To Know One’s Self – May 21 2019

To Know One’s Self – May 21 2019

The knower of Atman [the Self] is like a man who is awakened from sleep and dreams no more of empty things. He is like a man who, having been sick, is now whole again; he is like a man who, having been blind, has received back his eyesight.

Swami Nikhilananda, Discussion of Brahman,  The Upanishads, Vol. One

The Upanishads offer basically one message: there is only one thing. Non-duality is the Truth of the universe. And further that we are here on earth, embodied souls, in order that we may realize this Truth: that there is only one thing –  Consciousness – and that we are that one thing.

The Upanishads are VedantaVeda means “knowledge,” anta means “end.” Vedanta is therefore the end of knowledge. The culmination of the Veda. The point of it all.

It is said by various sources that there are nine important Upanishads, or eleven, or twelve; and then other, minor Upanishads making a total of 108 or over 200. Opinions vary, but all of them speaking in one way or another to the idea that oneness is the order of the world.

We must hear this message in the first place to know that the point of it all is to know the Self; and then to realize that this Self also is the Self of the universe.

And we must hear the message again and again in different ways because our lives are filled with the message of our relativity, of our aloneness in the universe, of our individuality as the only truth of life. Some of us have spent decades laboring under this illusion of angst and suffering and isolation. Some of us have made a career of it. Some of us are absolutely in love with the pain of our existence because it has perhaps been the most apparent and strongest experience we’ve ever had. And even though we may hate the pain of our isolation and suffering, it is what has made the most sense to us.

Even if none of these ideas are true for us, our experience of aloneness, and separation has become a habit. The Upanishads remind us that it’s time to break this habit and build the habit of knowing ourselves as Self, at least the habit of having Self as an idea of who and what we might be.

Today when I have an idea of myself as small, separate, needy, I will let go of this limited idea of myself. I will suggest to myself there is another way of seeing things; and I will ask of God or the Higher Self within that I be shown this other way.

Flower and gravel, LA River, Studio City CA