I want to share with you one of the most beautiful experiences that I’ve ever had.
It occurred two days ago as I was sitting down quietly, listening to the sounds of the night. As I looked up at the white walls and ceiling encircling me, I was suddenly overcome with a strange sense of “waking up” from a very long and intricate dream that I had been taking part of for my entire life.
Sol – who was in the room with me – seemed to merge with me so there was no “me” or “him,” there was no “self” or “other,” just an inexplicable vastness, an endless wholeness. For those few moments, everything was an expression of perfection and underneath all that I saw was an infinite stillness and silence; a purity of unity.
And it was in that moment that everything I have ever looked for, everything I have ever intuitively sensed and desired, was fulfilled.
Here’s what I have taken away from that experience to share with you:
Our Quest to Build the Ideal Self
When we begin our spiritual journeys of inner growth, we discover many things about ourselves, other people and the world.
We uncover the lies we tell ourselves and others, the lies the world tells us, we work on exploring our personalities, we work on improving our personalities, we heal our wounds, we try to make peace with ourselves, we try to make amends with others … and many more things that go hand-in-hand with the cultivation of self-awareness, self-discovery, self-understanding and self-transformation. These are all very useful practices.
Eventually, we develop a pretty good understanding of ourselves – of our flaws and strengths, of our core wounds and shadow elements and of our true dreams and gifts. We nourish our bodies, change our diets, create healthy personal boundaries, cut away toxic habits, say goodbye to destructive people, build new friendships and relationships, and eventually develop love and respect for who we think we are. This is all imperative.
And yet … we always feel as though something is missing in our lives.
We still work to pursue creating an “ideal self,” that always feels happy, that never suffers and that is constantly at peace. We still work to build and enhance our identities, whether through identifying as vegans, as yogis, as empaths, as intuitives, as Buddhists, as healers, as spiritual students or teachers, as Old Souls, as shamans, as eco warriors, and as any of the other hundreds of identity labels we love to collect and embody.
And yet … we are never happy. We always seek more – we always seek to “be” more. Our quest is never-ending. We think that we can “defeat” the mind by using the mind … but have you ever questioned the validity of this? Have you ever asked yourself the following question:
“Will I ever be enough?”
Will You Really Ever “Be Enough”?
The question may seem absurd: “Of course I am enough!” you might think as I once did. “I am a smart, attractive, intelligent, kind and loving person – of course I am enough!”
Yes, yes you are. And to achieve this kind of self-respect is an important part of the growth process away from self-hatred to self-love.
But there comes a time after you have cultivated self-love and self-respect where you come to realize something miraculous:
You will never be enough because who you “think” you are is not truly “who” you are.
All of the memories, all of the beliefs, all of the associations, all of the spiritual and worldly labels, all of the tastes, all of the traumas, all of the loves and hates, all of the insecurities and strengths, they are not truly “who” you are.
And no matter how highly you regard yourself, no matter how popular, liked, celebrated, or lovable you are – your identity remains as a burden; a barrier that prevents you from the purest self-realization which is that you are an expression of Oneness. Your true nature has no name, no form, no identity, no limits. You are everything and nothing at the same time.
6 Powerful, Paradigm-Shifting Questions
Six of the most powerful questions you can ever ask yourself in any moment are to do entirely with who you “think” you are. They include the following:
- Am I this emotion?
- Am I this thought?
- Am I this physical sensation?
- Am I this circumstance?
- Am I this body?
- Am I this personality?
At first these question might sound strange, overly simplistic, and even bizarre. But the more self-aware you become of your thought processes which give birth to your feelings, perceptions, assumptions and beliefs about the world, the more you will come to see how closely you identify with all of these six elements.
When I first started asking these questions, I was immediately uncomfortable and unwilling to completely follow through all the way to the end with such self-inquiry. I thought, “If I’m not this emotion, thought, physical sensation, experience, circumstance, body and personality because they are all transient and subject to growth, change and decay … what am I?”
My conclusion was, “I am none of these things – I am nothing!” And because of my dark and miserly associations with the word “nothing,” I have neglected to ask these questions seriously.
But I have recently experienced otherwise. I have discovered the truth which is that being “nothing” is paradoxically being everything. Being empty of your fabricated identity is paradoxically being completely full and whole again. Far from being desolate and void, being “nothing” is existing in a state of immense rest, of endless peace and profound liberation.
Once you investigate the true depths of the question, “Who am I?” you come to a fascinating realization: “you” are not who you think you are, what you assume you are, what you have been taught you are, or what you have come to believe you are, and you never have been. Why? Because all of these things are temporary, passing and transient.
For the soul experiencing a spiritual awakening, this opens the final door to liberation; from the belief of “I am this or that,” to the realization of “I am.”
If you would like to experience the reality that you are not who you think you are, if you would like to experience spiritual Oneness, I encourage you to make a habit out of asking the six questions above. Bring them into your meditation practice each day, and see what happens.
At first you may feel bored, tired, even annoyed by the practice. But with time, with self-discipline, you’ll come to truly and deeply understand and embody your True Nature.
May you awaken. May you grow. May you taste truth.
I have been Spiritually dead and suffering to the limits mentally the past two years. PTSD, depression, insomnia, and forced isolation has pushed me to the brink of insanity and maybe even death. I have cried out to God millions of times and there has been absolute silence. It has made me question everything that I used to believe in.
So where does meaning lie then? Isnt it subjective?
*smoozie commenters fail to ask questions
Is it “right” for me to say that you have achieved enlightenment? What do you think?
When I dance in a group I can feel like transporting to a different dimension of souls and happiness …sadness … inquiry …discovery…. I do not see my body and sometimes is painful to return to reality…and the soul questions arise ….death… The lie we all being told to stay in this horrible reality
I wonder about souls ?
The beginning ..the end…the reality and the traveling of the soul ….how do we know what a soul is ?
…is the soul learning or always wise? Good? Bad?….
How many souls total ?
Do they reunite after exiting the flesh?
Where do souls live?
It is just one soul in all the bodies ? Or does each body has one soul only?
I had a similar realization when I was in Lake Tahoe last October. Ever since I have been on a quest to find that sense of oneness, to realize my connection with the rest of the world. I am still young, so I am still finding my place in the world and building the habits that will take me through the rest of my life. But I have had the same spiritual awakening that you have experienced and been able to see the lies that I live in and the unnecessary suffering that I cause myself. Your writing reminds me of this Global Truth Project article/book “The Present” I read a month ago that goes into all sorts of corollaries from their awakening. I would love to know your thoughts on that piece if you have read it.