Sometimes the state of the world, the country, the state, the individual etc seems to be disturbing and alarming. Where there are talks about tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness but really it’s just surface level. How do we commit to real change, real transformation? How do I learn to be truly tolerant? How do I truly imbibe compassion? How can I truly forgive someone, or more so the situation?
This type of transformation only comes when we understand who we are and what we are. If I believe I am this body which includes the mind, then whatever my body dictates that will be the outcome. Is there a way out of this? Is there a way beyond this? The Sages have talked about being the Atman, the Self or the soul and how do we come to this realization? Again, not simply knowing it as knowledge but truly feeling that one is the Atman? This comes by being aware, moment to moment, as much as possible that one is the Atman, the Self. As we become established in each moment of awareness, the more we find that tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness does not need to be cultivated. They are always within us. We just have to discover it.
How can we discover this? By being honest to ourselves, being honest to others, being honest in every relationship we have. When we let go the facade of being something, which is difficult for many. Unfortunately, social media has fooled us into thinking that our lives is what is on the screen infront of us. We think that how we show others on social media, this is what we are. But this is far from the Truth, I noticed this with myself hence I knew I had to change. When really life is how I relate to everyone around me. If I ignore them then I am in ignorance. If I honor them, respect them because I am the Atman and they are the Atman, the relationship is honorable, it is respectful, it is full of integrity.
The older I get, the more I analyze my spirituality. 10 years back, I was probably in a ‘honeymoon phase’ with my spiritual journey and today, I seem to reflect that I honestly don’t know how much I have achieved spiritually speaking. It’s easier to guess how successful you are materialistically, you can look at your wealth in your bank balances, the cars you own, properties, investments etc. But with spirituality, there are no milestones, it is not like you can be a quarter enlightened, half enlightened or almost enlightened. Either you are enlightened or you are not. How do we measure things like peace, bliss and joy? Is it shown through our values? Is it presented through the vibes that we give out? Is it the way we speak to others? All of these things can be subjective and projected through someone else’s perception and life experiences.
Spirituality is completely a gray area and it is obvious that spirituality isn’t a game of words or proclamations. Announcing to the world that you are enlightened is not enough. If I heard that, my spiritual sense would be telling me that something is rotten here and that I must observe the other person with little or no bias of my own. But how do I attain that sort of perception where there is no personal bias? It is by observing my own self diligently and with absolute honesty. Have I been able to get rid of my own prejudices? Do I get swayed like a pendulum in terms of opinions and views? Do I react instead of respond. Do I get offended by criticism and get carried away when praised? Even though some may say this level of balance may be difficult but the swaying isn’t healthy either. A balance has to strike otherwise, the ego really will always win and the efforts to dissolve the ego is futile. Therefore, a balanced mind is necessary and somehow I find that speaks volumes once you speak to someone. You can guess it by the attention they give, the words they say, the facial expressions and body language. It is only by fully knowing our own self that we can know others.
Therefore, if I do not know myself, is it right for me to pass judgment on others as how can I know them. Well, there are always tell-tale signs of anyone that is a spiritual delinquent. You know if someone is dishonest, or they cheat others, or they have a short temper. Sometimes, we can see the political motives of others and you don’t have to know yourself to see this. It is evident through actions and a sharp mind.
It’s hard to know where I am spiritually today. Sometimes, I feel that there is progress and sometimes it feels like nothing is happening but I trust the process completely. Maybe that is all that matters. Trusting the process that eventually I will know where I am spiritually and I can be at peace with that. All I know is that I am not at peace with myself spiritually. I feel there is a lot more that I can do and can achieve. Sometimes, I ask myself if it is worth it? It just seems so lonely at the top or maybe aloneness is the true oneness with all.
Growing up with a thirst for spiritual awakening was not easy as I had to study and build a life thereon. Studying for me was boring because it was forced upon me and inside I knew that I would probably never use half of the things I learned in high school. I was right about that but my thirst for spiritual awakening was also growing, as I became more thirsty, several mirages appeared in my life to distract me – whether it was women, intoxicants, wealth etc.
Eventually these mirages were ignored after several years of going through these experiences as if they were true. I look back at the past and think I was so sure I was doing the best thing for me and now I almost regret some of it. However, what has been done has been done. I have to move forward.
As several mirages appeared again, I knew it was right to let them be as they were but not be allured towards them. I was then clear for spiritual awakening, so I thought but such experiences never come easy even if you have the tool to instantaneously get it.
The mirage of concepts was very heavy and while I got rid of some concepts through careful analysis on their validity, I ended up created some more concepts and down again I went down the rabbit hole. From saying there is a god to know saying there isn’t a god – I was firm on both these concepts at one time and now – I don’t know even though the answer is very, very clear to me.
Two things I had never let go of: One was my love for my Spiritual Master and two was my meditation. Even though, I tried to stay clear from my Spiritual Master, I understood that something else was being played. Even though I disagreed a lot with some of the philosophy that His organization taught, it was later discovered through my own meditation that those were my philosophies and not His. This was when I realized that our perception had to be cleansed in order to truly understand a philosophy as it is and not how you interpret it.
Let’s just say that the way I see the philosophy now is very simple – the realization of the Formless Self, is the realization of your True Self. The Spiritual Master just points at that Formless Self. It is up to you whether you look at the Formless Self or take a little detour with looking at the Spiritual Master. If you do take the detour, it becomes dangerous territory because you may love the Master but your mind has not realized it’s true self so therefore, your Master will be judged by you – even if it is a positive judgement. Any judgment will not let you see something clearly.
As I mentioned, I stayed away from my Master while I was going through this major analysis, but I was very devoted to meditation and meditated a lot. I was working and would wake up as early as 4am and meditate for an hour, then read for two hours and then get ready for work. It so happened, that on a Saturday, I started meditating again around 9am and as I was focussing on empty space for a while, I saw the tiniest dot of Light appear and I was amazed at this. I floated in this empty space and went near it and I heard a sound that simply said ‘Before this, I am,’ and I just saw this dot expand and the whole of creation was presented to me. I couldn’t contain myself and took myself out of the meditative state. I didn’t know what I experienced other than there had to be something before creation.
I have never forgotten this experience but it came back to me three weeks ago. This time, the tiniest dot was not seen but empty space was taken away from me and I came to an absolute stillness and centered my whole focus on that stillness. I was so taken aback by it that it felt like I had been there for 10 minutes when in fact, it had only been around 30 seconds. It was an intense experience. I realized one major thing – it didn’t matter whether this is god or not – there is only stillness. Call it whatever you want now to personalize it. I totally understand why we name it. Yes, it certainly dilutes what It Is but people need something to relate to and the easiest thing to do is to name it.
I enjoyed this experience and I have noticed how it continuously presents itself to me without any desire from my side. It’s presence cannot be ignored by me. It only then occurred to me that my Spiritual Master had told me about this around 5 years ago. He held his right hand out, His palm facing His stomach, maybe 15 cm away from His stomach and with His left hand waving in between the right hand and the stomach said “You have to be aware of this, it is stillness. Keep focusing on this awareness.” Little did I know that after almost 3 years of His departure from His physical form would this golden nugget of wisdom make sense to me and I would understand it.
The mirage I had then was that a Spiritual Master is only the physical body, this is a massive illusion. The teachings are of an eternal nature and so is the presence of the Master. It is now that I truly appreciate everything that has been taught to me. I am still learning, discovering and in fact, I am more eager to learn than I probably was in my teens. Spirituality has no end in terms of literature but in the end it is your own experience that matters. Use the literature to inspire you, refuse to let it be a concept.
A few weeks ago, I had my second spiritual awakening, the sight towards enlightenment is also on the horizon. All gratitude goes to my Spiritual Master.
Everyday can feel like a test. Anything you do, you may find peace in it and then suddenly something has to disturb it. Or a situation occurs and you question whether it is to throw you two steps back or brings things forward.
Recently, I have found that I am being tested a lot. You feel that you are about to enter a comfortable few moments of your life and things seem to be working your way and then a blast from the past arrives and it weaves it’s sacred way into your present. You realise that this situation has arisen because there is a lesson to be learned but what is the lesson? What am I suppose to do? What is the best thing to do?
Inner turmoil appears and disappears, appears and disappears and finally you come to a nice sanctuary – your inner Self. Away from the hustle bustle of thought, the unnecessary chat, the falsifying expressions of emotion and feelings and the sanctuary feels like the best place to be…until it chucks you out.
You know that the best thing that happened to you was in the past and now that it makes your way into the present, you are a little confused. I say ‘you’ but I mean ‘I’! Here is my reflection and therefore I continue. You feel that the best thing wants you, it desires you abut there is a problem! The future is knocking and the present moment will not let it in. The future is shouting and expressing so much to lure you into giving up so that the present can feature the future. But neither the past nor future is real but only your present. Now, is your present worthy to keep the past or is it worthy to continue into the future.
Very rarely but it happens, you are chatting to someone whom you care about deeply, you feel high like as if you have taken a drug whenever you speak to this person. And although this person doesn’t admit it, they feel high after speaking to you. It’s amazing, it’s everything you want but whatever makes you high will result either in a crash landing or a safe landing.
The landing is always rough and uncontrollable. The future that looked stable has a new dimension added into it. The past wants a piece of it. And me, the present wants the past. No matter how many times it has let me down, disappointed me, distracted me, disturbed me, I find an incredible urge, desire, need to allow this past take charge of my present.
I am being really cryptic at the moment, using different styles because this is what happens when you become more intune with yourself. Nothing is ever linear. Nothing can occur in successive linear movement, life is full of waves, it travels in waves and it is best to surf on the tide!
People want answers and you can’t give any. Is there an answer? Do I need to give an answer? I don’t know. Do I need answers? Definitely. Maybe it is time to take a step back and see what I want. I need to take some time for myself and allow the limitations of my mind explore the vastness of what is occurring. Let life flow with absolute ease and beauty. Maybe the past can build in the present to create a wonderful future.