Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Q.: You sometimes say that we should avoid 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.

Annamalai Swami: 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 be always aware of the center, the consciousness which makes itself known 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 trying to disentangle yourself from the mind it will be helpful for you to avoid bad company. Whenever that is not possible, make an extra effort to withdraw into the Self. If you can establish yourself there, the currents from other peoples minds cannot affect you. If you do have to mix with unspiritual people, don't make any judgments about them. Don't think 'This 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. ...

Be like a big tree. When the wind comes the branches and leaves are shaken but the trunk remains stationary. If you live in the mind you are always being tossed around like the branches and the twigs in a strong wind. The less you identify with the mind, the less movement there is. When you are aware of yourself as consciousness alone, with no trace of the mind being present, there is no movement at all, only unbroken peace and absolute stillness.

Q.: Swami, you often say that we should avoid bad acts. 
What exactly do you mean by a 'bad act'?

AS: In a general sense, anything which causes harm to other beings is a bad act. But one could also say that any act that keeps your attention away from the Self is a bad act. Identifying with the body and mind is the primal bad act because it is the source of all other bad acts.

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