The ideal that you should aim for is to be at peace with the notion of being alone, of being without your partner. This not only allows you to go deeply into yourself to discover tranquility and peace as qualities of your existence, but it also facilitates a more loving relationship between you and your partner that doesn’t involve an element of need or clinging.
One of my favorite quotes about relationships comes from the Dalai Lama, who says: “The best kind of relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.”
To me, that is true abundance of love. When you introduce a needy or clingy dynamic, not only are you splitting your relationship between love and fear, but you are also creating confusion in yourself by seeking permanence in impermanent phenomena.
When you acknowledge and abide as the solitude of existence, your relationship is a lot less like sharing just a peace of yourself and more like celebrating the totality of the cosmos in yourself and all things, together with your partner.
Suppose you see a rope at night and then mistake it to be a snake. Instead of being scared, you grow to like this pet snake. You give it a name and even a history.
But when the sun rises, you see that the snake was only ever a rope. Where did the snake go? Well, it didn’t go anywhere because it never was.
That is like the ego. When you misperceive this body-mind as an individual existence, as you, then a personality arises to accompany it. You could call the personality a mood of your ego-illusion. It is a habitual way of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
All this means is that the personality can’t be depended on to find truth. The unreal cannot give us the real. You are the real. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the personality and use it to express the truth that is your very existence.
The personality is a temporary phenomenon, and often we cling to it because we derive some identity from it. But once you become aware of your aliveness without the lens of name and form, you stop mistaking yourself to be the temporary and allow it its dance.
Not only are you ‘in’ the now, but you are the now itself. To remember yourself and to be present in the Now are one and the same. When you dwell in self-remembrance, it is indeed impossible to be unhappy.
By this I mean that you are no longer causing unnecessary suffering for yourself in this moment. Now and then you may find yourself releasing suffering you have been carrying around from the past. As you go into the future, even though unpleasant and challenging circumstances will come, you will remain attentive, tranquil, and alive.
This kind of happiness is not the usual kind when others speak of feeling happy or positive. It is not an excitement but a sense of well-being, peace, and joy. It is at ease but vibrant.
I am of the opinion that the ego does not need to be dissolved. Why? Because it isn’t you. It isn’t even an obstacle to you. The ego is like a fly buzzing around in a beautiful concert hall. You fixate on the fly and forget the concert.
All that is needed in order to hear the divine music is to let go of your fixation and come back to yourself.
“In every moment you only have one real choice: to be aware of the Self or to identify with the body and the mind.”
we are literally caught in a waking dream. For some it is a nightmare, for others a temporary reprieve in some imagined heaven. For most it is something in between.
But no matter what the current status of your dream may be, it will all come to an end someday when you least expect it. Suddenly the plot of your life will change or end altogether, and you will find yourself disoriented and wondering what happened and where it all went. Such abrupt changes in the direction and texture of our lives is one of the few certainties we have in life, and yet we keep believing that what we think about life has anything whatsoever to do with what life actually is.
A spiritual teaching is a finger pointing toward Reality; it is not Reality itself. To be in a true and mature relationship with a spiritual teaching requires you to apply it, not simply believe in it. A good spiritual teaching is something that you work with and apply. In doing so, it works on you (often in a hidden way) and helps reveal to you the Truth (and falseness) that lies within you.
To be a good steward of your life requires you to embrace every aspect of your life, inner and outer, pleasant and unpleasant. You do not necessarily need to face them all at once, just whatever arises in any given moment. Give each moment the attention, sincerity, and commitment that it deserves. A failure to do so is more costly than you can ever imagine.
Your life, all of your life, is your path to awakening. By resisting or not dealing with its challenges, you stay asleep to Reality. Pay attention to what life is trying to reveal to you. Say yes to its fierce, ruthless, and loving grace.
At first, it is easier to abide as your Self when you are in solitude. This is simply because there are fewer distractions and identity games going on. There is only the game you are playing with yourself. When you are in public, you have to witness and experience the games of countless other people interacting with your own.
However, every moment is an opportunity for spiritual practice. This is because spirituality isn’t something you do but something you are. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, what does matter is the quality of your attention and awareness during those doings.
Remember that the spiritual path is about becoming close to and abiding with yourself as you truly are. While that truth may be clearer in solitude, it is always there. Whether you are in public or private, nature or the city, the Self is ever the same.
The body, the mind, all of time, and every place all appear and disappear within the Ocean of Existence, the self.
Do not cling to the pleasant meditations and reject the challenging meditations. Both are part of the process that will take you beyond pleasant and unpleasant into the abidance of Peace.