One saying that I find myself continually coming back to is one of Nisargadatta’s sayings. “When I look within, I find that I’m nothing, and that’s wisdom. When I look without, I find that I’m everything, and that’s love. My life turns between the two.” The nothing he refers to in looking inside, is not the nothing of an empty glass. It’s the fullness of being no-thing, having no ‘own being’ separate from the awareness we are. This is the awareness of just being present that we share with all beings.
Turning outward, the wisdom of being no-thing, the awareness of just being present, reveals the love and compassion of not being separate from anything. We realize are one with everything. This process of turning between the two is actually going on all the time within each one of us. The difference between a sage like Nisargadatta and us, is that in our self clinging we’re afraid of the world, and afraid of our inner no-thingness. We’re afraid of the intense loving energy of turning between these two aspects of our life.
As we learn to allow a sense of deep silence to emerge in our meditation, the awareness of just being present begins to reveal itself. We’re actually beginning to access a whole new state of consciousness –one that is quite immense. By giving our attention to it in the midst of turning between the inner and outer worlds, we make ourselves more and more available to the dawning of of this vast expanse where we can awaken out of the belief and experience of separation. We realize we are a deep well of awareness – an inner expanse that’s always here. Because it’s always here, there is no need to try and grasp or hold onto it, we only need to become aware of its vast freedom and love that is openness itself.
On entering the spiritual path, many people believe spiritual freedom is defined by what we are free from. In other words, we can be so transcendent that we are literally free from life. I’ve discovered that in this context, this is a relatively immature idea of freedom. Something more mature, something that develops and grows within us as we become more spiritually mature is not a freedom from, but a freedom to. Are we free enough and open enough to meet and occupy our life as a human being? Are free to suffer as well as free to experience joy?
Even though we’re not separate, even though the whole universe is contained within us, there’s still a human component, and individual identity with the capacity to allow spirit to flow out into the world. We can either open to this, or shy away from it. The real joy we discover in our surrendering to the wisdom and love of the life of our true spiritual identity, is that by opening instead of shying away, the depth of our intimacy with love itself is deepened immeasurably.
With the support of divine openness, we can begin to feel the freedom to deeply enter the question of ‘What is the experience of desire and fear?’ Can we find any actual substance to the experience? What is the experience of desire and fear actually made of? We can offer our experience of desire and fear to this divine openness, and in return our experience is absorbed back into spirit itself. We receive the love and freedom of the spirit of openness in action. It’s our activity, and is a divine gift enabling us to intimately know the freedom of loving this life.