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The Seeker of Truth

What is that which cannot be expressed in words or communicated or known in any form, yet it is here, in this very moment, as our direct experience of aliveness, animating everything as one cohesive whole? What is it that touches everything, and yet, remains untouched by them? What is it that remains silent, and yet, makes the sound possible?

What is that unchanging that appears as the change? What is beyond the knower and the known? What is that, that is both the source and substance of everything known and unknown? What is that, which when known, makes everything about the world known? What is that which appears as you, me, and the world, but itself cannot be grasped?

You may be wondering what these questions have to do with your life. “I have a deadline to finish my project. My children are starting college, how am I going to arrange for the expenses? My mortgage payment due date is approaching.

My partner is unhappy and wants to leave the relationship. I have to pay taxes.” “I have financial and emotional burdens that create havoc in my psyche, why should I bother about something that cannot help me in any way? How is this knowledge going to solve my problems?”

I admit that the non-dual truth is not going to help “you” in any way. Your life will more or less continue to be the way it is. What’s the use then? There’s no use. Any inquiry or contemplation into the nature of Truth is not going to make you into a “better” person.

In fact, the inquiry is not about the Truth itself, but the false sense of perception that disrupts peace and brings suffering. Once the false sense of self drops, the Truth reveals itself spontaneously. The “one” that is eager to solve problems is itself the root cause of it.

Therefore, the realization of the Truth dissolves the apparent “me” or the ego – the separate entity as a name and form with a sense of personal volition.

The “seeker” is an illusion. It is a continuation of the conceptual thought “me” that seeks to attain something other than itself. There is no measure (distance) between the seeker and what is being sought. Just like everything else, seeking is also a happening that happens to no one. The seeker being an illusion is never clear as to what it is seeking.

In some spiritual traditions, there’s a classification of spiritual seekers – novice, intermediate, and advanced seekers, which is irrelevant because an illusion is an illusion. There is no advantage to being in the higher illusion as compared to a lower illusion – a nightmare is traumatic whether it is experienced in sleep or waking state.

The spiritual traditions create a hierarchy of seekers and teachers which only prolongs the seeking. Additionally, following an order, wearing colored robes and spiritual accessories can strengthen one’s identification as the seeker.

Your true nature is here and now. If you’re doing spiritual practices to become an advanced seeker, all you’re doing is exchanging one set of identifications (say worldly material seeker) with another (materialistic spiritual seeker).

The seeker enjoys the thrill of seeking and attaining something through effort, arduous practices, penances, and self-torture. In that sense, there is not much difference between the spiritual and the material seeking. It’s the same dish served in a different bowl.

I once was attending a talk from a now well-known Advaita teacher and was listening to this young fellow asking serious questions. When their interaction was over, and it was my turn to speak, I casually remarked, “Why so serious young man, after all, as the master says, it’s all a cosmic joke.” This statement rubbed some people the wrong way.

Although it was not my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to lighten the mood which otherwise had become tense. While the master was smiling, one of them replied abruptly in anger that I was being insensitive to the serious spiritual seekers for whom this was an important undertaking and that I would learn more if I kept quiet. I did not apologize, but I did thank him for his perspective.

Perhaps, I was out of place in making that remark, but it brought to light a revelation; that perhaps, our suffering continues because we have taken our seeking too seriously. Nobody denies that life indeed is a cosmic joke but how on earth are we going to get the joke by being so serious?

Coincidently, the most common advice I have heard from the eldest surviving people, who are in their 90s, is not to take life too seriously. But of course, taking things seriously also happens.

During my days of seeking, I came across an Advaita teacher, whom I approached for a talk, and he was kind enough to grant me a private conversation. I was in deep depression and was seeking relief. The first thing he asked me was what did I want?

And I said peace, to which he replied that it is impossible to control events in phenomenality so how can anyone ensure a permanently peaceful state?

After deep introspection, I came to a realization that I really did not know what I wanted. And somehow, that realization brought some relief. We may think that we are the seekers of Truth, but what is that Truth going to give us that we have never experienced before?

Everything in phenomenality is transitory. Even the most blissful spiritual experiences eventually come to an end. Therefore, what the seeker seeks is nothing new but an illusory projection of the past. Some say, “I seek God,” where usually the God is an all-powerful and all-merciful separate entity in manifestation who keeps a tab on its creations.

For many years, God was a ‘he,’ but now apparently gender neutral. During the peaceful days, the seeker thinks God loves him, and during wars, famines, conflicts, and suffering, the seeker believes that his God has abandoned him. In India, we have 33 crore Gods and Goddesses to ensure that we never run out of options during turbulent times.

The greatest predicament of the seeker is that he sees no end to his seeking which perpetuates suffering. Therefore, Ramesh would say that the seeking has to end. By whom? The seeker? It is possible to stop something that you never started? The spiritual seeking apparently is also a happening.

Jiddu Krishnamurti would say, “Don’t seek or you will find.” Anything that you find as a result of your seeking is your own projection on What-IS. What is being sought is not separate from the apparent “you.” It is the extension of the same conceptual thought “me.”

Therefore, seeking or trying to become a better seeker only sustains, “me and my story.” When the realization happens that the seeker is the sought, the seeking drops by itself, and it is then that the Truth reveals itself – the Truth that is our being. Any attempt to experience the Truth objectively using effort separates us from it. The very act of seeking introduces separation.

Recognition of Truth brings peace, which is different from the peace of duality, which relies on conditions. The peace of being is our most natural state. It is the substratum of all experiences. It is here and now and not in a distant future.

It is the essence that powers everything in phenomenality just like the way electricity powers different electronic gadgets to enable them to carry out functions they are destined to perform. The gadget may break but nothing happens to the electricity. Therefore, it is the consciousness that starts or ends a process and not the individual. The individual is only an instrument through which the Primal Energy (consciousness) functions.

Concerns of a Common Person

A common person busy with work and family life is usually not concerned with seeking spiritual enlightenment as an idea of permanently sustaining bliss. For them, it is enough that they discharge their daily duties effectively and live harmoniously with others.

However, the modern world is raising the bar of survival every day, where rising expectations make it hard for an individual to have a work-life balance and enjoy peace in relationships.

A majority of us struggle in relationships because we have literally no time for each other. Most times, we remain immersed in incessant thinking much of which is the negative inner chatter. Due to a lack of genuine social connections, we feel a lack within, which we try to cover up with indulgences, substance abuse, and compulsive buying.

We prefer to spend time building online connections on social media which are never as fulfilling as real-life relationships. Therefore, it would be reasonable to say that today’s common person suffers from dissonance – a deep conflict where contradictory thinking creates tension and stress.

I remember speaking to a psychotherapist in the United States some time back who is also a spiritual seeker. She told me that she was suffering from an addiction, and had relationship issues, and even after trying everything she had learned, she could not help herself with the conventional techniques and teachings.

The addiction was growing stronger which was affecting her friendships, associations, and relationships, and the relationship troubles, in turn, were fueling her addiction. It was a perfect loop that she was unable to escape.

She tried therapy (no surprises there even therapists require therapy sometimes), spiritual teachings, went to Peru and tried a psychedelic called Ayahuasca, and while it brought great revelations and otherworldly visions and experiences, eventually she was back to the same life and with same conditions. Everything had a temporary effect and this was frustrating for her.

We are so conditioned to finding solutions to problems that we never take a look at the problem itself. Where does the problem originate? We come up with oversimplistic and superficial solutions like improving communication skills and changing one’s behavior and attitude; of course, all of these are helpful and I encourage people to work on themselves, but human relationships are complicated and there is no easy solution to relationship problems.

What if the other is not receptive to any communication? This is the case in the majority of relationship conflicts. No matter how effectively or compassionately you communicate, if the other person is not receptive and completely shuns you, there’s little you can do about things.

After this understanding, there arose a new possibility for her, which was not there earlier. And that possibility was to let things be the way they are. The mind engulfed in doership cannot imagine the immense freedom that comes from this new understanding. It eliminates the need to change others, as well as changing oneself for others.

To force a change on another is a crime. It is an act of violence. To her, it became clear that just as she is not the doer, even the other is not the doer. Therefore, if no one is the doer, then it becomes apparent, that everything is an apparent happening, happening to no one.

This understanding begins to reduce conflicts as we begin to give ourselves and others the time and space to work out our issues. Nothing heals better than time. We don’t blame ourselves, as well as others, for what is apparently happening. Any solution to change What-IS gives rise to more problems.

It is perfectly fine to communicate one’s feelings, concerns, and the way one thinks about a particular situation with another, but we cannot expect that they will understand or reciprocate in the same manner.

They may be going through their own issues to pay attention to ours at a particular time. The need to set things “right” comes from the sense of doership with the belief in personal volition. Who is this “me” who wants to fix things?

What qualifies “me” to “fix” myself or another? The therapist, psychologist, or medical professional has the license to initiate action regarding a particular ailment or a condition granted by the society but the real healing comes from nature.

A doctor can prescribe a painkiller to a patient suffering from pain but how long it takes the pain to subside is not in his control. Otherwise, every case would be a success.

When things, people, and situations are seen for what they are rather than what they should or should not be, there remains no need to “do” anything about them. This runs contrary to popular advice and the contemporary approach that encourages individual responsibility to change oneself. The problem is that the notion of individual existence itself is unconsciousness.

Is this a free pass for people to behave irrationally? No. While you may not be the doer, the actions happening through the mind-body organism will have consequences for it. If you hurt another person, thinking you are not the doer, then the other person may also reciprocate with the same reaction knowing that there is no receiver of anything.

Seeing The Illusion for What It Is

As a child, I used to love watching David Copperfield’s performance shows (the American Illusionist). He’s an amazing storyteller and everything about his performances is so surreal and magical. I seriously thought he could fly or cut himself in half or magically disappear from one end of the world and appear at another.

I had a desire to meet the man in person; this larger-than-life caricature that was blessed with amazing gifts, which mere mortals could only dream of. I wished he flew and came to me and gave me a ride on his back. I imagined my friends seeing me flying with him and getting jealous. I would see the most beautiful places which were inaccessible. When no one was around I would attempt to pull myself up and fly.

It was heartbreaking to know that it was all an illusion – a setup where thin and high-tension wires were used to carry him up in the air. As I grew up, I came to know how he performed his tricks, a sex scandal that he was involved in, the authorities raiding one of his warehouses, and things of that nature. It was clear to me that he was human like the rest of us, but that didn’t deter me from enjoying his illusions.

I still watch his flying act to revisit my childhood memories. However, everything happens in the background of the awareness that what I’m watching is an illusion.

I fully enjoy the pleasure in the moment, but I never get involved or create a desire to sustain that pleasure I get from watching the illusion. Therefore, there is an underlying and neutral peace to every experience life brings, but there is neither an urgency to attain anything nor a fear of losing anything.

Even when the sense of personal identification or ego dissolves, one can still engage and enjoy life without creating expectations. What dissolves is the false understanding that “I am the doer of my actions.”

There is no doer of any action, everything is happening, happening to nobody. Ramana Maharshi summarized this beautifully, “He who thinks is the doer is also the sufferer.” With doership dissolved, the actions in daily living become spontaneous.

That is, one acts spontaneously about a given situation in the moment according to their conditioning without inertia or indecisiveness that plagues creativity.

The action is performed with the total understanding that the outcome is not in the individual’s control who is simply an instrument of the divine energy. This frees the individual from the load of pride, arrogance, guilt, and shame, all of which only serve to strengthen the ego.

The deep understanding is that nobody can know what the next moment brings. If it brings pleasure, it is enjoyed in the moment without craving for more, and when it brings pain, the intensity of pain is accepted in the moment without creating a fear of future pain.

Once the awareness of one’s being is recognized, everything in phenomenality is seen as a happening in consciousness, and not a happening to an individual. The sense of individuality, then, remains only to facilitate interactive experiences.

Hence, the objective is never to deny the sense of individuality but to realize that the perceived individual is a programmed biological machine that simply acts and reacts according to two things: genetics and societal and environmental conditioning, which includes nature’s forces such as aging.

Therefore, with the dissolution of ego, what remains is the highly sophisticated biological machine that is the epitome of creative thinking, and spontaneous action, as opposed to the painful self-absorbed thinking.

Before the understanding happened, the majority of my actions were self-absorbed. Believing myself to be separate from the rest, like everyone else, I was primarily concerned with the fulfillment of my own desires. I wanted to be influential, rich, and powerful, and was willing to sacrifice anything to get there.

I believed in competition and the survival of the fittest. That animalistic instinct is fostered by our education system which promotes unhealthy competition in the form of giving grades to children for their performance in exams.

During childhood, I never had the slightest interest in any of the subjects that were taught in my school because the only way to get validated was to get ahead of others. The same unconscious pattern continued in college and in the organizations that I worked for. I had no genuine friends, no hobbies, and no interests.

I seriously believed that life would become comfortable after I achieved this or that. And they did, but it was temporary. Once a goal was achieved, the emptiness came back to haunt me, which made me create another goal for self-fulfillment. It was never clear as to what I was seeking in the name of comfort and happiness.

What is happiness? It never made sense why one has to go through so much pain and self-torture to attain happiness in the future. Moreover, could happiness that is dependent on conditions and accumulations be lasting?

The greatest tragedy of our lives is that we consistently avoid thinking about the above question. Like Jiddu Krishnamurti would say, “What at the end of it, Sir?” It is an uncomfortable truth that what the world promises is always fleeting and temporary.

The majority of people choose to live like beggars on the bits and pieces thrown by the world. They complain and condemn the world, and yet, cannot get out of its clutches. Winning and complaining brings no relief as it strengthens the sense of individual existence.

The world that is colored and filtered by an individual’s perception is a mirage, so how can it give something lasting? We give ourselves goals, projects, and other forms of diversions in the garb of self-improvement to avoid the discomfort of reality.

Some of us claim, “I’m not in competition with anyone, I only strive to become better today than what I was yesterday.” The comparison with oneself is not much different from comparison with the others. The “becoming” or “unbecoming” is a trap of the ego to strengthen itself. Growth and progression are natural outcomes of work and they are not linear.

When you live in comparison (with others or yourself), you subconsciously try to hasten the process by putting more effort into breaking the natural flow of things. This urgency to achieve and attain creates stress and anxiety that further give rise to psychosomatic ailments.

A majority of high-performing people experience a life-long battle with anxiety and depression. While they achieve their goals using effort as they have mastered skills to do that, the self-centeredness and sacrificing attitude bring up devastating loneliness. They feel trapped.

They can see the predicament, but as their sense of separate existence has solidified, they cannot find an escape from the pain. The happiness or peace that I’m referring to here is not to be achieved through worldly success.

It is one’s inherent nature. It is beyond measure and cannot be acquired. It is this ordinary moment of aliveness. It is the awareness of being. The reason why we miss it is because we look elsewhere when it is right here in the now.

The now does not imply time. For everything you see is the past. When you look at an object, it takes time for the light to reach your eye-apparatus and then further time for the mind to conceptualize it. This happens at a miniscule time scale which creates the illusion of continuity that we call present.

We never see the present. When we see a person, we’re looking at the past, which dictates our relationship with them. This superimposition on What-IS gives rise to conflicts because it’s a filtered perception born of our ignorance.

Ignorance is the assumption that there is a “me” watching something other than itself. When the “me” establishes itself as the separate subject (the pseudo-object-cognizer), it filters and colors things according to past conditioning.

Therefore, it sees what it wants to see and not What-IS. Similarly, we never look at the world the way it is. We see what we want to see and jump to conclusions that align with beliefs brought about through past conditioning.

The now is free from temporal superimpositions. Therefore, nothing happens in the now. The total recognition of now is the freedom, liberation, or moksha that the sages speak about. While it pervades phenomenality, it is eternally free from it. Now is the Truth.

Something that is beyond time cannot be achieved with effort, for effort implies time. Any attempt to grasp it by giving it names or forms or a form-as-the-formless is an objectification. It is an instantaneous recognition of the reality. This recognition brings about an acceptance of What-IS.

Knowledge of the One

Knowing the unknowable is not going to happen the way you imagine it to happen. The knowledge of One dissolves the unreal – the identifications that create suffering. The unreality or illusion is that I am separate from others. That we are entities with separate names and forms in phenomenality. The identification with the sense of separation or “me” is the root of our afflictions.

The concept as explained here is based on my personal experience and should not be associated with any religion or dogma. Although, you may find similarities with Eastern teachings such as Buddhism, Zen, and Vedanta. I frequently get informed that what I speak has been written in the ancient Eastern scriptures.

I personally have not read the scriptures. Maybe bits and pieces, here and there, but the scriptures are not authority for me. Every word written or heard from any source has to be investigated. The Truth is not a matter of belief. It has to be your direct experience.

If you believe in something without investigation, you have not known it completely. The seed of doubt remains in beliefs, hope, and faith, but there cannot be any doubt when the Truth is directly perceived.

Truth is not something you get from another. It has to sprout within as the direct knowledge of the unchanging and ever-present reality. This article is simply a pointer to reality merely for your intellectual curiosity.

To know Truth, go beyond the intellect into the Heart or pure unconditional love that is your true nature. Therefore, let it be clear that I’m no spiritual authority, guru, healer, messenger, or teacher concerned with your awakening.

There is no you to awaken. I’m simply sharing my experiences and presenting them as concepts here. You are at complete liberty to either accept or reject it. All I say is that don’t discard the concept in haste by jumping to abrupt conclusions.

First, investigate and see if it makes sense, and then decide. From what I have seen, the concept is initially unsettling for most people, but it brings interesting insights and revelations as one experiences life in the light of this concept.

We are not going to arrive at the knowledge of One or Truth based on thinking. Why? Because thoughts are limited and divisive. A thought is an appearance in consciousness; therefore, it cannot be used to see things directly for what they are.

The thought produces the thinker, and the thinker is a limited entity; therefore, something limited cannot fathom the unlimited. If you expect this work to give you an intellectual formulation – a theory or philosophy to arrive at the Truth, you’re mistaken.

It won’t come to you as a thought, “I get it.” To go beyond thinking, a thought has to be seen for what it is. When one hears statements like these, it is natural for the mind to resist, “What do you mean go beyond thought?” The mind cannot make sense of it because thinking is our conditioned response to everything.

While thinking may help with worldly matters, the Truth cannot be exclusively seen through the lens of thinking; thinking distorts the vision through objectification. When you give Truth a fancy name like Wholeness, Suchness, infinity, Brahman, Consciousness, Chaitanyam, Sakshi, and so on, you’re still creating an object and chasing it.

For ages, philosophers have been thinking and debating on the nature of reality, yet, it remains a mystery. The problem is that our search for the ultimate Truth arises out of our need to get rid of the problems we experience in daily living.

We feel that, somehow, knowledge of Truth will make “me” better and free from all troubles. This message is not to free the small you, but a pointer to your true nature that is eternal. Therefore, objectification of the ultimate Truth is impossible by the limited entity “me.” You can “be” it, but you cannot know it as an object of your experience.

Even for scientists, consciousness is a hard problem. While it animates all experiences, it itself remains a mystery. What comes out of endless debates and discussions are more theories and more concepts, but the human nature, traits, tendencies, and the conflicts that arise from them, continue to be as they were earlier.

We have given extraordinary emphasis to thinking. We think that is the only way to see the Truth. But thinking being divisive creates different versions of reality. The intellect and identification, though seemingly separate, are the same. The intellect follows identifications and vice-versa. Therefore, thinking can never be free from biases and distortions.

For example, love is not a solution to hate as is propounded by optimists. In theory, the idea seems appealing. It also fits the popular narrative. But the conditioned love is an inseparable part of the dualistic split, whose other end is haste.

Similarly, good is not a solution to evil. We believe in the popular idea that by spreading more goodness in the world, we can ward off evil. How has that worked so far? Has it been successful in preventing violence, prejudices, wars, inequality, racism, and hatred?

Only history tells the real effectiveness of the so-called good ideas. The revolutions of the past become blunders of the present. We were so convinced that our ideas about love, compassion, peace, and universal brotherhood could not go wrong with traditional teachings and practices.

What happened then? We have become more divisive and intolerant towards others. We preach about love but our actions come from hate and condemnation. Why have the humans not been able to overcome their animalistic conditioning? Why do we experience conflicts?

With all the knowledge of science, psychology, and technical advancements, we still struggle with interpersonal communication and relationships. Where have things gone wrong?

Unfortunately, we rely heavily on thinking as the only instrument to bring about change. It brings changes to a certain degree but it cannot get rid of the conflicts. The idea here is not to discourage you from critical thinking. It is vital in daily living and it does bring clarity and peace.

However, thinking is limited when it comes to knowing the nature of the absolute. And it is also true that we have no other means of investigation. So, what do we do? While the thought may not be useful for the realization of the Truth it can certainly be used to investigate things that have impermanent existence and the kind of relationship we have with things and people around us.

Traditionally, this is called Viveka – the mind’s ability to discriminate the real from the unreal. Recognition of the unreal nature of phenomenality leads to a natural dispassion towards worldly objects.

What is seen as unreal is spontaneously dropped by the mind. In the sense that the mind stops putting effort into trying to know the nature of things. Dropping away of the objectification reveals the Truth, which happens when the ordinary thinking or vichara diverted towards the external world transforms into atma-vichara (self-inquiry)