Unanswered [0] | Urgent [0] - SERVICES
  

Home / Writing Feedback   % width Posts: 19

A presence in oneself -- an essay


Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 7, 2007   #1
When I look at myself, who I am -- I see thoughts, feelings, like in some central core. Hard to say where exactly in my body, am I. Somewhere in the vicinity of my head.

As I take a walk, out in nature, for I am at this time fortunate to be so situated, with mountains and green fields around, and these walks may be hours long, I find something collecting in my thoughts. I do not try to analyze or even concentrate too much on any question, but whatever is there, it's there on its own. The exercise is good, but that's not the best thing I notice happening - what is even better is some kind of airing of the mind, and that comes from just looking at the distant mountains, the stretching fields or some eye-catching flowers. All this time I am able to acknowledge the people driving by whenever they look towards me, or when I can see them in their yards as I walk by.

I am quite aware how unlike this I was before coming out for the walk, and of course knowing that it will do all this for me is the reason for coming out. I cannot define more what the walk does for me - but that, it's necessary.

Of late I have begun to notice something, and that is, my own presence. I am finding it more and more acceptable to think that what really exists is me, this presence. It's this presence that is made comfortable in these walks.

Now if you see what I am pointing to, the question is, what is this presence? It's everything, how may we define and break down its functions?

If anything has experienced these years, it is this. Whatever I may come upon, to work with, it is always going to be what affects this, this same presence; something I can feel with, or bring my mind to bear upon something, using some knowledge I have lately acquired; it happens because of this presence, and can happen really in no other way.

EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 8, 2007   #2
Greetings!

You do a good job of painting a picture that describes your walks. I do have a suggestion, though, which would improve the reader's comprehension, I think. Consider this sentence:

As I take a walk, out in nature, for I am at this time fortunate to be so situated, with mountains and green fields around, and these walks may be hours long, I find something collecting in my thoughts.

The main thought in that sentence is "As I take a walk, I find something collecting in my thoughts." However, there are FOUR parenthetical phrases in between the two major parts of your sentence. While all the additions may be important information, they do tend to interrupt the flow of thought somewhat. This may be why I sometimes feel I've lost my way by the time I get to the end of one of your longer sentences. You could add these extra explanatory phrases in separate sentences, making the one sentence into two or even three, and make it much easier for your reader to follow your line of thought.

I hope you find this helpful!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 8, 2007   #3
Ofcourse I do. Thank you, Sarah.
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 8, 2007   #4
I think in the above, the philosophizing really begins with, ' what really exists is me, this presence'.

I can very, very vaguely imagine, my existence, but without this presence. Or put another way, I can sometimes see myself, as though clinging to this sphere of reality within which everything is happening. Because I see nothing else but this, and it does not turn upon me, ie. separate itself from me, I think I have started to think everything I see within as my very own world.

Thanks.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 9, 2007   #5
Greetings!

I'm afraid the only part of that which I understood is "I think I have started to think everything I see within as my very own world." Sorry to be obtuse...I think it must be difficult to be specific when writing about things which are more, by their very nature, ephemeral, than concrete. :-)

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 9, 2007   #6
Let me make a small change in something I've said above:

If anything has experienced these years, it is this. Whatever I may come upon, to work with, it is always going to be what affects this, this same presence; something I can feel with, or bring my mind to bear upon something, using some knowledge I have lately acquired; it happens because of this presence, and can happen really in no other way.

And say instead:

it happens for this presence, and can happen really in no other way.

Saying it as earlier makes me the person doing it, feeling it... and as this, it shifts the emphasis to, it is happening for reasons I am not even aware of, I'm only carried along.

As of now I think I feel, all the way down to the experience of it, as pleasant, unpleasant, soft, hard - but this is so actually, with my sense of being involved. My hand cuts and bleeds, after the initial intense moments, I can even see it all distantly. If I feel attached by the physical pain, that too can be schooled to appear removed; as people who follow this practice do.
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 9, 2007   #7
Hello Sarah!

I am more than just grateful to you for staying in this discussion. I am also grateful to have found someone who is representing the other point of view. Usually, it only feels like a blank wall when some things I take for granted, aren't so at all, and I'm left wondering why.

Does it seem incredible that millions live by these ideas? I will be really happy to think that, for this discussion, if you were to visit India sometime, people doing such practices as we have talked about will not bring in you any feelings of revolt.

Thanks.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 9, 2007   #8
Greetings!

I think it is very good for someone to become acquainted with the ideas and practices of very different cultures; good, not only for that person's individual growth, but also because it contributes to that person's own culture. To increase understanding between nations, religions, philosophical viewpoints and schools of thought, is to add to the knowledge of the world and diminish the likelihood of serious world conflict. That may sound like a grand goal, but I believe it to be true: the more understanding we have for things which are, to us, "foreign," the more willing we are to live and let live, and even derive benefit from this sharing of knowledge.

You write about things which are entirely unknown, I suspect, to the majority of Americans; that is part of why I have trouble understanding what you mean, sometimes. But, it is good for me to try to understand, just as it is good for you, as a writer and philospher, to have to push yourself to be understood. And, I hope, to anyone else reading this discussion, will come a new understanding as well--whether about the content of the philosophical discussion, or just about how better to express ideas in writing, so that the translation from thought to written word becomes clearer. :-)

Thank you!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 10, 2007   #9
I couldn't agree more with you, and share your hope in finding reconciling world-views among peoples through understanding each others cultures.

Yes, many ideas I have tried to express, may be the first time that people outside India have come across them. Or what is more likely, they may not have seen them connected to a single framework, and may appear pretty strange otherwise.

This concept of presence versus doing-it-ourselves is definitiely one of such.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 10, 2007   #10
Greetings!

When you use the word "presence" (and forgive me, because I think we've been over this before, but some things require a deeper understanding), how do you define that word, in that context?

And yes, it is not lost on me that the very fact that I must ask the question proves that it is "one of such." ;-))

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 11, 2007   #11
Greetings Sarah!

Definitely, to try and conjure up this 'concept' of presence is not likely to succeed. Instead we begin with what we feel is real for us. Maybe things which surround us, or our particular situation, as a mix of troubles and happenings.

If we are more comfortable with a sense of reality in 'things' around us, we cannot ignore that any sense of the real we have, comes to us through our senses. But since we make much more of these same things, inside our heads, (else they would be fragments of data,) we accept the existence of a reality of these same, somewhere beyond our common perception.

It is not so difficult to see ourselves, our identity, there as well; to whom else is all we perceive making sense otherwise? We may try to examine just what is it, what does it really do? But if we ask who is doing the examining, we have to accept that, that too is only the same.

Seems we really can't get away from ourselves.

But if we take our identity as just that and nothing more, that is, it does not actually initiate any action, what disaster could befall us? Is it just the same as choosing not to act?

Thanks
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 11, 2007   #12
Greetings!

So, are you saying that, by taking our identity as "just that and nothing more" we would be failing to look inside ourselves for deeper understanding? If I may play devil's advocate for a moment, what potential disaster results from choosing not to act? To act, by doing what, exactly? (I ask this as a method of furthering discussion.) :-)

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 12, 2007   #13
Greetings Sarah!

I meant "instead" in place of "but" at the start of the last paragraph, making the sentence mean the opposite of as you read it, quite correctly.

Thank you for pointing it out.

So, with that meaning, our identity is only a sense of such, and we have a moment before every action, especially with routine actions, when we can consider, if we are just attaching ourselves to this action or is it anything more.

Thanks.
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 13, 2007   #14
Greetings!

...and, what a difference that might make, if we were to think, before every action! (or would the world move too slowly in that case? Would anything get done? :-))

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 13, 2007   #15
And, if it is only that, then given everything before, and our karmas, things could not have been different from as they are now.

Many who read or otherwise come upon this philosophy, understand it as saying not to act, thereby, making out its message as being of inaction, translated simplistically as lazy.

It would be, I admit, if the person's intent was truly to be indolent. But, quite subtly, if the person was instead, looking, or more correctly seeking, for the spring in his every action, he would only quite mistakenly appear not wishing to act -- on account of his indolence.

Don't you think so?
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 13, 2007   #16
We have reached the end of the philosophy.

This last idea we have struggled with of identity, is called Asmita, and was mentioned in "Eastern thought introduction," the earlier topic. It is truly difficult to overcome, if at all. It is poetically portrayed in one Indian epic Ramayana, often read as an allegory of the human struggles to overcome an earthly bondage.

In it, the reality within ourself is an heir-apparent, banished to spend fourteen years in a forest, more perilous in the times of this story. He is accompanied by his wife, insisting to be on his side. She is the tranquility we seek. A brother, representing hot-headed valor, maybe even rationality, joins them.

While in their little abode, when the king-to-be is away, a demon disguised as a sage deceives the brother away from the cottage, and seizing the princess, carries her to his own kingdom. The demon is none other than Asmita we mentioned. Well, gathering together his many energies, most prominently his life-energy, represented in the story as a monkey-leader dwelling in the forest, the king sets out to win back his queen, and succeeds, but after he has vanquished the demon.

My own demons are not conquered. I cannot truthfully take this discussion forward and speak as though with experience of what may lie past this.

Rajiv
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 13, 2007   #17
Greetings!

One may question whether one's demons can ever all be conquered in this life...but to me, the journey is the thing; the quest for knowledge is the sine qua non of our existence. As long as we continue to ask the questions, we are improving, whether we think we have found the answers or not.

All the best!

Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP Rajiv 55 / 400  
Jun 14, 2007   #18
Thank you Sarah. I've enjoyed these discussions with you very much!

Rajiv
EF_Team2 1 / 1,709  
Jun 14, 2007   #19
So have I! Take care!

Sarah


Home / Writing Feedback / A presence in oneself -- an essay