Category Archives: a. Philosophical Matters

(Thoughts) on Emotions & Feelings.

There is nothing consistent about our feelings.  If we live out of or make decisions from our emotion, (non-verbal Mind/Ego) we will live life chasing desires as if in a boat tossed about on a stormy sea.  Only Bliss is consistent but Bliss is not an emotion.  Bliss is what shines when all else falls silent. And how do we know the difference between bliss and happiness?  Where there is Bliss there is no longer any longing and no longer any fear.


High Stormy Seas Photograph by Vince Cavataio –

(Letter) on Spiritual Experiences.

Dear E….

I added the Ramana Maharshi Quote and our discussion to my blog and thought I would send you the link because the distinction offered by Ramana is an important one.  Jnani is the path of Knowledge by which false understanding (ignorance) is stripped away. It asks ‘Who am I?’ As distinct from Bhakti which is the path of Devotion.  Our leaning toward one or the other is a predisposition in our Nature.

There are a handful of jewels that illuminate the path to emancipation beyond which nothing else is required.  We come with all the tools necessary to realise enlightenment.  A single idea defines the Nature of Reality.  ‘We are Consciousness’ .  That’s it.  That is the mystery.  But the realisation of the profound depth of this simple statement requires an inner condition, [Or you can say an inner stance – a way of being internally] or it cannot be a stable experience.

Ramana 02

The most important thing to understand is that there is nothing to gain.  There is nowhere to go.  The path is only a process of removing obstacles to the realisation of that Truth.  By being a conscious being you are a channel for consciousness, Now, Now, Now.  It is there always in its absolute perfection at your heart (centre of your being).  All that is required for us to experience it is the sweep away Ego/Mind.   Ego/Mind is like a forest that stands between us and the rising sun.  There is no problem with the sun.  Only the presence of the forest blocks our view.  This understanding is a Jnani concept.  Two ways fell the forest – insight (knowledge) and devotion (complete surrender to God or Self.  And by this I do not mean the God of speculation that is a mental construct).

The result of rendering Ego/Mind silent is the experience of Bliss – a property of Consciousness.  It is ‘that peace that surpasses all understanding [1]about which all sages speak and which fuels what often becomes an Ego driven craving for emancipation particularly when emancipation is seen as a panacea for mental turmoil.  That Sublime Peace is always present but drowned out by Mind.  If encountered a devotional person will likely experience this Bliss as a love for God.  We can be an atheist (rejecting of a notion of God) or a believer (accepting of a notion of God) it makes no difference because both these are attached to the Ego/Mind and not Reality. When bliss manifests in experience, concepts are irrelevant.

Many people accidentally experience a Bliss State.  History is awash with them and profound as it appears at the time this is not the stable state enjoyed by Seers because Enlightenment is a dynamic not a passive state requiring the penetrative insight that prevails in Satwic Mind (a state of harmony, balance, joy & insightful wisdom).  It can be fleeting or last for hours or even days, but in the absence of any fine understanding or guidance the individual will usually becomes mentally unstable by trying to cling to the experience and all too often will be diagnosed as delusional or even psychotic.  This premature experience is not one to invite without access to a wise teacher.  If it happens then understanding its nature and cause is everything.

In 1988 I ran a meditation course in Surrey.  Nineteen people enrolled.  Before I started the first session I asked how many people were there because they had had what they would term a Spiritual Experience.  All but two or three hands were raised.  In those days I was nowhere near a reasoned explanation.

The clue as to why it happens, unbidden, lies in our devotional nature. And this is also the key as to why it is usually intentionally unrepeatable.  Many people who have ‘enlightenment’ experiences spend years trying to repeat what they think they did or make the experience mean something when it means nothing – except to reveal only that we are Consciousness.  Actually it was what they did not do that made it occur.

Essentially one is surrendering without realising it.  In a moment of ‘Grace’ (you can say) ones Ego is set to one side and The Self, Consciousness, God is momentarily revealed. Hence Ramana Maharshi said;

“The moment when ego is completely surrendered, the Self shines”

It is the Ego that wishes to repeat the experience.   It will fade as soon as the Ego asserts itself again – as my experience.  Quite often the experience is accompanied with tears of joy, and a feeling of complete devotion to God. The experience of the Self is beyond description and life changing.  In such moments there is no desire.  One is completely fulfilled – immersed in unconditional love.

But ultimately devotion is not enough.  Anything suppressed can reassert itself so one has to realise the true nature of the Self and remove all impressions (Sanscaras) to be a completely free Soul.

<[1] “… And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” Philippians 4:4-7 (English Standard Version)

(Thoughts) on Surrender

It is the Doer that gets in the way. Which is why practice is effective when we are not doing it. How hard is that? Remember the camel and the eye of the needle? If the Doer is doing it, it is not just difficult, it is impossible. And then one day, as if by accident, something different occurs and we can be sure that it did so because for the briefest of moments we, little we, got out of the way. So what do we do – we try harder, and centuries pass, (or so it seems) and then one day, as if by accident, something different occurs… again. It is mysterious how it happens, which is why the masters call it Grace. It is Grace because We can’t do it. The Doer is powerless. The accident that made the camel slide through the eye of the needle was a moment of surrender. Every moment is potentially such a moment.

(Quote) by Ramana Maharshi on our relationship to God.


Verse 24:  isha jiva yor vesa dhi bidha. Sat Svabhava yatho vastu kevalam.

Verse 24:  “By existing (irukkum) in their real nature which is Existence or Sat, God and souls are one substance (vastu).  Their adjunct knowledge or adjunct consciousness alone is different.”

Adjunct = a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part.

(Quote) from Laurie Anderson’s Farewell to Lou Reed.

… As meditators, we had prepared for this – how to move the energy up from the belly and into the heart and out through the head. I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou’s as he died. His hands were doing the water-flowing 21-form of tai chi. His eyes were wide open. I was holding in my arms the person I loved the most in the world, and talking to him as he died. His heart stopped ….

… We tried to understand and apply things our teacher Mingyur Rinpoche said – especially hard ones like, “You need to try to master the ability to feel sad without actually being sad.”

From Laurie Anderson’s Farewell to Lou Reed.
November 21st, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.

(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.

(Quote) by Ramana on PRACTICE.

“Your nature is Peace and Happiness. Thoughts are the obstacles to realisation.  One’s meditation or concentration is meant to get rid of obstacles and not to gain the Self.”

(Talk 462).

One cannot gain what one already has.  The point of practice is not to aquire something.  Ego acquires.  If Ego tries to acquire Bliss then Bliss will elude the seeker forever.  Surrender – the unique act of letting go – is a fundamental Cosmic Law that makes transformation possible.  We cannot become free if we cling to what imprisons us.  Hence non-attachment brings peace.  Though this seems to be a really simple statement it actually expresses the key to understanding a process. We are Bliss.

Spiritual Practice is practice at letting go.  It has absolutely nothing to do with being part of anything or belonging to anything or performing tricks.  That is the business of Ego/Mind.