Give your mind to whatever comes and goes, but give your heart to that which remains always with you. 

Is There Something To Do?

Is there anything that can be done towards the realisation of the true nature of experience?

Many teachers say there is nothing you, the apparent individual can do (towards the realisation of the true nature of experience)? It seems to me that as long as there is still identification with this apparent individual, there will be no choice for it but to seek. What is your view?

If there is a sense of separation, a sense that ‘I’ am located here in and/or as this body, then that belief/feeling veils (appears to veil, although it actually never does) the reality of our experience. The reality of our experience is that we are unlimited Consciousness that is both the witness and the substance of all experience.

With this apparent veiling of our true nature, comes the apparent veiling of the peace and happiness that is inherent in it.

And the veiling of happiness is what is known as suffering, and suffering is, by definition, the search for happiness. If there was no search for happiness, in other words, if we were completely content with the current situation, there would be no suffering. So the veiling of happiness, suffering and the search for happiness are all synonyms. Another name for this search is ‘the person,’ ‘the entity.’

Having understood this we could say, more simply, that the apparent separate entity is the search for happiness. The apparent separate entity is the belief that there is something we can and must do to find happiness.

It is utterly disingenuous to say, as this apparent person, ‘There is nothing to do.’ The separate entity is already a doing, a rejection of the current situation, a search for happiness.

If as a person we feel there is nothing to do, we are just fooling ourselves, washing a veneer of advaita over uncomfortable feelings that we have neither the intelligence nor the courage to face.

Sooner or later, in the privacy of our hearts, our suffering will resurface and compel the search for happiness.

If as a person we feel there is nothing to do, we are in fact in an even worse position than one who has never heard of the teaching, for not only are we suffering, but we are also, by some convoluted act of reasoning, denying ourselves the very means by which we may see the origin (and therefore the way out) of our suffering.

At least one who is suffering and searching in a conventional sense has the possibility of exploring his experience and coming to an understanding of the nature of suffering.

If we deny ourselves this possibility, we are stuck. In the Indian terminology it is Tamas masquerading as Satva, inertia and fear masquerading as peace.

So what is to be done? Seek understanding, not intellectual understanding, but experiential understanding, clear seeing. Ignorance, that is, the ignoring of the true nature of experience, cannot stand being clearly seen. It vanishes like a shadow when you shine a light on it. It can never be found.

That is why in India they don’t call it ‘ignorance.’ They call it the ‘illusion of ignorance.’

Do whatever needs to be done to see that ignorance and the suffering that is attendant upon it is non-existent.

That there is nothing to do and no-one to do it may be the outcome of this research. If it is, it becomes your own unshakable knowledge, not needing confirmation from any outside source.

However, except in extremely rare cases, this investigation of the belief in separation at the level of the mind and the exploration of the feeling of being located in and as a body, is a prerequisite to this experiential understanding. Without it, ‘there is nothing to do’ and ‘there is no-one to do it’ just becomes a new belief and advaita degenerates from a living experiential understanding into yet another religion.