A wise sage once said, “We are all sitting under a mango tree. The only difference between you and me is that you are counting the mangoes and I am eating them.”
At some point in the life, an intelligent person questions his or her existence and asks, “Why am I suffering when there is so much beauty in the world? There appears to be such destruction, disease, pain and suffering on earth, what can be my purpose in the midst of all of this?”
So long as the resolution to this question is being sought from the waking state consciousness, one feels frustrated and helpless in how to fulfill life’s purpose.
The waking state is the mental ability that registers and qualifies the physical and phenomenal existence, meaning all that which we sense, think, feel and experience. It enables us to function with the body, think with the mind, and interact with things and people, including the interaction that is the inner dialogue of our own minds.
The mind is a finely tuned instrument for relating to our physical lives. Its purpose is to deal with all the situations that arise relating to the body in order to nourish and protect it, and yet this automatically creates a sense of worry and fear because the body is a temporary existence. All that which is physical must perish. This is difficult for the human being to accept.
According to Adwait Vedant (non-dual wisdom), the root of suffering is not in the world. One suffers due to the identification with, and thereby attachment to, the mind and body, which compels a person to think, “I am this body – born to die.” Therefore, one lives with an underlying fear of death, disguising itself in the day-to-day life, wearing the masks of worry, tension, agitation, disappointment, and loneliness, living a life in hope of permanence.
As long as a person thinks, “I am born and I will die”, one will not resolve the deepest conflict, “Why is there suffering?” Knowing that the nature of the waking state is limited, seeing only the appearances and disappearances of the physical reality, you become aware that you are using the mental tool that does not have the power to see beyond the physical.
The sages have recommended the development of that power of observation that does not accept the mind’s limited waking state reality. Then you can realise directly in meditation You – the ever-present, unchanging awareness that is uninvolved in the waking state view. Body is born and body will die, but who you truly are is ever-present awareness, free from the body’s drama on the stage of birth and death.
Meditation, meditation, meditation! It needs some time to sit in meditation to transform the mind from its fixed waking state perspective to see through the mind’s false reality, “I am born and I will die and in-between, I see suffering because my view is based on fear of death.”
Meditation allows the direct knowledge, “I am ever-present awareness” to emerge from within you – not as a waking state explanation, a teaching, a belief, an idea, a logical reasoning, or an injunction, but as your direct affirmation, “I am formless – eternal, unchanging, indestructible and free.”
The body is in a constant process of change from the moment it is born. That is just its nature. Either you live in worry and fear, not accepting its temporary nature, or you accept, “I am not bound to this body, I am ever formless awareness, forever free.”
You have the power to shine the light of clarity that dispels the darkness rooted in body identification. All your concerns are pertaining to what is destructible. Your body is temporary. Your ideas, beliefs and even your convictions are able to be shaken. So the question of suffering belongs to the mind, whose nature is to try to figure it all out in such a way that perpetuates confusion and struggle.
Place your attention on bringing about clarity to the mind, removing the sense of problem and conflict based on a false premise. Follow one simple guideline – don’t ever accept the mind’s view that appears to bind you and make you feel weak. That is a great power. Build that power. Perfect that power. Then you will realise that there is no death, no suffering, no destruction for the Self that you always are.
Why not liberate yourself from the clutches of the waking state? It is completely inadequate to understand the truth of life, death and the purpose of being in these bodies on earth.
Life is not bound in the cycle of beginnings and endings of physical and mental experiences. The events that we experience are simply what they are – experiences. You have only one purpose, to realise your true power that is so bright that the mind of confusion will never eclipse you and make you miserable.
You are that ever-present awareness that can lift your mind out of suffering – not through reasoning, not through belief, not through doubt, worry or despair – but having transcended the waking state view, it will be very clear that our purpose is not to suffer, knowing which the knot of confusion is released.
So, when sitting under the mango tree, stop counting the mangoes! Cut one open and let the deliciously sweet juice quench your thirst. Allow the attention of the mind to be freed from its waking state involvement with forms and their meanings and simply drink in the beauty of Being!