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Interview in the Ser Humano Hoy magazine, May 2005

“Meditation is the art of contemplating in the present”

The Advaita Vedanta, or the Non-Dual  Vedanta, is the supreme jewel of Hindu tradition.  Sesha has been teaching it for twenty years now, and sharing his discovery of inner freedom with thousands of students from the Americas and Europe.  He goes about this by holding courses and residential courses on meditation, as well as writing books such as ‘The Divine Paradox’, ‘The Fields of Cognition’ and, recently, ‘Advaita Vedanta’.

Summary: “Samadhi is the state of enlightenment, it is the awakening where the universe finally reveals all its mysteries and there is only absolute being, consciousness, bliss.

What is meditation?

- Meditation is simply learning to see that which ‘is’ just as it ‘is’.  You do not realise but when you look at the world, you do not see it as it is; what you see is what you ‘think’ it is.  In the same way, you must learn to be aware of yourself without the disturbing condition of having to think about or remembering yourself, because you are not what you think you are.  Meditation is the art of contemplating in the present without thinking it.  Contemplating in the present leads to the Non-Dual experience.

What do you mean by the Non-Dual  experience?

- Thinking necessarily implies remembering something from the past, or anticipating something in the future.  That is why, when you think, you are not in the present and, therefore, you do not see It as It really is.  Allow me to address those who are reading ‘now’; I want to ask you to take the following into account: if you plunge deeply into reading in the present you disappear as individuals reading.  But when you become aware of yourselves reading, you are no longer in the present, as you are thinking.

Does it ever happen to you that, when you are reading, there are moments when you are nowhere?  But if you begin to think, what happens?  Well, you appear where you are, reading.  And when you appear there reading, are you in the present?  No, you are not.  But, when you are in the present, are you aware of yourself reading?  No, you are not.  Equally so, the present is paradoxical because it is a process of integration: there is consciousness but there is ‘no one set apart’ from it.  That is why in the Vedanta it is said that the present is Non-Dual.  The present is like being a drop of rain falling into a river: there are no frontiers.  It is like a sea blending into an ocean: there are no frontiers.  In the present, being a raindrop is the same as being a river, and being a river is being a sea and being a sea is being an entire ocean.  This means, in the present, being a raindrop is being water anywhere.  Or, put in another way: the knower and the known are non-different.  The Advaita Vedanta calls this condition Non-Duality.

- So, why is it not called unity, instead of being called Non-Duality?

-         Because reality does not disappear into a single, non-differentiated mass.  That is, information does not disappear: our bank accounts do not disappear, nor our husbands, or wives and children; nothing disappears in the present, except the condition of perceiving what is observed as being different to the observer.  This disappears.  It is like seeing yourself reflected in a mirror: one perceives something there, and so there is not just oneness; but what is perceived is not something “different’ from one, so neither are there two.  What happens is that the observer is Non-different to what is observed.  We call this Non-Duality.  This means that, if one sees anything in the present, one sees oneself.  And vice versa: if one sees oneself, one sees everything, since in the present One is everything that Is.

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And is it possible to be active in the world from the point of view of Non-Dualism, where there is no sense of being one separate ‘I’?

- Yes, of course.  In fact, action takes place in a much happier, more whole and reasonable manner and, moreover, without a feeling of psychological effort or stress, as what produces this psychological consumption is when you are doing things with the sense of ‘I’, of ‘mine’.  The world is more coherent and the action more acceptable if we do not interfere egotistically: then we flow, allowing ‘order to put everything into order’

- And so, what does meditation consist of?

- Meditation practice implies quietening one's mind; or, more precisely, it entails being constantly aware of what is happening in the present without thinking about it (as if we think about the present we are no longer in it); and that goes just as much for the inner level (contemplating the quietness within ourselves) as the outer (actively contemplating the outer world).

When you contemplate like this in the present, you begin to get a glimpse of a kind of wholeness without time, without space, without history.  We give the name of Non-Duality to this type of cognition and it is the previous step to the absolute state of samadhi, where the Universe finally reveals all its mysteries and there is only being , consciousness and absolute bliss.  This is the state of enlightenment or awakening

- How did your personal process come about?

-         After reading countless books including those by classical philosophers and esoteric authors, at the age of eighteen I discovered Vendanta philosophy.  From then on I dedicated myself to exhaustively searching within myself through reading Vedantic scripture and through meditation.  They were years of hardship, as I did not succeed in understanding concepts such as Maya, Karma, or Brahman, let alone experience the wonders taught in the Vedanta. In the end, when I was twenty-six I came face-to-face with the whole Non-Dual experience and then everything changed completely: from then on my mind was a wide open book.

 

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