Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
The Veda says that we are spirit – that we are not this body, this mind, these thoughts, feelings and opinions. We are this other thing, this deeper thing: Spirit, nature, the Universal, Totality, the Self, capital ‘S’. By any name we call it, it means the same thing – we are this oneness with each other, with all that is, whether we can feel it or not – and that this oneness supersedes all differences.
And? What good does it do us to see ourselves this way?
Let’s say you’re at work. You’ve spent days on a project doing the best work you know how to do, and following the protocols established by your boss and your ‘team.’ Now let’s say a co-worker is assigned to get involved in the project with you, now that the groundwork has been laid. And after looking things over, he says, in a snappish tone, “Why did you do it this way?!” Suddenly, your hackles are up, you want to snap back, your mind fills with images of hurting him, but you’re a spiritual person, you hold back on all of that and answer, in the calmest way possible, “Because that’s the way we discussed doing it.” And then you turn and walk away, before something in you flies out without your permission.
Now your body is aflame with the swirl and spin of uncomfortable body sensations-shame/anger/hurt/rage – and your mind is running with all the thoughts brought about by these feelings – what’s wrong with me that someone speaks to me like that, who does he think he is, why didn’t I read him the riot act, what a wimp I am, why does the world keep doing this to me, etc.
If I am my thoughts and my feelings and all these body sensations, then I am going to have to figure out the answers to these questions, resolve the situation with this other person (who may or may not want to resolve it with me), and I will be uncomfortable and my head filled with all these negative speculations till this resolution occurs.
If, however, I am other than all this – in other words, if I have come to know myself as the Self, as spirit – then I can see these thoughts and feelings and uncomfortable body sensations as mere stress release: the release from my body of the stresses that have been stored there by every other life experience I’ve ever had even remotely like this one. This experience is allowing me to let go of all of it. This experience is allowing me to let go of all in me that is not gold.
The feelings will be the same. We still will feel uncomfortable. But with this knowledge we will know that the feelings will come to an end. They will leave the body. We will discover that it is our endless speculation about the meaning of the feelings and of the interaction itself that are keeping the feelings alive in us. When we stop feeding the process with our attention, all the discomfort naturally flows through us and leaves us with less stress to carry around and the knowledge that next time we have an interaction like this, we will have less of a reaction. We might be able to not take his tone personally. And by not taking it personally, we might be able to see that our co-worker spoke to us not in order to shame us, but because he was frightened in the moment that he would not be able to do his job. With less of a reaction, we might be able to reassure him that it’s all going to be okay, that together we’ll be able to solve whatever problem he’s feeling overwhelmed by.
What we are is pure gold; and our journey here on the planet is to let go of all that is covering up this truth.
Today, when I feel drawn out of the moment of my life and into speculation about what all these uncomfortable feelings mean–about myself and about the world–I will remind myself that I am pure spirit, and that to remember myself as spirit is all I need do to begin letting go of this swirl and spin and get back to the business of life.
Red Leaves, Landon Bay, Thousand Islands, Ontario, Canada