FAQ

I have a question for you... How to stay still in the feeling "I am" while we are talking to other people.. I find it is extremely difficult. I sense "I am "while I am walking and sitting alone but when I am talking to the people I am lost. If you have any tips?

That is an excellent question. Staying with the sense “I Am” introverts the mind and directs attention inwards. This is in direct contrast with how most people live their lives, which is by extroverting the mind and directing attention outwards into the external world. Usually, practitioners must first stabilize the View or the stability of staying with the sense “I Am” in silent, solitary practice. However, when this View is stable, there is a natural movement to extend our practice into the activities of everyday life – like when talking or interacting with others. 

 So – how do we do this? Firstly, notice how the issue of “talking with others” pushes "you" back into identification with the body-mind-personality. “I find it extremely difficult.” WHO finds it extremely difficult? There must be a role or persona in place here. There must be thoughts arising of “difficulty”, “losing the sense I Am”, and thoughts of how interactions should be happening. In other words, the mind which is silent and introverted when "you" are solitary becomes noisy and extroverted when "you" are with others. Just as you witness the sense “I Am” when there is stillness and silence, you can witness the sense “I Am” when there is movement and talking. In silence, you may witness few thoughts and emotions arising; in talking you may witness many thoughts and stronger emotions arising. That’s all. 

As your practice stabilizes, you will find that your interactions happen naturally and spontaneously and effortlessly. Remember feelings and thoughts (including of judgement, aversion, irritation, etc) are simply thoughts and feelings. Do not attach to them –allow them to arise, notice them and observe them dissolve.




I have been studying the teachings with a teacher for over 10 years and never disagree with anything he or you write but, I cannot seem to let go of all of the programming. Even though I really want to I cannot seem to.

For most, it is neither simple nor easy to eliminate programming. In your case, the key question of course is whether there is still identification with the body, mind or personality. If that identification is still in place, then false programming is still in place. Essentially, the elimination of that basic programming is laid out in the explanation of staying with the sense "I am" without attributes, and backing away from the false - "Neti Neti". Seekers do not always realize how rigorous this line of enquiry and negation must be to be effective. For example, examining the email below, the pointers would be: 

 I have been studying the teachings with a teacher for over 10 years. WHO has been studying the teachings with a teacher for over 10 years? Since this WHO can be perceived, named, labelled, it is not WHO I AM.  

[I] never disagree with anything he or you write. WHO never disagrees with anything he or you writes? Again - this is in the realm of the phenomenal. Can You see this is a thought? A thought is not real - it is generated by the mind. Therefore, the thought is simply noticed, and backed away from. This is not WHO I AM. 

I cannot seem to let go of all of the programming. Ditto. 

 Even though I really want to I cannot seem to. Ditto. 

 Can you see that the mind constantly generates a thought stream much like a personal narrative. This is the personal narrative that keeps the sense of body-mind-personality intact. By simply observing the mind produce these thoughts without attachment, and noticing that this is not Who You Are, eventually the ties that bind grow weak and disappear.



I have this new attitude now called "I do not mind". It is different from the attitude “I do not care”. e.g. I don't mind being unhappy and what happens to my unhappiness. I also have this new attitude that I won't speak if it doesn't come from the self. My friend is now making a fool of me. He said that I am weird, with too much thinking of something. But I replied: “It is the opposite, I give you the space to talk and I am all ears.” They make the assumption that if someone doesn't talk, it is weird and boring. But again, I do not feel special being in silence. It is hard to hate them because they speak based on their memories and conditioning. Beyond memory and mind we are the self.

You say that you are dropping old attitudes and adopting new attitudes. Remember, Who You Are is the changeless reality prior to attitudes. Let this really sink in. 

It is usual for seekers to drop their old non-spiritual persona and adopt a new spiritual persona. In other words, they drop all their habits, thoughts, behaviours, and even friends from their old way of being; then they adopt new habits, thoughts, behaviours and even new “spiritual” friends. There is nothing wrong with this – and is a typical stage. The problem is imagining that the new spiritual persona is the Self. The Self is beyond identity. 

 The external world is like an endlessly changing mandala; it is a constant stream of experiences. You cannot find Yourself by searching within these experiences. Don’t get hooked up in the details around friendships and relationships and the way they should be. The most important thing is to stay in the sense “I Am” without attributes. This sense “I Am” has no attitudes at all. 

 Deconstruct your thinking: 

“I have this new attitude now called I do not mind.” WHO has this new attitude called I do not mind. WHO AM I? 

“I won't speak if it doesn't come from the self.” WHO will not speak if it does not come from the self? WHO AM I? 

“I do not feel special being in silence.” WHO does not feel special being in silence? WHO AM I? 

 Notice that thoughts arise constantly – pure and impure, judgemental and compassionate; loving and fearful. Apply self-enquiry to each and every thought. Do not get distracted by the content of the thought. Ask: WHO is having this thought. WHO AM I? 

 This line of enquiry introverts the mind and takes you to the Source.




I have just realised I was just changing to the new ego !! ... I am clinging to new persona. I feel embarrassed now because every time I say I am having this and that experience, experiencing this and that...Damn, it was just my ego as a newbie to let other people know my progress and telling them I am doing great and achieving something.

Yes – there will be a constant stream of experiences. No need to worry about them. Just rest in the sense “I Am” and observe – including your shifting thoughts and feelings. .



I have been looking at Advaita for about 2 years now and it has led to a much more peaceful and happy existence. However, I have trouble in applying advaita in the work place for some reason. I am a teacher and the stress of targets, students, work load etc. stresses me out and robs me of peace. I know Advaita is not about becoming better or adding any more false personas. But, for some reason the peace that advaita has brought in other areas of my life seems to elude me in my work.

Consider this pointer by Maharaj:

Keep in mind your goal of freedom, until it dawns on you that you are already free, that freedom is not something in the distant future to be earned with painful efforts, but perennially one’s own, to be used. Liberation is not an acquisition but a matter of courage, the courage to believe that you are free already, and to act on it. 

Consider now your statements/thoughts/beliefs below:

- I have trouble in applying advaita in the work place for some reason.
- I am a teacher and the stress of targets, students, work load etc. stresses me out and robs me of peace.
- The peace that advaita has brought in other areas of my life seems to elude me in my work.

Can you see that these are simply thoughts or beliefs? They are part of “Daniel’s” personal narrative or the story of the “I”. Every person has a personal story just like this – with experiences, thoughts and beliefs about feeling peaceful, happy and free, and experiences, thoughts and beliefs about feeling trapped, robbed, stressed and unhappy. This is the suffering of the ego. The trap is that we want to stabilize on the “happy” or “positive” side while eliminating the “suffering” or “negative” side. We want one part of duality but not the other. The Adviatin Teachings invite you to step outside of duality altogether – to know Yourself prior to both the peaceful and the stressful experiences. You are THAT in which these experiences, thoughts and feelings – both peaceful and stressful – occur.



What is the difference between consciousness and awareness? People who suffer Alzheimer, are they having awareness or consciousness?

These are labels used differently by different teachers and traditions. Here is the explanation of the terms as used by Nisargadatta Maharaj. Consciousness is the manifest principle – everything that can be perceived is consciousness. Consciousness is “I AM”. Awareness is the unmanifest principle – the Absolute which is prior to and gives life to everything. Awareness is “THAT”. Consciousness cannot exist without awareness; awareness is the light which gives life to all that is perceived. Hence the phrase: I AM THAT; I AM. 

 The journey to the source happens step-by-step or understanding-by-understanding. 

  • When identified as a body/mind/personality, your identity as consciousness is hidden from you. 
  • When you dis-identify from the body/mind/personality, you know yourself as consciousness – as everything.
  • When identified as consciousness, your identity as awareness is hidden from you. 
  • When you dis-identify from consciousness, you know yourself as pure awareness – as prior to consciousness.
  • When you know yourself as pure awareness, you know you are nothing and everything. I AM THAT; I AM. 
 When you stay in the sense “I Am” without attributes, this step-by-step process happens naturally and automatically. It will take its own time. Do not worry about finding awareness. It will find you. You must become fully ripe at each step, before you can grasp the next understanding. There is no need to rush. Ripe fruit drops naturally from the tree. 

RE. people with Alzheimer’s: As the illness progresses, they become free from a sense of personal identity; however in the absence of understanding of the True self, the absence of memory, conditioning, and self-identity causes stress. They are not identified with the egoic self, but they do not know themselves as the Self or the Absolute. In this way, they are still lost in the dream of unconscious being.




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