No two breaths are identical, and Jon Lucien
May peace be with you, dear friend.
As we enter into the final days of the calendar year, it is an auspicious time to reflect on why, if, and how we are connecting with the deep drives of our being. In our constantly whirring world of information, communication, and connectivity we are bombarded with many influencing forces that can steer us from the deep knowing that resides within us already. Choosing to cultivate any form of practice that puts us in deeper contact with our own nature is a way to connect with our life and the world in a nurturing and grounded way. It is our humanness that allows for us this opportunity to connect with the timeless and infinite power of existence.
Some elemental qualities of being human are the desire to seek, to know, to understand, to make meaning, to experience belonging, and to be accepted. We pursue these desires through all available means, and sometimes at great cost to our own or others' dignity. We are operating in a culture that is the product of hundreds of thousands of years of adaptation, amalgamation, and innovation. It is too easily forgotten that we are still finding our way into fulfilling those deeply human desires as human culture evolves and changes.
Human beings, like most of the other planet's life, are extremely intelligent, curious, resilient, and adaptable creatures. We have endured seemingly un-survivable ice-ages and environmental challenges like earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and tsunamis. We have also survived plagues, famines, and droughts. These are all natural events that were not necessarily a product of anything we did, thought, or believed. Yet, we created elaborate rituals and belief systems around how to interact with the forces of nature, and to make sense of our own being in the midst of so many seemingly uncontrolled or chaotic happenings. We created mental constructs that guided our behavior, our attitudes towards other forms of life and each other, and built our civilizations on the values and norms that evolved out of our own beliefs. Yet underneath all the human-created systems of thought and value, we were always moved by the desire to be loved, to be accepted, to feel connected, and to make sense of our place in the cosmic order. Religions, philosophies, and all other modes of operating in relation to our self and others are extensions of these desires in some way. We have fought wars and persecuted each other, and we have also healed and cared for each other under the sway of these ideas.
Inevitably, as our world became less vast and seemingly disconnected through our growing capacity to meet people from great distances, to exchange culture, language, and resources, our methods of seeking have gotten more interwoven and more based on the inner experience of the individual. We operate with a shared understanding that our place in the world is largely conditioned by external forces, but that within the frame of our own mind and body there is an often unacknowledged or hidden power and autonomy of thought, word, and action. One of the most impactful things any of us can do at this challenging chapter of human history is to investigate the deeper nature of our own being.
"But where to begin, or what way is the right path?" we might ask. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj gives us a powerful response to such questions:
Some visitors ask me, "Please show us a path that will lead to Reality." How can I? All paths lead to unreality. Paths are creations within the scope of knowledge. Therefore, paths and movement cannot transport you into Reality, because their function is to enmesh you within the dimension of knowledge, while the Reality prevails prior to it.
To apprehend this, you must stay put at the source of your creation, at the beginning of the knowledge 'I am'. So long as you do not achieve this, you will be entangled in the chains forged by your mind and get enmeshed in those of others.
Therefore, I repeat, you stabilize at the source of your Being and then all the chains will snap asunder and you will be liberated. You will transcend time, with the result that you will be beyond the reach of its tentacles and you shall prevail in Eternity.
When you understand that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and what is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness, you will be at peace - immersed in the deep silence of reality.
As we move into the next year, may we choose to engage with our shared humanity, and our shared infinity. May we seek to be resolved in the depth of our own loving heart and wise mind. May we extend compassion to all, including ourselves, and may we remember that we are all equally belong here, and we are all continuing to change. There is no one and only way to get to the heart of our own nature. There is no easy ideal, just like there is no perfect breath; no two breaths are identical. Listen to the words and music of Jon Lucien's "Search for Inner Self," and remember your own nature.