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Awareness and Introspection - by Clara Codd

Clara Codd

THERE is a very interesting statement by Krishnaji in his Ojai and Sarobia talks for 1940. Someone had asked him to define the difference between awareness and introspection. His answer was very illuminating. There is a certain danger in watching thoughts and feelings. People have become nervous wrecks trying to do that. Perhaps the Master's advice to C. W. Leadbeater to " forget yourself, but to remember the good of other people” is better. Self-absorption imprisons a man in a very small world. It is dangerous because the motive behind is Personal. Krishnaji says :  

Introspection is a kind of self-analysis in which thought is measuring its own action and its results, according to pleasure and pain, reward and punishment, thus forming a pattern, a judgement . . that is, thought is occupied with a result. Awareness is different. For example, if I ask the question, do I believe in God? in the very process of asking I can observe, I am aware, what it is that is making me ask that question.

He says that awareness is immediate observation without any sense of praise or blame, any sense of I, or me or mine. Quite impersonal, in fact. It is personal implications that are dangerous. Introspection seems to be self-analysis from the personal point of view, judging or praising self, whereas awareness is getting to understand what makes us tick,” first from a superficial level, and more from the deeper, subconscious levels, with an entire disregard for the result to self.

This is borne out by all the great scriptures. Says the Bhagavad Gitä:

        Thy business is with the action only, never with its results.

And Light on the Path:

         Desire to sow no seed for your own harvesting: desire only to sow that seed the fruit of which shall feed the world.
         A man may refuse to allow himself to think of reward. But in that very refusal is seen the fact that reward is desired. And it is useless for the disciple to strive to learn by checking himself. The soul must be unfettered, the desires free. But until they are fixed only on that state wherein there is neither reward nor punishment, good nor evil, it is in vain that he endeavors.

And here are the words of The Voice of the Silence :

       Shun praise, O devotee. Praise leads to self-delusion. Thy body is not self, the SELF is in itself without a body, and either praise or blame affects it not.

Reality is beyond all the "pairs of opposites". "God" is beyond good and evil. He is neither. So the Lord Buddha exhorted his people to   ". . . . rise above love and hate, tyranny and oppression, wealth and want, and to regard their own fate with impartial calmness and perfect tranquillity."

I believe it was an Adept who once told Mr. Judge to learn to look on himself with the complete impersonality of an utter stranger, and not to be led into either anxiety or remorse. Anxiety and remorse are serious leakages of inner power. Anxiety is the flowing of force towards some imaginery event in the future; remorse is the flowing of force towards a past event. They deplete a man's courage and strength to deal with the NOW. Remorse is rooted in egotism, and an ancient writing says: "Regret nothing; never be sorry, but cut all doubts with the sword of knowledge."

Perhaps that is why the Lord Christ told an aspirant:  Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. "Kill in thyself all memory of past experiences: Look not behind or thou art lost," says The Voice of the Silence. To have all our forces concentrated upon the present moment is the duty of the occultist. The complete attention is the beginning of the power of meditation and contemplation.  "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might."

So awareness seems to be the intelligent discovery of why we are doing this or thinking that. And it must be without any sense of praise or blame to ourselves. To castigate ourselves is no more praiseworthy than to castigate others. It means passing personal judgments and all personal judgments are imperfect. When the Christ told us not to judge, he also said that if he judged it would be just. Why? Because he came not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. A true judgment can only be made by the Divinity behind us, and until that is realized the Master's advice is to "err on the side of mercy". Of that Eternal One Light on the Path says: “He is thyself . . . . yet infinitely wiser and stronger than thyself . . . . thou art but finite and liable to error. He is eternal and is sure. "He is the deep sea in every one of us, calm and unperturbed by any waves and storms that afflict the surface. H.P.B. writes :

      The eyes of wisdom are like the ocean depths, there is neither joy nor sorrow in them. Therefore the soul of the occultist must be greater than joy and stronger than sorrow.

We should look on our three-fold selves, body, emotions and thought, as a good workman looks on his tools. He does not think he is his tools. If he has no time he does the best with them as they are. If he has time he sharpens and polishes them. All this gears in with the acquirement of “virtues”. The acquired virtue is not really one. The truly virtuous man is quite unconscious that he is anything of the sort. Virtues, said H.P.B., are really the outcome [not the cause] of wisdom, for benevolence, sympathy, justice, etc., arise from the intuitive identification with others, although unknown to the personality. Virtues produce future happiness, vices future pain. But, both of them, if identified with the personality, bind; the one with chains of gold, the other with chains of iron. So say the Tibetan scriptures.

Egocentricity seeks results, compares itself with others, is anxious to get on. This is the forcible passion for personal stature which hardens so many good people. There is no enemy upon the path which leads to our immortal bliss except this same Ahamkära, the sense of I-ness, of me and mine. When we remove it from earthly ideals, it still grasps at heavenly rewards and joys, which is even more disastrous. It is a thousand-headed hydra. Again and again must it be slain. Not by opposition which vitalizes it, but by a calm, dispassionate understanding of its nature. Do not let us make the mistake of blaming ourselves for possessing it. It is necessary protection, like the shell of an egg which protects the growing chick. It enables an imperishable centre of individuality to be established which, when the hour is ripe, can be broken and the centre yet remain a centre without a periphery. Then dawns the All-consciousness, the Cosmic sense. But do not let us imagine that we can picture it. That is as impossible as for a chicken unhatched or a rose still in the bud. It has never yet been experienced, a path which leads out of all human experience, and which is utterly beyond human perception or imagination.”

The personal desires have no place there, for a soul grows like a flower. The flower does not desire to be or to achieve anything. It is the dimly felt beauty of the sun and the air that draws forth its growth. So must we "press forward to open our souls to the Eternal“. We must go on from here. There is no other spot from which to start and just as we are. We cannot do otherwise. Krishnaji has set going a current in the world which is the keynote of the coming faith. It will be a religion of life itself, of universal mysticism. The words of the Christ to the woman of Samaria are coming true: "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. "Neither at Jerusalem nor in holy mountain, "for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

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