What is the Unimaginable Possibility?

Several years ago, I was invited by an ashram in Melbourne, Australia, to be part of a program with some other spiritual teachers. They were expecting an audience of about 400 people for the public events, and I had to decide on a topic for my talks. I wanted to come up with an idea that would be meaningful to the people attending, something that they could carry forward from that experience. I hoped to share something that would be of value to them; I wanted to tell them something that they wouldn’t forget. It occurred to me to talk about the most meaningful part of my own experience, what has driven and sustained me for the last forty-odd years. After considering it for some time, I understood that the most important aspect of my experience was coming to an awareness of the unimaginable possibility, as I experienced it in my teacher, Rudi, and that’s what I decided to talk about.

Person in silhouette opening arms to universeFor the first few days of those programs in Melbourne, I talked about the unimaginable possibility. I told the people there that in each of them, in every moment, there was an unimaginable possibility that was present and available to them. I told them that every human being, no matter what their life circumstance, has something really, really wonderful at their core. I told them that the unimaginable possibility has dimensions to it that are sacred and profound and powerful enough to change the landscape of lives. I could tell that the people in the audience liked hearing that there was an amazing possibility for them, but I also see they weren’t totally convinced.

Now, the programs in Australia were set up so that each of the teachers there gave a talk in the evenings. The following day before lunch, a senior student of each teacher would get up and give a recap of that teacher’s talk the night before. About three days into the program, my assistant, who was giving the morning talks, came to me and said, “They want to know what the unimaginable possibility is, and they want to know if you’re going to tell them.” I decided to play a little game. I told my assistant, “Tell them no.” He went to the morning meeting the next day and the question came up again: “Well, is he going to tell us?” He told them that I wouldn’t. So my assistant came back to me and said, “They still want to know, and they’re still asking me: are you going to tell them?” I said, “Tell them no. Not this time, maybe next year, when I come again.”

This exchange went on for about three days, and it was my turn to be the main speaker at the evening program. I said, “I understand that a lot of you would really like me to tell you what the unimaginable possibility is. And I know I’ve been saying I’m not going to tell you. But I’ve decided to tell you what it is.” That got quite a rise out of the people there. Then I said, “Actually, at least I’ve decided to talk about it, because, frankly, I don’t know what your unimaginable possibility is. And even if I could know, I wouldn’t want to know, because that would make me the limitation of your experience. And why should anyone want to be that for anyone else?”

This unimaginable possibility finds a unique expression in every living human being. It has to, because each of us, despite all of our similarities, is creatively unique. This possibility emerges from the vibrant oneness that is at the core of all life, but it expresses itself differently in the field of each of our lives. It’s impossible to say what it is for anybody else.

It’s also impossible for you to know what the unimaginable possibility is for you. I can guarantee that it doesn’t in any way resemble what you think it is. Anything you think it is is just an expression of your ego, and the amazing possibility that exists for you goes far beyond that.

The unimaginable possibility isn’t, for example, waking up every day happy, with enthusiasm, to engage in your day—although for a lot of people, that may indeed be an unimaginable possibility. It isn’t waking up every morning and looking at your significant other and seeing a person that you really like and care about and are looking forward to sharing your day with. That’s also pretty unimaginable for many people. It isn’t going off to do whatever you do to earn money and express yourself professionally or creatively and find great joy in the going and the doing. It isn’t that. But wouldn’t that be unbelievable? To get up every morning and go to work and find that you care about the people who were there and had meaningful experiences in sharing with them, and they cared about you and the work you were doing was meaningful—that alone would be pretty amazing.

The unimaginable possibility is not any of those things. It is so much vaster than that. But even those simple things are experiences that we will have. They are states that will emerge in us as we move along in our cultivation of the truly profound possibility that is present within us. They are part of the process of refining ourselves and deepening our understanding. They’re not something we have to force; they just come to us as we are continuously developing the deepest, finest place within us.

Please understand that the unimaginable possibility is not about self-improvement; it is about transcendence. That transcendence is based on a deep acceptance of our own humanity, with all of its paradoxes, confusions and ambivalences. At the same time, we live with an awareness that the fundamental power that has given rise to the appearance of the entire universe in all of its multiplicity and abundance resides within the core of our own being.  It is the resting place of the unimaginable possibility lying in the center of each of our souls. It is waiting to be awakened and coaxed to pour forth its magic and its profound abundance.

This ultimate reality with its profound power, the power that poured forth and endlessly continuously pours forth billions of universes, and renews those billions of universes regularly, manifests through us when we have cultivated our contact with it. It not only transforms our life, our deepest inner life, our mind and our emotions, and our physical body, but it extends throughout the whole field of our awareness. It expands our field of awareness and our field of activity, further and further as we go, creating a space in which something really unimaginable, something unimaginably fine, unimaginably uplifting and nourishing, for us and for all of the life that we’re in contact with, can manifest in all the three fields of our experience.

Love is that dimension of ourselves that is endlessly giving of itself. The love at our core is the same as the infinite vitality of the ultimate reality, endlessly manifesting power without being diminished in any way. There is great richness, great abundance present in that vitality. That abundance is so profound that, within it, there are possibilities for every living being that completely transcend our capacity to imagine. When we understand this, there is no lack. Instead, we find that there is an extraordinary resource within us. Then life no longer has to be a struggle for acquisition.

Unimaginable possibility exists for all of us. If the energy that can be released from one atom can change the landscape of 1000 square miles, then what is possible in the awakening of the creative energy of a single person whose focus is intense, whose mind is clear, and whose heart is pure?

Why Do We Make Offerings?

Rituals include the making of various offerings. Swami Chetanananda reminds us that we make offerings to expand our own hearts, not because the Goddess needs them. To make offerings as an expression of gratitude gives us access to some better feeling in ourselves. It’s a tool for  lifting our spirits and feeling some joy in our day.

Service Connects Us to the Universe

Swami Chetanananda explains service as a cosmic concept: In this time and place, we are the current shape of a wave of blessing that is ancient beyond anything that our minds have evolved to be able to conceptualize. We need to approach our engagement with this world with an awareness that we are the expression of something that is beyond time and space.

Aging Gracefully

Swamiji talks about the experience of aging as being very surprising and something that cannot be grasped until you’ve had it.  As you age, you are released from many burdens and misconceptions and can reach into the depth of yourself to have a completely different perspective about who you are. You are freed from any sense of control and from the accompanying notions of success or failure. You can  be truly grateful for your life.

 

What Is a Yogi?

Swami Chetanananda discusses the traditions of yogis and how it has changed in today’s society. Yogis today have to be self-sufficient and to be responsible for their own lives.  Practitioners  cultivate the quality of their own lives and seek to understand what cultivating the quality of their own lives means through engaging in spiritual practice. They do that while taking responsibility for their own support, since the tradition of patronage for spiritual communities that existed in ancient times no longer exists.