Applying the Tools

This morning, as a fun New Year’s Day thing to do, I read my journal from last January. In it I had written a prayer that came up spontaneously in response to my annoyance at waking up every morning with a sense of dread of interactions and dealings of a normal day.

In it, I applied several of the self-inquiry tools that
James talks about. One of the tools I use in this meditation is “Apply the opposite thought.” Another is discrimination, or “I am not my thoughts and feelings.” A third tool used in this prayer is, “Turn emotion into devotion.” A fourth tool used is, “The joy is not in the object.” Yet a fifth tool is the “I am not the doer” teaching.

This is just a small sampling of the tools available to you in the Vedanta tool box. As you can see here, applying only five tools very effectively combatted the false thinking which was causing me suffering. This is the value of Vedanta. It gives you the
means to change your thinking and get rid of the ignorance that limits your appreciation of the beauty of what you really are.

Before I get to it, I need to preface it by saying something about fear. There are two ways of going for the apparent limited person: one is constant desire, and the other is constant fear. We usually lean towards one or the other. We either want to get stuff (desire), or we want to avoid stuff (fear). Desire happens when
rajas is present, and fear happens when tamas is present. Some people are more predominantly rajasic, and others more tamasic.

Since my tendency is the fear/
tamas/aversion pattern, this is a prayer for someone with fear-based thoughts and conditioning. I have learned by listening to James that he has never had any fear at all, in his whole life! So he doesn’t ever say too much about the fear pattern. He mostly talks about desire; he was predominantly rajasic, and his conditioning and thoughts were all desire-based before he became free of all that.

It all ends up at the same place anyway, when you know that you are free – both desire and fear are uprooted. But in the process of applying the self-inquiry tools, fear can seem like a bit of a different animal. Maybe some of you can relate to that, and to this prayer.


It’s all me, awareness. For every thought of “other,” every thought of adversary, remember, this is only me. Nothing here is “other,” nothing here is “against.” I am safe.

For every thought of having to do, having to act, having to fix, I counter that thought with the knowledge that I am already fine, I am already safe. Nothing needs action or doing. All doing can be put to rest. Relax into the knowing that there is no doing needed. Relax.

For every thought of vulnerability in interaction, I counter that thought with the knowledge that I am interacting with myself, and I love myself. There is nothing that is against me, in any interaction. Everything supports me, everything loves me, because it is me. Every person I meet is from me, and for me.

Everything is made of the same one substance, awareness. And “my” ordinary awareness is nothing other than this. And all the “things” and thoughts that appear in my ordinary awareness are nothing other than that. There is nothing that is “other” than anything, because it is all made of me, awareness.

For every thought of “me and world,” I counter that thought with the knowledge that I am the timeless, changeless awareness in which the body and the world appear. I am the one eternal reality.

I am already free, by my very nature. I am already “unified.” There are no pieces that need to be added, no action that can further unify me. There is no “part” of me that needs to stay behind and do actions to make the world safer for me. The whole world is in me, and I am already completely safe and whole.

I am already beyond the need to convince, cajole, impress, reassure, comfort, flatter, appease, outsmart, overpower, or control anyone, in order to feel more secure. I am already beyond the need to act, win, gain, plan, change, or improve, in any situation.

All manipulation of the world is completely useless. It is not my job, not my daily or my moment-to-moment burden, dragging along behind me, to fix my world. All thoughts of “what to do” about something are not needed, because the fact of my being as awareness obviates all action to “become” or to “fix.”

I am unified – “finished” – by my very nature, already. Unified is what I am. Finished is what I am. It is done. I am This, already. I am already fine, and safe, and eternal.

I am not the “one” who appears by nature of thoughts arising in awareness and disappearing. I cannot be that one because that one is not real. She, and the other objects, arise in thought and live for as long as a thought lives. She appears to be sustained as a “real” thing because the thoughts are frequent, close together, and unexamined.

I cannot be that person whose takes thoughts of separateness to be her own. In the stream of relentless thoughts that seem to create a separate self, there is nothing but suffering. There is otherness, there is a need to act in order to be safe, there is always a need to do, and change, and watch out. There is no peace. But I am not that person.

What is the constant suffering, the enemy that must be opposed? It is the arising thought, which is frequent and conditioned, that says, “I am this other, I have to take care of things, I have to protect my body, my property, the things that make me happy. I have to act all the time to ensure my happiness or else it will go. I have to be vigilant in thought, on order to not be stolen from psychically or physically. I have to guard against the other, who has opposing needs from mine. To live in the world, I have to give up my sacred birthright – knowledge of my true nature – to be on guard.”

That suffering thought arises as an object in me, awareness, and the knowledge “I am awareness” destroys the thought. It’s over, it’s gone. All guarding and protecting can be dropped! All these thoughts of “other” are banished, with knowledge.

My thoughts are now free to stay and rest simply with the fact of my being, the obvious fact of awareness – full, complete, unchanging. I am this.


If you want more information on the tools of
Vedanta, you can find everything you need in James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment: The Vision of Nonduality. You will also find all of the tools explained at great length in any one of James’ beginner audio or video series. Once you have heard the whole logical progression of the teaching of Vedanta, you will know who you are, and you will have the tools to uproot the ignorance that veils your true identity.