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The Real You Doesn't Have Cancer

Hi Isaiah.
Thank you for your reply. Jeff found it very helpful. I know I am awareness, but I keep
forgetting and thinking that I am Jeff. Jeff is trying to survive and make his life more
pleasant, but tonight he has realised that that is the trap. He has decided to let Jeff's
survival depend on Isvara, instead of on Jeff's efforts. Now the question is, how long
can I, awareness, remember who I am and let Isvara take care of Jeff? Until today, Jeff
has made the mistake of thinking he can survive and succeed by his own efforts. Now
he is starting to realise that it is not up to him, but up to Isvara. This feels so important.
Jeff hopes he can remember this realisation tomorrow and not go back to trying to
survive. (The background to this is that Jeff's body has cancer, and he has been trying to
survive. But he is just starting to realise that that is the problem!)
(Please forgive the clumsiness of the style here, but I find it useful to explicitly separate
out 'Jeff' from me, awareness. It makes it clear who is who!)
Best wishes,
Dear Jeff,
I am sorry to hear you have cancer. First your sister, and now you; that is a difficult
situation. But let me be clear: wanting to survive this cancer is a completely normal
and reasonable desire. And yes, this survival certainly depends, at least in part, on Jeff
taking the appropriate actions. It is up to him to take good care of himself, see the
appropriate medical professionals etc. Doing these actions doesn't guarantee his
survival (that is up to Isvara), but it definitely increases his chances. Isvara isn't a big
person in the sky. It is just a word denoting the field of action, which is simply a system
that runs on set laws. Built into this system is the idea of purposeful action. It means
you get to choose what you do to try to get what you want. If it wasn't like that, there
would be no point in doing anything, including pursuing self-knowledge. The fly in the
ointment is that, although you should try your best to choose your actions
appropriately, the field of action is incredibly complex; there are so many factors you
are not aware of. This means that when you put an action into the field, the result is

not always clear. However, taking all of the other factors into account (i.e. the needs of
the total), the result is always appropriate. This is what is meant by Isvara giving the
results: that the field of actions responds appropriately to the actions you offer it. The
reason the result is not always clear is because you do not have total knowledge of the
field that determines the result. To reiterate, this not a cause for despair or a
justification to not act. In part, it is good news because the field of action is taking care
of lots of stuff you don't even know about. In conclusion, if I told you I had cancer but
didn't care about surviving, you would think there was something wrong with me. Also,
if I did want to survive, but I didn't think what I did mattered because God was taking
care of it, you would think I was a fool. Do your best Jeff, and Isvara will take care of
the rest. Besides, how are you going to continue self-inquiry without a healthy body /
That being said, let's do some inquiry. Let's analyze the statement, Jeff's body has
cancer. What is being said here is that Jeff owns / possesses a body. This implies that
Jeff is different from his body in the same way he is different from his car in the
sentence, Jeff's car is running poorly. If Jeff's car is running poorly, does it affect Jeff.
No. If Jeff's body has cancer, does it affect Jeff? No. However, you may say this isn't
true. But this all depends on what Jeff actually is. Since we have determined that Jeff
cannot be anything he possesses, such as a body, then what is Jeff? Is there a concrete
entity we can refer to? If you investigate, there isn't. At best you will find a transient
thought that periodically lays claims to things such as, I have a body, I have a mind. I
am sick, I am angry etc. This thought is of course the ego, and the very idea of it's
ownership is fallacious owing to the fact that a thought can't own anything, including a
cancerous body.
Now, we have established that Jeff, the ego, cannot have cancer. This is good news for
the ego, but the real question is, Am I the ego? If you are the ego, you have bigger
problems than cancer: you are not real. If you are not real, then nothing you can do
will make you real; thus, freedom is an impossibility for you. So inquiry is necessary.
How do you know the ego is there? It is an unconscious, transient object known to you
and therefore cannot be you. That you are conscious and the ego is known to you
shows that you are the awareness of the ego. Thus, you are free of the thought that
falsely claims to possess a cancerous body. You are whole, complete, unchanging. If
you are unchanging, it means you cannot be healthy one moment, and have cancer the
next. You are free of both. You cannot die from cancer, because you were never born
in the first place.
Tough love time, Jeff, because I do in fact love you. Death is coming for every living

being, cancer or not. There is no guarantee my body won't die the moment I finish
typing this e-mail. So, essentially, your situation is the same as everyone's. You have
to, as we Americans say, Man up. While it's true you need to do whatever is in your
power to take care of the body, the only way 'out' of this situation is to continuously do
inquiry, such as the example above, guided by the logic of Vedanta. Commit every
moment you possibly can to doing rigorous spiritual practice; if you are not doing
karma yoga, bhakti, and meditation on a regular basis, then get to it. They are critical
to preparing the mind for knowledge (if you have questions about these, let me know).
To gain knowledge, continuously exposing your mind to the teachings. After you listen
to the teachings, apply what you have learned to each and every thought that appears
in your mind, on a moment to moment basis. This is the only way, it takes total
commitment. Suffering is a great motivator, so if you are afraid to die, then good, let
that fear drive you. Everyone is afraid of death, until they understand they cannot die.
This understanding can only be 'reached' through knowledge, which is arrived at by
intense, dedicated inquiry; make it your number one priority. Let me know if I can help.