Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Contact with World, Bad company

Q: So we should be in the world without letting it impinge on us in any way. We should not regard other people as being different from us and we should not regard them as being good or bad.

Correct. If a ship is floating on the surface of the ocean it means that the sea water is not penetrating the hull, except perhaps in very small quantities. If a lot of water seeps in, the ship will eventually sink. If it is your destiny to move among many people in the world, try to float among them and don't let any of their worldly thoughts seep into you. As you move through life you can avoid the contamination that comes from worldliness by keeping your attention on the Self. When you identify with the mind, everything in the world is a potential source of contamination. But when you identify with the Self, everything becomes pure because you are aware of it only as an appearance in the Self.

Q: You sometimes say that we should avoid bad company. That is not always possible. If one is working one has to mix with all kinds of people. One can't always avoid them.

In such situations one should take the attitude of someone who is acting in a drama. Outwardly one should do whatever actions are necessary, but inwardly, one should always be aware of the centre, the consciousness which makes itself know to us as the feeling 'I am'.

I say avoid 'bad company' but ultimately bad company is just a part of the mind. There is no bad company in the Self. While you are still trying to disentangle yourself from the mind it will be helpful for you to avoid bad company. Whenever it is not possible, make an extra effort to withdraw into the Self. If you can establish yourself there, the currents from other people's minds cannot affect you. If you do have to mix with unspiritual people, don't make any judgements about them. Don't think, 'This is a bad person,' or 'I don't like this person'. The less you identify with the mind when you are near such people the better.

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