Realization & Mindfulness
This morning, I had a realization that, I believe, is a crucial one on the path of Self-Realization. I was remembering some of the most hurtful things that highly evolved people have said to me. (By hurtful, I mean using “you” language to label me. For instance, one person might hurtfully say to another, “You are such a stupid, selfish, brat.” That would be a hurtful remark because the person is negatively labeling the person, not just the behavior.) As I did so, a brand new thought came into my mind.
I realized that, whenever anyone has said something hurtful about their experience of who I supposedly am in their view, inside myself there has always been another perspective. Inside me, there has always been an objecting thought, something along the lines of, “but no, I really am kind and loving and considerate, why can’t you see it?”
Then I realized that deep inside, there really is a core self that is caring, and loving, and happy. Next, I realized that this is the Self inside myself, and inside each of ourselves. I realized we all have this part of us that cares about how we feel, and that desires to be happy. This Self naturally rejoices in life and seeks happiness in life.
When we have ego crop up because we are feeling unhappy, we may try some dysfunctional ways to try to get back to being happy, including feeling depressed if that feels safe and comfortable, like a long-standing bad habit. Even someone who is trying to commit suicide is only trying to make themselves stop suffering. To try to stop suffering, there must be some part of them that cares whether or not they are happy!
Deep inside us is the God-Self, or Spirit, or Soul, which does care about ourselves and others, and which truly longs to rejoice and be happy. We may have lost awareness of that part of ourselves as we have traveled through life, but as children, we naturally cared about ourselves and others, unless we experienced severe early trauma or neglect.
That part of ourselves that I will call the Core Self, is aware of what is happening at all times, and deeply cares. If the ego mind has taken over control of our mental awareness, then we tend to react out of fear, defensiveness, and a need for control, rather than out of that deeper awareness of caring and being connected.
Once we become aware that our inner Self is good, kind, loving, peaceful, happy and grateful, then we realize that there is nothing wrong with this true part of ourselves, and so there is nothing to defend when someone else verbally “attacks” us.
We each have this aspect of God in us:
the One who cares, who loves, who rejoices.
Then, as I took my morning walk, I realized that all animals, even insects, have this desire to avoid pain and feel happy. So, this is an aspect of the Divine Self even in animals – that there is caring, love, and rejoicing, as a happy dog wagging its tail makes it so obvious!
If this aspect of the Divine – caring, loving, rejoicing – is in animals, how can we justify taking their life any more than we can justify taking the life of a human? Jainism and some traditions of Buddhism would say that we cannot. Even the Biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill” does not specify whom we can kill and whom we cannot.
What a reason to rejoice, when we realize that God really IS inside us all along! That still small voice that wants us to feel happy, and believes we are good and deserving of being treated well no matter what – this is the very existence of the Self within our ‘self.’
This Core Self inside us is also the Observer Self – the one who observes the thoughts and feelings but can actually choose to redirect them.
Finally, if we practice mindfulness throughout our day, we are able more easily to tune into our Core Self. Through mindfulness we can more easily engage the Observer who makes choices, who cares, yet who remains peaceful, trusting, and who can access the wisdom needed at any time.
Welcome to discovering and remaining mindful of your Core Self – that One or Observer who is God in you. When you find that Self, you are another step closer to realizing the One Self.
I believe this is why Buddha had his followers focus inwards instead of beyond themselves to find God. When we can let go of the busy ego-mind, we can discover this Observer, who, at one and the same time seems like no self at all, and who also exhibits deep compassion for oneself and others.
When we find this Core Self, we find the seed of Buddha or Christ within. In fact, if we allow the ego mind to go, and live from this Core Self, as Christian scriptures affirm, we have died to ‘self’ and risen to new life in Christ. From this place, we may expand our consciousness outward to the Self that is the All.
May we all find, and realize, this inner Self, and eventually become One with the All.