Excerpts from talks given by Vimala Thakar at Mt. Abu in 1998
Life is now
What you call everyday life is the only opportunity to live that there is. There is no life apart from the here and now. There is no life apart from the present. What you call the present is the only timelessness with which you can remain. What you call the now and the present is the only infinity or eternity with which you can relate. Eternity or infinity is not an abstraction. They are not ideas. They are the content of reality. Everyday life is the only opportunity to live and living means relating to that which is.
The everyday is the only opportunity that we have to live. There is no other opportunity that we have. Tomorrows do not exist by themselves and nor do yesterdays. Yesterday may continue in your mind and you may imagine tomorrow but the reality is only the present. It is that which is here and now.
Life as relationship
We have to spell out what we mean by living in the “here and now”. If we are living somewhere in a cave or the forest somewhere in physical isolation, there is physical survival, there is existence, but there is no living. To be alive is to be related. It is to interact. In physical or psychological isolation, there is no life. There is only survival of the biological structure. There is only the survival and continuity of the psycho-physical structure.
Living has a dynamism of its own. It cannot be scattered or passive. It is an alertness. A sensitivity. It is an energetic dynamism. Life is dynamic, just as no energy is ever static. Life is never static.
I may be alone but not physically or mentally isolated. Aloneness, solitude and isolation must be differentiated and understood clearly. In aloneness there is an inner freedom. You are not a slave to tradition, authority, to persons or dogmas. Aloneness has great beauty and ecstasy. But isolation stinks of passivity and staleness. Human beings can even become stale living in a big city surrounded by people, if psychologically they are isolated.
Life and living is a movement of relationships. It is a dynamic phenomenon.
We can only live everyday life through the body. We call it “my body” but it is really an expression of cosmic life. What we call the body is the cosmos condensed. All that exists is cosmos. All the energies existing and operating in the cosmos are operating in what you call the physical organism. It is the conditioned and condensed form of the cosmic life because the intelligence of life finds its abode in the body. You have to live with that and this body is a mysterious phenomenon. It has inheritance and conditioned energies due to the inheritance. It has hereditary trends, excellences, weaknesses, deformities, shortcomings etc.
That is one part of it but it also has many autonomous systems hiding behind the skin and the flesh. Every system is autonomous and independent and yet they are inter-related organically so that they make up one whole. It is a functioning of many creative energies operating through many organs and yet making a harmonious whole. It is a wholeness like the cosmos. It is a wholeness having innumerable energies, some are conditioned and some are not.
The body should not be taken for granted. You have to watch it. Understanding comes through watching and observing. Unless you love life, unless you appreciate and love the body as an instrument of intelligence, you will never get to understand its needs. In order to understand, you have to watch it to see how it responds to sound, what kind of food agrees with it, the frequency of intake, the quantity, how much sleep it requires. All this must be discovered for one’s self. Every human must discover these things for him or herself. The unknown has to be discovered and understood at every level. If there is personal discovery then living becomes meaningful.
Living one’s understanding
If you are dedicated to the truth that you have understood, then live it quietly. You don’t need to advertise it, make a fuss about it, talk about it endlessly. You just live it quietly in a dignified way with integrity and inner freedom.
In fact, human beings have no choice but to live their understanding because they are the recipients of the faculty of not only knowing but of understanding. They are the recipients of an energy which we might call perceptive sensitivity, which is intelligence. They have the faculty of self-consciousness and self-awareness. So we all have a great responsibility to learn, to discover, to understand and to live our understanding.
Life is for understanding. The clarity of understanding is the sunshine of inner consciousness and living the truth that you understand gives you a sense of fulfilment which no social honours can ever confer upon you. Those who live their understanding enjoy the ecstasy of that inner freedom, peace and satisfaction of integrity. These are non-purchasable things. They are from the realm of the infinite, the eternity.
There is the organic inter-relatedness of the earth, the water, the fire, the skies, the solar system and the planets. In this organic inter-relatedness you share your life with others and you become enriched by that sharing. There is not the giving and taking but there is a mutuality and a reciprocity. This exists between the earth and myself, between the sun, the moon and myself, between the emptiness of space and myself. It is a constant sharing. This organic inter-relatedness is not created by human thought or knowledge. Nor is it the inter-connectedness of a technological gadget. There you have the parts and you assemble them together and there is a totality of the parts. But life is not like that. Life is unstructured. There are no parts, there are no fragments. Every expression has a wholeness and is organically related to the wholeness of each other expression.
You have to see the difference between wholeness and the totality, between inter-relatedness and inter-connectedness. In inter-connectedness there is no mutuality, no reciprocity. But inter-relatedness implies reciprocity and mutuality.
Life is an inter-relatedness and that inter-relatedness cannot be defined in human terminology. It cannot be worked out through mathematics or logic. To live with the awareness of inter-relatedness is to receive what is necessary, to share what you can and to live with a sense of gratitude.
Life as divinity
One day one might feel an enormous gratitude to life that one is alive. The whole of life is divine. The whole of life is divinity. It is a dance of emergence and of merging back. It is a dance of manifestation and dissolution. It is the beginning-less and endless dance of so many energies. I recognize no god apart from the cosmic life itself. There is no separate creator and creation relationship. There is an all-permeating energy of intelligence that is ever uncovering and revealing itself. The infinite, virgin splendour of that life intelligence has its own music just as silence has its own sound.