The few things I’ve read from Robert Adams have certainly resonated deeply with me. He definitely had It. Not only that, his way of expressing and teaching It were on point too.
He was a student of Ramana Maharshi and that method of self-inquiry is well known. For one willing to go directly into the Truth of one’s being, to penetrate it at the core, that method is extremely powerful. It’s also extremely simple. Simple does not mean easy. But for one that is willing to inquire deeply into who they really are, difficult or easy should make no difference.
I have outlined this same method, as well as two others, in this post here: True Religion. Check it out.
Also, if you’re interested in the complete teaching of Ramana Maharshi, the same one that Robert Adams speaks about, check out this very short, to the point pamphlet that has everything you need to embark on your journey of self-inquiry: Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi
"Do not debate, discuss, interpret nor pronounce your spiritual Path; simply devote yourself heart and soul to it, day and night, with humility. One who is progressing has no desire to pronounce it. Choose one Path and take it all the way. The point is to have a Direct Experience of God. Of the Unimaginable Beauty Within. The West thinks that spirituality is becoming ‘big’ and famous. That is the joke of the ego. In Reality, this is the opposite of spiritual Unfoldment. The saints and sages of all true religions have no interest in this. Utilize this time to transcend identification with your human-hood of personal suffering completely, and the Bliss, the love of True Reality, will come shining forth. There is a world of beauty, Supernal love, compassion, bliss indescribable. With which do you identify?"
- Robert Adams
Who said anything about clearing your mind?
There is a difference between thinking and having thoughts.
Thinking means deliberately engaging your thoughts and following them down trains of imagination/contemplation. But having thoughts simply means a word, idea, or imagination spontaneously pops up in your mind.
Thinking is an activity while having thoughts is a conditioned habit that arises as a consequence of semi-conscious thinking.
We are often engaged in semi-conscious thinking throughout the day. How significant or useful is the narrative that goes on in your head when you brush your teeth in the morning? What about when you’re listening to a friend speak or walking from A to B?
Not only do we habitually engage in unnecessary mental chatter but we do so without our full attention. Sure we know that those thoughts are occurring but we don’t really give them much attention.
During sitting meditation practice, you bring your attention to a place of support. Those supports can be something like the space between your eyebrows, the flow of your breath, or a mantra. You rest your attention on a support similar to the way you rest your attention on a movie screen—in the sense that the place of support becomes the default “home” position for your attention. However, it is not merely a tuning out the way watching a movie may be.
As you rest your attention on the meditative support, thoughts and feelings will arise. For the most part, they were always there in a soupy stream but you never slowed down and looked within to actually notice. Now you are noticing.
Typically you engage with your thoughts the way you do with everything else. You judge the experience of a thought/feeling as pleasant or unpleasant, comforting or threatening, and then you follow that thought down a train of thoughts by means of association. Soon it is easy to forget the fact that you are sitting in meditation or even where you are at all.
However, in meditation, you keep your totally alert and relaxed attention on the meditative support. When a thought arises, you let it do so. You don’t try to push the thought away or forget it nor do you follow it down a train of thinking.
If you catch your attention having wandered down a train of thought, simply pause and bring your attention back to the meditative support. I’ve been meditating for about eight years now and that will still happen. I’ll suddenly find myself thinking about this or that. But it’s no big deal, I just bring my attention back to itself.
Getting frustrated with yourself is just bad learning. You don’t need punishment and scolding in order to learn and grow—quite the opposite. We are more open to learning new things when we feel supported, encouraged, and inspired. So support, encourage, and inspire yourself. When you catch yourself lost in thought, just offer yourself an inner smile and come back to the meditation.
This change in the way you relate to your mind will predispose the thinking process toward silence. You do not clear or silence the mind any more than you can boil a pot of water. All you can do is provide the heat and be patient until the water starts boiling. So in meditation, you provide the calm attention. That’s all that must come from your end. The rest happens on its own.
This doesn’t mean that you don’t experience the benefits of meditation such as peace and clarity until after the mind has become silent. Periods of silence will come and go, even beginning the very week you start daily meditation. Do not cling to any experience of silence or bliss or whatever from meditation.
If peace is only possible when the mind is silent, then that peace is not very useful. But if peace and clarity are possible regardless of whether thinking is happening, or whether turbulent emotions are playing, then that is a very worthwhile peace.
Don’t make a goal out of any of this; make a path of it. Let it inform the way you relate with your experience of having a mind and body throughout the day. That is mindfulness.
When you practice sitting meditation, it acts to familiarize yourself with these inner workings while allowing certain unconscious habits and hangups to dissolve. When you practice mindfulness throughout the day, you maintain touch with the stillness and peace of meditation while touching the moment’s activities as they unfold.
If you are going to practice mindfulness, I would also highly recommend practicing daily sitting meditation as well. Additionally, the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a fantastic treatise on all of this and more.
Namaste :) Much love
Impermanence is what keeps everything in perspective. When we fall into the trap of believing in permanence and inherent qualities/existences, we lose touch with perspective.
That is the difference between materialistic philosophy and spiritual philosophy.
Materialistic philosophy is superstition disguised as science. The eyes of materialism look at a table and see a table. It refutes perceiving that table in any other way. As a male, examples of the materialistic philosophy I often encounter are the way I’m called “gay” for not taking an interest in sports or a “pussy” for not binge drinking. It’s a belief that men are supposed to do this and women are supposed to do that.
My sister once stated that I was effeminate and I disagreed. When I asked her why, she said it was because I like tea, yoga, and berries. It had nothing to do with my vibe or the way I behave but rather she was using externalized phenomena upon which she had placed conditioned associations in order to judge me.
That’s materialistic philosophy. It believes in its associations as if they were inherent or objective truths. As a consequence of materialistic philosophy, we believe that things can make us happy or fulfill us or corrupt us.
Spiritual philosophy, on the other hand, attempts to see and relate to life on life’s own terms. In that sense, it is much more scientific. It questions societal values, conventional thinking, and assumed truths. It doesn’t question these things sardonically or arrogantly but as a matter of inevitability. Anyone who has studied anthropology will understand that.
Additionally, spiritual philosophy comprehends impermanence and its repercussions. A table is not just a table. It is the whole story of the tree and the infinite circumstances that came together since the big bang in order for that tree to occur. After being a table, who knows where the materials composing its structure will end up?
Even now, the physical matter is an assemblage of vibrating bits of nothingness. Atoms are mostly empty space; if you were to enlarge a nucleus to the size of a grape, the electrons would be over a mile away. But even the subatomic particles themselves are made up of even smaller particles, which are themselves made up of vibrating dimensionless points.
So now I ask you: How can you appreciate, or even recognize, what you have and what is happening right now, if you are stuck in materialistic philosophy? Impermanence and suffering are your only teachers under such circumstances.
The spiritual philosophy, on the other hand, is not to recognize and then savor the hell out of whatever you do have. Rather, in recognizing that everyone we meet is dying, that all things shall be lost in the end, how can we be predisposed towards anything but Love? How can we be more interested in running after things than we are in drowning ourselves in the Heart?
The remedy for no longer taking things for granted is to make impermanence a daily contemplation and love a daily practice.
Namaste :) Much love