How Can We Experience Our True Nature?

As awareness becomes more penetrating, it breaks through into the realm of pure consciousness, Mind, or Spirit. Here there are no objects, thoughts, or things, no time or change, no minds to suffer or bodies to decay and die. There is only the bliss of unbounded awareness, transcendent to space and time, eternally free.

At this stage exclusive identity with the body and mind are gone. Practitioners never again wholly believe that they are merely separate egos, bound to and by the body, and inevitably doomed to die with it. Shankara, 9th century spiritual philosopher from India, described this recognition as one in which “The knower of the Atman [our underlying self, or soul] does not identify himself with his body. He rests within it, as if within a carriage.” The practitioner discovers that though all things change and all bodies die, there is a realm beyond things and bodies, and therefore beyond all change, suffering, and death.

This understanding naturally weakens attachments to the world and its transient pleasures, which pale in comparison to the bliss of the Divine. In Shankara’s words: “a man is free from worldliness if he has realized Brahman, the infinite bliss.”

The advice of Jesus now takes on a deeper meaning:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust can consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven [which is in your midst and within you, Luke 17:21] where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.
…..— New Testament, Matthew 6:19

The key insight is that a sacred realm of pure awareness is our natural, true nature and home, and that by awakening to it, suffering can be transcended and divine bliss directly known. The challenge is to stabilize this insight and to reorient our behavior so we experience and express this revelation in more and more of our life.

Essential Spirituality
Essential Spirituality: The 7 Central Practices to Awaken Heart and Mind

Roger Walsh

Background on Roger Walsh

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