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The Spiritual

"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


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


The GMR Series

III: Hands: The Indicators of "I" The Ego

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In the last chapter we discussed the role of vocal cord in creation and sustenance of the perceptive identity of “I” the ego. While lots of people simply consider ego as one of the components of the human body, it is, in fact, a thought-based electro-magnetic sensation that infiltrates every single cell of the body. The definitive nature of this statement requires an investigation into the subject and some more insight into the science of the human body and its functions. Again, the idea is not to establish an absolute truth by means of word-based argumenets and theories, but rather create an awareness towards something that we normally tend to ignore.

The truth is not far from us, though. We are talking about the human body and as you go through this chapter, you may pause for a while and meditate on the issues being presented. Your own experience and awareness will be the ultimate testimony.

How many times have you noticed a person wriggling his or her toes or shaking a foot unconsciously? Talking about awarensss, how many times have you been ‘aware’ of your feet, knees, elbows, stomach or any part of the body for that matter? You do ‘feel’ when something is wrong somewhere. You will be acutely aware of your foot if it was paining. You will also be very much aware of the empty stomach if you have gone hungry for sometime. Apart from these telling sings, or if the body parts do not beg your attention and everything seems alright, your most of the attention will be external – on things happening around you. And the thinking mind. If you look closely, you will realise that you literally live in and through your mind. You have to “think” to do things. There is a vast space between “thinking” and “awareness”. The body is always there, doing its job, sustaining the human life. However, the one we think as “me” does not seem connected with this body but always engrossed in external events and things, thinking and manipulating. There are times when thoughts cease and suddenly the body becomes prominent. It may happen, for a brief moment, in extreme cases of grieft, tragedy, love, compassion or empathy. Some schools of thoughts have, thus, tried to find the path to salvation through emotions such as love and devotion, believing that those brief moments can be re-expereinced and lengthened. The problem, however, lies in the existince of “I’ the ego into the cells of the body that influences the natural functionality of the body, preventing an absolute experience. The hands are one of the strong indicators of the ego.

Without “me” knowing, the functions that brain performs on the body is unfathomable. It should be, therefore, realised at once that if “I” am not sustaining the human life, “I” cannot be all knowing. The body is alive. I can taste the food. I can see things. I can hear things. I sleep. Because of whom? Do “I” instruct my heart to pump the blood? Do “I” control the function of kidneys and lungs? If “I” have no role in keeping this body alive, then who am I? Amidst this illusory state of mind that produces electro-magnetic sensations amidst the neurons with each thought, the influence reaches to each and every cell of the body through body’s internal wiring. If we pinch the finger, we immediately feel it because the cells react to the exerting force and the brain processes the signals. Similarly, on the reverse, continuous thoughts and thought-based sensations keep transmitting to the each single cell of the body through the internal processes. As the thoughts and the thought process is repeated zillions of times during our lifetimes, the amount of influence they exert on the body is unfathomable. Just thinking of ego as one element and getting rid of it is now not enough. Since each cell is also an independent entity within the body (each cell has its own structure, polarity and nucleus), even if one is able to achieve thoughtlessness through meditation, it will be a while before years and years of influence of ego and thoughts is eliminated from the body. In old times, when people were simpler and thoughts were less, enlightenment was easier. These days, it gets tougher with every thoughts.

The creation of eyes and hands on the human body is a great feat of the human evolution. We cannot even imagine human beings to be without these two organs. If these two organs were not created, humans would have had to perhaps spend their lives in an animal-like state. Many creatures around us, such as dolphins, have a developed brain, but not the hand-like limbs. Those who have limbs do not have the brain as advanced as humans. Thus, the anatomy our body is complimentary to the development of our brain. The human brain is bigger in comparison to the body. In the process of continuous evolution, the human brain has been developing for the past thousands of years. (Some researchers are of the belief that travelers from outer space have helped develop the human brain faster). As we all know, our eyes relay multiple information to the brain in one reflex and the brain absorbs and processes the information instantly. It happens so fast that we do not realize that the process has taken place at all. Science has also acknowledged, that the size of the brain is relevant to the basic intelligence (Natural) and power of the brain. We may therefore assume that the size of the human brain has developed to its present state over a period of continuous evolution.

The hand is another organ after the eye, that has contributed to the development of the brain. Functions like picking, keeping things, making tools, using tools, designing things are typical functions of the hands. The elements of touch and feel through the hands, helps the brain recognize and identify lots of objects and senses. Through the co-ordination of the brain and the hands, it has become possible to create and use various tools – to the tune of complex machinery and experiments todate. With the help and use of tools, the capacity of the human body has increased constantly over a period of time. These are faint hints to how the brain has nurtured and developed the human body to survive and prosper on this planet. Since we have developed tools and means to arrange, process and eat our food, we no longer have sharp teeth (compared to other animals) and big jaws. We, the humans, are basically tool-making animals. We have overcome our physical limitations by developing tools and weapons. From using stone tools during the stone-age, to the modern times, when we are today creating micro chips and processors, the hands have played an important part in our development. Having no hands, would have meant that we have some sort of intelligence but without the creativity and development. Or, we might have indeed succeeded in developing something much greater through other incomprehensible means. That will be a science – fiction topic. Here, it will be wise to acknowledge how the coordination of the brain with our body has brought us in the condition that we are presently in.

Due to this very reason, the influence of “I” or ego that shadows the brain, has reached the hands and eyes as well. We see the reflection of our ego in the way we use these functions. Since the mind is essentially a thought-based activity, our hands move while we talk. Those who do not move their hands have merely enforced a rule upon themselves. In general, we all gesture with our hands. In massage, reflexology and acupressure, numerous pressure points related to most parts of the body, are identified. This is another example how the hands are related to the internal organs and any influence on the hands can thus be transmitted inconspicuously throughout our body.

Indian yoga teaches Mudhras, or certain postures of the hands and fingers, such as Gyan Mudhra in an attempt to control the thought process and influence of “I” on the body, through the application of pressure on certain points of the fingers and palms. In this particular Mudhra, pressure is applied by the index finger on the tip of the thumb and the other three fingers are kept straight. If one sits quietly for half an hour in this position, he or she can experience the peace of thoughtlessness. It helps eliminate thoughts happening at the subtle level (unconsciously).

As we have learned so far, the occurrences of thoughts and their repetitions invariably get converted into habits. Most of our habits are formed because of the thought-process. People even develop the habit to “think” needlessly, that stays with them throughout their lives (as do any other habits). When we think, compare, rationalize, make a decision and make a choice about something, it develops into a habit. First we do something out of curiosity and interest. After a while, it develops into an unconscious habit that happens when a trigger is pressed. It is not difficult to understand this. Our whole life, our daily and even momentary activities are controlled by our habits. If you have a habit of washing your hands before having dinner, you will feel uncomfortable when not given an opportunity to do so. Modern day psychiatrists term it as the “comfort zone”. We do things that we “like” to do. We are caught in the “habit” of living our lives. The “I” or ego is prominent. We easily get disturbed, uncomfortable and distressed, when the things we “like” or we “want” are taken away or not available. Like thoughts, some habits are apparent but most of them are subtle – ingrained in our body and actions.

The fingers of musicians who play string instruments like, mandolin, violin, guitar, etcetera can play their instruments by the sense of touch in the dark, because they have become habitual of playing certain notes. Fingers of musicians, who play the tabla or mrindunga, just by listening to the lines of any song, start catching the tunes of the song habitually as well. Not only that, expert typists, while typing, can think, talk and continue typing at the same time because the fingers are now habitual of designated movements. Drivers too, while driving can talk, keep an eye on the road, hold the steering with one hand, change gears with the other, press the accelerator or breaks, with the legs, listen to music with the ears, all at the same time. All these activities take place simultaneously, just because of the enlisted habits of the mechanical mind. Did the same driver perform all these activities while he or she was still learning to drive? The answer is positively “No”. We often mistake our habits for knowledge. We all have our distinctive signatures. We can sign even in our sleeps. Did you remember the days when each of your signatures looked different? Well, once a habit is formed, the organs operate under its influence.

Take the example of a child’s education. They have to learn alphabets at the very start of their education. They have to repeatedly write one alphabet over and over again, in order to “remember” it. Look at the doodles of a child in his first work book. Each attempt at writing an alphabet will look different. This is how a habit is formed - through repetitions. Once the habit is learnt enough, the hand will automatically write the alphabet. This is how we all have our distinctive handwritings. And that is why some people claim that they can assess personalities just by looking at the handwritings. Handwriting is an impression of our thinking mind.
Similarly, to learn subsequent alphabets, the same amount of repetition is required. In this way, to learn all the alphabets; the brain, eyes, mouth, ears and hands, have to make repetitions for thousand and thousands of times. Similarly, to learn a word that consists of two, three or more alphabets, the eyes, mouth, ears and hands have to make repetitions again for thousands of times. Similar efforts (repetitions) are then required to join the words and form sentences. When it comes to usage, what has been learned (now made into a habit), the eyes, mouth, ears and hands, have to repeat the same cycle, to make it work. This is just one thought or habit we are talking about. Assume what the body has to be put through, to the stage where serial thoughts are produced and zillions of habits are formed. We can sign our names perfectly, because, since childhood, we have practiced and mastered (into habit) the use of alphabets.

Some would argue that this is due to the immense potential and powers of the human brain. Remember, the brain is an integral part of Nature and does not have to “learn” or “practice” anything, apart from the metaphysical requirements of our daily life. If it were to practice how to control the blood pressure in our body, we will never exist. Think how many complex functions the brain performs, without our explicit intervention (breathing, digestion, pumping blood, urination and innumerable other functions). When did we learn to do all that? When did we last practice to breath? The brain has immense powers and potential, true. However, we are not “separate” from the brain. Who are “we” to use the brain? We are one body, one brain. If “I” think that I am using my brain, “I” and brain have become two separate entities. This duality is the proof of the existence of the mind or ego or “I” that is always illusory. As long as “I” am there, the illusion will always remain. In order for the brain to take control, this duality has to be eliminated. When there is no “I”, there is only the brain. This “I-less”, thoughtless or ego-less state is the Natural state of our existence. It is there, pulsating, at every moment of time. The “I” that wants to experience it or see, is the biggest obstacle in itself. When “I” goes, only truth remains. But then, there will not be anybody around to see or know it. We will dwell more on this, in the course of this book. At this point, we have to only understand, how the ego or “I” influences our natural body through habits.

Thus, the hands have to perform thousands of activities due to thought-bound habits. This habit of performing various activities is only possible for the hands, due to repetitive processes of reading, writing and listening for zillions of times. If infants are not taught to read, write or speak, they will not be able to do so, in their entire lives (unless learnt at a later stage). The emphasis here is on the word and thought-bound learning process that converts into habit. That is how; the “I” gets created in the eyes, mouth, ears and hands, due to thought-bound habits, associated with the respective body parts.

Since the major emphasis in our lives is on talking, the presence of “I” or ego is maximum in the tongue and vocal cord. Thinking is also talking – talking to oneself. The tongue and vocal cords are again involved. If we had to categorize the ego or “I”, the “I” in the tongue and vocal cord would be the “Ego No.1”. Famous Zen monk Sonan said “Stop talking and thinking and there is nothing that you will not know.” Think why he said that!

While talking, thinking, or in the state when the thoughts are occurring, the hands keep on gesturing and making movements. The hands were subjected to repetitive writing process that aided in the thought process and creation of “I”. Thus the presence of “I” in the hands can be termed as the “Ego No.2”. The rest of the “I” or Ego is in the form of electrical signals in the brain and chemicals in the eyes, ears and spinal cord.

Through some meditation techniques, momentary thoughtlessness can be achieved. If one is able to eradicate all the thoughts at any given instance, how will he or she then eradicate the presence of “I” in the other parts of the body – such as the hands and eyes? We have to de-learn. We have to reverse the order. To erase the “I” from the hands, we will have to write the alphabets in reverse order and practice for thousands of times, just as we did, when we first learned them. Whereas, to erase the “I” from the vocal cord, repeatedly chanting, “I am an illusion”, will have to be done, for thousands of times. There can be many other methods apart for the above. The best, would be the “thoughtless silence”. We will discuss more about these techniques, later in this book.

To evolve life in Nature, some form of natural existence is essential. If the sole objective of Nature is to continuously evolve life in the universe, it too has a purpose. However, Nature’s purpose is not word or thought-bound. It will take a great degree of thoughtlessness and awareness, to comprehend this phenomenon. The thinking mind cannot “think” of such an existence. The “I” or ego that we have created through the thinking process, is unnatural and creates obstruction in the natural functioning of the brain. This is not agreeable to Nature. The universal Nature has created life and has evolved to its zenith; that is, the human brain, to continue its work of evolution.

One aspirant monk asked Hui-Neng, the thirteenth century Zen master, “How can I use my mind to attain the Buddhahood.” The master answered, “The Buddhahood is attained when there is no mind to use for the task.”

As long as the “I” and brain duality exists, the illusion exists. To become the truth, we will have to discard our “I”, or ego, to let the brain make use of its optimum ability and maintain balance in the entire universe. That is why liberating the brain from the clutches of “I” is of utmost importance.

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