Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
4th June 2014
Aliveness is life
Every moment in life is alive. The aliveness could be growth, action, speech, thought, light, sound or darkness. The moment by itself is not under man’s control, because it is not man who makes a moment, but it is a moment that has received man within it. Man has not made and also does not make the aliveness within a moment either, for he can never premeditate the aliveness within a moment with certainty. If man makes the aliveness within a moment, he would certainly be able to premeditate the aliveness within a moment with certainty. He is only convinced that he can do, he can speak or he can think, and only comes to know that he has after they happen and not before they happen. If man can make growth happen, do an action, speak a word or think a thought, he would be able to premeditate the aliveness of any moment with certainty. Since he cannot, it only means that he has never brought the aliveness in any moment of life. They all, however, do happen in an illusory manner and not as an actuality.
Man is not the doer as the enlightened have rightly proclaimed. Doing speaking, thinking and growth happen to man and man does not do them.
Every moment happens and it is obvious that man does not make the moment happen. Man happened within the moment and it is not man who made himself happen in the moment. Man within the moment is the aliveness of the moment. Life keeps the moment alive and it is not man who keeps the moment alive. Similarly, life keeps man alive and it is not man who keeps himself alive. Thought is the aliveness of the moment and man can never premeditate the thought which is the aliveness of the moment with certainty. Feelings are thoughts which could either be a reaction or a response, which form the aliveness of the moment. Man can never premeditate a reaction or the response of the moment with certainty, because he is unable to premeditate the aliveness of the moment with certainty. This only means that what man thinks he has done, and is doing, he did not do and is not doing anything either; it happened because it is aliveness that always happens every moment.
Now, thoughts are feelings and they can be either reactions or responses. Reactions and responses could be arguments, anger, hatred, love, decisions, choices, debate, advice, and lack of them too. These make up the aliveness of the moment over which man has no control, because he can never premeditate the aliveness of the moment with certainty. If they are meant to happen they will and, if they are not meant to happen, they will not. Man, therefore, cannot be the doer of either a reaction or a response. Whatever happens in the ‘Now’ is the aliveness which cannot be known, because the ‘Now’ is timeless and thoughtless, and to know it requires time and duality.
Any experience of "a reaction or a response" will, therefore, be illusory and not actual. The enlightened such as Buddha, Adi Shankara, Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj have proclaimed that life cannot be controlled, meaning the aliveness within the moment. It is true, however, that the ‘Now’ is all there is, meaning the aliveness. But it is to be understood that whatever happens as an experience, perception of a reaction or a response, which is aliveness, is illusory in man's mind - illusion meaning that the experience or perception of a reaction or a response is not an actuality in life. Life’s flow is spontaneous, unpredictable and uncontrollable movement of energy or light, just as the movement of an ocean is, therefore, illusory, which means it exists, yet it does not exist as an actuality. This means that aliveness happens just as a wave happens, yet a wave is not there; all there is is a moving ocean, and a wave is a thought in the mind - just as a reaction or response as an experience is a thought in the mind and not an actuality in life. Aliveness is the intelligence of life.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2014
As a response to receiving this new article on Aliveness is Life from Dr. Shankar, there has been a wave of joy in reading the words and connecting with the wisdom of the enlightened beings. Thank you. There is, in addition, a profound acknowledgement and, in a strange way, great relief provided by the understanding that man is received within the moment, which is life itself. Somehow, in the depths of one’s being, as it were, this understanding has been residing. Yet it needed to be awakened by the wisdom. The traditional ethic of ‘mea culpa’ has no validity.
Julian Capper. UK.
German Translator‘s Note:
The ego gets involved in reactions in everyday life because of the illusory conditioning that thoughts, feelings and actions are real. There is nothing wrong with that, it is the way intelligence moves in life evolutionarily. For example, the ego reacts to the thought that someone has done something wrong and is to blame for the consequences of his action with anger, rage and condemnation. Understanding that "wrong" and "to blame" are illusory ideas in the mind and nothing real in life, because life is a singular spontaneous movement with no real cause and effect, makes man respond instead of react. This is how compassion, patience and unconditional trust happens in life as it is destined to happen. The focus of a response is on the timeless now, while the focus of a reaction is on the past and future, but completely illusory. Wisdom, as shared in this article by Dr. Shankar, reveals that a deep understanding of the conditioning of the mind leads to the aliveness in the moment allowing the individual to respond rather than react. The desire for love and peace understandably makes the individual strive to respond rather than react to any situation in everyday life. The enlightened, however, live the aliveness of life in the timeless now and do not think about responding rather than reacting, because thinking is in the dead moment of the mind and not in the alive moment of life.
Marcus Stegmaier, Germany.
Dutch translator’s note:
This article leaves us no room to escape, it’s about our life. There is no other life than the life we live and which is happening here and now for all of us. The fact we are alive, however that life may seem in our eyes, offers everyone the possibility to see it without labels and concepts. There is no better life or future life we should wait for in order to understand life happens. Neither do we have to become a better human being. Amidst all feelings, thoughts and beliefs we are alive. This is our life and we are all alive so we may witness it.
Paula Smit, the Netherlands