The tyranny of the mind

Dennis Waite dwaite at INTERALPHA.CO.UK
Wed Aug 13 16:18:03 CDT 1997

Nanda Kumar <nkumar at OPPENHEIMERFUNDS.COM>

>>Learn sitting silently -- become a mirror. Silence makes a mirror out of
>>your consciousness, and then you function moment to moment. You
>>reflect life. You don't carry an album within your head. Then your eyes
>>are clear and innocent, you have clarity, you have vision, and you are
>>never untrue to life. This is authentic living.

>The album, I suppose, refers to the past experiences. OK, it might be true
>that we might perceive or react to situations based on past experiences
>which might not be original or true to the moment. But the first experience
>must have been original and true. So if the situation is quite the same or
>similar, why not avail  the benefit of the past experience and improvise
>as befits the situation, instead of reinventing the wheel? By ignoring past
>experience, aren't we supressing the only tool we have - Reason, for
>when faced with a similar situation, reason would point to past
>experiences for a solution. And doesn't it contradict Advaita itself, which
>places so much emphasis on reason and logic?

The situation now can *never* be the same as the past experience. Nothing is
the same. Our body and mind have changed along with the rest of the
(illusory) world. As the Watts extract points out, too, our memory is a
present memory of the past experience and is itself unreliable as a record
of 'the right way to behave'. What we must rely on is that our experience
has transformed what was previously information or theory into knowledge and
that the essence of that has become part of our nature as wisdom. If we face
what is in front of us in the moment without any thought, if this
assimilated 'wisdom' is appropriate, it will be there, as part of our
nature, and its applicability will be recognised by buddhi and action will
follow naturally.

I don't see any contradiction as far as advaita is concerned. I believe the
description I have given (working of manas, buddhi etc. ) is an advaita


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