What Are We Seeking?

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What is it we are seeking in our spiritual quest? Aren’t we really just seeking the rock solid, permanent understanding that we are one with the divine? Don’t we just want that confidence, that inner freedom from all the endless thinking, planning, worrying, desiring, and fear that comes along with feeling separate and cut off from our source? Don’t we want to just know that everything is okay, just as it is, and be able to relax and enjoy it all?

Understanding. Confidence. Knowing. Why isn’t the word “transformation” used in the above description? Or “becoming,” or “merging”? Or even “transcending”?

Transformation of our being is not what we are seeking. We may think it is, because we feel flawed as we are, but the truth is, we need no transformation at all, because we already are nothing but divinity. There is nothing but divinity. Nothing else exists. So we aren’t seeking to transform into anything, nor are we are seeking to transcend this mundane existence and live as a special kind of being. We are simply seeking to know what we already are, to interpret correctly our conscious experience and all this that appears in our mind. It is this correct interpretation of our ordinary experience that is what we are seeking. Even though we may not realize that for a long time!

Why are we seeking a correct interpretation of our ordinary experience, and not a transformation, transcendence, or becoming? Because it is through this correct interpretation – clarity about what is real – that our true, non-dual nature is revealed. Revealed where? In a prepared, uncluttered mind. This preparation of the mind is the job of
Vedanta.

The metaphor of “going home” is an appealing image for seekers. Returning to one’s true self. Imagining that the wandering can stop at last, that one can put one’s feet up in front of a warm fire and relax. But we don’t have to go home – we are already home. This comfy abode is already where we live, we just don’t realize it.

We don’t recognize that there is no separation between any of this that we experience as daily life and the ocean of being-awareness-bliss, divinity, the Self — even though this is the truth of what is. Every feeling is the ocean of bliss, every thought, every pain, every sensation, every object appearing, is completely made of the ocean of bliss. There isn’t anything else.

There is no need to join all the separate things to the ocean of bliss. There's no border, and there's no space between them. The snake is already the rope. There is nothing here but rope. There is no need to try and turn the snake into rope with your mind. It only needs to be recognized for what it already is. There is nothing that needs to be joined to the ocean of bliss, nothing that needs to be transformed. There simply is no separation in existence at all. There is only one. And you know that must be you, because you are always present. You — this very consciousness — are all of it, the entire ocean of being-awareness-bliss.

The snake isn't anything but rope through-and-through. The pot isn't anything but clay through-and-through. So there is no need to take one and permeate it with the other in our mind. That's already a fact. No going anywhere to get it. No moving off this very spot or taking any action. And here you are; you are present, you are already all of this, as this very consciousness. Just to see that, just to know that, is enlightenment. Here you are, one with God.

This is an interpretation of your everyday conscious experience. It happens to be the correct interpretation, which becomes evident when the tricks of the mind are uncovered and invalidated. How are the tricks uncovered? And how does the mind become prepared and uncluttered, so that the truth can be revealed? Through the logic of
Vedanta.

We can try to figure it all out on our own, but that way has pitfalls. And there is also no need to waste all that time reinventing the wheel. This work has already been done for you. We are so fortunate to have this ancient Indian teaching available on the internet, in English. It’s really quite remarkable that we do. Between the Vedanta lessons given by
James Swartz and Swami Sarvapriyananda, there is all you need to be free. It takes time, repetition, and patience. But slowly, little by little, it takes shape.

Godspeed!


We're Using It For Everything

I want to share this excerpt from Swami Sarvapriyananda with you because of his wonderful take on the "diamond in your hand" idea — not just that we already have a diamond in our hand, but that we are using it for things that are far beneath its glory and value. This that we are using for mundane things is that very same priceless diamond.

“If you say it’s right here, then why am I so miserable? …

“The glory is in accessing it. The glory is in recognizing it. Then you realize, oh my God, what have I been missing all this time? Anybody who has ever realized God has realized it where? Here. Right here. In this life. Within oneself. In everything that they experience. What we experience as the world, what we experience as me the person, the enlightened person experiences as God.

“So the glory lies in recognizing it. I gave the example of the washer man and the stone which finally turned out to be a diamond. He thought it was a stone, and he used it to scrub clothes. ….He took it to a diamond merchant who said, I’ll give you ten million rupees for it.

You always had that diamond. You never knew its glory. You always have it. We have it right now! So where? We have it and we are using it to scrub clothes. How? We’re using it! I’m using it to look at people, and to desire certain things, to hate other things, and to say that I’m miserable, I want to be happy, and life is so awful – I’m using the same consciousness, which is Brahman. I use it for my prejudice, for my hatred, for my littleness, for my fears, for my anxiety – prejudice, fear, hatred, anxiety – all of that is an awareness in the same consciousness, which is Brahman. We don’t recognize it.”

This is a transcription from Swami Sarvapriyananda, Aparokshanubhuti lesson #22, available on YouTube here.