Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Spontaneity means natural. It is natural for life is nature, and nature is in the ‘NOW’ rather than the illusionary past or the imaginary future. Spontaneity is therefore characteristic of the timeless nature. If life happens in the timeless ‘now’ how could mundane or habitual acts exist? For such acts to exist time is required, and time by itself has merely a mental existence rather than an existional one.
For any activity to happen, two criteria, ‘why’ and ‘how’ have to be fulfilled. Firstly, the ego has to be informed ‘why’ the act is to be performed and, secondly, ‘how’ to perform. If the ego is only informed of the ‘why’, execution will be impossible and vice versa. Therefore man is dependent on memory for all his activities. If memory is wiped out from the mind, man will be like a vegetable not knowing what to do and how to do it.
If the ego is informed of the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ man believes he has performed the event, mundane or otherwise. But is this true? On careful examination it is observed that two identical activities are impossible.
Firstly, the body is new every moment and therefore is unable to occupy the same space and volume it did a moment ago. This implies that all parameters, which describe an event, are non-reproducible. No one can claim with certainty that the same event done before can be identically reproduced once again. The mind can only recall the past event, it can never inform the body how to perform a new event, for the body is new in the present and the mind is old in the past. Therefore one should ponder who makes all mundane activities such as walking, sitting, dressing, cooking etc and skilled movements such as dancing, singing, etc happen? It is the Soul or the Atman from where all movements of the body originate every moment spontaneously!
The most important aspect concerning daily activities to be considered is the following. Firstly, one should wake up from the sleeping state as a starting point for activities to follow. What does the ego do to make consciousness attain the waking state? And similarly what does the ego do to make consciousness attain the sleeping state, the end point of daily activities? In simple terms, can the ego know ‘when’ and ‘how’ it wakes up and ‘how’ or ‘when’ sleep happens? When the starting point of daily activities is not under ego’s control, how could the rest of the day’s activities be under its control? Also, since the ending point of the day’s activities is not under the control of the ego, how can the ego kick-start the next day’s starting point? Just as the ego cannot bring about birth or prevent death, it cannot bring about waking state nor sleeping state. Waking state is daily birth of a new body and sleep is daily death of an old body. Similarly, even birth and death are not events but merely points of appearance and disappearance alternating to appear at another point in a flow! Hence everything in life happens as a spontaneity.
Life is a flow rather than a sum of events. Since the source of life is singular, beginless and endless, it obviously means that multiple events in life are impossible. If there are events separate from each other, then life cannot be a flow. A flow means absence of intervals
The mind’s faculty of sensation through which the ego perceives the world is limited and not total. Meaning, detection of speed is partial, sight is limited only to a band of light wavelength, three dimensional appreciation is subjected to optical illusion, sound follows suit, taste, smell and touch are not far behind in their limited potential
Is it possible for the mind, operating within its limited potential, to see a river flow, grass grow, tree grow, a child grow, basically all that grows and moves, or when a lighted candle melts, when colors in nature change, when water changes from hot to cold and vice versa etc. The obvious conclusion would be that it is not possible. These events are taken for granted.
For an event to exist autonomously it must possess the following characteristics. Firstly, it must have a starting point and an ending point. For a starting point to exist an ending point must precede it and vice versa. Meaning, for a separate event to manifest, a gap must exist between the starting point of an event to be manifested and the ending point of the preceding event. Likewise there must be a gap between the ending point of the manifested event and starting point of the next expected event.
Just as it is impossible to see with clarity the following, continuous phenomenon like growth, movement, speed, and those enumerated above, the mind cannot perceive that the body also is in continuous movement, a journey, which never begins, nor ends. Motile in fertilization, life, which is full of movements and dying, is a transforming movement needed to form earth, from earth to food, food, which forms factors needed for fertilization to happen for the next birth movement. This life cycle is in continuous motion happening spontaneously.
The body during its lifetime is always moving, there is breathing, and the body is growing continuously, etc. Therefore it is impossible to identify with distinct precision either a starting point or an ending point. Since these two criteria cannot be met, it is not possible for an individual event to exist. This makes life a singular movement. A singular movement is a flow. This flow is expressed through many forms called homo sapiens, animal kingdom, fishery, vegetations and, as a matter of fact, the entire cosmos!
Hence there are no mundane or specialized activities of any kind. All movements are merely merged into one movement, like a dance. This is why life is symbolized in the east as ‘Nataraj’ a performance called ‘Cosmic dance of Shiva, a spontaneity!
© Copyright V.S. Shankar, 2003