This might not seem very promising, since we are usually trying to become or attain something other than what we are, now, in this moment. Inevitably, we must ask, "What, or who, are we?"
No one can teach us the answer to this question. Did anyone teach us to breathe? We breathe; breathing is a part of us. And so we are; no one can teach us what we are. Still, most of us have forgotten how to breathe the air of our own self, so we must find out who we are.
I know. There is a fantastic absurdity in this. The absurdity is that we usually think we are what we are not. This is what we can learn, this is what can be taught. We can see what we are not, and then we are free to be everything else.
Someone can point out that we are not not an idea, image, or concept. We are not thought. We are not fear. We are not doubt. We are not confusion. We are not the struggle to figure out what to do or which way to go. We are none of these.
All of what we are not belongs to the mind. The mind produces our confusion, sadness, loneliness, fear. These in turn, create the struggles, conflicts, and problems we can never really solve, though our lives are consecrated to their solution.
The solution is to recognize who we are, now, in this moment.
We do not have to figure out what to do-we are what to do. We are what's next, we are the future, now. We are already whole, clear, powerful. We are love, and in this knowing we become free. In this freedom we become safe and secure, no matter what happens.
There is only this, now. This, now. Everything else is an idea. Ideas separate us from who we are, and from this, now.
We don't know who we are because we live in thoughts, images, and reactions. The constant play of thoughts, images, and reactions produces hallucinations of identity. We are not these hallucinations. We are not this buffet of ideas at which we chronically overeat and become sick.
Overeating at the buffet of ideas keeps us tense and contracted. When we are tense and contracted, we feel fear, and fear creates conflict with life, with what is, now. We can never resolve the conflicts of being that are produced by an hallucination of ideas. We can only remember who we are.
It is simple to do this. We need only relax. When we relax, we release tension and contraction. We void our contract with thoughts and beliefs to define who we are. When our relaxation is profound enough, we awaken into who we are.
This awakening into who we are is the bottom line of spiritual realization. Spiritual realization is not a matter of learning something new. It is not about new insights or experiences or abilities. Realization occurs in a total release of the defining tension and contraction produced by thoughts, images, and reactions. We are not any of these, though they do occur within us. We are that within which these occur. This is what we have to realize.
There are a few borders to cross on the way to realizing who we already are. It is ironic to say "on the way to becoming who we already are," but the irony does not have to compromise the fact that we are who we are, and not who we think we are.
One of the frontiers is the realization that we do not have independent, separate lives. We think we do, but we don't. A separate life is part of the hallucination. We are used to rushing through life like drunken chickens at a square dance. When we pass through safely into this frontier, our erratic behavior ends. Our thoughts don't move us. Our fears and urges don't move us. Our desire for security and well-being and the understanding of others don't move us. All of our striving to enhance and perfect the separate identity comes to an end.
In a dream, we can see and feel and experience and know so much. Then we awaken, and smile. Spiritual realization causes us to smile, too. We are no longer moved by the force of thoughts or fear or striving to become something. Only when the swelling of that Self moves through this body and mind and personality are we moved.
We are, and have always been, an expression of that which we truly are: the supremely free creative force of pure consciousness from which everything perceptible and imperceptible is born. While we experience ourselves in this body and personality and mind, our real Self extends out the back of us into the deepest reaches of the universe, speeding through unknowable galaxies and dimensions without time.
This is not whimsy. It is a fact. It is real; and being real, it is the practical and useful antidote for relieving the tension and confusion and fear of our hallucinated separate existence.
This is what Lao Tzu meant when he said, "Do nothing, and nothing is left undone." I would say it this way: Be who you are and everything is already done.
May everyone be at peace, in love, and know their most perfect Self.
"Echoes in Silence" is a bi-weekly column by Robert Rabbin--author, speaker, and advisor--who has spend thirty years using self-inquiry as a means to explore the true nature of self, mind, reality, and consciousness.