A fascinating talk by Swami Sarvapriyananda about “Who am I?” through understanding who I am not.
Object and the knowledge of object are one and the same.
Thus, object is knowledge-of object, that is: Object is of the nature of knowledge.
Subject is the knower of object; therefore, subject is nothing but an occasion for knowledge. But subject is itself an object because as it is something known: Subject is known as the knower of object; and insofar as it is something known, it too is a knowledge-of subject. Thus, subject is of the nature of knowledge.
There is nothing that is not knowledge: The knower and the known are both of the nature of knowledge since they are what they are insofar as they are known as what they are known to be. What is is knowledge, or knowing pure and simple. In other words, Being and Knowledge are identical.
In the final analysis, there is no knower; there is no known: There is only knowing.
In light of the above, universal manifestation is “The Being of Knowing” which is identical to “The knowing of Being.”
Being and knowing are one and the same. Subject is an occasion for knowing while object is an occasion for Being. The supreme identity is the realization of the identity of the two complementary poles of the universal manifestation, subject and object. This is the aim of all Yoga.
A Multimedia Series on Identity, Memory, Dementia
A Forgotten Life: A 3 part examination into dementia and memory loss. From Kendall F. Person and introducing theoretical physicist Tomaj Javidtash. Debuts October 16 Only @ thepublicblogger.com
The Path to Greatness
Situation is outward identity; identity is inward situation.
Identity is something always situated; it is always in a relationship with the other. The identity of the other is not fixed but rather a function of the other identities to which it is related. Identity is not an alien entity put into a situation and in relation to other identities. Identity is itself a mode of relation; it belongs to the context and not to the person.
Context consists of a set of narratives superimposed on one another. The representation of this superposition in different frames of reference, minds, is what is known as identity.
Thus, we arrive at a definition of identity very much similar to the quantum mechanical definition of a particle: Identity is a superposition of various narratives which take the form of a Gaussian function, a bell shape function peaked around a central point. The peak of this function occurs at a point which represents the identity of the person. Since identity is a bundle of narratives, and since narratives are relations with other identities, the person’s relations, context, is what determines and defines the identity.
The relations which constitute a narrative are not necessarily human relations. My relationship with my room or with my outward look constitutes a narrative that contributes to my identity. One of the relationships producing a narrative is my relation to myself, i.e. my self-perception. Since identity is a superposition of all narratives in which I am involved, change of only one of these narratives doesn’t make much of a change in my identity. For instance, if most of my relationships are with businessmen and businesswomen, then I will naturally develop a self-perception based on the narratives produced by these relationships; thus I start seeing myself as a person defined in relation to the financial aspect of the world. But now if I want to change and instead see myself as a spiritual person and not a businessman, then I cannot become a spiritual person by simply trying to change my self-perception. Self-perception is only one of the narratives that contributes to my identity as a businessman. I must shift most of my narratives toward a point where the bell-shaped function of identity is peaked about a spiritual identity. I must change my relationships and mostly build relationships with spiritual people.
It is impossible to have an identity which is at conflict with the set of narratives in which we are defined, for our identity is a character-pole in these narratives, a character defined by and invested in the narrative. Your context makes you who you are, and then you make the context what it is, but only through a dialectical interaction rather than direct impact. This dialectical interaction too is possible only when the ideal is not too far from the ideals of the context, that is the peak point of the context. More precisely, if the peak of the context is too far from the peak of your desired identity, then you will fall back onto the peak of the context since it has more gravity. But if the peak of the context is around the peak of your desired identity, then the two will intensify one another in what is known as resonance, thus even making it easier for you to fully attain your ideals and ambitions. Remember, the context which consists of many narratives always has a higher gravity, thus you are inclined by your inertia toward the peak of the context. The best move would be to situate yourself in a context that is peaked around your ideal; then even if you are still far from that ideal, the context pulls you toward it by its gravity and you naturally and easily fall onto that ideal due to your inertia.
This structure explains the phenomenology of success and perfection, in any sense you like to define success even if it deviates from social definitions. If you apply these principles change becomes a more accessible thing. We can change our identity whenever and to anything we want; it is not a fixed thing; it is only enough for us to soak ourselves into relationships with narratives that superimpose to peak about our ideals and the desired identity.
Relationship as we mentioned above includes everything with which we interact: Our home, the interior design of the place we live, our daily routines, the way we dress, talk, the ideas and thoughts we entertain, what we read, watch, eat; the people and conversations with which we are engaged, the way we sleep, drive, take a shit, etc. Every object around us produces a narrative in which we are a character-pole. To change we have to change all these narratives to point in the direction of the ideal identity. See that this makes change easier and more accessible since you don’t deal and struggle directly with the old identity, which will keep you even more attached to it; you indirectly change it by changing things around that identity; this way the identity will naturally change itself by its own accord so to minimize conflict with the new context. You trick the old identity into becoming the new one without going through the drama. Since identity is nothing but a belief system, a bundle of narratives; you change the narratives and beliefs and then you find that the identity is already changed.
In other words, in order to become who you want to be you only need to live the life of that person:
Live as if you have already achieved your ideal character.
Every relationship in which you are defined to be something other than what you want to be should be flushed down the toilet. If you are in contact with people who see you as the good old friend with expectations lingering from teenage years, then do the flush if they can’t take the new identity.
Flush everything that holds you down. Think of yourself as the highest and the greatest; people are often threatened by this kinds of attitude because they never dared to see themselves that way. Whatever you hear from people who discourage you or hold you down ignore and throw away the relationships. You can’t stay with them and not become like them.
Don’t get involved with people of low values and character. Character is the most important thing; be noble and great in character regardless of whether it is fashionable or not. Build your character out of greatness and nobility; surround yourself with things noble, beautiful, and great. Think great thoughts; read great works; see greatness in yourself; and never let anyone except yourself to become your idol and hero. See yourself in communion with your god; adhere to the supreme identity of the Self with the Absolute.
Arrogance is a label created by people who don’t like ambitious people. Inward greatness never leads to or implies outward arrogance; outward arrogance is the reflection of inward ignorance. Humility that arises from greatness is different from the pretentious modesty arising from weakness. Feel great from within and see yourself destined for the greatest ideals.
There are always people who ridicule, negate, and attack your greatness; they drag you down and don’t like to see greatness in others. One who tries to pull you down is in fact admitting that he is below you and you are above him. What they say and do is a statement about themselves and not about you. Look up and ahead and flush the low people of you life down the toilet of the past; leave them behind; let them take care of your rock bottom for you. Stand to the face of the discouraging and ridiculing ones and shout out to their ears: “Your dream is my rock bottom.” And then put them behind and fly for the highest and the greatest. Never define your greatness based on comparison.
If you make your identity and self-perception based on comparison with old relationships and narratives, then you can only go so far and still defined by and thus related to the old little things. The old narratives are like strings that keep you attached to the bottom. Tear them apart and aim at the perfect and the infinite. Don’t think of becoming better than others or even the best among them; erase the ideas of “others” and “them” from your vocabulary and strive to become like god.
Never compare yourself to others, for that only makes a zombie of you and your identity. Others below you are not the criterion of greatness but only lack of greatness. Strive to be yourself rather than to be different; to be different you have to constantly look at others making sure you do the opposite; that only steals your attention from the greatness that lies above and not below. Those who try to be different by looking and acting differently are just like everyone else; the opposite poles are always entangled, for one defines the other and can only coexist with it. To look different you have to stay close to the mundane. To be noticed, whether for dress or for spiritual practices or for intellectual inclinations, only keeps one pretentious and superficial. If you have to do the right thing even if others disagree, you also have to do the right thing even if it happens to be what everyone on earth does. One doesn’t need anything from outside in order to be great. Greatness lies within, and satisfaction comes from inward greatness.
The son of Socrates (or Plato) went to him and said “Daddy [yes he called him daddy] I want to become like you; what should I do?” Socrates said “I wanted to become like god and I became this; if your goal is to become this, then you won’t become anything at all.”
Remember to always contemplate the great and the infinite and the perfect. Those who say “be realistic” are precisely those who haven’t stepped forward into greatness. To be real is to see oneself as great and infinite.
Reflect and see that nothing exists except the contents of your own consciousness. Everything you see and feel and know comes from there; thus, be fearless. Nothing can weaken you; it is not just that you are strong; if nothing can weaken you it is because there is nothing but you. There is nothing outside you to limit you or determine you. Every limit and fear arises from the contents of your own consciousness. Own that content and make it great by being around greatness all the time.
Live the life of the person you want to become. The only thing on your way is your own ideas. You have simply accepted the truth of these ideas by repetition throuhg education and social contact. Their truth lies in your acceptance and belief in them. Change the narratives and accept only those aligned with greatness; then you will become great, for you have no other choice. Why? Because you already are; you simply don’t recognize it since you are situated among little people and objects.
You are what you consider yourself to be; and you can only consider things that are conceivable within the narratives that constitute your life. Change the narratives and believe in yourself as if it is your god. Don’t believe in others’ beliefs about you. Believe only in yourself, for others in your life are nothing but your beliefs about them: There is nothing except the contents of your own consciousness. You are great only if you believe you are great. Anything saying or implying otherwise, do the flush. Overflush if you have to.
The more attached we are, the less likely it is for us to change: Live your ideal and live it with your whole existence.
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How we perceive the world tells something about us and not the world.
World is essentially nothing other that the outward reflection of inward perception as I am myself nothing other than the inward reflection of outward perception.
To overcome the infinite regress implied by the apparent bipolarity of experience we can only posit a non-dual substratum. This substance as experience has two modes of Being: Immanence and Transcendence, Identity and Ecstasy, Inwardness and Outwardness.
Experience when objectifies itself into itself is the self, the empirical ego. Experience when objectifies itself out of itself is the world, the empirical reality. Thus, self and world are the two modes of Being, or excitation, of one and the same thing: I am the Yin and World is the Yang, or something like that.
The unity and identity of the two aspects of experience becomes obvious upon my reflection on experience: I see that I can never truly isolate myself from the world; I can’t put a well-defined boundary between myself and the world. The world that I perceive and know is the world that always already contains me in it. I also perceive myself as something already embedded in the world. World is always world as I see it. I am always what I am in the world, as something that is in the world. Thus if we resist the temptation to name names we can see that “I am nothing other than the world and the world is nothing other than me. It is always concepts that give us the illusion of distinction and separation. Pre-reflective experience is always a whole; it can’t be reduced to part and still be experience.
World is always my world; if I experience the world to be something shared with others it is still my world that is shared with others. When I am not neither is the world nor are the others.
This “I” however is not the personal “I.” “I” is essentially nothing; it has no character, no personality, no identity, no career and no resume, no income and no outcome; it is itself unemployed, yet without it no employment can ever be; it is itself nobody, yet without it no one can ever be.
This “I” is the not a thing but rather a verb: It is the experiencing. It is never anything that is experienced; it can’t be known since it is itself the very act of knowing. What is known is always other than the “I,” for the what is known is always something know by that which is other than itself. The “I” is only that for which world can be. Thus, there exists only one “I.” We are only different ways that this “I” pronounces itself. We are only utterances, existing briefly, some heard some not, but we are all the same in that we are all always on our way toward oblivion. Only the utterer is, indifferently staring into the withdrawal of the utterance into thin air.
Existence is just a misunderstanding.