An Unexpected Turn in the Conversation
It was a fun developmental conversation with Neha, and we were working deeply with what some would call her old ideas, though others might describe it as her conditioning. For some months we had been exploring her underlying psychology, the how and why of her life as she lives it, and it had been quite interesting as well as useful.
As an aside, it might be more accurate to say that our lives live us. Though we like to believe we are in charge of our decisions, our path, and our lives, brain research demonstrates that much of who we are and how we operate is occurring beneath the threshold of our awareness. This is a deeply disconcerting idea. We don’t like to consider any evidence that we are not the masters of our own destiny.
Regardless, after a lengthy conversation over her hippie burger and my pesto turkey salad, she asked, “How long will it take?”
“For what?” I replied.
“To get through this inner spiritual work?”
Out of Nowhere
The words came without a thought, literally falling out of nowhere.
“Honey, if it is your life’s work, it will take your life.”
Neha laughed, and then I laughed. The truth has a way of doing that.
The conversation that followed swept us away and time flew.
The work of the soul, call it self-realization if you prefer the positive psychology of Maslow, or enlightenment if you wish to put it in a spiritual context, is boundless. It could very well be an infinite journey, though we would have to understand eternity to come to any really well-informed conclusions. We’d even have to make some determinations about past and future lives, because infinity is certainly larger than any one lifetime.
Regardless of such heady ideas, it is not uncommon to hear people say that it is the journey that matters, not the destination. Wise ones will suggest that to be true because there is no destination. We do not arrive … ever … and there is no set schedule.
We continue to grow and develop, because change is always there.
After she got over her initial surprise that there was no timeline or arrival, Neha was not really disturbed. In fact she was quite enthused. As well she should be. To be unbounded presents extraordinary possibilities.
Awakening comes as wave, after wave, after wave. Self-realization is thus an active, dynamic practice.
We are never realized, always realizing.
Seeing True™ in Action
Sometimes it can be useful to notice and contemplate change.
· Watch a clock with a second hand as each moment gives way to a new one. Notice the rising of change after change after change.
· Find photos of someone you have known for a long time. Setting aside judgment, consider how they have changed.
· When you are next in motion, whether by foot, or car, or any mode, see how the nature of your vantage points is evolving at every instant.
· Get a glass of water and pay attention as you drink it. At some point that water becomes part of your body.
· Sit quietly with no distractions. Consider how every instant presents another transition rising and falling like the breath..
· Imagine a beach with the endless ebb and flow of waves. Not one is the same, and neither is the sand or rock upon which each wave falls.
· Find something fixed such as concrete or something made of metal. Contemplate the continuous, unseen movement at the atomic level.
· Remember even while stationary we inhabit a rock spiraling around a sun which rotates around a galaxy that spins across the cosmos.
Mindfully consider that with each of these observations you are being changed, and that quantum physics tells us the objects of our attention are likewise changed by our observation.
There is only change. No wonder it is the journey that matters.