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The Spiritual

"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


The GMR Series

XI: Natural Happiness: A Thoughtless and Sensitive Phenomenon

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As far as happiness and contentment of human life are concerned, both, the existing religions of today (based on scriptures, prayers, myth and beliefs) and the scientists (of the modern science) appear to be opposed and contradictory to each other. Yet, it is also true that both, science and religion, want to make human life prosperous and happy. The ways of science are in creating a materialistic reality, which aims towards providing worldly comforts throughout life. On the other hand, religions tend to be methodical institutions of peace and happiness by employing faith, meditation, mantra, prayer, yoga, etcetera, aimed at the present life as well as the life beyond death.

They both, however, fail to understand the real meaning of happiness. They must first solve the question "Who is there to provide the happiness with"? In other words, if we are looking for happiness, we have to ask ourselves, “Who is looking for happiness and for whom?” The question seems a bit confusing but the rest of the chapter will make it easy to comprehend.

A Quest for True Happiness

We have sages like Samartha Ramdas who said; "The more we yearn for happiness, faster we are drawn into the web of sorrow". We have discussed in earlier chapters how the mind mechanism works and how each human being is drawn into web of thoughts and memories. Most of the time of our lives is spent in satisfying the ego. Sometimes it is explicit and sometimes implicit. Even the most charitable works have a subtle selfishness hidden in them. People get immense “satisfaction’ by doing good work. Helping others provides a sense of satisfaction and wellbeing. Besides, there is a hidden feeling somewhere back in the mind that something good will come to them by doing something good for the others. Sometimes, it could be the result of fear of God, or destiny, a pang of guilt (a balancing act to the ways the money was earned by the donator, thinking that a donation will offset the guilt), idea that the good work will accumulate towards afterlives and most often the matter of social standing and family pride. If someone really wants to eradicate poverty and suffering in society, they will find means to change the root causes and not just find an escape and self-satisfaction in superficial things. Most people donate because they wish to continue to be recognized and earn a name for themselves. Social workers and volunteers working for charitable and non-profit organizations will strongly argue about this. However, they have to look deep in their hearts and ask themselves as to why they are doing what they are doing; and for whom?

We keep on doing routine works in life and try to accumulate wealth. The question also arises, “If what we think we are is just an illusion (“I”), who are we trying to satisfy?” The brain, in its essence, is natural and does not need wealth or materialistic means to be happy. It will be happy when it is one with Nature. That happiness will be true happiness. The barrier to this natural activity is our illusory mind. Nature is ever flowing. When we hang on to the memories of the past, we are stopping ourselves and creating a barrier for the brain to flow with Nature. Nature is changing every moment. Every new moment is a new life. The true happiness would be to live each moment in full awareness and flow as the Nature flows.

The mind will always keep the "thinker" occupied with the thoughts and memories of the past and apprehensions of the future. It races from one conclusion to another and in the process keeps the brain away from the truth. Both, the present religions and science, have to first understand this concept. There have been, however, sages and scientists who, instead of searching for this happiness through thoughts and logic, have found the true happiness by witnessing the Thoughtlessness State and Pragnya (Thoughtless, Sensitive Gray Matter)

In Search of Pragnya (Gray Matter)

Pragnya, a Sanskrit word, means "ability of the brain to naturally experience the life". We shall learn more about the Gray Matter in later chapters. Here, we have to just remember the given definition. Pragnya, or Gray Matter, is the highest state of the brain. So far, we have talked about the brain and mind and discussed their respective nature. To make it logically clear to the readers, we many define the structure of brain in the present form as follows;

Psychic Mind  :           "I", which is illusory. Our everyday “me” or self. 
Basic Mind      :           Genetic influence of Psychic mind. We are born with it.
Large Brain     :           Natural, stores information (memory).
Small Brain     :           Natural, controls vital functions
Gray Matter    :           Pragnya: thoughtless, sensitive state of brain. (explained in detail at the end of chapter 9).

We all mostly live in the first state, the psychic mind, and accept that as reality. The natural parts of the brain, which are very powerful and limitless, are thus avoided in ignorance. The mere words and thoughts describing values of life can never actually provide the practical experiences. They can only point towards the experiences in life. Therefore, expressions like "Happiness of Life" do not mean happiness in real terms but just an illusion of happiness created out of fancy words; it is just a concept of happiness. 

Although, the memories are necessary for sustaining the body, they cannot provide the truth by themselves. The truth is out of the reach of the words and thoughts on which the memories are founded. The memories can only project the word "happiness" and make it appear as real to us but cannot provide the "practical experience" of it. We all, however, perceive the happiness in thoughts and then try to achieve it by the thinking process. We remain ignorant of the fact that the memories can only render us with "information" of an event and not actually the essence and experience of it. We can remember whatever has happened but that remembrance cannot bring forth the experience and essence of that event.

More importantly, even the memories that we carry are not complete. There is always a gap between two memories. This starts right from the childhood when a child is taught new words and exposed to new experiences. For instance, when a particular incident gets repeated after a gap of few days, weeks or months, the gap between earlier memory and second experience (which will again become a memory) remains in the mind. As time passes by and the recall process starts, the memory gets confused about the gap. Since it does not know what was there, it tries to fill it up with an illusory presence of "someone". As a result, we perceive that as if someone was there to have that experience. The same illusory perception turns into "I". This phenomenon is further explained in later chapters.

Therefore, a memory is only a resultant or an aftereffect of an incident. After an event has died down, the only thing that remains is the memory of that event. Whatever we learn from the memories is nothing new or unique but dead and old-time; and that too in fragments.

A Dream Called Happiness

As mentioned, the memory of happiness is just a remembrance of it. For instance, you can photograph a beautiful place but cannot feel or experience the beauty of it just by seeing the photograph. Thinking about it will only bring the memories back and you will ache for that experience. That is how the word "happiness" is not actual happiness but just a photograph of the previous memory. Since the happiness dwells in the memories, the definition of happiness keeps on changing in one’s life. What appears to be enjoyable during childhood becomes unbearable in the old age. Something that gives you sorrow, may provide happiness to others. Meaning; for a person, happiness becomes a mental activity rather than practical.

The illusion of "I" that is created in our brain by words and thoughts is as much part of this remembrance. Since a person starts believing that he or she is this illusory "I", the happiness also becomes a part of it. "I" or the mind is founded merely on words and it needs words, thoughts and memories to sustain itself; and the "happiness" of "I" is just a word floating in our brains since ages. The thirst for happiness is there. Only, we do not know what it is and in ignorance, try to satisfy it through materialistic means. This is basically the reason why both orthodox religions and scientists are still trying to make the mankind "happy" with concepts and materialistic things.  The reason - they are not happy themselves. After hundreds of years of social and scientific revolutions, nobody seems to be happy. Both, the religions of today and science have failed to understand that the illusory presence of "I" in the brain has created an illusion of "happiness".

Fundamentally, Nature is ever changing and flowing. We, human beings, are very much part of it. Whether we realize it or not, life changes every moment (the human body ages with it) and so the things attached with it. Happiness it not the only concept here. Some changes appear to us as losses, creating a feeling of sadness. We feel that we have lost something and the mind fills up with regrets, desires and guilt. The religions have tried to console us by giving false peace in mantras, penance, yoga, concentration, scriptures etcetera and science has devised materialistic means to drown our grief. The mind or "I" has been lusting for happiness for many ages. In every new body, it carries forwards the same desires and the illusion continues in each life. We may, thus, conclude that, the happiness what we perceive in ignorance is "memory-bound thoughts".

If we have to search for an eternal happiness, we will have to find it through thoughtlessness and Pragnya (TSGM) that dawns in that process. That day, we all will be truly and eternally happy.

One thing is clear from the above discussion that happiness cannot be found by thinking. Since all the thoughts are outward, there cannot be happiness in the worldly things. Moreover, we have to closely watch and see whether we are running the thoughts or the thoughts are running us. Do we really "think" or do the thoughts emerge on their own? We will surely find that our thinking mechanism is, though intense, aimless and unproductive.

The inner happiness, on the other hand, is beyond the words. Thoughts cannot touch it. The first step towards this eternal happiness is through Pragnya (TSGM). As we have described in earlier chapters, the mind can do only what it has learned. However smart the mind may be, it cannot speak the language it has not learned. The Mind, on its own, cannot learn to drive a car. Therefore, its limitations are bound with what it has been fed with. Has it learned happiness? Can it know and experience it? The answer is no. Mind has never actually seen the true happiness. It has only learned the word "happiness". That is the reason it has never been happy. True happiness dwells only in Pragnya (TSGM), which can be achieved through thoughtlessness. When there is no thought, just you (devoid of “I”) will be there. You will become what you are - a natural brain. Swami Samartha Ramdas says, "Who is really happy in this world? Oh! Mind, think about it and search!"

True Identity

Humans spend all their strength in leading a pointless life that is based on thoughts and memories. Due to this activity, the natural Pragnya (TSGM) is obscured by the thoughts. As mentioned earlier, other creatures in Nature, do not think and thus lead a happy and natural life in Pragnya. Since they do not have words, they do not even imagine things like happiness and sorrow. From the moment human brain was burdened with the words, the mesmerism of word-bound thoughts has been engulfing it. With the help of words and thoughts, it became easy for the mind to differentiate between the things, classify, divide, conduct trade and lead a practical life. The mind, consequently, overshadowed the natural abilities of the brain and the possibilities to experience the eternal happiness grew dim.

The present education system has no inkling of Pragnya, even the existence of it and therefore it has been constantly producing intellectuals, thinkers and philosophers who are all, in turn, slaves of thoughts. The human life, as a result, has been deprived of the eternal happiness and is only wandering in an imaginary world. If we dare to change the present education system and emphasize on Pragnya, we can make the human life completely happy. There does not seem to be any other way otherwise.

Naturally, the human brain is gifted with Pragnya (Gray Matter). Understanding the outer world (without the aid of thoughts) and sustaining the body are its natural functions. The brain utilizes the intrinsic and coherent function of all five senses to observe an event in a thoughtless and neutral state. We can further understand it by the following example.

On a cool and calm moonlit night, if we stare constantly at the sky, we will be filled with an unknown pleasure and a unique sensation. This is a glimpse of the natural state of the brain. The brain has not relied on thoughts or impulses to have this experience. In another instance, if we look into the mirror and concentrate on the face, a moment will come when its reflection will disappear. In this case, the event of seeing the face is mind’s activity where "I" finds an identity. On the other hand, when the natural brain, with Pragnya (TSGM), is activated momentarily, the face disappears. The brain in itself is truth and it does not require the face to identify itself. The moment when face disappears is the moment of Pragnya (TSGM). With more awareness, we can prolong it into minutes, hours and even days.

If, for one day, we can remain thoughtless and in awareness, "I" will dissolve and there will be a possibility to come into Pragnya (TSGM) and the natural state of the brain. There are two easy methods to stop the process of thoughts for some time. One, is to just hold the breath for a few moments. When breathing stops, the thoughts stop too. This will, however, help only for a minute or more, at one time. Holding the breath too long is not advisable. The other one is to just freeze the whole body in one state and half open the mouth as you do when you are stunned (remember playing ‘statue’ in the childhood?)  The sudden stunner stops the thoughts for a while. These are, however, just initial means and one has to go beyond them. Only the Pragnya, a total thoughtless, sensitive state of the brain, can provide true happiness; and that is eternal. On the other hand, what we consider happiness in daily life is nothing but lessening of sorrow. We do not realize that the same superficial happiness can turn into sadness when in excess. Interesting phenomenon, it is. If sweets give you happiness, try eating them in excess. Caught in the web of thoughts and the illusion of mind, we are ignorant about the eternal happiness.

It would be a difficult decision to take but people must understand the truth and seek the true happiness. In this process, they will have to detach themselves from everything that is related with the thoughts (social, financial, moral obligations etc.) and observe the period of silence as mentioned in the first part. Pragnya (Gray Matter) only, can provide eternal happiness.

Again, it does not mean that we should completely stop thinking. We should think only about matters, which are necessary for practical life. The idea is to stop the process of pointless, mechanical thinking and develop the tendency of thoughtlessness. Once we come out of the mechanical process of thoughts, there is a possibility of rediscovering Pragnya.

Powers of the Brain

If Pragnya, or the ability of the brain to naturally experience the life, is developed, we can experience life without the superficial aids of thoughts, imagination, prayers, devotion etcetera. All these activities were supposed to be providing mankind with happiness and bliss. If we were able to use the natural abilities of the brain and find eternal happiness, we would not require anything. All the prayers and penances were created in the hope of finding the truth. However, as long as they all originate from the thinking process, they are futile. Lord Sri Krishna has also emphasized the necessity of "Pragnya" in the Bhagwad Gita. Paatanjali has said "Yoga Chittavritti Nirodha Tada Drishtae Swaroopae Avasthanam". Translated, it means that one should be present in the natural state of brain. Pragnya or the brain’s natural state has a mysterious power to eliminate all the adversities in life. This power can dissolve elements like fears, insecurity and sorrows and make life natural. We all see that the other creatures in Nature, have nothing but they are always happy; and that they do not look sad or worried for not having something. We have to look for the examples in the simplest of the things around us and we will discover that true happiness is in each moment of life – if it is not wasted in thinking.

Since the mind races from one conclusion to another and the thoughts keep on changing, we face the events in our lives in an uncertain and ambiguous manner. Most of our actions are impulsive. The natural brain, however, lives in the present and is aware of each activity. Awareness is not merely knowing about something, but being in an event at that moment of time. The brain, therefore, sees every happening on the same level and is one with it. Likewise, if there is a problem, it will merge into that moment and that problem will not remain a problem any more. Whatever happens, then, is part of  Nature. It can take a blow like soft cotton. When we hit the water with a stick, it creates ripples but instantly become still. Similarly, the brain can cushion any impact and yet remain in the natural state. There are many such abilities of the natural brain and if we want to live in an eternal happiness, we have to discover the truth about it. Many have done it and all of us can do it, indeed. 

The brain is proficient (with Pragnya) right from birth. With it, comes the mute and genetic consciousness. The thoughts catch on to this consciousness. Thoughts create an illusory thinker and the thinker keeps on creating new thoughts under the influence of so-called willpower and logic. Thoughts turn into desires, desires into action, action into behavior and behavior into habits. Finally, the whole personality gets caught in this vicious cycle. The natural abilities fade away and the person starts living in the mind.

The natural brain, with its abilities and powers, is always there. It only needs to be reached and brought to the front (not a logical activity. Used as a metaphor only. The duality has to be eliminated for self-realization). Once you go beyond your mind, or the moment when the brain comes into self-realization, the illusion fades away on its own. Earlier, the mind was in control of the whole existence and now the brain becomes the owner. The mind may still remain there in the form of memories etc. but the brain will now use it as an instrument. Its natural abilities will easily come forth and the person will starts living in an eternal happiness. This is what we can call true liberation. The life flows with the flow of Nature and merges with the eternity. It becomes one with the universe and lives in a permanent state of happiness, bliss and truth. It becomes the God itself, for the whole of Nature is God and lives in the real world.

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