The root of suffering lies in our limited perception of how things should or should not be, as opposed to how they are. A Sage is one with the spiritual understanding of the Heart and knows that surrender or acceptance of What-Is is the only way to bring oneself peace of mind.
Sushi.: Sometimes, we are not in a situation to be able to sit and watch our thoughts. And before we know it, we are sucked in. I guess it needs to be seen that not even this taming of the thinking mind is in our control. Total surrender boils down to that? Am I wrong?
Jagjot.: Yes, Sushi! That is correct. Nobody has any control over what happens “in the moment.” Getting sucked into situations is common, even for the Sage. The difference is that while an ordinary person obsesses over what he/she could/should (or not) have done in the moment.
The Sage (the surrendered ego) completely accepts that what happened was God’s Will and that he/she could not have acted otherwise. For the Sage, the story ends there and then, while the ordinary person (for the lack of a better word) keeps obsessing over what he could or should have done, creating regret, shame, and guilt.
Sushi.: This acceptance of any happening happens only when the mind calms down. Right?
Jagjot.: I would say that acceptance happens only when it is the Will of God. Mind calming down is just a byproduct of that. With acceptance, the ego-mind surrenders as it has no space to move anywhere. It’s like game over or checkmate for the ego.
Trying to calm down the mind to get acceptance by following a path or practice is just a fantasy of the ego mind. There is nothing to be free of when the one thinking it’s in bondage is itself an illusion. The acceptance, mind calming down, and self-realization may appear to be sequential, but they are all simultaneous and spontaneous.
It is not that one follows the other. It’s all the same.
Sushi.: Can the Sage keep a distance from his own mind when it’s being sucked into situations? Or does his understanding cut involvement sooner?
Jagjot.: Usually, they can, but not necessarily in all cases. It depends on the conditioning of the individual. Although, for the Sage, separation does not exist. They are subject to natural laws of duality just like an ordinary person. They also experience emotions just like ordinary people. But for the Sage, there is no past or future. Therefore, the pain in the moment does not propagate into suffering in horizontal time. That’s the only difference.
No power on earth can prevent pain “in the moment,” even for the Sage, unless it is the Will of God. So getting sucked in may (or may not) happen. The Sage may even not be able to distance from his mind “in the moment.” But after the moment has passed, the Sage does not create regret or guilt for what he should or should not have done.
The Sage does not have a thinking mind.
The Sage’s involvement, in most situations, gets cut off sooner. Ramesh called it understanding in action. But how soon will that happen? The Sage is not in control of that. The Sage, like ordinary people, is powerless against the forces of life. And yet, he is free from their influence, knowing this true nature. An ordinary man suffers by creating a story around himself, which does not exist in the case of a Sage.
How a Sage reacts in the moment is determined by his environment and conditioning. The Sage accepts the dream and limitations (including the flaws) of the character he is playing. Therefore, a Sage may not be a pleasant person to deal with, but he is compassionate for sure. Nisargadatta Maharaj was known to be a short-tempered and fiery personality, but he had so much compassion for his followers.
The problem is that we have become used to watching media-made gurus who appear to be most benevolent and calm on screen, so we create an image of what the Sage should (or should not) be like rather than what he/she is.
The Sage is completely naked. He has nothing to hide. He does not hide his tears or suppress his laughter. He does not create any attraction, aversion, or indifference towards anything. He enjoys the pleasures of the moment and also accepts the pain. He does what he feels like doing in the moment but with compassionate awareness and irrespective of what others think.
A sage does not live by the code of conduct dictated by the world, yet he participates in the world. He participates despite knowing that he would get sucked up in the drama sometimes. He accepts his getting involved and experiencing pain as the Will of God. But nothing can bind the Sage for long. For he knows his nature as the Witness of all phenomena.