The substance of the spirit is my daily supply. I cannot be without my good. I can see that the constant stream of life flowing to me brings into my experience all that makes life happy and worthwhile. I rest in security, knowing that infinite good is within and expressing through me. I receive my good.
The Power of Life within you is a spiritual power, able to bring to you permanent peace, increasing happiness and joy, and greater material abundance. These things that have made man miserable can be eliminated through the conscious use of this Power. God could not visit fear or hate or impoverishment upon us, because God transcends these things. The world needs a new concept of God; a new idea must be born in the minds of people everywhere about the nature of God and their relationship to this Divine Creative Spirit.
The only thing that can bring love, joy, peace, and prosperity to the world is a direct experience of the Invisible. We must sense the immediate presence of Life. With simplicity and directness, we must sense that the Spirit is at the center of our own lives. We must learn to recognize that It is at the center of all people and working in human affairs. While it is true that the Power of God is always within us, it is not true that we have always realized Its presence . To realize this is to be able to make conscious use of it, to direct It, for ourselves and for others.
I rely on my Inner Power to work with me in creating the kind of life I deeply desire. I know that within myself I can find the guidance I seek and the strength I need. With Love in my heart, knowing that I am unbound and unlimited, I accept myself as a happy, healthy, strong, and successful person right here and now.
There are some fundamental questions about your self-identity which are difficult to answer. The following are a few examples. Who am I? Am I what I think I am? Is there an identity in me that does not depend upon my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions? The other day, a well-known author, who is also a spiritual teacher, appeared in a television program and tried to answer the first question. His answer lacked conviction as he repeated standard answers from spiritual texts and seemed to be intent upon impressing his audience with his eloquence and beliefs rather than relating it to his own experience.
However, it was impressive that he was at least thinking about it. In today’s world how many people really think about it and of them how many do it without surrendering to their irrational and traditional beliefs? Most people are interested in the distractions of the world around them rather than what is in them. They confuse their beliefs for facts, facts for opinions, and opinions for truths, and speak with conviction the mysteries of life, when they should admit their limitations, and show humility to learn and find the truth. When you say, “I am soul,” you must know what a soul means and how you can incorporate it in your composite identity.
Indeed, there is no universal answer to the question of “Who am I?” You should be surprised if anyone answers it with confidence based upon his or her personal experience. Theoretically, you may know the answer, but personally it is difficult to come to terms with yourself without spending considerable time in contemplation and self-exploration. The answer must arise in you as an expression of your very being. It must define you and express you in your terms, free from your imagination, speculation, and beliefs.
Understanding the barriers to self-awareness
The following problems prevent you from knowing who you are. They are chiefly responsible for the difficulties you experience in knowing truths about yourself.
1. Your self-identity is an amorphous concept: You do not have one particular identity that remains constant. You have many identities at the same time and each of them may also undergo change. You play many roles, establish many relationships, and assume many identities as you deal with problems and try to survive in a world of numerous threats, challenges and conflicts.
2. You do not completely know yourself: Many things happen in you, without your knowledge and control. You have many aspects that remain unknown to you and to others until the end. Many assumptions that you make about them, such as your dream world, may not be true. You can study yourself from the outermost physical aspects of you to the innermost mental aspects and still you may not know for sure whether your study is complete.
3. You are conditioned to be: Your notion of Self is a construct or a formation conditioned by your need for approval and belongingness. It is an accumulation of knowledge, which does not truly represent you, but what you decide to project to the world as a part of your survival. You also wear many masks and embellish truths about you to hide certain aspects of you from the world to avoid their judgment, attention and disapproval.
4. Your identity constantly changes and evolves: Your identity as a child is not the same as your identity as an adult or an old person. You keep changing as you learn about you, others and the world, and as you progress in your life, leaving behind your attachments, identities, roles, responsibilities, and relationships. Since you are in a constant state of flux, you may appear differently to yourself and others in different contexts and time-frames.
5. You are a mental construct: You are an association of selected thoughts and memories, glued together by your desires and attachments. You create your identity or self-image as a construct, just as you create many things in your life according to your needs, desires, resources, and circumstances, and according to what you want to project to the world as you. The identity which you assume is the sum of sensations, beliefs, thoughts, ideas, opinions, memories, perceptions, feelings, emotions, experiences, concepts, desires, and attachments, which you dearly hold in your consciousness because they serve your self-interests. They create in you the notion of a personality or beingness, while a lot of what you experienced remains unrepresented and unaccounted for.
6. You create your own illusions: You not only create your self-identity with selective memories, but also embellish it with your imagination and creativity. You suppress and alter facts about your life, besides rewriting certain unpleasant memories, to present an ideal image of you to the world and to yourself. The Illusions you so create can hamper your ability to ascertain your true identity and understand your behavior.
7. You have many states of being and knowing: Are you the same person when you are awake, dreaming, or asleep, when you are angry, or when you are peaceful? As you interact with the external world, you experience different emotional states and appear differently to those who interact with you. Those states can also coexist at the same time. For example, you may internally be unhappy, but externally calm. You may be happy to see your friend, but may internally be feeling unhappy at the same time about an incident that happened a while ago. You inner world is thus a medley of diverse states in which it is difficult to know who you are and what you stand for. One school of thought suggests that externally you have an unstable and transient self, while internally, hidden behind it, is an eternal and unchanging self. While your external self may undergo innumerable changes, the inner one does not change since it is your eternal identity. Those who do not agree with this state that there is no eternal self beyond your impermanent self, and you must resolve its instability and transience to experience peace and stability.
Breaking the barriers
Your identity is an illusion or a projection because it does not reflect the truth of you but what you want to become in the esteem of others or what you want to project into the world as you. You are what you think and believe you are, not necessarily who you really are. This becomes evident when you consider the whole humanity and how they differ. All human beings go through many identical experiences in their lives, but end up feeling and being uniquely different because they pick specific memories from the pool of their experiences and choose to remember them in certain individual ways. They become what they choose to become and how they want to remember their past and make sense of it. The Buddha suggested long time ago that the so called self-image was but an aggregation of mental and physical parts, or a mental construct of selectively accumulated pieces of knowledge and information. It was pieced together by each being according to his or her desires, beliefs and preferences. It can be dispersed overtime with effort, just as you can breakdown any compound substance.
The identity you thus create is contextual and unstable. It is also incomplete because it selectively represents you based upon your choices. It is so fragile that it can be permanently lost if there is damage to the brain, or if there is a loss of memory as in case of Alzheimer’s patients. Since, it remains in a state of flux it does not give you a fixed sense of who you are except a limited view of who you might be.
Finding a definite answer to the question is not necessary because you can live without knowing it. Many people do not know an answer but still manage to live normally and achieve much of what they want to achieve. Still it is worthwhile to explore your consciousness and ascertain facts about the nature of your existence and identity. In your quest for self-knowledge, honesty is important. You should do it not to impress the world but to know who you are and what you are. Knowing it even vaguely elevates your thinking and your approach to the problems and people in your life. In this regard the following principles are worth mentioning.
1. Try to understand who you are even if you cannot exactly define who you are or why you exist.
2. Minimize the mental noise to know what exists when you are utterly silent.
3. Begin with what you know based upon your experience and observation, instead of indulging in speculation and imagination.
4. Understand the constructs you build and the masks you wear to manage the complexity of your life and relationships and how they may interfere with your true identity.
5. Observe yourself as you go through many emotional and physical states to know the observer and the one who experiences it.
6. Understand your illusions and conditioning to find your authentic self so that you can be yourself, true to yourself, and know yourself.
“Do not exalt any path above God. There are many paths that lead to God.
So people are capable of finding and following the ways that suit them,
provided they do not stand still.” Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
A Vessel without Light Breaks
A parable is a vessel for the message within it. So too, the word is the vessel for the expression of thought. And if one speaks without Kavanah, it is the very enactment of the “Breaking of the Vessels” (1), for in such a case, there is no inner life to the words. But when one divests oneself of materiality, which is the person’s body and “vessel”, one is able to behold the inner nature of the vessel, the life and light of the letters.(2) When one is divested of corporeality and is enclothed in one’s words, one is in a state of D’vequt. Take care not to lose the concentrated stream of awareness and fortify yourself on high.
(1) The cosmic rupture at the beginning of the process of creation that enabled duality and evil to manifest in creation, for the sake of providing humanity with free choice; as a means toward the individual growth of awareness and integration with the Primordial Tiqqun. But whereas the original “breaking of the vessels” occurred as an act of Divine Will for the reason just mentioned, this breaking, due to the seperation of one’s intent from one’s words, serves only a destructive purpose. It is interesting to note that whereas in the Creation process, the vessels broke due to a superabundance of light, here, they shatter due to too-little light. This is no doubt because the provision of light that cannot be integrated also leaves the vessel empty and unsustained.
(2) This subtle teaching contrasts the the divestment of intent [which is like the “light”] from words [which are like “the vessels” – and as a result of the seperation of light from vessel, the vessel falls and breaks – as in the Zoharic-Lurianic formulation]; with the divestment of one’s awareness [which is again, the light] from the body, which is here described as the outer manifestation of the inner nature of the vessel. But here, in contrast with the Creation from Nothing, rather than causing the breaking of the vessel, one discovers the true essence of the vessel – the divinely communicated outer world of information that enables the stability of the outer world – in a dispassionate way.
“To be whole and free is to live and manifest on the material and immaterial planes in harmony with the spiritual laws that govern all that there is. It then becomes our duty and responsibility to transmit and reflect in our daily lives, and to our utmost ability, the highest vibrations of the universe and of our Creator.”
As the great joy of life comes into my soul, flooding me with its wondrous light, all sorrow and sadness flee from me. I do not grieve, for nothing is lost or gone from me. My own cannot be kept from me. My own knows me and follows me wherever I go. I am filled with the joy of living and the great peace that comes to all who believe, I am made glad forevermore.
“On a long journey of human life, faith is the best of companions; it is the best refreshment on the journey; and it is the greatest property. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
We are surrounded by a receptive and creative medium that receives our thought and acts upon it. there is nothing harder than keeping the thought straight, and nothing else so desirable. It is not easy in our contacts with the daily world to keep our thoughts so clear that we never become unpoised, that we never accept anything we do not wish to accept, and that we always control the intellect so the emotions do not respond unless the intellect says to respond. But whenever we can do this, our destiny will be in our own hands, backed by an immutable Power. But before we do this, we must relate and harmonize ourselves with the Infinite. We oppose It when we admit that anything opposes us. We deny it when we admit that good is denied to us.
When we find ourselves in discordant conditions, we should never say, “Oh, what’s the use?” Rather, we should say, “There is Something in me that is greater than this condition and It can dissolve it.” We have the privilege and power to do this, and if we use this ability properly, it will produce wonderful results. Remember that the cause of everything is and idea and that the thought is the mold in which our tangible experience is cast.
I have the power to live the life of good. my thought reflects the good that I desire. I am conscious of the focus of my thinking, and my own is manifesting itself to me now. There is nothing kin me that can hinder it from entering and taking possession of my Soul. M y own is now expressed.