Category Archives: b. Psychology

(Quote) Ramana on THE NATURE OF THOUGHT.

Key to understanding the function of mind.


Q. “Do you have thoughts?”

Sri Ramana: “I usually have no thoughts.”

Q.  “But when you are reading?”

Sri Ramana: “Then I have thoughts.”

Q.  “And when someone asks you a question?”

Sri Ramana:  “Then, too, I have thoughts when replying, not otherwise.”

Q.  “How can I keep the idea of that real state always before me?”

Sri Ramana: “Because you think you are a body you are not able to keep that single idea, you are not firm! The idea that you must go to Tiruvannamalai and see Maharshi is only a function of the intellect. Really no help is required. You are already in your original state; how can anyone help you to arrive where you already are? The help given is only to clear out your wrong notions. The great men, the gurus can help only by removing the obstacles in your way. A child and Jnani are in some ways similar*. The child ceases to think of incidents after they have passed off. Thus it shows that they do not leave deep impressions on the child’s mind. So too with a Jnani.”

‘From Conscious Immortality.’

* And Jesus said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

Swami Bawra said. “If you do not have Heaven on earth then you will certainly not have it when you die.”

Ramana Maharshi said, ” Control the mind and even Hell will be Heaven to you.”

One enters Heaven when one is in a state of BLISS.  This happens when Mind becomes silent and the Self shines uncorrupted by Ego.  It has nothing to do with believing anything at all.  Heaven is an experiential state of Being not a place.  Belief, which depends on the constant reclaiming and affirming of an illusory idea is actually generating the very mental noise that makes the emergence of Bliss, and therefore Heaven, improbable.

(Thoughts) on THINKING

We are conditioned to accept that thinking is simply the effect of our being awake and exposed to the life around us – an inseparable my-mind aspect of actually being human.  The idea that we are not our thinking, and that the mental noise that accompanies every waking moment of most of our individual lives can be reduced to nothing, is not something we are taught about our human nature.    And despite knowing that this process is insatiable we are in fact taught to engage with and encourage this noise; to feed our desires, even though we have thoughts we would rather not think and have feelings we would rather not have to endure. We are not taught how to deal with thoughts and emotions in a way that is effective or enduring. 

The first stage in unravelling this conundrum is to accept that we are not defined by the content of our thoughts and feelings. They are not us.  Thoughts and feelings are subject to the laws of cause and effect. They arise because they do, not because you are a good or a bad person.  When our senses engage with the world, before thoughts arise there is an impulse that precedes them.  This impulse can be likened to a ball hitting a wall. The wall in this analogy is the small self or ego. The stimulus then bounces back charged with a tiny impression or sensation, (the result of past experiences) that we instinctively and habitually engage with adding to it meaning and significance.  Thus, by allowing our attention to follow the flight of the ball a dialogue ensues and continues until another impulse takes flight and catches our attention. It may be related or unrelated. If however, we keep our attention focused on where the ball hits the wall, where the sensation is actually generated, there is no ensuing dialogue. When no meaning or significance is added to the impression the ball loses it power instantly and simply, (metaphorically) falls to the ground. There is no dialogue.  One can do this even if the ball is in flight.  If we resist sensations they live on to trouble us another day. Understanding HOW we resist them becomes part of the process.

The initial impulse actually has no significance – it is, as it were, genderless.  WE provide significance out of our past experience and imagination; out of our mental habit. There is no need to understand or work it out because that is an endless process and constitutes resisting the impression.  It is beautifully simple. Once this  fact is realised, (a tiny but significant moment of enlightenment) we can begin to become Master of Mind and not its slave.

(Precious Moments) on EGO

One day some years ago I and an English friend were standing in the Southall Ashram with Swami Ji and were looking out into the street.  It was a hot dusty summer’s day.  Bits of rubbish were lying around and the street appeared generally untidy. 

My friend observed judgementally, “It’s so polluted Swami Ji.”

“No my boy, not polluted!” Swami Ji said.

My friend objected but somehow I got the impression that my teacher was not referring to the polluted street at all but then nothing more was said.

It took me many years to understand what Swami Ji was actually saying in that moment.  My friend was not merely observing the state of the street.  He was making a value judgement and value judgements are generated by Ego/Mind. They are relative and therefore not true – they are simply relative.  Since Mind is the issue in Spiritual Practice, value judgements are counter-productive and simply affirm the illusion and where we a stuck.

During those times with Swami Bawra I would sometimes stray into Egocentric territory.  If ever I did his reaction was immediate and quite stern.  Sometime he would just look and I understood that I had made a mistake.  One time I took hold of his foot and in a gesture of affection, and shook it – not hard but in a way that could have been construed as disrespectful – enough for him to feel it at least.  He looked at me sharply and then immediately softened.  He saw no disrespect and so the moment passed but even this taught me something.  His dance was not with me.  It was with my Ego.  In retrospect he could have been harsher but that was not how he dealt with me and would I have understood?  But then he never gave too much away.  His way was to let us stumble and learn by our mistakes.


Many years ago now I ran the Guildford TM Centre with my then partner.  One day the centre taught a lovely gentle woman who turned up in all innocence to learn meditation.  From the outset of learning she started to see angels and divine beings and in the absence of any reasoned explanation it troubled her deeply. There was nothing we could say because the very notion of the Super Senses was of another order entirely. She came for counselling on several occasions but in the absence of any proper guidance she eventually stopped meditating.  What she experienced was almost certainly the super-sense altered state of sight triggered by starting meditation.

Experiences of altered states are not, however, confined to practitioners of meditation.  They can happen to any one of us and can last for a brief moment or for several weeks.  Many years ago when I ran meditation courses for Surrey Adult Education I first asked people how many were there because they had had what they would describe as a Spiritual Experience.  Most hands would be raised.

During the process of Yoga practice the experience of altered states is a natural, all be it relatively rare, occurrence. The general advice in practice is always that they should be ignored and not spoken about.  The reason being because exploiting the experience runs counter to what one is attempting to do in practicing Yoga – reveal the Self by sublimating the Ego.  This is a process that brings complete stillness to the Mind and not mental chaos that sometimes accompanies altered states.  This advice is therefore sound because ultimately these are stages one wants to pass through not enjoy, (or at least be aware of the consequences of indulgence).  One of these stages is the Transition of the Super Senses in which the ordinary senses are magnified and accompanied by feelings of ecstasy.

When I was taught this aspect of Samkhya I naively assumed on hearing of it that passing through this fire would be a process of simply ignoring these magnified experiences.  I did not realise; could not imagine the effect they might have on my Ego/Mind and its compulsion to exploit and possess any appearance of happiness in the form of Bliss.  Altered states do not come alone.  They are startlingly beautiful and can overwhelm the small self, fundamentally altering the core reality. They change lives and forever.

One quite literally Sees differently for a short while and without guidance it is nearly impossible to navigate this ocean.  The result of being drawn in and trying to possess the experience sets up a cyclic process that is anything but quiet.  It can produce a state of frantic mental activity and as such this should be a warning, particularly if that person suffers unduly from powerful negative emotions such as fear or shame or an ongoing feeling of flat greyness or depression.  Hence it is that psychotic episodes are more prevalent in those who have encountered abuse in their young lives. Add to this an intelligent mind and the condition worsens exponentially.

The experience itself profoundly opens up perception and it is this enhanced perception that appears to support the experience and the Bliss that accompanies it.  Unwittingly one starts to ‘talk it up’ in an attempt to perpetuate the exalted state.  This, (not the initial experience) is ‘Spiritual Psychosis’ and the episode can leave one emotionally devastated.  This is the realm of madness.  Naturally, after a period of sometimes destructive delusional activity, awareness descends back into an ordinary state.  This usually leaves one utterly bereft or in despair; a condition that is familiarly called the Dark Night of The Soul.  We treat people we find in this condition (note not with) as sick when in reality they have just sipped nectar at God’s table before they were prepared and for a while they have been intoxicated.   What they need, however, is guidance not drugs and therapy.


Our need to understand (on all material levels) has a subliminal cause and is ultimately driven by the need to know the Self and source of Consciousness.  Our natural evolutionary habitual instinct is to turn outwards and engage with the world and in doing so harvest worldly knowledge (Duality) in the belief that it will be satisfying.  We can, if we have the intelligence and the stamina, glean endless quantities of information about the gross and the subtle aspects of Nature (the Mother) by this process.  We will then in time, become clever, in that clever is a relative personal attribute.  Nature is infinite in its complexity and hence all this acquisition of knowledge, though it fills the Hallowed Halls of our universities, is an endless process and it can never be satisfied.  Neither is it ultimately True.  It is merely relative.

Analysis of the Mind falls into the same category as worldly knowledge because it too is dualistic.  Thus it is that analysis of mind, or a compulsive need to understand our personal suffering is also futile and can never bring peace of Mind.  Only by turning away from Ego/Mind towards the Self can enduring peace ever prevail.

So what is the proof of this assertion that the endless search for knowledge is driven by a longing to know the Self?  It is that if one turns inwards (through practice) one eventually begins to SEE knowledge in a way that is deeply fulfilling until such time as the Self is realised. The compulsive longing for relative knowledge then ceases to hold any fascination.  Our curiosity is sated and we are fulfilled by a profound sense of well-being.  Desire generated by Ego/Mind falls silent because all desire has been satisfied.

Then we only need to know as much as is required to satisfy our daily needs.  All Proper Knowledge; the knowledge of the Self, is revealed by turning inwards and asking, ‘Who am I’.  One needs no books.  And this Knowledge is different.  It is certain, unequivocal and doubtless. It is not speculative and when realised it is unifying and has a startling ‘charm’.  And slowly one acquires Wisdom as distinct from Cleverness. Hence you will find spiritual teachers who can instantly answer many spiritual questions, despite having limited worldly knowledge, and who are no match for a master of physics. This is not a contradiction.

During conversation Swami Bawra once said, ‘If you want Self Realisation what you need to understand is very simple, but if you want to teach then you must know a great deal more.’  Spiritual Practice (meditation) and the Guidance of a good teacher (one that has authority) will do the rest and is essential.


SPIRITUAL PSYCHOSIS. There is a very good chance that at some unpredictable moment in your life you will have what can only be called a ‘Spiritual Experience’, not because you are in any way special or even religious but simply because you are human and in essence a Spiritual Being. When/if it happens to you it will change your life irreversibly. But what you do with that experience and what you make it mean is entirely dependent on the concepts you hold about Reality.

(Quote) by Joanna Macy. HEARING THE CALL

A QUOTE from an article in Resurgence Magazine.

“So we learn again that hardest and most rewarding of lessons: how to make friends with uncertainty; how to pour your whole passion into a project when you can’t be sure it’s going to work. How to free yourself from dependence on seeing the results of your actions. These learnings are crucial, for living systems are ever unfolding in new patterns and connections. There is no point from which to foresee with clarity the possibilities to emerge under future conditions.”

Sourced from:

Joanna Macy is an eco-philosopher, Buddhist scholar, activist and teacher
and creator of The Work That Reconnects.   See –