Call off the Search, the Self is here
‘In the whole of the universe there are only two, the lover and the Beloved.’ Bhai Sahib
For how long do we chase shadows?
It took years and numerous, often disastrous, episodes to turn my gaze to what really beckoned and escape the mind’s labyrinthine deceptions that sent me scurrying towards the next adventure, another new hope.
The Venus in Scorpio self has endless gusto for sensual pleasures, the libertine life, and the reckless pursuit of any minor god, although not yet in the hope of salvation.
But hidden underneath all that longing the Sufi poets write of so entrancingly, was something dimly recognised, but entirely genuine.
What I really wanted was not in the world but, like all of us, I had been deceived, trained to look only at the passing dramas of life and chase the dreams set before me by upbringing and society.
Thank God, they left me cold, although as a young man, I had no idea why. Why didn’t I want what everyone else seemed to want? Where was this ambition whose absence saw me the target of teasing, evoking much mirth from the rest of my family?
I suspect there are many here who can identify and too found themselves wading through confusion, hanging on to a small flame within, which often flickered dangerously low.
How to fit in a crazed world, now on the brink of terminal insanity? Where to find a real sense of belonging?
In the end, I accepted my fate as a visitor to these shores but gradually cottoned on to the rules of the game and where I was headed, which was not downriver into the world like so many, but back up river to the source.
In short, I discovered after much misadventure, the truth of these words by the late teacher Adi Da Samraj. ‘Spiritual life beings when seeking fails.’ I realised the seeker I had long taken to be ‘me’ had to die.
At first it seemed a little harsh, an insane suicide mission, but eventually my perception of this task morphed into a mercy killing.
Yet how to go about this death, the oft recommended dying before you die? Like many seekers, I read voluminously, not yet ready to make that final journey within and the discovery of the undifferentiated heart.
For it is the mysteries of the heart that call, the turning away from objects in the world and mind, a turning the Sufis call tauba, which often masquerades as an unpleasant rock bottom.
Rumi’s famous exhortation to find the one thing that matters is worth repeating here: ‘There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do.
‘If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.’
That one thing, he goes on to say, is to return to the root of the root of the Self. In other words, to attend to consciousness, the sense I Am, travelling from there to the awareness of consciousness and remaining put.
As the great Indian mystics reinforce, hold on to the one thought I Am. Do your utmost to entertain none other and Grace herself will pull you in for that last leg of any sense of journey.
Christ referred to the I Am many times of course, yet was misunderstood and mistaken for a body, an inevitability for any spiritual teacher who expects the confused projections of the limited Ego-I.
Is it not the same problem that continues to destroy our world? Those of us conscious enough to see through the maze of lies are in return seen only through the as yet limited understanding of our oppressors.
But whatever our practice, whatever our path, there must come a time when this small self (however much we have aggrandized it through either material or ‘spiritual’ means) has to pass through the tenth gate.
It is worth noting the spiritual trap can be the greatest of all, where the small self simply adopts spirituality within the bounds of its conceptual reality. There is a lot of money to be made down that road, of course.
Less attractive is the turnabout. As is often said, the longest journey is from the head to the heart. The spiritual heart is indivisible, containing all secrets and powers, the potential held long dormant in the human being.
The divine paradox is that it seems we must first embrace our humanness, placing awareness on our often unnurtured beingness or I Am, then allow the awakening of the heart through the quelling of the unruly mind.
I am just discovering how difficult that is. To constantly be aware of awareness is the ultimate challenge we all face.
As the mystic Peter Kingsley writes: ‘This state of awareness is the trickiest thing because it never extends beyond the present moment…The moment you wander off after some fascinating thought inside your head you will be left with unseeing eyes, staring blankly into space all over again, deaf to the gentle sounds around you.
‘And this is how we pass our lives, silently tugged backwards and forward from one state to the other; always lost, except perhaps in the most fleeting moments to ourselves.’
He is writing about what he learned from the ancient Greeks, but if we dig deep enough, we will find the same endpoint in most cultures, always presenting the human being with the same Rubicon.
Mass consciousness has missed what is both most basic and most necessary for our survival and that final flight beyond being, returning us both to and as the endless Self.
It seems both survival and prosperity depend on an evolutionary leap in consciousness, and that’s why we are here.
Copyright Simon Heathcote