In the course of human life, there are many different types of experiences. Human life is an opportunity. Sometimes it may seem like an uphill battle. Other times it feels like you are riding the top of a wave. However, whether you are young or old, you have an opportunity before you. An opportunity to be the deepest, the richest, the strongest aspect of your own being, to cultivate your own deepest self, your own deepest knowledge of who you are. The yogis say that human life is very rare and very precious. This opportunity before you are the exploration of your own inner being. The yogis say that if you want to know all, if you want to be wise, know One, know your own Self, know who you are.
Who is the Self of Yourself? When you think of yourself, what are you? Are you the body you inhabit? It is not unlike the body of many other creatures, is it not? This Self that you are is conscious. It isn't simply the body you inhabit because it has conscious awareness. If there were no conscious intelligent being, who would know you exist? Who would be there to be aware of your existence? Are you the things that you do, or are you that conscious intelligence, that conscious awareness that knows everything that goes on in your life; that perceives everything - all of your experiences, your hardships, your difficulties, your joys, your loves. There is someone who's known all of your experiences. Someone who watched and experienced you take your first steps, and fall, and get up again. Someone watched this. Someone knew the experience. You were there, conscious, intelligent and aware, experiencing that experience.
You were once a child in a child's body and you were yourself experiencing that, is it not? Then as you grew, in all of the experiences of yourself, you were the knower of your experience. You may feel that you are the same person you were when you were a child, or a young man or young woman; that the person deep inside of you is the same person isn't it? Do you have that feeling? That is the person deep inside who knows you, who is you, who knows everything you've experienced. You're the same.
So there is a consistency. There is a you that doesn't change over time. Your body grew, your vocabulary grew, your knowledge base has grown. You have a wide range of experiences in your life, but you're still you. You're still the one who has all those experiences. You have been through all of this. You have perceived it all, known it all.
That you, who is intelligent, conscious, aware, that you refer to when you point to yourself and you say 'me', that's the person that you are, isn’t it? The ‘me’ you refer to when you point to yourself. That's you, conscious, intelligent, aware. Basically, you knew yourself as a child. You know yourself now. And as your body changes and grows and begins to age, you will know yourself still. Even if the mind alters or the body alters, still you, as the knower, are the same.
That knowing intelligence that you are, even your sense of self, your sense of 'I', your 'me' inside of you, your 'I-feeling', even that is witnessed by this conscious intelligence, your knowing self. So, this knowing self is even broader than your 'I' feeling, and this knowing self is very consistent. It doesn't change. You're you, the same you you've always been. Your definitions of yourself, your range of experiences alter but your fundamental self, your fundamental being doesn't change. That fundamental being not only knows everything you've experienced but also knows your 'I' feeling. Also knows even your sense of individuality, your sense of yourself apart from everything else. That knowing Self, that knower of your own individual existence, that knower is in Sanskrit called the Atman. The Self of yourself. The knowing, intelligent, aware being-ness closer to you than your closest companion. Closer to you than anyone or anything, because it is the very core of your existence.
Behind all of what you are, what you feel, what you think, is this intelligent consciousness, without which there would simply be no one to notice any of your expressions. There would be no one to know your thoughts. There would be no one to know your experiences. There must be this intelligent consciousness.
And this intelligent awareness, this Atman that witnesses all of your experiences and your personal existence, it is substantively the same as the witness; the conscious intelligence that witnesses everyone else's experiences. Everyone has this witness, this conscious aware intelligence that knows its own existence and that awareness is the same. So that who you are now, who you have been, who you will be, all is in one unified flow and is not so different from the deep experience of Self of all beings. So that is why the yogis say there is but one Self, one witnessing consciousness. called Purusha. This is conscious intelligence, the knower of all essence.
So though you may have the uniqueness of your individuality, you have a substantive nature which has commonality with all humanity; all animals, all plants, even the earth itself.
Your Relationship to Nature and the Earth The earth itself is the substance out of which your body has been formed. Out of which you have evolved. You are the children of earth. The children of Gaia. You are her very own manifestation. As consciousness evolves, it takes on more and more self-aware forms. The same conscious witnessing awareness, the same intelligent awareness is in a rock, but in that form there's very little capacity to experience Self. So, the rock tends to be sleepy. Dominated by static forces, it is very unaware of itself, though its substantive nature is awareness. That awareness yearns to be freed from the bonds of matter, which bring a static quality, and so it moves to express greater and greater self-awareness.
As mind grows in magnitude, as intelligence grows, mind develops more Self-reflective qualities, and at the human stage of development the mind is Self-reflective. There is the ability to ask, 'who am I, what is this life of mine?' When those questions can be asked, you become able to make choices of your own, able to create and able to destroy. You become able to move towards consciousness, connectedness, wholeness, or to move away from such forces. You become able to be a force of light in this world or a force of destruction.
This is the great pivotal ability of human beings, whether they wear these familiar forms or other forms. And surely in such a vast universe there are many types of human beings. You have the capacity to awaken from the dream, awaken from the illusion of separateness, from the pain of the belief that you are alone, from the pain of the belief that you are separate, from the pain of the belief that love is something you much acquire because you don't have it. You have an opportunity to go deep into Self-reflection. This life is a rare gift and great opportunity. And in the capacity of Self-reflection you have the ability to discover the love which is fundamental, which is your own nature, which is the intelligent awareness.
What is This Intelligent Consciousness? What is its nature? Love. Truth. This is the nature of Self. Sat-Chit-Ananda. Truth - Sat; Chit - conscious, awareness; Ananda - divine love, the bliss of love fulfilled. When you discover the Self of yourself, when you discover that true Self within you, you discover there is a unitary wholeness to your being and a love that rules you, that is you, that you do not have to find outside of yourself, because it is your Self.
When there's ignorance, there is always a restlessness in the mind, a searching, a needing, a feeling that there is a lack of something. This causes people to search in this form and in that form for what they need, because there is in the body-mind identity, a fundamental separation from everything. There is you and everything else in the world, everyone else in the world. So, there is a gap and in that gap, there is the pain and loneliness of separation. This is due to your awareness merging into the body-mind experience.
But when you look deep inside, you discover this ocean of love, of unitary wholeness in which you are love unconditionally. You are not loved unconditionally, you are love, unconditional. You are truth. When you realize this, you discover that the separation is an illusion. It's an illusion. It exists in one stratum of perception, but when you go a little deeper it breaks down and there is the truth of your own being. The truth that you are whole, one, eternal. That, though the body made of the earth returns to earth, and the mind made of thoughts dissolves, you remain. You, conscious, intelligent, unconditioned love - whole, vibrant, pure love, pure light. This is your deep Self. This is your true nature. And there is no separation. The yearning inside comes to fulfillment in deep, deep love. In this love you are whole. The division is gone. Heart, mind, and soul are one and one with all. There is love that encompasses. All the losses become illusions, for what is there to lose when the love that is, has always been, is now, and will ever be.
The Beloved abides in every form and in every person, you meet. The Beloved is all around you - in the animals, in the plants, in a blade of grass. The love you seek is everywhere. When you experience that moment, when you look into someone's eyes, and the divisions fade away, you realize you are whole. Love never dies. It is your own nature. It is a part and parcel of your deep Self. It is the nature of your Self. So, fortify yourself with deep truth and enduring love and this precious human life will find its fulfillment.
Questions Questioner:What if you find that it's really hard to find your true Self, and that all of life keeps taking you away being with your true Self, and at times it's impossible. And you feel like you're never going to get there. Maitreyii Ma: Has anyone else happened to feel this? Audience: Sometimes. Maitreyii Ma: Perhaps you're not alone. Perhaps even in that feeling the wholeness is there. Because you share even that feeling with others. You share the weaknesses and struggles of your humanity and your incarnation. Even in your pain, even in your struggle, you are connected with all living beings. Because all incarnate beings have this struggle.
Take time just to sit and remind yourself, remind yourself, again and again and again. We're a little dense, you know? You just need to not give up. Life is challenging and I do not think anyone here would say that they have not experienced challenges to remembrance. But there is a thread that runs through all those challenges, Just remember, remember there's a home inside of you. There's a love that no one can take from you. Just touch it any moment you can and when this body ceases to be comfortable in this world, it is that thought which will remain, and into which you will sink and find your way. Love is the very currency of this universe. It's the currency in this world, in this dimension, and across the veil as well. It will be always with you. Your heart is big. Follow it and your way will be true.