Sometimes children amaze their parents and yesterday I had one such experience. Suddenly my daughter commented to me out of the blue when we were silently sitting together relaxing. She said, ‘Life is strange and very difficult.’ I asked her, ‘why?’ She replied, ‘sometimes we feel sad and sometimes joyous. Nothing seems to be the same or permanent.’ Then she paused. So I asked her, ‘So what is permanent? Did you think about it?” and she said, ‘Being.’ I laughed heartily and said, ‘YOU are on the right track, baby! Now… you are talking! So what do you understand by ‘being’? She said, ‘That, I exist. My own self-existence is constant. Everything else is changing.’
I was so excited by her comment and wanted to talk more on the subject but decided it was too late in the night to continue the discussion, but was very happy that she made such a wise comment on life.
Today as I went for my evening stroll, I got some thoughts that I would like to share on this blog. The thoughts I am reflecting on is very deep, but when we follow this line of thinking and contemplate on it we will realize why this world is considered illusory and impermanent – and focusing on that which is constant and permanent we will gain the elixir of life.
In the philosophy of Advaita or non-dualism, there are two states that are constantly discussed and distinguished. They are termed, samanya and vishesha. Samanya refers to that which is common to everybody. Vishesha is that which is distinct. That which is common to everybody is the I am. That which is samanya is awareness and mere existence – I am; I being the consciousness and am, being existence. “I am” – the famous biblical quote of Jesus, ‘I am the way’. That which is common to everybody or that which is samanya is awareness and mere existence. You cannot have awareness without existence and existence without awareness. These two definitions are referred to by different terms in various schools of Eastern Philosophy. Shiva denotes consciousness or awareness and Shakti denotes mere existence or energy. Shakti also is referred as Maya Shakti having the power of manifesting different creations. There is no Shakti without Shiva and no Shiva without Shakti. Shiva and shakti are one.
Vishesha refers to nama, rupa, vastu – name, form and thing. It is vishesha that is constantly changing; samanya is unchanging. Our awareness and self existence is constant and unchanging. It is this unchanging consciousness and existence that is observing the changing vishesha in its own existence for without existence there is no vishesha. The visheshas come and go but our own consciousness simply observes the coming and going of the vishesha. Therefore, our consciousness is the observer and the visheshas are the observed. The observer is real because it is constant and permanent, the observed is unreal because it comes and goes and is constantly changing. When the observer withdraws his or her attention from the changing visheshas or the world into himself or herself, that observer experiences supreme bliss of self-awareness and self-existence and that is true happiness – the experience of unconditional love and indescribable, Supreme Bliss. Why is it that we cannot always have this experience? Because like we toggle on the computer from one screen to the next, our consciousness toggles its focus from the changeless awareness to the changing world of objects. It is only when we withdraw our attention from the external visheshas and draw it into our own pure awareness that we experience true happiness and a sense of being home where we feel young, refreshed and loved.