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I am That – Nisargadatta Maharaj
Chapter 3 The Living Present
Q: My mind is restless, greedy of the pleasant and afraid of the unpleasant.
M: What is wrong with the mind seeking pleasure and shirking the unpleasant? Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows. It is only when the mind refuses to flow with the river of life, and gets stuck at the banks, that it becomes a problem. By flowing with life I mean acceptance- letting come what comes and go what goes. 6
Stamp of Reality
Surely, the memory of an event cannot pass for the event itself. Nor can the anticipation. There is something exceptional, unique, about the present event, which the previous, or the coming do not have. There is a livingness about it, an actuality; it started out as if illumined. There is the ‘stamp of Reality’ on the actual, which the past and future do not have. 6
Q: What gives the present that ‘stamp of Reality’?
M: What makes the present so different? Obviously, my Presence…A thing focused in the now is with me, for I am ever present; it is my own Reality that I impart to the present event. 7
A Happy Mind?
Q: Our question is: can there be a happy mind?
M: Desire is the memory of pleasure and fear is the memory of pain. Both make the mind restless. Moments of pleasure are merely gaps in the stream of pain. How can the mind be happy? 8
The Limited Mind
Q: Is pain a cosmic fact, or purely mental?
M: The universe is complete and where there is completeness, where nothing lacks, what can give pain?…isolation …What makes for isolation? Limitations of the mind…Can there be some other mind, which unites and harmonizes, which sees the whole in the part and the part as totally related to the whole?
Q: The other mind – where to look for it?
M: In the going beyond the limiting, dividing and opposing mind. In ending the mental process as we know it. When this comes to an end, that mind is born. 8
Love Is the Bridge
Q: Between the spirit and the body, is it love that provides the bridge?
M: What else? Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it. 8