Thursday, October 16, 2014

Process of Authentic Living

"I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess.
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;
Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing:
Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.” ................René Daumal


René Daumal was a French spiritual para-surrealist writer and poet of the early twentieth century.
I was very impressed by his understanding of the process of authentic living. Most of us live through life like an automaton programmed by external agencies in all aspects of our lives.
The very first line of his quote indicates that the prime mover to our existence is desire. One should not mistake this desire to be possessing. A desire to possess emanates from the ego. This lower drive is initiated in our minds through objective valuation. It is the subjective desire to evolve and not act as a store house where things tend to rot and decay not only the possessions not serving any useful purpose but fouling the very embodiment of these possessions namely; the body, mind and the soul.

If we consciously allow all things in our life to flow through us, whether it be knowledge or riches, then we become the channel of the universe and its organizing principle. Can you ever imagine that a small weir (barrier to alter the course of water) in a canal that is controlling the flow of water to the field claiming that it is the only root cause for nourishing the field. You are just a component in the vast array of enabling agencies that nourishes the ambience in which we are a small but an essential part. It is the mindset that matters. It is the same mind that can bolster your ego and claim sole authorship for all that happens around us thus leading to a possessive mentality or it is the same mind that can realistically and deeply understand the insignificance of the self in the grand design of the universe and yet comprehend the indispensible nature the self through whom all things flow.

This is the reason why Lao Tzu said: “If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.”

There are primarily two types of desire; it is the mind's desire and the second is the heart's desire.
Mind's desire can originate from purely sensory inputs or it can be moderated by the emotional content of your heart. Feeling of empathy, compassion and love come out of the heart while pleasure, anger, hate, envy all originate in the mind which is under the control of the ego.
Giving "of yourself" is a subjective process and involves sacrifice or the emptying of oneself. This emptying is not from an objective perspective and hence the realization that this process results in a non-residual state means that we play a part but we do not control the process. This has been illustrated in the Upanishad as follows:

"Know the self as a rider in a chariot,
and the body, as simply the chariot.
Know the intellect as the charioteer,
and the mind, as simply the reins.
The senses, they say, are the horses,
and sense objects are the paths around them....
When a man lacks understanding,
and his mind is never controlled;
His senses do not obey him,
as bad horses, a charioteer." ............Katha Upanishad

The intellect which is under the guidance of the heart is the able charioteer. In the hands of the able charioteer not only the chariot but whoever rides the chariot are in safe hands and bound to reach the desired destination.
This holistic understanding of the interplay of the senses, the mind and the intellect, without which one cannot drive to the destination, is important. This is the meaning of the words that in trying to give yourself to the role you play in this life's journey as a mere rider of the chariot and  who is totally powerless without the chariot, horses and the reins, one realizes his reduced value or nothingness in the whole plan. Due to this realization you become the enabling and life empowering agency in the process of human life.

May this understanding position ourselves in a authentic role as life empowering elements of creation.

Love to you all

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