develop, the longing for liberation increases, as you touch that place of the Self more and more and want to become established in it.
Meditation on "Thou art That" from Viveka Chudamani
Once the mind has been sharpened by discrimination and the other steps, then it is ready to use meditations of affirmation. Take time now, in a meditative way, to read Shankaracharya’s meditation on your identity with Brahman, the absolute. Let the words really enter your consciousness as true and feel them inside you. Feel as if Shankaracharya is speaking directly to you:
That which is beyond all words and which can be known only by pure understanding, is consciousness. It is beginningless substance- Brahman. Know that as your own Self. Thou art That.
Untouched by … decay, death, hunger, thirst, grief and delusion, whom the senses cannot know and the intellect cannot comprehend, that Glorious One, Brahman... Thou art That.
… Self-existent, different from the manifested and unmanifested, without parts, incomparable- Thou art That.
In whom all difference ceases, like a vast sheet of water without any waves, ever free, undivided, one Brahman. Thou art That.
Who is one, the cause of many, but who has no cause and is separate from cause and effect, self-existent, Brahman, Thou art That.
Free from all change, without any doubts, different from destructible and indestructible, the Supreme, ever-blissful Brahman, Thou art That.
…One blissfulness, truth, knowledge and bliss, eternal and immortal, that is Brahman, Thou art That. (1)
Listen to this meditation on audio (2)
For me the understanding of Vedanta has given me a clear vision of what an enlightened state looks like. Throughout the writings of Vedanta, the one who is liberated while in the body, a Jivan Mukta, is described in ways that resonate with my highest goals. It is a being who is free at all times, who lives in the world and serves the world, knowing at the same that only the Absolute exists. There is no thought of protecting the small self, the ego, because there is no ego to protect. Serving humanity becomes a natural expression of their being. I know this to be true, not just from reading it, but from having spent time with my teachers.
At the same time, the practice of meditation becomes like digging a deep well, from which you can always drink. No matter what is happening on the outside, when I meditate, I can go back to that place of the pure witness, of Brahman and refresh myself. This well never runs dry.
Next: Devotion and Grace
(1) Viveka Chudamani verses 255-263 pg 117
(2) Music: Mystery by Mandrell and Wertheimer, on Anjali
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