#4310 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - Editor: Jerry Katz
#4310 - Friday, July 15, 2011 - Editor: Jerry Katz
The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights
Why do Anything?
by Colin Drake
I recently received the following question, variations of which I have heard/seen many times. I have removed the questioners name to preserve his identity:
Writing from Scotland.
I bought your book on-line. [visit http://nonduality.com/colindrake.htm to find out about Colin's e-books]
I am hoping that you would be kind enough to answer a question for me to clear things up.
If I identify as awareness. I don't understand how anything can be done.....why would I want to brush my teeth through wanting to have a career. Why would I not want to just sit around all day doing nothing?
I think this is what stops me being present and aware. Leap of faith? Lack of confidence?
With kind regards,
Dear XXXX, Thanks for buying the book. Good that you found it fascinating ... indicates an open mind, just what you need to see what is being pointed to! I will offer the short (obvious) answer and attach some reading which will prepare you for the long answer. Let me know when you have read it and hopefully I will have the long answer ready to send...
In short: identifying with the deeper level of awareness overcomes unnecessary mental anxiety and suffering caused by seeing oneself as a separate object in a universe of separate objects; however this does not (and cannot) remove all physical and mental pain as these are part and parcel of having a human mind/body. So if you do not brush your teeth they will rot and cause you pain, whilst making eating an unenjoyable experience. Also if you do not find a way to provide your body with food and shelter this will cause hunger and physical discomfort which will result in the body depreciating, whilst also causing pain. As physical embodiment is a way for Awareness (Consciousness at rest) to experience, interact with and enjoy its own manifestation (Consciousness in motion, Cosmic Energy) then anything that reduces this enjoyment is counter-productive to this purpose. Also at the peripheral level of body/mind we all prefer to enjoy life and a healthy comfortable body is a great help in this, Cheers, Colin
I received no reply so I assume that he was happy with the above. If not I had prepared the following:
The Long Answer
As previously posited the mind/body is an instrument through which Awareness (Consciousness at rest) experiences, interacts with and enjoys its own manifestation (Consciousness in motion, Cosmic Energy). It is also itself an ephemeral manifestation of this same Cosmic Energy (Consciousness in Motion) and is saturated with Awareness at every level, from cells aware of and reacting to their environment, white blood corpuscles being aware of invading viruses, the mind being aware of thoughts/sensations etc., etc. In fact Awareness is the keystone, or substratum, of all life, without which it could not exist.
So the mind/body is like an interactive vehicle through which Awareness enjoys this great theme-park (the universe), the body being the vehicle and the mind the onboard computer. The problem occurs when the computer takes over as the controller rather than the instrument, as did Hal in the movie 2001. Identifying with Awareness solves this problem and relegates the mind to its proper place. However, until one is established in identification with this deeper level insurrections will regularly occur which have to be dealt with. Fortunately these cause unnecessary mental suffering, which can then be noticed as a symptom that we are misidentifying, and can be immediately overcome by realizing that there is effortless awareness of the suffering (thoughts/emotions) in question! So provided that one is alert to this unnecessary mental suffering then the problem is easily taken care of.
Moving on to your specific questions. Brushing ones teeth is a method of preserving them thus making food ingestion easier and more efficient, in the same way that cleaning the spark plugs of a car makes for smooth running and fuel efficiency. Providing fuel and shelter (earning money) keeps the vehicle running and inhibits rust, preserves the paintwork etc. However, there is no advantage to parking in a palace or having a fuel tanker full of petrol, provided that we can fill up when required, so we do not need to waste our time and energy running after more money than is necessary.
Similarly we need to keep the onboard computer clean and virus-free so that it works efficiently and provides accurate answers and solutions to our problems. The most insidious virus is the separate self worm that colours all of our perceptions through the dark filter of self-interest, self-importance, self-serving, self-aggrandizement or self-loathing etc. etc. the list is almost endless. This worm is exposed and rooted out by the Identification with Awareness (anti-virus) software which needs to be run on a regular basis to avoid re-infestation. This can occur readily and stealthily by any thought which objectifies the I, in fact any thought of the form I am anything. It should be noted that I am Awareness is not of this category, for Awareness is not a thing, but the constant, conscious, subjective presence in which all things arise, exist, are seen and subside. Even thoughts which apply adjectives to the I are suspect for they also tend to objectify it. This is pertinent to your question about pursuing a career for if you become identified with this then the worm has reinstalled itself! So just keep running the anti-virus software to avoid this taking place In fact the best answer is for this to be constantly and effortlessly running in the background, as all the best anti-virus software does, but this is only occurs when one is completely established in Awareness of Awareness.
Now enjoyment is the name of the game which is greatly enhanced by awakening and seeing the world in its true glory, as it actually is rather than through the filter of the separate mind. Once this occurs instead of doing what one enjoys one tends to enjoy what one does. However, even within this paradigm there will be activities which yield greater joy than others, so if you find yourself pursuing a career which may provide name, fame and gain, (beware the worm) but that you do not enjoy, it is advisable to consider other options. Especially if these include one that would be more enjoyable and that would provide for a simple and sustainable lifestyle.
As the purpose of creation is for the enjoyment of the Absolute (Consciousness), and we are all instruments (and manifestations) of This, then it stands to reason that we should create as much joy in our lives as possible. Moreover, when we find a way to enable others to enjoy their lives more this is as valuable, in fact more valuable if we can facilitate this for a group, as creating joy for ourselves. This is the ethos of Utilitarianism, a secular philosophy first espoused in the 18th century, whose creed is: when making a decision, that involves other people, one should always adopt the position that creates the greatest amount of happiness for the largest number of people, whilst regarding ones own happiness as being no more important than that of anyone else. Bearing all this in mind, it becomes apparent why humans are naturally compassionate and become more so as they align themselves with the purpose of creation by awakening. So this gives the reason for the ultimate question you have asked, which is: why would I want to do anything? For the pure joy of living and to create as much joy in the world as possible!
According to Mahayana Buddhism the first stage, on the Bodhisattva path, is called the joyful. This stage is reached automatically once one has realized, and identified with, the deeper level of pure awareness. This creates great compassion and joy: Governed by compassion to liberate living beings completely, and always abiding in joy is called the first (1.4cd, 5ab). The Dalai Lama has stated unequivocally that, I believe the purpose of life is to be happy. Whilst this is to be achieved by overcoming ones own suffering through reaching nirvana, the emphasis is upon developing love and compassion for ones fellow beings. For as he said,
From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes... It is the ultimate source of success in life. 
The gaining of compassion ties in with the Bodhisattva ideal of becoming enlightened so as to strive for the benefit of all beings, rather than for escaping from samsara.
This is great, for it compliments the idea that creation is for the enjoyment of the Absolute, which is central to Hinduism whilst also occurring in Judaism and, through this, in Christianity and Islam:
Thus the universe came into being purely by the thought and command of God who rested after His creation and was pleased with the results: and God saw all that He had made and it was very good (Genesis 1 v.31). It appears that God made the universe because it pleased Him to do so and for His enjoyment. This concept is supported in the Talmud, the Jewish book of law, which states that every person will have to give an accounting for all the good things created on earth that he, or she, denied himself, or herself, from enjoying. Men and women, who are made in Gods image (Genesis 1 v.27), are enjoined to participate and take pleasure in Gods creation. As Rabbi Benjamin Blech says: God decorated His house so magnificently that Judaism believes He takes it personally if you dont share His excitement and joy in everything He has put on this earth.
 G. K. Gyatso, Ocean of Nectar, 1995, London, p. 38
 Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Understanding Judaism, Indianapolis, 1999, p. 56.