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Practical Understanding

Hi all! In todays newsletter Just One Look News Feb 10, 2015 I saw something that I want to share. John wrote:

"From the very beginning, my work has been to understand the self-inquiry of Ramana Maharshi. I knew all along that the gift of the love of life that I had found was entirely a result of a desperate wrestling match I engaged in with Ramana's simple advice while in solitary confinement in prison. But having won the prize with no real practical understanding of how it had come to pass, I was not willing to inflict on people a half-baked message and offer no practical instruction on what to do. Now, twenty years later, I do have a clear, practical understanding of the essence of self-inquiry, thanks in large part to the patient willingness of many hundreds of people who have endured my failed attempts to say what I really wanted to say."

I think that the words "practical understanding" really defines what we are working with here. With that practical understanding a new terminology has emerged. Words like open awareness and I am belongs to a more abstract understanding. And abstract understanding isn't very helpful to people at large. I think it only creates a longing in us that almost never seems to have any real effect, at least not in our every day life. And I think that this insight gives great meaning. The old spiritual truths are not necessarily false and this work is not the only true view. The difference is that this work only has adapted to the context we are in now, as ordinary human beings trying to find a useful practical understanding and instructions regarding the relationship towards our everyday life.

This work has bridged the gap between old knowledge and practical usefulness here and now. The feeling of I am and the feeling of me are the same thing. But to say you or me is much more useful, and automatically includes everyone.

All the best,


Thank you very much for this post, Niklas. We look forward to new blog posts from you. It's been a while...

I think I gave up my blog for some time ago. Couldn't really see the use of both posting here and in the forums. But maybe I should give it another try! Thanks for the encouragement...

Who is the one 'YOU' write about called 'I' that experiences all these feelings.connected to fear and happiness in regards to seeking fulfillment ?

Hi Roger. I don't understand your question. Please clarify.

I read your blog post with interest and understand most of what you're saying. Five or six years after doing the act of inward looking I would not, however, say that I have no inner life. Also, after doing the act of looking there was a great sense of freedom, freedom from persistent, nagging thoughts about life which were entirely a waste of energy, though as time passed this initial sense of release was less pronounced. Certainly, the neurotic preoccupation with oneself slowly disappears; thoughts and feelings are part of the subjective self which perceives the world and we act in the world according to them which is why the freedom from fear is so vital. It is true also that one feels less separated from the world; the distinction between inner and outer experience is much less defined by fear so I think one acts in the world more effectively. One feels less of a sense of isolation. It's certainly the case that one becomes progressively less attached to disruptive thoughts and feelings and this is the result of doing the focused attention exercise. Perhaps this is what you mean by having no inner life. The concern with the ups and downs of the inner life that characterize neurotic thought is eventually completely dissipated. However, It's actually quite impossible to live entirely outside oneself and not very healthy either. We are able to respond to outer circumstances in a more compassionate way precisely because our inner life is free from neurotic fear. We can see things more clearly once free of neurotic self-preoccupation and can be open to the world in a more intelligent way but a healthy inner life is essential to be able to do this. Thanks for sharing as this discussion helps clarify a few things for me.

wow. I needed to hear this Niklas. thank you.

Thanks for your comments antonyirvine and feraldream.

It took a while for me to respond because I had to wait and see if I had anything more to say related to this post. And basically I don't, but as this post was made some time ago, some clarifications can be in place though. I can see that saying that one doesn't have an inner life can seem quite strange and confusing. It is not nesseary, in this process, to at some point come to that conclusion and it doesn't say anything about where in the recovery process you are. The most important thing is to get to know and take control of ones attention. But for me it has been a useful experience, to see that there is nothing inward to be found than "me". If I look at myself right now, I'm experiencing having no mind and attention. Mind and attention seems to rise from "me". I am the source of my mind and attention so to speak. Therefore, looking inward after "the looking, seems like a strange thing to say and do.

And I think that this experience also inspired me to challenge the tendency to be too introspective. There is nothing to introspect. How our attention is relating to life is what is relevant to learn. And when one sees that there is nothing more to handle, process or purify "inside", one gets naturally more engaged in life. And of course, you also then want to give that possibility to people that is still experiencing that there is a deep and complicated inner life that needs to be taken care of before one can start to live.

Individual freedom becomes impossible. You can never really enjoy solitary freedom when others are stuck in such a crazy state, especially when you know how little it takes too do something about it. And again, to experince that " i have no inner life " is not a mystical experience. My guess is that it is a natural shift in perception as a result of the looking and I think most people can see what I mean by saying that through a little experimenting with ones attention.

I am glad that you guys found my post useful...



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