Friday, August 20, 2021

Remembering Who We Really Are

     “Many people have intimations of their true nature in childhood – the sense of a benevolent presence guiding their life, a radiance that shines forth from all things, or a current of love that unites us all. …
     But we lose touch with this luminosity as we age … we forget who we really are and succumb to the way others see us until one day, perhaps, we have intimations of our immortality, our timeless spiritual nature, become seekers, and embark on the return journey home.

      Ultimately, your every desire – the desire for material things, relationships, career success, sexual gratification – is really the desire for the peace you experience for brief moments when you attain the object of your desire. Of course, such conditional peace is fleeting, and you move restlessly on to new objects and new desires in the hope of recapturing it. Until you know who you really are, know the freedom from desire that’s the true aim of every desire, you can never recognize the peace that can never be disturbed or lost.

      Our always already awakened true nature is our birthright, our inherent condition, our natural state, which we merely need to recognize, without effort or striving, in a moment out of time. … (this) echoed the teachings of the early Zen masters who were so revered (though not so often followed in practice) in the Buddhist tradition.

     As I’ve discovered, awakening doesn’t belong to one teaching or tradition, and in any case, once you wake up, you actually awaken out of traditional frameworks. After all, if you’re awakening to your true nature, the one you’ve always already been deep down inside, how could one tradition or approach have a monopoly on it? This precious spiritual nature has always belonged to you, and, like one version of the proverbial prodigal son, you’re merely discovering the diamond that’s been hidden in your pocket all along.
     In fact, more and more people appear to be awakening to their inherent spiritual nature, whether or not they’ve been practicing meditation or some other prescribed technique. Perhaps it’s just our technological times, when experiences are shared so much more globally through cell phones, e-mails, websites, and blogs, but awakening seems to have shed the garments of religion and revealed itself for what it is – a universal human experience available to everyone right here and now. Despite what you may have been led to believe, enlightenment is your birthright, your natural state – you merely need to reclaim and learn to embody it.

     Awakening is a fundamental recognition of the inherent insubstantiality or emptiness of the person you take yourself to be and a radical shift in your identity from being the suffering separate self to being the eternal witness, the limitless space or ground in which all experiences arise. In other words, you awaken from the dream of suffering and separation to the radiance and joy of your true nature. More than being merely one spiritual experience among many, this awakening (often called enlightenment) is the essential realization at the heart of the Eastern spiritual traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism, and it can also be found as a more subterranean current in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – though mystics have been excommunicated, ostracized, or burned at the stake for making such pronouncements.”

     Stephan Bodian. “Wake Up Now. A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening.” McGraw-Hill, 2008. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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