Inner Science - on Understanding Oneself
I recommend you to read «It is possible» on my homepage in advance.
More and more people find the normal way of life superficial and boring and ask for more meaning. As a consequence many people of today are interested in finding out what is going on inside themselves - in their own psyche. They wish to understand themselves better. Obviously, that is not so easy as the deeper layers in one's own psyche are hardly accessible even to the person him- or herself. In spite of this - it is possible, but one has to do a job for oneself. Below, the interested reader will find some short articles trying to illuminate what it is all about.
How can I use the information from teachers in this field?
(Some central teachers are: Jiddu Krishnamurti, Vimala Thakar, Toni Packer and Eckhardt Tolle)
- I can read or listen to his or her words and understand it intellectually. It will - like every normal intellectual understanding - cause irreversible changes in my psyche.
- I can listen (or read) with a very open mind, letting the words pass uncensored into the deeper "layers" of my mind. Later on I may "hear" the teacher's voice in my mind pointing out something that is relevant to the actual situation. However, this influence seems to be limited as it does not remove rigid patterns and emotions from my psyche.
- I can follow his/her advice and observe my own reactions when they occur as a response to some irritating noise or whatsoever from the outward world. In fact, that was the first vital experience that opened a door in my mind to a new dimension - to a new life. The whole event was quite simple: Some people came too late to a talk. They made some noise, and the teacher saw that the audience was disturbed. Not the noise itself, he said, would disturb, but our reaction to the noise! I found this statement very interesting, and some minutes later I got the opportunity to test it out, as new noise occurred. In fact - for the first time in my life I saw my own irritated reaction in my own psyche. I saw it as it was at the very moment it occurred as a response to something from the outside. From that moment a door to a new and interesting world had been a little bit opened - a door to the understanding of myself.
What does this little and undramatic event imply? Such events imply an attentive mind, so attentive that thought - and thereby the dimension of psychological time - has calmed down by itself. One is with other words totally aware of what is happening in one's mind, here and now - aware of a reality beyond thought. This very seeing causes some sort of understanding which in turn will cause a transformation of the mind - a transformation that will make it possible to act more intelligently and harmoniously. The seeing of the unorder in one's mind creates order, and emotional energies - hatred, anger etc. withers away without doing any harm. And one realises that there is no thinker separate from thought - only a thinking process projecting thought and emotional energies into consciousness.
The main thing is to understand ourselves in a direct, perceptual way. If one is aware in daily life of outside (and inward) situations creating reactions in the mind, one maintains an "emptying" and healing process of the mind. When the "upper layers" of the mind have emptied their content, it may happen that deeper layer may come to the "surface" and likewise get their emotional content emptied. That seems to be vital in order to create a better life and a better world - as aggressive people can not possibly create harmonious societies.
This indicates that teachings may act in different ways. Helpful teachings are descriptions of facts going on in the mind - not some philosophy or a description of a wonderful new state. Teachings however, are not enough. We have to discover ourselves, we have to do a job ourselves. Only I can observe the movements of my mind and so understand myself. To me, the main thing is to make the attentive mind part of one's way of life - not in order to achieve something, but because it is extremely interesting. As long as one has a wish to achieve, one is in the dimension of thought, and the attentive state of the mind is more or less blocked.
There seems to be another type of transformation too; it is called enlightenment. I do not know that state, but it seems to be something extraordinary and totally different. As long as a person wishes to be enlightened I cannot possibly see that he or she can get out of the dimension of time; therefore they are blocking themselves without being aware of it. To me the «revolution» of the mind - the transformation of one's unconscious psyche - is the main thing - the challenge to all of us - to our culture.
Change can only take place instantly, not in the field of time
All we do and all that happens, happens now. The Now is the «window» in which all movements and all changes occur. The now is always at disposal; we are always in it; we cannot escape from it. The so-called past doesn't exist: Nothing can happen in the past. The so-called future doesn't exist either. Nothing can be done in the future. It can be done when the future has become now. Thus, «past» and «future» exist only as ideas - as thought - in our minds, not in the real world. The real world belongs to the «now» - or perhaps better: The «now» belongs to the real world. Our senses inform us about the actual state - the now - of the outer and inner world at any time.
Thus, all changes take place now, but changes may last or occur instantly. Learning and understanding processes imply changes. Learning processes last. Understanding occurs instantly. There are direct understanding and intellectual (or verbal) understanding. Intellectual understanding is part of our culture - direct understanding is not, although it is crucial for the changes we are talking about here. Direct understanding is brought about through attentive observation of the movements of the psyche. It is an observation without choice - without involvement of thought - and therefore without the dimension of (psychological) time. This seeing creates a direct understanding of what is going on in one's psyche. Like any understanding the direct understanding creates a change in one's mind - an instant change outside the field of thought and time. Thus, such changes can not be obtained through effort or by wanting or by any other activity of thought.
Therefore there is no method. Therefore one must come upon it. Any method implies a motive and therefore thought. The precondition that change may happen is the attentive state of the mind. This state has the ability to calm down thought without force. Thus, the attentive state and a motive can not exist simultaneously. Therefore there is and can not be a method; therefore we must come upon it.
Is there no help? In fact, there is some sort of help. Try to rediscover your senses, for example by sitting under a tree in a forest or somewhere in nature. Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees etc. Open your eyes and ears, and open your inner senses - not to seek something special - only to be aware of your own reactions, to discover the movements going on in your body and mind - discover the "what is" in your mind.
What does "living the teachings" mean?
One has listened to a teacher or read some books. On the intellectual level one has understood the message and found it interesting and important. But what then? How can they have some sort of impact on us - on our lives? Can we find out in what ways they may do it? Is «living the teachings» possible?
Obviously "living the teachings" cannot mean conforming to the teachings as a pattern - trying to do what they prescribe. First - real teachers do not teach a pattern, they do not prescribe anything. And secondly - such a use of teachings would contradict a central meaning of them.
If we are listening with attention - without analysing - the act of listening itself will influence our unconscious mind or psyche. And by reading the texts afterwards we may increase our intellectual understanding of how the mind works. Many listeners may have experienced that. But is that "living the teachings"?
So - the answer must be found elsewhere. And we ask: Is "living the teachings" possible without having changed - without having experienced the transformation of the mind? Thus - the important thing is change. "Living the teachings" will then be a result - a consequence that will come without any effort.
Is it possible to get further from there? What is important to understand? The teacher? If we are looking at teachers as they want us to do, we don't see a guru at all. The teachings act like mirrors in which we can see ourselves, if we are willing to look into it - instead of looking at the teacher.
Thus - the important thing is to understand ourselves - not the teacher and not the teachings, although the teachings may bring about a situation in our individual mind, where we can discover the "light" in ourselves - the state of choiceless awareness. From there this light will do the rest - if we will allow it to do so.
On Understanding Oneself
It is - as we will see - important to understand oneself. However, many people have difficulties. There is a non-intellectual understanding in addition to the intellectual understanding. That understanding is direct - it occurs through seeing what is happening in one's psyche when it happens. This seeing comes through a state of awareness when inner and outer senses are open, alert, interested to see - or experience - what is happening there and then - no matter whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. From that time - if one is alert in daily life - «what is» has become one's teacher.
As in this state of awareness thought has automatically calmed down, it - this state - can not be found through any activity of thought. There must be no wish to achieve, no motive. One must just come upon it - discover it. It may help to rediscover one's senses that are so dominated by thought in our culture. When one was a child one had excellent contact with one's senses. This rediscovery - like every discovery - happens without (chronological and psychological) time - without evolution. This discovery cannot be learned and thus become part of our culture. But it can be learned that it is possible to understand oneself - the activities of the psyche - directly, by seeing, not by thinking. This discovery can also help us understand other «things»: the psychological aspect of time, the non-existence of future and past, that life takes place in the everlasting now etc. And we see that the content and quality of our individual life is given by the constant flow of information and impressions - sensations, thoughts and emotions etc. - through our individual consciousness.
Can teachings cause a profound transformation of the mind? Some teachers tell us that such a transformation is possible and what may exist that it may happen. There are two different «processes» - a sudden profound change and an emptying process «layer by layer». Both take place without psychological time, the first one doesn't use chronological time either. «Without psychological time» means that there is no expectation, no wish to achieve etc. - only a profound interest to see what happens within my mind and body there and then. It means that thought has calmed down by itself as a consequence of the attentive state of the mind. «Without use of chronological time» means «suddenly».
Seeing - or being - the flow of information and emotions through consciousness in daily life from this state of awareness creates a certain emptying process of the psyche - «step» by «step» and «layer» by «layer» as «deeper layers» may come to the «surface» when the «upper layers» have been emptied. (An emptying of bodily tensions may also be involved.) It is not an emptying of consciousness. It is an emptying of the unconscious psyche. It is a healing process - it takes chronological time without using psychological time. A «step» may be the seeing (and thus emptying of) a single emotional reaction. The actual content of one's consciousness and one single point in the unconscious psyche have been changed (and often healed) without any use of psychological time - as there is no imagination of future, no becoming, no thought wishing to achieve - only now. Thus, the (psychological) timeless - «the now» - creates an evolution by use of chronological time, and it is no paradox. The state of consciousness is alert but passive - there is no turning of stones, no doing, only seeing. Every movement in this process is a result of something happening and not the result of an act of will. This is - as I see it, as I have experienced it - living the teachings. Living the teachings means living in peace with oneself.
Recently I studied Amrit Sorlis article "Brief Introduction to Inner Science" in a magazine (Scientific & Medical Network. No 75). It was a special experience to read it because it - among other things - dealt with my own experiences during the last 35 years. His description showed me that his and my experiences correspond over a wide range. However, his "melting with the outer universe" is unknown to me. On the other hand I would like to add some observations that he did not describe. But first: What do we have in common?
I can't describe it all. But there is an attentive passive watching state from which the functioning of the mind (or psyche) interacting with the environment can be observed. In this state any observed movement in the psyche is a consequence of something happening and not a consequence of something being done by will. In this state the thinking and other mental processes have calmed down without any effort. Or as Amrit Sorrily puts it: "Mind becomes like our hand, when we need it we use it, when not, the mind is resting." Consciousness is filled up by the actual ongoing information from the outer an inner senses - by the "here and now". The time dimension of future and past is gone. The tree is experienced as it is - without being named, without being compared with something, without memory, without any interference of thought. In the same way the headache is experienced without self pity, without trying to escape from it etc. etc. Or as Amrit Sorrily puts it: "Between perception and experience there is no mind". And one realises that the watching agency in me - consciousness - is not the same as the thinking process; not the same and superior to it. There is no thinker apart from thought - only a thinking process projecting thoughts into consciousness.
From that state we are not only able to observe our thoughts, but all activities in the conscious psyche: emotions like loneliness, anxiety, and self pity, prejudices, attitudes, rigid thought structures etc. And we observe that the watching process itself has the ability to change the human mind or the unconscious psyche. One realises that in that state consciousness has the ability to see the false as false and the sane as sane, to eliminate rigid pattern in the mind and to let emotional energies out without doing any harm.
If one makes this observation one's way of life, deeper "layer" may come up from the unconscious psyche to the "surface" to be observed and healed in the same way. As a result one lives in harmony with oneself. Even bodily tensions may be eliminated and bodily functions normalised. Therefore: This inner observation or "Inner Science" should be part of our culture.
What do we face here from a scientific point of view? The individual has the possibility to explore the own psyche - through watching, not through analysing. How does he/she know that what is seen takes place in an objective way? First: what is seen, is seen like the work of my hands - as Amrit Sorrily puts it. And secondly: I experience the consequences of it. I therefore know in a rational way that it is real. But how can another person know that the whole thing isn't pure fantasy? Because several people have experienced the same, have made the same observations as stated in this letter. There may even be measurable bodily consequences. In the outer world we formulate natural laws based on observed processes. In a similar way the observed processes in the mind can give rise to formulation of natural laws governing mental processes. Two (or more) subjective observations correspond because they are real - governed by the same laws. There is a waste field to be explored.