I studied philosophy and a lot of spiritual literature to discover the ultimate Truth. I spent time with masters of consciousness, but it was never clear as to what was being sought in the name of Truth. The seeker “me” was convinced that he would get “something” beyond the realm of imagination.
Something that would take away the suffering of being a human and open dimensions beyond the physical and into the metaphysical. Still, it was not clear what was being sought.
The end of seeking came about with the realization that it was love. Love is what we deeply desire, and access to this dimension is through the Heart and not through the intellect. The ego-intellect-mind can only conceptualize the Heart space – the space of unconditional love, which is a reduction of the infinite into something limited or temporal.
The word love, as usually understood, is the most used and abused in the world. We reduce it to a mere sensation based on appearances. True love is the essence, or the impersonal aspect of being that is the source and substance of everything known and unknown. It is the recognition of unicity within and beyond multiplicity. It is the Heart that is the groundless ground of all experiential awareness.
The joy of being awake and alive comes from this Heart space that is beyond the mind and intellect. It cannot be known or objectified but only sensed as a very natural feeling of utmost restfulness and harmony. It is one’s most natural state. The Heart never discriminates and experiences like the mind. The mind divides, whereas the Heart unites.
Even after years of study, practice, and intellectual exploration, it wasn’t clear to me how to arrive at that. I thought maybe through more effort, I’ll somehow reach there. The whole assumption was, “I’m not there yet, and I have to do something about it.” Not realizing that the love is here and now as this awaring presence.
The mind cannot go beyond because it is limited. Something limited cannot capture the infinite. The only way to the infinite is to abide in the Heart space suspending all inquiry. As we spend more time in the place of love, it grows. We experience an expansion where the mind is quiet. Slowly, as the presence grows, the sense of personal identification or “me” starts to diminish.
While the intellect works efficiently in worldly dealings, it cannot capture the Heart space. Everything comes from love. Everything is made up of love. Therefore, inquiry and reflection may bring moments of clarity, but they cannot stop the restlessness of the thinking mind. To know the Heart is to “be” it.
“Your heart is the size of an ocean. Go find yourself in its hidden depths.”Rumi
Waking Up To The Essential Self
Spiritual masters say that the Truth can only be discovered by turning the attention inwards. While that seems like a practice, a method to awaken the Heart, it is not. It is simply being receptive to life without trying to alter its flow. As this attention grows, we begin experiencing the joy of mindfulness, where things are seen with clarity without judgment or analysis of any kind.
In the mindfulness space, we see What-Is – the unaltered flow of life. We see things the way they are without labeling events as good or bad. In other words, things are seen with pristine awareness that does not discriminate but is highly receptive to what is happening. While this brings relief from ruminations of the thinking mind, the real relief comes when we transcend into the Heart space of the essential self.
The Heart is where all skepticism ends. The ego-mind is reduced to the functional aspect of living, and it can no more expand as thinking in horizontal time, creating suffering. It brings about a change in perception and the way we see this world. The blocked qualities like trust, gratitude, awe, wonder, and tenderness rekindle in the Heart space.
We learn to explore life with an open heart. There is this complete understanding that things, at times, may not happen according to our wishes. That others may not reciprocate our love every time. That some people may be extremely nasty and downright rude. Still, we learn to extend our love to all fearlessly and with complete trust.
We recognize that each one of us is on our personal journey, and we give people the space to be the way they are. It is not about being a fool and allowing others to manipulate and take advantage of us. It is simply communicating to them that the doors of the Heart are open if they want to merge with the infinite. Some will choose to play the wave, while others will be ready to become the ocean. You get entry into the Heart space only when you wish to become the ocean.
There’s a story of the Sufi mystic Rabiya, who used to give teachings in the marketplace. For many days, she had been watching a man sobbing at the door of the mosque, shouting repeatedly, “Open the door! Let me in!” This man was completely broken, and Rabiya could not bear to see him in pain, but she did not intervene.
This kept going on for a few days until one day, Rabiya said, “The door is open! You’re already in.” All of a sudden, the man felt relieved and thanked Rabiya. He said, “What took you so long? I have been crying for so many days?” Rabiya replied, “The Truth can only be said at the right time and in the right conditions. Had I intervened yesterday, you would be the same, but today, you’re ready and receptive.”
When your heart is ripe and ready, the master – your inner self, will guide you to the essential self that is the place of unconditional love.
“Love is not selective, desire is selective. In love there are no strangers. When the centre of selfishness is no longer, all desires for pleasure and fear of pain cease; one is no longer interested in being happy; beyond happiness there is pure intensity, inexhaustible energy, the ecstasy of giving from a perennial source.”Nisargadatta Maharaj