Walk the Straight and Narrow Path
Few people ever attain True Happiness in their lifetime. Few people even come close. Most human beings wander in darkness and desperation and never know what it means to be truly free. Being free to do whatever we ‘want’ to do is not true freedom. True freedom is to be free from all wants and desires. Only true freedom is really desirable. Having an intense desire for True Freedom, “Moksha”, is a prerequisite for attaining liberation; but to attain desirelessness (true freedom), even the desire to be desireless must be abandoned. In other words, we need to drop all our images and expectations.
If we have an image of our self, then we cannot be free. Our self image is created in the mind and it is the greatest (or we could say, ‘final’) obstacle to attaining true freedom. If our practices are rooted in our self-image, then our practices are not really solid. If our practices are not solid, then we are standing on flimsy ground and we are likely to fall. This is exactly why so many people fall off the spiritual path. As long as we are in our ego, our life remains unstable.
While living in an egotistical world, it is very easy to fall prey to the trappings of ego—whether one’s own ego traps or the ego traps of others. All of us are interacting in this world of “Samsara” (the world of ego-interplay). We relate to one another as ‘persons’, and personality is nothing but ego-flavoring. As many persons as there are, that many flavors of ego there are. Very few people really see the soul in others, but those who do see the soul will see the soul everywhere and in everything (in people, animals, birds, and all other living beings). When we stop seeing ourselves as souls we begin to relate to others as objects and in the process we lose our objectivity. When we stop seeing ourselves as souls we become subjectively involved with ourselves and others. Being self-centered means being caught up in our little ego. When so many people are caught up in their ego and trying to relate to one another through ego, there is bound to be much conflict, confusion, and frustration.
So, how do we get out of this mess and attain true happiness in our life? First of all, we cannot rely on our feelings, because most of our feelings are ego-feelings—they are born out of our ego and persona. Many people fall into this trap—they validate their invalid feelings and in the process they become invalids. We become helpless and hopeless when we follow the voice of ego. The problem is, if we have been listening to our ego our whole life, we will believe we are actually listening to our self—we will think we are the ego, we will think and ‘feel’ we are this ‘person’. But in fact, we are so much more than a ‘person.’ We are far, far beyond the ego or anything that can be fashioned in the mind.
Our Real Self is eternal, pure (untainted by ego), free (imageless), full (free of wants and desires), ever-new (dynamic), and far and beyond the mind, intellect, senses, or body. ‘Knowing our self’ means to know our True Self. Knowing our True Self means to be our Self, and being our Self means to be Real. Being real means to really be what we truly are—our Real Self.
We have to manifest our Real Self. This is the challenge before each and every living being—the challenge to be ourselves—which means to be true to our Real Self. Living in the world of Samsara is a challenge, because we come into this world with impressions and tendencies, and from the very outset our mind is impressed and influenced by the environment in which we have been placed (according to our past karmas—actions performed in previous lives).
human being is unique, each having a peculiar mindset, emotional makeup, and distinct
physical characteristics. Every human being is constantly undergoing change
at every moment of life and at the same time is interacting with other persons
who are also constantly changing, and all of us are living in a constantly changing
environment. Living in such a seemingly chaotic world we all desire stability
and peace, and so we create, organize, and categorize things to fit into our images.
We make laws and form clubs, societies, and nations.
But ultimately, unless we discover the inner law of our own being, we will
not be able to maintain order in our own mind. This is why so many people fail in their practices
and become just ordinary persons who follow the whims and tendencies of their
mind. In other words, if a person does
not go beyond himself (does not become more than a ‘person’), then everything
that person does is only done from the mind and has no real depth; hence, that
‘person’ sooner or later falls off and is eaten up by the world of Samsara.
Attaining True Happiness, or Liberation, really means to attain ‘nothing’. When ‘nothingness’ is attained one revels in one’s own true nature, which is devoid of everything mental, emotional, and material. When one is established in that State of Being, one is not moved by anything. To reach that highest state, one cannot deviate from the path of Truth. To attain that pinnacle of Consciousness, one must walk the straight and narrow path.
We need to stay focused and alert at all times and in all places. Whether working or resting, playing or exercising, speaking or listening we need to stay tuned to our real nature. If the mind is connected to the inner self, then our outer expressions will only reinforce that connection. But if our mind is disturbed, our behavior will also be disturbing. The mind is only disturbed when we are confused, and we are only confused when we lie to ourselves and go against our true nature. Anyone who deviates from his or her real nature suffers the consequences in the form of ignorance. That is, the more we lie to ourselves the more we lose our innate intelligence, and eventually we forget who and what we really are. This is the sorry state of so many unhappy people—and it all began with a lie. That lie is the lie that our ego can make us happy, or that by appeasing the mind we can find peace. No one ever became happy by listening to their ego or trying to satisfy the whims of the mind. Anyone who is a slave of their mind and ego can NEVER be happy. Period. Full stop.
When we put a stop to all our mind games and simplify our life, our mind becomes one-pointed and we automatically enter into the state of meditation wherein we realize our eternal nature. Established in our eternal self, we are never again shaken by anything that is temporary or unreal. We remain on the path and reach the summit of Absolute Existence, Consciousness, and Bliss—SatChitAnand.
Om Tat Sat