Originally posted by widget
Or, stated less metaphorically: How do you live this belief?
Ar, ar , ar... funny shagger...
[b]Moving right along, however...
I repeat: "What does it take to see the rope and not the snake?"
Or, stated less metaphorically: How do you live this belief?[/b]
A valid question and difficult to answer. Others may be better able to do it than I, since I don’t claim to be a Vedantist per se. However, as I said, I am close to it (I would probably be a heretic anywhere, anyway). It is an understanding that is found in all the major religions, with different permutations.
For me, understanding that I am manifest from the cosmos or Brahman or the ground of being, and that when I die I will simply return, be dispersed, whatever, takes a lot of pressure off. My favorite, though obviously limited, metaphor is that I am like a wave thrown up by the ocean; I exist for a time; and I will collapse back into the ocean from whence I arose. A natural process. The form (figure) arising from the ground, and receding.
Now, one could say that, given such a viewpoint, I could do anything I want in this existence. But the truth is that I recognize that everyone else is in the same boat. And we are all connected to the same ground of being—call it Brahman, call it Tao, call it God. That recognition causes me to have at least some moral regard for others. There is also the question, I suppose, of what we become according to how we live our lives. Hindus and Buddhists call that karma
; some believe that we carry that with us when we fall back into the ground. I don’t know. Maybe it could be thought of as “cosmic pollution,” if we live out our lives in cruel and evil ways.
There is of course, what we regard as cruelty in nature—the hawk taking the rabbit from the field, for example. But seldom, it seems to me, cruelty for cruelty’s sake, seldom the desire to cause pain and suffering. If we observe that nature is fundamentally harmonious, as opposed to chaotic (even if particular events arise randomly), then recognizing our fundamental connection to the ground of it all can help to live in more harmonious ways.
Whether our singular (ego) consciousness continues—beliefs vary; I tend to think not. But perhaps how we live our lives affects the whole of the “ocean.” So much for moral considerations.
As I may have indicated in my prior post, I am not in any way “Pollyanna” in my sense of this world as “maya” (illusion). It seems real enough to me, and I don’t try to escape from it or wish it away. When I have a toothache, I have toothache, dammit, and thinking of it as an “illusion” does not make it go away. But, then again, it is not a “sign from God” either. It’s just a toothache, and it too will pass. Nor, on the other hand, do I live a passionless life, floating in some pseudo-nirvana. I try to live with natural passion, and serenity, in full measure both (the Greek word eudaimonia
comes to mind).
For me, there is something naturalistic and easy about the whole thing. No big theological or soteriological issues, really. And those two things: (1) the naturalistic sense of it, and (2) the recognition that others come from the same ground, affect how I go about my daily life. With some more ease, perhaps with some more grace, and hopefully with some more compassion.
For me, it is not so much a belief that I have chosen or adopted, but an understanding I have come to.
Maybe someone else on here (like Metamorphosis or bbarr) will be able to address your question with more specifics.