The first step in the freedom from suffering. Updated for 2024

Updated: June 10, 2024

One of the
things that I have practiced for many decades now is a nightly ritual where I sit
with my eyes closed and, I recall or recapitulate everything
that happened during the day. So, on the screen
of my consciousness, I see this entity
referred to as Deepak,
Deepak Chopra, getting out of bed, going
to the bathroom, brushing his teeth,
etc., etc., starting
his meditation and doing his yoga. And just on the screen
of consciousness, I witness this entity, Deepak Chopra, going
through the day, morning, afternoon, evening, bedtime, and I do this before I sleep and then I
say goodbye to that entity because it no longer exists.

That dream character
that woke up this morning and is still going
to sleep, that particular
sequence of the dream is
over doesn't exist. Been there,
done that. And so
the Witnessing Awareness
is all that remains. It was there
before the dream. It was there
during the dream. It is there
after the dream. It is there
in deep sleep and it is there when waking up
and everything else appears on
the screen of that witness, just like everything
is appearing now on your computer
screen, only the witness
remains. The mind
comes and goes, the intellect comes
and goes, the ego
personality comes and goes, the five
subtle elements come and go.
The five gross elements
come and go. The five sensory
organs perceive and then don't,
the five motor organs act
and then don't, the five elements:
space, air, fire, water, earth appear
and disappear.

Just the witnessing
awareness remains. So recently I've been recently,
at least for two decades,
and I'm 76 now. I also witness the same thing at night, but not just
the day, my entire lifetime. So I go back to what
I think were the first moments
of awareness reciting my ABCDs
to my mother. I'm counting
one, two, three and playing with
my little brother, listening
to the stories my mother
used to sing. I track my body-mind from as far back as I can in childhood and even infancy,
and then teenage years. And then young adulthood,
mature adulthood. This all the way
to dusty death. So what is it that's witnessing
all this different body,
different mind, different
personality, different
situations, different
encounters? What is it
that is this witnessing
awareness? Where is it and does
it have a form? Does it? Does it get born? Does it die? What is it? What is the eternal
question? Right? What am I
or who am I? But this exercise
does do one thing. It convinces you that that
which is witnessing is not in time and that which is
witness is in time.

That is very clear. Experiences in time and that which is generating
the experience, having
the experience, knowing
the experience in which
the experience is disappearing
is not in time. And that's what
we call "I". So let's go
over this. "I"' as a body mind
right now. So as a body mind, I am the history
of the universe, beginning
with whatever caused the Big Bang
cosmic inflation and you know,
the blank epoch and the first generation of atoms
and the stars in which
they were born, the crucible
of burning stars. And then the first micro
organisms, came out of autotrophic,
hydrothermal fires, the rims of
volcanoes or perhaps oceanic hot springs in the depths of the ocean
volcanoes too.

And then the
interacting of these microorganisms
amongst themselves, forming the matrix
of the biosphere and then appearing
as all living organisms, not only
bacteria, viruses, but the machinery to replicate existence. And then
all the things that have happened since the beginning
of time looking at this entity. Deepak Chopra, I say, "who or what
is this entity?"
And I can't find anything
called a person. I realize that
the person itself is a construct for the universal recycling
and evolving in one
particular movement that we
call a person, and that is actually
the universe experiencing itself for a flash of perception and cognition in a ceaseless
outbreak of cognition
and perception and infinite biological
organisms, all happening
at the same time and all entangled
at the same time.

In other
words, there's nothing personal
about this body mind system that we are calling, "Deepak". All the atoms
in this body come from
all the atoms, in all the bodies,
right? All the thoughts
in this body, mind, are recycled,
all the thoughts, since we started telling stories
and creating models of perceptual knowing, which is a modified form
of knowing yourself, Immanuel Kant
said, "You can't know
the thing in itself, which is the which is not the perceptual or
the phenomenon, but that which is beyond
the phenomenon." Noumenon, you cannot
know, Noumenon.

But actually
the noumenon, the thing in itself,
is your own self appearing
as an object wherever you go,
all you experience is your own
perceptual activity, which has
no explanation. And yet, you know, we take a set of those perceptual
activities which are snapshots
of knowing, cognition,
perception awareness, knowing
itself as that and create
subject-object split,
We create that. And then we say,
That's me. And then everything
that happens to that entity,
which you can't even pin down. I can't pin down an entity
called, "Deepak". Is it the entity
that was conceived when his father and
his mother looked at each other
with desire? Is it
the fertilized ovum? Is it the zygote? Is it this? What is that entity? That is the history that we call
"Deepak"? Well, that entity has the history
of the universe. Every biological
form, every interaction of every gene with every other
gene, every epigenetic
phenomenon, every chance encounter,
every random event, every meaningful
coincidence, every synchronicity, every entanglement,
and what you have is this.

Now. This, now. As a movement of the universe,
while the universe is also experiencing as many, this is at
the same time parallel entities
all coexisting at the same time. Still, where or what is Deepak? I can't be pinned
down biologically. Can't be pinned down as atoms and molecules
and forcefields can't be pinned
down. I think I mentioned
this before that my children
carry the thalassemia
minor trait, as does my wife, and that can be
tracked to the invasion
of the armies of Alexander the
Great in 320 B.C.

Or something
like that 320 years before the appearance
of Jesus Christ. Some soldier either forcibly or with pleasure and mutual
attraction, had an encounter with some village
woman along the roots
of the invasion of Alexander 323. And that encounter
is now in the footprints of time as thalassemia minor in my wife
and now my children and I too carry
the histories of armies and invasions and empires
and slaves and conquests in every single activity that I
call this body mind.

So the
entire universe, biologically, the entire universe in the form of atoms and molecules,
is flowing through this entity that cannot be
pinned down. And yet we take this
personally. We take this
personally. The reason
not to take this personally
is that there isn't such a thing
as a person. And what we call
a person is a transient
phenomenon of the total
universe in a timeless now. therefore the first step in freedom
from suffering is not to take
yourself personally, not to take
the comments of your fellow
human beings, good or bad, about you
personally, not to take
any encounter, any rebuff, any flattery personally, because the person
doesn't exist. So here is something I found today that I've shared
in the past. But the first step in freedom
from suffering, going from
Rabindranath Tagore that I
heard as a child, he whom I enclose
with my name. By name,
it all begins by a name, is weeping
in this dungeon ever busy building this wall
all around.

And as this wall
goes up into the sky day
by day, I lose sight of my true
being in its dark shadow. I take pride
in this great wall and I plaster it
with dust and sand lest a least
hole will be left in this name. And for all the care
I take, I lose sight of my true
being. That is what
it means to sacrifice
yourself for your selfie. I came out alone on my way
to my truest. But who is this
that follows me In this
I left dark. I move aside to
avoid his presence. But I cannot
escape him. He makes the dust rise from the earth
with this swagger. He adds his loud
voice to every word
that I utter.

He is
my own little self, my Lord,
he knows no shame. But I'm ashamed to come to your door
in his company. From one more:
Prisoner. Tell me, who was it
that bound you? "It was my masters,"
said the prisoner, "I thought I could
outdo everybody in the world
in wealth and power. And I amassed in my own
treasure house, the money
that was due to my savior, to my king,
to my Lord. When sleep overcame
me, I lay upon the bed that was for my sacred self. And upon waking I found
I was a prisoner in my own treasure
house." Prisoner, tell me, who was it that wrought this unbreakable chain? "It was I," said
the prisoner, ""who forged this chain
very carefully.

I thought my power
was invincible. I thought
my invincible power would hold the world captive, leaving me in a freedom
undisturbed. So night and day,
I worked at the chain
with huge force and cruel,
hard strokes, when at last
the work was done and the links were complete
and unbreakable, I found that it had me, it held me in
its grip. As the jailer
forged, the chain was
the prison and I was the prison guard. But I was also
the liberator.

"I" is not a
person in time. "I" is that which a person is
a flowing movement in the infinite. I am having infinite experiences simultaneously in infinite perceived lokas all coexisting and entangled at the same time. I am that. You are that. All this is that. Tat Tvam Asi. The first step
in the liberation from suffering is don't take anything personally because that on behalf
of which you take things
personally, doesn't exist. Okay? You are divine. Don't
forget yourself and confuse yourself with a person,
you know? That's the essential
mistake of the intellect, correcting
the mistake of the intellect is the first step in liberation
from suffering. Let me
know what to think..

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