How to Make Things Right

“Let’s remember, the story is coming out of you anyway. You can’t just be the Knower. You are also the process of Knowing and the Known. And so if you feel invited and, very importantly, if capability is there, then to the extent that you’re invited, combined with capability, go ahead and scratch the itch to your heart’s satisfaction.”

Thom Knoles

As Vedic meditators, we have the distinct advantage of knowing that evolution is the only thing ever happening. So, if this is the case, do we ever need to make things right?

Aren’t they right already?

In this episode, Thom reminds us that we aren’t just pawns in some cosmic storyline that’s out of our control and that we aren’t just here to witness the story as it unfolds.

In fact, as Vedic meditators, we have an additional responsibility to not just perceive when things need to be put right, but to step up and do what’s needed to maintain the evolutionary storyline.

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Episode Highlights


Has Anything Actually Gone Wrong?



Vedanta – The Final Conclusion



The Big Bang



What Happened?



Who is this I?



Am I Being Called to Make Things Right?



Influencing the Storyline



Extended You



Scratching the Itch



Invitation and Capability



The Mahabharata – A Cracking Good Tale



This Isn’t How I Want the Story to Go



You Can’t Just be the Knower


Jai Guru Deva


How to Make Things Right

[00:45] Has Anything Actually Gone Wrong?

Jai Guru Deva. Thank you for listening to my podcast, The Vedic Worldview. I’m Thom Knoles, and today I’m going to answer what frequently comes up as a question from my students and clients, the subject of how do I make things right?

Perhaps, as I’ve become wiser, more knowledgeable, which, by the way, is inevitable, since evolution is a constant and ongoing process, one might look at a sequence of events and one’s own involvement in such events, and see how there have been certain things that could have been done better, certain things that might have lessons for us in the present. And so I very often get asked, what do I need to do? Do I need to do anything? And, has anything ever actually gone wrong since evolution is all that’s happening?

And so all of this is worth some examination because it plays into our overall capacity properly to understand what the heck is going on. We’ll look at our evolution and our participation in the phenomenon of evolution and the fact that we’re locked into it.

What is it that’s required of us? And this is a very important thing to look at.

[02:27] Vedanta – The Final Conclusion

So I do believe that, first of all, we will solve most of these problems, as ever, of questions and queries by stepping out of the idea that there is a separate observer and a separate observed. That which is observed and the observer and that these are two separate things, we need to step out of this.

Stepping out of this is a movement in the direction of what we call in the Vedic worldview Vedanta. Veda, V-E-D-A, Veda, it means the knowledge or the truth that is embedded in the entirety of the Unified Field of consciousness, which is the basis of all forms and phenomena, all doings, all sequences, issue forth from the Veda.

Veda Anta, Anta, the final conclusion. What is it that you can conclude from the observation that in fact there’s only one indivisible whole thing and you are it?

So first of all, let’s get down to basics. Why is it that the one indivisible whole bothers to break its symmetry? Because the idea is that there is a layer, or there is a once upon a time, and you can look at both these things as both of them being true, they’re not contradictory truths.

[04:10] The Big Bang

Once upon a time, there was the singularity that went boom, the Big Bang, and within one ten thousand billionth of a second, give or take, at least fifty percent of all the space and time and mass of our universe appeared.

This is not a fairy tale. This is fundamental cosmology. Fundamental conclusions of the history of the universe according to astrophysics. It’s very easy to calculate this because you only have to look at the constant outward moving nature of everything around us and reverse engineer it.

In order to see that, by reverse engineering it, it all goes back into one point of a point. And this is not just all the matter of the universe moving into that point. This is a much more complex thing to think about than that. The space through which the matter is moving. also has expanded out of that point.

So space, all of space, all sequences, therefore all time, were inside of a tiny dot. We say tiny as a comparative because tiny is tiny compared with what? Smaller than an atom and out of this I should say, with this thing suddenly expanding, compared with its dot size, it expanded into the universe we know today.

This is what’s called the Big Bang, the expansion theory of the universe, to which all significant scientists subscribe. It is not controversial that this is what happened.

[06:09] What Happened?

So then we have to ask from a philosophical perspective, since consciousness, once upon a time, was experiencing itself as one indivisible and whole, and then it broke its symmetry and expanded into storyline.

Storyline to me means sets of sequences that elaborate in order to move consciousness from having lower repertoire, comparatively, to higher repertoire, comparatively, moving from less sophisticated to more sophisticated. This is a storyline.

What happened? How did consciousness sequentially elaborate to the point of us sitting here now, me sitting in a little room somewhere talking to, potentially, hundreds of thousands or millions of listeners about the process and processes of how things came into being.

Well, what is it about that that needs to be set right? We have an individual sense of being, we have an individual sense of who and what we are, and we have this illusory sense that who and what we are separate from, the other who’s and the other what’s, that have evolved around us over a period of, now we’re talking about a relatively limited time perspective, our lifetime. That’s a relatively limited perspective, believe it or not.

[07:55] Who is this I?

So, around that relatively limited perspective of our lifetime, we’ve watched as we evolve, we’ve watched as things around us have evolved, as things have moved into states of being, and we have been invited in at various stages of our own consciousness, we’ve been invited into participation.

And maybe now with a greater knowledge, a greater advancement, a greater wisdom, a greater sets of experiences of life, we might look back and say, “Hmm, I could have done that better,” or, “Maybe I should have done something and I didn’t,” or “Do I have regrets?” this idea of regrets about the way things have evolved, and, “What role can I play in making things better than they would otherwise be if I did nothing? Do I need to do anything?”

So,first of all, we have to ask the fundamental question that Vedanta requires us to ask: “Who is this, “I, that’s talking here?”

“Is this the little consciousness that assumes I’m a body and that’s all I am, and you know, I got born somewhere and I had, whatever kind of upbringing I had and the various events that occurred that formed me and formed my thinking and formed my emotions and I’m a product of those events.

“I’m a product of my genetics, things that were part of my genetic nature and then, you know, to what extent was I influenced by the environment in which I was raised?”

[09:53] Am I Being Called to Make Things Right?

And so if we take all that together as one big equation and say that’s the I that’s doing the talking now, then we have to ask another question.

Has this I, the you who is the Knower who’s doing the talking, if that’s what you are, is it any different now? Are you different to how you were when you were six? I’m sure you’ll say yes. How about, are you different to how you were when you were 15? I’m sure you’ll say yes, you’re different. A different I.

Are you different to how you were when you were, and let’s keep going up in age. I’m quite conscious that if I go too high in age, I’m going to make some of you sound like you’re as ancient as me. But, relatively few of my listeners are as ancient as me, we’ll go up to 20 or 30 whatever you happen to be, 50.

And as we add each five year epoch and say, is this “I” who’s describing these events, is this an I who has evolved over the years? Rhetorical question. Answer? Yes, of course.

You, the I inside there who’s asking the question has evolved and things around you have also gone through change. Most of that change has been progressive in the sense of sustainable behaviors being supported by Nature and continuing to thrive and evolve. And we’ve seen change occur in an evolutionary fashion and so then, “To what extent am I invited into and being called into making things right, making things better than otherwise they would be?”

[11:47] Influencing the Storyline

So now who is this I? The I who’s asking the question according to Vedanta is the same I of all the situations, all the other people, all the other players, and all the other events, all the things around you.

“To what extent am I interested in influencing the ‘I’ that I see outside me? To what extent am I, the Knower, interested in influencing the storyline of the I that is my extended self.”

I have core self, the sense of I that I like to reside in, the me who is the witness of all these things. The ever-growing me, the ever-becoming wiser me, the ever-more knowledgeable me, the I. But we have to also conclude that the I that I’m looking at, that I am a witness of, has also extended self, it’s extended me.

To what extent am I interested in influencing the storyline of me? To what extent am I interested in influencing the storyline of me? We’re going to put it this way. To what extent are you called? At every different state of consciousness, the degree to which you are called into action is going to be different.

[13:28] Extended You

When you are a six-year-old and there are things going on around you that might be what you consider as a six-year-old outside the range of your influence, your territory of influence, you may not be called at all. You’re just left to be a six-year-old witnessing everything. Maybe as a 60-year-old, if any of you ever get to that ripe old age, I can tell you it was very nice, I consider it to be, you know, the new 30 is 60, and I’m way beyond that now.

To what extent is the I drawn to influence the I? In other words, if I have an itch on my knee, do I, the experiencer of the itch, reach my hand down and scratch it? To what extent am I invited into and made easily capable of influencing my own storyline?

This is the real question we need to answer. To what extent am I being called to correct things? And correction is not the correction of an it that is already perfect and doesn’t need correcting. The it that you’re looking at, the thing, the world out there, the people in it, the circumstances and the sequences and all that, are not an it that is separate from you, it’s extended you.

[15:08] Scratching the Itch

So to what extent are you being called to scratch the itch? To what extent are you being made capable of scratching the itch.Let me put it to you that if your hands were for some reason tied and bound and you couldn’t scratch an itch, then I might be saying to you, “It’d be good simply to witness it, feel the sensation of it, feel the dimensions of that sensation. Notice the edges of the itch and watch as it fades and melts and goes away.”

But if your hands aren’t bound, I might well say to you, “If your nose itches during meditation, just reach up and scratch it.” You’re not going to get any extra meditation points for having tears rolling down your cheeks.

Feeling the itchy nose and not scratching it because I’m meditating and during meditation of course you know I have to be a frozen sculpture. You know we actually don’t teach that in Vedic Meditation. If your nose itches, scratch it. That’s what we say. In fact we teach this to people on the first day after they embark on their instruction in Vedic Meditation.

If you itch, comma, then scratch, full stop.

[16:37] Invitation and Capability

So we want to look at, to what extent am I being invited into correcting things? To what extent am I being invited? To what extent is big Self, core Self being invited into extended self to “set things right?”

Well, we have to look at two things; strength of invitation, strength of the call, and second thing, capability.

What capability do you have to actually influence the storyline that you created? You created the storyline. If you want to affect it, then if you have capability, you do.

I’m reminded in this, and it makes me jolly to think of my namesake, the author of two-thirds, maybe even three-quarters of all Vedic literature was one man.

Veda Vyasa, V-E-D-A, Veda, he’s called because of his effect that he had on organizing the whole of Vedic knowledge. Vyasa, V-Y-A-S-A, Vyasa, the namesake of my spiritual name Vyasanand.

Vyasa writes amongst the many documents of which he is attributed to be the author and a wonderful document, a wonderful text that I recommend that everyone read called the Mahabharata. Mahabharata means maha, great. Bharata is a double entendre. Bharata is the ancient Sanskrit name for the country we know today as India. B-H-A-R-A-T-A. Bharata.

Mahabharata, the great India, but it’s a double entendre because Bharata is also the name, the broadest name of the royal family of India who lived in ancient India, in Bharata, 5000 years ago.

[18:52] The Mahabharata – A Cracking Good Tale

And in this book, Mahabharata, of which Vyasa is the author, we see Vyasa himself as a character He plays a role in his own epic, his epic description of all of the events, the interactions, and these events are all the interactions of different states of consciousness with each other, the one indivisible whole consciousness breaks itself into, member consciousness as, some of which are at earlier stages of evolution, that means less sustainable thinking, and others that are at very advanced levels of evolution, maximally sustainable thinking. And the interactions between all these layers of consciousness development, how they interact with each other.

And, as we go along in the story, and it’s a cracking good tale, by the way, particularly if you read the translation by, I would consider him to be a colleague, he’s roughly my age, the author and translator, Ramesh Menon, R-A-M-E-S-H, last name Menon, M-E-N-O-N, Ramesh Menon, in my opinion the best translator of Vedic material of the modern age, Ramesh Menon, his translation of the Mahabharata.

And as we’re going along through this cracking good tale about the interaction of different states of consciousness, somebody who’s in one state of consciousness, who is a more sustainable thinker, interacting with somebody who is in a state of consciousness that’s yet to become more sustainable, that is to say less sustainable, the interaction between all these different consciousness states creates a cracking good tale, a good story, and you read the story enthusiastically.

[20:57] This Isn’t How I Want the Story to Go

You find at one particular point things are about to take a dark turn. One set of characters who are the unsustainable thinkers, known as the Kaurava, are in interaction with the more sustainable thinkers, the Pandava, and things are about to take a dark turn because the Kaurava, that is to say the unsustainable thinkers, are about to engage in some trickery that is going to be the undoing of the Pandava.

And both of these sides of the family, of the one family, interestingly, are the grandchildren of the author, Vyasa. And so what do we see in the middle of this tale? Suddenly Vyasa has himself appearing in the story saying, “Hold on. This is my book. This is my story. I don’t want things to go this way.”

And we hear him going to his grandsons, the unsustainable thinkers, saying, “You can’t do this. This isn’t part of the way I want the story to go.” And he puts everything on hold. Having entered the story,he’s the author, but he’s entered the story now as an interlocutor. He’s entered the story now as someone who’s interfering with his own story.

“I don’t want it to go that way. I want it to go this way. So you get back over there and do things the right way and don’t do this nasty thing that you were contemplating doing. And you over here, the Pandava, my other grandchildren, you can continue engaging in the way things were. Okay. The story is reset now. I’m disappearing back into authorship and disappearing out of my own story.”

[22:46] You Can’t Just Be the Knower

He sets the story right. Why? It’s his story and he felt invited to do so. In his own story, he had the adversaries of the good guys about to engage in something that he himself as the author didn’t agree with. And so he writes himself into the story as entering it and setting things right, changing the context and changing a pivotal moment from a pivoting from one less desirable sequence and outcome in the story to another more desirable sequence and outcome in the story.

He doesn’t remove all adversity. Just this one particular one. So this is a great example of you, my listener to what extent are you invited into your own story to be someone who brings about some soothing effect? Some, you’ve interrupted it to change the sequence in some way on the basis of you feeling compelled, invited.

But if you are compelled and invited, let’s remember, the story is coming out of you anyway. You can’t just be the Knower. You are also the process of Knowing and the Known. And so if you feel invited and, very importantly, if capability is there, then to the extent that you’re invited, combined with capability, go ahead and scratch the itch to your heart’s satisfaction.

Jai Guru Deva. 

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