15 August 2013

Love, Surrender, and Devotion as a Path to Self-Realization

There are many different kinds of spiritual “awakenings,” and even more different methods to obtain any of that variety of awakenings, from doing nothing and having the teacher give you Shaktipat, or grace, to various kinds of self-inquiry or self-abiding, to methods to awaken kundalini, to love and surrender to the guru, etc. 

Sometimes people will have some sort of opening, awakening, or transcendental experience, and they think that that is all there is, and become teachers. A few years later they have another awakening and their teachings change.  Sometimes the new teachings completely contradict their old. There are so many teachers who have only a finger-tip awakening, but their false and inflated sense of self forces them to become a teacher of others. 

I teach Self-Realization, knowing what and who the Self is by means of self-inquiry and love.

Self-inquiry is difficult because it is subtle.  How to do penetrating self-inquiry is difficult without a guide because the Self, as both noumena (subject) and phenomena (everything else) is so complex and subtle.

[There are many models of this Consciousness but the best in my opinion, are those of Siddharameshwar (Nisargadatta’s teacher), and Ramana Maharshi. A thorough understanding of these models can bring a profound rest to the seeker who now has guideposts for practice and food for the hungry mind. Most other Indian models are too steeped in Hindu philosophy or mythology to be of much help to Westerners.]

Love is just as direct as self-inquiry, and just as effective in attaining Self-Realization, but it is far more difficult and dangerous to practice because of all the feelings that are aroused.  Emotions can become so intense that one feels on the verge of a breakdown or insanity, but this is only the fear of the “ego” that (the me) will be destroyed through the intense love and surrender to another.

One finds in following this path, whether of guru love, love of God, love of another, if practiced as a path of self-realization, that the depth of love and devotion will grow far beyond anything you had imagined as your greatest love and devotion in the past.  Each new depth brings a fear of total annihilation.

But each new depth of surrender achieved begets a larger and larger sense of Self, of aliveness, self-love along with other-love, bliss, ecstasy and completeness.

Magic happens the more you love.  States os constant bliss and visions of the divine descending and purifying you occur all the time.  One becomes one-pointed, fixated on your Beloved, both without, and also your own Beloved within, the immortal Self and Shakti, the movements of energy and light of Consciousness within you.

You begin to realize you are not your body, but you become the love you have for your guru or lover.  You are like a divine wind of God.  Feelings this bliss and seeing these internal flows of energy and light, your identity shifts from the body to your own sense of presence, which is the sentience or awareness of both your own self as a body/mind, but also the Self within which Consciousness plays its various stories of gods and peoples.

This sense of presence, of sentience, life and personal consciousness is recognized as more you than your body, and thus begins your break with the world, and a headlong flight towards the divine.

But the path of love is steep and can be filled with fear, because each new depth of surrender and commitment reveals and ever deeper abyss of emptiness, total potential annihilation of the small self, your current identity.  The ego fights to maintain its separation and independence, because one has not yet learned to trust God, the divine within.

As a pointer, imagine your greatest love of your past, whether for a parent, a guru, or lover, and make it ten times larger. Even this does not approach the love and devotion you need for that total inner transformation of becoming your divine Self.

Each level of love grows larger and more fearful in the imagined devastation of the Beloved is lost.

Then one day, suddenly, out of nowhere, one’s true Self, the divine within, God, manifests in full form to you as an individual, and you are joined forever in ecstatic union.  The terrible fear of destruction becomes a happiness of completion, for you know who you are in total rest and love. 

You are your body mind in a small way, as part of the manifest world.  You also are your now very powerful and grounded sense of presence, centered in your heart, perceiving and loving the world and your own self and Self in complete, ecstatic silence.  All fear gone there are no more descents into the abyss of insanity as before because you recognize both the known and the unknown, that before was so fearful, as You. Then, no more fear, only peace and rest.

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