There is a beautiful and profound line in the opening Doha of the Sri Hanuman Chalisa which goes as follows:
Shree Guru charana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhari
Having polished the mirror of my heart with the dust of my Guru’s lotus feet
Just this line shows the profundity of the spiritual path and what it is we are truly doing on it, for it is all too easy to get caught up in lofty spiritualized fantasies of what it means to become “enlightened” when the meaning of the word itself is allusive to us.
We hear stories of great mystical events, of celestial beings coming to people, or grand moments when someone has a great understanding, but these events mean nothing to us and it is not these event that are of interest to us.
What is actually of interest to us, and what we are truly drawn to in someone who we feel has awakened to the “truth” (another word whose meaning alludes us) is the fragrance of love, is the fragrance of acceptance, is the overall sense of peace that they release onto the world. It is this sense of love and openness that we seek for what good is knowledge of the “truth”, knowledge of the “self” with a cold closed of heart.
There is a saying:
“like attracts like”
We attract what is like ourselves and we are attracted to that which is like ourselves. We do not seek pain, (consciously) we do not seek dark experiences consciously for they are not part of our inherent nature. But love we seek, openness, forgiveness, peace, all of these we seek these for they are what we are.
Shree Guru charana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhari
To polish the mirror of our heart is just that. To heart/mind is just like a mirror, a clear lake, it reflects back to us our true nature, our inherent being. But just like a mirror, if there is dust on it, it will not reflect well. The True face isn’t disturb by the dust on the mirror, the true Self is untouched by it, but our ability to perceive the purity of the Self can be obstructed by the dust as long as we still take the reflection in the mirror to be what we are. What we use to clean our mirror is, metaphorically, the dust of the feet of the Guru.
The Guru need not be a person, the Guru need not be anything recognizable at all, the Guru is That which reminds us that right here, right now we are. Whatever does that is the Guru, and it is with that reminder that we use to polish our inner mirror.
But it is all too easy to think: “but since we are already That, why would we need to do anything at all…?”
But if such a thought were to arise one must honestly look at oneself and inquire: “Is this thought truly helpful, is merely believing in this thought giving me the peace, the love, that I yearn for…?” if not, then throw the thought away.
We are not hear to confirm someone else’s ideas about the spiritual path, but to discover for ourselves the truth of who and what we are. Just because we “know” intellectually that we are the Self, that we are already That which we seek does not mean that the momentum of lifetimes of living as a person will instantly cease. If it did, then everyone on the path who heard the teachings “ You Are That” would have been instantly enlightened and this world would be a very different place.
We need to be honest with ourselves with where we are and have patience and be gentle with ourselves on this journey. For what is it that you are truly looking for? If it is lasting love and peace of mind, peace of being a peace that “…passeth all understanding…” then we must be diligent and work to battle the inner forces that attack us.
This inner battle is as old as time itself, it is the battle of the Holy Gita itself. Arjuna, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, loses the urge to fight for on the opposing army what does he see? Family, friends, people he knew. On seeing this he felt he could not fight them.
Who are these people on our opposing battle? They are our family of thoughts and feelings, those ideas that we are so use to that we cannot fight against them solely for the fact that we feel that we know and need them, they have become like family for us.
And, and this is a key point, that even knowing the Truth, even having the Lord right beside you, even knowing with full conviction the truth of who and what you are does not mean that the inner battle does not take place.
Arjuna had Lord Krishna Himself beside him, Lord Krishna Himself taught him the lofty and subtle teachings of all the Vedas and Upanishads, Arjuna was shown how everything is in the hands of the Lord and the ultimate outcome has already been decided, yet despite that, what did Arjuna do? He fought his battle.
This is where many find themselves. Many have sufficient knowledge of spiritual matters, even experiences, but that does not mean that the inner movements of the person disappear automatically.
As long as we are still embodied, the movements of conditioning will be there, the difference for the one “who knows” is that these movements of conditioning are seen for what they are.
Even in the mind of the Great Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj he states that from time to time old habits would arise in his mind, but they were seen and discarded.
Once I directed a question to the Great Goddess Kali Ma about the relationship between a knower of truth and spiritual practice for it seems that those who have awakened to the Truth still engaged in practices even though it seems that it would no longer be necessary. And a response came in the form of an inner image:
Image that everything in the entire universe is solely a giant ocean. And you are a wave on that ocean. There is never a moment where you are not one with the ocean for you are water through and through. So from one angle, from the angle of the ocean, all is perfect and as it should be.
But there is another angle that we can look at this universe from, and that is from the perspective of the wave. The wave can look upon the grand ocean and be in awe of it, while at the same time knowing that that which it is in awe of is none other that it itself.