In engaging my spirit of inquiry into the big questions about our lives as human beings, I’ve inevitably been drawn into seeking what we label as many wonderful, virtuous, and freeing qualities. I’ve also been drawn into seeking to avoid what we label as many harmful, suffering inducing, and binding egotistical qualities. I’ve come to accept on a deeper level, that this is just what our minds do; the very nature of thought, the very nature of our thinking mind is to divide and impose concepts onto reality so we can try to control and maintain a happy and meaningful life. More and more, and on ever deeper levels, life is showing me that this attachment to thinking and controlling is itself binding. The life force always animating us is simply doing its thing, no matter how long we want to keep fooling ourselves into imagining that there is an actual entity, an actual ‘me’ inside that is in charge.
When we’re outside contemplating nature in all its beauty, we can intuitively sense the awesome power, and the gentle peaceful flow of the life of our natural world. For the sake of conversation, we can say that we apprehend the world through our senses of seeing, hearing, feeling and thinking. Our sensory experience is manifested by the same life force manifesting the world of form. On a beautiful day, the clouds are effortlessly floating by, the sun is peacefully shining, the breeze gently caresses us. If we’re willing to let our minds become quiet, and to receive this mysterious aliveness of nature, we can sense our intimate connection with nature that requires no effort on our part. Our sensory experience begins to reveal and reflect the innocent and all inclusive aliveness of the world.
When we allow ourselves to be quiet inside, we can begin to deeply sense the lack of any agenda in nature’s way of expressing itself; the sun is just shining, the clouds are just floating, and the breeze is just rustling the leaves. We feel the warm welcoming of nature’s innocence as we touch that warm welcoming innocence inside us. Whatever is going on in our minds, our real presence, the life force animating us and all of creation, is always warmly and unconditionally welcoming all of it. As we begin to realize we are always unconditionally welcomed, we begin to welcome life unconditionally. Our willingness to be and to express the innocence of our real nature, allows our life force to flow unimpeded by our fruitless attempts to control and confine it. We can begin to deeply sense that beneath the turbulent confinement of egoic consciousness, we already are what we really want, and that we really want what we already are.
Yogananda said ‘God is the electricity, human beings are the light bulbs.’ The core of Buddha’s teaching is that there is no separate self. Both of these great sages are expressing the essence of self realization; Yogananda is expressing the aliveness of realization, Buddha is expressing the wisdom. Buddha doesn’t mean there is no self, he means that the of container of self we imagine we are, the little ‘me’ we imagine inside, has no actual own being, or separate existence apart from the vast, open, accepting awareness giving rise to it. As we begin to intuitively sense this deeper, higher intelligence that our minds can’t comprehend, limit, or define, we can become aware of an actual identity shift happening within us; we’re gradually embodying our true identity as the current, as the aliveness of spirit itself. Our imagined ideas of self are more and more seen to be mere ripples in the current of the life force flowing through us. We have no more control over our life force than the light bulb has over electricity. We learn to let the current flow where and how it wants to, when we deeply realize this is what it’s always doing anyway.
We can use the ripples of the current to express our true nature, Yogananda calls it ‘Divine Love’. We express it by surrendering to the current. It’s a participatory surrender, spirit moves us to express itself through us, and this is the love of our life. And it’s doing this without any conceivable agenda or definition; It’s appears innocent to the egoic mind, when we surrender more deeply, we realize the current is us, it is not innocent, it and we are innocence itself. We don’t need to seek innocence, our inherent nature, the nature of existence, is unconditionally welcoming, accepting, innocence. The process of this identity shift is furthered and deepened by our willingness to learn to trust and to receive the spirit of innocence.
Deeper levels of realization open up as we sense how this innocence thoroughly saturates all of our experience. Buddha taught that innocence is the actual nature of our experience, for it is inherently freeof all of our imagined agendas of what experience needs to be. He taught that experience is not only not what we think it is, it is free of what we think it is. The absence of what we think about experience is the way experience actually is. When we meditate thoroughly and innocently on the absence of what we think about experience, all suffering from experience is alleviated. Of course we can’t deeply realize and live this truth just by reading about it. Meditating thoroughly with our spirit of inquiry will lead to discovering the depths of wisdom and love embodying the spirit of innocence.