Flowering Together in Compassionate Presence

Flowering Together in Compassionate Presence



Mind is always looking for “what is next?”, what is the next pleasure, what is the next excitement, what is the next agenda or goal… the nature of the conditioned mind is based on “what is next” or “what should be”. It seems to be a compulsive need without which mind feels lost. In the living moment there is nothing next, there is no “should be”. The idea of self is dependent on this compulsive urge of what is next. It can be a frightening or a challenging moment for the mind if it is told that there is nothing next… Our minds are most of the time searching for what-is-next and in this process we invent problems to be solved and goals to be achieved. The mind is reduced to be a problem-solving machine. In order to solve problems - so that mind feels meaningfully occupied – it has to first create or project problems. We waste lot of energy in this illusory game of the mind. Part of self-realization is to see how the ego-mind loves to create and solve problems out of nothing. If the meaninglessness and falseness of this process is seen then there is a lot of freedom from unnecessary struggles and suffering. An inner peace dawns when you are free from this burden of “what is next”. Then life is no longer a problem to be solved but a beautiful wonder to be lived! 


Victoria BC/18.08.2023

Love, freedom and transformation...

Excerpts from a talk given by Mukesh at Centrum Alandi, Steyl, The Netherlands. Date: July 3rd, 2014 

Welcome friends in this sacred space of togetherness. It’s a special moment when some human beings come together with this spirit of inquiring into truth, understanding oneself, understanding life. This is what perhaps makes us human: this quest for truth, for the deeper meanings of life. Before we begin I'd like to share something. We may have come from different backgrounds, from different cultures, with different influences and education. Apart from these outer, superficial differences there is something common, a common thread in all of us. As we entered this beautiful space of Alandi, we put our shoes outside. So I would request similarly if we can leave our opinions, beliefs, our baggage, which we may be carrying, outside, and participate here fully, wholeheartedly. So that we are fully present here without the baggage of previous knowledge and then we can listen to each other. When we listen through the screen of our knowledge, and keep comparing what we are hearing now with what I already know, then I'm occupied with the noise of my comparison. Then I'm not really free to listen, not totally here. So I request all of us to gift each other the presence of this moment and leave aside all our beliefs and opinions. We're not here just spectators or observers, but we are participating together. We are together doing this inquiry. There is no authority here. We're all students of life here as we've come together to explore, to find out if there is something deeper than our daily mechanical living. So let us take this journey together as learners.  

It is important before undertaking any journey we start with examining what we are. And what we are? It seems that we all are manifesting this collective human consciousness. Each one of us is a channel for that consciousness. If we watch what has been happening in this consciousness, as far as we can go back in human history, we find that it is full of suffering, conflicts, disorder and chaos. There were wars thousands of years back and still are. And at the same time, a few serious humans have been asking this question if there is anything beyond this mechanical and conflicting way of living. Different teachers have come to share this message of love and peace. And in general humans have had this wish: “Yes, we need love and peace on this earth”. In spite of our longing for that love and peace for such a long time, it has not been possible to actualize it. Human consciousness has been experiencing this crisis for a long time. This human brain and consciousness which we are sharing at this very moment has gone through everything for thousands of years: on the one hand great moments of suffering and conflicts and on the other hand passing moments of peace, joy and clarity.
Now the question is: why a deep transformation has not been possible? Though we have seen some kind of changes at outer, superficial level. Like, people have changed their ideas, their political opinions, religious beliefs. But is this change of an ideology into another ideology or belief - is that a real change, a real transformation? If I believe say in “Hinduism” and I change it into another “ism”, is that change at all? That doesn’t bring about any fundamental transformation of heart. So it seems something much more radical is needed.

There has to be a fundamental transformation in human consciousness and what will facilitate that? We have tried almost everything for the past few thousand years. There have been practices, meditations, contemplations – we have gone through all that but nothing seems to have facilitated a total change. So in order to explore this question the first step is to really feel, touch the question, and allow the question to unfold itself. We are here to facilitate a deeper inquiry which is not giving any fixed answers. Generally we are occupied with answers which you may find in books, texts or on internet. If we watch closely fixed and borrowed answers block our true inner growth by creating a sense of dependence. I may have my answer based on my opinion, belief and knowledge, you may have your answer based on your background and conditioning and we struggle and fight around these trivial answers. In this process we forget the real question and remain occupied with ready-made answers. If go to the root of any question, then the true answer may emerge out of that question. So can we allow a question to unfold itself?

No doubt human consciousness has gone through a lot of suffering. About 2600 years back a great teacher Buddha walked on this earth and talked about the four noble truths: there is suffering, there is a cause of suffering, and if we remove the cause, suffering can be ended. And then he talked about the 8-fold path for the ending of the cause of suffering. Buddha was so clear and sensitive that he could see the slightest suffering and go beyond it. The question is: do I see the suffering completely? That is why I feel that the first noble truth is most important and it contains rest of the noble truths within itself. The first step is the last step. Do we really see through the suffering? I may say casually or seriously: oh yes, I suffer... But do I see actually see suffering in my day to day life? Do I feel it in the core of my heart? Without understanding and going to the root of suffering how can I end it? Transformation of human consciousness demands ending of all suffering.
Another essential question is: do I really demand transformation? Do I really demand ending of suffering from my whole being? Or, is it another good idea? If I really feel the crisis of it, the urgency of it, then some true action will come out of it. Whatever disorder or chaos I see in society is a collective manifestation of our inner world or self. When there is disorder in the outside world, in society, it shows there is disorder in me, in my consciousness, in my mind. Similarly if there is peace in me, then that is reflected in the society. So if we want to bring about a really beautiful world, a peaceful earth, the work has to begin with oneself. Since we are fundamentally connected to the whole of human consciousness, since the society is essentially, psychologically, an extension of oneself, the transformation has to begin here and now, with oneself. Studying, exploring one-self is like studying and understanding the whole human consciousness. That's why this journey, this exploration is not only “personal”, it is not just for “my” life but it is for the whole of life, of which I am also an expression. Therefore while I'm working with myself, with my consciousness, I'm at the same time working with the whole human consciousness. So ending of suffering is not a “personal affair”, it is part of our huge sacred responsibility. Accepting this responsibility and meeting the challenge of it – this is what makes us human.

Tremendous energy is required to face this huge crisis which humanity is facing. Energy becomes available on its own when we really feel the urgency of this crisis in our hearts. For exploration, for meditation, energy is required. The gathering of all our energies is required in order to explore and fully meet the crisis. We waste our energies in so many ways. In our education all our efforts are focused on educating one part of the brain, the intellect. The focus is on memorizing subjects and getting technologically advanced. We have created a technologically efficient world, but an efficient world without love has very little meaning. The real question is: are we also educating, nourishing the “heart”? Are we realizing the importance of understanding oneself and seeing the beauty of whole life? Without this our education and life is so incomplete and mediocre. That is why it is important to know one’s priorities in life. Do we demand only material security, or a life, an education, which gives equal importance to love and quest for a deeper meaning of life? If there is totality in our demand, then that demand itself will bring required energy and will act as an inner teacher.

We are here also learning the art of exploring. Once we know how to explore then we can deal with any problem with intelligence. I feel some basic qualities are required for this exploration. First of all a sense of deep affection, a sense of deep togetherness and love is required. The most essential qualities in life are: love and freedom. These qualities do not come at the end of our journey, but rather our journey begins only with love and freedom. Love and freedom go together. What is freedom..? Freedom is to look, to enquire, without any prejudice, belief, conclusion or past baggage. In search for an imagined security, we build a wall around us and live on a self-created island. From this island we meet others who are also living on their own islands. One of the fundamental problems of our modern society is that no real communication or contact is happening among human beings. We are not actually meeting each other. If we can really meet each other then we have already taken a big step.

When we can really come together, holding hands truly, then we can solve any crisis in no time. This sense of togetherness is a significant step. There is no messiah outside who is going to save us. We have to save ourselves. It is not as if somebody will come and do it for us. We will have to do it for ourselves. If we depend on any outside psychological or religious authority, then we remain caught in the present crisis. We have to begin with total freedom, not tomorrow, but now. We live with this hidden assumption that we have lot of time, we are not going to die soon, and we will resolve the basic problems of our life and relationship tomorrow. But that “tomorrow” never comes. Life is too short to be postponed to tomorrow. May be this is the last day of our life. Are we prepared? Can we live each day with this sense of urgency that there is no time, there is no tomorrow?

With this sense of urgency we can hold each other’s hands. Then I can say to myself or to my friend: 'I really do not know how to understand and meet this whole crisis, this suffering.” The moment I say, “I really don't know” – is not that a deep transformative moment? Because the whole conflict comes from 'I know' or 'My knowledge is superior than yours'. Everybody, every country is saying 'I know'. Every organization, every political or religious party says, “I know how to solve my problems and how to save “my people”. Big armies are created with this belief. But are we really secured at the end of all this? This “I” which is based on “I know” has created so much division and conflict. If I examine closely what I know, I might discover that whatever I know is mostly second-hand and borrowed knowledge and is essentially part of my conditioning. True wisdom may be entirely different from the conditioned knowledge. If I am able to connect to you now beyond all boundaries, prejudices and beliefs, then one can say that natural wisdom is in operation. Nothing else is then required – study of so many books, practicing this or that knowledge or technique, following some guru or teachings. The moment I connect and relate to myself truly and honestly, then I am able to connect to everyone and all. Then a deep communication and contact happens.

Another essential quality for this inquiry is deep listening. Listening is not just hearing words or sounds with one’s ears but to receive and perceive something with one’s whole being. When there is deep communion or love, we can really listen to one another. Deep listening provides a vast space where insight may happen, and one may discover the source of day-to-day problems and suffering. If I know the art of approaching a problem, then the problem is no longer scary and problematic. Then I can approach any problem of my daily life with ease, simplicity and directness. If I'm trying to meet a problem only with my past knowledge, then that knowledge is interpreting that problem according to my conditioning. Then I am not meeting the problem directly and freely. There is no doubt that the technological knowledge is necessary for our survival. For instance in order to build a house, learning a language, any technique or skill, or for driving a vehicle, knowledge in necessary. But that kind of past-knowledge-based approach becomes not only irrelevant but dangerous too, when we deal fundamental psychological problems of life.

How do I watch, observe? What is the art of observation? Can I look simply at these flowers, without the verbalization of thought? As soon as thoughts enter into my observation with all its knowledge - saying what kind of flower this is - then the noise of my knowledge stops me from coming in direct contact with the flowers. When my mind is occupied with comparing, with judging and evaluating all the time, it loses its flexibility, space and freedom which are needed for listening and observing.

True listening and observation happens when the mind is silent. A quiet mind is able to listen and watch anything with full energy. A quiet, relaxed mind is capable of dealing with any problem instantly.

Let’s look at how human mind creates suffering? One of the fundamental ways the mind creates suffering is through its deep habit or conditioning of identification: I'm this and you are that, I'm Indian and you're Dutch. I belong to this society or religion and you belong to another. These identifications create divisions of the hearts and the minds and eventually lead to conflict, violence, terrorism and wars. Can I live a life without any psychological identification? My strong attachment to my identity turns into a kind of psychological prison. From my prison-cell I try to relate to another. What would be the relationship among people who are living in their prisons and dream worlds..? Will there be any freedom, love or beauty in that relationship? If I have built a psychological wall around myself how will I relate to another human being? If my whole concern is to protect myself, my prison, my island, how to use everything, earth, nature and every human being for my pleasure and security, then where is the question of love and freedom? In this way I end up creating more insecurity because I am not acting out of intelligence. Can I see the danger of this self-centred way of living?

In matters of immediate physical threats I am able to perceive the danger and act intelligently without the interference of thought. I'm alert when I'm driving a car or walking on a road. But am I alert when I am living day to day life of relationships? Am I alert when I'm making an image about myself and others? Am I alert when I am meeting another human being with the baggage of past images and ideas? Am I attentive when I am identifying myself with my country, my religion, my political or social identity? When I clearly see a danger, I do not walk in that direction. If I clearly see that there is poison in my cup I do not drink from that cup. This clear seeing is the beginning of freedom and transformation. I feel that love, freedom and transformation go together. 

School For Self Inquiry