What is ‘Inner’ and ‘Outer’ in the context of Spirituality?

Inner World and Outer World

Inner and Outer are the terms that are often being used in the context of spirituality. The other extended terms being used are Inner World and Outer World, Inner Journey and Outer Journey. Some new terms like Inner Engineering and Inner Technology have also been added to this spiritual domain. And all these words create a confusion in the minds of a novice. Let me share my thoughts and insights on this.

Inner Objects and Outer Objects

We exactly stand in the middle and there is this inner space and outer space extended from there. The witness stands exactly in the middle. And in this space there are various objects, the whole space is curved up because of the presence of these objects, and we all interact with these objects in our own different ways. When we interact with our thoughts and emotions it is called an inner world. And when we interact with the whole existence outside and other people it is called an outer world. It is very easy for us to know and interact with outer objects. And it is very difficult to reckon the existence of the inner world and the inner objects. The objects are very very small. They are much more smaller than electrons and protons. The inner world is very subtle. We don’t even believe that such inner world really exists. Our mind space is that inner space. Our mind universe is that inner universe.

Being Mindful of the Objects

Why interaction with the objects? The whole purpose of interaction is for the knowledge and understanding of the world of objects. When I understand the objects of my world, I understand my world and myself. This is the science. The whole purpose of observation is because the observer is the observed. And observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed.

Object and the Subject

The objects have emerged from the subject. The other way of saying is that the subject manifests through the objects. And there is this interaction and collaboration between the two. Why mindfulness? There is a duality of the objects and the subject. The separation of the objects gives rise to a duality. And this duality gives rise to stress and strain. Mindfulness bridges this gap and brings us closer to the subject. And there is a possibility of an experience of unification. And the experience of the non-dual gives us stillness, tranquility and bliss. This is the whole journey of spirituality which is infinitely divided between the outer world and the inner world. And enlightenment bridges this gap and gives us the illumination of unification and oneness 🙂

The inner space and outer space is because of the presence of objects. The object is not different from the subject. The separation of the objects from the subject creates duality and gives rise to stress and strain. Mindfulness is a powerful tool and technique that bridges this gap and brings us closer to the subject. And eventually gives us the experience of unification and oneness. And this experience of oneness gives us stillness, tranquility and bliss.

Livelihood Vs. Buddhahood

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Buddha is not against living. He is definitely against leaving. He is against leaving problems to God to solve them. There is no God the way we perceive God to be. We perceive God to be a super human entity somewhere up in the heaven. There is no such God somewhere up. So he can never come and solve our problems. We always look up and never look in. All the problems in life are our problems and surely it is our responsibility to solve them. We have created them and hence we have to own up the problems to find solutions to solve them. Buddha is in favour of improving our lives. He is for bettering our lives. He is not against life. He is not against love. He is for better life and better love. He is for Enlightened Living. He is for living wisely out of mindfulness. He is for a conscious living. He is not against Dollars. He has reverence for Dhamma and Dollars. He is not against Numbers. He is for Numbers and Nirvana. He is for quality in quantity. He is for a Quantum Consciousness. He is for matter and spirit together. He is for spirit in the matter. Everything is divine and sacred. There is nothing in the existence that is evil or non-sacred. The whole existence is divine.

Then why he left the world? This is a basic question. The only answer is that he was not aware of all this. He was carrying a wrong notion and a wrong understanding because of a wrong spiritual tradition. The tradition was that of renunciation and asceticism. And this was utterly a wrong tradition. This was one reason for his leaving the world. And the second reason was that in his whole life since childhood he was given to know only one side of life, that is, the life of comfort and convenience. He was never shown the other side of life. That is, the life of poverty, hunger and misery. Life is like the two sides of a coin. And the psychology is that if we accept only one side then slowly the other side will start surfacing and attracting. This is a simple psychology. It is a simple psychology of the attraction of the opposite. In the east people have been living in acute poverty and hence an attraction for Technology Leadership and Business Leadership. In the west people have been living in abundant comfort and luxury. And hence an attraction for Spiritual Leadership and Enlightened Leadership.

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When we suppress and repress one side, the other side creates a pressure and gains a momentum to assert and surface. This is a simple psychology. We need a new science of holistic living. We need a science of total living. Body and soul are not two different things. Matter and spirit are not two different things. Quantity and quality are not two different things. Hardware and software are not two different things. Dollars and Dhamma are not different things. Number and Nirvana are not two different things. Materialism and spiritualism are not two different ways of living. Therefore, Livelihood and Buddhahood are not antonyms. They are not against each other. They complement and support each other. Buddhahood is nothing but bringing in mindfulness in livelihood. Buddhahood is living with mindfulness. And there is no need to leave anything. There is no need to give up anything. The non-essential things, the unwanted things (wrong ideas, wrong notions, prejudices, preoccupations, wrong perceptions) will automatically be dissolved and disappeared in the process of mindfulness. Mindfulness embeds within two powerful principles. The observer is the observed. This is the first principle. The observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. This is the second principle. And in the process of mindfulness there is a unification and an experience of oneness. Because the object is not only an object it is a subject too. The object gets transformed into the subject.

The above experience of unification and oneness is not possible in the objective science because of the observer principle. At the heart of science is a duality because of the observer principle. This observer principle always keeps the observer away from the observed. And the difference between the observer and the observed remains infinite.

Let us bring in mindfulness in livelihood and bridge the gap between Livelihood and Buddhahood. They are not two different ways of living. Let us make them as one way of living. Let it be an Enlightened Living. An Enlightened World and an Enlightened Universe is waiting for us 🙂

“Mindfulness embeds within two powerful principles. The observer is the observed. This is the first principle. The observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. This is the second principle. And in the process of mindfulness there is a unification and an experience of oneness. Because the object is not only an object it is a subject too. The object gets transformed into the subject.”

Classical Spirituality and Dynamic Spirituality

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The classical spirituality is on the way to its death bed. It is on the way of being ruined. It is no longer effective. It has no scope. It can neither transform you nor transform the world. What is Classical Spirituality? It is a spirituality that just believes in doing something and not doing another thing. It is more like Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys. And what are these three monkeys? One monkey says, “Don’t see evil”. The second monkey says, “Don’t hear evil”. And the third monkey says, “Don’t speak evil”. And if you ask these monkeys as to what is good, bad and evil, they have no idea really. They may have the idea of the good, bad and the evil that is fed from outside. They do not have their own awareness. They do not have their own understanding. They have been fed the definitions of good, bad and evil from outside. The same way we feed the data and programs into the computers. These three monkeys are carrying different ideas and notions of good, bad and evil given to them from outside. Good and bad are relative perspectives. They differ from place to place, person to person and time to time. What is good to me may not be good to you. What is good in India may not be good in the whole world outside. And what is good today may have been bad in the past. For example, Sati (immolation of a widow on the pyre of her husband) was a good thing and a great virtue in the past, and today it is a big social evil and a crime. The kings and rich people in the past had many wives and today it is a bigamy and considered a crime. Long back in China there was this understanding that a woman is like a thing and a toy. She does not have a soul. And, therefore, she can be killed by the husband and that killing was not a crime. And the husband was not punishable. In India in the past a woman was considered a big hurdle on the path of spirituality. And spiritual freedom was considered an almost impossibility to a woman. Jainism even thinks that a woman has to take the birth of a man in her next life in order to attain to Moksha or spiritual freedom. The classical spirituality believes womanhood a curse for Moksha or spiritual freedom. Initially even Buddha did not allow women in his Sangha. And the whole credit goes to Ananda who first convinced Buddha to introduce women in his Sangha. In a Sangha where there were men and women, the women had to observe and follow more vows than men. One thing that was very great of Buddha was that he was not a rigid person. He was a very sensitive and sensible person. The classical spirituality was anti-women and anti-desire. The ancient spirituality was developed, organized and controlled by male chauvinism. These are just few examples to illustrate the point. There are many such beliefs and myths on the path of classical spirituality.

The modern, dynamic and quantum spirituality has to be totally different. I can not impose my ideas and notions of good and bad on the other. I can not get guided and controlled by the ideas and notions of good and bad of the other. For example, to clean the bathrooms and commodes (toilets) of others was a great service and virtue in the eyes of Mahatma Gandhi. And he imposed this notion on his wife and others. And this was not acceptable to his wife. And she followed this out of force and coercion. And she did not do this out of her own heart and soul. It was an imposition and not her own innate understanding that it is a great virtue. How can I impose my values and virtues on the other? The value or a virtue is like the process of flowering and fruition. The seed of value and virtue has to grow in the soil of my own being. You know what the psychology is? The more you tell a person not to do something, he will unconsciously try to do the same thing. Just see the psychology of the children. They do what they are told not to do. Then what is the way? The only way is to introduce one more monkey in the camp of the three monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi. And this monkey is a monkey of Mindfulness and Awareness. This monkey is not against desires. This monkey knows how to transform desires. What is spirituality? It is a way to transform the desire into divinity. This monkey is not against doing anything. This monkey is in favor of doing things with mindfulness and awareness. This monkey knows how to transform the doer in the doing. This monkey is not a male chauvinist. This monkey knows that every human being is a Ardhanarishvara. At one end Shiva says that he is a Ardhanarishvara. And our classical spirituality thinks that it is a domain of only males. Shakti says that she is a Agama and Shiva is a Nigama. This question was asked to Shakti and she answered it this way. Had we asked the same question to Shiva, probably he would have given a similar answer because he strongly believes in Ardhanarishvara.

We either do things or do not do things at three levels. Firstly at the level of the body. Secondly at the level of the mind. And thirdly at the level of the heart. At the level of the heart it is in the state of an emotion. At the level of the mind it is in the state of a thought. And at the level of the body it is in the state of an action. Emotion, thought and action are not three different things. They are just three different manifestations of the same thing. Emotions are subtle. Thoughts are gross. And actions are the grossest. Forget about bad actions, Krishna says that even to think of a bad action is wrong. I can shake my hand with the other person out of friendship. I can hug the other person with my body out of love and friendship. And I can use the same hand and the body to hurt the other person. I can hurt the other person even with my emotions and thoughts. The heart, the mind and the body are just vehicles. They are just carriers of our emotions, thoughts and actions. They are neutral things. They are absolutely not at fault. The false thing is a bad intention. The bad thing is an evil intention. So what is important is contemplation, observation, awareness and witnessing of the emotions, thoughts and actions. The fourth monkey, therefore, can help us to know how to observe and witness our actions. Observation, Mindfulness and Witnessing is a science in itself. J Krishnamurti says that the observer is the observed. What does it mean? If the observed action is that of anger then the observer is angry. If the observed action is that of love and compassion then the observer is loving and compassionate. The observer is the observed is one principle. This principle has been given by J Krishnamurti. Let me give you the second principle. And the second principle is that the observation changes the nature of the observer and the observed. The process of observation removes the impurities in the emotion, thought and action.

The fourth monkey is the monkey of observation, watchfulness, mindfulness and awareness. It will take care of the other three monkeys. You don’t have to worry unnecessarily. The fourth monkey will help you feel wise, think wise, do wise and be wise. Everything will be taken care of automatically, please just be aware of all that you are doing 🙂

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“These are the four monkeys. One monkey says, “Don’t see evil”. Second monkey says, “Don’t hear evil”. Third monkey says, “Don’t speak evil”. The fourth monkey says, “Don’t just get bogged down by all these emotions and thoughts. You can not close your eyes. You can not close your ears. You can not close your mouth. You can not shut your heart and mind. The heart is full of emotions. The mind is full of thoughts. And that too various types of thoughts. Psychologists and Neurologists say that our mind produces some 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. The mind is in fact a thought producing machine. It can never be shut down. It is shut down only once in life. Yes, you are right. It is shut down completely on death. The only best way is to observe and witness these thoughts. What happens in the process of observation and witnessing eventually is that the mind attains to stillness, stability and equanimity and then it automatically gets control of the thoughts, emotions and actions. And the result is that of a silent and blissful mind.”