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June 21, 2005

Me & Not Me, Now & Not Now

This week�s check-in was quite colorful.

Majnu talked about Rishikesa and Gudakesa. Rishikesa is Lord Krishna, the master of all senses and Gudakesa is Arjuna, the conqueror of sleep and ignorance.

Sruti Indiresan, the 5 year old who won the Most Philosophical Kindergartner in America title with the essay she composed for the third Kids Philosophy Slam was mentioned. Several thousand students across the country in kindergarten through 12th grade submitted essays on which is more important in their lives: truth or beauty.

"I feel happy when I am telling the truth," Shruti wrote in her essay. "I become beautiful when I am truthful."

The concepts Aachara-Prayachitta, Vyavahara -Danda were mentioned.

Aachaara means precept, behavior, rules of good conduct. These are what one consciously adopts by oneself.

Prayachitta means expiation or penance to get over the guilt and guilty feeling one may have due to erring in one�s Aachaara.

Aachaara and Prayaschitta are self-imposed.

Vyavahara means one�s conduct according to law that is created by the society and enforced on everyone.

Danda means punishment that is due to violating the law in one�s Vyavahara.

Vyavahara and Danda are enforced from the outside.

It was brought to the group�s attention that today, there is very little of Aachaara and Prayaschitta and a great deal of Vyavahara and Danda.

Vinodha shared what Praveen (Prasad-Vinodha�s son) had pasted on his door when he was seven, �Being sad is bad, so be glad.�

Jags quoted Emerson: �We are all born originals, let us not die copies.�

Prasad shared a quote: �In these thought-provoking times, the most thought-provoking thought is that there is a lot of thought and less thinking.�

Vijay quoted:

A specialist is one who knows more and more of less and less until he knows everything of nothing.

A generalist is one who know less and less of more and more until he knows nothing of everything.

After the check-in, Prasad talked about two fundamental ways in which we look at life and time and how awareness of them could address most of the themes touched by everyone during the check-in.

The first one is Me and Not Me.

Most of us look at life as me and you, me and them, me and it, me and the world. While it might look like there are many ways to look at others or the external world, essentially it comes down to me and not me. That is, to the extent I make a difference between me and anyone or anything else, to that extent I am creating the not-me entities. To the extent I define me as a limited entity with a certain ratio of good and bad, to that extent I have to struggle with wanting and avoiding the not-me (wanting the good and avoiding the bad that others have).

Instead, if I look at me as an original entity with unlimited capacity and look at others too as originals with unlimited capacity, I would recognize that me and others are the same: originals with unlimited capacity who do not have to copy each other or avoid each other.

With such an understanding, I guess one could proudly say, �It is all about me, me and me� :)

The second one is Now and Not Now.

Most of us are either caught up with the thoughts in our memory that represents the past or dreaming of what we want in the future. We seldom live completely in the present, the Now. Having got accustomed to thoughts and dreams (past and the future), we believe there are actually three kinds of times in existence : Past, Present and Future. But if we really get out of thoughts and dreams, we could realize that all that we have is the now. We can either choose to be in the now or not be in the now. Most of the time, we exist in the not-now state.

Instead, if choose to be in the now, then the now expands. It keeps expanding and reclaiming all the time we usually lose to the past and the future. With constant awareness of the now, we can live our entire lives in the now! We somehow associate now with the current second of the clock time. And since there are numbers on the clock, if it is 10am now, it makes us think that 11 am exists. But it does not!

To illustrate me and not me, now and not now, Prasad asked us to imagine that there are no human beings in the world. In such a world, will 11am exist? Will past and future exist? Will a tree think of itself and me and the deer as not me?

�Otherness� and Time and constructs of the human mind that have their usefulness in our practical lives. But we tend to mistake the constructs for real and hence seriously limit ourselves in defining the me and the now. The me is small only when compared to the not me. The now is a second only when compared to the not now.

Me is the universe, Now is eternity

What does not-me think? ;)

Practice to take:

Try to see at least one other entity as the same as your self (a limitless orginal).

Whatever time you wake up, say 7am, try to think of the whole day as 7am. Make a clock with all the numbers as 7am just to remind you that now is all there is.

Posted by Ragu at June 21, 2005 12:58 PM

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