We have come from many places and many different paths with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. That’s what makes us different. That’s what the beauty of this life is.
We all have a history and ideas and opinions. We all feel comfortable with some things and we don’t feel comfortable with other ideas and concepts. But somehow or another we are here.
We’ve all been through a lot. We’ve done all kinds of searching about what these magnificent things mean, how they affect us, what is right and what is wrong, and what may be worth more than something else to us. Sometimes the more investigation we do, the more confused we get. And life continues while we wonder about many, many things.
There are many practices and paths to follow. Some practices are very complicated and some are very simple. Some of them are confusing and some are very, very direct in telling us exactly what to do.
With Ramana Marharshi and Poonja-ji we have a tradition of inquiry where we are to look inside ourselves and find a place of silence. We inquire as to who we are. Who am I? Some of us are successful in looking at that and being peaceful in determining who we are. Some of us keep looking as to who we are and nothing happens.
Then we hear that, if we look carefully as to who we are, eventually we end up in a place of saying that who I am is hidden in silence. Who I am is indescribable. What I am is something that has no beginning and no end. What I am is that place between my incoming and my outgoing breath.
There are all kinds of ways of talking about who I am, but basically who I am is a place of no definition and nothing to say. Many times that way of looking at things gets us to a place of feeling comfortable. Sometimes it doesn’t do anything for us.
Another way we try to get into peace and love and quietness is by trying to understand what these things are. We try to figure out reasons and we read all about these particular subjects. We try to find out everything we can.
We even try to come to a place of love and silence by being with people who know and love these things. Then maybe by association we get to be in love and have knowing, too.
And there are other paths, such as being in service to other beings who may want to have our help. So we try to find that place of beauty and silence within us by being of service.
Many beings have tried all of these approachesto be of service, to be in association with other beings, to study what there is to know, and to inquire as to our true nature. When they have done all of these things, they come to the conclusion that it makes no difference which approach they take. All of these things take us to the same place.
They all take us to the same place, but what is that place? As human beings we have a need to call that place something. With everything that we do we want to have a word to indicate that we have accomplished something. Enlightenment is a word that we use for this place. Enlightenment or wisdom.
We begin to have a feeling within us that says, “I think, I believe, or I feel that even though I’m the same right now as I was yesterday, something about me is different than it was yesterday. I don’t know exactly what it is, but it feels slightly different. I wish I could say specifically how I am different and how I am the same, but I can’t. So, for lack of better words and for the sake of discussion, I say I feel that I’m enlightened and I’m wiser than I was before.”
When we get this feeling it’s a wonderful feeling and it makes us more peaceful. But at the same time expectations start to arise as to what it means to me now that I have this feeling. We wonder: “What is going to happen to my daily life?
I wake up in the morning. Because I have this feeling that we’ve decided to call enlightenment is my day going to be the same or is it going to be different than it was before I had this feeling?” When we think that it will be different, expectations start to arise.
Maybe we instantaneously got this feeling of enlightenment or maybe it grew upon us gradually. It doesn’t matter how it happens. However we get this feeling, one of the things that happens is that we try to relive the feeling over and over again. We try to capture it. We try to be with that exclusively over other feelings.
The more that we try to hold on to the feeling permanently, the more that we fail. Then we say, “Well, I never had it in the first place because, if I really did have it, I would be able to have it whenever I wanted it.” So that’s one event that takes place.
Another event that takes place is that we start to expect that our lives here are going to be lives of no problems and no difficulties. We expect that each and every day will be a most beautiful day with birds singing and flowers blooming. There will be no pain, no misery, and no sorrow because, after all, we are enlightened. Before we were enlightened it was all right to have misery and problems and bad things happening to us, but now that we are enlightened it must not be that way. Yet it is. Therefore, whatever idea we had that we were enlightened must have been wrong. Thus we declare that we were not enlightened because truly enlightened beings always have perfect days. These are ideas and concepts that we have accepted deeply within us.
But when we start investigating this more closely, we start to see that daily life isLIFEwith all its vicissitudes!
We start to see that the greatest gift
that has been given to us by the Beloved
is the gift of life in all the forms that it takes.
That may be hard to accept especially when it feels as if we don’t have too many good days in a row or our lives are not going the way we want them to.
But feeling and being with life
in all our perceptions of its ups and downs
is what being fully alive is.
I love you, my Beloved.
I love you.
I’m not telling you I love you
because I want something.
I’m not asking for any favors.
I’m not asking for you to give to me.
It’s justI love you.
You’ve already given me more gifts
than I can ever imagine.
We’ve all been given more gifts
than we can imagine.
I’ve been given a tremendous gift
just to be able to say I love you.
With my love for you
and with the love you have for me
sometimes I can’t tell who is loving whom.