Are you seeking, but not sure what you’re looking for? Or have you found it and just want more of it?
This is the question posed by Andrew Cohen in his recent article, “Spiritual Practice Is Spirit Lived“.
And it got me thinking about something our meditation master shared with us during a retreat last year.
Some of us in the group, who were training to become meditation teachers, had profound experiences during a particular meditation. Whenever you have an experience like that, it will be unique to you, and it is likely to change your life – forever.
For me, I knew I had connected with whatever it is that I call “God” or “Source” or my “Higher Self”. I had somehow made it past the fears and barriers created by the ego and discovered the pure light and love that it at the core of all beings.
In that moment, I realised I had found what I had been looking for. Though I couldn’t have told you beforehand what it was that I had been hoping to find. All I knew was that the search was over.
My meditation master explained to us that, once you have found what you are looking for, even for just a moment in time, you are no longer a seeker. You are a finder.
He described the shift this produces in a very similar way to Andrew Cohen’s article:
Once you have “seen”, you are a “seer”. Instead of spending the rest of your life “seeking” and searching for something abstract, your focus changes. Your personal and spritual development shifts to deepening that experience and finding more of it.
He told us that becoming a “seer” or a “finder” would change our life forever. And he was right.
I have no idea what others “saw” that day. I know for me it gave me a clear, deep knowing that we are all one and that there is no separation or division between us, at our Source. I also experienced that this Source is simply Light and Love. And that it is infinite, boundless, endless and always available to us.
Our job isn’t to find what we’re looking for. Our job is to allow what is already there to become real for us.
This experience didn’t suddenly turn me into a Saint. It didn’t suddenly remove all my “character flaws”. It didn’t suddenly make me permanently happy or free from destructive habits and anger. But it did mean I had seen through the lies of my ego, my monkey mind, and I could tell when I was playing ego games, rather than being true to my “true” self – that boundless source of love and light.
Unfortunately, this also comes with a drawback. It means that the mirror which shows us behaviours and thought patterns that cause us (and others) pain became even bigger and more highly polished. That light shone on every shadow aspect of my ego and kept boshing me on the nose, to deal with my “stuff”. This “boshing” usually took the form of some willing volunteer “pressing my buttons” (behaving unkindly), to highlight my auto-pilot computer programme-style response, to allow me to choose whether I wanted to make changes.
Over the coming months, I had the experience of “finding” and “oneness” a number of times – sometimes during meditation, sometimes spontaneously. (Twice in Wagamamas in Salisbury, which was plain weird!) But then it stopped.
I took a long while to realise what had happened.
Our ego, or personality, isn’t who we really are. It’s just a “uniform” that we wear, made up of our thoughts, habits and beliefs. We spend decades honing it, though ultimately we become its slave, as we give up freedom of choice on how to respond to life and believe the lies of the ego that we’re powerless victims of fate – or other people.
If our inner being is, say, a ball of light and love, our ego sees its job as being the thick layer of crud that blocks out that light. The ego’s greatest fear is that we open to that light, because then the ego thinks it will die. And there’s truth in that. Once we reconnect, ongoing, with that love and light, we no longer need the habits and fear-based behaviours that our ego has used to protect us for so long.
So the ego spends its days splatting on more layers of crud, while our deepr self is yearning, seeking, to reconnect with the light that it vaguely remembers is there.
Sometimes, through spiritual and personal development “work”, we can create chinks in the layer of crud, that allow us to slip through and experience who we really are. But after a while, the ego cleverly plasters over those chinks, so the light can’t shine through.
We have seen, we have found, but we can’t find our way again.
The Ancients tell us that clearing this crud is the way to being able to connect with the love and light that is our true