12 January 2018
who am I?
If not.... what then?
Continuing on from my previous post about what mindfulness is not. What is mindfulness if it is not being established in my sense of self, the self whom I believe to be "me"?
Firstly.... if we look at our "mind" in a different context, we can sense (and hopefully realise, in time), that what we believe to be our mind is generally what we believe is who we are. As though everything to do with our life is all pushed into this mythical area of Being. As though we are all of our thoughts, all of our beliefs, all of our wants and dislikes. And including our body. And this, for many, is the personal identity. It is, for many, what defines oneself.
And when I started my yoga spiritual journey, these were my beliefs, my reality, too.
But, to go back to what we think of as mind, and ourselves, is that really all of our mind - the personal sense of identity from thoughts, and also our feelings? In the vast arena of "mind", there is so much more... and it is that so much more that lets us realise that we are not just the sum total of our physical body and "mind."
How do we come to have the realisation that we are not just the above? Can anyone do it?
The Quest to find My Self
Everyone can come to this realisation. For me, it started when I was young with The Quest To Find The Self. I had read books by an american yogi, Richard Hittleman, who brought yoga to millions via television, and books. I read one of his later books, where he repeatedly talked about The Self. I, of course, had no idea of what he was talking about. But I wanted to know. It became a big question inside of me: "what is The Self"? I didn't try to read about it, because I honestly could not understand the yoga philosophy and terms. But the question remained, and I would frequently ask myself: "what is The Self?"
The years went by, with me still pondering the Big Question. With no answer. I did not know during this time, that having such a question is part of Jnana Yoga, the yoga of knowledge. And that behind each answer to such a question, lay an answer, then another answer, then another.... the answers to such questions go far beyond what we can imagine. Within all this, my quest, the aim was to come to The Self.
I found on my journey, that The Self is just part of the spiritual equation of whom we are. It is not the Holy Grail. Just as the little ego, called ahamakara in yoga terminology, that sense of believing that we are our thought and feelings, that they are what matters, is not the Holy Grail of The Self, either. For ahamakara, and also the chitter chatter of the mind stuff, the thought, beliefs, likes, dislikes, are just part of a larger picture of our manomaya kosha, our "lower mental" body (as opposed to the sublime states of very deep meditation and samadhi /enlightenment) and are just part of the vessel, the container, that we call "mind", "Ourself".
seek the answers for yourself
When one asks: "how can this be?" "Is this true?" "What is she talking about?", then I would always say: seek answers for yourself, seek the truths that people proclaim. Then you fill find out for yourself, whether or not they are true. Then they will be YOUR knowledge, your own truths.
whatever we know, there is always more......
But know this: on my journey I have found that whatever I thought I knew, whatever awakenings I have had, there is always more. If you keep this humbleness, that although you may have had great awakenings on many levels, it's always nothing compared to the greater truths to follow.
When I started learning from a Tohunga (Maori spiritual teacher and healer), I realised that for all of my knowledge.... it was nothing. I had to stop trying to match up what I was learning with what I knew from my spiritual yoga journey. For, with the yoga, I had searched for the Self, and gone far past it into more celestial realms. And, I had long known that whatever I knew... there was so much that I was unaware of. But with the Maori deep spirituality teachings, we started with Creation, then the lineage down through the Gods and the roles of the Gods (and Goddesses too) to the spiritual creation and existence of oneself. So it was the reverse of what my journey had been.
Whereas before, I had been having an ascending spiritual journey reaching for The Divine, now it had become a spiritual odyssey, descending from The Divine.