All this high talk about enlightenment and God is all well and good, but practically speaking how do you come to see all this?
First, check your motivation. Why do you want to find Me? Why do you want to become enlightened? Is it to feel better about yourself? Is it because you want to secure some special reward that others don’t have? Or is it so that you can express your deepest potential for the benefit of others?
The ultimate challenge you face is how to be honest with yourself. When you muster the courage to admit your flaws, your weaknesses, your worries, as well as the depths of your despair and confusion for how to overcome them, then they will evaporate like puddles on a sunny day.
True honesty leads to humility, the antidote of pride.
You step out of the prison and into the light, realizing that you had been creating the bars all along.
You may touch this understanding in ecstatic moments of insight. But anyone who has attempted to walk this path knows that high realizations can be swept away in a moment of busyness, pain, or anxiety.
This is why some of you find it appropriate to get down on your knees five times a day to remind yourselves of the way things are. Fine. This is one method among many.
You can sit with yourself on a cushion following your breath, or you can dedicate all the work you do throughout the day to a name you have for me (Krishna, Ram, Jehova). You may even set time aside every day to allow your mind to contemplate its own limitations.
These are all paths of yoga, ways not to obtain, but to remember, your union with Me. Take whichever path you feel drawn to; they all lead to the same place.
But always remember that they are tools to help you find what you’ve never lost, what is right here in front of you right now in this moment.
This moment is a stitch in the fabric of eternity, without which the whole cloth would fall apart.
The air you’re taking into your lungs has been around, in one form or another, since the beginning of this universe. And now, when those oxygen molecules gets into your bloodstream and finds their way to your brain, they suddenly become aware of themselves. But only for a moment. There are billions of other atoms all lined up waiting for their chance to see themselves through you (see Rumi’s poem on the chickpea who doesn’t want to be cooked).
And then you have no choice but to breathe out, to let go. Those atoms that had taken a moment to become you are now back out in the open, perhaps to wander into the person next to you, perhaps to sail high above you and become part of a thunderstorm, perhaps to nourish a bud about to unveil a beautiful flower.
Ritualize your life until you realize that it’s all a ritual, even the pretending that it’s not a ritual. Impose the discipline on yourself to say a blessing before every meal, to remind yourself that the universe is on your plate. Take a moment before going to sleep to say a little prayer of gratitude for all the ways in which you could have died today, but didn’t. Upon waking, realize what a grace it is that your body kept going throughout the night.
Doing this will gradually make you more and more aware of your incredibly great fortune, of the precious, rare opportunity of being capable of appreciating all this. It will transform your perspective from seeing lack- the ego’s favorite game- to being able to appreciate the living abundance that you are.
Like tuning your dial to pick up a radio station, when you practice giving yourself over to the immensity of the present moment, the static fades away, and you’re finally able to hear the enchanting melody that had been there all along.