I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.
Hermann Hesse, Demian
Knowledge is acquired. Truth is revealed.
There are books that function in every way like instruction manuals for life. For those of us who have felt damaged – by life, by childhood, by trauma – certain books have been lifesavers. Alcoholics Anonymous, which gives a plain-spoken blueprint for living; Sri Aurobindo’s The Synthesis of Yoga, showing how all of life, each moment, can be used to foster a connection with the Divine; Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, giving simple instruction on how to become present; Creating Affluence by Deepak Chopra, a primer on how to view the world as a “oneness,” and all that implies; Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love, which shows us the power of love as a verb, love as an expression of God, as an answer to our quest for peace.
To discover one of these books when you are ready to hear what the author has to say can feel like proof of the existence of God. Like meeting someone and knowing they will be part of your life forever. You turn a page, read a sentence, and it can feel like a lamp lit in a long-darkened room, and a thought like, “Yes! I knew it! I knew that!” echos like a smile through your mind.
These books and others like them, and their authors have saved my life. When nothing else made sense to me, when no one had anything to say that I could hear, I was able to find it in books. Enough to stay alive until I got my footing. Enough to lead me, bread crumb-like, through the dark woods.
But no amount of written matter, no system of thought, no truckload of knowledge or basket of ideas can take the place of the experience of meditation. In meditation, we know – beyond words, beyond ideas, beyond what can be expressed in a book.
What do we know? The Truth of our being.
There is no substitute for this. There is no end to the growth available from this.
There is a treasure buried within each of us. Books can remind us it is there, can help explain it to us as we discover and rediscover it. Meditation takes us to it, again and again, until we begin to know it as the Truth of what we are and beyond.
Today I will read from a book that reminds me of the Truth of my being, and I will meditate in order to experience that Truth. If I don’t know how to meditate, I will ask a friend what they do. If what they do doesn’t work for me, I will seek out a teacher as a guide to something that will work for me. And when I have found that something, I will not surrender it for anything.