When we deeply penetrate the source of all of our experience and authentically ask ‘what is actually here?’, we won’t find anything in particular. We find many thoughts about what is actually here, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we realize the energy of thought can’t describe what is witnessing thought itself. What is actually here is that which is witnessing thought, witnessing sensations, witnessing sound, and witnessing our seeing forms, our seeing the world before us. These are our four senses, here I’m grouping smell and taste as various forms of sensation. Our experience as human beings is made of the interrelations of these four senses.
The witness is not a dispassionate, objective, and impersonal observer of our experience. The witness is spirit, fully alive with the pulsing electricity of sensations, in all their fullness of the vitality of our being. While the energy of our sensory experience is always moving and changing, with the variety of experiences flowing together like a river, these movements are always arising as, and being expressed by a changeless background. This changeless background is the witness, effortless in its total acceptance and love of all our experience. Zen masters often describe the changeless as being very very bright, and very very clear. This is describing self realization in visual terms. I’ll often sense this clarity and brightness as I’m walking along the shore at the beach.
Yogananda also describes self realization in visual terms when he says “Just like the beam of a motion picture, so is everything made of shadows and light. That’s what we are, light and shadows of the Lord, nothing more than that.” When walking on the beach, you may have the experience of the primacy of the vast expanse of consciousness, timeless and spaceless. The sand, ocean waves, sky and clouds, may appear as mere reflections of this incredibly clear and bright light. You can notice your shadow following along with you, that doesn’t affect or limit you in any way.
What is the actual life force continually animating us? Yogananda also said, “God is the electricity, human beings are the light bulbs”. Our bodies are actually lit up with God’s electric current, our bodies themselves are made of Her light, and are mere shadows of the eternal divine light. As such their limitations and sufferings are in our imaginations only. When we gradually become aware of this pure divine light, we will never lose it, for there is nothing else. This light, this bliss and love, knows and loves our total being from inside, for it is our total being.
Our true beloved is always compassionately showing us where we’re still holding on to our imagined separate identities. We are always being called to offer all of our life, which amounts to all of our holding on, to our true beloved. Our calling is to just keep going forward, and not look back at the past, or imagine vain stories about our future. In offering it all to our true beloved, our real being is always being revealed.