Topic 12 – Our True Savior
What I am about to discuss in this episode of “The View from Here” may sound blasphemous to some people. You’ve been warned. There is an understanding that has existed throughout what we call time that depicts the true nature of human beings. That true nature operates from a seamless interconnection of the intellectual and the intuitive. It is characterized by a sense of being which is connected, whole, ageless, unencumbered, and impersonal with an exquisite sense of joy, wonder, ease, humor and delight, words can hardly do it justice, but that’s a start. When we are not imprisoned in our inner conversation, we can sense it, even if only for a second, but in that second, we will know how much more there is to life than what we experience daily. This inner existent state of being is our true savior in the sense that it is the source not only of our immediate existence, but of all Life throughout all time, and from it exudes an orientation that guides our lives through this experience called life on earth, or it could if we were aware of it.
It has been the subject of conversation through all recorded history. Many great works of awakened spirituality have spoken about the true nature of existence when it takes a human form: The Mathnawi. The Bhagavad Gita , the Vedas and Upanishads, The Middle Way, The Bible, and the Tao Te Ching to mention a few. In the one most familiar to the Western world, The Bible, Jesus spoke to that nature as the kingdom of God. He told the disciples to seek it first above all things, and before he got run over as they all raced for the door, he told them where to find it: the kingdom of God is within you. This interface is what the intuitive being remains constantly aware of. And the life that results from this orientation is the one we sense in our longing, for we do know life could be so different from the daily grind we’ve reduced it to.
Were we truly curious and about a new-to-us way to live, our orientation to life would change. We would not be striving for the alleged accomplishments defined by our egoic existence, but would seek an increasing familiarity with that which lies within us that is truly us. We would use our daily existence as our workshop; for it is through our responses to the events of each day that we can begin to understand what we actually believe is true as opposed to what is true. Our first step must be to find out for ourselves what we have relied on to guide our lives to this point—our unexamined beliefs about life— and what you’ll find is not one of those beliefs is true. It’s the old Pogo realization: we have met the enemy and he is us.
This then takes us back to where we started in this series, so to speak, back to how we’ve been conditioned to perceive life and the concepts and beliefs we were given that support that misperception, only you’ll now know it is a misperception. It certainly doesn’t happen overnight. Watch out for the charlatans who suggest it is a hallelujah-I-am-saved sort of experience. And the motivation for this work increases when we realize that no true change takes place from our present state of consciousness. What we see is what we’ve got until we decide to know our true nature. Without that awakening, we are the proverbial dog chasing its tail. And since we’re making quite amuck of things on this planet, it would behoove us to become a tad more curious about that which could truly save us.
It’s not out of our reach. And it has nothing to do with religion. It starts as the willingness to explore our daily happenings—that argument with your spouse, a frustrated conversation about your boss, that poorly executed discussion with your teenager— and ask yourself two questions: What was actually true in that moment versus what I told myself was true? This on-going state of contradiction in which we live is the one flaw of ego through which we can escape. From the poems of Rabia (c.717-801) a female Islamic saint sold into slavery as a child and raised in a brothel (Sort of takes the sap out your victimhood story, I bet. Sure did mine….), “Slicing Potatoes” shows you how down-to-earth this work toward awakening really is:
putting my hands on a pot,
on a broom, in a wash pail.
I tried painting,
but it was easier to fly
Our true nature is the love of our life, and there is no harder life than one lived apart from love. It’s not an easy route, this road less traveled, but it is the only one to which your heart, in the end, will quietly whisper, Amen.
Speaking of love, stay tuned for next week’s essay, Topic 13 – What is Love?