Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
2nd May 2008
‘Weigh the pros and cons’; ‘take them into consideration’; ‘be careful of the cons’. Everyone has heard this advice and everyone keeps hearing it on a daily basis. It makes one wonder whether the world is a place best avoided. It is difficult to understand why man should exist in a world where he should be careful of the cons of consequences. What is there to be worried about when all men are careful and are taking precautionary measures to avoid the cons and invite the pros? Be it a thief or the army-chief, from the head of the family to the head of every institution – the password is ‘be careful of the consequences; weigh their pros and cons’. It appears man has come into the wrong world! God surely could not have created a world where man needs to be careful of consequences and their cons. The pros are welcome but the cons are best left out.
The proverbial fear that surrounds consequences is not for the pros but the cons, and this stems from the conviction that man has the capacity to commit a mistake or do wrong. How real this conviction is will be put to the test. Consequences, and they could be either pro or con, are always sudden. The consequence, be it a pro or a con, could be expected or unexpected mentally, but the happening is sudden. This suddenness is not a physical actuality in time and space. That it is is an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound, which is life. It denotes the appearance of a thought, which is either a pro that is gracefully embraced or a con, which is detested.
If it is acceptable, it brings in cheer and praise and catches man by surprise, and this passes away much sooner than it happened. But if consequences are unacceptable, man is left to face the music and take the flak, and this certainly saddens and depresses him. The sadness lingers on with egos bruised and battered. Understand that whatever man embraces or rejects are all God’s creation and, more importantly, that he is able to do this only after they have happened. It is merely wishful thinking that man is the doer and is in control of the accepted as well as the unaccepted. Life is timeless and, therefore, neither can possibly happen - and life is energy, which rules out the possibility of the events being a physical reality. The decision to accept and discard is manifested by life so that man may understand the significance of both. The significance is that the discarded and the embraced belong to and are created by God.
Why would God create that which man rejects? Is it spiritual or respectful to reject His creation? Would God not know what man does not need, and would He not know what is best for him? Life’s intent can never be known by the mind for the mind is not in life - life is merely a flow of energy and the mind is an illusory manifestation of sound. The mind functions through the prism of beliefs of what should and should not happen. But life has no beliefs within it; it never has and it never will. The mind has beliefs within it and they are illusory, as they are a manifestation of sound.
Man is praised and the same man is loathed when the consequences are pros and cons respectively: it is just a matter of being patient. The mind is fickle and it is a revelation to realise that it is so. Love departs and is replaced by the arrival of contempt and hate, the flip side of the coin. It all depends on how fast the coin spins and on which side it lands. The coin is the thought that man is the doer. Man is not the doer, never has been and never will be. How could he be the doer when life is a transformation-process of energy? The transformation, the process and the energy are God. Realising this is enlightenment.
The history-pages are filled with consequences and, but for them, there would be no knowledge of pros and cons. It is history that convicts man as a doer. History happens every day in every household, every office, every society, every religious and spiritual institution and in the corridors of political and legal enclaves - basically everywhere where man meets man. Therefore, consequences with their pros and cons fill the day. The anguish, the tears, the despair and the heartache that trek behind the cons that one wishes should never happen, and the laughter, the joy and the pride that shine through the pros that one seeks and lives for, fill history. History is basically his – story. The mind is a storyteller and there are more stories than there are on sale as storybooks. The presence of a storybook on the bookshelves is proof that the mind is a storyteller. The mind is the mother of all stories.
Concepts and expectations of ‘what to do’ and ‘what must be done’ are drilled into man from early childhood, which is a contradiction to the historical belief that man is the doer. If man were the doer, as he believes he is, he would do precisely what is needed and not have to be lumbered with any concepts or expectations. In fact, concepts and expectations would not exist either. The fact that they do proves that man is not the doer rather than a doer. So what do pros and cons signify? They signify a lack of understanding of life and the mind. Life is not what the mind says it is. The mind is not life.
Everyday accusations of man having ‘done’ the unaccepted are widespread. It may be menial and ordinary and, at times, beggars belief. He is disappointed and heartbroken. Consequences of infidelity in marriage, affairs of the heart, unaccepted personal and social behaviour are variable in their expressions and intensity. They range from being mild to extreme, from logical to unbelievable. So man is advised to weigh the pros and cons. How does he handle all this? Religion and spirituality have not helped him much either. He is still busy and engrossed weighing the pros and con.
The real does not change and is eternal and everywhere. So, if the world were real, the world would never exist. A single event would be eternal, and man could never decide what that event should be, for he is not the creator of the world.
The cons of bad behaviour in children are well known and the difficulties of parents and teachers in such situations are understandable. Spare the rod and spoil the child is a dictum and the golden truth for many, if not all. But has it roped in the desired results? Every generation appears to need the rod more than the previous; every household appears to be a correction-centre for children and adults alike. There appears to be an ideal family behaviour, which every family is in search of and apparently no family has yet found. Nevertheless, this ideology is maintained within their minds, and the hunt is relentlessly on. Nobody is certain whether an ideal family exists or not. Probably everyone wishes to be that elusive, ideal family - God’s chosen family, so to speak.
It is superficial understanding that God’s child needs to be corrected. That God’s creation needs correction is unthinkable. Man is unable to accept God as He appears, and yet he claims that God is everywhere. His appearances are manifold: more specifically, everything and everyone is an expression of God. The mind only accepts a certain vision of God as God, an imagination and not a reality, for Man has not met God to know what His real appearance could be. Similarly, man is willing to accept his concept of a child and never his own, as the child is. Your child is how God is in every moment; every man is how God is in every moment. Accept the child as he or she is in every moment, and not his behaviour, which is actually your expectations that have not actualized. The same applies to adults too. By God is meant the energy that is life. If God is everywhere and is everything, could pros and cons have any realistic meaning or is the meaning illusory? The world is illusory, as envisaged by the enlightened beings and, in an illusory world, every word and the meaning it carries has to be illusory too. It just needs to be understood that it is so.
Spiritual and religious people are thought to possess the ideal behaviour and are expected to have an ideal behaviour. So, to them, only pros could exist and never cons of any consequence. But could pros exist without cons in a world of duality? It is unthinkable. No one can ascertain or deny the absence or presence of unacceptable thoughts in the mind. The mind is dual and so the acceptable and the unacceptable co-exist, whether anybody likes it or not. It is not an exception for the religious and the spiritual for they too have a mind and the mind is always dual. Thinking about an unacceptable action is as good as having done it, for an action is an optical illusion and exists only as a thought in the mind and not as a physical reality in life.
Life flows in only one way for everybody, including the religious and the spiritual people. Life is one and so it is. Life is not action-filled, as it is thought to be. It is certainly sophisticated and it is this sophistication that projects an optical illusion of action. This is its intelligence. Life is light and sound and this projects an optical and auditory illusion of actions, speech and thinking. The mind does not exist as a physical reality. The mind is not in life for life is timeless and thoughtless. Life is in the ‘now’ and the momentary now is timeless and thoughtless. Therefore, neither a man nor an action, which he could do or prevent, could exist in life. It is purely an optical and auditory illusion that it does. So the question of man’s being responsible or irresponsible is more illusory than real and so too would be the consequences or pros and cons.
Man cannot meet anyone he should not meet. He or she meets whom he is supposed to meet, because every man or woman is where he or she is meant to be. The meeting is merely a synchronised and precise movement of life. Man cannot see what he is not supposed to see, hear, smell, taste or touch. They all happen in the moment and a moment is all there is in life. The happening is a singular movement and not actions. Situations and experiences are thoughts in the mind and not real in life. Life is a singular journey in which everything and everyone is included. Consequence is more a dream than a reality. Pros and cons emphasise and strengthen the historical belief that man is the doer, whereas he is not, never has been and never will be.
Consequence is a state of energy in a continuous process that is beginningless and endless. It changes the very moment it happens and no force on earth can prevent it or its changing, for there is no other force other than the force which makes it happen. Consequence is not brought about by man, by choice or will. The illusion is created that it is man who brings it on himself and so he is advised to be careful and to think of the pros and cons. This advice too comes from life, only to show that life goes on irrespective of the thoughts, and is proof that the mind is not present in the timeless and thoughtless ‘now’: how could it ever be? Life happens precisely, which is just a singular movement in the moment, a miraculous journey at that, a journey in which the destination is the journey.
This journey is a process of transformation of energy from one form to another, and it is spontaneous, uncontrollable and unpredictable. So there is no question of prevention or will-power, let alone consequences with pros and cons. They all set the stage for the drama of life to be enacted in the mind. Man experiences a world of thoughts and not anything physically real. Consequences and their pros and cons will remain in the mind so that the drama of life can go on: the drama of normal life, wherein the acceptable happens, but is nevertheless lacking in something, and never perfect; a drama, wherein the unacceptable happens with daily doses of arguments, accusations, behavioral corrections, relationship issues, troubled marriages, bitter divorces etc.
These happen even to the religious or spiritual men and to those who practise religion as part of a daily routine, and also to those who are on a spiritual path. It appears that even the God to whom man prays is unable to prevent consequences with their pros and cons, so that man may understand that there are no consequences or pros and cons in life, but that they remain in the mind as thoughts. This is the reason why God is unable to prevent them, for they do not exist!
Man believes he can perform and prevent events in life. How true can this be? Not an ounce of truth. Life happens faster than the mind. The mind only comes to know an event after it has happened and that is because it is an optical illusion of light, and mind is sound, which is much slower than light. Hence, man’s effort to perform or prevent is a game of words within the mind that causes a deception that man is the doer, who should weigh up the pros and cons of consequences.
The show must go on and God’s show surely does go on and will go on infinitely, as an illusion, but never real. Every effort, religious or spiritual, to stop, escape or prevent the show of consequences and their cons will only get man more into the show than out of it. This is the only consequence and its con, if at all there is one. Understanding that consequences with their pros and cons are illusory is the only pro, if at all there is one.
© Copyright V.S. Shankar 2008