You and the universe are one. You and I are no different. We are all part of this totality we call Life.
How many times have we heard statements such as these during our search? How many times have we read such ideas? How many times have we shared and tried to convince others that such ideas and philosophies are true?
Are these concepts just that for us; mere concepts? Just something we believe in and go about our daily lives with a “non-dualistic” world view as oppose to a “dualistic” one?
How many hours upon hours of meditation, chanting, yoga, and all sorts of activities have we engaged in to try to get to exactly where we are now?
For is not that what the philosophy points to? That we are ALREADY THAT. That what we are searching for is where the searching is taking place from? Is that not what the philosophy teaches us? That we are already complete, perfect and whole, not lacking in any way shape or form?
If this is what we believe, if this is the path we follow, then why are we doing all this?
If we really believe that we are already That which we seek, why are we still trying to reach for it?
Or better yet, why are we trying to convince ourselves that we are not trying to seek for it (or however koan-like way we wish to describe it to ourselves)? Why are we going out to meditation centers, taking yoga classes when we are fundamentally That which we seek?
The answer is simple:
we do not believe it.
And it is this belief alone, it is only this self inflicted belief that gives us all of our troubles.
We may intellectually be able to convince ourselves that we and the universe are one, and intellectually understand all of the concepts and ideas and even be able to give lectures and write books on the subject, but it is all meaningless.
Unless, and only unless, the realization of this Truth goes from the head to the heart, fundamentally speaking, the philosophy you are believing in, the philosophy you are trying to live by and share is not true. At least, not true for you.
I can sit here and tell you everything you want to hear. I can sit here and tell you the whole Truth.
You are That. You are already That. You can never be anything other than That. You are fundamentally perfect and complete. You and God are the same thing. You and the universe are the same thing. You are Life itself.
But you know what, it will not help. If all this goes only to your mind, it will simply become just another concept, just another ‘good idea.’ And as long as the mind has a grip on these concepts and ideas you will still remain ‘bound’ and ‘trapped.’
The paradox here is that you can never be bound. You can never be trapped. You can only believe that you are. But this belief is enough to effectively ‘trap’ and ‘bound’ you. Such is the power of belief.
Fundamentally speaking, ‘You’ can never be anything, because the ‘You’ who is going through this whole spiritual journey is what is apparently stopping you from where you wish to be. Yet, unless these words are experienced in the heart, you will go on and on searching for a time and place where you will no longer need to search anymore.
And this is the trap. That we search for a time, that we are searching for some point where it will all come together. Although we understand that we are already what we seek, we still feel that we are not quite there yet. That although we are fundamentally not lacking in any way shape or form, somehow something is still lacking.
Why do we fall into this trap? Why do we still continue to believe in an idea that the very path we are on is repeatedly telling us is not true?
Because, we still believe that we are lacking. We believe that we are incomplete, imperfect, in need of some thing to bring us all together. And because we believe it, because we so strongly believe in this notion that we are somehow lacking in some way; we live our lives as if we are lacking. We live our lives as if we are separate from Life, separate from God or however you wish to call it. And because we believe this, we begin to live this belief.
And in living this belief we begin to self confirm the belief that we are separate to ourselves till we reach the point that we begin to search and look for another belief to help us remove our original belief of imperfection. And thus, the spiritual journey is born.
The search for enlightenment, the search for Truth, the search for God begins. Yet, what are we actually looking for? Do we even know? We read stories about great beings from the past who have completed their search and found what they were looking for. So we believe that if we follow in their footsteps maybe we too can find what we are looking for.
But what is it that we are looking for?
Are we looking for some grand mystical experience?
Are we looking for some heavenly voice to come down to us in our dreams and tell us; “good job, you are now a Buddha.”
Is this it?
If this happens, will that be enough?
Will that answer our questions?
It might give us encouragement, it might make us feel slightly better, but it will not free us.
Because any experience, no matter how grand and mystical it is; is just that; an experience. And the fundamental nature of all experience is that it will pass. There has never been any experience that has not passed. So, in searching for an experience, in searching for some outward confirmation we fall into another major trap. A trap that many never come out of. We turn the spiritual search essentially into a search for a “spiritual high.”
And even if we get one of the mystical experience we want, it will pass. It is inevitable that it will pass, yet we do not want it to pass. We wish to hold on to it and keep it.
So we continue to search for another experience, or a grander experience, something bigger and better. Something that will show that I am more enlightened and spiritual than you.
It is this trap that keeps us exactly where we are. Because we still believe that somehow we are not good enough with the way we are. We feel that if we collect enough “spiritual points,” so to speak, then maybe we will be complete. It all comes down to the belief that we are not good enough, that we are not complete and perfect as we are.
This one little thought as infected the minds of almost every living being on this planet. We just do not want to accept the fact that as we are right now, right here is OK. Even though we read about it, and hear others tell us this, and we even agree with it and accept it, but since deep down we still hold the belief in the exact opposite we keep ourselves bound and trapped. The chains of this prison has not been place on you by anyone other than yourself. So we continue to try.
We meditate and go to temples and ashrams and yoga classes to try and free ourselves from the reign of our minds, to try and search for that future moment where we will be free despite intellectually knowing that we are free right here right now.
Yet, if we take the teachings and actually apply them, the teaching which constantly reminds us that we ARE ALREADY THAT, if we take this seemingly simple statement and truly apply it to our lives, the entire spiritual dynamic will change. For what are the implications of this statement?
To affirm “I AM THAT” means what?
Quite literally, it simply means, YOU ARE THAT.
Yet, this statement does not mean, “yes, you are that, but you must continue to practice and meditate until one day you really become that” but more accurately that,
YOU ARE THAT
This teaching was not given as some sort of mystical riddle that was only to be understood by a select few, but was presented as the living Truth of who and what you are.
YOU ARE THAT
As you are, right now in this very moment. You do not have to contemplate this statement in the hopes that maybe one day you’ll understand it. No, you are that even now. Exactly as you are is the ultimate perfection. The spiritual practice therefore, no longer is a journey to get someone to discover that they are one with the universal perfection, but instead becomes an application of this universal perfection in the course of our daily lives.