We (i.e. the human beings that we have come to think we are), act the way we do because we’re uniquely programmed to respond just that way (genetics, family programming, cultural and social conditioning and personal experience make up the identity of who we think we are).
We can’t act contrary to our programming — just as a computer is programmed and must function according to its programming. The computer can’t decide to act another way (even though sometimes they appear to). The computer programme sets the parameters of how it will work. Of course humans are not computers but they do have genetic programming fixed at conception, that dictate the parameters; I can’t grow an extra arm, even though at times it would be most useful.
Non-duality points us to our true nature. Not only Advaita / non-duality but the past head of Siddha yoga, Muktananda, stated “Thou art That” and Sri Nisargadatta Marharaj has a well known book entitled ‘I Am T’. Where ‘that’ is the inexpressible awareness of what we are. We can talk about it but not of it and we can form concepts about it, but the concept, the word, is not the real.
Our culture teaches us that we are in control / in charge of our lives and decisions – that we are responsible for our actions. The ‘me’ that is supposedly in control is an identification with the programming. And, as a result there is this belief in the ‘me’ as an individual with volition.
Close observation and exploration (imploration might be a better word since ‘ex’ denotes outwardly) finally reveals shows that there is awareness first and foremost and that everything else, including the human animal and its programming is an appearance in that awareness. That is, ‘we’ don’t exist in the body — the body exists in us – in the awareness that we actually are.
‘Sailor’ Bob Adamson points out again and again, very effectively, that the ego claims do’ership after the fact. The programming is responsible for the way we act and react to situations.
Ramesh Balsekar also tells us that we are not in control of the thoughts that appear and disappear. If we were the thinker then why would we ever have an unpleasant or depressing thought? Wouldn’t we always choose happy thoughts? If we were really in control of our thoughts wouldn’t we turn them off in the night when we want to sleep, when we want to meditate? Those nights when we want to sleep but the damn mind just won’t quit — when all we want is peace and quiet, and sleep.
The fact that the ego claims responsibility, and it feels like ‘we’ are doing it, blinds us to the reality that we are actually not in control, that thoughts simply arise when they arise and they don’t arise when they don’t arise.
It’s only after the fact that the ego says ‘I did that’. The teaching points out that we don’t do the things we think we do, although, of course, things do get done.
In the end, the truth of our nature is seen, by no-one, that what we truly are is pure subjective awareness and not the objects that appear in it. In this awareness a body/mind organism, thoughts, feeling, memories and the world appear.
Immediately the truth is seen it is also seen that there is actually no ‘me’ in this body/mind, driving it, and that choices are made but there is no choice maker. As the Buddha is reported to have said (in one of Ramesh’s books) “choices are made, deeds are done but there is no doer thereof”.
It clearly states that there is no separate individual entity in control of the human animal, making choices. Decisions are made simple based on the programming and influenced by thoughts that arise. We may be sitting silently doing nothing and a thought pops up to have a beer, so we get the taste for a beer, unless a contrary thought tells us to do something else. A thought may pop up to make a million dollars or to climb a mountain but if it’s not in the programming then it won’t be acted on, or come to fruition.
It isn’t negative to discover that we are not just the human; it’s very positive. It’s very positive to finally know what we actually are, very relaxing, peaceful.
~ by Roy Townsend