Every living being loves its life. Every living being wants to be happy. What stands between happiness and life is often suffering, pain caused by reaction to experiences. As life goes on and one accumulates more and more experiences, there is more opportunity to encounter difficult and painful experiences, to lose loved ones, to lose important things in your life, things you are attached to.
So with life one can accumulate experiences of joy but also experiences of suffering and sorrow. The yogis of old, men and women like us, looked into their lives and began to examine what in their life caused the suffering and unhappiness. They began to realize that the unhappiness comes because of identity with individuality, identity with the body and with the body -mind, identity with being small, separate and individual, apart from everything else.
When, identified with the body and the body-mind, a sense of identity comes, a sense of ego comes that says there is I, which is everything within the body, the body structure and the mental faculties and there is everything else that is separate, apart from you. This duality, seeing yourself as separate, apart from everyone and everything else leads to feelings of separation, loneliness and smallness, incompleteness; this leads to fear that you are not big enough, strong enough, capable enough to survive. Therefore, you need to acquire many things, whatever ideas you have of what will make you happy and allow you to survive. This becomes the human condition.
The yogis call this situation the kleshas, the bondage's of human life. There is always the fear of anything that would bring harm or difficulty, a desire to acquire that which will bring happiness and well-being and most importantly a fear of death and a clinging to physical life. All of these are based in that sense of ego, asmita, that sense of self apart from others, that sense that you are separate and being separate, you are small.
The root cause of this difficult human condition the yogis say is illusion, avidya, not truth, that which appears to be truth but is not; it is mistaking that which is the source of suffering to be the source of joy. It is mistaking that which is the source of confusion to be the truth. Maya, illusion, becomes the reality and vidya, the truth, true knowledge, gets obscured and one becomes confused as to the nature of one’s own Self. Those men and women who dedicated themselves to trying to find answers to this difficult human dilemma, trying to find a way to work with suffering realized that by acquiring all the things you want to feel good does not really do it. They are all temporal and situations in life are always changing. Those things which are the source of your security and happiness become the source of suffering.
The realization came to those people trying to find the way to truth that truth and freedom lie in working with the fundamental problem, the illusion that you are separate, the illusion that there is more than one, the illusion that you are only a body, mental capacities related to the body that is apart from everything else. The illusion comes in the identity with the physical structure and the five senses. When you believe you are limited by that you become separate and from that all the other problems arise.
You begin to take the unreal for the real. You begin to hope that happiness and pleasure will come from those things that are ultimately the source of suffering. When you sink a little deeper in knowledge and understanding, when you go beyond the dualities of the mind, you find a stratum of reality that is deeper and more profound than the five senses of the body. In that reality, there is a unitary whole of being. There, you, that which you call you is a consciousness, an aware intelligence that is not limited by the senses, by the body or by any particular identity.
That is the witnessing consciousness that is aware and experiences everything that you are. It experienced being a baby, a child and experiences yourself today and will experience yourself in years to come. That consciousness is not limited by the body or the senses. That which is really you, which is aware of everything you experience, is something more. When you look into the nature of Self, you find there is a vast ocean of infinite being that always has been, always will be, is not bound by any form but simply exists, is.
In that, you come to realize that what is you is not limited by your body, not limited by your ideas. What is you is vast and not separate from anything else. When yogis of old began to realize that this existence, this vaster existence was there in the silence, in the stillness of meditation, they began to realize that not only is a great peace, a vast awareness but an infinite love, love fulfilled.
In this there is a completion of Self, a wholeness of being and that unitary consciousness, that wholeness of being provides the lasting sense of Self that does not change with time or circumstances. The yogis say that these bodies we so identify with come and go like a change of clothing. We put them on for a while; they wear out and we take them off and we get more and put those on. Yet who we are, what we are, who experiences all of the different life experiences is unchanging. Knowing the Self that you are, you become liberated.
Joy and suffering, gain and loss become merely surface waves on the sea when you learn to drop down into the depths of the ocean of existence where it is calm and steady. Like the drop of water dropped into the sea, when your consciousness moves in the ocean of eternity, there is no separation between you and the Source of existence and all that is. It is the secret of human life, the great joy of human life that there is the opportunity to walk this path and to know the Infinite. All lies within you, the whole universe to unfold and to enfold you in love unconditional. It is only this love that heals the deep wounds in the heart. So take this precious human life and utilize it to know that deep, subterranean stratum in which all abides.