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Be As You Are


This morning I climbed onto a ledge and sat in the first rays of sunshine to drink tea and read. The chapter, entitled ‘Creation theories and the reality of the world’, contains Sri Ramana’s answers to questions regarding our enigma with the waking and dream worlds, and our difficulty in coming to terms with which world, if either, is real and which is unreal. It’s a subject upon which I’ve never felt I could get any grasp, and not for lack of trying. But this morning’s musings were set on the backdrop of comments made virtually between friends these past few days. I could feel myself wanting to hold fast to my points of view, while also feeling respect for my mates and that I wanted to gaze at the topics from their perspective. The result was a feeling of unrest because I didn’t want to shun or invalidate either of us.

In her April 6th newsletter editor’s note, Miriam Frankel (Science Editor for The Conversation) wrote, “the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt lead to an outbreak of divisive and disruptive political blame games.” You know what? I’m not interested in nor want to participate in discord, animosity, or disunity, let alone diatribes. What I value is communication, cooperation, and compassion.

And thus, the prose reflected on the pages in front of me spoke loudly, without having to make a sound.

The world of the waking state and the dream world are both creations of the mind and, so long as the mind is engrossed in either, it finds itself unable to deny their reality. It cannot deny the reality of the dream world while it is dreaming and it cannot deny the reality of the waking world while it is awake. If, on the contrary, you withdraw your mind completely from the world and turn it within and abide there, that is, if you keep awake always to the Self which is the substratum of all experiences, you will find the world of which you are now aware is just as unreal as the world in which you lived in your dream.

I took a breath, sipped some tea, and continued to read.

That world, which you say is real, is really mocking at you for seeking to prove its reality while of your own reality you are ignorant. You want somehow or other to maintain that the world is real. What is the standard of reality? That alone is real which exists by itself, which reveals itself by itself and which is eternal and unchanging.

I smiled at the thought that I’m being mocked. Years ago I would have wanted to rip somebody’s head off for mocking me. Now? I can’t be bothered to use energy to hold tight in obstinance. (Well, maybe I can for a while but I tire of it much faster these days.)

It’s at this point that I’ll leave these musings here, close with another quote from Bhagavan, and then jump on my bike trainer asking “Who am I?”

What is right conduct? What is conduct? And what is right? Who is to judge what is right and what is wrong? According to previous samskaras [innate tendencies], each one regards something or other as right. Only when the reality is known can the truth about right and wrong be known. The best course is to find out who wants this salvation. Tracing this ‘who’ or ego to its original source is the right conduct for everyone.
—Sri Ramana Maharshi, Be As You Are, edited by David Godman

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