Atmanam viddhi means “Know thyself.” This is the secret that the ancient Indian seers discovered and then offered to the suffering, crying and striving humanity. In order to know oneself, one has to discover oneself first, not an easy task in a world that is constantly bombarding us with stimulations. To discover ourselves, we need to find refuge in a quiet place from time to time and begin the process of observing what we truly are. We are not the body, we are not the mind, we are not what we feel we are.
Today’s world believes that the mind is all, that the mind is the source of the highest possible experience of reality. When we live in the mind, we are bound to the body. To discover ourselves, we need to go beyond the mind. To do this, we either learn to access the higher levels of the mind or we learn to dive deep within our heart.
In the process, we discover that the mind is composite of various layers. Above the physical mind, the mind from which we normally function and takes care of governing our body, there are the realms of imagination, of intuition and of wisdom. From there, we can embrace the world as one, undifferentiated reality. From this viewpoint, all our problems cease to exist, as we learn to identify with the whole of humanity.
The alternative process is to enter deeper and deeper into the inner part of our being by meditating on the heart, searching for our soul, the source of infinite wisdom-light. This way, we are merging our individual little droplet of water with the immense ocean and become one with that ocean; we partake of the wisdom of our own soul.
Ultimately, these seemingly different paths lead to the same place: self-discovery. Through the guidance of our soul or the raising above all toils of life, we begin to perceive who we truly are. Not this weakling full of problems, sufferings, fears and worries, but a being that is striving for perfection and fulfilment. When we learn to go beyond the body and the mind, we learn that infinite peace, infinite joy and infinite love are all eagerly waiting for us.
God has not hidden
Love, joy and peace.
It is you who have hidden them
In order to enjoy your Earthly game
In a peculiar way.
~ Sri Chinmoy
Dr. Kapila Castoldi, an instructor at the Sri Chinmoy Centre, will be offering meditation classes in Sept. and Oct. at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, 114 S. Main St., in Ann Arbor. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit MeditationAnnArbor.com.