Why Practice? What’s the Point?

Satsang w/ Nick: If chasing objects and experiences won’t fulfill us, why do we practice or meditate or sit or do yoga? I seem to have lost everyone and everything and still I suffer from a desire to have something that I can’t identify, an identity, a place in the world, a relationship with others, some value.

Eaden: Hi Nick, when the light of consciousness shines on the jiva (individual) we are compelled to act. The question is not whether action is taken but whether it’s dharmic or adharmic (against dharma). In other words, do our actions bring freedom and peace of mind or suffering?

Suffering results from not knowing who we are as consciousness. Instead we have the false belief that we are unworthy, bad or lacking in some way. We then chase objects and experiences to complete us. This is a set up for failure because we are already whole and complete and “there is nothing we can do to be more of who we are.” James Swartz

Our spiritual practices are vital, they cleanse the subtle body (mind, intellect and ego). When the mind is unclear, filled with rajas/projection and tamas/denial, we act against dharma which creates more discord and reinforces our conditioning. However, negative karma is not created when we act from desire that is dharmic, in alignment with self and the greater whole. So desire is not the problem, faulty beliefs and poor action is.

With a pure mind, purified by practice, we can assimilate the knowledge that we are whole, complete and good and then live from this place contentment and freedom. We begin to act from love as love, not because we need it.

Karma yoga is one of several practices endorsed by Vedanta which purifies the subtle body – mind/emotions, intellect and ego/doer. Karma yoga is taking dharmic action in service to the whole while releasing all attachment to outcome and receiving the results of our actions as a gift. We enjoy the good and learn from the bad, so it’s all good.

Another beneficial practice is jnana (knowledge) yoga, discriminating between satya (the real) and mithya (the apparently real) and making the commitment to reside in satya. What is satya? You as awareness/consciousness. What is mithya? Everything else, all objects, experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Anything you are aware of is not you and is mithya. You can never be the object as you are the ever present subject.

All identity and mis-identification (ignorance) must be negated if liberation is desired. What remains? The real you, the ever radiant, non-dual, limitless, action-less, object-less, ordinary self. When everything is stripped away – only the unchanging, unaffected, un-modified self remains.

What is most valuable? That which is sat or true, the self as satchitananda – being, awareness, bliss. This is our true nature, not the name on our license or what we’ve accomplished, which belong to mithya.

These are the teachings of traditional Vedanta, purified through the ages. A valid means of knowledge that removes ignorance and reveals the shining light of true self.

Our suffering is not bad, for it leads some to search for the truth.

Thank you for your honest inquiry.

In love and gratitude, Eaden

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