I just finished The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. These are the earliest known texts that attempt to understand what it means to be consciously aware of yourself. It predates Roman thought and is said to have been written at around 400- 700 BC.
For the most part, the 13 Principles of thought on self awareness is partly written as a story, more like a recount of maybe actual conversations that took place between teachers and students or Kings and teachers etc. talking all about ethics and morals. Not so much as in what is good to do or bad to do but morels in the sense that the senses as you understand them to yourself depict the nature of the thoughts you create so basically, there is really no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as a moral arrangement because it would rather people not use their sense to judge good from bad because all of it is an illusion to what is your truest nature.
It goes on and on on different aspects of Brahman, or the Universal truths trying to do away with dualities and only see the one truth. The truth isn’t depicted as the God of Creation as it is understood in Western religions but as the Universe as the actual Universe being in and of itself the truth and the beginning that was never born and is eternal no matter which way we spin the idea BECAUSE when we think about it in the ‘normal’ sense of what it means to be created it is thought of as having a beginning and an end yet they painstakingly detail how that is not the correct thought because “what was never born can never die but always is”.
It talks about how our senses are only known through the outsides. An example of that being how we know sound because we have ears so the ears are our true self but what your true self (your ears) hears comes from outside and how you understand it comes from knowing something, your Atman (your soul) from the inside. That thought takes a minute to wrap your head around but yes, you read it awkwardly right. In other words, everything we experience is a jumbled mix of matter translated by our brains but really understood by our soul as in, the way it is interpreted is a matter of who you really are. Red may be red to all with eyes to see red but it doesn’t make red the truth.
It’s a lot of philosophical thought that tries to grasp or relay one very specific truth that at best for most people can only ever be gleaned from tiny moments where you might feel yourself being in a different place although you know you are right where you are.
I have felt Sahmadi or Brahman before but they are fleeting feelings that you wish you could have all the time yet we (at least I am not) equipped to stay there forever…not at this point in my own lifes’ journey.
Last year I took a short trip to Florida. Florida is my root home and my family has a long history there as some of the first settlers to colonize the state. On my last visit my cousin took me to a beach that I fell in love with. Living most of my life on the West Coast, it’s like I could literally hear and smell the difference in the ocean. It’s almost to say it sang a different song.
At some point, something grabbed my attention. I don’t remember exactly what it was but I closed my eyes and just felt like taking in deep breaths, I started to hone in on the sensations on my feet, the warmth, the sand, the cold water coming in and out, the shards of broken shells that would uncover under my feet when the tide went back out.
The sound of the waves mingled with the sounds of the Pelicans, distant talking from others down the shore. I could taste the ocean salt through my nose, the perfect warmth of the sun on my skin being kissed by subtle cool wind grazing my it just enough to cool it back off and then for a moment it was like everything became like one snapshot.
Everything that was and is, the Universe the planets, Earth, myself, the gods, the heavens the hells the EVERYTHING overwhelmed me with this intense sense of bliss. It was as though everything that I was just mingled into the the fabric of the Universe and I could feel it all at one time even though I could not ‘feel’ it at all. Like a dream where you feel like you can see and feel but you know those thoughts are attached to mind and it’s your mind that builds the Universe.
It only lasted a moment and that was enough for me to see what it was that I rarely ever actually see. That thought coming to fruition where you might spend hours and hours in contemplation about your existence and how to escape without escaping. To truly feel liberated in a world that has so many boundaries… OH, I wish for those moments again and again.
How Do You Get There?
That’s the question I think people who wonder often ask themselves. If death is the only door, how do we become free without meeting death?
I believe I understood this like they did then, that THAT kind of liberation that doesn’t meet death first, the kind we all seem to want without making the ultimate sacrifice too soon… That is achieved when we let go.
It talks so much about what it means to let go of the illusions or desires or thoughts or feelings and even children or loved ones etc. They aren’t saying go kill yourself or leave your family. They speak of some people doing that because it means so much to them to find themselves but they don’t advocate for things like that but don’t deny people who feel that THAT is what they need – like leave their families behind NOT kill themselves. They speak a lot about Karma and how not all that seems like good karma gifts you with a good consequences. It’s only that your actions will ultimately have an effect on yourself and others and there is no way to tell whether the things you do will bear good things or bad so do all things with ‘good’ intentions and then you just might break the cycle of Karma so you do not have to keep coming back to settle up with it.
What they get at is that we are so attached to our emotions because those are truly what make us unique from other creations. We have been given this extraordinary mind that can build entire Universes of our own all while sitting on the couch. When our external senses are gone, what is left?
That’s the question they ask in so many different ways. Who are you really if you do NOT have your senses. Who are you without your body or your mind? They go on about how our bodies should also not be ignored because we need this in good working order with our organs/senses to understand or even find our Atman so it’s a bit of a conundrum BUT it’s also the most simple to answer WHEN you let go of predefined labels, words, feelings, definitions, the ideas of dualities, a separate nature of yourself…
Even if you only get it for a split second, everyone who even considered their own Atman (soul) already knows the truth because if that did not exist in yourself you would never know to even look.
Everyday we cary a hundred voices in our head always chatting about ‘should I do this, I have to do that, what if this and that…’ and all the other things we think about every single day yet there is one ‘voice’ you don’t hear that resides in the same place that you don’t ‘hear’ but is what hears you because THAT is you. Yes. It’s hard to grasp but I know I am there.
I suppose it’s a little hard to really convey all the aspects contained in the book but for what it’s worth, I think it really tells me a lot about us as people on a collectively conscious level… that consciousness is deeply rooted in us and that consciousness is the ‘eye’ of god.