Self-Realization (1995)

Statue of a standing buddhaOur lives together are really about self-realization, about realizing the deepest and finest qualities of Being that it is possible for a person to experience. We are working to know God, the source of all Being and the source of all the richness and fulfillment in Being.

You have to understand one thing about knowing God and becoming the finest person that we can be: this life and our spiritual work are not about receiving anything; they are about giving. What we are willing to give determines the depth within ourselves from which we will be able to live. The real issue is what we can give, not what we can get.

People who are concerned about what they can get are ultimately materialistic even if those concerns are set in a spiritual context. Certainly self-realization is not something that we acquire. It is something that we experience because we have surrendered our little heart over and over again, so that it can be broken a hundred thousand times until it finally becomes a very big heart.

In the process we will have given ourselves completely a hundred thousand times. We will have encountered again and again our fears, frustrations, desires, tensions, anxieties and prejudices. In every such encounter what we will confront is simply our self-our own limitations and stupidity. We may bump into some of that in other people as well, but in reality this work and our realization has nothing to do with anybody but our own self and our willingness to give. It has to do only with our discrimination in giving, and our generosity of spirit.

Self-realization is about giving love endlessly, even when it's not rational, even when something else appears to be called for. It is about having a kind of divine madness that calls forth from us over and over again the irrational response of opening our heart to every difficult situation and reaching into our deepest self to live from a totally different place.

What releases us from our egotism and smallness is our ability to surrender in front of every challenge and every obstacle and to simply give love. This process allows us to experience a greatness within ourselves that is beyond rationality; it certainly isn't normal, and hallelujah to that.

When we have given everything of ourselves, we will find that the Infinite gives back to us in even greater measure. As the Infinite gives back to us we have more to give away, which brings back still more, and then we give that away as well. In this continuous giving and receiving we are participating in a flow of energy that is deep and fine and has no boundaries. Its potential is truly limitless.

Please understand that spiritual work is not about getting anything. It is about continuously reaching into ourselves and coming up with something fine and deep, something true and rich that we can put in motion in our lives that will flow through the whole field of our existence.

This truth and richness is beyond any kind of tension or limitation. It is ultimately beyond any thought, form, desire or definition. It is most truly experienced when our mind is perfectly quiet. In any moment of any situation, when we're angry, lonely, upset, or wanting something different from what we're getting, we bring our mind to a quiet place and let go of all the issues. Then the power of the energy that is rubbing up against our tension will simply jump out and show us that the mind has no place in the expansion of the spirit, that in the realm of the spirit there is no logic to our worldly experiences. In self-realization, what we are called to do again and again, simply, is to surrender. We are not surrendering to anything, not to the teacher or even to God. We are surrendering our ego and our boundaries so that our own essential reality and potential can manifest itself.

In those moments in which we are truly surrendered, our core is being revealed and the oneness of the essence each of us lives from becomes completely apparent. In that state of surrender we truly understand the interconnectedness of all living beings. Then it becomes perfectly clear that whatever we hurt results in our hurting ourselves, and whatever we limit is limiting us.

We evolve from inside ourselves a deeper understanding which is truly the logic of love. This logic allows us to give of ourselves, not expecting anything in return. We are simply amazed at the miracle of life that refills us continuously as we open ourselves and participate in the deepest level of creative flow.

And yes, in this process there are anxieties, fears and agitation. Every human experience has to come up: all the tensions and the limitations that we hold in our physical bodies and all of our limited psychology. It will come up for a very good reason, because throughout our lives we have not able to flush this stuff out completely and like bad plumbing our systems get stopped up. The point is that in our spiritual work we will need to flush out all of our issues-even our attachment to living. We have to flush the idea that in life there is something we need to get before we can open and accept ourselves as we are. We've got to start giving from where we are right now to the life that we have in front of us. It's only when we love our life as it is that amazingly it starts to change. Just when we get comfortable with what is, it's not going to be there any more, because any life that is alive doesn't stay the same for very long.

A spiritual life is not particularly easy, and it may or may not make us money. Whatever prosperity happens along the way, fine, we can enjoy it as long as we keep going, remembering that this life is about giving and not about getting.

This reciprocal interaction with life, this flow of giving ourselves away and receiving back in ever more amazing ways, inspires us to continuously surrender and open ourselves more and more deeply until we arrive at a place where "I" hardly exists any more; it's there, but it has no power. There is only the clear recognition of the interconnectedness of all life, a true and profound respect for its potential, and a love of its creative capacity that causes us to continue to participate even from our state of profound transcendence.

We should think about this carefully. There is no magic bullet and there is no free lunch. For those people who have a true and honest wish to grow, there is only one thing: the willingness to continuously give of themselves for the sake of delving deeply into the power and the essence of their own spirit, to arrive at the place where all spirit is one.