LIFE – UNEXAMINED
Stone: Blue Sapphire
The Mantra: Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah
A life lost in countless conditionings, shallow desires
and negative reactions is but a kind
of disguised death.
Until we stop identifying ourselves with our body, mind and ego
we will remain their slave and any true life
will keep eluding us.
To which extent do you still identify yourself with your body, mind and ego?
How does this make you feel?
a) The issue is introduced by noting that
only those who are seeking their own inner being
and the meaning of their life are truly alive.
Sultan Valad agrees:
The soul that doesn’t live in God
It appears to be but such name deserves not,
for never alive the Beloved made it.
Do you perchance think that you can be alive “outside” the Divine?
Of course He is everywhere.
The main reason that people go on living a meaningless, superficial life is that they are not aware of their dismal condition.
They would be shocked if they only realized that
they are “living” with hardly a tiny fraction of their being,
not present to themselves in any real sense.
The reason that it is not a true life is that:
They are trapped in shallow identifications, petty desires,
emotions and inane concerns, a mindless
repetition of routines.
stifling their real being and making their minds shallow until at a certain point a cellular degeneration begins in their brains.
They often realize that they wasted their whole lives only
when close to their physical death.
As Chogyal Namkhai Norbu noted,
We live our lives, as it were ‘inside our projecting the existence
of an ‘I’ as separate from an external world which we try
to manipulate to gain satisfaction.
But as long as one remains in the dualistic state, one’s experience has always underlying it a sense of loss, of fear, of anxiety,and dissatisfaction.When, on the other hand, one goes beyond the dualistic level, anything is possible.
Francois Mauriac agrees:
Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies
only a few rooms and has closed-off wings
where he never ventures.
b) Most people are prey of their vital energies
which always crave strong sensations and unconsciously seek them also in conflict, despair and psychological suffering, making a mess or even a tragedy of their lives.
Clearly they manage to endure such miserable lives because
they are so unconscious, otherwise
it would be too intolerable.
Do you perchance think that if you were fully conscious you would tolerate, for example, any anger, sadness, etc in you?
Einstein pointed out that:
We see, feel, speak, but we do not know which energy makes us see,
feel and think. And what is worst is that
we care nothing about it.
In which measure do you care about it?
After leaving his father’s home the Bible’s “prodigal son” ended up looking after the pigs
and eating their food, acorns, which represent our shallow desires, fears and negative emotions.
The sentence “he was content to eat the food those pigs were eating” means that
our “natural” cravings for superficial things keep us
prisoner of a dream, of illusion,
while with our “Father”, the Divine, we can be nourished by joy,
ecstasy, love, vision and conscious immortality.
Mère adds that:
Whoever lives in the ordinary consciousness knows so little of what happens physically – very little. They believe that they do, but they know only a thin appearance, thick like a sheet of paper wrapping a box;
underneath it there is the whole box and what it contains, but the appearance
is all they see…it is the Grace that prevents people from knowing,
they would get one of those frights!
Why would they get such a fright?
c) We evolved from brute matter
and there is still in us an obscure, heavy force
like a gravity of the spirit limiting us to our physical body with its plethora of desires and our superficial mind with all its ignorant routines and moods, shallow reactions and deadening identifications.
As Traherne said:
They walk on in darkness, and will not understand.
Do you understand?
To which extent?
Eckhart Tolle adds that:
It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life
waiting to start living.
A. Souza spoke from his own experience:
For a long time it had seemed to me that life
was about to begin – my real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, a debt to be paid.Then life would begin.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles
were my life.
To which extent have you realized this?
Indeed life most of the time does not provide us with the circumstances, ideal partner, opportunities, etc, that we desire
Life bring to us those that we need to be challenged, even be made to suffer
at times, so that we may wake us up from our inner slumber
and begin to grow inwardly at last.
Which are the challenges that you need?
Are you SURE?
Don’t be deceived.
As Fritjof Capra noted,
In ordinary life, we are not aware of the unity of all things, but divide the world into separate objects and events.
This division is useful and necessary to cope with our everyday environment, but it is not a fundamental feature of reality.
It is an abstraction devised by our discriminating and categorizing intellect.
To believe that our abstract concepts of separate ‘things’
and ‘events’ are realities of nature is an illusion.
d) The so called “ordinary man” ignores what he is supposed to do
with his present life, and yet craves its continuation in the afterlife.
Whether he admits it to himself or not, frequently life seems to him basically meaningless, a chaos of craving, petty satisfaction and frequent frustrations under the omnipresent shadow of death
and yet in it is hidden a Door to infinite, yet unimaginable wonders
and the crown of Conscious Immortality.
The reason that so few ever try to find this Door, and of these not so many succeed in finding it, and even if those who do often fail to find in themselves the courage to go through it, is that while to become a doctor or an engineer, for example, we prepare ourselves studying for years,
we are thrown in the confused cauldron of life
without any preparation at all,
and under the heavy burden of countless conditionings, misconceptions, materialistic tendencies and wrong beliefs.
To which extent are you free from all this?
In the Mahabharata when Yudhisthira was asked which the greatest wonder in the world was he replied that
Every day we see others dying, yet those left alive go on with their lives
as if they were physically immortal.
There can be no greater loss.
As Thomas Merton said,
Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering
into himself and thinking about spiritual things.
Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda.
The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God
and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.
e) At the so called “normal” level, the ordinary one,
the meaning of our life is not hidden but made evident every instant in everything
that happens to us, in all “favorable” and “unfavorable”
events, encounters, etc.
Eliot presents the worst scenario in which most are trapped:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion…
In the unlikely case that the reader is to some extent still a hollow man – this text is meant for everyone – how will you recover your fullness?
The Dalai Lama agrees:
Men lose their health to make money, then lose their money in the attempt to recover their health. They think so much anxiously about the future forgetting to live their present.
Doing so they are unable to live neither the present not the future.
They live as if they should never die and die
as if they had never lived.
The I Ching hexagram HSIAO KUO, the Preponderance of the Small, consists of:
HSIAO, which speaks of small issues, common and apparently unimportant, and of the acquired capacity to be flexible and adjust harmoniously to whatever circumstances one finds himself in, and to the challenges of life.
KUO, which has two meaning: a positive one of going on, going always beyond, and a negative one of possible excess, being at fault, and transgressions of some sorts.
Therefore it presents the essential Alternative,
the choice between light and darkness,
love and fear, life and death.
This hexagram, although it doesn’t say so directly, encourages whoever has drawn it to re-examine his life.
Mere sums it all up thus:
If you have a small consciousness, you will understand only a few things. When your consciousness is very vast, universal, only then will understand the world.
If the consciousness is limited to your little ego,
all the rest will escape you…
there are people whose brain and consciousness are smaller than a walnut…They can understand nothing else except what is in direct contact with their sense.
For them only what they taste, what they see, hear, touch has a reality,
and the rest simply does not exist, and they
accuse us of being fanciful!…
About the Unexamined Life, the Maitrayana Upanishad speaks of the Veil as an “enchantment” which traps most people:
They live according to an unreal idea of the self, deluded, attached,
expressing a falsehood; as if by an enchantment the false
they perceive as the true.
In the Dreamgame, an Unexamined Life is a TRAP, and most of us don’t even know how difficult would be to emerge from it because they have not yet considered their condition sufficiently, or even not at all.
To which extent?
As Socrates pointed out,
The unexamined life is not really worth living.
What could possibly be worth?
Indeed the life of most seems utterly meaningless,
but it is really like a cocoon in which our true being
invisibly begins to grow.
The Devil’s Advocate:
The world is like a game played by children and until you have outgrown it, which in most cases we manage to ensure that it never happens, you aren’t yet quite alive, only appear to be.
Do you perchance think that you are fully alive?
Cherish your illusion till they last!
Indeed life is suffering, but I and my client offer this as a consolation: if you follow our advice and become completely dead inwardly, you will have a great advantage on the followers of our opponent: lost in the prison of your days, you will become so dull and insensitive that you will suffer much less, or even not at all!
What could be more insane than a life in which one neglects all
which is infinite, true, joyful, loving and eternal
to chase the shallow, ephemeral objects of one’ desires,
mere mirages of our ego?
Words of Power:
Life is a school and a testing ground where we must remember
what our inner being us already aware of.
If you live only for yourself alone, your “life”
is a kind of death.
“We don’t start to really live until we rise above the narrow confines of our egocentric concerns up to the broader ones of all humanity.“
To which extent have you already risen above the narrow confines of your egocentric concerns?
“Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live.”
Are you still preparing to live instead of just living?
Don’t be deceived.
(Actually, how NOT to live it!)
From Vijay’s old journals – 1975 Belvedere, Western Australia:
Yesterday I saw a very good example of meaningless lives: while hitchhiking from Perth to our commune in Belvedere the car who gave me a lift stopped at one of those cheap sea resorts used on weekends by families for picnics.
There were some small cottages, a bit like cheap American motels, and a line of benches between the road and an unspoiled, wonderful sea.
But the benches were all set facing the road, not the sea: those sitting there
were all watching the cars passing by instead
of that wonderful sea!
This is how most people live, facing the road of their unexamined life instead of the ocean, His infinite Love, Light and Bliss, turning their back to it!
Life just happens to them in an apparently random way and they stubbornly resist anything that might uplift lift them from their dismal condition!
From The Quest:
The most terrible thing we experience in our healing center is that when we try to help someone to wake up a bit instead of rejoicing many feel lost, become fearful and very soon run back to their unexamined lives – we have seen it so many times…it would make the angels cry!
The way I feel when I find myself unable to help someone reminds me of the immense compassion of Feng-Kan:
“Like a rock in the sea sinking, through the Three Worlds
wandering, poor ephemeral creature in scenes ever lost until
a flash of lightning as dust in space life and death shows. “
How would you help them to find their way again?
From “The City and the Oasis”
Merely to further roads all roads ever lead or to concentration camps
as metropolis disguised, primary schools, universities, a whole culture
but Absence really teaching and primal death; into a snarl
the sweetest smile may suddenly change, on a bed of roses
instruments of torture 3await;
alas, the sight of countless dim souls never fully awake
just waiting to die, into a dream, a nightmare lost…
And yet so strange it is: out of the water cast,
until it dies only for water a fish hankers;
a bird in a small cage imprisoned
for the wide open sky never stops wishing,
but with their suffocating lives
almost at ease most seem!
The Way Out:
Re-examine and change your visions of yourself and of your life, your priorities, your strength and weaknesses, so that
you will no longer remain like a great king
dominated by his own subjects
or like a prisoner who built up his own prison brick by brick with countless conditionings and identifications then firmly locked himself in and threw away
or lost the key.
Never say: “I am only human, and this is my life.”
But tell yourself
My original nature is divine, and I will always
manifest it in my life.
Question/Ko’han 1 and 2:
Is your life going in the direction you REALLY want?
Are you SURE?
How will you transcend your own unexamined life and be really present in all levels of your being?
Before the accomplishment of the Path,
we never live our real life.
Question/Ko’han 5 and 6:
In the insanity of their unexamined lives
many keep depriving themselves of all love, joy and wonder
and make themselves miserable in all sorts of ways.
Are you perchance sometimes still doing that?
If yes, what will you DO about it?
The Course in Miracles points out that:
How utterly amazing is someone who flees from something
he cannot escape to seek something
that will not last!
Don’t you find it amazing?
Anais Nin has the last word:
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through.
Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it.
but this is a kind of death.
To which extent can you see this?
Or would you rather not know?
Most people don’t want to – the mystery schools call them “The Walking Dead.”
1) Consider the metaphor in the Bible of Esau,
who was so hungry that he sold his birthright (Joy, Vision, Love, Conscious Immortality) in exchange of a mere mess of pottage – his unexamined life .
– Whatever level on the Path you have already reached,
take a moment now to re-examine your life.
– Ensure that there are no areas at all
where you aren’t unconsciously selling out your own birthright – your secret Joy, Vision, Love and Conscious Immortality.
2) Meditate on this passage of Sri Aurobindo:
Life as it is driven or led partly by the impulse of the life-force, partly
by a mind which is mostly a servant and abettor
of the ignorant life-impulse,
but in part also its uneasy and not too luminous or competent guide and mentor;
for a divine life the mind and the life-impulse must cease to be anything but instruments and the inmost psychic being must take their place as
the leader on the path and the indicator of a divine guidance.
Last, life as it is turned towards the satisfaction of the separative ego; ego must disappear and be replaced by the true spiritual person, the central being, and life itself must be turned towards the fulﬁlment of the Divine in terrestrial existence;
it must feel a Divine Force awaking within it and become
an obedient instrumentation of its purpose.
3) Meditate also on these words of Mère:
What is to be wondered at is the unconsciousness with which men
go through life; they don’t know how to live,
there’s not one in a million who knows how to live, and they live like that somehow or other, limping along, managing, not managing; and all that for them, bah!
What is it? Things that happen. They don’t know how to live. All the same one should learn how to live.
That’s the ﬁrst thing one ought to teach children:
to learn how to live.
1) This passage of Eckhart Tolle:
What you refer to as your “life” should more accurately be called your “life situation.” it is psychological time: past and future. Certain things in the past didn’t go the way you wanted them to go. You are resisting what happened in the past, and now you are resisting what is.
Hope is what keeps you going, but hope keeps you focused on the future,
and this continued focus perpetuates your denial of the Now
and therefore your unhappiness.
Many expressions that are in common usage, and sometimes the structure of language itself, reveal the fact that people don’t know who they are. You say: “He lost his life” or “my life,” as if life were something that you can possess or lose. The truth is:
you don’t ‘have’ a life, you ‘are’ life.
The One Life, the one consciousness that pervades the entire universe and takes temporary form to experience itself as a stone or blade of grass, as an animal, a person, a star or a galaxy.
Can you sense deep within that you already know that?
Can you sense that you already are That?
2) This poem of Yeats which speaks of someone
who as a child had a career plan and was successful at it but at each stage of it Plato’s ghost kept asking him “What Then?” and end thus:
The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
according to my boyish plan;
let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost,
3) These words of Mère:
Men have a feeling that if they are not all the time running about and bursting
into fits of feverish activity, they are doing nothing. It is an illusion
to think that all these so-called movements change things.
It is merely taking a cup and beating the water in it; the water is moved about, but it is not changed for all your beating.
This illusion of action is one of the greatest
illusions of human nature.
It hurts progress because it brings on you the necessity of rushing always into some excited movement.
To turn towards Thee, unite with Thee, live in Thee and for Thee,
is supreme happiness, unmixed joy, immutable peace;
it is to breathe Inﬁnity, to soar in eternity, no longer feel one’s limits,
escape from time and space.
Why do men flee from these boons as though they feared them?
What a strange thing is ignorance, that source
of all suffering!
How miserable that obscurity which keeps men away from the very thing which would bring them happiness and subjects them to this painful school of ordinary existence fashioned entirely from struggle and suffering!
Kabir said: “What’s a man without Ram (The Divine)?
A dung beetle on the road!”
That just about how I felt before finding You:
a dung beetle upon an unending road.