What is true earnestness? - Francis Answers - 145

Francis Lucille

Location: minnsesota

Francis, I often hear you speak of the neccessity of earnestness. I feel all my actions are aimed at the benefit of the entity I believe myself to be. I can give lip service to the concept of selfless action without intention as put forth in the Bhagavad Gita but there would still be the intention of reaping the rewards that this is supposed to bring. ramana proscribed this type of action also but he also said only a jnani can be a karmic yogi. That seems to be a precise summation of the student’s position. He is saying if you are selfless you can perform selfless actions so it seems any attempt at realization is self centered and would enhance the sense of self. so how to develop this earnestness? I fully admit my interest in this subject is a feeling of inferiority. I am miserably depressed and feel this is my only hope at happiness and by happiness I mean being admired by others. so my interest is no different than any worldy interest. I to be totally honest it is really for me a means to be better than others or more specifically better than one man in the eyes of one woman and I feel totally inferior in every way so I want to acheive the ’ultimate." I even criticize people in my mind for their wordly desires and feel a sense of superiority for having found the truest teaching. so as you can see I am as far from being “earnest” in a search for truth as one can get and I dont see how I could ever become earnest short of realization itself. any advice? one other question I had was about freewill. ive heard you say that one has no choice in what the body goes through but you have the freedom to inquire who it is happening to. this seems like a pretty big but. I mean that totally changes one’s responses to what happens and therefore chnages the course of events. I also have a question about solipsism. it seems that is the only verifiable reality, whatever arises to me. I have faith that the arisings I call people also have perceptions and thoughts and exist somewhere spatially different from me. the metaphor of this world to my dreams makes intellectual sense yet I feel if I am not aware of the world it still goes on. it does not come into existence upom my waking and becoming aware of it as Ramana so often says and I feel he is expounding solipsism in those statements. I can see this world is perceptual and that a tree only exists in the perceiving of it yet I feel like some of my perceptions also have perceptions of their own though I can not verify this. any help? thanks, Noah

Dear Noah,

I would be nice if the questions were formulated with a proper use of upper and lower case fonts and a proper spelling. I endeavor to do that in my answers, which is sometimes difficult because English is not my natural language, and I type with only one finger. It would make it easier for others to read the posts on the Advaita Channel. I changed all the “i”s into “I”s in your question, but gave up making further corrections. I decided that I will not answer in the future any sloppily written questions.

That being said, I appreciate your clarity and your honesty regarding your motivations for seeking self-realization. I started seeking the truth for similar reasons; I had a feeling of inferiority in the presence of others, and I was seeking a cure for my misery. Along the way, I encountered the spiritual path, and it became clear that the root cause of all of my psychological problems was my belief to be a separate consciousness. For a while, I kept trying to find a solution to my shyness, but my interest for the spiritual quest was simultaneously gaining momentum, until most of my energy and time were devoted to my quest for reality. I had almost forgotten the problem that had brought me to the path, when, a few years later, without having done anything to eliminate it, I noticed that it had disappeared, just as a specific leaf on a tree finally turns yellow and falls once the tree has been uprooted. So, yes, there is a personal interest stemming from ignorance mixed up with your interest for the truth, but your love for the truth is still there, pure, unaffected by the residues of identification with a personal entity. In due time, it will prevail. Here is the advice you asked for: follow always your love, your interest, your enthusiasm, and you will be fine. That is true earnestness. It will take you where you really want to be.

You asked several other questions.

  1. Is the path of selfless action open to a student still subjected to ignorance?

The answer is no, whenever the student is subjected to ignorance. The good news however is that a truth seeker is not always under the spell of identification. There are moments when he is open to the possibility that his very consciousness is not personal and limited, but universal and divine. In these moments, he can choose to act from this new perspective. Such an action is karma yoga. Because of his openness, he is a jnani in these moments, since he takes his stand as impersonal Presence. That explains why Ramana has said that only a jnani can be a karmic yogi.

  1. Does the freedom we have to investigate the nature of consciousness changes the course of events?

The answer is yes.

  1. Is Advaita a form of solipsism?

You say: “I feel if I am not aware of the world it still goes on”. What is the “I” you are referring to? Is it a personal entity, or the universal consciousness-reality? If it is the body mind, you are making the (false) assumption that the body mind is aware. If it is the universal consciousness-reality, the world, when not perceived, is nothing else than that reality. In that sense, it could be said that it continues to exist as that reality. The difficulty you are facing originates from the belief that consciousness is personal and dependent upon a specific body mind. Revisit the issue from the possibility that consciousness is universal, shared by all, and the problem soon vanishes.