Back in my teenage years, it was an exciting time learning to travel places all by myself. I didn’t have a car as I was still two years short of turning eighteen and old enough to have a driving license. I would explore different areas in Delhi, commuting by local bus. That was the popular transportation means back then. I think it still is.
Sometimes we used to pick the wrong bus and reach unknown areas. So, there was one golden rule. If you lose your way, find bus no. 56. That bus had the highest frequency everywhere, and it would take us home no matter how much time it took. Eventually, we would reach home. Whenever I lost my way, I would catch hold of bus no. 56, and I would breathe a sigh the moment I saw India gate or nearby places.
Somewhere in my spiritual journey, I discovered something similar to bus no. 56 that would take me home, back to my inner “being,” whenever I lost my way in the wilderness of my intimidating psychological jungle. I found a calming awareness that would hold my hand and guide me back home like a lost child.
This awareness springs as the sweetness in the heart, cutting through the restless thinking mind and bringing peace of deep sleep while awake or what I call our natural state. The struggle for most of us is that lost in the compulsive thinking mind, we fail to recognize this awareness that is ever-present. It is the empty and timeless gap between two thoughts.
Trying to train the mind to catch hold of this awareness will not work because it is subtler than the mind. The subtle can know the gross, but not the other way around. For example, the mind, which is subtler than the body, knows the body and the senses, but not the other way around. Similarly, the awareness of “being” or I AM is subtler than the mind. And hence, it is impossible for the mind to discover it through effort.
When the mind surrenders, suspending all effort as movement and knowing that it is not the doer of actions, it dissolves in the bliss of this pure awareness. That’s where our real home is. Whether we realize it or not, we are already moving in that direction. All phenomenality is nothing but pointers to the way back home.
Trying to get there by effort only slows down the journey. However, it happens if it is destined to be that way. The effortless mind rests in the peace of stillness, always aware of its true nature. And in that, it is realized that we never left home. We were always here and now.
Every moment is an opportunity to wake up from the divine hypnosis. Which moment becomes your point of liberation is the cosmic Will and destiny of the individual mind-body organism. You wake up precisely at the right time. Never before. Never after.
Advaita sages say that the highest teaching comes in silence. The silence is always of the Heart and never of the mind. Mind, by nature, cannot remain silent. That’s why sages like Ramana Maharshi would not speak much. Many people experience spontaneous awakening in his presence.
However, never discount an intellectual understanding. I hear people say that I understand the concept of non-duality intellectuality but cannot embody the knowledge. Ramesh Balsekar would say that spiritual awakening is spontaneous, but the deliverance of true knowledge in the form of complete embodiment takes time.
For many people, the spiritual awakening experience is instantaneous. It hits like a flash of lightning. But the experience takes time to integrate and create the whole mind. The words, “You are not the doer of actions,” hit me like lightning. But it took many years for that knowledge to seep into my being and become a part of my daily living.
Even after a spiritual awakening, I had years of confusion and conflict, with my mind flip-flopping every now and then. I would question: “Am I delusional?” “How is this knowledge going to help me?” “Is this true, or am I just imagining things?” “Maybe another master would give me complete knowledge.” “Maybe another teaching would clarify my confusion.”
What I was missing was that the clarity was embedded in that confusion only. While I was busy looking for answers elsewhere, I was missing the true wisdom that was here and now. It is the mind’s nature to create movement. And we get swayed by the movement away from the reality that is here in this very moment or now.
We imagine that knowledge would come to us through external sources and liberate us from our misery. While intellectual knowledge does come from an external source, real knowledge is ever-present and ever-accessible within ourselves. Here and now is the infinite knowledge and our real home.
Only the mind creates separation between “me” and the “other.” This separation places me in opposition to the other. Therefore, I start believing that I must rise above others to be significant in this world. That is when my pain becomes eternal suffering. I start competing and comparing myself to others.
The illusory separation is my departure from home. Nisargadatta Maharaj says, “Only when I am home do I realize that I never left.” That is the predicament with most of us. The source of greatest joy is right here with us, but we spend our entire life searching for happiness in the outside world.
Survival of the fittest theory is a short-sighted perception and applicable only to the biological organism, and you don’t have much say in that. Nature provides for the survival of the organism. It works following cosmic law. There are forces of nature against which the biological organism is powerless.
While we hear stories of bravado and how people overcame adverse situations using willpower, what we don’t hear about are numerous stories where nature was too powerful against the human will. I’m not saying that one should give up on overcoming life adversities.
If you have a crisis situation, you should do whatever you can to bring yourself comfort and peace. But you can only be successful against natural forces if your personal will aligns with the cosmic will. How do I know if my will aligns with the cosmic will? If you are intuitive, you will know; otherwise, do the best you can and leave the outcome to the universe.
But remember that no action was yours. A set of instructions were executed by the biological organism. Neither did you invite adversity in your life and nor did you do anything to get rid of it. It all happened. With that attitude, I don’t create pride and arrogance for my achievements, and similarly, I also don’t create shame and guilt for my failure, for my achievements and failure were never my doing.
The human body is fragile and can break down in the slightest tweak of nature. But consciousness powering life is unbreakable. It never dies because it was never born. You are that consciousness and not the limited biological organism you identify with.
If we look at ourselves from a limited animalistic perspective, we are not even the size of a speck in the entire universe, but if we look at ourselves from the consciousness perspective, we are limitless. Source is the pure consciousness. It is unconditional love; our real home; what we really are.
Our real home is a place of pure bliss. There is no comparison, complaining, whining, and blaming because there’s no thinking mind over there.
You can be at home anytime you want. Recognize the awareness when it comes. Don’t try to grab it vigilantly. Any effort will only bring you back to the world. Relax and let it happen naturally and effortlessly. Be patient. Your bus no. 56 is nearby to take you back home.