Human life is the process of a man knowing himself. As we grow, we can come to know of our Self. For human persons, our real growth expands the knowledge of who we truly are.
I am not the body, nor the mind, not the thinking;
If I am none of these, then who am I?
After negating all of the above
Mentioned as ‘not this’, ‘not this’, ‘not this’,
That Awareness which alone remains – that I am.
What is the nature of Awareness?
The nature of Awareness is Existence. It is Consciousness or eternal Bliss. The Self is different from the physical body, the senses, and the mind. Ego is not the Self. Ego, or I-ness, is an idea only; it is purely mental. Being mental, it cannot be the Self. What exists in truth is the Self alone. The world and the individual Soul are appearances of the Self.
Who Am I?
Have you ever asked yourself, ‘Who am I really?’ You may say, ‘I am a father, a husband, a friend, an engineer, a teacher, or whatever But, are these really you, or are these roles that you may be playing?
The truth is that you are a father because you have a son. You are a husband because you have a wife. You are a teacher because you have a student. So, all our identities, everything we conventionally believe ourselves to be, depending on something else. The relationships we make with external realities are the basis for these identities. So, then, if we are not these relationships and roles, who are we, actually?
Knowing who we really are is the challenge of our human life. We have to ask, seek and find within our Self in order to know the true Self. It is very beautifully said that he who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings hates no one. It is possible for someone to hate others only when that Awareness of unity is not there. In contrast, Awareness of the presence of the Self in all beings makes everyone dear to us. The spiritual goal of humanity is to experience this divine Self within and without. The desire to attain this should be the norm of life. You must first know who you really are, then do what you need to do. By not knowing the answer to the question, “Who am I?” one keeps on creating new identities of oneself, consequently going farther away from one’s true Self. All the suffering in life is because of not knowing our true identity. Until one realizes one’s true Self, one believes oneself to be the name or some other external label or identity that has been given to oneself.
In reality, however, we are an eternal reality (Soul). For infinite past, the Soul has been hidden beneath a veil of ignorance. Due to this, we have been unable to experience the true Self. With the grace of God, it is possible to realize your true Self. After that, a person not only understands that they are a pure reality (Soul), but they also experience their true bliss.
The righteous path aims to remove the roots of defilement from the mind. Through practice, one soon realizes what the root is, where suffering actually begins: in reactions of craving or aversion. If one learns to maintain equanimity with the wisdom of impermanence. One emerges from the unhealthy habit of reacting, and the mind is purified.
Understanding this reality will practice the rule of life correctly and give importance only to the essence of the path of righteousness and not to external, superficial matters. And, the service by such a person will be with the option of helping as many people as possible—whoever they may be—to come out of suffering and attain peace. The results of this service will be wonderful.
Whoever serves must become firmly established in the righteous path, and as one does so, all attachments to sects, philosophies, and rituals are left behind. One then sees that the righteous path is a way of life, living in peace with oneself and with all others. Our actions must be pure, and this is possible only when the mind is freed of defilements such as anger, hatred, passion, and ill-will. When these are eliminated, good qualities naturally arise in mind: love, compassion, goodwill, and so on. That is the righteous path.
Remember that an empty vessel has nothing to offer others. Therefore, fill yourself with the righteous path and discover the real peace and harmony within yourself, and naturally, these will overflow to benefit others.
You may keep walking on the righteous path for your own good, happiness, and liberation, and it will also be for the good, happiness, and freedom of many. It is a life of peace, joy, and liberation.
(Swami Arul Jyothi Ananda is the founder and director of Arul Jyothi Peedam, a spiritual centre near Pondicherry, South India, https://www.goodnesstimes.org)