Spirituality Magazine

Recognize #17

By Hanumandass @HanumanDass

Relationship is the interplay of Oneness communing with itself.

In today’s recognize post I’d like to share an exercise with you that should be helpful both for yourself and those whom you relate to. We all know how challenging our relationships can be. Whether it’s getting along with our parents, a spouse, a friend, or our co-workers. How can Awareness inform how we relate to others? Shouldn’t recognition of Awareness change the way we relate to the world and those around us? What we’ll look at today is how the following exercise has the potential to manifest both a firmly grounded abidance in and as Awareness as well as the cultivation of healthy relationships.

When we have clearly recognized Awareness as our true nature all things become One. We see the unity of the phenomenal world and it’s interdependence. We see that the world including ourselves are only the arising of Awareness in form. Since we’ve been turning inward investigating the illusory nature of this world we can now experience this oneness as reality. We have an intuitive conviction that flowers from the direct perception of Awareness as our essential nature. The following exercise is meant to take advantage of this direct perception.

In Advaita Vedanta the terms Brahman and Atman are used to refer to Awareness, Oneness, or the nondual ground of reality. In the Upanishads and such they often simply use the term “Self” when talking about Awareness. This Self, with a capital “S” is the nondual Awareness we are by nature, our true self. When we use “self” with the lowercase “s” we’re referring to the ego-self or self-assertion – who we think we are as separate entities. So we’ll use the terms “Self” and “self” for the purpose of this exercise.

We can call this exercise the “Talking to Myself Exercise”. The goal here is to, in essence, relate to others as if we were relating to ourselves. Since there are no others, distinct selves in relation to ourselves, any interaction really amounts to Self-relation. That is, from the point of view of Awareness – the Self, all events, relationships, dialogues, and interactions  occur within the Self. We might say the arising of communication between persons appears upon the substratum of Awareness where the Self is the Witness.

The process of this exercise is to approach and engage in relationships from the perspective of internal dialog. Internal dialog is what you’re busy doing throughout your waking day. From the moment you wake up in the morning the thinking mind initiates a flow of thought that continues mostly uninterrupted all day. Basically you’re talking to yourself! But people only think you’re insane if you do it out loud. Anyway, what happens within your thinking mind is an appearance of various voices that interact with each other. Thoughts about this or that, good or bad, etc. This is the mind analyzing and collating sense-data.

Here’s an example, you receive a phone call from a prospective employer who informs you they’ve decided to hire you and wish to know if you will accept the job offer. You hang up the phone and find yourself in a dilemma. The mind begins to run through various scenarios:

Wow, I’ve got a job offer!

Do I want to take this job?

How will it affect my family?

Does it pay enough?

Maybe I should wait for a better offer.

Will I have my own desk?

You should take the job!

I don’t know if it’s right for me.

On and on the mind goes through an infinite number of possibilities. Certain emotions pop up depending on which thoughts seem positive or negative. There’s even the manifestation of physical stimuli. Perhaps you’re happy or anxious or scared. Take a moment to notice how you engage in this same internal dialog. You’re doing it right now by the way!

There’s a certain aspect of this internal dialog we want to take special note of. Throughout all this mental discussion notice what underlies the activity. What fuels it all? You should see that it all arises in order to benefit the apparent entity the mind is thinking on behalf of – “I”. The mind is applying itself to the task of survival seeking to maintain the health, prosperity, and happiness of the self-assertion. From this arises certain qualities. There is compassion for yourself, love for yourself, a desire to see yourself happy, and certainly no desire to see harm come to yourself. The list goes on but basically the internal dialog always focuses on the well-being of yourself.

What can we notice about such qualities? Love, compassion, and all other virtues are all implied in what we call selflessness. Selflessness is disregard for self and dedication to the well-being of others. We would say a person who is stuck on themselves and worried for their own well-being alone in spite of others is a self-centered person. So to the degree that our self-love is turned outward towards the well-being of others we are selfless people. Awakening to Awareness with regard to the manifest world amounts to an ever-present knowledge that who you take to be other is none other than yourself.

The actual doing of this exercise consists only in this: relate to those around you as if that same internal dialog within your head included all these various people. After you finish reading this blog eventually you’re going to engage in communication with someone. As you enter into dialog with them be conscious of the Oneness you both share. For the sake of this exercise try to imagine this other person is an arising within your mind. Whatever your discussion focuses upon think of it as occurring only to yourself. Notice that if you do this you can’t help but consider the well-being of the other person.

Within your own internal dialog if a thought arises “I ought to go for a walk” but a stronger voice declares “I don’t like to walk” is there any anger towards the first voice? Perhaps you don’t favor that thought, but you probably won’t attack it or become angry at it. Rather you will work through the different aspects of both thoughts and come to a conclusion that benefit yourself as a whole. Engaging in this exercise is exactly the same. On a relational level there is compassion for your perspective on whatever interaction arises between you and another. If you practice the exercise of taking the other to be yourself compassion will arise for their unique perspective as well. Seeing the other as yourself is a different sort of self-centeredness, it’s love centered on the Self of which we all are behind our manifest self.

You’re talking to yourself. All that’s appearing as conversation is arising upon your awareness. Eventually as we continue to investigate Awareness and keep up this simple practice we will notice that what we’ve been doing is making a provisional effort to reflect what is already the nature of reality from the perspective of Awareness. Through continual recognition this effort will fall away leaving only what was effortless. You will notice that all along this practice of seeing another as a voice within your mind was really just a voice among voices, of which you are one, appearing on the surface of Awareness.

Manifestation can be thought of as the mind of Awareness. From the unmanifest, transparent, infinite, pure Self thought arises and manifests as the world. When thought thinks “people” then interaction and activity result. The Self witnesses this drama with total compassion and love. As all this manifestation, appearance, and duality is seen to be ephemeral the distinct persons dissolve. Individual self evaporates leaving only the Self. Healthy relationships have one trajectory which leads directly to the ground of Love, bliss, and compassion. It is said that love seeks the other. This is because Love is that which is prior to distinct self’s, Love is the Self seeking it-Self.

Remember, relationship is the interplay of Oneness communing with itself.

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