By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
It’s been said that all of our unhappiness stems from a sense of being separate from God, and if we could understand that we’re one with our creator, that sense of separation (and the accompanying unhappiness) would fade as we merge with our higher consciousness and begin to live an enlightened lifestyle.
In my opinion, all we really need to do to come closer to enlightenment is align with love, because love brings us closer to our creator and our ability to help others. We realign with our creator when we return to love, and God has been waiting for us to realize our connection so we can explore our consciousness and make the journey easier for others.
Throughout the ages, various spiritual teachers have tried to bring us closer with our essence by reminding us that we’re one with our creator, but they can only do their best to show the way. Their teachings are intended to help us find something that lives within, and we have to search in our own minds and hearts to find the truth for ourselves.
Most of their advice is still helpful, but it’s incomplete if we don’t expand on it within. One of the things we might learn when we look within is that our sense of self – the “I” with which we’re so fascinated, leads us right back to God.
You might think our ego-driven self only disconnects us from our creator, but the very question of who we are can connect us with the part of ourselves we forgot about as we embraced life in a lower state of consciousness.
Sri Ramana Maharshi tried to help his disciples understand the nature of the “I”, and here, we’ll hear what he has to say about our godly origins and how we can remember them by asking ourselves who we truly are. As he’ll tell us, our sense of a disconnected, ego-driven self will diminish as we dive deep into our true nature, and we’ll eventually realize that we are, in fact, the creator of our reality and every reality beyond.
First, he tells us that a lot of spiritual seekers are fascinated with self-enquiry.
“To all deep-thinking minds, the enquiry about the ‘I’ and its nature has an irresistible fascination.” (1)
In his words, asking ourselves who we are is the most direct way to realize that we’re our own creator.
“Self-enquiry is the one, infallible means, the only direct one, to realize the unconditioned, absolute Being that you really are.” (2)
Self-enquiry is more than repeatedly questioning our origin, as he reveals in a conversation with a disciple.
“Disciple: Is it not funny that the ‘I’ should be searching for the ‘I’? Does not the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ turn out in the end [to be] an empty formula? Or, am I to put the question to myself endlessly, repeating it like [a] mantra?
“Master: Self-enquiry is certainly not an empty formula; it is more than repetition of any mantra. If the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ were a mere mental questioning, it would not be of much value. The very purpose of Self-enquiry is to focus the entire mind at its Source. It is not, therefore, a case of one ‘I’ searching for another ‘I.’ … Where the ‘I’ merges, another entity emerges as ‘I’ – ‘I’ of its own accord. That is the perfect Self.” (3)
As we question who we are, where we come from and where we’re going, an answer will eventually arise and it’ll come straight from the source of our being.
We’ll eventually understand that we, along with our higher consciousness and everything else in creation, are God. All of the divisions and distinctions we used to place on our existence will be gone, and we’ll be left with the perfect unity of all creation. This is where self-enquiry is intended to get us, and if we keep at it, it’s exactly where we’ll be.
The funny thing about it is that we’re already there – we just don’t realize it. This is where Ramana Maharshi and other spiritual teachers come in, and they want to help us remember that we’ve never been separate from them, our creator, our higher consciousness or anything else we see around us.
Everything is eternally connected, and our failure to understand this has caused a lot of unnecessary conflict.
We experience release when we question our true nature, where we really come from and how we can get back into an enlightened space.
“Inquiring into the nature of one’s self that is in bondage and realising one’s true nature is release.” (4)
We all go through life with a sense of self, which is usually driven by the ego, but if we could enquire into what this ‘self’ actually is, the ego would fade as our higher consciousness and our purer understanding are revealed.
“Though the ‘I’ is always experienced, yet one’s attention has to be drawn to it. Then only knowledge dawns.” (5)
When we transcend the ego, we transcend everything that constitutes our illusory physical reality. Therefore, when the ego ceases to exist (or rather, when it’s understood as an illusion), the illusory creation as we perceive it is gradually replaced with Reality or true creation, which is driven by love and awareness.
“If the ego is, everything else also is. If the ego is not, nothing else is. Indeed, the ego is all. Therefore the enquiry as to what this ego is is the only way of giving up everything.” (6)
Once we inquire into the origins of the sense of a separate self, its illusory nature becomes apparent and transcending it (and/or using it progressively) becomes easier.
One of the most important things I take from these teachings is that the ego is as much a part of us as anything else, and if we want to reach our higher consciousness, all we have to do is travel through the ego by asking what it is, realizing it’s an illusion, and transcending it.
We have to understand the ego and every other aspect of our Being before we can find any degree of enlightenment, because understanding it, which requires us to embrace it and question it at the same time, is the best way to transcend it.
So we see, the question of who we are – what our ego is and what position we hold in the big picture – is a great way to liberate ourselves from the illusion of disconnection from our creator. When we realize we’re one with God, we’ll see that we literally are our creator and we’ve created everything around us for the purpose of growth, learning, and most importantly, fun.
We’re here to enjoy ourselves as we make the long climb back into the arms of God, and when we’re done with our play and we’re ready to understand our true nature again, all we need to do is ask who we really are and let the answers become apparent. They will every time, but only if we repeatedly refuse to buy into the idea that our creator isn’t real or we’re separate from him/her.
I don’t care for most modern religions, but I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is indeed real and he/she lives in each of us. In fact, it goes deeper than this – we are the Divine Father and Mother, and most of us fail to understand this as we go about our daily lives. However, with every meditation, every creative session and every inquiry into our true nature, our oneness with God will become increasingly apparent.
We just have to take the first step to enlightenment by striving to understand our divine identity. Things will fall into place from there, and as long as we’re dedicated to the path and to using our newfound understanding to help others, we’ll come closer to enlightenment and help everyone understand that they too are God.
- Ramana, Sri, Maharshi. Maharshi’s Gospel. Books I and II. Being Answers of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi to Questions Put to Him by Devotees. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam,1979; c1939, 72.
- Ibid., 50-1.
- Ramana, Sri, Maharshi, Gems from Bhagavan. Comp. A. Devaraja Mudaliar. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1985.
- Anon., Who Am I? The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Sarasota, FL: Ramana Publications, 1990, 21.
- Munagala Venkatramiah, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi. Downloaded from http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/books.htm, 31 August 2005, Question 92.
- Sri Ramana Maharshi. Forty Verses on Reality. Trans. Arthur Osborne. Mountain Path, October 1964. Downloaded from http://www.realization.org/page/namedoc0/40_verses/40_verses_0.htm, 25 August 2005, Verse 25.
I’m a twenty-two year old spiritual writer, blogger and channel for the creative expression of the inner universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
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