Spiritual life entails not only deep contemplation, but also your actions in the world. As long as you inhabit a physical body, that body, that mind, has to be considered as part of your...of the entirety of your being. And when you live in a physical body, when your conscious awareness and attention gets drawn into manifesting through a physical body, your awareness becomes engaged in sensory experience and in responses to sensory experience, in mental processes, and thus your being lives to one degree or another in a state of duality: A duality that engages you in an “I” and “thou” relationship—I being the person who is inhabiting the body. The self-experience within that body-mind structure becomes the identity of I, and in that formation of belief in the self as form, there is “thou,” there is the other. I and the other. The other is everyone and everything that is outside of you. So, when your conscious awareness becomes engaged in a body, you engage in a world of duality, a world governed by forms and separations: yourself and others, yourself and everything that is not of your body and of your mind.
Duality This duality of embodiment creates suffering—the suffering of separation, the feeling that there is a gap between you and everyone, everything else. That gap becomes a source of pain, and various engagements in life become a way to attempt to heal that pain, through the acquisition of relationship, love relationships, through the acquisition of things, of engagements, of position, of power, prestige. All of these things protect you, keep you safe. Because suddenly, being a small individual, there is a need for safety, there is a need for protection. There is a desire to be eternal and a fear of loss, a fear of diminishment, a fear of pain. So in the duality that comes with identity with the body-mind structure, that duality and the fear naturally arise. And the result is suffering. The yogis since ancient times have dealt with the suffering by exploring how to resolve the separation which ultimately is the source of suffering. You may experience it as a loss of home, job, prestige, family, friends, but whatever form it takes, when you bring it to its basic nature it is separation, it is duality. It is that sense of distance between yourself and all else.
So, people who have explored spiritual life deeply throughout the ages have explored this pain, this source of pain in human life and how to heal it—how to salve the wounds of the heart; how to bring wholeness, fulfillment, completeness to living beings. And the yogis since ancient times have understood that the very basis of this pain, this separation, this suffering, is the identity with the body-mind structure, ego orientation—I as opposed to thou. In this duality of separation comes the source of pain, but when the witnessing consciousness, the conscious attention...when you’re with your conscious attention you remove yourself from that identity as a body, identity with thoughts, identity with form and separation.
Non-Duality Then as awareness changes, the perception comes that there is an integrated whole; there is a unity of life. And that the belief in your self being limited to a body, a mind, the sensory experiences of duality, is an illusion. The suffering that results is real. The cause of the suffering is an illusion. Because attention and awareness has melded into form, a belief comes that you are only the body, only the mind; but when through suspension of thought, suspension of mental function, you begin to feel your inner being, using your feelings, allow yourself to feel deeper than that—that is the function of meditation, to bring you into a deeper sphere, a deeper essence of your own being, by bringing your conscious attention outside of the normal constrictions of sensory experience into the stratum of deep love, deep care, and wholeness... And when the thoughts in the mind subside, when the identity with sensory experience and body begin to fall away, and you feel your own being, the duality of I and thou begins to diminish, and you feel, “I am connected to all life. I am whole. I am being.” And the I becomes melded in the larger field of being, and as you continue to deepen in your meditation, that I-feeling itself begins to dissolve, and your awareness is in the field of being, where there is no duality of form, where there is love unconditional, where there is a deep sense of truth, where there is wholeness of being. And when that perception comes you realize that you are not alone, you are not separate. You are a part of something vast, something whole. In being, you are one. You melt into something larger, something greater than your sense of individual self, and there you find the depth of being that brings healing to the wounds of life.
The yogis of ancient times realized this is the only true path to freedom. Whatever techniques are employed, the truth path to liberation from bondage and the pain of duality, the pain of separation, is this realization of the deeper nature of one’s own being. But they also realized to support this realization which comes in meditation requires lifetime experiences that allow you to return continually to that experience, to the wholeness of being, to the love which is unconditional, until it permeates your life, and even embodied in a physical form, you do not experience the duality of separation—because your heart and your mind remain in this flow of unconditional connectedness and love, which does not diminish, which does not change. And you realize that though all things are changing about you—some experiences are very difficult, some very lovely—through all that change you realize there is a constant, a love which never dies, a truth which never fades. And that all the changes are like appearances, like a dream in the mind of the great dreamer, and what abides is truth, love, being. Sat-chit-ananda.
So, when illusion covers the mind and the eyes see only forms, remember, remember and slowly bring yourself back, back into awareness of the love that is, that always has been, always will be, of the light that is so bright, it always shines, the truth that never dies. Then let it permeate your life, let it inform your experience, and allow yourself to make the changes in your own life that support that.
There are two types of people: People who seek this inner light and people who avoid it, in fear of what they will find. They are afraid to be warriors, to challenge themselves, to walk the inner path through the shadows to the light. And so they live their lives in fear, responding to fear, until in this life or the next, they can turn around and look into the shadow and the fear and walk towards the light. Let yourself sooner rather than later take this path to light, alright?
Questioner: Maybe you can break the path down? Maybe you can break the path down into steps.
Step by step? I just went through it. It’s a matter of breaking, of letting yourself sink into a place, whatever technique you use, where there is no thought, and let yourself feel love, let your mind go out, so that you move beyond the thoughts and the forms and the feeling brings you into the light, into the love. Whether you use a Mantra to lull the mind so it stops chattering or whether you use an ideation on a form...there are many techniques. Let your heart open, let your heart open, feel the love inside, let the forms and the thoughts fade away. And when they come, just watch them and then realize you are the witness, you are the watcher of the experiences, and then let the thoughts go, no matter how engaging and exciting. They’re not for meditation; they’re for after meditation. After meditation is a very good time to have those thoughts and you can write down your ideas, but meditation is when you go past the thoughts into love. When you let yourself feel divine presence, feel that larger, vaster divinity all around you, in everyone, everything, and let the forms fade. Let yourself experience the divine. There are many techniques, but the point is to go beyond the form and in that love find the wholeness where there is no duality. There appears to be gain and loss, but in the deeper essence of being, in your own divine nature, in the nature of all life, all beings, there is only one, and the gain and the loss and the coming and going are all images within the whole, alright?