Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Consciousness of the Real

As-salaam alaykum. It is impossible to adequately convey any realization in words because they limit, conceptualize, and superimpose themselves upon the experience. With this in mind, I would offer the following as an attempt.

The spiritual path as I understand it is a progressive unfoldment of consciousness of the Real. The Real is fundamental, permanent, and unchanging. What changes on the path is not the Real, but rather our own awareness that is presented within a series of veils which obscure the Real. Everything that we are presented with as a method, whether it be an anthropocosmic vision of man and the world, a doctrine concerning the nature of Reality, or a method of ascecis, devotion, or contemplative concentration, is an instrument intended to rend these veils. At the same time, everything that presents itself as an aspect of our identity, including our attachment to and identification with these very instruments, is also a veil.

It is in this context that the Maharshi asks, "Who am I?" and Ghazali states, "Therefore, thou must seek out the truth about thyself: What sort of thing art Thou? Whence camest thou? Whither goest thou? Why hast thou come to this stopping place? For what purpose wert thou created? What is thy happiness and in what does it lie? What is thy misery and in what does that lie?"

All revelations contain answers to this inquiry. In the Vedas, the mahavakyas:

Consciousness is Brahman (Aitareya Upanishad 5:3)
I am Brahman (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1:4:10)
You are That (Chandogya Upanishad 6:8:7)
This Atman is Brahman (Mandukya Upanishad 2)

In the Quran, the shahadah:

“God bears witness that there is no god but He, as do the angels and the possessors of knowledge, upholding justice. There is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.” (3:18)

And so forth in all of the scriptures of the world. We have the answers to our questions, but do we experience this reality, the unique reality, immediately within our awareness. Do we taste it? Do we experience that there is no we, that there is no he, that there is only I?

Like I said, words are very limiting, but this appears to me to be the essence of Advaita Vedanta ... and it is everywhere.

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